Monday, July 18, 2016

Fear's the way we die

Recent events have really gotten away from me and I can't bring myself to write about the shootings and the truck bomb and all the killing or Turkey right now. So for the moment, I will just post these:
* "Police Shouldn't Ask If a Shooting Is Justified, But If It's Avoidable."
* "How the Police See Us, and How They Train Us to See Them"
* "Police Shootings Won't Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People: The dangers of turning police officers into revenue generators."

"Bernie Sanders offers long-awaited endorsement: Hillary Clinton is 'far and away the best candidate'" - Technically, he has not dropped out of the race and is still running for president, but it looks like he finally managed to win a few concessions from Clinton to get this endorsement out of him.

Mother Jones, "Here Is the Democratic Party's Draft Platform: It has plenty to please liberals - but will it be enough to win over Bernie Sanders?"

The Labour Party's neoliberals tried to come up with a procedural way to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. It didn't work. "For at least 20 years, the leaders of the Labor Party, the ones before Jeremy Corbyn, were involved in eliminating--purging, you might say--all of the progressive MPs to have a parliamentary Labor Party which was overwhelmingly centrist and right wing neoliberal. Tony Blair was very effective in doing that, and his successors did not change that. [...] So he came to control a party whose members supported him strongly and supported his social democracy. But his members of Parliament were neoliberals. All right. The members of Parliament have, the overwhelming majority of them, have been plotting to get rid of him since the day he was elected, which was the middle of September last year. All right. They have seized this moment to do it. The problem can be stated simply. If they run against a Social Democrat, Jeremy Corbyn or someone else from the left of the party, they will lose. Their only hope of regaining their control, their neoliberal control of the party, was to keep Corbyn off the ballot. And I can only assume that the woman who announced that she was going to challenge Corbyn thought that today the executive committee of the Labour Party would vote to keep Corbyn off the ballot. The vote, in fact, was very close, 18 to 14."
* The new leader of the Conservative Party, and therefore Prime Minister, is the extremely right-wing Theresa May, who unfortunately is not Teresa May. As Home Secretary she instituted policies with complete disregard to the actual law, even over the objections of the House of Lords. Her immigration policies were a scandal and her attitude toward internet privacy is a horror show. And she appointed Boris Johnson to be Foreign Secretary, which shows she's mad as a hatter.
* Jonathan Pie on assignment, who has some questions for Theresa May.

Jeremy Corbyn's speech to Parliament in response to the Chilcot Report. It said what we all knew at the time.
* "Damning Chilcot Report Confirms Iraq Invasion Was Bush/Blair's War of Choice"
* "Happy Chilcot Day (A Fairy Story): Fantasy author Charlie "Oversight/Paradox" Fletcher says, "I wrote this as a Christmas story for my friends and family in 2010, seven years after the Iraq War began, eighteen months after the Chilcot Inquiry into it was announced."

Former Labour MP Bryan Gould, who once might have been a potential challenger to Tony Blair but suddenly ran off to Australia, asks: "How Did It Come to This?" And it all sounds so familiar.

"Theresa May's husband steals the show in sexy navy suit as he starts new life as First Man."

California Final result: statewide turnout 47.5% 8,504,538 ballots cast. Clinton 53.2%, Sanders 45.9%

911 Report section on Saudi Arabia (.pdf) - Those previously unseen 28 pages give every reason to be suspicious of our "friends"..

"TSA Agents Beat Deaf, Partially Blind Teen, Returning From Brain Surgery."

"Two People Connected To Flint Water Investigation Found Dead." Yes, again.

"Sanders booed by House Democrats: Lawmakers press Sanders during a tense question-and-answer session on whether he would ultimately endorse Clinton and help foster party unity." This has been annoying from the beginning - Sanders has always said he would endorse the Democratic nominee, but the Clinton side kept ginning up fantasies about his plans not to do so, or to act as a splitter, or some other nefarious plot to blow up the whole party. The craziness has been evident on Facebook and Twitter ever since the California primary, but of course everyone insists that's "not the campaign", just random social media users. However, now we see the rot at the top, too. The only question I have is whether they are really this stupid and actually think such behavior fosters party unity, or if it's all part of the usual DLC program of trying to push liberal progressives out of the Democratic Party.

"It's Harder for Some Republicans to Hop On The Hillary Bandwagon Than It Is For Others."

"Debbie Wasserman Schultz Still Helping Her Republican Cronies Against Democratic Candidates In South Florida"

"Picking Up James Comey's Pieces - What He Did, What He Should Have Done & Why."

"Top Banking Committee Democrat Reprimands Loretta Lynch For Going Easy On Wall Street: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) sent a sharply worded letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, calling on the government's top lawyer to rescind a drug money laundering settlement with HSBC and bring criminal charges against the British financial titan's employees. Under the standards of Beltway etiquette, it's a provocative move for a Democratic congresswoman in a leadership position Waters is the ranking member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee ? to publicly challenge a sitting Democratic cabinet member. But Waters' letter is particularly biting for another reason: Lynch was personally in charge of the HSBC investigation that infuriated financial reform advocates in December 2012, while she was U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York." The whole HSBC settlement is a scandal of enormous proportions, especially the fact that no one went to jail.

"The ghosts in Minneapolis' 'progressive' machine [...] There is a warning tucked neatly in a 2006 report from the Federal Bureau of investigations about 'ghost skins,' a network of whites with extremist positions who don alternate personas so that they can infiltrate law enforcement, state government, and the military to further the cause of white power. In Minneapolis it would be hard to believe such a problem could exist. It's liberal here. Very liberal. It would be harder to push a camel through the eye of a needle than to elect a Republican in Minneapolis. Yet, the police department is mostly made up of suburban and exurban officers who come from parts of Minnesota that aren't liberal."

Clinton's briefing paper on "Universal, Quality, Affordable Health Care for Everyone in America".

Bill Black and Stephanie Kelton on a New Deal-style jobs program - versus the "private-public partnership" that makes it all too expensive and inefficient, combined with austerity to hurt the economy more.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on why we need to stop the TPP

Greg Sargent, "Democrats are booing Bernie Sanders. But his movement is succeeding.

Is "Lesser Of Two Evils" Going To Be Good Enough In November? What Does The Democratic Party Claim To Be Offering?

Yves, "Elizabeth Warren Opens Broad Attack Against Rent-Seeking Oligopolists Like Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart, Comcast: While the media has been obsessed with Elizabeth Warren acting as the new heavy in the Clinton campaign against Donald Trump, it has curiously neglected a front she and other progressives are opening against powerful companies that are strong backers of the Clinton presidential bid. She has called out some of the most powerful companies in America as having too much economic power and has called for them to reined in." If Elizabeth Warren is going to be the trustbuster barnstormer, I'm good with that. And so is:
* Pierce, "Another Plea for Elizabeth Warren to Keep Her Day Job: She's too valuable for a gig like VP right now."

Jonathan Pie's news report from London, "What's that coming over the hill? The Tories"

Robert Parry, "How Hillary Clinton Ignores Peace: Despite neocon-instigated chaos and bloodshed across the Mideast (and now into Europe), Hillary Clinton continues to advocate more 'regime change' wars with almost no fear from a marginalized anti-war movement."

"This is how the CIA's first captive after 9/11 described his years of torture."

"Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists."

RJ Eskow, "Would You Trust Henry Kissinger With Your Social Security? [...] When a group uses prominent people to promote its arguments, it's prudent to ask: Who are these people? Can we trust them? Are they wise and just?"

Bill Black, "The Terrible Cost to Democrats and Our Nation of Ignoring Tom Frank's Warnings" - Black takes down the NYT's emerging neoliberal apologist Nick Cohn, who would rather hint that the working class is motivated entirely by racism and nationalism than acknowledge that the working class hates them because of the war they have waged - and mostly won - against the non-rich.
* "Defying the Investors: Thomas Ferguson on how voter alienation from corporate candidates produced this year's dizzying election results. [...] But I have looked through some of the Sanders campaign filings. My tentative judgment is that unlike 2008 and 2012, when the Obama campaign clearly encouraged donors to break up their contributions into smaller amounts to create the appearance of a mass movement, the Sanders campaign pretty much is what it appears to be: a movement swept along by a vast array of small donors. No wonder Democratic elites were so nervously petulant at Sanders for staying in the race and continuing to propagate his views."

"The Psychology of Why Hillary Clinton Supporters are Still So Angry at Bernie Sanders" - It has been puzzling to see the bizarre hatred of Sanders that has sprung up from people who support Clinton. This has ranged from people I used to like making bizarre assertions about why he hasn't dropped out and endorsed Clinton yet to some fairly vicious and no longer-veiled claims that Sanders is only interested in "a white, male electorate". Many Clintonites have behaved this way from the moment he entered the race, screaming vitriol about how he is a liar who is misleading his supporters, making up stories about how he has "never had a real job in his life" (which is a funny thing to say about one of the few people in Congress to have ever had a job working with his hands - and may have been helped along by this "meme"), and so on. They also seem to subscribe to the fantasy that all legislative work is done by being a sponsor or author of a bill that passed - as if none of his many other accomplishments exist because it wasn't his name on the bill. But many others seem to have developed a kind of Tourettes where they simply can't stop posting on social media about how much they hate him for not dropping out of the race and endorsing Clinton - apparently, they don't realize he really is about his issues. They also don't seem to know that endorsing her now would be counterproductive, but nevermind. The main thing is that they can't seem to stop themselves. Shane Ryan thinks it's about identity politics - and no doubt some of it is - but I think a lot of this goes back to 2008. I'm not saying Team Clinton didn't play a bit dirty back then, but no one who wasn't the most severe Obama fanatic could have missed just how much nastier the Obama campaign played it, and I think, having defended her then, they have bonded to Clinton in a way they might otherwise not have, and to them, a Clinton win is the only justice, giving her the victory she deserved against Obama.

Matt Taibbi, "In Response to Trump, Another Dangerous Movement Appears: Fears of demagoguery are provoking a frightening swing in the other direction [...] Donald Trump is dangerous because as president, he'd likely have little respect for law. But a gang of people whose metaphor for society is 'We are the white cells, voters are the disease' is comparably scary in its own banal, less click-generating way. These self-congratulating cognoscenti could have looked at the events of the last year and wondered why people were so angry with them, and what they could do to make government work better for the population. Instead, their first instinct is to dismiss voter concerns as baseless, neurotic bigotry and to assume that the solution is to give Washington bureaucrats even more leeway to blow off the public. In the absurdist comedy that is American political life, this is the ultimate anti-solution to the unrest of the last year, the mathematically perfect wrong ending"

William Greider in The Nation, "Should the Democratic Party Be Added to the Endangered-Species List: The Bernie-Hillary face-off has exposed how far the party has drifted from its working-class base -and how angry that base still is at the betrayal."

Andy Stern, former head of the Service Employees International Union, is also talking about the need for a Universal Basic Income, but again the figure is much too low, a mere $1,000 a month. Why do these people think anyone can live on that?

Commenter CMike has caused me to do something I never thought I'd do - recommend, without irony or derision, a column by Ross Douthat, on "The Myth of Cosmopolitanism".

Watch out for deceptive fundraising letters in your mailbox - yes, even the hard-mail kind.

The Comprehensive Activist Guide to Dismantling Neoliberalism

A short timeline of socialism and the fight for racial equality

* "The First Screen Lois Lane, Noel Neill Dies, Aged 95
* "Elie Wiesel, Nobel winner and Holocaust survivor, dies aged 87."
* Corey Robin isn't all that comfortable treating Wiesel with unalloyed praise, and gives one reason here.

"Universal basic income to be trialled in Oakland, Y Combinator announces: Around 100 families will be given between $1,000 and $2,000 each month to test how a basic income will affect their lives." This isn't going to tell us much - I mean, 100 families? Really? That won't have any impact on the economy or the society, which means it will tell us very little.

The Fascinating History of Flour Sack Dresses

How a Portuguese-to-English Phrasebook Became a Cult Comedy Sensation

Jeff Tiedrich won Twitter on the 4th of July.

"Smokey Robinson to Receive Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize" - wonderful, and do click on those links to enjoy some great music.

Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and John Sebastian, "Get Together", live, 1969


  1. Don't at all wonder that the present strewn landscape of horrors causes you to take a break. I've remarked to family that once not long ago there were incidents of folks going nuts and shooting the family, but now they go bonkers and commit an atrocity.

  2. Clinton supporters don't just hate Sanders; they hate Sanders supporters. In fact, they hate anyone who isn't a full out, no-criticism-allowed Clintonista. I've never seen such dismissal, and I've been through some of the nastiest campaigns of our times. If you don't support Clinton, you're ignorant, naive, IQ in single digits, incapable of normal conversation, more interested in your own purity than in realism, pitiable for swallowing lies, and so on. I don't understand it -- surely they know that abuse and insults will not convince anyone. Is it just projection?

  3. "Sen. Elizabeth Warren on why we need to stop the TPP"

    The best way to do that is not elect President Clinton, Liz.

  4. Mike Flannigan is live-tweeting the RNC Convention from the floor in Cleveland. Good stuff there.

  5. For the fourth and (mercifully) the final night, Mike Flannigan tweets the RNC Convention live from the floor.

  6. Wasserman Schultz is out. Thank you, Guccifer 2.0, where ever you are.

  7. Before started I hoped that they would stop the roll call and just nominate Clinton by acclimation; but as the roll call went On it got more exciting and in a way cathartic.

    To quote Joe Biden it was a "big fucking deal".

    Congratulations to Bernie. He is a large part of why the stakes of this election are so clear.
    Congratulations to Hillary, the first woman nominee is a big deal.

  8. Look, peeps, I hate to ask this but I can't make a public appeal at my place without getting swarmed by stalkers and trolls that monitor everything I write 24/7. But Mrs. JP and I just found out we've suddenly (and I mean very abruptly) lost our only means of income. Our monthly expenses are at least $1500 a month and we haven't even nearly that much to keep body and soul together until Labor Day. So any help would be immensely appreciated.