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Glenn Greenwald’s piece about Mike Pompeo’s threat to an open press and to a certain extent, the Internet is worth a read.   FYI, Bernie will be on Jake Tapper’s SOTU on Sunday, in what is billed an exclusive interview.    TGIF!

IN FEBRUARY, after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. media were the “enemy of the people,” the targets of his insult exploded with indignation, devoting wall-to-wall media coverage to what they depicted as a grave assault on press freedoms more befitting of a tyranny. By stark and disturbing contrast, the media reaction yesterday was far more muted, even welcoming, when Trump’s CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, actually and explicitly vowed to target freedoms of speech and press in a blistering, threatening speech he delivered to the D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

What made Pompeo’s overt threats of repression so palatable to many was that they were not directed at CNN, the New York Times or other beloved-in-D.C. outlets, but rather at WikiLeaks, more marginalized publishers of information, and various leakers and whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Trump’s CIA Director stood up in public and explicitly threatened to target free speech rights and press freedoms, and it was almost impossible to find even a single U.S. mainstream journalist expressing objections or alarm, because the targets Pompeo chose in this instance are ones they dislike – much the way that many are willing to overlook or even sanction free speech repression if the targeted ideas or speakers are sufficiently unpopular.

Decreeing (with no evidence) that WikiLeaks is “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”  a belief that has become gospel in establishment Democratic Party circles – Pompeo proclaimed that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” He also argued that while WikiLeaks “pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice,” but: “they may have believed that, but they are wrong.”

He then issued this remarkable threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.” At no point did Pompeo specify what steps the CIA intended to take to ensure that the “space” to publish secrets “ends now.”



Talk about stupid which this yahoo is.




But less than a year ago he was quite pleased with the DNC leaks.


Thanks humphrey–just back from five days in London.

Interesting bedfellows in this race–Podesta and Sanders


Our Revolution, a progressive group founded in the wake of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, has thrown its weight behind Tom Perriello in the Democratic primary for Virginia governor, the group’s president, Jeff Weaver, said on Friday.

He cited Perriello’s repeated promise that if elected he will make Virginia a “firewall” against President Donald Trump. “We must elect a bold progressive who can fight on behalf of middle-income and working families and against the Trump administration’s effort to turn hate into policy. That’s why we are honored to endorse Tom Perriello for governor of Virginia,” said Weaver, emphasizing the and in the statement sent to reporters to signal it was not enough for a candidate to simply share the right values. They must also be willing to stand up and fight Trump.

The implicit charge is that his opponent, Ralph Northam, a country doctor who has admitted to voting twice for George W. Bush, will not.

When Perriello jumped into the race late in the game, his bid was dismissed by most national and Virginia observers as quixotic. Northam is lieutenant governor and was backed in the race by Gov. Terry McAuliffe as well as much of the Democratic establishment. But as he has crisscrossed the state, he has steadily climbed in the polls, pulling even in the past few weeks, and this week posting a 5-point lead in a Quinnipiac survey. (Polling a primary is notoriously difficult, so no firm conclusions should be drawn from the numbers, but the direction of the polling has been markedly in Perriello’s favor.)

It wasn’t obvious that Sanders would go his way. Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta had earlier backed Perriello, scrambling the neat Clinton-Sanders divide that is often used to frame conversation about the Democratic electorate. What’s more, while Perriello was a diplomat during the presidential primary, and therefore not involved in electoral politics, he personally supported Clinton, making Sanders’ endorsement that much more noteworthy. Perriello has cast himself as not just the most populist and progressive candidate in the race, but one who can unite the party. The endorsements of Podesta, Sanders and Our Revolution will help him make that case.


Perriello has to win this race first. Then, his record will go public.


uniting the party? guess that depends on if he really does value Berniecrat positions.


London–sounds fun!


Great town…I’m so envious.


I was over at TOP today, visiting the Pootie community, which I really do like. I post in there on occasion as I enjoy the fellowship, which is truly exemplary in maintaining a pie-free environment. Someone reminded me of the Rules of the Road that were posted last year.

One of the links in the Rules was to the all time classic GBCW diary. I’m posting the link here as sometimes there are Dems that the diarist really was speaking to…other there.

I’m glad we don’t get into pie fights here. We slightly disagree at times, but overall, it’s easier to be a progressive at TPW.


Speaking of TOP, someone was promoting a recent Bernie TV podcast over there. The diary isn’t much, but it deserves some tips to keep the riff-raff from hijacking it.



I’d need a link before I start rummaging through that shit-hole.


Thanks, humphrey! I’ll likely be back tomorrow, if not sooner. :O)

Happy weekend, all!



Arkansas Judge Moves to Block Executions

A judge in Arkansas moved Friday to block the state from carrying out up to seven executions this month, deepening the turmoil that surrounds a planned pace of killing with no equal in the modern history of American capital punishment.

