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You learn more from listening to your opposition than listening to yourself.  Here is quintessential gun nut, Obama-hater and self professed, long time Tea Partier "Red Hot Lead Retired" making a better case for voting "Democrat" than a barrel full of Lundegrin-Grimmes:

"...so, anyway, things have changed so, unless the Republicans change with it, , I'm probably gonna' hafta' swing my vote over to Hillary.   Anyway, thanks for watching."
It is truly an epic rant on the joys of Obamacare.  A hard working man who gets to retire at 50 after a lifetime of hard work simply because the Black Guy in the White House let him buy cheap health insurance.  Please enjoy the comments on his feed.
James Webb, a 51-year-old YouTube celebrity who devotes his “Hot Lead” channel to topics like his love of guns and ranting about gay men kissing on The Walking Dead, may have shocked his viewers on Monday when he revealed that he was torn over which party to vote for in the 2016 election
-Rawstory
Bumper sticker suggestion from Hot Lead Retired to Democrat (s) everywhere:
“But you know, the Republican Party, they haven’t done nothing for me, man. Nothing,”
Discuss
"This moment may not come again soon, I believe that our nations have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully -an opportunity we should not miss"
               -  President Obama from video celebrating Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.
This is the man who said in 2008, as a candidate, that he would visit with all of America's enemy as President.  Yes, he is 6 years too late but he is taking a bold step towards the Heart of Darkness with this brilliant message of hope to the millions of Iranians who want peace with America.  It might not have been possible two weeks ago but for Bibi Netanyahu's unprecedented  speech to Congress.  Thanks John Boehner.

Enjoy watching a smart man: Sorry, I couldn't get the video to embed so click this line to view on Youtube or just scroll down and watch the video courtesy of Aoeu at the top o' the comments.

Iran's hardliners are much worse than our hardliners... they disappear their own citizens regularly and they steer the mulahs as much as the mullahs steer them... but most Iranians, and the heads of State, elected and Ayatollized, want to stand down this 45 year old cold war.  

Look at today's headlines coming out Tunisia, the most stable Democracy in the Arab world, and Yemen, the least.   Arabs are not stable allies in the march to a better future, especially the Saudis who fund both sides in this pan-arabic sectarian/secular civil war.  But Persia has maintained a national identity for 3000 years.  We don't need peace with anyone in the Muslim world but if we choose to want peace, it has to start with Iran.

I hope the President will follow up this nuclear accord with a summit in Tehran.  If Nixon can go to China, anything is possible.

Discuss
And that would be zero American combat
casualties over the past five months
BREAKING NEWS: Tikrit appears to be collapsing under the attack/occupation/visitation of Iraqi army forces augmented by Shia militia and (gawd forbid) Iranian "advisors".   Amazingly this tremendous rout of ISIL forces was accomplished without any American dead bodies to much consternation on the Right.  
Here's a picture of all the dead American soldiers, Marines and airmen who have died since POTUS Barack Obama announced armed action against the rolling tide of the Islamic State arriving at Dover Air Force Base.
Over the past hundred years or so, American Presidents of both political stripe have enjoyed one pastime:  fighting wars.  Oh, I know that "war is hell" and every President hates "sending our boys in harm's way"  and let us not forget that "the worst moment as President is when you have to call the parents of a fallen hero".

But they still keep on sending them, don't they?   Proto-neo-con poster boys, the Dulles brothers practically invented anti-Americanism in the Middle East without committing a soldier then Yankee liberal JFK tried to wallpaper over their mistake in Indochina with tens of thousands of teenage American bodies.  Conscientious Dixiecrat Johnson multiplied the error leaving Commie witch hunter Dick Nixon to wind us out.  Mr "Moderate Republican" GHWB "compassionately" rented out the best military money can buy to bail out the Kuwaitees but "conservatively" stopped short of any action that would improve the lives of actual Iraqi citizens.  Finally seriously socio-con W goes all in to make Iraq the 51st state with historically awful results.  Hawks come in all iterations.  It's not always about being evil, it's usually about being wrong.  Thankfully our current President has a golden rule: "Don't do stupid stuff".

Yes, BHO the POTUS has slow walked us out of Iraq and slower walked us out of Afghanistan but the direction has been correct.   He couldn't stop Maliki from fracturing Iraq without reinvesting more blood and treasure for results that would last as long as that investment did, not a moment longer.  

The most basic tenant of Libertarianism is to not spend our blood and treasure fighting other people's wars.  That is the sentiment shared by 65.5 million Americans, the largest block ever, who voted a black man to be President in 2008 primarily to stop these endless wars.   While Obama has delivered on his mandate most professional Libertarians seem to have changed their minds.  Too bad.  If you are really a "libertarian", you are probably register as a "Democrat".

We are lucky to be witnessing a new policy that perhaps should be labeled, LIBERALTARIANISM.

COUNTER-INTUITIVE LEVERAGE: LET THEM FIGHT IT OUT

The real suck in committing to not commit troops overseas is having to watch bad things happen.   Every night Anderson Cooper will find some Sunni's, Shia, Yazidi or Kurd suffering or dead to pan over with appalled concern as if their was something obvious to do about it.  In some alternate universe Preznit John McCain has been sending an infinite stream of weapons to Sunni rebels in Syria, Kurdish insurgents in Iran, Ukranian rebels who haven't successfully toppled the puppet government in this alt-universe and probably all three sides in Yemen.

With all of those weapons in the hands of millions of displaced militants with a taste for blood and vengeance, what could possibly go wrong Mr President McCain?

The template for a Liberaltarian intervention was Kosavo.  Like Obama, President Clinton was savaged by everyone for not doing anything as thousands suffered.  Like Obama, Clinton was beat up by the Right for not doing enough and the Left for doing too much.  When it was over with no American casualties and an acceptable outcome, the only recourse for the no-nothings was to yell "Wag the Dog" and claim it was an illusion.

Obama used the same plan in Libya to the same effect.

I don't like dead enemy porn so
here's a nice memorial to a despot slain
by his own people in a sewer culvert
Humanitarian slaughter was averted, longtime bad guy neutralized and no coffins flying into Dover.  Faced with such success the no-nothings have hammered the word "Benghazi" fifty feet into the rock at Mt Rushmore.

The Islamic State is a far more difficult onion to peel than the relatively protozoaice Libya or Kosovo.  IS is a transnational "State" much like the Kurdish "Rojava" in that it transcends borders with a common set of laws, beliefs and ideals.  Thanks to infinite Saudi funding since the American occupation and easy recruiting thanks to Mssrs. Maliki and Assad, ISIS/ISIL/IS came out of the box in 2013 with instant ground superiority crashing onto the very beaches of Baghdad by Summer '14.  That's when your President went of TeeVee and told us that it was time to time to help.

Here's what he laid out:

-No Americans fighting this on the ground.
Yes, we don't want our youth dying in the desert but strategically, this means no magnet for anti-American sentiment.  A war against Muslims fought by Muslims sells better than a war against Muslims by the USA... AGAIN.

-Economic and recruiting strangulation is as important as bombs.
Shuttering electronic money transfers from Wahabi Islamists and torpedoing the worldwide price of oil isn't as easy as it sounds.  Neither is holding the Preznit McCain's of the world who want to to dump boatloads of American made munitions to Free Syrian Army bands who are as likely switch sides or lose said armaments to the bad guys as use them in the name of Democracy.

-This is going to take 3 years
It's curious that POTUS put a finite number on this war.  Perhaps it's because he really does have this gamed out.  Judging by past performance, I would expect that's the case.  If you just look at the news you might think the Islamic State is more dangerous than last summer.  If you look at facts on the ground you might think they are in free fall and could be finished by summer.  If you look at it like a President should however, you could certainly see that 2 and a half more years are required to do the job right.

WHY THREE MORE YEARS?

The news media, the GOP and the Carlyle Group all want you to cringe in terror at each attach by these... well, terrorists.  That's what all three have in common with the Islamists.  The Osama Bin Laden playbook has as Steps #1,2 and 3 to draw the USA into war on Muslim soil.   That is the crucial element to rallying support throughout the Arab world.  Whether it is Yazidi children crying from a mountaintop, Kurds clinging to the last city blocks of Kobane or a pour soul being burnt alive in a cage, these optics are designed to pull Americans into "boots on the ground".  Islamists want to make it an US versus Islam fight, while neocons just want to sell more tanks.

In fact, IS has not had a significant stategic victories since the Summer.  Peshmerga, with Iraqi and Shia militia support have largely rolled back the IS gangs in the east and have Mosul 3/4 surrounded.  The Kurdish YPG soldiers with their female YPJ sisters have beaten IS so thoroughly that their progress through the rest of the Kobane Canton (region) is only slowed by logistics and unexploded ordinance.

For some perspective, in November Kurds controlled the area above the letter "O" in KOBANE in the inset view.

These Kurdish badasses also happen to be inclusive with women's equality inshrined in their laws.  Many heroes of the siege are women.  Many leaders are women.  This is the opposite of what the Islamists have imposed within their footprint.  This has created a groundswell of support for a more  liberal society in the Muslim world.  Such a message could not be written by American troops blowing through Muslim gangs.  

Unlike FOX news I won't show murder porn in the form of the Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh's immolation but I will show you a man who was affected by it.

Jordan´s King Abdullah, himself a former general, angrily vowed to pursue ISIS until his military runs "out of fuel and bullets," in a closed door meeting with U.S. lawmakers that followed the release Wednesday of a grisly video showing a captured Jordanian airman being burned alive in a cage by the terrorist army. The pledge preceded the hanging of two Al Qaeda terrorists early Wednesday in Jordan, a swift response to the video that could be a mere harbinger of coming retribution from the Arab kingdom in the wake of the sadistic slaughter.  
And look what happened after 21 Coptic Egyptians were murdered by Libyan Islamists loyal to the IS.

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian warplanes struck Islamic State targets in Libya on Monday in swift retribution for the extremists' beheading of a group of Egyptian Christian hostages on a beach, shown in a grisly online video released hours earlier.

The primary victims of Islamic terror have been Muslims.  By NOT interviening Barack "Motherfuckin'" Obama has made possible the paradigm shift the middle east has needed since The Great War.  

Thank God for my and your President of the United States.  Never forget and never fail to remind people that he has, is and will be one of the greatest Presidents EVER.

Discuss

Been too busy shepherding a loved one through harrowing times to post for a couple months but this awesome True Crime tale of Asshole on Asshole financial violence was too delicious and heartwarming to contain:

First, before the Pittsburgh Post Gazette gives us the facts, understand that Atty. Gutnick's middle name is "Yale".... and his occupation is "Professional Trustee for Trust Fund Fucks" (says it on his business card no doubt).

Seen - Main Event -    Preview Party for the Carnegie Museum antiques show - Richard dick Scaife sits in chair at show...  Original Filename: starnes scaife 2 rgb.jpg
H. Yale Gutnick, chairman of the board of directors of the Tribune-Review
newspaper, contended that he was right to reveal the $560 million balance of a trust fund that pays $12 million a year, each, to Jennie and David Scaife. Their father owned the newspaper.

Mr. Gutnick in December detailed the so-called Grandchildren’s Trust, created by Sarah Mellon Scaife, grandmother to Jennie and David. He likened them to people who win the lottery every month.

Mr. Gutnick was a past trustee of those funds, and his attorney, E.J. Strassburger, is a current trustee.

Atty Gutnick is no Occupier.  He is paid truckloads to steer the wealth of the Mean, the Stupid and the Rich into the Right Wing Soundmachine.   His contention is that the Scaife "kids" (trust me, they're old) don't need the money he allegedly bilked their addled and venomous dad Richard Mellon Scaife.  

Here's more backstory:  In 1935, when EVERYONE was awash in money, Richard's mom, who had made tons in the "Inherit Tons Of Money Business" set up a trust fund for her baby boy.  By 2005 that fund was worth $210,000,000 (note to self: check those bonds I got when I was born!).   Apparently Richard, who practically created the Clinton Scandal Business in the early 1990s, didn't really care about all that cash dating back to the 1890s, so he bought a small Pittsburgh newspaper and told Gutnick to spend whatever it took to create a Clinton scandal along with the American Spectator and the Arkansas Project:

The Arkansas Project was a series of investigations (mostly funded by conservative businessman Richard Mellon Scaife through his staff at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) that were initiated with the intent of damaging and ending the presidency of Bill Clinton.  Scaife spent nearly $2 million on this anti-Clinton project.

The investigations included the reexamination of the death of White House aide, Vincent Foster (who committed suicide), the investigation of a 1970s' real estate investment that Bill and Hillary Clinton had made in a development known as Whitewater and the re-opening of allegations that then Governor Bill Clinton had sexually harassed an Arkansas state employee.

Yep, the whole Bill Clinton rap sheet was pretty much created in the Trib/American Spectator SkunkWorks.   Scaife was an otherwise left of loony social moderate who, following in his family footprints, gave a lot of bling to social causes we might well endorse here at DKos.  So what would his  primary motivation be to slander a President who had yet to do anything in the office?  It was the same as you would expect from the Koch Brothers (who claim to be socially liberal BTW), greed.  Taxing the rich and regulating the polluters tended to ding trust funds and that was the family's annual "lottery ticket".  The investigations where as seedy as you could expect from an HBO  movie:
A story idea the Arkansas Project leaked?  
Curious people want to know!
Project reporter/investigators were hired, including David Brock, a self-described Republican "hitman", and Rex Armistead, a former police officer with a white supremacist past who was reportedly paid $350,000 for his efforts.   Also assisting the project were Parker Dozhier, a bait shop owner who was reportedly a hard line right winger obsessed with bringing down Bill Clinton.  They were tasked with investigating the Clintons and composing stories tying the Clintons to murders and drug smuggling as well as adultery.

According to Brock, Armistead and Brock met at an airport hotel in Miami, Florida, in late 1993. There, Armistead laid out an elaborate "Vince Foster murder scenario", a scenario that Brock found implausible."  Regardless, by the end of 1993, Brock was writing stories for the Spectator that made him "a lead figure in the drive to" get Clinton.

But we all know that.  Just goes to show: never piss off a redneck bait shop owner!  

As for the Trib, well, no one in Pittsburgh much cares for the Trib but they've practically been paying people to take it for two decades and the whatevers have come home to roost.

Three trustees, including Mr. Gutnick, allowed the publisher to drain that trust to support his newspapers, reducing its balance from $210 million in 2005 to zero upon his July death. The son and daughter argue that was counter to their grandmother’s wishes.

“To put it simply, it was reasonable for Gutnick to assume that Sarah Scaife intended the trustees to distribute all [1935 Trust funds] to her son, leaving her grandchildren nothing, because she later provided for them, and handsomely, in a separate trust,” stated Mr. Gutnick in objections filed with Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Durkin of Allegheny County.

So, in an attempt to hold onto as much coin as he could and protect the future of his trust fund family, Richard Mellon Scaife let Yale the Grifter and a generation of muck-makers/bait salesmen piss away his $210,000,000 legacy - don't even think about how much got sucked down the crazy-hole before then.

Now that daddy's dead and the money's gone I guess that will be the end of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy huh?  

BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!!

Discuss

Now that the elections are over I am happy to say the US Senate's best Ben Nelson imitator, Joe Manchin of WV will still caucus with the Democrats AND (drum roll preeeeeez)... he will step down from his leadership position with nefarious bipartisan suck-rakers No Labels.

GOOOOOO Gridlock!!!!
(Yahoo News)Manchin, who co-chaired No Labels along with Republican former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, since late October had been under pressure from Senate Democratic leaders to step away from the group, which pledged resources in support of Republican Cory Gardner’s U.S. Senate bid in Colorado in the weeks before the midterm elections.

Gardner won on Tuesday, defeating incumbent Democrat Mark Udall.

Now the goodest news is that you can bet No Labels endorsement of Gardner had zero effect in getting him elected.  They put a $5 bet on a long odds horse and now can say they won.  By the way: could I trade Manchin for Huntsman?  Joe now becomes the go-to Democrat vote Reds will be courting of every sucka$$ Bill they can push down the pipe... starting with Keystone XL I'm sure.Probably be a better progressive than Joe.  Anyway, Joe is now, after the election, listening to all of those Senators who told him to back away from the flames.
No Labels had earlier opened a rift with Democratic leaders, including Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, after it endorsed Gardner in the spring. The group later clarified its endorsement by saying Udall could also win one if he merely pledged to join No Labels, but not before Democrats had begun confronting Manchin about the group's actions.
I'm so glad No Labels puts membership dues ahead of good governance.  Heck, if Udall woulda' just put on the f^@#ing lapel pin, dammit! He could have had the endorsement too.  Presumably No Labels would have been endorsing both candidates.  Nothing says "No Labels" like labeling everybody!  But make no mistake, there was unimpeachable logic at play here.
In July, Yahoo News reported on internal documents that revealed No Labels believed it would find “opportunity” in a Republican takeover of the Senate because it would create more gridlock, therefore giving the group more to fight.
YOWZERS!!! These guys are geniuses.  Heck with stopping gridlock with good politicians and good policies.  No, let's put the party with the patent on Gridlock in charge so we can just watch the government grind to a halt.  That'll put a stop to ... errr.... gridlock?

Nah, but it will keep more of these Third Way Millionaires Club in business telling us how to stretch cat fud out a little thinner and make tax breaks a little fatter.  

Discuss

I really hate cut and paste diaries but I know the author of this piece, written back in April... that would be me, and he approves this message:

First let me state that I do not see the Republicans winning control of the Senate.  Yes, Nate Silver and others are touting it as probable but too many obstacles need to be overcome and the GOP has proven very competent at incompetence with Senate races.  Note that Team Red has only won the popular congressional vote once since 2004.  1 for 4 and it isn't going to change this year.  However the map is dangerous enough that a Republican Senate Majority Leader is within the realm so we have to contemplate it.  Here are the Top Five Reasons they should fear it:

ONE: OWNING CONGRESS

Congressional approval has been polling in the low teens (occasionally single digits)

FILE - In this June 18, 2013, photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky.. accompanied by Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, right, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., gestures as he speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. McConn
"Yep, I'm shooting for One Percent"
since shortly after Nancy Pelosi gave up the gavel.   This makes our Presidents lukewarm polling performance shine.  Even today BHO's average approval rate of 43% is triple Congress's 14% average.  The only defense that Reds have had regarding those numbers has been that Blues control the Upper House.  With a Speaker McConnell, Congressional approval = Republican Approval.

TWO: HAVING TO PASS FUNDING BILLS

In addition to bills to defund Obamacare, congress routinely has to pass Bills that fund the day to day business of the government.  Both sides realize that this needs to happen but only the Dems publicly admit to this reality.  Republicans have blamed passage of funding bills on Democrats for years.  But how do you have a hostage fight with yourself?  There will be no Blue offers to counter but the POTUS can then veto anything that isn't to his liking.   Every budget resolution and debt ceiling hike will become a Republican threat to shutter the government with a President who is not running in 2016.  We've seen how poisonous that pill is.

THREE: PASSING  ACTUAL LEGISLATION

This scenario would theoretically make passage of popular policy more likely.  No big progressive ideas will come out of this congress but small practical deals on the edges can slip through if it is coming from two Red houses.  Universal gun background checks, for example, could come up as a "Green-washing" bill.  Everybody likes the idea, even gun owners, but it dies annually just because the GOP won't give us lefties a win.  Shoot off your nose to spite my face.  At the end of the day, you have the President signing a bill and wingnuts becoming more and more disenfranchised.  Meanwhile you will have bills getting a high profile veto daily that highlight the current Red insanity.  A personhood bill would probably get to Obama's desk sooner than later.

FOUR: ENDLESS NOMINATION FIGHTS

Make no mistake, regardless of who gets nominated, each and every one of Obama's choices for Supreme Court or District Of Columbia Dog Catcher will be dragged through mud before being kicked out of committee.  This will become a two year stretch of obstruction that cannot be equivocated or rationalized by even the most jaded of Villagers.

FIVE: PRESIDENT CLINTON WITH A FULL BLUE CONGRESS

Each of the above reasons merely inflicts pain on the American people

and embarrassment on the Republican Party, two afflictions to which the Modern Party of Cruz prove time and time again not to give two shits about.  However another logical, perhaps inevitable result of taking over the Senate in 2014 would be a sweeping victory for Hillary Clinton and Congressional Dems in 2016.   With the above four factors working against them the GOP would have no hope of improving their image.  Fickle "Third Way"ers would see a Dem White House as a necessary antidote to the Republican block in the Houses.   Dems partisans would have the kind of fire in their bellies they haven't seen since 2008.   Speaker Pelosi, Leader Reid and President Hillary Rodham "Mutherfuckin" Clinton would have two years at a minimum to ram through everything on their wish lists.

As the Party of Faith, Republicans should get on their knees each day and pray for Senators Nunn and Grimes and Leader Reid in 2015.  That, is their only short term salvation.

I'm not happy about yesterday but do you think this regime really didn't need shook up? Now that this deal is done, let's think clearly.  What would have been accomplished over the next two years with Harry Reid at the helm... nothing legislatively and little progress on judicial nominations.  With Captain Mitch and his Ass Clown Posse you can expect an occasional signable Bill and far fewer holds on moderate judicial nominations.  Expect the President to be MORE activist rather than less because he can.  "Embattled" POTUS is always better than "Ineffective" POTUS.
Discuss
In theory he's undecided,
In fact he's voting for Braley
Braley Pulls Into Tie With "Likely" Voters - Leads "Actual" Voters By 20%

Earlier this week I dairies that Quinnipiac had Democrat Bruce Braley up by 21 points among early voters while early voters appeared to be 33% of the electorate.  Some folks assumed that had to be an error because... well, it sure looked like an error!  I mean, the ferocious GOTV machine the DSCC, MoveOn and OFA have been bragging about for months would have to actually be working for Braley to have a 19% lead with sooooo many turning out to vote early.  Well, today, withtheir last Iowa pollbefore the real Iowa poll tomorrow, Quinnipiac gives us reason to think that may just be the case.

                    LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                                                    Already
                       Tot       Rep    Dem    Ind     Men     Wom     Voted

Braley               47%     2%    94%    44%    44%    51%    56%
Ernst                 47        95      5        44        52       42       36

Clearly this is a tremendously polarized election and Independents are splitting right down the middle amongst the total pool but those Ds and Is and yes, Rs that are casting an early ballot are breaking bad for the Democrat.  Methinks this is probably reflective of down ballot races too.   We have recently been treated to thoughts about why Democrats may be under sampled in polling though out the country due to demographic realities.  The younger, the minority, the poor tend to be harder to get in touch with and they more likely get caught in a "likely voter" screen.  Just how big of an impact could this Blue advantage have when they turn off the voting machines tomorrow?
LIKELY
VOTERS....................................  Already
Rep    Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    Voted
31%    34%    32%    49%    51%     40%
Quinnipiac is saying that 40% of "Likely" voters are "Actual" voters.  Clearly Republican Joni Ernst is rocking amongst "theoretical" voters.  This is what success would look like if the Bannock Street Project was working. I'll take my chances.

If you've been rocking the GOTV in Iowa or Anywhere USA, this is your validation, tomorrow you get your reward.

Discuss

I don't like to obsess on polls this late in the game because, frankly, there are sooooo many of them and with Reds and Blues locked in SENATE-SLAMM 2014!! Literally dozens of polls are hitting the fans each day.  However I couldn't help look at this Quinnipiac Poll of Iowa which hid this amazing gem four bullets points below the "Joni Ernst Inching Ahead" lede:

Braley leads 57 - 36 percent among those who already have voted.
That's YOUR hard GOTV work getting rewarded.  Pollsters guessing what makes a "likely voter" is what gets pollsters in trouble.  We have imperical evidence that the Bannock St Project and the hard work of thousands of Democratic volunteers is paying off.  But what difference does a lead among a tiny subset of voters mean?  Let's look at how tiny the early voting pool is in Iowa:
So far, that's probably a ballot for a Democrat
LIKELY VOTERS....................................
Rep    Dem
35%    31%
...
Ind    Men    Wom    
30%    49%    51%    
...
Already voted
33%
Quinnipiac, who are a very reputable outfit with no Blue lean are saying that we've already bagged a 21% lead among the 1/3rd of Iowans VERY MUCH MOST LIKELY TO VOTE, AS IN 100%, NO CHANGE-BACKS.

Iowa statistics back this hummungus early voting up.  As of yesterday, the state had received 348,968 absentee ballots following 481,970 requests.  That is a full third of the total number of ballots cast in the 2010 gubernatorial election (1,047,714).  That correlation shows the Q numbers of 33% are no coincidence.

Despite oversampling R's by 4% early voters favor the Dem by 21%.  If Braley can take this advantage into election day Ersnt will have to move a mountain of votes to overcome it.   This early vote margin would also indicate that we should expect a greater total Dem turnout percentage when the lights go out next Tuesday.  

With 10 Senate races within razor margins a GOTV that can push pollings estimates 2% to the left would mean Senators like Braley, Nunn, Begich, Hagen, Udall, Shaheen and Ohrman taking the oath in January.  If GOTV efforts the DSCC, MoveON and the OFA have been bragging up for months in pesky fundraising emails can net the results Quinnipiac is finding in Iowa and move the needle 3% or 4%, we could realistically push Landrieu, Pryor to wins as well.  We could replace Mitch McConnell with a real woman.

Enthusiasm scissors, meet GOTV rock.

Discuss

Not that anyone will give the President and the team of Democrats that have lead this uninterrupted recovery from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression but:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid dropped to the lowest level in 14 years last week, the latest signal that companies are cutting fewer workers and hiring could remain healthy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000, the lowest level since April 2000. Given that the U.S. population has grown considerably since then, the proportion of the U.S. workforce applying for benefits is even smaller. Applications are a proxy for layoffs.

With unemployment down to 5.9% the US employment picture is clearly in the healthy range.  Not "new normal" healthy, but actually healthy. And despite the worldwide downturn that has austerian Europe, including juggernaut Germany, in a practical recession, the employment forecast is bright in the New World:
The economy has added 2.64 million jobs in the past 12 months, the best annual showing since April 2006.

The number of available jobs soared to a 13-year high in August, according to a separate government report. That suggests employers will keep adding jobs at a healthy clip in the coming months.

Longterm unemployment, underemployment and stagnant wages are still a blight on millions of Americans and a drag on this recovery but increasing the demand for labor while shrinking the pool of unemployed is by far the most effective way to increase the quality of jobs.  There is no bad outcome when businesses have to compete for quality hires.

While the Eurozone including the UK have been in and out of recession technically and are barely better off unemployment wise since 2010, the US has managed to avoid a rebound recession like the one in 1936, sparked by drastic spending cuts, which stalled Roosevelts recovery.  Historians will take a much better view of this performance than contemporary critics from both the Right and the Left.  That's life in the big leagues.

Don't expect anyone to trumpet this unprecedented recovery but take pride that Team Blue has done good.

-Note to Pluto.  Sincere thanks for your comment last night.  I reread it this morning and have never been happier to be called an idiot!  Officially off the ledge for now.

Discuss

It hurts me to even think about this.  I keep telling myself, "Don't be panicky guy, it'll be okay", but we have simply run out of time for under reaction. On a day when Liberia said it will need 80,000 body bags and 1 million protective suits we are clearly light years away from "Overreacting".  We don't need to panic and run in the streets, we need however to treat this as the crisis it is.  Keep this in mind:

An epidemic is by definition a situation where an infectious disease is passed on from the infected to someone else at a rate of MORE than 1 to 1.  Every other detail is meaningless.   A traveler who flew into one of the great cities in the Greatest Nation On Earth proceeded to get sick.  Using good judgement he quickly went to a big city hospital Emergency Room.  He got the best treatment we should expect on this big Earth and so far he has infected two people.  Yes, many mistakes clearly were made but mistakes have to be factored in to any situations of this scale.  Should we expect a better outcome for those traveling to Kinshasa or Khartoum?

This is not your father's Ebola.  It used to burn threw its victims quickly and only direct contact with blood, feces etc transferred the disease.  In two decades Ebola rarely, if ever, killed a nurse or doctor following protocol.  We now have about a hundred known fatalities of health workers thus far and the number has climbed by two already here in the US of A.  Clearly we have to throw away the old trope "only direct contact with bodily fluids".  This strain may have figured a way to survive outside the warm body of a host.  Maybe aerisolized mucus from sneezing has evolved to the point it can live for an extra couple minutes clinging to the glove of a nurse.  Who knows, what counts is the fact that old containment measures aren't working and we are looking at a disease with a >50% mortality rate spreading exponentially.

My daughter is flying in one month to Dallas.  Both my kids have asthma and I could not comprehend living without either of them nor my wife.  None of us want to survive or die in a next Plague.  Apart from a vaccine (which may be too late already) there are three elements necessary to contain this outbreak.

Pay patients to seek care.

People in low income nations need to be offered a payment to come seeking help.  There will be those who fake symptoms but this is a disease that is frankly, inimitable.  Payments need to go directly to patients AFTER they have recovered and only if they recover to dissuade people from infecting others to benefit.  Yes, it will encourage fire starters but this disease is too deadly to expect a significant % of self-infectors.  $200 would be a great incentive for a sick person to show up at a triage center.  Once triaged as an Ebola candidate, they would then be placed in a treatment center.  This is the easy part.

Patients must care for themselves.

Please keep in mind I am not suggesting abandoning the sick to death colonies, rather designing systems that can be rapidly scaled which reduce the contact of health providers with the infected as much as possible.  The more able bodied must help those who can't help themselves.  Those who have recovered must remain as caregivers until they are 100% clear.  As horrific as this prospect may sound, events on the ground may make it's implementation mandatory sooner than we can imagine.

MONROVIA (Reuters) - Healthcare unions in Liberia called off a strike on Wednesday over pay and working conditions for medical staff tackling an epidemic of the deadly Ebola virus.
These unions called off the strike because their own members couldn't stomach the action for more than a day.  However, conditions and patient pressures aren't going to get better for these workers who increasingly are seeing coworkers getting sick and dying.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday the epidemic was continuing to spread in the three worst-hit nations and there could be between 5,000 and 10,000 new cases a week by early December.
Most first world health professionals do not have the skill set to capably work in the makeshift super-quarantines that will be set up on soccer fields and in cane fields.  We cannot let families tend to those who are ill or this epidemic will burn until there is no targets left to infect.   The common cold does this every year, killing thousands despite a statistical mortality rate of 0%.  The WHO needs to figure out how to ship in mega facilities that can provide comfort, sanitation and sustenance for a population that will be caring for itself.  

Allow unfettered drug trials

Common HIV drugs that would be available on a large scale immediately have been claimed to have success with 13 of 15 patients.

Dr. Logan's recovery rate has been impressive as he cautions that his method only works if the patients turn themselves in on time. "When the patients come early, and they are put on this medication, they recover within three to five days. This medication is not specifically for HIV/AIDS, I want this to be clear, but an Anti Retrovirus agent that is used to treat other virus illnesses like hepatitis 'B'. It is one of those medications that are combined with two or three other medications to treat HIV/AIDS, so it should not really be called an HIV/AIDS drugs," He says.
Why would be bad to offer it to a hundred volunteers and see what happens?  The one thing we know is their will be no shortage of volunteers because the alternative is likely death.  Many possible treatments like ZMapp and TKM-Ebola are promising but need to be vetted much faster than the one year at best timetable they are looking at.  

As much as we all are hoping a cure will be found soon, we were all hoping the same thing about AIDS in 1985.  Wish in one hand, shit in the other... isn't that the saying.

Regardless of the results, getting patients into care is essential and we have to accept that this will be a Herculean effort of a scale we have never seen.  Systems need developed yesterday to allow self care.  Oh, and yes, it will have to be the same here.

I really hope someone on this site will tell me, "Hey, you're an idiot and here's why!"

I just don't see it.  Sorry.

Discuss
Mayssa Abdo aka Narin Afrin aka ISIL's Worst Nightmare
The SyrRaqqi War against ISIL is redefining the term "War On Women" as many women are taking leading roles in the fight against intolerant assholes who would stitch them into the seventh century.
(AFP) A Kurdish woman fighter is leading the battle against Islamic State jihadists in the Syrian battleground town of Kobane, a monitoring group and activists said Sunday.

"Mayssa Abdo, known by the nom-de-guerre of Narin Afrin, is commanding the YPG in Kobane along with Mahmud Barkhodan," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The secular and left-leaning Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) group has been defending Kobane, on the border with Turkey, since Islamic State (IS) fighters launched an assault on September 16.

Women volunteers have long made up a considerable part of the Kurdish front line forces but they are proving a vexing problem for ISIL fighters.  You see, to believe in the Islamists bastardized version of the Koran you need to believe that to die at the hand of a women in war means no ticket to paradise.  ISIL forces who happily throw themselves into deaths way do so seeing a path to eternal happiness.  

Abdo is hardly alone as a female fighter and, as others have shown on a daily basis, their roles have been as heroic and horrible as any man could contemplate.

(AFP) The young woman, a full-time fighter with the Syria-based Kurdish rebel group the People's Protection Units (YPG), killed herself in the attack on Sunday, Kurdish sources said. Her name in Kurdish was Dilar Gencxemis but she went under the nom-de-guerre of Arin Mirkan, the YPG said in a statement. She was from the Syrian town of Afrin in the Aleppo province of northern Syria, just south of the Turkish border.

With Kurdish fighters under increasing pressure from the ISIS militants seeking to seize Kobane, this is the first time a suicide bomber has been used by Kurdish forces in the conflict. "I don't know her exact age but she was above 20. She was a fighter from the YPG," said Mustafa Bali, a Kurdish official in Kobane told in the Turkish border town of Suruc.

"She threw many grenades at ISIS insurgents. After that, she blew herself up," he said, adding that dozens of ISIS fighters were killed in her assault.
The Britain-based Britain-based group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria, also confirmed the attack by the female suicide bomber.

I disagree with the writer's characterization of Mirkan as a "suicide bomber".  Rather she was a kick ass soldier who charged into an enemy encampment lobbing grenades until she finally avoided capture with her last blast.  Sounds like it would have been reported a lot differently if She were He.  Regardless the Kurds have dismissed the idea of using a suicide strategy and it is the only instance we know of in Syria.

Perhaps one reason Turks would like to see the Syrian Kurds chopped up by Islamic State before they allow add and intervention in Kobane is because they fear the female empowerment as much as the threat of millions of Turkish Kurds wishing to join with an independent Kurdistan nation.

Women from around the muslim world are noticing and supporting.  Women who are barred from public discussion in many muslim areas have taken to the streets in Kabul, Afghanistan in solidarity to the opposition to Islamic Statists.

(WSJ)
“Brave women and men of Kobani, we are with you,” a placard read.

But the conflict in Syria was on the minds of demonstrators who marched Sunday in solidarity with the town of Kobani, Syria, currently under siege by Islamic State militants.

Over a hundred Afghans—most of them women—held placards supporting Kurdish fighters defending the city.
At the end of the demonstration, protesters burned a flag symbolizing the group. But since Islamic State’s flag features the shahada, a Muslim profession of faith, the flag made by protesters instead featured a skull and crossbones, so it resembled a pirate flag.

“Death to Daesh,” protesters chanted, using the Arabic acronym used to refer to Islamic State.

While Islamic State hasn't made serious inroads in Afghanistan, Hafiz Rasikh, the head of the political department of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, said it was a threat to the region.

“The Islamic State is like a cancer,” said Tahira, who, like most Afghan women, goes by one name. “They have damaged the image of Islam.”

This kind of bold expression is exactly what Islamic Statists would consider an apostasy warranting a death sentence which they have meted out frequently.  The list of Syrian and Iraqi women who have been put to horrible deaths for the crime of expression is long.

Perhaps the most unlikely support of female equality has come from the United Arab Emirates who have not only sent real jets on real sorties into the hottest airspace on Earth, they have sent female fighter pilots to blast these misogynist asshats into the dust they came from.

(CNN) The first female fighter pilot in the United Arab Emirates, she led a strike mission this week against the terror group, that country's ambassador to the United States said Thursday.
"She is (a) fully qualified, highly trained, combat ready pilot, and she led the mission," Yousef Al Otaiba told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

...

Al Otaiba said the campaign against ISIS basically boils down to the question of what type of society one wants.

"It's important for us -- moderate Arabs, moderate Muslims -- to step up and say this is a threat against us. This is more of a threat against us than it is against you. This is not just a threat to our countries. This is a threat to our way of life," the ambassador told MSNBC.

CNN spoke to Al Mansouri earlier this year about her work. She had wanted to be a fighter pilot since she finished high school, but had to wait until women were allowed.

"At that time, the doors were not open for females to be pilots. So I had to wait almost 10 years for the decision to be taken," Al Mansouri said.

She stressed there's no difference between men and women when it comes to defending their country.

Woman are the silent majority with the most at stake in the unleashed Islamic Statist movement.  They are not going to go down without a fight.  Good on them.
Discuss
Former governor of Arkansas, Michael Huckabee addresses the National Rifle Association's 140th annual meeting, Saturday, April 30, 2011 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
And so far Mr Governor, how many people have pledged to follow you over the cliff?
Mike Huckabee is still a formidable member of the Republican 2016 Presidential Action Squad, mostly based on his being a preacher and all.  He is the go to mouthpiece for the social conservatives who get crazy ginned up on two things, Abortion & Teh Gays.He's practically lived in Iowa since 2008, so he polls particularly well in this particularly important caucus state.  Most certainly he will be on the stage at each and every Republican Presidential debate.  This is the message he is sending the GOP rank-n-file as of this week on the American Family Associations' radio shoe:
Huck's response to another,
 totally different question
“If the Republicans want to lose guys like me — and a whole bunch of still God-fearing Bible-believing people — go ahead and just abdicate on this issue (gay marriage- in case you didn't get it), and why you’re at it, go ahead and say abortion doesn’t matter, either.”

“Because at that point, you lose me, I’m gone. I’ll become an independent. I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this.”

So, not only is the most influential American SocialCon in a ratfuck mood over the Party Of Rove's full on embrace of buggery (sorry, did I miss that?), he apparently thinks they haven't managed enough restrictions on abortion.  What, you have to drive 250 miles to get an abortion?  And why DO these women have drivers licenses in the first place?  Compassionate Conservatism has to have it's limits folks.

We keep reminding ourselves of the demographic cliff the Republican Party is inevitably marching over as America becomes browner, yellower, greener (shhh, don't tell), but Huck and his numerous brethren may well push the GOP over a policy cliff soon.  It is already hard to remember back when gay marriage wasn't a majority popular proposition in the USA... yep, all the way back to the summer of 2012.

Here's a snapshot from May 10th, 2012 from liberal propaganda rag,the Wall Street Journal:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday he supported gay marriage, reversing his position on a controversial social issue just six months before the November election and adopting a stance fraught with uncertain political implications.

Mr. Obama had been under intense pressure this week to lay out a clear stance on same-sex marriage after Vice President Joe Biden and other top advisers endorsed it. Mr. Obama said that after years of lengthy discussions with friends and family, including his wife and two young daughters, he now "personally" believes gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.
...
Mr. Obama's position puts him squarely at odds with that of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee. Mr. Romney has said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. He also opposes civil unions and has said he would back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage
....
Polls show Americans' views on gay marriage are shifting faster than for many other hot-button social issues, with 49% in favor, according to a March Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, up from 41% in 2009. Some 40% of Americans oppose gay marriage, according to the poll.

2012 was the last time marriage equality was really a ballot consideration and it didn't work well for Team Red, if you remember.  If you look at Republican campaigns this year you would find plenty of Guns and a fair share of God but you have to look REAL HARD to find any Gay.  Case in point, look how far the Party mouthpieces have kept from the right Reverend Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.  Politically it might play in the backwaters of Mississippi but Red media makers have kept it quarantined to the "Inside Edition" celebrity fuck up chambers.

Should the 2016 R-Primary season become a referendum on gay marriage and abortion (and yes, contraception), President Hillary might be gifted a Lincolnesque majority throughout the legislature, regardless of gerrymandering.   In an election that is bound to be defined by gender issues, Huckabee wants to remind everyone just where one party stands in the social wars.  Assuming that he will loose those primaries he may well force his conqueror and all of their congressional candidates to take on a mantel of Vagino-Homo-Intellect-O-Phobe.  WAIT you say... American's already know that!  Why should it matter?  

Look back at that 2012 snapshot:  only 49% of American "supported" marriage equality then, four years earlier, that number was only 40% according to NBC/WSJ.  Gallup, which had it tied at 50% in 2012, had it up to 42% - 55% this year.  The moral of the story is that a lot of middle thinking Americans, including a lot of Democrats, Liberals, Republicans and Conservatives have changed there minds.   In '08 Gay marriage was underwater 56%-40% in that same Gallup poll.  That is a 29% net change in a position in 6 years.

Where is a good guy with a gun
when you need them?
It is the constituent equivalence of 50 to 60 million immigrants crossing into America preregistered to vote (and James O'Keefe probably has the video already).

OR he may taint the Republican Party as Philistines, Libertines and Apostates in the eyes of those bible thumping masses he proclaims to represent.

I certainly would hope Rev. Huckabee took to the hustings as an Independent running on a platform of Hate.  Give the American Taliban a comfortable place to call their own, and leave the GOP to the Mean, the Greedy and the Stupid who run the show now anyway.

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