23 February 2016

Where the girls are

FULL MSNBC Town Hall: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, South Carolina February 18, 2016. Sanders spoke first, but for those who can't bring themselves to watch Clinton, she had a big moment when she brought out her new zinger: Bernie isn't a Democrat. Well, Madame Secretary, Bernie has never been a Republican, either, and Bernie Sanders never, never supported Republican policies like "ending welfare as we know it" and "three strikes", and never tried to repudiate, let alone rescind, the New Deal. Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl and then a Wellesley Republican and then, somewhere in the late '60s, she apparently switched her R to a D, but there doesn't seem to be any record of her having given so much as lip-service to the core values of the Democratic Party in supporting working people. By the time we see Clinton in public life, she is already in the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization whose mission is to overturn the New Deal. Naturally, she got some boos for that statement, despite the fact that it was her town hall and a Clinton-friendly crowd. Maybe those in attendance know that it's not unusual for the party to draft non-Democrats at times to run as Democrats.
* Bernie Sanders with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show.

Clinton's massive lead in Nevada dwindled to the point where she seemed to be in a tie with Sanders. She came out ahead in the end, but not by the huge margin she thought she had. Perhaps these push polls helped her win, too. (Curiously, we're being told that entrance and exit polls don't work with Latinos.) (And why did someone like Dolores Huerta post a divisive and misleading tweet?) Clinton thought she had a lock on the Hispanic vote, but her campaign is going to a lot of effort to try to smear Sanders now as anti-immigration, among other things. Sanders voted against an immigration bill that contained an odious guest-worker provision, and like many pro-immigrant groups, he opposed it. Some say that Harry Reid's "neutrality" evaporated and he came home to give her the win, despite her campaign's sudden claim that Nevada is a white state. Of course, as in 2008, some suspect dirty pool helped, too. Of course, the fact that Bernie didn't win Nevada, which no one had expected him to win anyway, suddenly means to the press that the primaries are pretty much over, even though their delegate count is 51:51. No one expected Sanders to even be in it by now, so perhaps it's a bit early to write the obits for the campaign?

Clinton is still way ahead of Sanders in South Carolina, but perhaps not as much as she was. (I see the list of the top 10 early primary states' polls shows Clinton leading everywhere but Massachusetts and Vermont. The article credits the black vote, which is undoubtedly true, but that's what they mean by "firewall" - Clinton takes for granted that she owns the black vote.)
* However, "Sanders, Clinton in dead heat nationwide."
* And, strange as it is to link to the Daily Mail, an odious right-wing newspaper I do not recommend, it's rather amazing to even see a headline like this there: "New Bernie crisis for Hillary: Two-thirds of Democrats say he could win the election, and the more they know him, the more they like him."

Former DNC Chairman Paul Kirk Endorses Bernie Sanders - This is actually worth listening to. "Mark my words on this, a representative democracy will not be restored from within the capital beltway until a majority of Americans can cause their elected representatives to Feel the Bern!"

In 3 Minutes: Bernie Sanders DOES Have a Foreign Policy Position

"The Crackpot Realism of Clintonian Politics: The most bizarre thing about these desperate calls to realism is our modern context. In what possible way is it 'realistic' to continue voting for the lesser evil when we have an ongoing climate catastrophe no mainstream Democrat or Republican is willing to discuss, let alone actually do something significant about? During Obama's first term he even pressured environmental groups to stop or tone down their discussions of climate change. Each lesser evil candidate just happens to be a greater evil than the last one. Each of their politics are unimaginable even as one is in the throes of the attacks on basic human decency engendered by the last one. The slogan of the Democratic party is 'it could always be worse' while the promise is 'it will always be worse'. When your realism involves supporting a trend that could quite realistically mean the end of human civilization forgive me for holding you in contempt. [...] What they miss is these right wing Democrats have profoundly shaped this status quo. Bill Clinton's treatment of poor people was unimaginable before him and par for the course after him. Obama's treatment of ordinary homeowners would have been a preposterous fictional story of campy villany. Now it's just how the world works. Sanders (for all his faults on issues like Israel and immigration) is actually looking to push the center to the left for once and is hoping to galvanize ordinary people to do it. It's the realism of the psych ward that says we'll solve climate change, help ordinary people and build a workable economy by supporting an endless series of politicians who care less and less about the issues that matter and exploit hopeful supporters more and more cynically. Admonishing young people for both not voting and desiring anything other than a debt-crippled, climatologically-unstable future feels more like admonishing serfs for being insufficiently pious and for caring about what happens to themselves or their children on this plane of existence. In short, realism is just a code word for 'shut up, sit down and be quiet'."

"Hillary Clinton: I Could Compromise on Abortion If It Included Exceptions For Mother's Health."
* "Chelsea Clinton: Bernie Sanders' plan to end mass incarceration is ‘worrying': ‘We are not electing a king, we are electing a president,' said Ms Clinton's daughter - she claims Mr Sander's criminal justice policy is beyond the realms of possibility." Do the Clintons understand that mass incarceration at the state level happens because of both funding and policy made at the federal level? Apparently not.
* Hillary continues her claim that Bernie Sanders is a one-issue candidate, saying stuff like this: "'Not everything is about an economic theory, right?' Clinton rhetorically asked the crowd Saturday in Henderson. 'If we broke up the big banks tomorrow -- and I will, if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will -- will that end racism?' she said as the crowd answered 'no.'" Leaving aside the fact that the big banks are a threat right now and yet she still isn't promising to break them up, just how is she promising to end racism and sexism? It's not as if she's had any more to say about those issues than Sanders has.
* "Half the Foreign Policy Experts Signing Clinton's Anti-Sanders Letter Have Ties to Military Contractors: Hillary Clinton's campaign released a letter this week in which 10 foreign policy experts criticized her opponent Bernie Sanders' call for closer engagement with Iran and said Sanders had 'not thought through these crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security.' The missive from the Clinton campaign was covered widely in the press, but what wasn't disclosed in the coverage is that fully half of the former State Department officials and ambassadors who signed the letter, and who are now backing Clinton, are now enmeshed in the military contracting establishment, which has benefited tremendously from escalating violence around the world, particularly in the Middle East."
* "Hillary Clinton Emails: Secret Negotiations With New York Times, Trade Bill Lobbying Revealed In Latest State Department Release [...] Other emails show Clinton seeming to personally lobby her former Democratic colleagues in the Senate to support free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. She had previously told voters she would work to block the Colombian and South Korean pacts."

I'm told I should find this statement by Killer Mike manifestly sexist. Well, no, not when I have people telling me that the only reason I don't support Clinton is sexism.

Michael Brooks did a good interview with Benjamin Dixon about race, class, and Bernie Sanders, on The Majority Report.

Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort flips endorsement from Hillary to Bernie: "Back to Georgia for a moment, where Senator Fort explained his switch to Bernie by saying, 'After months of looking at Bernie's record and studying his positions on healthcare, Wall Street, predatory lending and the minimum wage, I came to the conclusion that Bernie's position on the issues that affect my constituents in Georgia the most conform most closely to my positions... He's going to do well here. As people have a chance to listen to him, to have a chance to understand that he's speaking to the issues that are the most critical. As people study and listen to him, I think there's going to be movement toward his campaign.' Fort is now the most high-profile Bernie backer in Georgia, joining state Rep. LaDawn Jones and Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry-- and putting him at odds with a very uninspiring party establishment."
* "Big Win For Bernie: AFL-CIO Holds Off On Presidential Endorsement" - That really is a big deal. Maybe they learned something from last time.

Yes, the same Black Caucus PAC that gave its endorsement to Hillary Clinton has refused to endorse Donna Edwards: "The political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus has decided not to endorse Rep. Donna Edwards for Senate -- despite the fact that the Prince George's County Democrat would be the first African-American elected to the chamber from Maryland." This is just plain shameful. But it tells you a lot about how much politics is at play when the black establishment lines up behind Hillary.
* It's hard not to wonder whether Clyburn's tepid endorsement of Hillary was so half-hearted because he knew it would not be well-received in the room, or if his heart just wasn't in it: "'And I believe,' he said, launching into his central applause line, 'that the future of the Democratic Party and the United States of America will be best served with the experiences and know how of Hillary Clinton as our 45th president.'"

