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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 43,490

Journal Archives

Jon Stewart is not enough: The curse of centrism & why Tea Party keeps rolling “Daily Show” Dems

SUNDAY, AUG 10, 2014 04:00 AM PDT
Jon Stewart is not enough: The curse of centrism, and why the Tea Party keeps rolling “Daily Show” Democrats
It's easy to take shots and laugh at the know-nothing right. But our smirks let complicit Democrats off the hook



..............What does it mean when being “on the left” is defined as being a fan of extremely partisan entertainment? What does it do to our larger political vision when we confine our political thinking to the crafting of hilarious put-downs of Tea Partiers and right-wing reality-doubters?

The answer is simple: We miss a substantial chunk of political reality ourselves.


Let me explain what I mean by reminding you of one of the most disturbing news stories to come across the wires in the last month. In a much-reported study, the Russell Sage Foundation discovered that median household wealth in this country fell by 36 percent in the 10-year period ending last year. Wealth for people at the top, as other news stories remind us, has continued to soar. These things are a consequence of the Great Recession, of course, but they are also a reminder of the grand narrative of our time: The lot of average Americans constantly seems to be growing worse. The Great Depression of the 1930s was awful, but it set America on the path toward a period of shared prosperity. Our bout of hard times has had the opposite effect. It has accelerated the unraveling of the middle class itself.

Now, you can blame the risible, Ayn Rand-reading Tea Party types for this if you like, and you can also blame the George W. Bush Administration. They both deserve it. But sooner or later you will also have to acknowledge that there are two parties in this country, not just one; that the Democrats held significant power during the period in question, including (for much of it) the presidency itself; and that even when they are not in the White House, these Democrats nevertheless retain the capacity to persuade and to organize. For a party of the left, dreadful news like this should be rocket fuel. For the Dems, however, it hasn’t been. Why is that? Well, for one thing, because a good number of those Democrats have not really objected to the economic policies that have worked these awful changes over the years. They may believe in the theory of evolution—hell, they may savor the same Jon Stewart jokes that you do —but a lot of them also believe in the conventional economic wisdom of the day. They don’t really care that union power has evaporated and that Wall Street got itself de-supervised and that oligopolies now dominate the economy. But they do care—ever so much!—about deficits and being fiscally responsible.

* * *

But somehow, given all this knowledge, the party of professionals and experts can’t figure out how to beat these guys once and for all and turn the economic narrative around. Instead, they gawk and laugh and fuel the right’s well-known persecution complex. And even though conservative economic ideas are the obvious culprits for what has happened to average Americans—even though conservatives have burned their bridges to the fastest-growing segments of the population—the right is still able to mount wave after wave of fake uprisings, successfully persuading a big part of the country that they are the only ones who will really do something to rein in what they like to call “crony capitalism.” For chrissake, the cover of today’s New York Times Magazine presents the market-minded Rand Paul as some kind of heir to the punk rock movement. It is crazy-making to acknowledge that, after all the disasters that these people have rained down on us, they might still control the House of Representatives, but they do—and they have a pretty good shot at winning control of the Senate this fall.


"If, as Obama so casually admits-'we tortured some folks'-then we have to prosecute some folks too"

..............."If, as President Obama so casually admits, 'we tortured some folks,' then we have to prosecute some folks, too." We can all come up with good excuses for why we haven't prosecuted anyone. But, we're still obligated to do it. I'm glad that the New York Times will no longer equivocate and prevaricate when it comes to calling torture "torture," but their unwillingness to take a stand was nothing compared to our government being unwilling to take a stand. Looking back, it didn't even buy President Obama any good will. At best, it prevented a war with the Intelligence Community that no sensible president would welcome. But being afraid, however sensibly, is not a legal excuse for allowing violations of the law to go unpunished.

The "landscape" may have "shifted" under the feet of the New York Times, but it will surely shift under the current administration once posterity goes to work. Future generations will not give a single shit why it might have made some sense not to prosecute people in the middle of one of biggest financial collapses in our country's history, nor will they care about Obama's rhetoric about bringing the country together rather than tearing it apart. All they will want to know is why we allowed people to torture folks and get away with it.


