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Mira's Journal
Mira's Journal
April 29, 2016

Moving right along with Ted and Carly ....

Or with "Mean and Meaner", as Barbara Boxer called them in a tweet

April 29, 2016

Looking for something to laugh at -- found it

I have no explanation, except that I was in the right place at an interesting time.

April 25, 2016

Koch Brothers Consider Purchasing First Democrat - Andy Borowitz reports

WICHITA (The Borowitz Report)—Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists who have spent decades acquiring a world-class collection of Republicans, revealed over the weekend that they are considering purchasing their first Democrat.

“We’ve always bought Republicans, and our father bought Republicans before us,” Charles, the elder Koch, said. “They’re bred to be obedient, and they respond to simple commands.”

He said that he and his brother had considered acquiring a Democrat only after determining that none of the Republicans on offer this year was worth adding to their collection.
“It’s kind of a scary proposition for us, because we’ve never owned a Democrat before,” he said. “We don’t really know what we should be looking for.”

Koch said that he and his brother learned, after making some phone calls, that other oligarchs have bought Democrats in the past, and “had good experiences with them.”

“That was very reassuring,” he said.

But he bemoaned the absence of online consumer reviews that could help people who are, like him and his brother, interested in purchasing a Democrat for the very first time. “Yelp needs to jump on this,” he said.

While acknowledging the risk inherent in owning their first Democrat, Koch said that it would probably turn out to be a better investment than some of the Republicans they have recently purchased. “It can’t be worse than Scott Walker,” he said.

April 24, 2016

Honoring North Carolina. Showing you a little of what residents let me see today in my NC town

In my eclectic neighborhood in Winston-Salem there are old historic mansions restored, or not, but all of them are visions.
We also have normal houses (like mine) - some of them quite ordinary, others not. And interspersed are places you are glad not to live in.

The neighborhood association chose 8 houses and sold tickets for a tour. Carriage rides. Music and refreshments, and the glorious Southern Spring in full bloom.
My photos will give you but a small feel for what I saw walking by houses I usually drive by. Southern gracious hospitality was in force. I did not take but a few photos inside houses, though it was not forbidden.
On occasions as this, always carrying my camera as I have since “infancy”, I am always happy to know there is DU, and you my friends who will tolerate me getting excited and give me a spot to share it.

The first and last photographs do come from inside one house, where they live as small sculptures. If any of you have seen the movie: "La Cage aux Folles" - or the remake "The Birdcage"
that's the first unapologetic house I've seen along that vein and they did not re-decorate for the visiting hordes, which just make me extra proud.
North Carolina will bounce back from this intolerable calamity.

April 22, 2016

Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’ Commenters on Reddit and Facebook

Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’ Commenters on Reddit and Facebook

FEC loopholes mean Correct the Record can openly coordinate with Clinton’s campaign.
Citing “lessons learned from online engagement with ‘Bernie Bros,’” a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC is pledging to spend $1 million to “push back against” users on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram.

Correct the Record’s “Barrier Breakers” project boasts in a press release that it has already “addressed more than 5,000 people that have personally attacked Hillary Clinton on Twitter.” The PAC released this on Thursday.

The PAC was created in May of last year when it was spun off from the American Bridge SuperPAC, which is run by longtime Hillary and Bill Clinton supporter David Brock. Brock also founded the left-wing media watchdog website Media Matters for America.

Some Bernie Sanders-supporting users on Reddit already started to notice the changes on Thursday afternoon.
“This explains why my inbox turned to cancer on Tuesday,” wrote user OKarizee. “Been a member of reddit for almost 4 years and never experienced anything like it. In fact, in all my years on the internet I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

Correct the Record, which has received $5 million this campaign season and has spent almost $4.5 million of it, according to OpenSecrets.org, outlined its strategy against “swarms of anonymous attackers” in a press release.

“While Hillary Clinton fights to break down barriers and bring America together, the Barrier Breakers 2016 digital task force will serve as a resource for supporters looking for positive content and push-back to share with their online progressive communities, as well as thanking prominent supporters and committed superdelegates on social media,” the statement read.

Due to FEC loopholes, the Sunlight Foundation’s Libby Watson found this year that Correct the Record can openly coordinate with Clinton’s campaign, despite rules that typically disallow political campaigns from working directly with PACs.

“SuperPACs aren’t supposed to coordinate with candidates. The whole reasoning behind (Supreme Court decision) Citizens United rests on (PACs) being independent, but Correct the Record claims it can coordinate,” Watson told The Daily Beast. “It’s not totally clear what their reasoning is, but it seems to be that material posted on the Internet for free—like, blogs—doesn’t count as an ‘independent expenditure.’”

Watson previously worked at Brock’s Media Matters for America, where “their whole mission is to debunk conservative misinformation [and] a lot of that ends up being defending Hillary Clinton,” but says she’s never seen anything like this initiative.

“Usually places like MMFA and CTR are defending her against the media and established figures. This seems to be going after essentially random individuals online,” she said. “I don’t know that they’ve done anything like this before.”

Campaign Legal Center lawyer Paul Ryan (who bears no relation to the Speaker of the House) told Time magazine in September of last year that Correct The Record is “creating new ways to undermine campaign regulation.” Watson used Ryan’s complaint in the Sunlight Foundation’s report about the most influential organizations working behind the scenes for the Clinton camp.

“Campaign finance lawyers are not that impressed with [CTR’s] logic, but they can get away with it because the [Federal Election Commission] is deadlocked and does nothing,” she said.

“Barrier Breakers 2016 is focused on pushing out positive content to Hillary supporters online to counter negative attacks and false narratives,” Correct the Record’s communications director, Elizabeth Shappell, told The Daily Beast. “The expanded task force was established in anticipation of the general election.”

April 21, 2016

Team Clinton to Sanders: It's over

The thing these people fail to understand is that every cheat, every lie, and this kind of propaganda DON'T demoralize Sanders voters – it fuels them forward. This is more of the same crap that they're railing against in the first place. The revolution is on. There's no going back.

NEW YORK — After Hillary Clinton picked up a decisive win in New York's presidential primary on Tuesday evening, her allies were quick to send a message to rival Bernie Sanders: It’s over.

They say the win puts Clinton in the homestretch and well on her way to clinching the Democratic nomination, leaving no path for Sanders.

“The voters have spoken,” said Eric Jotkoff, a Democratic consultant who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “Now that it is basically mathematically impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, it is time for our party to come together in support of Hillary Clinton.”


“My hope is that after New York it becomes clear to everyone that Secretary Clinton will be the nominee,” he continued.

On the heels of Clinton’s win in the Empire State, Bradley Bannon, a Democratic strategist, said Sanders has moved from “implausible to impossible” territory for winning the nomination.

“His campaign is starting to remind me of a big Hollywood disaster movie where you’re expected to ignore reality and suspend disbelief,” Bannon said. “At some point, you can’t suspend disbelief anymore.”

On CNN, Van Jones, a Democrat who worked for President Obama, declared that the Vermont senator’s political revolution was over.

In the lead-up to Tuesday’s contest, Clinton’s campaign aides maintained that the contentious and increasingly bitter primary battle was exactly what they thought it would be.

They say they expected the Democratic debate in Brooklyn last week to be scrappy, and they knew their opponent would draw large crowds, as he did in Washington Square Park and Prospect Park. And they knew Sanders would sharpen his attacks.

But at the same time, Team Clinton knew it had to protect its advantage in the state, and their candidate campaigned hard because, as one aide put it earlier in the week, “I don’t think it’s going to be a blowout.”

Still, the Democratic front-runner, surrounded by many members of her former Senate staff, spent the bulk of her time in New York City and its five boroughs, where she played dominos, drank bubble tea and popped by an Irish bar.

Those close to her say she had fun getting reacquainted with her former constituents all over the state. Meanwhile her husband, former President Bill Clinton, largely campaigned upstate, where he appeared at several events each day.

Critics, including some Democrats, have argued that Sanders had momentum on his side, causing Clinton to fight for a state she represented for eight years in the Senate.

On Tuesday night, before a large, raucous crowd, Clinton emerged to Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” alongside Bill Clinton, her daughter, Chelsea, and son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky.

“New Yorkers, you’ve always had my back, and I’ve always tried to have yours,” she said.

And in a lengthy speech, she moved quickly to appeal to Sanders supporters who have threatened to stay home in the general election.

“I believe there’s much more that unites us than divides us,” she said.

Going forward, aides say they still expect Sanders to keep the pressure on Clinton. One aide predicted he might win an upcoming contest or two and compete all the way until June, just as Clinton did in 2008.

One aide said Clinton will take on the general while continuing to compete in the primary, where upcoming states including Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland vote next week.


April 21, 2016

Yes, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat and Hillary represents the very worst of the party/SALON

Sanders has exposed just how reactionary and corrupt the Democratic Party is—while Clinton wants things to carry on

A new strategy has emerged in the Hillary Clinton camp: No longer even try to match Bernie Sanders’ left-wing politics — which the Wall Street-backed multimillionaire war hawk Clinton is fundamentally incapable of doing. Instead, appeal to authority and accuse the democratic socialist of disloyalty to the corrupt Democratic Party.

Clinton’s campaign did just that this week, condemning Sanders for “trying to convince the next generation of progressives that the Democratic Party is corrupt.”
The notion that Sanders had to try to convince progressives of this in the first place is ludicrous. The warmongering, corporate-funded, pro-privatization Democratic Party leadership has long made it loud and clear that it is thoroughly corrupt and reactionary.
Yet Clinton and her supporters happen to be correct about one thing; they are just right for the wrong reasons.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. And this is a good thing.

What the Clinton camp appears to be incapable of understanding is that the Democratic Party is less and less popular among progressive Americans.

Since the rise of the Clintonian “New Democrat” almost three decades ago, the party has moved so far to the right it has little in common with the base it purports to represent.

President Obama campaigned on the promise of change, but, in many ways, his presidency — particularly in the first term — was George W. Bush lite.

