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Liberal Outrage

Today in good ideas

Turn ISPs into public utilities and create a social wealth fund (holy shit is that Matt Bruenig in the Times?).

By fnord12 | November 30, 2017, 11:14 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Today in horrors

The Republican "tax" bill is an amazingly bold piece of social engineering. Just try to remember that whatever happens, President Bernie Sanders should be able to reverse it (and beyond) in three years. Of less reversible consequences is the fact that Trump is pushing Tillerson out of State so that he can go to war with Iran and North Korea.

By fnord12 | November 30, 2017, 11:11 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Take their money away

Ryan Cooper on how our tax rates have allowed the concentration of wealth that makes it possible for the wealthy to propagandize the public. Cooper cites the schemes of the discredited hack James O'Keefe. Relatedly, Federal prosecutors are using videos by James O'Keefe in the J20 trial.

By fnord12 | November 29, 2017, 8:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Giving presidents unlimited power was a bad idea

Both Marcy Wheeler and Matt Taibbi have similar articles.

By fnord12 | November 28, 2017, 10:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Korean poverty

For all the talk about how we need to invade North Korea because its people are starving, there is this about how South Korean's elderly population is in poverty (requires free account). The article weirdly talks about this as if it's an inevitable consequence of an aging population. Maybe the economic system is the problem.

By fnord12 | November 28, 2017, 10:34 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

China's search for life in space

A long, kind of meandering article, but worth a read. The main point is that China is leap-frogging the US on space tech. In addition to the headline point about China building a Mega-SETI, the article also mentions China's plans to build a station on the dark side of the moon and to send a manned flight to Mars.

But beyond that, there's a nudge to get me to get around to reading The Three-Body Problem. And an interesting summation of China's history, although it weirdly skips China's communist period, jumping from WWI directly to the 1980s (it does briefly go back only to gloss over Mao). The article also raises the cool (!?) possibility that a civilization that we encounter in space might already have reached its singularity and been taken over by AI. And most importantly there's a nod to my brilliant idea to bombard Venus with seeds:

They have looked into the feasibility of "Genesis probes," spacecraft that can seed a planet with microbes, or accelerate evolution on its surface, by sparking a Cambrian explosion, like the one that juiced biological creativity on Earth.

By fnord12 | November 19, 2017, 12:04 PM | Boooooks & Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

Archive for 2020

Ryan Cooper on the differences between Obama & Trump's approaches to nominating judges.

By fnord12 | November 15, 2017, 8:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

An As Yet Unwritten Future

Briahna Joy Gray responds to Ta-Nehisi Coates' recent book excerpt:

The question is not "identity politics or economic justice," but how to adopt a complementary union of the two.


My ultimate quibble with Coates's piece is with its pessimism -- the presumption that the union between rich and poor whites, forged in the heat of antebellum anti-black antipathy, is America's destiny as well as its past. Coates argues that admitting race, rather than class, was the proximate cause of Trump's electoral victory would mean that leftists "would have to cope with the failure, yet again, of class unity in the face of racism." But that presupposes that class unity was attempted by the Democratic Establishment in 2016. Tragically, it was not.

By fnord12 | November 13, 2017, 12:50 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Betsy DeVos Continues To Be Horrible

[T]he Education Department has decided to postpone protections for student loan borrowers and withdraw Obama-era protections for survivors of campus sexual assault.
All this and more has prompted the start of a new coalition - the Education Civil Rights Alliance [ECRA]- to pool time, skills, and resources to defend students' civil rights. It launched last week, and members say they're aiming to fill a void the Trump administration has helped create.
[C]oncerns were elevated further last month when the Education Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services sent out a newsletter announcing it had eliminated 72 special education guidance documents related to IDEA enforcement. The department gave no explanation beyond saying the documents were "outdated, unnecessary or ineffective."

Advocates felt confused and blindsided. After further investigation, they discovered the Education Department had quietly scrapped the documents over two weeks earlier. Parents of students with disabilities took to social media in protest - the hashtag #ThisIsMyChild became their rallying cry.


Going forward, the new Education Civil Rights Alliance says it will focus on protecting students - especially students with disabilities, students dealing with sexual assault, and transgender, immigrant, and Muslim students. The alliance says it is hearing lots of anecdotal reports about increases in school bullying and harassment and wants to help push for better data collection on these trends.

And to add to the stellar group already running the Education Department,

In October, the White House announced its nomination of Kenneth L. Marcus to lead the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, replacing Candice Jackson, who has served as acting assistant secretary since April. Marcus worked as the staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for four years under George W. Bush and before that, worked in the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights.
But, as The Intercept previously reported, Marcus has a history of campaigning for laws to punish people who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which encourages economic pressure against Israel for its violation of Palestinian human rights. Advocates worry that if Marcus is confirmed, he will push for similar measures in his new role, silencing pro-Palestinian voices. That would have a chilling effect on free speech -- yet another attack on students' civil rights.


By min | November 11, 2017, 1:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Stop fetishizing veterans

Asks a veteran.

By fnord12 | November 11, 2017, 12:43 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Up from the grassroots

Lots of small - and some not so small - victories for leftists yesterday.

By fnord12 | November 8, 2017, 6:08 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

OK to laugh at Jeff Sessions again

Very brave of Desiree Fairooz to not take the plea deal, and i'm glad it worked out.

There are still hundreds of people facing conspiracy charges for protesting on inauguration day, though.

By fnord12 | November 7, 2017, 1:59 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Disney makes it hard for me to love Marvel

After the LATimes published this article questioning Disney's financial arrangements with Anaheim, Disney retaliated by denying the LATimes movie reviewers access to advanced screenings. So now a bunch of other movie reviewers, in solidarity, are refusing to review the movies. It's a very limited boycott; they'll review the movies once they become available to the general public. No one is calling for a general boycott or anything. But it comes at an awkward time when i was going to ignore my general dislike of going to theaters to see the Thor movie (and Star Wars movie not long after).

Update: Ban ended.

By fnord12 | November 7, 2017, 1:47 PM | Comics & Liberal Outrage & Movies & Star Wars | Link

International Oligarchy

Bernie on the Paradise Papers.

By fnord12 | November 6, 2017, 12:58 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The Zombie Diseases of Climate Change

I don't know how real this threat is, but it sure sounds like a good set-up for a horror movie:

"We know, and the Russians know, there are a lot of resources there. Very precious metals, rare-earths, petrol, there is gas and gold," he told me. Greenland is not separate from these pressures.

Getting at the minerals and petroleum deposits throughout the Arctic, he says, will require moving a lot of permafrost--an amount properly measured in millions of tons. "At once, you are going to excavate 16 million tons of permafrost that has not been moved or perturbed in a million years of time," he said.

He imagines towering heaps of rotting permafrost stacked up next to mining cabins, their contents open to the sun and air and summer rain. "We are really reaching places where, if there are microbes infectious to humans or human ancestors, we are going to get them," he says.

...Even more worrisome are the microbes we don't know. "No one really understands why Neanderthals went extinct," Claverie said. Sometimes, he catches himself when talking about these possible permafrost-locked diseases--they may have threatened humans or human relatives in the past, he'll say. Then, he'll change tense, emphasizing that they could do so again.

By fnord12 | November 6, 2017, 12:55 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

Clinton's DNC deal included time travel

Some people are saying that the special deal that Clinton had with the DNC was only for the general election, and there is a CYA disclaimer about that at the bottom of the document. But the document also says:

1. With respect to the hiring of a DNC Communications Director, the DNC agrees that no later than September 11, 2015 it will hire one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA.

2. With respect to the hiring of future DNC senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments, in the case of vacancy, the DNC will maintain the authority to make the final decision as between candidates acceptable to HFA.

3. Agreement by the DNC that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research. The DNC will provide HFA advance opportunity to review on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate. This does not include any communications related to primary debates - which will be exclusively controlled by the DNC. The DNC will alert HFA in advance of mailing any direct mail communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature.

September 11, 2015 was well before the primary started (the Iowa caucus was on February 1st, 2016). And i don't know what good being alerted about primary candidates would do during the general election. There's also just the obvious fact that once Clinton was bankrolling the DNC, clearly they would have understood that they were working for her.

Notably, it's just (i say with loving affection) internet nerds trying to claim that the agreement was only for the general. Clinton's COO can be seen here trying to downplay their degree of control, not claiming that they didn't have any:

Charlie Baker, the chief operating officer of the Clinton campaign, said that in 2015 the campaign agreed to raise money for the parts of the DNC that were going to be most crucial to the general election, including data, research, communications and the like. The agreement also gave the Clinton campaign some say over personnel. If there was a vacancy for a position in one of these departments, the DNC had to consult the campaign on the three finalists but could make the final decision itself.

"We never tried to be presumptuous," Baker said. "We were literally trying to make sure the DNC had the resources it needed, whoever was the nominee."

And here's Clinton's press secretary Brian Fallon trying to say that Bernie could have had the same deal (if he had been aware of it to ask for it, and if he could have gotten rich megadonors to funnel money to them). Again, he's not trying to claim that they didn't have this deal during the general, just that Bernie could have had it too.

These guys may eventually get the talking point memo that the agreement was only for the general, but at the moment that's not the spin they're going with. The NBC article that Fallon is reacting to shows how the CYA language was being used in practice:

But Clinton's campaign also negotiated a side deal, first reported by NBC News on Friday night, that gave it influence over staffing and other decisions at the DNC during the primary, but with the stipulation that it only affect preparations for the general election and that other candidates could strike a similar deal.


And an email obtained by NBC News, first published by the Washington Post, shows the DNC's lawyers told the Sanders campaign they could have some influence over how money would be spent to prepare for the general election if they raised enough cash for the party.

You can begin "preparing" for the general at any time. Even before the primary starts, as we see was the case. And if preparing for the general also means ensuring that you make it to the general, so be it.

For what it's worth, the NBC article also pre-emptively addressed Fallon's claims:

However, Sanders' joint fundraising agreement with the DNC, signed in November, 2015, which was also obtained by NBC News, does not appear to include a supplemental deal.

And two of the Sanders campaign's former top officials say they were never specifically offered one like Clinton's and had no knowledge of their rival campaign's arrangement.

"We had no addendum like this, no memorandum, no agreement like this," said Mark Longabaugh, who was the campaign's chief liaison to the DNC. "They basically came to us and said, here's the agreement, take it or leave it."

"I had no idea there was side memorandum with the Clinton campaign," he added.

Meanwhile, Jeff Weaver, the campaign's former campaign manager, dismissed the clause in Clinton's agreement limiting engagement exclusively to general election activity as a fig leaf.

"Throwing this catchall at the end saying that this document doesn't say what it says is a little disingenuous," he said. "Anybody who suggests we were being treated the same way is playing semantic games."

Before the Clinton campaign and the DNC struck their deal in August of 2015, the DNC was struggling financially and in need of a rescue. The Clinton campaign stepped in to help, but wanted control over their how money would be spent, harboring doubts about the leadership of then-Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Longabaugh acknowledged that the Sanders campaigns -- which in the summer of 2015, had not yet become an online fundraising juggernaut -- had little to offer the cash-strapped DNC and had to scrounge to pay the $250,000 bill for the party's voter file.

The campaign later began raising enough money to be in a position to contribute to the party, but its relationship with the DNC had deteriorated precipitously. [hint: because they were owned by Clinton at that point]

By fnord12 | November 4, 2017, 11:38 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Worker Buyouts

Peter Gowan at People's Policy Project has some good policy solutions to wealthy businessmen who decide to just shut down their businesses when workers form a union (pivoting off a recent real world example).

And guess what? Bernie Sanders has already proposed a bill along these lines.

By fnord12 | November 3, 2017, 5:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


My mind is still blown after Donna Fucking Brazile come out yesterday to confirm that the DNC "rigged" the primary for Hillary Clinton:

The agreement--signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias--specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

I had been wondering why it was that I couldn't write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.

...I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.

The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity.

(Also click through to see how Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz ran the DNC into the ground in the first place, and for more on that, see here. Also, Elizabeth Warren now agrees that the primary was "rigged".)

One laughable defense i've seen from people still circling their wagons around Clinton is that Clinton didn't buy the DNC and infiltrate it, she saved it with her own money and didn't even take credit for it! And besides, Bernie was offered the same deal and didn't take it, because he didn't care about downticket races!

It's a joke on several fronts. As Brazile notes (and as we already knew), the whole thing was a money laundering scheme. Wealthy donors that wanted to give Clinton more than the legal limit donated the rest to the "Victory Fund" which went to the states. That money then got funneled back to the DNC, which spent it on Clinton. Clinton didn't "save" anything. Neither downticket candidates nor the DNC held on to that money. And the DNC is still broke.

Sanders didn't "participate" in this scheme because he was getting his donations at $27 a pop, so no one was going over the legal limit. And most importantly, Sanders never had a deal that allowed him to replace the DNC communications, financing, and strategy teams with pod people, as Brazile says Clinton did.

The other "rebuttal" i'm seeing is that even if this is all true, it doesn't prove that Bernie would have won a fair primary. But that's not the point. Regardless of who you supported, you should want the DNC to be a neutral arbiter. We already knew that the debate schedule was rigged in Clinton's favor. We know how superdelates were used in the media to create a sense of inevitability for Clinton. We know that Brazile herself fed Clinton debate questions (one reason why her allegation now is so explosive). We now know that all messaging from the DNC was orchestrated by the Clinton campaign, which obviously affected media coverage of the race. There was a ton of shady shit going on at the local level - like major voter disenfranchisement - and it no longer seems like a conspiracy theory to suggest that such things were being directed from on high.

The primary process should be fair. Normally the cliche is that you want to avoid even the perception of bias because you want voters to trust the process. In this case, the bias (putting it mildly) was real. This is important not just for relitigating the primary, but going forward. Some (not very smart) people attribute Clinton's loss to the 10% of Bernie primary voters who didn't vote for Clinton in the general (even though 24% of Clinton voters voted for McCain in 2008). That number is going to get a lot bigger if primary voters believe that the game is rigged.

By fnord12 | November 3, 2017, 12:25 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

IP Roundup

I wish the name of this website wasn't TorrentFreak because it kind of pigeonholes it as a kind of pro-pirating site, but they actually do general good reporting on copyright/intellectual property issues. Two recent posts that caught my attention:

Copyright protection in video games puts extra processing load on legit users.

CBS sues man for posting a 60 year old TV show image. (And it's actually worse than that; it's clearly a SLAPP.)

By fnord12 | November 2, 2017, 2:27 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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