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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Look, It Goes Beyond Party. PERIOD.

Nov 30th, 2011

The fight against S1867 does go beyond petty concerns of party, much less placating immediate fears; it is a question of existential proportions. Are we to become the enemy we behold in order to continue fighting our enemy?

Quote Of The Day

Nov 30th, 2011

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
-- Albert Einstein

Will Obama Veto S1867?

Nov 30th, 2011
by F. Grey Parker (still not detained... for the time being)

Will the President veto the NDAA now that the Levin/McCain provisions have withstood Sen. Mark Udall's challenge? This is the question. He should. Then again, there are lots of things he hasn't done that he should have.

There are also lots of things he hasn't done that he said he would have.

For as much time as I have spent pushing back against what I call the Other Obama Derangement Syndromethe nearly irrational liberal opposition, I am not exactly confident.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John Locke In Three Minutes

Nov 29th, 2011

A pretty astounding introduction to Locke's philosophies in about three minutes... with a solid dose of humor.

The 1% At The Pearly Gates

Nov 29th, 2011

That's the first thing we thought of when we saw this...
Image via The New Yorker

Newt Watch - Legacy Edition

Nov 29th, 2011

Lawrence Lessig writes:

"There is no candidate for president who has had more experience in changing Washington than Gingrich. Indeed, there may be no American since James Madison who has had more of an effect in making the institution of Congress what it is today.

For as far too few remember, more than any other living American, it is Newt Gingrich who gave us the current version of our hopelessly dysfunctional Congress — an institution which, according to a New York Times/CBS poll, now has the confidence of 9% of the American people. That monster is his baby, and no one should deny him his parental bragging rights."

We couldn't agree more. He deserves every bit of credit for this. We encourage you to read the whole piece.

Durbin On The NDAA

Nov 29th, 2011

Reluctant Hat Tip

Nov 29th, 2011

Napolitano is definitely on the right side of this one...

Addressing Levin and McCain's Apologists

Nov 29th, 2011

An ugly push is being made by those who would see our country pick and choose who is affected by the detention provisions in S1867. They point to this in particular:

From section 1032 which specifically addresses the impositions of 1031
(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

This is not a prohibition on citizen detention. Though it is not a "requirement," it is also not prohibited. It simply means that the detention of citizens and their classification is left to the Executive Branch.

It is worth examining this exchange from today's debate between Sen. Rand Paul (about whom I am proud for the very first time) and Sen. John McCain.

Sen. Paul: "My question would be under the provisions would it be possible that an American citizen then could be declared an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely."

Sen. McCain: "I think that as long as that individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat."


To represent this as some sort of protection against the arbitrary abuse of expanded war powers is dishonest.

Nevertheless, that argument is now making the rounds. It has no merit.

The Udall Amendment Fails, cont...

Nov 29th, 2011

A surprisingly large and, yes, bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators gave our most cherished traditions of justice a real beating today. The failure to pass the Udall Amendment to the NDAA marks a very dangerous moment in our history. Here is the roll call. Not one of the public servants who voted nay deserves to hold any office in this country ever again.

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Ayotte (R-NH), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Not Voting
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
Blunt (R-MO), Nay
Boozman (R-AR), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brown (R-MA), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Nay
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coats (R-IN), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Nay
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Franken (D-MN), Yea 
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Heller (R-NV), Nay
Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Nay
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Lee (R-UT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Manchin (D-WV), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea 
Moran (R-KS), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Not Voting
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Paul (R-KY), Yea
Portman (R-OH), Nay
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Toomey (R-PA), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea 

Timing Is Everything...

Nov 29th, 2011

Boy, is it ever. Just as Vice President Biden made his visit to Baghdad, Iraq today, the Mercer consulting group made the announcement that the city is, in fact, the worst on Earth in which to live.

And there are some conservatives who continue to say the Iraqis should be more grateful.

Breaking The Internet?

Nov 29th, 2011

An incredibly bad new bill might do just that. Push back HERE.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Newt Watch - He's Just Not Honest

Nov 29th, 2011

With the spectacular flame-out of the last, most recent, front-runner for the GOP nomination, Herman Cain, nearly complete, it does seem that Gingrich is getting what some are calling a "Cain bounce." The latest numbers from Public Policy Polling certainly bear this out.

The Udall Amendment Fails

Nov 29th, 2011
by F. Grey Parker

The vote on Sen. Mark Udall's (D-CO) amendment to stop the draconian Levin/McCain provisions in S 1867, the annual National Defense Appropriations Act, seemed to move almost in slow motion. With no on screen tally, those of us following at home had to keep track as best we could. It was a mercilessly tense process.

Watching so many American Senators, one by one, vote in favor of undermining our core founding principles was not something I ever thought I would live to see.

And yet, there it was.

That the right to a public hearing, trial by jury and the right to confront one's accusers is even subject to debate illustrates just how close our nation has come to destroying itself in the name of "defense."

In the end, the Udall amendment failed. On a 61 to 37 vote, more of the fabric of our freedom was torn apart.

It is time to contact the White House - 202 4561414 - and demand that President Obama veto this atrocity.

As Commander and Chief, he has the power to keep military pay flowing and continue to fund ongoing operations. He is now all that stands between these fear-mongers and the Constitution.

It's Not A Left/Right Issue

Nov 29th, 2011

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is deeply alarmed by the Levin/McCain provisions of S1867

"Battlefield America"

Nov 29th, 2011

Democracy Now examines the nightmarish betrayal of American principles in SB1867

Taibbi Explains The Citibank Decision

Nov 29th, 2011

Hannity: UC Davis Pepper Spray A-Okay

Nov 29th, 2011

Allow us to register our total lack of surprise...

The NLG Fights For Occupy

Nov 29th, 2011

3 Hours Of Free Speech

Nov 29th, 2011

Apparently, if you are carrying a sign, that's it in Texas. The other 21 hours belong to the state.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 29th, 2011

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Monday, November 28, 2011

If We Ran The World...

Nov 28th, 2011

This classic clip from The Kentucky Fried Movie somehow seems more relevant today. Admit it... wouldn't you like to see someone respond, just once, in this manner to one of the Fox News drones?

We Are Speechless

Nov 28th, 2011
...

Senators Levin and McCain Channel Orwell

Nov 28th, 2011
by F. Grey Parker 

Hey, kids! This could soon be YOU!
Having spent the greater part of yesterday and today pointing out the fact that the McCain/Levin provisions in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, SB 1867, are among the most serious attacks on due process, trial by jury, habeas corpus and a free society in living memory, it was with more than a degree of revulsion that I read their joint op-ed in the Washington Post a short time ago.

In the land of Levin/McCain, up is down, white is black and, yes, freedom is slavery:
"We are concerned that much of the debate over these provisions demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of what this bill would do and attributes to it many things that it would not do."
Apparently, if we think something might be amiss, we are guilty of "misunderstanding."

Would you like to know what the Levin/McCain provision would and would not do? Here goes. If enacted, sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA would...

Fact: Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States.

Fact: Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself

Fact: Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.
(sourced)

No, no, no, they say. We have it all wrong.
"The most controversial point involves the circumstances under which a terrorist detainee should be held in military, rather than civilian, custody. The bill provides that a narrowly defined group of people — al-Qaeda terrorists who participate in planning or conducting attacks against us — be held in military custody."
Ooooh. Well. That's different. Those subject to these provisions are "narrowly defined." They are "al-Qaeda." According to whom?
"It is the executive branch that determines whether a detainee meets the criteria for military custody, under procedures that this legislation allows the executive branch to develop."
Got it? That's the "criteria." It's the "executive" who decides. That's it. The "executive," whomever that may be, gets to establish the whole structure for a system of vast new powers with a single pen stroke. The Roman Caesars didn't have it this easy this fast. At least the ancient Roman Senate took substantially longer in times of far greater upheaval to give nearly God-like powers to their despots.

Senators Levin and McCain are clearly a little nervous. They seem to have, over the weekend, become aware that, despite the provisons having been agreed upon in secret committee, educated and activist Americans have actually read them. Their response? Blackmail:
"Congress has passed a defense authorization bill every year for five decades. This year’s bill includes pay raises for our troops, funding for equipment to protect them from roadside bombs, and medical care and other benefits for them and their families. It would be extremely unfortunate if disagreements over these detainee provisions prevented us from passing this bill and fulfilling those duties. But it would be tragic if this happened because of misunderstandings about what the bill says and does."
Therefore, if we have reservations about a bill that would provide for the creation of a Gulag culture in America, and in expressing said reservations might hold up the bill, we are being 'anti-troop.'

