09/11/2014 archive

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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Ali Soufan: The sad legacy of 9/11: Isis and al-Qaida are stronger than ever

We haven’t been fighting a 13-year war. We’ve been fighting a new one-year war, 13 times. What now?

In the years leading up to the attacks of 11 September 2001, the west saw al-Qaida rising but didn’t address the threat in time. My colleagues and I in the FBI and over at the CIA had been focused on al-Qaida since the mid-1990s. The true threat, however, came from the ideology, not the group.

In the first years after 9/11, the west focused too much on Osama bin Laden and not enough on the bin Ladenism he spawned. We mistook killing the messenger for killing the message. The tactics were understandable – repeated targeted strikes at key individuals to keep al-Qaida off balance – but our strategy was based on just that: “our” understanding of “them”, rather than “their” understanding of “us”[..]

Thirteen years later, it’s becoming clear that we have not fought a 13-year war so much as a one-year war, 13 times. It is the sad legacy of our tactic-driven response to 9/11 that bin Ladenism has spread far beyond Osama bin Laden’s wildest dreams.

Trevor Timm: The American fear-mongering machine is about to scare us back into war again

Thanks to a say-anything media, hawkish politicians and an Orwellian administration, a war-weary public is terrified. Are there any red lines anymore – or just launch buttons?

Did you know that the US government’s counterterrorism chief Matthew Olson said last week that “there’s no credible information” that the Islamic State (Isis) is planning an attack on America and that there’s “no indication at this point of a cell of foreign fighters operating in the United States”? Or that, as the Associated Press reported, “The FBI and Homeland Security Department say there are no specific or credible terror threats to the US homeland from the Islamic State militant group”?

Probably not, because as the nation barrels towards yet another war in the Middle East and President Obama prepares to address that nation on the “offensive phase” of his military plan Wednesday night, mainstream media pundits and the usual uber-hawk politicians are busy trying to out-hyperbole each other over the threat Isis poses to Americans. In the process, they’re all but ignoring any evidence to the contrary and the potential hole of blood and treasure into which they’re ready to drive this country all over again.

Dave Johnson: Why Is SEC Sitting On Corporate Transparency Rules?

Are We the People the boss of the corporations, or are the corporations the boss of We the People?

Are We the People the boss of the corporations, or are the corporations the boss of We the People? The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) needs to be reminded which way that question is supposed to be answered.

The SEC is the agency pset up by We the People http://www.sec.gov/about/whatw… to “protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” The SEC states that “all investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment prior to buying it, and so long as they hold it. … Only through the steady flow of timely, comprehensive, and accurate information can people make sound investment decisions.” [..]

But so far the SEC is not asking corporations to provide investors and the public with this information. Don’t shareholders — and We the People — deserve to know what these companies are really doing and how much they are really making?

Micheal Keegan: The First Amendment, According to Mitch McConnell

A good rule of thumb in politics is that the scarier someone sounds, the more you should doubt what they’re saying. Another good rule in politics is not to trust what Mitch McConnell says about money in politics.

Because, yes, that’s what we’re talking about here. Not a secret new Orwellian regime. Not a new anti-pastor task force. What we’re talking about is simply limiting the amount of money that corporations and wealthy individuals can spend to influence our elections.

This week, the Senate is debating a constitutional amendment that would overturn recent Supreme Court decisions that have paved the way for an explosion of big money in politics. In those decisions, including Citizens United and this year’s McCutcheon, the Supreme Court radically redefined the First Amendment to allow corporations and the wealthy to drown out the speech of everyday Americans with nearly unlimited political spending. The Democracy for All amendment would restore to Congress and the states the power to impose reasonable restrictions on money in politics, just as they had before the Supreme Court started to dismantle campaign finance laws.

So, what are Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz so scared of?

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Dems Can Win on Social Security — By Fighting to Increase It

A new poll confirms that voters don’t just want their Social Security benefits protected, they want them expanded – in overwhelming numbers, across geographical distances, and crossing all party lines. It’s not just “liberals” who feel that way. Three out of four Republican voters support it.

What’s more, voters say they’re far more likely to vote for candidates who vote to increase Social Security benefits. This is a winning issue for Democrats who are willing to take a firm stand as defenders – and expanders – of Social Security. [..]

Republicans have become shapeshifters on the issue of Social Security. Looking at poll numbers like these, it’s easy to understand why. Fortunately, Democrats can easily reveal them for what they are, by backing a fair sensible policy for increasing Social Security benefits – one which can help avert a retirement crisis in this country.

These “overwhelming” poll numbers make it clear that Democrats have everything to gain if they do.

James Rucker: Net Neutrality, Civil Rights, and Big Telecom Dollars

You might not know it, but the reason you’re able to read this article, the reason you found out about happened in Ferguson when you did and how you did, the reason you’re able to participate in activism on the Internet, is because of the way the Internet has worked since its inception — as an open platform free from corporate censorship and free from discrimination by gatekeepers at the network level.

This open nature of the Internet is again under attack, and it was years ago, with the corporate players behind the push using key voices in our community to further their interests, while at the same time undermining ours.

