Daily Archive: 07/06/2014

Jul 06 2014

A-C Meetup: Part 2 on the Need for Anti-Capitalist Democratic Internationalism by Galtisalie

Things are certainly going to crapola for many poor Central American children these days. But at least they are not having their lives ruined by elected socialists. Barbarism is so much better. Somalian freedom anyone? Where, oh where, have I read about this before? Some murdered democratic revolutionary internationalist perhaps.  

The Political-Economic Basis For Anti-Capitalist Democratic Internationalism

We must refuse to separate morality from economics, to ignore the historical and political dimensions of economic justice, and to narrowly define “justice” as the head-in-the-sand enforcement of U.S. laws. (According to a good Jesuit who mourned for those dying in Central America, including his owns priests, justice should be in the service of love.) For instance, when we receive reports about Latin American children in flight to the U.S., we must be mindful that the U.S. has spent generations undermining Latin America efforts to achieve economic justice.

Every once in a while, the U.S. gets a stark example of international blowback. But what if the projectiles involved in this scenario are small defenseless human beings? Does the U.S. learn from its mistakes and attack the underlying problems? No. Instead, in the case of international blowback, as with domestic blowback, we simply blame and harass the victims.

In a detailed report, the UN High Commissioner on Refugees has explained the need for international protection for unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico. (http://www.unhcrwashington.org/sites/default/files/UAC_UNHCR_Children%20on%20the%20Run_Full%20Report.pdf.) But coming from the UN, it is ignored by the U.S. government.

The politically-expedient way of dealing with blowback, if you are a supposedly compassionate U.S. president, is to look at legal minutia with a view to stepping up deportation, rather than seeing the big picture and your actual legal authority.

It is easy to see why a president concerned about mid-term elections might cower. After all, Cuban Canadian USian Senator Ted Cruz has our backs. Unfortunately, the helpless young human beings who are on the run and are receiving an unjust response to the blowback their fleeing constitutes only understand their own desperation. So, for a U.S. president to act compassionately using his legal authority risks losing mid-term elections, and that is just that. But what does that say about U.S. voters, particularly those on the likely winning side in mid-term elections?

It is a cruel sanctimonious voter, and hardly one who holds up to timeless standards of decency, who would be swayed to vote against helping the innocent and helpless. Many of these voters follow a religion that claims, if they will excuse the lack of the King James Version, “el señor protégé a los forasteros; sostiene al huérfano y a la viuda.” (Salmo 146.) But perhaps God only speaks English. (But wasn’t that Psalm written in Hebrew?)

The U.S. in its international relations discourages economic justice because it smacks of socialism. Socialism, of course, sounds good to me. However, the U.S. will not even ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights signed by President Carter. This unkind refusal to recognize standards of material decency does not sound good to me at all.

But there is much more to the story. A Latin American government going to the left risks being toppled by its U.S.-funded military. The U.S., under pressure from Republican Cuban Americans concerned about making leftist dominos fall, assuming it was not, as claimed by a Zelaya minister, directly responsible for the reactionary coup, will happily move on to the illegal replacement “president,” who ironically will have been put into power because the leftist was wanting the people to have greater control over their democracy and constitution. The UN General Assembly unanimously condemned the 2009 military coup of Honduras’s elected president.

Shame on the elected president of a Central American country for moving left and seeking some measure of economic justice. That, the U.S., or more importantly, U.S. transnational corporations, simply cannot abide.  

The coup’s legacy is the very violence that is forcing children to flee for their lives, with an able assist from the failed U.S. drug war, which turns Central America into a drug transit zone. And then we complain about the foreign orphans who have no choice but to flee.

Ultimately, what can end this immigrant-bashing and “border pressure”? Anti-capitalist democratic internationalism of the type I think Luxemburg and Marx, not to mention Eugene V. Debs and Reinhold Niebuhr, could endorse.

