Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Andrew Cuomo-- The Richard M. Nixon Of The Democratic Party?

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2 crooks- Cuomo and Klein, a perfect match

If your gut tells you that Andrew Cuomo is a sleazy transactional careerist who has no problem living in a corrupt political environment and making it work for him... give your gut a pat on the back. This morning, the NY Times' top political investigative reporter, Bill Rashbaum, along with colleagues Susanne Craig and Tom Kaplan, explained how Cuomo hobbled state ethics investigations. Corrupt is the nature of conservativism. It always was and always will be. Don't ever mix Andrew Cuomo up with his dad.
With Albany rocked by a seemingly endless barrage of scandals and arrests, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set up a high-powered commission last summer to root out corruption in state politics. It was barely two months old when its investigators, hunting for violations of campaign-finance laws, issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm that had placed millions of dollars’ worth of advertisements for the New York State Democratic Party.

The investigators did not realize that the firm, Buying Time, also counted Mr. Cuomo among its clients, having bought the airtime for his campaign when he ran for governor in 2010.

Word that the subpoena had been served quickly reached Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aide, Lawrence S. Schwartz. He called one of the commission’s three co-chairs, William J. Fitzpatrick, the district attorney in Syracuse.

“This is wrong,” Mr. Schwartz said, according to Mr. Fitzpatrick, whose account was corroborated by three other people told about the call at the time. He said the firm worked for the governor, and issued a simple directive:

“Pull it back.”

The subpoena was swiftly withdrawn. The panel’s chief investigator explained why in an email to the two other co-chairs later that afternoon.

“They apparently produced ads for the governor,” she wrote.

The pulled-back subpoena was the most flagrant example of how the commission, established with great ceremony by Mr. Cuomo in July 2013, was hobbled almost from the outset by demands from the governor’s office.

While the governor now maintains he had every right to monitor and direct the work of a commission he had created, many commissioners and investigators saw the demands as politically motivated interference that hamstrung an undertaking that the governor had publicly vowed would be independent.
Remember Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre (1973), the straw the broke the camel's back in the then-unfolding Watergate scandal? Attorney General Elliot Richardson had appointed Archibald Cox as an independent special prosecutor to investigate Watergate and when Cox proved too independent and too competent, Nixon demanded Richardson fire Cox. Richardson resigned instead. Nixon then turned to Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus and gave him the same directive. Ruckelshaus resigned as well and Nixon then turned to a young far right ideologue in the Department who was already known as a mindless zombie to do the task. Robert Bork, later rejected for the Supreme Court because of it, fired Cox. Apparently there were no Richardsons or Ruckelshauses in the Cuomo scandal, just Borks.
The commission developed a list of promising targets, including a lawmaker suspected of using campaign funds to support a girlfriend in another state and pay tanning-salon bills. The panel also highlighted activities that it saw as politically odious but perfectly legal, like exploiting a loophole to bundle enormous campaign contributions.

But a three-month examination by the New York Times found that the governor’s office deeply compromised the panel’s work, objecting whenever the commission focused on groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.

Ultimately, Mr. Cuomo abruptly disbanded the commission halfway through what he had indicated would be an 18-month life. And now, as the Democratic governor seeks a second term in November, federal prosecutors are investigating the roles of Mr. Cuomo and his aides in the panel’s shutdown and are pursuing its unfinished business.

Before its demise, Mr. Cuomo’s aides repeatedly pressured the commission, many of whose members and staff thought they had been given a once-in-a-career chance at cleaning up Albany. As a result, the panel’s brief existence-- and the writing and editing of its sole creation, a report of its preliminary findings-- was marred by infighting, arguments and accusations. Things got so bad that investigators believed a Cuomo appointee was monitoring their communications without their knowledge. Resignations further crippled the commission. In the end, the governor got the Legislature to agree to a package of ethics reforms far less ambitious than those the commission had recommended-- a result Mr. Cuomo hailed as proof of the panel’s success.

...Mr. Cuomo said early on that the commission would be “totally independent” and free to pursue wrongdoing anywhere in state government, including in his own office. “Anything they want to look at, they can look at-- me, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, any senator, any assemblyman,” he said last August.

...Yet, The Times found that the governor’s office interfered with the commission when it was looking into groups that were politically close to him. In fact, the commission never tried to investigate his administration.

Beyond that, Mr. Cuomo’s office said, the commission needed the governor’s guiding hand because it was, simply, a mess: Its staff was plagued by “relationship issues” and was “mired in discord.” The commissioners, whom he earlier called some of New York’s sharpest governmental and legal minds, “did not understand the budget or legislative process or how state government worked,” the statement said. Their subpoenas often had “no logic or basis,” and those that touched on the governor’s supporters were more for show than for legitimate investigative purposes, the statement said.
Cuomo has put himself forward as the natural candidate of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party if Hillary stumbles or decides not to run. What a cruel ending of the already frayed relationship between progressives and the Democratic Party that would be!


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eating Native Foods Is One Of The Pleasures Of Foreign Travel-- Being Careful With Your Restaurant Choices Might Keep You Alive

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You maybe be aware that we also have a travel blog-- and we cover eating in strange places-- whether the bacon craze in Jersey City, the raw food craze in London, how to eat healthy in Bali and Bangkok or even the best eatery in Mali. And we always try to alert readers to problems with food safety-- contaminated bottled water here, filthy food there and... well an article by David Sedaris prompted us-- precisely 3 years ago-- to ask the question How Important Is Food In Determining Where You Travel? Hygiene? Everything is clean and even pristine in Japan, he asserts, but not in China. I'll skip the parts about the toilets-- but feel from to hit the link and read it all--and head right off to the a restaurant he ran across called Farming Family Happiness:
As far as I know there wasn't a menu. Rather, the family worked at their convenience, with whatever was handy or in season. There was a rooster parading around the backyard and then there just wasn't. After the cook had slit its throat, he used it as the base for five separate dishes, one of which was a dreary soup with two feet, like inverted salad tongs, sticking out of it. Nothing else was nearly as recognisable.

I'm used to standard butchering: here's the leg, the breast, etc. At the Farming Family Happiness, rather than being carved, the rooster was senselessly hacked, as if by a blind person, a really angry one with a thing against birds. Portions were reduced to shards, mostly bone, with maybe a scrap of meat attached. These were then combined with cabbage and some kind of hot sauce.

Another dish was made entirely of organs, which again had been hacked beyond recognition. The heart was there, the lungs, probably the comb and intestines as well. I don't know why this so disgusted me. If I was a vegetarian, OK, but if you're a meat eater, why draw these arbitrary lines? "I'll eat the thing that filters out toxins but not the thing that sits on top of the head, doing nothing?" And why agree to eat this animal and not that one?

I remember reading a few years ago about a restaurant in the Guangdong province that was picketed and shut down because it served cat. The place was called The Fangji Cat Meatball Restaurant, which isn't exactly hiding anything. Go to Fangji and you pretty much know what you're getting. My objection to cat meatballs is not that I have owned several cats, and loved them, but that I try not to eat things that eat meat. Like most westerners I tend towards herbivores, and things that like grain: cows, chickens, sheep, etc. Pigs eat meat-- a pig would happily eat a human-- but most of the pork we're privy to was raised on corn or horrible chemicals rather than other pigs and dead people.

