Politics Links


FDR 1936: I Welcome Their Hatred

Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break the Silence - 4/4/67

“Capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxury to the classes. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”
Martin Luther King

10 U.S. Code § 904. Art. 104. Aiding the enemy

National Priorities: Discretionary Spending by US Government - Social Security $30 Billion (3%), Medicare $66 Billion (6%, most Medicare funding is covered by the Medicare HI Trust Fund - solvent through at least 2024), Veterans Benefits $65 Billion (6%), Defense $600 Billion (54%)

Wash. Post: Top Secret America - First posted 7/19/10

and now from Frontline - 9/6/11

ACLU: NSA Surveillance - “The NSA...continues to spy on a vast but unknown number of Americans’ international calls, text messages, web-browsing activities, and emails.

Our Constitution and democratic system demand that government be transparent and accountable to the people, not the other way around. History has shown that powerful, secret surveillance tools will almost certainly be abused for political ends.

In June 2013, The Guardian published documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden confirming the massive scale of this international dragnet. Recent disclosures also show that an unknown number of purely domestic communications are monitored, that the rules that supposedly protect Americans' privacy are weak and riddled with exceptions, and that virtually every email that goes into or out of the United States is scanned.

the government claimed sweeping authority under the Patriot Act to collect a record of every single phone call made by every single American "on an ongoing daily basis." This program not only exceeded the authority given to the government by Congress, but it violated the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment, and the rights of free speech and association protected by the First Amendment.”

NYTimes: State Secrets

War On WhistleBlowers

MoJo: Terrorists for the FBI - How the FBI concocts a terrorist plot, infiltrates Muslim communities, recruits, trains, enables and finances the plot, then jumps in at the last minute to foil the plot that it created and save the grateful nation...and then get more funding.

UK Guardian: The NSA Files

War On WhistleBlowers

Popular Resistance: Freedom of Speech and Assembly

NAF: Violence Statistics Aimed At Family Planning Clinics

The Counted

The Network for Public Education

How Gas Wells Leak - All gas wells, fracking and non-fracking, will leak eventually.

Obama As Candidate Against Offshore Drilling - He proposed “taxing the record multi-billion dollar profits of the oil companies and using the proceeds for a $1,000 middle-class tax cut,” and “investigation of possible market manipulation in the oil markets.” Beginning at 1:12, he explains why opening up offshore oil drilling, as proposed by “Drill Baby Drill” McCain, would not work in the short or long term. At 3:50 he proposes “an aggressive energy policy” that would invest $150 Billion in clean, affordable, and renewable sources of energy, a policy that promotes realistic energy conservation” and to “continue the moratorium that prevents offshore oil drilling.”

Iran Hawk Watch

Economic Hitmen - Global Capitalism totally explained in 2 min.

Broken Obama Campaign Promises of 2008 - A partial list.

Catholic Nuns Speak Out On Republican/Ryan Budget

AFL-CIO Bring Jobs Home

Water Defense

The platforms and pre-convention polls that all showed the Bernie routinely polled about 15 points higher against Trump than Hillary:

Hillary Clinton’s Platform vs Bernie Sanders’ Platform - Note how Hillary “is in favor of” and “will push for” but never a “how”, no numbers and no vision. Bernie in every case offers a plan for how to get there. Since Hillary offers no plan, there’s nothing to pick apart. Here and here are why all of those that pick apart Bernie’s plan are dead wrong - and btw most of them used to support Bernie’s proposals before he began to seriously threaten Hillary.

Jill Stein’s Platform

Why Vote Green? - Glad you asked.

How To Write In Your Vote for Green Party in Georgia on Nov. 8 - Or you can request an absentee ballot and fill it out from the comfort of your own home at your leisure. Just go to your county website for more info under Elections & Voter Registration.

Republican Platform

Democratic Party Platform

RealClearPolitics: Election 2016 Current Democratic Delegate Count

Gallup: Continuously Updated: Presidential Election 2016: Key Indicators - #WorstCandidates. As of 8/16: Trump fav/unfav: 31/63; Clinton fav/unfav: 41/54. That has never happened before.

HuffPo: Continuously Updated Favorable/Unfavorable Ratings - As of 5/10/16: Favorable: Clinton 41.5%, Sanders 51.6%, Trump 36.5%; Unfavorable: Clinton 54.6%, Sanders 41.1%, Trump 58.6%

Polls so far this year all showing that Sanders would defeat Trump by a wide margin and Clinton vs Trump is a statistical dead heat. See entries for the respective dates for details:

Real Clear Politics (continuously updated): As of 5/10/15: Sanders 52 - Trump 39; Clinton 47 - Trump 42

2/18/16 - Quinnipiac Univ.: Sanders 48 - Trump 42; Clinton 44 - Trump 43

5/10/16 - NBC News: Sanders 53 - Trump 40; Clinton 49 - Trump 44

Quinnipiac Univ. Poll: In Swing States Sanders Polls Higher Against Trump Than Does Clinton and Here

5/17/16 - Latest NBC News Poll: Nationwide, Clinton Leads Trump 48-45; Sanders Leads Trump 53-41

5/19/16 - Rasmussen Poll: Trump 42, Clinton 37; Sanders 45, Trump 41

5/22/16 - ABC/Washington Post Poll: Nationwide Trump Leads Clinton 46-44 - This poll did not compare Sanders directly to Trump, but Sanders has the highest favorability rating at 51% to 44% for Clinton and 37% for Trump. Sanders also has the lowest unfavorable numbers at 38% to 53% for Clinton and 60% for Trump.

6/1/16 - Quinnipiac: Clinton 45 vs Trump 41; Sanders 48 vs Trump 39 - With a margin of error of +- 2.5% either way, that’s a statistical tie between Clinton/Trump.

A Few Of My All Time Favorites:

US Dept. of Defense: President Signs National Defense Authorization Act and Here - This is the act that officially authorizes a US Govt. Propaganda Ministry (Global Engagement Center) and is a continuation of the 2014 NDAA which, in the words of Chris Hedges created “a system where, under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, the executive branch can put the soldiers in the streets, in clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, to carry out extraordinary rendition of American citizens who are deemed to be "terrorists," strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities, including in our black sites.”

We live in a world of Inverted Totalitarianism, where corporate power has seized all the levers of control, and is maintained through a security state of universal, warrantless, suspicion-less surveillance working in tandem with corporate propaganda that permeates influential institutions such as the media, education, popular culture and evangelical religion.”

I’ve got a feeling Emperor Trump can’t wait to put all this to good use.


Onion: Pelosi Concerned Outspoken Progressive Flank of Party Could Harm Democrats’ Reputation as Ineffectual Cowards


Truthdig: Noam Chomsky: Democrats Have Already Handed Trump the 2020 Election - Synopsis: Historically, the true constituency of the Republican party was and still is extreme wealth and corporate power. And up until the Reagan candidacy of 1980, the entire leadership was pro-choice. It was not the government’s job to get involved in that. It was considered a private matter. However, during that election Reagan decided he could pick up Northern Catholics and Southern evangelicals by changing that position. They already had white racists which began with Nixon’s Southern Strategy (“states rights”, “law and order”, “dog-whistle politics”, attacks on the Civil Rights Act of 64, and the Voting Rights Act of 65, forced busing, welfare), and cemented with Reagan’s Neshoba county fair speech, and his constantly dropping the “states rights” buzz words. Then he added gun rights.

Since that time, Democrats have consistently moved right to try to counter the Republicans constant shift, and to constantly present themselves as ‘the lesser of two evils’ instead of taking up New-Deal-like positions that would actually inspire voters to come to the polls. Reason: The power structure in the Democratic party is chasing the same wealth and corporate power.

After the 2016 debacle, they took the lose-lose position that it was all because of Russian interference. As it turns out, there is no actual evidence that the Russians had any real effect on the election. Sure, they tried to interfere, just like the US has interfered in the elections of hundreds of foreign governments, especially since the early 1900’s. The Mueller investigation revealed that there is all sorts of evidence that Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice and has been in violation of the Emoluments Clause since day 1, but the Democrats continue to ignore that and slowly shift right to appease their big money donors. Trump’s re-election is all but over.


NBC News: Senate Has Uncovered No Direct Evidence of Conspiracy Between Trump Campaign and Russia


UK Guardian: Trump Offers Socialism for the Rich, Capitalism for Everyone Else - Some amazing factoid examples in this article.


BAR: Ocasio-Cortez, Socialism, War and Austerity - “The truth is, what passes for socialism, thanks to Bernie Sanders and others, is actually New Deal liberalism, programs designed to save capitalism from itself by distributing some benefits and services to the masses. But the Lords of Capital decades ago threw down the gauntlet and swept the crumbs for the masses off the table, decreeing austerity forever and allocating ever-higher proportions of the federal budget to the military.”


NPR: Russia Investigations: A Case Still Unproven


Miami Herald: Jeffrey Epstein: How a Future Trump Cabinet Member Gave a Serial Sex Abuser the Deal of a Lifetime


WSWS: Ocasio-Cortez Holds Climate Change Stunt to Boost Pelosi - AOC: “One of the things that I admire so much about Leader Pelosi, is that she comes from a place of activism and organizing and she really appreciates civic engagement.”

She went on to say that should “Leader Pelosi” become the next Speaker of the House, “We need to tell her that we’ve got her back in showing and pursuing the most progressive energy agenda that this country has ever seen.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s adoration of Pelosi did not stop there. Later that day, after the photo-op with the students, Cortez tweeted at Pelosi to thank her. She commended Pelosi’s quick response to the event: “I have spoken with @NancyPelosi about how our commitments to climate change should take shape in the 116th Congress. Her office has responded quickly, and she has recommended the reinstatement of the Select Committee on Climate Change.”

