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bito On January - 17 - 2013

The place to post your comments without interrupting the single topic posts. However, be mindful of the strict rules!!

If you find the rules here are too confining, try the Morning Blog.

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Every so often I intrude TO/OT with a personal pick of a site that I find important that I feel needs to be shared and not lost in the shuffle of the constant flow of thoughts on The Planet.

And yet with globalization, we seem to have developed a strange apprehension about the efficacy of our ability to apply the innovation and hard work necessary to successfully compete in a complex security and economic environment. Further, we have misunderstood interdependence as a weakness rather than recognizing it as a strength. The key to sustaining our competitive edge, at home or on the world stage, is credibility — and credibility is a difficult capital to foster. It cannot be won through intimidation and threat, it cannot be sustained through protectionism or exclusion. Credibility requires engagement, strength, and reliability — imaginatively applied through the national tools of development, diplomacy, and defense.

The Y Article

A National Security Narrative

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

H/T AB

Written by bito

Was once a handsome frog until kissed by an ugly corporate princess.----- Like a well honed knife, the internet can be a wonderful and useful tool. It can be used to prepare and serve a delicious meal or it can be used to cause harm. peace

13,441 Responses so far.

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  1. agrippa says:

    There are a couple of things that I noticed:

    Very few people or ‘pundits’ want to discuss George W Bush.

    Very few people or ‘pundits’ want to discuss the calamity of the Iraq war.

    Very few people or ‘pundits’ want to discuss the consequences of that war.

    Put them all out of your mind, and forget all about them as fast as you can.

    • AdLib says:

      agrippa, the “pudnuts” (copyright Bito) are part of the MSM machine which tries to keep people from looking at the big picture of what’s going on in the country and thinking like dogs, they just want the public to whip their heads around to something else when they yell “Squirrel!”

      The Kochs and the rest of the wealthy and powerful always look at the big picture, the past, present and future and use that perspective to manipulate the course of events. There is power in seeing the big picture and a loss of power when only looking at what’s right in front of you each day.

      So it’s no wonder that Bush, Iraq, Wall Street’s criminality, destruction of upward mobility and the middle class, all the things that have been happening BECAUSE of past events, many of which have been part of a long term agenda, are not focused on.

      They don’t want the people to see the big picture. If they saw it, the 1%er plutocrats would be running for their tax shelters.

      • agrippa says:

        Well, I am not part of that. I do my own reading; my own analysis. I do not need the advice of pundits ( who are not pandits). When I do read them, I read to see what sort of rhetoric they are putting out for the day.

        I do not watch TV; I do not what is on TV; nor, who is on TV. I have not watched TV in years.

        I am afraid that I do not believe in those people having a long term agenda. From what I know of people ( including the ‘better sort’), that is giving them too much credit. Their thinking is much more short term and tactical.

  2. kesmarn says:

    BREAKING NEWS

    The filibuster is dead for Presidential nominees! Now we can finally move forward and get the people that have been nominated by the President into those jobs!

    And when you throw in the fact that Vermont has just adopted single-payer health care for all — what a great day!

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/11/filibuster-dead-partly

    • Nirek says:

      Kes, this is only for judicial nominees?
      Why not for other Bills?

      • kesmarn says:

        nirek, my understanding is that it doesn’t apply to Supreme Court nominees or legislation. I think they didn’t want to make too radical a break with tradition too soon. But I could be wrong on that!

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, this is fantastic news!!! And yes, combined with VT being the model for single payer, it is a great day indeed!

      We can see the vast damage that Bush’s SCOTUS and other judge picks have done to this country and the Repubs trying to sabotage Obama’s duty and right to appoint judges to balance out the extremists is just plain anti-Constitutional.

      This needed to be done and the Senate Dems have little to worry about since it is not likely that a Republican will be in the WH for some time and in the meantime, with Obama’s appointments sailing through now, we will have a bulwark against right-leaning appointments in the future.

