Daily Archive: 01/02/2014

Jan 02 2014

The Inauguration of NYC’s New Mayor Bill De Blasio

As of 12:01 on January 1, New York City saw a “regime change” and Wall Street’s mayor Michael Bloomberg departed stage right. As DSWright at FDL News Desk pointed out the former mayor was looking peeved during yesterday’s public swearing in of the the new mayor, Bill De Blasio, whose election was a slap in the face to Bloomberg and his policies. It was hard for “Mayor Mike” to put on a happy face while he was being chastised by activist Harry Bellafonte.

The inauguration opened with a speech by one of de Blasio’s biggest supporters, long time activist Harry Belafonte who condemned Bloomberg’s New York as “Dickensian.” Belafonte then went on to discuss changing the Stop and Frisk law to push back against a racist justice system. De Blasio made ending Stop and Frisk one of his key campaign pledges .

A speech was also given by President Bill Clinton who noted that de Blasio had served in his administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and as a campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign. Clinton was one of the few speakers to celebrate Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor before pivoting to say that inequality was a problem that “bedeviled the country.” He then swore de Blasio in as mayor.



Full transcript of Mayor De Blasio can be read here.

Welcome To The People’s Republic Of The Big Apple

By Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog

Well, New York inaugurated a new mayor and that was the cue for a lot of people to lose their shit almost entirely. It’s a rare day in January when you hear the plaintive wailing of conservatives, “Help us, Bill Clinton. You’re our only hope.” [..]

It hardly needs be said that Bill de Blasio was elected to do certain things and that, as mayor, he intends to do them. Some of them will get done. Some of them won’t. Long ago, I sat with a guy named Frank P. Zeidler, who once was mayor of Milwaukee and was an actual Socialist, the last of his party to be elected mayor of a major American city. He explained that, in his day, and as a practical matter,  being a “Socialist” mayor meant you were in favor of things like filling potholes everywhere in the city, and that you believed in the concept of a municipal fire department. Within my lifetime, what de Blasio proposed in his inaugural address was little more than what most mayors were expected to provide for the citizens of their cities. That this is seen as revolutionary is nothing more than a measure of where the country’s politics have gone adrift.  But if he does represent a renewed vigor in what Howard Dean liked to call the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, then what de Blasio represents has the potential to wrong-foot the Clintons in a very interesting way. He is connected to them — and to Cuomo, another ambitious trimmer — by his resume, but no longer by his politics. That matters less than whether or not de Blasio actually can wrench the city over which he presides in the direction he would like it to go. The Scary Liberal is still a formidable bogeyman to people terrified of their own best interests.

We wish the “scary liberal, socialist” Mayor De Blasio the best of luck, he’s going to need a lot of it to achieve his goals.

Jan 02 2014

Smokin’

Jan 02 2014

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”.

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Michael Moore: The Obamacare We Deserve

Today marks the beginning of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s new insurance exchanges, for which two million Americans have signed up. Now that the individual mandate is officially here, let me begin with an admission: Obamacare is awful.

That is the dirty little secret many liberals have avoided saying out loud for fear of aiding the president’s enemies, at a time when the ideal of universal health care needed all the support it could get. Unfortunately, this meant that instead of blaming companies like Novartis, which charges leukemia patients $90,000 annually for the drug Gleevec, or health insurance chief executives like Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group, who made nearly $102 million in 2009, for the sky-high price of American health care, the president’s Democratic supporters bought into the myth that it was all those people going to get free colonoscopies and chemotherapy for the fun of it.

Trevor Timm: President Obama Claims the NSA Has Never Abused Its Authority. That’s False

The facts that we know so far – from Fisa court documents to LOVEINT – show that the NSA has overstepped its powers

Time and again since the world learned the extent of what the NSA was doing, government officials have defended the controversial mass surveillance programs by falling back on one talking point: the NSA programs may be all-powerful, but they have never been abused.

President Obama continually evokes the phase when defending the NSA in public. In his end-of-year press conference, he reiterated, “There continues not to be evidence that the [metadata surveillance] program had been abused”. Former NSA chief Michael Hayden says this almost weekly, and former CIA deputy director and NSA review panel member Mike Morrell said it again just before Christmas. This mantra is likely to be repeated often in 2014 as Obama is set to address the nation on government surveillance, and Congress and the president debate whether any reforms are necessary.

There’s only one problem: it’s not true.

Jeff Faux: NAFTA, Twenty Years After: A Disaster

New Year’s Day, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Agreement created a common market for goods, services and investment capital with Canada and Mexico. And it opened the door through which American workers were shoved, unprepared, into a brutal global competition for jobs that has cut their living standards and is destroying their future. [..]

By any measure, NAFTA and its sequels has been a major contributor to the rising inequality of incomes and wealth that Barack Obama bemoans in his speeches. Yet today — channeling Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton — the president proposes two more such trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership with eleven Pacific Rim countries and a free trade agreement with Europe.

Richard Klass: The Road to Wars

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced legislation that sets the United States on the road to war with Iran and the road to an internal war within the Democratic Party.

If the first-step deal collapses, there will be no problem in quickly instituting new sanctions. And there will certainly be calls for military action, no matter how short-term the results would be. But if the collapse is triggered by a U.S. unilateral action, the coalition now enforcing those sanctions could well collapse. This undermining of the president’s negotiating authority and international cooperation is as unprecedented as it is dangerous.

The second danger in this bill is that it encourages an Israeli attack on Iran.

Robert Sheer: NSA, Benghazi and the Monsters of Our Own Creation

If we are so smart why are we so dumb? I am referring to the “intelligence” that our spy agencies have gathered at great cost in both massive secret black box budgets and, much more important, the surrender of our personal freedom to the snooping eyes of our modern surveillance state. [..]

Take the revelations in The New York Times’ exhaustive six-part investigation published Saturday demonstrating that the devastating 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, was an intelligence disaster. The Times “turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault” that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Instead, a local militia leader on the side of the U.S.-supported insurrection in Libya with no known affiliation with al-Qaida is a prime suspect, and he and others allegedly responsible were not on the radar screen of the 20-person CIA station in Benghazi because they were part of the insurgency the U.S. supported. [..]

The excuse is that this sacrifice of our freedom will make us more secure, as in the misnamed “National Security Agency,” by knowing more about our “enemies.” But the record is unmistakably the opposite, that this relinquishing of privacy and transparency has stifled genuine public debate about the goals of our policy and left us both stupid and weak.

Jan 02 2014

The Health Care Problem in the US is a Price Fixing Scam

Passing the racket onto an intermediary and then dumping it on the consumer is part of the scam. Medicare needs full market share so it can bring all the prices down since no one will RICO Act providers, for profit hospitals, and insurance companies passing that cost in addition to 13% extra for administration costs onto you even with the ACA. Forcing you to participate in this scam is what we call Obamacare.  

Jan 02 2014

On This Day In History January 2

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.

January 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 363 days remaining until the end of the year (364 in leap years).

   

On this day in 1962, the folk group The Weavers are banned by NBC after refusing to sign a loyalty oath.

The Weavers, one of the most significant popular-music groups of the postwar era, saw their career nearly destroyed during the Red Scare of the early 1950s. Even with anti-communist fervor in decline by the early 1960s, the Weavers’ leftist politics were used against them as late as January 2, 1962, when the group’s appearance on The Jack Paar Show was cancelled over their refusal to sign an oath of political loyalty.

The importance of the Weavers to the folk revival of the late 1950s cannot be overstated. Without the group that Pete Seeger founded with Lee Hays in Greenwich Village in 1948, there would likely be no Bob Dylan, not to mention no Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul and Mary. The Weavers helped spark a tremendous resurgence in interest in American folk traditions and folk songs when they burst onto the popular scene with “Goodnight Irene,” a #1 record for 13 weeks in the summer and fall of 1950. The Weavers sold millions of copies of innocent, beautiful and utterly apolitical records like “Midnight Special” and “On Top of Old Smoky” that year.

   

Jan 02 2014

New Year 2014 from Around the World