From The Atlantic, "The Pragmatic Case for Bernie Sanders: Political and social change emanate from persistent pressure for a just world, not settling for what is 'realistic' before even getting to the negotiating table."
* Mahabarb says, "Let's Stop Being Weenies [..] So I'm huddled in bed reading political commentary and social media on my Kindle. And it's pissing me off. I read one thing after another saying, oh, Walter Mondale lost in 1984 and Mike Dukakis lost in 1988 - most of ‘em don't go as far back as my first presidential candidate, George McGovern, who lost in 1972 - and because we lost then we must choose a very safe candidate and not anybody too radical because the Right is all-powerful and very mean and they will beat us to death, or something. [...] None of the weenies seem to remember that we all settled on John Kerry in 2004 because he seemed to be the 'safe' candidate. I don't recall that he won. But that was then." But the weenies keep driving her bats, so "Let's Talk About Hillary Clinton's Electability: In spite of my earlier call to arms, I keep seeing sniveling weenies all over social media warning that we must vote for Hillary Clinton or face a Trump or Cruz presidency. Because only Hillary Clinton could win that general election against a broken Republican machine and an extremist who is favored by, it says in an article, fewer than 15 percent of all registered voters. [...] But against this alleged behemoth, we are told, only Hillary Clinton can prevail. So we must nominate her whether we like her or not. Seriously? Hillary Clinton has won two general elections in her life, both for senator of New York. Let's look. In 2000, she won against a largely unknown congressman named Rick Lazio. But originally her opponent was Rudy Giuliani. It was a close race; the polls swung back and forth, favoring one and then the other. Let it be added that Giuliani was not exactly beloved in New York City at that time; people were pretty much over him. But then in May 2000 Giuliani dropped out, mostly because of marital scandals that had been an open secret for some time. Five months before election day the Republicans chose the 40-something Lazio to take his place. [...] Lazio ran a flat-footed campaign, and Clinton defeated him fairly easily, 55 to 43 percent. He left the House after 2001 and at some point went to work for JP Morgan Chase. In 2006 Hillary Clinton ran for re-election nearly unopposed. Oh, she had an opponent, a former mayor of Yonkers named John Spencer. Spencer was invisible. I lived in New York and couldn't have told you a Republican was running against her. Clinton raised nearly $36 million for her re-election campaign. Spencer had less than $6 million." Be that as it may, Clinton didn't do as well as she ought to have done in that terrain.
* "The establishment looks like this: The real reason why Clintons always push our politics to the right: Hillary and Bernie have two different visions. You can make a case for either -- but they're not the same [...] Note that none of that proves, or even points to anything, illegal. That's not the point. It's not about being bought off by one payment, it's about buying in to a system where money flows like wine, and everyone is always drunk. 'But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received,' Clinton said, expressing her individualist view of the problem, and I'm perfectly willing to believe her. But that's not what the argument is about. Structural money influence doesn't require an individual to be corrupt, any more than structural racism requires an individual to be racist. In fact, it works even better because no one is consciously doing anything wrong. It's part of how the system perpetuates and defends itself. But the victims suffer just the same.
* A nice reminder from Thomas Picketty that it's not that we're trying to be "like Europe", but we are trying to be like the America Europe copied: "Thomas Piketty on the rise of Bernie Sanders: the US enters a new political era"
* At Ian Welsh's digs, Pachacutec asks and answers, "Does Bernie Sanders Know What He's Doing? Bernie Sanders is taking a lot of heat for making promises everyone agrees can't be achieved in today's Washington. However, Sanders is not just smoking free-love-sixties-dope when he talks about universal health care, free college tuition, stopping deportations, and drastically cutting the prison population. [...] A couple of weeks ago, members of the neoliberal wonkosphere and others in the pundit class tut-tutted, fretted, and wearily explained to Sanders' band of childish fools and hippies that his 'theory of change' was wrong. Well, not merely wrong, but deceptive, deceitful, maybe even dangerous. False hopes, stakes are too high, and all that. This was Clinton campaign, and more to the point, political establishment ideology, pushback. When Ezra Klein starts voxsplaining how to catalyze a genuine social, cultural, and political movement, you know you've entered the land of unfettered bullshit. [...] Yes, I'd say Sanders has a very clear, and historically grounded 'theory of change.' What those who question it's validity are really saying is either: 1) they lack imagination and can't' see beyond the status quo; 2) they lack knowledge of history, including American history, or; 3) they understand Sanders' 'theory of change' very well and want to choke it in the crib as quickly as they can."
* "Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and their new coalitions on the left"
* "The Pragmatic Case for Bernie Sanders: Political and social change emanate from persistent pressure for a just world, not settling for what is 'realistic' before even getting to the negotiating table. Based on her record and political positions, it is not credible for Democrats to hope that a Clinton presidency can deliver progressive change. It is not pragmatic to hope that Clinton, by dint of her centrist leanings, can work with Congress on anything other than a centrist agenda - at best. To the extent that she gets things done with a Republican legislature, based on an electoral mandate of centrism, there is zero prospect of progressive reform on Wall Street, corporate accountability, wealth inequality, or campaign finance. In politics, if you demand a mile, you get a foot; demand a moderate inch, and at best, you get a centimeter. On the other side of the ledger, history shows that political and social change emanate from persistent pressure - organizing and arguing for a more just world, not settling for what is deemed 'realistic' before getting to the negotiating table. Remember when gay rights and gay marriage were 'unrealistic'? Remember when voting rights, desegregation, and other basic justice were far from 'pragmatic'? They became real through years of dedicated, principled, idealism - by insisting the unrealistic become real."
* Frameshop: Big Change Happens Precisely When It Seems Impossible.
* Dick Van Dyke endorses: "He's sounding an alarm about something I've worried about for the last 30 years, or since World War II, really: the stranglehold that big business has on this country. [...] Woodrow Wilson, in 1913, said there's an invisible force running the country, and he blamed the banks and the corporations and the insurance companies. And since then it's only gotten worse. Ike (President Dwight D. Eisenhower) warned us about the military-industrial complex. Jimmy Carter, in an interview recently, said he couldn't get anything done (as president) because of the power of the lobbyists. It's at a place where the election is almost a little charade they let us go through. I think the thing is rigged. It's been brought up so many times before, but nobody ever listens. And somehow, Bernie got their attention."

Right-wing surprise of the week: In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right: The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field. I agree with him. Actually, he agrees on more than one thing - but somewhere in the middle of the article he dismisses remedies that actually work. (His example of the War on Poverty is an interesting example, since most of it started being dismantled almost as soon as LBJ left office, despite the fact that it had cut poverty in half. The splintering of poor (and black) families is the result of the right wing refusing to keep offering welfare to unbroken families, not the largess of the program.)

"Hedge Fund Billionaires Fund Super PAC Ad Against Bernie Sanders and Minimum Wage Hike [...] Future 45 is run by Brian O. Walsh, a longtime Republican operative who has in the past served as political director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Most recently, he was president of the American Action Network, a dark money group that was the second-largest outside spender in 2010."

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari hasn't exactly endorsed Bernie Sanders, but he's on the same page with him when he says the big banks should be broken up. A lot of people were caught by surprise when this Bush appointee made the statement, but he says his experience after the banking crisis taught him there is still too much danger from too big to fail institutions.
* David Day on the surprising speech: "The thing I never got around to this week was Neel Kashkari's surprising endorsement of breaking up the banks. A couple people got at this, but Kashkari actually split the difference between a Bernie Sanders break-em-up approach, a Hillary "it's the shadow banks, stupid" approach of expanding the regulatory perimeter, and the consensus position of using higher capital requirements to discipline big banks. Only Kashkari goes way further than the Fed has been willing to go on capital, into Anat Admati territory. Incidentally, Kashkari rejects the separation of investment and commercial banking. So while Sanders gave his speech a full-throated endorsement, it's hard to plot him against the intra-Dem debate about financial reform. Which makes Kashkari even more dangerous to Wall Street, actually. First of all, regulating banks as public utilities goes beyond even a Warren/Sanders approach. Second, as Yves Smith points out, Kashkari, with a cushy appointment at the Minneapolis Fed, wants to keep this in the headlines for at least a year with policy symposia and the like. This is someone developing policy in public, with a profile that makes it very hard for bankers to dismiss him as an unsophisticated crank. If he gains in stature, he shows that positioning against the banks is a good CAREER move. That's a brave new world."

Dean Baker: "NYT Invents Left-Leaning Economists to Attack Bernie Sanders: A NYT piece headlined 'left-leaning economists question cost of Bernie Sanders' plans' may have misled readers about the extent of skepticism among economists who consider themselves left-leaning. I can say this as a card-carrying left-leaning economist who often talks to other card-carrying left-leaning economists. While there are undoubtedly many left of center economists who have serious objections to the proposals Sanders has put forward, there are also many who have publicly indicated support for them. Remarkably, none of those economists were referenced in this article. In fact, to make its case on left of center economists' views, the NYT even presented the comments of Ezra Klein, who is neither an economist nor a liberal, by his own identification. It also misrepresented the comments of Jared Bernstein (a personal friend), implying that they were criticisms of Sanders' program. In fact his comments were addressed to the analysis of Sanders' proposals by Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts who is not affiliated with the Sanders campaign. It also presented the comments of Brookings economist Henry Aaron about the views expressed by 'other economists in a ‘lefty chat group' he joins online.' This would seem to violate the NYT's usual policy on anonymous sources. Sanders has a very ambitious agenda covering everything from universal Medicare, reforming the financial sector, paid sick days and vacation, free college, and universal childcare. If an economist, left-leaning or otherwise, can't find some grounds for skepticism on any of these proposals they should probably be in a different line of work. These are all big ideas, each of which will face enormous political opposition even if Bernie Sanders were in the White House. Sanders has not given a fully worked out proposal in any of these areas, nor is it reasonable to expect a fully worked out proposal from a candidate for the presidency. His campaign platform outlines general approaches. In the event Sanders got to the White House, it would be necessary to draft fully worked out legislative language which would almost certainly amount to hundreds of pages, and quite possibly thousands of pages, in each area. In addition, whatever he initially put on the table would have to be haggled over with Congress, even assuming that he had a much more sympathetic group than the current crew. While it is nice that the NYT is subjecting Sanders' views to serious scrutiny, it would be good if it also subjected the views of other candidates to the same scrutiny. For example, Secretary Clinton has indicated a desire to give more opportunity to African Americans and Hispanics, yet she has not commented on the decision by the Federal Reserve Board to raise interest rates at the end of last year. This rate hike was intended to be the first of a sequence of rate hikes. The purpose of raising interest rates is to slow the economy and the rate of job creation, ostensibly to prevent inflation. The people who will be disproportionately hurt by slower job growth and high unemployment are African American and Hispanic. NYT readers would likely be interested in knowing how Secretary Clinton can reconcile her commitment to helping African Americans and Hispanics with her apparent lack of concern over the Fed's decision to raise interest rates and deny them jobs. Whatever standard of scrutiny the NYT chooses to apply to presidential candidates it should apply them equally. It is not good reporting to apply one standard to Senator Sanders, and even inventing credentials to press its points, and then apply lesser standards to the other candidates."
* "NYT Rounds Up ‘Left-Leaning Economists' for a Unicorn Hunt."

Digby says, "Antonin Scalia was the forefather of modern Republican nihilism: Antonin Scalia wasn't just a giant of conservative jurisprudence. He was an architect of right-wing legal extremism "
* Scott Lemieux: "Justice Scalia's legacy: blistering zingers and a more partisan America"
* Back in 2012, Richard Posner, of all people - not by any means a liberal - wrote "The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia."
* Marcy Wheeler, "The Play on the Scalia Replacement: Remember the Lame Duck [...] The presumption Srinivasan - or someone similar - would be the nominee easily justifies the GOP's immediate promise they won't confirm a nominee. That's because they need to explain why someone they just overwhelmingly confirmed, someone who faced more opposition from the left than the right, suddenly became unacceptable."
* "Is Obama About to Nominate an Exxon Lawyer to the Supreme Court?"
* Edroso: "Saint Scalia? Sure, Why Not?"

"UN committee finds Australia breached David Hicks' rights" This was always a shameful case, but you could say that about anything having to do with Guantanamo.

Albert Woodfox released from jail after 43 years in solitary confinement: "Woodfox, who was kept in solitary following the 1972 murder of a prison guard for which he has always professed his innocence, marked his 69th birthday on Friday by being released from West Feliciana parish detention center. It was a bittersweet birthday present: the prisoner finally escaped a form of captivity that has widely been denounced as torture, and that has deprived him of all meaningful human contact for more than four decades. [..] Woodfox was one of the so-called 'Angola 3': three prisoners initially held in Louisiana's notorious Angola prison, and who subscribed to the Black Panther movement and campaigned against segregation within the institution in the 1970s. His supporters contend that he was framed for the 1972 killing of the prison guard Brent Miller as revenge for his political activities."

"Ohio Signs Nation's First Anti-Renewable Energy Bill Into Law" - Well, I think Ohio would be surprised to hear that they did it. No, there was one culprit: "Gov. John Kasich just signed into a law a bill that freezes Ohio's renewable energy mandate for the next two years, making Ohio the first state to make negative progress on its green energy goals. Good job, Ohio."

"State Supreme Court Rules Cops No Longer Need a Warrant to Enter Homes and Seize Evidence: Wisconsin Just Lost its 4th Amendment Rights by the Single Vote of a Judge Appointed by Scott Walker."

The Lost Decade is now 11 years long: "As we have remarked before, never before in the history I have readily accessible (for which figures extend back to the 1850s) has such a period of decline and stagnation had to be endured. The chart below shows a decade growth rate. Across the whole period real earnings grew on average by 15 per cent a decade. Between the Second World War and 2007 they grew by 26 per cent a decade (annual averages are derived by dividing by ten). In 2017 the decade figure will show a decline of -1.7 per cent. The charts shows how the progress of the post-war age has been brought decisively to a halt. The only era remotely comparable episode was around the 1920s. This is a terrifying precedent..."

"Due Process is Dead: A Staggering 95% of All Inmates in America Have Never Received a Trial."

"Private Prisons Sues States for Not Having Enough Prisoners."

"Suit alleges that Georgia is illegally bumping voters off rolls."

"FBI demands iPhone backdoor access; Tim Cook tells them to get lost."

Well, this is rich. After all these years of whining about a Social Security crisis in order to rationalize cuts in benefits, conservatives have done an about-face in response to talk of expanding Social Security. Why, everything will be fine!

The diplomat and the killer: Death squads, dirty war and the untold story of H. Carl Gettinger [...] On December 1, 1980, two American Catholic churchwomen - an Ursuline nun and a lay missionary - sat down to dinner with Robert White, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador. They worked in rural areas ministering to El Salvador's desperately impoverished peasants, and White admired their commitment and courage. The talk turned to the government's brutal tactics for fighting the country's left-wing guerrillas, in a dirty war waged by death squads that dumped bodies in the streets and an army that massacred civilians. The women were alarmed by the incoming Reagan administration's plans for a closer relationship with the military-led government. Because of a curfew, the women spent the night at the ambassador's residence. The next day, after breakfast with the ambassador's wife, they drove to San Salvador's international airport to pick up two colleagues who were flying back from a conference in Nicaragua. Within hours, all four women would be dead. [...] In the years since, much has come to light about this pivotal event in the history of U.S. interventions in Central America. But the full story of how one of the most junior officers in the U.S. embassy in San Salvador tracked down the killers has never been told. It is the tale of an improbable bond between a Salvadoran soldier with a guilty conscience and a young American diplomat with a moral conscience. Different as they were, both men shared a willingness to risk their lives in the name of justice."

Ex-Black Panther Leader Elaine Brown Slams Stanley Nelson's ‘Condemnable' Documentary: Minimizing the role of Huey Newton, founder of the Party, along with Bobby Seale, Nelson elevates the role in the Party of Eldridge Cleaver - who individually did more to try to destroy the Party than the U.S. government. This elevation of Cleaver is a clue to the point of Nelson's 'documentary' - to produce a piece of provocative propaganda worthy of the FBI itself. Though Cleaver was but a fleeting darling of the establishment press who was in the Party for no more than a year or so before being expelled, footage of Cleaver and 'Cleaverites' overwhelms almost half of Nelson's two-hour film.

Spocko's review: "Michael Moore Steals Other Countries' Ideas In Where To Invade Next." The irony is that these are all ideas that were American, that started in our country and were copied by others. But they worked so well that the aristocracy fought back to throw them out.

Letter to The New York Times: "My name is Lorelei Lee and I'm an adult film performer who has worked in the industry for fifteen years. I read your article, 'Actors in Pornographic Films Fight Proposal to Enforce Safety Regulations,' and I am writing to say: how dare you."

"Got yourself an all-white panel? Just click on rentaminority.com: I set up a spoof website to joke about the frustrating way we deal with diversity. The response - applicants seriously trying to hire a minority to keep up corporate appearances - proves that we need more than a punchline."

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, Saturday, March 4, 1865

In other blasts from the past, some might think this is evidence of how crazy the GOP has become compared to the one we used to have (and that's true), but more registered Republicans than you might think still oppose the idea of the judgement of politicians being substituted for that of their doctors. But in 1982, a Republican Senator led a real filibuster against an abortion debate before Jesse Helms could get it off the ground. Those were the days, eh?

Colbert has some fun when Chris Hayes misspeaks. Maybe he was hungry at the time. I was by the time I finished watching. This one's for the LGBLT community!

NASA's Giving Away Brilliant Space Travel Posters For Free.

* Harper Lee, Author of To Kill A Mockingbird, Dead at 89. You all know I've read the book over and over through the years. I still recommend it, it's still my favorite.
* Umberto Eco, 84, Best-Selling Academic Who Navigated Two Worlds, Dies

Katie Halper's response to Gloria Steinem's little faux pas makes great use of Connie Francis' "Where The Boys Are" as a whole bunch of women endorse Bernie Sanders.

14 February 2016

I think you move me

PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate , Milwaukee.
* Vox says, "Hillary Clinton finally found her argument against Bernie Sanders" when she closed by saying she was not a single-issue candidate. Actually, she is - her entire message is that she is the proper custodian of the status quo.

Bernie Sanders speech at the Forum on Race and Economic Opportunity.

To no one's surprise, Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire by a significant margin - 22 points (60.4% Sanders, 38.0% Clinton). Oh, yeah, and Trump won, too, with 35.3% and Kasich suddenly pulling into the spotlight with 15.8% in second place.
* "Bernie Sanders Wins Every Demographic Group" in New Hampshire primary. Well, not every - the people with lots of money really liked Hillary better.
* "Bernie Sanders won 2,095 votes in the New Hampshire Republican primary." Hillary Clinton won 540. In the Democratic primary, 1,795 write-in votes went to Trump.

"Ron Paul says Ted Cruz is no libertarian and Bernie Sanders is the most free-market."

Marcy Wheeler: "Biased Pluralism and the Defense of 'Reality' in the Democratic Primary: Last week, I pointed to a problem with Jonathan Chait's defense of Hillary Clinton's 'pluralistic' approach to governance, noting that in an era of weak labor organization, such an approach leaves out the views of the great majority of working people, precisely the kinds of people Bernie Sanders is attracting." But the rich and powerful are the ones who really have the muscle and get what they want.
* "Hillary Clinton Says Obama Took On Wall Street. The Facts Don't Back Her Up. [...] But Clinton's claim about Obama 'taking on Wall Street' isn't borne out by the numbers, which indicate prosecutions of financial and other professionalized crimes in the United States are at their lowest level in 20 years."
* "Hillary Clinton's Pay-for-Play Reality" - You know, Clinton talks a lot about Dodd-Frank, but it seems to have no teeth when it comes to constraining the big banks, yet it does constrain community banks. Think about that.
* "New Emails Show Press Literally Taking Orders From Hillary"
* "Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote"
* "Hillary Clinton's DLC Problem"
* Corey Robin asks, "Is Hillary Clinton Running the Most Cynical Campaign in Recent History?" I dunno, it's kinda hard to beat Obama on cynicism. But this is the DLC for you.

"The Democratic National Committee, headed by the massively unpopular Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has just lifted the last restrictions preventing the DNC from receiving direct contributions from Wall Street and special interest lobbyists."

* "Jay Carney: Obama wants Clinton to win."

Erica Garner's powerful video explaining why she supports Bernie Sanders. On Facebook, she wrote: "Last week we made a commercial to express to the world exactly why I am endorsing Bernie Sanders for President. The Sanders team allowed me and my team full creative control of this video so this message is 100% my message and my views! They had a totally different idea of what should be done, but true to form with Senator Sanders, he listened to me, didn't tell me he knew better and I was not practical and this is what we produced. The Senator didn't reach out to me all of a sudden because he needs help with Black people. He didn't put out a press conference announcing that we would be working together. He didn't force me to frame my support of him around a subject matter that special interest groups that support him can get behind. They said we are glad to have your support, how do you want to plug in. You will see a lot of Black leaders handing out endorsements, think to yourself, have they historically been a rubber stamp for the establishment? I hope this expresses why I think Bernie is our guy!"
* "Bernie Sanders' campaign just released a video that will give you goosebumps."
* The Bernie Sanders era is upon us: Why Iowa was a watershed moment for American politics

"Why Bernie Sanders Is Not George McGovern" - It shouldn't be necessary to say this, but Nixon was the incumbent, which makes a huge difference. And staying the course probably seemed a great idea to a middle-class (the real kind - working people!) that was rich by any historical standard, before or since. This is a very different time.
* "What Do You Mean ‘Sanders Might Be Another George McGovern’?" This story leaves out the back-stabbing inside the Democratic Party, but yeah. Oh, and Nixon was red-baiting long before 1972.

"Hillary Clinton Endorsed By Congressional Black Caucus's Corporate-Backed Political Arm: The political action committee of the Congressional Black Caucus announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Thursday, giving the former secretary of state a potential boost in her bid to win over the African-American electorate in South Carolina and other coming primary states. The endorsement, however, quickly became a flashpoint, as one prominent congressman alleged that the group's leadership did not consult fellow caucus members about the decision. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, noted that the Congressional Black Caucus itself has not issued a presidential endorsement, and asserted that the CBC's separate PAC 'endorsed without input from CBC membership, including me.' As documented by the Intercept and the Street, Clinton has secured wide backing from Washington-based political groups who do not permit their rank-and-file membership to vote on presidential endorsements, while Sanders has secured the backing of groups that do allow members to vote." But Barbara Lee refrains from endorsing.

"Regulating Banks vs. Displacing Them: Where Clinton and Sanders Disagree on Wall Street [...] They believe in different roles for the financial sector in the economy. And, yes, campaign finance factors in heavily, as Sanders wants to radically change the financial institutions at the core of our financial sector, while Clinton, still surrounded by the same status quo corporate and investment banking advisers, wants to largely leave them be and regulate them more stringently."
* "Hillary Clinton's Attitude Toward Wall Street Is Subjective [...] But I remain skeptical. I tend to subtract Mrs. Clinton's more recent left-leaning policy proposals. Consider her first major tax proposal of the campaign, on capital gains. Rather than suggest that we abolish the capital gains preference, she proposed a gradual step-down in rates depending on the length of time an investor holds assets, with the lowest rate of 20 percent available after five years. I find this approach troubling because it would do little to address top-end income inequality, which is exacerbated by the lower rate of tax on long-term capital gains, much of which is generated by the sale of assets with long holding periods."

Ta-Nahesi Coates is still unable to go along with Sanders on reparations, but nevertheless, it seems, he is feeling the Bern.
* "Hillary Is ‘Confused About Feminism,' Bernie Supporters Say."
* "The Tragedy of Hillary Clinton (and Her Generation) [...] The Clintons are insiders now, their personal wealth of over $50 million derived nearly entirely from the wealthy and powerful. And it shows. Hillary's gradualism in health care carefully protects health-related industries. Her proposals for financial regulation do not include putting executives in jail, or confiscating the wealth they obtained by theft. Ironically, Bernie Sanders apparently feels that he must tread carefully here, because being fully direct about this issue would require criticizing President Obama. So Mrs. Clinton might just get away with pretending to be the reformer she once was."

Lambert on Corruption: "Clinton on releasing transcripts of her Goldman speeches: 'Let everybody who's ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release them. We'll all release them at the same time' [Raw Story]. First, 'everybody' isn't running for President; Clinton is. Second, Clinton basically proves Sanders' point: The political class, with rare exceptions, is deeply corrupt; hence the omerta Clinton is implicitly invoking and depending on. If they won't release them, it's for the same reason Clinton won't. Contemporaneous paraphrase of Clinton's remarks: 'We all got into this mess together, and we're all going to have to work together to get out of it.' No, we didn't. And no, we haven't. Somebody should ask Clinton if she's seen The Big Short and, if so, whether she agrees with Sanders that the Wall Street business model is based on fraud (yes, he went there)."

"Henry Kissinger's War Crimes Are Central to the Divide Between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: The sparring during Thursday's Democratic presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over whether Henry Kissinger is an elder statesman or a pariah has laid bare a major foreign policy divide within the Democratic Party."
* "A Key Divide Between Clinton and Sanders Supporters: Income"

Here's a good idea: Use the debates to talk about making it easier for everyone to vote.

"Rep. Mary Lou Marzian files bill requiring extra doctor visit before prescribing erectile dysfunction drugs: Prompted by the passage of an 'informed consent' abortion law in Kentucky, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, filed a bill this week that would require a patient to have two office visits with a doctor before erectile dysfunction medication could be prescribed. In addition, the bill would allow the drug to be obtained only by married men who swear on a Bible that they'll use the drug exclusively when having sexual relations with their spouse."

"If TPP is Progressive, Why Must White House Rely on 'Republican Friendly Organizations' to Sell It?"

"Leaked police files contain guarantees disciplinary records will be kept secret."

"FBI Joins Flint Water Probe - Investigation Now A Criminal Matter."

"Why a bunch of Silicon Valley investors are suddenly interested in universal basic income"

Bill Black thought The Big Short was a fun film, even though it glorifies bankers and ignores unsung whistleblowers.

Tom Tomorrow: "Will Bernie Sanders Redistribute Your Wealth? And other pressing questions from this primary season|

"Apple under pressure as lawyers pledge action over 'Error 53' codes"

"Democrats Override Governor's Veto - Restore Voting Rights To Maryland's Released Felons." This is great news, make no mistake. (But I'd like to take this opportunity to kvetch that this is how bad the Democrats are that they keep letting Republicans back into the governor's mansion in Maryland, for godssakes.)

"ACTION ALERT: Stop Mega-Cable Merger to Avoid a Second Comcast: Americans are divided in many ways, but there are some points of convergence - one of which seems to be hatred of the cable company Comcast. Notoriously terrible customer service, a pricing system described as 'absurd' and a stranglehold on internet speeds garner the cable behemoth a remarkable amount of dislike and distrust, which played a role in the quashing of its recent effort to merge with perennial runner-up for worst company in America, Time Warner Cable. You'd think it would be bigger news, therefore, that Americans who hate Comcast largely for reasons related to its very bigness are now facing the possibility of, essentially, another Comcast. The harms from a possible merger between Time Warner, Charter Communications and Bright House Networks were detailed in a piece for BillMoyers.com (2/4/16) by Michael Copps."

"This is how America rations health care" - Apparently, the guy in this story is not close enough to being terminal - yet - to be in the "medically necessary" category, so no cure.

"The Top 10 Most Inhuman Henry Kissinger Quotes" - I seem to remember him saying worse things, actually...
* "Henry Kissinger's genocidal legacy: Vietnam, Cambodia and the birth of American militarism"

Dean Baker writing in 2012: "Inequality: The silly tales economists like to tell [...] But economists are not rewarded for studying the economy. That is why almost everyone in the profession missed the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which stands to cost the country more than $7 trillion in lost output according to the Congressional Budget Office (that comes to around $60,000 per household). Few if any economists lost their 6-figure paychecks for this disastrous mistake. But most economists are not paid for knowing about the economy. They are paid for telling stories that justify giving more money to rich people. Hence we can look forward to many more people telling us that all the money going to the rich was just the natural workings of the economy. When it comes to all the government rules and regulations that shifted income upward, they just don't know what you're talking about."

Ask Matt Bevin about your vagina.

"Paul McCartney to regain rights to Beatles songs currently owned by Michael Jackson" - if he lives that long. "According to the US Copyright Act of 1976, songwriters are able to regain control of publishing rights on pre-1978 compositions after 56 years … which means that the former Beatle will be able to regain control over Beatles compositions from 1962 in 2018 and songs from 1970 in 2026. McCartney only has to wait until he is 76, just a mere nine years from now, and he'll be making even more money."

* "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia found dead at West Texas ranch." I like the way the headline uses "found dead", as if it might be a murder. OK, yes, I'm not going to pretend I'm sorry this monster is no longer on the Supreme Court. But I'm worried about Obama appointing another damned neoliberal.
* Robin Chandler Duke, Philanthropist Who Championed Women's Rights, Dies at 92. "She was the national co-chairwoman of the Population Crisis Committee/Draper Fund, which financed International Planned Parenthood; the president and, later, the chairwoman of the National Abortion Rights Action League; the president of its successor, Naral Pro-Choice America; a founder of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities; and the chairwoman of Population Action International."

Petition to make the Ackermansion an historic site: "The Ackermansion now faces the threat of demolition. A petition to the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission asks to have it designated an historic monument."

Lego Architecture Skyline Collection
* Prefab Hobbit houses
* "Murals from Silhouetted Figures
* Intricately Detailed Papercut Designs by RIU
* Quilled Paper Art by Sena Runa
* Photorealistic Paintings by Hirothropologie
* Landscapes by Gürel Sahin
* Landscapes by Ilja Masík

The Beatles, "Love Me Do"

The Troggs, "Wild Thing"

10 February 2016

Just nod if you can hear me

Stuart Zechman and Avedon Carol discussed the incredibly annoying primaries on Virtually Speaking Sundays. Homework includes Gloria Steinhem's original statement on Bill Maher, but she did come to her senses and walk it back, later.

FULL MSNBC Democratic Debate: Hillary Clinton VS Bernie Sanders - New Hampshire Feb. 4, 2016
* As if Peter Daou claiming Hillary was not the establishment wasn't bizarre enough, Hillary Clinton actually said these words during the debate: "Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment." Er, no, pretty much everyone else thinks you're the establishment, Madame Secretary.
* "Clinton Accuses Sanders of 'Artful Smear' for Questioning Why Wall Street Gives Her Millions" It's not a smear, it's a fact that they give her free money. They didn't give it to her because they thought she was going to make a brilliant speech they were dying to hear. They gave it to her because they recognized one of their own with the only thing they place a real value on. (Or as Weldon Berger put it on Facebook, "They give her money because they're comfortable with her, and she takes it because she's comfortable with them. They're in the same club. I think that's why she has so much trouble answering why she takes the money: the question just doesn't make any sense to her.")
* Clinton managed to look better than Sanders on foreign policy this time, but then she bragged about getting compliments from Henry Kissinger, which may have reminded people just what kind of "experience" and "expertise" she really has. It's a shame Sanders didn't look at her and say, "Really? Henry Kissinger? The famous war criminal?" But Hillary's approach to foreign policy in the past really doesn't recommend it for our future; even now, she has trouble tamping down her tendency to belligerent, aggressive language that exposes a penchant for martial confrontation rather than other solutions. Her sympathizers and detractors alike tend to assume her Iraq vote was cynical, something she "had to" do to prove she was as "tough" as any man and necessary if she ever wanted to run for president. But she was strangely reluctant for a very long time to admit that it was unwise. And maybe that's because she actually believed in that war and wasn't just voting cynically. That's actually not a good thing.
* Sam Seder and Cliff Schecter made some good criticisms on both sides Friday on The Majority Report.
* The Young Turks discuss the foreign policy segment of the Democratic debate.
* Even Booman seems to be having qualms about the Wall Street issue.

Lori Wallach: Signing of TPP Marks Only Beginning of the Fight, Trade Deal Could Still Be Stopped: "Well, the signing locks the legal text, so, in a sense, it's the end of negotiations. But it's really just the beginning of the fight. The TPP is a 5,000-page doorstop, unless Congress approves it and then whomever is president signs it. So, the first thing all of us who are concerned about TPP need to do is make sure that every member of Congress is now publicly saying they're against it, they will not support this agreement. There's no more time for generalities or vague statements. There's a signed text now, so they have to take a decision."
* TPP signed in New Zealand, - but not ratified, and the question is whether the new president of the United States will be signing when the time comes. "As we learned recently, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tom Donohue thinks the vote will take place after the election - because it can't pass otherwise - and also thinks that if Hillary Clinton is president, she'll support it. Which suggests a number of questions. First, is Donohue right? Does he know some insider something we don't know?"
* "It's Not Just TPP. Can a President Kill NAFTA? Al Gore Thought So. Hillary Clinton Too." Al Gore said we can get out of it in six months. In 2008, Hillary said she would insist on renegotiating it. Bernie has pledged not to sign TPP. Where's Clinton, now?
* "Study: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Cost US a Half Million Jobs, Drag Down GDP." And that's not even the worst thing.
* Robert Reich takes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
* Senator Elizabeth Warren says Congress should oppose the TPP deal.
* One Million Anti-TPP Petitions Delivered to Congress
* "If TPP is Progressive, Why Must White House Rely on 'Republican Friendly Organizations' to Sell It?"
* Bernie Sanders at TPP Press Conference

"Exclusive: Presidential hopefuls Sanders, Clinton in dead heat - Reuters/Ipsos poll: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has erased Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's wide lead for the Democratic presidential nomination since the start of year, putting the two in a dead heat nationally, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Clinton leads Sanders 48 percent to 45 percent among Democratic voters, according to the poll of 512 Americans, conducted Feb. 2-5 following the Iowa caucus. The poll has a credibility interval of 5 percentage points."
* "Hillary Clinton Losing Her National Lead Over Bernie Sanders, Poll Shows: Hillary Clinton's strong national lead over Sanders is essentially gone and, instead, the Democratic race is incredibly close, according to a national Quinnipiac poll released today. Clinton received 44 percent of support while Sanders can boast about 42 percent, his highest support in any national poll to date."

Marcy Kaptur: "Comparing Sanders to former President Harry Truman, Kaptur said, 'In many ways, his struggle in this campaign is very noble, because he is up against the most powerful forces, economic forces, that have caused so much harm... They'll try to diminish him. I admire the fact that he's running, that he is an agent of change in our society, and he doesn't have the billionaire class lined up behind him. He's a senator from Vermont.'"

"Elizabeth Warren Defends Bernie Sanders From Goldman Sachs Criticism: In an interview with International Business Times hours before Wednesday night's Democratic town hall in New Hampshire, the Massachusetts senator - whose endorsement is coveted by both Democratic candidates - slammed Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein for asserting earlier in the day that Sanders' criticism of Wall Street had created a dangerous environment in America. 'He thinks it's fine to prosecute small business owners, it's fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don't criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO - that's what he's really saying,' Warren told IBT. [...] 'In the financial crisis of 2008, it was fraud right down at the heart of that crisis, and yet not one major bank executive was even charged, much less prosecuted and taken to trial - not one,' she said. Noting that the federal government prosecuted hundreds of Wall Street executives after the Savings and Loan scandal a few decades ago, she said, 'You're telling me that something changed between the 1980s, when more than a thousand people got prosecuted in the Savings and Loan crisis, but by 2008, a far bigger financial crisis involving far bigger and bolder frauds, that no one was legally responsible for that? That's just not possible.'"

Former Clinton administration counselor Bill Curry says, "It's almost over for Hillary: This election is a mass insurrection against a rigged system: Sanders has ended the coronation and fired up the grass roots. Now Clinton's electability argument is crumbling too. [...] The core of Clinton's realpolitik brief pertains not to electability but to governance. Her point is that Sanders is naïve. She says none of his proposals can get though a Republican Congress. She strongly implies that he'd roll back Obamacare, a charge that is false, cynical and so nonsensical she'll have to stop making it soon. She says she has a plan to get to universal health care - she doesn't - and that she'll do it by working 'in partnership' with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Who's being naïve here? A Republican Congress won't pass any of her ideas either. The only way to get real change is to elect Democrats to Congress and have a grass-roots movement strong enough to keep the heat on them. Nor will insurers cough up a dime of profit without a fight. Vowing to spare us a 'contentious debate' over single-payer care she ignores the admonition of Frederick Douglas; 'Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.' There has been a lot of talk lately about what a progressive is. Here's a hint: if you think Douglas is wrong, you might not be one."

David Cay Johnston says: "You agree with Bernie Sanders (but you might not know it)."

David Dayen in TNR says "Bernie's Army Is Running for Congress: Sanders Democrats like Nevada's Lucy Flores aim to amplify the Vermont senator's uncompromising message in Washington - and move the party in a populist direction." This is good, of course, but we need good people running all the way down to dog-catcher. The Democrats have no farm team anymore.

Lee Fang, "Pharma Executives Worry About Presidential Candidates Demanding Reform: Responding to tough talk by presidential candidates about price gouging by drug companies, pharmaceutical executives have told investors that they are working actively to influence the political debate. And in a move that reveals how much leeway drug firms actually have over pricing decisions, some are even saying that they have minimized price hikes in recent months to avoid attracting attention. Democratic contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both called for the government to do much more to bring down the price of medications. And last week, Republican candidate Donald Trump came out in support of allowing Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices, a move that places him even to the left of some leaders in the Democratic Party."

"The Pressure on Warren to Support Hillary Clinton" - It seems someone has been leaning on Democratic women to lean on Warren to endorse Hillary. I like it that Warren has resisted so far, it means at the very least that she's got leverage.

Benjamin Studebaker: "Why Bernie vs Hillary Matters More Than People Think: Lately the internet has become full of arguments about the merits and demerits of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Over the past couple weeks, I've been discussing and pondering all the various views about this, and I'm increasingly of the opinion that most of the people engaging in this debate don't really understand what is at stake in the democratic primary. This is in part because many Americans don't really understand the history of American left wing politics and don't think about policy issues in a holistic, structural way. So in this post, I want to really dig into what the difference is between Bernie and Hillary and why that difference is extremely important. [...] Many people think that it is the Republican Party alone that is responsible for this, but beginning in 1976 with Jimmy Carter, the Democratic Party was captured by this same ideology, which in academic circles is often referred to as neoliberalism. It is now largely forgotten that it was Carter, not Reagan, who began deregulating the market. Indeed, in during the 1976 democratic primary, there was an ABC movement - Anybody But Carter. Democrats who remained committed to the party's egalitarian ideology rightly feared that Carter was too right wing and would effectively strip the party of its historical commitment to the continuation and expansion of the legacy of FDR and LBJ. However, they ran too many candidates against Carter, splitting the left vote and allowing Carter to win the nomination. [...] Hillary Clinton is a neoliberal building on the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. She doesn't understand the pivotal role inequality plays in creating economic crisis and reducing economic growth. She has been taken in by a fundamentally right wing paradigm, and if she is elected she will continue to lead the Democratic Party down that path."

David Dayen in Salon, "The Democratic Primary miracle: Why Sanders vs. Clinton is just the beginning" For the first time in ages, a primary is centered around substantive differences. It's a bigger deal than you think."

Interview with Liza Featherstone, editor of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton, on why Clinton's elite feminism does not serve women: "Well, faux feminism is a bit of hyperbole, because of course--of course all kinds of revolting ideologies are part of feminism. I can't say only my feminism is the real feminism. I'm kind of kidding about that, a little. But what I do think is that that sort of feminism is not actually serious about improving the vast majority of women's lives, that what Hillary represents--what I mean by faux feminism is that it's elite feminism, so it is only going to serve a few. So you know, elite women who may cheer, you know, the symbolic lifting of the glass ceiling that Hillary represents. But on the other hand what her record represents is, as I say in the piece, a contempt for the kind of social democratic policies that most women need."

"Top Hillary Clinton Advisers and Fundraisers Lobbied Against Obamacare - and Dodd-Frank, too. "Most of the Clinton campaign fundraisers who lobbied on Dodd-Frank did not respond to a request for comment. When asked about the work, Tony Podesta emailed us to say, 'Call B of A.' An inquiry to Bank of America was not returned. There are other lobbyists on the Clinton campaign staff. T. LaDavia Drane, the Clinton campaign's director of African-American outreach, previously worked as a lobbyist for a trade group that represents Pepsico and Hershey on issues related to obesity and advertising to children. Jeff Berman, a senior Clinton campaign official who is leading her delegate strategy, previously worked as a lobbyist for the private prison firm Geo Group, seeking to influence the federal budget, as well as working for TransCanada to help secure approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline."

Naked Capitalism: "Krugman's Cowardly, Dishonest Attack on David Dayen Over Krugman's Misrepresentation of Sanders' Financial Reforms [...] The Krugman that was early to stand up to the Iraq War, who was incisive before and during the crisis has been very much in absence since Obama took office. It's hard to understand the loss of intellectual independence. That may not make Krugman any worse than other Democratic party apparatchiks, but he continues to believe he is other than that, and the lashing out at Dayen looks like a wounded denial of his role. In other words, as much as Krugman's tantrum is so transparently off beam as to warrant ridicule, and as much it might seem fair minded to give Krugman and Konczal the benefit of the doubt and depict them as hostages of their own self-styled wonkery, that's just falling for their protective coloring. Their whole argument is political, Hillary is pragmatic and polls better, etc (check out the extreme passive aggressive way Krugman traffics in Clinton talking points about how Bernie is unelectable). They really believe in political corruption as long as Democrats and technocrats are in charge, which is why Hillary's speaking fees from Wall Street aren't even worth a mention. They believe in Scalia's logic on Citizens United. That's why Konczal defends the Peterson donations to Roosevelt; he really has a right-wing dystopian understanding of corruption and power, that might makes right. In their case, that ‘might' is the professionalism of technocracy, and choosing who to ignore is their divine right.

Elizabeth Warren in the NYT last week: "One Way to Rebuild Our Institutions: WHILE presidential candidates from both parties feverishly pitch their legislative agendas, voters should also consider what presidents can do without Congress. Agency rules, executive actions and decisions about how vigorously to enforce certain laws will have an impact on every American, without a single new bill introduced in Congress. [...] In a single year, in case after case, across many sectors of the economy, federal agencies caught big companies breaking the law - defrauding taxpayers, covering up deadly safety problems, even precipitating the financial collapse in 2008 - and let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist. Often, companies paid meager fines, which some will try to write off as a tax deduction. The failure to adequately punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country. Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a C.E.O. who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars."

My favorite part of this video about the carried interest loophole is the guy who moans that people like him are being singled out and they, and only they, will be forced to pay the same rates as everyone else. That's a good one.

When Mark Blessington lined up presidents in terms of how great the increase in income disparity became during the their terms in office, Reagan was, unsurprisingly, the worst. But: "The Sad Legacy of Compromise Democrats [...] Regardless of any rationale one can conjure in support of the Clinton administration's key economic decisions, the record is clear: income disparity increased significantly during his two terms as president. Indeed, the damage was greater than what was done by Nixon, George W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush combined! The biggest surprise of all is with the Obama administration: it has the second worst record in nearly 50 years. How could this be? At the start of his first term he had 58% of Congress and won nearly 53% of the popular vote."

"American Medical Association votes to BAN prescription drug commercials: AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris said that the vote 'reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions,' specifically railing on the drug companies getting people hooked on expensive drugs." That ban used to be how things were, and everyone understood why. And then one day, we began the long and hair-tearingly stupid march to "thinking outside the box" and falling off the edge. It's nice to know the AMA has come back to its senses on this issue.

"California Attorney General Files Charges Over L.A.'s Natural Gas Leak: California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that she has filed a lawsuit against Southern California Gas Company, alleging the company failed to report the massive methane leak near Los Angeles in a timely manner. The natural gas, which has been treated with an odorant called mercaptan, is making local residents sick. Since the leak began in October, some 3,000 families have been evacuated from the Porter Ranch neighborhood, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. "

"FBI joins investigation into Flint water contamination crisis [...] Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, said in an email that federal prosecutors in Michigan are 'working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA's Office of Inspector General - and the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division.'"
* "Michigan inmates pledge to donate a third of their monthly incomes to help Flint: 'Literally everyone raised their hand to commit to give at least $3,' Senghor said. That might not sound like a lot to most people, but for a prison inmate, it's nothing to sneeze at. Many inmates make only about $10 a month at their prison jobs, Senghor said. Those without families supporting them have to use that to buy all of their toiletries and other supplies at the commissary."

"Federal court strikes down NC congressional district maps: RALEIGH, N.C. - Three federal judges on Friday threw out the congressional voting maps the Republican-led General Assembly drew five years ago, ruling that two districts were gerrymandered along racial lines. The ruling throws the March 15 primary into chaos, as the judges ordered state lawmakers to redraw the maps within two weeks and not to hold any elections for U.S. House until the maps are in place. A special session of the legislature would have to be called to approve new maps, and they might have to pass federal muster again."

Toys for psychopaths: "Smarter smart bombs, mini railguns, and swarming robot boats to watch man-made islands are a few of the key technology areas that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sees as vital to U.S. military superiority in the next decade. In a preview of the Pentagon's upcoming 2017 budget request, Carter said military research and development spending would rise to $71.4 billion from last year's $71.3 billion request.) Carter also listed areas where the Defense Department was already seeing 'returns' on R&D spending through the Strategic Capabilities Office, or SCO." Can't afford schools, potable water, or health care, though.

Brad Friedman and Bev Harris on voting issues in Iowa, New Hampshire, and beyond - It should tell you a lot about the Democratic leadership that even after 2000, they have never made an issue of this.

"Angela Merkel surprised by massive protest march against TTIP in Berlin: BERLIN (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Berlin on Saturday in protest against a planned free trade deal between Europe and the United States that they say is anti-democratic and will lower food safety, labor and environmental standards."

"UK Rejects UN Ruling that Assange Detention Is Illegal: After the UN finds Assange to be arbitrarily detained, Assange attorney Carey Shenkman explains how the UK is undermining the authority of the UN while simultaneously relying on it to release detained UK citizens"

Sex panic police: "Police investigate West Midlands pupils over 'sexting'"

"Why a bunch of Silicon Valley investors are suddenly interested in universal basic income"

"Soldiers who've fought in Afghanistan, what preconceptions did you have that turned out to be completely wrong?"

* It's a bit sad that two of the original members of Jefferson Airplane died at once, but since she left after their first album, most people don't remember their original singer, Signe Anderson, who has died at 74, and they didn't notice that she died on the same day as Paul Kantner. (That Rolling Stone obit has all the videos I would have posted.)
* Maurice White dead: Earth, Wind & Fire founder dies aged 74, after his condition from Parkinson's disease deteriorated. An alumna of Chess Records sessions work, he backed up numerous major stars before finally forming his own legendary ensemble.

So, all this time everyone thought you had to have exotic tropical woods to get good sound quality in guitars, and it doesn't seem to be the case.

Science says: Eat cheese to be healthy.

Majestic photos from Chile by Andy Lee
* Angela Clayton Sews Beautiful Historically-Inspired Dresses.
* Snow spray window art

David Gilmour and David Bowie, "Comfortably Numb", live.

03 February 2016


Gaius Publius and Isaiah Poole discussed what the Clinton versus Sanders race is really about on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

The Iowa caucasers upset Nate Silver's prediction of a decisive Clinton win, but didn't give Sanders one, either. Having closely watched Silver's figures as the polls had Sanders closing on Clinton, I'm not terribly surprised that Sanders didn't have that decisive victory - Clinton had been consistently ahead all along after all. However, the gap was closing fast in the last week and the hair's-breadth near-tie didn't surprise me, either. I can't help feeling that if the caucuses had been held a week later, Bernie might have come out ahead. And whatever anyone else tells you, it is a victory when the candidate no one took seriously a month or two ago ends up nearly beating the "inevitable" contender. Do not expect the Democratic establishment to take the right message from this, but the idea that Sanders is "unelectable" is losing force more and more every day.
* "Sanders: 'Virtual Tie' in Iowa Sends Establishment a Profound Message: Sanders acknowledges 'cautious optimism,' but observers recognize key role early victory may have for campaign that has made 'political revolution' its calling card."
* Martin O'Malley could turn out to be the real tie-breaker if he releases his voters, most of whom appear to be Sanders leaners. It seems so far he's not releasing, probably hoping to broker a deal, but we'll see if this amounts to anything.

Iowa Democratic Presidential Town Hall Forum by CNN 01-25-2016

I have never in my life seen a march in support of a political candidate, but there actually was one: "'March for Bernie' Is an Occupy Wall Street Homecoming."

"Sanders challenges Clinton to 3 new debates
* "Sanders calls for more debates - on his own terms"
* Hillary and Bernie agree to four more debates: "DNC moving to assert control as more Democratic debates agreed"
* DNC sanctions new debate: "MSNBC announced Sunday that it will hold a Democratic presidential debate Thursday, Feb. 4, in New Hampshire ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary. The debate will take place at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at 9 p.m. Eastern and be moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow. All three Democratic presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley are expected to attend. The Democratic National Committee, which has been under pressure from voters and candidates to add more debates to the primary schedule, has said the debate will be sanctioned and is moving towards sanctioning additional debates with the agreement of the candidates.

