No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
Nonetheless, the Obama administration insists it is not a war. Why? Because, according to “United States Activities in Libya,” a 32-page report that the administration released last week, “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors.”
In other words, the balance of forces is so lopsided in favor of the United States that no Americans are dying or are threatened with dying. War is only war, it seems, when Americans are dying, when we die. When only they, the Libyans, die, it is something else for which there is as yet apparently no name. When they attack, it is war. When we attack, it is not.
Combat operations have concluded for:
- Marine Cpl. Gurpreet Singh, 21, of Antelope, CA.
- Army Spc. Levi E. Nuncio, 24, of Harrisonburg, VA.
- Army Pfc. Joshua L. Jetton, 21, of Sebring, FL.
- Marine Lance Cpl. Jared C. Verbeek, 22, of Visalia, CA.
- Army Sgt. James W. Harvey II, 23, of Toms River, NJ.
- Army Pfc. Gustavo A. Rios-Ordonez, 25, of Englewood, OH.
- Marine Pfc. Josue Ibarra, 21, of Midland, TX.
- Army Pfc. Brian J. Backus, 21, of Saginaw Township, MI.
- Army Spc. Tyler R. Kreinz, 21, Beloit, WI.
- Army Sgt. Alan L. Snyder, 28, Worcester, MA.
- Army Sgt. Edward F. Dixon III, 37, of Whiteman Air Force Base, MO.
- Army Sgt. 1st Class Alvin A. Boatwright, 33, of Lodge, SC.
- Army Spc. Scott D. Smith, 36, of Indianapolis, IN.
There’s a lot of unhappiness with national Democrats in general, and the Obama administration in particular, for their unwillingness to address the cratering economy with what we know works and instead going along with Dark Ages conventional wisdom. At the other side of the left is the partisan equivalent of the George W. Bush 20% dead-enders who bitterly accuse some liberals of not clapping hard enough and of being insufficiently supportive.
I strongly disagree with the latter group. Blame for the big GOP gains last year is not on the shoulders of the disgruntled and discouraged portion of the left that didn’t apply the same energy it did two years prior. If a party shows poorly in an election, do you know who’s responsible? The party. Democrats failed to highlight Republican intransigence and instead bent over backwards to accommodate a party that was only interested in obstruction. Then on the campaign trail they failed to articulate a forward looking agenda. No one - not even a political junkie - could say what major policy initiatives the D’s had lined up should they have retained their majorities.
There’s no Constitutional requirement for a two party system. Flirting with, or actively supporting, a third party when the Big Two are not addressing the most urgent issues in one’s life is not naivete. Blaming anyone on the left for the big Republican gains last year is as stupid as blaming Ralph Nader for Al Gore losing the 2000 election. Know when Gore lost the election? On the night of his acceptance speech when he emptily declared “I will fight for you” and then made out with his wife. He figured America wanted to see him differentiate himself from Bill Clinton, and his response was basically “I’ll never get a blow job from an intern!” Instead of, say, distancing himself from NAFTA and the WTO, welfare “reform,” the Defense of Marriage Act, the repeal of Glass-Steagall (which some at the time understood the consequences of), and so on, he distanced himself on private morals.
Ralph Nader was not responsible for that.
To tell anyone who watched that to fall in line and vote Gore or it’s all your fault if he loses and how do you feel about your pathetic little civic tantrum now that George Bush is president? is an act of political nihilism. Politicians need to inspire you to vote for them. You can cast your vote for who moves you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
All that said, if you don’t like America plunging into long, horrific, expensive, intractable wars there’s a very good reason to work like hell to make sure a Democrat is always in the White House. Simply put: That is the only known contemporary circumstance under which Republicans will behave somewhat in the neighborhood of approximately human on foreign policy. When a Democrat is president Republicans actually take their Constitutional obligations seriously. They’ll actually look at what we are doing and openly question it. The terrified, paranoid, frenzied lizard brain id that rages just below the surface of right wing ideology is actually kept in check when a Democrat is commander-in-chief. That’s all the reason any antiwar activist needs to work energetically to re-elect Obama. The “not a dime’s worth of difference” critique has some traction at the national level when it comes to domestic policy; on foreign policy there’s a world of difference.
There’s also a world of difference between the parties at the state and local levels. Anyone know of a Republican analogue to Lena Taylor?
Five myths about Americans in prison
Why do I love Naked Capitalism? Posts like this, and quotes like this: “Walsh has finally stooped to offering up straight up unadulterated bullshit[.]” As that last link shows, Smith has a flair for catchy headlines.
John Cole is a very rare creature: A high traffic blogger who will candidly admit error: “I could go on and on with the emails and the pieces from other people I trust, but I’ll just save some time, admit I was wrong, and say sorry to D-Day for being a dick. I often write in haste and anger, and a lot of times blow it and lash out at people.” I really admire that.
A nice overview of how the right wing noise machine works.
Shallow blogger confession: I like Buzz Feed. I’d like to give some sort of “I read it for the articles” line, and certainly their love of highlighting absurdity means they brush up against political relevance from time to time, but the truth of the matter is I go there for the hilarious videos and the eye candy.
ECONNED EXCERPT from page 143, on how investment banks slowly evolved from serving their clients to screwing them:
Trading kept increasing in importance during this period, and the change had wider ramifications. Underwriting and other fee businesses are service businesses. You want your client to believe you have done a good job so that he will come back to you. Reputations and perceptions matter. The job description of a trader, by contrast, is to make as much as he can, whether in an impersonal market, or against the firm’s customers. Investment banks performing services for clients have reasons to try to establish a strong image for professionalism (even if some of that might be smoke and mirrors). But to put it bluntly, the constraint on salesmen and traders is simply to steer clear of scandals and regulatory violations.
Sunday, June 26
3:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Where: 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights 44118
Main Branch of Cleveland/University Hts. Library Meeting Room B, first floor
The new Cuyahoga County group, the Burning River Anti-Fracking Network, is meeting this Sunday to work on getting a ban on fracking in Cleveland Hts. Our goals are to educate the public about the dangers of fracking and to get a statewide ban on fracking passed in the Ohio General Assembly.
Ohio’s new budget: Giving to the rich, taking from everyone else
The GOP leadership in Columbus is about to give residents of the Buckeye state their first look at funding choices under doctrinaire conservative rule. It won’t be a pretty picture.
Ohio is currently in the midst of working out its new budget, and with a Republican-dominated state government it is unsurprisingly chock full of bad policy. While a high level overview shows the GOP’s preferential option for the rich, seeing some details really highlights the impact elsewhere. What follows comes from an email attachment sent out by the City of Cleveland, and it shows how these Republican priorities will harm it. Keep in mind the numbers below are for one city; similar hardships will be inflicted on communities throughout the state.
One more thing before going into the numbers. Republican governors have been crying poverty in states across the country in order to justify slashing public services and having fire sales for public goods. Those of us fighting the attack on the middle class should rally support for restoring these cuts via a tax on the rich. A 15% income tax starting at $1 million per year would go a long way towards curing what ails state budgets.
A humble suggestion: That activists use referendum or ballot initiative processes to get an Elite’s Bracket on the 2012 ballot. Sympathetic candidates can pledge to use the revenue to restore funding currently being gutted - and let the unsympathetic ones run on a platform of defending the wealthy. I think voters would make their intent pretty clear.
Impact of State of Ohio’s Efforts to Redistribute Revenue
State Imposes Budget Deficit
The State’s proposed two-year budget begins July 1 and:
- Imposes a $35.7 million deficit on the City of Cleveland for the remainder of 2011 and 2012.
- Causes 321 layoffs and the elimination of 145 vacancies
Local Government Fund
- The local government fund is comprised of locally generated tax revenue that is sent to the State which then redistributes an appropriate portion of the money back to the local communities where the revenue was generated.
- In addition to reducing allocations by 50% in two years, the current budget bill, as written would give the County the ability to change the apportionment of LGF at the local level, upon approval of seventy-five per cent or more of the subdivisions located wholly or partially in the county. This provision could also impact the amount of LGF returned to Cleveland.
CAT and TPP
Commercial Activity Tax and the Public Utilities Tangible Personal Property Tax are also locally-generated tax revenue that the State redistributes back to local governments and the state’s proposed budget unfairly redirects this revenue, taking money earned in cities like Cleveland and redistributing at a disproportionately higher rate to suburbs and rural areas:
- The state budget originally called for a 30% reduction in CAT. It was amended to completely eliminate the funding for cities, like Cleveland, where CAT is less than 2% of their budget while communities where CAT is more than 2% of their budget will receive only a 30% reduction.
- The application and collection of CAT happens in large, urban areas with a lot of business activity, like Cleveland, not in smaller communities that do not have large business sectors. So, the tax is being imposed and collected here but is being given to other communities.
- A similarly amended formula causes large cities to lose the entire amount of tangible personal property tax (TPP) in the first year while allowing other cities to retain a portion of it.
