29 April 2016

If it's jug band music or rhythm and blues

Bernie didn't get his miracle in New York, where Hillary beat him 58%-42%. Sanders took most of the counties, but they aren't terribly populous, and Clinton took the city, where most people live. Unlike in so many places, Sanders underperformed the polls, although some people credit some interesting chicanery in Brooklyn, where over a hundred thousand people were oddly kicked off the rolls. Still, he did better than Obama did in 2008.
* Chris Lehman in The Baffler watched the spectacle of "Hillary's Courtiers: You could almost hear the great sigh of relief heaving across cable TV's green rooms and the news-curating portals of our media nation: sure, the Republican side of Campaign '16 continues to resemble a dumpster fire on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road, but the Democrats, bless their managerial hearts, had begun to show signs of what passes in these circles for political maturity. After a distressing series of primary contests falling to Bernie Sanders, the wild-eyed socialist insurgent, New York state - the very seat of media power - has heroically elevated the most experienced, the best-connected, the savviest, most lavishly moneyed Democratic aspirant to the presidency, one Hillary Rodham Clinton. Perhaps you've heard of her?"
* "Sanders Campaign's Commitment To Victory Irritates Media, Offends Clinton Campaign." Yes, every few weeks the Clinton campaign and the press crow that the primaries are over, even with half the delegates still to be voted on, but never mind that detail, let the coronation begin! Sure, it's harder for Bernie to make it to the nomination, but it's still technically possible, even though the likelihood does seem to dwindle. And there is something ironic about hearing the same refrains we heard in 2008, when it was Obama who needed to quit because he couldn't possibly win.

And then Maryland (63.0%-33.3%), Connecticut (51.7%-46.5%), Pennsylvania (55.6%-43.6%), Delaware (59.8%-39.2%) all went to Clinton on the same night, with only Rhode Island (55%-43.3%) going to Sanders. Although Sanders significantly outperformed polling expectations in RI, his showings in states that went to Clinton were for the most part unimpressive (PA, CT) and Clinton did even better in MD, and though there wasn't much polling in DE, she was way up on it. (I was a a little surprised by this, given all the little digs Biden has been making about Clinton and praise for Sanders, but then again, it is the credit card state.) Once again, there are claims of shenanigans.
* Then again, Bernie might somehow get Colorado since the Colorado Democratic Party admitted it screwed up.
* Apparently, an overzealous Clinton supporter also arranged to troll some pro-Sanders groups on Facebook and get them taken down - then gleefully crowed about it in a Clinton FB group..Of course, her fans kept it classy.

The Clinton folks have pretty much declared victory, so Kos decided they can play nice, now: "Clinton hasn't won, Sanders hasn't lost. This is bigger than any single primary. [...] If you are a Clinton supporter, have some damn compassion, will you? You haven't won yet. The primary? Who gives a shit! Donald Trump will win his too, and has he won shit yet? The real winner will get crowned in November. That's the victory that matters. Beating another Democrat shouldn't bring you any joy unless that Democrat is Joe Lieberman. So why would you piss on people we need for November, not just for the White House but all those downballot races as well. How well do you think Clinton will do with a Republican Congress? We need everyone we can get. So maybe it's time for some olive branches? Also, be impressed. It's not every day we get to see the creation of a whole new class of people excited about politics. Hillary certainly didn't manage that. So it behooves you to harness as much of that energy as possible. Of course, Sanders people won't be as excited about Clinton as you are, but who cares? There are more Democrats on the ballot than Clinton, and some of them are pretty awesome. Help them get excited about fixing our party."

Certainly, Sanders has acknowledged that his path has narrowed considerably. Though it is still possible for him to catch up with Hillary in delegates, it gets less and less likely with each primary. He's cutting staff outside of states where there are still primaries to be held, which many are treating as a concession right there.

David Dayen, "A Rough Night for Democratic Revolutionaries: Donna Edwards and Joe Sestak went up against Chuck Schumer on Tuesday. It was no contest." This is a shame, Edwards was doing well against van Hollen, but in the end the party machinery went into high gear for him and froze her out - and so much for all that backing for women and minorities, eh?

Whatever happens, here's Jim Hightower on "Why Bernie Sanders will, should and must stay in the race: Bernie has substantively changed American politics for the better - his movement must endure ."

Again, Team Clinton kept castigating Sanders for not helping downticket Dems - although he does - but this is a ridiculous charge to make during the primaries. This isn't something you normally expect from someone who is fighting for the nomination (and for good reason). For example, In 2008 Barack Obama Didn't Start Helping Down-Ticket Dems Until After Hillary Left the Race.

"Hillary Clinton 'goysplains' to Bernie Sanders in Passover article, accusing him of betraying his people by criticizing Israel: Hillary published a condescending piece on The Times of Israel condemning Bernie for promising neutrality on Israel."

Department of Serious Revisionism: "Clinton: I put the blame for foreclosure crisis 'squarely on the Republicans'. Um, no, unless you completely ignore this and this and this and this and....

"Hillary Not Truthful About Wall Street Speaking Fees [...] Hillary is veering from the truth when she suggests her $225,000 per speech fee, paid three times by Goldman Sachs, was 'what they offered.' It was not what they offered - it was what Team Hillary demanded."
* "Money influences everybody. That includes Hillary Clinton: Democrats were quick to criticize Republicans who flirted with banks and big oil. Why won't they admit that Hillary's links are a problem too?" This is one of the things that annoys me about her campaign - these have always been standard criticisms of Republicans, but now suddenly we're not allowed to criticize this appearance of corruption or assimilation by the corporate Borg. But it was good enough for Clinton, once: "While Clinton called the suggestion that she might be influenced by the wealthy bankers who raise money for her campaign an 'artful smear' in 2016, she also had no problem hurling even stronger accusations about Obama in 2008: 'Senator Obama has some questions to answer about his dealings with one of his largest contributors - Exelon, a big nuclear power company,' she said. 'Apparently he cut some deals behind closed doors to protect them from full disclosure of the nuclear industry.'" But that was before she got money from the banksters to put in her own pockets for closed-door speeches. But now she wants us to believe she's incorruptible.
* "To Protect Hillary Clinton, Democrats Wage War on Their Own Core Citizens United Argument: Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United was depicted by Democrats as the root of all political evil. But now, the core argument embraced by the Court's conservatives to justify their ruling has taken center stage in the Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders - because Clinton supporters, to defend the huge amount of corporate cash on which their candidate is relying, frequently invoke that very same reasoning."
* David Dayen, "Why We Don't Need to See the Hillary Clinton Transcripts: We already know that she gives priority of place to Wall Street [...] That's what the fuss over the Goldman Sachs speeches is all about: who you believe and who you trust as a politician. [..] Nobody is perfectly objective and unmoved by the people around them. It's why politicians need a diversity of opinion and experience in their inner circles, to fight through the inevitable bubble mentality. And it's why spending hours giving talks to financial elites matters."

"It's 'Possible' Hillary Clinton Could Be Better President than GOP Pick, Charles Koch Says." And why not? As one of the original funders of the Democratic Leadership Council, Charles, with his brother, could pretty much claim to have helped create the Clintons. And given the current crop of GOP candidates, there is no reason why he - or any other part of the GOP establishment - should feel particularly uncomfortable about another Clinton presidency, seeing how much the first one did for them all.

Lawrence Noble, general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, in The Washington Post: "Clinton's campaign-finance hypocrisy [...] Of course, most candidates and super PACs say they are following the law and not coordinating, no matter how ludicrous the claim appears in light of the facts. But according to Correct the Record, the super PAC and Clinton's campaign have taken a new and different approach - actually claiming the right to coordinate." The internet is full of Clinton partisans insisting this is no big deal, too, proving that in the name of Clinton, Democrats are willing to sacrifice every standard Democrats once tried to hold Republicans to.
* "Re-explaining Why the Hillary Victory Fund Is an Issue [...] The new allegation is that this money being allocated by the joint committee is mostly being spent in ways that help the Clinton campaign, either primarily or exclusively. This is where the legal issue gets sticky. Instead of keeping a wall between Clinton money and DNC money, which I believe is what the law calls for, it appears the money is being treated as something fungible that is still mostly being spent according to the wishes of the Clinton campaign."
* "Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to 'Correct' Commenters on Reddit and Facebook [...] The PAC was created in May of last year when it was spun off from the American Bridge SuperPAC, which is run by longtime Hillary and Bill Clinton supporter David Brock. [...] 'This explains why my inbox turned to cancer on Tuesday,' wrote user OKarizee. 'Been a member of reddit for almost 4 years and never experienced anything like it. In fact, in all my years on the internet I've never experienced anything like it.'" Last May? Seriously? Did we even *have* Bernie Bros back then?

"Bernie Sanders To Stay A Democrat For Life And Support Clinton If She Is The Nominee: Bernie Sanders is going to keep campaigning for a Democratic nomination that he is still trying to win, but the long-term ramifications of the announcement by Jeff Weaver are huge. By keeping his Democratic affiliation, Sen. Sanders may see an even bigger promotion in the Senate if he fails to win the Democratic nomination. Sanders had been caucusing with the Democrats, but there are benefits to being a member of the party."

