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Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:12 AM PDT

Too Short To Be A Diary

by Quicklund

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Today on our nation's birthday let us pause to wish the Egyptian people good fortune, and to remind ourselves that no nation's transition into democracy comes without a price paid for in blood.
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Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 04:58 PM PDT

Mr Snowden and Unconstitutionality

by Quicklund

Lord knows I know better than to stick my tongue on this frozen flagpole but here goes anyway. As always with flagpole-tonguing, brevity is best. So this won't hurt long.

There is a great deal of interest in Mr Snowden, the gov't projects detailed in his information releases, and the ultimate fate of both. There is a great division of opinion  between those who laud Mr Snowden's actions and those who condemn them. There is likewise a division of opinion about how the gov't should prosecute Mr Snowden.

Those who would laud Mr Snowden feel he should not be tried at all which means he should not be subject to arrest. Those that condemn him fully want and expect him to stand trial. I am sure this does not apply to every single person on either side of these two disagreements, but it certainly seems it applies to the vast majority of those who have opined.

I would like* to suggest this second division of opinion need not exist. I suggest both those who see Mr Snowden as hero and those who see him as fink can and perhaps should agree that he should return to the US to stand trial. Here is the rationale.

Many people who do not want to see Mr Snowden stand trial say they feel this way because the Patriot Act clauses which legalized the current level of gov't monitoring are unconstitutional. The problem with that is, the SCOTUS has not issued a ruling to that effect. Laws passed by Congress are considered consistent with the Constitution until a SCOTUS ruling declares they are unconstitutional. Mr Snowden himself could end up being the catalyst that brings the Patriot Act under SCOTUS review.

Should Mr Snowden return to the US and stand trial he could well be convicted. This would lead into the appeals process. If Mr Snowden's appeal is turned down he can apply to higher courts, until the SCOTUS is reached. I think nothing would be more satisfying to Mr Snowden than being the person who's case ended with the Patriot Act being struck down. (Or its more odious portions struck down at least.)

And of course should Mr Snowden not be convicted or should he win on appeal... well then that gets him off the hook for good.

I have chosen not to make up my mind on this entire story because IMO we have yet to get a low-distortion view of what all has happened. We do not know everything that has been revealed nor to whom. We do not know for certain if the gov't oversight measures are as effective as the gov't claims. IMO we will learn much more before this is all over. And one of the ways we'd learn is if this matter worked its way through the legal system.

I understand the division of opinion regarding the hero /  fink divide. I understand that has translated into the trial / no trial divide. But I suggest that second divide need not exist or at least it need not be so deep. In the larger picture Mr Snowden himself is not the main story. With that much I agree, but I go one step further. His trial would serve that larger picture.

If in the end the Patriot Act were overturned thanks to the acts of Mr Snowden, on that day I think we'd have DKos in a rare moment of agreement. Then Mr Snowen would be rather a hero. As well as a free man no longer looking over his shoulder.

With that I walk my dogs. Back a half-hour after publication, or so.

(Footnote below.)

Poll

Mr Snowden is a _____ and he should ____.

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| 62 votes | Vote | Results

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Josh Marshal over at TPM offers a splendid essay in which he describes the internal ethical debate he has had with himself over the Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden stories. It is a strong example of how one man fits Real Life's shifting patterns of gray against our black-and-white conceptions of ideology.I find it a wonderful example of sober judgement, an easy to read story of the struggle between reason and emotion. As for the emotional tone of the essay, that emotion would be calm.

If you could use a break from head-clashing let this essay be your mental sorbet.

Discuss

Every liberal voter in America should consider supporting NRA VP Wayne LePierre's call to bring armed guards to every American school. The reason is simple. If implemented this plan would end the NRA's role as a player in American politics. It would also likely cause many GOP politicians to spontaneously burst into flame.

Read below the fold to learn why. But there will be some math.

Poll

This is not a poll!

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| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:30 AM PST

Medicare Cuts Coming: Proven

by Quicklund

Anyone who has told you Medicare or Medicaid will not be cut by President Obama and the 113th Congress is wrong ... and is quite possibly also a Big Pharma CEO. Medicare and Medicaid are going to be cut, because that is exactly one thing Americans elected their leaders to do.

How can we be certain MC/MA will be cut? 17.6% is why.

The United States spends more on health care, both per capita and as a share of GDP, than any other country in the world. In 2009, spending on health care reached a record high $2.5 trillion, or 17.6 percent of U.S. GDP.
Massive reform of the US health care system has been a goal of progressive Americans and the Democratic Party for decades, if not for generations. Almost 20 years ago to the day Bill Clinton ran on it and won. He made it his first priority, and, 19 years ago to the day his reform effort was already dead and buried.

Four years ago President Obama and Congressional Democrats wrestled with Republicans over the Affordable Care Act. The ACA was fought for over the course of months. It finally passed by the skin of its teeth. It was immediately unpopular with the right, because it did something. It was unpopular with the left, because it did not do enough.

Now we approach 2013 with a big national Democratic victory in our pocket. Americans voted for Democrats ahead of Republicans despite the worst post-WW2 economy ever, despite ceaseless GOP obstructionism, despite Citizens United. Voters had the direct choice between Paul Ryan's Medicare elimination and Barack Obama's Medicare reform. Americans chose reform.

It's not 2011. It is almost 2013. Both the date and that Overton Window thing have moved. For the first time since LBJ's Great Society the American voter wants and expects major improvements to our nation's safety net. It is myopic to think that after all the years of hard work it took to arrive at this happy situation, that our political leaders will now casually throw it all away.

Myopic seems the apt term since some visions do not see past words such as "cuts", "pill", "bargain", or "compromise". Let us remind ourselves of something. 17.6% is roughly the same thing as one dollar our of every six going to health care. Buy a $5 sandwich from Subway and your next dollar goes towards an $11 aspirin pill down at the ER. We sent our candidates to Washington DC that they would cut down on that overhead.

Now that we have some ducks in a row a vocal minority balks at the chance. It's easy to understand why Big Pharma CEOs recoil in horror from the words cut, bargain, and compromise. Those of us who are not CEOs should look past those words to our goals. If ever there is a time to keep our eyes on the prize, certainly it's when our fingers begin to curl around the brass ring.

Poll

It is possible to both cut MC/MA expenditures and strengthen the programs overall.

29%16 votes
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| 54 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 10:47 AM PST

2014 Begins Tomorrow

by Quicklund

We need to bring Presidential energy to the mid-terms of 2014. We need to take back the House. We need to break the last gasp of the Tea Party. This will force the end to almost 50 years of the GOP as constructed around the so-called 'Southern Strategy'. As one GOP strategist said a few months ago, "This will be the last Presidential campaign in which the GOP relies on the white vote." (paraphrased)

Historically, in mid-terms the rule-of-thumb has the incumbent POTUS' party loseing seats in Congress. It need not be so - if we get out the vote. Rules-of-thumb are not axioms because they do not always play out true. Let's make 2014 one of these exceptions.

Consider the implications of breaking the GOP's November 2014 campaign. That would be a resounding rejection of their 2010 success. It would announce the Southern Strategy as DOA. This would force the GOP into a scramble to find a new formulation. Any remaining denial about that would be crushed. The GOP would have to change, and there'd be no more mistaking that.

But our GOP friends have really painted themselves into a demographic corner. Where do they go outside of their older white male base? I have no idea. That strikes me as a rather large problem for the GOP going forward. And that in turn tells me the GOP will be going into the 2016 Presidential season in disarray.

That's a nice thought..

If you are like me, a Wisconsin resident who feels lie the past two years has been one continuous election campaign, you are probably ready for a year or more of taking a break from the 'sausage factory'. Well, damn it, take that break. We all need our batteries recharged. But don't make it an entire year, OK?

The time to commit the reserves is when the opponent is cracking and about to break. The GOP is cracking. In 2014 we can break them. Break them and send them reeling into the election for Barack Obama's successor. A 2016 win gives us a 2020 incumbent to run. Don't visualize; make it happen.

Sixteen years of Democratic occupation of the Oval Office. Time enough to transform the SCOTUS into two G.W. Bush appointees and seven Obama/successor appointees. That bodes well for a Progressive-leaning America. For the rest of my lifetime, certainly. And perhaps yours as well.

Rest up but get back in action. 2014: the mid-term election that can transform America. Surely you can suck it up for another 24 months? Of course you can. You can do this GOTV stuff in your sleep now.

Forward ho.

Poll

Winning the 2014 mid-terms will...

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| 22 votes | Vote | Results

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One more a not-a-diary before the votes come in. I just was down at Rob Zerban's office. I asked about internal polls. According to a young staffer, they have been on a four-day high with good  news.

Early in the campaign polling indicaed Mr Zerban had a name recognistion problem. Despite that for some time there has been a large undecided segment here in WI-01. That in itself is good news when going up against such an established incumbent. It sounds like the these folks have broken hard for Mr Zerban in the GOTV weekend.

My polling place has been busy all day. I've been by there a half-dozen times. I was past there an hour ago and it was the busiest I'd seen all day. Here in the City of Kenosha we are strong on Zerban. No name recognition issue in K-town. No lack of voter turnout.

So what the hell? It might happen. We've worked hard. If this is a bit of over-optimism, so be it. I'm gonna dial up the happy meter because Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Democratic Party has not finished paying you back.

Four more years!

Senate Majority Leader Reid.

Representative Rob Zerban.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Discuss

If you are reading this it's almost certain you are familiar with the phrase "11 dimensional chess". Obviously no such game exists on Earth. But one game comes close to living up to the concept implied in that saying. That game is Wiz-War.

Picture a stone labyrinth with no exits and with a weird Escher-like geometry. One in which walls and passages warp back upon themselves. Go far enough north and you find yourself back in the south. And inside this maze are several wizards, trapped with one hope for escape: victory. It's a no-holds-barred cage match to the death - with trolls, teleport spells, lightning bolts ... and The Thumb Of God.

Wiz-War is the brainchild of the small independent game designer, Tom Jolly. It appeared more than 25 years ago. It boasts of a cult following to this day. Old printings of the game are considered irreplaceable treasures.

(In writing this diary I learned a brand-new edition of this game is finally available. It is something fans of this game waited nearly 15 years too see. I understand this version has some rule changes and has much better production qualities. This diary however, is based on the original version plus its expansions.)

The basic rules are easy. A new player can be brought up to speed in the time it takes to set up the game. But full strategic mastery can only be approached. It can never be reached. No one strategy dominates all others, and fortunes can turn on a dime. Wiz-War rates a full five Yogi Berras. Nothing is ever over until it's really over.

Yogi Berra is a great spokesman for Wiz-War for other reasons too. Like Yogi, Wiz-War often contradicts itself and appears a bit crazy to onlookers. Both are fun to be around and both draw big laughs. And like Yogi, once you get past the popularity and the fun, behind it all is All-Star quality.

Travel through the orange permawarp to find the treasure.

Poll

Wiz-War!

57%12 votes
4%1 votes
19%4 votes
14%3 votes
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| 21 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 05:34 PM PDT

RedState Goes Godwin

by Quicklund

A short diary titled Every Movement Needs It's Own Salute ties a mild publicity effort by the Obama campaign to, of course, Nazi Germany. Here is the photo of saluting Nazis that appears under the title.

(The photo appears on RedState's home page but not on the diary page itself. Scroll down on the home page to find it.)

If you are wondering what this is about, apparently young people are being urged to submit a photo of themselves with their hand over their heart. Participants are asked to write a message on the back of their hands.

Naturally this 'salute' smacks of socialism and mind control. As when we sing our national anthem. Did ya think of that, RedState?

As stupid as this is... is this Nazi crap something that should go unchallenged?

Poll

Is this worth throbbing a head vein over?

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30%18 votes

| 60 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:28 PM PDT

Any Questions?

by Quicklund

´

Poll

(The pie stops here)

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| 14 votes | Vote | Results

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If you fear such an attack will soon be coming, ThinkProgress has a report that should help ease those fears. This is happy news and it's worth a bit of attention even amid this economy-centered Presidential campaign. Since this report undermines PM Netanyahu's saber-rattling, you'll never hear Mitt Romney mention it.

What the Obama administration has to say about such an attack is much more important. Here is a signal that should put to rest any claim the US is secretly enabling an Israeli attack. ThinkProgress quotes General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey — America’s highest ranking military officer — also sought to distance the U.S. from any premature attack, adding, I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”
(Bolding by Quicklund)

This quote is very important. These words are used with precision. Coming from Gen Dempsey they carry the weight of administration policy. They also indicate the administration wants this policy known publicly and specifically within Iran. And that policy is the US will not assist Israel in attacking Iran.

Periodically there are predictions of such an Israeli attack. We see such a prediction about twice per week here on DKos. PM Netanyahu likes issuing such threats from time to time. This announcement should make it crystal clear that such announcements are nothing more than loud saber rattlings. These announcements are designed to frighten people around the world. These people include American voters - especially American voters. These saber-rattles are intended to frighten you. Do not let them.

Stand firm against the bluff. Israel is not going to attack Iran. Not any time soon, and not at all unless the US attacks too. That is as reliable a prediction as you're likely to see when it comes to the Mideast.

Poll

An Israeli attack on Iran during 2012 is

15%12 votes
18%14 votes
28%22 votes
23%18 votes
14%11 votes

| 77 votes | Vote | Results

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Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:04 PM PDT

Shortest GOTV Diary Ever (and WI-01)

by Quicklund

Paul Ryan is on the Wisconsin ballot running for both VP and for his current House seat, WI-01. He could win both elections, or neither, or win one and lose the other. If the Republicans win the White House it is almost certain Paul Ryan would also win his House race. Talk about a coat-tails effect. So what would happen under that scenario?

Paul Ryan would have to resign one office or the other. Of course that means he'd resign his House seat. A special election would be called quickly to fill that seat. The GOP candidate would certainly win. The special election would come in the wake of a huge GOP victory and with a huge GOP warchest. So who would that candidate be?

His name is Reince Priebus. Yes, that Reince Preibus.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Reince Priebus grew up in the WI-01 district and still owns a home here. He ran for the WI state senate in 2002 against Fabulous Fourteen Hero Bob Wirch. Reince Priebus ran Gov Scott Walker's campaign in 2010. Reince Priebus has the job he has today as his reward for Scott Walker's victory. If Romney / Ryan wins this year, Reince Priebus' reward will be Paul Ryan's WI-01 seat.

Don't let your children grow up in a world which contains a Representative Reince Priebus.  GOTV

Who is running against Paul Ryan for his House seat? His name is Rob Zerban.  Help Rob Zerban defeat Paul Ryan twice this November.
Poll

How much have you heard about Rob Zerban and the Zerban - Ryan race for WI-01?

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| 47 votes | Vote | Results

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