Daily Archive: 06/09/2011

Jun 09 2011

Altering the Space Time Continuum by the Far Right

More fun from the far right and re-inventing history. Sarah Palin’s ignorance about Paul Revere’s ride at least didn’t screw with the time line. The right wings favorite winger historian, Texan Evangelical, David Barton, whose theory is that America’s unique success in the world is divinely caused and due to its commitment to core Judeo-Christian principles, has his own version of history stating that the Founding Fathers rejected Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Small problem with that, Darwin hadn’t been born yet and Origin of the Species wasn’t published until 1859 but according to Barton “there is no need to debate the teaching of Creationism in public schools, because the Founding Fathers made clear that we needed to do so.”

From Mother Jones:

On Wednesday, Right Wing Watch flagged a recent interview Barton gave with an evangelcial talk show, in which he argues that the Founding Fathers had explicitly rejected Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Yes, that Darwin. The one whose seminal work, On the Origin of Species, wasn’t even published until 1859. Barton declared, “As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate over creation and evolution, and you get Thomas Paine, who is the least religious Founding Father, saying you’ve got to teach Creation science in the classroom. Scientific method demands that!” Paine died in 1809, the same year Darwin was born. . . . .

It’s been said that James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were ahead of their times. But perhaps not that prescient.

In the same interview, Barton explains that one of the main reasons that the colonies wanted to break away from England was because it would then become easier to abolish slavery. Any who has studied the basics of the American Revolution knows that the issue of slavery was tabled in order to secure approval of the Declaration of Independence. (For the record, Britain abolished slavery in 1833-32 years before the United States.)

Also according to Baron, Jesus would have love Paul Ryan’s budget because Jesus was opposed to the progressive income tax and he was opposed the minimum wage. The Republican’s just love this guy:

Newt Gingrich is a fan. So’s Michele Bachmann. Mike Huckabee’s such a booster that he recently said that all Americans should be “forced at gunpoint” to listen to this guy.

The object of this high praise from Huckabee-and recent shout-outs from other potential GOP presidential contenders-is David Barton, a Republican activist and minister who founded WallBuilders, a for-profit evangelical outfit that works to inject religion into politics. Barton holds some pretty unconventional views, and in the past he has spoken alongside fringe figures like Holocaust deniers and white supremacists. Among other things, he claims that Jesus would oppose the capital gains tax and the minimum wage; that global warming is “self-correcting”; and that the nation’s homeland security apparatus has been infiltrated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also contends that the separation of church and state is a perversion of the Founding Fathers’ intention to create a Christian nation.

Remember the Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever, maybe Darwin popped through the portal to meet with the Founding Fathers to discuss evolution. I bet Ben Franklin would have been quite intrigued.

h/t John Aravosis at AMERICAblog

Jun 09 2011

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.

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

Robert Sheer: The Bernanke Scandal: Full-Frontal Cluelessness

ow I wish that Ben Bernanke would get caught emailing photos of his underwear-clad groin. Otherwise we don’t stand a chance of reversing this administration’s economic policy, which is shaping up to be every bit as disastrous as that of its predecessor.

Indeed, the Fed chairman’s much anticipated remarks on Tuesday take one back to the contemptuous indifference of a Herbert Hoover to the public’s suffering: Bernanke dismissed the wobbly economy with its anemic 1.8 percent first-quarter growth as merely “somewhat slower than expected.” The rise in unemployment to 9.1 percent was “some loss of momentum.”

The problem with Bernanke is that he is utterly clueless as to the stark pain and fear endured by the 50 million Americans who have experienced, or face the prospect of, losing their homes. His remarks reflected the insularity of a ruling-power elite that is magnificently impervious to the damage that Bernanke’s policies in the current and past administration helped inflict on what used to be called the American way of life. This is a man who assured us there was no housing crisis, while his policies at the Fed encouraged the mortgage securitization swindles that caused the meltdown of the economy.

John Nichols: AFL’s Trumka on Pols Selling Out Workers: ‘I’ve Had a Snootful of This S**t!’