"Why Bernie vs Hillary Matters More Than People Think [...] We have a tendency in American politics to focus too much on individuals and personal narratives, especially in presidential campaigns. Who's in touch with ordinary people? Who is experienced? Who is a nice person? Who connects better with different identity groups? Who would you like to have a beer with? This is in large part because many democrats like to think of Hillary and Bernie as different flavors of the same Democratic Party popcorn. Consequently, they mostly just pay attention to which candidate they feel they can more readily identify with. But Sanders and Clinton represent two very different ideologies. Each of these ideologies wants control of the Democratic Party so that this party's resources can be used to advance a different conception of what a good society looks like. This is not a matter of taste and these are not flavors of popcorn. [...] On economic policy, contemporary establishment democrats have more in common with contemporary republicans than they do with the FDR/LBJ democrats. Carter and Clinton took the party away from economic progressives. The Democratic Party, which was once the party that saw economic inequality and poverty as the core causes of economic instability, now sees inequality and poverty as largely irrelevant. Instead of eliminating inequality and poverty to fuel the capitalist system and produce strong economic growth, establishment democrats now largely agree with establishment republicans that the problem is a lack of support for business investment. So Bernie Sanders is not merely running to attempt to implement a set of idealistic policies that a Republican-controlled Congress is likely to block. He is running to take the Democratic Party back from an establishment that ignores the fundamental systemic economic problems that lead to wage stagnation and economic crisis. [...] 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."

Here's the Thing So Many Americans Can't Grasp About Bernie Sanders [...] Here's the big thing about Bernie that makes so much sense to the rest of the world, but not to a lot of you. Our earliest ancestors formed tribes so we could hunt more efficiently and protect one another. We moved on to villages, then cities and finally nations for mutual benefit. We can do more together than alone, and when we band together we can put safety nets in place so if people are unlucky and get struck down, we can all help them back up. That way no one has to live in fear of losing out in the lottery of life. That's what social democracy is, and those of us who live in them recognize that what we have is pretty damn great."

"Forget Bernie Bros - the Worst Trolls Work in Corporate Media: One of the more popular pastimes of establishment media pundits is complaining of their various 'trolls' - anonymous, faceless basement dwellers who lurk online and harass with aggressive, non-stop vigor. But a recent online dust-up started by Washington Post columnist Philip Bump made something clear: When you factor in actual impact, big media pundits troll just as much as - if not more than - any random egg avatar on Twitter."

"House Democrats Push Back On Obama Plan To Cut Drug Prices: Pharmaceutical companies hate the new plan, and Democrats have noticed." But this is Nancy Pelosi, and she apparently means to do what the drug companies want: "The Department of Health and Human Services is working toward finalizing a new rule that would experiment with ending the financial incentive doctors have for prescribing some extremely expensive medications. The rule has been well-received among some patient advocates, but congressional Democrats have been largely silent, while the pharmaceutical industry and medical community have waged an aggressive campaign to stop it. The campaign is bearing fruit. The letter being circulated among House Democrats uses the oldest move in the opposition playbook - warning of the dreaded unintended consequences. [...] Pelosi encouraged her caucus to get behind the Neal letter to fend off the GOP attack. In fact, Pelosi's office even helped with the letter: Democrats forgot to scrub their data from the document before circulating it, and an inspection of its properties reveals that it was last handled by a health policy fellow in Pelosi's office."

Matt Taibbi, "Why Is the Obama Administration Trying to Keep 11,000 Documents Sealed? The "most transparent administration in history" has spent years trying to hide embarrassing financial secrets from the public." No one believes that "most transparent" stuff anymore, do they? "The Obama administration invoked executive privilege, attorney-client and deliberative process over these documents and insisted that their release would negatively impact global financial markets. But in finally unsealing some of these materials last week, a federal judge named Margaret Sweeney said the government's sole motivation was avoiding embarrassment." Yeah, that's the usual reason.

"Virginia's Awesomely Sneaky Governor Screws Republicans, Restores Voting Rights To 200,000 Americans: Virginia's Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe secretly plotted (moohoohahahaha!) and then executed a plan to restore the voting rights to 200,000 convicted felons. This move bypasses the GOP controlled legislature and will send Republicans into a screaming fit of outrage and lawsuits" I don't have much good to say about McAuliffe, but restoring voting rights to felons who've served their sentence is a good thing. This isn't legislative, so it seems only to apply to people who have already "paid their debt to society," but it's a start.

"Poll worker testifies on AZ voting problems: 'Every single time it happened - it was a Democratic voter' [...] Dianne Post, an attorney and Maricopa County poll worker, testified that the computer system checking in voters would not allow her to give the correct ballots to 36 voters, and she said 22 other voters were listed in the wrong party, reported the Arizona Republic."

"Sometimes, When "All the Facts are In," It's Worse: The UC-Davis Pepper-Spray Report: You know how every time somebody in law enforcement does something that looks bad, we're told that we should "wait until the facts are in" before passing judgment? Well, after Lieutenant Pike of the UC Davis Police Department became an internet meme by using high-pressure pepper-spray on peaceful resisters, the campus hired an independent consulting firm to interview everybody they could find, review all the videos and other evidence, review the relevant policies and laws, and issue a final fact-finding report to the university. The university just released that report, along with their summary (PDF link), and the final report is even worse than the news accounts made it seem.

David Dayen, "Bill That Obama Extolled Is Leading to Pension Cuts for Retirees: ONE OF THE MANY obscure provisions jammed into a last-minute budget bill in 2014 endorsed and signed by President Obama is leading to what would be the first cuts in earned pension benefits to current retirees in over 40 years. The Washington Post reports that the Treasury Department is on the verge of approving an application from the Central States Pension Fund - a plan that covers Teamster truckers in several states - to cut worker pensions by an average of 23 percent, and even more for younger retirees. Over 250,000 truckers and their families would be affected.

"Woman In Leading Flint Water Crisis Lawsuit Shot To Death In Home [...] Her lawsuit was among 64 filed on behalf of 144 children, the Journal reported, which named six companies involved in monitoring and constructing Flint's water system. The case is slated to continue, with a representative to be appointed to represent Bell's child."

In England, it's finally acknowledge that the deaths 27 years ago of 96 people at Hillsborough were not the fault of the fans, but of the police and other professionals whose job it was to keep the crowd safe. The families of the dead appear to have expressed closure, but there is still plenty of anger from the public about the way the Thatcher government treated the Hillsborough disaster and the claims that were made placing full responsibility on the fans and the victims.

Bill Moyers' 2012 interview with Neil Barofsky on the Need to Tackle Banking Reform

Sam Seder talked to Thomas Frank about What Happened to Liberalism in America?

This would make a great $20 bill.

Thanks again to CMike, who in comments called our attention to this quote in Emmett Rensin's "The smug style in American liberalism," a long essay in Vox: "If the smug style can be reduced to a single sentence, it's, Why are they voting against their own self-interest? But no party these past decades has effectively represented the interests of these dispossessed. Only one has made a point of openly disdaining them too. Abandoned and without any party willing to champion their interests, people cling to candidates who, at the very least, are willing to represent their moral convictions. The smug style resents them for it, and they resent the smug in turn. The rubes noticed that liberal Democrats, distressed by the notion that Indiana would allow bakeries to practice open discrimination against LGBTQ couples, threatened boycotts against the state, mobilizing the considerable economic power that comes with an alliance of New York and Hollywood and Silicon Valley to punish retrograde Gov. Mike Pence, but had no such passion when the same governor of the same state joined 21 others in refusing the Medicaid expansion. No doubt good liberals objected to that move too. But I've yet to see a boycott threat about it." Some further thoughts on that from Fredrik deBoer at far less length here, and some more from Will Shetterly.

David Dayen, "This election is blinding us to a Wall Street outrage: Inside the media's negligent response to a foreclosure disaster: While banks are finding new ways to rip off homeowners, the press only cares how it affects Julian Castro's VP odds One of the biggest problems with the permanent campaign mentality we've succumbed to is that every issue gets folded into the presidential election. Last week we saw a perfect example. An activist group that has for years been criticizing pernicious practices at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) escalated their campaign, known as Don't Sell our Homes to Wall Street. And the only thing the media cared about was how it would affect HUD Secretary Julián Castro's chances for the vice presidency. Politico won the day with the headline 'Progressive groups target Julián Castro.' Progressive caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva had to explain to Buzzfeed that he wasn't trying to torpedo Castro's VP bid, entangling the entire matter with intra-Latino politics. Castro himself turned around the campaign, telling NBC News that he thought 'it was really about politics and the presidential race and not really about the policy.' This is dumb. Housing advocacy groups have been working on this issue since well before Castro became HUD Secretary in July 2014. They represent communities of color that have been devastated by foreclosures and are now seeing the same financial players who precipitated that crisis come back into their neighborhoods to wreak havoc. And at a time when they've begged for mortgage relief for troubled borrowers, they're seeing that relief go to the Wall Street firms instead. [...] Whatever the solution, the issue has nothing to do with Julián Castro's political career, or his ethnicity, to suggest that the agency he runs is hurting communities and abandoning HUD's mission in favor of a quick buck. 'We've been dedicated for years to saving our neighborhoods,' said Amy Schur. 'Having a federal agency dedicated to affordable housing sell off housing stock to private equity firms and hedge funds is problematic.' "

EFF, "Secret Court Takes Another Bite Out of the Fourth Amendment: Defenders of the NSA's mass spying have lost an important talking point: that the erosion of our privacy and associational rights is justified given the focus of surveillance efforts on combating terrorism and protecting the national security. That argument has always been dubious for a number of reasons. But after a November 2015 ruling [.pdf] by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was unsealed this week, it's lost another chunk of its credibility. The ruling confirms that NSA's warrantless spying has been formally approved for use in general criminal investigations. The national security justification has been entirely blown. That's because the secret court, over the objection of its hand-selected amicus, determined that once information is collected by the NSA for "foreign intelligence" purposes under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, that information can be searched by the FBI for regular criminal investigations without any need for a warrant or prior court oversight. Although the FISC has signed off on the FBI's procedures claiming this authority for years, this ruling from late 2015 may be the first time the FISC has actually considered their legality."

Seymour Hersh says the Saudis bribed Pakistan to hide bin Laden: "The Saudis bribed the Pakistanis not to tell us [that the Pakistani government had Bin Laden] because they didn't want us interrogating Bin Laden (that's my best guess), because he would've talked to us, probably. My guess is, we don't know anything really about 9/11. We just don't know. We don't know what role was played by whom."

"Confessions of a former US Air Force drone technician [...] It hit me when I was in Kandahar airbase, on one side you have a McDonald's and down the road there's kids begging for water. Those people lived an austere life, and we're sitting there from the comfort of the joystick, resolved in the idea that we're killing bad guys. Maybe they're not bad guys. Maybe we just need fewer bombs and more communication between cultures."

"Q&A - Michael Chabon Talks Occupation, Injustice and Literature After Visit to West Bank [...] 'I do love Israel. I do care about Israel,' he said. 'To dehumanize others dehumanizes you. It is bad for Israel and if it ended it would be good for Israel.'"

"After A Year, Seattle's New Minimum Wage Hasn't Raised Retail Prices: Business owners did a bunch of handwringing about how damaging to the economy the wage increase would be. But so far, they're wrong."

Tom Tomorrow on Still More Primary Phenomena

"Troy LaRaviere, Outspoken CPS Principal And Rahm Critic, Ousted: LAKEVIEW - Blaine Elementary School Principal Troy LaRaviere, an outspoken critic of Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has been ousted in a sudden change that left some parents shocked." He's talking about this at his own blog and says he still hasn't been informed of the charges against him.

"Top GOP Pollster: Young Americans Are Terrifyingly Liberal." Frank Luntz finds that The Kids Today would rather have dinner with Bernie Sanders and admire him more than anyone else.

RIP: "Victoria Wood dies aged 62 after cancer battle" - She was a brilliant and versatile comic genius, and she will be missed.
* "Ron Beasley, Veteran, Engineer, Photographer and Moderate Voice Assistant Editor, dies at 69" - So much a part of the early blogosphere as well as later being a Newshogger, it's hard to believe he's suddenly gone.
* "Prince, singer and superstar, dies aged 57 at Paisley Park." This just came as a complete shock. I don't even know what to say.
* "Philly Soul Singer Billy Paul Dies at 81: Manager Beverly Gay told NBC10 that Paul, born Paul Williams, was recently diagnosed with cancer and was hospitalized last week at Temple University Hospital. He died Sunday at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey, according to Gay." A rich, warm voice.
* Lonnie Mack, , "whose impassioned, fast-picking style on the early 1960s instrumentals 'Memphis' and 'Wham!' became a model for the blues-rock lead-guitar style and a seminal influence on a long list of British and American artists, died Thursday in Nashville. He was 74." Lonnie Mack, Albert Collins & Roy Buchanan live at Carnegie Hall, 1985

Inversion, from Pfizer, the Makers of Viagra (parody ad)

60 minutes exposes mortgage fraud - again!

If you can see Facebook, read "Aphantasia: How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind" - This had never even occurred to me, and I can't imagine that someone could not imagine.

Carl Beijer, "This is what I see in liberal journalists who call themselves feminists, but who only care about the problems of rich women: a toxic blend of apathy for their comrades and ambition for themselves. If America, as Steinbeck supposedly put it, is a land of "temporarily embarrassed millionaires", liberal journalism is an industry of temporarily embarrassed executive editors, would-be Jill Abramsons who are fine with laying off hundreds of women as long as they're the ones who get to do it."

"Who Was Ty Cobb? The History We Know That's Wrong" He was one of the greatest ballplayers of all time, but a false story of who he was obliterated his history - until someone did a little research and realized there was nothing to back it up.

"I want an inverse spy flick."

Robert Crumb: 'I was born weird'

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum TV Commercial

"John Sebastian on the 'Magic' of The Lovin' Spoonful"

19 April 2016

I should be sleepin' like a log

For the record, I have always been uncomfortable with the way people use the words "whore" and "prostitute" to mean you're selling out your integrity. Whores rent their services out for money, but they don't sell their souls. Be that as it may, I don't think feminism is well served by cries of sexism every time someone uses language like this. Liberals have been calling members of media and Congress "whores" for a long time now to emphasize the fact that they have become people whose paychecks depend on selling out the public, and no one would think twice about such language if both of our candidates were men. I think it would be nice if people realized that calling someone a "bankster" or "neoliberal" or "former leader of the Democratic Leadership Council" is actually a bigger insult than to call them a "whore", but since we don't live in that world yet, I'll just be that little voice over here to the side saying, "That's an insult to whores!" and the rest of ya'll can just shut up about how we have to use more polite language now that one candidate is a woman and everything is all about her - and her sex. (I was disgusted when the Obama campaign did this crap to the Clintons in 2008, but it's clear she's adopted his playbook.)

I'm still listening to the Democratic debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard - for the fourth time. (This video seems to loop when I open it - I had to push it back to the beginning.) Clinton talked over Sanders constantly - now that she has her whole chorus screaming "Sexism!" every time he tries to get a word in edgewise, she clearly feels free to step all over him when he tries to speak. Knowledgeable people may recognize how much of what she had to say was fog and double-talk, but the cheers of her supporters in so many wrong places tell us that they don't. Meanwhile, I thought it was interesting that no matter how many times she was asked if she supported raising the cap on Social Security, she always evaded the question. The Young Turks sum up.
* Ludicrously, the Clinton reaction to another suggestion that she release the transcripts of her paid speeches has been to say she would do it when everyone else does. Not sure who she means, since Sanders, like any other member of Congress, is forbidden to give speeches for money. Not sure it's the same for governors, but Trump has no secrets and nobody cares - or even remembers if he ever gave a speech for money - did he? Threads around the web complain of a "double standard" that only Hillary is being asked this, but again, only Hillary is in the position of having been paid more than a US Senator's annual salary for a single speech. Then we got the demand that Sanders release his tax returns! We don't usually hear that one until the general election, when the Democrat tries to get the Republican to spill. But this time, it's a desperation move from the Clinton camp. Right, because Sanders is of course hiding all of his ill-gotten gains in the Caymans. Oh, wait, he isn't.

US Senator Jeff Merkley, "Why I'm Supporting Bernie Sanders [...] But as we look toward the next administration, there is far more work to do. We need urgency. We need big ideas. We need to rethink the status quo. [...] But Bernie Sanders is boldly and fiercely addressing the biggest challenges facing our country. He has opposed trade deals with nations that pay their workers as little as a dollar an hour. Such deals have caused good jobs to move overseas and undermined the leverage of American workers to bargain for a fair share of the wealth they create in our remaining factories. He has passionately advocated for pivoting from fossil fuels to renewable energy to save our planet from global warming - the greatest threat facing humanity. He recognizes that to accomplish this we must keep the vast bulk of the world's fossil fuels in the ground. Continue reading the main story Bernie is a determined leader in taking on the concentration of campaign cash from the mega-wealthy that is corrupting the vision of opportunity embedded in our Constitution. [...] It is time to recommit ourselves to that vision of a country that measures our nation's success not at the boardroom table, but at kitchen tables across America. Bernie Sanders stands for that America, and so I stand with Bernie Sanders for president."
* 'Determined Leader' Sanders Nabs First Senate Endorsement
* Sanders hangs out with striking communications workers and picks up an endorsement from a New York transit union.

"Bernie Sanders' powerful new ad is going viral" - This is pretty damned good. I wonder if they'll actually be buying much airtime for this, it's nearly two-and-a-half minutes.

The Clinton camp had to really reach to twist that New York Daily News interview to make Sanders look bad, but no editorializing makes Clinton's own assertions when she spoke to the NYDN look good: "Hillary Clinton Says Honduras Coup Not Illegal In Daily News Editorial Board Interview." Anyone who was following the Honduras story at all knows that the whole world condemned this illegal coup, including our own ambassador and, originally, even Obama. But as Secretary of State, Clinton undercut efforts to restore democracy in Honduras and the result has been disaster for that country. She just loves decapitating governments to no useful purpose and letting the blood flow. (I won't even start on her plan to "incentivize" entities to put more money where it would be more useful. If there is one thing the last 45 years should have taught her, it's that "incentives" just create new options for raking off profits by gaming the system rather than using funds for the purposes they are intended.) Oh, yes, and there's the means-testing and promise of ten hours work for college tuition, evidence that she still doesn't get where the expenses are and what is being asked of students. And when asked about whether some of the banksters should have gone to jail, she says, "Well, it rankles me that I don't believe we had sufficient laws, sufficient prosecutorial resources to really go after what could have been not just dangerous, unethical behavior but perhaps illegal behavior. I've talked with some of the people responsible for trying to determine whether there could be cases brought. And they were totally outresourced." Well, no, actually, we had the laws, we had prosecutions going forward, and Obama stopped them. Everybody knows this - he insisted on offering them an opportunity to settle their cases for paltry sums of money when they should have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They had committed well-documented fraud of every type and they belonged in jail and they deserved to pay crippling fines. They should have hurt. Instead, they all came out better off than they'd been before. Let's not pretend it was all legal and no one could prosecute them. And does she think there are banks that should be broken up? "At this point, I am not privy to the analysis that is being conducted under Dodd-Frank to make that determination." Seriously? They were "too big to fail" before, but not now, when they are even bigger? Of course, forewarned and forearmed by having seen the interview with Sanders, Clinton was careful to make sure she had the explicit statutes to hand, so she could carefully recite them when they came up in the interview. None of it matters, because The Washington Post isn't writing stories about how badly Clinton answered these questions, and the NYDN itself, owned by a man who is already closely allied with Clinton, endorsed her, as they were always going to. But anyone who already has questions about Clinton's goals was not disabused of the feeling that Clinton's foreign policies are terrible and her aspirations for improvement in the current system are so minimal that they won't do much for the rest of us at all.
* "'She's Baldly Lying': Human Rights Expert on Hillary Clinton's Defense of Her Role in Honduras Coup"

David Dayen: "The Fed needs a revolution: Why America's central bank is failing - and how we can make it work for us: A bold new plan with links to the Sanders campaign has proposed taking the Federal Reserve, at long last, public ."
* Robert Reich on "Bernie and the Big Banks: The recent kerfluffle about Bernie Sanders purportedly not knowing how to bust up the big banks says far more about the threat Sanders poses to the Democratic establishment and its Wall Street wing than it does about the candidate himself. Of course Sanders knows how to bust up the big banks. He's already introduced legislation to do just that. And even without new legislation a president has the power under the Dodd-Frank reform act to initiate such a breakup. But Sanders threatens the Democratic establishment and Wall Street, not least because he's intent on doing exactly what he says he'll do: breaking up the biggest banks."
* Also from Dday, "Why the Goldman Sachs Settlement Is a $5 Billion Sham: The penalty might sound pretty stiff. But get a load of the real math." Actually, the penalty doesn't sound that stiff, either, when you consider what they did. David talked to Sam Seder about it on The Majority Report.

The Sacramento Bee, "No consequences, no justice in Goldman Sachs settlement.[...] It's now clear from a review of the settlement that Goldman Sachs likely will pay much less in penalties than the Justice Department claims, due to special credits included in the deal and, unbelievably, tax deductions Goldman Sachs will receive for payments it makes under the settlement. Disturbing as this may be, what's most troubling is that this settlement agreement - like previous deals between the Justice Department and big financial institutions - contains no consequences for the executives who drove or condoned wrongdoing. As a result, it will not deter future financial lawbreaking and will further undermine the public's faith in the fairness of our legal system."
* "FDIC, Fed Rulings Could See Five 'Too-Big-to-Fail' Wall Street Firms Broken Up by 2018: Federal regulators announced Wednesday morning that Dodd-Frank-mandated resolution plans of five "too big to fail" banks were 'not credible,' setting in motion a process that could see them broken up in thirty months."
* "I'm the real-life Gordon Gekko and I support Bernie Sanders: Banking is the least understood, and possibly most lethal, of all the myriad issues at stake in this election. No candidate other than Bernie Sanders is capable of taking the steps necessary to protect the American people from a repeat of the recent debacle that plunged the nation into a recession from which we have not recovered. The potential for a depression looms heavily on the horizon. As a trained economist who has spent more than 20 years on Wall Street - and one of the models for Gordon Gekko's character - I know the financial system is in urgent need of regulation and responsibility. Yet Hillary Clinton is beholden to the banks for their largesse in funding her campaign and lining her pockets. The likelihood of any Republican candidate taking on this key issue is not even worthy of discussion. The recession of 2007-2016, and the persistent transfer of wealth from the 80% to the 1% is, mostly the result of banking irresponsibility precipitated by the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. The law separated commercial banking (responsible for gathering and conservatively lending out funds) from investment banking (more speculative activities)."

Robert Reich: Bernie Sanders' threat to break up the banks is a threat to the Democratic Party establishment: The bottom line: Regulation won't end the Street's abuses. The Street has too much firepower. And because it continues to be a major source of campaign funding, no set of regulations will be tough enough. So the biggest banks must be busted up."

"Sorry Paul, but the Bailout WAS about the Banks. Paul Krugman claims that "Many analysts concluded years ago" that the big banks were not at the heart of the financial crisis and that breaking them up would not protect us from future crises. Incredibly, his claim is linked to an article by ... Paul Krugman. Maybe a Nobel Prize comes with a license to cite oneself as Gospel authority, but I don't believe that Krugman's Nobel Prize was for his expertise on bank regulation. So what's wrong with Krugman's claim? Let's go piece by piece."

Even Joe Conason, who has a long history of defending the Clintons and supports Hillary in this race, admits it: "On Israel, Bernie Sanders Is Right (And Hillary Clinton Knows It) [...] That should be blindingly obvious, especially to Clinton, who has worked alongside President Clinton and President Obama toward a decent two-state solution for almost a quarter century. Her disappointing reply to Sanders reflected her political priorities in the New York primary, rather than her commitment to human rights or her assessment of American diplomatic interests."

"Hillary Clinton Channels Allen and John Foster Dulles."

"Clinton, Sanders Will Sue Arizona Over Botched Election [...] According to the Post, the suit will focus on Maricopa County, home to roughly 2 million registered voters. Many voters experienced hourslong wait times after county elections officials cut the number of polling places from 200 in 2012 to 60 in 2016."

"Bernie Rocks Buffalo. He Also Did Something Else. Sanders turned out a huge crowd. He also took a notable detour. [...] The audience at Sanders's first stop was a lot quieter, a lot older, a lot whiter - and a whole lot smaller. They were pleased to see Sanders, but there was no mistaking the scene at Local 1122 of the Communications Workers of America for a rock concert or a sporting event. These were 25 shop stewards at Verizon who had to prepare their members to go on strike on Wednesday morning, and the mood in the room was a mixture of anxiety and defiant anger."
* The communications workers endorsed Sanders earlier this year, and now he's supporting them at the picket line. (This video starts out crummy but eventually gets to his speech.)
* "Hillary Clinton rakes in Verizon cash while Bernie Sanders supports company's striking workers: Verizon paid Hillary $225,000 for speech and poured money into Clinton Foundation. Executives give to her campaign."
* Verizon CEO Attack on Bernie Sanders Receives Gushing Praise - From Fellow Execs
* "Sanders Responds to Disgruntled CEOs: 'I Welcome Their Contempt': This is not the first time Bernie Sanders has drawn the ire of corporate honchos."

"Warren, Sanders Sponsor Bill Going After TurboTax, Complexity of Tax Filing [...] The following is another instance of the difference between neo-liberal governance and FDR-liberal governance. At present, tax filing - filling out and sending in a prepared multi-page tax return - is complicated and in most cases requires third-party software to complete. The government could do this for you, by filling in your forms with the information they have already, making those forms available online at a secure government web site and letting you add the rest of the data yourself. But under our current neo-liberal government, the IRS doesn't do that. Instead, the IRS has agreements with vendors in the software industry, including the TurboTax giant Intuit, not to cut into their profit by "competing" with them in "providing free, on-line tax return preparation and filing services to taxpayers." Even though, as you'll see below, the IRS is compelled by law to do just that. Consider that point for a moment, as you (perhaps) scramble to complete your own return for this year. What if you could go to a U.S. government website (instead of a third-party corporate website) and complete your tax filing online without filling out a complicated paper or PDF "return"? Would you prefer that? Would you mind not buying tax-filing software each year, year after year? At present, you don't have that choice. Even though, since 2002, the government has been legally required to develop and offer such a service, it won't. Capture of government by industry, including in this case the tax-preparation industry, has delayed that implementation."

"Colorado Democrats admit mistake that cost Bernie Sanders key delegate."

"Bernie Sanders Called Out Panama As A 'World Leader' In Tax Evasion Years Ago."

Last week, Nicole Sandler's Monday show discussed the "Democracy Spring" demonstrations in DC and talked to Joel Silberman (about superdelegates and the mish-mash of the primaries) and Seth Abramson about his perceptions of the primaries.

Pierce: "The Clintons Can Have Their Own Opinions, But They Can't Have Their Own History: Particularly when it comes to criminal justice and the 1994 Crime Bill."

Black Agenda Report: "Bill Clinton Insults Blacks in Order to Build Hillary's 'Big Tent' Party: Bill Clinton's behavior was calculated, predictable, and inevitable. The only question was the timing. It's the song he loves to sing, and Hillary sings it, too, as she did two decades ago when she spoke of the 'kinds of kids that are called 'super predators' - the ones with 'no conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.' This is a lot louder than a dog-whistle; it's white racist theater in service of the Mass Black Incarceration State. Bill Clinton reprised the performance, in Philadelphia, a generation later, with full-throated venom."

One of the big claims going around on the Clinton side is that Sanders isn't supporting down-ticket Democrats the way Clinton is. But "Is Clinton Really Supporting Down Ballot Candidates? Or Just Laundering Campaign Donations? [...] This is just a way to raise huge amounts of money (up to $355,000) for the Clinton campaign. It does nothing, absolutely nothing to help state parties. Worse, it is overt support for one candidate during a primary by the party - and remember, this was happening while O'Malley, a long-time Democrat 'in good standing' was also in the race."
* "How Hillary Clinton Bought the Loyalty of 33 State Democratic Parties [...] If a presidential campaign from either party can convince various state parties to partner with it in such a way as to route around any existing rules on personal donor limits and at the same time promise money to that state's potential candidates, then the deal can be sold as a way of making large monetary promises to candidates and Super Delegates respectable." She bought endorsements and superdelegate vote commitments. But another meme has been, "Why won't Sanders' Senate colleagues endorse him?" - an attempt to buttress a (false) claim that none of his colleagues like him. But Clinton has deftly found ways to make it advantageous to Senators to withhold endorsements from Sanders and to make sure that if they endorse anyone, it will be her. "In Montana, a state where one third of voters identify as independents, and where it is imperative that Democratic candidates for public office win some votes from both Republicans and Independents in order to get elected, it seems peculiar that the Montana State Democratic Party would make a deal with the Hillary Clinton campaign months before the national primaries were underway, given that there is a very real and proud tradition of political independence in Montana. Being told who to vote for in a primary by your party's big wigs is not part of that tradition."

"Bernie Sanders Has Won Something Big, Even If It's Not the Nomination: Forget who won the debate. Bernie has framed the debate."

"Gaius Publius: A Look Ahead: Neither Party Can Win Without Winning Independents."

"Republicans have faced more and more ideological primary challenges. Democrats haven't." Yes, the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC have suppressed those challenges, to the detriment of the party. They tried to stop this primary from being anything more than a coronation of Hillary Clinton, again to the party's detriment. As it was, the dearth of debates earlier in the season allowed the Republicans to command the airwaves and suppress the excitement that a real primary contest can generate.

The headline here is, "The Fed's Newest President Wants to Break Up Too-Big-to-Fail Banks, and Bernie Sanders Is Thrilled." But, wait - isn't this the same guy?

Robert Borosage, "Sanders on Clinton: Not Unqualified, Compromised. [...] Sanders' critique of Clinton isn't that she is unqualified or inexperienced. It is far tougher and more substantive. His campaign is premised on the belief that she is too compromised and conservative to be the president we need. It isn't about character or experience; it is about direction, program and independence. Sanders argues that our economy is rigged to favor the few, and our politics is corrupted by the big money, special interests and revolving door appointments that keep fixing the game. He argues we need fundamental change, not simply piecemeal or incremental reform if we are to make this economy work for working people once more. Sanders is running because he believes that Clinton is too compromised in her agenda. He has defined major substantive areas of disagreement: on corporate trade policies, on the need for major public investment and a sweeping initiative to take on global warming, on national health care, on breaking up the big banks and curbing Wall Street, on progressive taxation that will pay for tuition free public college, on $15.00 an hour minimum wage and empowering workers to organize, on dialing down our interventionist foreign policy and more. Clinton has moved to adopt a bolder reform position this year than in 2008 or before. She's basically at one with President Obama's policies. Yes, she's come out against the president's Transpacific Partnership deal, but everyone believes that is just campaign positioning. She claims to be tough on Wall Street, but even her Wall Street donors don't believe her. She's assiduously avoided embracing the Warren-Sanders reform agenda. She's put forth a good agenda on global warming, but opposes putting a price on carbon, opposes banning fracking, and hasn't made climate change a centerpiece of her campaign. She's scorned Sanders call for national health care or for tuition free college. She's been a supporter of the regime change follies from Iraq, to Honduras to Libya to Syria to the Ukraine."

David Cay Johnston, "How Corporate Inversions and Congressional Gridlock Got Beat: You don't necessarily have to pass a bill to get something done in Washington. How Pfizer's attempt to offshore its profits got stymied."

"Big Bank 'Living Wills' Are a Failure - and Point to a Bigger Problem: Regulators this week rejected, in whole or in part, the 'living wills' of seven of the eight largest U.S. banks. Does that suggest that those banks are all still 'too big to fail?' I would step back from that. The very process of having banks design living wills, which are roadmaps for their own bankruptcy, suggests they are too big."

I can't find anything wrong with this one, except that he could have done it a lot sooner and he could still do more, but here is Obama apparently doing something that is good: "Obama to forgive the student debt of permanently disabled people."

"Dozens of Prominent Academics Urge McGraw-Hill Education to Reverse Decision to Censor Palestinian Loss of Land Maps: Last month, publishing giant McGraw-Hill Education withdrew and destroyed copies of a US college level textbook because of complaints from supporters of Israel over a series of maps showing loss of Palestinian land from 1946, shortly before Israel was established, to 2000. In response to this shocking and outrageous act of censorship of the Palestinian narrative from US schoolbooks, dozens of respected Palestinian, Israeli, and American academics have signed onto the enclosed open letter calling on McGraw-Hill Education to reverse its decision."

"Warren Buffett's right-hand man gave a dark warning about American finance [...] 'There's way, way too much of that in America. And too much of the new wealth has gone to people who either own a casino or are playing in a casino. And I don't think the exaltation of that group has been good for life generally, and I am to some extent a member of that group. I'm always afraid I'll be a terrible example for the youth who want to make a lot of money with and not do much for anybody else and who just want to be shrewd about buying little pieces of paper. Even if you do that very honestly, I don't consider it much of a life. Just being shrewd about buying little pieces of paper, shrewder than other people, is not an adequate life. It's not a good example for other people.' [...] Munger, a Republican and a billionaire, also said he agreed with the views of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on this issue. 'The truth of the matter is that ... Elizabeth Warren doesn't agree with me on many subjects, and I wouldn't agree with her on many subjects, but she is basically right when she says that American finance is out of control and that it isn't good for the rest of us,' he said. 'Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are not two of my favorite people on earth, but they are absolutely right.' Munger went on to say that there was cyclicality in the securities market and that 'the big busts hurt us more than the big booms help us.' He added that what gave rise to Hitler was the Great Depression." (That's from the story - but the full transcript of the interview is attached below it.)

The establishment always wants you to shut up. "Actually, make lots of noise. Make all the noise you can."

It always worries me when people start getting triumphal about how any minute now demographics or political weather is presaging a sea change in political control of the country. I've been hearing it my whole life while the people who are running things keep moving further and further to the right. I think the assumption that the clock is ticking against the aristocracy makes people complacent. The Baby Boomers had this same belief and allowed themselves to be distracted and deceived by clever "nuanced" language and politicians who wore the trappings of liberalism while forwarding the language and the policies of the aristocracy. Demographics may offer a chance at shifting course, but only if people are prepared to be very vigilant, to organize, and to work hard and never think the work is done.
* Jacobin, "The Coming Left-Wing Majority: More and more young people are rejecting the politics of fear and moving left."
* Cory Robin, "What's going to happen to liberals when the Right begins to give way?

"Neoliberalism - the ideology at the root of all our problems: Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007-8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has - or had - a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?"

"We Asked 4 Prominent Bernie Supporters if They'd Vote for Hillary in November. Here's What They Told Us [...] Rania Khalek: Sure, Trump has demonized Mexicans, Muslims, and women. But Clinton called black children 'superpredators' and referred to welfare recipients as 'deadbeats.' She routinely accuses Palestinians of teaching their children to hate while closely aligning herself with Israel's right-wing, Holocaust-revising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a man whose demagoguery rivals Trump's. She also likened Russian president Vladimir Putin to Hitler and expressed pride in making an enemy of 'the Iranians' whose country she once threatened to 'obliterate.' The problem with Clinton goes beyond semantics. On issues relating to trade and foreign policy, Clinton is clearly to the right of Trump. [...] Josh Holland: The counter-arguments are, frankly, incoherent. If droves of Sanders supporters were to stay home and deliver the White House to the GOP, the political establishment would view that as further proof that parties rarely win three terms in a row. The story would be that Clinton had too much baggage, or that Trump had brilliantly appealed to 'Reagan Democrats.' Whatever message the 'Bernie or Bust' crowd might think they'd be sending to the establishment would undoubtedly fall on deaf ears. [...] Doug Henwood: I've spent too much time reading about her hawkishness and her loyalty to corporate power to bring myself to pencil in the oval next to her name. It's likely she'd rip up the nuclear deal with Iran - more elegantly than Donald Trump, perhaps, but no less thoroughly - and try to change a disobedient regime or two. And her apologists who want to know what specific quid pro quos she's granted in exchange for campaign contributions from banks and other powerful corporations are missing the point: They shouldn't be read as transactional but as votes of confidence from people who don't part with money lightly. [...] Kathleen Geier: Vote for the sinner, hate the sin."

"The Panama Papers prove it: America can afford a universal basic income."

Juan Cole, "Are Sanders' Criticisms of Israeli Occupation Policies unprecedented in a Presidential Campaign? Bernie Sanders is being attacked for comments on the Middle East in his interview with the editorial board of The New York Daily News, but all he did was restate current US government policy."

"Why It Matters That Hillary Clinton Championed Welfare Reform: As poor people suffer without a safety net, it's time for the two Democratic candidates to start talking about restoring the welfare system."
* "Late-Term Abortion Debate Reveals a Rift Between Clinton and Sanders: Bernie Sanders opposes all abortion restrictions. Hillary Clinton's stance is murkier."

Sorry Paul, but the Bailout WAS about the Banks: Breaking up the big banks alone will not prevent all future crises. And no one is claiming that. But by breaking up the big banks there will be the political room to regulate the financial system more effectively. Too-big-to-fail is too-big-to-regulate. And that alone makes breaking up the big banks an important goal."
* The headline is just a bit misleading, but it's not really that much of a stretch to think that Warren had Krugman and others of his ilk in mind when she said: "There's been a lot of revisionist history floating around lately that the Too Big to Fail banks weren't really responsible for the financial crisis, That talk isn't new. Wall Street lobbyists have tried to deflect blame for years. But the claim is absolutely untrue. There would have been no crisis without these giant banks. They encouraged reckless mortgage lending both by gobbling up an endless stream of mortgages to securitize and by funding the slimy subprime lenders who peddled their miserable products to millions of American families. The giant banks spread that risk throughout the financial system by misleading investors about the quality of the mortgages in the securities they were offering"

Matt Bruenig is grateful to learn from this campaign about "The various pathologies of young women: One thing I've enjoyed about the Democratic primary is learning which voter demographics you can pathologize and which you can't. It turns out that even vaguely gesturing at the idea that Black voters may be choosing incorrectly is definitely oppressive and wrong. After all, that's the kind of stuff we usually only reserve for the disgusting poor and working class white voters. On the other hand, explicitly saying young women voters are ignorant, complacent, naive, or boy-crazy cool girls is actually fine. Used to, that was the stuff of Reddit, but believe it or not, 'bitches be crazy' is an actual genre of election coverage about why young women go for Bernie."

Joe Sestak's last stand against the Democratic Party

"Panama Papers: Spy agencies widely used Mossack Fonseca to hide activities: Intelligence agencies from several countries, including CIA intermediaries, have abundantly used the services of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to "conceal" their activities, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) says, citing leaked documents."

Russ Wellen, "Let's Review: Saudi Arabia Is Not Our Friend [...] It is time we get it through our heads once and for all that the Saudis are not our friends. Not only have they funded terrorism for years, either directly or indirectly, but they constitute an ongoing fly in the ointment in our relations with Iran. Also, the United States has let itself get sucked into supporting the Saudis in its war on Yemen - the savageness of which is only exceeded by its senselessness. The United States doesn't even need their oil anymore."

The BradBlog: "Absent Court Intervention, 608k Registered TX Voters Face Unlawful Disenfranchisement (Again!)

"Media Blackout As London Muslims March Against ISIS: The reporting double standard around Muslims made plain by anti-ISIS rally."

Apparently, a couple of weeks ago Peter Lilley himself posted on the Tory blog that he opposes TTIP. This guy was Secretary of State for Trade & Industry under Thatcher, and he's breaking with his party by sounding a warning against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - which, being the kind of Tory he is, he had initially been wholly in favor of, before he actually looked into it. But even as anti-protectionist as he is, he ended up not liking it. "TTIP is not primarily about removing tariffs and quotas. The average tariff levied by the US on goods from Europe is just 2.5 per cent. Getting rid of them would be worthwhile - but no big deal. It is mainly about harmonising product specifications and creating a special regime for investment. There is no objection to those things in principle. Insofar as product harmonisation means removing rules introduced as hidden protection of a domestic producer, that is fine. But we should not sign away Parliament's right to protect our citizens from harmful additives, and so forth." Eric Zuesse says, "The very core of both Obama's 'trade' deal with Europe, TTIP, and his 'trade' deal with Asia, TPP, is precisely that: to sign away legislators' power to protect the electorate from harmful additives, toxic water and foods and air, unsafe cars, and a sustainable environment for themselves and future generations - and more (Lilley is especially concerned because it would abolish Britain's vaunted public health service. Imagine: a British Conservative is determined to protect that enormously successful socialist program in his country! Flabbergasting, but true.) The very core of it is to transfer national sovereignty to a worldwide dictatorship of international corporations (three-person corporate-accountable panels of 'arbitrators', whose rulings are non-appealable and aren't required to adhere to any nation's laws - it's shocking, but true)."

Dean Baker, "Point: We Had Trade Before We Had NAFTA and Other Trade Deals [...] The United States already had plenty of trade before NAFTA, CAFTA and the other trade deals negotiated over this period, just as it already has a huge amount of trade with the TPP countries. It will continue to have large amounts of trade with Canada, Japan and other TPP countries regardless of whether Congress approves the deal, so we are not arguing about whether or not the United States should trade. Rather, NAFTA and subsequent trade deals are about putting in place a set of rules that structure the pattern of trade to favor some groups and disadvantage others. At the top of the list of beneficiaries of these deals are the multinational corporations that want more protections for their investment in other countries."

Ian Welsh, "The Market Fairy will not solve the problems of Uber and Lyft: Here is the thing about Uber and Lyft (and much of the 'sharing economy'). They don't pay the cost of their capital. The wages they pay to their drivers are less than the depreciation of the cars and the expense of keeping the driver fed, housed and healthy. They pay less than minimum wage in most markets, and in most markets that is not enough to pay the costs of a car plus a human."

Jeremy Scahill and Matthew Cole, "Echo Papa Exposed: Inside Erik Prince's Treacherous Drive to Build a Private Air Force [...] One of the mechanics soon recognized Echo Papa from news photos - he was Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater. Several of the Airborne staff whispered among themselves, astonished that they had been working for America's best-known mercenary. The secrecy and strange modification requests of the past four months began to make sense."

"Barack Obama says Libya was 'worst mistake' of his presidency: 'Failing to plan' for the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi's downfall is the US president's biggest regret from his time in office." You'd think they would have thought of that, eh? Prepared, much? Thanks, Hillary.

There's more than one creep jacking up drug prices: Valeant Pharmaceuticals raises price of Cuprimine from $400 a month to $40,000 a month. It's the only drug for Wilson's disease, and without it, patients will die.

"The South's new re-segregation plan: The Koch brothers, ALEC and the sneaky scheme to undo Brown v Board of Education: Eighty years after Brown, Southern segregation is on the rise -- and "school choice" is its vehicle. [...] The rise of vouchers is not a response to popular demand. Vouchers have been put to voters in several states, and every time they have been soundly defeated, even in red state Utah. The revival of the voucher movement is nothing more than ideology and politics taking charge of schooling. School choice is not the 'civil rights issue of our time,' as its proponents claim; it is the predictable way to roll back civil rights in our time."

Cenk makes a good point about his recent problem with American Airlines. You're a captive in an airport and individuals who work for an airline have tremendous power to exact significant vengeance for the pettiest of reasons, and you shouldn't have to be Cenk Uygur to get any redress, but the fact is you shouldn't have to put up with this crap at all. No one should be able to yank your ticket (no refunds!) at the last minute of boarding a plane over some irrelevant nonsense that everyone knows poses no impediment or threat whatsoever. The crazy security theater needs to be gone, and with it the sense of entitled power that even the pettiest officials are able to abuse.

"I am on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones: I am in the strange position of knowing that I am on the 'Kill List'. I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again. Four times missiles have been fired at me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be alive. I don't want to end up a 'Bugsplat' - the ugly word that is used for what remains of a human being after being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone. More importantly, I don't want my family to become victims, or even to live with the droning engines overhead, knowing that at any moment they could be vaporized. I am in England this week because I decided that if Westerners wanted to kill me without bothering to come to speak with me first, perhaps I should come to speak to them instead. I'll tell my story so that you can judge for yourselves whether I am the kind of person you want to be murdered."

"How 'Maintainers' not 'Innovators' Make the World Turn [...] But those who've questioned whether technology really is society's salve aren't alone. Lee Vinsel, an assistant professor of science and technology at the Stevens Institute of Technology, wrote a dissertation on innovation and regulation in the early days of the automobile. But lately, he finds that the word 'innovation' is overused to the point of meaninglessness - and worse, that it can obfuscate the bleak realities of the status quo. 'In a culture where we forget about things like crumbling infrastructure and wage inequality, those narratives about technological change can be really dangerous,' Vinsel says."

"Exactly how male gamers react when they are forced to play female characters"

"Did Led Zeppelin really write 'Stairway to Heaven'?"

"Looking For Tom Lehrer, Comedy's Mysterious Genius"

Trailer for Doctor Strange

Frank Zappa steps off of a plane and encounters a US Navy Marching Band playing "Joe's Garage".

Paul McCartney hasn't performed "A Hard Day's Night" since the Beatles played the Cow Palace in 1965. Until now.

10 April 2016

You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever

Bernie wins Wisconsin, 56.6%-43.1%, exceeding the polls. FiveThirtyEight showed a remarkable switch from giving Clinton an 83% probability of winning less than a week earlier, with a rapid turnaround as we got into April. (He was in Wyoming to announce it at a rally.)
* I don't suppose anyone really expects the same last-minute turnaround to happen in New York on 19 April, but Clinton's lead is narrowing....
* Bernie also won Wyoming, a big state with big precincts with not many people in them, 55.7%-44.3%. Curiously, however, Hillary gets the same number of delegates that Sanders does.

And, speaking of New York, the Bernie campaign made a reprise of their "America" video - only this time, for New York.

Not sure who the next president will be or for how long, but if we are still having elections after that, the next one has to be Elizabeth Warren. That video is so much fun!

Team Clinton must have decided that their email was running against refusing to debate Sanders in New York, since she'd already promised to do so. They 180'd and said they would debate - but they are using the DWS scheduling tool, apparently. Sanders released a statement: We are very pleased that Secretary Clinton finally has accepted our request for a debate about the needs of New York and America. Unfortunately, the dates and venues she has proposed don't make a whole lot of sense. The idea that they want a debate in New York on a night of the NCAA finals - with Syracuse in the tournament no less - is ludicrous. We have proposed other dates which they have rejected. We hope we can reach agreement in the near future. The people of New York and America deserve to see and hear a debate on the important issues facing the state and country" Wil Wheaton had a nice little tweet summing up the debate about debates.
* They did finally agree to a date, on April 14th, but it won't be open to the public. "Sources said each candidate will receive a private allocation of tickets to Thursday night's showdown that will be televised live on CNN and NY1. It remains unclear how each campaign plans to distribute those tickets. Representatives for the Clinton and Sanders campaigns did not respond to requests for comment."

The Sanders campaign apparently got stupid again and talked to the NYT about campaign strategy. This is always a mistake and they should stop doing it. "But allies and advisers of Mr. Sanders say they missed opportunities to run an aggressive political operation in 2015 that would have presented more of a challenge to Mrs. Clinton. She has now firmly built a big lead in delegates needed to clinch the nomination - a margin that would be smaller if Mr. Sanders had run differently last year, according to interviews with more than 15 people who are on his team or close to him." That's 15 blabbermouths who need to be told. And anyway, I think they're wrong. Greg Sargent agrees with me - so there.

And this is the video and transcript of The Daily News interview with Bernie Sanders. Regardless of what you may have read in the press, it was not at all a bad interview, although Sanders did not realize that tokens are no longer used on the New York Subway. Bear in mind that a lot of these, though they seem reasonable, are gotcha questions, and the editors who interviewed him either didn't understand his answers or were trying to make him look like he had never thought about these things. (And one question, well, Bernie is hamstrung as long as he can't just say, "Because Barack Obama protected the criminals.") But most people seeing this interview won't be thinking of those things, and to a lot of people - and, unfortunately, journalists - it looks bad that he didn't appear to answer those questions. Except, he did answer the questions, as Mike Konczal points out - it's just that the journalists didn't know what he was talking about - or, indeed, what they. were talking about, such as that it's pretty hard to know what a judicial decision (MetLife) is going to mean when it's been sealed and no one can read it. Or maybe they did know and were trying to trip him up. But all this raises the question of who wrote the interview questions, and whether it was someone who knew that the right answers would appear wrong to people who didn't understand this stuff. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks think the whole thing was a set-up. Apparently, Hillary Clinton doesn't know much about these issues, either, because she seemed to imply that it all made him #unqualified. (And then there was this, which some nitwit confused with "blood libel.")
* Incidentally, Ryan Grim even remembered that Hillary must know better, because she has said the same thing - but only to attack reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.
* And yes, asserting that a few journalists who support Clinton might be less knowledgeable about how to break up the banks than people who are experts in the field really does get you the "Oh, you're right and everyone else is wrong" treatment. Which has been the general tone of Clinton supporters all along. How'd that happen?
* Matt Taibbi on "Why the Banks Should Be Broken Up [...] The typical arc of this scam went as follows: Giant bank lends money to sleazy mortgage originator, mortgage originator makes lots of dicey home loans, the dicey home loans get sold back to the bank, the bank pools and securitizes the loans, and finally the bank sells the bad merchandise off to an unsuspecting investor. The criminal scenario that was most common was a gigantic bank buying up huge masses of toxic loans from a Countrywide or some other fly-by-night operation and knowingly selling this crap as a good investment to some investor."
* Krugman has gone so partisan for Hillary that Bill Black reckons Krugman's first post of this month was an April Fool's gag. It's hard to disagree, given that the same man who today argues that the big banks aren't a problem wrote in 2009 that "The collapse of Lehman Brothers almost destroyed the world financial system, and we can't risk letting much bigger institutions like Citigroup or Bank of America implode."

"The Disappearance of Hillary Clinton's Healthcare Platform: In an extraordinary magic trick, performed on a national scale, Hillary Clinton's healthcare platform has been disappeared. While policy analysts, news anchors, and columnists have been engaged in an intense debate over Bernie Sanders's 'Medicare for All' proposal, Clinton's incremental alternative has escaped almost all scrutiny - even among those who say they prefer it. Combining the election-season writings of our most prolific, liberal-leaning columnists at the New York Times, Huffington Post, Vox, Mother Jones, Politico, The American Prospect, etc. you'll find dozens of articles critiquing Sanders's single-payer plan. None have mentioned a single Clinton healthcare proposal as a point of comparison - merely that she supports a philosophy of incremental reform. [...] What would happen if the media lifted the curtain on Clinton's healthcare platform and introduced any level of scrutiny to her proposed improvements on the Affordable Care Act? They would find two categories of Clinton proposals: some that are so vague they're difficult to evaluate, and other more concrete plans that follow in the footsteps of one of Congress's most practiced healthcare incrementalists: Senator Bernie Sanders. [...] Previous national trends in incremental healthcare reform - from managed care through pharmacy benefit management, chronic disease management, narrow networks, and beyond - have often created lucrative new industries, but had dubious impacts on underlying healthcare costs or access to care. Most of Clinton's healthcare platform falls exactly into these danger zones, and should be received with a critical eye."

Max Sawicky says, "Hillary's getting a huge free ride on her purported mastery of the mechanics of policy, in contrast to Bernie. I decided to look into just one of her campaign initiatives. She likes to throw around the phrase 'universal child care' or 'universal pre-K.' But she isn't proposing universal either. She's proposing new money for pre-K, which is fine, but a) false advertising, and b) it's not clear how it would 'work.' [...] The rub is that they are no more specific or rigorously motivated than the Sanders proposals that people have been blathering about. [...] Note that bumping up Head Start does not get you to universal either. It's fine, but Head Start is a tiny program, relative to the relevant population. How to 'pay for it'? Forget it. They don't say, not that I care. All the critics of 'unpaid-for' single-payer BernieCare evidently don't care either. Criticisms of Sanders' vagueness on policy can be applied to HRC as well, if one delves just a little bit. I look forward to all the deep-dive analyses of HRC's projected path to universal health care coverage. Are there any? Why not? Because Hillary advocates are too busy blathering about Bernie. Those with policy expertise don't apply it to Hillary's treacle."

Another meme that's going around is that Bernie never works for downticket candidates and he didn't even work for the more progressive judge running against an extremist right-wing partisan in Wisconsin - but it just isn't true.

Greenpeace has been asking the same question of Hillary Clinton about her relationship to the fossil fuel industry, for a long time, but now when they ask it, she pretends it's "the Sanders campaign lying about me" - but that has nothing to do with it.
* Naomi Klein: "The Problem With Hillary Clinton Isn't Just Her Corporate Cash. It's Her Corporate Worldview. Clinton is uniquely unsuited to the epic task of confronting the fossil-fuel companies that profit from climate change."
* Funnily enough, it used to be a normal Democratic criticism of Republicans, but apparently it's a different matter when Democrats do it and Bernie Sanders asks why.

Hillary tries to charm young Bernie voters some more by stupidly insulting them: "Hillary: 'I Feel Sorry' for the Young People Who Believe Sanders Camp's Lies: I feel sorry sometimes for the young people who, you know, believe this. They don't do their own research. And I'm glad that we can now point to reliable independent analysis to say no, it's just not true." Yes, those poor little kiddies have never heard of Google.

At least the surrogates were civil in New Haven, and so was everyone else.

This piece is wonderfully sarcastic, but it's exactly what people don't want to admit they are saying when they suggest that Clinton's foreign policy experience is "better" than Bernie's: "Sorry Bernie Bros, Your Candidate Just Doesn't Have The Foreign Policy Experience Necessary To Prop Up A Pro-Western Dictatorship. [...] Argue all you want, but the bottom line is that Sanders has repeatedly failed to demonstrate the deep grasp of international affairs that a president needs to install politically expedient totalitarian regimes abroad. Sure, he can speak abstractly about international relations, but enabling the rise of the next Pinochet requires a lot more than abstractions. For that, you need actual diplomatic chops and hands-on experience supporting tyrannical despots, and that's where Sanders would be way out of his depth. I'm just being pragmatic here. Even the most fanatical Bernie Bro has to admit their hero knows nothing about the real-life challenges a president faces when undermining established foreign governments. The tough truth is that no amount of high-minded rambling about free college tuition can put machine guns into the hands of juntas sympathetic to U.S. strategic goals." Well, you have to admit, if by "experience with foreign policy" you mean undermining democracies and supporting coups and dictators, Hillary is indeed the one with foreign policy chops.

Clinton surrogate and financial industry shill Barney Frank has been running around insulting Sanders again, so RJ Eskow wrote, "Barney vs. Bernie: Sanders is the Real 'Progressive Who Gets Things Done' [...] Here's the truth: Hillary Clinton got very little done during her eight years in the United States Senate, while Bernie Sanders amassed an impressive record of accomplishments in both the House and Senate. [...] Before Barney Frank repeats his unfounded attacks on Bernie Sanders' record, he may want to take a second look at his own."
* Clinton isn't being quite accurate about Bernie and guns, either.

"Hillary is sick of the left: Why Bernie's persistence is a powerful reminder of Clinton's troubling centrism"

David Brock puts out an ad equating Sanders with Dick Cheney and Wayne LaPierre.

Riding to the rescue, Bill Clinton unites the party in wanting him to shut up and stop ruining everything. Hillary has had to work hard to put distance between herself and the right-wing dialogue that inspired the horrible criminal justice approach from the Clinton administration, and he just got up there and undid all her work.

The New York Times tells everyone to cool it.

Meanwhile, Bernie says he'll fight at the convention for a better platform.

Howie Klein, "Still Don't Know For Sure Who Beat Harry Reid Within An Inch Of His Life And Got Him To Retire But..." he and his "centrist" pals would do anything to keep progressives out of Congress.

Another chapter from Thomas Frank's Listen Liberal, "The Democrats own this mess too: Gerrymandering and obstructionism alone can't explain American inequality: Progressives are told time and again that Clinton and Obama are the best their party can do. It's a total crock."

"How Hillary Clinton is Like a Shitty Mechanic [...] Every pundit trying to paint Clinton as a pragmatist is selling me on my own shitty car. They're the bankrupt mechanic who needs you to buy one last round of repairs. Don't give up on the thing, they say. They don't really care what's best for you. The car's already in the shop, they say. One more go, for old time's sake? Think of all the progress this car has gotten you. Don't get all crazy thinking about a new car when you can sink a few thousand bucks into this shitbucket. As Lee Fang reported in The Intercept, most of the pundits being called on to talk about Clinton are quite literally in her employ. They run consulting firms that the Clinton campaign pays to advise them. They would be bad at their jobs if they told you to buy a new car. No, they're going to tell you how great your shitty car is. Or that you're not ready for a new car. Or that the world is not ready for everyone to drive good cars. Or elderly Blacks in the South drive shitty cars so your new car is somehow racist. Whatever it takes to get you to sign on to pay for the same old shit."

Let's be frank about this. Yes, the right wing wants to create division among Democrats and weaken the presumptive nominee in the general election. But that's not the real problem. The problem is that it's actually harder to attack Clinton from the right than from the left, because there isn't enough distance between her and the right to shoot from on economic issues. If she didn't leave so much room on the left to attack her from, Karl Rove and his friends would not be able to do it. It always requires a lot less creativity to be able to critique her on something that's true rather than have to make up lies (as they spent the '90s doing). Clinton's relationship with all of the wrong people is too cozy and all of the on-the-ground indicators are that she will go back to supporting odious ideas like TPP once she is in the White House. Look at that equivocal answer she gave on fracking - asking if you support fracking is much the same as being asked, "Do you support poisoning the groundwater and causing earthquakes in your town?" But she couldn't bring herself to oppose it. Her own policies and actions make her an easy target. Admonishing the left not to believe right-wing memes because they emanate from the right-wing is disingenuous when the critiques actually originate on the left and the charges are true. The issue isn't that Sanders supporters are dumb, it's that you have a bad candidate.

Pierce: "Your Taxes Are Being Spent on Making It Harder for Americans to Vote."

Scandal weekend: Two big scandals that lay bare the structure of global corruption.
* "Unaoil's Huge New Corporate Bribery Scandal, Explained [...] Unaoil and its subcontractors bribed foreign officials to help major multinational corporations win contracts, tens of thousands of the company's internal documents show. The investigation illustrates just how complicit big Western companies are in corruption overseas. It also shows that by enabling corruption, these companies fuel the kind of political instability that allows insurgencies like the self-described Islamic State to grow."
* "The Panama Papers - What Happens When Corruption Is Systemic: Over the weekend, an historic release of information came out in the Panama Papers showing exactly who, how, and when a vast network of people stole and hoarded money. Our minds easily grok the realities of Vladimir Putin embezzling a billion dollars through offshore accounts or the Prime Minister of Iceland stealing cash from public coffers. Where we fail more easily is visualizing the system of shell companies, accounting tools, trade regimes, tax havens, and legislative changes that make up the system of wealth extraction all of these individuals are using in collaboration with their partners in crime. As the media is quite likely to frame the Panama Papers as a few bad apples using legal financial instruments, I would like to offer an alternative that keeps our mental eye on the ball. What really matters is the architecture of wealth extraction that has been systematically built up in every country around the world."
* "What are the Panama Papers? A guide to the biggest data leak in history" Hiding money, laundering money, you name it - and even David Cameron's father are involved.
* Craig Murray, "Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak"
* Marc Wheeler, "Why Do They Call It Panama Papers, Anyway?"
* "How the U.S. became one of the world's biggest tax havens"
* "Bernie Sanders Predicted Panama Papers Scandal back in 2011!" - he objected to the Panama "free trade" agreement.

Don't forget to check out the Water Cooler at Naked Capitalism, where there are always loads of links like these about the latest on TPP, corruption, money-laundering, mortality rates, suicide rates, you name it.

David Dayen, "Why Are Voters Angry? It's the 1099 Economy, Stupid. [...] But The New York Times's Neil Irwin might have found an answer last week, when he pointed to eye-opening new research from Princeton's Alan Krueger and Harvard's Lawrence Katz on Americans in alternative work arrangements, which they defined as 'temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers.' This cohort of the workforce grew from 10.1 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent at the end of 2015, representing an increase of 9.4 million workers. That's all of the growth in the labor market over the past decade."

"Solving the Mystery of the Schools: In recent years, American public education has been swamped by bad ideas and policies. Our national leaders, most of whom were educated at elite universities and should know better, have turned our most important domestic duty into a quest for higher scores on standardized tests. While it is true that students must do well on standardized tests to enter universities, few of the better universities judge students' knowledge and ability solely by such flimsy measures. Thus it is puzzling why public officials have made test scores the purpose of education."

"The Origins of Totalitarianism: Conclusion [...] Polanyi says that when a social structure imposes too much stress on too many people it has to change. We don't know how many disaffected people there are In the US, but it is clear that there is an enormous number, in both parties and among the unaffiliated, and that change will come. The US has always prided itself on its openness to change. We believe that everything will work out for the best, because we are the exceptional people, the City on the Hill. We assume that change will be for the best. Arendt points out the sickening reality: some changes are deadly."

No surprises here:
* "Study finds police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates."
* "Stereotype Shattered as New Study Finds White Youth Are More Likely Than Blacks to Abuse Hard Drugs."

"The Fall of King Coal: After 29 men died in his company's mine, Don Blankenship is fighting to stay out of prison. But he already won the battle to convert coal country to his brand of conservative politics."

"Mo. Supreme Court: Voter ID law is unconstitutional: In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court of Missouri struck down the state's voter identification law Monday. Supreme Court Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. cast the dissenting vote. Senate Bill 1014, signed into law June 14 by Gov. Matt Blunt, required Missourians to show a valid federal or state-issued photo ID to vote this November. Monday's decision upholds a September ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan that the ID requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on the right to vote."

"Today in the UK, a woman was sentenced for the crime of an abortion - yet we act outraged at Donald Trump: She desperately tried to save up enough money to travel to England to have an abortion, but wasn't able to. Her housemates reported her to the police."

Jimmy Carter: U.S. Is an 'Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery'

For April 1st, The Talking Dog departed from his usual habit of (really) interviewing people who were directly involved with Guantanamo, and applied his format to Donald Trump.

'Generic presidential campaign ad' mocks political cliches

"In Blow to Big Pharma, Treasury Cracks Down on Corporate Tax Dodgers: New rule would 'wipe out the expected tax breaks Pfizer was counting on' from its $150 billion mega-merger: Issuing what some called a death blow to the proposed $150 billion merger between pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Allergan, the U.S. Treasury Department late Monday proposed new tax regulations aimed at cracking down on so-called corporate inversions. Corporate inversions allow U.S. businesses to avoid paying U.S. taxes by claiming foreign citizenship. The merger between Viagra-maker Pfizer Inc. and Allergan PLC, which manufactures Botox, would have been "the largest inversion ever," according to the Wall Street Journal, allowing Pfizer to profit from a lower corporate tax rate in Allergan's home country of Ireland."

"Two Losses for Bosses: SCOTUS Rules Against Walmart, Wells Fargo in Class-Action Suits: The Supreme Court made more decisions unfavorable to corporate executives in the wake of Antonin Scalia's death. Justices declined on Monday to hear appeals by Walmart and Wells Fargo in moves that upheld two nine-figure class action judgments that went against the multinational giants." This would almost certainly have been heard and overturned with Scalia still on the court, and Obama's nominee has a history of being unsympathetic to unions as well, so this was probably the best possible timing.

"Gov. Rick Snyder sued by hundreds of Flint residents over poisoned water supply: Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is the main target of a federal racketeering lawsuit over the Flint water crisis." RICO can be used for good. (Get the banksters next!)

We nominate our Lois Lane Award choice: "9-year-old journalist, chided for breaking murder story, puts critics in their places: Hilde Kate Lysiak received a tip, hustled to the scene, and beat all local journalists with the news of a murder by posting a short story and video online. Unfortunately for her competitors and critics, Lysiak is a nine-year-old third grader. Lysiak was recently profiled in The Washington Post and the journalism prodigy already has thicker skin than most adult reporters. Locals bashed Lysiak on Facebook Sunday night after she broke her big story. One person said they are 'disgusted that this cute little girl thinks she is a real journalist,' before asking, 'what happened to tea parties?' Another said Lysiak should be 'playing with dolls.' Lysiak was not only unfazed, but fired back. 'If you want me to stop covering the news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?'"

Chile students' debts go up in smoke: Artist named Fried Potatoes removed tuition contracts he says were worth up to $500m from private university and burned them."

"Meet a Doctor Who Provides Abortion Services BECAUSE of His Christian Faith"

Nice shirt.

* Winston Moseley, Who Killed Kitty Genovese, Dies in Prison at 81, at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. after nearly 52 years imprisonment. Everyone who has ever studied sociology or psychology must know this story, but very possibly you have it all wrong.
* Merle Haggard, Country Music's Outlaw Hero, Dies at 79: "Merle Haggard, one of the most successful singers in the history of country music, a contrarian populist whose songs about his scuffling early life and his time in prison made him the closest thing that the genre had to a real-life outlaw hero, died at his ranch in Northern California on Wednesday, his 79th birthday."

"Why it's OK to give to homeless drug addicts: If a person living on the streets decides to spend your money on drugs or alcohol, it's none of your business." I can't tell you how strongly I agree with this. And yes, I have had someone walk up to me and thank me for having given them a quid a time or two last year, and tell me they've gotten themselves together since, and that they are grateful for people like me who helped them in the interim.

"Could mushrooms be a secret weapon for disaster relief?"

The Real Difference Between Brown Eggs vs White Eggs - Actually a bunch of different things about eggs, including the egg-scare. I admit to getting bored before I read to the end, but I didn't see a place where they noted that the yolk is where the protein is and the white has more carbs.

"See inside the 'secret' Victorian station left abandoned in London."

"Mathematicians mapped out every Game of Thrones relationship to find the main character."

How to tell the new Star Wars film was shot at Canary Warf

Lois Lane versus Brainiac

"Tales of Brave Ulysses"