The Flash Crash dumped losses onto retail traders and profits onto Wall Streeters. Big surprise.[...]
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At some point during Fancy Farm, someone handed me a flyer with a list of 25 things republicans have voted against. I don't know who it was or what organization the person represented, and there is nothing on the flyer giving credit for compiling the list or printing it up. Whoever you are, thank you. Here it is:
1. NO to Wall Street reform
2. NO to Stimulus
3. NO to Lilly Ledbetter equal pay for equal work act
4. NO to Hate crimes prevention act
5. NO to Student loan reform
6. NO to Healthcare reform
7. NO to Cancelling the F-22 - a plane the military doesn't want
8. NO to Funding energy and science research which Bush passed but never funded.
9. NO to Nuclear arms (reduction) deal with Russia
10. NO to US Navy increasing patrols off Somali Coast
11. NO to attractive tax write-offs for those to buy hybrid automobiles
12. NO to Cash for clunkers program and stimulating auto sales
13. NO to Announced plans to purchase fuel-efficient American-made fleet for the federal government
14. NO to Expanding the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
15. NO to Signing national service legislation/expanding national youth service program
16. NO to Instituting a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones
17. NO to Ending the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
18. NO to Expanding vaccination programs
19. NO to Closing offshore tax havens for corporations
20. NO to Negotiating deal with Swiss banks to permit US governmenbt to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
21. NO to Ending the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource
22. NO to growing American jobs through a policy promoting in-sourcing to bring jobs back to America
23. NO to Lower drug costs for seniors
24. NO to Tax cuts for small business
25. NO to Cap and Trade that republicans originally proposed and campaigned for two years ago.
Those are just a few of the things they voted AGAINST. What does it all mean?
That they voted FOR Corporation Interests over the American People.
If republicans are against helping America's middle class and poor ....
WHY would anyone vote for them in November?
They drove the economic car into the ditch and now they want the keys back!
Just say NO!
Emotional would be the one word to describe this years convention in Williamsburg, VA. The retirement of James R. (Jim) Leaman after 20 years, the election of the first woman president as well as the passing of so many who have fought for the rights of working families.
Big Labor, Union thugs or Union bosses, whatever term business men and their cronies may use, anyone in attendance knows this is just rhetoric. No Armani suits here, no carefully manicured nails, just men and women that have worked all their lives to provide for their own families and help raise the standard of living for those around them.
There was a mixture of tears, cheers and standing ovations as Jim passed the gavel of leadership of the Virginia AFL-CIO to the first woman president, long-time Secretary-Treasurer Doris Crouse-Mays. Mays downplayed the historical significance of the moment saying,"I'm now the president, who just happens to be a woman".
Stepping into Mays shoes as Secretary-Treasurer is Ray Davenport. Ray is a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 147 and served as Business Manager there for 14 years. Ray began work in the construction industry as an apprentice crane operator, graduating as a journeyman in February of 1977 and worked as a crane operator for 12 years. Ray also served as President of the Virginia State Building and Construction Trades Council.
On hand this year were such dignitaries as Congressmen Bobby Scott and Tom Perriello, former governor and current DNC chair Tim Kaine, House of Delegates minority leader Ward Armstrong, former gubenatorial candidate and past DNC chair Terry MacAuliffe, CWA President Larry Cohen, past VA AFL-CIO president Danny LaBlanc, Virgina Democratic chair Dick Cranwell and former Delegate and Attorney General candidate Sheve Shannon.
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Last month the NYT had an article about the marital strain a couple will experience when the wife expects to die someday, but the husband has other plans…
?You have to understand,? says Peggy, who at 54 is given to exasperation about her husband?s more exotic ideas. ?I am a hospice social worker. I work with people who are dying all the time. I see people dying All. The. Time. And what?s so good about me that I?m going to live forever??
The provenance of this disagreement remains somewhat hazy, as neither Peggy nor her husband, Robin Hanson, can remember quite when he first announced his intention to have his brain surgically removed from his freshly vacated cadaver and preserved in liquid nitrogen.
Maybe Peggy’s close collaboration with hospitals has left her with less optimism about the miracles of medical science than Robin, who is a college professor.
Some people just go for broke and get their whole body frozen, which looks like better odds than just the brain, but I’m guessing that Robin and Peggy don’t have unlimited bucks to invest in a hypothetical health plan. I can say that in my observation, what happens to the body affects the brain and the personality, and no one is so cerebral that they can operate on intellect alone. Even Spock was relieved to get his brain out of that box.
I think that the odds of being defrosted in some glorious future where the nine billion humans on the planet dedicate their technology to dead people whose distinguishing quality was having the means to get themselves preserved–whew!
Slightly less than if you invest that money in Megabucks tickets, I would guess.
It does bring up fascinating questions of how you live your life if you think today is just a prelude to a future immortal career. If you were separated from family, friends, culture and even your own body, what would be left of you? Where is your soul?
For more about Peggy and Robin and other immortals among us, follow the link here.
The right-wing group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) has announced that it will be hosting a rally against the proposed Cordoba House Islamic community center on September 11.
The confirmed list of speakers includes former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Andrew Breitbart, and, notably, the far-right Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology,” Wilders told the Guardian in 2009, “the ideology of a retarded culture.”
In the past, Wilders’ extremism has been condemned by conservatives such as Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and even Glenn Beck, who called Wilders “fascist.” It’s a clear sign of how far the Republicans have shifted to the right and embraced Islamophobia as a political tool that movement figures like Gingrich, Bolton, and Breitbart now have no problem sharing a stage with Wilders.
Robert Reich says there's no truth to the idea of a double-dip recession, because most people never recovered from the first one:
More people are out of work today than were last year, counting everyone too discouraged even to look for work. The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level since February. Not counting temporary census workers, a total of only 12,000 net new private and public jobs were created in July -- when 125,000 are needed each month just to keep up with growth in the population of people who want and need to work.
Not since the government began to measure the ups and downs of the business cycle has such a deep recession been followed by such anemic job growth. Jobs came back at a faster pace even in March 1933 after the economy started to "recover" from the depths of the Great Depression. Of course, that job growth didn't last long. That recovery wasn't really a recovery at all. The Great Depression continued. And that's exactly my point. The Great Recession continues.
Even investors are beginning to see reality. Starting in February the stock market rallied because corporate profits were rising briskly. Investors didn't mind that profits were coming from payroll cuts, foreign sales, and gimmicks like share buy-backs -- none of which could be sustained over the long term. But the rally died in April when investors began to see how paper-thin these profits actually were. And now the stock market is back to where it was at the start of the year.
[...] Forget the Neo-Hoover deficit hawks who say we have to cut government spending and trim upcoming deficits. We didn't get into this mess and aren't remaining in it because of budget deficits. In fact, the only way to reduce long-term deficits is to restore jobs and growth so government revenues rise and expenses like unemployment insurance drop.
[...] The central problem is lack of demand -- and that's what has to be tackled.
(Credit: Sekti Artanegara) [...]
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TO END ALL WARS2001, Directed by David L. CunninghamScreenplay by Brian GodawaReviewed by Weeden[...]
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Crossposted from Talkleft
In the Sunday Times: a feature article on the Obama administration?s "shadow war against Al Qaeda and its allies."
In roughly a dozen countries ? from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife ? the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations, pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists.
...The White House has intensified the Central Intelligence Agency?s drone missile campaign in Pakistan, approved raids against Qaeda operatives in Somalia and launched clandestine operations from Kenya.
The Times calls it a stealth war on terror, and says while it began under Bush, it has expanded under Obama. It also points out the risks:
the potential for botched operations that fuel anti-American rage; a blurring of the lines between soldiers and spies that could put troops at risk of being denied Geneva Convention protections; a weakening of the Congressional oversight system put in place to prevent abuses by America?s secret operatives; and a reliance on authoritarian foreign leaders and surrogates with sometimes murky loyalties.
Then there's the blending of functions:
The administration?s demands have accelerated a transformation of the C.I.A. into a paramilitary organization as much as a spying agency, which some critics worry could lower the threshold for future quasi-military operations.
The Times asks who should be running this covert/shadow war. Using an example of a strike in Yemen, it says:
The Yemen operation has raised a broader question: who should be running the shadow war? White House officials are debating whether the C.I.A. should take over the Yemen campaign as a ?covert action,? which would allow the United States to carry out operations even without the approval of Yemen?s government. By law, covert action programs require presidential authorization and formal notification to the Congressional intelligence committees. No such requirements apply to the military?s so-called Special Access Programs, like the Yemen strikes.
There's also questions as to whether the shadow war is having the desired effect. AQAP, for one, is not any weaker.
Despite the airstrike campaign, the leadership of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula survives, and there is little sign the group is much weaker.
Attacks by Qaeda militants in Yemen have picked up again, with several deadly assaults on Yemeni army convoys in recent weeks. Al Qaeda?s Yemen branch has managed to put out its first English-language online magazine, Inspire, complete with bomb-making instructions. Intelligence officials believe that Samir Khan, a 24-year-old American who arrived from North Carolina last year, played a major role in producing the slick publication.
The operative question:
Do the selective hits make the United States safer by eliminating terrorists? Or do they help the terrorist network frame its violence as a heroic religious struggle against American aggression, recruiting new operatives for the enemy?
Seems pretty clear to me the second option is the correct answer.
A former Ambassador to Yemen points out the U.S. can't rely solely on the use of force.
Edmund J. Hull, the United States ambassador to Yemen from 2001 to 2004, cautioned that American policy must not be limited to using force against Al Qaeda.
?I think it?s both understandable and defensible for the Obama administration to pursue aggressive counterterrorism operations,? Mr. Hull said. But he added: ?I?m concerned that counterterrorism is defined as an intelligence and military program. To be successful in the long run, we have to take a far broader approach that emphasizes political, social and economic forces.?
Obama officials respond:
They emphasized that the core of the American effort was not the strikes but training for elite Yemeni units, providing equipment and sharing intelligence to support Yemeni sweeps against Al Qaeda.
I'm not seeing any social and economic help to the people of Yemen in that answer. What's next, are we going to go in and destroy their qat crops, claiming it's contributing to terrorism and draining their water supply?
Instead of ramping up military strikes we should be providing developmental aid. As Gregory Johnson, a former Fullbright scholar now at Princeton, and co-author of the Yemen blog, Waq al-Waq, wrote last year:
The US and other European and western countries cannot afford to focus on the al-Qaeda threat in Yemen to the exclusion of every other challenge. There has to be a holistic approach and an understanding that all of the crises in Yemen exacerbate and play-off against each other.
Simply targeting the organization with military strikes cannot defeat al-Qaeda. Something has to be done to bring a political solution to both the al-Huthi conflict as well as the threat of secession in the south. Not dealing with these will only open up more space for al-Qaeda to operate in as well as creating an environment of chaos and instability that will play into the organization?s strength.
Indeed, by focusing so exclusively on al-Qaeda and by viewing Yemen only through the prism of counter-terrorism the US has induced exactly the same type of results it is hoping to avoid. This demands much more development aid to the country as a way of dealing with local grievances in an attempt to peel-off would-be members of al-Qaeda.
If we don't help Yemen with its economic issues, the war on terror won't be much of a help. Yemen's problems won't stay within Yemen.
Military operations to kill or capture al Qaeda operatives will likely increase in 2010. These actions carry risks. Publicly acknowledged American involvement in counterterrorism operations in Yemen would be deeply unpopular in the country, likely undermine the legitimacy of the Yemeni government and feed into the grievances that help fuel al Qaeda militancy.
Development assistance is one of the most effective tools available to address the interconnected long-term challenges facing Yemen. But, U.S. aid is disproportionately small considering the magnitude of the problems facing the country and Yemen's strategic importance to the United States.
The United States must learn that its insistence on seeing everything through the prism of counterterrorism has helped to induce exactly the type of results it is hoping to avoid. By focusing on al-Qa`ida to the exclusion of nearly every other challenge, and by linking almost all of its aid to this single issue, the United States has ensured that the issue will never be resolved
...This short-sighted and narrow focus by the United States has translated over time into a lack of influence within the country. The United States is not the most important player on the domestic Yemeni scene.
I'll bet I'm not the only one disappointed that when it comes to the war on terror, Obama's vision and focus seems as narrow and misguided as that of his predecessor.
Jeralyn E. Merritt is a criminal defense attorney in Denver representing persons accused of serious federal and state offenses. She served as one of the principal trial lawyers for Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City Bombing Case. From She lectures nationally on a variety of legal and political topics and has been a cable television legal analyst since 1996, most frequently appearing on MSNBC and Fox News. She is the creator of CrimeLynx, an internet resource for legal professionals and TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime.