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July 12, 2013

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Those of us on all sides of these questions about progressive "armies" should be very curious about what the Bully Pulpit does with this vanguard:

Elizabeth Warren Hits Big Banks Where It Hurts, New Bill Would Restore Glass-Steagall

Napolitano resigns to head University of California system. Told you she wasn't coming back to AZ. No future for her with the Kooks in charge.

I've wondered a lot about the failure to properly investigate - and indict - major financial interests in the wake of the crash. I spent part of my working career in government working alongside prosecutors. One thing I learned is that cases are seldom undertaken that don't promise a good outcome. What may be operative in the DOJ is this presupposition that the case needs to be "winnable" not only on its merits but in terms of clear-cut regulatory violations.

But I don't know. I'll resist the pretense of understanding - conspiracy theories and such - because there's likely to be more and better information coming out in the future. Most of us here are lefties and desperately crave the rule of law being applied to the plutocrats as it is to poor urban kids. We've got to be careful not to jump to emotionally-satisfying explanations. Complexity short-circuits the pleasure response of "knowing" what's really going on but it does keep open and interested. This is not to say Obama and Democrats didn't fold before the collective power and influence of the oligarchs. That may be the story. But if it is, we've got to keep in mind that "the reality-based community" does have a interest in justice. Is there anything corresponding to that instinct on the right? If so, where can I find it? And who is more likely to toughen the regulatory framework rather than weaken it? Two words: Dodd, Frank.

My aim in defending Obama's presidency is twofold. One is simply the legitimacy of it, something that has been under relentless attack from the very beginning. This is probably the most underappreciated story in America, and one that calls into question our very ability to survive as a republic. In Egypt, the military signaled over a year ago they weren't going to help Mohamed Morsi in his struggle to keep Egypt above water. Police were lazy and unresponsive. Gas lines suddenly became worse, and power cuts became the norm. What we call the "deep state" was, in effect, undermining Morsi's ability to govern. We often think, naively, that Obama's grip on power was a given. The truth is that even in America, presidents must genuflect to institutional power like the military and intelligence agencies. It's why reason Obama decided to "surge" in Afghanistan despite the very long odds of that ever succeeding.

The second reason for defending Obama is to validate the cultural foundations of America's future. The white right is clearly doing everything possible to damage this future and the racist underpinnings of its efforts are obvious to unblinkered eyes. There's a moral quality to this struggle, one that is steeped in America's past. This history is alive and well even as the rate of change accelerates in dizzying ways. No one better personifies this change, deeply disturbing to most white people, than Barack Obama.

One final note: I am not a patient person. I apologize for getting exercised with those of you who think politics is therapy or a fable about your own goodness. I wish you would get another hobby. Politics is a deadly serious game where people often live or die according to who wins elections. The real drama here is who is getting screwed and who's doing the screwing. Millions of minority kids are living wasted lives in prison because we penalize their choice of mood alteration. We condemn others to early death because we think, like smug savages, that people who can't afford health insurance should just die (yes, even in this forum people think like this). These crimes are far worse than you're feeling like a victim of Obama's thuggishness.

You either get this or you don't. I'm a stubborn guy and it's unlikely I'll shut up about this in order to facilitate a feel-good storyline inside this community.


"There's a moral quality to this struggle, one that is steeped in America's past. No one better personifies this change, deeply disturbing to most white people, than Barack Obama."
Soleri great piece and regarding part of it that I posted above. As a kid I used to watch groups of chickens attack and peck to death what they perceived as a weak chicken. But never the stalwart rooster.

In defense of Obama he has taken a few pages from The Art of War by not engaging in attack but given the time he has left I would like to see some serious assaults on his part. One would be killing the Tar Sands project. Two would be declaring more federal wilderness denying developers access. He will not push the Marijuana button because of his kids but he could back off the federal enforcement and give the states time to get this issue done. Four, he should be giving Elizabeth Warren tons of support in her efforts to take on the financial barons.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/07/11/elizabeth-warren-hits-big-banks-where-it-hurts-new-bill-would-restore-glass-steagall/

I am sure we can come up with more and I dont think they will get in the road of the 3 things U previously said he must do. (in a previous post.

Why would Napolitano come back to Arizona, she is a traitor. If the Democrats had any juevos they would hang her from a Sahuaro. Its no mystery why she is resigning at this time, Ruth Bader Ginsburg aint quitting. So Janet moves to California hoping for a ninth circuit appointment.
And she can hang out with Joe Bananas old buddy, Dennis (in San Jose) all supporters of Sheriff Joe.

Soleri, U hung with prosecutors?
I wonder do U recall when PPD OCB took down a city manager, a city treasurer and a city prosecutor. U think that had anything to do with a city finance guy crawling out thru the sunroof on to the top of his car while it was moving rapidly down the road?

Janet could not win in AZ and it has as much to do with burning AZ Democrats as it does the kookocracy.

Evidently there will be no future for the UC system either! I guess she has done as much damage as possible in the Orwellian Homeland Security and its time to move on to browner pastures.

Hello from London.

I just flew in from Phoenix.

Boy! Are my arms tired !!

Per one of Soleri's issues, here's an email I got today:

Dear General Holder,

Get out of here. Please. Yesterday will do fine. Your command at Justice became intolerable in your first big public statement, [1] four and a half years ago, the one in which you laid out your hateful view of American society:

…in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.

