April 16, 2010 archive

Standing There On Freedom’s Shore

Waiting For The Sun

The First Amendment Right To Talk Crazy

And the corollary Constitutional right to say extremely crazy, untrue, provocative things to large gatherings of possibly armed people has been getting a workout, too.

Look at this:

A few thousand people gathered at Freedom Plaza in Washington today for the first of two Tea Party rallies in the nation’s capital today organized to protest government spending and taxation.

Clutching angry signs and occasionally breaking out into chants of “USA! USA!,” the protesters listened to a series of fiery speeches attacking the Obama administration for what they cast as irresponsible spending and far left wing policies.

Rep. Michele Bachmann said the “gangster government” has instituted a “takeover of one private industry after another,” again making her questionable claim that “the federal government owns or controls 51 percent of the private economy.”

She said the Obama administration is “perfectly content with presiding over a decline in our economy,” adding: “I’d say it’s time for these little piggies to go home, and come November that’s where they’re headed.”

That, of course, is Constitutionally protected, insane speech.  The “gangster government” was elected by a majority vote.  And its policies, for better or worse, were what it was apparently elected to do.  Evidently, democracy and majority rule are now “gangster government.”  But strangely, the previous administration’s kidnapping foreign nationals off of streets, secretly putting them on airplanes, flying them to secret, black hole prisons, and torturing them for months is not “gangster government.” That’s necessary “security.”  The illegal renditions must not have been “gangster government” solely because there was no demand for ransom.  But I digress.

Michele Bachmann’s (RWNJ-Minn) utterances are so far from the truth and so obviously unhinged that Bill Clinton has criticized them:

“They are not gangsters,” Mr. Clinton said in an interview with the New York Times. “They were elected. They are not doing anything they were not elected to do.”

The former president, who was in his first term in office when Timothy McVeigh bombed an Oklahoma City federal building, drew parallels between the anti-government rhetoric being used now and what was being said then.

But back then it was the camouflage wearing militia fringe that was making the dangerous, provocative claims.  Nobody in their right mind listened to their rantings.  They were shunned.  And they got no publicity.   And now, well now it’s an elected Congressperson and evidently the Tea Parties and Faux TV that trumpet this insanity and the rest of the Traditional MediaTM feels compelled further to disseminate the ravings.

The First Amendment Right to crazy talk is getting a total, stretching workout.  Let’s hope this exercise of madness doesn’t lead inexorably to yet another “imminent breach of the peace.”


simulposted at The Dream Antilles and dailyKos

Obama DoJ indicts NSA whistleblower…are you mad yet?

If you were mad at all about Bush’s violations of civil liberties when he was president, this will get you fuming:

In a rare legal action against a government employee accused of leaking secrets, a grand jury has indicted a former senior National Security Agency official on charges of providing classified information to a newspaper reporter in hundreds of e-mail messages in 2006 and 2007.

The official, Thomas A. Drake, 52, was also accused of obstructing justice by shredding documents, deleting computer records and lying to investigators who were looking into the reporter’s sources.

“Our national security demands that the sort of conduct alleged here – violating the government’s trust by illegally retaining and disclosing classified information – be prosecuted and prosecuted vigorously,” Lanny A. Breuer, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a statement.

This is not just a single instance of outrage.  It is a microcosm of the Obama presidency, the political success of corporate America, and the failure of its opposition.

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Goldman Sachs charged with fraud by SEC

By Jonathan Stempel and Steve Eder, Reuters

22 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc was charged with fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its marketing of a debt product tied to subprime mortgages that was designed to fail.

The lawsuit is the biggest crisis in years for Goldman, which emerged from the global financial crisis as Wall Street’s most influential bank.

It is also a huge test for Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, who has faced a firestorm of criticism over the bank’s pay and business practices. It comes as lawmakers in Washington debate sweeping reform of financial industry regulation.

Death Of Illusion: Can The US Dollar Collapse? Part 3

So far in the first two segments of this six part interview we’ve heard Jane D’Arista, author of The Evolution of U.S. Finance: Federal Reserve Monetary Policy: 1915-1935 and research associate with the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts at Amherst, talk with Paul Jay about the end of the American consumerism as the driving ‘engine’ of the global economy, and about the decades long development of the offshoring of labor and the companies that have been doing that attempting to continue profiting by selling their goods back into a US market with steadily declining disposable income, finally arriving at the point where massive government bailouts of the financial sector have been used to keep the illusion of a prosperous economy afloat at the expense of the average person.

In this third segment D’Arista goes further in her conversation with Jay to explain why and how the global economic system depends on the US as importer of last resort but that US workers wages are too low and there is no longer the cheap credit available to keep the system going that has been enabling people to live the ‘American Dream’ through debt, and why other countries are both unlikely and unwilling to take the place of the US as that importer of last resort that is needed to keep the illusion alive.

Real News Network – April 16, 2010

Can US dollar remain world’s currency? Pt.3

Jane D’Arista: System depends on US as importer of last resort but wages too low and credit not there

Transcript here

Part 1 of this interview is here.

Part 2 is here.

Beyond Five

If you Google the five senses a curious thing comes up. You get a bunch of educational sites telling you how to limit kids by telling them they have ONLY five senses.  Why are we doing this.  Only five my ass.

Today’s POS for later. ET, the great orange satan of Europe and the Stasi working for McDonalds.


Blog Talk Radio – Progressive Independence Radio – 8PM EDT

We’ve got a lot to talk about tonight: Ohio’s Green Party gubernatorial candidate Dennis Spisak, one of incumbent and Democrat Ted Strickland’s creatures stalking Spisak on the ‘net, Don Blankenship and why he should be in prison, more about the Full Court Press (I talked with fellow blogger Jeff Roby last week on the subject), and finally, porn starlet Stormy Daniels’ run for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana to replace GOPer David Vitter.

The call-in number is 1 (347) 884-9121 if you want to call in and talk with us.  The URL is here.


Docudharma Times Friday April 16

Friday’s Headlines:

Soldiers, monks clear rubble in quake-hit China

For eco-friendly surfboard shapers, more kelp in the lineup


C.I.A. Document Details Destruction of Tapes

Nearly two dozen congressional fundraisers held at D.C. Springsteen shows last year


Fear of Tory win spooks Europe

Radovan Karadzic in heated exchange with Muslim witness in court

Middle East

Have Iran and its allies been passing phony $100 bills in Iraq?


The secret war – and the hidden lair of the Taliban

Drama in Bangkok as Red Shirt leaders escape police through hotel window


A hunger for justice in Western Sahara

Analysts Say Sudan Elections Have Only Losers

Latin America

Haiti relief: Refugees move to higher, drier ground as rainy season begins

Cost of Wars Felt Decades Later

And this is only a very small fraction of those cost in monetary terms for any War but especially Wars of Choice, billions are just plain blown up in the occupations, billions are just lost, and more!

The Meaningful Real Costs in Lives Loss or Changed Forever can not be Calculated!

And out of these two occupations we’ve given the small band of criminals exactly what they wanted, raised the hatreds towards us and created the long term possibility, already started, of continued blowback, our legacy to the coming generations!

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


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Round 2…

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

PA-06:Fool Me Once, SOY, Fool Me Twice, SOM

Fool Me Once, Shame On You, Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me

I just saw this today, about PA-06,  http://www.dailykos.com/story/… at GOS, and since I have relatives who live in this district, plus I spent part of my life very close by, I thought I’d comment.  First, some background on Southeastern Pennsylvania politics.

In 2006 a former career Navy admiral named Joe Sestak(D) decided to run for Congress in nearby PA- 07.  It was a traditionally Republican district, but he managed to win.  Sestak was a Netroots candidate.  

After he won his second term, he became bored or more ambitious, and decided to run for the Pennsylvania Senate against Arlen Specter, who had switched parties from Republican to Democrat.

