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Archive for November 22nd, 2009

Brit Warns Against Leaving Afghanistan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:43 am by HL

Brit Warns Against Leaving Afghanistan
Britain’s foreign secretary visited Kabul this week and had a stark warning for opponents of the NATO effort in Afghanistan: The Afghan government could fall apart within weeks of a coalition pullout, David Miliband said. The Guardian: The Afghan government could fall within weeks if Nato pulled out troops now, David Miliband warned today as he urged British opponents of the war to give the fight to rebuild the country more time. In an interview with the Guardian at the end of a visit to Kabul for the presidential inauguration of Hamid Karzai, the foreign secretary said: “If international forces leave, you can choose a time – five minutes, 24 hours or seven days – but the insurgent forces will overrun those forces that are prepared to put up resistance and we would be back to square one.” At the end of a day spent visiting British troops and officials at the headquarters of the international military effort, Miliband said that Afghans were “sad that they need anyone, but they are passionate that my goodness they do – because if we weren’t here their country would be rolled over”. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Britain’s foreign secretary visited Kabul this week and had a stark warning for opponents of the NATO effort in Afghanistan: The Afghan government could fall apart within weeks of a coalition pullout, David Miliband said.

The Guardian:

The Afghan government could fall within weeks if Nato pulled out troops now, David Miliband warned today as he urged British opponents of the war to give the fight to rebuild the country more time.

In an interview with the Guardian at the end of a visit to Kabul for the presidential inauguration of Hamid Karzai, the foreign secretary said: “If international forces leave, you can choose a time – five minutes, 24 hours or seven days – but the insurgent forces will overrun those forces that are prepared to put up resistance and we would be back to square one.”

At the end of a day spent visiting British troops and officials at the headquarters of the international military effort, Miliband said that Afghans were “sad that they need anyone, but they are passionate that my goodness they do – because if we weren’t here their country would be rolled over”.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Michael B. Laskoff: The War on Evidence-Based Medicine – 60,000 Needless Casualties

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:42 am by HL

Michael B. Laskoff: The War on Evidence-Based Medicine – 60,000 Needless Casualties
This week saw what happens when an ugly little thing like empirical evidence collides with what might best be called faith-based health consumerism, which dictates…

David Vines: If It Were Me, I’d Be Embarrassed
Last Wednesday, a media firestorm erupted after a seventeen-year-old girl named Jackie was interviewed by MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell while standing in line during Sarah Palin’s Michigan book signing.

Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup
Misrepresenting what I said during an appearance on Countdown this week, NewsBusters claims that I’m trying to deny Glenn Beck his “constitutionally protected free speech.” Wrong. What I said is that words have tremendous power — they can inspire and they can incite. There’s a reason you can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater. But even though Glenn Beck is shouting “fire” in a crowded, anxious country, I specifically said that the right response to his steady stream of lies, hate, and race-baiting — all served up with a not-very-subtle undercurrent of violence — is to put unrelenting pressure on his advertisers and his bosses. Pressure works. CNN dropped Lou Dobbs. I’m actually of two minds when it comes to Beck. Part of me resents spending even a second of my life thinking about him. But part of me recognizes that he’s too dangerous to ignore.

Linda Buzzell: Integrating the Best Ideas from Left and Right
As a psychotherapist I’ve done my share of counseling squabbling couples and have learned to looking for common ground. Lately I’ve begun to apply this method to politics, with some fascinating results.

Mitchell Bard: It’s Too Early to Celebrate the Senate Health Care Vote
I swear, I find no no joy in being Debbie Downer. I really wish I could celebrate the Senate’s 60-39 vote to begin the debate…


Quick Fact: WSJ ‘s Freeman claims “there hasn’t been any warming since 1998”; climate experts disagree

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:41 am by HL

Quick Fact: WSJ ‘s Freeman claims “there hasn’t been any warming since 1998”; climate experts disagree

Wall Street Journal assistant editorial page editor James Freeman claimed that efforts to pass cap and trade legislation will fail because there is “no premise” for such legislation since “there hasn’t been any warming since 1998,” later adding that “there’s no proof that this is happening as a result of man’s activities, in fact, lately, it’s not even happening anymore.”

From the November 21 edition of Fox News’ The Journal Editorial Report:

FREEMAN: $800 billion is a lot of money. The cost is huge, and that’s probably an underestimate. But, you know, there’s also that little detail that there hasn’t been any warming since 1998, so.

STUART VARNEY (host): But what really killed it here? Was it economics, was it the cost that killed it, or something else?

FREEMAN: Well, what is the argument for it? If you’re saying this is a massive cost, even bigger than this crazy stimulus, even bigger than the TARP, and by the way, there’s no proof that this is happening as a result of man’s activities, in fact, lately, it’s not even happening anymore. So it basically has no premise right now.

Fact: Climate scientists reject conservative claim that recent global average temperatures indicate global warming has stopped

Climate experts reject the idea that the relatively cooler global average temperatures in several of the last 10 years are any indication that global warming is slowing or does not exist. Scientists have identified a long-term warming trend spanning several decades that is independent from the normal climate variability — which includes relatively short-term changes in climate due to events like El Niño and La Niña — to which they attribute the recent cooler temperatures.

Fact: Climate experts overwhelmingly believe global warming caused by “man’s activities”

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 “Synthesis Reportconcluded that “[w]arming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level” and that “[m]ost of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [defined in the report as a “>90%” chance] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human-caused] GHG [greenhouse gas] concentrations.” According to its website, IPCC is “the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO),” and “[t]housands of scientists from all over the world contribute to” its work.


Florida GOP Gov Hopeful To RGA: Time To Give Back Rothstein’s $200K

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Florida GOP Gov Hopeful To RGA: Time To Give Back Rothstein’s $200K
Bill McCollum, the likely GOP nominee in the Florida gubernatorial race, is calling on the Republican Governors Association to give back a $200,000 donation from accused fraudster attorney Scott Rothstein, whose political support has become a hot issue in the…

Notorious PR Firm That Reps Swift Boaters, Creationists, PhRMA Now Helping Fired IG
A heavy-hitting conservative public relations firm that flacked for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and boasts an impressive array of right-wing clients is now helping Gerald Walpin, who was fired this summer by President Obama as the inspector general for…



Bill to audit Federal Reserve passed in Committee

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Bill to audit Federal Reserve passed in Committee
Excerpt: For the first time in history, the Federal Reserve Bank may be facing an audit. Yesterday, the House Finance Committee passed a bill (HR 1207) that authorizes the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a wide-ranging audit of the Fed’s secretive deals with foreign central banks and major U.S. financial institutions. HR 1207 faced fierce last-minute […]


Sullivan and Goldberg Battle It Out On Settlements (Sully Is Right)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Sullivan and Goldberg Battle It Out On Settlements (Sully Is Right)
It’s getting fun over at the Atlantic. Andrew Sullivan has been getting better and better on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. After a decade or so of keeping quiet on the 42-year occupation (probably to avoid offending his Likud mentor, Martin Peretz),…


Andrew SullivanLikudMiddle EastWarfare and ConflictIsraeli–Palestinian conflict

Israel Expanding Settlements: Will Obama Finally Apply The Pressure?
Just yesterday US mediator, George Mitchell, told the Israelis that the United States opposed expanding the Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem. According to Israeli press reports, Mitchell said that moving ahead with settlement expansion now could kill the peace process….


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The Independence of the Fed at Risk: Watt versus Paul-Grayson (Remember Iceland — An Independent Central Bank)
Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) is out to protect the independence of the Fed from the risk of an intrusive audit from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The risk comes in the form of a bill initiated by Ron Paul and…


Government Accountability OfficeRon PaulCongressGovernmentCentral bank


Historic health care legislation moves forward for debate in the Senate.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Historic health care legislation moves forward for debate in the Senate.
The Senate voted along party lines tonight to avoid a GOP filibuster and move forward with debate on historic health care legislation. The final vote was 60-39, with Ohio Republican George Voinovich not voting. The AP reports that the “spectator galleries were full for the unusual Saturday night showdown, and applause broke out briefly when […]

The Senate voted along party lines tonight to avoid a GOP filibuster and move forward with debate on historic health care legislation. The final vote was 60-39, with Ohio Republican George Voinovich not voting. The AP reports that the “spectator galleries were full for the unusual Saturday night showdown, and applause broke out briefly when the vote was announced. In a measure of the significance of the moment, senators sat quietly in their seats, standing only when they were called upon to vote.” Full debate will begin after Thanksgiving.

Senate vote

Immediately after the vote, the White House put out a statement saying, “The President is gratified that the Senate has acted to begin consideration of health insurance reform legislation.” RNC Chairman Michael Steele complained that “a number of moderate Democrats sacrificed their principles to give Harry Reid a victory that brings America dangerously closer to having a government-run health care system.” Igor Volsky has been following tonight’s debate over on the Wonk Room.

Coal-Fueled Chamber Of Commerce Demands Lawmakers Defeat Health Reform In Order To ?Stop? Clean Energy Bill
Corporate front groups and large business trade associations are funneling their resources into defeating health reform. Even though health reform will lower costs for small businesses and boost worker productivity economy-wide, it appears that corporate entities influenced by major polluters are hoping that the defeat of health care legislation will slow President Obama’s agenda and […]

Corporate front groups and large business trade associations are funneling their resources into defeating health reform. Even though health reform will lower costs for small businesses and boost worker productivity economy-wide, it appears that corporate entities influenced by major polluters are hoping that the defeat of health care legislation will slow President Obama’s agenda and derail their true enemy: clean energy reform.

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which is largely backed by the coal industry, candidly revealed this strategy in a letter released today to Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Robert Byrd (D-WV). The Chamber of Commerce demanded that the senators use “their clout and seniority” to obstruct the health reform debate until cap and trade legislation is taken off the table and the EPA is barred from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. As Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette noted, Rockefeller has already rejected a similar proposal of blocking health reform unless the EPA stops reviewing mountaintop removal permits. The coal lobby has also pressured West Virginia state legislators to pass resolutions opposing clean energy reform.

The coal industry’s selfish push to block health reform displays how little it cares about West Virginia and the communities where coal is burned for energy. Not only do 19 percent of West Virginians lack health insurance, but coal is literally killing people:

The American Lung Association reports that there are 24,000 premature deaths every year due to coal power plant pollution. In addition, the ALA research estimates that coal pollution causes over 550,000 asthma attacks, 38,000 heart attacks and 12,000 hospital admissions.

– A report by Physicians for Social Responsibility found that coal combustion releases mercury, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and dozens of other substances known to be hazardous to human health. These coal pollutants are associated with increased congestive heart failure, lung cancer, infant mortality, stunted lung development, and Ischemic stroke, among other diseases.

The national Chamber of Commerce is also fighting health reform tooth and nail. Like the West Virginia Chamber, the U.S. Chamber is dominated by coal and polluter interests and denies the science underpinning climate change. The U.S. Chamber’s extreme approached forced pro-clean energy companies Apple, Levi Strauss & Company, Mohawk Paper and the utilities Pacific Gas and Electric, Exelon and PNM Resources to resign from the Chamber. By killing both clean energy and health reform, U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue may be hoping to protect his own wallet. Donohue sits on the board of a major coal industry player, Union Pacific.

Indeed, one of the most powerful corporate front groups, Americans for Prosperity, is focusing its efforts on defeating health reform. Although AFP is backed by oil industry giant David Koch, his ultimate goal of stopping clean energy appears to begin with stopping health reform.


The talk shows

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:34 am by HL

The talk shows
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:

Sunday Take: Divided public complicates Afghanistan decision
As President Obama nears a decision on Afghanistan, he faces a partisan divide in public opinion that is pulling him in opposite directions. His recent statements about the decision suggest that he is trying to accommodate the views with a war strategy that can be successful and contained.

Senate Democrats vote to bring health bill to floor for debate
The Senate voted along party lines Saturday night to overcome a Republican filibuster and bring to the floor a bill that would overhaul the nation’s health-care system.


Why We’re Not ‘Post-Racial’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 22nd, 2009 5:30 am by HL

Why We’re Not ‘Post-Racial’

Obamanomics 101: No Need for Capitalism
Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard
Increase Font SizePrinter-FriendlyEmail a FriendRespond to this article Back in February, President Obama met with a group of CEOs in the White House, seeking their support for his economic stimulus package. One of his chief targets was Jim Owens, the head of Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois. The day after the session in Washington, the president flew to Peoria to speak at the Caterpillar factory and took Owens and newly elected Republican representative Aaron Schock, the youngest member of Congress at 28, with him.Aboard Air Force One, Obama chatted amiably with Owens and Schock. Owens…

The Coming Deficit Disaster
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Wall Street Journal
President Barack Obama took office promising to lead from the center and solve big problems. He has exerted enormous political energy attempting to reform the nation's health-care system. But the biggest economic problem facing the nation is not health care. It's the deficit. Recently, the White House signaled that it will get serious about reducing the deficit next year"”after it locks into place massive new health-care entitlements. This is a recipe for disaster, as it will create a new appetite for increased spending and yet another powerful interest group to…

The Day Global Warming Stood Still