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.
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."
"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."
"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."
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."
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
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".
"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