The Moderate Voice http://themoderatevoice.com An Internet hub with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting, and popular features from the left, center, indies, centrists, moderates, and right Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:07:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Keep Portland Weird http://themoderatevoice.com/199682/keep-portland-weird/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199682/keep-portland-weird/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:07:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199682 I grew up in Portland but have not actually lived there for decades. I do still  live a few miles from Portland and I’m proud of it.  Can “Keep Portland Weird” be a winning strategy? Apparently so! From across the country, Portland looms as this place where everything comes in quirkier, locally produced, more artisanal [...]

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skyline1horizontalI grew up in Portland but have not actually lived there for decades. I do still  live a few miles from Portland and I’m proud of it.  Can “Keep Portland Weird” be a winning strategy? Apparently so!

From across the country, Portland looms as this place where everything comes in quirkier, locally produced, more artisanal versions of what the rest of us have. And then when you come out here, it turns out that all of these things are actually true. The Portland of public imagination is, in fact, Portland in reality.

So is this good news for Portland? The answer is yes!

These attributes are helping Portland win a fierce competition among cities for young college grads — Americans in their 20s and early 30s – who have been flooding the downtown-ish neighborhoods of decently big metros like Portland over the past decade.

By 2012, metro Portland had 34,545 more 25-to-34 year-olds with bachelor’s degrees than it did in 2000, according to American Community Survey data that Cortright just analyzed for the research site City Observatory. That’s an increase, of about 37 percent, that’s outpaced similar gains in New York (25 percent), Los Angeles (30 percent) and even — barely — metropolitan Washington, D.C. (36 percent).

Portland is succeeding in large part because the long-term direction of the city happens to align with what these young people prize today. The college grads decamping for Portland probably don’t say “I’d like to live somewhere with an urban growth boundary!” But that policy is partly responsible for producing the things about Portland that now draw them here: the compact living, the easy access to nature, the possibility that a farm might actually be near your table, the emphasis on communal assets — parks, public transit, tool shares (people kept telling me about the tool shares) — over individual ownership.

Of course there is a downside, the middle class neighborhood I grew up in is now an upper class neighborhood.  The new demographics and priorities have made “gentrification” inevitable.

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Cartoon: Ebola Cable News http://themoderatevoice.com/199680/cartoon-ebola-cable-news/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199680/cartoon-ebola-cable-news/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:32:37 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199680 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com Share on Tumblr

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See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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As Boardwalk Empire comes to an end, it still hasn’t figured out its main character http://themoderatevoice.com/199678/boardwalk-empire-comes-end-still-hasnt-figured-main-character/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199678/boardwalk-empire-comes-end-still-hasnt-figured-main-character/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:24:49 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199678 They decapitated Deadwood and they’ve foreshortened Boardwalk Empire. HBO seems to have it in for ambitious drama series with recent historical settings. The death of Deadwood was a cultural crime. That new look at the old West had a rhythm and flavour all its own; it belonged in the same bracket of achievement as The [...]

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They decapitated Deadwood and they’ve foreshortened Boardwalk Empire. HBO seems to have it in for ambitious drama series with recent historical settings. The death of Deadwood was a cultural crime. That new look at the old West had a rhythm and flavour all its own; it belonged in the same bracket of achievement as The Sopranos…

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How to Blow An Election You Ought to Win (Part 1) UPDATED http://themoderatevoice.com/199677/blow-election-win-part/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199677/blow-election-win-part/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:08:10 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199677 politicians are now guided to whatever people like most, want to hear most, what they fear most about the opponent, all as scientific as Pavlov's dogs.

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UPDATED BELOW

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Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early

Jeff Mason / Reuters
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity….

Ah, the agit-prop campaign is working: divide and dispirit Democrats. If you watched it in 2010 you’re probably an idiot not to recognize the SAME media propaganda campaign. But don’t feel bad, bucko, you’re in pretty good company: the entire Democratic party and its allies!

Let’s leave aside the fact that modern Democrats are invertebrates who capitulate to the thugs and bullies of the Right at the drop of a sound bite.’Wussies R Us‘ continues into another blighted campaign season.

I want to talk to you about three crazy ideas that are lying out in plain sight, but nobody’s paying any attention to. And why they OUGHT to.

First up: WHY it APPEARS that Democrats are spineless in this election.

buntinng

This hearkens back to the beginning of this blog, about WHY this blog exists and WHY I began this quest ten years ago.*

[* Look for a major announcement about the future of this blog on or after November 5, BTW.]

You see, I spent almost a decade in the trenches of the local/state party (after watching grass roots politics in six other Western states I’ve lived in) but there was a disconnect that I just could not explain.

Then, as now, Democrats spent ALL their time fighting with each other and almost no time fighting with Republicans — whether from stupidity or from cowardice, I could never quite divine and in either case, the outcome was the same — and all of our elections suffered from that cardinal sin I used to constantly harp on when I was a debate judge, and used to see constantly when I was a debater:

LACK. OF. CLASH.

What does that mean?

It means that, say, you and I are debating whether or not a social safety net is a necessity. I say that it is.

You say that people are starving in Asia.

I say that we can train people, but that won’t guarantee jobs, which is why we need a safety net.

You say that those starving Asians are undercutting our economy, and American jobs are going overseas because we can’t compete anymore.

Notice anything?

We are arguing TWO DIFFERENT arguments. We are not debating each other, we are debating AT each other, and that’s an entirely different thing. It is as though we are in a war, and we are shooting sort of in the DIRECTION of one another, but not really close enough to hit anything, and we aren’t even sure that we want to.

In this case, come November, one side or the other ‘wins’ the war, without our ever having participated in any real disagreement.

This was, and remains, endemic in the current politics, even to the point that we have two separate (but equal?) realities, neither of which is compatible with debate, since we are in a sense engaged in a debate on two unconnected TV channels in two separate halls to two entirely divorced audiences.

Divorced from reality, I mean.

But that isn’t the REASON that Democrats look like spineless wimps.

No.

This is the reason this blog was founded: as a campaign blog for a campaign so that I could figure out WHY the “party” was relegated to meaninglessness come campaign season and election.

Why I, as a Precinct Committeeman, was NOT ALLOWED TO WALK MY OWN GOSH-DARNED PRECINCT, even though I was biannually officially and legally ELECTED as the Democratic ward heeler for my precinct*. You know, the OLD way we organized retail politics?

[* A precinct was formerly an organic unit -- like most human standards. Formerly one precinct person could, theoretically, go door to door in their precinct. A few years back, the precincts were reorganized by the county clerk to make it easier for her, and now we exist in super-precincts that are as meaningless as our former titles were. Technically, "Precinct Committee Person,"  or PCP, which OUGHT to be an elephant tranquilizer, but the ballot still said "-man" and "-woman" so I was, legally, a "Democratic Precinct Committeeman" a rare instance in which bureaucratic inertia overcomes political correctness by sheer weight.]

This seemed insane to me, but I did get to walk several of the worst neighborhoods in town, and it was an invaluable education. If not one having a damned thing to do with what I’d entered the ORGANIZED party politics to engage in.

And what I discovered is that politics has been outsourced.

Yes. Political consultants run campaigns, using tried and true “methods” (polling based, naturally) that essentially “guarantee” the best outcome for the candidate, while destroying any real chance at politics or debate as most of us would think of it.

This is what happens in race after race: the political consultant is hired. The playbook is followed, most importantly using political polling.

And, what you see most is a lack of clash. There are no opposing views on the Great Issues of the Day. No. There are pictures of kissing babies and hugging spouses, and listening intently to “normal” people, and barbeques, school buses, football games, baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. All a continuum.

But debate? Actual politics?

For those of you who know what game theory is, they’re minimaxing it (which is, in my experience, minimizing chances of winning, while maximizing spinelessness).

Let me explain. Or, rather, let Wikipedia do so [emphasis added]:

Game theory is a study of strategic decision making. Specifically, it is “the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers”. An alternative term suggested “as a more descriptive name for the discipline” is interactive decision theory. Game theory is mainly used in economics, political science, and psychology, as well as logic, computer science, and biology. The subject first addressed zero-sum games, such that one person’s gains exactly equal net losses of the other participant or participants. Today, however, game theory applies to a wide range of behavioral relations, and has developed into an umbrella term for the logical side of decision science, including both humans and non-humans (e.g. computers, insects/animals)….

That’s all we really need from them.

The game theory here is to take the statistical polling methods to determine what the people LIKE and what they DON’T LIKE. A campaign is designed to maximize LIKE and minimize DON’T LIKE, and a tightly scripted, play-it-safe campaign is constructed by the campaign consultant.

Game theory and statistics now dictate the politics, and professionals run that, and they’re called Campaign consultants.

Like I said: I ran for office to understand what the hell was wrong with our “politics” when it was clear that something was missing. Something was ICEBERG missing, with 7/8ths under water.

And then I attended a fall meeting of the Democratic Party of Lane County at venerable old Harris Hall downtown.

And that’s where I first sighted him: the Political Consultant.

His name was Michael Grossman – who I would NOT have known about had I not run for office – had a virtual FRANCHISE on Oregon legislative races, as I understood only AFTER sitting at a County Democratic Party Meeting and watching politician after politician (including my opponent) head to the back of the room to “kiss the ring” of the fellow in the trenchcoat who’d showed up.

WHO was this guy?

Remember, I’d been an Oregon Delegate to the 2000 National Democratic Convention in LA, had been state webmaster, publicity chair, had been a delegate to the state and 4th congressional district and on the state party executive committee. So how come I had never heard of this guy?

I wrote about this for Bruce Anderson’s short-lived AVA OREGON! in an article entitled “Oregon’s Karl Rove” (December 9, 2004):

… This wasn’t the first time that winter that Michael Grossman/Fifty Plus One worked on a campaign aimed at savaging a Democratic politician, though. In the waning months of 2003, in his current “hometown” of Seattle, Grossman ran a precedent-shatteringly expensive campaign for a mild-mannered United Way worker that some characterized as the dirtiest and costliest city council campaign that Seattle had ever seen.

The incumbent, Heidi Wells, was characterized as “a young, rising Democratic Party star and the best-funded candidate in Seattle history.”  Wells was also a staunch environmentalist, even by “green” Seattle standards. But Wells didn’t have “Michael Grossman, Della’s political consultant and the principal architect of his cutthroat campaign,” noted Erica C. Barnett in Seattle’s large circulation alternative newspaper THE STRANGER.

Grossman’s client, David Della, wrote the Seattle POST-INTELLIGENCER, “turned his attention to Councilwoman Heidi Wills, unleashing a bare-knuckles campaign that includes billboards showing people screaming as they read their utility bills.”

To be fair, Wills had troubles of her own, involving a local media firestorm called “Strippergate” wherein several City Council members admitted breaking rules in rezoning “Rick’s” strip club for eight additional parking spaces, and accepting campaign contributions from the club’s owner. On August 11, the chastened council reversed itself and unzoned the menacing parking spaces, but the media clamor continued. Seattle was in high moral dudgeon.

But, Della/Grossman’s strategy — aside from “Strippergate” — was primarily to saddle Wills with the unappealing sobriquet “Rate Hike Heidi” and blame her for the spiraling electric rates following the Enron/et al energy deregulation debacle that occurred while Wells was Chair of Seattle’s local “City Light” public utilities oversight body.

An infamous billboard appeared, along with mailings, showing a woman looking at her electric bill and screaming. The caption read something like “Blame Rate Hike Heidi!”

This correspondent traveled to Seattle to talk to reporters who covered the campaign. According to the Seattle WEEKLY’s political editor, George Howland, Jr. “My sense? Della: A nice quiet guy. I thought, this is Michael [Grossman]!” Howland denies the charge of a dirty campaign: the billboard campaign had a “kind of a comic, almost cartoonish-style presentation,” he says. “It was kind of funny, and splashy.” Howland has never met Grossman, but talks to him “on the phone a lot.”

He characterizes Grossman as a “smart, hyper, I would say, moderate Democrat. He’s a little different from some consultants in that he tends to take on fewer clients and focus on them heavily.”

A reporter for one of Seattle’s largest media outlets, speaking on condition of anonymity is less charitable. Grossman is “sort of a wiseass. He thinks he’s really funny.”

While the reporter didn’t feel the campaign was “terribly dirty,” the “Rate Hike Heidi,” tag “was not really fair.” The deregulation price gouging wasn’t anything that City Light had much control over. Howland agrees: the “city got hammered and had to raise rates.”

The source recalls that Grossman ran the unsuccessful mayoral campaign of City Attorney Mark Sidran four years earlier. Grossman briefed the Seattle media, showing a new “kinder, gentler” ad that the campaign was unveiling, while mentioning not a word about a negative attack ad that would run at the same time. “I was completely infuriated,” the reporter says, “I’ve never trusted him since.” But, the reporter admits, Grossman is “a good tactician who does pretty good mailings.”

Still, the Della campaign was mostly negative, “all about how Heidi was bad. Not much about Della.” …

Well you already know: he is a political consultant, and that’s a BUSINESS. My article concerned itself with the utter AMORALITY of this particular consultant, but he’s not unusual.

Get this straight: AFTER almost a decade in the party, I had NO IDEA who actually ran the campaigns. In point of fact, we poor dumb rubes who licked the envelopes and debated the platforms, and attended the meetings and that stuff, were just CANNON fodder, as far as the election chiefs were concerned.

No WONDER I couldn’t walk my own precinct. My neighbors and I were merely pawns in a larger chess game, and it didn’t really matter WHO dropped off the propaganda, as long as it was efficiently dropped off, according to the demographic breakdowns.

Michael Grossman, who I would NOT have known about had I not run for office had a virtual FRANCHISE on Oregon legislative races, as I understood only AFTER sitting at a County Democratic Party Meeting that autumn and watching politician after politician (including my opponent) head to the back of the room to “kiss the ring” of the fellow in the trenchcoat who’d showed up.

WHO was this guy?

He is a shopkeeper. A political shopkeeper, and as petit bourgeois as the pettiest of the boojwah.

You see: our politics is now a RETAIL operation, run by merchants, like Grossman, and, on a purely campaign level, they are CONSERVATIVE —  BUSINESS conservative, that is.

Remember: Whatever their POLITICS, they are, first and foremost, shopkeepers, not politicians.

The politician deals in power. The shopkeeper deals in dollars. They have no desire for the power, but will happily construct their Rube Goldberg machines to guarantee the politician continued and even increased power.

But the shopkeeper’s priorities are always subtly different than the politician’s.

Because the most tender, most delicate nerve in the shopkeeper’s body is the WALLET nerve, and even the loss of IMAGINARY dollars makes it throb intensely. (Think of how much I COULD have made …)

Peggy Noonan, that evil word-witch/collaborator with Reynaldo Ray-Gun to wreck this society, to re-entrench the forces of segregation and plutocracy, Peggy Noonan in her dotage, sinecured with the Wall Street Journal and other soul-purchasing franchises like Faux Nooz actually said something that I completely agree with her about, and we come at it from opposite poles … she said [*I have the exact quote on another hard drive and it's very close to this at any rate]: Political consultants have destroyed politics.

Yes. Because politicians are now guided to whatever people like most, want to hear most, what they fear most about the opponent, all as scientific as Pavlov’s dogs.

But the serpent bites its tail. The notion of a “vision” or a concept of progress has become a bridge being built from the middle to both shores.

And what we end up is a resonance feedback loop, as any young sound engineer learns to do by looping the “silence” of an empty room back on itself over and over. Which pretty much describes national policy of late.

And the system mitigates to blandness, to dispassion.

Oh, there are the red meat appeals to the entrenched constituency on the deep red and deep blue, but in action, as bloodless and cool as a brain surgeon. Which is why they hire their technocrats to dice and slice the electorate, to identify pressure points and to apply marketing pressure to those points.

To sausage-link commercials, two to a candidate this year from whomever is running their campaigns …

The being a family guy, the being a tough guy, the being an Oregon raised feller in Western clothes, the finest cowboy that South Eugene High School (The Axemen) ever produced. To the fellow who used to have a mustache, the Family guy pouring milk for his kids.

One good commercial, one mean commercial, carpet bomb your opponent with as much media as you can buy. Track its effect. Make new commercials if need be. Poll. Constantly listen to the resonance of the empty room.

And the other being an attack ad on the opponent.

Ditto the other side.

And the same silent monies back the equally Hollywood commercials FOR and AGAINST all our our ballot measures, including one that we voted down almost 2 to 1 in 2008, that just got a kick in the wallet from Michael Bloomberg, to the tune of a million bucks … so we’ll be seeing THOSE commercials … sorry, THAT commercial MORE times.

But in a primary season in which there were virtually no contested races statewide, and all ballot measures and candidates have been reduced to ONE thirty second “I’m a great guy/gal” caricature of governance, and a debate that few watch, the Shopkeepers are licking their chops in anticipation of electing THEIR client.

And NOTHING can upset the apple cart. No politician is going to, you know, take a stand on a ballot measure that would destroy the party system in our state, and allow two Republicans or two Democrats to face each other in the fall elections.

Nope. No clash. Just avoid clash.

And that’s just in Oregon. Nosiree. The campaigns are the campaigns of shopkeepers, and tidy ones, at that.

And that is the real reason that no politician in the land can be seen BACKING their own president! WELCOMING their own president.  Why?

No political consultant in America would let you do that.

Avoid clash.

And that’s not debate, finally. It’s not even politics. It is only MARKETING.

N0. A negro has walked into the Seven Eleven of America, and everybody’s now been made to feel  nervous. Most of all, the shopkeeper.

That Reuters story?

Most candidates from his party have been wary of appearing with him during their election races because of his sagging popularity.

Not so Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown of Maryland, who is running for governor, and Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, who is running for re-election. Obama plans to appear at an event for Quinn later in the evening.

“You’ve got to vote,” Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.

Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections.

“There are no excuses. The future is up to us,” Obama said.

A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks…

We OUGHT to be ashamed that the first Black president of these United States of America is shunned by the play-it-safe shopkeepers who actually run our campaigns.

But hell, we don’t even know about them.

Courage.

GO STRAIGHT ON TO PART II. (Update is included)

UPDATE 10:40AM 20 Oct 2014:

Even though Drudge featured the Reuters report (which seems increasingly slanted, ideologically) and the Righties with Magic Eyes™ “saw” the same thing in blog after blog, oddly, the CBS affiliate saw something entirely different:

… the rally drew a huge crowd of thousands waiting to see the president.

There were so many people at the rally that some of them couldn’t even get in. As expected, the president said Anthony Brown was the right man for the job in a rally that was all about revving up energy for the Democrat’s campaign.

They waited for hours in long lines. Nearly 8,000 people packed an Upper Marlboro high school auditorium for a rally in support of Anthony Brown’s bid to become governor….

Karl Rove/Donald Segretti-style dirty tricks?  (Or, perhaps a time limit on parking?)

At this point, and given the GOP’s track record, it seems entirely likely.

Either way, the “heckler” referred to in the Reuters story turned out to be a protester for Immigration Reform.

Obama noted that he agreed with the heckler and suggested that he heckle the people blocking reform.

President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail here Sunday, vouching for his law school classmate and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Anthony Brown, even after he was interrupted by a pro-immigration reform protester.

“The problem is, I’m actually for immigration reform,” Obama said at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School here, after a young man holding a handwritten sign reading “#Not1More” shouted out. “Of course, he should be protesting the folks who are blocking it, but that’s OK.”

The focus of Obama’s remarks, though, was on encouraging the predominantly African-American crowd of 8,000 that filled the high school’s massive gym and a smaller runoff room to get out and vote.

~from POLITICO, no friend to accurate reportage.

ODD, that this little “nuance” was entirely absent from the Reuters “report.” As was the report on the “positive” fanaticism of a crowd waiting hours to pack a gym. Hmmm.

Because, then, you know, it wouldn’t SEEM like the public was “turning their back” on the President — a “fact” that would EXACTLY “confirm” the Right Wing narrative.

Something smells rotten, and it’s closer than Denmark.

Hmmm.

Boop boop be doop.

========================

 Mr. Williams has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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After U.S. airdrop, Turkey agrees to let Iraqi Kurds cross to fight at Kobani http://themoderatevoice.com/199675/u-s-airdrop-turkey-agrees-let-iraqi-kurds-cross-fight-kobani/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199675/u-s-airdrop-turkey-agrees-let-iraqi-kurds-cross-fight-kobani/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:31:05 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199675 ISTANBUL — In a dramatic policy shift, Turkey agreed Monday to allow fighters from Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region to cross its territory to help save the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Kobani from Islamist radicals, the Turkish foreign minister said. “We are helping peshmerga forces to cross into Kobani,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. He [...]

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ISTANBUL — In a dramatic policy shift, Turkey agreed Monday to allow fighters from Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region to cross its territory to help save the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Kobani from Islamist radicals, the Turkish foreign minister said. “We are helping peshmerga forces to cross into Kobani,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. He spoke…

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Of Oil and Ethnic Cleansing: Allow Me to Explain the Turks (La Stampa, Italy) http://themoderatevoice.com/199662/oil-ethnic-cleansing-allow-explain-turks-la-stampa-italy/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199662/oil-ethnic-cleansing-allow-explain-turks-la-stampa-italy/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:25:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199662 Despite Turkey’s attempts to explain why it’s 400,000 man NATO military stands by passively as the Islamic State commits murder and mayhem a stone’s throw away – the world remains baffled. Is Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insane? Is he in cahoots with the terrorists? And why such an obsession about opposing the long-suffering, nation-deprived [...]

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Despite Turkey’s attempts to explain why it’s 400,000 man NATO military stands by passively as the Islamic State commits murder and mayhem a stone’s throw away – the world remains baffled. Is Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insane? Is he in cahoots with the terrorists? And why such an obsession about opposing the long-suffering, nation-deprived Kurds? Answering these questions in an amazing walk through history and the oil markets, La Stampa columnist Mimmo Cándito ties the present difficulty to two major issues: The policy of ethnic cleansing of non-Turks by that nation’s founder Kemal Pasha Ataturk, and the fact that to permit an independent Kurdistan would spark a world war of over energy.

