Down With Tyranny!

Blowing up the Myth of the 'Political Center' in America

In an April 2016 piece, in the middle of the Democratic primary, I wrote this about modern independent voters and the upcoming general election:

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Yahoo Plans 'Smart Billboards' That Watch and Listen To You

Those billboards in the movie Minority Report, the ones that watch you, listen as you speak, then address you by name? They're on the drawing board at Yahoo. You can look at this product as another form of "targeted marketing," like when the google sends ads your way based on the latest text in your gmail account. Or you can look at it as a way for a company to profile you as completely as possible when you move around in public — connecting your public behavior with all of your other stored behaviors — then do anything it wants with that information. 

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Mylan Didn't Lower EpiPen Prices After All; They Just Appeared To

Senator Joe Manchin's daughter Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, and some of the work she's been doing. Note — the EpiPen price is actually around $640 at most pharmacies.

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Can Pelosi Save American Health Care Reform from the Republican Health Care Horror Show?

We may not always agree with Nancy Pelosi's strategies and tactics. Taking Bush's and Cheney's impeachment off the table drove a lot of people to hate her, no matter how remote a chance there was that that could have succeeded-- or even proceeded without shutting down the basic functioning of Congress and even a chance of getting any progressive legislation passed. And passing progressive legislation is the reason we were all so excited when Pelosi was sworn in as Speaker. Her commitment to real health care reform is almost the only thing standing between the American people's rapidly diminishing chance of getting any genuine reform and the salivating Insurance Industry CEOs who may well have brought off enough Max Baucuses and Blanche Lincolns and Arlen Specters, Joe Liebermen, Paul Ryans, Chuck Grassleys and Ben Nelsons to turn reform into a massive bailout for the Insurance companies. Yes, it's Nancy Pelosi-- not Barack Obama, who could go a long way towards ending this mess by saying "I won't be signing any health care bill unless it includes either single payer or a robust public option"-- who is keeping us out of the clutches of the Insurance Industry predators.

Taking Your Happiness Where You Can Find It

I went to the premier of Oliver Stone's movie, W and when I walked out a camera crew grabbed me and asked me what I thought. I said it was pretty good and that I enjoyed it. The interviewer wasn't happy with that. He wanted to know if I thought it would influence the election. "No," I don't think so," I said. Bush isn't running again and people sharp enough to realize that McCain would simply be another 4 year extension of his agenda have already made up their minds." That wasn't good enough for him either and he wanted to know how I would have changed the movie. Roland was starting to signal me that it was time to go and that he was hungry. "Well, if it was my movie and my world, Bush and Cheney would have been tried and the last scene would be the two of them walking up the steps to the gallows." That ended the interview... to Roland's satisfaction.

I know I'll never be completely happy but tomorrow I plan to revel in the good news as it comes in. Obama, of course, even if that means we get the baggage -- the Bidens and Emanuels and all kinds of horrible crap you can expect to hear Ken and I complaining about in the next few months-- but also the great news we expect to hear about Tim Walberg and Joe Knollenberg being defeated in Michigan, about the end of Ted Stevens' disgraceful career, about bona fide progressive leaders like Darcy Burner, Alan Grayson and Jared Polis being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where I expect them to do a lot more than take their seats and vote well, and maybe about some close calls coming through, like Jeff Merkley, Tom Perriello, Jim Himes, Joe Garcia, Martin Heinrich... maybe even some genuine miracles like Dennis Shulman, Debbie Cook, Larry Joe Doherty...

But for today, I'm looking for my bits and pieces of celebratory news elsewhere-- and I don't even mean the final poll numbers showing Obama expanding his lead over McCain, ahead in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania and even leading with a crushing margin in Fox's own silly biased polls. Sure I'm taking a great deal of pleasure seeing the ignorant assholes who inflicted 8 years of Bush on the rest of us depressed and disheartened and in no mood to even bother cheering on McCain's dying or dead campaign. I hope they don't bother voting tomorrow so all their down-ballot rubber stamp candidates lose as well. And, yeah, I'm delighted to know that when cell phone users are counted properly, Obama's polling numbers shoot up, and I'm delighted to see that McCain's negative and vicious smears-- like the scurrilous Dole attacks on Hagan we discussed this morning-- backfired and helped wreck his miserable, vile campaign.

Desperate Republicans Have No Intention of Going Down to Defeat With Either Dignity Or Honor

It has finally dawned on Republican Party leaders that they are in the middle of Desperationland. Easy enough to sneer and say they earned it-- and more-- but desperation is leading them down some unhealthy paths, unhealthy for all of us.