Of course, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel... and the fascist.

With all due respect, this is evil. This must be stopped. If it is not, it is a nail in the coffin of our country.

Worth 1,000 Words

Nov 28th, 2011

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

Nov 28th, 2011

"Blogging is a lot like teaching the same class year after year; you’re always encountering the same arguments you’ve refuted in the past, and you want to demand why they weren’t listening the last time."

-- Paul Krugman on the tedious task of pushing back against constantly replenishing lack of informity

Embracing Fear

Nov 28th, 2011

Well, if this keeps up, it just might serve to reduce those troublingly large class sizes. AP reports:

"More parents are opting out of school shots for their kids. In eight states now, more than 1 in 20 public school kindergartners aren't getting all the vaccines required for attendance, an Associated Press analysis found.

That growing trend among parents seeking vaccine exemptions has health officials worried about outbreaks of diseases that once were all but stamped out.

The AP analysis found more than half of states have seen at least a slight rise in the rate of exemptions over the past five years. States with the highest exemption rates are in the West and Upper Midwest.

It's "really gotten much worse," said Mary Selecky, secretary of health for Washington state, where 6 percent of public school parents have opted out."


For all of the hard work being done to reduce baseless paranoia, examples HERE and HERE, more parents are opting to risk their children's health out of fear... for their children's health.

The Steady Erosion Of Rights

Nov 28th, 2011
Information on how to act is at the bottom of the post
The U.S. Senate is poised to vote today on S. 1867, the annual National Defense Authorization Act. This year's bill is very different. It is a threat to our fundamental way of life. This is not hyperbole.

There are two provisions contained in the legislation, drafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), which would allow the current and all future Presidents to declare a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil an enemy combatant. Any one of us, for any reason, could be arrested, detained and held indefinitely without charge or trial by our own military.

It is an existential moment for our country. We are now faced with the question of whether or not we are still America. It has been long coming. Many of us have argued since the initial passage of the Patriot Act and the launch of our now more than a decade old state of Permawar that the steady betrayal of our founding principles would eventually lead to just this sort of casual dismissal of the most basic guarantees provided by the Constitution.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 28th, 2011

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some Actual Good News

Nov 27th, 2011

No mention of war, financial collapse, civil unrest or violent shoppers; just ladybugs.

"After 29 years, the nine-spotted ladybug — Coccinella novemnotata, the state insect of New Yorkhas been sighted. Peter Priolo, a volunteer participant with the Lost Ladybug Project, found the long-unseen ladybug on July 30 in a patch of sunflowers at the Quail Hill Organic Farm that is part of the 10,000 acre Peconic Land Trust in Amagansett on Long Island.

“I didn’t realize it was a nine-spotted when I found it,” Mr. Priolo said. He was on his way to do an end-of-the-day ladybug tally, so, he said, “I put it in my jar and hurried back to meet with everybody.”

Good thing he did: Back in 2006, the New York State Assembly, on realizing it had been so many years since the nine-spotted ladybug had been seen in New York state, attempted to name another species of ladybug as the state insect. Fortunately, that bill never went to the New York Senate and eventually “fell victim to legislative inaction.”

Cornell University entomologist John Losey runs the Lost Ladybug Project and has confirmed Priolo’s finding. Indeed, 20 more ladybugs have since been found on Quail Hill Organic Farm and Losey was able to collect enough ladybugs at the Amagansett site to establish a colony which is now thriving in his lab."

Greenwald Snarks

Nov 27th, 2011

But, he's not exactly wrong:

"Those unreasonable, inscrutable Pakistanis are angry just because the U.S. entered their country by air and killed 30 of their soldiers today. As a result, they have demanded that the U.S. vacate its drone base on their soil. What an outrageous over-reaction: I’m sure the U.S. would be extremely understanding if a foreign nation came and killed 30 U.S. soldiers on American soil from the air."

Time Magazine's Cover Choices

Nov 27th, 2011

It would appear that the editors of Time magazine don't think the American market should have the same cover that every other part of the world receives. One has to wonder what they were thinking?

The Cracks Widen

Nov 27th, 2011

If you haven't yet read David Frum's blistering critique of the modern GOP in NYMag yet, you really need to:

"This past summer, the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed. In the face of evidence of dwindling upward mobility and long-stagnating middle-class wages, my party’s economic ideas sometimes seem to have shrunk to just one: more tax cuts for the very highest earners. When I entered Republican politics, during an earlier period of malaise, in the late seventies and early eighties, the movement got most of the big questions—crime, inflation, the Cold War—right. This time, the party is getting the big questions disastrously wrong."

Sure, Frum was booted from the club some time ago for failing to pass its tests in ideological purity. But, he is far from alone. In the last few years, David Stockman, Bruce Bartlett, Andrew Sullivan, Edward Luttwak, John Dean, Mark Zandi, Kenneth Duberstein and hundreds of other thinkers who once comprised the brain trust of American conservatism have been made to feel unwelcome for refusing to propagandize. While I certainly don't agree with Frum's declaration that conservatives got 'the big questions... right' decades ago, I will agree that they offered rational proposals and didn't try to collapse the deliberative power of the Senate.

In part, Frum's piece is a form of psychoanalysis:

"... conscious cynicism is much rarer than you might suppose. Few of us have the self-knowledge and emotional discipline to say one thing while meaning another. If we say something often enough, we come to believe it. We don’t usually delude others until after we have first deluded ourselves. Some of the smartest and most sophisticated people I know—canny investors, erudite authors—sincerely and passionately believe that President Barack Obama has gone far beyond conventional American liberalism and is willfully and relentlessly driving the United States down the road to socialism. No counterevidence will dissuade them from this belief: not record-high corporate profits, not almost 500,000 job losses in the public sector, not the lowest tax rates since the Truman administration. It is not easy to fit this belief alongside the equally strongly held belief that the president is a pitiful, bumbling amateur, dazed and overwhelmed by a job too big for him—and yet that is done too."

The cognitive dissonance Frum describes now extends to even the simplest of arguments; There are no jobs because of Obama can be followed, after a single breath, with declarations that the unemployed are lazy.

There are ways out using traditional conservative ideas, but, as Frum laments, the GOP is simply disinterested.

"Rather than workable solutions, my party is offering low taxes for the currently rich and high spending for the currently old, to be followed by who-knows-what and who-the-hell-cares. This isn’t conservatism; it’s a going-out-of-business sale for the baby-boom generation."

And that, as they say, is that.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 27th, 2011

"Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt."
-- Exodus 23:6-9

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Newt Watch - International Trade Edition

Nov 26th, 2011

Image via
First of all, for the record, the fact that I am even compelled to comment on the possibility of a Newt Gingrich Presidency is proof that the Republican Party is tripping on some very serious, fucking acid.

I mean it.

Tin Foil Hats?

Nov 26th, 2011

Image via
Wired Magazine has 9 Reasons why we should all go ahead and wear 'em.

Quite A Transformation

Nov 26th, 2011

And I thought Spam sucked out of the can.

Image via MoJo
A few months ago, Ted Genoways profiled the hellish conditions of Hormel employees for Mother Jones.

It is an astounding piece which traces Hormel's evolution over the last eighty years from one of the most labor friendly industrial-food operations to one of the most dangerous and even legally questionable.

During the transformative 1970s, the company began a rapid journey towards greater exploitation of illegal labor and wage-slashing.

Quote Of The Day - GOP Debates Edition

Nov 26th, 2011

"It is an ‘Animal House.’ It’s a food fight... Honestly, the Republican debates have become a reality show. 

People have to be perceived as being capable of governing this country, of being the leader of the free world."


-- Kenneth Duberstein, a chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan, reflecting on the GOP contenders' dumbfounding debate performances and their apparent embrace of a new anti-intellectualism.

Who Owns Your DNA?

Nov 26th, 2011

You might be surprised.

