Posted at 05:03 AM in light posting notice | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to protect us from government spying, prohibit themselves from owning or trading stocks, and impose an ethics code on our Supreme Court. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
The Center for Rights and Dissent helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the NDO Fairness Act. NDO stands for “non-disclosure orders,” which prevent big telecom corporations from telling you that your government has been rifling through your data; does that sound like something that should happen in a free country? No, it does not. The NDO Fairness Act would limit NDOs to 90 days and make our government prove they should be longer, plus it would make courts prove that NDOs actually protect someone from harm and prove that they’re as narrowly-tailored as possible. All of that should result in fewer NDOs! And a free country deserves no less.
Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass legislation preventing them from owning or trading any individual stock. How are Congressfolk supposed to save for their retirement, then? I can almost hear a concern troll say; I guess they’ll just have to get by on their six-figure salaries while they’re serving and their huge pensions after they leave. Congressfolk shouldn’t invest in corporations they might have to punish in some way or other as part of their jobs serving the American people! It’s appalling that I even have to explain that! And we sure don’t have to put up with folks who pretend they don’t understand it.
Finally, Daily Kos also helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass an ethics code for our Supreme Court Justices, who somehow have fewer ethics standards to follow than any other federal judge. With all of Clarence Thomas’s troubles, and Justice Kavanaugh’s ethics complaints, and Justice Gorsuch's suspicious home sale of 2017, and Justices Sotomayor and Kagan owning land while ruling on eviction moratoriums, and Chief Justice Roberts’s wife’s recruitment of lawyers for corporations that had business before the Court; it’s well past time we cleaned out the Augean stable that our Supreme Court has become.
Posted at 03:54 AM in action, corruption, government spying | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to raise taxes on the rich and on corporations, pass the RESTORE Act, and pass Medicare for All legislation. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Tired of this debt limit drama already? Then let Americans for Tax Fairness help you tell your Congressfolk to raise taxes on the rich and on corporations if they insist on having this drama. Our media love to pretend that Republicans taking power just means an automatic debt limit crisis like that isn’t evil, and our media also love to pretend the only two choices we have are default or let Kevin McCarthy’s Band of Horribles cut all kinds of services that people need and none of the corporate welfare their rich donors eat up like Halloween candy. But those aren’t our only choices. They will be, however, if we don’t get in our Congressfolks’ grills about this drama.
The Drug Policy Alliance helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the RESTORE Act, which would repeal the ban on food stamps for folks with drug convictions. When are we going to get tired of swinging our balls about crime? When is the punishment given by a judge going to be punishment enough? We heap punishment upon punishment upon criminals when every additional punishment we heap upon them makes it less likely we’ll be able to rehabilitate them into functioning members of society – and more likely they’ll go back to prison. Rehabilitation is the duty of a civilized people, but endless, unquenchable revenge hollows out our souls and makes us uncivilized.
Finally, Public Citizen helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass Medicare-for-All legislation. Most Americans like the idea of expanding Medicare to include everyone, until some fool tells them ZOMG THEYZ WILLZ RAISEZ TEH TAXUZ!!!! But you don’t need to raise taxes on good Americans to pay for Medicare for All – you need only institute an employer-side payroll tax (that means only the employer, not the employee, pays it) which would capture all the money corporations are already paying on overly-expensive private health insurance. So, you’ll pay nothing extra, and your boss won’t pay any more, and we'll be able to cover everyone – what’s not to like?
Matt Stoller tells us that our FTC has filed a lawsuit aiming to block the proposed $27 billion Amgen/Horizon merger, and big pharma seems awfully mad about it. As usual, Mr. Stoller explains the politics behind these mergers better than anyone else, noting that these corporations constantly yammer on about how any does of accountability for their evil “stifles innovation,” but “large pharmaceutical firms don’t do drug development anymore; they are by and large middlemen who harvest the intellectual property developed by others.” I might have said “vampires who suck the lifeblood from” instead of “middlemen who harvest,” but Mr. Stoller goes on to explain further and better, and yes, at least one big pharma CEO (admittedly one screwed over repeatedly by the biggest of the big pharma antitrust offenders) has said the FTC suit’s a good thing.
Judd Legum at Popular Information instructs us that when our “liberal” media talk about big retail corporations like Target losing half a billion dollars due to rampant “organized retail crime,” that’s “objectively false.” And it’s “objectively false” because even corporate lobbyists will tell you that close to two-thirds of inventory shrinkage (or “shrink”) happens for reasons other than “external theft,” a category that includes shoplifting and “organized retail crime.” Indeed, “organized retail crime” only makes up around 5% of all shrink, if the National Retail Federation’s 2020 estimate is of any value. The NRF also tells us that bad management accounts for a little over a quarter of shrink quelle surprise! and that internal theft (i.e., by employees) accounts for close to 30% of shrink, but please, let’s get even more hysterical about “rampant crime,” and in so doing continue to insult the actual victims of crime.
Why can Ron DeSantis never beat Donald Trump, according to ex-Republican Mike Lofgren? Long story short: “because no one else can command his coalition of damaged, discarded, marginal people.” “And what do these people want?” Mr. Lofgren writes. “They don't want better health care, fiscal responsibility, better infrastructure, clean drinking water or anything on a policy menu that serves rational ends. They don't necessarily even want a competently administered fascist state...What they truly want is demons to wrestle with till the end of time.” Which Donald Trump delivers, and which Messrs. DeSantis, Abbott, et al struggle to match, despite their best efforts. I still think the real number of “damaged, discarded, marginal people” comprises no more than 25% of the electorate, but add in all the Republican loyalists “holding their nose” for Mr. Trump and you can see why we’re going to have to deal with all this again in 2024, and probably 2028 as well.
Posted at 03:09 AM in bad arguments, bad science, big pharma, health care, law and order, monopolies, readings, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell our FTC to stop the proposed Kroger/Albertsons merger, tell our EPA to stop power plant pollution, and tell President Biden to get with the firing of Postmaster General DeJoy already. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest helps you tell our Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) to stop the proposed Kroger/Albertsons merger, which would, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, put over two dozen supermarket brands under one owner, which would in turn close stores, kill jobs, and raise prices for good Americans. Raise prices, you say? Obviously! We’ve witnessed over two years of corporations raising prices because they could, and making corporations bigger, and therefore more powerful, only means we'll have a lot more inflation. Now, by all the evidence, our FTC finds all of these statements sympathetic, but we still have to speak out.
Both the League of Conservation Voters and Penn Environment help you tell our Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) to limit power plant pollution as vigorously as possible. And you can sign both petitions if you like, since the first deals with power plant pollution generally and the second deals with coal wastewater pollution specifically. Don’t believe the hype that Joe Manchin will single-handedly repeal his own Inflation Reduction Act if we make power plants pollute less, because do Americans let themselves get taken hostage all the time? No, we do not – in fact, all this relentless hostage-taking is kinda un-American. ZOMG I said the “u” word! I try to avoid saying it, but when I say it, I don’t regret it.
Finally, Daily Kos helps you tell President Biden to take the necessary steps to fire Postmaster General Louis DeJoy already. One more time: his 10-year plan to “revitalize” our Postal Service involves service cuts, slashing jobs, and raising prices; what a visionary plan that is! Is this why fools say the private sector works so much better than the public sector? Because worse service, fewer jobs, and higher prices sure don’t sound better! Figure in also that service cuts translates directly to good Americans not getting life-saving medicines through the mail, and you’ll see that we still need to save our Postal Service.
Posted at 04:17 AM in action, health care, hostage-taking, jobs, monopolies, pollution, regulations serving people, save our Post Office | Permalink | Comments (0)
Lo and behold, job satisfaction sits at a 35-year high, per a Conference Board survey. At the end, this article finally mentions “higher pay” (it hasn’t been keeping up with inflation, but when does it ever?) as a possible reason for the higher satisfaction, though we also know that folks who weren’t working during the pandemic had time to take stock of their lives and decide they didn’t need all that toxic BS at their particular workplace. (Makes sense, also, that folks with hybrid remote/in-person work arrangements were happier than folks doing just one or the other; now we just need to stop bosses from saying that folks absolutely must commute to work because the economy will die if they don’t, when mostly they just want to spy on workers a little better.)
Minnesota becomes the fourth American state to make phone calls free for prisoners. Big telecom corporations charge prisoners an arm and a leg to make phone calls to their loved ones, because prisoners are literally a captive market, but prisoners who can stay in contact with family members tend not to go back to prison, though private prisons may feel differently about this fact than you or I. Objections range from free phone calls? When did prison become Club Med? (yes, folks have said this to me, sigh) to but you can stuff a burner phone into a dead cat and throw it over the prison wall (that came from the man who served as FCC Chair from 2017-2021), and all I can say to such people is: when does your anger ever bottom out?
Ho hum, big pipeline corporations let their pipes sit out in the sun for years, often without the proper crack-resistant coating, though 50-year-old federal regulations outlaw this. But perhaps, like me, you see the gnarled hand of stock prices über alles here like everywhere else. I mean, these corporations have more than enough money, but they have enslaved themselves to the fiction that if stock prices don’t shoot up every month, they’re doomed. Don’t feel sorry for them, because they have the power to escape, and I rather suspect they just don’t want to, because this particular kind of slavery makes executives very rich – and the rest of us very miserable.
Surprise, surprise, a federal Department of Labor review finds that Iowa’s child labor bill (which Gov. Reynolds hasn’t signed) violates federal law, which seems obvious enough that one might momentarily wonder if Republicans were just creating drama here, by passing a controversial bill they knew wouldn’t see the light of day anyway. I might think that, too, except I can’t believe there’s a vocal minority of regular folks clamoring for kids to work in sweatshops, like there’s a similar minority clamoring to make all abortions illegal. Remember that when they say no one wants to work, the truth is that no one wants to work for dung pellets, which would be every executive’s preferred method of paying workers.
Speaking of actual Republican dramas, Sen. Ted Cruz (E-TX) has launched a very serious Senate probe – into Bud Light’s brief partnership with transgender actress Dylan Mulvaney! And he goes out of his way to refer to Ms. Mulvaney as a “he,” which is very grown up! Is this what you do ahead of a potentially tough re-election campaign? I know people are more ambivalent about transgender folks than I’d like, but at some point these right-wing dramas have to alienate so much of the electorate that Republicans will have to notice. At any rate, I hope Ted Cruz loses his race to a dead shrub. No point to telling me he’s smart when he won’t use his smarts to do good works.
Finally, in the wake of its $787.5 million settlement with Dominion and with another sizable settlement with Smartmatic likely, Fox News has apparently gutted its entire investigative unit, and that’ll teach good Americans not to hold big media corporations accountable! Now, don’t be the one saying they had an investigative unit? because that would be very snarky. But the same Fox executives who trumpeted the Big Lie for the money and then lost a lot of money and now are taking out their mistakes on the rank and file probably think you don’t need to do “investigating” in order to do journalism; they’re wrong, of course, but their attitude is also the cable news norm now. Hence another reminder not to watch cable news, because it’s irredeemably evil.
Posted at 03:08 AM in actually rehabilitating prisoners, around the table, birth control, child labor, drama, executive pay, health care, jobs, pipeline safety, regulations serving people, the "liberal" media, transgender, treating prisoners like human beings, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to repeal the Comstock Act, pass Medicare-for-All legislation, and pass the Railway Safety Act. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to repeal the Comstock Act, which literally prohibits our Postal Service from mailing any abortion medicine. That law passed in 1873, when the world was considerably different, and the only reason our Postal Service mails mifepristone now is that the Second Circuit’s U.S. v. One Package ruling in 1936 held that our government could not use the Comstock Act to bar any shipment of contraceptives if a medical doctor ordered it. But one wonders if current federal judges would extend that to actual abortion drugs, or if they’ll prefer to enforce the text of the Comstock Act, so we’ve got to repeal it.
Public Citizen helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass Medicare-for-All health insurance legislation. Medicare for All would be cheaper than our current public/private hybrid system, but don’t take my word for it: take the word of the Koch brothers-funded Mercatus Center, which said Medicare-for-All would cost $32 trillion over 10 years, less than the $48 trillion over 10 years our Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has forecast we’ll spend. And the way to fund it? An employer-side payroll tax capturing the money big corporations already spend on private health insurance, meaning no working families need pay more in taxes. Seems like a no-brainer to me!
More Perfect Union helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Railway Safety Act, which would help stem the tide of railway derailments like the one in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this year by forcing trains carrying hazardous materials to have better wheel-bearing systems, hiking fines on corporations that don’t do enough to prevent these derailments, and requiring that trains have at least two workers. Hard to believe big railway corporations have been “getting by” with just one worker per train, but like most corporations, railway corporations care about money and don’t care about safety. Oh, they talk a good game about safety, but we’re not schmucks. So let’s get this bill passed.
Posted at 04:41 AM in action, birth control, health care, law and order, Medicare-for-All health insurance, taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)
I’ll admit I’m torn about our Supreme Court’s decision to shield Twitter from being sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act. I mean, we do brandish the word “terrorist” too easily, I always fear good Americans getting ruined over trumped-up “terrorism” charges, Section 230 remains a major impediment to suing social media corporations, and I prefer to blame actual terrorists for actual terrorism rather than the social media platforms that (at best) enable them. On the other hand, Twitter didn’t merely host terrorists’ content, but actually went out of its way to ensure its users saw it; no law (or “commitment to free speech”) compels them to do that, and we ought to do something about that. (I would hope anyone would recognize “the algorithms did it, so no one’s responsible” as horsedoodle.)
When I hear that “The Newest College Admissions Ploy,” according to ProPublica, is “Paying to Make Your Teen a ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Author.” I have to say it sure does seem like another way to keep poor/Black/Brown kids out of colleges, as most of them can’t afford $2,500 (or $10,000!) for pretend-publication of “academic research.” It’s also a way of filling teenagers with even more angst about that college education they’re going to spend the rest of their lives paying off. But wait, there’s more! Some journals seem to publish just any old thing, and some of the students’ mentors lie not just about how much of the kids’ work they did but about their credentials. “Ph.D.” or “Ph.D. student,” who can tell the difference?
I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you! that our IRS has admitted that it audits Black folks up to five times more often than taxpayers of other races. Why, it’s as shocking as hearing that they go after mostly poor people because they can’t afford the lawyers! Full disclosure: it actually is a little shocking to hear them actually admit it, rather than just do it and not admit it. And stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but our IRS blames a flawed algorithm for all the audits of Black folks, which lends credence to the notion that when the programmer’s biased, the software’s biased. More money for our IRS should help this problem, too, since now our IRS can go after some rich tax cheats, instead of just picking low-hanging fruit among folks who might have wrongly declared eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
I hope our Food and Drug Administration does approve over-the-counter birth control pills, and I know it’ll help women who don’t have enough health insurance or who live in areas that don’t have family planning clinics, but I still worry about the cost. The pills I take are much, much cheaper in large part because I get them via prescription even though they’re available over-the-counter. I would hate for price to be another obstacle for poor women, nearly as much as I hate it when Republican ball-swingers pass comprehensive abortion bans and then can’t understand why a constituent dies from an ectopic pregnancy or a doctor is afraid to give chemotherapy to a pregnant woman.
Finally, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (E-AL), who thinks there’s a lot more in the Durham report than there actually is, says on Newsmax that “(i)f people don’t go to jail for this, the American people should just stand up and say, ‘Listen, enough’s enough, let’s don’t have elections anymore.’” Always right-wingers love democracy until it tells them what they don’t want to hear! Alabama had the dumb luck of having Doug Jones, who put two of the Birmingham bombers in jail, as their Senator, but apparently they preferred a guy who thinks democracy is all about him stamping his feet and getting his way.
Posted at 03:36 AM in "war on terror", around the table, birth control, education, health care, law and order, social media, taxes, the future, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell our SEC to curb CEO pay at crashed banks, tell our EPA to enact the strongest possible fuel efficiency standards, and tell the Biden Administration to keep uranium mining corporations away from the Grand Canyon. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
More Perfect Union helps you tell our Securities and Exchange Commission (or SEC) to write the most vigorous clawback rule possible for bank executives. The Dodd-Frank law mandated that our SEC write a rule allowing our government to “claw back” CEO compensation after a bank fails, and sadly, our SEC is just now getting around to writing it, but we might as well take this opportunity to help give banksters a reason not to take massive risks with our money that crash banks. As it is now, banks crash and the CEOs get a golden parachute to go away – and that hardly ensures they’ll take care of our money, does it? A good clawback rule will do much better by us.
The Union of Concerned Scientists helps you tell our Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) to enact the strongest fuel efficiency standards possible. Because literally no one on Earth says I want my car to be less fuel-efficient so that I can pollute more and pay more for gas! Auto CEOs may make all kinds of excuses so they don’t have to make better cars, but we don’t have to listen to them. And certainly don’t let people tell you that stronger fuel efficiency standards mean nothing because we’re still driving and driving means polluting. We don’t let the perfect murder the good, and no law of physics says you can’t support stronger fuel efficiency standards and a more walkable world at the same time.
Demand Progress helps you tell the Biden Administration to keep uranium mining corporations away from the Grand Canyon. Allowing uranium mining to pollute the drinking water around the Grand Canyon area would come perilously close to is nothing sacred? territory. I mean, anyone who’s ever seen the Grand Canyon wouldn’t want any kind of pollution nearby, even before they realize that the Colorado River that runs through the Canyon provides clean drinking water to seven U.S. states. And those who insist you can have both the Grand Canyon and uranium mining are wrong – once uranium mining corporations come in, clean water goes, and once it’s gone, we ain’t getting it back.
Posted at 05:10 AM in action, banksters, clean water, executive pay, fuel efficiency, pollution, the Grand Canyon | Permalink | Comments (0)
If you’re tired of airline food that “verge(s) on parody,” you may be interested to know how much better airline food used to be. What happened? The fifth paragraph gives a hint: “(o)nce upon a time in the pre-Reagan era, flying in the United States still had a whiff of glamor.” See? Reagan ruins everything! Even I remember eating actual meals on two-hour flights as a kid, and though I think of them the way I think of school lunches, they were also demonstrably better than literally everything I’ve had on an airplane over the last 20 years. The challenges of making food taste good in an artificially-dry environment are real, but they’re only “impossible” because big airline corporations value stock prices über alles. You’ll find contemplating the difficulties of cooking on a zeppelin entertaining, plus you’ll learn how the convection oven (and strong federal regulation!) made airline food better.
Alley Wilson at Global News takes us to “Canada’s first dementia village” in Langley, British Columbia, where folks suffering from dementia can live relatively dignified lives. It’s a gated community purportedly designed so that folks suffering from dementia can “move about as they wish,” since staying inside all the time (as you would in a nursing home or other institution, or, hell, at home) doesn’t actually help those folks very much. If you want to stave off the worst effects of dementia as long as possible, you’ve got to go places, hence there are cafés and chair yoga, not to mention specially-trained staff I’m sure are much easier to find and train in a nation that makes sure everyone has health care. I have to say I still remember The Prisoner vividly enough to really wish this place wasn’t called “the Village.”
Finally, Tom Scocca at Indignity takes on one of the worst takes on Jordan Neely’s murder, one coming from newly-minted never-Trump New York Times columnist David French. “The rule of law is failing on New York subways,” Mr. French writes, but “rule of law” doesn’t mean “don’t execute someone for screaming” but “Mr. Neely should have been locked up” – though he had been unconstitutionally-detained for 15 months without trial on an assault charge. Thus Mr. Scocca is left to write, that while the killing would not have happened if he’d been locked up, “the killing also would not have happened if Penny hadn't killed him.” Perhaps you thought punishing the right people was the conservative thing to do; how strange that today’s “conservatives” don’t seem up to the task.
Posted at 03:06 AM in actual conservatism, health care, homelessness, law and order, readings, regulations serving people, the "liberal" media | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to pass the Palestinian Children & Families Act, reject the STOP CSAM and EARN IT Acts, and pass the Farm System Reform Act. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Jewish Voice for Peace helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Palestinian Children & Families Act, which would prevent our government from giving aid to Israel if Israel then uses it to detain and torture Palestinians, demolish their homes, or annex their land illegally. This really isn’t so much to ask, and does anyone really want to be the person who says if they need the money to hurt people, we should give it to them? You know, versus let’s make sure our taxpayer money doesn’t do evil? Because Israel is doing evil in Palestine, and if we don't want to remember them as folks who, having had evil done to them, did evil to others, we should pass this bill.
Restore the Fourth helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject both the STOP CSAM and EARN IT Acts, which aim to fight child sex trafficking, but which will more likely prompt ISPs to censor all sexual material. How? ISPs voluntarily make 99% of all reports of child sexual exploitation at present, but passing these bills would require them to get warrants to search their own data (since they’d be acting on our government’s behalf), meaning they’ll simply censor any sexual content on their servers so they don’t have to report at all. More censorship and less law enforcement – what a terrible idea! But if we speak out, we can stop it.
Finally, Food and Water Watch helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Farm System Reform Act, which would enact a moratorium on new (or expanded) factory farm construction and phase out factory farms completely by 2040. That’s 17 years, which is plenty of time for a big corporation with lots of money to wind their factory farms down! As we discussed yesterday, factory farms pollute our water and crush small farmers with impunity, but those aren’t the only two reasons to oppose them – by cramming too many animals into too small a space and pumping them full of antibiotics, they also help create superbugs. So we’ve got to pass this bill, no matter how much big ag whines about it.
Posted at 04:39 AM in action, antibiotic abuse, big ag, defense spending, factory farm waste, internet freedom, Israel, law and order, Palestine, small businesses, torture, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
So Rep. Paul Gosar’s (E-AZ) 19-year-old digital director is a superfan of Nazi wannabe Nick Fuentes. This article helpfully leads off with eight paragraphs describing Mr. Fuentes responding to a rift (i.e., drama) within his ranks by demanding that his followers “pledge your allegiance to me forever.” Jesus Mary and Joseph anyone who makes you take an oath of loyalty to them should be shunned and shamed until they’re completely alone in the world. Being completely alone in the world is a horrible thing, so I don’t say that lightly. But hey, what you deserve is what you deserve. And Nazi wannabes deserve loneliness.
U Cal-Berkeley researchers find that, contrary to what right-wing economists constantly tell us, that counties that have hiked their minimum wage over the last few years have seen more job growth, not less. They also found that mid-wage workers did not see lower wages as a result of minimum wage hikes, though right-wing economists have warned about that, too. But the research finds this wage and job growth happens more readily in areas with fewer employers, another condition we shouldn’t let exist (and exists mainly because we let corporations get so big). Still, this is another lesson to ignore the Henny Penny tales of right-wingers.
Dig Nikki Haley’s utter inability to decide what she thinks about E. Jean Carroll’s defamation/sexual assault judgment against Donald Trump! “I have always said that anyone that feels like they have been sexually assaulted in any way should come forward and have their voice heard. I also think that anyone that’s been accused should be able to defend themselves. I was not on the jury. I am not the judge. I think that both of them had their voices heard. There has been a verdict and there has been an appeal.” And they say Hillary Clinton never says what she means! Seriously, you don’t need to be judge or jury to know Donald Trump is a predator, and if you’re that afraid of his votaries, don’t run for President.
Ho hum, House Oversight Committee releases 65-page report purporting to describe vast corruption in the Biden family but describing exactly zero criminal acts. Remember when last Wednesday was going to be “Judgment Day” for the Biden family? Good times! This should be yet another lesson about the right’s propensity to brutalize good Americans with lengthy, empty arguments – indeed, I feel like I’ve offered dozens of these lessons – but I have a feeling our “liberal” media will never learn it. Partly that’s because it requires reading, and not getting clicks or juicing up your stock price.
When I hear that “centrist” Democrats have privately assured Speaker McCarthy that they’ll vote for him for Speaker if far-right Republicans try to depose him, I must wonder: do these clowns understand how things work? Is there a hostage crisis they won’t help create by offering themselves up as hostages? Let far-right fools depose Mr. McCarthy and force Republicans to have a new Speaker every three months. Default doesn’t have to happen first; these “moderate” Republicans everyone talks about could step up and help prevent a default. But give in now and Republicans will hold the country hostage again and again and again. They deserve oblivion, but so do their enablers.
Finally, when I hear that Joe Manchin is still flirting with that independent Presidential run he’ll never actually embark upon, I’m pretty sure he thinks this particular drama (like his I’ll-scuttle-my-own-climate-change-law BS) will get him the right kind of attention in his inevitable West Virginia Senate re-election campaign. He might even be right about that! Of course, the easier path for him would have been to do things for his constituents and then explain to them why he did them. Given that West Virginians actually liked most of those parts of Joe Biden’s agenda that Mr. Manchin single-handedly scuttled (i.e., paid family/medical leave), this wouldn’t have been as hard as he might think.
Posted at 03:27 AM in around the table, bad arguments, climate change, corruption, drama, hostage-taking, minimum wage, monopolies, paid sick leave, racism, sexual assault, the "liberal" media | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell our FTC to make it easier for us to end subscriptions, and tell our EPA to regulate PFAS chemicals and factory farm waste. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
More Perfect Union helps you tell our Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) to make it far easier for us to cancel subscriptions to services ranging from gyms to streaming services. Our FTC has proposed a “click to cancel” rule, meaning if you sign up for a subscription with a single click on your computer, you should be able to cancel it with one click, too. That’s a great idea, not least because we’ve all kept paying for things we’re not using merely because they’re tough to cancel (over $700 for a gym I stopped using, in my case). But you know big corporations will whine at length about their “right” to unearned money, so we’ve got to make sure our FTC hears us.
The National Resources Defense Council helps you tell our Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) to enact the most vigorous anti-PFAS chemical rule possible. They call them “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down very easily either in our air and water or in our bodies. And kids, especially, need less of this crap in their lives, since scientists have linked PFAS chemicals to developmental issues, as well as cancer and immune suppression. The big plastic corporations whine to our EPA about how hard it is to overhaul their production lines, but they’re sitting on record profits like every other big corporation, and America is a can-do country. So, again, we’ve just got to be louder than them.
Finally, Penn Environment helps you tell our EPA to stop factory farms from polluting our clean water with their liquid manure. Factory farms produce pig and cow poop by the ton, and that poop overwhelms water tables and makes our water undrinkable; factory farms often store all that poop in lagoons, but all it takes is one big storm to break that lagoon wide open. How often do big storms come along these days? They say “economies of scale” make everything better, but they don’t, and we’ve enabled the big ag corporation at the expense of the small farmer for far too long. If our EPA can get a hold of factory farm waste, we can start bringing big ag to heel.
Posted at 06:59 AM in action, big ag, chemical safety, clean water, climate change, consumer protection, factory farm waste, small businesses | Permalink | Comments (0)
Naomi Klein surveys the AI landscape and concludes that tech CEOs are “kidding themselves” that AI will “benefit humanity.” Benefit their continuing efforts to gild the plumbing in their 19th vacation homes, maybe! “There is a world in which generative AI, as a powerful predictive research tool and a performer of tedious tasks, could indeed be marshaled to benefit humanity,” she writes. “But for that to happen, these technologies would need to be deployed inside a vastly different economic and social order than our own, one that had as its purpose the meeting of human needs and the protection of the planetary systems that support all life.” They’d also have to happen in a world where big corporations had any respect for data and the folks who create it, which, of course, they do not. Also too, it’s a bit rich for Our Glorious Elites to say “AI will solve the problems” that Our Glorious Elites could already have helped us solve, if they but had the will.
In a related note, Alex Pareene at Defector reminds us that “The Computers Are Coming for the Wrong Jobs.” AI “is well-suited at the task of blandly rewriting copy, which makes it the perfect employee of the sorts of content mills that exist to aggregate and rewrite tech or entertainment news,” but not so good at, you know, any kind of expression that requires an understanding of language, which certainly includes the kind of scriptwriting that big corporations seem to think is so easy for some reason. (No use telling me most big Hollywood scripts follow the same template these days, because, as we all know, those templates come and go.) Also, “AI as it currently exists – that is, “large language model” programs like ChatGPT – only appears ‘free’ or even ‘cheap’ because it is being heavily subsidized by investors and tech companies that hope to eventually pass along the costs of training and operating these programs to clients like, say, large film and television studios.”
While we’re still on the subject of scriptwriting, turns out the Hollywood writers’ strike “shows how to fight back” against corporations wanting to “replace” you with AI. They’re demanding that studios not replace them with AI, and if they can hold out, they’ll get what they want – and they’ll teach the rest of us that we can protect our jobs, too, since corporations are coming after all of them, not just the ones that produce words. And don’t be heartened by the notion that big entertainment corporations just want to generate scripts with AI and have humans rewrite them so they don’t suck, because studios pay less for rewrites than for original writing. Anyway, don’t watch any scab- or AI-written entertainment; it won’t kill you to give, say, Mad Men another go, and remind yourself what real writing is like.
Finally, this Associated Press report warns that AI-generated ad content could be far worse than deepfakes and memefarms. “Sophisticated generative AI tools can now create cloned human voices and hyper-realistic images, videos and audio in seconds, at minimal cost,” they write. “When strapped to powerful social media algorithms, this fake and digitally created content can spread far and fast and target highly specific audiences, potentially taking campaign dirty tricks to a new low.” Indeed, the Republican National Committee has already created an ad full of AI-generated images (which they identified as AI) of boarded-up storefronts and crime waves coming from Brown people, but at least two can play at that game. Just wait until I get around to creating an AI ad showing what America would be like if Republicans took over; I bet Congress would ban AI in campaign ads with a quickness!
Posted at 06:54 AM in climate change, executive pay, jobs, labor, readings, the future | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to pass the Protect Our CREDIT Act, raise corporate taxes, and tax private jet usage harder. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Protect Our CREDIT Act, which would allow our President to raise the debt limit as necessary. Because Republicans constantly try to hold us all hostage with the debt limit, so they can cut services we all pay for and depend upon! I hate giving Presidents more power, but you know what I hate even more? Politicians who take us hostage so they can hurt us. And no, it wouldn’t violate Article I, Section 7 of our Constitution, which says “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives”; the debt limit isn’t about "raising Revenue" so much as the revenue already raised and spent.
In a peripherally-related note, Americans for Tax Fairness helps you tell your Congressfolk to raise, not cut, corporate taxes. Yes, corporations are also using the debt limit to extract more corporate welfare they couldn’t extract without a hostage crisis; the link above lists some of those. And none of the little accounting tricks on corporate wish lists create jobs – seriously, can anyone argue that letting corporations write off assets 10 years in advance “creates jobs”? No, they cannot – they just enable corporate executives to redistribute yet more of your hard-earned income upward to themselves. Republicans sure do enjoy giving us the back of their hand, but we don’t have to take it.
Finally, in another peripherally-related note, Patriotic Millionaires helps you tell your Congressfolk to tax private jet usage harder, not least because that’s about the most wasteful form of travel there is. Problem, of course, is too many Congressfolk have either taken rides in private jets or have private jets! Clearly they don’t understand the whole idea of serving the people. But private jets now make up about one-sixth of all flights while contributing very little to our Federal Aviation Administration, plus they use runways and airports paid for by what? Taxpayer dollars, that’s what. And these planes just piss out carbon emissions. So yeah, we’ve got to tax them harder.
Posted at 05:28 AM in action, climate change, corporate taxes, drama, executive pay, hostage-taking, income redistribution, jobs, taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)
Florida Gov. DeSantis signs SB 1580 into law, which means that Florida doctors and health insurers can now simply refuse to provide any health care to anyone if it contradicts their “sincerely held religious, moral, or ethical belief.” Remember, the next time Mr. DeSantis says governing is less about “virtue signaling” and more about “results,” that all of his “results” are all about “virtue signaling,” even if his chief "virtue" is being an asshole. We’ll get another reminder of all that when Neil Gorsuch (the author of Bostock v. Clayton County, you may recall) rules that the bill’s proscriptions against discriminating on the basis of “sex” actually compel Florida doctors to treat transgender folks regardless of their "beliefs."
What is “The Ugly Truth Behind ‘We Buy Ugly Houses,’” according to ProPublica? That HomeVestors preys upon desperate homeowners and isn’t above flat-out lying to them to get them to sell their homes for less. That’s after you consider that HomeVestors does some of its most lucrative advertising in neighborhoods just slammed by a hurricane, and that HomeVestors might not stop bugging you if you just got divorced or if you’re a senior who just broke your hip. And I wouldn’t point to a 96% approval rating if I were them – 4% of your customers hating you is actually a lot.
Ho hum, a lousy ABC/Washington Post poll “Creates” the “Illusion of Public Opinion on Debt Ceiling.” The amazing thing is that even a biased poll which teaches nothing about the issue can’t convincingly argue that people prefer the Republicans’ position – which, to review, is “hold the debt limit hostage to force spending cuts that hurt people.” A mere 26% of poll respondents actually thought we should tie spending cuts to the debt limit, reminding me, once again, of my working theory that about 25% of our electorate is batshit insane. (58% of poll respondents said no to that, but don’t worry: somehow the Post was able to claim that folks were “evenly-divided” on the matter.)
Lengthy Office of Special Counsel report finds that the former U.S. Agency for Global Media “breached editorial firewall regulations, engaged in gross waste of public funds and abused his authority.” Before serving the public, such as he did, this individual was a right-wing documentarian, his most recent film being 2020’s Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words, which should clue you in to which President appointed him. If you need another hint: the best people!
As if we needed another reason to rue CNN’s decision to give Donald Trump and his biggest supporters free airtime the other night: America’s Last Journalist, Greg Palast, reminds us that all of Mr. Trump’s ramblings about the “stolen” 2020 election may not have convinced very many good Americans – but it did prompt legislators in several states to pass laws suppressing the vote. They pretended it was all true! You’ll still want to read Mr. Palast’s extensive takedown of 2000 Mules. You won’t convince Trump votaries they’re wrong, because nothing can penetrate a feedback loop of masturbatory rage. But you might be able to stop someone else from entering that loop.
Finally, as if we didn’t have enough of a reason to abandon Twitter to permanent oblivion: Twitter apparently enabled the proliferation of animal snuff films through its autocomplete function. Put in the word “cat” and it would autocomplete to “cat in a blender” which would lead you to some truly evil video footage; put in the word “dog” and it would autocomplete to “dog stabbed by screwdriver” which would lead you to, well, you get the idea. Of course, Twitter responded first by ignoring the issue, then by responding to media inquiries with a poop emoji, and finally by taking down autocomplete for all searches, thus demonstrating that they don’t know what they’re doing and they’re assholes. I left Twitter years ago over much less than this, and I think you should leave Twitter, too, if you value your immortal soul.
Posted at 03:14 AM in animal abuse, around the table, corruption, drama, health care, religious folly, social media, transgender, voting rights, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell big corporations to stop using algorithms to discriminate against people, tell big cable corporations to deplatform Fox News, and tell our USPS Board of Governors not to slash letter carrier jobs and pay. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
Consumer Reports helps you tell big corporations to stop using algorithms to commit acts of racial bias. You have likely already realized that they only use algorithms so they won’t have to pay workers, but you may not have fully realized that when biased folks write algorithms, they produce biased algorithms, which help corporations discriminate against women and Black and Brown folks. But this actually represents an opportunity to get corporations to look at their own algorithms and fix them so that they don’t, for example, deny Black folks loans when they try to move to the suburbs. And if right-wingers call that “woke,” just ignore them, because they’re wrong.
Inequality Media helps you tell big cable corporations to deplatform the Fox News Channel. Because it has done uncountable harm to our country for over two decades, trapping millions of otherwise good and decent Americans in a feedback loop of masturbatory rage, and though we can’t reason with those folks anymore, we can at least cut their drug off at the source. And even if you’re not watching Fox, you’re still paying for it – more for it than every other “free” cable channel except for ESPN, in fact. And for the hundredth time: our First Amendment does not guarantee you a platform for your speech, only that our government won’t put you in jail for it. Our pressure’s worked before, so let's make it work again.
Finally, Demand Progress helps you tell our USPS Board of Governors not to slash letter carrier jobs and pay. They’ve raised prices, cut services, and slashed jobs, and now they want to cut jobs and pay of postal carriers – particularly rural ones – and why? Because an algorithm told them to! Think maybe they only write algorithms that tell them what they want to hear anyway? We don’t need fancy software to tell us that rural communities need our Postal Service perhaps even more than urban ones – not just for life-saving medicines, of course, but also for voting by mail, since a lot of rural communities don’t even have polling places. So it’s time to give our USPS Board of Governors hell, again.
Posted at 07:17 AM in action, discrimination, health care, jobs, racism, redlining, save our Post Office, the "liberal" media, the future, voting rights | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to ban AI in weapons systems, reject efforts to give our President the power to outlaw social media, and force our Supreme Court Justices to adhere to a code of ethics. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Win Without War helps you tell your Congressfolk to ban the use of Artificial Intelligence (or AI) in weapons systems for all eternity. If AI weapons turn on us – and we have every reason to suspect they will – then all the soldiers’ blood we’ve saved won’t mean a damn. Now, your right-wing uncle will say “but that’ll make it harder to win wars!” To which we might reasonably respond: we can only hope! Nations tend to fight wars they think they can win, after all, and anyway war should be hard! It’s like no one’s ever seen “A Taste of Armageddon.” Even if other nations want to use AI in their weapons, there are such things as treaties. Diplomacy! It’s not actually a cuss word.
Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject the RESTRICT Act, since it would give our Executive branch the power to outlaw using social media platforms, and you can think of a few Presidents who should never have that kind of power, right? You know, besides all of them. Folks who have real concerns about the power of social media to distort the truth – and, frankly, that number should include all of us – have no obligation to pursue just any old solution in order to rein in social media. Better solutions would include forcing social media corporations to hire real live human beings to moderate their content, but they won’t do that – unless we make them.
Finally, both Daily Kos and Public Citizen help you tell your Congressfolk to force our Supreme Court Justices to adhere to a code of ethics. Not just because of Clarence Thomas’s troubles (including, let’s not forget, his wife’s participation in January 6), but also because of Justice Kavanaugh’s dozens of ethics complaints, Justice Gorsuch's suspicious home sale of 2017 Justices Sotomayor and Kagan owning land while ruling on eviction moratoriums, and Chief Justice Roberts’s wife’s recruitment of lawyers for corporations that had business before the Court. It’s like the Augean stable, isn’t it? So our Congressfolk need to start shoveling.
Posted at 04:26 AM in action, defense spending, law and order, social media, the future | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell our FCC to hold Sinclair accountable for abandoning local news, tell Google and YouTube to enforce their policies against climate change denialism, and tell our USDA to enact the most vigorous school meal nutrition standards possible. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
Free Press helps you tell our Federal Communications Commission (or FCC) to hold Sinclair accountable for wiping out local newsrooms. Local news serving the public interest isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law, and it would be hard to see how gutting five local TV station newsrooms and filling the resulting gap with nationally-produced product (which will inevitably reflect the right-wing views of Sinclair’s owners) serves the public interest, let alone follows the law. No use retorting that there are so many news sources out there that local public newsrooms don’t matter, because most news sources chase sensationalism and don’t serve local communities. So let’s remind our FCC of its job here.
The Union of Concerned Scientists helps you tell Google and YouTube to enforce their stated policy against climate change denialism. Yes, they do have policies against that, yet at least 200 videos totaling over 73 million views still remain on YouTube, while Google still places ads with climate change denialist articles, so clearly they have some way to go before they fulfill their promises to us. Used to be editors took care of this sort of thing, not least because of the lawsuits that might result. Think people won’t sue over climate change denialism? They already have! And when more folks find their homes underwater or their loved ones dead from heat exhaustion, there’ll be a lot more lawsuits!
Finally, the Center for Science in the Public Interest helps you tell our U.S. Department of Agriculture (or USDA) to enact stricter school meal nutrition standards. The one accomplishment of Tom Vilsack’s first go-round as USDA Secretary was stronger school meal standards, which Republicans tried to scuttle because haters gonna hate. One can actually be conservative and pro-nutrition at the same time! Anyway, Mr. Vilsack’s second go-round has already improved on his first, since he’s on board with the Biden anti-monopoly program and now has proposed to cap sugar in school meals. The proposed rule could do better on salt and grains, but that’s why we speak out.
Posted at 04:03 AM in action, actual conservatism, climate change, healthy food choice, local media, monopolies, school lunches | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to pass a $17/hour minimum wage, reject the Protect and Serve Act, and pass the Stock Buybacks Accountability Act. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Patriotic Millionaires helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass a $17/hour minimum wage. When your right-wing uncle says $17 an hour? When will it end?, remind him that a) it’ll end when we get justice, b) the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25/hour for over 15 years, and c) California and New York passed $15/hour minimum wages back in 2016 – only after years of agitation by good Americans taking to the streets – but thanks to inflation you’d need to make $18.86/hour now to have that same buying power. So $17/hour isn’t a whole lot to ask, is it? Remember: when they got no leg to stand on, cut ‘em down.
Color of Change helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject the so-called Protect and Serve Act, which would give police officers hate crime protections, and what a slap in the face to anyone who’s ever suffered a hate crime. There are already enough laws protecting cops! What the authors of this law really want is to “protect” them from criticism. In fact, that’s what the whole Blue Lives Matter crowd really wants – for no one to ever say a bad thing about a cop, even when they murder someone for pulling out their cellphone, or murder someone who just told them they have a handgun in the car and have a permit to carry it, or kneel on someone’s throat for 12 minutes, and I could go on.
Finally, More Perfect Union helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Stock Buyback AccountabilityAct, which would quadruple the (admittedly fairly new) tax on stock buybacks, so that corporations will spend more money on, you know, research and development and less money on concentrating executive power. That’s what stock buybacks do – they take power away from a mass of shareholders, which drives up the stock price because everyone in corporate America buys into the fiction that a corporation with fewer shareholders is more “efficient,” or “valuable,” or something. But what it really does is rot the soul of our economy, and our laws must stop such rot.
Posted at 04:21 AM in action, law and order, minimum wage, shareholder power, taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to end this debt limit drama without cutting the essential services we pay for, tell Republicans to stop trying to cut Medicaid, and tell Texas state legislators to reject a bill that would put the Ten Commandments in every public school classroom. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Concerning the debt limit hostage drama: Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to sign a discharge petition to lift the debt limit, while the Coalition on Human Needs helps you tell your Senators to exchange no service cuts for a debt limit bill and Americans for Tax Fairness helps you tell your Senators not to “negotiate with MAGA hostage-takers,” as they put it. Far too much media talk centers around how both sides are going to present whatever fiasco they manage to pass as a “victory,” and none of them ask when are the American people going to start winning? We’ll start winning when we make them lift the debt limit without hurting us. We're right and they're wrong, so we can do that.
In a related note, Civic Shout helps you tell Republicans to keep their grubby mitts off Medicaid in their debt limit drama. They only pretend to care about the debt when a Democrat’s President, and the only way they’ll cut the debt is to slash services that actually help people – services we pay for with our tax dollars, I feel compelled to mention again. Never do they consider, say, raising taxes on billionaires who don’t work for their money anyway, because there is no work that makes a man a billion dollars. There’s only scamming, and civilized people don’t reward scammers – nor do they balance budgets on the backs of folks less fortunate than they. Republicans are beyond disgusting.
Finally, Faithful America helps you tell Texas state legislators to stop trying to put the Ten Commandments in every public classroom. If your neighbor asks what’s wrong with this, ask them how they’d feel about putting up, say, the fourth Surah of the Qur’an. If they respond with any version of “well, my religion’s right and theirs is wrong,” then you might remind him that Jesus instructed us that we should not be like the “hypocrites” who “pray publicly.” And you might also tell him (as this clever Texas state legislator did) that putting up the Ten Commandments in public classrooms is idolatrous. In any case, next time his hedge trimmer breaks, maybe don't volunteer yours so quickly.
Posted at 04:16 AM in action, drama, education, health care, hostage-taking, Medicaid, religious folly, taxes, the "liberal" media | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF, pass the Stock Buyback Accountability Act, and enact a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Win Without War helps you tell your House Reps to repeal the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (or AUMF) in Iraq. Tha Bush Mobb bullied Congress into passing that in 2002, and make no mistake: in bullying them, they were bullying us, and that’s a humiliation we can’t let stand anymore. And of course Presidents of both parties have used the 2002 AUMF to justify all manner of unconstitutional war-making since then, from bombings in Syria to assassinations in Iran; no President should be able to start and conduct wars without the permission of the American people through their representatives in Congress, because that’s tyranny. We still fight tyranny in America, right?
Americans for Tax Fairness helps you tell your Senators to pass the Stock Buyback Accountability Act, which would, among other things, quadruple taxes on stock buybacks. Stock buybacks used to be illegal because they concentrated shareholder power into just a few hands, and the recent Bed, Bath, and Beyond bankruptcy filing demonstrates pretty well why that was a stupid idea, as their executives plowed $12 billion into stock buybacks over the last nine years, meaning less money to invest in infrastructure and less money to pay the workers who gave their time and work only to get shafted. Remember: workers, not bosses, make the world go round.
Finally, Common Cause helps you tell your Congressfolk to enact a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, who are, somehow, the only federal judges who have no such code. As terrible as the Clarence Thomas/Harlan Crow drama has become – apparently Mr. Crow even paid for Justice Thomas’s grandnephew to go to private school, which is totally what Just Friends do! – we have also lately learned that Justice Gorsuch sold a house he’d been having trouble selling to the head of a big law firm that’s had business before the court mere days after being confirmed. If they can’t avoid the appearance of evil, we have to make them.
Posted at 05:03 AM in "war on terror", action, corruption, Iran, Iraq, law and order, Syria, taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell the New York Times to correct the record on Iran’s alleged nuclear program, tell your cable corporation to stop carrying the Fox News Channel, and tell our FDA to stop letting big food corporations add sesame to food just to avoid regulatory scrutiny. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
FAIR helps you tell the New York Times to correct the record on our intelligence community’s findings on Iranian nukes, i.e., that we have not, in fact, proven that they are building them. Seem too much like inside baseball? I’ll bet the 2002 yellowcake uranium claim did, too, but it helped propel us into that stupid war with Iraq, the one where we accomplished nothing positive and helped create ISIS, and the one where numerous Americans felt perfectly fine accusing their friends and family of treason for opposing the war. Yeah, still sore about that, and if Donald Trump comes back to power, this stupid drama (did I mention stupid?) could play all over again in Iran. How about we strangle that drama in its crib?
Inequality Media helps you tell your cable corporation to deplatform Fox News, which is to say stop carrying it. This $787 million Dominion settlement sure couldn’t have come at a worse time for Fox News, as they’re about to renegotiate carriage fees with cable corporations, and the only channel that costs you more on your cable bill is ESPN. Thus it’s time, once again, to bust out the Big Stick of Bad PR. The good news? It works – popular pressure led both Verizon and DirecTV to stop carrying One America News Network. People who still want to mainline masturbatory rage can go to Fox Nation on the internet, but getting Fox on cable TV makes their bad habit harder to break, and we should help people break their bad habits.
Finally, the Center for Science in the Public Interest helps you tell our Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) to stop letting big food corporations add sesame to their products just to avoid implementing stricter controls on allergens. Our FDA just started requiring that food corporations start telling you if their products contain sesame, but now these corporations are adding sesame to foods that didn’t have it before so they can avoid regulatory scrutiny! That’ll come as a big surprise to the million-plus Americans with sesame allergies. Don’t listen to the fool who says well they should just read the label then, like everyone reads every word on every label on everything they buy, and I'd lay money the fool who says that doesn't read any labels.
Posted at 04:32 AM in "treason", "war on terror", action, bad arguments, drama, food safety, Iran, Iraq, regulations serving people, the "liberal" media | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to co-sponsor Medicare-for-All legislation and pass the Secure Viable Banking Act, the Honest Ads Act, and the DISCLOSE Act. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Public Citizen helps you tell your Congressfolk to co-sponsor Medicare-for-All legislation when it’s reintroduced. Don’t brook any wobbliness on this matter from your Congressfolk, because when they say “I’m afraid of the attack ads I’ll get if I co-sponsor this bill,” they’re lying. How do I know they’re lying? Because every Democratic House Rep who represented a district won by Donald Trump and supported Medicare-for-All in 2020 won! And if I know that, I’m sure they know it, too. They may even have seen Bernie Sanders get an ovation from the crowd in a Fox News town hall for his support for Medicare-for-All! So, no BS from your Congressfolk.
Penn PIRG helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Secure Viable Banking Act, which would restore a lot of Dodd-Frank restrictions on banks that Congress repealed in 2018, the same restrictions that would have prevented the Silicon Valley Bank (and now you know why it’s called the Secure Viable Banking Act!) from going under earlier this year. It’s a shame we’re fighting just to get back the weak Dodd-Frank reforms, but we’re not just fighting for that, but for bank regulations in general – the more we demand better banking regulation, the less our Congressfolk (and Our Glorious Elites) can simply ignore it. And that message is always worth sending.
Finally, Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Honest Ads Act and the DISCLOSE Act, which would expand federal truth-in-political advertising laws to social media and mandate disclosure of folks who contribute more than $10,000 to political campaigns, respectively. Again, we might want more from our efforts – a Constitutional amendment ending corporate “personhood,” for example – but by communicating our will on these bills, we are also communicating our will that we can’t stand the billions of dollars that go into campaign ads for candidates who shouldn’t be elected to a damn thing. And that, also, is a message worth sending.
Posted at 04:58 AM in action, banksters, campaign spending disclosure, health care, Medicare-for-All health insurance, regulations serving people, social media | Permalink | Comments (0)
Uh oh: the now-notorious Crow Corporation said more than once that eviction moratoriums were killing their business while Harlan Crow’s “vacation partner” Justice Thomas voted twice to kill them. Still right-wingers will claim one has nothing to do with the other, presumably because the Crow Corporation wasn’t actually a plaintiff in either case. But in a civilized society, you avoid even the appearance of corruption by, you know, not taking expensive gifts from powerful people. One might even say that serving power is innately corrupt. It’s me. I’m the one who would say it. I’m saying it.
In a peripherally-related note, we are reminded that some two dozen Congressfolk are farmers and thus maybe shouldn’t be influencing Farm Bill legislation that might direct more government subsidies their way. I think this is all pretty simple: if you dedicate yourself to a life of service, divest yourself of anything that’ll prevent you from serving your constituents, and if you can’t, don’t serve. And if that’s impossible for some politicians because their legislative jobs are part-time and relatively low-paying (neither of which applies to members of Congress!), then we ought to change that, too.
Embedded in this meditation on the firing of Tucker Carlson and the Joe Biden re-election announcement happening more or less at the same time is the insight that many Trump supporters believe their guy got swindled mainly because they love him so much. I’ve had Trumpholes try to feed me this patently illogical crap, telling me that my lack of love for Joe Biden is somehow less valid than their undying love for Dear Leader, as if their feelings are more important than anyone else’s vote. I guess they figure their feelings got him elected in the first place because it sure wasn’t more votes amirite?, but grown adults know that the thrill of actually getting an inside straight doesn’t compare to the misery you’d feel if you constantly tried to draw to one.
North Carolina Supreme Court, now a majority-Republican court, reverses itself on gerrymandering Congressional districts, meaning the supermajority-Republican state legislature will probably gerrymander themselves three or four more House seats in 2024. New York and California Democrats better get their act together, then! (Wisconsin’s Supreme Court might also have something to say about their supermajority Republican legislature’s gerrymandering.) Anyway, you may have thought judges cared about their legacy, but apparently not when Republicans are thisclose to controlling everything and everyone.
What is “the thinking error that makes people susceptible to climate change denial,” according to Jeremy P. Shapiro at The Conversation? “Black and white thinking,” because that sort of thing does “simplif(y) the world,” after all. You’ll recognize many of the symptoms of black-and-white thinking, chief among them a tendency to find the one counterexample out of a million and assert that disproves all trends, but you might also suspect that perhaps it’s not so much that regular folks are such black-and-white thinkers but that Our Glorious Elites pound us into submission with their fake black-and-white thinking.
Finally, the headline may read “More Republicans Blame Mass Shootings on Video Games Than on Easy Gun Access,” but I think the Morning Consult survey described therein has far more interesting findings – that over 40% of Americans think TV and films brandish too many guns, certainly, but also that nearly six out of 10 Republicans blame “easy access to guns” for all the mass shootings! That’s a fact that seems lost on Republican politicians, who trap half of their votaries in a feedback loop of masturbatory rage and expect the other half to be good soldiers. This other half ought to step up and demand better from their party, maybe?
Posted at 03:12 AM in around the table, bad arguments, climate change, corruption, farm subsidies, housing policy, law and order, mass murder, redistricting, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell IPEF negotiators to put people and planet before products in any trade deal they craft, and tell our EPA to fund more climate change projects in low-income communities and crack down on PFAS chemicals as vigorously as possible. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
Trade Justice helps you tell Indo-Pacific Economic Framework negotiators to put people and planet over profits. And if they can’t, they should just scrap the whole thing! It’s not like good Americans are chomping at the bit to get another “free” trade deal done, after all – in fact, it’s rather the opposite, as good Americans kept on their Congressfolk in 2016 over the Trans-Pacific “Partnership,” and then elected Donald Trump President in large part because he was the first Presidential nominee in recent history to oppose “free” trade deals. So let’s not let these negotiators think they can just ignore us and do whatever they like. You know, like Larry Summers would.
Hip Hop Caucus helps you tell our Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) to put more Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund projects in low-income communities. Low-income communities have borne the brunt of big polluting projects – so much so it was once a joke on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 – so they should get some more love when our government funds climate change-fighting projects. Of course, the low-income communities that have suffered more also need it more, so it’s not just altruism that guides us here. Why, it’s like altruism and pragmatism work hand-in-hand more than Our Glorious Elites want you to think!
Finally, the League of Conservation Voters helps you tell our EPA to crack down on PFAS chemicals as vigorously as possible. They don’t call them “forever chemicals” for nothing! (They call them that because they stay in your body a long, long time.) Wondering why our government has dragged its feet on this matter? I mean, the Trump EPA dragged its feet on everything it could for four years, but I’m sure that’s not the whole reason. PFAS chemicals are so ubiquitous – they’re in everything from food wrappers to firefighting foam to nonstick saucepans – that our EPA may have gotten cold feet before causing upheaval. But hey, this is America, the can-do country; surely big PFAS-producing corporations can figure this out.
Posted at 04:06 AM in "free" trade, action, chemical safety, climate change, racism | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Senators and our President to hold the line against Republican debt-limit drama, and tell Pennsylvania state legislators to reject an anti-drug treatment center bill and pass an anti-discrimination bill. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
The House passed their debt-limit hostage-taking bill last week – by a mere 217-215 margin – so Americans for Tax Fairness helps you tell your Senators to reject any negotiation with the House over this bill and tell your Senators to raise taxes on the rich and on corporations, while Patriotic Millionaires helps you tell President Biden to keep standing his ground against Republican hostage-taking. Even Moody’s tells us Republicans would kill three quarters of a million jobs, as they cut services good Americans need – and refuse to tax the rich and corporations any harder – so it's up to us to make Republicans back down. Remember: never negotiate with drama hounds. People who are dramatic all the time need to pay a price.
Pennsylvania residents, take note: People’s Action helps you tell your state legislators to reject SB 165, which would outlaw overdose prevention centers in the Commonwealth. Now you may read the bill and ask: do overdose prevention centers really let people shoot up? Yes – under medical supervision, because most folks don’t just quit drugs cold turkey; in fact, most folks relapse repeatedly while trying to quit, and they might as well relapse in the presence of medical professionals, versus an empty lot somewhere. When politicians try to get between doctors and patients just so they can “look tough on crime,” remember that looking tough ain’t gonna get nobody through the Pearly Gates.
Finally, also for Pennsylvania residents, the ACLU helps you tell your state legislators to pass HB 300, which would prevent Pennsylvania businesses and public places from discriminating against folks based on gender. That includes discrimination against gay/lesbian folks and also against transgender folks. Right-wingers have shifted their hatred from gays to transgender folks, largely because the public at large is more conflicted about the latter; I couldn’t tell you why women are so conflicted, but men are conflicted because men always like knowing who to fuck. I hope saying so at least makes a few people think; in the meantime, we should protect transgender folks from discrimination.
Posted at 04:52 AM in action, corporate taxes, discrimination, drama, drugs, gay rights, health care, hostage-taking, jobs, taxes, transgender | Permalink | Comments (0)
From the “Our ‘Liberal’ Media Still Sucks!” file: “liberal” media outlets help right-wingers blow up Bud Light’s brief association with a transgender Instagram influencer into a “controversy.” Some folks will complain that FAIR mainly “picks on” articles in the business press, but the notion that business articles must be worse than regular news stories didn’t exactly get handed down on stone tablets from Mt. Sinai. And seriously, this is all a “warning” to big corporations that right-wingers will throw the biggest tantrums over the littlest things? I’ve got a better lesson: nobody should capitulate to tantrums from anyone, ever. Bud Light will learn that when their sales go back up.
When I hear that anti-racist teaching is actually picking up in blue states just as it’s dying out in states like Florida, all I can say is: well, that was always the risk of creating drama! If you go around attacking people all the time, as right-wingers love to do, nobody should be surprised when people strike back. And if you can’t handle the bad things about our nation’s past, like the Chinese Exclusion Act, how do you expect to handle the bad things about your own? How do you expect to grow and build character? Learning about racism, and accepting my role in both problem and solution, has sure built up my character!
Stephen Miller’s so-called America First Legal group has filed an EEOC complaint against Mars. Inc., claiming that its “efforts to increase diversity and representation of minorities within its workforce constitutes discrimination and a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” This lawsuit looks like drama (after all, Mars makes the green M&Ms that aren’t sexy anymore!), but chances are better than even that they’ll find a right-wing judge, somewhere, with some lawsuit if not this one, who thinks efforts to address discrimination are themselves discrimination, and one sore on the body politic can too easily fester into a disease. If Stephen Miller ever read “Deutsches Requiem,” he clearly decided it wasn’t a cautionary tale so much as an instruction manual.
No need to think too deeply about Joe Manchin’s vow that he’ll help repeal his own bill if President Biden continues to use it to boost renewable energy production. His argument is a cluster bomb of stupid – he negotiated the damn bill; did he simply forget that boosting clean energy production was one of its main purposes? – but it’s also the kind of desperate posturing politicians do when they’re about to lose re-election by 20 points. When he leaves office, nobody will remember anything about Joe Manchin except the damage he did, and that’s a hell of a thing to take to the Pearly Gates.
From the “Drama Drama Drama Drama Drama Drama!” file: certain “friends” are supposedly encouraging former U.S. House Rep./lewd photo-taker Anthony Weiner to run for office again – to “take (the city) back from AOC,” according to his right-wing radio co-host, Curtis Sliwa. Trigger warning: by the end of the story, some Democratic pol will talk about “the crime wave we have” like that’s a real thing that’s happening. So let’s see, any regular Americans urging Mr. Weiner to run for office? No – only his celebrity “friends.” Still, it can’t hurt to remind everyone that if you’re the Medicare-for-All Guy, you can’t also be the Sending Dick Pics to Women Who Aren't Your Wife Guy.
Finally, from Rick Wilson we receive a dire warning that Tucker Carlson might actually be the individual best able to take on Donald Trump in the Republican Presidential primary. Why, it could even wind up as a Trump/Carlson ticket, which would make Mr. Trump a more formidable candidate, though Mr. Carlson could also win the nomination and Mr. Trump could then run as an “independent” because grift, and that might be enough to deliver even Texas to Joe Biden in 2024. In the meantime, I keep thinking we’re at the point where Fox will start replacing their on-air “talent” with actual rabid raccoons – and then I keep learning exactly how many hungry right-wing drama hounds there still are.
Posted at 03:40 AM in around the table, bad behavior in public, drama, education, law and order, Medicare-for-All health insurance, racism, renewable energy, the "liberal" media, transgender, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell Indo-Pacific Trade Deal negotiators to put people and planet above profits, share your story about background checks and renting apartments with our CFPB, and tell our EPA and NHTSA to enact the most vigorous fuel emissions standards possible. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
Trade Justice helps you tell Indo-Pacific Trade Deal negotiators to ensure that any trade deal prioritize people and our planet over profits. If you think of the notorious “Trans-Pacific Partnership” when you hear about a proposed Indo-Pacific Trade Deal, I wouldn’t blame you, and frankly, I’d prefer no “free” trade deal at all. But our leaders may finally be listening to us; after all, the USMCA trade deal is a dramatic improvement upon NAFTA – for which both former President Trump and House Democrats deserve credit – and I certainly don’t let the perfect murder the good. Still, we should remain on our guard, so that we don’t let the evil murder the good, either.
Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell your story about background checks and renting apartments to our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or CFPB). Our CFPB wants comments about this matter, particularly because we all suspect that landlords use background checks to raise rents, and don’t let folks retort so what, landlords will use any excuse to raise your rent, because the whole point of this particular CFPB rulemaking process is to prevent landlords from using any excuse to raise your rent! And background checks tell us nothing about someone’s ability to pay rent.
Finally, Consumer Reports helps you tell our Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or NHTSA) to enact the strongest fuel-emission standards possible. Don’t listen to the folks who say all regulations hurt small businesses, because how many small businesses manufacture cars? Exactly. Also, regulations capping fuel emissions result in cars that get more miles to the gallon, pollute less, and cost less to fill up. Who could possibly be against these things? Oh, right, auto manufacturing corporate executives, who don’t want to spend money to make money. They shouldn’t get all the say about this matter – but they will, if we don’t speak up.
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and the Environmental Justice for All Act, and tell your Senators to investigate alleged corruption on the part of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
The Center for Biological Diversity helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would give our government more funding to enforce the Endangered Species Act. The bill would allot about $1 billion more annually to wildlife conservation; that’s $1 billion out of at least $5 trillion in expenditures, so don’t let right-wingers act like that’s some unconscionable amount of money. Don’t let them tell you wildlife conservation and protecting endangered species are some kind of luxury, either, because they’re not – not to a great civilization, anyway, and a civilization that pretends the “free” market must do everything most certainly is not great.
The Juggernaut Project helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Environmental Justice for All Act, which would, at long last, attack the system that allows big corporations to situate their most noxious power plants in majority-Black or majority-Brown neighborhoods. The bill would (among other things) let good Americans sue for discrimination over the pollution and bad health they’ve suffered and would take past environmental racism into future permitting decisions. We also need to enforce the Fair Housing Act in a way that honors Dr. King and all those who fought for it, but in the meantime we need to pass this bill to help stop environmental racism.
Daily Kos helps you tell your Senators to investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for his acceptance of expensive gifts. Republicans will act like such an investigation is a partisan issue – I’m sure they’ll say “witch hunt,” too, which insults everyone who ever died in an actual witch hunt – but when they do, all you have to say is: if you’re a judge, is it OK to get large gifts from people who might have a case before you one day, let alone fail to follow the few disclosure laws we do have? Some folks will say “yes,” and you can dismiss them, shun them, and shame them. But the rest should have something to think about.
Posted at 03:18 AM in action, conservation, corruption, endangered species, pollution, racism, transparency | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell our government to cut it out with the “terrorist” profiling of good Americans, tell our Department of Energy to enact the most vigorous washing machine energy standards possible, and tell Google to stop enabling law enforcement to punish folks who get abortions. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
The Center for Rights and Dissent helps you tell our government to stop funding programs that profile good Americans for their alleged “terrorist” activity. Spying on good Americans’ normal activities for “terrorist” “tendencies” hasn’t prevented any terrorism or they'd brag about it, but it has enabled a lot of law enforcement fishing expeditions, a lot of which they undertake to justify the program in the first place! Why, it’s almost like that’s the whole idea. And no, using those programs to “go after white supremacists this time” isn’t a good reason to give our government any more broad spying powers. As we should all know extremely well by now, those powers can be turned on anyone, anytime.
Penn PIRG helps you tell our Department of Energy to strengthen energy efficiency standards for washing machines. Or, as a right-wing drama hound might put it, THEYZ AREZ TEH COMINGZ FORZ TEH WASHING MUSHINEZ!!!!!!! In actually, they are not coming for your washing machine, but ensuring that future washing machines use less water and electricity. I don’t imagine that right-wingers are coming up with these arguments on their own; I rather suspect that big corporations are feeding them these arguments so they can spread them around on social media. But they’re absurdly stupid, and we don’t have to let them win the day.
UltraViolet helps you tell Google to stop collecting location and search data from good Americans just trying to navigate this post-Roe v. Wade abortion rights hellscape. I bet some right-wingers call that an anti-law and order stance, but it’s not – police officers enjoy no Constitutional right to easy investigations, nor does any Constitutional right compel big corporations to collect and such data so they can turn it over, at least not without a warrant. But if states really want to prevent abortions, they have plenty of other ways to try and do that; a lot of them involve more access to birth control, so they likely won’t try them, but that doesn’t mean we’ve got to get all Big Brother on each other.
Posted at 04:14 AM in "war on terror", action, birth control, energy efficiency, health care, law and order, racism | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to ban facial recognition software at performance venues, invest more in our care economy, and ensure that any effort at permitting reform benefit renewable energy exclusively. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Demand Progress helps you tell Congress to prohibit performance venues from using facial recognition software on event-goers. You don’t even have to know that facial recognition can’t tell Black people apart any better than your January 6-addled uncle can to tell Congress to ban its use; you only need know that facial recognition enables law enforcement fishing expeditions, and opposing those, I would think, would be something conservatives could get behind as well as liberals. If your right-wing neighbor retorts BUTZ I SUPPORTZ TEH POLICEZ!!!!, just remind him that could be him getting profiled and wrongly-arrested the next time Bruce Springsteen rolls into town.
The Coalition on Human Needs helps you tell Congressfolk to invest in our care economy. Sound like a tall order for a Republican House that cares only about drama? Doesn’t matter! Right is right, and duty is duty, and Congress has a duty to help us make our lives better, not stand by while nursing home corporations and child care corporations continue to gouge good Americans who can’t do without them. They say inflation is bad, but inflation has, for a very long time, been really bad in areas of our economy that folks can’t simply refuse to participate in – if you have kids or elderly parents, they need care. So our Congressfolk have got to help, not hurt.
Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to ensure that any effort at permitting reform benefits renewable energy producers exclusively. Because there’s enough filth in our air and water already, and when politicians talk about the shift to clean energy “killing jobs,” they’re full of soup. Solar and wind and geothermal all create jobs; what they don’t do as well as coal and oil and gas corporations is redistribute more of your wealth upward to executives so they can gild the plumbing in their 19th vacation homes. Republicans (and Joe Manchin!) are trying to take us toward more pollution and unearned income for bosses, so we’ve got to step up.
Posted at 04:37 AM in action, child care, coal, executive pay, gas drilling, income redistribution, law and order, oil, pollution, racism, regulations serving people, renewable energy, solar power, wind power | Permalink | Comments (0)
Diana Moskovitz at Defector reminds us that “Greed is Still the Problem” with internet media outlets blowing up like Buzzfeed’s news division just did. Everyone thinks it’s “news doesn’t make money” when the truth is that news doesn’t make unearned stupid-money for speculators. Yes, the Google/Facebook ad monopoly is also a major obstacle for internet media, but the main problem isn’t that they can’t literally charge people per screen view like they used to be able to charge people per newspaper, but that the banksters controlling internet media are used to making billions of dollars without doing any real work of any benefit to anyone, so they kill it off and drain their blood like the vampires they are. (And anyway, they could charge folks a buck – or less – a month for unlimited views and I suspect they’d be fine.)
At least six of our nine Supreme Court Justices are millionaires – worth at least $24 million as a group, not counting homes or retirement accounts, so that figure’s undoubtedly considerably larger. “Not counting homes or retirement accounts” may explain why Justice Thomas – in trouble for receiving free vacations from a "good friend" who might well have business before our Court – isn’t one of them; I could explain Justice Kavanaugh’s non-presence on that list differently, of course. Seriously, though, money corrupts; Justices Kagan and Sotomayor are landlords, and though they both voted to keep the Biden eviction moratorium, “their positions as landlords could have weakened their will to convince other justices to join their side.” At least in theory!
Count me as not caring that 44 percent of Republicans don’t want Donald Trump to run for President in 2024. He’ll get the 25% of the electorate who are bat-guano insane (I expect these folks comprise most, though not all, of the Republicans who’d say they want him to run for President), and he’ll easily get at least 20-22 more percentage points from people who “can’t stand him” but will “hold their nose” because of all their imaginary complaints about Joe Biden; as history has shown, that might be all he needs. Polls arguing that Democrats don’t want Joe Biden to run are meaningless for somewhat similar reasons (except that our complaints about Donald Trump are quite real).
I wonder if we should even keep pointing out that Ron DeSantis isn’t fighting Disney particularly effectively – Disney easily beat back his effort to take their relative independence away, and his “revenge” plan of maybe one day putting a prison near the park will hardly inconvenience them, but of course the drama he’s creating is not only the strategy, the drama is the point. The masturbatory-rage crowd won’t say he’s “petty” for demanding more monorail inspections, they’ll say he’s “sticking it” to the “woke” crowd. Of course, if Mr. DeSantis could govern, let alone lead, he wouldn’t need to create these dramas.
Finally, physicist Michio Kaku explains why we shouldn’t go very far out of our way to contact alien life forms disk – because they might crush us without feeling animosity toward us, or even noticing us. And that could well happen! But another possibility, one I entertain more frequently, is that we shouldn’t contact alien life forms because we’ll just infect them with all our decadent maladies. Perhaps I’m arrogant for thinking that, but thinking that is a better way to get us to change our ways that than thinking we’re just ants on a turtleshell.
Posted at 03:32 AM in around the table, banksters, corruption, drama, the "liberal" media, the future, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to reject Republican debt-limit bills and pass the Save Oak Flat From Foreign Mining Act and the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
You want action alerts against the Republican debt-limit bill? I’ve got ‘em, from Coalition on Human Needs, Moms Rising, and Daily Kos. They’re trying to justify their whole debt-limit drama by cutting services good Americans actually need, which is evil. The Moms Rising alert deals mainly with work requirements for SNAP and Medicaid, and some folks think that’s common-sensical, but they’re wrong: work requirements aren’t a good idea for a program that’s supposed to help you when you don’t have work. And finding and punishing fraud is a separate issue. How about we cut the budget of fighter planes that don’t fight?
The Native Organizers Alliance helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Save Oak Flat From Foreign Mining Act, which would pretty much do what its title says – save the Oak Flat region of the Tonto National Forest from the Rio Tinto mining corporation. Numerous Native Americans consider Oak Flat sacred land – I guess religious conscience only matters when it’s right-wing corporatists not wanting to cover their employees’ birth control! – and the mining would also poison and deplete the water there. Despite Native Americans' heroic efforts in keeping Rio Tinto out, the project still isn’t dead; that’s why we step up, as we have before, and we keep stepping up until our Congressfolk act.
Finally, Win Without War helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act. Banning anyone who might counsel abortion from providing health care overseas (as the Helms Amendment does) hurts our efforts to get birth control and other health care to other countries, so let’s not let philosophical purity murder what works – and, you know, let’s not let it murder people, too. I suppose right-wingers will try to hide their sexist objective by yelling AMURIKA FIRSTZ!!!!! But unsafe abortions and maternal deaths – which the Helms Amendment surely causes – are an atrocity anywhere.
Posted at 04:21 AM in action, birth control, clean water, defense spending, drama, food stamps, health care, Medicaid, pollution, public lands, religious freedom, sexism | Permalink | Comments (0)
Supreme Court pauses lower court ruling on abortion drugs until appeals can work their way through the courts, meaning mifepristone will still be as widely-available as our FDA has mandated. Naturally Justice Alito writes a dissent casting doubt on our government’s willingness to enforce the law, which sure seems to me like a doubt Justices could deploy when it suits them. Also, folks yammering on about the Comstock Act might want to look at the Second Circuit’s United States v. One Package ruling from 1936.
From Emily Drabinski at TruthOut we learn about one way we can block right-wing book banning efforts: strong public library boards. They vary in strength – the ones in Florida generally operate in advisory capacities only, meaning they can’t do very much about Ron DeSantis – but others are stronger, and we can always make the weak ones stronger. Going back to childhood I’d always presumed I could handle everything I read, and I suppose maybe after all these years there still might be something out there I can’t handle, but I sure can handle a lot more than these right-wing book banners can – or more likely, want you to think people can, or kids can.
A Republican Muncie, IN county council member suddenly starts identifying as a “woman of color.” No, not for real – I mean, he did say it out loud, but I didn’t need the emoji-wink to tell he was doing some hardcore trolling; probably he imagines himself a satirist of Pythonian power. (Now would be a good time to mention that one of my favorite-ever filmmakers, Terry Gilliam, should really stop feeding into such nonsense.) Sadly, his trollery isn’t a teachable moment on transgender issues, but a teachable moment on, you know, not being a complete asshole in public, so better to point out his folly once and then let him sink into the oblivion he deserves.
Matt Stoller discusses how AI impacts anti-monopoly actions against Google. Hilarious to read that Google says it’s not a monopoly anymore because AI search engines exist; one almost suspects they sat on their own AI technology for years just so they could one day make this excuse. But any monopoly is an unqualified evil. No, there aren’t “good” monopolies, as our recent supply chain issues have (hopefully!) reminded us. A big problem is folks can’t imagine what an anti-monopoly world can do because they live in a monopoly world. You know what an anti-monopoly world did once? Oh, only defeat the Nazis.
Finally, the grandson of the man who shot Ralph Yarl for the heinous crime of accidentally going to the wrong house to pick up his siblings said his pappy imbibed a lot of right-wing media. And THAT! Is the MOST! SURPRISING! THING! I! Have EVER! HEARD! Moreover, the fact that he wouldn’t STFU about Stand Your Ground laws makes it less likely he’ll be able to deploy that argument in court! Seriously, though, it might also be time for a mass movement to get cop shows off the air. When you watch someone kill the bad guy a million times, you invariably start thinking about killing all the bad guys in your life, though your life is a thousand times more complex than a TV drama.
Posted at 03:09 AM in around the table, bad behavior in public, birth control, book banning, drama, health care, law and order, mass murder, monopolies, racism, the "liberal" media, the future | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, and tell your Senators to reject the so-called “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act” and investigate the gifts Justice Thomas has lately been reported to have received. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion rights everywhere in America, even in the 12 states that have passed total abortion bans and the 15 that have restricted medication abortion. Remember when right-wingers were all about keeping things between you and your doctor? Abortion should be between women and their doctors, since state governments have proven so bad at doing it that they’re chasing gynecologists out of their states and preventing women who need an abortion to survive from getting one. And remember: if you’re against abortion, don’t get one.
The National Women’s Law Center helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject the so-called “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” because it’s not a way to protect women and girls so much as a way of abusing transgender folks, plus it’s also a way to abuse women and girls by subjecting them to period police and genital inspectors at school. We worry enough about educators sexually abusing kids; how about we not give them a way to do that? And don’t listen to anyone who says “but this is a real issue,” because, really, it’s not – I mean, I would hope school sports aren’t the be-all-end-all for either kids or their parents! And really, do kids have a “right” to abuse trans folks? And do adults have a “right” to discriminate?
Finally, Daily Kos helps you tell our Senate to investigate Justice Clarence Thomas for the luxury trips he’s received for free from his putative friend, Harlan Crow. He’s been all I-didn’t-need-to-disclose about it (and he’s likely wrong about that), and he’s also been all he’s-my-friend about it, to which I’d say if he was really your friend he wouldn’t have put you in such a compromised position. Seriously, these trips (plus the house Mr. Crow bought from Justice Thomas and his two brothers) all smack of the infamous “non-repayable loans” the Mafia used to give out. Maybe Justice Thomas is comfortable with that, but civilized people shouldn’t be.
Posted at 05:02 AM in action, birth control, corruption, health care, sexism, transgender | Permalink | Comments (0)
America’s Last Journalist, Greg Palast, in discussing the Dominion/Fox suit, reveals the “unspoken but horribly disturbing split growing between some White and Black activists.” Long story short: White activists talk about mostly about voting machine hacking, which could happen but almost certainly hasn’t happened, while Black activists talk about vote suppression, which most certainly does happen – and which we White folks don’t fear because we don’t typically get forced to fill out provisional ballots or get purged by Interstate Crosscheck or get “Souls to the Polls” early voting banned. Everywhere you go, the problem isn’t “changing” votes but simply not counting them.
Here’s a major downside to the Dominion/Fox news settlement: Fox may be able to write over a quarter of that settlement off on their taxes. Even though Fox noted, in its carefully-worded statement, that it did broadcast lies, our IRS has ruled in the past that settlements are just the “ordinary and necessary” cost of doing business, which tells us what a sick, immoral, and decadent civilization we are, to let big corporations do wrong and then get a tax break for it. Anyway, if our IRS changes their minds, they at least have the funding to go after Fox, which is presumably why Congressional Republicans have been so hot to repeal that funding increase.
The three major credit reporting corporations have decided to remove medical debt under $500 from credit reports, under pressure from our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or CFPB), and though they should also omit larger amounts of medical debt, since accumulating medical debt has virtually nothing to do with a person’s ability to be responsible, I feel compelled to point out that Donald Trump’s CFPB didn’t lift a finger to help anyone with their medical debt. The Trump CFPB wanted to be a “partner” to financial predators! Partnering with the American people clearly never crossed their minds.
By a large and actually bipartisan margin, Colorado’s government has passed the nation’s first state-level “right to repair” law for farmers. Naturally a John Deere spokeshack says that though of course John Deere supports the right to repair, this law will have (wait for it!) “unintended consequences.” Another manufacture specifically mentions “overriding emissions controls,” as if the first thing a farmer will do with his thresher is make sure it pollutes more, and anyway the law prevents farmers from doing that. Once again, everyone’s on the right side of history but the corporations.
Finally, when you hear that Sen. Manchin (D?-WV) actually criticized President Biden for not meeting with House Speaker McCarthy over the debt limit, you must remember a few things: 1) Joe Manchin thinks Bipartisan Happy Fun Time Land is a real place, and 2) in America, we prefer our leaders decisive, and refusing to pander to Republican hostage-taking over the debt is decisive. Seriously, “we are long past time for our elected leaders to sit down and discuss how to solve this impending debt ceiling crisis”? There’s one way to end this “crisis,” and that’s for President Biden to stand his ground – the same ground where we’re standing, not incidentally – and for Speaker McCarthy and his band of drama hounds to capitulate.
Posted at 03:13 AM in "bipartisanship", around the table, bad arguments, banksters, debt, drama, health care, law and order, racism, right to repair, taxes, the "liberal" media, voting rights | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell our FTC to ban noncompete agreements, tell President Biden not to let 15 million Americans lose their Medicaid coverage, and tell our government to force nursing homes to disclose their ownership. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
Demand Progress helps you tell our Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) to ban noncompete agreements in employment contracts. Noncompete agreements keep workers from getting jobs elsewhere – under the notion that if you get a job with a competitor, you’ll reveal all your former employer’s trade secrets! Of course there are already laws to deal with people who reveal trade secrets, and besides, most workers covered by noncompetes now are truly working class – they’re baristas, janitors, fast food workers, home care workers, and the like; one wonders exactly what their big corporate employers think they'll “reveal.” Of course it’s all venal, and we should fight venality whenever it rears its ugly head.
