August 7, 2009 archive
The Guardian reports Hillary Clinton has hinted the United States may join international war crimes court. The Secretary of State, speaking at a public meeting in Kenya, “expressed regret” that the U.S. has not joined the International Criminal Court.
“This is a great regret that we are not a signatory. I think we could have worked out some of the challenges that are raised concerning our membership. But that has not yet come to pass,” she said.
There is division in the Obama White House whether or not the U.S. should join. U.S. “membership would be difficult while the US was still in Iraq and the prison at Guantánamo Bay remained open.”
The NY Times reports the U.S. Birth rate has declined as because of the Great Recession. “In 2007, the number of births in the United States broke a 50-year-old record high, set during the baby boom. But last year, births began to decline nationwide, by nearly 2 percent, according to provisional figures released last week” by the National Center for Health Statistics.
“As more families were feeling the effects of layoffs and economic uncertainty, births decreased even faster… Historically, birth rates have fluctuated with the economy.”
The LA Times reports the Death of Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mahsud is confirmed. “Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mahsud, Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist and a staunch Al Qaeda ally, was killed in an American missile strike, a Pakistani government minister confirmed today”.
“The missile strike came from a U.S. unmanned aircraft that attacked the home of Mahsud’s father-in-law in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region early Wednesday. Pakistani intelligence officials have said that Mahsud’s second wife was among at least two people killed.”
The NY Times notes it was a Missile strike from a CIA drone that killed Mehsud. “The C.I.A. made killing Mr. Mehsud one of its top priorities this year, partly at the urging of Pakistan’s civilian government.” Which again raises the question, why have we allowed the CIA to get in the business of waging war? Don’t we have a perfectly good military for this purpose?
The CS Monitor asks Is Pakistan safer now? Maybe. “Many analysts in Pakistan say his death will substantially undermine Taliban operations in the country.” Experts are now expecting the Taliban to splinter into regional factions.
The NY Times reports the White House struggles to gauge Afghan war progress. “The Obama administration is struggling to come up with a long-promised plan to measure whether the war is being won.”
The administration is seeking concrete signs of “success”. “That is especially difficult in a war like the one in Afghanistan, in which eliminating corruption, promoting a working democracy and providing effective aid are as critical as scoring military success against insurgents and terrorists.”
But, “when President Obama unveiled his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan in March, he emphasized the importance of these measures.”
“We will set clear metrics to measure progress and hold ourselves accountable,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ll consistently assess our efforts to train Afghan security forces and our progress in combating insurgents. We will measure the growth of Afghanistan’s economy and its illicit narcotics production. And we will review whether we are using the right tools and tactics to make progress towards accomplishing our goals.”
Seems to me goals and benchmarks should have been established before additional troops were committed to the conflict.
Last things first … after reading and commenting here, go ahead and comment at Running the Numbers on HSR by Edward Glaeser.
This last weekend, I looked at a low-brow attack on HSR by John McCarron in the Chicago Tribune. This week, I look at a high brow attack by the economist Edward Glaeser at the NYTimes “Economix”.
However, the attack by Edward Glaeser is different. Even if some suspect a partisan motive, given Glaser’s support for McCain … this is not the kind of hackery we are seeing in the health care debate, where paid partisan hacks are just blatantly lying. Its the kind of hackery that is embedded in a frame, and which will bias the results of any honest analysis done within that frame.
Using their now standard and nearly perfected tactics and strategies of Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics, The Powers That Be are once again manipulating The People. And using The People to manipulate the Traditional Media, and thus public opinion at large.
Using their private media army of the Rushes and Becks and Hannity’s, they gin up rage, at times murderous rage, in the populace at will. A rage that they have planted and tended to and nurtured for years and now are ready ….and willing…to harvest.
The Ruling Class manufactures and produces an unfair society, our society …that profits them.
