Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Zombie Media*

**A post by this name at Democratic Underground.

++The blogger asks a good question--"does anyone watch television anymore?

++We had the evolution of news to the John Stewart Show and Stephen Colbert, where you could get an accurate read on the daily news. There is always Rachel Maddow with Brother Benen still maintaining some standards. 

++So what's poor boy to do if the straight media outlets suck. Jon Karl was only exotic for a few moments when I realized he had been my executive assistant. Wolf Blitzer and "the Plane! The Plane! rap went down in flames. FOX News really is unwatchable. Sweeney Todd is impossible. Chris Matthews is erratic. There is literally no one to watch for the simple unvarnished news.

++Now I am letting my paywalls expire because in those publications I rarely read one piece a week worth reading. Is it worth paying for that? 

++I miss Andrew Sullivan for the variety of opinion on The Dish and would love to see him opine on the 20-person GOP race. 

++The Washington Post is unrelenting on urging war. Today we had an analysis of how Iraq instability is caused by the failure of American policy. You could extend this to Greece, the Crimea,Burma. This is endless. Personally I have no skin in the Iraq game. You would have to stretch it to make the case. But if you were for the Iraq War like the Post you feel let down by the mess left behind. 

++The best I can do is the regional newspapers about events in different parts of the country. 

++But seriously, do you know anyone who watches television for the news anymore? We have radio people in my family. I know my midwestern relatives watch morning television for the news and the weather,especially the weather.I know none of my close acquaintances here in DC even watch the news. And they have a stack because they have to know what's going on the hill. 

++Is this because we don't believe the news or do we receive information through websites that cater to our own political subculture?

++I have felt this more intensely the last few months as personalities and websites have disappeared. 

The Mire

++Add to the other subjects this month is the trade authority. Paul Ryan is claiming the GOP with twenty Democrats will give Obama fast track authority. I'm not quite at the Stink the Roof off the House stage but the critics are coming in fast and furious. 

++All unions are against it. The progressive Democrats led by Senator Warren are against it. Environmentalist and human rights activists are against it. 

++It is a hard sell even if it turns out to be good because we have no models of free trade agreements working to the United States' benefit.

++Then President Obama is stuck in the detritus from the Middle East. My deepest concern is that the Middle East will re-emerge as a war issue again after it looked like it had been killed around 2013. To see the actors involved in such a disaster re-emerge as "credible" voices for policy alternatives is galling and will cast a cloud over Obama's last year in office.

++I know it is wishful thinking but if President Obama could remove himself and the discussion away from security issues we would be better off as a country. We are simply not able to accept a honest critique of America in the world without a jingoistic blowback.

++The best I could wish for is that the war against ISIS, which has never been voted on yet,keeps rumbling along with no dramatic breakthroughs. Let someone else deal with the mess. With the exception of Rand Paul, every republican is for invading Iraq for a third time. This reminds me of Doug Bandow at Cato's column about how the Washington punditry urge the same thing over and over again even though it fails every time. 

++Obama is now almost in damage control to save as much of his agenda as possible. Expect a full court press by the courts to try and stop both Obamacare and immigration reform. Also expect the GOP to press for Obama to make the move and send ground forces to the Middle East, a grave, grave error. Also expect any Iran nuclear deal to be subverted by Congress and even the Iranians themselves. 

++I expect more EPA regulations like the one the last week on streams and small rivers. I expect a full court press by the administration for a UN Climate Change Accord. But he has lost Bill McKibben in allowing Shell to drill in the Arctic. 

++I also expect that the debate will continue about the economy. I don't expect a recession until the Republican budget is passed and ,of course, it will be Obama's fault. 

++He has laid the ground work for a Democratic successor and with the security issue outstanding I expect Hillary will be the nominee because of her hawkishness. 

++The most interesting thing to me is how the Cuba issue just putters along without drawing any challenge.

++But the new security consensus looks strangely like the old one--marrying neo-conservatives and liberal interventionists. Both are recipes for ruin.

Sanders Versus O'Malley

++Bernie Sanders this weekend seemed to have the winds at his back as he draw overflow crowds while campaigning. He has been able to get his platform out there with the minimum of media interference.

++Only Chuck Todd raised his 1972 piece of sexual fiction which Sanders dealt with easily. I have no idea how posts got on websites claiming Sanders is racist since there is nothing in his record or statements indicating he is nothing but sympathetic in words and policy toward minorities. 

++One blogger asked "How could O'Malley debate Sanders" as if the answer who would win was obvious. 

++O'Malley had one shaky spot in his kick-off when he was heckled by Baltimore residents about his anti-crime record in baltimore when he was Mayor. But this did not overshadow his announcement.

++How could O'Malley debate Sanders? rather easily because he was been a big city mayor and a two-term governor who enacted very enlightened policies. He passed the Dream Act,same sex marriage,and did make Maryland's schools the best in the nation for five consecutive years. He is younger and seems to be the ideal age of a corporate CEO. 

++On the Sunday talk shows,pundits said that Bernie tapped into the rage in Middle America while O'Malley can't do that and that he would have a tough time running to the Left of Sanders. 

++It is quite flattering to both men that they deserve that type of scrutiny. The media has acknowledged that Sanders is authentic and tells it straight and they admit that Americans like this quality. I think they are letting Sanders get this much air-time right now because they are waiting for the thousand-pound gorilla Hillary Clinton to emerge for her media appearances. 

++It is hard to find much to disagree with Sanders about. O'Malley is quite good when he speaks about policy but he loses me when he talked about America being at a cross-roads--we always are.

++But the Democrats should feel proud. So far they have three substantial candidates going against the 20 person clown car.

By By Patriot Act

++By 77 to 17 the Senate has voted to start debate on the House's American Freedom Act. This will supplant the Patriot Act which Mitch McConnell desperately wanted to extent. McConnell wants a 60 vote threshold on amendments, which look like they will worsen the situation.

++The House Act pretends to incorporate reforms of the NSA that were proposed by the Obama Administration.

++Intercept tonight has a superb piece on why the NSA is overwhelmed by the data they collect anyway and can not adequately analyze it. And that NSA personnel believe there needs to be a reform so that they can begin to do their job.

++The only so-called success they could point to was the arrest of a taxi-driver in Minnesota who raised about $800,000 for an Al Qaeda branch in Somalia

Tick Tock

++The Senate is debating the Patriot Act. Time for Section 215 to die. Observers doubt that they can get anything done in term for the total expiration of the act that was first passed under George W. Bush and then was extended by three years by President Obama.

