Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weekend Open Thread

Since there's been a quite sizeable increase in this blog's readership over the past couple of months, I'm again offering the open forum feature.  I'd discontinued it some time ago due to lack of interest, so we'll see what happens this weekend. If more than a few people contribute, then it will again become a permanent part of the blog.

The sky's the limit. And there's certainly plenty going on. Talk about the slow-mo Deep State coup, the weather, the climate, the Oscars, your favorite recipe, what you're reading, the undemocratic Democratic Party chairperson selection.... whatever strikes your fancy.

Just a few rules about commenting. If you wish to post anonymously, please select the "name/url" option and use any handle you wish if you prefer not to use your real name. More than one "Anonymous" contributor leads to needless confusion.

Comments are again being moderated, due to some recurring problems I've been having with spam. Submissions will be published in a timely fashion during the day, but overnight offerings usually won't see the light of day until the light of day.

Ad hominem attacks won't be tolerated unless they are directed at the wealthy and powerful. Express your disagreements with me and with each other, but please treat your fellow readers in a respectful manner. One of the aspects of this blog's commenting section that I've always found particularly valuable is the variety of views expressed. "Regulars" have ranged from conservatives to libertarians to liberals to leftists, and the discussions have remained largely civil.

I'd also like to re-extend my invitation to anyone interested in writing a guest post for placement in this slot. I used to publish a couple of these every month, and will be happy to do so again. If you've gone to a town hall during the congressional recess or have participated in other direct actions, I'd also love to hear from you.

You can contact me by email with queries, tips, suggestions, complaints or anything else at

That's about it. Happy commenting, and happy weekend!


Jamie said...

The Ascension of President Allende In Chile

Where does the string of thought lead?
Is it only the hopeless chatter of crickets
Above the black and white sphere
Of Yin and Yang?

The helix spins out of the sunset,
It's blade slicing 4-space, dream-space, sex-chase,
The rhyme that dances through the casual chains,
Like President Allende's final message
A silver cloud for the future:
Love your murderers
Whose naked light is your own.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Be happy, don't worry. Go to the movies. I got so down reading Sardonicky and even worse off with that piece in the LRB (Karen's previous post, my 5th comment), I needed my fix. Good old Hollywood when you're down. Is this topical? Hey, the Oscars ceremony is tomorrow. I'll avoid that glittering time sink, but here's a tip about two movies in tomorrow's competition.

La La Land: Young lovers, one rich, one poor, coming together in dance. Viewers either love it or hate it. It got14 nominations, which almost covers the board, a tie with Titanic's record. LLL deserves an Oscar––for being a titanic flop. Skip it. The script is threadbare, the music and dancing forgettable, the sets, lighting and photography cheap, the acting on a par with the main actors' mediocre history on camera … you get the idea. Hard to tell if there was a director. But it will probably walk away with an armful of Oscars. So, if you must keep up with the Joneses, you'll have to see it. Go figure.

Nocturnal Animals: The director, Tom Ford, goes deep paring down a novel that may be worth a read on its own merit. It's one of those story within a story genres where you can't tell at times whether you're watching the story within or the story without. Smooth editing, that. You'll be taken inside a head-on crash between the art world's phoniest with the underworld's nastiest. Ford's backed up with fine actors, photography, sets and this thriller's quicksand ambiguity. Only one Oscar nomination: best supporting actor. Warning: just hang on a bit through the opening sequence. At the end of the movie you'll have questions that demand answers. This link (spoiler alert!) may help, after which you'll want to see the movie again.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a surprise, Tom Perez won the vote for DNC chair. He was nominated by a corporate lobbyist of course.

A funny thing happened during this process. When candidate Buttigieg dropped out, Perez immediately issued a statement, within seconds actually, thanking and praising Buttiegieg. Apparently no one else had been given advance notice and a chance to issue a statement. Buttigieg denied telling any of the candidates, but did he tell Donna 'Leaky' Brazile?

After he won, Perez asked Ellison to serve as co-chair even though the DNC bigwigs have long argued against co-chairs. Apparently they felt they needed to throw progressives a bone, as they did when they named Sanders the outreach coordinator for Senate Democrats. Whatever they call it, that's actually Ellison's new role - outreach coordinator to herd progressives. Aka 'sheepdog'.

Oh, and Leaky Brazile also violated the DNC rules. The rule states that secret ballots are not permitted and that a paper or electronic record of each individual vote must be recorded and made available for the representatives for each of the candidates following each ballot. Not done. The fix was in and they couldn't risk following the rules.

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, but Democratic corruption never dies." Anne Lavoie

"What do you call it when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? Oh yeah: the Democratic Party." Naomi Klein on Twitter

Why would anyone remain a Democrat?

annenigma said...

Correction: Deputy chair, not co-chair

Zee said...

Think that I'll go to breakfast next week with a former motorcycle-riding buddy of mine and thence on to a "Hacksaw Ridge" matinee. Mrs. Zee doesn't care to see it, and I hate to go to those big flicks alone.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Another movie:

Arrival: An upbeat sci-fi whose script and casting racks up lots of PC points right up to and including the end, yet in an artistically oblique way. The main role is taken by Amy Adams, also the star of Nocturnal Animals. Film, it is said, is made for spectacle, but this story is mostly about abstractions, like time and communication. Don't expect dazzling visual effects. A more appropriate medium for this tale might have been a short story with a few illustrations. Two messages: (1) our first reactions to aliens––or each other here on earth––ought not to be suspicion, fear and preemptive violence: and (2) better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

voice-in-wilderness said...

I have a very grim view of the future of the United States. I hope I'm wrong, but if anything I may not be grim enough! President Trump and his henchmen/droogs will have at least 4 years, probably 8 years, to continue transforming the country into an authoritarian system that has rolled back most of the progressive gains of the last century (labor, voting, civil rights, etc).

The GOP in Congress is the only effective brake on Trump. For example, I predict he will sooner rather than later, defy a court ruling, that there will be cries for impeachment by the majority of citizens and media, but it will leave the GOP in Congress unmoved. And Trump will continue to play to his hard core of supporters, who are so angry and frustrated that they get satisfaction from self-destruction. As Trump accurately noted, he could shoot someone on the street and these supporters would not care.

The Democratic party is in such a confused state, with so much of it controlled by the neoliberal Clinton and Obama followers, that I expect the GOP to continue to make gains at all levels of government in the next few years.

Try this thought experiment. Imagine that finally, after 8 years, the Democrats were able to elect the president and regain majorities in both houses of Congress. Think what they would face for a country transformed, the gutting of agencies, the widespread placement of right-wing judges in the judiciary. It is much easier to break things than to build things.

annenigma said...

Democrats started their DNC convention yesterday by voting not to ban corporate donations to the DNC.

Mark Thomason said...

"Why would anyone remain a Democrat?"

Exactly. Now is the time for a walkout, to form a third party. Call it Independents.

Two years allows time to build up for the 2018 election.

This is when the open betrayal by the Democrats is fresh, and people are thinking about basics.

If the Democrats could be put back together again, this would also allow time to do that, after a showdown forced by the walk out. I don't think those who betrayed us will ever relent, but in the face of the unity argument, this is the time to bring it to a head, not right before the election.

So, we need the people rejected by the Democrats to do a walk out, and to appeal to the people Bernie mobilized who were not Democrats for Hillary.

annenigma said...

I agree. #DemExit! Change your party registration. If you live in an open primary state, it makes no difference, you can still vote in the primary and general elections. If you live in a closed primary state, just change your party registration before voting, then change it back afterwards to independent/undeclared/unaffiliated. I've done it when I lived in a closed primary state. It's easy. An 'Independents Party' or 'Independence Party' sounds good to me. Too bad there isn't one, is there? At any rate, there are a few official third parties you can select from, depending on which ones have overcome the obstacles put up by the Duopoly in your state.

Just be sure to tell the Democrats, when they come begging for your money or to sign a petition (a fundraising gimmick), that you're NO LONGER a Democrat and a succinct reason why that they can report back with. I also tell them to stop bothering me and to take me off their mailing or call list just to be sure they know they lost me permanently.

That should get their attention, but they might just assume, as Hillary did, that they don't have to even try to win over progressives/liberals/lefties because they will offset those losses by gaining Republicans. They're probably right about that. Republicans probably were the source of Hillary's 3 million extra popular votes. The only flaw was that they were in the wrong states.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Agreed, Mark. But explain how is this going to happen?

The Bernie wing is so hesitant. They choose to work at reform "from the inside." Doesn't seem to be working, but still they stick with the Party. Ellison just rolled over to accept second fiddle on the DNC, even after a pretty close vote. Just another compromised shadow boxer who loves his office more than the ideas he proclaims. Show me a Democrat who fights.

The progressive wing had good cause for a walkout––a stunner–– at the convention, but most of the lefty delegates hung around, and the leader of that progressive faction, Sanders, turned on a dime and endorsed Hillary.

Is yesterday's appointment of Perez over Ellison a bigger deal than the slap in the face reformers took at the convention? If Bernie is not in this for real, which seems to be the case, who is left to corral all that resentment and shape it into a new party?

Another side of betrayal by the Democrats, like Schumer and Pelosi and Obama before that, is their signaling they will work with Trump when he proposes something half-way decent. Their yardstick for what's half-way decent for the average American is way off, and Bannon's known agenda ought to be resisted without letup. Then again, the Republicans with their majorities on state and national levels, can ignore the Democrats just about all the time over the next four years.

The Democrats lack two things: An honest and wise leader within the party––good luck with that––or a fed-up reformer to lead dissidents out of the party––good luck with that too. There is no united opposition to the Republicans, and there is no serious opposition to the DNC.

All that's left to us is a gesture like voting Green once in a while or marching and disbanding on the same day. Or fuming about it on the blogs. Correction: Boycotts of one kind or another could work, but that tactic still arouses no interest.

Patrice Ayme' said...

The rot is in all the minds corrupted, or formed, by the plutocratically owned, or influenced, media. And schools. And books. And sports. Most of us.

annenigma said...

Gallup poll about party affiliation, trend from 2004. The last poll was in early January 2017 and showed 28% Republican, 44% Independent, and 25% Democrat.

Elizabeth -- Marysville said...

Hey, J, thanks for the reviews! La La Land doesn't appeal to me. It doesn't help that it's a musical. I did see Arrival and enjoyed it. I thought it would be a thinking person's sci-fi film, without all the blow-upy, testosterone-filled fights, and I was right. I haven't cared for scary movies since I was a teen, but I do want to see "Get Out".

Annenigma, the YUGE number of independents would have given us a Sanders presidency had primaries been open everywhere, as they should have been, given that all taxpayers pay for primaries.

The Democratic Party is incurably addicted to the money. Before it can be rehabilitated, it has to acknowledge it has a problem, but it can't even do that.

Californians need to ALL get on board with SB 562 -- single payer health care. Every fricking Democrat needs to be on board with it or get their butts removed from office forthwith.

Pearl said...

The Immigration Facts Donald Trump Doesn’t Like

Editorial Board NYTIMES

Neil said...

Our White Supremacist Electoral College (part 1)

Pres. Trump won the presidency through the Electoral College. Trump lost the popular vote to HRC. 270 Electoral College votes are needed to be president. "The 2016 historical interactive map shows the 'official' electoral vote, which Trump won 304-227, with seven total faithless electors."

The articles profiled below discuss the electoral college and its relationship to slavery, which is part of America's foundation and legacy of white supremacy. Tellingly, folks accuse Pres. Trump's chief of staff Steve Bannon of being a white supremacist (alleged), but no one on this forum, (other than me, Bill Sprague, and Karen Garcia), or any forums that I know about, are addressing OUR white supremacy, America's white supremacy, the United States' white supremacy creation myth, see my comments at,

My comments conclude with links to several Wikipedia Electoral College articles.


Electoral College is ‘vestige’ of slavery, say some Constitutional scholars
PBS News Hour, by Kamala Kelkar

"When the founders of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 considered whether America should let the people elect their president through a popular vote, James Madison said that "Negroes" in the South presented a "difficulty … of a serious nature.""

"During that same speech on Thursday, July 19, Madison instead proposed a prototype for the same Electoral College system the country uses today. Each state has a number of electoral votes roughly proportioned to population and the candidate who wins the majority of votes wins the election..."

"..."It’s embarrassing," said Paul Finkelman, visiting law professor at University of Saskatchewan in Canada. "I think if most Americans knew what the origins of the Electoral College is, they would be disgusted..."


The Electoral College was explicitly designed to protect slavery
Raw Story, by Paul Finkelman

"Because of the Electoral College, for the second time in 16 years, the person with the most votes will not become president. It is likely that Hillary Clinton will have a margin of more than 2,000,000 votes. This will make her the most popular presidential candidate to ever lose a presidential election. She follows in the footsteps of Al Gore, Grover Cleveland, Samuel Tilden, Andrew Jackson, and probably John Adams."

