Thursday, September 13, 2018

I'd love to turn you on

"I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About: He should be impeached, not elevated. [...] No, Kavanaugh should be removed because he was repeatedly asked under oath as part of his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings for his position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit about whether he had received such information from Miranda, and each time he falsely denied it."

Chuck Schumer is a menace who should be removed from leadership immediately. David Dayen describes the idiot Senator from New York's latest "deal-making" at The American Prospect, "Schumer Surrenders: The Democrats' Senate leader lets Mitch McConnell pack the courts. [...] None of this has anything to do with how liberal Schumer or his caucus either is or isn't. It's all about tactics. In the minority, McConnell made life miserable for Senate Democrats, minimizing their output. Schumer has simply not stepped up with the same aggression. As a result, McConnell has been able to outmaneuver his counterpart repeatedly, with wide-ranging consequences for all Americans. Where have you gone, Harry Reid? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

"Nancy Pelosi Promises That Democrats Will Handcuff The Democratic Agenda If They Retake The House: IN THE FIRST outline of the legislative agenda House Democrats would pursue if they take the majority in November, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has made the public a big promise, vowing to handcuff her party's progressive ambitions, including in the event that a Democratic president succeeds Donald Trump, by resurrecting the 'pay-go' rule that mandates all new spending is offset with budget cuts or tax increases. Along the way, she is playing into the hands of Republican strategists eager to warn voters that Democrats' top priority is raising taxes. Forcing budget offsets for every piece of legislation would make it more difficult for Democrats to pass a host of liberal agenda items, from 'Medicare for All' to tuition-free public college. It continues a trend of Democrats caring far more about deficits than Republicans, constraining the activist impulses of liberal policymakers while giving conservatives free rein to blow giant holes in the tax code."

"Progressives Denounce Pelosi for Obsession With 'Economically Illiterate and Politically Insane' Pay-Go Rule: 'Instead of vowing budget chastity, Democrats should be articulating an agenda that excites voters so that they can unleash the full power of the public purse on their behalf.'"

"Andrew Gillum scores stunning victory in Democratic nomination for Florida governor: The progressive mayor of Tallahassee overwhelmed his rivals in Miami-Dade, Broward and Duval counties -- all key battlegrounds. TALLAHASSEE — Democrat Andrew Gillum rode a surge of liberal support from young people and African-Americans to a stunning primary victory Tuesday and the historic opportunity to be the first black governor in Florida's history." Some of his tweets in the ensuing week, however, have taken the shine off.

"Ayanna Pressley defeats 10-term incumbent Mike Capuano in Democratic primary in Massachusetts: It's another upset for insurgent left, which has had its biggest successes when people of color embrace progressive ideology. [...] She appears to have done it by turning out young people and people of color, neither of whom typically vote in party primaries. With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, Pressley had 58.4 percent, or 50,917 votes, to Capuano's 41.6 percent, or 36,234 votes."

"Democratic Party Mailer Associating Cynthia Nixon With Anti-Semitism Backfires: On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, just days before New York's gubernatorial primary on Thursday, a mailer sent by the New York Democratic Party misrepresenting Cynthia Nixon's views on Israel and accusing her of ignoring anti-Semitism has inspired widespread condemnation, forcing Governor Cuomo to assert that he did not approve it." Claims from Cuomo that he had nothing to do with it are hard to believe. Remembering a much earlier Cuomo campaign against Ed Koch, the Majority Report crew reversed and revised their slogan to, "Vote the Homo, not Cuomo."

"Bernie Sanders introduces 'Stop BEZOS Act' in the Senate: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday introduced a Senate bill — the "Stop BEZOS Act" — that would require large employers such as and Walmart to pay the government for food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal assistance received by their workers. The bill's name is a dig at Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos and stands for 'Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act.' It would establish a 100 percent tax on government benefits received by workers at companies with at least 500 employees, the former presidential candidate said Wednesday. "In other words, the taxpayers of this country would no longer be subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country who are paying their workers inadequate wages," Sanders said at a news conference announcing the bill. "Despite low unemployment, we end up having tens of millions of Americans working at wages that are just so low that they can't adequately take care of their families.""

"LePage files court-ordered plan to expand Medicaid in Maine — and asks feds to reject it: The LePage administration complied with a court order Tuesday and finally submitted required documents to the federal government to expand Medicaid to 70,000 Mainers — but there's a catch. Gov. Paul LePage, an expansion opponent, is asking federal officials to deny the application. [...] Voters approved Medicaid expansion by a 59 to 41 percent margin in November 2017, and the law passed at the ballot box required the state to file a State Plan Amendment in April. But the LePage administration has refused to implement it. The expansion, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, would provide health insurance for low-income Mainers earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, or $34,638 for a family of three and $16,753 for a single person. Expansion has been approved in 34 states."

"Roy Oliver: White police officer found guilty of murdering unarmed black teenager Jordan Edwards: It is extremely rare for police officers to be tried and convicted of murder for shootings that occurred while they are on duty." I imagine this case was immeasurably helped by the fact that Oliver's partner would not confirm Oliver's defense.

"Baltimore Cops Carried Toy Guns to Plant on People They Shot, Trial Reveals: One officer involved in the city's massive corruption scandal said officers kept the replicas 'in case we accidentally hit somebody or got into a shootout, so we could plant them.'"

Zaid Jilani, "Republicans Who Oppose Teacher Protests Are Losing Their Primaries, Even In Red States: WEST VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN state Sen. Robert Karnes felt pretty confident about opposing the longest teachers strike in the state's history. A longtime opponent of the state's teachers unions, he told a local newspaper that he wasn't worried about any political ramifications of the strike. 'I can't say that it will have zero effect, but I don't think it'll have any significant effect because, more often than not, they probably weren't voting on the Republican side of the aisle anyways,' he said of the state's teachers. Essentially, Karnes bet against his constituents' interest in education funding. And they called him on it. Karnes lost his May primary election, winning only 3,749 votes compared to Republican Del. Bill Hamilton's 5,787 votes. Hamilton was an opponent of right-to-work laws and expressed sympathy for the teachers strike. He secured the support of labor groups like the West Virginia AFL-CIO and the West Virginia Education Association Political Action Committee; altogether, organized labor contributed around $10,000 to his campaign." And similar stories in Kentucky and Oklahoma.

"'Cruel and vicious': Palestinian officials condemn Trump's closure of DC office: Palestinian leaders have condemned a decision by Donald Trump to shutter their diplomatic mission to Washington as part of a 'cruel and spiteful' campaign they say represents collective punishment against Palestinians. The move follows a year of US action that includes cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to Palestinians and recognising Jerusalem, a city that is territorially contested, as Israel's capital."

Dean Baker, "NYT Is Mistaken on NAFTA Negotiations: Trump is Threatening Ford and GM with Auto Tariffs, not Canada: Donald Trump is very confused about trade and it seems the confusion has spread to the NYT. Its article on the trade negotiations between the United States and Canada told readers that Trump is threatening with tariffs on the cars it exports to the United States. Canada doesn't pay tariffs on cars exported to the United States. The companies that import the cars to the United States would be the ones that pay the tariffs. This would primarily be Ford and General Motors, although there may also be some foreign auto companies that bring cars in from Canada. In Trump World it seems that trade is a battle between countries, with the ones that have the largest trade surplus being the winners. In reality, many U.S. corporations have benefited hugely from the imports that have been associated with the U.S. trade deficit. They have taken advantage of lower cost labor (not really true in Canada) in other countries to reduce costs. The basic story is that trade is about class, not country. Our patterns of trade were put in place to redistribute income upward. When Trump threatens to disrupt the patterns of trade established over the last quarter century he is most immediately threatening U.S. corporations. While there may also be some negative effects for workers in other countries, the direct targets are U.S. corporations. Trump may not understand this fact, but the NYT should."

Unfortunately, they are still in the education business. I hope this time they actually consult real educators instead of their rich-people genius. At least this one doesn't sound as bad as the last one. So far. "With $92 Million in Grants, Gates Foundation Launches Newest Strategy to Improve K-12 Schools. [...] "Rather than coming in with a bright, shiny new idea, we're asking districts, schools, and intermediaries to look at investments they've already made, and we're trying to make that last-mile investment that enables them to connect their work, to set the strategies or data that will enable them to be successful for students," said Robert Hughes, the foundation's director of K-12 education in a telephone press call with reporters."

