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.)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Eyesight to the blind

The Intercept: "What Did Clinton Mean When She Said Snowden Files Fell Into the 'Wrong Hands'?" They fell into the hands of responsible journalists who digested the information and gave it to the public. And here's the thing: We're supposed to know.
* The New Yorker: "Hillary Clinton Is Wrong About Edward Snowden."

The Democratic Strategist cites two WaPo articles, by E.J. Dionne and Harold Meyerson, and says, "Clinton-Sanders Synergy Gives Dems Leverage. [...] Meyerson acknowledges that Clinton also wants to expand worker rights in the context of liberal capitalism and he credits Sanders with having the understanding that empowering workers is an essential requirement for Democratic advancement. Meyerson concludes with the powerful insight that 'In the United States, liberalism advances only when radicalism is bubbling, which is why Clinton and Sanders need each other, and why the Democrats need them both.'"

On the other hand, "After Dem Debate, Rightbloggers Rage Against 'That Socialist' - and Bernie Sanders."

CNN/ORC poll: Hillary Clinton wins debate, but Bernie Sanders rises: "Compared with pre-debate polling, Sanders' support is up five points since mid-September, but no other candidate showed significant change."

What does it mean when a poll asks Democrats who won a debate that only 23% of them actually watched? I'm not making that up.
* List of online polls from the first Dem debate, and what they said. I don't actually put a tremendous amount of stock in these since, even if you could believe they were scientifically accurate, you know that only a minority of eventual voters actually saw the debate to begin with. But what they will see is the continual spin from the pundits, and what they actually say on the air and in their op-eds is usually what ends up counting. In 2000, every focus group and poll of viewers on the night of the first debate gave Gore the overwhelming edge, and even Chris Matthews - who unabashedly admitted to being a Bush partisan - declared that Gore had wiped the floor with Bush. But within 24 hours, the constant litany of complaints about Gore, sneering at his perfectly accurate phrases and somehow making it seem that all the eye-rolling Bush had earned was a negative on Gore's part, had convinced everyone, including Tweety, that Bush had won.

Latest polling at Real Clear Politics shows Clinton still well ahead of Sanders, but Sanders doing better than Clinton against all Republican comers. That actually matters - Bernie would get better coat-tails (which means a better Congress), and it would be so refreshing to win the white demographic and not have to listen to the GOP patting themselves on the back about how they win with "real Americans". I want a candidate who can win with all Americans.

"Poll: More Democrats Now Favor Socialism Than Capitalism" - Now, if only we can come up with a definition for each of those words.

"Bernie Sanders' Brilliant Plan to Turn Post Offices into Banks" - Postal banking is, of course, quite normal outside of the United States, and it's baffling that we still don't have it. The Brits started it in 1861. Oh, but wait! We had one from 1911! So, what happened?
* "Sanders Calls for Probe into Exxon Mobil Claims on Climate Change: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today asked the Department of Justice to investigate potential fraud by Exxon Mobil Corp. over conflicts in what it knew and what it told the public and shareholders about the cause of climate change. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Sanders asked for a probe into what he called a 'potential instance of corporate fraud' by the oil giant. "

Colbert on the Dem debates
* Bill Maher on the difference between what Bernie said and what Republicans heard

Bernie Sanders on Meet The Press, full Interview
* Bernie Sanders Sits Down With Rachel Maddow (Full Interview) | MSNBC

Sanders closing the gap on Hispanic support.

The media spent a couple of days promising that Joe Biden would enter the primaries. God knows why anyone thought this would be a good idea. That'd be Joe Biden, D-Financial Industry Hero, who worked tirelessly to pass a bankruptcy bill that prevents ordinary people from being able to get relief for student loans or mortgages that can't be repaid on the demanded schedule. Paul Wellstone kept fighting him to a standstill on this but once he died Biden had smooth sailing to nail the coffin lid on students and other Americans who were facing hardship.
* And then there's Biden's contribution to the prison industry with his push for more punitive sentencing. It's a hell of a legacy. More than once this year, Biden has bragged about his role in passing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and though the climate for this sort of thing has receded enough to loosen him up on it, he still doesn't get it. He's the wrong man.
* MSNBC: "Joe Biden is no savior for progressives" - Where he differs from Clinton, he's generally much worse, not better.
* Yglesias: "Biden and the AUMF" - Like Clinton, he voted for it, so no salvation there, either. (Remember Ray McGovern's scathing open letter to Biden? Even by 2007, Biden was still sounding like the Bush administration, going so far as to falsely claim that the weapons inspectors said Saddam had WMD. Everyone else already knew this wasn't true.)
* But - surprise! Biden didn't throw his hat in the ring!

The Republicans gave Hillary an all-day campaign ad with their Benghazi interrogation.

To solve the contentious debate issue between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, Think Progress investigates whether or not George W. Bush was president on 9/11.

SNL's Democratic debate skit. Personally, I don't think Larry David's Bernie is in the same class with Michael Brooks' Bad-Ass Bernie impressions.
* At any rate, Bernie is the cool candidate.

Clinton Takes Her Adviser's Side, Attacking Big Banks but Not BlackRock: Hillary Clinton has received a mixture of plaudits and qualified skepticism for her Wall Street reform plan. She insists that the plan is tougher than those of her Democratic presidential rivals, because it targets more participants in the financial industry beyond the big banks. But Clinton's plan was mute on a key sector of the industry: asset management firms, like BlackRock or Vanguard or Fidelity, which control a staggering $30 trillion in global wealth. And a number of Clinton's ideas mirror the preferences of leading asset managers, who would profit from crackdowns on their competition - the big banks - while they get a pass. That's probably not a coincidence."

"Bernie Sanders Got More Done in the Senate than Hillary Clinton." But it's more than that - Sanders has an amazing record in terms of working across the aisle to get amendments passed. And amendments do matter, a whole lot.

Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel) says, "Jim Comey Describes the Dangerous Chilling Effect of Surveillance (But Only for Cops): For at least the second time, Jim Comey has presented himself as a Ferguson Effect believer, someone who accepts data that has been cherry picked to suggest a related rise in violent crime in cities across the country (I believe that in Ferguson itself, violent crime dropped last month, but whatever)."
* NYT: "F.B.I. Chief Links Scrutiny of Police With Rise in Violent Crime" - Of course, the entire construct is ridiculous. The police aren't just private citizens going about their private business, they are public servants who are supposed to be accountable. If they are really such pants-wetters that they are afraid to act legally and sanely when being observed, they shouldn't be on the force.

The Canadians got rid of Harper with jubilation, voting in the Liberals and the very dishy junior Trudeau with a clear majority. I feel nervous, though - Trudeau is not Corbyn or Sanders, and I'm reminded a little too much of the same sort of euphoria when Britain thought they'd gotten rid of the Tories by electing Blair, and Americans thought they'd gotten rid of our own Tories with the election of Obama. They hadn't, and we hadn't. So when I hear Trudeau saying there'll be a whip on TPP, I'm wondering which way. "In the end, anti-Harper voters decided that rather than elect a centrist NDP, they'd go with the Liberals who were already parked in that spot. But hopefully for folks like my parents, the incoming Trudeau government will remember the left turn that got them there."
* The best person to ask is probably Ian Welsh, who has of course been talking about the Consequences of the Canadian Liberal Majority, asking What Is the Cost of NDP Losing Canada?, and What Type of Electoral "Reform" Might Canada's Liberal Party Enact?

"Netanyahu's Record on Inciting Violence Against Palestinians" - Interview with Max Blumenthal after Netanyahu blames Palestinians for the Nazis.
* "Palestinian Attacks Fueled by Settler Violence, Senior Israeli Commander Says."

"The Banking Industry's Transparent Attempt to Weaken the CFPB: You'll never guess who's going around Washington, trolling the halls of Congress, talking about the importance of protecting the long-term health of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The banking industry. That's right: After years of trying to kill, then delay, and then defang the agency, the banking industry and their Republican friends in Congress have launched a new effort to attract Democratic support for their latest attack by claiming that they just want to help the agency and the consumers it protects. Surely Democrats will not be taken in by yet another attempt to weaken the CFPB."

From Forbes, "Credit Suisse Wealth Report: There Are More Poor People In America Than China." OK, not the way you think, but more people in America have "negative wealth" in the sense that their debts outweigh their assets.

Glen Ford is still scathing on #BlackLivesMatter: Chat Partners with Hillary. "The #BlackLivesMatter tent has already been folded up inside the Democratic Party, where slick Black "activists" on the make go to catch the express elevator to the executive suites. In less than a year, the #BLM crowd milked the incipient movement for all it was worth, presenting themselves as the interlocutors between the streets and Power. It's been one hell of a journey -- a great hustle. They have arrived at where they wanted to be: part of the age-old Black Petit Bourgeois Shuffle, dancing to the Master's tune, while complaining that their pale partners still don't have the right rhythm."

How gerrymandering can change election outcomes, in one chart

Amazingly, The Washington Post has an article exposing the creepy underpinnings of the "school reform" movement that is destroying our once pretty damned good public school system: "What are Bill and Melinda Gates talking about?" Apparently, they haven't a clue about education, but by god they are going to fix it - following the lesson plan of The American Enterprise Institute to destroy public schools.

Why Free Markets Make Fools of Us

The Trade Creature Walks Among Us!

AJC investigation: Why fatal police shootings in Ga. aren't prosecuted

"San Diego company slaps 'Pharma Bro' down by offering same cancer drug for $1 a pill: A San Diego-based company announced on Thursday that it would compete with Martin Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals by offering the same drug used to help AIDS and cancer patients for $1 a pill, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported."

'Huge Step': FCC Slashes Costs of Prison Phone Calls - This is a big deal for a lot of prisoners, but it's not enough.

Police Chief Makes Unique Offer To Addicts - He announced that if they came to the station, they would be helped and not arrested.

"For the First Time Ever, a Prosecutor Will Go to Jail for Wrongfully Convicting an Innocent Man: Today in Texas, former prosecutor and judge Ken Anderson pled guilty to intentionally failing to disclose evidence in a case that sent an innocent man, Michael Morton, to prison for the murder of his wife. When trying the case as a prosecutor, Anderson possessed evidence that may have cleared Morton, including statements from the crime's only eyewitness that Morton wasn't the culprit. Anderson sat on this evidence, and then watched Morton get convicted. While Morton remained in prison for the next 25 years, Anderson's career flourished, and he eventually became a judge. In today's deal, Anderson pled to criminal contempt, and will have to give up his law license, perform 500 hours of community service, and spend 10 days in jail. Anderson had already resigned in September from his position on the Texas bench."

"Little Guantanamos" in the United States

IPA whistleblower press conference: "full video of Holly Sterling's news conference, which was her first such appearance since her husband's trial and imprisonment. The news conference also featured Thomas Drake, Delphine Halgand, Ray McGovern, and Jesselyn Radack."

"Federal Whistleblower Investigator Fired After Blowing The Whistle On His Own Agency: Former OSHA employee says he was fired as 'retaliation' for exposing problems in the Whistleblower Protection Program."

"Families' fury over Blair's Iraq War lie: 'Smoking gun' memo reveals he backed Bush 12 months before conflict." Every now and then even the Daily Mail can get one right. "Former shadow Home Secretary David Davis said the classified memo from US Secretary of State Colin Powell was a 'smoking gun' that proved Blair had lied about his intentions over the disastrous conflict in Iraq."

"New law makes Canadian Jews second-class citizens [..] Jews are second-class citizens under this law. That's because the Law of Return gives an almost automatic right of Israeli residency and citizenship to any Jew. Every Canadian with citizenship or a right of citizenship abroad now has conditional rights to be a Canadian. It doesn't even matter that you or your ancestral family have not lived in Israel for the past 2,000 years. Because a government official could argue that the Law of Return means you won't be stateless if your Canadian citizenship is taken away, the second-class citizenship law applies to you."

Timothy Egan in the NYT: "Guess Who Else Is a Socialist? [...] Free of the label, a hybrid economy where health care, education and pensions for the elderly are provided, side-by-side-by-side with creative capitalism, works pretty well in the Nordic countries, Britain and Canada. And most of the tenets of what is considered democratic socialism have majority support in the United States." The article ends up favoring Hillary, but it's nice to see an op-ed in the Newspaper of Record acknowledging that Bernie and the public are in agreement.

Democracy NOW!: Drone War Exposed: Jeremy Scahill on U.S. Kill Program's Secrets & the Whistleblower Who Leaked Them

Marcy Wheeler on The raging irony of WikiLeaks' latest release: Inside the absurd hacking of CIA chief John Brennan: A 13-year-old has hacked America's intelligence chief and sent the spoils to Assange's crew. Here's what to know."

Judge Rejects Justice Department's Crackdown on Medical Marijuana: In what may prove a turning point in the fight over medical marijuana, a federal judge this week rejected the Department of Justice's rationale for pursuing cases against dispensaries in states where they are legal."

RIP: Cory Wells, 74, one of the three vocalists for Three Dog Night. I never went to see them on purpose, but they showed up at more than one rock festival and were always great at pleasing the crowd. Loved Cory's shirts, too. Here's Cory leading on "Try A Little Tenderness".

David Brooks' crack-up

Pro-Lifer Admits Regulating Women's Sexuality, Not Abortion, Drives Planned Parenthood Attacks

How Blacks have Irish Last Names

"The Necktie Party," a short comic by Will Shetterly

"Malaria vaccine provides hope for a general cure for cancer: The hunt for a vaccine against malaria in pregnant women has provided an unexpected side benefit for Danish researchers, namely what appears to be an effective weapon against cancer. The scientists behind the vaccine aim for tests on humans within four years."

Looks like someone at The Huffington Post has discovered "The Christian Left" - or what used to just be normal Christianity before Paul Weyrich got his hands on it.

Check out this comment from CMike from below, commenting on a discussion between Chris Hedges and Cornel West. Gotta say I agree with him.

"Palestinian Attacks Fueled by Settler Violence, Senior Israeli Commander Says: Former West Bank division commander testifies in court against right-wing extremists."

"Which Syrian Chemical Attack Account Is More Credible?: Let's compare a couple of accounts of the mass deaths apparently caused by chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on August 21. One account comes from the U.S. government (8/30/13), introduced by Secretary of State John Kerry. The other was published by a Minnesota-based news site called Mint Press News (8/29/13). The government account expresses 'high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack' on August 21. The Mint report bore the headline 'Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack.' Which of these two versions should we find more credible?"

"White Protesters Form Human Shield To Protect Black Protesters From Police. [...] The rally took place in South Africa, where police officers had previously used brutal force against the predominantly black demonstrators who turned out to peacefully protest rising university fees."

"Universal Basic Income Will Likely Increase Social Cohesion" - Real-life experiments and observable social phenomena have shown this to be true, so there's no reason not to do it.

I hate stuff like this. It's true that Republicans are "grumpy" and hate America and Americans, but please, don't try to con me that everything is sunny in America. Things really are a mess, and a lot of that is owing to what can most flatteringly (and forgivingly) be described as the rosey assumptions and expectations of Mr. HopeyChangey himself.

Being Poor Is Too Expensive.

Famous quotes, the way a woman would have to say them during a meeting

"The porn business isn't anything like you think it is."

7 of NYC's Abandoned Subway Stations: City Hall, 18th St, Worth Street, Myrtle Ave, 91st St.

Overwhelmed by fallen maple leaves? Try eating them.
* Brain cake for you zombies

Auto Mechanics Hilariously Recreate Renaissance Paintings.

6 July 1957, John Lennon meets Paul McCartney.

Tory children's books

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (Official)

The Who at Tanglewood, 1970

Saturday, October 17, 2015

So many different people to be

Dave Johnson and Marcy Wheeler talked about the mystery of the Speakership, TPP, and Dem debates, on Virtually Speaking.

The first Democratic debate, Nevada, Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, full video.
* Afterwards, Bernie rescues Andrea Mitchell from her colleagues.

I don't know about anyone else, but I absolutely despised Clinton's answer on Social Security. When asked if she would expand it, she said she would "protect" it. Asked again if she would expand it, she said she would "enhance" it for women. Wrong answers. Disgusted with her on Iran, too.

Who won? Well, The Chicago Tribune says in an editorial, "Bernie Sanders' night: Authenticity wins the Democratic debate." Vox says, "DC insiders think Bernie Sanders lost the debate. Here's why they might be wrong." The Washington Post says, "The candidate breaking through in the Democratic debate? Bernie Sanders." The Huffington Post says, "Yes, Bernie Sanders Defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Debate. Here's Why," and Nathan Francis at Inquisitr concurs, and Colin McEnroe at Salon says, "This was Bernie Sanders' night: The candidate of anger and honesty won the Democratic debate." But the Nate Silver contingent says, "Did The Democratic Debate Change The Odds? Bernie Sanders had a good debate, but we're still selling his stock." They could be right: Here are some offline polls: Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll; HuffPost/YouGov Poll; One America poll.

Yes, the online polls everywhere said that Bernie won the debate, but they're online polls and their value is debatable. Focus groups are a different thing, though, and at CNN, on Fox, and at Fusion, focus groups liked Bernie. Still not the most scientific, but Guy Saperstien reminded me that they used to do snap polls after debates, but when the polls disagreed with the pundits, they stopped doing them. But the pundits thought Rubio won the earlier Republican debates and Trump was toast, and, um, they were wrong, so we really have no idea who won.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg tells us, How Bernie Sanders Raised $1.3 Million in Four Hours during the debate: "When a campaign reaches out to people on their mobile phones, it can catch them wherever they are, sweeping them up in a moment of excitement, said Erin Hill, ActBlue's executive director."

Is Joe Scarborough feeling the Bern? Sure sounds like it. Maybe they should get him to be one of the journalists who ask the questions in the upcoming Democratic debates, since they seem to be short of liberal progressives.
* I think Ellen is feeling the Bern, which is no surprise. But that doesn't mean this clip doesn't start off with a surprise.

Tuesday's polls from Real Clear Politics showed Biden, Clinton, and Sanders beating all Republican frontrunners. Thursday polling in Pennsylvania didn't look so good.

11,000 turn out for Bernie in Tucson; Bernie gets his first Congressional endorsement.
* "Keith Ellison hands Bernie Sanders his second congressional endorsement: Sen. Bernie Sanders will get a pre-debate boost from Rep. Keith Ellison, the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who will become the second member of Congress to endorse Sanders' insurgent presidential campaign Monday, he told MSNBC. [...] Ellison joins his fellow Progressive Caucus co-chairman, Rep. Raul Grijalva, who endorsed Sanders last week at a rally in Tucson, where Grijalva's congressional district is based. Sanders will face off against his rivals Tuesday at the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas."
* They've changed it, now (probably owing to some sneering responses to it), but the original headline at The Hill for this story was, "Muslim lawmaker endorses Sanders."

"GOP Extremists About To Be Hoist On Their Own Petard?" Seems they made their own rules to deal with something that already happened, and instead made their problems much worse. Oh, dear. Some pretty radical notions are popping up. Scary.
* Of course, both sides do it - that is, stab themselves in the foot. "Debbie Wasserman Schultz Has Ruined The First Debate Already-- They Should Fire Her Before She Ruins The Rest. Remember how CNN hired Rachel Maddow to host the Republican debate? No, you missed that one? Me too. But CNN did hire Fox-Republican shill Brian Kilmeade to make sure the GOP perspective was well represented in the first Democratic primary debate. Blame DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
* "The DNC screwed Hillary - now get ready for a Bernie Sanders earthquake: Limiting debates did her no favors. Now she's barely leading a 74-year-old socialist. This debate is pivotal."

Ezra Klein unnerved by Clinton's TPP opposition: "On Wednesday, Clinton came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, saying that she's concerned with the provisions around pharmaceuticals and the absence of provisions around currency manipulation. But as Tim Lee notes, Clinton strongly supported early versions of the deal - she called the TPP 'the gold standard in trade agreements" - that were worse on pharmaceuticals and identical on currency manipulation."

"Trumka calls for immediate release of TPP text [...] 'In my experience, when there is such good news to share, there is no need for secrecy,' Trumka wrote. 'If TPP will do for the American middle class all that USTR claims, releasing the text would be the single best way to prove that.' U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has said that the text should be ready in about 30 days, once the lawyers are done scrubbing the agreement. Then the 30-chapter TPP deal will be available to the public for scrutiny. In response to that timeline, Trumka said that 'creating a level playing field for American workers includes equal access to information, and the only way to ensure that is to ensure that all Americans have equal access to the text - not in 30 days, after the public relations spin has been spun, but right now.'"
* Jim Hightower: "'We Are Writing the Rules,' says Obama. Who's 'We'?"

Down in the weeds, I still have plenty of reasons not to want her to be president, but there's no denying that the press hates Hillary Clinton, and their own words tell you it's true.

"Jeb Bush At Lehman Brothers: Florida Official Joked About Bush's Influence Over State Pension [...] Bush has denied any involvement in the transactions, which might eventually cost Florida taxpayers as much as $1 billion. But a state official named Michael Lombardi -- who managed investments for the part of Florida's pension that bought Lehman assets -- invoked Bush's name in a Jan. 9 email exchange with a Lehman managing director who was announcing his new job at the firm."

Assange: UK refuses hospital visit for MRI and diagnosis: "In a press conference today, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino read out a letter from Assange's UK doctor who conducted a medical examination in August. The letter says that he is in constant and severe pain, which is growing worse and has been present since June 2015. The doctor stated that an MRI scan needs to be performed. This can only be carried out in a hospital." But the UK is refusing to grant him safe passage to a hospital and is saying he must give up his asylum in order to receive medical treatment.

The other Wonder Drug: "National Cancer Institute Finally Admits THC Causes 45% Remission in Bladder, Breast, and Liver Cancer." Among other things.

Tim Dickenson's detailed exposé of the Koch brothers in Rolling Stone apparently freaked them out.

Just 158 families have provided nearly half of the early money for efforts to capture the White House. "Relatively few work in the traditional ranks of corporate America, or hail from dynasties of inherited wealth. Most built their own businesses, parlaying talent and an appetite for risk into huge wealth: They founded hedge funds in New York, bought up undervalued oil leases in Texas, made blockbusters in Hollywood. More than a dozen of the elite donors were born outside the United States, immigrating from countries like Cuba, the old Soviet Union, Pakistan, India and Israel."

"More than 50 Labour MPs to defy Jeremy Corbyn in vote on Syria. [...] In a clear challenge to the Labour leader's authority, a group of MPs and peers is ready to work with Conservative colleagues to promote a three-pronged strategy in which military intervention by UK forces would complement fresh humanitarian and diplomatic initiatives."

"California Will Automatically Register Millions Of Voters: On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will allow the state to automatically register millions of residents to vote, using their DMV records. Starting in 2016, every eligible California citizen who goes to a DMV office to get a driver's license or renew one will be instantly registered to vote, unless he or she chooses to opt out." This is great, but I like it even better here in the UK where they actually send people to your door to make sure people who are entitled to vote are registered.

"Mom Calls 9-1-1 for Paramedics, Cop Shows Up, Shoots 4-yo Daughter."

"'Great Pause' Among Prosecutors As DNA Proves Fallible."

"GOP Governor Finally Admits His Hand-Picked Emergency Manager Poisoned Children."

Catholic Nun Slams Republicans on Their Anti-Abortion Hypocrisy: "I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

"Gun nuts freak out over Texas students' #CocksNotGlocks open carry protest - and it's awesome." Sadly, it looked to me like someone had cleaned up all the Facebook comments by the time I got there. Oh, well. But the women came out with a clever idea with their "open carry" of dildos.

I went broke teaching your kid: The real story about life on a teacher's salary

[Video] Corruption is Legal in America - The Princeton study showing that politicians pass laws that serve the rich instead of what the public wants (and needs), illustrated.

Jeremy Cahill says "Drones are a tool, not a policy. The policy is assassination." But really, drones are terrorism.

How real news would sound

Toni Morrison: 'We used to be called citizens. Now we're called taxpayers'

Hail to the Pencil Pusher [...] But the problem was so severe that Congress eventually decided tackle it administratively. Criminalizing bad behavior wasn't enough; for the good of individual lives and the larger economy, the government would take positive steps to prevent explosions. Under the Steamboat Act of 1852, Congress mandated standards for boiler pressure and testing. Pilots and engineers would be federally licensed. And government inspectors could enforce these rules. This 'steamboat agency' seems like something straight out of the twentieth century. It relied on the Constitution's commerce clause to regulate a specific industry for personal safety. It developed these regulations based on scientific understanding. And it combined licensing, rule making, and adjudication, as the New Deal and Great Society agencies did and continue to do. It was, in sum, an early manifestation of an administrative state that contemporary conservatives insist did not exist until Progressive Era reformers built it upon the ashes of a former libertarian utopia."

Iraq For Sale: BANNED Excerpts - banned from being shown in Congress in 2007.

Every Conversation Between A Parent And A Child In Four Conversations

Fashion. Seriously. I mean, seriously. No.

Was this what inspired Alien?

The Flash season 2 trailer

Haphead, the movie

"Season of the Witch" from the lost concert tapes of Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The homecoming queen's got a gun

A little reminder, and I still haven't heard of anyone doing anything about this: "GOP voter registration scandal widens: A Virginia official is busted for tossing voter forms. Turns out he works for the national party, too"
* Voter ID and driver's license office closures black-out Alabama's Black Belt

A Breakthrough on the TPP deal. Damn. TPP Agreement Announced, Setting Up Battle In Congress
* Sherrod Brown's statement on reports that Trans-Pacific Partnership could harm American auto workers
* Lori Wallach at Public Citizen on some questions about the process of passing TPP (.pdf)
* Techdirt: "TPP Also Locks In Broken Anti-Circumvention Rules That Destroy Your Freedoms
* "WikiLeaks Publication of Complete, Final TPP Intellectual Property Text Confirms Pact Would Raise Costs, Put Medicines Out of Reach: Final Deal Rolls Back Bush-Era 'May 2007' Access to Medicine Protections [...] The leak comes the morning after a White House meeting with pharmaceutical executives who are dissatisfied that the deal did not provide them even greater monopoly rights."

The headlines say, "Hillary Clinton comes out against TPP trade deal," "Hillary Clinton comes out against Obama's trade deal," "Clinton sides with progressives against Obama trade deal," but did she really?

This is interesting: Jennifer Rubin, part of the "conservative" slate at The Washington Post, has an article up called, "Don't forget about Bernie Sanders," and it makes perfectly good points about why Sanders might very well win the nomination. But since it's Rubin, I have to ask myself what her purpose in writing it is, don't I? Is it that she thinks taking Sanders seriously makes it a more interesting horse race for a mainstream journalist to cover? Is it that she hates Hillary Clinton? Is it that the Republicans think Sanders will be easier to beat? Or is it that she has a grudging respect for how far the old man has come? "If Sanders is simply a not-Hillary vote one could see that all shifting to Biden. But if he is - as one surmises from huge crowds - a leader of a true left-wing movement just as fed up with Washington, D.C. as their right-wing counterparts then Sanders remains the man to beat. It is tempting for non-Democrats to write off Sanders as the Democrats' Donald Trump, a flash-in-the-pan with no real chance to win the nomination let alone the presidency. But in contrast to Trump who is ideologically all over the map and personally obnoxious, Sanders is a U.S. senator, a somewhat charming figure and representative of a significant segment of the party for whom Obama's greatest fault was in not going far enough (on climate change, immigration, single-payer healthcare, etc.) or selling out entirely (on trade)."
* The adventures of Bernie Sanders and Cornell West in South Carolina
* If you're not rich and want to go to college, vote for Bernie: "College is a time for study and achievement. It can also be competitive. Students who are forced to comply with Clinton's 10-hour-per week work requirement-- which is one-fourth of a full-time job - will carry a heavy burden of time and effort. Wealthy students won't share that burden because their parents are paying full tuition."
* Bernie Sanders Brings Out Record-Breaking Crowd in Boston
* Bernie Sanders at the Littleton Opera House in Vermont
* Can Bernie Sanders win the south?

Firefighters' Union Backs Away From Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

Snowden asks to be put in US prison?

Charlie Pierce, "The U.S. Military Is Determined to Dodge Responsibility for the Afghan Airstrike: Somebody bombed a hospital."
* Doctors Without Borders airstrike: US alters story for fourth time in four days
* Greenwald, "The Radically Changing Story of the U.S. Airstrike on Afghan Hospital: From Mistake to Justification"

"U.S. to Release 6,000 Inmates Under New Sentencing Guidelines: The Justice Department is preparing to release roughly 6,000 inmates from federal prison as part of an effort to ease overcrowding and roll back the harsh penalties given to nonviolent drug dealers in the 1980s and '90s, according to federal law enforcement officials."

"Pope Francis Rejects Kim Davis's Account Of Meeting And Refuses To Endorse Her Bigotry."
* "Pope Francis expected to fire the Archbishop who tricked him into meeting Kim Davis ."

How Conservative State "Think Tanks" Will Spin ALEC's 2016 Agenda

Colbert on when Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy tell the truth.

"Elizabeth Warren Made Washington Angry Again. [...] The Beltway outrage directed at Warren for sending the letter, of course, has nothing to do with the quality of Litan's research or his ability to publish it. The First Amendment has not been repealed. Nothing prevents Litan from doing all the industry-funded research he wants and letting the public evaluate its merits. What Litan can no longer do, however, is capitalize on Brookings' centrist, scholarly reputation when performing favors for flush corporate clients. This is a scary thing in the nation's capital, where this sort of thing happens all the time. Corporate interests pay for a lot of economic studies that end up being used as lobbying cudgels. People in Washington are accustomed to cashing in on their reputations and those of prestigious institutions."

Back in February, Marcy Wheeler warned us that Loretta Lynch was a terrible choice for Attorney General, and now here's Lynch saying the government shouldn't require reports of people killed by police.

* "California Governor Signs Ambitious Renewable Energy Bill Into Law: While a whole bunch of states are suing the EPA for regulating carbon spewing from the electricity sector, other states, such as California, are moving full-steam ahead towards renewables and carbon-cutting. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Wednesday that requires state-regulated utilities to get a whopping 50 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and hydro, by 2030. The law also requires a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency in buildings by that year. The goals were previously laid out during Brown's inaugural address. "

How America Helped Saudi Arabia Block A Human Rights Inquiry In Yemen

How Harper and the Conservatives Broke the Canadian Economy

What We Lose With a Privatized Postal Service
* Don't Put Privatizer And Payday Lender Lobbyist On The USPS Board

Air France execs' clothes torn off by protesters after layoff announcement

Patriotic Millionaires answer the question, "What Is Carried Interest Anyway?" and say the carried interest loophole should be eliminated. Why? "'At a time when wages for working people have stagnated at 1990 levels and they are paying taxes at ordinary income rates, it is an outrage for a small group of hedge fund operators, often making hundreds of millions of dollars a year, to have their income taxed at low capital gains rates,' said Patriotic Millionaire Guy T. Saperstein, Attorney."
* Who is the Retail Investor Protection Act trying to protect?

And for today's chart, American deaths in terrorism vs. gun violence in one graph.

"Women legislators turn the tables and introduce bills regulating men's reproductive health: Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) isn't happy with bills that seek to control women's access to contraception and abortion. She has joined a trend across the nation by introducing a bill that would require men seeking a prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and 'get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency.' Sex therapists would be required to present the option of 'celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.'"

'Suffrajitsu': How the suffragettes fought back using martial arts

Feminist protesters storm red carpet at London premiere of Suffragette: "Activists from Sisters Uncut, who campaign against domestic violence, attended the red carpet event saying they wanted to bring attention to the cuts to domestic violence services and declaring 'the battle isn't over yet'."

"Scientists Invent a New Steel as Strong as Titanium: South Korean researchers have solved a longstanding problem that stopped them from creating ultra-strong, lightweight aluminum-steel alloys."

Psychedelic Mushroom Compound Found to Grow and Repair Brain Cells: "The study, published in Experimental Brain Research, says psilocybin is able to bind to special receptors in the brain that stimulate healing and growth. In the case of these mushrooms, brain cell growth occurs. In mice, the researchers found psilocybin to actually help repair damaged brain cells and cure or relieve PTSD and depression."

Dept. of If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You in Prison? "Harvard Debate Team Loses to Prison Debate Team: The prison team had its first debate in spring 2014, beating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Then, it won against a nationally ranked team from the University of Vermont, and in April lost a rematch against West Point."

RIP: Dennis Healey, 98, legendary Labour Party figure who was either too right-wing or "one of the best prime ministers Britain never had," depending on who you ask.

The Adventures of God: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs Explained

Musical glasses - Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor

"The fake horror movie trailer the internet deserves" - may not be work-safe.

The Kinsey Sicks present: "Get A Gun".

X-Files trailer

Astrophotographer Dave Lane's photos of the Milky Way over National Parks

Bernie in music:
* "Mr. Sanders, Bring Us A Dream"
* "The Ballad of Bernie Sanders"

Julie Brown, unedited

Friday, October 2, 2015

Playoff season

"Don't understand what's happening with Planned Parenthood and John Boehner? Carly Fiorina? Cliff & Digby shed some light. Plus Culture of Truth," on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Credo says "Tell Congress: Ban private for-profit prisons: Sen. Bernie Sanders just introduced a bill to end one of the biggest contributors to America's broken criminal justice system: private, corporate-run, for-profit prisons." They have a petition.

Chart of the day: Inequality in life expectancy widens for women.

"A mathematician may have uncovered widespread election fraud, and Kansas is trying to silence her [...] According to the Wichita Eagle, Wichita State mathematician Beth Clarkson has found irregularities in election returns from Sedgwick County, along with other counties throughout the United States, but has faced stiff opposition from the state in trying to confirm whether the irregularities are fraud or other, less-nefarious anomalies. Analyzing election returns at a precinct level, Clarkson found that candidate support was correlated, to a statistically significant degree, with the size of the precinct. In Republican primaries, the bias has been toward the establishment candidates over tea partiers. In general elections, it has favored Republican candidates over Democrats, even when the demographics of the precincts in question suggested that the opposite should have been true."

David Sirota, "Hillary Clinton Prescription Drug Plan Challenges Past Policies Of Bill And Hillary Clinton: Touting her commitment to lowering healthcare costs, Hillary Clinton this week unveiled a plan that she says will drive down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. The initiative from the Democratic presidential candidate was billed as a challenge to the pharmaceutical industry -- but it is also a rebuke of some of the major pharmaceutical policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton."
* "Hillary Tells Biotech Indus. to Change Marketing of GMO, not Product: Americans will then Want GMO."
* "Clinton opposed LGBTQ-friendly gender-neutral passport forms: Hillary Clinton vehemently opposed the State Department's 2010 decision to use 'parent one and two' instead of 'mother and father' on U.S. passport applications, according to a newly released email from her time in office."
* "Sanders & O'Malley Object To Democratic Debate Schedule But Clinton Reportedly Only Wanted Four Debates [...] Democrats are risking a serious problem with turnout if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination in a year when the outsiders are creating all the excitement. This problem could be further exacerbated should she be the nominee by this limited debate schedule. Clinton's fear of facing her Democratic challengers could seriously hurt her should she be the candidate in the general election."

Frank Rich, "The importance of Donald Trump: Far from destroying our democracy, he's exposing all its phoniness and corruption in ways as serious as he is not. And changing it in the process. [...] Some kind of farce, nonetheless, is just what the modern presidential campaign has devolved into. By calling attention to that sorry state of affairs 24/7, Trump's impersonation of a crypto-fascist clown is delivering the most persuasively bipartisan message of 2016." Rich discussed this with Sam Seder on The Majority Report.
* Rich mentioned Chris Rock in Head of State, which I've never seen, so I looked at clips. Here he is saying, "That ain't right!"

Tavis Smiley interviews the presidential candidate from the Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein.

"Bernie Sanders claims more than 1 million donations."

"What the Pundits and Experts Fail to Understand about the Bernie Sanders Phenomenon [...] So the pundits look at Sanders, a man who is clearly not a political acrobat, and conclude he couldn't possibly win the tight-rope race. But of course Sanders isn't walking a tight-rope, he's competing on foot. So we shouldn't be asking ourselves who is faster between Clinton and Sanders, that is what the pundits are doing and it is precisely why they keep getting it wrong. The real question is can she walk a tight-rope faster than Bernie can run on the ground?"

Stephen Colbert interviews Ted Cruz. It always interests me that Republicans want things to be matters "for the states" because the Constitution says so, but they never refer to the rest of the Tenth Amendment, "or to the people". ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.") In this case, because it's already pretty clear that the people do not want to ban gay marriage.

Scott Walker drops out of presidential race; Orange Mike not happy: "My concern is that, like an abusive spouse returning from an unsuccessful business trip, he will come back to Wisconsin and beat us up some more, doubling-down on his attacks on almost every non-millionaire Wisconsinite, especially those of us with the gall to work for the public or to have unions or (shudder!) both, while shouting the management equivalent of, 'You lazy bitch! Look what you made me do!'" And that's just what he's doing.

I remember after Obama won the election and suddenly various Democratic organizations I'd never signed up for and including Obama's own organizations were sending me constant offers to sell me T-shirts and coffee mugs. Seriously missing from all of these mails were requests to come help put all that eager enthusiasm that won Obama the presidency to work. No one looking for skills, looking for warm bodies, looking to make any of that "change" we'd been hearing about. The only materials I was getting from these people that weren't trying to get me to buy promotional materials were talking points to defend Obama from whatever talking points The Enemy (sometimes Republicans, sometimes the "crazy left") were putting forward. None of it was aimed at substantively addressing the real problems of Americans, although some of it was thinly-disguised hostage-taking on behalf of terrible programs we had to pass in order to make minor improvements in systems that needed major overhauls. I cannot think of a better way to kill a budding movement. I don't suspect Jeremy Corbyn of wanting to keep all his young supporters bamboozled and sequestered in another veal pen the way Obama did, but I hope he is giving a lot of thought to how to avoid doing it wrong.

The WSJ took a poll and found out America is a liberal country. Well, yes, it's supposed to be, it's called "liberal government", that's what the whole Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are about. But anyway, Americans like the Republicans even less than they like the Democrats, and no one wants to defund Planned Parenthood. Since I can't see the original article, I don't know if they mentioned those other little issues like, y'know, the economy and Social Security and whether people are more afraid of government power than they are of banks and corporate power, but anyone who reads polls can tell you that even most Republicans are liberal on these issues.

"Democrats Victorious As Senate Passes CR That Keeps Planned Parenthood Funded."
* Unconstitutional: If corporations are people, defunding Planned Parenthood is a bill of attainder.

"Investigation: Secret Service tried to discredit US lawmaker: WASHINGTON (AP) - Scores of U.S. Secret Service employees improperly accessed the decade-old, unsuccessful job application of a congressman who was investigating scandals inside the agency, a new government report said Wednesday. An assistant director suggested leaking embarrassing information to retaliate against Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House oversight committee."

"'Snowden Treaty' Under Review By Multiple Countries: A draft of the 'Snowden Treaty,' which would expand international legal obligations to protect privacy and whistleblowers, is under review by multiple countries."

"Profiled: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users' Online Identities."

"Three Exceptional Facts About the US: It's Safe to Be Paranoid" Exceptional Fact #1: Failure Is Success, or the U.S. Remains the Sole Superpower; Exceptional Fact #2: Americans Are Actually Safe and Secure; Exceptional Fact #3: A Culture of Victimhood Is Developing Among the Inhabitants of the Planet's Sole Superpower.

"South Dakota no longer requires kids to learn about the Constitution, Native Americans, or slavery"

Journalist David Dayen's forthcoming Chain of Title named the latest winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Prize. Chain of Title is the dramatic true story of how, in the depths of the Great Recession, a nurse, a car dealership worker, and a forensic expert helped uncover the largest consumer crime in American history - a scandal that implicated dozens of major executives on Wall Street. They called it foreclosure fraud: millions of families were kicked out of their homes based on false evidence by mortgage companies that had no legal right to foreclose.

CNN did an awesome interview with Ben Carson, who wants to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood - a perfectly legal organization that does legal and beneficial things for citizens - because he wants to "protect all life", but the death penalty should be a civil matter, and Muslims can't be trusted to uphold the Constitution because (the most extreme interpretations of) their religion wouldn't allow them to prioritize the Constitution. Oh, and he wants to be president, but being asked about his position on Muslims in the presidency was too much for him, so his campaign manager stopped the interview.

CMike alerts me to Charlie Rose's astonishingly stupid interview with Vladimir Putin, as described by James Howard Kunstler. "I guess Charlie and the 60-Minutes production crew hadn't noticed what had gone on around the Middle East the past fifteen years with America's program of toppling dictators into the maw of anarchy. Not such great outcomes." (Link to the video of the interview.) CMike also linked to this little story from Putin. Perhaps it tells us something.

Scott Lemieux says David Broder still lives at The Washington Post: "Our Conclusion, As Always: Both Sides Do It [...] If I understand correctly, what being on 'the far left' means in this instance is 'opposing massively unpopular Social Security cuts.' And Obama was supposed to 'stand up' to the 'far left' by continuing to make offers to Republicans he knew they would refuse. This is one of those times where to state an argument is to refute it." I suppose I shouldn't bring up the fact that the tax bite Obama was asking for was so tiny and so unlikely to collect any real revenues as to be a laughable exchange for the quite serious sacrifice of cutting Social Security, and we should be damned grateful that the Republicans refused to bite. The very fact that Obama was asking for so little suggested his real goal was those Social Security cuts and not raising taxes at all.

"Cops Brutally Beat Police Misconduct Investigator After Turning Off Dash Cam."

"Cowardly brutality exposed: The viral video that should change the Israel/Palestine debate forever [...] One would have thought that the video would have occasioned some circumspection, or at least awkward silence, among Israelis and what remains of their rapidly thinning fan club in the U.S., but no - of course not. Israel's minister of culture took to the media to declare that the army's open-fire regulations ought to be changed to officially permit shooting unarmed Palestinians in order 'to put an end to the humiliation.' Better, then, for the soldier to have gunned the family down in cold blood than to have failed to snatch their 12-year-old. Such are the choices to which Israel now finds itself reduced." To put an end to "the humiliation." Yeah, that's a good reason.

As Atrios points out, the Volkswagen scandal is a classic case of management criminality for which people far down the chain will take the hit. Bloomberg: "Volkswagen has blamed its emissions scandal on a 'small group' of people and has suspended a number of staff as Matthias Müller was unveiled as its new chief executive. Müller, who has been promoted from his role as boss of Porsche, pledged to leave 'no stone unturned' and 'maximum transparency' in an investigation into how the company cheated emissions tests on diesel cars. The new VW boss did not reveal how many staff had been suspended or who they were, but the company said the scandal was the result of 'unlawful behaviour of engineers and technicians involved in engine development'."

The Data Are Damning: How Race Influences School Funding: Research shows that in Pennsylvania's public schools skin color, not economics, determines how much money districts get. [...] 'If you color code the districts based on their racial composition you see this very stark breakdown. At any given poverty level, districts that have a higher proportion of white students get substantially higher funding than districts that have more minority students.' That means that no matter how rich or poor the district in question, funding gaps existed solely based on the racial composition of the school. Just the increased presence of minority students actually deflated a district's funding level. 'The ones that have a few more students of color get lower funding than the ones that are 100 percent or 95 percent white,' Mosenkis said."

"Pope Francis Enters the House Chamber and Gives The Only Handshake to John Kerry. "The Pope knows Kerry from his recent work on the Iran deal, but this is also a profound shift for Kerry. Josh Lederman of the AP pointed out that Kerry was once denied communion over his support for choice for women." I keep wondering how this pope even got elected, since he was chosen by the same people who either picked Benedict or were picked by him. But he's definitely a big departure from his predecessor - he actually mentioned Dorothy Day! - and since he demoted the guy who said Kerry and Pelosi shouldn't get communion, I think that handshake was pretty pointed. More details from Rachel Maddow.
* But he's not such a cuddly pope as he appears: "Pope Francis Excommunicates Priest Who Backed Women's Ordination and Gays."
* And from back in February, "Pope Francis says trans people destroy creation and compares them to nuclear weapons."
* "How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward: After first refusing to confirm nor deny it, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, where Davis' attorney -- who made the news public after the pope's trip ended -- said Francis told her to 'stay strong.' And that simple encounter completely undermines all the goodwill the pope created in downplaying 'the gay issue' on his U.S. trip."
* But Charlie Pierce wonders, "Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis?" Update: The Vatican confirms that Charlie Pierce was correct.

"Why Is College So Expensive if Professors Are Paid So Little?" Like a lot of private enterprise these days, the folks in charge think it's more important to hire a lot of overpaid "management" to run the place rather than hire and pay the people who are actually needed to get the job done.

"Debacle, Inc.: How Henry Kissinger Helped Create Our 'Proliferated' World"

What poverty looks like in America - They studied real people who live on $2.00 a day, and that's good, but I wish the authors would spend some time thinking about where jobs come from. It can't start with the private sector - that's not how things work. And this public-private partnership stuff keeps right on failing.

Driftglass' latest unpacking of David Brooks is worth reading just to get to the candy surprise at the end.

The honest campaign ad - vote for Gil!

The thing that is making me crazy is that I never know when I am going to fall asleep, but when it's time the demand comes hard and fast, and then I know I have to lie down right now. I did look outside the other night and see that the sky was clear and the moon was big and gorgeous, but the sleep thing hit me sometime around midnight and that was that. Some people did get to see the eclipse, though.

For people who are not sleeping too much and instead are being kept up by a cold, science allegedly says your best cold cure is a hot toddy. Or at least, the internet says science says it.

RIP: D. West (8 July 1945-25 September 2015), occasionally known as "Don", legendary fanartist, critic, founder of the Astral Leauge (pronounced "Loog"), major figure from Leeds fandom, author of renown - most notably of "Performance",* publisher and author of the fanzine Daisnaid (Do As I Say Not As I Do), I beat him at dominos. I'm still shocked at the notion that D. West can die. He was diagnosed with lung cancer only shortly before his death, which I guess saved him a lot of trauma from life-prolonging misery. He could be pretty scary, but he backed me up when I was trying to explain to Michael Ashley about the Beatles, so he was all right with me.

Julian Lennon has a new collection up, of photographs of Venice.

My team has clinched the division.