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Insider 15 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Occupy Wall Street, San Francisco, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.
45 comments


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Mumbai, India: Lead clown Biju poses before a show at the Rambo circus [Vivek Prakash/Reuters]

******
I managed to sleep thru 60 Minutes, I had planned to catch it to see just how badly La Nan did when queried about her conflict of interest investments… but moiv happened to pop me this:

(CBS News) 

Washington, D.C. is a town that runs on inside information – but should our elected officials be able to use that information to pad their own pockets? As Steve Kroft reports, members of Congress and their aides have regular access to powerful political intelligence, and many have made well-timed stock market trades in the very industries they regulate. For now, the practice is perfectly legal, but some say it’s time for the law to change.

The following is a script of “Insiders” which aired on Nov. 13, 2011. Steve Kroft is correspondent, Ira Rosen and Gabrielle Schonder, producers.

The next national election is now less than a year away and congressmen and senators are expending much of their time and their energy raising the millions of dollars in campaign funds they’ll need just to hold onto a job that pays $174,000 a year.

Few of them are doing it for the salary and all of them will say they are doing it to serve the public. But there are other benefits: Power, prestige, and the opportunity to become a Washington insider with access to information and connections that no one else has, in an environment of privilege where rules that govern the rest of the country, don’t always apply to them.

Questioning Pelosi: Steve Kroft heads to D.C.
When Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and other lawmakers wouldn’t answer Steve Kroft’s questions, he headed to Washington to get some answers about their stock trades.

Most former congressmen and senators manage to leave Washington – if they ever leave Washington – with more money in their pockets than they had when they arrived, and as you are about to see, the biggest challenge is often avoiding temptation.

Peter Schweizer: This is a venture opportunity. This is an opportunity to leverage your position in public service and use that position to enrich yourself, your friends, and your family.

Peter Schweizer is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University. A year ago he began working on a book about soft corruption in Washington with a team of eight student researchers, who reviewed financial disclosure records. It became a jumping off point for our own story, and we have independently verified the material we’ve used.

Schweizer says he wanted to know why some congressmen and senators managed to accumulate significant wealth beyond their salaries, and proved particularly adept at buying and selling stocks.  . . . . . .

I find it all especially hilarious, aside from enraging, as the description of the Pelosi family that is in fact used and does fit what they do for cash flow:

Investor Class Family.

And how.

They also profiled Gregg, Hastert, Boehner, Bachus and others – all dirty as hell as I see it… so, they spread the joy.

The former Speaker did about as well (badly, that is) as she ever does:

And former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband have participated in at least eight IPOs. One of those came in 2008, from Visa, just as a troublesome piece of legislation that would have hurt credit card companies, began making its way through the House. Undisturbed by a potential conflict of interest the Pelosis purchased 5,000 shares of Visa at the initial price of $44 dollars. Two days later it was trading at $64. The credit card legislation never made it to the floor of the House.

Congresswoman Pelosi also declined our request for an interview, but agreed to call on us if we attended a news conference.

Kroft: Madam Leader, I wanted to ask you why you and your husband back in March of 2008 accepted and participated in a very large IPO deal from Visa at a time there was major legislation affecting the credit card companies making its way through the– through the House.

Nancy Pelosi: But–

Kroft: And did you consider that to be a conflict of interest?

Pelosi: The– y– I– I don’t know what your point is of your question. Is there some point that you want to make with that?

Kroft: Well, I– I– I guess what I’m asking is do you think it’s all right for a speaker to accept a very preferential, favorable stock deal?

Pelosi: Well, we didn’t.

Kroft: You participated in the IPO. And at the time you were speaker of the House. You don’t think it was a conflict of interest or had the appearance–

Pelosi: No, it was not–

Kroft: –of a conflict of interest?

Pelosi: –it doesn’t– it only has appearance if you decide that you’re going to have– elaborate on a false premise. But it– it– it’s not true and that’s that.

Kroft: I don’t understand what part’s not true.

Pelosi: Yes sir. That– that I would act upon an investment.

Congresswoman Pelosi pointed out that the tough credit card legislation eventually passed, but it was two years later and was initiated in the Senate.

Pelosi: I will hold my record in terms of fighting the credit card companies as speaker of the House or as a member of Congress up against anyone.

***************

The NYPC has moved in on Zuccotti Park, thanks to diane, these comments of hers drawing on the NYT time line and other links (carried forward from previous thread):

3:16 a.m. Occupiers linking arms around riot police
3:15 a.m. NYPD destroying personal items. Occupiers prevented from leaving with their possessions.
3:13 a.m. NYPD deploying sound cannon
3:08 a.m. heard on livestream: “they’re bringing in the hoses.”
3:05 a.m. NYPD cutting down trees in Liberty Square

********

2:55 a.m. NYC council-member Ydanis Rodríguez arrested and bleeding from head.

2:44 a.m. Defiant occupiers barricaded Liberty Square kitchen
2:44 a.m. NYPD destroys OWS Library. 5,000 donated books in dumpster

********

2:42 a.m. Brooklyn Bridge confirmed closed
2:38 a.m. 400-500 marching north to Foley Square
2:32 a.m. All subways but R shut down

live audio coverage from WBAI
#ows on twitter

*******

NYPD IS RAIDING OCCUPY WALL STREET
Posted 1 hour ago on Nov. 15, 2011, 1:20 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Eviction of Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Square Underway
Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world, is presently being evicted by a large police force.

EVERYONE should get to the park immediately for eviction defense! Subway stations and bridges are closed. Please either take a cab or use Canal St. subway station (which is currently open.)  . . . . .

Panorama 9 April 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pan Arab Revolt - 2011, U.S. Senate, WAR!.
44 comments

A Lebanese woman (a relative of one of the prisoners) faces an elite fighting unit from the Internal Security Force outside of Rumiya prison  Angry Arab blog

Sure beats this one, snagged from the Ben Smith column at Politico:

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, left, confers with President pro tempore of the Senate Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, April 8, 2011, after meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. is at center. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sick old gargoyles. Younger gargoyle from VA in the background…

Line up of gargoyles:

THE SHOWS:

 –NBC’s “Meet the Press“: White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe; House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI); roundtable with Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Tim Shriver, CNBC’s Jim Cramer, The New York Times’ Helene Cooper and NBC’s Chuck Todd

–ABC’s “This Week“: White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe; Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); roundtable with ABC’s George Will, interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, Thomson-Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland and National Journal’s Ron Brownstein; actor and director Robert Redford (“The Conspirator”)

–CBS’s “Face the Nation“: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

–“Fox News Sunday“: White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA); roundtable with Fox News’ Brit Hume, NPR’s Mara Liasson, The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and Fox News’ Juan Williams

–CNN’s “State of the Union“: White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe; Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX); Trump Organization Chairman and President Donald Trump; former British Prime Minister and Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East Tony Blair

–CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS Live” (SUN 10am ET / 1pm ET): Former Secretary of State and former Treasury Secretary James A. Baker, III; Financial Times’ Martin Wolf

–C-SPAN: “The Communicators” (Sat. 6:30 p.m. ET): FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, questioned by Telecommunications Reports’ Lynn Stanton … “Newsmakers” (Sun. 10 a.m. ET / 6 p.m. ET): RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, questioned by POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin and The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny … “Q&A” (Sun. 8 p.m. ET / 11 p.m. ET): CNBC’s Melissa Lee

–Univision’s “Al Punto“: Peruvian “Peru Posible” Presidential candidate Alejandro Toledo; author and Latin American affairs expert Alvaro Vargas Llosa; roundtable with Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, Republican analyst Helen Aguirre and Hispanic issues expert Arnoldo Torres; Spanish rock band Maná; roundtable with Tijuana Press’ Vicente Calderon and Poder Hispanic’s David Adams

–NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show“: POLITICO Editor in Chief John F. Harris, CNN’s Gloria Borger, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson

****

God it is all so dreary, amidst weeks, months even!, of too much news.  How can that be.