      Just having Obama’s appointees join the DC Circuit Court will be a big win but adding in all the other court appointments he can now make will leave a lasting legacy and a solid non-extremist judiciary in place.

      McConnell, Cruz, Rand Paul and the rest of the Senate Repubs brought this on themselves by repeatedly breaking their agreements and deals with Reid, promising to work with Dems to move appointees through and give them votes. Then, they just laugh at Reid as a sucker and pronounce the Constiutional judicial appointments that the President is required to make, “packing the court” and “unnecessary” while admitting to each other this is about keeping Obama from fulfilling his duties and appointing judges that aren’t the RW extremists they want.

      High time that was over! Finally!!!

      As for VT, this is exactly what many have tried to explain to the emoprogs and whiners on the Left about the ACA. It was a huge step towards universal health care and movement in that direction would lead to the growth of single payer. You can’t grow up from crawling to running a marathon overnight, changing our health care system from private to public overnoght would have caused far more havoc than a website being faulty or 1% of Americans having to choose new plans.

      Those who believe in single payer should be satisfied and confident now that there is a laboratory for it in VT just as there was for the ACA in MA. When it succeeds there, more states will follow. When enough states (CA is heading in that direction too) adopt single payer, it will be natural and far easier for them to come together under a national umbrella of single payer.

      Though something tells me Texas and much of the South won’t be happy about everyone being insured for less money. It just ain’t “American”!

      • SallyT says:

        I really think it is too late to try and take ACA away. Even though the right won’t admit it, too many are using some form of it. Whether pre-conditions or children on policies longer, or got a refund, too many are using it. I don’t think they would ever let it go completely or at all now. Once it is experienced and benefits realized more, it ain’t going away. Yes, Vermont is a testing ground for single payer and I am glad that is the state. People there will work to make it work. VT is an independent state. More states will try it after they have seen some results from VT. When that happens, investors will start pulling away from Big Medicine, ie: hospitals for profit, etc. (Legalizing drugs will have the same results on for profit prisons) Oh, it won’t be easy just like the tobacco industry. When investors see that returns won’t be as great, they pull away.
        Texas will put up a fight but nothing like the fight they are going to have once wind and solar energy takes off! Those oil guys are going to want war here and every where!

        Personally, I can’t wait for more and more states and other countries to demand GMO labeling. Once that happens, good-bye industrial farming. People will still eat that crap but no where near as they are now. Hello, small local farming and produce! There is a connection here with universal healthcare because take away the for profit and more will come out on how much of this stuff in the food and water is causing autism, thyroid and other cancers, and other conditions that have escalated in the past several decades.

        Do I hope too much? No, but I don’t know if I have the time to see.

        • Nirek says:

          Sally, thanks for the shout out for Vermont. We are working toward a single payer system.

          Vermont seems to be a leader in many ways. We were the first state to legislate Gay marriage. We have had a bottle redemption law for years and our roadsides are cleaner for it. We have no billboards. When driving through VT you get to see the beauty, not advertisements.

      • Nirek says:

        Ad, there doesn’t seem to be a good fix for stupid ( see the TP in Texas and other places).

        I honestly think they should have done this in Jan. of this year.

        • AdLib says:

          Nirek, my understanding is that Reid has wanted to do this for some time but old Dem Senators like Feinstein wouldn’t support it and give them enough votes to pass it. Finally, after all this insanity, the holdouts gave in (except 3 Dems who voted with Repubs against it…cowards from Red states.

      • kesmarn says:

        Well, Texas has been and seems to want to be again — a whole other country! I say we airlift AB and all her friends/family outta there, and let ’em!

        The Prez is speaking now and giving an eloquent defense of this rule change. Well done, Sir!

        And — as much as McConnell and Co. are squawking now — they had to have seen this coming. They were certainly warned often enough.

        • AlphaBitch says:

          AB thanks you kindly but here at the home of the Alamo, our whole motto is to “stand and fight” (vs stand your ground, which is the wuss way).

          Texas is home to the lazy and the crazy voter populations. Can’t do squat about crazy -- remember my motto: you can’t negotiate with crazy (SEE filibuster reform) and you can’t argue with stupid (SEE Gohmert, Louis -- aspersions on my asparagus)

          So you fight. You fight with words, with deeds, with examples, with kindness. And even if you don’t win, you have a helluva time doing it! Getting lazy voters to turn out is only a Sisyphian task!

          Although it does make time a little more precious.

          And Vermont is lovely. What I had always dreamt and hoped it would be. I’ve been to Northfield (Nirek?). I felt so happy and peaceful there, it was like some type of anti-TX vortex.

          But it was Maine that stole my heart, Maine of the contradictions, Maine of the lobster-neck parts. Sigh. Why be happy and peaceful when you can be fighting???

          So AB thanks you kindly, but I am not yet ready to leave. The work continues. We know it is unlikely to change this next cycle, but if you aren’t willing to try, you have to sit down and shut up. Ain’t gonna happen, peeps.

          Now I have to go……just wanted to get some perspective on the reform from those I trust! -- AB

          • kesmarn says:

            AB, you are such a spunky little woman! I luvs ya for that.

            To all you Texas ladies, here’s a nice new graphic for you in your battle for sanity in the Lone Star State:

            [img][/img]

        • AdLib says:

          Kes, actually, let’s hope AB and friends can wait out for the Latino population to take over in TX and turn it Blue!

          I don’t know if McConnell and Co. think that far, they do what they have to right now to fend off primary challenges and worry about the fallout later. Plus, they are so overconfident about “knowing” what Obama and Dems will do, just like they came out of their meeting when they decided to shutdown the government with laughs and smiles, thinking Obama would have to fold.

          They are for the most part, rather dumb.

  3. SallyT says:

    Here you go, guys! Some great charts!

    Billions of dollars’ worth of good news!

    This chart is amazing news for our health cost problem

    [img][/img]

    Health care costs have been growing a lot more slowly over the past few years than they typically do. Yearly health cost growth slowed from an average rate of 3.9 percent between 2000 and 2007 to 1.3 percent between 2011 and 2013.

    [img][/img]

    In private insurance, the average spending growth rate per person has slowed a lot over the last few years. In Medicare, there was no spending growth between 2010 and 2013 and, in Medicaid, per person costs actually decreased some.

    [img][/img]

    This chart from the council’s report shows a significant drop in preventable readmissions to hospitals (when treatment goes wrong the first time and the patient must return to the hospital). That happened right around the time Medicare began penalizing such return trips to the hospitals.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/20/this-chart-is-amazing-news-for-our-health-cost-problem/

    • AdLib says:

      Sally, thanks for these! They’re pretty remarkable charts and the kind of proof that all logic would have pointed to happening.

      Smart reforms that produce results is exactly what Repubs fear, “Let the marketplace rip off consumers and taxpayers, otherwise, it’s socialism!”

      Nope.

      The Repubs may be basking in their 15 minutes right now on the ACA’s problems but as all of this settles down, which it already is, and the results like the ones you’ve provided become general knowledge, it will be a stake through the heart of the Baggers and GOP…which fortunately for them, is treatable under Obamacare.

  4. glenn says:

    Okay, I just wanted to assure my fellow Planeteers that all is “right” in the madteaparty “world”.

    At last Friday night’s VOX, I was pointing out the hypocrisy of the tparty chairman in Cobb County, Ga, being “excited” about the Atlanta Braves moving thier stadium from Fulton County to Cobb. At a cost of around $9 million in property taxes, and a total of $300 million in other taxes.

    However, the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots have now “righted” their world with this robocall sent out to both republican and Democratic “patriots” in Cobb County.

    “I’m calling to let you know that your Cobb County Commission chairman, Tim Lee, is planning to spend $300 million of your tax money on a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves, including $9 million from property taxes. If you don’t want multiple new taxes on services, and your property tax dollars used for this stadium deal, you must let Chairman Lee know now by calling his office at….”

    So many people called the number that the Cobb County commission that they essentially shut down the phones.

    So, as we were all lamenting the hypocrisy of the tpers on Friday night, we can now rest easy. :)

    • kesmarn says:

      Wow! A win for sanity, glenn! That is so wonderful to hear!

      Thanks so much for updating us on this situation. It would have been maddening if it had gone the other way.

      😀

      • glenn says:

        Well, kes, the commission has yet to vote on the matter. And, from reports I’m reading, the citizens of Cobb County will NOY have a chance to vote on it; the commission only will be voting, so it’s not clear yet if the move will actually be approved.

        I just wanted to make the point that I was bemoaning the tparty’s hypocrisy on Friday night, and they’ve “come around”.

        Thanks for your reply.

        • kesmarn says:

          Oops! I guess I was getting the celebratory fireworks out a little prematurely, glenn.

          Thanks so much for clarifying. Fingers crossed now!

  5. kesmarn says:

    [img][/img]

  6. agrippa says:

    The news media has never been very good. We have had good reporters and good newspapers -- and continue to have. But, that is unusual. The news media is, generally, mediocre.
    But, the media may have gotten worse. Why?

    The newspaper business has declined; far fewer newspapers ( they went bankrupt); far few reporters, as surviving newspapers have reduced the news room. Reporters simply are not there to report news.
    Afternoon newspapers went broke first.

    Broadcast news ( radio and TV) has always been a stepchild; at best, a loss in revenue. News gathering was never an real interest or priority with broadcasters. It is not important to them now.

    Under the best of conditions, reporting is difficult. There is the problem of access to those who know; there is the problem of getting them to talk. And a myriad of other issues; but, I think that access comes first.

    Political bias? That is built in; no news outlet is impartial.

    • kesmarn says:

      And the purchase of major TV networks by huge corporations didn’t help matters either, agrippa.

      Really good, objective, in-depth reporting is expensive and often dangerous. When their profits can be just as big — or even bigger — by simply stirring up resentment and controversy, they seem to feel it’s just not worth the bother.

  7. SallyT says:

    I’m shocked, shocked to find Right wing cyber attacks have been going on at Healthcare.gov website! Round up the usual suspects!

    Right wing cyber attacks on Healthcare.gov website confirmed

    The name of the attack tool is called, “Destroy Obama Care!”

    “Destroy Obama Care!”, that’s the advertised name given to the attack tool by “right wing patriots” who are distributing the DDoS tool through downloads on social networks, which promises to overwhelm the Healthcare.gov website.

    “This program continually displays alternate page of the ObamaCare website. It has no virus, Trojans, worms, or cookies. The purpose is to overload the ObamaCare website, to deny service to users and perhaps overload and crash the system,” reads the program’s grammar- and spelling-challenged “about” screen. “You can open as many copies of this program as you want. Each copy opens multiple links to the site.”

    “ObamaCare is an affront to the Constitutional rights of the people,” it adds. “We have the right to civil disobedience!”

    Marc Eisenbarth, research manager at the DDoS defense firm Arbor Networks says that the DDoS attack tool has been used in the past to attack perceived political wrongs.

    “This application continues a trend Arbor is seeing with denial-of-service attacks being used as a means of retaliation against a policy, legal rulings or government actions,” said Eisenbarth.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/right-wing-cyber-attacks-on-healthcare-gov-website-confirmed

  8. agrippa says:

    I see that portions of the ‘news media’ are playing up ( AKA hype) the problems with the ACA website; such as comparing it to Katrina. AS is a glitchy website and a hurricane are the same. Pretty silly.

    It is beginning to look like a another era of yellow journalism.

    With the ‘news media’, there are no good old days. But, it is different now. There are many fewer newspapers and news magazines. The newspapers that remain have reduced the size of their news room. Broadcast journalism is similar.

  9. Kalima says:

    My Sunday vent.

    I am so tired of this crap and the things written and spoken about it by people who have no idea how the ACA works and who have never even bothered to read the bill.

    What the President has had to deal with while trying to get the ACA off the ground is no small feat. You know, similar to what all of us have to deal with before our afternoon tea and muffins is an attitude common in both the news and on the internet. Nothing really. A piece of cake, right?

    Attempting to bring healthcare coverage to all Americans after decades of turmoil and disarray, a massive undertaking, should be as easy as learning to ride a bike, or so some think. Who are these people and where do they live? Planet Overreach?

    Below just a short list of a few of the issues the President has had to deal with at the same time while hardly ever receiving any praise or credit from your msm, his fellow Democrats, and in my opinion, the majority of Americans. He remains grossly unacknowledged by the very people he is trying to make better lives for. Looking on from far away, I can’t help but feel a deep sadness that so many remain so blind.

    Shame on the lot of them for trying to minimise the efforts of an honest and capable man, attacked every step of the way during his presidency, who might be the last leader for a long time to really give a damn about the American people.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Benghazi

    IRS scandal

    Benghazi

    Syria

    Benghazi

    Syria’s chemical weapons use

    Benghazi

    The overthrowing of the government by the military in Egypt

    Benghazi

    The NSA scandal

    Benghazi

    The shutdown

    Benghazi

    The flawed healthcare site (vague and fudged reporting on actual enrollment numbers)

    Benghazi

    A deal with Iran to curb their nuclear ambitions.

    Benghazi

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Feel free to add to the list and whatever you do, don’t forget “Benghazi” because the deaths of hundreds of thousands in two Bush wars mean nothing to the GOPTP as they cling like leeches to a story that should never have been, and never was a scandal..

    • Nirek says:

      Kalima, the main stream media has not helped at all. They repeat the lies from the TP as if they were factual. They keep the lies alive while smothering the truth.

      Just look at the way they keep mentioning “Benghazi” without explaining that it was not a conspiracy or the fault of the POTUS.
      See the way they always say the ACA (Obamacare) is a mess. They never say that Obama is making life better for the poor and working poor.

  10. Kalima says:

    An amazing teacher.

    “The Angry Eye” | part 2 | Brown Eye-Blue Eye Experiment


  11. Kalima says:

    So David Vitter wants to embarrass Congress? Hilarious. Mr. Pampers, the prostitution scandal guy wants to embarrass people. How quickly the Teapublicans forget their past.

    —-

    One senator’s quest to embarrass Congress on health care

    “Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has been unable to persuade colleagues to take benefits from their staffers..”

    http://wapo.st/I3Sejn

  12. SallyT says:

    Now wouldn’t this be something!

    Swiss Will Vote On Radical Initiative To Dramatically Reduce Executive Pay

    Switzerland has announced a dramatic new legal initiative that would radically reduce income inequality by creating a fixed legal ratio between the salaries of company CEOs and their lowest-paid employees. Called the 1:12 Initiative, the idea is that the monthly income of the highest earners would be limited to no more than the yearly income of their lowest paid employees, a move that has the business community in Switzerland warning that the country would become far less attractive to do business in, and that they may move elsewhere.

    With its wealthy and well-educated population, entrenched private banking system, advanced infrastructure, functional health care system, and high levels of social and public security, advocates of the initiative argue that there are plenty of reasons to do business in Switzerland that do not revolve around the ability to pay CEOs massively disproportionate salaries. Big businesses, of course, are throwing money into campaigning against the initiative, with major companies sending letters home with their employees asking them to vote no on the proposal. [source]

    -- See more at: http://www.classwarfareexists.com/swiss-will-vote-on-
    radical-initiative-to-dramatically-reduce-executive-pay-2/#sthash.9xPfimJF.dpuf

    • Nirek says:

      Sally, wouldn’t you think that big business would like the idea? They could save a lot on payroll and maybe lower prices. (I just made myself laugh) because they don’t care about prices.

      Good story, I wish the Swiss luck !

      • SallyT says:

        I would think that stockholders would like cutting down CEO pay. Would mean more in dividends to them, I would think. As you say, lower prices are not priority to any of them.

    • kesmarn says:

      Oh Sally, I hope this is one virus that spreads like the YouTube video of “What Does The Fox Say?”

      Those silly CEO’s. They always threaten fold up their little businesses and move to another country if they don’t get their way. What would happen if every country adopted this rule? What if there were nowhere for them to go?

      Imagine.

    • funksands says:

      Sally this is verrrry interesting.

  13. kesmarn says:

    Is this not an amazing image? Two women who paid dearly just for being who they are. But they’re both staying strong.

    [img][/img]

  14. Kalima says:

    Thoughts and many thanks for all veterans today, especially those who risked their lives and lost their lives standing next to soldiers like my father in Normandy on D-Day on the 6th of June, 1944. Thank you sincerely for the price you payed and for the price some are still paying now. Peace.

    —-

    America’s military suicide rate explained

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/24824276

    One in 10 veterans lacks health insurance. Obamacare could change that.

    http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/11/one-in-10-veterans-lacks-health-insurance-obamacare-could-change-that/

    • Nirek says:

      Kalima, the suicide rate is way too high. It could be much lower if the VA did a better job. Too often vets are ignored. Things could be far better for them if they were given a decent chance of getting a decent job and some therapy.

      My Dad, a WWII and Korean War veteran had the wisdom that is lacking in the VA. He made me talk about my experience in Vietnam and shared his experience in his wars. He retired as a First Sargent with a GED and 24 years in the Army. No real education but lots of experience and common sense.

      The VA could take a lesson from older veterans.

      • Nirek, I have to defend the VA here. They have been my primary source of health care for a few decades now. They have never refused to treat me. They don’t have much power to find employment for vets, that is left up to other agencies and I admit, somewhat lacking.

        As I’m sure you know, many vets don’t ask for help because they see that as being weak. You can’t help a man who won’t ask for it. Is the VA perfect? Of course not, but they have improved immensely since the 80s. They save the lives of thousands and thousands of vets, every year. I truly believe they saved mine.

        You are absolutely correct about vets getting together and sharing their experiences being a great help to getting back to a normal life (whatever that is). Certain drugs combined with group therapy and individual counseling really does work. Not 100%, but I would say at least 95%. It requires a lot of work for the doctor and the patient.

        • Nirek says:

          KT, you are right about the help they do provide. The trouble is the GOP wants to cut veterans benefits and the block any efforts to make the VA better.

          Those politicians sent the vets into harms way , yet they don’t want to help them return to a productive life.

          It really bothers me when the GOP hypocrites jump into the limelight whenever a veteran or group gets some attention. They say all kind of nice things and then vote to cut benefits.

          The VA does good things but I’v been waiting half a year for a reassessment and have no word from them yet.

          • Nirek, what sort of reassessment? Health benefits, or disability pay? I have noticed that the VA has a back log ( too large) for those vets seeking disability compensation. I hope your service status is not in question. That should never be a problem. Your service is well documented, I would think.

            • Sorry to hear that Nirek. I think that even today, so many years after the war, the government hates to admit that Agent Orange did affect many, many soldiers and Marines who fought in that war. I hope you get your claim approved, soon.

              I have a friend who did two tours with the Marines, and he has had several illnesses related to exposure of that chemical. Still does. It’s a damn shame.

            • Nirek says:

              Agent Orange (not Boehner) gave me late onset diabetes about 8 years ago. It is getting worse as I get older.

            • Nirek says:

              Disability.


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