Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ain't that peculiar?

This week's panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays were Avedon Carol and Dave Johnson, who argued about why the Democratic leadership keeps sabotaging the Democratic Party and democracy. Homework for this one includes:
WikiLeaks, "Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)"
"Secret Rahm memo to Clinton: Step up attack on immigrants. Be Nixon on crime".
Digby on "Triangulatin'90s style"
Populist Majority
"Why Blue Dog Mike Ross Will Lose His Run For Arkansas Governor"
"The Lamest Operation in America" - or how Emily's List siphons off liberal donations for losers.
(Also at Down With Tyranny!"Vive la libération: St. Louisans celebrate as their city is declared a George F. Will-free zone.")
David Atkins talked about his blog post "Wherein I sympathize with Erick Erickson" on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. (Related story: "Crazy Mississippi runoff turns ugly: 'Poll watchers' head to black voting sites.")

"Obama alums join anti teachers union case [...] The Incite Agency, founded by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, will lead a national public relations drive to support a series of lawsuits aimed at challenging tenure, seniority and other job protections that teachers unions have defended ferociously. LaBolt and another former Obama aide, Jon Jones - the first digital strategist of the 2008 campaign - will take the lead in the public relations initiative." (via)

David Dayen, "Wingnuts and liberals' bizarre role reversal: Why Export-Import Bank politics are so perverse: Nowadays, Democrats are defending Ex-Im, and the right is calling it "corporate welfare." It wasn't always that way: A fascinating game of role reversal is playing out in Congress, where Democrats are teaming up with the Chamber of Commerce, and Republicans are using phrases like 'stop corporate welfare.' Many of the same politicians lined up on the other side of the debate just a few years earlier. What has turned Washington into a wonky remake of Freaky Friday? The reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, a government-run enterprise that grants loans and insurance at below-market rates to facilitate large trade deals. [...] But pre-Internet liberals might want to get out their back issues of the Nation and Mother Jones at this point to jog their memory, for they will see article after article condemning the 80-year-old institution as a slush fund that allows the government to fund a series of nasty activities. Here's one from 1981 ('The Ex-Im helps sell nuclear reactors to dictatorships like the Philippines'). Here's another from 1992, about the Reagan administration using Ex-Im to funnel loans to Saddam Hussein's Iraq during their war with Iran. Even more recently, in 2011, Mother Jones reported on how Ex-Im loan guarantees helped build one of the largest coal plants in the world, in South Africa. (Ex-Im subsequently announced it would stop facilitating coal plant production - but only in December of last year.) [...] And Sanders certainly did not believe that financing for multinational trade deals would dry up without Ex-Im. He questioned the head of the bank in 2004, asking, 'General Electric, which itself is one of the largest financial institutions in America, cannot get loans anyplace else but from the taxpayers and the workers of America? Are you going to tell me with a straight face that GE is a struggling small business, a minority business in the barrio of New York, and they just cannot find financing?'" So, looks like we're lucky we have Republicans in Congress to finally refuse re-authorization of this piece of crap.

And here's a little reminder that stop-&-frisk and marijuana possession laws criminalize being black, because it's routine to stop and search black males, and to ignore whites who are at least as likely to be in possession of marijuana.

On The Majority Report:
Beth Schwartzapfel discussed her recent piece, "The Great American Chain Gang." Yes, there is legal slavery in America, they just call it something else.
Philip Mirowski talked about How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown.

Of course, it could be worse. You could, for example, be a 95-Year-Old WWII Vet who the police shoot to death for refusing to go to the hospital. Will these cops be held to account? Even if the UK, it just doesn't happen. The police are the most dangerous people on the streets.

Digby on the exoneration of the Central Park 5: "This case is actually one of the few that has a satisfying result but a lot of the credit has to go to the DA's office which actually endorsed the fact that they had wrongfully convicted these men. That is an anomaly."

Democracy Now!, "The Guantánamo 'Suicides' Revisited: Did CIA Hide Deaths of Tortured Prisoners at Secret Site? In one of the great mysteries of the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, three prisoners, two from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen, died the night of June 9, 2006. Authorities at Guantánamo said the three men - Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, Salah Ahmed al-Salami and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi - had killed themselves. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, described their deaths as an "act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us." But explosive new evidence shows there may have been a cover-up on how the men actually died. Recently discovered pages from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service suggest that the men died not from suicide, but torture."

Thanks to esteemed commenter jcapan for reminding me of why Bernie Sanders should not run for president: "In other words: We recognize this guy won't win - we're implicitly acknowledging that in the very petition calling on him to run - so don't worry, loyal Democrats, after we blow off some steam during the primary we will turn out in force for whoever isn't the Republican."

Hm, who would be deliberately committing voter fraud? Oh, right. "Now we learn about the curious case of Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old health executive who is accused of voting a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, including seven times in the recalls of Scott Walker and his GOP ally Alberta Darling. Wisconsin officials say it's the worst case of multiple voting in memory. Oh, and, did I mention he's a Republican?"

Why, yes, if Detroit is really planning to take people's water away, I see no reason why they shouldn't dump their unflushable waste on toney golf courses. I liked the first commenter's inventory of rights: "Things that are, according to conservatives, not a right: drinkable water, breathable air, food, jobs you can earn enough to survive on, health care, education, functioning infrastructure, voting. Things that are rights, according to conservatives: hoarding as many guns as possible, the legal standing to refuse to serve someone whose race or sexual orientation you don't like, sexual harassment of women, publicly exposing one's racism and bigotry and not getting fired for it, shooting people who look like criminals and getting away with it, the entire media and entertainment industry catering to you and only you, and, of course, delivering college graduation commencement speeches."

"Mass. abortion clinic buffer zones ruled illegal"
The Rude One says, "You Wanna Keep Harassing Women at Clinics? Then Let's Play." Great idea!

"City to fine owners of Little Free Libraries" - I hadn't seen this idea before but I love the thought of having a little "library" on your front lawn where people can just pull out a book and sit down and read it. "'We came back to find a letter from the code enforcement telling us it was an illegal dwelling or structure,' Brian Collins said. Collins put up a Little Free Library on Mother's Day in his front yard near the intersection of 89th Street and Ensley Lane. 'Given that nothing can dwell in here except maybe mice, I really didn't understand what that was all about,' he said."

John Oliver makes a deal: Sit through his discussion of the death penalty and be rewarded with a video of a tiny hamster eating a tiny burrito/

After everything sex has done for the internet, it seems an awful lot of important sites are biting the hand that fed them. Paypal cracking down on adult sites, a big image-hosting site banned adult content, Amazon weeding out porn books, and now Google refusing to make shortlinks for "adult" content.

Last month's feelgood story: "Ivan Fernandez Anaya, Spanish Runner, Intentionally Loses Race So Opponent Can Win"

I've really been enjoying these "This is what anti-pot messages look like to me" mock-ups.

Costume party

17 British accents (via)

This article on Merry Clayton's recent car crash injury includes a clip of just the vocal track on "Gimme Shelter".

I admit, I did not get why this old ad was supposed to be funny, at first.

"I want to imagine that this is what Fernando de la Jara intended all along when first constructing the sculpture. 'Someday,' the artist must have mused, 'years after all of Germany has come to marvel at the beauty and wonder of my work, some kid will jam his legs right in there 'for the vine,' and his cries for aid will briefly awaken the bright soul of Georgia O'Keefe from death's cold embrace, and her ghost will laugh so hard that her face falls off.' You know, something poignant like that."

More Firefly .gifs.

Marvin Gaye at The Bitter End

6 comments:

  1. Full disclosure: Charles Davis is an avowed anarchist who wouldn’t vote if FDR was facing off with Ronal-do Reagan. I’d probably get back in the ballot box for that one myself, but at present I remain a fallen dem.

    First Digby link didn’t work for me but she turned me onto this great piece in Politico:

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html#.U65q6bEUrh4

    Is it just me or are they publishing some articles lately that don’t provoke vomit-y blueberry pie eating contests?

    Also recommend this post from Freddie deBoer:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2014/06/26/i-dont-recognize-the-world-peter-frase-is-critiquing/

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  2. Re: Detroit

    Providing 900,000,000 liters/day / 1 million people = 237.75 gallons per person per day is one way to go about running an empire, "Suck on this, citizens" another.

    [LINK]
    [LINK]

    The late Joe Bageant was betting that the latter approach is what we, who today populate the land of the free and the home of the brave, are going get and what we're going to accept:

    [17:01] Joe Bageant: America is a corporation, it's not a Republic, and the God is the Economy. When I was a kid you had to find page 14 of the paper to find what the damn stock market was doing, right? And now the story above the fold in every paper in the country everyday is: How's the Economy is doing?

    It's kind of like the people on Easter Island, "How are the Stone Heads doing today?" No one has ever seen the Economy but it's God. And the thing of it is with that level of consciousness what you're looking at is Fear there, you're looking at Fear [for] the health of a corporate state...

    [52:07] Joe Bageant: There's not going to be a revolution in the United States, not at all. That would collapse the economy quicker than the process of theft is all ready doing it. People are conditioned, the level of conditioning -- I think you have to live there and work there to understand what will happen. They will suffer and it will be that damn simple.

    And the government will have to do some things, we'll have to have programs and so on but they're not going to come tear the joint down to fix America. I don't know what people think they're going to do. Most of them are powerless anyway, to do anything. They don't even know how to organize... we're good at making fake media revolutions, how come everything they want is what the neo-conservatives want?

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    Replies
    1. Great link to Joe Bageant - recommend listening to the voice that goes with the words. Interesting listening to him speak from personal experience about the deliberate dispossession of subsistence farmers to create more wage laborers.

      Latest from the TPP front from Public Citizen:

      When it comes to our job-killing trade policy, some in the Obama administration have decided to try to change the facts.

      They are trying to sneak through an outrageous proposal that would reclassify U.S. corporations that offshored U.S. jobs as “factoryless goods” manufacturers.

      Consider Apple. The iPhone is assembled in China by a firm called Foxconn. Instead of that phone being counted as an import when it is shipped here to be sold, under this deceitful proposal, Foxconn in China would be considered a “manufacturing service provider.”

      Apple would be considered a factoryless manufacturer. And when an iPhone is exported from China to Germany, for example, it would be counted as a U.S. manufactured export to Germany.

      You can see how this would disguise the erosion of U.S. manufacturing — and undermine efforts to change the unfair trade policies that have incentivized American job offshoring.

      Delete
    2. Also, and heretofore, in the matter of statistical legerdemain.

      [LINK]

      Or, to put this particular point in more confusing words of my own:

      [LINK]

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  3. Cyril Blubberpuss on what it means to be an American citizen.

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  4. Don't forget Langston Hughes

    (apologies if you have already posted. Too busy to read much these days).

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