Friday, September 30, 2016

Donald Trump Un-American?

Donald Trump is an objectively terrifying candidate. He’s a racist, a xenophobe and a misogynist (in a surprisingly underrated manner). He dabbles in antisemitism and mocks his opponents like a middle school bully. However, in their effort to critique Trump in a way that is “relatable” and generates clicks, corporate media all too often turn to lazy orientalist tropes and patriotic schlock to “other” him without having to do the messy work of ideological analysis, or running the risk of offending America’s nationalist sensibilities:

  Adam Johnson @ FAIR
Adam has a Tweet listing all the latest comparisons, including, in addition to the above: Putin, Stalin, Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinegad, Castro and Caligula.
Liberals, seeing a weakness in Trump’s disjointed message, have decided to outflank Trump from the right.


This tic was again found in President Barack Obama’s speech  [...]  at the DNC, when he called Trump “un-American.” [...] Trump was something foreign, without precedent, that could only be understood in the context of things outside The Greatest Country on Earth.


Brooklyn College political science professor Corey Robin capped off this point: “What do the ‘we’ve never seen anything like Trump’ and ‘Putin is electing Trump’ memes have in common? They both exonerate American history.”


Aside from the implication that the US is uniquely civilized, it whistles past America’s own history of racism, normalizes the Democrats’ more subtle brand of immigrant deportation and war-mongering, and propagates xenophobic assumptions about “Third World” disfunction and serves to stoke Cold War panic with Russia.


Trump is as American as apple pie.


As FAIR has noted before, the instinct to explain the seemingly inexplicable rise of Trump by blaming a foreign influence–or likening it to something from non-white or Slavic countries–is as lazy as it is subtly racist. Trump is Trump. Trump is American. His bigotry, his xenophobia, his sexism, his contempt for the media, his desire to round up undesirables, all have American origins and American explanations. They don’t need to be “like” anything else. They are like us.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

He's Generating Taxes

There's your argument for corporations, folks.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

As President, Will He Still Be Allowed to Tweet?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Thursday, September 29, 2016


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Meanwhile in Iraq

Calling it Iraq War 3.0 is a good idea.  We never really left, and it never really stopped.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Do Better, Don

Two days after the first presidential debate, top aides and people close to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump admit the candidate's performance was subpar and that he must dramatically improve in his second showdown against Hillary Clinton.

And if they want to keep their positions, they better hope he doesn't find out who.
The debate was a "disaster" for Trump, according to one source close to the campaign. Also dissatisfied with the debate performance were Trump's children, according to a campaign aide, who said they wish campaign leadership had forced him to take it more seriously.
Oh, my. Not the children, too! (Actually, I've been guilty of assuming they're no smarter than he is.)

There's also worry within the family that the campaign is having an adverse impact on their business. Trump's children deny this.
So, then, which "family" is worrying?
The internal debate that plagues the Trump campaign surrounds Trump's public persona. Aides say Trump needs to change. The bombastic candidate that worked in the primary isn't right for the general election.
Why? Are there really any fence-sitters at this point who haven't been exposed to his persona?
[T]wo campaign aides told NBC News that Trump didn't do what was needed Monday night at Hofstra University on Long Island and that the reason is because he did not do enough to prepare for the tedious, one-on-one environment against an experienced and well-prepared opponent.


Trump aides said that a strategy of winging it will not be the path forward in the Oct. 9 showdown in St. Louis. Instead, they will prepare more traditionally, an aide said, including holding mock debates, honing in on specific policy points and developing strategies to exploit Clinton's weaknesses. The campaign is even contemplating bringing in a professional debate coach.
Since he already made a very public dig at Hillary for actually leaving off campaigning to prepare for the first debate, I'll be curious to see how he spins preparation. On the other hand, his aides and campaign staff don't seem able to change Trump's "persona", and he doesn't seem to be able to focus beyond 90 seconds, so 90 minutes is virtually impossible. Besides, he's been saying he did a fantastic job in the first debate and that everybody else thought so, too. He WON in his mind. Also, he had a bad mic, and Lester Holt was unfair. Right?
Trump thinks that he performs best when he is unpracticed and he was worried that over-preparation would cause too much pressure and result in him freezing on stage.
There you go.
Advisers and aides, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, campaign COO Steve Bannon and aide Stephen Miller, sat in a circle and simply threw questions at Trump to ready him for the first debate.
And what? Let him rant and called it okay? I bet they didn't dare bring up anything that pissed him off.
But privately, aides know that — and Trump admits — he doesn't like to lose. Some aides are hopeful this was a wake-up call.
Hope is not a strategy. And, he thinks he won.
"The best thing about Trump is that he is a fast learner," another campaign source said.
On what planet?

