08/06/2015 archive

The Also-Rans

So we’re liveblogging the prelims and our invited also-rans are-

Thank you for playing our game.  Here’s a Home Version and some lovely parting gifts.

Sir Not Appearing In This Film

Now will you please stand, take off your hat, and bow your head as we quickly run through the list of who?s that you didn’t even know were running-

Now stop it.  Stop that giggling.  These are serious people seriously running for president.  Honest.

Besides, what makes you think any of these 21 have a lesser chance than the 7 margin of error candidates appearing on stage?

5 pm on Faux Noise

Mainly Maine: Too Clever By Half

The cocksure Tea Party governor of Maine, Paul Lepage, decided he would play games with what he thought were his veto powers under Maine’s constitution by using a pocket veto of 65 bills.

On Thursday, LePage delivered vetoes of 65 of those bills (the rest he returned unsigned) and urged the Legislature to consider his vetoes. Both House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, and Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, said they would not let the vetoes hit the floors of their respective chambers.

LePage argued that because lawmakers left Augusta on June 30, he had been prevented from returning the vetoes before the 10 days had expired. The Maine Constitution states that if a Legislature adjourns, the governor may hold bills until three days after they return.

The House and Senate passed a temporary adjournment order on June 30 to give LePage time to act on the bills. Top lawmakers and Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat elected by the Legislature, said that temporary recess was not adjournment, and thus did not give LePage more time to act.

Gov. LePage’s problem was that he was using his interpretation of the constitution, not what it really said. So off to the Maine Supreme Court he went. Briefs from both sides were submitted and oral arguments were heard last Friday

Today that court disagreed with the governor and those 65 bills are now law:

Gov. Paul LePage erred in his end-of-session veto gambit, and in so doing lost the ability to veto 65 bills that he opposed.

In an advisory opinion released by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday (pdf), the justices said that the bills in question became law without the governor’s signature, and that the Legislature should not be required to consider his attempted vetoes. [..]

In making its decision, the court relied in part on decades of precedent in which Maine governors had returned vetoes to the Legislature while it was in recess.

“History demonstrates that Maine governors, for nearly forty years, have routinely returned bills with their vetoes during temporary absences of the Legislature that came at the end of the session – after an “adjournment” but before the Legislature adjourned sine die,” the court wrote.

“These examples demonstrate that temporary adjournments of the Legislature near the end of a legislative session-whether until a date certain or until the call of the leadership, and whether beyond a ten-day period-have not prevented governors from returning bills with their objections to their Houses of origin within the constitutionally-required ten-day timeframe.”

LePage on Thursday thanked the court for its ruling.

Indeed, too clever byhalf.

August 6, 2001

An Annual Reminder.

Echo… echo… echo… Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny Mota… Mota… Mota…

You may remember my brother the activist.  I keep trying to get him to post, but he’s shy and busy.  He sent me this yesterday and I thought I’d share it with you.

I need to add that he’s a great admirer of James Carville’s political savvy (though not his policies) and one story he likes to tell is how during the height of Monica-gate Carville was on one of the Talking Head shows and made a point about how important it is to stay on message.  Carville then proceeded to demonstrate his gift by working the phrase “Cigarette Lawyer Ken Starr” 27 times into the next 30 seconds.- ek

The date – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 – August 6, 2001 needs to be as well known to Joe and Jane American as September 11, 2001.

Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6, 2001 PDB

Declassified and Approved for Release, 10 April 2004

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997 has wanted to conduct foreign terrorist attacks on the U.S. Bin Ladin implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America.”

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted] service.

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an [deleted] service at the same that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative’s access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

Presidential Daily Briefing: August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

So Vice President Dick, tell me again how the REPUBLICANS WILL KEEP US SAFE?

So Senator McSame, tell me again how invading and occupying IRAQ has helped the U.S. hunt down BIN LADEN?

I’m printing my own bumper stickers filled with images from 9-11 and this text-

August 6, 2001 – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S. – We Will Never Forget.

