Wednesday Reads: “You joking me?”

efeb9a274e8ff271454f06533bddd6dbGood Morning

It is frustrating enough to try and get an appointment with a therapist when you are suffering from debilitating depression, only to find out your insurance is not accepted.

Then you get a name of another Dr, sure she is in one of your accepted care providers…but damn if she didn’t have the balls to come out and say…nope I don’t want to see you. So another two weeks go by waiting to hear back from this coward Dr who has referred me to someone else…ugh. Now on to another name and another wait.

A month of this shit. Imagine if this was a dire situation….and I was like, suicidal. Fucking hell.

So, with that said, I don’t feel like much of anything right now…the links will pretty much speak for themselves.

Here you go:

IRIN Asia | Will UN report bring justice for Sri Lanka war victims? | Sri Lanka | Conflict

a9dd29c775b25c8d891d3dcb52760eddThavarasa Utharai says she isn’t exactly sure where Geneva is, but she is anxiously awaiting a report soon to be made public in the Swiss city that is expected to expose war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

After acceding to the Sri Lankan government’s request to delay the report by six months, the Geneva-based United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is scheduled to finally release the results of its investigation within the next two weeks.

Victims like Utharai hope the report will provide information about family members who disappeared during Sri Lanka’s decades-long war, which pitted government forces against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (or Tamil Tigers). Both sides committed abuses.

ed770d902c588b5a781026d8e7fcdbe5“Is this a joke?”: Reporters laugh in the face of conservative provocateur James O’Keefe at his own press conference – Salon.com

Professional troll James O’Keefe has been teasing journalists for weeks about an undercover operation that could take down Hillary Clinton — I’ve received four “email blasts” from O’Keefe’s Project Veritas about these videos in the past 48 hours alone — so I was suprised to learn that the “trickle-down corruption” he’d come to expose amounted to a Project Veritas operative buying a few Hillary-themed t-shirts for a Canadian.

756c3a6824659abe29c04842e40068f0You read that right — O’Keefe’s own operative captured herself, on camera, illegally purchasing the shirts on behalf of a Canadian and this, O’Keefe claimed, demonstrates the criminal mendacity of the Clinton campaign.
Moreover, Compliance Manager Erin Tibe is actually shown on the video refusing to allow the Canadian woman — who O’Keefe insisted at the press conference that he didn’t know, and whose identity is still a mystery to him — to make the purchase. It’s the Project Veritas operative who says, “but she traveled all the way from Canada to support Hillary, you could give her, she’s paying cash.”

Tibe reiterates that she can’t accept money from the Canadian woman, but eventually Director of Marketing Molly Barker allows the Project Veritas operative to make the donation on the woman’s behalf. “Barker broke the law by allowing our journalist to become the middleman,” the video states, not acknowledging that the “journalist” also broke the law, a fact which O’Keefe acknowledged at today’s press conference, but blew off, saying “I’m not running for president.”

5de179122ff57e0726cbc4de3b158874As for that press conference, the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi was in attendance, and needless to say, neither she nor any of the other reporters were impressed by O’Keefe’s “revelations”:

Twitter reactions at that link. Go and look at them.

The Story Behind Hillary Clinton’s Mysterious Gefilte Fish Email

A mysterious email popped up in the latest tranche of State Department documents released in relation to Hillary Clinton’s time at Foggy Bottom.

Titled “Gefilte fish,” the email was authored by the then-secretary of state and addressed to two top aides. It reads simply: “Where are we on this?”bf42985d5757b0100e922694f24a2b73

Of course there is way more to it than that….

In February 2010,U.S. officials were upset that Israel had put a 120 percent import duty on American-caught fish that were supposed to be sent to the Holy Land for Seder dinners.

Clinton pledged during a congressional hearing to tackle the problem, admitting (the obvious) that it sounded “like one of those issues that should rise to the highest levels of our government.”

d59a654a556f3870d625361d46dc687fThe email, written in March, shows she actually did follow up — and, apparently, effectively. Later that month, Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.), whose district had already shipped two containers of carp to Israel, told a local Chicago paper that a deal had been reached with respect to the tariff on those containers. As for seven additional containers, the paper reported that they “would likely need to go through Canadian middlemen as our neighbors to the north have a free trade agreement with the Holy Land.”

It really is disgusting, the amount of shit they give Hillary.

The rest of today’s links are here without commentary, just not up to it.

5c301da3221c604857b8fb2ee7e7b24dObama nearing deal with Congress over Iran – Al Jazeera English

President Obama has almost enough support from senators to block Republican attempts to derail nuclear deal.


Low Levels of Exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup May Cause Kidney and Liver Damage | Alternet


Real-life ‘Jurassic Park’? Siberian lab set to clone extinct mammals — RT News

Russian scientists have begun their quest to clone pre-historic animals, including but not limited to a woolly mammoth, hoping that Siberian permafrost will give them a competitive advantage and the good possibly of finding undamaged DNA samples to resurrect the ancient species.

Japanese suggest new Tokyo Olympics logo as official emblem scrapped – BBC Newsd15447955738bf38a8eb8207b907b1aa

Texas man walks free after alleged rape leaves 2-year-old girl in pool of blood

U.S. court to weigh release of last ‘Angola 3’ inmate in Louisiana | Reuters

Q&A: Dating When You’re Fat? | Feministe

Can you imagine a society where 75 per cent of folks are gay, yet society is still as homophobic as the Duggar clan? That’s pretty much what fat people deal with every day…

8d3cfd7a7304b55504a2a4728fd2bc35Sony Altered ‘Concussion’ Film to Prevent N.F.L. Protests, Emails Show – The New York Times

When Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to make a movie focusing on the death and dementia professional football players have endured from repeated hits to the head — and the N.F.L.’s efforts toward a cover-up — it signed Will Smith to star as one of the first scientists to disclose the problem. It named the film bluntly, “Concussion.”

In the end even Sony, which unlike most other major studios in Hollywood has no significant business ties to the N.F.L., found itself softening some points it might have made against the multibillion-dollar sports enterprise that controls the nation’s most-watched game.

b888b97227f9b4ea89e920f7eccf0d1aIn dozens of studio emails unearthed by hackers, Sony executives; the director, Peter Landesman; and representatives of Mr. Smith discussed how to avoid antagonizing the N.F.L. by altering the script and marketing the film more as a whistle-blower story, rather than a condemnation of football or the league.

Auschwitz ‘Shower’ Outrage is the Latest in Politically Correct Madness – The Daily Banter

When I heard that the management at the Auschwitz Memorial installed sprinklers outside the notorious Nazi concentration camp so that visitors could handle the searing heat wave that hit Poland this summer, I laughed. I laughed f7d06d79241d60ad9f8e22ccdce8a959because it reminded me of my parents – two Cohens in an Austrian camp, not eating much and doing regular steam rooms. In Poland, visitors would be taking voluntary showers in a camp where Jews were killed in showers. Again, as long as you don’t genuinely believe Jews should really be gassed in concentration camps, you can laugh at the rather twisted irony of it all.

It was undoubtedly unfortunate that there wasn’t another way to keep guests cool, but to any rational person, this is a cheap, effective way of relieving visitor’s discomfort in extreme heat. There isn’t gas coming out of the showers, there is cool water. The management at the Auschwitz Memorial are not attempting to mock Jews who died in the Holocaust. Again, they are trying to keep people cool.

[…]

When you have multiple refugee crises around the world, war in the Middle East, mass poverty, wealth inequality, environmental destruction and rapid global warming, mist spray at Auschwitz should be the last thing to get outraged about.

83dc9715a0c3639629bc3a52621d4efdThe Holocaust saw 6 million people die. The showers installed at the Auschwitz memorial are keeping people cool in sweltering heat.

Let’s have a bit of perspective please.

10,000 Icelanders ready to welcome Syrians after government offers to house only 50 refugees

Militarism Run Amok: Russians and Americans Get Their Kids Ready for War | Lawrence Wittner

Help for dying RAF cadet delayed by 30 minutes, inquest hears | UK news | The Guardian

8e47e470e5b630c386bea377f22f1833Addicting Info – Huge Gerrymandering Fail Leaves College Student As Sole Voter In Missouri District

Businesses in Columbia, Missouri attempted to use their political pull to throw taxes at consumers instead of themselves, but a massive failure in their gerrymandering effort left them with one major roadblock: a 23-year-old college student who, on February 28, became the only registered voter in the district.

Object of Intrigue: 19th-Century Greenlandic Seal Fur G-String | Atlas Obscura


Photo: National Museum of Denmark/Roberto Fortuna

The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen has a formidablecollection of animal-skin garments once worn by the indigenous people of Greenland, North America, North Scandinavia, and Siberia.

Among the usual furry boots, mittens, capes, and leggings made for these perilously cold climates is a garment worthy of particularly close inspection: Item Ld.132.4, a 19th-century beaded seal-fur g-string.

655da7c4fd911bdf17619c00278e4296Angry Feminist Angry Angry Feminist Isn’t Angry Feminist Enough – Wonkette

Okay, we are going to say DISCLAIMER ALERT and TRIGGER WARNING, because we are about to write about how a thing written by a person who has ALWAYS been personally very nice to us is Wrong About A Thing.* We trust that she and we are both grown-up enough to have an intellectual discussion without it degenerating into FISTICUFFS. So, without further ado:

 

Dear Amanda Marcotte U R WRONG,

You wrote the other day about how Taylor Swift, PBUH, was doing a concert in Los Angeles and, as she’s been doing every show of this tour, she brought out one of her funtime pals to sing a song with her. This time it was Alanis Morissette! Now most of the Olds who brought their kids to the show were probably sexcited to see her, but some of the Kids These Days did that thing where they reveal how they don’t know anything about anything that 412e2313f1f92f5ed3301fdf5e014e6dhappened before the introduction of Snapchat, because they are dumb:

Yes, I totally agree with the Wonkette on this one…go and read the rest of this thread at the link and see if you agree with us too.

50 Famous Misquotations (and What Was Really Said) | Mental Floss

Don’t believe everything you read online (or see posted in a cheesy mockup on Instagram, for that matter). Below are 50 examples of popular sayings that are actually misquotes or misattributions. Study up, because regardless of what that girl who went to your high school posted on Facebook, Marilyn Monroe probably didn’t say it.

e33710147469b19e329f014531a10f73 (1)Be sure you read the fifty, but this one is interesting:

3. “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.”

Gandhi never said this. What he actually said, according to The New York Times: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

This is an open thread.


Sunday, Sin Day: “It’s the woman’s fault.” BS Reads and Whatnot

58b262cb88f9faf27158b1fa8347f67bGood Afternoon

From the title I am guessing you rightly assumed the post is about misogynist shit.

Well, how can you blame me, with the crap over the last few days. So to highlight this thread, you will be entertained with a gaggle of feminist tattoos…yeah, images of actual tatts or tattoo designs that would make any member of the “Gurl Gang” proud.

As always, the pictures were found on: Pinterest: Discover and save creative ideas  and there will be a gallery of images at the end of this post.

First up in this latest crapload from NYT….Hillary Clinton Emails Take Long Path to Controversy – NYTimes.com

Now, you know they never really addressed that horrid post from a few weeks back…take that into consideration as you read this, the paper’s most recent attack on Clinton.

Whether Americans believe Mrs. Clinton’s decision to use only a private email account for her public business is a troubling scandal well worth an F.B.I. inquiry, a pragmatic move blown out of proportion by Republican enemies, or something in between, may depend more on their partisan leanings than the facts of the affair itself.

But the email account and its confusing reverberations have become a significant early chapter in the 2016 presidential race and a new stroke in the portrait of the Democrats’ leading candidate.

The tone is heavy on the Republican bias. Sounding more like Fox News really:

Interviews with former State Department officials, law enforcement and intelligence officials, experts on classified information and members of Congress provide further insight into how the controversy developed and where it might lead.

Mrs. Clinton, who has said she now regrets her unorthodox decision to keep private control of her official messages, is not a target in the F.B.I.’s investigation, which is focused on assessing security breaches. Against the backdrop of other current government computer security lapses, notably the large-scale theft of files from the Office of Personnel Management, most specialists believe the occasional appearance of classified information in the Clinton account was probably of marginal consequence.

But exempting herself from the practices imposed on the 24,000 Foreign Service officers and Civil Service workers she oversaw has led to resentment from some former subordinates. And by holding onto the official emails until the State Department was prompted by Congress to ask for them, and then deciding for herself which to preserve, Mrs. Clinton may have provoked mistrust even as she asks American voters to send her to the Oval Office.

The Clinton campaign declined to comment for this article.

Republicans are eager to exploit the issue. House Speaker John A. Boehner has issued a stream of news releases on the emails and the questions he thinks they raise, while the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya, has expanded its inquiry to include the emails.

There are still unanswered questions: Who at the State Department advised Mrs. Clinton that she could send all her email communications from a private account? What specific criteria did her lawyers use to decide which emails would be deleted on the grounds that they were personal? And what exactly was the classified information that government inspectors say was improperly included in her emails? Outside the political maelstrom, some security experts believe the ultimate judgment of her conduct will come not in a court or from Congress but at the ballot box.

“I think the whole set of circumstances has been scrambled by political considerations surrounding the presidential campaign,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. He said the inadvertent “spillage” of classified information into an unclassified system is quite common.

“If there’s a penalty,” he said, “it may cost her some votes.”

Others say more than politics is at stake. “I was stunned to see that she didn’t use the State Department system for State Department business, as we were always told we had to do,” said William Johnson, a former Air Force officer who served at the department from 1999 to 2011.

Mr. Johnson said his concerns were only compounded by the discovery of classified information in the emails. “If I’d done that, I’d be out on bond right now,” he said. He said he believed that someone should be punished — if not Mrs. Clinton, then career employees whose job was to safeguard secrets and preserve public records.

“It’s not the end of the world; she didn’t give away the crown jewels,” Mr. Johnson said. “But this is not how things are supposed to be done.”

The email controversy breaks into three clear phases: Mrs. Clinton’s initial choices about how to set up her email; her decision to destroy messages she judged to be personal; and the discovery of classified information in an account where it is not allowed by law.

Crown jewels? WTF? Even the coded language is blatant in suggesting Hilary Clinton neutered the US state secrets…

Privacy was something Mrs. Clinton valued but had rarely enjoyed. As first lady in the 1990s, she had weathered multiple investigations of various alleged misdeeds and her husband’s much-publicized infidelity.

Again, this is ridiculous…but the story goes on.

Mrs. Clinton has said she decided in 2009 to handle all her email, official and personal, on one account to avoid carrying multiple electronic devices. Yet early this year she joked that she was “two steps short of a hoarder. So I have an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a BlackBerry.”

So there may have been other reasons for using a private server. For an oft-attacked politician considering a presidential run, the server would give Mrs. Clinton some control over what would become public from her four years as the nation’s top diplomat. “I’ve been following it very carefully,” said Shiva Ayyadurai, an email pioneer who has designed email systems for both government and large corporations. A private system, he noted, “would make it possible to decide what would be disclosed and what would not.”

They mention the other reason…maybe:

There is another factor that some former colleagues say puts Mrs. Clinton’s decision in a more reasonable light: the archaic, dysfunctional computer systems at the State Department. Only a tiny fraction of emails sent on the State.gov system in recent years have been permanently archived. And former State Department employees describe the unclassified email system in 2009 as frustratingly inadequate.

Using State Department email outside the building involved “incredibly unreliable software,” said one former senior official. “If you had to write a priority message that was more than a paragraph long, it could leave you streaming sweat and screaming at the screen. And that’s when people would turn to their private accounts out of desperation.”

Another official described landing in foreign capitals late at night and having to go to the American Embassy and wake people up simply to check his unclassified email. He called the situation “ludicrous,” though he said the system slowly improved, especially as more people got government BlackBerry devices.

All of these former officials asked not to be named, fearing they might offend Mrs. Clinton or, worse, draw a subpoena from the House Benghazi committee. Several former Clinton aides have hired private counsel at personal expense. “The basic feeling is, if you haven’t been mentioned by the committee, you should keep your name out of it,” said one official.

But in doing so, the NYT’s use of suggesting fear of retribution or subpoenas makes the sources of the information even more unreliable or questionable. As if they are already criminals? Or if not accomplices to the email treason….then they are at the hands of a bitchy emotional woman.

Read the whole article if you can bear it.

Another look at a NYT’s article: Fear That Debate Could Hurt G.O.P. in Women’s Eyes – The New York Times

Give that one a read, see if you don’t also see some leeway allowed in excuses of GOP candidate behavior.

Whit Ayers, a veteran Republican pollster who is advising Mr. Rubio’s campaign, said that “Trump only hurts Republicans among women if he becomes the nominee, which he won’t.”

He added, “The Republican image and the Republican brand will be defined by the Republican nominees for president and vice president, not what a losing candidate said in a debate 15 months before the election.”

In other misogynistic assholery news….Eschaton: At Least He Didn’t Call Her A Goat Fucking Child Molester

Erick Son Of Erick does not like the competition for most disgusting creep in the conservative world.

Unlike the Fox News debates that divided the 17-candidate field into two groups on crowded stages, the RedState Gathering in Atlanta offered several of those seeking the Republican nomination a half-hour all to themselves. On Saturday, the lineup includes former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Businessman Donald Trump had been on the program, but late Friday RedState’s Erick Erickson said he was withdrawing his invitation because of a comment Trump made earlier that evening about Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly.

The Stunning Hypocrisy of Erick Erickson – Little Green Footballs

Or how everyone seems to ignore the rampant racism, xenophobia, and misogyny of Erick Erickson & his site

[…]

In other words, it seems that Erickson’s reason to disinvite has more to do with the target of Trump’s statement than the content of Trump’s statement. Moreover, Erickson was silent about Trump calling women bimbos, let alone calling Mexicans rapists. His misogyny and xenophobia has been on display from the moment Trump got into the race, but Erickson didn’t disinvite him over those statements. For if Trump had directed his statement at someone, say a Democrat, Erickson would applaud.

After all, Erickson applauded Trump’s statements attacking Rosie O’Donnell just the other day.

 

This is the GOP and its core constituency. This is Erick Erickson and RedState.

More on Erickson: Conservative who called Wendy Davis ‘Abortion Barbie’ says Trump went too far insulting Megyn Kelly

It’s Like 10,000 Misogynists When All You Need Is A Knife – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

Erick Erickson: ‘The Republican Party Created Donald Trump’ – The Atlantic

Donald Trump Has Finally Catapulted Us Into an Alternate Universe | Mother Jones

Republican candidates struggle to duck Donald at at event Trump was disinvited from

 

More funny moments from the Debate. Patton Oswalt’s live-tweeting of the GOP debate is the best thing that happened last night – Salon.com

A few of my favorites:

On to the Planned Parenthood shitfest.

Alabama Cuts Funding To Planned Parenthood : NPR

Planned Parenthood targeted at RedState conference | Ames Tribune

Now this next story is something else:

The secret history of “cuckservative”: The fetish that became a right-wing rallying cry – Salon.com

What began as a white supremacist slur, inspired by a genre of porn, has infiltrated the conservative mainstream

In a recent article at Salon, Joan Walsh did an excellent job in navigating the political effluence that is the American right’s newborn obsession with “cuckservatives.”

There, she noted how:

“Cuckservative” started showing up in my Twitter mentions last week, after I suggested Donald Trump supporters might not be the brightest bulbs. As I clicked around, I came to a shocking conclusion: I’ve been uncharacteristically downplaying the amount of racism and misogyny powering the right today. The spread of the epithet “cuckservative” is a sign that the crudest psycho-sexual insecurity animates the far right.

“Cuckservative,” you see, is short for a cuckolded conservative. It’s not about a Republican whose wife is cheating on him, but one whose country is being taken away from him, and who’s too cowardly to do anything about it.

OK, that’s gross and sexist enough already, but there’s more. It apparently comes from a kind of pornography known as “cuck,” in which a white husband, either in shame or lust, watches his wife be taken by a black man. Lewis explains it this way: “A cuckservative is, therefore, a race traitor.”

White supremacists have reinforced the racial intent of the “cuckservative” narrative. To that end, Walsh quotes one of their more prominent voices, Richard Spencer:

“The #cuckservative meme doesn’t make any sense without race. It’s all about race…What’s powerful about #cuckservative is that it is call for a racially conscious politics—and not the kind of shot-gun spray muckraking that Johnson specializes in.”

But, as Walsh explains, usage the word hasn’t been limited to white nationalist circles:

Rush Limbaugh helped spread the term to the mainstream when he praised Trump like this: “If Trump were your average, ordinary, cuckolded Republican, he would have apologized by now, and he would have begged for forgiveness, and he would have gone away.”

At present, “cuckservative” is just one more signal of how the contemporary Republican Party and movement conservatism have become a carnival-like human zoo fueled by the talk-radio echo chamber, one where extremism is now mainstream, and the politically adolescent and immature obsessions of “men’s rights” victimologists — with their “alpha males” and “cuckolding” anxieties — are considered reasonable and respectable points of view.

The convergence of white supremacy and conservatism in the modern Republican Party — spurred in part by a renaissance of toxic white masculinity — has produced what, in the moment, appears to be a series of never-ending climaxes and crescendos wherein new levels of absurdity and paranoia replace previous peaks once thought unattainable. The extreme has become the new normal for mainstream American conservatism. As the Republican Party continues its death-spiral embrace of fascism, misogyny, patriarchy, and racism, the political insanity embodied by concepts such as “cuckservative” will become the new normal.

The Daily Kos’ Chris Reeves, offers up a particularly sharp insight on “cuckolding,” “cuckservatives” and the right-wing political imagination:

But for the Republicans using the term #cuckservative, they are doing so out of a place that mirrors what represents the… darker shades of any fetish. Republicans who have used this new term are the same Republicans who used phrases like ‘Sodomite supporter,” “whores.” In that vein, they are now using #cuckservative not just based on the defined sexual act, but for the much darker racial tones that prevail in the rise of pornography that is sold online.

 

The key thing to note is this:

But the internal logic of the “cuckservative” meme falls flat, because movement conservatives and the right-wing media — even the ones who are now brandishing the term left and right — are not titillated, as these porn enthusiasts are, by the perceived loss of power for white men. They are not in a state of political ecstasy from the thought that people who look like them may have to share more political and social power with people who don’t. No, this camp of aggrieved and imperiled white men, drunk on toxic white masculinity, are terrified of their supposed status as “victims” in a more inclusive and cosmopolitan 21st century America. Whereas cuckolding has its foundations in eroticism, the term “cuckservative” has evolved from a related, but ultimately very different, psychosexual fixation: racialized castration anxieties.

 

White men saw themselves as the naturally dominant group in the United States from its founding to the present. The idea of white male privilege as “normal” and a given remains inexorably compelling — especially to the “angry” and aggrieved white men who are the base of the Republican Party in the post-civil rights era.

The legacy of the South’s planter class — the 1 percent its time, who profited from the blood of the slave plantations, work camps, tenant labor, sharecropping fields, and chain gangs — is also seen in the contemporary Republican Party. When the Republican Party’s leaders and media elites talk about “makers and takers” and “lazy” American workers, when they wage war on the poor and the social safety net, what we’re seeing is the new political economy of neoliberalism mated with the philosophical legacy of the planter class.

The Republican Party’s fetish for guns, its knee-jerk defense of white-on-black-and-brown police violence and abuse, and its theocratic Christian politics also have many wellsprings in the American South. The right’s desperate efforts to control women’s bodies and reproductive freedoms are likewise a legacy and reminder of how white men’s power has historically extended to their (supposed) ownership over women’s sexuality and health.

Thus, white male anxieties spoken to by those who authored and circulated the “cuckservative” meme are really just evoking a misdirected feeling by some white men that they have lost political power and potency — that they have been, so to speak, castrated.

 

Remember the quote up top…about the crown jewels?

