Archive for the ‘abuse’ Category

Lots of Stimulus Money Will Likely Be Wasted, Looted

February 6, 2009

A friend at the Congressional Budget Office told us, “This much stimulus money will slosh around a lot and a lot will likely be wasted.  That’s what we know.”

News headlines are already are gleefully saying the Bush Tarp and bailout were subject to a lot of waste.  But the stimulus is so much larger than previous measures it is hard to imagine that it could have less waste than previous bill……

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

Bush Paid Too Much in Bailout

Associated Press

The Bush administration overpaid tens of billions of dollars for stocks and other assets in its massive bailout last year of Wall Street banks and financial institutions, a new study by a government watchdog says.

The Congressional Oversight Panel, in a report released Friday, said last year’s overpayments amounted to a taxpayer-financed $78 billion subsidy of the firms.

The findings added to the frustrations of lawmakers already wary of the $700 billion rescue plan, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Congress approved the plan last fall, but members of both parties criticized spending decisions by the Bush administration and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Financially ailing insurance giant American International Group, which the Treasury Department deemed to be too big to be allowed to fail, received $40 billion from the Treasury for assets valued at $14.8 billion, the oversight panel found.

In December, in response to questions from the oversight panel, the department wrote that the value of preferred stock purchased by the government was “at or near par,” meaning Treasury paid $1 for every $1 dollar of asset.

“The way the Treasury secretary described it does not fit with the numbers that were produced in our much more extensive valuation analysis,” panel chairwoman Elizabeth Warren told reporters Friday. “The secretary of the Treasury described it in December that these were par transaction and that is not supported by the numbers.”

The continued scrutiny comes as new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner prepares to place the Obama administration’s imprint on the program with a sweeping new framework for helping banks, loosening credit and helping reduce foreclosures. Geithner plans to unveil the changes Monday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090206/a
p_on_go_ca_st_pe/bailout_oversight

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The following is from NPR:

When congressional leaders began to assemble the mammoth economic stimulus bill, top Democrats and the Obama administration decided that there would be no earmarks: no “special projects,” no pork-barrel spending. In so doing, they gave up some control over how the money is spent, leaving the decision to public servants around the country.

“Someone has to decide how money gets spent. It’s either going to be Congress or the executive branch or states or municipalities,” says Fred Wertheimer of the congressional watchdog group Democracy 21.

Lawmakers had good reasons for stripping earmarks from the bill, Wertheimer says, because “they are simply going to become huge targets for attacking the credibility of the package, and they may very well end up as abusive earmarks.”

It was a wise political decision, he says. But pulling earmarks out of the bill changes the balance of power in the government. If members of Congress aren’t writing into the bill how the money will be spent, then someone else must make those decisions — or, in this case, a lot of people.

“Because there is so much money here, and in so many different forms, there is no single pathway for the money to go out to states and localities,” says Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution.

‘This Is An Emergency’

When this bill passes, a Niagara Falls of money will flow out of Washington and into the accounts of state highway commissioners, governors and legislatures, local school boards, county executives — even mayors, Binder says.

“It raises a whole host of questions about how efficiently money can be spent, how effectively it will be spent, how quickly money can be spent, just because there’s no set process here for determining how money will get out the door to create jobs or, as the president said, to save jobs,” she says.

U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, helped write the bill and says he doesn’t like being asked about earmarks.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” he says. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important question facing us on putting together this package.”

Leaving out the earmarks does mean Congress will have less control over how the money is spent. But, Obey says, “So what? This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

That doesn’t mean Congress will be responsible if the money is spent badly, he says.

“The person who spends the money badly will be responsible. We are simply trying to build as many protections in as possible,” Obey says. “We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

How To Avoid Disappointment?

As it stands now, says David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general, the bill appears to have no mechanism for directing spending. It’s left up to those state and local officials, who may or may not have the ideas or the means to spend it appropriately. And that will lead to “a series of disappointments that it’s too late to do anything about,” Walker says.

The bill does make it possible for lawmakers and the public to track the money — but only after it’s spent. And that, he says, will lead to bad surprises.