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent his strongest signal yet about the labor movement’s frustration with the dysfunctional politics of the moment-where Republicans go to extremes on behalf of big banks and multinational corporations, Democrats compromise and working families are left out of the equation.

Speaking Tuesday to the National Nurses United conference in Washington, where more than one thousand nurses from across the country rallied to begin the push to replace the politics of setting for less with a unapologetic demands for a new economic agenda, Trumka found a plenty of takers for his agressively progressive message.

“We want an independent labor movement strong enough to return balance to our economy, fairness to our tax system, security to our families and moral and economic standing to our nation,” declared Trumka, who in recent months has been repositioning the AFL-CIO as a force that will hold Republicans and Democrats to what he describes as “a simple standard: “Are they helping or hurting working families?”

Peter Rothberg: March on Blair Mountain Honors Labor History, Calls for End to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

From Marmet to Blair, West Virginia, hundreds of activists are marching across the Appalachian region this week to honor the historic Battle of Blair Mountain of 1921. This event, designed to mark one of the biggest civil uprisings in the United States history and the largest armed insurrection since the American Civil War, however, is not just about history. Appalachia Rising and Friends of Blair Mountain are using the five-day march to protest the controversial practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Dave Roberts of Grist detailed well the brutality of mountaintop removal in a 2008 guest post at TheNation.com:

“Mountain ridges and peaks are clear-cut, stripped of all trees and other flora. Explosives are buried underground, and enormous blasts dislodge millions of tons of rock, dirt, soil, and animal and plant life. That ‘overburden’ is then carted away or dumped into the stream and creek beds in the mountain hollows below, destroying or polluting thousands of miles of running water. Huge 20-story-tall draglines pull away the rock to expose coal seams. Similarly huge machines then yank the coal out and dump the remaining waste down into those streams.”From Marmet to Blair, West Virginia, hundreds of activists are marching across the Appalachian region this week to honor the historic Battle of Blair Mountain of 1921. This event, designed to mark one of the biggest civil uprisings in the United States history and the largest armed insurrection since the American Civil War, however, is not just about history. Appalachia Rising and Friends of Blair Mountain are using the five-day march to protest the controversial practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Dave Roberts of Grist detailed well the brutality of mountaintop removal in a 2008 guest post at TheNation.com:

“Mountain ridges and peaks are clear-cut, stripped of all trees and other flora. Explosives are buried underground, and enormous blasts dislodge millions of tons of rock, dirt, soil, and animal and plant life. That ‘overburden’ is then carted away or dumped into the stream and creek beds in the mountain hollows below, destroying or polluting thousands of miles of running water. Huge 20-story-tall draglines pull away the rock to expose coal seams. Similarly huge machines then yank the coal out and dump the remaining waste down into those streams.”

Amy Goodman: Heeding the Warnings of Environmental Reveres

ef it feels.”

These two lines were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem “Snow-Flakes,” published in a volume in 1863 alongside his epic and better-known “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” Much of the news chatter this week has been about Sarah Palin’s flubbing of the history of Revere’s famous ride in April 1775. Revere was on a late-night, clandestine mission to alert American revolutionaries of an impending British attack. Palin’s incorrect version had Revere loudly ringing a bell and shooting a gun on horseback as a warning to the British to back off.

Pathetically, as well, the media has been awash with New York Congressmember Anthony Weiner’s string of electronic sexual peccadillos. Punctuating the sensationalism, and between the TV commercials from the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries, are story after story of extreme weather events. Herein lies the real scandal: Why aren’t the TV meteorologists, with each story, following the words “extreme weather” with another two, “climate change”? We need modern-day eco-Paul (or Paula) Revere to rouse the populace to this imminent threat.

Hanah Gurman: Bigger than Blackwater: Arming the UAE

The International Defense Exhibition, otherwise known as IDEX, has been held bi-annually in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 1993. It is the largest defense expo in the Middle East and North Africa and one of the biggest in the world. But far from being a one-off, it highlights the UAE’s growing stature as a global arms buyer.

This year’s IDEX took place in the glistening Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Its high ceilings and massive rooms displayed a diverse array of high-tech weaponry against the backdrop of heavily illuminated signboards like the ones you see in the showrooms of luxury car dealerships. All the big Western defense corporations were there – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Dyncorp, Northrup Grumman, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. – as well as Chinese companies, including China North. There were also a host of local companies including Arabian Aerospace, Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company, and the state-owned Mubadala. Like all of these events, it was a heavily male enterprise. The exhibitors wore suits. The visitors wore either the military uniform of the UAE or traditional Arab dress.

Jun 09 2011

On This Day In History June 9

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.

June 9 is the 160th day of the year (161st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 205 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1973, Secretariat wins Triple Crown

With a spectacular victory at the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat becomes the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win America’s coveted Triple Crown–the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. In one of the finest performances in racing history, Secretariat, ridden by Ron Turcotte, completed the 1.5-mile race in 2 minutes and 24 seconds, a dirt-track record for that distance.

With easy victories in his first two starts of 1973, Secretariat seemed on his way to the Triple Crown. Just two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, however, he stumbled at the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, coming in third behind Angle Light and Sham. On May 5, he met Sham and Angle Light again at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. Secretariat, a 3-to-2 favorite, broke from near the back of the pack to win the 2 1/4-mile race in a record 1 minute and 59 seconds. He was the first to run the Derby in less than two minutes and his record still stands. Two weeks later, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Secretariat won the second event of the Triple Crown: the Preakness Stakes. The official clock malfunctioned, but hand-recorded timers had him running the 1 1/16-mile race in record time.

On June 9, 1973, almost 100,000 people came to Belmont Park near New York City to see if “Big Red” would become the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. Secretariat gave the finest performance of his career in the Belmont Stakes, completing the 1.5-mile race in a record 2 minutes and 24 seconds, knocking nearly three seconds off the track record set by Gallant Man in 1957. He also won by a record 31 lengths. Ron Turcotte, who jockeyed Secretariat in all but three of his races, claimed that at Belmont he lost control of Secretariat and that the horse sprinted into history on his own accord.

Jun 09 2011

Six In The Morning

In Saudi Arabia, Royal Funds Buy Peace for Now



By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – As one nation after another has battled uprisings across the Arab world, the one major country spared is also its richest – Saudi Arabia, where a fresh infusion of money has so far bought order.

The kingdom is spending $130 billion to pump up salaries, build housing and finance religious organizations, among other outlays, effectively neutralizing most opposition. King Abdullah began wielding his checkbook right after leaders in Tunisia and Egypt fell, seeking to placate the public and reward a loyal religious establishment. The king’s reserves, swollen by more than $214 billion in oil revenue last year, have insulated the royal family from widespread demands for change even while some discontent simmers.




Thursday’s Headlines:

Gaddafi faces new ICC charges for using rape as weapon in conflict

Civilians flee for border as Assad forces advance on rebel town

Chinese execution a warning to newly rich who abuse position

Drone sorties continue to rain down death

How Estonians became pioneering cyberdefenders

Jun 09 2011

Network 23 Is On The Air!

20 minutes into the future

The world is ruled by an oligarchy.  Even the government functions primarily as a puppet of executives, serving mainly to pass laws – such as banning off switches on televisions – that protect and consolidate their power.  Technology has advanced to the point that people’s physical movements and communications can be monitored at all times, almost all non-security technology has been discontinued or fallen into barely functional disrepair.

The only real check on them are the people who regularly expose their unethical practices and allies both inside and outside the system who assist.

Truth, paranoia, or a dramatic introduction to more Meta?

Jun 09 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for June 8, 2011-

DocuDharma

Jun 09 2011

Selling Out. Was This Always The Plan?

In case anyone on the left hasn’t noticed, Pres. Barack Obama is not a liberal, progressive or anything that even resembles a left wing politician. He is a neoliberal, or more obvious to some of us on the true left, a right wing corporate conservative. To see him as anything else is a delusion and Tim Geithner is proof. It starts with this Washington Post article:

Geithner finds his footing

By Zachary A. Goldfarb

By early last year, Geithner was beginning to gain the upper hand in a rancorous debate over whether to propose a second economic stimulus program to Congress, beyond the $787 billion package lawmakers had approved in 2009.

Lawrence Summers, then the director of the National Economic Council, and Christina Romer, then the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, argued that Obama should focus on bringing down the stubbornly high unemployment rate. This was not the time to concentrate on deficits, they said.

Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, wanted the president to start proposing ways to bring spending in line with tax revenue.

snip

The economic team went round and round. Geithner would hold his views close, but occasionally he would get frustrated. Once, as Romer pressed for more stimulus spending, Geithner snapped. Stimulus, he told Romer, was “sugar,” and its effect was fleeting. The administration, he urged, needed to focus on long-term economic growth, and the first step was reining in the debt.

(emphasis mine)

I’m not an economist but from what I do understand is that you cannot “reign in the debt” without including revenue and JOBS. If the private sector, after all the tax cuts and loop holes, cannot be urged to create JOBS then it must fall to the government to provide the STIMULUS.

A tip of the hat to Jon Walker at FDL who asks, rightly How Does Geithner Still Have a Job?. He concludes:

The most amazing thing about the entire article, of course, isn’t that it shows Geithner has been a destroyer, that should have been clear from his role in the financial melt down and HAMP. Rather it is simply that Geithner can be so constantly wrong yet still keep his job. He defines failing upward.

(emphasis mine)

At Salon, Andrew Leonard notes from the same WP article by Goldfarb, there are some glaring holes in Geitner’s plan:

Geithner was and is the primary architect of the Obama administration’s pivot from the economy to the deficit.

Furthermore, since Geithner now reigns supreme on economic policy, there is zero chance of any change of direction in the next year. All the advocates for greater attention to boosting economic growth and job creation in the short term — Christy Romer, Jared Bernstein, Austan Goolsbee, and even the much-hated-by-progressives Larry Summers — are gone. Geithner is what we’ve got.

Geithner’s stated position is that without long-term action on the deficit, the government will not be able to continue to support social welfare programs.

snip

But the electoral problem for Obama may not hinge on whether or not the president has the actual power to make manifest his will on job creation, but rather on whether he is perceived to be trying. Is he giving it his best shot? Is he making it clear to the general public what constraints have been placed on him by the opposition party and external events?

The answers are no, and no. And judging by Goldfarb’s Geithner profile, the White House is fine with that. It’s going to be a tough platform to run on, if the economy continues to slump as the campaign heats up.

The conclusion by Joe Sudbay at AMERICblog is the truth that the Democrats have not yet faced:

If this nation doesn’t start creating jobs, Obama and Geithner run the risk of losing theirs. And, as the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showed us yesterday, the numbers on the economy are really ugly:

   By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak.

The Republicans destroyed the economy. They weren’t held accountable and are not getting the blame. It’s Obama and Geithner’s economy. And, what happens with their economy is going to have a huge impact on the 2012 election.

I’m not optimistic.

Jun 09 2011

My Little Town 20110608. Ma

Those of you who read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

I rarely write about living people except with their express permission, but may make an exception or two here because it might be important to talk about some of her decedents who still breathe.  None of those references will be derogatory.

Ma was my maternal grandmother.  I shall explain the origin of her name in due time.  Elsie Roberts was born 19030628 near Hackett, Arkansas.  Think about this for a minute.  She was born before the Wright Brothers made the first aeroplane flight!

Jun 09 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 26 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Kadhafi forces attack Misrata as NATO vows no let-up

by Jean-Pierre Campagne, AFP

Wed Jun 8, 3:30 pm ET

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Moamer Kadhafi’s forces attacked Libya’s third-largest city Misrata on Wednesday drawing no response from NATO despite a pledge by the alliance to press its air war, a rebel spokesman said.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 Kadhafi troops attacked the Mediterranean port city from the south, west and east, killing 10 rebel fighters and wounding 26, the spokesman Hassan al-Galai, told AFP by telephone from the city.

Despite the deployment of tanks, Grad rocket launchers and heavy artillery, there had been no intervention by NATO led aircraft by 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) when the fighting was still raging, Galai said.