Thursday, November 26, 2015

Something To Be Thankful For... And Who's Still Against Decriminalizing Marijuana?


This has been quite the year for me. Last October I was diagnosed with a rare but treatable form of cancer, Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Lucky for me I found an amazing doctor who's one of the specialists in this disease and she fought it, apparently successfully.While she fought that, I did my best to survive the treatment, treatment that was incredibly intense, in some ways the worst thing I had ever experienced in my life. Chemotherapy is no walk in the park and the "side effects: can be devastating. The cancer is in remission and the effects of the stem cell replacement are wearing off but there are still battles to fight every single day.

One that I had to fight when the chemo was finally finished involved intense pain, inability to eat and inability to sleep. It may not sound like that big a deal... but it was. Sometimes I was up after midnight screaming at the top of my lungs in pain. I lost 45 pounds and couldn't look at myself and feared I would waste away to nothing.

When I was a teenager, marijuana was an integral part of my life. In fact, there were a few years that it had been the focus of my life. But on December 1, 1969, sitting in my VW van in a desolate parking lot in the no-man's-land at the border between India and Pakistan, waiting in a very hot sun for a visa, I underwent what I always considered a miracle. I had tried to stop using drugs and sometimes I would succeed but the desire was always there and eventually I would fall back into it. But on that day almost 46 years ago, it was like a hand reached into me and pulled out the desire for drugs entirely. And, just like that-- BOOM-- I never wanted to use marijuana or any other drug again. Not that I never did it again. I just never cared about it one way or another. Years later when I worked at Warner Bros., Neil Young would want to smoke a joint when he delivered a new album. I'd take a toke and get high and be unable to work for the rest of the day but... what the hell... part of the job, and not an unpleasant part in the least. And Green Day felt that they wanted to experience smoking some pot in the president's office. Fine with me. The point, though, is that I wasn't against pot; it had been an essential part of my teen years and I appreciate what it did for me. But that was in the past and it wasn't part of my life any longer.

Then the chemo side effects. Friends and neighbors told me pot would help. I kept hearing about "medical marijuana," which I always assumed was just a ploy by pot-heads to make some headway towards legalization. But once my doctor told me it might be worth trying to relieve the symptoms, I gave it a shot. I used some marijuana oil on a piece of food. That night I slept for the first time in a long, long time. I woke up the next morning and yelled downstairs to my sister, "I'm starving." It was the first time I wanted to eat in what seemed like forever. The marijuana oil became an integral part of my recovery. If you can't sleep or eat and if you're in agonizing pain... well, you can't heal. The marijuana helped me heal. I became an advocate among other patients and helped several navigate the system of how to get it and where. And when that part of my healing was over... that was that. I'm not any more inclined to using it today than I was a year ago or ten years ago. Zero interest. But not zero interest in the politics around it. Especially now that most Americans favor legalization.

I'm so proud that several Members of Congress I'm in regular communication with understand the benefits and are working towards legalization. This year, one of L.A.'s most stalwart progressives, Ted Lieu, passed an amendment, with huge bipartisan support, partially defunding cannabis eradication operations. He is part of a group of a dozen Members-- besides Lieu, Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mike Honda (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jan Scakowsky (D-IL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Earl Blumenthal (D-OR), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA)-- who have sent a letter to Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker and House Democratic Leader, and to the two heads of the Appropriations Committee, chairman Hal Rogers and Ranking Member Nita Lowey, requesting that Lieu's amendment be adopted into the upcoming spending bill that has to be passed by December 11. The amendment takes $9 million from the DEA's Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program and redistributes it to 3 accounts that play a far more useful role in promoting the safety and economic prosperity: the Violence Against Women Act Youth-Oriented Program, the Victims of Child Abuse program, and the Spending Reduction Account. From Lieu's letter:
Throughout the country, states are increasingly turning away from marijuana prohibition and enacting alternative policies to lower crime rates, free up limited law enforcement resources , and keep drugs out of the hands of children. To date, four states have legalized recreational marijuana, and 23 states now allow marijuana for medical use. There has also been a great deal of movement on the science behind marijuana, and consequently, the marijuana policy landscape in Congress has shifted to more closely match the needs of the states we represent.

...Despite both the programs’ proven ineffectiveness and the seismic shift in attitudes on marijuana policy within Congress and across our nation, the DEA continues to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, spending $18 million in 2014 alone.

The language contained in this amendment, supported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress, is an important and needed step forward to cut waste from our federal budget and focus our limited resources on programs that have proven to be effective at preventing violence, assisting children who have been victimized, and promoting public health.

This month Bernie Sanders, the most admired senator of any of the 100 in America, introduced a bill to end federal prohibition of marijuana, removing it from the DEA's schedule of controlled substances. It's the first such bill to ever be introduced in the Senate and-- no surprise here-- he's the first presidential candidate to back the idea. Hillary, like fellow conservatives Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, wants to leave it to the states to decide. O'Malley says it should still be illegal but more in line with cocaine instead of heroin. (You can see why no one takes his candidacy seriously.) Rand Paul favors legalization for medical marijuana and thinks prison for users is a bad idea. Jeb is outspokenly against legalizing even medical marijuana. Chris Christie-- playing politics as usual-- says he'll put everyone in prison who smokes pot in states where its been legalized-- Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington. And Fiorina is confused and conflates marijuana with much stronger drugs. From the GOP debate:

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Trump Keeps Driving The GOP Primary Into Darker And Darker Places


Tuesday night Kasich's campaign posted the incredible Trump-is-a-Nazi video based on Martin Niemöller's universally admired anti-Hitler warning. Kasich's ad (above) quickly went viral. Within hours a bizarre phishing website posted this false story about Kasich dropping out of the race under the headline, "BREAKING: Kasich to suspend campaign facing bankruptcy, low polls." Authorship was attributed to "Voltova Dmitri"

Tonight was supposed to be Governor Kasich’s night. He was to do “counter speeches” to Trump, who was campaigning in his home turf. Sadly, Kasich had few attendees and even less luck raising money from the poverty stricken masses that many say his policies had put into debt.

Kasich is also facing heat from Marco Rubio, who has been mocking him and Ted Cruz as “WIMPS”

Kasich, a former banker and wall street guy, is not right for America, most voters believe.

The governor doubled down on his critiques of Trump, but few are listening.

After months of sinking in the polls and not catching on, Jon Kasich, governor of Ohio, is expected to bow out of the GOP race prior to thanksgiving.

Donald Trump, via twitter, confirmed the rumor circling DC social circles.

Trump also brought this fact up at his massive speech.

Wall Street Journal:

John Kasich of Ohio, the House Budget Committee chairman whose bid for young and populist voters never caught on, is expected to announce he is dropping out of the crowded GOP field in the next couple of days, people close to the campaign said.

An older point reflects his failed 2000 campaign above.

(Visited 19,245 times, 13,230 visits today)
Then came this twitter exchange:

(I can confirm that malware including one bit from Indian hackers that is made to look like an official Safari website that can get control of your computer if you go along with their ruse.)

So is it a Trumpian site? I still can't tell. Krugman's It's A Conspiracy post yesterday is right in line with what everyone has been coming to realize about Trump and his sad, sad low-info followers. Herr Trump "just isn’t vulnerable to typical establishment attacks-- at least in the Republican primary. (The general election might be different.) Catch him making an utterly false assertion, and his supporters just see it as the liberal media conspiring against him. It’s driving the establishment Republicans wild." Krugman has no sympathy for the GOP establishment. Like I said a few days ago: they made this bed; let them sleep in it now.
But really, why should they be shocked? Think about what the establishment has to say on other issues. The chairman of the House science committee says that global warming is a fraud, perpetrated by a vast conspiracy at the NOAA, which is presumably part of a global scientific conspiracy. When the administration reported large numbers of people signing up for Obamacare, leading Republican Senators accused it of cooking the books-- and I’m unaware of any apology or even acknowledgement that they were wrong. Rush Limbaugh claimed that one of the Batman films was an anti-Romney conspiracy. And on and on.

So how are base voters supposed to know that Trump’s claims that the media suppressed films of Muslims cheering on 9/11 mark him as crazy, while all the other conspiracy theories on the right are OK? I guess someone could try to put out a cheat sheet listing acceptable and unacceptable tin-hat views; but Trump would just call that part of the conspiracy, and a lot of people would believe him.

Sorry, guys, you created this monster, and now he’s coming for you.
Finally yesterday, Christie worked up his courage to definitively shoot down Trump's bullshit about the thousands of Jersey City Muslims Trump claims to have "seen" celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11. The right-wing Daily Standard reported Christie directly contradicting Trump's audacious and false assertions: "Thousands of people did not cheer in Jersey City on 9/11. It just didn’t happen. I was there that day. Nothing like that was ever shown on the news. There’s no video of that. It didn’t happen." Earlier Guiliani was on Morning Joe also confirming that Trump's assertions are false.

Soon after Christie's report started circulating I got this Twitter "Like" for some long-forgotten, two-and-a-half month old anti-Christie tweet of mine. And, let me tell you, "Sasha Free" is not a typical Twitter follower of mine.

I know Trump isn't using his money to buy TV and radio ads. He he spending money on online campaigns to undermine his opponents? I can't wait for him to get around to Cruz, who, according to Sahil Kapur's report for Bloomberg, may be starting to identify Trump as an adversary who has to be taken down. "Cruz," wrote Kapur, "is tentatively beginning to take on the brash New York billionaire after months of cozying up. Twice in recent days, the Texan has seized opportunities to distance himself from Trump's policies and rhetoric."

First, Cruz disagreed with Trump after the New Yorker expressed openness to setting up a registry of Muslim Americans in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. “I'm a big fan of Donald Trump's but I'm not a fan of government registries of American citizens,” Cruz told reporters in Iowa, according to Politico. “The First Amendment protects religious liberty, I've spent the past several decades defending religious liberty.”

Then over the weekend, he politely chided inflammatory rhetoric from fellow Republicans on immigration, when asked about Trump during an interview with the Associated Press. “Tone matters,” Cruz said. “Are there some in the Republican Party whose rhetoric is unhelpful with regard to immigration? Yes.”

Cruz's campaign said to expect more distinctions to come.

“Senator Cruz has drawn policy contrasts with his opponents before and he will continue to do so as he shares his own record and positions with voters on the campaign trail,” said Catherine Frazier, Cruz's spokeswoman. “As the field continues to narrow, it's only natural that the contrasts between the front runners will become more evident.”

The contrast-drawing follows an unusual summer and fall bromance between Trump and Cruz that included a July meeting at Trump Tower in New York, instigated by the Texan, and a September rally on Capitol Hill headlined by the two Republican candidates. On Oct. 8, Cruz admitted his strategy was to eventually win over Trump's supporters. “In time, I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee, and I think in time the lion's share of his supporters end up with us,” he told WABC's Rita Cosby.

Trump's persistent national lead since July, defying a steady stream of predictions about an impending implosion, has forced a strategic shift for Cruz. The Texan is looking to capitalize as he rises to the top tier of the GOP race and as former Iowa front-runner Ben Carson sinks under scrutiny. The new Quinnipiac poll of Iowa Republicans, released Tuesday, found Trump at 25 percent, with Cruz at 23 percent—a 2 percentage point gap that is inside the survey's margin of error. Carson was third in the Quinnipiac poll with 18 percent.

“Ted Cruz should be taken very seriously. He's laid out a very well thought-out grassroots and fundraising network across the country. He's been very strategic in his timing,” said Ron Bonjean, a veteran Republican operative who is not affiliated with any of the presidential campaigns.

For Cruz, Trump presents an obstacle and an opportunity. The politically incorrect New Yorker has been outperforming the Texas firebrand at his own greatest talent: deploying scorched-earth rhetoric to channel the anti-establishment sentiments in the GOP. But Trump's bravado gives Cruz a chance to paint himself as something nobody in Washington would accuse him of being: prudent and measured.

“There is massive irony here for Ted Cruz to be asking Donald Trump to tone it down,” said Bonjean. “He's trying to look like the most adult candidate in the room-- the most realistic alternative that could take away Trump voters.”

The irony is that Cruz has built an image upon angering Republican leaders with tactics like incubating the government shutdown of 2013, forcing weekend work as he makes a stand, and calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the floor this summer. It has been a tactical use of his Senate seat, Bonjean said, that has enabled Cruz to cultivate his conservative base and that now positions him to seize his political advantage. “He has built a foundation brick by brick for this moment.”

Bonjean said Cruz is “trying to do is marginalize Trump with Republican primary voters-- very subtly-- without tripping the wire of having Trump go nuts on him.”

Meanwhile, Trump has suggested Cruz is copying his ideas, telling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham last week that “Ted Cruz is now agreeing with me 100 percent.” The confrontational New Yorker has also indicated he'll take the gloves off if Cruz becomes a threat to his nomination.

“If he catches on, I guess we’ll have to go to war,” Trump said last Monday on CNBC's Squawk Box.
Easy enough for Trump to dispose of weak, plodding characters like Perry, Jeb, Jindal, Dr. Ben, Kasich, Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, but will he have what it takes to handle someone with his own sociopathic disregard for any semblance of human decency? We haven't seen a good fascist vs fascist death match since... Operation Hummingbird, (AKA, 1934's Night of The Long Knives).

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Ready To Eat? Mark Takano Has Some Useful Suggestions For Thanksgiving


With Trumpf giving a certain air of acceptance to blatant lying this season, California Congressman Mark Takano has put together some useful suggestions about stuffing the predictable arguments with the Limbaugh-lovin' brother-in-law with actual facts. I know, I know... they don't care about facts but what's the alternative? Make them all watch the John Kasich ad about Trumpf/Hitler?

Eat hearty! I think everyone at the dinner I'm going to tonight is either a Democrat or an Independent. Although I guess I can imagine a fight breaking out between Hillary and Bernie supporters. Gee, I hope not. How do you argue with someone unpatriotic/uncaring/uneducated... enough to back Hillary? Sorry for that. I was joking. Bernie admirers will just ignore the Hillary louts. Meanwhile though, Joe Conason offered a worthy Thanksgiving meditation I thought was worth quoting from.
At this moment, millions of immigrant families confront fear and insecurity, as political demagogues vilify and threaten them. Muslim Americans face intimidation from those same opportunistic bigots. Black Americans suffer resurgent racist assaults, especially when speaking out in their own defense. And on the other side of the world, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees seeking only to save themselves and their children from murder and enslavement know that much of the supposedly civilized world, including many political leaders in this country, is coldly turning them away.

That is why I want to express thanks that Barack Obama is president of the United States.

Last year on this day I noted, while acknowledging his flaws and errors, “how much worse our situation might be” had Obama’s opponents been in control from January 2009 to the present instead of him. To me, “the undeniable truth is that Obama righted the nation in a moment of deep crisis and set us on a navigable course toward the future, despite bitter, extreme, and partisan opposition that was eager to sink us rather than see him succeed.” None of that has changed, of course-- and in the current atmosphere of bigotry, recrimination, and psychopathic rhetoric, the president’s calm, rational, decent voice is more vital than ever.

The presidential nominating process of one of our two major political parties is elevating an ambitious television personality whose campaign is based on sinister appeals to xenophobia, suspicion, and anger. Like a Queens-born version of Mussolini, Donald Trump tells big lies about Mexicans and Muslims, encourages violence among his fanatical followers, and issues hollow, bombastic rants about “making America great again.” Most of Trump’s Republican rivals seem envious of him, when they should be disgusted by his plans to “register” Muslims or his promise to deport millions of undocumented immigrants; their objections to his outrages have largely been equivocal, indirect, feeble, halting. In his wake, they have been all too eager to denigrate the innocent refugees as potential “terrorists”-- and to dispose of cherished American values without a backward glance.

Trump promises to make Americans proud of our country again, but the spectacle of furious thousands cheering him at a rally evokes revulsion and shame.

So when President Obama speaks out to defend immigrants and refugees from the scurrilous abuse of Trump and the Republicans, I feel a deep sense of gratitude-- just as I do when he chooses diplomacy over war, as he did in the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and science over propaganda, as he continues to do in his diplomatic and domestic efforts to address climate change.

With his own admirably cool style, shaking off the vicious attacks of his adversaries every day, the president upholds our venerable ideal of malice toward none and charity for all. In different ways that ideal was embodied in his predecessors, the presidents who originated and revived this most generous of national holidays-- George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt-- and its endurance is reason to be thankful indeed.
Don't let a fascist buffoon spoil your Thanksgiving.

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21 Kids and a Scientist Sue to Force Obama to Fight Climate Change


Climate Change: The Next Generation from on Vimeo. Kelsey Juliana, an 18-year-old activist, is fighting climate change in the courts and walking across the country to spread the word on global warming.

by Gaius Publius

(Implicit in the headline, of course, is that it will take a lawsuit to force him. As James Hansen's written testimony makes clear, that implication is correct.)

I've been meaning to write this piece for a while, and my hesitation stems from the fact that it's actually at least a magazine-length article, if I do it any justice. Here are the main pieces, and I urge you to explore them, assuming the longer article won't be written today, or this week.

Those pieces:

     ▪ According to Thomas Jefferson (and many others), in principle the earth belongs to the living, not the dead. One of the outflows from that idea is that the dead should not write rules that constrain the living from exercising their own will. Another idea is that the dead should not "eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come, and then the lands would belong to the dead."

     "Usufruct" is a Latin name for a specific kind of limited legal right with respect to property. To hold a property "in usufruct" means the right to (a) enjoy the use (usus) of a property (like, say, the earth and its atmosphere, or a plot of land) without destroying it; and (b) derive profits (fructus) from the property, again, without destroying it. (The right to destroy a property is, rightly, named abusus.) Jefferson in his letter to Madison holds in principle that "lands" are held by one generation for the next in "usufruct" — for non-destructive use and profit — and for that use only. If this were not the case and the land (the earth) instead destroyed, the next generation would inherit a useless thing, and a thing would remain forever the property of the dead.

     ▪ Climate change, in a very real sense, is destroying the property held in common by all humans — our earth and its ability to sustain civilized (non-hunger-gatherer) human life. If climate change is not stopped or reversed, when this generation of Kochs and Tillersons and, yes, Obamas, passes from the earth, and the generation that inherits it looks around, they will see that their elders have not only eaten its fruits — they've eaten the earth itself. That they've abused the earth for their own enjoyment only, then died and given a dead thing to the living.

     ▪ The principle that the government holds the country and its common resources "in public trust" is established in law.

     ▪ From these principles flows one more way to use force against this generation's "climate criminals" — and I'm using the term in a very real sense, considered in light of the ideas above. That way is the force of law, in particular, the law that constrains the government to protect what it holds, including the air, the atmosphere, "in public trust."

     ▪ There have been a number of lawsuits in U.S. courts attempting to force the government to reverse the destruction of the atmosphere by CO2 emissions. As the article below details, they have had some success at the state level. There's now a federal case, and it's being brought by 21 children on behalf of their generation — and climate scientist James Hansen, the grandfather of one of the children.

I hope you can see how this piece, if it were to explore each bullet-point above, would become a lengthy article indeed. For example, I'm not done with the idea of launching a very real "climate criminals" project. But for now, the news.

21 Kids and a Climate Scientist Sue to Force Obama to Fight Climate Change

I'd like to focus on the federal lawsuit, though much could be written about the various state suits as well. Here's John Light writing at Bill Moyers' site:
21 Kids and a Climate Scientist Are Suing to Force Obama to Fight Climate Change

When the young people working with Our Children’s Trust talk about their lawsuits to compel governments to act on climate change, they like to use a quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

This month, it looks like these young activists have made it to step three: On Nov. 12, three fossil fuel lobby groups asked a judge to let them join the federal case as co-defendants against the 21 children (and a climate scientist) who are suing [pdf; this is the lawsuit document itself] the Obama administration and federal regulatory agencies to take serious, science-based action on climate change.

The case is the culmination of a series of lawsuits brought by various groups of young people in all 50 states since 2011. Their argument is that the federal government is infringing on the constitutional rights of America’s youth and future generations by continuing to allow fossil fuel extraction and consumption. These activities cause climate change by damaging the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is a public trust, they say, that should be protected for future generations. Ultimately, they argue that this type of pollution discriminates against young people, because young people will suffer the impact of climate change far more than today’s policymakers.
Light then details the success of similar suits, including one in Washington State and another in the Netherlands. Though I won't quote those sections, each of them is interesting. About the federal suit he writes (my emphasis):
In August, Our Children’s Trust took its case to the federal level with 21 young Americans and renowned climatologist James Hansen as plaintiffs. (Hansen’s 17-year-old granddaughter Sophie is one of the plaintiffs, and in the case he plays both the role of her guardian and “guardian” to as-yet-unborn generations.) Last Tuesday, the Obama administration filed a motion to dismiss the youths’ suit, arguing that the plaintiffs don’t have the right to bring the lawsuit in the first place, and that even if they did, the court doesn’t have authority to create climate policy. The judge may or may not choose to dismiss; if the case goes to trial, it will be this winter.
Note that the defendant is the Obama administration, and that the administration is contesting the suit. That is, the Obama administration is upholding its right to allow the fossil fuel companies to destroy the land it holds "in trust" for the children and grandchildren of those in current control, including ... itself.

Shorter lawsuit: "You can't destroy the world we will live in when you're dead." Shorter Obama: "Yes, we can, and we'll fight your attempt to stop us."

Exxon's Friends Are Asking to Join Obama As Co-Defendants

That's no joke. As you read above, the fossil fuel companies, through their entirely-controlled trade associations, have asked to join Obama and his administration as co-defendants. As well they should, in my view. Light again (my emphasis):
But for the plaintiffs [the children and Hansen], the big development this month was the request by three of Washington’s most powerful trade groups — each representing major players in the fossil fuel industry, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Koch Industries and BP America — asking the judge to let them join the Obama administration in the suit as co-defendants. That means the American Petroleum Institute (API), the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) would make their case side-by-side with the Obama administration, using their own lawyers — including Roger Martella, the former General Counsel of George W. Bush’s EPA — to argue against the youths and Hansen.

“It’s fairly common for trade associations to move to participate in lawsuits that could affect their interest,” says Michael B. Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School and the director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
Why would they do that? I think for several reasons. First, as Gerrard notes: “I think it shows that they’re not utterly certain it will be dismissed.”Second, they can throw their high-priced lawyers into the case. And finally ... well, perps of a feather flock together. As well they should.

Documents for Your Perusal

I think this could turn into a big deal, and yet fly way under most radars, including most (but not all) radars at MSNBC and PBS. (Obviously it hasn't flown under Bill Moyers' radar at PBS, and it may well make the news at the climate-excellent All In With Chris Hayes.)

If you'd like to read some of the source material, the data I'll be analyzing for later presentation, here are some links:
There are others, but these make a great place to start, as well as good reads in themselves, especially the Hansen testimony.

"If a man eat up the usufruct of the lands, then the lands would belong to the dead"

I want to quote some of that Jefferson letter (excerpts partly gathered from here; my emphasis):
I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, "that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;" that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. The portion occupied by an individual ceases to be his when himself ceases to be, and reverts to the society....

[T]he child, the legatee or creditor takes it, not by any natural right, but by a law of the society of which they are members, and to which they are subject. Then no man can by natural right oblige the lands he occupied, or the persons who succeed him in that occupation, to the paiment of debts contracted by him. For if he could, he might during his own life, eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come, and then the lands would belong to the dead, and not to the living, which would be reverse of our principle. What is true of every member of the society individually, is true of them all collectively, since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of individuals.
What Jefferson says about a generation destroying the use of a land by charging it with a debt that the next generation can never repay (something that France did to Haiti, by the way, when France was driven outand Haitian slaves freed), is equally true of any "debt" that destroys the use of a property held by one generation in trust for the next. We're going to follow this case closely. I hope you will follow it with us.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you..."


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Hillary's Campaign Is Bragging About Being Endorsed By LIUNA. Meet LIUNA And The Right-wing Nut Who Runs It


Just before the Thanksgiving break, the Clinton campaign stiffed MoveOn and its 8 million grassroots members just as they were playing kissy-kissy with the worst and most degenerate of the right-wing labor unions, LIUNA, which disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO in 2006 and, earlier, was prosecuted by the Department of Labor for racketeering, corruption and ties to organized crime. It’s a shame," said Anna Galland, the executive director of Civic Action, "that Secretary Clinton declined to participate in the MoveOn member forum. She missed an opportunity to speak directly to and energize the progressive base she’ll need in her corner not just to win the nomination but also the general election, if she is the party’s nominee." Now let's look at a little background on the conservative unions that have been lining up behind Clinton and particularly the Laborers Union and their corrupt right-wing boss Terry O'Sullivan.

Although unions have been maligned, denigrated and marginalized by Big Business and their conservative political allies and by the right-wing propaganda machine, the contributions unions have made to the lives of ordinary working men and women are profound and undeniable. From abolishing child labor laws to pushing for Social Security, Medicare, health and safety standards and the minimum wage-- not to mention the whole concept of the weekend!-- unions have been in the forefront of every battle between democracy and the nefarious forces of plutocracy. The Republican Party and the plutocrats behind them understood that by weakening unions, they would be weakening the effective opposition to their greed and selfishness-based agenda. The Democratic Party, without the backbone of the millions of working people represented by unions is, for the most part, just another set of craven politicians eager to sell out. Unions have kept the Democrats on the right path-- at least most unions have.

For years we've been warning readers about the Building Trades Unions. When I was growing up, these were the pro-war, pro-Nixon, racist, hippie-hating disgraces to the union movement. Today, the Building Trades Unions, have basically not changed all that much. They're still the conservative end of the union movement and they still give more support to Republicans than to Democrats.

In 2012 the 4 biggest recipients of Building Trades congressional campaign contributions were all conservative Republicans: Steve LaTourette (R-OH), Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm (R-Gambino).

At the height of the Keystone XL Pipeline LIUNA threatened progressives in Congress that they would help Koch-backed Republicans beat them in November. (We already saw them back conservative New Dem Colleen Hanabusa in Hawaii against progressive Senator Brian Schatz over Keystone XL.) O'Sullivan decided threatening House incumbents that they will help Republicans was the best tactic for his members and he singled out several top targets-- all 100% union backers: Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Carol Shea Porter (D-NH), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA). Here's part of a letter O'Sullivan sent to members in Jan Schakowsky's Illinois district, where she's facing a crackpot Republican who wants to abolish unions altogether.
As we head into the 2014 election season, I want to bring your attention to an issue of critical importance to our Union; your member of Congress is trying to destroy job opportunities for our LIUNA brothers and sisters. Representative Jan Schakowsky recently signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, a vital infrastructure project that would create millions of hours of work for LIUNA members, increase U.S. energy independence, and safely transport a resource that will be developed with or without the pipeline.

To all proud, strong and united LIUNA brothers and sisters, I say, enough is enough! Our members and their families are angry, disappointed and disillusioned with out-of-touch, job-killing politicians who choose to side with environmental extremists over work for our members. There so-called "friends" of ours are destroying good-paying work opportunities with family-supporting benefits, at a time when LIUNA members are trying to put food on their tables, keep roofs over their heads, and maintain middle-class lifestyles.

For every action, there is a reaction, and our reaction to this frontal assault on our way of life needs to be loud and clear. If you do not stand with us, we sure as hell will not stand with you.

…[Your] member of Congress has chosen to side with hard-core anti-Keystone organizations rather than with hard working LIUNA members and their families. Please keep that in mind when Congresswoman Schakowsky seeks your vote this fall, and be sure to let her know how angry and disappointed you are that she is trying to keep your brothers and sisters from working.

If Congresswoman Schakowsky and other politicians continue to stand in the way of jobs for Laborers, let's make sure they "feel the power" and fury of LIUNA this November.
Schakowsky was reelected 134,070 (65.7%) to 69,876 (34.3%). I don't know how big of a bribe the Koch brothers have given LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan, but I bet it's pretty big. His whole assertion could have come right from an episode of the union-busting Rush Limbaugh show. He should be very proud of himself and he's completely in the tradition of other labor leaders who sold out their own members-- Ronald Reagan, of course, comes right to mind. When Republicans challenged Van Jones' assertion that the whole Keystone Pipeline project would only create 35 permanent jobs-- no, not 35 thousand or 35 hundred, just 35-- Politifact investigated and they found Jones telling the truth and the Republicans lying-- as usual. O'Sullivan is lying to his members as well.

A few weeks ago, when Obama finally nixed the Keystone Pipeline, O'Sullivan told his half-million members that "President Obama today demonstrated that he cares more about kowtowing to green-collar elitists than he does about creating desperately needed, family-supporting, blue-collar jobs.  After a seven-year circus of cowardly delay, the President’s decision to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline is just one more indication of an utter disdain and disregard for salt-of-the-earth, middle-class working Americans... Barack Obama’s disdain for working people is evident. The President may be celebrated by environmental extremists, but with this act, President Obama has also solidified a legacy as a pompous, pandering job killer."

Tuesday he told those same members that "LIUNA is proud to endorse Secretary Clinton for President of the United States. The strong, proud and united members of LIUNA will be on the frontlines of the 2016 elections; on the streets, knocking on doors, making calls and encouraging family, friends, and neighbors to elect Hillary Clinton as the 45th President of the United States. LIUNA members and leadership believe that Secretary Clinton is the right leader to move our country forward and the most qualified candidate to address the many challenges facing the United States."

Last year LIUNA contributed large amounts of money to the worst Blue Dogs and New Dems in Congress, anti-working family fake Dems like South Jersey's Donald Norcross (the top recipient of their cash), John Barrow, Nick Rahall, Cheri Bustos, Ami Bera, Pete Gallego, Steve Israel, Dan Lipinski, Sean Patrick Maloney, Patrick Murphy, and Kyrsten Sinema. But LIUNA also gave $10,000 pops to reactionary Republicans like Lou Barletta (R-PA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Fred Upton (R-MI) and Greg Walden (R-OR), the chair of the NRCC. They only gave Paul Ryan $5,000 last year, the same amount as they gave him in 2012 and the same amount they had gifted to far right extremists Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH) and Joe Walsh (R-IL).

And over on the Senate side their biggest contributions went to right-wing corporate Democrats Joe Manchin and Claire McCaskill. Obviously, not one nickel to Bernie Sanders.

So far this cycle LIUNA has given thousands of dollars to House Republicans again-- racist Lou Barletta (R-PA), Paul Cook (R-CA), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Dan Donovan (R-NY), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Bill Johnson (R-OH), David Joyce (R-OH), John Katko (R-NY), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Peter King (R-NY), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Thomas MacArthur (R-NJ), David McKinley (R-WV), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Pat Tiberi (R-NJ), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Michael Turner (R-OH), Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR), Ed Whitfield (R-KY) Don Young (R-AK) and Lee Zelden (R-NY).

And in Florida, they don't care who wins the open Senate seat, as long as it isn't progressive icon Alan Grayson. They've already started funding the Senate campaigns of two right-wing anti-worker candidates, Republican David Jolly and New Dem Patrick Murphy. LIUNA has also given to Joe Heck's Senate campaign in Nevada. Their biggest single investment (so far) though was $30,000 to the Boehner for Speaker Committee, although they've also given thousands to the Blue Dog PAC and the New Dems' Moderate Democrats PAC. And although almost all their other contributions this cycle have gone to incumbents, they managed to connect to the most corrupt Democrat in Sacramento, Isadore Hall, a candidate for the open CA-44 seat and gave him $5,000. Birds of a feather.

Below is a video of the MoveOn forum that Hillary snubbed while she was plotting with LIUNA's Terry O'Sullivan how to move America backwards. You can contribute to Bernie Sander's campaign here.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bernie's The Most Beloved Senator In His Own State And McConnell Is The Most Loathed In His


Different approaches have meant different results

Morning Consult polled residents of every state to find out if voters approve or disapprove of the job their senators are doing. We mentioned earlier that Bernie Sanders has the highest approval ranking of any senator, 83% as well as the lowest disapproval rating, 13%. The surveys showed that Senate Democrats have an average approval rating of 54% and that Republicans have an average approval rating of 51%. The Senator is the worst shape of all has got to be Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with a 38% approval and a 52% disapproval. In fact, he's the only senator with over half the voters of his state disapproving of the job he's been doing.

But I'd say there are a dozen senators in especially bad shape, 3 Democrats and 9 Republicans. Only one of the Democrats-- Colorado's Michael Bennet-- and 3 of the Republicans-- Ron Johnson (WI), Mark Kirk (IL) and Rob Portman (OH)-- among the dozen are up for reelection in 2016. These are the 12 senators with the worst approval scores:
Gary Peters (D-MI)- 37%
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)- 37%
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)- 38%
Ron Johnson (R-WI)- 38%
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)- 39%
Jerry Moran (R-KS)- 40%
Mark Kirk (R-IL)- 41%
Pat Roberts (R-KS)- 41%
Thom Tillis (R-NC)- 41%
Rob Portman (R-OH)- 41%
Michael Bennet (D-CO)- 42%
Joni Ernst (R-IA)- 43%
Now let's look at the dozen with the highest disapproval numbers. The really bad report is for those senators on both lists. But only 5 are.
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)- 52%
Pat Roberts (R-KS)- 41%
John McCain (R-AZ)- 41%
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)- 39%
Harry Reid (D-NV)- 38%
Jon Tester (D-MT)- 38%
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)- 38%
Rand Paul (R-KY)- 37%
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)- 37%
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)- 36%
Joni Ernst (R-IA)- 36%
David Vitter (R-LA)- 36%


Politicians Have Taken A Huge Amount In Legalized Bribes To Allow This Pfizer-Allergen Inversion To Happen


Earlier today we looked at a proposition about Republicans enthusiastically backing Bernie Sanders for president, as so many of them in Vermont have backed him for Senate. Normally the number of votes down-ticket diminishes. So in 2012 Obama was at the top of the ticket in Vermont and he did incredibly well. He beat Romney almost everywhere and took 199,259 votes (67%) to Romney's 92,700 (31%). That same day Peter Shumlin was reelected governor and considerably fewer people voted, especially Democrats. Schumlin got 170,767 votes (58%) to Republican Randy Brock's 110,953 (38%).

But Bernie was also up for reelection that day-- and none of the normal political rules applied. He got more votes and a greater percentage of votes than Shumlin and Obama-- 208,253 (71%) to Republican John MacGovern's 72,629 (25%). Plenty of ticket-splitting for Bernie from Republicans who had voted for Brock and for Romney. Bernie won every single constituency in the state. Obama lost a couple and Shumlin lost a couple dozen. An exit poll showed that 27% of Republicans voted for Bernie. (By way of comparison, 11% of Republicans voted for Obama and 12% of them voted for Shumlin.)

In the earlier post Elizabeth Coggins, a professor at Colorado College who studies American political psychology and ideological identification, was quoted saying that "Sanders has focused primarily on economic issues on which Americans are not divided. There is a strong consensus in agreement with Sanders on many of his core ideas, and his rhetoric has been largely centered on these sorts of issues." I had that in mind today when I read Bernie's statement about the $160 billion Pfizer and Allergen merger announcement, the largest corporate inversion ever, meant to allow Pfizer to get away without paying U.S. taxes. Bernie immediately thundered that "the Pfizer-Allergen merger would be a disaster for American consumers who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. It also would allow another major American corporation to hide its profits overseas. The Obama administration has the authority to stop this merger, and it should exercise that authority. Congress also must pass real tax reform that demands that profittable corporations pay their fair share of taxes." American as apple pie, right? No reason for any Republican to turn away from Bernie on that one, correct?

But congressional conservatives, particularly Republicans, who take immense amounts of legalized bribes from corporations and have steadfastly blocked legislation on inversions, see the problem differently, claiming that an across the board corporate tax rate decrease would de-incentivize corporations to move overseas. Yesterday's New York Times Editorial Board called the merger exactly what it is: "a tax-dodging maneuver that enriches shareholders and executives while shortchanging the public and robbing the Treasury of money that would pay for a host of government programs-- including education, scientific research and other services that also benefit corporations."
Pfizer, with a market value of nearly $200 billion, will be acquired by the smaller Allergan, which is run from New Jersey but technically headquartered in Ireland. This will allow Pfizer, which is based in New York, to pass itself off as Irish as well. Once the paper shuffling is complete, much if not most of Pfizer’s earnings-- including those that are made in the United States-- will be taxed at global tax rates that are generally lower than American tax rates.

...[I]nverted companies continue to enjoy the protection of patent laws in the United States, as well as their connections, official and unofficial, with federal research agencies-- all of which are crucial to drug-company profits. Contrary to popular belief, much high-risk, pathbreaking research and development can be traced not to the big drug companies but to taxpayer-funded research at the National Institutes of Health.

Traditionally, corporate taxation was a way to repay the public for benefits companies received from federal support. But in recent decades, corporate taxes as a share of federal revenue have shriveled. Inversions will only worsen that trend, effectively bolstering corporate profits at the expense of the public.

...It is not hard to write legislation and draw up rules outlawing inversions, and bills currently in Congress could put a stop to them quickly. What is lacking is political will to tell powerful corporate interests to stop. The Treasury Department under President Obama has issued rules to curb the practice. But the Pfizer and Allergan hookup is expected to get around these constraints. The administration could do more, but even more aggressive executive action would not be as effective as robust legislation.

