Sunday, August 9, 2020

Burns like a red coat carpet

"Down Goes Clay: Cori Bush Knocks Off Half-Century Dynasty: Cori Bush's defeat over 19-year incumbent Rep. Lacy Clay in St. Louis, Missouri, is Justice Democrats's latest upset." As I said a couple years ago, I don't expect these young challengers to win their first time out, but when they try again, it's not surprising to see them win. Meanwhile, Twitter was full of gleeful Hillarystans cheering for Rashida Tlaib to lose her seat, but she's pretty popular in her district.

"Marquita Bradshaw scores upset win in Tennessee Democratic Senate primary: NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Memphis environmentalist, Black activist and single mom Marquita Bradshaw won the Democratic primary for an open U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee on Thursday. Bradshaw defeated Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot James Mackler, who had snagged an endorsement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and others. Bradshaw will face former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, who defeated Nashville trauma surgeon Manny Sethi in the Republican primary. Bradshaw and Hagerty are seeking to succeed Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is retiring. Republicans have held both Senate seats in Tennessee since 1994." Not only did Chuck Schumer and the DSCC (and a couple million bucks) back her opponent, but Bradshaw only had $8,200, and still won.

"'History Will Not Judge This Kindly': DNC Platform Committee Votes Down Medicare for All Amendment: 'It's like opposing the New Deal during the Great Depression. Unforgivable.' A Democratic National Committee panel on Monday voted down an amendment that would have inserted a plank supporting Medicare for All into the party's 2020 platform, a move progressives decried as out of touch with public opinion and a slap in the face to the millions of people who have lost their health insurance due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The DNC Platform Committee rejected the Medicare for All amendment introduced by longtime single-payer advocate Michael Lighty by a vote of 36-125 during a virtual meeting Monday. The committee also voted down separate attempts to include support for expanding Medicare to children, dropping the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55, and legalizing marijuana."

And that's not all, the Platform Committee bottled out on a lot of things before announcing it was "the boldest Democratic platform in history." No, it really wasn't, and I've seen GOP platforms that were further to the left. But, as John Nichols told Sam Seder, it has some good stuff in it. Still, "Democrats Miss HUGE Opportunity To Push Platform Ideas During Biden's Surge In Polls."

"Portland sees peaceful night of protests following withdrawal of federal agents: Thursday night's protest passed off without major incident or intervention by the police in the absence of federal officers. The withdrawal of federal agents from frontline policing of demonstrations in downtown Portland significantly reduced tensions in the city overnight.Protesters in support of Black Lives Matter once again rallied near the federal courthouse that became a flashpoint, and the scene of nightly battles amid the swirl of teargas, after Donald Trump dispatched agents to end what he called anarchy in the city after weeks of demonstrations. But in the absence of the federal officers, Thursday night's protest passed off without major incident or intervention by the police."

Matt Stoller, "The Day Big Tech Stopped Being Untouchable [...] Today I'm going to write about we learned on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. In sequence, Wednesday was the day of a historic Congressional hearing on big tech monopoly power, Thursday was when these firms announced blow-out earnings even in the midst of an economic collapse, and Friday saw Donald Trump announce he might ban the social media firm TikTok. That's democracy, monopoly, and national security in sequence."

I was really pleased that Michael Brooks had this guy on the show. I think it was the last interview he ever did. How Can We End Corporate Media? ft. Robert McChesney (TMBS 148)

"TMBS Doc: Labor Power & The New Deal ft. Harvey Kaye"

"Michael Brooks takes a question on Israel."

"Jeremy Corbyn accuses Labour officials of sabotaging election campaign: Jeremy Corbyn and his former leadership team have openly accused disgruntled Labour officials of potentially costing the party the chance of victory by sabotaging the 2017 election campaign in a factional dispute. In a joint statement that shines a light on the scale of continued Labour splits, Corbyn, the former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and seven other former shadow ministers and aides have for the first time formally endorsed claims made in a party report leaked in April. In their submission to the party inquiry called to examine the leaked report, Corbyn and his former colleagues claimed the alleged diversion of some party funds during the 2017 election could even constitute fraud."

As you may recall, Zach Carter has recently written a book about Keynes, and David Dayen has recently written a book about monopolies, and now they've interviewed each other in a single podcast, Keynes and Corporate Power: David Dayen in Conversation With Zach Carter.

Dan Froomkin at Press Watch, "The New York Times has a misogyny problem, too: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes some people very uncomfortable, and apparently that includes some editors and reporters at the New York Times. So rather than report on how Ocasio-Cortez's riveting, viral speech on the House floor on Thursday was a signal moment in the fight against abusive sexism, Times congressional reporters Luke Broadwater and Catie Edmondson filed a story full of sexist double standards and embraced the framing of her critics by casting her as a rule-breaker trying to 'amplify her brand.'"

"Bill Clinton Used John Lewis's Funeral to Disparage the Black Freedom Struggle: Bill Clinton has a penchant for overstepping, for going too far and for being too cocky, especially when it comes to Black people. He assumes a kind of insider posture that is, quite frankly, offensive. This posture was on full display yesterday when, while eulogizing the late civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, Clinton took the liberty to render his opinion about who was a good Black leader vs. who was a not-so-good Black leader. In referring to the political differences between Lewis and Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) — both former leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) — Clinton backhandedly disparaged Ture. [...] Another section of Lewis's 1963 D.C. speech came to mind as I listened to Clinton and other opportunistic politicians sing Lewis's praises in recent days. He warned: 'This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation.' That statement was true in 1963 and it remains so in 2020." Mr. Clinton also thanked Jim Clyburn for destroying the Sanders campaign, although he hardly did it without help from the media.

"Yale Antitrust Scholars Resign Because Director Advises Apple, Amazon: A leading antitrust crusader revealed she was getting paid by companies facing antitrust scrutiny by federal and state authorities, as well as her own antitrust research project. Two fellows at Yale's Thurmond Arnold Project, an antitrust research organization at the university, have resigned after it was revealed that a leading antitrust scholar and director of the project has been taking paid advisor roles for Apple and Amazon. Both companies are facing multiple antitrust investigations.

"A Huge Wall Street Scandal Just Exploded In Kentucky: GOP law enforcement officials are targeting Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire who bankrolls Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump's political machine. The lawsuit breaks open a major financial scandal that threatens the world's largest private equity firms — with global implications. In a landmark case with potentially global implications, Kentucky's newly elected Republican attorney general is targeting some of the world's largest financial firms in a new lawsuit alleging that teachers, firefighters, and other government workers have been systematically bilked by Wall Street's rampant fraud and self-dealing, which has created a massive financial crisis in the state. [...] As TMI previously reported, the US Supreme Court recently blocked workers and retirees from suing these kind of firms because the high court said they did not have legal standing. A Kentucky court then quickly cited that ruling to short-circuit retirees' case against Wall Street giants Blackstone and KKR, which said the firms' investment schemes had fleeced the state pension system. But in an extraordinary move on Monday, Kentucky's GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron intervened to sue on behalf of the state government — a maneuver that likely renders the standing issue moot. The suit alleges that the firms misled the state into funneling retirees' money into investments that were 'secretive, opaque, illiquid, impossible to properly monitor or accurately value, high-fee, high-risk gambles with no historical record of performance.' The suit asserts that these were 'absolutely unsuitable investments for a pension fund in the particular situation [Kentucky] was in, and violated the applicable laws, codes and standards.'"

Thread from Cory Doctorow: "States across the US have enacted cruel, unconstitutional abortion laws that require doctors to sexually assault women seeking abortions and lie to them about the health impacts of abortion. Some laws require funerals for foetal remains. These laws were pushed by ALEC, the corporate-backed 'legislative exchange' that pushes 'model legislation' through a network of slick lobbyists in state-houses across the country. ALEC purports to be in favor of 'liberty' and 'small government.' Enter the Satanic Temple, a federally recognized religion whose members do not believe in Satan or supernatural phenomena. They believe 'that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition.' The Temple has a fantastic schtick. They go to places where theocrats have gotten laws passed that shove their weird, apostate version of 'Christianity' down everyone else's throats and point out that the First Amendment requires nondiscrimination among faiths. Wanna put a giant stone Ten Commandments in front of your courthouse? Sure. But they're gonna put a giant statue of Baphomet right next to it. The court challenges they mount aren't cheap, but they're slam dunks. The US Constitution is pretty clear on this. Now, in 1993, Chuck Schumer sponsored the 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' which lets Americans sue governments over laws that 'substantially burdens a person's exercise of religion.' Religious maniacs LOVE the RFRA and its progeny, like SCOTUS's Hobby Lobby decision, which broadened the RFRA's provisions and allowed corporations to claim exemptions from Rendering Unto Caesar where that interfered with the owners' faith. Guess what you get when you combine the RFRA, ALEC's restrictive abortion laws, and the Satanic Temple? That's right...SATANIC ABORTIONS. A Satanic Abortion is a religious ritual that is totally indistinguishable from a normal, medical abortion, except that the participant says a few self-affirming words about her bodily autonomy. Oh, also: the ritual absolutely forbids, as a bedrock matter of religious conviction, any waiting periods, the withholding of medically necessary advice, mandatory counseling, required readings, and unnecessary sonograms. Also forbidden: mandatory fetal heartbeat listening sessions and compulsory fetal burials. If you want an abortion and the doctor tries this bullshit, hand them one of these exemption letters explaining how the law doesn't apply thanks to the RFRA. Now, the religious right could fight this. But if they win...they overturn the RFRA, and Hobby Lobby has to provide its employees with contraception and all the other theocratic exemptions go poof, too." There's a bit more, and you can go to the tweet to get Cory's links to citations.

