Monthly Archives: July 2016

Real Time with Bill Maher: Interview with Bernie Sanders – July 29, 2016 (HBO)

Bill Maher did an important interview of Bernie Sanders.

While the interview has a value, there was too much emphasis on the danger of Donald Trump without a balanced look at the dangers of Clinton. Also, we need a Plan B in case Donald Trump does get elected. That would be to elect enough Progressives to Congress so that Congress will be able to stop Trump when he tries to do bad things. Not all Democrats now in Congress are on the correct side of many issues. Most of the Republicans in Congress are not on the correct side of most issues.

Contradictions at the Kitchen Table: Sanders, Obama, and Clinton at the Democratic National Convention

Naked Capitalism has the article Contradictions at the Kitchen Table: Sanders, Obama, and Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

This is a pretty devastating analysis of our country’s condition and the Democratic National Convention. It does not flatter any politician, including Jill Stein.

Check the charts above in “The Kitchen Table in Chart Form,” and you’ll see that Obama’s “everyone who has not yet felt the progress” is, like, 90% of the population if you use the kitchen table metric of concrete material benefits given to working class households.
This after a candidate explicitly calling for (dread word) socialism — which, for those who came in late, is all about the power imbalance between labor and capital — took 45% of the Democrat vote in a grotesquely rigged primary!
[CLINTON:] But we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through, and that we’re going to do something about it.

Kshama Sawant vs. Rebecca Traister on Clinton, Democratic Party and Possibility of a Female President

Truth-out has an the article Kshama Sawant vs. Rebecca Traister on Clinton, Democratic Party and Possibility of a Female President. The article has the video below and a transcript. Also, you can go directly to the video with this link.

KSHAMA SAWANT: Well, as a Socialist and a feminist myself and as a woman and a woman of color, I have no question in my mind that in order to make social change, it is absolutely critical that women, people of color, all the members of the oppressed communities under capitalism, be on the forefront of struggle. But I think the identity of the person we are talking about, the leading people, is — are much less important. Their identities are much less important. What’s far more critical is where they stand.

So, if you look at the significance of her being the first female nominee, I understand the appeal of that, I’m sympathetic to that. But here’s what I would say. I actually — you know, all throughout this campaign season, I was reminded of a show — an episode that you played, Amy, in 2008, when you had Melissa Harris-Perry and Gloria Steinem debating, and Gloria was saying, “Well, if you’re a woman, you need to vote for Hillary Clinton,” and Melissa was saying, “Well, if you’re a person of color, you need to vote for Obama.” And I was sitting there watching as a woman of color, saying neither of these candidates represent my interests as a woman of color. And the reason I say that is it has less to do with their identity and far more to do with the interests they represent.

Kshama Sawant keeps elevating the discussion above sound bites. She makes a stronger case than even Bernie Sanders has made. She is a far better debater than Bernie ever was. The one point that she missed at the end was her response to the following comment:

REBECCA TRAISTER: OK, OK, all right. It’s interesting looking at all the emails that were hacked and that have been released. And one of the things that struck me is that, of course, there was the horrendous sort of discussion of using Bernie’s faith against him. You know, it was very obvious that people within the DNC didn’t like Bernie Sanders. It doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me. I think the DNC was not operating well throughout this — throughout this primary season. But what I didn’t find, actually, was any evidence that there was any systemic rigging. I mean, Hillary Clinton won millions of more votes than Bernie Sanders over the course of these primaries. And there — yeah, there are all kinds of arguments about why and whether it should have gone that way. But, to me, there is — I have found no persuasive evidence.

I found evidence that people in the DNC did not like Bernie, that people in the party did not like Bernie. He hadn’t — you know, he recently joined the party. That’s very true, and I understand why it’s troublesome. But I haven’t seen any evidence that the process itself was rigged or that there was any actual — they couldn’t — they didn’t get it — there was nothing in all those emails about what they were going to do to stop this guy, who, yes, they were saying they didn’t like, but I think the idea that the DNC, a rather ineffectual organization, had an impact on what was a democratic — a deeply flawed process, that I wish we did differently in this country — but she won. By a lot.

