October 29, 2009 archive
Oct 29 2009
Oct 29 2009
Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread
Now with World and U.S. News. 43 Story Final.
|From Yahoo News Top Stories|
1 Taliban vow to intensify pre-poll Afghan attacks
by Waheedullah Massoud, AFP
1 hr 12 mins ago
|KABUL (AFP) – The Taliban vowed Thursday to intensify their attacks in the build-up to Afghanistan’s presidential election next week as authorities tried to play down fears that the Islamists could wreck the poll.
As the international community said a deadly Taliban attack on a UN hostel in Kabul would not disrupt the November 7 run-off, the Islamist militia said they had drawn up a battle plan designed to torpedo the process.
Organisers of the election meanwhile said they had agreed to a demand from President Hamid Karzai’s challenger, ex-foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, for 20,000 of his observers to be accredited to help prevent vote-rigging.
Oct 29 2009
Yes, that question is directed entirely at the RW “Christian Nation” cultists. But here’s what’s happening elsewhere:
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – Under Islamic law, or Shariah, the religious police have administered public canings for such things as gambling, prostitution and illicit affairs. But under a new Islamic criminal code that goes into effect this month, the Shariah police will be wielding a new and more potent threat: death by stoning for adulterers.
Most of Indonesia still lives up to its reputation for a moderate, easygoing brand of Islam, and Islamist parties suffered heavy losses in this year’s national elections. But how Aceh went from basic Islamic law to endorsing stoning in a few short years shows how a small, radical minority has successfully pushed its agenda, locally and nationally, by cowing political and religious moderates.
h/t NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10…
Oct 29 2009
…and Corporate Ownership of the R&D end
Every day we’re encouraged and cajoled to call and write our representatives to encourage them to include some sort of public option in their ridiculous sham of a street theater road show deceptively called “Health Care Reform,” long since bought and paid for by the health insurance industry itself. They want us to beg – and we have begged and begged some more – but they’re not going to give us anything. Never intended to, this is just a show. What is planned isn’t any sort of reform at all of a system designed on purpose to kill off those pesky (and too numerous) Baby Boomers as well as all the excess no-longer-employable working class slaves the nation’s banks and brokers no longer need or want, along with sickly citizens of all descriptions. Sooner, not later.
There are some who want to believe the current swine flu epidemic and planned vaccination program is genocide-writ-large, but it’s not. It’s just a bug that got out and deaths from it or its vaccines won’t even be half the annual toll from regular seasonal flu. Which will kill its 30-50 thousand come January/February and nobody will think a thing of it. Instead, what we’ve got is this complete sham of a health care non-debate that is really just another corporate bailout for crooks who don’t need or deserve a single cent of our hard-earned money.
Oct 29 2009
Such is the plight of an agent of change in the city of stasis.
Months ago, Obama and his defense secretary, Robert Gates, outlined a bold overhaul of the Pentagon’s weaponry — and they succeeded in killing off the F-22 fighter and a costly new presidential helicopter. But defense contractors and their agents in Congress defied a veto threat and forced Obama to accept new engines for the F-35 fighter and lots of other things the military says it doesn’t want or need.
Just as we are close to passing a Health Care Bill that not only already is a windfall to Insurance Companies even before it is watered down twice more (once in the Senate and once in the House and Senate reconciliation…..
President Obama just signed the biggest Military Budget in world history….a budget that includes items that even the military does not want.
The cost of the House Health Care Bill over ten years is 890 billion dollars. It would have been about 80 billion less but the alleged “Fiscal Conservative” Blue Dogs who allegedly object to excess spending…..spiked the part of the bill that would have saved that money for the Public.
Yes, the folks who say that they are concerned about spending just made the Bill cost more. That more pretty much goes right into the InsCo’s coffers.
So….we have Fiscal Conservatives spending more of the taxpayers money to benefit the InsCo’s and an already obscenely bloated military buying things it does not want.
Instead of say, using that money to protect troops. Or bring them home.
While at the same time, we find out that more taxpayer money was paid to Hamad Karzai’s brother…the Drug Lord…through the CIA. When drug money is what is funding the people who are killing Americans. Who are only being killed because the Afghan’s refused to be occupied by yet another foreign power.
As their brothers and husbands rot in the allegedly former torture prison at Bagram….under the Detention Programs that are as direct a violation of the Human Rights we are allegedly in Afghanistan to impose on the allegedly barbarous Taliban….who we are assassinating with a drone program that the UN is now questioning as yet another American Human Rights violation
UNITED NATIONS – US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be breaking international laws against summary executions, the UN’s top investigator of such crimes said.
“The problem with the United States is that it is making an increased use of drones/Predators (which are) particularly prominently used now in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston told a press conference.
“My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” he said.
Oct 29 2009
The holiday season is a wonderful time for family, friends and good cheer, but all the visiting can leave us feeling a bit frazzled by the time it's over. It can also play havoc on our children's sleep schedules and turn a once-sleeping baby into an overtired zombie!
