Daily Archive: 11/12/2010

Nov 12 2010

Military Academy Cadets on Glenn Beck in Uniform 20101112

I scanned the recommended and recent diaries and found no entry for this.  I usually do not refer to The SOBber by his real name, but thought that it might be important to do so to get your attention.  Airing as I write this, the entire studio audience of the aforementioned show consist of uniformed Military Academy Cadets.

Something seems to be quite out of order for this to happen.  Whilst it might not be a violation of law, it certainly is a violation of good sense.  Several things come to mind.  Please follow below the fold.

Nov 12 2010

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Pundits is 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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Jane Hamsher: Obama Twists Own Arm, Says “Uncle” to Extending Bush Tax Cuts

Political mastermind David Axelrod says the White House is ready to cave in the wake of imaginary overwhelming pressure to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, exacerbating the “deficit” problem they’ve been completely obsessed with:

President Barack Obama’s top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration was ready to accept an across-the-board continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.

That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week’s electoral defeat.

“We have to deal with the world as we find it,” Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. “The world of what it takes to get this done.”

Me or David Axelrod – one of us does not understand how congress works.

Lame duck.  Democrats still have the majority in the House. So they pass extensions for the middle class, excluding the ones for the wealthy.

Bill Quigley: Why George W. Bush Should Still Worry

Bush Pens True Crime Book, No Justice for CIA Destruction of 92 Torture Tapes

In his memoir (which some wise people have already moved in bookstores to the CRIME section) George W. Bush admitted that he authorized that detainees be waterboarded, tortured, a crime under US and international law.

Bush’s crime confession coincides with reports that no one will face criminal charges from the US Department of Justice for the destruction of 92 CIA videotapes which contained interrogations using waterboarding.

Where is the accountability for these crimes?  

Bush and other criminals will be brought to justice if the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) have their way.  

CCR and ECCHR jointly intervened into a criminal investigation in Spain examining the role of former civilian and military officials from the Bush administration in the commission of international law violations, including torture.  The investigation is ongoing and includes the crimes that Bush admitted he authorized.

John Nichols: The Fight Over Social Security’s Future Is On-But Which Side Is Obama On?

The debate about the future of Social Security has opened, and how progressives respond will decide whether the United States is a civil society or a pirate state where the government’s primary role is to take from the poor and give to the rich.

So far, the response has been mixed. The signals from the Obama White House are bad, with the president indicating openness to “compromises” that would compromise the legacies of the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. In contrast, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, key Congressional Democrats, labor unions and activist groups are raising all the right objections.

Matthew Rothschild: Shame on Holder and Panetta for Not Going after CIA Destruction of Torture Evidence

If you’ve been a cynic all along, you win again.

I’m referring to the decision this week by the Justice Department not to go after a senior official of the CIA who ordered the destruction of dozens of videotapes of the torture of terrorism suspects.

Remember, this wasn’t a low-level operative of the CIA going off on some rogue mission.

This was the guy who, at the time, was head of the agency’s clandestine service. His name is Jose Rodriguez, and he ordered his staff to destroy the visual evidence, which included a taping of a detainee being waterboarded.

Rodriguez’s lawyer calls him “a hero and a patriot.” I call him a criminal and a creep.

And the Justice Department a bunch of cowards. Attorney General Eric Holder should be ashamed of himself.

Nov 12 2010

Even Eugene Robinson Sorta Gets It

Sometimes, to persuade an ass, you need a 2 x 4.

Where’s the Democrats’ fighting spirit?

By Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post

Friday, November 12, 2010

“Why don’t they fight back?”

That’s the question I’ve been hearing from the Democratic Party’s stunned and dispirited base. For the past month, I’ve been on a book tour that has taken me to Asheville, N.C., Terre Haute, Ind., Austin and elsewhere. Everywhere I go, supporters of President Obama and his agenda ask me why so many Democrats in Washington don’t stand up for what they say they believe.



Now, which party holds the presidency and, until January, ample majorities in both houses of Congress? That would be the Democrats. Which party can point to public opinion polls indicating that Americans support its position that the Bush tax cuts should be extended only for the middle class? That, too, would be the Democrats. And finally, which party somehow appears to be looking for a way to lose this argument and capitulate? Incredibly, the Democrats.