The Month Ahead

++Remember President Obama has had terrible summers. Remember the BP oil spill. Let's hope this one is better.

++We have the Iran Nuclear deal to look forward to which will go down the wire with the boo-birds filling up the airwaves all along.

++We have SCOTUS on the healthcare subsidies. It doesn't matter that Olympia Snowe,a Republican who worked on it said that no one ever conceived that people should be penalized by living in a state that didn't create an exchange. Readers of this blo knows that I don't think the case has merit because the pain tiffs do not have standing, something only raised once in the oral hearing. 

++I think the democratic websites are nuts to believe that Republicans will be blamed if subsidies are ended. This would affect some 8 million people in red states. So blame the black guy. It'll work.

++The health insurance industry received a report from their actuarial departments that the whole industry is jeopardized if the subsidies are withdrawn. The national insurance market will become so unstable and unpredictable that the whole industry will become unhinged after getting used to Obamacare. I wrote at the beginning of the Obamacare fight that the health insurance industry which poured billions into lobbying against the new law were warned by their own accountants that the industry could not keep raising rates because the market would shrink so much that the industry would be in jeopardy.

++Linda Greenhouse perceptively wrote when the Supreme Court put Burweil on the docket that it was purely a political decision.

++Next up this month or first depending on whether the Supreme Court wants to pacify the majority of the nation is same sex marriage or marriage equality. This one only made it to the Court when Scalia's former clerk was the only judge who ruled against same sex marriage.

++Make no mistake these cases are about President obama and whether the Court can destroy his legacy.

++Look for the executive orders on immigration to make it to the docket late this year or next.

++Then we go abroad for the Middle East and the new strategy on ISIS. It's sort of hard when the Iraqi army is now at half the strength it was when this fight began. You will hear the howling about Shi'ite militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. This will make its way into the presidential election. 

++THis month will determine the remanding days of the Obama presidency. If the Iranian nuclear deal flies,and he wins both court cases, it is blue skies. If not, it will be a time of grinding it out.

May Goes Out With A Thud

++Political Washington grieves the death of Beau Biden, former Attorney General of Delaware, from cancer of the brain.

++Getting close to home, Tom Hayden has a stroke.

++John Kerry broke his leg riding a bike and has to cancel his European tour.

++I saw the Senate begin to arrive today. They have until midnight to keep surveillance. Rand Paul vows to kill the Patriot Act.

++Jeb Bush says he will learn to protect the "homeland" like his brother. He also says that retirement should be raised to the age of 70.

++Denny Hastert appears to be at his home in Wisconsin hunkered down from the press.

++Bob Schaeffer says goodby at Face the Nation. Maybe John McCain should moderate. 

++The Washington Nationals are reverting to form by losing to the Reds twice.

++Health insurers want to raise their rates by 50%. Regulators have to approve.

++Bernie Sanders attracts thousands in Minnesota and wowed them in Iowa.

++Scott Walker leads the GOP in Iowa.

++Michael O'Malley goes after Hillary about her non-stance on TPP.

++O'Malley went after Hillary yesterday for being owned by Wall Street and being part of a dynasty. 

++It is over 90 here in D.C. and the mood is grim. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Beau Biden Has Died

Countdown To The Death of The Patriot Act

++President Obama warned in his weekend address about the Senate failure to act on the American Freedom Act or some such goofy titled law that pout some reforms in place on the NSA. Mitch McConnell, despite the court ruling, wants an extension of the original Patriot Act through the next President's term. But no one is buying.

++The deadline is Sunday for the sunset clauses for the Patriot Act to take effect. 

Coach Hastert

++The whole Hastert case is extremely weird. Observing Republican scandals,the allegations of the Coach's sexual abuse of a student really doesn't look strange put up against the series of sex crimes the GOP committed in the late 1990s. 

++However,the timing is very odd. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo tried to parse this yesterday. Hastert had started paying "victim A" in 2010,long after he had left office and become a lobbyist. Why then if the abuse was committed when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach some years before he had even been elected? Josh tried to link it to Hastert's new annual income but admitted that didn't cut it.

++The abused and there seem to be many are now middle-aged. And yet none have come forward publicly now or more importantly when politically relevant.

++Hastert's lawyer got the Justice Department to censor its own indictment so we don't know the abused name or what the abuse consisted of. Only after persistent questioning by the media did the sordid accusations come out.

++Subsequently, Denny has resigned from the lobbying firm and also the school of public policy named after him at Wheaton College.

++People thought it was ironic that he was being investigated for violations of the Patriot Act, which he championed. But that leads to concern since the money-laundering elements of the act were meant to prosecute individuals materially supporting terrorism or drug trafficking. Neither applies here. 

++He was clearly being blackmailed. Here again,the case gets murky. The prosecutor claims discretion on whether the alleged crime--sex abuse--were more serious than the act of blackmail. So the blackmailed get prosecuted.

++The other thing that always bothers me is that he was indicted for giving misleading statements to the FBI agents investigating the case. This is becoming too common a crutch for prosecution in this country.

++Remember the prosecutor can stand up in court and openly and knowingly lie about the facts in a case. I have even seen prosecution witnesses do this also without any repercussions.

++I almost agree with Dershowitz in this case that "it smells." 

++Barnie Frank says that between New Gingrich's affairs, Bob Livingstone's affairs,and Denny Hastert's involvement with "minors", Bill Clinton comes off as a choir boy. 

++The whole Hastert scandal does bring up the whole roster of GOP sex crimes in the 1990s, particularly the sexual abuse of congressional interns.  But the conservative news outlets have abandoned Hastert, except for Geraldo Rivera, while have rallied around Josh Duggar, who sexually abused a series of under-aged girls. And the Duggar family got those incidents expunged from the police records. And without irony Josh Duggar was the spokesperson for Tony Perkins' homophobic Family Council.

++I do know Denny Hastert and the news was so out of character for the person Washington knew--and that his town of Yorksville remember. I guess we can expect more to unravel in the next week. But while we get fixated on the sex abuse,we might want to watch the legal maneuverings. 

++We know from the 1990s Catholic pedophile cases how destructive such abuse is and how it affects people for a lifetime. We really have not come to grips with what exactly after all these years the legal system is supposed to do with this. Bill Cosby is Exhibit #1 in serial sex abuse--but with women of legal age. Does just the publicity handle this. The statute of limitations has run out on most of these crimes. We still don't know how to handle here cases.

Riddle Me This, Batman

++Bernie Sanders has a higher percentage in polls than all the Republican candidates. Higher than the first four who get constant media coverage. So why doesn't he merit at least the same coverage? 

++Bernie has appeared in the last few days in New Hampshire, Minnesota and Iowa. His appearance in Iowa got rave reviews with Democratic activists.Party leaders say he will be a force in the caucus.

++Meanwhile the networks are debating whom to invite to the Republican debates. Fox is toying with making sure Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson are on even though Fiorina doesn't register in the polls. The idea is to say the GOP is diverse.

++While I read complaints about Hillary Clinton on the democratic websites about her not talking to the press and the Clinton Foundation donations,few have mentioned her fifty state strategy and that she has 250,000 volunteers signed up in Texas.

++The Clinton operation ,according to the New Yorker,believes it has weathered the early storms well from the e-mails to the Clinton donations and just sees blue skies.

++Martin O'Malley is speaking now but prior to his announcement he called Hillary. The question is whether Sanders,O'Malley, and Chafee can raise enough money to run effective campaigns. 

++The new hybrid situation of Super Pacs and grassroots contributions muddy the waters. 

++This is particularly true of Rand Paul, who suddenly has reverted to his libertarian roots to try and block the Patriot Act, which is due to expire tomorrow. Ed Kilgore in the Washington Monthly examined the fact that Rand has a money problem and needed to revert to his father's network for moolah because he didn't win a billionaire. 

Martin O'Malley Announces In Baltimore Today

Lincoln Chafee To Announce On June 3

Friday, May 29, 2015

Quietly Cuba Relations Are Being Normalized

++One of the major obstacles to normalization of relations with Cuba has been their place of the State Department's terrorist state list. At the OAS meeting a few months ago, President Obama said they would be removed soon. 

++Today they were and the earth didn't shake. In an overture that started in secret, the movement toward normalization has been marked by dozens of positive meetings. So far we have not seen the backlash I had expected.

Today's Obama Approval Rating

Gallup. 53% approve Obama's performance

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Today's Poll On The Iraq War

++Was the 2003 decision to invade Iraq the right decision? Quinnipiac Poll.

++GOP supports the decision 62% and 32% against.

++ General American public against the decision 59 to 32%

++Democrats are 78% to 16% against.
++Independents are 65 to 26% against.

++Rather staggering divide.

It's The Endgame in Nuclear Talks

++Get ready for an escalation in rhetoric. The talks over the finale in the Iranian nuclear deal have begun.

++France says there may have to be extended until July and the United States says no way.

++Wendy Sherman, the State Department's key negotiator, will leave her post immediately after the deadline.

++Iran has changed its cartoon contest from the Holocaust to mocking iSIS.

++Israel is drawing up their wish list for American military aid as a consolation prize for the Iran deal.

++The National Council of Resistance in Iran,the opposition group, claims that North Koreans have visited Iranian military posts outside Tehran on nuclear issues and ballistic missile development.

++ISIS says it is aiming to get a nuclear device within a year from Pakistan.

++The Saudis have made it clear they want American security guarantees once the Iranian deal is done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tomorrow is a Twofer

++Pandemonium was already breaking out with Governor Pataki's announcement tomorrow.

++But now comes word that "Ole' Frothy Mix","Man On Dog Sex", Rick Santorum will launch tomorrow also.

The Right's Silence on Ireland's Referendum

++Rude Pundit remarks this morning that American conservatives haven't revved up the outrage machine on Ireland's landslide support for same-sex marriage.

++Yes,the Vatican said it was a "defeat for humanity", which should have set off the Right in this country but maybe there are still sore at Pope Francis for slamming the defense industry,supply-side economics, and advocating strong measures on climate change.

++Mr. Domino Pizza Man ,who funded the "No" campaign, is silent. The Catholic League hadn't commented. NOM, which also funded the No campaign, lamely commented that it shows how secular Ireland has become. Tony Perkins said that we should have a national vote here.

++The magazine of Catholic conservatives, the National Review, hasn't chimed in yet.

++Overall,nothing has emerged yet from our Right.

++Notice the same on the normalization of relations with Cuba. Yes, the process is taking slower but Cuba and the United States keep holding productive meetings to eliminate the thorns in the way. There is even a bill facilitating travel for all Americans to the island in the Senate. 

++But again you haven't heard anything blasting the process.

++Instead we have Michelle Malkin attack Bernie Sanders for being a "socialist, hippie". 

++Meanwhile the Patriot Act wobbles because the Senate can't make up its mind. Good riddance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Don't Hold Your Breath!

++On Thursday, former New York Governor George Pataki will announce for the GOP Presidential nomination. ZZZZ

Bernie Sanders' Kick-off Today in Burlington, Vermont

++Senator Bernie Sanders kicks of his presidential campaign today in the city where he made his political start.

++Ben and Jerry's will be providing the ice cream. Ben and Jerry's won the taste test for the best vanilla ice cream in America. Remember it has to say vanilla extract on it to be the real deal. Haagen Daz won second place. 

++So, go Bernie, go.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Congratulations to Us

++Today marks my wife's and mine 35th wedding anniversary. Adding the previous nine years we were together, that's 8 and 1/2 times the length of the average American marriage. That must mean something.

++We say we married another person who had the same level of depression. Ironically this milestone comes during the hardest year we have experienced. I thought it would get easier but life plays its tricks. As long as Ann remains married to me she can't testify against me in a court of law, on charges the NSA might bring up. And she isn't an accomplice so they can't get her to plea bargain.She knows I have supported terrorism on occasion or as currently defined here in the United States but then again that could mean anything and you never know what the State can conjure up. But she also knows I have never supported Torture like many who still remain in positions of power. So I guess the scale tilts in my favor.

++And what do old lovers do to celebrate--what else,go to the baseball game. The Nationals beat the Phillies and actually played like they were a team for a change.

++Interesting we made it so long but both families have a tradition of  long,lasting marriages.  The trick was getting sorted out before the marriage. 

Strange Aftermath in Ireland

++The Irish "No" campaigners were gracious in defeat. Their American supporters were vitriolic. Remember Mr. Domino Pizza helped fund the NO campaign.

++So what's the big issue now? Wedding Cakes. The "No campaigners" and their followers raised the issue of the problems of making wedding cakes for gays. Some bad things go across the pond. 

Contra Hedges

++Contrary to noted resident of Princeton, New Jersey, Cornell West and Chris Hedges, the younger generation represented by Nancy LeTourneau believes that President Obama has moved the Overton Window to the left. 

++As a guest editors on the weekend for Washington Monthly,LeTourneau has been voicing the concerns of the new feminists but decided to probe the reasons Hillary Clinton is campaigning toward the Left. 

++She argues and I agree that President Obama's actions after the 2014 elections made it permissible to take positions toward the Left. She examines how President Obama by taking executive actions on climate change and immigration moved the dialogue there.

++LeTourneau says that Hillary must win with the Obama coalition that thought change was possible. This coalition means that Democrats don't have to coddle the so-called moderates as much. The younger demographic is to the Left of the older generation Democratic voter.

++You might say that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren pushed the debate a certain way but LeTourneau makes a compelling case how President Obama "allowed" this to happen.

++Hedges and West would say this is nonsense because they have already written off President Obama as a neoliberal stooge. I think this is a factor of age.

++You'll notice that Bill McKibben is attacking Obama because of his decision to allow Shell to drill in the Arctic. Notwithstanding President Obama's executive actions preserving millions of acres in Alaska from gas and oil exploration that drove the right up the wall,people of Bill's age--mine--tend to have a purity test that no one operating in this system can pass.

++It seems to me that this is the contradiction between movement politics and party politics. Somehow progressives have to learn to cope with that contradiction.

Carson Romps To Victory

++Ben Carson won the Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll and took the place of Ted Cruz as the group's keynote speaker. 

++Carson got 25.4% of the vote.
     Scott Walker 20.5%
     Ted Cruz       16.6%
     Chris Christie  5.3%


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mike Pence,Once Conservative Darling, Bows Out of 2016

The Obama Administration Won't Extend Mass Data Collection

++If you are confused by the fight over the Patriot Act. Senator Mitch McConnell has ordered the Senate back on Sunday to hash out whether the NSA reform package will pass or the Old Patriot Act.

++But no matter, as of June 1 at 5PM,the Obama Administration will cease mass data surveillance of Americans by the NSA. How do we know? They did not ask for re-authorization which would be mandatory. 

++This is a Big Deal but was done or not in the quiet of the night.

It's Over--The Yes Triumphs

++With all 43 constituencies reporting, The Yes Vote has triumphed in favor of same sex marriage. The final vote was 62%Yes to 38% No. A total number of Irish voters was 1,935,907. 1,201,607 voted Yes; 734,300 voted No. There was a 60.52% turnout. Only one constituency voted no and only barely by a majority.

++Ireland has become the first country in the world to pass same-sex marriage by a direct vote. And just think homosexuality was illegal as of 1992.

Ireland--Same Sex Marriage Referendum

++With 40 out of 43 constituencies completed,It is 62% Yes,37% No with a 60.44% turnout. Only the one constituency voted No. It looks like the earthquake has occurred.

Ireland Update

++So far,the only constituency to vote No is Roscommon-South Leitrim.  Nationwide, The Yes is 62% to the No's 37%. 60.16% of the country voted.

Ireland--So Far

++So far it is 60% yes,39% No and a 59.9% turnout. The Yes vote has won every constituency so far.

Early Irish Results

++The Catholic think-tank The Iona Institute, which heavily supported the No campaign, tweeted out" To the Yes campaign. Good job."

++The lowest approval has been two small towns at 52%. Dublin West's final results were 71% yes,29% no, and a 64% turnout.

++The percent voting on the Presidential term referendum is slightly higher nationally than the same-sex referendum.

++Election officials and government officials say that the the difference today is the massive turnout of the young and emigrants flying home to vote. "We finally gave the young something to believe in and they turned out." 

Impeach Hillary Clinton

++Josh Marshall has started a new feature on Talking Points Memo that prints the right-wing e-mails he receives. No doubt more voluminous than mine.

++He starts his series with a former "Special Forces" guy arguing for the Impeachment of Hillary Clinton NOW.

++It's worth a read. I never knew you could impeach someone before they take office. This writer makes an argument you can. Intriguing. I goes this will be the new birtherism for Hillary. 

++ANd the ground for her impeachment is #Benghazi!

History Award To Paul Mulshine of The Newark Star-Ledger

++Paul Mulshine delivered a blistering critique of Chris Christie's foreign policy statements of last week. Mulshine blasted Christie for his criticism of "civil Liberties extremist" who oppose the NSA's surveillance program. He goes so far as to quote Andrew Napalitano's the Fox News legal analyst who said that "being for the Fourth Amenment isn't extremism."

++But the reason for awarding Mulshine the history award is his take on "American exceptionalism". Readers of this blog know it was a term coined by Karl Marx. But Mulshine points to its modern occurrence.

++The phrase was used by Jay Lovestone,one of the founders of the American Communist Party, in a letter to Joseph Stalin in 1929. Mulshine gets Lovestone's trajectory right. he went from Communist to the Democratic Party onto the Republican Party, where he was the great-grandfather of the neocons. I knew Jay. He told me that he fled the Soviet Union when he sided with Bukharin. He feared assassination by Stalin, telling me "Stalin had a good assessment of people",referring to his own treachery. 

++Jay lived into his 90s and periodically advised the Reagan Administration. It's no coincidence that Reagan endorsed "American exceptionalism" but used the term very infrequently. 

++Mulshine blasts the way this term is being used by Christie to assume America should constantly police the world on the taxpayer's dime.

++But, kudos to Mulshine for discovering Jay's letter, which adds a valuable footnote to the whole debate.

Ireland's "No" Campaign Concedes Defeat--Vote Count Not In Yet

Friday, May 22, 2015

Irish Turnout Encouraging

++Dublin has a turnout at 65% and Cork 70%. The Yes campaign believes if they can carry Dublin in strong numbers they will have it. As a comparison the EU referendum was 71% turnout. Election authorities say that young people have turned out in droves.

Weirdest Comment Of The Day

++Reince Preibus said that Hillary Clinton was "the natural cheerleader for the Export-Import Bank."

++That's like saying she is the natural supporter of the Highway Trust Fund.

++Reince was trying to be snarky alluding to cop orate donations to the Clinton Foundation. But it is very weird that the head of the RNC, traditional champion of the ExIm Bank, should consider it negatively. Only the extreme right in the country think of it that way. 

++The ExIm has been around as a staple of our system for decades and is considered--rightfully or wrongfully--as another tool by which the United States can compete economically on a global scale.

++Preibus' comment is bizarre. Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton ignored his remark and blistered the Republicans over their current refusal to fund ExIm as endangering--yes--America's ability to compete.

A Fact To Remember About The Irish Refrendum

++The Irish are flying home from around the world to vote in an incredible display of enthusiasm. 

++If same sex marriage wins and we will know the result by noon, there is something to consider. The Catholic culture has had such control over Ireland that it only became legal to get a divorce there in 1995.

++The rejection of this Catholic domination in cultural matters seems to be directly relayed to the pedophile cases discovered in the art decade. It is estimated that over 30,000 children had been raped by priests or Catholic workers on various institutions.

Gallup Surprise

++Social liberals have finally caught up to social conservatives in the Gallup poll for the first time since they measured cultural attitudes. It's tied at 31%.

The Last Irish Times Poll On Same Sex Marriage

++The Yes is at 70% and No is at 30%. The pollster says that when you factor in "undecided" the Yes vote declines but the lead is so overwhelming that a Yes is expected. 

++The only demographic that actually favors a No vote is those over 65. The problem is that they are the most reliable voters in a referendum so that the pollster expects the Yes vote to decline further. 

++Irish authorities expect the turnout to top the vote that ratified the nation's constitution. 

Fast Track Passes the Senate 62-37

Book Corner

++I spent last night reading Chris Hedges' new book Wages of Rebellion:The Moral Imperative of Revolt. If you have seen the videos of Hedges' recent lectures and speeches you will have seen summaries of his critique of our current domestic situation and his proposal for mass non-violent rebellion. In this book he brings to bear his historical understanding of historical revolution and its problems from the Russian Revolution through the changes in Central Europe in the late 1980s and 1990s to the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

++He talks about the "sublime madness" of those who envision change and the price they are willing to pay. There is an element here of urging those on to actions which they fail to consider the consequences of their deeds. In his closing of the book he talked about various major figures "visions" and how they shaped their actions. As purely an analytical view of dissent, it is compelling but I also get nervous with Hedges' exhortations.

++As always his writing is sharp and eloquent. The most compelling stretches of the book are about average Americans who are resisting and trying to foster change whether it is Occupy Sandy dealing with the social and economic ravages of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey,the Christian fundamentalist farmer resisting the oil producers in Canada,or the hackers and whistleblowers.

++Hedges' account of subcommandante Marcos of the Zapateros abandoning his identity because the media made him a celebrity and failed to cover the issues of his movement was fascinating. 

++I am skeptical when Hedges' buys into Cornel West's take on Barack Obama as a type of updated Booker T. Washington. It reminds me of buying into all the black raps in the 1970s. Hedges' blast at Obama is that he didn't do anything about black poverty and has used the Foreign Espionage Act more times than any past President. That having an African-American President was just the thing to continue the failed endeavors of empire.

++Since Hedges teaches in prisons,his take on our penal colonies and their for-profit schemes reflect the issue that created many of the late 70s and early 80s radical movements in the United States like the Black Liberation Movement. Our judicial system is broken and it has rendered millions of people "second-class" citizens severely limited legally once they are out of prison. Hedges' own international experience informs his take on our prison system and how many of the practices like solitary confinement and sensory deprivation are domestic versions of torture. It is a service when Hedges talks about prisoners who are by any definition political prisoners.

++The culminate effect of Hedges' book is a powerful indictment of where we are today. The problem I have always with Hedges is that you know he is right and his portrait of today's America is so oppressive that just reading about it is demoralizing. Then he calls for  rebellion. 

++I sense Hedges really is the frustrated protestant minister he aspired to at Harvard Divinity challenging his congregation to a higher moral life they are incapable of.  Hedges does try to walk the walk with his activism and his acting as a legal plaintiff against abuses by the national security state. But I also sense there is a bit of a frustrated college professor filling the expected role of the avant garde revolutionary thinker. I'm not sure Hedges has integrated these different personas yet into a coherent persona.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tomorrow Ireland Votes

Fast Track Wins Cloture Vote

++The days tick down to recess and the Senate passed with 62 votes the message to vote of TPA.

++Gallup has for a brief nanosecond Obama's approval at at 52%

Ted Cruz Thinks You Have Sex On Your Mind

++Ted Cruz thinks all this fuss about same-sex marriage is because the media is obsessed by sex. Gays shouldn't be so concerned because …ISIS. Oh myyy.

Ben Carson Breaks Ranks

++Ben Carson said that he would not have invaded Iraq if he were President. He said he would have removed Saddam Hussein another way. How about letting Saddam keep the $1 billion and go into exile to Saudi Arabia like Idi Amin did?

It's Obama's Fault

++Don't worry Iraq was stable by the end of W's reign and it was blown by "my guy". The e-mail wars heated up last night and early this morning.

++Be prepared for a whole year of blaming Obama for "allowing" ISIS to romp over Iraq and Syria. 

++Louie Gohmert said that W would have reconsidered Iraq if he knew Obama would become President. 

++Jeb Bush said Iraq was stable when his brother left office. 

++I don't know how quick the right-wing talking points get disseminated but this one was really quick. I even got that we got suckered into Iraq by the United Nations.

++Junior neo-cons like Eliot Cohen tried to dismiss criticisms of Iraq by saying it now is about what do we do going forward. 

++The great ISIS problem turns out to have started in 2006. At that time the Pentagon said that Al Qaeda in Iraq made it up and that al-Baghdadi was a fictitious person. Which is probably how the rumor he was an Israeli character actor started. 

++There has been alot of pushback at Dailykos and other Democratic websites on the various wrong assertions about when the Iraq troubles started. Particularly interesting have been analyses of the much-vaunted "Surge" and how it actually empowered the Shi'ite militias and why the Sunnis have been so reluctant to fight against ISIS.

++Ian Bremmer of the Euroasian Group has said that President Obama's foreign policy failures have nothing to do with unilateralism or multilateralism but implementation. He claims a Great Power must dictate what it wants to influence events and points to China's clear geostrategic vision. 

++Meanwhile the Pentagon sold $1.9 billion of bunker buster bombs and missile defense materials to Israel to pacify Israel about the Iran nuclear deal and the arms sales by the United States to the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. 

++Oyy,the Imperial Post is upset that ISIS took Anbar and Palyrma in Syria. So the war drums beat along the Potomac again.  But Congress still doesn't know what it wants from the Authorization of Force amendment.

++To focus on the main issues pre-occupying America, Trey Gowdy actually had two US Marshalls deliver a subpoena to Sid Blumenthal's house where they gave it to his wife. But what was unusual was that the Benghazi Committee didn't even ask Sid whether he would testify voluntarily.  This is because of #Benghazi!" and that Blumenthal had sent Hillary e-mails about Libya. Of course, it is also because the Right has always had Sid in its targets. 

++A rational discussion about the Iraq War and its implications for US policy would be welcomed. But it isn't going to happen as the GOP presidential race gets underway. Remember that this coming election will be the first that a Republican nominee will overtly promise war. W. didn't, his father didn't,Reagan didn't. But this crowd will.

++In my view, the Obama years end when the drumbeats of war become dominant in our political discourse. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Our National Nightmare Is Over

++President Obama and all the living presidents taped a video montage of the famous Gerald Ford quote on Nixon's resignation to open up David Letterman's last show. David leaned over to Obama and said, "You are kidding, aren't you." Cute bit.

Like A Dog On A Bone

++My rightwing e-mail today is impassioned defenses of the Iraq War. Isn't it right that we overthrew Saddam Hussein? After all he tortured dissidents,kept a block by block secret police and waged chemical war against the Kurds. All true. Terrible man with a terrible system in place.

++BUT what the Iraq War apologists are missing in their e-mails is any discussion of a threat to the United States, even after we attacked Iraq in the Gulf War. 

++What did we know at the time? There was no nuclear weapons. This was low on the CIA's belief-o-meter. There was no delivery system for nukes or chemical weapons. There was only the last vestiges of terrorism with him harboring aged and inform members of the PFLP. There was absolutely no connection with Al Qaeda,even the CIA got that right but the Bush White House elaborated a whole scheme on this with the testimony of one Al-Libi who was tortured in Egypt and made a connection with Bin Laden and Saddam--two people who loathed each other.

++So we are left with a horrible dictator like many horrible dictators, who once was a friend of the United States. That just means that we went to war against Saddam because we could--no other reason. 

++What was the lesson? Certainly the Iraq War has to be seen as the worst strategic error by the United States in my lifetime. Trillions spent,ballooning national debt,the rise of ISIS, more Americans dead than in 9/11,hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, hundreds more displaced, a complete destruction of a country's infrastructure. Certainly someone can figure out something to say about this with a little bit of honesty.

++And, I forgot, when the war started only 6-8 Americans involved spoke fluent Arabic. We literally did know what the Iraqis were saying throughout the war.

++I am sure the e-mails will continue. Louie Gohmert says that George W. Bush would have reconsidered Iraq if he knew Barack Obama would be President. Jeb says today that when his brother left office Iraq was stable. 

++I was hoping someone would say something wise and smart after all these years. But it looks like you have to draw around the wagons.

How Many Wrong Statements About Iraq Did The Bush Administration Make?

++The Center for Public Integrity has released a report that documents 935 wrong statements issued or said about the Iraq War by the George W. Bush Administration.

++David Corn is at it again at Mother Jones about the CIA claiming that the W Administration lied repeatedly about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Mike Morell, former CIA acting director, said that the most flamboyant statements by the Bush Administration bare no resemblance to the intelligence that was on hand. Like the connection with Al Qaeda, terrorism or even WMDs.

++But the neoconservatives led by Eliot Cohen,Bill Kristol and Ms. Pletka at AEI claim all this is "Gotcha" journalism and what we should be focusing on now is what to do with the present situation in Iraq. 

++It seems to me that hundreds of thousands of lives lost,more American lives than in 9/11,trillions of dollars spent is worth debating.

++Bill Kristol says that the real issue is that we won by 2008 and Obama threw it all away. Say what? He says criticism now of the Iraq War is political correctness.

++Peter Beinert would like to remind us that Israel had nothing to do with it. He quite rightly reminds us that Ariel Sharon briefed George W. Bush and told him he would be destabilizing the whole Middle East if he invaded Iraq.  And he did.

++Just remember--Saddam Hussein offered to leave Iraq if he could keep $1 billion for himself. 

Chris Christie In Denial

++Ed Kilgore jumped to the TPM Cafe yesterday to pen a piece on why Christie even pretends to be running for president. He condenses his piece over at Washington Monthly this morning.

++Ed's basic point is that 50% of Republicans have already said they won't vote for him. He polls 3% in the state normally most conducive to his type of message--New Hampshire. And vast majorities of New Jersey citizens don't think he should run.

++Ed dissects Magyn Kelly's question of Christie about this hostility to him. Christie says it's because New Jersey citizens want him to stay as Governor. Of course his approval rating is in the toilet.

++Kilgore has lots of fun in his TPMCAFE piece. Read it. He's doubtful you will.

The Night We Called It A Day

++Bob Dylan appeared on the second to last Letterman Show. You can hear the clip on the Daily Beast. Appropriately, he sang "The Night We Called It A Day". It was the sign off that night.

Do You Really Want To Revisit 9/11 and Iraq?

++Ms. Lindsey Graham said yesterday that he won't have done a land invasion of Iraq but something else. The explanations of this fiasco get more convoluted by the day. The major problem as I see it is that this pushes terrorism up into the public concern after it had diminished during the Obama years.

++So speaking of the past--Newsmax screams that Sidney Blumenthal was a top adviser to Hillary. Certainly not during her stay as Secretary of State.

++Remember Dick Cheney warning that President Obama's policies meant we were going to be hit any minute? Intercept published a story yesterday based on former acting CIA Director Mike Morell's book "The Great War Of Our Time:The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism". Dick Cheney was in charge of the terrorism portfolio in the early days of the W Administration. As Al Qaeda threats were intensifying and the intelligence community started to get alarmed,Morell brought the 9/11 threats to Cheney. 

++What did the great terrorism fighter do? He thought they were a bluff and nothing should be done. He dismissed them to the CIA briefers.

++PBS showed a documentary last night on the politics of torture and how the W Administration asked how can we torture and not whether it was right.

++And, YES, John McCain did say he wants to invade Iraq again.

++John Boehner told President Obama to re-do the Authorization to Use Military Force.

Remember The Right-wing Conspiracy?

++Yesterday I received a dozen anti-Hillary e-mails. The last one was a letter by an "older generation" to the younger reminding them of all of Hillary's crimes in the 1990s--Travelgate,the healthcare fiasco,Bill allowing Hillary a choice in certain appointments, and everything else but the kitchen sink.

++So what better to kick the anti-Hillary campaign off by Trey Gowdy of the #Benghazi! Committee issuing a subpoena to Sydney Blumenthal, a long-time friend of Hillary's? But more importantly,the man who actually laid out the right-wing conspiracy in olden days.

++The flimsy pretext of this is that Sid sent Hillary e-mails about Libya. Sid was trying to do business with the interim government, which as these things got,didn't go so well. But Sid-Libya-Hillary. This can only spell #BENGHAZI!

++Meanwhile Trey won't call Hillary until all the State Department e-mails are released to the Committee. The actual issue is that the Committee is pretending to believe that they haven't received all of them.

++To give you some idea about this fiasco,the Warren Committee into JFK assassination took less time,Iran Contra less time, and the House Committee on the King Assassination took less time.

++One problem in this is that in olden days Sid could be quite obnoxious and a public hearing even though on a nothing burger could be negative for Hillary.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Real Blast From The Past

++ Happy Rockefeller has died at the age of 88. Nelson Rockefeller divorced and married Happy, thereby creating a scandal in a more prudish period. The divorce and remarriage was largely to blame for Nelson's failure to win the 1964 GOP Presidential nomination.

MSNBC POLL On Hillary's E-Mails

++Will Hilary's emails influence your vote for her?

++80%-- will not influence; 20% yes.

++Seems she's in trouble. 

++Meanwhile a federal Court just ruled that the State Department should release her 55,000 e-mails in drips and drabs, rather than wait until 2016 for a big document dump.

Another Word About Iraq

++We remember Shock and Awe but we forget the inspiration behind our counterinsurgency efforts. The prime reading material for the W Administration was Alistair Horne's work on Algeria. The French campaign against the Algerian nationalists was the model for our efforts against the so-called "dead-enders" in Iraq.

++Great work and books by Horne but no one mentioned the rather obvious point--The French lost that campaign and Algeria became independent. But then again we have Freedom Fries.

Correction--It is Chait, not Cait

Was The Iraq War A Crime or a Mistake?--Yes

++Tony Cait, political columnist at New York Magazine, goes into the debate over intelligence failure or the Bush Administration's manipulation of intelligence. It depends on what side of the spectrum you are on. The idea is that many people outside of the W Administration believed that Saddam had WMD. So naturally, the Bush Administration did too and therefore were justified.

++He cites Doug Brooks then and now as quoting the Silberman-Robb investigation into intelligence failures but he notes Brooks studiously ignores the second report, which said the Administration manipulated the intelligence.

++A bit I would like to throw in here. The invasion of Iraq was a preemptory war, a violation of the entire American military doctrine to date. 

++Peter Beinert writing in the Atlantic said that it is irrelevant that people thought Saddam had chemical weapons because he had no delivery system to threaten the United States. And, about Tony Blair's "mushroom cloud" in an hour,almost all intelligence analysts had agreed that Saddam didn't have an active nuclear program. Beinert's point is that Iraq had no connection to 9-11 as the Bush Administration claimed and the intelligence community had denied. Saddam feared and loathed Al Qaeda.

++But this debate is interesting because Republicans can't seem to deal with it. And this is not the thing to become the issue in their presidential campaign. 

++Where is Andrew Sullivan when we need him? 

The Disappearing Iraq Supporters

++Paul Krugman writes this morning that the Iraq flap over Jeb is terrific because we need to have that debate--finally.

++TPM thought they would get the opinions of the war architects but found them wanting. It's the bad intelligence , you know. The writers found that they had run for the hills. 

++Chris Christie and Pyush Jindal came out yesterday for the Iraq War. Christie also had no problems with the NSA surveillance program and said that only "civil rights extremists" were concerned.

++Michael Gerson writes an op-ed on how the Republicans should answer the Iraq question. The piece in the Washington Post is worth reading for the comments that are devastating.

++Rachel Maddow had a segment on her show that showed the Iraq War was not the consequence of bad intelligence, just bad policy making.

++Peter Beinert at the Atlantic has a piece about why you should not ask Republicans about the Iraq War.

++Gerson and James Woolsey blames it all on Obama.

++Over 70% of Republicans believe the Iraq War was a mistake. Pretty costly one.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Col. Wilkinson Finds Jeb Wanting

++Col. Wilkinson, General Powell's former chief of staff, went up to New Hampshire to case out the GOP candidates.

++He still is a Republican,the last Eisenhower Republican. and he was hoping to find someone he liked. He knew Jeb from before and found him to be pragmatic, a realpolitik type of guy. 

++But as he told Real News Network, Jeb's statements about Iraq the past week and his association with the neo-conservatives means he, Col. Wilkinson, will not vote for Jeb if he were the last candidate on earth.

++What concerns him the most is that all the neoconservatives are on Jeb's advisory committee, a sure sign he will pursue his brother's failed policies.

++I'm still surprised that Col. Wilkinson is still a Republican and he remarked that the right keeps getting more extreme. But his lack of knowledge about Jeb's advisory team was even more surprising.

John Kasich Decides To Run. Will announce in late June or early July

Pyush Jindal Establishes An Exploratory Committee

++Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has established an exploratory committee and said he would announce his run for the presidency in several weeks.

GOP Facing Iraq

++Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has had several days of posting about the Iraq statements by Jeb and Marco Rubio. Josh says the problem is that the GOP has never had a reckoning on Iraq like the Democrats did on Vietnam or even Iraq for that matter.

++The Donald has weighed in by telling Steve Doocy at Fox we should never have been there and that while Saddam was terrible ,ISIS is worse.

++Marc Theissen advises Jeb to ignore Iraq of 2003 and talk about Iraq now.

++Ms. Lindsey Graham says that if you think about joining ISIS, he'll drone you.

++Maureen Dowd this weekend actually wrote a good column about the Iraq War and Jeb's dilemma.

++Oh, and some two months after the Economist wrote about the Saudis seeking a Pakistan nuclear arm,the State Department warned that the Saudis were doing just that in fear of Iran.

++As W said,"As we stand down, the Iraqis will stand up" or "Run away" as the case may be. ISIS overran the Iraqi troops again in Ramadi so that the Iraqi government unleashed the Shiite militias to win the city back. 

Lindsey "Security Through Strength" Graham to announce June 1

The GOP Disadvantage

++Daniel McGraw in the Politico Magazine writes how the GOP is literally dying. You read this at the Dailykos all the time. But it is literally true.

++William Frey at the Brookings Institute says his study of the demographic dearth of the GOP is the first study of how the dead can't vote.

++Just an envelope calculation,using Census data McGraw writes that 2.75 million Romney voters will have died by the 2016 election;2.3 million Obama voters. That's a 453,000 margin for Democrats. This will prove difficult for the GOP in Florida and Ohio.

++There will be 13 million in the 15 to 17 demographic eligible to vote in 2016. According to past elections,6 million or 45% will vote. In this demographic Democrats have a 65 to 35 advantage.

++So the GOP goes into the next election with 2.5 million disadvantage.

++So no wonder the GOP is so anxious about curtailing access to voting and voting ID laws. If your lead demographic is whites of 60 or above but also the most reliable voters,you need to reduce the voting of the other demographics. This is particularly true if you have made no substantial outreach to millenials in terms of social policy.

More Irish Referendum

++The largest internet betting service Betfair has already paid out to the Yes voters.

++Consider the impact of the marriage equality referendum, 93% of primary education in Ireland is still controlled by the Catholic Church.

++The Sunday Independent/ Millard Brown poll has it 53% Yes 24% No and 23% ink doubt.

++The referendum would produce Article 41 of the Irish Constitution, which would read, "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Five Days Out From The Irish Earthquake

++Ireland may become the first nation to adopt same-sex marriage in a national vote.

++We're only five days out and then polling is lopsided. IPSOS/MRBI for the Irish Times has it at 58% will vote Yes, 25% No and 17% are undecided.

++The latest controversy is that American evangelical  Christians are funding the No campaign, which is against the law. Irish Law prohibits foreign funds to bankroll lobbying efforts for any policy. The American organization NOM,according to the Guardian, is bankrolling the No campaign.

++Tomorrow, the Catholic Bishops are to read from the pulpit a letter condemning marriage equality. 

++But noted Irish writer Colm Toibin says there is hardly any opposition to the measure.

++This will be truly historic given Ireland's strong tradition of Catholicism.

Romney Loses Again! To Evander Holyfield

I Got My Medicare Card--Call me "Mzee"

Special Forces Killed Abu Sayaf, ISIS' oil and gas leader

Pope Francis Calls Palestinian Leader Abbas "An Angel of Peace"

Mohammed Morsi,The Only Democratically Elected President Of Egypt, Sentenced To Death

Thursday, May 14, 2015

President Obama Closes Camp David Summit with Arab States

++In only his second Camp David Summit, President Obama gave "ironclad" security assurances to the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia against efforts of destabilization. 

++The Obama Administration gave private briefings on the Iran nuclear deal, which they said would give them no openings to develop a nuclear weapon. The Arab leaders sounded reassured by the Obama presentations but the Saudis said they could not approve the deal until Iran complied.

++The United States did offer more military assistance as well as the ballistic defense missile system to the Gulf States. It also promised deeper cooperation on cyberthreats.

++Outside commentators said that the summit heralded no new breakthroughs in cooperation. Human Rights groups were critical of the Obama Administration's failure to challenge the Arab states on their violations of human rights.

Martin O'Malley Scheduled To Launch on May 30 in Baltimore

Now,Jeb wants to Re-engage in Iraq but In a More Forceful Way

Santorum To Announce on May27

++Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum is to make a "major" announcement near his boyhood home in Butler County, Pennsylvania. If you are near your boyhood home,you don't decline to run for President.

Jeb's Iraq Conundrum

++Why is Jeb's Iraq problem so hard to explain? His brother has often said that the success of his presidency would be measured by the war in Iraq. Now your father and brother both waged wars in Iraq. The whole family name is linked to Iraq ,among other things. What probably surprised Jeb was the lack of support he received from Republicans, particularly conservatives when he defended Iraq. He thought he had reached moral equivalency by citing Hillary Clinton's vote for the Iraq War. Then add on that he told the Chicago World Affairs Council that he was his own man and promptly named about a dozen of W's close advisers on Iraq as his foreign policy advisers. What he really didn't understand was that the issue of the Iraq War still burns brightly. As witnessed yesterday by the college student who said that "Your brother created ISIS." She referred to the dismantling of the Iraq army, which has gone on to form the spine of ISIS.

++The only way Jeb could have made a go of it is to repudiate his brother--with whom he said he has very few disagreements. And that lies the problem. He faces a really uphill road in overcoming the animus from tea party types and conservative activists. It's not the message--all major GOP candidates are for war--but it's the messenger.

++Hillary, on the other hand,has repudiated many of her own husband's decisions--same-sex marriage, three strikes you're out. She also has explained post-2008 her mistake in voting for the Iraq War. Jeb didn't and won't get any traction there by targeting Hillary.

By The Book

++It is only appropriate for my 600th post this year, which will end up being the biggest year for this blog,that I mention recent books.

++Ypu might have read the short interview with John Ashbery in the last Sunday New York Times. In it, he seemed to be going all Romantic on us in discussing his favorite poetry. It's for that reason, I find his new book of poetry,Breezeway, surprising and excellent. His tone is a very elegant Surrealism that improves on his earliest efforts in this regard. Highly recommended.

++Leonid McGill has returned. Walter Mosley in And Sometimes I Wonder about You brings the New York private eye back as well as McGill's missing father who had abandoned him for Communist causes. McGill's wife tries to commit suicide, his young son disappears into the literal underground of New York,a derelict former Hedge Fund Manager hires him to find a distant cousin, and a Boston billionairess tries to make him believe a family is missing a daughter in New York. Maybe it seems confusing but Mosley makes it tight as a drum. And love is the answer.

++William Pepper has been an activist in the civil rights movement and became close to Martin Luther King during the days when King turned his attention to the Vietnam War, the Urban poor and the Memphis Sanitation Workers' strike. In 2003,Pepper published An Act of State: The execution of Martin Luther King. After decades of investigative research and thousands of interviews, he pieced together how Martin was executed. Anyone familiar with the Kennedy assassination would get the narrative:Military Snipers sent into Memphis to case the city; the mafia from the South pay an assassin;the government has the Lorraine Motel move  King to a more exposed location,the black Memphis police are replaced by whites and you get the picture.

++I heard former CIA analyst Ray McGovern mention an story he heard Obama donors tell him about the President's response to their plea that he do more aggressively progressive things. "I just remember what they did to Martin." I've heard a similar story having to do with people in the national security establishment make similar threats to the President. But Ray McGovern went on to describe the assassination of Martin Luther King,Jr. as an act by the United States government. And he mentioned this book, which is very well documented.

++Almost at the same time I heard Ray McGovern,I saw Chris Hedges' speech at a meeting in Montana. Why Hedges did his theme of how Americans must revolt like the Czechs,he reverted to an old favorite about how Woodrow Wilson started the precedent of crushing all progressive movements and how this continues with the government actions against the Occupy Movement. Not coincidentally the coordination of the military with the local police as in the case of King still is a government M.O.