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Where Can I Get One?

We ran this into the ground with George W Bush, if memory serves, and I think it does.  Pretty sure they didn't suggest coughing prevention machine back then though.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Trump Is a Communist???

"Communist Cuba" in case the slower of you didn't see the problem immediately.

"Bombshell".  You wish.  Trump unabashedly stated in the debate that his avoidance of taxes was smart business.  How is his avoidance of Cuban sanctions any different?  His supporters will just see another wily businessman move.

And there's that, too.

All the Putin scare hasn't been working.  Apparently enough people realize that Russia is no longer a communist country.  It's been off the boogie man radar since Condi Rice left Washington and Dubya looked into Putin's soul and saw a beautiful thing.  They're trying desperately to bring it back to the top, since we can't keep all the players straight in the Middle East long enough to rally the pitchfork brigade.  Besides, nobody can pronounce those Arab names.

I have to wonder if the MSM really believe their own bullshit, or if they're now painting Trump with the commie brush because that's the only trigger his supporters might fear.  They sure as hell don't care that he's actually a narcissistic, bigoted, money-grubbing, vengeful, racist, sociopathic, misogynistic, tax-evading capitalist asshole.  That seems to be what they like about him.

Since it's so close to election time, the MSM - who, ironically gave him the good free press he craved from the beginning - now need a bigger threat than Putin inspires.  Maybe they can find a Trump connection to dead Hugo Chávez (or Shavezz, as the brigade knows him) before November.

They really need to connect him to Colin Kaepernick.  That would do the trick.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Speaking of Memes

When Hillary Clinton mentioned in the debate that Trump had probably not paid any income tax, Trump leaned into his microphone and said the government would have squandered the money if he had. This is getting some play in the form of the following Twitter post (this one features Melania when the latest Trump was an infant):

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Prayer in the Senate

I did not realize they did this.

But this looks like a good thing.  I think diplomatic immunity is overly broad anyway.

A sweeping bipartisan majority in the Senate on Wednesday rejected President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, all but assuring that Mr. Obama would suffer the first override vote of his presidency.

The vote was 97 to 1, with only Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, siding with the president.


The measure would amend a 1976 law that granted other countries broad immunity from American lawsuits, allowing nations to be sued in federal court if they are found to have played any role in terrorist attacks that killed Americans on United States soil.


Trump! Russia!

Yes, Julia.  It also shows how gullible you "and so many" others (aka knee-jerk news consumers) are.  Stop passing on "scary" memes before you check them out.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Yet Marijuana Is Illegal

The National Institute of Drug Abuse’s website shows that approximately 25,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses in 2014. Around 19,000 of these deaths came from prescription opioid pain relievers such as methadone and oxycodone.


Additionally, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration drug sheet for marijuana reports that no deaths from marijuana overdose have ever been recorded.


One more caveat: synthetic marijuana has been attributed to overdose deaths. However, the experts we talked with told us that these drugs have nothing to do with marijuana and are a completely different class of substances.

So I wonder why they call it synthetic marijuana.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Atlantic Attacks Trump

Donald J. Trump has a cruel streak. He willfully causes pain and distress to others. And he repeats this public behavior so frequently that it’s fair to call it a character trait. Any single example would be off-putting but forgivable. Being shown many examples across many years should make any decent person recoil in disgust.

Judge for yourself if these examples qualify.

  The Atlantic
Thank you, Atlantic, but this won't turn people against Trump. George W. Bush was one of the nastiest, cruelest little SOBs on the planet, and he held the office for eight years.

Can't Be Terrorism

Two improvised explosive devices have gone off in the eastern German city of Dresden, targeting a mosque and an international conference center. No one was injured, according to police, although the mosque was severely damaged.


The authorities said that the imam and his family had been inside the mosque at the time of the detonation, but had managed to escape unharmed.


“Both attacks are related in timing. Although there is no claim of responsibility so far, we must go on the basis that the motive was xenophobic,” Horst Kretzschmar, head of Dresden police, said in a statement.

But not terrorism, because it targeted Muslims.


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Trump's Performance

Yo. He couldn't be two months from the presidency without a country full of toxic, unreliable minds.

If you saw the debate, you no doubt noticed that Trump did a lot of sniffing.  Very like someone who's just done some lines of cocaine, which he may well have.  I figured he'd blame it on a slight cold, but the mic?!

By the way, he actually did admit he doesn't pay income tax.  He won't release his returns, but when Hillary said perhaps it's because he doesn't pay any tax, he couldn't help himself and said, "That makes me smart."  And when she mentioned his several bankruptcies, he said, "It's called business."

I don't think this line of attack hurts him with his supporters.  I think they also believe, not only is it smart business, it's sticking it to the government, and they like that.  (Stupid as they may be, not making the connection that the government's money is their taxes.)
It was widely reported that Trump did not prepare for this  [...]  with policy briefings or mock sessions with aides. Instead he clearly prepped for the big night by reviewing his own LinkedIn profile.

  The Guardian
[After the debate, Trump] told a TV interviewer that he had shown heroic self-restraint in not mentioning Bill Clinton’s past infidelities out of respect for their daughter Chelsea. So yes, it could have been more childish still.

  The Guardian
There are still two more debates to go. Time enough.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, September 26, 2016


That was hysterical.  Can't wait for round 2.

I'll only say one thing about it:  Focusing on how proud he is of himself and how wonderful he is, Donald missed a perfect set-up to legitimately knock Hillary.  When the question was what the candidates would do to protect the US from cyber attacks, Hillary got first shot.  She gave her two minute spiel about how serious and important the issue is, and when Donald got his turn, had he been able to focus outside of his own vanity, he could have nailed her for running her own private server that left all her communications open to hackers.

Okay - two things:
Despite repeated, sniping interruptions from Trump when Clinton is talking (“Wrong.”) during her allotted time (“Wrong!”), Holt has completely failed to enforce his own rules and keep Trump quiet.

So long as Trump speaks whenever and however often he feels like it, unchallenged, Holt might as well be watching the debate from home along with the rest of us.

  Sam Biddle at The Intercept
Dude, he tried several times. NOBODY could have kept Trump quiet. I'm assuming Lester Holt did not have the ability to cut Trump's microphone.

Terrifying, but awesome.

And, this will be very funny if you watched the debate:

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Debate: What the Hell?

Lester Holt has just told the live audience they're not to make any noise, no applause, no booing during the debate.  So why do we have a live audience?

Dog & Pony.  They introduced Melania and Bill, each of whom, trailed by their families, entered and crossed by each other down front of the podiums to get to their seats.  Like sports teams or something.

Dog & Pony.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE:  The audience didn't keep their promise, which wasn't a surprise.

Just How Bad Is Hillary Clinton?

She's barely holding her own against Donald Fucking Trump.   Unfuckingbelievable.

Democrats should fold their tent and go home with their heads hanging in shame.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

There's Got to Be a Catch

“The intelligence community has […] committed to establishing a National Intelligence Professional Awards program to recognize superior service by an intelligence professional in effectuating change by speaking truth to power, by exemplifying professional integrity, or by reporting wrongdoing through appropriate channels,” according to a new Self-Assessment Report on the Third Open Government National Action Plan that was released by the White House last week.

  Federation of American Scientists
Why am I feeling skeptical? What are they really going to be doing?
Professional integrity may be welcome everywhere, but “speaking truth to power” is rarely welcomed by “power.” Often it is not even acknowledged as “truth.” [...] Meanwhile, “reporting wrongdoing” often seems to end badly for the reporter, as the frequency of whistleblower reprisal claims indicates.
So that's why I'm feeling skeptical.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

A Reminder of the US Torture Regime

On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., President George W. Bush sent a 12-page Memorandum of Notification to his National Security Council. That memorandum, we know now, authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to set up and run secret prisons. We still don’t know exactly what it says: CIA attorneys have told a judge the document is so off-limits to the courts and the American people that even the font is classified. But we do know what it did: It literally opened a space for torture.

Even the font is classified?!
Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit—a lawsuit the New York Times has called “among the most successful in the history of public disclosure”—we now know much of what happened in those secret spaces the Bush administration created. Under that litigation, the American Civil Liberties Union gathered nearly 140,000 formerly classified documents from the Department of Defense, the Justice Department, and the CIA that detail the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody in the “War on Terror.” My job, as the author of the website and then of the book The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program, was to dig through that incredible trove of documents and figure out for myself what, exactly, my country had done.


[T]he documents show that those who ordered and carried out the torture did so despite constant warnings and objections that their actions were ineffective, short-sighted, and wrong. It is no wonder that so many of these documents were suppressed.


Our highest government officials, up to and including President Bush, broke international and U.S. laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Worse, they made their subordinates in the military and civilian intelligence services break those laws for them.
So, yes, he IS a war criminal. And he has plenty of company.
They tortured men at military bases and detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, and in U.S. Navy bases on American soil; they tortured men in secret CIA prisons set up across the globe specifically to terrorize and torture prisoners; they sent many more to countries with notoriously abusive regimes and asked them to do the torturing. At least twice, after the torturers themselves concluded there was no point to further abuse, Washington ordered that the prisoners be tortured some more.

They tortured innocent people. They tortured people who may have been guilty of terrorism-related crimes, but they ruined any chance of prosecuting them because of the torture. They tortured people when the torture had nothing to do with imminent threats: They tortured based on bad information they had extracted from others through torture; they tortured to hide their mistakes and to get confessions; they tortured sometimes just to break people, pure and simple.


While the president and his top advisers approved and encouraged the torture of prisoners, there was dissent in every agency, at every level.


And they conspired to cover up their crimes.
Full article (2012).

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saudi Arms Sales Update

Previously I posted the list of senators who voted to not vote on opposing a $1.15 billion dollar sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.  Here's Alex Emmons at The Intercept on that.
In addition to providing Saudi Arabia with intelligence and flying refueling missions for its air force, the United States has enabled the bombing campaign by supplying $20 billion in weapons over the past 18 months. In total, President Obama has sold more than $115 billion in weapons to the Saudi kingdom – more than any other president.


The Obama administration announced the transfer [of an additional $1.15 billion] last month, the same day the Saudi Arabian coalition bombed a potato chip factory in the besieged Yemeni capital. In the following week, the Saudi-led forces would go on to bomb a children’s school, the home of the school’s principal, a Doctors Without Borders hospital, and the bridge used to carry humanitarian aid into the capital.


Coalition airstrikes are responsible for the majority of the 10,000 people killed in the conflict, and according to data collected by the Yemen Data Project, nearly a third of all Saudi air raids have hit civilian targets, including markets, factories, mosques, schools, or hospitals.


Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, four months after Houthi rebels from Northern Yemen overran the capitol, Sanaa, and deposed the Saudi-backed ruler, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.


After the White House failed to respond to a letter from 60 members of Congress requesting that the transfer be delayed, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced a resolution condemning the arms sale.

  The Intercept
So, if 60 Critters signed the letter, why did only 27 vote to allow a vote on the subsequent resolution to stop the sale?

Okay. #1) What's "lots"? #2) They're feeling good because they get to arm the Saudis who are destroying Yemen?  #3) If those asshats had been debating foreign policy like they were supposed to be doing back in the 2000's, maybe the world wouldn't be in the mess it's in now.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Circus Just Got Another Ring

Gennifer Flowers, the former model who had an extramarital affair with Bill Clinton in the 1980s, says she’ll accept an invitation from Donald Trump to sit in the front row of Monday’s presidential debate, according to an assistant.


The prospect of Flowers attending the debate was raised on Saturday when Trump tweeted that he would put her in the audience, if billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sat in the front row.

“If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Jennifer Flowers right alongside of him!” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon.


The co-chair of the nonpartisan commission that operates the debates said on Saturday that Cuban will not actually be sitting in the front row. But he will attend the debate, continuing his ongoing feud, which dates back about a decade, with Trump. Just this summer, Cuban questioned whether Trump is really a billionaire and criticized Trump as a liar.


The prospect of Flowers attending the debate was raised on Saturday when Trump tweeted that he would put her in the audience, if billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sat in the front row.

“If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Jennifer Flowers right alongside of him!” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon.


But that was the idea the Bushes had, that you take the American taxpayer (which they called "One Fodder Unit," or OFU) and you hit them in every single hat they wear.

I don't know where the term came from, but "One Fodder Unit" became a popular term on the Republican cocktail party circuit in 1985. According to them, each individual American citizen equals One Fodder Unit.

  Al Martin
The left is just a little later to the game than the right.

It says America to me, too.  But probably not in the same way it does to Guy.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Never Trump Ted Cruz Flips

After all the shitstorm between them, Ted Cruz has finally endorsed Trump.

I'm guessing he did it because he's starting to think Trump might win, and he doesn't want to be left out of the political handouts.

Is Ted shrinking in that suit right before our very eyes? Surely he doesn't normally wear his suit coats that large. Perhaps he didn't have his handy for the picture and some giant beefy Secret Service guy loaned him one. No, wait. All those pictures on the wall - he's in Trump's house or office. Trump put that jacket on him to make him look like the suck-up kiss-ass dufus he is, didn't he? Embarrassing, Ted. Embarrassing.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

You Have to Destroy a Village to Save It

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Jeremy Corbyn Is Standing Conventional Wisdom on Its Head

Despite the ceaseless and virulent opposition to Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party in British mainstream media, he has been re-elected to that position by 61% of the vote. This must be scary for the British media. Are people no longer listening to them?