Weekend 2 July 2010

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, U.S. Senate.
53 comments

St Ulrich, Austria: A goose peers through feathers as it cleans itself near lake Pillersee [Kerstin Joensson/AP]

****

Freedom Weekend.. or something like that.. You will not be too surprised to hear that Joe [Lieberman] and John [McCain] will appear on TW and FOX w/Chris Wallace this Sunday, both live from Afghanistan.

Perhaps they are interlocutors for Petraeus… who has said he will now not speak to the media for 30 days.  The exigencies of taking over Afghanistan.

And all that.

Cheap laughs… 22 March 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Abortion Rights, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, Sex / Reproductive Health, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.
21 comments

A woman walks a large pig on the Pan-America road, south of Lima, Peru

Walky Porkies: A woman walks a large porker on the Pan-America road, south of Lima, Peru. This big piggy went to market…. [AP via UK Telegraph]

I laughed when I read this a few hours after The Big Vote:  

Mush! Salesman-in-Chief!  You’re booked, on the hoof and out on the hustings, for months to come….

President Obama is set to begin an immediate public relations blitz aimed at turning around Americans’ opinion of the health-care bill.

Planning inside the West Wing for the post-vote period has proceeded quietly, even as the president and his allies on Capitol Hill were fighting for the measure’s passage.

Reshaping the legislation’s image will take place in three phases, White House aides said:

- the immediate aftermath;

- the seven months until the November midterm elections;

- and the several years that follow, during which many provisions in the measure will gradually take effect.  [Good Luck!]

Driving the message during those periods is the belief among Obama’s top advisers that Republicans have boxed themselves into a corner with unanimous opposition to the legislation and talk of a repeal.

“The Republicans have way overshot the runway in their criticism of health reform,” said White House communications director Dan Pfeiffersnip snap

Well, it should be easy to take down all those R who have OVERSHOT the runway?  Right?

Can this get funnier?

It can!

Administration officials are also preparing talking points and fact sheets that lawmakers can take home with them on their Easter vacation, Obama advisers said. Those documents are being developed with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, aides said.

That immediate help — along with efforts by the Democratic National Committee, its Organizing for America project and outside groups that supported the health-care legislation — could be critical to Democrats’ hope of retaining control of Congress in the November elections.

With the DNC and OfA at the ready to save the bacon, there should be no problems.  

Yes?

Homework for Easter break… and hey, speaking of Easter Break! there may be a resolution in Natalee’s Less Than Excellent Adventure to Aruba, some years back, coming up. (Not exactly vacation pics, but … it seems there are photos of bones lying in the sandy depths of the water… could be our lost Southern Miss!)

Then there is Tiger. And the golf balls.  Sandra and Jesse James (and other inflagrante delicto to come!  Can only expect so much from one pair)…

AND the POPE.

Entertainment for years!!  (They’ll all be making speeches!  Interviews!  Flashbulbs!)

No worries!!

And it could not come soon enough for some nervous House members, many of whom have been disappointed by the weak support they have received from the administration and Democratic groups.

One Democratic lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be considered critical of the president, said such support has been extremely limited. He said opponents of the legislation have run nearly $1 million worth of ads criticizing him, while supporters have spent about a tenth of that. Organizing for America “has been a paper tiger in my district,” he said.

At the Democratic National Committee, officials running the Organizing for America project said they have received pledges of 9 million hours of volunteer work on behalf of candidates who supported health-care reform.  snip snappy

Snicker.

White storm 7 February 2010

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, U.S. Senate.
26 comments

Washington, US: A woman walks on the National Mall during a snow storm Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

They’ll be talking about this snow storm in Washington forever… Considering they declare snow days with 2 inches…

***

As for this bunch, no need to tell them: Hands in the air and spread your legs!

It just oozes a desire to get things done, doesn’t it?

