February 23, 2011

In Libya, the state is crumbling according to many reports and around the world, diplomats are resigning as the violence against their own is broadcast. Meanwhile, Gaddafi is blaming "Islamists" for the revolution, today. A few days ago it was every nationality including Canadians. Since when has anyone ever blamed Canadians for something like this? Al Jazeera:Gaddafi, who termed the protests an "armed rebellion", said that security cordons set up by police and the military would be lifted on Wednesday, telling his supporters to "go out and fight [anti-government protesters]".

He blamed the uprising in the country on "Islamists", and warned that an "Islamic emirate" has already been set up in Bayda and Derna, where he threatened the use of extreme force.

"I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents ... I will die as a martyr at the end," Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years, said.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
This is yet another blow to the Tory-Lib Dem policies. Especially in this economy, losing tens of thousands of jobs is the last thing anyone needs. Obviously service at the hospitals will decline and now they will have that many fewer people paying taxes unless they all find jobs immediately. How likely is that? The Guardian:More than 50,000 jobs are disappearing from the NHS, according to freedom of information responses, which reveal for the first time the extent of cuts by local health trusts struggling to save £20bn from their budgets.

The survey, by the union-funded website False Economy, represents the most up-to-date picture of the effects of efficiency savings in the NHS and reveals that in England alone, 24,000 posts will be lost in hospitals, another 10,000 will go in primary care trusts and 6,000 will disappear from mental health trusts.

They include doctors, nurses and dentists as well as administrative positions, undermining government pledges to protect frontline services.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
The government was watching, but fortunately the marchers were left in peace this time.Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Bahrain in the possibly biggest demonstration since unrest began last week.

Demonstrators circled the Bahrain Mall and the financial district of Manama, the capital, on Tuesday, in a march to the heart of the protest at Pearl roundabout.

"We want the fall of the government" was the most common chant among the mainly Shia Muslim protesters who accuse the Sunni rulers of discriminating against the island's Shia majority.

Led by opposition groups such as Wefaq and Waad, it was the first organised demonstration and followed spontaneous protests by a rising youth movement relying on social media.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
You can't even make this stuff up. Naturally Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins are sponsoring this fake attempt at freedom. Cnet:A Senate proposal that has become known as the Internet "kill switch" bill was reintroduced this week, with a tweak its backers say eliminates the possibility of an Egypt-style disconnection happening in the United States.

As CNET reported last month, the 221-page bill hands Homeland Security the power to issue decrees to certain privately owned computer systems after the president declares a "national cyberemergency." A section in the new bill notes that does not include "the authority to shut down the Internet," and the name of the bill has been changed to include the phrase "Internet freedom."

"The emergency measures in our bill apply in a precise and targeted way only to our most critical infrastructure," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said yesterday about the legislation she is sponsoring with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn). "We cannot afford to wait for a cyber 9/11 before our government finally realizes the importance of protecting our digital resources."

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics

February 22, 2011

Wow. From CNN via HuffPost:Libya's interior minister said Wednesday he has quit the government and is supporting the protesters, who he predicted will achieve victory in "days or hours."

Ex-Interior Minister Abdul Fattah Younis al Abidi told CNN that he resigned Monday after hearing that some 300 unarmed civilians had been killed in Benghazi during the prior two to three days. He accused Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi of planning to attack civilians on a wide scale.It feels a lot like 1989, when Eastern Europe fell. Though I have greater fears for what comes next in the Middle East than I did for Eastern Europe.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
He's all yours, Chicago. Good luck with that.

Can't wait to watch Mayor Rahm support same-sex marriage, immigration reform and gun control -- all issues he undermined at the White House.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Donations are closed.  We raised $11,270 for the protesters, and I've been told that they're in good shape now, with our donations and others they've received in the last 48 hours.  So thank you everyone, this was quite remarkable.  John, Joe, Chris, Gaius and Mirth.

UPDATE: 3:50 PM Wed ET $9,881 raised so far - The first gift of $8,597 has just been wired to the protesters- your money is having a real immediate impact. Thanks and keep it coming!

I've just received news that the protesters in Wisconsin are running low on water. Let's help them out. (100% of the donations will go the protesters, we're not keeping a dime.)

Please click the donate button to buy water and supplies for the pro-union protesters occupying the Wisconsin state capital.

I just talked to my friend Ryan, who is in Madison with the pro-union protesters occupying the state capital building - Ryan is actually in the protesters' war room - and they need supplies, fast. I'm asking if you folks could donate, whatever you can (even 5 bucks helps), to pay for supplies for the demonstrators, starting with water.

Ryan just sent an update - the entire hall has apparently erupted in shouts of "shame!" directed at the governor's office. Ryan says it's the loudest it's been all day, so things are definitely picking up. Here's a photo Ryan just took sent over.