For La Stampa, Explaining Turkey’s apparently apparently bottomless dislike for the Kurds, Mimmo Cándito writes in part:

Modern Turkey, heir to the Ottoman Empire which was defeated and dismembered in the First World War, was born in the 1920s with a very strict ideological stamp dictated by the leader of a group of young rebel officers, Kemal Pasha Ataturk. Ataturk, father of the Turks and an admirer of Europe who had passionately studied the Peace of Westphalia, wanted his new nation free of the stigmas that, according to him, had led to the defeat of the Sublime Porte [the Ottoman Empire] – two in particular: an uncontrollable excess of ethnic nationalism within a vast imperial geography that ran from the Atlantic almost to China; and a theocracy that inextricably mingled religious and political power, which rendered it lumberous, cumbersome and indefensible, and making effective management of a country faced with a modernity that was changing the face of the world impossible.

 

Therefore: the new Turkey would be comprised only of “Turks.” As for political power, he himself – Kemal Pasha – would have nothing to do with the old Sultanate of Topkapi. The first act, “Turkey for the Turks,” involved the ethnic cleansing and extermination of every other nationality remaining inside the new state, with the consequent genocide of the Armenians, the exile of Greeks from Asia Minor and condemnation of the Kurds (soon to become unadulterated obligations under the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne, which also recognized in some measure Armenian and Kurdish nationalities).

 

And as for the break with the past, Kemal erased all traces of public Islamism, abolished the fez, the veil, even the letters and numbers of the Arabic alphabet, replacing them with Latin, and introduced a legal code that ignored Sharia law and was based on that of the European states – above all the Italian and French.

 

So if today, the Peshmergas of Kobani are fighting heroically and asking for help from the world, they also may eventually contaminate the ethnic cleansing imposed on the “Turks” a century ago, so therefore, let them die as well. So the tanks, the guns and the soldiers watch with binoculars from nearby hills and won’t move an inch from where we, struck dumb and disconcerted, photograph them.

READ ON IN ENGLISH OR ITALIAN, OR READ MORE GLOBAL COVERAGE OF THE IRAQ-SYRIA CRISIS AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.

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Cartoon: Fear http://themoderatevoice.com/199670/cartoon-fear/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199670/cartoon-fear/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:08:38 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199670 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com Share on Tumblr

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Tom Janssen, The Netherlands

Tom Janssen, The Netherlands


See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Republicans Attack Ebola Czar While Blocking Surgeon General Nomination http://themoderatevoice.com/199648/republicans-attack-ebola-czar-blocking-surgeon-general-nomination/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199648/republicans-attack-ebola-czar-blocking-surgeon-general-nomination/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:39:59 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199648 On the surface, Republicans have been all over the place regarding the idea of a government official to coordinate handling of Ebola. For example, there’s John McCain. Back in 2009 he attacked Obama over having too many czars: Obama has more czars than the Romanovs – who ruled Russia for 3 centuries. Romanovs 18, cyberczar [...]

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On the surface, Republicans have been all over the place regarding the idea of a government official to coordinate handling of Ebola. For example, there’s John McCain. Back in 2009 he attacked Obama over having too many czars:

Then McCain demanded an Ebola czar:

“From spending time here in Arizona, my constituents are not comforted,” Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told State of the Union host Candy Crowley Sunday morning. “There has to be more reassurance given to them. I would say that we don’t know exactly who’s in charge. There has to be some kind of czar.”

So Obama appointed an Ebola czar. Ezra Klein explained why Ron Klain is an excellent choice:

Today, the White House will announce that Klain is being named “Ebola czar.” It’s a good choice because it shows a healthy respect for how hard the bureaucratic job of coordinating the Ebola response really is.

The Ebola response involves various arms of the Department of Health and Human Services (particularly, though not solely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the Pentagon, the State Department, the National Security Council, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, President Obama’s office, private stakeholders, and many, many more.

The “czar” position requires someone who knows how these different agencies and institutions work, who’s got the stature to corral their efforts, who knows who to call when something unusual is needed, who can keep the policy straight…

Actual government experience is badly underrated in Washington. Politicians run for office promising that they know how to run businesses, not Senate offices. “Bureaucrat” is often lobbed as an insult. But in processes like this one, government experience really matters. Nominating Klain suggests the White House is thinking about this correctly: as an effort that requires the coordination of already ample resources, where the danger is that the federal government will be too slow in sharing information across agencies and getting the resources where they need to go.

John McCain’s reaction to the appointment of an Ebola czar was to again attack Obama for doing what he recommended:

“Frankly, I don’t think Mr. Klain fits the bill, as a partisan Democrat, certainly not in any effort to address this issue in a bipartisan fashion,” McCain said Friday evening on Fox News.

“He has no experience or knowledge or background in medicine,” he added.

McCain is hardly the only Republican with irrational attacks. For example, Steven Taylor has looked at even more irrational attacks from Mike Huckabee. Peggy Noonan plays on these fears in The Wall Street Journal. The only common thread to Republican response appears to be a knee jerk opposition to whatever Obama does.

The duties of an Ebola czar are exactly the bureaucratic skills which Klain has, not being a medial expert. Of course there is a position in government which should have a background in medicine, and work closely with the Ebola czar. That would be the Surgeon General–a nomination which Republicans have blocked as Obama’s nominee has shown concern for gun violence. Now Democrats are demanding that the Senate vote for approval of the Surgeon General nominee:

More than two dozen House Democrats are calling on the Senate to swiftly approve Vivek Murthy’s nomination to serve as surgeon general to help combat the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the U.S.

Murthy’s nomination got sidelined after Republicans and vulnerable Senate Democrats voiced reservations about the Harvard Medical School physician’s outspoken views on gun violence and public health. But the House Democrats, in a letter set to be released next week, argue that the Obama administration needs a top official in place to help with the Ebola response.

“The American public would benefit from having a Surgeon General to disseminate information that is desperately needed,” the Democrats wrote. “The Surgeon General can also work to amplify the Center for Disease Control’s actions, reassure the American people, and combat misinformation here at home.”

We have around 30,000 deaths due to guns a year in this country, but Republicans would rather ignore this problem, while playing politics and creating hysteria with a disease which so far has resulted in exactly one death in this country.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

graphic via shutterstock.com

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The blue-collar imperative http://themoderatevoice.com/199667/blue-collar-imperative/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199667/blue-collar-imperative/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:12:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199667 WASHINGTON — In Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn is giving Republicans a real scare in a Senate race the GOP thought it had put away. Some of her new momentum comes from a sustained attack on David Perdue, her businessman foe, for his work shipping American jobs overseas. One ad includes a quotation from Perdue about [...]

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WASHINGTON — In Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn is giving Republicans a real scare in a Senate race the GOP thought it had put away. Some of her new momentum comes from a sustained attack on David Perdue, her businessman foe, for his work shipping American jobs overseas.

One ad includes a quotation from Perdue about his outsourcing past: “Defend it? I’m proud of it.” The tagline: “David Perdue, he’s not for you.”

Meanwhile in Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes, trailing in the polls against Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, has refused to say whether she voted for President Obama. But when Hillary Clinton came to the state to campaign for her last week, Grimes was proud to call herself “a Clinton Democrat.”

This is no accident: In Kentucky’s 2008 presidential primary, Clinton defeated Obama 65 percent to 30 percent. Coal country in Eastern Kentucky is a battleground in the Senate contest, and Clinton swept the region six years ago. In Magoffin County, Clinton received 93 percent of the vote.

Finally, consider a speech Clinton’s husband made in New Hampshire last Thursday, campaigning on behalf of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and the rest of the Democratic ticket. “I feel like an old racehorse in a stable,” former President Bill Clinton told a crowd of about 1,200 at a fundraiser to appreciative laughter, “and people just take me out and put me on the track and slap me on the rear to see if I can run around one more time.”

But his message about the Republicans was dead serious. “They want you to cast resentment votes,” he declared. “Resentment against the president. Resentment against the Affordable Care Act. Resentment against the last bad thing that happened.”

The elections in Georgia and Kentucky are different in important ways, but one lesson from both is that Democrats can’t win without a sufficient share of the white working-class vote. Nunn, on offense, and Grimes, on defense, are both trying to secure ballots from the sorts of voters who were once central to the Democratic coalition.

And Bill Clinton’s comments reflected what his party is up against: Republicans have been quite effective at turning the anger that working-class whites feel about being left behind in the new economy against liberals, Democrats and especially the president. The Democrats’ worries were nicely captured in a headline on Matthew Cooper’s recent Newsweek article: “Why Working-Class White Men Make Democrats Nervous.”

There is no reason to be dainty or evasive in saying that racism and racial resentment are part of the equation, and it’s not just that Obama is our first African-American president. Racial politics has been helping Republicans since the 1960s when much of the white South realigned toward the GOP in reaction to the Democrats’ embrace of civil rights.

This year, it’s not hard to see coded messages in Republican advertisements blanketing the airwaves tying the Islamic State and even Ebola fears to immigration and border security, or ads in gubernatorial campaigns in Maine and Massachusetts about welfare.

Yet race is not the only thing going on. Andrew Levison, the author of “The White Working Class Today,” says it’s important to distinguish between racial feelings today and those of a half-century ago. “It’s not 1950s racism,” he told me. “It’s more a sense of aggrievement — that Democrats care about other groups but not about the white working class.”

Complicating matters, but also giving Democrats hope, is the fact that younger members of the white working are more culturally liberal than their elders. They are also more open to a stronger government role in the economy, as Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin of the Center for American Progress have shown.

Perdue’s problems on outsourcing, like Mitt Romney’s 2012 troubles related to his own business background, reveal the major soft spot in the GOP’s white working-class armor: that many blue-collar Americans combine a mistrust of Democrats with a deep skepticism about the corporate world. Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, says this points the way toward arguments that progressives need to make in the future.

“We have to expose the unholy alliance between money and politics,” she says. “Concern about inequality is unifying, it’s cross-partisan, and it’s not ideological.”

This will play some this year but may loom larger in 2016. For now, vulnerable Democrats seem eager to have the old racehorse on the track, and Arkansas and Louisiana were the next stops on Bill Clinton’s schedule. He’s trying to bring home voters who once saw his party as the working man’s best friend.


E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne (c) 2014, Washington Post Writers Group

graphic via shuttestock.com

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Thirty (plus) Years War http://themoderatevoice.com/199611/thirty-plus-years-war/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199611/thirty-plus-years-war/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:57:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199611 Peter Van Buren comments on our most recent war in the Middle East in The American Conservative. The most likely outcome of all this killing, whatever the fate of the Islamic State, is worsening chaos across Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region, including possibly Turkey. As Andrew Bacevich observed, “Even if we win, we [...]

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Peter Van Buren comments on our most recent war in the Middle East in The American Conservative.

The most likely outcome of all this killing, whatever the fate of the Islamic State, is worsening chaos across Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region, including possibly Turkey. As Andrew Bacevich observed, “Even if we win, we lose. Defeating the Islamic State would only commit the United States more deeply to a decades-old enterprise that has proved costly and counterproductive.” The loss of control over the real costs of this war will beg the question: Was the U.S. ever in control?

 

In September, Syria became the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded, occupied, or bombed since 1980. During these many years of American war-making, goals have shifted endlessly, while the situation in the Greater Middle East only worsened. Democracy building? You’re not going to hear that much any more. Oil? The U.S. is set to become a net exporter. Defeating terrorism? That’s today’s go-to explanation, but the evidence is already in that picking fights in the region only fosters terror and terrorism. At home, the soundtrack of fear-mongering grows louder, leading to an amplified national security state and ever-expanding justifications for the monitoring of our society.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2014/10/thirty-plus-years-war.html

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Everything you need to know to understand #GamerGate http://themoderatevoice.com/199665/everything-need-know-understand-gamergate/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199665/everything-need-know-understand-gamergate/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:30:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199665 The hashtag #GamerGate went mainstream in the past week, with commentary and reporting at the Boston Globe, CBS, CNN, Entertainment Weekly, TIME, The Guardian, the Washington Post. Simple summaries are hard to craft: #GamerGate is complicated hashtag that grew out of a discussion of game industry journalism and morphed into death threats against women. I’m [...]