“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center”- Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor

“All right. You’ve covered your ass now.”- George W. Bush

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

Ari Berman: Why the Voting Rights Act Is Once Again Under Threat

IN his opinion for the majority in the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County decision, which struck down a major section of the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that “history did not end in 1965.” But the sad truth is that voter-suppression efforts did not end, either. [..]

The act, signed 50 years ago today, was the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. It swept aside longstanding practices that disenfranchised voters, and prevented new ones from emerging: Between 1965 and 2013 the Justice Department and federal courts blocked more than 3,000 discriminatory voting changes. But it is precisely that capacity, known as preclearance, that the Roberts court invalidated.

The backlash to the law was as immediate as its progress. Southern states quickly challenged its constitutionality, and several changed their election laws to stop newly registered black voters and candidates from winning elected office.

David Cay Johnston:  How to Repeal the Tax Loophole That Allows Companies to Hide Their Profits in Offshore Accounts

If we want to address the inequality crisis, we must prevent corporations from sitting on hoards of untaxed cash.

More than a third of a century after Ronald Reagan led America down a costly and unnecessary path into extreme income and wealth inequality, the opportunity to restore broad prosperity is rising before us. This is a moment not for despair, but resolve-and hard work.

Income inequality has become so outrageous that even Republicans vying for their party’s presidential nomination are talking about it, though not their party’s role in creating it or any workable solutions. On television the talking heads wring their hands, saying, “If only we could afford the costs of digging ourselves out of the economic hell most Americans have been shoved into.”

Actually, America has an immense pool of money that can be put to work closing the nation’s extreme inequality gap. Doing so will also improve our health, longevity, level of education, and knowledge.

Larry Beinhart: Beware the clowns

Those in the reality-based community may laugh, but in Republican presidential politics, extremism is virtue

Is the way to watch the Republican debates tonight to set out a bowl of popcorn in the expectation that this conglomeration of candidates will produce truly memorable Comedy Central moments?

As Bill Schneider at Reuters put it, “Is 2016 the year of the Republican clown car?”

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post was quick to answer, “Clown car.” Politico’s Roger Simon said the “clown car has become a clown van.”

Sen. Ted Cruz is frying bacon on a rifle barrel. Sen. Lindsey Graham put his cellphone in a blender. Former Fox News host and ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee is running as the candidate of “Bubbaville.” Gov. Chris Christie is doing a Tony Soprano imitation, but fatter. Gov. Scott Walker claims that it’s God’s plan for him to run for president.

The biggest clown of all has jumped into the lead.

But before we chortle and view it all as fodder for the new host of “The Daily Show,” we should take a longer and deeper look at Republican presidential politics.

Norman Solomon: Bernie Sanders should stop ducking foreign policy

The progressive favorite has views on foreign affairs but has avoided articulating them to voters

Senator Bernie Sanders has sparked a strong grassroots response in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination on social and economic issues. At the same time, he has given short shrift to foreign policy, military spending and war. That approach should change.

I’m among millions of supporters who are enthusiastic about the clarity of his positions in taking on Wall Street, corporate power and economic inequality. But we also need Sanders to be clear about what he would do as commander in chief of the world’s leading military power. {..]

As a genuine economic populist who thrives on fighting for the interests of working people while challenging Wall Street and big banks, Sanders differs significantly from Hillary Clinton. But on foreign policy, he cannot rely simply on his 2002 congressional vote against the invasion of Iraq to set himself apart. (Clinton’s vote in favor was a contributing factor to her loss to Obama in the 2008 presidential race.) Now, Sanders should make clear how he currently differs – or agrees – with Clinton on key aspects of war policies, foreign affairs and the military-industrial complex.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: “Open Borders”: A Gimmick, Not a Solution

Newsweek recently published an article by Daniel Bier with the headline “Bernie Sanders on Immigrants: Silly, Tribal and Economically Illiterate.” The piece, when it is not distracting the reader with rather unimaginative vitriol (phrases like “lame socialist agenda” are hardly Pulitzer material), bases its argument on a trendy libertarian idea called “open borders.”