In other words, a more concise accounting of the event would be as follows: Pelosi praises the protesters, Ocasio-Cortez praises Pelosi, Jacobin praises Ocasio-Cortez and concludes that the day of exchanging pleasantries in Washington represents a “qualitatively different type of leftist politics.”


Time: What is Democratic Socialism? - A very good overview and short history.


Newsweek: DNC Rule Change May Block Bernie Sanders From Running as a Democrat in 2020 - Actually it’s much broader than that. It’s the culmination of a long process. By creating rules that preclude other parties from local ballot access; to stealing presidential debates from the League of Women Voters; to being owned by the same (now) 4 corporations that control 95% of all public media; to stealing the nominating process, and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here,  from candidates most likely to win elections, and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here; the democrapic party joins the rethugs in silencing any dissenting voices. Both parties are simply servants of capital and empire. The people have no voice.


Democracy-NOW: Jeremy Scahill: Obama Paved Way for Haspel to Head the CIA by Failing to Hold Torturers Accountable - By now it’s clear that both Bush and Obama approved torture, and rendition, with a lot of help from  John Brennan and Here, Here Here and James Comey. Then Obama made sure the Senate torture report got delayed and then got ‘lost’ so no one would ever be held accountable, and Here. As this article points out Gina Haspel was the operative that actually did the deleting. Then Obama signed the 2014 NDAA which allows the president to indefinitely detain anyone in the world for any reason, or no reason. The only person ever convicted of any torture related item was the guy who revealed it. Rethuglicans and Democraps are equally to blame. Combine this with universal surveillance, and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here, and you’ve got yourself a nice tight little corporate police state.


Intercept: Candidates Who Signed Up to Battle Donald Trump Must Get Past the Democratic Party First - “The Democratic and Republican parties are commercial enterprises and they’re very much interested in their own survival,” (Dem. Rep. Stephen) Lynch said. “The money race is probably more important to them than the issues race in some cases.”

The Intercept asked Lynch if the commercialization he referred to was for the benefit of the officials working in and around elections. “How much of the focus on fundraising,” we asked, “has to do with pumping money into this ecosystem of consultants and everybody else?”

“That’s what I mean,”  Lynch said. “It’s a commercial enterprise.”

“On the most basic level, it involves candidates being asked to pull out their smartphones, scroll through their contacts lists, and add up the amount of money their contacts could raise or contribute to their campaigns. If the candidates’ contacts aren’t good for at least $250,000, or in some cases much more, they fail the test, and party support goes elsewhere.”

Progressive, inspiring candidates don’t stand a chance in this environment, which is why the Democratic party is dying a slow death. The people who pull the strings within the party (the DCCC, Emily’s List, End Citizens United) don’t want to lose their control. It’s all about how much money you can raise. Issues are a distant second.

Democracy is dead.

Capitalism killed it.

Citizens United was the final nail in its coffin.


Intercept: Here’s What Actually Made the Difference in Doug Jones’ Victory - The Alabama Democratic Conference. A primarily black political group that actually knows how to turn out the black vote. Doug Jones had the good sense to call them into his campaign, which most white Alabama Democrats have not done. More power to them! A great read.

UK Guardian: Former Facebook Executive: Social Media is Ripping Society Apart


Mother Jones: Senate Passes Sweeping Tax Bill That Overwhelmingly Benefits the Wealthiest Americans - If you are in the top 1%, earning over $1M per year, you get a huge, permanent tax cut. If not, you get a tiny, temporary cut, maybe.

From the article: “This all begs the question of why Republicans are pushing a trillion dollar corporate tax cut at this particular moment. Corporate profits are near record highs, the rich are richer than they’ve been since the Great Depression, and the incomes of average Americans are in a four-decade slump. Tax reform could have eased that hardship by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit or making working-class families eligible for Republicans’ expanded Child Tax Credit.”

The rich have no intention of using their additional tax credits to create jobs, and Here. Trump will get a $23 Million tax cut, and his cabinet will collectively receive $10s of Billions. And you? Buwahahahaha! We are nothing but road kill to these people.


Inquisitr: Hillary Voters Owe It To America to Stop Calling Everyone A Nazi and Start Reading WikiLeaks - While all of the so-called experts and ‘data journalists’ (the Rachel Maddows, Chuck Todds, Chris Hayes, Michael Moores, Chris Matthews, Debbie Wasserman Schultzs, etc.), who were all sure that Hillary had a 90% chance of winning the election (even though it was clear for months that the only Democrat who could beat Trump was Bernie), and that after the election the Republican Party would wither away to nothing, all keep focusing on a very vocal but small minority of truly despicable Trump voters, the real truth eludes them. The ‘other’ Trump voters were simply working-class Americans who were tired of moving steadily down the economic ladder while Wall Street siphoned all of the money out of the economy and engaged in perpetual war for profit. These voters were in no mood to vote for a status-quo, pro-Wall Street, pro-NAFTA, pro-fracking, pathological liar (about her role in Libyan regime change, Honduras, Syria, that she never sent classified emails and that her lawyers did not destroy such emails prior to the FBI investigation, that she told Wall St. execs to ‘cut it out’ in 2007, that she didn’t support TPP, that she knew nothing about the DNC’s efforts to undermine the Sanders campaign). These working-class Americans are smarter than most elitist, lesser-evil, ‘triangulating’ Democrats give them credit for and if they don’t learn that lesson very soon, it is their party that will soon wither away to nothing.


Democracy-NOW: Voters Reject Republican Candidates As New “Autopsy” Report Finds the Democratic Party in Crisis - This group is trying to point out why the Democratic party needs to clean house at the top. The current leaders of the DNC and the party are doing everything in their power to change the focus away from their actions during the primary that lead to the devastating outcome of the 2016 election. Essentially they are blaming the outcome on the “Russiagate” conspiracy theory or anything they can possibly come up with over which they had no control. The only folks they are fooling is themselves. Here’s the actual report. The 6 questions in this letter put it all in a nutshell.


Boston Globe: Elizabeth Warren’s Charge That the Democratic Primary Was ‘Rigged’ - This is the height of hypocrisy. In 2016, she participated fully in said rigging, which set the stage for President Cheeto-Head. Now she’s hoping the Sanders supporters have forgotten all about that. Not likely. Just another calculating Corpra-Dem. Progressive is not where the Democrapic party, or Elizabeth Warren, are going.

New Yorker: Russian Interference in the 2016 Election: A Cacophony, Not A Conspiracy - An entertaining 5 minute read, and a great summarization of where we are currently, pending any revelations from the Mueller investigation. There is still no actual evidence - it’s all ‘highly classified’ - that Russia successfully accomplished anything with respect to the election. However, there is very good evidence to indicate that the ‘hack’ on the DNC mail server was actually an internal leak. The context, sequence and timing of each of the “Russian Conspiracy” news items always seem to be controlled by ‘CIA experts’ unknown to the public, which is expected to accept such anonymous stories solely on faith. There is still a very good possibility that the ‘Russian interference’ was actually a bunch of 20-somethings in Macedonia that figured out how to make a little extra money by using Facebook and Google AdSense.


Gallup: 57% of Voters Believe a Third Party is Needed


Intercept: Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet? - This is a must read.  Yet another of the list of these unfounded stories - the point of which is mostly to keep our minds off the DNC hatchet job on Bernie - not to mention just plain old horrible management of the 2016 campaign. For a quick review of the ways this conspiracy theory is quickly falling apart, see Here, Here, Here, Here, Here. And for a run-down of all the ways the DNC cheated and mis-managed the 2016 campaign see Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here.


Common Dreams: US Says No Money for Social Programs, But $700 Billion to Kill People - All public universities in the US could be tuition-free with just the increase in defense spending for this year, and the $700 billion defense budget could easily pay for universal health care and still have the strongest military in the world, but neo-liberals in Congress always want to know where the money is going to come from whenever non-defense spending comes up. The US spends more money on defense than all other countries in the world combined. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Al Franken and Cory Booker all voted in favor. Some progressives. A short must-read.

First Congress bails out the Wall St. bankers so they can all keep their bonuses - $1 Trillion. Then they throw an additional $80 Billion at the Defense Dept., for a total of $700 Billion - annually. Then they give away a $1.5 Trillion deficit bomb mostly (85%) for permanent tax cuts to the very wealthiest individuals (a tiny, temporary portion goes to you and I...maybe).

Don’t ever tell me that ‘conservatives’ are opposed to deficits, or that Medicare For All is ‘unrealistic.’ Don’t ever ask me ‘how we gonna pay for it.’


The Outline: The Democrats Who Can’t Quit Hillary Clinton - An examination of this strangely intense die-hard adulation. Kind of hilarious, though probably not meant to be.


Chris Hedges: The Corruption of the Law - “The Fourth Amendment reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Yet our telephone calls and texts, emails and financial, judicial and medical records, along with every website we visit and our physical travels, can be and commonly are tracked, recorded, photographed and stored in government computer banks.” See Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here.

“Constitutionally protected statements, beliefs and associations of individuals are criminalized. Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security.

The executive branch can order the assassination of U.S. citizens without trial. It can deploy the military into the streets to quell civil unrest under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and seize citizens—seizures that are in essence acts of extraordinary rendition—and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers while denying them due process.

Corporate campaign contributions on the other hand, which largely determine who gets elected, are viewed by the courts as protected forms of free speech under the First Amendment. Corporate lobbying, which determines most of our legislation, (and Here), is interpreted as the people’s right to petition the government. Corporations are legally treated as persons except when they carry out fraud and other crimes; the heads of corporations routinely avoid being charged and going to prison by paying fines, usually symbolic and pulled from corporate accounts, while not being forced to admit wrongdoing. And corporations have rewritten the law to orchestrate a massive tax boycott.”

