Sunday, September 30, 2018

HEARING SCHMEARING AD NAUSEAM

"Originalism” has always been a mask for blatantly political right-wing decisions.
It’s time to rip off the mask
(Paul Rosenberg)

"But originalism simply doesn’t work. It can’t work as advertised, because the constitutional text isn’t clear enough, and therefore it doesn’t work in fact. Nor does any other supposedly nonpolitical interpretative approach, however. In “Supreme Myths,” Segall describes the post-Civil War "legal tender" cases, in which the court first ruled paper money unconstitutional, but reversed itself just 15 months later, after two new justices joined the court. “The new majority pointed to no new facts or arguments supporting its reversal of the prior decision,” Segall writes.

Originalism may be the most popular mask for political decisions, but it’s not the only one. Still, it’s the most potent, and the most dangerous. “Virtually every constitutional law case" decided by the Supreme Court, Segall told Salon, "involves text that is imprecise, unclear, vague – equal protection, due process, establishment, unreasonable search and seizure, whatever. And as applied to the facts of any modern case, the history behind that is going to be extremely contested, even if we assume its relevance, which I don't necessarily assume.” The result we have now is a bastardized legal philosophy of “new originalism” that claims to respect the original text while doing no such thing."

* * * * *
(Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing.net)

(Alvin Chang at VOX.com)
(ratsreformcongress.org)

"How the Rats Re-Formed the Congress" is a fable about rats that invade Congress and astonishingly trigger a peoples’ political revolt. It starts when a Congressional reporter breaks a strange and shocking story: “Rats have invaded the toilet bowls” of both the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader. The mighty rat invasions spark a national news frenzy."

(Ralph Nader Radio Hour)

"Steve and David turn the tables and interview Ralph about his latest book, the fable: “How the Rats Re-Formed the Congress,” a creative vision of a citizen revolution. Plus listener questions!"

HEARING SCHMEARING

The right-wing have used every dirty trick in the book to stack the Supreme Court with ideological rubber stampers, or just plain idiots. When Mitch McConnell managed to block even a hearing of Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, for over a year, he showed exactly what a farce the whole Supreme Court charade has become. Looking back I seem to recall Garland was a rather bland moderate, not a judge to dramatically defend us against the corporate shills. But the radical right demand more obvious toadies.

(A brief reminder at HuffingtonPost.com)

I don't know whether it's the answer, I haven't researched all the pros and cons, but Supreme Court term limits might be worth considering. 

Brett Kavanaugh was a handpicked conservative hack handed to Trump on a silver platter by stanky partisan think tanks, someone predetermined to spend decades serving the interests of the monied class. After preventing a hearing for dozens of months, the conservatives bent over backwards to rush Kavanaugh's confirmation. What's the rush? The rush is getting their toadie in before Democrats can attempt to advocate for a more reasonable judge. I thought he was a non-starter because of his obvious conflicts of interest, that being his interests are in conflict with justice for U.S. citizens. When one of your chief defenders is Lindsey Graham you must be a class A asshole. Graham's political history should be the subject of an F.B.I. investigation, if only we could trust their integrity.

(A brief reminder at DemocracyNow.org)

Dr. Ford's allegations have brought her no small amount of misery and a life-long potential threat of wing-nut retaliation, for simply asking that Kavanaugh's suitability for the Supreme Court be fully considered. She isn't asking that he be put in jail or even lose his current job. But Kavanaugh and his supporters would have us think he's the victim in this scenario.

I don't know how this will turn out, I suspect he'll be shoved through, and if he isn't no doubt the next pick will be worse than him. Sigh.

(Briahna Gray & Camille Baker at The Intercept.com)

"How should we judge someone who, during his testimony, repeatedly misrepresented facts and dissembled when pressed for detail? Should we understand these moments as lies, or as misinterpretations rooted in substandard analytical rigor? And given the importance of the position at hand, which is worse?"

Friday, September 28, 2018

PIMPS FOR BIG BUSINESS

The Kochs are prime examples of deep pocket corporate whoremongers. They fund shady political organizations that take money to lie, royally screwing the U.S. tax payer.

Corporate-funded non-profits, think tanks, and super PACs churn out loads and loads of baloney to feed the bullshit machine that props up our oligarchy, the corrupt political circus and puerile theatrics that pretend to be a thriving democracy and free press.

(David Dayen at The Intercept.com)

"THIS PAST SUNDAY, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Jake Tapper quizzed her about the cost to the government of “Medicare for all,” pegged at more than $30 trillion over a 10-year period. CNN’s chyron told viewers the research came from three sources: George Mason University, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Congressional Budget Office.

The George Mason paper touched off controversy when it was released in July, because buried in the findings was an estimate that the $32.6 trillion price tag would also result in a $2 trillion savings over national expenditures on health care, relative to the status quo. Designed to create sticker shock for “Medicare for All,” instead the study, produced by the Mercatus Center, which bills itself as part of George Mason, inadvertently proved a point of progressive supporters of single payer."

(David Dayen at The Intercept.com)

"The email addresses are just one of a litany of links between Mercatus and George Mason University. Despite these links, George Mason does not honor public records requests related to Mercatus, instead labeling it “an independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.”

This structure grants Mercatus the imprimatur of an academic think tank, something to be taken more seriously by the media than the flurry of white papers churned out by unaffiliated ideological research groups. However, when asked to abide by the responsibilities of a public university, Mercatus retreats to the position that it is a fully independent organization. The use of the private email server facilitates that, enabling Mercatus employees to use university-affiliated email addresses while carrying on the charade about independence."

* * * * * *

(Democracy Now.org)

"AMY GOODMAN: Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, speaking last night after President Trump announced his nomination. Ian Millhiser, he was chosen by the Federalist Society. That’s the list that President Trump was using to make his choice. Explain what the Federalist Society is.

IAN MILLHISER: Sure. So, the Federalist Society is an organization of conservative lawyers. It’s been around for a really long time. And what’s interesting about the Federalist Society is it sort of benefits from this cycle where everyone knows if you want a judgeship from a Republican president or if you want a job in a Republican administration, the way to do that is you get a job or you get involved in the Federalist Society when you’re a law student, you ingratiate yourself to them, and then they dole out favors. And so, because everyone knows that they’re the ones that can dole out those goodies, it’s this self-perpetuating cycle, where people get involved with the organization because they know it’s the place to go, and that means that the best conservative lawyers are getting involved with it.

The mechanism this has provided is that the Federalist Society has moved very, very far to the right in recent years. You know, they were one of the incubators for this idea that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Recently, they’ve grown obsessed with dismantling federal agencies like the EPA or the Department of Labor. And those were all ideas that just weren’t on the table 10 years ago. So what’s happened is, the Federalist Society has become the place where if you’re ambitious and you want to get a good job in a Republican administration and you’re a lawyer, you have to go through them. And they take more and more right-wing positions, which doesn’t just mean that they’re taking those positions. It means that every ambitious Republican lawyer in the country feels like they have to take these extreme positions, or they’re just not going to advance their career."

* * * * * *

It probably won't help, but get out and vote for fresh ideas, not incumbent corruption masquerading as incompetence.

Monday, September 24, 2018

[From the T-Bag Archive: November 20, 2013]

ASSHOLES RULE!

In 1973 Kurt Vonnegut drew us a picture of an asshole in his book Breakfast of Champions. The Walton family, owners of Walmart, have updated the asshole for the twenty first century! (see fig. 1)

Walmart Store Holding Thanksgiving Charity Food Drive -- For Its Own Employees!

[Whoops! While grabbing this from The Archive I deleted it from The Archive. Sigh]

Anyway, I was reminded of the Walton asshole today as I thought about our political leaders. And political leaders remind me of corporate managers. While I was a cog in a corporate machine I used to say to be a successful manager you have to be part asshole. I wonder if in order to be a great manager you need to be a complete asshole.

But hey, don't waste your time wondering what I think:

Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
(Jonathan Cook at Counter Punch.org)

"And yet, base your political thinking on what should be truisms, articulate a worldview that distrusts those with the most power because they are the most capable of – and committed to – misusing it, and you will be derided. You will be called a conspiracy theorist, dismissed as deluded. You will be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat, of sour grapes, of being anti-American, a social warrior, paranoid, an Israel-hater or anti-semitic, pro-Putin, pro-Assad, a Marxist.

None of this should surprise us either. Because power – not just the people in the system, but the system itself – will use whatever tools it has to protect itself. It is easier to deride critics as unhinged, especially when you control the media, the politicians and the education system, than it is to provide a counter-argument."

Friday, September 21, 2018

YE OLDE NEOFASCISM

America has always had the best fascism, the kind that hides in plain sight. 

(Rob Urie at Counter Punch.org)

"Fascism is a loaded topic for Americans. The term is usually put forward as oppositional, as the flip side of representative democracy, e.g. authoritarian. Left unaddressed is whose interests’ American representative democracy represents. Twenty years of research by political scientist Thomas Ferguson strongly supports the conclusion that it is monied interests (a/k/a the rich) that determines public policy. And while this isn’t the authoritarian leader alluded to with the charge of fascism, neither does it contrast with it in the sense implied.

In the American iconography, slavery and genocide against the indigenous population took place from the so-called founding forward under this system of representative democracy. Phrased differently, there is nothing intrinsic to representative democracy that precludes slavery and genocide. The social, economic and political repression and exploitation they represented had economic taking as their motive and they were systemic in structure— no single authoritarian leader, no Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini, created them as social facts."

* * * * *

(from the T-Bag Archive, July 2018)

(YouTube.com)



FACT NEWS LIES

(John Pilger at Consortiumnews.com)

"So much of mainstream journalism has descended to the level of a cult-like formula of bias, hearsay and omission. Subjectivism is all; slogans and outrage are proof enough. What matters is “perception,” says John Pilger."

IS OUR NEWS DOUBLEPLUS UNGOOD? 

(Sparknotes.com)

"Newspeak is engineered to remove even the possibility of rebellious thoughts—the words by which such thoughts might be articulated have been eliminated from the language. Newspeak contains no negative terms. For example, the only way to express the meaning of “bad” is through the word “ungood.” Something extremely bad is called “doubleplus ungood.”

(Kenn Orphan at Counter Punch.org)

"Today the 1% have imposed a culture of obfuscation and use language that is intentionally duplicitous. This isn’t that difficult to grasp when we are reminded that only a handful of corporations control at least 90% of the media. Their technicians are peddlers of meaningless, alienating or demoralizing jargon."

Monday, September 17, 2018

AMERICA: THE FAREWELL TOUR

Today I was running a few errands. I usually listen to music, but I decided to tune into NPR. It was a mistake. If you take the time to educate yourself on the issues, you should be disgusted by what passes for a national public radio broadcast. It's almost completely crap, what isn't crap, isn't moving the conversion forward, it's barely of human interest.

The public owns the airways, but we gave it away to our corporate overlords. We gorge on their bullshit and go willingly to oblivion.

But at least we have Chris Hedges:

(On Contact at RT America)

"In a conversation about his new book ‘America: The Farewell Tour,’ Chris Hedges tells journalist, Hugh Hamilton, that institutions and practices rooted in a capitalist economic system in the US are unraveling, while also making a call for action. Two-part interview."

America: The Farewell Tour (INTERVIEW Pt. 2)
(On Contact at RT America)

"In a conversation about his new book, ‘America: The Farewell Tour,’ Chris Hedges tells journalist Hugh Hamilton about the political goals of the Christian Right and the prison-industrial complex, in the second part of a two-part interview."

(Simon & Schuster.com)

"America, says Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair, and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis; the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress; the pornification of culture; the rise of magical thinking; the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.

Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In his “forceful and direct” (Publishers Weekly) America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d’état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. “With a trademark blend of…sharply observed detail, Hedges writes a requiem for the American dream” (Kirkus Reviews) and seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time."



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

AMAZIN'

(DemocracyNow.org)

"Amazon made headlines Tuesday when it became the second American company, after Apple, to reach $1 trillion in value. Amazon’s founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of more than $167 billion. But what’s behind that wealth? What about its workers? The working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses have been the focus of protests, union drives and several investigations—including by student reporters. As students throughout the country head back to class, we feature an investigative report by students at the Rutgers University Department of Journalism and Media Studies."

(DemocracyNow.org)

"Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has targeted Amazon for its role in widening the wage gap in the United States, and this week he is expected to unveil legislation requiring large employers like Amazon to cover the cost of federal assistance received by their employees. We speak with journalist James Bloodworth, who spent a month working undercover as a “picker” in an Amazon order fulfillment center and found workers were urinating in bottles because they were discouraged from taking bathroom breaks. His new book is “Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain.”

(DemocracyNow.org)

"In Part 2 of our interview with U.K.-based journalist James Bloodworth, he describes how he went undercover as an Amazon warehouse “picker” and found impoverishment and mistreatment. His new book is Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain."

Monday, September 10, 2018

AFRAID OF A CLOSER LOOK?

(Truthout.org)

"Reinforcing the worldwide perception of the US as “a bully and a hegemon” that will not tolerate attempts by the global community to hold it accountable for its deadly actions overseas, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is set to deliver a speech on Monday that will reportedly threaten International Criminal Court (ICC) officials with sanctions if they dare to move ahead with probes into US or Israeli war crimes."

UPDATE!

John Bolton Threatens International Criminal Court Members for Probing U.S. Torture in Afghanistan
(DemocracyNow.org - 9/11/2018 Show)

"Climate Change Supercharges Hurricane Florence as 1.5 Million Evacuate in Carolinas & Virginia"

And other shit storms, etc....
SUPREME CORPORATIONS

The Supreme Court will soon be in control of the corporations. Legal decisions will benefit the companies and institutions that profit at the expense of the people and the planet.

A corporate state is a fascist state, run to enrich the oligarchs and exploit working class people. If you believe the American Revolution was fought against tyranny, how can you continue to support the Duopoly that represents the new American Aristocracy?

Resist the status quo!

(Ralph Nader.org)

"Observers say that confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become President Trump’s second pick for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court will make the Court more conservative. It is more accurate to say Kavanaugh will make the Court more corporatist.

With Kavanaugh, it is all about siding with corporations over workers, consumers, patients, motorists, the poor, minority voters, and beleaguered communities.

Repeatedly Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions put corporate interests ahead of the common good—backing the powerful against the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless."

* * * * *
The Democratic Party is not an opposition party, they side with Republicans on most major issues. 
Pressure Democrats to represent public interests. Better yet, just stop electing them, and vote for independent candidates or progressives running against incumbents. Republicans are obviously paid spokesmodels for the Corporate State and are deservedly despised. Democrats just pretend to represent the people, which also makes them deservedly despised, by anyone paying attention.

SEAN PATRICK MALONEY CALLS ZEPHYR TEACHOUT “UNHINGED” FOR ACCURATELY DESCRIBING HIS VOTING RECORD
(The Intercept.com)


BANK BOMB

(Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com)

"During the financial crisis of 2008, the world’s central banks, including the Federal Reserve, injected trillions of dollars of fabricated money into the global financial system. This fabricated money has created a worldwide debt of $325 trillion, more than three times global GDP. The fabricated money was hoarded by banks and corporations, loaned by banks at predatory interest rates, used to service interest on unpayable debt or spent buying back stock, providing millions in compensation for elites. The fabricated money was not invested in the real economy. Products were not manufactured and sold. Workers were not reinstated into the middle class with sustainable incomes, benefits and pensions. Infrastructure projects were not undertaken. The fabricated money reinflated massive financial bubbles built on debt and papered over a fatally diseased financial system destined for collapse."
HOW MANY TIMES?

(Rob Urie at Counter Punch.org)

"As if on special at Metaphors-R-Us, and just in time for the primary elections, CNN published an article on fake buttons that are provided to give people the illusion of control. It seems psychologists determined that fake buttons at crosswalks, in elevators and in other public and quasi-public places convey a sense of control without the power of control. In the space between upcoming elections and the creeping realization that connected capitalists still control the country, the question is of what reform candidates can really accomplish?"

* * * * *

"Graph: When Bill Clinton entered office as president in 1993 he immediately reneged on his campaign promise to increase social spending citing the budget deficit as the reason. Shortly thereafter (non-financial) private debt (as a percent of GDP) began to rise rapidly as government spending was replaced with bank loans. This increased profits for Wall Street until excessive private debt killed the economy in 2007.  National Democrats favor economic austerity because it increases profits for Wall Street. Source: Worldbank."

* * * * *

"It is ironic, and perhaps wholly coincidental, that insurgent groups as diverse as Occupy Wall Street and the Black Panthers were shut down when they began demonstrating that they could build (small scale, ultimately utopian) alternative institutions. Elections are intended to change the cast of characters without challenging existing institutions. This is what Nancy Pelosi is making clear through her re-statement of the Democrat’s commitment to economic austerity. And it would seem to imply that the greatest impediment to progressive programs comes from establishment Democrats."
CORPORATE IMAGE

When I heard about Nike stock going down after the Colin Kaepernick decision, I thought, "Of course! Rich white guys probably own most of their stock and they hate all that kneeling for the anthem stuff, but since Kaepernick is really speaking out about injustice and brutality, and young people are trending progressive these days, they will love the decision, and buy, buy, buy."  It appears my gut was right. Cha ching! 

Of course, Nike seeming progressive and being progressive are quite different things, as the following article fully explains.

(Jeffrey St. Clair at Counter Punch.org)

"Nike changes its brand more often than Madonna and more profitably. In the company’s latest transformation, Nike has risked–make that sought–the ire of Donald Trump and his drones by making Colin Kaepernick the face of its latest campaign under the inspiring slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick’s brief presence in an otherwise sentimental ad triggered a tweet from Trump and a boycott by the Deplorables, who took to burning their overpriced footwear. It was precisely the response Nike wanted and sales of Nike products have surged over the last week. With social justice icon Kaepernick fronting the brand, no one will be thinking about Nike’s wretched labor practices inside its sweatshops in Honduras, Indonesia and Vietnam. This is a proven formula for the company. When Nike was under intense public scrutiny in the 1990s, it recruited civil rights legend Andrew Young to whitewash the company’s record. The image changed, but the cruel conditions didn’t. Now, with the company rocked by sexual harassment charges against some of its top executives, Nike’s betting that Kaepernick will refrain from speaking out against the dismal practices of his employer. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and LeBron James have all remained mute about the savage treatment of the workers who make the shoes and apparel that are sold under their image. So as a reminder who Nike really is under the patina of its pitchmen, we’re running this excerpt from my book Born Under a Bad Sky.–JSC"

* * * * * * *

"The reason companies like Nike pay people like Michael Jordan $20 million is that their profits depend more on the image of the company than the quality of their products. That’s why direct pressure on the corporations such as Nike, The Gap, and Disney may be the most effective consumer strategy of all. Disney, for example, could not long withstand a campaign that tells people that Mickey Mouse t-shirts are made by Haitian kids in oppressive sweatshops where they aren’t paid enough to eat. “If Americans knew what was going on down here, the yelling, the hitting, the abuse,” says Wendy Diaz, “I’m sure that they would help stop the maltreatment.”

(The book by Jeffrey St. Clair)

Sunday, September 9, 2018


(Ralph Nader Radio Hour)

"Health expert, Rosemary Gibson, author of “China RX: Exposing the Risks for America’s Dependence on China for Medicine” gives a startling account of the national security threat we face getting all of our drugs from China.  And policy director of League of Fans, Ken Reed, tells us inspiring stories of people, who are trying to reform the world of sports."

(Russell Mokhiber at Counter Punch.org)

"In China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine (Prometheus Books, 2018), Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh argue that there are at least two major problems with the United States relying on China for its medicines.

First, it is inherently risky for the United States to become dependent on any one country as a source for vital medicines, especially given the uncertainties of geopolitics. For example, if an altercation in the South China Sea causes military personnel to be wounded, doctors may rely upon medicines with essential ingredients made by the adversary.

Second, lapses in safety standards and quality control in Chinese manufacturing are a risk. Citing the concerns of FDA officials and insiders within the pharmaceutical industry, the authors document incidents of illness and death caused by contaminated medications from China."

BOOK INFO
(World Cat.org)

"Millions of Americans are taking prescription drugs made in China and don't know it-- and pharmaceutical companies are not eager to tell them. This probing book examines the implications for the quality and availability of vital medicines for consumers"

Friday, September 7, 2018

BRETT CAVE IN ALL

The Republicans are more than willing to violate their oaths to uphold The Constitution in order to deny, for over a year, a sitting president's right to select a Supreme Court nominee, and hold Congressional hearings to confirm that nominee.

Democrats can only pretend they give a damn.

 The Republicans also invariably rush hearings for their picks (all their picks subject to Congressional Hearings), before relevant evidence can be obtained, much less analyzed.

Of course the corporate activist and right leaning biases of their picks are plain to see.

Some Democrats gnash their teeth, but never bite. Here's a whoops we did it again article from Huff Po:

They got steamrolled by Mitch McConnell. But they could have done more to prevent him from stealing the seat.
(Huffingtonpost.com)

And here's someone discussing the sham that is Democratic Opposition to the despicable Wing-Nut Think Tank Brain Child Brett Kavanaugh:

(The Real News.com)

"September 6, 2018
In the hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a new Supreme Court justice, Democrats are mostly focusing on hypothetical questions instead of questioning him on his record and releasing his documents. This is an inflection point in US democracy, says law Prof. Francis Boyle"

From the transcript:

"FRANCIS BOYLE: Well, Greg, this gets back to the Kabuki theater. That was Senator Leahy. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was wasting time, asking Kavanaugh questions, hypothetical questions, that he knew full well Kavanaugh was not going to answer. And indeed, they spent- the reports I read, Democrats wasted all day yesterday asking hypothetical questions that they knew Kavanaugh was not going to answer. And so it’s a game. You have to understand that. The Democrats are going right along with the script here, as they’ve coordinated. Chuck Schumer admitted. And you know, Leahy knows what he’s doing. He’s asking questions that he knows Kavanaugh cannot and will not answer instead of nailing him on positions he’s already taken as a judge, which they could have done. They’re sitting there asking him hypothetical questions, and everyone knows a sitting judge and a prospective nominee for the Supreme Court is not going to [answer] hypothetical questions.

So I get back to my main point. This is Kabuki theater by the Democrats. Leahy knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s a sharp guy. He’s been there and all the other Democrats are doing pretty much the same thing. And if they were serious, the Democrats, they would release all of those documents during the course of the hearings. Everything they have with their staff’s analysis of it that is prejudicial and incriminating of Kavanaugh. And I think if we got those documents in the hearings, that very well might derail Kavanaugh’s nomination. But right now the Democrats are not doing this."

Thursday, September 6, 2018

TANJ
(there ain't no justice)

It's time to shed a little light on the sorry state of law and order in the U.S.

This is a tiny sampling of the perversion that has be going on as the populace becomes increasing subject to acts of injustice perpetrated by our corporate state.

(Ralph Nader Radio Hour)

"Ralph welcomes back Israeli activist, Miko Peled, who tells us about an incredible miscarriage of American justice chronicled in his book “Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.” And President of Public Citizen, Robert Weissman tells us about two scathing reports they have put out about the Trump Administration’s “light touch” on corporate crime and how Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh has sided with corporations over the public interest 87% of the time."

(Public Citizen.org)

"WASHINGTON, D.C. – During his 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh decided or wrote an opinion against the public interest 87 percent of the time in split-decision cases in five key areas, including consumer, environmental and worker rights cases, Public Citizen found in a report (PDF) released today."

(Public Citizen.org)

(YouTube.com)

"Former constitutional rights lawyer Glenn Greenwald contends that the United States has a two-tiered judicial system, one for the "haves" and one for the "have-nots." Mr. Greenwald presents his argument by tracing the evolution of judicial inequality, from President Richard Nixon's pardon for the Watergate scandal to what the author deems were economic and political crimes committed during the George W. Bush administration. The author posits that both political parties and the media are culpable for creating an unequal judicial system. Glenn Greenwald presented his thoughts in conversation with political activist Noam Chomsky. They also responded to questions from members of the audience. This was a special event of the Harvard Book Store, held at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts."


"The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis. Now Streaming on Netflix."

* * * * * * * *
[NOTE: NOT ONLY DOES MASS INCARCERATION RESULT IN MORE SLAVES THAN WHEN THAT WAS A THING, BUT IT TAKES A VAST NUMBER OF PEOPLE OF COLOR OFF THE VOTER ROLES.]

* * * * * * * *
To wing-nuts justice is offensive! 

(The Telegraph)

"AMERICA'S puritanical attorney-general, John Ashcroft, has had the half-naked statue of the Spirit of Justice covered because he was annoyed at being photographed in front of the exposed right breast.

Curtains costing £5,500 will now shield the aluminium art deco work - nicknamed "Minnie Lou" - and its companion, the Majesty of Justice, a male figure naked apart from a loincloth.
Mr Ashcroft, a member of a Pentecostal church called the Assemblies of God, does not dance, drink or gamble and fiercely opposes homosexuality and pornography."
DUMPED VOTES

(YouTube.com)

"Thom Hartmann and Greg Palast discuss the special election in Ohio’s 12th District between Democrat Danny O’Connor and Republican Troy Balderson, and the Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary between incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach — Trump's Vote-Thief-in-Chief and architect of Crosscheck, the GOP's weapon of mass vote destruction, which culled over a million voters from the rolls ahead of the 2016 election, and threatens to stop the so-called "blue wave" in its tracks in 2018 and 2020."

* * * * *


"Among his front-page, top-of-the-news award winning stories:

● Uncovered the theft of the 2000 US presidential election in Florida (Guardian, BBC, The Nation, Harper’s)

● Exposure of financial vultures attacking Argentina, Congo and other nations resulting in changes of laws across the globe  (BBC, Guardian)

● The hidden story of BP’s Deepwater Horizon blow-out (ARTE, Channel 4 TV)

● The Bush Administration’s secret pre-invasion plans for the oil fields of Iraq (BBC, Harper’s)

● The US involvement in the attempted coup d’état against Hugo Chavez (BBC, Guardian, Telesur)

● Undercover exposé of Enron’s purchase of British government favors (UK Story of the Year – Guardian/Observer)

“Doggedly independent, undaunted by power. [Palast’s] stories bite, they’re so relevant they threaten to alter history” – Chicago Tribune

Palast, who has led investigations of multi-billion-dollar frauds in the oil, nuclear, power and finance industries for governments on three continents, has an academic side: he is the author of Democracy and Regulation, a seminal treatise on energy corporations and government control, commissioned by the United Nations and based on his lectures at Cambridge University and the University of São Paulo.

Beginning in the 1970s, having earned his degree in finance at the University of Chicago studying under Milton Friedman and free-trade luminaries, Palast went on to challenge their vision of a New Global Order, working for the United Steelworkers of America, the Enron workers’ coalition in Latin America and consumer and environmental groups worldwide.

Palast is Patron of the Trinity College Philosophical Society, an honor previously held by Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. His writings have won him the Financial Times David Thomas Prize.

“An American hero,” said Martin Luther King III.

Greg Palast, says Noam Chomsky, “Upsets all the right people.”

Palast won the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Award for his BBC documentary, Bush Family Fortunes, where he exposed George W. Bush dodging the Vietnam War draft."


SEE EVIL, HEAR EVIL, SPEAK EVIL

(YouTube.com)

Published on Aug 27, 2018
Jimmy Dore, Stef Zamorano, Mike Prysner, and Abby Martin, hosts of Aggressive Progressives, discuss. 

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“Suddenly without warning, between 4 and 5 pm on Monday, August 13th, the Facebook page of teleSUR English was unpublished for the second time this year.

This was done without warning or advance notice, the only message that teleSUR received from Facebook was an automatic notification sent to our email account saying:

“Hello, Your Page "teleSUR English" has been removed for violating our Terms of Use. A Facebook Page is a distinct presence used solely for business or promotional purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual. If your Page was removed for any of the above reasons, it will not be reinstated. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in the permanent loss of your account.

The Facebook Team”

Saturday, September 1, 2018

BULLSHIT ON AMERICA

(YouTube)

"Launch commercial for "Merrill Lynch is bullish on America" campaign created by Ogilvy and Mather in 1971."

Yeah, how did that work out for everybody?

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(Jacob Bacharach at Truthdig.com)

"Policies that fail in the same way over and over are not failing. Someone is lying about their intent. The drug war didn’t fail to stem the flow of banned narcotics and to stop epidemic abuse and addiction; it succeeded at building a vast carceral and surveillance apparatus targeted at people of color as a successor to Jim Crow.

The war in Iraq didn’t fail to bring democracy to the Middle East; it smashed an intransigent sometimes-ally in the region, and deliberately weakened and destabilized a group of countries whose control of, and access to, immense oil reserves was of strategic American interest.

The “end of welfare as we know it” didn’t fail to instill in the nation’s poor a middle-class sense of responsibility; it entrenched a draconian regime of means-testing and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy for access to even meager social benefits for a rapidly shrinking middle class.

It’s not that “Capitalism isn’t working,” as Noah Smith recently argued in Bloomberg. It’s that it’s working all too well."

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(Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com)

"We live in a new feudalism. We have been stripped of political power. Workers are trapped in menial jobs, forced into crippling debt and paid stagnant or declining wages. Chronic poverty and exploitative working conditions in many parts of the world, and increasingly in the United States, replicate the hell endured by industrial workers at the end of the 19th century. The complete capture of ruling institutions by corporations and their oligarchic elites, including the two dominant political parties, the courts and the press, means there is no mechanism left by which we can reform the system or protect ourselves from mounting abuse. We will revolt or become 21st-century serfs, forced to live in misery and brutally oppressed by militarized police and the most sophisticated security and surveillance system in human history while the ruling oligarchs continue to wallow in unimagined wealth and opulence."

MEAT MOOT

We should all get together and talk about meat. There's more to meat than just killing an individual animal. There are very serious environmental and health issues that everyone should be concerned, even alarmed about. Here are a few conversation starters:

(Mission-Blue.org)

"Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean."

(Documentary trailer on YouTube)

(Truthout.org)

"Whole Foods bills itself as “America’s healthiest grocery store,” but what it’s doing to the environment is anything but healthy. According to a new report, the chain is helping to drive one of the nation’s worst human-made environmental disasters: the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico."

(Lee Camp on YouTube)

"We’ve heard about climate change, oil spills, and fracking, but there’s very little coverage about animal agriculture. While people and animals struggle to satisfy basic needs like water, animal agriculture requires so many resources and creates so much waste it’s a wonder that we hear so little about the impact of this industry. Lee Camp delves deep into the real cost of a hamburger."

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(Documentary Trailer)

"The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods."


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