PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
There are more than five, of course, and voting Democrat may not be much of an improvement, but attaching these adjectives to the comically contemptible GOP seems more than appropriate.
In 2010 Mitch McConnell said: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." He didn't mention the economy, or education, or jobs, or the housing market. Instead, the goal is to beat Obama, whatever misery it might cause 200 million Americans.
For the past two years the Republicans have obstructed proposals that would have helped most Americans. They fought the middle-class tax cut because it would only apply to the first quarter-million of income. They killed a jobs bill that was supported by two-thirds of the public. They rejected a bill to disclose information about big campaign donors. They disrupted the routine process of increasing the debt ceiling, thus triggering the first-ever downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. Most recently they've obstructed efforts to provide mortgage debt relief to American homeowners.
WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Mitt Romney has to be more relieved than an Iowa corn farmer in the middle of a thunderstorm to be back on home soil. Arms wide. Head back. Wet face. Smile. Podium steps. National Anthem. The American electorate may harbor an ambivalent attitude towards the former governor of Massachusetts, but the reaction to his European Vacation from folks across the big pond could only be described as decisively derisive. If diplomacy were a hurdling sport, the guy stumbled over the lane chalk. The plan was for the GOP nominee to embark on a low- risk, three- country jaunt to raise his suspect foreign policy bona fides, but the seven- day charm offensive proved to be light on charm and heavy on offense. Good will hunting transformed into ill will gathering.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In a day or two, BuzzFlash Commentary (formerly known as the BuzzFlash blog) will move to the actual Truthout site. It is an exciting step in the continued integration of BuzzFlash into Truthout.
Not only will there be the physical move of the site (and when the move is completed, you will be reading this message on the new design), but it will now allow for photographs, videos, audio and other enhancements to be integrated into BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
We wrecked Iraq, we pulled out, we redeployed in Anaheim.
This ain't working, guys- I mean, firing rubber bullets into anguished crowds, siccing attack dogs on moms and children. I mean, inventing enemies, going to war, unleashing state-of-the-art firepower in all directions and eventually losing, but not before we've inflicted maximum suffering on the innocent and magnified the original problem tenfold.
We lose every war we fight.
Another way to say that is: We exacerbate every problem we militarize. Indeed, militarization is as much a part of the problem - as much a threat to civilization - as, for instance, terrorism or drugs. And the recent, ongoing community uproar in Anaheim, Calif., over two police slayings of Latino males in one weekend - and the subsequent police reaction to that outrage - illustrates the terrifying ineffectiveness of a militarized, "us vs. them" approach to conflict.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Isn't it voter fraud to deny US citizens the right to vote?
That is what the Republican Party is engaged in its campaign to place onerous requirements on the poor, infirm and destitute seniors, the homeless, students and others to vote.
Politico recently ran background summaries on each state that has passed restrictive voter laws in an article entitled "Voter ID laws could swing states": "At least 5 million voters, predominantly young and from minority groups sympathetic to President Barack Obama, could be affected by an unprecedented flurry of new legislation by Republican governors and GOP-led legislatures to change or restrict voting rights by Election Day 2012." Think Progress reports that "As many as 43 percent of voters in the city of Philadelphia may lack valid Pennsylvania Department of Transportation-issued photo identification, the City Paper reports. While several other forms of photo identification - including U.S. passports and many student ID cards - are acceptable proof of identity under the controversial and possibly unconstitutional new law, this statistic suggests these restrictions may provide an even larger obstacle for urban (and racial minority) communities who do not drive."
Why is the disenfranchisement of potentially millions of Americans the perpetration of a fraud? Because it would mean perhaps millions will not be able to vote due to false claims by GOP sponsors of these bills that there are massive cases of illegal voters in the United States.
In a recent Brennan Center for Justice report it is noted that Republican backed obstacles to exercise the right to vote are not limited to government-issue photo ID cards:
"Significantly, these voting law cutbacks extend well beyond the most visible and controversial step to require government-issued photo ID that many citizens don't have," said report co-author Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program and former Chair of the Ohio Secretary of State's bipartisan Election Summit and Conference. "An array of technical moves can add to significant barriers to the ballot. And it comes at a time when experience has taught us there are many ways to improve the voting process and expand access to the franchise while reducing costs."
The Brennan Center report also warns that "The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012-63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency."
Debunking the myth of voter fraud, the Brennan Center produced a study that showed in a state such as Wisconsin, where Scott Walker led the charge against "alleged" voter fraud, there were only minute voting errors in the 2004 election (.00006% of ineligible voters casting ballots in the state that year) - and that "none of these problems could have been resolved by requiring by requiring photo ID at the polls."
Writing in the Michigan Law Review in 2007, Spencer Overton bluntly lays out the facts:
The Carter-Baker Commission's Report noted that since October 2002, federal officials had charged eighty-nine individuals with casting multiple votes, providing false information about their felon status, buying votes, submitting false voter registration information, or voting improperly as a noncitizen. Examined in the context of the 196,139,871 ballots cast between October 2002 and August 2005, this represents a fraud rate of 0.000045% (and note also that not all of the activities charged would have been prevented by a photo- identification requirement)
When you balance taking away the Constitutional right to vote of millions of Americans on the basis of 89 people being charged nationally with illegal voting over a three year period, those who seek to restrict access to the ballot box are engaged in a fraudulent scheme to impact elections through the denial of the most basic right of citizenship.
STEVEN JONAS, MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
On July 30, 2012, former Vice-President Dick Cheney described President Obama as one of the "weakest" Presidents, ranking even (sic) Jimmy Carter above him (1). That statement makes one wonder: what is Cheney's definition of the opposite of weakness? That is "strength." Well, let's take a look at some of Cheney's personal and political history to try to determine the answer to that question.
Last night, Jon Stewart looked at the two contradictory Obamacare rulings on the subsidies for states where the GOP refused to set up state health care exchanges.
See, the law says you must be "enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State". Now a normal person might say, you really think the law intended subsidies only for lower income citizens in states that weren't being dicks about the exchanges?Video and full transcript below the fold.
Well, two of the three judges in this instance said, ah, yeah. We have to take that sentence literally. I'm just happy both judges got to work that morning, assuming that once they hit stop signs, their day ends.
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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?
When Silence Speaks Volumes
In what Frank Luntz calls the worst political ad of this cycle, Republican senate candidate Terri Lynn Land of Michigan sits idly by for 12 seconds---robotically sipping from a prop coffee mug, shaking her head, making goofy faces and looking at her watch---after tasking the viewer to think about some mysterious thing her opponent (Democrat Gary Peters, who gave a real barnburner at Netroots Nation) said about the very real GOP "war on women." The ad is vague, it's clumsy, and it lacks any specificity:
When you're playing with pregnant pauses in advertising, you're playing with fire.
So I held my breath over a similar silence in the new TV ad for Kentucky Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Thankfully, this one works much better, in my opinion. After introducing herself, Grimes gives a laid-off coal miner a moment to look into the camera and ask incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell a tough question: "In the last two years we've lost almost half of our coal jobs in eastern Kentucky. Why did you say it's not your job to bring jobs to Kentucky?" Then?the pause:
Six seconds, not twelve. Enough to give the viewer time to think about a specific thing McConnell said (reinforced visually on-screen, unlike Land's ad) and ask themselves, "Yeah, why did McConnell say that dang fool thing?" Then a truck passes in the foreground and Grimes turns to the laid-off coal miner and says, "I couldn?t believe he said that either. I approved this message?because, Senator, that'll be my number-one job."
A credible and interesting setting. A credible Kentuckian on hard times asking a simple and sharp-elbowed question of Grimes' opponent, a pause to imply that McConnell has no answer, and a witty response and direct promise from Grimes that nails it down---she's going to fight to bring jobs to the state. I think it's a smart way to capitalize on McConnell's unforced error, and I hope it helps bump her favorables up a notch. Or two.
P.S. One other thing about Land's ad: why does she ask the viewer to "think about that for a moment" and then, ten seconds later, look down at a wristwatch that's so tiny I'd bet dollars to doughnuts it doesn't have a second hand? I think she's looking at the actual time because she wants to get the hell outta there. As I recall, that didn't work out so well when George H.W. Bush did that during a debate. Think about that for a moment while I stand here and make goofy faces to amuse my dog.
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
New Anti-Abortion Legislation Requires Doctors To Scale 18-Foot Wall Surrounding ClinicRichard L. Hasen:
Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court is the leading proponent of textualism, an approach he justifies as required by the Constitution and better than the alternative of using legislative history. He thinks judges unreliably cherry-pick legislative history, quoting the late Judge Harold Leventhal?s quip that it?s ?the equivalent of entering a crowded cocktail party and looking over the heads of the guests for one?s friends.? Before Scalia, textualism was one tool among many for interpreting statutes. But now, thanks to his relentless campaigning for the textualist approach, for many strongly conservative judges, the text is the beginning and the end of the analysis when it comes to the meaning of a statute.To understand how the DC court could possibly decide Halbig the way they did, it helps to understand textualism. In any case, this is one of the best interps of the decisions I have read so far.
Another excellent source for Halbig/King is Nicholas Bagley, who blogs at The Incidental Economist, one of my favorite sites:
Halbig said it was applying the law as written. Don?t believe it.More politics and policy below the fold.
Want to know how far we?ve sunk? Here?s how far: There was never any chance at all that we would handle the crisis of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children running for their lives and arriving at our border with any maturity or grace at all. There was never a chance we?d take them in, get them fed and settled, and then consider sensibly how we can address the immigration-emigration mess on both sides of our border?and on our border?while working to send the kids safely home.
Instead we got the usual circus, the usual call to send in the troops, lock down the border, impeach the president?because, well, why not??and under no circumstances to consider the comprehensive immigration reform bill languishing in the House. And now, at last, we have arrived at the inevitable sub-basement level of the debate. Now the nativists and xenophobes have played their nastiest?and least surprising?card: the border must be secured and the immigrants sent back because they are, of course, diseased.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013?Today in E.W. Jackson news: E.W. Jackson speaks for everyone:
|Today in E.W. Jackson news, we learn that E.W. Jackson speaks for fellow Republican ticketmate Ken Cuccinelli because E.W. Jackson says so.
By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal
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Ignore the Naysayers: Dodd-Frank Reforms Are Finally Paying Off (TNR)
The past year has seen important successes, like higher capital requirements, writes Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal, and the next steps for financial reform are getting clearer.
We?re Arresting Poor Mothers for Our Own Failures (The Nation)
Bryce Covert points to the policy failures of welfare reform, which requires parents to work or look for work to receive benefits but hasn't provided for child care, leading to recent high-profile arrests.
Obama to Sign Bill Improving Worker Training (Time)
In the first significant legislative reform to job training in a decade, Maya Rhodan says the Obama administration and Congress put training programs on a more forward-looking path.
SEC Is Set to Approve Money-Fund Rules (WSJ)
The new rules target institutional investors over individuals, says Andrew Ackerman, aiming to train investors to accept fluctuations and prevent panicked mass sell-offs.
TaskRabbit Redux (New Yorker)
Adrienne Raphel writes that TaskRabbit's recent relaunch makes it more clear that for all their marketing, online tools for hiring labor or transportation are about commerce, not community.
New on Next New Deal
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal points out the fallacy in right-wing claims that there is a "doomsday machine" in the Affordable Care Act: doomsday machines only work if you tell people about them.
In his speculation on the future for the Next American Economy project, Carl Camden, CEO of Kelly Services, suggests that temporary employment firms like his will become the purveyors of social services.
Indonesian police have opened fire on peaceful protesters in Jayapura, with at least four gunshot wounds and one death. West Papuan activists and families have been forced to flee to the jungle for safety. Indonesian security forces are conducting scores of raids, sweeps and offensives against West Papuan civilians. The attacks are happening during the visit of National Police Chief General Sutarman with over 200 people arrested across West Papua. Journalists have also been attacked by Indonesian police according to Amnesty International...Read more at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia. The Indonesian Police chief says any plans to free Papua from Indonesia won't be tolerated, including Flag raising ceremonies on the West Papuan national Day, December 1st.
Calls for Independence by West Papuans have been made since the sham "Act of Free Choice in 1969". They have suffered a neglected genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military (2004) with continued Repression (2007). Thousands of Papuans took to the streets in 2010 and in 2011 rejecting special autonomy, demanding a referendum on independence. Indonesia plans to build 1,500 km of new roads in the next two years to accelerate ?development', increase military presence, and open up more illegal logging. Three Papuans highlighted the human rights abuses at the APEC meeting in Bali this year by scaling the Australian Consulate?s fence in the dead of night and hand-delivering a personal plea to open the Indonesian province to world scrutiny.
A new academic law and human rights report A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua (PDF), details the extent of the genocide and abuse of human rights. (Review by Greenleft) Activists have called for Australia to End pragmatic complicity in West Papua in response to comments by new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Imprisoned Papuan leader Selpius Bobii also responded saying, "We Live In Terror, Mr Abbott".
Related: Waging Nonviolence: Flotilla unsettles Indonesia?s occupation of West Papua | West Papuan National Day Goes Global | West Papuans to join commemoration of Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat
More Information: West Papua media Alerts | Freedom Flotilla
Civil society organisations abandoned the COP19 climate change negotiations in Warsaw on mass. Members from Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation (statement) and 350.org all started leaving the conference at 2pm. This is an unprecedented action, the first time several major civil society groups have staged a mass walkout.
Friends of the Earth International highlighted that the Warsaw Climate Change negotiations were failing, with Tension high in Warsaw talks as G77+China walk out. The role of Australia and reduced ambition of Japan have been widely mentioned. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers, but there has been substantial intransigence from much of the developed world to progressing the negotiations forward on finance, ambition, and a loss and damage mechanism. Poland's Coal Summit has shown the fossil fuel corporatism entwined in this COP with widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations of COP19 and at UNFCCC official Christiania Figueres who gave the keynote speech at the coal summit
Related: Democracy Now: "Nature Does Not Negotiate": Environmentalists Walk Out of U.N. Climate Summit in Warsaw | "Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming | "We Have to Consume Less": Scientists Call For Radical Economic Overhaul to Avert Climate Crisis
Analysis: The Warsaw walkout and the Climate Movement
The weekend of 16th and 17th November saw tens of thousands of people in Canada and Australia out in the streets in over 260 protests against the climate policies of these countries. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers in Warsaw at COP19.
The Saturday protests in Canada occurred from coast to coast to Repulse Bay, Nunavut on the Arctic circle, more than 10,000 people gathered in over 180 events co-ordinated by Defend our Climate. Many protests focussed on stopping further expansion of the Alberta tar sands and pipelines to move the bitumenous oil south to Texas, east through Ontario and Quebec, and west through British Columbia. On Sunday, more than 60,000 people attended climate protests across Australia, protesting the attempt to repeal carbon pricing and clean energy programs by the conservative Government lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected on 7 September this year, who denied any link between climate change and bushfires as unusually early and intense bushfires raged around Sydney.
Civil Society NGO and local Polish activists also staged a Climate Justice march in Warsaw in association with the COP19 climate change negotiations taking place. Super Typhoon Haiyan set the initial mood at the negotiations with Philippines negotiator Naderev Saño (Yeb Saño) saying "time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway". There is widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations in Warsaw with Japan and Australia being particularly singled out.
Related: Australia Indymedia - Tens of Thousands rally for Climate Action across Australia
Authorities of Tacloban City with a population of 220,000 and capital of Leyte province, gave an early estimate that perhaps 10,000 people died from this one city. Many people were surprised by the huge storm surge tidal waves that inundated much of the city. Many smaller coastal villages were also devastated with most buildings destroyed or suffering severe damage. According to the UN Reliefweb report on 14 November the number of affected people has increased to 11.8 million. The official death count from Typhoon Haiyan is currently 4,460 but with numbers still increasing. There were 921,200 people displaced and 243,600 houses destroyed. A total of 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance.
Related: Climate IMC: Typhoon Haiyan: This is a climate crime | Time for turning tears into anger says Walden Bello | Philippine groups demand action on climate finance, loss and damage in Warsaw climate talks | Ejected from COP19 for expressing solidarity to the Philippines | Youth observers expelled from UN climate change talks for Philippines Solidarity | Indybay: Super typhoon Haiyan is climate wake-up call | They destroy We suffer Statement on Yolanda?s Aftermath
Non-corporate Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts: Waves for Water | Haiyan NYC Relief Project | Doctors without Borders | Oxfam International
Climate Negotiations are over for another year with little progress in Doha by any one's measure as the scientific statements on climate change and the impacts we are already feeling as evidenced in record Arctic melting, and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, and Cyclone Evan in the South Pacific are growing much stronger.
Some of the latest scientific research shows:
Photos: Photos by World Resources Institute | Photos by Oxfam | The Verb: Climate March in Doha | The Verb: COP18 Actions
Related: Deep emissions cuts urged at climate summit | Towards a Grand Compromise in the Climate Negotiations | COP18, another 'Conference of Polluters' | An open letter to governments and their negotiators | Climate compensation row at Doha | Forest Groups Protest False Solutions | IPCC's Planned Obsolescence: Fifth Assessment Report Will Ignore Crucial Permafrost Carbon Feedback! | Methane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping point