Daily Archive: 07/14/2014

Jul 14 2014

La Marseillaise

(an annual tradition)

Arise, children of the Fatherland,

The day of glory has arrived!

Against us of the tyranny

The bloody banner is raised,

The bloody banner is raised,

Do you hear, in the countryside,

The roar of those ferocious soldiers?

They’re coming right into your arms

To slit the throats your sons and your companions!

Chorus

To arms, citizens,

Form your battalions,

Let’s march, let’s march!

That tainted blood

Water our furrows!

What does this horde of slaves,

Of traitors and conjured kings want?

For whom are these vile chains,

These long-prepared irons?

These long-prepared irons?

Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage

What fury it must arouse!

It is us they dare plan

To return to the old slavery!

Aux armes, citoyens…

What! Foreign cohorts

Would make the law in our homes!

What! These mercenary phalanxes

Would strike down our proud warriors!

Would strike down our proud warriors!

Great God ! By chained hands

Our brows would yield under the yoke

Vile despots would have themselves

The masters of our destinies!

Aux armes, citoyens…

Tremble, tyrants and you traitors

The shame of all parties,

Tremble! Your parricidal schemes

Will finally receive their reward!

Will finally receive their reward!

Everyone is a soldier to combat you

If they fall, our young heroes,

The earth will produce new ones,

Ready to fight against you!

Aux armes, citoyens…

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,

You bear or hold back your blows!

You spare those sorry victims,

Who arm against us with regret.

Who arm against us with regret.

But not these bloodthirsty despots,

These accomplices of Bouillé,

All these tigers who, mercilessly,

Rip their mother’s breast!

Aux armes, citoyens…

Sacred love of the Fatherland,

Lead, support our avenging arms

Liberty, cherished Liberty,

Fight with thy defenders!

Fight with thy defenders!

Under our flags, shall victory

Hurry to thy manly accents,

That thy expiring enemies,

See thy triumph and our glory!

Aux armes, citoyens…

(Children’s Verse)

We shall enter in the (military) career

When our elders are no longer there,

There we shall find their dust

And the trace of their virtues

And the trace of their virtues

Much less jealous to survive them

Than to share their coffins,

We shall have the sublime pride

Of avenging or following them

Aux armes, citoyens…

Jul 14 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

David Sirota: Corporate Welfare Gets a Boost From Democrats

In politics, as the old saying goes, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies-there are only permanent interests. Few policy debates prove that truism as well as the one now brewing over the Export-Import Bank-a government agency providing taxpayer subsidized loans to multinational corporations.

This tale starts 15 years ago when my old boss, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, was trying to construct a left-right coalition to reform the bank. While a few libertarians were willing to voice free-market criticism of the bank, the impetus for reform was primarily among Democrats and the left. Indeed, Sanders’ failed 2002 amendment proposing to restrict the bank’s subsidies garnered only 22 Republican votes but had 111 Democratic backers-mostly progressive legislators who, in the words of Sanders, saw the Ex-Im Bank program as “one of the most egregious forms of corporate welfare.” [..]

Fast forward to the last few years. In 2012, Democrats rammed a bill reauthorizing the bank through the Senate, and Obama held a public ceremony to sign the reauthorization bill into law. At the same time, Republicans provided most of the congressional votes against the bank. And now, in the last few weeks, the GOP’s new House majority leader is threatening to block the next authorization bill and thus completely shut the bank down.

This tale is not just another “I was for it before I was against” anecdote. It is also a bigger parable providing a two-pronged lesson: Partisan politics can abruptly shift; yet money politics almost never changes.

Jochen Bittner: Spies Like Us

Is it because they know us so little – or because they know us too well – that the Americans can’t stop spying on us Germans?

It is a question worth pondering after last week’s revelation that American agents had recruited at least one member of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, and may have done the same with a high-ranking defense official. In response, the German government denounced the “stupidity” of the C.I.A. and expelled its top man in Berlin.  [..]

Against this backdrop, it is hard to qualify the latest scandal as mere stupidity. The N.S.A. revelations could at least be dismissed as an unfortunate but inadvertent result of mission overreach; developing human intelligence sources within the German government is another matter. To many Germans, America’s continuing espionage against one of its supposedly closest allies smacks of arrogance and disrespect.

