Skip to main content




Good Morning!




IMG_1665 - Copy
Topsail Island. Photo by: joanneleon. November, 2013.


Tunes



James Taylor- Carolina In My Mind



News & Opinion



U.S. Leaves behind a Booming Opium Market as it Exits Afghanistan

The United States spent $7 billion to wean Afghanistan off growing poppies in order to stem the heroin trade coming out of the war-torn country. But that money has little to show for itself, now that the U.S. is preparing to withdraw its forces and the drug trade is doing better than ever.

“The U.S. is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan having lost its battle against the country’s narcotics industry, marking one of the starkest failures of the 2009 strategy the Obama administration pursued in an effort to turn around the war,” Ernesto Londoño wrote for The Washington Post.

The failure of the U.S. to disrupt the country’s opium market has undercut “two key U.S. goals,” added Londoño, which are “fighting corruption and weakening the link between the insurgency and the drug trade.”

With American troops on the way out, insurgents in key areas are becoming more involved in the narcotics operations. U.S. drug enforcement agents have been surprised to find a high level of collaboration within Afghan drug groups, unlike the usual violent rivalries found between cartels in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

In fact, opium poppies are expected to play a bigger role in Afghanistan’s economy once foreign assistance dries up with the U.S. departure.

Jeremy Scahill has been out in the media again lately and doing Q&A's with movie screenings.  The other night there was a screening in NYC and Greenwald did a talk via Skype, Brandon Webb from SOFREP attended and Sundance has been promoting both "Dirty Wars" and their digital movie channel "Sundance Now".  I expect this might be related to the Oscars coming up in a few months.
Jeremy Scahill "First Obama Authorized Drone Strike In Yemen Killed 36 Women & Children!"

Emptywheel and Ben Wittes crossing swords again, this time about "Dirty Wars".

Lawfare Uses Incomplete Facts about Abdulmutallab Trial to Attack Dirty Wars - See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/11/05/lawfare-uses-incomplete-facts-about-abdulmutallab-trial-to-attack-dirty-wars/#sthash.pFXp30Vn.dpuf

I’m going to take a break from noting how Lawfare ignores the public record on NSA spying — both of past failures to inform Congress, and of Intelligence Community lies about having done so — to note how Lawfare ignores the public record on drone killing.

On Sunday, Lawfare posted a long review of Jeremy Scahill’s book Dirty Wars. While it is not entirely negative, it stakes a claim on what the public record shows to argue that Scahill glossed over what a dangerous man Anwar al-Awlaki was. Yet the review itself ignores key details in the public record.

First, full disclosure. I’m friends with Scahill, and he acknowledged me in the book. But given that I’m not quoted, I suspect he acknowledged me because I’ve followed certain aspects of the narrative he covered — especially the evidence in the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab case and the shoddy OLC case to support Awlaki’s killing — in more detail than most other reporters.

It’s for that reason that I find the review to be so problematic. [...]

You haven't heard that much from me about the NJ governor race because I'm so disgusted with the Democratic party in NJ and I have been disgusted with them for five years for outright enabling Christie but never more than during the past few months and this time it's the leadership of the D party along with the honchos in the NJ Democratic party that should be in the Hall of Shame.  There's no excuse for this.  None.  The Democratic party in NJ is so corrupt that we might as well have two Republican parties.  That the party bosses in South Jersey backed Christie is not exactly a surprise because they've betrayed the voters many times with Christie, but it should still be called out every time.  Parts of South Jersey are so blue that these guys hardly have to work for the votes.  So the voters need to finally take note of this and stop just robovoting the D ticket and start primarying these guys. Not easy to do with all their money. Wall Street in the north, Atlantic City in the south.  But they just don't even take the voters' interests into account at all anymore.

This is from Blue Jersey.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda in Two Words

Not all Democrats were Christie enablers. People like Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman were proactive supporters of the challenger. On the national level, Governors Martin O'Malley and Deval Patrick came to New Jersey to stump for Buono. To all of them, I have two words: "Thank You".

Some supporters were late to the game, like DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and then-Mayor Cory Booker.  To these late-to-the-game players, I also have two words: "Nice try."

Some key Democrats opted out of getting involved. Quite an un-patriotic thing to do. Bill and Hillary Clinton supported their friend Terry McAulliffe in Virginia but couldn't they have made one appearance in the Garden State? Barack Obama had his photo op with Chris Christie but treated Buono as if she were invisible. Joe Biden swore in Jeff Chiesa and Cory Booker but acted as if Amtrak never went past the 30th Street Station. To them, I have two words: "Why not?"

But the big problem is that many Democrats proactively supported His Arrogance. "Democrats" like Brian Stack and Joe DiVincenzo are traitors to their party and should not receive one cent of support from the party coffers. Other Democratic organizations gave lip service to the Buono campaign and went through the motions, but their support was shallow and non-convincing. To all those "Democrats", I also have two words.

Blue Jersey has a "What's Happening" regular post as well.  Here's part of today's, citing part of Buono's speech last night.  Her concession speech has gotten more attention than her entire campaign.  So far, I haven't seen anything mocking or calling her a whiner. That's because everything she said is true.  Also, she worked much much much harder during her campaign than Christie did and she never gave up, even while her party betrayed her. These are dark days in NJ.  Really dark.  But one bright candle is that NJ voters said "Increase the minimum wage" resoundingly.  How they could do that and reelect Christie is beyond me, but this state has always been weird about governor elections.  The past two Dems in that office screwed us royally and it leaves a long lasting scar.
What's Happening Today Wed. 11/06/2013

"You don't always get what you want": We did not get Barbara Buono. But we tried. There were many culprits (interacting with each other) including NJ bosses, key democratic state and federal leaders, Christiecrats, Democratic mayors currying favor, the press, special interest groups, Chris Christie, Barbara Buono, and her staff which resulted in poor fundraising, insuffucient money, insuffcient advertising, weak messaging, sparsely attended events, and occasional bungling. Last night she said, "The Democratic political bosses - some elected, some not - made a deal with this governor despite him representing almost everything they're against. They didn't do it for the state. They did it to help themselves politically and financially. But we did it our way, and I'm proud of that." She stood up forcefully and proudly for progressive principle and had the guts to take on Christie when noone else would.

Below are some pictures and commentary from joe shikspack about the Million Mask March yesterday on Guy Fawkes day.
Million Mask March 11-5-13

By the time I got down the Gomorrah Expressway to the Million Mask March, most of the action was already over and the Dance Party was pretty sparsely attended.  

Million Mask March 11-5-13

The marchers dispersed all over the area around the Mall and the White House and I ran into and chatted with a bunch of them.  RT and AFP both got some pretty good video of the march and the rally at the White House which is below.

Million Mask March

"Obama, come out, we got some shit to talk about..."

Protesters at the Million Mask March in Washington, D.C., were upset about a lot of things

Around the world, people associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous are participating in masked protests in honor of Guy Fawkes Day.  The Washington, D.C., event associated with the Million Mask March featured a few hundred people upset about a wide range of issues. The group met in front of the Washington Monument before marching to the White House, and then continuing on to the Capitol.

Protesters participating at a "speak-in" directly in front of the White House fences cited everything from police brutality to  foreign affairs as their reasons for attending. Several protesters who spoke to the Switch cited NSA surveillance programs as the reason they came out. And signs held by protesters identified many other causes, including antinuclear views and advocacy against genetically modified food.

There were a number of police cars and officers standing at a distance from the protest while the Switch was on the scene near the White House. One protester wryly noted that "the police are protesting the protest peacefully." However, a later tweet from the OccupyWallSt Twitter account appears to show an arrest being made.

'Anonymous' activists denounce govt spying on citizens

No to asylum, but Germans want to hear what Snowden has to say

The chancellor's spokesman on Monday took great pains to stress the need to avoid a break with Washington over allegations of the mass surveillance of German citizens by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and possibly even the tapping of Merkel's mobile phone.

“The trans-Atlantic alliance remains for us Germans of exceptional importance,” Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin. He added that Germany had benefitted more than virtually any other nation from its friendly relations with the United States and that this was a major factor to be weighed up in any and all decisions the government made.

Seibert also ruled out the idea of Berlin granting former NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden asylum in Germany, so that he could testify before a parliamentary committee looking into the US spying allegations. Snowden's situation, he said, did not meet the criteria for such a move.

Hermann Gröhe, the general secretary of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), made a similar statement, noting that the United States, which wants to put Snowden on trial on espionage charges, has a valid extradition agreement with Germany.