Republican office holders are aware that McCain's coattails are not just negative, but positively toxic. The three special election House candidates he campaigned for-- all in very Republican districts-- all lost in upset elections. GOP strategists are starting to whisper the word "landslide," and they mean a Democratic one that could leave the Republicans with impotent rump caucuses in both houses of Congress.

Everywhere, Party leaders are starting to finally realize the trouble they're in. Asked if McCain could win Wisconsin, former Republican Governor and McCain friend Tommy Thompson claimed it isn't impossible but when he was asked if he's happy with his friend's campaign, he said "No; I don't know who he is." And that's a feeling that people all over the country are having about McCain, who has tried to do everything he could to make Americans feel that he's someone they know and trust-- no one does-- and that Obama is "not one of us" and scary and different and unknown. It's almost funny when it comes from Sarah Palin who no one but Alaskans and a few religious extremists ever heard of before a month and a half ago.

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Department of Labor Blames Unemployment Rise on Teenagers

You've probably heard the news by now: 49,000 jobs lost in May, unemployment up a whopping .5% (from 5.0% to 5.5%), the largest jump since 1986. Into the fray jumps our esteemed secretary of labor, Elaine Chao -- who, it is pointed out on the ShameonElaine website, is not only the wife of our beloved Senate minority leader (and DWT-fave heartthrob) Miss Mitch McConnell but the longest-serving member of the Bush regime cabinet.

Here is ShameonElaine's take on Secretary Chao's contribution to the discussion:

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Republicans Obstructing Relief in Housing Crisis

Republican governors tend to be less ideological and more practical than the extremists and fanatics their party routinely sends to Congress. They have to actually govern, something that is anathema to the Inside the Beltway GOP-- from Bush and Cheney all the way down to the very bottom of the barrel: naysayers Mean Jean Schmidt and James Inhofe. This morning the two heads of the National Governors Association-- Republican Tim Pawlenty (MN) and Democrat Ed Rendell (PA)-- urged, strongly urged, Congress and the White House to get their collective asses in gear and enact housing-stimulus legislation "so that states can rebound from decreasing tax revenue and increasing crime and neighborhood blight due to a record foreclosure rate."

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There Is No Such Thing As Clean Coal

"Most people know coal isn’t clean, but that hasn’t stopped the coal industry from trying to convince us otherwise."
-- Kevin Grandia of DeSmogBlog, introducing the website Coal is dirty!, a "Clean Coal Body Slam" created in collaboration with Greenpeace USA and the Rainforest Action Network to combat a massive P.R. onslaught from the coal industry

The magic words, it appears, are "carbon capture and sequestration." I don't think you want to know any more about them than I do, but I'm afraid we may be hearing them a lot, unfortunately from people who are trying to sell us bogus or at least wildly exaggerated science indicating that with these new technologies coal can be made clean and safe. It appears that they're prepared to spend tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to sell their message.

This drives the folks we trust on environmental and energy issues bonkers -- naturally including our go-to webguy A Siegel, who's waxing rapturous today on his Energy Smart blog about the Coal is dirty! site and its star-studded roster of environmental researchers, activists, and journalists. As Siegel says, "Kevin might not have a $35 million budget but he has a team worth millions in terms of quality."

Kevin Grandia explains:
In essence, this site exists to sell the idea that coal is dirty. Pretty easy to do when you consider the facts and clear out the rhetoric. Like the fact that mercury emissions from coal fired-power plants continues to rise and that carbon capture and storage remains an elusive pipe dream that will take another 40 years to deploy on a commercial scale.

Siegel notes that the new site is already going gangbusters, with:

Will Bob Barr and Ron Paul Out-Flank McCain on the Right?

With GOP toe-sucker Dick Morris publicly urging McCain to shed his far right extremism and move to the center if he's going to have any chance at all to win a few states outside of the Old Confederacy plus Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, a very different kind of reality is closing in on McCain who, says toe-sucker, "has been dealt a terrible hand: a tanking economy, an unpopular war, a Republican incumbent whose approval ratings are at their all-time low and a gloomy national mood, with 82 percent of Americans saying in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last week that the country is on the wrong track." He offers the hapless Republican nominee a roadmap, a roadmap dependent of Jeremiah Wright-- "the honorary chairman of McCain's get-out-the-vote efforts"-- even though every voter in red, red, red Mississippi first congressional district was inundated with Jeremiah Wright and still voted against Bush and the GOP.

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