Saturday, October 31, 2015

We all want to change the world

"EU Parliament Votes To Drop Charges Against Snowden: They also encouraged members to block his extradition 'in recognition of his status as a whistleblower and human rights defender.'"
* United Nations comes out in support of whistleblower protections.

"CISA Overwhelmingly Passes, 74-21" - Marcy Wheeler says the Senate has embraced "a truly awful bill."

John Nichols at The Nation: "Bernie Sanders Is Actually Quite Serious About This 'Political Revolution' Thing: With a rock concert, a rally and a key speech in Iowa, the insurgent signals that he intends to remain an insurgent."
* Harold Meyerson, "Can Bernie Sanders's followers create a true leftist movement? [...] When Sanders says - as he does in every speech - that he's seeking to build 'a revolution,' that's not just rhetoric. What Sanders understands in his bones is that every period of progressive reform in U.S. history has come as a result of massive street heat, of energized movements that push policymaking elites to the left.
* Sam Seder on Ring of Fire: Bernie Sanders - How He Should Discuss Democratic Socialism. (Actually, it's not that hard - democratic socialism is what we used to call "democracy" and it's all right there in the Preamble of the Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.")
* "Slow Burn: Bernie Sanders Ignites a Populist Movement."
* "Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders' Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You."

"There Are Plenty Of Differences Between Bernie's Record And Hillary's."

Medea Benjamin, "Hillary Clinton Hasn't Learned a Thing from Iraq: The former secretary of state could shatter the glass ceiling for women, but she'd leave the old boys' military-industrial complex intact."

"Hillary Clinton Comes Out Against Abolishing the Death Penalty." I'm sure she thought she was saying something more "nuanced", but anyone who can think their way out of a paper bag knows that is just the sort of thinking that gave us Texas governors who try to set the record for killing the most people. Are there "certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty"? Possibly those police officers and prosecutors who lie or withhold evidence that would exonerate the innocent raise the question, but without the certain knowledge that such people would be found, prosecuted, and executed, you can't even start to talk about "egregious".
* "Clinton Throws Out Black Lives Matter Activists During Speech On Race. Black Lives Matter protesters in Atlanta protest Hillary Clinton's defense of the death penalty." Well, at least they picked an appropriate target, this time.

"Say It Ain't So, Hillary Clinton - You're Open to the Idea of Raising the Retirement Age?" See, she's sensitive to the fact that some people's jobs are just too physical to make them keep working until they're 70, so she doesn't see any practical way to do it, but there's quite a few things missing in her thinking. One is that even "non-physical" jobs have physical components that we can't expect to do indefinitely, and another is that it's not just physical capabilities that leave you. And then there is just all the stress that comes with knowing that the older you get, the more pressure there is on you to leave, the more people find excuses to get rid of you. Sometimes people who are downright irreplaceable get forced out simply because it's convenient for someone else or they failed to play office politics effectively with the wrong person or the new Director just can't believe you can possibly be that useful at your age. Layoffs anywhere, at any time, can mean you'll never be able to get another job. What are you supposed to do when these things happen? And why would you even accept raising the age of retirement as a rational thing to consider when it's so much simpler and fairer to simply eliminate the damned cap?

