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      You’ve probably all heard that Indian Prime Minister Modi ordered two of the most common high denomination bills (500 and 1,000 rupee) out of circulation and that they would no longer be legal tender after only a few days. India’s economy is, well, not modern. Most people do not have or use credit cards. Only […]
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Tidbits and GoT Predictions

1.)I’m a bit sad this morning over Bernie Sanders’ self-immolation of his brand. Bernie was on to something. His message resonated with me strongly. He made a strategic misstep when he identified too much with the more paranoid supporters in his constituency. Bernie supporters will always be welcome here. Your opinions *do* matter to us and your vote is still important if you haven’t had a chance to participate in a primary yet. You shouldn’t be ignored just because your champion temporarily lost his f&*(ing mind. (Just don’t expect us to argue every point with you. Our focus is forward, getting Hillary elected)

And anyway, no revolution is going to happen until we put more people like us in Congress, the Senate and statehouses. If Hillary is elected president, the tide of bad voting laws can be rolled back. That right there is a good reason to vote for her because you can’t change anything if you can’t vote. So, I hope we can concentrate on downticket Democrats that both sides of the party can get behind. (Yeah, we don’t like Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and her student body president types either)

2.) We had a sustained attack on this blog on Friday. I have reason to believe it was not just a Bernie Bros production. The Bernie Bros are occasionally more earnest burning swamp monsters flailing and broadcasting high anxiety to the blog. (Calm your tits, guys, Hillary isn’t nearly as Satanic as you think). But I don’t think they are the most destructive trolls. I mean, who has the most to lose this election really? Who is more motivated to try to diminish and marginalize the pro-Hillary contingent?

Let’s just say that I’ve been tracing some of the commenters to their original sources and my curiosity is piqued. Would there be a concerted effort to bombard Hillary positive blogs with comments that looked like they came from unhinged Bernie Bros but are actually right wing disrupters who got their hands on what should be defunct domain addresses? I wouldn’t be surprised. Someone with more time and network skills on their hands should look into this. I can provide the information if you interested.

3.) Jane Caro, my favorite Australian, is writing a trilogy of books about Queen Elizabeth I of England and what sacrifices women in power have to make. She touches briefly on what Hillary is going through at about the 35 minute mark when she talks about how men are ok with women playing second fiddle. But the minute a woman politician decides to go for the top spot, she suddenly morphs into a “heinous bitch” in the media. There’s some speculation that there is an ancient physical taboo involved. Donald Trump has already tapped into this. I’m really intrigued by Jane’s hypothesis here.

Jane used to be in advertising and she’s very perceptive about what motivates people as well as what turns them off. Jane talks about why virgins are more powerful. We should probably try to understand this if we ever expect to make progress. Is she on to something? Discuss.

The whole video is really good. If I were Hillary, I’d add Caro to the campaign advisors.

 

4.) Ok, who out there hates to clean? Don’t be shy, raise your hands. I have some podcast gold for you that are truly sponge worthy and will take your mind off the chores that never end and don’t seem to stay done. These are about Hollywood’s early years and they are fascinating.

Stuart Waterman has two amazing podcasts. Pick one depending on your mood.

Attaboy Clarence podcasts are about an hour long and feature biographies of the stars, old timey ads and Lux Theater rebroadcasts of movies, along with Stuart’s sardonic commentary delivered in a Jude Law drawl.

The Secret History of Hollywood is more like an ongoing deep dyve narrative. These podcasts must take months to put together but they are so well done you can’t wait for the next one to come out. He has podcasts that cover Alfred Hitchcock, Universal Pictures’ horror genre and the beginnings of Warner Bros. and their gangster film franchise. I’m on part two of Bullets and Blood. Start with Bullets and Blood part 1. You won’t be sorry.

You Must Remember This is Karina Longworth’s podcast on the history of Hollywood. Her podcast also has biographies of the stars starting with the silent screen right up to Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. These podcasts are shorter, about 30 minutes long. Karina always finds an angle that you might not have thought about and leaves you thinking long after the podcast is over. Hollywood has had an enormous effect on our culture.

Both podcasters discuss the pre-code Hollywood era. That was a revelation to me and may explain why your grandparents were so much cooler than your parents.

5.) Alright, on to what you really wanted to talk about: Game of Thrones predictions. To recap this season (don’t read if you haven’t seen season 6 episodes yet. Spoilers ahead.):

Jon Snow is not dead. Melisandre brought him back with a sponge bath, haircut and some funky prayers in what sounds like Hebrew. He executed the Watch brothers who executed him, which just goes to show you that characters are not dead until you burn the bodies, assuming they can be burned (I’m getting to that).

Sansa escapes with Theon’s help. She and Theon are rescued in the woods by Brienne who offers her sword to Sansa. This time, Sansa has finally bought a clue and accepts the help. Theon departs for the Iron Islands where he offers to help make his sister queen after their father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother.

