Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Your day breaks, your mind aches

Bernie Sanders wants to end the for-profit prison industry, from his speech in Reno, Nevada. "When congress reconvenes in September, I will be offering legislation, I will be introducing legislation, which takes corporations out of profiteering from running jails."
* "The Story of How Bernie Sanders Became Famous Will Make You Love Him Even More."
"Top 10 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders May Actually Become President"
* Michael Tkaczevski, "Nothing to See Here: On Pooh-Poohing Sanders' Surging Crowds" - Why, one would almost think the establishment doesn't want to acknowledge that Bernie is a threat to the Clinton campaign.

Latest polls: Hillary is slowly sliding down, Bernie trending upward, latest poll - from FOX - shows Clinton at 49% and Sanders at 30% (up 8% from their poll two weeks earlier). Frankly, I'm thinking if protesters want to make any real headway, they should be demanding debates now. (A few are.) There had been at least nine Democratic debates by this time in 2007.

Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report: "#BlackLivesMatter Performs a Self-Humiliation at Hillary Clinton's Hands: It is painfully evident from the video of last week's meeting between a #BlackLivesMatter delegation and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that the organization is philosophically incapable of making demands on the political representatives of the rulers of the United States. #BLM's leadership is either confused as to the nature of political demands, or has decided to reject the most fundamental lessons of mass movement politics - indeed, of human social dynamics. Political movements are defined by their core demands. The video of #BLM's closed-door encounter with Clinton in New Hampshire, August 11 - after the five activists had been prevented from attending and, presumably, disrupting her campaign event - should become a staple for future political education classes on what happens when would-be movement operatives enter the lion's den unarmed with political demands: they are humiliated and eaten alive."

Touré F. Reed at Jacobin: "Why Liberals Separate Race from Class [...] This is not just wrong, but the formulation - which ultimately treats race as unchanging and permanent rather than a product of specific historical and political economic relations - undermines both the cause of racial equality in general and pursuit of equitable treatment in the criminal justice system in particular. [...] By the late 1980s, Moynihan's dystopian vision - which presumed that African-American poverty had taken on a life of its own, making it nearly impervious to economic intervention - had become liberal orthodoxy." One of the horrific revelations of getting onto the internet after having been physically separated from general discourse on the left in America once I moved to England was the discovery that some pretty high-information readers from back home harbored the illusion that Daniel Patrick Moynihan was some kind of great liberal. This was shocking to me, as I had been acutely aware of Moynihan's blind, sexist racism in his formulation of "benign neglect" from the bowels of the Nixon White House. See if you can figure out what is wrong with stating that black poverty and other alleged dysfunctions in the black community in America are caused by a "culture" in which black women in the workforce have better educations than black men in the workforce. It's that phrase "in the workforce" - and a less obfuscatory way to put it would be, "Black women must have better educations than black men in order to compete in the workforce." It's even more fun when you know that there's no control group, here - Moynihan made no attempt to determine a comparison with whites, although it is implied by making the statement as if this was a condition found only in the black community - but of course, it is also true that white women must have better educations than white and black men in order to compete in the workforce. Even way back then, this was obvious. And Johnson's War on Poverty had proven that economic action could change things - not only was poverty in the United States cut in half, but killings of black people by cops declined quite a bit as the black community started to accrue greater wealth and its middle class burgeoned. (But, ironically, not as much as it did during the earlier, real, New Deal era, when growth was strongest for everyone except the very rich, who were restricted in just how much of their income they could keep.) Of course, conservatives have eliminated or weakened Johnson's programs into oblivion and Clinton and Obama have given criminal banksters primacy over our economy, with the result that most of that hard-earned wealth has been stripped from the black community, so it's no surprise that racism seems so much stronger today than it was 30 years ago. Touré continues: "While centrist liberals like Presidents Clinton and Obama have encouraged conversations about race and have been willing to concede that racism can undercut the life chances of blacks and Latinos, they are more likely to trace poverty and inequality to the habits, attitudes, and culture of the poor than to the disastrous effects of labor or trade policies or even the health of a particular sector of the economy." Yes, indeed, the most useful thing so-called "liberals" can think of to fix our racial problems is to scold black people about their bad habits and ultimately blame the victims while throwing up their hands about the "intractable" problems that have been the result of their own atrocious right-wing policies.

They now want me to believe that our best bet for the Democratic nominee will be the Senator from the credit card companies. Longtime readers of The Sideshow will recall that Biden was right behind one of the most pernicious pieces of law imaginable, a celebration of usury and theft. It looks like he wants to be Hillary's Secretary of State, really, but that's just yet another reason to vote for Bernie.

David Cay Johnston reckons Donald Trump is all mobbed up, among other things, and gets a free pass from the media. Likewise, his extensive ties to the biggest Mafia figures in New York and Atlantic City, his history of cheating workers and vendors, and other unsavory aspects of his biography go largely unreported. I laid these out in an earlier National Memo column, but the major news organizations have tended to ignore skeletons in Trump's closet - again there are exceptions, namely Michael Smerconish on CNN; Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC. Trump gets a free ride because it's cheap and easy to cover what candidates say, but takes actual work to examine what they have done. And work costs more."

"This Democrat sits in a blue seat - and he wants to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage: Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski is one of the worst Democrats - very possibly the worst - in the House: Among other things, he voted against Obamacare from the right, he's reliably anti-choice, and he's hostile to gay rights. But that thumbnail sketch doesn't fully convey just how awful Lipinski truly is in his heart. What follows will. [...] What's really insulting is that Lipinski represents a solidly blue district in the Chicago area that Obama won by 56-43 margin, so Democrats can and should do better. Pathetically, the establishment has long propped up Lipinski, even going so far as to remove the home a potential primary challenger from his district back in 2011. (Lipinski's father, Bill, was also a congressman; he handed his seat to his son years ago by retiring after the filing deadline.)"

As Atrios says, this is hilarious. Democrats passed a whole bunch of bills they knew wouldn't pass because Governor Paul LePage (R-Sloth) would veto them. But he forgot to.

"This is what the United States looks like if you scale states by population."

"The IRS Is Allegedly Being Pressured Into Taxing Televangelists Thanks To John Oliver."

Chevron attempts to enter Unist'ot'en Camp for fracking survey on unceded land. They brought an offering! Surprised they left out the beads.

Radley Balko, excerpted from his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces, in Salon: "'Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book': The new warrior cop is out of control: SWAT teams raiding poker games and trying to stop underage drinking? Overwhelming paramilitary force is on the rise "
* "Former U.S. Marshal and DEA agent was told not to enforce drug laws in white areas."
* "Officer Brad Miller fired after it was determined he lied about murdering teenager Christian Taylor." And yet, he is not in jail, and the media is silent.

How much do you really know about the Drug War?

"New Ferguson Judge Withdraws All Arrest Warrants Issued Before 2015: Ferguson's new municipal court judge, Judge Donald McCullin, issued an order Monday to withdraw all arrest warrants issued before the end of last year. The order may affect thousands of people in Ferguson who have racked up exorbitant debt for traffic violations or other minor offenses. McCullin also reinstated all driver's licenses suspended solely because the driver failed to appear in court or pay a fine. Suspended license penalties tend to trap poor people into cycles of debt, as they have little choice but to continue driving to work and risk being arrested for driving with a suspended license. The defendants whose warrants have been withdrawn will be given new court dates. Pretrial release conditions will also change, the judge said. Rather than jail people, the court will come up with alternative payment plans, commute fines for people who can't afford them, or require community service."

"Picking Apart One of the Biggest Lies in American Politics: 'Free Trade' [..] When Washington became president in 1789, most of America's personal and industrial products of any significance were manufactured in England or in its colonies. Washington asked his first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, what could be done about that, and Hamilton came up with an 11-point plan to build American manufacturing, which he presented to Congress in 1791. By 1793, most of its points had either been made into law by Congress or formulated into policy by either Washington or the various states. Those strategic proposals built the greatest industrial powerhouse the world had ever seen, and were only abandoned, after more than 200 successful years, during the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton (and remain abandoned to this day, as President Obama prepares to further expand 'free trade')."

"In Chicago, a new synagogue seeks Judaism minus Zionism [...] We believe that that's led to some very dark places and that the establishment of an exclusively Jewish nation-state in a land that has historically been multiethnic and multireligious has led irrevocably to the tragic issues that we're facing today."

Greek Left Platform Creates New Popular Unity Party: The new Popular Unity Party will hold up the "NO" Referendum, honor the Anti-Austerity wishes of the people, stop privatization, break up the banking system, build a new economy and exit the Eurozone."

'Go Back To Mexico' Sentiment Is Most Prevalent In States That Used To Be Mexico.

QI: Where are 1% Of Americans? "I'd very much like to say something hilarious, but something must be done!... It's slavery by the back door."

The New York Times did a story in which some ex-employees accused Amazon of being a brutal employer, and apparently Nancy Pelosi purports to be upset.
Dean Baker on Jeff Bezos, Amazon, and the Lack of Profits

"Stop the Jared Fogle 'footlong' jokes: Why do we still find prison rape acceptable, let alone funny?: I promise you this - you are not going to make the world a better place with your prison rape joke. You are not. I further promise that you can be entirely appalled by a story involving the sexual abuse of children and still not resort to gags about dropping the soap. And perhaps someday the idea that rape is not a hilarious feat of karmic comeuppance will be so widely accepted that we won't need to keep saying this. Not today, though."

"Stop calling abortion a 'difficult decision' [...] However, when the pro-choice community frames abortion as a difficult decision, it implies that women need help deciding, which opens the door to paternalistic and demeaning 'informed consent' laws. It also stigmatizes abortion and the women who need it."
"Why I am pro-Abortion, not Just Pro-Choice"

"Forgetful scientists accidentally quadruple lithium-ion battery lifespan" - Man, I hope this turns out to be true. I need some yesterday.

"Welcome to Dismaland: A First Look at Banksy's New Art Exhibition Housed Inside a Dystopian Theme Park"

I think my favorite part of this Lily Tomlin interview is where she says, " It's the same as watching what the gay community has accomplished in the past 10 years. It's staggering, the progress they've made. I want the gay community to become president - they seem to get things done."

Honor Blackman turns 90, and you still would.

Noah Ward sweeps Hugo Awards.
Jim Henley's post-Hugo summation echoes my reaction at the very beginning - a denial of service attack on better works getting on the ballot. He's also got a few interesting links up to other articles on the subject.

Peter Capaldi Shows Wil Wheaton How to Drive the TARDIS

How to grow old gracefully - advice for the ages.

Congratulations to Lines and Colors, for ten years of blogging about drawing, painting, and illustration.

Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales - with lots of nice illustrations.

Hypnotizing Translucent Waves In 19th Century Russian Paintings Capture The Raw Power Of The Sea

The Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia

Jon Stewart interviews George Carlin - Unless it's just me, the audio drops out for a bit but it comes back eventually. (I've never seen Stewart looking that way - it was interesting just for that.)

John Lennon premiers "Imagine" video on The Dick Cavett Show, September 11, 1971.

Jeff Beck's Rock n Roll Party Honoring Les Paul 2010

Postmodern Jukebox, "All About That Bass"

Paul McCartney, "For No One"

7 comments:

  1. I think Moynihan can be properly called a "liberal." Reed's point is that liberals aren't what we need. What we need are democratic socialists.

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  2. David Cay Johnston is working on a new book - a 100-page U.S. tax code. I think it will be a best-seller.

    Dismaland is the Pillars of Society (Grosz) of our time. I especially love the bored and surly park attendants.

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  3. Hi there Avedon, thanks for the Baba Yaga links, she's one of my favorite folk figures. I first heard of her via ELP's Pictures At An Exhibition, and in the early days of D&D I geeked out over The Dancing Hut in Dragon #83: http://annarchive.com/files/Drmg083.pdf. And if I'm not mistaken, many moons ago you linked to http://cornacchia.ru/ which has lots of Russian folk/fantasy illustrations.

    Re the Hugos, I posted this on Thursday:

    http://www.pruningshears.us/pruning-shears/2015/8/27/hugos-puppies-and-the-sci-fi-equivalent-of-classic-rock.html

    Seems like the puppies were driven by nostalgia more than anything else. But art and literature evolve, and that's all to the good. Stand athwart it yelling STOP all you want, it'll change anyway. Griping about that just makes you look reactionary.

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  4. YouTube has a video about Joan Clarke and Alan Turing.

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  5. It may be hopeless. Stuart Z. was on a roll suggesting a new electoral approach for loser liberalism from the 39:47 mark on this past Sunday during the Virtually Speaking episode [LINK] he did with Jay Ackroyd and Isaiah Poole. Here Stuart is at his most insightful [LINK]. To which Jay A. responded in Pavlovian fashion in support of a repackaged "this time it will be different" fifty year-old approach Isaiah P. was offering:

    [QUOTE] Jay A: (50:05) And I'd add, too, that the effect the banking- taking the country to the gambling tables [as] you characterised [it] Stuart did have an enormous effect on the bottom two quintiles. I mean...

    Stuart Z.: Of course.

    Jay A: ...they were the ones that got racked by this...

    Stuart: Of course.

    Jay A.: ...and that's African American communities. That's why Prince Georges County changed so much. [END QUOTE]

    Let's be clear, the total number of all African Americans, regardless of income, don't make up a third of the number of people in the lowest two quintiles, and then there's the whole other 60% of population, anyway. These ratios are imporatant to consider because we have a first past the post electoral system. Just to review, African Americans are only 12.2% of the nation's population, they were 11% of voters in the 2004 presidential election, and 13% of voters in the 2012 presidential election, even with Barack Obama on the ballot (not that the race of a candidate would have anything to do with the participation rate of blacks at the polls- that would be 2008 Clinton talk to suggest such a thing).

    Granted, preaching the doctrine of sin does seem an effective way to build a mighty in number church congregation, nonetheless, convincing enough individuals that they, themselves, will be better off in the near term if they vote for you is still the best way to build a winning electoral coalition and until Democrats can do that the 1% is going to continue to be the de facto majority party in our political system.

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  6. Thanks for putting the Sanders campaign to the fore, up top, he's the biggest loser in the media's present campaign to make Trump a credible candidate.

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