31 August 2016

And I'm sure they meant you could be president

Ray McGovern, "A Lawless Plan to Target Syria's Allies: On Aug. 17, TV interviewer Charlie Rose gave former acting CIA Director Michael Morell a 'mulligan' for an earlier wayward drive on Aug. 8 that sliced deep into the rough and even stirred up some nonviolent animals by advocating the murder of Russians and Iranians. But, alas, Morell duffed the second drive, too. Morell did so despite Rose's efforts to tee up the questions as favorably as possible, trying to help Morell explain what he meant about 'killing' Russians and Iranians in Syria and bombing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into submission. [...] Not to put too fine a point on this, but everything that Morell is advocating here violates international law, the rules that - in other circumstances, i.e. when another government is involved - the U.S. government condemns as 'aggression' or as an 'invasion' or as 'terrorism.'" And it looks like there may be a place for him in Clinton's government, too.

"A Congressman Campaigns to 'Stop the Madness' of U.S. Support for Saudi Bombing in Yemen: For months, a California congressman has been trying to get Obama administration officials to reconsider U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And for months, he has been given the runaround. Ted Lieu, a Democrat representing Los Angeles County, served in the Air Force and is a colonel in the Air Force Reserves. The brutal bombing of civilian areas with U.S.-supplied planes and weapons has led him to act when most of his colleagues have stayed silent. 'I taught the law of war when I was on active duty,' he told The Intercept. 'You can't kill children, newlyweds, doctors and patients - those are exempt targets under the law of war, and the coalition has been repeatedly striking civilians,' he said. 'So it is very disturbing to me. It is even worse that the U.S. is aiding this coalition.'"

"Is Angela Corey the Cruelest Prosecutor in America? The woman who failed to convict Trayvon Martin's killer is putting hundreds of kids in prison, and dozens of people on death row."

"Cop Shoots and Kills Unarmed Deaf Man as He Tries to Communicate Using Sign Language."

"Man Sues Surveillance Company for Spying on His Conversations With Married Woman: And the legal implications are as far-reaching as affecting if it's legal for your boss to spy on you at work."

"Obama's TPP campaign could drag down Democrats: How much is President Obama willing to harm the Democratic Party in order to win approval for the deeply unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) 'trade' agreement? We may soon find out."

David Dayen, "The Big Problem With The Trans-Pacific Partnership's Super Court That We're Not Talking About: Financiers will use it to bet on lawsuits, while taxpayers foot the bill."

The Nation, "How Obama Helped Lay the Groundwork for Trump's Thuggery: His refusal to prosecute torturers and his Wild West assassination of bin Laden show how moral complacency can all too easily degenerate into full-blown corruption."

Rolling Stone, "The GOP's Stealth War Against Voters: Will an anti-voter-fraud program designed by one of Trump's advisers deny tens of thousands their right to vote in November?"

"Report shows that Army took away gun from Dallas cop shooter Micah Johnson: A sergeant who supervised Micah Johnson, the man who killed five Dallas police officers in July, told the Army that his gun should be taken from him in 2014 because he posed a potential threat, according to a newly released Army investigation."

"U.S. Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business: The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries. Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian's annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget."

"One year on, Russia's war in Syria is hardly a 'quagmire': US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan got bogged down by ambitious goals. In Syria, Russia has kept it simple and is gaining in influence in the region because of it."

"WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath: On August 31, 2013, US president Barack Obama announced that he intended to launch a military attack on Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack in that country that the US blamed on the Syrian government. Obama assured the US public that this would be a limited action solely intended to punish the Assad government for using chemical weapons; the goal of US military action would not be to overthrow the Assad government, nor to change the balance of forces in Syria's sectarian civil war. [...] The cables gave the public a recent window into the strategies and motivations of US officials as they expressed them to each other, not as they usually expressed them to the public. In the case of Syria, the cables show that regime change had been a long-standing goal of US policy; that the US promoted sectarianism in support of its regime-change policy, thus helping lay the foundation for the sectarian civil war and massive bloodshed that we see in Syria today; that key components of the Bush administration's regime-change policy remained in place even as the Obama administration moved publicly toward a policy of engagement; and that the US government was much more interested in the Syrian government's foreign policy, particularly its relationship with Iran, than in human rights inside Syria."

Marcy Wheeler, "Breaking from Saudi Arabia!!! Two-Month-Old Misleading News [...] From that headline, particularly the use of the present tense, you might assume that the US is in the process of withdrawing its Yemen-related staff from Saudi Arabia, perhaps in response to the Saudi war crimes earlier this week. But here's what the story actually reports: the staff withdrawal happened in June, and was in no way a response to this week's war crimes."
* "Breaking: Russians Claim They've Found Extraterrestrial Life to Tamper with Our Elections."

"The real reason Washington calls Putin a thug"

"US Soldiers Are Relying on Millions of Dollars in Food Stamps to Survive [...] For years, the military has been embarrassed by reports showing that some active-duty service members struggle to feed their families and use government benefits to get by. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Department of Defense (DoD) does not fully understand the scope of the problem." Frankly, this article doesn't go far enough - members of the military are being charged for things they should be getting for free, to begin with.

Dean Baker, "Fixing Obamacare: The Democrats Have to Talk About It [...] If we are going to see the problems with the ACA addressed, Democrats will have to start talking about the program and explaining what it has done in ensuring that people have health care. If people understand what the ACA is, they are likely to want to protect it, just as millions now rush to the defense of Medicare whenever it is threatened."

The New Republic, "The Anti-Democratic Urge: With populism on the rise in both parties, it has become fashionable for elites to bash the masses. But we need more democracy, not less. [...] In reality, our political system is far less democratic than it was a generation ago. Over the past 40 years, we've seen unions crushed, welfare gutted, higher education defunded, prisons packed to overflowing, voting rights curbed, and the rich made steadily richer while wages stagnated. It's not the frustration of the people that should terrify us, but rather the legitimate sources of their frustration, which have so long gone unaddressed. Regular citizens struggling to make ends meet have almost nowhere to turn, nothing to join. We shouldn't wonder that so many voters have seized on this election to make a statement, even a nihilistic one. To insist that the only solution is for the people to get back in line is to refuse to acknowledge that the 'establishment' bears any responsibility for the conditions that created the public's outrage in the first place.

"Liberal Hate for the Green Party: Liberals have joined Hillary Clinton's 'big nasty tent' in a very big way. They have moved far beyond the usual rationales for sticking with the Democrats and are now carrying on a full-fledged hate fest. Their targets are Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate Ajamu Baraka, who is also a Black Agenda Report editor and columnist."

It's really worth listening to Sam Seder's interview with Carol Anderson: White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, much as it will make you feel the outrage all over again - and there are probably a couple of things you didn't know about, too. But most of all, she ties it all together neatly.

Great segment from John Oliver on Charter Schools.

"The Real Reason Middle America Should Be Angry: Like many 'flyover' cities, St. Louis's decline is not mainly a story of deindustrialization, but of decisions in Washington that opened the door to predatory monopoly."

"Virgin Trains controversy 'has helped Jeremy Corbyn's leadership bid'" - All Corbyn had to do was mention being on a crowded train and the press seems to have gotten excited, but I was more interested in this: Corbyn also said he would support a private members' bill tabled by Labour backbencher Margaret Greenwood aimed at unpicking the internal market in the NHS. That approach received support from David Owen, former Labour health secretary and one of the founders of the Social Democratic party. 'For the first time in 14 years we have the leader of the Labour party today unequivocally committing the party to reversing the legislation which has created in England a broken down market-based healthcare system,' Lord Owen said. 'Surely now the whole Labour movement can combine together, left, right and centre to make this official party policy at this year's autumn conference.'" Yes, you'd think they could at least agree on that. I mean, that's David Owen, who isn't exactly famous as part of Labour's left.

"NPR Host Demands That Assange Do Something Its Own Reporters Are Told Never to Do" In a ten-minute interview aired Wednesday morning, NPR's David Greene asked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange five times to reveal the sources of the leaked information he has published on the internet. A major tenet of American journalism is that reporters protect their sources. Wikileaks is certainly not a traditional news organization, but Greene's persistent attempts to get Assange to violate confidentiality was alarming, especially considering that there has been no challenge to the authenticity of the material in question.

Carl Beijer reviews the latest embarrassing Twitter moment: "Why Neera Tanden's notepad gaffe is so hilarious"

On how Gawker has been sued out of existence, Tom Scocca says, "Gawker Was Murdered by Gaslight. [...] "Gawker always said it was in the business of publishing true stories. Here is one last true story: You live in a country where a billionaire can put a publication out of business. A billionaire can pick off an individual writer and leave that person penniless and without legal protection. If you want to write stories that might anger a billionaire, you need to work for another billionaire yourself, or for a billion-dollar corporation. The law will not protect you. There is no freedom in this world but power and money."

"Why Trump voters are not 'complete idiots' [...] Trump voters may not vote the way I want them to, but after having spent the last five years working in (and having grown up in) parts of the US few visit, they are not dumb. They are doing whatever any other voter does: Trying to use their vote to better their particular situation (however they define that). Labeling them dumb is simply a way of not trying to understand their situation, or what they value."

"Why Poor People Stay Poor: Saving money costs money. Period." The article is a couple years old, but it bears repeating.

"How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home: A friend of mine, a Vietnam vet, told me about a veteran of the Iraq War who, when some civilian said, 'Thank you for your service,' replied: 'I didn't serve, I was used.' That got me thinking about the many ways today's veterans are used, conned, and exploited by big gamers right here at home." And the Koch brothers themselves are making a tidy profit sucking up VA money to keep right on using them.

"This week in the war on workers: Black Lives Matter and the NAACP say no to more charter schools."

"Inmates Made Thousands Of Unsafe Helmets For U.S. Troops: After multiple investigations, the Department of Justice found that a company that employed prisoners to build U.S. military helmets produced thousands of defective products, putting combat soldiers at risk. The Office of Inspector General worked with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Army to expose poor manufacturing practices by a company that paid inmates to make military helmets for the Department of Defense."

"In States Like Tennessee, Private Prisons Will Survive Obama Administration: On August 18, the same day the Department of Justice announced it would seek to end its private prison contracts, an inmate died at a Corrections Corporation of America facility in Tennessee, where she was denied proper medical treatment after she was attacked by other inmates." The facility holds a number of federal prisoners, but the contract is with the state, not the fed, so it may continue.

Dahlia Lithwick on "Leavenworth's Spygate: A private prison facility in Kansas was spying on constitutionally protected attorney-client conversations. [...] Amid this news, it was easy to miss the story out of the Leavenworth Detention Center in Kansas, in which a private prison system appears to have been committing a broad and systematic violation of the constitutional rights of its inmates. That federal private prison, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, was secretly videotaping conversations between prisoners and their lawyers and also allegedly recording audio of some phone calls between prisoners and their attorneys, then handing over some of the information from those recordings to state prosecutors. Corrections Corporation of America, which manages 85 facilities all over the country, appears to have basically been engaging in a widespread fishing expedition for evidence gleaned from secret videotapes - evidence they then handed off to prosecutors without the knowledge of prisoners nor their lawyers."

RIP: "Gene Wilder: a comic enigma whose genius shone brightest in collaboration" - of complications related to Alzheimer's, at 83.
* I don't expect anyone could get away with this ever again, but I still think it was hilarious.

"Obamacare's Faltering for One Simple Reason: Profit: There have been dozens if not hundreds of news articles about Aetna leaving the Affordable Health Care Act's online marketplaces in eleven states, and whether this signals serious problems for Obamacare down the road. But none of them have truly explained that what's happening with Aetna is the consequence of a flaw built into Obamacare from the start: It permits insurance companies to make a profit on the basic healthcare package Americans are now legally required to purchase. This makes Obamacare fundamentally different from essentially all systems of universal healthcare on earth. (There is one tiny exception, the Netherlands, but of the four insurance companies that cover 90 percent of Dutch citizens, just one is for profit.)"

"So You Think You Can Take Over the Democratic Party? With the nominating process now behind us, the question for supporters of Bernie Sanders both unwavering and critical is simple: What is to be done now?"

"Why Is Maddow In The Bag For #DebtTrapDebbie Wasserman Schultz?"

Alan Grayson: Dem Party Essentially "Money Laundering" For Donors

"Donald Trump is a Fascist: Whether Donald Trump is a full-fledged fascist or 'merely' a proto-fascist depends on which historian's definition of fascism you prefer." An eight-part series (scroll down to get to the first part).

"The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged: Despite what the media tells you, the Democrats will not take the House in November. Here's why."

"What Does It Mean When War Hawks Say 'Never Trump'? The enemies of my enemy may be war criminals."

"20 Years Later, Poverty Is Up, But Architects of 'Welfare Reform' Have No Regrets."

Corey Robin on "How Clinton Enables the Republican Party: I've been saying that one of the problems with the 'Trump is like no Republican we've ever seen before' line is that it prevents us from consigning the Republican Party to the oblivion it deserves. In making Trump sui generis, by insisting that he is an utter novelty, you allow the rest of the party to distance themselves from him, to make him extreme and themselves respectable, and to regroup after November."

"Ross Perot, Last American Leftist [...] Agents of Influence ultimately inspired Perot's whole political career - and gave Choate a second act as a senior campaign adviser commonly called 'Perot's brain.' And to their combined credit, Perot's brain on matters of substance remained remarkably lucid, consistent and focused during the surreal and volatile four years that followed. Sure, he had some odd personal notions about a GOP plot to crash his daughter's wedding, but his political convictions were unflappable. He spent all of seven words - 'I think this is a woman's decision' - on abortion, blaming failing infrastructure and the weak economy for the 'breakdown of the family' that preoccupied the culture warriors of the day. And while he often invoked the menace of debt and deficits on the campaign trail, it was always as a byproduct of the trade deficit he sought to attack with a robust Japan-style industrial policy."

"Why the Deeply Held Ideas of the Nation's Most Elite Economists Were Direct Causes of Extreme Inequality: As Americans turned away from government, so did the economics profession." Could these people really have had no idea of the damage they were doing? Surely it's obvious why so many people had hated those policies in the past and done their best to prevent them. It's hard to believe that the destruction of our economy is a bug rather than a feature.

Brad DeLong can still adhere to economic models that make no sense, but nevermind. As Norman Mailer explained long ago, the Elitemigration happened when smart Republicans took over the Democratic Party. No, really. "It's not like that faith is gone with the wind. Someone still vehemently believes in all those classic Chamber of Commerce GOP things, plus trade deals and outsourcing (with social liberalism, too, in a minor difference); someone still hates the economic left with religious and eliminationist intensity; someone still praises business, growth, deregulation with sunshiney Reaganite enthusiasm and in total denial of the persistent corruption, failure, and moral bankruptcy of same; and that someone is the current neoliberal Democratic Party elite, of which Brad DeLong is a prominent member." I hate to admit it, but Mailer was way ahead of me: "The Republicans said to themselves, 'we're in terrible trouble, they're on to us, we've...got to send a few of our best people into the Democratic Party and get them to run it' sort of as undercover people all these years. And I think they've succeeded. Look at the results."

"Hillary Clinton's Not-So-New, Not-So-Worker-Friendly Economic Plan : Hillary Clinton unveiled her "new" economic plan to much fanfare--but it looks an awful lot like someone else's old program."

"The Scourge of Neoliberalism: Why the Democratic Party Is Failing the Poor: When Democrats began their rightward lurch in the late 1960's, they were not content to merely broaden their coalition in order to quell the rise of the ultra-reactionary right; they have been concerned, also, with preventing left-wing insurgencies that could spook their patrons and push the party left."

"During Obama's Presidency Wealth Inequality has Increased and Poverty Levels are Higher [...] Despite the last few years of 'recovery,' the share of wealth held by the bottom 50% of the U.S. population declined from 1.15% in 2010 to 1.05% in 2013. This is less than half of where it stood in 2007, before the great recession, when the share of the country's wealth held by the poorest 50% of the population was at 2.5%."

Rick Perlstein on "Hillary's GOP Sympathies: Don't save the Speaker - let him go down with the Trump ship. When your opponent is drowning, the old saying goes, throw him an anvil. Is Hillary Clinton throwing hers a life raft instead?"

Lee Camp interviews economist Richard D. Wolff

"There Will Be No Second American Revolution: The Futility of an Armed Revolt [...] There is no place in our nation for the kind of armed revolution our forefathers mounted against a tyrannical Great Britain. Such an act would be futile and tragic. We are no longer dealing with a distant, imperial king but with a tyrant of our own making: a militarized, technologized, heavily-financed bureaucratic machine that operates beyond the reach of the law.

"Sci-fi author Haldeman on whether a 'Forever War' movie will happen." There isn't really any surprising content in the article, but I do remember that day when Joe walked up to me in the bar looking stunned, having just met Heinlein and having him enthuse about how he'd enjoyed The Forever War. Joe had felt the book was a retort to Starship Troopers, so that was a bit unexpected.

What I found most interesting about "Few quick thoughts on Brexit" was that Arnade focuses somewhat on Emile Durkheim, but never really spells out what may have been Durkheim's most important revelation: that the rate of suicide in a society is a response to the society. Presumably, there will always be people who would kill themselves regardless of how much they are offered by society, but when rates of suice go up, it's not an individual illness or problem, it's something the society is doing to its people. Suicide is up in America, and our government's decisions are what is killing them.

In "Soul of A New (Political) Machine," Anne Laurie says, "I am personally pro-machine, both out of filial piety (my Irish grandparents owed their livelihoods to Tammany Hall) and because the known alternatives are so much worse. Perhaps the concept is due for revival, as the retro vintage artisanal alternative to the kleptocrats of our Second Gilded Age? Are we sophisticated enough, technologically or socially, to harness the machines' benefits without the corruption for which they were infamous?"

"Nobody talks about the fact that Taylor Swift is Jewish. Here's why it matters."

What's the difference between a hijab, niqab and burka?
* Ann Telneas: "Men: Stop telling women what to wear."

"The Complete Inverse of Man of Steel, in One Perfect Image"


Here Are Some Words That Seem Like They Should Be Related But Actually Aren't at All

The Beatles, live TV concert, 7 December 1963

50 years ago, the Beatles played their last concert, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Ben Folds, "Capable of Anything"

21 August 2016

We gave her everything money could buy

"Obama puts Congress on notice: TPP is coming: The White House put Congress on notice Friday morning that it will be sending lawmakers a bill to implement President Barack Obama's landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement - a move intended to infuse new energy into efforts to ratify the flat-lining trade pact. The move establishes a 30-day minimum before the administration can present the legislation, but the White House is unlikely to do so amid the heated rhetoric of a presidential campaign in which both major party nominees have depicted free trade deals as massive job killers. Friday's notification is the clearest signal yet that the White House is serious about getting Obama's legacy trade deal - the biggest in U.S. history - passed by the end of the year, as he has vowed to do despite the misgivings of Republican leaders and the outright opposition of a majority of Democrats in Congress." I was pretty sure as soon as Hillary started using stronger anti-TPP language that she knew Obama was going to push for it to be a done deal in the lame duck and ostensibly take it out of her hands.
* "Sanders to Democrats: Rule out lame-duck vote on trade deal: It is now time for the leadership of the Democratic Party in the Senate and the House to join Secretary Clinton and go on the record in opposition to holding a vote on this job-killing trade deal during the lame-duck session of Congress and beyond."
* "Liberals rally to sink Obama trade deal: Liberals are amping up their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on and off of Capitol Hill, amid escalating concerns that the package will get an 11th hour vote after the November elections. Republican leaders in both chambers have said it's unlikely the mammoth Pacific Rim trade deal will reach the floor this year. But the accord remains a top priority for President Obama in the twilight of his final term, and the critics - leery of pro-TPP members in both parties - aren't taking anything for granted."

