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Archive for July, 2014

The Matt Entenza Sleazemails: Shawn Otto Speaks, You Listen

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 31, 2014

If you live in Minnesota and are registered to vote, you’ve probably received one of the Matt Entenza sleazemails attacking current State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Entenza is so desperate to win some statewide post — any post will do, apparently — that he’s been reduced to primarying Otto.

His pointedly unendorsed campaign has all the marks of a typical Entenza production: the gobs of self-funding, the sleazy, expensive, and unsupportable attacks, the apparent obliviousness to how his attacks could well be turned back against him. (I highly recommend reading Sally Jo Sorensen’s series of articles on the subject (most of them are linked in the “Related Articles” box at the bottom of this post) — she owns this story as does no other working blogger or journalist in the state.)

Because Entenza won’t quit with the bogus sleazemailings, I feel compelled to give some blog space to Rebecca Otto’s campaign manager and husband, Shawn Otto, on the subject:

Rebecca Otto has never voted for Voter ID; she campaigned against it. I know. I was with her. In fact, I wrote one of the first pieces about it, which came out of an event she and I hosted.

On July 24, a three-judge panel unanimously rejected Matt Entenza’s charges about Rebecca Otto and Voter ID, as reported by the StarTribune.

The very next day, an Entenza mailer began arriving in homes, repeating the charges anyway, pulling out votes from over a decade ago that other good democrats like Jim Davnie, Paul Thissen and Michael Paymar had also voted for, and portraying them as if they somehow had something to do with Voter ID, and had somehow “denied access” to voters. They didn’t.

Minnesotans like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and to some, this could be dismissed as a simple case of bad taste and worse timing.

But then yesterday a second mailer from Matt Entenza began arriving in Minnesotans’ homes, this one also claiming that Rebecca Otto had voted for Voter ID and “denied access” to voters. She didn’t.

Unlike the first, this mailing cannot be ascribed to bad timing. It was well after the judges ruled against Entenza.

This mailer should cause Minnesota voters to be concerned-about Matt Entenza. Mr. Entenza is running for the top elected financial office in Minnesota. If he is willing to mislead voters even after a three-judge panel ruled against him, how can he be trusted to provide transparency and accountability over government finances?

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Matt Entenza has an established pattern of campaign finance violations and questionable ethics, going back more than a decade, of which this is just the latest, and they have a bearing on his qualifications to be the State Auditor:

Matt Entenza’s claims about Voter ID have nothing to do with the Office of the State Auditor, but they do say a lot about Matt Entenza.

-Shawn Otto

They certainly do.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

More stating the obvious

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2014


RABBI HENRY SIEGMAN: Yes, it’s [the invasion/bombing of Gaza is] disastrous. It’s disastrous, both in political terms, which is to say the situation cannot conceivably, certainly in the short run, lead to any positive results, to an improvement in the lives of either Israelis or Palestinians, and of course it’s disastrous in humanitarian terms, the kind of slaughter that’s taking place there. When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the slaughter of—repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis—and should be a profound crisis—in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success. It leads one virtually to a whole rethinking of this historical phenomenon.

The whole interview is fascinating and well worth the time. There’s a basic problem at the root of the Palestinian conflict. Jews have a legitimate reason to want a state as protection against religious/ethnic persecution. But the essence of desiring justice for the historical–and ongoing– ill-treatment of the Jewish people is desiring such justice for all people, even those one considers enemies.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East | 4 Comments »

Stating the obvious

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2014

Ray McGovern et al., Consortium News:

If the U.S. has more convincing evidence than what has so far been adduced concerning responsibility for shooting down Flight 17, we believe it would be best to find a way to make that intelligence public …

We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO …

These are actual intelligence analysts, telling us that it looks like the intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy.

So, of course, the corporate media can’t interview them.

Posted in Russia | Comments Off on Stating the obvious

A Message From Markos On The Children Kept In Kennels

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 26, 2014

This came to me via email this morning, and I’m passing it on to you all:

…just think how desperate you have to be to send your children on a dangerous journey over 1500 miles by themselves.

That’s how desperate tens of thousands of Central American families are today. They have to choose between near-guaranteed death at home at the hand of criminal gangs or drug cartels, or some chance of survival in the United States.

This is not an immigration crisis—this is a refugee crisis. These kids aren’t looking for better economic opportunities or a better life, they are looking for life itself.

I’ve never written you to ask for your help in this way, but I am now. This crisis is undeniable and the lack of leadership from our elected officials is appalling.

Earlier this week, I chipped in $225 to the Texas Young Democrats’ relief efforts. They’re working to bring basic necessities like soap, underwear, and socks to the children who’ve fled to the United States and have since been detained by the Border Patrol.

I’m not asking you to chip in that much. But if you have just $5 to spare, please take a minute to look at the ways you can help these kids who are fleeing horrific violence only to end up being treated like prisoners here:

  • As I said, Texas Young Democrats are asking people to buy basic necessities through a “Wish List” they’ve organized on Amazon. Just add the items you’d like to donate to your shopping cart as you would any other Amazon order. Then, when you check out, you’ll have the option to send your items directly to the Texas Young Dems.
  • Catholic Charities is providing food, shelter, and medical attention to children refugees. You can see some pictures of their work here.
  • Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) offers legal services to children facing the labyrinth immigration legal system alone. You can contribute through PayPal or with your credit card.

Thank you and keep fighting,
Markos Moulitsas
Founder and Publisher, Daily Kos

You know what to do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Israel Quietly Admits Hamas Didn’t Kill The Three Israeli Teens Whose Deaths Were Israel’s Excuse To Torch Gaza

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 26, 2014

Words fail me:

Non-plagiarizing BuzzFeed writer Sheera Frenkel was among the first to suggest that it was unlikely that Hamas was behind the deaths of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. Citing Palestinian sources and experts the field, Frenkel reported that kidnapping three Israeli teens would be a foolish move for Hamas. International experts told her it was likely the work of a local group, acting without concern for the repercussions: 

[Gershon Baskin] pointed out that Hamas has earlier this month signed an agreement to form a unity government with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, bridging, for the first time in seven years, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza.

“They will lose their reconciliation agreement with Abbas if they do take responsibility for [the kidnappings],” Baskin added.

Today, she was proven right:

Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the Jewish diaspora.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on July 25, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 2 Comments »

More on Malaysian airliner

Posted by Charles II on July 23, 2014

My take at DK here.

The Al Jazeera flavor is this:

U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday they have no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The statements, made anonymously to The Associated Press and Reuters, came after a train carrying the remains of many of the 298 victims of the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet – brought down over Ukraine’s restive east – arrived in government-controlled territory on Tuesday, and as experts began to examine the plane’s black boxes, which separatist rebels handed over to Malaysian officials.

U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that they believe pro-Russian separatists likely shot down the plane “by mistake,” and that they have no evidence the Russian government was directly involved.

The yahoos won’t admit it, but this is a huge climbdown. From ABC News:

Secretary of State John Kerry told American TV viewers that rebels shot down the plane with Russian weaponry

Except they’re not even sure that it was the rebels, and have no idea whether the weapon was supplied by the Russians or was pilfered from Ukrainian stores.

Just 14 hours ago, the Washington Post published this (granted, an OpEd by a postdoc who is probably busily eating his words at this moment):

Russian personnel may well have been involved in the decision to shoot down a civilian aircraft despite Putin’s early attempts to deny any role.

The bottom line is that Russian decision-makers are either guilty of gross negligence or have blood on their hands. If Russian personnel were involved in the decision to bring down MH17, Moscow’s own forces helped authorize and/or execute an operation which tragically resulted in 298 innocent civilian deaths.

What I hear at Daily Kos–which amounts, thanks to the lack of critical reasoning by some people, to a summary of the media narrative being pushed by corporate media and the State Department–that Russian military fired the missile deliberately, or that they trained the rebels to fire the missile and they supplied the missile, or that it doesn’t matter if the rebels fired it by accident because it’s murder all the same.

