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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 46,811

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What digby said.
And here's Ezra.

The Village and the Democratic leadership really is embarked on a radical restructuring campaign, to gut the social insurance programs, lower wage rates and establish long-term partnerships between powerful private interests and powerful public sector agencies.

Doing this is really unpopular, and so can't be brought directly to a vote--hence the Gangs, and the Commissions, the classified trade talks, and the terrifying debt crises and, sadly, the 60 vote Senate. None of this has worked so far.

But that doesn't mean they won't keep trying.

by Jay Ackroyd (@jayackroyd) at 08:06


Court to Decide if Lawyers Can Block Gays From Juries (July 29, 2013)

Source: New York TImes

Court to Decide if Lawyers Can Block Gays From Juries
Published: July 29, 2013

WASHINGTON — Last month’s Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage were major gay rights victories. But countless questions about the legal rights of gay men and lesbians remain.

Here’s one: May gays be excluded from juries on account of their sexual orientation? The federal appeals court in California will soon decide the issue, which turns out to be surprisingly knotty.

It arose at the 2011 trial of an antitrust fight between two giant drug companies. After a potential juror appeared to reveal that he was gay, a lawyer for Abbott Laboratories used a peremptory strike — one that does not require a reason — to eliminate him from the jury pool.

An opposing lawyer objected, saying the juror “is or appears to be, could be, homosexual.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/30/us/court-weighs-exclusion-of-jurors-because-theyre-gay.html?hp

USA!-Tops in cost of having baby, obesity, anxiety, guns, incarcerations, health care costs, cocaine

USA! We’re tops in: cost of having a baby, obesity, anxiety, gun ownership, incarcerations, energy consumption, health care cost, cocaine.

8 appalling ways America leads the world
Welcome to the new American exceptionalism: Number one in obesity, guns, prisoners, anxiety and more ...

People uninterested in change and progress tend to cling to the jingoistic fantasy that America is an exceptional country. Often this implies that the U.S. is somehow superior to other nations. Some, like the neocons, have taken the idea of exceptionalism to mean that America should be above the law and that other countries should be remade in our image. Others, like conservative evangelicals, believe that America’s supposed exceptionalism is God’s will.

In recent decades, America has indeed pulled ahead of the global pack in a number of areas. But they aren’t necessarily things to go waving the flag over or thanking Jehova


OMG: Fox News guest: Weiner ‘un-attracted’ to Huma Abedin ‘because she is connected with Islamists’

In a Red Eye panel discussion pointed out by Right Wing Watch on Monday, the Lawfare Project’s Brooke Goldstein said that “the real question is why is Weiner so un-attracted to Huma Abedin.”

“Perhaps it’s because she is connected with Islamists who want to kill us!” she opined. “Perhaps it’s because her family members are part and parcel of the Muslim Brotherhood. I completely agree with Andy McCarthy that she poses one of the greatest national security threats of this administration. She has access to the most classified information, because of her position with Clinton about the Muslim Brotherhood, which is — it’s creed is to destroy America from within.”

Video & more:

Trayvon’s Mother: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Allowed My Son’s Killer To ‘Get Away With Murder’ Social face

Trayvon’s Mother: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Allowed My Son’s Killer To ‘Get Away With Murder’


Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, denounced Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' law Monday, saying it allowed her son's killer to "get away with murder."

“The thing about this law is I just think it assisted the person who killed my son to get away with murder,” she said at a National Bar Association event in Miami Beach, according to the Miami Herald. “I think we have to change these laws so people don’t get away with murder.”

A number of critics of the law, most notably Stevie Wonder, have called for boycotting the state until the legislature changes the self-defense law. Fulton would not endorse the boycott, however.

“I can’t say that I’m in support of it, but not in support of it,” she said. “But I think people have a right to free speech. And if that’s their way of showing how they feel, to express themselves about the verdict, then I think that’s something they can do.”