This produces an unhappy People, outraged at the unfairness of society and culture. Then their private media tells the People why they are unhappy. Using their carefully crafted and emotionally resonant Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics. They blame and spin and manipulate until they are able to set one group of The People against another group of The People. Telling them that THESE are your real enemies.
And they fool at least Some of The People all of the time.
We are all living with a burden of shame and fear and anger, and in every single moment of your life, in every action, you invite decency and grace, or you invite violence and hate. Sometimes, sometimes, you get the violence and hate anyway. But if you feed it…that is always what you will get. That doesn’t make it right or deserved. But if progressivism is about anything to me, it is about the very long fight for human dignity.
Happy Friday and welcome to the 14th in the Dog’s First Amendment Friday series. This series is following the syllabus for the class called The First Amendment and taught at Yale Law School by Professor Jack M. Balkin. As with the Friday Constitutional series this is a layman’s look at the Law, specifically the Supreme Court opinions which have shaped the boundaries of our 1st Amendment Protections. If you are interested in the previous installments you can find them at the links below:
“Originally posted at Squarestate.net“
This is so worth reading:
Why? Because the author used to be one of them:
Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls
They are using my old shock troops — given many of these folks were first energized by the Evangelical pro-life movement that my late father and I started in the 1970s. What we did to clinics they are now doing to congressmen and others speaking out for health care reform.
“How do I know this is the norm? … I know this script. I helped write it.”
He tells it exactly how it is.
There is no daylight between the Republican Party, the health-care insurance industry, far right leaders like Dick Armey, the legion of insurance lobbyists, and now, a small army of thugs. All we’re missing is actual uniforms, otherwise we now have a full blown American version of the Nazi Brown Shirts.
No, I don’t believe that these people are about to take over the country. No, the sky is not falling. But the Republican Party is. It is now profoundly anti-American.
Here’s the emerging American version of the fascist’s formula: combine millions of dollars of lobbyists’ money with embittered troublemakers who have a small army of not terribly bright white angry people (collected over decades through pro-life mass mailing networks) at their beck and call, ever ready to believe any myth or lie circulated by the semi literate and completely and routinely misinformed right wing — Evangelical religious underground. Then put his little mob together with the insurance companies’ big bucks. That’s how it works — American Brown Shirts at the ready.
What’s the results of the fascist formula for the rest of us? Well, think how this “method” worked against Dr. Tiller’s abortion clinic and how that story ended. In this case a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save our economy from going bankrupt because of spiraling health care costs may be lost, not because of a better argument, but because of lies backed up by anti-democratic embittered thuggery. The motive? Revenge on America by the Old White Guys of the far right, and greed by the insurance industry.
It’s time to give this garbage in name: insurance industry funded fascism.
Why? Because Obama won:
They can’t compute that their white man-led conservative revolution is dead. They can’t reconcile their idea of themselves with the fact that white men like them don’t run the country any more — and never will again. To them the black president is leading a column of the “other” into their promised land. Gays, immigrants, blacks, progressives, even a female Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court… for them this is the Apocalypse.
Could someone do a diary on Daily Kos on this? I did one today. It needs ot be out there.
Diane is on a well-deserved break this week, but Ed Encho and Gottlieb (along with the adult supervision of M_A) persevere through a nutjob nation gone wild. We’ll tackle:
1: Blackwater’s (Now Xe) Erik Prince and the story in the Nation by Jeremy Scahill and accusations of murder against political enemies. Prince, a nutjob extraordinaire, is not a patriot or interested in our security, but a racist hater and disciple of extreme violence. In other words; another in a long line of impotent cowards.
2: The Brown Shirt model for the Republican operatives disrupting health care Town Halls. Holy Nutjob Batman, are these freaks for real? They make Pavlov’s dogs at dinner time look positively somnambulant. But for the Pavlov’s on the right like Beck, Limbaugh et al and assorted Republican kool-aid-crack-heads exhorting and inciting violent behavior by couch-potato losers these dumb-animals would be scratching their balls, waiting for a Milk Bone and wondering whatever happened to Monty Hall..