Judge Wendell Griffen of the Pulaski County Circuit Court issued a restraining order Friday that forbids the Arkansas authorities from using their supply of vecuronium bromide, one of three execution drugs the state planned to use. Hours earlier, the nation’s largest pharmaceutical company went to court to argue that the state had purchased the drug using a false pretense.

The judge scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning, about 14 hours after the state had intended to carry out its first execution since 2005. The Arkansas attorney general’s office said the state would appeal the judge’s ruling, which threatened to derail a plan that once called for eight executions over the course of 10 days.

Remarkable development.



T & R for the weekend thread Humphrey–THX 🙂


McCaskill Against Single Payer

At a townhall held yesterday, Senator Claire McCaskill said that she doesn’t support single payer.

This was the case with her opposition to a single-payer health care system, which she said would be too expensive and was not realistic. A single-payer system, in which a public entity manages health care as opposed to myriad private companies or public programs, became a talking point for progressives during the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The crowd, which had cheered the mention of single-payer, fell silent at her answer. But generally, McCaskill’s answers resonated with her audience, even on potentially divisive topics.

She indicated she would support a public option if there is only one insurance company to buy insurance from in order to have a choice of plans.

She also supported Trump’s recent tomahawk strikes on Syria.

McCaskill also said she supported Trump’s decision to fire missiles at Syria following a chemical attack that killed 89 people. U.S. officials have said they believe the strike was ordered by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, though Assad has said this is a “fabrication.”

However, McCaskill said she was concerned about whether Trump’s decision was part of a strategy or was a moment of impulsiveness, and she is still waiting to see Trump’s strategy to defeat ISIS. (She said she hadn’t been briefed on the more recent decision to aim a massive non-nuclear bomb at ISIS-held areas in Afghanistan, killing 36 Islamic State fighters.)

“Now, (Trump) says he wants to be unpredictable. I gotta tell you, unpredictability on a world stage is dangerous,” she told reporters afterward. “Our allies need to know where we stand. They need to know that we’ll stand with them. This changing (his) mind every day is about instability, and instability is where people like the leader of North Korea and Syria thrive.”

In fairness, she did say Citizens United was the worst corrupting decision in her lifetime.

You can see the entire TH video here. http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/14/mccaskill-opposes-single-payer-system-springfield-town-hall/100346878/


Bernie Might Still Win

Though Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton in last year’s primaries, he’s remained popular—thanks in part to the common belief among progressives that “Bernie would have won.” He’s moved from the political fringes to a leadership position among Senate Democrats and had success promoting progressive candidates. He’s held rallies, launched a podcast and a Facebook Live show, and generally remained in the public eye far more than most unsuccessful presidential candidates. Which is to say, he has real and substantive political clout these days.

This doesn’t mean that Sanders and his allies can take over the party, cautioned Heaney. The limits of Sanders’s powers were on full display when Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, his pick for Democratic National Committee chairman, lost out to the more centrist Tom Perez a few weeks back. (Perez and Sanders are currently on a “unity tour” to show there’s no bad blood between the two wings.) Even if Ellison had taken charge, Heaney noted, the Democratic Party tends not to fall into line behind leadership as readily as the GOP, and centrists have a host of pragmatic reasons not to go full socialist.

This piece tries to shoot for the middle, I think.

“The dominant style of governing in the Democratic Party is technocratic incrementalism, not ideological revolution,” added Hopkins. “There just isn’t a broad enough constituency within the party, to say nothing of the American electorate, for Sanders’s kind of politics to become the favored approach of the national party any time soon.”

But Sanders can—and likely will—drag the Democratic agenda leftward. The party is reportedly developing a new platform that is more progressive and populist on issues like trade, and Heaney suspects that individual Democrats will pick up at least some of it in future races.

For his part, Sanders seems fully aware of and content with the fact that he’s helping with a slow leftward shift. Heaney suggested he’s trying to float as many ideas as he can, airing them out in vital swing states to give Democrats a sense of what issues might gain traction and how to package them in the future. So far, however, it’s too soon to say what will stick, especially since the most powerful (and probably effective) issue uniting Democrats at the moment is hatred of Trump.

But sooner or later Democrats will have to put forth a statement of what they’re for, not what they’re against, which is why Sanders still matters. “All of this is incredibly important,” concluded Heaney, “because it’s laying the groundwork for an insurgent candidate to come along and take on Donald Trump.”


As much as we want to see bold change, I think the author of the piece is probably realistic about the current state of the Democratic Party’s politics. I would argue though there has to be caution because the GOP loves wars and unfortunately, if they invite attacks (as Trump is doing with MOAB and other strikes in Syria), most folks will get behind the POTUS because they think “it is patriotic”. I’m hoping more people will have a reaction to it as they did with the escalation of the Vietnam war. I’m still looking for another Cindy Sheehan, who did damage Bush with her protests at his Crawford ranch.