‘Courage Is Contagious’: Additional NSA Employees Said to Be Following Snowden’s Lead

The “courage” of Edward Snowden is “contagious,” according to lawyer and transparency advocate Jesselyn Radack, who says that additional employees at the National Security Agency are now coming forward with what they consider objectionable practices by their employer.

In an interview with ABC News on Thursday, Raddack revealed that an influx of NSA whistleblowers, inspired by Snowden, are now knocking on the doors of her organization.

According to Radack, several more whistleblowers have approached the Government Accountability Project (GAP)—the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization where she is the director of National Security and Human Rights—since Snowden’s story broke earlier this year.

“There definitely could be more revelations in addition to those that Snowden has revealed and that are continuing to come out,” she told ABC News.

As U.S. Weighs Spying Changes, Officials Say Data Sweeps Must Continue

Mr. Obama has said nothing publicly about specific steps he is weighing in response to the disclosures of the N.S.A. practices by Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor who downloaded and turned over to journalists tens of thousands of documents concerning the agency.

But protests from business executives, who told Mr. Obama last week at a White House meeting that they feared the N.S.A. revelations would lead to billions of dollars in lost business in Europe and Asia — and angry responses to the revelations that the United States was monitoring the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — have forced a rethinking inside the White House.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Caitlin M. Hayden, said Monday that the reviews now underway are intended to assure “that we are more effectively weighing the risks and rewards of our activities.” That includes, she said, “ensuring that we are focused above all on threats to the American people.”

In public testimony, General Alexander and the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., have shown little willingness to make major changes, apart from agreeing to more oversight and public disclosure of some decisions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The White House has pressed for more. Nonetheless, the actions contemplated inside the administration seem unlikely to quell the protests in Europe or assuage critics at home.

As U.S. Weighs Spying Changes, Officials Say Data Sweeps Must Continue

Mr. Obama has said nothing publicly about specific steps he is weighing in response to the disclosures of the N.S.A. practices by Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor who downloaded and turned over to journalists tens of thousands of documents concerning the agency.

But protests from business executives, who told Mr. Obama last week at a White House meeting that they feared the N.S.A. revelations would lead to billions of dollars in lost business in Europe and Asia — and angry responses to the revelations that the United States was monitoring the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — have forced a rethinking inside the White House.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Caitlin M. Hayden, said Monday that the reviews now underway are intended to assure “that we are more effectively weighing the risks and rewards of our activities.” That includes, she said, “ensuring that we are focused above all on threats to the American people.”

In public testimony, General Alexander and the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., have shown little willingness to make major changes, apart from agreeing to more oversight and public disclosure of some decisions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The White House has pressed for more. Nonetheless, the actions contemplated inside the administration seem unlikely to quell the protests in Europe or assuage critics at home.

From Congressman Sensenbrenner's op-ed in support of his and Senator Leahy's USA Freedom Act:
NSA abused trust, must be reined in

After 9-11, with the country at risk and poised to enter its most intensive conflict since the Vietnam War, Congress extended the administration broader powers to help protect the American people. But the National Security Agency abused that trust.

It ignored restrictions painstakingly crafted by lawmakers and assumed a plenary authority never imagined by Congress. Worse, the NSA has cloaked its operations behind such a thick cloud of secrecy that, even if our trust was restored, Congress and the American people would lack the ability to verify it.

Our constitutional democracy was built to be accountable to the people. That principle can never be compromised. ...

On Oct. 29, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and I came together to introduce the USA Freedom Act. The bill has co-sponsors in the Senate covering the political spectrum, and nearly 90 co-sponsors in the House — almost an even split between Republicans and Democrats.

It also has been endorsed by groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union and has the support of many of the tech giants, including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

'Eroding' Freedom: Human rights groups blast UK response to leaks

Queen tried to use state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace

Ministers were asked if money earmarked for schools, hospitals and low-income families could be used to meet soaring fuel bills

The Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces but was rebuffed because they feared it would be a public relations disaster, documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

Royal aides were told that the £60m worth of energy-saving grants were aimed at families on low incomes and if the money was given to Buckingham Palace instead of housing associations or hospitals it could lead to "adverse publicity" for the Queen and the Government.

Aides complained to ministers in 2004 that the Queen's gas and electricity bills, which had increased by 50 per cent that year, stood at more than £1m a year and had become "untenable".