Reincorporating abroad is a sophisticated variation on the old practice of avoiding corporate taxes by renting a post office box in the Caribbean and calling it corporate headquarters. Congress put a stop to those tactics in 2004. It is past time to shut down inversions as well.
Several weeks ago one of the most progressive Members of the House, Madison, Wisconsin's Mark Pocan introduced H.R. 3935, the Putting America First Corporate Tax Act, which was immediately referred to the Chamber of Commerce-controlled House Ways and Means Committee for unceremonious burial, just as Jan Schakowsky's earlier H.R. 1790, the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act, was buried in the same ultra corrupt committee, then chaired by Paul Ryan, who has taken $650,959 from Big Pharma-- nearly half of which came after he because chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Aside from Ryan, who has skipped off to be Speaker where he will get even bigger bribes from corporations intent on cheating America, these are the major players in killing the corporate inversion legislation; the money next to their names is how much they took from Big Pharma last cycle alone:
Pat Tiberi (R-OH)- $141,150
Charles "Lord Charles" Boustany (R-LA)- $85,800
Peter Roskam (R-IL)- $168,050
Kevin Brady (R-TX)- $124,332
Erik Paulsen (R-MN)- $239,179
Devin Nunes (R-CA)- $105,000
Tom Price (R-GA)- $104,600
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)- $191,400
Joe Crowley (New Dem-NY)- $116,900
Crowley was also the crook who took the biggest legalistic bribes from Pfizer last cycle, $28,200, even more than notoriously corrupt Speaker John Boehner ($17,900). This year the chair of Pfizer's corrupt PAC, lobbyist Sally Susman is a "Hillblazer" (which means she has committed to raising at least $100,000 for Hillary Clinton's presidential run). Hillary's response to Bernie's denunciation of the merger was, as always, "me too, me too." Trump's following Bernie on this too, denouncing the merger but getting all the details wrong, as usual. "The fact that Pfizer is leaving our country with a tremendous loss of jobs is disgusting... Our politicians should be ashamed." Among the products Pfizer makes-- in case you're thinking about not doing business with them anymore-- are Advil, Lipitor, Viagra, Preparation H, Lyrica (which rarely works anyway and should be avoided), Zoloft, Chantix, Diflucan, Xanax, Celebrex, Zithromax and Prevnar. Some of the better known products Allergen makes are Botox, Linzess, and Restasis.

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Even If Trump Disappears From The GOP Primary, There Are Republicans Who Will Support Bernie


My friend Danny-- we met as elementary school crossing guards at PS 197 in Brooklyn, where Bernie, Schumer, and Norm Coleman were all students as well-- mentioned to me that his daughter, a college freshman just got home from school. "She told us she's the only liberal progressive on her dorm floor," he wrote to me today, "which comes as  bit of a surprise, but she is meeting some like-minded people through clubs and stuff. But what is really hilarious (and interesting) is that her roommate-- from a VERY conservative, military family in southern Delaware (which is actually quite Southern)-- is for Bernie Sanders!"

Not such a stretch. Perhaps you recall a little buzz not even 2 months ago about how popular Bernie is with Vermont Republicans and how he's tied with Trump and Carson in the Republican primary in his home state! That makes it easier to understand the senatorial polling Morning Consult released this week. In a state-by-state analysis Bernie turned out to be the most popular senator in his home state. His approval rating is an astounding 83%-- the next highest is Maine's Susan Collins with 78%-- and Bernie's disapproval rating is just 13%, while the next lowest disapproval rating is 15 North Dakota's John Thune and Wyoming's John Barrasso. The other senators running for president don't exactly do as well. These are all the approvals/disapprovals of the senators running this cycle:
Bernie- 83/13%
Ted Cruz- 52/32%
Lindsey Graham- 51/35%
Marco Rubio- 50/33%
Randy Paul- 48/37%
And yesterday Clare Foran, writing for The Atlantic did a feature, The Lifelong Republicans Who Love Bernie Sanders about how, in her words, "some conservatives are defying expectation and backing the Vermont senator." Many Republicans are just so disgusted with what a circus the GOP's "Deep Bench" has turned into that they're just opting for Independent Sanders whose message appeals to them. "There are," she wrote, "Facebook groups and Reddit forums devoted entirely to Republicans who adore the Vermont senator."

These Republicans for Sanders defy neat categorization. Some are fed up with the status quo in Washington, and believe that Sanders, with his fiery populist message, is the presidential contender most likely to disrupt it. Others have voted Republican for years, but feel alarmed by what they see as the sharp right turn the party has taken.

“I have been a conservative Republican my entire life. But the Republican party as a whole has gotten so far out of touch with the American people,” says Bryan Brown, a 47-year-old Oregon resident. “I switched my registration so that I could vote for Sanders in the primary, but the day the primary is over I’m going to register as an Independent.”

...In some cases, longtime Republican voters who have decided to support Sanders... are rethinking their political affiliation entirely... Far from claiming to have experienced a political conversion, other Republicans argue that Sanders actually embodies conservative values.

“When I think of true conservative values I think of Teddy Roosevelt who earned a reputation as a trust-buster,” says Jeff DeFelice, a 38-year-old registered Republican voter living in Florida. “Now look at Bernie. He’s the only one willing to stand up to the big banks. The big banks control an obscene amount of wealth in this country and he wants to go after them.” If Sanders looks like “a viable candidate” by the time the primary rolls around, DeFelice says he’ll switch his party affiliation to vote for the senator.

Sanders’s promise to wrest power away from Wall Street and return it to the American middle class taps into the same vein of populist anger that fueled the rise of the Tea Party. It’s also a message that resonates with mainstream Republicans and Democrats. Sixty-two percent of Republicans, for example, believe that large corporations wield too much influence on American politics, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in May.

“Sanders has focused primarily on economic issues on which Americans are not divided,” says Elizabeth Coggins, a professor at Colorado College who studies American political psychology and ideological identification. “There is a strong consensus in agreement with Sanders on many of his core ideas, and his rhetoric has been largely centered on these sorts of issues.”

It’s difficult to say how deep conservative support for the senator runs. But its existence nevertheless challenges the notion that Sanders won’t be capable of building a diverse coalition to back his campaign during the 2016 presidential contest.

...Some conservatives readily admit they don’t love everything Sanders stands for, but insist that doesn’t change their affinity the senator.

“I’m not 100 percent behind his platform but I like him as a person. For me it really comes down to authenticity,” says Edwards. “We’ve seen so much deadlock in Congress and I think people are looking for someone who can be passionate and authentic rather than being partisan.”

Republicans who support Sanders don’t like being labeled liberals either, but that’s not enough to deter them: “There’s a mentality of ‘you’re either this or you’re that’, but the world doesn’t work that way,” DeFelice says. “Things aren’t always black or white. The world operates in shades of gray.”
If you'd like to help Bernie beat the establishment candidate in the Democratic primary and the extremist, or even neo-fascist, in the general election, please consider contributing to Bernie's grassroots campaign.

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Five Shot at Minneapolis Black Lives Matter Protest; Police Search for White Suspects


Rachel Maddow with the context for the shooting discussed below, plus updates

by Gaius Publius

Short and the opposite of sweet, but with two points to make. First is a news point, per the headline. Five people were shot at a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest in Minneapolis. Police are looking for several white suspects, likely white supremacists.

The story via Adam Johnson at Alternet:
5 Shot at Minneapolis Black Lives Matter Protest; Police Search for White Suspects

Multiple witnesses say white supremacists attacked the peaceful protest.

Five protesters were shot Monday night outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct, allegedly by three white males who witnesses described as white supremacists. The protesters had been peacefully demonstrating against the recent shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark by Minneapolis police. Clark was allegedly shot and killed while in police detention on November 15.

White supremacists were spotted stalking the protesters late Friday night and even posted a taunting video on Facebook of themselves wielding handguns and making veiled threats.

The shooting took place, according to the Washington Post, around 10:40pm Central Time. None of the victims are said to have life-threatening injuries according to Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder, although one was reportedly shot in the stomach and rushed to surgery.
More from the StarTribune report:
Miski Noor, a media contact for Black Lives Matter, said “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.”

One of the three men wore a mask, said Dana Jaehnert, who had been at the protest site since early evening.

When about a dozen protesters attempted to herd the group away from the area, Noor said, they “opened fire on about six protesters,” hitting five of them. Jaehnert said she heard four gunshots.

The shootings occurred at 10:45 p.m. on Morgan Avenue N. about a block north of the precinct station.

The attackers fled. ...
Seems the police used mace after the shootings — against the demonstrators. Alternet again:
Several organizers of the protests alleged that police sprayed demonstrators with mace following the shooting to control the crowd. The police have not responded to the allegations.
So that's the first point — this happened, and it happened in the current Trumpian, beat-up-the-dark-guy context.

The second point is this — imagine the attackers are American citizens of Syrian origin and Muslim faith. Now imagine the wounded are anyone at all, at a gathering in Minneapolis. Would that be called an act of terrorism? If so, how is this not an act of terrorism? 

Not that we don't know the answer ... but still, I want to watch the mainstream twist out the explanation.


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China Is Likely To Be More Receptive To Obama's Climate Change Goals Than Ted Cruz Is


The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference starts next week, November 30 in Paris and will go through December 11. Most world leaders, including Obama, will be attending and it was the subject of Pope Francis' encyclical last May, Laudato si', in which he wrote "There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. Here I would state once more that the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good... Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities."

As President Obama prepares for the conference, he'll have in the back of him mind the last Climate Change-related vote taken by Congress, less than two weeks ago. The Senate voted 52-46 to pass a Joint Resolution of congressional disapproval of an EPA rule about greenhouse gas emissions. Three blue and purple state Republicans-- Kelly Ayotte (NH), Susan Collins (ME) and Mark Kirk (IL)-- voted with the Democrats against the bill and 3 corrupt conservative red-state Democrats-- Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV)-- voted with the Republicans against the EPA rule. One of the resolution's staunchest opponents, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, noted that "the Senate’s vote sends a signal, and at an international conference like this, signals are important. There is a question facing not only the Senate but all Americans-- will the United States lead the clean energy revolution of the 21st century, or will we choose to tie ourselves to 19th-century dirty fuels like coal?" He urges Massachusetts voters to "stand strong for a cleaner, better, more sustainable future-- support the Clean Power Plan, and show the world that America is ready to lead the clean energy revolution."

Earlier this year the NY Times released extensive polling on how Americans see Climate Change. "Most Americans," they concluded, "think global warming poses a critical threat-- in the future, for other people. A majority said it will be a very serious problem for the future of the world, but fewer described it as very serious for the United States." An overwhelming majority of Americans, and even most Republicans, say they back Climate Change action by the government. In fact, the polling "found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming." And yet yesterday, the Washington Post reported on a study looking at why so many Americans are skeptical about climate change and pointed directly at the role of corporate money in the debate.
The report, a systematic review of 20 years’ worth of data, highlights the connection between corporate funding and messages that raise doubts about the science of climate change and whether humans are responsible for the warming of the planet. The analysis suggests that corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists.

“The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” said Justin Farrell, a Yale University sociologist and author of the study, released on Monday in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

...The results, Farrell said, revealed an “ecosystem of influence” within the corporate-backed groups. Those that received donations consistently promoted the same contrarian themes-- casting doubt, for example, on whether higher levels of man-made carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere were harmful to the planet. There was no evidence of such coordination among the non-funded groups.

The existence of corporate money “created a united network within which the contrarian messages could be strategically created” and spread, Farrell said.

“This counter-movement produced messages aimed, at the very least, at creating ideological polarization through politicized tactics, and at the very most, at overtly refuting current scientific consensus with scientific findings of their own,” he said.

...The publication of the report comes two weeks after New York prosecutors announced an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil misled the public and investors about the risks of climate change. The probe was prompted in part by reports in the Los Angeles Times and the online publication Inside Climate News, alleging that Exxon researchers expressed concerned about climate change from fossil fuel emissions decades ago, even as the company publicly raised doubts about whether climate-change was scientifically valid.

Exxon has declined to comment on the investigation while acknowledging that its position on climate-change has evolved in recent years. “Our company, beginning in the latter part of the 1970s and continuing to the present day, has been involved in serious scientific research, and we have been supporting since that time scientific understanding of the risk of climate change,” Exxon’s vice president of public and government affairs Ken Cohen told reporters after the New York probe was revealed.
Seth Borenstein, reporting for the A.P. pointed out that most of the Republican candidates for president flunk climate science. The informal study for A.P. by eight climate and biological scientists found that Clinton, O'Malley and Bernie did fine and all the Republicans sucked, some worse than others and one, in particular-- Ted Cruz-- more than anyone else. Here are the grades:
Clinton- 94%
O'Malley- 91%
Sanders- 87%
Bush- 64%
Christie- 54%
Kasich- 47%
Paul- 38%
Fiorina- 28%
Rubio- 21%
Trump- 15%
Dr. Ben- 13%
Cruz- 6%
I guess Cruz has written off the millennial vote. If he hasn't, he might as well stop wasting his money in that direction.

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