Sunday, October 9, 2016

You've got to pick up every stitch

Transcripts of the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Dainty Donnie Trump. A big topic of the Twittosphere: Why was Trump sniffing so much?

There was a vice presidential debate that I could not bring myself to watch, but as I understand it, two white bread guys flapped at each other. I didn't expect Kaine to tell much truth and I didn't expect Pence to do anything but lie, and from all reports, that's mostly what happened. Ryan Grim and Sam Seder did what might be a useful debate recap that was probably smarter than most of the articles I read about, though. Short version: Kaine's job was to get a few lines out there uninterrupted that could be used in video ads later, and to keep Pence from doing the same. I guess he did that.

"'So what?': In 1984, Bush official celebrated impotence of post-debate factchecking: Just before the 1984 election, Peter Teeley, the press secretary for then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, told the New York Times, 'You can say anything you want during a debate and 80 million people hear it.' If the media documents afterwards that what the candidate said was false, said Teely, 'So what?... Maybe 200 people read it or 2,000 or 20,000.'"

It sounds like some members of the anti-Corbyn wing of Labour are starting to realize they are doing real damage to their party and it has to stop. Even the Guardian is starting to post articles to this effect, after abusing Corbyn all year. With even Gordon Brown making the call, that leaves Tony Blair as the major outlier. Of course, much of this is along the lines of "rejoin his government and get back on the bench before those seats get filled by more Corbyn-minded types," and "Corbyn needs to compromise like hell and not get rid of people who have consistently been trying to undermine him," but it's a start, I suppose. Anyway, they tried it on again and failed even worse than they did last time, and it's not like they have much choice.
* "The Guardian view on the Labour leadership: wanted - tolerance and compromise"
* "Labour faces terminal damage if fighting goes on, warns Andy Burnham"
* "Corbyn Wins Challenge From The U.K.'s Version Of The Blue Dogs And New Dems-- The Conservative Wing Of The Labour Party.: Today, Jeremy Corbyn's 62% win was bigger than his original victory as leader of Britain's Labour Party-- 313,209 to 193,229 votes-- much to the chagrin of the establishment conservatives (and their media allies) who hold the progressive Corbyn in contempt and view him with disdain and hatred."
* But somehow Mr. Corbyn doesn't think keeping a cabinet full of enemies at his back is a prudent idea.
* I'm pleased to see Mark Steel weigh in on the subject: "The Labour plotters are right: it's definitely Jeremy Corbyn who needs to 'learn lessons' from the last few months: The plotters made an important point: that Corbyn must 'reach out'. Instead of being divisive, as he was last time by offering them jobs in the shadow cabinet from which they resigned, he should let them pick their own jobs, and if they don't fancy doing them one day, let them bring in games."

Not quite sure how long we've been waiting for something like this to happen - "Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore suspended for rest of term: Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage. It's the second time Moore has been removed from the chief justice job for defiance of federal courts - the first time in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building."

"Entire Police Department Just 'Accidentally' Deleted Massive Chunk of Body Camera Video."

No surprises here: "US police abused database access to stalk innocent people - report: Police across the US have been abusing confidential law enforcement databases to stalk romantic partners, landlords, journalists or neighbors who had no connection to actual police investigations, a report has revealed. An Associated Press probe into abuses of the federal and state crime databases has revealed numerous cases of law enforcement checking information on people for personal reasons - whether romantic quarrels, personal conflicts, or voyeuristic curiosity. In a handful of cases, officers were caught using the information to stalk or harass people, while one former New York cop even sold information to private investigators."

"Opiates Are a National Epidemic. Enter the Opioid Lobby: The epidemic is nationwide. The crisis is nationwide. The corporate pushback to develop a policy that looks good and doesn't do something about the problem that cuts into corporate profits also is nationwide."

