Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Just nod if you can hear me

Stuart Zechman and Avedon Carol discussed the incredibly annoying primaries on Virtually Speaking Sundays. Homework includes Gloria Steinhem's original statement on Bill Maher, but she did come to her senses and walk it back, later.

FULL MSNBC Democratic Debate: Hillary Clinton VS Bernie Sanders - New Hampshire Feb. 4, 2016
* As if Peter Daou claiming Hillary was not the establishment wasn't bizarre enough, Hillary Clinton actually said these words during the debate: "Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment." Er, no, pretty much everyone else thinks you're the establishment, Madame Secretary.
* "Clinton Accuses Sanders of 'Artful Smear' for Questioning Why Wall Street Gives Her Millions" It's not a smear, it's a fact that they give her free money. They didn't give it to her because they thought she was going to make a brilliant speech they were dying to hear. They gave it to her because they recognized one of their own with the only thing they place a real value on. (Or as Weldon Berger put it on Facebook, "They give her money because they're comfortable with her, and she takes it because she's comfortable with them. They're in the same club. I think that's why she has so much trouble answering why she takes the money: the question just doesn't make any sense to her.")
* Clinton managed to look better than Sanders on foreign policy this time, but then she bragged about getting compliments from Henry Kissinger, which may have reminded people just what kind of "experience" and "expertise" she really has. It's a shame Sanders didn't look at her and say, "Really? Henry Kissinger? The famous war criminal?" But Hillary's approach to foreign policy in the past really doesn't recommend it for our future; even now, she has trouble tamping down her tendency to belligerent, aggressive language that exposes a penchant for martial confrontation rather than other solutions. Her sympathizers and detractors alike tend to assume her Iraq vote was cynical, something she "had to" do to prove she was as "tough" as any man and necessary if she ever wanted to run for president. But she was strangely reluctant for a very long time to admit that it was unwise. And maybe that's because she actually believed in that war and wasn't just voting cynically. That's actually not a good thing.
* Sam Seder and Cliff Schecter made some good criticisms on both sides Friday on The Majority Report.
* The Young Turks discuss the foreign policy segment of the Democratic debate.
* Even Booman seems to be having qualms about the Wall Street issue.

Lori Wallach: Signing of TPP Marks Only Beginning of the Fight, Trade Deal Could Still Be Stopped: "Well, the signing locks the legal text, so, in a sense, it's the end of negotiations. But it's really just the beginning of the fight. The TPP is a 5,000-page doorstop, unless Congress approves it and then whomever is president signs it. So, the first thing all of us who are concerned about TPP need to do is make sure that every member of Congress is now publicly saying they're against it, they will not support this agreement. There's no more time for generalities or vague statements. There's a signed text now, so they have to take a decision."
* TPP signed in New Zealand, - but not ratified, and the question is whether the new president of the United States will be signing when the time comes. "As we learned recently, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tom Donohue thinks the vote will take place after the election - because it can't pass otherwise - and also thinks that if Hillary Clinton is president, she'll support it. Which suggests a number of questions. First, is Donohue right? Does he know some insider something we don't know?"
* "It's Not Just TPP. Can a President Kill NAFTA? Al Gore Thought So. Hillary Clinton Too." Al Gore said we can get out of it in six months. In 2008, Hillary said she would insist on renegotiating it. Bernie has pledged not to sign TPP. Where's Clinton, now?
* "Study: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Cost US a Half Million Jobs, Drag Down GDP." And that's not even the worst thing.
* Robert Reich takes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
* Senator Elizabeth Warren says Congress should oppose the TPP deal.
* One Million Anti-TPP Petitions Delivered to Congress
* "If TPP is Progressive, Why Must White House Rely on 'Republican Friendly Organizations' to Sell It?"
* Bernie Sanders at TPP Press Conference

"Exclusive: Presidential hopefuls Sanders, Clinton in dead heat - Reuters/Ipsos poll: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has erased Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's wide lead for the Democratic presidential nomination since the start of year, putting the two in a dead heat nationally, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Clinton leads Sanders 48 percent to 45 percent among Democratic voters, according to the poll of 512 Americans, conducted Feb. 2-5 following the Iowa caucus. The poll has a credibility interval of 5 percentage points."
* "Hillary Clinton Losing Her National Lead Over Bernie Sanders, Poll Shows: Hillary Clinton's strong national lead over Sanders is essentially gone and, instead, the Democratic race is incredibly close, according to a national Quinnipiac poll released today. Clinton received 44 percent of support while Sanders can boast about 42 percent, his highest support in any national poll to date."

Marcy Kapture: "Comparing Sanders to former President Harry Truman, Kaptur said, 'In many ways, his struggle in this campaign is very noble, because he is up against the most powerful forces, economic forces, that have caused so much harm... They'll try to diminish him. I admire the fact that he's running, that he is an agent of change in our society, and he doesn't have the billionaire class lined up behind him. He's a senator from Vermont.'"

"Elizabeth Warren Defends Bernie Sanders From Goldman Sachs Criticism: In an interview with International Business Times hours before Wednesday night's Democratic town hall in New Hampshire, the Massachusetts senator - whose endorsement is coveted by both Democratic candidates - slammed Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein for asserting earlier in the day that Sanders' criticism of Wall Street had created a dangerous environment in America. 'He thinks it's fine to prosecute small business owners, it's fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don't criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO - that's what he's really saying,' Warren told IBT. [...] 'In the financial crisis of 2008, it was fraud right down at the heart of that crisis, and yet not one major bank executive was even charged, much less prosecuted and taken to trial - not one,' she said. Noting that the federal government prosecuted hundreds of Wall Street executives after the Savings and Loan scandal a few decades ago, she said, 'You're telling me that something changed between the 1980s, when more than a thousand people got prosecuted in the Savings and Loan crisis, but by 2008, a far bigger financial crisis involving far bigger and bolder frauds, that no one was legally responsible for that? That's just not possible.'"

Former Clinton administration counselor Bill Curry says, "It's almost over for Hillary: This election is a mass insurrection against a rigged system: Sanders has ended the coronation and fired up the grass roots. Now Clinton's electability argument is crumbling too. [...] The core of Clinton's realpolitik brief pertains not to electability but to governance. Her point is that Sanders is naïve. She says none of his proposals can get though a Republican Congress. She strongly implies that he'd roll back Obamacare, a charge that is false, cynical and so nonsensical she'll have to stop making it soon. She says she has a plan to get to universal health care - she doesn't - and that she'll do it by working 'in partnership' with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Who's being naïve here? A Republican Congress won't pass any of her ideas either. The only way to get real change is to elect Democrats to Congress and have a grass-roots movement strong enough to keep the heat on them. Nor will insurers cough up a dime of profit without a fight. Vowing to spare us a 'contentious debate' over single-payer care she ignores the admonition of Frederick Douglas; 'Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.' There has been a lot of talk lately about what a progressive is. Here's a hint: if you think Douglas is wrong, you might not be one."

David Cay Johnston says: "You agree with Bernie Sanders (but you might not know it)."

David Dayen in TNR says "Bernie's Army Is Running for Congress: Sanders Democrats like Nevada's Lucy Flores aim to amplify the Vermont senator's uncompromising message in Washington - and move the party in a populist direction." This is good, of course, but we need good people running all the way down to dog-catcher. The Democrats have no farm team anymore.

Lee Fang, "Pharma Executives Worry About Presidential Candidates Demanding Reform: Responding to tough talk by presidential candidates about price gouging by drug companies, pharmaceutical executives have told investors that they are working actively to influence the political debate. And in a move that reveals how much leeway drug firms actually have over pricing decisions, some are even saying that they have minimized price hikes in recent months to avoid attracting attention. Democratic contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both called for the government to do much more to bring down the price of medications. And last week, Republican candidate Donald Trump came out in support of allowing Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices, a move that places him even to the left of some leaders in the Democratic Party."

"The Pressure on Warren to Support Hillary Clinton" - It seems someone has been leaning on Democratic women to lean on Warren to endorse Hillary. I like it that Warren has resisted so far, it means at the very least that she's got leverage.

