Monday, November 28, 2011

Obama and Democrats: Giving up on white working class!

November 27, 2011, 11:34 pm
The New York Times

For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.

All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

It is instructive to trace the evolution of a political strategy based on securing this coalition in the writings and comments, over time, of such Democratic analysts as Stanley Greenberg and Ruy Teixeira. Both men were initially determined to win back the white working-class majority, but both currently advocate a revised Democratic alliance in which whites without college degrees are effectively replaced by well-educated socially liberal whites in alliance with the growing ranks of less affluent minority voters, especially Hispanics.

The 2012 approach treats white voters without college degrees as an unattainable cohort. The Democratic goal with these voters is to keep Republican winning margins to manageable levels, in the 12 to 15 percent range, as opposed to the 30-point margin of 2010 — a level at which even solid wins among minorities and other constituencies are not enough to produce Democratic victories.

“It’s certainly true that if you compare how things were in the early ’90s to the way they are now, there has been a significant shift in the role of the working class. You see it across all advanced industrial countries,” Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said in an interview.

In the United States, Teixeira noted, “the Republican Party has become the party of the white working class,” while in Europe, many working-class voters who had been the core of Social Democratic parties have moved over to far right parties, especially those with anti-immigration platforms.

Teixeira, writing with John Halpin, argues in “The Path to 270: Demographics versus Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election,” that in order to be re-elected, President Obama must keep his losses among white college graduates to the 4-point margin of 2008 (47-51). Why? Otherwise he will not be able to survive a repetition of 2010, when white working-class voters supported Republican House candidates by a record-setting margin of 63-33.

Obama’s alternative path to victory, according to Teixeira and Halpin, would be to keep his losses among all white voters at the same level John Kerry did in 2004, when he lost them by 17 points, 58-41. This would be a step backwards for Obama, who lost among all whites in 2008 by only 12 points (55-43). Obama can afford to drop to Kerry’s white margins because, between 2008 and 2012, the pro-Democratic minority share of the electorate is expected to grow by two percentage points and the white share to decline by the same amount, reflecting the changing composition of the national electorate.

The following passage from “The Path to 270” illustrates the degree to which whites without college degrees are currently cast as irrevocably lost to the Republican Party. “Heading into 2012,” Teixeira and Halpin write, one of the primary strategic questions will be:

Will the president hold sufficient support among communities of color, educated whites, Millennials, single women, and seculars and avoid a catastrophic meltdown among white working-class voters?

For his part, Greenberg, a Democratic pollster and strategist and a key adviser to Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, wrote a memorandum earlier this month, together with James Carville, that makes no mention of the white working class. “Seizing the New Progressive Common Ground” describes instead a “new progressive coalition” made up of “young people, Hispanics, unmarried women, and affluent suburbanites.”

In an interview, Greenberg, speaking of white working class voters, said that in the period from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s, “we battled to get them back. They were sizable in number and central to the base of the Democratic Party.” At the time, he added, “we didn’t know that we would never get them back, that they were alienated and dislodged.”

In his work exploring how to build a viable progressive coalition, Greenberg noted, he has become “much more interested in the affluent suburban voters than the former Reagan Democrats.” At the same time, however, he argues that Republican winning margins among white working-class voters are highly volatile and that Democrats have to push hard to minimize losses, which will not be easy. “Right now,” he cautioned, “I don’t see any signs they are moveable.”

Teixeira’s current analysis stands in sharp contrast to an article that he wrote with Joel Rogers, which appeared in the American Prospect in 1995. In “Who Deserted the Democrats in 1994?,” Teixeira and Rogers warned that between 1992 and 1994 support for Democratic House candidates had fallen by 20 points, from 57 to 37 percent among high-school-educated white men; by 15 points among white men with some college; and by 10 points among white women in both categories. A failure to reverse those numbers, Teixeira warned, would “doom Clinton’s re-election bid” in 1996.

Teixeira was by no means alone in his 1995 assessment; he was in agreement with orthodox Democratic thinking of the time. In a 1995 memo to President Clinton, Greenberg wrote that whites without college degrees were “the principal obstacle” to Clinton’s re-election and that they needed to be brought back into the fold.

In practice, or perhaps out of necessity, the Democratic Party in 2006 and 2008 chose the upscale white-downscale minority approach that proved highly successful twice, but failed miserably in 2010, and appears to have a 50-50 chance in 2012.

The outline of this strategy for 2012 was captured by Times reporters Jackie Calmes and Mark Landler a few months ago in an article tellingly titled, “Obama Charts a New Route to Re-election.” Calmes and Landler describe how Obama’s re-election campaign plans to deal with the decline in white working class support in Rust Belt states by concentrating on states with high percentages of college educated voters, including Colorado, Virginia and New Hampshire.

There are plenty of critics of the tactical idea of dispensing with low-income whites, both among elected officials and party strategists. But Cliff Zukin, a professor of political science at Rutgers, puts the situation plainly. “My sense is that if the Democrats stopped fishing there, it is because there are no fish.”

As a practical matter, the Obama campaign and, for the present, the Democratic Party, have laid to rest all consideration of reviving the coalition nurtured and cultivated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The New Deal Coalition — which included unions, city machines, blue-collar workers, farmers, blacks, people on relief, and generally non-affluent progressive intellectuals — had the advantage of economic coherence. It received support across the board from voters of all races and religions in the bottom half of the income distribution, the very coherence the current Democratic coalition lacks.

A top priority of the less affluent wing of today’s left alliance is the strengthening of the safety net, including health care, food stamps, infant nutrition and unemployment compensation. These voters generally take the brunt of recessions and are most in need of government assistance to survive. According to recent data from the Department of Agriculture, 45.8 million people, nearly 15 percent of the population, depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to meet their needs for food.

The better-off wing, in contrast, puts at the top of its political agenda a cluster of rights related to self-expression, the environment, demilitarization, and, importantly, freedom from repressive norms — governing both sexual behavior and women’s role in society — that are promoted by the conservative movement.

While demographic trends suggest the continued growth of pro-Democratic constituencies and the continued decline of core Republican voters, particularly married white Christians, there is no guarantee that demography is destiny.

The political repercussions of gathering minority strength remain unknown. Calculations based on exit poll and Census data suggest that the Democratic Party will become “majority minority” shortly after 2020.

One outcome could be a stronger party of the left in national and local elections. An alternate outcome could be exacerbated intra-party conflict between whites, blacks and Hispanics — populations frequently marked by diverging material interests. Black versus brown struggles are already emerging in contests over the distribution of political power, especially during a current redistricting of city council, state legislative and congressional seats in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago.

Republican Party operatives are acutely sensitive to such tensions, hoping for opportunities to fracture the Democratic coalition, virtually assuring that neither party can safely rely on a secure path to victory over time.

stupid people

Could it be true? Those we believe are protecting us from the heartless Republicans are themselves selling us out?

NDAA detention provision would turn America into a “battlefield”

Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, November 28, 2011

The Senate is set to vote on a bill today that would define the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in their own back yard without charge or trial.

“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,” writes Chris Anders of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

Under the ‘worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial’ provision of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which is set to be up for a vote on the Senate floor this week, the legislation will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who supports the bill.

The bill was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), before being passed in a closed-door committee meeting without any kind of hearing. The language appears in sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA bill.

“I would also point out that these provisions raise serious questions as to who we are as a society and what our Constitution seeks to protect,” Colorado Senator Mark Udall said in a speech last week. One section of these provisions, section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on U.S. soil. Section 1031 essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the U.S. military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil. That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved.”


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pakistan and Children

And I do not think this is out of the ordinary.  She will die for this crime, but she prevented the girl's father from molesting his daughter.

The tribal court will find her guilty and will probably have her lashed 100 times and then stoned or some other barbaric method.

November 25, 2011|By Reza Sayah, CNN

A Pakistani woman is being held on suspicion of killing her husband, cutting him up and trying to cook the pieces, Karachi police said Friday.

Zainab Bibi, 32, was arrested in connection with the murder Tuesday of her husband Ahmad Abbas, police said.

Her 22-year-old nephew, Zaheer Ahmed, is accused of helping Bibi stab Abbas to death and carve his body into small pieces.

Police said she wanted to cook her husband's body parts so she could dispose of them without being caught.

Neighbors raised the alert when they detected a foul odor in the neighborhood, police said.

Pakistan's domestic satellite channel ARY News spoke to Bibi in the police station where she is being held in the southern city of Karachi.

In an interview broadcast late Thursday, she claimed to have killed her husband because he wanted a physical relationship with their daughter -- and said she did not regret her actions.

"I killed my husband before he dared to touch my daughter," she told ARY News.


NATO air attack on Pakistani troops was self-defence, says senior western official

The Guardian
Jon Boone in Kabul and agencies
The Observer, Saturday 26 November 2011

An attack by Nato aircraft on Pakistani troops that allegedly killed as many as 28 soldiers and looks set to further poison relations between the US and Pakistan was an act of self-defence, a senior western official has claimed.

According to the Kabul-based official, a joint US-Afghan force operating in the mountainous Afghan frontier province of Kunar was the first to come under attack in the early hours of Saturday morning, forcing them to return fire.

The high death toll from an incident between two supposed allies suggests Nato helicopters and jets strafed Pakistani positions with heavy weapons.

The deadliest friendly fire incident since the start of the decade-long war also prompted Pakistan to ban Nato supply trucks from crossing into Afghanistan and to issue an order demanding the US quit the remote Shamsi airbase, from which the US has operated some unmanned drone aircraft. At border crossings, hundreds of supply trucks are reportedly stranded by the ban, with drivers fearing insurgents will take the opportunity to attack if they are not allowed to move.

A spokesman for Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said it was "highly likely" that aircraft which had been called into the area to provide "close air support" to troops on the ground was responsible for causing casualties among the Pakistani soldiers.

For their part, a statement by the Pakistani military claimed that it was they who were attacked first, forcing them to respond to Nato's "aggression with all available weapons".

According to Pakistani officials the 40 or so soldiers stationed at the outposts were asleep at the time of the attack. Government officials said the two border posts that were attacked had recently been established to try to stop insurgents who use bases in Afghanistan to attack Pakistan from crossing the border and launching attacks.

Afghan intelligence say the US-Afghan force was conducting operations against suspected Taliban training camps in the area.

The Obama administration promised a full investigation. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and Leon Panetta, the defence secretary, issued a joint statement saying they had each spoken to their Pakistani counterparts to express their condolences for the loss of life.

Pakistan was blunt that the killings represented a serious setback for the two countries' tattered alliance. The prime minister's office said the foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, told Clinton on Sunday that the attack was unacceptable, showed complete disregard for human life and had sparked rage within Pakistan.

The vagueness of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is one potential, and relatively innocent, explanation for the incident. Drawn up by the British Raj in 1893, there is little agreement on where the so-called Durand Line actually falls, meaning troops from either side of the border can wander into the neighbouring country without realising it. One senior military official said that, in places, rival maps have discrepancies of "multiples of kilometres – sometimes as much as five kilometres".

Much of the fighting in Afghanistan is conducted by guerrillas based a short distance inside Pakistan. Nato forces are not allowed to cross the border and militants sometimes fire artillery and rockets across the line from locations close to Pakistani army posts.

And yet both sides have worked hard to try and minimise any confusion. The attack happened just a day after John Allen, the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, met with Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Pakistani army chief, to discuss enhanced co-operation on the border.

But a more troubling explanation would be that insurgents in the area were operating under the nose of Pakistani security forces. Many Afghan officials believe Pakistan helps the Taliban with cross-border operations.

Edrees Momand of the Afghan Border Police said that a US-Afghan force in the area near the Pakistani outposts detained several militants on Saturday morning.

"I am not aware of the casualties on the other side of the border but those we have detained aren't Afghan Taliban," he said, implying they may have been Pakistani or other foreign national Taliban operating in Afghanistan.

Whatever the outcome of investigations, the incident is likely to do yet more damage to the critical relationship between the US and Pakistan. The alliance between the two countries has been repeatedly battered in the past year, first by the jailing of a CIA contractor and then by US special forces who raided deep inside Pakistani territory and killed Osama bin Laden.

More recently the US has accused Pakistan of backing a militant group who launched a 20-hour attack on the US embassy in Kabul.

Washington believes Pakistan continues to support the Taliban, a movement it publicly backed in the 1990s, in order to have influence in Afghanistan. But at the same time as supporting the enemies of the US, Pakistan remains crucial to the military mission in Afghanistan.

John Allen was quick to release a statement saying the incident had his "highest personal attention".

"My most sincere and personal heartfelt condolences go out to the families and loved ones of any members of Pakistan security forces who may have been killed or injured," he said.

Islamabad reacted with fury to the attack.

"This is an attack on Pakistan's sovereignty," said Pakistan's prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani. "We will not let any harm come to Pakistan's sovereignty and solidarity."

In a statement General Kayani promised "all necessary steps be undertaken for an effective response to this irresponsible act.

"A strong protest has been launched with Nato/Isaf in which it has been demanded that strong and urgent action be taken against those responsible for this aggression."

A cabinet committee convened by Gilani said the government would launch a complete review of its diplomatic, political, military and intelligence relationships with the US.

The vast bulk of Nato supplies arrive in Afghanistan by trucks that haul equipment up from the port of Karachi to the Khyber Pass, a key crossing point over the mountainous border into Afghanistan.

The shutting down of the border to Nato traffic has happened in the past during periods of Pakistani displeasure with Afghanistan and its foreign backers.

A similar incident last year in which two Pakistani troops were killed led to the closure of one of Nato's supply routes for ten days.

However, in recent years the alliance has opened up alternative supply routes through Central Asia, reducing its reliance on the route through Pakistan.

Nato ·


More news

Journalist's detailed study has unearthed fresh doubts over alleged assault in New York by ex-IMF chief

More on Pakistan

Husain Haqqani denied claims he wrote memo to US military chief offering to rein in Inter-Services Intelligence


27 Sep 2010

26 Nov 2011

12 Dec 2010

27 Sep 2010

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Muslim Brotherhood holds venomous anti-Israel rally in Cairo mosque Friday; Islamic activists chant: Tel Aviv, judgment day has come

Eldad Beck

11.25.11, 20:29 / Israel News

Arab hate: A Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo's most prominent mosque Friday turned into a venomous anti-Israel protest, with attendants vowing to "one day kill all Jews."

Some 5,000 people joined the rally, called to promote the "battle against Jerusalem's Judaization." The event coincided with the anniversary of the United Nations' partition plan in 1947, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state.

However, most worshippers who prayed at the mosque Friday quickly left it before the Muslim Brotherhood's rally got underway. A group spokesman urged attendants to remain for the protest, asking them not to create a bad impression for the media by leaving.

'Treacherous Jews'

Speakers at the event delivered impassioned, hateful speeches against Israel, slamming the "Zionist occupiers" and the "treacherous Jews." Upon leaving the rally, worshippers were given small flags, with Egypt's flag on one side and the Palestinian flag on the other, as well as maps of Jerusalem's Old City detailing where "Zionists are aiming to change Jerusalem's Muslim character."

Propaganda material ahead of Egypt's parliamentary elections was also handed out at the site.

Spiritual leader Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb charged in his speech that to this day Jews everywhere in the world are seeking to prevent Islamic and Egyptian unity.

"In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything," he said. "The al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews…we shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds (Jerusalem.) We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there."

'We have different mentality'

Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen, as well as Palestinian guest speakers, made explicit calls for Jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine. Time and again, a Koran quote vowing that "one day we shall kill all the Jews" was uttered at the site. Meanwhile, businessmen in the crowd were urged to invest funds in Jerusalem in order to prevent the acquisition of land and homes by Jews.
Throughout the event, Muslim Brotherhood activists chanted: "Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come."

Speaking to Ynet outside the mosque following the prayer, elementary school teacher Ala al-Din said that "all Egyptian Muslims are willing to embark on Jihad for the sake of Palestine."

"Why is the US losing in Afghanistan? Because the other side is willing and wants to die. We have a different mentality than that of the Americans and Jews," he said.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

EURO on Death Watch

Once more - it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of countries.

Investors Spurn German Bonds

Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 | 1:42 PM ET
By: John Melloy
Executive Producer, Fast Money & Halftime

Investors began to fear the worst for the euro after unusually weak demand at an auction for bonds from Germany, the region’s largest economy. One analyst went so far as to put the currency on a “death watch.”

Germany sold just 60 percent of the 6 billion euros in 10-year bunds it brought to auction, about the weakest demand seen for the country’s debt in the currency’s 16-year history, economists said. The rejection of debt from Europe’s safe harbor marks a new stage for the crisis.

“No bunds wanted equals no Euros wanted equals the Euro death watch,” wrote Mark Steele, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets. “We have seen many poor German auctions. This is not the issue. The issue is how badly the euro is doing after the weak auction.”

The euro fell more than 1 percent against the dollar to a 7-week low against the Greenback. The currency threatened to break through the October lows that came amid the height of turmoil in Italy and Greece. Both countries would go on to install new Technocrat leaders, lifting confidence in the currency briefly.

The European Financial Stability Facility does not give the European Central Bank the same firepower or freedom of the Federal Reserve, which it utilized in the aftermath of the U.S. credit crisis with two rounds of massive purchases of Treasurys (QE). Germany has been reluctant to follow the Fed’s lead and buy up other countries bad debt because of fear over inflation.

German Chancellor “Merkel has been opposed to using the ECB as a monetizer of debt,” said Dennis Gartman of The Gartman Letter. “Germany doesn’t even like to think in these terms, but they may not have a choice.”

Recent reports have hinted at different workarounds of the euro treaty being discussed to effectively replicate quantitative easing in Europe. One option discussed was for the ECB to lend money to the IMF, which in turn would buy the toxic debt before it could spread to yet another country.

“It’s too late for a bazooka,” said Mitchell Goldberg, president of ClientFirst Strategy. “Now we need inter-continental ballistic missiles. This is getting worse very quickly.”
Investors had kept buying German bonds as they fled crisis after crisis in the region: first in Ireland, then in Greece and Italy, and now in Spain and Belgium. But Wednesday, 10-year bunds dropped significantly after the failed auction, pushing the yields above 2.05 percent, but perhaps more importantly above the U.S. treasury with the same maturity for the first time since early October.

“We are seeing the end of the euro currency as we know it,” said Brian Stutland of Stutland Volatility Group. “I don't see a single thing that causes the euro to rally other than the Fed announcing a ‘QE3’ in which they buy euro foreign debt.”


WATER does NOT hydrate

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.

NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day Photo: ALAMY
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.
“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”
The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible."
German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.
They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval.
They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance.
However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement.
A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.
Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.

Do you think water hydrates?

Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.
He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.
“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.
EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticised.
Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.
Prof Hahn, from the Institute for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Hanover Leibniz University, said the European Commission had made another mistake with its latest ruling.
“What is our reaction to the outcome? Let us put it this way: We are neither surprised nor delighted.
“The European Commission is wrong; it should have authorised the claim. That should be more than clear to anyone who has consumed water in the past, and who has not? We fear there is something wrong in the state of Europe.”
Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.
He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.
“This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.