There are distinctions among the grazing animal eaters as well. People who like lamb and beef, at least in north America, tend to draw the line at horse, which in my opinion is delicious. The best I've had was served at a restaurant in Antwerp, a former stable called, cleverly enough, The Stable. Hugh was right there with me, and though he ate the same thing I did, he practically wept when someone in China mentioned eating sea horses. "Oh, those poor things," he said. "How could you?"

I went, "Huh?"

It's like eating poultry but taking a moral stand against those chocolate chicks they sell at Easter. "A sea horse is not related to an actual horse," I said. "They're fish, and you eat fish all the time. Are you objecting to this one because of its shape?"

He said he couldn't eat sea horses because they were friendly and never did anyone any harm, this as opposed to those devious, bloodthirsty lambs whose legs we so regularly roast with rosemary and new potatoes.

The dishes we had at the Farming Family Happiness were meant to be shared, and as the pretty woman with the broad face brought them to the table, the man across from me beamed and reached for his chopsticks. "You know," he said, "this country might have its ups and downs but it is virtually impossible to get a bad meal here."

I didn't say anything.
Many Americans think they can avoid that kind of collision with alien reality by sticking to a now ubiquitous McDonald's or KFC. Bad news on that front as well. Note: I have no trouble fasting for a few days or even a week when I have to-- and I would certainly resort to that than ever consider eating in a McDonald's or any facsimile abroad. There's one on the ground floor of the apartment we always rent in Bangkok. Just walking through it-- a shortcut to the elevator-- makes me want to throw up, although it's always filled with happy middle class Thais and relieved American tourists. Is the food they serve filthy and unhealthy? I always assumed so-- and that has been borne out this week by another food scandal in good ole China, a virtual cesspool to begin with. McDonald's and the other fast food companies have been buying meat from a typical food supplier-- typical because in the unregulated universe of Ayn Rand capitalism that holds sway there-- even serving human bits and pieces is within the realm of possibility-- as long as it's profitable.
[A]n undercover local TV reporter found workers repackaging and selling expired and spoiled meat at Shanghai Husi Food Co., owned by the Illinois-based OSI Group. The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration has halted Husi’s operations.

The latest food safety scandal could be a blow to McDonald’s and Yum [KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell] as both hopes to expand in the Chinese market. The pair has already vowed in 2012 to ensure the safety of food they serve after China Central Television reported the companies may have sold chicken fed with unapproved antibiotic drugs and growth hormones.

The Husi investigation shows that the culture of food safety still hasn’t taken root in China, where infants have been killed and sickened after consuming milk powder tainted by industrial chemical melamine. Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group, once told me that the problem lies in the country’s porous and outdated supply chain, where every link could go awry.
Tourists and the Chinese middle class expect foreign restaurants to be more reliable and less likely to kill them or make them sick. But we're talking about McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell so... I wouldn't eat in one down the road from where I live let alone in China or anywhere else. They serve garbage and their food and business culture is garbage. So what else could anyone possibly you expect? Starbucks? The Husi Food Co scandal has moved across the Sea of Japan.
The scandal surrounding Husi Food, which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois, has added to a string of safety scares in China over milk, medicines and other goods that have left the public wary of dairies, restaurants and other suppliers.

Food safety violations will be “severely punished,” the food agency said on its website.

Starbucks Corp. on Tuesday said it removed from its shelves sandwiches made with chicken that originated at Husi. Burger King Corp. said it stopped using hamburger it received from a supplier that used product from Husi. Pizza restaurant chain Papa John’s International Inc. announced it stopped using meat from Husi.

In Japan, McDonald’s Corp. said it stopped selling McNuggets at more than 1,300 outlets that used chicken supplied by Husi. It said the Shanghai company had been supplying chicken to it since 2002.
Let's hope the "severe punishment" will include extraditing American ex-bankster, billionaire Sheldon Lavin, OSI's sole owner (most of whose political donations go through the Desert Caucus).

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Can the ideological perversions of two unapologetic far-right-wing activists on the District Circuit Court of Appeals lead to defunding Obamacare?

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Plus a promise of thoughts-to-come about James Garner

Yes, justice is supposed to be blind, in the sense of being impervious to outside influences. Unfortunately, the two right-wing crusaders on the District Circuit Court of Appeals who channeled their hostility toward the ACA aren't blind, they're dumb and dishonest.

by Ken

You've no doubt already heard that, as the washingtonpost.com headline put it this afternoon, "Federal appeals courts issue contradictory rulings on health-law subsidies." Which was at least an improvement over the earlier headline, before the announcement of the second ruling: "Federal appeals court panel deals major blow to health law," which spawned pithy broadsides like this blurb on a washingtonpost.com post: "The decision to strike down tax subsidies in federal-exchange states deals a major blow to the Affordable Care Act."

Here's how the Post's Sandhya Somashekhar and Amy Goldstein began their afternoon report on the conflicting rulings, issued about two hours and 100 miles apart:
Two federal appellate courts handed down contradictory rulings Tuesday on the legality of a central part of the Affordable Care Act that provides insurance subsidies to millions of Americans in three dozen states.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the subsidies available under the 2010 health-care law may be provided only to residents of states that set up their own health insurance marketplaces. Less than two hours later, the Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the subsidies, ruling in a separate case that the law’s language was ambiguous, giving the Obama administration the authority to allow the subsidies nationwide.

The divergent rulings increase the likelihood that the question will be decided by the Supreme Court. If the subsidies ultimately are struck down for states that did not set up their own marketplaces, it would be a crippling blow to the federal program, dramatically reducing the ability of low- and middle-income Americans to pay for health insurance, which is now mandatory for most people. . . .
Well, the Obama health-care law may in fact be in jeopardy, considering the species of quasi-judicial life forms a case may encounter as it moves its way up the federal court system to the very pinnacle, which is where, finally, disagreements between the U.S. circuit courts of appeals are resolved. We already know that there are five justices sitting on the Supreme Court who pay only nominal attention to the law and the Constitution, as they happen to align with those justices' deeply held biases and ideological perversions.

But for the record, we're not talking about two circuit court panels that looked deeply into the legal particulars of the case and in all honesty came up with divergent conclusions.

Now I'm prepared to believe that the Fourth Circuit panel did more or less what I just described: look deeply into the legal particulars of its case and come up with its best understanding of the law. But that sure as shootin' isn't what happened with the panel of the District Circuit.

There the two Republican judges, Raymond Randolph (appointed by Bush the Father) and Thomas Griffith (appointed by Bush the Son), who formed the 2-1 majority by which Obamacare would be defunded in states where the health-care marketplaces are federal rather than state entities, simply hung their rigid far-right-wing dogma on what ThinkProgress's Ian Milhiser described in his earlier post today as "a proofreading error" in the ACA, to produce a result that makes sense only when we know that Judge Randolph has already been agitating against the law and during oral arguments actively advocated for the "fuck Obamacare" side.

