Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A better world is needed

I have had the kind of cold that definitely isn't the worst I've ever had but man is it making me drowsy. I should be all excited but it's hard to concentrate.

He's in: "Bernie Sanders announces 2020 run: 'We're gonna win'." I particularly liked the part where he responded to being asked about Howard Schultz. He was also interviewed by none other than Thom Hartmann, who didn't ask the dumb questions.

"Leahy endorses Sanders for president: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday endorsed his colleague Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president, hours after Sanders announced his candidacy." Leahy endorsed Clinton last time, but he doesn't have to anymore.

I occasionally muse on the fact that we used to meet up in churches, but so few of us seem to go to church anymore and I wonder what could replace it. Alice Marshall on The politics of laundromats: Where can you reach the working class? Well, lots of places, but laundromats are an under exploited opportunity. This year, 2019, is a year of local elections. The state legislatures in Virginia and New Jersey are up for election as are many city and county governments. Local candidates have a difficult time getting their name out, especially if they are challengers. So anything you can do to raise your candidate's visibility will be of great value. Which brings us to laundromats. We stand in front of libraries and grocery stores handing out literature, but not laundromats, why not?"

Timothy Faust with "The Only Guide to 'Medicare for All' That You Will Ever Need. [...] In the coming weeks, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is set to release a new 'Medicare for All' bill. I'm generally inclined to distrust the policy gestures of elected officials, but I've read a detailed overview of the bill from Jayapal's office and I'm happy to say that this bill is astonishingly strong, and should become the baseline for federal legislation toward single-payer healthcare. (I'll discuss why in a minute.)" Tim writes a lot about what must be included in the bills. He says all but two are write-offs. The two, of course, are Sanders' and Jayapal's - but even they have problems, It's worth reading the whole thing. But no bill, including Jayapal's, is enough. No bill, on its own, could be enough. For the past hundred years, every time the insiders — the well-meaning senators, the well-meaning policy writers, the well-meaning union or nonprofit leaders — have taken on the insurance industry, they've written a bill and waved it around and tried to gin up support among the grassroots. And then they were beaten by a reactionary establishment that is capable of outmaneuvering, outfoxing, and outgunning health reform. They lost in the '40s, they lost in the '60s, they lost in the '70s, they lost a few times in the '90s, and they lost in the 2000s." This isn't something the wonks can handle. It depends on the grassroots screaming for it. So be ready to scream.

"One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once: It will be an offence to view terrorist material online just once — and could incur a prison sentence of up to 15 years — under new UK laws. The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill was granted Royal Assent yesterday, updating a previous Act and bringing new powers to law enforcement to tackle terrorism. But a controversial inclusion was to update the offence of obtaining information "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" so that it now covers viewing or streaming content online. The rules as passed into law are also a tightening of proposals that had already been criticised by human rights groups and the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Max Hill. Originally, the proposal had been to make it an offence for someone to view material three or more times — but the three strikes idea has been dropped from the final Act."

Here's Digby and Sam Seder talking about how The Inquirer tried to blackmail Jeff Bezos over some dick pics they got their hands on and he outed them with an open letter. And neither one of them even bothered to wonder what would happen if the owner of The Washington Post went the criminal route against another newspaper for a friggin' felony, ffs, because that's become the sort of thing that is just a side issue in the general scheme of things.

Why Amy Klobuchar is not going on my shortlist. Imagine thinking this is going to get people to vote for you.

"Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer are going after corporate stock buybacks: A large chunk of Republican tax cuts were funneled into companies boosting their own stocks. The pair of senators want corporations to benefit workers instead."

The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies & the Death of Competition w/ Jonathan Tepper - MR Live - 2/12/19

"Corporate Democrats Aren't Winning Any Swing Voters." Nothing you don't know, but a nice new chart.

Tom Perez says they will have lots of primary debates with two-night panels (randomly-selected) so they don't have too many people in each debate.

And now, several paragraphs from Atrios: "ACA Was A Failure: No, really, a total failure. Yes there were some good regulatory changes. Yes the exchanges make it possible for some people to buy on the individual market (though that insurance is mostly...not good). Yes the Medicaid expansion was great. But the important thing to remember about the Medicaid expansion was that it was a last minute *fix* to keep the price tag down. Think about that. It was cheaper to provide free health care for more people than to throw them onto the subsidized exchanges at subsidy levels that they could possibly afford. If they'd taken it up to 500% of FPL and 600% of FPL it would have been even cheaper! And that became a political problem, because your poor neighbor has free health care and you have to pay for a bronze plan which sucks." (There's more.)

"Common Myths About Porn, Debunked by a Porn Performer On set, the cast and crew are really nice and attentive. But of course, I have to caveat that there can be consent violations on set, like there can be anywhere. It's difficult to exist in the world and not have people be shit occasionally. But in general people are very caring, and they want you to be okay because you don't want someone to leave the set and be upset with you. At the bare bones, that's bad business."

There's a lot of good stuff on this episode of The Michael Brooks Show: TMBS - 76 - Votes Not Cops & Kamala Harris Is Not Your Friend ft. Briahna Joy Gray & Jeffrey Halper. The discussion of Harris is good, but Halper's experience in Israel is a different take than you normally see in the media.

I wonder what message Roger Stone was trying to send by dressing up in a top hat. @spooksperson had a lot of fun with it in this thread, and thank you, Mr. Atrios, for calling it to my attention.

Great tweetstorm by Matt Stoller: "1. Ok, let's talk quickly about Amazon and what I'll call the gangster-ification of American business. In the 1980s, mobsters dominated the gas station business in NY and NJ by not paying taxes their competitors had to. 2. Jeff Bezos built Amazon explicitly around a loophole in the tax code created by the Supreme Court in 1992 that allowed him to skip out on paying sales taxes. It's why he located in Seattle. The tactic was legal, but not technologically driven. Or fair. 3. There is a big difference between legitimate commerce, and coercive tactics masquerading as commerce. We have a long tradition of distinguishing between the two, centered around our antitrust laws but extending outward throughout the administrative state and localities. 4. Hundreds of years of this tradition embedded a basic understanding that crime/monopolization and commerce are different. Crime when it becomes dominant in a culture creates aristocracy/authoritarianism. One way to see the American Revolution was a revolt against monopoly." Read all 19 tweets in the thread.

They are so used to being contemptuous toward progressives that they can't even do better than this: "'Everyone. Needs. To. Watch...' Democrat Dianne Feinstein Explain to Children Why She Won't Back Green New Deal."

"Firefighters respond to cow with chair on its head"

The only thing I know about Andrew Yang is in this interview, which is actually pretty interesting but I don't think he's going anywhere. One reason is that his approach to education is, well, he's not interested in actual education.

RIP: Carol Emshwiller 1921-2019. Reports John-Henri Holmberg: "I must, with great regret, tell those of you who haven't so far heard it that Carol Emshwiller died on February 2. Born April 12, 1921, wife of painter and film maker Ed Emshwiller, an author who Ursula Le Guin called 'a major fabulist, a marvellous magical realist, one of the strongest, most complex, most consistently feminist voices in fiction'. Author of unforgettable stories, beginning with 'Built for Pleasure' in 1954 and, sadly, ending with 'All I Know of Freedom', 2012. In between were masterpieces like 'Sex and/or Mr Morrison', 'The Start of the End of the World', 'I Live With You', and so many others. Read her collections: Joy in Our Cause, Verging on the Pertinent, The Start of the End of It All, Report to the Men's Club, I Live With You, In the Time of War, Master on the Road to Nowhere. Read her novels: Carmen Dog, Ledoyt, Leaping Man Hill, The Mount, Mister Boots, The Secret City. Or get hold of the two volume The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller, in my view one of the finest story collections published. Read Luis Ortiz' combined book about Carol and Ed Emshwiller: Emshwiller: Infinity x Two, published in 2007. But above all, read Carol's stories, and remember her as one of the great fantasists, one of the most gracious of persons, one of those few who live up to our potential as humans."

