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Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM PST

Gaza: What I Can't Get Past

by Bouldergeist

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Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow-man.  This is the Torah.  All else is interpretation.
                                                                                               -- Rabbi Hillel

Between February, 1948 and December,1948 the Israeli army systematically occupied the Palestinian villages and towns, expelled by force the population and in most cases also destroyed the houses, looted their belongings and took over their material and cultural possessions. This was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. [cite]

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Yes, it is a Republican scandal -- involving prostitution, possible tax fraud, and the Bu$h Junta.  And yes, I must warn you that SOME LINKS ARE NSFW.

I have penned a number of diaries exposing rampant corruption in Colorado's courts, with the most spectacular ones involving the precipitous fall of Chief Judge Edward W. Nottingham -- a Bush #41 appointee -- of the District of Colorado.  And while our crack team of local investigative reporters was all over this scandal like white on rice (it was, after all, a sex scandal), none of them bothered to ask the question that really mattered: Was Judge Nottingham taking bribes to support his habit?

As sex is the only way I'll get this on the rec list, I'll start with the question male Kossacks are most likely to be interested in: "What sort of call girl does a H.W. Bush-appointed judge call on when he needs his gavel pounded?  (Follow the link, and vote for your favorite below.)  But the weirdest part of this story is in what hasn't been reported on yet.

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Which Hooker Did the Creepy Judge Creep Out?

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While Denver is one of the few remaining metropolitan areas blessed with two major newspapers, that is about to change. A dismal economy and on-line competition have conspired to doom the newspaper as we know it; the latest casualty is the Rocky Mountain News.  At the ripe old age of 149, Colorado's oldest business has been placed in hospice by owner E.W. Scripps Co., as it is hemorrhaging red ink at the rate of $15 million a year.  It has been formally put up for sale, but buyers are in notoriously short supply these days.

Under normal circumstances, I might see this as a tragedy.  But as the only investigative journalism still done in this cowtown is done by the Westword, and the Rocky does little more these days than merely regurgitate Associated Press stories and spew incontinent opinions, there seems to be no real point in saving it.

In a desperate attempt to save their jobs, the Rocky employees have created a website, pleading the case for its survival to the people of Colorado.

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In today's legal profession, a lawyer's client is the judge; the nominal client simply pays the bills.[1] Attorneys live in fear of judges, and "are loath to criticize the federal bench, since the judges are appointed for life and tend to have long memories." [2]

Meet Mark Brennan, a plaintiff's lawyer in Colorado.

Brennan's saga, as explicated in detail in Blackburned, is a classic tale of the little guy, forced by circumstance to do battle against City Hall.  Reporter Alan Prendergast summed it up this way:

The . . . fiasco is only part of a twisted saga of perjury, cover-ups and discrimination claims that led to [the plaintiff] winning a $1.2 million judgment from a federal jury two years ago. It was one of the largest awards ever entered against the city -- but it was tossed by Judge Robert E. Blackburn, who declared that [Brennan] must have improperly inflamed the jury with his sarcastic, confrontational style of litigation.

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   Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens had a Sarah Palin Moment last week:

Seated in a comfortable chair on a stage at the University of Florida recently, Stevens betrayed no sign that he is preparing to retire, remarking only that if the court had maintained the same heavy caseload today it had when he became a justice in 1975, "I would have resigned 10 years ago." [cite]

                                                        It's a freakin' PART-TIME JOB!!!

  And despite the dire financial straits we find ourselves in as a nation, these lazy bastards have the temerity to ask for a pay raise?

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                                                    "But my Lord? Is that -- legal?"
                                                    "I will MAKE it legal."

                                                            -- Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

  On January 19, 2009, George W. Bush will have a final opportunity to give the American people the middle finger.  The only question is whether he will "flip the bird" at the Constitution ... or the Obama administration.

  I speak, of course, of the possibility that Bush might pardon everyone in his Administration who either authorized or engaged in acts of torture while under his command. The question I pose is whether the proposed pardon would have legal effect and if so, what we need to do to prevent a recurrence.

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   We have so many lawyers posting here, Daily Kos could qualify as one of the ten largest law firms in the country.  And whenever a diary praising the profession appears, it usually makes the rec list, and invariably leads to a comical feeding frenzy of barristers going out of their way to pat each other on the back.  But as much as I hate to break up this bacchanalistic binge of bombastic braggadocio, I need to remind you that there's work to be done.

   As John Dean observed in Broken Government, our judicial branch has suffered the gravest and most lasting damage from Hurricane George.  Though the rule of law hangs by the barest thread, the legal profession has done less to save it than the Republicans have done to save Detroit.

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Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 07:47 AM PST

Saving Detroit: The 91% Solution

by Bouldergeist

It would be difficult to find anyone who wasn't living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue [see footnote 1 below for what is actually snark] who isn't outraged at the idea that bank bailout funds might be used for acquisitions and bonuses to top executives:

In an unusual display of like-mindedness, the top Republican in the House and the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate sent letters to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson about how the $700 billion in bailout funds will be used.

"Funds made available under the economic rescue package should not be used to pay for bank acquisitions, raises and executive bonuses," wrote House Republican Leader John Boehner. [cite]

Along the same lines, it is almost as difficult to find anyone who would seriously argue against the old maxim that "what is good for General Motors is good for the country." To let Detroit fail is to destroy a significant part of our manufacturing base and with it, any realistic hope we might have had of passing economic prosperity along to our children. But we only have so much money to go around....

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Thirty years ago, even the thought of civil unions was unthinkable.  Gays were fashion designers who lived in San Francisco or the Village and spoke with a lisp, and you emerged from the closet at grave peril.  The cry for equality was as compelling in the abstract then as it was now, but reality never quite catches up with theory.  When a discrete and insular minority is the victim of oppression, he inevitably stands alone.

The leap from the closet to the altar is a mighty one; both society and the law which serves it tend to move in halting, uncertain steps.  Knowing that, the LGBT community made a tactical decision to frame the case in terms of the need for same-sex couples to enjoy the benefits of marriage, as opposed to marriage itself: Who with even a shred of humanity left could possibly deny you a chance to bid a last profound farewell to the one you shared a life with for decades?  

                        That argument carried the day ... and therein lies the problem.  

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Cynical Republicans would have you believe that ordinary people like Joe the "Plumber" and Cory the Well-Driller are the "face" of the Party.  But as we stare out across that vast sea of white, off-white, and French vanilla, there are a lot of pretty faces out there:

"Hi!  I'm Cindy, the Silver-Crested Coupon-Clipper. I've never worked a day in my life and never had to, because my daddy made a fortune, thanks to his connections to the Mob.  I own a beer distributorship ... and my very own Senator.  It really comes in handy when I steal prescription medicines from my own charity; no one would ever dare prosecute me, as I am richer than Croesus. When your bestest buddy owns the Justice Department
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the law simply doesn't apply to you.

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It's the kind of pillow talk only a lawyer could love:

"I negotiate the art of human interaction," Veronika explains. "I'm not doing anything illegal, because I'm not selling sex. I'm selling companionship. What happens between two consenting adults once they're behind closed doors is their business. Putting them together behind those doors is mine." [cite]

Welcome to the legal netherworld known as the escort agency, where nubile young women sell their wares to aging men with more money than sense.  It is a fine line that these raging capitalists are forced to walk: Everyone knows that sex is being sold, and no rational man would pay $300 an hour for mere "companionship," but everyone in the upper echelons of politics understands the value of "plausible deniability."

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It's now been confirmed by one of our major papers: Judge Edward Nottingham -- the enfant terrible of the federal district court for the District of Colorado, is reportedly resigning his position as Chief Judge of that district, primarily in the wake of a lurid scandal involving abuse of power and patronizing Elliot Spitzer-class prostitutes.  Sources advise that there's more to the scandal which hasn't been reported, and will be coming out in due course.

As I've already written about it here and here, and everyone is so engrossed in candidate diaries that this won't stay up very long, I'll merely ask those interested to visit KnowYourCOurts.com.  

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