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Archive for December 15th, 2011

Lakeside Diner

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:47 am by HL

Lakeside Diner
A variety of links to articles/interviews on current topics that may, or may not, be of interest.

Aymara skeptic (photo: César Angel. Zaragoza/flickr)

The coffee’s freshly ground, there’s a wide selection of teas and the sticky buns are homemade.

  • The corporate media in the US wants no part of Glenn Greenwald. The Guardian has no such qualms. Bradley Manning deserves a medal. “The prosecution of the whistleblower and alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning is an exercise in intimidation, not justice.”
  • “Hopes of an early end to the eurozone’s troubles were fading yesterday as Nicolas Sarkozy launched a personal attack on David Cameron amid growing signs that last week’s agreement struck by the other 26 European Union countries without Britain is fraying at the edges.”
  • “In another outbreak of right-wing extremist violence, an abandoned mosque located in an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood was vandalized early Wednesday and police were assaulted as they attempted to arrest seven suspects in a previous attack on an Israeli army base.”
  • “Aymara Indian, former coca grower, avowed socialist and Bolivian president, Evo Morales was a living embodiment of the alliance between the Latin American left and the region’s indigenous peoples.”

Editorial cartoon.

Marx in the morning

Prof David Harvey of the Graduate School, CUNY speaks to The End of Capitalism?

The truth will set you free but first it’ll piss you off

Late Late Night FDL: Those Were The Days
Leningrad Cowboys and Russian Red Army ChoirThose Were The Days.

Leningrad Cowboys and Russian Red Army ChoirThose Were The Days.

What’s on your mind?


‘Colbert Report’: Trump Dumps Debate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

‘Colbert Report’: Trump Dumps Debate
The Donald has managed to stir up a sideshow for himself again, having briefly flirted (and hinted anew) about running for the nation’s highest office, but yet again he’s backed out by calling off the debate that all but a couple of GOP candidates had withdrawn from themselves.

The Donald has managed to stir up a sideshow for himself again, having briefly flirted (and hinted anew) about running for the nation’s highest office, but yet again he’s backed out by calling off the debate that all but a couple of GOP candidates had withdrawn from themselves.

Related Entries



David Arkush: President Obama’s Next Moves on Leadership for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

David Arkush: President Obama’s Next Moves on Leadership for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
As expected, last week Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s nomination of Rich Cordray to lead the new CFPB. They continue to hold the agency hostage, taking the unprecedented step of blocking its leadership unless the agency is first weakened.

Robert Scheer: There Goes the Republic
Once again the gods of war have united our Congress like nothing else. Unable to agree on the minimal spending necessary to save our economy,…

Chris Weigant: The Real “War on Christmas”
Just because the modern “War on Christmas” may not exist does not mean such a war never existed in America. The subject of Christmas was indeed at the heart of a previous bitter political dispute, but you’ve got to go pretty far back to find it. All the way back to the Puritans.


Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim AG Holder “Openly Rejected Election Integrity”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim AG Holder “Openly Rejected Election Integrity”

Right-wing media outlets are falsely claiming that Attorney General Eric Holder stated an “unwillingness to enforce laws to prevent voter fraud” during a December 13 speech on voting rights. In fact, Holder said in his speech that voter fraud “will not be tolerated by this Justice Department,” but new state restrictions on voting will receive a “thorough — and fair” review by the department.

Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim Holder Said DOJ Wouldn’t Enforce Voter Fraud Laws

J. Christian Adams Falsely Claims Holder Announced DOJ Would Oppose “Electoral Integrity Measure[s].” In a December 13 post to his PJ Media blog, Adams wrote:

On Tuesday night, I spoke in Austin, Texas, at a rally organized by True the Vote.  It took place on the grounds of the LBJ library on the campus of the University of Texas.  The rally was in response to Eric Holder’s announcement at the same place two hours later of a concerted Justice Department effort to oppose virtually every electoral integrity measure promoted by Constitutional conservatives and Republicans.