RIP: "Peter Tork, bassist for the Monkees, dies aged 77: Accomplished folk musician and teen star helped move the guitar-pop band beyond their manufactured image." Here's the first song on one of their albums that he sang lead on, "Your Auntie Grizelda", which I admit is not one of my favorite Monkees tunes. Rolling Stone remembers him as the funniest Monkee.

A nice refresher course from Sam Seder, "The Mismeasure of Minds: Debating Race & Intelligence w/ Michael Staub - MR Live - 2/18/19

H. Bruce Franklin (Rutgers), "The American Prison in the Culture Wars: The following talk was delivered at the 2000 Modern Language Association Convention in Washington, DC, on the panel, 'The Imprisonment of American Culture.' [...] 6. The two most menacing institutional sources of the danger described by Freeman were obviously those two great public university systems charging no tuition: the University of California and the City University of New York. Governor Reagan was able to wipe out free tuition at the University of California in 1970, leaving CUNY as the lone threat. The vital task of crippling CUNY was to go on for six more years, outlasting Nixon and falling to his appointed successor, Gerald Ford.7 In 1975, President Ford announced that he would withhold federal aid from New York City, then in a financial crisis, until it eliminated open admissions and free tuition at CUNY. To be financially responsible, Ford declared, New York must no longer be a city that "operates one of the largest universities in the world, free of tuition for any high school graduate, rich or poor, who wants to attend."8 Or, as the President's press secretary explained, New York City had become like "a wayward daughter hooked on heroin": "you don't give her $100 a day to support her habit. You make her go cold turkey to break her habit." Finally in 1976, the assault on public education succeeded in terminating the City University's 129-year policy of not charging tuition, thus wiping out the last U.S. stronghold of free public higher education. The university then fired hundreds of young faculty members hired to implement the open admissions program. [...] 8. Meanwhile, just as the state and federal governments were taking away the funds that could open up the universities, they were beginning to spend far greater sums to build alternative institutions for the poor, with exceptionally easy entrance requirements and lengthy enrollments for people of color. From 1976, the year when free higher education was eradicated, until the end of the century, on average a new prison was constructed in America every week. The prison population went from under 200,000 in 1971 to two million in 2000 as America became the prison capital of the world. The states of California and Texas now run the second and third largest prison systems in the world. By the late 1990s, many states had followed California's lead in spending more money for prisons than for higher education, and across the country far more young black men were in prison than in college.12 Not just coincidentally, the amount removed from public higher education in New York equalled the amount added to the budget for the state's prisons. Felony convictions had stripped the vote from 4.1 million American citizens.13 This proved to be decisive in determining who would soon sit in the White House, for in Florida one-third of African-American men--as many as 204,000 potential Black voters--were disenfranchised.14 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been effectively repealed by the criminalization of the poor, especially people of color, through the so-called war on drugs, racial profiling, unleashed police, and felony disenfranchisement. Grotesque experiments in dehumanization are being conducted in the form of 'supermax' prisons. This has been culture war with a vengeance--and with a very effective strategy."

I know I once saw a clip of Colbert looking genuinely shocked when he interviewed Austan Goolsbee and heard him claim that government doesn't create jobs. But I can't find it now, and Comedy Central won't let me see its archives or tell if this is that interview. It would be nice to have for posterity to remind people that this thoroughly right-wing position was expressed in public by a member of the Obama cabinet. [Update: CMike reminds me that it wasn't quite as I remember, but same difference.]

William Binney (former Technical Director NSA) and Larry Johnson (former State CT and CIA), "Why The DNC Was Not Hacked By The Russians [...] Taken together, these disparate data points combine to paint a picture that exonerates alleged Russian hackers and implicates persons within our law enforcement and intelligence community taking part in a campaign of misinformation, deceit and incompetence. It is not a pretty picture."

Quoted: "I can say with confidence that if Bernie gets the nomination a lot of prominent people who spent the last two years blaming Jill Stein for Trump or 18 years blaming Ralph Nader for Bush will find their 'conscience; requires them to vote for a 3rd party run by whichever neoliberal billionaire steps in." — A Friend

Rob Hansen was recently invited to an academic conference on mimeography. He reports: Immediately after my interview they showed footage of the mimeography panel at 1976's MIDAMERICON. Among those in the audience laughing heartily at Jon Singer's impression of a Gestetner was Jonathan Gestetner. The associated exhibition (now extended 'til 23rd Feb) is still going on. Here are photos taken at the launch.

Susie Bright's grandmother is a mystery, but she left all these photos.

Boing Boing has the Frozen II teaser trailer. (And while I was there I saw Chuck Jones - The Evolution of an Artist again.)

"Masqrade" is a 30-year-old mod file that sounds very different from anything I've ever heard done this way. You can download the file but I just streamed it with the "Play with Online Player" link.

I like Danny Boyle, science fiction, and The Beatles, so I was interested to see this trailer for Yesterday.

The Monkees with Peter Tork on lead vocal, "A Better World"


  1. Avedon writes:

    I know I once saw a clip of Colbert looking genuinely shocked when he interviewed Austan Goolsbee and heard him claim that government doesn't create jobs....

    Actually, Avedon was never able to watch this clip [LINK] from the May 18, 2011 The Colbert Report. What she did see is reproduced here [LINK].

    1. Gosh, I think you're right, my mind must have filled things in.

  2. Hey! Don't go dissing our lifeline! My family's in the ACA – my wife and I are in an Exchange plan, and my step-daughter is in Medicaid. It's expensive but it's a hell of a lot better than nothing. It really is an improvement over what went before, however costly.

    Originally I was opposed, I wanted to shoot the moon. I wish at least we'd gotten the public option. But the reality is that ever major social insurance program we have started small and was expanded.

    1. Every major social insurance program started small?

      LINK (72 page pdf)



      The story of enacting Medicare is one of persistent political struggle and eleventh hour compromise. There was growing recognition in the late 1950s and early 1960s of the need for federal action to help meet the high cost of health care for the Nation’s elderly. But there were sharply different views about how to do it.

      One camp, which was led by organized labor and senior citizen groups... favored a social insurance approach that would build on the existing Social Security program. Proponents of this vision focused on covering hospital care, post hospital nursing home care, and home health services. They did not seek to include outpatient medical care in their plans, due in large part to the powerful opposition of the AMA.

      In the social insurance approach, almost all elderly would become immediately entitled to health insurance coverage through their past contributions to Social Security. The costs would be met through new payroll contributions paid by workers and matched by employers. In turn, the future elderly would gain entitlement to this coverage through their past contributions to the program.

      One competing approach to health coverage for the aged called for a system financed by general revenues and premiums paid directly by beneficiaries. In contrast with the social insurance approach, this plan called for voluntary participation. It was advocated by Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee.

      Another competing approach to health coverage for the aged favored means-tested assistance that would be administered through the states. In this model, federal matching funds would be granted to states that put up some of their own money for this purpose and states would retain discretion about who would be eligible for the benefits and how doctors, hospitals and other providers would be paid. This model was advocated by the AMA.


    2. The Kennedy Johnson Years – 1961-1968.

      With the election of President Kennedy in 1960, extending health coverage to the aged through Social Security became part of the Administration’s agenda. In his February 1961 message on the Nation’s health, President Kennedy elaborated on his plan for hospital insurance and limited post hospital nursing care. The Kennedy proposal was introduced in the House and Senate in 1961, but it was not taken up by either the Ways and Means Committee or the Finance Committee.

      When the 88th Congress took office in January 1963, President Kennedy again urged enactment of a program of hospital insurance as part of Social Security. The details followed the general blueprint laid out in 1961. Kennedy also called for an increase in Social Security cash benefits and improvements in medical assistance programs for the needy.

      After President Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, President Johnson continued the Administration’s three-pronged agenda for a Social Security cash benefit increase, hospital insurance for the aged through Social Security, and improvements in medical assistance for the needy.

      In July 1964, the Ways and Means Committee reported out a bill to increase Social Security cash benefits, but did not include either of the President’s health proposals. The Social Security provisions passed the House 388-8. In considering that bill, the Finance Committee also rejected amendments to add hospital insurance for the aged.

      On the Senate floor, however, an amendment to add hospital insurance was adopted by a vote of 49-44. The House and Senate conference committee failed to reach agreement on the controversial hospital insurance provisions and the entire bill died when Congress adjourned in October 1964.

      After his landslide election victory in 1964, President Johnson reiterated his agenda for hospital insurance for the aged, a Social Security benefit increase and improvements in medical assistance in his 1965 State of the Union address. Johnson’s three-part proposal was introduced on January 4 as HR-1 in the House and as S-1 in the Senate.

      In January, the Ways and Means Committee began deliberations in executive session on HR-1. The Committee also considered two competing approaches: a state-administered means-tested approach advocated by the AMA; and a voluntary plan advocated by ranking minority member Rep. John Byrnes (R, WI) and most of the other Republicans on the Committee. The latter plan was more comprehensive than President Johnson’s proposal in that it covered physicians services as well as in-patient hospital care.

      After two months of deliberations within the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Mills struck a compromise that combined all three approaches: Part A of Medicare was a hospital insurance program similar to President Johnson’s plan; Part B covered outpatient physician services through a supplementary program that embodied the principle of voluntary participation by doctors and patients that was advocated by Committee Republicans; the third approach, for means tested assistance, that had been advocated by the AMA became the blueprint for the Medicaid program for low-income families with children as well as the aged, blind and disabled.


    3. ...Part B came as a surprise and Administration officials had only a weekend to work with Committee staff to flesh out the details. The compromise bill, which also included Social Security benefit increases, was reported to the House on March 29, 1965. After two days of debate (under a closed rule, which precluded any amendments) the House passed the bill 313 to 115.

      The Senate Finance Committee held 15 days of public hearings on the House-passed bill. Testimony focused on the health insurance programs. Opposition came largely from the AMA, although some medical groups spoke in favor of the bill. During executive session the Finance Committee adopted several changes in the health and Social Security provisions of the bill and reported it out on June 30. On July 9 the Senate passed its version of the bill 68-21.

      The House and Senate conferees met to settle differences between the two bills and reported their agreement on July 26; the House passed it 307-166 on July 27; the Senate passed it 70-24 on July 29; and President Johnson signed it into law on July 30 [1965- fifty-four years ago].
      [END QUOTE]

    4. Then perhaps it would be fair to say that Medicare, the current version, not the single-payer proposal, has not been expanded yet. Because there's a lot it doesn't cover. There's no cap on out-of-pocket expenses unless you purchase supplemental coverage. Medicare part B itself is expensive. And the whole thing, on average, only covers about 84% of expenses, even when one has part B. (I have heard, but cannot confirm, that without part B, that is 70%.) So Medicare, without part B, is more-or-less equivalent to an Exchange Silver plan, and with part B, an Exchange Gold plan. (But note that there is no cap on out-of-pocket expenses, which is for some people a disaster.)

      The last two expansions of Medicare were the creation of a drug benefit, Medical part D, back in the W. Bush days, and the improvement of that benefit, which is on-going, as part of the ACA.

  3. Net Neutrality at the Energy and Commerce 2-07-19 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGlYQreIazM

  4. Bernie can't run as the alternative to Clinton this time. He has to win on his own merits.
    If he does so I'll vote for him as will every democratic voter I know.

    It's sad that Sanders supporters are already looking for someone to blame for his possible loss to Trump.