"Bernie Sanders Is Officially Getting Under Jeff Bezos'S Skin [...] In statement after statement, the progressive senator from Vermont has decried Amazon, claiming that the $954 billion company doesn't pay enough workers a living wage — especially those who toil in its more than 100 fulfillment centers across the country. Many of the attacks have been personal: 'It is completely unacceptable that ordinary Americans should be subsidizing the wealthiest people in the world like Jeff Bezos when they pay their employees such inadequate wages,' he tweeted earlier this week. 'Count to ten,' he wrote in another tweet. 'In those ten seconds, Jeff Bezos, the owner and founder of Amazon, just made more money than the median employee of Amazon makes in an entire year.' Not content to bludgeon the company from the confines of Twitter, Sanders's office has also appealed directly to Amazon employees: 'Have you used public assistance, such as food stamps, Medicaid or subsidized housing, in order to make ends meet?' asks a form on his Web site. By now, these sorts of accusations are commonplace. But Amazon's response was not. Instead of brushing off the claims with a boilerplate statement or an internal memo, as Bezos did in response to a damning New York Times story in 2015, the company published an entire blog post on Wednesday devoted to debunking Sanders's claims. [...] The company added that it had offered Sanders a tour of its fulfillment centers, and invited its workers to respond with their positive experiences. Its post was later updated to include one worker testimonial." But there are a lot more testimonials to the contrary elsewhere.

Bruce Dixon explains "Why the Blue Wave Missed Missouri's 1st CD [...] The first is the black church, which is ridden with local, and since the advent of Bush's and Obama's faith based initiative, federal patronage. Black churches are often tied hand and foot to local politicians for everything from real estate deals to charter school contracts, and their leaders are often fixtures in local Democratic party affairs, even public officials themselves. The second is the nonprofit industrial complex, a literal army of advocacy groups sometimes doing housing and homeless activism, sometimes feeding the hungry, sometimes doing worker centers, womens health, tenants rights, LBGTQ activism, environmental stuff. There's another section of the nonprofit industrial complex which can't even be called nonpartisan with a straight face, offshoots of the NAACP and the Movement 4 Black Lives. These forces are tied to the political preferences of their corporate philanthropic funders. Executive directors of nonprofit organizations who don't find a way to support the right Democrats in primary season and all Democrats in general election put their careers, the livelihoods of all their employees, and the outfit's good works in jeopardy. And there are the unions — heavily public sector and disproportionately people of color, again all tied to the most right wing established Democrats on the local, state and federal level."

RIP: "The Village Voice Is Officially Dead: Three years after buying The Village Voice, and a year after the paper shut down its print edition, owner Peter Barbey told the remaining staff today that the publication will no longer be posting any new stories."

Sam Seder left some great pre-recorded interviews for listeners during The Majority Report's vacation week.
* America's Forgotten Black Pioneers & the Struggle for Equality - MR Live - 8/27/18
* This Radical Land: A Natural History of American Dissent w/ Daegan Miller - MR Live - 8/28/18
* Globalists: The End Of Empire & the Birth of Neoliberalism w/ Quinn Slobodian - MR Live - 8/29/18

Katie Halper interviewed Asad Haider on the betrayal of Identity Politics.

Briahna Gray, "Beware The Race Reductionist [...] If you're #online, like I am, you're probably already familiar with the main argument. It goes something like this: If a policy doesn't resolve racism 'first,' it's at worst, racist and at best, not worth pursuing. [...] Notice that this trick is aimed at policies which would threaten significant corporate or entrenched interests: the insurance industry, the banking industry, the energy sector, lenders. As the University of California, Berkeley, law professor and leading scholar on race Ian Haney-López observed as we discussed the motives behind this framing, mainstream Democrats, like Republicans, 'are funded by large donors. Of course they're concerned about the interests of the top 1 percent.' It's almost as if the real agenda here isn't ending racism, but deterring well-meaning liberals from policies that would upset the Democratic Party's financial base. [...] So will 'Medicare for All' cure racism? No. Will it completely eliminate point-of-care discrimination? It won't. But neither will doubling down on the status quo. Those who admonish these broad economic policies on the grounds that they won't end bigotry rarely, if ever, propose alternatives that will; nor do they suggest reforms to make flawed universal programs more perfect. This fact, more than anything, exposes the bad faith motives of at least some race reductionists.

Howie Klein on "What Happens AFTER The Wave? What Can Democrats Accomplish? [...] The DCCC is making the same mistake they made-- so disastrously-- in 2010 by letting the Republicans define Democratic candidates while they sit on their asses doing nothing but figuring out how of a rake-off from campaign donations their pals can get. Ryan's SuperPAC "is already unloading blistering attack ads on Democratic nominees in 15 key districts," while the DCCC is still spending their energy and resources against progressives and ignoring Republicans."

Why Philanthropy Is Bad for Democracy: Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All, on how well-meaning liberals paved the way for Trump [...] I would love to tell you I figured it out within two minutes, but these things are seductive. It was a drip-drip-drip-drip of moments where you thought, 'Wait a second, why are we sitting in the Koch building? Why is this event funded by Monsanto, and by Pepsi, which seems to be changing the world by fattening kids? Why is Goldman Sachs a sponsor of our annual summer retreat?' The reality of the world outside kept getting worse and worse, and the people in the fellowship, and the sponsors, seemed to be the very people sucking most of the juice of progress. What I started to realize was that giving had become the wingman of taking. Generosity had become the wingman of injustice. 'Changing the world' had become the wingman of rigging the system."

Ryann Liebenthal in Mother Jones, "The Incredible, Rage-Inducing Inside Story of America's Student Debt Machine: Why is the nation's flagship loan forgiveness program failing the people it's supposed to help?"

Pierce, "It Turns Out Mike Pence Has Been Working on Being Unlikable for Decades: The late great Indiana political blogger Doghouse Riley used to call Mike Pence "the Choirboy," and hipped us all to the fact that this was a walking haircut stuffed with piety, ignorance, and not a whole lot else. Comes now CNN with a profile, and we learn from the people with whom he went to college that Pence has been practicing to be an unlikable and thoroughgoing prig for decades now. [...] This is the guy who is about four Diet Cokes, one clogged coronary artery, and/or a massive rage-tweet-induced aneurysm away from the presidency of the United States. And, again, it did not take Donald Trump to make Mike Pence a twisted, god-bothering, judgmental and successful political reptile. All that took was the Republican Party."

David Dayen says Tim Geithner was the "resistance" inside the Obama administration: "Last week, in an anonymous New York Times op-ed, a senior Trump official attempted to reassure the public that members of the administration were actively impeding their boss's wishes. One member of the public wasn't soothed: Trump's predecessor. 'The claim that everything will turn out okay because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren't following the president's orders, that is not a check,' Barack Obama said in a speech. 'That's not how our democracy's supposed to work. These people aren't elected. They're not accountable.' It was interesting timing for Obama to condemn executive branch defiance. This week marks the tenth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers, seen as the emblematic event of the financial crisis. And early in Obama's first term, as he struggled to prevent further collapse, he faced similar insubordination from a key official: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. According to credible accounts, Geithner slow-walked a direct presidential order to prepare the breakup of Citigroup, instead undertaking other measures to nurse the insolvent bank back to health. This resistance to accountability for those who perpetrated the crisis, consistent with Geithner's demonstrated worldview, had catastrophic effects — including the Trump presidency itself. [...] Today, some may welcome the internal dissension in the Trump administration. But Geithner's actions to protect banks from the president he served, and the anger it bred at a 'rigged' system, diminished the public's faith in government intervention and helped install Trump in the White House. Ten years later, Geithner's one regret, as he put it in the Times, was that regulators don't have as much power now as he had then to bail out banks. But he wasn't given that power unilaterally; he took it, and America is still dealing with the consequences."

Ryan Cooper in The Week, "The biggest policy mistake of the last decade: In the great economic battle of the past decade, the winner is the tried and true — in a rout. After the 2008 financial crisis, old-fashioned Keynesians offered a simple fix: Stimulate the economy. With idle capacity and unemployed workers, nations could restore economic production at essentially zero real cost. It helped the U.S. in the Great Depression and it could help the U.S. in the Great Recession too. But during and immediately after the crisis, neoliberal and conservative forces attacked the Keynesian school of thought from multiple directions. Stimulus couldn't work because of some weird debt trigger condition, or because it would cause hyperinflation, or because unemployment was "structural," or because of a "skills gap," or because of adverse demographic trends. Well going on 10 years later, the evidence is in: The anti-Keynesian forces have been proved conclusively mistaken on every single argument. Their refusal to pick up what amounted to a multiple-trillion-dollar bill sitting on the sidewalk is the greatest mistake of economic policy analysis since 1929 at least. Let's take the culprits in turn."

A book review from Jennifer Szalai, "Crashed Connects the Dots From 2008 Crisis to Trump, Brexit and More [...] [...] On the apparent Democratic distaste for conflict, Tooze is quietly scathing. 'Rather than seeking to mobilize the indignation simmering in American society,' the Obama administration sought to tamp it down, offering 'one technocratic fix after another.' Putting it another way, Democratic centrism won the (financial) war but lost the (political) peace. To judge from Trump's ascendancy, along with the historical evidence so scrupulously marshaled in 'Crash,' Tooze is right. [...] One of the great virtues of this bravura work of economic history is how much attention it devotes to issues of power. 'Who was being hurt?' Tooze writes of the 2008 crisis. 'Who was included in the circle of those who needed to be protected? And who was not?' He reckons that in their bid to paper over such fundamental political questions with technical solutions, neoliberal centrists inadvertently answered them. Incremental tweaking did little to address the grief and suffering caused by the crisis, making political power more visible. By laying bare who would be sacrificed when the tide went out, they left a ragged hole for the likes of Trump and Bannon to walk through."

Harper's Index:
• Average number of months by which Republican-appointed judges sentence blacks to longer jail terms than whites : 7.8
By which Democratic-appointed judges do : 4.8
• Estimated percentage of US adults exonerated of crimes who are found to have falsely confessed : 10
Of juveniles : 38
• Percentage of heterosexual men without a high school diploma who changed their last name when they were last married : 10
Of heterosexual men with a college degree who did : 2

Nick Hanauer is sounding the alarm to his fellow zillioniaires, "The Pitchforks Are Coming — For Us Plutocrats [...] If we don't do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn't eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It's not if, it's when." Also, when I scrolled past the end, I found another warning from Joseph Stiglitz on The Myth of America's Golden Age. He says the same thing, only shorter.

Matt Stoller tweeted: Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson argue in the New York Times that our main political problem is insufficient authority to bail out banks. I mean, just, speechless. And then he "tweeted, "1. Ok, time to address this piece by Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, and Ben Bernanke on the need for more bailout authority to address financial crises. It is a surprisingly interesting but hidden political argument." Go read the thread.

RIP: Bill Daily, Major Healey in I Dream of Jeannie, Dies at 91: Bill Daily, the affable TV actor who starred as Major Roger Healey in I Dream of Jeannie as well as on The Bob Newhart Show, died Sept. 4 in Santa Fe, N.M., his son J. Patrick Daily confirmed. He was 91."

RIP: "Burt Reynolds, Smokey and the Bandit star, dead at 82." I actually remember him best for being hilarious on late-night talk shows. He was fun.

Sirota at the Guardian, "Yes, let's wipe out Trump. But take neoliberal Democrats with him, too: [...] Recounting this sordid record is not to dispute Democrats' occasional successes. Some blue locales continue to periodically pass progressive initiatives, most recently on climate change, net neutrality and minimum wages. These are undoubtedly important, but they have for the most part been incremental at a time when the economic and ecological crises we face demand far more radical action. The current iteration of the Democratic party has proven time and again that it is not merely uninterested in that kind of radicalism, but actively opposed to it. Party powerbrokers and multimillion-dollar MSNBC pundits would prefer an election focused exclusively on the palace dramas surrounding Trump's boorish outbursts and outrageous personal behavior. They don't want an election focused on the bipartisan neoliberalism that has wrought the desperation and mayhem unfolding outside the palace walls."

If you ever wonder what's wrong with Bob Woodward's journalism, you normally can't check his sources to find out what really happened. But one time, he didn't have that protection, because he wrote a regrettable book where sources weren't speaking confidentially and no state secrets were involved, and someone checked it out. Tanner Colby on the troubling things he learned when he re-reported Woodward's book about John Belushi.

This is a few years old, but I get tired of hearing right-wingers (especially the "centrists") pretending it was all some instant reaction from the religious right against Roe v. Wade. But that didn't happen. There was no reaction from the religious right at the time because they didn't care about that. It was manufactured. "The Real Origins of the Religious Right"

Eventually, if I keep looking, everything turns up on YouTube. Meeting of Minds, first episode, in which Steve Allen talks to dinner guests Teddy Roosevelt, Cleopatra, Thomas Paine, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Paul McCartney Breaks Down His Most Iconic Songs

1 comment:

  1. Wondering if/how this will impact someone posting from the UK