November 12, 2009 archive

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with World and U.S. News.  54 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US Afghan envoy warns against troop surge: reports

by Laurent Lozano, AFP

2 hrs 33 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US envoy to Afghanistan has warned against a troop surge for the country as President Barack Obama heads to Asia, weighing strategy options in the eight-year conflict, reports said Thursday.

The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a retired army general who commanded US forces in Afghanistan from 2005-2007, detailed his concerns in classified cables last week.

Eikenberry also expressed worries about the behavior of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was re-elected to a five year term in August polls tainted by widespread fraud, the Post said.

Justice Dept. demands user information from

I can’t help but think that this is designed simply to scare us.    Because, after all, we all know that they’re watching everything we do online anyway.    If they want to, they can read everything we post, every e-mail, every google search and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Or maybe they just want to make it easier for themselves.  

Or maybe they just want to see how far they can push.

Either way, it’s BAD:

Justice Department Asked For News Site’s Visitor Lists

Kristina Clair, a 34-year old Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for, said she was shocked to receive the Justice Department’s subpoena. (The Independent Media Center is a left-of-center amalgamation of journalists and advocates that – according to their principles of unity and mission statement – work toward “promoting social and economic justice” and “social change.”)

The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded “all IP traffic to and from” on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to “include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information,” including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers’ Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

“I didn’t think anything we were doing was worthy of any (federal) attention,” Clair said in a telephone interview with on Monday. After talking to other Indymedia volunteers, Clair ended up calling the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which represented her at no cost.

This is our new dictatorship.    When the government dictates to you regardless of what the majority of citizens thinks, or desires, or wishes, or votes, you live in an actual dictatorship.  

Which is what we have now.   81% of Americans against the bailouts?   Doesn’t matter.    We are dictated to.    A clear majority support a public option?    Too bad.   We are dictated to otherwise.   Majority wants us out of Afganistan?   Same deal, it is dicatated to us that the war will continue, and not only continue but escalate.

America is dead.   The Constitution is dead.   Big Brother has won.    

Enjoy your televisions.    Watch the commercials we provide for you.    Consume.    

Government efforts at re-inflating the housing bubble may have peaked

  After posting massive losses, yet again, Fannie and Freddie have warned that they will be needing another round of bailouts in the near future.

  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, already reeling in red ink, are warning they could face additional losses from the weakening condition of mortgage-insurance companies.

  Fannie and Freddie together have required capital injections from the Treasury of $112 billion since the government took them over through conservatorship last year. Their need for government support would have been greater without collecting on claims from mortgage-insurance companies. Fannie and Freddie have received payouts of $2.3 billion and $658 million, respectively, from mortgage insurers through September this year.

  But as conditions for mortgage insurers deteriorate, Fannie and Freddie have warned that their claims against the insurers may not be paid in full.


Change I Can Believe In

During the Bush Reign of Terror The Left was about as powerful as a marshmallow. Not because it didn’t try…it was just that Bush absolutely positively knew he could ignore The Left with impunity. In fact he had to, to please his base. All he needed to do was get the same traitorous Dems that have been exposed in the Health Care fight on his side and he could insult and ignore everyone else Left of them.

Lobbying didn’t work, protests didn’t work and citizen activism didn’t work. The Left, for all it’s good intentions was at best a brake on the power of Bushco.

As I said before the election, the biggest change that Obama becoming President would bring about was what The left…what we…would be allowed to do now. Among all the small proofs that I have been watching for the growing influence of The Left, here is a pretty big one.

They now have to hide stuff from us and learn to lie better!

HT to Jed Lewison

The Democratic aide said staffers have tried to keep Carper’s alternative quiet due to concerns that publicity could draw attacks from liberal activists, which could complicate efforts to line up support from the full Democratic caucus.

They are starting to fear The Left again.

You may now do a little tiny preliminary dance in the streets! The balance is shifting and the pendulum is swinging. And that is change that we can all believe in.

Open Gates


Continuing the Veterans Day Messages……

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 11.11.09, I caught a couple of important discussions in the continuing known by us veterans are the results of wars and occupations of choice, or any war and occupation, as to the veterans and military personal once they’ve been sent to serve in and then return home, most being discharged from their service obligation after serving the time they signed up for, all at that point or later becoming the veterans of their service.

This first one is just a news report I happened upon but hits on the issue many of us are long time advocates of and adds to the rest posted below it.

Reporting from Int’l Conference on Drug Policy Reform

(Not quite live from the Albuquerque Convention Center, I’ll be updating through the weekend.)

Opening plenary

El Paso City Councilman Beno O’Rourke:

With a District bordering Ciudad Juarez which had been rocked with 1600 “cartel” murders in the previous year,  the City Council took up a resolution deploring the deaths.

He moved an amendment, calling for the US and Mexican governments to begin an open and honest debate on ending Prohibition to stop the violence. To his surprise, the amendment carried unanimously.

Congressman Reyes, who represents the El Paso, then  called all the City Council members, threatening to cut off funding to the City. In a subsequent vote, the Council retreated.

Pearls Before Swine

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,

neither cast ye your pearls before swine,

lest they trample them under their feet,

and turn again and rend you.”

Matthew 7:6


Yeah, okay, so the piece that ek posted the other day, Dont Ask, Don’t Give, kinda ticked me off. Not at ek for posting it, no. Just the whole idea of giving money to the DNC or any of those vermin annoys me. Like… ever. Not that I have any to give, and I never have, but if I did, I wouldn’t.

But if I did….

Dear Women and LGBT Americans, Please raise HELL and ROAR LOUDER!

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    This will be a short diary, because it is not about what I think, but about what you think, dear Women and LGBT Americans. Really, the title and diary is also intended for Latino Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, Muslim Americans, beasically anyone and everyone who is having their equal rights denied has a stake in this fight, and everyone else who considers themselves a freedom loving American should be fighting for EVERYONE’S rights, not jjust their own.

     So I am asking, nay, begging that American Women, LGBT Americans and everyone else who values EQUALITY and Equal rights to RAISE HELL over the current sorry state of civil rights in America, and I’m asking you to not stop until you have gotten what our founding fathers and so many after them  have fought and died for, EQUAL RIGHTS.

    More below the fold, and a call to action.

Because People Are Needlessly Dying

A friend of mine works for a right wing idiot. She sometimes shares with me their political correspondence. His politics usually doesn’t get any more sophisticated than generic right wing talking points. The stupid does, indeed, burn. But one recent exchange really distilled it, for me. I had forwarded her the link to my recent post about people who will die, if health care “reform” doesn’t include a public option. Because even if new laws bar private insurers from excluding people with pre-existing conditions, nothing now and nothing in the current proposals prevents private insurers from denying patients expensive life-saving treatments. The newspaper article on which my diary was based referred specifically to Nataline Sarkisyan, the seventeen-year old who died when her private insurer refused to pay for a needed liver transplant. And my friend forwarded back to me her boss’s response. Which was simply to ask how much a public option would cost, along with his typically mind-numbingly inane parrot-point about “unfunded mandates.” It took about a day for it to sink in. What kind of person, when told about a teenager who died because she couldn’t get life-saving medical care, responds by asking about the cost? What does it say about such a person’s basic human values? It’s hard even to respond to such a sick, soulless attitude. This man has daughters. But I guess if he has enough insurance for them, the rest of the world can go ahead and die. He doesn’t care.

Breaking Common Ground Is a Shovel-Ready Project

For a time, finding a middle ground with stated opponents was the concept of the hour, advanced by a young, idealistic President who seemed to really believe that a Washington, DC, set in its ways was ready to come to the table in a spirit of fellowship.  I seek not to be the latest to declare the effective end of a noble experiment or to register my frustrations at the true believers of the pratice, but rather to encourage the concept where, as Thomas Jefferson wrote, reason is left free to combat it.  Like so many revolutionary ideas, finding that which unites is not a passive endeavor and requires a equal proportion of self-reflection and sweat.  Indeed, it is this same effort that must be undertaken by each of us if we are to develop effective vaccines to combat racism, classism, sexism, and other infectious diseases, while knowing full well that they will mutate with time.  If only research and development could be a term-limited matter, but alas, it is not and may never be.        