You were telling us two things: First, you intended to inflame political racial conflict in the United States. Despite some boilerplate language about overcoming racism and becoming “one nation,” your speech demanded that we focus on our alleged obsession with racial differences. You said, quite rightly, that it was intellectually misguided to talk about “black history” as something separate from “American history,” but you didn’t mean it. Indeed, you insisted that Black History Month be used to do just that–to treat black Americans separately from the others. And although you conceded that America in the 1960s was superficially unrecognizable compared to America in 2009, the differences were often trivial and deceptive:

though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race…

outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago.

Second, as the last sentence above so clearly proves, you were either ignorant of, or had chosen to ignore, what had happened in America from the sixties to 2009. We had largely moved beyond thinking of ourselves in black or white terms. Indeed, our society had changed so much that the very concept of “race” was overtaken by events. By 2010, ten percent of marriages were between people of different “races,” long term “mixed relationships”were twice as numerous, and fully 85 per cent of those polled by Pew said they thought the increase (the rate had tripled in a decade) was either a good thing, or not particularly signifcant. It wasn’t a big deal, it was what we knew we were, a society in which “race” was less and less important, as it should be. Only a small fraction thought it was bad news.

Maybe it’s different at the pinnacle of American society, where you have long lived and worked. But down here in the middle class, we spend our weekends with the same people we see during the work week. And it’s not racially determined. Surveys invariably show [2] that we are the least racist society in the world, along with the other members of the Anglosphere and the Latin countries (something you might bear in mind the next time it occurs to you to incite venom against some “white Latino”). The society you’re talking about is not American, it’s Asian, or North African, or Arab. We’re the best in the world. You should know that and say it proudly.

But that’s not what you’re about. You insist that Americans outside the workplace are basically the same racists as half a century before. You may actually believe it, and you certainly want to use it , so you say it. I don’t want to guess why you say it, I just want it to stop. It’ll be overwhelmed by reality in short order, in any event; what are you going to do with the children of mixed marriages? What “race” will define them in your view of mankind? Are you going to use the Nazi definitions of mixed race? Or will you tailor your rhetoric to your audience (whites mostly think that Obama is “mixed race,” while a majority of blacks think he’s one of them)?

Throughout your tenure, you’ve acted as if one of your primary tasks were the protection of blacks against criticism and particularly against legal action, regardless of the facts in the cases. I found the whitewash of the New Black Panthers [3]‘ actions at a polling place in Philly during the 2008 elections particularly egregious, as did several Justice Department officials in the Civil Rights Division. I’d be inclined to overlook it–a single event, after all–save for two things. First, the behavior of your underlings, and second, the Panthers just showed up again in Florida in a “race case.”

One of your cohorts at Justice seem to have dissembled about the whitewash. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez swore that there was no political element involved in Justice’s decision, but a federal district judge found otherwise [4]:

political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision.

So your political cohorts were involved in the whitewash, and denied it in sworn testimony (and Thomas Perez, who provided the false denial, is now up for Secretary of Commerece). It’s not the only case that suggests active sympathy for the Panthers.

As we have recently learned [5], Justice quietly helped organize the Florida demonstrations that clearly caused local legal authorities to reverse their original judgment, and bring charges in the now (and improperly) racially-defined Zimmerman case. Those demonstrations included the New Black Panthers [6].

No one could possibly characterize your race-driven proclivities better than you did, when you said [7] “I am the black US Attorney…there’s a common cause that bonds the black U.S. attorney with the black criminal…”

This is not what we need from the nation’s top legal officer. It may well be a candid expression of your deepest passions, but it’s wrong for the Attorney General, or any legal official of the American Government. We need an indisputably even-handed, fair-minded and color-blind AG. You’re not that man. You’re pushing an agenda that most Americans don’t like, based on a racially-driven view of American history and society that is false, demeaning to most of us, and a threat–whether deliberate or unanticipated–to our continued progress. We don’t need any more of this.

Enough already! Please leave.

---

Homey, again: Note it's all about inflaming the right-wing racial antagonism. Holder should go for letting the banksters get away with it, for allowing our civil liberties to be eroded...take your pick. But these issues never reach the conservative radar.

Great comments -- Soleri, Rogue, Lash, Emil Pulsifer (not today yet), and others.

If I were a counterculture dittohead, this is the place I'd come for my daily dose of thoughtful past and prog - nostication.

I've mentioned this blog in my local blogo/commentosphere a few times and hope to get a few of the Seattle brainiacs interested enough to start a real dialogue between Phoenix and Seattle.

cal Lash wrote, “I would like to see some serious assaults on his part. One would be killing the Tar Sands project.”
I am not looking at the text of the address that President Obama recently gave on the environment, however I recall reading something about the pros and cons of delivering crud oil. The end result is the same whether it is delivered via train or pipe and pipe is often less damaging overall. So I read.
In other words, he cannot stop the tar sands from being developed so his next consideration is the best way to advance U.S. interests.

Napolitano is not a traitor! She is an intelligent self-preservationist.

cal: what exactly are "juevos" . . some new anatomical appendage?
As to Janet Nap: At Cal, 3X the compensation and much less aggravation sounds attractive, for now. She did a great job as AZ Gov., given that she was saddled with a backward legislature. Her WCI (Western Climate Initiative) brought a bi-partisan group of governors together and actually PLANNED for the effects. Utah Gov. John Huntsman was one of the collaborators. At UC, she'll do fine!
As to Holder: probably Obama's worst appointment. Janet was far better suited for his job, yet he hangs on. Could it be 'cause DOJ has some real cases (with cal's "juevos") in the pipeline?

I apologize for getting exercised with those of you who think politics is therapy or a fable about your own goodness.

Well, this one just slipped right by everyone, didn't it? Are you to be satisfied, now, with the soft prejudice of low expectations yourself (in debate protocol?) I'm not sure that my tendency towards magnanimity can accommodate this, but then again I wager that's what you are banking on. In which case your intelligence serves you well, because I will concede the floor when the rhetoric comes to this.

In the last Friday Saloon, you said this:

One more rule: don't overpersonalize this.

I don't think you get to say that, and then offer such a backhanded "apology."

And I apologize to the rest of the congress here for calling attention to uncivil discourse, at the risk of being uncivil myself. What a shame to have to go there. And, if I have misread this, I am perfectly willing to have that called to my attention. I respect this congress.

I believe Obama can stop the Tar Sand development. And so do major environmental organizations.

Janets minor accomplishments as governor are over shadowed by here abandoning her post to the Kooks and for her failure as the US Attorney to go after Sheriff Joe with a viable case.

And once again she flees her post early, where she is an integral part of the Obama administrations push on immigration reform. And now Obama will not be able to appoint someone to head HLS because of Republican obstructionism. Effectively stagnating any progress HLS has made. Not much in my opinion, except deport more poor people than most administrations combined. And made stockholders of private prisons a lot of money.

"Napolitano is not a traitor! She is an intelligent self-preservationist."
Selfish I agree, she is not Joan of Arc.

As Rebel, is it true U R inroute to Russia to sell Snowden a insurance policy. Enjoy your trip.

And also there is Janet's boy Dennis Burke. A Fast and Furious disgraced US attorney on the lam and investing in Europe. Another person that had a shot at MCSO polices and enforcement issues.

If Obama gets a Supreme Court opening I like Elizabeth Warren. Shades of Earl,The Warren court.

A partial quote rom Frontera-List on Napolitano.
" I believe one way to look at the appointment of Janet Napolitano to head the University of California system is a full circle development of the new DOMESTIC military industrial security complex with academia as servant and supplier of personnel and ideas..."

And from the LA Times story on Napolitano's appointment a poll shows she only gets 23 percent support and 77 percent opposition.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-president-20130712,0,83979.story

I’ll wager that Russell Pearce and 'family' have been wasting long hours on the NO vote. I wonder if Napolitano’s poor reception at the LA Times has anything to do with status quo?

I am not sure that a tar sands fight is the most productive I think that regulation and revenue-neutral carbon tax may be more affective. Regulation is good, better is the “juevos” to enforce the emission standards we have. EPA is having a tough time with the power industry. I read this article http://www.mediafire.com/view/?aph8qls06ys9sdg and if Mr. George Shultz could encourage members of Congress to also pass a carbon tax then there is more overall pressure to reduce consumption.

I don’t like the tar sands, cal. I think it is filthy, disgusting and up to Canada to stop.

Folks, can we discuss Snowden as a h'ors de ouvre here in the saloon? When this broke, he seemed to have some support from those who thought the US deserved its comeuppance for clandestine spying. I still think he was a low level dweeb, out to make a name for himself. Turns out he had no back door plan, failing to consider the consequences of becoming radioactive. The scary part is that there were (reportedly) hundreds of thousands of contractors who might have been able to hack their way into the spotlight.

I have a hard time getting worked up over Snowden. The issue is the..."widespread" is too limited a word...domestic spying on American citizens without (real) due process. And don't dismiss me with a "this has always happened." Or is this another thing I am not allowed to discuss without giving aid and comfort to the racist right? Or perhaps another nuanced issue with more complications than I can possibly understand? Probably. Like most journalism and commentary, this blog sits on history's leading edge. But the direction and appetite of the national security state today has never turned out well, however far back in history one goes.

Folks, can we discuss Snowden as a h'ors de ouvre here in the saloon? When this broke, he seemed to have some support from those who thought the US deserved its comeuppance for clandestine spying. I still think he was a low level dweeb, out to make a name for himself. Turns out he had no back door plan, failing to consider the consequences of becoming radioactive. The scary part is that there were (reportedly) hundreds of thousands of contractors who might have been able to hack their way into the spotlight.

OK, I'll bite.

I think the "left" has a problem with Snowden because he's apparently an acolyte of Ron Paul. The meme that he was aching for some sort of spotlight, and was willing to reach for infamy to that end, makes a sort of John Galt-ian sense within that frame - in that if he had a circle of friends who shared his libertarian leanings and he may have had a psychological "break" and this was his attempt to become "the most dedicated and credible libertarian of all" in their eyes.

Personally, I think this is a stretch, and I think it is a smear specifically targeted to alienate the left from Snowden. I of course have serious problems with this adolescent philosophy, but one thing that I do agree with libertarians on - and I daresay most of the left do as well - is the very issue upon which Snowden's adventure is based.

C'mon - he had a very nice lifestyle going on. Hawaii, great pay... Without going into too much personal detail here, I can assure you that one's conscience can get to certain persons when one has the leisure - and there is a lot of leisure in software "work" - to sit back and contemplate the bigger picture and one's role in it. My guilt was primarily economic, but the trigger was a realization that what I was doing every day was actually doing harm. So I certainly can take this whole thing myself as being exactly what Snowden avers.

As for him "failing to consider the consequences" - he was quite clear and articulate in part one of the Greenwald interview videos regarding the danger that he put himself into. He discussed the legal consequences, and went so far as to point out that the CIA's connections with the underworld (the "Triad," in this case) could be brought to bear against his very survival. And, in part two, he quite accurately predicted how the government (and the lapdog media) would portray him.

Frankly, I think he's been remarkably agile in dodging these consequences so far. He may find himself "Assanged" - holed up in some demilitarized zone of an embassy or some such for an indefinite period of time - but he at least is not getting the Manning treatment, yet.

Barring further developments that he may be (tinfoil hat on) actually doing this on behalf of the "deep government" in order to get the boiling-frog of the American public to acculturate to the "new normal," he is firmly in the Hero column as far as I am concerned.

“A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort,” [Snowden] said, reading a statement. “I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.”

“Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing,” he said. “That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.”

Edward Snowden Reportedly Vows No More Leaks As He Seeks Asylum in Russia

(Putin had said that he couldn't stay in Russia if he kept leaking. Clearly man-without-a-country isn't sitting well with Mr. Snowden.)

The only solution is anarchy.

http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/13/reuters-article-dead-man-s-switch

Here at the Saloon, where off-topic is on topic...

I really strongly recommend this fascinating conversation between Mark Maron & Douglas Rushkoff. The former is a very intelligent comedian, the latter a media theorist who really has the number of the runaway train that is bearing down on us. The conversation starts at around the 16:15 mark.

Question: didn't Snowden actually hack his way into this treasure trove of data with malice aforethought? Maybe he should receive grudging recognition for his dexterity . . or whatever skills characterize a gifted hacker. But, my take is that whatever he did was illegal . . for starters. Therefore, I don't buy some of the rhetoric about him being a principled guy. Does this point of view reflect a political bias? I hope not, because my values don't seem to fit into any neat little basket.

Snowden didn't hack - it was his job to administrate the systems that do the surveillance. He had complete, legal - if that term can be used in this context - access to them.

Have you seen the interviews? Here's part one. From his terminal, he says that he personally could access the communications of anyone, including the President. This is what disturbed him.


Snowden is a walking dead man. No matter what country he ends up in. At least he gave us the story before he is droned as an enemy combatant.
OR
Like in the Movie Ghost Writer, "As the writer leaves the party he attempts to take a taxi, without success, and as he crosses the street off-camera, a car accelerates in his direction, and sound effects and flying papers indicate that he has been hit."

The CIA handled Obama from the get go. U think they will let up on Snowden and Assange. They will rendition them and stick them in Guantanmo. The CIA memory is as long as its history.

I just finished reading the final exchanges in the previous Friday Saloon (Soleri and CDT).

Soleri is right about the shift in the balance of power (and the shift in financing behind it, in large part due to the demise of private sector unions).

He's also right that -- sometimes -- there are pragmatic limitations to Democrats' choices and that liberals, in criticisms based on general principles, sometimes overlook the concrete details which determine such limitations.

He also asserts, quite correctly, that politics, like chess, is a game that must be played with the pieces available in the positions that they actually stand, not from an imaginary, ideal circumstance; and that liberals must often be pragmatists willing to support the lesser of two evils, because disengagement concedes the field to the opposition.

But he also admits that "Democrats need to be stronger". If by this he means that Democrats need to use all of the tools at their disposal, use them effectively, and not be afraid to act decisively even if it means being accused of partisanship or making Republicans angry, then I agree.

Where I disagree is his assertion that complaining ("whining") about Democrats' failure to be strong (as defined above), plays into the hands of Republicans.

On the contrary, Democrats need to know that their political base -- especially the active portion which mobilizes public opinion -- is not only willing to see them act boldly, but insists on bold action.

Like Republicans, Democrats look within their own party to seek concensus and plan the way forward. Look at what has happened to the Republican Party: it has moved considerably to the right because a comparatively small but active minority (Tea Partyists, etc.) have brutally criticized the perceived weaknesses and deviations from principle by those they term "Republicans in name only" (RINOs).

If liberals tone down practical criticisms in a misguided attempt at party solidarity, the only voices that remain on the left are the usual suave but bland centrists among TV talking-heads and think-tanks. They will dominate the discussion, and Democratic leadership, hearing them, will not become stronger, but will continue to "play fair" and "seek bipartisan concensus" and adopt "moderate" (i.e., weak, ineffectual, and self-defeating) positions and legislation.

(Also remaining on the left are a handful of extremists who reject any role for politics; but they are routinely and -- for now -- easily ignored by the Democratic Party.)

So, as a practical matter, organized and realistic criticism from the left is critically important in motivating an ideological shift to the left in the Democratic Party. While it's true that Party funding sources are far more corporate than in past decades, it remains true that politicians must ultimately be elected by their constituents. Those who fail to demand change are unlikely to get it. Those who do demand it may not get it, of course, but silence is interpreted as tacit agreement with the status quo by those in power.

Goggle Huffington Post for
7 Ways The Obama Administration Has Accelerated Police Militarization

The Rise of the Warrior Cop
Another liberal failure on a promise not kept by Obama.