Bless you, Zephyr Teachout! David Dayen in The New Republic, "Debate the Billionaires! What do you do as a politician when billionaire plutocrats drop millions of dollars into a super PAC dedicated to ending your career? Democrats will need to answer this question, and fast. As desperation sets in with the Donald Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee is considering cutting its losses and re-directing funds to save the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. And right-wing super PAC helmsmen, from the Koch Brothers to Karl Rove, have been training their eye on Congress for months. This means dozens of Democrats will likely see attack ads and mailers blanketing their districts this October. One candidate has come up with a plan to deal with this, and it could become a model for how to, at least, raise awareness of the effort by Big Money to effectively buy congressional races. Zephyr Teachout, a progressive populist hoping to take over an open seat in upstate New York currently held by the GOP, has challenged her opponent to a debate. Not the Republican candidate, but his wealthy super PAC donors. [...] 'We can't let billionaire donors buy off politicians and get away with being faceless names on a filing,' Teachout told me. 'People deserve to know who's trying to take away their right to choose their representatives.'"

"Fox, Meet Henhouse: FDA Says Food Makers Can Decide Which Food Additives Are Safe: If you want proof that our food system is corporate-friendly rather than consumer-friendly, putting consumer health at unnecessary risk, take a look at the FDA's Final Rule on Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), which was released last Friday. It's a doozy. The agency announced it will continue to allow food manufacturers to decide whether new food additives that preserve, flavor, blend or add texture to food can be safely added to processed food or drink. Yes, you read that correctly. The food company, which may have a financial interest in using the food additive, gets to decide its safety while the FDA does not have to do a review."

"US justice department announces it will end use of private prisons: [...] Yates said in her memo that research had found private prisons 'simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources' and 'do not save substantially on costs' either. Essential government education and training programs for prisoners 'have proved difficult to replicate and outsource' in the private sector, she said. The decision was announced days after the Department of Justice's inspector general released a damning investigation report. It found instances of inmate-on-inmate assaults were 28% higher in contract prisons than in government-run facilities, and that the confiscation of contraband mobile phones occurred eight times more frequently. Federal inmates in private prisons were found to be nine times more likely to be placed on lockdown than those at other federal prisons, and were frequently subjected to arbitrary solitary confinement." Well, yes, all the things we warned against, not to mention the creation of a powerful lobbying industry that has, among other things, sucked up precious state funds as well, made more things crimes, and increased the likelihood that kids who normally might have had nothing worse than detention to deal with suddenly ended up being dragged out in cuffs and incarcerated. The very idea that "the Land of the Free" actually allowed a private prison system is unbearably shameful. Unfortunately, it's not only the federal government that's been playing this game, and the states are still riddled with this corrupt system.

"The Justice Department's stunning report on the Baltimore Police Department [...] As you might expect, all of these problems are exacerbated in black neighborhoods, where stops, use of force and unlawful arrests are far more common, even after controlling for racial demographics. There's also just routine harassment. One officer told DOJ investigators that she likes to disperse (usually black) youths in public spaces because it 'looks bad.' She recalled another time when she told a man and his four-year-old son to leave a playground because they 'couldn't just stand around' and 'needed to move.' [...] In fact, the report found that officers routinely described clearly unconstitutional stops and arrests in their police reports. I suppose it's at least good that they're forthcoming about it. But it suggests either a department that doesn't bother educating its officers about the constitutional rights of the people they serve, or that enforcement of those rights is so lax that officers have no qualms about documented their own unconstitutional behavior. I'm not sure which is worse. [...] Just so we're clear, the sergeant not only instructed a subordinate to violate the men's constitutional rights by concocting a lie, he did so while knowingly in the presence of DOJ monitors. That's some serious cultural and institutional rot. In another incident, the report describes how several officers detained a man whose only offense was to be in a 'high-crime area' with his hands in his pockets. (The DOJ report notes that it happened to be a cold January morning.) After repeated questioning, the officers found a (perfectly legal) kitchen knife in his possession. They then illegally arrested him. When he resisted, they beat and Tased him to the point that he needed medical care. He was never charged with a crime. In his report, the supervising sergeant praised the officers for their 'great restraint and professionalism.'"
* "Everything Wrong With How Our Justice System Treats Poor People, In One Awful Case" - Well, not everything, but it's a pretty big thing.

"At Least 20 Casualties in Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Yemen: A Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Yemen's northern Hajja province on Monday, Reuters reports. At least seven people were killed and 13 wounded."
* Marcy Wheeler, "Six Years Later, the US Continues to Facilitate Saudi War Crimes."

"Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace: In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict. The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday. Both Yildirim's speech and the Iranian corroboration were reported Tuesday by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Al-Hayat, Arabic-language newspapers published in London, but the potentially pivotal development has been unreported thus far in Western news media."

"Feds can't spend money to prosecute people who comply with state medical pot laws, court rules: A U.S. appeals court decided unanimously Tuesday that the federal government may not prosecute people who grow and distribute medical marijuana if they are complying with state laws. Congress in the last two years has banned the federal government from spending money in ways that would thwart state medical marijuana laws. The U.S. Department of Justice contended the ban did not undermine its right to prosecute growers and distributors under federal law, even in states where medical cannabis was legal. But in the first federal appellate decision on the subject, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban prevents the government from spending money on prosecutions of people whose marijuana activities were legal in their states."

Big health insurers are pulling out of Obamacare in spite of its giveaway to them. Apparently, they just can't cope with the meager requirement that they actually do at least a little insuring. But Aetna is actually doing it as blackmail. The Wall Street Journal says, "To Sanders, Aetna's Pull-Back from Affordable Care Act Markets Shows Need for Overhaul: Sen. Bernie Sanders, who mounted a strong challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Tuesday that news that a major health insurer was pulling back its participation in the Affordable Care Act exchanges affirms the need for his single-payer, government-run program. He promised to introduce legislation creating 'Medicare for all' again next year. This week, Aetna Inc. said it will withdraw from 11 of the 15 states where it currently offers plans, the latest major national insurer to sharply pull back its participation."

"Hillary Clinton Appoints Ken Salazar To Lead White House Transition. Salazar is a prime example of a revolving-door traveler of the very kind that Clinton purports to oppose. And, "In November, Salazar authored a joint oped with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt saying 'The TPP is a strong trade deal that will level the playing field for workers to help middle-class families get ahead. It is also the greenest trade deal ever.' Politico reports that Salazar is now opposing a ballot measure designed to restrict fracking in his home state of Colorado. He has previously asserted that 'there's not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone.'
* "Hillary Clinton Picks TPP and Fracking Advocate To Set Up Her White House.TWO BIG ISSUES dogged Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) and fracking. She had a long history of supporting both. Under fire from Bernie Sanders, she came out against the TPP and took a more critical position on fracking. But critics wondered if this was a sincere conversion or simply campaign rhetoric. Now, in two of the most significant personnel moves she will ever make, she has signaled a lack of sincerity. She chose as her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine, who voted to authorize fast-track powers for the TPP and praised the agreement just two days before he was chosen. And now she has named former Colorado Democratic Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to be the chair of her presidential transition team - the group tasked with helping set up the new administration should she win in November. That includes identifying, selecting, and vetting candidates for over 4,000 presidential appointments."
* "Progressive Clinton supporters: You broke it, you bought it: With Donald Trump tanking in the polls, there's room for progressives to simultaneously crush his bid for the presidency while holding Hillary Clinton's feet to the fire on the TPP. She's now appointed two pro-TPP politicians to key positions on her campaign - Tim Kaine as her Vice President and Ken Salazar to lead her presidential transition team. It's time for progressives who helped Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the primary to take the lead on holding her accountable. Progressives who supported Clinton in the primary should use their leverage to ensure Clinton makes good on her vow to stop TPP and keep other promises she made on the campaign trail to win progressive votes. Bernie supporters will have your back, but it's up to you to lead on this one."

Pierce: "Why Is Hillary Clinton Bragging About This Endorsement? A recurring series. In her continuing tour of the dingier side of the 20th Century American diplomatic elite, Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up the endorsement on Wednesday of one John Negroponte." Sam Seder thinks the news was released by some younger person in the campaign who didn't know who Negroponte was. Let's hope that's true, but it seems like Clinton has been courting these endorsements.

In the face of continuing charges of corruption about what appears to have been a little too much horse-trading between foreign donors and Hillary Clinton's state department, we get the announcement that the "Clinton Foundation won't accept foreign money if Hillary wins". But even Jonathan Chait can see that "Hillary Clinton's Ethics Problems Are Worse Than She Understands," although he is still making excuses. Yes, it's particularly short-sighted for someone who knows she has been under a microscope for decades to do something that looks so corrupt, but no one should be acting with such an overt conflict, regardless of who them are.