Like many libertarian ideas, “open borders” is bold, has superficial intellectual appeal – and is incapable of withstanding thoughtful scrutiny. It would benefit the wealthy few at the expense of the many, here and abroad. [..]

“Open borders” is a recipe for the further commodification of human beings. It treats people as economic inputs to be moved about the globe at the whim of global capital. It is neither rational nor humane, and it has yet to receive the thorough public debunking it deserves. We need a systemic solution to global wealth inequality, rather than intellectual gimmicks designed to promote exploitation and sow confusion.

The Breakfast Club (Darkseid)

All that you touch, All that you see, All that you taste

All you feel.

All that you love, All that you hate, All you distrust

All you save.

All that you give, All that you deal, All that you buy,

beg, borrow or steal.

All you create, All you destroy, All that you do

All that you say.

All that you eat

And everyone you meet

All that you slight

And everyone you fight.

All that is now, All that is gone, All that’s to come

and everything under the sun is in tune

but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.”

Jon done, Republican Debate, Hiroshima, ‘You’ve covered your ass’.  Not really that much more to say today.

Science Oriented Video

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News and Blogs

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

On This Day In History August 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

August 6 is the 218th day of the year (219th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 147 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day there have been many significant events. Certainly, one of the most memorable is that this is the anniversary of dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It is also the anniversary of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act.

Recent significant history that has been over looked by my usual sources is this: The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing better known as the August 6th PDB. It was handed to President George W. Bush, who was on one of his many vacations to his home in Crawford, TX, by Harriet Miers, who was the President’s WH Council, and promptly ignored. Whether Bush ignored the warning that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack the US because he was told to let it happen or, the darker theory, that the government made it happen will never be known, at least not in the lifetime of those reading this. Whatever Bush’s motive was, it set off a series of events in this country that has affected us all and divided us like no other incident since the Civil War. The US has now been in Afghanistan for almost 9 years 10 years 12 years 14 years and Iraq for over seven eight 10, the last U.S. combat troops withdrawing from Iraq on 18 December, 2011. Despite campaign promises to restore the rule of law and the Constitution, the Obama administration has continued the most heinous of the Bush policies that are violations of not just US law but International Law, ratified treaties and agreements. A sad anniversary, indeed.

I wrote this five years ago, although Pres. Obama has withdrawn combats troops from Iraq, “support” troops still remain. The US is in the process drawing down military presence in Afghanistan. That may sound encouraging but the President has since increased drones attacks in Pakistan and targeted American citizens for assassination and, now, is turning the US into a police surveillance state, shredding the Constitutional rights of its citizens. So much for ending the “war on terror” and restoring the rule of  law.


(While) I am far on the road to conviction, … (when) eight men, be they grammatical or otherwise, come forward and tell me that they have seen the plates too; and not only seen those plates but “hefted” them, I am convinced. I could not feel more satisfied and at rest if the entire Whitmer family had testified.

Mark Twain

Revealed: the stone that ‘translated’ the Book of Mormon

Associated Press

Tuesday 4 August 2015 21.00 EDT

Mormons believe that 185 years ago, Smith found gold plates engraved with writing in ancient Egyptian in upstate New York. They say that God helped him translate the text using the stone and other tools, which became known as the Book of Mormon.

 photo Rock_zpszjkwfifx.jpg

I want to be completely clear.  This is not a picture of that stone.  It is a rock from a beach in Maine given to me by my cousin that I have around for good luck (it’s pretty useless as a paper weight, it’s too round and keeps rolling off the desk).

It is however is the first one I’ve tried using the Macro mode of my Cool Pix 9700 so I’m interested in seeing how it comes out.

Anthony Johnson

Obama Shrugs Off Global Slavery To Protect Trade Deal

by Zach Carter, Huffington Post

7/27/2015 04:38 PM EDT

The Obama administration outraged human rights advocates on Monday by removing Malaysia from its list of the world’s worst human trafficking offenders — a move that the activists said damages U.S. credibility — simply to boost the president’s trade agenda.

