September 30, 2015
Feel Free to Eat Your Jesus Fish, Though

Ed, at Gin and Tacos:

The great masses of Americans cling so desperately to their own imagined versions of things like freedom of religion and right to bear arms because those are the only freedoms they can claim without deceiving themselves to have. If those are taken away they would be forced to recognize how truly un-free in any useful sense they are. If people are unable to find work that pays a sufficient amount to cover life’s necessities and to live in a manner and place of their choosing, then all of their many intangible rights and freedoms guaranteed by law provide only a superficial – important, but superficial nonetheless – freedom. We are free, in short, to do whatever we can afford, which, in the majority of cases, is to say “Not much…”

Without implying that the government owes everyone a job of their choosing in the exact location of their choosing, it’s fair to say that if you can’t find work that pays enough to live a life that gives you real choices and options then you are free only in the sense that you are not imprisoned (although there will be plenty of that as well) and nobody can tell you how many Jesus fish and Rush Limbaugh bumper stickers you can put on your car, nor how many expensive guns you can hoard in your meager home that you struggle to afford. Americans obsess over those largely symbolic freedoms, the threats to which exist only in their own imaginations, because even though we dare not admit it we understand that many of us lack anything better.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:25 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Economics and Society | Psychology and Society
September 27, 2015
Structured Un-Tag

From the Napa Valley Register:

It all started with a social media report earlier this week when a group of parents, responding to what they had heard was a ban on the game of tag in elementary schools, formed a group called “Support ‘tag’ at Recess…”

“Elementary schools draw community backlash for ‘hands off’ at recess,” reported the Mercer Island Reporter. A spokesman for the school district seemed to reinforce the impression with a statement:

“The Mercer Island School District and school teams have recently revisited expectations for student behavior to address student safety. This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves. The rationale behind this is to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students.

And how about the Pope while we’re at it? Laying on of hands, what’s with that anyway?



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 7:24 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare
It’s Not the Money…

…it’s the principle of the thing. From the New York Times:

A test like Judge Diment’s — if individuals can pay, they will once threatened with jail, he asserts — is not unheard-of. Nor, for that matter, is jailing those who cannot pay: A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union in New Hampshire found that the state’s taxpayers paid $167,000 in 2013 to jail people who owed $76,000.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:21 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Civil Liberties | Class Warriors | Legal Absurdities
September 24, 2015
Cops Fail to Kill Troubled Suspect

Sergeant Michael Van Buren is in the right line of work. We first see him starting out with the usual stuff, screaming at an apparently armed woman to hit the ground, drop her weapon. When this doesn’t work we all too often see the officer repeat himself, shouting more and more hysterically until he pumps both himself and the suspect into mindless rage and fear.

But Sergeant Van Buren isn’t a frightened coward. He shifts gear instantly into calm reason and patiently persists. Little by little, minute by minute, a relative calm descends, and at last the situation is brought under control.

Van Buren seems to be a regular Sonny Lee, of whom I’ve written before. Sonny was a short, wide, famously tough detective sergeant in Arlington, Virginia, when I was a police reporter. One day I asked him if he had ever had occasion to draw his gun. “Hell, no,” he said. “Man needs a gun to do this job, he’s in the wrong line of work.”



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:28 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Heroes and Friends | Hope for the Future
September 22, 2015
No Comment

From the New York Times:

Though some Americans have tried to write off the practice of raping boys, which was described in an article in The New York Times on Monday, as a cultural difference between Afghans and Westerners, many Afghans say that they, too, find it shameful and wrong. (In fact, the Taliban banned it when in power.)

Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:01 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Our Gain…

…is Wisconsin’s loss:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is back at work at the state Capitol after his abrupt exit from the Republican presidential race.

Walker’s spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said Tuesday that Walker was spending most of his day in briefings with executive staff and he would not make any public appearances.

She says that Walker “looks forward to continuing to work hard for the people of Wisconsin for the remainder of his term.”



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 12:59 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Class Warriors | Idiots | Presidential Hopefuls | Republicans
September 19, 2015
ISIS to Crucify Kid!

No, wait a minute. That would be Saudi Arabia, our BFF:

Saudi Arabia has dismissed the final appeal of a juvenile prisoner set to be crucified. Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr was arrested aged 17 after participating in anti-government protests in 2012. He was accused of protesting illegally and being in possession of firearms.

Ali was initially held at a juvenile offenders’ facility. Reports indicate that he was tortured and signed a confession under duress. The appeal was held in secret and dismissed, with no remaining legal routes of objection to his sentence of “death by crucifixion”, initially handed down on 27 May 2014.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:13 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
September 17, 2015
Bring Back the Draft

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Only four or five Syrian individuals trained by the United States military to confront the Islamic State remain in the fight, the head of the United States Central Command told a Senate panel on Wednesday, a bleak acknowledgment that the Defense Department’s $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters has gone nowhere…
Oh, I know it looks bad, but what if those $125 million or $100 million Syrian individuals turn out to be four or five super troopers? Captain Marvel, for instance. Or Batman. Or Plastic Man. Don’t laugh. It could happen. But actually it won’t.

I know because I spent two years as a private in the finest body of fighting men in the history of the world and the rest of the planetary system as well. President Obama didn’t, or he wouldn't keep falling for the murderous nonsense sold to him by the War Department, as it was once more accurately called. He looks at all those stars glittering on the shoulders of some manly fellow, all those bright ribbons stretching from axilla to sternum, and thinks, Wow, that guy must really have his feces assembled. When I look at the same man I see a second lieutenant, and one who brown-nosed his way to the top. Genuinely smart second lieutenants seldom make it past colonel — that’s the difference between a General Petraeus, say, and a Colonel Wilkerson.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:27 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Declare Victory And Leave | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever | The Fall of the Roman American Empire | War on "Terror" | Warmongers | Weakening America
September 16, 2015
A Break For Student Debtors

Do you or your child have heavy student loan debt? Well I have good news for you. This is from the Exit Counseling Guide for borrowers of federal student loans:

If you die, of if you are a parent borrower of a PLUS loan and the student for whom you obtained the loan dies, you may be eligible for a discharge.
How’s that for a deal? If you or your kid dies you may get a discharge!

Now quit complaining and get my nonfat Latte, you entitled whiners.

Posted by OHollern at 11:45 AM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
September 15, 2015
Cough It Up, Folks…

…and pass the link on to your friends, bearing in mind that Zoë Wilson, unlike most charities I could name, has no overhead. The 14-year-old granddaughter of our next-door neighbors recently arrived in Ljubljana, where her biologist father is conducting a year-long conservation study of Slovenian bears (who knew?). So why not?, she figured she might as well buy 32 pairs of shoes and a whole bunch of other neat stuff while she was there. But she still wants more. Can you help her out?

With the money I raised we were able to buy 41 train tickets, sleeping bags, blankets, pads and 32 pairs of shoes. If you want to know more about our days volunteering keep reading! When we first arrived there were not too many people, just beat up tents set up on a large dirt area. I mostly noticed young kids kicking a slightly flat soccer ball, and playing on plastic bikes while their parents watched them.

When we showed up we were met by Hungarian volunteers who had been working around the clock, they showed us where all the storage was. Then we moved all of our donated gear into the makeshift tents. We still had 1000 dollars to use, so my dad and a volunteer named Dora and I drove to the (railway) station where we met other volunteers from Migration Aid. We spent $500 or 135,000 Hungarian forints on 41 train tickets to a small Hungarian city on the Austrian border where the refugees would then be able to walk into Austria. These tickets will be going to people who have absolutely nothing. After this we went to a giant Wal-Mart esc store.

We filled up a cart with men and woman’s shoes. We bought 32 pairs of good walking shoes. When arrived back at camp the volunteers were in shock at how many we had. Shoes were badly needed. After I helped pass out shoes, a wave of people arrived in camp. What had just been quiet was now filled with a buzz of different languages, everyone just asking for help. I found the kids first. Fitting five year olds with new pants, jackets and shoes, “miss, miss please” was a phrase that filled my ears.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:10 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Hope for the Future
Poor Baby

Over at The National Review, Jonah Goldberg is terribly upset. Over here, I’m not:

How many Republicans have been deemed unfit for the Oval Office because of comparatively minor character flaws or ideological shortcomings? Rick Perry in 2012 saw his candidacy implode when he couldn’t remember the third item on his checklist of agencies he’d close down. Well, even in that “oops” moment, Rick Perry comes off as Lincolnesque compared with Donald Trump…

Ronald Reagan once said, “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.” Trump is close to the reverse. He’s a mouth at the wrong end of an alimentary canal spewing crap with no sense of responsibility.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:43 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Elections | Idiots | Presidential Hopefuls | Republicans | Rich White Trash
September 09, 2015
Scum de la Scum

Trump excuses his sleazy business dealing by saying his victims were big boys, fellow scum who would have done the same thing to him. To a limited extent I bought this; who expects honor among sleaze. But that excuse won’t work when it comes to “Trump University” (now there’s an oxymoron for you).

Consider this:

In order to pay for their training, Trump University officials told students to make up the name of a phony business and lie about their income in order to get higher credit limits with which to pay for their workshops and apprenticeships. Many students spent up to $25,000 and $35,000 just to attend classes, only to have their credit scores crater after the fact.

Kathleen Meese of Schoharie, New York said that an instructor pressured her to charge $25,000 on her credit card in order to qualify for the school’s “Gold Elite” program. Meese said she balked at the figure because she has to care for her son who has Down syndrome.

The instructor, Meese said, “told me that I had to sign up for Trump Gold Elite for $25,000 to help my family. He said he had a son, so he knew how family meant everything to me…”



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:16 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Republicans | Rich White Trash
September 03, 2015
Like That Would Constrain Him!

With the punditocracy all in oohs and aahs about Trump pledging not to run an independent campaign, Paul Waldman’s point is well taken.

Since the pledge would be happily violated by the only candidate who it was designed to constrain in the first place, it has little practical significance. But it does make the Republican Party look pathetic. They’re so scared of the guy leading their primary race (as well they should be) that they have to beg him to pinkie-swear that he won’t turn around and screw them over in the general election if they’re lucky enough for him not to be their nominee. But their real problem may be that by the time they get there, he will have already done enough damage that it’ll be too late.

Posted by Chuck Dupree at 8:51 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Political Commentary
August 31, 2015
A Market Solution

Since the United States is not Australia or any other country rational on the question of gun control, none of the usual, obvious, commonsense solutions to gun violence can ever be enacted here. What to do then? Here is the first proposal I’ve come across that might actually stand a chance, in this land of induced constitutional derangement:

From John Gear, posting on Undernews.

Rather than trying to limit access to or take guns away from law-abiding adults, we must instead insist that the adult responsible for a gun at any instant (maker, seller, or buyer) have enough liability insurance to cover the harm that could result if that adult misuses it or lets it reach the wrong hands.

Who gets the insurance proceeds, and for what? The state crime victims' compensation fund, whenever a crime involving guns is committed or a gun mishap occurs. The more victims, the bigger the payout. The greater the damage (from intimidation to multiple murders and permanent crippling), the greater the payout. The insurers will also pay the fund for other claims, such as when a minor commits suicide by gun or accidentally kills a playmate with Daddy's pistol. This will reduce such mishaps. Insurance is very effective in getting people to adopt safe practices in return for lower premiums.

When a crime involving a gun occurs, the firm who insured it pays the claim. If the gun is not found or is uninsured (and there will still be many of these at first) then every fund will pay a pro-rated share of the damages, based on the number of guns they insure. This will motivate insurance firms — and legitimate gun owners — to treat uninsured guns as poison, instead of as an unavoidable byproduct of the Second Amendment.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:30 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (4)
Glimmers of Sanity | Hope for the Future
Just a Suggestion…

…for the Ferguson police department and any others facing the loss of their principal revenue stream — shaking down African Americans on phony charges. From Al Jazeera:

Police investigating Thailand’s deadliest bombing issued arrest warrants on Monday for two suspects — then congratulated themselves on an earlier arrest, and said they would give themselves the money offered as a reward…

The police congratulated themselves on Monday for making the arrest, and said they would give themselves an $84,000 reward, though the man has not been charged — let alone convicted — and may not be the prime suspect.

The reward was originally offered to the public for tips leading to the arrest of suspects, but National Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung said he was taking the unusual step of redirecting the cash to highlight that Thailand’s police are good at their job.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:04 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
American Heroes | Graft, Corruption and Malfeasance | Police State | Race
August 28, 2015
Lamestream Media

Why should I say it when Glenn Greenwald already has:

A Washington Post article about the incident actually equated the two figures, beginning with the headline: “Jorge Ramos is a conflict junkie, just like his latest target: Donald Trump…” That Ramos was acting more as an “activist” than a “journalist” was a commonly expressed criticism among media elites this morning.

Here we find, yet again, the enforcement of unwritten, very recent, distinctively corporatized rules of supposed “neutrality” and faux objectivity which all Real Journalists must obey, upon pain of being expelled from the profession. A Good Journalist must pretend they have no opinions, feign utter indifference to the outcome of political debates, never take any sides, be utterly devoid of any human connection to or passion for the issues they cover, and most of all, have no role to play whatsoever in opposing even the most extreme injustices.

Thus: you do not call torture “torture” if the U.S. government falsely denies that it is; you do not say that the chronic shooting of unarmed black citizens by the police is a major problem since not everyone agrees that it is; and you do not object when a major presidential candidate stokes dangerous nativist resentments while demanding mass deportation of millions of people. These are the strictures that have utterly neutered American journalism, drained it of its vitality and core purpose, and ensured that it does little other than serve those who wield the greatest power and have the highest interest in preserving the status quo.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 2:47 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
August 25, 2015

The parties have come a long, strange way from Booker T. Washington and Vito Marcantonio to Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. This from Thaddeus Russell’s A Renegade History of the United States:

Guglielmo's analysis of voting patterns in Chicago during the 1920s shows that “many Italians willingly voted alongside African-Americans throughout these years.” Furthermore, “some Italians never seemed overly concerned about belonging to the same party [Republican] as African Americans, even when the Democrats furiously fought to paint that party as ‘Negro’ through and through. Indeed, Italian-language newspapers openly advertised the point that Italians and African-Americans held similar party affiliations, and on one occasion, L’Italia held up African-Americans as a model for Italian political organization and behavior.”

When the national political parties were demographically realigned in the 1930s, both Italian Americans and African Americans moved overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party and remained solid voting blocks for the Democrats for the next 30 years. Indeed, one of the greatest champions of black civil rights during the 1930s and 1940s was Vito Marcantonio, the left-wing New York Congressman whose East Harlem district contained large numbers of both Italians and African Americans. Marcantonio sponsored several civil rights bills, led the congressional fight against the discriminatory poll tax in southern states, and worked to make lynching a federal crime.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 5:42 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Civil Liberties | Historical Perspectives | Race | Republicans
August 24, 2015
What Would Hillary Do?

Over at The Guardian, the actual newspaper of record, economics editor Larry Elliott doesn’t think things are looking good. I mean, when your opening sentence is "And so it begins", you’re establishing a certain mood, and he ends the next paragraph with "This could get ugly". So you get that he’s not optimistic about the near future, economically speaking at least.

Generally, he reports, there’s a trigger event such as a huge spike in oil prices or a well-known bank having to admit it was in difficulties that indicates systemic weakness widely recognized but never voiced; and in this case the Chinese economy and the government’s somewhat inept handling of it are the elephant in the room. A year (and $300 billion USD) spent propping up the yuan/renminbi has ended with implicit admission of failure, resulting in speculators finding their accounts lighter and governments and corporations having to adjust trade and foreign exchange policies and rates to the ripple effects of the world’s second largest economy suffering such a huge turnaround.

In the past the US could often be counted on to take up the slack in consumption, but our consumption is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a miniscule portion of our population.

