"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, November 28, 2011

The World Has Gone Crazy

Just a few tidbits from this morning:

From Huffington Post, this choice bit of news:
As cities around the country have swept Occupy Wall Street camps from their plazas and parks in recent weeks, a number of mayors and city officials have argued that by providing shelter to the homeless, the camps are endangering the public and even the homeless themselves.

Yet in many of those cities, services for the homeless are severely underfunded. The cities have spent millions of dollars to police and evict the protesters, but they've been shutting down shelters and enacting laws to prohibit homeless from sleeping overnight in public.

Priorities. They has 'em.

If you think this is not part of a pattern, take a look at this, from the ACLU:
The Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.


The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world.


The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself. The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.


I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?

"Why now?" Can you say "Occupy Wall Street?"

I want to highlight this part:
In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

Get it? We are the enemy. Fortunately, the ACLU has provided a handy form for you to fill out that will be sent to your senators, right here. Of course, if your senators are like mine, they're working for Wall Street anyway, but you can always try -- realizing, of course, that by exercising your right to "petition the government for redress of grievances" (First Amendment), you're automatically classified as a "terrorist."

Speaking of who's working for Wall Street, check out this story from Bloomberg:
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

I almost forgot to include Digby's observation on this story:
The good news is that the government refused to compound the problems by helping out average Americans with their foreclosures, thus avoiding moral hazard.

On a lighter note, and just to give you an idea of what we're dealing with among our elected officials, is this nice little bit from Raw Story:

Brownback plans to push for repeal a number of laws he considers unreasonable or burdensome, but whether the sodomy law will be included on his repeal agenda is unknown. The socially conservative governor previously blamed same sex relationships for children being born out of wedlock.

For Brownback's rationale for that ludicrous statement, see this bit from the WaPo Fact Checker. (Yes, WaPo does fact-checking -- on everyone else.) For the love of Pete, he was relying on Stanley Kurtz, who had been debunked by just about everyone.

That's about all I can stomach this morning. It's broken, isn't it?

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