George Zimmerman is found not guilty. Deal with it boys.

Who is this Terese Dudas? Her post reads as if she is cheering the death of a child. How sad...Terese, this is something you must deal with as well. I am assuming you experience empathy; however, I admit I could be jumping to conclusions.

"The Zimmerman jury told young black men what we already knew."

http://gawker.com/the-zimmerman-jury-told-young-black-men-what-we-already-770650992

I hope my liberal "cred" can survive this observation.

There is much wrong with our justice system. That said, the rare few cases that actually get to trial-by-jury should be looked at with some reverence, because most are forced to plead out in our fast-track system that forces defendants to plead lest they be hit with the maximum sentence.

I didn't follow this trial closely - it was much too "Nancy Grace" for me, as are most media-hyped and -fueled trials. The mitigating circumstances that leaned towards this being a circumstance of self-defense did leak through to me, despite my ignorance.

All I'm saying is that if we lose respect for the considerations of a jury, who actually sat there listening to the presentations of this unhappy circumstance, then we have lost everything.

I can unearth the words of outrage that I had expressed last year when Zimmerman shot Trayvon Marin - I, like most liberals of conscience, was outraged and this incident grooved well with well-established notions of racial injustice.

There was a great deal of pressure on the jury to do-the-right-preconceived-thing - and sequestration is a joke in these days, so spare me - so I have to say that, in spite of my personal "disappointment" in the outcome of the trial, we should all do well to step back and consider that perhaps they saw something that wasn't politically correct, but perhaps was just.

The glee of terese dudas, however, is disgusting.

I thought negligient manslaughter was a valid charge. The murder charge was politics. Zimmerman should have called the police and did as told and not confront Marin.
But i am not going to criticize or second guess an all WOMAN Jury.

Petro and Soleri:

I just logged on or I would have commented earlier about Soleri's post. I'm hard-pressed to think of a worse apology.

Many of us who are disenchanted with Obama, Harry Reid, and other Democratic leaders are not Naderites, or naive college kids, or morons who revel in our own purity. We're disappointed because Obama's election created an opportunity to halt the 30-year march to the right. It's been, at best, a missed opportunity.

Certainly Soleri is right that a slower slide into callous fascism is preferable to a quicker one. It's galling, nevertheless, that a purported liberal President is actually far to the right of, say, Nixon, and likely any post-WW2 president other than W Bush..

As Glenn Greenwald has documented from the outset, Obama's record on executive power and civil liberties is lousy. He had an opportunity to implement a real stimulus plan and opted instead to bail out Wall Street and ignore main Street.

Soleri, why should liberals be loathe to criticize the economic policies of a president at a time when the stock market is at an all-time high and labor participation is at an all-time low? If "our team" is doing lousy, it's self-defeating to refrain from pushing for a course correction because the other side would be worse.

For the sake of addressing Soleri's recent dismissive tone, I will henceforth post using my heretofore thinly disguised name -- Chris Thomas -- rather than CDT. To save you the trouble of googling me, I'm a 53-year-old husband, father, lifelong Democrat, and active contributor to the cause who happens to be a partner at a big law firm. In short, I'm not a newb who thinks Obama has failed because we don't all have ponies. I'm an old-timer who thinks that the American experiment is in danger of dying because of right-wing insanity and Democratic refusal to face it. And, respectfully, I don't think that clapping louder for Obama is the answer.
Chris Thomas
Phoenix

PS: Dennis Burke is a good man who got thrown under the bus and deserves no grief here.

The US racial caste system on display with the vast majority of whites in total denial.

In many parts of the US, including Arizona, an armed person can initiate confrontation with an unarmed person, shoot the unarmed person to death, and not be charged with any criminal offense.

A person who believes this is good for society is someone who has lived a sheltered life. The NRA's dream child.

CDT said, “I'm an old-timer who thinks that the American experiment is in danger of dying because of right-wing insanity and Democratic refusal to face it. And, respectfully, I don't think that clapping louder for Obama is the answer.”

Hi Chris Thomas, I am Cal Lash a 72 year old Arizona republican" and have represented a large number of law firms in the Southwest for 17 years as a PI and I did 22 plus years with Phoenix PD. And I have lived here long enough to know that the current Democratic party in Arizona is but a whisper of what it was up until the fifties. You couldn’t get a job if you didn’t register as a democrat. Lefty Mofford had more power than Napolitano dreamed of. I have friends that will no longer work at the Democratic headquarters or participate in activities because of the “us and them” problem. Specifically the intellectual elite and the Hispanics. You might buy Alfredo Gutierrez a drink at the Portland and he could bring you up to date on the “Mexicans”. Or you could read his recent book "To Sin Against Hope: Life and Politics on the Borderland."

Nixon was a liar and a crook but he did more for the environmental cause than most presidents. And Eisenhower recognized the dangers of the military industrial complex, that includes the NSA and the CIA.

The Democratic party had two chances to destroy the Republican party and they blew both chances while gleefully dancing around in a fantasy world after Obama's election and then re election. This reality is the far right is coming for you by taking everything possible on a local level and as much obstructionism as possible.
While Soleri and I differ on Obama I certainly respect Soleri’s take on all subjects. I worry that Hillary Clinton is going to be more conservative than Obama. Particularly on environmental issues. And she certainly has demonstrated her favoritism of the financial world. I am sure Tyson the chicken man will be there for her.

