Sunday, September 30, 2018

The streets are fields that never die

It started like this: "Dianne Feinstein Withholding Brett Kavanaugh Document From Fellow Judiciary Committee Democrats: DEMOCRATS ON THE Senate Judiciary Committee have privately requested to view a Brett Kavanaugh-related document in possession of the panel's top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, but the senior California senator has so far refused, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation." It soon transpired that a woman said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was in high school. It then instantly developed that the GOP just happened to have a letter signed by 65 women who purported to know him then and claimed he had always been a perfect gentleman with them. You know, I went to a public high school and for one year I went to an all-girls school, and I don't think I could find 65 women I knew from high school. Brett Kavanaugh went to Georgetown Prep, a boys' school. (Kavanaugh also recently claimed to have grown up in a rough neighborhood. That would be Bethesda, Maryland, which never had any rough neighborhoods.) Atrios has the next ridiculous chapter.

Yes, okay, Kavanaugh cemented his reputation as a serial perjurer and should be impeached. (If you need some catharsis, I recommend Sam Seder's interview with Judy Gold on Friday's Majority Report.) Meanwhile....

"Buried in an Overloaded and Terrible News Cycle: The House of Representatives Just Voted to Expand the PATRIOT Act. Nonetheless, it passed 297 to 124, clearing the 2/3 threshold it would have needed to pass under suspension by 16 votes. Republicans voted 202 to 29 in favor of the bill. Democrats split evenly: 95 in favor and 95 against."

"With Nation Transfixed By Kavanaugh Monstrosity, House GOP Votes to Give Rich Another $3 Trillion in Tax Cuts: 'This is yet another shameful tax law that would swindle working families and siphon even more funding from the programs that help our communities thrive.' [...] Three Democrats— Reps. Conor Lamb (Penn.), Jacky Rosen (Nev.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — voted for the GOP-crafted measure, which would permanently extend the individual tax cuts under the current Republican tax law."

Voter turnout in New York was enormous and though Cynthia Nixon lost, she did get more votes than Cuomo won with in the previous election. Sadly, Zephyr Teachout also lost in her bid to be State AG. Curiously, there were many "Reports of Widespread Voter Suppression in New York State Democratic Primary" and we wonder if that explains the results, since we're not hearing it from Cuomo voters. But the good news is that most of the right-wing Dems who'd been caucusing with the Republicans (IDC) lost their seats, so Cuomo may have a harder time preventing progressive change in the future.

If you ever doubted that Michael Bloomberg is a creep (though I don't see how you could), he's obviously afraid Bernie will win this time and is already making noises about exploring a presidential bid himself. For Liberty, Fraternity, Plutocracy, "Bloomberg would be less than a month from turning 79 when inaugurated. Also $50 billion is $50 million times 1000. If he runs I do expect him to become the darling of reactionary centrists and Third Way doofi, who collectively make up 2.72% of the U.S. population and 38.67% of all elite media pundts." Only a few months younger than Sanders, too. He threatened a third-party run last time if Sanders got the Democratic nomination. He might actually do it this time and grab the H8% vote.

David Dayen, "The Fake Public Comments Supporting A Bank Merger Are Coming From Inside The House: COMMENTS SUBMITTED TO a top banking regulator supporting a 2015 merger between OneWest Bank and CIT Bank were attributed to people who never sent them, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and reviewed by The Intercept. The fake comments appear to be tied directly to Joseph Otting, the head of the regulatory agency himself. The documents reviewed by The Intercept show that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the main bank regulator for nationally chartered banks, knew about the fake comments at the time, before it approved the merger. But the OCC appears to have done no meaningful investigation of the matter, and even cited public support for the merger when approving it." So, "the public" is his sock puppet.

"Sen. Ted Cruz Calls Rival Beto O'Rourke 'Quick' To Blame Dallas Cop Who Killed Botham Jean. Beto says the officer who seems to have misplaced her own apartment, and instantly killing the tenant of the one she was trying to get into when he opened the door, should be fired. This sounds fair considering how unprofessional her behavior was, but Cruz has a novel approach to employee termination policy: "'The individual ... was at home in his apartment and found himself murdered,' Cruz said, using a bizarre choice of words. Guyger 'may have been in the wrong. She's facing legal proceedings, and if a jury of her peers concludes that she behaved wrongly, then she'll face the consequences.'" The jury can decide whether she goes to jail, but I've never heard of anyone getting a jury of their peers to decide whether they should be fired - that responsibility is in the hands of your bosses, not your peers.