"Haymarket time capsule uncovered, still unopened: History is being uncovered near the Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Forest Home Cemetery. A large team of volunteers worked to recover a time capsule that was buried near the monument over a hundred years ago. Despite adverse weather conditions over the weekend, they made remarkable progress, finding a cube, believed to contain the ashes of Haymarket martyr, Oscar Neebe. Beneath this, they discovered a cylinder that appears to be the time capsule. It was removed late Monday afternoon. This discovery caps over two years of effort on the part of local residents and archeological experts. Researchers Mark Rogovin, a labor historian, and Bleue Benton, an Oak Park Public Library research librarian, first found mention of the capsule in a Chicago Tribune article from Nov. 7, 1892. It describes a capsule being ceremonially buried under the cornerstone of the monument. A speaker at the ceremony stated, 'When generations to come dig up these records and read them, they will wonder that such barbarity could have been tolerated in the 19th century.'"

"Why This Activist Hacker Is Launching A Hunger Strike In Jail: Martin Gottesfeld, an activist jailed on charges stemming from a politically motivated cyberattack on Boston Children's Hospital, said he'll begin a hunger strike on Oct. 3 to bring attention to what he says is widespread mistreatment of children. In a message published exclusively on HuffPost last week, Gottesfeld said he took out the hospital's internet in the spring of 2014 to protest the controversial treatment of teenager Justina Pelletier and to protest the 'troubled teen industry' more broadly."

"Before Firing at a Palestinian, the Israeli Sniper Asked: Where Do You Want to Be Shot?"

"U.S. Admits Israel Is Building Permanent Apartheid Regime - Weeks After Giving It $38 Billion: In 2010, Israel's then-defense minister, Ehud Barak, explicitly warned that Israel would become a permanent 'apartheid' state if it failed to reach a peace agreement with Palestinians that creates their own sovereign nation and vests them with full political rights. 'As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,' Barak said. 'If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.' Honest observers on both sides of the conflict have long acknowledged that the prospects for a two-state solution are virtually non-existent: another way of saying that Israel's status as a permanent apartheid regime is inevitable. Indeed, U.S. intelligence agencies as early as 45 years ago explicitly warned that Israeli occupation would become permanent if it did not end quickly. All relevant evidence makes clear this is what has happened. [...] This week, with its fresh new $38 billion commitment in hand, the Israeli government announced the approval of an all new settlement in the West Bank, one that is particularly hostile to ostensible U.S. policy, the international consensus, and any prospects for an end to occupation. The new settlement, 'one of a string of housing complexes that threaten to bisect the West Bank,' as the New York Times put it this morning, 'is designed to house settlers from a nearby illegal outpost, Amona, which an Israeli court has ordered demolished.' This new settlement extends far into the West Bank: closer to Jordan, in fact, than to Israel. In response to this announcement, the U.S. State Department yesterday issued an unusually harsh denunciation of Israel's actions. 'We strongly condemn the Israeli government's recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank,' it began. It suggested Netanyahu has been publicly lying, noting that the 'approval contradicts previous public statements by the government of Israel that it had no intention of creating new settlements.'"

"Yes, Monsanto Actually DID Buy the BLACKWATER Mercenary Group!: Reports that the huge multinational corporation Monsanto bought the largest mercenary army in the world might have seemed ridiculous on the surface. But it turns out that's exactly what happened. A report authored by Jeremy Scahill for The Nation revealed that Blackwater, later called Xe Services and more recently 'Academi', had been sold to Monsanto."

"Cerberus Uses Private Equity Looting Strategy With Scandal-Ridden Steward Health Care Hospitals [...] After Steward consolidated, operational misadventures began. In 2013, it closed the pediatric unit at Morton Hospital (look here). In 2014, it closed Quincy Hospital, despite promises that it would expand health care services, and specifically not close that hospital so quickly (look here). Starting in 2014, Steward stonewalled state requests to disclose financial data as required by state regulations after the private equity takeover (look here). In 2016, Steward continued to withhold financial data (look here), and closed the short-lived family medicine residency program at Carney Hospital, amidst complaints by the residents about poor organization, and inadequate numbers of faculty (look here).

"Former CIA Detainees Describe Previously Unknown Torture Tactic: A Makeshift Electric Chair: Two former CIA captives recently described being threatened with a makeshift electric chair - a previously unreported torture method - while being held in the U.S. government's infamous 'Salt Pit' prison in Afghanistan."

Now, this is an interesting development. "Congress votes to override Obama for first time: Congress voted Wednesday to override President Obama for the first time in his eight-year tenure, as the House followed the Senate in rejecting a veto of legislation allowing families of terrorist victims to sue governments suspected of sponsoring terrorism. The House easily cleared the two-thirds threshold to push back against the veto. The final tally was 348-77, with 18 Republicans and 59 Democrats voting not to override the veto. The Senate voted 97-1 in favor of the override earlier in the day, with only Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) voting to sustain the president's veto. Given that Obama's argument is that people we bomb might sue the United States, it's rather astonishing that this Congress actually shot him down. The White House said, "I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983." Many people think it's the most sensible thing they've done for quite a while. But think about that headline - for the first time ever. The obstructionist Republicans have never before overridden an Obama veto. I wonder if any of his apologists saw that headline and thought, "Oh. How come?"
* Elsewhere, opinions differ: "White House Is Profoundly Wrong About the Most Embarrassing Thing Senate Has Done."
* But anyway, the very next day, the Republicans complained that the president had not properly apprised them of the "downside" that Obama had been claiming was the downside in all the media, so it's all his fault they overrode his veto. Yes, "Day After Rejecting Veto, Congressional Leaders Concerned About 9/11 Law: House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress might have to 'fix' the legislation to protect U.S. service members in particular." Of course, the legislation itself is such weak tea that it takes very little for the government to stop any lawsuits it doesn't happen to like.

"Big Data Exposes How Politically Connected Traders Cashed In During the Financial Crisis [...] The findings emerged as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, is demanding a formal investigation of why the Obama administration did not more forcefully prosecute financial firms after the crisis."

"Pro-Fracking Law Ruled Unconstitutional by Pennsylvania Supreme Court: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state's controversial Act 13 is unconstitutional, calling it a special law that benefits the shale gas industry. The massive Marcellus Shale formation, which underlies a large area of Western Pennsylvania, provides more than 36 percent of the shale gas produced in the U.S. ...] The Pennsylvania State Legislature passed Act 13 in 2012 and it was almost immediately challenged by seven of the state's municipalities along with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and a private physician. The onerous law enabled natural gas companies to seize privately owned subsurface property through eminent domain, placed a gag order on health professionals to prevent them from getting information on drilling chemicals that could harm their patients, and limited notification of spills and leaks to public water suppliers, excluding owners of private wells that supply drinking water for 25 percent of Pennsylvania residents. Act 13 also pre-empted municipal zoning of oil and gas development."

"Bill Clinton slams ObamaCare as 'craziest thing in the world'" - I wonder how people hearing this actually parsed it. It's not terribly coherent.

Deplorable: "Obama enlists Republican Kasich to push for TPP trade deal [...] The unlikely partnership comes as the White House makes a final full-court push to persuade Republican congressional leaders to approve the deal in a "lame duck" session after the Nov. 8 election. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have pilloried the TPP."

"McConnell threatens shutdown to keep corporate political spending secret." On both the left and the right, people are outraged at the way corporate political spending is corrupting government, and Congress is determined to prove they are right to be outraged about it.

Corey Robin, "When a Worker Freezes to Death in a Walk-In Freezer at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Downtown Atlanta" - You know, it shouldn't be hard to design freezers that don't latch. It's what I've got on my fridge, and it's hardly as if the dead meat is going to try to escape.

"Just how bad is voter suppression in Wisconsin?" Ari Berman talked to Mike Signorile about how it works.