[“T]hey can’t let the minority party call the shots when it comes to the handling of critical nominations,” Bill Samuel, legislative director of the powerful AFL-CIO, said, calling on Obama to consider recess appointing Becker if his nomination stalls.

Before the Senate leaves for a recess, Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) usually engage in intense negotiations over which nominees can be confirmed quickly by voice vote. If they can’t reach a deal by the end of this work period, which is scheduled to end Feb. 12 — or if Shelby prevents that from happening — some analysts believe that Democrats will be on safe political ground if Obama makes recess appointments.

“When a senator highlights obstructive procedures — as Southerners did in the 1950s and 1960s with the filibuster, committee obstruction and more — it gives Democrats some political space to fight back, either by reform or finding ways around the normal process,” said Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University.

But Republicans say the public is already alarmed by Democratic overreach and will view recess appointments as more of the same. They dismiss the idea that Shelby’s holds give Democrats any additional political cover.

“If anyone thinks this has political significance, they need to put down the federal pages and take a trip outside the 202 as soon as the weather permits,” one senior GOP aide said. “Turns out people are more concerned with their own jobs than the appointments of a bunch of federal bureaucrats.”

In addition to Becker, there are a number of controversial appointments whose recess appointments could inflame Republican passions — including Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Democrats said Obama could be on safer political ground if he uses early recess appointments to install national security nominees, including four to senior positions in the Pentagon. …snip…

Politico

Sliding about on the ice… 30 January 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.
51 comments

People are silhouetted as they walk on the frozen inner city lake Alster during sunset in the northern German city of Hamburg [REUTERS]

hmm well who knows… but in a Politico article on some kissing up to Wall St going on in NY races – Ford, Paterson, Maloney and Saujani – there is mention of this:

[A] Quinnipiac University poll last year found that 79% of all New York voters backed a “millionaire’s tax,” in the form of a higher state income tax rate for people earning more than $1 million a year.

Among Democrats, support for the measure ran 91% to 7%.

The state’s labor-backed Working Families Party has been testing support for a “banker’s bonus tax” in its door-to-door canvassing in recent days, the party’s executive director, Dan Cantor, said, a prelude to a campaign on the issue.

“It’s about the best issue work we’ve ever done,” he said of the response to canvassers. “People are angry. [Wall Street] nearly wrecked the economy and people don’t think they should be rewarded for their trouble.”   ….

I am happy if they all – both sides in a perfect fiction – run scared… ;)

Bail? Bail out? Bail!? .. ? 16 January 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, The Battle for New Orleans, U.S. Senate.
59 comments

© Steve Bell 2010 via the Guardian

***********************************

Times Online:

Aid workers, still struggling to deliver the food, water and medical supplies so desperately needed, warned that more security was needed as the Haitians’ grief and shock began to turn to rage and blame. Last night most of the shops in the city had been looted, while the UN world food programme said that its warehouses had been ransacked for supplies.

I caught a report Friday afternoon, on the Lehrer program on PBS.. they had a LAT journalist reporting from the airport.  She arrived Wednesday am and indicated she had spent the three days on the ground in Port au Prince.  When asked about reports of looting and machete carrying bands, she said desperation is running high and that food and water needed to be distributed within 24 hours or it would escalate, but in three days she had seen no violence or threat of violence.

An angry crowd gathered at one collapsed building, much of their ire directed at a handful of heavily armed soldiers, who were stopping the crowd from helping the half-dozen Haitian search officials trying to find bodies and signs of life.

“I have a friend under there,” shouted an incensed Rusmond Beautrun, before being pushed back by a soldier.

And back in the central square, surrounded by the sick and homeless, about 50 women stood in one corner, singing in a beautiful Haitian cadence a favourite prayer in a country where a devotion to God always hangs thick in the air. “Jesus, You are great/We praise Your name. You make the sky and You miss nothing. All You do is good.”

I am not too sure about that last bit……

Hillary arrives Saturday.. what on earth, I wonder, can that strange woman say.

Time for a speech!  Speak Obama!  Speak!

