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  • Torturers, looters and oligarchs let their freak flags fly

    The people who variously collapsed the economy, bought the political process and brought torture into polite society are tired of your disrespect and they’re not afraid to let you know it.

    The latest in the parade of former Bush administration officials and CIA personnel to come in from the cold the suburbs and either defend or brag about their roles in the Bush torture regimen is psychologist James Mitchell, the prominent member of the helping professions who is credited with having designed the procedures used by the CIA to torture prisoners and is supposed to have tortured at least one prisoner himself. In an interview with The Guardian, Mitchell said “I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country by people at the highest level of government, and I did the best that I could.” Mitchell follows in the footsteps of former Vice President Dick Cheney and others who say the times required torture and the results justify it, and anyway it wasn’t torture.

    In some circumstances, in some countries, admitting to having not just devised torture procedures but practicing them as well would land one in hot water. In the US, however, torturers have a very prominent advocate for letting bygones be bygones: the current President. In 2009, when he ordered the release of the documents the Bush administration’s legal team wrote to retroactively and prospectively justify torture, President Obama said that “[i]n releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.”
    Continue reading Torturers, looters and oligarchs let their freak flags fly

    We can do better than this

    Below the fold you’ll find the first in a series of “Medicare for All” graphics I’m developing. At the moment they’re just to look at, but they’ll include a call to action as soon as The Search Committee finds an appropriate one.

    The ongoing Obamacare drama presents an opportunity to raise the visibility of single-payer and to draw new adherents to it from a variety of positions. Everybody everywhere likes them some Medicare, except the people whose profits are diminished by it. Nobody likes insurance companies, except the people whose profits depend on them. This is one of those rare moments when just about everybody is talking about health care and 90% of the people who are talking about it are saying “lord god this is fucked up.”
    Continue reading We can do better than this

    All across America, insurance company executives and insurance commissioners are doing spit takes

    (Updated 11/14/2013)

    Obamacare: despise it or hate it, it’s now the law of the land and we all need to accept it and make it … wait, what’s that? The President just changed the law? Okay then.

    As you know, people and Republicans have been making a big noise, first about the continuing web site enrollment woes, and then about insurance company customers who are getting cancellation notices for their insurance policies after the President emphatically said for three years that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” (You most likely couldn’t keep your plan but in fairness to the President, he probably thought nobody would want to.) In response to this less than joyful noise, the administration has come up with an administrative fix that they think will put the screws to the insurance companies they blame for the mess, but is almost certain to backfire: they’re allowing insurers to reinstate the cancelled plans if the various state insurance commissioners permit it.
    Continue reading All across America, insurance company executives and insurance commissioners are doing spit takes

    Soon, my petition will be a real boy, plus: Canadians don’t want Canadians to know what they know about Tommy Douglas

    My petition requesting the Obama administration to commission a National Intelligence Estimate on climate change is 19 signatures shy of achieving visibility on the White House petitions system, meaning that it’ll start showing up when people search for climate change-related petitions. It is also a mere 24,869 signatures shy of mandating an administration response. . . . → Read More: Soon, my petition will be a real boy, plus: Canadians don’t want Canadians to know what they know about Tommy Douglas

    Embargoed until release: President Obama’s Labor Day address

    Disclaimer: this is not actually Barack Obama speaking at the site of the Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina on Labor Day in 2012.

    Thank you all for coming to Gastonia today.

    When I delivered my Nobel Lecture in acceptance of the Nobel Committee’s prize for peace on December 10 of 2009, I did so in the knowledge that I had not earned it and did not deserve it. I told the assemblage that among those more deserving, “there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women – some known, some obscure to all but those they help – to be far more deserving of this honor than I.”

    In retrospect, I should have ended my speech there and left the stage. Because just as I did not deserve that prize, those people, “jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice,” did not deserve to be subordinated to my cause that night, which was not justice but justification of state violence applied to an inexcusably wide range of situations. And I stand before you today to make some small amends, to celebrate and justify our own who across the years have been and still are jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice, and I ask you all, and all other Americans, to celebrate and justify them with me.
    Continue reading Embargoed until release: President Obama’s Labor Day address

    Obama the Socialist confesses; McConnell gives up on elections

    A blogger in Philadelphia catches what nobody else has: Barack Obama finally, finally owned up to being a Socialist.

    President Obama recently told America what he really meant by supporting “fundamentally transforming America” during the 2008 campaign. Obama stated that free-market Capitalism and individual entrepreneurship does not, and never has, worked successfully for America and its people.
    He went on to say that the only way that America can truly prosper is to embrace his ideology, his BIG IDEA activist, centralized control, Socialist government.

    I know I missed it, and I’m attuned to these things. I guess I can relax now: the general election more than ever looks like Obama’s to lose, as the Republicans variously gnaw upon one another’s nether regions or collapse weeping by the roadside, so come January 21 of 2013, the workers paradise awaits us all.

    Meanwhile, what can you say about Mitch McConnell?
    Continue reading Obama the Socialist confesses; McConnell gives up on elections

    Yes, they’re despicable, and so are they

    Sometimes people chastise me for focusing so much on Obama’s sins, and Democrats in general, and hardly ever on the loyal opposition’s.

    My current understanding of the roles of everyone who holds elected federal office is that they’re all the opposition. My goal these days is to try to alter the perspectives of . . . → Read More: Yes, they’re despicable, and so are they

    Blogs on Parade: “The Negro’s Revenge” edition

    From Lenin’s Tomb, a lefty Brit blog run by Richard Seymour, comes this on the recent London riots:

    On the history of British reactionaries blaming black music for riots and disorder:

    “It is deplorable. It is tribal. And it is from America. It follows rag-time, blues, dixie, jazz, hot cha-cha and the boogie-woogie, which surely originated in the jungle. We sometimes wonder whether this is the negro’s revenge.”

    Continue reading Blogs on Parade: “The Negro’s Revenge” edition

    Blogs on parade, the Lost edition

    I never saw Lost, but I gather it’s about being someplace strange where strange things happen.

    Jack Crow’s Open Letter to A Registered Democrat

    Your party hasn’t changed. It isn’t betraying you. That you ever believed otherwise is entirely to your discredit. The onus isn’t on you to figure this out. The onus is you. We’ve been carrying your credulousness for so long now, you don’t realize that you’re a burden.

    Continue reading Blogs on parade, the Lost edition

    Calling all Greens, Reds, Pinkos, Paulites and Anonymi: Help fuck this up

    Americans Elect, the new internet-based plutocrat-powered political party, is calling for delegates to help determine the issues around which the party’s candidates will be selected. In theory this allows Everybody to participate because You debate among Yourselves to determine the party Platform and then You choose a presidential candidate from the pool “certified by an [I]ndependent [C]ommittee to meet a set of standard qualification criteria such as background checks.”

    Who chooses the Independent Committee? I dunno. Maybe another Independent Committee. Or God. Somebody centrist, in any event, so New Testament God rather than Rip Your Lungs Out On A Whim God.

    Tom Friedman has endorsed the idea. He’s well known to be insane. Run.

    Continue reading Calling all Greens, Reds, Pinkos, Paulites and Anonymi: Help fuck this up