November 10, 2008 archive

Go. Sign. Close It Down



Petition to close Gitmo

Four at Four

  1. The Charlotte Observer concludes today a two-part series looking at the employment conditions of young undocumented immigrants. Part one, “Hard labor at a tender age“, tells of “the largest immigration raid ever conducted in the Carolinas” that took place last month at the House of Raeford Farms chicken processing plant in Greenville, SC. “Six underage workers, ages 15 and 16, found among the 331 arrested workers at the Greenville plant.”

    Part two, “Child labor going largely unchecked“, tells of how teenagers are doing work dangerous and deadly for their age. The article begins with the gruesome death of Nery Castañeda, a 17-year-old Guatemala native, by a pallet shreader. The company was fined a mere $12,250 for his wrongful death despite eight serious safety violations and allowing a juvenile to work in a hazardous job.

    Decades after the enactment of regulations designed to prevent such tragedies, thousands of youths still get hurt on American jobs deemed unsafe for young workers. On a typical day, more than 400 juvenile workers are injured on the job. Once every 10 days, on average, a worker under the age of 18 is killed, federal statistics show. added

    Enforcement has waned, despite new evidence that many employers are ignoring child labor laws. U.S. Department of Labor investigations have dropped by nearly half since fiscal year 2000

    Employers who flout child-labor rules often face few consequences.

    Federal law allows a maximum penalty of $11,000 for each violation, but in 2006 the average penalty was less than $1,000, according to the National Consumers League. Total federal penalties for child labor violations dropped 29 percent from 2000 to 2007.

Four at Four continues with Obama transition news, more bailout money for AIG, and another deadly day in Iraq.

Strategery and Framing on the Blogs

(NOTE: consider this a bit of a reference piece concerning impeachment. People are objecting to the idea of impeaching Bush at this time as ridiculous, and of course, it is. Bush will not be impeached at this late date. So why put forth the idea? Read on!)

How does blogging work to influence the national discussion? How do you achieve political change from the margins? How can a small group of people make a difference? ….WTF are we spending all this time typing for???? Here is my take.

The main “products” of blogging are ideas and information. Now there are very few “new” ideas, and the information that the blogs “produce” is mainly from other sources such as the Main Stream Media, which the blogs “package” for their readers outlook and interests. In other words, something happens and a blogger takes the source where he learned of this new information and repackages it for his or her blog. It is basically the same with ideas. Though there are a few new ideas that are produced through reactions to new information, there are in these days since The Enlightenment and the growing ease of disseminating new ideas through whatever the newest media are at the time, very few truly original ideas. Ideas that have not been previously thought of. So we are essentially repackaging ideas as well.

This is, as you know, called framing, or reframing.

Socialism, for instance, is not a new idea, but it is now being reframed or repackaged. Both to meet the demands of the new circumstances under which it will be applied …and… to make it palatable and acceptable in its new form to the “consumers” (voters, pundits and bloggers) who will “use it.”  To those who need to “buy it” for it to be accepted and for it to work. To put it bluntly…to sell it.

Though it is a crass reductionism to say so, blogs are a marketplace of ideas, a marketplace of political framing. We are trying to sell an “idea” (or frame, or take, or iteration of an idea) in this marketplace. If we are successful, it “goes viral.” It is taken up and spread by others and support for it grows….and this new idea becomes part of the national…and now worldwide, public discussion, it becomes part of the public consciousness. It changes the world, mostly in a small way, and sometimes in a big way. But even if it is in a small way, that idea has changed the world.

In other words, as we like to say here, it produces ripples.


Social Conservative Sounds Somewhat Sane

Like many others here and in blogland, I have enjoyed reading and hearing the dancing circular firing squad that is the conservative movement analyze the meaning of an Obama presidency and issue lofty calls for how to restructure the GOP and by extension the meaning of conservatism in America.

The conservative movement is by no means dead, it has a nasty ailment and in the long run it will survive. As has been repeated elsewhere Obama is not symbolic figurehead for progressive ideals and there is no reason to feel cocky, just a touch relieved.

I happened to stumble upon a post by a self described social conservative who sounded almost rational. He projects like a man with whom I would have quite a range of disagreements with. However, he also writes in a coherent rational manner that suggests his ideology is not rooted in fanatical hatred. I am not going to suggest that I am now worshiping at the tarnished shrine of bipartisanship. What he represents to me is a group of people who I think were largely silenced by extremists in his own party. I happen to know an awful lot of social conservatives who are decent people who might be puzzled by those who are different but harbor no specific grudge or anger.

You can read his whole post here and I will excerpt the parts I found interesting.

He isn’t very impressed by those who suggest the cure is move further right….

In any event, we are yet again treated to the insane concept that in order to regain our national footing, all we have to do is get more socially conservative. Apparently, the fact that we have lost young people, college educated voters, moderates, city dwellers, middle class suburbanites – this has everything to do with the fact that somehow we’ve been less socially conservative than we should have been.

Please, ladies and gentlemen, pardon my French, but are you fucking kidding me?

I have had enough of this garbage, absolutely enough. There are two reasons republicans have lost all of those groups, who should naturally be aligned to them. The first is they have betrayed what they said they were about – which is small government, spending restraint, government reform, ethical power, lower taxes and balanced budgets – and the second is that they have branded themselves as a regional party of southern religious demagogues who do not care about good government, but are instead only interested in fighting the culture war.

