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Topsail Island. (Photo by joanneleon. March, 2012)
"We Need Food, We Need Clothing"

-- Residents of Staten Island

Aerosmith - Janie's Got a Gun
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News and Opinion

Occupy Sandy Volunteer Sounds Alarm on 'Humanitarian Crisis,' Near-Complete Absence of Government Aid in Coney Island Projects

The situation in public housing projects in Coney Island, Brooklyn remains a "humanitarian crisis" in which the government and the Red Cross have been nearly completely absent, according to Eric Moed, a volunteer aid worker with Occupy Sandy.

Friday is Moed's fifth day volunteering with Occupy Sandy, an ad hoc hurricane relief group formed by former Occupy Wall Street activists. Moed, an architect from Brooklyn's Clinton Hill neighborhood, goes door to door in the 30-40 public housing buildings in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn to distribute food, water and supplies, and help address sanitation and medical needs. The projects in Coney Island remain without power, and often without water and necessities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Accounts of these conditions have been corroborated in the New York Daily News.

After Sandy, It’s Occupy to the Rescue

Cynthia Kouril, a resident of one of the areas left in the lurch by the storm and the city’s less-than-stellar response, had this to say about Occupy’s efforts:

I live on the North Shore of Long Island, walking distance from the beach, in an area full of very old tall trees and very old overhead wires. Oh, and spotty cellphone coverage. I have been virtually incommunicado for the past couple weeks. No electricity, no internet, no landline phones, no TV, no voice over cellphone and very limited texting over cellphone.

What little information I had access to, came from the car radio, and it told a tale of stranded victims on Staten Island and the Long Island South Shore and Brooklyn, left unaided by the City. No police doing door-to-door searches for the trapped and stranded elderly or infirm, no social service agencies coming to their homes to make sure they had a meal, nadda.

So, OWS called upon its stupendous logistical skills and filled the void left by Ray Kelly and Michael Bloomberg.

… OWS did what they do best, rallied compassionate people, started cooking meals and gave them away, just like at Liberty Plaza (it’s hard to get me to call it Zuccotti Park). They organized blankets and flashlights and charging stations (including the Green Peace solar truck and those cool Gilligan’s Island bicycle generators), just as they did at Liberty Plaza. They knocked on doors to ask the stranded residents what they needed. They sent out tweets for “needs of the occupiers” and supporters from all over the world sent supplies, just like at Liberty Plaza. They even improved on that with an Occupy Sandy “wedding registry” on Amazon that helps doors to ship supplies quickly and easily. Genius!

Occupy’s ‘Wedding registry’ floods church with supplies

Three “Occupy Sandy” operatives working out of a Clinton Hill church have amassed 25,000 items worth more than $650,000, and are distributing them in the Sandy-ravaged Rockaways and Coney Island — all thanks to an online hub they set up as an Amazon wedding registry on Nov. 3.
Heggestuen, Alex Nordenson, and Katherine Dolan hatched Occupy Sandy’s soon-to-be-famous wedding registry and almost immediately began accepting deliveries to the church’s basement.

By the first few days of the next week, it was clear they were going to need some more space.

“I think it was when the four UPS trucks pulled up at the same time,” said Rev. Chris Ballard of the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew on where the wears were being stored.

The delivery trucks are routinely showing up full, five a day.

On a recent visit, church’s pews had been transformed into supermarket aisles of vital gear — batteries, blankets, diapers, toothpaste — all organized by type.

Congratulations, "leading voices" of the progressive movement.
The Great Betrayal – and the Cynicism of Calling it a Grand Bargain

Kuttner wrote to warn that Obama intends to seek a “grand bargain” causing the U.S. to adopt the type of austerity program that threw the Eurozone back into a gratuitous recession.

Worse, Obama intends to begin to unravel the safety net (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) to convince the Republicans to enter into this Faustian bargain.  Just as only a conservative Republican could visit “Red” China, only a Democrat can begin the destruction of the safety net.  The difference, of course, is that normalizing relations with China was a good thing while unraveling the safety net is a terrible thing.

Wall Street’s greatest desire is privatizing Social Security.  Wall Street stands to make scores of billions of dollars annually in additional fees should it ever buy enough politicians to privatize Social Security.  The Republican Party’s greatest goal is unraveling the safety net.  They always wish to attack the most successful and popular programs introduced by the Democratic Party.  Their problem is that they know it is toxic for Republican candidates to try to destroy the safety net.  Only Democrats, through a “Great Betrayal” can give Republicans the political cover they need to unravel the safety net.