The United States of... Class War, Inequality, and Poverty

Published on Sunday, July 28, 2013 by Common Dreams
The United States of... Class War, Inequality, and Poverty
New survey data shows perilous state of US economy and suffering of a majority underclass

- Jon Queally, staff writer

"It's time that America comes to understand that many of the nation's biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position."


Dr. Seuss Diagnosis Was Correct.

Senate Majority Whip: FISA Court Is 'Fixed' & 'Loaded' (Durbin wants to limit NSAs Data Collection)

Source: The Atlantic

Senate Majority Whip: FISA Court Is 'Fixed' and 'Loaded'
Dick Durbin wants to add a civil-liberties advocate to the court's proceedings and to limit the NSA's data collection.

The Obama Administration says the FISA court adequately safeguards Americans' civil liberties. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who holds the second-highest Democratic leadership position in the Senate, disagrees.

"These FISA courts -- there should be a real court proceeding," he said on Sunday. "In this case, it's fixed in a way. It's loaded. There's only one case coming before the FISA court: the government's case. Let's have an advocate, or someone, standing up for civil liberties, to speak up for the privacy of Americans when they make each of these decisions, and let's release some of the transcripts, redacted, carefully redacted, so that people understand the debate that's going on in these FISA courts." When you've got a senior lawmaker calling a secret court "fixed in a way," implying that it doesn't conduct "real" proceedings, and affirming that its judges aren't hearing information that would be relevant to their decisions, that's alarming.

Unless, of course, what you want is a rubber stamp for the surveillance state.

Durbin said in the same interview that Congress should rein in the NSA's data hoovering. "I really believe that we should limit this metadata collection," he said. "The notion that we're going to collect all the phone records of everyone living in an area code on the off chance that someone in that area code may be a suspect at a later time goes way too far." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been much more deferential to the executive branch on this issue.

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/senate-majority-whip-fisa-court-is-fixed-and-loaded/278163/

Fed Court: Just changed interpretation of Espionage Act to cover leaks that are NOT Harmful To USA

Court Eases Prosecutors’ Burden of Proof in Leak Cases
Espionage: Now, with No Damage Envisioned
By: emptywheel Monday July 29, 2013 10:21 am

A recently unsealed decision from Colleen Kollar-Kotelly just changed the interpretation of the Espionage Act for Washington DC to cover leaks that wouldn’t even harm the US.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the prosecution in the pending case of former State Department contractor Stephen Kim need not show that the information he allegedly leaked could damage U.S. national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially. Her opinion was a departure from a 30 year old ruling in the case of U.S. v. Morison, which held that the government must show that the leak was potentially damaging to the U.S. or beneficial to an adversary. (In that case, Samuel L. Morison was convicted of unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence satellite photographs, which he provided to Jane’s Defence Weekly. He was later pardoned by President Clinton.)

“The Court declines to adopt the Morison court’s construction of information relating to the ‘national defense’ insofar as it requires the Government to show that disclosure of the information would be potentially damaging to the United States or useful to an enemy of the United States,” Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a May 30 opinion. The opinion was redacted and unsealed (in partially illegible form) last week.

The prosecution must still show that the defendant “reasonably believed” that the information “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation” and that the defendant “willfully” communicated it to an unauthorized person. But it would no longer be necessary for prosecutors to demonstrate that the information itself could potentially damage national security or benefit an adversary.

Imagine how this ruling could empower prosecutors in the AP UndieBomb 2.0 investigation, in which the AP’s story reported only that the US had thwarted an UndieBomb plot. They didn’t report it until after the White House said they had cleared up a sensitive issue relating to the plot (which in practice ended up being the drone death of Fahd al-Quso).

This would make it easier for the government to prosecute AP’s sources for leaking information that even the government had suggested, to the AP, wouldn’t harm US interests.

- See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/#sthash.uiSVTkkO.dpuf

Mitt Romney's Incredible 47-Percent Denial: "Actually, I Didn't Say That"

Mitt Romney's Incredible 47-Percent Denial: "Actually, I Didn't Say That"

Gee, Mitt, where could that perception possibly have come from? Perhaps the simple fact that it's exactly what you said?

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax. ....My job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

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