Elizabeth Warren Just Gave Hillary Clinton a Big Warning: Senator Elizabeth Warren fired an unmistakable warning shot to Hillary Clinton and her advisers on Wednesday, cautioning against appointing cabinet or administration members who are linked to Wall Street while name-checking a firm closely tied to Clinton and the Democratic Party."
* Warren, invoking Clinton, demands FBI explain failure to charge bankers: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is trying to leverage the FBI's unusual embrace of transparency around Hillary Clinton's email investigation as a means to get answers about why more banking executives were not punished after the 2008 financial crisis."

This is a fairly good news discussion show, with some illuminating analysis of what the Democrats are really up to - "What Clinton Really Thinks About Progressives: On this episode of "By Any Means Necessary" host Eugene Puryear is joined by Marcus Farrell, political strategist, organizer and former African American Outreach Director for Bernie Sanders and Ben Norton, columnist with to talk about the recently leaked audio of Clinton discussing Sanders' supporters that gave them all the more reason not to support her candidacy. The group also discusses the implications of a Clinton presidency on the American progressive movement and why Trump supporters couldn't care less if he has ever paid taxes."

"Hyde Is What Happens When Left Fakes Right: Today, we mark 40 years of the Hyde Amendment. This law banning federal money from funding abortion has been renewed through administrations Democratic and Republican. Beyond hindering access to abortion, Hyde encapsulates what happens when Left fakes Right and unwittingly undermines its own aims." I'm not sure there's much illumination in the essay, but Democrats let this happen as surely as the right-wing pushed for it. It's time to end it.

"If Clinton Beats Trump 60-40%, The DCCC Would Still Fail To Take Back The House-- And Anyone Who Tells You Differently, While Asking You For A Donation...
* "A Quick Senate Scorecard" - from Gaius Publius, a rundown on how Chuck Schumer is screwing Democrats' chances of taking back the Senate. "Schumer has succeeded in sabotaging every race he has tried to sabotage" - so Gaius figures he will succeed in doing that in Alaska, but if he fails, we could take that seat, which is apparently just what Schumer is afraid of. (By "we", in this case, I mean someone who doesn't have a history of being corrupt.) He already succeeded in sabotaging the Florida Senate seat, paving the way for Patrick Murphy to take the nomination and thus lose the contest.

As The General put it, "Skeletor makes his pick" - remember, this guy was George W. Bush's Homeland Security chief: "Former Whitewater investigator Michael Chertoff backs Hillary Clinton."

"Donald Trump is going to win, says professor who has correctly predicted the last 8 elections - He uses 13 non-ideological True/False questions to assess the likelihood of the party in power winning re-election. They look like pretty good questions. But I still don't know who is actually going to win. This is a strange election, and the FSM knows the Dems are doing a great job of finding ways to lose it, but then, so is Trump.

William Greider in The Nation, "Whom Should We Blame for Our Deranged Democracy?: Laying it all on Trump is too easy -both political parties are out of touch and distant from the people. [...] The leaders of both parties may be betting that the Trump upheaval will be defeated in November, then lose energy and fade away afterward, so politics can get back to 'normal.' For lots of reasons, I think this is delusional. Regardless of who wins this year and what happens to Trump, the political instability will continue because it reflects seismic shifts under way in the American condition." I normally love what Greider writes, but when I got to the end of this article I realized he never really answered the question in the title.

"If You're a Democrat Bashing Bernie Voters, You're Supporting Trump [...] The argument I have just made is, of course, absurd. But it follows from the logic being advanced by many Democrats, which is that by criticizing Hillary Clinton, one supports Donald Trump, since criticism of Clinton makes people less likely to vote for her. Clinton-supporting pundit Bob Cesca has gone so far as to say that 'any attack on Hillary must be taken as tacit support for Trump.' Others, like Paul Krugman, imply that any journalism that puts Clinton in a negative light deliberately provides aid and comfort to the Trump campaign."

