Daily Archive: 07/10/2014

Jul 10 2014

It Didn’t Always Used To Be This Way

They did used to be better at it. You know – they would put more effort into the deceptions and not be so transparent. Now they just don’t give a fuck, and they laugh at the viewers.

What’s anyone going to do about it, after all?

It’s not like there are millions of people in the streets surrounding the white house and every other center of so-called “power”, because in a free Pleadocracy like the United States people are, you know, “reasonable”, and they don’t riot in the streets and hang criminals who murder them and others.

ABC News tells viewers that scenes of destruction in Gaza are in Israel

Propaganda War: July 9 2014

Jul 10 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

John Nichols: Teachers to Education Secretary Arne Duncan: Please Quit

Given the choice between Republicans who are explicitly committed to doing away with collective bargaining rights and Democrats, public-sector labor unions tend to back Democrats at election time.

But that does not mean that unions are always satisfied with Democratic Party policies-or with Democratic policymakers.

This is especially true with regard to education debates. There are certainly Democrats who have been strong advocates for public schools. But there are also Democratic mayors, governors, members of Congress and cabinet membeWar in Afghanistan: Enough Is Enoughrs such as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who have embraced and advanced “reforms” that supporters of public schools identify as destructive. [..]

Former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, who has emerged as a leading champion of public education, refers to Duncan as “one of the worst Secretaries of Education”- arguing that “Duncan’s policies demean the teaching profession by treating student test scores as a proxy for teacher quality.

Teachers are pushing back against Duncan and those policies.Former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, who has emerged as a leading champion of public education, refers to Duncan as “one of the worst Secretaries of Education” – arguing that “Duncan’s policies demean the teaching profession by treating student test scores as a proxy for teacher quality.

Teachers are pushing back against Duncan and those policies.

Rep. Alan Grayson: War in Afghanistan: Enough Is Enough

At the end of George Washington’s second term as President, in his 1796 farewell address to a grateful nation, Washington urged America to avoid foreign entanglements. [..]

Following the 9/11 attacks, we defeated an entrenched hostile military force in Afghanistan, playing defense, with fewer than 1000 U.S. Special Forces troops. We did so in barely a month. The battle was over, and the war was won Then our hubris-ridden military-industrial complex, led by a bellicose President who had gone AWOL himself from May 1972 to October 1973 and spent his entire presidency trying to make up for it, occupied that 12th-century nation with between 10,000 and 35,000 troops. Under President Obama, our occupying army then multiplied, to 100,000 soldiers.

Recently, President Obama announced a policy to “end the war” in Afghanistan by maintaining something like 9999 American troops there, for a long time to come. That’s the same number of American soldiers who occupied Afghanistan in the first place.

If you think that stationing just under 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan means that the war is over, then Big Brother has a few words for you: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.”

Linda Sarsour: Don’t be shocked that the US spied on American Muslims. Get angry that it justifies spying on whomever it wants

There are two sets of laws here: one designed for dissidents, political activists and Muslims – and another for everybody else

What do a Republican candidate, a military veteran, a civil rights activist and a professor have in common? They are all American Muslims – and all have been subject to pervasive surveillance by the NSA and FBI.

A report published by The Intercept on Wednesday reveals that the two agencies used secretive procedures designed to catch terrorists and spies to monitor the email accounts of prominent American Muslim leaders. Among the documents supplied by Edward Snowden, a spreadsheet titled “FISA recap” contains 7,485 email addresses apparently monitored between 2002 and 2008. (The report also clearly documents how biased training by the FBI leads to biased surveillance, and that calling Muslims “ragheads” is everyday lingo at federal law enforcement agencies.)

These revelations demonstrate that there are two sets of laws in the United States: one designed for dissidents, political activists and American Muslims – and another for everybody else. But nobody is safe when one group is singled out: if our government can simply decide with little or no oversight to monitor the personal email account of an American Muslim Republican military veteran, then it can decide to monitor any of our emails, too. That should strike fear into the heart of every American who values our freedoms.

Jessica Valenti: Hillary Clinton must reject the stigma that abortion should be legal but ‘rare’

Agreeing with anti-choice activists on even that single word hurts women and the cause of reproductive rights

I support abortion rights. Being pro-choice means a lot of different things to me – among them, that abortion should be safe, legal, accessible, subsidized and provided with empathy and non-judgement.

You may have noticed a word missing there.

“Safe legal and rare” first became a pro-choice rallying cry during the Clinton administration, and has been invoked by media-makers and politicians like – even President Obama has called the mantra “the right formulation” on abortion. It’s a “safe” pro-choice answer: to support abortion, but wish it wasn’t necessary.

And it’s a framing that Hillary Clinton – perhaps the next president of the United States – supports.

But “safe, legal and rare” is not a framework that supports women’s health needs: it stigmatizes and endangers it.

Robert Creamer: Why Collective Bargaining Is a Fundamental Human Right

The ability for ordinary working people to organize and collectively bargain over their wages and working conditions is a fundamental human right. It is a right just as critical to a democratic society as the right to free speech and the right to vote.

Over the last 30 years many in corporate America and the big Wall Street banks have conducted a sustained attack on that human right. Unionization dropped from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to 11. 3 percent in 2013 — and the results are there for everyone to see.

During that period productivity and Gross Domestic Product per capita both increased by roughly 80 percent in America. But the wages of ordinary Americans have remained stagnant. Virtually all of the fruits of that increased productivity have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

No wonder the gang on Wall Street opposes unions.

Michelle Chen: Obama’s new plan for detained migrant children militarizes immigration policy

Mass deportation will never address the underlying human rights crisis unfolding south of the US-Mexico border

President Obama vowed to do more for the nation’s children: boosting funding for early education, expanding subsidized childcare programs for working families – and now, asking for billions of dollars to kick tens of thousands of children out of the country. That last bit is reserved for a special group of kids, of course: the ones who came up to the border seeking to escape violence and economic devastation in their hometowns, to find family members, to seek shelter and for a chance at a decent life. And amid their pleas for recognition as refugees, the president is working with lawmakers to make them disappear.

If the White House and Congress wanted to begin to deal comprehensively with the “border crisis”, they would not be prioritizing “alien removal” but rather investing in emergency legal aid to these children, working to reunite them with their families whenever possible and granting them broad humanitarian relief as refugees.

But instead, on Tuesday the White House requested $3.7bn in additional funding to launch a border “surge” to facilitate the legal process for the child migrants – with the ultimate aim of expediting deportations. And Obama has even suggested making these children easier to deport by altering existing laws that provide special protections and legal reprieve for children crossing the border from Central America.

Jul 10 2014

The Breakfast Club (Summer in the City)

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

Jul 10 2014

Democracy Now: Julian Assange, 2 Years in Ecuador

Transcript

Transcript

Jul 10 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 6, Arras / Reims

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Well, it rained and as a consequence they scrapped 2 of the 9 cobbles sections, 1 km at Mons-en-P V Le that was rated the highest difficulty and 1.4 km from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Forêt, leaving just 7 and reducing the overall length from 15.4 km to an even 13, not that it made any difference.  Even the main roads were treacherous at best, Chris Froome, defending champion and a favorite this year, had to withdraw before the cobbles crashing twice before the midpoint of the race.  Marcel Kittel dumped it on a roundabout (what we would call a traffic circle).

Others surprisingly survived.  The eventual stage winner, Lars Boom, races what’s called cyclo-cross which routinely covers terrain much more difficult than this but Fabian Cancellara who won the the Paris-Roubaix which is runs entirely on this very route and other stages like it, finished a disappointing (for him) 5th, a little over a minute behind.  Not that he didn’t improve his position in the General Classification.  Other winners on the day were Jakob Fuglsang, Peter Sagan (who survived a crash at the very end), Michal Kwiatkowski, and Cyril Lemoine.

The big loser was Alberto Contador who finished almost 3 minutes behind the stage winner and over 2 minutes behind Vincenzo Nibali who is now openly talked about as the favorite.

Twelve riders had to be treated for injuries, many more opted to work with their trainers, Ariel Maximiliano Richeze joins Chris Froome on the sidelines and will not start today, the 6th drop since the start of Le Tour.

On the stage the winner was Lars Boom of Belkin.  Jakob Fuglsang and Vincenzo Nibali of Astana finished 19 seconds behind (Fuglsang is Nibali’s lead-out rider) and Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, and Jens Kelikeleire a little over a minute behind.  Only 4 more riders finished within 2 minutes.

In the General Classification the leader is still Vincenzo Nibali with Jakob Fuglsang a mere 2 seconds behind.  Peter Sagan is in 3rd (:44), Michal Kwiatkowski in 4th (:50), and Fabian Cancellara (1:17) 5th.  There are only 3 other riders within 2 minutes and 13 under 3 minutes.  Alberto Contador is 2:37 behind which he could make up in the Mountains but it’s a while until we get there.  In the Points contest Peter Sagan leads with 185, Marcel Kittel has 135, and Bryan Coquard 121.  In 4th Alexander Kristoff has 85 and in 5th Vincenzo Nibali with 53 only 3 ahead of Mark Renshaw.  There were no categorized climbs.  The Youth competition is led by Peter Sagan, Michal Kwiatkowski (:06), and Mateo Trentin (:20).  No one else is within a minute.

Today’s stage, Arras / Reims, is basically a tour of World War I battlefields and while scenic is not likely to be very interesting.  It’s about 120.5 miles long and has 2 Category 4 (least challenging) climbs.  The section before the first climb (a little over halfway) is very flat with the Sprint Checkpoint coming after the first climb but before the ascent at Chermin des Damas which looks as tough on the map as any of the 2 rated climbs but obviously isn’t.  Then a long flat across a plateau, a descent, the last rated climb which is scored at the first peak of a saddle, and then a final descent into more flat at the finish.

Jul 10 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 6, Arras / Reims

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Well, it rained and as a consequence they scrapped 2 of the 9 cobbles sections, 1 km at Mons-en-P V Le that was rated the highest difficulty and 1.4 km from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Forêt, leaving just 7 and reducing the overall length from 15.4 km to an even 13, not that it made any difference.  Even the main roads were treacherous at best, Chris Froome, defending champion and a favorite this year, had to withdraw before the cobbles crashing twice before the midpoint of the race.  Marcel Kittel dumped it on a roundabout (what we would call a traffic circle).

Others surprisingly survived.  The eventual stage winner, Lars Boom, races what’s called cyclo-cross which routinely covers terrain much more difficult than this but Fabian Cancellara who won the the Paris-Roubaix which is runs entirely on this very route and other stages like it, finished a disappointing (for him) 5th, a little over a minute behind.  Not that he didn’t improve his position in the General Classification.  Other winners on the day were Jakob Fuglsang, Peter Sagan (who survived a crash at the very end), Michal Kwiatkowski, and Cyril Lemoine.

The big loser was Alberto Contador who finished almost 3 minutes behind the stage winner and over 2 minutes behind Vincenzo Nibali who is now openly talked about as the favorite.

Twelve riders had to be treated for injuries, many more opted to work with their trainers, Ariel Maximiliano Richeze joins Chris Froome on the sidelines and will not start today, the 6th drop since the start of Le Tour.

On the stage the winner was Lars Boom of Belkin.  Jakob Fuglsang and Vincenzo Nibali of Astana finished 19 seconds behind (Fuglsang is Nibali’s lead-out rider) and Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, and Jens Kelikeleire a little over a minute behind.  Only 4 more riders finished within 2 minutes.

In the General Classification the leader is still Vincenzo Nibali with Jakob Fuglsang a mere 2 seconds behind.  Peter Sagan is in 3rd (:44), Michal Kwiatkowski in 4th (:50), and Fabian Cancellara (1:17) 5th.  There are only 3 other riders within 2 minutes and 13 under 3 minutes.  Alberto Contador is 2:37 behind which he could make up in the Mountains but it’s a while until we get there.  In the Points contest Peter Sagan leads with 185, Marcel Kittel has 135, and Bryan Coquard 121.  In 4th Alexander Kristoff has 85 and in 5th Vincenzo Nibali with 53 only 3 ahead of Mark Renshaw.  There were no categorized climbs.  The Youth competition is led by Peter Sagan, Michal Kwiatkowski (:06), and Mateo Trentin (:20).  No one else is within a minute.

Today’s stage, Arras / Reims, is basically a tour of World War I battlefields and while scenic is not likely to be very interesting.  It’s about 120.5 miles long and has 2 Category 4 (least challenging) climbs.  The section before the first climb (a little over halfway) is very flat with the Sprint Checkpoint coming after the first climb but before the ascent at Chermin des Damas which looks as tough on the map as any of the 2 rated climbs but obviously isn’t.  Then a long flat across a plateau, a descent, the last rated climb which is scored at the first peak of a saddle, and then a final descent into more flat at the finish.

Jul 10 2014

On This Day In History July 10

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.

July 10 is the 191st day of the year (192nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 174 days remaining until the end of the year.

1925, Scopes Monkey Trial begins,

In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law.

The law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to “teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” With local businessman George Rappalyea, Scopes had conspired to get charged with this violation, and after his arrest the pair enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense. Hearing of this coordinated attack on Christian fundamentalism, William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential candidate and a fundamentalist hero, volunteered to assist the prosecution. Soon after, the great attorney Clarence Darrow agreed to join the ACLU in the defense, and the stage was set for one of the most famous trials in U.S. history.

On July 10, the Monkey Trial got underway, and within a few days hordes of spectators and reporters had descended on Dayton as preachers set up revival tents along the city’s main street to keep the faithful stirred up. Inside the Rhea County Courthouse, the defense suffered early setbacks when Judge John Raulston ruled against their attempt to prove the law unconstitutional and then refused to end his practice of opening each day’s proceeding with prayer.

Trial

The ACLU had originally intended to oppose the Butler Act on the grounds that it violated the teacher’s individual rights and academic freedom, and was therefore unconstitutional. Mainly because of Clarence Darrow, this strategy changed as the trial progressed, and the earliest argument proposed by the defense once the trial had begun was that there was actually no conflict between evolution and the creation account in the Bible (a viewpoint later called theistic evolution). In support of this claim, they brought in eight experts on evolution. Other than Dr. Maynard Metcalf, a zoologist from Johns Hopkins University, the judge would not allow these experts to testify in person. Instead, they were allowed to submit written statements so that their evidence could be used at the appeal. In response to this decision, Darrow made a sarcastic comment to Judge Raulston (as he often did throughout the trial) on how he had been agreeable only on the prosecution’s suggestions, for which he apologized the next day, keeping himself from being found in contempt of court.

The presiding judge John T. Raulston was accused of being biased towards the prosecution and frequently clashed with Darrow. At the outset of the trial Raulston quoted Genesis and the Butler Act. He also warned the jury not to judge the merit of the law (which would become the focus of the trial) but on the violation of the act, which he called a ‘high misdemeanor’. The jury foreman himself wasn’t convinced of the merit of the Act but acted, as did most of the jury, on the instructions of the judge.

By the later stages of the trial, Clarence Darrow had largely abandoned the ACLU’s original strategy and attacked the literal interpretation of the Bible as well as Bryan’s limited knowledge of other religions and science.

Only when the case went to appeal did the defense return to the original claim that the prosecution was invalid because the law was essentially designed to benefit a particular religious group, which would be unconstitutional.