October 9, 2013 archive

Oct 09

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Oct 09

Cartnoon

Oct 09

On This Day In History October 9

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 9 is the 282nd day of the year (283rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 83 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1967, socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader Che Guevara, age 39, is killed by the Bolivian army. The U.S.-military-backed Bolivian forces captured Guevara on October 8 while battling his band of guerillas in Bolivia and assassinated him the following day. His hands were cut off as proof of death and his body was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1997, Guevara’s remains were found and sent back to Cuba, where they were reburied in a ceremony attended by President Fidel Castro and thousands of Cubans.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat, military theorist, and major figure of the Cuban Revolution. Since his death, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol and global insignia within popular culture.

As a medical student, Guevara traveled throughout Latin America and was transformed by the endemic poverty he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to conclude that the region’s ingrained economic inequalities were an intrinsic result of capitalism, monopolism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala’s social reforms under President Jacobo Arbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara’s radical ideology. Later, while living in Mexico City, he met Raul and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and travelled to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma, with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the successful two year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.

Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included instituting agrarian reform as minister of industries, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba’s armed forces, reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. Such positions allowed him to play a central role in training the militia forces who repelled the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing to Cuba the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles which precipitated the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Additionally, he was a prolific writer and diarist, composing a seminal manual on guerrilla warfare, along with a best-selling memoir about his youthful motorcycle journey across South America. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to foment revolution abroad, first unsuccessfully in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian forces and executed.

Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, while an Alberto Korda photograph of him entitled “Guerrillero Heroico”, was declared “the most famous photograph in the world.”

Oct 09

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Creases

Oct 09

Late Night Karaoke

Oct 09

Obama to Nominate Yellen to the Fed Chair

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In the midst of the government shutdown and looming debt ceiling crisis, it was announced from the usual anonymous White House sources, that President Barack Obama will name the Federal Reserve’s vice chair, Janet Yellen, as his nominee to succeed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The announcement by president Barack Obama is scheduled for 3pm EST on Wednesday, the White House said. Both Yellen and the current Fed chair, Ben Bernanke, are expected to attend.

The nomination ends a long public debate about Obama’s choice for Fed chairman. Yellen has long been seen as the frontrunner to succeed Bernanke, who is set to step down early next year. But she faced stiff opposition from former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers who had strong support within the Obama administration. If approved by the Senate, she would be the first woman to head the central bank in its 100-year history.

The president was left with few choices after his “favorite” and “best bud’ Larry Summers was forced to withdraw because of fierce criticism from just about everyone, including Wall Street, except White House insiders. Larry was just not going to happen.

That said, while Ms. Yellen is going to be the first female head of the Federal Reserve (another glass ceiling broken), she is hardly that different policy-wise from Summers.

What We Really Should be Yellin About When it Comes to Who Runs the Fed

by priceman

Effective regulation, and on that note, it is a positive thing that the Summers of our discontent can finally be laid to rest. After all the damage Larry Summers has caused in being one of the architects of this crisis, from boxing in Brooksley Born and ignoring her warnings with regard to derivatives which brought down Long Term Capital Management during the Clinton administration, to his sexism among everything else. He has now thankfully taken himself out consideration for the job.

It’s a good thing he did. Rather than fighting for something or someone that helps people suffering from this economic crisis, President Obama strongly recommended and fought for Larry Summers to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a guy who lost a billion dollars as President of Harvard betting on interest rates. Yeah, let that sink in for awhile.

It’s really not OK. This is why making excuses for everything the President does, as too many Democrats do without thinking of the damage, is dangerous, immoral, and unprincipled. Now it looks like the front runner to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve is going to be Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and once President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Janet Yellin. Unlike Larry Summers, she at least saw the crisis coming as early as 2005.

Be Careful What You Ask For

The progressive Democrats of the Senate got Larry Summers to withdraw from consideration for chair of the Federal Reserve over the weekend. So now they’re yellin’ for Yellen. Well, folks Janet Yellen the current vice chair of the Federal Reserve is just the distaff version of Larry minus the misogyny.