All of this legal framework was created by George Bush and Barack Obama, only to be handed over to Donald Trump.


NPR Fresh Air: In Trump’s Government The Regulated Have Become the Regulators


The Hill: Why the Latest Theory About the DNC Not Being Hacked is Probably Wrong - A counter-argument to the article just below.


The Nation: New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s “DNC Hack” - Argues that the meta-data on the leaked emails show that they had to have come directly from the DNC server via a thumb drive, and not from a server in Romania. Ignores the possibility that the meta-data could have been modified by a 3rd party. See article just above.

Also see entry of 12/14/16 for how a group of smart Macedonian teenagers and twenty-somethings that figured out a way to use Facebook and Google AdSense to make a little extra spending money by spreading false stories that would get a lot of clicks. What they found was that stories that were critical of Clinton and anything about Trump got lots of clicks, and that was all they were after. That’s not hacking.


The Nation: Our Russia Fixation is Devolving Into An Assault On Political Discourse - “...it seeks to police and narrow the scope of acceptable political discourse.”


NPR Fresh Air: The Insecurity of America’s Old and Underfunded Voting System - An excellent, eye-opening interview. Georgia is the most secretive state when it comes to the internals of how the voting system works. The Republicans, who have held an iron grip on state power ever since Georgia went totally electronic in 2002, will not allow even the most routine inspections of its software/hardware. The interviewee wrote an article in Politico prior to the Ossoff/Handel race outlining the many weaknesses in Georgia’s systems, concluding that the election probably would be hacked.


NYTimes: Religious Liberals Sat Out Of Politics For 40 Years. Now They Want Back In The Game - “Frustrated by Christian conservatives’ focus on reversing liberal successes in legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage, those on the religious left want to turn instead to what they see as truly fundamental biblical imperatives — caring for the poor, welcoming strangers and protecting the earth — and maybe even change some minds about what it means to be a believer.”

“How do you take two or three Scriptures and make a theology out of it, and claim it is the moral perspective, and leave 2,000 on the table?” he said. “That is a form of theological malpractice.”

“We can’t have only Jews cry for anti-Semitism, and Muslims cry for Islamophobia,” Imam Antepli said. “We can only win this if we see it as one big fight.”

“We have to make the parties work for us, not us work for the parties.”

“When we see signs of a rising fascism, we know that we cannot be silent,” said Dr. Barber, denouncing the Trump administration in his sermon at Riverside in April.

More and more, younger evangelicals are questioning their association with the religious right, Mr. Nathan said: “I don’t know almost any evangelical Christians who feel comfortable with the old evangelical guard. They’re certainly not in my orbit. Millennial Christians are really concerned about social justice.”


Reuters: NSA Backtracks on Sharing Number of Americans Caught in Warrantless Spying - Somebody is not paying attention. We already know how many: All of them, and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here. And now Trump and Sessions want even more powers to snoop on everyone, even though the surveillance has never caught a single terrorist, and Here, Here, Here and Here.


Intercept: The Woman Democrats Love to Hate - This is a one hour podcast. Stein’s interview starts at 22:50 and at 31:17 she begins to talk about the famous picture of her at the RT News 10th anniversary dinner. She was invited, with leaders of other parties from around the world, to speak there about the Green Party’s goals and particularly about the GP Peace Initiative which basically argues for nuclear disarmament, world wide weapons embargoes and sanctions of countries that sponsor terrorism, mainly Saudi Arabia. She was not paid to speak and declined their offer to pay for her transportation and hotel expenses. This was at the time of the Paris Climate talks, so it was a great opportunity. This was a well publicized event and the GP issued press releases before and after.

In the interview she quotes John Kennedy: “We will never negotiate from a position of weakness and we will never cease to negotiate.”

I accepted an invitation to an international relations conference in Moscow shortly after Russia began bombing Syria. My message to the Russians was: don't follow in the disastrous footsteps of US intervention in the Middle East. I didn't speak with Putin, and received no payment nor reimbursement. The only reason I was there was to bring our campaign's message to an international audience: we need a foreign policy based on diplomacy, respect for human rights and international law. With the threat of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula, that message is more urgent than ever.”

“To not go to Russia and talk about the Green Party Peace Initiative at a time when all hell is breaking loose, when Hillary is talking about a no-fly zone in areas of Syria which are controlled by Russian aircraft, which numerous US generals have testified before Congress would directly lead to warfare with the Russians, to not go at that time and to not bring the message of peace which is a paradigm that doesn’t get a voice in today’s media, would have been unthinkable. There was going to be media from all over the world. Many other peace advocates were there.”

Regarding Rachel Maddow’s desperate attempts to blame Clinton’s loss to Trump on 3rd party voters, polls have shown that if there were no 3rd parties on the ballot, then about 2/3 of 3rd party voters would just sit it out and about half of the others would have voted for Trump. So when Rachel points out that Trump’s margin of victory was less than the number of votes cast for 3rd parties, remember it’s just another one of her pathetic oversimplifications which prove absolutely nothing, always followed up by her Resting Smug Face.


AJC: Campaign Reports Riddled With Irregularities - We always assume that candidates are not allowed to keep unused campaign funds or use the money for themselves. But this report shows otherwise. Candidates routinely fudge the rules to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This report is specific to Georgia, but I think we can assume that they basically all do this.


Medium: DNC Shatters The Illusion of American Democracy In Order to Keep The People’s 27 Bucks - In court the DNC has now entered into evidence proof that they rigged their nominating process and, by extension that democracy does not exist in this country. And all just in order to keep the average $27 that sometimes even people living in their cars donated. This should give serious pause for thought to the few that still support Democraps. In case you’ve forgotten about this election fraud amidst all of the Russia-ate-our-homework fog, here are some quick reminders: See Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here. Screw them all forever!


Democracy-NOW: Cornel West & Former Sanders Staffer On Movement to Draft Bernie for a New “People’s Party” and UK Guardian - Cornel West: “the Democratic Party refuses to engage in self-examination, refuses to engage in soul searching, wants to do the same thing over and over again, keep the same personnel and leadership, and therefore the last thing we need is another neoliberal, technocratic centrist running for the Democratic Party”


UK Guardian: Everybody Loves Bernie Sanders Except the Democratic Party - He’s still welcome at the Green Party.


New York Review: Russia: The Conspiracy Trap - A delineation of how the unsubstantiated connections between the Trump administration and Russia first got started in the American press and has grown in the public mind. “The backbone of the rapidly yet endlessly developing Trump-Putin story is leaks from intelligence agencies, and this is its most troublesome aspect. Virtually none of the information can be independently corroborated. The context, sequence, and timing of the leaks is determined by people unknown to the public, which is expected to accept anonymous stories on faith. The conclusion of the article is that focusing on this pure conspiracy theory by most of the American press is giving Trump the space he needs to do his real dirty work: “beginning the real work of dismantling every part of the federal government that exists for any purpose other than waging war.”


Fresh Air: Ethics Lawyers Call Trump’s Business Conflicts ‘Nakedly Unconstitutional’ - Synopsis: Trump has not placed his assets in a blind trust as every other president since Nixon has done. He has not released his tax returns as every other candidate has done. And although he claims to be a billionaire, he hasn’t released his financial statement.

Since we know that some of his assets in foreign countries have received large loans from government banks - such as in China and Qatar - and some have received large loans from quasi-government banks - such as Deutche Bank - he is in a dependency relationship with those governments. They could refuse to renew these loans at any time and ruin those investments. Based just on this, he has been in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution since the day he took office.

He has also tweeted that he owns large positions in many government war contractors. When he starts escalating wars such as he did on 4/4/17 in Syria, those escalations will cause increases in both revenues and stock prices for those war contractors. Who is to say that he is not doing that in order to increase the value of his assets?

Excerpts: “So many people in the heartland of the country rightly are angry that their lives have been devastated by economic and trade developments of recent years and also many of them have themselves or sent their kids abroad to fight America's wars. With Donald Trump receiving these enormous sums from foreign governments and having strong property interests and relationships in many foreign governments, when he makes his decisions on domestic and economic policy, how will we know that he is not using the White House to do deals for himself at the expense of the people who voted for him?

And when he makes his decisions to use America's military force or threaten it abroad, how will we know he's not putting ordinary Americans' lives at risk in order to protect his properties and his pocket and his wallet rather than in the best interests of our country?

...his hotel, for example, in Washington has become a giant emoluments vortex sucking in all of the government - foreign government business from all of Washington, D.C., with the diplomats and foreign government officials stumbling all over each other to utilize that property sometimes for very big-ticket events...I'd love to see the first person in the Rust Belt, the first Trump voter who thought his job was going to be saved who loses his job because Trump is getting a large cash payment from China or what have you against the Constitution, and that individual says, hey, he's doing deals to line his own pockets, not to benefit me and takes him to court.“

The Trump International Hotel is located in the Old Post Office building in Washington, D. C. It is owned by the federal government and is leased to Donald Trump for 60 years. But there is a clause in the lease that states that it cannot be leased to an elected official.

And then there are the security questions where we will have US armed forces troops providing security and risking their lives, and the American taxpayer footing the bill to protect buildings, golf courses, etc. that have the Trump label all over them in countries where the main religion is one that Trump has openly disparaged. Tax dollars spent to provide this security “...could be better spent helping the American people deal with the economic impacts that in particular his core voters felt. So this is coming out of all of our pockets.” It is quite possible that the US could get into serious conflicts in the event of an attack on one of these properties.

