Daily Archive: 08/15/2014

Aug 15 2014

Working Families Party Claims Scalp of R-D

Marilyn Moore, the Working Families Party endorsed candidate beat the incumbent “Reliable Democrat” Anthony Musto in the Democratic Primary for State Senate this Tuesday.

Moore upsets Musto in 22nd District

Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A jubilant Marilyn Moore, of Bridgeport, upset incumbent Anthony Musto, of Trumbull, on Tuesday in a Democratic primary in the 22nd state Senate race.

An unofficial tally appeared to give Moore the advantage.

The district covers all of Trumbull, and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe.

“Look what we did,” Moore, 65, shouted as dozens of campaign workers around her erupted into cheers and group hugs. “Can you believe it?”

…….

Among Anthony’s many “reliable” accomplishments were delaying a vote to raise Connecticut’s minimum wage.

Connecticut’s Working Families celebrate!

Aug 15 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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Elizabeth R. Beavers amd Michael Shank: Get the Military Off of Main Street

Ferguson Shows the Risks of Militarized Policing

FERGUSON, Mo., has become a virtual war zone. In the wake of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, outsize armored vehicles have lined streets and tear gas has filled the air. Officers dressed in camouflage uniforms from Ferguson’s 53-person police force have pointed M-16s at the very citizens they are sworn to protect and serve.

The police response has shocked America. The escalating tension in this town of 21,200 people between a largely white police department and a majority African-American community is a central part of the crisis, but the militarization of the police is a dimension of the story that has national implications. [..]

Militarizing our police officers does not have to be the first response to violence. Alternatives are available. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s statement Thursday highlighting resources like the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services office is welcome. This is where the government should be investing – instead of grants for guns.

Police militarization is a growing national threat. If the federal government doesn’t act to stop it, the future of law enforcement everywhere will look a lot like Ferguson.

Jeff Bachman: War Crimes: Is Obama Looking for a Bailout?

On Aug. 1, President Barack Obama stated in an oddly casual manner that “we tortured some folks.” As Obama is well aware, torture is a violation of international law. It is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Torture Convention), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), all of which have been signed and ratified by the United States. Further, although the ICCPR allows for some derogation from some of its requirements under extraordinary circumstances, torture is an act that is never permitted. [..]

According to Obama, the character of the United States “has to be measured in part not by what we do when things are easy, but what we do when things are hard.” Prosecuting Bush administration officials for torture would have been politically difficult. There’s no doubt about that, but that’s why we have laws. Laws are not meant to be enforced when it is convenient to do so; laws are meant to be objective and applied to all, equally. Unfortunately, despite the pious calls for justice elsewhere, protecting American officials against prosecution for war crimes is a time-honored tradition in the United States. Whether the crimes were committed during WWII, the Korean War, in Vietnam, Iraq or the wider “war on terror,” not a single high-level official has been held accountable for his or her crimes.

Obama’s contribution to U.S. hypocrisy does not end with the sheltering of Bush administration officials. The Obama administration is suspected of committing a number of crimes of its own, including violations of the Torture Convention. Despite multiple warnings of systematic torture in Afghan detention facilities, the administration continued to enter detainees into these facilities with full knowledge they could become victims of torture. Although some might argue this is a relatively lesser crime than directly authorizing these detainees’ torture, the end result is quite the same. Obama also allows for the continuing torture of Guantanamo Bay prisoners who are on a hunger strike. Jon Eisenberg, a human rights attorney who defends one of the prisoners, believes that when combining the varied practices associated with the force-feeding of detainees, “it all adds up to torture.”

Paul Krugman: The Forever Slump

It’s hard to believe, but almost six years have passed since the fall of Lehman Brothers ushered in the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Many people, myself included, would like to move on to other subjects. But we can’t, because the crisis is by no means over. Recovery is far from complete, and the wrong policies could still turn economic weakness into a more or less permanent depression.

In fact, that’s what seems to be happening in Europe as we speak. And the rest of us should learn from Europe’s experience.

Before I get to the latest bad news, let’s talk about the great policy argument that has raged for more than five years. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, but basically it has been a debate between the too-muchers and the not-enoughers.

