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markpkessinger

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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 6,424

Journal Archives

NYT/Charles Blow: Activists Confront Hillary Clinton

Activists Confront Hillary Clinton
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The activists called on Clinton to answer for her and her husband’s part in the rise of mass incarceration in this country, a phenomenon that disproportionately affects black and brown people.

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Clinton pointed to her record on civil rights work, but she never apologized for, or even acknowledged, her and her husband’s role in giving America the dubious distinction of having the world’s highest incarceration rate.

< . . . >

Maggie Haberman noted in The New York Times that the exchange “showed Mrs. Clinton as even her admirers lament that she is seldom seen: spontaneous, impassioned and seemingly unconcerned about potential repercussions.”

Politically, that may be true. She was agile and evasive, for sure. She bobbed and weaved like Floyd Mayweather. But there was a moral issue, an accountability issue, that still hung rotting in the ring: What in her has changed, now that she has seen the devastation a policy she advocated has wrought?

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Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Aug 19, 2015, 09:41 PM (5 replies)

Comparisons between Sanders' and Clinton's interactions with BLM activists are dishonest

(Note: Originally posted in GD, where it got locked, with a note suggesting I post it here instead.)

Those who are quick to compare Mrs. Clinton's interaction with BLM activists to that of Bernie Sanders should remember this: BLM extended to Hillary Clinton the courtesy of confronting her in a pre-arranged meeting that had been set up specifically for this purpose. BLM confronted Bernie Sanders at an event that wasn't even a Sanders campaign event, but a Social Security rally at which he had been invited to speak. Senator Sanders likely felt -- and would have been right to feel -- that a non-campaign appearance was neither the time nor the place to entertain the discussion. Any comparison of the two encounters is dishonest at best.
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Aug 19, 2015, 06:48 PM (65 replies)

Comparisons between Sanders' and Clinton's interactions with BLM activists are dishonest

Those who are quick to compare Mrs. Clinton's interaction with BLM activists to that of Bernie Sanders should remember this: BLM extended to Hillary Clinton the courtesy of confronting her in a pre-arranged meeting that had been set up specifically for this purpose. BLM confronted Bernie Sanders at an event that wasn't even a Sanders campaign event, but a Social Security rally at which he had been invited to speak. Senator Sanders likely felt -- and would have been right to feel -- that a non-campaign appearance was neither the time nor the place to entertain the discussion. Any comparison of the two encounters is dishonest at best.
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Aug 19, 2015, 04:35 PM (15 replies)

Time to put to rest the notion that Glass-Steagall wouldn't have helped in the 2008 collapse

Posted this in GD, and thought the group might be interested: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027086008
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Aug 17, 2015, 04:44 PM (1 replies)

Time to put to rest the notion that Glass-Steagall wouldn't have helped in the 2008 collapse

There is a thoroughly dishonest argument being proffered by those who wish to minimize the significance of Bernie Sanders' call to restore Glass-Steagall (who also happen to be the folks who are interested in defending the disastrous legislation signed into law by the spouse of their preferred candidate), that says, in effect, that Glass-Steagall wouldn't have helped anything in the 2008 financial collapse, because the problems originated in investment banks, not commercial banks.

The firewall between investment and commercial banking that was created by Glass-Steagall was a two-way barrier. Not only did it prevent commercial banks from undertaking investment banking activities, it also prevented investment banks from engaging in activities that were considered primarily the purview of commercial banks. One of the things that precluded was investment banks getting involved in mortgages. When Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which repealed Glass-Steagall, was enacted, investment banks were now free to buy up mortgages issued by commercial banks, bundle them together into a single investment vehicle, shares of which were then sold to investors. These were what we now call 'securitized mortgages,' or mortgage]backed securities. As these became more and more popular, investment banks began buying up mortgages like hotcakes from mortgage issuers (i.e., commercial banks). Before long, commercial banks realized they could make money simply by issuing mortgages they knew would be bought up by investment banks within a few years of being issued. There was no longer any incentive for a bank to perform adequate due diligence in issuing mortgages, because the bank knew it wasn't actually undertaking the risk of those mortgages. Combined with the quick and easy profit from selling these mortgages -- many of which should never have been issued -- this became a perverse incentive (which was further enabled and abetted by the rating agencies who gave these mortgage backed securities top ratings, despite the fact that many consisted of far too many bad loans).

