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Essays and Open Threads

Saturday Open Thread 02-14-15

Happy Valentines Day 99percenters!
News and Sonny Landreth

Calls Grow to Reject AUMF That Permits 'Waging War All Over World'
'The devastating and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us that when we give military authority to the executive, it should not be a blank check,' says Congressional Progressive Caucus

The Caucus Cafe

Today’s Special: Clementine Cake

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and I thought some folks might be in search of a recipe to answer the sweet tooth this Hallmark holiday evokes. I’m not much of a chocolate lover but I’ll rarely turn down a piece of fruit or a few nuts. Right now our kitchen counter has a bowl full of clementines and good bakers and cooks always look for fresh seasonal ingredients.

Evening Blues Preview 2-11-15

This evening's music features Chicago bluesman Little Smokey Smothers.

Monarch Butterflies

The government is wrong, naturally. Yesterday there was a diary on Daily Kos praising the new $3.2 million government program to protect the monarch butterfly after the findings that 1 billion of them are missing. I raised the question of Monsanto's Roundup being the real problem. One GMO protector told me to "go make puppets." Many bloggers accepted this campaign very happily.

Welcome to justice and democracy in America. - #Ferguson

Writer Redmon was there and what he recorded and describes is hard to believe. That there is no media coverage or federal action against the police for this type of abuse is scary as hell. I'm not sure if everyone here has seen this article on what transpired on the 6 month anniversary of the police killing in #Ferguson, but it is definitely worth reading.

"Good Cops" and False Confessions (Crossposted from Daily Kos)

In a somewhat recent diary about our police, focusing on "good cops", I canceled and didn't post a comment to the effect that "Good Cops" are the ones sitting beside the "Bad Cops" in the interrogation room trying to coerce, con, manipulate and/or trick confessions out of people regardless of the truth of the matter. I thought it might be seen to be a tad bit too harsh. Heh.

Propagandized Media Lies and Brian Williams

Here's the thing that has been bothering me about the entire Brian Williams story. There is much hullabaloo about how Williams lied about his experience on a chopper in Iraq and his potential lies about Katrina. That kerfluffle misses the real issue. Brian Williams is simply one now very public symptom of our propagandized media and the selling of news as infotainment.

Left-Right Alliance Will Sink "Fast Track": Nothing New

From talking to people here and there, I think there is a pretty strong chance that "fast track"--and, perhaps, even TPP--will be defeated in the House thanks to a left-right alliance. That alliance is nothing new, however. Even if The New York Times has just discovered it.

The critical flaw in our Iraq War strategy and why we are making it worse

Last November Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told Congress how we could defeat ISIS in Iraq without deploying U.S. combat troops. He was surprisingly blunt about the precarious scenario required to achieve this objective.

On Pope Francis

I feel the need to write about the Pope tonight. I’ve been in a couple of debates lately about him and I want to expand on how I see him.

First, let me say I have big differences with Pope Francis. I don’t like that he is still against marriage, civil unions, and adoption for my LGBT friends. I don’t like the free speech quip he gave in the wake of Charlie Hebdo, though with that, I think he was meaning we should be careful of our speech, but that’s neither here nor there; he could’ve meant we shouldn't have it. I don’t like that he is still against any contraception save for the rhythm method. I don’t like that he didn't do an en masse opening of files to hold all priests accountable that were in the child molestation scandal. I don’t like that he is not quite warm to considering women for priesthood. And I don’t like that he is not fully on board with the Nuns on the Bus. There are other things too, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

I’m a liberal, a big leftie left leftist, to be honest, so really I didn't expect to like the Pope much, if at all. In my lifetime, we've never had a Pope that was even close to saying much of anything that in my opinion could help the people of the world. I was raised Catholic, and the Popes have always been hardline dogmatists, and what with my heretical beliefs, what they said never held much water with me. And like me, there are a ton of us liberals (at least post John XXIII) who've never really liked a Pope, and who aren't likely to like this one, save for a Pope who effects wholesale change of most or all of the faults of Church dogma.

To many of my fellow lefties’ chagrin, I look at this particular Pope a little differently. It’s definitely not that I forgive him for those things that I don’t like about him; forgiveness of that would require forgiveness of also the Church, and unless things change in the dogma, that isn't going to happen. And yes, I know we are supposed to strive to forgive, but I am not close to that point yet; I am only – and very – human. This brings me to the point about how I feel about this Pope.

It's now anti-semitism in Canada to protest Israel's actions

Our Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird has just resigned. He has had enough partying on the tax payers' dollar and protecting Israel so it's time to move through the revolving door to the corporate world. His final letter to the public in the Globe & Mail was boastful to say the least. The backlash in the comments was "good riddance to bad rubbish."