You said,
"PS: Dennis Burke is a good man who got thrown under the bus and deserves no grief here."
Kinda like Paul Charlton. I agree Burke is a nice guy that got thrown under the bus on the Fast and Furious case but he still was closely associated with Napolitano and I predicted on his appointment (on this blog) he would not proceed against Arpaio.

And the Arizona Democrats have no Warriors. Like Gabriel Giffords, Napolitano had the support of moderate LDS folks and could have been a warrior.Terry Goddard and Bruce Babbitt Like Obama are nice smart folks but not warriors. Hattie Babbitt has what it takes to be a warrior. So when and where will the Democrats find a warrior?

On racism: having spent most of my life around black jazz musicians, I know that some still feel that they encounter prejudice in their everyday lives. When they're not performing, they tend to become just another black face. Restaurants and retailers can be slow and even surly, depending on the location.

Their take on the Zimmerman verdict is predictable.

(footnote: 10 years ago, my late wife attended her 50th reunion at the University of Iowa nursing school. There was one black couple there and nobody sat with them at their table, so she moved to join them. They were both PhDs. I'm very proud of that photo)

In 2010 the National Security Agency (NSA) taught Edward Snowden how to turn the world's largest spy agency inside out.

Snowden, through a NSA course that trains security professionals to think like hackers, acquired the skills he needed to quietly slip into NSA computer systems and gather the highly classified surveillance documents he leaked last month, Christopher Drew and Scott Shane of the New York Times report.

“The hacker got into the storeroom,” James A. Lewis, a computer security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Times.


New York Times, eh? The Mighty Wurlitzer at work.

"Calling him a hacker, as opposed to a government contractor or an NSA employee, brings him down a notch to someone who's an irritant, as opposed to someone who has access to integral intelligence files," Pauker said. "To externalize him and brand him with a black-hat hacker tag distances him from the government."

Obama Recasts Edward Snowden As 'Hacker' In Effort To Downplay Him

And in todays Republic Benson dumps on Napolitano with a job security toon.
Sources are hinting that Home land law enforcement personel are about to take a big cut in take home pay.

"There was one black couple there and nobody sat with them at their table, so she moved to join them. They were both PhDs. I'm very proud of that photo." -morecleanair

When I first read this I was offended. I then thought of the generational differences and what it meant for your wife to step out of her comfort zone and break from the group. I just cringe when older people, older white people, talk about the "good ole days." Good for whom? I am so glad that sitting with my mixed race, Black, White, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, whatever friends is no longer considered brave.

PSF: my late wife had many black friends because she ran a series of jazz residencies over the years. The musicians and their loved ones became fond of her because she was truly interested in them and how they felt about stuff.

Her nursing colleagues had grown up in whitebread Iowa and some of them never emerged from their coccoons. Sadly, they're the kind that move to AZ.

Cal, if you haven't written a book yet, you should. Or perhaps the next Mapstone appearance of Cal Lash could be a bit meatier.
How about Mapstone clearing the name of his old friend (or nemesis, for that matter), Cal, who has been framed by the powers that be for getting too close to some long-hidden truths? Mix in some nostalgia for lost Phoenix and a few sex scenes, and you've got a book right there. I don't know why it takes Rogue so long. :)

As for Arizona, I think things might actually start getting better now that the effect of Clean Elections will be mitigated by the death of the matching fund mandate. (for those out of state, Arizona has had public finding of state races, meaning that all who collect enough signatures and $5 contributions run with the same budget as other candidates. There was also a provision that gave publicly funded candidates more money if they ran against a privately funded candidate who spent more than the cap. That provision has been struck down.).

The noble idea at we should get money out of politics has had some unintended consequences, most notably empowering the most extreme social warriors and Birchers. In the old days, the conservative but relatively sensible business community acted as something of a screen for candidates too extreme to garner independent financial support. If we can at least return to that dynamic, that will be some progress. And I'm not so sure that term limits haven't proven to be a mistake as well.

CDT, I would be rich if I had a buck for everyone that has suggested I write a book. But I am a reader not a writer.

My friend Al Sitter could have written the book of secrets of Arizona but his attorney's kept telling him he would get sued. Although Al has passed away I believe his personal library still exists.

The book I would like to see Jon write is his view of Arizona history, starting about 1300 BC. Maybe toss in some stuff about the folks that were here before the europeans started to pillage and burn.

And Chris how about stepping up and bringing some fire power to the Arizona Democratic party. I would be happy yo donate to your campaign.

Zimmerman gets off because of prosecutorial incompetence (should have been a manslaugher charge) and because his victim was black. We all know that if Zimmerman was black too, he'd be on death row. All woman jury? How did they think that would help?

Of course, the big story that is smothered by this is NSA snooping. Snowden did do good and definitely knew what the consequences would be. Too bad countries he thought would be receptive of asylum got the economic screws put to them.

I'm in agreement with soleri however. The game is the two-party system. We have to support the Wimps to get rid of the Kooks. When the Kooks are gone, then other parties will flourish.

Some fine commentary and discussion here between Rogue, Soleri, CDT, Petro and others. I've had my say on the Dems/lib-crit. topic so now on to other matters.

I previously mentioned that I am currently reading a book titled Under Cover by John Roy Carlson, about a journalist's infiltration of American fascist circles between 1939-1943 (pub. by E.P. Dutton & Co. in 1943).

One chapter ("Park Avenue Patriots") has lessons for today, illustrating the remarkable change that has shifted the U.S. Supreme Court to the right; a change which is now poised to retreat or advance depending on the future appointments of the Obama administration. I provide some surrounding text (quoting a Supreme Court Justice) by way of context, and leave it up to Rogue readers to decide if the statements of Justice Robert H. Jackson could possibly be duplicated in today's political climate. The material also illustrates some of the forces arrayed against FDR, some of whose political descendents still exist today and use much the same camouflage.

* * *

John B. Snow lived at 45 Park Avenue and did not object to being called a "gentleman fascist". A director of the League for Constitutional Government, he deserves the major share of the "credit" for propagating the myth that the Roosevelt administration was "Communist".... he (also) served as clearinghouse for fascist literature molded to Park Avenue taste.

He copied Mrs. (Elizabeth) Dilling by splitting hairs between "Democracy" and "Republic" and decided that Democracy was a "mobocracy". Therefore, Snow's perverted reasoning ran, Democracy was "Communist" and gave rise to "chaos and anarchy".

Thus he planted the seeds of doubt and disresepect for Democracy among America's prototypes among the Clivenden set through a brochure, "Democracy, a Misnomer" which left the way open for the acceptance of Snow's fascist beliefs.

One of his warmest friends, who maintained a personal interest in the League for Constitutional Government was H.W. Prentiss, Jr., chairman of the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Snow's staunch purveyor of misinformation.

. . . . Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson took exception to Prentis' slurs while speaking before the Law Society of Massachusetts on October 16, 1940:

"The complaint of these gentlemen, who now seek to discredit government by the people, is not new and is not against something new. They are spiritually and intellectually one with the group that opposed freedom and independence of the colonies from the king...They are the same type as those who fought the income tax and who now want wealth to escape its burden of the share of national defense, who think of defense in terms of opportunity for profits not in terms of burdens...The blunt fact is that many of the men who are agitating for a differentiation between these words are against popular government under either word or either form. These new bottles are filled with the old wine of caste, of economic exploitation, and of privilege. That is why the reversion to the old arguments against Democracy is important today."

Personally I regarded Snow as one of the most calculating fascist minds in America serving the interests of old guard, reactionary businessmen...Snow championed Charles Lindbergh and promoted the No Foreign Wars and America First Committees. A relentless baiter of the Administration, Snow's hand was visible in practically every move initiated among Park Avenue circles to discredit the New Deal and foment obstructionism and dissent.

* * *

From an AP story on the new healthcare act:

Dan Lopez rarely gets sick and hasn't been to a doctor in 10 years, so buying health insurance feels like a waste of money.

Even after the federal health overhaul takes full effect next year, the 24-year-old said he will probably decide to pay the $100 penalty for those who skirt the law's requirement that all Americans purchase coverage.

"I don't feel I should pay for something I don't use," said the Milwaukee resident, who makes about $48,000 a year working two part-time jobs.

Because he makes too much to qualify for government subsidies, Lopez would pay a premium of about $3,000 a year if he chose to buy health insurance.

"I shouldn't be penalized for having good health," he said.

Persuading young, healthy adults such as Lopez to buy insurance under the Affordable Care Act is becoming a major concern for insurance companies as they scramble to comply with the law, which prohibits them from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions and limits what they can charge to older policy holders.

Experts warn a lot of these so-called "young invincibles" could opt to pay the fine instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars each year on insurance premiums. If enough young adults avoid the new insurance marketplace, it could throw off the entire equilibrium of the Affordable Care Act. Insurers are betting on the business of that group to offset the higher costs they will incur for older, sicker beneficiaries.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=199057556


Opinions? Comments?

From an AP story on the economy:


Large U.S. companies have sold a huge amount of bonds to investors in the past 2½ years — more than $4 trillion worth, according to Dealogic, a research firm. That’s more than the economies of every country in the world except the United States, China and Japan. The biggest sale ever was Apple’s offering of $17 billion in bonds in April.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:S_f0rLXDkjkJ:hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FEDERAL_RESERVE_CONSUMERS%3FSITE%3DPAREA%26SECTION%3DHOME%26TEMPLATE%3DDEFAULT+%22large+U.S.+companies+have+sold+a+huge+amount+of+bonds+to+investors+in+the+past%22+%22that's+60+percent+less+than+the+average%22&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

How much of the record cash hoardings of American corporations are borrowed funds? The same article notes: "But as rates began rising last month, new sales are slowing. Companies with top credit ratings sold only $9.5 billion in bonds last week, according to Dealogic. That's 60 percent less than the average for each week through April this year."

Those with less income than Lopez will qualify for substantial subsidies to be paid directly to insurance companies by the US Treasury. We will have to see if those subsidies are enough to overcome better paid invibsibles who foolishly risk bankruptcy by not buying health insurance.

Many of the direct subsidies will also come from older lower income policy holders who will now able to get health insurance.


The health insurance companies will whine but do very fine under the ACA. The US Treasury may be paying much more than projected without health provider efforts to address health care prices.


From a congressional hearing:


"... just 3,500 of the nation’s 259,000 manufacturing firms have 500 or more employees, according to the Census Bureau."


http://www.azcentral.com/business/arizonaeconomy/free/20130620ariz-firms-lauded-by-us-house-committee-cns.html

The results of automation and outsourcing. Note that the U.S. is still first or second in the world in terms of manufacturing production (total output).


