Tag: ek Politics

Barack Hussein Obama Shuts Down National Labor Relations Board

And censors them.

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A fierce advocate indeed-

“The House of Representatives is expected to soon vote on a funding proposal that contains drastic cuts to several federal agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board. The proposal would eliminate $50 million from this small administrative agency, or 18% of its total annual budget. Because the reduction would be squeezed into the final 7 months of the fiscal year, the cuts would be felt even more deeply – representing the equivalent of one-third of remaining 2011 funding.

Nearly all of the agency’s budget is spent on salaries and rents; there are no programs to eliminate or postpone. The only way to meet this extreme and immediate reduction would be to furlough all of the NLRB’s 1,665 employees for 55 workdays, or nearly three months, between now and the end of September. The great majority of these employees work far from Washington D.C., in 51 local offices, where every NLRB case begins. The economic impact of this cut would be felt by families and communities in 33 states.

If enacted, the House proposal could force the NLRB to curtail all agency operations, including investigating alleged illegal practices by private sector employers and unions, conducting workplace elections, and helping to settle election-related disputes. Regulation of a broad range of conduct, such as unlawful lockouts of workers, termination of union organizers, refusals to bargain with unions selected by workers, unilateral changes to contract provisions covering such things as health insurance and pensions, unlawful strikes, picket line violence, and secondary boycotts, would be stalled if this proposal were adopted.

NLRB: White House Muzzled Us In Budget Debate

Ryan Grimm, The Huffington Post

Posted: 03/ 9/11 11:08 AM

The White House demanded that the NLRB scrub the statement defending the agency from its website, an NLRB spokesperson told The Huffington Post.



The White House pushback against the NLRB would sound familiar to Wisconsin demonstrators. The Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America, the group that is a remnant of Obama’s ’08 campaign operation, initially got strongly behind the pro-labor protests. But after the GOP criticized the White House for its involvement, an administration spokesman told The New York Times that “the White House had done nothing to encourage the demonstrations in Wisconsin,” as paraphrased by reporter Jackie Calmes.

Of course, this President is almost entirely absent from the Budget debate, except when it comes to throwing core Democratic Principles and Constituencies under the bus.

Obama Tries to Re-Engage on Budget with 9 Days Until Government Shutdown

By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake

Wednesday March 9, 2011 11:06 am

The President has been completely disengaged on the budget battle in Congress, preferring to let them battle it out while he jets around the country and says “win the future” a lot. And some members of Congress are sick of it. Now, part of this is Congress wanting to share the blame with the White House for whatever comes out. But the other part is a recognition that the caucus is rootless and without direction, and only a party leader can come in and impose that. The fact that Obama set Joe Biden to the task of working out a compromise, only to have Biden leave for Europe for a week, is testimony to the fact that there’s something wrong with this lack of engagement. When Joe Manchin, who I think got to the Senate three days ago, is calling you out for a failure of leadership, there’s a problem of engagement.

Why did we elect him again?  Oh, he claims to be a Democrat.

Well, he’s not.

And he’s not even doing his job, he’s just an AWOL deserter.

How much is that Sheepskin worth?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Krugman points out today that Education is no substitute for a Job and as someone who has programmed I’ll tell you flat out there is no repetitive task I can’t automate (well, once I install my compliers and linkers and blow the dust off my language skills).

Sort of off topic, I’m looking for a script that will cycle through a Soapblox database (they’re sequentially ordered) and save the page with contents, links, and comments to a hard drive so I can burn offline archive CDs and DVDs for the authors on our sites.

Yes, I could do it myself, but it’s mind numbing grundge work of the type suitable only for interns and computers.

Degrees and Dollars

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: March 6, 2011

(T)he idea that modern technology eliminates only menial jobs, that well-educated workers are clear winners, may dominate popular discussion, but it’s actually decades out of date.

The fact is that since 1990 or so the U.S. job market has been characterized not by a general rise in the demand for skill, but by “hollowing out”: both high-wage and low-wage employment have grown rapidly, but medium-wage jobs – the kinds of jobs we count on to support a strong middle class – have lagged behind. And the hole in the middle has been getting wider: many of the high-wage occupations that grew rapidly in the 1990s have seen much slower growth recently, even as growth in low-wage employment has accelerated.



(A)ny routine task – a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs – is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules – a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors – will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress.

And here’s the thing: Most of the manual labor still being done in our economy seems to be of the kind that’s hard to automate. Notably, with production workers in manufacturing down to about 6 percent of U.S. employment, there aren’t many assembly-line jobs left to lose. Meanwhile, quite a lot of white-collar work currently carried out by well-educated, relatively well-paid workers may soon be computerized. Roombas are cute, but robot janitors are a long way off; computerized legal research and computer-aided medical diagnosis are already here.