Oct 29 2009
looking online for an einstein wig for somebody i know… lookit this shit.
they also have an “Indian Squaw Wig with Braids. Black.” wig.
Oct 29 2009
So much for the notion that the Republican Party is on the rebound. Per the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (.pdf), part of which was teased earlier, finds that the GOP’s rating matches an all-time low in the survey, with just 25 percent viewing the party positively (including a paltry 6 percent viewing it very positively) and 46 percent viewing the party negatively. The Democratic Party is viewed significantly more favorably, earning a 42 percent positive rating and a 36 percent negative rating.
Oct 29 2009
Crossposted at Daily Kos
(Updated to include all 4 videos, with a hat tip to Kossacks Scarce and Miss Information)
Not just GUTS, but HEART too.
After reading over 8 minutes of the testimony of the people who have lost loved ones to our Murder For Profit Health Insurance, Alan Grayson invoked the name of God and pleadedbefore Congress “For Gods’ sake, I look forward to a time when we will have finally done our jobs.”
I have provided a short transcript of the final video of Grayson’s House floor speech, and I hope you will forgive me for not including a transcript of the first. I can not transcribe it by ear without welling up in tears myself.
More below the fold.
Oct 29 2009
It was the most civil of wars in a most uncivil time.
They taught us by revulsion at the strongest of speech not to even use strong speech. They taught us to value Political Correctness above our Moral Compass. They brought out the Racist Media Showmen to influence the weak and weaken the strong. They brought out the Racist Politicians to laud abuse of one group and show how only the truly powerful could get away with it. They brought out Liars and Ideologues to shape the propaganda to support the Elites. They ridiculed and railed against even those who would protest against it even mildly. They held up a holographic mirror of deceit to us over and over, until we began to believe that image was indeed our own: Weak, powerless, divided.
The poorest in capacity soon began to hate more, addicted to the adrenalin rush of rage.
The brightest soon began to despise any rage to the point where any strong criticism of any wrong doing by anyone was taboo. “You are acting just like them,” was the Pavlovian reply, “Your rage and hate is unacceptable!” We began to believe that we could do nothing in the face of such power without becoming what we despised. There was no room left for grey. There was no room left for for truth.
We had become utterly trained to remain genteel in the face of every opposition. We lost skirmish after skirmish negotiating politely with those who held us in contempt with hatred.
We wrung our hands and muttered among ourselves, careful never to step too hard on anyone’s toes, nor miss using a Capital letter in naming a group, for fear of offending anyone. They replaced hooded abductions from old wars to social ostracization and job insecurity in this new war.
It was a rare voice that would ever address the Elephant in the room, while the PTB explained how complicated things were, and how they couldn’t help us.
No one wanted to be the first to speak aloud to it, except those of us with little at stake; those who already lost everything, those with dead end jobs no one else wanted, those in the relative safety of having chosen to live, and die, in another land.
Oct 29 2009
We are not all the same.
We don’t all think the same,
We don’t look the same,
We don’t react the same way to the same things, …
When it comes to climate change and sparking activism there is a simple reality: there is no one single message that works for everyone.
Some are going to react from altruism. Others a fact-based science discussion. Some fear over whether their kids will be able to ski the slopes that they ski. (Motivation for one of the Republicans at the table with me during Climate Project training.) Some will first get motivated out of concern over maple syrup. (Actually, the first motivating factor for a somewhat prominent voice in the US discussion.) And, so on …
After the fold, take a look at a message that might spark some attention to 350 from people who might never have heard of it otherwise.
Oct 29 2009
Over one-hundred and seventy-five years ago, an obscure Louisiana senator awaited his time to speak in front of the Senate gallery. In a few short days, what would have seemed to be a relatively limited debate about the merits of selling public lands in the western states of a still relatively small nation had been transformed into an expended discourse about whether secession from the Union had any legal basis. The senator in question, Edward Livingston, had listened to a series of variously thrilling, erudite, and eloquent emotional addresses given by the giants of that body in those days. Each trying to outdo the other, perhaps concerned a tad more for his legacy than specifically for the cause at hand, a highly competitive chamber in the best of times had grown even more charged and partisan. Livingston had no intention of bettering what anyone had said before, rather his desire was to appeal to a sense of hopefully uniform conscience and fair play.
The best speakers had already writ their words into if not immortality, at least a place in the history books for several generations. Daniel Webster’s thundering, inspiring speech imploring for national unity did much to keep together an increasingly fragile peace, but words alone would prove insufficient to prevent Civil War. Giving birth to generation of brilliant statesman after brilliant statesman would not reconcile the divisions based far more on passions than on more cerebral pursuits. From this point onward, slavery and states’ rights overshadowed every issue on the agenda, and this singular focus inevitably drew debate back to a raging boil, regardless of how seemingly innocent and harmless was its basis.
Upon this context, Livingston spoke.
The post of partisanship for partisanship’s sake–of seeing politics as blood sport, where the kill is the only object of the exercise–was, Livingston said, too high for a free society to pay. Differences of opinion and doctrine and personality were one thing, and such distinctions formed the natural basis of what Livingston called “the necessary and…the legitimate parties existing in all governments.”