The Obama administration barely even slapped the banks and financial elites responsible for the Great Recession on the wrist. Not a single Wall Street executive went to jail while, today, the very banks responsible pose just as much of a systemic risk as they did in 2008.

The Obama administration killed thousands of people, including an unknown number of civilians, with its secretive drone war. It expanded the war in Afghanistan — twice — dragged its feet on Guantánamo, backed a right-wing military coup that overthrew Honduras’ democratically elected left-wing government and dropped 23,400 bombs on six Muslim-majority countries in 2015.

The Obama administration waged a McCarthyite crackdown on whistleblowers, using the World War I-era Espionage Act to clampdown on more than all previous presidential administrations combined, while drastically expanding the surveillance state.

This is the Democratic Party Americans have grown up with in the past nearly 30 years, since the rise of the Clintonism. And, in these same decades, wages have stagnated, poverty has increased and people have become more and more dissatisfied with the way things are.

It is true that Sanders’ social democratic politics are similar to those of New Deal Democrats. He often jokes that many of his policies were supported by President Dwight Eisenhower — a Republican in the 1950s.

Yet the Democratic Party of the mid-20th century is long gone.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has drifted more and more to the right — and taken much of the international community with it. During the Cold War, Western capitalist countries had to at least pretend to be concerned with fighting inequality and systemic discrimination. Today they no longer have to compete with an alternative.

As the Republican Party has shifted to the extreme, far-right, the Democratic Party moved along to the right with it. Instead of holding ground (shifting to the left was not even on the table), the Democratic Party embraced neoliberalism.

The so-called “Third Way” paved by the Clintons is just another word for this process.

Hillary Clinton, a figure greatly admired by neoconservatives (who are overwhelmingly backing her over Trump), represents a continuation of this status quo — a status quo millions upon millions of Americans have said they refuse to tolerate anymore.

Americans are desperate for actual change, and Sanders has offered a new path. Clinton has flatly insisted that Americans cannot have basic things that much of the world takes for granted — single-payer health care, free public higher education, environmental policies that don’t rely on fossil fuel corporations that destroy the planet. Sanders says otherwise.

The Democratic Party is a party of corporate influence and military power. It is chock-full of 1 percenters, with leaders like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who shuts down public schools en masse and covers up police killings of unarmed black residents — or Debbie Wasserman Schultz — who is working to help loan sharks.

Many of the things that have been called for by Donald Trump, a fascistic demagogue, have already been implemented by the Democratic Party.

And he is right.

When it comes to third parties, the U.S. is an incredibly undemocratic country. Most of the world’s democracies have some kind of space for non-hegemonic parties. And in much of Europe in particular, where governments are based on parliamentary systems, third parties can play at least a small role in the political system.

This is not so in the U.S., where there are countless obstacles to democracy in U.S. elections — with limited debates, closed primaries, unelected superdelegates and of course the electoral college.

The fact that a 74-year-old, bald and frankly unattractive man, a Vermont senator with a Brooklyn accent whom most Americans had never heard of until this year, has been doing so incredibly well is a testament to just how popular — and one might even say correct — his socialist ideas are.

What we are witnessing right now is the resurgence of a new left throughout the U.S. — and throughout the world. Sanders is part of this much larger international trend, with figures like Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K., or Podemos in Spain.

And Sanders is aware of this. When he says “Not me, us,” he is acknowledging that the social movements around him are much more important than he is as a mere individual. The fact that he has responded to pressure from Black Lives Matter and the Palestinian solidarity movement demonstrates this.

Those like Hillary Clinton, who are desperate to cling on to the old vestiges of establishment power, are not part of this new left-wing resurgence; they are in fact impediments to it.

Even if Sanders does not win the primary, one of his many important accomplishments will be helping to expose to millions upon millions of Americans just how reactionary and corrupt the Democratic Party is.

He should be thanked for this, not condemned.

link: Ben Norton / Salon


April 20, 2016

Nation’s Racists Suddenly Warming Up to New York comments Andy Borowitz

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—America’s racists, who have long viewed New York with a mixture of hostility, contempt, and fear, are suddenly feeling much more positive about the Empire State, a cross-section of racists confirmed on Tuesday night.

In interviews conducted shortly after 9 P.M., racists from coast to coast echoed the opinion of Fresno, California, bigot Harland Dorrinson, who remarked, “You know, maybe New York isn’t such a bad place after all.”

“I always thought that New York seemed like a hellhole to be avoided at all costs,” Dorrinson said. “Now I’m thinking I might want to take the family there on vacation. Maybe even take in a few Broadway shows.”
Like Dorrinson, Carol Foyler, a racist from Chattanooga, Tennessee, said her views about New York have suddenly improved. “The way the media portrays New York is totally unfair and biased,” she said. “Until tonight I never would have known there were so many good people there.”

Foyler also said she was now eager to visit the Empire State. “Speaking as a racist, I never thought I’d say this, but I think I would feel right at home in New York,” she said.

Improving attitudes about New York were not limited to racists, however, as interviews on Tuesday night revealed a sudden warming toward the state among misogynists, xenophobes, and people who enjoy sucker-punching others in the face.


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