Thursday, November 5, 2015

And they wither with the wind, and they crumble in your hand

Stuart Zechman and Cliff Schecter discussed "the GOP debate turmoil & NBC; Gun Control/Gun Safety & American Liberty," on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Bernie Sanders releases his first TV ad.
* This is how NBC reported it.

Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor on marijuana arrests and mass imprisonment.

"Dems have 'strong disagreement' on Social Security, Sanders says."

Republicans had a fit when debate questioners didn't tip-toe around them enough and have withdrawn their agreement with NBC for further debates, thus opening up a slot Democrats may be stepping into. That would add one for the Dems, which should make a lot of people happy. (The Republican hissy-fit also gave Obama another couple of punch-lines in his stand-up routine.)

Matt Taibbi: "The Case for Bernie Sanders: His critics say he's not realistic - but they have it backwards. [...] Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. The Times remarks upon his "grumpy demeanor." But Bernie is grumpy because he's thinking about vets who need surgeries, guest workers who've had their wages ripped off, kids without access to dentists or some other godforsaken problem that most of us normal people can care about for maybe a few minutes on a good day, but Bernie worries about more or less all the time. I first met Bernie Sanders ten years ago, and I don't believe there's anything else he really thinks about. There's no other endgame for him. He's not looking for a book deal or a membership in a Martha's Vineyard golf club or a cameo in a Guy Ritchie movie. This election isn't a game to him; it's not the awesomely repulsive dark joke it is to me and many others. And the only reason this attention-averse, sometimes socially uncomfortable person is subjecting himself to this asinine process is because he genuinely believes the system is not beyond repair."

"Hillary Clinton: Being pro-business doesn't mean hanging consumers out to dry." She's right about this - monopoly capitalism is toxic.

David Sirota and Andrew Perez: "Hillary Clinton Demands Probe of Exxon After Oil Giant Stops Funding Clinton Foundation: Hillary Clinton is now supporting a federal investigation of ExxonMobil following the latest disclosures that the giant oil company worked to hide the effects of climate change. Her call for an investigation comes only months after the company decided to stop sponsoring her family's foundation. The Clinton Foundation has accepted at least $1 million from ExxonMobil, despite the company's history of financing challenges to climate science. And Clinton's State Department touted ExxonMobil as an example of how America should look at Iraq as 'a business opportunity.'"

"Make no mistake: A vote for Hillary is a vote for war: It is no great secret that Hillary Clinton is a hawk when it comes to foreign policy and the use of force. Even the right agrees, calling her the 'ultimate hawk ... who has supported every single major American military intervention since 1992.' Are we prepared to vote into office the ultimate hawk? For the reasons I describe below, I believe that a vote for Ms. Clinton means more war. We all know about Ms. Clinton's vote to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq, which, even after several years of hemming and hawing, she has now admitted was a mistake. But does that reluctant admission signal that she would do anything differently if she had to do it all again? Not if her hawkishness as Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady is any indication."

"Hillary Clinton's Empowerment: Hillary Clinton isn't a champion of women's rights. She's the embodiment of corporate feminism."

"Hillary Might Be Better Off Next Nov. If She Doesn't Allow EMILY's List To Offend Bernie's Supporters With Their Ugly, Aggressive Lies."

"The betrayal that should haunt Hillary Clinton: How she sold out working women & then never apologized [...] "Clinton wrote that 'too many of those on welfare had known nothing but dependency all their lives.' She suggested that women recipients were 'sitting around the house doing nothing.' She described the 'move from welfare to work' as 'the transition from dependency to dignity.' Or a 'substitute dignity for dependence.' Put more simply, she stated, 'these people are no longer deadbeats - they're actually out there being productive.' In sum, she has frequently validated a pathologization of poor black women that has often served as a pretext for Republican assaults on the social safety net. She has not repudiated these remarks."

Third Way panics over Bernie Sanders. This is Thom Hartmann unpacking Third Way for listeners, but when he reads the list of who they are, well, I bet you can guess what the two little words were that made me go, "What?"

The loathesome Chris Christie says something true and right and human about drugs. I have to say I was stunned, because this is a really good speech I never could have imagined coming from him.

"Washington Post reporter removed from meeting with Kerry: A correspondent for the Washington Post was escorted out of a meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov on Sunday. Carol Morrello asked a question about the State Department's critique of the Uzbek record on human rights, according to Reuters."

"After Listening To Women, Longtime Anti-Abortion Congressman Becomes Pro-Choice." Blue Dog Tim Ryan has a change of heart. "Tim Ryan, once one of the extreme voices against legal abortion is now speaking up in defense of keeping it legal. And all it took to change his mind was a real conversation with women." Not even sure what to say about this, except that, once again, it proves that sometimes you really can talk to them and change their minds.

Ohio votes against legalizing marijuana monopolies. "Ohio voted Tuesday against legalizing recreational and medical marijuana via an amendment to the state's constitution, shooting down a proposal to grant a small number of wealthy investors sole permission to operate commercial marijuana farms."

Oklahoma: "State Law Makes it a Felony to Touch a Police Officer Even Off-Duty and Out of Uniform [...] The law, which passed the legislature unanimously (always a bad sign), went into effect on November 1. In effect, this measure extends the cloak of 'qualified immunity' to cover every aspect of a law enforcement officer's life." So now they have a licence to run around starting bar fights and arresting their victims.

"Chicago police use 'heat list' as strategy to prevent violence: Officials generate analysis to predict who will likely be involved in crime, as perpetrator or victim, and go door to door to issue warnings: Robert McDaniel was puzzled when the Chicago police commander dropped by his West Side home unannounced last month. The visit was cordial, but Barbara West's message was clear: Don't commit any more crimes or face the consequences. Revealing that she had a folder on him back on her office desk, West told the 22-year-old that she knew his best friend had been slain last year in their crime-plagued Austin community. She cautioned that he could meet the same fate if he didn't change his ways. McDaniel, who has multiple arrests on suspicion of minor offenses but only one misdemeanor conviction, learned to his surprise that he had made the so-called "heat list" with more than 400 others across the city who have been deemed by the department to be most prone to violence - either as a perpetrator or victim. 'I haven't done nothing that the next kid growing up hadn't done. Smoke weed. Shoot dice. Like seriously?' an incredulous McDaniel said while recalling the recent visit from police brass with a Tribune reporter.

"New Hampshire Man Arrested For Parking In 'Predictive Hot Spot': Eighteen year-old Connor Deleire may be the first person to go to jail for parking his car in a 'predictive hot spot', an area determined likely to be a target of crime by a computer program. Minority Report seemed outlandish in its time, however many believe its day has arrived. On October 20, 2015, Connor parked his car on Merrimack Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, near Union St. What Connor didn't know was that the area he parked in had been labeled a 'hot spot' for crime and had been allotted increased patrols."

"Police Say Tasering 8-Year-Old Native American Girl Was Justified [...] Four police officers decided that this young girl who had a small paring knife was 'a danger to herself,' requiring them to taser her. "

This is the kid who took the video of Ben Fields assaulting a student, and he says the girl hadn't done anything wrong and the cop was already planning to get physical when he walked in.

"Denver Police Arrest 10 Activists, Destroy Tiny Homes They Built For The Homeless: On October 24, about 70 Denver Police Department and Denver Sheriff's Department officers, including swat units, arrested 10 homeless activists for trying to set up a 'tiny homes' village for city's homeless at Sustainability Park without proper permits. The riot police then destroyed several tiny homes created by Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) - a group 'composed of homeless people and supporters'. [...] According to the activists, the Denver Housing Authority, which owns the property, had initially removed hundreds of low-income housing units to create the park. Now the Authority plans to sell the land, currently used by three urban farms, to a private developer, 'who will build multifamily housing that will support gentrification in Curtis Park but be far beyond the reach of those for whom the Authority is supposed to exist'."

"'Absolute Crap' But Brilliant: Corporate America's Plan to 'Misbehave Without Reproach': An independent investigation by journalists featured in the New York Times on Sunday offers an in-depth look at the way American corporations have used the inclusion of "arbitration clauses" within consumer contracts to strategically circumvent judicial review of their behavior and immunize themselves from class action lawsuits - 'realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.' [...] However - and despite the success of their stratefic effort - Paul Wallis, a business observer writing for the Digital Journal responded to the Times investigation by arguing that even as this trend to immobilize consumers with arbitration clauses show that corporate crime is again 'on the rampage' in the United States, the whole legal concept is actually built on a fallacy. Though acknowledging business interests have used the strategy brilliantly to their advantage, the other way to look at contract arbitration is by recognizing that it is 'absolute crap, from start to finish.'" He says, "Therefore, actions taken under that contract are not immune to prosecution or other legal processes. You can't shoot someone or rob a bank and say 'It's OK, I have a contract.'"
* "Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Unconstitutional? [...] As it presses for the passage of TPP, the administration needs to explain how the Constitution allows the United States to agree to submit the validity of its federal, state, and local laws to three private arbitrators, with no possibility of review by any U.S. court. Otherwise, it risks securing a trade agreement that won't survive judicial scrutiny, or, even worse, which will undermine the structural protections that an independent federal judiciary was created to ensure."
* "In Arbitration, a 'Privatization of the Justice System' [...] The change has been swift and virtually unnoticed, even though it has meant that tens of millions of Americans have lost a fundamental right: their day in court."

Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century: "This paper documents a marked increase in the all-cause mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States between 1999 and 2013. This change reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw a similar turnaround."

"A proven way to reduce poverty? Give poor people money."

Human rights group in Berlin starts process of indicting Bush administration officials for war crimes.

The Mystery of the Vanishing Pay Raise

Barry Ritholtz, "Money Managers Go on Offense Against Speed Traders: Stock exchanges once were operated as not-for-profit public utilities, managing the listing and trading of companies in the public marketplace. Today, they have morphed into rent-seeking, publicly traded companies in the zero-sum game of executing orders."

Students at Airline High say Christianity is being shoved down their throats while "Christians" claim to be under siege. "During health class, students at Airline High, a public school in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, read Bible passages, and their teacher asks them to identify their favorite verses. Airline students told me they are taught creationism as science and pressured into attending Fellowship of Christian Athletes club meetings. During gym class, girls are warned against contraception by a 'born again virgin' from the local crisis pregnancy center, a Christian anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-premarital-sex advocacy center.".

"Ireland to 'decriminalise' small amounts of drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, for personal use" - but only for users; you still won't be able to find a legal source.

I'm not enthusiastic about articles that insist nothing can be changed, but sometimes they are worth looking at for they key to what has to be changed. From The Boston Globe, "Vote all you want. The secret government won't change."

10 Of The Worst Moments From Morning Joe's Fawning Koch Brothers Interview

60 Minutes rips off Sam Quinones. He says he pitched his story to them and they turned him down - and then just plain stole it.

RIP:Fred Thompson, actor and legislator, living embodiment of everything that was wrong with Law & Order.

Can Gitmo ever be closed?

Forget the Bacon: Living in Poverty Means You Have An Advanced Risk of Getting Cancer

"Holy Crap, They Are Officially Making a New Star Trek TV Series."

"An Oscar-Nominated Short Film of John Lennon's Ramblings: A lot of people didn't want John Lennon to enter America, he told a teenage fan in 1969: "They think I'm going to cause a violent revolution, which I'm not." 14-year-old Jerry Levitan had snuck into Lennon's Toronto hotel room with a tape recorder and probed the English singer about the state of the Beatles, their dwindling American fan base, and the meaning behind his music. In 2007, the conversation was animated by James Braithwaite and turned into a short film, I Met the Walrus, which went on to win an Emmy and be nominated for an Oscar."

Elephants vs. giant pumpkins

Google Halloween doodle game

Ballerina pole-dance

"Leaves That Are Green"


  1. Well, we could elect someone who thinks that the pyramids were granaries instead of Clinton. Or the guy who went bankrupt four times. Or the woman who says that Planned Parenthood kills babies. Or…

    This is so not the time to be attacking Clinton, no matter how much we dislike her.