(T)here are things education can’t do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer – we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.

Pollution

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

My activist brother often tells me that the reason we have to constantly re-fight the battles of the past is that we didn’t crush these bone head brain dead assholes the way we should have in the first place.

I’m inclined to agree.

Remember Cuyahoga?

3 Dems join GOP fight to block EPA climate rules

By DINA CAPPIELLO, Forbes

03.03.11, 04:49 PM EST

WASHINGTON — Three Democrats are joining a Republican effort in the House to block the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing the gases blamed for global warming.

Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma will sponsor a bill supported by 42 Senate and seven House Republicans that would bar the EPA from using federal law to control greenhouse gases from power plants, refineries and other industrial facilities.

The measure is the latest to be introduced in the Republican-controlled House, where at least a half-dozen bills target the EPA and its efforts to control air and water pollution.

Direct Non-Violent Action

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The facts are hardly in dispute.  On December 19th, 2008 W gave his Oil and Gas crony capitalist buddy’s a parting gift by auctioning off 130,000 acres of leases on Public Lands near environmentally sensitive National Parks and Monuments.

Tim DeChristopher, an economics major at the University of Utah, registered as a bidder and succeeded in obtaining leases to 22,500 acres for the bargain price of $1.7 Million and running up the bids on even more.

“We were hosed,” said Jason Blake of Park City, shortly after the consulting geologist was outbid on a 320-acre parcel. “It’s very frustrating.”

Upon coming to office Interior Secretary Salazar suspended processing of the sales, many of which were later blocked in Federal Court.  DeChristopher was arrested and his trial starts today on two counts- Making a False Statement and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act.  If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

DeChristopher had offered to cover the bill with an Internet fundraising campaign, but the government refused to accept any of the money after the fact.

Federal prosecutors have acknowledged that DeChristopher is the only person ever charged with failing to make good on bids at a lease auction of public lands in Utah.

“There’s people who didn’t have the money, but they didn’t have the intent to disrupt” the auction, assistant U.S. attorney John Huber told The Associated Press in 2009.

Thank you Barack Hussein Obama, fierce advocate for the environment.

MISO- not just fermented soybeans anymore

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is illegal.

It’s not even a close call.

Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators

By Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone

February 23, 2011 11:55 PM ET

The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as “information operations” at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.

“My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.”



The incident offers an indication of just how desperate the U.S. command in Afghanistan is to spin American civilian leaders into supporting an increasingly unpopular war. According to the Defense Department’s own definition, psy-ops – the use of propaganda and psychological tactics to influence emotions and behaviors – are supposed to be used exclusively on “hostile foreign groups.” Federal law forbids the military from practicing psy-ops on Americans, and each defense authorization bill comes with a “propaganda rider” that also prohibits such manipulation. “Everyone in the psy-ops, intel, and IO community knows you’re not supposed to target Americans,” says a veteran member of another psy-ops team who has run operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It’s what you learn on day one.”



Holmes believed that using his team to target American civilians violated the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which was passed by Congress to prevent the State Department from using Soviet-style propaganda techniques on U.S. citizens. But when Holmes brought his concerns to Col. Gregory Breazile, the spokesperson for the Afghan training mission run by Caldwell, the discussion ended in a screaming match. “It’s not illegal if I say it isn’t!” Holmes recalls Breazile shouting.

Please note that this took place on Barack Obama’s watch, in defense of Barack Obama’s failed Afghanistan policy.

Glenn Greenwald Update below.

Solidarity Saturday

Tomorrow, Saturday, starting at noon there will be solidarity rallies for Wisconson workers at every Statehouse in America as well as some other locations.  Moveon.org has this handy tool that will help you find one close to you.

If you happen to have a cheesehead it would certainly be appropriate and how many times can you say that?  Moveon suggests Badger colors (red and white) perhaps because red is a labor color, I don’t think Packer green and gold would be out of place either (they are unionized and currently in negotiations with management).

I do seriously encourage any who can to take the time and attend.  It is my hope that this will be as large as the demonstrations in favor of immigration and against the war in Iraq.

Thank you in advance.

ek hornbeck

Below the fold a message from Bob Fertik of Democracy.com.

All Mobbed Up

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

One of the things about Juries is that they are ‘finders of fact’.  After a Jury has determined the ‘facts’ of a case you can pound the table all you want, but it better be about the law, otherwise you’re just pounding the table.

So upon his conviction we can say that it’s factually true that former Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella took $997,600 from prison developer Robert Mericle, which he also failed to report on his financial disclosure forms or pay taxes on.