Take, for example, the giant bank bailout known as TARP. That spending has gone all wrong, Walker says. Though the inspector general and the Government Accountability Office are keeping track of the billions spent there, “they’re basically reporting on what didn’t happen,” he says.

“Well, it’s a little bit late,” he says. “And so the question is, what are you going to do on a prospective basis? I mean, you can’t change history. What are you going to do on a prospective basis to minimize the possibility of being disappointed again?”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story
/story.php?storyId=100304449

Related:
Americans Resent Obama’s Tone, Stimulus Bloat, Tax Cheats and Lobbyists

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/06/
senate-switchboard-all-circuits-are-busy/

http://righttruth.typepad.com/right_truth
/2009/02/jobs-for-citizens-imagine-that.html

Thailand’s Questionable Talk On Stopping Abuse of Refugees

January 26, 2009

Reviews of United Nations records and media reports show a patters of questionable if not barbaric treatment of refugees in Thailand.  Currently, there are at least two regugee abuse situation inside Thailand and not just one…..

******

With global media attention on the Thai military’s alleged mistreatment of a group of refugee boat people from Myanmar, a larger and potentially more controversial refugee tragedy is unfolding on Thailand’s northeastern border with Laos.

By Brian McCartan
Asia Times

Thailand agreed last week to repatriate the remaining 5,000 ethnic Hmong refugees to Laos by June of this year. Both Bangkok and Vientiane see the Hmong refugees as an outdated vestige of the Cold War and a hindrance to greater economic integration. The Hmong are the persecuted remnants of a guerilla army trained and paid by the United States to fight a covert war in Laos from1961-74 against communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese forces.

Related:
Thai Lawmakers Probe Abuse, Death of Hundreds of Muslim Refugees

When the Pathet Lao won and established a communist regime in 1975, hundreds of thousands of Laos, including many Hmong, fled to refugee camps in neighboring Thailand. Several thousand remained to carry on a desperate resistance against government forces in remote jungle-covered mountains.

On the run for decades, 4,000 to 5,000 Hmong fled the jungle in recent years to Thailand. By 2007, there were some 8,000 Hmong in Huay Nam Khao refugee camp in Thailand’s Petchabun province. Another 2,000 or so armed Hmong and their families surrendered to the government between June 2005 and May 2007. An estimated 1,000 Hmong still remain on the run in Laos.

The United States, like Thailand, would clearly like to see the problem go away so that it can improve ties with the Lao government and counterbalance China’s growing influence in the region. The US in recent years offered to send soldiers to Laos to help build roads and schools; Laos declined the offer. Meanwhile, Washington has shown scant interest in resettling the latest batch of refugees, which would require a legal waver due to strict post-9/11 immigration laws that bar anyone who has ever taken up arms against a government.

In a sign of the US’s shifting attitude, it is currently prosecuting former Hmong resistance leader and ally Vang Pao and several other Hmong in the US for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Lao government. The new Thai government has curiously prioritized Lao relations, with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya making his first trip abroad to Laos and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva scheduled to visit on January 23.

Read the rest:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southea
st_Asia/KA21Ae01.html

*****

CNN has an in-depth report on the abuse of the refugees from Myanmar in Thailand:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/01/2
5/thailand.refugees/index.html

A group of Rohingya migrants are seen in a boat at sea off of ... 
A group of Rohingya migrants are seen in a boat at sea off of Koh Sai Daeng in southwest Thailand in this undated photo obtained by CNN. Pressure mounted on Thailand on January 26, 2009 to come clean on allegations the army towed Rohingya refugees out to sea and abandoned them in engine-less boats, after CNN showed pictures depicting exactly that.

Thai Lawmakers Probe Abuse, Death of Hundreds of Muslim Refugees

January 23, 2009

Thailand has almost always had a troubling record on refugees.  Since the war in Vietnam ended in 1975, people have moved into Thailand by land and sea fleeing death, torture and prisons.  But in Thailand, regugees have often found death, torture, rape, miserable conditions not unlike the prisons the refugees hoped to avoid.

