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« Liberal Outrage: March 2016 | Main | Liberal Outrage: June 2016 »

Liberal Outrage

Classy

Link

The City of Cleveland announced on Monday that it will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was tragically killed by police officers in 2014 while holding a toy gun.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association released a statement responding to the settlement. Rather than acknowledging any error on the police's part, the association suggested that the Rice family use the funds to "educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms."

I think when you get away with shooting a 12-year old kid, you should prolly just shut the fuck up for forever and not issue asshole statements.


By min | April 26, 2016, 8:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Unbemused Groan at the Coen Brothers

Old news because the Oscars happened ages ago, but it's new news to me, so here you go.

Link

When Joel and Ethan Coen were asked about #OscarsSoWhite they responded with "matching bemused groans" and commented that while "diversity's important," "the Oscars are not that important."
By making such a big deal, you're assuming that these things really matter. I don't think they even matter much from an economic point of view. So yes, it's true--and it's also true that it's escalating the whole subject to a level it doesn't actually deserve.

The Coen brothers themselves have been nominated for 13 Academy Awards, and won four so it's possible that they're a bit more blasé about the whole affair.

...

Their most recent movie, Hail, Caesar!, set in 1950s Hollywood, has a huge star-studded, and mostly white cast. When asked why the main cast lacked diversity, Joel responded:

Why would there be? I don't understand the question. No--I understand that you're asking the question, I don't understand where the question comes from.

Not why people want more diversity--why they would single out a particular movie and say, 'Why aren't there black or Chinese or Martians in this movie? What's going on?' That's the question I don't understand. The person who asks that question has to come in the room and explain it to me.


The groan escalated to mentally smacking my head on my desk as i continued reading the Coen brothers' quotes.

I, like the Mary Sue, especially appreciate black people and the Chinese being lumped in there with Martians. They've now ruined my enjoyment of their movies with their diarrhea of the mouth. Thanks a lot.


By min | April 20, 2016, 3:43 PM | Liberal Outrage & Movies | Comments (1)| Link



More Democracy, We Deliver

Link

In the 2002 speech against the Iraq War that helped propel him to the presidency, then-state Sen. Barack Obama denounced not just the looming invasion of Iraq, but also human rights abuses by our "so-called allies" in Saudi Arabia...

And he spoke out against the U.S.' role as weapons supplier to the world...

But arms sales in general -- and specifically to Saudi Arabia -- have been a consistent element of Obama's tenure.

"Many Americans would be surprised to learn that his administration has brokered more arms deals than any administration of the past 70 years, Republican or Democratic," said William Hartung, a senior adviser to Secure Assistance Monitor, a progressive group that tracks arms sales.

...

To put that in context, in his first five years as president, Obama sold $30 billion more in weapons than President Bush did during his entire eight years as commander in chief.

So, it's really no wonder that Obama would be concerned about opening the possibility of lawsuits against the U.S. by people in foreign countries.

Rose also asked about legislation that would allow the relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudis, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, but has yet to be voted on by the full body.

Obama has said that he doesn't support the bill, due to the possibility of foreign citizens - presumably victims of US wars and drone strikes - suing the government.

"If we open up the possibility that individuals in the United States can routinely start suing other governments, then we are also opening up the United States to being continually sued by individuals in other countries," the commander-in-chief said.

Between our arms sales and our drone strikes, we'd be buried in lawsuits. Is that really the best answer he could think of? He couldn't come up with one that sounded less self-serving?


By min | April 20, 2016, 2:27 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Changing the debate

I find the "Bernie has already won because he's changed the debate and pulled Hillary to the left" comments to be subtly self-defeating, because it takes the urgency away from fighting to win the primary (yes, yes, however unlikely), which is how the debate is being changed. But i really was struck watching last night's debate about how much the conversation really has changed. It hit me on social security. Eight years ago, i was shouting at the television for Obama to challenge the moderator's framing that social security was going broke and does he have the strength to stand up to his base and make the cuts that are necessary. Last night, Wolf Fucking Blitzer was pressing Hillary Clinton on whether or not she was on board to expand social security, and she was tripping over herself to say that she is, despite her past and current equivocations.

The fact that Bernie has found his footing on foreign policy has made a big difference, too, as Hillary was entirely on defensive on that subject, having to defend her interventionist policy. And i think we had a serious conversation about Israel for the first time ever on national television.

It's also been true in proxy appearance on cable news. We've had people like Nina Turner, Michelle Alexander, Jeffrey Sachs, Robert Reich, and others repeatedly on television pushing views that would not have gotten the attention otherwise. It's also given Tulsi Gabbard a spotlight, and if she can't be my vice president next year there's now an opportunity for her to become a Senator and beyond in the future. So i do think the debate really has been changed, and not just in a 'Hillary might endorse more moderate versions of Bernie's positions for now and then pivot back to the right for the general' sort of way. The cable news pundits now have new ideas bouncing around in their empty heads.

On that last topic, though, one tangential thing i want to get off my chest, about Hillary's strange parsing of her minimum wage position. By definition, the minimum wage is a floor. Saying you are for a $12 minimum wage as a floor but that you're ok with local areas going higher is a truism, designed to mislead. I was glad to see her flailing to explain that last night, and getting booed.


By fnord12 | April 15, 2016, 7:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link



Big Donors Provide "Oversight" to Those They "Invest In"

Sorry. It's an Intercept morning.

Link

In a USA Today op-ed headlined "Big Donors Can Save Democracy From Donald Trump," Hoffman tries to make the case that Trump has gone off the rails because he doesn't have people like Hoffman telling him what to do.

Here's how Hoffman puts it: "Large donors ... often serve as an executive board of sorts, challenging campaigns to act worthy of their investment."

Hoffman writes, "Trump brags that he is without big donors. That may be true. But it also means he is without restraint. ... In business and politics alike, oversight is a good thing."

If you're not paying close attention, that makes the whole process sound public-spirited and inspiring. If you are, however, you realize Hoffman is telling us that he and his cohort see their money as buying them seats on the board of a corporation they ultimately control.

Hoffman acknowledges a possible downside of the system: "Raising seven figures for a candidate grants you access that the average voter will never see. This unfairness has been a source of major voter ire this cycle. Injustice makes people angry. And it is angry voters who have been pulling levers for Trump."

But he dismisses it in favor of an even loftier goal. Big donors aren't just backing a candidate, he says; they're also investing in their ideology.

"Even his critics would agree that Jeb released the most detailed set of policies and reforms in the race," writes Hoffman. "Seeing these ideas thrive and live beyond the candidate makes for a worthy investment. In my heart, that is a proper and just use of big money in politics."

...

That's one reason why money in politics matters even when it's backing a loser. Al Hoffman is telling us straight up: Big money in U.S. politics isn't just about buying individual elections, or individual candidates. It's also about buying space in our minds.

So, tell me again how having Wall Street and Big Pharma donors doesn't influence a candidate's policies cause it sure sounds like that's exactly what they believe they are buying.


By min | April 8, 2016, 9:29 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Pirate Party Leading in Iceland's Polls After Panama Papers Leak

Har!

Opinion polls suggest that the government would be trounced in any immediate election, and most likely replaced by Iceland's branch of the Pirate Party, a pan-European movement founded in Sweden in 2006 to fight for internet freedom and direct democracy. The Icelandic branch currently holds just three seats in the nation's parliament, the Althing.

By min | April 8, 2016, 9:15 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Invasion of Privacy for Those in Public Health System

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Because clearly, if you're poor, you must be a criminal.

IF YOU'RE RELYING on the public health care system, you're living your life under surveillance, says Khiara Bridges, a law professor and anthropology researcher at the Boston University School of Law.

All sorts of incredibly invasive details about your life, including sexual experience, eating habits, and job history, are stored in databases that are accessible not only to your caregivers, but potentially to law enforcement, too, she says.

...

These "case management services" are officially there to provide help in "gaining access to needed medical, social, educational, and other services."

But Bridges argues that the questions sometimes stray into the unnecessary, invasive, and non-medical territory. She calls it "a gross and substantial intrusion by the government into poor, pregnant women's private lives."

...

Bridges is particularly concerned about exceptions in the law that allow for incredibly personal information to be shared with law enforcement. As she writes in a section of her forthcoming book:

Crucially, the Privacy Act contains exceptions that allow for the nonconsensual disclosure of collected information. Intriguingly, one of those exceptions "allows disclosure to other jurisdictions for law enforcement." The result of this exception is that when a population is imagined to be inclined toward criminality, then that population exists in a state of exception under the Privacy Act: Its information can be disclosed as long as it is for law enforcement purposes. ...

... Undeniably, welfare beneficiaries are one of those populations that are thought to be comprised of criminal elements. The irony should be apparent: The act that provides protection from the disclosure of information, and thereby saves the constitutionality of information-collecting regimes, itself provides for disclosure.

Other researchers and groups, such as the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, are concerned about the surveillance of people who enroll in Electronic Benefit Transfer programs to buy groceries, or take advantage of other public benefits.


By min | April 8, 2016, 9:05 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Thank you Wisconsin

I know He Can't Win™, but Bernie sure is doing a good job of pretending, winning 7 of the last 8 contests with 57% or more of the vote, digging about a third of the way out of his delegate gap while polling 10 points down in New York (with two weeks to go), 6 points down in Pennsylvania, and 10 points down in California. 538 was giving Bernie a 17% chance of winning Wisconsin a week ago.

By the way, if you've heard about a "disastrous" interview with the New York Daily News, here is some pushback on that. I read the transcript and wasn't sure what the fuss was about, but the media have been happy to jump on the narrative that Bernie doesn't know what he's talking about. But Peter Eavis at the New York Times, Ryan Grim at HuffPo, and good old Dean Baker all say it's nonsense.

After trying to pivot away to the general, the Clinton campaign has now spun back to the primary, and is reportedly getting ready to get nasty:

Jeff Zeleny, senior Washington correspondent for CNN, was with the Clinton campaign as the news of Sanders' Wisconsin came in, and he described a Clinton campaign staff that was "running out of patience."

"They're going to be deploying a new strategy. It's going to be called 'disqualify him,' 'defeat him,' and they can unify the party later," he explained. "Now they're going to go headlong into him, I'm told, beginning here in the New York primary on his gun record, among other things."

Click the "nasty" link to see the Clinton campaign lying about guns to the point where one of their own superdelegates had to shoot them down. I guess it's going to get ugly. If He Can't Win™, why not take the high ground?


By fnord12 | April 6, 2016, 8:04 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link



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