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- Won’t Get Fooled Again? by ek hornbeck
- The Continued Lies About Social Security and Medicare by TheMomCat
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This is an Open Thread
Apr 10 2012
Our regular featured content-
These featured articles-
This is an Open Thread
Apr 10 2012
There is only one of course. This Saturday was the 158th official running of the Oxford Cambridge Heavyweight 8s and like many things sporting had both it’s share of unexpected drama and political implications.
Not that there haven’t been dramatic events in the past. Over the years there have been 2 mutinies (1959 and 1987, both Oxford), 7 sinkings, and one tie because the Judge was sleeping under a bush (a not uncommon collegiate experience).
This year the race was disrupted by a lone swimmer, Trenton Oldfield.
Before we get to the politics, I’d like to talk about the race which I only saw from the restart. As far as I’m concerned the Umpire showed a distinctly pro-Cambridge bias. Despite Oxford leading by a quarter length the boats re-started even. When Oxford lost a blade the Umpire ruled it Oxford’s fault and blamed it on their female coxswain.
Asshole. He handed it to Cambridge.
Also the lead oar of Oxford collapsed from exhaustion but was left untreated for several minutes because everyone was too busy patting themselves on the back.
Against which I offer this statement from the notorious Trenton Oldfield-
(T)his reach is (…) the site of a number of past and present elitist establishments; Fulham Palace, Chiswick House and St Paul’s Schools and a large collection of other ‘independent/public/free schools’. It is also where Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minster of the Government lives with his family, despite his constituents living hundreds of miles away in post-industrial Sheffield. Most notably and most importantly for today, it is a site where elitists and those with elitist sympathies have come together every year but one for the last 158 years to perform, in the most public way, their ambition for the structures and subsequent benefits from elitism and privilege to continue. (They even list in the programme which public school the rowers attended before Oxford or Cambridge)
The boat race itself, with its pseudo competition, assembled around similar principles of fastest, strongest, selected …etc, is an inconsequential backdrop for these elite educational institutions to demonstrate themselves, reboot their shared culture together in the public realm. It is also inconsequential to the performance that the overwhelming majority of the population continue to remain interested in their own lives and disinterested in the boat race. The boat race, while accessible to everyone, isn’t really advertised or promoted as something for the general public to attend, you know when it’s on because it is part of the social networking calendar. This is a public event, for and by the elites with broader social relations aims. The fact that it happens in the public realm (visible) almost exactly as it has done for the last 158 years also becomes important; the untouched; the unchanged is significant. Most standing alongside the Thames today are in fact the pumped-up though obedient administrators, managers, promoters, politicians and enforcers; functional, strategic and aspirational elites.
When hasn’t elitism lead to tyranny? When hasn’t the belief of being ‘more’ than another person led to tragedy? Who benefits from elitism? One won’t be surprised to learn the etymology of the word ‘elite’ derives from ‘the elected’ … unfortunately not elected by democratic means, but rather, elected by god. Yup…’elected’, ‘selected’, ‘chosen’ … by god … inherited. When has this understanding of oneself or by a group of people ever been a good thing? When has this understanding not resulted in tyranny? Is tyranny surely not the inevitable outcome? And in contrast, when hasn’t the pursuit of equality, not resulted in these long passages of tyranny being overcome, even if temporarily?
To enclose and to enslave requires the audacity, cunning and daring to take advantage of our natural kindness, our belief in others, our respect for authority, our desire to please, and our apprehension about ‘causing waves’, our hope for all to have a better life, somehow. It also depends on our disbelief, despite having experienced it, that other people would purposefully set out to harm us for their own advantage. More recently we have also been encouraged, though the evidence displays the opposite much of the time, that a whole raft of institutions exists that work to prevent human catastrophes like our right to protest being denied, detention without trial or charge, the monopolisation of industries, and essentials like food and water. These institutions were established to prevent slavery, genocide, indentured labour and groupings of indices of deprivation and poverty from occurring. It is likely many in the western Baby Boomers generation (large percentage of the UK population), who have benefited so much from these institutions, are finding it very difficult to consider that these institutions might now be turning against them, their children and their grandchildren?
Do we resist now setting out to avoid something akin to slavery and imperialism? Or do we hesitate and find ourselves and our children without agency once again and in a long battle to gain it again? How long might it take and how many lives might this demand?
Some more corporatist sympathetic links-
Apr 10 2012
President Barack Obama took this oath on January 20, 2009 as prescribed by the US Constitution, Article II, Section 1:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
That includes a legal obligation to enforce the laws of this country and prosecuting the criminals who break those laws, even if that criminal is another President.
Rachel Maddow tiptoed around a bit when she that Bush-era torture was “probably a war crime,” while discussing the recently released memo by Philip Zelikow, a former Bush counselor. I suspect she did so as to not find herself on the unemployment line.
Rachel Maddow relays the news that the original Philip Zelikow memo advising the Bush administration that waterboarding is torture and such, illegal, has been found despite Bush administration efforts to destroy every copy. Will new proof that the Bush administration did not act in good faith when it tortured detainees push the Obama administration to prosecute? Will the Republican Party, once principled against torture, outflank Obama and call for prosecutions?
It was probably a war crime, not to put a fine point on it. And that is something we are legally obligated to prosecute in this country. This opens the whole question of legal liability for torture that was administered by the previous administration. The Democratic Party will be split by this, because the White House politically doesn’t want to deal with this, even if it’s wrong and even if they know it’s wrong. And the Republican Party still has to figure out who it is. Is the Republican Party still the party of John McCain, which now has the opportunity to outflank the president on a matter of principle here? Where the Whit house knows what the right thing to do is, but they don’t want do it. Or is the Republican Party still the party of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney who think torture is OK?
Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog doesn’t think this is going away. He also wonders why the Obama administration didn’t pursue it and links to an article written by Andrew Kreig, executive director of Justice Integrity Project, on September 13, 2011:
President-Elect Obama’s advisers feared in 2008 that authorities would “revolt” and that Republicans would block his policy agenda if he prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a law school dean who served as one of Obama’s top transition advisers.
University of California at Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley, Jr., the sixth highest-ranking member of the 2008 post-election transition team preparing Obama’s administration, revealed the team’s thinking in moderating a forum on 9/11 held by his law school (also known as Boalt Hall)[..]
When a citizen, Susan Harmon, who opposed torture, questioned Dean Ederly on the inclusion of Professor John C. Yoo, former Bush Justice Department attorney who authored a memo justifying torture, to Boalt Hall’s faculty, this is what happened:
Harman’s account of her actions at the Boalt Hall forum, which focused on such goals as human rights and the rule of law:
“I said I was overwhelmed by the surreality of Yoo being on the law faculty . . . when he was single-handedly responsible for the three worst policies of the Bush Administration. They all burbled about academic freedom and the McCarthy era, and said it isn’t their job to prosecute him.
Dean Chris Edley volunteered that he’d been party to very high level discussions during Obama’s transition about prosecuting the criminals. He said they decided against it. I asked why. Two reasons: 1) it was thought that the CIA, NSA, and military would revolt, and 2) it was thought the Repugnants would retaliate by blocking every piece of legislation they tried to move (which, of course, they’ve done anyhow).”
Harman says that she approached Edley privately after the forum closed and said she appreciated that Obama might have been in danger but felt that he “bent over backwards” to protect lawbreakers within the Bush administration. She recalled, “He shrugged and said they will never be prosecuted, and that sometimes politics trumps rule of law.”
The last I checked waterboarding was still considered torture and torture was still a crime. Obama could well become a target for impeachment proceedings should the Democrats lose control of the Senate and more seats in the House. So long as the Obama administration refuses to prosecute former Bush administration officials, as well as, Bush and Cheney, they themselves are complicit in war crimes as per established laws and treaties of this country and the oaths that they took to uphold those laws and the Constitution.
Apr 10 2012
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.
April 10 is the 100th day of the year (101st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 265 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1970, Paul McCartney announces the breakup of the Beatles.
The legendary rock band the Beatles spent the better part of three years breaking up in the late 1960s, and even longer than that hashing out who did what and why. And by the spring of 1970, there was little more than a tangled set of business relationships keeping the group together. Each of the Beatles was pursuing his musical interests outside of the band, and there were no plans in place to record together as a group. But as far as the public knew, this was just a temporary state of affairs. That all changed on April 10, 1970, when an ambiguous Paul McCartney “self-interview” was seized upon by the international media as an official announcement of a Beatles breakup.
The occasion for the statements Paul released to the press that day was the upcoming release of his debut solo album, McCartney. In a Q&A format in which he was both the interviewer and the interviewee, Paul first asked and answered a number of straightforward questions involving the recording equipment he used on the album, which instruments he played and who designed the artwork for the cover.
Apr 10 2012
Loved George Carlin on the religion thing. Hey, did you see SNLs skit about the Romney campaign? News reports about people dumping CNN and turning to internet news sources? The latest buzz on postponing the Iran war until after Obama gets re-selected? Should I sign up for Richard Gage’s 911 talk or are we just way to far gone for that?
Did I have a good Easter. Sort of. It was a nice family dinner after an egg hunt for the grandkids. What did Grampy buy them for Easter presents? Well first off we had the Nerf Blaster 2000, a set of Homeboy Security handcuffs but the hit of the day was the six shot cap guns. Nothing like a bit of noise to relieve the family angst over the crash of former suburban bliss. The kids are fine, it’s the adults who are panic stricken.
Behave, listen to what I tell you, don’t do that, sit down and eat your food. I would have let them be kids as long as they can. I myself am a 57 year six year old yet my first daughter forgot that family tradition. Stress induced for sure.