Last July, this from Human Rights Watch:

“Forcing civilians back into an active war zone may be an easy answer for Thailand, but it’s brutal – a completely inhumane and unacceptable solution,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Thai government should cooperate with international relief agencies and UNHCR to ensure that it upholds the rights of civilians under international law.”

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Thai lawmakers were probing Thursday “very alarming” reports about its troops abusing and casting out members of a Muslim minority group fleeing to its shores.

Hundreds of Muslim refugees from Burma (Myanmar) are feared missing or dead after Thai troops forced them onto boats without engines and cut them adrift in international waters, according to human rights activists and authorities in India who rescued survivors. The revelations have shone a spotlight on the Thai military’s expulsion policy toward Muslims it sees as a security threat.

Nearly 1,000 refugees were detained on a remote island in December before being towed out to sea in two batches and abandoned with little food or water, according to a tally by a migrant-rights group based on survivors’ accounts and media reports. The detainees, mostly members of Burma’s oppressed Rohingya minority, then drifted for weeks. One group was later rescued by Indonesia’s Navy, and two others made landfall in India’s Andaman Islands.

Related:
Christian Science Monitor:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20
090123/ts_csm/oboats_1

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WO
RLD/asiapcf/01/22/thailand.refugees/index.html

Related:
Consequences of Speedy Withdrawal From Iraq?
(What happend when refugee migrations start…)

A group of refugees guarded by the Thai army sit on a beach ... 
A group of refugees guarded by the Thai army sit on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Sai Baed in this picture taken late 2008 and released to Reuters January 19, 2009. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Sunday that he would meet human rights groups to discuss alleged violations, as further reports emerged of ill-treatment of refugees from Myanmar by Thai security forces. The refugees, the Rohingyas, are Muslims from Myanmar. Many have fled the Buddhist-dominated, army-ruled country to escape repression and economic hardship, but rights groups say hundreds were recently detained on a remote Thai island before being forced back to sea by the security forces with little food or water. REUTERS/South China Morning Post/Pool

Vietnam Workers Strike, Claim Abuse By Chinese Bosses

January 4, 2009

Nearly 4,000 workers at a Taiwanese footwear plant in Vietnam have gone on strike to protest alleged ill-treatment by their bosses, state media reported Sunday.

AFP
.
The workers, mostly women, said managers from mainland China had beaten and humiliated employees at the Sun Jade company in Thanh Hoa province, according to the Thanh Nien daily.

Thanh Nien and other newspapers said the workers had also reported being denied sick leave and days off for deaths in the family, and were often docked an entire month’s pay if they failed to show up.

Company and local trade union officials could not be reached for comment. Rpeports said it was the plant’s third strike since June.

Last year, as Vietnam was hit by double-digit inflation and an economic slowdown, workers downed tools at hundreds of factories, demanding better pay and conditions.

The Lao Dong daily estimated there were 775 strikes nationwide, mostly in the industrial south, compared to 541 the previous year.

Industrial unrest could flare up again before the Tet lunar New Year in late January, a time when workers often ask for extra pay and time off to visit their families.

Pope’s Slam on Gays Ealier Superseded By Appeal for Children on Christmas

December 25, 2008

Commenting on gays earlier this week, the Pope seemed to get Christmas off on the wrong foot.   The man referred to as “a guy with a funny hat” by Bill (“No shot at heaven”) Maher said the world needs to act to save  “street children who do not have the blessing of a family home, of those children who are brutally exploited as soldiers and made instruments of violence, instead of messengers of reconciliation and peace.”

Pope Benedict XVI blesses children as he celebrates the Christmas ... 
Pope Benedict XVI blesses children as he celebrates the Christmas Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, early Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008.(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Beijing has millions of homeless street children, many the sons and daughters of some 150 million migrants, many now without jobs.

The Pope also urged action for minors who are “victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatized in the depths of their soul.”

Bill Maher, November 2007
Bill (“No shot at heaven”) Maher

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Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Christmas Midnight Mass early Thursday by sending out an appeal for children who are abused, forced to live on the street or serve as soldiers.

