Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Advent

It's time for this.

Dave Johnson and Isaiah Poole discussed Sanders on Democratic Socialism; Trump on Muslim Americans, and Warren on corporate tax reform on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Bernie Sanders releases two new television ads, "A Rigged Economy" and "Works for All of Us." (Story here.)
* Bernie Sanders' speech on democratic socialism at Georgetown University
*WaPo's Wonkblog: "Bernie Sanders is right: The top 0.1 percent have as much as the bottom 90 percent."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at The National Press Club
* Elizabeth Warren Takes On 'Insider Washington' At CAF Awards Gala
* By the way, did you see the ad the financiers came up with to smear the CPFB? It's rather amazing.

For contrast, CMike supplies a few moments of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I've got my problems with Martin O'Malley (boy, do I!), but he is right about debates. It's just bizarre, after all these years of trying to do something about the lopsided coverage on television that is really all-Republicans all the time, to hear Democrats defending the idea of reducing one of the few chances they have to get air time.

"Democratic Race Heats Up As Bernie Sanders Gains 10 Points On Hillary Clinton: According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, Hillary Clinton has gone from leading Bernie Sanders 56%-22% in October to 59%-35% in November. Support for Sen. Sanders is up thirteen percent, and support for former Sec. of State Clinton has gone up by three percent in the past month. Voters said that the three most important issues in the election are the economy (33%), healthcare (13%), and immigration (10%)."

This is worrying: Van Hollen is way ahead of Edwards in the polls. Someone needs to get the lead out to raise Donna Edwards' standing, Maryland shouldn't be represented in the US Senate by a faux "progressive" like Chris van Hollen.

I can't help being glad to be rid of him, but is this a victory? "John Bel Edwards, Democrat, Defeats David Vitter in Louisiana Governor's Race:[...] A more promising red state Democrat could hardly have been found than Mr. Edwards, a Catholic social conservative from a family of rural law enforcement officers who graduated from West Point and served eight years of active duty in the Army."

"Is Clinton Still a Carbon Candidate? The Data to Date [...] I think the answer to the above question, in all fairness, has to be "Yes" until she proves otherwise. I'm open to being shown otherwise - as are we all who care about our children's and grandchildren's future. But the weight of evidence so far is this - under a President Clinton, no halt to carbon emissions, and no commitment to one, will be forthcoming. Does that mean she doesn't care about climate change. No, but it does mean she won't act effectively to prevent it."
* "Clinton, Finally Forced to Confront a Single Payer Advocate in Debate, Can't Win on Policy, Falls Back on Demagoguery and Distortion" - This is a good unpacking both of Clinton's "nuanced" language in the debate and Sanders' failure to call her out on it.
* "Believe It: Trump Can Defeat Hillary
* "Hillary Clinton, the Democrats' Dick Cheney" - There is a lot wrong with this article but one thing is true: "No, what makes Hillary Clinton the Dick Cheney of the Democrats is Libya. You heard that right - Clinton is to Obama in Libya what Cheney was to President Bush in Iraq. Against other voices urging caution, they both strongly advocated the invasion of a country that, lacking a follow-up plan to restore stability, fell into complete chaos."

Possibly the most amazing news of the week: "Mike Huckabee Calls Planned Parenthood Shooting 'Domestic Terrorism'." I don't think most of us predicted that, since the media had already agreed not to call it terrorism.

Ohio's Vote Against Pot Legalization Was 'Statistically Impossible': "The conclusion that the vote was stolen is almost inescapable. [...] The Columbus Free Press asked Baiman to calculate the odds of the official vote count of Ohio's Issue 3, to legalize marijuana, being correct - compared to the tracking polls charting voter preference leading up to this year's November election. The Free Press supplied Baiman with poll results taken prior to the election by noted pollster Jon Zogby. The polls leading into the November 3 vote showed the referendum passing. But the official results claim it lost by 2:1."

"GOP senators press Obama on prescription drug imports: Two top Republicans are urging the Obama administration to open up access to imported prescription drugs to prevent steep hikes in drug prices. Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and John McCain (Ariz.) sent a letter on Monday asking Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to use her power under existing federal regulations to allow patients to directly purchase certain drugs, particularly those that have been subject to sharp price increases." But not a word about negotiating drug prices, of course.

"Wall Street: Democrats Work To Block New Regulations After Flood Of Campaign Cash."

Marcy Wheeler: "Obama Administration Changed the Rationale for Why Assassinations Don't Violate the Assassination Prohibition." I like the way they keep stressing domestic law, as if they are entitled to violate the law (and the Constitution!) as long as they do it somewhere else. They're not.

3 Men Charged In Plot to Bomb Black Churches

"Judge Gives Man 60 Years In Prison For Driving With Suspended License." This story is unclear about whether the sentence is the result of a mandatory minimum or the judge handed down a maximum that makes no sense.

After Endless Demonization Of Encryption, Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinated Via Unencrypted SMS

The US makes more unbelievable excuses for the airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital.

Former Drone Pilots to Obama: Civilian Killings Driving 'Terrorism, Instability'

"Dems call for ouster of Obama's drug chief: Several House Democrats are calling for the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to step aside after he referred to medical marijuana as a 'joke.'"

Scott Walker calls 'em in to see how to save money on health care. Doubt he'd do what they said, but if he did, he'd probably find some way to screw it up: "State could save $42 million a year through self-insurance, consultant says."

"Kentucky Restores Voting Rights for Thousands of Ex-Felons: Governor Steve Beshear, Democrat of Kentucky, only has two weeks left in office, but he's determined to go out with a bang. Beshear announced today that he is issuing an executive order restoring voting rights for nonviolent ex-felons who have completed their sentences. This will give 170,000 ex-offenders the opportunity to register to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice." This is great news, we need more states to restore felon voting rights - or not take them away at all. "In 1792, Kentucky became the first state to adopt a constitution preventing those with criminal convictions from being able to vote. Many states adopted felon voting bans after the Civil War, when African-Americans were granted the right to vote with the passage of the 15th Amendment. 'Felon voting restrictions were the first widespread set of legal disenfranchisement measures that would be imposed on African-Americans,' found a 2003 study from sociologists at the University of Minnesota and Northwestern."

David Neiwert, "The Fear: As Groundless Then As It Is Now" - It should be astonishing that anyone in government would use the internment of the Japanese in World War II as a justification for

"New Hampshire SEIU branch backs Sanders: The New Hampshire branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president, bucking the powerful labor group's international leadership. The endorsement from SEIU Local 1984 comes just two days after the international union backed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for president. "

Borowitz nails this one: "G.O.P. Unveils Immigration Plan: 'We Must Make America Somewhere No One Wants to Live'".

Rick Perry Loses, Ordered To Stand Trial For Felony Abuse Of Power

Public Citizen: "TPP Financial Stability Threats Unveiled: It's Worse than We Thought: Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch has carefully analyzed the Financial Services Chapter of the recently released Trans-Pacific Partnership. One story that has not been told about the TPP is how this first U.S. trade agreement negotiated since the global financial crisis would impose the same model of financial deregulation that is widely understood to have fueled the crisis. For the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, the TPP empowers some of the world's largest financial firms to challenge U.S. financial regulatory policies in extrajudicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals using the broadest 'minimum standard of treatment' claim."

Sanders Says Pfizer-Allergan Merger 'Disaster' for Americans
* Pfizer-Allergan Merger: How Much Will U.S. Treasury Lose Out On In Taxes?

Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year

One year after: "Texas dad left paralyzed when cops beat him 'like a bunch of thugs' after mistaking him for drug suspect."

"The National Security State's Incestuous Relationship With Islamic State"

Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam

What is most remarkable about "In defence of Jeremy Corbyn" is not so much its content but the fact that it appears in the Spectator: "What strange people we Brits are. We spend years moaning that our politicians are cynical opportunists who don't stand for anything. Then along comes an opposition leader who has principles - and appears to stick by them even when it makes him unpopular - and he is dismissed as a joke. Jeremy Corbyn has been ridiculed in recent days for the feebleness of his foreign policy. It is widely agreed that his positions on terrorism and Isis show how unelectable and useless he is. At the same time, we say he is a grave threat to national security. But what has Corbyn said that is so stupid or dangerous? In the wake of the attacks in Paris, he declared that Britain 'must not be drawn into responses that feed the cycle of violence and hate'. He has urged his country not to 'keep making the same mistakes' in the Middle East, something he has been saying for decades. 'Enthusiasm for interventions has only multiplied the threats to us,' he says, not unreasonably. He has said he will not support airstrikes in Syria unless it is clear that military action will help us achieve our strategic objective of defeating Isis." It sure would be nice to see more of that in the Guardian.
* Similarly, Matthew Parris in The Times, unfortunately behind the paywall with "The bombs-away brigade are on autopilot." The teaser: Amazingly, Corbyn is right. The hawks just want to join a scrap with their mates and haven't a clue what happens afterwards 'If not now, when?' asked the prime minister this week: a question that has surely preceded some of the silliest decisions in history. It could have been asked before Iraq. It could have been asked before Afghanistan or Libya, or Suez. It was probably asked before the Charge of the Light Brigade. There is no right time for an unwise decision." Of course, if you want to read the whole thing, you could enlarge this tweet. It's actually pretty good, and a nice piece of writing.

Cannabis is a wonder drug, again. "The National Cancer Institute recently released its report on medical marijuana. The overview of their conclusion is, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) caused a 45 percent reduction in bladder cancer, remission in breast and liver cancer and more."

Juan Cole: "Why did Turkey dare shoot down a Russian Plane? The Proxy War in Syria"

"Tangled Threads of US False Narratives: Official Washington's many false narratives about Russia and Syria have gotten so tangled that they have become a danger to the struggle against Sunni jihadist terrorism and conceivably a threat to the future of the planet, a risk that Robert Parry explores."

The Difference Between Middlemen and A Real New Economy

At The New Yorker, the solution to our problems is Printing Money: "

Adolph Reed, "Identity Politics Is Neoliberalism [...] Sure, those earlier struggles relied on a discourse of racial justice, but their targets were concrete and strategic. It is only in a period of political demobilization that the historical specificities of those struggles have become smoothed out of sight in a romantic idealism that homogenizes them into timeless abstractions like 'the black liberation movement' - an entity that, like Brigadoon, sporadically appears and returns impelled by its own logic." This is a bit less accessible than most of the pieces I've seen by Reed on the subject, but there it is.

Somehow I missed the news that Dilbert's creator is like a parody of a male supremacist. Are you sure this isn't a comedy bit?

"The Incredible Tale of World War II's Single Deadliest Homefront Disaster: Chances are you've never heard of the Port Chicago disaster. Yet it was the worst catastrophe on the US home front during World War II. It was the single deadliest incident on the mainland during the war, and remains one of the worst calamities to ever hit the San Francisco Bay Area. Yet today, it largely lives on only in the memories of long-time locals who actually heard the blast, and, as we'll see, civil rights historians."

The UK government asked the public to comment on whether they want to make a complete mess of the NHS. Well, they sort of asked.

Pussy Riot releases video for 'Refugees In' filmed at Banksy's Dismaland.

It's just a tiny west African country, not central Africa where the problem has such deep roots (even in Christian countries), but it's a tiny, tiny start: "Gambia bans female genital mutilation."

I'm always hesitant about articles like this that try to divide people up into different red and blue psychologies, but ultimately, the conclusion is right: Bring them economic security and they will vote for it.

In 1941 Dr. Seuss sent a message that, sadly, hasn't lost its meaning.

Mack McCormick, Student of Texas Blues, Dies at 85: Mack McCormick, a folklorist who spent a lifetime searching out forgotten or unrecorded blues singers all over Texas, helped revive the career of Lightning Hopkins and unearthed a trove of historical material on hundreds of blues singers, including Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lead Belly, died on Nov. 18 at his home in Houston.

A 1950s Superman Poster Says What We All Need To Hear About American Values Right Now

This is an animal? It looks like canvas and plastic to me....

If girls were boys for a day...

This is sorta cute - Rumor joined by P.F. Sloan to back her up on "P.F. Sloan."

Antsy McClain & Tommy Smothers, "Prozac Made Me Stay" - Yep, that Tommy Smothers.

"Peace On Earth" - an oldie but a goodie.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It looks like Heaven's lost an eye

Marcy Wheeler and Avedon Carol talked about the Paris attacks and the Democratic debates on Virtually Speaking Sundays. Marcy points out that Clinton's answer that the AUMF covers anything they might want to do (which it doesn't) is mission creep. Homework includes Marcy's article about Jihadi John and the strange mission creep of the CIA. (Sam Seder did a better job of unpacking the debate than I was able to on Mondays's MR show.) I also said that horrible people will use the tragedy in Paris to do horrible things - for example, "Cameron shamelessly exploits Paris tragedy to increase spying on all of us."

Everybody else is doing fundraisers, but much as I may need any funds I can get my hands on, I am just too tired to deal with PayPal's limit right now, so if you were planning to send my account anything, please wait until January.

Just go read Charlie Pierce, who isn't afraid to point the finger at Saudi Arabia - and Hillary Clinton: "The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated act of war. They were a brilliantly coordinated act of pure terrorism, beyond rhyme but not beyond reason. They struck at the most cosmopolitan parts of the most cosmopolitan city in the world. They struck out at assorted sectors of western popular culture. They struck out at sports, at pop music, and at simple casual dining. They struck out at an ordinary Friday night's entertainment. The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated statement of political and social purpose, its intent clear and unmistakable. The attacks were a brilliantly coordinated act of fanatical ideological and theological Puritanism, brewed up in the dark precincts of another of mankind's monotheisms. They were not the first of these. (The closest parallel to what happened in Paris is what happened in Mumbai in 2008. In fact, Mumbai went on alert almost immediately after the news broke.) They, alas, are likely not going to be the last. [...] Abandoning the Enlightenment values that produced democracy will not plumb the depths of the vestigial authoritarian impulse that resides in us all, the wish for kings, the desire for order, to be governed, and not to govern. Flexing and posturing and empty venting will not cure the deep sickness in the human spirit that leads people to slaughter the innocent in the middle of a weekend's laughter. The expression of bigotry and hatred will not solve the deep desperation in the human heart that leads people to kill their fellow human beings and then blow themselves up as a final act of murderous vengeance against those they perceive to be their enemies, seen and unseen, real and imagined. Tough talk in the context of what happened in Paris is as empty as a bell rung at the bottom of a well."
* Glenn Greenwald: "Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS" - Oddly, he didn't mention that Hatch had been telling the press we'd been tracking terrorists cellphones, way back in the '90s.
* Hezbollah chief denounces Paris attacks
* Muslims Around the World Are Condemning the Paris Attacks: Outpouring of grief shared by people of all faiths and no faith.
* Just in case you haven't seen it, Jean Jullien's graphic.
* What's really happened: Political author Gearoid O Colmain discusses the Paris attacks with RT International.
* Yes, I know about Beirut, but this is the one that captured the imagination of the media and the pols.
* Oliver Willis won the internet with this tweet: "if only we had a seasonally appropriate story about middle eastern people seeking refuge being turned away by the heartless."

