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U.S. to Pass the Baton in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

  • Posted on: 11 April 2011
  • By: David_EHG

Originally posted David Harris-Gershon on April 5, 2011. Reprinted here with permission. - GH

Tony Karon, in a recent piece from The National entitled, "Obama's retreat leaves Israel at the mercy of multilateralism," brilliantly argues what most have come to realize: the United States can no longer serve as an effective broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Given the current multilateral approach being championed by the U.S. in Libya, is a similar multilateral approach with regard to Israeli-Palestinian talks – with the Obama administration standing on the sidelines and letting others take the lead – on its way?

According to Karon, many U.S. allies, namely France, Britain and Germany, certainly hope so, and are currently holding out their hands, asking for the baton.

It is a baton the U.S. may be willing to pass.

It is a baton Israel hopes the Obama administration does not relinquish.

******

 

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Cataclysmic - The GOP's "Unlawful Combatant" Master Technique

  • Posted on: 5 April 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

It's a strategy that is used by conservative wordsmiths, con artists and masterfully corrupt politicians. The intent is to use unReason to systematically dismantle constitutionally protected rights and freedoms and further free the conservative mindset from the shackles of truth, justice and responsibility.

The following post sums it up nicely. It was posted as a comment in a recent Daily Kos diary that was reporting on the recent overturning of Brown v Board by our illustrious SCOTUS:

It's "Unlawful Combatant" school funding.

It's the same tactic, I mean. Create a new ambiguous category and use it to allow the parts you like and disallow the parts you don't.

We can detain these guys because they're combatants, but we don't have to give them the POW rights because they're not an official army. We can keep them in Cuba because it's our base, but they have no rights under American law because it's Cuban soil. We can have them tortured by foreign nations at our behest, but no American is responsible because it's not done by Americans. Our military can hire private contractors who aren't liable under civil law for that reason, nor are they liable under military law because they're civilians. Et cetera, et cetera.

We can let people pay into these private school funding schemes with tax money that is thus taken from public schools, but we can't regulate the schools in the same way as public schools because they're private, see?

One nation, indivisible.

by Doctor Frog on Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 08:35:52 PM EDT

Here's the link to the main story.

That single comment is a perfect embodiment of how today's GOP is systematically dismantling everything they see as a threat to their primary interests - namely, anything that came out of the New Deal (remember that program, the one which helped pull us out of the Great Depression, which was in a large part created by deregulation and out of control financial speculation?).

The use of the "Unlawful Combatant" technique is a hallmark of the Bush Administration, but its continued use and improvement by conservatives speaks volumes: it's effective, like a masterful martial arts technique. One that we, as a nation, need to develop a defense against, before the Orwellian effects of this unReason truly undermine our nation so completely that we are unable to fight back at all...and all the progress that we made as both a nation and as a civilization are undone.

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"They're not just crazy, they're evil." - The GOP's Ongoing War Against the Poor

  • Posted on: 19 March 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

Via Susie Madrak on Crooks and Liars comes this stultifying new revelation:

They're not just crazy, they're evil -- and un-Christian, should they have the audacity to claim otherwise. If only we could force them to live like this, they wouldn't last a week:

St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.

[...Read More at Crooks and Liars...]

What's the vehicle that the Minnesota Republicans are proposing for this, and who will it affect?

House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP - and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid - could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.

[...Read more at Crooks and Liars or FightBackNews.org...]

The underlying "thought" process justifying this type of draconian, unConstitutional and highly offensive measure is an unfortunately common one among conservatives and teabaggers alike, from what I've seen. A recent example in the form of an exchange with an individual sympathetic to the Minnesota Republican efforts illustrates this nicely - below is my response to one of his excerpted comments, where he rolls the presumptive meme into his "logic" as a ploy to justify his "thinking:"

>> The reason these rules are put in effect is because the welfare recipients who have cash in their hand will buy liquer, drugs and anything else the want and are prohibited from buying under rules of welfare. Welfare money is for NECESSITIES ONLY. <<

You're making bad assumptions in your arrogant ignorance.

"welfare recipients who have cash in their hand will buy liquer, drugs and anything else the want" - whereas I know welfare recipients who do none of that, and need more than $20 cash to pay their rent or baby-sitter for when they have to go to the doctor.

Several welfare recipients I know of don't have or maintain bank accounts, so don't have checking accounts. When they get their checks, they cash them and then either get cashiers checks (which cost a fee) or make payments in cash to those facilities, utilities, transportation, child-care, medical, retail outlets and individuals who don't or can't accept welfare cards but who provide necessary services.

Just because you have no clue what it takes to live on welfare - or less - per day, per week, per month, that doesn't mean your ignorance is any excuse to make invalid, ignorant, arrogant and mis-informed statements as if they're based on fact.

What continues to amaze me, and shouldn't, is that even as the GOP's plan to further disenfranchise the poor and (shrinking) middle class becomes more blatantly obvious - both in terms of how damning it is for the nation and economy as well as for the affected classes of people - there are still many members of the poor who'd be directly affected by all this, and yet they are so agitated by frustration, conflicting messages and the constant onslaught of propaganda that they continue to vote against their own best interests...which, at this point, also serves to further worsen the GOP-spawned problems that got us into the worst of this mess to begin with.

 

Hat-tip Pulling to the Left for the heads-up.

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Stacking The Deck Again (Still): The GOP's War On Voting Rights

  • Posted on: 6 March 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

In a piece posted to ThinkProgress by Kevin Donohoe titled REPORT: In 22 Statehouses Across the Country, Conservatives Move to Disenfranchise Voters, a disturbingly familiar bit of news:

In statehouses across the country, Republican lawmakers are raising the specter of “voter fraud” to push through legislation that would dramatically restrict the voting rights of college students, rural voters, senior citizens, the disabled and the homeless. As part of their larger effort to silence Main Street, conservatives are pushing through new photo identification laws that would exclude millions from voting, depress Hispanic voter turnout by as much as 10 percent, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Excerpt from Kevin Donohoe's ThinkProgress pieceToday's GOP, coupled with the extreme insanity of their Tea Party brethren, has steadfastly pursued an accelerated agenda since they were able to reclaim some of their lost power through the last the election cycle. The previous decade of corruption and abuse, diminished civil rights and undermined social safety nets set the stage. Now, apparently panicking at the thought that they nearly saw all of their dismantling of the New Deal un-done with the transfer of power in the 2008 election cycle, they're scrambling to disable what elements they can and rig anThe ything else that could enhance their chances of keeping their claws on the levers of American power.

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Buckle Down: The Last Doughboy v. John Boehner

  • Posted on: 4 March 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

Yet again, the Republican "leadership" in Congress shows its true colors - not the red-white-and-blue of the national flag, but the rancid darkness that runs through the veins of the thin-skinned political hacks that are doing their utmost to keep the nation and her people foundering in a mess created by a decade of Republican-spawned (and protected) malfeasance.

I'll let the words of blonde moment from Daily Kos tell the tale:

Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 08:52 AM PST

Your help needed! Boehner denies national honor to "the last doughboy"

by blonde moment

Frank Buckles, the very last American soldier to serve in the Great War - the War to End All Wars - that is, World War I, passed away Sunday, Feb. 27, at the venerable age of 110.

Now John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, has denied requests by Republicans and Democrats alike that Mr. Buckles, representing an entire past generation, be given the signal honor of lying in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Without explanation.

I know there's no explanation, because I called Mr. Boehner's office to ask why the request was turned down. The #$%#*& who took my call said he didn't know why.

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Friday Morning Open Thread: Walker's Workforce Woes Continue, Worker's Revenge Edition

  • Posted on: 4 March 2011
  • By: Open Thread

From CNN:

(CNN) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday warned 14 absent lawmakers trying to stall his controversial budget bill to return to the state Capitol immediately to vote on the measure, or layoff notices will be sent to 1,500 public employees before the weekend.
"Unfortunately, if we don't have action by tomorrow we have a legal and moral obligation to start forewarning people," Walker said a Thursday night press conference.
The layoffs would take effect April 1, the governor said.
Walker's threat to start laying off workers capped the third week of a high-stakes drama playing out in Wisconsin.

Looks to me that there'd be 1500 more people with incentive to protest, come Monday.

And that's not counting their family, friends and pets.

In other news (also via CNN),

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Workers, angry at being fired, burned alive a senior executive of a steel factory in eastern India, police said Friday.
The attack on R.S. Roy, a deputy general manager at the Graphite India Limited's steel unit in Orissa state, took place Thursday after he signed termination letters for about a dozen workers, police said.
The angry workers stopped Roy's car and attacked him -- before setting him and the car on fire, said police superintendent Ajay Kumar Sarangi.

Ouch. Good thing the folks in WI are peaceful.

What's the latest news from your neck of the woods? Tell us what's happening in the comments, and remember: this is an Open Thread.

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Revolution Handbook for Americans

  • Posted on: 21 February 2011
  • By: statusquobuster

As recently presented, there is global respect for and use of the classic and brilliant work by Gene Sharp “From Dictatorship to Democracy.” It is credited for empowering many actions around the world to overthrow dictatorships, including recent actions in the Mideast. My thesis is that his ideas, strategies and tactics, a handbook for revolution, can and should be applied to the US where there is a form of corporate dictatorship operating.

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The Krugman Equation and Ending Political Theater To Save A Nation's Economy

  • Posted on: 18 February 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

Paul Krugman's OpEd in The New York Times yesterday, titled "Willie Sutton Wept," makes a few very important points for anyone who's truly interested in learning about the factors affecting our current budget 'crunch' and the ongoing debates on what to cut. (Read it here.) He makes three points about the current "budget debate" right off the bat, summarized in my bullet list below:

  1. It's essentially fraudulent
  2. Self-proclaimed deficit "hawks" ~aren't~
  3. President Obama deserves a lot more credit for fiscal responsibility than he's been getting

Most of this boils down to the reality that the current budget "crisis" is ignoring the realities of what is impacting the economy the most, while the kabuki theater that the GOP is performing (and not performing alone) in the Potemkin village of our nation's capital isn't just for show -- it's also damaging our meager recovery. Krugman reiterates what we've already seen from looking at the CBO's numbers and from additional sources -- that the core costs which will rise sharply over the next few years will be from health insurance programs, not Social Security. And the lack of revenues from the additional taxes that we lost due to the tax cuts are making the whole situation much worse.

 

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Cataclysmic: The GOP's Politics Are Anathema To Good Government And Fiscal Responsibility

  • Posted on: 17 February 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

Originally posted 2011-02-17 17:54:35 -0500. Bumped and promoted. -- GH

Yes, it's their strategy. It's part of their practiced meme, and nobody's called them on it. They rinse, repeat and repackage the same tired old b.s. time and again, increasingly ginning up greater crises and fomenting unrest while claiming that government is the problem, and they're the 'solution.'

And too many people keep falling for it.

Well, now maybe more people will begin to wake up and start remembering -- and keep telling each other to stay awake, stay alert and make it through the next election cycle with one goal intact: oust the GOP and their Teapublican buddies, once and for all, from all levels of government if you want to have at least an even chance of beginning to fix the mess that this merry-go-round has been generating.

 

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It's a practiced meme.

  • Posted on: 30 January 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

It's a practiced meme, one which those familiar with the GOP of today saw coming as early as 2004. During the Bush/Cheney fiasco, the GOP engaged in double-book accounting, hoping the inevitable economic disaster would hit AFTER their majority and WH left office -- but they were too greedy.

The habit of spending the country into a tailspin while using various budgeting and economic tricks to falsely stimulated a facade of 'growth' (one that would be the ultimate cause of the resulting collapse back within itself), then blame the other party that comes in to clean up the mess not only for making the mess in the first place but using the mess to further their agenda, restricting spending and cutting social service programs.

It's got to stop, folks.

They had their demands for "investigations" and "impeachment" sounding BEFORE Obama even took the Oath of Office -- what idiot would see and hear that, and still believe that the Republicans were intent on doing ANYTHING akin to actually working FOR the nation instead of actively against it?

They had fought any investigation of the lies that were unraveling which brought us to war in Iraq during their tenure, and steadfastly stood by the then-President Bush when he boldly announced that he had no exit strategy, and that would be something "for the next President" to clean up decide. Who didn't suspect that they intended to ensure that the high costs of war - TWO wars - would help seriously constrain the ability of that "next" President to curtail the spending and stem the bleeding from the GOP's reckless abandonment of duty, Constitutionality and humanity?

They've actively obstructed EVERY measure that the current Administration and the Democratic majority in Congress had tried to pass, and then lied some more in order to influence the weak-minded and the devastated into voting their incompetent, lying asses BACK into office, where they now have the capacity to do even more damage and to FURTHER obstruct any efforts to actually fix the nation's infrastrure, economy and health.

They've been lying repeatedly; the big lies of their candidates and pundits echo cavernously through the rapidly hollowing skulls of their followers and sychophants...and they are never, ever held accountable for the real, lasting and inhuman swath of destruction which their ongoing reign of (T)error wreaks across the planet.

 

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Couple of things to help Egyptians use the Internet

  • Posted on: 28 January 2011
  • By: deltadoc

Originally posted 2011-01-28 11:39:57 -0500. Bumped and promoted. -- GH

Just grabbing and posting a couple of things that might help Egyptians and increasing numbers of their neighbors use the Internet when it is turned on.

One item for us Arabic-challenged surfers, http://www.commondreams.org/uprising .

Help Egypt by Joining the TOR Cloud

Here's what you can do. Contributing to the Tor network requires a bit of technical savvy and a devotion of your time and your computer's resources. If that's you, and you're willing to learn about the Tor network, help reopen these channels of communication by joining the Global Proxy Cloud (instructions linked on the right). Through a download of Tor, a free anti-censorship program developed by The Tor Project, a computer running a Tor bridge over an extended period can help the network run faster.

Here are a couple of things I passed on to an Egypt-linked friend last night.

Sam Spade Network Information Tool

You might also pass on this tool for investigating network information, http://www.softpedia.com/get/Network-Tools/Network-Tools-Suites/Sam-Spade.shtml ,
It's what I used to ping hosts in dot eg.

Lastly, an article describing its use.
http://www.techrepublic.com/article/sam-spade-the-swiss-army-knife-of-network-analysis/1038366  

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Open Thread - Spicy Eastern Schadenfreude

  • Posted on: 19 January 2011
  • By: Connecticut Man1

In the Nutmeg State many are just a little more than overjoyed at the thought of this news from the NY Times:

Referring to Mr. Lieberman’s plan to forgo re-election, Bill Curry, a prominent Democrat who served with Mr. Lieberman in the State Senate, said, "It’s the first thing he’s done in 10 years to make Connecticut Democrats completely happy."

It ain't just the Dems that are doing a little happy dance over this news... I would have posted on the rumors flying around these parts in the last couple of days earlier if I could have gotten access to the internet. As it was? I was probably too busy enjoying the moment to write, anyways. His official announcement should be today and, needless to say, there will be video coming from many of his "favorite" Connecticut Bloggers planning to be there to capture this for posterity's sake. Open Thread it!

[update] Below and from scarce at MLN:

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America Falters, and so it goes...

  • Posted on: 13 January 2011
  • By: Connecticut Man1

There has been a lot of failure going on around us these days. Whether we are talking about political failures to come to real solutions that will actually solve many of the problems we see everyday, or we are talking about economic failure that is effecting nearly every American out there. Even a basic failure to communicate with a basic level of dignity that can lead to any of the possible solutions.

I watched President Obama's eulogy in Tuscon last night. I am not going to get very deep into any particular analysis of it beyond saying it was almost exactly the kind of statement that needed to be made from our leadership at this time.

I was, however, a little bit disturbed with the reactions of the crowds to the speech. This was a eulogy, not a campaign speech, and many seemed to be taken aback by the crowds' reactions.

It made me feel uncomfortable, at times, hearing people cheering at a eulogy for people that died. Not just cheering but with catcalls and an exuberance that was unsuitable for an solemn event of this type. And watching the speech I could not help but see some slight cringing by the President as some in the crowd reacted that way... Reacted, as some facebook friends put it, almost like they were spectators at a sporting match or watching a rock star on stage.

I know Bloggers are not the only ones that noticed it. CNN has some notes from some of their regular contributors:

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The German magazine Spiegel says 'Political Radicalization in US Unworthy of a Democratic State'

  • Posted on: 12 January 2011
  • By: Democrats Ramshield


As an American expat living in the European Union I've come to rely on the European mainstream press corp for opinions and information that is essentially unaffected by the influence of Fox news and right wing talk radio.

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Stochastic Terrorism

  • Posted on: 11 January 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

There's a term for the type of "rhetorical" behavior we've seen increasingly used to stir the pot -- the same type of verbiage and same concept behind the "who will rid me of this meddlesome priest" talk that put an end to St. Thomas Becket.

It's a term describing the actions of domestic enemies, domestic terrorists, zealots and radicals -- you know, Republicans and Tea Baggers. It makes its home among the hallowed halls of inappropriate political discourse, and calls forth the lunatics from the fringe whenever enough critical mass can be built up to trigger bloodshed, violence, chaos and destruction.

It's called stochastic terrorism, and it's a doozy:

__________

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

This is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.

This is also the term for what Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and others do.

[...snip...]

The person who actually plants the bomb or assassinates the public official is not the stochastic terrorist, they are the "missile" set in motion by the stochastic terrorist. The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media as their means of setting those "missiles" in motion.

Here's the mechanism spelled out concisely:

The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts.

One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act. While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. "given the provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such"), the specific person and the specific act are not predictable (yet).

The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do."

The lone wolf who was the "missile" gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves.

Further, the stochastic terrorist may be acting either negligently or deliberately, or may be in complete denial of their impact, just like a drunk driver who runs over a pedestrian without even realizing it.

Finally, there is no conspiracy here: merely the twisted acts of individuals who are promoting extremism, who get access to national media in which to do it, and the rest follows naturally just as an increase in violent storms follows from an increase in average global temperature.

__________

So, to answer the unasked question, "do you believe the constant, relentless use of violent imagery and rhetoric by Conservatives, Tea Partiers and their ilk is terrorism?" is "Yes. It's terrorism. A most insidious form of terrorism, with a long and bloody history."

OK? Good. Glad that's settled.

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