In February 2010, Scott Horton pointed out that the while legal action against members of the Bush torture team would be an extremely difficult task, in this case the prosecutors would have one major piece of evidence in their favor:

Section 2340A of the federal criminal code makes it an offense to torture or to conspire to torture. Violators are subject to jail terms or to death in appropriate cases, as where death results from the application of torture techniques. Prosecutors have argued that a criminal investigation into torture undertaken with the direction of the Bush White House would raise complex legal issues, and proof would be difficult. But what about cases in which an instigator openly and notoriously brags about his role in torture?

To be sure, Bush and Cheney proudly owned up to their roles in creating the regime of detainee torture they described as "enhanced interrogation techniques:"

"Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," the former president said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Press.
"I'd do it again to save lives," he added.

If that sounds familiar, it should. Back in February 2010, Dick Cheney bragged to ABC's Jonathan Karl, using almost the exact same terms:

I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques ....

In that same ABC interview, Cheney explained why he was daring Attorney General Eric Holder to either charge him or, through inaction, essentially bless a torture program conducted by the United States of America:

The reason I've been outspoken is because there were some things being said, especially after we left office, about prosecuting CIA personnel that had carried out our counterterrorism policy or disbarring lawyers in the Justice Department who had -- had helped us put those policies together, and I was deeply offended by that, and I thought it was important that some senior person in the administration stand up and defend those people who'd done what we asked them to do.

(It is worth noting that former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice came up with a defense worthy of Richard Nixon. As she explained to a group of her angry students at Stanford University, "The United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.")

As a horrified Horton responded in amazement:

What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it? Such cases cry out for prosecution. Dick Cheney wants to be prosecuted. And prosecutors should give him what he wants.


Apparently, Sarah Palin dropped acid and then decided to respond to Elizabeth Warren.

Palin and purgatory
by digby

If, by chance, you haven't yet ponied up the hundred bucks for your yearly subscription to Sarah Palin's new web channel, here's an example of what you're missing:

“We believe”? Wait, I thought fast food joints, hurh. Don’t you guys think that they’re like of the Devil or somethin’ I was... Liberals, you want to send those evil employees who would dare work at a fast food joint then ya just don’t believe in, thought you wanted to, I dunno, send them to Purgatory or somethin’ so they all go VEGAN and, uh, wages and picket lines I dunno they’re not often discussed in Purgatory, are they? I dunno why are you even worried about fast food wages because ...

via: http://crooksandliars.com/2014/08/mikes-blog-round-7

Ronald Reagan Murdered America's Entrepreneurial Spirit (More US Business Dying than Being Born)

With all the tech startups flooding the market, it would seem that America is more entrepreneurial than ever. But just the opposite is true. According to a pair of reports from The Brookings Institution, American entrepreneurship has been declining since the 1970s.

Brookings’ reports reveal that American business has become steadily less dynamic in the past three decades. Instead of creating new companies, would-be entrepreneurs are increasing going to work for established corporations. And the rate of corporate consolidation is only making the statistic worse.

Now, for the first time since Brookings began tracking the data, more businesses are dying than being born in America.


He's a Black man not going to Tasty Freeze...they gonna be mad either way.


Man has taken the least amount of vacations amongst the last 5 Presidents.

You got a Congress that simply does not work.

Every year they've come up with some shyt to try and phuck with his vacation.

Go on vacation, Mr. President.

Go on vacation.


Irish senator blasts Israel as ‘right-wing regime’ committing ‘criminal’ acts in epic rant

Norris said that over time, Israel has fundamentally shifted its social and political orientation.

“I am not anti-Israeli, I am not anti-Semitic. I supported the state of Israel. In the forty years I have known the state of Israel and sometimes had a home there I’ve seen it completely changed,” he said.

“It changed from a left-wing socially directed country, to an extreme right-wing regime, that is behaving in the most criminal fashion and defying the world. Using — unscrupulously using — the Holocaust to justify what they are doing and it is time that rag was torn away from them,” Norris continued.

He ended his speech by saying, “I am with human rights whether they are, Israeli, gay, women, black, whatever they are. I am not changing my position. I am not anti-Israel I am not anti-Semitic but I am pro human rights for every human.”


McConnell Campaign Nails Coffin: Kentuckians 'Too Dumb To Do Jobs Someone Overseas Does For Pennies'

@AlisonForKY A word to my friends back in Harlan Co today when @McConnellPress pays a visit. pic.twitter.com/FdVaRyvKYs
— BethsPersonalOpinion (@BethAnnDavidson)



FICO to discount medical debt from credit scores - New rules will improve credit scores

FICO to discount medical debt from credit scores
New rules will improve credit scores, help lenders better assess risk
August 8, 2014 9:14PM ET

A move by personal credit score provider FICO to leave out or discount medical debt from its scores will boost the credit ratings of many borrowers, while helping lenders to better assess risk.

Moreover, FICO won’t consider past overdue bills borrowers have already paid, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The new score will be available to lenders through U.S. credit reporting agencies starting this fall, FICO said.

Lenders have become extremely wary of any blemishes on borrowers’ credit scores, following the economy-crippling sub-prime mortgage crisis of the late 2000s, where banks wrote predatory adjustable rate mortgages for years to people who were not creditworthy. As the house of cards collapsed, their interest rates shot up to levels they couldn’t pay.

With FICO’s new rules, negotiated between lending groups and the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), that era of tight lending practices could be coming to an end — increasing the chances that borrowers will get their loan applications approved or pay lower interest rates.

the rest:

The War Photo No One Would Publish

When Kenneth Jarecke photographed an Iraqi man burned alive, he thought it would change the way Americans saw the Gulf War. But the media wouldn’t run the picture.

Torie Rose DeGhett
Photos by Kenneth Jarecke/Contact Press Images
AUGUST 8, 2014

The Iraqi soldier died attempting to pull himself up over the dashboard of his truck. The flames engulfed his vehicle and incinerated his body, turning him to dusty ash and blackened bone. In a photograph taken soon afterward, the soldier’s hand reaches out of the shattered windshield, which frames his face and chest. The colors and textures of his hand and shoulders look like those of the scorched and rusted metal around him. Fire has destroyed most of his features, leaving behind a skeletal face, fixed in a final rictus. He stares without eyes.

On February 28, 1991, Kenneth Jarecke stood in front of the charred man, parked amid the carbonized bodies of his fellow soldiers, and photographed him. At one point, before he died this dramatic mid-retreat death, the soldier had had a name. He’d fought in Saddam Hussein’s army and had a rank and an assignment and a unit. He might have been devoted to the dictator who sent him to occupy Kuwait and fight the Americans. Or he might have been an unlucky young man with no prospects, recruited off the streets of Baghdad.

Jarecke took the picture just before a ceasefire officially ended Operation Desert Storm—the U.S.-led military action that drove Saddam Hussein and his troops out of Kuwait, which they had annexed and occupied the previous August. The image and its anonymous subject might have come to symbolize the Gulf War. Instead, it went unpublished in the United States, not because of military obstruction but because of editorial choices.


By the time Operation Desert Storm began in mid-January 1991, Kenneth Jarecke had decided he no longer wanted to be a combat photographer—a profession, he says, that “dominates your life.” But after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Jarecke developed a low opinion of the photojournalism coming out of Desert Shield, the pre-war operation to build up troops and equipment in the Gulf. “It was one picture after another of a sunset with camels and a tank,” he says. War was approaching and Jarecke says he saw a clear need for a different kind of coverage. He felt he could fill that void.

I post this pic, because it is the truth: WAR IS HELL!!!!
more here:

Sooo, "history" is only three fucking years old?? No wonder our kids ain't lernin' stuff these daze.

Judge rules Ten Commandments monument must go


Senior U.S. District Judge James A. Parker said in his ruling in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that the monument amounts to government speech and has the "principal effect of endorsing religion."

Because of the context and history surrounding the granite monument, Parker said Bloomfield clearly violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. He gave a Sept. 10 deadline for its removal.


"Bloomfield Mayor Scott Eckstein said he was surprised the judge would rule against "a historical document."

"The 6-foot-tall monument was erected in July 2011 by a former city councilor."


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