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  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Nixon Wouldn’t Have Authorized Torture, Suggests John Dean by spocko.

    2014-09-02 16:41:38View | Delete

    The key to dealing with torture politically in the US is the leaking of the Senate report on CIA torture. Failure of courage among those with access to that report condemns us to having torture legitimized as a technique not just for the CIA and military but for routine law enforcement as well. If we [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Nixon Wouldn’t Have Authorized Torture, Suggests John Dean by spocko.

    2014-09-02 16:32:53View | Delete

    Anything post-World War II is fair game. Pre-World War II, torture was still pretty legitimate actions for most countries. A lot of organizing and the shock of how far Hitler and the Japanese took it (until you read accounts of the US Army in the Indian Wars, for example) got the international agreement of the [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Incontrovertible Proof Russia Invaded Ukraine and Putin Stole Crimea by wendydavis.

    2014-09-02 09:30:36View | Delete

    Ask President Yanukovych what he thinks about stealing.

    The Euromaidan protesters at last report were still in the Kiev Euromaidan, still protesting corruption in the government, and now protesting a right-wing coup.

    But Vicky Nuland and her husband are ecstatic. Never could have gotten W to go that far.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Incontrovertible Proof Russia Invaded Ukraine and Putin Stole Crimea by wendydavis.

    2014-09-02 07:34:45View | Delete

    Tripwire to war.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Incontrovertible Proof Russia Invaded Ukraine and Putin Stole Crimea by wendydavis.

    2014-09-02 07:30:21View | Delete

    At a minimum, a cantonment of US troops to to act as a bloody tripwire for escalation. That’s what a missile defense system looks like. Now, instead of the Alps, a select group of US troops will be able to enjoy Black Sea beaches near Odessa, right? I mentioned in Jane Hamsher’s article about Anonymous [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Incontrovertible Proof Russia Invaded Ukraine and Putin Stole Crimea by wendydavis.

    2014-09-02 06:26:21View | Delete

    So Vicky Nuland slipped you a Xanax and got Barbara Boxer to dress up as the ghost of Labor Day Future and chant: Nay-Toe; Nay-Toe; Nay-Toe; Nay-Toe And then say “Welcome to Cardiff” in Welsh. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan, the ghost of Labor Day Past (you came in late to the movie?) is saying: Star Wars, [...]

  • Indeed.

  • Depends on whether you admit bottom-up strategies. Even spontaneous bottom-up strategies with locally accountable coordinators. Movements happen unpredictably. And can shape local politics dramatically.

    What is high-cost is suppression of voting. The powers that be have spent billions of dollars over the past thirty years upping the ante on media mobilization costs.

  • Nothing terrifies government more than a large number of people who could do potential damage but have the self-restraint no to do so, especially on their opening strategy. Peaceful persistently non-violent protesters with citizen journalist coverage dropped to servers terrify the the police chiefs of America. Thousands (millions?) of tech-savvy hackers who do no more than extract a small range of documents or trash a web-site interface terrify government agencies and corporations worried about accountability. Millions of autonomous activists who might or might not show up for a call for action terrify the powers that be.

    Self-restraint seems to be an effective tactic in and of itself. Especially when there are examples like the thorough exploiting of Aaron Barr’s systems down to his iPhone that show the potential capabilities of the hacktivist community.

    The fact that Anonymous is Exhibit A in cyberthreats reflects the mentality that persistent peaceful protests are Exhibit A in real space threats. The excuse for both is the threat of embedded terrorists. The likely reason is cover for suppression of dissent.

  • Class differences manifest themselves in voting systems that systematically disenfranchise people who cannot control their working hours so as to go to vote. They also manifest themselves in the availability of time to run for office and serve as a public official. These fundamentally bias elections toward middle class voters who can take off from work, have available time for voting outside of work, and have employers understanding (even collaborating) in periods of public service during typical work hours.

    These issues go beyond the simple siphoning off of local money into misguided, wasteful, and media-subsidizing major party campaigns and the national infrastructure that leeches off of them.

    The issues in Ferguson need addressing in the composition of the City Council and St. Louis County Council. Even if nominally non-partisan, partisan resources typically sway the balance of these elections. And parties control access to these resources, which ups the ante for any candidates seeking office independently.

    However, in local and county elections, sufficient organization behind the scenes can surprise parties in a low-turnout election. Representation is not sufficient. Any insurgent candidacy needs control, which generally means winning in at least two cycles.

    The trap of using elections as a tactic is they creep into being the only strategy because actual governance takes so much time and effort especially when there is political conflict and parliamentary and legal warfare going on in the governing body. They can become huge diversions from getting things done even if the established parties are not sucking the air out of the room.

    The other trap is that policy success at the municipal level can trigger a reaction in the state legislature that closes off that success for all municipalities in the state. For example, local success in enforcing development buffers around water sources caused the North Carolina to strip planning and zoning powers to enforce water quality from municipalities and counties.

    At the moment, elections provide at best rudimentary firewalls against total stupidity. But that has to be sorted out on a candidate-by-candidate basis and some races offer few protections even for local candidates. When those firewall situations actually exist, it is wise to vote even for someone like Thad Cochran, to use a recent tactic by black voters. In the South, a substantial number of black voters are registered Republican specifically to vote in Republican primaries for the lesser of two evils. And they typically are ticket-splitters in the general election (which is yet another relatively low-cost tactic). Where there are multiple candidates in a district, often the ballot allows voting for only one candidate, which lowers the other candidates’ margins (called “single-shotting”); this can often get a preferable candidate elected by a minority of voters.

    Compared to effective protests and demonstrations (not to mention actual revolutions) electoral tactics are relatively low in cost and allow organizers more easily to mobilize people. That is why they become the seductive “only way”. What they require is a critical mass of voters so that policies actually have a chance of change. Progressive despair over numbers is the primary reason that so many dismiss electoral tactics altogether. IMO, despite the shortcomings and traps, that is a mistake.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Real Fiscal Responsibility 2; Carter: Stagnation and Unemployment by letsgetitdone.

    2014-09-01 05:42:30View | Delete

    I suspect that governors, who have legislated balanced-budget straightjackets to contend with, are typically more inclined to take a deficit reduction approach when they become President. They have four years of practice in balancing budgets. They run on their record of balancing budgets in their states. Economists, like generals, tend to fight the last war. [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Real Fiscal Responsibility I: Preliminaries by letsgetitdone.

    2014-08-31 18:07:57View | Delete

    Real fiscal responsibility creates infrastructure that enriches the lives of everyone in the population, lowers the cost of transactions, enables more efficient use of natural and scarce resources, and contributes to prosperity for everyone. The New Deal turned out to be fiscally responsible. The Cold War and the subsequent War Without End has been demonstrably [...]

  • So all of the police have become the equivalent of federales in other countries?

  • Until a cop with a Beretta says it isn’t. It’ll take years of litigation to prove him wrong and extract a cash settlement from his employing government.

  • Possession is 9/10 of the law. If you can’t leave because you;re in custody as a practical matter it doesn’t matter if you are under arrest or not. Nor does it matter that there is a Fourth Amendment to the Constitution under those circumstances. It is what is called “extralegal detention” and we will see whether St. Louis County, the nominal folks calling the shots has to pay a lawsuit from NLG for illegal detention.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Fascism in Cleveland Faces a Voter Revolt On One Hand, Defiance On the Other by Ohio Barbarian.

    2014-08-30 07:31:39View | Delete

    Did Cleveland contract with a Texas-based company to process the tickets and collect the money? If so, it is likely that people are being scammed by the set-up of the equipment to always err on the side of issuing a ticket. Next wrinkle. Installing EZ-Pass and trying to charge for public roads. More and more [...]

  • “Pilot program” re-raises my question about how deeply the DHS Fusion Center was involved in the coordination, if not the management, of the response to the protests.

    The arrests of NLG observers is consistent with the police attempt to shut off all independent sources of reporting about what they are doing. It is of a piece with the threatening and arrest of citizen journalists and the abuse of Wall Street media journalists until they show themselves compliant with the police story.

    If this is a pilot program, its replication in other situations depends on interagency training through groups like the Police Executive Research Foundation or federal promotion of the techniques through DOJ COPS and DHS.

  • Obama does not have a strategy yet because the US military has not given him one yet that he will accept. But not having a strategy does not stop the drums of war from beating. Especially at budget time. Especially at the time of the NATO Summit in Cardiff, Wales.

    Nice of him to take the heat off the generals. Also no strategy delays Congressional authorization of military aid to the Free Syrian Military forces. Doesn’t mean however that John Brennan’s good buddies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar are not continuing to ship arms to Syria.

    Saudis claim they have a just-in-time deal on nuclear weapons with their good Wahabist ally Pakistan. That is no different than the US deal with Japan and South Korea.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post So, I Asked the Russian Ambassador What He Thinks of NATO by David Swanson.

    2014-08-27 05:56:38View | Delete

    Before NATO is shut down, the US people must recognize that they have been occupying Europe for seventy years–that it has not been and is not now an actual alliance of equals, given the forward deployment of US troops in European territory.

    Excellent job, David.

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post Right Wing’s Latest Target: Poor Children Who Need Food

    2014-08-26 09:51:22View | Delete

    Let’s bring back the welfare stigma. And let’s apply it properly. First up to be stigmatized for their dependance on welfare instead of work are Lanny Davis and Daniel Payne. And then there’s Sarah Palin and even Howard Dean (unless he’s gone back to being a physician.) And of course the welfare queens: Ann Coulter, Amity Schlaes, and Michelle Bachmann.

    Daniel Payne likely has no clue of who is actually working and working hard in America’s new normal economy.

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