"The ugliest Bernie smear yet: Washington Post shows its corporate colors with new Sanders hit piece. [...] As I've written elsewhere, establishment gatekeeping - which make no mistake, The Washington Post is doing - is based on a tautology: Sanders can't change people's minds because serious people don't think it will work and we're serious people. Maybe the Post is right, maybe it's not, but bold policy initiatives are not all or nothing. The idea that Sanders' proposals must be adopted wholesale or not at all is a fallacy; no one thinks the U.S. will have single-payer healthcare overnight with a President Sanders, but this strawman is presented as the case. Of course, compromises will be made, as they always are, but how does starting a negotiation with a principled stand harm anyone? It doesn't, except for those heavily invested in maintaining the conventional wisdom that single payer - though entirely standard in almost every other developing nation - is a laughable fantasy here in the United States."
* Dean Baker, "Washington Post Doubles Down with Name Calling on Sanders.[...] Getting to the substance, the Post is unhappy with Sanders proposal for single payer health insurance which it argues will cost far more or deliver much less than promised. While the Post is correct that Sanders has put forward a campaign proposal rather than a fully worked out health reform bill, it is not unreasonable to think that we can get considerably more coverage at a lower cost than we pay now. After all, there is nothing in our national psyche that should condemn us to forever pay twice as much per person for our health care as people in other wealthy countries. (I have written more about this issue here.)" Which is pretty rich anyway, since Clinton hasn't produced a fully worked out health reform bill, either - just a campaign proposal.

Katrina vanden Heuvel in the WaPo saying, "Bernie Sanders is the realist we should elect [...] But this conventional wisdom clashes with the reality that this country has suffered serial devastations from choices supported by the establishment's 'responsible' candidates. On fundamental issue after issue, it is the candidate 'of the heart' who is in fact grounded in common sense."

Atrios on Obamacare: "I think Daniel Denvir is basically right here. Overall, Obamacare is an improvement (the Medicaid expansion especially, some other provisions of the law) but the Rube Goldberg mostly shitty insurance exchanges have just solidified the worst of our health care system. It isn't just not super popular because the tea party hates it, it's because our health insurance system is crap. And while detaching it from employment is in theory a good thing, it also means that people can't call their HR/benefits person, someone with at least a little leverage, to fight their insurance battles for them. Nothing is possible as long as Republicans run Congress, so it's time to talk about what we want to happen without pretending that anything actually can happen, because right now it can't." He's referencing the article "Bernie Sanders is right about Obamacare: Here's why it's time to talk about single-payer." And this isn't the only Congress we will ever have, so it might be possible - even within four years - if we start talking about it now.

"Meet the New Harry and Louise: Vox's attack on Bernie Sanders is sold as a policy critique. It's actually a dishonest exercise in managing the Democratic Party base."
* Marcy Wheeler: "The Virgin Birth of Obama's Wonk Core: There's a telling paragraph in this post from Ezra Klein, one of a series of posts written lately by self-described 'wonks' defending the electoral and political approach Hillary Clinton embraces."

"Why People Around the World are Rooting for Bernie Sanders [...] Apart from the economic and political influence that it exercises globally, the US has a strong ideological impact on the world too. American soft power has been especially devastating in terms of its export of neoliberal ideology, wherein corporates are the preferred vehicle for economic activity, even in the social sector, with the role of governments relegated to smaller and smaller niches. If Bernie Sanders becomes the next president of the United States, free health, education, and a decent minimum wage - and a clear message to big business to rein in its economic greed and political aspirations - can be expected to become strong elements of US national policy. This will hit at the very heart of the neoliberal global establishment. It could significantly weaken this establishment's ideological strength, which it currently packages so well that it has been able to sell it successfully to a very big part of the global population, especially the middle and aspirational classes."

"A Non-Neoliberal Woman President Is Not One of the Choices."

"Bernie Sanders and the Rising of We the People" - Nice inclusion of a video of Tracy Chapman doing "The Times They Are A Changing".

Cory Robin on "What the Clintons Mean to Me: Maybe this is a generational thing, but this is what the Clintons will always mean to me: Sister Souljah, Ricky Ray Rector, welfare reform, and the crime bill. And beyond - really, behind - all that, the desperate affirmation to win over white voters by declaring: We are not the Party of Jesse Jackson, We are not the Rainbow Coalition. People don't seem to remember just how much the Clintons' national ascendancy was premised upon the repudiation of black voters and black interests - a move that was both inspired and applauded by a small but influential group of Beltway journalists and party strategists, who believed this was the only path to taking back the White House from the Republicans - but for me, it's vivid as yesterday. [...] What's more, white people got the message: according to polls, white voters were more familiar with Clinton's attack on Sister Souljah than they were with his economic plan. So did black people: though they voted for Clinton, their share of the total voter turnout fell by 20% from 1988, when they cast their ballots for Michael Dukakis (and accounted for 20% of the vote for him and 10% of total turnout), and 1992, when they cast their ballots for Clinton (and accounted for 15% of the vote for him and 8% of total turnout)."
* "Black Lives Shattered: How the Clintons Built Their Legacy on White Supremacy"
* Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, on Hillary Clinton's Embrace of Mass Incarceration: If anyone doubts that the mainstream media fails to tell the truth about our political system (and its true winners and losers), the spectacle of large majorities of black folks supporting Hillary Clinton in the primary races ought to be proof enough. I can't believe Hillary would be coasting into the primaries with her current margin of black support if most people knew how much damage the Clintons have done - the millions of families that were destroyed the last time they were in the White House thanks to their boastful embrace of the mass incarceration machine and their total capitulation to the right-wing narrative on race, crime, welfare and taxes. There's so much more to say on this topic and it's a shame that more people aren't saying it. I think it's time we have that conversation."

Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, whose father was choked to death by a cop on Staten Island in broad daylight, endorses: "Black lives like my father's should matter. That's why I'm endorsing Bernie Sanders. I want a leader who truly cares about justice for my family, for black people and for all Americans. [...] That's why I resent politicians who speak their names without confronting the underlying problem: a banned chokehold was used on my father, several officers on the scene let it happen, my father is dead and Pantaleo is still on NYPD's payroll because black lives don't necessarily matter to everyone in America. If our lives really mattered, we'd have equal access to decent jobs, good schools and affordable housing. If our lives mattered in this country, we'd have equal access to clean air, clean water and real investment in black neighborhoods. If black lives mattered in America, those who routinely brutalize us wouldn't be the ones paid, with our tax dollars, to keep us safe. I trusted establishment Democrats who claimed to represent me, only to later watch them ignore and explain away the injustice of my father's death. I trusted the system; then I watched as politicians on both sides of the aisle - from Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Michigan's Republican Gov. Rick Snyder - disregard the will of the people they were elected to represent and abdicate their responsibility to protect them. I've watched as our system criminalizes blackness while allowing Wall Street to bilk the American people with impunity. [...] Who will address the criminalization of our people? Who understands that we're experiencing an economic crisis made worse by structural barriers to jobs and education? Who will bring us closer to real safety, freedom and power? Who has clearly shown us where they stand? The answer is someone who started this work well before campaign season, who understands our deaths as tragedies - not political talking points - and someone who will speak out against the wars being waged against our communities. Not someone who only pays attention to our concerns when it's time to collect our votes. Not someone who gives us bread crumbs and expects us to be full. Black Americans - all Americans - need a leader with a record that speaks for itself. And to me, it's clear. Of all the presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders is our strongest ally."

Cody Gough: "I support Bernie Sanders, and I'm not stupid or unrealistic: Today I read for maybe the 10,000th time an assertion that supporters of Bernie Sanders are unrealistic, that Bernie Sanders supporters will all be disappointed if they elect him because he won't be able to bring the change he's promising, that Bernie Sanders' policies will be 'just another example of Democrats making promises they can't keep,' and so on and so forth. And I'd like to briefly dispel a misconception about people who support Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States: We're not stupid."

"Robert Reich: I've Known Hillary Since She Was 19. Bernie Sanders is the Most Qualified Candidate."

Yves Smith, "Another Hillary Falsehood: She Didn't Tell Banks to 'Cut it Out' Pre Crisis; She Blamed Homeowners."

"How Bernie Sanders evolved from fringe candidate to contender"

"The 'Bernie Bro' is a Media Myth. It Needs to Die: Bernie Sanders has more female than male support, and Sanders is widely popular with Black, Latino, and Asian voters." Moreover, "One reddit user, who identifies herself as a woman of color, explains the Bernie Bro phenomenon as 'just basic statistics ' There are more young people who support Bernie. More young people use the Internet. So the likelihood of you bumping into a rude Bernie supporter is greater than the likelihood you'll bump into a Hillary one. Why is it so hard to understand this....'"

"What The Washington Post (and Nearly Everyone) Gets Wrong About Bernie Sanders: Every presidential campaign is aspirational."

New York Times Gets it Wrong: Bernie Sanders Not 'Top Beneficiary of Outside Money'

"I like Bernie, but..."

How is Bernie really doing in the south and with people of color?

It's funny how people are talking about those nasty Bernie Bros. Anyone remember 2007-8? The Obots were worse than any of them, but we never heard much about that, did we? I didn't much like being called a racist every time I pointed out the real content of Obama's allegedly wonderful speeches, not to mention some of his votes and his policies. At least this time I'm only being called a "boy".

Tom Tomorrow: The Election News Network

"Bernie Sanders Blocks Obama's FDA Nominee Over Big Pharma Ties: Dr. Califf's extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies."

"Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren May Have Just Saved Consumers $14 Billion: Cable rules are changing after months of pressure from liberal senators."

Hillary Clinton had an op-ed in the NYT on "How I'd Rein in Wall Street," and Elizabeth Warren linked it in a Facebook post, and introduced it with these words. "Secretary Clinton is right to fight back against Republicans trying to sneak Wall Street giveaways into the must-pass government funding bill. Whether it's attacking the CFPB, undermining new rules to rein in unscrupulous retirement advisers, or rolling back any part of the hard-fought progress we've made on financial reform, she and I agree: 'President Obama and congressional Democrats should do everything they can to stop these efforts.' " Curiously, Salon posted an article about that with a highly misleading headline. I mention this because it worked, with several people who either touted it as Warren's official endorsement of Clinton or bemoaned the idea that Warren had endorsed Clinton. She didn't. She endorsed going after Republicans on their efforts to weaken the CFPB.

"Hillary Clinton Fails 7th Grade Civil War History: At last night's uneventful Iowa 'town hall' discussion on CNN, Hillary Clinton was asked which president she most admires. Her answer: Abraham Lincoln. Her reason: a terrible muddled mess of Dixie revisionism that puts Reconstruction in the same dark bin as Jim Crow."
* Even Ta-Nahesi Coates wonders how Hillary Clinton missed the news about Reconstruction and why it failed.

Kevin Drum posts Max Sawicky's response to Ta-Nahisi Coates: "Reparations and Bernie Sanders: Another View" - The comments are actually kinda scary in their ignorance.

"Clinton Goes to Pennsylvania to Reap Windfall from Pennsylvania Frackers: Last night, Hillary Clinton attended a gala fundraiser in Philadelphia at the headquarters of Franklin Square Capital Partners, a major investor in the fossil-fuel industry, particularly domestic fracking. The controversial fracking industry is particularly powerful in Pennsylvania, which will host the Democratic National Convention this July. Clinton has avoided taking any clear stand on fracking. While she has embraced the Clean Power Plan, which assumes a strong increase in natural-gas power plants, she also supports a much deeper investment in solar electricity than the baseline plan. The pro-Clinton Super PAC Correct the Record, run by David Brock, touts Clinton's aggressive pro-fracking record."

Surprisingly, Brian Beutler's "Is Nominating Bernie Sanders a Worthwhile Gamble?" in The New Republic is a fairly even-handed look at the question: But if we're imagining both of their agendas as opening bids in negotiations with Congress, why fault Sanders for not negotiating with himself? Ask a future Democratic Congress for single payer and a $15 minimum wage and you might get laughed at - but you also might get the public option and a bump to $12. Ask it for the public option and a $12 minimum wage, as Clinton might, and you'll get a fair hearing from the outset, but you might end up with advancements barely worth fighting for. President Obama, as Sanders is fond of noting, negotiated with himself, and progressives paid an unknowable price as a result. Center-left liberals will remind us that Obama's biggest legislative accomplishments were products of hard-nosed dealmaking, rather than mass action. And they're right. When Clinton makes LBJ-like arguments about the importance of pairing social activism with political leverage, she is telling unlovely truths. But here it's worth noting that for all the hyperventilating over Sanders's self-identification as a socialist, he's been a relatively effective and pragmatic legislator. " Plus the fact that he inspires a lot more desire for activism than Clinton does. And: "But Sanders and Clinton do have significant disagreements over regulatory and foreign policy, and as president either of them would have tremendous power to influence both. This is Sanders's strongest non-idealized appeal to progressives: He would appoint tougher regulators and conduct a more cautious, dovish foreign policy than Clinton. Here his anti-establishment bonafides would pay concrete, rather than symbolic, dividends. Wall Street has genuinely more to fear from Sanders than from Clinton. Sanders would be less likely to invade a foreign country than Clinton, and would draw brighter red lines in trade negotiations with other governments. Clinton's grasp of regulatory and foreign policy is genuinely impressive. In each of the Democratic debates this cycle, Sanders has looked out of his depth by comparison. But presidents don't micromanage federal agencies, and they aren't full-time diplomats. Their values and vision shape policy in these realms more than wonkish insistence on this strategy or that measure. Sanders, ironically, talks less about the importance principles play in securing administrative success than Clinton does. But in a party that has become increasingly dovish and alarmed by increasing concentrations of income and wealth, he would have a strong claim to being a safer bet than Clinton - if he were to ever push the point."

TX Grand Jury Indicts David Daleiden, Clears Planned Parenthood (Updated): A Houston Grand Jury investigating the bogus Planned Parenthood videos has returned a surprising and gratifying result. According to Houston Public Media, the grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood after concluding a two-month investigation into their conduct. Instead, they indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the videographers who infiltrated Planned Parenthood with the intent to smear them."

By popular demand, "The heroic professor who helped uncover the Flint lead water crisis has been asked to fix it: In Flint, Mich., there is a famous block of concrete that for decades has served as a community message board. Like an old-school Facebook feed, residents use it to post personal news, images, upcoming events and commentary in sprawling graffiti. This week, several residents went to 'The Block' (or 'The Rock,' depending on whom you ask) with a message. In big, black capital letters they painted: 'YOU WANT OUR TRUST?? WE WANT VA Tech!!!' Underneath they wrote 'PSI' and circled it in red with a line through it. It stands for Professional Service Industries Inc., the independent business the city had wanted to hire to test its water for contamination, and which the residents don't trust. They want Marc Edwards. And now, they're getting him. On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that he was appointing Edwards to the newly created 'Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee,' tasked with finding a long-term strategy to address the water crisis. The 17-person team of experts will have three years to report their recommendations.
* "Outrage: House Republicans Call Everyone BUT Gov. Snyder for Flint Poisoning Hearing: After intense public pressure, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has finally agreed to hold a congressional hearing this February 3rd to address the Flint water crisis. Incredibly, Governor Rick Snyder will not be required to testify."
* ": So, let's first point out that there's already a lawsuit underway related to the Flint water crisis. Three, in fact. A group of Michigan lawyers are suing the state of Michigan, local governments and state and local officials seeking damages for health problems they claim are caused by lead-tainted water piped into Flint residents' homes for the past 18 months. Many state officials' emails and messages related to Flint, including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's (R), have been subpoenaed. But as Reuters' Brendan Pierson reported Monday, some of the nation's top environmental lawyers are hesitant to join in. And with good reason, says University of Michigan law professor Gil Seinfeld. It basically comes down to this: In America, it is very difficult to sue the government and officials for money. In fact, the Supreme Court has (controversially) decided that the Constitution prohibits suits of this sort against the states." It's called "sovereign immunity", which doesn't really make sense in the United States.
* Michael Moore: "10 Things They Won't Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy. But I Will."
* Pierce: "Okay, Somebody Should Go to Jail Over the Flint Water Crisis: I am now of the Michael Moore persuasion. "
* "300 Union Plumbers Spent The Weekend Installing Water Filters For Flint Residents For Free"

"Michigan House Passed Bill Allowing EMTs To Refuse Treatment To Gay People: Over the weekend, Republicans in the Michigan Statehouse passed a 'license to discriminate' bill that would give just about anyone the right to refuse service to LGBT people if it conflicted with their religious beliefs."

"Court rules Michigan has no responsibility to provide quality public education: In a blow to schoolchildren statewide, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 7 the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to students in the struggling Highland Park School District. A 2-1 decision reversed an earlier circuit court ruling that there is a 'broad compelling state interest in the provision of an education to all children.' The appellate court said the state has no constitutional requirement to ensure schoolchildren actually learn fundamental skills such as reading - but rather is obligated only to establish and finance a public education system, regardless of quality."

"This poll is very, very bad news for Rahm Emanuel: More than two months after the graphic dashcam video of a Chicago police officer shooting and killing a black 17-year-old was released, a new Chicago Tribune poll found a whopping 83 percent of Chicagoans don't believe their mayor is telling them the truth about what he knew and when."

"Why Prosecutors Don't Target Thieving CEOs: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren issued a stinging broadside against federal prosecutors on Friday, charging U.S. courts with throwing the book at mixed-up teenagers, while letting wealthy corporate executives who commit much larger and sometimes deadly crimes off with essentially no chance of punishment."

Gerrymandering Is Even More Infuriating When You Can Actually See It

Bill Black and friends invite candidates to pledge to eliminate crony capitalism and control fraud in the first 60 days, because they can: Announcing the Bank Whistleblowers' Group's Initial Proposals

Mad Cop Disease: "'I Can't Breathe': Leaked Police Cam Shows Handcuffed Oakland Man Screaming for Help Until He Dies"

For the record: The US Government charges $1.35 per animal to graze cattle on federal lands, according to The Bureau of Land Management. The market price is over $20. So these guys are getting a massive discount and still whining about wanting, well, "free stuff".

What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers

"The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done." This is a profile of Wilson, who now can't get a job as a cop because he's too high-profile, but he's not what you might think.

"The Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety - It Is Human Connection." One hundred years of drug war sold on a false theory of addiction.

* Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner dies at 74, of multiple organ failure. I've always thought he wrote something beautiful with "Today," and always been baffled that he lifted the lyrics to "Crown of Creation" wholesale out of a Wyndham novel (with a slight change of pronouns) without any credit at all.
* Detective Fish, for real this time: "Abe Vigoda, of 'Godfather' and 'Barney Miller,' Dies at 94"
* "Michael J. Kennedy, Lawyer for Underdogs and Pariahs, Dies at 78 [...] A steadfast defender of the underdog and the First Amendment, Mr. Kennedy represented radicals including Rennie Davis, Bernardine Dohrn and Mr. [Huey P.] Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. His clients also included the Native American protesters at Wounded Knee, S.D., the family of the rogue real estate heir Robert A. Durst; Mr. Leary, the LSD guru; and Mr. Gotti, the mob boss."

Science to the rescue! "Chocolate cake breakfast could help you lose weight: Eating chocolate cake as part of a full breakfast can help you lose weight, say scientists."

"Why Are Americans Ignoring Trevor Noah? This crazy campaign should be his coming-out party. Instead, it's our first election since 2000 where The Daily Show might as well not exist." Sounds like Trevor Noah is no Jon Stewart.

I have tried to explain this to people, that no, pornography doesn't desensitize men to women, but rather desensitizes them to fetishizing women's bodies. There's a big difference. So I was rather pleased to see this article: "Men Aren't Hard Wired To Find Breasts Arousing."

I missed this last May: "Easter Island Statues With Bodies - Who Knew?" I didn't, although apparently this was revealed back in the '50s. Oh, wait, I wasn't reading the newspapers then.

Smashing photo of the Flatiron Building in the snow

"Wooden Ships", Crosby, Stills & Nash, featuring Paul Kantner - 11/26/1989 - Cow Palace