"The Senseless Legal Precedent That Enables Wrongful Convictions: A federal appeals court has ruled that prosecutors can withhold evidence that may prove defendants innocent before they plead guilty. [...] Prosecutors are obligated under what's known as the Brady rule to disclose any evidence in the government's possession that may benefit a defendant's case. The rule takes its name from the landmark 1963 case Brady v. Maryland, where the Supreme Court held that withholding exculpatory evidence violated a defendant's right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. But the lower courts are divided on whether that also applies to the plea-bargaining process. The Supreme Court itself has never ruled on the matter." But how can they be divided on whether they should proceed with a prosecution when they aren't reasonably sure they have the guilty party in the first place - especially when there may be exculpatory evidence? What kind of thinking is even going on there?

Chris Hayes and Michael Moore, Town Hall in Flint Michigan

On The Majority Report,
• Sammy interviewed Dday on Tim Geithner: The Villain Who Protected Wall Street, w/ David Dayen - MR Live - 9/12/18
How Fascism Works, w/ Jason Stanley
Crashed: How A Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World, w/ Adam Tooze
Temp: How the Temp Economy Took Over America w/ Louis Hyman - MR Live - 9/25/18

The Michael Brooks Show:
Brazil's Fascist Right & the Attack on Lula

Did I mention Deficit Owls? They're not hawks (who want lots of austerity), and they're not doves (who want a little less austerity). They are wise.

What Modern Money Theory is NOT Saying

Over 150 Democrats are introducing the Expand Social Security Caucus (video)

I don't have a pull-quote from this one, but Matt Taibbi talked to Noam Chomsky, and some of you will be happy to know it's text, not video.

"Labour To Vote On Bringing Back 'Clause Four' Pledge To Nationalise Industries: Labour is set to vote on restoring the party's historic Clause Four pledge to nationalise key industries following a grassroots campaign by activists, HuffPost can reveal. The commitment to 'common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange' was famously axed by Tony Blair when he created New Labour in the 1990s. But local constituency parties have now tabled motions for its restoration that will guarantee the issue appears on the agenda at the party conference."

"Europe Just Voted to Wreck the Internet, Spying on Everything and Censoring Vast Swathes of Our Communications." I read this and just thought, "No, that's crazy, it can't be true." But I suppose it can. Not sure how to live with this one.

"Rejected Applicant Sues Law Schools for Violating Magna Carta [...] According to the complaint, the plaintiff applied to at least 24 law schools, or tried to, but was not admitted to any. While there may well have been other reasons for that, it was enough that Plaintiff had refused to take the LSAT, which most if not all schools require. [...] What exactly did the defendants do wrong, you are probably asking. Well, first, the ABA has apparently broken a promise it made to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1947 to the effect that it and its members would comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Which was adopted in 1948, but it could have promised her before that.) Beyond that — not that anything else is really necessary — Plaintiff alleges that not admitting him to law school constituted various torts including trespass, 'trespass on the case,' intentional infliction of emotional distress, bad faith, trover (!), and the best of the formal causes of action, 'failure to provide a Republican form of government.'"

@MMFlint has a new movie out, and Glenn Greenwald reviews it at The Intercept. "Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9 Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise: Fahrenheit 11/9 the title of Michael Moore's new film that opens today in theaters, is an obvious play on the title of his wildly profitable Bush-era Fahrenheit 11/9 but also a reference to the date of Donald J. Trump's 2016 election victory. Despite that, Trump himself is a secondary figure in Moore's film, which is far more focused on the far more relevant and interesting questions of what — and, critically, who — created the climate in which someone like Trump could occupy the Oval Office. For that reason alone, Moore's film is highly worthwhile regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum. The single most significant defect in U.S. political discourse is the monomaniacal focus on Trump himself, as though he is the cause — rather than the by-product and symptom — of decades-old systemic American pathologies. Personalizing and isolating Trump as the principal, even singular, source of political evil is obfuscating and thus deceitful. By effect, if not design, it distracts the population's attention away from the actual architects of their plight. [...] Embedded in the instruction of those who want to you focus exclusively on Trump is an insidious and toxic message: namely, removing Trump will cure, or at least mitigate, the acute threats he poses. That is a fraud, and Moore knows it. Unless and until the roots of these pathologies are identified and addressed, we are certain to have more Trumps: in fact, more effective and more dangerous Trumps, along with more potent Dutertes, and more Brexits, and more Bolsonaros and more LePens."