Benjamin Studebaker: "Why Bernie vs Hillary Matters More Than People Think: Lately the internet has become full of arguments about the merits and demerits of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Over the past couple weeks, I've been discussing and pondering all the various views about this, and I'm increasingly of the opinion that most of the people engaging in this debate don't really understand what is at stake in the democratic primary. This is in part because many Americans don't really understand the history of American left wing politics and don't think about policy issues in a holistic, structural way. So in this post, I want to really dig into what the difference is between Bernie and Hillary and why that difference is extremely important. [...] Many people think that it is the Republican Party alone that is responsible for this, but beginning in 1976 with Jimmy Carter, the Democratic Party was captured by this same ideology, which in academic circles is often referred to as neoliberalism. It is now largely forgotten that it was Carter, not Reagan, who began deregulating the market. Indeed, in during the 1976 democratic primary, there was an ABC movement - Anybody But Carter. Democrats who remained committed to the party's egalitarian ideology rightly feared that Carter was too right wing and would effectively strip the party of its historical commitment to the continuation and expansion of the legacy of FDR and LBJ. However, they ran too many candidates against Carter, splitting the left vote and allowing Carter to win the nomination. [...] Hillary Clinton is a neoliberal building on the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. She doesn't understand the pivotal role inequality plays in creating economic crisis and reducing economic growth. She has been taken in by a fundamentally right wing paradigm, and if she is elected she will continue to lead the Democratic Party down that path."

David Dayen in Salon, "The Democratic Primary miracle: Why Sanders vs. Clinton is just the beginning" For the first time in ages, a primary is centered around substantive differences. It's a bigger deal than you think."

Interview with Liza Featherstone, editor of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton, on why Clinton's elite feminism does not serve women: "Well, faux feminism is a bit of hyperbole, because of course--of course all kinds of revolting ideologies are part of feminism. I can't say only my feminism is the real feminism. I'm kind of kidding about that, a little. But what I do think is that that sort of feminism is not actually serious about improving the vast majority of women's lives, that what Hillary represents--what I mean by faux feminism is that it's elite feminism, so it is only going to serve a few. So you know, elite women who may cheer, you know, the symbolic lifting of the glass ceiling that Hillary represents. But on the other hand what her record represents is, as I say in the piece, a contempt for the kind of social democratic policies that most women need."

"Top Hillary Clinton Advisers and Fundraisers Lobbied Against Obamacare - and Dodd-Frank, too. "Most of the Clinton campaign fundraisers who lobbied on Dodd-Frank did not respond to a request for comment. When asked about the work, Tony Podesta emailed us to say, 'Call B of A.' An inquiry to Bank of America was not returned. There are other lobbyists on the Clinton campaign staff. T. LaDavia Drane, the Clinton campaign's director of African-American outreach, previously worked as a lobbyist for a trade group that represents Pepsico and Hershey on issues related to obesity and advertising to children. Jeff Berman, a senior Clinton campaign official who is leading her delegate strategy, previously worked as a lobbyist for the private prison firm Geo Group, seeking to influence the federal budget, as well as working for TransCanada to help secure approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline."

Naked Capitalism: "Krugman's Cowardly, Dishonest Attack on David Dayen Over Krugman's Misrepresentation of Sanders' Financial Reforms [...] The Krugman that was early to stand up to the Iraq War, who was incisive before and during the crisis has been very much in absence since Obama took office. It's hard to understand the loss of intellectual independence. That may not make Krugman any worse than other Democratic party apparatchiks, but he continues to believe he is other than that, and the lashing out at Dayen looks like a wounded denial of his role. In other words, as much as Krugman's tantrum is so transparently off beam as to warrant ridicule, and as much it might seem fair minded to give Krugman and Konczal the benefit of the doubt and depict them as hostages of their own self-styled wonkery, that's just falling for their protective coloring. Their whole argument is political, Hillary is pragmatic and polls better, etc (check out the extreme passive aggressive way Krugman traffics in Clinton talking points about how Bernie is unelectable). They really believe in political corruption as long as Democrats and technocrats are in charge, which is why Hillary's speaking fees from Wall Street aren't even worth a mention. They believe in Scalia's logic on Citizens United. That's why Konczal defends the Peterson donations to Roosevelt; he really has a right-wing dystopian understanding of corruption and power, that might makes right. In their case, that ‘might' is the professionalism of technocracy, and choosing who to ignore is their divine right.

Elizabeth Warren in the NYT last week: "One Way to Rebuild Our Institutions: WHILE presidential candidates from both parties feverishly pitch their legislative agendas, voters should also consider what presidents can do without Congress. Agency rules, executive actions and decisions about how vigorously to enforce certain laws will have an impact on every American, without a single new bill introduced in Congress. [...] In a single year, in case after case, across many sectors of the economy, federal agencies caught big companies breaking the law - defrauding taxpayers, covering up deadly safety problems, even precipitating the financial collapse in 2008 - and let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist. Often, companies paid meager fines, which some will try to write off as a tax deduction. The failure to adequately punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country. Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a C.E.O. who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars."

My favorite part of this video about the carried interest loophole is the guy who moans that people like him are being singled out and they, and only they, will be forced to pay the same rates as everyone else. That's a good one.

When Mark Bessington lined up presidents in terms of how great the increase in income disparity became during the their terms in office, Reagan was, unsurprisingly, the worst. But: "The Sad Legacy of Compromise Democrats [...] Regardless of any rationale one can conjure in support of the Clinton administration's key economic decisions, the record is clear: income disparity increased significantly during his two terms as president. Indeed, the damage was greater than what was done by Nixon, George W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush combined! The biggest surprise of all is with the Obama administration: it has the second worst record in nearly 50 years. How could this be? At the start of his first term he had 58% of Congress and won nearly 53% of the popular vote."

"American Medical Association votes to BAN prescription drug commercials: AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris said that the vote 'reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions,' specifically railing on the drug companies getting people hooked on expensive drugs." That ban used to be how things were, and everyone understood why. And then one day, we began the long and hair-tearingly stupid march to "thinking outside the box" and falling off the edge. It's nice to know the AMA has come back to its senses on this issue.

"California Attorney General Files Charges Over L.A.'s Natural Gas Leak: California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that she has filed a lawsuit against Southern California Gas Company, alleging the company failed to report the massive methane leak near Los Angeles in a timely manner. The natural gas, which has been treated with an odorant called mercaptan, is making local residents sick. Since the leak began in October, some 3,000 families have been evacuated from the Porter Ranch neighborhood, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. "

"FBI joins investigation into Flint water contamination crisis [...] Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, said in an email that federal prosecutors in Michigan are 'working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA's Office of Inspector General - and the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division.'"
* "Michigan inmates pledge to donate a third of their monthly incomes to help Flint: 'Literally everyone raised their hand to commit to give at least $3,' Senghor said. That might not sound like a lot to most people, but for a prison inmate, it's nothing to sneeze at. Many inmates make only about $10 a month at their prison jobs, Senghor said. Those without families supporting them have to use that to buy all of their toiletries and other supplies at the commissary."

"Federal court strikes down NC congressional district maps: RALEIGH, N.C. - Three federal judges on Friday threw out the congressional voting maps the Republican-led General Assembly drew five years ago, ruling that two districts were gerrymandered along racial lines. The ruling throws the March 15 primary into chaos, as the judges ordered state lawmakers to redraw the maps within two weeks and not to hold any elections for U.S. House until the maps are in place. A special session of the legislature would have to be called to approve new maps, and they might have to pass federal muster again."

Toys for psychopaths: "Smarter smart bombs, mini railguns, and swarming robot boats to watch man-made islands are a few of the key technology areas that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sees as vital to U.S. military superiority in the next decade. In a preview of the Pentagon's upcoming 2017 budget request, Carter said military research and development spending would rise to $71.4 billion from last year's $71.3 billion request.) Carter also listed areas where the Defense Department was already seeing 'returns' on R&D spending through the Strategic Capabilities Office, or SCO." Can't afford schools, potable water, or health care, though.

Brad Friedman and Bev Harris on voting issues in Iowa, New Hampshire, and beyond - It should tell you a lot about the Democratic leadership that even after 2000, they have never made an issue of this.

"Angela Merkel surprised by massive protest march against TTIP in Berlin: BERLIN (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Berlin on Saturday in protest against a planned free trade deal between Europe and the United States that they say is anti-democratic and will lower food safety, labor and environmental standards."

"UK Rejects UN Ruling that Assange Detention Is Illegal: After the UN finds Assange to be arbitrarily detained, Assange attorney Carey Shenkman explains how the UK is undermining the authority of the UN while simultaneously relying on it to release detained UK citizens"

Sex panic police: "Police investigate West Midlands pupils over 'sexting'"

"Why a bunch of Silicon Valley investors are suddenly interested in universal basic income"

"Soldiers who've fought in Afghanistan, what preconceptions did you have that turned out to be completely wrong?"

RIP
* It's a bit sad that two of the original members of Jefferson Airplane died at once, but since she left after their first album, most people don't remember their original singer, Signe Anderson, who has died at 74, and they didn't notice that she died on the same day as Paul Kantner. (That Rolling Stone obit has all the videos I would have posted.)
* Maurice White dead: Earth, Wind & Fire founder dies aged 74, after his condition from Parkinson's disease deteriorated. An alumna of Chess Records sessions work, he backed up numerous major stars before finally forming his own legendary ensemble.

So, all this time everyone thought you had to have exotic tropical woods to get good sound quality in guitars, and it doesn't seem to be the case.

Science says: Eat cheese to be healthy.

Majestic photos from Chile by Andy Lee
* Angela Clayton Sews Beautiful Historically-Inspired Dresses.
* Snow spray window art

David Gilmour and David Bowie, "Comfortably Numb", live.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Volunteers

Gaius Publius and Isaiah Poole discussed what the Clinton versus Sanders race is really about on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

The Iowa caucasers upset Nate Silver's prediction of a decisive Clinton win, but didn't give Sanders one, either. Having closely watched Silver's figures as the polls had Sanders closing on Clinton, I'm not terribly surprised that Sanders didn't have that decisive victory - Clinton had been consistently ahead all along after all. However, the gap was closing fast in the last week and the hair's-breadth near-tie didn't surprise me, either. I can't help feeling that if the caucuses had been held a week later, Bernie might have come out ahead. And whatever anyone else tells you, it is a victory when the candidate no one took seriously a month or two ago ends up nearly beating the "inevitable" contender. Do not expect the Democratic establishment to take the right message from this, but the idea that Sanders is "unelectable" is losing force more and more every day.
* "Sanders: 'Virtual Tie' in Iowa Sends Establishment a Profound Message: Sanders acknowledges 'cautious optimism,' but observers recognize key role early victory may have for campaign that has made 'political revolution' its calling card."
* Martin O'Malley could turn out to be the real tie-breaker if he releases his voters, most of whom appear to be Sanders leaners. It seems so far he's not releasing, probably hoping to broker a deal, but we'll see if this amounts to anything.

Iowa Democratic Presidential Town Hall Forum by CNN 01-25-2016

I have never in my life seen a march in support of a political candidate, but there actually was one: "'March for Bernie' Is an Occupy Wall Street Homecoming."

"Sanders challenges Clinton to 3 new debates
* "Sanders calls for more debates - on his own terms"
* Hillary and Bernie agree to four more debates: "DNC moving to assert control as more Democratic debates agreed"
* DNC sanctions new debate: "MSNBC announced Sunday that it will hold a Democratic presidential debate Thursday, Feb. 4, in New Hampshire ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary. The debate will take place at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at 9 p.m. Eastern and be moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow. All three Democratic presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley are expected to attend. The Democratic National Committee, which has been under pressure from voters and candidates to add more debates to the primary schedule, has said the debate will be sanctioned and is moving towards sanctioning additional debates with the agreement of the candidates.

"The ugliest Bernie smear yet: Washington Post shows its corporate colors with new Sanders hit piece. [...] As I've written elsewhere, establishment gatekeeping - which make no mistake, The Washington Post is doing - is based on a tautology: Sanders can't change people's minds because serious people don't think it will work and we're serious people. Maybe the Post is right, maybe it's not, but bold policy initiatives are not all or nothing. The idea that Sanders' proposals must be adopted wholesale or not at all is a fallacy; no one thinks the U.S. will have single-payer healthcare overnight with a President Sanders, but this strawman is presented as the case. Of course, compromises will be made, as they always are, but how does starting a negotiation with a principled stand harm anyone? It doesn't, except for those heavily invested in maintaining the conventional wisdom that single payer - though entirely standard in almost every other developing nation - is a laughable fantasy here in the United States."
* Dean Baker, "Washington Post Doubles Down with Name Calling on Sanders.[...] Getting to the substance, the Post is unhappy with Sanders proposal for single payer health insurance which it argues will cost far more or deliver much less than promised. While the Post is correct that Sanders has put forward a campaign proposal rather than a fully worked out health reform bill, it is not unreasonable to think that we can get considerably more coverage at a lower cost than we pay now. After all, there is nothing in our national psyche that should condemn us to forever pay twice as much per person for our health care as people in other wealthy countries. (I have written more about this issue here.)" Which is pretty rich anyway, since Clinton hasn't produced a fully worked out health reform bill, either - just a campaign proposal.

Katrina vanden Heuvel in the WaPo saying, "Bernie Sanders is the realist we should elect [...] But this conventional wisdom clashes with the reality that this country has suffered serial devastations from choices supported by the establishment's 'responsible' candidates. On fundamental issue after issue, it is the candidate 'of the heart' who is in fact grounded in common sense."

Atrios on Obamacare: "I think Daniel Denvir is basically right here. Overall, Obamacare is an improvement (the Medicaid expansion especially, some other provisions of the law) but the Rube Goldberg mostly shitty insurance exchanges have just solidified the worst of our health care system. It isn't just not super popular because the tea party hates it, it's because our health insurance system is crap. And while detaching it from employment is in theory a good thing, it also means that people can't call their HR/benefits person, someone with at least a little leverage, to fight their insurance battles for them. Nothing is possible as long as Republicans run Congress, so it's time to talk about what we want to happen without pretending that anything actually can happen, because right now it can't." He's referencing the article "Bernie Sanders is right about Obamacare: Here's why it's time to talk about single-payer." And this isn't the only Congress we will ever have, so it might be possible - even within four years - if we start talking about it now.

"Meet the New Harry and Louise: Vox's attack on Bernie Sanders is sold as a policy critique. It's actually a dishonest exercise in managing the Democratic Party base."
* Marcy Wheeler: "The Virgin Birth of Obama's Wonk Core: There's a telling paragraph in this post from Ezra Klein, one of a series of posts written lately by self-described 'wonks' defending the electoral and political approach Hillary Clinton embraces."

"Why People Around the World are Rooting for Bernie Sanders [...] Apart from the economic and political influence that it exercises globally, the US has a strong ideological impact on the world too. American soft power has been especially devastating in terms of its export of neoliberal ideology, wherein corporates are the preferred vehicle for economic activity, even in the social sector, with the role of governments relegated to smaller and smaller niches. If Bernie Sanders becomes the next president of the United States, free health, education, and a decent minimum wage - and a clear message to big business to rein in its economic greed and political aspirations - can be expected to become strong elements of US national policy. This will hit at the very heart of the neoliberal global establishment. It could significantly weaken this establishment's ideological strength, which it currently packages so well that it has been able to sell it successfully to a very big part of the global population, especially the middle and aspirational classes."

"A Non-Neoliberal Woman President Is Not One of the Choices."

"Bernie Sanders and the Rising of We the People" - Nice inclusion of a video of Tracy Chapman doing "The Times They Are A Changing".

Cory Robin on "What the Clintons Mean to Me: Maybe this is a generational thing, but this is what the Clintons will always mean to me: Sister Souljah, Ricky Ray Rector, welfare reform, and the crime bill. And beyond - really, behind - all that, the desperate affirmation to win over white voters by declaring: We are not the Party of Jesse Jackson, We are not the Rainbow Coalition. People don't seem to remember just how much the Clintons' national ascendancy was premised upon the repudiation of black voters and black interests - a move that was both inspired and applauded by a small but influential group of Beltway journalists and party strategists, who believed this was the only path to taking back the White House from the Republicans - but for me, it's vivid as yesterday. [...] What's more, white people got the message: according to polls, white voters were more familiar with Clinton's attack on Sister Souljah than they were with his economic plan. So did black people: though they voted for Clinton, their share of the total voter turnout fell by 20% from 1988, when they cast their ballots for Michael Dukakis (and accounted for 20% of the vote for him and 10% of total turnout), and 1992, when they cast their ballots for Clinton (and accounted for 15% of the vote for him and 8% of total turnout)."
* "Black Lives Shattered: How the Clintons Built Their Legacy on White Supremacy"
* Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, on Hillary Clinton's Embrace of Mass Incarceration: If anyone doubts that the mainstream media fails to tell the truth about our political system (and its true winners and losers), the spectacle of large majorities of black folks supporting Hillary Clinton in the primary races ought to be proof enough. I can't believe Hillary would be coasting into the primaries with her current margin of black support if most people knew how much damage the Clintons have done - the millions of families that were destroyed the last time they were in the White House thanks to their boastful embrace of the mass incarceration machine and their total capitulation to the right-wing narrative on race, crime, welfare and taxes. There's so much more to say on this topic and it's a shame that more people aren't saying it. I think it's time we have that conversation."

Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, whose father was choked to death by a cop on Staten Island in broad daylight, endorses: "Black lives like my father's should matter. That's why I'm endorsing Bernie Sanders. I want a leader who truly cares about justice for my family, for black people and for all Americans. [...] That's why I resent politicians who speak their names without confronting the underlying problem: a banned chokehold was used on my father, several officers on the scene let it happen, my father is dead and Pantaleo is still on NYPD's payroll because black lives don't necessarily matter to everyone in America. If our lives really mattered, we'd have equal access to decent jobs, good schools and affordable housing. If our lives mattered in this country, we'd have equal access to clean air, clean water and real investment in black neighborhoods. If black lives mattered in America, those who routinely brutalize us wouldn't be the ones paid, with our tax dollars, to keep us safe. I trusted establishment Democrats who claimed to represent me, only to later watch them ignore and explain away the injustice of my father's death. I trusted the system; then I watched as politicians on both sides of the aisle - from Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Michigan's Republican Gov. Rick Snyder - disregard the will of the people they were elected to represent and abdicate their responsibility to protect them. I've watched as our system criminalizes blackness while allowing Wall Street to bilk the American people with impunity. [...] Who will address the criminalization of our people? Who understands that we're experiencing an economic crisis made worse by structural barriers to jobs and education? Who will bring us closer to real safety, freedom and power? Who has clearly shown us where they stand? The answer is someone who started this work well before campaign season, who understands our deaths as tragedies - not political talking points - and someone who will speak out against the wars being waged against our communities. Not someone who only pays attention to our concerns when it's time to collect our votes. Not someone who gives us bread crumbs and expects us to be full. Black Americans - all Americans - need a leader with a record that speaks for itself. And to me, it's clear. Of all the presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders is our strongest ally."

Cody Gough: "I support Bernie Sanders, and I'm not stupid or unrealistic: Today I read for maybe the 10,000th time an assertion that supporters of Bernie Sanders are unrealistic, that Bernie Sanders supporters will all be disappointed if they elect him because he won't be able to bring the change he's promising, that Bernie Sanders' policies will be 'just another example of Democrats making promises they can't keep,' and so on and so forth. And I'd like to briefly dispel a misconception about people who support Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States: We're not stupid."

"Robert Reich: I've Known Hillary Since She Was 19. Bernie Sanders is the Most Qualified Candidate."

Yves Smith, "Another Hillary Falsehood: She Didn't Tell Banks to 'Cut it Out' Pre Crisis; She Blamed Homeowners."

"How Bernie Sanders evolved from fringe candidate to contender"

"The 'Bernie Bro' is a Media Myth. It Needs to Die: Bernie Sanders has more female than male support, and Sanders is widely popular with Black, Latino, and Asian voters." Moreover, "One reddit user, who identifies herself as a woman of color, explains the Bernie Bro phenomenon as 'just basic statistics ' There are more young people who support Bernie. More young people use the Internet. So the likelihood of you bumping into a rude Bernie supporter is greater than the likelihood you'll bump into a Hillary one. Why is it so hard to understand this....'"

"What The Washington Post (and Nearly Everyone) Gets Wrong About Bernie Sanders: Every presidential campaign is aspirational."

New York Times Gets it Wrong: Bernie Sanders Not 'Top Beneficiary of Outside Money'

"I like Bernie, but..."

How is Bernie really doing in the south and with people of color?

It's funny how people are talking about those nasty Bernie Bros. Anyone remember 2007-8? The Obots were worse than any of them, but we never heard much about that, did we? I didn't much like being called a racist every time I pointed out the real content of Obama's allegedly wonderful speeches, not to mention some of his votes and his policies. At least this time I'm only being called a "boy".

Tom Tomorrow: The Election News Network

"Bernie Sanders Blocks Obama's FDA Nominee Over Big Pharma Ties: Dr. Califf's extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies."

"Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren May Have Just Saved Consumers $14 Billion: Cable rules are changing after months of pressure from liberal senators."

Hillary Clinton had an op-ed in the NYT on "How I'd Rein in Wall Street," and Elizabeth Warren linked it in a Facebook post, and introduced it with these words. "Secretary Clinton is right to fight back against Republicans trying to sneak Wall Street giveaways into the must-pass government funding bill. Whether it's attacking the CFPB, undermining new rules to rein in unscrupulous retirement advisers, or rolling back any part of the hard-fought progress we've made on financial reform, she and I agree: 'President Obama and congressional Democrats should do everything they can to stop these efforts.' " Curiously, Salon posted an article about that with a highly misleading headline. I mention this because it worked, with several people who either touted it as Warren's official endorsement of Clinton or bemoaned the idea that Warren had endorsed Clinton. She didn't. She endorsed going after Republicans on their efforts to weaken the CFPB.

"Hillary Clinton Fails 7th Grade Civil War History: At last night's uneventful Iowa 'town hall' discussion on CNN, Hillary Clinton was asked which president she most admires. Her answer: Abraham Lincoln. Her reason: a terrible muddled mess of Dixie revisionism that puts Reconstruction in the same dark bin as Jim Crow."
* Even Ta-Nahesi Coates wonders how Hillary Clinton missed the news about Reconstruction and why it failed.

Kevin Drum posts Max Sawicky's response to Ta-Nahisi Coates: "Reparations and Bernie Sanders: Another View" - The comments are actually kinda scary in their ignorance.

"Clinton Goes to Pennsylvania to Reap Windfall from Pennsylvania Frackers: Last night, Hillary Clinton attended a gala fundraiser in Philadelphia at the headquarters of Franklin Square Capital Partners, a major investor in the fossil-fuel industry, particularly domestic fracking. The controversial fracking industry is particularly powerful in Pennsylvania, which will host the Democratic National Convention this July. Clinton has avoided taking any clear stand on fracking. While she has embraced the Clean Power Plan, which assumes a strong increase in natural-gas power plants, she also supports a much deeper investment in solar electricity than the baseline plan. The pro-Clinton Super PAC Correct the Record, run by David Brock, touts Clinton's aggressive pro-fracking record."

Surprisingly, Brian Beutler's "Is Nominating Bernie Sanders a Worthwhile Gamble?" in The New Republic is a fairly even-handed look at the question: But if we're imagining both of their agendas as opening bids in negotiations with Congress, why fault Sanders for not negotiating with himself? Ask a future Democratic Congress for single payer and a $15 minimum wage and you might get laughed at - but you also might get the public option and a bump to $12. Ask it for the public option and a $12 minimum wage, as Clinton might, and you'll get a fair hearing from the outset, but you might end up with advancements barely worth fighting for. President Obama, as Sanders is fond of noting, negotiated with himself, and progressives paid an unknowable price as a result. Center-left liberals will remind us that Obama's biggest legislative accomplishments were products of hard-nosed dealmaking, rather than mass action. And they're right. When Clinton makes LBJ-like arguments about the importance of pairing social activism with political leverage, she is telling unlovely truths. But here it's worth noting that for all the hyperventilating over Sanders's self-identification as a socialist, he's been a relatively effective and pragmatic legislator. " Plus the fact that he inspires a lot more desire for activism than Clinton does. And: "But Sanders and Clinton do have significant disagreements over regulatory and foreign policy, and as president either of them would have tremendous power to influence both. This is Sanders's strongest non-idealized appeal to progressives: He would appoint tougher regulators and conduct a more cautious, dovish foreign policy than Clinton. Here his anti-establishment bonafides would pay concrete, rather than symbolic, dividends. Wall Street has genuinely more to fear from Sanders than from Clinton. Sanders would be less likely to invade a foreign country than Clinton, and would draw brighter red lines in trade negotiations with other governments. Clinton's grasp of regulatory and foreign policy is genuinely impressive. In each of the Democratic debates this cycle, Sanders has looked out of his depth by comparison. But presidents don't micromanage federal agencies, and they aren't full-time diplomats. Their values and vision shape policy in these realms more than wonkish insistence on this strategy or that measure. Sanders, ironically, talks less about the importance principles play in securing administrative success than Clinton does. But in a party that has become increasingly dovish and alarmed by increasing concentrations of income and wealth, he would have a strong claim to being a safer bet than Clinton - if he were to ever push the point."