This is Trump’s true achilles tendon. Why have no Democrats or plaintiffs been found to go after that?


Observer: DNC Chair Candidates Defy Reality Claiming the Primary Process Was Fair - A good summary of why it wasn’t. If the Democratic party continues to deny reality, it will cease to be relevant, leaving the American people to the whims of deranged Rethugs.


PBS Independent Lens: Today Only 5 Corporations Own Most News Media - Down from 6 in 2012. When you start hearing a chorus of media all chanting the same phrase (such as ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ or ‘fake news,’ or ‘hacked the election,’ or ‘civil rights icon’), it’s called neuro-linguistic programming. MSM uses this technique all the time.


Fresh Air: Ethics Lawyers Call Trump’s Business Conflicts ‘Nakedly Unconstitutional’ - #ImpeachTrump

The Nation: Anti-Fascists Antifa Will Fight Trump’s Fascism in the Streets


CNBC: Elizabeth Warren No Longer Darling of the Left - When it came time for her to stand up for the most progressive candidate to run since FDR, she dodged. Sanders lost her state, Massachusetts, by only 2 points. She could have changed the course of the primary process if she had campaigned for him. Later she passionately campaigned for Clinton - the antithesis of all she has claimed to stand for.

“Furthermore, Warren—along with the corporate media—was inexplicably MIA during the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying nothing as thousands of unarmed, peaceful Native Americans and environmental activists were illegally arrested and shot at with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, freezing water, and grenades by de facto oil police in North Dakota.

Like her decision to conveniently endorse Clinton when Sanders was mathematically eliminated, Warren finally chose to speak out against DAPL on the same day the Army Corps of Engineers denied a crucial permit for the pipeline's completion. This kind of calculated, Johnny-Come-Lately progressivism doesn't cut it for the millions of progressives looking to rally behind a leader as the road to 2020 narrows.”

She is also a proponent of the perpetual War on Terrorism (c), and unlimited illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territories. When it comes to grandstanding, verbal finger wagging attacks on nonchalant bankers in the Senate chambers, she’s a one-trick pony.

But a true progressive? Hardly.


Director of National Intelligence: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections - This is the official declassified version. It “does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.” “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.” See “Key Judgements” on pages ii and iii. The DNI believes that Russia/Putin carried on a propaganda campaign to influence the election for Trump and against Clinton - no different than propaganda campaigns that the CIA has carried on for decades in countries all over the world. The DNI does not believe that “Russian agents” were involved in vote tallying or rigging. There is no mention of any collusion between Putin and Trump.


CNN: FBI: DNC Rebuffed Request to Examine Computer Servers


NPR Fresh Air: Fake News Expert on How False Stories Spread and Why People Believe Them - It wasn’t the Russians. It was a group of partying Macedonian 20 somethings.


Intercept: Leaks From Anonymous Sources Based Upon Evidence That Cannot Be Revealed Do Not Constitute Proof That Russia Hacked The Election - A great read with excellent sources and some interesting flashbacks. Remember the Slam Dunk?

To begin with, CIA officials are professional, systematic liars; they lie constantly, by design, and with great skill, and have for many decades, as have intelligence officials in other agencies.”

“Even in those cases when they are not deliberately lying, they are often gravely mistaken. Intelligence is not a science, and attributing hacks to specific sources is a particularly difficult task, almost impossible to carry out with precision and certainty.”


Green Party: Greens Elect 138 Officeholders in 17 States


HuffPo: The Gaping Wound That Led to Trump’s Win: Inequality - “The people didn’t ask for Donald Trump. They asked for change and settled for Trump.” That says it in a nutshell. There is growing class consciousness in this country that has not been seen in almost 100 years. Trump addressed it and Bernie Sanders addressed it. Sanders outpolled Clinton against Trump right up to the election. The Democrats chose to present a representative of Wall Street and war - the status quo. Big mistake. There is a convergence at the bottom. Neither party speaks directly to all of those in poverty and the working poor. When that party comes along and gets a voice that most Americans get to hear, Rethugs and Democraps will quickly become a distant memory.


NYTimes: CNN Parts Ways With Donna Brazile, a Clinton Supporter - She was passing debate questions to Hillary. Add this to the ways the the DNC and the Clinton campaign cheated its way to the nomination and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here. Screw them all forever!


Socialist Alternative: Bloodbath Presidential Debates Show the Need for Alternatives - 15 million children in America live in poverty, 43% of children live in low-income families,  2.5 million children are homeless, 400-500 thousand children live in foster care, healthcare is becoming less and less affordable, we are at war with half the countries in the world and about to start a new one in Yemen and Here, we are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians across the Middle East, Here and Here, Americans now live under constant, universal surveillance, and Here, Here, Here, Here - which has accomplished nothing in terms of terrorist attacks thwarted, and Here, Here, Here, the First (free speech) and Fourth Amendments (warrants, illegal search and seizure) to the Constitution have been shredded, the wealth gap between the 1% and the rest of us grows by the day, and Here, Here, Here, as the largest corporations pay no taxes and fossil fuel companies get $Billions in tax subsidies, students drown under an ocean of debt, and Here, and oh yeah, the world is burning up. But what does the corporate-cable media think we need to know about? Abortion, Guns, Gays and Donald Trump is a misogynist. Further links: Here, Here, Here.


Gallup: 57% of Voters Believe a Third Party is Needed - Among voters 29 and younger, that number is 91%.


Jill Stein: The Debate Through The Green Party Lens - A must read. Per the League of Women Voters, the current debate system is “a fraud perpetrated on the American people.”


USA Today: 76% of Voters Believe Third Party Candidates Should Participate in Debates


Intercept: How Citizens United Opened US Elections to Foreign Money - A good primer on the laws concerning campaign donations before and after the CU decision.

HuffPo: Can Jill Stein Carry Bernie’s Baton? A Look at the Green Candidate’s Radical Funding Solution - It wasn’t considered radical when the Fed bought AIG for $85 Billion with no input from Congress, or when a GAO audit revealed that the Fed had secretly loaned $16 Trillion to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses, or when QE was used to transfer $4.5 Trillion directly into Wall St. bank coffers. But when Stein proposes that we use the same methods to provide basic access to food, clean water, health care, and affordable housing to actual people, then there is a loud chorus stating that is ‘radical’ and ‘unrealistic.’ BS! Much more about Green Party economic proposals in this article.


Truthdig: Don’t Fall For It: The Nader Myth and Your 2016 Vote - Hopefully, we can lay this old canard in its rightful place: a complete fable. 90,000 Florida voters of all persuasions (not just Democrats) voted for Nader in 2000. Over 300,000 registered Democrats voted for Bush. 191,000 self-described liberals voted for Bush. A final count of all the votes showed that Gore actually won Florida. The Supreme Court is the reason Gore lost Florida, nothing that happened in the voting booths had anything to do with it. If Gore had won his home state, Florida would not have mattered. More details in the article.


CREDO: 135,000+ Petition DNI James Clapper to Withhold Security Briefing From Trump - Trump can’t be trusted. But then again, neither can Clapper, and Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here, especially when he says that he’s only vacuuming up “the meta-data”, and Here and Here, even after the FBI had to admit that all that surveillance accomplished exactly zero, and Here and Here. But Clapper can be a very dangerous foe when cornered. Greenwald on where all this has led us.


Democratic National Convention 2016


UK Guardian: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resigns As DNC Chair

Matt Taibbi: DNC Leak Shows Mechanics of a Slanted Campaign - Conclusion: “The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn't neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management.”

Common Dreams: Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation - The platform committee also refused to support a carbon tax, or Single Payer! After much debate, it did adopt a minimum wage but refused to include a clause to index it to inflation. Sanders found it ‘inexplicable.’ Well I can explain it. The Democrapic party is run by corporate stooges. They answer to the oligarchs and no one else.


This was the blockbuster caused when DNC emails were leaked to Wikileaks:

NYTimes: Released Emails Suggest the DNC Derided the Sanders Campaign - Derided? After reading the article, I think ‘railroaded’ would be a better term. Attempts to collude with journalists to cover Sanders in a falsely negative light, scheduling debates to limit any further name recognition for Sanders, an effort to highlight Sanders’ religious beliefs. And now Hillary has chosen a pro-TPP senator  and Here, Here, as her running mate. Democrats have now given the middle finger to progressives energized by the Sanders campaign, a huge boost for Donald Trump. Democrats will never change. Screw them forever.


In These Times: Disappointed By the Democratic Party Platform? Follow the Money - Every single progressive reform proposal voted down, even in what is a purely symbolic document: single-payer, every single climate change proposal, any specific minimum wage proposal, the amendment to oppose the TPP...and look who finally killed that idea. It might seem odd, but the answer is clear upon examining a list of big donors to the DP. Disgraceful

Democracy-NOW: Cornel West: Why I Endorse Green Party’s Jill Stein Over “Neoliberal Disaster” Hillary Clinton


NYTimes: Poll Finds Emails Weighing on Hillary Clinton, Now Tied with Donald Trump - 2/3 of the electorate finds Hillary is not honest or trustworthy - unprecedented. That’s mostly because she’s not. The Democratic party has officially pooped in its own Easter Basket. Party leaders, and their gullible sycophants, passed up the opportunity to nominated a candidate who polls showed could have easily defeated any of the Rethug candidates and would have trounced Donald Trump, and Here. Too bad.


Shadowproof: Hard Choices: Where Does the Political Revolution Go From Here? - Now that Clinton, by the use of a ‘closed primary’ system and other means, was successful in rigging the nominating process (and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here) and Sanders has capitulated, even after the DNC refused to endorse Single Payer, refused to oppose the TPP, refused to endorse any meaningful action to address climate change, refused to support a ban on fracking, refused to support a living wage for workers, refused to end corporate welfare for big corporations that are moving US jobs overseas, refused to outlaw racial gerrymandering, refused to endorse public banking, and refused to support expansion of Social Security, where does the ‘political revolution’ go from here?

From the article:

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who made numerous overtures to Sanders during the primary, released a statement with some hard truths about the Democratic Party. Her remarks were born from the Democratic Party’s history of co-opting social movements and insurgent political campaigns to protect the capitalist status quo from being significantly altered.

“Sanders, a life-long independent who has advocated for building an independent democratic socialist party similar to Canada’s New Democratic Party, has said that his decision to run as a Democrat was based on pragmatism, but there is nothing pragmatic about supporting a party that for decades has consistently sold out the progressive majority to the billionaire class,” Stein declared. “This false pragmatism is not the path to revolutionary change but rather an incrementalism that keeps us trapped, voting for lesser evil again and again.

“Each time a progressive challenger like Sanders, Dennis Kucinich or Jesse Jackson has inspired hope for real change, the Democratic Party has sabotaged them while marching to the right, becoming more corporatist and militarist with each election cycle,” Stein added. “Millions are realizing that if we want to fix the rigged economy, the rigged racial injustice system, the rigged health care system, toxic fossil fuel energy and all the other systems failing us, we must fix the rigged political system, and that will not happen through the rigged Democratic Party.”

Numerous campaigns and projects are about to be launched or escalated to keep up the movement energy, which has fueled a “political revolution.” There are thousands of individuals, who are considering whether to run for office. Some of them are convinced they can transform the Democratic Party into a party of the working class, however, they should not let political amnesia erase the dark memories of how Sanders was handled. This is what will happen to anyone who poses a threat to the ruling class of the Democratic Party.

The “political revolution” can expect “the ‘party of the people’ will pursue policies that may produce some minimal reforms for workers and the oppressed, but only as a byproduct of its historic role: to save the capitalist system from its own excesses in order to preserve the political status quo,” as Lance Selfa, author of “The Democrats: A Critical History,” wrote.”


WSJ: Orlando Mass Shooting Not Deadliest in American History - At least 100 (possibly 250) African Americans killed in one night in East St. Louis in 1917; 119 killed in NYC in July, 1863; between 55 and 300 in Tulsa, OK June 1921; dozens killed in Rosewood, FL in Jan. 1923; 32 died in the bombing of the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973. The “gun culture in the US has gone hand in hand with violent hatred for a long time.” “beheadings, lynchings, rapes, kidnappings, selling children, working and boiling people to death did not start with ISIL – these perverted and psychopathic practices constituted the building blocks of the American empire.”


The Atlantic: How Correct the Record Spent $1M to Finance A Hillary Clinton Online Troll Army - See Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. And as of 5/7/17, they’re still out there in certain publications such as MoJo.


Current Affairs: Democrats Are Making a Suicidal Mistake - Hillary has a habit of lying and then lying again to cover up her first lie - several examples in this article. It is her Achilles heal and it will bring her down in November.


Heat St.: Poll: Third-Party Candidate Viable vs Trump and Clinton - Of those people ‘dissatisfied’ with current R & D apparent nominees (58% of all voters), 55% favor having a 3rd party independent candidate for president. Of voters 29 and younger, 91% favor a third party candidate.


Daily Beast: Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million On Internet Trolls


Salon: Please Get Over the Susan Sarandon ‘Scandal.’ The Establishment Is Not Entitled to the Progressive Vote.


Aljazeera: Hillary Clinton’s Faux Feminism - She has a very clear track record of harming women’s causes throughout the world.

The Nation: Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of Political Economy Research Institute Univ. Mass: The Sanders Economic Plan Will Make the US Economy Great Again - A detailed breakdown of the Sanders plan and why his critics (most of whom supported each of his proposals until he began to threaten Hillary) are dead wrong. Synopsis:

Single Payer: Countries like UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan and France, which all have some form of centralized government control of health care + price controls, use between 9.1 to 11.7 percent of their GDP on health care with better outcomes than the US, which spends 17.1%. The difference between 10 and 17 percent of US GDP is $1.3 Trillion - and this is the amount that we pay to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. With Single Payer, insurance companies are eliminated and because of the government’s monopsony negotiating position, pharmaceutical costs can be controlled. Small (and large) businesses would be relieved of the cost of providing health insurance for their employees.

$15 Minimum Wage: The Sanders proposal is to move the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 over 4 years. This would raise the wages of 65 million workers or 44% of the US work force. Despite the standard objections raised every time there has ever been an increase, that this rise would force massive layoffs and reduced work opportunities, all of the studies and data over decades indicates that businesses would only have to raise prices a moderate amount (15 cents on the cost of a Big Mac) because labor costs do not represent the majority of production costs and because of the savings in reduced workforce turnover and absenteeism. In addition, putting more money in the pockets of working people means more spending and thus increased economic activity.

Taxing Wall St. aka the Inclusive Prosperity Act: A tax of 0.5% on stock trades, 0.1% on bond trades, and 0.005% on the underlying value of derivatives trade; or $5 on a $1,000 stock trade, $1 on a $1,000 bond and 5 cents on a $1,000 derivatives trade. Is that too much to ask when the average sales tax that you and I pay on every purchase is 8.4%? This tax serves two purposes: a damper on speculation and investment bubbles and a large new source of government revenues which could be used to eliminate student debt, and pay for clean energy and infrastructure improvements which translates into more job opportunities. Even if this tax reduced Wall St. trading by 50%, it would still generate $300 Billion per year in new revenues. The cost of Sanders’ free-college-tuition program is $75 Billion per year. Detractors like to say that financial market trading would decrease by 80-90%, a number which is not supported by the experiences of every country (UK, France, Italy, Hong Kong and Taiwan) that has so far implemented such a tax.

Overall Economic Growth: Critics like to quibble with the estimates of overall jobs and economic growth, but they miss the point. None of the critics claim that Sanders’ proposals would lower that growth, only that it might not be what is predicted by its proponents. Both camps (implicitly or explicitly) agree that these changes would raise living standards and reduce insecurity for working people and the poor, expand educational opportunities and reverse the decades-long trend towards rising inequality. They would bring Wall St. dominance under control and help prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. They would also strongly support investments in education, clean energy, and public infrastructure, generating millions of good jobs in the process.

Summary:  None of Sanders’s liberal critics have shown how, overall, these developments would be harmful to economic growth. In fact, there are several channels through which they support growth. A single-payer healthcare system would relieve businesses of having to cover health insurance costs for their employees. Higher average wages and greater overall equality will put more money in the pockets of most US consumers, enabling them to buy more from US businesses. Investments in education and infrastructure will raise US productivity and global competitiveness over the long term, as well as expand job opportunities in the short term. Large-scale investments to build a clean-energy economy, finally, is the only way in which any level of economic growth can be made compatible with stabilizing the climate.


UK Spectator: Yes, Donald Trump Is Grotesque But I Will Never Vote for Hillary Clinton - A great summarization of some of the reasons why voting for “the lesser of two evils” is no longer an option.


Matt Taibbi: Why Young People Are Right About Hillary Clinton - Synopsis: They refuse to succumb to the politics of ‘triangulation’, fear, and lesser evil. They don’t believe that politicians of Hillary’s generation even know what’s ‘realistic.’ They know that politicians who say they can take the money and still do what’s right, mostly just end up taking the money.

For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others.

And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.”


Democracy-NOW: Debate: Who is the Best Democrat to Beat Donald Trump? - ...or any rethug candidate? Hillary is competent, intelligent with lots of experience at the highest level of government. She has the skills and the knowledge. But the one thing she doesn’t have is integrity.

She constantly tailors her message - her flip-flops would take a full page - to whatever the polls are currently showing. She sometimes even re-tweets whatever Bernie says. If she is elected, it doesn’t matter what she says. Wall St. and multi-national corporations will be in charge. That is her track record and those are her contributors.

The middle-class and the poor will continue their downward spiral. The fascist police-state that she will very efficiently put in place will be much worse than anything the bumbling rethugs could ever do. If she is elected, her supporters will be complicit in the continued surveillance, corporate welfare, wars, murder and repression in dictatorships that she supports, and continued suppression of any and every dissenting voice.


The Nation: Why It Matters That Hillary Clinton Championed Welfare Reform - Hillary’s running this time as a “pragmatic progressive,” kind of like George Bush’s “compassionate conservative.” Basically for Hillary it means anything truly progressive is “not realistic.” She’s great with her loaded terms, like calling all young black men “super-predators.”

The Clintons’ welfare reform (the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act - PRWORA) changed welfare from a federal program to block grants directly to each state to handle as they wished. The new program was called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It’s strict work requirements made it almost impossible for working moms to attend college.

Bill and Hillary’s welfare reform has “driven an historic number of black and Latino children into deep poverty.” Using loaded terminology such as “dependent” instead of black and Hispanic; “a hand up-not a hand out”; poor women kicked off the welfare rolls were “no longer deadbeats”. It led to a sharp increase in families living in extreme poverty. The people most in need, families of color and families with working moms, “fell through the shredded safety net, making it increasingly difficult to escape poverty.” What’s that about defending working women, Hillary?

Hillary has defended her work rounding up votes for this 1996 bill as late as 2008. In this campaign she avoids the issue. “The “reformed” welfare system provides little safety net, and no hand up. Instead, it traps poor mothers into exploitative, poverty-wage jobs and dangerous personal situations, deters them from college, and contributes to the growing trend of poor mothers who can neither find a job nor access public assistance. It is our failed social policy...that is responsible for crisis-level poverty in the United States.”

“In 2014, a record 47 million Americans - nearly one in six - lived below the poverty line. Economic deprivation is closely tied to racial inequality, as poverty rates for Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and SE Asians range between 23 and 38 percent, compared to 10 percent for whites.” Because of wage discrimination in the workplace, these numbers always hit women and single moms the worst.

Before the Clintons’ ‘welfare reform,’ cash assistance reached 68 percent of eligible poor households. After ‘welfare reform’ that number dropped to 26 percent.

The US now has the highest child poverty rate in the industrialized world. Most of the other nations in this category have programs for cash transfers to children in economically struggling households. The child poverty rate in Denmark is 2.7%, Finland: 4.6%, Norway: 5.9%. In the USA it is 19.6%. There are now 2.5 million homeless children in America.


Washington Post: 76 Trump Campaign Promises


Medium: Organize or Die - A great 10 minute read on the limitations of voting. The author lists the 9 ways that voting is limited (both the act of voting and the effects of voting) and obstructed.  “the vote is one of the most powerful methods to discipline citizens along a patriarchal, heteronormative, and capitalist status quo. It encourages people to give themselves over to a corrupt social order...greater access to the vote has typically been a byproduct of powerful grassroots movements for greater social, political, and economic equity. Movements whose origins, though they have varied deeply, have always exercised a willingness to act outside the narrow confines of electoral politics. It is this willingness, and the actions that followed, not ballots, that have brought about change.”

Howard Zinn: “Voting is marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”

Nine ways voting is limited:

  1. 1.Frequency

  2. 2. Time and location

  3. 3. How candidates are chosen

  4. 4. Oligarchy and Plutocracy

  5. 5. Most policy is not made by elected officials

  6. 6. Citizens have no say whatever in how policy is made

  7. 7. Disenfranchisement

  8. 8. Gerrymandering

  9. 9. Apathy caused by disempowerment


Truth Out: Hillary Clinton’s Ghosts: A Legacy of Pushing the Democratic Party to the Right - Whenever she is confronted with her ties to Wall Street, she adopts the language of Bernie Sanders. However, she’s a New Democrat - funded by Wall Street and the largest multi-national corporations, constantly pulling the party to the right. This group, behind closed doors is pledged to fiscal restraint, less government pro-business, pro-‘free market’ ideology. This is also true for every other powerful member of the Democratic party and following right in the footsteps of the old DLC which for example took down Howard Dean the moment he became anti-war and pro-Single Payer. Very interesting historical detail and lots of good links in this article. This is the real Hillary Clinton - her fake populism is not too hot, not too cold, but just fake enough.


ProPublica: What’s the Evidence Mass Surveillance Works? None.


Intercept: US Mass Surveillance Has No Record of Thwarting Large Terror Attacks, Regardless of Snowden Leaks See entry of 1/4/14.


Telesur: Taxpayer Money Wasted by FBI Spying/Infiltrating Peaceful Demonstrators Against School of the Americas - Just as they did against Occupy, and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here.


Washington Post: Judge Lays Out Path to Revive Challenge to NSA Phone Surveillance Program - See entries of 12/27 and 12/16/13.


NYTimes: NSA Used Phone Records to Seek Iran Operatives - The interesting thing about this article, which originally was placed on page 14 of the print edition, is that buried way down in paragraph 12 there is this: “After praising the program as crucial to preventing terrorist attacks, intelligence agency officials now say that it has never thwarted one.” After telling us for years, all over cable, radio and print media that mass surveillance had thwarted at least 54 terrorist attacks, and Here, and Here, and now that the 4th Amendment has been completely shredded in the interest of nonexistent national security, the NYTimes buries that statement so far down that most people will never see it. Here’s a big surprise: NSA officials lie and Here, Here, Here, Here and Here every time they speak and they always will. Neither the MSM nor Rethugs or Democraps will ever hold them accountable. The Church Committee was a ‘lesson of history.’ By not learning that lesson, we have now repeated it.


UK Guardian: Pope Francis: “Unbridled Capitalism Is The Dung of the Devil” - "Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the Pope declared, as he blasted a system of unbridled capitalism across the planet that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature." “This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable,” Referring to IMF policies in the 3rd world: “The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor,” he said. He defended labor unions and praised poor people who had formed cooperatives to create jobs where previously “there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy”.


NYTimes: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal


USA Today: US Secretly Tracked Billions of Phone Calls Illegally Prior to 9/11 and Democracy-NOW - Conclusion: The statement that we need to continue blanket NSA surveillance of all forms of communication in order to prevent another 911 is false. Blanket surveillance prior to 911 didn’t prevent anything. See entry of 12/30/13, 9/11/12, 5/14/12, 9/9/11.


PC World: Judge: Give NSA Unlimited Access - When a US Court of Appeals Justice says, “Privacy is overrated.” our nation is in deep trouble.


UK Guardian: Human Rights Watch: Most High-Profile US ‘Terror Plots’ Are Actually the Brain Children of FBI and Human Rights Watch - MoJo reported on this months ago, but at least now an internationally recognized watchdog group is bringing it to the world’s attention. The FBI hires a paid informant (already a conflict of interest) to invent the plot, recruit the victim - normally an individual with compromised mental ability, provide the materials, provide and drive the transportation, then make the arrest. That’s known as entrapment. Then they hold a news conference which the stenographic media attends and takes down everything the FBI says verbatim, without asking any real questions. To read MSM coverage of these ‘terror plots,’ you’d never know. This then becomes the rationale behind universal suspicion-less eavesdropping on all forms of communication everywhere - here on American citizens and abroad, not to mention the multi-billion dollar industry that goes along with it and the War On Terror and the Homeland Security Agency.

Minn. Public Radio: Betrayed By Silence - An extremely long article regarding the entire sordid and evil history of child abuse in the Catholic Church and its ongoing and unrelenting efforts to avoid any form of responsibility. I still have the utmost respect for devout believers of any faith, but I will never enter a Catholic Church again. Charges were finally brought in June, 2015


NYTimes: Court Rejects Zone to Buffer Abortion Clinics and LA Times - Unanimous. So much for those who, despite his war crimes etc etc, advocated for re-electing Obama - because he might get another Whore Court nominee. Here’s what those nominees did to us. This decision and the Court’s unanimous rejection of all Guantanamo appeals, even for prisoners who had nothing to do with al Qaeda or any of the fighting and had been approved for release by Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, stand as the two most egregious by Obama appointees.


BBC: The Best Way to Win An Argument - “They were asked to trace, step by step, from start to finish, the causal path from the policy to the effects it was supposed to have.”


The Intercept: Keith Alexander Unplugged - “Obama, in 2008, specifically vowed to his followers angered over his campaign-season NSA reversal that he possessed “the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.” He never mentioned it again. Amazing to think about that now!


Atlantic: Which States Are Givers and Which Are Takers? - Red states talk a good game, but the fact is, the redder the state, the more federal they take per capita. The let the Blue states pay the majority of the their bills.


Common Dreams: Pulitzer Vindication: Snowden Journalists Win Top Award and UK Guardian - In addition to the Polk Award and Ridenhour Award. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill, Barton Gellman. See entries of 4/11, 4/6, 2/17/14.


NYTimes: Journalists Who Broke News on NSA Surveillance Receive Polk Award - and Here and Here


NYTimes: Snowden, Poitras Receive Truth-Telling Award - Adding to a growing list of recognitions for their heroic actions.


Common Dreams: Clapper Caught In Yet Another Lie and UK Guardian - It wasn’t and isn’t just ‘meta-data.’ He’s a pathological liar.


Truthdig: Honoring the ‘Accomplices’ To Truth Who Caught Clapper In A Lie and Occupy.com - Greenwald, Poitras, Gellman, MacAskill.


Bloomberg: Snowden Seeking Russian Protection After Threats and NYTimes - Just like the well orchestrated propaganda buildup over WMDs in Iraq and the ‘smoking gun; mushroom cloud’ blitz that began on all the Sunday talk shows on 9/8/2002; the propaganda blitz, again without one single bit of evidence, that ‘Snowden had to have Russian help’ because he ‘couldn’t have done this by himself’ began Sunday 1/19/14, and will continue from both corporate parties. Now he’s received death threats from the US government. This is the behavior of thugs - which is what our 2 party system has become. Booz-Allen, partially owned by the Carlyle Group, which currently makes $1.3 Billion/year in government contracts to illegally snoop on the American public, has $5 Billion in the pipeline and continues the revolving door relationship with our ‘national security’ apparatus, wants to make an example of this guy. And so do its obedient proxies in our government and fake news media.


NYTimes: Moves To Curb Spying Help Drive the Clemency Argument for Snowden - There is a reason why the most flagrant abusers of the 4th Amendment want Snowden’s head - he revealed their illegal behavior. But remember they are all liars and Here and Here and Here. The infamous “54 Attacks Thwarted” line is pure baloney and Here. There has been essentially no damage from any of the leaks by Manning, Snowden, Swartz, Kiriakou,  or Hammond. But no matter, because this is a multi-billion dollar industry for companies like Booz-Allen ($1.3 Billion/yr; with contracts for $5.6 Billon over the next 5 years, current CEO was previously director of National Security; current director was previously the CEO) and they don’t want anybody messing with the wide open taxpayer spigot that goes directly into their pockets. The Dems and Rethugs in Congress are never going take any serious action.


CNN: Would NSA Surveillance Have Prevented 9/11? - No. The CIA had the phone records and much more information about the hijackers who were in the US before 9/11 and simply failed to pass the information along to the FBI.


NYTimes: 11 Days After Federal Judge Calls NSA Unconstitutional, Another One Makes The Opposite Ruling - What does all this mean? Essentially, we have no reliable judicial branch anymore. You can get any ruling you want if you put it before the right judge. The reasoning for today’s ruling is totally nonsensical. Here’s his bottom line reasoning: “This blunt tool only works because it collects everything.” Wha? The 4th Amendment is not tricky: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” So a blunt tool works because it collects everything? Really? What happens next is abundantly clear: The Whore Court will find in favor of those currently in power. The wealth gap will continue to widen. The people will become less and less willing to live in such a system. All we need now is the spark. See entry below of 12/16/13.


The Nation: Is Pope Francis the New Champion of Liberation Theology?


NYTimes: Federal Judge Rules NSA Unconstitutional and UK Guardian - He almost got a pair, but then immediately stayed his own ruling. What a country!!


New Yorker: Our Broken Constitution - An overview of the process that delegates to the Constitutional Convention (1787) went through. I read this at least once per year. “The process that produced the Senate is understandable but the end result is indefensible.” Awesome overview.


NYTimes: Why Care About the NSA? - Here’s why. This short video should be mandatory for all. Do you think: ‘Nobody’s looking at my stuff anyway, so why should I care?’ or ‘Everything they’re doing is legal.’ or ‘Tech companies already have all this data anyway.’ or ‘We need this to keep us safe.’ All wrong. Here’s why: 1. It’s the infrastructure for a police state. There are so many laws, statutes and rules on the books that you probably are breaking some of them. So if you ever decide to take a position that the state doesn’t like, you are toast. If you aren’t prepared to speak up for everybody’s rights, then you better be ready for your own rights to be trampled when you least expect it. 3. There can be no frank, free flow of information if you have the feeling that you are being watched. If you are concerned about a certain law, say abortion restrictions or union activity, you’ll be less likely to speak out if you feel the govt. is watching you. 4. If the govt. collects this information, history shows they’re going to use it. 5. Activists are targeted routinely in this way right now. 6. What if Joe McCarthy had had this power? 6. How many more lives could he have ruined? It hampers democracy - or possibly even ruins it - when every journalist, every source and every potential source knows they are being monitored. Without investigative journalism, we have no democracy. 7. With the tools they have now they know every detail of your private life, all of your communications. 8. Just because some professional politician says everything they are doing is legal, that is pure speculation and has already been shown to be false. 9. Tech companies such as Booz Allen who make $ millions by keeping this infrastructure intact, have a vested interest in the status quo. They pass this information to the govt. and the govt. has the power to detain, arrest and prosecute. 10. If we don’t know what they are collecting on us, then they are in control. 11. The choice between safety or liberty is a false choice, but that’s the assumption that keeps this system going. The Patriot Act is a secret law - we’re not allowed to know what it says. 12. This is about preserving a society that we want to live in - and that includes civil liberties. 13. The aim of a security state is to have power over those who would reveal its mistakes and illegal activities. Aaron Swartz was literally hounded to death for copying the contents of a non-restricted hard drive. Bradley Manning was kept naked in solitary confinement for 8 months and sentenced to 35 years in jail for revealing war crimes. John Kiriakou was sentenced to 3 years by the Obama Administration for being the first to speak out on Bush’s torture. Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in jail for revealing the cooperation between private corporations and the federal government for the purpose of stifling dissent. Edward Snowden was forced to flee the country for pointing out illegal government snooping. In none of these cases has anyone shown any harm to US security or to any individual as a result of any of these examples of whistle-blowing.


Tikkun: Simon Schama and the Error of Jewish Silence


NYTimes: Manning Found Guilty - The military judge in this case was just following orders. Her Commander in Chief, the man who forced Manning to be held naked for eight months in solitary confinement, had already pronounced Manning guilty - something no president in history has ever done  and Here and Here and Here. The Times dutifully follows the rest of the MSM in calling it ‘one of the greatest betrayals in the nations’s history’ - giving no details to corroborate such a statement. Then the article concentrates on Manning’s conflicted youth. So the pattern here is familiar: make a vague statement of guilt and follow it with personal disparagement. But privately US officials all along have admitted that there was no major damage from Manning’s whistleblowing and continue to say that, even though they’re still looking, “we have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.” The damage is always said to be “potential.” They can never “point to anything that has actually happened as a result of the release.” After Hillary stated that the release was an ‘attack on the United States,’ and Biden said it ‘placed at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals,’ Sec. of Defense at the time Robert Gates publicly mocked them, saying that these concerns were “significantly overwrought.” In fact the only real damage from Wikileaks and the Manning whistleblowing has been to the very people, primarily Obama himself, whose misconduct was revealed and who have been exposed lying to the American people and Here, and probably helped prevent an extension of the Iraq war. The actual impact of the Manning case will be to continue to hide government and military misdeeds at the expense of informed representative government, which actually undermines the security of our nation. Daniel Ellsberg - who revealed 7,000 pages of documents, all of which were classified ‘Top Secret,’ while none of the documents revealed by Manning were so classified -  has called Manning “a hero and a patriot.” And so have other veterans. Essentially what happened is that Manning saw evidence of war crimes and government lies and chose not to participate in the ongoing cover-up, but instead he chose to do the right thing. And because the misconduct that he revealed was that of the most powerful people on earth, those people have predictably made an example of him and in so doing have intimidated anyone else who might in the future choose to do the right thing. It’s also interesting to note how silent most of the American news media is about Manning.


NYTimes: Whitewater Down - The blog article where Krugman calls “the NSA stuff is a policy dispute.” The final evisceration of the 4th Amendment is nothing but a simple policy dispute. The last time I’ll ever quote Krugman on this web site. He has lost all relevance. Just another bloviating Ed Shultz Democrat shill.


Earth Island Journal: We’re Being Watched - The ‘Surveillance Industrial Complex’ becomes ever stronger with collusion between private security firms working for large corporations such as Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Blackwater and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity (AFP), and government agencies such as FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. to carry out black ops against peaceful citizens groups. These groups are coordinating their attacks on non-violent civilian groups even before they stage Constitutionally protected non-violent free speech actions. “Accusations of ‘terrorism,’ even if completely unfounded, are being used as a tool to undermine peaceful political protest,” while the actual terrorists are the personnel of our own government working for the large corporations. See entries of 5/22/13 and 12/29/12.


The Nation: The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American Progress (ThinkProgress)


Edward Snowden flies to Hong Kong. In early June, he passes his information to Glenn Greenwald, et. al.


UK Guardian: Former FBI Counterterrorism Agent Claims All US Phone Calls Are Recorded - The Total Information Awareness (TIA) program apparently was never disbanded. Other reports on NSA spying on Americans and Here. So that’s why NSA is building its new $2 Billion data center and Here in the middle of the Utah desert which will have the capacity to store over 1 yottabyte (no kidding).


Slate: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Bush v Gore Regrets


Consortium News: Sandra Day O’Connor’s ‘Maybe’ Regret - A great article fully explaining the outrageous SCOTUS decision in Bush v Gore, and the pivotal role that O’Connor played in it. A long article so here are some excerpts:

In the 5-4 decision, the highest court in the land told vote-counters across Florida to stop the recount out of fear that it would show that Gore got more votes in Florida than Bush did. Such an outcome would “cast a cloud” over the “legitimacy” of an eventual Bush presidency if the U.S. Supreme Court later decided to throw out the Gore gains as illegal, explained Justice Antonin Scalia in an opinion speaking for the majority, which included Justices William Rehnquist, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and O’Connor.

Justice John Paul Stevens took Scalia’s reasoning to task. Stevens, a moderate who was appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford, said the injunction against the vote tally violated the traditions of “judicial restraint that have guided the Court throughout its history.” Stevens complained that the high court’s action overrode the judgment of a state supreme court, took sides on a constitutional question before that issue was argued to the justices, and misinterpreted the principles of “irreparable harm.”

With her husband ailing from Alzheimer’s disease, O’Connor was contemplating retiring and wanted a Republican appointed as her successor.

According to a knowledgeable source, O’Connor was visibly upset indeed furious when the networks called Florida for Vice President Al Gore on Election Night. ‘This is terrible,’ she said, giving the impression that she desperately wanted Bush to win.

The pro-Bush justices had devised a Catch-22. If the Florida Supreme Court set clearer standards, they would be struck down as creating “new law.” Yet, if the state court didn’t set clearer standards, that would be struck down as violating the “equal protection” principle. Heads Bush wins; tails Gore loses.

Tacitly recognizing the nonsensical nature of its own ruling, the majority barred the Bush v. Gore decision from ever being cited as a precedent in any other case. It was a one-time deal to put Bush in the White House.


Counter Punch: The Progressive Movement as PR Front - This article caused an epiphany for me. It explains a lot of what I see going on in “progressive” organizations over the last several years. See also: Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks.


NYTimes: Ex-CIA Officer is First To Face Prison Term for a ‘Leak’ - Obama’s shameful war on whistleblowers continues full force. Everyone, including the prosecution, in this case agrees that the officer did not damage, and never intended to damage, national security. For the exact same action for which the entire Bush Administration got a free pass, except for Scooter Libby who got a commuted sentence, this guy gets 30 months in jail. Why? Because he spoke out about waterboarding when no one else would. Ironically, he will be the only CIA officer to be convicted and serve time because of that practice. And whereas the Bush/Cheney/Libby leak did result in the outing of a current undercover agent and the probable deaths of numerous operatives, this one did not. Obama has used the espionage act to charge twice as many whistleblowers (not leakers) as all previous presidents combined. One has to dig through this typically sycophantic NYTimes article to get these facts, but they are there. Even this article does finally admit (on page 5 of 6) that it is clear that Obama’s clear goal is to silence all whistleblowers. This is the third most shameful, and of course illegal and un-Constitutional, practice of the Obama Admin. after drone-murders of hundreds of women and children and illegal wiretapping, which of course he and all the Democrats promised they would never do when Bush was in office, and about which all progressive-wannabes now that it’s a Democrat doing it, are silent.