3: Right wing racist losers exploding like Fourth of July’s from Hell like the guy who murdered innocents in a Pennsylvania fitness center because he couldn’t get laid and the near daily human time-bombs from the right who light up the fear and loathing meters better than al Qaeda ever could.
4: The march toward American Totalitarianism – the threats pile up: domestic terror (not coincidentally incited by right wing media moguls), foreign terror by ex-CIA operatives, disease pandemics and mass vaccination/quarantine programs, social unrest due to Depression Era stress and any excuse which can be brought to bear to limit freedom and the power of the people to mobilize against oppression.
Join Gottlieb, Ed Encho and M-A tonight at 6pm EDT on Wild Wild Left Radio, via BlogtalkRadio, for an interesting hour of Political Reporting and Commentary.
The call in number is 646-929-1264
The live chat link will go live around 5:30.
I live in the NC-11 district, which succeeded in finally replacing slumlord Charles Taylor [a.k.a. “Chainsaw Charlie”] with ex-football heartthrob and semi-Democrat Heath Shuler in the ’06 election. I say semi-Democrat because he’s a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, though less of a hypocritical opportunist than most of the others. Thus he does a pretty good job of actually representing his constituency, which in this corner of southern Appalachia is quite conservative. He’s a local boy made good and a source of some pride for all, thus was the perfect candidate to field against Chainsaw Charlie. Largest source of income in this way-back corner of the state is tourism, so our beautiful forests and mountains are worth way more to us intact than as wood chips or parking lots for Charlie’s puppeteers.
Heath easily carried all 15 counties in the district in ’08, including Henderson, a county primarily populated by native apple farmers, wealthy lawyers and retirees from Florida, and New Jersey ex-pats with Italian surnames and bodyguards. Having met Heath several times during his original campaign, he’s a nice kid with a good heart and honest as the day is long, so I like him. He’s frustrating sometimes, but I’m enough of a realist to know most folks here aren’t nearly as leftist as me, and I’m not the only person he was elected to serve. We’re watching closely, and will take him down at primary as soon as he shows signs of selling out the real ag/tourism base as Charlie did.
The demographics are slowly but surely changing by attrition as the old folks die and lots of DFHs [Dirty F’king Hippies] move in to homestead the countryside and participate in A-ville’s growing reputation as “New Age Mecca.” I’ve got my issues with the DFHs too, but when they can be motivated to vote they are strongly progressive. We’ve a number of great colleges and Universities in the district as well, and students are also a reliable bloc for Dems. There is no doubt that one of these days it will be time to move farther toward the progressive end of the spectrum, so Heath may end up in the Senate if we can arrange for him to run against Burr while we replace him here.
Anyway, Heath is surprisingly bright for a jock, so you might be interested in how he’s handling the ugly Teabagger contingent mobilized to disrupt, harrass and incite violence at the town halls congressmembers are holding during this summer recess. There is a rather large and loud Teabagger contingent in this district, as terminally stupid as anyone else’s and nearly as spaced-out as the hard-core guru branches of the DFHs. Shuler has scheduled not one but two town hall meetings this recess, and if he didn’t play it smart things would no doubt get extremely ugly (most of the Teabaggers in this neck of the woods may always be assumed armed and dangerous).
Know of nothing else that bugs me
More than working for the rich man,
Hey I’ll change that scene one day,
Today I might be mad,
Tomorrow I’ll be glad,
I’ve got Friday on my mind
I know I should be mortified by the lobbyist-organized mobs of angry Brooks Brothers mannequins who are now making headlines by shutting down congressional town hall meetings. I know I should be despondent during this, the Khaki Pants Offensive in the Great American Health Care and Tax War. And yet, I’m euphorically repeating one word over and over again with a big grin on my face.
Finally, there’s no pretense. Finally, the Me-First, Forget-Everyone-Else Crowd’s ugliest traits are there for all to behold.