But what if the rebels procured the missile from Ukrainian stores and, through accident, incompetence, or recklessness, fired the missile at what they believed to be a Ukrainian military aircraft? Is that really worth starting the Cold War over?

Robert Parry has a different take. His sources say that the guys who fired the missile were wearing Ukrainian uniforms.

I think that getting to the most likely scenario is pretty easy. Is the Russian military a very cautious, top-down, centrally-controlled organization? Yes.
Would the Russians benefit from shooting down a civilian aircraft? No.
Suppose a Russian adviser was in charge of a battery manned by Ukrainian rebels. Would he shoot down a civilian aircraft? Certainly not if he were regular military. Possible if he were a Cossack volunteer. But still, unlikely.
So, is it likely that the Russians deliberately shot down the aircraft? No.
Repeat the same analysis with the Ukrainian rebels and the regular Ukrainian army. One of the two sounds a lot more plausible. A deliberate shootdown is unlikely, but if it were, the Ukrainian military is the only one with a plausible motive to do so.

Posted in Russia | 6 Comments »

“There’s a lot that points at the need for Russia to be responsible.” –John Kerry

Posted by Charles II on July 21, 2014

Kerry always did know how to stumble over a phrase, but what a telling stumble. Parry:

Kerry: “So there’s a stacking-up of evidence here which Russia needs to help account for. We are not drawing the final conclusion here, but there is a lot that points at the need for Russia to be responsible [for the downing of MH17].

Kerry cited evidence, none of which he is willing to attribute to US intelligence:

Kerry presented no verifiable proof from the U.S. government, no images of the 150-vehicle convoy, no support for the claims about the rebels possessing the SA-11 Buk system (beyond allusions to “social media”), no countervailing information about the Buk systems possessed by the Ukrainian military, no effort to allow for contrary explanations for comments made during the confusion that followed the crash within a disorganized rebel organization that has poor command and control, no demands for cooperation from the Kiev regime.

Also, there was no explanation for why Kerry’s statements were at variance with public remarks by senior U.S. military personnel. For instance, the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock reported on Saturday that Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe, said last month that “We have not seen any of the [Russian] air-defense vehicles across the border yet.”

Whitlock also reported that “Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said defense officials could not point to specific evidence that an SA-11 surface-to-air missile system had been transported from Russia into eastern Ukraine.”

Maybe the Russians, either directly or through their proxies, shot down MH17. After the Iraq War, though, we deserve better from “the most transparent Administration in history.

Posted in Russia | 2 Comments »

See more Parry

Posted by Charles II on July 20, 2014

Parry, The Consortium:

In the heat of the U.S. media’s latest war hysteria – rushing to pin blame for the crash of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – there is the same absence of professional skepticism that has marked similar stampedes on Iraq, Syria and elsewhere – with key questions not being asked or answered.

The dog-not-barking question on the catastrophe over Ukraine is: what did the U.S. surveillance satellite imagery show? It’s hard to believe that – with the attention that U.S. intelligence has concentrated on eastern Ukraine for the past half year that the alleged trucking of several large Buk anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia to Ukraine and then back to Russia didn’t show up somewhere.

Yes, there are limitations to what U.S. spy satellites can see. But the Buk missiles are about 16 feet long and they are usually mounted on trucks or tanks. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 also went down during the afternoon, not at night, meaning the missile battery was not concealed by darkness.

So why hasn’t this question of U.S. spy-in-the-sky photos – and what they reveal – been pressed by the major U.S. news media?

What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.

In recognition of the key role played by the neo-Nazis, who are ideological descendants of Ukrainian militias that collaborated with the Nazi SS in World War II, the new regime gave these far-right nationalists control of several ministries, including the office of national security which is under the command of longtime neo-Nazi activist Andriy Parubiy

Could we please see the evidence before reaching a conclusion about who shot down MH17

Posted in Russia | 5 Comments »

See also Parry

Posted by Charles II on July 20, 2014

Parry on MH17 shootdown in Ukraine.

Posted in Russia | 1 Comment »

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