Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Do you want to know a secret?

"Code of Silence: Two Chicago police officers uncovered a massive criminal enterprise within the department. Then they were hung out to dry." - Yes, that's right, a criminal gang operating inside the Chicago police. "The common understanding of the code of silence is that it is a peer-to-peer phenomenon - I've got your back, you've got mine - within the rank and file. Senior officials are implicated to the extent they do not take affirmative steps to discourage operation of the code. The thesis of the Spalding case, by contrast, is that high-ranking officials ordered retaliation against the officers for violating the code."
* "Hundreds of police departments in Texas, California broke laws on reporting police shootings, study finds. HOUSTON -| Hundreds of police departments in Texas and California failed to report officer-involved shooting deaths as required by law in the past decade, a recent study found. Research by Texas State University in San Marcos found registries created by the two states to report all in-custody deaths did not list about 220 use-of-force fatalities in Texas and 440 in California from 2005-2015, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday. " I don't even blink when I see stories like this anymore. Of course they did.

"Elizabeth Warren Wants President Obama to Fire His SEC Chair: In an extraordinary letter, Warren highlighted several critical shortcomings at the Wall Street oversight agency. For many months, Senator Elizabeth Warren has been castigating Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White during hearings, media appearances, and in letters to the agency. Friday morning, Warren finally asked President Obama to replace her. In a strongly worded letter to the White House, Warren outlined her principal objections to White's tenure and what she described as 'brazen conduct': namely, White's refusal to develop an SEC rule that would force publicly traded companies to disclose political donations, along with White's failure to fully implement Dodd-Frank financial reforms. [...] Moreover, Warren is firing yet another warning shot to the next president about the role Warren expects to play. While Obama is unlikely to demote his own selection for chair, Hillary Clinton could plausibly do so without appearing to do an about-face. "

"A New Spy Scandal Exposes the Corruption of Privatized Intelligence: 'This is corporate malfeasance and a direct threat to national security.'"

"Legalizing Cannabis: Prison Food Provider Donates To Keep Marijuana Illegal In Arizona: A deep-pocketed coalition is spending big to keep marijuana illegal in Arizona. Drug companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and the alcohol industry, have together poured millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat Proposition 205, a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana for those over 21. And as opinion polls show a tight race, another industry entered the fray: prison food providers."

"RT: NatWest 'freezes Russian channel's UK bank accounts': NatWest bank has frozen the accounts of Russia's state-run broadcaster RT, its editor-in-chief says. Margarita Simonyan tweeted: "They've closed our accounts in Britain. All our accounts. 'The decision is not subject to review.' Praise be to freedom of speech!" RT says the bank gave no explanation for its decision."

Jon Schwarz, "D.C. Hivemind Mulls How Clinton Can Pass Huge Corporate Tax Cut: Treating the whole voting thing as a formality, serious political players are now pondering how exactly President Hillary Clinton can pass what Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called 'a giant wet kiss for tax dodgers.' This discussion isn't happening on television, where normal people would hear about it. Or on Reddit, where people would freak out about it. To the degree it's taking place in public at all, it surfaces in elite publications, where only elites are paying attention. For instance, Peter Orszag, a top Obama economic official before he left to cash in with Citigroup, just wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times on how to make the wet kiss happen."

The Nation, "Amy Goodman Is Facing Prison for Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline. That Should Scare Us All. e charges against Goodman are a clear attack on journalism and freedom of the press. [...] ? Goodman's report created a rare crack in the consensus of silence. And, as Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi writes, the outrage it generated may well have influenced the Obama administration's decision to halt work on the pipeline several days later. This was journalism that mattered. Yet, on September 8, Goodman received the news that Morton County, North Dakota, had issued a warrant for her arrest. The charge: riot, a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and a fine. (It should be noted that the original charge leveled against Goodman was not riot but criminal trespass, also a misdemeanor. However, just days before Goodman was set to appear in court, the prosecutor, Ladd Erickson, switched up the charges because, he admitted in an email to Goodman's lawyer, Tom Dickson, there were 'legal issues with proving the notice of trespassing requirements in the statute.') When asked to explain the grounds for arresting a working journalist, Erickson told the Grand Forks Herald that he did not, in fact, consider Goodman a journalist."
* Matt Taibbi, "Journalist Amy Goodman Shouldn't Be Arrested for Covering Dakota Pipeline Story: [...] But a prosecutor who arrests a reporter because he doesn't think she's "balanced" enough is basically telling future reporters what needs to be in their stories to avoid arrest. This is totally improper and un-American. We have enough meddling editors in this country without also recruiting government officials to the job. "
* "Documentary Filmmaker Faces Up to 45 Years in Prison for Covering Pipeline Protest." Edward Snowden tweeted this story, saying, "This reporter is being prosecuted for covering the North Dakota oil protests. For reference, I face a mere 30 years."
* Luckily... "Judge Rejects "Riot" Charges Against Amy Goodman in North Dakota."

