"Elizabeth Warren Sinks Clinton's Hopes for Endorsement: In a speech before the Senate Thursday, on the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, Elizabeth Warren made clear -- for those with ears to hear -- that she will not endorse Hillary Clinton." She said: "A new presidential election is upon us. The first votes will be cast in Iowa in just eleven days. Anyone who shrugs and claims that change is just too hard has crawled into bed with the billionaires who want to run this country like some private club."
Hilary expressed outrage over the poisoning of Flint's water, which is good, but it's not clear she is correct that it has been swept under the carpet merely because the victims are largely poor and black. David Dayen on Twitter: "#PorterRanch is a collection of gated communities sickened by a gas leak for close to 3 months. Nobody "came running" to fix it #DemDebate" He's not wrong, and he talked about that, and about the comparison between Sanders and Clinton on financial regulation, on last week's Virtually Speaking Sundays.
This is interesting - right-wingers funding a lefty-sounding ad against Clinton: "Wall Street-Funded Super PAC Airs New Iowa Ad Slamming Hillary Clinton's Ties to Wall Street." Oh, but is this Karl Rove's hand?
"Bernie Sanders Has One Pro-Wall Street Vote" - or does he? "This was an era in which voting against funding the federal government was considered a major governance faux pas. The bill sailed through both chambers of Congress, with few lawmakers even aware of the major new deregulatory changes."
* Robert Scheer: "Hillary Blames Bernie for an Old Clintonite Hustle, and That's a Rotten Shame."
I do have problems with the amount of control the states have over Medicare/Medicaid. I also think Medicare is pretty weak tea compared to the NHS, and I'd like to see the medical industry brought to heel rather than simply promising to cover their outrageous costs. So I understand what Karoli is saying in, "Sanders Defends His Single Payer Health Care Proposal But Questions Linger." No, wait, I don't, because this piece still accepts the frame Clinton has put it in, including the idea that letting the states have any control is not the present situation under Obamacare. Clinton is not proposing to solve any of these problems, she's just pretending that she wants to. And I don't understand this idea that somehow Hillary Clinton's "pragmatic" approach is more possible. We need to elect a Congress that will pass an improved plan before we can do anything. I can't imagine the current Congress doing it and I don't see Clinton as the one who has the vision or the coat-tails to do it. In fact, the "centrist" Dems have been consistently sabotaging any attempt to get real liberal progressives into Congress. So, no, nothing floats until someone fixes the Democratic Party. And that means getting rid of the DLC, not re-electing it. Ezra is more honest over at Vox with "Hillary Clinton doesn't trust you [...] "Here, again, Clinton knows better. Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program - which she helped create - and Obamacare are already administered by the states and already rely on state funding. Sanders's plan would reduce the share of contributions states are responsible for and provide a federal fallback that doesn't currently exist if states refuse to participate in those programs. [...] All this, though, is Clinton's attempt to obscure the big picture: Sanders supports a single-payer health care system, and she doesn't. The technical arguments she's making about past legislation he's proposed could all be addressed if the bills moved forward. That's not the real disagreement between Clinton and Sanders. The real disagreement is he thinks we should move forward on single-payer, and she doesn't."
* "Hillary Clinton's absurd Bernie smear: Why attacking him from the right on healthcare makes literally no sense at all."
* Dean Baker, "Paul Krugman, Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All"
This number proves Bernie Sanders can win Iowa [...] The 43 percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers who self-identify as socialist is actually more than the number who identify themselves as capitalist - 38 percent."
* Nate Silver still doesn't think it's gonna happen, though.
"Human Rights Campaign Endorsement of Clinton Sparks Huge Controversy." Could it be because the current head of HRC once used to work for Bill Clinton's White House? It certainly can't be based on Clinton's superior record on the issue. And it wasn't based on a vote in the organization, because there wasn't one. Bernie Sanders answered Rachel Maddow's question about it by referring to the leadership of these organizations as "establishment" - which, of course, is true, because you can't hang around Washington lobbying Democratic bigwigs without becoming part of the political establishment. But that doesn't mean the membership of your organization is "the establishment". The establishment is a small collection of individuals, not the mass of underprivileged groups they purport to represent.