Now Ciavarella’s attorneys claim this is a mighty ‘victory’ for their client since he was not found guilty of actually ‘Extorting’ the money and intend to appeal and, like the abusers of Bonasera’s daughter, he walked out of the courtroom free pending.

What prosecutors chose not to make an issue of is exactly what ‘services’ Mark Ciavarella provided for nearly $1 million.

He sentenced hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent children to prison ruining their lives and those of their families.

Now on the bribery, failure to disclose, and tax evasion counts, Ciavarella is technically liable for up to 157 years of hard time and he’s already been ordered to forfeit the money, but even if he loses his appeal he’s unlikely to serve more than 12 or 15 years.

I personally think that’s too good for someone who’s systemically perverted our justice system and the rule of law from a position of public trust, privilege, and power.  He should rot in Spandau for the rest of his long, long miserable life and die alone, despised and forgotten.

Oh, you want to know about the all mobbed up thing.

Pa. judge guilty of racketeering in kickback case

Associated Press

6 hours ago

Officials disclosed for the first time Friday that they were led to the judges by the reputed boss of a northeastern Pennsylvania Mafia family. William D’Elia – who regularly met for breakfast with Conahan – became a government informant after his 2006 arrest on charges of witness tampering and conspiracy to launder drug money.

“D’Elia led us to Judge Conahan,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod. “From there we began to focus on them, the financial dealings between Judge Conahan, Judge Ciavarella, Mericle, Powell.”

I said that I would see you because I had heard that you were a serious man, to be treated with respect. But I must say no to you and let me give you my reasons. It’s true I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn’t be so friendly if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling which they consider a harmless vice. But drugs, that’s a dirty business.

A Policy of Evasion and Deception

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

(h/t emptywheel)

Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

  • Man codenamed Curveball ‘invented’ tales of bioweapons
  • Iraqi told lies to try to bring down Saddam Hussein regime
  • Fabrications used by US as justification for invasion

Martin Chulov and Helen Pidd in Karlsruhe, The Guardian

Tuesday 15 February 2011 12.58 GMT

The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.



The admission comes just after the eighth anniversary of Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations in which the then-US secretary of state relied heavily on lies that Janabi had told the German secret service, the BND. It also follows the release of former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s memoirs, in which he admitted Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction programme.



Janabi claimed he was first exposed as a liar as early as mid-2000, when the BND travelled to a Gulf city, believed to be Dubai, to speak with his former boss at the Military Industries Commission in Iraq, Dr Bassil Latif.

The Guardian has learned separately that British intelligence officials were at that meeting, investigating a claim made by Janabi that Latif’s son, who was studying in Britain, was procuring weapons for Saddam.

That claim was proven false, and Latif strongly denied Janabi’s claim of mobile bioweapons trucks and another allegation that 12 people had died during an accident at a secret bioweapons facility in south-east Baghdad.

The German officials returned to confront him with Latif’s version. “He says, ‘There are no trucks,’ and I say, ‘OK, when [Latif says] there no trucks then [there are none],'” Janabi recalled.

February 5, 2003-

Part 1

Parts 2 through 5 and transcript below.

Good News?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Sitting at the Stars Hollow News Desk is kind of draining most times.  It’s not really the 2 hours a day, which you get used to, it’s that the news is almost uniformly bad.

However since yesterday a few items have come to my attention that are at least somewhat encouraging.

Firstly, the Japanese "scientific research" whale hunt has been suspended about a month early and with only about 10% of the projected catch of 1000.  Japan is blaming Sea Shepherd for creating “unsafe conditions” for its crews, but in fact the decision is probably based at least as much on declining demand for whale meat (over 6000 tons, a record, is in cold storage and annual per capita consumption is a mere 4 sashimi style slices a year) and growing international opposition including a suit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague from Australia, a top Japanese trading partner, that is expected to be adjudicated in 2013.  This is a pleasant surprise after last year’s effort to raise quotas at the International Whaling Commission.

There are also rumors that David Patreus is going to be rotated out of his position as commander of the ISAF.  The down side of this is that he’ll probably fail upwards to Chairman of the JCS, the up side of this is that it will provide an opportunity for Obama to break with Patreus’ strategy of endless occupation and airstrikes.

Well, we can hope.

Finally, even though the controversial Patriot Act Extension passed, it will only be for 3 months.  As dday puts it-

Ultimately, this probably only means that the Senate will spend a week of debate three months from now and then extend the whole thing past the Presidential election. But it’s so rare that civil libertarians see even a minor speed bump in the rush to deprive liberty, and even with the three-month extension, that’s what this represents.

My niece works at a T-Shirt kiosk in the Mall and this year for Christmas she got me one that says-

Optimist

… like that does any good.

Frontier Justice

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Shawna Forde is a racist bigoted xenophobe.  She’s also a murderer.

For years she’s led Minutemen American Defense, a Militia in Arizona targeting Hispanics, and in 2009 she started robbing Hispanics she thought to be ‘drug dealers’ to raise money for the purchase of some property where she could organize and train her domestic terrorists.  Armed robbery is a tactic much favored by readers of The Turner Diaries.

On May 30th, 2009 she and 3 accomplices knocked on the door of Raul Flores identifying themselves as Police Officers.  When he asked to see her badge (“Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”) her accomplice Jason Bush shot Raul Flores dead; shot his wife, Gina Marie, severely wounding her; and finally, while she begged and pleaded for life, put 2 bullets in the head of his 9 year old daughter, Brisenia.

The murders left the home for a few moments and Gina Marie was able to get to the kitchen and call 911.  Shawna Forde and Jason Bush found her on the phone and Shawna ordered Jason to ‘finish her off’.

In a development that will warm the cockles of every NRA member’s heart, Gina Marie had armed herself and after an exchange of fire the murderers fled.

Yesterday Shawna Forde was convicted of murder after 7 hours of deliberation.

Forde convicted in killing of Arivaca man, daughter

Kim Smith, Arizona Daily Star

Monday, February 14, 2011 11:27 am

Jurors must now decide if the facts of the case warrant the possibility of the death penalty.

I’m against the death penalty.  I think she should rot in jail for the rest of her long. long miserable life until she finally passes alone and naturally, despised and forgotten.

And please remember, this is just an isolated incident.

While you were sleeping

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Troll_nicht_fuettern_urversionI know the Egyptian Revolution has been big news, but also over the last few days a story has been developing about how Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have been hiring law firms and private security companies to attack progressive institutions and individuals.

In summary the story goes like this-

Security Firms Pitching Bank of America on WikiLeaks Response Proposed Targeting Glenn Greenwald

By: emptywheel, Wednesday February 9, 2011 8:49 am

On Saturday, private security firm HBGary Federal bragged to the FT that it had discovered who key members of the hacking group Anonymous are. In response, Anonymous hacked HB Gary Federal and got 44,000 of their emails and made them publicly available.



As TechHerald reports, among those documents was a presentation, “The Wikileaks Threat,” put together by three data intelligence firms for Bank of America in December. As part of it, they put together what they claimed was a list of important contributors to WikiLeaks. They suggested that Glenn Greenwald’s support was key to WikiLeaks’ ongoing survival.

Now at the time the big joke was these security firms had the sadly mistaken impression that Glenn Greenwald is the kind of person who would respond to blackmail threats by putting “professional preservation” before “cause” and principle.  But the rabbit hole is deeper than that Alice.

Our Global Elites

Italian prosecutors push for speedy trial in Berlusconi prostitution case

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has weathered many scandals during his career, could be in court within weeks to face charges related to underage prostitution.

By Nick Squires, Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor

February 9, 2011

The prosecutors in Milan said they had “sufficient evidence” for the case to be sent to trial without the need for preliminary hearings, meaning the prime minister could face court within weeks.



Prosecutors have accused Berlusconi of paying to have sexual relations with a 17-year-old nightclub dancer, Karima el-Mahroug. Investigators also allege that the prime minister abused his office by putting pressure on police in Milan to have the Moroccan-born teenager released from custody after she was arrested on suspicion of theft – an allegation that carries a maximum 12-year prison term.

Berlusconi has admitted personally calling a police station in Milan to intervene in the case, justifying his actions by saying that he believed Ms. Mahroug’s claim that she was the granddaughter of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.

More from The Guardian.

Of course he still fucked her, even though he believed that.  That’s kind of disrespectful to Muslims don’t you think?

And in other news showing how utterly corrupt our Global Elites are-

Nicolas Sarkozy orders ministers to holiday in France

President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday ordered ministers to pay the ultimate price after two scandals over hospitality from disputed North African leaders and take all their holidays in France.

By Henry Samuel, The Telegraph

5:52PM GMT 09 Feb 2011

The presidential order came a day after François Fillon, the prime minister, admitted taking a holiday in Egypt with his family paid for by President Hosni Mubarak’s government.

His admission came as Michèle Alliot-Marie, the foreign minister, fended off calls to resign for taking a hospitality jet while on holiday in Tunisia over Christmas and with unrest under way. The plane belonged to a Tunisian billionaire close to the country’s ousted president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.



“The crumbling of the public spirit has reached the very top of the state,” said Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Socialist parliamentary leader who had led calls for Mrs Alliot-Marie to resign. Mr Fillon pledged to propose a law to curb conflicts of interest “in the coming weeks”.

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