The safety net is so popular with the American people because it consists of superb programs that constantly put the lie to Republican memes that the government is incapable of success.  There is no need to allow Social Security to “go bankrupt.”  The necessary expenditures can easily be made by the Treasury.
There is a need to contain the rise in medical costs, but we know how to do that without harming health outcomes.  Most advanced nations attain the same health outcomes at half the expense (relative to GDP) of the U.S.  Obama’s opposition to the “public mandate” was a grave mistake that needs to be reversed.
Because unraveling the safety net is unnecessary, harmful, and politically insane for a Democrat and politically suicidal for Republicans, the proponents of these terrible policies have long failed in their efforts.   Republicans, however, have now found a fifth column within the Democratic Party who they hope will open the door to attacking the safety net.  This would provide the political cover that Republicans could use to unravel fully the safety net.

The Presidential Election Exposed, Again, the Death of the Liberal Class

The presidential election exposed the liberal class as a corpse. It fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents. Liberals, by voting for Barack Obama, betrayed the core values they use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars. The liberal class clung desperately during the long nightmare of this political campaign to one or two issues, such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and gender equality, to justify its complicity in a monstrous evil. This moral fragmentation—using an isolated act of justice to define one’s self while ignoring the vast corporate assault on the nation and the ecosystem along with the pre-emptive violence of the imperial state—is moral and political capitulation. It fails to confront the evil we have become.

Broadwell reported (and said that FoxNews reported), during her U of Denver speech, that CIA had imprisoned some Libyan militia members at the CIA annex and this might have been the reason for the attack on the embassy and annex. This raised the obvious question about whether the annex was a black ops site, a secret prison.  Now the CIA denies the story about prisoners.  Of note, the video put on YouTube by the U of Denver disappeared for some period of time. Then it was put some hours or a day later.
CIA Denies Broadwell’s Claim That Agency Held Detainees in Libya

In public comments last month at the University of Denver, Petraeus girlfriend and biographer Paula Broadwell said the CIA had detainees at a secret facility in Benghazi and that the attack on the US Consulate was an effort to free those prisoners.

Under the Bush administration, the CIA maintained secret prisons, or black sites, where they held captive alleged militants. Upon coming into office in 2009, President Obama issued an executive order stripping the CIA of its authority to take and hold prisoners.

CIA spokesman Preston Golson said “any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless.”

While the media is still in a frenzy on this evolving story, a lot of the mirth and double, triple, quadruple entendre has died down and some journalists are digging deeper into the story.  Papparazzi are camped out at Jill Kelley's house in Tampa and at Broadwell's house in Charlotte.  Kelley has been calling 911 and once told them that she has some diplomatic immunity.  A story about how Broadwell's driver's license was found by police in Rock Creek Park in Maryland on Sunday was initially pretty scary because Broadwell has not been seen since this whole story broke and because that is the place where Chandra Levy was found.  But later, pictures showed up of Broadwell at a home in Mount Pleasant at the home of a relative.  Papparazzi are now camped out there, apparently, and AP photos taken through a kitchen window were published.
Paula Broadwell Is Staying in Mount Pleasant

Standing in the alley behind the home around 8:45 p.m., two of the cameraman started filming suddenly when a woman entered the home's kitchen. (I'll admit that in the dark, I couldn't tell if it was Broadwell. But an Associated Press photographer got this shot of a woman who is clearly her.) In front of the house, another ABC cameraman and one from WUSA9 were debating how invasive is too invasive when filming a person of interest in a private home (they were both on the side of not getting too invasive). I was getting cold, and several people in my Twitter feed who'd seen the Instagram of the home that I'd posted were accusing me of stalking. So I headed home, abandoning the TV crews there to sit until someone back at their bureaus decided to be merciful and let them do the same.

One interesting development is that Kelley has reportedly retained Abbe Lowell.  Lowell worked on Abramoff's case, John Edwards' case, and the case of the AIPAC spies.
White-Collar Heavyweight Lowell Steps into Petraeus Fracas

Judy Smith, a Washington, D.C.-based crisis communications manager working for Kelley, confirmed Lowell's involvement in the case to The Am Law Daily. Lowell himself told The Am Law Daily via email late Monday that he took on the matter as the result of a longstanding relationship with the Kelleys: "I have known the Kelley family for 10 years and when they had a D.C. issue some months ago, they called me because they knew I was here," he wrote.
During President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings, Lowell served as chief investigative counsel to Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although more often tied to the Democratic Party, Lowell also represented Jack Abramoff, the former Greenberg Traurig lawyer and Republican lobbyist who in 2006 pled guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion. Lowell also represented Republican Nevada governor Jim Gibbons, who was cleared of wrongdoing in 2008 by the Justice Department after an investigation that looked into whether he exchanged military contracts for gifts, and former Republican New York state senator Joseph Bruno in the successful appeal of a federal fraud conviction (A retrial in Bruno's case is scheduled for February).

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

The Evening Blues - 11-13-12

Obama May Be Planning on Accepting Raising of Medicare Costs to Seniors

School Daze

A completely different Veterans Day for me - fostering a puppy for a homeless vet

Aerosmith - Livin' on the Edge


Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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