It turns out that despite being a republican and believing in what he thinks are the ideals of his party ( and this is one of many place where I disagree), the party is not exactly winning him over right now…

The Hempstead 15: Arraignment protest photo diary

Today about 50-75 people came out to protest the arraignment of the Hempstead 15.

(This is the courthouse side of the street, more people were initially on the other side.)

Losing My Home

To be clear, I don’t own my home, I’m renting it – it’s not my house, just my home.  I’ve been here since the first of the year and have enjoyed it.  Since I live alone, it’s more house than I need, but since I have very little furniture the house has a nice zen emptiness to it and provides ample space for doing tai chi and kung fu.  Here’s a pic of my living room.  I don’t entertain much.


Getting There from Here

Now comes the hard part for “visionary minimalist” and pragmatist Barack Obama. As the leader and spokesman of a new generation, will the new president mobilize his online grassroots army to innovate in governing; will he settle for a more conservative Clinton 3 mandate, or will he mix both approaches?

Pepe Escobar argues that to help him succeed, everyone in America and around the world has to behave as a critical intellectual. Obama has to bridge the gulf not only between black and white but between red and blue and rich and poor – facing tremendous challenges in the financial and foreign policy fronts. “Our climb,” as the President-elect admitted in his acceptance speech, will indeed be long.

November 10, 2008 – 7 minutes

The key to the highway

President-elect Obama has promised “we’ll get there” – Here are some of the challenges he faces

Open Thread


Great thread or greatest thread?

Yes I Am My Brothers Keeper

What Obama’s Win Says About America:

Jonathan Schell, renowned best-selling author, anti-nuclear activist, prolific journalist, lecturer, and teacher at Yale, talks with Paul Jay of The Real News discussing his take on the social meaning behind and underlying all the politics of Barack Obama’s election last Tuesday. Schell is a frequent contributor to The Nation, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine and Atlantic Monthly, and author of The Fate of the Earth, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

November 9, 2008 – 7 min 30

What Obama win means

Jonathan Schell: The election of Obama says something about Americans

Docudharma Times Monday November 10

The Secrets And Secrecy Continue

As Do The Wrong Headed Policies    

Monday’s Headlines:

Tending an orchard of grief

Kremlin opts for charm over strong arm on missile defence

Neo-Nazis are back, German Jews warn

Opposition gloomy as regional leaders discuss Harare impasse

In Congo, Drunken Gunfire Ruptures a Tense Calm

Beijing gambles on £375bn rescue as Golden Years come to an end

Japanese woman abducted by North Koreans may meet family

Facebook boosts participation in rare Saudi hunger strike

In Iraq, Muqtada Sadr’s followers struggle for relevance

Economic crisis dampens Brazilian growth, hits consumers hard

Secret Order Lets U.S. Raid Al Qaeda in Many Countries


Published: November 9, 2008

WASHINGTON – The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.

These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.

Auschwitz blueprints emerge on 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht

Kate Connolly in Berlin, Monday November 10 2008 00.01 GMT

Architectural plans for the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, which appear to provide clear evidence that the site was purpose built for exterminations, have been discovered in a Berlin flat, a German newspaper reported.

Germany’s chief archivist, Hans-Dieter Kreikamp, is quoted by Bild newspaper as saying that the plans, which appear to have been made from 1941 to 1943, are “authentic certificates of a systematically planned genocide of European Jews”, and “of extraordinary importance”.

The find includes 28 meticulous sketches on a scale of 1:100. The documents were said to have been found in a flat being cleared out following the inhabitant’s death; there were no details about their ownership.



A Quiet Windfall For U.S. Banks

With Attention on Bailout Debate, Treasury Made Change to Tax Policy

By Amit R. Paley

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, November 10, 2008; Page A01

The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration’s request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.

But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.

The sweeping change to two decades of tax policy escaped the notice of lawmakers for several days, as they remained consumed with the controversial bailout bill. When they found out, some legislators were furious

To My Son, While Far Away – A Report on Lunch, France and Politics

My Son, my friend,

Decided to send you a note on lunch in rural France, on politics and how the French now perceive us since the election.  And, maybe a little more.


In Arzal, right now, I’ve taken a break from the lunch we are having with Bertrand, Nadine, the kids and Joe and Martine from up the street.  In September Joe and some of his friends shot and killed a few  wild boar.  Seems that wild boar are everywhere here, a bad overpopulation problem, and hunting them is becoming a passion with the French who go in for such things.  As you know, I don’t care one way or the other about hunting.  I won’t do it for it doesn’t interest me, but if others wish to, well c’est la guerre. 


Bertrand took the boar meat and combined it with carrots, red wine, onion, celery, mushrooms, prunes soaked in alcohol (!) and many herbs.  Cooked it for 4 hours.  Also made potatoes mashed.  Wonderful preparation.  The lunch started with two bottles of Champaign and many toasts to Obama!.  They love my rental car, a little Citron C1, complete with my last Obama/Biden bumper sticker stuck to the rear bumper.  The French are absolutely geeked about the election results.  Everyone’s just so freaking happy!!  It’s suddenly a good time to be an American abroad in the world.

A bailout for the auto industry?

Original article, a commentary subtitled Lee Sustar looks at the automakers’ demands for a taxpayer bailout–and what working people should demand in return, via

THE BUSH administration’s Wall Street bailout may be a prelude to a sweeping government intervention in the auto industry–even before Barack Obama takes office January 20.

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