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Van Morrison - These Dreams Of You

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it well away from any combat zone.

"I've seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems, have changed the way wars are fought," Panetta said. "And they've given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar."

The work they do "does contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly when they remove the enemy from the field of battle, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight," he said.

The new blue, red and white-ribboned Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to individuals for "extraordinary achievement" related to a military operation that occurred after Sept. 11, 2001. But unlike other combat medals, it does not require the recipient risk his or her life to get it.

David Dayen on Salon. This one is really bad for my blood pressure Moral of the story is, trust your intuition. A lot of us had a strong feeling that this was a scam on the American public despite all the cheering and praise for it from many A-list progressive bloggers.

Wall Street wins again
The secret truth: There never was a “task force” dedicated to ferreting out mortgage fraud

A year ago, President Obama gestured toward the first lady’s box at the State of the Union address at Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York.  Schneiderman had just agreed to co-chair the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities working group, an initiative between state and federal law enforcement officials and bank regulators, designed to investigate and prosecute fraudulent Wall Street activity that led to both the creation of the housing bubble and its collapse. In exchange, Schneiderman dropped his objections to a settlement over some of the banks’ fraudulent post-crash activity, particularly around fraud in foreclosure processing.

Recent profiles of this event have called last night’s State of the Union the “anniversary” of the formation of the working group.  But you can’t really have an anniversary of something that never existed in the first place.  There never was a Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities working group, never a so-called task force dedicated to ferreting out Wall Street fraud — the deceptive origination of mortgage loans, sale of worthless mortgage-backed securities for huge sums, and subsequent unloading of toxic debt to unsuspecting buyers. The working group fails to exist as a tangible entity to this day.  What does exist is the same years-old Financial Fraud Enforcement Group that serves as a conduit for press releases about investigative actions already in progress.

Yesterday morning.
BREAKING: 40+ arrested at the White House to tell President Obama to lead on climate and stop Keystone XL

Among the notable leaders involved in the civil disobedience were Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org; Julian Bond, former president of the NAACP; Danny Kennedy, CEO of Sungevity; Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Connor Kennedy, and Daryl Hannah, American actress.

After blocking a main thoroughfare in front of the White House, and refusing to move when asked by police, the activists were arrested and transported to Anacostia for processing by the US Park Police Department.

Marcy reviewed the Brennan hearing videos again over the weekend, I think, and has had many posts on the various aspects of targeted killing.  It's well worth reading through the numerous posts at her site.  This is part two about the proposed FISA-like court being discussed for targeted killing, in the wake of the release of the DoJ white paper and two legal memos. The Senate is still trying to get the rest of the memos.   At this point the information we have is that there are 11 memos in total and the Senate intelligence committee is still waiting on 7 of them. The public has not seen any of them, just the DoJ white paper that was created.
Department of Pre-Crime, Part Two: The FISA Court Is Broken

Largely to avoid some difficult issues, members of Congress are moving to create a FISA Court for Drones (and/or Targeted Killing) to review the assassination orders for American citizens before they are carried out.

Setting aside all the problems with such a plan (which I’ll return to), consider this more basic problem with this idea. Right now, the FISA Court isn’t even carrying out its original purpose, to ensure that when Americans are wiretapped for national security purposes, the government first gets a warrant.

Couple days ago, Susie Madrak
Carney: President Obama Wants Chained CPI With 'Big Deal'

How is it "balanced" when we've already lost our jobs and our economic security, and the people at the very top are doing better than ever? This is just plain bullshit, "an economic and moral disaster," Bernie Sanders calls it.

Don't bother us with your Pete Peterson-inspired Wall Street wet dreams, Mr. Obama. We have nothing left to give.

Last Sunday, mcjoan, emptywheel and digby on blogtalkradio.
Joan McCarter & Marcy Wheeler & digby VS Sundays


At 12 Noon on Sunday, February 17, thousands of Americans will head to Washington, D.C. to make Forward on Climate the largest climate rally in history. Join this historic event to make your voice heard and help the president start his second term with strong climate action.

What: The largest climate rally in U.S. history.

When: February 17, 2013, Noon - 4:00 p.m. (please arrive by 11:30 a.m.)

Where: The National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Gather at the northeast corner of the Washington Monument
(Closest Metro subway stations: Federal Triangle and Smithsonian)

For more details about the rally -- including information about coordinating and riding buses to Washington -- please read our FAQ. Also check out the nearly 100 organizations leading and supporting this rally!

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