Here's Ian M on the wacko scumbag who wrote today's jackass, almost totally anti-factual District Circuit ruling:
Judge Randolph is a staunchly conservative judge who spent much of the oral argument in this case acting as an advocate for the anti-Obamacare side. Randolph complained, just a few weeks before President Obama would announce that the Affordable Care Act had overshot its enrollment goal, that the launch of the Affordable Care Act was “an unmitigated disaster” and that its costs “have gone sky-high.” At one point, Randolph also cut off Judge Harry Edwards, the sole Democratic appointee on the panel, to cite an editorial published by the conservative Investor’s Business Daily to prove the argument that Obamacare should be defunded.

The Investor’s Business Daily is not known as a particularly reliable source on health policy. In 2009, for example, it published an editorial arguing that Stephen Hawking, the British physicist who is an Englishman from the United Kingdom, “wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”
Ian isn't much kinder to Judge Griffith, who "has a reputation has a more moderate judge."
In 2012, Griffith’s colleague, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, published a concurring opinion suggesting that all labor, business or Wall Street regulation is constitutionally suspect. “America’s cowboy capitalism,” Brown claimed, “was long ago disarmed by a democratic process increasingly dominated by powerful groups with economic interests antithetical to competitors and consumers. And the courts, from which the victims of burdensome regulation sought protection, have been negotiating the terms of surrender since the 1930s.” Later in her opinion, Brown suggested that the Court went off the rails when it “decided economic liberty was not a fundamental constitutional right.” In the early Twentieth Century, conservative justices relied on ideas of “economic liberty” that were discarded in the 1930s in order to strike down laws protecting workers’ right to organize, laws ensuring a minimum wage and laws prohibiting employers from overworking their employees.

Griffith did not join Brown’s opinion, but his explanation for why he did not do so is instructive — “[a]lthough by no means unsympathetic to [Brown's] criticism nor critical of [her] choice to express [her] perspective, I am reluctant to set forth my own views on the wisdom of such a broad area of the Supreme Court’s settled jurisprudence that was not challenged by the petitioner.” So Griffith is “sympathetic” to Brown’s argument that much of the Twentieth Century is unconstitutional, but he did not want to join her opinion because the arguments she made were not raised by the parties in that case. Halbig, by contrast, presented Griffith with a much more direct attack on supposedly “burdensome regulation” brought by the forces of “cowboy capitalism.”

SO WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

What is this "proofreading error," as Ian M describes it? Why don't we let him explain?
The two Republicans’ decision rests on a glorified typo in the Affordable Care Act itself. Obamacare gives states a choice. They can either run their own health insurance exchange where their residents may buy health insurance, and receive subsidies to help them pay for that insurance if they qualify, or they can allow the federal government to run that exchange for them. Yet the plaintiffs’ in this case uncovered a drafting error in the statute where it appears to limit the subsidies to individuals who obtain insurance through “an Exchange established by the State.” Randolph and Griffith’s opinion concludes that this drafting error is the only thing that matters. In their words, “a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,’” and that’s it. The upshot of this opinion is that 6.5 million Americans will lose their ability to afford health insurance, according to one estimate.
Ian acknowledges, "It is indeed true that a single phrase of the Affordable Care Act, if read in isolation, suggests that Congress intended only state-run exchanges -- as opposed to federal exchanges -- to offer subsidies, but this provision is contradicted by numerous other provisions of the law." And he proceeds to set some of them out. The fact is, the Scumbag Judges appear to have pounced on the only mention in the entire law where it's possible to read in such a distinction between state exchanges and the backup federal ones.

And the bald assertion that "a federal Exchange is not an 'Exchange established by the State,' " is on the simple factual level 100 percent incorrect. As Ian points out, Congress always gets to define its own terms in a piece of legislation, and the Twin Scumbags hadn't been so ignorant, lazy, and/or dishonest, they could have availed themselves of the opportunity to inform themselves of what the ACA actually says on the subject. Another provision, Ian points out, indicateds that "any 'exchange' shall be an 'entity that is established by a State'"— language which indicates that federally run exchanges will be deemed to be “established by a state.”

There's a good deal else in the law that makes nonsense of the judicial excrement that flowed from Judge Raymond's stinkybutt into his ruling, starting with the ACA section title "Affordable Coverage Choices for All Americans." "If Randolph and Griffith are correct," says Ian, "Congress would have named that subtitle 'Affordable Coverage Choices for All Americans Except For Those Americans Who Live In States With Federally-Run Exchanges.' " Put it all together, and it's hard to see how any reasonable person could have any question about the intent of Congress here.

But Judge Stinkybutt isn't any reasonable person. It seems clear that he didn't give a good goddamn what the law says, or what the law is. He was after all, actively engaged as a crusading activist, for which the courts above him should not only strike him and his pathetic weasel accomplice Judge Griffith down but recommend that they do the right thing and, in view of their demonstrated inability to serve honestly as judges, step down from the court.

By contrast, Ian writes in his later post taking the ruling delivered two hours later into account:
Unlike the DC Circuit’s opinion, the Fourth Circuit is a model of judicial restraint and humility. Although all three judges on the Fourth Circuit panel were nominated by Democratic presidents (Judge Roger Gregory, who authored the opinion, has the unusual distinction of being nominated by both President Clinton and the second President Bush), the majority opinion does not claim, as the DC Circuit did, that this case is a slam-dunk for their political party’s preferred outcome. Indeed, it claims that different provisions of the law seem to conflict with one another, and that the meaning of the statute is ambiguous. Though Judge Gregory’s opinion concludes that the Obama Administration “make[s] the better of the two cases” regarding how the law should be read, he also writes that “we are not convinced that either of the purported statutory conflicts render Congress’s intent clear.”

Under the longstanding Chevron Doctrine, however, it is not the job of judges who are confronted with an ambiguous statute to read their preferred outcome into the law. Rather, the Supreme Court has ordered federal judges to defer to an agency’s reading of a law — in this case, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) — so long as “the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute.” “We ‘will not usurp an agency’s interpretive authority by supplanting its construction with our own,” Gregory writes, “so long as the interpretation is not ‘arbitrary, capricious, or manifestly contrary to the statute.’”
"In the end," says Ian, "the battle between the Fourth Circuit and the DC Circuit is a battle over who gets to make law."
Normally, that power rests with Congress, but when a law is ambiguous, the Supreme Court has long recognized that courts should defer to the Executive Branch. This rule achieves two ends. It ensures that agencies with expertise on a particular area of law get to interpret that law, rather than leaving matters to inexpert judges. And it also ensures that the people who make important policy decisions are ultimately accountable to the American people.

If the electorate does not approve of the Obama Administration’s reading of this law, then the Fourth Circuit’s opinion permits them to vote for a different president who will read the law in a different way. The DC Circuit, however, would steal this decision away from the American people, and place it in the hands of a few unelected officials in black robes.

ABOUT JAMES GARNER

I should have gotten myself into gear faster, I know, since the death of James Garner on Saturday. But it has been an even more than usually hectic time for me, and I need a beat or two to collect some thoughts about the man behind one of the greatest characters, if not the greatest, in screen history. I'm shooting for tomorrow.
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Even If The Senate Dems Avoid A Wave, Pelosi Set The Fate Of The House Dems When She Reappointed Steve Israel

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Yesterday's NY Post found some nicely dressed young people who don't get drunk or get arrested for violent crimes and who knew how to use iPhones and dubbed them the next generation of Republicans, "throwbacks-- spurning drugs, crime and disorder, being sexually responsible and making sound choices about education. They might be the least disaffected, least rebellious kids since the Kennedy years. And that might have surprising political implications down the road." [Obviously The Post is clueless-- and this is the real future of the Republican Party-- but let's play along for a minute.] Absolutely... if Republicans just stop being the party of bigotry and hatred-- and kids never figure this economic stuff out-- they will have a chance to win the votes of these kids. Can they become pundits for the NY Post then?

Not everybody's first read of the morning is the NY Post. These days most people interested in politics start the day with Nate Cohn in the NY Times, right? And yesterday he was taking a less long-term view than are silly friends at the Post. He was looking at the upcoming Republican wave widely predicted for the November midterms. Or rather I should say he was looking for the wave or some sign there is a wave. He's not seein' it. He doesn't take Steve Israel's almost inexplicable incompetence into his calculations or talk about the coming disaster in the House, so I don't know how much credibility he will wind up with on the first Wednesday of November. He's saying the polls don't show a GOP takeover barreling down the pike-- even if he does bend over backwards to make believe Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) or Jeff Merkley (D-OR) were ever really vulnerable against their trio of fifth rate clownish opponents.
Republicans entered this election cycle with high hopes. President Obama’s approval ratings had sunk into the low 40s, and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act had been an unmitigated disaster. In an off-year election, Democrats weren’t expected to fully mobilize the young and diverse coalition that has given them an advantage in presidential elections. Off-years are also when a president’s party typically suffers significant losses.

This year seemed poised to turn into another so-called wave election, like in 2006 or 2010, when a rising tide of dissatisfaction with the incumbent party swept the opposition into power. Given a favorable midterm map, with so many Democratic Senate seats in play, some analysts suggested that Republicans could win a dozen of them, perhaps even picking up seats in states like Virginia, New Hampshire and Oregon.

The anti-Democratic wave might still arrive. But with three and a half months to go until November’s elections, the promised Republican momentum has yet to materialize.

The race for the Senate, at least right now, is stable. There aren’t many polls asking whether voters would prefer Democrats or Republicans to control Congress, but the Democrats appear to maintain a slight edge among registered voters. Democratic incumbents in red Republican states, who would be all but doomed in a Republican wave, appear doggedly competitive in places where Mitt Romney won by as much as 24 points in 2012.

...But as July turns to August, the G.O.P. is now on the clock. If there is to be a wave this November, the signs of a shift toward the G.O.P. ought to start to show up, somewhere, soon. Every day that goes by without a shift toward the G.O.P. increases the odds that there will not be a wave at all.

How could the Democrats dodge a wave, given the president’s weak ratings and the long history of the president’s party losing in midterms?

Part of it might come from the unpopularity of the Republican Party. The G.O.P. is less popular today than it was in 2010, when G.O.P. favorability ratings increased and Democratic ratings faltered in advance of the midterms. Mr. Obama’s approval ratings might also be deceptive: They’re mainly low because of minimal support from Republican leaners, not because Mr. Obama has lost an unusual amount of ground among his own supporters.
In presidential years, pundits just care about that race and in midterms they just care about the Senate. I agree that the Democrats might avoid the ultimate catastrophe in the battle to hold the Senate, but their weak majority will be a lot weaker even if they don't lose it and the hapless Michael Bennet (and Guy Cecil) will never measure up to Patty Murray's unbelievable series of unexpected victories in 2012 Senate races. But even while she was flushing away GOP hopes in Massachusetts, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, Montana, Florida, and Michigan, Israel was demonstrating that Pelosi had selected the worst DCCC chairman in the history of DCCC chairmen.

Despite Murray's sweep and Obama's reelection, Israel never even approached winning back the House. Boehner had a 49 seat majority going in and a 41 seat majority after all this tens of millions of dollars were spent. Israel failed in recruiting and he failed in strategy. Pelosi reappointed him and he's doubled down on those same recruitment and strategic operations. And, of course, he will fail again, much worse this time, because he's learned nothing from his failure-- and insists his failure was actually a success-- and has just dug his heals in even worse this time than last time. By digging in an insisting on the DCCC backing a worthless Blue Dog in NC-11, for example, Israel handed Heath Shuler's seat over to Republican Mark Meadows. Missed opportunities due to bad recruitment and refusal to back progressives included open seats like MI-11 (Kerry Bentovolio) and OH-14 (David Joyce), both of which Israel is giving away again this year. Other seats Democrats probbaly would have won if Pelosi had appointed a vaguely competent DCCC chair instead of Israel:
CA-10 (Jeff Denham)
CA-21 (David Valadao)
CA-25 (Buck McKeon)
CA-31 (Gary Miller)
CO-06 (Mike Coffman)
FL-10 (Daniel Webster)
FL-13 (Bill Young)
FL-16 (Vern Buchanan)
FL-27 (Ileana Ros-Lehtinen)
IL-06 (Peter Roskam)
IL-13 (Rodney Davis)
MI-03 (Justin Amash)
MI-06 (Fred Upton)
MI-07 (Tim Walberg)
MI-08 (Mike Rogers)
MN-02 (John Kline)
MN-03 (Erik Paulsen)
MT-AL (Steve Daines)
NV-03 (Joe Heck)
NJ-03 (Jon Runyan)
NJ-05 (Scott Garrett)
NY-02 (Peter King)
NY-11 (Michael Grimm)
NY-19 (Chris Gibson)
NY-23 (Tom Reed)
PA-06 (Jim Gerlach)
PA-07 (Pat Meehan)
PA-08 (Mike Fitzpatrick)
PA-15 (Charlie Dent)
PA-15 (Joe Pitts)
VA-07 (Eric Cantor)
WA-08 (Dave Reichert)
WI-01 (Paul Ryan)
WI-07 (Sean Duffy)
wI-08 (Reid Ribble)
How many of these seats will Israel lose again-- and for the same reasons he lost them in 2012? Almost all of them. The Rothenberg Political Report's most recent ratings show just 51 seats "in play," although he takes far too much "information" from the DCCC and NRCC to serve as a reliable or even credible prognosticator.These are his categories:
PURE TOSS UP

Ron Barber (Blue Dog-AZ)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Mike Coffman (R-CO)
open Tom Latham (R-IA)
Brad Schneider New Dem-IL)
open Bill Owens (New Dem-NY)
Nick Rahall (Blue Dog-WV)

TOSS-UP/TILT DEMOCRAT

Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ)
Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL)
John Tierney (D-MA)
Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)

LEAN DEMOCRAT

open Gary Miller (R-CA)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)
Bill Enyart (D-IL)
Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Rick Nolan (D-MN)
Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH)
Tim Bishop (D-NY)
Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm (R-NY)

DEMOCRAT FAVORED

Kirsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Julia Brownley (D-CA)
Raul Ruiz (D-CA)
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)
open Mike Michaud (New Dem-ME)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY)
Pete Gallego (Blue Dog-TX)

TOSS-UP/TILT REPUBLICAN

David Valadao (R-CA)
Steve Southerland (R-FL)
Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Dan Benishek (R-MI)
Lee Terry (R-NE)
open Jon Runyan (R-NJ)
Chris Gibson (R-NY)

LEAN REPUBLICAN

open Tim Griffin (R-AR)
open Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Tom Reed (R-NY)
David Joyce (R-OH)
open Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
open Frank Wolf (R-VA)
open Shelley Moore Capito

REPUBLICAN FAVORED

Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Jackie Walorski (R-IN)
Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)
Tim Walberg (R-MI)
open Steve Daines (R-MT)
Denny Heck (R-NV)
Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Notice that in Rothenberg's Beltway universe there are overall 51 seats in play, 25 Democratic-held seats and 26 Republican-held seats. However, of the Democratic seats, only 7 are actual Democrats, the rest all being useless Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- and that counts 3 cowardly Democratic freshmen, Bill Enyart, Julia Brownley and Raul Ruiz, as real Democrats when all 3 of them usually vote with the New Dems and Republicans on values issues. Most of the Democrats with seats in play deserve to lose and many of the vulnerable Republicans have Israel-recruited opponents who are way too lame to win, from Jennifer Garrison in Ohio, Patrick Henry Hayes in Arkansas and Jerry Cannon in Michigan to Sean Eldridge in New York and Ann Callis in Illinois.

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Today At The Races: Georgia

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It's another vile lesser of two evils election in Georgia today. Neither Jack Kingston nor David Perdue is fit for any public office, let alone for the U.S. Senate. But, then again, neither was Saxby Chambliss, the imbecile who's resigning the seat. The Republican primary itself was May 20 and the top 5 candidates didn't generate much enthusiasm:
David Perdue- 185,466 (30.64%)
Jack Kingston- 156,157 (25.8%)
Karen Handel- 132,944 (21.96%)
Phil Gingrey- 60,735 (10.03%)
Paul Broun- 58,297 (9.63%)
Perdue, who was endorsed by his cousin, Sonny, the ex-Governor, by professional Republican clown Herman Cain and by a shady super PAC (Citizens for a Working America, which has spent over $1.5 million attacking Kingston), won with the weakest showing of any first place finisher in a senate primary by either party in Georgia history. Kingston, who has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (i.e., the GOP Beltway Establishment, and has already spent $920,000 on his behalf) and by Brent Bozell, Michelle Bachmann, Sean Hannity, Steve Forbes and other right-wing celebrities, will probably win today's runoff. All 4 polls released this month show Kingston with 41%. PPP has Kingston with 47% with voters who say they are definitely voting today. Neither candidate is especially popular in the Atlanta area, where most of the state's voters live, maybe 70% of the expected GOP turnout.
[No] candidate can ignore metro Atlanta and north Georgia and have any hope of winning a statewide election. But the dynamics of this particular race, which has already garnered national attention as Republicans seek control of the Senate, means the election will likely be won or lost based on what happens there.

...With a competitive primary for Kingston's current seat in Congress, turnout is expected to be strong along the coast and Kingston will have to run up the numbers like he did during the primary when he claimed 78 percent of the vote in his home base of Chatham County. But the coastal areas alone can't carry him across the finish line, and Kingston will have to perform very well in metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

"Jack Kingston can still win statewide without winning those areas," Lake said. "He just needs to run up his margins on the coast and he needs to make sure that even though he's not winning in those north Georgia counties, he's not losing by a wide margin."

Perdue, who hails from middle Georgia but has a home on the coast, did very well in north Georgia during the primary, capturing a majority of counties across the area. Although it's his first political campaign, his cousin is former Gov. Sonny Perdue and his campaign and advisers are all veterans of state politics.

Perdue knows he must build on his primary vote totals and broaden his base of support. Meanwhile, Kingston has smartly collected endorsements from two of their former rivals with broad metro Atlanta support who finished third and fourth in the primary.

Kingston is banking on those endorsements to help him cut into Perdue's lead, while Perdue has been using those endorsements to hammer Kingston as the establishment candidate who's been in Washington too long.
If Kingston wins, he will face off against conservative Democrat, Michelle Nunn in November. Although most polling shows Nunn ahead, I'd bet that once the primary runoff is over and the Perdue votes get behind Kingston, he'll overtake her. Democrats will waste millions of dollars on her campaign that could easily elect Rick Weiland in South Dakota and save the Senate for the Democrats.




UPDATE: GEORGIA RESULTS

Confounding all the pollsters in a very low turnout election-- not one showed Perdue even close (of the 2 most recent, Landmark had Kingston up by 7 and Insider Advantage had him up by 5)-- and freaking out the GOP Beltway Establishment, Perdue beat Kingston 245,493 (51%) to 236,987 (49%). It was close, but outside the margin of recount and Kingston, no doubt bound for K Street, conceded before all the votes were counted. Kingston spent $6,174,978 and Perdue spent over a million less-- $5,031,036. (For those who care: Perdue has $783,540 cash on hand to Nunn's $3,681,570.)


Hice
Paul Broun's replacement in GA-10 won't be the Establishment favorite either. Crazy right-wing extremist, Hate Talk Radio host and bigoted Baptist preacher Jody Hice beat Mac Collins' son Mike 26,959 (54%) to 22,673 (46%). Both are far right crackpots but Hice has much more potential to regularly embarrass the House Republicans and reduce their approval rating by even more. With Bachmann and Broun retiring, Hice will immediately be in contention for the title, "craziest clueless Republican in the House." Move over Louie Gohmert. Hice and Collins spent around the same amount, respectively $493,490 and 479,576 (as of the July 2 FEC report). Two gun nut groups put in around $9,000 for Hice. Santorum's endorsement didn't help Collins, who was slightly ahead in the May primary.

Over in GA-11, Gingrey's district, Barry Loudermilk crushed ex-Congressman Bob Barr 34,641 (66%) to 17,794 (34%), successfully portraying him as a serial flip-flopper. Barr had outspent him $709,714 (including contributions made in BitCoin) to $599,119. Loudermilk had been endorsed by Club for Growth, RedState, FreedomWorks, the Madison Project and Georgia Right to Life. Barr was endorsed by Tom Tancredo, Richard Viguerie and Gun Owners of America.

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Could Obama Have Fought Harder For What He Says He Believes In?

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Obama got kicked around pretty good over the weekend-- from the right and the left. Clark Judge is a right-wing propagandist and former speech writer for Reagan and one of the Bushs. Sunday his latest anti-Obama screed was published by a right-wing U.S. tabloid, The Mail in which the editors described him as "a top Washington insider." He may be-- but only in the circles Cheney and Bolton travel. "This weak and timid President," he insists, "talks big... and does nothing." This is followed by a few called-in right-wing talking points on the Ted Cruz/Ann Coulter-school of foreign policy.

Far more relevant was Thomas Frank's condemnation of the Obama presidency in Salon Sunday: Right-wing obstruction could have been fought: an ineffective and gutless presidency's legacy is failure. Despite the destructive insanity from the GOP/Confederate State of America, "we were promised hope and change on big issues. We got no vision and less action." Judge's critique is worthless except into a window into how the anti-American reactionary elites are reacting. Frank, on the other hand, is one of America's foremost political thinkers. If what he writes stings, it should. He channels future historians looking back to out time who see "a time when America should have changed but didn’t... an age when every aspect of societal breakdown was out in the open and the old platitudes could no longer paper it over-- when the meritocracy was clearly corrupt, when the financial system had devolved into organized thievery, when everyone knew that the politicians were bought and the worst criminals went unprosecuted and the middle class was in a state of collapse and the newspaper pundits were like street performers miming 'seriousness' for an audience that had lost its taste for mime and seriousness both. It was a time when every thinking person could see that the reigning ideology had failed, that an epoch had ended, that the shitty consensus ideas of the 1980s had finally caved in-- and when an unlikely champion arose from the mean streets of Chicago to keep the whole thing propped up nevertheless."

Cue... Hillary Clinton for 4 more years of this crap? Or... Ted Cruz? Why not try fascism, many are already thinking-- even if they don't call it that-- and see if that works this time? Elizabeth Warren seems determined not to run in 2016. She seems like the only plausible political leader who could prevent another 4 years of mediocrity or worse. She's busy fighting to keep the Senate from falling into the hands of fascism and, more than anything, she's fighting for the issues of progressivism she outlined at Netroots Nation last week.
The Obama team, as the president once announced to a delegation of investment bankers, was “the only thing between you and the pitchforks,” and in retrospect these words seem not only to have been a correct assessment of the situation at the moment but a credo for his entire term in office. For my money, they should be carved in stone over the entrance to his monument: Barack Obama as the one-man rescue squad for an economic order that had aroused the fury of the world. Better: Obama as the awesomely talented doctor who kept the corpse of a dead philosophy lumbering along despite it all.
Still channeling future historians-- and citizens trying to understand the failures of the 8 years of Obama's presidency, Frank asks why "did the president do so little about rising inequality, the subject on which he gave so many rousing speeches? Why did he do nothing, or next to nothing, about the crazy high price of a college education, the Great Good Thing that he has said, time and again, determines our personal as well as national success? Why didn’t he propose a proper healthcare program instead of the confusing jumble we got? Why not a proper stimulus package? Why didn’t he break up the banks? Or the agribusiness giants, for that matter?" And the response will be, of course, "the crazy right-wingers running wild in the land. He couldn’t reason with them-- their brains don’t work like ours! He couldn’t defeat them at the polls-- they’d gerrymandered so many states that they couldn’t be dislodged! What can a high-minded man of principle do when confronted with such a vast span of bigotry and close-mindedness?"

But Frank's not buying it; neither am I and it's why so many Americans who elected him are going through such severe disillusionment now. "In point of fact," he writes, "there were plenty of things Obama’s Democrats could have done that might have put the right out of business once and for all-- for example, by responding more aggressively to the Great Recession or by pounding relentlessly on the theme of middle-class economic distress. Acknowledging this possibility, however, has always been difficult for consensus-minded Democrats."

Disillusionment, by the way, not because Obama "failed to win the Grand Bargain, but because he wanted to get it in the first place--because he seemed to believe that shoring up the D.C. consensus was the rightful object of all political idealism." His electoral coalition got nothing... except the banksters-- and they have put $67,324,285 into his political career (more than they gave McCain and Hillary combined) and the LGBT community, whose issues weren't really something he even campaigned on in 2008 but who got more out of his 8 years than anyone else.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Detroit: Water, Water, Everywhere, But Not A Drop To Drink

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There's a horrible drought in California and I'm going to rip out my lawn and replace it with a rock and cactus garden, as several neighbors and friends already have. The city even offers a cash incentive for doing so. There are also serious drought conditions on northern Texas, western Nevada and southeastern Colorado. But not in Detroit-- nor anywhere in Michigan or Ohio (which is closer to Detroit than lots of Michigan itself is). Plenty of water there... except for people to use. Well, not all people. Poor people are the ones who have no water-- tens of thousands of them.

A few months ago the Detroit Water and Sewerage District sent out something like 46,000 shutoff notices-- after jacking up the price of water so that it's prohibitively expensive for many families. People in Detroit are charged an average of $75 a month for water, comapred to a national average of $40. By summer, the District was talking about 150,000 households they consider delinquent and plan to stop serving. John Conyers, the congressman who represents most of the poor people living in Detroit, flat-out declared the District management's policy "inhuman" and the UN reminded Detroit (and I hope Lansing) that "Disconnection of services for lack of means to pay may constitute a violation of the right to water. Disconnection due to non-payment is only permissible if it can be shown that the householder is able to pay but is not paying-- in other words, that the tariff is affordable."

Conyers is working on legislation to keep the District from being able to cut people off from water. what do you think Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy will have to say about that? How about predatory Michigan Republican leaders like Fred Upton, Dave Camp, Candice Miller, and Tim Walberg? They don't care-- especially because gold courses that don't pay still get to waste massive amounts of water while poor families have no water for drinking or sanitation. The GOP wants to see the system privatized and kicking poor families off their books, makes that look a lot more attractive for corporate buyers.
In a city where the median household income is less than half the national average, 38 percent of residents live below the poverty line and 23 percent are unemployed, it comes as no surprise that at least 40 percent of customers are delinquent on their bills.

The water shut-offs have taken no prisoners. Since this year's shut-offs started at the end of March, at least 15,000 Detroit households have had their water turned off. But the campaign, a tactic designed to pressure Detroiters into paying their water bills, began with little or no publicity last year, when 24,000 homes had their water shut off, says Darryl Latimer, the deputy director of the water department.

The frequency of shut-offs gained momentum in the fall, shortly after the city’s bankruptcy was filed, and just a few months after the city contracted shut-off services out to Homrich, a demolition company. The city agreed to pay Homrich at most $6 million for work over 730 calendar days. Delinquent customers were given a grace period in December for the winter months, with shut-offs resuming upon the arrival of spring.

With the city’s average of just under three people per household, these numbers mean that roughly 100,000 Detroiters out of a total population that hovers just under 700,000 have already been affected by the shut-offs, with tens of thousands more awaiting their turn.

Clampdowns can seem to arrive out of the blue, as residents don’t receive any formal notification that their services are to be shut off... Residents targeted by the shut-off campaign have been reluctant to speak up. Some have stayed quiet because they’ve resorted to illegally hiring plumbers, and others—who are without water and relying on neighbors and friends for drinking water and showers—are afraid child-protective services may intervene, as a lack of running water is grounds for social services to immediately take children out of parents’ care.

Even those without children remain reticent. Some feel tarred by a general notion of shame and culpability for not being able to meet such a bare necessity as water. Last week, a headline in one of the local newspapers, the Detroit News, described delinquent customers as “water scofflaws.”

This stigma is enhanced by the painting of blue lines in front of those houses that have just had their water turned off-- lines painted by Homrich’s employees after a job is completed... Monica Lewis-Patrick, a community organizer who has been going door to door with fellow activists in order to raise awareness and distribute water, says she has come across old-age pensioners who-- not knowing where to turn after their taps were closed off-- have gone without running water for almost a year.

...“This is a public-health emergency,” says Peter Hammer, a law professor at Wayne State University and director of the school's Center for Civil Rights. But Hammer takes it further. Beyond the likely prepping of the water department for privatization, the law professor states these measures are just one part of a larger process of moving people out of neighborhoods the city wants to see emptied out. “They are also shutting water off not wishing people will pay necessarily, but implicitly hoping people will move,” he says.

Geographical relocation is a controversial issue in a city like Detroit, which is 83 percent African-American and has a painful history of housing segregation. The Motor City’s financial woes are also often associated with decades of white flight, which left its population depleted by almost two-thirds and its tax base in tatters.

