Saturday, December 31, 2011
Over at Slog, Dominic Holden continues to lash out at the folks in the medical marijuana community who oppose it – primarily due to the DUI provisions. I’ve been trying to stay out of this fight for my own sanity, but Holden’s anger is so misdirected (and misinformed), I have to speak up. MORE...
reasonparty, video (09:59).
Howie P.S.: You can find the links to the subsequent "Parts" here on the right margin. Baldwin criticizes Bobby Kennedy for predicting a Negro American president "in forty years" because Baldwin felt that was too long.
Year in Review Show: “Katherine Harris” Garofalo joins Sam to recap 2011. Plus segments from Sam’s take on the Republican Clown Car from throughout the year!Howie P.S.: The highlight for me was being able to enjoy the uplifting melody from Herman Cain's campaign song.
Friday, December 30, 2011
BEST of 2011: "Thousands of protesters gather on Friday, April 8, 2011 on the State Capitol Campus in Olympia" (photo)
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Sam Seder-Majority Report, with audio (33:39).
Click on "Listen Live" here, on the > on the right.
Howie P.S.: Sam and Fran talk about the Occupy Movement and how it compares with past movements for social change in the U.S. Pithy quote from Fran
This Congress is a criminal enterprise.
"Lawrence O’Donnell Reviews What Sacha Baron Cohen Can Tell Us About Newt Gingrich And Ron Paul" (with video)
...the most ridiculous thing about the Gingrich interview was the fact that Gingrich “never figured out that the whole thing was a joke.”Howie P.S.: Sometimes I require some comic relief.
Al Jazeera, with with video (24:50):
Inside Story US 2012, discusses with guests: Amy Goodman, a broadcast journalist and the host of Democracy Now!, an independent global news programme; Rocky Anderson, a 2012 presidential candidate for the newly-formed Justice Party and the former mayor of Salt Lake City; and Eleanor Clift, a journalist for Newsweek and a former White House correspondent.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Chris Frates and Ari Melber discuss this with Tweety.Howie P.S.: Does this argument negate the impact of the "netroots, small donor" movement?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The targeting of Japanese Americans as enemies of war was race prejudice. The targeting of Muslims as terrorists is religious prejudice. Instead of a war against Japan, it is a war against terrorism. Instead of suspicion of Japanese Americans, it is suspicion of Muslim Americans. It is important that Japanese Americans remain vigilant for these kinds of statements, because history is bound to repeat itself. We cannot accept these words. We are, after all, at war. MORE...Howie P.S.: Kendall Kosai is a recent graduate of the University of Washington.
H/t to Goldy, who comments
It was in May 1961 that a series of circumstances took me from the hushed precincts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I was working as a curatorial assistant in the European Paintings Department, to Lehman Brothers, to begin what for the next 30 years would be an involvement—I hesitate to call it “a career”—in investment banking. I would promote and execute deals, sit on boards, kiss ass, and lie through my teeth...
As 2011 slithers to its end, none of the major problems that led to the crisis point three years ago have really been solved. Bank balance sheets still reek. Europe day by day becomes a financial black hole, with matter from the periphery being sucked toward the center until the vortex itself collapses. The Street and its ministries of propaganda have fallen back on a Big Lie as old as capitalism itself: that all that has gone wrong has been government’s fault. This time, however, I don’t think the argument that “Washington ate my homework” is going to work. This time, a firestorm is going to explode about the Street’s head—and about time, too. MORE...
And no, Thomas is not some dirty, fucking, hippie commie. He's a former partner at Lehman Brothers.
Monday, December 26, 2011
In the standard analysis of the race, which the embattled GOP Establishment is eager to believe, the rapid ascent and implosion of each wacky presidential contender is seen mainly as a passing judgment on Mitt Romney, the android who just can’t close the deal and improve his unyielding 25 percent average in polls of the Republican electorate. The Old Guard professes to have no worries. That steady 25 percent has been good enough to induce much of the press to portray Romney as the “presumed” (if not the “commanding”) front-runner ever since Beltway handicappers like Mark Halperin of Time and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post labeled him as such early in 2010. One day or another Romney will surely make good on that bet. He has money, organization, and the looks of a president (or perhaps an audio-animatronic facsimile of one). Eventually primary voters will exhaust all conceivable alternatives and accept that no Chris Christie will descend from the heavens as a deus ex machina. Then they will come home to the 25 percent leader of the pack, because that’s what well-mannered Republicans always do. Add to this scenario the GOP conviction that much of the electorate shares its judgment that Obama is an abject failure—he’s “an incumbent nobody likes,” as Peggy Noonan framed it—and the presidency must be in the bag.
But this narrative is built on a patently illogical assumption: that a 25 percent minority is the trunk wagging the Republican elephant. What makes anyone seriously assume that the 75 percent will accommodate itself to that etiolated 25 percent rather than force the reverse? MORE...
Boxing Day is traditionally a day following Christmas when wealthy people and homeowners in the United Kingdom would give a box containing a gift to their servants. Nowadays Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on December 26, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth nations. MORE...Howie P.S.: Unlike Christmas, this holiday tradition has not been able to cross the Atlantic.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
If you are a member of a racial minority, student or young voter, working poor, elderly or disabled, your ability to vote may be a lot harder in 2012—especially if you live in states that have a history of racial repression during the Civil Rights Movement. Simply put, the Republican Party knows which segments of society helped to elect President Obama and other Democrats in 2008, knows tens of millions of these people did not vote in the 2010 midterms, and has worked very hard to stop these people from voting again next year.
Their strategy has been simple: raise the barriers by complicating the rules to register to vote, to get a ballot, to vote early, or speedily. What follows are seven major trends that will affect you if you live in a state with new rules. Republicans know that most people do not pay attention to the fine print of election law. They get excited in the final days before presidential votes. But that may not be good enough in 2012.
Whether you are encouraged, discouraged or something in between about the coming presidential season, if you want to vote, look at these trends described below, see if you live in one of these states, and plan ahead: to register, to get the right ID, and to know where you can vote. If you don’t, the Republicans may silence your vote and voice. MORE...
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Matt Taibbi with video (00:08):
But out of Abelson’s collection of doleful woe-is-us complaints from the offended rich, the one that deserves the most attention is Schwarzman’s line about lower-income folks lacking “skin in the game.” This incredible statement gets right to the heart of why these people suck.Howie P.S.: Here's the video's double entendre dialogue:
Why? It's not because Schwarzman is factually wrong about lower-income people having no “skin in the game,” ignoring the fact that everyone pays sales taxes, and most everyone pays payroll taxes, and of course there are property taxes for even the lowliest subprime mortgage holders, and so on.
It’s not even because Schwarzman probably himself pays close to zero in income tax – as a private equity chief, he doesn’t pay income tax but tax on carried interest, which carries a maximum 15% tax rate, half the rate of a New York City firefighter.
The real issue has to do with the context of Schwarzman’s quote. MORE...
The people are revolting.
You said it, they stink on ice.
reportingsandiegoetc, video (00:49):
Video courtesy The Virginian-Pilot. As she stepped off the ship and onto the dock at Virginia Beach, she kissed her partner, and it was all captured in a beautiful, loving photograph with a cheering crowd watching the whole scene. What makes this unique is that Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville (California) and her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles, are the first gay couple in Navy history to share the "first kiss" moment. Read the full story at http://local.sandiego.com/news/gay-navy-couple-torpedo-don-t-ask-don-t-tell-w...Howie P.S.:
"What you may not be aware of is that capturing this tradition is a long-held military tradition, especially in the Navy. When a ship is returning from a long deployment, officials may hold a raffle to give someone the privilege of exiting their ship (or airplane) before anyone else, so they can be the first to greet those waiting at home. Hey, someone has to be first!"Guess who won!?!
Now Obama and Geithner are engaged in the same sort of activity, only they’re trying to prevent a run not on an individual bank, but the entire American financial services sector. Geithner seems really to believe that if fraud were aggressively policed, and the world made aware of the incredible extent of the illegality in our markets, that international confidence in the American financial sector would plummet and our economy would suffer – and suffer, incidentally, on Barack Obama’s watch. MORE...
So here, finally, is the picture my girlfriend Mona and I took with President & Mrs. Obama at the White House Holiday Party. Woot!Howie P.S.: I often refer to myself (sarcastically) as a "famous blogger." If I really was one, I'd have my picture up there. I do have a picture of my wife and I with Governor Booth Gardner in 1988 in the Governor's Mansion.
KING5.com, video (19:50).
Howie P.S.: After this was broadcast, backers announced "I-502 signatures on the way for marijuana legalization" (The Olympian-WA).
Here's what I'm not suggesting: that America is Afghanistan; that the incredible suffering of the globe's most vulnerable is equivalent to what Twitter snarkily calls #firstworldproblems, nor that life in an advanced economy that's declining is as heart-rendingly awful as in an a nation that failed to advance at all. But I am suggesting that the rumors of our imminent decline are worth examining, and that we might start by looking at the failure of our institutions to deliver the goods.Howie P.S.: HBR describes the author:
Perhaps the most vital question is this: what can we do to reverse the decline? The remedy I've heard being whispered in the back-slapping corridors of power is what the hoary old wonks call "good governance" — accountability, transparency, and the like, neatly pushing us right back to the status quo ante. But I'd like to challenge that simplistic remedy. After all, what got us there is what got us here. Instead, decline's moonshot might just be pioneering fundamentally better ways of living, working, and playing; an economy that elevates human potential to a higher apex.
Here are five reasons I think it's time to reimagine what we want from "recovery." MORE...
He is ranked one of the world's most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50.
HBO Films: "Game Change Tease," video (00:52):
This new HBO film follows John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, to their ultimate defeat in the general election. Coming in March, 2012.Howie P.S.: MEDIAite headlines their story about this"HBO’s Trailer For Game Change Finally Reveals Julianne Moore’s Sarah Palin."
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The defining political issue of 2012 won’t be the government’s size. It will be who government is for.
Americans have never much liked government. After all, the nation was conceived in a revolution against government.
But the surge of cynicism now engulfing America isn’t about government’s size. The cynicism comes from a growing perception that government isn’t working for average people. It’s for big business, Wall Street, and the very rich instead.
In a recent Pew Foundation poll, 77 percent of respondents said too much power is in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.
That’s understandable. To take a few examples: MORE...
Steve Benen predicts the inevitable:In two weeks, Americans will discover in early January that their paychecks have shrunk, and because political journalism is largely broken, they’ll be told it’s the result of “both sides” being unwilling to compromise. Those reports will be wrong.
And they will be ubiquitous. MORE...
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar.Howie P.S.: Hanukkah begins tonight, after sundown. In Seattle that will be @ 4:20PM. There will be only eight hours and 26 minutes of daylight, so we really need those candles. I guess you could say Hanukkah is a religious holiday with a political past.
In Hebrew, the word "hanukkah" means “dedication.” The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E. MORE...
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said Monday the city will begin talks to forge a legally binding agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to address findings that Seattle police officers engage in unconstitutional use of force.Howie P.S.: I am interested in observing how The Stranger will cover this story as they were such enthusiastic supporters of Hizzoner during the mayoral election campaign.
McGinn, with Seattle Police Chief John Diaz by his side, struck a more conciliatory tone than was heard Friday, when a blistering DOJ report found one in every five uses of force by Seattle officers was unconstitutional. MORE...
HuffPo, with video (03:01):
A young Iowa man's plea for marriage rights for his lesbian parents drew 18.3 million views to become the most-watched political video of the year, according to YouTube's ranking of viral political videos. MORE...
Monday, December 19, 2011
The Pentagon and the national security apparatus are hell-bent on setting an example with Bradley Manning. But we as Americans have a right to know what is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. If the government tries to cover up its malfeasance, then it is the duty of each and every one of us, should the situation arise, to drag the truth, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the light of day.
The American flag was lowered in Iraq this past Thursday as our war on them officially came to an end. If anyone should be on trial or in the brig right now, it should be those men who lied to the nation in order to start this war -- and in doing so sent nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths.
But it is not Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Wolfowitz who sit in prison tonight. It is the hero who exposed them. It is Bradley Manning who has lost his freedom and that, in turn, becomes just one more crime being committed in our name.
I know, I know, c'mon Mike -- it's the holiday season, there's presents to buy and parties to go to! And yes, this really is one of my favorite weeks of the year. But in the spirit of the man whose birth will be celebrated next Sunday, please do something, anything, to help this young man who spends his birthday tonight behind bars. I say, enough. Let him go home and spend Christmas with his family. We've done enough violence to the world this decade while claiming to be a country that admires the Prince of Peace. The war is over. And a whole new movement has a lot to thank Bradley Manning for. MORE...
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Iraqi Women’s Activist Rebuffs U.S. Claims of a Freer Iraq: "This Is Not a Democratic Country" (video)
Democracy Now! with video (13:20)and transcript:
Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, joins us to discuss the impact of the nearly nine-year U.S. occupation, particularly on Iraqi women. "The Iraqi cities are now much more destroyed than they were, I would say, like five years ago," Mohammed says. "In the same time, we have turned to a society of 99 percent poor and 1 percent rich, due to the policies that were imposed in Iraq." Mohammed decries the repression of Iraqi protesters that joined the Arab Spring in a February 25th action. "The women are the biggest loser in all of this. We went to the Iraqi squares. We demonstrated. The Arab Spring was there very strongly but got oppressed in ways that were new to Iraqi people. Anti-riot police of the American style was something that we witnessed there... This is not a democratic country." [includes rush transcript]
Saturday, December 17, 2011
RudePundit, with video (01:33):
All you need to know about Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Featuring dirty fucking hippies at the Bonnaroo Music Festival reading from The Rude Pundit's Almanack, available from OR Books: http://www.orbooks.com/our-books/rude-pundit/Howie P.S.: The pundits are now citing polls that that show Newt going down in Iowa and Mitt going up.
Vanity Fair, with video (02:43):
In our video homage, the late, great journalist and cultural critic, a longtime contributing editor to Vanity Fair, says that “one wouldn’t be doing one’s job if one didn’t itch to prick.”H/t to Marcia Kato.
As we head into a presidential election year, I’d wager a lot the mainstream media will focus their attention on the horse race for the White House and other prime time campaigns. But this is a moment—when we are seeing a real shift in our politics, from Wisconsin to Ohio to Occupy—to be recruiting and supporting what I’d call 99 percenter candidates: those who share the core convictions of Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent movement. MORE...
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Linda Brill (KING5 News) with video (02:23):
Hundreds of Seattle high-schoolers walked out of class today to protest education budget cuts. Seattle teenagers joined students at the University of Washington to send a message to Olympia.
The student protest was about 300 to 400 kids strong and for most of them it wasn't just a chance to cut school, it was a chance to protest serious budget problems.
It was the "all city" student walk out against budget cuts. High-schoolers from Seattle High Schools' Garfield, Ballard, Roosevelt and Nathan Hale walked out of school with a simple message: Fund us.
"You cut school...we cut class," said one student. MORE...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I want change. I’m willing to fight for it, to suffer for it, to go to jail for it when it’s right. When that day comes, we’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder, right on the front line.
I have readily said the Occupy movement and Occupy Seattle is something. But I continue to question if it is what it claims to be. I continue to be concerned over the lack of cohesive direction and strategy, the lack of equitable representation of the 99 percent and those, to this day, who have always struggled under economic inequality and continue to at a disproportionate rate. These issues have to be drawn out and highlighted for the movement to get stronger and grow. Thus, writing critically of Occupy Seattle is in itself a viable contribution to the movement.
I don’t want it to fail, but I fear in its current form, on is current trajectory… it will. MORE...
Tim Nuse sent me email from Freddie Helmiere about an occupy activist, John Helmiere:
Yesterday evening, I was brutally beaten by my brothers on the Seattle Police force as I stood before an entrance to Pier 18 of the Seattle Port in my clergy garb bellowing, “Keep the Peace! Keep the Peace!” An officer pulled me down from behind and threw me to the asphalt. Between my cries of pain and shouts of “I’m a man of peace!” he pressed a knee to my spine and immobilized my arms behind my back, crushing me against the ground. With the right side of my face pressed to the street, he repeatedly punched the left side of my face for long enough that I had time to pray that the crunching sounds I heard were not damaging my brain. I was cuffed and pulled off the ground by a different officer who seemed genuinely appalled when he saw my face and clerical collar. He asked who I was and why I was here, to which I replied, “I’m a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I believe another world is possible.” He led me shaking to a police van where began a 12-hour journey of incarcerated misery.Howie P.S.: The email continues with John's description of his day, from the beginning through his detention. I haven't figured how to link to it.
O’Reilly coined the term microlistening when he met with campaign officials and heard what they were trying to do. They are parsing constituent concerns in fine detail. It’s easy to generate a lot of data and miss the point so, if done right, the work is more valuable than any poll, strategists say.
It comes down to data -- collecting voter information, synthesizing it and making use of it most effectively. The data comes from conversations on the ground and behavioral patterns on the website. Analysts may try to determine how to best target a voter who gives $5 to participate in a raffle to have dinner with the president versus $5 during a Republican debate. MORE...
Occupy Seattle may have withdrawn from its bedraggled encampment at Seattle Central Community College under threat of eviction, but the movement showed in the December 12 West Coast port shutdown that it can still marshal hundreds of supporters, cause attention-getting disruptions to commerce, and make a point.
"I'm down here because I see this as a pivotal moment as we transition from stage one to stage two of the movement," said Dan Mahle, 26, standing outside Terminal 18 on the chilly afternoon. He described that transition as going "from occupying space to more strategic objectives." MORE...
Tom Fucoloro (Central District News):
High school students all around Seattle are planning a walkout Wednesday with several schools (including Garfield) destined for a rally at the University of Washington. Garfield students will leave class at 12:30 and walk down 23rd Ave to the UW via the Montlake Bridge. There, they will join with students from the UW and other high schools (see the Facebook event). MORE...
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Dina Lydia (with slideshow):
"Occupy Seattle" holds a demonstration at the port of Seattle, intending to shut down at least one terminal, in solidarity with other port protests on the West Coast.Howie P.S.: Dina says
So here is what I saw around me in the afternoon from 3 to 4:30.
Amy Tennery (The Jane Dough):
Senator Patty Murray on the failed supercommittee — and why she thinks the debt crisis could have been helped if more women were in Congress: “We need diversity in the Senate, and we need people who come to the job who really want to make a difference for their country. And when I look out across the country, I see women who understand that… You want the practical answer to why we would get things done? Because we are multi-taskers: We have to pick up the kids and get dinner and, you know, help with the homework and get things done, and we don’t mess around. And so we come into politics the same way: We have a task, it’s hard, but we make decisions, and we get things done.”
Murray, who was quoted by the Tri-City Herald, has worked to recruit female senate candidates in several states.
This letter — which is signed by Patty Murray, Barbara Boxer, Kirsten Gillilbrand, Maria Cantwell and 10 male senators — is strongly worded stuff, particularly when directed at a Democratic president. It stops just short of accusing the Obama administration of deliberately ignoring science in making this decision. It also puts the administration in an awkward spot. Either it produces a scientific rationale that’s acceptable to these Senators, which will will be extremely difficult at best, or it will face more criticism for failing to justify its policy, reinforcing the sense that this Democratic administration abandoned science and put politics first.
It will also be interesting to see where these Dem Senators take this next. Hearings, anyone? MORE...
Monday, December 12, 2011
Goldy: "Occupy Protesters Barricade Klickitat SW & SW Spokane, Police Respond with Stun Grenades, Pepper Spray, and Horses"
Calling in from a scene he describes as straight out of Mad Max, Eli reports that Occupy protesters dragged pallets, wood, and other debris out of a junkyard at the port facility, and into the street to erect a barricade in the middle of the intersection of Kickitat SW & SW Spokane. Protesters held their ground, and shutting down traffic for about 40 minutes, before police came in with stun grenades, pepper spray, and horses to clear them out.
Following several loud bangs that appeared to be stun grenades, the air became thick with acrid smoke that burned your throat, Eli reports, as police went in to arrest protesters and remove the barricades. Traffic is now moving again.
Eli spoke with Sean Karnes, 30, of Seattle, a student at ITT Tech, and a retired Coast Guard veteran, whose eyes were swollen shut, presumably from pepper spray. "The guy fucking slammed against me with his bike," Karnes tells Eli regarding his encounter with the police. "I got punched three or four times." MORE...
Anti-Wall Street protesters along the West Coast joined an effort Monday to blockade some of the nation's busiest ports -- including Seattle and Tacoma, with the thought that if they cut off the ports, they cut into corporate profits.
About 100 protesters in Bellingham blocked railroad tracks near downtown Bellingham. Some were seen lying down, bound together by bicycle locks around their necks.
A train expected at 3 p.m. was delayed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe as police arrested protesters who refused to clear the tracks.
Meantime, Seattle police said "multiple" people have been arrested after dozens of protesters blocked an entrance to a Port of Seattle facility. MORE...
“Well, I think he’s going to get the nomination,” Congressman Barney Frank said of Newt Gingrich, in this week’s Political Scene podcast, with Ryan Lizza and George Packer. “I don’t think we’ve had a time in American history when the dominant wing of a political party was so out of sync with everybody else,” Frank, who recently announced that he would not be seeking another term, said.
“It’s interesting that [Gingrich] and Romney are accusing each other of flip-flopping,” Frank told Packer and Lizza. “Between the two of them they could power a small-sized city with their gyrations. He has, unlike Romney, a nastiness to it, a willingness to be critical. I think Newt Gingrich, he is a very clever—as opposed to intelligent, I would say—guy for political strategy.”
A Gingrich candidacy would be great for Obama, in Frank’s view. “This man became Speaker in 1995, and less than four years later had to quit. He cannot run things, at least based on the evidence we’ve seen.”
Gingrich, Frank went on, “is a man of no public-policy commitments. He talked more about having ideas than about the ideas.” Gingrich’s explanation of his work for Freddie Mac was, Frank said, “gobbledygook.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, the Congressman said that, with the Dodd-Frank financial bill, “if a large institution is failing, it fails…. There are death panels in the legislation we passed in the previous Congress, but not, as Sarah Palin mistakenly said, in the health bill. It’s in the financial-reform bill.”
Frank saw less sense in Occupy Wall Street: “I don’t understand why some people think that simply being in a physical place does much.” Frank suggests that the O.W.S. protesters may enjoy cheering each other on more than engaging with problems, and asked why there were no voter-registration tables or campaigns to contact representatives.
Packer said that, based on his visits to Zuccotti Park, many protesters don’t believe the political process works. Frank replied, “That’s just stupid…. What works better? Standing in a park? How does that help?”
Frank plans to help, even in retirement, by working on issues he cares about from outside Congress. He said that he thought his words might have more meaning if spoken from beyond the Beltway. “There’s such cynicism now, that I’ll be saying pretty much the same things but with more credibility.”
MEDIAite with videos:
President Barack Obama recently sat down with 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft for what was a significant and full-throated defense of what his administration has accomplished in the almost three years he has lived in the White House. Obama pushed back on detractor’s suggestions that he has somehow both been obstinate in legislative negotiations and continually capitulated to the House GOP. He also remarked that when it comes to his potential opponent, ‘it doesn’t really matter’ who Republicans nominate. MORE...
Saturday, December 10, 2011
President Obama’s re-election team has been training its fire on potential Republican opponents of late.Howie P.S.: This dilemma brings to mind the phrase "better than the other one." I just wish I could remember what rock song repeated that phrase.
But the question of what the president is for, rather than what he is against, has been met with diffuse answers.
Those answers tend to revolve around either general sentiments about protecting the middle class or a broad miscellany of policy goals — economic regeneration, environmental protection and educational improvement among them. MORE...
"Has Obama Been Good on Women's Issues?-Crooks and Liars on Current TV's The Young Turks" (with video)
Heather (Crooks&Liars), with video (07:57:
Our own managing editor here at Crooks and Liars, Tina Dupuy was a guest on Cenk Uygur's The Young Turks on Current TV this Friday night as part of his Power Panel segment, along with The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel and Lucia Graves, and participated in a discussion on Newt Gingrich's recent rise in the polls and on whether overall President Obama has been good on women's issues despite the recent decision by HHS's Kathleen Sebelius to restrict access to the morning after pill for teens.
(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)
David Horsey, SeattlePI.com.
Howie P.S.: The cartoon makes further comment unnecessary.
Friday, December 09, 2011
SenatorSanders, with video (12:29):
Warning that "American democracy in endangered," Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that allowed unrestricted and secret campaign spending by corporations on U.S. elections. The first constitutional amendment ever proposed by Sanders during his two decades in Congress would reverse the narrow 5-to-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Important questions have been raised about what role, if any, the federal government has played in dismantling the Occupy encampments around the country and what the protesters and civil liberties groups say is ultimately an attempt to stifle dissent.
While we wait for those answers, Kolin, a political science professor at Hilbert College in Buffalo, New York, has done a masterful job of tracing the origins of the "political repression of mass-based movements" and the rise of the "police state" in his exhaustively researched book, "State Power and Democracy: Before and During The Presidency of George W. Bush." (Click here to read an excerpt.) MORE...
Police officers in riot gear form a line near Occupy Los Angeles protesters outside City Hall in Los Angeles, November 30, 2011. (Photo: Ted Soqui / The New York Times)
The rich are different from you and me: they have more stuff. But not that much more. What they mainly have more of than you and me is … money.Howie P.S.: The Hanauer family is well known around these parts for the exploits of Nick's brother, Chip, but this Hanauer is worth your love as well.
Over at Bloomberg View, Nick Hanauer, a member in good standing of the top one per cent of the top one per cent, debunks the sanctification of himself and his fellow rich folk as “job creators.” Hanauer, who has “started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software,” writes that he:MORE...
can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.When businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it is like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
He's back!!--"middle management hack who is probably the most responsible for the utter failure of 1090AM KPTK"
You probably forgot just who Jim Trapp is. Not us, though!
Trapp is the CBS Radio middle management hack who is probably the most responsible for the utter failure of 1090AM KPTK, the only progressive radio station in deep blue Seattle. It's ratings drag along the bottom at around .08% of market share, and never has done much better.
He was PD there, and according to some who worked for him, not only never liked progressive talk, but never really liked talk radio. Great hire for the ham-handed CBS Radio, eh? (not untypical, we might add) MORE...
Occupy protestors are laying siege to Olympia, demanding that lawmakers close the state's $2 billion budget deficit by taxing Washington's richest residents. An income tax is out of the question for the special legislative session, but a pair of policy experts say there are other ways to make the 1 percent pay their fair share. MORE...
Like many people who voted for Obama in 2008, I have been critical of some of his actions and inactions. What has bothered me most has not been any one thing in particular, but his overall failure to articulate and defend the vision of an activist government tackling market failures and protecting the public interest, which Teddy Roosevelt helped to create. Yes, the President has done some positive things and made some good speeches, and, yes too, he has faced enormous difficulties, but all too often his heart hasn’t seemed to be in the fight.
Today, at last, he found his voice, or Teddy Roosevelt’s voice—or, as some are suggesting, Elizabeth Warren’s voice. Anyway, it was a big improvement. MORE...
C-SPAN, with video (01:02:48):
Pres. Obama travels to Osawatomie, Kansas to deliver remarks on the economy where he invoked Theodore Roosevelt's populism and challenged Republican belief in trickle-down economics.Howie P.S.: Now we have to pay attention and watch how this message plays out. Chris in Paris (AMERICAblog) gives voice to some skepticism on this front. Politico offers "Barack Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt." More skepticism about "President Obama's Latest Big Damn Speech About the Economy" from The Rude One. Chris in Paris (AMERICAblog) posts again: "Prosecuting Wall Street not possible, but prosecuting food stamp fraud is."
That’s a theory that speaks to our individualism, Obama said, "but here’s the problem, it doesn’t work. It has never worked."
He highlighted the 99% protests and agreed with the premise of the demonstrators: the richest 1% are obtaining more wealth than the rest of the American population.
"This kind of inequality – a level we haven’t seen since the Great Depression – hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom," he said.
The President promoted his economic priorities, including the extension and expansion of a payroll tax cut, which Congress has rejected.
Speaking to an enthusiastic audience, Obama said a strong economy starts with education, which he declared a "national mission."
The speech was billed as a "make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those working to join it," according to the White House. "We shall go up or down together," he said.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
On December 3rd, community activists and occupiers canvassed East New York, Brooklyn in preparation for December 6th National Day of Action.
Just from the few hours, conversing and handing out flyers, over 300 community members are already interested in being involved.
“This action is part of a national kick-off for a new frontier for the occupy movement: the liberation of vacant bank-owned homes for those in need, and the defense of families under threat of foreclosure and eviction. Actions will take place in more than 25 cities across the country…”
This is only the beginning.
FORECLOSE ON THE BANKS, NOT ON PEOPLE
SnagFilms, video (91:00):
In 1970, the town of Charleston, Mississippi, allowed black students into their white high school, but refused to integrate the senior prom. Twenty-seven years later, Charleston resident and Academy Award - winning actor Morgan Freeman offered to finance the prom - under the condition it be integrated. His offer was ignored. In 2008, Freeman made the offer again. This time the school board accepted, and history was made.
PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI traces the tumultuous events leading up to Charleston's first integrated prom through intimate conversations with students, families, faculty members and Freeman himself. As the film unfolds, we delve deeply into the heated race issues that tear apart this tiny community, and realize that this troubling segregation has less to do with the students than their parents. Ultimately, PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI captures a big moment in a small town, where hope finally blossoms in black, white and a whole lot of taffeta.
Diane Sweet (Crooks and Liars) with video (14:28)from CBS:
Big banks, bailouts, and secret bailouts, the defective and even fraudulent mortgages that have already led to foreclosure on millions of American's homes; finally, a mainstream media news source is asking why none of the companies involved - or their executives - have been prosecuted.
Steve Kroft and 60 Minutes talks with two whistleblowers, Eileen Foster, a former senior executive at Countrywide Financial, and Richard Bowen, a former vice president at Citigroup.
In a script note from "60 Minutes" producer, James Jacoby, begins with "It's been three years since the financial crisis crippled the American economy, and much to the consternation of the general public and the demonstrators on Wall Street,(Emphasis mine) there has not been a single prosecution of a high-ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm even though fraud and financial misrepresentations played a significant role in the meltdown."
A significant "win" for the Occupy Wall Street movement to be mentioned in such a groundbreaking investigative report? If nothing else, perhaps the Wall Street titans will cringe a little more with each spotting of a protest sign or "mic check."
Part one of the program begins, with the second part of the video at the bottom of the page, and a link to the final portion that's contained in the 60 Minutes Overtime report:
Steve Kroft: Do you believe that there are people at Countrywide who belong behind bars?
Eileen Foster: Yes.
Kroft: Do you want to give me their names?
Kroft: Would you give their names to a grand jury if you were asked?
But Eileen Foster has never been asked - and never spoken to the Justice Department - even though she was Countrywide's executive vice president in charge of fraud investigations. At the height of the housing bubble, Countrywide Financial was the largest mortgage lender in the country and the loans it made were among the worst, a third ending up in foreclosure or default, many because of mortgage fraud.
It was Foster's job to monitor and investigate allegations of fraud against Countrywide employees and make sure they were reported to the Board of Directors and the Treasury Department.
Kroft: How much fraud was there at Countrywide?
Foster: From what I saw, the types of things I saw, it was-- it appeared systemic. It, it wasn't just one individual or two or three individuals, it was branches of individuals, it was regions of individuals.
Kroft: What you seem to be saying was it was just a way of doing business?
In 2007, Foster sent a team to the Boston area to search several branch offices of Countrywide's subprime division - the division that lent to borrowers with poor credit. The investigators rummaged through the office's recycling bins and found evidence that Countrywide loan officers were forging and manipulating borrowers' income and asset statements to help them get loans they weren't qualified for and couldn't afford.
Foster: All of the-- the recycle bins, whenever we looked through those they were full of, you know, signatures that had been cut off of one document and put onto another and then photocopied, you know, or faxed and then the-- you know, the creation thrown-- thrown in the recycle bin.
Full transcript available here.Howie P.S.: Part Two of this story is here.
Tim Murphy (Mother Jones):
If you have a ton of cash and a political agenda, it's easier than ever to make powerful friends and influence people. Here's a handy how-to guide to the complex, cash-drenched world of federal campaign finance.
Monday, December 05, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street movement was studiously ignored until the police in New York City started using violence and now it's gone viral, so you need to seize the moment, not have too many mixed messages, because that is just not going to play with Joe Average. If you're underwater with your mortgage, you understand the Wall Street thing. That was the whole point of the GOP: "Our propaganda has to be simple and repetitive."
People who are not authoritarian by nature are not going to march to the beat of the same drummer, but it's tricky. It can't be identical in style to the GOP - which is now directly appealing to irrational impulses - so there is a natural tension between keeping the message simple and not insulting the intelligence of an educated person, as so much of the GOP's recent messaging does. MORE...
Sunday, December 04, 2011
William Yardley (NY Times):
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A strange sound rang out from the Senate Democratic caucus meeting at the State Capitol here this week.
“We broke into applause,” said Senator Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor. “There hasn’t been a lot of applause in caucus in the last few years.”
There may not be much more anytime soon. The applause was for the news that Boeing and union machinists, long at odds, had reached a sweeping agreement to mend their differences and build the new 737 Max airplane here in the Puget Sound region. The deal would mean thousands of jobs for years to come, yet it was no antidote for the pressing problem the caucus had to address. It would not balance the budget.
After cutting $10 billion over the past three years, including trimming higher education spending by half, slicing health care programs and streamlining state agencies, lawmakers and the 6.7 million residents of Washington State have been rewarded for their sacrifices with more bad news: The state has another enormous budget deficit.
“I can’t take it anymore,” said Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat. “I sure hope that’s where the people of the State of Washington are.”
So now, facing a budget gap of nearly $2 billion and more bleak revenue forecasts, Ms. Gregoire and some Democratic leaders say they will seek the same solution they have in the past: To raise taxes.
The question is whether, this time, voters will actually let them. MORE...
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Last night, in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, the police moved in by the hundreds to clear out the Occupy encampments. In L.A., Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa used the tiredest excuse of them all: think about the children. In a city with at least 13,500 homeless kids (and that's just the ones that show up at schools), L.A. probably could have spent the money it used for the 1400 cops and 200 arrests at the City Hall camp on, say, housing some of the kids who don't want to be on the streets.
You can bet that we'll be hearing about more crackdowns as the winter progresses, until almost all the camps are gone. And to that, the Rude Pundit says, "Finally."
Don't get him wrong. He fully supports the occupiers and their colonization of urban spaces, the footholds of American renewal. He even understands why defending the camps has become so important. For some, whether fresh-faced, middle-class college student or unemployed middle-aged homeless person, the camps are a taste of what power and democracy are like. They are a small victory in a concrete swamp of constant indignity and degradation. Smelly, ugly, and full of sloppy dissent, the Rude Pundit thought they were beautiful. It's why he wanted and still wants people to donate stuff to the remaining encampments. If they're gonna stay, then he wants these hippie harbingers of the future fight to be safe and warm.
But the camps need to be seen for what they are and what they've accomplished: they had to come into being in order to show that there are large numbers of people willing to put their bodies on the line for a cause. They needed to remind us that the public square is not virtual and that civic engagement in the real world is necessary and vital for the reclamation of the country. That has been done. But right now the media is focusing too much on the camps as symbols and their eviction as a loss, with some even portraying the evictions as a victory over an ill-prepared, misguided, easily-mocked group of anarchists and leeches. Don't let the fuckers have the victory. Don't let them take back the narrative.
Of course the occupations have to be destroyed by the police. That was the point, wasn't it? Draw out the authorities. Get them to respond to your actions. Transform yourself into beings with your own agency, no longer objects to be acted upon. And how does that not bait the ones with the batons and the pepper spray and the ones who order them to attack?
The Rude Pundit doesn't mourn the end of the encampments in the same way he didn't mourn moving from teenage years to adulthood. Now we've seen that action is possible, that community is possible, that mass public support is possible. It's time to move to targeted direct action, and, no, that doesn't mean supporting candidates for election. That's bullshit co-opting and dilution of the movement. Leave that to Occupy Wall Street's sympathizers. It means direct confrontation, like the new effort to stop foreclosures from occurring. (The Rude Pundit will be out there next Tuesday.)
And it means that Adbusters had it right when it declared, in the heated environment after New York was shut down, "We will turn this winter into a training ground for precision disruptions – flashmobs, stink bombs, edgy theatrics – against the megacorps and the unrepentant 1%, a festival of resistance in the snow with, or without, an encampment that'll lay the tactical foundation for our Spring Offensive."
While we need to take care of the outdoor occupiers, we cannot cling to slivers of land when we have a nation to take back.
Left with nothing to fear but imaginary fear itself, the gun nuts are in a terrible rut. They need scary opposition in order to flourish. They need someone to hate. They need conspiracies. And, as always, they need donations.
So, in their world, Obama’s silence, his reticence, his passivity is proof of a grand scheme.
“It’s all part of a massive conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intention to destroy the Second Amendment,” LaPierre told a major conservative gathering this fall.
Get it: he’s a stealth threat! By design. MORE...
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Ultimately, the biggest question for voters who are troubled by Obama's failure to confront Wall Street despite his words is whether it reflects a weakness of character, a weakness of will, or a weakness in management style. Presumably the latter would be easier to correct in a second term.
But Suskind has no opinion -- and wonders if there's really much of a difference. Either way, it's a reflection of how Obama wields power. And until something dramatic happens, there's no reason to think it's going to change. "This White House," Suskind says, "is the one he constructed and presides over." MORE...