Ted Rall: Those Kids Crossing the Border From Mexico Wouldn’t Be There If Obama Hadn’t Supported a Coup the Media Doesn’t Talk About

If you’re reading this, you probably follow the news. So you’ve probably heard of the latest iteration of the “crisis at the border”: tens of thousands of children, many of them unaccompanied by an adult, crossing the desert from Mexico into the United States, where they surrender to the Border Patrol in hope of being allowed to remain here permanently. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention and hearing system has been overwhelmed by the surge of children and, in some cases, their parents. The Obama Administration has asked Congress to approve new funding to speed up processing and deportations of these illegal immigrants. [..]

The fact that Honduras is the biggest source of the exodus jumped out at me. That’s because, in 2009, the United States government – under President Obama – tacitly supported a military coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. “Washington has a very close relationship with the Honduran military, which goes back decades,” The Guardian noted at the time. “During the 1980s, the US used bases in Honduras to train and arm the Contras, Nicaraguan paramilitaries who became known for their atrocities in their war against the Sandinista government in neighbouring Nicaragua.”

Honduras wasn’t paradise under President Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup, however, the country has entered a downward death spiral of drug-related bloodshed and political revenge killings that crashed the economy, brought an end to law, order and civil society, and now has some analysts calling it a “failed state” along the lines of Somalia and Afghanistan during the 1990s.

Tom Engelhardt: An Exceptional Decline for the Exceptional Country?

For America’s national security state, this is the age of impunity.  Nothing it does — torture, kidnapping, assassination, illegal surveillance, you name it — will ever be brought to court.  For none of its beyond-the-boundaries acts will anyone be held accountable.  The only crimes that can now be committed in official Washington are by those foolish enough to believe that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.  I’m speaking of the various whistleblowers and leakers who have had an urge to let Americans know what deeds and misdeeds their government is committing in their name but without their knowledge.  They continue to pay a price in accountability for their acts that should, by comparison, stun us all.

As June ended, the New York Times front-paged an account of an act of corporate impunity that may, however, be unique in the post-9/11 era (though potentially a harbinger of things to come).  In 2007, as journalist James Risen tells it, Daniel Carroll, the top manager in Iraq for the rent-a-gun company Blackwater, one of the warrior corporations that accompanied the U.S. military to war in the twenty-first century, threatened Jean Richter, a government investigator sent to Baghdad to look into accounts of corporate wrongdoing. [..]

Think of the response of those embassy officials as a get-out-of-jail-free pass in honor of a new age.  For the various rent-a-gun companies, construction and supply outfits, and weapons makers that have been the beneficiaries of the wholesale privatization of American war since 9/11, impunity has become the new reality.  Pull back the lens further and the same might be said more generally about America’s corporate sector and its financial outfits.  There was, after all, no accountability for the economic meltdown of 2007-2008.  Not a single significant figure went to jail for bringing the American economy to its knees. (And many such figures made out like proverbial bandits in the government bailout and revival of their businesses that followed.)

Danny Schechter: The World Cup Spilleth Over: As the Soccer Games End, Political Ones Begin

The World Cup has spilleth over. With the  FIFA spectacle about to pack up its goodies-most of their lucre has already been wired out of Brazil-it’s time for hype for the next global spectacle, as the “host” country now tries to cope with its financial losses, intensified social conflicts and humiliating defeat at the hands of the Germans after earlier losing their star player to a nasty collision on the field,  and their valiant Captain to a penalty.

On a symbolic level, Brazil’s bashing at the feet of Germany using bum rush tactics compared to the Nazi “Blitzkrieg”  brought smiles to Old Europe, and pain to a nation struggling with massive poverty and inequality.

In a way, it underscored the dependence and anger that so many Brazilians felt, even as the issues they have raising and marching to call attention to,  have  all been but ignored by the sportscasters who know game scores but not the scores of life-the great gaps that events like the World Cup paper over.

Jul 14 2014

The Breakfast Club: 7-14-2014

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. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

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.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg

This Day in History

Jul 14 2014

On This Day In History July 14

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 14 is the 195th day of the year (196th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 170 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1790, the citizens of Paris celebrate the constitutional monarchy and national reconciliation in the Fête de la Fédération.

