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8 Appalling Moments by the Right Wing This Week: Gay Marriage Wedding Cakes Edition

March 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

Known unknown: Donald Rumsfeld should be replaced by a trained ape.


The parade of right-wing morons and lunatics marched on this week. Some highlights:

1. Donald Rumsfeld: A “trained ape” would be better at foreign policy than Obama

Donald Rumsfeld continues to both shock and awe us with his arrogance and his psychopathic inability to admit he was completely wrong about every aspect of the Iraq war. Being a psychopath, he still has the audacity to hold forth on questions of foreign policy. That he recently included a dollop of racism to his unwanted commentary on President Obama’s conduct as Commander-in-Chief, is just par for the course for good ol' Rummy.

In an interview with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren this week, Rummy railed against Obama’s dealings with Afghanistan, and with characteristic colorfulness said that relations with Afghan president Hamid Karzai had gone “downhill like a toboggan,” under Obama whereas all had been rosy under Bush.

“Take for example that we have status of forces agreements probably with 100, 125 countries in the world,” Rumsfeld said, amping up the technical jargon to confuse the audience and make himself look smart, no doubt. “This administration, the White House and the State Department, have failed to get a status of forces agreement.”

He added: “A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius.”

Hmm, no racism there.

It is either a known unknown (or an unknown known—we’re never quite sure) that Rumsfeld likes to use these kinds of metaphors, but no, we don’t believe it was an accident. As bad as that is, perhaps worse is his perpetuating the lie that the Bush administration was not a catastrophe for foreign relations, and that he was not hugely responsible for the biggest fuckup, lie and war crimes of all Bush’s merry band of jackals.

2. Pat Robertson: Rape causes atheism.

What planet is Pat Robertson on? Planet crazy, that’s what. On Monday, the “700 Club” host talked about a letter he had received from a confused Christian viewer named Sandra. Sandra was flummoxed as to why a coworker was “hostile at the mere mention …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Court Finds Georgia Militia Leader Guilty of Murdering Pregnant Wife

March 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Bill Morlin, Southern Poverty Law Center

Investigators say man's militia group was planning bombings, kidnappings and political assassinations.


The leader of a secret, murderous militia group, already serving life in prison for murder, today was found guilty in an Army court of the earlier murder of his wife and their unborn child.

Immediately after finding U.S. Army Private Isaac Aguigui guilty of the murder of his pregnant wife, the military judge who heard the case began the penalty phase in a military courtroom at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Sgt. Deirdre Wetzker Aguigui, an Army linguist, was found dead in her home on the Georgia Army base on July 17, 2011, about the time her husband began forming a militia he named FEAR – Forever Enduring, Always Ready. An autopsy concluded the woman was either choked or smothered.

Investigators determined Aguigui used the $500,000 proceeds from his wife’s life insurance to buy weapons for the video-game inspired militia. Many of the weapons were purchased from a firearms store in Washington state, near where Aguigui was raised.

Before arrests were made, investigators say Aguigui and members of his FEAR militia – all with ties to the military – discussed bombings, kidnappings and political assassinations.

Aguiguipleaded guilty last July in a civilian courtroom for his involvement in the murders of Tiffany York, 17, and her boyfriend, Michael Roark, 19, a former soldier who served with Aguigui. They were shot to death, execution style, in a wooded area just beyond the federal boundaries of the sprawling military base.

Roark was killed “to be silenced,” investigators said, because Aguigui believed the militia group had been betrayed by Roark, who left the military two days before the murders on Dec. 5, 2011.

Five days later, authorities arrested Aguigui and three of his Army buddies and fellow FEAR members – Pfc. Michael Burnett, Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon. Ultimately, Army and civilian investigators identified seven other current or former military members who were affiliated with the secret militia group.

Last August, the families of the murdered teenagers filed a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. Army. The plaintiffs alleged the Army failed to correctly …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Anita: Speaking Truth to Power' Reignites Fury Over Sexual Harassment and Political Might

March 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Thomas Delapa, AlterNet

Two decades after Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Freida Mock documents the confirmation of Clarence Thomas.


There she was, polite and poised in her smart, turquoise dress suit, facing off against a murderers' row of aging, not entirely august, white men, an ebony Joan of Arc versus a court of incredulous grand inquisitors. To a bitterly divided 1991 America, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill was either witch, scorned woman, martyr or feminist heroine. In any case, when the smoke cleared it was Hill who was burned at the Senate stake.

Twenty-plus years after the most incendiary and indecent Supreme Court confirmation hearings in U.S. history, filmmaker Freida Mock flips through the sensationally lurid pages of Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas in Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, a documentary sure to re-fan the flames of righteous indignation among anyone, man or woman, sitting to the left of Strom Thurmond.

If, as legendary attorney Clarence Darrow argued, “almost every case has been won and lost when the jury is sworn,” Anita Hill was toast as soon as she sat down to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee that steamy October weekend in 1991. Chaired by now-Veep Joe Biden of Delaware, the all-white, all-male committee wasn’t quite a kangaroo court, but it resembled something from Down Under the Mason-Dixon Line, circa 1930. Rather than hostile witnesses, this was an open-and-shut case of hostile politicos, aghast and appalled that a Supreme Court nominee and “pornography,” “pubic hair” and “penis size” could be publicly uttered in the same sentence.

For investigative reporter Jane Mayer (then with the Wall Street Journal), the televised hearings—“Judge Judy” crossed with the Playboy Channel—were just a smokescreen for Democratic and Republican senators alike: “It wasn’t about the truth … it was about winning.” Despite a majority of Democrats on the committee, Hill was largely led to the dogs alone. Ted Kennedy sat mostly sullen and stone-faced as a bit player.

An Oscar winner for the superior documentary, Maya Lin: A Strong Vision, Mock may not win votes from the pro-Thomas minority, but she pointedly sets …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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12 Hints It’s Time to Call It Quits in Your Relationship

March 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Mark Goulston, AlterNet

Here's a list of looming trouble. And if it hits too close to home, you might be in a dead-end romance.


1. You can’t stand the sight of them and they make your skin crawl

2. You are afraid of them

3. Friends keep telling you to get out

4. They are mean to the children

5. The children are afraid of them

6. You can’t remember anything good about them

7. You no longer enjoy anything with them or look forward to doing anything with them

8. They come in the door and your heart sinks

9. You don’t want to go out with them with friends or family because they are too embarrassing

10. They keep making promises they don’t keep

11. You’re no longer proud of them

12. Quirks you originally found amusing are now embarrassing to you

Bonus hint:

They keep violating the restraining order you put on them.

There’s good and bad news about this list:

The good news, you’re not alone if this applies to your relationship and there probably are people who would want to help you make the break when you decide to do it.

The bad newsfor you – if any of the list applies, it is probably not going to get any better by itself.

The bad news for me – my wife came up with the list.

 

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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When Charters Try to Crowd Out Marginalized Public School Kids

March 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Molly Knefel, Salon

A battle in NYC shows what happens when corporate-backed schools fight special needs public school kids for space.


In the national debate over education, corporate education reformers are arguing that charter schools are just another option for parents who deserve to have an array of choices on where to send their children. This framing purports to situate charter schools alongside public schools in coexistence rather than competition. But this is false. The harmonious vision falls apart when charters literally push out public schools, as illustrated by the current battle between charter chain Success Academy and several public schools in New York City’s Harlem.

A close look at the seemingly local dispute also shatters the fundamental premise that charters are as “public” as public schools, serving all children. With the charter movement in 42 states and stronger than ever, the struggle for space in Harlem is shedding light on some of the sector’s most dubious practices.

At the center of the dispute in Harlem, between Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, are a group of students for whom the stakes of the debate — not just in Harlem but across the country — are quite high. Special education students are largely underrepresented in the charter sector, and if Success Academy had expanded the way it had hoped, it would have reduced space for a public school serving some of the city’s highest need students. That school is in District 75, a non-geographic district that serves students with disabilities across all of New York City, including children with autism, emotional or behavioral disorders, and multiple disabilities. Nationally, children with these types of high need disabilities are even more underserved by the charter sector than special needs childrenin general.

What’s going on in Harlem, then, may be unique to New York in terms of co-locations — when several schools are housed in the same building — but taps into the much broader issue of access and exclusion in the education “reform” movement. The territory dispute over limited space in New York City …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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What David Hume ( 1711-76) Has To Teach Us Today

March 29, 2014 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

Reading David Hume on economics, one has the feeling that he is rebutting current Keynesian policies. How could that be, since Keynes lived hundreds of years later? The explanation is simple: Keynesianism is not new. It is just a revival of the  old mercantilist ideas that Hume was targeting.

Keynes even admits at the end of the General Theory that he is reviving mercantilism, apparently having forgotten his claim at the beginning of the same book to be staking out new ground in economics. Whatever the reason, much of Hume seems highly relevant to today’s debates:

1. On deficit spending

“…Our modern expedient, which has become very general, is to mortgage the public revenues, and to trust that posterity will pay off the encumbrances contracted by their ancestors:  …[This is] …a…ruinous… practice….

“It is very tempting to a minister to employ such an expedient, as it enables him to make a great figure during his administration, without overburdening the people with taxes, or exciting any immediate clamors against himself. The practice, therefore, of contracting debt, will almost infallibly be abused in every government. It would scarcely be more imprudent to give a prodigal son a credit in every banker’s shop in London, than to empower a statesman to draw bills, in this manner, upon posterity.

“What, then, shall we say to the new paradox, that public encumbrances are, of themselves, advantageous, independent of the necessity of contracting them. . . .  [These]… absurd maxims [ are] patronized by great ministers, and by a whole party among us. . . .

“It must, indeed, be one of these two events; either the nation must destroy public credit, or public credit will destroy the nation. It is impossible that they can both subsist. . . .” [ Of Public Credit]

2.  On money and banking

“… A government has great reason to preserve with care its people and its manufactures. Its money, it may safely trust to the course of human affairs….

“ We fancy, because an individual would be much richer, were his stock of money doubled, that the same good effect would follow, were the money of every one increased; not considering that this would raise as much the price of every commodity, and reduce every man in time to the same condition as before. . . .” [Of the Balance of Trade]

“It is also evident, that the prices do not so much depend on the absolute quantity of commodities and that of money, which are in a nation, as …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Ron Paul, Richard Cobden, and the Risks of Opposing War

March 29, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Ukraine conflict

Ryan McMaken writes in today’s Mises Daily: 

For those who can remember the lead up to the Iraq War in 2003, this should all feel like déjà vu since many at that time, including some libertarians, claimed that opponents of invasion were “pro-Saddam Hussein” for pointing out that Iraq clearly had no weapons of mass destruction, and that his secular regime was probably preferable to the murderous Islamist oligarchy that has replaced it.

Paul remains in good company with the likes of Cobden, H.L. Mencken, William Graham Sumner, and virtually the entire membership of the American Anti-Imperialist League, including Edward Atkinson who encouraged American soldiers in the Philippines to mutiny. These were radical principled opponents of militarism who opposed government violence at great risk to themselves and their reputations. Some modern American libertarians, on the other hand, well out of reach of the Russian state, would rather spend their time stating what everyone already knows: Russia is not a libertarian paradise.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Robert Higgs Discusses his book ‘Crisis and Leviathan’

March 29, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Robert Higgs discusses his book ‘Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government’. Purchase online. 

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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B.R. Shenoy on Agriculture and Foreign Aid

March 29, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

shenoy

[From "An Appreciation of B.R. Shenoy, Economist in the Fall 2013 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.]

AGRICULTURE AND FOREIGN AID
In 1968, Shenoy resigned from Gujarat University and founded  an independent research institution, the Economic Research  Centre, in Delhi. Although weakened by heart ailments, he continued to write many articles (Bhatt, 2001, p. 106). Shenoy  was deeply concerned with the welfare of the rural poor engaged  in agriculture—at the time and currently a majority of people  in India. In his policy analysis, he methodically struck down  the State’s arguments for price controls, import/export bans,  restrictions on private bankers, public expenditures on wasteful  industrial projects, and state monopsony of agricultural goods.  Shenoy points out, “Unduly heavy resource drafts into the public  sector, the weighted emphasis on industrialization, and legislative hurdles to the flow of credit and capital into the farm sector have led to capital starvation of agriculture” (Shenoy, 2004a, p. 169).

State monopsony procurement prices of farm products continue to be commonplace in India and it remains the fact that “…procurement prices…involve confiscation on part of the most legitimate earnings of the peasants and farms producing foodgrain. The social accounting of the phenomenon of procurement prices and the subsidised distribution of foodgrain is broadly that we supplement these confiscated amounts from the Union and state
budgets and utilise the total sum to issue rations to urban people at low market prices” (Shenoy, 2004a, p. 175).

Shenoy was one of the earliest critics of the popular notion that foreign aid transfers help kick-start growth. He was seeing first-hand in India the unintended, yet destructive consequences of US and European aid. In a 1970 paper entitled “Is aid necessaryfor development?” Shenoy writes, “If domestic policies fail to make for harmonious, balanced, multi-sided progress but divert resources into the wrong channels, any amount of foreign aid cannot effectively contribute to economic development. Massive aid is apt to be massively misdirected” (Shenoy, 2004a, 89–90).Shenoy was appropriately disgusted by the perverse effects of aid,which he linked to “…the accumulation of smuggled gold despite semi-stagnant per capita incomes… secret accounts in investments in Switzerland and elsewhere, and of the abandonment of frugal ways for extravagant living by the new rich among the beneficiaries
of planning” (Shenoy, 2004a, p. 96). Shenoy was in a unique position as a highly competent economist in an aid-receiving country.

When the United States began the P.l. 480 food aid program, India bought massive amounts of aid by printing money. Shenoy was able to discern the unintended consequences of …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE