Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 16th, 2015

Good satire for those who follow politics: Bulworth

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Pretty much a Warren Beatty production, and quite good: he wrote it, stars in it, and directed it. Bulworth. With Halle Berry. Netflix streaming.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2015 at 7:23 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

More on the Sandra Bland case

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How long can police in this country do anything they want? Read this.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2015 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

Seattle Kids Have Lower Polio Vaccination Rate Than Rwanda

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Insanely optimistic? or just plain stupid? You decide.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2015 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Medical, Mental Health

Obama takes a very relaxed approach to implementing Dodd-Frank anti-corruption rule: 5 years so far, and no hurry shown

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I continue to think that Obama is likely to reap big rewards from Wall Street once he’s out of office for the way he has protected them. Jon Schwarz reports in The Intercept:

When Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill five years ago, on July 21, 2010, he looked extremely pleased with himself. It had been a tough fight, he said: “We had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups and a partisan minority determined to block change.” But now, Obama proclaimed, the bill’s reforms “will become the law of the land.”

HA HA PSYCH.

The reality of U.S. politics is that good ideas don’t win and take effect just because they’ve “become the law.” Yes, to get even that far, they have to have somehow threaded their way through a campaign system ruled by money instead of people; passed a House of Representatives overflowing with members from bizarrely gerrymandered districts; and made it past a filibuster in the anti-democratic Senate. But that is often just the start of the truly bloody trench warfare.

One case study is Dodd-Frank’s Section 1504. Congress, on July 21, 2010, gave the Securities and Exchange Commission 270 days to issue a rule on how exactly to implement it. Today, 1,821 days later, there still is no rule.

Section 1504 is intended to address a terrible problem, one so common it has two names: “the paradox of plenty” and “the resource curse.” Countries with lots of oil, gas and mineral wealth are, oddly enough, very frequently poor, corrupt and polluted.

What happens is that big multinational corporations have enormous incentives to bribe government officials so they can get the right to extract and sell the country’s natural resources. That, in turn, leads those government officials to spirit away vast sums of money that rightfully belong to the people to London or Zurich. Not only do ordinary citizens miss out on the looting, but they tend to suffer from the ancillary corruption, wasteful spending, military adventurism and instability.

Section 1504 requires corporations traded on U.S. stock exchanges to publicly disclose the payments they make to governments for natural resources on all of their projects around the world.

People in, say, Angola would learn exactly how much money their government has received from big oil companies, making it harder for their leaders to hide and pocket as much of it.

Meanwhile, knowing what kind of a deal Angola struck, other governments could use that information to drive harder bargains.

The SEC did finally issue a rule for Section 1504 in August 2012, after a lawsuit by Oxfam America. But then the American Petroleum Institute, the main trade group for the oil industry, challenged the rules, and they were vacated by a U.S. District Court. Now the SEC claims it will issue a “proposed rule” — only the first step in the process — in April 2016.

Meanwhile, during the past five years, . . .

Continue reading.

It’s quite obvious that stalling the rule is an Obama Administration priority.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2015 at 3:45 pm

Retired General: Drones Create More Terrorists Than They Kill, Iraq War Helped Create ISIS

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Both states seem pretty obvious, but obviously some disagree (but without evidence—the evidence supports the retired general’s observations). Murtaza Hussain reports in The Intercept:

Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, a top intelligence official in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says in aforthcoming interview on Al Jazeera English that the drone war is creating more terrorists than it is killing. He also asserts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped create the Islamic State and that U.S. soldiers involved in torturing detainees need to be held legally accountable for their actions.

Flynn, who in 2014 was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has in recent months become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy, calling for a more hawkish approach to the Islamic State and Iran.

But his enthusiasm for the application of force doesn’t extend to the use of drones. In the interview with Al Jazeera presenter Mehdi Hasan, set to air July 31, the former three star general says: “When you drop a bomb from a drone … you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good.” Pressed by Hasan as to whether drone strikes are creating more terrorists than they kill, Flynn says, “I don’t disagree with that.” He describes the present approach of drone warfare as “a failed strategy.”

“What we have is this continued investment in conflict,” the retired general says. “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”

Prior to serving as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn was director of Intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his time in Iraq, Flynn is credited with helping to transform JSOC into an intelligence-driven special forces operation, tailored to fight the insurgency in that country. Flynn was in Iraq during the peak of the conflict there, as intelligence chief to Stanley McChrystal, former general and head of JSOC. When questioned about how many Iraqis JSOC operatives had killed inside the country during his tenure, Flynn would later say, “Thousands, I don’t even know how many.”

In the upcoming interview, Flynn says that the invasion of Iraq was a strategic mistake that directly contributed to the rise of the extremist group the Islamic State. “We definitely put fuel on a fire,” he told Hasan. “Absolutely … there’s no doubt, I mean … history will not be kind to the decisions that were made certainly in 2003.”

Over his 33 years in the Army, Flynn developed a reputation as an iconoclast. In 2010, he published a controversialreport on intelligence operations in Afghanistan, stating in part that the military could not answer “fundamental questions” about the country and its people despite nearly a decade of engagement there. Earlier this year, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2015 at 1:43 pm

Hopeless quest: Kevin Drum asks conservatives to make a real (not fatuous) argument against the Iran deal

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Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2015 at 1:41 pm

Mass Graves of Immigrants Found in Texas, But State Says No Laws Were Broken

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Democracy Now! has a video report with transcript. Their summary:

Texas says there is “no evidence” of wrongdoing after mass graves filled with bodies of immigrants were found miles inland from the U.S.-Mexico border. The bodies were gathered from the desert surrounding a checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, in Brooks County. An investigation was launched after the mass graves were exposed last November in a documentary by The Weather Channel in partnership with Telemundo and The Investigative Fund. The report also found many of the migrants died after crossing into the United States and waiting hours for Border Patrol to respond to their 911 calls. We speak with reporter John Carlos Frey, who found rampant violations of the law.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2015 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

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