The Fête de la Fédération of the 14 July 1790 was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the establishment of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people of the time considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution, the outcome hoped for by the monarchiens.

The Fête de la Fédération in Paris was the most prominent event of a series of spontaneous celebrations all over France: from August 1789, Fédérations appeared in towns and countryside; on 5 June 1790, with lots of individual feasts to celebrate the new state of France, a constitutional monarchy. The National Assembly approved the suggestion by the Commune de Paris to organise a “general Federation”. Organised late, it was largely an improvisation. The idea was not to contest the legitimacy of the king Louis XVI, but to show the general will for stable institutions and a national reconciliation and unity. In the words of Jean Sylvain Bailly, astronomer and mayor of Paris: “We suggest that this meeting (…) be sworn on the next 14 July, which we shall all see as the time of liberty: this day shall be spent swearing to uphold and defend it”. Charon, President of the Commune of Paris, stated: “French, we are free! French, we are brothers!”.

The event took place on the Champ de Mars, which was at the time far outside Paris. The place had been transformed on a voluntary basis by the population of Paris itself, in what was recalled as the Journée des brouettes (“Wheelbarrow Day”).

Official Celebration

The feast began as early as four in the morning, under a strong rain which would last the whole day (the Journal de Paris had predicted “frequent downpours”).

14 000 Federated (Fédérés) came from the province, every single National Guard unit having sent two men out of every hundred. They were ranged according to their département under 83 banners. They were brought to the place were the Bastille once stood, and went through Saint-Antoine, Saint-Denis and Saint-Honoré streets before crossing the temporary bridge and arriving at the Champ de Mars. Deputies from other nations, “Swedes, Spaniards, Polacks, Turks, Chaldeans, Greeks, and dwellers in Mesopotamia,” representatives of the human race, “with three hundred drummers, twelve hundred wind-musicians, and artillery planted on height after height to boom the tidings all over France, the highest recorded triumph of the Thespian art.”

A mass was celebrated by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, bishop of Autun under the Ancien Régime. The very popular General marquis de La Fayette, as both captain of the National Guard of Paris and confident of the king, took his oath to the Constitution:

” We swear forever to be faithful to the Nation, to the Law and to the King, to uphold with all our might the Constitution as decided by the National Assembly and accepted by the King, and to protect according to the laws the safety of people and properties, transit of grains and food within the kingdom, the public contributions under whatever forms they might exist, and to stay united with all the French with the indestructible bounds of brotherhood[ ”

It is noticeable that at this time, the French Constitution of 1791 was not yet written; it would only take effect in September 1791. La Fayette was followed by the President of the National Assembly. Eventually, Louis XVI took his oath

” I, King of the French, I swear to use the power given to me by the constitutional law of the State, to maintain the Constitution as decided by the National Assembly and accepted by myself, and to enforce the laws. ”

The style “King of the French”, used for the first time instead of “King of France (and Navarre)”, was an innovation intended to inaugurate a “popular monarchy” which linked the monarch’s title to the people, not to the territory of France.

The Queen rose and showed the Dauphin, future Louis XVII, saying :

” This is my son, who, like me, joins in the same sentiments.[5] ”

With the permission of the National Assembly, a delegation of the United States of America, led by John Paul Jones, founder of the US Navy, joined the feast. It also included Thomas Paine, James Swan, Georges Howell, Benjamin Jarvis, Samuel Blackden, Joel Barlow and William Henry Vernon. The delegation arrived at the Champ de Mars with its flag, the first instance ever of a US flag flown outside of the USA, and was cheered by the people.

Jul 14 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 10, Mulhouse / La Planche des Belles Filles

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

The 9th Stage of Le Tour was defined by a breakaway.  Tony Martin was part of a 20 rider group that seperated from the peloton about 20 km in while descending the Col de la Schlucht, the first climb.  They broke away decisively ascending Le Markstein (5th on the stage, first of 17 Category 1 or beyond classification climbs) in decidedly damp conditions.   Now Martin is best known as a Time Trialer and on the flats after the last descent (of 6) he drove away from the lead group finishing 2:45 ahead.  The main contenders in the General Classification were content to stick with the peloton and finished 7:46 behind.  That extra 5:01 was enough to remove the maillot jaune from Vincenzo Nibali’s shoulders and put it on Tony Gallopin’s (he was part of the breakaway group).  So we have a Frenchman in the lead on La Fête Nationale for only the second time in a decade (the last was Thomas Voeckler).