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The hashtag #GamerGate went mainstream in the past week, with commentary and reporting at the Boston Globe, CBS, CNN, Entertainment Weekly, TIME, The Guardian, the Washington Post.

Simple summaries are hard to craft: #GamerGate is complicated hashtag that grew out of a discussion of game industry journalism and morphed into death threats against women. I’m not a gamer, and I’ve resisted writing about this mess; the first I recall it entering my consciousness was when Intel pulled its ads from Gamasutra after a concerted campaign.

Appending “gate” to a word implies political scandal (and a reminder that the source, Watergate, was itself a proper noun). But a hashtag is not a movement or group; it’s shorthand geared towards findability. However, movements and groups create and use hashtags which can then also serve as badge of affiliation. But here?

Anchor points in the #GamerGate timeline

August: From the MotherJones explainer:

The conflict first blew up in August after a programmer named Eron Gonji wrote a revenge post about his breakup with developer Zoe Quinn, the creator of Depression Quest, a critically acclaimed game whose purpose is to illustrate the challenges of coping with depression…

[N]asty attacks against Quinn—including the circulation of nude photos, death threats, and rape threats—quickly flooded sites like Reddit and 4chan … [Anita] Sarkeesian experienced similar threats just a few days later, after publishing a new video in her series on women and gaming.

Adam Baldwin, one-time star of Joss Wheadon’s FireFly, is credited with creating the hashtag:

September: Five weeks ago, ArsTechnica reported:

A set of IRC logs released Saturday appear to show that a handful of 4chan users were ultimately behind #GamerGate, the supposedly grass-roots movement aimed at exposing ethical lapses in gaming journalism. The logs show a small group of users orchestrating a “hashtag campaign” to perpetuate misogynistic attacks by wrapping them in a debate about ethics in gaming journalism.

What’s 4chan? An online community that is “widely viewed as a nasty sort of place for anyone not straight and male.”

October:
Game developer Briana Wu got death threats after joking about #GamerGate on Twitter:

A mob telling you they will castrate your husband, make you choke to death on the parts, murder any children you might have and then rape your ass until it bleeds has a way of scaring the hell out of you.

Also this week, popular culture and media critic Anita Sarkeesian — who produces a web series “Tropes Vs. Women” — canceled an appearance at Utah State University on Wednesday. From the University:

A number of personnel at Utah State University received an email regarding the scheduled presentation by Anita Sarkeesian tomorrow, October 15, 2014, at USU’s Taggart Student Center. The email contained threats to Sarkeesian and those who attend her presentation…

Sarkeesian is a Canadian-American feminist, media critic and blogger. She is the author of the video blog “Feminist Frequency,” and she writes often about how women are portrayed in video games. In 2012, she was targeted by an online harassment campaign following her launch of a Kickstarter project to fund the Tropes vs. Women Video Games series. Extensive media coverage placed Sarkeesian at the center of discussions about misogyny in video game culture and online harassment.

The email mentions the École Polytechnique Massacre, also known as the Montreal Massacre. Twenty-five-year-old Marc Lépine shot 28 people while claiming that he was “fighting feminism.” He killed 14 women and injured 10 others.

Anita Sarkeesian death threat

Because Utah’s concealed weapons law meant that it was not possible to prohibit or check for guns at the event, Sarkeesian canceled her appearance. In 2006, Utah became the first state to legalize guns on campus.

And then, there’s this:

It’s not hard to see how any legitimate concerns about journalistic practices would get lost.

And Sunday, here’s Joss:

Silver linings and explainers

Tim Bray finds one upside:

It dragged a part of the In­ter­net that we al­ways knew was there out in­to the open where it’s re­al­ly hard to ig­nore.

While Jesse Singal at NYMag finds another:

[T]hese [new] titles really are going to make the world a better, more tolerant, interesting place. We just need to get past the terrible adolescent tantrum some gamers are currently throwing.

And the verdict is …

I’m not a gamer and at a core level I’m not concerned with what goes on in “gamer journalism.”

This sums up my attitude:

Part of the problem here is that the world of “gamers” simultaneously want to be treated as a monolith and as individuals. But you can’t have it both ways. If you see yourself as a bloc of people who call themselves “gamers,” to outsiders you are only as good as your worst representatives, and the past month have shown those representatives to be racist, homophobic, misogynist, and threatening.

I am deeply concerned when individuals — fringe though they may be — use this medium to viciously attack women. I applaud the thick skin and tenacity of critics like Sarkeesian. My optimism for the medium is on the wane, with my view much more along Bray’s pessimistic one than Singal’s optimism.

:: Cross-posted from WiredPen
:: Follow me on Twitter
:: Header image created by me; based upon Flickr CC licensed image

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Catholic Church Won’t Be More Welcoming To Gays http://themoderatevoice.com/199660/catholic-church-wont-welcoming-gays/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199660/catholic-church-wont-welcoming-gays/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:28:49 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199660 Roman Catholic bishops abandoned their planned welcome of homosexuals into the church Saturday, expressing disagreement at the close of a two-week meeting Pope Francis, 77, called to establish a better approach to ministering to church members, the Associated Press reported. The bishops were unable to agree on an effective way to signify acceptance of gays [...]

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Roman Catholic bishops abandoned their planned welcome of homosexuals into the church Saturday, expressing disagreement at the close of a two-week meeting Pope Francis, 77, called to establish a better approach to ministering to church members, the Associated Press reported. The bishops were unable to agree on an effective way to signify acceptance of gays by…

Catholic Church Won’t Be More Welcoming To Gays

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Dr. Cotton’s Bizarre Ideas, Boardwalk Empire & The Knick; DC and Marvel Movie Plans; Twin Peaks; The IT Crowd & Other British Adaptations http://themoderatevoice.com/199652/scifi-weekend-doctor-dr-cottons-bizarre-ideas-boardwalk-empire-dc-marvel-movie-plans-twin-peaks-crowd-british-adaptations/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199652/scifi-weekend-doctor-dr-cottons-bizarre-ideas-boardwalk-empire-dc-marvel-movie-plans-twin-peaks-crowd-british-adaptations/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 21:23:33 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199652 Flatline managed to provide an episode of Doctor Who which successfully combined elements of both horror and humor. While not a totally original idea, it was something not seen on Doctor Who before, and realistically few television shows manage to come up with ideas which have not been influenced by other works. Think of it [...]

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DoctorWho Flatline

Flatline managed to provide an episode of Doctor Who which successfully combined elements of both horror and humor. While not a totally original idea, it was something not seen on Doctor Who before, and realistically few television shows manage to come up with ideas which have not been influenced by other works. Think of it as if the residents of Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott were to invade earth, with a touch of The Adams Family thrown in.

Besides the idea of two dimensional beings invading, there was the added component of the TARDIS shrinking when the “structural integrity is compromised.” This did contradict The Name of the Doctor which showed such leaking to cause the TARDIS to swell in size, not shrink. The shrinking of the TARDIS, with the Doctor trapped inside, did enable Clara to take a leading role in this episode. This whole situation was quite difficult for the Doctor: “I mean this is just embarrassing. I’m from the race that built the TARDIS. Dimensions are kind of our thing.”

The Doctor did win out in the end. Ultimately the aliens from the two dimensional world were defeated by their inability to distinguish a two dimensional picture of a door from a real three dimensional door.

With the Doctor separated from the action for most of the episode, Clara took on the role of the Doctor, including taking on a companion, Rigsy, and calling herself the Doctor:

Rigsy: “What are you the doctor of?”
The Doctor: “Of lies.”
Clara: “Well, I’m usually quite vague about that. I think I just picked the title because it makes me sound important.”
The Doctor: “Why, ‘Doctor Oswald,’ you are hilarious.”

Clara did show Rigsy the inside of the shrunken TARDIS leading to the classic comment, “It’s bigger on the inside.” This set up the Doctor’s response: “I don’t think that statement has ever been more true.”

Doctor Who Flatline1

Clara also showed that she can act like the Doctor, from using the Sonic Screwdriver to using his tactics:

Clara: “I just hope I can keep them all alive.”
The Doctor: “Ha. Welcome to my world. So, what’s next, ‘Doctor Clara’?”
Clara: “Lie to them.”
The Doctor: “What?”
Clara: “‘Lie to them.’ Give them hope. Tell them they’re all going to be fine. Isn’t that what you would do?”
The Doctor: “In a manner of speaking. It is true that people with hope tend to run faster, whereas people who think they’re doomed …”
Clara: “Dawdle. End up dead.”
The Doctor: “So, that’s what I sound like?”

Ultimately, when Clara asked if she did a good job, the Doctor did respond, “You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara. Goodness had nothing to do with it.” We still have the question from the start of the season as to whether the Doctor is a good man, and whether they are doing good.

The most amusing gag of all in the episode was seeing the Doctor’s full sized hand emerge from the tiny TARDIS to walk it away from an oncoming train. The episode was very light on Danny Pink, but we did have another amusing scene with Clara talking on the phone with Danny, hiding the fact that she was in danger. The previews do show him taking an active part next week, but it still remains unclear whether we will ultimately see a return to two teachers from Coal Hill School being companions aboard the TARDIS as was teased last summer.

The ending scene with Missy took a different turn from her previous scenes, with Missy saying, “Clara, my Clara. I chose well.” It has already been suggested that it was Missy who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number back in The Bells of Saint John, but we still have no idea as to what Missy’s overall plan is. Also uncertain is whether this has any connection to Clara’s role in The Name of the Doctor to become fragmented in time and have a role in each of the Doctor’s regenerations.

The writers this season do seem to be writing as if some of the past events have not taken place, almost starting fresh with Clara and the Peter Capaldi Doctor. Even going back to the season premiere in Deep Breath, the Clara who saw each regeneration in The Name of the Doctor should not have been as surprised by seeing the changes in the Doctor after his regeneration. Perhaps the events of The Time of the Doctor, with the Doctor gaining additional regenerations and not dying on Trenzalore, also mean there was never a giant TARDIS tomb for the Doctor and Clara never was fragmented in time. The Missy story line might wind up providing a completely different version of Clara’s life.

The Doctor Who Extra for Flatline is above.

While both the Doctor and now Clara having claimed to be a doctor without formal qualifications, there are some actual doctors who have done considerable harm despite having true medical degrees. One example, Dr. Henry Cotton, has appeared on cable television shows in the past week both on The Knick (at the start of his career and Boardwalk Empire (near the end). He was a real person. Henry Cotton believed that psychiatric problems were based upon infections and his treatment often began with pulling the teeth of psychiatric patients. If this did not provide a cure, then he would proceed to remove other organs which he believed were the cause of the infection. Needless to say, in an age before antibiotics, such unnecessary surgery could have catastrophic results. At one point during his career Cotton even had a nervous breakdown. He responded by pulling his own teeth, then proclaimed himself to be cured and returned to work.

Knowing the factual basis behind Dr. Cotton’s life leaves me concerned about Gillian Darmody’s fate after she told Dr. Cotton that she felt she was cured. We already saw another woman at the asylum undergo surgery, and Cotton would not be likely to accept Gillian’s assessment that she is cured without surgically removing what he believes to be the site of her infection. Being the final season, Boardwalk Empire does have the ability to show tragic endings for its characters. This included the deaths of two long time characters last week. While Boardwalk Empire is ending, The Knick just ended its first season and has done an excellent job of showing what medical care was like back in 1900 and the development of new ideas such as transfusions.

News came in last week that a cable series which debut last summer, Manhattan, was renewed. While I have not seen the series, I feel comfortable in recommending this show about the development of the atomic bomb based upon several favorable reviews. (Although I have not seen Manhattan yet, do I get any points for reading Joseph Kanon’s novel, Los Alamos, several years ago?)

Still no news on whether Continuum will be renewed.

Episode 101

I would also recommend another new cable series which I did see the premiere of last weekend, The Affair. The main story involves an affair from the viewpoint of both parties, each telling their version for half the episode. We have narrators who are unreliable at least due to the faults in human memory. There might be additional reason for intentional deceit as we found that the stories are being told as part of a possible criminal investigation years afterwards, similar to in the first season of True Detective. It also reminds me of William Landay’s novel, Saving Jacob, in which there are glimpses of future questioning but we don’t know who the accused is or the crime until the end of the novel.

The creator of The Affair, Sarah Treem, discussed the dual narratives in an interview at The Hollywood Reporter:

With Noah and Alison remembering different accounts of the same stories, the series explores the notion of objective truth. Do you think there’s such a thing?

I think there is such a thing as objective truth. There are events that actually happen. As individuals our understanding of what happens is often quite limited. Sometimes the only way to get at objective truth is to have multiple people tell their own version of the same event. It is the job then of the interrogator, the therapist, the audience member, whomever, to basically try to find the commonality between the accounts in order to figure out what actually happened. That’s basically what we’re trying to do with this show. We’re not saying there’s no such thing as truth — there absolutely is — but we don’t think that one person is usually the arbiter of the truth. We think that it comes forward in conversation. There’s this quote, I think it’s from Hegel, but it’s the idea that all understanding is dialectic, meaning that nothing gets understood unless it’s as a result of a conversation. That’s how I think of the two sides of this show, that it’s a conversation from which the audience gains an understanding.

Will we see the perspectives of other characters besides Alison and Noah?

Not this season but maybe in subsequent seasons, if we get them.

We see a lot of overlapping stories that vary slightly depending on who’s telling them. What’s it like to have to regularly write two versions of the same event?

It’s a really fun exercise for a writer. It’s just about putting yourself in another character’s perspective, seeing the scene through the other character’s eyes. For the scene at the end of the pilot [where Alison and Cole have sex on their car], I was interested in writing a scene that looked like an attack on one side, and then coming back into it knowing more about what was actually happening to where all of the sudden the scene plays as a very different negotiation. Writers are trained at this because you’re always approaching the story through somebody’s eyes so it’s just a great, enjoyable exercise to go back and think, “Well, I wrote it this way the first time and now let me jump into a different character’s body and a different character’s mind and let me try it again and just see what happens.”

super-movies

Both Warner (DC) and the various studies which own the rights to Marvel characters have recently released news on their upcoming movie plans. Comics Alliance has more information and has put together the above infographic.

Here is an ambitious list from Warner Brothers:

  • “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
  • “Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer (2016)
  • “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot (2017)
  • “Justice League Part One,” directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
  • “The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller (2018)
  • “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa (2018)
  • “Shazam” (2019)
  • “Justice League Part Two,” directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
  • “Cyborg,” starring Ray Fisher (2020)
  • “Green Lantern” (2020)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice producer Charles Roven recently gave an interview with more information on the movie, including the origin story for Wonder Woman which is being used.

Unlike Marvel, DC is keeping their movie and television universes separate. While Gotham will probably need to be kept in a separate world of its own, Green Arrow, The Flash, and next Supergirl are forming their own television universe. Many fans are angry that Stephen Amell and Grant Guston won’t be appearing as Green Arrow and The Flash in the Justice League movie. While fans would probably prefer such continuity, it does make it easier to wrote both the television shows and the movies if there is not a need for consistency. We saw how Agents of SHIELD was harmed by a need to postpone mention of HYDRA taking over SHIELD until after Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released.

avengers-captain-america-iron-man

Marvel fans are getting more excited by what appears to be planned. While Robert Downey, Jr. has not agreed to do another stand alone Iron Man movie, he may be appearing in Captain America 3, which reportedly involves the two being on opposing sides over the Superhero Registration Act. There have also been rumors of Marvel making a deal with Sony, which owns the cinematic rights to Spider-Man, to allow him to appear, which sounds plausible as Spider-Man had a role in this storyline in the comics. Several other Marvel characters are also rumored to be appearing.

Emma-Stone-Cabaret_612x830

Meanwhile Emma Stone, when not playing the role of Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man, will be playing Sally Bowles on Broadway in Caberet.

With Twin Peaks coming back we have twenty-five years to catch up on. Mark Frost is writing a book to fill in this gap. I am looking forward to see what they do with the series and which characters return. I do hope that Audrey Horne returns and has a daughter who can tie a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue.

The IT Crowd

NBC has commissioned Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) to do a remake of the fantastic British sit-com, The IT Crowd. I have mixed feelings about such attempts to remake UK shows here. NBC’s first attempt at a remake, with cast including Joel McHale, was reportedly a total flop and never aired. NBC also failed in adapting Coupling, another excellent British sit-com written by Steven Moffat.

Fox has had their own problems in attempting to remake British shows, both with Gracepoint (a remake of Broadchurch) and Us and Them (a remake of Gavin and Stacey).

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Originally posted at Liberal Values

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Warren’s credibility grows http://themoderatevoice.com/199650/warrens-credibility-grows/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199650/warrens-credibility-grows/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 21:11:27 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199650 Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s credibility grows: It kind of looks like a) she’s chosen a great way to run without yet running, and b) she’s developing a solid base among new voters. And she’s managed to put an effective distance between her potential candidacy and the corporatist Clinton crowd. Speaking before more than 400 people [...]

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Elizabeth-Warren-on-MSNBC-All-in-with-Chris-Hayes (3)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s credibility grows:

It kind of looks like a) she’s chosen a great way to run without yet running, and b) she’s developing a solid base among new voters. And she’s managed to put an effective distance between her potential candidacy and the corporatist Clinton crowd.

Speaking before more than 400 people at Carleton College, Warren repeatedly invoked the spirit of the late Paul Wellstone, the fiery liberal senator who died 12 years ago this month in a plane crash during his reelection campaign. Wellstone remains a revered figure in Minnesota politics, and his brand of populism — out of step in the Clintonian Democratic Party of the 1990s — is now mainstream among leading liberal activists. Warren has become the most prominent public face of that movement, and the Wellstone disciples in this town 40 miles south of Minneapolis gave their approval Saturday.

“The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it,” Warren said to loud cheers. …WaPo

Warren is out there campaigning for some of the best Democrats. She doesn’t need to be outed as a presidential candidate. She’s putting a healthy distance between Professor Warren and Populist Warren.

Hillary? Warren isn’t running for president. Yet. She just covering some territory –Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado. Then we’ll see…

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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Will Palestinians join ISIS caliphate? http://themoderatevoice.com/199645/will-palestinians-join-isis-caliphate/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199645/will-palestinians-join-isis-caliphate/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:08:14 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199645 Will Palestinians join ISIS caliphate? By Lloyd Levy EILAT, Israel –While soaking up the sun in Eilat ( 100F. this week), my body was idle but my mind was still ticking over. I had a Damascene revelation, on this ancient road from Cairo to Damascus. The symbolism of Eilat’s location occurred to me. It is [...]

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shutterstock_146750888

Will Palestinians join ISIS caliphate?
By Lloyd Levy

EILAT, Israel –While soaking up the sun in Eilat ( 100F. this week), my body was idle but my mind was still ticking over. I had a Damascene revelation, on this ancient road from Cairo to Damascus. The symbolism of Eilat’s location occurred to me. It is at the head of a small bay, with four countries bordering each other along a stretch of coast probably no more than ten miles long. Those being Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi. What was once a very important overland trade and pilgrimage route , is now all but an impregnable barrier.
This is a stark microcosm of all the artificial borders and states created by British Administrators throughout the Middle East, on the defeat of the Ottoman Caliphate after World War One.
Moreover, Lawrence of Arabia spent some time in the Eilat area (although Eilat didn’t exist at that time), mapping the country for British Military Intelligence. He then went on to help carve up the whole Middle East, along with Gertrude Bell and other British Administrators, into artificial states, better to divide and rule.
These artificial borders have lasted 100 years, but the weakening of the USA and the “West” in recent times, has given an opportunity for al-Qaida (aka. ISIS, ISIL, Nusra) to try to recreate a Sunni Caliphate over the whole area and indeed into North Africa also.
I apologise for this historical background, but it is essential in understanding the very significant, far reaching, and historical events that may be unfolding. The British Parliament has recently proposed that a Palestinian State be established, adding another meaningless non-state to all those they created in earlier years.. However the irony is that they may be 100 years too late.
If the Caliphate idea puts down roots, which I suspect it may do, despite (or because of ?) the appalling barbarism of its exponents, then the Palestinians will almost certainly want to be part of it. A mini state of Palestine will no longer have much appeal to the Arabs, even if it still does for all the anti semites in Europe.
Essentially, the crucial point that I am trying to make, is that “Palestine” is probably no longer relevant. A separate Palestinian state won’t have any appeal even to the Palestinian Arabs, because it is an idea that may already be past its “best buy date“. They will want to be part of a larger entity, namely the reincarnated Caliphate.
What this means for Israel, and its borders and security, is quite impossible to ascertain at this time.
*
Levy is a freelance writer who divides his time between London, England, and Eilat, Israel. He may be contacted via lloyd.levy@sdjewishworld.com.This was originally published in San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association (SDONA).

ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

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POLL: Romney ahead among Republicans, Hillary Clinton dominates among Democrats http://themoderatevoice.com/199642/poll-romney-ahead-among-republicans-hillary-clinton-dominates-among-democrats/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199642/poll-romney-ahead-among-republicans-hillary-clinton-dominates-among-democrats/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:29:09 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199642 Less than a month before the scramble for the 2016 Presidential nominations of both parties really begins — the second after the November elections ballots are counted — the latest ABC News/Washington Post shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ahead in a split Republican field and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton totally dominating among [...]

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Less than a month before the scramble for the 2016 Presidential nominations of both parties really begins — the second after the November elections ballots are counted — the latest ABC News/Washington Post shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ahead in a split Republican field and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton totally dominating among Democrats.

While it’s silly to predict that Clinton is now a shoo and will face no serious opposition in a march towards her party’s nomination — which means you can expect to see just that from some of the well-paid talking heads who’ll say with utmost certainty as if they know (and they don’t) — several things are clear about where our political scene is now:

1. Some GOPers have buyer’s remorse. They feel they should have voted if they didn’t or not swayed and voted for Barack Obama. And they are split on the alternatives. So you have to wonder if some of this early polling reflects a wish such as “Oh, if only I could turn back to the clock and redo this election! He wasn’t so bad after all. He wasn’t Obama!” If so, it means Romney would be right back where he was during the last primary season having to move further and further right and start to sound like a regurgitation of Sean Hannity’s show.