Parties were one thing; partisanship was another. “The spirit of which I speaking,” Livingston said as he argued against zealotry, “…creates imaginary and magnifies real causes of complaint; arrogates to itself every virtue—denies every merit to its opponents; secretly entertains the worst designs…mounts the pulpit, and, in the name of a God of mercy and peace, preaches discord and vengeance; invokes the worst scourges of Heaven, war, pestilence, and famine, as preferable alternatives to party defeat; blind, vindictive, cruel, remorseless, unprincipled, and at last frantic, it communicates its madness to friends as well as to foes; respects nothing, fears nothing.”
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham.
We have had our allotment of that madness after a long hot summer of discontent, but what has recently calmed down into something like order if not decorum constantly threatens to regenerate into something much more sinister. Our own weariness and fatigue with this recession may be the only thing that keeps down the thermostat to a tolerable level. Red state governors and representatives learned that the quickest way to win short-term accolades and the war whoops of the crowd is to obliquely raise the specter of nullification and even withdrawal from the Union, a battle which is long since past us, but still immortalized in the myth of the Great Lost Cause. Indeed, as a native Southerner, even I was exposed to such a romantic, dashing ideal only present in the psyche of those who win the first half’s worth of play on sheer emotion, but ultimately lose the game in the fourth quarter against fresher legs and superior depth. This is a very dangerous construct, one shared by Germans and utilized by Hitler for his own ends in advancing a narrative of historical oppression and imaginary enemies that gave unity to many but led to brutal slaughter of many others. Given half a chance, the masses will always clamor for a re-match.
Livingston at a slightly later date stated,
There is too much at stake to allow pride of passion to influence your decision. Never for a moment believe that the great body of the citizens of any State or States can deliberately intend to do wrong. They may, under influence of temporary excitement or misguided opinions, commit mistakes; they may be misled for a time by the suggestions of self-interest; but in a community so enlightened and patriotic as the people of the United States, argument will soon make them sensible of their errors, and when convinced they will be ready to repair them.”
A belief in the inherent decency and rational sense of the American people often reads like empty rhetoric in this day, especially when so much ink gets spilled about how clueless and uninformed are the average citizen. However, in this instance, modern day Senators and Representatives would be wise to heed the wishes of those whose trust they are the supposed stewards. Poll after poll has shown a slow, but nonetheless undeniable upward tick in support of Public Option and other reforms. Legislators, much like we ourselves, seem to be caught in that eternal quandary, pondering whether the commoners can act in their own best interest, or whether it is the unenviable burden of the elites to superimpose their own will in its place. The paramount lesson to be learned here is that Americans are frequently slow to warm to and inherently suspicious of expansive change, no matter whether or not self-interest is keenly involved.
Speaking specifically to the months-long debate with ourselves and our government, whichever health care bill is passed may likely include a provision whereby states can opt-out of a means to establish parity among health care providers, and no matter how what blend of incentives or threats of consequences, many GOP-dominated states simply will not follow suit. The often unsatisfying compromise between centralized power and regional control known as Federalism will often materialize in these situations. Both perspectives, either for or against are under-girded by a strong sense of distrust of distant bodies and corresponding fear of corruption. Certain, usually conservative states are fearful of Washington’s seemingly limitless expansive control into their own affairs and even more fearful of Capitol Hill’s perceived incompetence and wasteful behavior. The destructive power of yahoo moralizing, especially when wedded to a fear of the bumbling, slothful behavior of nameless Federal Government bureaucrats remains a force, particularly in solidly red states. Those who would keep our union together have no choice but to navigate this rocky course and in so doing cobble together one unsatisfying compromise measure after another.
Even so, I do believe that much good will stem from reform, whenever it shall arrive on President Obama’s desk, and though the deletion of certain particulars is not exactly to my liking, I will have to grit my teeth and live with the cards I am dealt. It is foolish to wish for failure in the hopes that dismal outcomes will produce eventual success based on public outcry and this goes for Olympic games, the success of the first African-American President, or health care reform. Instead I wish for resounding positive results and with it the recognition that there will be an inevitable need to tweak or slightly modify the existing framework with the passage of time. Perhaps a true public option will arrive with time, once states that refuse to participate recognize the great benefit other states derive from its existence. We ought to have learned by now that all or nothing thinking isn’t just unfair, it goes against logic itself. The American people, after years of being talked to like children are being faced with a very adult decision, and unaccustomed to such treatment, do not quite know how to respond. My hope, as it is always, is that all Americans are invited to the table and in so doing dealt a hand, so as best able to recognize that the political process is frequently a high stakes game of chance and strategy.
“There are legitimate and effectual means to correct any palpable infraction of our Constitution,” he said, “Let the cry of Constitutional oppression be justly raised within these walls, and it will be heard abroad–it will be examined; the people are intelligent, the people are just, and in time these characteristics must have an effect on their Representatives.”
May it be so.