RIP: "Pete Hamill, celebrated New York newspaper columnist, dies aged 85: Self-taught ‘giant of journalism' wrote on everything from baseball to the war in Vietnam and mixed with America's elite. Pete Hamill, the self-taught, streetwise newspaper columnist whose love affair with New York inspired a colorful and uniquely influential journalistic career and produced several books of fiction and non-fiction, died on Wednesday morning. He was 85. Hamill died at a Brooklyn hospital from heart and kidney failure, his brother Denis confirmed in an email. [...] Hamill found his way on to President Richard Nixon's 'enemies list'. In a column, Hamill said the president shared the blame for the 1970 shootings at Kent State University by calling campus dissenters 'bums'. Vice-President Spiro Agnew called the column 'irrational ravings', and Hamill borrowed the phrase for the title of a 1971 collection of his columns."

RIP: Olivia de Havilland, Golden Age of Hollywood star, dies at 104 [...] De Havilland's career spanned more than 50 years and almost 50 feature films, and she was the last surviving actor from Gone with the Wind (1939)." And oh, how we loved her in Captain Blood. (The other headliners in GWTW died a lifetime ago. Leslie Howard was gone a decade before I was born, and Hattie MacDaniel died in my first year of life. Clarke Gable died in 1960 and Vivian Leigh was the last to go, in 1967, until now. That's a helluva span for a helluva woman.)

RIP: Peter Green, 73: Peter Green, who has died aged 73, was one of the guitar-playing greats of 1960s blues-rock as well as a gifted songwriter. He was a founder of Fleetwood Mac and although he was with the band for less than three years they became one of Britain's leading acts during that time. Their singles of that period, including the Green compositions "Black Magic Woman", "Albatross", "Man of the World", "Oh Well" and "The Green Manalishi", remain some of the most cherished releases of the era and the band was beginning to display major international potential by the time he quit in May 1970."

RIP: "John Saxon, Enter the Dragon, Nightmare on Elm Street Actor, Dies at 83 [...] Saxon died of pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, his wife, Gloria, told The Hollywood Reporter." I can remember when John Saxon seemed to be in just about everything, from science fiction movies to medical shows to those teen movies with Sal Mineo. He was even in Bonanza a few times and Gunsmoke a few more. He did The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rockford and pretty much everything else that was going at one time or another.

RIP: Sir Alan Parker, director, writer, and producer, at 76: "Although Parker directed only two bona fide British productions — Bugsy Malone (1976) and Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982) — in 1998 he was appointed chairman of the board of governors of the British Film Institute (BFI) and in 1999 first chairman of the Film Council."

RIP: Annie Ross, jazz singer, at 89: "It was her spirited marriage of the instrument-mimicking 50s 'vocalese' singing style that set her musical career alight as a 22-year-old in 1952, with a version of Wardell Gray's instrumental song 'Twisted'. Ross added a sardonically funny lyric that reflected both her abandoned-child anxieties and her self-possessed intelligence, featuring lines such as: 'My analyst told me that I was right out of my head/he said I'd need treatment but I'm not that easily led'."

Matt Karp interviews Matthew E. Stanley about the AbeBros: "Lincoln's Paramilitaries, the Wide Awakes, Fought Slavery"

"How To Pretend That You Are Smart: There is a difference between assertion and argument, but a lot of highly credentialed people do not notice when they're just stating their prejudices rather than proving anything. Today we are going to look at two examples of men with PhDs from Harvard making asses of themselves without realizing it. We are going to see how things that are wrong, unproven, nonsensical, or bigoted are presented as insight, and Very Smart Men are often not actually very smart at all. That will probably not come as a surprise to you, but what I want to demonstrate here is how easy it is to disguise one's unfounded opinions or prejudices as scholarly musings."

"The Reason Americans Don't Trust Experts — Economists [...] Specifically, the fact that economists told middle America since at least the 1980s that free trade would be good for everyone in America, and that anyone who said otherwise was an ignorant rube who didn't understand basic economic 'science.' The economists who incessantly proffered this view were 'experts' from the most prestigious schools in America—Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Georgetown, the University of Chicago, and the like. They claimed it was a settled argument, and that economics had 'proven' it beyond the shadow of a doubt through equations as surely as we had proven the movements of the stars and planets. Even the way they framed the argument backed this up. They invoked the 'Law' of comparative advantage, suggesting that this was a law of the universe on par with those of physics or chemistry. Anyone who disputed it might just was well believe that water runs uphill or the earth is flat, they claimed (although they weren't above invoking a little magic on occasion) [...] Businesses that had been the cornerstones of communities for many generations began to disappear left and right. They either lost out in the newly globalized struggle for profits and went under; moved most of their operations overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor; or were bought out in the accompanying wave of financialization and were 'restructured.' In each and every instance, these businesses—formerly the sources of prosperity for so many Americans—were gone, never to return. This happened throughout the eighties and nineties."

Matt Taibbi reviews Thomas Frank's The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism: Author Thomas Frank predicted the modern culture war, and he was right about Donald Trump, but don't expect political leaders to pay attention to his new book about populism. [...] Since the establishment of this template, Frank notes, 'virtually everyone who writes on the subject agrees that populism is ‘anti-pluralist,' by which they mean that it is racist or sexist or discriminatory in some way... Populism's hatred for ‘the elite,' meanwhile, is thought to be merely a fig leaf for this ugly intolerance.' Trump and Bernie Sanders both got hit with every cliché described in Frank's book. Both were depicted as xenophobic, bigoted, emotion-laden, resistant to modernity, susceptible to foreign influence, and captured by 'unrealistic' ideas they lacked the expertise to implement." And Matt and Katie interviewed him about populism on Useful Idiots.

"The Unraveling of America: Anthropologist Wade Davis on how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era [...] For the first time, the international community felt compelled to send disaster relief to Washington. For more than two centuries, reported the Irish Times, 'the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the U.S. until now: pity.' [...] At the root of this transformation and decline lies an ever-widening chasm between Americans who have and those who have little or nothing. Economic disparities exist in all nations, creating a tension that can be as disruptive as the inequities are unjust. In any number of settings, however, the negative forces tearing apart a society are mitigated or even muted if there are other elements that reinforce social solidarity — religious faith, the strength and comfort of family, the pride of tradition, fidelity to the land, a spirit of place. But when all the old certainties are shown to be lies, when the promise of a good life for a working family is shattered as factories close and corporate leaders, growing wealthier by the day, ship jobs abroad, the social contract is irrevocably broken. For two generations, America has celebrated globalization with iconic intensity, when, as any working man or woman can see, it's nothing more than capital on the prowl in search of ever cheaper sources of labor."

"Reaganland Is the Riveting Conclusion to a Story That Still Isn't Over: Rick Perlstein's epic series shows political history and cultural history cannot be disentangled. [...] The Carter years, and Reagan's place within them, are the subject of historian Rick Perlstein's latest book, Reaganland: America's Right Turn, 1976-1980. At more than 1,100 pages, Reaganland is the fourth and final volume of Perlstein's massive, sweeping history of American conservatism in the postwar era, following Before the Storm, Nixonland, and 2014's The Invisible Bridge, which tracked Reagan's trajectory from the early 1970s up to his own unsuccessful primary challenge of Gerald Ford in 1976. Reaganland is terrific, a work whose characteristic insight and soaring ambition make it a fitting and resonant conclusion to Perlstein's astounding achievement. I think most Americans, regardless of political affiliation, would agree that the effects of the Reagan Revolution are still with us and that in many senses Reaganland is still the place we all live."

Petition for the emoji the internet needs.

"As a cop, I killed someone. Then I found out it happens more often than we know: I'm a former officer who studies police violence. Most databases vastly undercount the number of civilians killed by US police."

"Chris Frantz: 'If you knew David Byrne, you would not be jealous of him': The ex-Talking Heads drummer talks about his revealing new book Remain in Love and a contentious relationship with the band's frontman."

"My Science Fiction Rabbi: How the prolific writer Barry N. Malzberg showed me my passion was just Judaism in a spacesuit."

"#BillBlur Bill Burr - Black Friends, Clothes & Harlem REACTION" - Black kid watches white guy comedian talk about....

"Is Betty Boop black? Yes and no."

Alex Ross: Making the Marvel Mural

It's truly the best dance routine of all time, and I've watched it over and over in black and white, but this colorized version looks even sharper. "Stormy Weather in color - The Nicholas Brothers and Cab Calloway | Colorized with DeOldify".

Well, this just totally tickled me.

The Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"

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