By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer

In the splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica, Benedict marked the birth of Jesus with a call to the faithful to help children who are denied the love of their parents and those who are exploited across the world.

“The Child of Bethlehem summons us once again to do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081225/ap
_on_re_eu/eu_vatican_christmas

Merry Christmas!

Related:
Pope Down on Gays

 Pope’s Message of Peace, Stability: Warns of Ruin in Selfishness

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe
/12/24/vatican.midnight.mass/index.html

http://news.aol.com/article/pope-issue
s-plea-for-end-to-child-abuse/286983

Sex Workers Criticize Law Enforcement

December 18, 2008

Dozens of sex workers marched through the streets of downtown Washington yesterday, demanding better treatment from law enforcement officials of prostitutes who become crime victims.

Clutching red umbrellas and carrying signs that read, “Sex Work Is Real Work” and “Stop Shaming Us to Death,” the men and women came from San Francisco, New York and other cities across the country to publicize a rarely discussed issue that they say is not taken seriously.
Women work in the red light district, Amsterdam (file pic)

Amsterdam’s famous sex workers, where the red light district has been popular for 700 years

The rally and march was organized by the Sex Workers Outreach Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, and coincided with today’s fifth anniversary of the sentencing of Gary Leon Ridgway, a Seattle man known as the “Green River Killer” who was convicted of murdering 48 prostitutes in 21 years. The lowly status of prostitutes in society, rally participants said yesterday, explains why the crimes went unsolved for so long.

“I’m just so tired of hearing, ‘If I choose to do X, then I put myself on the line,’ ” said Charmus, 34, a transgender woman who gave only her first name. She lives in Maryland and said she has worked as a prostitute. “Transgender women, prostitutes, you have a right to fight for due process,” she said to the crowd assembled at a downtown park.

As professional workers filed out of buildings in suits and ties on their way to business lunches, the rally crowd marched from Franklin Square at 14th and I streets NW to the Justice Department in the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Along the way, the marchers encountered some bemused looks at signs reading, “Be Nice to Sex Workers.”

A 33-year-old man from New York City who gave his name as Wally said he works as an escort in Manhattan. He has been fortunate not to be a crime victim, he said, but he made the trip to show solidarity.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic
le/2008/12/17/AR2008121703357.html?wprss=
rss_metro%2Fdc

170 arrested in global child porn investigation

December 13, 2008

More than 170 people around the globe, including at least 61 in the United States, have been arrested in a major operation targeting international child pornographers, officials said Friday.

By Terry Frieden
CNN
.
So far, Operation Joint Hammer has rescued 11 girls in the United States, ages 3 to 13, who were sexually abused by child pornography producers, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and representatives of the European Union said at the Justice Department Friday.

Dozens more were located in Europe, including several young female victims in Ukraine.

Authorities found connections between producers, distributors and customers in nearly 30 countries as a single investigation grew to a global inquiry into the dark corners of brutality and child abuse.


U.S. child actress Miley Cyrus on the cover
of Vanity Fair Magazine….Criminal child porn
is well beyond this….

The investigation, code-named Operation Koala in Europe, was first developed when investigators determined a pornographic video found in Australia had been produced in Belgium.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/12/12/porn.arr
ests/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Again We Watch Spellbound At Personal Disaster: This Time Rod Blagojevich

December 12, 2008

Sunday he was a freewheeling, vocal, profane, daring Governor — one of only 50 men and women currently serving that had achieved that distinction.  Today he is disgraced, charged with high crimes, and the Supreme Court of Illinois has been asked to declare him unfit to serve.

His marriage may be unwinding and his friends, if he ever had any real friends, are likely gone.  He was visited this week by a group of churchmen: undoubtedly there was a call to God and some fear of suicide.

We watch in a kind of mixture of horror, amusement and concern.  Twenty-four hour news allows even the day shift to watch at night and the night shift to watch by day.  It is human drama: the best kind.  And much of it is live.

And it breaks some hearts and others shout: “GOOD!  He deserved this!”

Rod Blagojevich, it seems to me, is a kind of everyman.  He didn’t go to Harvard and had none of the blessings of many others.  He married well but he crossed his wife’s father which tripped him up.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal corruption charges.

Above: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal corruption charges.

But he was more blue jeans than Brooks Brothers.  He said he’d stand up for the union men and women because he was just like them.  But then he betrayed their trust and now will suffer consequences.

And he got in over his head: consumed, it seems, with greed and self.  His ego, in the end, did him in.  His ego and his mouth: both immense liabilities.

If he ever had ethics and admirable character traits, if he ever had integrity; he gave them away or lost them or both. 

And he seems to have had no fear and no regard for his own safety and the happiness of his family: he even goaded the FBI and the Feds about recording his phone calls, saying he only spoke the truth.  Which was a lie.

One wonders what his children will think?  And will he ever regain their trust and admiration?

He doesn’t seem to deserve our hate or admiration.  Rather; he is pitiable and bereft of qualities that earn anger or love, it seems.  Barack Obama almost said he felt sorry for the man, a remark I at first misunderstood.  Now I feel the same way myself.

Rod Blagojavich will make a plea or he’ll go to prison for a long time, where he’ll undoubtedly be abused and suffer both mental and physical anguish.

In any event, he is finished working as a lawyer and a politician, it seems, his family life is in disarray and dismay, perhaps damaged beyond repair.  And he must set a new course of some kind and get on with life.  That’s a challenge he doesn’t seem ready to accept: and that makes him even more pitiable indeed.

Who Should Govern Americans? United Nations or U.S. Congress?

December 11, 2008

Several news stories recently served as reminders that the United Nations has no special corner on the wisdom market.

And more often than not the U.N. takes down an anti-American and an anti-Israel path.

No matter how troubled, divided and worrisome the U.S. Congress may be, we at Peace and Freedom have much more trust and confidence in the Congress than in the United Nations.

In fact, many trumped up and just plain stupid accusations, decrees, positions and opinions emerge from the great deliberative body in New York.

And though we have our disagreements and problems with the U.S. Congress, we can vote for the members of the House and Senate and our free press and legal system holds them accountable: just ask William Jefferson or Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who are both in the slammer for corruption while elected members of the U.S. Congress.

Rod Blagojevich is playing out his corruption cards on the state level.

But even these American rascals are preferable to some of the world’s “diplomats.”

The Ambassador to the U.N. from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iran, North Korea and a host of other nations has your American best interest at heart?  Really?  Hardly.

And who pays for the U.N. ?  You do.  As an American, you pay for more U.N. projects, reports, trips, vacations, boondoggles and corruption than any other group of citizens on earth.

If the U.S. agrees to even more U.N. say in the world — expect to pay even more.

Israel recently was taken to task by a UN body on the issue of human rights.

The Human Rights Council, in its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), raised concerns about Israel’s security wall, its detention of young Palestinians, and what they called ‘illegal’ Jewish settlements.

The most vocal members of the Human Rights group critical of Israel in the UN?  Syria, Egypt and Iran.

In November, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel said that Israel had made a final decision not to participate in a U.N. forum on racism and urged other countries to boycott what she termed an “anti-Israel tribunal.”

Israel and the United States walked out of the first conference in protest over draft texts branding Israel as a racist and apartheid state — language that was later dropped.

Then we have the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  — a UN group headed currently by its director-general, Egyptian-born Mohamed ElBaradei.

On the possibility of a nuclear weapon program in Iran, Mr. El Baradei said Iran had failed to “provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.”
.
Mr. ElBaradei also said that he cannot exclude the possibility that there are “military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” He’s complained – well, “complain” may be too harsh a characterization; he’s noted – that Iran has not been transparent to “the extent to which information contained in the relevant documentation is factually correct….”

 But the IAEA refuses to codemn Iran or come to any really concete conclusions on Iran’s nuclear progam.

Then we have widely reported abuses by the “peacekeepers” from the United Nations, usually in Africa.  The Blue Helmets of the UN have committed rape and other atrocities while on paid UN “peacekeeping” missions.  These horrible acts almost eliminate the good that UN peacekeepers so often do around the globe.

