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kpete

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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 50,050

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Welcome to the next two years.

After a long day of voting, the Senate passed the CRomnibus late at night by a vote of 56 to 40.

32 members of the Democratic caucus and 24 Republicans supported it. 22 members of the Democratic caucus and 18 Republicans opposed it.

So who were the naughty 32?

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Angus King (I-ME)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
John Walsh (D-MT)
Mark Warner (D-VA)


Many of them were unsurprising, but I was particularly disappointed in Baldwin, Murphy, and Schatz, who are all freshmen with fairly progressive voting records so far.

And which 22 were nice?

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)


Of those 22, the nicest were Brown, Franken, Manchin, McCaskill, Sanders, and Warren, who also voted against cloture (i.e. allowing the bill to proceed). That vote was 77 to 19.

Every Democrat who lost re-election voted for it. They are probably angling for a future career in lobbying now.

To quote myself from the other day....

A Republican Senate aide told The Hill, "If liberal Democrats vote for this package it shows that conservatives can use must-pass legislation to repeal the regulatory state." Granted, many of these Democrats are not "liberals." But the vote nevertheless shows that Republicans will be able to roll back various parts of the regulatory state (financial, environmental, labor, etc.) over the next two years by shoving such provisions into "must-pass" bills that Obama will sign and lobby Democrats to pass.



http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/14/1351689/-Which-32-Senate-Democrats-Just-Sold-You-Out-to-Give-Wall-Street-a-CRomnibus-Christmas

How does $25.18 per hour sound?

:large
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/fast-food-strike-minimum-wage

Wait For It...

This cartoon is from 1876.

:large

TAIBBI: Democrats Aren't A Real Party-They're A Marketing Phenomenon

Dodd-Frank Budget Fight Proves Democrats Are a Bunch of Stuffed Suits


.......

Is killing the Citigroup provision really worth the trouble? Is it a "Hill to die on"? Maybe not in itself. But the key here is that a victory on the swaps issue will provide the Beltway hacks with a playbook for killing the rest of the few meaningful things in Dodd-Frank, probably beginning with the similar Volcker Rule, designed to prevent other types of gambling by federally-insured banks. Once they cave on the swaps issue, it won't be long before the whole bill vanishes, and we can go all the way back to our pre-2008 regulatory Nirvana.

If the Democrats actually stood for anything other than sounding as progressive as possible without offending their financial backers, then they would do what Republicans always do in these situations: force a shutdown to save their legislation. How many times did Republicans hold the budget hostage to rescue the Bush tax cuts?

But the Democrats won't do that here, because they're not a real party. They're a marketing phenomenon, a big chunk of oligarchical Blob cleverly sold to voters as the more reasonable and less nakedly corrupt wing of a two-headed political establishment.

So they'll punt on this issue in the name of "maturity" or "bipartisanship," Wall Street will get a nice win, and Hillary Clinton or whoever else is being set up as the Blob candidate on the Democratic side will receive an avalanche of Financial Services donations to stave off Warren (who will begin appearing in the press as an unhinged combination of Lev Trotsky and Spartacus). A neat little piece of business all around. I don't know whether to applaud or throw up.

....

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/dodd-frank-budget-fight-proves-democrats-are-a-bunch-of-stuffed-suits-20141213#ixzz3LoNo3bfV
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook


We Did This To Ourselves...

Nearly 1 in 4 Detainees Kidnapped and Tortured by CIA Did Nothing At All

The Senate Democratic staff members who wrote the 6,000-page report counted 119 prisoners who had been in C.I.A. custody. Of those, the report found that 26 were either described in the agency’s own documents as mistakenly detained, or released and given money, evidence of the same thing.

The C.I.A. told the Senate in its formal response that the real number of wrongful detentions was “far fewer” than 26 but did not offer a number. Human rights advocates who have tracked the C.I.A. program believe that considerably more than 26 were wrongfully detained.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/13/us/politics/amid-details-on-torture-data-on-26-held-in-error-.html?_r=1





Mohamed Bashmilah, left, in 2008. A Senate report acknowledges Mr. Bashmilah’s 19 months of detention as wrongful.

The CIA held Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in several different cells when he was incarcerated in its network of secret prisons known as “black sites.” But the small cells were all pretty similar, maybe 7 feet wide and 10 feet long. He was sometimes naked, and sometimes handcuffed for weeks at a time. In one cell his ankle was chained to a bolt in the floor. There was a small toilet. In another cell there was just a bucket. Video cameras recorded his every move. The lights always stayed on — there was no day or night. A speaker blasted him with continuous white noise, or rap music, 24 hours a day.