State-Imposed Budget Deficits, 2011 - 2013
|Local Government Fund||Commercial Activity Tax||Tangible Personal Property Tax||Revenue Loss|
State-Imposed Staff Reductions
|Full Time||Part Time||Seasonal||Total|
- Laid Off: 81 Patrolman and 42 Cadets
- Demoted: 2 Lieutenants and 15 Sergeants
- Laid Off: 51 Firefighters
- Demoted: 4 Battalion Chiefs, 3 Captains and 10 Lieutenants
- Public Works:
- Laid Off: 79
- Vacancies unfilled: 114
- Building and Housing
- Laid Off: 6
- Vacancies unfilled: 4
- Other (Includes Public Affairs, Finance and Law)
- Laid Off: 17
- Vacancies unfilled: 13
- Municipal Court
- Laid Off: 37
- Vacancies unfilled: 8
- Clerk of Court
- Laid Off: 8
SB 145 and Estate Tax
In addition to cuts in LGF and the elimination of CAT and TPP, the City of Cleveland faces additional loss of revenue in the amount of $73,500,000 from 2011-2013 from pending legislation:
Senate Bill 145
- SB 145 would apply to any municipality that collects greater than $100 Million in income tax per year
- Provides for a 10% credit for non resident workers.
- This credit would result in a loss of revenue to the City of Cleveland of approximately $24 million per year.
Repeal of Estate Tax
- If passed, the Estate Tax would end December 31, 2012.
- Due to the amount of time it takes to settle an estate we are projecting a $1.5 million reduction in 2013, which represents half of what is typically budgeted - $3 Million.
- After 2013, the City of Cleveland would receive $0 in Estate Tax, effectively removing $3 million from our budget annually 8
Potential Revenue Loss from Pending Legislation
|2011||2012||2013||3-Year Projected Revenue Loss|
|Senate Bill 145||($24,000,000)||($24,000,000)||($24,000,000)||($72,000,000)|
No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
Combat operations have concluded for:
- Marine Sgt. Mark A. Bradley, 25, of Cuba, NY.
- Army Pvt. Ryan J. Larson, 19, of Friendship, WI.
- Army Pfc. Eric D. Soufrine, 20, of Woodbridge, CT.
- Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Katzenberger, 26, of Weatherby Lake, MO.
- Army Sgt. Glenn M. Sewell, 23, of Live Oak, TX.
- Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas P. Bellard, 26, of El Paso, TX.
- Marine Lance Cpl. Jason D. Hill, 20, of Poway, CA.
- Marine Lance Cpl. Sean M. N. O’Connor, 22, of Douglas, Wy.
- Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua B. McDaniels, 21, of Dublin, OH.
- Army Capt. Michael W. Newton, 30, of Newport News, VA.
- Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas S. O’Brien, 21, of Stanley, NC.
- Marine Cpl. Matthew T. Richard, 21, of Acadia, LA.
- Army Pfc. Matthew J. England, 22, of Gainesville, MO.
- Army Pfc. Michael C. Olivieri, 26, Chicago, IL.
- Army Spc. Robert P. Hartwick, 20, of Rockbridge, OH.
- Army Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck, 24, of Victorville, CA.
- Army Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr., 27, of Middletown, OH.
- Army Spc. Emilio J. Campo Jr., 20, of Madelia, MN.
- Marine Cpl. William J. Woitowicz, 23, of Middlesex, MA.
- Army Chief Warrant Officer Bradley J. Gaudet, 31, of Gladewater, TX.
- Army Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth R. White, 35, of Fort Collins, CO.
- Marine Sgt. Joseph M. Garrison, 27, of New Bethlehem, PA.
- Army Pfc. Robert L. Voakes Jr., 21, of L’Anse, MI.
- Army Spc. Devin A. Snyder, 20, of Cohocton, NY.
- Army Sgt. Joshua D. Powell, 28, of Quitman, TX.
- Army Sgt. Christopher R. Bell, 21, of Golden, MS.
- Army Spc. Marcos A. Cintron, 32, of Orlando, FL.
Days since Washington Post has updated its Faces of the Fallen site: 17.
714,137. Proud. Of. Buckeyes.
I say shrug off, because in any system, there is gonna be some gaming. There’s gonna be somebody who is getting more than you think he should. There’s gonna be somebody getting something you think she doesn’t deserve. There’s gonna be people working it, because people are jerks a lot of the time and just because you can’t build a jerk-proof system doesn’t mean there should be no system at all. It means you should continually try to make the system as jerk-proof as possible, while still helping folks who need it.dakine01:
You’d think the American public would be demanding government action: a new WPA for the long-term unemployed, a second stimulus to make up for the shortfall in purchasing power, stronger safety nets. But we’re not hearing much clamor for any of this. One reason is that those who remain unemployed have little or no political clout.And digby with a priceless headline.
Kay on private education:
For-profit charter schools have been in operation in Ohio for more than a decade. They are not a thought experiment. They are not an abstract hypothetical. They are not just a topic being batted around at various “reform roundtables”. They have an extensive record of failure. Why we are pretending this is all just in the discussion stage is beyond me. The jury really isn’t still out. In Ohio, the jury came straggling back in years ago, and the verdict isn’t good.