RIP: "Marty Balin, musician and Jefferson Airplane co-founder, dies aged 76." This seems like a good time for a musical interlude, and a pretty song: "Today".

RIP: "Bassist Max Bennett Dies at 90: His varied career included stints with Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and the L.A. Express."

Amazingly, this article appeared at Bloomberg: "Unions Did Great Things for the Working Class: Strengthening them could blunt inequality and wage stagnation."

"L.A. Police Union Bought Newspaper Stock, Used Leverage to Try to Fire Editorial Staffers It Accused of Being Anti-Police" — Ted Rall thinks he's found out why The Los Angeles Times fired him.

From the NYT Opinion page, "The Truth in Trump's Law-Enforcement Hypocrisy: As a public defender, I'm not mad at how well Manafort and Cohen have been treated. I just want that same treatment for my clients. [...] Needless to say, Mr. Trump's apparent justice renaissance has nothing to do with how our criminal justice system actually operates, and has always operated, for communities of color and people living in poverty, the vast majority of those who face arrest and prosecution in this country. No, he is outraged by how the system treats his friends. Still, it would be a mistake to dismiss his outrage over the government's ability to turn a person's life upside down as mere hypocrisy. I understand President Trump's outrage. It is remarkable that people, presumed innocent, are locked up before being convicted of any crime. It is deeply unfair that mere accusations can lead to devastating, lifelong consequences. It is alarming that, in a system theoretically built around transparency and truth seeking, police and prosecutors have such outsize power to surveil, search, detain, bully, coerce and nearly destroy a person without producing evidence sufficient to secure a conviction."

Dean Baker, "NYT Is Badly Mistaken: China Has Many Many Options in Trade War with Trump: The NYT erred badly with an article that told readers, "China Once Looked Tough on Trade: Now Its Options Are Dwindling." The article claims that China is running out of ways to retaliate against Trump's tariffs because it imports so much less from the United States than the United States imports from China. In fact, China has many other ways to retaliate. The most effective would probably be to stop paying attention to patent and copyright claims of US corporations. It can encourage domestic Chinese companies to make millions of copies of Windows-based computers, without paying a penny to Microsoft. It can do the same with iPhones and Apple. In fact, it can encourage Chinese companies to export these unauthorized copies all over the world, destroying Microsoft's and Apple's markets in third countries. It can do the same with fertilizers and pesticides, making Monsanto and other chemical giants unhappy. And, it can do this with Pfizer and Merck's drugs, flooding the world with low-cost generic drugs. Even a short period of generic availability may do permanent damage to these companies' markets."

I'd been wondering where Hillbots were getting claims of the Sanders campaign keeping lots of illegal funds, and now I know: Hillary Clinton Supporters Filed A Complaint Against Bernie Sanders — And Lost [...] The complaint alleged that Sanders, an independent, and his campaign treasurer, Susan Jackson, accepted excessive contributions. Under Title 52 of federal campaign finance rules, no individual can make a contribution to a candidate in excess of $2,700. The FEC's decision was addressed to Brad Woodhouse, founder of the American Democracy Legal Fund and president of the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record. Both the ADLF and the super PAC were founded by prominent Clinton supporter and Media Matters founder David Brock. 'On April 20, 2017, the Federal Election Commission reviewed the allegations in your complaint received on April 8, 2016, and on the basis of the information provided in your complaint, and information provided by Bernie 2016 and Susan Jackson in her official capacity as treasurer, the Commission voted to dismiss the allegation that the Committee violated 52 U.S.C. § 30116(f),'" It's even funnier when you read how tiny the amounts were - it looks like a few people lost track of how many $27 contributions they'd sent in and sent one or two more than they should have. The campaign sent it back as required by law, so no big deal. It's hard to believe the Clinton campaign could be so petty.

"Aaron Maté is a Beast! This statement was admiringly blurted out by political vlogger Jamarl Thomas on his program The Progressive Soapbox last week. What he was talking about was a recent interview that Aaron Maté, producer, journalist and on-air talent at Paul Jay's Real News Network, did with veteran journalist James Risen, currently of The Intercept. What did they discuss? The jailing of Reality Winner — Risen's source for a leaked NSA document about potential Russian digital interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential primary." Risen was perfectly comfortable with talking about how ridiculous it was that Winner was jailed — without any trial — for exposing what should just have been an ordinary public service advisory in any case. But the moment Maté started discussing the actual content of the material Winner released, Risen got his back up. Now, you can say it's not surprising that there's a bit of nervousness about the topic after The Intercept's mishandling of publishing the information in such a way that it was they who exposed Winner by publishing raw code from her communication without redaction, but that didn't seem to be Risen's problem. Maté wanted to talk about just how small a bombshell Winner's leak really was, nowhere in proportion to the reaction it got. Curiously, Risen was so offended by the idea that Winner's leak was only the flimsiest evidence that a phishing expedition from a Gmail account was evidence of a Russian plot that he threatened to terminate the interview in a huff. Do watch the video, it's brow-furrowing, and Maté deserves the kudos for his handling of Risen.

David Dayen in In These Times, "Retrospectives of the Financial Crisis Are Leaving Out the Most Important Part — Its Victims: Because I'm a masochist, I've read as many retrospectives as I could about the 10th anniversary of the fateful failure of Lehman Brothers, the emblematic event of the financial crisis. And I can't help but notice a gaping hole in the narratives. I've heard from Lew Ranieri, the Salomon Brothers trader who invented the mortgage bond in the 1980s, and now regrets it. I've heard bailout architects Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, and Tim Geithner justify their beliefs in doing whatever it took to save the banks. I've endured you-are-there narratives about bankers and policymakers racing to rescue the financial system. Wonks, pundits, and reporters have all offered thoughts on the crisis' origins, the response, and its ultimate meaning. It seems the only people not consulted for their perspective were those most powerfully affected by the crisis' impact — the millions of families who suffered foreclosure and eviction."

"Neoliberal epidemics: the spread of austerity, obesity, stress and inequality [...] In our new book, we draw on an extensive body of scientific literature to assess the health effects of three decades of neoliberal policies. Focusing on the social determinants of health — the conditions of life and work that make it relatively easy for some people to lead long and healthy lives, while it is all but impossible for others — we show that there are four interconnected neoliberal epidemics: austerity, obesity, stress, and inequality. They are neoliberal because they are associated with or worsened by neoliberal policies. They are epidemics because they are observable on such an international scale and have been transmitted so quickly across time and space that if they were biological contagions they would be seen as of epidemic proportions."

"Deregulation of Wall Street Is Plain and Simple Corruption [...] These sweeping attacks on financial and consumer protections won't make America greater. They'll make it crater, setting the stage for the next Wall Street crisis and very likely another round of taxpayer-funded bank bailouts."

Historical Note: Let's not have any more mythology about who gave us CHIPS. March 14, 1997, in The New York Times, after Bill Clinton had gutted the much better AFDC/TANF provision, "Hatch Joins Kennedy to Back a Health Program: Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a conservative Republican, today embraced a major Democratic effort to provide health insurance for half of the nation's 10 million uninsured children, saying he would become the chief sponsor of the legislation. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, wrote much of the bill, which would increase the Federal tax on tobacco products to finance health care for children."

"25 Years Of Wired Predictions: Why The Future Never Arrives: To write the history of how our culture thinks about tomorrow, one obsessed academic read every issue of Wired in chronological order. Here are his findings."

Someone wrote an update of Phil Ochs' "Love me, I'm a Liberal."

The Doors, "The Crystal Ship" and "Light My Fire" w/ Dick Clark


  1. You and the rest of the Democrats are nothing politically motivated false rape accusers.

    I honestly don't know how any man votes for you all next month.

    1. I always appreciate comments from right-wingers who haven't read the blog and have absolutely no idea what they are commenting on.