It's not just black Kenyan Muslim presidents: "McCain: GOPers Will Unite To Block 'Any' Clinton SCOTUS Nominee." She's hardly nearing the end of her term, either. They can do this without ever going on the record, simply by continuing not to bring votes on nominees to the floor. Then you can never say, "He voted against Garland." Which is protection for office-holders on both sides who don't want to let anyone know where they really stand. As in, "He voted against Roberts," when he first made sure there was no filibuster of a nomination he knew would pass if it got to the floor, versus, "He never voted for Garland."

"Excerpts of Hillary Clinton's Paid Speeches to Goldman Sachs Finally Leaked - And if you expected her to sound more in tune with Wall Street than with all those kids who live in their parents' basements (do they? Maybe in some households, but my parents didn't make me vacate my room on graduation), well, you won't be surprised. One gets the impression that, while she thinks she can understand why those kids are so upset, she doesn't actually concur with their entirely sane recognition that it doesn't have to be this way - I mean, gosh, it's too bad for them, but it's just the way it is.
* David Sirota, "Hillary Clinton, In Paid Speeches To Wall Street, Promoted Commission That Pushed Social Security Cuts [...] In the email published by Wikileaks, Clinton tells a real estate industry trade association that she believes that as a public official, 'You need both a public and a private position' on major issues. Clinton promised on the campaign trail that she would oppose the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership, and that she 'will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages.' But in the email released by Wikileaks, she is shown telling a Brazilian bank that, 'My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.' She also is quoted saying: 'We have to resist protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade and I would like to see this get much more attention and be not just a policy for a year under president X or president Y but a consistent one.' Clinton on the campaign trail declared, 'I won't cut Social Security.' Yet in the email's excerpts of her Morgan Stanley speech, she lauded a presidential commission that proposed changes that would slash Social Security benefits, according to experts. The email shows Clinton specifically telling Morgan Stanley that the Simpson-Bowles commission 'put forth the right framework' for dealing with fiscal challenges. She also said 'the Simpson-Bowles framework and the big elements of it were right.' As the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported in 2011, that commission proposed a plan to 'cut benefits for the vast majority of Social Security recipients, weaken the link between a recipient's benefits and past earnings (which could undermine public support for the program), and, despite the claims of the co-chairs, fail to protect most low-income workers from benefit cuts.'"
* David Dayen, "Behind Closed Doors, Hillary Clinton Sympathized With Goldman Sachs Over Financial Reform [...] Far from chiding Goldman Sachs for obstructing Democratic proposals for financial reform, Clinton appeared to sympathize with the giant investment bank. At a Goldman Sachs Alternative Investments Symposium in October 2013, Clinton almost apologized for the Dodd-Frank reform bill, explaining that it had to pass 'for political reasons,' because 'if you were an elected member of Congress and people in your constituency were losing jobs and shutting businesses and everybody in the press is saying it's all the fault of Wall Street, you can't sit idly by and do nothing.'"
* "New Email Leak Reveals Clinton Campaign's Cozy Press Relationship" - Glenn says this is just a glimpse into how political campaigns operate rather than some surprising exposé of nefarious doings, but considering the way the narrative became filled with spurious smears of Sanders and his supporters that came straight from the Clinton campaign, it's that much more of a bitter reminder that they pretty much kept the establishment press thoroughly in the bag for The One True Candidate all along.

People who get all their information from Clinton campaign emails keep insisting that the restricted number of debates DWS set up were not evidence that the DNC was working to aid Clinton's campaign and rig the primaries against Sanders, but the email that says it all right up front makes it clear: "Through internal discussions, we concluded that it was in our interest to: 1) limit the number of debates (and the number in each state); 2) start the debates as late as possible; 3) keep debates out of the busy window between February 1 and February 27, 2016 (Iowa to South Carolina); 4) create a schedule that would allow the later debates to be cancelled if the race is for practical purposes over; 5) encourage an emphasis on local issues and local media participants in the debate formats; and 6) ensure a format that provides equal time for all candidates and does not give the moderator any discretion to focus on one candidate."

