• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    bellecat on Gee-7
    William on Gee-7
    Catscatscats on Gee-7
    Kathleen A Wynne on Gee-7
    William on Gee-7
    William on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    riverdaughter on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    lililam on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    Earlynerd on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    Earlynerd on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    lililam on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    lililam on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    lililam on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    William on Healthcare, Medicare and …
    William on Healthcare, Medicare and …
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    August 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Jul    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

Hillary to LGBT Youth: “It gets better… take care of yourself.”

From Secretary Clinton:

Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.

I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.

And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.

So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.

Take care of yourself.

Melisssa Bell at WaPo’s BlogPost reports that “The campaign to tell teenagers ‘It Gets Better’ received huge political backing Tuesday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took to YouTube to address teen bullying and tell them: ‘Hang in there.'”

From CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty — “Hillary Clinton tells bullied gay teens: ‘Hang in there and ask for help‘”:

Clinton has been in the forefront of the Obama administration’s efforts to expand rights for gay and lesbian government employees. She instituted equal benefits for same-sex partners of State Department employees, a move that encouraged President Barack Obama to authorize such benefits for gay men and lesbiasn throughout the federal government. The State Department also has made it easier for transgender people to change their passports and, for the first time, the agency’s “equal opportunity statement” includes gender identity and sexual preference.

From Tammye Nash at the Dallas Voice, “Secretary of State Clinton joins the ‘It Gets Better’ effort“:

Most of the celebrities joining the “It Gets Better” campaign and posting their videos online are openly LGBT people. But now, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added her voice to the call for LGBT young people contemplating suicide to hang on because brighter days are ahead.

Here’s Secretary Clinton’s video, “Tomorrow Will Be Better.” Now I wonder when we will see a video from President Barack Obama, or perhaps from First Lady Michelle Obama? The president is our “fierce advocate,” after all.

That’s a good question, but I think the infamous “Nobody” who could have predicted the disasters of the last decade knows better than to sit around waiting for that Fierce Urgency of Maybe Someday from brand Obama.

What do y’all say? Will Hillary’s example EVER rub off on Obama? Or, will he just keep relying on Hillary’s public service to fill the void left by his inability to lead?

That arc of the moral universe that he’s so eager to walk all over on a rug keeps on bending toward justice, but Obama has yet to be fired up and ready to go when it comes to bending with it. Here’s the latest on that sad pattern from our supposedly Democratic White House… from USA Today, “Military to accept openly gay recruits“:

WASHINGTON — Openly gay recruits can now join the military as a result of a federal court ruling striking down the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, but they are being warned that they can still be discharged if the ruling is overturned.

Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the suspension of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is in response to the Sept. 9 decision of a central California federal judge that ruled the law implemented under President Clinton in 1993 was unconstitutional.

The judge, Virginia Phillips, on Tuesday denied a government request to delay her order, the Associated Press reported. The Justice Department said the Obama administration will appeal to the appellate court in San Francisco.

And, from the Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld:

Lopez later told The Advocate that the recruiters didn’t seem to know of the injunction.

“Any changes in policy hadn’t been disclosed to them, so they had to turn me away,” Lopez said, adding that they suggested he shouldn’t trust everything he reads in the media. “They said, you should wait for an actual order form the president saying the policy’s been lifted.”

Lopez’s case, first reported in The New York Times Thursday morning, prompted Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods to send a letter to the Department of Justice just before 2 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

“Please let us know immediately what steps the government has taken to communicate the terms and requirements of the Court’s order to military personnel, including field commanders and military recruiting offices, who are in a position to violate the requirements of the injunction under the cover of ignorance of its terms of existence,” he wrote.

If the reports were true, Woods continued, “the Department of Defense would appear to be in violation of the Court’s injunction and subject to citation for contempt.”

Around 2:30 p.m., White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assured reporters at the briefing that the Pentagon would be addressing the matter of DOD compliance with the injunction shortly.

“The Department of Defense is working on the guidance for the entire chain of command that should be out soon,” he said.

Pentagon spokespeople informed the press just before 4 p.m. Eastern that the staff JAG had sent an e-mail to all service branches informing them that the military would “abide by the terms in the court’s ruling.”

Where is President Obama on any of this? Where is his Audacity to speak up on behalf of doors opening up for LGBT like never before? For all Obama’s talk of change, his silence is deafening when real change is actually happening in spite of him, with its genuine advocates having to fight his fierce resistance.

Since Obama is a Nowhere Flim Flam Man, we just get to hear some gobbledy gook through the buffer of his buffoon press secretary. And, yet our very moral president has the “audacity” to speak of being guided by some kind of a North Star? (link goes to his Rolling Stone interview from last month, although I recall he spoke of a North Star in his Nobel accepatance speech as well).

Sadly, for Obama it’s all about him, and it always has been. His audacity to hope, his audacity to run, his audacity to win. He has not paid any of that forward to the ordinary people and their audacity to survive. Since he won in 2008, President Obama’s north star has only ever pointed in the direction of his 2012 re-election prospects. It seems like aside from Hillary, there is no one in the room looking out for actually getting something done and governing.

I’d like to close with these words from my Hill-blogging pal stacyx, who says it well and speaks for me in a post called, “Secretary of State Clinton Speaks Directly to GLBT Youth: Tomorrow Will Be Better“:

This is really, really moving and I give her major props for doing this. The recent wave of suicides by gay youth/young adults is tragic, as is the hate speech issuing forth from conservatives who are trying to use this as a wedge issue.

It’s amazing that such a high-level government official would do this. It is INCREDIBLY important. I can’t think of any one else in this administration who would speak not only with this much feeling and honesty, but speak directly to kids. Anyone who is gay knows how tough it can be during youth and adolescence to feel isolated not only from friends, but in some cases, also from family.

Advertisements

Dish: Health Insurance Reform

WHHHOOOOOOOOOO! Health Care Reform for white men has passed! The most historical event evah in the history of historicalness has occurred! A Democratic Congress and a Democratic President has made a Republican Healthcare Bill Law! Insurance companies will be able to not provide helpless children with adequate care at last!

All this change! All this hope! I can’t take it! I’m going to spontaneously combust!

The world is going insane, and while normally I like insanity, this is not the good kind. Obama has just passed national RomneyObamacare–a Nixon wet dream originating from the Heritage Foundation in the 1990s in opposition to Hillarycare, and yet lunatic “Tea Partiers” are running around vandalizing the houses of Congressidiots who voted for the heaping pile of shit, screaming that they are “socialists?”

Obama signs an executive order restricting women’s access to abortion, and so called “progressives” and “feminists” are having kool aid induced orgasms as they compare the passage of a Health Insurance Reform Bill that would be better served as toilet paper to the Civil Rights Act? What the fuck?

Well, maybe I’m being unfair. The Bill IS Historic. Historically shitty.

I find myself–and we all must admit that I am normally so cheerful and chipper, yes, you know you all love me– I find myself feeling gloomy. I’m walking around campus with my hands shoved in the pockets of my fake leather jacket with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth–and I don’t even smoke! Security officers are mistaking me for troubled youth and are performing random searches on me.

Well, I am troubled. I’m troubled about a lot of things, but in terms of politics and current events, I am troubled about the fact that, as MYIQ said a few weeks ago, there appears to be no end in sight.

But what really has me bummed out right now is the realization that there is no end in sight for the mess this country is in. The single biggest problem facing our nation is the illness in our political system. When I say “illness” I mean the equivalent of an inoperable cancer that has metastasized. If we fixed our political system then we would actually be able to do something about those other problems.

For most of my adult life I believed that the Democrats were the good guys so even when they were getting slapped around by the Republicans I could support them and hope that after the next election they would grow a pair and start standing up for the liberal ideals they campaigned on.

I finally realized that the majority of the Democrats who hold elected office are not only corrupt but they have the same agenda as the Republicans. Oh, the say they’re on our side, and when it’s time for them to represent us they might make some speeches andr play some parliamentary tricks but when the nitty meets the gritty they lose on purpose. Lots of times they don’t even bother to put on a dog and pony show anymore, they just vote to bail out Wall Street or take away our civil rights as if that’s what we wanted them to do.

Now as far back as I can remember the Republicans were corrupt and they tended to be pricks or assholes, and sometimes both, but they weren’t insane. Nowadays there’s a lot of GOPers that are crazy as shithouse rats. That not only includes the elected ones but the voters too. Then you got the tea baggers who don’t think the Republicans are crazy enough.

I can’t believe that I am living in a country–I country I have grown up loving with every fiber of my being despite its flaws–where this is happening. The passage of a bill that bails out the Health Care Industry is historic! And in honor of Women’s History Month we passed it on the backs of women and their reproductive rights! Cats bark! Fish have tails! Catholic Priests are ethical in their treatment of young children!

The whole world is going mad I tell you! MAAAADDDDD!

Of course, intellectually I understand, there is always hope. Democrats are going to lose a lot of seats in November and while the Republicans that come into office will be even worse, the door will open for real liberals, not phony “progressives,” to show Donna Brazile and Howard Dean’s “New Coalition” to be ineffective and thus we will be able to take our party back.

But sometimes, in this Golden Era of Hope and Change, politics just isn’t enough. For once in our lives, we needed policy. Good policy that would actually have given broke-ass students like me real Health Insurance. Just a few weeks ago, before my spring break, I came down with the flu and missed a week of classes I’m still making up. If I had insurance, I might have been able to get antibiotics and missed only one day, maybe two. This bill does nothing to help me. For one thing, I’ll be done with my undergraduates and possibly even my graduates by 2014. At this rate I’m going to have to start stripping for my ‘scrips, just like a number of poor senior citizens who will shortly be facing cuts in medicare due to this lame-assed bill.


Sometimes, I get tired. Sometimes, I don’t want to live life day to day anymore. Sometimes I think things will never get better. Trying to get something to eat, trying to fill up my gas tank–always being hungry, worrying about my mom, worrying about my friends, worrying about all the people around me at my school who are going through the same thing.

Sometimes, honestly, I’m just tired. And today, forgive me, but I have to lament over the fact that politics took precedence over policy. Sorry.

Saturday Morning: We’re Living the “Shock Doctrine”

Good Morning Conflucians!

Is it just me? Suddenly, I’m feeling almost in shock at what’s happening in our country and around the world. Maybe I could just regress back to childhood and watch cartoons on TV this morning? No. I have to stay present and face the reality of what is happening.

When Reagan was elected, I kind of checked out for awhile. I refused to read newspapers or watch TV news. I knew it was going to be bad, and so I just focused on other things than politics.

I did that again for awhile after 2000. I was so devastated by what happened–how the election was stolen with the help of the U.S. Supreme Court. I checked out again for awhile–until Bush used 9/11 to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. I’ve been paying attention since then. For some reason, this time I just can’t check out and pretend it isn’t happening.

In her book,The Shock Doctine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein writes:

“The history of the contemporary free market was written in shocks….Some of the most infamous human rights violations of the past thirty-five years, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti-democratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the deliberate intent of terrorizing the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for the introduction of radical free-market reforms.”

Klein’s book is about the most influential political-economic philosophy of our times, Neoliberalism–which originated with Economist Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics. I’m sure Dakinikat can articulate it all much better than I could. I only understand it from my experience and reading–from living it. Klein writes:

Friedman believed in a radical vision of society in which profit and the market would rule every aspect of life, from school to health-care, and even the army. He called for abolishing all trade protections, deregulating all prices, and eviscerating government services. These ideas have always been tremendously unpopular, and understandably so. They cause waves of unemployment, send prices soaring, make life more precarious for millions. Unable to advance their agenda democratically, Friedman and his disciples were drawn to the power of shock….

Friedman understood that just as prisoners are softened up for interrogation by the shock of their capture, massive disasters could serve to soften us up for his radical ‘free market’ crusade. He advised politicians that immediately after a crisis they should push through all the painful policies at once, before people could regain their footing. he called this method “economic shock treatment.”

Klein drew an analogy with the CIA methods of mind control and torture, which were used in federally funded experiments back in the ’50 and ’60s in government programs with weird names like MK-ULTRA, Project BlUEBIRD, later called Project ARTICHOKE.

Klein quotes from CIA interrogation manuals:

It’s a fundamental hypothesis of this handbook that these techniques are in essence methods of inducing regression of the personality… Experienced Interrogators recognize this effect when it appears and know that at this moment the subject is far more open to suggestion and far likelier to comply than he was just before he experienced the shock.

And another quote:

The subject should be apruptly awakened and immediately blindfolded and handcuffed. When arrrested at this time, most subjects experience feelings of shock, extreme insecurity, and psychological stress. The idea is to prevent the subject from relaxing and recovering from shock.

This is what our government is doing to us. Bush was pretty good at it, but the shocks somehow seem more harsh under Obama. Maybe it’s because–even though most of us here at TC knew Obama wasn’t going to bring “change we can believe in,” it still seems more shocking when these beat-downs come from a President with a D next to his name, backed by an overwhelming majority of D’s in Congress. And somehow, the fact that these shocks are being administered in the name of health care reform seems so hideous and cruel, that it’s hard to remain present and keep educating yourself about what is happening. Sometimes, I really feel like I’m being hit in the head with a hammer–again…and again…and again.

Here are a few of the latest news stories and opinions. Let’s hang together and fight back against the forces of shock!

From Robert Reich’s blog: How a Few Private Health Insurers Are on the Way to Controlling Health Care

The public option is dead, killed by a handful of senators from small states who are mostly bought off by Big Insurance and Big Pharma or intimidated by these industries’ deep pockets and power to run political ads against them….

…we…end up with a system that’s based on private insurers that have no incentive whatsoever to control their costs or the costs of pharmaceutical companies and medical providers. If you think the federal employee benefit plan is an answer to this, think again. Its premiums increased nearly 9 percent this year. And if you think an expanded Medicare is the answer, you’re smoking medical marijuana. The Senate bill allows an independent commission to hold back Medicare costs only if Medicare spending is rising faster than total health spending. So if health spending is soaring because private insurers have no incentive to control it, we’re all out of luck. Medicare explodes as well.

MSNBC: U.S. grapples with child hunger ‘epidemic’

Three weeks before he was elected president, Barack Obama set an audacious goal: end hunger among children in the United States by 2015.

Since his inauguration, Obama has seldom broached the subject. His aides brainstorm weekly with several agencies, but their internal conversations so far have not produced fundamentally new approaches. The president’s goal could prove daunting: Childhood hunger is more complex than previously understood, new research suggests, and is unlikely to be solved simply by spending more money for food programs.

NYT: Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics

New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows.

Boing Boing: Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border

I did not get out of the car to ask what was going on. I did not repeat that question when refused an answer and told to get back into the vehicle. In that other timeline I was not punched in the face, pepper-sprayed, shit-kicked, handcuffed, thrown wet and half-naked into a holding cell for three fucking hours, thrown into an even colder jail cell overnight, arraigned, and charged with assaulting a federal officer, all without access to legal representation (although they did try to get me to waive my Miranda rights. Twice.). Nor was I finally dumped across the border in shirtsleeves: computer seized, flash drive confiscated, even my fucking paper notepad withheld until they could find someone among their number literate enough to distinguish between handwritten notes on story ideas and, I suppose, nefarious terrorist plots. I was not left without my jacket in the face of Ontario’s first winter storm, after all buses and intercity shuttles had shut down for the night.

“In some other universe I am warm and content and not looking at spending two years in jail for the crime of having been punched in the face.”

Robert Scheer: Dear Barack, Spare Me Your E-Mails

Barack Obama’s faux populism is beginning to grate, and when yet another one of those “we the people” e-mails from the president landed on my screen as I was fishing around for a column subject, I came unglued. It is one thing to rob us blind by rewarding the power elite that created our problems but quite another to sugarcoat it in the rhetoric of a David taking on those Goliaths.

In each of the three most important areas of policy with which he has dealt, Obama speaks in the voice of the little people’s champion, but his actions cater fully to the demands of the most powerful economic interests.

With his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, he has given the military-industrial complex an excuse for the United States to carry on in spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined, without a credible military adversary in sight. His response to the banking meltdown was to continue George W. Bush’s massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, and his health care reform has all the earmarks of a boondoggle for the medical industry profiteers.

Let’s face it: President Obama is Big Brother from Orwell’s 1984.

What are you reading this morning, fellow Conflucians? I hope you can find something to cheer me up. No matter how bad things are, we are all still here and we are in it together, so….

HAVE A STUPENDOUS SATURDAY!!!!!!!

digg!!! tweet!!! share!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

When the President does it . . .

nm_greg_craig_090409_ssh

Greg Craig and his boss

 


This way to the Egress:

 

In the first major shakeup among President Barack Obama’s senior staff, White House Counsel Greg Craig is being pushed out in favor of veteran Democratic lawyer Bob Bauer because of a dispute over plans to close the U.S. military prison in Cuba, CNN has learned.

The move will be announced by the White House in the coming days, a senior administration official and a senior Democratic source confirmed. The sources said it could be announced as early as Friday while the president will be in Japan starting a four-nation tour of Asia, which would make it likely the staff change will be overshadowed by other events.

[…]

Democratic officials said Craig was ousted because of frustration among senior White House aides over his handling of the plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. As the White House’s top lawyer, Craig was pivotal in advising Obama to sign an executive order during his first week in office promising to shut the prison by the end of January 2010.

In a politically embarrassing move that has frustrated some of the president’s liberal supporters, White House aides have since backed off that deadline, citing complex legal issues surrounding what to do with the approximately 200 terror suspects still detained at Guantanamo.

Some administration officials privately believe Craig should have better anticipated the pitfalls. However, his supporters believe he is being used as a scapegoat and note he was not the only top official who supported the ironclad executive order.

Closing Gitmo isn’t the problem. The problem is what to do with all the people that have been detained by our government for up to eight years without trials. Habeas corpus and due process aren’t “just words.”

The answer is simple – bring them here, give them trials and let the chips fall where they may.  But that won’t happen, it might upset Obama’s fellow Republicans.

It sounds like Craig believes in the rule of law. Too bad for him, cuz his boss doesn’t. The Friday White House News Dump doesn’t usually include bodies, so maybe they’re gonna wait until Saturday night to massacre him.

**********************************

The more things change, the more they remain the same:

The Obama administration is increasingly exasperated by leaks of national-security-related information and is planning a major effort to root out and punish those responsible, top officials said Thursday.

Every administration since George Washington has complained about leaks. But there’s an old saying – “The ship of state leaks from the top.”

Maybe the White House should call a plumber to find and fix the leaks. This guy has some experience at doing that:

 


g_gordon_liddy

 

 


Are you catching the theme of this post? If not, here’s a hint:

 

Continue reading