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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 51,312

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Charles M. Blow: "The Scenario I Have Always Dreaded - Yale Police Stopped My Son At Gunpoint"

Saturday evening, I got a call that no parent wants to get. It was my son calling from college — he’s a third-year student at Yale. He had been accosted by a campus police officer, at gunpoint!


This is the scenario I have always dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a gun barrel, face down on the concrete. I had always dreaded the moment that we would share stories about encounters with the police in which our lives hung in the balance, intergenerational stories of joining the inglorious “club.”

When that moment came, I was exceedingly happy I had talked to him about how to conduct himself if a situation like this ever occurred. Yet I was brewing with sadness and anger that he had to use that advice.

I am reminded of what I have always known, but what some would choose to deny: that there is no way to work your way out — earn your way out — of this sort of crisis. In these moments, what you’ve done matters less than how you look.

the rest:

"Who Are We?" - New culture war about ethnic, racial identity emerges - by E.J. Dionne

House Republicans were able to pass without much difficulty a remarkably restrictive bill that would overturn Obama's executive actions on immigration. It was aimed not only at his measures to keep families together but also at a highly popular provision for the "Dreamers" brought to the United States as children.

This is the new culture war. It is about national identity rather than religion and "transcendent authority." It focuses on which groups the United States will formally admit to residence and citizenship. It asks the same question as the old culture war: "Who are we?" But the earlier query was primarily about how we define ourselves morally. The new question is about how we define ourselves ethnically, racially and linguistically. It is, in truth, one of the oldest questions in our history, going back to our earliest immigration battles of the 1840s and 1850s.




Mr. Pierce, in Esquire, on “King for A Day“:

… The event itself was a measure of how politics in the country have changed over the past 25 years. It was organized by Congressman Steve King, defender of conventional light-bulbs, flush toilets, and the southern border, and it was run by Citizens United, the brainchild of David Bossie who, in 1991, was nothing more than a low-rent ratf_cker chasing Bill Clinton’s penis all over Arkansas but who now is the overlord of a large and lucrative propaganda operation, an independent base of considerable power beyond the reach and influence of the Republican party, which is why Bossie could provide a platform for presidential wannabes on which they were free to rail against the “Republican establishment.”…


So far, the pandering to the xenophobes – Hi, Steve King! Thanks for having us over! – has been sanctified to a certain extent because it can be swathed in rhetoric about “the rule of law,” which immunizes the hardcore anti-immigrant Right by allowing it to say how much it loves legal immigrants who do things the right way. If Santorum can energize the debate by arguing that legal immigrants are taking jobs away from “American workers,” then that loophole closes, and the party finds itself with an internal debate over whether it wants to limit all immigration, legal and not. And then we’ve got a real show on our hands, and I shall despair even more profoundly about the rebranding.


"He died at age 54 of multiple organ failure, but in a deeper sense he died of inequality"

Where’s the Empathy?
JAN. 24, 2015
Nicholas Kristof

Kevin Green, left, and Nicholas Kristof in 1977. Credit Yamhill - Carlton Union High School

YAMHILL, Ore. — THE funeral for my high school buddy Kevin Green is Saturday, near this town where we both grew up.

The doctors say he died at age 54 of multiple organ failure, but in a deeper sense he died of inequality and a lack of good jobs.

Lots of Americans would have seen Kevin — obese with a huge gray beard, surviving on disability and food stamps — as a moocher. They would have been harshly judgmental: Why don’t you look after your health? Why did you father two kids outside of marriage?

That acerbic condescension reflects one of this country’s fundamental problems: an empathy gap. It reflects the delusion on the part of many affluent Americans that those like Kevin are lazy or living cushy lives. A poll released this month by the Pew Research Center found that wealthy Americans mostly agree that “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”

the rest (beautiful tribute to his friend):

Sarah Palin is now the rodeo clown sent out to get the crowd riled & make real cowboys look better.

Sarah Palin is now the rodeo clown sent out to get the crowd riled and make the real cowboys look better in comparison.

This is more unhinged and non-sensical than I remember.

Transcription of first half:

“Things must change for our government! It isn’t too big to fail, it’s too big to succeed! It’s too big to succeed, so we can afford no retreads or nothing will change, with the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo! Another Latin word, status quo, and it stands for, ‘Man, the middle class and everyday Americans are really gettin’ taken for a ride.’”


Feinstein tells Haaretz: PM speech 'inappropriate,' Iran sanctions 'dangerous' The growing backlash

Feinstein tells Haaretz: PM speech 'inappropriate,' Iran sanctions 'dangerous'
The growing backlash against Netanyahu's planned speech in Congress is diluting Democratic support for the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill.


The liberal Feinstein, who is not one of the 12 Democratic co-sponsors of the Kirk-Menendez bill, said in a statement to Haaretz: "Inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu without consulting the administration is clearly a breach of protocol and an unwelcome injection of partisan politics into our foreign policy. It puts the United States in the middle of Israel’s election, which is highly inappropriate.”