*****************

Fortunately I am far, far away from Boston… and don’t care who wins… I am pretty sure, based on the probabilities!, both are mediocre wretches….  Putzes who should be left in the snow to die.

This, however, is a hoot!

Theirs dead, ours orphaned 17 October 2009

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, The Battle for New Orleans, U.S. Senate, WAR!.
28 comments

Two young kestrels and a barn owl share a nesting box in Boston, Lincs, after both mothers picked the wooden box as the ideal site to bring up young [MASONS NEWS SERVICE]

Or, so I posted once long ago at Orange Mess.  Here is a dicey wrinkle.  Seems ”ours” are attempting suicide.  I would think “theirs” are suiciding… and by that I don’t mean our heinous tellings of suicide bombers, every telling of which is supposed to spur on the wars, as we react in horror to their atrocities.

And he’ll go on giving speeches.  Emphatically promising.  I think when he announces the troop increase to Afghanistan, he should be a little honest and tell us, we are “staying the course”.

******

UPDATE, 12:05 pm on the Pacific Ocean

hmm I read the AP report yesterday on Obama in New Orleans… and this comment did leap out.  Google helpfully framed it for me, all blockquoted and linked.  Thanks Google.  Perhaps they noticed as well.

response to a question from Bordenave about the former Charity hospital, which once provided indigent care and was a main training hospital, Obama replied that he wished he “could just write a check” but “we’ve got to go through procedures.”

more by Barack Obama – 19 hours ago – The Associated Press (134 occurrences)

Here, however, is worse. Tho not shocking, Obama never ”got” what happened in New Orleans. Long ago, in his brief time in the US senate, he took his lead on New Orleans from Clinton and Bush 1… As I recall, he even flew into New Orleans once on AF1 with Bush 2. He also said that nothing about the aftermath was about race (in a speech later removed from his senate web site).

It was always about race, and everything else too.

This criticism is from Ambinder of The Atlantic, who, if accidentally poked will, like Chatty Cathy, begin to recite Democratic apologia, lies and promises.

Seems Peace Prize really bombed in NOLA.

Rethink 1: Obama Doesn’t Get Katrina?

It wasn’t so much the brief duration of President Obama’s trip to New Orleans that riled the Katrina-smarties — the folks who’ve spent the past several years obsessing, healthily, about the destruction of an American city. It was that, when he spoke there, he got his facts wrong. And he got his facts wrong to such an extent that he convinced folks like Harry Shearer that Obama has no idea what really happened during Katrina.

How could this possibly be? Everyone knows that happened during Hurricane Katrina. It hit New Orleans, causing massive flooding, and the government’s anemic response compounded the disaster.

Shearer quotes Obama:

“Katrina may have swept through this city, but it did not destroy this community, and that is because of you, the people of New Orleans. It has now been just over 4 years since that terrible storm struck your shores. And the days after it did, this nation and all the world were witness to the fact that the damage from Katrina was not caused just by a disaster of nature but also by a breakdown of government. That the government wasn’t adequately prepared and we didn’t adequately respond.

Shearer responds:

The government wasn’t adequately prepared and we didn’t adequately respond” echoes Obama’s campaign rhetoric about the aftermath of the disaster; his other remarks display a glaring, and for such an intellectually voracious and insightful man, quite possibly knowing ignorance of how we got here.

Typically, having mis- or non-diagnosed the problem, he came with no solution, no pledge (aside from the vaporous “build stronger” without reference to build what, how, by whom) to take the steps only the federal government, under strong leadership from a committed chief executive, can take to prevent the disaster from recurring.

Staying the course.

far away… 17 September 2009

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, San Francisco, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.
42 comments

Socotra

An Egyptian Vulture, one of 192 bird species that can be found on Socotra. (Piotr Kot)

More links:
The Wonder Land of Socotra, Yemen
The land that time forgot

I landed on this gallery at the LAT… Socotra, an island in an archipelago off Yemen.  I had never heard of it… reachable only by boat during limited periods of the year (monsoon season knocks the boat out) ’til a runway went in ’99.  Like Gallapagos, I gather, go soon.  Masses of the upright and walking on two feet are arriving (a different sort of vulture).