"Federal judge refers Sheriff Joe Arpaio for criminal contempt: A federal judge on Friday referred Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and three of his aides to the U.S. Attorney's Office, requesting that they be prosecuted for criminal contempt of court. The landmark decision comes after U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow found that Arpaio intentionally violated various orders rooted in an 8-year-old racial-profiling case. The judge's order also refers Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Arpaio's former defense attorney Michele Iafrate, and Capt. Steve Bailey for prosecutors to consider criminal contempt charges against them as well. The sheriff and Sheridan already have been held in civil contempt of court. Potential penalties are steeper in a criminal case, and only criminal contempt could result in incarceration." This should have happened a long time ago and should end up with Arpaio in jail. We'll be watching.

Whistleblower Retaliation Alive and Well at Hanford: It's getting real out at Hanford in eastern Washington, the site of the most expensive (and likely dangerous) environmental clean-up in the world. On July 21, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, along with watchdog group Hanford Challenge and UA Local Union 598 Plumbers and Steamfitters, filed an emergency legal motion asking US Judge Thomas Rice to intervene and force the US Department of Energy and federal contractor Washington River Protection Solutions to protect their workers from toxic vapor exposure at the site. [...] Allegedly, that 'culture of indifference' is what got Sandra Black, an employee concerns program manager (ECP), fired in January 2015. Black, who worked for DOE contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), was in charge of hearing out grievances raised by workers who have safety concerns, such as those working at Hanford. Black claims that she was terminated after speaking to investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO)."

"The Raid: In Bungled Spying Operation, NSA Targeted Pro-Democracy Campaigner." He had committed no crime, but "Ony Fullman is a middle-aged former tax man and a pro-democracy activist. But four years ago, a botched operation launched by New Zealand spies meant he suddenly found himself deemed a potential terrorist - his passport was revoked, his home was raided, and he was placed on a top-secret National Security Agency surveillance list."

"4 Years Later, Sweden Accepts Ecuador's Offer to Hear Assange: More than four years after Ecuador offered Swedish authorities the opportunity to interview Julian Assange in the nation's London Embassy, a deal appears to have been struck Wednesday after Ecuador's attorney general responded positively to a request from the Swedish government to interview the WikiLeaks founder in the building. [...] The WikiLeaks founder entered his fifth year inside the Ecuadorean Embassy on June 20 in conditions the United Nations has deemed arbitrary detention. Swedish and British authorities dismissed the U.N. ruling, which was made a day before the former requested to interview Assange in London. Ecuador's decision to continue to grant asylum to Assange has sparked friction with not just Sweden and the U.S., but also the U.K. But on Wednesday Ecuador's Foreign Ministry was unequivocal in reaffirming the country's support for both the U.N. ruling and the whistleblower's continued asylum."

Elizabeth Warren demands open access to data from patient trials of drugs: "'I appreciate that there are many policy, privacy, and practical issues that need to be addressed in order to make data sharing practical and useful for the research community,' Warren wrote in an editorial in the venerable New England Journal of Medicine, 'but the stakes are too high to step back in the face of that challenge.'"

"FEC Commissioner, Citing The Intercept, Calls for Ban on Foreign Money in Politics."

Jeremy Corbyn handles a hostile interview with the Guardian

Matt Taibbi, "The Summer of the Shill: Campaign 2016 won't just have lasting implications for American politics. It's obliterated what was left of our news media [...] It's not that stations were wrong to denounce Trump's comments. He deserves it all. But he's not the only stupid, lying, corrupt politician in the world, which is the impression one could easily get watching certain stations these days. These all-Trump, all-the-time story lineups are like Fox in reverse. The commercial media has devolved, finally, into two remarkably humorless messaging platforms."

Well, even The Atlantic is asking the question, now: "Is the U.S. Due for Radically Raising Taxes for the Rich?" Oh, gods, yes. Yes, it is.

"Monopoly Power and the Decline of Small Business: The Case for Restoring America's Once Robust Antitrust Policies

"Clinton courts the right: Attacking Trump as aberration rather than apotheosis gives Republicans a pass: Donald Trump has made this election, like everything else, about Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton, happily skewering him as he blows up his campaign with ruinous attacks on fellow Republicans and myriad others, has zero problems with this. But critics on the left do, because by playing it safe Clinton is sending troubling if unsurprising signals about the agenda she will set as president, and also missing a historic opportunity to crush the Republican Party in a moment of acute vulnerability. Instead of aggressively making the case that Trump represents the worst of Republican greed and bigotry, she is inviting their leaders and donors to join her campaign en masse."

Erik Levitz in New York Magazine, "Disagreeing With the Elite Consensus on Trade, Immigration, or Foreign Policy Does Not Make One a Trump 'Enabler': On Monday, Kirchick wrote a piece titled 'Beware the Hillary Clinton-Loathing, Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left.' In the column, Kirchick observes that Donald Trump once said that he was uncomfortable with the idea of American exceptionalism - and (gasp) many left-wing thinkers agree! Thus, Kirchick reasons, all left-wing critics of American foreign policy must be 'Trump fans' who are recklessly 'validating' a 'reactionary.' That may sound like a caricature of his argument, but the cartoonishness is Kirchick's own." There's a lot of this going around.

"Hillary Shows Her True Colors (Again) In Florida [...] Many Democrats were nauseated this week to see Clinton-- up to her old tricks-- rush to Miami to try to save Wasserman Schultz's collapsing campaign."

Thomas Frank, "With Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton: Come November, Clinton will have won her great victory - not as a champion of working people's concerns, but as the greatest moderate of them all."

Leftists Against Clintonism: It's Not Just About the Lies, It's About the Record [...] But in advocating lesser evilism as a voting strategy, Chomsky often makes another crucial point: That electoral politics should make up only a tiny part of efforts to change society for the better. "The electoral season in the United States, the quadrennial extravaganza, typically tends to draw energy away from activism because people are caught up in the hoopla and the excitement and so on," Chomsky has said, expressing a view similar to that of Adolph Reed, who has frequently noted the problems with "electoralitis." Democrats, for their part, have long been infected by electoralitis; they have come to view the election of more Democrats as an end in itself, not as a means to push for a more equitable society. But, long-term, we must be focused on more than merely defeating Trump; we must also defeat the appeal of Trumpism. For that to happen, we need a strong left with a working class core.

The Great Grift revealed, in "How We Killed the Tea Party: Greedy super PACs drained the movement with endless pleas for money to support 'conservative' candidates - while instead using the money to enrich themselves. I should know. I worked for one of them. "

"The Great White Hype: No One Is Energizing the White Working Class, Not Even Donald Trump [...] Only in the most secure segment of Americans did Pew find that a simple majority planned to support Republican candidates. As financial security decreased, the category that benefited most was not the Democrats, but rather 'OTHER/NOT SURE' - indicating that the person being surveyed was not heavily engaged in the political process, and unlikely to vote."

I was surprised to see in my Twitter feed a flurry of people sneering about Maureen Dowd. This seemed odd, since I thought everyone had quit reading her long ago, just like I had. But then it all became clear: She said something mean about Hillary Clinton. Now, it is not exactly a surprise to have MoDo saying mean things about Hillary Clinton, but this particular mean thing - well, see if you can guess why it so upset them....

Paul Craig Roberts on "The Stench of Raw Propaganda: I just heard the rawest kind of propaganda from former presstitute David Satter, who hangs out at the right-wing Hudson Institute and pretends to be an expert on Russia and Putin. On August 10 Satter told NPR's audience that Washington's hope to bring peace to Syria would fail unless Washington understood that the Russian government had no humanitarian feelings and did not care about the loss of human life. What Washington needs to do, said Satter, was to make sure that Putin and his henchmen understood that they would be held accountable as war criminals. I should be hardened by now, but it never fails to astonish me that agents for the elite are willing to tell the most blatant and transparent lies. Perhaps this is because they know that the media and their fellow bought-and-paid-for 'experts' will not challenge them on their statements. In fact, this is the way explanations are controlled and history rewritten." But there's something perhaps more significant in this piece that bears reading.

"Social Security and the 1 Percent: In February of last year, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report titled The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social Security. The report shows how the increase in economic inequality in the U.S. has led to deteriorating Social Security revenues, often to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a year. Earlier research by Dean Baker showed that the upward redistribution of wage income was responsible for 43.5 percent of the projected 75-year shortfall in Social Security funding as of 2013."

"We're in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here? One central fact about the global economy lurks just beneath the year's remarkable headlines: Economic growth in advanced nations has been weaker for longer than it has been in the lifetime of most people on earth." And it's been like that for the whole 21st century. Strangely, this article does not say it's "because people are underpaid and no one has any money."

"Why does Sanders do better than Clinton against Trump?"

Steven Thrasher in the Guardian, "Hate Trump? You should still hold Clinton's feet to the fire: It will make Hillary Clinton a stronger candidate if she's held accountable for her past and for her actions. Oh, and it's not a vote for Donald Trump."

"Trump's money mystery: Trump is definitely hiding something, but the question is what" - And it's not a bad question since he's been blackballed by every major US bank, I hear.

This is from The Washington Post: "A porous ethical wall between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department"

"'Back in time 60 years': America's most segregated city: Why Milwaukee, far from the Deep South, gets the unwelcome title as the most segregated place in America. "
* "Why Is Milwaukee So Bad For Black People?"

"Policing Class [...] There's a reason why the vast majority of police stops occur in the Western and the Central Districts: the Western is home to Baltimore's poorest black neighborhoods, the Central is home to Baltimore's business district. In effect, the city is producing and reproducing a population that has no functional purpose other than to be policed.

Atrios: "I don't go to DC much anymore. Actually I haven't been for years. For awhile I went fairly regularly for various reasons, including occasionally meeting with people who have a wee bit more power than I'll ever have. I spent some time scheming with one congressional office in particular (whether they valued my input or were just humoring me, they were serious about the issue) about how to keep people who were getting screwed in their homes. It was depressing. This office gave a shit, but nobody (exaggeration, of course) else did, and they couldn't get anything past administration attempts to block anything, or at least let things wither on the vine. One can always argue that legislative fixes just couldn't get the votes, but legislative fixes were necessary only because the administration was sitting on a giant pile of cash (went largely unspent) they had discretion over and plenty of regulatory power they could apply and they weren't doing anything. If stealing homes is basically legal and profitable, people (and companies) will steal homes. That no one could see the importance of this, even without shedding tears for the l000zers who had their homes stolen, was hard to comprehend."
* "Everybody Loves Henry: I'm not always thrilled about various efforts at broadening the coalition - voters or elite - by reaching out to Republicans, though I get the utility, but what advantages are there to publicly embracing Henry Kissinger and Negroponte? Is there a single voter out there who ponders to her/himself, "Well, I was on the fence a bit, but now that those brutal amoral assholes Kissinger and Negroponte are on board, I trust that Clinton will support enough political violence to make me happy?" Well, I'm sure there are a few, but they all write for the Washington Post op-ed pages. DC's a complicated place and I get that strange alliances are formed, but those don't require wearing your giant sized "Henry Approved!" button. This is the moment when someone says, "It doesn't matter. All that matters right now is beating Trump." Okay, fine, and this helps elect Clinton... how? I guess if I fail to mention it then it didn't happen. Blue Nation Review is a lovely happy place."
* "It's About Hating Liberals" - This one is long enough that you should click the link. I mean, long for Atrios, which isn't long.

Adolph Reed, "Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It's Important: An explanation for why defeating Donald Trump - despite what we know about Hillary Clinton - should be the left's primary national electoral objective this November" - I have to admit I lean toward this view for swing-state voters, at least, but I would feel a lot better if everyone was using the bumper-sticker like they did in the Duke-Edwards race.

"Jon Stewart praises Larry Wilmore on last 'Nightly Show': 'Do not confuse cancellation with failure'"

RIP: Alan Legum, "Annapolis civil rights lawyer remembered as fearless, graceful," at 69. Local civil rights people knew who he was, of course. And the liberal blogosphere knows his son Judd.
* R2-D2: "The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character." He was also in Time Bandits, one of my all time favorites.

In the NYT, Molly Fitzpatrick, "Letter of Recommendation: Fortean Times."

Large rubber duck joins Gnome Liberation Front.

Delighted scientists discover goofy squid (VIDEO)

Photographs from fairy tales
* More fantasy photos

Sheila played the harp on "She's Leaving Home" - she met Paul that time. And 44 years later, she met Ringo.

10 August 2016

Your day breaks, your mind aches

@samknight1 tweeted this graph with the words, "If you're trying to explain the 2016 election and deliberately ignore this graph please get out of my face forever." Or here's another way to look at it.

Jeremy Corbyn makes the case against privatized government services in the Telegraph, "You don't need to settle for the future the Tories are creating [...] Over the last six years you've been deceived on a scale not seen since Bernie Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme. Time and again you've been told that to build a strong economy we had to tighten our belts and cut public funding. Today we have the utterly self-defeating reality of rapidly declining public services while our debt is going up."

So Joe Lieberman isn't sure who to support in the presidential election. This inspired Marcy Wheeler, who remembers Joe well, to remember this Tom Tomorrow cartoon.

"Don't Get Excited About The Democrats Taking Back The House-- Pelosi's DCCC Has Made That Impossible" - Yes, the DCCC is determined to keep Congress in GOP hands. After all, they can't very well blame an obstructionist Republican Congress if Democrats have control of it, can they?

"Grassroots Democrats Are Making the TPP a Big Issue in Congressional Races [...] Critics of the TPP such as Zephyr Teachout in New York and Pramila Jayapal in Washington have won open congressional primaries in recent weeks. And the dwindling circle of Democratic incumbents with records of support for free-trade agreements, such as Kind, are getting an earful from constituents."

Charles Pierce says, "If Hillary Clinton Seeks (or Accepts) an Endorsement from Henry Kissinger, She's Lost My Vote."
* "Hillary Clinton's Embrace of Kissinger Is Inexcusable: Bernie Sanders should call on her to repudiate him as the war criminal he is. [...] Kissinger is a unique monster. He stands not as a bulwark against Donald Trump's feared recklessness and immorality but as his progenitor. As Richard Nixon's aide-de-camp, Kissinger helped plan and execute a murderous, illegal foreign policy - in Southeast and South Asia, Southern Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America - as reckless and immoral as anything Trump now portends. Millions died as a result of his actions. Kissinger and Nixon threatened to use nuclear weapons, and, indeed, Kissinger helped inscribe the threat of 'limited nuclear war' into doctrine. Kissinger, in the 1970s, not only dug the hole that the greater Middle East finds itself in, but, as an influential cheerleader for both the first Gulf War in 1991 and its 2003 sequel, helped drive the United States into that ditch."

"Frustrated state public defender appoints Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to represent indigent defendant: Fed up with what he says is the governor's failure to properly fund his overwhelmed office, the state's lead public defender ordered Gov. Jay Nixon this week to represent a poor person in Cole County this month. Michael Barrett said he was using a provision of state law that allows him in extraordinary circumstances to delegate legal representation 'to any member of the state bar of Missouri.' He's starting with the state's highest-profile lawyer: Nixon."

The shocking news that AARP has been funding ALEC generated immediate pressure that appears to have convinced AARP that being pals with Alec wasn't a good idea. But they gave a strange excuse for this affiliation: "The letter also revealed that AARP said its 'interest in supporting ALEC was to gain better access to legislators.'" I wonder where that came from - it's hardly as if AARP can't already get access to legislators and has to go through a partisan group that acts directly against its interests.

"Disturbing New Documents Reveal Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen's Allegations of Racial Harassment by Police Co-Workers: Islamophobic workplace intimidation figures into the background of another mass shooter conveniently painted as a jihadist."

"Court Throws Out Terrorism Conviction in Canada, Citing Police Entrapment: Sting operations - in which an undercover agent or informant provides the means and opportunity to lure otherwise incapable people into committing a crime - have represented the default tactic for counterterrorism prosecutions since the 9/11 attacks. Critics believe these stings amount to entrapment. Human Rights Watch, for instance, argues that law enforcement authorities in the U.S. have overstepped their role by 'effectively participating in developing terrorism plots.' Nonetheless, U.S. courts have rejected entrapment defenses, no matter how hapless the defendants. In Canada, however, the legal standing of counterterrorism stings has suddenly shifted. Last week, a high-ranking judge in British Columbia stayed the convictions of two alleged terrorists, ruling that they had been 'skillfully manipulated' and entrapped by an elaborate sting operation organized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police." This needs to start happening in the US. Again.

Katie Halper, "Hillary's Mean Media is Alive and Well: Degradation is a strange looking olive branch."

Is Jill Stein an anti-vaxxer? The Clinton camp keeps saying she is, but Snopes says no.

Dean Baker, "Secret on Orphan Drugs: The Government Could Pay the Other Half of the Price Also"

Another new interview at The Talking Dog, with A. Naomi Paik, "Assistant Professor of Asian American studies at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. Professor Paik holds a B.A. from Columbia, and an M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University, She is the author of Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in US Prison Camps since World War II. On July 15, 2016, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Paik by telephone. What follows are my interview notes, as corrected by Naomi Paik."

"Mississippi Police Want to Arrest the Satanists Who Turn Dead People Gay: Just over a week ago the Satanic Temple, unwavering disciples of the Prince of Darkness and aspiring adopt-a-highway participants, performed a Pink Mass over the grave of Catherine Idalette Johnston, the mother of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps Jr. Westboro has yet to officially comment on the eternal gaying of its leader's dead mom, but the owner of the cemetery where the ceremony was performed has filed charges with the local police department."

Obama Expands the ISIS Bombing Campaign to a 4th Country, the Media Barely Notice: What began two years ago as 'limited' air strikes in Iraq now includes Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya - all with little public debate."

"Venezuela's Latest Terrible Economic Idea Is Forced Labor: Venezuela is mired in a years-long economic free fall that has killed a lot of people, and which is in the process of killing a lot more. Last week, the humanitarian catastrophe there got one of its darkest twists yet: The government of president Nicolás Maduro has, in a new decree, paved the way for the conscription of the nation's citizens into forced labor."

RIP: "Jack Davis, Part of Mad Magazine's Usual Gang of Idiots, Dies at 91"
* "MAD Remembers Jack Davis, Artist"

Dean Baker, "Thomas Friedman Gives Hillary Clinton Economic Advice, Gets Confused."
* Bill Black, "Thomas Friedman's Big Idea for Hillary: Embrace Wall Street and Deregulation"
* Matt Taibbi, "Thomas Friedman Goes to the Wall: High priest of globalization lashes out against the enemies of progress [...] It's been a whole week since the convention, and Hillary still hasn't yet gone back to being the unabashed friend to big banks and staunch advocate for free trade and deregulation she just spent all of last year pretending she was not. This has Friedman freaked out."

"Half of Americans below or near poverty line: The Census Bureau says 15 percent of the country is living in poverty, but the reality is much worse."

Ryan Cooper in The Week: "To end police violence, we have to end poverty: The movement against American racism recently got a big boost from a new project called "Campaign Zero." The racial justice activists behind Campaign Zero hope that by reforming the police and courts, and improving community oversight, they can eliminate unjust police violence. This is a promising and important agenda. However, it's worth examining what a narrow focus on police violence risks leaving out. Economic factors, particularly poverty, are deeply entwined with racist outcomes and police violence. To truly fight racism, we have to fight poverty, too."

David Dayen, "The Clinton Presidency Is Already Taking Shape. Will the Left Have a Voice? The transition process is shrouded in secrecy. And progressives are having bad Obama flashbacks."

"If Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are 'Progressive,' Then the Word Has Lost All Meaning [...] So why are so many liberal writers so anxious to persuade us that, deep in his heart of hearts, Tim Kaine is, too, a progressive? Probably there's a desire to exaggerate Kaine's progressivism because Hillary's own progressive bona fides are questionable. But mostly it seems that today, the progressive label has become little more than a marketing tool, a signifier deployed to distract us from that the actual content of the signified. How did we arrive at this sad state of affairs?"

Jon Schwarz, "Cracks in the Dam: Three Paths Citizens United Created for Foreign Money to Pour Into U.S. Elections"

"US Doctors Call for Universal Healthcare: "Abolish the Insurance Companies": A group of more than 2,000 physicians is calling for the establishment of a universal government-run health system in the US, in a paper in the American Journal of Public Health. According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians' bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada's, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare."

Los Angeles Times op-ed: "Bernie Sanders: I support Hillary Clinton. So should everyone who voted for me."

CEPR Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Fact Sheet 2016

What I remember most about the announcement that pregnancy test kits would be sold in stores was an outcry from lab techs to the effect that performing these tests required training and skill and women would not be able to do them. Since I had been doing these tests at a clinic with about 30 seconds' training (the time it takes to do the test), that gave me a good laugh. Pagan Kennedy in the NYT provides a little history: "Could Women Be Trusted With Their Own Pregnancy Tests?"

"The Price of Access: More than 100 Americans Are Rich Enough to Buy the Presidential Election Outright"

"On causes of Brexit: There's something about the post-Brexit autopsies that I'm not entirely happy with. It's the failure to distinguish between the margin and the infra-margin."

Ted Rall: "Everyone Is Voting For Trump"

"Make Algorithms Accountable: Companies use them to sort through stacks of résumés from job seekers. Credit agencies use them to determine our credit scores. And the criminal justice system is increasingly using algorithms to predict a defendant's future criminality. Those computer-generated criminal 'risk scores' were at the center of a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that set the first significant limits on the use of risk algorithms in sentencing. The court ruled that while judges could use these risk scores, the scores could not be a 'determinative' factor in whether a defendant was jailed or placed on probation. And, most important, the court stipulated that a presentence report submitted to the judge must include a warning about the limits of the algorithm's accuracy."

Environmentalist Bill McKibben is being stalked: "And yet, for all that logic, I still find myself on edge. To be watched so much is a kind of never-ending nightmare. And sometimes it's just infuriating. I skipped the funeral this summer of Patrick Sorrento, an important mentor to me at my college newspaper, because I didn't want my minder to follow me and cause a distracting spectacle. When my daughter reports someone taking pictures of her at the airport, it drives me nuts. I have no idea if it's actually this outfit; common decency would suggest otherwise, but that seems an increasingly rare commodity."

"Three Words That I Wish I'd Never Hear Democrats Say Again: Speaking of poor whites - or any impoverished population - as a 'separate breed' conveniently allows us to skirt solutions to help lift them out of poverty. What I experienced when I went to see my family was not racial resentment, but an overall despair and paralysis. They know how bad their lot is, but they simply can't afford to move to start a new life. It wasn't racism that angered the 'hillbillies,' but a recognition that there was simply no future for them in the American scheme, and the fact that a wealth-obsessed American society, increasingly stratified in rich enclaves, has utterly abandoned them to their fate."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "Want to avoid recession? Then shower UK households with cash: The economy is in dire need of a jump start - cutting interest rates has failed miserably. So instead give money to people who would actually spend it."

Bradblog, "DHS Seeks to Protect U.S. Election Infrastructure - But Is That Even Possible?"

"'I Feel Betrayed': Bernie Supporters' Stories of DNC Mistreatment" - The DNC really did go out of their way to treat Sanders delegates shabbily, but they kept smearing them, too.

Richard J. Eskow, "American Greed: Trump's Economic Team Is a Who's Who of What's Wrong. [...] Trump's team isn't just monochromatic and male. At least four, and perhaps as many six, of the men are billionaires. They range in age from 50 to 74 - or, from 'younger old white guy' to 'older old white guy.' Five team members are named Steve - which means that eight of them are not. For diversity, that will have to do. There are only two economists on the team - and one of them believes in the flat tax. But hedge funds are represented. So is fracking. And tobacco. And guns. And banking. And steel. And there's the guy who mismanaged Chrysler before it was rescued by a government intervention."

Whatever else I may think of Penn Jillette's politics, I share his lack of patience with people who try to guilt-trip people about their third-party vote.

I haven't read it since I don't like the format and was never that crazy about the show, but someone wrote a script for The 911 episode of Seinfeld.

Nice mock-up comic cover for the episode of Supergirl in which Kara runs with the Flash.

Cheese or Font? Play the game! Or maybe you see it as a quiz....


"Why Revolver still matters: The 50th anniversary of a Beatles masterpiece: The band's 1966 album was so eclectic it seems on the verge of exploding."

I'm told that a lot of Beatles music has been pulled from YouTube all of a sudden, but I can still see this so I hope you can, too - a version of Paul doing "For No One" with an American accent.

03 August 2016

I'll never know what made it so exciting

Comments on the conventions are below, but here's what Bernie told Bill Maher Friday night.

Important bit of journalism that started with Sirota and the IBT seems to have led to a truly enormous piece of news: "U.S. antitrust officials set to challenge Anthem, Aetna deals: source: U.S. antitrust officials will file lawsuits to stop the two large health insurance deals they have been scrutinizing for a year, Anthem Inc's (ANTM.N) acquisition of Cigna Corp (CI.N) and Aetna Inc's (AET.N) takeover of Humana Inc (HUM.N), a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Antitrust regulators have been concerned that consolidation of the nation's largest insurers would raise prices for Americans. Anthem and Aetna have said the deals will help consumers by giving the companies the scale to create more cost savings for customers." And here I was waiting for their merged company to be called "AnathemA". But at least it's being looked into. It would be nice to think we can go back to doing some serious trust-busting again.

"Munich Shooter Considered Himself Aryan, Admired Hitler and Breivik. No Wonder the Media Has Moved On: Sonboly was influenced by right-wing ideology, but German and U.S. media have cast him as just another shooter."

David Dayen, "Trouble for the TPP: Business groups' desperate PR campaign signals possible failure for trade deal: The fact that business groups are spending millions to influence pols to pass TPP shows the pact is in jeopardy " That would be great. Keep the pressure on.

Department of Nice Surprise: I don't expect much from Terry McAuliffe, but this is pretty good: "Governor McAuliffe Statement on the Virginia Supreme Court Decision on the Restoration of Civil Rights: Once again, the Virginia Supreme Court has placed Virginia as an outlier in the struggle for civil and human rights. It is a disgrace that the Republican leadership of Virginia would file a lawsuit to deny more than 200,000 of their own citizens the right to vote. And I cannot accept that this overtly political action could succeed in suppressing the voices of many thousands of men and women who had rejoiced with their families earlier this year when their rights were restored. Forty states give citizens who have made mistakes and paid their debt to society a straightforward process for restoring voting rights. I remain committed to moving past our Commonwealth's history of injustice to embrace an honest process for restoring the rights of our citizens, and I believe history and the vast majority of Virginians are on our side. Despite the Court's ruling, we have the support of the state's four leading constitutional experts, including A.E. Dick Howard, who drafted the current Virginia Constitution. They are convinced that our action is within the constitutional authority granted to the Office of the Governor. The men and women whose voting rights were restored by my executive action should not be alarmed. I will expeditiously sign nearly 13,000 individual orders to restore the fundamental rights of the citizens who have had their rights restored and registered to vote. And I will continue to sign orders until I have completed restoration for all 200,000 Virginians. My faith remains strong in all of our citizens to choose their leaders, and I am prepared to back up that faith with my executive pen. The struggle for civil rights has always been a long and difficult one, but the fight goes on."
* Don't worry, he reverted to type to pump for the TPP immediately.

"Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act, Court Rules: Texas' voter identification law violates the U.S. law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the 2011 voter ID law - which stipulates the types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at the polls - does not comply with the Voting Rights Act."

"Breaking and Analysis: Partially Divided 4th Circuit Strikes NC Strict Voting Law, Finds Discriminatory Intent" - Interestingly, one of the citations included was this Aasif Manvi interview from The Daily Show.

Ari Berman in The Nation, "6 Major GOP Voting Restrictions Have Been Blocked in 2 Weeks: The Republican war on voting rights is backfiring." The language has been pretty sharp, too. Ari talked about it with Sam Seder on The Majority Report.

"Flint, Michigan, Now Has Nobody Collecting the City's Garbage" - er, the mayor is a Democrat.

"Obama Signs Industry-Backed GMO Label Bill Into Law: Looks like we're finally getting GMO labels on food products - just not the kind you can actually read. " The bill "allows businesses to use a smartphone scannable QR code instead of clear, concise wording that informs consumers if a product contains genetically modified ingredients." It also nullifies state laws on labeling.

Apparently, Clinton decided to forgo assassination insurance and produced a very short list of horrible choices for her understudy (including Vilsack and this guy), and then picked Tim Kaine, and no one was jumping for joy.
* "Making the Case to Clinton: Tim Kaine, Campaigning for VP, Calls For Deregulating Banks"

"Democrats Add Major Abortion Rights Pledge To Proposed Platform: The platform draft supports a repeal of the Helms Amendment, which blocks abortion access for women abroad."

"Why Is President Obama Lying About Patrick Murphy's Record?: The TV spot targeting African-American voters in Tallahassee and Jacksonville that Obama cut for Patrick Murphy's drowning Senate primary campaign puts the president's credibility dangerously on the line. Murphy's record in the House is unquestionably one of the most reactionary and blatantly anti-progressive of any Democrat serving in the House. He has been an unabashed advocate for cutting Social Security and Medicare, an unflinching ally of Wall Street and payday loan predators and a consistent backer of Republican initiatives against the environment and, in fact, against the Obama administration itself. "

"Obama To Police: 'We Have Your Backs'; Yes, the President of the United States, in the aftermath of the police murders in Dallas and Baton Rouge, has gotten off the fence. Up to now, he spoke in irreconcilable tones in an effort to offend no one, no side, by arguing that police were needlessly killing black men while praising the police for the great job they were doing, when he just said the job they were doing was needlessly killing black men."

Dean Baker: "NYT Does Impassioned Pitch for TPP in Its News Section: "It is incredible that the NYT tried to present the current debate as a narrow one over traditional issues of trade and protection. This is obviously not the case and there are no shortage of experts who could have explained this fact to its reporter. A good place to start would be the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who also happens to be a NYT columnist. Joe Stiglitz, another Nobel Prize winning economist, could have also explained the nature of these trade agreements to its reporter."

It seems Scotland and Ireland can veto Brexit. We'll have to see what happens,there.

A journalist for the WSJ encounters Homeland Security at LAX: "But then she asked me for my two cellphones. I asked her what she wanted from them. 'We want to collect information' she said, refusing to specify what kind. And that is where I drew the line -- I told her I had first amendment rights as a journalist she couldn't violate and I was protected under. I explained I had to protect my government and military sources -- over the last month, I have broken two stories that deeply irked the US government, in addition to other stories before I went on maternity leave, including one in Kabul that sparked a Congressional investigation into US military corruption, all stories leaked by American officials speaking to me in confidence. 'Did you just admit you collect information for foreign governments?' she asked, her tone turning hostile. 'No, that's exactly not what I just said,' I replied, explaining again why I would not hand over my phones. She handed me a DHS document, a photo of which I've attached. It basically says the US government has the right to seize my phones and my rights as a US citizen (or citizen of the world) go out the window. This law applies at any point of entry into the US, whether naval, air or land and extends for 100 miles into the US from the border or formal points of entry. So, all of NY city for instance. If they forgot to ask you at JFK airport for your phones, but you're having a drink in Manhattan the next day, you technically fall under this authority. And because they are acting under the pretense to protect the US from terrorism, you have to give it up. So I called their bluff."

"Would Turkey Be Justified in Kidnapping or Drone-Killing the Turkish Cleric in Pennsylvania?: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan places the blame for this weekend's failed coup attempt on an Islamic preacher and one-time ally, Fethullah Gulen (above), who now resides in Pennsylvania with a green card. Erdogan is demanding the U.S. extradite Gulen, citing prior extraditions by the Turkish government of terror suspects demanded by the U.S.: 'Now we're saying deliver this guy who's on our terrorist list to us.' Erdogan has been requesting Gulen's extradition from the U.S. for at least two years, on the ground that he has been subverting the Turkish government while harbored by the U.S. Thus far, the U.S. is refusing, with Secretary of State John Kerry demanding of Turkey: 'Give us the evidence, show us the evidence. We need a solid legal foundation that meets the standard of extradition.'"

"Jeremy Corbyn Study Claims TV And Online News 'Persistently' Biased Against Labour Leader"

"Saudi Ties to 9/11 Detailed in Documents Suppressed Since 2002."

An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid's elementary school [...] They're here plotting to bring their wisdom to the nation's public elementary school children. They point out that Christian evangelical groups already have infiltrated the lives of America's children through after-school religious programming in public schools, and they appear determined to give young students a choice: Jesus or Satan."

The Talking Dog interview with Pardiss Kebriaei, "a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on challenging U.S. government abuses in the national security context, including representation of current and former Guantanamo detainees, and others implicated in or affected by the "war on terror." She also advocates on behalf of other cases as part of the No Separate Justice Campaign, a grassroots initiative formed to shed light on unjust domestic terrorism prosecutions."

Michael Moore thinks Trump will win. His reasons are not that crazy, but I still don't think he will. Yes, I realize it was a total screw-up for the DNC to court another election that's closer than it ought to be, but a lot of people really don't like Trump. Nevertheless, a word of warning: Clinton and her cronies have earned themselves a lot of ill-feeling from people who they could have made allies if they had wanted to, and decisions like that do not generate respect for her integrity or her decision-making.

The RNC had their convention and everyone ended up talking about how "Melania's Plagiarism Actually Just Shows How Vapid Political Speeches Are" so no one would notice how neatly Michelle Obama's words fit into a GOP convention: "Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond... Because we want our children and all children in this nation - to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them." As opposed to all those lazy poor people who don't get to the White House.
* I saw an announcement that "GOP Platform to Call for Reinstatement of Glass-Steagall" but when I tried to find it in the Platform it made me fall asleep.
* I had Trump's speech on in the background and it was all over the place. The weirdest part was at the end where he started saying a bunch of liberal-sounding stuff. This kind of thing is inspiring Thomas Frank to write a warning: "Hillary Clinton Needs to Wake Up. Trump Is Stealing the Voters She Takes for Granted: For the first time in living memory, the Republicans are outflanking the Democrats on the left. If they don't rise to the challenge, they'll be trounced [...] The question we need to ask is this: what are the consequences of the violent disruption Trump has visited on our delicately balanced political system? Look what he has done. He has dynamited the free-trade consensus that dominated Washington for so many years, he has done it with force, and in the process he has made himself the choice of many millions of Americans who have watched their economic situation deteriorate and heard their concerns brushed off by the Thomas Friedmans and the Bill Clintons of the world. Think about it this way. For years, Republican orthodoxy on trade made possible endless Democratic sell-outs of working people, with the two-party consensus protecting the D's from any consequences. They could ram Nafta through Congress, they could do trade deals with China, they could negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership, they could attend their conferences at Davos and congratulate themselves for being so global and so enlightened, secure in the belief that the people whose livelihoods they had just ruined had 'nowhere else to go'. [...] In other words, it was only possible for our liberal leaders to be what they are - a tribe of sunny believers in globalization and its favored classes - as long as the Republicans held down their left flank for them. Democrats could only celebrate globalization's winners and scold its uneducated losers so long as there was no possibility that they might face a serious challenge on the matter from the other party in the system."
* "Jon Stewart's Closing Monologue on The Late Show is a Must-Watch."

And then the Democrats had their convention. The press focused on acrimony and Clintonites in social media obediently ranted at their friends about how stupid they were for still daring to criticize The Nominee. Then suddenly the DNC emails story breaks in the mainstream and the Clinton/DNC team (which we know were one and the same) are working heavy damage control, trying to blame the Russians while continuing to accuse Sanders supporters of originating strong language and conspiracy theories. But eventually the DNC had to admit the emails were genuine and apologized to Sanders, and even Harry Reid admitted that, "I knew - everybody knew - that this was not a fair deal." Well, we knew that. We all knew that, the minute we found out about the Democratic debate schedule. An awful lot of people seem to have forgotten how important the primary season is for creating new party activists who may ultimately evolve into your bench of future candidates. Anyone who pretends to care about downticket races yet nevertheless defends DWS' debate schedule is talking crap, because the debates are a big deal in generating excitement for the current race that turns into activism and leadership. In 2007, the debates started in April and there were 13 events before October, and 13 more after that. It generated A LOT of interest and excitement for the party. In 2015, Debbie Wasserman Schultz decreed that there would be only six debates (eventually adding a few more only because Clinton agreed, though she backed out of the promised California debate), and the first of these was not held until October 13th. So the DNC wasted an entire summer season and rather than generating enthusiasm, alienated numerous new activists who might otherwise have become reliable party activists, voters, and possibly future leaders. Now, you can say this was because the fix was in for Hillary, or you can say, "Of course they did, they hate liberal progressives and don't want them in the party in the first place," but you can't say the primaries weren't rigged. Of course they were.
* "Bernie Sanders to Return to Senate as an Independent: Democratic runner-up says more DNC staff should leave over emails."
* The Republicans got the traditional bump from their convention, bringing Trump up to parity or better with Clinton in many polls, but the Dem convention seems to have more than erased that effect and now she is looking good for November.

Oh, you know how in recent years every protest demonstration at a political convention seems to result in large numbers of outrageously out-of-order arrests? Didn't' have that in Philly. "Here's What Philly Cops Thought of the DNC Protests: We don't know if we can handle all of these good vibes."

Unsurprisingly, Trump actually got a bump from the GOP convention and a lot of people got into a frenzy because he was running so close to Clinton, but then Clinton got an even bigger bump.
* RCP Trump-Clinton electoral vote map
* Electoral-Vote.com map
* If nothing "interesting" happens, Hillary will probably win pretty big. On the other hand, that could all go topsy-turvey in the event of the economy tanking again.

The scam of the Clinton Victory Fund was also exposed for all to see, showing that all that money people thought they were giving to downticket races and local parties (because the campaign said it was) was actually going straight to Clinton. Matt Taibbi: "What does it all mean? If you're a Clinton fan, probably nothing. To anyone else, it shows that the primary season was very far from a fair fight. The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn't neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management. DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as a result of this mess, which exposed to Sanders voters the extent to which they were viewed organizationally as annoyances to be managed. The immediate question going forward for the party is whether the two camps can put aside their differences in time to defeat the more-than-a-little-scary Donald Trump. But down the road, someone will have to address the problem of a Democratic Party structure that effectively had no internal advocates for a full 43 percent of its voters. As we've seen with the Trump episode on the other side, people don't much like having to fight against the party claiming to represent them."

Anyway, Sandernistas were pretty upset and in no mood to forgive, a few of them even booed Bernie for being a turncoat for going along with the party and speaking for Clinton and all. It was less of a big deal than the press made it out to be, but there was still a lot of grumbling. But inside the hall it was mostly business as usual except for a few moments when the warhawks decided to shout down the peacenicks with "USA! USA!" Which sounds so much less jingoistic when Democrats do it, right? No.
* Here's Elizabeth Warren's speech, where she points out that DC has no problem with partisan gridlock when it comes to giving the bad guys what they want. And here's Bernie's.
* Obama made his speech and I swear it sounded like he was biting back a laugh when he talked about how hard Clinton has fought for working people. Listening to him and Biden talk about how wonderful Clinton is and her sincere commitment to teachers and families was pretty bitter brew for me, but a lot of my friends professed to be in tears and wishing for four more years.

On Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman moderated a discussion between two left-progressives on how to deal with it all, a conversation you are unlikely to hear elsewhere, at least with such civility: "Kshama Sawant vs. Rebecca Traister on Clinton, Democratic Party & Possibility of a Female President." A pullquote: "So, if you look at the significance of her being the first female nominee, I understand the appeal of that, I'm sympathetic to that. But here's what I would say. I actually - you know, all throughout this campaign season, I was reminded of a show - an episode that you played, Amy, in 2008, when you had Melissa Harris-Perry and Gloria Steinem debating, and Gloria was saying, "Well, if you're a woman, you need to vote for Hillary Clinton," and Melissa was saying, "Well, if you're a person of color, you need to vote for Obama." And I was sitting there watching as a woman of color, saying neither of these candidates represent my interests as a woman of color. And the reason I say that is it has less to do with their identity and far more to do with the interests they represent."

"Obama the Conservative: Little Hope For Change: A Summary Of The Bush-Obama Legacy"

"Clinton, Sanders, the American Principle of Association (and Fascism)"

So. Is this really An election of and for Class?

Ted Rall on "The Logic of Lesser Evilism"

A number of progressives are just throwing up their hands: "I have come to terms with the fact that the Republicans will eventually get the White House. They always do at some point. It's inevitable. The Supreme Court is always an issue, as is abortion, as is every single important social issue you can name. There will never come an election where those are not issues. And I've come to realize why it is that when we give you Democrats the ball on all of this, you drop it every time in the name of 'bipartisanship'. It's because you like things the way they are, no less than the Republicans, and pretending to give a damn about social issues will keep us voting for you like robots every time. But you can't afford to actually fix the problems because then you wouldn't be able to scare us into voting for you. You don't even really want to fix those problems. You have just as much contempt and hatred for the peasantry, for civil rights, for democracy, as do the Republicans, and you only pretend to care because it's a convenient tool to get people to vote for you without thinking."

"Can America's deep political divide be traced back to 1832?"

"Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors: POGO's study analyzed the total compensation paid to federal and private sector employees, and annual billing rates for contractor employees across 35 occupational classifications covering over 550 service activities. Our findings were shocking - POGO estimates the government pays billions more annually in taxpayer dollars to hire contractors than it would to hire federal employees to perform comparable services."

Argentina's Painful Return to 'Economic Orthodoxy'

"IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece: The International Monetary Fund's top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory. This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF's top watchdog on the fund's tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions. It describes a 'culture of complacency', prone to 'superficial and mechanistic' analysis, and traces a shocking breakdown in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation."

"Get out your wallets, America: It might not be long before we're bailing out 'too big to fail' banks again: Despite assurances that things changed after 2008, banks are bigger, less transparent and riskier than ever." Wouldn't it be amazing if Hillary Clinton nationalized the banks and arrested those guys at the top who... nah, that's never gonna happen.

You probably have to log in to Facebook to read these, but if you can stand to:
* I know we're not supposed to acknowledge it, but Republican operatives do own and control most of the electronic voting machines in the country. Is it just possible that they could be fixing the results? In this Excerpt from 'An Electoral System In Crisis', Election Justice USA says it looks like they are.
* Blue America says, "'Party Unity' is a Two Way Street" - and Steve Israel et al. are once again doing their best to sabotage the Democratic candidate because she resoundingly beat "some guy" they dug up to try to defeat the grassroots candidate in the primary, and she won anyway. "His Wall Street-backed candidate, Bill Golderer, who was overwhelmingly rejected by all the Democratic and allied organizations in the district, brought in $375,402 for the primary. Israel's negative onslaught made it impossible for Mary Ellen to spend even $50,000. But local Democrats decided to stand up and tell the DCCC what to do with their candidate and their attempt to take over PA-07. On primary night Mary Ellen beat Golderer and the DCCC by a stunning 51,525 (73.8%) to 18,276 (26.2%). The DCCC immediately removed all mentions of PA-07 from their boards and website. They removed Golderer from Red to Blue of course but didn't replace him with Mary Ellen. They just decided to pretend that the once "must-win" district no longer exists-- like Pelosi's sometime mantra. 'When women win, America wins.' [...] And it isn't just Mary Ellen's campaign being singled out and targeted by the DCCC. Nope, while Pelosi's political arm prepares to spend tens of millions of dollars to rescue the failing careers of incumbents hated by Democratic voters-- like Collin Peterson and Brad Ashord, each of whom votes far more with the GOP on core issues than with the Democrats-- the DCCC has adamantly refused to get behind progressives like Mary Ellen who have already won their primaries and will face Republicans in November." If you have extra dosh to help grassroots candidates, follow the links.

Also on FB, a provocative piece from C'helle Egalite Griffin: "We know what Donald Trump has promised to do. He has promised to build a wall between the US and Mexico. Clinton, though, has actually supported deportations of workers and the harassment of Mexican people under a banner of "immigration reform." We know Donald Trump likes to talk about warring against Muslims; Clinton, though, has actually destroyed Muslim countries and incited--yes, incited, and not coincidentally--sectarian violence in those countries. We know Donald Trump likes to talk about taking food stamps out of poor parents' hands and making them "get off their asses." Clinton, though, has actually taken food stamps and other assistance away from the poor."

Glenn Greenwald: "One of the things that is bothering me and bothered me about the Brexit debate, and is bothering me a huge amount about the Trump debate, is that there is zero elite reckoning with their own responsibility in creating the situation that led to both Brexit and Trump and then the broader collapse of elite authority. The reason why Brexit resonated and Trump resonated isn't that people are too stupid to understand the arguments. The reason they resonated is that people have been so fucked by the prevailing order in such deep and fundamental and enduring ways that they can't imagine that anything is worse than preservation of the status quo."

Eric Levitz in New York Magazine, "Liberals Need to Stop Writing Off Non-College Educated Workers - Before the White Working Class Writes Off Liberals: To retain the party's current share of the demographic, Democrats will need to make their economic pitch more salient than the right-wing's nationalist appeals. There are many ways to go about this task. But a good first step would be to stop insinuating that non-college educated workers are destined to live miserable lives because their skills are obsolete."

"How an obscure adviser to Pat Buchanan predicted the wild Trump campaign in 1996:
[S]ooner or later, as the globalist elites seek to drag the country into conflicts and global commitments, preside over the economic pastoralization of the United States, manage the delegitimization of our own culture, and the dispossession of our people, and disregard or diminish our national interests and national sovereignty, a nationalist reaction is almost inevitable and will probably assume populist form when it arrives. The sooner it comes, the better... [Samuel Francis in Chronicles]"

Lee Camp reckons Bernie really won the primaries. Well, I don't know about that, but what I do know is that, yes, there's no reason to trust the results of hackable electronic voting machines. And it's worrying that so many Democratic voters mysteriously discovered when they went to vote that their registrations had been changed in recent months - and that one woman who went to court to challenge that change was able to prove that her signature had been forged. How does that happen?

Ha-Joon Chang: Economics Is For Everyone!

70 Years Ago Today, WWII Vets Took Up Arms Against Corrupt Cops and Ran Them Out of Town

This blast from the past from Matt Stoller is a grim reminder: "Understanding the Strategy of the Democratic Power Class"

Pearls Before Swine on the campaign trail

Member of Gnome Liberation Front returns from drunken holiday.

"Do You Eat Like a Republican or a Democrat?" - take the test. I did, and it was annoying, because I wouldn't order either of those pizzas (not enough cheese, for one thing), and in a lot of other cases the answer is, "Which one did I have last time?" Also, do I have to have my BLT on brown bread with Romaine lettuce instead of white toast with iceberg? I've never had a summer roll but I'd be happy to try one - but that doesn't mean I don't eat egg rolls.

RIP: "Marni Nixon, 86: The 'ghost' who sang for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, for Deborah Kerr in The King and I and for Natalie Wood in West Side Story."
* Here she is back on the day on To Tell the Truth, and here she is looking back.

Michael Dirda gave Lucy Sussex a really good review in the WaPo for Blockbuster! Fergus Hume & the Mystery of a Hansom Cab, the story behind the best selling crime novel of the 19th century.

Trailer for Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall

Dr. Seuss' Secret Art Collection Finally Goes On View

Amsterdam Tunnel Lined with 80,000 Delft Blue Tiles

Brass Dragon