Brad Jacobson interviews Harriet Washington, author of the recently released Deadly Monopolies, about the four decade transformation of gene patenting law in the U.S. and its implications for the future. Washington states:
"We're vulnerable because if we undergo surgery in certain hospitals, such as the Harvard University hospitals or Duke and a number of others, we are given a consent form to sign, which will give a private corporation, in many cases Ardais [Corp.], the rights to any tissues or cells taken from our body, often described in the consent form as "discarded and worthless." But they're not worthless or the corporation wouldn't have bought them."
The cells and tissue she is referring to are increasingly being used to create millions, in some case billions, of dollars worth of research and medical materials. For lack of a better phrase, we are being farmed.
"Also, in many cities in this country -- in fact, in more than half the states -- have something called medical examiners laws, or presumed consent law. These laws dictate that a medical examiner or coroner in these cities, when someone dies, can take any tissues from your body that could have some medical value. Then they're transferred to a broker or two, who then eventually transfers them to surgeons or hospitals. At each step, there is a hefty fee paid. And then the institution pays a fee. So although it's against the law technically to sell an organ or sell these tissues, from my point of view they are actually being sold."
More and more, we are being regarded by some sectors of the for-profit scientific community as just so much raw material. Sleep tight.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 26th, 2011

Image via
"At a time when unbridled greed, malignant aggression, and existence of weapons of mass destruction threatens the survival of humanity, we should seriously consider any avenue that offers some hope."
-- Stanislav Grof

Occupy WalMart

Nov 26th, 2011

Welcome to Black Friday, 2011. There were tents. There was pepper spray. There were shootings. What was absent was a coordinated media effort to depict this behavior as broadly emblematic of all those who participated or any offers from powerful lobbyists to help them do so. The response from the powers that be is clear; the challenges presented by citizens assembling to redress grievances are too dangerous and will not be tolerated. A little peripheral violence and chaos associated with shopping, however, is what real America is all about.

And... there off...


Friday, November 25, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Nov 25th, 2011

"It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Nov 24th, 2011

This is for all of those who have cooked for others today...

Quote Of The Day

Nov 24th, 2011

Image via
"Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves."
-- Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment - Thanksgiving Edition

Nov 23rd, 2011

When turkeys attack...


Worth 1,000 Words

Nov 23rd, 2011

The latest New Yorker cover

Quote Of The Day

Nov 23rd, 2011

"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."
-- Aristotle

Obstructionist policies

Nov 23rd, 2011
by Nicole Zimmerer

"Voters kept telling reporters and polltakers that their fundamental concerns - about economic growth and job security, health care and their children's education - were not being addressed by politicians... All these things are true. But both despite and because of them, there are grounds for hope for the future of American politics. Popular anger at politics is, in fact, a thoroughly healthy sign, an indication that our democracy is going through one of its periodic phases of self-correction. … politics dominated by false choices and phony issues is something very much worth being angry about. That anger is beginning to have an impact." EMPHASIS ADDED
-- E.J. Dionne, Jr from 1992's Why Americans Hate Politics

Perennial concerns. The only difference between political parties is how they address these concerns. While "compassionate" conservatives call for privatization and deregulation, they do so while at an economic and social advantage over those whose lives will be devastated by such policies. They tend to take the side of faceless corporate entities, and as history has proven, these entities do not have human concerns, they merely care about the bottom line. Im not claiming that the liberal left has perfect policies, but they are slightly more grounded in reality and take more into account than simply numbers on a piece of paper. They tend to take the human variable into account.

Image via Addicting Info
Take US Crane, LLC, for example. Addicting Info reports that owner Bill Looman has added a commentary to his company vehicles in the form of a sign that states: NEW COMPANY POLICY: WE ARE NOT HIRING UNTIL OBAMA IS GONE.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Nov 22nd, 2011

"Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears."
-- Louis D. Brandeis

Monday, November 21, 2011

The More Things Change...

Nov 21st, 2011

... the more they stay the same.

A Glorious New Era In War Profiteering

Nov 21st, 2011

The fix is in. It's a really big fix.

In the last few years, record numbers of rank and file U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan have been "indicted and convicted" for acts of graft and official corruption in those countries. However, we no longer even have a congressional commission to investigate as much as $60 billion in fraud by private "contractors."

RT reports...


We are also still spending $20 billion a year to air condition those war zones.

Oh well. As the report above states, the now moth-balled commission, whose duty it was to investigate such rampant abuse, has only sealed their finding for the next 20 years. In 2031? We can totally go after these guys!

International Consequences

Nov 21st, 2011

The first signs of real and lasting damage abroad as a result of recent police violence against the Occupy Movement here at home are now being seen.

Via ThinkProgress:

"As a part of renewed crackdowns on nonviolent activists in Egypt, the military-run government injured hundreds and killed several people over the weekend.Renowned Arab journalist Sultan Al Qassemi points out on a Twitter that an Egyptian television anchor on state television justified the crackdown by pointing to the crackdowns against Occupy Wall Street in the United States and similar crackdowns in Germany."

Much the way our own servicemen and women are now more likely to be subject to Geneva Convention violations in the wake of the last administration's use of torture, there are broad and lasting consequences here. The U.S. does, after all, still lead the world in many ways. It is time to ask more loudly, "where the Hell is it leading it?"

The Drunk In Liberty Square

Nov 21st, 2011

As shaky as this video is, it would seem to be everything that conservative spin-doctors have been looking to hype in their ongoing war on the Occupy Movement. It has a drunk, screaming obscenities at opponents and acting in a threatening manner in Liberty Square. At the very beginning of the clip, he smashes a bottle of booze on the pavement. Haven't seen it? The reason is simple; he is an opponent of the Occupation.

The Looming Wisconsin Recall Election

Nov 21st, 2011
You can follow the recall drive and get involved HERE

Image via
The recall petition drive to oust Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker collected over 100,000 signatures in its first four days. They need to reach roughly seven times that number in the next two months.

John Nichols observes that the Governor's desperation and that of his monied-backers is already getting ugly:

"The governor and his allies have not missed any openings to try to block the recall. The Koch brothers are already paying for pro-Walker television ads put together by their Americans for Prosperity group, and the governor’s campaign is spending heavily on its own ads—$300,000 since last Monday. (There are estimates that spending on Walker’s behalf will exceed $50 million.) Republican legislators have moved to give the governor veto power over election rules. And the Republican Party of Wisconsin has organized a campaign to intimidate recall petitioners with a website that urges party minions to "monitor" and challenge nurses, teachers and small-business owners who seek signatures. In some cases, Walker backers have grabbed petitions and ripped them up.

But there was no evidence Saturday or Sunday that any of the governor’s attempt’s to protect his political career were working."


A few days earlier, Nichols reminded readers "...Walker was not always opposed to recall elections, and he did not always want to control and constrain them. Walker was elected Milwaukee County Executive in a 2002 recall election. In 2010, when he was running for governor, he hailed the process as democracy in action." EMPHASES OURS

"You know the folks that were angry about this started a recall and they were told they needed to collect 73,000 signatures in sixty days," said Walker. "Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing. They stood up and took their government back."

Indeed, they did. In much the same manner they would like to now.

Condi Is Getting Nervous

Nov 21st, 2011

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is expressing some alarm at the utter lack of foreign policy savvy being shown by the GOP hopefuls.

Rand Paul Defends The 1%

Nov 21st, 2011

Yup. Via the Huffington Post:

"Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the richest 1 percent of Americans are taxed fairly.

"We hear that over and over again, 'The rich are not paying their fair share,'" Paul said in response to a question from ABC's Christiane Amanpour about whether Congress should raise taxes on the rich to reduce the deficit.

"The top 1 percent, the millionaires in our country, pay on average 29 percent of their income," Paul said. "That's what they pay on average. If the average carpenter who makes $50,000 to $75,000 a year pays between 15 and 18 percent. The top 50 percent of wage earners pay 96 percent of the income tax. The rich and the middle class are paying their fair share."


Of course, a growing majority of Americans completely disagree with Rand's assessment. What's more, this includes a majority of GOP voters

What to do? What to do? Represent the will of the people? Or, serve your masters, Mr. Senator? 

Quote Of The Day

Nov 21st, 2011

Image via
"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression."
-- W. E. B. Du Bois

Worth 1,000 Words

Nov 21st, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Nov 20th, 2011

"Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, So as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights."

-- Isaiah 10:01

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Little Liberal Catharsis

Nov 19th, 2011

Hello liberal friends and, well, everyone from Sullivan to Frum to Bartlett, etc... Feeling down? The insane machinations of a mouthbreathing American Republican Party have you in fits? Well, here's your moment to bask in a little cathartic it-could-be-worse-type-stuff. The European Union, that forward thinking body, has struck a blow against corporate speech... there's just one hitch...

Actual headline from a real place in the "civilized West"


Via The Telegraph:

"EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: "This is stupidity writ large.

"The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

"If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it."

We shit you not. Water, as officially designated by the EU, does not, repeat, does not prevent dehydration. Sleep tight.

Next on their docket? Gravity, the pernicious rumor that things "fall."

Projecting Dissent

Nov 19th, 2011

Wow

"Wanking Bankers"

Nov 19th, 2011

An Irishman who tells it like it is regarding the real villains on Wall Street. He is right... they are "fuck-shytes."

Worth 1,000 Words

Nov 19th, 2011

Keith Takes On Bloomberg

Nov 19th, 2011

If you missed Keith Olbermann's analysis of NY Mayor Bloomberg's action against Occupy Wall Street, here it is.

The Bridge Never Looked Better

Nov 19th, 2011
CORRECTION: this piece originally misidentified the banner as having been placed on the Lasalle St Bridge

A banner unfurled across the Wells St. Bridge in Chicago during Thursday's national day of action with the Occupation.

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

Nov 19th, 2011

"You know what can FDR kicked down the road for political reasons, to be dealt with after an election? A little something called WORLD WAR II."

-- Jonathan Bernstein responding some particularly smug meme-repetitions in a recent piece from the NY Times' newest, nattering nincompoop Drew Westen

Quote Of The Day

Nov 19th, 2011
Some things haven't changed
"It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear."
-- Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Lobbyists Vs The Occupation

Nov 19th, 2011

A lobbying group that has a very cozy relationship with Speaker Boehner is preparing to launch a "hit job."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Nov 18th, 2011

"All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."
-- John Adams

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Worth 1,000 Words

Nov 17th, 2011

Today in Chicago,  the Occupation, along with Jobs Not Cuts, prepared to take the LaSalle St Bridge... they did...

Chicago Solidarity Action

Nov 17th, 2011
By F. Grey Parker and Nicole Zimmerer 5:30pm CST 

In spite of numerous arrests, the Chicago Occupation's solidarity action today continues with no reports of violence. The majority of police and fire officials with whom our correspondent has spoken are openly sympathetic to the cause. Though none will go on record, a few have said that their only complaint is a retooling of their overtime.

Below, civil disobedients with the Jobs Not Cuts team prepare to be loaded onto an off duty school bus following detention by authorities.



The Whole World IS Watching...

Nov 17th, 2011
Contact NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly HERE

A dazed and bloodied protester seen being taken into custody in Liberty Square today...

Quote Of The Day

Nov 17th, 2011

"It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause."
-- H. L. Mencken

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment

Nov 16th, 2011

Cat mosh pit...

Quote Of The Day

Nov 16th, 2011
"All oppression creates a state of war."
-- Simone de Beauvoir

Fair And Balanced My Ass, cont...

Nov 16th, 2011

Note the chyron from Fox News' "straight coverage" of the clearing of Liberty Square via Media Matters

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Nov 15th, 2011

"If repression has indeed been the fundamental link between power, knowledge, and sexuality since the classical age, it stands to reason that we will not be able to free ourselves from it except at a considerable cost."
-- Michel Foucault

It's Just An Idea

Nov 15th, 2011
Please call NY city hall at 212-788-3058 and contact NYPD Superintendent Ray Kelly HERE


I have an idea.

It's not terribly original, but I really like it.

Of course, I am prone to childish flights of fancy.

Sorry.

Well, It Would Appear...

Nov 15th, 2011

... that "Shit is fucked up and bullshit" after all.

The siege of peaceful protesters in Liberty Square by highly militarized officers in riot gear with battlefield sound weapons is underway. It began at roughly 1am EDT.

It is a sad day for America.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things We Post For No Particular Reason

Nov 14th, 2011

I've never been a fan of Keith Urban. As for John Mayer, aside from a handful of songs I genuinely like, he's not exactly at the top of my playlist. Together, however, they are really quite phenomenal. Here's proof. A different link with video of the actual performance can be found HERE.

Cain Watch - "Manly Man" Pizza? Seriously?

Nov 14th, 2011

Okay. That's it. Barring some wildly more insane display than we have already had to endure (I know, maybe it could happen), we are ending our running series on the artist formerly known as Herman Cain with this one:

"The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is. Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza."

Enough. No more Cain Watch. Unless and until he starts singing the Star Spangled Banner naked, in public while rubbing anchovies all over himself? We... Are... DONE.

There Aren't Different Versions Of The Truth, cont...

Nov 14th, 2011

As it turns out, the Koch Brothers are being forced to face the fact that some things just aren't for sale. Not even at any price. One of those things is empirical truth.

Via Raw Story:

"A prominent climate change skeptic told Congress on Monday he no longer doubts that global warming is real and caused by humans, and joined other scientists in urging action to stop it.

Physicist Richard Muller, director of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, whose two-year research was funded in part by a foundation formed by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, said he could find no bias in other studies.

"We confirm that over the last 50 years, temperature has risen 0.9 degrees Celsius, or 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the same number that the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says."

Muller told the House Committee on Natural Resources that while he remains cautious about the extent to which humans have played a role, he now hopes other climate skeptics will come on board with his findings."

Muller, long thought of by climate change deniers as one of their own, simply couldn't deliver manufactured science. Funny how genuine science works that way, ain't it?

Mayor Quan Loses An Ally

Nov 14th, 2011

The mayor of Oakland has tried to mitigate her responsibility for the horrific police riot against that city's occupation by reminding voters of her activist background. Not good enough.

Via SFGate:

"Mayor Jean Quan's chief legal adviser resigned early this morning after what he called a "tragically unnecessary" police raid of the Occupy Oakland camp.

Dan Siegel, a civil rights attorney and one of Oakland's most active and vocal police critics, said the city should have done more to work with campers before sending in police.

"The city sent police to evict this camp, arrest people and potentially hurt them," Siegel said. "Obviously, we're not on the same page. It's an amazing show of force to move tents from a public place."

Siegel strongly and vocally opposed any plan by the city to take down the month-old camp in the days leading up the police raid."


I suspect this not the last defection Mayor Quan will have to endure. Here is a reminder of what she authorized.

Cain Watch - Why? Why Is He Doing This? cont...

Nov 14th, 2011

Wow. Jeff Spross adds this withering look at Cain's bumbling in light of today's "Libya moment."

Cain Watch - Why? Why Is He Doing This?

Nov 14th, 2011

I think it's a legitimate question; Why, for goodness sake's, is Herman Cain still running? This train-wreck goes beyond a "performance art" candidacy. Today's display of raw ignorance on the subject of Libya should make every foreign policy attuned conservative run from him, but quick.

By Alex Seitz-Wald and Jeff Spross observe:

"Unlike Rick Perry’s infamous "oops" moment, Cain doesn’t appear to have a momentary brain lapse, but seems to be genuinely befuddled by the substance of the question. Last month, Cain said he had studied up on foreign policy and "challenge[d] anybody who says I wouldn’t know how to address foreign policy."

While becoming the next commander in chief is looking increasingly unlikely for Cain, he has a backup plan. This weekend, he said he would like to be secretary of defense so he could "kick the you-know-what out of everyone in the world."


Worth 1,000 Words

Nov 14th, 2011

Yup...

Bill Moyers On The Occupation

Nov 14th, 2011

I might be more sympathetic to Moyer's position were it less likely that the Occupation would be co-opted under such a scenario. This is what happened to the original, grassroots Tea Party movement. Complicated times lie ahead.

"I don't think Occupy Wall Street will have the influence they want unless they do what the tea party did and take over the nominating process. Unless they do, they will never have the satisfaction that they want and that the civil rights movement, say, had back in the 1950s and '60s. These people are not going to have long-ranging effect unless they have a party to act on their interests. They need to become a political movement instead of a grievance committee."

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke...

Nov 14th, 2011

Cletis suggested we post this with a dedication to Judge Richard J. Leon, apparent darling of tobacco's corporate death merchants.