Much partisan and ideological nastiness comes from simple misunderstanding, one which assumes that surface differences define the whole.  A country as large in area and diverse in population as ours could hardly be expected to adopt or develop a kind of overall uniformity.  Even countries a tenth the size of ours possess a variety of dialects, religious identifications, customs, and means of expression.  Face value is skin deep.  

As Politico’s Glenn Thrush writes,

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) has bucked Nancy Pelosi on nearly every vote – including health care – and is said to dwell deep in the Pelosi doghouse.

But he had nothing but kind words for the speaker during an appearance in his district this week – telling a meeting of high school students she was “the most misunderstood person in Washington,” according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

“She’s very misunderstood,” the congressman said. “She’s a devout Catholic. Don’t get in a Bible discussion with her.”

Religious expression in the South is a very public matter, as are open confessions of faith.  Indeed, I do not cringe internally or grow uncomfortable when I hear scriptural references invoked to underscore larger points or become offended by those who profess their faith in Christ, but I know some from North of the Mason-Dixon line who do.  Regarding my own greater understanding, had I not deliberately befriended others who had grown up with different cultural expectations and practices, I would not have been able to correctly understand their notable discomfort and might even have assumed that Northerners as a bloc were strictly secular or that they all spoke and believed with one voice.  One such a strongly held misconception exists among some in the South, asserting if one takes a certain controversial stance, like say, the right of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy, one cannot possibly be religious or possess any spiritual grounding whatsoever.        

Abraham Lincoln pointed out this irony in his Second Inaugural Address, given shortly before the end of the Civil War.  Who better to address this issue than a man born in a border state, Kentucky, which held divided loyalties during the conflict.  Though Lincoln himself led the eventually victorious Union forces, several of his wife’s close relatives were Southern sympathizers and many took up arms in the service of the Confederacy.  This left Mrs. Lincoln open to charges that she was either a Confederate spy or a traitor, charges that while unfounded, were nonetheless easy to make.  The Washington of their time was also a city of split personalities, indebted to both Eastern and Southern culture.  Lincoln’s remarks that muddy day in March have application to any protracted struggle where both sides of a conflict claim sole ownership over the moral high ground and direction of the debate.      

Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.

Sixty years prior, our third President had emerged victorious in what had been the first, but certainly not the last contentious election for the highest office in the land.  As a child of the Enlightenment, he advanced a school of thought common to those times whereby a belief in logic and rationality could by themselves suffice to end religious intolerance and resulting persecution.  Though the theocracy so many fear has never taken firm root in American soil, Thomas Jefferson’s focus was on a virulent strain of this same repressive attitude that might find firmer footing and a breeding ground on our shores.  In his first Inaugural Address, which I have quoted earlier in passing, Jefferson sought to unify a nation which had, within just four Presidential election cycles, become a two-party nation in flagrant disregard of the wishes of its creators.  

Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.

As for these times, we are justified in registering reservations and in so doing, refusing to be railroaded or ignored.  We are well within our rights to apply steady pressure and fight for our causes.  However, if we wish to make the Democratic party a more perfect union, rather than the disorganized, dysfunctional family it often resembles, it will require more than sloganeering, sweeping pronouncements, and digging in for the inevitable siege.  Behold, a Blue Dog sticking up for the oft-reviled Speaker of the House!  Will wonders never cease?  A slightly different way of looking at supposedly unresolvable differences led a member of our party from a different school of thought to assert strongly and unequivocally that, though the packaging and wrapping may be different, commonality exists.  That which one is accustomed need not blind us to see friends and allies not immediately like us or, worse yet, to confuse, as Jefferson wrote, differences of opinion which are not differences of principle.  The shovel-ready projects in front of us require us to do more than propose and purchase the needed tools.  We must also dig into the earth, for it is only then that we can move mountains.  


A ban on an obscure word without a real explanation.

A high school rebellion of most dire consequences?  Hey kids I don’t blame you.……

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