The conventional wisdom in Washington is that those who say the lesson from last week’s drubbing is that progressives should get a spine simply “don’t get it.” The explanation given by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some others – that aside from stubbornly high unemployment, one contributing factor was the Democrats’ failure to explain their program and counter Republican misinformation – is seen by the conventionally wise as delusional.

So how’s that river working out for you?

Nov 12 2010

Not everybody loves you babe

This is an apocryphal story, or at least I can’t be bothered to source it, but it goes something like this-

During the height of the Space Program a famous Astronaut was eating dinner at a restaurant when a waiter came by and spit in his soup.  Said the waiter-

Not everybody loves you babe.

So after his election “shellacking” his handlers hustled Barack Obama out on the road to revisit his adoring overseas crowds.  How’d that work out for you?

Traveling in Asia, Obama’s Glow Dims

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, The New York Times

Published: November 12, 2010

Before leaving Washington for a 10-day diplomatic tour of Asia that he has characterized as an economic mission, Mr. Obama conceded that his relationship with the American people had come down from an “incredible high” and gotten “rockier and tougher” as time went on. But he said the same is not true of his relations with foreign leaders.



Mr. Obama seemed to stumble in Seoul. He failed to seal a deal with Mr. Lee on a long-awaited free-trade agreement, a serious setback for a president who has made doubling exports a centerpiece of his economic agenda. And his plan to even out global trade imbalances ran into resistance from Mr. Hu and Mrs. Merkel, among others. Mr. Obama chalked it up to international muscle-flexing.

It ain’t just a river babe.

Nov 12 2010

Dead on Arrival?

We can only hope.  Or changiness, I forget which.

In my piece yesterday, Democratic Party Death Wish, TheMomCat added a chart by Kevin Drum of Mother Jones that illustrates the “deficit” problem.  It’s kind of small so I’m blowing it up (I apologize for the sacrifice in resolution).

Photobucket

In case you can’t see it so well there are 3 blue colored areas and one thick blue line.

  • The light blue area at the bottom is labeled Other Federal Noninterest Spending
  • The dark blue area in the middle is labeled Social Security
  • The medium blue area at the top is labeled Medicare and Medicaid
  • The thick blue line is labeled Revenues

The thick blue line cuts through the big Medicare and Medicaid area and makes it look like there are two of them, but it’s really just the one.

Is the Deficit Commission Serious?

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

Wed Nov. 10, 2010 8:46 PM PST

Here’s what the chart means:

  • Discretionary spending (the light blue bottom chunk) isn’t a long-term deficit problem. It takes up about 10% of GDP forever. What’s more, pretending that it can be capped is just game playing: anything one Congress can do, another can undo. So if you want to recommend a few discretionary cuts, that’s fine. Beyond that, though, the discretionary budget should be left to Congress since it can be cut or expanded easily via the ordinary political process. That’s why it’s called “discretionary.”
  • Social Security (the dark blue middle chunk) isn’t a long-term deficit problem. It goes up very slightly between now and 2030 and then flattens out forever. If Republicans were willing to get serious and knock off their puerile anti-tax jihad, it could be fixed easily with a combination of tiny tax increases and tiny benefit cuts phased in over 20 years that the public would barely notice. It deserves about a week of deliberation.
  • Medicare, and healthcare in general, is a huge problem. It is, in fact, our only real long-term spending problem.



Bottom line: this document isn’t really aimed at deficit reduction. It’s aimed at keeping government small. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re a conservative think tank and that’s what you’re dedicated to selling. But it should be called by its right name. This document is a paean to cutting the federal government, not cutting the federal deficit.

Now consider Krugman-

The Hijacked Commission

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: November 11, 2010

We’ve known for a long time, then, that nothing good would come from the commission. But on Wednesday, when the co-chairmen released a PowerPoint outlining their proposal, it was even worse than the cynics expected.

Start with the declaration of “Our Guiding Principles and Values.” Among them is, “Cap revenue at or below 21% of G.D.P.” This is a guiding principle? And why is a commission charged with finding every possible route to a balanced budget setting an upper (but not lower) limit on revenue?

Matters become clearer once you reach the section on tax reform. The goals of reform, as Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson see them, are presented in the form of seven bullet points. “Lower Rates” is the first point; “Reduce the Deficit” is the seventh.



