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Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:15 PM PDT

Everything to Vote For

by anonevent

Every so often, I see someone complain about how the Democrats are not giving them, or other Democrats something to vote for.  I do not understand this, because I see evidence nearly every day that indicates that the Democrats have plenty to offer.  Just as importantly, I see plenty of evidence that Republicans need to be removed from power.

We've seen the damage the Republicans are doing to this country.  The Republicans in the House are making it impossible to govern the country by refusing to pay for anything that doesn't benefit their paymasters.  We've seen them shut down the government to try to defund the ACA, with a number of them believing that defaulting on our obligations would be no big deal.  In the end, their shutdown cost more money than if they had just let things run.  The Republicans have refused to fund long term unemployment insurance, and cut a major chunk out of SNAP (the only good thing being the damage it has done to Wal-Mart).

We've seen the Roberts Court decide that white Catholic males should be in charge by any means necessary.  If it means gutting voting rights for blacks, so be it.  If it means cutting off contraceptives for women, not a problem.  The only rights they expand are those where white men are the beneficiaries:  Increase in contributions from corporations to campaigns, expanded rights to intimidate Americans through guns, and the right to interfere with the lives of women.

And these are only at the national level.  Republicans in states are doing the same thing.  The following is from http://prospect.org/... but it reads like it came from my state, Texas:

Voting rights have been a volatile issue in North Carolina, where Republicans recently took control of both the legislature and the governor’s office. Of all the far-reaching policy changes that have given rise to the state’s Moral Monday protest movement, none cuts deeper into the psyches of many progressives than the recent election-law overhaul. “I can’t believe we are seeing this day again,” says Rosanell Eaton, a 93-year-old African-American co-plaintiff, who recalls enduring a literacy test when she first registered to vote. “Dr. [Martin Luther] King would be having a fit.”
And why did Republicans do it:
The 49-page act, passed in July 2013, eviscerated a suite of recent reforms that had pumped up voter turnout in North Carolina.
There is only one reason for this:  To reduce turnout among blacks, college students, and anyone else that might vote for Democrats.
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Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:23 AM PDT

Cleek's Law

by anonevent

A statement from Mark Summer at today's Abbreviated Pundit Round-up made me laugh:

For a long time, "they're against it just because we're for it" seemed like a bit of an overstatement. But when they're against reaching out to help kidnapped children just because liberals went there first... yeah, saddening is one term that might apply.
Not in one of those, "that's funny because it's a funny joke" kind of thing, but in a "I see this thing all over the internet" kind of way.  The comment is in response to the conservative reaction to trying to bring attention to the kidnapped Nigerian girls, which really did amount to nothing more than "Michelle Obama brought it up, therefore it must be wrong."

 At Balloon Juice, Cleek's Law is defined as the following:

today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.
Since the creation of the reactionary Republicans, it generally always seems to apply, which is why sometimes we ask the president to extol the virtues of breathing.
Discuss

Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 06:56 PM PDT

Graham Crackers

by anonevent

Honey Maid created a great advertisement that celebrated families of all kinds, including mixed race and gay families.  

In response, some people threated to boycott the company, while others told how happy they were to see it. So, Honey Maid made another ad in response.

Below the fractal fold, I wanted to show how much Honey Maid has been affected by the boycott, as shown by the Wal-Mart in Rockwall, TX, home of Representative Ralph Hall (who is never seriously challenged), and one of the wealthiest counties in the state.

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In the arguments over what the US should be doing in regards to Ukraine and Russia, a number of people are resorting to the argument that the US has no moral authority due to the invasion of Iraq. There are a number of reasons that using this as an arguing tactic is wrong.

Note: This diary is not about whether the US should or shouldn't do anything, just about the various flaws with "moral authority" as an argument.

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Oh, the hypocrisy.

The US is going to try to tell Russia not to invade another country. This is horrible in light of the US invading Iraq. We have no right as a country, Kerry has no right as a Secretary of State.

Countries who have invaded other countries should never criticize a country for invasion.  That would leave out:

Russia
France
The UK
The US
Spain
China
Japan
Denmark
Germany
Portugal
Iraq
Greece
...

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Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:48 AM PST

Ukraine and Nuclear Weapons

by anonevent

As we consider the events in Ukraine, we need to take into account what happened to the country when the Soviet Union collapsed.

(Yes, I will be taking my information from the Wikipedia article.  Follow the links if you don't trust the main source.)

In 1991, when Ukraine became independent of the Soviet Union, it automatically became the third largest nuclear power, with an arsenal larger than China, France, and Great Britain combined.  Through agreements with various countries, it removed all of its nuclear weapons, either dismantling them or sending them to Russia.  Agreeing to give up its nuclear weapons, Ukraine was given agreements by other countries, including the US and Russia, of the following:

1. Respect Ukraine's borders.
2. Abstain from the use of threat of force against Ukraine.
3. To support Ukraine if an attempt is made to place pressure on it by economic coercion.
4. To bring any incident of aggression by a nuclear power before the UN Security Council.

Not only do we have these agreements with Ukraine, we also gave them to Kazakhstan and Belarus when they gave up their nuclear weapons.

So, yes, while we are talking about a country far away, we are also talking about agreements to protect countries that have chosen to give up nuclear weapons.

Discuss

If you really want to know what the Syrian people have thought about their government, it's actually right on the Internet, even on Daily Kos.  They actually held protests, back in 2011:

On September 9, 2011, "The Friday of International Protection" protest was held nationwide.
On October 28, 2011, they held “Friday of the No-Fly-Zone.”
On December 2, 2011, they held “Friday of Safe Zones.”
These protests were an attempt to get the international community to protect the Syrian people.
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The most annoying thing about the way Snowden saga has been treated is the hyperbole:  

The government is recording all your phone calls! (It's collecting the numbers and duration.)
The government is copying all your mail!
(The Post Office is taking pictures of the front of the envelopes.  The story of how this was used to find the woman who sent the Ricin to Obama and Bloomberg is rather interesting and revealing about how you manage to use trillions of bytes of data.)

I'm from Texas, so I tend to forget what the third one is.

But, for everyone who thinks these freakouts help should check out what a surveillance state actually looks like.  Our selection today comes fromVenezuela, the country that has offered Snowden asylum.  The story starts out like this (below the rotationally symmetric doodle):

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According to this report, the Bolivian plane had to land because of a faulty fuel gauge:

Control tower: Do you need any assistance?

Pilot: Not at this moment. We need to land because we cannot get a correct indication of the fuel indication so as a precaution we need to land.

In addition, France and Spain both deny forcing the plane to reroute, though Spain says it denied entry until they found out the Bolivian President was on board.

The plane was searched.  But, if anyone was paying attention, and I bet the Spying US Government was, Snowden could not have been on the plane.  The airport the Bolivian plane took off from was 27 miles, on the other side of Moscow, from the airport where Snowden is.

Discuss

Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:38 PM PDT

It's Up to Us

by anonevent

The Supreme Court handed the Republicans a short term victory, which some states, like Texas, are already planning on taking advantage of.  It's a pretty devastating blow for minorities...in the short term.

If you take a long view, it's easy to tell what it is:  Another attempt by the party of racists, misogynists, and theocrats to hold onto power while they are dying out.  In a couple of years, the could be left to the history books, if we do what we have to do.

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Because I never saw anyone refer to this amendment:

(h/t Bob Cesca) On June 6th, House Republicans have added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay:

None of the amounts authorized to be available to the Department of Defense may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release, during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2014, any individual detained at Guantanamo (as such term is defined in section 1033(f)(2)) to the custody or control of the Republic of Yemen or any entity within Yemen.
The reason Yemen was chosen is that the DOD has cleared 56 prisoners to be transferred to Yemen.  A total of 86 of the 166 detainees have been cleared for transfer.

I doubt this will make it through the Senate, especially considering how many Democrats in the House voted against it, but you never know.  But, for now at least, we know which party refuses to let Obama fix the wrong that is Gitmo.

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The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement on the limits of surveillance activities:

The statement that a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization is incorrect and was not briefed to Congress.  Members have been briefed on the implementation of Section 702, that it targets foreigners located overseas for a valid foreign intelligence purpose, and that it cannot be used to target Americans anywhere in the world.
Also, ZDNet, sister site to CNet, made the following statement:
We're pulling the plug on this story, following Rep. Nadler's comments that debunk CNET's story.
I could be snarky and sarcastic, but instead I'll just say maybe we should consider our sources and claims a bit.
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