Daily Archives: December 12, 2011

Khmer Rouge: “Bad People”?

5 December 2011

Image by Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia via Flickr

You may remember reading last week that the number two leader of Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime told a court in Phnom Penh he and his comrades were not “bad people.”

Nuon Chea, deputy of Pol Pot and one of three Maoist leaders accused of crimes against humanity at a UN-backed tribunal, denied any wrongdoing.

This must be news to the remaining relatives of the estimated 2 million Cambodians who died during the Khmer Rouge’s 1970s reign of terror.

The Khmer Rouge were efficient, cold-blooded murderers.

After they assumed full control in 1975, they ordered concrete poured into Phnom Penh’s sewers. They turned off the water and electricity and emptied the hospitals of patients.

They announced Year Zero and all history of what they called Democratic Kampuchea was to begin from that moment onwards.

“Dear Leader” Pol Pot’s agrarian revolution required the abandonment of the capital and movement of all city dwellers to the countryside.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children, everyone from the young to grandparents, were marched into the fields. Those who fell by the wayside were shot on the spot. No time for burials. Relatives just had to keep marching.

The Khmer Rouge asked anyone wearing glasses to step to one side. They were shot. In their perverted belief system, anyone with glasses was an intellectual, to be killed.

Soft hands? You were unaccustomed to the toil of the proletariat and shot.

Speak a foreign language? Possess a university degree? Pregnant or carrying a child? All executed by the roadside.

So, in a way, Nuon Chea is right. The Khmer Rouge weren’t “bad people”.

They were far worse. They robbed a country of an entire generation. They deserve to pay for their foul work.

The trial of Nuon Chea continues this week.

Adapted from The Toronto Sun. There, Simon Kent wrote a startling account of seeing Phnom Penh in the early 1990s. I highly recommend clicking here to read his observations.

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Karl Rove Attacks Elizabeth Warren as Cozy with Wall Street

English: Karl Rove Assistant to the President,...

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In an interview with Lawrence O’Donnell, Elizabeth Warren uncorked a response to that dishonest ad from the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS attacking her as cozy with Wall Street. Her answer is worth quoting.

Ms. Warren mocked the claim that she’s cozy with Wall Street and pointed out that the ad is funded by wealthy interests that don’t want to see her in the Senate. She seized on Karl Rove to tell the story of the Bush administration’s role in exacerbating the lack of Wall Street accountability that’s become the rationale of her career and candidacy:

Their strategy now is the kitchen sink strategy. Throw everything you can at her and let’s see what happens.

Let’s keep in mind what was going on just a little over three years ago. Karl Rove was part of the inner circle while George W. Bush is telling Congress and the nation, `we’ve gotta bail out the big financial institutions.’ His Secretary of the Treasury is handing out money to the largest financial institutions — no strings attached. I go down to Washington and I’m calling them out for it. I’m calling them out on executive bonuses. I’m calling them out on the fact taht tehy’re giving this money, no strings attached. And I get attacked for it. Okay.

Then we roll forward three years. Now Karl Rove takes money from Wall Street, in order to attack Elizabeth Warren for being cozy with Wall Street?

This one goes beyond anything I’ve ever imagined. I’m just amazed. It leaves you speechless.

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Gingrich Signs Fidelity Pledge (Because He Cheats When It’s Not in Writing)

English: Newt Gingrich at a political conferen...

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When the Iowa group The Family Leader unveiled a pledge on marriage and abortion over the summer, Newt Gingrich was one of the candidates who passed on signing it.


Now, Mr. Gingrich has answered the pledge with a written response, vowing to support a federal marriage amendment, reinstate the Mexico City policy and, per The Family Leader pledge, be faithful to his wife. (Isn’t that what marriage vows are for?)


To Bob Vander Plaats and the Executive Board of The FAMiLY LEADER:

I appreciate the opportunity to affirm my strong support of the mission of the FAMiLY LEADER by solemnly vowing to defend and strengthen the family through the following actions I would take as President of the United States.

Defending Marriage.  As President, I will vigorously enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted under my leadership as Speaker of the House, and ensure compliance with its provisions, especially in the military.  I will also aggressively defend the constitutionality of DOMA in federal and state courts.  I will support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.  I will also oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman.  I will support all efforts to reform promptly any uneconomic or anti-marriage aspects of welfare and tax policy.  I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.

Defending the Unborn.  I believe that life begins at conception.  On day one of my administration, I will sign an executive order reinstating Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions overseas.  I will also work with Congress to repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood so that no taxpayer dollars are being used to fund abortions but rather transfer the money so it is used to promote adoption and other pro-family policies, and enact legislation that provides greater protections for the unborn.

Defending Religious Liberty.  As President, I will vigorously defend the First Amendment’s rights of religious liberty and freedom of speech against anyone who would try to stifle the free expression of believers.  I will also promote legislation that protects the right to conscience for healthcare workers so they are not compelled to perform abortions and other procedures that violate their religious teachings.

Defending Against Debt.  As President, I will undertake vigorous policies to maximize capital investment and job creation, along with common sense entitlement reforms, to dramatically turn around the nation’s fiscal situation.  Building upon the same principles I championed during my four years as Speaker, when we reduced the national debt by over $400 billion and dramatically reduced the national debt as a percentage of the GDP, we will reduce the enormous burden upon American families of the public debt and unfunded liabilities.

Defending the Right of the People to Rule Themselves.  Today, as federal courts have intervened in sectors of American life never before imaginable, including the intervention in the definition of marriage as well as when unborn life can be protected under the Constitution, the public has increasingly come to view them as an usurpative device for unelected rulers.  This abuse of power and loss of public confidence amounts to a constitutional crisis.  I believe the executive and legislative branches each have an independent responsibility to interpret the Constitution, and in those rare circumstances when they believe the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have engaged in a serious constitutional error, they can choose among an array of constitutional powers to check and balance the courts.  As President, I will nominate for federal judgeships, including justices of the Supreme Court, only those individuals who are committed to an originalist understanding of the Constitution.  Judges with an originalist understanding will subordinate themselves to the meaning of the Constitution as it was intended by the framers, and not substitute their own judgments about its meaning.  The inherent judicial self-restraint that comes from an originalist approach to the Constitution offers the best long-term assurance that federal judges will not exceed their powers and trample on individual liberties.  I will also work with Congress to use the Constitutional means available to reassert the right of the elected branches of government to defend their understanding of the meaning of the Constitution, including limiting the jurisdiction of the federal courts to decide on certain issues, when they believe the federal courts have engaged in a serious constitutional error.


Newt Gingrich

Via Politico.




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On This Day…

In 1963, Kenya gained its independence from Britain.

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Last Detainee in Iraq Poses Problem as Troops Prepare to Leave

English: Prime Minister of Iraq Nuri al-Maliki...

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As troops prepare to exit Iraq at the end of the month, the Obama administration faces a dilemma over what to do with the last detainee held by the military in Iraq.

The detainee, Ali Musa Daqduq, a Lebanese suspected of being a Hezbollah operative, is accused of helping to orchestrate a January 2007 raid by Shiite militants that resulted in the death of five American soldiers. The administration is wrestling with turning him over to the Iraqi government or taking him with the military as it withdraws.

Mr. Daqduq is likely to be a subject of negotiation when Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq meets with President Obama at the White House today.

Hanging over the decision is the 2012 Presidential campaign. Americans approve of the withdrawal from Iraq by a ratio of three to one. Mr. Obama will to leverage that sentiment by emphasizing that Republicans invaded Iraq, while he guided the U.S. out.

Republicans are seeking to frame the withdrawal in different terms: that Mr. Obama endangered national security by pulling out of Iraq too soon, and that he should have persuaded the Iraqis to allow troops to stay beyond the deadline agreed to by the Bush administration. Elevating the profile of Mr. Daqduq could bolster such efforts.

