Wednesday, August 10, 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.


  1. Charles Pierce says, "If Hillary Clinton Seeks (or Accepts) an Endorsement from Henry Kissinger, She's Lost My Vote."

    Talk is cheap. She's already got John Negroponte, how many war criminals more does she need?

  2. If I were waffling - Doonebury's characterization of Clinton, a waffle, if I hadn't made that decision twenty-five years and been very clear about that decision for the past twelve, Negroponte's endorsement would cement that decision. Kissinger? She's been his disciple since the seventies, his endorsement goes without saying.

    Speaking of cartoons, I am daily reminded of a Tom Tomorrow that ran in the Cheney Administration featured Bill and Hill [strike that] Dick and George as dirty hippies cooking up an ingenious plan to overthrow the government.

  3. The only time I ever heard Kissinger held to account for his crimes in the American media was by Diane Rehm. No wonder Newt walked off of her show.
    The only time I tried to collect EC comics was at a Baltimore comic con in the mid '70s. I bought the famous ax murderer cover by Jack Davis only to discover on the ride home that an entire story had been cut out of the issue. Screwed!
    The good thing about Revolver is that classic rock radio overplay has not destroyed my favorite track, I'm Only Sleeping.