Friday, July 03, 2015

Hillary Won't Take A Backseat (Pants Suit On Fire)

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Hillary was a hipster in the 60's

I'm not a Hillary hater. I'm very enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders, not because of who she is but because of who he is. And although at this point I can't imagine voting for her if she wins the primary, I know myself well enough to admit I'll be rooting for her over Bush or Trump or Walker or Cruz or whichever garbage wins the clown car derby. That said, I was shocked today when Hillary-- visiting New Hampshire progressive bastion Hanover-- told a medium-sized crowd, "I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record of standing up and fighting for progressive values."

She's no dummy and she certainly knows what "progressive" means; apparently she doesn't care. There may be some good justifications for progressives to vote for her-- primarily to keep someone far worse, whether Webb or Rubio, out of the White House-- but her "progressive values" would not be among them. She's a cautious centrist with many of the most reactionary power-mongers within the Democratic Party on her team. If actual progressives like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alan Grayson and Donna Edwards get "A" grades, it wouldn't be fair to grade Hillary anything more than a "C" or, at best, a B minus. On almost every progressive issue outside of specific women's issues she's been a laggard and a follower, never a leader, holding a wet finger to the wind.
Seeking the Democratic nomination, Clinton's focus has been on economic issues, the driving force behind Sanders' recent rise in polls. The senator describes himself as a democratic socialist and has won elections in Vermont as an independent. He has drawn large crowds around the country and reported raising $15 million since late April, about one-third of the $45 million Clinton has brought in.

Sanders said on Friday in an email to supporters that he would release a series of policy proposals in the next few weeks "to address the major issues facing our nation." The campaign is seeking to ramp up its volunteer base and planning to hold organizing meetings across the nation on July 29.
This is a Bob Dylan song from 1965, his first Top 40 hit and the lead track from Bringing It All Back Home. The song references the conflict between the liberal firebrand Hillary supposedly really was at the time and the centrist she gradually turned herself into. It's worth listening to over and over until you know every word and understand every inference:



Johnny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off

Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when

But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way

Lookin’ for a new friend

The man in the coon-skin cap

By the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten
Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin’ that the heat put

Plants in the bed but
The phone’s tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say

They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A.
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on your tiptoes
Don’t try “No-Doz”

Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose

Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell
Try hard, get barred

Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail

Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
But users, cheaters

Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool 


Lookin’ for a new foolDon’t follow leadersWatch the parkin’ meters Ah get born, keep warmShort pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed

Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts

Don’t steal, don’t lift
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid

Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals

Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum

You better chew gum

The pump don’t work
’
Cause the vandals took the handles


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Questions Remain: CNN Saw an ISIS flag at London's Gay Pride Parade and Wondered Where the Outrage Was

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"[T]he only bad mimicry I could see was CNN's impression of a reputable news organization."
-- Paul Coombs, creator of the London Pride dildo flag

by Noah

CNN wonders where the outrage is? I've got your outrage right here, CNN. I'm outraged that you exist, and I have been for over 20 years! Yeesh, and some people think that FOX is the only cable news outlet that sees things that are not there, jumps the shark, and reports on them.

Sure, FOX is the master of such things. What can you say about a "news" outlet that uses The Onion as a source?



Or uses the Duck Dynasty guy and Rudy Giuliani as experts on foreign policy? Not to mention using Nevada welfare rancher Cliven Bundy as its race relations correspondent?

But last Saturday CNN, reporting from London, spent over seven minutes reporting on and showing what they said was an ISIS flag being carried in the city's Gay Pride parade. The only thing was, the flag was not an ISIS flag but a black flag covered in depictions of dildos and butt plugs. And I still have some questions about the incident.



By COREY CHARLTON for MailOnline

CNN has mistaken a flag displaying sex toy symbols for that of terrorist organisation Islamic State in a report it aired on London's Gay Pride parade.

In an 'exclusive' report which ran on Saturday, a CNN correspondent went on air to claim she was the only one to notice an ISIS jihad flag being waved among gay pride crowds.

But to the broadcaster's embarrassment, the satirical flag was adorned not with Arabic lettering, but symbols of sex toys.

The report cut live to correspondent Lucy Pawle, who told viewers: 'This man dressed in black and white was waving what appears to be very bad mimicry, but a very clear attempt to mimic, what is the ISIS flag - the black and white flag with the distinctive lettering.'

She continues: 'If you look at the flag closely, it's clearly not Arabic, in fact it looks like it could be goobledegook, but it's very distinctive - the ISIS flag.'

Pawle then states that she appears to be 'the only person' to notice the extremist flag being waved on London's Regent St.

'I seem to be the only person who had spotted this, and nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing it out, so I immediately went to an events organiser who said he didn't know anything about it.

'I also spoke to the police nearby, who weren't aware either.'

Eagle-eyed viewers were quick to castigate both the journalist and the broadcaster for being fooled.

Immediately following the gaffe, her Twitter page was inundated with viewers' pointing out the mistake.
The flag was created by parade participant Paul Coombs, to start a conversation about ISIS derserving mockery and disrespect. He never thought CNN would think it was real. Who could blame him?

I created the Isis dildo flag at London Pride to start a dialogue, not get a laugh

Paul Coombs


Guardian caption: "Paul Coombs knew his 'Dildosis' flag might inspire a little controversy at London Pride. He never expected that it would go viral. Photograph: Paul Coombs"

I spent the morning of London’s Pride parade hand-stitching dildos onto a flag.

I’d been using the sex-toy motif in my work before I made a flag of Isis out of them and brought it to the march. Previously, I’ve attached dildos onto postcards from each country where homosexuality is still illegal to point out that the laws of these places regards its gay residents as mere sex objects.

The decision to make the flag was a simple one: a sense of outrage at Isis’s brutal advance across North Africa, Libya, Syria and Iraq. Medieval ideologies and barbarism were being spread and recorded through that most modern of expressions, social media, with that flag ever-present. It has become a potent symbol of brutality, fear and sexual oppression. If I wanted to try and stimulate a dialogue about the ridiculousness of this ideology, the flag was key.

It was important that I didn’t try to replicate the writing on the flag, because the words and their subject – Islam – are not the target. But if I showed as little respect to this flag as Isis shows to the religion and people they claim to represent so that when people saw it they would think, “dildos”? Would that be a crazy idea?

The Pride festival is a pure celebration of the finest aspects of humanity: of tolerance, togetherness, acceptance and liberation, the polar opposite of what Isis stands for. If there was anywhere where my flag had a voice, it was there. And I had an invitation to march in the parade with a friend involved with “Alien Sex Club”, an art project exploring the HIV syndemic by John Walter.

We agreed we would gauge reaction to the flag from fellow marchers before we hit the main streets and the crowds, but the reaction was so good humored and understanding that any worries were dissipated in minutes. The tragedies in Tunisia, Kuwait and Lyon made the case for protesting against these murderers even stronger; defiance is the best form of remembrance. The flag was so clearly made of dildos that I never thought it could be mistaken for an actual Isis flag.

But 1.5 miles (2.4km) into the march, a gust of wind suddenly snapped the flagpole in two. I was wrestling with it when three or four police officers calmly appeared beside me.

Three policemen held out the flag and inspected it, grinning, acknowledging immediately that these were definitely dildos and butt plugs. They explained that they were getting reports that a man was carrying an Isis flag through the streets, a misconception that could easily put me in danger. They asked if I would keep the flag concealed. So I put it away.