2. Clinton is ahead because for now she’s getting support from many parts of the Democratic party but that and other factors are sure to change. But these polls are only showing two other possible competitors. There could be more and then the questions are which ideologically similar candidates will split those votes, whether Clinton’s campaign avoids the toe-stubbing it did in 2008, and how she positions herself on some of the tougher issues. Some analysts contend that after two years of one party in power, the candidate of that party cannot win unless he/she distances himself/herself sufficiently so it doesn’t appear as if the candidate is in effect offering a third term for the incumbent.

The details:

Hillary Clinton continues to hold a commanding lead in the potential Democratic field for president in 2016, while the GOP frontrunner in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is a familiar figure – but one not favored by eight in 10 potential Republican voters.

That would be Mitt Romney, supported for the GOP nomination by 21 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That’s double the support of his closest potential rival, but it also leaves 79 percent who prefer one of 13 other possible candidates tested, or none of them.

When Romney is excluded from the race, his supporters scatter, adding no clarity to the GOP free-for-all. In that scenario former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have 12 or 13 percent support from leaned Republicans who are registered to vote. All others have support in the single digits.

Were Romney to run again, he’d likely face some of the same challenges that dragged out the 2012 GOP contest. He’s supported by only half as many “strong” conservatives as those who are “somewhat” conservative, 15 vs. 30 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

2016t2

Meanwhile, on the Democratic Party front:

Clinton continues to dominate on the Democratic side, with 64 percent support. Still, there are some gaps in her support: It’s 54 percent among men vs. 70 percent of women and

55 percent among those younger than 50 vs. 72 percent among those 50 and older. And she gets less support from Democratic-leaning independents, 53 percent, than from mainline Democrats, 69 percent
.
Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have 13 and 11 percent support, respectively. Biden does better among those under 50, those with less education and nonwhites; Warren, among college graduates and whites.

dems

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Cartoon: Turkey and the siege of Kobani http://themoderatevoice.com/199640/cartoon-turkey-siege-kobani/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199640/cartoon-turkey-siege-kobani/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:21:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199640 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com Share on Tumblr

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Patrick Chappatte, Le Temps, Switzerland

Patrick Chappatte, Le Temps, Switzerland


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The Hardest-Working Congressman in North Dakota http://themoderatevoice.com/199638/hardest-working-congressman-north-dakota/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199638/hardest-working-congressman-north-dakota/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:12:36 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199638 The Hardest-Working Congressman in North Dakota By Jason Stanford As America waits, ever patiently, for the economic recovery to trickle down to the rest of us, at least we won’t have to worry about Kevin Cramer. This former radio host has figured out a way to get a piece of the pie not just for [...]

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RJ Matson, Roll Call

RJ Matson, Roll Call

The Hardest-Working Congressman in North Dakota
By Jason Stanford

As America waits, ever patiently, for the economic recovery to trickle down to the rest of us, at least we won’t have to worry about Kevin Cramer. This former radio host has figured out a way to get a piece of the pie not just for himself but for many of his relatives as well. Unfortunately, he’s cashing in because he’s a congressman, so his method probably won’t work for us poor slobs who have to work for a living.

First, let’s be clear that Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, is a hard-working politician who earns every penny of his $174,000 annual salary. Sure, he works an average of three days a week in what is on track to be the least productive congress in modern history, but that doesn’t mean Cramer isn’t working hard, guys.

For example, he was even working hard during the government shutdown. More than 100 members of congress refused to take their paychecks, but Kevin deserved his.

“My office is open, we’re taking phone calls, I’m voting every day, I’m debating every day, I’m going to countless meetings. I’m working to earn the salary that the people pay me to do the job,” he said. He was too busy to count all those meetings! So heck no, he wasn’t giving up his paycheck. “I will continue to earn it, and I will continue to collect what I earn, yes.”

Here’s some of the things he works so hard on: He’s stopping a clandestine plot the Environmental Protection Agency to use top secret maps to regulate all of North Dakota. The maps are so secret, in fact, that they don’t actually exist, but he’s on it.

When it comes to farmers, he’s pulling double duty as both a hard-liner who opposes federal farm subsidies and as a politician who takes credit for leading the fight for the farm bill. When local farmers objected, Cramer said… well, I’m not sure exactly.

“Why would I run an ad that depicted I took credit for something I didn’t want I mean your head had to be on backwards if to even, that doesn’t make any sense if it’s such a great idea to not have one why would I be worrying about passing one,” said Cramer. And he’s right. It’s doesn’t make sense.

He works so hard he even won an award as a member of the House Science Committee. Of course, the award was The Congressional Climate Denier Award for calling global warming “fraudulent science” and a conspiracy to help wind farms. But hey, an award’s an award.

With all this going on in Washington—working three days a week, y’all!—it’s a wonder Cramer ever found time to cook up this scheme. Odds are, if you’re in Cramer’s family, you’re also on his campaign payroll.

His wife draws a salary and gets reimbursed for stuff, all of which totaled up to $40,542 since 2013. One daughter did some consulting for the campaign and then got a little job on the payroll, making her $2,468. Another daughter co-owns a video production company that got some work from her dad’s campaign, making another $3,100. Every little bit helps.

All of this is probably legal because we’re just talking about his campaign account. If he did this on the government payroll, it would be called nepotism. Since he’s just using special interest money to boost his family’s bottom line, it’s called being a good provider.

And don’t worry about ol’ Kevin. He’s not just throwing money at his wife and kids. There’s some left over for himself, too. In the first half of 2014, he paid himself per diems and mileage reimbursements that totaled $14,040. It gets expensive driving around to tell farmers that he wasn’t actually opposing the farm bill when he was trying to kill their agriculture subsidies.

According to the experts, Cramer is a likely bet for re-election, and nothing he’s doing is illegal. Most politicians don’t feather their beds like Cramer because people don’t like it when congressmen get paid to be clueless and lazy while using special interest money to supplement their income. It looks bad. You never know. You might lose the election.

—–

© Copyright 2014 Jason Stanford, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Jason Stanford is a regular contributor to the Austin American-Statesman, a Democratic consultant and a Truman National Security Project partner. You can email him at stanford@oppresearch.com and follow him on Twitter @JasStanford.

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Dear Politicians: A Travel Ban Won’t Stop Ebola—and May Make It Worse http://themoderatevoice.com/199636/dear-politicians-travel-ban-wont-stop-ebola-may-make-worse/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199636/dear-politicians-travel-ban-wont-stop-ebola-may-make-worse/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 13:35:56 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199636 As more and more patients arrive in U.S. hospitals with “Ebola-like” symptoms—never mind the fact that the vast majority of them do not have the virus—politicians have increasingly called on President Barack Obama to ban travel to and from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three countries most affected by the disease. A number of [...]

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As more and more patients arrive in U.S. hospitals with “Ebola-like” symptoms—never mind the fact that the vast majority of them do not have the virus—politicians have increasingly called on President Barack Obama to ban travel to and from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three countries most affected by the disease. A number of lawmakers,…

Dear Politicians: A Travel Ban Won’t Stop Ebola—and May Make It Worse

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Meet the Comedy Central Press http://themoderatevoice.com/199634/meet-comedy-central-press/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199634/meet-comedy-central-press/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 04:01:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199634 In what has been a season of jaw-dropping news, the latest bombshell seems like it was ripped from the pages of Mad Magazine. First, the terrorist group ISIS has now unquestionably emerged as a territory-gobbling group offering the same kind of brutal, merciless murder of men, women and children that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis [...]

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Jon-Stewart

In what has been a season of jaw-dropping news, the latest bombshell seems like it was ripped from the pages of Mad Magazine.

First, the terrorist group ISIS has now unquestionably emerged as a territory-gobbling group offering the same kind of brutal, merciless murder of men, women and children that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis offered during the 20th century. Hitler had a country to back up and implement his ideological and racist blood lust. ISIS doesn’t have a country — yet.

Next, another shock: it turns out the Ebola virus isn’t just limited to Africa and largely contained. Deadly Ebola dominates the news — and fears– of Americans. Now the news media has a genuinely compelling story, and partisans have an issue they can use to point to and blame the other side for enabling or bungling.

And then came a bit of jaw-dropping news that seemed as if it absolutely MUST be from The Onion, or written by news parody genius Andy Borowitz.

NBC was wooing — no joke…not kidding ya… 100 percent for real.. really, I’m serious — Comedy Central’s mega-talented Jon Stewart to host “Meet the Press,” the longest running show in American television history. They were willing to offer big bucks to do it and, according to the report that revealed the network’s r-e-a-l mindset, had even been talking to Stewart’s agent.

The revelation — stunning to those who still cherish traditional news values — came in a must-read piece on New York magazines’ “Daily Intelligencer” page. Gabriel Sherman wrote: “One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually ‘anything’ to bring him over. ‘They were ready to back the Brink’s truck up,’ the source said. A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment. James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.”

Any journalist knows that when the subject of a story refuses comment it might really mean “no comment,” but it usually means the tidbit is true and the subject hopes not commenting will make the story go away.

Which it basically did. Sure, for a few days cable and Internet pundits expressed bemusement or disbelief. But what happened here is a shocking revelation how little r-e-a-l journalism is respected today when “the get” becomes the goal.

How unthinkable would it once have been to seriously consider hiring a talented comedian to take over what has long been a solid news franchise? Toying with hiring Stewart to host Meet the Press brings back memories of another network’s first big step in undermining the 1950s concept of broadcast news as a sacred trust — when CBS 1966 decided it wouldn’t air government hearings on Vietnam and instead opted for “I Love Lucy” re-runs.

Before cable, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, the big three broadcast networks would run government hearings on monster issues dominating the news. You could channel surf and see the same, exact live event on all of the networks because all network bigwigs individually felt it was vitally important for broadcast news in its role as a public trust to cover it. In 1966, CBS didn’t pull back from undermining this once sacred tenet: it ran the popular re-runs.

And CBS paid an immediate price for this first step towards a long slide down a slippery slope. It’s decision cost the network a legendary newsman: CBS News President Fred Friendly, quit when he was told the hearings wouldn’t be run and Lucy Ricardo would run instead because “housewives weren’t much interested in Vietnam.”

In Stewart’s case, NBC felt a host who could interview and offer some big yucks could reap big ratings and big bucks. What next? Could CBS try to get David Letterman to take over for “Face the Nation’s” Bob Schieffer? Could clowns take over for members of Congress? (Wait, that already happened.)

NBC’s choice of Chuck Todd means Meet the Press remains the show that for more than a half century has symbolized the phrase “broadcast journalism.” For now.

——-

Copyright 2014 Joe Gandelman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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It’s Pizza Time http://themoderatevoice.com/199632/pizza-time/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199632/pizza-time/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 04:00:07 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199632 Who doesn’t love pizza? While I would be hesitant to call pizza the “ultimate food,” it’s hard to deny that few things go over quite as well with large groups of people. Pizza always seems to be on the menu, any time of day and for any reason. Best of all, on the surface, pizza [...]

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Who doesn’t love pizza? While I would be hesitant to call pizza the “ultimate food,” it’s hard to deny that few things go over quite as well with large groups of people. Pizza always seems to be on the menu, any time of day and for any reason. Best of all, on the surface, pizza is…

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Cartoon: Ewingnut http://themoderatevoice.com/199624/cartoon-ewingnut/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199624/cartoon-ewingnut/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 21:42:01 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199624 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com Share on Tumblr

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Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons


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Avoiding Panic Regarding Ebola http://themoderatevoice.com/199623/avoiding-panic-regarding-ebola/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199623/avoiding-panic-regarding-ebola/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 18:42:22 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199623 With some conservatives playing politics with Ebola, it is good to see that Shepard Smith at Fox is being more responsible. See the video above where he explains why there is no reason to panic. Hopefully this will calm down the conservatives who are being incited to panic and see this as reason to vote [...]

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With some conservatives playing politics with Ebola, it is good to see that Shepard Smith at Fox is being more responsible. See the video above where he explains why there is no reason to panic. Hopefully this will calm down the conservatives who are being incited to panic and see this as reason to vote against Democrats by other conservative voices.

As Shepard Smith explains, there is no outbreak of Ebola in the United States. We had an isolated case of one person with Ebola returning to the United States. Unfortunately, two nurses who cared for him when critically ill contracted the virus. Some mistakes were made. Hopefully what was learned in this case will help reduce the risk of this happening in the future, both in terms of handling patients with Ebola and in monitoring those who care for them. One key point is that Ebola is highly contagious when someone is this critically ill, but it is not contagious before symptoms appear.

Unfortunately far too many people in this country learned epidemiology from The Walking Dead. Some conservatives who otherwise deny evolution are now claiming Ebola could mutate to become an airborne menace–and this is far from the most absurd thing being claimed.

There is no need to panic and initiate bad policy such as a travel ban, which is primarily supported by Republicans. A travel ban is unlikely to be effective and could have several adverse effects. It could make it harder to treat Ebola at its source. Further spread in West Africa would increase the risk of worldwide spread. Adverse effects on commerce in Africa could make it harder for local governments to deal with the problems. People who came from the region would be harder to track as this would give them motivation to come to the United States by less direct routes and deny possible exposure at borders. Even during the SARS outbreak a decade ago, with a disease which actually is airborne, travel bans were found to be unnecessary and ineffective.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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One Man, One Vote (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/199621/one-man-one-vote-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199621/one-man-one-vote-guest-voice/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:50:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199621 One Man, One Vote Raging Moderate by Will Durst Whiners. Bounders. Ingrates. Talking about the incessant griping and sniping currently buzzing over long overdue Republican reforms requiring citizens to produce a government issued ID before casting a vote. From the outcry you’d think the GOP was organizing competitive kitten clubbings. Again. Oh for crum’s sakes, [...]

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Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

One Man, One Vote
Raging Moderate by Will Durst

Whiners. Bounders. Ingrates. Talking about the incessant griping and sniping currently buzzing over long overdue Republican reforms requiring citizens to produce a government issued ID before casting a vote. From the outcry you’d think the GOP was organizing competitive kitten clubbings. Again.

Oh for crum’s sakes, settle down people. It’s just an ID. You need one to fly or buy or ply or even take out a library book. What is wrong with insuring the integrity of the electoral process? This isn’t voter suppression, it’s voter protection.

Which is why in the great state of Texas, it’s easier to buy an automatic weapon than register to vote and a gun permit is considered proper ID but a University student ID, not so much. Because the 2nd Amendment trumps the 14th, 15th & 19th Amendments. Always has. Always will. Simple math.

And no, not even paid investigators could find more than thirty examples of voter fraud in the entire country over the last 15 years, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. You can’t see gravity either, but all your fancy liberal scientists agree that’s going on all the time, right? Same thing here. Only different.

And what responsible citizen doesn’t have a driver’s license? Do you really think people who aren’t allowed to drive should be able to vote? Have you taken a bus lately? What’s next? You going to open up elections to homeless people? You know what they’re going to vote for: free whiskey.These series of incremental electoral fine- tunings are intended to curtail chicanery, not democracy. That the individuals most impacted are the young and the poor and the elderly, who can reliably be counted on to vote Democratic- is just a co-incidence. Besides, most of them don’t pay taxes. In this country, the patriotic thing to do is encourage the givers, not the takers. Otherwise, you’re not supporting the troops.

And yes, steps are being taken to reduce abuses caused by early and weekend voting. Why? Because easy voting is Un- American, that’s why. In order to impart the gravity of the situation, casting a ballot should be a burdensome chore. Which is why in poor districts the polling places are few and far between. Most of them don’t have jobs; what else do they have to do? The more standing in line- the less muggings.

Or perhaps voting on a Tuesday is inconvenient for you. Well, nobody said Democracy was supposed to be convenient. You might want to think about moving to some place where only one name gets placed on the ballot- like North Korea. Doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

Face it, the problem isn’t not enough people voting: its too many people voting. Time to go back to literacy tests and poll taxes. Restricting the vote to white male Protestant landowners. They’re the ones who run the country. The ones with the most to lose. Oh sure, the constitution states that voting is a right, but it’s also a privilege. Barnacles don’t determine where the whale swims, do they?

Freedom isn’t free. And the rich have the resources to pay for elections. We could set it up so the more they spend, the more votes they get. Until eventually the guy with the most money ends up running things. That’s they way they did it in Europe and they turned out okay. What the hell, we’re at least halfway there.

——-

Copyright ©2014, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com for more about the documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances such as his hit one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG.”

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India At Risk Of Joint Attack By ISIS, Al Qaeda http://themoderatevoice.com/199617/india-risk-joint-attack-isis-al-qaeda/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199617/india-risk-joint-attack-isis-al-qaeda/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:28:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199617 Militants of the Islamic State group and al Qaeda could carry out joint attacks in India, the director general of the country’s National Security Guard, or NSG, said on Thursday, according to media reports. The statement by the head of the country’s counterterrorism force comes just over a month after al Qaeda announced the creation [...]

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Militants of the Islamic State group and al Qaeda could carry out joint attacks in India, the director general of the country’s National Security Guard, or NSG, said on Thursday, according to media reports. The statement by the head of the country’s counterterrorism force comes just over a month after al Qaeda announced the creation of…

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SCOTUS Rejects DOJ’s Emergency Request to Ban Texas Voter ID Law http://themoderatevoice.com/199616/scotus-rejects-dojs-emergency-request-ban-texas-voter-id-law/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199616/scotus-rejects-dojs-emergency-request-ban-texas-voter-id-law/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:19:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199616 The U.S. Supreme Court says the controversial Texas voter ID law can be used for the November election. Early voting begins on Monday. SCOTUS rejected an emergency appeal from the Department of Justice and civil rights groups to bar the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to vote. [...]

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The U.S. Supreme Court says the controversial Texas voter ID law can be used for the November election. Early voting begins on Monday.

SCOTUS rejected an emergency appeal from the Department of Justice and civil rights groups to bar the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to vote.

The law was struck down by a federal judge last week but was upheld by a federal appeals court. The federal Judge Nelva Gonzales called the voter ID law an “unconstitutional poll tax.”

Judge Gonzales found that roughly 600,000 voters, mostly black or Latino, could be turned away from the polls due to a lack of acceptable photo identification.

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Sunnis Won’t Oppose ISIS http://themoderatevoice.com/199562/sunnis-wont-oppose-isis/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199562/sunnis-wont-oppose-isis/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 12:59:58 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199562 Peter Van Buren explains the hole in Obama’s ISIS strategy in The American Conservative. There is no path by which America can succeed in its goals in Iraq—repel ISIS and keep the country together—without the active participation of the Sunnis. It is very unlikely that will happen.   Obama’s strategy rests on the assumption that the [...]

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Peter Van Buren explains the hole in Obama’s ISIS strategy in The American Conservative.

There is no path by which America can succeed in its goals in Iraq—repel ISIS and keep the country together—without the active participation of the Sunnis. It is very unlikely that will happen.

 

Obama’s strategy rests on the assumption that the Sunnis can be bribed and coerced into breaking with ISIS, no matter the state of things in Baghdad. That’s hard to imagine. As with al-Qaeda in Iraq during the American occupation years, the Islamic State is Sunni muscle against a Shia government that, left to its own devices, would continue to marginalize, if not simply slaughter, them. In 2006, U.S. officials did indeed convince Sunni tribal leaders into accepting arms and payments in return for fighting al-Qaeda. That deal, the Awakening, came with assurances that the United States would always stand by them.

 

America didn’t stand. Instead, it turned the program over to the Shia government and headed for the door marked exit. The Shias reneged on the deal. Once bitten, twice shy, so why, only a few years later, would the Sunnis go for the same bad deal? It appears they will not, and that by itself suggests the current Iraq war will not succeed. It is foolish for Obama to expect otherwise.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2014/10/sunnis-wont-oppose-isis.html

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Ebola hysteria is going viral. Don’t fall for these 5 myths http://themoderatevoice.com/199594/ebola-hysteria-is-going-viral-dont-fall-for-these-5-myths/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199594/ebola-hysteria-is-going-viral-dont-fall-for-these-5-myths/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 11:15:56 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199594 EDITOR’s NOTE: This is being reposted and put higher on top since comments had been turned off due to a technical glitch. YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS ARE WELCOME. NAIROBI, Kenya — In the US, Ebola hysteria is spreading way faster than the virus itself. Commentators on cable news are the worst offenders, stoking fears with [...]

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EDITOR’s NOTE: This is being reposted and put higher on top since comments had been turned off due to a technical glitch. YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS ARE WELCOME.

NAIROBI, Kenya — In the US, Ebola hysteria is spreading way faster than the virus itself. Commentators on cable news are the worst offenders, stoking fears with paranoid soothsaying and inventing apocalyptic future scenarios that may scare the bejeezus out of viewers (thereby attracting more viewers) but have only the most tenuous connection to reality. Were…

Ebola hysteria is going viral. Don’t fall for these 5 myths

Sergey Uryadnikov / Shutterstock.com

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Pennsylvania’s Politics of Virtue: Senate Shoots Down Pigeon Shoots http://themoderatevoice.com/199610/pennsylvanias-politics-virtue-senate-shoots-pigeon-shoots/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199610/pennsylvanias-politics-virtue-senate-shoots-pigeon-shoots/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:53:10 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199610 by Walter Brasch The Pennsylvania Senate, possibly for the first time in its history, stood up against the NRA leadership and extreme gun-rights groups, and voted to ban pigeon shoots. The senators correctly called the ban a matter not of gun rights but of eliminating animal cruelty. The International Olympic Committee in 1900 banned pigeon [...]

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by Walter Brasch

The Pennsylvania Senate, possibly for the first time in its history, stood up against the NRA leadership and extreme gun-rights groups, and voted to ban pigeon shoots. The senators correctly called the ban a matter not of gun rights but of eliminating animal cruelty.

The International Olympic Committee in 1900 banned pigeon shoots because of their cruelty and never again listed it as a sport. Most hunters and the state’s Fish and Game Commission says that pigeon shoots are not “fair chase hunting.” Pennsylvania is the only state where there are active pigeon shoots.