TX Grand Jury Indicts David Daleiden, Clears Planned Parenthood (Updated): A Houston Grand Jury investigating the bogus Planned Parenthood videos has returned a surprising and gratifying result. According to Houston Public Media, the grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood after concluding a two-month investigation into their conduct. Instead, they indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the videographers who infiltrated Planned Parenthood with the intent to smear them."

By popular demand, "The heroic professor who helped uncover the Flint lead water crisis has been asked to fix it: In Flint, Mich., there is a famous block of concrete that for decades has served as a community message board. Like an old-school Facebook feed, residents use it to post personal news, images, upcoming events and commentary in sprawling graffiti. This week, several residents went to 'The Block' (or 'The Rock,' depending on whom you ask) with a message. In big, black capital letters they painted: 'YOU WANT OUR TRUST?? WE WANT VA Tech!!!' Underneath they wrote 'PSI' and circled it in red with a line through it. It stands for Professional Service Industries Inc., the independent business the city had wanted to hire to test its water for contamination, and which the residents don't trust. They want Marc Edwards. And now, they're getting him. On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that he was appointing Edwards to the newly created 'Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee,' tasked with finding a long-term strategy to address the water crisis. The 17-person team of experts will have three years to report their recommendations.
* "Outrage: House Republicans Call Everyone BUT Gov. Snyder for Flint Poisoning Hearing: After intense public pressure, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has finally agreed to hold a congressional hearing this February 3rd to address the Flint water crisis. Incredibly, Governor Rick Snyder will not be required to testify."
* ": So, let's first point out that there's already a lawsuit underway related to the Flint water crisis. Three, in fact. A group of Michigan lawyers are suing the state of Michigan, local governments and state and local officials seeking damages for health problems they claim are caused by lead-tainted water piped into Flint residents' homes for the past 18 months. Many state officials' emails and messages related to Flint, including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's (R), have been subpoenaed. But as Reuters' Brendan Pierson reported Monday, some of the nation's top environmental lawyers are hesitant to join in. And with good reason, says University of Michigan law professor Gil Seinfeld. It basically comes down to this: In America, it is very difficult to sue the government and officials for money. In fact, the Supreme Court has (controversially) decided that the Constitution prohibits suits of this sort against the states." It's called "sovereign immunity", which doesn't really make sense in the United States.
* Michael Moore: "10 Things They Won't Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy. But I Will."
* Pierce: "Okay, Somebody Should Go to Jail Over the Flint Water Crisis: I am now of the Michael Moore persuasion. "
* "300 Union Plumbers Spent The Weekend Installing Water Filters For Flint Residents For Free"

"Michigan House Passed Bill Allowing EMTs To Refuse Treatment To Gay People: Over the weekend, Republicans in the Michigan Statehouse passed a 'license to discriminate' bill that would give just about anyone the right to refuse service to LGBT people if it conflicted with their religious beliefs."

"Court rules Michigan has no responsibility to provide quality public education: In a blow to schoolchildren statewide, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 7 the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to students in the struggling Highland Park School District. A 2-1 decision reversed an earlier circuit court ruling that there is a 'broad compelling state interest in the provision of an education to all children.' The appellate court said the state has no constitutional requirement to ensure schoolchildren actually learn fundamental skills such as reading - but rather is obligated only to establish and finance a public education system, regardless of quality."

"This poll is very, very bad news for Rahm Emanuel: More than two months after the graphic dashcam video of a Chicago police officer shooting and killing a black 17-year-old was released, a new Chicago Tribune poll found a whopping 83 percent of Chicagoans don't believe their mayor is telling them the truth about what he knew and when."

"Why Prosecutors Don't Target Thieving CEOs: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren issued a stinging broadside against federal prosecutors on Friday, charging U.S. courts with throwing the book at mixed-up teenagers, while letting wealthy corporate executives who commit much larger and sometimes deadly crimes off with essentially no chance of punishment."

Gerrymandering Is Even More Infuriating When You Can Actually See It

Bill Black and friends invite candidates to pledge to eliminate crony capitalism and control fraud in the first 60 days, because they can: Announcing the Bank Whistleblowers' Group's Initial Proposals

Mad Cop Disease: "'I Can't Breathe': Leaked Police Cam Shows Handcuffed Oakland Man Screaming for Help Until He Dies"

For the record: The US Government charges $1.35 per animal to graze cattle on federal lands, according to The Bureau of Land Management. The market price is over $20. So these guys are getting a massive discount and still whining about wanting, well, "free stuff".

What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers

"The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done." This is a profile of Wilson, who now can't get a job as a cop because he's too high-profile, but he's not what you might think.

"The Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety - It Is Human Connection." One hundred years of drug war sold on a false theory of addiction.

RIP
* Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner dies at 74, of multiple organ failure. I've always thought he wrote something beautiful with "Today," and always been baffled that he lifted the lyrics to "Crown of Creation" wholesale out of a Wyndham novel (with a slight change of pronouns) without any credit at all.
* Detective Fish, for real this time: "Abe Vigoda, of 'Godfather' and 'Barney Miller,' Dies at 94"
* "Michael J. Kennedy, Lawyer for Underdogs and Pariahs, Dies at 78 [...] A steadfast defender of the underdog and the First Amendment, Mr. Kennedy represented radicals including Rennie Davis, Bernardine Dohrn and Mr. [Huey P.] Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. His clients also included the Native American protesters at Wounded Knee, S.D., the family of the rogue real estate heir Robert A. Durst; Mr. Leary, the LSD guru; and Mr. Gotti, the mob boss."

Science to the rescue! "Chocolate cake breakfast could help you lose weight: Eating chocolate cake as part of a full breakfast can help you lose weight, say scientists."

"Why Are Americans Ignoring Trevor Noah? This crazy campaign should be his coming-out party. Instead, it's our first election since 2000 where The Daily Show might as well not exist." Sounds like Trevor Noah is no Jon Stewart.

I have tried to explain this to people, that no, pornography doesn't desensitize men to women, but rather desensitizes them to fetishizing women's bodies. There's a big difference. So I was rather pleased to see this article: "Men Aren't Hard Wired To Find Breasts Arousing."

I missed this last May: "Easter Island Statues With Bodies - Who Knew?" I didn't, although apparently this was revealed back in the '50s. Oh, wait, I wasn't reading the newspapers then.

Smashing photo of the Flatiron Building in the snow

"Wooden Ships", Crosby, Stills & Nash, featuring Paul Kantner - 11/26/1989 - Cow Palace

Volunteers

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What is past is prologue

NBC News-YouTube Democratic Debate video

"Its Official: Mainstream Media Declares Bernie Sanders Winner of Debate."

"Elizabeth Warren Sinks Clinton's Hopes for Endorsement: In a speech before the Senate Thursday, on the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, Elizabeth Warren made clear -- for those with ears to hear -- that she will not endorse Hillary Clinton." She said: "A new presidential election is upon us. The first votes will be cast in Iowa in just eleven days. Anyone who shrugs and claims that change is just too hard has crawled into bed with the billionaires who want to run this country like some private club."

Hilary expressed outrage over the poisoning of Flint's water, which is good, but it's not clear she is correct that it has been swept under the carpet merely because the victims are largely poor and black. David Dayen on Twitter: "#PorterRanch is a collection of gated communities sickened by a gas leak for close to 3 months. Nobody "came running" to fix it #DemDebate" He's not wrong, and he talked about that, and about the comparison between Sanders and Clinton on financial regulation, on last week's Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Sanders releases universal healthcare plan before Democratic debate
* "Sanders vows to fulfill MLK's legacy in Alabama: 'We still have a long way to go'."

This is interesting - right-wingers funding a lefty-sounding ad against Clinton: "Wall Street-Funded Super PAC Airs New Iowa Ad Slamming Hillary Clinton's Ties to Wall Street." Oh, but is this Karl Rove's hand?

"Bernie Sanders Has One Pro-Wall Street Vote" - or does he? "This was an era in which voting against funding the federal government was considered a major governance faux pas. The bill sailed through both chambers of Congress, with few lawmakers even aware of the major new deregulatory changes."
* Robert Scheer: "Hillary Blames Bernie for an Old Clintonite Hustle, and That's a Rotten Shame."

I do have problems with the amount of control the states have over Medicare/Medicaid. I also think Medicare is pretty weak tea compared to the NHS, and I'd like to see the medical industry brought to heel rather than simply promising to cover their outrageous costs. So I understand what Karoli is saying in, "Sanders Defends His Single Payer Health Care Proposal But Questions Linger." No, wait, I don't, because this piece still accepts the frame Clinton has put it in, including the idea that letting the states have any control is not the present situation under Obamacare. Clinton is not proposing to solve any of these problems, she's just pretending that she wants to. And I don't understand this idea that somehow Hillary Clinton's "pragmatic" approach is more possible. We need to elect a Congress that will pass an improved plan before we can do anything. I can't imagine the current Congress doing it and I don't see Clinton as the one who has the vision or the coat-tails to do it. In fact, the "centrist" Dems have been consistently sabotaging any attempt to get real liberal progressives into Congress. So, no, nothing floats until someone fixes the Democratic Party. And that means getting rid of the DLC, not re-electing it. Ezra is more honest over at Vox with "Hillary Clinton doesn't trust you [...] "Here, again, Clinton knows better. Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program - which she helped create - and Obamacare are already administered by the states and already rely on state funding. Sanders's plan would reduce the share of contributions states are responsible for and provide a federal fallback that doesn't currently exist if states refuse to participate in those programs. [...] All this, though, is Clinton's attempt to obscure the big picture: Sanders supports a single-payer health care system, and she doesn't. The technical arguments she's making about past legislation he's proposed could all be addressed if the bills moved forward. That's not the real disagreement between Clinton and Sanders. The real disagreement is he thinks we should move forward on single-payer, and she doesn't."
* "Hillary Clinton's absurd Bernie smear: Why attacking him from the right on healthcare makes literally no sense at all."
* Dean Baker, "Paul Krugman, Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All"

This number proves Bernie Sanders can win Iowa [...] The 43 percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers who self-identify as socialist is actually more than the number who identify themselves as capitalist - 38 percent."
* Nate Silver still doesn't think it's gonna happen, though.

"Human Rights Campaign Endorsement of Clinton Sparks Huge Controversy." Could it be because the current head of HRC once used to work for Bill Clinton's White House? It certainly can't be based on Clinton's superior record on the issue. And it wasn't based on a vote in the organization, because there wasn't one. Bernie Sanders answered Rachel Maddow's question about it by referring to the leadership of these organizations as "establishment" - which, of course, is true, because you can't hang around Washington lobbying Democratic bigwigs without becoming part of the political establishment. But that doesn't mean the membership of your organization is "the establishment". The establishment is a small collection of individuals, not the mass of underprivileged groups they purport to represent.

In a week when Ms. Palin made a word-salad speech endorsing Donald Trump that left many agape with its sheer incoherence, the dumbest entry still has to be this: "INDISPUTABLE: Bernie Is the Establishment, Hillary and Planned Parenthood are the Anti-Establishment", by Peter Daou. Now, I like Peter, even though I know he is a long-time Hillary partisan who has worked with her and thinks very highly of her, but this really takes the biscuit. "Bernie Sanders is a white male who has been in Congress for over a quarter century - his views notwithstanding, he is the definition of the establishment. Hillary Clinton is a woman attempting to break the ultimate gender barrier, the first female to become President of the United States - she is the definition of the anti-establishment." And, sorry, but when the head of an organization who spends a lot of time lobbying in Washington suddenly uses the prestige of their formerly non-partisan organization to endorse a political candidate they happen to have personal ties to, that's the establishment's network in action. When someone who used to work in the Clinton White House suddenly announces, without any consultation with the membership, that the gay rights organization they now head is endorsing Clinton, even though Sanders is demonstrably better on gay issues, that's the establishment network in action. Pretending that Bernie Sanders is more establishment than a multimillionaire former Senator and former Secretary of State who hob-nobs with the very people who have sucked the life out of our economy and still run it is like claiming that the miners who lost their livelihoods under Margaret Thatcher were more "establishment" than Thatcher was. It's just crazy. But I guess that's the kind of thing Blue Nation Review is suddenly posting now that it was bought out last month by a Hillary partisan. The radical change in its headlines from last month to this is downright scary.
* Also on David Brock's plate: "Correct the record doesn't want to be quoted when offering Anti-Sanders oppo research" - We all know David Brock is a Clinton partisan, but he doesn't want the public to know he does anti-Sanders oppo research and tries to slip it to the press without being named as a source.

Lee Fang asked Clinton if she'd release the transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches. She laughed.

The big guns are coming out:
* Ta-Nahesi Coates, "Why Precisely Is Bernie Sanders Against Reparations?" A better question might be, "Why doesn't anyone ask Hillary Clinton if she supports reparations?" Well, because they know the answer would be a nuanced version of, "No." Benjamin Dixon smells a rat, and Killer Mike is is on the same page. Chris Hayes talked to Coates, and I'm curious about why the Sanders campaign didn't respond to his queries. But it's clear that there's a difference between advocating policies that the current Congress won't pass (but another might) that have massive support from the public, on the one hand, and advocating policies that have limited support from the public that even a comparatively liberal Congress still wouldn't pass, on the other. Reparations isn't even a priority for the black community and is pretty unpopular with the public. This is not an issue you build mass solidarity on, especially at a time when half the white population feels that they, too, have had their resources ripped out from under them and they are practically slaves themselves. The latter concerns everyone, but reparations targets only a specific slice of the population. Bernie Sanders isn't actually campaigning for pie-in-the-sky, he's campaigning to do things we've already done before and can do again that the public has always supported, or things that have already succeeded in other countries that the American public massively supports. He's putting these issues on the table and reminding us that there is no earthly reason why we couldn't or shouldn't do them, and that we need to do them if we are going to go back to having the kind of country we all want. The kind of country in which, by the way, the black community's wealth grew enormously after the inception of the New Deal, and the rate of murder of blacks by the police dropped radically. That country was on a path to real equality for black people, but it was also on a path to making life reasonable for pretty much everyone.
* Paul Street, in "Race Without Class: the 'Bougie' Sensibility of Ta-Nehisi Coates," reminds us that Coates is essentially a neoliberal, however good a writer he may be, and he doesn't get the relationship of class to race nor the problems that hurt us all. "The 'satisfaction of thinking you are somebody because you are white' has always been a terrible lie. It has helped cloak white workers' subordinate and expendable status, which never disappeared despite the very real if limited advantages white skin privilege has conferred them relative to non-whites. It has injured those workers' material status by undermining their capacity to enhance their economic and political power by joining in solidarity with nonwhite workers. It has too often joined them in allegiance to rich fellow whites who couldn't care less about working class people of any color. It has focused white workers' ire on the wrong enemies - those with the least power (non-white workers and the poor) instead of the moneyed elite, which wields its wealth and power to cripple and destroy lives and the common good. And it has (along with numerous other the related reactionary messages in the reigning American ideology) encouraged white workers to blame themselves as well as even less privileged people of color for their own difficult circumstances under the remorseless reign of capital. 'Privileged' people are supposed to be doing well, after all. If they're not, it must be their own fault. Hence the rising death rates of working class white males, driven largely by alcoholism, drug abuse, and gun suicide. Hence also the popularity of 'The [white racist-sexist-nationalist] Donald' with millions of angry and marginalized white male 'Trumpenproletarians.'"

