08/04/2013 archive

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher’s New Rules

Bill Maher challenges the left’s super rich to get in the game.

Going Coup-Coup

August 2, 2013 – (Real Time w/ Bill Maher – New Rules – Going Coup-Coup) – Bill Maher ended his show Friday night with a plea to rich liberals to even out the playing field so it’s not just “rich assholes” supporting the GOP pushing the policies they want all over the country. In particular, Maher singled out how one North Carolina businessman has been able to push his agenda through the state legislature, and with just a hint of subtlety, Maher used the segment as a direct appeal to the artist Jay Z, who, as luck would have it, was sitting right next to him.

Maher shared with liberal America a tale of “proud people in a region where religious freedom, women’s right, and democracy itself hang in the balance”: North Carolina. Maher explained how the state has gone “apeshit” with laws like a ban on Sharia and allowing concealed guns on playgrounds. Although the latter does mean “if your toddler gets knocked down in the sandbox, he can stand his ground.”

And that’s not even including the abortion debate. Maher explained this shift in the previously-“trending blue” state by introducing the audience to Art Pope, another one of the right-wing “rich assholes” throwing their money and influence around to get the laws they want. Maher declared, “It’s no longer our ideas versus their ideas, or even our base versus their base, it’s our super-rich versus their super-rich.”

He hinted to Jay Z that he should buy a state too, but he didn’t end there. Maher made direct appeals to Steven Spielberg, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey to buy states of their own to at least even the score.

PBS Newshour Gets Played By NSA Lawyers

The other night, to it’s credit, the PBS Newshour had NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Russell Tice on for an interview segment, titled, “NSA Collects ‘Word for Word’ Every Domestic Communication, Says Former Analyst.”  Presumably for “balance” the Newshour also had two NSA lawyers appear. To its detriment, the Newshour’s talking head, Judy Woodruff, sat there like a friendly lump and challenged nothing, while the NSA lawyers played her like a cheap violin.

If you haven’t seen the segment, watch it here and we’ll dissect the transcript below.

The appearance of Binney and Tice goes well and is a very short summary of the revelations that they have previously made, now in light of documentation that has appeared in the Guardian and elsewhere, courtesy of Edward Snowden.

Then, the NSA was given an opportunity to rebut the facts…

On This Day In History August 4

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.

Click on images to enlarge

August 4 is the 216th day of the year (217th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 149 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1964, the remains of three civil rights workers whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention are found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in 1964 to help organize civil rights efforts on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The third man, James Chaney, was a local African American man who had joined CORE in 1963. The disappearance of the three young men led to a massive FBI investigation that was code-named MIBURN, for “Mississippi Burning.”

On Junr 20, Schwerner returned from a civil rights training session in Ohio with 21-year-old James Chaney and 20-year-old Andrew Goodman, a new recruit to CORE. The next day–June 21–the three went to investigate the burning of the church in Neshoba. While attempting to drive back to Meridian, they were stopped by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price just inside the city limits of Philadelphia, the county seat. Price, a member of the KKK who had been looking out for Schwerner or other civil rights workers, threw them in the Neshoba County jail, allegedly under suspicion for church arson.

After seven hours in jail, during which the men were not allowed to make a phone call, Price released them on bail. After escorting them out of town, the deputy returned to Philadelphia to drop off an accompanying Philadelphia police officer. As soon as he was alone, he raced down the highway in pursuit of the three civil rights workers. He caught the men just inside county limits and loaded them into his car. Two other cars pulled up filled with Klansmen who had been alerted by Price of the capture of the CORE workers, and the three cars drove down an unmarked dirt road called Rock Cut Road. Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were shot to death and their bodies buried in an earthen dam a few miles from the Mt. Zion Methodist Church.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Western embassies shut amid security alert

US and many European countries close embassies mostly in Middle East after worldwide alert by US and Interpol.

Last Modified: 04 Aug 2013 05:30

The United States has temporarily closed 21 embassies and consulates in mostly Muslim countries, and several European states have shut embassies in Yemen over fears al-Qaeda was planning to launch attacks.

The US closed its faciilites on Sunday, after saying it had information that al-Qaeda and its allies may increase efforts to attack Western interests this month.

The closures came as Interpol issued a global security alert after hundreds of militants were set free in prison breaks linked to the al-Qaeda terror network, and suicide bombers killed nine near the Indian consulate in the Afghan city of Jalalabad.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Afghanistan: Taliban backers win £100m in US contracts

Extent of NSA’s use of military bases in Germany remains murky

Locals divided as Nauru camp is rebuilt after $60m rampage

Thousands rally in support of embattled Tunisia government

Freedom of information in Venezuela: How hard is it to collect data?

The Drone Wars: No, We Won’t ; Yes, We will

If I were the Secretary of State, I would resign.

Despite his statements to the Pakistan government that drone strikes were winding down, Secretary of State John Kerry was contradicted by his own department:

There were more drone strikes in Pakistan last month than any month since January. Three missile strikes were carried out in Yemen in the last week alone. [..]

Most elements of the drone program remain in place, including a base in the southern desert of Saudi Arabia that the Central Intelligence Agency continues to use to carry out drone strikes in Yemen. In late May, administration officials said that the bulk of drone operations would shift to the Pentagon from the C.I.A.

But the C.I.A. continues to run America’s secret air war in Pakistan, where Mr. Kerry’s comments underscored the administration’s haphazard approach to discussing these issues publicly. During a television interview in Pakistan on Thursday, Mr. Kerry said the United States had a “timeline” to end drone strikes in that country’s western mountains, adding, “We hope it’s going to be very, very soon.”

But the Obama administration is expected to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan well into the future. Hours after Mr. Kerry’s interview, the State Department issued a statement saying there was no definite timetable to end the targeted killing program in Pakistan, and a department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said, “In no way would we ever deprive ourselves of a tool to fight a threat if it arises.”

And, we are not suppose to know about the secret CIA run drone base in Saudi Arabia that was first used for the operation that killed Anwar al-Awlaki. The Saudi government is opposed to US troops operating on their soil but the CIA assassins are OK.

A couple of questions:

Who is in charge at the State Department?

Does anyone in the Obama administration talk to each other?

Does the Obama administration really think the world is all that ignorant of what they are doing?

Who’s zooming who here?

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Joining Steve Kornacki at the table will be:

Fmr. Rep. and congressional candidate Marjorie Margolies (D-PA); Kurtis Lee, political reporter, Denver Post; Dave Weigel, political reporter, Slate.com, msnbc contributor; Mark Glaze, director, Mayors Against Illegal Guns; Jared Bernstein, msnbc contributor, Sr. Fellow, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities; Avik Roy, senior fellow, The Manhattan Institute, contributor, The National Review; and Jim Demers, former co-chair, Obama 2008 Campaign

This Week with George Stephanopolis: This Sunday’s guests are: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. martin Dempsey; House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD); Rep. Peter King (R-NY); and Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald.

The political roundtable guests are:  ABC News’ George Will; ABC News Political Analyst and Special Correspondent Matthew Dowd; ABC News Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny; Starfish Media Group CEO Soledad O’Brien; Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; and Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). No other information available at this time.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Guest on this week’s MTP are: Assistant Democratic Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Vice-Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA); former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani; Bob Costas of NBC Sports; host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough;former Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum; managing editor of TheGrio.com, Joy Ann Reid; and NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY).

Joining her for a panel discussion are Anita Dunn, Artur Davis, Donna Brazile, and Alex Castellanos.

What We Now Know

In the week’s [Up ] segment of “What We Now Know,” host Steve Kornacki and guests Krystal Ball, MSNBC’s “The Cycle”; Rick Wilson, Republican media consultant; Evan McMorris-Santoro, White  House reporter, BuzzFeed.com; and Nia-Malika Henderson, National Political Reporter, The Washingtoacn Post, discuss what they have learned this week.

Cory Booker’s Iowa Scheduling Snafu

by Ben Jacobs, The Daily Beast

Cory Booker isn’t going to Iowa after all.

Booker, the Newark, New Jersey, mayor who is currently a candidate in New Jersey’s special election for the United States Senate, had signed a contract on May 21 to speak at the University of Iowa, according to a university spokesman. The event would take place on August 29 as part of the University’s Welcome Back Week at the beginning of the academic year. He said the event was booked through the speaker’s agency that represented Booker after a committee of students and faculty invited him to speak in early May.

However, Booker campaign spokesperson Silvia Alvarez told The Daily Beast that a visit to Iowa “was not on Booker’s schedule” and said she had no idea how the event ended up on the university’s website.

Documents Show Thatcher-Reagan Rift Over U.S. Decision to Invade Grenada

by Stephen Castle, The New York Times

LONDON – Thirty-year-old documents newly released by the British government reveal just how severely America’s decision to invade the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983 tested the warm ties between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan.

While the two leaders had a strong and affectionate personal rapport, the British official papers reveal how little warning Mrs. Thatcher was given about the pending military invasion, a move that left the British irritated, bewildered and disappointed. They also show how Mr. Reagan justified the secrecy as a way to prevent leaks, and how the British later concluded that the invasion had in fact been planned long in advance. At one point during tense written exchanges, both leaders claimed, in defense of their opposing approaches to the unrest in Grenada, that lives were at stake.