January 16, 2010 archive

Action and Avalanche

NightprowlKitty asked:

… then give us some small tactics.  You’d find a lot of folks would join in, well at least I would.  I am not experienced at this.  I’m not even sure I understand it!  But I’m ready to help even if I’m not yet ready to lead in this kind of project. I’d love an essay from you with concrete action items that illustrate these “small tactics.”

I responded to Ground with a tactic for a group of maybe 10 people that begins thus:

Go to your representative’s office, present your demands, and insist on seeing him or her.  Staffer tells you congressperson is in Washington and isn’t available.  You say, we’ll wait here until he/she comes back on the next plane.  Staffer says that’s ridiculous.  You say you’re staying.  Staffer threatens to call police.  Fork:  If police come, you treat them politely, explaining the justice of your position, then you leave, having provoked a response that provides a news hook.  If police don’t come, you stay 5 minutes past closing time, then leave.  You have defied authority, stayed out of jail.  And upset the staffer.

You could also come back when the rep is in town.

Another I’ve toyed with is for a small group of people to prepare a flier and go to a jobs fair (New York State even gives a schedule of them here).  These grotesque spectacles give the illusion that you could get a job.  The flier could say any number of things.  If the small group included unemployed people, the flier could advocate not leaving until jobs were offered to all.  Tactically, you could back down when pressured by security.  Having to be forced out by security or police becomes an issue all by itself.  If the group were all employed, it could have a general statement about unemployment and call a meeting.  Give a phone number and web page (not that expensive since the traffic would not be massive).  The very act of trying to organize at such events could provoke a reaction, and that reaction, however small, then becomes an issue.  Then you could take your group and “Go to your representative’s office …” as above, demanding the right to organize at these events.  (Organize for what?  You’d have to figure that out.)  Some of the fairs listed are for government jobs, and thus the issue would be more sensitive than if the jobs were private sector.

Should Erick Erickson go to jail for this if the law was broken?

Crossposted at Daily Kos

   First off, I strongly encourage anyone who is reading this to go check out an article titled RedState trying to jam Coakley phone banks by dkos user pinback for more information on this story.

    So, as for the title of this article, my question is, should Erick Erickson of RedState.com go to jail the same way the last Republican hack who pulled this phone bank tampering scam did?

    Federal law prohibits making interstate calls “without disclosing the caller’s identity and with the intent to annoy . . . or harass any person at the called number.”

Rawstory.com Jan 10, 2006

    A hat tip to dkos user inland for the RawStory.com link.

More below the fold . . .  

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Quake survivors flee capital as aid trickles in

by Beatriz Lecumberri, AFP

2 hrs 17 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Fearful Haitians fled their putrid quake-hit capital in droves on Saturday as a vast international aid drive struggled to relieve tensions threatening to boil over into riots.

President Barack Obama, speaking alongside former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at the White House, said the United States was doing its utmost to help. Haitian officials however complained that no one was coordinating the effort.

“At this moment, we’re moving forward with one of the largest relief efforts in our history, to save lives and to deliver relief that averts an even larger catastrophe,” Obama said.

“A vanguard of the 10,000 US troops”, umm… take another look in the cookie jar kid.  That’s pretty close to all there is.

Ballot access reform: the first step in fixing America’s broken political system

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is an article that was originally posted on my blog a few days ago. I’m reposting it here as a self-introduction of sorts for those of you who I haven’t ran into over at Daily Kos, as well as an invitation to participate in what I hope will be an ongoing dialogue about the general need for political reform.

* * * * * * * * *

Over the last few decades or so, America has gradually trended toward the kind of stagnation that has laid low great empires throughout history. This is reflected in the gradual erosion of the American middle class and the increasing stratification of wealth within our country over the last few decades, as our elected leaders have prioritized the interests of concentrated wealth and the handful of individuals who control it over the interests of the people. The stagnation in which we are currently mired is a function of the death grip on political power maintained by the Republican and Democratic parties, who have been allowed to game the political system to their advantage to an extent not seen in any other democracy. As I have stated elsewhere, I believe that if we are to steer this country away from disaster we must first clear the path for economic and social reform by achieving fundamental systemic changes to break the two-party duopoly and replace it with an open multiparty democracy. One of the first, and certainly one of the most important, elements in that systemic reform must be the liberalization of ballot access laws at the federal and state level.

For Doctor King

The following MLK Weekend Essay is a reprint of an April 4, 2008 essay.

I’m thinking about times more than forty years ago when I sang, “We Shall Overcome.” I’m remembering how I felt when I sang it, holding hands, swaying, anticipation in the air. I loved the idea of walking hand in hand, black and white together, and at the same time there was always a tension, a tightness in my jaw and in the pit of my stomach, the presence of fear. The song’s purpose was to get ready to do what had to be done. I’m committed to nonviolence, I recall thinking, but there are those who are not. They shot James Meredith, and lynched Emmitt Till, and burned Greyhound buses, and unlike me, they don’t want me to be safe. Uncertainty about what will happen tightens my jaw, while my heart commits me to the cause.

Remembering these fears rekindles my old thoughts. I remember the policemen in the church parking lot writing down the license plate numbers as if it were the Appalachin Crime Convention. My mind flashes from people sitting in a restaurant who stop eating to stare and sneer, to the incomprehensible Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, to the repeated, threatening phone calls, to kids on a school bus yelling hate names through the windows, to the Klan and the police, and wondering how they were different. I think about the person who ran over my dog.

Happy Pony Joy Rainbows! And spies

Wherein I simply cannot, in the face of THIS much stupidity, keep from lowering myself to personal attack. Mea culpa. Hopefully it will serve some higher purpose, But how can one NOT respond to this level of blatant hypocritical insanity, when one is one of the targets of it?


From the Fearsome Cedwyn at Daily Kos, Blog General and SpyMaster Extraordinaire:

Your humble narrator’s opinion is that elevating the negative above the positive is damaging in the long-term, to all our causes and goals.

And how does this Leading Light of the of so Pragamtic Obamacrats wish to implement this “Positive Vision” of blogging?

By conspiring in “secret” to game the system at Daily Kos. By literally “targeting” people to “diminish their influence.” By organized spying on other blogs. By throwing out their standards of reccing to gain advantang and game the system. All of this is being attempted by establishing a private Facebook group, explicitly to stage what can only be called ….a hostile takeover of Daily Kos ….

Daily Kos is not in the midst of a pie fight from what I can discern. It’s in the midst of a paradigmatic overhaul that equates to a hostile takeover. I’m just not down with that. It doesn’t represent me.

In yet another stunning display of hypocrisy from the Obamacrats….

Even as s/he is condemning (unnamed, unspecified, to a level that can only be called Conspiracy Theory) OTHER people for trying to “takeover” Daily Kos….. s/he is actively working to stage just such a hostile takeover.

From the ineffectively (lol) “secret” site:


The “Positive Vison” of Cedwyn is thus revealed….The method of positivity suggested is to target, spy on, and defeat other Progressive Bloggers.

Including poor little Docudharma, Scourge of the Intertrons.

THESE are the saviors of the Democratic Party, lol, people who can’t even manage to click a button to make their secret conspiracy to game a blog private. THESE are the people who will lead us to political effectiveness by being “positive,”…..as they conspire to defeat other progressive bloggers.

Because obviously….it is not Republicans that are the real problem with the world, it is not corrupt Democrats who are the real problem with the world, it is not a broken political and economic System that is the real problem with the world, it is nopt war, hunger, and Climats Change that is the real problem with the world…..

….it is other progressive Bloggers that are the real problem with the world.

If only Cedwyn and company can find a way to effectively target and destroy other bloggers….THEN, and only then, will all the problems of the world be solved.

There are just NO words that can adequately describe this level of complete inanity and insanity. All one can do is marvel at the hypocrisy, intellectual dishonesty and complete and utter obtuseness and ineffectiveness of these folks, who somehow delude themselves that they are bright enough to be “The Ones in Charge.”

When they can’t even pull off a conspiracy to game a freaking blog…without tripping over their own stupidity.

Oh Please, save us Cedwyn! Save us from ourselves with your brilliant plotting and spying! On us. And we in turn promise, in return for your attacks on us saving us from ourselves…. to only write about our government and the Democratic Party in glowing and positive terms!

Happy Pony Joy Rainbows!

Because EVERYONE knows that The Powers That Be will put aside their corrupt agendas and do exactly what we say! if only we are positive enough and nice* enough!

Open Laughter


Security Trumps Everything, or ‘Surging’ in Afghanistan

Zbigniew Brzezinski,

The Grand Chessboard:

For America the chief gepolitical prize is Eurasia… America’s global primacy is directly dependant on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.”

“About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in it’s enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.

“America’s withdrawal from the world or because of the sudden emergence of a successful rival – would produce massive international instability. It would prompt global anarchy.”

“The most immediate task is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role.”

The Real News Network’s Paul Jay interviews Zbigniew Brzezinski, former member of the Policy Planning Council of the Department of State from 1966 to 1968, chairman of the Humphrey Foreign Policy Task Force in the 1968 presidential campaign, director of the Trilateral Commission from 1973 to 1976, and principal foreign policy adviser to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential campaign.

From 1977 to 1981, Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. He was also a member of the President’s Chemical Warfare Commission (1985), the National Security Council-Defense Department Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (1987-1988), and the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1987-1989). In 1988, he was co-chairman of the Bush National Security Advisory Task Force, and in 2004, he was co-chairman of a Council on Foreign Relations task force that issued the report Iran: Time for a New Approach.

Real News Network – January 13, 2010

Transcript here

The Afghan war and the ‘Grand Chessboard’ Pt.1

Zbigniew Brzezinski on Afghanistan and the American strategy for Eurasia and the world

Part 2 of this interview on the flip…

Af/Pak: Education and Peace

Bill Moyers Journal: Education and Peace in Central Asia

January 15, 2010

Author and humanitarian Greg Mortenson, whose best-selling books Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools argue that education is the best way to peace in Afghanistan and across the Islamic world.

BILL MOYERS: Beyond his domestic woes, certainly the issue that has preoccupied President Obama the most since he took office is Afghanistan. The war he inherited from George W. Bush is now its ninth year and seems no closer to resolution. Almost daily, it seems, there are more stories of fighting in far off mountains, of suicide bombers killing CIA operatives, of drones raining bombs down on villages and killing innocent people. THE NEW YORK TIMES reports this week that unlike the past, when Afghanistan’s brutal winters would slow the violence for awhile, “both sides seem determined to make a larger political point by continuing to fight through the snow season.”

Hard sometimes to remember that this whole thing began in pursuit of Osama Bin Laden and his accomplices in the attacks of 9/11….>>>>>


Pay at top Wall Street firms estimated at $145 billion in 2009

Original article, by Andre Damon and subtitled As JP Morgan reports record compensation, via World Socialist Web Site:

The Wall Street Journal published an estimate Thursday that total pay at the largest Wall Street firms reached $145 billion last year. The Journal’s figure, based on preliminary figures, is more than any other year in history.

Docudharma Times Saturday January 16

Saturday’s Headlines:

In earthquake-ravaged Haiti, daunting challenges hobble relief efforts

Patrick Cockburn: The US is failing Haiti – again

A Gangland Bus Tour, With Lunch and a Waiver

Healthcare overhaul may depend on Massachusetts Senate race

Chinese lawyer goes missing after being detained

Afghan MPs back Karzai’s foreign minister choice

Raising Iraq’s ghosts has left Brown feeling their icy chill

Senior Iranian envoy quits in disgust over regime’s brutal ways

Why are so many of St Petersburg’s renowned art-nouveau mansions being left to rot?

Romanian Health Minister Attila Cseke to introduce ‘fat tax’ in battle against obesity

Pirates take new territory: West African Gulf of Guinea

Losing 60 Seats

It is entirely possible that in Tuesday’s special election the Institutional Democratic Party is going to cough up the seat Ted Kennedy held for 50 years.

Why is that?

Because they are fundamentally failures and want an excuse for not delivering.

But it’s not all bad.

I see people despairing and thinking we aren’t having any effect when nothing could be further from the truth.

They are very, very afraid.

They’re afraid we will spit in their soup and they should be.  They’re afraid we won’t buy their crap anymore and we won’t.

They’re afraid of pitchforks and torches but I’m not advocating that.

What I do think is that progressive people have been in an abusive relationship for years, bullied by perfectly good enemy talk into thinking that the enemy of their enemy is their friend.

I have permanent interests.

There comes a time when you have to stand up and say no when everyone else just runs away.  There comes a time when you have to admit that your bruises are not because you are “clumsy” and “undiplomatic”.

Below the fold is a letter from jail that I think is worth remembering.

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