Sansa reaches Jon at Castle Black and there is a touching reunion. Tormund Giantsbane locks eyes with Brienne. It’s love at first sight. (Bow-chicka-bow) Ramsay Bolton has Sansa and Jon’s(?) little brother and sends a taunting letter to Jon and Sansa at Castle Black saying “Come and get him”. Sansa channels her inner badass and tells Jon that if he doesn’t help her take back Winterfell, she’ll do it herself. Jon and the Wildlings are all in.

Arya is still in Braavos training to become a faceless man. But is she really “no one”? By the way, did anyone else notice that during the “beat the confession out of her” scene the Waif got Arya to reduce the number of brothers she has? Has Arya always known in some instinctive way that Jon wasn’t her brother even though both Arya and Jon are the most Stark like of all the Winterfell children?

Bran has greenseer visions with Bloodraven about the Tower of Joy. We still have no confirmation that R+L=J but, c’mon, what else can these visions mean? Unless there’s something we don’t yet know…

Cersei and Jaime hatch a plot to get the Tyrell’s to take on the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant. Sparrow has Margaery, King Tommen’s wife, and her brother Loras. The idea is to bring the Tyrell army to King’s Landing. What could *possibly* go wrong?

Dany escapes from the Dosh Khaleen and burns the right wing trolls and Bernie Bros, the worst collection of obnoxious, threatening, small minded barbarians that ever gave rape culture a bad name and emerges from the flames as an unburnt fiery demi-goddess.

Predictions:

High Sparrow got Loras to crack. Loras told Sparrow that is grandmother had King Joffrey poisoned. Then, Sparrow tells Tommen this, and he tells his mother Cersei. Cersei and Jaime hatch a plan to pit the Tyrell’s against the Faith Militant and hope to take both of them out at the same time by having the Lannisters show up and clean up the aftermath. Not sure how the much anticipated Cleganebowl comes out of this but expect to see Mountainstein take on The Hound in about episode 7.

Sansa is going to lead the army to Winterfell. She’s going to be the one to make herself a widow by slamming one of her embroidery needles into Ramsay’s brain. Being eaten by wolves is too good for him. He’s got to die by Sansa’s hands. Die, Die, Die, Ramsay, DIE! Ahem, got carried away there.

Arya took an antidote before she drank from the cup that Jaquen H’gar offered her. She’s still Arya under there.

Bran is going to go diving too deeply under the sea and almost loses himself. He sees The Others coming and Meera helps him sound the alarm. Will Howland Reed deliver Robb Stark’s will to the other bannermen of the North in time to take back and fortify Winterfell in time for the onslaught?

The wall will come down in episode 10.

Valar Morghulis.

 

 

 

 

 

Scalia: Interjections!

scalia-gesture_400x400I woke from my pre-bedtime nap yesterday to find that news of Antonin Scalia’s death was almost an hour old.  I uttered an uncharitable interjection.

It was uncharitable because I did not think of his family or his grandchildren or anything like that. It was uncharitable because his death is one of those eucatastrophes in an already unorthodox election year that could blow the joint wide open.

First, let me get out of the way that I did not like Antonin Scalia. I’ve heard that some of his opinions on defendent’s rights were good and he had a soft spot for habeas corpus. So, the guy wasn’t all bad.

But this is the same Supreme Court justice who helped give us Citizen’s United and didn’t think Brown vs the Board of Education was a good decision.

If you are the kind of voter who only cares about abortion and whether gay people get away with doing “unnatural” things with their naughty bits without being stoned, then Scalia was your guy. I might point out that the Supreme Court has had five justices to overturn Roe v Wade for over eight years now and as far as I know, it hasn’t been overturned so someone hasn’t been entirely honest with you.

But if you cared about more than sexual morality, then Antonin Scalia was one of the moving forces behind some of the most regressive Supreme Court decisions of our modern age. He affected everything from voting rights to workers rights.

I have to admit that I have had a secret desire that one of the conservative justices would reach an age where their parts would unexpectedly wear out in time to make a difference. It didn’t much matter to me which one it was. Roberts, Alito or Thomas are too young so I suppose it had to be Scalia.

So, what does this mean for 2016? Well, one of the first things to come to my mind is that there won’t be enough justices to tamper with the voting rights act case they were planning to take on. That one, had it been decided 5-4 along party lines, would have stripped urban districts of even more voting strength because some rural districts in Texas complained they didn’t have the population to go toe to toe with a place like Austin. And it won’t have the extra vote to stick a knife through the heart of public unions by allowing freeriders to not pay dues. Those were two juicy decisions that I am sure the Republicans are going to hate losing.

We can speculate on how this will play out in this election year.

If the Republicans decide to block the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice, The Democrats can use that in the general election to illustrate that when Republicans don’t like something, they don’t compromise, they don’t concede the other side’s right to do what the law requires. No, they obstruct. They’ve been doing this for at least two decades in every branch of government. If we don’t let them aggressively roll over everything that is important to us, they refuse to cooperate.

It could make the Republicans rally around Ted Cruz. This could be another opportunity for the Republicans to roll out the shiny, sparkly abortion football again. The fundamentalists will salivate over that and will completely forget that if there’s a 5th conservative justice again, the court’s priorities will be all about squashing labor and keeping people from voting again. All you need to do is look at recent history. Will fundamentalists look past the sinning junk on their bodies that Satan is controlling to think about the greater repercussions to their economic stability and ability to change their political minds in the future? I am not hopeful that fundies will grow brains overnight so expect them to go nutz with the baby murderer stuff again forgetting all about the job murderers that appreciate Scalia types.

This might be an issue for Trump and not in a good way. He doesn’t have Cruz’s nauseating religious bona fides.

On the Democratic side, it could potentially take the wind out of Bernie’s sails. If the GOP is steadfast about blocking a new justice, the party will want to unite around the stronger candidate going into the general. That’s assuming the Democrats still care about things like voting rights, which I am assuming they do.

By the way, I am not confident that Obama will nominate a liberal justice. He’s not a liberal and I have no idea how Kagan and Sotomayor will vote now that their votes might actually count for something. The titans of industry, both finance and Silicon Valley, have a completely different agenda and it also isn’t particularly nice to workers. So, who knows what will happen there? We’re all going to have to scrutinize records very carefully. If Obama nominates someone the Republicans can actually vote for, we could be right back to where we were yesterday morning when we all thought that Scalia was just sleeping in.

What’s your prognostications? See any twists in this story coming up? Who do you trust and who is going to benefit from Scalia’s death? Add your comments below.

Update: From the NYTimes post on Scalia’s legacy comes this comment from John0123 that sums it up perfectly:

John0123

Denver 17 hours ago

I’m about as grief-stricken over this news as Scalia would have been to hear that liberal poster John0123 had died.

Former justice Scalia always assumed he was the smartest guy in the room and often came close to saying so. Unfortunately his personal “strict constructionism” was a sham in light of the highly activist rulings he either wrote or joined. Citizens United comes immediately to mind, where he gleefully conferred personhood upon corporations and the status of speech upon money..

How will the so-called “conservatives” in the Senate play this? Moderate President Obama is very likely to name a moderate replacement. Will the fire-breathers in the Senate get a grip on themselves and take a good deal while they can get it, or will they roll the dice on the 2016 election and run the considerable risk of having a President Hillary or a President Bernie name Scalia’s much more progressive replacement?

At least one of us readers isn’t buying into the crazy notion that Obama is a liberal.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

sweetchocobear

 

3 Questions, Maybe 4

Will Democrats propose an amendment that no woman will be forced carry an unwanted fetus…. or be forced to abort one?

Will Democrats propose an amendment making it unconstitutional for Legislators to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship or practice medicine without a license?

Will Democrats propose a Voting Rights amendment outlawing electronic voting machines and requiring the public counting of ballots?

As Lambert says in Oh, my. Akin’s back.

Does anybody seriously believe that electing Obama will make a dime’s worth of difference stopping rape, or for women generally? Why would they? Does anybody actually read what Obama says, or watch what he does? Let’s put the famous “rape is rape” in context, shall we? Let’s roll the transcript:

Go, on — read it!

Trying to stick a “Far Left” label on Righteous Indignation

The New York Times Opinionator blog aggregator has detected a nascent revolt in the Democratic party.  The Times is only 18 months late.  The PUMAs were ahead of the curve the day the DNC RBC knifed its own voters and installed Barack Obama as the nominee over the objections of slightly more than half of the Democratic primary voters.  I’ll get back to why this moment was important.  The Opinionator follows up on this week’s off-off-year election results and reports that it appears that the Democrats are losing their far left flank.

(First, they came for the so-called “Reagan Democrats”, then they came for the women and the gays.)

Can I just say what a stupid narrative this is?  Sometimes, I read this crap in the paper and I think, do these reporters just take dictation from Rahm Emannuel or do they make this $^&* up to conform to their view of the world where things have to go into neat little boxes?

What the hell is the far-left anyway?  If you believe that equal treatment under the law should apply to all citizens regardless of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, race, creed or disability because they are all persons born with unalienable rights, that is hardly a “far left” position.  Isn’t that a uniquely American position?  Didn’t we all pledge allegiance to the flag that promised “liberty and justice for all”?  And if that is true, doesn’t that put us on the side of everything that is good about America and those that oppose those things horribly mislead?

My idea of “far-left” is based on my childhood impressions of news reports of the Weather Underground and defenders of Karl Marx.  Far lefties, to me, are people who are rigid ideologues who want to enforce some strange form of a socialist utopian nanny state on the rest of us. And I am referring to a REAL communist-socialist state, not some bizarre Republican  misinterpretation of one. Far lefties are militant pacifists.  They hang out in trees and feed their children macrobiotic organic fruititarian diets.  They are green Martha Stewart’s who think everyone has time to grow their own clothes and walk to work.   They’re people who can’t be reasoned with.  They’re oblivious to real life and are as fundamentalist in their world view as the religious right.

The closest I can find to a far-lefty these days is the Obot who still thinks that the main problem plaguing the country right now is the issue of race.  Where have these people been in the last year?  Did they miss that sincerely awe inspiring election of the first African-American for president?  Don’t they know what the unemployment rate is? Have they tried to find jobs lately?  Feed their kids?  Pay for a doctor?  Save for college?  They’re stuck with the mindset that we are not finished with their teachable moment on race as if all other oppressed demographic groups don’t have  grievances that need to be addressed.  If only we would let go of our prejudices, which for the most part do not exist on the center-left, President Obama could get on with his job and we’ll all be happier. Anyone who opposes Obama doesn’t have a legitimate reason for doing so.  They’re just racists or stupid old women.  That’s the far-left.  They are so stuck in the weeds of their own perfect world they are incapable of seeing the floor torn out from beneath their feet by the big business friends of Obama who installed him in office.

Let’s talk about those big business friends of Obama.  They were in control of the primary and general election season last year.  I think we can all see that in retrospect.  Raise your hand if that isn’t perfectly clear to you by now.  Their massive infusions of cash bought the Democratic National Committee, which unbeknownst to the average voter was up for sale.  The Democratic National Committee violated just about every principle it stood for in order to install Obama as the nominee including dumping millions of Hillary Clinton’s voters.  I’m going to keep harping on this until the Times boys get it.  The party dumped its base last year.   That is why there is trouble brewing in the party.  Some of us have left the party over what happened last year.  You just didn’t see it in the presidential election because the economy tanked.

Apparently, that “some of us” made the difference in NJ.  It isn’t that there were so many more voters voting Republican in NJ.  There weren’t.  It’s that Democrats just didn’t turn out or that the truly disgusted ones, such as myself, voted for a fiscally responsible, socially liberal Chris Daggett.  Now, some may argue that Corzine lost due to local issues.  And that is true.  But the reason he was such a failure at resolving local issues is because he is typical of the kind of Democratic politician we’ve become accustomed to voting for in the Democratic party.  He is beholden to the status quo and big money, a compromiser, an incrementalist, insufficiently bold, doesn’t look out for the middle class and all too willing to ignore the voters when their will is inconvenient to him.

Who does that sound like?

The party has lost its way and now that enough of its voters know that the party is no longer listening to them, there have been defections.  And let’s not mistake who the defectors are.  Most of us are FDR, Clinton style Democrats, moderate to  liberal but hardly “far-left”.  We’re in Paul Krugman’s camp.  Recently, some of the feminist Obama supporters have woken up and smelled the coffee.  We welcome them and only regret that they weren’t paying attention last year when references to abortion and reproductive rights were scrubbed from Democratic candidates web sites. (Read past the quote) They ridiculed the PUMAs last year.  They’re starting to sound just like them now.  Gay voters have been wary of Obama since he rolled out  Donny McClurkin but many fell prey to the “Obama is an historic candidate but Hillary Clinton is an old bitch” propaganda.  Do they now regret their over the top rants against her? Is it possible that she was just a legitimate candidate who stood for traditional core Democratic principles and was not sent by Satan to rain on Barack Obama’s glorious golden specialness?  Is it possible that her supporters deserved to be treated like persons and their votes respected?

The party’s civil war started the day the RBC tossed our votes out, May 31, 2008.  The day they made one candidate’s voters more equal than the others, the day they violated every principle they had over voting rights, the day they selectively broke and enforced their rules and decided to not listen to their voters, and got away with it, was the day the party started down the path to disunity.  It only took some time before the Obama cheerleaders realized that they had given the party permission to completely ignore them in the future.  And now the party should not be surprised that they have a civil war on their hands.

Bring. It. On.

 

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My Voting Strategy – Democracy

Following the My Voting Strategy Series, here is my own:

E. B. White: Democracy is itself, a religious faith. For some it comes close to being the only formal religion they have.

George Orwell: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

George Washington: As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.

Jesse Jackson: In politics, an organized minority is a political majority.

John Bright: Demand the ballot as the undeniable right of every man who is called to the poll, and take special care that the old constitutional rule and principle, by which majorities alone shall decide in Parliamentary elections, shall not be violated. Continue reading