Several hours passed before I noticed spreading news that CNN reported on the flag as though it was an actual Isis banner, not a piece of cloth covered in sex toys. #DildoIsis quickly started trending online. People made tribute dildo flags. But how could a report so hysterical and so clearly false possibly get onto the air, discussed by a terrorism expert? CNN correspondent Lucy Pawle described my flag as a “very bad mimicry” but the only bad mimicry I could see was CNN’s impression of a reputable news organization. What does this say about every other report that they broadcast? And why have they not mentioned it since? They seem to think that if nobody says anything about it then it can’t have really happened.

But oh, it did. On a message board someone posted: “Whenever I see the Isis flag anywhere, all I can see is dildos!” Mission accomplished.

BUT SOME QUESTIONS REMAIN

Was CNN just trying to outdo FOX or beat FOX at its own game? What does this say about the mindset at CNN that can equate the Gay Pride movement with ISIS and see a world where gays and terrorists are working together to take over the world? Especially since ISIS is known to kidnap gay people and toss them off of buildings.

In what universe would this CNN reportage make sense? No matter to the folks at CNN. They ran with it, even bringing in their terrorism expert, Peter Bergen, for commentary. The best satirists in the world would have trouble topping this one.

How did CNN's London reporter, Lucy Pawle, not see the dildo- and butt-plug-covered flag for exactly what it was?

This story inspires me to ask: Isn't the dildo one of the top two national symbols of England anyway? Second only to an empty case of Watneys Beer?

Note that part of the story where Pawle, explaining to the CNN audience that she seemed to be "the only person" to notice the extremist flag that wasn't there, managed to toot her own fool horn, saying,
[N]obody seems be raising any questions or pointing it out, so I immediately went to an events organizer who said he didn't know anything about it. I spoke to the police nearby, who weren't aware either.
Damn! You go, girl! What are they paying you? Good thing CNN was on the case!

Was CNN just trying to outdo FOX or beat FOX at its own game? What does this say about the mindset at CNN that can equate the Gay Pride movement with ISIS and see a world where gays and terrorists are working together to take over the world, especially, since ISIS is known to kidnap gay people and toss them off of buildings

In what universe would this CNN reportage make sense? No matter to the folks at CNN. They ran with it, even bringing in their terrorism expert, Peter Bergen, for commentary. The best satirists in the world would have trouble topping this one.

How did CNN's London reporter, Lucy Pawle, not see the dildo and butt plug covered flag for exactly what it was?

This story inspires me to ask: Isn't the dildo one of the top two national symbols of England anyway? Second only to an empty case of Watneys Beer?

Explaining to the CNN audience that she seemed to be "the only person" to notice the extremist flag that wasn't there, Pawle managed to toot her own fool horn by saying --

[N]obody seems be raising any questions or pointing it out, so I immediately went to an events organizer who said he didn't know anything about it. I spoke to the police nearby, who weren't aware either.
Damn, you go, girl! What are they paying you? Good thing CNN was on the case!

But from what I know of England, through working at a couple of English music companies, I would think that every English woman has at least some familiarity with dildos, if only out of necessity. I expect that England even has a Museum of Royal Dildos, or something over in their Parliament building. I hear the "Dildos of the Upper Classes" display at the House of Lords is very comprehensive, as is the "England: 1000 Years of Dildos and Butt Plugs" exhibit.

You know how much the English love tradition. They celebrate their queens so much that I believe I even once heard something about a dildo called the Victoria Specia, "available in a numbered LTD edition."



Did someone have to explain to Lucy Pawle what a dildo is? Was she just auditioning to replace Sarah Palin at FOX, or get a gig on Fox and Friends? Was her mission just to make Wolf Blitzer look intelligent by comparison?

Final thought on this: We now know that Rafael "Ted" Cruz and Mike Huckabee don't watch CNN. For if they did, they would be railing for weeks to come against the merging of Gay Pride activists with ISIS on Hannity, O'Reilly and the rest, smashing CNN's coverage of ISIS teaming up with gay activists to dust.

In the end, CNN needs to learn that there is only one FOX News and that, try as they might, they are just a pale, feeble imitation.
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Let Them Eat Air Conditioners

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The jet stream pattern over Europe on July 1, 2015 (click to enlarge; source).

by Gaius Publius

This seems to have been a week of partial news. There's Greek news, but not much of it until the weekend. (Then look out.) There's Clinton news, but not much of it. There's Other Clinton news, but nothing you didn't expect. And there's horrible weather news, which climate delayer Judith Curry wants to turn into a "more carbon please" investment opportunity — in air conditioning, in Pakistan. Shorter Judith Curry — "Let them eat air conditioners."

And there's Bernie Sanders news, but you read that here already. Again, nothing you didn't expect. Thus begins the holiday weekend.

A brief wrap-up:

■ The Sanders news and the Clinton news, coupled with the Other Clinton news, means basically that Sanders can win the primary, even if neither candidate has a Macaca moment. From the Sanders piece:
Last night Bernie spoke to a capacity crowd at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (which the corporatists call the Alliant Energy Center) in Madison. People had warned him that, with school out, he would be lucky to fill a quarter of the 10,000 capacity venue. But he filled it. ...

Hillary is counting on the $45 million she's collected, primarily from Wall Street and individual fat cats, to help her overcome Bernie's policy-oriented appeal. According to CNN, he's collected $9 million so far[.]
Even that $9 million Sanders figure is out of date now. One day later than the CNN report, The Hill and others report a higher number. Make that $15 million that Sanders has raised:
Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised $15 million in his first two months on the campaign trail as he looks to bankroll his bid against frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s massive war chest.

“It’s a tremendous start, we are on our way to building a massive campaign fundraising organization built on small donors all around the country,” Tad Devine, a Sanders aide, told The Hill, after the campaign released a snapshot of its fundraising totals on its website.
Consider the ifs. Were Sanders quickly out of the race, Clinton clearly gets the nomination, then tries to unburn her bridges to actual progressive Democrats in the general election, all the while publicly washed in the money that's floated both Clinton careers, spouting progressive mottos and fending off 10 years of stored Republican oppo research. Will she win? It depends on this.

With Sanders in the race for the long haul, she could be in real trouble. Speaking with friends recently I rough-guessed that she had about $50 million by now, to his $5 million. I was right about her money, and off by one-third about his. That, plus his ability to pull crowds, plus his ability to be tack-sharp in speeches and interviews makes him what Stephen Colbert used to call "a formidable opponent." This plane has barely taken off.

Thom Hartmann: "Bernie Sanders could be the next FDR."

If you click the video, note at about 0:45: "If Elizabeth Warren wants be a senator and wants to have power and authority in the Senate, the Clintons have long memories and they punish their enemies and help their friends ... So if Elizabeth Warren endorses anybody before the primary who is other than but Hillary Clinton, a lot of opportunities for her, if Hillary Clinton becomes president, may close ... a lot of doors may close."

Which supports my suggestion that they will tag-team on message through the primary without any visible signs of coordination. I was told over the weekend by someone who had observed each of them, that both Sanders and Warren were "very savvy." The view from my outsider's chair tells me that's true.

■ In Greek news, there's a referendum this weekend on the latest EU proposal, which may morph into a referendum on Grexit (Greek exit from the EU) and a return to the drachma, after a gut-wrenching and painful transition. Tsipras may have overplayed his hand ... or not. He may have caved to the EU after calling the referendum and recommending a No vote ... or not. The clever folks running the world of money in Europe may succeed at "extend and pretend" ... or not. Or they may not even try. Do they even think they need Greece? Who knows?

