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We present a once-weekly wrap-up of news that was underplayed, ignored, or simply lost in the non-stop news cycle. Our news comes only from mainstream, professional journalists or (rarely) other sources we trust entirely, with no nuttiness and no interest in the same news you see everywhere else.
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We believe you have the right to live your own life as you choose, and others have the equal right to live their lives as they choose. It's not complicated.
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We believe in questioning ourselves, our assumptions, each other -- and we especially believe in questioning authority (the more authority, the more questions). We believe obedience is a fine quality in dogs and young children, but not in adults.
Like America's right-wingers, we believe in
hard work to get ahead,
and stern punishment for serious crimes.
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But unlike most right-wing leaders, we mean it.
Like America's left-wingers, we believe in
equal treatment under law,
war as a last (not first) resort,
and sensible stewardship of natural resources.
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But unlike most left-wing leaders, we mean it.
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But unlike many libertarians, we're not obsessed with the gold standard, we don't believe incorporation is humanity's highest achievement, and we don't believe everything in life comes down to dollars and cents. We've read and enjoyed Ayn Rand's novels, but we understand that they're works of fiction.
We're skeptical, and we're sick of so-called 'journalists' who aren't skeptical at all.
A reader asks, what are our solutions?
We propose no solutions except common sense, which is never common. We like the principles of democracy, and the ideals broadly described as 'American'. The US Constitution is a fine and workable framework for solutions, when it's actually read and thoughtfully understood by intelligent statesmen and women. So, no manifestos from us. We don't dream that big, and if there's one thing the world doesn't need it's yet another manifesto.
Our suggestion is: think.
A fact-based instead of faith-based approach leads to solutions for most of the recurring issues of our time, from abortion to global climate change, pollution to universal health care, careful but real regulation of industry and economy, hunger, war, terror, human rights for humans not for corporations, science not religious doctrine in public schools, equal protection and prosecution under law, etc. Approach problems without glorifying stupidity, without demonizing intelligence, and answers usually come into focus.
These pages are published by Harry and Helen Highwater, happily married low-income nom de plumes and rabble-rousers from Madison, Wisconsin (with a few friends scattered around the world helping out).
We try to spotlight news that hasn't gotten enough (or appropriate) attention in American media, along with our opinions and yours.
We bang our keyboards against the wall, because it doesn't hurt as much as banging our heads.
# Emma Ibbers on Friday afternoon —
Al-Qaeda, Liz Cheney, and American Failure:
It's hard to pinpoint, this general feeling of anxiety and apprehension that has afflicted Americans. Joblessness, Congressional paralysis, airwaves filled with bickering phantoms all day and all night, it's all so very hard to take. But for the Rude Pundit, there's one thing that overwhelms him more often than all the rest. He's tired of us being such pussies about terrorism. Or, to put it more precisely, it's exhausting to see politicians and citizens toss away our rights, our freedoms, our Constitutional guarantees, all because a couple of goat fuckers learned from the CIA how to blow shit up. He's tired of surrendering to the thugs. Lately, in America, every day is like getting your lunch money stolen by the bullies.
Our unending state of stress-out is al-Qaeda's greatest victory against the United States. As the AP reports today, al-Qaeda got one big message from the Underwear Bomber's failure: "the group that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and has prided itself on its ideological purism seems to be eyeing a more pragmatic and arguably more dangerous shift in tactics. The emerging message appears to be: Big successes are great, but sometimes simply trying can be just as good."
Yeah, it seems like the simple cave dwellers have figured out big, complex, allegedly bad-ass America: we're just a bunch of sticky fat kids crying because our ice cream fell off the cone. That wedgie-bait, Adam Gadahn (nee "Pearlman"), an American in al-Qaeda, taunted, "Even apparently unsuccessful attacks on Western mass transportation systems can bring major cities to a halt, cost the enemy billions and send his corporations into bankruptcy." He may be a traitorous asshole who can't grow a decent beard, but that doesn't mean he's wrong. Ask anyone who was at Newark Airport in January, where security imprisoned thousands of innocent people for six hours because some idiot took a shortcut.
The whole history of our post-9/11 brain damage doesn't need to be rehashed here. But the continuing use of terrorism as a political tool, and the success it has, speaks a great deal about the character of the nation. Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol's hysterical attack on the Justice Department is part of the right's attempt to undermine the credibility and the legitimacy of the Obama administration. Without demonstrating in any way that the "al-Qaeda 7," the DOJ lawyers who did pro-bono work for Gitmo detainees, have broken any laws or ethics rules, young Cheney is doing the same work as old Cheney, that Dick: giving al-Qaeda legitimacy as a force in determining the way the United States functions.
Indeed, the right has so successfully torqued the country into what our enemies believe it is, it's almost as if the GOP is a subversive arm of al-Qaeda. They have nearly bankrupted us, thus making any great social advances impossible; they have turned mild dissent into sedition; and they have turned the Constitution into a loophole-ridden contract, filled with more fine print than a subprime mortgage. They did most of that shit when they were in power. Now, out of power, the right is seeking, as it did in the Clinton years, but even more insidiously, to undermine the very functioning of government. And, frankly, it ain't like the Obama administration is doing a whole lot to stand up to these political forces. Close Gitmo. Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York. Say, "Fuck you, cowards everywhere. This is what a country does that ain't intimidated."
Here's the dirty secret: we were pretty fucking safe prior to 9/11. We aren't really much more safe after. We should be vigilant and strong. We should be infiltrating groups and breaking them up. We should be negotiating with other countries. Ultimately, though, you can use all the technological geegaws in the world, you can get DNA and feces samples of everyone coming into the country, you can drown every detainee, but you're not gonna stop the lone fucker who wants to crash a plane or blow up his balls. It's the price of living in these armed times.
And, honestly, on the whole, for those of us who remember the Cold War, it's a little easier to live with the odds of a terrorist attack versus the odds of an earth-destroying nuclear war. (But we were still told on a daily basis to bug out over Commies.) At some point, we have to decide if we are a nation of principle or a nation that capitulates to the merest threats.
// posted by Rude One @ 10:49 AM
(((Rove is "proud" the US tortured "detainees". These fuckers are begging to be prosecuted. And yes, Herr Rove, waterboarding is torture. We just read yesterday that the US was very scientific about waterboarding and gathered reams of data, including monitoring the oxygen levels of the blood of people being drowned to make sure they didn't pass over to the other side. The US also had the torturees dring salt water so they wouldn't die from being forced to swallow so much water. The US fed the torturees nothing but Ensure so that they wouldn't die from swallowing their own vomit. If after all this Obama will not prosecute those who ordered the systematic torture and murder of hundreds of suspects then the US must go into the history books as deserving its ultimate demise; the world will breathe a sigh of relief, and even party in the streets when the real Evil Empire is disarmed and pacified.)))
# Helen & Harry on Friday afternoon —
Beautiful. Brilliant. Yup. The Rude Pundit gets it right almost every time.
The two-headed Cheney monster won't shut up because they've been granted immunity for Daddy's war crimes. There wasn't a press release or anything when hands were shaken, but it's pretty damned obvious.
# Pre-Existing Condition on Friday afternoon —
All eyes are on Rep Dennis Kucinich, one of the few unambiguous good guys in Congress, and he says he'll vote against health care reform as the sell-out and gift to the insurance industry that it is. I think the bill should be passed, it's an improvement however meager, but I'd sure as hell rather see it go down in flames because of principled opposition from Kucinich than because of all the right-wing's bullshit.
# tommie on Friday morning —
Hey, check out the story of the New Orleans Police Department's cover up of the shootings and murder of civilians on the danziger bridge in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Two former officers have plead guilty in federal court for covering up the facts in the case. This case has far reaching implications for other police actions, court convictions involving police testimony and this matter has completely polarized the community. It show a pattern and practice behind the police officer's behavior in this matter. Get the fed. ct. records on the matter. Check out www.nola.com and the comments to the stories on this matter they are mucho calente!
# Helen & Harry on Friday morning —
Thanks. We're reading and hoping that there might finally be some shred of justice in this case, four and a half years after the facts (and I'm not even sure this is the same police misconduct).
# Angry Annie on Thursday afternoon —
Mississippi prom canceled after lesbian's date request
Lesbo high school student wants to bring her girlfriend to the school prom. School board freaks and says no. Girl calls ACLU, which sends a letter. School board doublefreaks and cancels the prom.
Sometimes I try to put myself into what I call the Southern mindset — a few decades behind the times, and scared shitless of anything that isn't absolutely normal by 1970 standards. Maybe the distance of time is just too great, but with this news I can't do it. I can't make myself think as stupidly and meanly as the school board.
If the next generation of kids is as stupid as their elders, they'll do violence to their lesbian classmate, and I assume that's what the school board wants as they cancel the dance and blame the girl. If there's hope for the next generation in Mississippi, the kids will rent a barn, put on their own damn dance, and name the lesbian queen of the ball.
# wlgriffi on Thursday morning —
In bed with the thieves
Comment: The claim that Biden was sandbagged is preposterous. This charade by the Israelis has gone on too long to be a surprise. The pretense that the U.S. is an honest broker no longer is believable anywhere in the Middle East.
