Posts Tagged ‘Jon Tester’

by William Skink

There is this quaint notion we get from Economics 101 that supply and demand drive the markets. If you want to pass some standardized test, stick with 101. If you want to grapple with what actually happens in the real world, toss the text book out of the first available window.

It’s not that supply and demand don’t matter. They do. Take, for example, the demand for houses. Most people want to live in one, so there’s demand. For supply, there are plenty of laborers and resources to make use of. But we’re talking some big numbers if you want to play the home buying game. So you need financing.

Well, a few years ago we saw what happens when supply and demand takes a back seat to greed. Perverse incentives fueled an orgy of sub-prime lending, and the contagion went global.

For Montana, the collapse of the inflated housing boom hit labor hard. Mills closed and construction slowed. But despite the pesky constraints of reality, a bipartisan effort from Jon Tester and Steve Daines aims at using big government to shelter an industry from the impacts of Economics 101. And always happy to oblige, the Missoulian is more than willing to stack the story for panhandling loggers:

The U.S. Forest Service needs to quadruple forest restoration acres, while logging could reasonably triple over current levels in Montana, Chief Tom Tidwell said under questioning from Montana’s senators.

Tidwell was before the Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittee on Wednesday lobbying for a nearly $5 billion budget in fiscal year 2016. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Sen. Steve Daines questioned the chief on goals for Montana, pushing for increases in timber production to saw mills and other wood products.

“I don’t need to tell you how important saw mills are as a partner to the Forest Service. We don’t need to drive these folks out of business, and it becomes a taxpayer-funded problem as far as forest management,” Tester said.

Forest restoration, including logging, produced 113 million board feet (see info box) of saw logs, posts and poles and firewood on 9,000 acres in Montana during FY2014. Tester asked if current work was adequate to properly manage 17 million acres of forests.

“It’s not near enough of what we need to be doing to change the conditions on the landscape, to restore the resiliency of those forests and reduce the wildland fire threat to our communities,” Tidwell said, citing workforce reductions and shifting funds to fire budgets. “I’ve tried to be really clear about the challenge we have in front of us, and the need for us to increase the pace and scale of restoration of our nation’s forests.”

Tidwell went on to say that the number of restored acres needed to increase at least four times. He added that individual project size, with authorities granted under the 2014 Farm Bill, needed to significantly expand.

“Especially in your state, we need to be able to move forward with some larger landscape projects similar to what we’ve done in some neighboring states where we can look at not thousands but tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of acres with one environmental assessment,” Tidwell told Tester.

Daines echoed the frustrations of Montana timber mill owners, many running at two-thirds capacity. Many mills are facing layoffs due to lack of logs while surrounded by millions of acres of available timber, he said.

“They’re healthier forests; environmentally the best thing we can do are responsible timber practices,” he said.

Sustainable timber harvest figures are much higher than the 113 million board feet cut in Montana, Daines said. He then asked Tidwell if 300 million board feet was a reasonable goal.

“Three hundred million board feet is very reasonable,” Tidwell replied.

Reasonable? Based on what? Certainly not market fundamentals.

Here are some numbers worth considering, reported on five years ago:

About 3.5 million US residents (about 1% of the population), including 1.35 million children, have been homeless for a significant period of time. Over 37,000 homeless individuals (including 16,000 children) stay in shelters in New York every night. This information was gathered by the Urban Institute, but actual numbers might be higher.

Fox Business estimates, there are 18.9 million vacant homes across the country.

3.5 million people without homes; 18.9 million homes without residents.

And don’t you know, it ain’t all about subprime:

While subprime loans have justly captured much of the ink as the culprit, overdevelopment is a major factor in the dramatic number of vacancies there are today. These are not just the homes of people who took on a mortgage they couldn’t afford; these are newly constructed houses without a buyer on the horizon. It’s not about taking a residence from someone who can’t pay his or her bills and giving it to another person who can’t make payments either, it’s about using resources we have in excess.