Jul 06 2014

Rant of the Week: John Oliver: Dr. Oz and Nutritional Supplements

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dr. Oz and Nutritional Supplements

John Oliver outlines what, exactly is problematic about Dr. Oz and the nutrition supplement industry. Then he invites George R.R. Martin, Steve Buscemi, the Black and Gold Marching Elite, and some fake real housewives on the show to illustrate how to pander to an audience without hurting anyone.

Jul 06 2014

Welcome New Users!

So it’s the 4th Anniversary of The Stars Hollow Gazette going live which in blog years is a lifetime since so many go dark so soon.  I regret and mourn that since I’m not the ogre people paint me.

I came to blogging about 9 and a half years ago because I was looking for a place where I could interact with people without being ashamed to admit I was a Democrat.  What goes around comes around and now I am the one ashamed, not of my work or my principles which haven’t changed a bit, but of my faith in an institution so corrupt, capricious, and besotted with power and priviledge.

As my Cliffs Notes will inform you my character is static, shallow, and one dimensional.  I’m also cynical, insolent, and flippant.

Everything has an origin story and the question is how far back you start.

I choose to start here.  In late August of 2007 my reputation as a meta blogger was already established.  I don’t want you to think I’m making a big deal out of it, to me it’s perfectly ordinary.  I observed and reported and some of what I saw frightened me.  I consulted my mentor pyrrho and his attitude was publish and be damned, but he did also put me in contact with pacified who was creating a scoop blogging platform analog in Java.

The site was named jscoop at the time I joined (2005) but was renamed Soapblox when pacified chose to go commercial and by commercial I mean offer to host websites using his software at very, very reasonable rates.

So when buhdydharma saw that the primary season of 2008 was likely to create a large class of refugees and decided to create a site to serve them I was flattered and honored, but not surprised, to be asked to be part of that effort.  Number 9, last of the single digits.

And I think no one will contradict me that I was as influential as anyone in creating the structure of DocuDharma from the theme (relentless winter) to the still extant but currently unused mechanisms for scheduling and discipline (ask me about it, I dare you).

Which I have in spades as my regular readers know, so much so that I hardly even noticed the unexpected abscence that was caused by my insistence that those who ignored the reality of United States torture in Abu Ghraib were no better than the Good Germans who ignored the reality of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

No, what really hurt was when buhdy dumped me.

The proximate cause was that I enforced our clear rule (which still stands btw)- No discussion of Israel/Palistine without prior clearance.  To be fair, buhdy did approve to original piece, but it resulted (as I predicted) in a cascade of unapproved essays.

So I wrote a meta essay that said- stop.

I’ve never been afraid of playing the bad cop because I mostly don’t care what people think about me, but one of buhdy’s pets got persistently belligerent and I suspended them per protocol.

Well, I guess to some people principles matter and others not so much.  As I said, it hurt.

And now I want to talk about TheMomCat. Now I’m not quite sure how she would describe herself, but she’s one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known and while The Stars Hollow Gazette would exist in one form or another because I’m also stubborn and can easily afford to self publish, it would not at all be the same place you’ve come to know and love.

Shortly after my really unexpected abscence she called me and said, ‘so we should set up a site.’

I’m on it.

‘Well, I’ve been in touch with GoDaddy and have a URL and I’m waiting on Soapblox for confirmation.’

That was quick.

*****

Anyway it took about a month to get operational (including rejected theme- earth tones) and we started flooding the site with content- 8 and 10 am, noon, 2 and 4 pm.  buhdy could not keep up and in November of 2010 announced his intention to stop blogging and close the site.

While I like to attribute this to his proximate competition what I did not know (and was not interested in at the time) was his activities on other sites had alienated many people.

Well, so have mine.

It irks me a bit that when I offered to purchase DocuDharma on my own hook buhdy flat rejected me out of pique.  Frankly, my offer was much more generous than the one he ultimately accepted.  I’m arrogant you know, in that I don’t pretend that ignorant ideas morph gradually into the truth- you want a friend, buy a dog.

And it was a deep dig into the affections of TheMomCat who maintains the site mostly out of loyalty to me.

Sigh.  I don’t know what I’ve possibly done to deserve this, but I’m very grateful.

*****

Now I’m Managing Editor of both sites.  What does that mean?

Well, for my enemies (whom are legion), it means I’m untouchable.  Even if you convince TMC I have a first purchase, I can exercise my option to buy for $30.  Too bad, so sad, yes I am gloating (and arrogant, let’s not forget that).

Surprisingly I am at once the good and bad cop.  Bad in the sense that I administer the thump and I’m not ashamed to sign my name and instead hide behind shadowy action at a distance or socks like Moderator 1 (kos) and Moderator 2 (Meteor Blades) who are both welcome to confront me on even ground but won’t because they’re cowards.

C’mon MB, you have an account, you can’t hide it from me- I double dog dare you.

Good for you dear reader in that I’m amazingly tolerant of vigorous debate, ask Armando.  Indeed I frequently find myself on the ‘troll hugger’ side in my discussions with TMC which I find mildly disquieting.

Our rules (the few we have) are clear and equitably enforced and that means of course that they bear no relationship at all to the ones I articulated in dkosopedia (one of the reasons they hate me is that I documented them.  Ready for that debate now MB?  I’ve called you a coward AND a liar.  And you sold my private email for spam.).

So on one level The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma are reactionary reflections of my pique and anger indulged by my friends and family.

*****

I’m just being honest with you.  That’s one of the virtues of therapy and I am diagnosed as chronically depressed and anxious.  While I’ve been offered medications I’ve seen the side effects and rejected them.

But I also have a positive side that I hope is contained in my work which I take very seriously even though most of it is trivial trash.  You see, the important part is showing up.

I have strong feelings about scheduling.  If you look at any successful site what you find is that they change often enough to require repeated visitation OR they highlight an author of such reputation that their every utterance is to be cherished and savored.

Well, in honesty, I ain’t all that so I make up in volume where I fail in inspiration.

If you claim to run a daily blog you need to publish daily.  If you claim to run a ‘community’ blog you need to publish morning, noon, and night.

So I write tons of crap, which doesn’t bother me a bit since I’ve written a million (no joke here folks) lines of poetry for machines and thousands of newsletters, brochures, and flyers.

My other gig is making sure that you have the platform and prominence you deserve and I do the best I can.  The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma are frames for your work, not mine.

I’m the quirky sports writer, the Betty Boop and Jon and Stephen fan.  The instant I am finished I look back and can hardly believe the damage, but there’s always another deadline so I don’t linger long.

Twee…

Happy anniversary

Total number of posts: 10304 (7 a day)

  • TMC- 5361
  • ek hornbeck- 3081 (obviously I have some catching up to do, game on)
  • mishima- 580 (beyond reliable, a friend I may never meet so I salute from a distance)
  • Translator, aka Dr. David W. Smith- 347 (RIP, a staunch supporter and a blow, he had his own demons)
  • BruceMcF-  117 (it’s not really about trains, it’s about economics)
  • Edger-  112 (site editor, you should hire him)
  • davidseth- 111 (el Bloguero)
  • Anti-Capitalist Meetup- 84 (the second most underated diary franchise)
  • RiaD 74- (RIP, you underestimated yourself)
  • priceman- 64 (who knows where the good parties are at?  We do.)

Total number of comments: 45361 (31 a day)

But that is every day and spread across 7 diaries some of which get hundreds and others get nothing.  It’s different from what you’re used to (but is rapidly approaching the norm).