Democratic Debate FULL Democratic Debate CBS 11/14/15 Democratic presidential Debate
* Not sure what kind of a "point" it is when Hillary says there's no international comparison so she supports $12 an hour instead of $15. What does that even mean?
* The 9/11 response about Wall Street set off my slap response. It's okay to be in Wall Street's pocket because of 9/11 and women? Seriously?
* No, actually, I don't think Obama deserves more credit for what he's got done despite Republican obstruction. The Republicans did not stop him from using the TARP money he still hasn't used for home-owner relief. They didn't force him to interfere with prosecutions of bankster fraud. They didn't make him declare that a president has the power to murder Americans without trial and they didn't make him go out and murder them. They didn't make him keep bringing up cutting "entitlements" over and over, push for it, and promote stupid ideas like chained CPI.
* McClatchy, "Clinton on the defensive as debate turns to terrorism."
* Bernie Highlight: "I'm Not That Much Of A Socialist Compared To Eisenhower."
* Contra Clinton, Top Economists Are Backing Sen. Bernie Sanders on Establishing a $15 an Hour Minimum Wage.

There are a number of articles like "Democratic Party Hopes No One Watches Democratic Debates" and "Did You Know There's a Dem Debate Tonight? No, Because Debbie Doesn't Want You To" floating around, but what's really strange is the Hillary partisans leaping up to defend the idea of fewer debates, as if Democrats should be happy about having fewer opportunities to make their case on national television. Look, if all you want to hear about is what Republicans have to say, we do that all year long.
* "Former Democratic Chairs Deny Consulting on Debate Schedule."

Charlie Pierce says, "The Best Speech in Iowa Didn't Come From Hillary or Bernie: It came from Dr. Cornel West."

In new shock poll, Sanders has landslides over both Trump and Bush: "In a new McClatchy-Marist poll, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads Republican candidate Donald Trump by a landslide margin of 12 percentage points, 53 to 41. In the McClatchy poll, Sanders also leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by a landslide margin of 10 points, 51 to 41."
* "Why Sanders defeats Trump, but Trump defeats Clinton"
* Bernie Sanders exceeds Obama's historic 2008 run in crowds, donors and polling
* Bernie Sanders Won the Debate. Hillary Clinton Evoked 9/11 and Sounded Like A Republican.

"'Fifteen Bucks and a Union': Bernie Sanders Marches With Striking Workers."
* "Not For What He 'Says' But For What He Has 'Done,' Postal Workers Endorse Sanders: Declaring that 'politics as usual has not worked' and 'enough is enough,' the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) announced its endorsement of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Thursday morning, saying the longest-serving independent in the U.S. Congress is the best candidate of the entire 2016 field. 'We should judge candidates not by their political party, not by what they say, not by what we think they stand for, but by what they do," said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. "Applying that criteria, Sen. Bernie Sanders stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country.'"

"Nina Turner changes her mind on Hillary Clinton, endorses Bernie Sanders for president: CLEVELAND, Ohio - Nina Turner, the former state senator from Cleveland and a top Ohio Democratic Party official, is ditching Hillary Clinton in favor of Bernie Sanders."

Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from a Young Palestinian Feminist

Rand Paul Challenges Bernie Sanders To Hour-Long Debate On Socialism vs. Capitalism.

Kentucky demands a public hand count of every ballot that was cast for Governor on November 3rd

AFSCME union endorses Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate - This makes no sense, Murphy is terrible and votes like a Republican. And he's running against Grayson.
* Of course, Florida Democrats are on that page, too, attacking Grayson for opposing Murphy. Make it stop.

Bloomberg: "GOP Says Big Banks Are Bad (But Don't Touch Them). It came through loud and clear in Tuesday's presidential debate: Republicans don't like Wall Street. They don't like its behavior before the 2008 financial meltdown. They don't like the bailouts that followed. And they don't like the financial power the biggest banks still wield. Here's the snag: Their contempt for Wall Street is exceeded only by their contempt for regulating Wall Street."

The Young Turks on the best line of the GOP debate.

"Obama Administration Approves Pipeline Expansion Set to Feed First Ever Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal."

We Just Sold Another Billion Dollars Worth of Weapons to Our Frenemies in Saudi Arabia.

The Supreme Court Just Agreed to Hear a Case that Could Destroy Roe v. Wade.

The video that might rip Chicago apart - and why you need to see it

10 Shocking Realities of the TPP; Join The Revolt
* "'A Very Big Mistake': Joseph Stiglitz Slams Obama for Pushing the TPP: 'This is about who makes the rules of trade - the American people or the corporations.' [...] Yeah, so, in a sense, what you see both in the Republican and Democratic Party is a sense that something is wrong. You know, America was the first middle-class society. We're about to become the first society that ceases to be a middle-class society."
* Release of TPP Full Text Shows Victory for Corporate Rights

Supreme Court gives broader immunity to police using deadly force in chases.

Dissent Breaks Out at the Center for American Progress Over Netanyahu's Visit
* 10 Falsehoods That Netanyahu Told During His Appearance At CAP

"To Break Big Pharma's Stranglehold, Doctors Vote for Ban on Drug Ads: Prescription drug prices have already become a presidential campaign issue, with healthcare costs a top concern for American voters. In an attempt to combat the soaring cost of prescription drugs and Big Pharma's stranglehold on the U.S. healthcare system, the American Medical Association (AMA) has approved a new policy to 'support a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices.' 'Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,' said AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris, M.D., in a press statement on Tuesday. The vote took place at the AMA's 2015 Interim Meeting in Atlanta."

"Thousands To Leave LDS Church In Mass Resignation: As one of the sponsors of Proposition 8 during the 2004 election cycle, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has never exactly stood at the vanguard of human rights for LGBTQ Americans. But a new policy to ban christenings for the children of same-sex couples, and excommunicate Mormons who are married to the 'wrong' gender, seems to be the final straw for thousands of people."
* Thousands Quit Mormon Church in Mass Resignation

Mile High Comics Sells A Warehouse Thanks To Marijuana Laws

"Europe Drops Charges Against Edward Snowden, Offers Asylum And Protection: The European Parliament voted to offer Edward Snowden asylum and protection and drop all criminal charges against him. When at one time most of the world was bullied by the US government into pressing charges against Snowden and forcing him into exile, the entire European continent has now officially given him a pass."

Just in case I haven't ragged on the ACA enough lately, The New York Times is doing it for me: "Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless" That's right, you pay thousands of dollars for our medical system in taxes, then you pay more for your insurance premiums, and then when you need it, you find you can't afford to use it. Like Ian says, it's a feature, not a bug.

At this point, I really wouldn't blame anyone for concluding that Doctors Without Boarders' hospital was deliberately attacked by the US.

"Daily Life in the Islamic State: The Caliphate runs theme parks, collects taxes and picks up the garbage. Many in the West think of the Islamic State as a loose collection of fighters - rabble who kill, loot and burn. But the truth is more complex though no less terrifying."

What Is Democratic Socialism?

"Demographics and Productivity: News reports continue to obsess over the idea that China and other countries might run out of people if they don't increase their birth rates. The implication is that countries won't have enough people to do the necessary work to support a larger population of retirees. (It's worth noting that many of these same people worry about robots taking all the jobs. If it's not obvious that these concerns are 180 degrees opposite then think about it until it is.)"

Why Don't We Know Much About Right-Wing Terrorists? Conservatives Fired The Guy Studying Them

Reza Aslan Slams Bill Maher for Facile Arguments' About Muslim Violence
* Reza Aslan on The Jesus of History versus the Christ of Faith - This is really fascinating historical stuff you didn't know, highly recommended.

Tom Tomorrow on the Republican debates.

* P.F. Sloan, 1945-1915, legendary singer-songwriter who Dylan and others credited with helping make their own careers possible at a time when recording companies were hostile to letting songwriters perform their own work. His was the original voice on the Grass Roots hit "Where Were You When I Needed You" before the record company withdrew the record and had it re-recorded without Phil's voice. (Simels also reminds us that The Bangles did a good cover of this song.) He wrote numerous hit songs starting when he was just 14, recorded by numerous artists, most notably Barry MacGuire, who made a major hit of his "Eve of Destruction" - the first protest song to hit number 1. When Sloan played that song for the record company, they told him if he played it for anyone, they'd suspend his royalties. They did. Sloan has a credit (with a little tiny picture) on the back cover of the first Mothers album, and told Brian Wilson about suspension chords. He played the famous intro to "California Dreaming" that everyone thinks Papa John played. When the British television show Danger Man came to American TV as Secret Agent, Sloan wrote the new title song, performed by Johnny Rivers. A surprisingly wide range of acts covered his music, from Jan & Dean ("The Little Old Lady From Pasadena", "Here They Come (From All Over The World) The Theme to the T.A.M.I Show", "I Found A Girl"), The Turtles ("Let Me Be", "You Baby"), The Searchers' - and the title song to the Herman's Hermits movie Hold On, as well as a couple of other covers, appearing on the movie's soundtrack. There was a period where songs written by P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri filled the airwaves. And of course, Jimmy Web wrote "P.F. Sloan". Longtime readers of The Sideshow will recall that I've loved this guy for a long time, and when I finally met him in London a few years ago, he was very sweet to me. So this is one that hurts. You might also remember that "From a Distance" was one of my favorites. And another victim of pancreatic cancer.
* Warren Mitchell, 89, the actor who played Alf Garnett in the BBC's Till Death Us Do Part - the show that inspired Norman Lear's All in the Family - and the follow-on In Sickness and in Health. Garnett was nowhere near as loveably-drawn as Archie Bunker was, but there were still plenty of viewers who identified with him. "Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: "Alf Garnett was one of the most influential and important characters and performances in comedy history. RIP Warren Mitchell." Theatre director Rupert Goold wrote: "RIP Warren Mitchell. A deeply soulful and erudite man who genuinely loved the theatre.""

The 'middle class' myth: Here's why wages are really so low today: Want to understand the failures of the "free market" and the key to getting a decent wage? Here's the real story" - Short version, it's about unions. Organize. "Slaughterhouses insist they hire immigrants because the work is so unpleasant Americans won't do it. They hired European immigrants when Upton Sinclair wrote 'The Jungle,' and they hire Latin American immigrants today. But it's a canard that Americans won't slaughter pigs, sheep and cows. How do we know this? Because immigration to the United States was more or less banned from 1925 to 1965, and millions of pigs, sheep and cows were slaughtered during those years. But they were slaughtered by American-born workers, earning middle-class wages."

Wait, so the real first black president was... Dwight D. Eisenhower? Or were there some even earlier?

6 Ways Albert Einstein Fought for Civil Rights

New London Tube Map Shows How Long It Takes to Walk, Not Ride a Train. Hmph. Still doesn't show you how close Bayswater is to Queensway.

16th-Century Gothic Chapel Turned Into Starry Night Sky

Watch Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman In Manhattan Beach, In December: In 2005, Joss Whedon was hired to write and direct a live action Wonder Woman movie. It didn't happen. So he left the project and wrote and directed The Avengers instead. And everyone at Warners performed the world's biggest simultaneous facepalm. Well, Manhattan Beach comic book store The Comic Bug got a copy of the screenplay. And, with Jennifer Wenger, Curtis Fortier, Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan and more, they will be performing the whole screenplay for the audience who attend. It's free to turn up, with popcorn and drinks, and is a sequel event to last year's Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods performance."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Glad all over

Happy Dawali - the Festival of Lights, or "the festival of loud bangs," as we know it here, started tonight, and it was like a war zone out there with all the fireworks going off.

Digby and Gaius Publius discussed "Rachel Maddow and the Democratic forum in South Carolina; climate change developments: Keystone, ExxonMobil, RICO; the increasingly bizarre Ben Carson." on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

TPP is released; Bernie Sanders says "Now that the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has finally been released, it is even worse than I thought. It is clear to me that the proposed agreement is not, nor has it ever been, the gold standard of trade agreements."
* Mass Mobilization To Stop The TPP Announced, As Text Is Released
* And here it is! "The Transpacific Partnership: Leveling the playing field for American workers & American businesses." Yeah, right.

Brad Friedman wants to know if the Kentucky governor's race was stolen: "Lower down the ballot, many Democrats got tens of thousands more votes than Bevin. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I've warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters." I'm saying this again: If Democrats aren't willing to fight for clean elections, you can blame them for the losses, because the GOP would not be doing this stuff if Dems were putting up a fight. That goes for gerrymandering, too. People need to stop telling themselves fairy stories about why we keep losing elections and start doing something about why we keep losing elections, and one of those reasons is that the Democratic leadership likes having Republicans around to blame their crummy policies on. Paper ballots, publicly hand-counted on the night, people.

"Salt Lake City Elects Utah's First Gay Mayor: Salt Lake City voters elected Jackie Biskupski as Utah's first openly gay mayor and only the second female top executive in the capital city, according to the unofficial election-night count."

Mathematician suspicious of election fraud hires lawyer to force Kansas to hand over voting records: A Kansas mathematician said this week that she had retained a lawyer and had scheduled a discovery hearing to force Secretary of State Kris Kobach to hand over voting records after they showed evidence of election fraud. 'I don't understand why those patterns are there, the patterns are very definitely real. But we don't know what's causing them or why they're there,' Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson told KSHB last month. 'They do fit what would be expected if election fraud is occurring, and that's very concerning.' [...] Kobach, however, went to court to block Sedgwick County from releasing voting records to Clarkson." Now, why would that be?

"Christian pregnancy centers freak out after California turns tables and forces them to disclose abortion rights."

Budget Deal Fine Print Axes Benefit for Married Social Security Beneficiaries

"Clinton proposes $12 federal minimum wage: CORALVILLE, Iowa - Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday the federal minimum wage should be $12 an hour. Clinton said that figure would roughly match in today's dollars what the federal minimum wage was in 1968, the time when it was highest in terms of buying power." Except that if the minimum wage had actually kept up since then, it would be more like $21. So why is she saying $12? Why, she wants to show how moderate she is, asking for less than all those crazy lefties like Bernie Sanders and everyone else, dammit.

"There Is No Reasonable Case To Be Made For A Democratic Take Back Of The House, Not While Steve Israel Is Still There: There is virtually no serious coverage of the colossal failure of the DCCC under Chris Van Hollen and Steve Israel, two incompetent Pelosi allies who have presided over the loss of dozens of Democratic House seats in 2010, 2012 and 2014-- and for countless missed opportunities." The real reason Democrats keep losing seats is sabotage from the top of the party.

The National Journal has an important and illuminating article by John Judis on The Return of the Middle American Radical ("An intellectual history of Trump supporters") that everyone really ought to read, because I think these people can be reached.

"Sanders: I hate missing Senate votes: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he does not like missing Senate votes due to his 2016 Democratic presidential campaign. 'My job [that] I'm paid to do right now is to represent the people of the state of Vermont in the United States Senate,' he said on MSNBC's 'Andrea Mitchell Reports. 'I will miss votes, but I'm trying to miss as few as I possibly can. I am extraordinarily proud to represent my great state in the Senate," Sanders continued. 'We're working very hard on a number of issues,' he added. "And while it is difficult and very time-consuming to be a full-time candidate and to be a full-time senator, that is at the moment what I'm trying to do.' Sanders was responding to a question about Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) track record in the Senate. Rubio, a GOP presidential candidate, has come under bipartisan fire for missing votes for campaign events."

I would truly love to believe in the predictive infallibility of Western Illinois University's mock election, what with it giving Bernie Sanders an overwhelming victory. For some reason, though, I just don't. "History of the Mock Presidential Election: This simulation always takes place the year before the presidential election year, and three months before the actual Iowa caucuses. The genesis of this mock presidential election began at the University of Iowa in 1975 with two political science doctoral students, John Hemingway and Rick Hardy. In that year, students selected Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford - long before anyone really knew of Jimmy Carter. In the years that followed, Rick Hardy expanded the format and engaged thousands of students at the University of Missouri-Columbia where students registered a perfect record of selecting the subsequent winning presidential party. In 2007 and 2011, Hardy and Hemingway teamed up again to conduct a massive campus-wide simulation at Western Illinois University. In 2007, Western students selected Barack Obama as president at a time when no one thought he could win! And, in 2011, students narrowly re-elected President Obama over the GOP ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan! How's that for reality!"

2 Louisiana Officers Charged With Second-Degree Murder in Killing of Boy, 6

Bernie Sanders on Israel and the Palestinians - He's still a two-state solution man, but at least he doesn't cheer when Palestinians get killed.

"Hillary Clinton's 2008 position on gun control wasn't what it is now."

Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism

Wow, Matt Bruening really doesn't like Hillary, he says, "My beef with Hillary is mainly that she is an enemy of the poor."

Atrios found this one a few days back and I'm starting to think the Guardian needs to label these things as their "The Tories Speak for Labour" columns.

Cocaine Production Plummets After DEA Kicked Out of Bolivia

Charlie Pierce: "Here's a plan. Stop sending weaponry to a place if you can't keep track of it. Stop trying to sort out which people doing the slaughtering are the Good People doing the slaughtering. Best as I can figure out, we're supporting some people in Iraq that we're opposing in Syria, and vice versa, and now it seems we're arming all sides, occasionally by accident. I don't mean to shout, but, honestly...? They lost four Hueys? They lost a CN-235? A CN-235 is 70 goddamn feet long! Have they checked under the cushions of the sofa? This would all be funny if, you know, it were funny."

"How and why MI5 kept phone data spy programme secret"

"Only three states score higher than D+ in State Integrity Investigation; 11 flunk."

"NASA just saw something come out of a black hole for the first time ever ."

Neoliberalism's War on Workers: An Interview With Peter Fleming

Verso announces book "From leading feminist figures like Roxane Gay and Barbara Ehrenreich to a new generation of young women writers and thinkers" about False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Fear Of The Walking Dead: The American Police State Takes Aim While zombies may be the personification of our darkest fears, they embody the government's paranoia about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored, tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered impotent."

Naomi Klein's interview with Johann Hari: Does Capitalism Drive Drug Addiction?

"Confessions of a Paywall Journalist: Thanks to a booming trade press, lobbyists and other insiders know what's happening in government. The rest of the country, not so much."

"Remembered, Remembered, The Fifth Of Novembered" - the Million Mask March.

Men Just Don't Trust Women -- And It's A Huge Problem

A glowing review of Rick Perlstein's The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

Remembering Cleveland's Muhammad Ali Summit, 45 years later - mouseover the faces if you can't remember them all.

Eugene V. Debs and American socialism, a brief history.

50% female cabinet appointments lead to 5000% increase in guys who suddenly care about merit in cabinet.

You might recognize the name of the late Augustus Owsley Stanley III for other things, but he made lots of recordings of the music scene and they're all on tape and need to be digitized before they crumble. Spread the word and help preserve the works of the Grateful Dead, Big Brother, and a lot of other acts that he recorded.

The first ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave

I actually think The Huffington Post has a lot of nerve asking writers to let them use their work for free. Someone is making money off that site, and it should be the contributors, but it isn't, they aren't even paying their bills.

Bill Maher to Poor People Stop Thinking Your Interests are the Same as the Rich - Yeah, it's Bill Maher, but this is good stuff.

Brave New Films, Whistleblower: Halliburton provided contaminated water to Soldiers

You won't learn anything illuminating from this, but I had fun watching these two windbags slugging it out.

RICHARD NIXON TAPES: Archie Bunker & Homosexuality

"'It's going to be okay.' He told her this as he watched the engine continue to burn. He told her this as he watched it fall from the plane. He told her this as the fuel lines became exposed, fire overtook the aircraft, and the plane pitched downward. He told her this knowing that every single person on that plane was about to die." Now read the rest. Really.

The Clara Theory of this Doctor Who arc

This Holiday Greeting Flowchart should help you out with Bill O'Reilly's War On The Spirit of Christmas.

Of course, you could just buy a little stool, but then we'd miss the beauty and wonder of this ad.

Rich McCor's cut-outs

Share if you agree!

The one Christmas thing you have to do in November is shop for your Advent Calendar. I don't think I'll be getting this one but I know people who'd love it. And then there's this one. Oh, wait, there's more!

Filling in the gaps in the works of Thomas Kincaid

Chalkboard art

Well, lookee there, Google celebrates Adolph Sax.
* Oh, that reminds me, they did a little game for Halloween.

Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma: The Swan

Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale, live in Denmark 2006

How Dave Clark mostly wrote one of the most successful bands of the British Invasion out of pop music history.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

And they wither with the wind, and they crumble in your hand

Stuart Zechman and Cliff Schecter discussed "the GOP debate turmoil & NBC; Gun Control/Gun Safety & American Liberty," on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Bernie Sanders releases his first TV ad.
* This is how NBC reported it.

Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor on marijuana arrests and mass imprisonment.

"Dems have 'strong disagreement' on Social Security, Sanders says."

Republicans had a fit when debate questioners didn't tip-toe around them enough and have withdrawn their agreement with NBC for further debates, thus opening up a slot Democrats may be stepping into. That would add one for the Dems, which should make a lot of people happy. (The Republican hissy-fit also gave Obama another couple of punch-lines in his stand-up routine.)

Matt Taibbi: "The Case for Bernie Sanders: His critics say he's not realistic - but they have it backwards. [...] Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. The Times remarks upon his "grumpy demeanor." But Bernie is grumpy because he's thinking about vets who need surgeries, guest workers who've had their wages ripped off, kids without access to dentists or some other godforsaken problem that most of us normal people can care about for maybe a few minutes on a good day, but Bernie worries about more or less all the time. I first met Bernie Sanders ten years ago, and I don't believe there's anything else he really thinks about. There's no other endgame for him. He's not looking for a book deal or a membership in a Martha's Vineyard golf club or a cameo in a Guy Ritchie movie. This election isn't a game to him; it's not the awesomely repulsive dark joke it is to me and many others. And the only reason this attention-averse, sometimes socially uncomfortable person is subjecting himself to this asinine process is because he genuinely believes the system is not beyond repair."

"Hillary Clinton: Being pro-business doesn't mean hanging consumers out to dry." She's right about this - monopoly capitalism is toxic.

David Sirota and Andrew Perez: "Hillary Clinton Demands Probe of Exxon After Oil Giant Stops Funding Clinton Foundation: Hillary Clinton is now supporting a federal investigation of ExxonMobil following the latest disclosures that the giant oil company worked to hide the effects of climate change. Her call for an investigation comes only months after the company decided to stop sponsoring her family's foundation. The Clinton Foundation has accepted at least $1 million from ExxonMobil, despite the company's history of financing challenges to climate science. And Clinton's State Department touted ExxonMobil as an example of how America should look at Iraq as 'a business opportunity.'"

"Make no mistake: A vote for Hillary is a vote for war: It is no great secret that Hillary Clinton is a hawk when it comes to foreign policy and the use of force. Even the right agrees, calling her the 'ultimate hawk ... who has supported every single major American military intervention since 1992.' Are we prepared to vote into office the ultimate hawk? For the reasons I describe below, I believe that a vote for Ms. Clinton means more war. We all know about Ms. Clinton's vote to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq, which, even after several years of hemming and hawing, she has now admitted was a mistake. But does that reluctant admission signal that she would do anything differently if she had to do it all again? Not if her hawkishness as Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady is any indication."

"Hillary Clinton's Empowerment: Hillary Clinton isn't a champion of women's rights. She's the embodiment of corporate feminism."

"Hillary Might Be Better Off Next Nov. If She Doesn't Allow EMILY's List To Offend Bernie's Supporters With Their Ugly, Aggressive Lies."

"The betrayal that should haunt Hillary Clinton: How she sold out working women & then never apologized [...] "Clinton wrote that 'too many of those on welfare had known nothing but dependency all their lives.' She suggested that women recipients were 'sitting around the house doing nothing.' She described the 'move from welfare to work' as 'the transition from dependency to dignity.' Or a 'substitute dignity for dependence.' Put more simply, she stated, 'these people are no longer deadbeats - they're actually out there being productive.' In sum, she has frequently validated a pathologization of poor black women that has often served as a pretext for Republican assaults on the social safety net. She has not repudiated these remarks."

Third Way panics over Bernie Sanders. This is Thom Hartmann unpacking Third Way for listeners, but when he reads the list of who they are, well, I bet you can guess what the two little words were that made me go, "What?"

The loathesome Chris Christie says something true and right and human about drugs. I have to say I was stunned, because this is a really good speech I never could have imagined coming from him.

"Washington Post reporter removed from meeting with Kerry: A correspondent for the Washington Post was escorted out of a meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov on Sunday. Carol Morrello asked a question about the State Department's critique of the Uzbek record on human rights, according to Reuters."

"After Listening To Women, Longtime Anti-Abortion Congressman Becomes Pro-Choice." Blue Dog Tim Ryan has a change of heart. "Tim Ryan, once one of the extreme voices against legal abortion is now speaking up in defense of keeping it legal. And all it took to change his mind was a real conversation with women." Not even sure what to say about this, except that, once again, it proves that sometimes you really can talk to them and change their minds.

Ohio votes against legalizing marijuana monopolies. "Ohio voted Tuesday against legalizing recreational and medical marijuana via an amendment to the state's constitution, shooting down a proposal to grant a small number of wealthy investors sole permission to operate commercial marijuana farms."

Oklahoma: "State Law Makes it a Felony to Touch a Police Officer Even Off-Duty and Out of Uniform [...] The law, which passed the legislature unanimously (always a bad sign), went into effect on November 1. In effect, this measure extends the cloak of 'qualified immunity' to cover every aspect of a law enforcement officer's life." So now they have a licence to run around starting bar fights and arresting their victims.

"Chicago police use 'heat list' as strategy to prevent violence: Officials generate analysis to predict who will likely be involved in crime, as perpetrator or victim, and go door to door to issue warnings: Robert McDaniel was puzzled when the Chicago police commander dropped by his West Side home unannounced last month. The visit was cordial, but Barbara West's message was clear: Don't commit any more crimes or face the consequences. Revealing that she had a folder on him back on her office desk, West told the 22-year-old that she knew his best friend had been slain last year in their crime-plagued Austin community. She cautioned that he could meet the same fate if he didn't change his ways. McDaniel, who has multiple arrests on suspicion of minor offenses but only one misdemeanor conviction, learned to his surprise that he had made the so-called "heat list" with more than 400 others across the city who have been deemed by the department to be most prone to violence - either as a perpetrator or victim. 'I haven't done nothing that the next kid growing up hadn't done. Smoke weed. Shoot dice. Like seriously?' an incredulous McDaniel said while recalling the recent visit from police brass with a Tribune reporter.

"New Hampshire Man Arrested For Parking In 'Predictive Hot Spot': Eighteen year-old Connor Deleire may be the first person to go to jail for parking his car in a 'predictive hot spot', an area determined likely to be a target of crime by a computer program. Minority Report seemed outlandish in its time, however many believe its day has arrived. On October 20, 2015, Connor parked his car on Merrimack Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, near Union St. What Connor didn't know was that the area he parked in had been labeled a 'hot spot' for crime and had been allotted increased patrols."

"Police Say Tasering 8-Year-Old Native American Girl Was Justified [...] Four police officers decided that this young girl who had a small paring knife was 'a danger to herself,' requiring them to taser her. "

This is the kid who took the video of Ben Fields assaulting a student, and he says the girl hadn't done anything wrong and the cop was already planning to get physical when he walked in.

"Denver Police Arrest 10 Activists, Destroy Tiny Homes They Built For The Homeless: On October 24, about 70 Denver Police Department and Denver Sheriff's Department officers, including swat units, arrested 10 homeless activists for trying to set up a 'tiny homes' village for city's homeless at Sustainability Park without proper permits. The riot police then destroyed several tiny homes created by Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) - a group 'composed of homeless people and supporters'. [...] According to the activists, the Denver Housing Authority, which owns the property, had initially removed hundreds of low-income housing units to create the park. Now the Authority plans to sell the land, currently used by three urban farms, to a private developer, 'who will build multifamily housing that will support gentrification in Curtis Park but be far beyond the reach of those for whom the Authority is supposed to exist'."

"'Absolute Crap' But Brilliant: Corporate America's Plan to 'Misbehave Without Reproach': An independent investigation by journalists featured in the New York Times on Sunday offers an in-depth look at the way American corporations have used the inclusion of "arbitration clauses" within consumer contracts to strategically circumvent judicial review of their behavior and immunize themselves from class action lawsuits - 'realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.' [...] However - and despite the success of their stratefic effort - Paul Wallis, a business observer writing for the Digital Journal responded to the Times investigation by arguing that even as this trend to immobilize consumers with arbitration clauses show that corporate crime is again 'on the rampage' in the United States, the whole legal concept is actually built on a fallacy. Though acknowledging business interests have used the strategy brilliantly to their advantage, the other way to look at contract arbitration is by recognizing that it is 'absolute crap, from start to finish.'" He says, "Therefore, actions taken under that contract are not immune to prosecution or other legal processes. You can't shoot someone or rob a bank and say 'It's OK, I have a contract.'"
* "Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Unconstitutional? [...] As it presses for the passage of TPP, the administration needs to explain how the Constitution allows the United States to agree to submit the validity of its federal, state, and local laws to three private arbitrators, with no possibility of review by any U.S. court. Otherwise, it risks securing a trade agreement that won't survive judicial scrutiny, or, even worse, which will undermine the structural protections that an independent federal judiciary was created to ensure."
* "In Arbitration, a 'Privatization of the Justice System' [...] The change has been swift and virtually unnoticed, even though it has meant that tens of millions of Americans have lost a fundamental right: their day in court."

Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century: "This paper documents a marked increase in the all-cause mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States between 1999 and 2013. This change reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw a similar turnaround."

"A proven way to reduce poverty? Give poor people money."

Human rights group in Berlin starts process of indicting Bush administration officials for war crimes.

The Mystery of the Vanishing Pay Raise

Barry Ritholtz, "Money Managers Go on Offense Against Speed Traders: Stock exchanges once were operated as not-for-profit public utilities, managing the listing and trading of companies in the public marketplace. Today, they have morphed into rent-seeking, publicly traded companies in the zero-sum game of executing orders."

Students at Airline High say Christianity is being shoved down their throats while "Christians" claim to be under siege. "During health class, students at Airline High, a public school in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, read Bible passages, and their teacher asks them to identify their favorite verses. Airline students told me they are taught creationism as science and pressured into attending Fellowship of Christian Athletes club meetings. During gym class, girls are warned against contraception by a 'born again virgin' from the local crisis pregnancy center, a Christian anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-premarital-sex advocacy center.".

"Ireland to 'decriminalise' small amounts of drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, for personal use" - but only for users; you still won't be able to find a legal source.

I'm not enthusiastic about articles that insist nothing can be changed, but sometimes they are worth looking at for they key to what has to be changed. From The Boston Globe, "Vote all you want. The secret government won't change."

10 Of The Worst Moments From Morning Joe's Fawning Koch Brothers Interview

60 Minutes rips off Sam Quinones. He says he pitched his story to them and they turned him down - and then just plain stole it.

RIP:Fred Thompson, actor and legislator, living embodiment of everything that was wrong with Law & Order.

Can Gitmo ever be closed?

Forget the Bacon: Living in Poverty Means You Have An Advanced Risk of Getting Cancer

"Holy Crap, They Are Officially Making a New Star Trek TV Series."

"An Oscar-Nominated Short Film of John Lennon's Ramblings: A lot of people didn't want John Lennon to enter America, he told a teenage fan in 1969: "They think I'm going to cause a violent revolution, which I'm not." 14-year-old Jerry Levitan had snuck into Lennon's Toronto hotel room with a tape recorder and probed the English singer about the state of the Beatles, their dwindling American fan base, and the meaning behind his music. In 2007, the conversation was animated by James Braithwaite and turned into a short film, I Met the Walrus, which went on to win an Emmy and be nominated for an Oscar."

Elephants vs. giant pumpkins

Google Halloween doodle game

Ballerina pole-dance

"Leaves That Are Green"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

We all want to change the world

"EU Parliament Votes To Drop Charges Against Snowden: They also encouraged members to block his extradition 'in recognition of his status as a whistleblower and human rights defender.'"
* United Nations comes out in support of whistleblower protections.

"CISA Overwhelmingly Passes, 74-21" - Marcy Wheeler says the Senate has embraced "a truly awful bill."

John Nichols at The Nation: "Bernie Sanders Is Actually Quite Serious About This 'Political Revolution' Thing: With a rock concert, a rally and a key speech in Iowa, the insurgent signals that he intends to remain an insurgent."
* Harold Meyerson, "Can Bernie Sanders's followers create a true leftist movement? [...] When Sanders says - as he does in every speech - that he's seeking to build 'a revolution,' that's not just rhetoric. What Sanders understands in his bones is that every period of progressive reform in U.S. history has come as a result of massive street heat, of energized movements that push policymaking elites to the left.
* Sam Seder on Ring of Fire: Bernie Sanders - How He Should Discuss Democratic Socialism. (Actually, it's not that hard - democratic socialism is what we used to call "democracy" and it's all right there in the Preamble of the Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.")
* "Slow Burn: Bernie Sanders Ignites a Populist Movement."
* "Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders' Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You."

"There Are Plenty Of Differences Between Bernie's Record And Hillary's."

Medea Benjamin, "Hillary Clinton Hasn't Learned a Thing from Iraq: The former secretary of state could shatter the glass ceiling for women, but she'd leave the old boys' military-industrial complex intact."

"Hillary Clinton Comes Out Against Abolishing the Death Penalty." I'm sure she thought she was saying something more "nuanced", but anyone who can think their way out of a paper bag knows that is just the sort of thinking that gave us Texas governors who try to set the record for killing the most people. Are there "certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty"? Possibly those police officers and prosecutors who lie or withhold evidence that would exonerate the innocent raise the question, but without the certain knowledge that such people would be found, prosecuted, and executed, you can't even start to talk about "egregious".
* "Clinton Throws Out Black Lives Matter Activists During Speech On Race. Black Lives Matter protesters in Atlanta protest Hillary Clinton's defense of the death penalty." Well, at least they picked an appropriate target, this time.

"Say It Ain't So, Hillary Clinton - You're Open to the Idea of Raising the Retirement Age?" See, she's sensitive to the fact that some people's jobs are just too physical to make them keep working until they're 70, so she doesn't see any practical way to do it, but there's quite a few things missing in her thinking. One is that even "non-physical" jobs have physical components that we can't expect to do indefinitely, and another is that it's not just physical capabilities that leave you. And then there is just all the stress that comes with knowing that the older you get, the more pressure there is on you to leave, the more people find excuses to get rid of you. Sometimes people who are downright irreplaceable get forced out simply because it's convenient for someone else or they failed to play office politics effectively with the wrong person or the new Director just can't believe you can possibly be that useful at your age. Layoffs anywhere, at any time, can mean you'll never be able to get another job. What are you supposed to do when these things happen? And why would you even accept raising the age of retirement as a rational thing to consider when it's so much simpler and fairer to simply eliminate the damned cap?

"Bernie Sanders is in big trouble: You don't have to be a neoliberal shill to see the cold, hard facts" - Is he losing the Invisible Primary? Is there any way to get around it?
* Did Bernie's supporters screw it up? "And there you have it. Parachute in, treat the Democratic event with ill-disguised contempt, then leave without any meaningful interaction with the people whose support your candidate is supposed to be courting. But hey, they're not progressives, so it's okay to do that to them, eh? Granted, many Bernie backers aren't Democrats and are proud of this fact, but showing such obvious disdain for Democrats and their party functions is, well, not exactly good politics." Poor planning, perhaps - it seems they had to catch the buses that were about to leave. But whoever didn't make sure transport would be available at the end of the event itself made a pretty big mistake.
* Sanders campaign honchos commit an act of massive campaign malpractice and Bernie Sanders should fire them. I can't even begin to say how horrified I was to know that "three members of the Sanders high command - campaign manager Jeff Weaver, communications director Michael Briggs, and field director Phil Fiermonte" decided to sit down with a journalist from Bloomberg and, my god, explain their campaign strategy to him. This is the very thing the Clinton White House team used to do that convinced everyone they were nothing but cynical. But it also did something else, since once you tell the press what your strategy is, it ceases to be a strategy. Clinton's claim to fame was that he was King Wonk, they were all these smart little technocrats who had come up with ingenious strategies for "triangulating" their way into policies that, frankly, would have gotten them strangled in their beds by Democrats if they'd understood what was going on. So we were constantly picking up the newspaper and seeing George Stephanopoulos explaining their damn strategy and letting everyone know how very clever they were. We're so wonkish! Bill Clinton loves being a Policy Wonk! Whoohoo! Except that is most emphatically not what Sanders is, and his campaign is supposed to be about issues and how policies actually affect people, and by god that's all his campaign should be talking to the press about. Just stfu about what bright boys you are. (Yes, it's good that Bernie publicly criticized them, but really, they need to shut up.)

