09/09/2010 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Suicide bomber kills 16 at Russian market

by Dina Teziyeva, AFP

26 mins ago

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia (AFP) – A suicide car bomber killed at least 16 people and injured more than 100 Thursday at a market in the Russian Caucasus, the deadliest militant strike for months in the troubled region.

Officials said the blast in the city of Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia was caused by a suicide bomber who drove up to a local market in an explosives-packed car and whose headless body was later discovered.

The head of the FSB security service, Alexander Bortnikov, announced Thursday evening that three people had been detained on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

New York Times Editorial: Torture Is a Crime, Not a Secret

Five men who say the Bush administration sent them to other countries to be tortured had a chance to be the first ones to have torture claims heard in court. But because the Obama administration decided to adopt the Bush administration’s claim that hearing the case would divulge state secrets, the men’s lawsuit was tossed out on Wednesday  by the full United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The decision diminishes any hope that this odious practice will finally receive the legal label it deserves: a violation of international law.


The state secrets doctrine is so blinding and powerful that it should be invoked only when the most grave national security matters are at stake – nuclear weapons details, for example, or the identity of covert agents. It should not be used to defend against allegations that if true, as the dissenting judges wrote, would be “gross violations of the norms of international law.”

All too often in the past, the judges pointed out, secrecy privileges have been used to avoid embarrassing the government, not to protect real secrets. In this case, the embarrassment and the shame to America’s reputation are already too well known.

The Talking Dog: Transparency You can Believe In

Surprise, surprise. Obama and Holder sold us out on the grand daddy of them all– the political decision to keep the promise it made at no cost… no fear of filibuster, no need to bribe Bart Stupek or Ben Nelson, no nothin’… just a willingness to honor Obama’s own God damned campaign promises. Too much to ask. Too much to ask.

As the great Charlie Savage tells us in this piece in the Grey Lady, a sharply divided panel of the (almost) full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, by a 6-5 vote, issued a decision upholding the Bush Administration’s Obama Administration’s assertion of a “state secrets” as a get out of jail free card for torturers, in this case, to short circuit a lawsuit brought by the ACLU against Boeing’s Jeppesen subsidiary, a/k/a, the torture taxi company, which supplied specially outfitted aircraft used by the CIA in extraordinary rendition international f***ing Wild West kidnappings of people from anywhere on Earth for transport to torture.

Interestingly, what I haven’t seen being reported are the implications of a pair of recusals. The first is an evident recusal on the 9th Circuit itself, that of former Justice Dept. Legal Counsel Jay Bybee, now a Judge on… the 9th Circuit. I did not see Bybee’s name on the decision, and as he is clearly an active member of the Court, I’m guessing that as an architect of the “torture is legal if we do it” policy (or at least the guy who history will find as the guy who signed off on the memos that John Yoo wrote to David Addington’s order)…recused himself. One assumes Bybee’s participation would have made the decision 7-5 to reverse, but it is somewhat interesting to me that it hasn’t been commented on.

Fear Factor

So yesterday we saw in real time the panicky Institutional Democratic strategy of scaring the “professional” Left into Clapping Louder! LOUDER!!! unravel before our eyes.  Yet this lefty among others was oddly unmoved.  Why is that?

Perhaps it has something to do with an analysis like this-

Why Should I Care? Leaders Lack Good Reasons to Vote For Democrats – or Against Republicans

By: Jon Walker, Wednesday September 8, 2010 6:45 pm

For the past two years, Democrats have at every turn repeated the completely fictitious “you need 60 votes in the Senate” myth to duck accountability and justify their wasteful corporate giveaways. Even if the Democrats do manage to hold on to the House and Senate, they will have only tiny majorities in both. With only 53 Democratic senators, there is no hope that Democrats can pass anything substantial-things on which they have already failed to act -as long as they are committed to giving the Republican minority some sort of quasi-parliamentary veto power.

On the flip side, there is no way Republicans can win the House and a 60-seat majority in the Senate (let alone the 67-vote majorities they would need to override an Obama veto). I’ve been told for two years a mere 59 Democrats in the Senate are powerless due to the filibuster; by this same logic, we have nothing to fear from Republican gains because they will never be able to get anything through a Democratic filibuster, and even if they do, Obama can veto it.

Given the Democrats’ Congressional paralysis of the last year, and Obama’s veto power, the fear mongering over sweeping Republican changes is baseless. I’ve heard only two legitimate policy cases for why a Democratic base would really not want Republicans to take the House this year. The first is that Obama is a secret conservative who will happily join a triumphant Speaker Boehner in passing the Republican platform. (Note: claiming your president is secretly excited to work against the party’s own platform is not a good way to increase base enthusiasm.) The second is that if Republicans control the House, Obama won’t be able to take a piss without Darrel Issa subpoenaing the urinal, making it impossible for Obama to get anything done. Sadly, this argument would resonate better if Obama had used his powers during some part of the current session to bypass Republican obstruction and advance progressive goals (like quickly putting Elizabeth Warren in charge of the CFPB, for instance).

Rahm’s golden parachute is insufficient.  We need heads on pikes and changes in policy.

On This Day in History: September 9

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

September 9 is the 252nd day of the year (253rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 113 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, Congress renames the nation “United States of America”.