  • ek hornbeck- 21129 (ahah! I told you I was mutual!)
  • TMC- 17105 (thbbbbbpt!)
  • BobbyK- 1675 (I’m going to stop characterizing people other than to say that while you may not know him, I do and he is utterly reliable)
  • Translator, aka Dr. David W. Smith- 958
  • seakit- 355
  • Edger- 303
  • BruceMcF- 300
  • RiaD- 290
  • Eddie C- 267
  • joanneleon- 232

So 4 years,

Better spent I think than the 5 that preceded it.

Jul 06 2014

On This Day In History July 6

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.

July 6 is the 187th day of the year (188th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 178 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1917, Arabian troops led by T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and Auda ibu Tayi capture Aqaba from the Ottoman Empire during the Arab Revolt.

Background

Lawrence, sent by General Archibald Murray, commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, to act as a military advisor to Emir Faisal I, convinced the latter to attack Aqaba. Aqaba was a Turkish-garrisoned port in Jordan, which would threaten British forces operating in Palestine; the Turks had also used it as a base during their 1915 attack on the Suez Canal. It was also suggested by Faisal that the port be taken as a means for the British to supply his Arab forces as they moved further north. Though he did not take part in the attack itself (his cousin Sherif Nasir rode along as the leader of his forces), Faisal lent forty of his men to Lawrence. Lawrence also met with Auda ibu Tayi, leader of the northern Howeitat tribe of Bedouin, who agreed to lend himself and a large number of his men to the expedition. Lawrence informed his British colleagues of the planned expedition, but they apparently did not take him seriously, expecting it to fail.

Aqaba was not in and of itself a major military obstacle; a small village at the time, it was not actually garrisoned by the Turks, though the Turks did keep a small, 400-man garrison at the mouth of the Wadi Itm to protect from landward attack via the Sinai Peninsula. The British Royal Navy occasionally shelled Aqaba, and in late 1916 had briefly landed a party of Marines ashore there, though a lack of harbor or landing beaches made an amphibious assault impractical. The main obstacle to a successful landward attack on the town was the large Nefud Desert, believed by many to be impassable.

Prelude

The expedition started moving towards Aqaba in May. Despite the heat of the desert, the seasoned Bedouins encountered few obstacles aside from occasional harassment from small bands of Arabs paid off by the Turks; they lost more men to attacks by snakes and scorpions than to enemy action. During the expedition, Auda and Lawrence’s forces also did severe damage to the Hejaz Railway.

Auda and his men reached the Wadi Sirhan region, occupied by the Rualla tribe. Auda paid 6,000 pounds in gold to their leader to allow his men to use Wadi Sirhan as a base.

Abu el Lissal and Aqaba

The actual battle for Aqaba occurred for the most part at a Turkish blockhouse at Abu el Lissal, about halfway between Aqaba and the town of Ma’an. A group of separate Arab rebels, acting in conjunction with the expedition, had seized the blockhouse a few days before, but a Turkish infantry battalion arrived on the scene and recaptured it. The Turks then attacked a small, nearby encampment of Arabs and killed several of them.

After hearing of this, Auda personally led an attack on the Turkish troops there, attacking at mid-day on July 6. The charge was a wild success. Turkish resistance was slight; the Arabs brutally massacred hundreds of Turks as revenge before their leaders could restrain them. In all, three hundred Turks were killed and another 150 taken prisoner, in exchange for the loss of two Arabs killed and a handful of wounded. Lawrence was nearly killed in the action; he accidentally shot the camel he was riding in the head with his pistol, but was fortunately thrown out of harm’s way when he fell. Auda was grazed numerous times, with his favorite pair of field glasses being destroyed, but was otherwise unharmed.

Meanwhile, a small group of British naval vessels appeared offshore of Aqaba itself and began shelling it. At this point, Lawrence, Auda, and Nasir had rallied their troops; their total force had been quadrupled to 2,000 men by a local Bedouin who, with the defeat of the Turks at Lissal, now openly joined Lawrence’s expedition. This force maneuvered themselves past the outer works of Aqaba’s defensive lines, approached the gates of Aqaba, and its garrison surrendered without further struggle.