In a week when Ms. Palin made a word-salad speech endorsing Donald Trump that left many agape with its sheer incoherence, the dumbest entry still has to be this: "INDISPUTABLE: Bernie Is the Establishment, Hillary and Planned Parenthood are the Anti-Establishment", by Peter Daou. Now, I like Peter, even though I know he is a long-time Hillary partisan who has worked with her and thinks very highly of her, but this really takes the biscuit. "Bernie Sanders is a white male who has been in Congress for over a quarter century - his views notwithstanding, he is the definition of the establishment. Hillary Clinton is a woman attempting to break the ultimate gender barrier, the first female to become President of the United States - she is the definition of the anti-establishment." And, sorry, but when the head of an organization who spends a lot of time lobbying in Washington suddenly uses the prestige of their formerly non-partisan organization to endorse a political candidate they happen to have personal ties to, that's the establishment's network in action. When someone who used to work in the Clinton White House suddenly announces, without any consultation with the membership, that the gay rights organization they now head is endorsing Clinton, even though Sanders is demonstrably better on gay issues, that's the establishment network in action. Pretending that Bernie Sanders is more establishment than a multimillionaire former Senator and former Secretary of State who hob-nobs with the very people who have sucked the life out of our economy and still run it is like claiming that the miners who lost their livelihoods under Margaret Thatcher were more "establishment" than Thatcher was. It's just crazy. But I guess that's the kind of thing Blue Nation Review is suddenly posting now that it was bought out last month by a Hillary partisan. The radical change in its headlines from last month to this is downright scary.
* Also on David Brock's plate: "Correct the record doesn't want to be quoted when offering Anti-Sanders oppo research" - We all know David Brock is a Clinton partisan, but he doesn't want the public to know he does anti-Sanders oppo research and tries to slip it to the press without being named as a source.
Lee Fang asked Clinton if she'd release the transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches. She laughed.
The big guns are coming out:
* Ta-Nahesi Coates, "Why Precisely Is Bernie Sanders Against Reparations?" A better question might be, "Why doesn't anyone ask Hillary Clinton if she supports reparations?" Well, because they know the answer would be a nuanced version of, "No." Benjamin Dixon smells a rat, and Killer Mike is is on the same page. Chris Hayes talked to Coates, and I'm curious about why the Sanders campaign didn't respond to his queries. But it's clear that there's a difference between advocating policies that the current Congress won't pass (but another might) that have massive support from the public, on the one hand, and advocating policies that have limited support from the public that even a comparatively liberal Congress still wouldn't pass, on the other. Reparations isn't even a priority for the black community and is pretty unpopular with the public. This is not an issue you build mass solidarity on, especially at a time when half the white population feels that they, too, have had their resources ripped out from under them and they are practically slaves themselves. The latter concerns everyone, but reparations targets only a specific slice of the population. Bernie Sanders isn't actually campaigning for pie-in-the-sky, he's campaigning to do things we've already done before and can do again that the public has always supported, or things that have already succeeded in other countries that the American public massively supports. He's putting these issues on the table and reminding us that there is no earthly reason why we couldn't or shouldn't do them, and that we need to do them if we are going to go back to having the kind of country we all want. The kind of country in which, by the way, the black community's wealth grew enormously after the inception of the New Deal, and the rate of murder of blacks by the police dropped radically. That country was on a path to real equality for black people, but it was also on a path to making life reasonable for pretty much everyone.
* Paul Street, in "Race Without Class: the 'Bougie' Sensibility of Ta-Nehisi Coates," reminds us that Coates is essentially a neoliberal, however good a writer he may be, and he doesn't get the relationship of class to race nor the problems that hurt us all. "The 'satisfaction of thinking you are somebody because you are white' has always been a terrible lie. It has helped cloak white workers' subordinate and expendable status, which never disappeared despite the very real if limited advantages white skin privilege has conferred them relative to non-whites. It has injured those workers' material status by undermining their capacity to enhance their economic and political power by joining in solidarity with nonwhite workers. It has too often joined them in allegiance to rich fellow whites who couldn't care less about working class people of any color. It has focused white workers' ire on the wrong enemies - those with the least power (non-white workers and the poor) instead of the moneyed elite, which wields its wealth and power to cripple and destroy lives and the common good. And it has (along with numerous other the related reactionary messages in the reigning American ideology) encouraged white workers to blame themselves as well as even less privileged people of color for their own difficult circumstances under the remorseless reign of capital. 'Privileged' people are supposed to be doing well, after all. If they're not, it must be their own fault. Hence the rising death rates of working class white males, driven largely by alcoholism, drug abuse, and gun suicide. Hence also the popularity of 'The [white racist-sexist-nationalist] Donald' with millions of angry and marginalized white male 'Trumpenproletarians.'"
David Dayen: "What the Liberal Attacks on Bernie Sanders Are Really About: Self-styled liberal wonks and opinion writers decided to turn their guns on Bernie Sanders this week, deriding him as myopic, unrealistic and even wrong on the merits of his arguments on behalf of single-payer healthcare and systemic financial reform. But at least on financial reform, they weren't actually attacking Bernie. They were attacking Elizabeth Warren. It's Warren, not Sanders, who represents the leftward pole in the intra-Democratic debate over how deeply to reform the financial sector. Warren, not Sanders, manifests part of her vision in the bill she wrote - the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, named for the two Depression-era lawmakers who initially separated commercial and investment banking. When Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the media dismiss Glass-Steagall as unnecessary and dangerous, they dismiss a consensus in most developed nations about the need to break interconnections in finance. The radicals in this debate, in other words, are those protecting the deregulatory status quo."
Cory Robin is getting irritated: "Bile, Bullshit, and Bernie: Sixteen notes on the presidential campaign: This is becoming a straight-up rerun of the 1948 campaign against Henry Wallace. Except that Clinton is running well to the right of Truman and even, in some respects, Dewey. It seems as if Clinton is campaigning for the vote of my Grandpa Nat. There's only one problem with this strategy: he's been dead for nearly a quarter-century. As was true of McCarthyism, it's not really Sanders's communism or his socialism that has got today's McCarthyites in the Democratic Party worried; it's actually his liberalism."
Pierce: "We Haven't Scratched the Surface of What Bernie Is Capable Of. [...] Meanwhile, Sanders punches up at the elites that, frankly, have more power in our politics than he does, or than you do, or than any politician does. He tells his audiences that he can't do it alone, that the money power has grown too great for any one person to combat. He needs them more than they need him. He is not Napoleon, he is a democratic politician. And that makes all the difference and that's why the "populist anger" narrative is a shuck."
* "Friends say Bernie isn't electable? Robert Reich offers guide of 6 perfect comebacks for Sanders' skeptics."
* Bernie Sanders Campaign Political Ad - America
Meanwhile, a curious thing: "Hillary is no lock in Nevada either: Bernie threatens to steal another key primary." Interestingly, the union that represents the most black and Latino voters has decided not to endorse a candidate.
"The Head of the Democratic Party Is Either a Failure or a Liar: Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said today that the Democrats' 2016 presidential debates were scheduled to reach the largest audience possible." She has to be an idiot. If she didn't know beforehand that Saturday nights opposite major sporting events during the busiest parts of the Christmas season were stupid times to schedule the debates, she certainly must have noticed everyone pointing it out as soon as we saw the schedule, so even if she was stupid enough to think those were good nights to schedule, why would she say such a thing in public after she managed to garner the lowest viewership conceivable?