“The Administration has turned its back on the victims of trafficking,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a written statement. “They have elevated politics over the most basic principles of human rights.”

For years, the Malaysian government has largely turned a blind eye to sex slavery involving men, women and children. Forced labor is rampant in several sectors of the country’s economy, particularly the electronics industry. In April, mass graves holding more than 130 human trafficking victims were discovered near the country’s northern border with Thailand. That same month, the U.S. ambassador to Malaysia said the government needed to take human trafficking prosecution more seriously.

“Malaysia’s record on curbing human trafficking is just not sufficient to justify an upgrade,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “And I think it’s damaging to the integrity of the report.”

The country’s new status effectively makes it eligible for inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other nations. Obama considers the pact a top priority for his second term. But a law that Obama signed in June bars Congress from voting on trade pacts with Tier 3 countries using fast-track procedures, which prevent lawmakers from amending or filibustering the deal. The TPP almost certainly cannot pass Congress without fast-track aid.

“It is easier to lower the standard than to insist that Malaysia protect trafficking victims,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said of Malaysia’s upgraded status. “This report is another indication that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not being used to bring about meaningful change on critical issues.”

Several Democrats noted that the upgrade appears to conflict with years of promises from the administration that the TPP will include tough, meaningful labor and human rights protections. If the U.S. needs to fudge its policies on modern-day slavery to let Malaysia into the deal, they said, it’s hard to see the pact improving the plight of workers abroad.

“Instead of paving the way for Malaysia’s participation in TPP, we should be working on actions that Malaysia should be taking to come into compliance with these standards,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees international trade issues. Levin called the upgrade “extremely concerning.”

Extremely concerning indeed.

The Daily/Nightly Show (Conflictions)


Viacom Bites!

The final guest-

Thursday is of course Jon Stewart’s last episode as host.  It will take up the whole hour.

This is probably not the piece you expect.  You see, for as much time and  pixels I’ve spent writing about The Daily Show, I’ve never had the emotional connection with it that some have had.

On the positive side, and this is really the best and noblest thing I can say about it, it has replaced and supplanted Cable news.  Under Keith MSNBC showed some signs of sanity, but that was short lived and the rest of it is simply a roiling cesspit of D.C. elite conventional wisdom (and I’m looking right at you Rachel and Chris).

Jon is better than that, but for me, except in his interview with Jim Cramer (and maybe a few other times), he never showed the killer instinct of a Carlin except in the correspondent reports and scripted work.  Lewis Black calls Stewart ‘the Cronkite of his generation‘ and that’s true enough I suppose if you remember Uncle Walter was a moderate conservative of whom it was said ‘if you’ve lost Cronkite you’ve lost the nation’.

We’re waaay dow the rabbit hole from there.  Our country routinely commits war crimes that Germans and Japanese were hung for.  We’ve reached a level of corruption that surpasses the Gilded Age.  One writer said that is time for Jon to go because he’s too bitter and strident.  Sorry, he’s not nearly bitter and strident enough.

Jon wants to keep his Rolodex and you need to tear up every card and burn it to ashes if you want to be truthful about what is happening in the United States today.  But he does know his audience and too many people are willing to pretend that weak tea and a ‘D’ make you something less than a fully bought and paid for corporatist toady.  Jon was never willing to go there because he digs the applause.

And so do I, but if there is one thing that being independent has done for me (umm… my blog you know and I don’t care whether you like it or not) is that it has relieved some of the self censorship.

30 bucks a month for freedom is a small price to pay.

It remains to be seen if success spoils Stephen Colbert.

Did I mention Viacom Bites!

Tonighly we’ll be talking about tomorrow’s Republican debate and Planned Parenthood (which we will live blog) and our panel is Jerrod Carmichael, Craig Robinson, and Ricky Valez.

Denis Leary web exclusive extended interview would be below but Viacom Bites! The real news below.