The too-muchers have warned incessantly that the things governments and central banks are doing to limit the depth of the slump are setting the stage for something even worse. Deficit spending, they suggested, could provoke a Greek-style crisis any day now – within two years, declared Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles some three and a half years ago. Asset purchases by the Federal Reserve would “risk currency debasement and inflation,” declared a who’s who of Republican economists, investors, and pundits in a 2010 open letter to Ben Bernanke.

Bina Shaw: Want to end sexual violence against women? Fix the men

A crisis of masculinity needs to be addressed in order to see a reduction in sexual violence against women.

The Global Summit to End Violence Against Women in Conflict took place in London in June 2014, with 1700 delegates from 129 countries and 79 ministers attending, drawing much-needed attention to the problem of women suffering sexual assault in war zones.

Yet as I studied the programme’s fringe events and followed the coverage in the news, I wondered what exactly a conference in London could truly do, beyond the call to action, to help women in places like Syria, Iraq, or Egypt, where women have suffered systematic rape and sexual assault as a “weapon of war”, as summit keynote speaker Angelina Jolie put it.

It’s vital to commit to tackling sexual violence in conflict and supporting victims, as the summit’s action statement outlined, as fresh conflicts erupt across the Middle East and South Asia. But while the summit stated its aim was to “end the use of rape and sexual violence in conflicts around the world”, it didn’t give more voice to key elements: honesty about the true origins of the violence – the skewed concept of masculinity in patriarchal societies, which operates in both war and peace – and the concomitant need to confront male perpetrators of violence against women with a prescription that goes beyond the conventional formulae of legal reform and punishment for sexual crimes.

Robert McImtyre: Walgreen Co. Did the Right Thing, But Most Corporations Won’t Without a Change in Tax Rules

I experienced a brief moment of joy when news broke last week that pharmacy chain Walgreens has, for now, set aside plans to invert, which is a euphemism for using paperwork to reincorporate as a foreign company for tax purposes. But my joy lasted for about one minute.

While Walgreen Co. has decided to remain American for tax purposes, a lot of what consumers buy in Walgreens drug stores may come from companies that are not such outstanding corporate citizens. The prescriptions you have filled there may be made by AbbVie, which plans to become a British company for tax purposes, or Mylan, which plans to become a Dutch company, or Pfizer which is also considering a corporate inversion.  [..]

But this is a distraction. Few American corporations actually pay anything close to 35 percent of their profits in federal income taxes thanks to all sorts of loopholes, and lowering the tax rate would accomplish nothing because the ultimate goal of many inversions is to shift profits to countries like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands where the tax rate is zero. So many companies are inverting to Ireland and the Netherlands because those countries have famously lax rules when it comes to using more paperwork to make profits appear to be earned in these zero-tax countries.

If this sounds a little complicated, well, that’s why it’s the sort of policy issue that Congress is supposed to resolve. It would be nice if everyone deciding which bananas or yogurt to buy could brush up on inversions and avoid companies that engage in these tax dodges, and perhaps these consumer discontent would pressure these companies to do the right thing as did Walgreen. But my guess is that this crisis will only grow worse until Congress and President Obama act to end it.

Aug 15 2014

The Breakfast Club: 8-15-2014

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

Aug 15 2014

On This Day In History August 15

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.

August 15 is the 227th day of the year (228th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 138 days remaining until the end of the year.

While there were many significant events that happened on August 15, the most delightful and happily remember is Woodstock. Not many of my Baby Boomer generation remember that today Emperor Hirohito announced the unconditional surrender of Japan or that East Germany began the building of the Berlin Wall or that Malcolm slain Macbeth, it was peace, love and Rock N’ Roll in the mud with a lack of sanitary facilities but lots of music from some of the best at the Woodstock Festivalduring the weekend of August 15 to 18, 1969. The site was a dairy farm in West Lake, NY near the town of Bethel in Sullivan County, some 43 miles southwest from the actual town of Woodstock in Ulster County. During that rainy weekend some 500,000 concert goers became a pivotal moment in the history of Rock and Roll.

Peace, Drugs and Rock N’Roll. Rock On.