Even though he was still in the House, Sestak’s campaign donations jumped dramatically until he officially announced he was out of the congressional race and into the Senate.  This happened during the height of the health care debate in the spring of 2009, and during that, the issue was, for many activists, whether or not we would have a bill with a Public Option.

In spite of my online, public queries as to whether or not Sestak supported a Public Option, his online coordinator remained coy and merely directed me to links on Sestak’s campaign site, which did not supply that information. I also searched elsewhere.  From those links, it seemed that Sestak was for the concept of health care reform in general, but which sounded like mostly private plans, managed differently.  Since Sestak had campaigned on his family’s personal health care struggles, this was rather annoying.

Plus, with Sestak running for Senate, it now left PA- 07 at risk of being retaken by the Republican Party, after a lot of people for a very long time had worked to get it out. Triple annoying.   Now it looks to be a race between a Democratic State Representative, Bryan Roy Lentz, and a former Republican US Attorney, Patrick L Meehan.  http://www.thegreenpapers.com/…   Here is Meehan’s site, http://www.meehanforcongress.com/   he’s raised over a million so far, and he’s not going to do a damned thing for that district.  Here is Meehan’s version of health care “reform”  http://meehanforcongress.com/h…      which is to give people tax credits to purchase insurance and have them use Health Savings Accounts.  He is against the current bill and would have voted against it.   On the other issues, economy, taxes, and transportation, he ignores foreign policy.   Meehan’s probable Democratic opponent, Bryan Lentz, isn’t something to get enthused about, either, he is also tacking to the right trying to keep up with the “more tax cuts will solve everything” meme.   His healthcare stance is vague other than he says he will “fight” to let Americans keep their doctor and insurance, and “fight” against insurance companies to stop discrimination against those with pre existing conditions. “Bryan will fight for real lobbying reform that includes banning all gifts from lobbyists ” to reform our government.”  “Bryan will also work to provide tax cuts to companies that take advantage of innovative renewable energy technologies like wind, solar and geothermal.”  http://votelentz.com/index.php…

So, if Lentz loses, because he is a klutz, http://www.pa2010.com/2010/04/…     Sestak has turned the seat over to the Republicans, only to run against a Democratic incumbent in a race he is also likely to lose, because he underestimated Specter’s being a known quantity state wise, and his personality seems to have some Philly area, eastern PA loyalty.

In 2006 I had travelled to the district and had talked a high school friend into campaigning for Sestak, so I was very interested in the answer to the Public Option query, as here it was 3 years later, in 2009,  since the Democrats had taken control of the House, the economy was worse, the war(s) were still going on, and we still did not have any sort of decent bills coming out of this Congress on this matter.  I take my endorsements seriously.  Especially since I was talking to somebody who told me what his life was like living in a town whose economy was not doing well, and he was now enthused about this candidate.

It was only after Senator Arlen Specter publicly said that he was for a Public Option, in 2009,  that the formerly reticent Sestak began to publicly be for one, too.  THIS is the power of the primary.  It makes candidates commit to platforms and give their stances on issues, which then we the voter can compare to their later behaviors.

Arlen Specter is a crafty old ex Democrat, then ex Republican who’s a Democrat again, who’s alway’s had a bit of a moderate- liberal streak.  If there is one thing he knows, it’s that you can’t undercut your own Party consistently.  Hence Arlen, after a bit of a fumble out of the gate, got with the program and supported Health Care Reform and the Public Option.  He also signed the “Bennet Letter”  on Feb 19, 2009,  which supported the leadership to use reconciliation to pass a Public Option.   http://www.politico.com/news/s…   Yes, I know that we didn’t get one, but we also had alleged Democratic Senators who were actively fighting against this P/O the entire way, such as Blanche Lincoln ( D, “Koch Oil, Walmart”)  of Arkansas, and a lot of alleged Democratic congressmen.   Overall, Specter has been a Democrat during his time as a Democrat.

But this isn’t about him, really, or Sestak.  It’s about Doug Pike vs. Manan Trevidi, in the Democratic Primary in nearby PA – 06 .    

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