According to the AARP Public Policy Institute:

"Increase or eliminate the Social Security payroll-tax cap, which currently applies on up to $113,700 in annual earnings. Expanding the tax to, say, $215,000 in income might plug 36 percent of the gap. Eliminating the tax cap altogether could fill 86 percent (of Social Security's long-term projected funding gap)."

http://www.azcentral.com/business/consumer/articles/20130705senior-benefits-reduction-wiles.html

The article also gives alternatives in the form of raising payroll taxes and decreasing benefits or increasing the retirement age. Eliminating the payroll tax cap is by far the largest single savings of the reforms suggested.

I'm a little skeptical to the extent that I don't know how much of these figures involves the hocus pocus of so-called "trust fund" balances, and how much is based on actual cash accounting; but in any case whatever method is being used is applied to all reform alternatives listed, so it remains true that eliminating the payroll tax cap is a simple and socially fair (if politically difficult) near solution.

Snow lives on in the Koch brothers, et. al.

When I was young, I didn't sign up for health insurance either. It was expensive compared to my low wages, or would have at least cut far too greatly into my beer drinking. However, at 29 I got a job where the employer paid the lion's share of medical insurance and I promptly signed up. Good thing. Twelve years of not seeing a dentist was costly even with the copays.

He's not mentioned in Jules Archer's book, The Plot To Seize The White House, Emil, but it sure sounds like this Snow character might have been close to the plotters...

Petro, there was a later plot (circa 1939) in which retired Major General George Van Horn Moseley (who was Deputy Chief of Staff to MacArthur from 1930 to 1933) was the figurehead for revolutionary American fascist groups (with Nazis in Berlin actively guiding and organizing their activities).

Most of the America fascist activity was cloaked in patriotism and (a quite ironic form of) Christianity. Moseley was conceived of as the "man on a horse" to ride in and save America from the imminent Communist revolution and to restore America to a "Christian nation".

Carlson reports on this (mainly from a first-person observer perspective but also with hindsight in Under Cover). Carlson is actually kind to Moseley, writing that he views him more as a kind of befuddled sucker who didn't fully understand what he was letting himself in for in getting involved with these groups, who nominated him for a role he might not actually have undertaken.

Moseley eventually was hauled up before Congress; and the "gun-clubs" (which had been training fascists in revolutionary tactics -- their members were advised to join the NRA so as to have camouflage and organizational support for possessing multiple guns), were raided by the FBI. Consequently, the rats in the neo-Nazi underground went back into the woodwork and the revolution sort of fizzled (if it ever really had a chance).

http://www.scribd.com/doc/53939069/Under-Cover-by-John-Roy-Carlson-1943

Whatever the case, it's clear that Moseley was a virulent anti-semite with strong fascist tendencies.

Independently of this, I located an online copy of a letter purportedly written by Moseley to the Director of the America First Committee in 1940, blaming "the Jews" for America's problems; but given the right-wing nature of the online source I am not going to assume its genuineness nor post an excerpt or link here. There is plenty of reliable historical evidence of Moseley's anti-semitism including the record of his interrogation before a congressional committee investigating subversion.


Thanks for that input, Emil! Much appreciated.

Here's some background on Moseley courtesy of Wiki. The entry looks OK at a glance but as always with Wiki caveat emptor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Van_Horn_Moseley

Emil, a little errata concerning "Plot:"

I became aware of the original Jules Archer book, and discovered that it had only one printing, and that it was almost entirely bought up by the prominent families who are featured in the book, and mostly destroyed.

That would not do. I located a collector and shelled out $800.00 to acquire it (oh, the days of the platinum AmEx.) I optically scanned it, converted it to Word and HTML, and published it on my old vanity website "clubhousewreckards.com" (before the rise of the blogs.) It generated a great deal of traffic, and was linked to in many other sites.

A couple of years or so went by and I received an email asking me to take it down, as it was to finally be re-published. I agreed - but with tinfoil-hat firmly in place, I waited until it was actually published.

I was only able to get $300.00 selling it back, but that was an expense I was more than happy to absorb under the circumstances.

I actually have the original scan work up on Skydrive, if anyone is interested:

The Plot To Seize The White House

Great story, Petro. Not being involved in publishing I don't follow all the details, however. To say that you acquired (the rights to) it implies that it was copyrighted, not lapsed into the public domain. Since you held the copyright, how is it that someone else made plans to publish it independently of you and sent you an email to that effect? Or, if they needed you to sell, why didn't you hold out for at least a return of your investment?

Thanks for the links, too!

Petro, I took a look at the Skydive link but on the system I'm using, attempting to open it as an online file displays a menu of individual chapters and graphics arranged as individual html links. Cumbersome, to say the least. Is there a better way to do this without downloading the file (which I can't do on a public access system)?

I didn't hold any copyright - it was a total pirating venture. But I felt justified because it was out of print (and explicitly so to keep it out of the public eye.)

As to the link: Yes, it has to be downloaded and unzipped, and then to point your browser at the main index file. Sorry about that.

Another one of my favorites in The Plot -- George Seldes. I once watched him bat down Buckley for an hour. His autobiography is a fascinating read.

Petro, I didn't read your original comment carefully enough. You said you paid $800 to "a collector" so obviously what you bought was a book rather than rights to a book. Mea culpa.

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