The phallocentric, racist, and misogynistic obsessions of those on the White Right are reminders of how black men’s bodies were routinely burned, dismembered, how their genitals cut off — all of these things while the victims of such white racial bloodlust were often still alive. The spectacular lynching and torture of black people was a ritual designed to remove Black Americans from political life and to reaffirm white power. The black body was and remains a threat; because of that fact, it has been subjected to gross and cruel disciplines and technologies of punishment and control in the United States and the West more broadly.

Obama’s election was unsettling for conservatives. It drove many on the White Right to conspiratorial and delusional thinking, such as “Birtherism,” and also stirred up other more “old school” types of white racism, because the idea of a black man in the White House, as the United States’ President and symbolic embodiment of American power, was irreconcilable with a Herrenvolk logic that views “real Americans” as white by definition and tradition. The right wing’s fears of changing racial demographics,the mating of conservatism and racism, and the Republican Party’s creeping fascism in the present meant that Obama, as well as his cabinet and other appointees who were female and non-white especially, represented a particularly potent threat to embattled and insecure toxic white masculinity.

If the anxieties and fears of those on the White Right who construct dream worlds of a pornographic imagination, in which white men are being cuckolded and are “victims” of interracial sexual domination, who need to elect an “alpha male” Republican for protection, then Barack Obama is the biggest “BBC” threat of them all.

Which brings me to those who will vote for the first time in 2016:

To the Republican Candidates, From an 18-Year-Old Woman | Carly Steyer

I just turned 18. At this age, I am very excited about my future as a young adult in America — but simultaneously progressively cynical, as I am exposed to the plethora of issues our nation is facing and the number of national dilemmas my generation will inherit. The way the Republican candidates presented themselves onstage last night did not soothe my cynicism.

From the way they discussed Planned Parenthood and abortion, to the patronizing tone with which they addressed questions involving Hillary Clinton, and the pride they took in promises to undo progress that has been made — almost everything they did made me roll my eyes. In fact, given all that went down on Fox News last night, I’m surprised my eyes didn’t roll right out of my head.

In light of this, here are some notes to a few of the candidates, from a young voter:

 

Take a look at the link to read her notes to the candidates.

Other links for you, since this thread is getting long:

Hillary Clinton and the ‘Makeup Tax’ That Hurts All Women – The Atlantic

Texas judge orders young man to marry girlfriend and write Bible verses to avoid jail time

Vermont woman uses high-powered rifle to kill social services worker after losing custody of her daughter

Dead Vermont Women Were Related To Social Worker Shooter

Black Lives Matter Protesters Shut Down Bernie Sanders Rally – BuzzFeed News

Cue The Wanderlust: National Geographic’s Stunning Photo Contest Winners – The Daily Beast

WATCH: Police release raw surveillance video of Christian Taylor before shooting at car lot

This next link is just beyond fucking ridiculous: All Is Lost; Nightmare Man “Surprises” Wife With Her Own Pregnancy

In an age where elaborately-staged marriage proposals and tearjerking pregnancy reveals are YouTube commonplace, self-proclaimed vloggers must now go to extreme lengths to achieve maximum virality when announcing their most personal family moments online. One man brought this terrifying reality into stark relief Wednesday when he posted a video titled, “HUSBAND SHOCKS WIFE WITH PREGNANCY ANNOUNCEMENT!”, in which he steals his wife’s urine and subsequently “surprises” her with her own positive pregnancy test.

Men: they have ideas, and they go for them. The man who had this particular idea is a dad vlogger named Sam, who posts videos every single day with his wife, Nia. They’re best known for the viral YouTube hit “Good Looking Parents Sing Disney’s Frozen (Love Is an Open Door).”

This week’s video is much more inventive than a lip sync of a children’s tune, however. Sam reiterated the premise in the caption: “That’s right! For the first time daddy announces the pregnancy to mommy!”

Behold, the most cynical eight minutes of film ever posted to the web:

Go to link to see video…if you dare.

Whether or not Nia actually learned of her pregnancy for the first time during the filming of the video, the idea that a man surprising a woman with the contents of her own uterus in front of millions of viewers is supposed to be—what? Heartwarming? A thoughtful gift? Extremely cool?—is insane. Let this woman have control over at least one thing.

Even if a man is absolutely sure that his partner will be thrilled she’s carrying his child, it is polite to let her discover this information about her own body herself (or together, if she asks).

But in the quest to make the Yahoo! homepage, everything must be sacrificed, including any last tether to reality. In the video, both Sam and Nia address the camera more than they address each other. Despite the fact that she’s getting the shock of her life, Nia habitually refers to “you guys”—the viewers—throughout the video, narrating her experience as it happens.

We’re having a baby. We all are.

The last link today is really interesting. BB, this is for you!  The mistake we all make… and the simple experiment that reveals it | Science | The Guardian

A simple experiment questioning people’s response to a picture reveals a common error that hampers our decision making. In an extract from his new book, psychologist Richard Nisbett reveals the ‘mindware’ to help us think smarter

two happy emoticon faces, one surrounded by other happy faces, the other by sad faces

Which of these two faces is happier? Your answer reveals how you see the world. Illustration: Rob Biddulph

 

I picked the picture on the left…with the black background.

That is it for today…I wanted to say thank you to Dak and BB for covering for me last week. Still seem a bit off but at least I am coming down from that strange place.  Today we are going to dinner with my son’s friend…to say goodbye. He is leaving tomorrow to start his journey to become a priest. Isn’t that something? They still do that.

It is an open thread…enjoy your day.

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Thursday Reads

Lane change

Good Afternoon!!

I’m getting a very slow start today–sorry about that! This is going to be pretty much a link dump.

I just can’t stop thinking about Sandra Bland and Kindra Chapman–who still isn’t getting much attention from the national media. There is a nice article about Kindra in The Independent UK today.

Kindra Darnell Chapman was booked at the Homewood County Jail on a first-degree robbery charge after allegedly stealing another person’s cellphone, AL.com reported.

Family members and activists have compared the teen’s death to the case of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman found hanged in a Texas jail cell just a day prior. Kathy Brady, the teen’s mother told AL.com that she believes police officers have killed her daughter….

A family member, who requested to not be identified, told My Fox Alabama that Chapman was a “wonderful person who did not deserve this.”

“She was a great person. She loved her sisters, her brother, she loved everybody. She had her whole life ahead of her.”

Kindra Chapman

Kindra Chapman

Police claim Kindra committed suicide. Two so-called suicides of black women in two days? Their families are demanding answers and Americans need to make sure they get truthful ones.

Police claim they last saw her alive at 6:30pm and at 7:50pm, they found her hanged by a bedsheets in her cell. The teen was rushed to Brookwood Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

A Change.org petition titled “We want immediate full disclosure on the alleged suicide of Kindra Darnell Chapman” demands transparency in the ongoing investigation. Nearly 2,700 signatures supported the petition as of Thursday morning.

A spokesperson from the Jefferson County DA’s office told The Independent that the autopsy may take up to four weeks and toxicology report may take six to eight, a usual time frame for the reports in Alabama.

The Sandra Bland case is getting massive coverage. Yesterday it was revealed that the video of Bland’s arrest had serious anomalies. The first to call attention to this was journalist Ben Norton. From his website: Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited. If you go to that link, there are a number of updates. From the original piece:

The Texas Department of Public Safety uploaded dashcam police video of the arrest to YouTube on 21 July. Parts of the approximately 52 minutes of footage it uploaded appear to have been doctored.

A man leaves the truck in the center of the frame at 25:05. For the next 15 seconds, he walks toward the right of the frame and leaves. At 25:19, he suddenly appears again, promptly disappears, then returns at 25:22. The same footage of him walking is subsequently repeated….

At 32:37, a white car drives into the left side of the frame, then promptly disappears in the middle of the road. Seconds later, the same car drives back into the frame and subsequently turns left. This footage is later looped several times.

A different white car also drives into the left side of the frame and turns left from 32:49 to 32:59. The previous white car again briefly enters the frame at 33:04, and once more at 33:06, yet it suddenly disappears both times. When these cuts are made in the footage, the lights on top of the truck in the center of the frame also abruptly cut out.

At 33:08, the exact same footage from 32:37 is repeated, followed by the same second white car at 33:17….

It appears that someone cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking. Who exactly edited the footage is unknown, but the video was recorded by police and released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland

Please go to the link to read the rest along with multiple updates. Here’s just one:

They told the Texas Tribune that the video has not been edited. This seems unlikely. It is possible parts of the repeated footage are encoding errors, but it is unlikely that the 15-second repeated clip of a man leaving the truck is an encoding error.

Others have also noted that police dashcam videos usually have timecode on the footage. In this video, the timecode do not appear. Why this is is unclear. There is no answer at this point and an investigation needs to be conducted. A possibility some have suggested, however, is that, if the footage was indeed edited, as it likely was, whoever edited it zoomed in on the video or cropped the timecode.

The LA Times has also examined the police videos closely. Today they have a side-by-side comparison of the video with the anomalies vs. the “cleaned-up” video.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, Waller County officials are getting plenty of pushback. From KHOU:

Police agencies and city halls throughout Waller County continue to receive angry and sometimes threatening phone calls and emails from across the country after the tragic jail death of Sandra Bland.

And along with the Bland’s death, city leaders and residents say they also mourn the negative national spotlight the incident has brought to this corner of Southeast Texas.

“We are in some way being judged and victimized by people that don’t know us and are making assumptions about us,” said Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis, who has held face-to-face meetings with the Bland family.

Oh, boo hoo. Too f**king bad. Stop victimizing black people who drive cars through your county then.

The corporate media has mostly been focusing on trying to make Bland look like a crazy, depressed drug user. It also turns out she had epilepsy; and when she told the arresting officer that, he said “Good!” as he continued to manhandle her. The simple truth is that she never should have been stopped in the first place; and once she was stopped, the officer escalated the confrontation in unconstitutional ways. Regardless of how she died, Sandra Bland should be alive today and working in her new job.

Selected headlines on the Sandra Bland case:

Huffington Post: 6 Things You Should Know About The County Where Sandra Bland Died. This part of Texas has a long, complicated relationship with race.

Think Progress: What The Supreme Court Has To Say About Sandra Bland’s Arrest.

The New Republic: Sandra Bland Never Should Have Been Arrested.

CNN: Twitter responds to jail deaths with ‘if I die in police custody.’

CBS Chicago: Apparent Voice Mail From Sandra Bland Released; Tests Revealed Marijuana, Cutting Scars.

CTV News: Sandra Bland was incredulous, aggravated in calls from jail: report.

ABC News: Sandra Bland Had ‘Lows and Highs,’ Her Sister Says. (Who the hell doesn’t? I hate to think what they’d write about me from my past history!)

More News Headlines

NY Times: Kenya Trip Takes Obama Back to a Complex Part of Himself.

Dallas Morning News: Kenya eagerly awaits Obama visit.

CNN: Obama’s trip raises security concerns.

LA Times: The Reading Life: Happy birthday to me — and Raymond Chandler. (Today would have been Raymond Chandler’s 127th birthday.)

NY Times:E. L. Doctorow Dies at 84; Literary Time Traveler Stirred Past Into Fiction.

NBC News: Donald Trump’s Border Wall Would Cost Billions, Experts Say.

NY Times: Donald Trump Threatens Third Party Candidacy.

NPR: Texas Fights Suit After Denying Birth Certificates To Children Of Illegal Immigrants.

Raw Story: Lesbian couple breaks silence: We filed complaint against Oregon bakery to ‘stop being bullied.’

Brian Murphy at TPM Cafe: How Walker Turned ‘Job Creation’ Into a Goodie Bag for Campaign Donors.

Dallas Morning News: Ted B. Lyon Jr.: Let’s get real about Rick Perry’s Texas record

 


Wednesday Reads: Stolen Head, Captured Cow and Rufus T. Lightning Bug?

Nosferatu-Original-PosterGood Morning

Only a few real news stories for you this morning, simply because I’ve no idea what is going on out there…

Let’s just start this off with a strange story out of Germany…and it does not involve Greece.

Silent film legend F.W. Murnau’s head has been stolen · Newswire · The A.V. Club

Friedrich Plumpe, known professionally as F.W. Murnau, was one of the great artists of the late silent era, producing a string of masterpieces in Germany and America—most famously Nosferatu, The Last Laugh, and Sunrise—before his untimely death in 1931, at age 42. Murnau’s death occurred under murky circumstances—his Rolls Royce was being driven by a 14-year-old boy when it slammed into a light pole outside of Santa Barbara—leading to decades of speculation and rumor.

Today, the story of Murnau’s death gets a little bit weirder: Der Spiegel is reporting that someone has broken into the Plumpe family crypt outside Berlin and stolen the director’s head.

murnauIt is unknown how or when the perpetrators gained access to the tomb, though, notably, the coffins of the director’s brothers Robert and Bernhard were not disturbed. The Plumpe crypt is located in Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf, a large woodland cemetery known for its mausolea and dense forestation. According to local police, the break-in was first noticed on Monday morning.

This is not the first time that someone has broken into the crypt, and, at present, the cemetery’s administrators are weighing whether to permanently seal the tomb or to bury the director’s body separately from the rest of his family to prevent further vandalism. Police have reportedly found wax drippings at the scene, suggesting either a ritualistic element, or that Murnau’s head was stolen by old-timey grave robbers by candlelight.

About his death: GarboForever – The Death Mask of F.W. Murnau

Murnau-1

Murnau’s Death Mask
In 1931, seven days before the premiere of his film Tabu, he allowed a fourteen year-old Filipino boy named Garcia Stevenson to ride his limo. And for some absolutely bizarre reason, he let the boy drive the Packard vehicle beside him.

Stevenson, driving too fast and swerving to avoid a truck, eventually crashed against an electric pole, killing the legendary film director. Garcia was not hurt, nor the other person in the car, but Murnau’s head was cracked open on a roadside pole and he died at hospital shortly afterwards. He was 42 years old.


Garbo and the Death Mask (photomontage)

While the scandalous rumors surrounding Murnau’s death resulted in the appearance of only a handful of mourners at his funeral, Garbo showed up during the interment. Garbo also commissioned a death mask of him, which she kept on her desk during her years in Hollywood (not for her whole life, as many may think). Decades later, Garbo gave the Mask to Murnau’s family.

Murnau was later entombed on Southwest Cemetery (Südwest-Kirchhof Stahnsdorf) in Stahnsdorf near Berlin.

[…]

Today, the Death Mask belongs to the Filmmuseum in Berlin/Germany.

sjff_02_img0783‘Nosferatu’ Director F.W. Murnau’s Head Reportedly Stolen From Grave | Variety

In a story reminiscent of one of his own movies, grave robbers opened a metal coffin to access the filmmaker’s embalmed body, said the newspaper. Stahnsdorf is about 12 miles southwest of central Berlin. The nearby graves of his two brothers were not disturbed. Spiegel Online said some wax residue had been found near the grave, pointing to a possible occult connection.

Occult or grave robbing by candlelight…the thing is freaky.

FW Murnau Last LaughFor some background and links on FW Murnau films, look here:

FW Murnau | Film | The Guardian

TSPDT – F.W. Murnau (via the website: They Shoot Pictures Don’t They…)

“He made 17 films in Germany, and a final four in America. Of these, only 12 survive. They form a body of work as startling, and as compelling, as any in cinema. Murnau is hard to pin down. His work has no unifying theme; what runs through it all is an attitude to the image on the screen and to what it can express. There is a sense of life in the whole of every frame.” –The Illustrated Who’s Who of Cinema, 1983

047-sunrise-theredlistObama to hold news conference on Wednesday: White House

President Barack Obama will hold a news conference on Wednesday to answer questions about the nuclear agreement the United States and other world powers recently reached with Iran.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One that the news conference would take place in the East Room of the White House at 1 p.m. (1700 GMT) before Obama leaves for a scheduled trip to Oklahoma.

I guess we will see more about this later today.

High global political stakes require Iran deal to succeed | MSNBC

He has to earn his Nobel Peace Prize every day

Tabu_R-1978I’m not sure if Obama will ever earn his premature Nobel — blame drones — but thanks to this Iran deal he’s closer than he’s ever been

Hillary Clinton: Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch | World news | The Guardian

Main contender for Democratic presidential nomination welcomes deal on Tehran’s atomic programme but warns of ‘swift consequences’ if breached

About that cow…Polish cow Matylda captured after two years on the run | World news | The Guardian

The cow that escaped from her Polish farm two years ago and lived a free range life in a nearby forest has finally been caught.

Owner Leszek Zasada spoke about his adventure with the brown cow in a story broadcast Tuesday by the all-news station TVN24.

MurnauHe said Matylda escaped in 2013 from his farm in Zloty Stok, in Western Poland, the day after he brought her home.

She survived two frigid winters on her own, but the time on the run took its toll. She lost the calf she was sometimes spotted with and returned home with many scars.

That Planned Parenthood Video About Selling Aborted Fetus Parts is a Fake, Because of Course It Is – The Daily Banter

The Evolving Role of News on Twitter and Facebook | Pew Research Center

Great…and you thought news articles had terrible writing now…imaging how it will be as “articles” get cut down to 140 characters in the form of a tweet.

(I know they are talking about live events and news stories as they happen…and linking tweets to articles, but in this evolving world that is becoming more like Idiocracy every day, you know what it will eventually come to. Ow my balls.)

New Horizons checks in OK after Pluto flyby | Ars Technica

 

And for Firefly? or is it Lightning Bug?

Regional Breakdown of “Firefly” Vs. “Lightning Bug” | Mental Floss

“What do you call the insect that flies around in the summer and has a rear section that glows in the dark?”

Bert Vaux, a linguistics professor at the University of Cambridge, asked 10,000 Americans around the country that question and others relating to regional dialects. If you use “firefly” and “lightning bug” interchangeably, like I do, you’re in good company. bfi-00m-j9kAcross the United States, 39.8 percent of respondents report using both terms. 30.4 percent say “firefly” exclusively and 29.1 percent say “lightning bug.” Meanwhile, 0.02 percent (or two people total in the study) call the bioluminescent bugs “peenie wallie” (perhaps they wanted to hurt the beetles’ feelings).

Joshua Katz, a graduate student in statistics at NC State University, turned the survey data into the map you see above, which shows how the exclusive use of “firefly” is a western phenomenon, with a small enclave of support in Massachusetts.

 

 

I guess that explains it. Firefly is a Hollywood thing.

I will leave it at that. Enjoy the videos of Rufus T Firefly below, from the film Duck Soup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tumblr_m0xkh7YZEI1r0i1g5o1_500Jake got a speeding ticket the other day, 95 in a 70 zone. Along with following too close, and something else…his license will be suspended for six months. His attitude and depression was bad before, it is worse now.  It just gets better all the time, doesn’t it?

Anyway, please post links to things. Have a good Wednesday.

 


Tuesday Reads: Altered States While Driving, Plus Some News.

rainbow-road-by-db

Good Morning!!

I’m getting a slow start today. I was exhausted after my trip home, and I slept most of yesterday afternoon. I feel as if I could do that again today, and I just might.

There is lots of news this morning, but first I want to share a small epiphany I experienced while driving through Ohio on Saturday. Traffic was light and the weather was nice, partly cloudy and warm–with just enough sun to be bright but not enough for me to need sunglasses.

I was listening to an interesting program on NPR–I think it was Radiolab–about a man who described himself as solitary–practically a hermit–because he experienced so many problems in interacting with people. He enjoyed being alone more than anything else. His marriage to his first wife had broken up and she had taken their two children, whom he loved. The only relationships he had had that weren’t problematic were with his son and daughter. At one point, he learned that his ex-wife’s boyfriend was abusing his children, and he sued for custody. He didn’t get it because when he went to a psychological evaluation, he mistook another little girl in the office for his daughter. The psychologist questioned how he could be a good parent if he didn’t even recognize his own child.

The man moved to California and found a job where he didn’t have to interact with other people except over the phone, and it worked very well for him. Eventually he met a woman who seemed to understand him, and they lived together for years and eventually married.

pathway1I really identified with the story, because I find most of my difficult experiences involve interactions with other people. I have always preferred being alone to spending time with people–especially in large groups. As a child, I loved to read and could lose myself in a book and shut out the entire world. As a teenager, I loved to listen to music alone in my room, and I still read constantly. I always felt different–as if I didn’t belong in this world. I think that is the reason I like to drive long distances–I can be alone with no one to bother me, unless I want them to.

Anyway, it turned out that the man in the NPR story had prosopagnosia, or face blindness, a visual processing disorder in which a person has difficulty perceiving faces. He discovered this while he and his wife were watching a 60 Minutes program on this unusual cognitive problem. Interestingly, famed neurologist Oliver Sacks suffers from prosopagnosia.

At the point where the man learned what his problem was after years of struggling in relationships, I suddenly had my epiphany. I became aware of a feeling and I thought to myself. This is how it feels to be happy. I’m happy right now. Of course once I had the thought, I was no longer in the present moment, but the good feeling continued for some time as I listened to other stories on NPR.

Now I don’t think I have prosopagnosia–at least I got 6 right on a video test for it–so I don’t know why the NPR program had such a profound effect on me–maybe because I think there’s something wrong with me but I don’t know what it is. It would be great to have an answer. Why am I happiest when I’m alone but still can be in touch with people over the internet or on the phone? Maybe I’ll never know, but I definitely did have one of those peak experiences that Abraham Maslow wrote about.

0db78f8c3b8b

On Sunday, the second day of my trip, I was tired all day long and had trouble staying awake. I made good time across New York despite quite a bit of traffic; but the final leg of the trip on the Mass Pike was torturous. I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic for more than an hour at one point and the the traffic was hellish the entire way. Oddly, I still felt that my experience of happiness the previous day made it all worthwhile.

I tried to find the NPR prosopagnosia story on-line, but I didn’t have any luck. I’d like to listen to it again.

Now that I’ve likely bored you to tears, I’ll get on with the news.

A deal has been reached with Iran. Politico reports: U.S., world powers reach historic deal with Iran.

The United States and five other world powers have reached a deal with Iran that would place strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for ending sanctions on its economy, the culmination of years of delicate diplomacy pursued by President Barack Obama despite warnings the agreement could strengthen Iran’s Islamist regime and leave it dangerously close to a nuclear bomb.

The historic accord, reached by Secretary of State John Kerry and his international counterparts in Vienna on Tuesday after 18 days of intense negotiations, now faces review from a hostile Republican-led Congress, opposition from every GOP presidential candidate, from Israel’s government and from Sunni Arab monarchs. The deal’s long and complex implementation process also leaves it vulnerable to unraveling.

pathways1

Speaking from the White House Tuesday morning, Obama called the deal a victory for diplomacy that would prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and avert a possible conflict with Iran.

“No deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East,” Obama said. He reaffirmed America’s commitment to Israel’s security and Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia, while adding that the U.S. is “open to engagement on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect.”

Obama also hinted at the possibility of a larger thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations. ”It is possible to change,” Obama told Iranians, urging them to take a “different path, one of tolerance, of peaceful resolution to conflict… This deal opens an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it.”

“This is the good deal that we have sought,” Kerry said in a statement from Vienna.

It’s another stunning victory for Obama. More from CNN: Landmark deal reached on Iran nuclear program.

After arduous talks that spanned 20 months, negotiators have reached a landmark deal aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear program.

The agreement, a focal point of U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, appears set to reshape relations between Iran and the West, with its effects likely to ripple across the volatile Middle East.

Representatives of Iran, the United States and the other nations involved in the marathon talks were holding a final meeting in Vienna on Tuesday.

Obama praised the deal reached Tuesday morning, saying the agreement met the goals he had in place throughout negotiations.

“Today after two years of negotiation the United States together with the international community has achieved something that decades of animosity has not: a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama said from the White House, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also praised the deal, speaking after Obama finished, as televisions in Iran broadcast the U.S. President’s statement live, translated into Farsi.

“Negotiators have reached a good agreement and I announce to our people that our prayers have come true,” Rouhani said in a live address to the nation following Obama.

The essential idea behind the deal is that in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities, Iran would get relief from sanctions while being allowed to continue its atomic program for peaceful purposes.

newmexico-122

And from The Wall Street Journal: Oil Prices Fall as Nuclear Deal Paves Way for Iran Exports.

The possibility of up to a million new barrels of Iranian oil flooding global markets—the amount Iranian officials aim to deliver within months—comes at a critical time. China’s stock-market turmoil in recent weeks could slow an economy that was expected to account for a lot of energy-demand growth. U.S. production remains strong, and oil giants such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia are pumping record amounts.

With new Iranian supply, that has raised the specter of a fresh oil glut.

After recovering somewhat from a 60% drop earlier this year, global benchmark Brent crude has lost 15% since early Ma.. It fell further on Tuesday morning in London trading, to $57.30 a barrel on London’s ICE futures exchange. WTI crude futures, a benchmark largely for American oil, was down 1.7% on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Iran’s efforts to raise oil exports could not have come at a worse time, given the market’s lingering oversupply,” said Michael Cohen, an energy analyst at Barclays.
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In 2012, the U.S. and European Union imposed strict sanctions on Iran’s energy and financial sectors, and the country’s oil exports have been cut nearly in half as a result, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Iranian exports averaged 1.4 million barrels a day in 2014, down from 2.6 million barrels a day at the end of 2011, federal data show.

The speed and quantity of new oil that Iran can export hinge upon many difficult-to-predict factors. They include when Iran might be able to satisfy various countries and the United Nations that it has met the requirements of the deal, triggering the start of sanctions relief. Western officials have said that likely won’t happen until the end of 2015.

More bellyaching from the top 1% at the link.

CapeCodBeachPathway

The other big story is the major economic speech Hillary Clinton gave yesterday. Here’s a preliminary analysis by Paul Waldman at The American Prospect: Clinton Tries to Move the Economic Conversation Beyond Jobs.

As most of us understand, “Do I have a job?” is not the only question you might ask about your economic situation. That understanding is what Hillary Clinton is counting on as she delivers her first major economic address Monday, an attempt to articulate a vision that will not only provide a means of understanding the collection of policy changes she’ll be advocating in her 2016 campaign for president, but also contrast with the now 17 Republicans who want to face her next fall.

I’m writing this before the full text of Clinton’s speech is available, so what I have to go on is only the outline and selections that have been leaked to a couple of reporters (see here and here). But it’s clear that Clinton is attempting to expand the economic conversation beyond the two measures that usually dominate the discussion: job growth and GDP growth. “The measure of our economic success,” she’ll say, “should be how much incomes rise for middle-class households, not an arbitrary growth figure.”

So while Clinton is going to offer some proposals like an infrastructure bank meant to create jobs, most of her emphasis is going to be on increasing wages and improving working conditions with things like paid sick leave. To see why this is aimed at the Republican candidates, pay close attention to what they say when they’re asked about issues like wage stagnation and inequality. What you almost inevitably get is a brief acknowledgment that these things are indeed a problem, then a quick redirection to the policies they say will accelerate growth and create jobs. The last thing they want is to get into a detailed discussion about wages. If pressed, the best explanation they can come up with for why wages are stagnant, or why inequality has been increasing for many years, is that, like everything else that is not as we would like it to be, it’s the government’s fault.

Maine-Office-of-Toursim-That’s the nature of the problem they face where their ideological beliefs meet the requirements of a presidential campaign. They don’t believe that government can do much affirmatively to improve the economy, so their proposals tend toward “getting government out of the way”—in other words, not doing something new, but stopping something that’s already happening. But if you put a Democratic proposal like paid sick leave alongside a Republican proposal like loosening environmental regulations, it’s a lot easier to understand how the first is supposed to help workers than how the second would.

So as the discussion on economics shifts, Clinton can advocate for at least some policies that are new and meant to react to the changes that have taken place in the American economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, are unlikely to advocate much beyond what they always advocate. There may be some differences in the details, but its essence will be all too familiar: Cut taxes (particularly on the wealthy), cut regulations on corporations, accelerate the decline in collective bargaining, and wait for our glorious future of prosperity to begin.

More reactions following the speech–links only:

Business Insider: Hillary Clinton just called out the economic problem of the next decade.

Washington Post: Why Hillary Clinton made gender such a big deal in her major economic speech.

FiveThirtyEight: The Numbers Behind Hillary Clinton’s Economic Vision

I’ll add a few more news links in the comments. So . . . what stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the thread below.


Tuesday Reads: The Republican Party’s Mess

 tea-party-confederate-flag-rally

Good Morning!!

I’m sure you’ll recognize the image at the top of this post. The photo was taken at a Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, a couple of years ago. I’ve included other similar photos in this post. Don’t tell me the people holding these flags don’t understand that it is a symbol of racial hatred.

Since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, we have seen shocking overt racism on display by right wing Republicans, and so called “mainstream” Republican elected officials have done nothing to stop it. The simple truth is that the Tea Party is a racist hate group that was formed in reaction to the election of a black president.

As a consequence of Republican officials’ refusal to call the Tea Party what it is, we have seen extreme right wing candidates like Ted Cruz elected to high office and stupid and hateful people like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann treated seriously by the media. It’s a national disgrace, and we should begin to hold Republicans responsible for it.

110902_Confederate_flag_2

Nikki Haley was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate, although she has since fallen out of favor with the group. Yesterday Haley made a cowardly, mealy-mouthed public statement calling for removal of the Confederate flag from the state house grounds, and yet today she is being celebrated in the media for her “courage.” Here’s part of it:

For many people in our state the flag stands for traditions that are noble. Traditions of history, of heritage and of ancestry.

The hate-filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in Charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag. In no way does he reflect the people of our state who respect, and in many ways, revere it.

Those South Carolinians view the flag as a symbol of respect, integrity and duty. They also see it as a memorial. A way to honor ancestors who came to the service of their state during time of conflict. That is not hate, nor is it racism.

At the same time, for many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past. As a state, we can survive and indeed we can thrive as we have done whilst still being home to both of those viewpoints. We do not need to declare a winner and a loser here.

We respect freedom of expression. And that for those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their private property, no one will stand in your way.

But the statehouse is different. And the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way….

One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come. There will be some in our state who see this as a sad moment. I respect that. But know this, for good and for bad, whether it is on the statehouse grounds or in a museum the flag will always be a part of the soil in South Carolina. But this is a moment in which we can say that that flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state.

It is South Carolina’s historic moment, and this will be South Carolina’s decision. To those outside of our state, the flag may be nothing more than a symbol of the worst of America’s past. That is not what it is to many South Carolinians. The state house belongs to all of us. Their voices will be heard, and their role in this debate will be respected….

But we are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer. The fact that people are choosing to use it as a sign of hate is something that we cannot stand. The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the capitol grounds.

Confederate-Flag-Flying-in-the-Sun

Why couldn’t Haley just admit that the flag on the her state house grounds is a symbol of resistance to integration and to legal recognition that African Americans should have equal rights; and that decades after the changes brought about by Civil Rights Movement they are still not treated equally by many, including police officers? By the way, maybe she should also consider opposing the efforts of Republicans in South Carolina to prevent African Americans from voting.

Last night I watch Rachel Maddow’s show for the first time in months, and I’m very glad I did. Maddow presented a detailed history of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the group whose website inspired Dylann Roof to murder nine African Americans at a prayer group meeting at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC last week. The Council of Conservative Citizens grew directly out of the White Citizens Councils  that fought to maintain racial segregation in Southern cities in the 1950s and 1960s. From Wikipedia:

The Citizens’ Councils (also referred to as White Citizens’ Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954 After 1956, it was known as the Citizens’ Councils of America. With about 60,000 members across the United States, mostly in the South, the groups were founded primarily to oppose racial integration of schools, but they also supported segregation of public facilities during the 1950s and 1960s. Members used severe intimidation tactics including economic boycotts, firing people from jobs, propaganda, and occasionally violence against civil-rights activists.

By the 1970s, following passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s and enforcement of constitutional rights by the federal government, the influence of the Councils had waned considerably. The successor organization to the White Citizens’ Councils is the Council of Conservative Citizens, founded in 1985.

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Maddow pointed out that in 2010, Haley Barbour was quickly eliminated from the race for the GOP nomination when he publicly praised the White Citizen Council in his home city of Yazoo, Mississippi. Maddow also interviewed SC Rep. James Clyburn about the history of the Confederate flag that still flies on the SC state house grounds. He explained that that flag was a Virginia flag flown by Robert E. Lee and that it has nothing to do with South Carolina history. It was put up over the SC state house in 1962 as a direct response to the battle for civil rights for African Americans.

Why couldn’t Nikki Haley simply admit that in her statement? Frankly, the Republican Party has allowed itself to become the party of racism and hatred; and it’s time for decent Republicans to face up to that and and deal with it honestly.

Here’s what Melissa McEwan wrote about Haley’s statement:

She couldn’t even be bothered to say that the thing is a racist symbol. Which has nonetheless not stopped members of her party from celebrating her courage.

The thing is, it’s not really “brave” to take down a flag that never should have been flying in the first place.

I see what Haley is doing as approximately as “brave” as when I clean up cat vomit. You’re supposed to clean up gross messes in your home….

let’s not pretend that it’s a Great Leadership moment, when it took 150 years of fluttering insult, and nine deaths in the last week at the hands of one of the many white people to embrace that contemptible symbol of white supremacy, to pull it off the flagpole.

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I completely agree. As I wrote in a comment yesterday, the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate and fear that should be in the same category as the Nazi swastika and the “n” word. Why should people be allowed to fly it on their own property? Why should more intelligent and sensitive neighbors or even people driving by have to see it?

It’s way past time for Republicans to stop beating around the bush and clean up the disgusting mess in their party, and it’s time for all Americans to recognize that racism in any form is evil.

Here’s a more serious discussion of the meaning of the Confederate flag by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic:

What This Cruel War Was Over. The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.

This afternoon, in announcing her support for removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley asserted that killer Dylann Roof had a “a sick and twisted view of the flag” which did not reflect “the  people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it.” If the governor meant that very few of the flag’s supporters believe in mass murder, she is surely right. But on the question of whose view of the Confederate Flag is more twisted, she is almost certainly wrong.

Roof’s belief that black life had no purpose beyond subjugation is “sick and twisted” in the exact same manner as the beliefs of those who created the Confederate flag were “sick and twisted.” The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage.

This examination should begin in South Carolina, the site of our present and past catastrophe. South Carolina was the first state to secede, two months after the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was in South Carolina that the Civil War began, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. The state’s casus belli was neither vague nor hard to comprehend:

…A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

In citing slavery, South Carolina was less an outlier than a leader, setting the tone for other states, including Mississippi

Please go read the whole thing at the link.

Republicans are now arguing that Democrats are responsible for the confederate flag symbolism and for the South’s history of racism. It’s true that Dixiecrats fought to maintain segregation, but most of those old guys switched to the Republican Party back in the Civil Rights era. The Republicans own the mess now, and they need to get busy cleaning it up.

As always, this is an open thread. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comments below.


Reactions to Hillary and Her Speech: The Good The Bad and The Ugly

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Good Morning!!

Dakinikat will try to put up a post this afternoon if she can find time, but in the meantime, here are a few reactions to Hillary’s speech from the media and other politicians, as well as her interview with the Des Moines Register and a good article on the Clinton Foundation for us to discuss in the meantime.

The Good

From The Des Moines Register: Clinton hears ‘eagerness’ for talk of female presidency.

Hillary Clinton did not win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, but her campaign succeeded in addressing concerns about whether a woman could be commander in chief, she told The Des Moines Register on Sunday.

“Part of what I tried to do in that campaign was to begin to answer that question,” she said. “Now I feel like the question’s been answered.” ….

“There is an eagerness that I sense coming at me from people in my audiences, in my conversations, to engage with me about that more than I felt in ’08,” Clinton told the Register on Sunday, one of two sit-down news interviews that were the first for this presidential bid.

In the 15-minute interview at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, Clinton defended the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said she’ll propose improvements to the Affordable Care Act, and expanded on her views about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. She landed on the side of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over Obama in wanting to ensure stronger protections for American workers.

Read the rest at the link.

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Inside Philanthropy: Shut Up About the Clinton Foundation’s Problems for a Minute to Look at It’s Programs.

With all the hype in the media about the Clinton Foundation, we wonder how many Americans actually know what the foundation does—or how many members of the media, for that matter.

Listening to news reports, you’d think the sole purpose of this outfit is to help the Clintons get rich and do favors for their shady friends. And while, to be sure, some of the reports about specific donors have been troubling—and suggest questionable judgment by the Clintons—what’s missing is a broader, more balanced look at how the foundation mobilizes money for good causes and who, in reality, puts up most of that money. (Hint: It’s not dictators looking for favors from the State Department.) While people shouldn’t stop asking hard questions about the foundation, they should pay more attention to its approach and programs.

In fact, the Clinton Foundation stands as one of the more successful efforts of recent years to mobilize new resources for philanthropy. Since its founding in 2001, it has raised nearly $2 billion, according an independent review by the Washington Post. Yes, chunks of that money have come from the Clintons’ network of political donors and corporate friends, which is how fundraising often works: You hit up the rich people you know for your causes. And, sure, some of them may not have the purest motives for ponying up, especially if you’re someone who can return favors later, but that’s the nature of the game.

Philanthropic fundraising is more like political fundraising than many may imagine. You think every hedge fund guy who gives big at the Robin Hood’s annual gala is solely focused on poor kids in East New York? Or that every tech leader who recently listened to Marc Benioff’s pleas and chipped in to fight poverty in the Bay Area has a heart of gold? Or that everyone sitting on MoMA’s board is only there because they love art? Come on.

Much more at the link.

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Matthew Yglesias at Vox gets it: Hillary Clinton has always been to Obama’s left on economics.

At a dramatic weekend rally on Roosevelt Island, Hillary Clinton unleashed a speech that was in some ways strikingly liberal, especially for a candidate who’s not facing meaningful opposition in the Democratic Primary. Politico’s Glenn Thrush says it shows that “the Democratic Party is moving left fast” and Clinton knows it, which is why she uncorked “economic-inequality rhetoric could have been comfortably uttered by the likes of Elizabeth Warren, Joseph Stiglitz, Bernie Sanders, or Martin O’Malley.”

The truth, however, is that on the kind of pocketbook issues that Clinton spent most of yesterday’s speech discussing, she’s alwaysbeen on the left wing of the Democratic Party. She’s been in the public eye far too long to have avoided inconsistencies over the years. But in positional terms, somewhat to the left of Obama — or Bill Clinton — on economics is where she’s been this whole time.

Yglesias goes into plenty of detail on Hillary’s record. Good piece!

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The Washington Post: Hillary Clinton won the weekend on social media.

According to an analysis by Zignal Labs, The Washington Post’s campaign analytics partner, 59 percent of all 2016 chatter during the weekend was about her. That means three out of every five stories or posts written about any presidential contender mentioned the former secretary of State. By comparison, the week prior, she commanded just 20 percent.

A June 11 post from Peter Daou and Tom Watson at their new site #HillaryMen: A Woman Leading America – If Not Now, When?

Our premise is that Hillary’s inclusive vision, unwavering commitment to public service, progressive policies and unparalleled experience make her one of the best (and best qualified) candidates ever to seek the presidency. If Hillarycannot become the first woman in history to cross the presidential finish line, who can? If not now, when? When will we show our daughters that a woman can be president?

Viewing the 2016 election through an explicit gender lens, the ferocious attacks against Hillary are not just about her, but underscore the deeply ingrained resistance to any woman with a viable path to the White House. Does anyone believe that another female candidate could get within reach of the presidency without running headlong into the same double standard and institutional resistance confronting Hillary?

Spotlighting the gender aspect of the 2016 race does not mean we discount the centrality of issues and competing ideologies or the complex information processing that leads voters to choose a candidate. Nor is it our intention to make specific accusations of gender bias. We are simply acknowledging the political, social and cultural barriers that have resulted in a complete shut out in national U.S. politics, at 44-0. In nearly a quarter millennium, not a single woman has occupied our nation’s highest office.

This is going to be a great site to read for inspiration during the upcoming campaign. Thanks to Beata for posting about it in the comments on Saturday.

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