The Royal Household also complained that the £15m government grant to maintain the Queen's palaces was inadequate.

Goldman Sachs Gives Hillary Clinton Almost Half A Million Dollars In Less Than A Week

While the public polls show a public disgusted with the two party duopoly on power and demanding change, the same figures are emerging as the choices for the next president. The most obvious is Hillary Clinton who is reportedly positioning herself now as a candidate of change — a curious role for one of the most establishment figures on the political scene. ...  

Indeed, the new Hillary Clinton is already attracting the type of influence seekers associated with the two parties. Just this last month, Goldman Sachs gave Clinton almost a half of million dollars for just two speeches in one week. The event is made more curious by fact that speech was described as “prepared remarks” followed by limited questions. It is doubtful that Clinton informed Goldman Sachs of anything other than the most predictable remarks from a politician — not some critical re-orientation of their investment strategy. ...

In the meantime, the two parties are moving to ensure that the same faces and choices will be given to voters despite overwhelming discontent over the two-party monopoly on power. With a system protecting incumbents and control of the two main parties, such public opposition remains largely immaterial and business interests are already putting money down on candidates like Clinton — and the “style of honesty” that they crave.

How the 1 percent always wins: Liberal washing is the right’s new favorite tactic

Similar to green washing or so-called “gay washing”/“rainbow washing,” liberal washing is all about wrapping corporate America’s agenda in the veneer of fight-for-the-little-guy progressivism, thus portraying plutocrats’ radical rip-off schemes as ideologically moderate efforts to rescue the proles.

The most reliable way to liberal-wash something is to get a famous Democrat to support it. This is because even though many Democratic politicians, party officials, operatives and pundits are neither liberal nor progressive, the media nonetheless usually portrays all people affiliated with the Democratic Party as uniformly liberal on all issues.

The famous examples of liberal washing come from the White House. A few decades ago, Democratic President Bill Clinton liberal-washed corporatist schemes like NAFTA and financial deregulation. Today, it is Democratic President Barack Obama liberal-washing the insurance industry’s healthcare initiatives and now joining with a handful of Democratic legislators to liberalwash – and legitimize – the right-wing crusade to slash Social Security benefits. ...

Until liberal washing becomes anathema to more of the genuine left, there is little chance of combating today’s plutocratic politics. It is a politics that manufactures the parameters of economic debates so that only corporate-friendly outcomes are possible. It is a politics that relies as much on money and votes as on permissive semiotics — the kind that permits labels like “liberal,” “progressive” and “left” to include those who shill for the right.

UC Santa Cruz Reports Record Deaths Of West Coast Starfish

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Marine scientists are finding a large number of dead starfish along the West Coast stricken with a disease that causes the creatures to lose their arms and disintegrate.

The starfish are dying from “sea star wasting disease,” an affliction that causes white lesions to develop, which can spread and turn the animals into “goo.” The disease has killed up to 95 percent of a particular species of sea star in some tide pool populations.

“They essentially melt in front of you,” Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Sampling has found the disease in starfish from Alaska to Southern California, according to a map on the marine lab’s website.

New GMO Crops Temporarily Blocked in Mexico


More at The Real News
First Nations to Resume Blockade in Canadian Fracking Fight

Elsipogtog First Nations members are heading back to the streets in New Brunswick this week to defend their land from a gas drilling company seeking to re-start exploratory fracking operations in the region.

The new wave of local anti-drilling resistance will resume an ongoing battle between the community members who faced a paramilitary-style onslaught by law enforcement agencies last month that sparked international outcry and a wave of solidarity protests.

The renewed protest follows a recent announcement by New Brunswick's premiere that SWN Resources Canada, a subsidiary of the Houston-based Southwestern Energy Company, will resume shale gas exploration in First Nations territory after it was halted by blockades and protests.

Elsipogtog members announced Monday they will join with local residents and other First Nations communities—including the Mi'kmaq people—to "light a sacred fire" and stage a protest to stop SWN from fracking.

“SWN is violating our treaty rights. We are here to save our water and land, and to protect our animals and people. There will be no fracking at all,” said Louis Jerome, a Mi'kmaq sun dancer, in a statement. “We are putting a sacred fire here, and it must be respected. We are still here, and we're not backing down.”



Action



Stop Watching Us.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs.



Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


The Evening Blues





More Tunes



Connie Francis - Carolina Moon

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site