"We know the Electoral College is deeply undemocratic. Presidential electors are allocated by adding the two senators to the number of representatives each state gets. Thus the smallest states have proportionally more power in electing the president than the large ones. In 2016 Donald Trump won 66 electoral votes from 14 small states, with a total population of about 26,300,000. Hillary Clinton won 55 electoral votes from California, with a population of 37,254,000. The math is clear. Twenty-six million people substantially outvoted thirty-seven million people. Something is clearly wrong."

"How did we get such an insane, undemocratic system for choosing our president? The answer, oddly enough is because of slavery. The system was explicitly designed to protect slavery. One hundred and fifty years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, this proslavery provision lurks in our political backyard, like some horrible monster, waiting to spring on us to undermine the very notion of democratic government in the world’s oldest constitutional democracy."

Neil said...

Our White Supremacist Electoral College (part 2)

The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists, by Akhil Reed Amar

"As Americans await the quadrennial running of the presidential obstacle course now known as the Electoral College, it’s worth remembering why we have this odd political contraption in the first place. After all, state governors in all 50 states are elected by popular vote; why not do the same for the governor of all states, a.k.a. the president? The quirks of the Electoral College system were exposed this week when Donald Trump secured the presidency with an Electoral College majority, even as Hillary Clinton took a narrow lead in the popular vote..."

"...Although the Philadelphia framers did not anticipate the rise of a system of national presidential parties, the 12th Amendment—proposed in 1803 and ratified a year later— was framed with such a party system in mind, in the aftermath of the election of 1800-01. In that election, two rudimentary presidential parties—Federalists led by John Adams and Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson—took shape and squared off. Jefferson ultimately prevailed, but only after an extended crisis triggered by several glitches in the Framers’ electoral machinery. In particular, Republican electors had no formal way to designate that they wanted Jefferson for president and Aaron Burr for vice president rather than vice versa. Some politicians then tried to exploit the resulting confusion."

"Enter the 12th Amendment, which allowed each party to designate one candidate for president and a separate candidate for vice president. The amendment’s modifications of the electoral process transformed the Framers’ framework, enabling future presidential elections to be openly populist and partisan affairs featuring two competing tickets. It is the 12th Amendment’s Electoral College system, not the Philadelphia Framers’, that remains in place today. If the general citizenry’s lack of knowledge had been the real reason for the Electoral College, this problem was largely solved by 1800. So why wasn’t the entire Electoral College contraption scrapped at that point?"

"Standard civics-class accounts of the Electoral College rarely mention the real demon dooming direct national election in 1787 and 1803: slavery."

"At the Philadelphia convention, the visionary Pennsylvanian James Wilson proposed direct national election of the president. But the savvy Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South: "The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes." In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves, albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing its share of the overall count."

Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, United States Constitution (Electoral College clause)

Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Electoral College amendment)

Electoral College (United States)

annenigma said...

Putin messed with the Oscars to try to throw the win to LaLa Land. Nice try, Vlad! If Donald doesn't drop the bomb now, it proves he's Putin's bitch.

Erik Roth said...

Because I do not own a television (perhaps a tale for another thread, having to do with over-the-air reception), I tried to see the Academy Awards online.
I discovered that I could do that if I lived in Australia, or some elsewheres in the world, and selected cities in the USA, but not Minneapolis.
Heckuva job ABC, FCC, etc.
Related to that, here are some links with news you can use:

Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "Low-income people and communities of color are being left behind as access to high-speed internet expands nationwide.
Meanwhile, Trump's FCC is planning to make this problem worse:
It intends to roll back Obama-era efforts to address economic disparities in internet access."

John Nichols ~

Lawrence Douglas: "The White House's radical attack on the First Amendment cannot go unanswered."

"awash in money”

aiming to end net neutrality ...
"Even though the Internet was invented in the United States, Americans pay the most in the world for broadband access.
For an Internet connection of 25 megabits per second, New Yorkers pay about $55 — nearly double that of what residents in London, Seoul, and Bucharest, Romania, pay. And residents in cities such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo and Paris get connections nearly eight times faster.
So why are Americans paying more for slower service?
The answer: There’s limited competition in the broadband market."

Why is there limited competition?
Because that increases profits for business.
And our politicians are wholly owned by business interests, who care not for peoples’ interests.