"Meet Debbie Wasserman Schultz's First-Ever Primary Challenger: Tim Canova" - The DNC chair's new opponent is interviewed by Glenn Greenwald: "I am a lawyer by training. I studied at Georgetown University, and then was a Swedish Institute visiting scholar at the University of Stockholm. I practiced law in Manhattan for a large firm for a few years, and then went into teaching, and really my entire legal career was animated by the study of, you can say, making our institutions more democratically accountable. The thesis I wrote as a Swedish Institute visiting scholar was a comparison of Swedish and American labor law and corporate law, and comparing how in Sweden and in other European countries, labor had a seat at the table. Fifty percent of the board members were labor. And in the United States, labor doesn't have a seat at the table. They get run over. So that is the orientation - more democracy - that has animated me throughout my career. I served on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide to the late U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas in the early 1980s. A lot of this is on my campaign website, on the About Tim page - that I was an opponent of financial deregulation very early. I was writing in the early 1980s that the Garn-St. Germain Act, deregulation of depository interest rates and lending standards, would be a disaster, that it was a repeat of what had happened in the 1920s. It opened the door to predatory lending and sub-prime mortgages. I was calling that decades before that actually came to a crisis stage, you could say. In the 1990s, both as a lawyer and as a law professor, I was warning against getting rid of Glass-Steagall - Brooklyn Law Review article in the mid 1990s, 1995. I warned against financial derivatives. So I've been a constant critic of Wall Street deregulation. I'm for Main Street; I always have been. I believe in the New Deal. I believe in bottom-up economics."
"WFSE/AFSCME Endorses Sanders for Democratic Nomination for President: The Executive Board of the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 on Sunday (Jan. 10) adopted a motion to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) for the nomination of the Democratic Party for U.S. president. The national union, AFSCME, endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in October but grassroots support for Sanders has always been high amongst Federation members and Sunday's action reflects the homegrown perspectives."
* "Bernie Sanders Has The Most Effective Political Ads On TV"
I guess it shouldn't surprise me to learn that Jesse Ventura and Henry Rollins feel the Bern.
"Liberals No Longer Amused By Bernie Sanders' Presidential Campaign. He doesn't actually mean "liberals", he means the Democratic establishment, but anyway: "Those in power expect liberals to police others on the left who would threaten their supremacy. So, when a political elite such as Clinton is faced with a formidable opponent, liberal pundits wittingly or unwittingly devise arguments for why Americans should vote against their interests and support someone who would likely manage government in a manner suitable for the corporate state." The arguments against Sanders amount to smears, a campaign of despair, and red-baiting. Speaking of which, I liked the headline Weldon Berger put on this one when he linked it on Facebook: "Stalwart Democrat frets that Sanders will lose the election when Republicans tar him as a commie, bravely goes there first."
* Speaking of red-baiting, David Brock is there, too: "Sanders smeared as communist sympathiser as Clinton allies sling mud."
Bill Black, "Wall Street Declares War on Bernie Sanders [...] Why do the Wall Street billionaires hate Bernie? Paul Krugman, unintentionally, provided the key in his most recent attack on Bernie. Krugman claimed that the key to what he claimed was President Obama's success was not 'breaking' 'Wall Street's power' over our economy and democracy. To Krugman and Hillary's horror, however, Democratic voters, like the median U.S. voter, understand that breaking the paramount power of the Wall Street billionaires over our economy and its political power that has caused us to descend into crony capitalism is essential to take back our Nation."
Paul Rosenberg has a great piece in Salon on "The truth about Flint: Kids drank poisoned water because of the GOP's radical, anti-democratic 'reforms': This nightmare happened because of deeply undemocratic steps taken after the GOP gerrymandered a blue state "
* "State of Michigan, Gov. Snyder sued in class action lawsuit over Flint water crisis." He belongs in jail, and so does his emergency manager.
* "Desperate MI Governor Tries Claiming Flint Poisoning Was ‘Natural Disaster', Obama Slaps Him Down"
* But could it be even worse than it already seems? What if this wasn't done just to save the city money?
State politicians everywhere are more dangerous than people realize until it's too late: "Senate pushes to eliminate health retirement benefits for North Carolina's teachers and state employees."
Republican surprise of the week: "Mitt Romney: 'I think we're nuts not to raise the minimum wage.'"
"Bloomberg, Sensing an Opening, Revisits a Potential White House Run" - if Sanders wins the nomination.
* Howie Klein thinks an indy run by Bloomberg would make the Clinton people happy and give them somewhere to go if Sanders is the nominee.
"Justice Ginsburg Hands Surprise Victory To Consumers Over Big Business" - This was actually a question of whether a class action could go forward, but the truly fascinating thing is that, though Roberts, Scalia, and Alito dissented, Thomas did not.
"Obama bans solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons: President Obama on Monday announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences."
Obama gave his last State of the Union Address, and spent a little time making up stories about how wonderful TPP is, but we all know they're not true: "The Deeper, Uglier Side of TPP"
"Obama Administration Enables Billionaire Takeover of US Public Schools: With the Walton billionaires doubling down in their efforts to accelerate the charter school industry and with the Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, throwing in $100 million to privatize traditional public schools, one might think that the U.S. Department of Education would be a major line of defense for America's public schools educating the most underserved students or even a bold investor in sustainable community schools that are truly public. One would be wrong."
"With Inequality Rising, Billionaire Steve Schwarzman Expresses Surprise That American Voters Are Unhappy." Mind you, this is the guy who can't tell the difference between taxing billionaires and invading Poland.
"What $15 an Hour Looks Like: In July, Emeryville, California, passed the highest city-wide minimum wage in the country. Here's how workers' lives changed - and didn't." You know it should be $21, don't you?
"U.S. Radically Changes Its Story of the Boats in Iranian Waters: to an Even More Suspicious Version [...] So, to recap the U.S. media narrative: when the U.S. Navy enters Iran's territorial waters without permission or notice, and Iran detains them and then releases them within 24 hours, Iran is the aggressor; and the same is true when Iran aggressively allows one of its civilian jets to be shot down by the U.S. Navy. And no matter how many times the U.S. government issues patently false statements about its military actions, those statements are entitled to unquestioning, uncritical treatment as Truth the next time a similar incident occurs."
Britain's only publicly owned railway delivered record performance for passengers before Tory sell-off: "East Coast Mainline had been placed in state ownership after previous privatisation deals collapsed but was flogged off again despite its outstanding performance "
Billy Bragg made this observation in his FaceBook post on the death of Alan Rickman: "It's not only the timing of his death and the fact that he too was 69 that links him to David Bowie. Both were working class kids from council estates who went to art school where they gained enough confidence in their own creativity that they were able to go on to find fame and fortune. Is it still possible for working class kids to realise their potential in such a way? The art schools are almost gone, those that survive now charge a fortune. The social mobility that Rickman and Bowie experienced is increasingly stifled."
"ATVOD Has Closed. Now What?" Its attacks on the British porn industry, and on the internet, won't stop. "Now that Ofcom has taken the reins, we can expect to see the regulator lobbying for more censorship powers against ‘unacceptable' overseas content - which doubtless will go far broader than pornography. Currently, a private members bill to enable censorship is in progress through Parliament. Like previous non-government attempts, this will probably fail, but we should watch out for the contents of the Queen's Speech this Spring. Any mention of ‘online safety' or ‘protecting children online' will herald the impending end of free Internet access for British citizens."
Tor Books Senior Editor, David G. Hartwell, 1941-2016. And, among other things, the wearer of outrageous clashing colors and hilarious ties who would always go along with a sartorial joke, and had a hand in nurturing some of the most important authors and editors and other publishing geniuses in science fiction. Memory is flooded with images of joking around with him, his smile, and serious conversations as well. At my first worldcon, he turned me on to Frangelico, so naturally I poured some in his honor when I first heard the news that he was alive but not expected to survive. He was special to many of us, and I could go on at length about what he meant to me, but Patrick also had a close professional association and wrote this. There are more like that all over the net, our family is in mourning. And Kathryn Cramer, his wife, wrote this. And George R.R. Martin says good-bye.
* Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey, 67, dies. I had enormous respect for their compositional and harmonic skills, always spot-on emotionally, and smarter than they might have seemed to some.
* "Dallas Taylor dies at 66; drummer for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young." Also of Clear Light and sessions work. Seems young until you think about how badly he treated himself. I mean, Keith Moon told him he did "too much drugs". Keith Moon!
* Dale Griffin, drummer for Mott the Hoople, 67 - Their most noted tune was one David Bowie gave them, "All The Young Dudes".
* Giorgio Gomelsky, jazz club founder who gave The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds their start, at 81 (although the Telegraph decided to headline him at 82, which wouldn't have happened until February).
* Robert Stigwood, music producer of almost everyone, 81: "In short, he was the man who put Cream together, launching Eric Clapton's career on the big stage; he discovered the Bee Gees and shepherded them through the highest points of their career; and he produced numerous iconic stage and film musicals, including Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease and Saturday Night Fever."
What a real soldier had to say about the clown protest: "Refuge of Scoundrels [...] If the Founding Fathers had depended for their independence on the various irregular militias, they surely would have all been hanged - separately and together. Those men, those men who led the Continental Army and fought for our freedom, those men knew exactly what they were doing when they included the words 'well-regulated militia' in the Second Amendment. And they for damned sure weren't talking about giving Americans the right to shoot down their own government - because those Founders were the government."
"Hillary Clinton Isn't a Lesbian - but She Dresses Like One." Kudos, even though it's Slate, because this is the territory I never did figure out how to navigate back in the days when I worked in - well, anywhere.
Interview with Marcy Wheeler, The NSA's Worst Nightmare
"What the Vanilla ISIS Crisis in Oregon Says About the History of Wage Labor [...] The thing that is, again, never taught or said is that most English peasants wanted land and not a wage, which was too low to adequately sustain them. The wage system also deprived them of free time (the war on Christian holidays was not started by atheistic liberals but by the big bosses of farms and factories). Subsistence farming, foraging, and hunting provided rural peasants with more than they needed. Wage labor did not, and as a consequence, the state, which supported the interest of capitalists, had to impose laws that banned hunting (game laws) and made domestic production nearly impossible (enclosures). The English transition to capitalism did not need slave labor because wages for landless peasants were very low. But in the New World, the United States, the situation was different. There was lots of land to be had, and so wages were very high, and it was almost impossible to keep white workers in factories, fields, or other market-related enterprises. As soon as they made enough money, they left and bought land and become independent. And it is here that we find the roots of American individualism; it's not in entrepreneurship but in revolt: White American individuals were fleeing the market-centered system. They wanted out. And the best way out was land, which provided the things that the market provided but for much less work and demands on personal space and time."
The U.K. National Health Service Act of 1946: "The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care act signed into law by President Obama in late March is a complicated bill that overhauls the nation's health care system over a period of five years. It sometimes is mentioned in the same breath with the United Kingdom's National Health Service Act of 1946 which set up that country's government-run health-care system. But that law was a paragon of succinctness, occupying only 92 pamphlet pages. Here (in three parts in Adobe Acrobat PDF format) is Britain's National Health Service Act of 1946"
You know, I had completely forgotten who played Scum of the Earth in the WKRP Episode "Hoodlum Rock".
"Victorian London in Incredible Detail: Here's a real treat. The National Library of Scotland's Map Department, supported by David Rumsey, have taken some very high-resolution scans of the Ordnance Survey 1893-6 1:1056 (that's 60 inches to the mile!) set of 500+ maps of London and, crucially, reorientated and stitched them together, so that they can be presented seamlessly (using OpenLayers) on top of a 'standard' Google web map or OpenStreetMap, with the base map acting as a modern context."
Ronan Murray, the organist at St. Joseph's in Glasthule, Dublin, performs "Life on Mars" on the church's organ.
* Clip of Chris Nickol's performance of "Life on Mars" on the 115-year-old organ in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum,
Classical Music Mashup knitted together by Grant Woolard, with visual aids. Quite a lot of fun.