UN Peacekeepers or “Blue Helmets”

The leader at the United Nations just now is Ban Ki-moon from South Korea.  He is an admirable and gentle man who is easily run over by leaders who will promise him anything and deliver nothing.  This was his fate after the typhoon destroyed Myanmar: the junta promised to allow all aid and assisance into the country and as soon as the U.N. Secretary-General departed the deal was off.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has called on China to continue ... 
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.(AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

No; we find no special wisdom at the United Nations, and little fortitude, strength and honesty, despite a lot of good the international body can do.  In fact, we have great hope for the promise of a better UN.  But we do see now a lot of mumbo jumbo, doublespeak, gobledegook, corruption, lies and playing fast and loose with the facts and other people’s money at the UN.

And the UN’s own inability to end wrongdoing and corruption, which runs to its core, is also well documented.

So when 650 scientists recently disputed UN claims on global warming, Al Gore may have been shocked and appalled.  We at Peace and Freedom weren’t even tickled with the slightest bit of dismay.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore listens during a ceremony ... 
Al Gore  (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

In his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” Mr. Obama wrote, “When the world’s sole superpower willingly restrains its power and abides by internationally agreed-upon standards of conduct, it sends a message that these rules are worth following.”

Really? 
.

Our best wishes to Susan Rice, President-elect Obama’s choice to represent the United States at the UN.  But Susan Rice should know two things: she is going into a land of corruption even greater than that found in Illinois and the U.S. Congress.  And the real power players in the Obama Administration will be in Washington DC near the White House  and not in New York at the UN — if history is any guide.

But we don’t know if history is any guide for how the U.S. will interact with the U.N. for the next four years.  Because Mr. Obama and Ms. Rice haven’t exactly said, have they?

Related:
U.N.: Mexico Will Cut Emissions 10% By 2050 If U.S., Japan Pay

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Susan Rice listens ... 
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Susan Rice listens as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama announces his national security team during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)
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Susan Rice Starts Her Own Transition
Team at the State Department

From Fox News

President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations — Susan Rice — reportedly has plans to install her own transition team within the State Department.  

The first sign of cracks in President-elect Barack Obama’s foreign policy team of rivals emerged on Monday as his choices for secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations visited the State Department.

As Secretary of State-pick Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.N. envoy-choice Susan Rice separately visited the diplomatic agency’s headquarters in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood, persons familiar with the transition said that Rice wants to install her own transition team inside the department.

Such a move by an incoming U.N. ambassador is rare, if not unprecedented, because the job is based at the United Nations in New York, where Rice already has a small transition staff, the sources familiar with the incoming administration.

The push by Rice, an early Obama supporter whose position the President-elect wants to elevate to a cabinet post, is also a signal that she intends to use her influence with the new president to play a more significant role than previous U.N. envoys, they said. The transition sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Officials with Clinton’s transition team declined to comment on the matter, and aides to Rice could not immediately be reached. State Department officials declined to comment on issues related to the transition.

It was not clear if Clinton and Rice — who had strained relations during the Democratic primaries because of Rice’s steadfast backing of Obama — saw each other at the State Department as Clinton left the building shortly after Rice arrived.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/09
/sources-rice-install-transition-team-state-de
partment/

Bipartisan Report: Bush, Rumsfeld Responsible for Detainee Abuse

December 11, 2008

A bipartisan Senate report released today says that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials are directly responsible for abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and charges that decisions by those officials led to serious offenses against prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. 

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 11, 2008; 12:39 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the principal architects of the plan to use harsh interrogation techniques on captured fighters and terrorism suspects, rejecting the Bush administration’s contention that the policies originated lower down the command chain.

Carl Levin
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
spearheaded the report….

“The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own,” the panel concludes. “The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”

Donald Rumsfeld
Above: Mr. Rumsfeld.  Senators McCain and Levin
were never leaders in his fan club….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/11/AR2008121101969.html?hpid=topnews