— David Sirota, Friday, August 07, 2009, The Me-First, Forget-Everyone-Else Crowd
I’m f*&^in pissed off, I’ve had enough and I’m done humoring the idiots I deal with daily who buy Gadsden flags (Dont tread on me) claiming some sort of connection to our revolution and our nations Christian roots, those who whale and scream about ‘socializing’ healthcare and try to bully us into backing down. Listen up you morons you cant have it both ways.
If you claim our nation was founded on christion ideals then woe unto you when you go to your christian reward and have to answer for your sins. Standing against healthcare for those who have no health care is tantamount to murder, a fine example of greed and selfishness. I dont believe Jesus would condone any of it. Each and every arguement against universal health care and health care reform in genral is IMHO an afront to the very Christ you claim to follow. You remember Sunday school ya know charity, compassion, Love one another v. greed,sloth, murder. To those assholes in the insurance industries, pharma, nursing homes, hospitals and related professions who are fighting to stop reform I hope theres a special place in hell for ya.
To the Teabaggers and related folk. You are a joke. Dont even think you have some sort of link to the founding fathers of our nation. Our revolution was founded on the idea that because we didnt have a voice in parliment we had no representation hence we lived under edicts. Here in the U.S. we have a vote. I’ll grant you our system isnt perfect by a long shot but we still have a vote which means a lot and fundamentally seperates both you and I from our forfathers.
So what it comes down to is this, GROW UP, STFU, and to qoute so many of you ‘if you dont like it leave’ this nation isn’t your’s it’s ours al of us and we the majority won. Your pathetic ‘I want my America back’ line of bull is, hopefully, the last gast of a shrinking white dominated holier than thow, my way or the lynch mob, have and have not master and serf culture thats being replaced by one of tolerance, acceptance, charity, equity, equinemity, equality and dare I say maybe some day the ultimate christian ideal LOVE.
By Executive Order 9277, dated December 3, 1942, the decoration was extended to be applicable to all services and required that regulations of the Services be uniform in application as far as practicable. This executive order also authorized the award only for wounds received.
PURPLE HEART RECIPIENTS
War I: 250,000¹
War II: 964,409
Persian Gulf: 590
Afghanistan: 3,495 *
Iraq: 34,808 *
Total Estimated: 1.7 M¹
NOTE¹: Estimates only. Battlefield awards and incomplete records; 1974 fire in St. Louis repository.
*Data as of 6/20/2009
Crossposted at Daily Kos
Does anybody remember who controlled the entire Government of the U.S.A. on 9/11/01?
Clinton’s Obama’s Fault, of course!
This is the exploitation of the Americans who lost their lives on the morning of September 11, 2001 in order to further the Right Wing/Corporatist political agenda.
This is the exploitation of the suffering of ever family effected by 9/11.
This is the exploitation of emergency workers who served on 9/11. Many of them died on that tragic day.
This is the exploitation of the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
This is the shameless exploitation of every american, everywhere.
And where were these protesters in 2002? or 2003? or 2004? or 2005? or 2006? or 2007? or 2008?
But now that we have a Black Democratic President the Corporate intersts, their lobbyists, the RW media and the GOP choose to protest on the morning after the 8 year anniversary of 9/11/2001?
This can not stand unchallenged.
I refer to this.
Sign up for the 09.12.09 Protest at the Capitol!
It’s time to take the tea party movement directly to Washington, D.C. Please join thousands of local organizers and grassroots Americans from across the country as we gather in our nation’s capital to deliver a message to the politicians: Enough!
We are gathering on 9-12-2009 to deliver our message in person that we’ve had enough!
National Sponsor: Freedom Works
Freedomworks, if you are not aware, is the RW lobbying firm headed by the Ex Republic House Majority Leader Dick Armey, which has been behind the Fox News sponsored tea bagging party movement that miraculously materialized the moment the Republic party lost the Presidential election on 11/4/08.
They might as well name their event the 1/19/09 project.