Women better wake up
Comment: If the women in this country continue to let idiot legislators pass this kind of criminalization of women's choice there is little hope of legal equality of the sexes.
# Art Phlegmming on Thursday morning —
I think we're supposed to be all excited that something they're calling health care reform is probably going to pass, according to all the DC chatter.
Hard to muster any sincere excitement, though, because hey I've been watching as it happened, as piece by piece the reform that's most desperately needed has been watered down and pissed away and for what seems like a year we've been stuck in giveaway mode to get Republican support that isn't needed and hasn't been forthcoming and never will be. We've lost almost everything that was real reform since health care reform was proposed, and in exchange we've gotten nada. And yet I'm actually seeing crap on purported leftwing sites (not this one) saying that it's the leftwing's fault that it's crap, because the leftwing hasn't vocally supported this piece of "reform" shit.
Which way is the celebration when this mess passes and Obama signs it? I'm heading the other way. Sign me up for a death panel please. That would be more efficient.
# Lon Garm on Wednesday afternoon —
at heigth of mortgage mania jersey cop lied ass off to get loan... i bet a million people did this but nice to see badge-wearing mortgage monkey in a cage
cop to get ass sued off for false arrest, bogus search after arresting musician for flag stomping
# wlgriffi on Wednesday morning —
Limbaugh says he'll leave US if health care reform is passed
Comment: We will buy him a one way ticket. And he is welcome to take all his "dito-heads with him. shall we take up a collection to throw one whale (get the pun?) of a "bon voyage party"? All sing "So long it's been good to know you but I gotta be traveling on".
"I am way, way sick of that crap, and I just wish we had a couple of hundred more members of Congress (or members of the press) with the brains, common sense, and integrity of Ron Paul, Alan Grayson, and Dennis Kucinich"
Comment: Geez,are you still believing there is a Utopia in our future?
"But was it wrong for the paper to accept this paid ad?"
Comment: To be truthful I don't give a damn. the question in my mind is: Would the ad run if it hadn't been paid for?
"...and to my ear the laughter certainly seemed more raucous and generous than the material or delivery seemed to warrant."
Comment: Canned laughter usually does.
"...You'll see more skin in a beer commercial or an episode of 2½ Men."
Comment: That's true but it depends on whether or not beer commercials or 2 1/2 episodes appear on Tv screens in Aurora,CO.
"Starting next week we'll have a new schedule for Unknown News..."
You're appreciated on whatever day you decide you're going to overcome the hectic turmoil.
# Helen & Harry on Wednesday morning —
Well, ain't you sweeter than blueberry cornbread.
Amusing question about the newspaper and the holocaust denier ad. Badger Herald definitely tilts to the right, but not that far. Without the money, no way they would've run the ad.
# Barrymore on Tuesday evening —
For seventy damn years Democrats have promised universal health care. If it wasn't an official campaign promise it was always part of the rhetoric as a goal, and man, this is what we get? Or don't get? This is the eyes on the prize?
Nah. Once they finish shitting out this turd and it passes or fails, Dems will never again be able to offer health care as a promise in the future. They can't offer offer anything, after doublecrossing every REAL Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt.
# wlgriffi on Wednesday morning —
Sir,can you point to any source that states promises made are going to be promises kept? Party Platforms are made in back rooms at party conventions for the amusement of the party rank and file.
# Mary McNarry on Tuesday afternoon —
taibbi blog entry today:
There is presently no plan to outlaw CDS' -- credit default swaps, are bets that a company/country will default on specific bonds. These are the things that cost US via AIG more than $160 billion. Buying (long) "Naked" CDS's amount means buying the bet that the default will occur, and has been compared to buying fire insurance on your neighbor's house -- if everyone in town decided to buy fire insurance on that neighbor's house then at a certain point it makes economic sense to the community to go ahead and burn the fucking thing down. In the real world large quantities of CDS's outstanding can force a company into bankruptcy, but only if the company is small enough to be allowed to fail; if the company is too big to fail then "players" can sell CDS's in infinite quantities without risk -- the only risk in selling CDS's on the U.S. is TEOTWAWKI, but in that case the seller expects to be able to renege (as in, no debts will be collectible after a domestic Civil War, or after WWIII and the US gets nuked.
# Pinata American on Tuesday afternoon —
It makes me weep when i think about it... that a skyscraper falling and 3,000 deaths drove the USofA into an insane murderous rage, and eight years later we're still spending billions of dollars killing hundreds of thousands of people who had nothing even peripherally to do with what happened in New York on 9/11/2001.
# wlgriffi on Tuesday afternoon —
"Maybe she's a Democrat by Arkansas standards....."
Comment : If one considers J. William Fulbright the real Arkansas standard Lincoln falls way short.
"After a long career of successfully lying about everything, I sometimes wonder whether Karl Rove even knows the difference between truth and lies."
Comment : With him there is no difference. Rove apparently believes in the "Superfluous Advice" of Dorothy Parker:
"Should they whisper false of you,
Never trouble to deny;
Should the words they say be true,
Weep and storm and swear they lie."
# Siskiyousis on Tuesday afternoon —
A 27-year-old woman who claimed that Oakland police had arrested her without cause and treated her roughly has settled her federal civil rights lawsuit against the city for $10,000....
That 10K settlement is probably only going to cover the attorney fees... ...after two years of aggro. Geeze
The biggest problem with false arrest and harassment cases is that the victim has to relocate to another state; usually these victims don't have that kind of means... they are going to spend lives in the black hole of unlawful enforcement.
# Drew Farmington on Tuesday afternoon —
The problem with *any* kind of arrest is that you is now on the shit list -- and you should probably seriously consider finding a different town to live in.
# Tiny Earl on Monday afternoon —
I hope you know that the war crimes and torture and rendition didn't start with the Bush administration. Bush brought it out into the open, but this stuff has been standard operating procedure for American intelligence and to a lesser extent the American military since well before World War I.
# Big Abner on Monday afternoon —
Top of the page the McCain proposal is huge news to me and it really says something that I'm getting this news from a blog instead of the front page of the NYTimes. And bottom of the page I hadn't heard at all that the Oscars were set up under instant runoff voting -- that's fabulous. So are you. Stay chipper, stiff upper lip!
# Barrymore on Sunday afternoon —
It's hard to put a finger on exactly what it is, but there is a quantifiable difference between Republicans and Democrats, isn't there? For as long as I can remember, Republicans have made their success by marketing FEAR, and for just as long or longer Democrats' success has been in selling and sometimes accomplishing HOPE and IMPROVEMENT. In this regard I guess I'm still a Democrat, but even saying all that there's no arguing that this current crop of Democrats in DC is the most yellow-bellied bunch of stand-for-nothing cowards I've ever seen ...
# Mary McNarry on Sunday morning —
A real stunner: LINK
Posted: March 6, 2010 04:30 PM
The Biggest Financial Bailout of Them All
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Between the needless, ridiculous, counter-productive trillion dollar "defense" spending each year and the hundreds of billions being flushed down the toilet on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/FHA/etc., the US could have done amazing stuff to build the country and fix things. Things like health care, which Congress is having a huge battle over a mere $900 BILLION spread across ten fucking years. Fuck them all. And P.S., I'd like to see every CEO of publicly traded health insurance companies sent to Guantanamo Bay for some harsh interrogation -- and then have the President ask the remainingVPs of those companies just how much they'd be willing to cut premiums next year.
This whole fucking mess explains why people all over the world have been converting their paper currencies into gold and silver. It is only with extraordinary and continuing government support -- which is hidden off budget -- that a total implosion of the US system is being *deferred*. In a bubbleicious economy based on debt, like ours, it takes about 12 dollars of new credit to increase GDP by 1 dollar -- and the only way to get those 12 dollars is by looting the treasury and running the printing press.
This shit ain't over. What's happening is the Obama Regime is trying to defer the bad news until after the 2012 elections. They just want to keep things together a bit longer. Meanwhile, the GOP and the Blue Dog democrats are working to make sure that nothing is fixed or resolved. There is a hidden racism going on, and Obama's ass kissing of the regime has made him a total joke, a perfect target for the hidden racists. I'm starting to think he doesn't get re-elected, and the country rips apart during the subsequent Republican regime. I think they'd love to see a big collapse so they could do even more crazy looting shit.
# Helen & Harry on Sunday morning —
How I wish I could disagree about America's coming man-made apocalypse, but you're probably being too optimistic. The US economy is wobbling, and the only question about the coming collapse is which of the half-dozen fatal stupidities will break the camel's back — will it be the insane war spending, or the unregulated high-finance shenanigans, or the outsourcing of industrial jobs that once fueled a middle class, or the currency backed by increasingly bad faith, or the overseas ownership of more and more of America's economic engines, or the big-money control of what little financial regulations remain, or ... on and on.
Beyond the economic realm a half-dozen other problems are similarly poised to nudge the nation into catastrophe, from food safety to the looming police state to whispered and shouted calls for revolution from the most mindless corners of Americana ... on and on.
Each of these fatal problems have been brought about by decades of stupid and corrupt misleadership. The Bush-Cheney bunch took all these assorted problems and amplified them with seemingly intentional enthusiasm, and the Obama gang offers speeches as if words are a solution, leaving all the ass-backward policies intact.
Meanwhile, the amazing hugeness and frickin' obviousness of the official criminality grows to levels that cannot possibly be maintained, and all the "experts" agree that any suggestion that might seriously address, lessen, or solve any problem is by definition kookiness and must be taken "off the table".
The Canadian on Monday morning —
So here is my question: How can America sustain its debt expansion if no one wants to buy it? China...?? not so sure it continues to want to hold so muchUSD denominated debt.
It is important to understand that US geopolitical hegemony was maintained because the USD is/was THE world's petro currency. Ironic don't you think that America's war machine was actually financed by its enemies.
# wlgriffi on Wednesday morning —
I'm somewhat leery of wringing hands over the lack of buyers of our debt. We went through this dillemna a couple of decades ago when we were all aghast at the extent of the Japannese buying up America. However,the robber barons lead our capitalist system to overcome that challenge. So,I'll wait a little longer to see if China is in the end strong enough to bankrupt us.
# Andrea O. on Saturday evening —
I'm not sure how this should be categorized...
Anti-gay republican California state senator gets arrested for drunk driving after spending evening dancing at gay bar.
# Helen & Harry on Saturday evening —
Unintentional comedy? Such stories seem to happen with amusing but sad regularity...
Renegade Gargler on Saturday afternoon —
The Toyota Prius accelerator has a software problem according to Steve Wozniak. He says reboot your car. I didn't know Toyota was running Windows :-)
Apple co-founder Wozniak shirks off Prius glitch
(AFP) – 15 hours ago
Last week we learned that Toyota has refused to open up the black boxes in its cars, and even after being sued it has released only partial data.
And, numerous Toyota customers are now claiming that the recall hardware "fix" did not fix the bug.
This situation reeks of a nasty, hard-to-solve software problem which Toyota is in full Denial about. Unfortunately for Toyota, they have been in Denial mode for more than five years.
Denial Mode is typical for Japanese companies:
Toyota fiasco a wake-up call of Japanese firms
"As they expanded abroad, Japanese companies largely ignored the need for crack crisis-management teams because there had been little need for them in the past. In Japan's harmony-loving society, conflicts — when unavoidable — are generally settled behind the scenes."
* * *
So, you are now afraid of Japanese cars. Rightly so, it appears. And perhaps you distrust all modern cars because of the extensive software systems in use -- can it really be that a modern car requires 100 million lines of code?
Well, here is just the thing for you:
Sanyo rides in with eneloop electric hybrid bikes
[image: eneloop bike]
BTW, Sanyo is now majority-owned by Panasonic.
FYI, Panasonic has decided that the future of TV is now 3D, but long-term use of 3D TV by consumers is un-tested. Advise caution when investing in Panasonic (even though it appears ready to recover:
# Becky L. on Saturday morning —
Can you even begin to imagine how different America would be, if Richard Nixon had been prosecuted and sent to prison for his Watergate-related crimes, instead of getting away with everything thanks to Gerald Ford? If Nixon had spent even six months in jail, it's doubtful that the Republican brand would've recovered in time to elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, so most Americans would never have heard of Bush Sr or the disastrous Bush Jr or names like Newt Gingrich and 4/5 of the Republicans presently in Congress. It would be understood that we the people won't tolerate corruption and criminality in high office, and so we'd have a lot less corruption and criminality... but instead it's understood that we ALWAYS WILL tolerate corruption and criminality and if you're high enough up the chain NO-ONE WILL EVER BE PUNISHED so corruption and criminality are all we'll ever see until the curtain closes. And I'll blame Gerald Ford for all of it.
# Helen & Harry on Saturday morning —
Undoubtedly, if Gerald Ford hadn't pardoned Dick Nixon, we'd be living in a better country now, with less political corruption and a more honest discussion of the issues. Gerald Ford did his part to monkeywrench the country's precarious future
But that's as far as I can go. I wouldn't give Ford more than a fraction of the blame for where we are. My pessimism travels through time, and I'm not convinced that the House way back then would've impeached Nixon's sorry, nor that the Senate would've convicted, nor that history would've unfolded quite as fabulously as you see it.
# Helen & Harry on Saturday morning —
OK, testing 1-2-3... Yeah, we've unplugged the DISQUS blog commenting system. No hard feelings and we might go back with them when they get the bugs worked out, but for now their system just has too many recurring problems. We're not convinced that DISQUS saves us any time compared to our old (and now new again) system — just reading incoming emails, and sharing the interesting ones with readers on this page.