"Clinton hasn't won over millennials. And no, sexism isn't to blame: Obama said that her struggles in the polls are due to bias. But for younger voters, our hesitance is about policy - not gender."
* "Unlike Their Parents, Black Millennials Aren't A Lock For Clinton."
* "Among Democrats, deep concern about Clinton's Hispanic strategy."

Oh, Lord, do they hear themselves? "Hillary Clinton: My Plan for Helping America's Poor"

"Inside Hillary Clinton's Outrage Machine, Allies Push the Buttons."

"Maybe Hillary Clinton Shouldn't Spend So Much Time Pursuing Republican Voters."

The American Prospect, "Why Millennials Don't Like Clinton - And What She Can Do About It: Hillary Clinton's support from millennial voters has dropped sharply since August, a problem that she needs to address even more aggressively to hold onto this key bloc of voters."

Strangely, there's a good piece by Emmett Rensin in Newsweek, of all places, "This Is Hillary Clinton's Millennial 'Problem': It is possible, just possible, that political choices meaningfully reflect political preferences. [...] Here is my own wild take on why millennials don't support Clinton 'enough': Many younger American voters, perhaps a sufficient number of them to seriously imperil Clinton's chances, have significant ideological differences with the candidate. That's my theory. Many liberal pundits seem unimpressed by this idea perhaps because it suggests that votes must be earned in a democracy, but it does have the benefit of the evidence. The liberal punditry might be forgiven for underestimating the depth and seriousness of these differences had these young people not voted overwhelmingly and across all other demographic lines for a different candidate. The Clinton campaign might be forgiven for imagining these voters would 'come home' had it not spent the weeks since the Democratic Convention fundraising and playing Bush administration endorsement bingo. The trouble is not that young people are insufficiently familiar with the neoconservative horror show of their own childhoods. The trouble is that the candidate they are meant to support does not appear to find that show particularly horrifying."

Sam Seder has been arguing a lot lately with Jimmy Dore about voting for Hillary. Sam says if you're in a swing state, you need to vote to stop Trump. Jimmy disagrees. The arguments are lively and entertaining, although I don't know if they change anyone's mind. But just for the record, you might want to bookmark The Jimmy Dore Show page, 'cause no matter where you fall on this particular argument, Jimmy does say some pretty smart things.
* And here's a more concise Progressive Case for a Non-Progressive Candidate. (And down in the ensuing thread, I found this video on How to Fix America's Corrupt Political System, which was a relief to see since it's been obvious for a long time that Citizens United isn't really the issue.)

I admit to being bored with complaints about the Democratic convention, but I was surprised by some of the things in this video that I hadn't realized they'd done.

Hillbots keep accusing Glenn Greenwald of being pro-Trump because he dares to criticize Hillary, so he made up a little compendium of evidence to the contrary.

Links from commenter CMike, "Out of Prison, Out of Work" About 7 million American men of prime working age (25 through 54) are not in the labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means they don't have a paid job and haven't been actively looking for one. This figure does not include those in jail or prison. It does include students and men staying home to take care of children or other family members -- but, as Nicholas Eberstadt estimates in his important new book, "Men Without Work," these two categories seem to account for less than 15 percent of what he calls the NILFs (for not in labor force). And the NILF share of the U.S. prime-age male population has been growing and growing.
* Chris Hedges, "The Prison State of America: Prisons employ and exploit the ideal worker. Prisoners do not receive benefits or pensions. They are not paid overtime. They are forbidden to organize and strike. They must show up on time. They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations. They cannot formally complain about working conditions or safety hazards. If they are disobedient, or attempt to protest their pitiful wages, they lose their jobs and can be sent to isolation cells. The roughly 1 million prisoners who work for corporations and government industries in the American prison system are models for what the corporate state expects us all to become. And corporations have no intention of permitting prison reforms that would reduce the size of their bonded workforce. In fact, they are seeking to replicate these conditions throughout the society. States, in the name of austerity, have stopped providing prisoners with essential items including shoes, extra blankets and even toilet paper, while starting to charge them for electricity and room and board. Most prisoners and the families that struggle to support them are chronically short of money. Prisons are company towns. Scrip, rather than money, was once paid to coal miners, and it could be used only at the company store. Prisoners are in a similar condition. When they go broke - and being broke is a frequent occurrence in prison - prisoners must take out prison loans to pay for medications, legal and medical fees and basic commissary items such as soap and deodorant. Debt peonage inside prison is as prevalent as it is outside prison."