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress formally declares the name of the new nation to be the “United States” of America. This replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use.

In the Congressional declaration dated September 9, 1776, the delegates wrote, “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the “United States.”

The Lee Resolution, also known as the resolution of independence, was an act of the Second Continental Congress declaring the United Colonies to be independent of the British Empire. First proposed on June 7, 1776, by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, after receiving instructions from the Virginia Convention and its President, Edmund Pendleton  (in fact Lee used, almost verbatim, the language from the instructions in his resolution). Voting on the resolution was delayed for several weeks while support for independence was consolidated. On June 11, a Committee of Five  was appointed to prepare a document to explain the reasons for independence. The resolution was finally approved on July 2, 1776, and news of its adoption was published that evening in the Pennsylvania Evening Post and the next day in the Pennsylvania Gazette. The text of the document formally announcing this action, the United States Declaration of Independence, was approved on July 4.

Aggregate Demand

More Economics.

The Tortoise Economy

by Robert Reich

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

After a typical recession, growth surges until the economy reemerges from whatever hole it fell into and returns to its normal growth path. Usually that surge isn’t difficult to accomplish once the upswing begins because all the assets the economy needs to get back to its old path are readily available – lots of people who have been laid off or have come into the job market and been unable to find work, unused office and retail space, factories and equipment that had been idled. After the economy returns to normal and almost all these people and physical assets are back to work, growth slows to its normal pace.

But this time it’s not happening that way. More than two and a half years after the Great Recession began, many months after we hit bottom and when in a normal “recovery” we’d expect growth to surge, the opposite is happening. Growth is slowing.

The underlying problem is structural, not cyclical. There will be no return to normal because normal got us into the hole in the first place. And the normal kind of prescriptions can’t possibly get us out. Until the economy is restructured so more Americans share in its gains, the economy won’t make many gains. We’ll be forever trying to scale a wall that can’t be, because the vast majority of Americans lack the purchasing power to move upward.

The current battle is over the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts.  Whether for the rich or just those under $250K they are by definition NOT STIMULATIVE.  It doesn’t add anything to aggregate demand because it’s money you already have.  It is not being spent to create new demand.

Likewise business tax cuts.  Businesses are already sitting on $2 Trillion that they are not spending because there is no demand for the goods and services they produce.  They are awash in cash and credit and giving them any more is like pushing a string.

That leaves Government and they have 2 choices, give money to people who will spend it (which is why giving to the poorest is the most stimulative, because they’ll definitely spend and not save it thus creating demand), OR spending it themselves.  The only “stimulative” part of Obama’s new proposal is the $50 Billion spent on Infrastructure and it’s not enough.  The rest of the money is wasted pushing string and if you claim to care about “deficits” (and the bond market says you shouldn’t even if you’re not a Modern Monetary Theorist) you’re a hypocritical liar to support that and not the spending.

IF you wish to increase aggregate demand AND not increase the deficit THEN you should be talking about explicitly redistributionist policies that take money away from those who are not spending it to create demand and giving it to those who will.

Supply side economics is “Voodoo Economics”.  It has been tried and it has failed.  Spectacularly.

The most economically productive period in American History is the 40s, 50s, and 60s when the concentration of wealth was lower, the marginal tax rates higher, and business more regulated.

It’s amazing to me that those most anxious to turn back the clock socially are the most reluctant to do so economically.

Morning Shinbun Thursday September 9

Thursday’s Headlines:

US soldiers ‘killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies

Spiral galaxy like our own shines with pink clouds


We will burn hundreds of copies of the Koran, insists Florida church

Political controversy over Islam surrounds 9/11 anniversary


Turkish rafting guides still risking lives, says father of drowned schoolgirl

Spanish arson suspect is former forest ranger

Middle East

Robert Fisk: The lie behind mass ‘suicides’ of Egypt’s young women

U.S. Says Killings Won’t Affect Iraq Mission


Pakistan stares into a void

Andal Jr massacre executor


Fear of fresh violence in Nigeria

Latin America

Fidel Castro: Cuban model no longer works

Prime Time

Well this is interesting, Keith on Dave without a cancellation by Johnny "Wet Start" McCain.

The new episode of Man v. Wild, Fan v. Wild, is an interesting concept.  They had a contest to pick a fan to tag along with Bear.  Should be fun.


Dave hosts Julianna Margulies, Keith Olbermann and The Black Angels.  Jon has Tim Kaine (loser), Stephen Biden and Odierno as part of his salute to the Troops special.  Alton does Choux.

Boondocks, It’s Goin’ Down, the Season 3 Finale.  Highly watchable, number 3 on my list.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 BP takes share of blame for Gulf of Mexico oil spill

by Ben Perry, AFP

28 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – Energy giant BP sought to spread the blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Wednesday as it defended itself against tens of billions of dollars in potential fines and legal liabilities.

As expected in the findings of its own inquiry, BP did not admit “gross negligence” for the April 20 explosion that killed 11 people and unleashed 4.9 million barrels of oil in the worst-ever maritime spill.

The disaster was due to a “sequence of failures” BP said, as it exonerated its well design and apportioned a large share of the blame to mistakes made by rig owner Transocean and Halliburton, which cemented the well.