So one waits. After our day of Freedom, will the Greeks return to their chains? One waits.

■ And the weather news is horrible. I'm in Europe, wilting in 100°F weather. My friends on the West Coast have just had their bout in the 100s. The Pakistanis are dying in 110°F weather. As are the Indians. Signs of global warming (sorry, climate change)? You decide.

But don't be the last. Some have already made up their minds:
Heat waves are happening at least four times more often than they did before greenhouse gas emissions started boosting the planet’s temperatures, researchers at the Institute for Atmospheric & Climate Science in Zurich found in a recent study. Global average temperatures are now about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.85 degrees Celsius) higher than before industrialization, when countries began burning coal, oil and natural gas in buildings, factories and cars.

“Three-fourths of the hot days today are the result of man-made global warming,” said Reto Knutti, a professor at the Zurich institute and one of the study’s authors. While it’s too early to know if global warming contributed to the Pakistan heat wave, he said that in general, “There is a very clear influence of human-induced warming on the magnitude and the frequency of heat waves.”
For Europeans, this decision is not theoretical:
The European heat wave has spread to Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as Germany, where Dusseldorf's temperature of 36.1 degrees Celsius, or 97 degrees Fahrenheit, as of 8:30 a.m. ET was almost 22 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) above average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, the heat is temporarily abating on Friday in parts of Spain, France and the UK, but the hot weather will come roaring back over the weekend, with high temperatures once again in the upper 30s to near 40 degrees Celsius in Paris on Friday, and only slightly cooler on Saturday. ...

Government officials in several countries, including France, have been warning citizens of the dangers of prolonged heat exposure. Europe has a history of deadly heat events, with a tragic 2003 heat wave resulting in between 40,000 and 70,000 fatalities, depending on the definition of a heat-related death. ...

On July 1, London's Heathrow International Airport recorded its hottest July day on record, when the temperature reached 36.7 degrees Celsius, or 98.06 Fahrenheit.
Nor for the Indians:
From mid-April till the end of May, nearly 2,200 people were killed by the heat − 1,636 of them in Andhra Pradesh, the worst-affected state. The normal May figure for the whole of India is about 1,000 heat-related deaths.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, India’s Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, has blamed the heat deaths squarely on climate change.
Nor for the Pakistanis:
The death toll from a weeklong heat wave in Karachi, Pakistan, has risen to 1,233, officials told the Associated Press Saturday. Some 65,000 people flooded the city’s hospitals to be treated for heat stroke, and about 1,900 patients were still receiving medical care as the country began to cool off. …

The heat wave started in earnest June 20, with temperatures climbing to 113 degrees Fahrenheit -- the hottest it’s been since 2000, CNN reported. The extreme weather came at the same time as Ramadan, a holy month most Muslims observe by fasting. Karachi’s power grid also collapsed, leaving thousands without air conditioning in a city already facing power cuts and water shortages.
In case your eyes glazed over with the numbers:
  • Week-long temperatures at or near 100°F in most of Europe.
  • Hottest July day on record at Heathrow Airport.
  • In 2003 between 40,000 and 70,000 were killed in a similar European heat wave.
  • In India over 2,000 are dead from heat.
  • In Pakistan more than 1,200 are dead from the heat.
How many more dead before we curb emissions "with all deliberate speed"? Maybe we need some of those suffering faces to be ... no, I won't go there.

Let Them Eat Air Conditioners

In the climate world, Judith Curry is a famous media-hyped denier, which means she's switched to "delay" as the current tactic of choice — as in, "We know something is happening, but we don't know what it is...". Ms. Curry on the heat wave:
Bottom line is that the intuitively reasonable attribution of more heat waves to a higher average temperature doesn’t work in most land regions.

Looks like they need more air conditioning in Spain and France and also South Asia.

Does it make more sense to provide air conditioning or to limit CO2 emissions.  I vote for more air conditioning in these susceptible regions.
There a good takedown of this at GetEnergySmartNow.com (thanks to climate friend Adam Siegel for the tip). Judith Curry may not know what's happening, but you do, don't you?

There's a theme that runs through these three bulleted observations. It's the song of the world of the wealthy — "Let them eat air conditioners. It's not our job to feed them; it's theirs to feed us." (That's all three bulleted points, friends.)

GP

Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead in Eugene Oregon, 1987. Yes, that's Jerry you hear, alive in memory. (Original version here.)


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Legalization Of Medical Marijuana Is Inevitable-- But There Is Still Money To Be Made By Politicians Opposing It

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When Congress legalizes medical marijuana-- and that's coming-- dozens and dozens of ineffective, highly toxic prescription drugs, many with ghastly side effects, will cease providing bounties to the industrial drug makers that manufacture and market them. These pharmaceutical conglomerates have appealed-- so far successfully-- to Congress to at least wait for them to make some minor, inconsequential change to marijuana before they legalize it. That way they can patent and sell some iteration of marijuana as if they invented it.

Several Members of Congress have been working hard to legalize medical marijuana. Jared Polis (D-CO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CO) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) have been in the forefront this year. Rohrabacher's legislation to prevent the federal government from using funds to come between a doctor prescribing marijuana and his patient passed 242-186 on May 30. Rohrabacher managed to round up 67 Republicans to join 175 Democrats (all but 10) to pass the legislation. So who opposed it?

Who would be against medical professionals prescribing a harmless, natural drug-- in use for thousands of years-- to suffering patients? Well, in short, uptight assholes unaware that the world has moved on since the days of Reefer Madness and, of course, Members of Congress who are paid off by Big Pharma. Since 1990 Big Pharma has spent over $166 million bribing federal candidates. The dozen current Members of the House who took in the most are:
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)- $1,267,371- supports
Fred Upton (R-MI)- $1,145,306- supports
John Boehner (R-OH)- $1,056,680- opposes
Joe Barton (R-TX)- $923,688- opposes
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)- $864,529- supports
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- $780,772- supports
Michael Burgess (R-TX)- $652,174- opposes
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)- $639,843- opposes
John Shimkus (R-IL)- $639,143- opposes
Joe Pitts (R-PA)- $634,002- opposes
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)- $629,900- opposes
James Clyburn (D-SC)- $616,881- supports
I haven't run into a Democratic congressional challenger this year who doesn't support legalization. All the Blue America-endorsed candidates, of course, back legalization. For example, the Blue America candidate in WA-08, a suburban and exurban district east of Seattle, Jason Ritchie, has been an outspoken proponent of legalization-- as have the voters in his district, which voted for it as a ballot initiative. The current congressman, Dave Reichert, doesn't care. He keeps voting NO to every legalization proposal that comes before Congress.

"In 1998 the people of my State of Washington voted to become one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana," said Ritchie after Reichert's most recent betrayal.
In 2012, they again set a precedent by voting overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana commercial sales. Our State Legislature responded and set up a reasonable regulatory and tax structure. This has happened without incident, except for intransigent Republicans like Rep. Dave Reichert who continue to insist their values should supersede the will of the people. His arrogant and baseless opposition only serves to marginalize him from the people he purports to represent. I strongly support marijuana legalization in Washington State and look forward to ending mass incarcerations for non-violent drug possession.
Jason can use some help in his uphill race to replace Reichert, who has taken $216,917 from Big Pharma since he was first elected. If you'd like to lend him some support, you can do it here.

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

It was a dark and stormy night -- or actually not night at all. Happy 4th of July Weekend!

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Photo by Mitch Waxman (click to enlarge)

"[S]ome jerk pulling the pin on a dud hand grenade while riding on the 7 train would be sufficient to shut the entire Subway system down for weeks while the Terror Warriors installed metal detectors and biometric sensors on every turnstile."
-- from Mitch's blogpost yesterday, "all signs"

by Ken

I don't know about you, but I need this weekend. I'm not a qualified dreamologist, but after escaping the office, I realized what I had on my mind was this photo my pal Mitch Waxman shared with readers of his Newtown Pentacle blog today. Well, that's not a dream in any case, but maybe waking fixation is even worse. It must mean something, I'm thinking.

Here's what Mitch had to say about the picture:
Recently, an excursion upon the fabled Newtwon Creek with the Anchor QEA folks (they’re the scientists studying the Creek for the Superfund process) and the Newtown Creek CAG Steering Committee (which I’m a member of) was cut short by threatening weather. Anchor has all sorts of frammistats onboard which warn them of the approach of lightning, and all the gizmos began to go off as a powerful thunderstorm was approaching. The shot above is from roughly 2.5 miles back from the East River, and depicts the DUGABO side of Brooklyn as the storm blew in. We made it back to dock, but not before the first curtain of rain and hail began to pummel the Creek.

[DUBAGO, by the way, is Mitch's Greenpoint Avenue Bridge (over Newtown Creek) extrapolation from the goofy real-estate acronym DUMBO that's come into actual use for the Brooklyn neighborhood that's Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Mitch has a bridgeload of 'em.]

MITCH, BTW, IS FACING AN INSECURE 4TH

As he explained yesterday in a blogpost called "all signs," he has found himself -- in his Astoria (Queens) neck of the woods -- in supposed security of the homeland variety, even though, as anyone knows who has trod any part of the industrial borderlands of western Queens and Brooklyn, actual everyday security in the area, the site of much vital NYC infrastructure, in alarmingly hit or miss.

[Click to enlarge.]

Like many Queensicans, when it was announced that this year’s July 4th fireworks would be taking place in the East River just off the coast of LIC, a humble narrator grew excited. Then one began to read about frozen zones (pretty much from 11th street to the East River) and homeland security. My enthusiasm for the event began to wane as the Terror Warriors descended from their Manhattan aeries, discussed throwing down cordons, announcing entry checkpoints, and throwing a cage over the entire neighborhood. One “gets it” of course, as our enemies from “east austral Asia” specifically target public events that draw media attention, which is the very definition of what the July 4th fireworks show is.

The thing is, and I’ve been pointing this out for years, is that there is very little actual “homeland security” going on the rest of the year around these parts, and the Terror Warriors spend most of their time in Manhattan offices dreaming up scenarios which could only be accomplished by Nation/States with vast combined weapon system resources and functionally unlimited budgets. If we were at war with the United States or the People’s Republic of China, for instance, I’d be pooping my pants.

One is not so irresponsible to point the actual vulnerabilities out in any detail, as some moron out there might decide to exploit them (do your own research), but if you see graffiti along a train track or in a subway tunnel – that’s called time and opportunity. It should be impossible, literally, to sneak into a train yard or even get close to a moving train nearly two decades into the Terror Wars.

Problem is that our security personnel tend to focus on the outlandish notion that non state actors, who are basically mafiosos, can not only maintain but deploy complicated weapons systems that most nation states cannot even hope to possess. Jackass sappers like the Boston Marathon bombers, whose presence and intentions are THE real threat, just don’t fire the imagination or finger the purse strings of Congress.

It’s all a show, ultimately, designed to assuage the nagging truth that some jerk pulling the pin on a dud hand grenade while riding on the 7 train would be sufficient to shut the entire Subway system down for weeks while the Terror Warriors installed metal detectors and biometric sensors on every turnstile.


[Click to enlarge.]

I think I’m just going to go up on my roof this year on the 4th of July, photographing the fireworks at a distance from almond eyed Astoria. One is not interested in being part of a compacted herd of spectators, who are all potential suspects, in LIC. I’ll be out and about on the 5th of July, and will wager that I won’t see a single cop or security contractor protecting the vital infrastructure found hereabouts. To me, that’s terrifying.

The big show will be over by then, and the Terror Warriors will be worrying about space based laser systems at BBQ’s on Long Island and in Westchester County. They’ll muse whether or not ISIL has perfected a tractor beam that can pull asteroids down on targets (that’s called a mass driver, btw.) or developed a neutron bomb.

MITCH'S UPCOMING WALKING TOURS

Next weekend Mitch is doing his Glittering Realms Tour of Brooklyn's northernmost zone, Greenpoint ("a thriving neighborhood surrounded by environmental catastrophe which has been reborn in the 21st century") for the Newtown Creek Alliance (Sunday, July 12, 10am-12:30pm) -- tour and ticket info at the link.

I've probably already walked all this ground with Mitch, but that was then and now is now; I've already signed up for the Greenpoint walk. But for a schedule conflict I would do the same for the walk coming up in a few weeks: Modern Corridor: A Walking Tour of Long Island City's Hunters Point, for Brooklyn Brainery (Sunday, July 26, 11am-1:30pm).


COMING UP TOMORROW: 
GAIUS PUBLIUS RETURNS

As promised, GP weighs in from his current digs in Europe, and catches up on assorted pending matters -- and the sweltering heat. That's at 7am PT, 10am ET, and some other time on the other side of the pond.
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Why Smart Democrats Worry About Turnout From The Base In 2016

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Last week was a good one for the White House between the Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare, same-sex marriage, and redistricting and Obama's success in getting enough conservative, corporately owned Democrats-- primarily New Dems-- to vote with the GOP to pass Wall Street's trade agenda (Fast Track, as a prelude to TPP). The president's approval rating is back over 50%. 

But Democrats have reason to worry that by 2016 they may have a hard time getting their voters to the polls, as Alexis Simendinger has written for Real Clear Politics. Driven by a competing set of emotions: pure greed and selfishness on the one hand and a sense of ginned-up grievance on the other, Republican voters are gung-ho to capture the White House and hold both houses of Congress. A clownish, patently dishonest and openly racist Donald Trump is polling second among 20 Republicans for the nomination. Normal people laugh; Republicans drool.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, "The hedge fund contributors loom very large in Albany and they have way too much influence. That is a fact." I think everyone knows it and few Democrats outside the Beltway careerists can stand it. (Remember, Wall Street's favorite Member of Congress is not Boehner or McConnell; it's Chuck Schumer, on whom they've lavished, since 1990, an unprecedented $21,052,681, more than any Member other than those running for president. Wall Street has given him nearly double what they've given Boehner, who the Democratic Party would like you to think of as a total Wall Street whore-- as he and Schumer both are. 

When Wall Street gets bent out of shape over the populism of Bernie Sanders and, especially, Elizabeth Warren, they go whining and fuming to Schumer, and to their House tool, Steve Israel. Both are working hard to please Wall Street by recruiting conservative pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business candidates to run as Democrats. Schumer is fighting like a savage to make sure lifelong Republican and Wall Street suck-up Patrick Murphy is the Democratic nominee for Marco Rubio's open Senate seat in Florida, and he is vigilant that as few Democrats as possible from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party get near party nominations. 

Over on the House side, Steve Israel and hapless sock-puppet Ben Ray Luján are also running around recruiting Blue Dogs, New Dems and outright Republicans. Their latest is Mike Derrick, to run against popular Republican Elise Stefanik in NY-21, a district in which Obama beat Romney 63.3 to 35.2%-- a phenomenal 28.1 point spread. Derrick is a Republican who's conveniently calling himself a Democrat now. Apparently Israel doesn't think a real Democrat could win in NY-21, despite Obama's landslide there. Similarly, Schumer doesn't want Grayson, an outspoken tribune for working families, to win a Senate seat, and his solution is Republican-"turned"-Democrat Patrick Murphy, a New Dem backbencher who votes with the Republican Party more than nearly any other Democrat in the House. 

There are scores of cases just like this across the country. And Democrats wonder why their base doesn't turn out? In the Real Clear Politics piece linked above, Alexis Simendinger takes a look at the dilemma Democrats face with corrupt Wall Street-owned careerists like Schumer and Israel running the party. He sees, like almost anyone outside of DC can see, that base Democrats are extremely skeptical about what their party is offering up. "They doubt, he writes, "presidential contenders can deliver favored reforms from Washington, no matter how enticing the policy agendas sound. Those doubts depress enthusiasm about next year’s White House contest and could impact turnout for the eventual Democratic nominee."
Americans want change and reforms, but “people don’t think any of this is going to happen,” Stan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, said during a reporter roundtable organized by the Christian Science Monitor.

Their skepticism doesn’t turn on the idea of a Democratic nominee who would follow a two-term Democrat, President Obama. “It’s because the old political system is uniquely corrupted” in their eyes, Greenberg said. “What matters is how deep the critique people have about what’s happening in the country, both politically and economically.”

Voters define corruption as money in politics and Washington power brokers who are self-serving and disconnected from everyday Americans and their concerns. This is why Clinton’s wealth, the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising, her decades lived as a VIP, and her missing emails discourage some voters from accepting the leading Democratic candidate as trustworthy, even if they favor the economic and social policies she stakes out.

...To succeed Obama, a Democratic candidate has to animate secular voters and what Greenberg calls the rising American electorate (unmarried women, people of color, and younger voters). These slices of the population will make up a majority of the total electorate for the first time in 2016, according to the pollster.

Greenberg insisted Clinton’s progressive campaign agenda is not a mirror image of Obama’s governing platform. “I would dispute that Obama was on this agenda” of equal pay, preserving Medicare and Social Security, promoting infrastructure spending, helping working women and reducing college debt burdens, he said, pointing to questions posed to respondents as part of the survey.

“The country doesn’t think he was dealing with this agenda. The first time he really talked about this is this year’s State of the Union” address, Greenberg said firmly.

...The Democratic Party’s strategy to hold control of the White House and win congressional seats next year relies on America’s shifting demographics and on voter turnout. But “if the disparity in enthusiasm is not addressed, that strategy is at risk,” Democracy Corps wrote in a synopsis of the findings that began, “Democrats need to give voters a reason to participate.”

The threat comes down to an enthusiasm gap of 19 points between the Democrats who say they are “extremely interested” in the congressional and local races in 2016, and the much more energized GOP voters.
Candidate recruitment from the DSCC and the DCCC will tend to turn off committed Democrats and progressives. No progressive is going to vote for Patrick Murphy in Florida. Monica Vernon, another "ex"-Republican Israel dug up (IA-01), is not liked in her district, especially among Democrats who know exactly what she is, but Israel considers the seat a "must win." If he had any sense at all, he would encourage former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy, a dedicated progressive with an astounding record of achievement, to run. But Israel doesn't want populists like Murphy in the House. He prefers "Democats" more like the other Murphy, the aisle-crossing one from Florida.

Progressive groups like DFA, MoveOn, PCCC and Blue America are recruiting actual progressives to run in winnable seats, like Lou Vince in CA-25 and Jason Ritchie in WA-08, two blue-trending districts that the DCCC gave away to the GOP in past years. To see all the Blue America House candidates this year and-- if you want-- to give them a hand with their grassroots campaigns, please check out this page. And the Blue America Senate candidates are here

By the way, the video up top sends Schumer and Israel into orbit. You should watch it and think about why they hate it-- and hate Grayson-- so much. Blue America has some ideas of how to deal with the DINOs Israel and Schumer have recruited, who have let working families down:



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As black churches burn, at least Ricky-Roo Santorum seems to be keeping his trap shut

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Can someone explain what this picture is doing here? The Confederate battle flag has nothing to do with racism, or violence against African-Americans, does it? It's just about the Confederate "heritage." And wasn't the AME church shooting, and now all these church burnings, about hostility to religion?


"The fact that the recent fires occurred so close together in the wake of the Charleston shooting could be cause for concern, said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The fires may be retaliation for the backlash against the Confederate flag that followed the shootings, he said."
-- from "Fires at black churches raise concern,"
by Rick Jervis, in
USA Today

by Ken

There's one thing to be said about this scarifying wave of violence against African-American churches. As far as I know, Ricky-Roo Santorum has had the decency to refrain from telling us that the "rationale" is "hostility to religion." (See my June 19 post, "Has Ricky-Roo Santorum yet thought of any possible 'rationale' for the Charleston AME church shoot-up besides hostility to religion?," and also Howie's June 21 post, "Conservative Politicians Tragically Pander To Racists.")

My goodness, I don't believe I have ever before used the word "decency" in a sentence that concerns Ricky-Roo, except possibly to note that the son of a bitch hasn't got any. I often wonder, when he was little and grown-ups asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, did he say "a far-right-wing scumbag" or "a vile lying demagogue" or "an insane mouthpiece for the Roman Catholic God"? Amazingly, though, he grew up to be all three!

I don't suppose we could say Ricky-Roo is the vilest person on the planet, since mostly he's just talk -- although during his time in the U.S. Senate he certainly did everything he could to turn the country into the hell he carries around in his head. Nevertheless, he doesn't go around setting fire to churches, does he?

So why blame Ricky-Roo? you ask. It's not as if he lit the matches that started the fires, is it? (He didn't he? The authorities have established his whereabouts for all those times, right? Just for the record?

No, I don't suppose that would be Ricky-Roo's style. He deals mostly in words of hate -- setting out the special extremist Catholic version of the far-right-wing authoritarian mentality, and its rigorous scapegoating of people who are "other." So no, he probably didn't light any of those matches. He didn't even say, in so many words, "Go out, brothers, and burn black churches." He just did his best to fan the flames, to create the best possible environment for hatred erupting into violence.

And all those rebel-flag wavers? They didn't light those fires, did they? Well, not all of them, anyway.

Sometimes these stories just write themselves. Okay, this story didn't write itself, exactly. USA Today's Rick Jervis wrote it. But the plotlines and even the details are hellaciously familiar. Come to think of it, the modern-day Confederates could be right -- this is their heritage, isn't it?
Fires at black churches raise concern

Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, 3:07 p.m. EDT, July 1, 2015

Fires at several predominantly black churches in Southern states the past two weeks — at least three of them attributed to arson — raise concerns about potential fallout from the recent South Carolina church shooting.

The fires have all taken place in the weeks since the attack June 17. A 21-year-old man with apparent white supremacist beliefs is accused of going on a shooting rampage inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine people.

The burned churches are in Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Federal investigators are looking into some of the cases to determine whether hate crimes were the cause, but so far the fires do not appear to be related.

And Tuesday night, a fire raged through a prominent African-American church, Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal, in Greeleyville, S.C. that was burned to the ground by the KKK in 1995. Authorities said it was too soon to tell what caused the fire, which took place during a night of frequent storms and lightning strikes.

The fire rekindled painful memories from the arson that destroyed the church 20 years ago, Williamsburg County Councilman Eddie Woods Jr. told the Associated Press.

"That was a tough thing to see," Woods said. "It is hurting those people again. But we're going to rebuild. If this was someone, they need to know that hate won't stop us again,"

"This is a systematic attack against the black church," said the Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative, a coalition of 34,000 African-American churches. Evans said he's had several conference calls with black church leaders across the USA about the fires. "We are on alert status."

The fact that the recent fires occurred so close together in the wake of the Charleston shooting could be cause for concern, said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The fires may be retaliation for the backlash against the Confederate flag that followed the shootings, he said. After photos surfaced of suspect Dylann Roof wearing Confederate flag patches, retailers such as Walmart and Amazon suspended sales of the flag because of its popularity with white supremacists. Four of the rebel flags were recently removed from the state Capitol grounds in Alabama, and South Carolina lawmakers will decide whether or not to do the same next month.

Websites popular with white supremacists, such as Stormfront.org, lit up with angry denouncements of the treatment of the Confederate flag, Potok said.

"The single most suspicious thing about these fires is that they came so close together and so hard on the heels of attacks on the Confederate battle flag," Potok said. "That is a revered symbol for the radical right."

Some of the church fires were severe, such as the one last week at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, which gutted an entire church wing. The FBI is investigating.

Others, such as the fire at College Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., were less damaging. Firefighters arrived at that church at around 10 p.m. June 21 to find a church van in flames in the parking lot and smoldering piles of hay and bags of soil near a side entrance, said Capt. D.J. Corcoran, a spokesman with the Knoxville Fire Department.

There were no obvious signs pointing to a hate crime, and the property was mostly unhurt, he said. The incident remains under investigation.

Potok said he is waiting on results of the investigations before drawing connections between the fires and the Charleston shooting. There has been a history of church fires after major events.

Hours after Barack Obama was elected as the nation's first black president in November 2008, arsonists torched the predominantly black Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield, Mass.

Attacks on black churches have a long history in this country, said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League.

Dating to post-Civil War Reconstruction, members of the Ku Klux Klan targeted black churches as a way of terrorizing the black community, he said. One of the most infamous attacks is the bombing in 1963 of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., which killed four girls, ages 11 to 14.

As recently as the mid-1990s, a rash of church fires prompted the formation of the National Church Arson Task Force. The group investigated 429 arsons and bombings of churches from 1995 to 1997 but found only a handful of cases involved hate groups.

That does little to quiet the fears of folks such as Evans, who has reached out to the Department of Justice about the attacks.

"This is a nationwide attack on the black church," he said. "We're taking it very seriously."
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When Real Democrats Run Against Corporate Cutouts

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Voters in Wisconsin want to hear what Bernie has to say

Not even the dual Republican clown shows of Chris Christie and Donald Trump are drawing anywhere near the crowds Bernie Sanders is bringing in. Even bolstered by Paul LePage on the eve of his impeachment isn't doing anything to make Christie look like a viable popular contender, and not even handing out $50 bills to pretend "supporters" is managing to do much for Trump. 

Last night Bernie spoke to a capacity crowd at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (which the corporatists call the Alliant Energy Center) in Madison. People had warned him that, with school out, he would be lucky to fill a quarter of the 10,000 capacity venue. But he filled it. After all, it was his first trip to Wisconsin since declaring. 10,000 fans-- and he didn't even have to have Neil Young or Magic Mike as a draw. Union members, oppressed by Governor Scott Walker, are still fuming-- and easily recognize in Bernie's record, more than Clinton's hollow promises, that he's their guy. According to a poll organized two weeks ago by LaborUnionReport.com, 76% of union members prefer Bernie, while 11% prefer Hillary.
The report said, “due to her time spent with the employer-friendly Rose law firm (which helps employers fight unions), as well as her stint on the board of directors for Wal-Mart, many union members believe Clinton cannot be trusted.”

Unions distrust Hillary Clinton’s intimacy with Wall Street, according to the report. In addition to that concern, Clinton declined to weigh in on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Labor leaders are opposed to the TPP.

“Hillary Clinton has a union problem,” the report said. “Since no Democrat can win the White House without union support, it is the union problem that may pose a bigger problem than all the others … and it has her campaign very worried.”
Hillary is counting on the $45 million she's collected, primarily from Wall Street and individual fat cats, to help her overcome Bernie's policy-oriented appeal. According to CNN, he's collected $9 million so far, virtually all of it from small donors deeply committed to his cause. He has 200,000 donors. Hillary may have as many as 50,000, which is a decent number for a corporate-financed candidate, but the campaign is holding that number close.
"I think, as I understand it, we are going to have a pretty good campaign financial report coming out," he said, adding that his campaign has "collected donations from some 200,000 Americans" from all 50 states. The average donation, Sanders said, was around $37.

Sanders says he detests personally asking people for money and has made a point of telling his supporters that "billionaires" aren't lining up to give him money.

"Sitting around and talking to people at fundraisers, no, that would not be how he wants to spend a lot of his time," said Tad Devine, Sanders' top campaign strategist. "It is safe to say he would rather spend his time doing other things."
It isn't only Hillary Clinton trying to overcome populist policies and courageous progressives by drowning them in cash. In the race for the Florida Senate seat Marco Rubio is abandoning, Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester are determined that between the ugly special interests they control and Patrick Murphy's father's rich Republican friends and cronies, they will outraise the grassroots-oriented Grayson. But while Murphy, Schumer and Tester obsess on the primary with Grayson, Grayson's campaign barely acknowledges them. He puts most of his energy into his current job as a congressman and into contrasting himself with the teabagger the GOP is likely to be forced to run, reactionary Republican Ron DeSantis.

Yesterday was one of those days when the contrast was unavoidable. When the White House announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba-- severed 5 decades ago-- with the establishment of embassies by each country, DeSantis (and his backward-looking allies) went into orbit.
President Obama’s removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism was outrageous, and it is insulting to those fighting terror around the globe that the Castro dictatorship will now have an outpost a stone’s throw from the White House. The establishment of an embassy, which effectively embraces Cuba’s oppressive government, is another slap in the face of the Cuban-Americans who fled Castro’s tyranny for freedom. This reckless action by the President will embolden Castro’s government and add a cloak of legitimacy to what is in fact a totalitarian regime that has oppressed millions, including many in Florida.

I call on Democratic Senate candidates Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson to join with me in opposing President Obama’s decision to further legitimize the Cuban dictatorship. Standing up to the Castro regime is not a partisan issue, and Floridians should demand that those running for the Senate take clear stands on what is an important issue for so many.
As usual, Murphy is hiding under his bed hoping the question will disappear in a day or two. Grayson shot back in a way that made DeSantis wish he had never posed the challenge.
Congressman DeSantis is correct that standing up for human rights in Cuba is not a partisan issue, despite his effort to make it one. Unfortunately, it's obvious that he hasn't been paying attention. Congressman DeSantis may feel that he has to talk a good game on Cuba, but when it comes to Cuba, talk isn’t just cheap, it’s worthless. While he has pontificated, I've been working hard to hold the Castro regime accountable as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.  I’ve been outspoken in defense of freedom in Cuba since I took office in 2009.  It's become abundantly clear to everyone that the policies of the 1960s don’t work anymore, but I stated both publicly and privately to the Administration that the current shift in relations with Cuba is too much carrot, and not enough stick.

So, Congressman DeSantis, if you are serious about putting your head down, rolling up your sleeves and getting to work to help bring freedom to Cuba, I say welcome to you, and better late than never.
Whether Bernie wins the presidency or not, as he to continues working through the Senate he'll need more progressives there to help him get his program through, a program Wall Street has bought Chuck Schumer (D) and Mitch McConnell (R) to obstruct. Elizabeth Warren has already piublicly declared she "loves what he's talking about," but even with Warren, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley and Brian Schatz willing to take consistent independent stands on core issues, that isn't nearly enough to overcome the zombified garbage on both sides of the aisle. 

And Grayson is more than just one member. He's the smartest Member of the House and the most successful in getting Republicans to vote for his incredibly crafted progressive amendments. America needs him in the Senate as much as Florida does. We have a page you can use to contribute to Bernie's campaign and a page you can use to contribute to Grayson's campaign (even if it's still a week or two away from being official). We can do this. For the sake of our country and our children, we must do this.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Dare we dream of a day when we won't have The Donald to kick around anymore? (Soon, please!!!)

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Macy's joins the ranks of companies cutting the cord



Ooh, this isn't quite what The Donald said originally, is it?

by Ken

There are mysteries that, even as they begin to fade from view, actually become more rather than less mysterious.

As you may have noticed, a number of companies that have had business ties with Donald Trump have taken steps to extricate themselves from the unholy grasp since his bizarre, grotesque, repellent performance announcing his 2016 presidential candidacy. Bizarre or grotesque or repellent Corporate America can live with. Possibly even any two out of the three. But put all three together, and Media Central, we've got a problem.

Now our Noah made some interesting points about that bizarre, grotesque, repellent performance. It was crafted, he suggested, to appeal to a particular audience -- the famous Republican "base," the apparent calculation being that there are sizable swaths of the American public that like the right kind of bizarre, grotesque, and repellent, that in fact are waiting to stand up and cheer for it. On June 17 he wrote, in "Political Groundhog Day: This Time Trump Actually Officially Declares He's Running":
I expect The Donald to do well in these here upcoming Clown Car Debates that everyone is talking about. He is, if nothing else, a crowd-pleasing entertainer. His jingoism, simplistic quarter-baked answers to complex multi-layered problems, and his extensive bigotries play well to the brainwashed pitchfork-and-torch crowd that drives the Republican Party. His substance-lacking one-liners will get cheers and ratings from the single-digit-IQ GOP yahoo base. . . .

Trump says what most republicans think. He speaks for them, and he spoke for them loud and ugly in his announcement. The republican mind comes from Bizarro World, and Trump is a perfect manifestation of its bizarro code. The Trump campaign will be a farce, and let's hope the joke doesn't end up being on all of us.
(Noah went on to wonder whether this would be any worse a joke than those represented by, you know, the other GOP presidential wannabes.)

And so while civilized, sane people have properly recoiled in horror at the spectacle of this sleazy, fraudulent media whore yammering about building "a great, great wall" between us and Mexico to keep the rapists, drug dealers, and criminals out, the apparent calculation is that there are people out there festering for a champion to tickle their ear canals with talk like this.

Nevertheless, if you're, say, NBC, however accustomed you may be to lying down with dogs, there comes a point when the flea count when you get up is just too high, when whatever upside there may have been to consorting with such a creature can't being to outweigh the public embarrassment he has turned himself into. And apologies like the apparent one in the Tweet atop this post only call attention to the embarrassment, because anyone who has any recollection of the anti-Mexican rants he delivered knows that "unfair trade deals that the US so stupidly makes with them" bears no resemblance whatsoever to the psychotic filth that spewed forth from his demonic maw that day.

Again, the Republican "base" probably won't care that The Donald lies every time he opens his mouth -- hell, every time he draws a breath. Their, er, "reality" depends on lies -- the real world just the way they wish it was, just the way St. Ronnie of Reagan promised them it could be. Reality, he told them, is what you want it to be, if that's what you want reality to be. And the "base" very badly needs reality to be what they want it to be, because they can't begin to cope with, you know, the real thing.

And so, as Ashley Curtin reports for "Nation of Change":
You’re fired! After Donald Trump recently revealed his rhetoric plans to control illegal immigration, NBC “dumped” Trump’s beauty pageants and confirmed he will no longer be part of the show, “The Apprentice.”

The network, which came under pressure after Trump’s controversial illegal immigration statements, called his statements demeaning.

“Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” the network said in a statement. “To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in ‘The Apprentice’ on NBC.”
And that's not all.
[R]ight after Trump’s speech, Univision announced it would not air Trump’s “Miss USA” pageant in Spanish on July 12 saying that “respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.” The leading Spanish-language network, which serves millions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the USA, went on to say that Trump’s statements on illegal immigration were “insulting and offensive,” according to USA Today.
And now there's Macy's. ThinkProgress's Esther Yu-Hsi Lee reports (links onsite):
The retail clothing giant Macy’s became the latest company to cut ties with 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, following his campaign launch speech in which he claimed that some Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug dealers.

In its announcement on Wednesday, Macy’s made a strong statement in support of immigrants — saying that “respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture” and that Trump’s remarks “are inconsistent with Macy’s values” and that his “disparaging characterizations” aren’t an accurate portrayal of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinos.

“Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion,” a statement released to CNN reads. “We have no tolerance for discrimination in any form. We welcome customers, and respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture. We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico. We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation.”

“In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004,” the company concluded.

There was already momentum for Macy’s to end its business relationship with Trump. Over 700,000 people have signed a longstanding moveon.org petition for the company to cut ties with Trump, a petition that gained steam after his nativist remarks. The petition was initially created in the wake of Trump’s involvement in questioning the president’s birth certificate and his stance on climate change, KTLA reported.

Macy’s move to sever its decade-long tie with Trump comes after Univision and NBC canceled their business partnerships with Trump, saying the NBC reality show “Celebrity Apprentice” will no longer support him as host. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slims’ Ora TV has also ended a project with the real estate mogul. And in the fallout of Trump’s statement, Miss Mexico has declined to be in the Miss Universe pageant.

In response to the upheaval, Trump stated on Wednesday that “clearly NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country.”
As we've already noted, The Donald is now pretending that he didn't say what he went to such pains to say, apparently under the misimpression that there's no limit to what you can get away with saying publicly as long as it's steeped in far-right-wing looniness and hatred. If he had read the fine print, he would have discovered that that guarantee isn't "ironclad" either -- properly stated, it says that "there's almost no limit to what you can get away with saying" (boldface emphasis added).

So The Donald yammers about suing, which sounds to me like more bluster, because if he feels the need now to lie about what he said, doesn't it occur to him that in a courtroom not only will everyone be under oath, but there is abundant video of him in action. So let him sue. Mostly it will show that whoever said, "There's no such thing as bad publicity" similarly overstated, meaning perhaps the more fudgeable "There's almost no such thing as bad publicity" (again, boldface emphasis added).

BUT WHAT ABOUT THAT MYSTERY?

Oh yes, I started by speaking of a mystery that grows more mysterious even as the subject of the mystery begins to recede from view. The mystery I refer to is: Why the hell was anyone paying any attention to this useless buttwipe to begin with? How did it happen that there were people across this great land who settled in front of their TVs and thought, "What I'd really like to watch now is some of that feller 'The Donald' Trump." Do I really have to explain what's wrong with this picture?

Celebrity Apprentice, for goodness' sake? Except perhaps for shut-ins who had literally nothing else to do, and who couldn't bear not to have the TV on, and either weren't able to change the channel or only got the one channel -- except for them, can anyone think of any reason why anyone, anyone at all, would have watched more than maybe two minutes of Celebrity Apprentice?

It's easy to say now, "You're fired, The Donald!" But --

Oh wait, just because it's easy to say doesn't mean we shouldn't say it. You're fired, The Donald. Now please, please just go away.



Just because it's so easy to say doesn't mean
we shouldn't say, "You're fired, The Donald.
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As the Supreme thug-justices issue desperate cries for mental-health help, could they take advantage of provisions of the ACA?

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Plus: "Scalia Is a Douche" is a brunch hit in Philly


Watch poor Cartoon Justice Nino having his "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" at 4:19 of the Daily Show clip below.

by Ken

It's a sweet conceit on the part of the Daily Show animation team to imagine that the Supreme Court's own Big Rat Bastard Justice merely had a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day," when what he has really had -- as Jon Stewart suggests in the piece proper, is that he has had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad career.



In my coverage last week of this term's marquis Supreme Court decisions -- the affirmation of Obamacare subsidies announced Thursday and the constitutionally guaranteed right to marriage equality announced Friday -- I mostly ignored the assorted dissenting opinions, for the obvious reason that they were, you know, dissenting opinions, which is to say not the Court's rulings. Howie fortunately devoted a good deal more attention to the opposition, on and off the Court. I say "fortunately" because this matters.

In the case of the ACA subsidies and the justices, it matters because three of them announced that they simply can't read, and by virtue of that admission should be encouraged at the very least to resign from the Court on the grounds that they lack the necessary basic skills for the job. I suppose we could write it off by saying that it was "only" three justices who were unable or unwilling to grasp the simplest, most fundamental facts about the non-case, which had no justification except an ideological hit job commissioned from right-wing ideological lawyerly hit men. But is it really much consolation that "only" three justices have no shame about being either raving imbeciles or principle-free ideological hooligans?

Far worse, of course, was the dreadful cue provided to the nation by the outpouring of not just imbecility but savagery and outright insanity on display from the complement of four thug-justices, with Chief Justice "Smirkin' John" Roberts back on his accustomed team. They screeched like demented beasts in four deranged dissenting opinions assailing the majority opinion on marriage equality written by usual thug-justice cohort "Slow Anthony" Kennedy, which was joined by the Court's four moderate justices. After that display, it's hard to understand how any of these creatures is allowed to roam free in the streets without at least being tested to make sure that whatever afflicts them isn't contagious.

And here we come up, as we frequently do when dealing with the Modern American Right, against the problem common to the stupid and the insane -- that their condition generally renders them incapable of grasping their condition. Not only were the Crackpot Four incapable of recognizing the terrifying extremity of their raving; they failed to notice the chasm that lies between their bizarro, bonkers response and the endless succession of sane, principled dissents filed by the Court's moderates while the thugs have routinely shredded the Constitution, the law, and basic human decency. Yes, occasionally the moderates offer a flash of anger, but far more occasionally than the scope and depth of the provocations they face would prompt. And even then they manage to be respectful -- of unreasoning beasts who might most generously heard to be screaming for mental-health intervention.sda


MEANWHILE IN PHILADELPHIA, "ANTONIN SCALIA
IS A DOUCHE" IS A HIT AS A BREAKFAST SPECAL



[Click to enlarge.]

As HuffPost's d3clark put it, "Antonin Scalia is toast - literally and figuratively"). Even if you're a habitué of Sam's Morning Glory Diner on S. 10th St. in the South Philly neighborhood of Bella Vista ("Everything we serve is mindfully made from scratch with the freshest of ingredients"), you had to be a timely bruncher this weekend to catch the specials put on the menu by the diner's weekend-specials specialist, Sean Gaittens, with the enthusiastic approval of owner Carol Mickey: a pair of " 'The Supreme Court Finally Got It Right' Quiches" (one for meat-eaters, one for vegetarians) and an "Antonin Scalia Is A Douche Special" offered two ways, as an egg scramble or a frittata.
"The Supreme Court Finally Got It Right" Quiches
Your choice of two different quiches: one for the vegetarians among us and one for those who have chest hair. Meatie Quiche - A quiche with tomatoes, prosciutto (fresh from the Italian market!), spinach and brie cheese. Veggie Quiche - One with asparagus, onion, parsley, basil and oregano for some added flavoring and topped with smoked mozzarella - either one comes served with your choice of potatoes or a small house salad. 13/12

The Antonin Scalia Is A Douche Special Scrambled
A hefty portion of scrambled eggs mixed with andouille sausage, tomato, scallions and monetary [sic] jack cheese - comes served with potatoes or grits and a homemade buttermilk biscuit (toast can be subbed form .75 extra) 13

The Antonin Scalia Is A Douche Special Frittata
Same as above but served as a frittata. 14
According to BillyPenn.com's Danya Henninger:
Over the weekend, Sam’s Morning Glory Diner ran a pair of specials that sold out faster than any dish in the South Philly restaurant’s 17-year history. It wasn’t the ingredients that made them a hit — although they were reportedly delicious — it was their titles, which referenced the Supreme Court’s historic June 26 ruling that the right to same-sex marriage is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The “Antonin Scalia is a Douche” special brought eggs scrambled or in a frittata with andouille sausage, tomato, scallions and monterey jack cheese. There was enough sausage to make around 150 of the dish, and it was so popular on Saturday that it sold out by 10 AM on Sunday morning, within two hours of the doors opening.

“The Supreme Court Finally Got It Right” quiches — with tomatoes, prosciutto, spinach and brie or all veg with asparagus, onion and smoked mozz — sold out even more quickly.
Danya noted that Mickey’s husband asked later if she'd been afraid of offending anyone, and she said she hadn't -- "if someone was offended, she didn’t need them as a customer." The, and "is personally familiar with the issues marriage inequality can cause," told BillyPenn: "Not one single person complained. The atmosphere in here was really wonderful. People were just loving saying it! 'I'll have the Scalia Is a Douche, please.' "

HuffPost's d3clark suggests that the "breakfasts are much more easily digested than Scalia's opinions." They do sound mighty tasty. It's probably fortunate that Justice Nino wasn't among the diners. He could have eaten the entire supply single-gluttonously.




SPEAKING OF THE SUPREME COURT --

We still have to take account of the surprisingly large amount of Court business held in reserve for release following the two blockbuster decisions, lending them something of the quality of a "Supreme Court dump." Probably for this reason we should be scrutinizing this stuff more closely, even though the rulings don't seem ominous as one might fear, the obvious exception being the slapdown of the EPA, making one wonder if that agency, so high on the Right-Wing Hate List, is now in the thug-justices' crosshairs.

Well, there are also the announcemenst that the Court will be hearing a case involving mandatory dues collection for public-sector unions and will be revisiting the University of Texas's use of affirmative in admissions policy. There's the potential for much mischief here.

Maybe tomorrow.
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