The guards wore black masks and black clothes. They would not utter a word as they extracted Bashmilah from his cell for interrogation — one of his few interactions with other human beings during his entire 19 months of imprisonment. Nobody told him where he was, or if he would ever be freed.


Bashmillah wasn't "freed." After the Americans brutalized him he was he was transferred at the U.S. request to Yemen, where he was "convicted" on a trumped up charge of forgery (the allegedly "forged" document was never produced). He was sentenced to nine additional months but released based on "time served." In the meantime, Bashmilah learned that his father had died during his imprisonment, never knowing whether his son was alive or what was being done to him.

As the Times article shows, Bashmilah's case is in no way unique. The incompetent and overzealous CIA would imprison the wrong people with the same last name, or, more often, based on "friendly" but notoriously unreliable intelligence agencies. One unfortunate man “was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the C.I.A. discovered he was not the person he was believed to be.”


And there were many more:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/13/us/politics/amid-details-on-torture-data-on-26-held-in-error-.html?_r=1

The U.S. Will Torture Again—and We’re All to Blame

Have we learned from our great moral failure? Don’t bet on it.

....................


If there is another terrorist attack on the U.S. mainland, the odds are strong that we will reenact this grim tragedy from start to finish, if a neoconservative regime happens to be ensconced in the White House.

As for the political class, I doubt I need to give you a very hard sell on its failure. It was thoroughgoing and bipartisan. The timorous Democrats, with a few noble exceptions like Robert Byrd, largely bought into the global war on terror. The Republicans, well, you know about them. The foreign-policy establishment of Washington and to some extent New York lined up behind the administration on nearly every important question. The urge among this class is always to swim with the tide: In 2003, when the Council on Foreign Relations was casting about for a new leader, it settled on Richard Haass, who had been in Bush’s State Department. He has said since that he was 60-40 against the war, but one would have been hard pressed to know that then, back when his boss, Colin Powell, was warning us about those weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist. On the torture question, this class was outraged when it was easy to be outraged, like when the Abu Ghraib story broke, but the outrage was never sustained.

Among the media, there were to be sure many brave journalists—Jane Mayer, Robin Wright, many others—who broke story after story about torture. We’re in their debt. But their great work was more than balanced out by the equivocation caucus—well, we can’t really be sure it’s torture. And then there was the segment of the media that actively cheered it all on. More broadly, the media as a whole were afraid to break ranks. I have had a number of conversations with prominent media people—in TV and radio, names you’d know—who, by way of trying to defend their lack of zeal and confrontation in those post-9/11 days, tried to explain how many furious emails they got when a report diverged modestly from the accepted line.

And the legal system? Again, there were some courageous judges who tried. A Virginia federal judge named Gerald Bruce Lee ruled in 2009 that four Abu Ghraib detainees could sue CACI, the private military contractor in Iraq. But overall the legal system has done little to say “this was against the law.” Much of the fault for that, of course, lies with Barack Obama, who chose early on not to seek prosecutions of Bush administration officials. And even now, in the wake of this report, what is your level of confidence that anyone will be prosecuted as a result of the release of this report? I thought so.

Failures top to bottom. Now, one would like to say that we as a society have learned the lessons of these failures and would not permit this to happen again. Don’t count on it. If there is another terrorist attack on the U.S. mainland, the odds are strong that we will reenact this grim tragedy from start to finish, if a neoconservative regime happens to be ensconced in the White House. The people would respond with the same fear, which would give license to the same behavior, and the political class and the media and the courts would probably go along.

So yes, it’s a moral horror that Cheney says he’d do it all again. But it’s also all too likely that a future Cheney could do it all again. That’s the far greater moral horror, and the one we don’t want to face, because it implicates us.




MORE:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/12/the-u-s-will-torture-again-and-we-re-all-to-blame.html

Mitt Says Jeb Would Be Toast

According to Politico, individuals close to Mitt Romney say he’s become open again to the idea of running for president in recent days. The reason, they say, is that he sees a weak GOP field. In particular, Romney reportedly thinks Jeb Bush would get wrecked by his business dealings with Lehman Brothers, Barclays, and private-equity firms. Romney has reportedly talked to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who pumped tens of millions into Newt Gingrich’s campaign against Romney in 2012. According to one executive who met with Romney, “He does not think much of the current field and does not think it is jelling. He still views himself as the leader of the establishment wing of the Republican Party. He does not feel he owes the Bushes anything and does not think Jeb is the de facto leader of the establishment GOP.”




http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/12/12/mitt-says-jeb-would-be-toast.html

Cheney's Argument Full Of Holes...

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