"Bernie Sanders is in big trouble: You don't have to be a neoliberal shill to see the cold, hard facts" - Is he losing the Invisible Primary? Is there any way to get around it?
* Did Bernie's supporters screw it up? "And there you have it. Parachute in, treat the Democratic event with ill-disguised contempt, then leave without any meaningful interaction with the people whose support your candidate is supposed to be courting. But hey, they're not progressives, so it's okay to do that to them, eh? Granted, many Bernie backers aren't Democrats and are proud of this fact, but showing such obvious disdain for Democrats and their party functions is, well, not exactly good politics." Poor planning, perhaps - it seems they had to catch the buses that were about to leave. But whoever didn't make sure transport would be available at the end of the event itself made a pretty big mistake.
* Sanders campaign honchos commit an act of massive campaign malpractice and Bernie Sanders should fire them. I can't even begin to say how horrified I was to know that "three members of the Sanders high command - campaign manager Jeff Weaver, communications director Michael Briggs, and field director Phil Fiermonte" decided to sit down with a journalist from Bloomberg and, my god, explain their campaign strategy to him. This is the very thing the Clinton White House team used to do that convinced everyone they were nothing but cynical. But it also did something else, since once you tell the press what your strategy is, it ceases to be a strategy. Clinton's claim to fame was that he was King Wonk, they were all these smart little technocrats who had come up with ingenious strategies for "triangulating" their way into policies that, frankly, would have gotten them strangled in their beds by Democrats if they'd understood what was going on. So we were constantly picking up the newspaper and seeing George Stephanopoulos explaining their damn strategy and letting everyone know how very clever they were. We're so wonkish! Bill Clinton loves being a Policy Wonk! Whoohoo! Except that is most emphatically not what Sanders is, and his campaign is supposed to be about issues and how policies actually affect people, and by god that's all his campaign should be talking to the press about. Just stfu about what bright boys you are. (Yes, it's good that Bernie publicly criticized them, but really, they need to shut up.)

The upside of Clinton: "She has been promising DNC members that she wants to revive the party infrastructure that withered under President Barack Obama. Organizing for America point-whatever has been a bust. Super-delegates welcome the return of something resembling Dean's 50 state plan in hopes that party infrastructure will accomplish more than presidential candidates' personalities." (That party infrastructure didn't just "wither"; Obama's machine shut it right down. Anyone who wants to undo that certainly has my blessing to make it happen. But then, it doesn't take a president.)

I'm sure Charlie Pierce told me everything we need to know about Wednesday's GOP debate.

Dean Baker says, "Paul Ryan Wants to Shut Down the Government, Permanently: Everyone has seen the news stories about how Representative Paul Ryan, the leading candidate to be the next Speaker of the House, is a budget wonk. That should make everyone feel good, since we would all like to think a person in this position understands the ins and outs of the federal budget. But instead of telling us about how much Ryan knows about the budget (an issue on which reporters actually don't have insight), how about telling us what Ryan says about the budget? It is possible to say things about what Ryan says, since he has said a lot on this topic and some of it is very clear. In addition to wanting to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, Ryan has indicated that he essentially wants to shut down the federal government in the sense of taking away all of the money for the non-military portion of the budget."

The wingers at Newsbusters are up in arms when Dick van Dyke endorses Bernie Sanders on two separate shows. Don't read the comments, I warn you.

"What Ever Happened To The 9 Corrupt Democrats Who Voted For Medicare Part D?" Well, most of them lost the support of the voters, but Steve Israel is still sabotaging Democrats at every turn.

"How superdonors are gutting America: Here's the research that helps explain a political system's rightward lurch"

Ben Bernenke finds Republicans difficult. Gosh.

Demands Increase For Investigating Exxon's Funding Of Climate Denial

"New Analysis of Wikileaks Shows State Department's Promotion of Monsanto's GMOs Abroad [...] But what really stands out in the cables quoted in the report is the length to which State Department officials were willing to go for American biotech companies. In a statement to Reuters, Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said, 'It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops, and pressuring foreign governments to also reduce the oversight of biotech crops.' "

Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson review Dick and Liz Cheney's book: "Back to the Dark Side: Dick Cheney's Pax Americana" Exceptional, the new book from former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz, is not. It is nothing more than an unhinged rant that smacks of sedition." And, goodness, it's in The Spectator.

Book Review: Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception: "This book, by Nobel-winning economics professors George A. Akerlof (Georgetown University) and Robert J. Shiller (Yale University), is an extended discussion of the role of fraud in economics. The authors argue that fraud is a natural feature of unregulated markets and that fraud is as subject to economic equilibrium as any other product. They back the argument with multiple historical examples, including a short history of advertising, abuses in the pharmaceutical industry, a history of the discovery of the health risks of cigarettes."