Kshama could have pointed out that if the evidence of rigging was not found in the emails, there was plenty of such evidence elsewhere. The fact that they weren’t stupid enough to be emailing about election fraud, is as logicians would say “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. That last thought is especially important when there is evidence elsewhere.

A noun, a verb, and Donald Trump

This YouTube clip, Joe Biden: Noun + Verb + 9/11 = Giuliani Vocabulary , shows Joe Biden speaking his immortal words starting at about the 45 second mark.

Here are his words adapted to the 2016 Presidential election.

I mean think about it. Hillary Clinton, there are only three things she mentions in a sentence – a noun, a verb, and Donald Trump

If this speech pattern didn’t work for Rudolph Giuliani, should we let it work for Hillary Clinton?

Jill Stein’s Ideas Are Terrible. She Is Not the Savior the Left Is Looking For.

Slate has proven that the corporate media are finally taking notice of Jill Stein.  The article Jill Stein’s Ideas Are Terrible. She Is Not the Savior the Left Is Looking For is one poorly written attempt to tear her down.

She would also “Ban neonicotinoids and other pesticides that threaten the survival of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.” This is a nod to the discredited theory that some pesticides are driving the collapse of honeybee populations (which, by the way, are not actually collapsing).

Purely by coincidence, before reading this story I had read an article in The Huffington Post Our Chemicals Are Killing Honey Bees’ Sex Lives.

A new study, however, suggests two common neonicotinoid insecticides are not only shortening the overall lifespan of male honey bees, known as drones, but also inhibiting their ability to produce viable sperm.

I leave it up to you, if you want to, to read the rest of the Slate article  to see what other pure bunkum is in it.

Reporter who added some swagger to the D.B. Cooper legacy comes clean

The Los Angeles Times has the story Reporter who added some swagger to the D.B. Cooper legacy comes clean.  If you needed an example of my contention that once the media gets a story wrong, they just never let it go, here is one example (if you can believe this version).

“So that’s the full account and you’re the first to get it. The FBI did put out a press release, I think it was the next day, saying the hijacker used the name Dan Cooper, and we did run that statement, but it never caught on,” he said.

“Everybody just kept saying D.B., and we gave up trying to change it.”


Obama’s Final Revenge: The Accidental Destruction of Hillary Clinton

The National Review has the article Obama’s Final Revenge: The Accidental Destruction of Hillary Clinton.

The headline and most of the ideas are right, but coming from The National Review, they just couldn’t keep from putting at least one boneheaded statement in the article (I said at least one).

The economy has continued to stall under his redistributionist, anti-capitalist watch.

A more truthful statement would have been that the economy has continued to stall under his continued redistribution of wealth to the wealthy and blindly pro-capitalist watch. They were right about the economy stalling for the not-so-wealthy.  They just want  the not-so-wealthy to think it has stalled because Obama was on their side.  They don’t want anyone to realize that the problem comes from Obama’s being on  the side of the readers of The National Review.

Many times I have harped on the real problem of the Democratic Party and its candidates that this article identifies.  You can not win an election by making happy talk about conditions that the voters know are not happy.  Ignoring the fact that there are problems, and thus failing to put the blame  where it belongs, the Democratic Party has left it up to the Republicans to identify the problem but misdirect the blame from where it belongs.

Of course it is hard for the Democrats to identify the problems in their speeches, because to do so would require them to admit their part in the continuation of the problems.

Bernie Sanders has been exactly right.  The Republicans aren’t winning the elections so much as the Democrats are giving them away.  The Democratic “leaders” have completely failed to grasp but Bernie has been trying to tell them.  It was this failure to listen that drove him to run for the Presidency himself.

The Long Fall of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The Atlantic magazine has the article The Long Fall of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

… her tenure was rocky long before that—in fact, within a month of her being named in 2011 to finish the term of Tim Kaine, who had just been elected to the Senate, Democrats were starting to grumble about her. When her term ended after Obama’s reelection, there was more sniping about her leadership, and Obama’s advisors urged him to bring in someone new, but Wasserman Schultz made it clear she wouldn’t go without a fight, according to reports at the time and my sources inside the DNC. And so the White House chose the path of least resistance and kept her in.