Nice post from Doghouse Riley on David Brooks: “Apparently ‘pundit’ is synonymous with ‘spieler of Conventional Wisdom’, and ‘moderate Republican’ with ‘guy who denies any and all responsibility for his own apodictic political pronouncements’. Hamilton! National Greatness! That’s not a philosophical position, it’s the secret password for the Perpetual Do-Over Club.” Via.
“For what it might be worth, this is what hard times has taught me:”
Municipal broadband is such an unassailably good idea that cable companies can only offer brute opposition in response.
Citizen journalists have a long, hard fight ahead.
Phil Gramm and the Kochs might be the best friends renewable energy ever had. Deregulation, speculation and price instability is creating a huge, unmet demand for locally produced energy that’s not traded anywhere. Of course, some speculation is more evil than others.
John Cole has a tendency - particularly when leaping to the defense of the president - to not use the rigorous logic that he usually brings to bear on his posts. For example, when it was revealed that Obama overruled the Office of Legal Counsel on Libya and just go to war anyway, Cole twice rationalizes it as a case of the president receiving conflicting legal advice and choosing that which seemed best. (Even that rosy scenario seems more like executive branch forum shopping.) One lawyer says this, another says that, what can one do but sigh and resign oneself to picking one and ignoring the other?
The lawyers in question have different functions though:
The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) assists the Attorney General of the United States in his function as legal adviser to the President and all the executive branch agencies, hence the appellation “the president’s law firm.”. The OLC drafts legal opinions of the Attorney General and also provides its own written opinions and oral advice in response to requests from the Counsel to the President, the various agencies of the executive branch, and offices within the Department of Justice. Such requests typically deal with legal issues of particular complexity and importance or about which two or more agencies are in disagreement. The Office also is responsible for providing legal advice to the executive branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for constitutionality. The decisions of the Office are binding on all executive agencies.And:
The Office of Counsel to the President was created in 1943, and is responsible for advising on all legal aspects of policy questions, legal issues arising in connection with the President’s decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures, and conflicts of interest during employment and post employment. The Counsel’s Office also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles Presidential pardons, reviews legislation and Presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the President in his role as President, as well as serving as the White House contact for the Department of Justice.Now come on: which of those seems suited to weigh in on whether the war is legal? Cole couldn’t have spent two and a half minutes getting a summary of each shop’s purpose in his rush to declare it all an unresolvable muddle?
There is exactly one agency charged with advising the president on broad issues of executive authority and Constitutionality. It’s the OLC. He doesn’t do anyone any favors by pretending otherwise.
Re: the most covered story in politics this week (and I’m not fucking linking to it): “Part of the sadly underrated process of growing up is realizing that people, the world and life are no less beautiful and amazing for being imperfect.”
ECONNED EXCERPT from page: pp. 120-1:
Joseph Stiglitz, in analyzing the failure of Russian reforms, makes a key observation that “free markets” advocates are fixated on their particular approach, rather than the objectives of creating a healthy, dynamic economy:It is not just the creation of market economy that matters, but the improvement of living standards and the establishment of foundations of sustainable, equitable and democratic development.Stiglitz is being too charitable. It was, like Chile, a “(fantasized) ends justify the means” approach. Wayne Merry, the chief political analyst in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the beginning of privatization, said:The US government chose the economic over the political. We chose the freeing of prices, privatization of industry, and the creation of a really unfettered, unregulated capitalism, and essentially hoped that the rule of law, civil society, and representative democracy would develop somehow automatically out of that.Weimar Germany illustrates vividly that economic dislocation can lead a democracy to turn to the security of authoritarianism. Why should a country that had never experienced self-rule suddenly have it spring forth full blown, like Athena from Zeus’s forehead, especially when order had already broken down?
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Lebanon: Drive-Thru Petition Signing event
1975 N State Route 42. Lebanon, OH 45036
Warren County Democratic Party Headquarters
¼ mi. south of the intersection of Utica Rd. and Rt. 42
.6 miles north of the intersection of Rt. 42 and Rt. 48.
From local activist athenap:
We’re having a “Drive-in” petition signing in the Warren County Democratic Party HQ on Rt. 42 north of Lebanon on Saturday, June 18 from 9 am - 5 pm. The parking lot is long and narrow and perfect for just pulling off the road, signing your name, and hopping back on again.
If you’re registered to vote in Warren County and haven’t yet signed a petition, it’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to get right out there and scribble! If you know someone who lives in Warren County, give ‘em a ring, a poke, a prod, and get ‘em down there to sign. We’ll also have voter registration forms available so you can update your info or register to vote.