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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Why Am I Moving Left? - America’s changed, and so have I. ---By THOMAS E. RICKS

Another ‘natural conservative’ has publicly recanted. Here’s Thomas E. Ricks, “journalist who writes on defense topics“, in Politico:

Why Am I Moving Left?
I used to be right down the middle. But America’s changed, and so have I.
By THOMAS E. RICKS July 23, 2014

In my late 50s, at a time of life when most people are supposed to be drifting into a cautious conservatism, I am surprised to find myself moving steadily leftward…

…Since leaving newspapers, I have again and again found myself shifting to the left in major areas such as foreign policy and domestic economic policy. I wonder whether others of my generation are similarly pausing, poking up their heads from their workplaces and wondering just what happened to this country over the last 15 years, and what do to about it….

His triggers include Iraq (“I believe that the invasion of Iraq was wrong, not only launched on false premises but also strategically foolish”), torture (“I never expected my country to endorse torture”), “intelligence officials run amok”, “growing income inequality”, and gun massacres… among others.

… Not long ago, when I mentioned my unease to an old friend who is a Pentagon official—not in a political job but a professional one—he surprised me by confessing that he was feeling the same way. Exploring the thought, he mentioned in particular how disturbed he had been by the trend of “stand your ground” laws that seem to permit angry white men to gun down black youth who frighten them.

Where might this all lead? I am no better at predicting the future than anyone else. I think there are many others like me who are just as puzzled about where our country is at now, and how we got here. No doubt there are many reasons, though I believe there are clear signs that the Reagan Revolution, which made incentive-oriented, free-market solutions the default mode of both parties, is now finally petering out. I anticipate calls for more federal intervention, especially in areas where the public good is suffering, such as transportation and the cost of higher education. We may yet see a leftish generation of senior citizens, a group of aging Baby Boomers who can make common cause with a squeezed middle class and a generation of millennials whose careers have been damaged by the Great Recession while the top 1 percent have grown even wealthier…

The rest:

"Is it controversial that the children (aren't) alive? -OR- That they're children?

Israel bans radio advert listing names of children killed in Gaza
Human rights group B'Tselem will petition Israel's supreme court after advert was deemed to be 'politically controversial'

B'Tselem's appeal against the decision was rejected on Wednesday. It intends to petition Israel's supreme court on Sunday in an effort to get the ban overturned.

In its appeal, B'Tselem demanded to know what was controversial about the item. "Is it controversial that the children (aren't) alive? That they're children? That those are their names? These are facts that we wish to bring to the public's knowledge."

In a statement, the human rights group said: "So far more than 600 people have been killed in bombings in Gaza, more than 150 of them children. But apart from a brief report on the number of fatalities, the Israeli media refrains from covering them." By Thursday morning, the death toll in Gaza had exceeded 700.

B'Tselem went on: "IBA says broadcasting the children's names is politically controversial. But refusing to do so is in itself a far-reaching statement – it says the huge price being paid by civilians in Gaza, many of them children, must be censored."


George R.R. Martin's Response To A Fan's Letter Is The Happiest Ending He Ever Wrote


Wow, if that doesn't hit you right in the heart tree, nothing will.

Then, proving that he is the coolest guy in the Seven Kingdoms, Martin wrote back the sweetest response.

Dear Jack,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt, touching note.

I’ve heard that you donated all your £153 pocket money savings to my Prizeo fundraiser on behalf of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. I cannot tell you how much that moved me. It pleases me no end to know that my novels, and the TV series based on them, have inspired readers as young as yourself to rally to the support of these majestic and too often stigmatized animals.

Alas, I cannot promise you a grisly death in THE WIND OF WINTER. Those spots have already been filled by some very generous donors, and there’s a limit to how many people even I can kill.

However, inspired by your example, my friends at Prizeo and I would love to follow your lead with a $10,000 in your name to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust. That’s a wonderful organization that I've heard much about, and they are lucky to count people like you as supporters.

I wish you the best of luck in your future career as a wolf conservationist, and hope that you inspire many others to follow your lead.



and the wolves respond:

State of Tennessee Sued for Depriving Residents of Medicaid Coverage

WED JUL 23, 2014 AT 07:58 PM PDT

The Southern Poverty Law Center has just filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Tennessee claiming damages for several Tennessee residents who are suffering health problems because of the refusal of Tennessee politicians to properly implement Medicaid.

From the SPLC news release:

According to the lawsuit, the state has violated federal law by discontinuing in-person help for applicants to its Medicaid program, TennCare. Instead, Tennessee forces applicants to apply for TennCare through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace website, which was not designed for this purpose, causing some residents – including those with serious medical conditions – to go needlessly without health care. To make matters worse, the state has stopped accepting TennCare applications in person.
Several people are listed as complainants in the case including an infant:

One plaintiff in the lawsuit is a baby identified as “S.G.,” who was born two months premature. He was born into CoverKids coverage, but Tennessee revoked it the moment he left the hospital. S.G. has not had coverage since leaving the hospital.

As a premature child, S.G. is at high risk of contracting the potentially fatal respiratory and airway virus RSV. He requires monthly shots – at $3,000 each – to prevent this illness. His parents can’t afford the treatment.

The specific complaint can be found here: http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/tenn-care-splc-complaint.pdf


NRA Floats Idea Of Kids Needing To Show Gun Proficiency "To Advance To The Next Grade"

NRA Floats Idea Of Kids Needing To Show Gun Proficiency "To Advance To The Next Grade"
New NRA Commentary: "What If Instead Of Gun-Free Zones We Had Gun-Required Zones?"


Hurting the innocent as a political tactic......enough about the judges. Focus on the litigators

Halbig and hurting the innocent as a political tactic
Andrew Koppelman

......enough about the judges. Focus on the litigators—people who have opposed Obamacare from the beginning, and who are now trying to sabotage it in any way they can, even if there is no likelihood that it will produce a political result that they find more palatable. I’ve spoken to some of these lawyers, and they argue that, whatever the value of the subsidies for all the low-income people who depend on them for medical care, the rule of law demands that their reading of the statute be followed. This is an odd version of the rule of law: The legislative scheme has to be distorted on the basis of a clever argument that was invented out of whole cloth by these same lawyers. The chaos that would follow their victory probably would not be good for the Republican party. It would be a disaster for the judiciary, which is why the suit is likely to be ultimately rejected by the courts. Many people, right now, are getting diabetes and cancer treatment through the subsidies that this litigation aims to terminate. An ethical person would think about those consequences before bringing a case whose ultimate purpose is merely to harass one’s political adversaries.

Read the whole thing (terrific):
via: http://balkin.blogspot.com/2014/07/halbig-and-hurting-innocent-as.html



We are Israeli reservists. We refuse to serve.

We are Israeli reservists. We refuse to serve.

A petition.


To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.

This petition, long in the making, has a special urgency because of the brutal military operation now taking place in our name. And although combat soldiers are generally the ones prosecuting today’s war, their work would not be possible without the many administrative roles in which most of us served. So if there is a reason to oppose combat operations in Gaza, there is also a reason to oppose the Israeli military apparatus as a whole. That is the message of this petition:

* * *

* * *

We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret, because, in our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.

The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority on who is valued more and who less in society — who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.

The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians.

the rest:

Fox & Friends Concerned That Emergency Services Respond To 911 Calls From Non-Citizens

Fox News' morning program questioned a Texas official about providing emergency services to undocumented migrants, asking whether 911 calls from immigrants must be answered "even though for the most part, when you get there, you realize they're not even American citizens."

On July 23, Fox & Friends centered a discussion on how undocumented immigrants in Brooks County, Texas are "bombarding" the police department with 911 calls. Host Brian Kilmeade set up an interview with the Texas county's chief deputy by claiming that "illegal immigrants are learning the hard way there's a deadly cost to crossing the border." Kilmeade suggested Brooks County emergency response services might be strained because, "not only are they understaffed and lacking resources, now they've got to deal with illegal immigrants who have no business being here."

As an example, the program aired two emergency calls from Spanish speakers each identified on-screen as "Immigrant." In the first, a distressed male requests emergency assistance for his cousin, whom the man described as "turning blue." Another call featured a man and woman explaining to the 911 operator that they have not had access to water in three days.

Kilmeade asked the deputy, "So those calls, you have to respond to, even though for the most part, when you get there you realize, they're not even American citizens?"

Video (ick) & more:

Apple installed security backdoors on 600 million iPhones, iPads

Apple installed security backdoors on 600 million iPhones, iPads: Researcher
James Vincent,The Independent | Jul 23, 2014, 05.03 AM IST

..................security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski has presented a paper claiming that up to 600 million Apple iPhones and iPads have a security back door that can be accessed to retrieve data from the devices. Apple claims what Zdziarski discovered does “not compromise user privacy and security.”

Zdziarski claims different:

“There is no way to disable these mechanisms,” Zdziarski writes on his personal blog. “This makes it much harder to believe that Apple is actually telling the truth here.”…The backdoors reportedly cover a range of hidden tools and protocols that activate with “paired” computers — machines connected to an iPhone or iPad via USB that the user has granted security access to.

Apple says that this allows individuals and businesses to manage their devices, but Zdziarski has pointed out that the system offers unecrypted access to users’ online log-ins, contacts and web history and could be compromised by anyone with access to the same Wi-Fi network.

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