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


  1. Those continuing attempts to get the CFPB under the thumb of the financial industry shows just what a need there is to have it strong. good to watch.

  2. Sanders "is the cool candidate"? So was Obama. Are you trying to turn me against Sanders? ;)

  3. Did I ever tell you that Rochester, NY (we're in Pittsford these days) has its own abandoned subway? Around 1900, they rerouted the Erie Canal away from downtown, and were left with lots of canal bed and a viaduct over the Genesee River, and decided to have a subway, which was finished by about 1912. It ran until WW2, after which they wound down (Gannett used it for moving rolls of newsprint and such until about 1969), leaving a decent amount of trackbed, much of which became today's I-490, as well as the old viaduct, which is now the Broad Street Bridge, with the trackbed below becoming the city's premier graffiti gallery. If you get in it and walk, you can meet people who live down there.

    The Broad Street Bridge is also a swell place to see the back of the library, from which water sometimes gushes out of apertures that allow the old Johnson millrace to vent some overflow. The millrace runs under the library's basement, and the tracks ran over the millrace. I recorded some ghost-chaser show, hoping for interesting views of the millrace and non-public parts of the library, but they managed to make the whole thing nebulous and boring somehow.

    There is a documentary on the subway, and intrepid souls have posted videos of the existing tunnels on YouTube and such. They have a web page that also features other bits of Flour City's abandoned and feral attractions. I gave Bill Higgins the short tour of the canal and the High Falls, and he never once uttered the words "I am bored now" or "please kill me."

  4. ps: Something I couldn't show Bill but wish I could've: the Main Street bridge used to be completely filled with buildings. Looking distinctly European from the river side, you couldn't tell it from the rest of the blocks around it from the street side. There are numerous photos, including aerials, but my favorite view is Cooper's painting.

  5. How long do you think it'll take the M$M to back down RNC Chairman Reince Priebus [LINK] like they did President Obama [LINK]?