Feinstein added “I also believe imposing additional sanctions on Iran in the midst of negotiations — which is what Netanyahu will reportedly discuss — would collapse the negotiations and ruin a historic diplomatic opportunity. Imposing sanctions now is reckless and dangerous.”

The backlash against the Boehner-Netanyahu gambit reached fever pitch on Saturday, embraced by not only editorial and op-eds in liberal leaning news organizations such as the New York Times and Boston Globe, but even traditionally Netanyahu-adoring channels such Fox News. In a scathing attack on both Netanyahu and Boehner, Fox’s Chris Wallace described the move as “wicked,” “dicey politics” and “an egregious snub” of the American president, while anchorman Shepard Smith wondered “Do they think we’re morons over there?”

New York Times columnist David Brooks, who was criticized earlier this month for his laudatory column on Netanyahu entitled “The Age of Bibi,” said on PBS that Netanyahu’s invitation was “unwise” and “bad for Israel.” His liberal counterpart Mark Shields went much further: He described the Netanyahu speech as “irresponsible” and “sordid."

the rest:

Eighty People Control Half of the World's Wealth and All of the Elected Officials


Today, the bulk of the wealth is in the hands of just 80 people.

Interestingly, many of these policies have been promoted – and rejected – here in America.

Thirty-five of the 80 individuals controlling wealth hold American passports. Many of the names are familiar, such as Bill Gates, the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, George Soros, Warren Buffett, both Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. It is also no surprise that many of these names are often seen on the same donor lists of politicians across the nation, Congress and our recent presidents. The Oxfam report notes than nearly 12 percent of political contributions come from the list of 80 billionaires.

In the first few weeks of the 114th Congress, legislation was introduced to roll back regulations on Wall Street, as well as consumer protection laws that have been in place. While voters have repeatedly said they want improved education, universal healthcare and a real chance at the American dream, our elected officials seem to not hear the public’s demands. These same elected officials are dependent on the money from the wealthiest, but are also responsible for creating policies that would reverse the flow of that wealth towards a more equitable distribution.

What we have here is not a failure to communicate but a clear and dangerous conflict of interest.

The inability to invest in assets, such as houses, savings, or highly expensive art has left the majority of the world with little to show for their hard work. Global poverty has continued to rise and it’s only going to get worse. Oxfam has predicted that if we do nothing, the wealthiest one percent of the world will control the same amount of wealth as the other 99 percent do combined.

The estimated time of arrival for this global wealth distribution is next year.



Global wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small wealthy elite. These wealthy individuals have generated and sustained their vast riches through their interests and activities in a few important economic sectors, including finance and insurance and pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Companies from these sectors spend millions of dollars every year on lobbying to create a policy environment that protects and enhances their interests further. The most prolific lobbying activities in the US are on budget and tax issues; public resources that should be directed to benefit the whole population, rather than reflect the interests of powerful lobbyists.


"When Bootstraps Don't Work"

Fox says "Dude... he's our president, you don't talk to him like that." Only we get to do that!!

Chris Wallace:

I think he's 100% right. And to give you a sense, I happened to be at the White House on Wednesday, when Boehner announced that he had invited, and that Netanyahu accepted this, and a top White House official was flabbergasted, said that 'we got no advance warning about his, we found out about it' —'we', them at the White House—and Boehner announced it to the press. And to make you get a sense of really how, forgive me, wicked, this whole thing is, Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States for two hours on Tuesday, Ron Dermer. The ambassador never mentioned the fact that Netanyahu was in negotiations and finally agreed to come to Washington, not to see the president, but to go to Capitol Hill, speak to a joint session of congress and criticize the president's policy. I have to say I'm shocked...

Shepard Smith:

It was Secretary Kerry who had a pretty good comeback to Boehner's political stunt here... and I wonder what your thought is about this, if in the end Netanyahu won't back out of this. Because members of his own Mossad have come out and said this is a horrible idea, and so have members of his own political party. Of course, his political opponents are screaming up and down, the newspapers over there are going wild over this, it just seems like they think we don't pay attention and that we're just a bunch of complete morons, the United States citizens, as if we wouldn't pick up on what's happening here!


Well, here's something that's real interesting about this. You know, it's two weeks before the election, and supposedly, I mean, I think Martin Indyk has it right. Bibi Netanyahu is an extremely savvy and successful politician. He wouldn't come here unless he thought it was to his political advantage. But one of the big issues in Israel is always the relationship between Israel and the U.S. And even when they are fighting with each other, the Israelis want to know that the U.S has their back. For Netanyahu to do something that is going to be seen as such a deliberate and really pretty egregious snub of President Obama, when Obama is going to be in power for the next year an three-quarters, it seems to me a very risky political strategy...for Netanyahu to come here and side with Boehner against Obama on Iran seems to me to be very dicey politics.


You know, the last president, George Bush, used to say, "You must stop the expansion of the settlements." What did Israel do? They moved on with expanding the settlements. This president said, "You got to stop expanding the settlements!" and they just keep expanding the settlements. Leaving some in the White House to say, this is because Netanyahu doesn't really want a two-state solution, otherwise he'd work toward one. It's all very confusing, and highly complicated.


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