I actually thought this would be an old story given the sunlight that was shown four years ago during the 2010 Open Internet proceedings at the FCC. On display were the connections between civil rights organizations (like the NAACP, LULAC, National Urban League) who received significant funding from the big telecom players like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, and their policy positions favoring those companies.

But I guess four years is long time: long enough for some folks to forget, and long enough for the people and organizations implicated to brazenly go on offense.

The Breakfast Club (Sailing Takes Me Away)

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.

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This Day in History

Breakfast Tunes

On This Day In History September 11

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.

September 11 is the 254th day of the year (255th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 111 days remaining until the end of the year. It is usually the first day of the Coptic calendar and Ethiopian calendar (in the period AD 1900 to AD 2099).

On this day in 1941, ground is broken for the construction of The Pentagon.

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, “the Pentagon” is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.

Designed by the American architect George Bergstrom (1876-1955), and built by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, general contractor John McShain, the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943, after ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motive power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the Army.

The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building by floor area, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (604,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (344,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon and informally known as “ground zero”, a nickname originating during the Cold War and based on the presumption that the Soviet Union would target one or more nuclear missiles at this central location in the outbreak of a nuclear war.

On September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the building’s groundbreaking, hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the western side of the Pentagon, killing 189 people, including five hijackers, 59 others aboard the plane, and 125 working in the building.

Sneakers On The Ground

Sneakers on the  ground. Mercenaries don’t wear boots, they wear sneakers, and give obots and democrats the excuse that there will be no boots on the ground, and kill for money. And because they aren’t army there’ll be no messy veterans affairs bureaucracy or benefits or hospitals to pay for to get in the way of making money. If any of them get mangled or crippled there are lots of alleys all over America they can live in, and if any of them get killed before they get paid there are lots more suckers where they came from. It’s the American way in obama’s project for a new american century.

Bushed yet?

Obama Tells the Nation That America Is Going Back to War in Iraq

By Jason Leopold, September 11, 2014  

TDS/TCR (War Criminal Wednesday)


Were we briefly not at war… and I missed it?

Hey, those plaques are not cheap!

They charge you by the letter for engraving.

The real news, as well as this week’s guests and the 3 part web exclusive extended interview with Kirsten Gillibrand below.

Dispatches From Hellpeckersville-Coffee, We Have To Talk

It’s not you, it’s me. Okay, that’s a lie…it’s you. I can’t take all of your caffeine anymore! I’m not that same badass bitch who bragged about slamming two pots before dinner. Now, I know you’re thinking about that stupid fling with the Celestial Seasons back in the 80s and how I came crawling back. The truth is that Lemon Zinger, Sleepytime and Tummymint never really did it for me. No, not even Emperor’s  Choice, all of that was really just to prove that I could give you up, but I knew I’d be back the whole time, they were, to me at least, literally–weak tea.

You see, I have a new doctor now, and she doesn’t just medicate. It’s also about what I eat and drink, and apparently not enough vitamins D and B2, but that’s beside the point, I was having way too much of you. No more than 16 oz a day, she said, so where does that leave us? And no, I’m not interested in your bastard offspring decaf. That’s a foul beverage trick and I want no parts of it. I know people say they’re fine with it, but I’m not one of them, I’d wind up right back at your doorstep, and then what? Yeah.

What will I do now, you ask? Smug bastard, ain’t ya? Perhaps you haven’t noticed that fancy new gizmo sitting next your shiny glass pot the past few days. Know what that is? It’s a loose leaf tea steeper, bud, and not for any weak-ass chamomile either. Oh, I see I have your interest now, huh?

I’ve found a brew to replace you, coffee, and it’s Rooibos. They call it red tea, but it kind of looks more like needles than leaves, I don’t care, really, it tastes great. It brews up to a beautiful color, it tastes good plain, chai or with vanilla and I can drink it after supper. You heard that right. I can drink it right before bed if I feel like it, so there.

I don’t think I’ll be back this time, coffee. We had a good run. I gotta go now, the tea kettle is whistling~

Democrats: If you really stand with women, revoke the NFL’s nonprofit status.

The NFL’s Ray Rice saga keeps going. America has seen the horrible abuse video. Now news is coming out of a cover-up that goes all the way to Roger Goodell. He thought a two-game suspension was good enough. He thought the video was under wraps. But it’s hard to keep something like this quiet  in the age of the Internet.

No, Roger Goodell, two games was not good enough. Only after public outcry did Goodell and the NFL act. The evidence is starting to show that he covered this up. Covered this up so the NFL could make more money. Covered this up since April. The NFL’s coverup and enabling of domestic abuse sullies the reputation of all levels of the organization, all the way to Roger Goodell.

Goodell is a greedy little executive that cares only about profit. The NFL enjoys non-profit tax-exempt status. It is time for that status to be revoked.

The Democrats are supposed to be the party that stands for womens’ rights. Now a time to put that in action.

The NFL makes tens of billions of dollars a year. Players like Ray Rice are millionaires. The NFL are not a nonprofit organization. It’s common sense. But in this corporate-skewed world we live in, common sense is in short supply.

The NFL should not be able to enable violence against women and still avoid paying taxes as a phone “nonprofit”.

Will Democrats act, or do what they usually do: nothing? Will the Democrats stand with women, or will they stand with greedy corporate donors?