Dean Baker, though, says that, while the post-incarceration unemployment situation is a real problem, "it just cannot explain the larger falloff in employment rates over the last 15 years."
* Also, "NYT Devotes Room for Debate Segment to Dealing with Defense from Martians: At a time when we are seeing the slowest productivity growth on record the NYT decided to devote a Room for Debate section to the question of how we will deal with surging productivity (called "automation" in the description). Blaming the problems of high unemployment and low wages on automation has certain attractive features. It makes our major social problems the result of the development of technology rather than bad economic policy. This is a longer topic (yes, it will be addressed in my forthcoming book), but let's just say that it is not only Donald Trump's supporters who have a tenuous grip on reality."
* And, "NYT Pulls Out the Stops in Pushing NAFTA: The NYT is bending over backwards to promote the protectionist pattern of trade policies of recent presidents. Yes folks, it is protectionist even if they call them "free trade" deals. Patent and copyright protection are protectionism, even if your friends benefit from them. And when we spend an extra $100 billion a year on doctors, compared with pay in Canada and Western Europe, because doctors who don't complete a U.S. residency program are not allowed to practice in the United States, that is protectionism."
* Plus, "Why Don't Directors Want to Clawback Pay from Corrupt CEOs? Gretchen Morgenson had an interesting piece pointing out that it is rare that corporate boards ever clawback substantial sums from CEOs involved in illegal or inappropriate activity. (The immediate context is the clawback of some future performance pay from Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.) The issue, as Morgenson presents it, is that boards don't generally do clawbacks except where it is legally required."

"Do Not Resist: new film shows how US police have become an occupying army: Craig Atkinson's documentary about police militarization in America asks an important question: how did we get here? Craig Atkinson's documentary about police militarization, Do Not Resist, is filled with unsettling scenes like the one where a Swat team destroys a family's home during a drug raid that nets small amounts of loose marijuana. But the most disturbing scene transpires during the relative placidity of a seminar when a hugely successful lecturer tells a room full of police officers: 'We are at war and you are the frontline. What do you fight violence with? Superior violence. Righteous violence. Violence is your tool ... You are men and women of violence.'"

David Dayen has completed all seven parts now of The Penny Stock Chronicles.

Will Shetterly has a good post up at it's all one thing clarifying the relationship between police violence and class, "Why #BlackLivesMatter should be #PoorLivesMatter now with graphics: A casual glance shows police killings are racially disproportionate to our population - though black people are 13.3% of the US, 25% of people killed by the police are black. But that hides another fact: Police killings are racially proportionate to America's poor. Which makes sense - though there are exceptions from all races, most people killed by the police are poor. [...] The racial list of who is most likely to be killed lines up with racial household income: Native Americans are poorest, followed by blacks, then Hispanics, then non-Hispanic whites, then Asian Americans, who have higher incomes than white Americans. The basic rule for police killings: the richer the group, the less likely its members will be killed by police."

Katie Halper's interview with Glenn Greenwald on Clinton supporters, the Edward Snowden playlist & the afterlife was fun.

"Brooks Brothers Riot: Blame elites for the far right's rise."

"Weimar America: Four major ways we're following in Germany's fascist footsteps"

Monty Python's Terry Jones diagnosed with dementia.