The upside of Clinton: "She has been promising DNC members that she wants to revive the party infrastructure that withered under President Barack Obama. Organizing for America point-whatever has been a bust. Super-delegates welcome the return of something resembling Dean's 50 state plan in hopes that party infrastructure will accomplish more than presidential candidates' personalities." (That party infrastructure didn't just "wither"; Obama's machine shut it right down. Anyone who wants to undo that certainly has my blessing to make it happen. But then, it doesn't take a president.)

I'm sure Charlie Pierce told me everything we need to know about Wednesday's GOP debate.

Dean Baker says, "Paul Ryan Wants to Shut Down the Government, Permanently: Everyone has seen the news stories about how Representative Paul Ryan, the leading candidate to be the next Speaker of the House, is a budget wonk. That should make everyone feel good, since we would all like to think a person in this position understands the ins and outs of the federal budget. But instead of telling us about how much Ryan knows about the budget (an issue on which reporters actually don't have insight), how about telling us what Ryan says about the budget? It is possible to say things about what Ryan says, since he has said a lot on this topic and some of it is very clear. In addition to wanting to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, Ryan has indicated that he essentially wants to shut down the federal government in the sense of taking away all of the money for the non-military portion of the budget."

The wingers at Newsbusters are up in arms when Dick van Dyke endorses Bernie Sanders on two separate shows. Don't read the comments, I warn you.

"What Ever Happened To The 9 Corrupt Democrats Who Voted For Medicare Part D?" Well, most of them lost the support of the voters, but Steve Israel is still sabotaging Democrats at every turn.

"How superdonors are gutting America: Here's the research that helps explain a political system's rightward lurch"

Ben Bernenke finds Republicans difficult. Gosh.

Demands Increase For Investigating Exxon's Funding Of Climate Denial

"New Analysis of Wikileaks Shows State Department's Promotion of Monsanto's GMOs Abroad [...] But what really stands out in the cables quoted in the report is the length to which State Department officials were willing to go for American biotech companies. In a statement to Reuters, Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said, 'It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops, and pressuring foreign governments to also reduce the oversight of biotech crops.' "

Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson review Dick and Liz Cheney's book: "Back to the Dark Side: Dick Cheney's Pax Americana" Exceptional, the new book from former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz, is not. It is nothing more than an unhinged rant that smacks of sedition." And, goodness, it's in The Spectator.

Book Review: Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception: "This book, by Nobel-winning economics professors George A. Akerlof (Georgetown University) and Robert J. Shiller (Yale University), is an extended discussion of the role of fraud in economics. The authors argue that fraud is a natural feature of unregulated markets and that fraud is as subject to economic equilibrium as any other product. They back the argument with multiple historical examples, including a short history of advertising, abuses in the pharmaceutical industry, a history of the discovery of the health risks of cigarettes."

"What the Steve Jobs Movie Won't Tell You About Apple's Success"

Health Care "by the People": An Interview With the Architect of Colorado's Single-Payer Plan

Martin Amis gets called on being a nitwit about Jeremy Corbyn.

"No-Fly Zone No Answer for Syria [...] Air power can stop tanks, but can do very little when it comes to protecting civilian populations from the likes of the Islamic State or al-Nusra. Even Assad's paramilitaries could easily infiltrate the buffer zone and inflict their share of violence. All it takes is a few bands of marauders on foot to create mayhem and all the air forces of the world would be helpless. Another unintended consequence of a buffer zone bereft of protection from ground forces is that its population would be susceptible to Islamic state's forcible recruitment of youngsters to their cause. No one, including the no-fly zone's most vociferous supporter, Turkey - much less the U.S. or the Europeans - is willing to send ground troops into this safe zone."

"What Could Possibly Go Wrong (Next) in the Middle East?" Everyone is playing each other against everyone else. Who wins?

Pulling the curtain on "democracy" in Portugal
* "Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power: Constitutional crisis looms after anti-austerity Left is denied parliamentary prerogative to form a majority government [...] Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal's constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika."
* The Washington Post, like The New York Times, leaves out the fact that it was the anti-austerity left that won the election and claims otherwise.

Iceland: "First They Jailed the Bankers, Now Every Icelander to Get Paid in Bank Sale [...] If Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has his way - and he likely will - Icelanders will be paid kr 30,000 after the government takes over ownership of the bank. Íslandsbanki would be second of the three largest banks under State proprietorship."

"Forget Shorter Showers: Why personal change does not equal political change"

My trigger-warning disaster: 9 1/2 Weeks, The Wire, and how coddled young radicals got discomfort all wrong

A reminder: What "block grants" means.

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters supports Bernie. He can't vote, of course, but he's afraid that Clinton "might become the first woman president to drop a f**king nuclear bomb on somebody."

"We are lifelong Zionists. Here's why we've chosen to boycott Israel."

Robert Parry's Speech at I.F. Stone Award

Dan Froomkin, "George W. Bush Was AWOL, But What's 'Truth' Got to Do With It?: The only journalistic sin worse than disastrously misreporting an important story that turns out to be untrue is disastrously misreporting an important story that is true, so no one believes it anymore."

Last year I started to see articles about how cigarettes are more deadly than ever because tobacco companies have changed how they make them. I'm not sure how long ago I started wondering what had changed - I began to notice that people who smoked one or two cigarettes a day had the same cough chain-smokers had, which never used to be the case. And it was a much more horrible cough. And in the very same rooms where a dozen people at a time had been smoking at parties for decades without any problem, suddenly just one or two people smoking in that same room for a few hours was enough to bother the eyes of a heavy smoker. And the smell stuck more. So I wasn't surprised to learn that cigarette manufacturers had changed something. But think about that: They took a deadly product and made it more deadly, and nobody sued them, no one seems to care to hold tobacco companies responsible, and just plain nobody cares. Everyone seems to be quite happy with the plan to kill smokers as fast as they can. Smoking has gone from being a generally popular habit to an inexpensive moment of relaxation for the working class to the last luxury of the lower classes. And, hey, aren't those the people we want to kill?

This Heroic Captain Defied His Orders and Stopped America From Starting World War III

"Spoken Like a Woman [...] In this programme, Anne Karpf explores, with the help of the sound archive, the way women's voices have shaped the sound of British radio, from Auntie Kathleen of Children's Hour and those formal talks of the early BBC, via the forces' sweethearts like Jean Metcalfe and Marjorie Anderson, to today's topliners like Martha Kearney and Bridget Kendall."

The Flash of Two Worlds

Drummers explain why Ringo is so cool.

"The Beatles have posted the newly restored clip of 'Revolution' from their upcoming 1+ video collection. It was filmed on September 4th, 1968 at London's Twickenham Film Studios." (From the Frost show.)