Thursday, May 19, 2016

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?

Sanders outperforms the polls in the West Virginia primary, which always had him ahead, but not as high as 51.4%-35.8%. Still, that state is not likely to go blue, although there hasn't been enough polling to have a clue.
* Jedediah Purdy, "What West Virginia is saying at the polls"

In Oregon and Kentucky, Sanders wins in the west 54.5%-45.5%, and Clinton narrowly takes KY 46.8%-46.3% (amidst many charges of fraud) after spending a lot of money there and continuing to tell that lie about how Sanders voted against the auto industry bailout. The only Oregon poll at RCP had Clinton at +15, so this is a happy result. Can't find any polls at all for KY.

But what really happened at the Nevada Democratic convention? There are claims of violence, threatened violence, and people complaining merely because they didn't get their way, but I've seen no evidence of the former and it sure looks like the woman chairing simply picked her favorite results for voice votes. Wild claims have been made about Sanders' supporters reacting with violence and throwing chairs, although there is no evidence of it. Sanders disavowed violence and then was accused of not disavowing violence. Even Van Jones is disgusted with the DNC's reaction: "I don't think that that was wise for her to do that. First of all, Bernie did say in his statement that he was against the violence. Also, if you want to talk about violence, only one person's been arrested; it was a Hillary Clinton supporter, Wendell Pierce, arrested for assaulting a Sanders supporter."
* Bernie Sanders' statement
* More details at Naked Capitalism.

So now it's time for that old dance about whether Hillary will deign to debate in California. From the San Francisco Chronicle, "Sanders steps up in California - will Clinton?"
* "Sanders pushes Clinton for debate in California: In a Wednesday afternoon statement, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said the Vermont senator has accepted an invitation from Fox News to debate 'with the understanding that we can reach mutual agreement on the debate moderators, the format and other details.'"

The big arguments now are about just how narrow the path is for Sanders to win the nomination, whether he should, whether the superdelegates should vote for Sanders because current polling says he is most like to win the general or whether they should go with the candidate who has the most votes, whether Sanders can win once the Republicans find themselves faced with such a prospect. It still doesn't look like either candidate will reach the convention with the minimum number of required delegates, so it does seem like things will be contentious one way or the other. There's a lot of optimism in the Sanders camp about the rest of the west coast going the way of Washington, but I just don't see it: Hilary has been consistently ahead in California, where it looked for a while that the gap was narrowing but that trend reversed around the first of May. Clinton is way out ahead in New Jersey, too.
* National polling for the general election, though, seems to be all in favor of Sanders, and some would say that only Sanders would be a sure thing. But that presupposes that the GOP (and Democratic establishment) won't pull some rabbits out of their hats. Judging by some of the things I've seen from pro-Clinton Sanders-haters, that could be pretty creepy, because for Democrats, these people sound pretty right-wing - but they're Clintonites. It would be one thing if they were saying that he'd been too complimentary toward Castro in the past, but they aren't just saying these things might hurt him with Republicans, they are foaming at the mouth that he objected to US support for the Contras, which is a mighty strange thing for "progressives" to be angry at him for.
* "Dead heat: Trump, Clinton tied in 3 swing-state polls" - Sanders has been consistently beating Trump in all three states. This kind of thing keeps giving Seth Abramson dreams, but they rely on wins for Sanders in California and New Jersey, and I don't see that happening. He has some good points, though: "Clinton and the DNC Are Not Just Colluding - They're Changing the Rules for Superdelegates" - because it's still their job to get a Democrat elected, not just nominated.
* Meanwhile, the GOP is in the acceptance phase, and they're ready to rally around the candidate. Well, most of them.

Marcy Wheeler is probably the smartest analyst of foreign policy working today, and in her two most recent appearances on Virtually Speaking, she made some very important comments on the fantastical, expensive, and extremely dangerous foreign policy approach of Hillary Clinton. The first of these was a a couple of weeks ago with Jay Ackroyd, and the second was Virtually Speaking Sundays where they were joined by Avedon Carol (who accidentally said "Goldwater" when she meant "Rockerfeller" at the '68 GOP convention). Marcy noted that Clinton just gave the best reason to let Chelsea Manning out of jail - without knowing it.
* Jay also spoke to Lawrence R. Jacobs about Fed Power: How Finance Wins. The Fed is pretty murky to most people and most don't realize that we've essentially got an unelected body that has commandeered what were supposed to be the prerogatives of Congress - and they have no accountability and are under no control.

Wise words from Atrios on Incrementalism.

"Pollster Stan Greenberg Urges Democrats Not To Run For Obama's 'Third Term': Bill Clinton's former pollster thinks it's a mistake for Democratic presidential candidates to essentially run for President Barack Obama's 'third term.' 'That's not what the country wants. It's not what the base of the Democratic Party wants,' said longtime Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, whose past clients include Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. 'The Democratic Party is waiting for a president who will articulate the scale of the problems we face and challenge them to address it.' Greenberg thinks it's time to go bigger."

"Court Backs Snowden, Strikes Secret Laws: In a major vindication for Edward Snowden -- and a blow for the national security policy pursued by Republicans and Democrats alike -- the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency's metadata collection program is unlawful. This is the most serious blow to date for the legacy of the USA Patriot Act and the surveillance overreach that followed 9/11. The central question depended on the meaning of the word "relevant": Was the government's collection relevant to an investigation when it collects all the metadata for any phone call made to or from anywhere in the U.S.?"

Am I the only one who thinks Comey is having too much fun with this cat-and-mouse game? "FBI head challenges Clinton's description of email probe: The head of the FBI on Wednesday appeared to challenge Hillary Clinton's characterization of the federal investigation into her private email server. Clinton and her allies have repeatedly called the probe a routine 'security inquiry.' But Director James Comey told reporters that wasn't an accurate description. "It's in our name. I'm not familiar with the term 'security inquiry,' " Comey said at a roundtable with reporters, according to Politico. 'We're conducting an investigation ... That's what we do,' he said, according to Fox News. Comey reportedly declined to say whether or not the investigation is 'criminal' in nature."

"Is There A Better Poster Child For A Culture Of Corruption Than Debbie Wasserman Schultz?"

"Hillary Clinton to form "Republicans for Hillary" group to exploit furore over Donald Trump ."

Alex Pareen, "Don't Blow This [...] Democrats could, for example, take their famously thin-skinned opponent, who is easily provoked into absurd and unpresidential tantrums when his insecurities are mocked, and they could bestow upon him a nickname that instead serves to reinforce his own (imagined) toughness. They could call him, I don't know, 'Dangerous Donald.'" Personally, I thought they should have gone with "Dainty Donald" - both a reference to his hands and to that maiden-aunt performance when he apparently couldn't cope with the idea that Hillary Clinton went to the loo.

Read about Nicole Sandler's experience of running to be a Sanders delegate from Florida. It was not reassuring. But I think she comes to the wrong conclusion - they are perfectly happy to alienate anyone who doesn't support the status quo, and that's exactly why people need to stay in and fight them.

"Yes, Voters Really Are Angry and Anxious About the Unfairness of the Economy: There is a growing amount of contrarian analysis these days suggesting that Americans really aren't so angry about the economy after all, that what appears to be economic populism is really just a cover for racism, sexism or other cultural issues, and that ultimately the only thing the majority of voters really want is a stable technocrat who will keep the good times rolling while fixing some social issues. [...] To believe these things, of course, you would have to assume that voters aren't actually being inspired by the rhetoric and policy positions of Sanders and Trump but by other factors they're subtly tapping into. You would have to ignore most of the actual reasons given in interviews and focus groups by Sanders and Trump voters for why they support their candidates. You would have to ignore what they actually say in media comments sections and at various political forums. You would, in essence, have to ignore all the qualitative data in front of you showing what people say in their own words, in favor of polling data about their generic feelings about the economy or their own current personal economic situation."

David Dayen: "Donald Trump Is Right: Deficits Don't Matter [...] I'm almost certain that Donald Trump had no intention of stumbling into this philosophical debate, traditionally fought between the left and the far left. But his freewheeling style of political rhetoric often drops him into uncharted territory. In this case, Trump exposed an unsaid but prevalent conservative hypocrisy about deficits. As Cheney's quote about Reagan shows, Republicans habitually ignore deficits when they obtain power. It's a matter of convenience, a tempting way out of the fiscal responsibility trap that makes it difficult for politicians to keep their campaign promises. But every time a Bill Clinton or a Barack Obama gets the keys to the Oval Office, Republicans flip the script, generating a sudden fear of mountains of debt. Congressman Paul Ryan has been claiming the U.S. is about to turn into Greece for eight years. A deficit hawk industry in Washington comes alive to tell the nation that we're broke. This creates practical constraints on liberal spending programs to help the poor and the elderly. Trump's comment that America can't default on its debt, and can money-print its way out of trouble, shreds that Republican playbook. Deficit fear-mongering loses its punch if the GOP's new leader dismisses an animating principle of how conservatives defend against social spending." I've been disappointed that Sanders has never brought this up, but he seems to prefer to stay within conventional frames, even though he has had Stephanie Kelton working with him. But I also found it interesting that this article appeared in The New Republic.

"New Democrats Still Partying Like It's 1999: The Mark Warner Edition [...] Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., called on an audience of business and political elites earlier this week to respond to populist anger by lobbying harder for a deficit-reduction package that would reduce corporate tax rates and cut public retirement programs such as Social Security." Your DLC, still at work despite officially disbanding in 2011.

"Rather Than Campaign As Liberal Alternative To Trump, Clinton To Run As Smarter Republican [...] The strategy will not only allow Clinton to be her authentic political self again, but it will also end the charade of moving to the left to appease supporters of her opponent, Bernie Sanders. It would also diminish any confusion over whether Clinton is anything more than a corporate Democrat, who progressives should approach with great skepticism and opposition."

Democratic Convention Hosted by Republican Donors, Anti-Obamacare Lobbyists [..] The composition of the 15-member Host Committee may appear out of sync with the rhetoric of Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but the reality is that the party, in the form of the Democratic National Committee, has moved decisively to embrace the lobbying industry. In October 2015, DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., reportedly huddled with dozens of lobbyists to plan the convention in Philadelphia, and provided the influence peddlers involved with a menu of offerings in exchange for donations. In February, news reports revealed that the DNC had quietly lifted the Obama-era ban on federal lobbyist donations to the party and convention committee."

Meanwhile in Florida, it's pretty rich Harry Reid getting on a high horse about Alan Grayson's alleged ethics (that aren't being investigated because the ethics committee could find no There there) when his own Golden Boy in Florida, "ex"-Republican Patrick Murphy, stinks to high Heaven. For that matter, so does Reid.

"Ending Tax Break for Ultrawealthy May Not Take Act of Congress [..] In one deft move, Mr. Obama could instruct officials at his Treasury Department to close the so-called carried interest tax loophole that allows managers of private equity and hedge funds to pay a substantially lower federal tax rate on much of their income."

Change you can't believe: "The Obama Administration Just Granted Henry Kissinger a Distinguished Public Service Award." I guess he needs us to forgive famous war criminals so we might forgive him, too. Oh, and make Clinton look better, after she embraced Kissinger.

"Ala. gov. signs two antiabortion-rights bills; ACLU of Alabama pledges legal challenge."

"A master teacher went to court to challenge her low evaluation. What her win means for her profession."

"Lawsuit accuses Flint mayor of trying to redirect water crisis donors to campaign fund."

"Wall Street Money: Barney Frank To Oversee Democratic Platform While Running Big Bank."

"This isn't how a democracy should work: How the media boosted Donald Trump and screwed Bernie Sanders: Voters want change. Elites in D.C. and the media -- both liberal and conservative -- are actively obstructing it. [...] In his book Democracy, Inc., the late, distinguished political scientist Sheldon Wolin has argued that we have a 'managed democracy,' that elite 'management' of elections is the key to perpetuating the 'primal myth' that the people determine the rulers. As Wolin put it, this 'antidemocracy' doesn't attack the idea of government by the people, it encourages 'civic demobilization' - conditioning the electorate to be aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy."

"For 40 Years, Liberals Have Accepted Defeat and Called It 'Incremental Progress.' [...] For most of the Left, Clinton-style 'incrementalism' is just a code word to disguise what is effectively a right-wing retrenchment. Nevertheless many self-identified progressives have backed Clinton's 'theory of politics' as the most realistic path to achieve Sanders's objectives. [..] 'There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth,' declared Lyndon Johnson in 1964. 'I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want.' Compare that to our current Democratic front-runner, whose most impassioned moment on the 2016 campaign trail came when she denounced single-payer health care as an idea 'that will never, ever come to pass.'"

"Bernie Sanders's Legacy? The Left May No Longer Need the Rich."

"Uber and Lyft's big new lie: Their excuse for avoiding regulation is finally falling apart: Did Lyft just admit it's a taxi company after all? Ridesharing companies pretend to be tech firms. They're not."

"Pfizer Blocks the Use of Its Drugs in Executions." This is interesting for a number of reasons. Not only is it surprising that Pfizer did something good, but it suggests a sea-change in how Pfizer is looking at the United States as a market - not so much for the number of dollars involved (which isn't that great), but for the willingness to play ball.

"Larry Summers is wrong. Harvard should be spending much, much more of its money." You can never have too many reminders of what a failure Larry Summers is in his alleged areas of expertise.

"Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year: We just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying. According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year. Let that number sink in for a moment. You can't support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month - especially after taxes are taken out. And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month. In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today."
* RJ Eskow, "What's Killing the American Middle Class?: A new study by the Pew Research Center spurred a rash of headlines last week about 'the dying middle class.' But the word 'dying' might be more appropriate if we were watching the regrettable but inevitable effects of natural forces at work. We're not. We're seeing the fruits of deliberate action - and sometimes of deliberate inaction - at the highest levels of power."

David Dayen: "The Bright, Techy Future of Banking Just Crashed: LendingClub's Crisis Confirms the Worst Fears About Fintech"

"9/11 commissioner leaks damning new info: Saudi government officials supported the hijackers: The 9/11 hijackers had support from Saudi government employees, said a former Republican official who investigated the attacks - and he wants the Obama administration to release evidence to prove it. John Lehman, an investment banker and Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, said his fellow 9/11 commission members had helped to obscure Saudi links to the 2001 terrorist attacks, reported The Guardian."

Department of misleading headlines: "CSU student sues college for sanctioning him for what he calls consensual sex: A Colorado State University-Pueblo student filed a federal lawsuit against the university and the U.S. Department of Education claiming sexual discrimination after he was sanctioned for a sexual act that he and his girlfriend insist was consensual sex." That phrase "and his girlfriend" makes all the difference there, doesn't it?

Dday's Chain of Title reviewed in The New York Times: "Exposing those lies becomes a moral crusade. The homeowners' stories are emotional roller coasters, which Dayen meticulously reports. He and his characters find the banks' behavior not just indefensible but criminal. Prepare to be surprised, and angry."

"Washington Post Squeezes Four Anti-Sanders Stories Out of One Tax Study Over Seven Hours" - and it's another "study" that pretends single-payer costs more than what we have now, rising like a zombie to campaign for Clinton in it's rotting corpse. "Why would so much ink be spilled on a candidate who, by the Post's estimation, can't possibly win? The objective is, of course, to further stigmatize Sanders' ideas and platform goals - all of which are deeply antithetical to the editorial and financial bottom line of the paper and its sole owner, Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is over $45 billion."

"The sorry facts which show the BBC has moved beyond bias, into pure propaganda"

RIP:
* "Michael Ratner, Lawyer Who Won Rights for Guantánamo Prisoners, Dies at 72 [...] As head of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner oversaw litigation that, in effect, voided New York City's wholesale stop-and-frisk policing tactic. The center also accused the federal government of complicity in the kidnapping and torture of terrorism suspects and argued against the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency, the waging of war in Iraq without the consent of Congress, the encouragement of right-wing rebels in Nicaragua and the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war."
* William Schallert, 93, Dies; Prolific Actor Was Father on The Patty Duke Show and actors' union leader who appeared in nearly everything else, too. His list of sf genre credits alone is longer than most actors' entire careers, but he was in everything our whole lives. (Except, for some reason, M*A*S*H. I was honestly shocked not to see it on his IMDB page.)

"Burying the White Working Class: Liberal condescension towards white workers is code for a broader anti-working class agenda."

"Why Employers Love Advocating Self-Care"

"Misperceiving Bullshit as Profound Is Associated with Favorable Views of Cruz, Rubio, Trump and Conservatism

"Who edited Shakespeare?"

"Meet the Woman Who Invented Cosplay: Myrtle R. Douglas, otherwise known as Morojo, rarely gets the credit she deserves for the worldwide phenomenon. [...] For more than 10 years Morojo and Ackerman were an inseparable, intellectually compatible dream duo, and 1939 was an especially big year for the pair: they started their first major zine together, jointly financed the publication of teenage Ray Bradbury's first sci-fi zine, and attended the first-ever World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) wearing "futuristicostumes" straight out of the 1936 H.G. Wells movie Things to Come - the FIRST FAN COSTUMES EVER WORN IN RECORDED HISTORY."

An interview with Uncle Ted in The Falls Church News-Press, "F.C.'s Ted White Reflects on Comics, Sci-Fi and the Little City."

Wire sculpture art and perspective
* "Why do all old statues have such small penises?" (NSFW)

The lost Twilight Zone episode - starring Jack Benny.

David Gilmour Wish you were here live unplugged

5 comments:

  1. From Avedon's Jacobin link [LINK]:

    [QUOTE] ...when racism can be blamed, capitalism can be exonerated. [END QUOTE]

    You can't explain the genius of Clintonism with a few words any better than that, at least, not with that level of specificity. [LINK] [NSFW LINK]

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  2. "Wise words from Atrios on Incrementalism"

    Don't you mean Excrementalism?
    A shit sandwich a day keeps the Terraists and Commies at bay!

    This bit is deliciously spot on:
    " Maybe providing tax incentives and inner city empowerment zones to establish pony shoe factories (led by Lincoln Chafee, of course), is the best first step to achieving the dream of ponies, but you gotta tell us that the goal is, actually, ponies. Pony shoes without ponies aren't much help."

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  3. There's a lot of optimism in the Sanders camp about the rest of the west coast going the way of Washington, but I just don't see it

    Maybe, but I wouldn't put money on a loss.

    "Latest data updates from all 58 counties show that the surge in registration has continued, with expected growth, or even an additional spike, set to come in the final weeks before the May 23rd Deadline.

    So far we have seen more than 1.5 million new registrants since January 1st. This is likely to grow to more than 2 million new and re-registering voters in this pre-primary period.
    REG GROWTH
    DEMOCRATIC 218%
    REPUBLICAN 78%
    NO PARTY / OTHER 74%
    LATINO 123%
    AGE 18-24 87%
    AGE 25-30 188%
    Comparing 2012 and 2016 registration from Jan 1 – May 1."

    http://politicaldata.com/and-the-surge-goes-on/

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  4. Hot ashes for trees, hot air for a cool breeze; cold comfort for change.

    Indeed.

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