In a gallery at Telegraph.. I saw these two donkeys.  (But was not sure I wanted to look at them all day Friday!)  I say make THEM Speaker and Majority Leader.

I caught Nancy late today, her public weep.. or whatever that was.  I cringed.  Anyway, San Francisco sits on a ton of dirty secrets in that event, from the morning, the day of the killings to the arrest to the trial… probably all the way to Dan White’s suicide.

Some doings.. 28 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Russ Feingold, U.S. Senate.
73 comments

gannetschriswestonbwpa

Gannets – Chris Weston – BWPA

Just a couple of things frm Tapper today… ;)  Pols, they’d sell their mother…

Two weeks ago

[H]e kept repeating this mantra.

“If we lose my seat they have 60 Democrats, they will pass card check, you will have the Obama tax increases, they  will carry out his big spending plans. So the 41st Republican, whose name is Arlen Specter is vital to stopping tax increases, passage of card check, and the Obama big spending plans….Those 41 seats are the only thing standing between a Democratic onslaught of higher taxes, more spending and card check.”

It was pointed out by a reporter that he voted for the $787 billion stimulus package.

“I voted for the stimulus package, which was the twin brother for what Republican President Bush had on the $700 billion bailout,” the senator said. “I voted for the stimulus because I was fearful we were on the edge of a 1929 depression. I thought it was necessary in order to put people to work, in order to maintain productivity and to avoid paying massive man hours of unemployment compensation.”

He was asked if he’d considered running as independent or Democrat.

“I am a Republican and I am going to run on the Republican ticket in the Republican primary,” he said.

Of course Ob and the Oblings along with a good number of so called conservative Dems and Red State Dems and whatever other pejorative… Bloooooooooo Dogs!  Boll Weevils! were never going to see card check to fruition.

Sure as shootin’!  Oops another one!  They won’t even speak [hardly] of curbing that ol’ gun issue… talk about guns and butter.  Lives and bullets…

***

And, I don’t care whether it is Bush, scraps of Bush Heap or Ob and his Oblings.. but I LIKE it when the gov loses these state secret scrambles in the courts.  Keep it up!!

Via Tapper:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Tuesday rejected the Obama administration’s claim that a lawsuit involving extraordinary rendition must be halted for national security reasons, and reversed a lower court dismissal of the lawsuit.

As we reported in February, the case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition who sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured. The Bush administration, and then the Obama administration argued, that the case would

The court found that United States v Reynolds — the “state secrets” precedent the Obama administration had been relying on to block the lawsuit — “recognizes that the Executive’s national security prerogatives are not the only weighty constitutional values at stake: while ‘[s]ecurity depends upon a sophisticated intelligence apparatus,’ it ‘subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles [including] freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers.'”

Read the full Appeals Court decision in Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. HERE.

A press release from the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs, quotes one of the men, Bisher Al-Rawi, who was released from Guantánamo last year without ever having been charged with a crime.

“I am happy to hear this news,” Al-Rawi said. “We have made a huge step forward in our quest for justice.”

And Feingold spoke up…

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who earlier today said that the Obama administration “seems reminiscent” of the Bush administration in its invocation of state secrets, has reacted to the 9th Circuit’s decision by calling it “the latest example of courts being skeptical of the government’s argument that entire cases should be dismissed based on the assertion of the state secrets privilege without any evidence being considered.”

The Obama administration has been invoking the “state secrets” argument in quite a few court cases, among them Jewel v. NSA, where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging the NSA surveillance by suing on behalf of AT&T customers whose records may or may not have been caught up in the NSA “dragnet” (read more on that HERE); and Al-Haramain v. Obama, in which the leaders of a now-defunct Islamic charity, allege that the National Security Agency under President Bush engaged in illegal warrantless wiretapping (more on that HERE.)

Carry on!

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