Roots Action helps you tell President Biden not to let folks who’ve been getting Medicaid due to the COVID emergency lose their health insurance. As Roots Action reminds us, this is yet another problem we wouldn’t have if Medicare covered everyone, like it should! But in the meantime, let’s not let 15 million good Americans lose their Medicaid because the COVID emergency is over (or, perhaps more precisely, “over”). Personal to those who say we can’t help everyone: ah, if we can help billionaires keep more of their unearned wealth, we can help our friends and neighbors get the health care they need – not least because all of us pay for it later if they don’t.
Finally, Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell our Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS) to force nursing homes to disclose their owner’s identity, not least because we have a lot of bankster-owned nursing homes whose residents die of COVID at a higher rate while their executives make millions of dollars. For speculators like hedge funds, everything exists to be bled to death, but these are our parents and grandparents and friends and neighbors suffering due to the bankster mania to cut all costs to zero, so we should at least know which “private equity” fools we’re dealing with. And if they feel “bullied,” they should take their billion-dollar ball and go home.
Posted at 04:59 AM in action, banksters, executive pay, health care, labor, law and order, Medicaid, Medicare-for-All health insurance, working families | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell big cable corporations to stiff Fox News in upcoming fee negotiations, tell our CFPB your horror story concerning background checks and renting (if you have one), and tell our EPA to enact the most vigorous anti-mercury rules possible. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
No Fox Fee helps you tell big cable corporations Charter, Cox, and Xfinity not to give in to Fox News’s insatiable desire for higher cable fees. As Angelo Carusone’s excellent analysis points out, our campaigns against Fox News advertisers largely haven’t worked, because Fox News extorts huge fees from cable corporations, fees second only to ESPN – and this also means that everybody pays a higher cable bill because of Fox News! However, Fox News has, ah, landed in trouble as of late, and so we have a golden opportunity to pressure these big cable corporations into standing their ground against Fox News’s bottomless hunger for higher cable fees. But only if we speak out.
Americans for Financial Reform helps you leave a comment with our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or CFPB) telling your horror story with background checks in rental housing. They’re looking to crack down on abuse in this area – on folks who do a background check on you without telling you, making you pay for said background check, charging you a higher rent based on your background check, among other things. None of this is cool, especially considering your background check might have mistakes in it! And seriously, to keep making people pay for mistakes they've already paid for – is a little more money worth the lack of mercy? Money you can't take with you, but mercy you can take to the Pearly Gates with all your other good works.
Finally, the Natural Resources Defense Council helps you tell our Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) to strengthen rules preventing various forms of air pollution, including mercury pollution. As often happens with the Biden EPA, the most recent proposed EPA standards for mercury do improve the standards we’ve got, but they could be better – and the result would not be a “war on coal” as right-wing drama hounds constantly say, but fewer heart attacks, less cancer, and less brain damage in our children. Another result might be less money for big polluting corporation CEOs to gild the plumbing in their 19th vacation homes, but hey, this is America, where we all sacrifice for the common good, right?
Posted at 04:32 AM in action, clean air, coal, drama, executive pay, housing policy, law and order, pollution, regulations serving people, rent, the "liberal" media | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to raise taxes on the rich and stop cutting services for working families and tax all rich folks’ income the way we tax working families’ income, and tell House Republicans to keep their grubby mitts off our earned benefits in Medicare and Social Security. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Today is Tax Day, so Americans for Tax Fairness helps you tell your Congressfolk to raise taxes on corporations and the rich and stop cutting services for working families. I’m old enough to remember when the top tax rate was 70%; now it’s 37%. Yet Congress still hands out corporate welfare “research and development” tax breaks when we already don’t tax research and development, because they’re expenses. And what drives most of our ballooning deficits? Tax cuts for the rich, that’s what – to the tune of $10 trillion in debt from the Bush and Trump tax cuts alone. So today’s a good day to get in their grills. So’s any day, really, but especially today.
In a related note, Patriotic Millionaires helps you tell your Congressfolk to “tax their money like your work,” meaning tax the rich’s wealth as hard as they tax our work. We just discussed how low income taxes have gotten for the rich, but it’s even worse than that: rich folks make more money than any of us do from dividends and capital gains, which, guess what, have an even lower tax rate. Plus the Estate tax gets more lenient all the time, so that now rich folks can exempt the first $12.9 million from taxes! I think $1 million is more than enough to pass on; any more would deprive heirs of vital character-building opportunities, and we’re all about opportunity here in America.
Finally, Courage for American helps you tell House Republicans to “back off our benefits,” namely Social Security and Medicare benefits. Speaker McCarthy’s said they’re “off the table,” but if five members of his caucus decide they’re not, then he suddenly doesn’t have the votes for a debt-limit resolution, so we can safely ignore that "promise." He’s been putting together a debt-limit resolution lately; who knows if it’ll pass? I feel secure in saying it doesn’t matter if it passes; it only matters that he puts forth a resolution that doesn’t make Republicans look like complete ogres. But let’s forestall all this drama by getting in their grills about this now.
Posted at 05:10 AM in action, corporate taxes, corporate welfare, drama, estate tax, Medicare, Social Security, tax cuts for the rich, taxes, working families | Permalink | Comments (0)
Hey, folks: guess which other industry is totally hamstrung by monopoly power? Yes, that’s right, the defense industry, where five-count-’em-five corporations control just about everything, and all they care about is goosing up their stock prices, since, you know, nobody can actually compete with them anymore. And these corporations indulge more and more in stock buybacks and less and less in, you know, research and development. Plus they take taxpayer money to invest, so we should take any complaint they make about how “volatile” the market is for their work with a pound of salt. Plus they whine a lot, just like you'd expect from rich folks and CEOs.
Bad news, everyone: in bailing out the Silicon Valley Bank, our government has elected not to honor SVB’s commitments to help finance affordable housing in the Bay Area. We all agitated for the opposite, but I guess I shouldn’t have expected so much from the same folks who hurriedly called SVB a “systemically important bank” when it was bailout time, after assuring us SVB was not systemically important when that might have prevented SVB from taking over another bank. But don't worry: the Fed that caused all this to happen will investigate it and get to the bottom of it! Meanwhile, good San Franciscans soon won’t even be able to afford the Tenderloin.
Because we need it, Marjorie Cohn at TruthOut reminds us that the two Tennessee legislators expelled for joining a peaceful anti-gun protest aren’t the first legislators to get tossed out for their activism. The three legislators she discusses – 18th century British MP John Wilkes, former House Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, and Georgia state Rep. Julian Bond – all had the last laugh, though I doubt today’s reactionary Supreme Court would have ruled in favor of the last two. To think that Tennessee’s House Speaker actually compared what Messrs. Jones, Pearson, and Johnson did to the attempted coup of January 6. Justice demands that he loses his next election to a shrub.
When I hear that Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is asking applicants to state boards and commissions to name the accomplishment of hers that they admire most, I find myself wondering where she learned to do that! I kid, of course – she learned it from her Personal Lord and Savior, who once infamously had his Cabinet members go around the table and compliment him on something he’d done. Even a room full of Republicans hated that idea, though they probably only hated it because it happened to them – which I’d usually consider the beginning of wisdom, except that Republicans seem to go out of their way to avoid wisdom.
Finally, not only did Justice Thomas get free vacations from his “friend” Harlan Crow without disclosing it, in 2014 Mr. Crow also bought a single-story home and two vacant lots which Justice Thomas owned at least a third of and he didn’t disclose that, either. Republicans hounded Abe Fortas off our Supreme Court in 1968 over less. And if Mr. Crow really bought the place so he could make a little Justice Thomas museum, I would think there are other ways to do that beside putting six figures in Mr. Thomas’s bank account. (In case you were wondering, we have long had evidence that Mr. Crow’s groups have been getting a lot of sympathy from Justice Thomas on our Court.)
Posted at 04:25 AM in around the table, banksters, corruption, defense spending, mass murder, monopolies, taxes, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Posted at 07:33 AM in light posting notice | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell big health insurers to keep covering cancer screenings, tell our Department of Health and Human Services to reduce the price of Xtandi, tell our Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to force nursing homes to disclose their ownership, and tell Starbucks to negotiate with its unionized workforce. Use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs to communicate your will.
The National Campaign for Justice helps you tell big health insurance corporations to keep covering cancer screenings and other forms of preventive health care at no cost. If you want to reduce costs in the long term, you cover preventive care now, but of course big corporations don’t care about anything but the short term, and now that the most anti-Obama judge in the land has struck down the Affordable Care Act’s preventive care plank, big health insurance corporations may be tempted to stop covering it, particularly if they’ve got another monthly stock price target to meet. Thus we wield the Big Stick of Bad PR once again.
Drug Prices Are Too High helps you tell our Department of Health and Human Services (or HHS) to, ah, reconsider its decision to let Astellas Pharmaceuticals charge $189,000 per dose for its prostate cancer drug, Xtandi. Are you the one who says ah, don’t worry, insurance will cover it? I sure hope not, because even though health insurers will generally cover most of the cost, “most,” here, leaves folks paying about $10,000 per dose, for a life-saving drug. You and I don’t have that kind of money lying around! And guess what else? Taxpayer money helped develop this drug! So we should get more say in this matter.
Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell our Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS) to require that nursing home corporations disclose their owners, particularly if those owners are the hedge fund corporations that even Donald Trump once said “get away with murder.” “Get(ting) away with murder” may be a bit too literal in this case, since the science tells us that private equity-owned nursing home residents get worse care than residents at other homes. You’ll ask for stricter reporting requirements as well; CMS seems sympathetic to all of this, but you know how it is – they’ll fold under big corporate pressure unless we deal out some pressure of our own.
Finally, Civic Shout helps you tell Starbucks’s incoming CEO to stop union-busting and start negotiating with the workers who’ve unionized, as our laws require them to do. Even though workers at over 300 Starbucks locations have unionized over the last year-plus, Starbucks still won’t negotiate with them, still fires organizers, and still drags workers off to anti-union propaganda meetings, and though our government might not punish any of that, all of it is immoral, and all of it makes Starbucks less popular, which means all of it will cost them money over the long term. Shame our Boldest and Brightest Entrepreneurs don’t see the long term as well as the rest of us. So we have to make them.
Posted at 04:41 AM in action, banksters, big pharma, health care, labor, regulations serving people, taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)
Uh oh: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been accepting very expensive vacations almost annually from a single Republican donor, without disclosing a one, meaning he’s apparently broken the law and, not incidentally, failed to adhere to considerably looser ethics standards than other federal judges. Right-wingers will say “there’s no quid pro quo,” but a) that seems unlikely, given how people with money are so interconnected with each other, and b) in a civilized society we also avoid the appearance of corruption, particularly if we’re leaders, as Supreme Court Justices surely are.
I’d love to celebrate the discovery that injecting a heart failure patient’s own stem cells back into their heart reduces their risk of stroke and heart attack by almost 60%, but I’m also reminded that right-wing hysteria held stem cell research back all through Tha Bush Mobb years, has held us all back generally going back many centuries, and continues to hold us back to this very day. It’d be nice if our “liberal” media would stop covering right-wing hysterics like they’re jes’ folks; right-wing hysterics should have to fight for coverage, like they did in the old days. At least it’d build character.
Mike Ludwig at TruthOut reminds us that while our FDA did us a solid by making the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone an over-the-counter drug, the drug is still fairly expensive, which will limit the number of good Americans who can get it. You’re looking at between $42 and $100 per dose without insurance – health insurance corporations should really cover it, since dead people can’t buy any more health care – and a lot of folks (what right-wingers call “those people”) don’t have that amount of cash lying around after paying bills and buying food and raising kids. No use retorting well, don’t do drugs, then, since that’s not how addiction works. (Assuming Naloxone will “encourage” drug use is also not how addiction works.)
See if you can follow this Moebius strip of a story: three-fifths of a very, very right-wing school board resign after the other two-fifths won’t STFU about critical race theory and “grooming” – this, after said very, very right-wing school board had long eradicated any trace of anti-racist or pro-gay teaching in their classrooms. On second thought, this isn’t that hard to understand: right-wingers constantly cannibalize their kind, because what else can they do? Right-wing ideology still dominates American discourse, and still limits the options our political leaders will consider, so right-wingers must find ever-more fantastic enemies, lest the rageheads snap out of their wage. They sure got lucky back in the day when they hunted a President who was an actual serial adulterer.
Finally, a pair of researchers explain AI’s critical shortfall: because “it takes a body” to understand the world. We don’t analyze trillions of words to figure out how to smooth out wrinkles in a shirt or keep a fire going; we do it through seeing and manipulating objects with our hands. This maps on to what I’ve been saying: that AI is, at present, little more than a good bullshit artist. The problem, of course, will be when humans won’t see that because they can make good money not seeing it. I’m pretty sure that’s the dystopian future toward which we’re headed at present, not the one where “there’s so much AI no one can tell what’s real anymore.”
Posted at 03:32 AM in around the table, corruption, drugs, education, health care, law and order, racism, sexism, the "liberal" media, the future, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to reject any Medicare or Social Security benefit cuts, reject any education funding cuts, reject Estate Tax repeal, and pass the Biden budget already. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
Courage for America helps you tell the Republican House majority to “back off” our earned Medicare and Social Security benefits. They’ve said they won’t cut these benefits, but you know the minute we take our eye off the ball the reaper’s scythe will start slashing, and anyway they don’t need 218 votes to cut benefits – they only need five, as in the number of Republican House Reps who can deprive Mr. McCarthy of a working majority on any bill. I’d bet Our Glorious Elites are counting on that, in fact! Someday there’ll be a price to pay for defying the popular will again and again – but not if we don’t speak our will.
The Coalition on Human Needs helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject any efforts to cut education funding. They’ll be coming for that as a “deficit-fighting” tool, as well, particularly since right-wingers have done a lot of work seizing that issue back from liberals. They’ve been doing it by whining about having to wear masks and banning books and threatening their fellow citizens at school board meetings, but gosh, what energy! And they probably think that gives them the momentum to cut federal education funding! Well, we cut funding that actually helps good Americans enough. It’s about time we stop hurting each other just to make these alleged philosophical stands.
Patriotic Millionaires helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject any attempt to repeal the Estate Tax, since Republicans have reintroduced an Estate Tax repeal bill and are still telling the same tall tales about folks losing their family farms over it. Why “tall tales”? Not just because the stories you hear (cough Kristi Noem cough) have, shall we say, holes in them, and not just because even the anti-Estate Tax crowd has never found even one family farm killed by the Estate Tax, but also because big ag monopolies have been killing family farms for 50 years! Blaming the Estate Tax for the death of the family farm is like blaming a mosquito bite for the death of a shooting victim.
Finally, the Coalition on Human Needs also helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Biden budget already. The Biden budget, as you know, would raise taxes on the rich and on corporations, institute a Billionaire’s Minimum Income Tax, raise the stock buyback tax, establish 12 weeks of paid family/medical leave, and re-expand the Child Tax Credit, among many other good works; no use calling it an “aspirational” document when all our Congressfolk have to do is pass it. Is it a perfect budget? No. Will Republicans come up with anything better? Also no. And would it be better than what we’ve got? Absolutely! But not if we don’t speak out.
Posted at 04:43 AM in action, bad behavior in public, big ag, book banning, corporate taxes, estate tax, hostage-taking, Medicare, monopolies, paid sick leave, Social Security, tax cuts for the rich, taxes, waaaaah!, wealth tax, working families | Permalink | Comments (0)
When I hear that a few “centrist” House Democrats are trying to put together their own debt limit plan with a few “moderate” Republicans, I remember 2005, when a House “centrist” asked Nancy Pelosi when Democrats would offer their own plan to gut Social Security, and Ms. Pelosi shot back “never! How’s never for you?” You know how right-wingers say you should never negotiate with terrorists? Right-wingers negotiate with terrorists all the time when they get in office, of course, because who wouldn’t negotiate with like-minded folks? But the principle is the same: you do not negotiate with people who do not want to negotiate, but who only want drama and hysteria. And if we wind up going into default, everyone knows whose fault it will be – the Republicans who’ve spent the last several decades just saying no to everything. Hate to pile on, but a clean debt limit increase is the “moderate” position here – no one has yet tried to use the debt limit to force expanding Medicare to all Americans, for example, not that I’d ever want to give anyone ideas.
Hard to believe, Harry, but the infamous No Labels group – now as demonstrably far-right organization as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – has raised $70 million so far to promote a third-party Presidential ticket, getting “ballot access” in four states. But strangely, they won’t reveal the names of any of their donors, and their excuse for that – that “agitators and partisan operatives” will bully them, basically, like they don't understand the whole concept of “sunlight” – is a real right-wing excuse. I, for one, am tired of people pretending to be “centrists” so that the pain and suffering of good Americans can never be alleviated. And seriously, while Republicans predominantly run extremists in every office, Democrats haven’t run a Presidential candidate anyone could possibly call as an “extremist” in my lifetime, yet “centrist” “independent” "bipartisan" morons plod on in their both-sides-are-bad absurdity. And look how well-funded this particular gaggle of morons are! For the record, Joe Biden has already earned my vote in 2024, and I’m far more of an “extremist” than he’ll ever be.
Posted at 03:36 AM in "bipartisanship", campaign finance, campaign spending disclosure, drama, Medicare, Medicare-for-All health insurance, penny rants, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to enact sane gun control legislation, reject the RESTRICT Act, reject any effort to cut food stamps, and pass the Secure Viable Banking Act. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
The mass murder at a Nashville school has inspired a lot of stupid thought from right-wingers, so let’s instead call our Reps and Senators and offer a sane plan, one first proposed by Thom Hartmann in 2018, which would a) amend the National Firearms Act of 1934 so that it includes semi-automatic guns as well as automatic ones and b) require gun owners to register their guns, get shooting licenses, and buy liability insurance. (You can read Mr. Hartmann’s full plan here.) Don’t brook any registration-equals-nanny-state-equals-slavery hysteria; we’ve all registered so many things in our lives we hardly think of it.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject the RESTRICT Act, which purports to be a data privacy bill (as well as an anti-TikTok bill, since that diddles right-wing rage glands these days), but which contains such vague enforcement language that law enforcement could easily use it to stifle fairly common and necessary internet processes, like Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs). Recall that Republicans couldn’t wait to repeal the actually pretty good data privacy protections our FCC enacted back in the late Obama years, and thus realize that none of them have any standing to foment drama and hysteria about data privacy now.
The Coalition on Human Needs helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject any efforts to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP), a.k.a. “food stamps.” Don’t believe the hype that “we have to cut food stamps to get out fiscal house in order,” because a) food stamps comprise rather less than 2 percent of our government’s spending and b) how about cutting defense spending, since we already spend more on
defense contractor executive pay defense than the next nine countries on that list combined? Right-wingers don’t care about fiscal responsibility – they care about keeping our government from doing anything for anyone other than their big campaign donors.
Finally, Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the Secure Viable Banking Act, which would restore rules and restrictions on mid-sized banks that originally passed in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill, but which Congress repealed in 2018. That 2018 bill was a bad bill then – no matter how “bipartisan” it was – and with the recent failures of the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank of New York, we now know how bad it was. At least, we hope we know, as in we hope no more banks fail! Pass the Secure Viable Banking Act, and maybe we won’t ever have to know.
Posted at 04:30 AM in action, banksters, campaign finance, defense spending, drama, executive pay, food stamps, internet privacy, mass murder, privacy, regulations serving people, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Anthony DiMaggio at Salon – with help from the Marcon Institute at Lehigh University – has studied the link between white supremacy, “men’s rights,” and anti-abortion/anti-gay/anti-trans sentiment, and finds, sadly, that all of these are inextricably linked. Perhaps not all of them in every single toxic human being – even the batshit insane 25% of the electorate doesn’t buy all of the toxic crap the right peddles, as evidenced by (for example) the fact that a “mere” 11 percent of respondents won’t agree with one out of four given neanderthal viewpoints about women, gays, and trans folk. But we should be careful thinking that gives us an opening anywhere, because all it really means is that some of the rage-addled don’t think very much about, say, gays, not that they actively support equal rights for gays. And, as we know from the Murdoch empire’s recent anti-trans hysteria, someone who’s already addicted to masturbatory rage can have that rage redirected at anyone.
Speaking of the Murdoch empire, Friday was yet another bad day for Fox News, as Dominion won summary judgment on almost every point in their defamation lawsuit against Fox. Now Fox won’t be able to argue in court that they told the truth about Dominion, or that they didn’t falsely accuse Dominion of a crime; they won’t even be able to claim they were “just reporting” what other folks said or were “just expressing an opinion.” The one thing left to determine? Whether Fox had “actual malice,” and I always thought that’d be the tough nut to crack here – what are we going to do, cut Rupert Murdoch open and count rings? “59 rings, that’s a prime number, thus we have found actual malice!” And I guess Fox folks probably avoided saying in texts that they really wanted to destroy Dominion’s reputation, though given what they failed to avoid saying in other texts, I wouldn’t lay money on that. In any case, I hope Dominion cleans their clock. I fear it still won’t be enough payment for all the harm Fox News has caused America.
Posted at 03:25 AM in birth control, equal rights, gay rights, health care, law and order, penny rants, sexism, the "liberal" media, transgender, waaaaah! | Permalink | Comments (0)
Long story short: tell your Congressfolk to reject the TAP American Energy Act, raise the minimum wage to at least $15/hour, pass the EACH Act, and redirect more defense spending toward human needs. Use the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or, if you're on a cellphone, the bottom of this page) to find your Congressfolk's phone numbers and/or use the email/petition tools in the following paragraphs.
The Native Organizers Alliance Action Fund helps you tell your Senators to reject the so-called TAP American Energy Act, which our House passed late last week, and reject any efforts to fast-track dirty energy projects. This bill would defund renewable energy projects, weaken clean air and clean water regulations, and ramp up drilling on public lands; imagine being the politician who actually champions these things! But some Congressfolk have also proposed gutting the National Environmental Policy Act, which gives communities a way to protect themselves from pollution, so we must fight that, too.
The Progressive Reform Network helps you tell your Congressfolk to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour – or more. An astounding 52 million workers make less than $15/hour presently, and they all deserve a raise. Don’t tolerate any foolishness from folks who claim that folks who make less “don’t work hard enough”; in my experience, the folks who claim that made a lot more money when they were working minimum wage jobs. No, really: $2/hour went a lot further in 1969 than $7.25/hour does now. Right-wingers love pretending inflation doesn’t exist – until they want to beat up on Joe Biden.
Moms Rising helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass the EACH Act, which would overturn the notorious Hyde Amendment, which has kept taxpayer money from funding abortions for 40 years. Some folks no doubt think that’s a reasonable compromise, but it’s really not, and not just because Roe v. Wade isn’t there anymore (so there’s literally nothing to “compromise” with!). Folks who have money will always be able to get abortions regardless of whether or not they’re legal, but folks who depend on Medicaid won’t, and as taxpayers we should ensure that everyone can access the safe and effective health care they need. And remember: if you think abortion is immoral, don’t get one.
Finally, Daily Kos helps you tell your Congressfolk to spend less on weapons and more on human needs. No, you can’t justify spending literally any amount of money by saying “we have to defend ourselves.” We already spend more money on defense than the next nine nations on that list combined; we’re spending far too much money enriching defense corporation executives and not enough on the things that actually defend and strengthen a civilization – things like education, health care, and housing. If we can’t defend ourselves for less money, maybe we’re not the greatest nation on Earth. Maybe we’re just the most arrogant.
Posted at 06:56 AM in action, birth control, clean air, clean water, defense spending, education, health care, housing policy, Medicaid, minimum wage, pollution, public lands, regulations serving people | Permalink | Comments (0)
Matt Stoller details the angry exchanges he had with antitrust lawyers at a conference, and as I hear these lawyers make bad arguments about why things should have stayed exactly the way they’d been for the last 40 years, I’m reminded that virtually everyone who’s ever had to do their job differently has reacted angrily about it. Including me! But we shouldn’t coddle people when they do that, no matter how powerful they are. That also goes for the police officers who claim that they “can’t do their job” under reformer D.A.s.
G. Samantha Rosenthal at The Conservation reminds us that “gender-affirming care has a long history in the U.S. -- and not just for transgender people.” When you confront the fact that yes, some too-short boys and too-tall girls have received gender-affirming care to make themselves “more male” or “more female,” you’ll recognize the problem from all those abortion bans that won’t let folks with ectopic pregnancies get abortions. Why, it’s like this has been the right’s plan all along – create the drama now, watch as history and better argument win the day, and then rail against history and better argument to create more drama. Jorge Luis Borges wrote about similar themes in “Deutsches Requiem.”
Ho hum, many of the same right-wing “pundits” who call Donald Trump’s indictment “politically-motivated” played a totally different tune when former Senator/Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards got indicted for virtually the same crime in 2011. Of course, these clowns don’t care about their hypocrisy, or about history, or about memory, even, and whatever short-term gain they think they’re getting now, they’re not going to enjoy taking all of that to the Pearly Gates. In the meantime, let us recall that the woman Mr. Edwards wronged – his wife, Elizabeth – was the talent in that couple.
A U.S. District Court judge blocks Tennessee’s anti-drag law for at least two weeks, saying that “the Statute’s broad language clashes with the First Amendment’s tight constraints” and that the bill could ban drag shows “just about anywhere,” including “a citizen’s private residence,” “a camping ground at a national park,” or even the internet. I don’t know who gets to rule on it next, but perhaps Tennessee Republicans ought to declare victory and retreat here – I mean, as with abortion bans and anti-trans laws, they got their drama here, and the only way they’ll be able to create more drama about it is if the drag shows go on.
Finally, a jury convicts Douglass Mackey of conspiring to suppress votes in 2016. You remember those social media posts telling folks to “stay home” and vote for Hillary over text or social media? Well, that was him, and a few other “influencers.” Gratifying as it is to hear any of the “lock her up” crowd get justice, it’s still like they only put the little people in jail. Mr. Mackey would likely bristle at that characterization, what with his 58,000 Twitter followers or whatever, but it’s true: he’s small potatoes, and his hero Donald Trump would certainly describe him that way, though maybe not to his face.
Posted at 06:46 AM in around the table, bad arguments, corruption, drama, free speech, law and order, monopolies, transgender, voting rights | Permalink | Comments (0)