On the stage it was Tony Martin with Fabian Cancellara and Greg Van Avermaet leading a group of 18 riders 2:45 behind.  In front of the General Classification is Tony Gallopin, Vincenzo Nibali (1:34), Tiago Machado (2:40), Jakob Fuglsang (3:18), Riche Porte (3:32), Michal Kwiatkowski (4:00), Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (4:01), Pierre Rolland (4:07), Alberto Contador (4:08), Romain Bardet (4:13), Rui Alberto Costa (4:46), Bauke Mollema and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (tied at 4:36), and Cyril Gautier (4:44).  Everyone else is over 5 minutes behind.  In the Points competition it is Peter Sagan (267), Bryan Coquard (156), Marcel Kittel (146), Alexander Kristoff (117), Mark Renshaw (101), and André Greipel (98).  Everyone else is over 11 points behind.  In the Climbing contest the leaders are Tony Martin (18), Blel Kadri and Alessandro De Marchi (tied at 17), Nicolas Edet (12), and Joaquim Rodriguez (11).  Everyone else is at least 3 points behind.  Team competition has tightened up considerably- Astana, Belkin (:22), AG2R (:53), Sky (5:31), and Omega Pharma (9:31).  Everyone else is over 10 minutes behind.  Among Youth the leaders are Michal Kwiatkowski, Romain Bardet (:13), Thibaut Pinot (1:06), and Tom Domoulin (4:08).  Everyone else is over 16 minutes behind.  There was one withdrawl- Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel.

Today’s 100 mile+ stage, Mulhouse / La Planche des Belles Filles, is Mountains for sure with 7 categorized climbs- 4 Category 1, 2 Category 2, and a Category 3.

Distance Name Length Category
Km 30.5 Col du Firstplan (722 m) 8.3 km  @ 5.4% 2
Km 54.5 Petit Ballon (1 163 m) 9.3 km @ 8.1% 1
Km 71.5 Col du Platzerwasel (1 193 m) 7.1 km @ 8.4% 1
Km 103.5 Col d’Oderen (884 m) 6.7 km @ 6.1% 2
Km 125.5 Col des Croix 3.2 km @ 6.2% 3
Km 143.5 Col des Chevrères (914 m) 3.5 km @ 9.5% 1
Km 161.5 La Planche des Belles Filles (1 035 m) 5.9 km @ 8.5% 1

Col des Chevrères is even tougher than its rating since about half of it is an 18% grade.  La Planche des Belles Filles is no picnic either with quite a bit @ 11% and the uphill finish @ 20%.  The Sprint Checkpoint is quite early which is a good idea since it’s doubtful we’ll have many sprinters around at the line.

Astana (Nibali’s team) is discounting yesterday’s finish as a choice to prepare for today.  Contador is not saying much of anything.  In any event the riders will be looking forward to their rest day Tuesday, as will I.

Jul 14 2014

Sunday Train: Crutches vs Splints for the Highway Fund’s Broken Leg

From the Sunday Train

There was a gleam of hope this week for state officials faced with the prospects of having to start delaying projects and lay off people working on maintenance and new construction funded from the Federal Highway Fund: Bloomberg:

Lawmakers’ fight over how to fund roads and transit probably will end with legislation from the Republican-led House sent to President Barack Obama, leadership aides in both parties said.

House and Senate leaders have been collaborating on a strategy for preventing the Highway Trust Fund from running dry at the height of the summer road-construction season. While bills approved July 10 by committees in both chambers are similar, the Democratic-led Senate’s version contains tax proposals seen as obstacles in the House.

But this is akin to lending someone with a broken leg crutches and hoping that it will heal on its own. For some fractures, that might work, but most would require a splint at least, and for serious fractures, you need to set the leg and put it in a cast of some sort.

In the case at hand, the long term broken funding model that lays behind the Highway Funding crisis is something that requires something better than a temporary loan of crutches.