David Dayen: "What the Liberal Attacks on Bernie Sanders Are Really About: Self-styled liberal wonks and opinion writers decided to turn their guns on Bernie Sanders this week, deriding him as myopic, unrealistic and even wrong on the merits of his arguments on behalf of single-payer healthcare and systemic financial reform. But at least on financial reform, they weren't actually attacking Bernie. They were attacking Elizabeth Warren. It's Warren, not Sanders, who represents the leftward pole in the intra-Democratic debate over how deeply to reform the financial sector. Warren, not Sanders, manifests part of her vision in the bill she wrote - the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, named for the two Depression-era lawmakers who initially separated commercial and investment banking. When Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the media dismiss Glass-Steagall as unnecessary and dangerous, they dismiss a consensus in most developed nations about the need to break interconnections in finance. The radicals in this debate, in other words, are those protecting the deregulatory status quo."

Cory Robin is getting irritated: "Bile, Bullshit, and Bernie: Sixteen notes on the presidential campaign: This is becoming a straight-up rerun of the 1948 campaign against Henry Wallace. Except that Clinton is running well to the right of Truman and even, in some respects, Dewey. It seems as if Clinton is campaigning for the vote of my Grandpa Nat. There's only one problem with this strategy: he's been dead for nearly a quarter-century. As was true of McCarthyism, it's not really Sanders's communism or his socialism that has got today's McCarthyites in the Democratic Party worried; it's actually his liberalism."

Pierce: "We Haven't Scratched the Surface of What Bernie Is Capable Of. [...] Meanwhile, Sanders punches up at the elites that, frankly, have more power in our politics than he does, or than you do, or than any politician does. He tells his audiences that he can't do it alone, that the money power has grown too great for any one person to combat. He needs them more than they need him. He is not Napoleon, he is a democratic politician. And that makes all the difference and that's why the "populist anger" narrative is a shuck."
* "Friends say Bernie isn't electable? Robert Reich offers guide of 6 perfect comebacks for Sanders' skeptics."
* Bernie Sanders Campaign Political Ad - America

Meanwhile, a curious thing: "Hillary is no lock in Nevada either: Bernie threatens to steal another key primary." Interestingly, the union that represents the most black and Latino voters has decided not to endorse a candidate.

"The Head of the Democratic Party Is Either a Failure or a Liar: Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said today that the Democrats' 2016 presidential debates were scheduled to reach the largest audience possible." She has to be an idiot. If she didn't know beforehand that Saturday nights opposite major sporting events during the busiest parts of the Christmas season were stupid times to schedule the debates, she certainly must have noticed everyone pointing it out as soon as we saw the schedule, so even if she was stupid enough to think those were good nights to schedule, why would she say such a thing in public after she managed to garner the lowest viewership conceivable?

"Meet Debbie Wasserman Schultz's First-Ever Primary Challenger: Tim Canova" - The DNC chair's new opponent is interviewed by Glenn Greenwald: "I am a lawyer by training. I studied at Georgetown University, and then was a Swedish Institute visiting scholar at the University of Stockholm. I practiced law in Manhattan for a large firm for a few years, and then went into teaching, and really my entire legal career was animated by the study of, you can say, making our institutions more democratically accountable. The thesis I wrote as a Swedish Institute visiting scholar was a comparison of Swedish and American labor law and corporate law, and comparing how in Sweden and in other European countries, labor had a seat at the table. Fifty percent of the board members were labor. And in the United States, labor doesn't have a seat at the table. They get run over. So that is the orientation - more democracy - that has animated me throughout my career. I served on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide to the late U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas in the early 1980s. A lot of this is on my campaign website, on the About Tim page - that I was an opponent of financial deregulation very early. I was writing in the early 1980s that the Garn-St. Germain Act, deregulation of depository interest rates and lending standards, would be a disaster, that it was a repeat of what had happened in the 1920s. It opened the door to predatory lending and sub-prime mortgages. I was calling that decades before that actually came to a crisis stage, you could say. In the 1990s, both as a lawyer and as a law professor, I was warning against getting rid of Glass-Steagall - Brooklyn Law Review article in the mid 1990s, 1995. I warned against financial derivatives. So I've been a constant critic of Wall Street deregulation. I'm for Main Street; I always have been. I believe in the New Deal. I believe in bottom-up economics."

"WFSE/AFSCME Endorses Sanders for Democratic Nomination for President: The Executive Board of the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 on Sunday (Jan. 10) adopted a motion to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) for the nomination of the Democratic Party for U.S. president. The national union, AFSCME, endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in October but grassroots support for Sanders has always been high amongst Federation members and Sunday's action reflects the homegrown perspectives."
* "Bernie Sanders Has The Most Effective Political Ads On TV"

"170 Economists Endorse Bernie Sanders' Plan To Reform Wall St. And Rein In Greed."

I guess it shouldn't surprise me to learn that Jesse Ventura and Henry Rollins feel the Bern.

"Liberals No Longer Amused By Bernie Sanders' Presidential Campaign. He doesn't actually mean "liberals", he means the Democratic establishment, but anyway: "Those in power expect liberals to police others on the left who would threaten their supremacy. So, when a political elite such as Clinton is faced with a formidable opponent, liberal pundits wittingly or unwittingly devise arguments for why Americans should vote against their interests and support someone who would likely manage government in a manner suitable for the corporate state." The arguments against Sanders amount to smears, a campaign of despair, and red-baiting. Speaking of which, I liked the headline Weldon Berger put on this one when he linked it on Facebook: "Stalwart Democrat frets that Sanders will lose the election when Republicans tar him as a commie, bravely goes there first."
* Speaking of red-baiting, David Brock is there, too: "Sanders smeared as communist sympathiser as Clinton allies sling mud."

Bill Black, "Wall Street Declares War on Bernie Sanders [...] Why do the Wall Street billionaires hate Bernie? Paul Krugman, unintentionally, provided the key in his most recent attack on Bernie. Krugman claimed that the key to what he claimed was President Obama's success was not 'breaking' 'Wall Street's power' over our economy and democracy. To Krugman and Hillary's horror, however, Democratic voters, like the median U.S. voter, understand that breaking the paramount power of the Wall Street billionaires over our economy and its political power that has caused us to descend into crony capitalism is essential to take back our Nation."

Paul Rosenberg has a great piece in Salon on "The truth about Flint: Kids drank poisoned water because of the GOP's radical, anti-democratic 'reforms': This nightmare happened because of deeply undemocratic steps taken after the GOP gerrymandered a blue state "
* "State of Michigan, Gov. Snyder sued in class action lawsuit over Flint water crisis." He belongs in jail, and so does his emergency manager.
* "Desperate MI Governor Tries Claiming Flint Poisoning Was ‘Natural Disaster', Obama Slaps Him Down"
* But could it be even worse than it already seems? What if this wasn't done just to save the city money?

State politicians everywhere are more dangerous than people realize until it's too late: "Senate pushes to eliminate health retirement benefits for North Carolina's teachers and state employees."

Glennzilla: "The Seven Stages of Establishment Backlash: Corbyn/Sanders Edition"

Republican surprise of the week: "Mitt Romney: 'I think we're nuts not to raise the minimum wage.'"

"Bloomberg, Sensing an Opening, Revisits a Potential White House Run" - if Sanders wins the nomination.
* Howie Klein thinks an indy run by Bloomberg would make the Clinton people happy and give them somewhere to go if Sanders is the nominee.

"Justice Ginsburg Hands Surprise Victory To Consumers Over Big Business" - This was actually a question of whether a class action could go forward, but the truly fascinating thing is that, though Roberts, Scalia, and Alito dissented, Thomas did not.

"Obama bans solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons: President Obama on Monday announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences."

Obama gave his last State of the Union Address, and spent a little time making up stories about how wonderful TPP is, but we all know they're not true: "The Deeper, Uglier Side of TPP"

"Obama Administration Enables Billionaire Takeover of US Public Schools: With the Walton billionaires doubling down in their efforts to accelerate the charter school industry and with the Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, throwing in $100 million to privatize traditional public schools, one might think that the U.S. Department of Education would be a major line of defense for America's public schools educating the most underserved students or even a bold investor in sustainable community schools that are truly public. One would be wrong."