Holder’s announcement will have profound partisan results in the 2012 election because of his professed unwillingness to enforce laws to prevent voter fraud.  Indeed, tonight he made clear his opposition to these laws, such as voter ID and even the requirement to register to vote in advance of an election.

Holder announced broad opposition to voter identification requirements and a ramped up effort to enforce voting registration laws in welfare agencies. [PJ Media, 12/13/11, emphasis added]

For more on Adams’ pattern of false claims about the Obama Justice Department, click here

PJ Media’s Bryan Preston: Holder “Openly Rejected Election Integrity.” In a December 13 blog post, Preston wrote, “During a speech in Austin today, Attorney General Eric Holder openly rejected election integrity and downplayed the possibility of election fraud,” then posted several paragraphs of Adams’ post. [PJ Media, 12/13/11]

Holder Actually Said Voter Fraud Won’t Be “Tolerated,” Did Not Say DOJ Would Oppose New Laws

Holder: Voter Fraud Is Rare But “Will Not Be Tolerated By This Justice Department.” In his speech, Holder said:

Despite these benefits, there will always be those who say that easing registration hurdles will only lead to voter fraud.   Let me be clear: voter fraud is not acceptable — and will not be tolerated by this Justice Department.   But as I learned early in my career — as a prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, where I actually investigated and prosecuted voting-fraud cases — making voter registration easier is simply not likely, by itself, to make our elections more susceptible to fraud.   Indeed, those on all sides of this debate have acknowledged that in-person voting fraud is uncommon.   We must be honest about this.   And we must recognize that our ability to ensure the strength and integrity of our election systems — and to advance the reforms necessary to achieve this — depends on whether the American people are informed, engaged, and willing to demand commonsense solutions that make voting more accessible.   Politicians may not readily alter the very systems under which they were elected.   Only we, the people, can bring about meaningful change. [Holder speech, 12/13/11, via justice.gov, emphasis added]

Holder: DOJ Will Conduct “Thorough — And Fair” Review Of Voting Measures Under Voting Rights Act. From Holder’s speech:

Since January, more than a dozen states have advanced new voting measures.   Some of these new laws are currently under review by the Justice Department, based on our obligations under the Voting Rights Act.   Texas and South Carolina, for example, have enacted laws establishing new photo identification requirements that we’re reviewing.    We’re also examining a number of changes that Florida has made to its electoral process, including changes to the procedures governing third-party voter registration organizations, as well as changes to early voting procedures, including the number of days in the early voting period.  

Although I cannot go into detail about the ongoing review of these and other state-law changes, I can assure you that it will be thorough — and fair.   We will examine the facts, and we will apply the law.   If a state passes a new voting law and meets its burden of showing that the law is not discriminatory, we will follow the law and approve the change.   And where a state can’t meet this burden, we will object as part of our obligation under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. [Holder speech, 12/13/11, via justice.gov, emphasis added]

Holder Is Right: Instances Of Voter Fraud Are Rare

To see how rare documented cases of voter fraud are, click here

To see how even conservative advocates acknowledge there is no “massive fraud,” click here

Brennan Center For Justice: Restrictive Voting Laws Could Make It “Significantly Harder” For Millions To Cast Votes

Brennan Center For Justice Estimates “More Than 5 Million Voters Could Be Affected By The New Laws.” The Brennan Center for Justice issued a report estimating that newly enacted restrictions on voting “could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.”  From the Brennan Center for Justice:

1.   3.2 million voters affected by new photo ID laws. New photo ID laws for voting will be in effect for the 2012 election in five states (Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin), which have a combined citizen voting age population of just under 29 million. 3.2 million (11 percent) of those potential voters do not have state-issued photo ID. Rhode Island voters are excluded from this count, because Rhode Island’s new law’s requirements are significantly less onerous than those in the other states.

2.   240,000 additional citizens and potential voters affected by new proof of citizenship laws. New proof of citizenship laws will be in effect in three states (Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee), two of which will also have new photo ID laws. Assuming conservatively that those without proof of citizenship overlap substantially with those without state-issued photo ID, we excluded those two states. The citizen voting age population in the remaining state (Alabama) is 3.43 million; 240,000 (7 percent) of those potential voters do not have documentary proof of citizenship.

3.   202,000 voters registered in 2008 through voter registration drives that have now been made extremely difficult or impossible under new laws. Two states (Florida and Texas) passed laws restricting voter registration drives, causing all or most of those drives to stop. In 2008, 2.13 million voters registered in Florida and, very conservatively, at least 8.24 percent or 176,000 of them did so through drives. At least 501,000 voters registered in Texas, and at least 5.13 percent or 26,000 of them did so via drives.

4.   60,000 voters registered in 2008 through Election Day voter registration where it has now been repealed. Maine abolished Election Day registration. In 2008, 60,000 Maine citizens registered and voted on Election Day.

5.   One to two million voters who voted in 2008 on days eliminated under new laws rolling back early voting. The early voting period was cut by half or more in three states (Florida, Georgia and Ohio). In 2008, nearly 8 million Americans voted early in these states. An estimated 1 to 2 million voted on days eliminated by these new laws.

6.   At least 100,000 disenfranchised citizens who might have regained voting rights by 2012. Two states (Florida and Iowa) made it substantially more difficult or impossible for people with past felony convictions to get their voting rights restored. Up to one million people in Florida could have benefited from the prior practice; based on the rates of restoration in Florida under the prior policy, 100,000 citizens likely would have gotten their rights restored by 2012. Other voting restrictions passed this year that are not included in this estimate. [Voting Law Changes In 2012, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2011; Brennan Center for Justice, 10/3/11]


ND Sheriff Used Predator Drone To Arrest ‘Sovereign Citizens’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

ND Sheriff Used Predator Drone To Arrest ‘Sovereign Citizens’
A family of “sovereign citizens” in North Dakota was arrested with the help of a predator drone, borrowed from border patrol agents by the local sheriff in an effort to avoid a standoff over some missing cows.


Right-Wing Rallies Around Lowe’s For Not Giving In To ‘Radical Islamists’
If you were eagerly waiting for the cacophony of right-wing bloggers to weigh in on the Lowe’s controversy, you’re in luck….


Addicted again: Going cold-turkey from dairy, sugar, wheat & Wall Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Addicted again: Going cold-turkey from dairy, sugar, wheat & Wall Street
I used to be addicted to love. But now I’m just addicted to food. How pathetic is that. But actually, it really does turn out that wheat and dairy really can cause actual addictive symptoms — plus we already know that sugar and sugar substitutes are addictive. If you have any doubts about that one, just […]


Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“I’d probably want to go and vomit.”

— Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), quoted by Roll Call, on what he would do if a version of himself from 20 or 30 years ago were suddenly transported to the current day Congress.

Iraq War Officially Ends
“After nearly nine years of war, tens of thousands of casualties — including 4,500 dead — and more than $800 billion spent, the U.S. military on Thursday formally ended its mission in Iraq and prepared to leave the country,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

New York Times: “The tenor of the farewell ceremony, officially called ‘Casing the Colors,’ was likely to sound an uncertain trumpet for a war that was launched to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction it did not have and now ends without the sizable, enduring American military presence for which many officers had hoped. The tone of the string of ceremonies culminating with the final withdrawal event on Thursday has been understated in keeping with an administration that campaigned to end an unpopular war it inherited.”

Romney Still Favored in New Hampshire
A new Suffolk University poll in New Hampshire finds Mitt Romney with a big lead in the GOP presidential primary with 38%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 20% and Jon Hunstman at 13%.

The rest of the field is in low single digits, combining for about 10% and 11% are still undecided.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “If independents participate in a big way next January, Huntsman will benefit. While other candidates have focused on the more traditional Republican voters, Huntsman has traction among independents, who could dominate the Republican Primary if mobilized.”


3 Dumb Decisions the Obama Administration Made That Didn’t Help the Country or the President

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

3 Dumb Decisions the Obama Administration Made That Didn’t Help the Country or the President
The Obama administration has made several decisions that are at odds with sound policy — and they haven’t even gained the president new supporters.


The Great Rope a Dope trick

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

The Great Rope a Dope trick
Barack Obama learned a political trick from Muhammad Ali called Rope a Dope. For you youngsters, this refers to the epic Rumble in the Jungle Heavyweight fight against George Foreman in 1974. Here is the Wikipedia explanation. The rope-a-dope is…



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A Grand ‘Narrative’ for Obama — in 58 Words
Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men recounts a moment when Obama pounds the walls of the White House crying, “What’s happened to my narrative?” He should have called me. I’d have told him to drop his bipartisan, “last reasonable man in Washington”…



What President Obama Can Learn From His Favorite TV Shows

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 15th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

What President Obama Can Learn From His Favorite TV Shows
President Obama, in his continuing quest to be both perfect parent and semi-hipster in his pop culture consumption habits, told People Magazine that his favorite television shows are Modern Family, Homeland, and Boardwalk Empire. Two of those three are about government (or the people who live in opposition to it), but all of these shows […]

President Obama, in his continuing quest to be both perfect parent and semi-hipster in his pop culture consumption habits, told People Magazine that his favorite television shows are Modern Family, Homeland, and Boardwalk Empire. Two of those three are about government (or the people who live in opposition to it), but all of these shows offer lessons for the man who holds the World’s Hardest job.

1. Drama never gets you anywhere (Modern Family): No Drama Obama’s alternately been praised for rising above Washington nonsense and pilloried for supposedly failing to fire up his base. But if there’s one thing ABC’s hit comedy preaches, it’s that getting all fired up generally isn’t worth it. Whether you’re freaking out on a bird in your living room, your overly-sexy, age-inappropriate step-mother, or letting Eric Cantor bait you, keeping your focus on your desired outcome rather than a perceived slight is the quickest route to getting what you want while expending minimal energy.

2. Listen to Women (Homeland): Earlier this fall, Obama took heat when Ron Suskind’s most recent book on the administration suggested that the Commander in Chief and his closest male advisers blew off the counsel of high-ranking female staffers. Now, I assume no one quite as mentally unhealthy as Carrie Mathison is working in the Obama White House. But the show’s a reminder that if we can overlook Rahm Emanuel’s temper tantrums, we should try to look past charges that women are “emotional,” too. Insights come from all sorts of places.

3. Sad but true: minority constituencies will be pretty patient (Boardwalk Empire): Boardwalk Empire started its second season with Nucky Thompson playing Atlantic City’s white and black communities off against each other. He supports Chalky White’s strike, but only when the black community tells Chalky they’re done being patient with him — and when stirring up the city coincides with Nucky’s own interests. And the season ended (in part) with Jimmy Darmody delivering more compensation money — and three Klansmen — to Chalky for judgment and distribution to the victims’ families. But he could have bought himself a meeting with Nucky with less. Leadership like that is what gets us the administration’s decision Plan B.

4. Diversity is strength (Modern Family): The show’s having a bit of a shaky season. But it’s at its best when devoted to storylines that show us people who thought they were different bridged by common interest, whether Cam and Jay bond over football or Gloria peps Claire up to run for local office. The message isn’t just that our differences are bridgeable — it’s that we’re stronger when we can make common cause on those shared interests and convictions.

5. National security and foreign affairs involve huge shifts — but individual actions matter too (Homeland): Just because the home-grown terrorists who periodically make headlines generally don’t seem to be all they’ve cracked up to be doesn’t mean that individuals can’t change the course of foreign policy and international affairs. Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Tunisia helped set off the Arab Spring. On the season finale of Homeland, Tom Walker and Nicholas Brody may make terrible history, as did the September 11 hijackers. We can try to make ourselves safer and our institutions stronger. But we probably can’t reduce the complex motivations that lead people to protest or to terror to predictable algorithms.