Under the status quo arrangement, Mr. Daqduq would be turned over to the Iraqis for prosecution, but former detainees have been acquitted by Iraqi courts or released without charges, and Mr. Maliki could face political pressure to free Mr. Daqduq.

The administration wants to find a solution in which Mr. Daqduq remains locked up because of his suspected role in helping attacks on American troops and because his release could become a propaganda victory for Iran and Iraqi Shiite militants.

The alternative would be for the United States to take Mr. Daqduq out of Iraq and prosecute him in one of three venues: a civilian court, a military commission at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, or a tribunal somewhere else.

Republicans have made clear that they think Mr. Daqduq should go to Guantánamo.

In the administration, the Guantánamo option is unacceptable. Mr. Obama has resisted adding to the detainee population there and still hopes to close the prison, and Mr. Maliki would not approve sending someone there. It would violate Iraq’s sovereignty to remove him from the country without the Iraqi government’s permission. Under the Status of Forces Agreement the Bush administration struck with Iraq in 2008, decisions on the disposition of any detainees in Iraq are up to the Iraqis.

Conservatives argue that since the United States has control of Mr. Daqduq, it should put him on a plane without seeking Iraq’s permission (essentially, a rendition instead of an extradition). They contended that Iraqis would complain but that it would not matter.

Administration officials said that solution would violate Iraq’s sovereignty, undercutting the relationship when the goal is to relegate the war and occupation to the past, and set up a kind of diplomatic relationship between two sovereign states.

Via The New York Times.

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Michele “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” Bachmann Calls Out NBC

Official photo, circa 2007

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When Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann walked on stage for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on November 22, the Roots welcomed her with Fishbone‘s 1985 tune “Lyin’ Ass Bitch”.

Representative Bachmann didn’t realize she’d been slammed until later that day when news of the tune’s title hit the web.

Drummer ?uestlove defended his “tongue in cheek” song choice, adding, “I feel bad if her feelings were hurt.”

They were. She fumed to Fox News on November 23 of her “outrage” that NBC didn’t discipline ?uestlove. Jimmy Fallon got a pass. “I love him,” she said of the host. “I accept Jimmy’s apology, but this really needs to come from NBC.”

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SCOTUS Will Hear Texas Congressional District Case

texas our texas

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The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear an appeal from Texas officials over the state’s controversial redistricting plan. The justices will hear the case on an expedited basis on January 9.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an emergency “application” last week with the high court, saying a map approved by a federal panel in San Antonio is “fatally flawed.” The court-drawn map was imposed after Democrats and minority groups in Texas challenged the original plan approved by the GOP-led state legislature.

The court-drawn map would increase the number of districts dominated by minorities, especially Hispanics. Texas is among several Southern states required under the Voting Rights Act to have any changes to voting laws approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

All states are required to redo their voting boundaries after the recently completed nationwide census, conducted once every ten years. Texas is getting four new congressional seats after the latest census showed its population grew by 4 million people. The plan drafted by the three-judge panel would give minorities the majority in three of those congressional districts.

“Ninety percent of the growth in this state in the last decade was minority growth,” said Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democratic state representative. “Sixty-five percent of that alone, Latino. So you would expect these new congressional districts would reflect the minority populations that created the opportunity.” Mr. Fischer leads the Texas House Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the key plaintiff in the lawsuit against the legislature’s original map.

Under state rules, redistricting plans approved by the legislature can be challenged in court, with judges having the power to craft alternate maps. Mr. Abbott said the federal court’s plan is an unconstitutional intrusion into the legislative process.

The state’s Republican governor, Presidential candidate Rick Perry, supported the map passed by the Legislature, but has not signed it into law.

The court-approved plan in Texas will stay in effect until all the legal challenges are exhausted.

The high court appeal is Perry v. Perez (11A520).

Via CNN.

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