"With Inequality Rising, Billionaire Steve Schwarzman Expresses Surprise That American Voters Are Unhappy." Mind you, this is the guy who can't tell the difference between taxing billionaires and invading Poland.

"What $15 an Hour Looks Like: In July, Emeryville, California, passed the highest city-wide minimum wage in the country. Here's how workers' lives changed - and didn't." You know it should be $21, don't you?

"Reefer madness debunked as major UK study finds marijuana does not reduce IQ in teens."

"U.S. Radically Changes Its Story of the Boats in Iranian Waters: to an Even More Suspicious Version [...] So, to recap the U.S. media narrative: when the U.S. Navy enters Iran's territorial waters without permission or notice, and Iran detains them and then releases them within 24 hours, Iran is the aggressor; and the same is true when Iran aggressively allows one of its civilian jets to be shot down by the U.S. Navy. And no matter how many times the U.S. government issues patently false statements about its military actions, those statements are entitled to unquestioning, uncritical treatment as Truth the next time a similar incident occurs."

Alberta fracking operation closed indefinitely after triggering 4.8 earthquake.

Britain's only publicly owned railway delivered record performance for passengers before Tory sell-off: "East Coast Mainline had been placed in state ownership after previous privatisation deals collapsed but was flogged off again despite its outstanding performance "

"You're not hallucinating, MPs really did pass crazy bad drug law."

Monsanto Buys Up Heirloom Seed Suppliers

"Opus Dei: Neofascism Within the Catholic Church"
* "Is the Left Prepared for the Right's Terrorism?"

Billy Bragg made this observation in his FaceBook post on the death of Alan Rickman: "It's not only the timing of his death and the fact that he too was 69 that links him to David Bowie. Both were working class kids from council estates who went to art school where they gained enough confidence in their own creativity that they were able to go on to find fame and fortune. Is it still possible for working class kids to realise their potential in such a way? The art schools are almost gone, those that survive now charge a fortune. The social mobility that Rickman and Bowie experienced is increasingly stifled."

"ATVOD Has Closed. Now What?" Its attacks on the British porn industry, and on the internet, won't stop. "Now that Ofcom has taken the reins, we can expect to see the regulator lobbying for more censorship powers against ‘unacceptable' overseas content - which doubtless will go far broader than pornography. Currently, a private members bill to enable censorship is in progress through Parliament. Like previous non-government attempts, this will probably fail, but we should watch out for the contents of the Queen's Speech this Spring. Any mention of ‘online safety' or ‘protecting children online' will herald the impending end of free Internet access for British citizens."

RIP Tor Books Senior Editor, David G. Hartwell, 1941-2016. And, among other things, the wearer of outrageous clashing colors and hilarious ties who would always go along with a sartorial joke, and had a hand in nurturing some of the most important authors and editors and other publishing geniuses in science fiction. Memory is flooded with images of joking around with him, his smile, and serious conversations as well. At my first worldcon, he turned me on to Frangelico, so naturally I poured some in his honor when I first heard the news that he was alive but not expected to survive. He was special to many of us, and I could go on at length about what he meant to me, but Patrick also had a close professional association and wrote this. There are more like that all over the net, our family is in mourning. And Kathryn Cramer, his wife, wrote this. And George R.R. Martin says good-bye.
* Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey, 67, dies. I had enormous respect for their compositional and harmonic skills, always spot-on emotionally, and smarter than they might have seemed to some.
* "Dallas Taylor dies at 66; drummer for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young." Also of Clear Light and sessions work. Seems young until you think about how badly he treated himself. I mean, Keith Moon told him he did "too much drugs". Keith Moon!
* Dale Griffin, drummer for Mott the Hoople, 67 - Their most noted tune was one David Bowie gave them, "All The Young Dudes".
* Giorgio Gomelsky, jazz club founder who gave The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds their start, at 81 (although the Telegraph decided to headline him at 82, which wouldn't have happened until February).
* Robert Stigwood, music producer of almost everyone, 81: "In short, he was the man who put Cream together, launching Eric Clapton's career on the big stage; he discovered the Bee Gees and shepherded them through the highest points of their career; and he produced numerous iconic stage and film musicals, including Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease and Saturday Night Fever."

What a real soldier had to say about the clown protest: "Refuge of Scoundrels [...] If the Founding Fathers had depended for their independence on the various irregular militias, they surely would have all been hanged - separately and together. Those men, those men who led the Continental Army and fought for our freedom, those men knew exactly what they were doing when they included the words 'well-regulated militia' in the Second Amendment. And they for damned sure weren't talking about giving Americans the right to shoot down their own government - because those Founders were the government."

"Hillary Clinton Isn't a Lesbian - but She Dresses Like One." Kudos, even though it's Slate, because this is the territory I never did figure out how to navigate back in the days when I worked in - well, anywhere.

Interview with Marcy Wheeler, The NSA's Worst Nightmare

"What the Vanilla ISIS Crisis in Oregon Says About the History of Wage Labor [...] The thing that is, again, never taught or said is that most English peasants wanted land and not a wage, which was too low to adequately sustain them. The wage system also deprived them of free time (the war on Christian holidays was not started by atheistic liberals but by the big bosses of farms and factories). Subsistence farming, foraging, and hunting provided rural peasants with more than they needed. Wage labor did not, and as a consequence, the state, which supported the interest of capitalists, had to impose laws that banned hunting (game laws) and made domestic production nearly impossible (enclosures). The English transition to capitalism did not need slave labor because wages for landless peasants were very low. But in the New World, the United States, the situation was different. There was lots of land to be had, and so wages were very high, and it was almost impossible to keep white workers in factories, fields, or other market-related enterprises. As soon as they made enough money, they left and bought land and become independent. And it is here that we find the roots of American individualism; it's not in entrepreneurship but in revolt: White American individuals were fleeing the market-centered system. They wanted out. And the best way out was land, which provided the things that the market provided but for much less work and demands on personal space and time."

"Most Of The Radical Ideas The Black Panthers Had Are Now Totally Mainstream."

"Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did."

The U.K. National Health Service Act of 1946: "The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care act signed into law by President Obama in late March is a complicated bill that overhauls the nation's health care system over a period of five years. It sometimes is mentioned in the same breath with the United Kingdom's National Health Service Act of 1946 which set up that country's government-run health-care system. But that law was a paragon of succinctness, occupying only 92 pamphlet pages. Here (in three parts in Adobe Acrobat PDF format) is Britain's National Health Service Act of 1946"

"Woody Guthrie Despised His Landlord - Donald Trump's Racist Father."

"David Bowie, rock star groupies and the sexually adventurous '70s: 'Labeling us as victims in retrospect is not a very conscious thing to do'."

"The Doctor Is Not In: BBC Delays Season 10 Of Doctor Who Until 2017."

You know, I had completely forgotten who played Scum of the Earth in the WKRP Episode "Hoodlum Rock".

"Victorian London in Incredible Detail: Here's a real treat. The National Library of Scotland's Map Department, supported by David Rumsey, have taken some very high-resolution scans of the Ordnance Survey 1893-6 1:1056 (that's 60 inches to the mile!) set of 500+ maps of London and, crucially, reorientated and stitched them together, so that they can be presented seamlessly (using OpenLayers) on top of a 'standard' Google web map or OpenStreetMap, with the base map acting as a modern context."

"David Bowie Tribute: Starman Gets His Own Constellation."
* "Did You Know STAR TREK's Dr. Crusher Choreographed the Goblins in LABYRINTH?"

Ronan Murray, the organist at St. Joseph's in Glasthule, Dublin, performs "Life on Mars" on the church's organ.
* Clip of Chris Nickol's performance of "Life on Mars" on the 115-year-old organ in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum,

Six Into One: Seldom seen doc on Patrick McGoohan's cult TV classic The Prisoner

Classical Music Mashup knitted together by Grant Woolard, with visual aids. Quite a lot of fun.

Darlene McBride - Take Back America Tour
* Lewis Black on NY versus TX