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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Nobody knows

The moment Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy, the entire press corps started singing in unison a talking point that they were obviously repeating directly from the Clinton campaign: "Bernie Sanders doesn't connect with people of color."

That's how I knew from the start that the Clinton campaign was going to use racism to undermine a man whose support for black civil rights goes seamlessly back from the 1960s (a time when Clinton was supporting Goldwater), right up to the present. (The real disparity is that, though young black people have a slight preference for Sanders, they are less likely to vote than their white counterparts.)

The "doesn't connect with people of color" story is veiled but implies a racism that isn't there: Sanders doesn't hang out with a lot of black people, Sanders moved to a white state, Sanders wins white states, and on and on and on - from which we are meant to infer that maybe what's behind Sanders is that perhaps he doesn't really like black people very much, and that the Democrats who like Sanders might not like black people much, either. It was also a way to make his black supporters invisible, the same way the BernieBros meme was meant to make his female supporters invisible (as a similar Clinton campaign meme did in '08). So you never see much in the press about how support for Sanders among male millenials is nothing compared to Sanders' support from young women, and you don't hear about it when numerous black and Latino-dominated groups endorse Sanders, nor when America's oldest black magazine endorses him. The suggestion, of course, is that only sexist men and whites like Sanders, because they just don't care about racism or sexism.

Neoliberals, like their plantation-owning ancestors, love to use racism and sexism to divide people, and this is a great example of how they do it. When Clinton says "If we break up the big banks, will that end racism? Will that end sexism?" she isn't just pointing out that "not everything is an economic theory," she is actually pitting economic justice against social justice, as if the two weren't very much a part of the same thing. She doesn't want you to think about how white racism is constantly encouraged and used to break up joint efforts by whites and blacks together to get economic justice. And she also doesn't want you to ask whether Too Big To Fail banks should be allowed to continue to suck away the wealth of the black community and impoverish women (and whites in general) whose lives are already precarious - and whether doing so can possibly do anything to ameliorate racism and sexism, either.

Understand, the big banks stole the homes of millions of people, committed massive fraud of every kind and created the greatest financial crisis in history and were allowed to get away with it and keep doing it because they were deemed "too big to fail", and yet Hillary Clinton can say, "If we broke up the big banks tomorrow - and I will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will - would that end racism?" as if their being too big and posing a threat was even in question, despite the fact that they are even bigger today than they were in 2008.

"If"? If they pose a systemic risk? If they deserve it? Is this a joke? Thanks to Bill Clinton's policies and Obama's indulgence of the banksters, the black community has been losing economic ground to an even greater degree than they did under Reagan, but we're supposed to ignore that.

We are also supposed to ignore the fact that it is precisely because of the growing poverty of whites that resentment of black people has skyrocketed, and every time Democrats speak as if they are going to give special help to blacks or women, that resentment grows. It doesn't grow because everyone is a racist, it grows because when they hear Democrats talking about how bad things are for black people, they know that what they really mean is, "We're not going to help you."

This is why the right-wing can sell the implication that black people are getting some kind of secret welfare that whites aren't getting, that they are giving black people a leg up while letting whites sink into poverty and die.

But the kicker is, they're not helping black people, either, and they're still not going to.

* * * * *

Feeling the Hamilton-style Bern

Starting to see new polling in California that show the gap narrowing again. Still not throwing any parties yet, and even if Sanders wins, it probably won't be big enough to make a real difference, but perhaps he won't do as badly as earlier polls were suggesting.

I haven't seen any official statement that Clinton did anything indictable, but some people seem to be sure the indictment is coming - just as soon as she officially gets nominated.
* State Dept. Report on Clinton's Emails
* Hillary Clinton broke the rules for using private email, State Department says
* Experts: Audit justifies FBI's push for Hillary Clinton indictment

Seizing Chance, Sanders Makes Bold Progressive Picks to Shape DNC Platform
* DNC to offer Sanders more seats on platform committee: report
* This story is slanted, but essentially correct in its conclusions: "Bernie Sanders's 'Scorched Earth' Strategy Seems to Be Working [...] In late April, when national polls consistently showed Clinton prevailing over Trump by comfortable margins, Clinton allies were whispering to the Hill that she planned to take a 'hard line' with Sanders, insisting the party's left flank had already received its fair share of concessions. Since then, Clinton's unfavorability rating with Sanders's supporters has steadily increased - and her polling advantage over Trump has collapsed. Now, anonymous Clinton surrogates are singing a different tune. 'She needs to do something in the coming weeks to show that she's also trying to unify the party,' a Clinton ally told the Hill on Thursday, arguing that Clinton should look left for her vice-presidential pick." Of course, this was always true - alienating Sanders supporters was a good way to alienate them, as anyone could have told her. Leadership requires that she, not Sanders, find some way to unify the party. It's always important for a candidate to ask voters for their votes, but Hillary's message for the last few weeks had been, "I don't need you, go away." Stupid. Relenting on freezing Sanders out of choosing members of the platform committee is a nice start, though it means little in the long run. Still, Bernie picked some pretty in-your-face choices and it could make a difference on issues that don't get much of a hearing otherwise. But we all know Clinton needn't bother running on that platform and no one ever seems to remember what was in the platform once the general election is over. But even The Washington Post is seeing this as a win for Sanders.

A Voter's Guide to Hillary Clinton's Policies in Latin America

There's tons of evidence all over the net of no violence having occurred at the Nevada convention, but the Clinton talking points went out and spread Jon Ralston's fairy story far and wide, and nothing seems to catch up with it. Of course, the whole "BernieBros"-style narrative is a time-honored tradition in HRC campaigns, so we shouldn't be surprised.
* Snopes: "The Chair Thrown 'Round the World: A Las Vegas reporter's second-hand claim Bernie Sanders supporters threw chairs at a Nevada convention was widely reproduced by other news outlets."
* Barbara Boxer joins the smear campaign with a shameful claim that Sanders supporters frightened her.
* Let's take a look at that internecine primary violence again - Oh, Wendell, how disappointing. Where's Clinton's apology, again?
* Greg Palast, "Media Fabricates Sanders Riot, Buries the Real Story: In Nevada, 64 Bernie Sanders delegates - some committee chairmen and life≠long county Democratic Party members - were disqualified on the grounds that they were Republicans. They are lifelong Democrats, and that's why they were at the convention, as chosen delegates. Bernie Sanders had more delegates than Hillary Clinton. It was a very close race in Nevada. When they knocked out the 64 Bernie delegates as Republicans, suddenly Hillary won the caucus by 35 delegate votes. Some of the Sanders people didn't like that. So what was the report? Not how Sanders delegates were somehow excluded from exercising their rightful vote for the party's nominee. Instead, The New York Times headline was: 'From Bernie Sanders Supporters, Death Threats Over Delegates.'"
* But the hits just keep on coming, with members of the party leadership comparing Sanders supporters with the John Birch Society and the Tea Party and demanding that Sanders should point them to the exits. Jimmy Dore reports.

In any case, Hillary Clinton, having declared herself to have won the primaries, has refused a California debate.

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, "Democrats Can't Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!: The Democratic National Committee chair has thrown fuel on the flames of infighting just as the party faces a critical November election." This woman has protected Republican seats and lost hundreds of Democratic seats all over the country. There isn't a single reason to leave her in position.
* But, "In Race Against Clinton, Bernie Sanders Has Unveiled An Ugly Truth About Democratic Party: If nothing else, Bernie Sanders has pulled the curtain back on something we all suspected but couldn't yet prove: The Democratic Party doesn't really care about the people."

"First, Do Some Harm: How to Smear a Disfavored Candidate on NYT's Front Page [...] This is Bad Journalism 101: You come up with a thesis, like 'Bernie Sanders wants to hurt Hillary Clinton's chances of beating Donald Trump.' You take your thesis to your source, and ask them to agree with it; like any sensible spokesperson, they decline to comment on it. You take their no-comment as an endorsement of your thesis - and that becomes the lead headline in the nation's most influential newspaper"

If you can stand Facebook, Matt Karp did a review of Sanders' 1996 memoir, recently re-issued with an updated title. Here's my favorite bit: "Some dismiss Bernie's past electoral success as the skewed product of the leftmost corner of America's leftmost state. But it's not at all clear that Burlington, Vermont was a hotbed of radical energy until Bernie's Progressive Party made it that way. When he won an upset victory as mayor in 1981, the 11 Republicans and Democrats on the 13-member Burlington city council joined forces to block his new administration's every move, refusing even to accept his appointments as city attorney, clerk, treasurer, etc. Only through extensive political struggle - which involved nearly doubling the Burlington voter turnout between 1978 and 1983 - did Bernie build a coalition that was able to govern effectively. In other words, when Bernie talks about one election not being enough to matter - that real change will require a 'political revolution' - he speaks from personal and hard-fought experience." And if you can't stand Facebook, here's Verso's page for Outsider in the White House (originally titled Outsider in the House).