Glenn Greenwald: GOP + Feinstein + Pelosi + Reid Join to Fulfill Obama’s UnConstitutional Demand For Renewed Warrantless Wiretapping


Nation of Change: Obama Playing to Lose?


AlterNet: Will the Democrats Continue Their Rightward Turn or Start Working for the 99%? - "The essence of being a politician today: to deliver one's constituency of voters to the campaign contributors." "Obama’s policies have enabled the 1% to monopolize 93% of America's income gains since the 2008 financial crisis." “Only a Democrat can make it politically safe for Republicans to unravel the safety net.”


UK Guardian: What Will Progressives Do With Their Big Election Victory? - It’s called self-disempowerment, in 6 steps. The ‘Grand Bargain’ that all liberals are now claiming they will never accept is all but assured - and by their own doing.


Nation of Change: Three Ways Big Oil Spends Its Profits to Defend Oil Subsidies, Defeat Clean Energy - and defeat efforts at climate change mitigation. Summary: The most profitable business in history, with about $100 B in profits per year, gets $4 Billion annually in tax subsidies, shelters most of its profits overseas and spends about $100 Million in lobbying activities, plus another $150 Million in climate-change-denial and other types of misinformation campaigns. Oil production on public land is up 240 million barrels/year under Obama, with an additional 20 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico yet to be developed. They will be announcing their 3rd quarterly profits beginning today. Shell, Exxon ($45 Billion Profit/year), ConocoPhillips, Koch Brothers, BP ($25 Billion Profit/year). To admit the validity of human caused climate change would mean they would have to write off $20 Trillion in reserves, which would devastate the most profitable business in history. This article focuses on the contributions to Republicans, but I don’t see Obama or the Democrats making any substantial noises in favor of climate change mitigation or the removal of the $4 Billion annual government welfare for the oil companies.


Institute for Public Accuracy: How the Bush Administration Could Have Prevented 9/11 - The FBI, CIA, and NSA all had bits and pieces of information on the 9/11 attackers. But none of them shared any information. In addition, upper level FBI directors failed to read a lot of the memos pertaining to bin Laden. And Bush ignored repeated presidential briefings, especially one dated 4/6/01, entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US’ which contained the following bulleted entry: “FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” But Bush concluded that there were no ‘actionable items’ and took off to go mountain biking.


Democracy-NOW!: As US Postal Service Faces Default, Critics See Manufactured Crisis to Speed Up Privatization - Quick history:

1792 - USPO is set up as department of US government, thanks in large part to Ben Franklin.

1969 - 70 - US government goes to ‘unified budget’ (in order to include Soc. Security, USPO retirement fund, etc. as ‘assets’ of federal govt.) and then begins the process of ‘spinning off’ USPS from the federal govt. into a ‘self-sufficient’ entity.

1985 - Spin-off process is complete. Last subsidy from federal govt. received by USPS.

2002 - US Office of Personnel Management ‘discovers’ that USPS is ‘overpaying’ into its retirement fund. OMB and CBO refuse to view USPS as a separate, ‘self-sufficient’ entity and so balk at any attempts by the USPS to take the prudent steps of 1. reducing the yearly overpayments and 2. tapping into the surplus to defray current expenses, because this would have ‘negative impacts’ on the ‘unified budget.’ Wait, what? Either it is or it isn’t a separate entity.

2003 - Congress passes a law which 1. Places USPS pension overpayments into ‘escrow account’ which USPS can’t touch until Congress decides what to do with it and 2. Moves the military pension responsibility for postal workers from the Treasury to the USPS. ??? This effectively wipes out all USPS surpluses.

2006 - Congress passes follow-up law which allows USPS to tap into its own escrow account/pension fund but as a ‘quid pro quo’: 1. forces the USPS to set up a “Postal Service Retiree Health Fund” and make 10 annual payments into that fund of $5.4 to $5.8 Billion. These numbers are not actuarially determined, but rather are what CBO calculates will make the law ‘unified-budget-neutral.’

So this ‘Default’ is a Congressionally contrived shell game designed to ‘out source’ the postal service in the United States.

See also related entries:

ThinkProgress: US Postal Service Is Nothing But a Manufactured Crisis

On The Commons: How The Post Office is Being Destroyed By a Phony Budget Crisis

Common Dreams: No Peter Orszag, Let’s NOT Privatize the US Postal Service


LATimes: So Who Really Invented the Internet?


The Nation: TomDispatch: Noam Chomsky: The Great Charter, Its Fate and Ours - The history of the destruction of the Magna Carta, and its companion document The Charter of the Forest, showing how Obama has continued a long line of corporate servants who enrich the few while bamboozling the “ignorant and meddlesome rascal multitude” (that would be you and me), by “fabricating wants,” “manufacturing consent,” directing our attention to “superficial and fashionable consumption,” so we will hardly be aware of our subjugation and enslavement in the ongoing assault on our natural world in the name of corporate profit. A great read.


Democracy-NOW: Supreme Court Rejects Gitmo Appeals, Spelling End to Prisoners’ Legal Rights for Release and RT News - On a unanimous vote, including Obama’s faux-liberal appointees. After this vote, no one can claim that Obama might appoint a liberal justice to counteract Bush’s appointees.

MoJo: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers


On The Commons: How The Post Office is Being Destroyed By a Phony Budget Crisis


HuffPo: NSA Analyst: ‘We Could Have Prevented 9/11”


HuffPo: Pelosi Backs Recommendations of the Catfood Commission - Including large cuts to Social Security and Medicare. DemocRATs!


Progressive Magazine: Eric Holder’s Pathetic Rationale for Assassinating US Citizens and Democracy-NOW! and Salon - Holder: “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” And the stenographers that now substitute for the American press were silent. No one asked for any clarification of this utter nonsense.


Freakonomics: Days of Wine and Mouses - A break from the serious. Next time that wine snob you know tries to tell you that you shouldn’t drink that cheap wine that you happen to like, cite these studies. It’s a long interview, so if you want you can skip down to the first occurrence of “Robin Goldstein.” This is a writer/lawyer/economist who writes about food and wine.

He performed two now famous economics experiments. First experiment: he paid a $250 submission fee to Wine Spectator as a candidate for its “Award of Excellence.” He made up a fake restaurant with a fake web site, a fake address, a fake answering machine and a wine list made up of expensive wines that Wine Spectator had already rated in the low 60s, describing them as “decayed,” “barnyardy,” and “smells like bug spray.” Result: His fake restaurant got the Award. Conclusion: It had nothing to do with the wine list. It was all about the $250 submission fee. You can’t trust Wine Spectator.

Second experiment: he did a blind test: 500 people (from sommeliers and wine makers to amateur wine drinkers), 7,000 observations, wines that varied in price from $1.59 to $150 per bottle. Result: Overall, people like cheap wine better than expensive wine. Even the experts could barely tell the difference between the most and least expensive.

Takeaway: Wine “experts” don’t know squat.


US Census Report: 1 In Every 5 Children In America Goes To Bed Hungry At Night


Wash Po: Obama + DNC Have Received More Money From Wall St. Than All Republicans Combined


ThinkProgress: US Postal Service Is Nothing But a Manufactured Crisis


RT News: Counterterrorism Czar: 9/11 Could Have Been Prevented


ProPublica: The New Democrats: New Boss same as the Old Boss, Big Pharma and Wall Street approve


Glenn Greenwald: The Digital Surveillance State: Vast, Secret, and Dangerous


Nation: How the Obama Administration has subverted organizations such as MoveOn, PDA, HCAN and Planned Parenthood to the corporate agenda - Tuesdays with Rahm. It’s all about access.


EFF: Obama’s Illegal Warrantless Wiretapping Defense Worse that Bush’s - Obama DOJ just calls everything a State Secret and the courts compliantly back down.


New Yorker: Super Bugs: A New Generation of Superbugs Almost Impossible to Treat - Drug resistant, gram-negative Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas probably originating on industrial livestock farms and able to alter their own DNA to thwart new antibiotics, on the fly. These bacteria put us almost back to the pre-antibiotic era. The most dangerous places to be in or near: livestock farms and hospitals. These bacteria are even able to communicate (“quorum sensing”) and wait until there is a critical number present before turning on their virulence gene, at which point it is too late for the host’s immune system to fight them.


Fact Check: Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote - It’s happened 5 times. Each time the Republican candidate has prevailed over the Democrat. Factoid: In 1824 J. Q. Adams, member of the ‘Democratic-Republican’ party which would soon become the Republican party won over Andrew Jackson of the ‘Jacksonian Movement’ which was soon to become the Democratic party.


Good Description of the ‘Nuclear Option’ to Overcome a Filibuster - The Democrats almost never use the filibuster, but it provides them a great excuse to do nothing.


Salon: Jeb Bush’s Secret Weapon - Voter Disenfranchisement - Almost 100,000 voters names were scrubbed from voter rolls by J. Bush/Katherine Harris/Choice Point just before the 2000 election and 40,000 more were prevented from registering - all in mostly Democratic jurisdictions. Note: The low end of estimates of disenfranchisement are at 10,000; still 20 X the margin of the republican ‘victory’ at the time the Supreme Court stopped the counting. And Here, Here, Here and Here.


The King Center: Memphis Jury Finds US Govt Guilty of the Murder of MLK, J. E. Ray Innocent and Nation of Change and Examiner.com.