These instruments were a MAJOR factor in the 2008 meltdown, and they wouldn't have existed had Glass-Steagall not been repealed!
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Aug 17, 2015, 04:38 PM (78 replies)

Best explanation I've seen yet about why "All Lives Matter" is an inappropriate rejoinder...

... to "Black Lives Matter.

A friend of mine who is an Episcopal priest posted this on Facebook. It is far and away the best explanation I've seen to date as to why the rejoinder "All live matter," in response to the statement that "Black Lives Matter," is so utterly offensive and inappropriate. Had to share it here:

A friend posted this and to the post someone replied (you know what's coming): "ALL lives matter." I replied to that comment:

"All lives matter" is a retort that dilutes and even negates the assertion that "black lives matter." When Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor," do we reply "No, Jesus, blessed is everybody in every economic class"? When the Buddha says, "The enlightened one must delight in the forest," do we reply "No, Siddhartha, delight in the desert and the meadow, too"? Of course not, because we realize that specificity has a point; the specificity does not negate the general or the other, but it highlights the particular. "Black lives matter" highlights that, for many, black lives do NOT matter; offering "all lives matter" as a response invalidates that specific and particular realization. Of course, all lives matter, but in the contemporary social circumstance specifically noting that black lives matter has particular currency and validity.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Aug 16, 2015, 02:06 AM (30 replies)

Another week, another patronizing NY Times article on Bernie's candidacy

There is an article in today's New York Times tiled, Bernie Sanders, an Outlier? The Senator Begs to Differ. It is yet another in a series of pieces in the Times that, while not being overtly negative, nevertheless have carried an unmistakable air of condescension about them. Here are two comments I posted to the article (with the article linked and excerpted after the comments):

Mark Kessinger
49 minutes ago

These patronizing pieces about Bernie Sanders and his candidacy have become really tiresome. Senator Sanders is speaking to issues voters care about, and is doing so in a way that is finding powerful resonance with voters across the political spectrum. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, continues to dodge difficult questions.


And the second comment:

Mark Kessinger
42 minutes ago

The article quotes Senator Warner: "You always know where he stands,”

Yes, I DO know where Bernie Sanders stands. With Hillary Clinton, I know where she stands . . . this week.


Bernie Sanders, an Outlier? The Senator Begs to Differ
By JASON HOROWITZ AUG. 14, 2015

WASHINGTON — One recent afternoon, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont gave another of the populist speeches that have drawn the largest crowds of the 2016 campaign to his rallies around the country and made him the unexpected rival to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The role of “super PACs” is “corrupt and amounts to legalized bribery,” he bellowed. Waving his arms at his sides, he quoted Abraham Lincoln and shared his own “vision for the future of this country.”

On the campaign trail, the speech would have elicited wild enthusiasm from his liberal supporters. But this was the Senate, which was virtually empty except for Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who was busy editing her own speech, and Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who was texting.

“You come here, it’s like, ‘O.K., not much response,’ ” Mr. Sanders said with some resignation in his Senate office last week.

< . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Aug 14, 2015, 04:43 PM (7 replies)

NYT: President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

A commendable letter by the President, in response to a fine article published last week about the history of efforts by the GOP to roll back the Voting Rights Act.

President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

I was inspired to read about unsung American heroes like Rosanell Eaton in Jim Rutenberg’s ‘‘A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.’’

‘‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union. ...’’ It’s a cruel irony that the words that set our democracy in motion were used as part of the so-called literacy test designed to deny Rosanell and so many other African-Americans the right to vote. Yet more than 70 years ago, as she defiantly delivered the Preamble to our Constitution, Rosanell also reaffirmed its fundamental truth. What makes our country great is not that we are perfect, but that with time, courage and effort, we can become more perfect. What makes America special is our capacity to change.

< . . . . >

But as Rutenberg chronicles, from the moment the ink was dry on the Voting Rights Act, there has been a concentrated effort to undermine this historic law and turn back the clock on its progress. His article puts the recent push to restrict Americans’ voting rights in its proper context. These efforts are not a sign that we have moved past the shameful history that led to the Voting Rights Act. Too often, they are rooted in that history. They remind us that progress does not come easy, but that it must be vigorously defended and built upon for ourselves and future generations.

I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality. Their efforts made our country a better place. It is now up to us to continue those efforts. Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act. Our state leaders and legislatures must make it easier — not harder — for more Americans to have their voices heard. Above all, we must exercise our right as citizens to vote, for the truth is that too often we disenfranchise ourselves.

< . . . . >

President Barack Obama, Washington
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Aug 12, 2015, 07:46 AM (1 replies)

NYT: Any Sexual Abuse by Guards May Violate Inmates’ Rights, Court Says

Wait . . . any malicious sexual conduct by guards against inmates MAY violate inmates' Constitutional rights???

Any Sexual Abuse by Guards May Violate Inmates’ Rights, Court Says

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD AUG. 11, 2015

Any malicious sexual contact by prison guards against inmates may amount to a constitutional violation, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday, noting how standards of decency have changed in the past two decades.

“Sexual abuse of prisoners, once passively accepted by society, deeply offends today’s standards of decency,” said Judge John M. Walker Jr., writing in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The decision allows a lawsuit filed by two former prisoners of a state prison in Napanoch, N.Y., to proceed, and reverses an earlier ruling by a district court judge, who dismissed the case because he said the men had failed to state a complaint properly.

At issue are events that occurred in 2011, when James Crawford, now 47, and Thaddeus Corley, now 31, were inmates at the Eastern Correctional Facility. Mr. Crawford had been convicted of robbery, and Mr. Corley of manslaughter. Both are now free on parole.

< . . . . >


Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Aug 12, 2015, 01:39 AM (17 replies)

NYT: After 2 Killers Fled, New York Prisoners Say, Beatings Were Next

Here is a comment I posted to this horrific article (an excerpt and link appear below my comment):

Mark Kessinger
32 minutes ago

Frankly, we have no right to be surprised by any of this. As a nation, we still refuse to hold to account those in the CIA, the military and the previous presidential administration who authorized and carried out torture in our name in the course of the war on terror Instead, we made excuses for something we had previously nearly universally held to be abhorrent and an affront to human decency, even ignoring something we had long known: i.e., that torture doesn't work. In refusing to come to terms with what was done, we virtually ensured that the practice of torture would be extended to other contexts -- always, of course, on the argument that THIS particular set of circumstances warrants an exception.

The acceptance of torture -- even in the wake of an event such as 9-11 -- is a cancer on the ethics and morality of our society as a whole.


And here is an excerpt of the article:

After 2 Killers Fled, New York Prisoners Say, Beatings Were Next
By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ and MICHAEL WINERIP AUG. 11, 2015

Night had fallen at the Clinton Correctional Facility in far northern New York when the prison guards came for Patrick Alexander. They handcuffed him and took him into a broom closet for questioning. Then, Mr. Alexander said in an interview last week, the beatings began.

As the three guards, who wore no name badges, punched him and slammed his head against the wall, he said they shouted questions: “Where are they going? What did you hear? How much are they paying you to keep your mouth shut?” One of the guards put a plastic bag over his head, Mr. Alexander said, and threatened to waterboard him.

< . . . . >

For days after the June prison break, corrections officers carried out what seemed like a campaign of retribution against dozens of Clinton inmates, particularly those on the honor block, an investigation by The New York Times found. In letters reviewed by The Times, as well as prison interviews, inmates described a strikingly similar catalog of abuses, including being beaten while handcuffed, choked and slammed against cell bars and walls.

They were also subjected to harsh policies ordered by the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision: Dozens of inmates, many of whom had won the right to live on the honor block after years of good behavior, were transferred out of Clinton to other prisons. Many were placed in solitary confinement, and stripped of privileges they had accrued over the years — even though no prisoners have yet been linked to Mr. Matt’s and Mr. Sweat’s actions.

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Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Aug 11, 2015, 10:46 PM (12 replies)
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