Friday, October 21, 2016

Music for the Electorate

Voters who say they’ll back Donald Trump are more likely to be fans of Garth Brooks, Van Halen and Slayer, while Hillary Clinton voters listen to Beyonce, Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers, according to a survey by research firm Audiokite.  Would-be Clinton voters are two times more likely to prefer jazz and three times more likely to prefer folk music. Trump supporters, meanwhile, are more than twice as likely to prefer country and metal.  FORBES

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Words, words, words...

And the winner of the third debate was...

Photo: Jim Greenhill
Did you watch? I wasn't planning to but turned it on at the last minute and sat through the whole thing. My overriding thought on the matter? That out of 318 million people it comes down to these two Asshats is really sad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Long Arm of the Clintons

Ecuador's government acknowledged on Tuesday that it cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's internet access at its embassy in London after the whistleblowing site published a trove of damaging emails from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The recognition of the reprimand comes less than 24 hours after WikiLeaks tweeted that Ecuador had cut off Assange's access to the Internet on Saturday after the publication of Clinton's speeches to Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs.

In follow-up messages posted Tuesday, the group claimed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had personally intervened to ask Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing documents about Clinton.  

Associated Press

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Missileers for Clinton?

Who do you think is more likely to get us into war? Clinton or Trump?

By the way, I know lots of missileers and this guy's in the minority among them. In fact, none of the missileers current and former that I know are fans of Clinton, including the Democrat that voted for Obama.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Jill and the Greens

Photo: Gage Skidmore
In 1998 Democrat Jill Stein campaigned for the Massachusetts Clean Election Law.  The law was approved by 67% of the voters was repealed by the Democratic Massachusetts legislature in 2003 and Jill Stein left the party to join the Greens.

Who are the Greens?  Here a few key points from their platform

End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies.  End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.

Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Government would be the employer of last resort, and the unemployed would have an enforceable right to make government provide work. Create direct public employment, as the Works Progress Administration did,  in public services and public works for those who can't find private employment.

Establish an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health program to provide everyone with quality health care, at huge savings by eliminating the $400 billion annually spent on  the paperwork and bureaucracy of health insurance. No co-pays, premiums or deductibles. Access to all health care services, including mental health, dental, and vision. Include everyone, period. No restrictions based on pre-existing illness, employment, immigration status, age, or any other category.

Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.  Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude.

Set a $15/hour federal minimum wage, with indexing.

Demilitarize border crossings throughout North America.  

Demilitarize the police: End training from Israeli Defense Forces on occupation-style policing; End 1033-style programs that transfer military equipment to civilian law enforcement and incentivize police departments to return military-grade weapons to federal government. End use of SWAT teams and no-knock raids for drug offenses and serving papers.

Terminate unconstitutional surveillance and unwarranted spying, close Guantanamo, and repeal indefinite detention without charge or trial. Repeal the unconstitutional provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that give the president the power to indefinitely imprison and even assassinate American citizens without due process.

Cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases. Ensure a just transition that replaces reductions in  military jobs with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development. End the destructive US economic and military intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations. Such intervention serve the interests of multinational corporations and  global capitalism over the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of those nations. 

Protect voters’ rights by enforcing and expanding the constitutional right to vote (including a new amendment if necessary). Enact the full Voter's Bill of Rights guaranteeing each person's right to vote, the right to have our votes counted on hand-marked paper ballots, and the right to vote within systems that give each vote meaning. Make voter registration the responsibility of government, not a voluntary opt-in for citizens.

Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means nationalizing the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and placing them under a Federal Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.   Prohibit private banks from creating money, thus restoring government's Constitutional authority.   

Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.  Use Department of Housing and Urban Development authority to grant or withhold funds in order to encourage state and local governments to take positive steps to desegregate housing, including ending zoning laws that effectively prohibit multi-family housing, prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers, increasing Section 8 voucher amounts so that poor people can move into middle income neighborhoods, prohibiting the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits to increase low income housing in already segregated neighborhoods, and building new public housing in middle income communities that is high quality and mixed income.

This is nowhere near the full platform, I've picked on or two statements from each section to present here.  Click on the "Platform" link to read the full document. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Open Thread

It's a free for all...
What's on your mind?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Nobel Prize for Literature

Goes to Bob Dylan...

Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good
They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home
Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they'll stone ya when you're walkin' 'long the street
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to keep your seat
They'll stone ya when you're walkin' on the floor
They'll stone ya when you're walkin' to the door
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

They'll stone ya when you're at the breakfast table
They'll stone ya when you are young and able
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to make a buck
They'll stone ya and then they'll say "good luck"
Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, They'll stone you and say that it's the end
Then they'll stone you and then they'll come back again
They'll stone you when you're riding in your car
They'll stone you when you're playing your guitar
Yes, but I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they'll stone you when you walk all alone
They'll stone you when you are walking home
They'll stone you and then say you are brave
They'll stone you when you are set down in your grave
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

Bit of a stretch if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong, I like Bob Dylan and his music... but it's not literature, it's even a bit of a stretch to call it good poetry.  Now the song above is certainly not his poetic best... I included it because I heard it on the radio on the way home today and that in conjunction with the memory of him winning the Nobel Prize for Literature actually made me laugh. We'll take a look at what many consider his more poetic works.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Here's one of my favorites

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin'
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'
I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what'll you do now my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singing
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

So what do you think? Is the prize warranted?  Probably more so than Obama's 2009 Peace Prize.

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child's balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon, there is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool's gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Temptation's page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you'd just be one more person crying

So don't fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It's alright, Ma, I'm only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all, except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred

Our preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An' all the rules of the road have been lodged
It's only people's games that you got to dodge
And it's alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on all around you

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it that you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Do what they do just to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize and say, "God bless him"

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole that he's in

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it's alright, Ma, if I can't please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn't talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer's pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death's honesty
Won't fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False goals, I scuff at pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say, "Okay, I have had enough, what else can you show me?"

And if my thought dreams could be seen
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only

What are your favorite Dylan "poems"?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Double Standards

NBC releases the Trump tapes, tapes that they have had for 11 years. TMZ is reporting that NBC execs knew about the tapes well in advance of the five days they claim and didn't want to release it too early in the election. The plan was to release it two days before the debate but that plan was thwarted by Hurricane Matthew. Hence the leak to the Washington Post. 

Julian Assange releases hacked Clinton campaign emails and they are "a propaganda arm of the Kremlin".  Does that make NBC a propaganda arm of the Clinton campaign?