"What the Steve Jobs Movie Won't Tell You About Apple's Success"

Health Care "by the People": An Interview With the Architect of Colorado's Single-Payer Plan

Martin Amis gets called on being a nitwit about Jeremy Corbyn.

"No-Fly Zone No Answer for Syria [...] Air power can stop tanks, but can do very little when it comes to protecting civilian populations from the likes of the Islamic State or al-Nusra. Even Assad's paramilitaries could easily infiltrate the buffer zone and inflict their share of violence. All it takes is a few bands of marauders on foot to create mayhem and all the air forces of the world would be helpless. Another unintended consequence of a buffer zone bereft of protection from ground forces is that its population would be susceptible to Islamic state's forcible recruitment of youngsters to their cause. No one, including the no-fly zone's most vociferous supporter, Turkey - much less the U.S. or the Europeans - is willing to send ground troops into this safe zone."

"What Could Possibly Go Wrong (Next) in the Middle East?" Everyone is playing each other against everyone else. Who wins?

Pulling the curtain on "democracy" in Portugal
* "Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power: Constitutional crisis looms after anti-austerity Left is denied parliamentary prerogative to form a majority government [...] Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal's constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika."
* The Washington Post, like The New York Times, leaves out the fact that it was the anti-austerity left that won the election and claims otherwise.

Iceland: "First They Jailed the Bankers, Now Every Icelander to Get Paid in Bank Sale [...] If Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has his way - and he likely will - Icelanders will be paid kr 30,000 after the government takes over ownership of the bank. Íslandsbanki would be second of the three largest banks under State proprietorship."

"Forget Shorter Showers: Why personal change does not equal political change"

My trigger-warning disaster: 9 1/2 Weeks, The Wire, and how coddled young radicals got discomfort all wrong

A reminder: What "block grants" means.

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters supports Bernie. He can't vote, of course, but he's afraid that Clinton "might become the first woman president to drop a f**king nuclear bomb on somebody."

"We are lifelong Zionists. Here's why we've chosen to boycott Israel."

Robert Parry's Speech at I.F. Stone Award

Dan Froomkin, "George W. Bush Was AWOL, But What's 'Truth' Got to Do With It?: The only journalistic sin worse than disastrously misreporting an important story that turns out to be untrue is disastrously misreporting an important story that is true, so no one believes it anymore."

Last year I started to see articles about how cigarettes are more deadly than ever because tobacco companies have changed how they make them. I'm not sure how long ago I started wondering what had changed - I began to notice that people who smoked one or two cigarettes a day had the same cough chain-smokers had, which never used to be the case. And it was a much more horrible cough. And in the very same rooms where a dozen people at a time had been smoking at parties for decades without any problem, suddenly just one or two people smoking in that same room for a few hours was enough to bother the eyes of a heavy smoker. And the smell stuck more. So I wasn't surprised to learn that cigarette manufacturers had changed something. But think about that: They took a deadly product and made it more deadly, and nobody sued them, no one seems to care to hold tobacco companies responsible, and just plain nobody cares. Everyone seems to be quite happy with the plan to kill smokers as fast as they can. Smoking has gone from being a generally popular habit to an inexpensive moment of relaxation for the working class to the last luxury of the lower classes. And, hey, aren't those the people we want to kill?

This Heroic Captain Defied His Orders and Stopped America From Starting World War III

"Spoken Like a Woman [...] In this programme, Anne Karpf explores, with the help of the sound archive, the way women's voices have shaped the sound of British radio, from Auntie Kathleen of Children's Hour and those formal talks of the early BBC, via the forces' sweethearts like Jean Metcalfe and Marjorie Anderson, to today's topliners like Martha Kearney and Bridget Kendall."

The Flash of Two Worlds

Drummers explain why Ringo is so cool.

"The Beatles have posted the newly restored clip of 'Revolution' from their upcoming 1+ video collection. It was filmed on September 4th, 1968 at London's Twickenham Film Studios." (From the Frost show.)


  1. Another factor about seniors is that often they are earning more than a new hire would be, so eliminating them appears to be saving dollars.

  2. Oh, hey, thanks for linking my review of Phishing…