(W)hat the co-chairmen are proposing is a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases – tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. They suggest eliminating tax breaks that, whatever you think of them, matter a lot to middle-class Americans – the deductibility of health benefits and mortgage interest – and using much of the revenue gained thereby, not to reduce the deficit, but to allow sharp reductions in both the top marginal tax rate and in the corporate tax rate.



It’s no mystery what has happened on the deficit commission: as so often happens in modern Washington, a process meant to deal with real problems has been hijacked on behalf of an ideological agenda. Under the guise of facing our fiscal problems, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson are trying to smuggle in the same old, same old – tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net.

My emphasis.

The truth is that the Catfood Commission wasn’t hijacked at all.  It was set up by Barack Hussein Obama and his Administration to produce exactly the results it did-

(T)his document isn’t really aimed at deficit reduction. It’s aimed at keeping government small. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re a conservative think tank and that’s what you’re dedicated to selling. But it should be called by its right name. This document is a paean to cutting the federal government, not cutting the federal deficit.

To her credit here is Nancy Pelosi’s official take

This proposal is simply unacceptable. Any final proposal from the Commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren’s economic security as well as for our nation’s fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare. And it must strengthen America’s middle class families-under siege for the last decade, and unable to withstand further encroachment on their economic security.

Nov 12 2010

On This Day in History: November 12

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

November 12 is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 49 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1775, Upon hearing of England’s rejection of the so-called Olive Branch Petition on this day in 1775, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John:

The intelegance you will receive before this reaches you, will I should think make a plain path, tho a dangerous one for you. I could not join to day in the petitions of our worthy parson, for a reconciliation between our, no longer parent State, but tyrant State, and these Colonies. — Let us seperate, they are unworthy to be our Breathren. Let us renounce them and instead of suplications as formorly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseach the almighty to blast their counsels and bring to Nought all their devices.

The previous July, Congress had adopted the Olive Branch Petition, written by John Dickinson, which appealed directly to King George III and expressed hope for reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain. Dickinson, who hoped desperately to avoid a final break with Britain, phrased colonial opposition to British policy as follows:

“Your Majesty’s Ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.”

Abigail Adams’ response was a particularly articulate expression of many colonists’ thoughts: Patriots had hoped that Parliament had curtailed colonial rights without the king’s full knowledge, and that the petition would cause him to come to his subjects’ defense. When George III refused to read the petition, Patriots like Adams realized that Parliament was acting with royal knowledge and support. Americans’ patriotic rage was intensified with the January 1776 publication by English-born radical Thomas Paine of Common Sense, an influential pamphlet that attacked the monarchy, which Paine claimed had allowed “crowned ruffians” to “impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears.”

Nov 12 2010

Morning Shinbun Friday November 12




Friday’s Headlines:

New evidence may write Lindbergh out of history as first to fly Atlantic

USA

Foreclosure mess prompts growing number of public officials to slow down process

To Congress With Mantra, ‘Why Not Me?’

Europe

Irish Debt Causing New Jitters Across Europe

EU safety regulator orders A380 engine inspection

Middle East

How Lebanon can’t escape the shadow of Hariri’s murder

No relief from easing of Gaza blockade, says UN director

Asia

UK fears North Korean attack on Seoul G20 summit

A date with destiny for Aung San Suu Kyi

Africa

Public urged to halt requests to Nelson Mandela

Guinea delays election results

G-20 leaders not inclined to compromise

At the Group of 20 summit in Seoul, Obama’s effort to win consensus on a unified approach to boost the world economy appears doomed, raising the specter of countries pursuing their own interests.

By Christi Parsons, John M. Glionna and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times

November 12, 2010


Reporting from Seoul – President Obama appeared to fall short in his attempt to forge a unified approach to boosting the global economy as a frequently rancorous meeting of world leaders seemed set to conclude in Seoul on Friday without agreement on specific steps to avert damaging currency and trade wars.

Leaders of the world’s biggest economies showed that they were in no mood to compromise during the two-day summit. Instead, they were headed toward broad, general pledges that did little to mask their inability to find common ground for immediate action.

Nov 12 2010

Prime Time

Broadcast?  Mostly premiers.