The vote in the Senate was 36–12. Voting for the bill were 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans. Before the Senate could vote on the bill, it had to vote down two NRA-sponsored “compromise” amendments to legislate pigeon shoots and place them under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The bill had originated in the House, sponsored by John Maher (R-Upper St. Clair), where it had unanimous approval as a ban upon slaughtering, selling, and eating cat and dog meat. Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Chambersburg), an avid hunter, amended the bill in the Senate to include pigeon shoots, and received the backing of Sens. Stuart Greenleaf (R-Willow Grove), chair of the judiciary committee; and Dominic Pileggi (R-Glen Mills), the majority leader.

That bill, with the amendment, was approved in the Judiciary Committee, 10–4, on June 26. In the next two days, it passed two of the required three readings in the full Senate, but was tabled, July 8, when the Senate recessed for more than two months. The bill was finally placed on the calendar for a third vote, which occurred late at night, Oct. 15, the day before the Senate would again recess until a week after the November election.

The Senate passed the bill only after an intense lobbying effort by the Institute for Legislative Action, NRA’s lobbying arm, which sent several “alerts” to its members. Allied with the ILA-NRA is the Pennsylvania Flyers Association (PAFA), a political gun-rights group, which, like the ILA-NRA, has a PAC that contributes campaign funds to members of the state legislature. PAFA had boasted it was responsible for keeping the bill off the Senate calendar. Both groups argue banning pigeon shoots is the first step to a “slippery slope” to banning guns, both have threatened members of the legislature with retribution if they voted to ban the bill, both claim support for banning pigeon shoots comes from radical “outside activists.”

Those radical “outside activists” are the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Pennsylvania Federation of Humane Societies, the ASCPA, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness), which has video-documented the brutality of the pigeon shoots, often in secret, for several years, blanketed major market TV the past month with commercials featuring narration by Bob Barker and video of animal cruelty. The HSUS has maintained a 25-year activist campaign, which included intensive discussions with members of the legislature, numerous information packets, a strong social media campaign that organized supporters, and thousands Pennsylvanians calling their representatives and senators.

The last free-standing vote in the House to ban pigeon shoots occurred in 1994. Although the vote was 99–93 to ban the shoots, a majority of 102 votes was required. Later bills were scuttled, usually by leadership of both political parties, most of them afraid of the suspected wrath of the NRA.

Four years after the House failed to pass legislation to ban pigeon shoots, the state Supreme Court ruled the Hegins Pigeon Shoot, the most notorious of the shoots, and one which drew national attention to the state, was not only cruel “but moronic.” The organizers grudgingly disbanded the annual Labor Day event, held from 1934 to 1998. The Hegins shoot was held on public land; the Court’s opinion did not extend to shoots at private clubs, all of which draw many of the participants and spectators from New Jersey, and are held in secret. The passage of HB 1750 will end pigeon shoots at private clubs.

The House reconvenes for one day, Monday, Oct. 20, before it again recesses, its members returning for only one day, Nov. 12, before the session ends.

Heidi Prescott, HSUS senior vice-president, spent many years on the shooting fields rescuing wounded birds, while leading protests and education campaigns. Exhausted from consecutive 15-hour days of intense discussions with legislators—and more than two decades of hope and disappointment—she mixes the joy of the present with tears of remembrance when she recalls why she first committed to eliminating what has become known as “Pennsylvania’s Disgrace”: “This is a day I personally looked forward to for many years, from the day I first held an injured pigeon in my hands and watched her die—all for no reason other than someone wanted to use her for target practice.”

If the House passes the bill, and Gov. Tom Corbett signs it, Prescott, who grew up in Pennsylvania and received her B.A. and MFA from the state-owned Edinboro University, will no longer have to drive a four-hour round trip almost every Tuesday when the Legislature is in session from her office in Maryland to explain to legislators why animal cruelty never was and never will be protected by the Second Amendment, and why the courage to stand up for what is right may be the greatest virtue.

[Dr. Brasch has been covering pigeon shoots and state legislation for more than two decades. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an overall look at the health, environmental, and economic effects, and the fusion of corporate greed and politics in the state.]

graphic via shutterstock.com

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What’s Wrong With American Healthcare http://themoderatevoice.com/199603/whats-wrong-american-healthcare/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199603/whats-wrong-american-healthcare/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:24:32 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199603 The recent Ebola cases have demonstrated  major problems of the “best healthcare system in the world”.  It is not so much the government but for profit hospitals. If you  want an example you have to look no further than Florida governor Rick Scott and his former company Hospital Corporation of America. The United States is [...]

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richard-scott-headshot-350The recent Ebola cases have demonstrated  major problems of the “best healthcare system in the world”.  It is not so much the government but for profit hospitals. If you  want an example you have to look no further than Florida governor Rick Scott and his former company Hospital Corporation of America. The United States is not ready for Ebola and the Dallas hospital is only one example. Here is an example:

My wife is an ER nurse at a major urban hospital owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, the hospital chain once run by Rick Scott. It’s the largest for-profit medical system in the world, and is of course also notable for its ‘creative billing’ practices in the largest Medicare fraud settlement in history. Scott was booted from the CEO position following that fraud investigation, so he’s not directly responsible for current conditions in those hospitals.

But what about Ebola in hospitals?

And yet the head of infectious disease at this hospital went on the local news to proclaim the hospital was ready to receive ebola patients safely. They obviously didn’t bother to speak to a single nurse on the front lines. I’m not particularly panic-y about ebola, even though obviously the family members of ER personnel have a lot at stake in ebola preparedness. But I think that this situation will be the weak link in any major national response. So many of our hospitals are run by lunatics like Rick Scott who seek only the highest profit margin. They do not invest in training, they build charting mechanisms that are good for billing but not treating patients, they constantly fight with their unionized employees, they lie to the public, etc, etc. We like to imagine that competent, highly-skilled medical institutions like Emory will save us, but we have way more Dallas Presbyterians in this country than we have Emorys. 

Capitalism is great but it doesn’t work for healthcare when when  Hospital Corporation of America is involved .  Even many so called “non profits” are at fault. In my area the most of the local hospitals were once largely Catholic.  While the walls are still covered with crosses and the halls are filled with nuns it is now a corporation and the CEO makes 100s of thousands of dollars a year.  Even among the nonprofits healthcare is not longer the primary goal for institutions.

 

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California Study Debunks Claims That Medicaid Expansion Will Increase ER Utilization Long Term And Excessively Increase Costs http://themoderatevoice.com/199602/california-study-debunks-claims-that-medicaid-expansion-will-increase-er-utilization-long-term-and-excessively-increase-costs/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199602/california-study-debunks-claims-that-medicaid-expansion-will-increase-er-utilization-long-term-and-excessively-increase-costs/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:47:17 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199602 Opponents of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion have often twisted the results of a study in Oregon showing an increase in Emergency Room utilization after their expansion of Medicaid. Subsequent studies have debunked claims that Medicaid patients are abusing Emergency Rooms and studies of the Medicaid expansion in Ohio showed that better management [...]

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Opponents of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion have often twisted the results of a study in Oregon showing an increase in Emergency Room utilization after their expansion of Medicaid. Subsequent studies have debunked claims that Medicaid patients are abusing Emergency Rooms and studies of the Medicaid expansion in Ohio showed that better management of the Medicaid patients can lead to better control of chronic disease while limiting Emergency Room use. A new analysis from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released Wednesday also specifically debunks claims made based upon the Oregon study, showing that the increase in Medicaid utilization is short-lived. From Kaiser Health News:

While the Medicaid expansion may lead to a dramatic rise in emergency room use and hospitalizations for previously uninsured people, that increase is largely temporary and should not lead to a dramatic impact on state budgets, according to an analysis from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released Wednesday.

Researchers reviewed two years of claims data from nearly 200,000 Californians, including a group  who had enrolled in public programs well in advance of the expansion of Medi-Cal,the state’s version of Medicaid, in January. These programs were designed to ease the expansion of Medicaid by providing insurance to low-income adults who were not eligible for Medi-Cal at that point but would be when the health law’s expansion went into effect earlier this year. The researchers  divided the group into four categories, based on the researchers’ assessment of each group’s pent-up demand for health care.

In July 2011, after being enrolled in California’s Low Income Health Program, the so-called “bridge to reform,” the group with the highest pent-up demand had a rate of costly emergency room visits triple — or more — that of the other groups. But from 2011 to 2013, that high rate dropped by more than two-thirds and has remained “relatively constant,” according to the analysis.

“We were hoping that this would be the case,” said lead author Jerry Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, “because we think that that’s what access to care does for low-income individuals … that there’s an additional increase in demand for services and that that demand, or utilization, drops off pretty rapidly.”

Rates of hospitalization for the “highest pent-up demand” group also started high and dropped by almost 80 percent over the two-year period. Curiously, if ER and hospitalization rates were dropping, it’s reasonable that outpatient visits might rise. But that wasn’t the case; the rate of outpatient visits was largely unchanged during the two-year period.

Kominski said that one of the fears of the Medicaid expansion was the potential high cost of low-income patients. He argued that this analysis should ease those fears: “What our findings say to the country is (that) concerns about Medicaid expansion being financially unsustainable into the future are unfounded.” Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government provides 100 percent of the cost of the newly eligible under the Medicaid expansion, but in 2017 that contribution will phase down until it reaches 90 percent in 2020.

As was the case in Ohio, a key factor in keeping costs down was better coordination of patient care:

One factor in helping drive down the higher rates of use, Kominski said, is better efforts at coordination for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. For example, virtually all Medi-Cal beneficiaries are now enrolled into a Medi-Cal managed care plan. “To the extent that other states don’t have adequate coordinated care mechanisms in place for their Medicaid populations, then the kinds of drop off that we observed in California may not occur there,” Kominski said.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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Operation ‘United Assistance’ in Images http://themoderatevoice.com/199597/operation-united-assistance-in-images/ http://themoderatevoice.com/199597/operation-united-assistance-in-images/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:48:08 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=199597 We have been doing our best to report on the training, deployment and activities of our troops who are helping in the fight against the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa: Operation United Assistance. The Department of Defense has an entire web site devoted to Operation United Assistance. There is a wealth of information [...]

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U.S. Marines support Operation United Assistance

We have been doing our best to report on the training, deployment and activities of our troops who are helping in the fight against the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa: Operation United Assistance.

The Department of Defense has an entire web site devoted to Operation United Assistance.

There is a wealth of information at the site not only on our troops’ activities but also on the Ebola disease itself, its origins and how it is spreading, including an excellent factsheet depicting several of those facets, current as of October 8.

In addition, a very informative video on the history and background of the disease and informationabout the West African Ebola virus disease outbreak, below. Since the video was made in September, it does not include the recent cases of Ebola in the U.S. (Below)


A current video on the progress in the construction of the Monrovia medical unit, other treatment units and labs can be viewed here.

U.S. Marines support Operation United Assistance

U.S. Marines and sailors on Morón Air Base, Spain, prepare an MV-22B Osprey to deploy to West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance, Oct. 8 2014. The Marines, sailors and aircraft are assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa. U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Gerard R. Farao

Lead photo: U.S. Marines and sailors prepare to board a bus to the flightline on Morón Air Base, Spain, as they deploy to West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance, Oct. 8 2014. The Marines and sailors are assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa, a rapid-response force capable of deploying long ranges to conduct a variety of missions from U.S. embassy reinforcement to humanitarian assistance. U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Gerard R. Farao.

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