The city’s racial makeup plays a role in the way this is being dealt with too, Hammer says: “If this was not an impoverished African-American community that was getting the brunt of this, people would be up in arms.”
Ah... yes-- which is why we don't hear Fred Upton, Candice Miller, Dave Camp, Tim Walberg speaking up-- nor Bill Huizenga, Dan Benishek, Mike Rogers, Justin Amash and Kerry Bentivolio.

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Huh? Why are they trying to hide Glenn Greenwald in the first place?

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by Ken

Okay, so this morning I had an e-mail from Amazon hawking a bunch of books, and right there at the top is this book called No Place to Hide Glenn Greenwald. To be honest, I hadn't even been aware that anyone was trying to hide Glenn G, or for that matter that anybody was looking for him. (I often find myself kind of out of the loop.) Still, I figured that this whole business of finding, or at least looking for, lost stuff is right up my alley, and maybe I could help.

However, let me make two things clear at the outset:

(1) I don't know who it is who's trying to hide Glenn G, or why. It sounds goofy to me, but --

(2) I'm not here to quarrel with or judge this (to me) peculiar mission. I'll say flat-out that I don't understand it, but there are a lot of things I don't understand, and none of that seems to matter to anybody else, so I'm not going to try to probe deeply into it.

Not even why someone thought it was worth writing a book about it. I understand why people may have thought it worthwhile to write books or plays or movies about searching for buried treasure, or hunting for Judge Crater, or Jimmy Hoffa, or maybe even (and I thought this was nutty) being John Malkovich. But hiding Glenn G? The logic escapes me. Still, as I say, I don't consider it my business to, you know, understand.

NO, I'M JUST HERE TO HELP

And while my credentials for the job are entirely unofficial, I consider them substantial. I've hidden a few things in my time -- some of them intentionally, others not so much. My keys, for example, might be described as "self-hiding," and sometimes my wallet practices that trick too, usually just when I really need to get out of the house, like, right away. Have you ever had to call work to say you were going to be late on account of you couldn't find your keys, or your wallet? Oh, you have? Isn't it embarrassing? Did you make up some story about a plumbing crisis, or did you tell the God's honest truth? I mean, about the keys, or the wallet.

Especially, I figure, if we pool our combined experience of hiding stuff, including stuff of what I am calling the self-hiding kind, we can help whoever it is who's trying to hide Glenn G get him safely hidden. Wait, that's assuming that whoever wants to do the hiding wants to do it for his own good. That Glenn G really wants to be hidden. It occurs to me that maybe he doesn't. But then, wouldn't the question be more along the lines of how to lose Glenn G? Or maybe how to make him go away?

Enough preliminaries. Let's get to work finding A Place to Hide Glenn Greenwald. Is everybody here? Oh well, I guess we'll have to wait for them to get back from the bathroom and for the others to get back with their coffee and snacks. Let's meet back here in exactly 15 minutes.

15 MINUTES LATER

Jeez, the idea wasn't for people to first to go to the bathroom or get coffee or snacks. Okay, another 15 minutes.

ANOTHER 15 MINUTES LATER

Look, we've really got to get started. Glenn G needs to be hidden already -- though again, don't ask me why. It's apparently above my pay grade. Okay, the others will just have to catch up with us.

Now, I'm going to throw out some suggestions for places to hide Glenn G.

1. Under the bed. This is an old trick, of course, based on the theory that searchers may not think to look under the bed. Then again, they may, so it's not foolproof. It's also really a short-term hiding trick. I mean, you couldn't seriously hope to keep him there for any extended period of time. I trust I don't have to enumerate the host of problems you would run into. However, if the need for the hiding is temporary, an old trick like this is worth considering.

You should be sure, though, to establish some code way of letting Glenn G know that the need for hiding is past. Say, "The coast is clear." Of course he might wonder if someone wasn't holding you with a gun or a hand grenade or something forcing you to say, "The coast is clear." I guess in a pinch you could just go to the bedroom and say loudly, "They're gone, Glenn G. It's okay to come out now."

2. In the spare-room closet. This works pretty much the same way as "Under the bed," above, except it's in the spare-room closet. I don't suggest the hall closet, because any searcher who doesn't check the hall closet is likely to have his Searching Guild card taken away. But by the time he or she has checked the hall closet, the kitchen pantry, the linen closet, and one or two bedroom closets, he or she may just get sloppy and forget about the spare-room closet. The "spare-room closet" option is usually likely to be less uncomfortable than the "under the bed" one, but that depends on how much stuff has been dumped in the closet for want of a better place to dump it. It could be kind of cramped in there. On the plus side, that could make it easier for Glenn G to camouflage himself if he hears searchers approaching.

Also, it could get pretty stuffy in there. Still, we've already established that these old tricks are for short-term hiding only.

3. In the basement (or attic). If you own a house, you're almost certain to have one or the other, a basement or an attic, and quite possibly both. The actual methodology of the hide will depend on your particular logistics, and security again isn't perfect, because most self-respecting searchers are likely to think of checking the basement and/or attic. It would help if either: (a) the basement and/or attic has a secret, hard-to-detect accessway, or (b) there's a good available hiding place inside the basement or attic. One advantage of this strategy is that it's easier to provision Glenn G with water and food and suchlike than it would be in the "under the bed" or "in the spare-room closet" scenarios. Also, you may have some interesting or at least entertaining games or crafts projects there which he could use to help pass the waiting time. Be sure to caution him to do so quietly, however. Yes, the Magic 8 Ball can be hilarious, but if he's laughing himself silly, the chances of his being caught are considerable.

Obviously if you live in an apartment rather than a house, the basement and/or attic option is less likely to be available to you. Some apartment dwellers do have basement storage facilities, however. And while many of the "in the spare-room closet" objections may apply equally well to the "in the basement storage facility" sub-option, the latter has the advantage that not all searchers may think to ask whether there's a basement storage facility. Also, if the apartment is a coop or condominium, the coop or condo may have rules governing outside searchers -- e.g., limiting the days and/or hours when searches may take place, the number of people who may participate in the search, the length of time the searchers are allowed to search, etc. You may want to check with your coop or condo board. What have you accomplished if you successfully hide Glenn G but get yourself in hot water with the coop or condo board?

4. In the back-yard shed or bomb shelter. Okay, this is kind of similar to "In the basement (or attic)," except it's outside the house, which has obvious pluses and minuses. A possible additional plus is that there may already be provisions of sorts there which could be helpful to Glenn G during the hide, especially if it's in a bomb shelter. Though if you haven't checked on the bomb-shelter provisions in the last five or ten years, this may not be all that wonderful an advantage. And again, not likely to be of use to apartment residents, though you might want to consider --

5. In a neighbor's apartment. Preferably someone you know. If you were to knock on the door of a fellow resident you don't know well, or who you once accused of stealing your newspaper (even if you're still fairly sure he did it), it might be awkward if you were then to ask, "Do you have a place where we could hide Glenn Greenwald?" Probably you should at least introduce him first. But by the time you say, "Howdy, neighbor, this here is Glenn Greenwald, and I'm wondering if we could impose on you to find someplace to hide him (no, don't ask!), and by the way I was only asking if you happened to have any idea what could have happened to my newspaper -- well, by the time you get all that out, the people who are looking for Glenn G could well be standing right behind you. (No, don't look! Jeez! Play it cool. Act as if nothing unusual is happening.)

6. In your bank's vault. Naturally this assumes you have access to your bank's vault, like maybe through a cousin who's a deputy branch manage or something (I can't work out all the details). And if we go by movies and TV, the history of hiding stuff in bank vaults isn't all that encouraging -- sometimes not even bank funds. And you remember what happened to Burgess Meredith in that classic Twilight Zone.

Oh wait, Burgess was saved from the nuclear holocaust by eating his lunch there! So maybe this would be a good hiding place for Glenn G. Of course, look what happened to him (Burgess, that is) afterwards, breaking his glasses and all. If Glenn G wears glasses (again, I can't be expected to have command of all these details), make sure he has a spare pair. If he doesn't have a spare pair, maybe there's one of those places nearby whcich does glasses in an hour? Assuming you have an extra hour, this might be a good investment of time.


The bank vault saved Henry Bemis, didn't it?
Now if only he'd had a spare pair of specs.

After all, who can't use a spare pair of glasses? Your mother probably told you this. Isn't it time to acknowledge that you really should have listened to your mother occasionally? But this takes us into an issue that isn't strictly on-topic.

7. At your nearest public library. You could, you know, fix Glenn G up with a newspaper, and he could pretend to be reading for hours on end, like until the place closes. I can see only two problems: (1) The library does close, eventually. (2) It's possible that one of the Searchers may need to use a computer, like to check in with the Big Guy (I'm just guessing about the Big Guy; remember, I have no idea who's behind the Hunt for Glenn Greenwald), and isn't that why most people go to pubic libraries these days, to use a computer? Maybe if Glenn G were wearing a hat he would be harder to spot in the library? Of course the hat could make him kind of conspicuous. Could he make himself look like a scruffy homeless-type guy? People in the library usually steer clear of them.

OKAY, I'M JUST ABOUT OUT OF IDEAS, BUT --

I do have one last thought:

8. In plain sight. This is kind of high-concept, but look how many years Glenn G was right out there in public and nobody paid any attention to him! And when they paid no attention to him, it was pretty much as if he didn't exist! In my book, this strategy -- hiding Glenn G in plain sight -- is a proven winner.
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Crucial Primary In Hawaii-- August 9

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Down in every poll, unable to get even a single woman senator to endorse her rotgut campaign against progressive Senator Brian Schatz, corrupt New Dem Colleen Hanabusa is eager to talk about anything other than her record in Congress because her record is so awful. She's talks more about what she did in the state Senate than about doing anything in Congress. That's because she hasn't done anything in Congress-- at least not for her constituents. Although she's always at the front of the line when corporate lobbyists are handing out their greasy checks, she's a quintessential backbencher. Hanabusa has passed exactly one bill since being elected to Congress-- naming a post office after former Rep. Cec Heftel-- and she has never introduced legislation on Social Security, college affordability, gun control, or clean energy.

Since she has no record of her own to talk about, the last debate saw her accusing Senator Schatz of inflating his record regarding his work on the tourism subcommittee, but when she was confronted by the facts of her own misstatements by Hawaii News Now, her own campaign chair admitted she spoke without knowing the facts. Which is, after all, a hallmark of Colleen Hanabusa's career.

Since absentee ballots were mailed out to 100,000 voters in Hawaii over the weekend, we thought we'd offer a look back over the Hanabusa campaign through the DWT coverage that started last April when Beltway anti-progressive operation EMILY's List recruited her to run against Schatz.
Hanabusa, an opportunist burning with ambition, was first elected to the House in 2010. She joined the conservative, Big Business-aligned New Dems and ran up a mediocre record as a backbencher with little to no influence. Rather than follow the trail being blazed by fellow congresswoman Mazie Hirono, a progressive champion, Hanabusa stuck to a path to nowhere started by much-disliked right-wing former Democratic Congressman Ed Case. Yesterday she announced she will give up her House seat to run for Brian Schatz's seat in the Senate.
Hanabusa had been considering primary challenges to either Schatz or Abercrombie. A source close to her campaign said Monday that Hanabusa had decided on a Senate campaign and was informing close allies.

A primary between Schatz, 40, and Hanabusa, 61, would evoke generational as well as political fault lines within the Democratic Party. Schatz, a progressive, has the potential to build seniority in the Senate over a generation. Hanabusa, a more traditional liberal, will contend that her experience prepares her to have an immediate impact.
By "traditional liberal," they mean corrupt conservative. The only mark Hanabusa has made in Congress, other than being a lap dog for K Street and a predictable New Dem, was pioneering a way around ethics rules to make money personally from her campaign. Hanabusa "collected significant amounts of money in interest from personal loans she made to her campaign. In addition, her campaign reimbursed her husband thousands of dollars in expenses."
Hawaii's primary is August 9. These posts should give you the ammunition you need to talking about this race with friends, co-workers, neighbors and relatives about why Hanabusa is a terrible choice for Hawaii and for the U.S. Senate and why every single U.S.senator who has decided to endorse has endorsed Brian Schatz, despite intense pressure from EMILY's List and from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, and why President Obama is urging voters in Hawaii to reelect Schatz.
Hanabusa's disgraceful vote against the privacy protection Schatz and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are fighting for.

Hanabusa's political cowardice on LGBT equality Why GOP warmongers and deep-pocketed defense contractors and arms manufacturers are backing Hanabusa

Hanabusa's second thoughts on giving up her safe House seat for the Senate run she realized she would probably lose

Hanabusa constituents petitioning her to resign from the corrupt conservative New Dems and work for Hawaii's ordinary working families instead

Which candidate has a better record on Choice and on women's issues?

Hanabusa's criminal activities on behalf of the corrupt drug lobbyists

The two wings of the Democratic Party-- Hanabusa and the Republican wing and Schatz and the progressive wing

A look at the shady Beltway insiders who are pushing-- and financing-- Hanabusa's run

Why feminists are abandoning Hanabusa and backing Schatz-- it's all in their records

Schatz/Hanabusa-- compare and contrast: the records

PCCC endorses Schatz

Hanabusa on the wrong side of the battle for raising the minimum wage and how she worked with Republicans and against workers to lower the increase


Why President Obama endorsed Brian Schatz and not Colleen Hanabusa

Hanabusa's bipartisanship means plotting with GOP warmongers and arms manufacturers

The difference between bipartisanship and selling out

Why progressive icon Elizabeth Warren ignored EMILY's List and endorsed Brian Schatz over Hanabusa

How her record on pollution is hurting Hanabus'a chances against environmental champion Brian Schatz

How voting records count in elections between incumbents and why voters are aghast at Hanabusa's

Hanabusa refuses to tell Ben Cayetano that anti-Semitism has no place in Hawaii politics

How her corporate-backed "free" trade agenda hurts Hawaii-- and her own campaign

Hanabusa's less than stellar record on protecting Social Security
It's still not too late to help persuade people you know how important this race is and how much better Schatz is than Hanabusa. And it's not too late to contribute to Schatz's get out the vote efforts. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) explains the difference between the two wings of the Democratic Party:


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