Lance Corporal Dawson, Private First Class Downey: On the charge of murder, the members find the accused not guilty. On the charge of conspiracy to commit murder, the members find the accused not guilty. On the charge of conduct unbecoming a United States Marine, the members find the accused guilty as charged. The accused are hereby sentenced to time already served, and you are ordered to be dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps. This court martial is adjourned.

All rise.

What does that mean? What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.

Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn’t fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.

“(Miami is) not a serious Basketball Town”- ESPN

Later-

Dave hosts Cher and Bruno Mars.  Jon has Rosario Dawson, Stephen Quincy Jones.  Conan Michael Cera, Julie Bowen, and Jon Dore.

All right, listen up. You people will not die on me in combat. You fucking new guys will do everything you can to prove me wrong. You’ll walk on trails, kick cans, sleep on guard, smoke dope and diddely-bop through the bush like you were back on the block. Or on guard at night you’ll write letters, play with your organ, and think of your girl back home. Forget her. Right now, some hair head has her on her back and is telling her to fuck for peace. This is Han. Those of you who are foolish will think of him as ‘gook,’ ‘slope,’ ‘slant’ or ‘dink.’ He is your enemy. He came over on the Chieu Hoi programme, and after he fattens himself on C-rations he will be hunting your young asses in the Ashau Valley. Now forget about this Viet Cong shit. What you’ll encounter out there is hard core NVA, North Vietnamese. Highly motivated, highly trained and well equipped. If you meet Han or his cousins, you will give him respect and refer to those little bastards as ‘Nathanial Victor.’ Meet him twice, and survive, and you will refer to him as ‘MISTER Nathanial Victor.’ Now people, I am sick and tired of filling body bags with your dumb fucking mistakes.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Nov 12 2010

Prime Time

Broadcast?  Mostly premiers.

Lance Corporal Dawson, Private First Class Downey: On the charge of murder, the members find the accused not guilty. On the charge of conspiracy to commit murder, the members find the accused not guilty. On the charge of conduct unbecoming a United States Marine, the members find the accused guilty as charged. The accused are hereby sentenced to time already served, and you are ordered to be dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps. This court martial is adjourned.

All rise.

What does that mean? What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.

Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn’t fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.

“(Miami is) not a serious Basketball Town”- ESPN

Later-

Dave hosts Cher and Bruno Mars.  Jon has Rosario Dawson, Stephen Quincy Jones.  Conan Michael Cera, Julie Bowen, and Jon Dore.

All right, listen up. You people will not die on me in combat. You fucking new guys will do everything you can to prove me wrong. You’ll walk on trails, kick cans, sleep on guard, smoke dope and diddely-bop through the bush like you were back on the block. Or on guard at night you’ll write letters, play with your organ, and think of your girl back home. Forget her. Right now, some hair head has her on her back and is telling her to fuck for peace. This is Han. Those of you who are foolish will think of him as ‘gook,’ ‘slope,’ ‘slant’ or ‘dink.’ He is your enemy. He came over on the Chieu Hoi programme, and after he fattens himself on C-rations he will be hunting your young asses in the Ashau Valley. Now forget about this Viet Cong shit. What you’ll encounter out there is hard core NVA, North Vietnamese. Highly motivated, highly trained and well equipped. If you meet Han or his cousins, you will give him respect and refer to those little bastards as ‘Nathanial Victor.’ Meet him twice, and survive, and you will refer to him as ‘MISTER Nathanial Victor.’ Now people, I am sick and tired of filling body bags with your dumb fucking mistakes.

Nov 12 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Bomb hits police in Pakistani city of Karachi, kills 18

by Hasan Mansoor, AFP

10 mins ago

KARACHI (AFP) – Militants armed with guns and a truck bomb demolished a police department used to detain terror suspects in Pakistan’s biggest city of Karachi on Thursday, killing 18 people and wounding 130 others.

Pakistan’s Taliban swiftly claimed responsibility for what was a rare attack on government security forces in Karachi, a politically-tense city of 16 million in the south, far removed from militant strongholds in the northwest.

Karachi is Pakistan’s economic capital, home to its stock exchange and the Arabian Sea port where NATO supplies dock to be trucked overland to support the more than 150,000 US-led troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.