If environmentalists weren’t so easily scapegoated, one wonders how the tag-team effort from a Democrat and a Republican to push through big government logging subsidies, while absconding from the principals for free market Capitalism, would be accepted.

The article quoted at length above is fascinating because it tries to acknowledge reality, via quotes from Mike Garrity, but still drifts toward industry propaganda:

The dip in timber for mills came with the downturn in housing demand of the Great Recession, said Garrity, an economist. The downturn was coupled with cheaper logs from Canada via NAFTA, he added.

Whether a 300 million board feet target was attainable would simply depend on where the logs came from and challenges were likely if it harmed fish and wildlife, Garrity said.

Timber-dependent industries in Montana spoke favorably of the potential for increased harvest.

“The exchange between the senators and chief is encouraging,” said Keith Olson, executive director of the Montana Logging Association. “The ability of industry to ramp up will be dependent upon certainty of access to increasing harvest levels.”

“The mills can handle it,” said Julia Altemus, executive vice president of the Montana Wood Products Association. “The mills are running at 60 percent capacity. All the mills would love an opportunity to run at 100 percent.”

Altemus cautioned that the Forest Service in the short term may not have enough current projects in the pipeline to meet a 300 million board feet goal as the cut is typically closer to 100 million board feet.

Public sentiment had largely turned to support for increasing timber harvest and other forest restoration, Daines said. Collaborative based forest projects have the greatest chance of success, and the number of diverse groups agreeing that responsible forest management would have positive economic and environmental impacts was encouraging, he added.

“The level of agreement we have is greater today than it’s ever been in my career,” Tidwell said of collaborative pushes for increased forest restoration.

Restoration? What a joke. The push to “restore” Montana forests is happening despite a lack of demand for home construction, and that’s problematic from several different political angles. For Steve Daines, he’s aiding and abetting Big Government’s intrusion on the Free Market. For Jon Tester, he’s continuing to alienate the people he expects to help reelect him in a few years.

Both politicians will blab about jobs, as if cutting trees is the only kind of work possible in our forests. Instead of government subsidized logging, why not invest in trail maintenance? Well-kept trails would be good for our tourism industry, right?

But that would make too much sense, so don’t expect it to happen. Instead we will be treated to more shill-reporting and deceitful rhetoric from our elected officials.

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by William Skink

A gaff is defined as a spear or spearhead for taking fish or turtles; a handled hook for holding or lifting heavy fish; a metal spur for a gamecock.

A gaffe is a mistake made in a social situation.

Maybe someone could clue in the editorial staff at the Missoulian about the difference an “e” makes: Tester lawsuit gaff reveals real frustration with logging litigation.

Here is the hilarious opening of the “article”:

Anyone who’s worked a fire lookout knows it’s tough to tell a wisp of morning fog from the smoke of a fresh lightning strike.

Not to excuse last week’s “four Pinocchios” gaff Sen. Jon Tester made regarding timber lawsuits, but it’s really hard to figure out just what the U.S. Forest Service is up to.

Let’s put aside the irony of the word selection for a moment. What the Missoulian is trying to accomplish for our senior Senator is a downshift of his Big Lie to a simple mistake. And once that’s done, change the subject:

And Tester’s misstatements about problems with national forest management may reveal a hotter issue: Congress’ fixation on changing the way people can challenge the agency in court.

It’s hard to find words to describe this kind of “reporting”. Tester lies about litigation so blatantly that he’s called out by the Washington Post, and the Missoulian decides to give the bulk of the article to those with…concerns about litigation:

“There’s nothing in the cut-and-sold reports about lawsuits – it’s just about timber sales,” said Todd Morgan of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. “And that doesn’t get at this spider web of connectivity, where one project gets litigated and it has an impact on lots of other projects. What they’re measured by is not always really clear.”

What is clear is that Montana Democrat Tester’s Republican colleague Sen. Steve Daines was on the same subject last week.

On Thursday, Daines challenged Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on “the implications of fringe lawsuits on the responsible management of Montana’s national forests and highlighted the severe effects that diminished timber output has had on Montana’s economy,” according to spokeswoman Alee Lockman.

Tidwell apparently agreed, responding: “The litigation definitely does impact and it’s not just the litigation. When we get a temporary restraining order, we have to stop and wait. Every time we get a lawsuit, the same staff that would be preparing for the next project, they have to prepare to go to court.”

My emphasis on “every time” because that’s just not true. For anyone actually following this closely you will know that litigation doesn’t always stop logging projects from continuing. But hey, for a paper that can’t even choose the right word for a headline, why bother with facts in the content of the article, right?

I sympathize with activists like Matthew Koehler. Because it’s an ongoing battle just to counter top-level politicians and local media, who blatantly lie and spread propaganda, resources must be expended in the scramble to get accurate information out. If the intent is to keep more honest organizations occupied in perpetual damage control over messaging, then it’s an effective tactic.

This is how the article wraps up:

“Clearly, there is a great deal of frustration with litigation,” University of Montana political science professor Rob Saldin said. “Tester clearly misstated the situation, but I do not feel we’re at a place where this frustration is unwarranted. Some are saying litigation is holding things up, and others say the courts are the only thing we have to prevent catastrophe on our national forests. I think we really need to have this dialogue and we need more accurate figures and information. That’s the only way we can get a better assessment if we’ve blown things out of proportion or there’s real merit there.”

Sure, let’s have a dialogue. It should start off with the people who made “misstatements” apologizing for poisoning the dialogue with lies. Anything less signals this farce will continue, abetted by the servility of our local media.

by William Skink

I wanted to do a follow up to the last post, Jon Tester’s Big Lie, because based on one commenter (Dan) I’m getting the feeling there is some reluctance to acknowledge just how blatantly obvious Tester’s lie was, not to mention the subsequent damage control, which wasn’t much better. That is why Jon Tester earned himself a 4 Pinocchio rating on the lie spectrum from Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post. From the link:

Logging on federal lands is an important part of Montana’s economy, with the Forest Service having the complex role of seeking to keep the forests healthy while also keeping the state’s mills running. Meanwhile, environment groups in the region are active in making sure the agency does not violate key laws, such as the Endangered Species Act.

Thus, there is an inherent tension. Even so, in 2014, the Forest Service’s Northern Region which includes Montana, met its timber harvest goal for the first time in over 14 years. The region harvested 280 million board feet — enough to build nearly 10,000 homes.

The Forest Service also recognizes the important role of environmental groups who challenge some of its decisions. “Things should be litigated that need to be litigated,” said Heather Noel, a Forest Service spokeswoman. “If there is something the Forest Service has missed, it is very healthy. We absolutely should be tested on that.”

But, despite Tester’s protestations, there is relatively little litigation involving timber sales — and even when there is, it generally does not halt logging operations.

First of all, let’s examine Tester’s claim about every logging sale. According to Tom Martin, a Forest Service deputy director for renewable resource management, there are 97 timber sales under contract in Montana’s national forests. Of that number, just 14 have active litigation, so about 14 percent. But only four of the sales are enjoined by a court from any logging.

These four sales are the Miller West Fisher timber sale in Kootenai National Forest, two Glacier Loon sales (Swan Flats Stewardship and Lunar Kraft Stewardship) in Flathead National Forest and Meadow Creek in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. We might question the inclusion of Meadow Creek on this list because Forest Service records show the agency itself pulled the decision without explanation. In the Flathead case, the Forest Service choose to appeal rather than accept a court decision ruling against it, thus extending the delays itself.

In any case, even if one accepts the Forest Service’s definition of enjoined sales, just 4 percent of the timber sales cannot be logged because of litigation.

This is very specific information that I doubt even the most ardent supporters of our senior senator can deny. He lied. And then he dug deeper. Here’s more from Kessler:

Meanwhile, there are problems with Tester’s revised statement. In that case, he tried to change the subject by changing the metrics. “What we gave was volume of sales,” acknowledged David Smith, another Forest Service spokesman. “That’s quite different from number of sales litigated.”

But it turns out that the volume of sales under litigation (69.4 million board feet) was being measured against annual timber volume (145.3 million board feet). That is apples and oranges, since “very little of this 69.4 million has been cut this year,” Noel acknowledged.

Moreover, “under litigation” is a rather expansive term because it includes projects which are still being logged even as disputes are settled in courts. (The Forest Service also sometimes counts as “under litigation” areas which are not under contract or where an environmental group simply has said it intends to sue.)

The Forest Service ultimately provided a figure of 271.3 million board feet that is under contract in Montana, as of Dec. 31, 2014. Given that many of the projects being litigated are being logged, it is unclear how much has been cut already. So the only reliable figure we can use is the projected volume of the four projects that are enjoined from any logging: Miller West Fisher (15.4 million board feet), Swan Flats (6), Lunar Kraft (4.3) and Meadow Creek (2).

That adds up to 27.7 million board feet, or about 10 percent of board feet remaining under contract. That’s a far cry from “nearly half.”

We should also note that of Montana’s nine national forests, only three have projects under contract that have been halted by litigation.

Politicians lie. The joke is you can tell when they lie because their lips are moving. But this is more than just a lie. It’s a purposeful escalation against people Tester has labeled extremists, the same provocative term John Boehner used after Obama vetoed the Keystone piepeline. Why is that important? Because it actually endangers people’s lives, as this tweet from John S. Adams indicates:

John S. Adams @TribLowdown:

@HelenaVigilante I’ve interviewed people who were physically threatened w/ violence & had their home shot at over forest policy issues.

It’s sad, thinking back to 2006, the hope that many of us had when we cast votes for Tester. Now my hope is that a reckoning will come in 2018. Tester isn’t just a proven liar–he’s a reckless politician willfully misrepresenting an issue that some people are willing to commit crimes over. And litigation, when it works, only works because the courts determine that laws are being broken.

If low-information wing-nuts think litigation has stopped ALL timber sales, then who knows what some unhinged, gun-toting actual extremist will do to the people they identify as being responsible for something that was never true to begin with.

Jon Tester should apologize directly. So far the damage control has been no better than the lie itself. Montanans deserve better.

It would also be nice to hear something from Tester’s supporters, the ones who would be expressing their outrage if this was a Republican lying so blatantly about an issue so many people feel very strongly about.

by William Skink

there once was a man told a whopper
about the environmentalists he hates
but if supporters ignore it
then who will deplore it
when he runs again in 2018?

*

Jon Tester lied big time on Montana Public Radio, and so far only one of his targets, Matthew Koehler, has called him out. That is until today, when Ochenski’s column hits the stands.

Here is Tester’s lie: “Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them.”

And here is the truth from Ochenski’s column:

• The Bitterroot National Forest has not seen a single timber sale litigated since 2006, which is before Tester even went to the Senate. Zero.

• There was not a single timber sale lawsuit filed on the Lolo National Forest from 2007 to 2012 and then had two lawsuits of which only one is still current. In the meantime, 99 active timber sales were conducted from 2005 to 2010.

• The Flathead National Forest has 13 active timber sales, with four lawsuits pending.

• The Region 1 National Forest announced in October of 2014 that it had reached its timber target goal, logging 280 million board feet of timber. Notably, that’s the first time Region 1 met its timber harvest goal in 14 years because the agency “overhauled its litigation strategy” according to Regional Forester Faye Krueger, who told reporters, “the main emphasis is on threatened and endangered species” saying the agency is paying close attention to previous court rulings and working hard to develop projects that get it right the first time.

Besides lying about the lawsuits, Tester conveniently omitted discussing the 2014 Farm Bill, under which some 5 million acres of Montana forestland that Gov. Steve Bullock nominated can be logged with little or no environmental analysis or public review and comment.

Is this a problem for Montana Democrats? Do they care their Senator came to office with the help of environmentalists, and now their Senator bashes them every chance he gets? Do they care Tester lies, misrepresents, labels non-collaborators as “extremists” and uses legislation to get around pesky things like the Endangered Species Act? (after decrying riders that is the method Tester used to delist wolves).

At the national level Democrats are trying to figure out why they got their asses kicked, politically speaking. Well, Tester has provided a very tangible example of why more and more people are saying to hell with voting. We don’t believe you. We don’t believe you really stand for anything save pleasing whoever you think will get you reelected.

If Montanans are inclined to vote for Jon Tester again, will they even realize what kind of deceitful person they are sending back to the snake pit in DC? Probably not. Will our local media unpack this whopper? Will any of those “progressive” bloggers make noise about this deceit? Besides a few voices, so far there has been mostly silence.

And so it goes.

by lizard

Dave Lindorff rightfully slams Democrats for Taking a Meaningless Progressive Stand in Congress:

The Democrats are showing their true colors now that they have lost control of both houses of Congress.

Suddenly, with the assurance that they don’t have to worry about being taken seriously, the “party of the people” has come forward with a proposal to levy a 0.1% tax on short-term stock trades, particularly on high speed trading.

Don’t get me wrong. A stock-trade tax is a great, and long-overdue idea. In fact, such a tax, which could raise some $800 billion in revenue over a decade, should probably be bigger than just 0.1%, and targeted more directly at high speed trading. (Most experts agree high-speed trading has been undermining any semblance of a fair market for stocks and bonds by handing an outsized advantage to companies that have access to huge computers that can make enormous trades, front-running other investors by getting into and out of the market in microseconds, so why not levy a graduated trading tax that is progressively higher the shorter the time period an investment is held?)

The point is that this trading tax is something that progressives have been calling for now for years, if not longer, but while they were in a position to actually make it happen, Democrats in Congress were silent about it.

And why didn’t Democrats do anything when they actually had the power to do so? Here’s more from Lindorff:

If the Democrats had passed such measures back when they had the White House and both Houses of Congress, back in 2009 or 2010, they wouldn’t be looking at a Republican Congress today. If they’d proposed such measures last year, when they still at least controlled the Senate, they wouldn’t have lost the Senate last November.

But of course, if they had made these proposals when there was a chance of them becoming law, the Democrats in Congress would have lost all the fat campaign donations and other legal bribes that they receive from Wall Street banks, brokerages and hedgefunds.

Now it’s safe for them to make those proposals as part of their “inaction plan.” The fat cats on Wall Street know they’re not serious, and will continue to buy them in 2016, when you won’t see them making these kinds of populist proposals anymore.

It’s all part of a long-running game in which the Democratic Party pretends to be the party of the working person, while actually being just another pro-capitalist party, working hand-in-glove with the Republicans to continue sucking the life out of the American middle class and the poor to enrich the wealthiest 1% of Americans who already control some 40% of the nation’s assets, and the wealthiest 10%, who control as much national wealth as the other 90% of us put together.

This will come as no surprise to political cynics. But for those of us in Montana who got suckered by Jon Tester in 2006, there will be a chance to exact some political retribution when Tester tries to get reelected.

Why?

Because Tester is on the short list of Democrats who will help Republicans continue the bipartisan affair of coddling Wall Street to the detriment of the vast majority of Americans:

Meanwhile, the real people to watch in Congress are those Democrats who are going to vote with the ruling Republicans in House and Senate to allow pro-rich and pro-capitalist measures to get to a vote, and to provide the votes to over-ride any vetoes by President Obama. Behind all the anti-inequality talk, these are the people who really represent the leadership and the political bedrock of the Democratic Party.

We got an early look at what is coming last week, when a group of 13 Democratic senators (the scabs clearly visible on their exposed flesh), voted with an almost unanimous Republican bloc, to defeat an amendment offered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would have stripped a measure weakening the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law out of an already pro-financial corporate bail-out bill extending federal backing for terrorism coverage in insurance policies. The vote killing the Warren amendment passed 66-31 meaning there were only three abstentions. Without the 13 Democratic votes against fellow Democrat Warren, her amendment would have passed because of a 60-vote requirement for amendments.

Keep an eye on those 13 Democrats. Given that the Republicans now have 54 seats in the Senate, they only need an extra six votes from Democrats to move bills and amendments to a vote, and only 13 votes to override a presidential veto.

Here, for reference, are the 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus who killed the Warren amendment:

Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Angus King (I-ME)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Gary Peters (D-MI)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Jon Tester (D-MT)

Jon Tester serves Wall Street, not Montanans. That much should be obvious. And for those who want a reminder of how disgusting the people Tester serves are, check out Jamie Dimon whining about regulators (Zerohedge):

Earlier today, during the JPM conference call, when Jamie Dimon wasn’t busy explaining why the Q4 earnings presentation was sorely missing the page showing JPM’s latest Net Interest Margin, a staple placeholder page in the presentation appendix, he found time to lament something totally different. As Bloomberg reports, Dimon lashed out at U.S. regulators for putting his bank “under assault.”

“We have five or six regulators or people coming after us on every different issue,” Dimon, 58, said today on a call with reporters after New York-based JPMorgan reported fourth-quarter results. “It’s a hard thing to deal with.”

“In the old days, you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue, maybe two. Now it’s five or six. It makes it very difficult and very complicated. You all should ask the question about how American that is. And how fair that is. And how complex that is for companies.”

I hope no one spits their coffee out after reading that quote from a guy who should be in prison receiving visceral assaults after the hell Wall Street delivered to Americans 7 years ago.

Luckily Dimon has loyal servants like Jon Tester looking after his ill-gotten gains. For that, Montanans need to send Tester packing.

by lizard

Oh Montana Democrats, you are too easily played. Going apoplectic over the GOP dress code is a great way to deplete the outrage reserves before the session even starts. Surprisingly there is a comment from the link worth reposting here from Dallas Reese:

This “dress policy” is misdirection and the Ultra-Conservatives are good at misdirection, if nothing else. They know how D’s will overreact and rely on the D’s hew and cry while they secretly, quietly, try to accomplish other goals. It’s a trick they use all the time, and rather effectively, since we continue to fall for it.

The issue of our focus, as Rob points out, is the potential removal of the press office from a convenient location within the Capital Building. And the challenges to open meetings laws. And continued gutting of environmental laws, more tax cuts for the un-needy and corresponding, budget cuts to education, social services, etc, etc.

If we present every peccadillo as a crisis, the truly critical gets washed out in the noise. And to win back the Legislature, we’re going to need moderate and independent voters and many of them are thinking “what’s the big deal about this dress code nonsense”. Every little injustice like this need to be pointed out but overplaying our hand (something else the right-wingers depend on) won’t convince the independent voter to give us a chance. And won’t get public opinion on our side for the truly critical during the Legislative Session.

While this local controversy provides great fodder for Twitter, it certainly does distract from other more serious items of business being undertaken before the end of the year, like legislating via riders—something our disingenuous Democrat Senator said he wouldn’t do if elected back in 2006. From Ochenski:

Some may well recall U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s first campaign, in which he challenged then-incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns. One of the things about Burns’ record that Tester attacked – and promised not to do – was use “riders” on unrelated bills to pass legislation. No doubt this was a reflection on Tester’s time in the Montana Senate, where such riders are, for all the right reasons, prohibited.

But of course that was before Mr. Tester went to Washington. Since he’s been there, however, Tester’s tune has definitely changed. He used a rider on an unrelated bill to exempt wolves from Endangered Species Act protections – a first in the 37 year history of the act and a horrible precedent that will undoubtedly be followed whenever an endangered species gets in the way of commerce.

Likewise, Tester has desperately tried to stick his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act on unrelated bills without success, and admitted to reporters last week that he “pushed hard for the bill but it made people nervous because it would change how land was managed.” Indeed, the measure contains an unprecedented congressional mandate to set logging levels on Montana’s national forests. Tester’s terrible policy precedent has already been followed in a Draconian House-passed bill that would permanently set aside enormous chunks of national forest for logging as its highest and best purpose.

Tester and U.S. Sen.-elect Steve Daines have now tacked on several public lands measures to the totally unrelated Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House late last week. This week the Senate will take up the measure and, most likely, won’t strip the riders off the bill.

The NDAA is itself a terrible piece of legislation, but why talk about that when there are necklines to discuss?

Internationally, an American is dead after a botched rescue attempt in Yemen. Once again our pathetic media fails to achieve the quality of reporting found at blogs like Moon of Alabama. On December 6th, b reported on the reckless U.S. rescue attempt that killed not only an American (the only kind of people who count in our state media) but also a South African who was about to be freed the following day. Today b has another post on the topic, and it raises some serious questions:

A second foreign hostage, Pierre Korkie, was killed in the recent rescue attempt. Eight Yemeni civilians were also killed. Korkie was supposed to be freed the very same day due to a ransom payment. There have long been negotiations between the hostage takers and the charity Gift of the Givers that employed Korkie. The U.S. now claims it was unaware of negotiations for his imminent release. That does not sound plausible to me. The NSA is certainly listening to every call in Yemen that might be of interest.

For the full context, go to the link and read the whole post. There is clearly something else going on here, and I think b’s perspective is closer to the impetus for this “rescue” than anything you’d find in our complicit corporate media. Here is a bit more from the conclusion of b’s post:

It is not plausible with all the national and international communication going on between the charity, the parents of the hostage, the mediators and the hostage takers that the U.S. was unaware of all this.

In November it hit the mediators with a drone when they were going to meet the hostage takers. This time it hit the hostages right when the mediators were taking off to meet them. At least ten innocent people were killed with this last raid.

The U.S. has some explaining to do. How did it detect the hostage takers if not by following the mediators communications? Why did it decide to do those two raids on November 25 and December 6 when there was, at least at the first date, no imminent threat to the civilian hostages lives? What was the real purpose and target of these military attacks?

There are still rumors that AQAP nabbed a U.S. “trainer” during a raid on Al Anad airbase in November. Was that captured U.S. soldier the real target of the failed raids? Or what about the Marine Travis Barton AQAP claims to have captured during Saturday’s raid?

I know it’s a lot more fun to talk about GOP cavemen and how they want their lady folks to be modestly dressed, but some of us would like to keep the focus on the issues that have more serious implications for the future.

by lizard

My god, Democrats, what the fuck are you people thinking? You want to save Mary Landrieu by passing her opponents Keystone XL pipeline bill?

Senate Democrats are working on plans to hold a vote authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline — approval that Democrats believe might bolster the chances of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who faces a tough runoff election next month.

We know Jon Tester is eager to help Republicans move forward their agenda:

Montana’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Jon Tester, will now be in the minority for the first time in his Senate career – but said this week his new role may actually create more opportunities to get things done.

In an interview, Tester said he could be among moderate Democrats who join Republicans to form a 60-senator majority to break a filibuster and advance certain bills.

“That’s a possibility,” he said. “I’m going to look at the policy and see how it works for Montana and the country. There are certain things that we may be able to support that others Democrats don’t. …

Great timing, Democrats. Just ignore the breaking news of the seismic shift in the global response to the climate crisis China and America announced last night. Who cares if one of the Republican’s favorite justifications for inaction on climate change—China—just evaporated? Who cares that tarsand bitumen is one of the most environmentally destructive petro-products on earth? Your base may care, but when did that ever stop you from kicking (tar)sand in their face?

This is why your party is at 36% approval, Democrats. Confronted with an electoral massacre, y’all double-down on Republicating yourselves into more malleable, poll-driven amoebas squishing into whatever form the data-sampling indicates you should take.

You should take a hike, preferably into the woods you think the government should mandate be cut. Even better, go spend a month in China without a respirator, then tell us why coal isn’t dead.

Action has to mobilize outside the voting booth.

Oh Hayduke, where do we go from here?




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