06/24/2015 archive

Jill Stein for President 2016

Once again Dr. Jill Stein has announced that she will run for president as the Green Party candidate in 2016.

Dr. Stein, a Massachusetts medical physician, ran for president in 2012 and the two mainstream parties did everything in their power to silence her message, including arresting her and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, to prevent them from attending restricted debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney at Hofstra University. Despite that, according to her Wikipedia page.

She received 456,169 votes for 0.36% in the election, making her the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history. Stein received over 1% of the popular vote in three states: 1.3% in Maine, 1.1% in Oregon, and 1.0% in Alaska.

Dr. Stein also sat down with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman to talk about her platform and her differences with the Democratic Party candidates.

Transcript can be read here

When asked by interns with Scripts Howard about her differences with Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Dr. Stein tweeted:

You can read her platform here.

Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Elizabeth Warren: Trade Agreements Should Not Benefit Industry Only

Recently Hillary Clinton joined Nancy Pelosi and many others in Congress to call on the president to reorient our trade policy so that it produces a good deal for all Americans – not just for a handful of big corporations. Here’s a realistic starting point: Fix the way we enforce trade agreements to ensure a level playing field for everyone. Many of our close allies – major trading partners like Australia, Germany, France, India, South Africa, and Brazil – are already moving in this direction. American negotiators should stop fighting those efforts and start leading them.

We live in a largely free trade world. Over the past 50 years, we’ve opened up countless markets, so that tariffs today are generally low. As a result, modern trade agreements are less about reducing tariffs and more about writing new rules for everything from labor, health, and environmental standards to food safety, prescription drug access, and copyright protections.

Even if those rules strike the right balance among competing interests, the true impact of a trade deal will turn on how well those rules are enforced. And that is the fundamental problem: America’s current trade policy makes it nearly impossible to enforce rules that protect hard-working families, but very easy to enforce rules that favor multinational corporations.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Pope Francis vs. Wall Street

Laudato Si,’ ” Pope Francis’s stunning encyclical, has earned much deserved attention for its ringing declaration that climate change poses a real and present danger and is caused “mainly as a result of human activity.” But Pope Francis’s text is far broader. He grounds his call for action on climate change within a fierce critique of the false doctrines of market fundamentalism, calling on us to “reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals.” The pope, as the Wall Street Journal summarized, issues “an indictment of the global market economy” for “plundering the Earth at the expense of the poor and of future generations.” [..]

The pope condemns the current global economy “where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment. Here we see how environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked.”

Wall Street comes under particular criticism: “Finance overwhelms the real economy. The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated.” As a result, “whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of the deified market, which become the only rule.”

Amy B. Dean: Is the fight for $15 the next civil rights movement?

Black Lives Matter and the push to raise the minimum wage show how racial and economic justice are intertwined

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a national hero for helping end racial segregation in the United States. Yet he spent the last years of his life working as much for economic justice as for racial justice.

When he was shot and killed in Memphis in April 1968, King was in the city on behalf of striking sanitation workers who were trying to organize a union and win higher wages. The predominantly black labor force had to work seven days a week with no vacations, carrying 80 pound crates of rotting garbage. They were being paid wages so low that many were forced to supplement their income with public assistance programs.

Dr. King always understood that the fight for labor rights was integral to attaining true social, political and economic equality. In a speech at the May 1961 AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention, he linked the aspirations of African-Americans in the United States with organized labor’s cause.

Sonali Kolhatkar: How Politicians, Media, and the Gun Lobby Enable Racist Terror

The Charleston Massacre is a product of simmering racial tensions that elites continue to deny. Will the attack be a turning point for change?

On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, killing four African-American girls. The incident shocked people around the nation and galvanized the civil rights movement, making leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. even more determined to end segregation. Just as that horrific attack was a reflection of racist violence and became a pivotal event in the civil rights movement, so too should the Charleston shooting be seen as a seminal moment, indicative of simmering racial hatred. However, right-wing conservatives like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham want us to believe that the massacre of nine African-Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week was about religion more than race, a sentiment repeatedly echoed on Fox News. But in fact, the Charleston massacre has much more in common with the 1963 Alabama church bombing. Nine people lost their lives because of a pathology in American society that we continue to be unwilling to address. Will we seize this moment and change history before more terror strikes?

What is different now is that the resurgence of white supremacist attacks on African-Americans comes at the same time that the U.S. government is fighting a “war on terror” against radical Islam. The hypocrisy of calling Boston marathon bomber Dhozkar Tsarnaev a “terrorist,” while labeling the Charleston perpetrator Dylann Roof as a “shooter” who may have been “mentally ill,” has raised the ire of many. And yet almost no politician has used the word “terrorist” as yet to describe Roof. FBI Director James Comey has explicitly ruled out calling it a terrorist act. On his website Roof referred to “black on white crime,” which he googled and then confessed that “I have never been the same since that day.” His statement to one of the survivors of the Charleston massacre that “you rape our women, and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go,” exemplifies a long-standing racist paranoia that African-American men are preying on white women.

Michelle Goldberg: The 2 Degrees of Separation Between Dylann Roof and the Republican Party

News that Earl Holt, president of the white-supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, has donated $65,000 to Republicans, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum, has ricocheted around the media since The Guardian broke it last night. No wonder: It reveals a mere two degrees of separation between the racist murderer Dylann Roof, who says the CCC helped inspire him, and the GOP. It might be unfair to make this link if the support only went one way-after all, politicians can’t be held responsible for the views of everyone who gives them money. But the entanglement between the Council of Conservative Citizens and the Republican Party is longer and deeper than just a few checks, and for many years, it was mutual.

“The public sees the CCC and wants to think of it as an extremist group, which it is, but it’s also a group that’s had a foothold historically in mainstream politics,” says Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Michelle Chen: Someone Has to Sort Your Recycling and It’s a Disgusting and Dangerous Job

The green economy was chugging along at the Nevada paper recycling plant that morning in June 2012, feeding an oversized mound of waste toward a conveyor belt. But when the machine got jammed, the worker who tried to unclog it suddenly got flattened by a 2.5-ton mass of paper. A coworker rushed to extract him using a front-end loader, but according to a government report, the worker died at the hospital two days later, smothered by the dead trees he had been tasked with salvaging.

The industries that pride themselves on being friends of the earth are often hostile to workers, according to new research on the safety conditions in recycling plants. Published by Massachusetts Council for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), National COSH, and other advocacy groups, the analysis of the industry shows that despite the green sector’s clean, progressive image, workers remain imperiled by old school industrial hazards. Workers face intense stress, dangerous machinery and inadequate safeguards, while toiling in strenuous positions amid constant toxic exposures.

The Breakfast Club (Dreams)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Start of the Berlin blockade during the early Cold War; Boxing champ Jack Dempsey born; Comedian and actor Jackie Gleason of ‘The Honeymooners’ fame dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

On This Day In History June 24

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 24 is the 175th day of the year (176th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 190 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1957, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment.

Roth v. United States, along with its companion case, Alberts v. California, was a landmark case before the United States Supreme Court which redefined the Constitutional test for determining what constitutes obscene material unprotected by the First Amendment.

Prior history

Under the common law rule that prevailed before Roth, articulated most famously in the 1868 English case Hicklin v. Regina, any material that tended to “deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences” was deemed “obscene” and could be banned on that basis. Thus, works by Balzac, Flaubert, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence were banned based on isolated passages and the effect they might have on children.

Samuel Roth, who ran a literary business in New York City, was convicted under a federal statute criminalizing the sending of “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” materials through the mail for advertising and selling a publication called American Aphrodite (“A Quarterly for the Fancy-Free”) containing literary erotica and nude photography. David Alberts, who ran a mail-order business from Los Angeles, was convicted under a California statute for publishing pictures of “nude and scantily-clad women.” The Court granted a writ of certiorari and affirmed both convictions.

The case

Roth came down as a 6-3 decision, with the opinion of the Court authored by William J. Brennan, Jr.. The Court repudiated the Hicklin test and defined obscenity more strictly, as material whose “dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest” to the “average person, applying contemporary community standards.” Only material meeting this test could be banned as “obscene.” However, Brennan reaffirmed that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment and thus upheld the convictions of Roth and Alberts for publishing and sending obscene material over the mail.

Congress could ban material, “utterly without redeeming social importance,” or in other words, “whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest.”

With the Court unable to agree as to what constituted obscenity, the Justices were put in the position of having to personally review almost every obscenity prosecution in the United States, with the Justices gathering for weekly screenings of “obscene” motion pictures (Black and Douglas pointedly refused to participate, believing all the material protected). Meanwhile, pornography and sexually oriented publications proliferated as a result of the Warren Court’s holdings, the “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960s flowered, and pressure increasingly came to the Court to allow leeway for state and local governments to crack down on obscenity. During his ill-fated bid to become Chief Justice, Justice Abe Fortas was attacked vigorously in Congress by conservatives such as Strom Thurmond for siding with the Warren Court majority in liberalizing protection for pornography. In his 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon campaigned against the Warren Court, pledging to appoint “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court.

The demise of Roth

In Miller v. California (1973), a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.

The Daily/Nightly Show (Life of Brian)

You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it.

Tonightly, the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia with our panel Joe Morton, Naomi Ekperigin, and Rory Albanese.

OK let me break it down, there were 3 official flags of the Confederate States of America.  The first was the Stars and Bars that had a Blue Canton with one White Star for each State (varying from 7 to 13) in a circle, superimposed on a field of 3 horizontal Stripes- Red, White, and Red.  That one was used from 1861 to 1863.  The second was the Stainless Banner which had a Canton based on the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia superimposed on an all White field.  That one was used until spring of 1865 when they added a broad Vertical Red Stripe opposite the Canton on the field because several officers complained that it looked too much like a White Flag of Surrender.  The last one is called the Blood Stained Banner ironically.

So these jackasses are not only racists, they’re morons.


Too True

This week’s guests-

Seth MacFarlane will be talking about Ted 2 which you might like if you liked Ted.  It strikes me as a total waste of time and money not just for the audience but also everyone involved including craft services.

Al Franken’s 2 part web exclusive extended interview and the real news below.