Nice precis in "Roaming Charges: a Wikileak is a Terrible Thing to Waste [...] The three prevailing obsessions of the Podesta emails: raising money, containing the contamination of the Clinton Foundation and screwing Bernie Sanders. There's barely any hint of anxiety over Trump. In fact, they relish his every false move, almost as if each faltering step had been pre-visualized, if not orchestrated. If possible, the press corps comes off worse than Team Clinton. Almost every reporter is revealed as pliable, servile and so lazy that they basically beg the Clinton PR shop to write their stories for them. The press has reiterated this obsequiousness over the course of the last seven days with what can only be described as an orgy of coverage of the Trump sex tapes and assorted scandals. By all accounts, the Trump campaign is dead and has been for weeks. The 24/7 obsession now amounts to a kind of political corpse abuse. Forsaken in this feeding frenzy has been any serious attention at all to the Wikileaks email dump, except to echo Clinton camp assertions that they were the victims of a Russian plot to tilt the election to Trump. If so, the Russians have proved even more incompetent than we thought them to be." (And comments on other news, as well.)

"Wikileaks: Letter to Tulsi Gabbard in February - 'Hillary will be our party's nominee'." This is, you understand, before anyone had voted yet - it was foreordained that Clinton would be the nominee, and Gabbard wanted someone else, so the party was refusing to help her in her own election bid. Nasty stuff.

Despite the fact that Clinton herself confirmed the authenticity of the leaked emails when she explained their contents in response to questions at the second debate between Clinton and Trump, David Brock's Daily News Bin has been pushing back with fanciful stories about how the emails are fake and come from the Russians. Then the government spook agencies got into the act, which of course led to Marcy Wheeler unpacking the language to work out what it means, and what it means is that they still have no way whatsoever to tie these particular leaks to actual Russian hackers. Yes, the Russians have been hacking all over the place, but no, there's no evidence that the material posted at DCLeaks and WikiLeaks came from the Russians, let alone the fanciful idea that all hacking and leaking could only have occurred at the command of Putin.

A connected meme is that it's terrible for the Russians to be trying to influence or otherwise interfere with American elections. Even if we forget that politicians taking campaign donations from foreign entities is exactly that and goes on constantly - and illegally - it might be a good idea to recall The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere.

Another talking point meant to undermine WikiLeaks is the question of why Assange isn't releasing hacks of the RNC and Donald Trump. We know that Assange is pissed off with Clinton, who has been a cheerleader for the notion that Assange should be shut up permanently, preferably in a deep, dark hole, but WikiLeaks doesn't commission leaks, it just receives them. They're not responsible for the fact that no one has sent them data about Trump or the GOP. But isn't it a funny question? This blog has about 15 years worth of scandals by Republicans that involve quite serious criminal as well as immoral activity, and the Democratic Party, the DoJ, the White House, and law enforcement in general, not to mention the TV talking heads, all seem to be completely uninterested. So what are these hacks supposed to reveal? Are they going to find out Trump is a crass, racist, sexist, tax-evading right-wing loon? Yeah, that'll surprise people!

Understand, there is no evidence that the Russians are behind the emails, but Clinton campers really urgently want you to think so. For some reason they believe it invalidates the contents, but it is also part of the rhetoric that the neocon warriors have been floating against Russia in their current revival of red-baiting. Yeah, the Russians are coming.

Of course, the whole Russian thing, aside from being a modern commies-under-the-bed propaganda campaign, is really just about distracting from the contents of the emails. By which I do not mean mere confirmation of the illicit relationship between the Clinton campaign in the primaries and the DNC itself, but things like "Clinton Email Shows US Sought Syria Regime Change for Israel's Sake ."

Video: Glenn Greenwald on Reliable Sources about WikiLeaks and media

Democratic partisans think they're seeing the GOP falling apart. It may be fun to think so, but let Ian Welsh spell it out for you. "The Republican Party Is Not 'Broken': There are a great number of stories about how Trump is 'destroying' the Republican party.
That Trump is most likely to lose the Presidency badly does not make the Republican party broken. There is some down-ballot effect, but:
* Republicans will certainly hold the House;
* Republicans will still control majority of State Governorships; and,
* They might lose the Senate but if they do it will be barely.
Does that sound like a broken party? No, it sounds like a largely ordinary election result: in fact, in 2008, the Republicans did far worse.
There will be blow-on effects from the Trump candidacy, but they will no more 'destroy' the Republican Party than the Tea Party did.

I can't help wondering if Joe is feigning surprise in this segment where he appears to be learning for the first time that the government can't negotiate drug prices. I wonder this, because it was big news at the time and we were all bitching about it and startled that the Republicans finally gave in and voted for it. I say "gave in" because even though, yes, some of them were happy to do Big Pharma's bidding, a lot of them balked and they had to hold voting up late into the night and blackmail their own members into voting for it. I realize he was always a Republican operative, in or out of Congress, but he didn't notice? (Thanks to CMike for supplying better links than the one I was going to use, complete with transcriptions.)

This is a very good interview of Geoffrey Nunberg by Angie Coiro about the language that's being used in this election.

Chris Hedges and David Cay Johnston on a tax system rigged for the rich

From bmaz, "Trump Is Who He's Always Been, And Trump Is the Epitome of the GOP; They Have To Own Him." And they're having a hard time with it. A variety of Bushes and the McCains have already declared they won't vote for him, while Paul Ryan and others are steadfastly biting their lips together. Many establishment Republicans are saying they'll vote for Clinton, others are saying they simply won't vote for president (or at all!). Officially, the Republican Party is still "100% behind Trump", but the religious right is split between being outraged at how this man should never be president and believing that Trump's vulgar impropriety, misogyny and licentiousness were all part of God's plan to propel him to the White House.

From Facebook, Matt Stoller defines neoliberalism: "Our current governing apparatus is neoliberal. What does that actually mean? What is neoliberalism? Neoliberalism is a kind of statecraft. It means organizing state policies by making them appear as if they are the consequences of depoliticized financial markets. It involves moving power from public institutions to private institutions, and allowing governance to happen through concentrated financial power. Actual open markets for goods and services tend to disappear in neoliberal societies. Financial markets flourish, real markets morph into mass distribution middlemen like Walmart or Amazon. This definition is my paraphrase of Greta Krippner's "Capitalizing on Crisis", a pretty good book about what happened from the 1960s to the 1980s in terms of financial politics. Her thesis is that the liberal democratic system was dismantled because it was too explicit about who was making choices. People would get mad at politicians when they didn't have, say, mortgage credit, or when the price of milk went up too high. The answer came to be neoliberalism, or creating a veil of financial markets to make all those decisions seem apolitical. Milk too expensive? Ah, those darn markets. Sure you can get mortgage credit, but market is going to charge you 19%. Can't afford that? Oh those darn financial markets. Neoliberalism is not faith in free markets. Neoliberalism is not free market capitalism. Neoliberalism is a specific form of statecraft that uses financial markets as a veil to disguise governing policies."

John Pilger isn't so sure the CW is correct. He says Hillary Clinton is more dangerous than Donald Trump. "A mini nuclear bomb is planned. It is known as the B61 Model 12. There has never been anything like it. General James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, 'Going smaller [makes using this nuclear] weapon more thinkable.' In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two - led by the United States - is taking place along Russia's western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia. Ukraine - once part of the Soviet Union - has become a CIA theme park. Having orchestrated a coup in Kiev, Washington effectively controls a regime that is next door and hostile to Russia: a regime rotten with Nazis, literally. Prominent parliamentary figures in Ukraine are the political descendants of the notorious OUN and UPA fascists. They openly praise Hitler and call for the persecution and expulsion of the Russian speaking minority. This is seldom news in the West, or it is inverted to suppress the truth. In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - next door to Russia - the US military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world's second nuclear power is met with silence in the West." And then there's China, and no sign from Clinton that she is the least bit worried by these developments. Indeed, quite the reverse.

Chris Hedges, "Donald Trump: The Dress Rehearsal for Fascism [...] The political elites in Yugoslavia at first thought the nationalist cranks and lunatics, who amassed enough support to be given secondary positions of power, could be contained. This mistake was as misguided as Franz von Papen's assurances that when the uncouth Austrian Adolf Hitler was appointed the German chancellor in January 1933 the Nazi leader would be easily manipulated. Any system of prolonged political paralysis and failed liberalism vomits up monsters. And the longer we remain in a state of political paralysis - especially as we stumble toward another financial collapse - the more certain it becomes that these monsters will take power."

"House of Lords attacks the government over library closures: John Bird painted a grim picture of the UK with a reduced library service, warning the House of Lords on Thursday that cuts would result in 'disorder, crime, problems for schools and the fact that children will not be able to get a job because they will not have the skills and abilities'."

Richard J. Eskow, "'Two Million Felonies': Will The Wells Fargo Scandal Finally Change Wall Street?" I don't see why, since HSBC got away with everything.

Fred on Everything, "An Obsolescent Military: Bombing Everything, Gaining Nothing: What, precisely, is the US military for, and what, precisely, can it do? In practical terms, how powerful is it? On paper, it is formidable, huge, with carrier battle groups, advanced technology, remarkable submarines, satellites, and so on. What does this translate to?"

"2016 Nobel Prize In Literature Awarded To Bob Dylan: STOCKHOLM, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Bob Dylan, regarded as the voice of a generation for his influential songs from the 1960s onwards, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature in a surprise decision that made him the only singer-songwriter to win the award. The 75-year-old Dylan - who won the prize for 'having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition' - now finds himself in the company of Winston Churchill, Thomas Mann and Rudyard Kipling as Nobel laureates. The announcement was met with gasps in Stockholm's stately Royal Academy hall, followed - unusually - by some laughter."

"The Onion Is Withholding Our Endorsement For President Until Both Candidates Respond To Our Questionnaire "

Our friend Mark of Adult Video News was amused to see The New York Times, at long last, breaking their style code to accurately report a story. They got complaints.

In The New Yorker, a long profile, "Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker: At eighty-two, the troubadour has another album coming. Like him, it is obsessed with mortality, God-infused, and funny." I was more affected then I expected to be over the news therein that Marianne had died last summer - which I had missed at the time - with a friend holding her hand and humming "Bird on the Wire". So long, Marianne. Nice discussion with Dylan of Cohen's work, too.

"Watching This Rare Color Film Of London In 1927 Makes You Feel Like You're There."

"This Mosque Might Look Ordinary From Outside, But It Will Make Your Jaw Drop Once You Enter It."

Something about these color-coordinated dancing Sikhs makes me smile.

Production trailer for Fury in My Soul: The Artistry of Laura Nyro

I loved the Amazon blurb for Is There Life Outside The Box?: An Actor Despairs by Peter Davidson, the Fifth Doctor. Not sure if he wrote it or it's just Tennant's foreword or something else, but it was fun to read.

Mr. Sideshow enjoyed this Halloween costume he saw on the front page of the Evening Standard.

Video: 1984 Nebula Awards Full

"Larry Kane: The reluctant Beatles fan. [...] Kane tried to persuade his bosses to send instead one of the DJs already into the band. 'There were all the Cuban refugees in Miami. There was war in Vietnam escalating and racial revolution in America - why would we bother about an English band who would doubtless disappear in a few months?' But in December 1964 Kane found himself at the first venue on the tour - the Cow Palace in Daly City, California."

We all live in a Lego submarine.

Big Bang Theory Legos

Max Fleischer nominates Betty Boop for President.

The Beatles: On Air -- Live at the BBC


  1. It's no longer a secret that the charges have been dropped against Ms. Goodman. Is that what you were talking about?

    1. Um, the whole post is full of stories that relate to secrets - spies, email hacks, trying to hide what's going on, etc. But The section on Amy Goodman ends with the story of the charges being dropped, so that's no longer secret.

  2. As I understand it, Noam Chomsky was ever critical of Stephen Kinzer's work at the New York Times. Nonetheless, in the matter of "the long history of the United States interfering with [a lot more than] elections," I highly recommend two books by the former foreign correspondent. [LINK] // [LINK]

    1. Given that few to none here are going to get around to reading either book based on my endorsements I would suggest, at least, giving a quick look at a sample of this hour long discussion about the Dulleses, you might then find it worth your time to watch it in its entirety. [LINK] And if you do make it through that one, consider investing two hours in learning what every American citizen should know about the history of our foreign policy by watching this two part interview. [LINK] [LINK]

      From Part 2 of the Overthrow interview:

      [QUOTE] Stephen Kinzer: [51:40] There's one interesting fact that ties together the four coups that were carried out by the CIA (that was Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, South Vietnam 1963, and Chile 1973) and that is that the CIA station chief in the country had to be fired before we launched the coup because he was against it. Now our CIA station chief is supposed to be the person we pay to know the most about this country, even more than the amabassador. The ambassador is just dealing with diplomacy, the CIA station chief is dealing with reality, is supposed to know everything that is going on above the suface and under the surface.

      In all four cases where the CIA overthrew a government the CIA station chiefs sent notes back to the United States saying, "Don't do this, this is not going to be in our interest." And so the answer from Washington, "Great, you're fired. We're sending someone in who's for it." So we didn't even trust the judgement of the people we paid to be the greatest number one expert on this country. And what these CIA agents saw that we didn't want to accept was that these operations can succeed in the short rum but in the end they will not only rsult in unhappiness and misery and oppression in the target countries but they will also undermine the security of the United States. [END QUOTE]