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Topsail Island. Photo by joanneleon. December, 2012

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Break out the champagne.

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You, Lyin' Joe Lieberman

As of noon EST, Joe Lieberman is no longer a U.S. senator. I hope we can all take a moment today to stop and remember his deep, lifelong commitment to lying.

You could fill a book with Lieberman's lies, but some of the most impressive ones have been about Iraq and its supposed weapons of mass destruction. Of course, many U.S. politicians lied about this before we invaded in 2003 – but Lieberman stands apart in his willingness to continue lying just as blatantly, long after all the facts had been definitively established, up to the present day.

Here's Lieberman on Morning Joe in 2011:
[...]

I expect the new Freedom of the Press Foundation to soon be public enemy number one of the Obama admin and his fervent supporters.  
John Cusack and Jonathan Turley in conversation: the future of leaks, and of Wikileaks

At the Huffington Post, actor and activist John Cusack has a conversation with George Washington Law School professor and constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, and Kevin McCabe, a pal of Cusack. The three discuss "WikiLeaks' impact on transparency, the government's response, and the comparison to the Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg."

By way of background: Cusack, Ellsberg, and I are on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a new organization that helps crowd-fund independent journalism outlets working for transparency and accountability in government. The first group of four beneficiary organizations includes the National Security Archive, MuckRock News, and The UpTake and WikiLeaks; more will follow in subsequent rounds.

Here is an excerpt from the article referenced above.
What Is an Assange?

John Cusack: Anyway, I thought the Ellsberg thing was fascinating. And I spoke to -- Jon, you know Michael Ratner? He said he knew you --

Jonathan Turley: Yeah.

John Cusack: I spoke to him about this request to see Julian Assange in London. I was just thinking Assange, and as Hedges and Ellsberg sue over NDAA, we have a situation where, if things are as they appear to be, Assange is locked up for basically exposing war crimes.

Jonathan Turley: Yeah. I think the fascinating thing about Assange is that the very same act of disclosure, if he were recognized as a journalist, might have brought him the Pulitzer Prize. Assange holds this curious status. The media doesn't quite know how to handle him. They can't decide whether he is a villain or a hero, or some type of villainous hero. And many people are ignoring the content of a lot of what he disclosed.

Hard to excerpt.  This is the article that Neil Barofsky is talking about.

Basel Becomes Babel as Conflicting Rules Undermine Safety

The first Basel agreement on global banking regulation, adopted in 1988, was 30 pages long and relied on simple arithmetic. The latest update, known as Basel III, runs to 509 pages and includes 78 calculus equations.

The complexity is emblematic of what happened over the past four years as governments that injected $600 billion to rescue failing banks during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression devised ways to make the global banking system safer. Those efforts have been stymied by conflicting laws, divergent accounting standards and clashing rules adopted by nations to protect their interests, all of which have created new risks.
“They’re like a bunch of bumper cars,” Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based research firm Federal Financial Analytics Inc., said of revamped banking regulations. “On their own, each might do some good things, but they bump into each other over and over. That could render them useless, or worse perhaps harmful.”
[...]
‘Catastrophic Mishaps’
“Imagine that until 2007, the rules of the road permitted heavily laden fuel trucks to barrel through urban streets at 100 miles per hour,” Jenkins said in an interview. “After a number of catastrophic mishaps, the establishment decides to reduce the speed limit to 75 mph in school zones. Have we tightened the rules? Yes. Have we tightened them enough? No.”

More examples of the great squandering.  Occurs to me that the same principle is true for the wealthiest few, some of whom are probably as or more wealthy than some small countries.  But it is also a very advantageous time for them to buy things up too, right? Hey, like maybe they can buy up public assets!  Wish I was kidding.
Long Interest Rates, 1790 to Present

The great irony of the fiscal cliff settlement is that US borrowing rates are as cheap as they have been throughout the History of the US.

Now would be the least expensive time in most of your lifetimes to:

A) Rebuild the US infrastructure of Airports, Mass Transit, Ports, Waterways;
B) Upgrade and Secure the US Electrical grid, including making it more secure from hackers;
C) Improve the security of nuclear plants, ports, and chemical manufacturing plants;
D) Upgrade Roads, Bridges, Tunnels;
E) Improve public outdoor lighting, including “smarter” lights and traffic sensors
Flipping Off Police Officers Constitutional, Federal Court Affirms

WASHINGTON -- A police officer can't pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.

In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the "ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity."

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York's disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.





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Debate

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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