Huffington Post’s senior political economy reporter Zach Carter gives a rundown of Ms. Yellen’s policy history before and during her tenure as chair of Council of Economic Advisers in the Clinton administration. During that time she backed the repeal of the landmark Glass-Steagall bank reform, supported the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement and pressured the government to develop a new statistical metric intended to lower payments to senior citizens on Social Security. Yes, dears, that last one would be an earlier version of the Chained CPI.

Oct 09

Government by the Wealthy and for the Wealthy

Economic Confidence Craters As Shutdown, Income Stagnation, and Poverty Roil Americans

By: DSWright, Firedog Lake

Tuesday October 8, 2013 10:32 am

We are now in day 8 of the federal shutdown and it seems Americans are rapidly losing faith that the powers that be can turn the economy around. Confidence in the economy has deteriorated more in the past week than in any week since Lehman Brothers collapsed on Sept. 15, 2008.



And why not? Is there any evidence the economy is turning around for the vast majority/99% of Americans? No.

If anything the shutdown has jarred people awake to the fact that poverty and income stagnation remain at record levels. If things remain as they are we will continue to have massive inequality and little hope of social mobility. The economy is broken for most Americans which even the New York Times is recognizing as seniors are now falling back into poverty.



To recap the state of affairs – the government is shutdown and the economy is rigged for the rich. Now tell me the Koch Brothers lost the 2012 election, seriously, I need a laugh.

As Citigroup proved long ago, an economy run for the benefit of the rich or “plutonomy” is economically sustainable. But is it politically sustainable? Are the vast majority of Americans going to accept slavery and poverty from plutocrats and their extremist attack dogs in Congress?

Kathleen Sebelius’ Incoherent Defense of Obamacare’s Design on The Daily Show

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Tuesday October 8, 2013 10:03 am

When pressed on the Daily Show why Democrats went with a Rube Goldberg health care plan instead of single-payer, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ incoherent defense was that tje Republicans called even this “market based” plan super socialism.



Sebelius sarcastically responded to Stewart’s question about single-payer by saying, “As you know we are facing the end of Western Civilization by having a market based strategy. We are bringing Western Civilization to its knees by selling private insurance plans on a website where people pick and choose.”

I have heard this same basic argument made by several defenders of Obamacare. The point is “look at how badly Republicans flipped out over this conservative law, so imagine how bad they would have flipped out over single-payer.” The problem is this argument makes no sense because, as Sebelius points out, the Republicans already turned their freakout dial to 11. They can’t going any higher. There is nothing worse than the end of “Western Civilization.”

This is not an argument against going to single-player, this is an argument for why you should have gone for single-payer. If the Republicans are going to completely freak out regardless, there is no reason to compromise. The political response from the GOP will be the same.

This highlights why the Democrats are having such a hard time selling the law. Early on they chose to go with bad design to buy off the big industry lobbyists, but they planned to blame the bad design on needing to get Republican votes for a great compromise. When Republican refused to play along it left Democrats holding the bag. Democrats had pro-lobbyists laws, but they don’t want to publicly say they made the law needlessly complex to make lobbyists happy. So the administration is still trying to use the original excuse they planned – even though it now doesn’t make sense.

Oct 09

TPP: Obama’s Trojan Horse

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The government shutdown and the threat of default on debt payments kept President Barack Obama from attending the recent round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The president has hopes that it will be finished by the end of the year. Major corporations are urging the Pres. Obama not to “water down” the agreement which would put billions in their pockets sucking more money from the 99%, creating an even bigger income gap around the world. The TPP, which has been negotiated in secret since the Bush administration, would prioritize corporate rights over the rights of consumers and workers. In June, Rep. Alan Grayson was allowed to read the text of the TPP, that he described as “an anti-American power grab by big corporations

The TPP is a large, secret trade agreement that is being negotiated with many countries in East Asia and South America.

The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.”  Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.

1)    There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.

2)    This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.

3)    What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].

(Well, I did promise to tell you only two things about it.)

I will be fighting this agreement with everything I’ve got. And I know you’ll be there every step of the way.

Besides this agreement being labeled a secret except for the business insiders who are negotiating it, the corporations want Congress to “fast track” it’s approval which the president the ability to put an accord before lawmakers for an up-or-down vote. This would assure that the TPP would pass without congressional oversight. However, some lawmakers are balking, at not only fast tracking the agreement, but the agreement itself:

A growing chorus of lawmakers is calling for trade negotiators to address issues including currency manipulation, food-safety standards and competition with state-backed industries as the administration seeks “fast-track” authority to smooth eventual passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“I oppose fast-track authority like what we have had in the past,” Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, said on a conference call today with reporters. “We are not just here to rubber stamp what gets done” by trade negotiators, she said. [..]

Negotiations are “being done without sufficient input from members of Congress,” DeLauro said. Lawmakers should have more of a say because the TPP is a 21st century agreement that goes beyond traditional tariff deals, she said. The TPP would entail issues including environmental protection, Internet trade, access to medicines and market access for small businesses.

A bipartisan group of 60 senators — a bloc big enough to sink a trade accord — on Sept. 24 urged the administration to include provisions to prevent currency manipulation in U.S. free-trade agreements.

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, joined Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman and Juan González to discuss how this corporate “Trojan Horse” would rewrite US laws and regulation

While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations.

The Electronic Freedom Foundation is fighting the fast tract of this agreement and calling for open congressional hearings.

President Obama was scheduled to meet with the leaders of the other eleven countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bali, supposedly to plan the “end-game” for this massive trade deal. However, he has made a sudden decision to cancel his trip, claiming that this was a casualty of the government shutdown. Obama’s announcement adds to the impression that goal of completing TPP at APEC has become unobtainable and reveal how precariously the negotiations are going.

There are reports that the remaining TPP country leaders who will be attending the APEC meeting will still be convening “with the aim of hammering out a framework.” As we’ve also previously mentioned, smaller issue-specific intersessional meetings have also grown more frequent and gone even further underground. So while the news of his trip getting cancelled is indeed welcome news, the TPP still could be signed even as its contents remain hidden from the public.

They also have  website “Why the Heck Should I Care About the TPP?” which lets you click through different facts about the agreement and how it will impact us as users.

We here at Stars Hollow and Docudharma urge you to take action and demand Congress exercise their Constitutional authority to oversee the U.S. trade negotiations.

Oct 09

2013 Junior League Division Series: Red Sox @ Rays Game 4

Well, there goes my prediction of Sox in 3.  It was a squeaker that shouldn’t have come down to a 2 Out Walk Off Solo Shot by Jose Lobaton.  The Rays shouldn’t even have been flirting with extra innings.

The big blow was the Longoria 3 Run Homer in the 5th.  Then they got ahead in the 8th, making Morales pay for a Leadoff Walk.  The Sox tied it up in the 9th but could have taken the lead with an insurance run if they hadn’t left Ellsbury stranded at 3rd after a spectacular steal with a Carp pinch hit KO.  Pinch Hitters never come through, ever.

Tonight Jake Peavy (12 – 5, 4.17 ERA R) takes the field against Jeremy Hellickson (12 – 10, 5.17 ERA R).  Now it seems that everyone in Stars Hollow is a rabid Red Sox fan except me and that’s because I’m mostly indifferent to teams that play Rounders instead of Baseball.  I would caution my friends not to get too excited about that full point of ERA advantage.  Peavy has a much better team behind him and that can make even a bad Pitcher look good.

I confidently predict we shall visit the Green Monster and worship the Great God Citgo again, the only question is whether it will be Thursday @ 5:30 pm ET or in the League Championship.

Oct 09

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Our regular featured content-

These featured articles-

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette