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Archive for December 6th, 2010

Late, Late Night FDL: Fishin’ In The Dark

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: Fishin’ In The Dark
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Fishin’ In The Dark and Three Stooges in “Whammer Jammer”

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Fishin’ In The Dark

This was just too cool to pass up…

The Three Stooges in “Whammer Jammer” (H/T That Guy)

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Get all your craziest screeching out of the way early
Your intellectual titans of the Republican Party — never to be questioned about these statements by the press.

photo via Zen at flickr.com

If that advice is true, then not only does Newt Gingrich plan on running in 2012, he plans to live to at least 150.

Newt Gingrich became the latest conservative Sunday to suggest that WikiLeak’s Julian Assange deserves to be hunted and executed by calling him an “enemy combatant.”

Oh dear, some diplomat was caught calling Newt tubby — oh, that and how dare people have any idea how their government acts in their name. You think this is supposed to be a democracy?

But wait, Newt has not yet begun to spew idiocy:

What Republicans ought to do is say to people who create jobs, how many years does the tax code need to be extended for you to make an investment decision?

That’s right, ask the rich how long they want their tax-cuts as policy. I thought you just asked the GOP caucus?


WikiLeaks: Not for Government Eyes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

WikiLeaks: Not for Government Eyes
Acting as if we live in some sort of fantasy world, the Obama administration and the Pentagon have both forbid their hundreds of thousands of federal workers to view the WikiLeaks secret cables—unless those employees have the requisite security clearance. The move, experts believe, is futile as the dispersion of the information, as well as the incapacity of the government to monitor private Internet usage, make the decision by the Obama White House seem a bit out of touch. —JCL The New York Times: In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to view the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization. “Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” said the notice sent on Friday afternoon by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads, urging them to distribute it to their staff. The directive applies to both government computers and private devices that employees or contractors might have, as long as they are accessing the documents on nonclassified government networks. It does not advise agencies to block WikiLeaks or other websites on government computer systems, a White House official said Saturday. And it does not prohibit federal employees from reading news stories about the topic. But if they have “accidentially” already downloaded any of these documents, they are being told to notify their “information security offices.”

wikileaks icon

Acting as if we live in some sort of fantasy world, the Obama administration and the Pentagon have both forbid their hundreds of thousands of federal workers to view the WikiLeaks secret cables—unless those employees have the requisite security clearance.

The move, experts believe, is futile as the dispersion of the information, as well as the incapacity of the government to monitor private Internet usage, make the decision by the Obama White House seem a bit out of touch. —JCL

The New York Times:

In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to view the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.

“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” said the notice sent on Friday afternoon by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads, urging them to distribute it to their staff.

The directive applies to both government computers and private devices that employees or contractors might have, as long as they are accessing the documents on nonclassified government networks. It does not advise agencies to block WikiLeaks or other websites on government computer systems, a White House official said Saturday. And it does not prohibit federal employees from reading news stories about the topic. But if they have “accidentially” already downloaded any of these documents, they are being told to notify their “information security offices.”

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Michael Likosky: WikiLeaks Latest Release (12/5) is Reckless with Ordinary Civilian Lives

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:43 am by HL

Michael Likosky: WikiLeaks Latest Release (12/5) is Reckless with Ordinary Civilian Lives
WikiLeaks has just released documents that could pose a serious threat not only to US interests around the world, but also to the lives of…

The Real Tax Cuts End Game Is In The House
WASHINGTON — While the public focus of the Great Tax Battle remains riveted on the U.S. Senate, top Democratic insiders are privately worried about the…

Sue Lowden Faces Lawsuits Over Unpaid Campaign Debts ‘And It’s Not Exactly Chicken Feed’
Fallout continues from Sue Lowden’s stunning primary loss in her U.S. Senate bid. At least two lawsuits have been filed over unpaid debts, and it’s…

Miles Mogulescu: My One-Man Deficit Commission Challenges Obama’s Blue Ribbon Cat Food Commission Chairs
The President’s Deficit Commission ended not with a bang but with a whimper. The recommendations of the Chairmen–millionaire Democratic Wall Street investment banker Erskine Bowles…


Liz Cheney Has No Idea What Obama Has Said

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:42 am by HL

Liz Cheney Has No Idea What Obama Has Said

Liz Cheney called on President Obama to “repudiate” his policy in Afghanistan and say that decisions will be “based on conditions on the ground.” In fact, Obama has repeatedly said that the transition in Afghanistan will be based on “conditions on the ground.”

Liz Cheney Calls On Obama To Say Decisions In Afghanistan Will Be “Based On Conditions On The Ground”

WALLACE: Are you convinced this President, at least now, is all-in in Afghanistan?

CHENEY: I think he’s clearly moving in the right direction, and I think that, you know, we ought to praise him for going to visit the troops. Every time a commander-in-chief does that, I think it’s an important thing to do, important for him to send the message of support back here. I was very pleased to see this 2014 date out there now as opposed to just the 2011 date.

You know, what I’d like to see — because I do believe that setting the 2011 deadline did cause significant damage to the effort, in terms of convicing people that we’re committed to be there to win — I’d like to see the president repudiate it. I’d like to see him say, “Just let’s be clear: We are going to make our decisions based on conditions on the ground, not based on dates we set back here in Washington.”

And that’s important not just for what’s happening in Afghanistan. It’s important for the Pakistanis to hear that as well, so that they understand it is not in their interest at all to help to support, provide safe havens to the extent that the Taliban has safe havens in Pakistan. That message is a critically important one, and I’d like to see the president say “conditions-based,” not just “deadline set”. [Fox Broadcasting Company’s Fox News Sunday, 12/05/2010, emphasis added]

In Fact, Obama Has Repeatedly Said Decisions Will Be Based On “Conditions On The Ground” In Afghanistan

Obama: “The Pace Of Our Troop Reduction Will Be Determined By Conditions On The Ground.” Discussing the end of combat operations in Iraq on August 31, 2010, Obama said:

Within Afghanistan, I’ve ordered the deployment of additional troops who — under the command of General David Petraeus — are fighting to break the Taliban’s momentum.

As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. But, as was the case in Iraq, we can’t do for Afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. That’s why we’re training Afghan Security Forces and supporting a political resolution to Afghanistan’s problems. And next August, we will begin a transition to Afghan responsibility. The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for Afghanistan will endure. But make no mistake: This transition will begin — because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s.” [Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the End of Combat Operations in Iraq, 8/31/2010, emphasis added]

Joint Statement From Obama and Karzai: Security Transition Process Will Be “Conditions-Based.” In a Joint Statement, President Obama and President Karzai of Afghanistan said:

The Presidents further recognized that developing the Afghan National Security Forces’ capabilities is necessary to facilitate implementation of an orderly, conditions-based security transition process. Towards that end, the Afghan Government welcomed the United States’ pledge of continued support to train, equip, and sustain the Afghan National Security Forces, so they can increasingly take the lead in securing and defending their country against internal and external threats. President Karzai joined President Obama in reiterating the need for continued international military assistance to train and equip the Afghan National Security Forces. [Joint Statement from the President [[Obama ]]and President Karzai of Afghanistan, 5/12/2010]

Obama: “We Will Execute This Transition Responsibly, Taking Into Account Conditions On The Ground.” From Obama’s speech announcing the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan:

The 30,000 additional troops that I’m announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 — the fastest possible pace — so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They’ll increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans. 

Because this is an international effort, I’ve asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we’re confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. And now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what’s at stake is not simply a test of NATO’s credibility — what’s at stake is the security of our allies, and the common security of the world.

But taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We’ll continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government — and, more importantly, to the Afghan people — that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country. [Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 12/01/2009, emphasis added]


Columbia U To Students: If You Want A Job At State, Don’t Link To Wikileaks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Columbia U To Students: If You Want A Job At State, Don’t Link To Wikileaks
Students of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs were warned this week not to spread the Wikileak cables online if they ever wanted a job at the State Department.

Tea Party Nation Founder: ‘A Wise Idea’ To Only Let Property Owners Vote
Judson Phillips, the founder of the group Tea Party Nation, has defended his comments that the Founding Fathers’ original plan to only allow property owners to vote “makes a lot of sense” because “property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.”



Boehner’s GOP Twist of Fate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Boehner’s GOP Twist of Fate


Schumer Shifts from Deal Maker to Attack Machine

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Schumer Shifts from Deal Maker to Attack Machine
Politico observes that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has begun to tack back to being the “political attack machine that’s long defined him” after a two-year departure as a “behind-the-scenes, bipartisan deal maker.”

“Schumer’s stepped-up presence comes after a leadership shuffle announced by Reid following the Nov. 2 elections… Responding to concerns that the Senate Democrats lacked an effective messaging operation, Reid announced that he would give Schumer the role of running the party’s ‘war room’ while also naming him chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee… While the changes don’t officially take place until next year, Democrats and Republicans are already noticing a shift in Schumer’s approach.”

Will Huckabee Run?
Politico: “If Huckabee gets in, he will unquestionably be a force to be reckoned with in the fight for the nomination. He’d be the undisputed frontrunner in lead-off Iowa, where he won by nine points in 2008. He’d be the candidate to beat in South Carolina, which he narrowly lost to John McCain two years ago in part because of a divided conservative vote. His weekly Fox show, thrice-daily radio program and Grisham-like ability to crank out a book-per-year has given him a direct media presence akin to Palin’s – but without the sky-high negatives.”


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Presented By:

Leading Israeli Says Palestinians Should Just Declare a State
Jeff Halper, the Israeli activist and scholar, thinks the “peace process” is dead in the water. That sounds about right. After all, the peace process has come down to America offering Netanyahu a $3.5 billion bribe to freeze some settlements…


As Climate Talks Plod Along, The World Burns

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

As Climate Talks Plod Along, The World Burns
As the world’s environmental ministers arrive in Cancun, Mexico, for the 19th year of negotiations to address global warming pollution, new climate disasters are killing people across the planet. The slow-moving climate talks are hobbled by insufficient ambition, and uncertainty over whether the United States or China — the world’s largest climate polluters — will […]

As the world’s environmental ministers arrive in Cancun, Mexico, for the 19th year of negotiations to address global warming pollution, new climate disasters are killing people across the planet. The slow-moving climate talks are hobbled by insufficient ambition, and uncertainty over whether the United States or China — the world’s largest climate polluters — will follow through with their Copenhagen Accord commitments. The Obama administration’s stated commitment to cut pollution by 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, after Republican climate deniers killed cap-and-trade legislation, now depends on whether the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned greenhouse standards survive a polluter onslaught.

Meanwhile, the building heat trapped by billions of tons of fossil fuel pollution is fueling catastrophic changes in the world’s climate system “here and now“:

– The worst wildfires in Israel’s history, fueled by record warmth and drought, “have destroyed large sections of Israel’s northern area” and killed 41 people. Four days of intense fire fighting during the celebration of Hanukkah, with assistance from Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, France, Britain, Switzerland, Spain, US, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, Azerbaijan and others, have finally begun to bring the devastation under control.

– Forty-two separate wildfires are burning in neighboring Lebanon, which has the same tinderbox conditions.

– Dynamic winter-storm systems driven by the rapidly warming Arctic have plunged much of Europe into killer cold weather for the second year in a row, months after a summer of record heat and precipitation. Up to 30 people have frozen to death in Poland, and thirty more were killed in the rest of Europe.

Floods have hit Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia after “three weeks of torrential rains,” forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

– Thousands of people have been evacuated amid catastrophic floods in Australia that have already destroyed $500 million in crops, with rivers still rising.

– Thunderstorms, high winds and tornadoes ripped through the southern United States, injuring at least 30 people, destroying buildings, toppling trees, flooding highways and forcing schools to close.

– New Zealand is facing an intense heatwave and its third consecutive summer of drought.

Speaking at the funeral of a teenage volunteer firefighter, Israeli President Shimon Peres said the wildfire “disaster taught us that all of us, Jews, Arabs, Druze, and other peoples, share the same fate.” If the climate negotiators in Cancun can find the same sense of solidarity in crisis shown in their home countries, there could be reason for hope.

Brad Johnson is reporting and tweeting live from the international climate talks in Cancun, Mexico.


Shady Dealings Brought Dodd Down

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 6th, 2010 5:31 am by HL

Shady Dealings Brought Dodd Down
Kevin Rennie, Hartford Courant
Sen. Christopher Dodd leaves office disappointed and bewildered. The people don't trust their government. Even our leaders seem not to like each other much. The U.S. Senate is not nearly as cozy as it was when Dodd joined it 30 years ago. Oh dear, this is troubling.The ceaseless news cycle dismays Dodd, allowing the public to keep a more searching eye on the governing class. The new media age caused Dodd to come to grief in his final years in office. Forget the speech the five-term incumbent delivered Tuesday if you want to learn the essentials of Dodd's notion of good…

A Battle to Stop the EPA’s Overreach

The Stimulus Has Performed as Projected
Dean Baker, Politico
The stimulus has performed pretty much as projected. It created 2-3 million jobs and lowered the unemployment rate by between 1-2 percentage points. It also is coming to an end. I'm not sure why anyone would have expected it to offset a downturn of this magnitude. The collapse of the housing bubble and the bubble in non-residential real estate cost us about $600 billion in annual construction demand. The loss of more than $6 trillion in housing wealth and an equal amount of stock wealth led to a drop in annual consumption of around $600 billion.

Long Run Debt is Creating Uncertainty
Christina Romer, New York Times
UNCERTAINTY is frequently blamed for the sorry state of the economy — for why businesses are not investing strongly in new equipment or hiring more workers, and for why consumers are not spending freely. On Wall Street, it’s even said that government meddling is the main culprit and that political gridlock is the cure.This is a serious misreading of the situation. Uncertainty is likely holding back the recovery. But its sources are far more fundamental than the tax and environmental issues that typically top the list of complaints. And the solution is certainly not for the…

High Court, Health Law & Judicial Review
George Will, Washington Post
The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the Constitution is written.”- Marbury v. Madison (1803) Debates about judicial review concern the propriety and scope of judicial supervision of democracy and involve the countermajoritarian dilemma: How to square the principle of popular sovereignty with the practice of allowing appointed judges, accountable to no contemporary constituency, to overturn laws enacted by elected legislators?