The economic story of the US since the Great Recession ended has been of QE [quantitative easing] fuelling a six-year bull market in shares at a time when economic growth has been weak and productivity growth even weaker. There has been no trickle-down effect, and no attempt to redress the main structural problem of the past three decades: the severing of the link between productivity and wages. The top 10% of US households took 116% of the income gains when the US economy was recovering between 2009 and 2012. The other 90% of US citizens saw their living standards fall. Inequality has widened.

Around the world, power is becoming more and more concentrated. And not even in some manner at least intended for the public welfare, but rather in the hands of the most opportunistic and ruthless, the greediest and most power-hungry, among us. In the past this was a recipe for localized conflict, but that no longer exists. Since nearly anyone seriously bent on terrorism can find some sort of hugely destructive weapon, local conflict quickly spreads.

All power corrupts, Acton wrote to his friend. Concentrated power, I assert, produces concentrated corruption, and the combination is a toxic brew. We don’t need more Presidents indebted from the moment they’re elected to these private and thus unaccountable seats of concentrated, corrupt power. I see only one Presidential candidate who avoids that mold from which both parties’ candidates and elected officials have long been cut.



Posted by Chuck Dupree at 7:53 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Economics and Society | Political Commentary
The GOP-Likud Axis

Basically there’s nobody left but Netanyahu’s Likud and its American subsidiary, the GOP, who doesn’t back the Iran nuclear deal. See this from David Bromwich at TomDispatch:

Let’s start with Jewish opinion in America. When Steven Cohen, a professor at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, conducted a poll of American Jews, including those who, like myself, are not religious, he found that an astounding 63% approved of the nuclear deal, a figure impressively higher right now than American opinion on the subject generally. In other words, with the single exception of J Street, all the major Jewish organizations that are lobbying against the deal and claiming to represent American Jews and Jewish opinion don’t. As Cohen and Todd Gitlin wrote recently in the Washington Post, “Plainly, the idea that American Jews speak as a monolithic bloc needs very early retirement. So does the canard that their commitment to Israel or the views of its prime minister overwhelms their support for Obama and the Iran deal. So does the idea that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads, or represents, the world’s Jews.”

So call that a bit of a surprise on “Jewish opinion.” But what about Israel, where support among key figures for deep-sixing the nuclear deal is self-evident? Again, just one small problem: almost any major Israeli figure with a military or intelligence background who is retired or out of government and can speak freely on the matter seems to have come out in favor of the agreement. (The same can be said, by the way, for similar figures in this country, as well as Gary Samore, a former Obama administration White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction and until recently head of United Against Nuclear Iran, a Sheldon Adelson-funded group whose job is to knee-cap such an agreement. He stepped down from that post recently to support the nuclear deal.) In Israel, a list as long as your arm of retired intelligence chiefs, generals and admirals, officials of all sorts, even nuclear scientists, have publicly stepped forward to support the agreement, written an open letter to Netanyahu on the subject, and otherwise spoken out, including one ex-head of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, appointed to his position by none other than Netanyahu.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:07 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Idiots | Republicans | Warmongers | Weakening America | World Affairs
August 20, 2015
Bernie Sanders Does Reno

I went and saw Bernie Sanders the other night at the University of Nevada, Reno. I estimated the crowd at around 3,000, but the Reno Gazette-Journal reports 4,500 people were there. That’s not bad for this seedy, soul-dead, Republican dominated hell-hole. If it wasn’t for gambling, prostitution and dive bars, the place would be a complete loss, worse than Modesto even (and seeing as how Nevada’s public school system routinely ranks dead last in the nation, the future doesn’t look bright. Abandon all hope, ye who enter Nevada).

I have a neuralgic loathing of crowds, particularly American crowds in summer apparel. On those unfortunate occasions when I’m surrounded by a herd of Americans at play, consuming, waving flags, listening to classic rock, cheering in unison, I look to the sky in search of that liberating meteor that is going to be here someday … someday …

Let’s face it, whenever large groups of Americans get together they either start a war or form a lynch mob (or trample someone to death on route to the stuffed animal aisle or the electronics department).

This crowd was okay, though. The news reports emphasize how young it was, which I guess is true, but I was struck by the number of middle- aged and older people there as well. Many of the of them were the same fading old lefties you see manning the phones at PBS pledge drives, but not all. The crowd was diverse and civil, and no Free Mumia morons or other attention seeking professional “activists” showed up to discredit the event and turn it into a pointless left-wing circle jerk. All in all, it was a healthy gathering where serious but hopeful Americans booed the oligarchy we live under and cheered for a better way.

Before the speech, a group of cartoonishly voluptuous women in short skirts and tank-tops unfurled a banner that said “Hookers 4 Hillary!” They dressed like waitresses at Hooters, and the fellow next to me thought it was a joke; not I. Those were the real thing. A trained eye can always spot an alcoholic or a hooker a mile a way. You just have to know what to look for. Sure enough, they were employees of the nearby Moonlight Bunny Ranch who actively support Hillary Clinton. That’s a steady source of funding that your average Bernie supporter might have a tough time matching.

(Incidentally, I’m barely visible in the picture. I’m in the extreme lower right-hand corner wearing a t-shirt and sunglasses, standing in front of the guy in the pink tie-dye).


Posted by OHollern at 12:49 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
August 19, 2015
Free the American 320 Million

This is the issue which ought to lie at the heart of the upcoming presidential race but won’t. That Obama set out to follow the same disastrous “free trade” policies as Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton is beyond my comprehension. If Hillary lacks the guts to cut free from her husband and her corporate backers on TPP, the rest of us will be well and truly fornicated.

When Ronald Reagan came into office, as the result of 190 years of Hamilton’s plan, the United States was the world’s largest importer of raw materials; the world’s largest exporter of finished, manufactured goods; and the world’s largest creditor.

After 34 years of Reaganomics, we’ve completely flipped this upside down. We’ve become the world’s largest exporter of raw materials, the world’s largest importer of finished goods, and the world’s largest debtor. We now export raw materials to China, and buy from them manufactured goods. And we borrow from them to do it. Our trade debt right now stands at over $11 trillion, and it’s the principal reason why one-seventh of all assets in the United States are foreign-owned.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:26 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Class Warriors | Economics and Society | Elections | Historical Perspectives | The Real Cost of Globalization | Weakening America
August 17, 2015
Hands Up and Keep ‘em Up

Can it be possible that Lindsey Graham actually believes his own drivel? Can we even conceive of a lack of self-knowledge so profound? No? Well that’s because we’re not Lindsey Graham. The only hands across the aisle the wee fellow would consider shaking would be the ones with white flags in them. From USAToday:

“What’s wrong with Washington is that we don’t do enough together,” Graham said. “And the people that are frustrated are more ideological — frustrated that they can’t have everything they want. How do you fix immigration without a Democrat and a Republican working together? How do you save Medicaid and Social Security without a bipartisan plan?”



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 7:09 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
August 16, 2015
Black Brain Matter

From the Alternet:

“It brings up a very important issue and that is, do those black lives matter?” Carson told one of Fox News’ indistinguishable stooges. “The number one cause of death for black people is abortion. I wonder if maybe some people might at some point become concerned about that and ask why is that happening and what can be done to alleviate that situation. I think that’s really the important question.”
Back when Carson was doing brain surgery, he should have grabbed one for himself.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:47 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Elections | Idiots | Presidential Hopefuls | Race | Reveling in the Weird
August 14, 2015
The Birth of the Southern Strategy

It is always discouraging to be reminded, again and again and again, that there is sure enough nothing new under the sun. But let’s do it anyway. Here’s a passage from Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics. I had forgotten that the GOP’s Southern strategy dated back not to Nixon’s 1968 campaign but to Barry Goldwater’s four years earlier. So — discredit where discredit’s due:

Goldwater's departure from the Republican pattern was compounded by his position on civil rights. One of the oldest, though hardly the most efficacious, of the traditions of many conservatives in the north — and even to a degree in the South as well — has been a certain persistent sympathy with the Negro and a disposition to help them in moderate ways to relieve his distress. This tradition goes back to the Federalist party; it was continued by the Whig gentry; it infused the early Republican Party.

By adopting “the Southern strategy,” the Goldwater men abandoned this inheritance. They committed themselves not merely to a drive for a core of Southern states in the electoral college but to a strategic counterpart in the north which required the search for racist votes. They thought they saw a good mass issue in the white backlash, which they could indirectly exploit by talking of violence in the streets, crime, juvenile delinquency, and the dangers faced by our mothers and daughters.

Eisenhower, like Goldwater, had been unmoved by noble visions of progress toward racial justice, but he at least gave lip service to the ideal and thought it important to enforce the laws himself and to speak out for public compliance. But Goldwater arrived at the position, far from conservative in its implications, that the decisions [ed. note: Brown v. Board of Education] of the Supreme Court are “not necessarily” the law of the land. Of course, the decisions of the court have always had political content and they have often been highly controversial; there is no reason why they should suddenly be regarded with whispered reverence. But it is only in our time, and only in the pseudo-conservative movement, that men have become to hint that disobedience to the court is not merely legitimate but is the essence of conservatism.

It is not the authority and legitimacy of the court alone that the pseudo-conservative right calls into question. When it argues that we are governed largely by means of near-hypnotic manipulation (brainwashing), wholesale corruption, and betrayal, it is indulging in something more significant than the fantasies of indignant patriots: it is questioning the legitimacy of the political order in itself. The two-party system, as it has developed in the United States, hangs on the common recognition of loyal opposition: each side accepts the ultimate good intentions of the other. The opponent’s judgment may be held to be consistently execrable, but the legitimacy of his intent is not — that is, in popular terms, his Americanism is not questioned. One of the unspoken assumptions of presidential campaigns is that the leaders of both parties are patriots who, however serious their mistakes, must be accorded the right to govern. But an essential point in the pseudo-conservative worldview is that our recent presidents, being men of wholly evil intent, have conspired against the public good. This does more than discredit them: it calls into question the validity of the political system that keeps putting such men into office.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 4:01 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Elections | Historical Perspectives | Race | Republicans
August 12, 2015
The Netanyahu Hustle

The idea that a nuclear Iran would pose an “existential” threat to Israel is of course grotesque and could only be taken seriously by someone as feckless, self-centered and delusional as my former (thank God) senator, Joe Lieberman.

So let Yale Law School professor Paul W. Kahn tell you what’s actually going on here. Excerpts:

Suppose [Netanyahu] is right that Iran can comply while still developing its nuclear knowhow, which would allow it to develop a bomb quickly at the end of the agreement. Yet without an agreement, Iran may be only months away from the construction of a bomb should it choose to go that route. How is 15 years not better than 15 months?

Similarly how is it not better to have a right to inspect — even after 24 days — than no right to inspect at all?…

Things only begin to make sense when we realize that Netanyahu doesn’t care about the bomb. He knows the two essential facts about the nuclear age. First, the knowledge of how to make a bomb cannot be eliminated. The technical knowledge that Iran now has cannot be negotiated away. This means that Iran will always be a potential nuclear state. With or without a deal, Iran can always decide to become a nuclear state. The only issue is how long it will take to get there. No matter what, the answer will always be “not very long.”

Second, nuclear states are locked in reciprocal relationships of deterrence. Treaties don’t keep states from using nuclear weapons, the threat of devastating retaliation does. For this reason, nuclear weapons have been useless as offensive weapons for seven decades. Nuclear states have preferred defeat in a conventional war over raising the possibility of a retaliatory, nuclear exchange. Netanyahu does not care about an Iranian bomb because Israel already has the bomb. The same thing that prevents Iran from using biological or chemical weapons will keep Iran from using a nuclear bomb…

Money and politics are what this dispute is about, not nuclear bombs. This is what Netanyahu will not say, for to focus on Israel’s real enemies is also to raise the issue of what more Israel could do to end the dispute with the Palestinians, which is at the heart of all of this.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:44 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Idiots | Republicans | Weakening America
August 11, 2015
Cocoons Are For Insects

How many times do I have to say this? Loosen up, people. Have you ever tickled a cute little toddler? Been on a high school football team? What are you, some kind of sex fiend?

From Flagler Live:

More broadly speaking, however, is an issue that plagues both children and adults at summer camps alike: for fear of litigation, local interpretation of a state code very strictly forbids adults touching children, in any manner.

Even to apply sunscreen to a burning child.

From the New York Times:
The players, both 17 at the time of the episode, had been charged with aggravated sexual contact and aggravated assault, among other crimes, and were tried as juveniles by a judge behind closed doors in Middlesex County family court.

Seven Sayreville players, from 15 to 17 years old, were accused last fall of attacking members of the freshman football team in a ritual that involved jumping and beating the younger players, groping their genitals or penetrating them from behind with a finger poked through pants. The scandal stunned the suburban town of 44,000 just southwest of New York City.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 3:15 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (4)
Idiots | Legal Absurdities | Psychology and Society
August 10, 2015
America’s Race-mixing Capital

Guess which state this school is in:

East Anchorage High, a school of 2,200 students, serves Mountain View. The principal, Sam Spinella, began his career in education in a New Jersey classroom where most students were white. At East, 80 percent of the student body is nonwhite, he said. After English, the most common languages spoken are Spanish, Hmong, Samoan, Tagalog, Somali and Yup’ik.

Sometimes students will isolate themselves, he said, hanging out only with people like them who speak their language. But no one group ranks higher in terms of achievement or involvement at East. Classes and sports, like soccer, create inspiring cultural mixing grounds. The students don’t know any different, but there are moments, like some mornings when he walks into the common area, that he is still moved by it.

“I look out there,” he said, “and I see the world.”


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 12:32 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Education | Race
August 09, 2015
Bernie Sanders Is Being Sabotaged

Well, well, Black Lives Matter just crashed another Bernie Sanders event and forced him off the stage.

I wonder, why don’t they do this to Jeb Bush or Scott Walker? Why don’t they accost Hillary Clinton? Why do they only attack the the most progressive candidate in the election? Why do they only attack their most natural political ally?

Can anyone explain this to me?

Who benefits most from undermining Bernie in a primary campaign? We all know the answer to that.


Posted by OHollern at 12:43 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (9)
August 06, 2015
Nullify This, Sucker!

Good thing for this wise-ass son of a bitch he wasn’t handing out copies of the First Amendment. (h/t to Undernews.)

The Denver Post reported that 56-year-old Mark Iannicelli set up a small booth with a sign reading “Juror Info” outside the Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver last week. The Denver District Attorney’s Office charged Iannicelli with seven counts of jury tampering after members of the jury pool were found to be in possession of fliers describing jury nullification.

Jury nullification allows juries to acquit a defendant who they may believe is guilty if they also believe that the law is unjust. The practice has been used by juries in the United States since the 1800s to nullify anti-free speech laws and laws punishing northerners for helping runaway slaves. It has most recently been used in drug cases when juries have viewed laws as discriminatory.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:16 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
Civil Liberties | Essential Liberties | Idiots | Legal Absurdities
August 04, 2015
Jesus, People, Relax…

…and take a minute to, you know, think.

WESTPORT — A local woman was arrested after police said she left her infant alone in her car. Milan Kunajukr, 30, was charged with risk of injury to children. She was released after posting $1,000 bond…

Shortly after 7 p.m., police said they were called to the parking lot of Whole Foods, 399 Post Road West, on a report of an infant left unattended in a vehicle. Upon arrival the officers found the vehicle unlocked and running with the infant inside, police said.

The weather at the time of the incident was approximately 84 degrees, however the interior of the vehicle was cool as the air conditioning was on, police said. According to witness statements the infant was alone for approximately seven minutes. Kunajukr exited the store and returned to her vehicle a short time after police arrived.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 12:09 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
Idiots | Legal Absurdities