Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Hey guys look at me and smile I said."

"Ok, guys, look at me and smile."

"Hmmm okay, one more guys look up here and smile at me."

"OK OK just try one more look over here and smile for me."

Tim Kaine is not a Democrat and basically now it doesn't matter who you vote for.

Hillary! was never going to pick Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders to be her VP nominee, because this race is primarily about Hillary! securing what she sees as rightfully hers; the Clintons have always been less interested in achieving positions of power to help people than in achieving positions of power because they feel they are owed them, and Hillary! is demonstrating that again.

But there was hope that a Hillary! presidency might demonstrate some incremental progress towards a more socially fair country, at least in the sense that Hillary! (like Senator Chuck Schumer) tends to jump on any popular issue and try to turn it to her benefit -- and lots of liberal issues are popular these days, as demonstrated by Warren and Bernie.

Any hope I might have had died, though, when Hillary! demonstrated to the big business interests what her presidency will be about: it will be about electing her not because America loves her, and not because she is good for America, but because she is the default choice running against a megalomaniacal nutcase supported by the isolationist wing of an already dangerously tilted party.

Tim Kaine's selection as Vice President demonstrates that Hillary! cares not a whit about the progressive wing of the Democratic party -- the group of intense voters (like me) that care about people and loved Bernie and wanted Warren to run for president.

Kaine received an F from Progressive Punch, which is self-explanatory. Kaine has espoused regulating big banks and little banks -- all banks, then -- less. Big banks currently have to demonstrate on a daily basis that they are not about to go under. Kaine thinks that's too onerous for banks and would lighten the load of proving they are not making such risky investments that we will again have to undermine the entirety of the social structure simply to bail them out. (Remember austerity? It came about after the US spent billions bailing out companies, as the GOP used the deficit to then cut things like food stamps. Risk-testing is a way to avoid doing that again.)  Kaine things little banks are too burdened by consumer protection laws, and wants to exempt them.

Funny story: I recently had a judge rule that a little bank violated consumer protection laws by threatening to seize my client's car when they had no legal right to do so. They sent a wrecker to the woman's house twice in public even though she was actually paying them as agreed. HA HA I can see where the regulation burdened that company!  We've only had to litigate for about 3 years to get to the point where the bank -- which has never acknowledged it did anything wrong -- has started to grudgingly think they might have to pay her back. (Although the very first thing the bank said it would do after the court ruled it violated the law was appeal. You know, because banks have money.)

See how funny that is?

Kaine has voted to reduce congressional oversight over trade deals. His solution to insufficient government revenues is not to raise taxes on high earners but simply to dodge the issue by letting earlier tax cuts expire: he is both fiscally unsound and a coward on that issue.

Kaine voted for a bill that would prohibit closing the terrible, unconstitutional Guantanamo Bay prison. He voted to keep the Patriot Act enforced in all significant measures. He approved use of force in Syria.

Kaine voted to cut food stamps to families.

Kaine thinks it is fine for gun owners to have 'high capacity' ammo clips so long as they are limited to just 10 bullets, so he's okay with killing no more than 10 people in a very short time. More than that would be outrageous!

If Trump is what Republicans have been creating all these years, Kaine and Hillary! are what Democrats have let themselves become as they have put personal interests in gaining power and wealth ahead of public interests in helping improve the lives of everyday Americans.  I keep hoping things will get better but it's increasingly apparent that our system is as broken as France and the colonies were in the 18th century. It will not be long before the only way to fix things is to have a revolution. In that sense, Hillary's pick is helping by bringing that day a bit closer.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Update on 'MERICA!: Blue Lies Matter

We have reached the point in the United States where several things are obvious.

First, we need to get rid of guns. ALL guns. No hunting, sport-shooting, BB guns, target pistols, old-fashioned-dueling-stuff-that's-one-shot, NOTHING.

Gun ownership per capita has doubled in the United States since 1968. There are more than 300,000,000 guns circulating as of 2015. Gun production doubled between 2010 and 2011, to 11,000,000 new guns per year.

While you will hear gun nuts -- nuts is the only word I care to use -- say that gun deaths per capita have fallen while gun production has risen, that is a misleading statistic. In reality, where there are more guns, more people die by guns. A Harvard metastudy found that homicides rise as gun ownership rises.  That's all homicides, but particularly gun homicides.

That's not surprising. The sole purpose of a gun is to kill. If you use a gun the way it's meant to be used, it kills something or someone.

The corollary to that is that if you think someone is likely to have a gun, you are more likely to react with deadly force. That's what happened when an officer (supposedly) mistook for a gun the toy truck held by an autistic man; in reaction (supposedly) the officer shot a black therapist helping the disabled man.

When cops think everyone could be armed, they either legitimately believe that everyone is armed, or they use it as a pretext to shoot someone.  The latter is the reaction that might be exhibited by soldiers occupying a hostile country. In fact, some studies have found no difference in the psychological reactions exhibited by soldiers and police to their environment.

That police see themselves as an insular force occupying a hostile environment was made clear recently, but what was also made clear was that increasingly police forces will haul out a black person to make apologies for their shooting of black people, while the President will support the at-home military force without ever commenting on the sad reality of the hundreds of primarily-black men shot by that occupying force. Jargonized speeches and support by the executive branch have long been the hallmark of military disinformation campaigns. They are now the hallmark of so-called 'community policing.'

The autistic-man-incident shows a terrible highlight of police lying and the media largely not caring. The police officially refused to answer any questions.  The union chief talked, though, and in defending an officer who shot an unarmed man with his hands up, the chief said to allow the facts to work their way into the news. 

Here are some facts the union chief didn't discuss:

After the worker was shot -- with his hands up-- he said to the cop why did you shoot me?

"I don't know," the cop said.

Police immediately started speculating -- or spinning-- that the cop was aiming at the autistic man but missed, and 'accidentally' hit the black man who had his hands up. That was pure speculation at first, put out by Javier Ortiz, a racist scumbag cop who seems to feel every shooting of a black man is justified, but by 2:30 a.m. was being reported as fact

The autistic man, by the way, was sitting and holding a toy truck. The therapist was trying to tell the cop that the autistic man was autistic.

(A couple weeks back, This American Life featured writer Richard Price telling the story of a ride-along in which two cops stopped a black man and a kid who was apparently special needs, upsetting the kid, delaying their trip home, and generally causing trouble in the lives of people who were doing nothing wrong, and then tried to justify it post hoc.)

The media happily reports the cops' lies, just as it went along with embedding during the Iraq wars, which is part of why we have wars still going on in two different countries for 15 consecutive years.

With the war on the America populace by our own police, make that three wars.