Daily Archive: 08/28/2015

Aug 28 2015

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.

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

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Paul Krugman: Crash-Test Dummies as Republican Candidates for President

Will China’s stock crash trigger another global financial crisis? Probably not. Still, the big

market swings of the past week have been a reminder that the next president may well have to deal with some of the same problems that faced George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Financial instability abides.

So this is a test: How would the men and women who would be president respond if crisis struck on their watch?

And the answer, on the Republican side at least, seems to be: with bluster and China-bashing. Nowhere is there a hint that any of the G.O.P. candidates understand the problem, or the steps that might be needed if the world economy hits another pothole.

Eugene Robinson: The Republican Nomination: Anyone Who Says Donald Trump Can’t Win Is in Deep Denial

I know you haven’t heard enough about Donald Trump recently, so here’s more: At this point, anyone who says he can’t win the Republican nomination is in deep denial.

Trump announced his candidacy on June 16 and immediately vaulted into the top tier of candidates. On July 14, a USA Today poll put Trump in the lead by three points-and he has led every survey since. A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday said he had the support of 28 percent of GOP voters-which is huge in a field this big.

The new poll gave Trump a 16-point lead over his nearest competitor, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Jeb Bush, whom Trump has begun describing as a “low-energy person”-and who campaigns at times as if he were the nominee of destiny-stood at a measly 7 percent. Yikes.

That jolt you felt Thursday morning wasn’t an earthquake, it was the detonation of the Quinnipiac bomb.

Megan Carpentier: The blasé acceptance that you might get shot is a fact of American life

The first time I did something about America’s epidemic of mass shootings was not when I looked up and saw on TV that a child had shot up a school full of children – although that’s happened a lot of times here. [..]

The blasé acceptance that, yes, you might well get shot some day is as much of a facet of American life in 2015 as it was in 2002. We are as desensitized now as we were were in 1993, when Colin Ferguson shot up a Long Island Railroad train car of commuters and in 1984, when James Huberty shot up a McDonalds in San Ysidro, California. The shooting at the University of Albany, in upstate New York (1994) didn’t change anything. Columbine (1999) didn’t change anything. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania Amish schoolhouse shooting (2006) didn’t change anything.

Nothing changed for Americans because our political leaders didn’t change anything. Instead, a nation ducked.

John Nichols: Since When Are Democrats Afraid of Debates?

The Democratic National Committee needs to adapt to the new politics of 2016. Instead of constraining debate, as it has so far, the DNC should change course and encourage an open and freewheeling discourse. This is not just the right choice; it’s the politically practical thing to do.

Like it or not, the 2016 campaign is in full swing, and Americans are engaging with it. A record-breaking 24 million viewers tuned in to watch the August 6 GOP debate-more Americans than voted in all of the Republican primaries and caucuses of 2012 combined. It’s easy to dismiss these debates as “clown car” spectacles, considering the atrocious statements coming from Donald Trump and his apprentices. Yet since that first debate, Trump and other Republicans have seen their numbers spike in polls pairing them against anticipated Democratic opponents in 2016.

Democrats are making a serious mistake if they imagine that they’ll somehow benefit by letting the Republicans claim center stage as summer gives way to fall.

Mary Turck: Bias against black jurors must end

Prosecutors’ challenges against black jurors reinforce distrust of the criminal justice system as a whole<

The racism permeating the U.S. justice system is blatantly obvious in jury selection. On Aug. 17, Reprieve Australia, an anti-capital-punishment advocacy group, released a study showing that prosecutors in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, excluded black people from juries three times as often as white people over 10 years. A similar study in 2010 by Alabama-based nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, conducted in eight Southern states, found significant racially discriminatory practices in jury selection.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case this fall, Foster v. Humphrey, regarding a prosecutor’s use of challenges to eliminate black jurors. Such tactics result in fewer acquittals as well as deny a basic right and duty of citizenship. While court decisions are important, they are not enough. Community-based actions such as public campaigns and protests are needed to demand the enforcement of existing legal prohibitions of discrimination against black jurors.

Aug 28 2015

The Breakfast Club (Questions Without Answers)

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

Martin Luther King, Jr. gives ‘I Have a Dream’ speech; Clashes mar 1968 Democratic National Convention; Black teen Emmett Till abducted, killed in Mississippi; Britain’s Prince Charles, Princess Diana granted a divorce.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.

Matsuo Basho

Aug 28 2015

Ashley Madison: Is This Anyone’s Business?

The hacking of the “infidelity” web site Ashley Madison and the publishing of its member list set off a firestorm of curiosity here in puritanical USA and may even have caused a couple of suicides. But, truthfully, is this anyone’s business? And just who has this hurt?

Email from a Married, Female Ashley Madison User

By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

Ever since I wrote on Thursday about the Ashley Madison hack and resulting reactions and consequences, I’ve heard from dozens of people who used the site. They offer a remarkably wide range of reasons for having done so. I’m posting below one email I received that I find particularly illuminating, which I very lightly edited to correct a few obvious typographical errors:

   

Dear Glenn,

   Thank you for the kindness and humanity you have manifested to those of us whose data is now a source of public mockery and shame on AM.

   I am female, hold a job with a lot of responsibility, have three kids, one with special needs, and a husband with whom I have not been intimate for several years due to his cancer treatments.

   I also used to write about marriage law policy, encouraging traditional marriage for the good of children. My institution has a morality clause in all contracts.

   Mine is a loveless, sexless, parenting marriage. I will care for my husband if his cancer spreads, we manage good will for the sake of the children, but we cannot talk about my emotional or sexual needs without him fixating on his death and crying.

   I went on AM out of loneliness and despair, and found friendship, both male and female, with others trapped in terrible marriages trying to do right by their children.

   My experiences have led me to soften my views of marriage as my own marriage is a deeply humbling, painful longterm commitment.

   I expect to be ridiculed by colleagues, to lose my job, and to be publicly shamed, especially as a hypocrite. Yes, I used a credit card. In my case, I will get no sympathy from the right or the left as I do not fit into either of their simplistic paradigms.

   I have received email from Trustify that I have been searched, and it is soliciting me to purchase its services. And I am receiving lots of spam with racy headings.

   That is my story. When my outing happens, I suppose I might as well take a stand for those who are trapped in bad marriages. Many of us are doing the best we can, trying in our own imperfect way to cope with alienation, lovelessness, and physical deprivation.

   I do not want to hurt my children or husband. I truly wish I had a good one and I want happy marriages for others. I did what I did trying to cope. Maybe it was a bad idea but again, I have met some very decent people on AM, some of whom are now dear friends.

   Thank you again.

   Anonymous

As I argued last week, even for the most simplistic, worst-case-scenario, cartoon-villain depictions of the Ashley Madison user – a spouse who selfishly seeks hedonistic pleasure with indifference toward his or her own marital vows and by deceiving the spouse – that’s nobody’s business other than those who are parties to that marriage or, perhaps, their family members and close friends. But as the fallout begins from this leak, as people’s careers and reputations begin to be ruined, as unconfirmed reports emerge that some users have committed suicide, it’s worth remembering that the reality is often far more complex than the smug moralizers suggest.

Who is anyone to judge?

Aug 28 2015

Banana Republics

In some places impeachment is not “off the Table.”

Guatemala President Faces Arrest as Business Interests and U.S. Scramble to Contain Uprising

Guatemalan Supreme Court Approves Motion to Impeach President

By Sofia Rada, Truthout

Thursday, 27 August 2015 00:00

Amid a growing political crisis in Guatemala, the country’s Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision on August 25 to approve a motion by the attorney general to impeach the president. The attorney general identified President Otto Pérez Molina as the head of a corruption scheme that led to the resignation of the country’s vice president and a number of other senior officials. The growing crisis has mired the president’s administration for much of this year, but until now the opposition has been unable to get enough votes in congress to lift the immunity granted to Pérez Molina by Guatemalan law.

As opposition to his continuance in office mounted, Guatemalan President Pérez Molina announced on August 23 through a televised address that he would not resign. He categorically denied all claims that he has ties to the corruption scandal, which led to the May resignation of the country’s former vice president, Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested on August 21 and taken to court. The scandal concerns the funneling of taxes into private accounts and offering discounted custom rates for under-the-table payments. Despite growing protests and increasing pressure from those who oppose his continued rule, however, the president continues to reject any responsibility and does not show signs of succumbing to demands for his resignation.

In a statement sent via email to COHA, a U.S. Department of State Spokesperson said the department was closely monitoring the situation in Guatemala. The spokesperson reaffirmed the department’s support in “transparent, independent and impartial legal processes” and noted that the CICIG “has been a proven partner of both the government and people of Guatemala in their efforts to promote the rule of law.” The spokesperson did acknowledge the recent request by Guatemalan prosecutors for the right to impeach the president, but also urged all parties to respect the schedule of national elections and the Guatemalan constitutional process. Earlier in May, the State Department had issued a press release expressing its support of President Pérez Molina and his administration in efforts to address the issue of corruption in Guatemala. The State Department had also urged Guatemalans to support government institutions in investigations and prosecution of corruption and encouraged the president to work closely with the CICIG. However, the CICG has now identified Pérez Molina as complicit in the corruption scandal.

I haven’t forgotten Nancy.

Aug 28 2015

A Marxist Critique of Libralism- Vijay Prashad

A Four Part Interview on Reality Asserts Itself, The Real News Network.

Marx and Tolstoy Helped Me See the Limits of Liberalism

Questioning the Underlying Structures of Property and Power is “Off the Table”

Chelsea Manning, the Nuremberg Charter and Refusing to Collaborate with War Crimes

International Law and “The Responsibility to Protect”

Aug 28 2015

On This Day In History August 28

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

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

August 28 is the 240th day of the year (241st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 125 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King addressed the crowds assembled on the Washington Mall from the steps at the Lincoln Memorial. His speech, “I have a Dream”, is forever embedded in history and our memories as one of the great moments in the fight for civil rights. But there were many other speakers, and in particular one great performance by the “Queen of Gospel”, Mahalia Jackson. Right before Dr. King spoke, Ms. Jackson performed “How I Got Over”.

Indeed, if Martin Luther King, Jr., had a favorite opening act, it was Mahalia Jackson, who performed by his side many times. On August 28, 1963, as she took to the podium before an audience of 250,000 to give the last musical performance before Dr. King’s speech, Dr. King himself requested that she sing the gospel classic “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned.” Jackson was just as familiar with Dr. King’s repertoire as he was with hers, and just as King felt comfortable telling her what to sing as the lead-in to what would prove to be the most famous speech of his life, Jackson felt comfortable telling him in what direction to take that speech.

The story that has been told since that day has Mahalia Jackson intervening at a critical junction when she decided King’s speech needed a course-correction. Recalling a theme she had heard him use in earlier speeches, Jackson said out loud to Martin Luther King, Jr., from behind the podium on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” And at that moment, as can be seen in films of the speech, Dr. King leaves his prepared notes behind to improvise the entire next section of his speech-the historic section that famously begins “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream….”

There is no embeddable video of Ms Jackson from that day but here is the inspirational song she performed that day.