“The dominant style of governing in the Democratic Party is technocratic incrementalism, not ideological revolution,” added Hopkins. “There just isn’t a broad enough constituency within the party, to say nothing of the American electorate, for Sanders’s kind of politics to become the favored approach of the national party any time soon.”


Of course! That’s why he had 25,000 at some rallies and tens of thousands throughout the campaign–his new deal policies just aren’t popular enough!

It’s these kinds of statements that make my blood boil and make me question my commitment to the Dem party. Like the national govt., it may be too entrenched in blood and money to change from within.

Bernie, go Indie before 2020!


FYI, I published something at TOP. Seemed more fitting there.



Why Trump Was Able to Sucker the World on Syri

But while Trump was certainly tapping atavistic and nationalistic nerves, he was also tapping popular culture ones. So let me pose a far less high-minded and far less profound reason both for why Trump decided to launch the missiles and why so many fell for it — a reason that addresses the confluence of modern war, modern politics, modern media and Trump himself: War is great entertainment. More specifically, it is one of the highest forms of reality TV. What Trump did with his launch is give us an exciting episode of the Donald Trump presidential reality show.

The affinity between entertainment and warfare is as old as that between demagogues and warfare. War provides great narratives. (Think of Homer.) It provides heroes and villains. It provides action. It provides a deep rooting interest that gets the blood pumping. In short, it does just about all the things that movies do, and I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that war informs war movies far less than our war movies have come to inform war. It is one reason, I think, Americans usually seem so eager to go to war — even though as a war slogs on, they are less enthusiastic about continuing it. The fact is, war isn’t really very much like the movies, and by movies, I don’t mean just war movies but blockbuster super hero pictures where evil is invariably defeated in a great, ear-splitting Gotterdammerung of destruction. But if real war isn’t a movie or a video game, a quick, antiseptic strike without American casualties can fool you into believing it is.


Trump to Name Export-Import Bank Opponent to Head the Bank

President Donald Trump on Friday announced his nomination of former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), who fiercely opposed to the Export-Import Bank while in Congress, to serve as president of the agency.

Garrett served on the House Financial Services Committee until losing a bitter election last year to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). Garrett, a Freedom Caucus member, was known for hardline views, including anti-gay sentiments that reportedly prompted him to withhold paying his dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee out of concerns they would support gay GOP candidates, according to Politico.

While in Congress, Garrett also advocated for letting the Export-Import Bank’s authorization expire.

Trump To Nominate Export-Import Bank Opponent To Head Export-Import Bank

I wish someone would shut that place down, it is corporate welfare. Their forms for loans (and to get help filling them out) are some of the more onerous to complete. But the problem is that Trump embraces corporate welfare and he’s probably going to have the administrator look for some “good deals” for Trump’s companies.


What Does an “America-First” Foreign Policy Actually Mean?

Putting the U.S. Military First, Second, and Third
byWilliam Astore

To Trump and his generals, an “America-first” approach to such problems actually means putting the military first, second, and third. It helps that they can’t imagine the actions of that military as destabilizing. (Possible future headline: Trump destroys Syria in order to save it.) According to General Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, for instance, the country that poses “the greatest long-term threat to stability” in the Middle East is Iran, a sentiment seconded by retired general James Mattis, the secretary of defense.

You might excuse the Iranians, as well as the Russians and the Chinese, for thinking differently. To them, the United States is clearly the most destabilizing entity in the world. If you were Chinese or Russian or Shia Muslim, how might U.S. military activities appear to you?

* Expansionist? Check.

* Dedicated to dominance via colossal military spending and global interventionism? Check.

* Committed to economic and ideological hegemony via powerful banking and financial interests that seek to control world markets in the name of keeping them “free”? Check.

While both Mills and Eisenhower warned of such developments, even they might have been startled by the America of 2017. By now, the post-draft, “all volunteer” professional military has become remarkably estranged, if not divorced, from the wider populace, a separation aggravated by an ongoing cult of the warrior within its ranks. Not only are Americans increasingly isolated from “their” warfighter military, but from America’s wars as well. These continue to be waged without formal congressional declarations and with next to no congressional oversight. Combine this with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which translated corporate money directly into political activism, and you have what is increasingly a 1% governing system in which a billionaire president presides over the wealthiest cabinet in history in what is now a war capital, while an ever-expanding corporate-military nexus embodies the direst of fears of Mills and Eisenhower.

And this:

One data point here: The U.S. military alone guzzles more fossil fuel than the entire country of Sweden. When it comes to energy consumption, our armed forces are truly second to none


“Putting the U.S. [dimwitted backwards-brained] First, Second and Third” would be more apt. Sighhhh…..


Allo, Je suis Sanders!


Oui, moi aussi!! 🙂

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