Jul 06 2014

The Breakfast Club (Holiday Weekend Sailing Edition)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

The Breakfast Club Logo photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps5485351c.png

This Day in History

Breakfast Tunes

I have sailed the Seven Seas and swam with dolphins. I am at home with the sea, and the desert and the wind. I am at home with Earth and the universe.

Jul 06 2014

Formula One: Silverstone

Again?

And not even a Woodstock mosh pit mudslide.  Mediums and Hards on display.  Rosberg and Vettel, Hamilton unexpectedly low.  Gutierrez drops 10 places, unsafe release at previous round.  Chilton drops 5, unscheduled gearbox change.  Ericsson, Kobayashi fail to meet 107% requirement, race at stewards’ discretion.

Maldonado qualified 15th, excluded for fuel infringement.  We’ll see if they start 21 or not.

Coverage on CNBC since NBC/Universal refuses to drop Dancin’ Dave and his merry band of Beltway Buttkissers for anything except the most important sporting events.

Jul 06 2014

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:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests for Sunday’s “This Week” are: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX); Bishop Mark Seitz of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.

Joining the roundtable discussion are: Yahoo News National Political Columnist Matt Bai; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA).

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC); and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

His panel guests are all novelists: “The Director” author David Ignatius; “Mean Streak” author Sandra Brown; “Cop Town” author Karin Slaughter; “Personal” author Lee Child; and “The Skin Collector” author Jeffrey Deaver.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: The guests on “MTP” are: Secretary, Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID); and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Guests at the roundtable are: Chuck Todd, Political Director & Chief White House Correspondent, NBC News; Carolyn Ryan, Washington Bureau Chief, The New York Times; Lori Montenegro, National Correspondent, Telemundo and Michael Gerson, Columnist, The Washington Post.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Rep. Henry Cuellar (R-TX); Mayor Alan Long, Murrieta, CA; and U.S. Navy’s first female four-star admiral, Michelle Howard.

Her panel guests are RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer; DNC Spokesman Mo Elleithee; Carly Fiorina; and liberal radio talk-show host Stephanie Miller.

Jul 06 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Ukraine President Poroshenko hails ‘turning point’

 5 July 2014 Last updated at 23:01

 BBC

Ukraine’s president has hailed the recapture of the rebel stronghold of Sloviansk as the start of a turning point in the three-month conflict.

Petro Poroshenko said it was not a total victory, but rather an event of “huge symbolic importance”.

Government forces have made territorial gains since launching an offensive this week in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, following the breakdown of a ceasefire.

Pro-Russian rebels still hold the two regional capitals and other key areas.

But Sloviansk had been considered a focal point of the rebellion, and was the military centre of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Fresh video shows faces of pair who may have killed Palestinian teenager

Italian navy pleads for help saving migrant boats, saying it ‘does not want a sea of death’

NSA Experts: ‘National Security Has Become a State Religion’

Curfew imposed after deadly clashes between Buddhists, Muslims in Myanmar

Digital Whiz-Kids Create High-Quality Music for Jihadi Groups

Jul 06 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 2, York to Sheffield

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

So last day in England and the course is bumpy.  We’ll not see the kind of sprinter’s duel that sent Cavendish crashing to the pavement.

Oh, by the way, he’s out.

This stage, from York to Sheffield, has 9 rated climbs in 125 miles- 3 category 4s (the lowest), five category 3s, and one category 2.  You can’t win today, but you sure can lose.

Looking at the profile I’d rate the climb at Todmorden too.

The Mad Manx Cavendish is the only drop so far and his injuries are serious (ligament damage in the shoulder) but likely not career threatening.  They are devastating to the team built around him, Omega Pharma-Quick Step out of Belgium, and we’ll have to see if they have it in them to even be spoilers.

Late nights and early mornings, I’m not yet adjusted to the rigors of Le Tour.