At the time this happened, I remember being rather disgusted that Obama allowed her to continue. It was already clear that she had a lot to do with Democratic losses. She was more interested in funneling money to her network of select campaign ill-advisors than she was interested in winning political office for other Democrats. Perhaps she was actually working to get these other Democrats to lose.

After writing the above remark, I came across another important item.  I don’t want to push fair use too far, but I have to include this excerpt.

The larger issue, many Democrats told me, was the White House’s lack of concern with the health of the party, which allowed the DNC to atrophy. “There’s a lot of soul-searching and reckoning to be done going forward about the role of the party,” Smith said. Obama won the nomination by running against the party establishment, and once he got into office converted his campaign into a new organization, Organizing for America. It was technically a part of the DNC, but in reality served as a rival to it that redirected the party’s organizing functions, effectively gutting its field operation. The weakened DNC bears some of the responsibility for the epic down-ballot losses—in Congress, state offices, and legislatures—that have occurred during Obama’s presidency.

Why, oh why did the people in the know keep pretending that she was doing a good job?  This is typical of private industry, too.  People are afraid of getting sued if they say anything bad about a person’s performance.  This makes people only too glad to help someone find a new job to get them out of their current position.  Whoever is inquiring about hiring this hated person gets glowing reviews from his or her references who are so anxious to get rid of the person.

A Banquet of Consequences: The Reality of Our Unusually Uncertain Economic Future

RT (Russia Today) has interview with the author of the book A Banquet of Consequences: The Reality of Our Unusually Uncertain Economic Future.

In this special 2016 Summer Solutions episode, Max and Stacy talk to Das, author of ‘A Banquet of Consequences: The Reality of Our Unusually Uncertain Economic Future’, about the structural changes needed to halt the decline in real wages. They also discuss financialization, economic apartheid and debt jubilees.

What are the chances that Hillary’s Wall Street based economic advisors think this deeply about what they are doing, or care about the consequences for the rest of us?

Hillary and Bill probably assume that no matter how deep the crisis becomes, enough of their $150 million in earnings since he left the White House will remain in tact to keep them comfortable. They are probably correct about their own safety, but their are some exceptions. The lesson of the Russian Tsars after the Russian Revolution and the French aristocracy after the French Revolution does not bode well for all the wealthy.

Read more details about the book on Amazon.

I don’t believe the outcome has to be as dire as this author predicts. If the governments of the world implement partial measures, they could turn out to be this bad. Entitlements do not have to be cut as dramatically as he assumes if the real wealth is distributed more fairly. Resource constraints might be the barrier that cannot be overcome, but technology might have the solution to that problem.

Slave Labor Crews Help Out at Rutland’s Treasure Valley

The Landmark web site has the article Sheriff’s inmate work crews help out at Rutland’s Treasure Valley.

Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis has been providing inmate work crews to assist budget strapped cities and towns all over Worcester County.

I first came to know about this article from seeing it posted on Thomas Chamberland’s Facebook page.

This article and the Facebook discussion after it, just shows the depths to which this nation has sunk. That the normally progressive person, Thomas Chamberland, can defend this program is even more astounding than the program itself.

Here is my initial comment that started a thread of discussion on Facebook.

But the savings in money is a measure of the work they do that the state does not pay for. The jobs they do for no pay would have to be done by free people for pay. It helps keep the unemployment figures high, which has some role in having more people in jail.

You can tell me about all the money the state pays to keep them housed and fed, but housing and feeding were the costs the plantation owners paid to keep their slaves alive and working. [I wouldn’t buy this justification from admitted slave owners, so it doesn’t cut it here.]

The fact that being out doing these projects is better than being locked inside is also a very weak excuse. The authorities that run the prisons should be required to pay the going wage rate to the convicts for the work that the convicts do. Many of these convicts have families that need to be supported. To say nothing of the unconvicted who could have used those jobs to support their families.

We call it unfair trade practices when other countries sell us goods that were made with prison labor. What suddenly makes it fair if we sell goods to ourselves that were made with prison labor?

The conversation on Facebook is ongoing.  If you are interested in both sides of the argument, you will have to read it on Facebook.  I don’t think you have to have a Facebook account to read it.  I think this conversation is open to the public.