There’s so much bald-faced lying going on among Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee that the media needs to stop accepting this condition as normal and “to penetrate that lie.” That’s the view of Lawrence O’Donnell, a self-proclaimed mainstream socialist who isn’t afraid of controversy, a man who has worked in a number of roles …
I just had the experience of sitting on a jury in a criminal trial in the County Courthouse of Montgomery County, PA, a sprawling urban/suburban/rural region just north and west of Philadelphia. The first indication that something was amiss was when I entered the jury assembly room at 8:15 am on Monday. There were some …
Word is that Michael Bloomberg, the mega-billionaire former mayor of New York City who watched his wealth more than double while he sat in the mayor’s office is thinking of running for President as a Democrat in 2020.
Why does that suck?
Well, listen as my dear departed friend and co-founder of this site, Chuck Young, recounts (in an article written foR TCBH! published almost eight years ago) his conversation in late 2010 with a Bloomberg “push-poll” caller trying to convince Chuck to support Bloomberg in his re-election bid:
Pollster: Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to close the $4-billion budget by taking control of the pension plan from the state and enacting pension reform.
Chuck Young: Didn’t you just ask that?
P: No, that’s a new statement.
CY: Well, it sounds like a statement I disapproved of with only slightly different wording.
P: So you somewhat disapprove or strongly disapprove?
CY: Strongly. Now it’s your turn to answer my question. Do you know how much Mayor Mike Bloomberg is worth?
P: No, I don’t.
CY: I’ve seen different estimates, but it’s probably about $18 billion. You can put on your survey that I strongly disapprove of that.
P: The statement is this, sir: Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to avoid raising taxes on the middle class by taking control of the city union pension plans from the state legislature.
CY: Didn’t I already answer that?
P: No, sir.
CY: Strongly disapprove.
P: Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to shift control of service union pensions to the city council because the city council understands the needs of the people of New York City better than the state legislature. Do you strongly approve…
CY: $18 billion. You know what Mayor Mike could do with that all that money in his wallet?
P: Sir, I just need to know: Do you strongly approve, somewhat approve…
CY: Mayor Bloomberg could cover the entire budget gap all by himself, and still have $14 billion to live on. How bad could his life be with a mere $14 billion to spend? Would his daughter have to give up even one of her dressage ponies?
This article is running on the website of RT-TV
The Democratic Party leadership, composed of centrist and conservative Democrats who covet the money donated into party coffers by big Wall Street banks, arms manufacturers and the drug and medical establishment, was upset with the surprise primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young upstart Puerto Rican woman in the Bronx Queens congressional district of a 10-term House incumbent in June, as well as by victories of left and socialist candidates in various state legislative and local primaries across the country.
One morning, at breakfast,
Creator took a bite out of his toast.
He held it up to his wife proudly.
Moon, he said.
He took another bite.
Mushroom, he said.
His wife frowned.
He took another bite.
Anteater, he said.
And another: Acacia.
Now his wife glared at him.
Creator was squirming in his chair.
He had to pee.
He took several quick bites,
Leaving only the trunk
And a big bulb at the top
Before he hurried from the table.
Human, he said over his shoulder.
His wife stared at his plate.
I feel sorry for that skinny thing! she said.
And that giant brain is only going to get him in trouble!
She nibbled the top much smaller and sighed,
Not looking forward
To when her husband returned.
Liberal opponents of serious, aggressive action on climate change like California Governor Jerry Brown are the strange bedfellows of right-wing survivalists on one thing: Both are quick to warn darkly that if environmentalists have their way and impose strict cuts on oil, gas and coal production or on mileage standards for automobiles and pollution controls on power plants, or in the case of right-wingers, if the banking system is allowed to continue to run US economic policy and the Fed isn’t audited, the irate citizens of the US will descend into an orgy of anarchic violence and mayhem.
The argument is that if Americans are told they can no longer drive gas-guzzling automobiles and blast their air conditioners at will, or if the US financial system again collapses as it did in 2008 leading to the Great Recession, the people of this country will essentially go mad and a lawless chaos of dog-eat-dog, kill thy neighbor for his food, will ensue.
“It will be like the Great Depression all over,” I read in one account of a recent report by one JP Morgan Chase analyst who is predicting a dramatic market crash of over 40% followed by armageddon. (I learned about this little report of impending disaster from a former cop friend who advised me to get a gun and plenty of ammo and to stock up on food to be able to protect my family.)
But this is truly ignorance regarding what actually happened when everything did collapse back in the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.
It’s true that a few despondent investors did leap from windows of tall buildings in lower Manhattan after the 1929 stock market collapse, but not all that many, and things continued fairly calmly after that as the economy began to seize up. After all, very few Americans were actually invested in the market. But even as the lay-offs, bank collapses, bankruptcies and home foreclosures began to mount, there was no revolution in the US.
My own father, then just a young kid, recalls his family losing their home in Flushing, NY as his father, a carpet jobber, lost so many customers he had to give it up, unable to make the mortgage payments. He didn’t pick up a gun and go on a rampage, or join others in his situation and storm Washington. He just started looking for odd jobs to support his wife and two kids, and voted for Franklin D. Roosevelt in the next presidential election in 1932 and the other three after that.
The Great Depression, when unemployment soared to 25% of the workforce by 1933, remaining above 15% as late as 1940, far past any level it has hit since that time, even in the recent Great Recession, which of course was also much shorter. But even in the depths of that monstrous economic collapse in the 1930s, the American public didn’t turn on each other. In fact, quite the opposite, it was an era of sharing of what people had, and of collective action for change — especially in the field of labor union organizing. The Socialist Party also saw it’s biggest surge of support (the Communist Party, too), as workers saw the need to band together to defend themselves against a capitalist class that was viewed as predatory and criminal.
The politically ambitious mainstream Democratic Senator Cory Booker has been posing as a courageous man ready to put his seat in the Senate at risk by violating Senate rules and releasing “confidential” emails of Supreme Court nominee and current Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh at Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The truth of course is that some of what Sen. Booker “released” had already been declassified, and that in any event, nothing was of a national security nature. Furthermore, as a senator from a very Democratic state — New Jersey — and one with a Democratic governor and legislature, Booker would not be in any real danger even of losing his seat. In the highly unlikely case that Senate Republicans might try to have him tossed out of the Senate for a rule violation — something that hasn’t happened since 1862 — the New Jersey governor would certainly respond by just using his authority to reappoint him to fill the unexpired term.
All good for Booker, right? Where’s the downside?
Most of the uproar, left and right, about the revelation — in both a NY Times anonymous opinion page article by a “high official” in the White House, and a new book by Bob Woodward — that there are top people working for President Trump who are actively trying to keep him from doing dangerous or reckless things out of ignorance or anger, has focused on the question of whether such actions constitute treason, or whether it validates the claim that a “Deep State” cabal of secret behind-the-scenes Machiavellians is working to subvert a duly elected president.
There are grounds for making both arguments, but I’d toss in a third.
Missing from most of these analyses is the reality that officials working for the White House, and indeed the entire US government, don’t take a vow or have any legal obligation to support a leader, or even to support the government or for that matter such a nebulous concept as the “country” or “nation” or the United States of America. Rather, like all members of the military, they take an oath to “uphold and defend” the Constitution of the United States.
That is a big difference.
If the person who wrote that piece in the Times, and those he refers to as also acting behind the Trump’s back to prevent disaster (for example the president’s call to invade Venezuela or, as reported by Woodward’s sources, to murder Syrian leader Bashar Assad, or just to kill more people in Afghanistan), they are acting to prevent the president from violating international law and the US Constitution. If they prevent him from firing Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller who is investigating him and his campaign, which would be obstruction of justice and a high crime under the Constitution, they are protecting that Constitution.
Efforts by Tyrone Cook in 2010 to end the wrongful arrest of a nephew plunged this veteran law enforcer into the cesspool of dirty practices among police and prosecutors in Philadelphia.
An investigation conducted by Cook succeeded in having the false charges against his nephew dismissed. Those charges arose from improper investigative techniques by detectives Cook discovered. Such corner-cutting techniques fuel mass incarceration from flawed arrests through overzealous prosecutions.
But Cook’s whistleblowing that exposed improprieties by the cops and the prosecutor on his nephew’s case cost Cook the job he held for over two decades: Philadelphia policeman.
“I just want my name cleared,” Cook said recently.
Those cesspool practices that swamped Cook are too often covered-up by the same authorities who administer crackdowns on ordinary citizens for the same infractions ignored when committed by police and prosecutors.
The discharge of then Sgt. Tyrone Cook reeked of retaliation…retaliation routinely visited upon whistleblowers in police departments across America. Whistleblowers rarely receive support from police officials stated a disturbing study issued by the International Association of Chiefs of Police nearly twenty-years ago.
Philadelphia police officials fired Cook in September 2010 for repeated lateness that allegedly occurred six years earlier. Officials fired Cook despite the fact that in 2004 Cook never received a single reprimand for any of the three dozen times officials claimed he arrived to work late.
Heartbreak is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control.
– David Whyte
The afternoon of August 15, my wife Lou Ann got a call from her sister that their cousin Clara Lee had died in a freak accident with her car. We had just visited Clara Lee in early July in Raleigh. Her husband Tony died two years earlier; they were both academics with PhDs. This July was my fourth visit with Clara Lee and it was the one in which, in retrospect, I realize I fell in love with my 76-year-old cousin-in-law. Aretha Franklin died the day after Clara Lee’s death, adding a national mourning spin that seeped into our states-of-mind. Death was close. I was already feeling rather mortal due to a diagnosis for prostate cancer. I liked to joke: “None of us get out alive.” It wasn’t funny now. Clara Lee wasn’t a celebrity, but with her energy and empathetic heart, she was one of the best of us, an authentic peace- and joy-loving spirit. Her love of life was contagious, and I had caught it just on the cusp of her death.
Lou Ann and I drove down to Raleigh on Saturday August 25. It was a moving funeral ceremony, full of loving stories and tears; Clara Lee was affectionately eulogized as an Energizer Bunny known for an openness and warmth of heart that matched the headlong way she moved. She died, no doubt, in a characteristic flurry of things to do and to be done. That night, she was to lead a meeting of the neighborhood association that had voted her its president. That morning, she was headed to baby-sit for her two wonderful granddaughters. She started her car, a heavy old Mercury SUV, and began to back out of the driveway. She forgot something and ran to get it, leaving the car in gear. The heavy car rolled downward, gaining momentum as it dropped off the driveway toward the trees that surrounded her home. Somehow, attempting to stop it, she got caught between the door and a large tree. One can only hope the massive crushing of her birdlike chest was quick enough she did not suffer; those who saw her body said there was not a mark on her and she seemed peaceful.
John McCain died August 25, the day of Clara Lee’s funeral. Occupied with our personal mourning, we missed the initial McCain coverage. Lou Ann and I got the first dose of McCain funeral-drama Sunday night in a Raleigh motel, a worshipping bio complete with McCain’s “last words” taped especially for the American people. This led inexorably to the highly theatrical National Funeral on the following Saturday.
The fact is I’ve never liked John McCain. He was always too much the National Security State’s darling war-child. That would be the National Security State created in 1947 by law following the US victory in World War Two. I was born in 1947, an early pop in the baby boom and a bit of a “war child” myself. My father wasn’t an admiral, but he was a very proud Navy man who had skippered a PT boat around some of the worst battles in the South Pacific. He told his kids of pulling his PT boat into the mangrove to hide from the Japanese and being very scared; he told of torpedoing Japanese fishing boats and other small craft. The Solomon Islands and Peleliu were a long way from suburban New Jersey, where his wife and my then infant older brother held down the hearth.