RIP: Terence Bayler, at 86. More sad Pythhon-related news. He had two memorable lines in Life of Brian (both ad libs), and also appeared in The Rutles, Time Bandits and Brazil, as well as numerous other credits, including Doctor Who and much non-genre work in various media.

RIP Doug Fratz (1952-2016), alumna of the University of Maryland (College Park) science fiction club and long-time active fan. (I hold him personally responsible for convincing me to come to the convention they put together and therefore setting me up to get roped into a bridge game by Fred Pohl and Tom Monteleone. On the other hand, they also roped in X, who turned out to be Jack Heneghan and who, with his partner Elaine, taught me how to actually play the game.) I really liked that guy, he was fun and I miss him, I'm really sorry that he's already gone. (CSPA Obit)

'Draw and you'll go to jail': the fight to save comics from the censor: From worried parents to policemen with built-in 'Satan detectors', underground comics have never lacked enemies. And for 30 years Neil Gaiman and his friends have fought back in the name of free speech." I remember the Mike Diana case at the time, being shocked that someone could be sent to jail not for acts, not even for photographs of acts, but for drawings. And all these years later, it still shocks me.

"A 'Quick Perspective' on the Scale of the Manmade and Natural Marvels That Surround Us"

A bedtime story read by Samuel L. Jackson


Bra-clasp of the week. I only know about this because I found an eight-year-old message Karen B. left me in one of a million websites I've been known to wander into.

Well, I had no idea that "Rocket Man" was a big thing in bluegrass.

Dr. John, "Season of the Witch" and "Creole Moon"


  1. Another great post, Avedon, but you got the link wrong for Dean Baker. The link you gave goes to a post on insurance exchanges. The one you wanted, I think, is this one:

    1. Thanks, Duncan. I think I managed to fix it, now.

  2. If it's waiting for the First Amendment to save it, maybe our democracy is doomed. Check out this Morning Joe clip. It truly is unbelieveable, just not for what it is that Joe "who is paid millions for his insights" Scarborough finds so unbelievable.

    10/11/16 [VIDEO]

    [Clip from the debate]

    Hillary: I think we've got to go where the money is. And the money's with people who've taken advantage of every single tax break in the tax code.

    Trump: I will bring our energy companies back. They'll be able to compete, they'll make money. They'll pay off our tremendous budget deficits which are... tremendous.

    [Panel discussion]

    Mika Brezinski: Hillary Clinton is looking to pay the bills by taxing the rich. Donald Trump meanwhile insists our energy resources can dig us out of a 19 trillion dollar hole.

    Joe Scarborough: Oh we're back.

    Brezinski: With a soaring national debt our next guest says Clinton's plans barely scratch the surface while Trump's plans are Fantasyland.

    Scarborough: Scratch the surface- [singing] You're going to see the light.

    Jeffrey Sachs: How are you?

    Scarborough: I'm good Jeffrey. How are you?

    Sachs: I'm good.

    Scarborough: So this is something we've complained about for a very long time. It seems like every four years we talk about how neither candidate has a plan to save entitlements and America from this crushing debt. And it's no better this year, is it?

    Sachs: Well Trump is completely bizaare, of course, because he would completely gut the budget and gut the revenues- so we can put that aside as totally absurd. What Hillary is saying has a small, useful bit of truth to it which is we have to collect more revenues from those who aren't paying and the big companies are part of that.

    Scarborough: Right.

    Sachs: You look at companies like Apple and Amazon which have put all their international profits in protected tax havens that's a lot of money which we should be getting. What I'm worried about is that we've put trillions of dollars on wars that could well continue in the way all this tough talk is going so we're way over extended militarily...

    Scarborough: So, so what...

    Sachs: ...And we're paying a fortune...


    1. ...continued

      Scarborough: ...What do we do as far as all the exploding costs though, the exploding costs for Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid. You're exactly right. I've mean we've got to address this holistically but a huge part of this is, it's just math, you've got two people ten years from now working for just one person on Social Security and Medicare instead of fifteen people back in the 50's.

