Monday, September 07, 2015

Truest statement of the week

Both of the recent studies on insurance rate hikes are further demonstration that the Affordable Care Act has been crafted in the interests of the insurance companies to boost their profits. They expose the reality that that Obama’s signature legislation is aimed not at expanding the availability of affordable, quality health care for ordinary Americans, but at enriching the giant insurers while cutting costs for corporations and the government.

-- Kate Randall, "Obamacare health insurers seek double-digit rate hikes for 2016" (WSWS).  

Truest statement of the week II

Ali Shukri Amin is 17-years old, a minor under American law, yet he was just sentenced to eleven years in federal prison. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced as an adult for providing material support for terrorists. This is a crime defined in any way the government wants it to be. Amin had a twitter account, @amreekiwitness, devoted to the group Islamic State, ISIS. He also helped a friend travel to Syria in hopes of joining ISIS. That is the substance of his crime, online opinion and facilitating travel.
The crime of providing material support for terrorists only came into existence with the Patriot Act passed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. There are now people serving very long prison terms for providing humanitarian aid, translating documents, sending money abroad, or expressing views in support of nations or groups the United States classifies as terrorist. These crimes are vaguely defined and are often of little consequence to ISIS or any other organization the federal government designates as an enemy.

The prosecutions of Amin and others are meant to make the case for continuing the “war on terror.” This is actually a war of American terror used to justify endless interventions around the world. The Department of Justice would have us believe that a teenager tweeting about making donations to ISIS via bitcoin posed a serious threat. Of course, the United States government is the biggest threat to life in the world. It is the most violent organization with the largest number of kills.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "US Turns Teen Into 'Terrorist'" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --


First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Kate Randall gets another one.

Margaret Kimberley gets another one. 
If you're against war, you don't peddle it by hiding civilian deaths.
Ava and C.I. score the summer offerings.
Ty roundtables over various issues effecting the African-American community. 
Hillary's nonsense on student loans helps no ones and won't even get her votes.
What's Blue Cross Blue Shield up to?

She's so greedy.
What we listened to while writing this edition.
Martin O'Malley speaks.
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker. 
Press release from Senator Ben Cardin's office. 


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Slapped in the face by reality

For over a year now, and its chief counter Margaret Griffis rendered every death by a bombing (on the day they counted the bombing) as killing 'militants' or 'terrorists.'

Even though they had no proof.

Even though they couldn't back it up.

Even though all they had was official statements from government officials.

As last week wound down, and Griffith got slapped upside the face by a heavy dose of reality.

 Alice Ross (Guardian) reported on the latest disclosure of civilian deaths:

The US-led coalition’s bombing of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has been described as the “most precise ever”, faces allegations that civilians have been killed in 71 separate air raids.
A spokesman for US central command (Centcom) disclosed the claims to the Guardian. Many of the claims have been dismissed, but he said 10 incidents were the subject of fuller, formal investigations. Five investigations have been concluded, although only one has been published.
To date, the coalition acknowledges civilian deaths in a single strike: in November 2014 a US strike on Syria killed two children, a Centcom investigation published in May found. Centcom said it will only publish investigations where a “preponderance of evidence” suggests civilians have died.
Monitoring groups questioned how thorough the investigations were.

Steven Chase (Globe and Mail) added:

An English-speaking Peshmerga soldier told the U.S. military that as many as 27 civilians died during aerial bombardment by Canadian pilots, American military documents show.
However, the Canadian military made it clear to the United States shortly after the alleged incident that it felt no obligation under the Geneva Conventions to probe what happened, the Pentagon records show. “It should be noted that Canadian Joint Operations Command [legal advisers] opinion is that, under the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) there are no obligations for the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct an investigation,” the documents say.

It shouldn't have taken these exposures to prove how wrong was to promote the claims of officials as facts.

Like the US government, refused to think about where the bombs land.

Note US State Department spokesperson Brett McGurk's ridiculous Tweet:

  • Iraqi air command confirms 's F-16s now striking terrorists in support of Iraqi ground operations. 1/3 

  • Iraqi air command confirms 's F-16s now striking terrorists in support of Iraqi ground operations. 1/3

  • As for what those war planes actually did?

    That was left for others to Tweet.

    1. army crimes bombed today sunni civilians in Ramadi killed innocent women &children                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

  • needs to figure out whether it stands against war or not?

    If they stand against war, they need to stop presenting the lie that bombs dropped on Iraq only kill "militants."

    TV: Casting and Concept

    Casting is everything.

    We're not the first to say it but didn't summer TV demonstrate it?


    Certainly, it did for ABC.

    Casting killed not one but two of their summer shows.

    Barry Sloane being given the lead role in THE WHISPERS guaranteed that all the strong work by Milo Ventimiglia and others would be ignored and that, week after week, the audience would dwindle.

    Sloane had previously sent viewers fleeing from REVENGE so ABC should have known better.

    But when does ABC ever know better?

    MISTRESSES was a summer concoction which brought in an average of at least four million viewers for each of its first two seasons.

    For whatever reason, ABC agreed to film the third season in Canada -- the United States of America's apparently not good enough for the American Broadcasting Company under Disney management -- and series star Alyssa Milano bowed out.

    That should have immediately caused ABC to rethink the move.

    Instead, it was full steam ahead.

    And it only got worse.

    Tiny Alyssa Milano was replaced with Jennifer Esposito who brings to mind the worst of Candice Bergen's film career.  Esposito can't be a lead actress -- her entire career argues that -- from SPIN CITY all the way to BLUE BLOODS.  She's also can't by tiny.

    And dressing her in the sort of garb Bette Midler wore in STELLA -- and wore to look ridiculous -- just made Esposito more of an oddity.

    The third season saw the show posting record lows for viewership.

    If there's to be a fourth season of MISTRESSES, the only reason would be to rescue the show by bringing Alyssa Milano back.

    Getting better ratings was ABC's THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB but ABC's already taken the axe to that show announcing there will be no second season.

    The casting there was the concept.

    Sometimes the casting is a place (think Robert Altman's classic film NASHVILLE) or an idea or a concept.  THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB's casting was concept.

    The same is true of CBS' latest summer hit, James Patterson's ZOO which posted excellent numbers early on but still held its own when the ratings declined.  ZOO isn't about acting -- not even with James Wolk in the cast.  Instead, the show's all about high concept.

    That was true of UNDER THE DOME as well.  And by season two, the audience was fleeing so CBS became desperate to plug the leaks with actual actors -- hence the arrivals of Marg Helgenberger and Eriq La Salle.

    And that's the problem when casting is concept.

    What works one summer seems tired the next.

    EXTANT has held steady for CBS.

    Maybe because the series stars Halle Berry?  Maybe because the show attempts to move forward with each season and shake things up?

    Maybe for both of those reasons and so much more?

    Maybe because a real star like Halle Berry remains a rarity?

    Watch Jimmy Fallon chat up one ridiculous person night after night throughout the week and grasp just how few stars there really are today.

    Celebrities feed the tabloids, yes.  They just don't draw in audiences for anything other than their tacky real life -- or 'real' life -- antics.

    David Duchovny is a TV star.  That's why AQUARIUS worked as an online entity and as an NBC broadcast entity (and why the show will have a second season).  It's why Fox is doing a six-episode update of THE X-FILES.

    Sometimes a show can have it all: strong casting, action, romance, you name it.  The CW found itself with just such a show in BEAUTY & THE BEAST.  In an inspired move, they chose to air season three in the summer.

    And the result?

    Ratings as strong as their fall 2014 and spring 2015 JANE THE VIRGIN -- ratings also stronger than BEAUTY & THE BEAST had in season two..

    And, unlike on JANE THE VIRGIN, when Jay Ryan (Vincent) and Kristin Kreuk (Cat) exchange a look, it carries heat and meaning.

    Fox had something similar in its limited run series WAYWARD PINES starring Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Carla Gugino among others.  The show proved that the mini-series format survives.

    Other things were proved as well.

    First of all, Netflix is now the premier network.  In May, as broadcast networks were winding down their regular programming, Netflix began serving up original series: GRACE AND FRANKIE,  SENSE8 and WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP among others.  It is now the benchmark for summer programming.

    And though Hulu has failed to challenge that standing, in good news for the streaming service, they finally got their own original program worth watching in DIFFICULT PEOPLE.

    It was a solid summer of programming in many ways.

    But we will repeat the objection we made before the summer programming started:  CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and The CW all putting the bulk of their summer programming on Thursday nights was a mistake.  Some of the ratings erosion returning shows faced could have been avoided if the networks had spaced their original programming throughout the week because, after casting, scheduling is everything.

    Black Talk

    Ty:   We're roundtabling on African-American issues and we're calling this "Black Talk" mainly because we're stuck for a different title.  Our e-mail address at this site is  Participating in our roundtable are me from  The Third Estate Sunday Review,  Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;  Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;  Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.  You are reading a rush transcript.  Illustration is Isaiah's "Making Dennis the Menace" which was part of a series of cartoons inspired by the idiot Al Sharpton promoting himself as an expert on editorials or, honestly, an expert on anything.

    Making Dennis a Menace

    Ty (Con't): Al's daily program on MSNBC has gone the way of so many of his efforts.

    Marcia: You might say it disappeared faster than his Tawana Brawley rape charges.  In the so-called Age of Obama, networks were forced to find people of color -- not just African-Americans -- to put on the air.  It's a real shame that those given this opportunity saw their job as church choir and not as journalist.  The people put on air were done so to mislead or once on the air elected to mislead.  That's bi-racial Melissa Harris who did I marry this time on MSNBC with those hideous braids that look like she's trying for goddess braids but maybe having Mommy's White hair means she can't pull it off?

    Stan: It was a never-ending parade of carny barkers.  We needed leaders.  We needed hosts and personalities -- let's not call these weaklings journalists -- who would hold Barack accountable and insist that Black lives do, in fact, matter.

    Betty: I find it very telling that the Black Lives Matter movement is not going after Barack.  For a number of reasons.  Including the sexism in BLM at the start where they repeatedly ignored the deaths of Black girls and women.  They fixed that but did they really?  Barack has done one proposal and one statement after another about Black boys.  He's done nothing to defend Black girls in America.  No summits, no meet-ups, no programs or plans.  And it's been treated as normal.  And as acceptable.  I thought he was the father of two daughters?  I only have on daughter -- and I have two sons -- but one daughter was more than enough to make me realize how he ignored the needs of young Black girls across America over and over.

    Ann: My Brother's Keeper is only one example of the time and efforts Barack has devoted to African-American males while ignoring African-American females.  To take Barack's own words, I'd just say, "In too many places, Black" girls "and Black" women, "experience being treated differently" by the White House.

    Isaiah:  Well grasp that he could and did weigh in on Bill Cosby -- who asked him to? -- but he can't say a word about African-American women.

    Cedric:  Of course he weighed in on Bill Cobsy.  He's a little bitch boi who went to prep school and never got his ass kicked the way it should have been.  One good ass kicking and Mr. Know It All would have learned long ago that everything is not his business.

    Ty: Which reminds me of Stan's "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" and Betty's "#CRAPFILMSDON'TMATTER."  You're both opposed to the film STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON.

    Stan: Betty wrote her piece first, so I'll let her go first.

    Betty: Thank you.  As Cedric was saying, Barack calls out Bill Cosby.  But this film is made glorifying a group of rappers who promoted violence, who were violent against women -- not just Dee Barnes -- and who promoted homophobia.  None of that makes it into the feel-good movie.  And it's treated as wonderful.  What the hell are we selling Black Youth today?

    Stan: Agreed.  And that was my point about the Black Panther documentary.  It tries to impart lessons, it tries to capture reality.  STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is little more than a bucket of neckbones and a slice of watermelon stereotypes passed off as reality.  We need better films.  We deserve better films.

    Ann: What about Denzel?  I used to think he was making some sort of difference and could even applaud TRAINING DAY as an adventurous choice for him -- playing the bad guy.  But his work since has been really disappointing.  And maybe he should have been a little more discerning -- like Sidney Poitier -- in what roles he selected.  I don't see any African-Americans doing well in film these days.

    Marcia: Halle Berry can get an audience in a costume but that's about it.  She should probably go the Angelina Jolie action routed with films like WANTED and SALT.

    Isaiah: Well Halle still has her charisma which is more than can be said of Kevin Hart.  After RIDE ALONG, he was supposed to be the new Eddie Murphy but couldn't even pull off the new Chris Tucker.  That's no one's fault but his own.  Doing films like GET HARD and THE WEDDING RINGER?

    Cedric: Exactly.  He's the new Steppin Fetchit.  Look, it's another movie where modern day slave Kevin Hart goes to work for White people.

    Betty: Actually, it's more like he's little Shirley Temple making some old White man's life better.  He's done everything but put on a dress and tap dance at this point.

    Ty: The so-called Age of Obama has not been a good time for African-Americans in film.

    Betty: True that.  I'd rather watch, for example, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE from [Bill] Clinton's second term than any Kevin Hart film or I'd rather watch CADILLAC RECORDS, which came out right before Barack was inaugurated, then watch Denzel in SAFE HOUSE or any of the other gutter balls he's been rolling for the last eight or so years.

    Stan: And don't get me started on suck-ass SELMA.  Like GHANDI before it, people praised intent and not the actual film on the screen.  It's bad film making and that's why all the raves in the world couldn't inch it above $60 million at the box office and why rentals didn't save the film when it made it to home video.

    Ty: What about music?

    Ann: I was reading an interview with Prince a few days ago and he was listing two artists who he felt made a difference right now. That  may be two more than I credit.  Both were men, by the way.

    Ty: Anyone signing up for Tidal for Prince's new album?

    Marcia: No.

    Isaiah: If he can't offer it through Amazon or iTunes, I'll be passing.

    Ty: Who would you most like to see get it together right now?

    Betty: I'd like to see Lauryn Hill pull it together and release a work that actually matters.

    Marcia: In April, I saw Tracy Chapman do "Stand By Me" on David Letterman and it was just her and her guitar. Reminded me of how wonderful her first album all those years ago was.  Wish she'd do an album like that again in terms of instruments.

    Ty: In terms of new people?

    Ann: I'll give Nicki Minaj credit for being a true original.  She seems more interesting with each new release.  I bet she'll go the distance.  I wish we had more singers in America who appreciated soul music.

    Cedric: I agree with that.  Amy Winehouse loved soul in a way that few of our own do.  And there are other British singers -- Joss Stone, Sam Smith, Jess Glynne and others -- who just rip apart songs in the way real soul masters like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Little Richard, Bobby Womack and others did.

    Ty: What does the so-called Age of Obama really mean?

    Betty: It's a check mark on a laundry list, that's all.

    Ty: Meaning?

    Betty: For the Democrats, it's been there, done that.  Notice that a person of color, a Democrat, may be in the White House but there's not one candidate running for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination who's a person of color.  While the Republicans have Ben Carson vying for their nomination, on the Democratic Party side, it's more like, 'Yeah, we did that already.  Back to the usual.'

    Ty: Alright, on that note, we'll conclude.  This is a rush transcript.

    Hillary The Dumb F**k

    Hillary Clinton's been preaching national service for decades -- yes, she really is that old.

    Now she's trying to tie her obsession into a way to fix the student loan problem.

    She's a dumb f**k, a hack, a whore or a liar.

    Her plan's worthless in every way possible.

    First, it's not implemented.

    If it were, it wouldn't do a damn thing to get her votes.

    Her plan would help future students.

    Guess what, elderly woman, it's the one's suffering under student loan debt right now that you could woo.

    But your dumb ass plan ignores them.

    The only ones who care enough to vote on a proposal about student loans are the ones suffering from the grotesque debt.

    It really is the equivalent of pay day loans but with a lot more zeroes.

    In the 80s, 90s and 00s, American college students took out loans from the US government which then sold the loans to private companies.

    There are students who can't pay their loans today for reasons which include they no longer know who they owe.

    We have a friend who received two statements last month.  The Department of Education wrote about the $13,000 he still owed on his student loans.  And the private company the loans had been sold off to wrote him to inform he owed $17,000.

    Want to pretend this isn't predatory lending?

    Want to pretend this isn't a serious problem?

    We don't have time for hacks, whores, liars or dumb f**ks.

    If Hillary wants to get real about fixing the problem, we'll note that but for now she's just another crooked politician lying to the people.


    Illustration is Isaiah's "Hillary Teaches Children."

    Psst, don't tell Ezzie Klein

    Little Ezra Klein has been a full on whore for ObamaCare.  Even as the realities sink in to the rest of Americans, Ezzie covers his eyes.

    Well don't tell Little Ezzie, but word is Blue Cross Blue Shield is having a major discussion privately about the future of the company.


    At their website, they boast about being available in all 50 states and "accepted by over 90% of doctors and specialists."

    Ezzie may not know this -- he doesn't know much, does he? -- but that's really Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO.

    The Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is accepted by less than 30% of doctors and specialists.

    So what's BCBS privately discussing?

    Dropping the PPO plans.  They'd still offer HMO and, of course, the worthless BCBS plans available on the ACA exchange, but they'd do away with the PPO plans that most Americans have if they have Blue Cross Blue Shield.

    This would lead to major changes and it's not something Little Ezra's prepared to discuss or even acknowledge.

    Pay To Play: The Hillary Clinton Story

    It's bad enough that to even 'faux' enter Hillary Clinton's campaign site, you have to provide your e-mail.

    Even worse?

    Greedy thang won't let you move beyond the next page unless you fork over a donation.


    How greedy is she?

    Hillary Clinton is the worst campaigner in the field today and that's made clear to visitors of her website who look to see what she stands for only to discover she stands for being a greedy monster and won't let you into her campaign site until you donate.

    Even porn sites offer a free preview, Hillary.

    (Dare we say it: If you doubt us, you can check with Bill?)


    ADDED September 14, 2015:


    Last week, we offered "Pay To Play: The Hillary Clinton Story" decrying the fact that to enter Hillary Clinton's campaign website, you not only had to provide an e-mail address, you had to provide a donation.

    The Clinton campaign maintains that was a glitch and not a permanent feature.

    So we are issuing a correction noting that this was a glitch at the website.

    We're issuing it for two reasons:

    A) You can now enter her campaign site without donating.

    B) C.I. personally knows the person with the campaign who contacted us and feels the person is always forthright.

    We're doing a correction in this week's edition because that's what most people will read -- this week's edition.  We will also add this to the bottom of the feature from last week.

    This edition's playlist


    1) Janis Joplin's PEARL.

    2) Marvin Gaye's LET'S GET IT ON.

    3) Nirvana's IN UTERO.

    4) The Breeders' LAST SPLASH.

    5) Sarah Vaughan's AFTER HOURS.

    6) Laura Nyro and Labelle's GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE.

    7) Dusty Springfield's DUSTY IN MEMPHIS.

    8) Wayne Shorter's MOTO GROSSO FEIO.

    9) Nick Drake's FIVE LEAVES LEFT.

    10) Betty Carter's NOW IT'S MY TURN.

    Our American economy should work for all of us and not just a few us.

    Martin O'Malley's August speech to the Young Democrats of America:

    Young Democrats of America Convention

    Remarks as delivered.
    Thank you. Thank you very, very much.

    It is wonderful to be here with all of you. I want to thank Atima Omara, your YDA president, Dina Cervantes, your convention host chair. Big round of applause for both of them, shall we? Eric Bowman, our Democratic Party vice president, and all the convention team and staff. Big round of applause.

    It’s really great to be with all of you, and I’m looking forward to talking with you afterwards, too.

    I’m going to mill about and look forward to meeting each and every one of you. I cannot thank you enough for the invitation to be with all of you today.

    My name is Martin O’Malley.

    I am not a former Republican. I am not a former Independent. I am not a former Socialist. I am a Democrat and I’m running for President of the United States.

    And I am running for one reason—and one reason only—and that is to rebuild the truth of the American Dream we share, and I need your help.

    I was just talking to the chair of the county Democrats, and I said, “You know what the young people of our Party should lead a movement on? Two constitutional amendments.” And I know that you still have a few more days in your convention, so maybe there’s a possibility to consider these.

    One of the constitutional amendments that we need to pass, and work state by state to pass, is a constitutional right to vote. You guys can run with this ball.

    The second one is a constitutional amendment to overturn one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of late, and that is Citizens United. Corporations are not people. I know if you run with both of those, I think they can be game-changers.

    Let the other guys in the Republican Party explain to voters why they’re against a constitutional right to vote, huh? Instead of nibbling around the edges, let’s just go right to the heart of the matter.

    Let’s ask all of those guys on their debate stage whether or not they believe that corporations are people, huh? There are certain things we stand for as a country, and I know you guys carry those truths in your heart.

    Let me share a couple thoughts with you, and as I do so I want to tell you that I really need your help.
    I’ll make a full pitch here, but there’s not a doubt in my mind that there’s a huge generational shift going on in our country. There’s a new generation of leadership that’s emerging throughout our nation, and all of you represent it here in this room.

    You see, you and I are part of a living, self-creating mystery called the United States of America.

    But the promise that’s at the heart of that mystery is no abstraction.

    It is the very concrete promise, the very real covenant between us as a people, if you will.

    That whatever your parents’ zip code, whatever your parents’ or income, in our country you start where you start. But through your hard work you’re able to get ahead.

    So call it an economy that works, call it the American Dream. Whatever you call it, the truth of the matter is that it worked very, very well for us as a country for the better part of 240 years. That is, until we took a little bit of a detour down a path called trickle-down economics.

    But it is not too late. It can work again. In fact our economy, our American economy should work for all of us and not just a few us.

    Wages should rise—not fall—with productivity.

    No American child should go to bed hungry every night.

    Earning a college degree shouldn’t saddle a student, or a whole generation of students and their parents, with a mountain of debt for the rest of their lifetimes.

    And our parents and our grandparents should be able to live out their retirement years in security, not in poverty: with dignity, not having to choose between their medicine and their food.

    These are also all of the pillars of the 15 Goals for Rebuilding the American Dream that I rolled out this week in Iowa, one by one, policy action by policy action, each one actually reinforcing the other and complimenting the other.

    Bold ideas, concrete plans, actions to make our country stronger, to make the American Dream true again in the most important places in our country. Namely, the kitchen tables of every single American family.

    Make no mistake about it: how you campaign determines how you govern, and how far you can go in governing.

    The challenges of our times, the challenges of these times, actually the challenges of your times, demand a new way of leadership. What do I mean by that?

    I mean that your baby-boomer parents and even grandparents were oftentimes accustomed to a way of leadership that was ideological, that was hierarchical, that was bureaucratic and riddled with -isms.

    Where political authority was most often based on the rule of “because I said so.”

    But to solve the problems of a new day, you demand a new way of leadership, a new way of governing.

    A new way of solving problems that is actually fundamentally entrepreneurial, that is collaborative in its method, and that is interactive in a relentless sort of way, asking the question always, “Does it work?” All legitimate authority resting on that question. Show me that it actually works.

    There’s a tremendous generational shift going on in our country, and that is why I wanted to be here.

    Sadly, most of the established leaders of our own Party don’t even see that it’s coming.

    What does it tell you that six months out from the first primaries and caucuses of our Party’s presidential nomination, I am the only one of our presidential candidates that took the time and wanted to be here with you?

    Let me talk with you about this generational shift and why it is I believe that our Party would be best served by having more debates and having them now.

    On one side of this generational shift—on your parent’s side, if you will—there is a tremendous amount of oftentimes unspoken fear, anger, or worse: resignation.

    On your side there is fearlessness, there is hope, and an unrelenting resolve to make better.

    What I am talking about is this: most of your parents and grandparents are plagued by a low-grade fear that they can barely even give voice to. It is the fear that by neglecting our country, we have given you a future of less: less opportunity, less health, less prosperity, and less security.

    Younger Americans, on the other hand, that I’ve had conversations with all across our country, understand that fear and anger never built a great country and never was very good at solving problems.

    You are too focused on the urgency and opportunity of now to waste time and energy on resignation.

    If you want to know where our country is headed, talk to her young people, young Americans especially under 30, as I have all across our country.

    You will rarely meet among the young Americans people who deny that climate change is real or think that their country shouldn’t do something about it.

    You will rarely find among young Americans under 30, people who want to bash New American immigrants, or deny rights to gay couples and their children and families.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the country you carry in your hearts is a stronger America, a more compassionate and generous America, a more loving, honest, and life-giving America.

    The political question at hand in this presidential election is whether we advance the arrival of that country we carry in our hearts sooner rather than later, or whether we take a bad detour through a nation of fear and loathing.

    I believe that we need to move forward.

    Did you watch that Republican debate last week? Anyone want to admit watching the Republican debate last week? It was like a bad episode of that Johnny Knoxville series, wasn’t it?

    You didn’t hear one word about climate change. Or the minimum wage. Or voting rights.




    You did hear talk of raising the retirement age for senior citizens, about cutting taxes for billionaires.

    You heard all sorts of hateful language about immigrants and all sorts of denigrating language about women.

    Welcome to today’s Republican Party.

    Their party once had leaders and visionaries. Lincoln asserted our unity, didn’t he? And our common humanity. Eisenhower liberated the world and built our nation’s highway system to connect us.

    Now Republicans create traffic jams, denigrate New American immigrants and women, and dismiss everything from climate science to vaccines. Give them a few more weeks and they’ll be shunning Copernicus.

    We need new leadership, not new hates. And today, for the progress of our nation, that leadership must come from the Democratic Party!

    I am not the only candidate for President who holds progressive values, but I am the only candidate for President with fifteen years of executive experience—as a big-city mayor and as a governor—turning those progressive values into progressive realities, progressive results, progressive accomplishments.

    It’s about getting things done. What do I mean?

    In Baltimore, we saved lives by reducing record-high violence to record lows, and we helped thousands of our courageous neighbors free themselves from the scourge of drug addiction.
    Actions, not words.

    When I ran for governor of Maryland, we set out bold goals. And I did something that the political consultants say you’re not supposed to do: attaching deadlines within your term of office to those goals.

    And I led my state forward to making nation-leading progress even in the face of a recession.

    Instead of cutting public education, we actually increased public education funding by 37%, and we made our schools the best in America five years in a row.

    Those were actions, not words.

    In Maryland, we defended the highest median income in the nation all through the recession and created jobs at a faster rate than our neighbors north or south.

    Actions, not words.

    We froze college tuition for four years in a row.

    Actions, not words.

    We expanded family leave and voting rights, we passed Driver’s licenses for New American immigrants, and we banned the sale of assault weapons.

    Actions, not words.

    We fought for the DREAM Act, we fought for Marriage Equality, and we defended them at the ballot, and we won!

    All of those were actions, not words. The ability to form a new consensus.

    In tougher times than these, young Democrats, Franklin Delano Roosevelt told our grandparents not to be afraid. John Kennedy told our parents in changing times that “to govern is to choose.”

    I say to you that progress is choice. Job creation is a choice. Whether or not we make our country weaker or stronger, this too is a choice. And you and I have work to do.

    True story: my wife, Katie, and I have four kids. Two boys, two girls. Our oldest daughter, Grace, is 24 years old. She is heading into her third year as a first-grade teacher. Teach For America, at Walter P. Carter Elementary School in Baltimore City.

    A couple months ago, after her father had announced for president, there was a buzz in her school when Miss O’Malley returned to her first-grade class: adorable 100% African-American kids, eager and ready to learn.

    And one little girl in her classroom tugged her on the sleeve, true story, and said to her, “Miss O’Malley? I’m not so sure about this idea of your father running for president, because quite frankly I kind of like Barack Obama.”

    Well a lot of us like Barack Obama. We have come a long way as a nation since the Wall Street crash and the Bush Recession of 2008.

    As our country teetered on the brink of a second Great Depression by the recklessness on Wall Street and the home-grinding machines of foreclosures, we elected a new leader in Barack Obama to move our country forward, and that is exactly what he’s done!

    A lot of the decisions that he had to make individually were not popular. We don’t elect presidents to be popular; we elect them to make the right decisions to move our country forward.

    And get this, this is the good news: our country is doing better. We can see that in 65 months in a row of positive month-over-month job creation. That’s the good news.

    But here is, my fellow Democrats, the tough truth of our times: 70% of us are still earning the same or less than we were twelve years ago. That is not how our country is supposed to work. There is still a growing, compounding injustice in our country and economic inequality that threatens, quite literally, to tear us apart.

    Wealth and power—over the course of these last thirty or forty years of trickle-down and sometimes trickle-down light, and sometimes Democrats not having the spine to stand up for the more common-sense economics that our parents and grandparents practiced—we have so concentrated wealth and power in the hands of so few that it is literally taking opportunity out of the homes, and the wallets, and the neighborhoods of the many.

    This did not happen by accident.

    Powerful, wealthy special interests in our own country used our government to create an economy that is leaving a majority of our people behind, where we work harder but we do not get ahead.

    My father went to college after flying 33 missions over Japan in a B-24 liberator. He went to college on the G.I. Bill.

    Just two generations later, my daughters went to college and our whole family got saddled with a mountain of bills.

    We are the only nation on the planet that saddles our college graduates with a mountain of debt that they will be paying off for a lifetime, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Get this: last year, Wall Street bonuses alone totaled twice what every American working at minimum wage earned combined. That’s not an economy that’s working for all of us.

    Tell me how it is that not a single Wall Street CEO was ever convicted of a single crime related to the 2008 economic meltdown. Not a single one.

    What have we come to as a nation that you can get pulled over for a broken tail light, but if you wreck the nation’s economy you are untouchable? What’s that about?

    That’s not the American Dream. That’s not how our country is supposed to work, and that’s not how our economy is supposed to work.

    The genius of our nation is that in every generation we take action to include more and more of our people, more fully in the economic, in the social, and in the political life of our country. That’s our formula. That’s what makes us great. That’s what makes our economy grow.

    That’s the formula we followed in Maryland. We didn’t try to cut our way to prosperity. We made the investments that included more of our people with higher levels of skills. We made it easier, not harder, for people to vote. It’s about including more people in the life of our country.

    In other words the good news, my friends, is this: in order to continue this work and build upon the good things that we have done for the last eight years under president Obama’s leadership, we need only return to our true selves and remember:

    Our economy is not money; it is people. It is all of our people.

    A stronger middle class is not the consequence of economic growth; it is the cause of economic growth.

    No American family who works hard and plays by the rules should have to raise their children in poverty, and so yes, we must raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, however we can and wherever we can!

    We must return to the economic justice of paying overtime pay for overtime work!

    We must make it easier and not harder for workers to join labor unions and collectively bargain for better wages for all of us!

    We must advance the cause of paid family leave so that women can participate fully in the economic life of our country, because when women succeed, America succeeds!

    Last week, I put forward 15 Goals to Rebuild the American Dream we share, and to make it true in the homes of all Americans:

    Improving the net median wealth of American families by at least $25,000 in ten years.

    Increasing wages by 4 percent a year within four years,

    Cutting Youth Unemployment in half within 3 years, with national service and the other things that actually work to put our people to work.

    Full employment for American veterans, and instead of cutting Social Security, we need to expand Social Security!

    In our country, there is no such thing as a spare American.

    And so we must reform our criminal justice system to save more lives, redeem more lives, and to reduce our appallingly high incarceration rate as a nation.

    And if you want wages to go up, then let’s bring 11 million our neighbors out of the underground shadow economy and into the full light of an open on-the-books American economy with immigration reform!

    Comprehensive immigration reform. What has made us great generation after generation is that we have attracted the best and the brightest from all over the world. They have made our country a stronger and better place.

    What have we come to now that we are so gridlocked in Washington that we can’t do what’s best for our nation’s economy and our nation’s security? But we can spend money on chain-link fence and barbed wire to intern women and children and families.

    That’s not my America, and that’s not the America you carry in your hearts.

    The enduring symbol of the America that you carry in your hearts is not chain link and barbed wire.

    It is the Statue of Liberty!

    So let’s take action, shall we? Let’s take the actions necessary to make a debt-free college degree something that’s available to every American family within the next five years!

    And let’s, as Americans and the great nation that we are, square our shoulders to the challenge of our times by moving America forward to a 100% clean electric grid by 2050, and create 5 million jobs along the way!

    We are standing on the threshold of a new era of American progress.

    Together we have to take the actions necessary to walk through that door, to rebuild America’s cities and towns as places of justice and opportunity.

    To invest in our infrastructure, not just clean air, but clean water and better transportation. These are only things that we can do for ourselves

    China’s not going to do it for us, India’s not going to do it for us. This is our country. We’re Americans. We need to make the investments in our country in order to make real the promise of opportunity for all.

    None of these things can happen by themselves. They happen because of the actions that we take.

    There are also a few things that we need to stop doing, though, as a Party. One of them is giving a free pass to the bullies of Wall Street to run rough-shod over the best interests of the American people.

    We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and restore robust prosecution to Wall Street.

    And if a bank is too big to fail, too big to jail, and too big to manage, then it’s probably too damn big, and it needs to be broken up before it breaks up our economy again.

    We also need to learn from the past. We need to build a much more circulatory economy here in the United States, mindful of life-cycle cost, of consumption and production, and the need for employment here at home.

    That is why I am against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the fast-tracking of American jobs and corporate profits abroad!

    It’s not what other countries are doing to us. It is what we are not doing for ourselves!

    We need to build up our own American economy. These are the goals worthy of a great people.

    These are the actions that will give our children a stronger country and more opportunity.
    I leave you with these words:

    The great poet laureate of the American Dream, Bruce Springsteen, once asked:

    Is a dream a lie, if it don’t come true?

    Or is it something worse?

    Whenever a nation reaches the point in her history that we have reached, of such extreme income inequality, there are only two paths forward. Just two.

    Only one of them is good. That is a sensible rebalancing based on the belief we share and the dignity of every person, and based in an awareness that we share a common good as a people.

    The other path is pitchforks, or stones, or rocks—more of them in the hands of more and more unemployed, angry, and desperate young men who feel they’re unneeded, unwanted, and unnecessary in their own country.

    I vote for a sensible rebalancing, and I bet you do as well.

    But I need your help.

    I want you to be my state coordinators of this presidential campaign; I want you to be my county coordinators of this history-changing presidential campaign. I want you to run as delegates to the national convention for this campaign.

    So I am going to be hanging out afterwards, and I’m going to have some able staff with me.

    If you have both the courage and the inclination to join me in this march across the battlefield of democracy, see me afterwards and I will give you a rank of responsibility that no other campaign can give you.

    Within this very hall are the leaders of the Democratic Party who can win this presidential contest for the country we carry in our hearts.

    Together, we can forge a new consensus for progress, we can make and re-make our country and our world.

    I know that some in our Party who pat you on the head and tell you, “You’re going to inherit this party someday.”

    That’s nonsense. This Party is already. This party is yours right now! Think about it.

    Think about this:

    In 2012, Mitt Romney won a majority of the votes cast by Americans over 30, but Barack Obama won a vast majority of votes cast by Americans under 30.

    This Party is already yours. Their Party looks to the past; our Party looks to the future.

    Without you, there is no Democratic Party.

    I know that there are some in our Party with positions of great responsibility, even those that tell us we’ve become such an impoverished Party we can only afford one debate in Iowa before the Iowa caucuses. They will tell you that we’ve become so poor as a party that we can only afford one debate in New Hampshire. And they are the same people that will tell you that “one day, you will inherit this country.”

    Horse hockey! This country is your country right now. You take it where you want to take it!

    Does anyone seriously believe that marriage equality would be the law of the land in the United States today without younger people showing us the way forward?

    Teaching us how to recognize the human dignity in one another, not only in the law but in our hearts?

    Without you we cannot confront climate change, without you we cannot pass immigration reform, without you we cannot make our economy work again for all of us.

    But with you, we can.

    That is why this election isn't about the power of the Koch Brothers.

    It’s not about Donald Trump, or big money and the hate that seeks to poison our politics.

    It’s about us. It’s about you and me. Us: U, period, S, period.

    It is about whether or not we still have the grit, still have the determination, still have the compassion for one another to make our country a better place by forging a new consensus for progress!

    I believe we do, and I am betting you believe it as well.

    So join me in this fight for the country we carry in our hearts!

    Join me for the better future we can make together!

    The affirmation for the duty we have to transform our nation.

    This is our country now right now and together let’s make the most of her!

    Thank you all very, very much.

    The Ascent of Woman -- looking at pre-history helps us understand oppression

    This is a repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

    The Ascent of Woman -- looking at pre-history helps us understand oppression

    The BBC’s new series The Ascent of Woman popularises the idea that women’s oppression hasn’t always existed—but it can’t explain why, writes Sarah Bates

    Alexandra Kollontai (portrait) was a leading figure in the Russian Revolution
    Alexandra Kollontai (portrait) was a leading figure in the Russian Revolution (Pic: BBC/Silver River)

    Dr Amanda Foreman’s new BBC series chronicles the history of women from pre-class society to the present day.

    The series begins with the bold claim that in the West “There has never been a better time to be born a woman.

    “Yet in many parts of the world” it’s a different story.

    This could fall into the trap that women “have it all” because a few have made it to top ruling class jobs.

    Yet Foreman’s starting point is basically correct. Women’s oppression has existed for a long time. But to understand it we need to look at how society is organised, rather than biology.

    Foreman takes us on a journey through the archaeological finds of the Turkish village Catalhoyuk.

    To her surprise, there are no signs of a nuclear family or different social classes at all.

    Early humans organised society along egalitarian lines unrecognizable from today.


    It’s brilliant that someone is bringing the radical assertion that oppression hasn’t always existed to a mass audience.

    However, The Ascent of Woman’s general framework is problematic. For Forman, the position of women depends on how strong patriarchy and oppressive ideas are within societies.

    But women’s oppression flows from class society—which precisely did not exist in Catalhoyuk.

    Later episodes appear to cover the Russian Revolution of 1917, when the mass of working class women and men were united in fighting for liberation.

    It will be interesting to see how Forman can rely on patriarchy to explain women’s position during that time.

    The programme also focuses on the “achievements” of individual woman, such as emperors and generals. Yet she does next to nothing to analyse the lives of the mass of ordinary women.

    While there’s a lot to disagree with, it does show that ideas around gender have radically changed throughout history.

    The Ascent of Woman is a noble attempt at putting women’s lives back in the history pages. It presents women as the subjects that shape the societies they live in.

    The Ascent of Woman
    Dr Amanda Foreman 
    BBC Two
    9pm, Sunday 

    Senator Cardin Announces Position after Reviewing Iran Nuclear Agreement

    Last week, Senator Ben Cardin's office issued the following:

    BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in an op-ed appearing in The Washington Post announced today his decision to vote to disapprove of the Iran nuclear agreement after completing an in-depth review.

    Senator Cardin writes, “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) does contain significant achievements. It imposes severe restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program for the next 10 to 15 years. And we retain the ability to snap back into place international sanctions in the event of a significant violation, without the possibility of other members vetoing U.S. action at the U.N. Security Council…This is a close call, but after a lengthy review, I will vote to disapprove the deal. The JCPOA legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program. After 10 to 15 years, it leaves Iran with the option to produce enough enriched fuel for a nuclear weapon in a short time. The JCPOA would provide this legal path to a country that remains a rogue state and has violated its international nonproliferation obligations for years.”

    In the op-ed, Cardin adds: “Regardless of whether Congress rejects the JCPOA, discomfort with aspects of the agreement remains across the ideological spectrum. That is why I will introduce legislation backed by supporters and opponents of the deal designed to strengthen the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act and U.S. regional security strategy. This would be consistent with the administration’s interpretation of the agreement and complement its regional security commitments.”
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