Initially I had called Ryan to see if they needed pizza (Mirth's idea), but apparently they've got all the pizza they can handle. What they do need is water. They also need some other supplies. So what I told Ryan I'd do is post the list of what the protesters need (see below), and then ask you folks to donate money via PayPal that I can then get to the folks in Wisconsin. It's the most efficient way of helping out. I'll keep you posted on how much folks have donated.

I asked Ryan to go and get fresh video of the protesters, so you could see what and who you're donating to. Here is Ryan's video taken literally moments ago (5pm Central time, 2/22/11). As you can see, the protests are going strong. But they could use a bit of water. (I just posted the video, so it may take a few minutes to work on YouTube.)

Here's the list the protest organizers just put together and sent me:
Food and Beverage

Water!!! Lots of it!! Gallon jugs preferred
Fresh Vegetables (we love variety!)
Fresh Fruits (Bananas, apples, oranges…and after variety, we love even more variety!)
Pop (regular and diet, caffeinated and caffeine free)
Fruit Juice
Rice Milk /Soy Milk / Almond Milk
Sugar (packets)

Hand Sanitizer
Paper Towels/Baby Wipes
Cups – hot and cold, non-dixie brand (KOCH OWNED!)
Coffee Filters
Heavy Large Garbage Bags
Throat Drops (you may have heard that we’ve been yelling a lot)Click the donate button to buy water and supplies for the pro-union protesters occupying the Wisconsin state capital.

Donations are not, to the best of my knowledge, tax deductible, and we at AMERICAblog won't be taking a cut. 100% of the donations will go the protest organizers in Wisconsin. They will then buy the actual goods they need.

John, Joe, Chris and Gaius

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Since the GOP is so hell-bent on having a government wide fire sale (everything must go!), including even the President's teleprompter, and the President is offering to cut 50% of LIHEAP (a program used to stop northerners from freezing to death in the middle of winter), we all must surely agree that fringe programs like "abstinence-only education" and the "faith based initiative" should be defunded as well?

After all, freezing to death pretty much assures abstinence, ad infinitum.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Chris in Paris has amply documented the Koch Brothers' hand in the election of fierce anti-unionist Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. (And yes, I'm capitalizing Koch Brothers for a reason; they're now an entity, and I'm treating them like one.)

But wait, there's more. Thanks to this excellent interview with Adele Stan on Sam Seder's new Majority.fm daily podcast, we learn the true extent of the Koch Brothers' hand in Wisconsin politics.

You heard that right — "Nearly every Republican politician in or from Wisconsin is really in the pockets of the Kochs." Or as she says more succinctly, "Wisconsin is the frontier province of Koch-istan."

And the Koch Brothers, like every other member of the Billionaires' Coup, are playing to win. Fancy that.

In this post I asked, "What if we played to win?" Now I'd like to ask, What would playing to win look like?

The meta answer is, it would look like it looks on a championship college football team (college teams, like political movements, are staffed with volunteers). Or, as new coach Brian Kelly of the up-and-seriously-coming Fighting Irish calls it, "the physical and mental toughness" to play the whole game hard.

What would that mean for Progressives? For starters, it would mean not apologizing when someone says we're not "nice". That's like apologizing for winning.

But let's get specific. What would it mean to play the whole game hard?

(1) How about not whining about the Republican Supreme Court's implementation of Citizens United — and instead starting to use it until they start whining? How about rounding up a couple of committed left-wing billionaires (they must exist), and lobbing some of our own big-money grenades over the electoral wall, until they start crying about the rules?

(2) And while we're waiting, how about recalling every Wisconsin Republican state legislator we can get our retributional hands on — there's already a move afoot to do that — and then not stopping until they all drop to the floor.

Not stopping matters. Last I heard, the Wisconsin unions were asking for a seat at the table.

Wrong. We will get a "seat at the table" when the recall move starts making them scared. That's exactly when you "not stop." When they're gone from the legislature — that's when you've won. You stop when you've won.

And that's what playing to win looks like. You stop when you've won.

In my very humble opinion, of course.


Update: More on the Wisconsin recall here. Click through for details.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics

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

NBC News is reporting that the eastern part of the country has fallen out of government control as the military and tribal leaders turn against Gaddafi.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
This starts out as a story about the wickedness in Wisconsin — new wingnut governor Scott Walker and his "fierce advocacy" (hmm) of union-busting — and ends up as a story about us.

So let's start. In the following Rachel Maddow Show clip, Rachel discusses how the blot in Wisconsin's milkbowl isn't a fight about money, but about something else — Republicans who are willing to go to the mat for their misguided (there's a kind word) principles; and Democrats who maybe aren't. Listen:

A few gloss-like notes:

At 4:37: "So the last time Scott Walker did something like this in his desperation to get rid of employees who join unions, he improperly fired them, he overstated how much money that would save, and then he allowed a private foreign-based butt-vodka company to put a convicted criminal in charge of security at the Milwaukee County courthouse and city hall. That's Wisconsin's new governor."

That sure answers the "who coulda known?" question, doesn't it.

At 5:05: "The unions at the center of this fight offered ... to give the governor all the financial concessions he wanted."

Really? In other words, they offered to lay flat on the ground so he could walk on them, and he said, Sorry, not flat enough. Really.

At 5:52: "The governor supported adding about $140 million to the state's deficit when he passed a bunch of tax cuts without paying for them." Paraphrasing Amy Winehouse, what kind of fiscal hawkery is this?

At 7:00: Note that chart, which Maddow has shown before. A picture of Republican money, and Democratic money. The Republican money sources are all corporate-funded. (That's where your Target and Best Buy dollars go to, folks. Just keep shopping; nothing to see here.)

In fact, as Chris in Paris has pointed out, Scott Walker's election itself was a Koch-fueled production. Just in case you're wondering how that happened.

At 7:20: "The question is whether or not Democrats understand the sources of their political power well enough to defend those institutions." (Her emphasis.)

That certainly is the question. And the answer seems to be something I've said a million times: Money enables Republicans and neuters Democrats. That's its job, and it does it well.

But I don't want to end there. I want to end here. It's obvious we're facing a revolutionary force using Leninist tactics to commandeer and subvert existing institutions. (The Republicans have fallen. The Baptists have fallen. The courts have fallen. Who's next?)

They're playing to win. Maybe that would work for us as well. What's the natural offset to the national Republican party? Why, the national Democratic party. How about we start there?

Would it be so deadly to take our eyes off the Republicans for a while? After all, how effective has it been for Progressives to fight them from, ahem, left field?

What if we targeted the Democrats for a change, relentlessly? What if we turned the Democratic party into their counter-posing force? What if we played to win? (Unlike, for example, those unions who couldn't prostrate themselves flat enough for the right-wing daddy to say Thank you.)

I just raise the question. After all, there's an in-my-face group that seems to be showing the way.


Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Anchorage Daily News:One chapter asserts Palin broke election law by coordinating with the Republican Governors Association during her 2006 campaign for governor. State candidates can't team up with soft-money groups such as the Republican Governors Association, which paid for TV commercials and mailers in Alaska during the election in a purported "independent" effort.

At the time, the Alaska Democratic Party had accused the RGA and Palin of working together on an ad that included Palin striding from the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage.

In his book, Bailey says the allegation was true. Palin and her aides marched along the block in front of the hotel again and again in order to allow a camera operator to capture footage for the ad, he said. "(Palin aide) Kris Perry, when orchestrating that nutty- parade at the hotel, was following the directions of the RGA cameraman and/or whomever he was working for," Bailey wrote.

"Far worse, Sarah conducted multiple takes and knew exactly what was happening. She had, I suddenly believed, broken the law," Bailey wrote.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
This does not look like good news for Walker and the Teabaggers. Huffington Post:Both surveys began with questions about Walker's performance as governor and more general popularity ratings of Walker, Senate Democrats and other players on both sides of the controversy. The results of the two surveys on these questions were within sampling error of each other: Walker's approval rating is now net negative, with the disapproval rating reaching or slightly exceeding 50%. Meanwhile, the favorable ratings of "Democrats in the State Legislature" are slightly better and net positive (47% favorable, 38% unfavorable on the Saturday-Sunday sample).

The second survey proceeded next to questions focused more directly on the ongoing controversy. Respondents heard a list of people and groups involved in the controversy and were asked, for each one, if they agreed "with the positions they are taking in the current situation in the state capitol." The results presented in the following chart prepared by the pollsters show large majorities agreeing with "public employees" (67%), "protestors at the state capitol" (62%) and "unions" (59%) but far fewer agreeing with "Republicans in the Legislature" (48%) or Scott Walker (43% agree and 53% disagree).Note from Joe: Over at DailyKos, Jed Lewison pointed out that Walker isn't even doing all that well in the latest biased survey from Rasmussen: No, the real shock is that despite the heavy bias of the poll, less than half the poll's respondent's backed Walker's position. If Walker were actually on solid ground, a biased instrument like the one employed by Rasmussen should have yielded support in the 70 percent range. Instead, it was just 48 percent. And when you're only getting 48 percent in a poll as heavily biased in your favor was was this one, you're in some serious trouble.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
For many, the election of Senator Scott Brown in January of 2010 began the political ascendancy of the teabaggers. The Tea Party sure claimed him as their first victory. But, Brown must have seen a poll that shows being too close to the right-wing ideologues could be costly, because he's openly dissing them. Via The Hill:"You're talking about being an ideologue? If you're looking for one, I'm not it," said Sen. Scott Brown.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said he doesn't consider himself a member of the Tea Party movement and would welcome any primary challenger.

Brown, the Republican senator from deep-blue Massachusetts whose win in a special election last year in part catalyzed the Tea Party movement, said he considers himself just a Republican, though one with sympathies toward some Tea Party issues.

"Hey, nothing wrong with a primary. I welcome all challengers," Brown said Tuesday morning on MSNBC. Sure sounds like a defiant challenge to the Tea Party. Be interesting to see how this plays out. From a quick check of the comments at The Hill's article, it doesn't seem like the teabaggers are taking this well.

And, there is nothing wrong with a primary. There should be more of them -- on both sides of the aisle.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
It's being updated often and includes a lot of interesting information. One post includes a link to Robert Fisk's article about the extended rule by Gadaffi. As he mentions, he would be enlightening to sift through the Libyan archives including information related to the Lockerbie bombing including the release of al-Megrahi in exchange for oil drilling rights. Big Oil has to be concerned, though we know how they manage to skate by trouble time after time.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Just like the Teabagger movement, the theater in Wisconsin is heavily funded by the extreme right wing and deep pocketed Koch brothers. Wisconsin GOP governor Scott Walker owes the Koch brothers for his victory in the elections. The phony "Americans for Prosperity" is another far right group in the mix that watched their budget grow substantially thanks to Koch funding. The Koch brothers are clearly not impacted by the decline of the middle class, so of course they can't relate to the financial disruptions of recent years. Now that they have helped start the fiasco in Wisconsin, they intend to take their big money on the road to Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

Again, why do these far right extremists keep blaming the unions for what we know was a Wall Street caused recession? NY Times:What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.

State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Yet another truly amazing day in north Africa. Who ever could have imagined such a radical turn of events in a country such as Libya? Al Jazeera:Two Libyan air force jets landed in Malta on Monday and their pilots have asked for political asylum.

The pilots claimed to have defected after refusing to follow orders to attack civilians protesting in Benghazi in Libya.

The pilots, who said they were colonels in the Libyan air force, were being questioned by authorities in an attempt to verify their identities.

Meanwhile, a group of Libyan army officers have issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to "join the people" and help remove Muammar Gaddafi.

The officers urged the rest of the Libyan army to march to Tripoli.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
In all likelihood, the death toll will rise above the current count of 65 people. CNN:The New Zealand Herald reported that the quake knocked out phone lines, including the city's emergency 111 service. The temblor cracked roads and broke water mains, flooding several streets. About 80 percent of the city lost power, TVNZ reported.

Witness Philip Gregan said he was attending a joint U.S.- New Zealand conference when the earthquake struck.

"I'm seeing a lot of damage in buildings. I've seen one collapsed bridge and there's a lot of water from broken water mains," he said. "I saw one (injured) person in the back of a police car and one of our colleagues saw a person crushed by falling debris."

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics

February 21, 2011

While we're at it, let's cut Paul Ryan's hair gel (and dye, as if we didn't notice) budget, and John Boehner's tanning salon membership. As for Eric Cantor, time to cut off his subscription to Martha Stewart Living and all those Broadway musicals. Fair is fair.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Not that Limbaugh has been listening, but Michelle Obama has often talked about everything in moderation. Limbaugh obviously doesn't subscribe to that theory, whether it's food or illegal drugs. Michelle Obama may not look like someone Alex Rodriguez would date (he actually brought that up, though it's not terribly clear that it's a bad thing), but Limbaugh is hardly the definition of a fetching catch. He may have a bank account, but Michelle has a brain. And a damned good one at that.

CNN:Michelle Obama is taking heat from talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh after a report in the Vail Daily that she consumed a not-so-healthy-meal of ribs for dinner while on a recent visit to the Colorado resort, the latest example of conservative angst directed at the first lady's healthy-eating initiative.

"The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice," Limbaugh said Monday on his radio program. "And then we hear that she's out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per serving."

"She is a hypocrite," Limbaugh continued. "Leaders are supposed to be leaders. If we are supposed to go out and eat nothing, if we are supposed to eat roots, berries, and tree bark, show us how."If you read on in the article, you see that Limbaugh's attack on the First Lady is capping off a week-long attack on Mrs. Obama by Palin, Bachmann and Breitbart. It's clearly part of a larger strategy from the right, to attack the wife of the President because she's urging our obese country to eat better. It's weird. Maybe they're trying to tee the President off for some reason. But it's rather juvenile. It's also part of the misogyny that permeates the GOP. The party has a serious problem with strong women. Forget strong - they have a problem with educated women. Otherwise, how would someone like Palin, who can't even speak proper English (it's her first and only tongue), rise to the head of the party? As for Bachmann - Mensa she ain't. They did the same thing to Mrs. Clinton. And Nancy Pelosi. It's what they do. Demean.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics