Monday, August 31, 2020

He knows that all his hopes and dreams begin and end there

Senator Bernie Sanders' complete remarks at 2020 Democratic National Convention may be the only speech from the DNC that causes anyone to vote for Biden who might not have.

Obama also spoke at the DNC, and listening to him say these things as if they were about Republicans rather than himself and his cronies was absolutely infuriating.

Michael Moore makes his case: "Ep. 113: I'm Voting For Joe Biden Because I Don't Believe Him | Rumble w Michael Moore podcast."

The Majority Report's crew looks at the possibilities for Congress and says, "No Such Thing As An Unwinnable Race In 2020."

In Minnesota, Michigan, and Arizona, Biden's numbers look too close for comfort.

"Biden suggests he'd nominate Obama to Supreme Court." Imagine wasting a Supreme Court seat on the only president ever to claim he had a right to kill American citizens without charges or trial - and did it, for speech he didn't like.

Meanwhile, "Chuck Schumer isn't an 'angry centrist' anymore" — or so he claims. Is he still getting his polling from that imaginary couple? (I'm not making this up.)

"Carter Center to launch first-ever US election initiative, citing 'erosion' of democracy: Exclusive: Democracy promotion group founded by Jimmy Carter will launch US-focused initiative for first time in its history. [...] 'We are now at a point where we have taken an institutional decision to explore some direct engagement on US election issues. And this is a departure from our whole history trying not to do that,' David Carroll, director of the centre's Democracy Programme, told The Independent. In the past, he added, the centre has prioritised countries where there is 'a significant potential for an important change in the quality of democracy', or where democracy is 'under severe threat'. 'Until the last 10 years, we wouldn't have thought of the US in that category. But it's been increasingly the view of the Carter Center that the state of democracy in the US has been eroding.'"

"The Police Are Pretty Sure They're Going to Get Away With It: In Portsmouth, Virginia, cops have been systematically using their state power to tyrannize political enemies. As my colleague Adam Weinstein noted a few weeks ago, it has become a minor cliché in American political rhetoric to ask your audience to imagine how the media would cover some domestic development if it were taking place overseas, in one of the countries we consider less 'free.' But the device does make clear the extent to which we are willing to tolerate authoritarianism and petty tyranny here in the United States. How can anyone accurately describe what is happening in Portsmouth, Virginia, for example, without lapsing into the language of the foreign correspondent? The security forces are threatening to detain their political opponents. In June, protesters beheaded a few Confederate statues in Portsmouth and tore down another, which landed on and injured a demonstrator. Several months later, Portsmouth police, taking advantage of Virginia's magistrate system, which bypasses elected prosecutors in these decisions, charged various local civil rights leaders, public defenders, and the president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, Louise Lucas, with felony charges of conspiracy to injure a monument. [...] The Virginian-Pilot's Ana Ley and Gary A. Harki reported that 'elected officials, activists and historians' have identified a 'clear pattern' in which Portsmouth's 'majority-Black population pushes its government to repair strained police relations, spend more tax dollars on children and pass countless other measures to make Portsmouth more equitable,' only for that majority to find its representatives hounded out of power by the police."

Sirota, "Team Biden Now Signals Austerity, Despite Campaign Pledges: Biden's top adviser made a hugely important declaration -- and almost nobody noticed it. The Democratic convention has sucked up all the political oxygen in America — so much so, that most people missed Team Biden signaling that it may back off the entire agenda it is campaigning on. This monumental declaration went almost completely unnoticed for an entire day — which is a genuinely disturbing commentary on how the biggest of big political news gets routinely ignored. To review the situation: earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported that Biden's 'campaign rolled out a $3.5 trillion economic program over the past month' — one that 'promises to invest in clean energy and caregiving, buy more made-in-America goods, and start narrowing the country's racial wealth gaps.' This, said the news service, was proof that Biden no longer adhered to an ideology of austerity and deficit hawkery — which would be good news. But then on the eve of Biden's convention speech, the Democratic nominee's top aide suggested to Washington reporters that, in fact, that's not true. [...] Economist Dean Baker goes over exactly how destructive and insane this ideology is. As he says: 'The idea that we would not address pressing needs, like climate change, child care, and health care because we are concerned about the debt burden is close to crazy. As long as the economy is not near its capacity, there is zero reason not to spend to address these priorities.' I encourage you to read his piece. [...] This is not the first time there's been silence on stuff like this — less than a month ago Biden explicitly promised his Wall Street donors that despite his public campaign promises, he will not be pushing new legislation to change corporate behavior. That happened and it basically went unreported. You didn't see it on MSNBC or hear it on NPR. You didn't see it anywhere, except for right here at TMI (this is the kind of reporting you are supporting when you become a subscriber). [...] Nathan Tankus reacts to the Biden statement: 'This is completely unacceptable. I don't want a qanon president in 2024. The fiscal policy we need is much greater than short term stimulus and committing to 'long run' austerity is horrendous and amounts to a commitment to cut medicare and social security.'"

"The Burden of the Debt: Lessons for Biden Adviser Ted Kaufman: Top Biden adviser, and long-time personal friend, Ted Kaufman was seen in the Wall Street Journal warning that the debt run up by the Trump administration will seriously limit what Biden will be able to do as president. This is wrong big time, and it is the sort of silly thing that no one in a Biden administration should ever be saying. The government's ability to spend is limited by the economy's ability to produce, not the debt. If the government spends too much, it will lead to inflation. When we have a period of high unemployment, as is the case now and almost certainly will still be the case if Biden takes office in January, we are very far from hitting the economy's inflation barriers. It takes some very deliberate head in the ground economics to argue that we are somehow limited by the size of the government debt. Japan provides a great model here. Its ratio of debt to GDP is more than 250 percent, more than twice the current U.S. level. Yet, the country is seeing near zero inflation and has a 0.03 percent interest rate on its long-term debt. The interest on its debt is near zero, since much of its debt carries a negative interest rate. The idea that we would not address pressing needs, like climate change, child care, and health care because we are concerned about the debt burden is close to crazy."

"I Have Spent My Career Advocating for Fair Housing. It's Good to See Obama's Rule Go: The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, as adopted by the Obama administration and scrapped by the Trump administration, didn't include the policy tools necessary to achieve fair housing in the United States, according to this opinion piece. [...] Many civil rights advocates have decried the Trump administration's actions, accurately noting that it reflects Trump's hostility to equal justice generally and Black Americans in particular. But they shouldn't complain. Withdrawing the rule represents a crucial first step in breaking down racial segregation—for reasons completely opposite to Trump's intentions. The final AFFH rule under Obama was almost comically weak. It literally contained no rules for how state and local governments were actually supposed to "Affirmatively Further Fair Housing." It only promised an "Assessment Tool" for how cities were supposed to evaluate the impacts of their policies. Note the word "promise": the rule did not even contain the Assessment Tool itself. It simply said that at some point in the future, HUD would present the Assessment Tool. [...] If the Obama rule was weak but the Trump Rule is awful, why does it matter? Decrying the demise of the Obama rule sets us up for a terrible outcome in the event that a Biden Administration takes power next year. A Biden-led HUD that merely reinstates the Obama rule might proclaim it a great triumph. It is anything but. Celebrating the Obama's AFFH rule presents the real danger that it will become a ceiling rather than a floor for future fair housing policy."

"NYT Urges Biden to Shun His Party's 'Left-Leaning Brand': As the Democratic National Convention kicks off, election season is finally heating up again—which means it's time for corporate media to get back to flogging their 'move to the center' horse when covering Democrats. This week's edition comes from New York Times reporter Reid J. Epstein, in an article headlined, 'How Biden Could Learn From Conor Lamb's Victory in Trump Country' (8/16/20). Lamb won his long-shot House race in a 2018 special election, in a district in southwestern Pennsylvania that went for Trump in 2016 by around 20 points."

"Media Show Little Interest in Israeli Bombing of Gaza: Israel is bombing Palestine again, although you likely wouldn't guess that from watching TV news. For the eleventh straight night, Israeli Defense Force warplanes have been bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip. Israel's bombs have caused considerable damage, forcing the shutdown of the area's only power plant. But US corporate media, focused on the coronavirus and election coverage, have shown little interest in the renewed violence in the Middle East. Searching for 'Gaza' on the websites of NBC News, CNN, MSNBC and PBS elicits no relevant results. Nor has Fox News addressed the bombings, although it did find time (8/18/20) to cover the archaeological discovery of an old soap factory in Israel's Negev Desert."

"RAY McGOVERN: Catapulting Russian-Meddling Propaganda: The New York Times is leading the full-court press to improve on what it regards as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's weak-kneed effort to blame the Russians for giving us Donald Trump. [...] The recent release of a 1,000-page, sans bombshells and already out-of-date report by the Senate Intelligence Committee has provided the occasion to 'catapult the propaganda,' as President George W. Bush once put it."

"Terrible Rumor: Donald Norcross, A Conservative Democrat From New Jersey's Most Corrupt Political Family Is Being Vetted As Biden's Labor Secretary: Neoliberal Democratic presidents do a little balancing dance when they pick their first cabinets. They give a grotesque Wall Street whore the Treasury job and they gave a real progressive the Labor Secretary job. JFK's first Secretary of Labor was Arthur Goldberg, a Steelworkers general counsel who was appointed to the Supreme Court. JFK didn't even pretend when it came to the Treasury Secretary; he gave the job to conservative Republican and Wall Street bankster Douglas Dillon. Bill Clinton gave the Labor job to Robert Reich and then appointed 3 for the most conservative assholes to Treasury imaginable: Lloyd Bentsen, Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. Obama gave Labor to Hilda Solis-- another outstanding progressive-- and Treasury to Wall Street creep Tim Geithner. There's no reason to imagine Biden isn't going to find a nightmarish conservative for the Treasury job. Bank on it. And I think he intends to pick a progressive for Labor-- but not a real progressive. A rumor has been circulating in New Jersey and DC that he has his mind on a crooked pro-labor conservative congressman, Donald Norcross. How can Norcross be called a progressive? Well, he can't-- except that Mark Pocan sold him a spot in the Progressive Caucus and made him vice chair for labor. Norcross doesn't have an "A" rating from Progressive Punch, nor even a "B" or a "C." He doesn't even have a "D." Nope-- pure "F." That's Pocan's idea of a progressive-able-to-write-a-check. And Biden's people honed right in on it.

RIP: "Chadwick Boseman: Black Panther star dies of cancer aged 43: The actor died at his Los Angeles home after being diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago." @fpaulwilson tweeted: Chadwick Boseman...let me get this straight: He made "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame," "21 Bridges," "Da 5 Bloods," and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" while undergoing multiple surgeries and chemo without letting anyone know he was sick. That's a mensch."

"White Vigilantes Have Always Had A Friend In Police: New data shows that far-right vigilantes, often with support from cops, have threatened protesters nearly 500 times since police killed George Floyd [...] The dataset, which Ross shared with HuffPost, documents a staggering amount of violence directed at protesters by the far-right, including 64 cases of simple assault, 38 incidents of vigilantes driving cars into demonstrators, and nine times shots were fired at protesters. All told, six protesters were hit by vigilante bullets in this summer's violence. Three died from their wounds. Ross' dataset also includes 387 incidents of intimidation, such as people using racist slurs, making threats and brandishing firearms. 'There just isn't really anything to compare it to,' Ross told HuffPost. 'I've never seen anything like this in my life.' "

Bloomberg, "INSIGHT: The Simple Fix For Corporate Income Tax—Tax Stock Returns: The 2017 tax law didn't accomplish what it promised, writes Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The author says the main problem with the current system is that it is focused on the wrong target. Instead of taxing corporate profits, we should be taxing stock returns."

"You can't trust the media on Evo Morales: Socialists are being taught an important lesson in skepticism towards international reporting. When the BBC broke news this morning that exiled Bolivian leader Evo Morales has been accused of rape, I didn't believe it. I wasn't skeptical of the charge because I had any countervailing evidence about what had happened. I didn't harbor doubts because of some personal judgment about Morales himself, though as far as I can tell he seems to be a profoundly decent and honorable man. And I didn't even dismiss it because of something suspicious about the reporting, which on its face seemed quite damning. The reason I was skeptical about this news is simple: the right uses fabricated allegations of crimes and atrocities in order to advance its agenda all of the time. And this is particularly true in the international arena, where tales of horrors perpetrated by Official Enemies of the beltway blob and its corporate sponsors bubble up constantly. At first these narratives can seem extremely convincing, and the pressure to accept them and condemn their targets is always extraordinary — yet time and after time, it turns out that they were exaggerated, or outright fabricated. That appears to be the case once again with Morales."

Why should anyone vote for this? "Joe Biden's Platform for 2020: Anti-Populism: By criticizing the views of both Berniecrats and Trumpites, Biden is positioning himself as the antidote to populism in all its forms and flavors."

I'm not sure how many people haven't figured out yet that Politifact has a right-wing bias, but "PolitiFact's 'Trump-O-Meter' is an embarrassing encapsulation of the problem with modern media: On Monday, fact-checking organization PolitiFact tweeted a link to one of the entries in its 'Trump-O-Meter' campaign-promise tracker. In doing so, the organization highlighted a longstanding problem with its own work."

Jeff Sharlet in Vanity Fair, "'He's The Chosen One To Run America': Inside The Cult Of Trump, His Rallies Are Church And He Is The Gospel: Trump's rallies—a bizarre mishmash of numerology, tweetology, and white supremacy—are the rituals by which he stamps his name on the American dream. As he prepares to resume them for the first time in months, his followers are ready to receive. [...] Jones is only the second person I've met at the rally, so I don't yet know just how common this perspective is. Through a season of Trump rallies across the country, before the global pandemic forced the president to retreat for a while from the nation's arenas, I spoke with dozens of Trump supporters who believe that the Democratic establishment primarily serves as a cover for child sex trafficking." Sharlet tells Sam Seder in an interview that he once told people that fascism couldn't happen in America, but after attending Trump rallies and talking to Trump's supporters, he's realized his mistake. Well, part of it - I don't think he recognizes the material reasons why cults like this can come to dominance. But his explanations in the interview of what his supporters believe and how well Trump plays to them is downright spooky. And I'm sure the relationship between Epstein and Bill Clinton just underscores their belief that Democrats are sex-trafficking cannibals.

"How the 'Useful Idiots' of Liberal New York Fueled Income Inequality: Kurt Andersen, founder of Spy magazine and the author of Evil Geniuses, on how affluent lefties slept through the escalating inequality crisis. Including him. In his new best-selling book, Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History, the author and cultural critic Kurt Andersen performs a deep excavation of the country's inequality crisis. He finds the roots not only in the balance-tilting schemes of Wall Street and the champions of right-wing political economics but also in the obliviousness of the liberal professional class. For decades, these liberals have been the useful idiots, as he calls them, in the plan that has funneled financial spoils to the tiny percentage of Americans now riding out the current catastrophes in Hamptons compounds, and left everyone else scrambling. Kurt, a former colleague at Time magazine (and by colleague, I mean boss), cops to his own part in the profound social reordering that has taken place since the 1980s."

Another great interview of John Nichols by Nomiki Konst, "Henry Wallace Was the OG Bernie Sanders"

Bhaskar Sunkara interviews Harvey Kaye about Thomas Paine.

Reminder: "Free Trade is a Myth." Or more to the point, it's a lie that "free trade" has lifted millions out of poverty.

FiveThirtyEight , "The Moderate Middle Is A Myth."

Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey is why, although it was already widely-used in Europe, Thalidomide was never approved for use in the United States. She didn't like the look of existing data so she withheld approval despite continued pressure from the manufacturer, and then, "In November 1961, reports began to emerge in Germany and the United Kingdom that mothers who had taken thalidomide during pregnancy were now having babies with severe birth defects. Dr. Helen Taussig learned of the tragedy from one of her students and traveled to Europe to investigate. By testifying before the Senate, Tauusig was able to help Kelsey ban thalidomide in the United States for good. At least 4000 children in Europe were affected by the drug, but thanks to Kelsey's rigorous professionalism a similar tragedy was averted here in America.."

Christo and Jean-Claude's The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-05

"Announcing the winners of Portrait of Humanity 2020"

Gary U.S. Bonds, "The Pretender"

1 comment:

  1. I was expressing concern about Status Quo Joe before Wall Street and the Corporate Dems slipped him in the side door and much like his predecessor presumptively declared him The Candidate. It should leave all pause he has at this point been endorsed by more Republicicans than Democrats, but Casandra's Grandson, obscure blogger, all that. Nobody listens.

    True free trade, a truly free market, is anarchy, is chaos. True Capitalism. Just sayin'.

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