    BTW, the TPP text has been released, and it appears to be worse than feared. David Dayen (@ddayen) is having a field day on Twitter with it.

    1. BTW, the TPP text has been released, and it appears to be worse than feared.

      That is the flip side of lesser evilism.

      And the extra kick is that things like that (remember NAFTA) hurt labor and discourage the voter base from turning out.

    2. Rules for liberals:

      (1) Don't attack Democratic candidates during a primary campaign -- you'll only hurt their chances during the general election.

      (2) Don't attack Democratic candidates during a general election campaign. What, you want Republicans to win?

      (3) Why are you attacking our Democratic leaders? They're only doing what they campaigned on. Don't you know that primaries are the time to apply pressure?

    3. There's a difference between disagreeing with Clinton and attacking her. Sanders gets it. Let's follow his lead.

      Radicals considered as underpants gnomes: (1) Spoil the election (2) ??? (3) Utopia!

      If the best we can get is the lesser evil well, at least we get less evil.

    4. Tom, I have to steal that, it's perfect.

  2. This is so not the time to be attacking Clinton, no matter how much we dislike her.

    That, is the flip side of lesser evilism.

    1. And just when IS the time to criticize Clinton? We go through this every time - it is never the time to criticize neoliberals - only "the crazy left" can ever be attacked, preferably as often as possible.

  3. "on her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and President than the Republican candidate on his best day.""—Bernie Sanders, ABC This Week,

    Come *on* people. Do we really want Bush III?

    1. Get real, there is one and only one reason any Republican can beat the Democratic candidate - by fixing the elections. Of course, the Republicans do that. If people are serious about beating the Republicans, they will work to make sure the elections are not fixed, and stop telling Democrats not to campaign for their preferred candidate in the primaries.

    2. I am saying don't scorch the earth. Regardless of who becomes the final nominee, we have to be prepared to support them, and we can't do that if we've spent the entire nomination process demonizing our opponents.

      The charges of fixing elections are starting to look more real, with Clarkson's analysis and the very odd results in the Tennessee election. Even so, Republicans are truly and depressingly popular, especially in rural states. There are plenty of Republicans; perhaps they could be turned out in honest elections. In any event, it's going to very hard to fix the electoral problems for 2016. Clarkson also comments, "My assessment is that the data reveals multiple (at least two) agents working independently to successfully alter voting results," which is just bloody weird. Two factions fixing elections?Who are their leaders? What are their goals?

    3. We've already had Bush II; his name is Barack Obama, and he continued and advanced many of Dubya's worst policies. Do we want more of that?

  4. I'm still not sure folks get the metaphor. The last time I, not alone mind you, suggested the lesser of evils is nevertheless evil I was attacked by "crazy lefties" for suggesting Ms Clinton was evil.

    Stein/Sanders: that's a choice.

    1. That's a nice empty slogan. I think it *is* the time to attack Democratic apologists who come up with and spread nonsense like that.

    2. It's not a matter of scorching the earth. It's a matter of getting the nomination to someone who is worth it and might actually be able to fix a few things. In the end, no matter who wins the nomination, the Democrat will win as long as the Dems don't let the GOP get away with fixing the election. But to make it a real election, we should have a nominee who we don't have to hold our nose to vote for.

  5. So faced with a challenge, we turn to fighting among ourselves? That is how to lose elections.

  6. Virtual Book Sale- Great deals for great books. Please pass along. We desperately need the money.

  7. The story that Clinton called for a probe of Exxon, after they stopped funding the Clinton Foundation, is a Post Hoc fallacy.

    Oddly the article doesn't give us a time frame. You have to click through a few links to get to the point where its revealed that Exxon stopped their support sometime after 2014. Again no date is given.

    In fact the only time the authors mention Clinton calling for the probe after Exxon stopped its funding is in the headline. The body of the article only mentions Clinton calling for the probe after O'Malley and Sanders.