This must also be scary for US mainstream media who have been dumping on Trump lately and seem to be poised to continue. What if Americans don't listen to THEM? Power of the press in decline? 

Perhaps that's what happens when you cease to be a force to keep government in line and instead become a government propaganda machine.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Science, Phooey!

ALTHOUGH A REPORT released this week by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology concludes that there is scant scientific underpinning to a number of forensic practices that have been used, for years, to convict thousands of individuals in criminal cases, the U.S. Department of Justice has indicated that it will ignore the report’s recommendations while the FBI has blasted the report as “erroneous” and “overbroad.”

  The Intercept
What they've got going now is working just the way they like it.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Jesus, Is That the Oval Office?

Thank goodness it won't be long before it gets redecorated.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Emmett Rensin at Newsweek "Gets It"

Why is Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton underperforming among young voters?


Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum blames Bernie Sanders. New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait agrees. The Daily Beast’s James Kirchick says “cynicism” and an inexplicable aversion to permanent imperial war are the problem. New Republic’s Brian Beutler, contra Kirchick, offers a take so hot that it has single-handedly revised global climate change projections: Young voters are insufficiently familiar with the horrors of the Bush administration. The given causes vary but the consensus is clear: Young voters are pathological and the cure is to disabuse them of their ignorance.


A wild theory: There is no pathology here. Only politics. It’s maddeningly simple.


Many younger American voters, perhaps a sufficient number of them to seriously imperil Clinton’s chances, have significant ideological differences with the candidate.


Hillary Clinton does not support single-payer health care; Young voters do. Hillary Clinton is among the more hawkish members of the Democratic Party; Young voters are not. Hillary Clinton is a capitalist, and even within a capitalist party, she is in both perception and in practice unusually comfortable with capitalism’s worst practices. Millennials, by contrast, reject the entire economic system by a bare majority. They are no great fans of financial institutions or free trade. This should not be surprising in a year when very few voters of any age group are particularly enthusiastic about their prospects.


The liberal punditry might be forgiven for underestimating the depth and seriousness of these differences had these young people not voted overwhelmingly and across all other demographic lines for a different candidate. The Clinton campaign might be forgiven for imagining these voters would “come home” had it not spent the weeks since the Democratic Convention fundraising and playing Bush administration endorsement bingo. The trouble is not that young people are insufficiently familiar with the neoconservative horror show of their own childhoods. The trouble is that the candidate they are meant to support does not appear to find that show particularly horrifying.


[S]urely if we are going to begin assigning blame for a theoretical Trump Presidency we ought to assign it to the generations actually breaking for Donald Trump.


I would like to suggest that the threat these young voters pose to technocratic liberalism is not the possibility of electing Donald Trump. Despite Clinton’s flagging numbers, her chances of success remain high. Rather, the fear is that if younger voters really are committed to a host of ideological positions at odds with the mainstream of the Democratic Party, then that Party, without a Trump-sized cudgel, is doomed.

I would be encouraged except for the fact that I think the Republicans have a whole host of Trump-sized cudgels waiting in the wings.  And, I think one of the reasons all these other pundits are coming up with silly analyses of Hillary's "millennial problem" is that the Clintons are going to be needing an excuse if Hillary doesn't make it to the White House, and they're preparing the way.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

US Senators Urge Obama to Get Behind Netanyahu

The news that many progressive US senators as well as vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine signed on to an Israel lobby letter designed to limit President Obama’s actions against the Israeli occupation, now nearly 50 years old, has been widely reported, but the plain facts need to be stated.

Yesterday the Israel lobby group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, flexed its muscle against President Obama and on the side of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu by posting a letter signed by 88 senators warning President Obama not to back any international measures that would pressure Israel to withdraw from occupied territories.


The letter was circulated by NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and got many progressive signatures: Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Ron Wyden, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, Barbara Mikulski, Barbara Boxer, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, Ed Markey, Jack Reed, right along with John McCain, Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso.


The letter is entirely consistent with the Democratic Party platform pushed through by Hillary Clinton in July, which removed references to occupation and settlements; Cornel West said then that the party was “beholden to AIPAC.”

At Tablet, Yair Rosenberg reports that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse all did not sign the letter because it didn’t go far enough in support of Israel (and against the two-state solution, in Cruz’s case).


The brave senators who did not sign this letter [presumably because of disagreement with Israel's policies in Palestine] include Democrats Patrick Leahy of VT, Bernie Sanders, Tom Carper of Delaware, and Dick Durbin of Illinois, along with Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Respect the Flag

The Flag Code addresses the impropriety of using the flag as an article of personal adornment, a design on items of temporary use, and item of clothing. The evident purpose of these suggested restraints is to limit the commercial or common usage of the flag and, thus, maintain its dignity. [...] The Code also states that the flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.

  Congressional Report on US flag code
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Robert Reich Explains

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Slightly Ironic

Protesters are to stay on sidewalks so as not to block traffic in this New York (9/21) protest in support of Keith Scott NC protesters. The cops are walking in the streets to make sure they do.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Jesus Wept

I was acquitted of the “Resisting The Force Cell Move Team” charge.

I was found guilty of the “Conduct Which Threatens” charge. This charge was for the suicide attempt.

I was found guilty of the “Prohibited Property” charge, which was for an unmarked copy of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” by Gabriella Coleman.

My punishment is 14 days in solitary confinement. 7 of those days are “suspended.” If I get in trouble in the next six months, those seven days will come back.


There is no set date set for this to start. After I receive the formal board results in writing, I have 15 days to appeal. I expect to get them in the next few days.

  Chelsea Manning @ Tumblr

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Charlotte Case: Keith Scott

After a second night of angry protests over the fatal shooting of Keith Scott by a police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina, the city’s police chief admitted that dashcam video of the incident, which has not been made public, does not include “absolute, definitive, visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun.”


Chief Putney, who has resisted demands from the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and others to release all video of the shooting recorded by other officers and by cameras mounted on patrol cars, said that his department only releases footage “when we think it is in the public’s interest.” In this case, he told reporters at a news conference, “you shouldn’t expect it to be released.”

Asked by one incredulous reporter how withholding the visual evidence could be squared with the city’s promise of full transparency, Putney said, “I never said ‘full transparency.’ I said ‘transparency,’ and transparency’s in the eye of the beholder.”

  The Intercept
Brilliant. I can see why there's trouble on the streets in Charlotte.

He says he'll let the family see the video.

In this instance, it turns out the officer who shot Scott was also a black man. But, he's still police. The Chief appears to be a black man as well.


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Prison Strike: Week 3

A prison strike against slave labor, which is entering its third week, has spread to at least 46 prisons and jails, according to the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.

Lockdowns, inmate suspensions, and full-unit strikes lasting at least 24 hours were reported at 31 facilities, housing approximately 57,000 incarcerated people.

Restrictions on prisoner communication and a lack of transparency in corrections departments make information on the strikes hard to obtain. Much of what is known was smuggled out through a grapevine of family, friends, and advocacy groups, as well as clandestine prisoner communications, like contraband cell phones and social media accounts.


While local news outlets report prison administrators have seemingly held back from punishing resisting prisoners, organizers say there has been ongoing retaliation.

It’s Going Down is now reporting that prisoners at Holman may be renewing their action after an incident with guards. An anonymous prisoner sent them a message, which read, “Just ten minutes ago members of the riot team and warden entered c dorm and attempted to confiscate a cellphone from a prisoner and whole c dorm rose up and forced them out of c dorm.”

The prisoner indicated that prisoners at Holman have felt the solidarity being shown on the outside, and that guards are quitting and refusing to work amid a staffing crisis at the facility.


One volunteer was able to learn of partial lockdowns at Arizona State Prison Complex Yuma and Douglas. But the volunteer said, “Nearly every prison I called was immediately suspicious of my call and seemed to have a canned ‘we’re not allowed to share that publicly’ line ready. Most asked me repeatedly who I worked for.”


The strike may still be ongoing at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California. At the Washington Correctional Center for Women, three women refused to go to their work assignments in the library and were taken to solitary confinement by an emergency response team. They were then sentenced to 20 days in solitary and face reclassification and the possible loss of their jobs.


Prisoners continue their hunger strike at the Wapun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, some of whom went on strike in June.

For other prison updates, check out the full article.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Freedom= White Comfort

For simply taking a knee during a football pre game in an effort to foster a conversation about the deaths of young men of color at the hands of police, these men have been made into the enemy by so much of white America. In some twisted, ironic, almost laughable missing of the point—it’s somehow become the angry black man’s fault for disparaging his country.

[...]White friends, if your immediate response to the shooting of Terence Crutcher is to try and justify why he’s dead, instead of asking why he was shot next to his disabled vehicle by those charged with as protecting and serving him, you may be the problem here. If you aren’t greatly burdened with grief for his family and you aren’t moved with compassion for the way scenes like this repeatedly kick people of color in the gut, you need to ask yourself some difficult questions about your own patriotism, your own appreciation of freedom, your own civic responsibility. You need to ask yourself whether you’re really for Liberty—or just white comfort.


White friends, if your immediate response to the shooting of Terence Crutcher is to try and justify why he’s dead, instead of asking why he was shot next to his disabled vehicle by those charged with as protecting and serving him, you may be the problem here. If you aren’t greatly burdened with grief for his family and you aren’t moved with compassion for the way scenes like this repeatedly kick people of color in the gut, you need to ask yourself some difficult questions about your own patriotism, your own appreciation of freedom, your own civic responsibility. You need to ask yourself whether you’re really for Liberty—or just white comfort.

  John Pavlovitz
h/t Glenna
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

They Don't Even Want to Allow a Vote on It

Why?  They obviously have the votes to block the resolution itself.  Do you suppose they don't want to be on record for an actual vote?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Reducing Police Murders

As police regulations vary widely between departments, researchers examined the policies of 91 of the country’s 100 largest cities’ departments, looking for eight major policies regulating the use of force. They wanted to see which departments implement the following eight policies:

Require officers to de-escalate situations before resorting to force
Limit the kinds of force that can be used to respond to specific forms of resistance
Restrict chokeholds
Require officers to give verbal warning before using force
Prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles
Require officers to exhaust all alternatives to deadly force
Require officers to stop colleagues from exercising excessive force
Require comprehensive reporting on use of force
Not a single department was found to implement all eight policies.

But even common-sense practices such as de-escalating situations or exhausting alternatives before resorting to deadly force were required, respectively, of only 34 and 31 of the 91 departments examined. Only 30 departments required officers to intervene to stop a colleague from exercising excessive force, and only 15 required officers to report on all uses of force, including threatening civilians with a firearm.


Police departments that had implemented each use of force policy were less likely to kill people than police departments that had not, and the lowest rates of police killings were associated with those departments that had implemented four or more policies — only about a third of the country’s largest departments.


Better regulation of use of force is better for police, too, as the report also shows that the numbers of officers assaulted or killed in the line of duty decreased in proportion with the number of regulations adopted by their department.

  The Intercept
I have another suggestion that would be a big help: repeal all those open and concealed carry laws.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Yahoo Survey - And by Yahoo, I mean Yahoos

Let me be very clear about this:


Unless they mean shutting off the portion wherein the national anthem is played and then turning it back on, that 44% are liars.

And let me ask this:  how many of THEM stand for the anthem when they're watching from their couches at home?

The Clash of Free Markets and Democracy

In North America and Europe [...] the intellectual myopia that [tortured, exiled, and assassinated Chilean Orlando] Letelier condemned so ferociously continues to restrict the perimeters of far too many of our public debates. As in Letelier’s time [during the US-backed dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet], our loudest establishment voices generally have no trouble condemning repression by foreign dictatorships or the rise of neofascism within our borders—some will even admit that there is a crisis of police violence. But very rarely are the dots connected between such troubling phenomena and the celebrated free-market policies for which Chile, under the Chicago Boys, was the earliest and purest laboratory.

And yet the connections are screaming to be made. There is a reason, for instance, why authoritarian 
China has become the sweatshop for the world: As in Chile in the ’70s, its suppression of democracy, restrictions on information, and brutal repression of dissidents create the required conditions to keep wages down and workers under control.

Similarly, there is a clear reason why mass incarceration exploded in the United States in the midst of the neoliberal economic revolution, when the welfare system has been radically eroded and the public funding of virtually all social services is under attack. It isn’t a grand conspiracy, but the economic exclusion of huge swaths of the population required some parallel strategy of escalated repression and containment (the drug war was awfully handy that way). [...] And yet, too often, we imagine that these forces can be defeated without substantive shifts in policy.


“High levels of unemployment and decades of disinvestment in black communities have led to dangerous interactions with police,” explains Dorian T. Warren, one of the authors of the Movement for Black Lives’ economic platform and board chair of the Center for Community Change. Or as Letelier put it all those years ago: “The economic plan has had to be enforced.”

  The Nation
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

I Know the Answer to This One

She says "Ariel" footage.  So the answer is obvious:  It's under the sea.

And Yet Another

At this point, it's hard not to think the police in this country are out of control. Unless you don't want to see it.
At least 100 protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina clashed with police late Tuesday night following the deadly police shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott.


Scott was killed Tuesday after police noticed him standing in front of an apartment complex they were going to enter to serve a warrant on someone else.


Scott’s brother told reporters that Scott was waiting for his son to get home from school when an officer jumped out of his vehicle without a uniform.

“He was an undercover, he just jumped out and yelled ‘gun’ and shot him,” he told WSOC.


Although police claim Scott was armed with a gun, relatives and witnesses are countering the police narrative, denying allegations that Scott was armed. They say all he had was a book.


Another man used Facebook Live to talk to an older gentleman who claimed to be a witness, who stated that he saw the book in Scott’s hands. The man also said that Scott was disabled and standing in the same place where he waits for his son every day.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nice Work If You Can Get It

John Boehner, the retired Speaker of the House, is monetizing his decades of political relationships and cashing out to serve some of the most powerful special interests in the world.

  The Intercept
A highly predictable move.
Boehner is joining Squire Patton Boggs, a lobbying firm that peddles its considerable influence on behalf of a number of foreign nations, including most notably the People’s Republic of China. [...] Squire Patton Boggs also represents a long list of corporate clients, including AT&T,, Goldman Sachs & Co., Royal Dutch Shell, and the Managed Funds Association, a trade group for the largest hedge funds in the country.

The news comes just a week after the announcement that Boehner will be joining the board of Reynolds American, the tobacco company responsible for brands such as Camel and Newport cigarettes. The tobacco board seat will likely earn Boehner over $400,000 a year in stock and cash. The Squire Patton Boggs salary has not been disclosed, but lawmakers of Boehner’s stature have easily obtained salaries at similar gigs in the seven-figure range.


In Congress, Boehner was known for his strong alliances with the lobbying community. In 1995, Boehner was caught distributing campaign checks from the tobacco industry on the House floor to members to influence a vote on tobacco legislation. In 2006, the Washington Post revealed that Boehner lived in an apartment on Capitol Hill rented to him by a lobbyist who did business with his committee. As Republican leader, he was known for scheduling votes around fundraising events, including one incident in which Boehner interrupted House proceedings so he could attend a lobbyist-fueled bash called the “Boehner Beach Party.”


[He's] finally getting the role he’s auditioned for over the course of three decades in elected office.


Boehner is reportedly declining to register as a lobbyist for his new job at a lobbying firm.
Of course.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Yet Another One - Alternate Issue

A US police department in Oklahoma has released video of an encounter in which an unarmed black man was shot dead by a white officer while his hands were up.


In the encounter, which happened at about 7:40pm on Friday, Betty Shelby, a Tulsa police officer since 2011, shoots once and kills Crutcher while responding to a stalled vehicle report, according to the police department.


When a second police car arrived as back-up, Crutcher had his hands up as he walked away from Shelby, who was following him with her gun pointed at his back. She was soon joined by three more officers, according to the dashboard video of the second squad car.

Crutcher was shot less than 30 seconds after the second car arrived, US media reported.


After the shooting, Crutcher could be seen lying on the side of the road, a pool of blood around his body, for nearly two minutes before anyone checked on him.


Shelby did not activate her patrol car's dashboard cam, said Tulsa police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie. Only the second patrol car's dashboard cam was on.

And that was after being tased.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Yet Another One

The father of the man suspected in bombings in New York City and New Jersey contacted the FBI following a 2014 stabbing to express concerns that his son was a terrorist, he told reporters on Tuesday.

“Two years ago I go to the FBI because my son was doing really bad, OK?” Mohammed Rahami told the New York Times. “But they check almost two months, they say, ‘He’s OK, he’s clean, he’s not a terrorist.’ I say OK.”


Ahmad Khan Rahami was arrested for stabbing a person in the leg and possession of a firearm in 2014. But a grand jury declined to indict him, despite a warning from the arresting officer that Rahami was likely “a danger to himself or others”.


So far Rahami has not been charged with terrorism offences, rather with five counts of attempted murder of a police officer and two second-degree weapons charges, all of which result from his arrest. More charges were expected to be brought against him in federal court, and on Tuesday the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said the explosions were being investigated “as an act of terror”. He is being held on $5.2m bail and remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition. Police have not yet been able to interview him in depth, New York police commissioner James O’Neill said on Tuesday.

  The Guardian
I suppose they're reluctant to call this terrorism because the FBI didn't get the plot foiled before it happened.

I wonder if they have a guard on him. I suggest keeping the FBI out of the room.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Smart Businessman

Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.

In addition to buying a portrait of himself, contributing to political causes, and other personal spending of charity money.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.