Meanwhile, I stumbled on this piece from April by far-right crackpot Charles Krauthammer called, "Clintonism, dead and buried: Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have decisively discarded Bill Clinton's legacy." As usual, there is a lot of twisted logic, but it's a rather illuminating piece of work, when you think about it.

Finally! "Obama cuts all funding for Christian-based 'Abstinence Only' sex-ed programs." There should never have been a single day when this was funded, and it's outrageous negligence that Democrats continued to vote to fund this thing even after they took the White House and the largest majorities in a generation in Congress. I can't believe it's taken this long. "President Obama's 2017 budget proposal has removed a $10 million annual grant that goes towards funding 'abstinence-only' sexual education classes in public schools. By eliminating the grant, Obama would end the financial incentive for states to continue teaching the debunked sex-ed program."

"Banks Must Defend Libor Lawsuits After Judges Warn of Impact: Sixteen of the world's largest banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. must face antitrust lawsuits accusing them of hurting investors who bought securities tied to Libor by rigging an interest-rate benchmark, a ruling that an appeals court warned could devastate them."

"GOP budget bill would kill net neutrality and FCC's set-top box plan: House Republicans yesterday released a plan to slash the Federal Communications Commission's budget by $69 million and prevent the FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules, "rate regulation," and its plan to boost competition in the set-top box market. The proposal is the latest of many attempts to gut the FCC's authority, though it's unusual in that it takes aim at two of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's signature projects while also cutting the agency's budget. The plan is part of the government's annual appropriations bill."

Ryan Cooper recommends David Dayen's Chain of Title in The Week, "This is Obama's biggest failure: In the early 2000s, when the great housing bubble was gaining steam, one hurdle for Wall Street firms who wanted to issue mortgage-backed financial products was the simple reality of the American mortgage market: It was mature. It had been around for decades, its procedures were very well-established, and just about everyone who could reasonably qualify for a loan already had one. One path mortgage originators took, as most people know by now, is handing out mortgages to anyone who could fog a mirror. But another one was systematic fraud. That is the subject of Chain of Title, a new book by David Dayen about the foreclosure crisis. It's an excellent and absolutely infuriating look at how the American political system, from Barack Obama on down, refused to use enormous legal leverage to help millions of its citizens who were victimized by Wall Street crime. Every American should read this book."
* David Dayen in Salon, "This man made millions suffer: Tim Geithner's sorry legacy on housing: Forget the book tour designed to polish his legacy. Tim Geithner's record on housing will forever live in infamy [...] In reality, Geithner made the same arguments as DeMarco against principal reduction, most explicitly in a hearing of the Congressional Oversight Panel in December 2009, arguing it would be 'dramatically more expensive for the American taxpayer, harder to justify, [and] create much greater risk of unfairness.' Geithner later cited the potential moral hazard of 'strategic default,' where homeowners would intentionally not pay their mortgage to get a principal reduction (something that never has and never would happen), to argue against making such modifications mandatory when they made sense for the investor and the borrower."
* From 2012, in The Fordham Urban Law Journal, Matt Stoller with "The Housing Crash and the End of American Citizenship

Tom Gallagher in the Los Angeles Times, "Can superdelegates be convinced to support Bernie Sanders? Unlikely, but not impossible [...] It's all but impossible for either Clinton or Sanders to amass enough pledged delegates to ensure the nomination before the convention. To achieve the 2,383 votes needed just through pledged delegates, Clinton would need to take 77% of those still up for grabs in the remaining primaries and caucuses, even though her portion of those elected so far is just 54%. Sanders could not reach the mark even if he were to win all of the remaining pledged delegates. This puts the Democratic nomination squarely in the hands of the party's 714 superdelegates."

The Hill says, "Sanders is the king of credibility in 2016 [...] Even more striking, the number of Democrats who consider Sanders honest and trustworthy was an astonishing 84 percent in that poll, almost 30 points higher than the same number for Clinton among Democrats and for Trump among Republicans."

"Koch Brothers Prepare To Go To War Against Democrats, While Schumer, Reid And Wasserman Schultz Go To War Against Progressives: So what are the Democrats doing while the Koch brothers ready a $30 million Senate war-chest for August and September targeting races in Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania? If you're on the DSCC mailing list you know they are asking for contributions on a daily basis. But if you get your Senate campaign news from that list what you don't know is that they've been deploying whatever money they can get their hands on to smear and destroy progressive Democrats. If you contributed to the DSCC, regardless of what the e-mail you were responding to said, your money went to knock Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania Senate race because he refused to kiss Chuck Schumer's ass. (The Democrats don't put it that graphically and just claim he is too independent-minded for what they have in mind.)"

I confess, I have been unable to understand why people who I swear gave every appearance of being real liberal progressives who understood the problems with the Democratic establishment a year ago seem to have become its great defenders once this race got started. Is it really down to this? "When olds like Joan Walsh and Michael Tomasky lecture young people for worrying about their future, they are doing this from a position of absolute privilege. For them, a Hillary Clinton presidency is acceptable, because they get all of the advantages and none of the disadvantages. They get low energy prices that come from Clinton's middling climate-change incrementalism, and none of the droughts, rising oceans, and global instability that we'll see by the end of the century. They can tell young black people that their votes don't matter, because olds won't be around to see the devastation wrought to black communities by Clintonian economic governance; olds will, however, get the nice short-term bump in their 401(k) that comes when Hillary inflates the next bubble. They can tell young women that their fights for childcare and family leave are overhyped, because the boomers have already sent their last children to college."

Remember, it's still a lie that the 1973 decision in Roe v Wade caused a natural backlash. There was no backlash, so they had to invent one. Samantha Bee's Full Frontal.on the history of the religious right and how the anti-choice movement got started as a cynical move to create a political movement. Part 2. And the full interview with Frank Schaefer about his involvement, which he says he bitterly regrets.

The Supreme Court Just Sent a Strong Message About Racism in the Justice System: In a 7-1 opinion, the court grants a new trial for a black death row inmate convicted by an all-white jury>." [...] The lone dissenter was the court's only African American justice, Clarence Thomas, who sided firmly with state of Georgia."

"Banks Must Defend Libor Lawsuits After Judges Warn of Impact: Sixteen of the world's largest banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. must face antitrust lawsuits accusing them of hurting investors who bought securities tied to Libor by rigging an interest-rate benchmark, a ruling that an appeals court warned could devastate them. The appellate judges reversed a lower-court ruling on one issue -- whether the investors had adequately claimed in their complaints to have been harmed -- while sending the cases back for the judge to consider another issue: whether the plaintiffs are the proper parties to sue, in part because their claims, if successful, provide for triple damages that could overwhelm the banks."

"Wisconsin county clerk objects to weekend voting because it gives urban areas 'too much access': a Wisconsin county clerk testified in federal court this week that weekend voting should be eliminated because it gave urban areas 'too much access' to the polls."

"San Francisco Police Chief Resigns Following Recent Police Shooting: San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has resigned following a shooting by San Francisco police officers. SF Mayor Ed Lee asked for Suhr's resignation and then announced it at a press conference at City Hall Thursday evening. The announcement comes just days after Suhr indicated he had no intention of leaving the department. But this morning, A 27-year-old black woman was shot by SFPD officers in the Bayview neighborhood around 10am"

"15 Year-Old BackPage Prostitute Sentenced To 9-years In Prison: A 15-year-old girl and mother of two toddlers was sentenced to prison for helping to rob prospective johns who responded to an Internet sex ad. 15-year-old prostitute sentenced to 9-years prison for robbing a trick with a toy gun Latesha Clay was sentenced Monday, Jan. 11, to nine years in prison for robbing two men who responded to an ad on Backpage.com. The ad offered sex with a teen."

US nuclear arsenal controlled by 1970s computers with 8in floppy disks: Government Accountability Office report details 'museum-ready' machines controlling nuclear force messaging system that are 'obsolete'."

"Outgoing Defense Minister Ya'alon: Extremists Have Taken Over Israel: Sadly, senior politicians in the country have chosen the way of incitement and segregation of parts of Israeli society instead of unifying it and bringing it together. It is unbearable to me that we will be divided among us out of cynicism and lust for control, and I expressed my opinion on the matter more than once out of honest concern for the future of society in Israel and the future of the next generations"
* "Israel Has Been Infected by the Seeds of Fascism, Says ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak [...] Responding to the resignation of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon earlier in the day, Barak said that it 'should be a red light for all of us regarding what's going on in the government. Life-sustaining Zionism and the seeds of fascism cannot live together,'"

RIP:
* Hedy Epstein, Rights Activist and Holocaust Survivor, Dies at 91, of cancer. This is her in a Humans of St. Louis post on Facebook last year: "The first time I really remember being shocked about my own lack of information was when I came to this country in May 1948, and I started working a few days later. The person who told me what I was supposed to do in my job was an African American woman. Shortly before lunchtime she said, 'We go to lunch at noon. Did you bring your lunch?' And I said, 'No.' She told me all the different restaurants in the neighborhood. This was in New York City. So, I said, 'Well, can we go together?' And she said, 'No.' And I didn't really think anything about it. Maybe she's made some arrangement with somebody else. 'OK, well, maybe tomorrow?' 'No.' I waited a few days, and I asked again, 'Well, can we go to lunch together?' 'No.' By that time, I was beginning to wonder, 'Is there something about me that's bothering you? Please tell me.' She said, 'Well, you know why.' 'No, I don't know why.' I said, 'Please tell my why. I honestly don't know why.' 'Well, you're White, and where you can go to lunch, I cannot. I'm Negro. And where I go, White people don't go there.' I said, 'What? I read the Good Book, and Lincoln freed the slaves, and this is 1948, and you can't go to eat where I go? Isn't somebody doing something about this?' She said, 'Yeah, well maybe the Urban League and the NAACP.' I said, 'Well, how about I get in touch with them?' I'd only been in this country less than two weeks. Finally, I went to where she went to eat. I asked her, 'Can I please go with you?' And I ate chitlins for the first time. I never heard of chitlins before. That was the beginning of me getting involved in civil rights issues."
* Marco Pannella, Italian civil liberties champion, 86. He served in the parliament for nearly two decades, and though officially he was never very powerful, he was disproportionately influential, and many credit him with being personally responsible for changing the debate on divorce and abortion - and other issues - that led to far-reaching liberal changes. "A one-man party of irrepressible energy, who never gathered more than a handful of votes (3.4% in 1979 was the best result), he was never far from the limelight, galvanising his followers and attracting the odium of much of respectable Catholic society. Yet the tributes following his death temporarily united the entire Italian political spectrum, the anti-clericals as well as the pope, the right as well as the left, the pacifists as well as the 'liberal' interventionists - all joining in praising the exceptional life of a man who had done his best to annoy all of them, though never at the same time. Pannella's longevity was remarkable considering that he had endured several debilitating hunger strikes (the most recent, in 2011, in protest against prison conditions, lasted three months), had a quadruple heart bypass in 1998, and smoked almost continuously throughout his life."
* Mr. Ed's best friend Wilber, Alan Young dies at 96. His other genre credits include The Time Machine and numerous cartoon voices.
* Mr. Ed, first episode.
* Mister Ed's Christmas Story

These cops are tired of white people getting freaked out by their black neighbors: "So I'm working last week and get dispatched to a call of 'Suspicious Activity.' Ya'll wanna know what the suspicious activity was? Someone walking around in the dark with a flashlight and crow bar? Nope. Someone walking into a bank with a full face mask on? Nope. It was two black males who were jump starting a car at 930 in the morning. That was it. Nothing else. Someone called it in."

It's been disorienting over the last 15 years to realize that Barney Frank can no longer be deemed a progressive - sure, he's gay, but without him how could Dodd-Frank have been such weak tea? Oh, well, I'm sure the financial industry could have gotten some other "progressive" Democrat to co-sponsor it.

McJoan reviews Dday's Chain of Title: "Dayen knows you're going to be filled with impotent fury at the very unsatisfying ending, so he gives you a silver lining. 'Without the foreclosure fraud movement,' he writes, 'there is no Occupy Wall Street; there is no Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party; there is no student debt movement, or low-wage worker movement, or movement to transfer money to credit unions and community banks.' That's all true, but because this is the story of these three individuals who gave up so much of their lives in this fight, the real happy ending is that they overcame the shame and the isolation and the feeling of personal failure their foreclosures brought them. They overcame it not just personally, but for all the people who were cheated by their banks and lost everything. They created a community and gave regular people the power to fight back."

Geoff Beckman made a comment on Facebook I thought would have made a good blogpost, so since he doesn't have a blog, I made it into a blog post at the other weblog and called it, "Fight to lose, or fight to win."

Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet: Writing a bad review online has always run a small risk of opening yourself up to a defamation claim. But few would expect to be told that they had to delete their review or face a lawsuit over another part of the law: copyright infringement. Yet thatís what happened to Annabelle Narey after she posted a negative review of a building firm on Mumsnet."

Good Housekeeping says, "Study Proves Spanking Hurts Your Kids' Mental Health [...] Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan used data on more than 150,000 children over a 50-year period to come up with a fairly damning conclusion: Spanking is linked to aggression, antisocial behavior, mental health problems, cognitive difficulties, low self-esteem, and a whole host of other negative outcomes. As for the upsides, there were absolutely zero - the practice revealed no redeeming effects but consistently strong links to 13 bad ones."

"Device used in Nazi coding machine found for sale on eBay: Rare Lorenz teleprinter, part of Hitler's encryption equipment, snapped up by National Museum of Computing."

Ars Technica: "William Gibson has written a comic called Archangel, and you should read it."

"When This Boat Crew Realized What They Were Seeing, It Was Almost Too Late To Escape." A rare event and a rarer sighting, with lots of pictures.

Darth by Darthwest stars one of my favorites.

Fellowship of the Nerds

18:40 GMT comment


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?

Sanders outperforms the polls in the West Virginia primary, which always had him ahead, but not as high as 51.4%-35.8%. Still, that state is not likely to go blue, although there hasn't been enough polling to have a clue.
* Jedediah Purdy, "What West Virginia is saying at the polls"

In Oregon and Kentucky, Sanders wins in the west 54.5%-45.5%, and Clinton narrowly takes KY 46.8%-46.3% (amidst many charges of fraud) after spending a lot of money there and continuing to tell that lie about how Sanders voted against the auto industry bailout. The only Oregon poll at RCP had Clinton at +15, so this is a happy result. Can't find any polls at all for KY.

But what really happened at the Nevada Democratic convention? There are claims of violence, threatened violence, and people complaining merely because they didn't get their way, but I've seen no evidence of the former and it sure looks like the woman chairing simply picked her favorite results for voice votes. Wild claims have been made about Sanders' supporters reacting with violence and throwing chairs, although there is no evidence of it. Sanders disavowed violence and then was accused of not disavowing violence. Even Van Jones is disgusted with the DNC's reaction: "I don't think that that was wise for her to do that. First of all, Bernie did say in his statement that he was against the violence. Also, if you want to talk about violence, only one person's been arrested; it was a Hillary Clinton supporter, Wendell Pierce, arrested for assaulting a Sanders supporter."
* Bernie Sanders' statement
* More details at Naked Capitalism.

So now it's time for that old dance about whether Hillary will deign to debate in California. From the San Francisco Chronicle, "Sanders steps up in California - will Clinton?"
* "Sanders pushes Clinton for debate in California: In a Wednesday afternoon statement, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said the Vermont senator has accepted an invitation from Fox News to debate 'with the understanding that we can reach mutual agreement on the debate moderators, the format and other details.'"

The big arguments now are about just how narrow the path is for Sanders to win the nomination, whether he should, whether the superdelegates should vote for Sanders because current polling says he is most like to win the general or whether they should go with the candidate who has the most votes, whether Sanders can win once the Republicans find themselves faced with such a prospect. It still doesn't look like either candidate will reach the convention with the minimum number of required delegates, so it does seem like things will be contentious one way or the other. There's a lot of optimism in the Sanders camp about the rest of the west coast going the way of Washington, but I just don't see it: Hilary has been consistently ahead in California, where it looked for a while that the gap was narrowing but that trend reversed around the first of May. Clinton is way out ahead in New Jersey, too.
* National polling for the general election, though, seems to be all in favor of Sanders, and some would say that only Sanders would be a sure thing. But that presupposes that the GOP (and Democratic establishment) won't pull some rabbits out of their hats. Judging by some of the things I've seen from pro-Clinton Sanders-haters, that could be pretty creepy, because for Democrats, these people sound pretty right-wing - but they're Clintonites. It would be one thing if they were saying that he'd been too complimentary toward Castro in the past, but they aren't just saying these things might hurt him with Republicans, they are foaming at the mouth that he objected to US support for the Contras, which is a mighty strange thing for "progressives" to be angry at him for.
* "Dead heat: Trump, Clinton tied in 3 swing-state polls" - Sanders has been consistently beating Trump in all three states. This kind of thing keeps giving Seth Abramson dreams, but they rely on wins for Sanders in California and New Jersey, and I don't see that happening. He has some good points, though: "Clinton and the DNC Are Not Just Colluding - They're Changing the Rules for Superdelegates" - because it's still their job to get a Democrat elected, not just nominated.
* Meanwhile, the GOP is in the acceptance phase, and they're ready to rally around the candidate. Well, most of them.

Marcy Wheeler is probably the smartest analyst of foreign policy working today, and in her two most recent appearances on Virtually Speaking, she made some very important comments on the fantastical, expensive, and extremely dangerous foreign policy approach of Hillary Clinton. The first of these was a a couple of weeks ago with Jay Ackroyd, and the second was Virtually Speaking Sundays where they were joined by Avedon Carol (who accidentally said "Goldwater" when she meant "Rockerfeller" at the '68 GOP convention). Marcy noted that Clinton just gave the best reason to let Chelsea Manning out of jail - without knowing it.
* Jay also spoke to Lawrence R. Jacobs about Fed Power: How Finance Wins. The Fed is pretty murky to most people and most don't realize that we've essentially got an unelected body that has commandeered what were supposed to be the prerogatives of Congress - and they have no accountability and are under no control.

Wise words from Atrios on Incrementalism.

"Pollster Stan Greenberg Urges Democrats Not To Run For Obama's 'Third Term': Bill Clinton's former pollster thinks it's a mistake for Democratic presidential candidates to essentially run for President Barack Obama's 'third term.' 'That's not what the country wants. It's not what the base of the Democratic Party wants,' said longtime Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, whose past clients include Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. 'The Democratic Party is waiting for a president who will articulate the scale of the problems we face and challenge them to address it.' Greenberg thinks it's time to go bigger."

"Court Backs Snowden, Strikes Secret Laws: In a major vindication for Edward Snowden -- and a blow for the national security policy pursued by Republicans and Democrats alike -- the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency's metadata collection program is unlawful. This is the most serious blow to date for the legacy of the USA Patriot Act and the surveillance overreach that followed 9/11. The central question depended on the meaning of the word "relevant": Was the government's collection relevant to an investigation when it collects all the metadata for any phone call made to or from anywhere in the U.S.?"

Am I the only one who thinks Comey is having too much fun with this cat-and-mouse game? "FBI head challenges Clinton's description of email probe: The head of the FBI on Wednesday appeared to challenge Hillary Clinton's characterization of the federal investigation into her private email server. Clinton and her allies have repeatedly called the probe a routine 'security inquiry.' But Director James Comey told reporters that wasn't an accurate description. "It's in our name. I'm not familiar with the term 'security inquiry,' " Comey said at a roundtable with reporters, according to Politico. 'We're conducting an investigation ... That's what we do,' he said, according to Fox News. Comey reportedly declined to say whether or not the investigation is 'criminal' in nature."

"Is There A Better Poster Child For A Culture Of Corruption Than Debbie Wasserman Schultz?"

"Hillary Clinton to form "Republicans for Hillary" group to exploit furore over Donald Trump ."

Alex Pareen, "Don't Blow This [...] Democrats could, for example, take their famously thin-skinned opponent, who is easily provoked into absurd and unpresidential tantrums when his insecurities are mocked, and they could bestow upon him a nickname that instead serves to reinforce his own (imagined) toughness. They could call him, I don't know, 'Dangerous Donald.'" Personally, I thought they should have gone with "Dainty Donald" - both a reference to his hands and to that maiden-aunt performance when he apparently couldn't cope with the idea that Hillary Clinton went to the loo.

Read about Nicole Sandler's experience of running to be a Sanders delegate from Florida. It was not reassuring. But I think she comes to the wrong conclusion - they are perfectly happy to alienate anyone who doesn't support the status quo, and that's exactly why people need to stay in and fight them.

"Yes, Voters Really Are Angry and Anxious About the Unfairness of the Economy: There is a growing amount of contrarian analysis these days suggesting that Americans really aren't so angry about the economy after all, that what appears to be economic populism is really just a cover for racism, sexism or other cultural issues, and that ultimately the only thing the majority of voters really want is a stable technocrat who will keep the good times rolling while fixing some social issues. [...] To believe these things, of course, you would have to assume that voters aren't actually being inspired by the rhetoric and policy positions of Sanders and Trump but by other factors they're subtly tapping into. You would have to ignore most of the actual reasons given in interviews and focus groups by Sanders and Trump voters for why they support their candidates. You would have to ignore what they actually say in media comments sections and at various political forums. You would, in essence, have to ignore all the qualitative data in front of you showing what people say in their own words, in favor of polling data about their generic feelings about the economy or their own current personal economic situation."

David Dayen: "Donald Trump Is Right: Deficits Don't Matter [...] I'm almost certain that Donald Trump had no intention of stumbling into this philosophical debate, traditionally fought between the left and the far left. But his freewheeling style of political rhetoric often drops him into uncharted territory. In this case, Trump exposed an unsaid but prevalent conservative hypocrisy about deficits. As Cheney's quote about Reagan shows, Republicans habitually ignore deficits when they obtain power. It's a matter of convenience, a tempting way out of the fiscal responsibility trap that makes it difficult for politicians to keep their campaign promises. But every time a Bill Clinton or a Barack Obama gets the keys to the Oval Office, Republicans flip the script, generating a sudden fear of mountains of debt. Congressman Paul Ryan has been claiming the U.S. is about to turn into Greece for eight years. A deficit hawk industry in Washington comes alive to tell the nation that we're broke. This creates practical constraints on liberal spending programs to help the poor and the elderly. Trump's comment that America can't default on its debt, and can money-print its way out of trouble, shreds that Republican playbook. Deficit fear-mongering loses its punch if the GOP's new leader dismisses an animating principle of how conservatives defend against social spending." I've been disappointed that Sanders has never brought this up, but he seems to prefer to stay within conventional frames, even though he has had Stephanie Kelton working with him. But I also found it interesting that this article appeared in The New Republic.

"New Democrats Still Partying Like It's 1999: The Mark Warner Edition [...] Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., called on an audience of business and political elites earlier this week to respond to populist anger by lobbying harder for a deficit-reduction package that would reduce corporate tax rates and cut public retirement programs such as Social Security." Your DLC, still at work despite officially disbanding in 2011.

"Rather Than Campaign As Liberal Alternative To Trump, Clinton To Run As Smarter Republican [...] The strategy will not only allow Clinton to be her authentic political self again, but it will also end the charade of moving to the left to appease supporters of her opponent, Bernie Sanders. It would also diminish any confusion over whether Clinton is anything more than a corporate Democrat, who progressives should approach with great skepticism and opposition."

Democratic Convention Hosted by Republican Donors, Anti-Obamacare Lobbyists [..] The composition of the 15-member Host Committee may appear out of sync with the rhetoric of Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but the reality is that the party, in the form of the Democratic National Committee, has moved decisively to embrace the lobbying industry. In October 2015, DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., reportedly huddled with dozens of lobbyists to plan the convention in Philadelphia, and provided the influence peddlers involved with a menu of offerings in exchange for donations. In February, news reports revealed that the DNC had quietly lifted the Obama-era ban on federal lobbyist donations to the party and convention committee."

Meanwhile in Florida, it's pretty rich Harry Reid getting on a high horse about Alan Grayson's alleged ethics (that aren't being investigated because the ethics committee could find no There there) when his own Golden Boy in Florida, "ex"-Republican Patrick Murphy, stinks to high Heaven. For that matter, so does Reid.

"Ending Tax Break for Ultrawealthy May Not Take Act of Congress [..] In one deft move, Mr. Obama could instruct officials at his Treasury Department to close the so-called carried interest tax loophole that allows managers of private equity and hedge funds to pay a substantially lower federal tax rate on much of their income."

Change you can't believe: "The Obama Administration Just Granted Henry Kissinger a Distinguished Public Service Award." I guess he needs us to forgive famous war criminals so we might forgive him, too. Oh, and make Clinton look better, after she embraced Kissinger.

"Ala. gov. signs two antiabortion-rights bills; ACLU of Alabama pledges legal challenge."

"A master teacher went to court to challenge her low evaluation. What her win means for her profession."

"Lawsuit accuses Flint mayor of trying to redirect water crisis donors to campaign fund."

"Wall Street Money: Barney Frank To Oversee Democratic Platform While Running Big Bank."

"This isn't how a democracy should work: How the media boosted Donald Trump and screwed Bernie Sanders: Voters want change. Elites in D.C. and the media -- both liberal and conservative -- are actively obstructing it. [...] In his book Democracy, Inc., the late, distinguished political scientist Sheldon Wolin has argued that we have a 'managed democracy,' that elite 'management' of elections is the key to perpetuating the 'primal myth' that the people determine the rulers. As Wolin put it, this 'antidemocracy' doesn't attack the idea of government by the people, it encourages 'civic demobilization' - conditioning the electorate to be aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy."

"For 40 Years, Liberals Have Accepted Defeat and Called It 'Incremental Progress.' [...] For most of the Left, Clinton-style 'incrementalism' is just a code word to disguise what is effectively a right-wing retrenchment. Nevertheless many self-identified progressives have backed Clinton's 'theory of politics' as the most realistic path to achieve Sanders's objectives. [..] 'There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth,' declared Lyndon Johnson in 1964. 'I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want.' Compare that to our current Democratic front-runner, whose most impassioned moment on the 2016 campaign trail came when she denounced single-payer health care as an idea 'that will never, ever come to pass.'"

"Bernie Sanders's Legacy? The Left May No Longer Need the Rich."

"Uber and Lyft's big new lie: Their excuse for avoiding regulation is finally falling apart: Did Lyft just admit it's a taxi company after all? Ridesharing companies pretend to be tech firms. They're not."

"Pfizer Blocks the Use of Its Drugs in Executions." This is interesting for a number of reasons. Not only is it surprising that Pfizer did something good, but it suggests a sea-change in how Pfizer is looking at the United States as a market - not so much for the number of dollars involved (which isn't that great), but for the willingness to play ball.

"Larry Summers is wrong. Harvard should be spending much, much more of its money." You can never have too many reminders of what a failure Larry Summers is in his alleged areas of expertise.

"Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year: We just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying. According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year. Let that number sink in for a moment. You can't support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month - especially after taxes are taken out. And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month. In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today."
* RJ Eskow, "What's Killing the American Middle Class?: A new study by the Pew Research Center spurred a rash of headlines last week about 'the dying middle class.' But the word 'dying' might be more appropriate if we were watching the regrettable but inevitable effects of natural forces at work. We're not. We're seeing the fruits of deliberate action - and sometimes of deliberate inaction - at the highest levels of power."

David Dayen: "The Bright, Techy Future of Banking Just Crashed: LendingClub's Crisis Confirms the Worst Fears About Fintech"

"9/11 commissioner leaks damning new info: Saudi government officials supported the hijackers: The 9/11 hijackers had support from Saudi government employees, said a former Republican official who investigated the attacks - and he wants the Obama administration to release evidence to prove it. John Lehman, an investment banker and Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, said his fellow 9/11 commission members had helped to obscure Saudi links to the 2001 terrorist attacks, reported The Guardian."

Department of misleading headlines: "CSU student sues college for sanctioning him for what he calls consensual sex: A Colorado State University-Pueblo student filed a federal lawsuit against the university and the U.S. Department of Education claiming sexual discrimination after he was sanctioned for a sexual act that he and his girlfriend insist was consensual sex." That phrase "and his girlfriend" makes all the difference there, doesn't it?

Dday's Chain of Title reviewed in The New York Times: "Exposing those lies becomes a moral crusade. The homeowners' stories are emotional roller coasters, which Dayen meticulously reports. He and his characters find the banks' behavior not just indefensible but criminal. Prepare to be surprised, and angry."

"Washington Post Squeezes Four Anti-Sanders Stories Out of One Tax Study Over Seven Hours" - and it's another "study" that pretends single-payer costs more than what we have now, rising like a zombie to campaign for Clinton in it's rotting corpse. "Why would so much ink be spilled on a candidate who, by the Post's estimation, can't possibly win? The objective is, of course, to further stigmatize Sanders' ideas and platform goals - all of which are deeply antithetical to the editorial and financial bottom line of the paper and its sole owner, Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is over $45 billion."

"The sorry facts which show the BBC has moved beyond bias, into pure propaganda"

RIP:
* "Michael Ratner, Lawyer Who Won Rights for GuantŠnamo Prisoners, Dies at 72 [...] As head of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner oversaw litigation that, in effect, voided New York City's wholesale stop-and-frisk policing tactic. The center also accused the federal government of complicity in the kidnapping and torture of terrorism suspects and argued against the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency, the waging of war in Iraq without the consent of Congress, the encouragement of right-wing rebels in Nicaragua and the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war."
* William Schallert, 93, Dies; Prolific Actor Was Father on The Patty Duke Show and actors' union leader who appeared in nearly everything else, too. His list of sf genre credits alone is longer than most actors' entire careers, but he was in everything our whole lives. (Except, for some reason, M*A*S*H. I was honestly shocked not to see it on his IMDB page.)

"Burying the White Working Class: Liberal condescension towards white workers is code for a broader anti-working class agenda."

"Why Employers Love Advocating Self-Care"

"Misperceiving Bullshit as Profound Is Associated with Favorable Views of Cruz, Rubio, Trump and Conservatism

"Who edited Shakespeare?"

"Meet the Woman Who Invented Cosplay: Myrtle R. Douglas, otherwise known as Morojo, rarely gets the credit she deserves for the worldwide phenomenon. [...] For more than 10 years Morojo and Ackerman were an inseparable, intellectually compatible dream duo, and 1939 was an especially big year for the pair: they started their first major zine together, jointly financed the publication of teenage Ray Bradbury's first sci-fi zine, and attended the first-ever World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) wearing "futuristicostumes" straight out of the 1936 H.G. Wells movie Things to Come - the FIRST FAN COSTUMES EVER WORN IN RECORDED HISTORY."

An interview with Uncle Ted in The Falls Church News-Press, "F.C.'s Ted White Reflects on Comics, Sci-Fi and the Little City."

Wire sculpture art and perspective
* "Why do all old statues have such small penises?" (NSFW)

The lost Twilight Zone episode - starring Jack Benny.

David Gilmour Wish you were here live unplugged

18:56 GMT comment


Monday, 09 May 2016

Jealous night and all her secret courts

David Dayen's book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Streetís Great Foreclosure Fraud, is being released this month and you should buy it. Readers of this blog know that Dday is not simply the best reporter on the banking scandal to come out of the blogosphere, but one of the very best anywhere, and this book is the story of how the bankers broke the cadaster - the record of property ownership - and how a nurse, a car dealership worker, and a forensic expert got together to investigate and expose it.

Nate Silver gave Hillary Clinton a 90% chance of winning Indiana, but Bernie took the state, 52.5%- 47.5%. This sent the Clinton partisans into a frenzy of insistence that Sanders couldn't win and he should drop out now

"After Bitter Tuesday, Progressives Ask Democratic Party What It Stands For [...] At a union hall in Prince George's County Tuesday night, Edwards gave a passionate concession speech that criticized the Democratic Party's faux-progressive mantle. 'To my Democratic Party, you cannot show up in churches before election day, you cannot sing the first and last verse of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' you cannot join hands and walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and call that post-racial and inclusion,' she said to cheers and applause. 'To my Democratic Party, let me say that today Maryland is on the verge of having an all-male delegation in a so-called progressive state. So what I want to know from my Democratic Party, is when will the voices of people of color, when will the voices of women, when will the voices of labor, when will the voices of black women, when will our voices be effective, legitimate, equal leaders in a big-tent party?' she said."

"If Clinton Wins, She Plans To Put Bill To Work on Trade: 'He's Gotta Be In Charge Of This'" - Oh. My. God.

"Schmidt: There Will Be An Organized Effort By Clinton To Grab The Republican Foreign Policy Establishment: Men and women who served in senior positions, in national security positions, in Republican administrations. The Clinton campaign's going to go after them. They're going to go after them forcefully. And I think you look ahead now in the weeks to come. As Hillary Clinton moves beyond the Bernie Sanders challenge for the moment for Hillary Clinton to address Republicans in this country."

David Dayen in The New Republic, "Why Hillary Clinton Won't Offer a Bold Economic Agenda [...] A coalition of professionals, minorities, and people freaked out about the prospect of a Trump presidency will likely amount to a majority of Americans for this election. But it isn't a majority that's going to push a Clinton presidency to prioritize the struggles of the working class. And I don't know if there's a way to change that, to turn an election featuring Donald Trump into an election about ideas. During the primary, Clinton memorably asked, 'If we broke up the big banks tomorrow... would that end racism?' Set aside the fact that racism was at the heart of the subprime mortgage crisis, when toxic loans were handed out disproportionately to African-Americans. Clinton's question reveals a clever way to opt out of this dilemma of how to properly credit Obama's economic gains in an age of inequality, when all those gains go to the top. She can find other points of emphasis, enough to win a general election. But failing to address the real economic pains felt by large swaths of the country will not only exact a political price down the line, it will ensure that those pains continue far beyond when they could have been eased."

"Jane Sanders: If Bernie loses, we'll form a new organization."
* "This is what the revolution looks like: Former Sanders staffers are launching a new PAC aimed at midterm Congressional elections: The ambitious new plan by Bernie staffers is a giant leap in guaranteeing his movement endures." Um, maybe, unless it just means electing more lackluster Dems.

Matt Yglesias says, "Bernie Sanders is (still) the future of the Democratic Party" - it's in the numbers.

But before any eulogies are written, here's some optimism from John Laurits, who says, "This is What Will Happen at the Democratic Convention [...] It has even become something of a weekly occurrence for Hillary Clinton and her Wallstreet-backed campaign to imply, insinuate, or flat-out demand that Sanders withdraw his bid for the nomination - they are growing increasingly indignant about the fact that Sanders is trying to win. Which brings us to the heart of the issue - can Bernie Sanders - can we - win the delegates needed for the nomination? The answer to this question is as simple as it is misleading - No. No, my friends, we cannot. And yet! And yet, neither can Hillary Clinton - and I am going to show you what the media is willfully hiding from you. I am going to show you why, using the one thing that even the media can't hide: Math."

Department of Dreamers: "Hey, Hillary: Let's make a (new) deal! How moderates and progressives can unite." This doesn't seem likely when you see stories like this: "Clinton to take hard line with Sanders, say allies [...] Clinton supporters argue the former secretary of State has already been forced to the left by Sanders, and can't risk moving further ahead of a general election. 'I don't know what's left to extract,' Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a Clinton supporter, said in an interview with The Hill. He said the Democratic primary moved the discussion 'farther to the left than most moderate Democrats would like to see.'" Which puts "moderate" Democrats farther to the right than most of the country. Okay...
* Gaius Publius expected this. Certainly nothing I'm seeing says he's wrong.
* I can't escape the feeling that Benjamin Studebaker is looking at him through rose-colored glasses, but there's a lot to consider in, "Clinton Supporters are Scaremongering about Donald Trump to Silence the Concerns of the Young and the Poor: I started seeing it a few weeks ago, when Daily Kos told its contributors that after March 15th, they were no longer allowed to robustly criticize Hillary Clinton from the left. As Donald Trump continues to win, win, and win some more, it has only intensified. First they asked Bernie Sanders supporters to unite behind Clinton. Now they're accusing Sanders supporters of being privileged if they resist. And from there, it's just a small step to calling Sanders' people enablers of racism, sexism, or even fascism. If you haven't seen these arguments yet, you will soon. The arguments being peddled are very poorly constructed. They rely on a mix of fear and bias toward the near. [...] But left egalitarianism is not the only alternative to neoliberalism on the menu. Donald Trump offers right nationalism as an alternative, and his alternative has proven very compelling. Right nationalism acknowledges the economic problems people face, but its solutions are much more bellicose and divisive. Right nationalists believe that we are being taken advantage of by somebody, usually somebody foreign. Many people think that Trump is popular because of his personality, but the Trump persona is gift-wrapping a product, and that product is the idea that foreigners are the reason you've been getting a raw economic deal. So Trump says that immigrants are taking your jobs and driving down your wages. Like Sanders, he also goes after bad trade deals. Many countries now have political parties that market right nationalism as an alternative to neoliberalism. There's National Front in France, UKIP in Britain, the Alternative for Germany, Golden Dawn in Greece, and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, among others. Many of the leaders of these European right nationalist parties have endorsed Trump. What he is selling is not new or even uniquely American. All of these parties market themselves by telling working people that their grievances are real and offering them solutions. The solutions are terrible, but because the left has become so impotent in most of the western world today, right nationalist parties tend to do much better with these groups than leftist parties. Clinton supporters want you to believe that if Donald Trump gets elected, it would be some kind of massive disaster, that he might start a nuclear war or enact policies that are immensely damaging to marginalized groups. This is all based on the idea that Trump is some kind of insane person. But while many right nationalist politicians are true believers who have consistently expressed abhorrent views, we have strong reasons to think that Donald Trump is exploiting the right nationalist playbook for personal gain. This becomes clear when we look at the history of things he said and did before he became a presidential candidate." Yes, it's true that Trump didn't used to sound this right-wing, and, frankly, it was unclear whether he felt any significant ties to either party. And yes, it does seem he is playing the Republicans because he knows how to game them. There's an undercurrent on the net of people (from both parties) who wonder whether Trump didn't get into the race to make it easy for Clinton to win. I do hear people worrying that Trump will do things that he just can't do, and I also hear them worrying that he will do things that Clinton is actually more likely to do. But I am not all relaxed about a Trump presidency, either. Still, there's something to be said for this: "But while Donald Trump is not a right nationalist, he is marketing himself as if he is one and most people believe he is one. He's choosing to do this for strategic reasons - he recognizes that the public increasingly holds the neoliberal consensus exemplified by the establishments of both parties in contempt. The anger they feel toward neoliberal establishment figures is so intense that they welcome it when Trump openly bullies members of the establishment on national television. The American people loved watching Jeb Bush go down in flames and the internet mocked him harshly" And this: "Hillary Clinton's net favorability rating has been continuously falling for a couple years now, and Trump hasn't even started in on her in earnest yet. She's currently at -13.0. This is only going to get worse. Clinton is unpopular not because she's a woman (she was a woman in January 2013, when she was much more popular) but because she's part of the neoliberal establishment. As economic conditions have continued to stagnate or deteriorate for many Americans, their anger toward this establishment continues to increase, and the ability of left egalitarian and right nationalist candidates to effectively channel this anger continues to grow." Sure, but I'm not sure Trump can do anything to counteract his own negatives by November, so he still looks the weaker candidate to me. However, here's a point I agree with so much that I'm even gonna boldface it: "But let's say you don't buy this. Let's say that you think that no matter what, Clinton is always going to be a more competitive candidate than Sanders in 2016. Let's say that you don't buy my argument that we don't really know what Trump will do, that you remain convinced he is absolutely deadly. None of this changes the fact that Clinton is a neoliberal and that neoliberalism is failing too many people too conspicuously. Even if Clinton wins in 2016, continued neoliberal policies are going to continue to build anger, and if the left doesn't develop a left egalitarian alternative to neoliberalism to channel that anger constructively, the right nationalists will become the only vehicle through which anyone can express serious effective dissent. Over time, this will strengthen the right nationalists until they do win, and when they win they might not be led by Trump but instead by a true believer, someone who is absolutely committed to every right nationalist principle - someone like Ted Cruz."
* Not sure who this writer at Political Reads is, but it's quite a fancy. "Super Delegates Will Write History by Nominating Sanders in Philadelphia [...] However, the purpose of the minority power is not to elect a candidate. Rather, they were designed to prevent a loss in a general election, a proverbial safety valve to circumvent an obviously weak candidate. This is the superdelegate's role in the Democratic nomination process: they are independent judges that only emerge in marginal contests. Their function is to secure a nomination based upon available data and a completed primary map. Their sole task is to identify and eliminate the candidate that controls a frenzied base, yet fails to connect outside of their stronghold. They're designed to stop a candidate like Hillary Clinton. The control Clinton has over the Democratic base is frightening. Obvious vulnerabilities that would end any other candidate's presidential bid are overlooked and dismissed by her loyalist support. Face it. Whenever drastic unfavorability, distrust, and a possible FBI indictment fail to internally dismiss a party's candidate, you're not dealing with a potential nominee. You're describing the leader of a cult, the very thing superdelegates were designed to prevent." Rumor has it that the superdelegates are actually leaning toward Biden, so I don't think so.

Meanwhile, Cory Robin reckons the Clinton-Trump race would be like 1972 - and "Hillary Clinton is a modern-day Richard Nixon."

"What Florida New Dem Patrick Murphy Did To Undermine Hillary Clinton: On May 8, 2014, the Republicans rammed through a resolution to establish the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, a committee specifically designed as a witch hunt to drag Hillary Clinton through the mud and sully her name before the 2016 presidential election. Every single Republican voted YES (225 of them) and 186 Democrats voted NO. Seven of the worst Democrats in the House-- the ones who consistently vote for Boehner's agenda day in and day out-- crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans." And one of them was Murphy, the guy Chuck Schumer is running against Grayson.
* And in the House, John Delaney (MD-06) and Dan Lipinski (IL-03) voted with Republicans to siphon funds out of DC public schools and into a voucher system.

"Is Social Media Empowering or Silencing Political Expression in the United States?" Not sure how good this poll is but it's kind of interesting anyway.

Mike Bloomberg gives a speech, and Bill Black takes it apart: "Bloomberg Tells Michigan Grads They Must Defeat Bernie's Plan to Jail Wall Street Felons: Michael Bloomberg has just published, in Bloomberg, what he describes as 'an adaptation of an address to the University of Michigan's class of 2016.' Having graduated twice from Michigan, as did our eldest, I was intrigued. Bloomberg's title was 'Here's Your Degree. Now Go Defeat Demagogues.' What Bloomberg means is that he is frightened that so many young people supported the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement and support Bernie Sanders. I've written before about Bloomberg, a Wall Street billionaire, and the myths he tries to spread about Bernie. Wall Street elites fear Bernie. They know he won't take their money, he will end the systemically dangerous banks, and he will imprison their leading felons. Bloomberg's hate for, and fear of, Bernie is perfectly rational. Why he thinks that Michigan students will take his advice and learn to love Wall Street's felons is a lot less clear." Bloomberg decried students who worry about racism and sexism, but it looks like the real threat that worries him is that someone might impose responsibility on the financial industry. Black notes that Bloomberg's own paper contains many article showing just why such regulation should be imposed. The Bloomberg context of Bloomberg's speech to the Michigan grads demonstrates that Bloomberg is indeed open to different ideas. Each of the seven articles I cited that accompanied his printed version of his speech is supported by citations of facts from experts - and proves that Bernie is right about the critical need to restore the rule of law and morality in order to end Wall Street's corrupt culture. Demagogues are the folks who ignore the facts and data and make biased assertions that just happen to be in their personal and commercial self-interest. That makes Bloomberg the demagogue."
* Gail Collins repeats the usual mantra of Hillary Clinton's supposed history as a progressive fighter, but it's thinner than you think. Her first professional job was one year at the sChildren's Defense Fund, and then she went on to Rose Law Firm. "Hillary's fight for 'better schools in Arkansas' included a war on the state's teachers' union, making her a pioneer of neoliberal education reform, which holds teachers' unions in deep contempt. The school reform initiative, which Hillary led, imposed competency tests on teachers. That act that was widely seen as racist because the teaching corps was disproportionately black, earning the enmity of civil rights organizations in the state. According to Carl Bernstein, this criticism 'deeply pained' Bill and Hillary, but not enough to make them rethink the struggle. As for making the union the enemy, Bernstein noted that 'the ASTA [Arkansas State Teachers Association] was not exactly the antichrist, and in fact had done some pretty good things in a state where the legislature had typically accorded more attention to protecting the rights of poultry farmers to saturate half of Arkansas's topsoil with chicken feces than providing its children with a decent education.'" Her alleged advocacy for reproductive rights has never impressed me, either (her sole objection to proposed Republican legislation banning late-term abortion is that it omitted exceptions for life and health of the mother), and I'm still waiting to see her actually do anything for women. And, seriously, you have to be stupid not to realize that cutting off welfare hurts women and families - how can anyone ever have defended welfare reform?
* In which Katha Pollit doesn't get it: "Why Bernie Didn't Get My Vote: It's not his focus on the economy - it's that he doesn't seem to understand that the economy is structured by gender and race." Apparently, Bernie gave insufficient lip-service to "gender" issues, so she - well, wait, she's been voicing her support for Clinton all along, it obviously had nothing to do with anything Sanders did or didn't do during the campaign. Throwing in a little red-baiting for the "electability" argument, she still can't defend her belief that Clinton's poor lip-service to issues of racism and sexism is somehow superior to Sanders' obvious understanding that having an equal shot at no money, no jobs, and no hope is not exactly keeping your eyes on the prize.
* Andrew Sullivan has returned to blogging, and The Rude One is unimpressed. While it is indisputable that Sullivan has things entirely wrong, I won't say His Rudeness has things entirely right - except for that last paragraph.
* Anis Shivani was also inspired by the re-emergence of Andrew Sullivan, to write a righteous rant, "Our awful elites gutted America. Now they dare ring alarms about Trump, Sanders - and cast themselves as saviors : Both parties ignored workers, spewed hate, enriched themselves, hollowed out democracy. Now the problem's populism? [...] To manipulate them, the Democratic and Republican elites have both played a double game for forty years and have gotten away with it. They have incrementally yet quite comprehensively seized all economic and political power for themselves. They have perverted free media and even such basics of the democratic process as voting and accountability in elections. Elites on both sides have collaborated to engineer a revolution of economic decline for the working person, until the situation has reached unbearable proportions. The stock market may be doing well, and unemployment may theoretically be low, but people can't afford housing and food, they can't pay back student loans and other debts, their lives, wherever they live in this transformed country, are full of such misery that there is not a single word that an establishment candidate like Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush says that makes sense to them."

Thomas Frank, "Why must the Trump alternative be self-satisfied, complacent Democrats? [...] Seven years have passed now since the last recession officially ended, and yet the country's fury has scarcely cooled. To this day we remain angry at Wall Street; we rage against career politicians; and we are incandescent that the economic system seems to have been permanently 'rigged' against working people. Median household income has still not recovered the levels of 2007. Wages are going nowhere. Elite bankers are probably never going to be held accountable for what they did. America is burning. Listening to the leading figures of the Democratic party establishment, however, you'd never know it. Cool contentment is the governing emotion in these circles. What they have in mind for 2016 is what we might call a campaign of militant complacency. They are dissociated from the mood of the nation, and they do not care.

"Donald Trump Isn't Going to Be President: He'd have to win unprecedented shares of the very kinds of voters who hate him: blacks, Latinos, and women."

Eugene Robinson says, "Trump understood the voters the GOP forgot," and he isn't just talking about racism: "This ideological disintegration has been years in the making. I believe one fundamental cause is that after winning the allegiance of millions of 'Reagan Democrats' - mostly white, blue-collar, and Southern or rural - the party stubbornly declined to take their economic interests into account."

With Kasich and Cruz both withdrawing to leave Trump with a clear field, some Republicans are endorsing Clinton, some are just opposing Trump, and some are Rush Limbaugh:
* "George Bush and George W. Bush say they refuse to support Donald Trump [...] And as it now stands, Donald Trump will be running as the 2016 republican nominee for President without the support of a single living republican President. In contrast, his opponent, democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, will have the support of at least two and likely all three living democratic Presidents. Interestingly George W. Bush's wife, First Lady Laura Bush, has made subtle hints that she may be leaning toward Hillary. This possibility may have just gotten easier now that her husband is rejecting the notion of siding with Trump."
* Former Bush White House staffer David Ross Meyers, "A message for my fellow Republicans: If you back Trump you will not be trusted again [...] This desire for control of the presidency, and the belief that any Republican is better than any Democrat, is why many Republicans are now embracing Trump. They claim that the GOP needs to coalesce behind Mr. Trump because he is a better alternative than Hillary Clinton. He is not."
* "Ross Douthat: Trump's victory proves part of conservatism 'was actually a racket'
* "Rush Limbaugh: Trump will beat Clinton by 'landslide proportions'."

Some interesting Gallup Poll opinions

Can you believe it? Only 16 years after the stolen election of 2000, "Members of Congress Call for End to Mass Voter Suppression and Insecure Elections."
* And I see Greg Palast had the same thought in this interview of voter purges.
* Lee Camp reckons the voting machines are rigged. Gosh, ya think?

"The Story of the Great Brooklyn Voter Purge Keeps Getting Weirder: The first head has rolled after more than 100,000 voters were mistakenly purged from the Brooklyn voter rolls ahead of this week's New York primary, which handed Hillary Clinton a much-needed win over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the chief clerk of the New York Board of Elections, was suspended "without pay, effective immediately, pending an internal investigation into the administration of the voter rolls in the Borough of Brooklyn," the agency said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News. Anonymous city elections officials said Haslett-Rudiano, who was in charge of the city's Republican voter rolls, had been "scapegoated," according to the New York Post. "It sounds like they cut a deal to make the Republican the scapegoat and protect Betty Ann," an anonymous Democratic elected official from Brooklyn told the Post, referring to Betty Ann Canizio, who was in charge of the Democratic voter rolls."

"Prominent Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado: INFLUENTIAL DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANTS, some of whom work for the Super PACs backing Hillary Clinton, have signed up to fight a bold initiative to create a state-based single-payer system in Colorado, according to a state filing posted Monday. [...] The anti-single-payer effort is funded almost entirely by health care industry interests, including $500,000 from Anthem Inc., the state's largest health insurance provider; $40,000 from Cigna, another large health insurer that is current in talks to merge with Anthem; $75,000 from Davita, the dialysis company; $25,000 from Delta Dental, the largest dental insurer in the state; and $100,000 from SCL Health, the faith-based hospital chain."

"The Supreme Court Is Fixing To Let Political Corruption Run Rampant: Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was convicted by a federal jury in September 2014, after he was caught participating in one of the most cut-and-dry examples of cash-for-favors found in the political corruption textbook. Now, however, McDonnell's appeals have taken his case to the Supreme Court, where - believe it or not - a majority of justices seem predisposed to overturning his conviction, and decimating anti-corruption laws. [...] As The Huffington Post's Cristian Farias reported, McDonnell may well be on his way to a great escape, thanks to a majority of Supreme Court justices who seem, alternatively, amenable to McDonnell's point of view, and troubled that too many prosecutors might start taking up corruption cases" This is a straightforward case of bribery, but the Court seems to be unable to distinguish actual bribery from campaign contributions, even though no campaign contributions are involved. (You don't give someone a Rolex as a campaign contribution!) And I'm not just talking about Chief Justice Roberts, here - only Ginsberg and Sotomayor seem to see what's going on here.

"'We need fundamental changes': US doctors call for universal healthcare: More than 2,000 physicians want a single-payer system similar to Canada's and say the Affordable Care Act didn't go far enough."

"Tax Cheats Stick Honest Taxpayers with a $406 Billion Annual Tax Bill: A new report from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that the 'tax gap,' meaning the amount in taxes that are owed but go unpaid each year, was $406 billion on average between 2008-2010. This is a $406 billion cost that honest taxpayers are forced to make up for due to the illegal actions of individuals and corporations. While the $406 billion figure is rather staggering, many experts believe that this could be an understatement of the cost of tax evasion. In testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, Bob McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice, explained that the IRS estimates likely underestimate the amount of income that individuals and corporations are able to evade by hiding their money in tax havens. It is also important to note that the vast majority of middle income taxpayers are not the ones evading taxes. That's mainly because they can't cheat even if they were so inclined. Employers must report wages to the IRS and remit withholding taxes. The majority of the tax gap ($247 billion) is due to underreporting of business income. [...] Providing the IRS with the resources it needs to do a better job cracking down on tax cheats would seem to be a no brainer, except to the brain dead members of Congress. According to one estimate, increasing funding for IRS enforcement, modernization and management systems can save the government $200 for every dollar invested. Rather than increasing the funding of the IRS to close the tax gap however, Congress has actually cut the IRS budget by 17 percent since 2010, after accounting for inflation. While cutting the IRS budget may appeal to members of Congress who are in favor of tax cheating, it's counterproductive in terms of deficit reduction and protecting honest taxpayers." But you knew that

"This Town Ran An Illegal Debtor's Prison For Years. Now It Has To Pay Back The People It Jailed. Colorado Springs will pay back destitute people it illegally jailed because they couldn't pay court fines, the city announced Thursday. The city will also discontinue its debtor's prison policy, which violated both the U.S. Constitution and a 2014 state law in Colorado. The system usually targeted non-jailable offenses like jaywalking, violating park curfews, or drinking in public.

"Financial frauds had a friend in Holder: Eric Holder was U.S. attorney general at a time when the world desperately needed the nation's chief law enforcement officer to hold accountable the elite bankers who oversaw the epidemic of fraud that drove the 2008 global financial crisis and triggered the Great Recession. After nearly six years in office, Holder announced on Sept. 25 that he plans to step down, without having brought to justice even one of the executives responsible for the crisis. His tenure represents the worst strategic failure against elite white-collar crime in the history of the Department of Justice (DOJ). "
* Matt Taibbi: "Eric Holder, Wall Street Double Agent, Comes in From the Cold: Eric Holder has gone back to work for his old firm, the white-collar defense heavyweight Covington & Burling. The former attorney general decided against going for a judgeship, saying he's not ready for the ivory tower yet. "I want to be a player," he told the National Law Journal, one would have to say ominously."

Even Brad DeLong can't make sense of TTP: "I am what Paul Krugman calls "Davos Man" to a substantial degree--a card-carrying neoliberal, a believer in globalization and free trade, someone who has seen more than enough of the stupidities of places like Berkeley and so doesn't mind hippy-punching now and then. As a believer in free-trade, in the importance of harmonizing global economic regulation, and in getting intellectual and general property rights right, I ought to be a very strong technocratic advocate for the TPP. Yet I found myself having major questions about it [...] Plus there is the big negotiating question: This is, primarily, a Republican priority. Why would a Democratic president put himself in the position of begging for Democratic legislative votes for a Republican priority, rather than demanding Republican policy concessions on issues of importance to Democrats in return for his signature?"
* TTIP, TISA Explained | Wikileaks | Jeremy Corbyn | Bernie Sanders | Julian Assange
* "Another Secret 'Trade' Deal Leaks, Shows Corporations Still In Control"

"'You want a description of hell?' OxyContin's 12-hour problem" - They knew many people would not get 12 hours of relief, but they didn't tell you that.

RIP: "Daniel J. Berrigan, Defiant Priest Who Preached Pacifism, Dies at 94: The Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan, a Jesuit priest and poet whose defiant protests helped shape the tactics of opposition to the Vietnam War and landed him in prison, died on Saturday in New York City. He was 94. His death was confirmed by the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large at America magazine, a national Catholic magazine published by Jesuits. Father Berrigan died at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University in the Bronx." The Berrigans are who I always think of when I hear Paul Simon sing the words "the radical priests", but they were on the cover of Time, not Newsweek.
* Amy Goodman, "RIP Father Daniel Berrigan: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Antiwar Priest and Poet"

"A World to Make: Eleven Theses for the Bernie Sanders Generation: 1. The Economy is About Power; 2. Expertise Is Not Legitimacy; 3. You're Allowed to Want Economic Security; 4. You Are More than Human Capital; 5. Solidarity Is Different from Hope; 6. Democracy Is More than Voting; 7. Not Everything Has to Be Earned; 8. Equal Treatment Is Not Enough; 9. We Need a Fight to Make Peace with the Planet; 10. We Have in Common What We Decide to Have in Common; 11. We Have a World to Make." Now read the rest.

It's been clear that nobody knows what you mean when you talk about neoliberalism, so Ed Waller rounded up some Recent Discussions of Neoliberalism by Corey Robin, Billmon, and others.

"Economists Ignore One of Capitalism's Biggest Problems: Banks create money out of nothing."

"Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously [...] What Amber explained was exactly what I'd feared: through the Apple Music subscription, which I had, Apple now deletes files from its users' computers. When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple's database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn't recognize - which came up often, since I'm a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself - it would then download it to Apple's database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted. [....] If Apple serves me my music, that means that when I don't have wifi access, I can't listen to it. When I say 'my music,' I don't just mean the music that, over twenty years (since before iTunes existed), I painstakingly imported from thousands of CDs and saved to my computer's internal hard drive. I also mean original music that I recorded and saved to my computer. Apple and wifi access now decide if I can hear it, and where, and when. [....] the only way to prevent this from happening over and over, according to Amber, was to cancel my subscription to Apple Music (which she herself doesn't use due to the above-listed reasons) and to make sure my iCloud settings did not include storing any music backups."

Lest we forget: Many people who pretend to be older and wiser assure me that it is a paranoid delusion on my part that Obama tried to cut Social Security. I'm too tired to search out a list of links regarding his attempt to get Congress to hold a "Deficit Commission" and, when that failed, his setting up his own "Deficit Commission" packed with people whose hobby-horse was privatizing, cutting, or killing Social Security. Or how he refused to simply allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on schedule and then used this as yet another set-up for his Grand Bargain. Or any of his other machinations to try to get his GB through. But someone reminded me of this one from 2013: "Reality Check: Obama Cuts Social Security and Medicare by Much More Than the GOP: Obama plans to cut between $200 billion and $380 billion more from Social Security and Medicare than Republicans in the next ten years."

"Bus Driver's Son Beats Billionaire's Son in London Mayoral Race: Sadiq Khan overcame the smear campaign leveled against him and Labour colleagues to take back the capital after eight years of Tory rule."
* "Finkelstein Breaks His Silence. Tells Holocaust-Mongers, 'It is time to crawl back into your sewer!': The American Jewish scholar behind Labour's 'antisemitism' scandal breaks his silence", discussing the dust-up about Naz Shah MP, Ken Livingstone, and the joint war on the Labour leadership by regular Tories and Blairites..

A lot of people have been angry at the way YouTube treats creators who use clips by fair use. But it looks like they are sort of changing the rules.

"Warner Bros Wins Battle For Channing Tatum's The Forever War [...] ...the feature adaptation of the popular sci-fi actioner The Forever War with Channing Tatum attached to star and Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange, Passengers) scripting.."

Patrick Leahy hasn't been much of a Senator since that assassination attempt put the fear into him, but at least he's a Batman fan.

Nice T-shirt

Steve Winwood, "Arc of a Diver"

03:55 GMT comment


Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, May 2016


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