Sunday, June 29, 2014
"AN insidious trend has developed over this past third of a century. A country that experienced shared growth after World War II began to tear apart, so much so that when the Great Recession hit in late 2007, one could no longer ignore the fissures that had come to define the American economic landscape. How did this “shining city on a hill” become the advanced country with the greatest level of inequality?
One stream of the extraordinary discussion set in motion by Thomas Piketty’s timely, important book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” has settled on the idea that violent extremes of wealth and income are inherent to capitalism. In this scheme, we should view the decades after World War II — a period of rapidly falling inequality — as an aberration."
"But this fixation on technological analogies is more than just an idle curiosity. It has real-world implications that are not to be underestimated. Recent years have borne out that if a technology under scrutiny cannot be analogized to a historically protected invention, it may be doomed. In 2006, for example, Chief Justice Roberts doubted that eBay was an actual invention. He asked the lawyer, Seth Waxman, what the invention of eBay was, and when Waxman explained it as an electronic market, Chief Justice Roberts responded flippantly, saying, “I mean, it's not like he invented the internal combustion engine or anything. It's very vague.”
When Waxman pushed back at Roberts, pointing out that "I'm not a software developer and I have reason to believe that neither is Your Honor,” Roberts fully explicated his contempt for the technology. “I may not be a software developer, but as I read the invention [of eBay], it’s displaying pictures of your wares on a computer network and, you know, picking which ones you want and buying them.” He next said about the multibillion-dollar Internet corporation: “I might have been able to do that.”
This came from the man who four years later asked the difference between a pager and an email."
Saturday, June 28, 2014
The Rachel Maddow Show Court not swayed by violent threat to clinics Rachel Maddow outlines the history and threat of violence around abortion clinics, where today the Supreme Court struck down a law defining a zone of protection, and compares that to the threat around other situations where buffer zones have been allowed.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Chris McDaniel, Thad Cochran, and black Democrats: McDaniel thinks black votes in Mississippi’s GOP primary are irregular and illegitimate.
Chris McDaniel, Thad Cochran, and black Democrats: McDaniel thinks black votes in Mississippi’s GOP primary are irregular and illegitimate.
"Washington, D.C.— Today, Congressmen Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Peter King (R-Seaford) and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced their opposition to the news that the Administration is considering a former Grumman site to house the influx of unaccompanied children who are entering U.S. borders illegally. The site is near a New York State Superfund site. They have been in touch with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to express their concern and disapproval.
Rep. Israel said, “Unaccompanied children coming into our borders is a humanitarian crisis, but housing them in an industrial warehouse near a Superfund site is not a humanitarian solution. I will continue working with Rep. King and County Executive Mangano to ensure that HHS and GSA rethink their consideration of this site.”
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
" WASHINGTON -- At least 100 children were unintentionally killed by gunfire in the year following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a new study from a leading gun control group shows.
The study, released Wednesday by Everytown for Gun Safety, is the latest sobering examination of the effects -- intended or otherwise -- that guns have in communities where children reside.
"It is preventable," said John Feinblatt, the group's president. "Too often we just say it is an accident or inevitable. But what this data shows is it's preventable."
Tea Party racial voter suppression effort fails- Cochran defeats McDaniel in Miss. primary Chris Hayes and guests discuss news of incumbent Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s victory over his primary opponent and tea party favorite Chris McDaniel.
“Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life,’” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.”
A victory for the 4th Amendment.
Supreme Court rules cell phones cannot be searched without a warrant | MSNBC
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
Congress should make itself heard about U.S. troops in Iraq - The Washington Post
Sunday, June 22, 2014
"The same hawks who suckered us into war with Iraq are at it again. It's time they be held accountable"
"It's true. The "Communist Manifesto" co-author has gotten a second life — and he has some advice for progressives"
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Melissa Harris-Perry Is there a solution to the crisis in Iraq? NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Iraq War veteran Earl Catagnus Jr., and Aneesh Raman join “MHP” to discuss the latest on the unrest in Iraq and the slippery slope to further U.S. involvement.
"But the history that oppresses those guys, and the entire imperialist intelligentsia they represent, goes back a lot further than Saddam Hussein and 9/11. They’re still haunted by a different specter: the American empire’s Waterloo moment in Vietnam, more than 40 years ago, and the social discord it produced in places like Madison and Berkeley and Chicago and New York. For them, the entire Iraq conflict was almost a stand-in for the real thing, a delusional salve applied to an old psychic wound. Give them Marty McFly’s time-traveling DeLorean and they’d go whizzing right past Baghdad and head for Hanoi, circa 1969, with a thermonuclear device in tow."
Friday, June 20, 2014
"The recent reboot of the show Cosmos on Fox further demonstrated how partisan the very idea of science and empiricism has become. The show, which features astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson taking over the host role from the original’s Carl Sagan, was aggressive in defending science, curiosity, and following the evidence from people who would rather rely on faith or authority, but it took no partisan positions. Nonetheless, it was immediately understood by Americans both left and right as a “liberal” show, merely for its strong insistence that facts should not be ignored in favor of wishful thinking.
Even though the show was hosted on the Fox network channel, Fox News, the conservative cable channel, did not hold back in the slightest from attacking Tyson for perceived liberalism. In a shockingly racist segment, host Greg Gutfeld and guest Gavin McInnes dogged relentlessly on Tyson, insinuating that he can’t really be an astrophysicist and making fun of “white liberals” for being enthusiastic about Tyson and his work. It only grew uglier with McInnes claiming that Tyson deserved to be mistreated based on his race when he was young because he “fit the profile” by having “a huge afro.”
While that was the ugliest example of race-baiting, overall conservative media had a tendency to treat Cosmos like its insistence on empiricism and rationality was inherently a culture war issue, so much so that many Christian conservative media outlets attacked every episode in the series with fervor. It wasn’t just when it came to Tyson’s acceptance of evolutionary theory, either. Christian conservatives threw a fit because the show told the story of how Giordano Bruno, a 16th century monk, was burned at the stake for free-thinking. Even though the story fit directly into the larger argument the show made about the dangers of repressing free inquiry, Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute felt that criticizing the church for torturing a man to death should be off-limits because the man in question was a monk, not a scientist.
Or, even more hilariously, when Tyson mentioned in passing on the show that Christmas was established by the church not because it’s actually Jesus’s birthday but because the church needed a holiday to compete with the popular pagan Saturnalia, Richards completely exploded in rage and denial. “We learn that the holiday celebrated by a couple billion Christians is really a camouflaged take-over of Saturnalia, the High Holy Day when ancient Romans celebrated Saturn, the god of agriculture,” he whined. The only problem is that when Christmas was established, Christianity wasn’t a religion with two billion followers. It was an upstart faith and Saturnalia was, in fact, one of the hands-down most popular days of the year for the followers of the pagan faiths that had been dominate for thousands of years. None of this requires math to understand, but now the right has gone so anti-evidence that even boring old history is considered up for debate."
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Gaywatch - Texas Edition: Remember the No-Homo - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
"Iraq is returning to the hellhole of civilization it’s been for three thousand years.Iraq_Dec05_Elect
Anyone who says he’s shocked at what’s about to happen there is a fool or a liar.
Smart people knew this would happen, just as smart people knew that the assholes in Washington who took us to Iraq in 2003 were making a huge mistake.
It was the same mistake the Brits made in the early 1920s when for geopolitical purposes they invented Iraq by combining three provinces of the Ottoman Empire into one dumb country where each third hated the other two thirds and they all wanted to kill each other for stupid religious reasons — just like Europe’s religious nuts did in the 1500s."
Operation Deserter Storm - Home Is Where the Hate Is - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Religious Constriction - NYTimes.com
Monday, June 09, 2014
Sunday, June 08, 2014
Melissa Harris-Perry Lawsuit claims thin red line in discriminatory lending practices Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Angel Taveras talks about the city’s lawsuit that claims it has seen falling home purchase loans to black and Hispanic residents -- and are alleging it results from a “pattern or practice of illegal and discriminatory mortgage lending” by a bank.
Saturday, June 07, 2014
"Not only did Reagan deal with terrorists as president, as revealed in the Iran-Contra scandal, the preponderance of evidence now supports the charge that his campaign negotiated with Iranian hostage-takers while he was running for president in 1980, to delay the release of hostages before the election, which could have helped Carter win reelection — what was known as “The October Surprise.” Given that Reagan wasn't president then, but was negotiating to thwart a president's attempt to get hostages released, this is not simply questionable behavior, it is arguably an act of treason."
Friday, June 06, 2014
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Credit U.S. Army, via Associated Press
All across Afghanistan, that period was a time of ferocious fighting. President Obama had decided to send a surge of additional troops to improve security, but they had not yet arrived. In Paktika, the eight deaths during that period were up from five in the same three months the previous year. Across Afghanistan, 122 Americans died in that period, up from 58 in 2008.
In addition, a senior insurgent commander known as Mullah Sangeen, who was part of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, had been carrying out attacks in the area for several years. A joint military statement by American and Afghan security forces released a month before Sergeant Bergdahl vanished warned that the mullah had brought in “hundreds of foreign fighters.”
Two soldiers died during the most intense period of the search after Sergeant Bergdahl’s June 30 disappearance. Both were inside an outpost that came under attack, not out patrolling and running checkpoints looking for him. The other six soldiers died in late August and early September.
Facts are often obscured in the fog of the battlefield, witnesses have incomplete vantage points and the events are five years in the past now. But an archive of military reports logging significant activities in America’s war in Afghanistan offers a contemporaneous written record of events in Paktika that summer. The archive was made public by Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Pvt. Bradley Manning, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for the leak.
The first two deaths the critics link to Sergeant Bergdahl involved a major assault by insurgents on a combat outpost called Zerok on July 4, 2009. Their view is that the Taliban knew the Americans were stretched thin by the search mission and took advantage of that opportunity to try to overrun it.
Mr. Bethea, the soldier who wrote the essay in The Daily Beast, said the company executive officer for the unit at Zerok believed that “the attack would not have happened had his company received its normal complement of intelligence aircraft: drones, planes, and the like. Instead, every intelligence aircraft available in theater had received new instructions: find Bergdahl. My friend blames Bergdahl for his soldiers’ deaths.”
Military officials, speaking in recent days, have countered that additional surveillance aircraft had been brought in from other areas to help in the search, so air traffic in the region was intensified, not diminished, by the search.
Separately, context supplied by the leaked logs complicates claims that insurgents attacked the outpost because of the hunt.
Insurgents had been shooting at the outpost with escalating intensity in the preceding months. A June 24 log described a mortar attack inside its perimeter and cited intelligence that insurgents were planning a “complex ambush” of the outpost.
And a log recounting the July 4 attack said it confirmed “recent reporting regarding Mullah Sangeen’s desire to conduct a spectacular attack” against the outpost. The log did not mention the hunt for Sergeant Bergdahl. Still, one soldier from Sergeant Bergdahl’s battalion said that response time after the attack had been slow, and argued the issue was not if the outpost was going to be attacked, but rather when insurgents chose to attack it.
The first and most intense phase of the search operation wound down after July 8. But former soldiers say and the logs show that the hunt continued sporadically as patrols were sent out to chase rumors that Sergeant Bergdahl had been spotted.
The other six American deaths in Paktika that summer occurred from Aug. 18 to Sept. 5, which Sergeant Bergdahl’s critics link to him as well.
Bergdahl’s Fellow Soldier Speaks Out In an interview with The Associated Press, Gerald Sutton, a former Army specialist who served with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, said Sergeant Bergdahl was a deserter. Credit By AP on Publish Date June 4, 2014 Credit
“You see a lot of anger because we lost guys not only at Zerok, but a decent amount of good guys looking” for him, said a soldier from his unit who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Where those events are identifiable in the logs, they do not mention any link to Bergdahl search operations, although the logs are terse and contain few contextual details.
Mr. Bethea wrote that of the six men killed in August and September, two died in a roadside bombing while on a reconnaissance mission, a third was shot during a search for a Taliban political leader and three others were killed while conducting patrols — two in an ambush and one who stepped on a mine.
He suggested some connection to Sergeant Bergdahl for several of the deaths, saying the Taliban leader and a village that was in the area of one of the patrols were “thought affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors.” He also said a village in the areas of the other patrol was “near the area where Bergdahl vanished.”
Still, those villages and insurgents were in the overall area of responsibility for the soldiers, and the logs make clear that the region was an insurgent hotbed. A log on May 21, 2009, for example, said it had historically been a “safe haven” for the Taliban.
A retired senior American military officer, who was briefed at the time on the search for Sergeant Bergdahl, said that even though soldiers were instructed to watch for signs of the missing American, they would have been conducting patrols and performing risky operations anyway.
Can Bowe Bergdahl Be Tied to 6 Lost Lives? Facts Are Murky - NYTimes.com
Hardball with Chris Matthews Politics, problems plague Bergdahl’s release The Bergdahl release was rolled out as a victory for America, but just a few days later, it’s become cause for concern as huge questions about Bergdahl’s loyalty and the five prisoners released. Chuck Todd and Clarence Page discuss.
Republican Leadership Conference: The GOP’s speakers lineup is a problem.
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Politicians Scramble to Delete Pro-Bergdahl Tweets as Backlash Grows
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Monday, June 02, 2014
"He explained that he had never truly been aware of the extent of his own male privilege until recently, and that after watching the #YesAllWomen campaign unfold and doing quite a bit of reading, he had begun to chafe at the subconscious — and sometimes overt — gender inequity that pervades our society and the world."
" It was supposed to be so easy this election year for Republican congressional candidates. All they would have to do was shout “repeal Obamacare!” and make a crack about government doctors and broken websites, and they could coast into office on a wave of public fury. The failure of the Affordable Care Act was simply assumed.
But it has not quite worked out that way. The government website was fixed, and 8.1 million people managed to sign up for insurance through the exchanges. An additional 4.8 million people received coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Three million people under the age of 26 were covered by their parents’ plans. Though the law itself has never been widely popular, most people say they like its component parts, and a large majority now says it wants the law improved rather than repealed."