      Sachs: On Medicare and Medicaid the huge correctable problem is the drug prices are completely out of cotrol because we have this crazy system where we say, "You have a monopoly and we won't negotiate with you so you set any price you want."

      Scarborough: There's no negotiation, there's not negotiations?...

      Sachs: There's a very good drug on Hepatitis C which costs a dollar a pill to make...

      Scarborough: Does the government not...

      Sachs: ...and the company is charging..

      Scarborough: ... Hey Jeffrey, Jeffrey!

      Sachs: Can I just finish a sentence!

      Scarborough: No! You've said something that's actually fascinating and I would like you to illuminate it!

      Sachs: I'd be delighted.

      Scarborough: So stop talking so I can ask you!

      Brzezinski (whoops with my spelling above): Oh.

      Sachs: Are you telling me that the federal government doesn't negotiate with Big Pharma?

      Sachs: Medicare is not allowed to.

      Scarborough: They're not allowed to?

      Sachs: Yes.

      Scarborough: See, that's illuminating and I wanted our people... Breathe that in. Now why in the world would the federal government that has probably has the greatest buying power on the planet, why wouldn't they force Big Pharma to negotiate with them? That just seems stupid.

      Sachs: Because Big Pharma funds all the congressional races and so they have paid for the senators and congressmen over the years, so in 2003 when they extended Medicare to cover drug prices at the last moment, the lobbyists put in an amendment that said, "You will not negotiate."

      Scarborouh: I've got to stop you again.

      Sachs: OK

      Scarborough: So you're telling me that the institution that has the greatest buying power on this planet is not allowed to negotiate, Medicare is not allowed to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over the price of the gazillions of pills and drugs that they purchase from Big Pharma?

      Sachs: Precisely, and...

      Scarborough: It's outrageous. I just threw my pen in the air. I'm so glad you stopped.

      Sachs: And so could I tell you an example?

      Scarborough: Yes. I would love that. Aren't you glad that we stopped so we all get... No, no, go.

      Sachs: We have a wonderful example...

    2. Can Avedon see the video of the segment at the bottom of the post here [LINK]? I'm sure it'll get taken down pretty quick.

    3. Yes, and it's better than the link I was going to use, so thanks. :)

    4. Unfortunately, Scarborough ends by saying, "Bring the free market to medicine," whatever that means, and still talks about an entitlement crisis rather than a health care cost crisis, but at least he gave Sachs a forum.

    5. Well, in a way he's right on that one - a situation where an entity can't negotiate isn't a free market, even if that entity is the government. This is a case where you have a stupid regulation because the government regulated *against itself* being able to negotiate, so....

    6. He's only right in the limited sense of making the best of a bad system.


  3. No fan I, but what I heard Bill Clinton say was the health care system we now enjoy, the profit driven industrialized system of repeatedly treating the symptom rather than the malady, is a joke.

  4. 'When generations to come dig up these records and read them, they will wonder that such barbarity could have been tolerated in the 19th century.'

    Sadly, we don't wonder at all. The time capsule still hadn't been opened been opened as of 3 days ago. Supposed to be a presentation on the Oct. 27.

    Speaking of both the Hyde Amendment and the DCCC, here's a reminder of the DCCC's sabotage of Christine Cegelis's campaign for the democratic nomination in the contest for Henry Hyde's seat. She got 44% of the vote in her 2004 run against Hyde, along with a promise from the Democratic Party to support her in a future run. But Rahm didn't like her, so he, Durbin, and then-Senator Obama moved in to throw their weight and the DCCC's money behind Tammy Duckworth, who lost in the general. This one really got under my skin and was one of the many reasons I was predisposed to dislike Obama as a presidential candidate.

    So many pundits profess to be mystified by Obama's Syrian strategy, but an article in FPIF makes clear that it is a strategy, and not a good one, laid out by the likes of Edward Luttwak.

    1. I can't seem to get the Cegelis link to work once it's posted: