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Trump would call him a loser

Trump would call him a loser

by digby

You know he would:

ORANGE CITY, Ia. — Thirty-two years ago, a vehicle accident left Todd Mouw a quadriplegic, unable to feed himself and needing a ventilator to breathe.

Yet for decades he was able to live at home with the help of family, aided by medical staff who visited him daily to help provide 24-hour care.

That care abruptly ended when a for-profit company that Iowa hired last year to manage the state's Medicaid program announced that some of the staffers who had attended to Mouw all those years weren't qualified, and it wouldn't pay for the cost.

As he and his wife Cyndi futilely searched for qualified help, Todd's health dissipated. He had to leave his home for care, and on July 8 he died at age 53.

Now, Cyndi Mouw is speaking out, blaming her husband's death on Iowa's decision to turn over its Medicaid program to for-profit companies she believes are unilaterally denying or revoking medical services to potentially thousands of other disabled or elderly Iowans.

"If they're trying to do this because they need to save money? Well, find other places," Cyndi Mouw said. "And, yeah, I'm sure he's not the only one."

Her criticisms have echoed those of other families who complain that the private companies now managing the state's Medicaid program are denying care that the state once approved.

And the state's long-term care ombudsman said she has received hundreds of complaints from Medicaid recipients who are appealing decisions of the private managers hired by the state.

If you're not rich enough to afford all the health care you need that's your own fault:



Remembering impeachments past

Remembering impeachments past

by digby

There is some thought among big shot Republicans that impeaching President Trump will make him more popular because that's how it happened with Bill Clinton.  

I thought it might be important to recall just what it was Ken Starr found Clinton had done to merit impeachment:

1. President Clinton lied under oath in his civil case when he denied a sexual affair, a sexual relationship, or sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.

2. President Clinton lied under oath to the grand jury about his sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.

3. In his civil deposition, to support his false statement about the sexual relationship, President Clinton also lied under oath about being alone with Ms. Lewinsky and about the many gifts exchanged between Ms. Lewinsky and him.

4. President Clinton lied under oath in his civil deposition about his discussions with Ms. Lewinsky concerning her involvement in the Jones case.

5. During the Jones case, the President obstructed justice and had an understanding with Ms. Lewinsky to jointly conceal the truth about their relationship by concealing gifts subpoenaed by Ms. Jones's attorneys.

6. During the Jones case, the President obstructed justice and had an understanding with Ms. Lewinsky to jointly conceal the truth of their relationship from the judicial process by a scheme that included the following means: (i) Both the President and Ms. Lewinsky understood that they would lie under oath in the Jones case about their sexual relationship; (ii) the President suggested to Ms. Lewinsky that she prepare an affidavit that, for the President's purposes, would memorialize her testimony under oath and could be used to prevent questioning of both of them about their relationship; (iii) Ms. Lewinsky signed and filed the false affidavit; (iv) the President used Ms. Lewinsky's false affidavit at his deposition in an attempt to head off questions about Ms. Lewinsky; and (v) when that failed, the President lied under oath at his civil deposition about the relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.

7. President Clinton endeavored to obstruct justice by helping Ms. Lewinsky obtain a job in New York at a time when she would have been a witness harmful to him were she to tell the truth in the Jones case.

8. President Clinton lied under oath in his civil deposition about his discussions with Vernon Jordan concerning Ms. Lewinsky's involvement in the Jones case.

9. The President improperly tampered with a potential witness by attempting to corruptly influence the testimony of his personal secretary, Betty Currie, in the days after his civil deposition.

10. President Clinton endeavored to obstruct justice during the grand jury investigation by refusing to testify for seven months and lying to senior White House aides with knowledge that they would relay the President's false statements to the grand jury -- and did thereby deceive, obstruct, and impede the grand jury.

11. President Clinton abused his constitutional authority by (i) lying to the public and the Congress in January 1998 about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky; (ii) promising at that time to cooperate fully with the grand jury investigation; (iii) later refusing six invitations to testify voluntarily to the grand jury; (iv) invoking Executive Privilege; (v) lying to the grand jury in August 1998; and (vi) lying again to the public and Congress on August 17, 1998 -- all as part of an effort to hinder, impede, and deflect possible inquiry by the Congress of the United States.

Now think about what Donald Trump is suspected of doing. Being a dupe or an agent of a foreign adversary and firing the entire top layer of the DOJ to cover it up is a different level of offense altogether....

But even on the more prosaic obstruction charges, Trump way out does Clinton. Take number 11 up there. He was accused of trying to get Monica a job working for a big company in New York to keep her quiet about their affair. (That was never proven to be the case but whatever.) But he didn't install a relative at the DNC in order to give pay people hush money with no-show jobs for 15k a month!


The Madness of Mercy

When the Never Trumpers inevitably turn on their new BFFs on the Left, this is pretty much what it will look like.   Handshakes and pro-forma apologies, because whatever "betrayals" you think you may have suffered at my hands, please respect that it was strictly business, and that I now have the inside dope on your opponent's strategy, which I will sell to you in exchange for getting my career back.

In the end, behind closed doors, the bad men with money will cut deals with the bad men with marketing savvy that serve their mutual interests, and over drinks and fake bonhomie, the Ad Hoc True Conservative Patriotic Committee For The Return to Reaganism or Whatever will be born.  And once more the rest of us will find ourselves suffocating under a new rendition of the Beltway's favorite old-time gospel.  A clarion call to restore Balance to the Force.  To forge a bold, new alliance out of the ashes of the Old Left and the Old Right that will take on the Extremes on Both Sides.

A bold, new alliance that will be comprised of the same the old faces.

And those on the Left will who really thought that this time it would be different, will wake up to find that they were never more than a temporary crash pad and fuck-buddy.  A convenient way-station where Never Trumpers can wait out the Trump shit-storm before going returning to their lives as Republican myrmidons.

This will happen because, frankly, too many of us suck at hard-nosed negotiating, even when we are in a position of strength.

Think about it.

The long,  deranged shadow cast by Donald Trump and the Republican party has sharpened the contrast between the sanity, humanity and virtue of the Left and the sadism, bigotry and corruption of the Right to once-in-a-generation level of stark clarity.  Objectively, should be no question about who should be speaking on behalf of those who have been right about the Right all along, and those who should be shutting the fuck up and sitting the fuck down for the next 20 years or so.  

And yet, the "Shocked, shocked, to discover Republicans in the Republican Party!" fairy tale the Never Trumpers are peddling sells so much better in the Beltway media than the "Where the fuck have you been for the past 30 years?" reality which the vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers of the Left keep foul-mouthing on about.

And there is very simple reason for this. It is, in fact, exactly the same reason that, after the collapse of the Bush Administration, the same Beltway media handed the Fake Tea Party the same kind of instant, unearned credibility and flattering, tongue-kissing coverage, while those who were telling the real tale of the Fake Tea Party were reduced to shouting it on street-corners:

The Tea-Belly Sneetches
(this one's for you, Mom wink

Now, the Bush-Belly Sneetches were backers of Bush...

The Plain-Belly Sneetches thought Bush was a Tush.
The Bushs weren’t so big; they were really quite small.
You would think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
But because they backed Bush, all the Bush-Bellied Sneetches would brag,
“Plain-Bellies are nothing but Commies in Drag!”...

Because the Liberal bottom-line has always centered on trying understand the truth of why things are fucked-in-the-head now, how to fix those problems, and how we can prevent worse disasters from happening in the future.  Which means, inevitable, insisting on assigning responsibility for the catastrophes unfolding all around us where it rightly belongs. On calling things by their true names and interrogating the past as it actually happened, and not as we wish it had happened.

This is diametrically opposed to how the Right functions -- lying the country into disasters and then lying their way out of responsibility for those disasters with even bigger lies that are centered on their own instant exoneration.

It wasn't me!

And even if it was, I'm an Independent!

And even if I'm not, Both Sides are to blame, so whatabout Benghaaazi!

Rinse and repeat, over and over, until the end of days.

And having failed this country so repeatedly and spectacularly for the past 30 years, it should surprise no one that Beltway media has zero interest in any activity which involves confession and repentance, but is keenly interested in throwing in with anyone, anywhere offering instant exoneration.

This is why Liberals -- who have been right about the Right all along -- are still aggressively locked out of the Beltway media narrative, while Never Trumpers -- who offer the Beltway media an absolving line of soothing bullshit in which there never was anything really wrong with the GOP before Il Douche showed up in 2015 and magically transformed it into a racist dungheap -- are jumped to the front of the line.

So, fine.  I get it.  Of course the Beltway media going to go along with the "Shocked, shocked, to discover Republicans in the Republican Party!" okey-doke.   This is who they are.  


But, there has truly never been a time when events have more completely vindicated the Left than the moment we are living through now, so I simply do not understand why so many Liberals who should damn well know better by now fling themselves like drunk prom dates at the tiniest wisp of validation from the Never Trumpers.

If the Never Trumpers are offering actual, useful intel -- plans to the GOP Death Star -- then great.  Welcome aboard.  If they are coming to us in the spirit of genuine confession, repentance and atonement, terrific.  We're a forgiving bunch.  But if they cannot form the words "The Left was right about the Right all along" and will not lock their loyalty to our cause down with anything more than nods and winks, then we have no reason in the world to lend them our hard-won credibility or give them our trust or show them an ounce of our mercy.

Because if they are not with us all the way by now -- if they have not genuinely seen the error of their ways by now -- then all they are doing is biding their time and enjoying the hospitality of our fox hole until the immediate danger has passed.  And the minute there is a break in the storm, they will breeze right out the door and go back to the business of poisoning wells, pimping monsters and slandering those who now give them shelter.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


John Dean was White House counsel too

John Dean was White House counsel too

by digby

It's pretty clear who has been behind the leaks over the past year and a half that make Don McGahn look very heroic. There's only one person who would have so much to gain by it. Here's the latest:

The White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, has cooperated extensively in the special counsel investigation, sharing detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Trump obstructed justice, including some that investigators would not have learned of otherwise, according to a dozen current and former White House officials and others briefed on the matter.

In at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, Mr. McGahn described the president’s furor toward the Russia investigation and the ways in which he urged Mr. McGahn to respond to it. He provided the investigators examining whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice a clear view of the president’s most intimate moments with his lawyer.

Among them were Mr. Trump’s comments and actions during the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and Mr. Trump’s obsession with putting a loyalist in charge of the inquiry, including his repeated urging of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to claim oversight of it. Mr. McGahn was also centrally involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to fire the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which investigators might not have discovered without him.

For a lawyer to share so much with investigators scrutinizing his client is unusual. Lawyers are rarely so open with investigators, not only because they are advocating on behalf of their clients but also because their conversations with clients are potentially shielded by attorney-client privilege, and in the case of presidents, executive privilege.

“A prosecutor would kill for that,” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, a deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, which did not have the same level of cooperation from President Bill Clinton’s lawyers. “Oh my God, it would have been phenomenally helpful to us. It would have been like having the keys to the kingdom.”

Mr. McGahn’s cooperation began in part as a result of a decision by Mr. Trump’s first team of criminal lawyers to collaborate fully with Mr. Mueller. The president’s lawyers have explained that they believed their client had nothing to hide and that they could bring the investigation to an end quickly.

Mr. McGahn and his lawyer, William A. Burck, could not understand why Mr. Trump was so willing to allow Mr. McGahn to speak freely to the special counsel and feared Mr. Trump was setting up Mr. McGahn to take the blame for any possible illegal acts of obstruction, according to people close to him. So he and Mr. Burck devised their own strategy to do as much as possible to cooperate with Mr. Mueller to demonstrate that Mr. McGahn did nothing wrong.

It is not clear that Mr. Trump appreciates the extent to which Mr. McGahn has cooperated with the special counsel. The president wrongly believed that Mr. McGahn would act as a personal lawyer would for clients and solely defend his interests to investigators, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking.

In fact, Mr. McGahn laid out how Mr. Trump tried to ensure control of the investigation, giving investigators a mix of information both potentially damaging and favorable to the president. Mr. McGahn cautioned to investigators that he never saw Mr. Trump go beyond his legal authorities, though the limits of executive power are murky.

Mr. McGahn’s role as a cooperating witness further strains his already complicated relationship with the president. Though Mr. Trump has fought with Mr. McGahn as much as with any of his top aides, White House advisers have said, both men have benefited significantly from their partnership.

Mr. McGahn has overseen two of Mr. Trump’s signature accomplishments — stocking the federal courts and cutting government regulations — and become a champion of conservatives in the process.

But the two rarely speak one on one — the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, and other advisers are usually present for their meetings — and Mr. Trump has questioned Mr. McGahn’s loyalty. In turn, Mr. Trump’s behavior has so exasperated Mr. McGahn that he has called the president “King Kong” behind his back, to connote his volcanic anger, people close to Mr. McGahn said.

This account is based on interviews with current and former White House officials and others who have spoken to both men, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation.

Oh Don, you're such a great guy.

And your boss is really, really dumb isn't he?

McGahn has been covering his ass from the beginning. One imagines he's been safe from reprisals  because the GOP backs him for their court packing project which, at this point, is their only serious  strategy for future survival. This latest coming at a time of peak Trump hysteria will test how much clout Mitch McConnell and the federalist society really has with Trump.


Oligarchy FTW

Oligarchy FTW

by digby

Following up on the post below where I point out that Republicans failing to care about deficits when a GOP president is in office is business as usual for them, I would just note that this would be cause for revolution if it happened under a Democrat:

Several wanted to fiddle with the punctuation, some wanted to add nice things about John Brennan; others thought it would be wiser to pare them back.

But in 12 hours, a couple of former CIA senior aides pulled off a first in American history. CIA directors who had served every previous president going back to Ronald Reagan had signed on to a letter doing something they would never have imagined doing: publicly criticizing the president of the United States.

They were objecting to President Trump's announcement that he was stripping the security clearance of Brennan, who was CIA director under President Obama.

“I call it the rigged witch hunt, [the Russia investigation] is a sham,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal. “And these people led it!”

And there may be more coming ... The WashPost's Karen DeYoung and Josh Dawsey report: "The White House has drafted documents revoking the security clearances of current and former officials whom President Trump has demanded be punished for criticizing him or playing a role in the [Russia] investigation."

"Trump wants to sign 'most if not all' of them, said one senior White House official."
"[C]ommunications aides ... have discussed the optimum times to release them as a distraction during unfavorable news cycles."

The letter's startling roster includes former CIA directors Webster (Reagan, George H.W. Bush), Gates (George H.W. Bush), Tenet (Clinton and George W. Bush), Goss (George W. Bush), Hayden (George W. Bush), Panetta (Obama) and Petraeus (Obama).

"As former senior intelligence officials, we feel compelled to respond in the wake of the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House regarding the removal of John Brennan’s security clearances," the letter begins.

The addition of this "subject to" was one of the late edits: "You don’t have to agree with what John Brennan says (and ... not all of us do) to agree with his right to say it, subject to his obligation to protect classified information."

Nick Shapiro — a former CIA deputy chief of staff in the Obama administration, who helped orchestrate the letters — tells me that a major concern of many of the signatories was President Trump's implicit threat to current intelligence officers:

"It’s setting up a system where the national security and intelligence apparatus is being told: 'You better just agree with the president, and you can't give him news he doesn't like.'"

"That's a very dangerous thing: It's the exact opposite of the climate and culture you want in your intelligence team."

The letter was endorsed by 15 former intelligence officials of the director or deputy director level.

But other CIA alumni wanted to join in. So late yesterday, a second letter was circulated, signed by 60 former CIA officers (analysts, station chiefs, operations officers, a former President's Daily Brief briefer):

"Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them. What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views."

Another person coordinating the letters tells me: "[R]equests from many other senior CIA alumni who would like to have signed it are pouring in."

Think about this. The right wing lost their minds when the Democrats passed a market friendly health care bill. Imagine what they would have done if a Democratic president messed with the CIA and FBI like this?

The spooks need to be scrutinized. But that's not hat's happening here. He's just abusing his power to intimidate anyone who crosses him. There are a lot of lower level FBI and CIA whose futures depend on having top security clearances. I'd guess many of them will be careful not to do anything that might upset Trump and his henchmen going forward. Or, at least, they will be very circumspect about anything that would reflect badly on the president.

I think it's hilarious that he's being egged on in this by Rand Paul, our alleged civil liberties hero. Sure, he's always been a harsh critic of the Intelligence Community, often for good reason. But he shows his true colors when he helps this monster cover up his crimes.

Despite their paeans to freedom, Libertarians often have a strong authoritarian streak that manifests itself as a worshipful attitude toward money and the power that comes with it. A corrupt oligarch is their perfect leader.


Deficit reduction for dummies

Deficit reduction for dummies

by digby

There was a time when this headline would have resulted in the Freedom Caucus, Tea Partying wingnuts having a full-blown, hysterical freak out:

This isn't just Trump sycophancy, unfortunately. Republicans have been silent about the deficit and debt under their own administrations for decades. That's because during their administrations, the debt always rises from their massive tax cuts for the wealthy even as they cut necessary programs for real people, which is the perfect result. They can pressure the Democrats to cut the deficits when they come back into office. It's tried and true.

Look for a huge return to "fiscal responsibility" as soon as they are no longer in charge. Someday it would be nice if the Democrats would refuse to play this game.


Deprogramming the economic cult by @BloggersRUs

Deprogramming the economic cult

by Tom Sullivan

One reason Sen. Bernie Sanders picked up support along the spine of the Appalachians in 2016 is working people there, as elsewhere, know the status quo is rigged by and for high-rollers. They have a sense a country generating such yawning inequality doesn't want or need them. There, and in more suburban areas, Donald Trump played to cultural grievances and insecurities feeding people's sense of being left behind. Students heard Sanders' anti-establishment pitch for wiping clean college debt and for free tuition and flew to it like moths to a porch light. Both Sanders and Trump met pent-up demand for disrupting the status quo.

When Sanders fell short in the Democratic primaries, over twice as many Millennials did not vote as did. Why bother? Configured as it is, the current economic and political system serves "the best" and leaves the rest. It offers Millennials little, now or in the future. Their cynicism is palpable. Beyond that demographic, some Obama voters who might have supported Sanders opted for Donald Trump instead. Because Wall Street pillaged the country's wealth and destroyed countless families' lives, and neither party held financiers accountable. Democrats paid dearly for not disrupting the corrupt system in 2010 and 2014. The world paid for it in 2016 when three million less than half of American voters bought a snake oil salesman's empty promises.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts this week offered a game-changing plan for leveling the playing field for the little guys. As a senator in the minority, she may not have the leverage to bring corporate criminals to justice. But Warren has instead drafted a plan for rewriting the DNA of large corporations and bringing them to heel. That is long overdue. A former legislator I heard from called the plan transformational.

In a press release announcing her Accountable Capitalism Act, Warren makes her move against the system as it stands:

"There's a fundamental problem with our economy. For decades, American workers have helped create record corporate profits but have seen their wages hardly budge. To fix this problem we need to end the harmful corporate obsession with maximizing shareholder returns at all costs, which has sucked trillions of dollars away from workers and necessary long-term investments," said Senator Warren. "My bill will help the American economy return to the era when American companies and American workers did well together."
Rather than adding taxes to punish corporate misbehavior or tax breaks to incentivize better corporate citizenship, Warren proposes saving capitalism from itself. "The bête noire of the Republican business class" is not advocating demolishing capitalism, but rather giving it an upgrade, as I have advocated before:
What Milton Friedman called capitalism in 1962 looks more like an economic cult today. Question the basic assumptions behind corporate capitalism, publicly point out its shortcomings and suggest we are overdue for an upgrade, and the Chamber of Commerce practically bursts through the door like the Spanish Inquisition to accuse you of communism and heresy. Why you ... you want to punish success! It’s weirdly reflexive and a mite hysterical. What their blind fealty and knee-jerk defense of this one particular style for organizing a capitalist enterprise says about them, I'll leave for now. It suffices to say I find it rather peculiar.
Warren rolled out her plan in a companion Wall Street Journal column on Tuesday. Before “shareholder value maximization” ideology took hold, she argues, workers shared more in the wealth their labors produced. Since the early 1980s, however, shareholders have come first, leaving workers' salaries as strangled as corporate reinvestment:
The problem may get worse, because executives have a strong financial incentive to prioritize shareholder returns. Before 1980, top CEOs were rarely compensated in equity. Today it accounts for 62% of their pay. Many executives receive additional company shares as a reward for producing short-term share-price increases. This feedback loop has sent CEO pay skyrocketing. The average CEO of a big company now makes 361 times what the average worker makes, up from 42 times in 1980.

Corporate charters, which define the structure and obligations of U.S. companies, are an obvious tool for addressing these skewed incentives. But companies are chartered at the state level. Most states don’t want to demand more of companies, lest they incorporate elsewhere.

That’s where my bill comes in. The Accountable Capitalism Act restores the idea that giant American corporations should look out for American interests. Corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue would be required to get a federal corporate charter. The new charter requires corporate directors to consider the interests of all major corporate stakeholders—not only shareholders—in company decisions. Shareholders could sue if they believed directors weren’t fulfilling those obligations.

This approach follows the “benefit corporation” model, which gives businesses fiduciary responsibilities beyond their shareholders.

Speaking with Warren this week, Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" remarked, "I mean, a lot of people think you're just this left-wing firebrand. Isn't what you describe the way this country was in 1980?"

Yes, sort of. Warren told him, "I believe in all of the wealth that markets produce. But markets have to have rules. And together, we decide those rules. You know, like you've got to have a cop on the beat." A cop that, say, prevents banks from charging customers fees on accounts it secretly opened in their names. But that is not the thrust of Warren's proposal. She aims to deprogram Milton Friedman's cultist offspring and mitigate their propesnity for behaving badly the first place. The modern corporate model, after all, was not handed down from God. People designed it. We can improve it.

As outlined in her press release, Warren's Accountable Capitalism Act:

  • Requires very large American corporations to obtain a federal charter as a "United States corporation," which obligates company directors to consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders: American corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue must obtain a federal charter from a newly formed Office of United States Corporations at the Department of Commerce. The new federal charter obligates company directors to consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders - including employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities in which the company operates. This approach is derived from the thriving benefit corporation model that 33 states and the District of Columbia have adopted and that companies like Patagonia, Danone North America, and Kickstarter have embraced with strong results.
  • Empowers workers at United States corporations to elect at least 40% of Board members: Borrowing from the successful approach in Germany and other developed economies, a United States corporation must ensure that no fewer than 40% of its directors are selected by the corporation's employees.
  • Restricts the sales of company shares by the directors and officers of United States corporations: Top corporate executives are now compensated mostly in company equity, which gives them huge financial incentives to focus exclusively on shareholder returns. To ensure that they are focused on the long-term interests of all corporate stakeholders, the bill prohibits directors and officers of United States corporations from selling company shares within five years of receiving them or within three years of a company stock buyback.
  • Prohibits United States corporations from making any political expenditures without the approval of 75% of its directors and shareholders: Drawing on a proposal from John Bogle, the founder of the investment company Vanguard, United States corporations must receive the approval of at least 75% of their shareholders and 75% of their directors before engaging in political expenditures. This ensures any political expenditures benefit all corporate stakeholders.
  • Permits the federal government to revoke the charter of a United States corporation if the company has engaged in repeated and egregious illegal conduct: State Attorneys General are authorized to submit petitions to the Office of United States Corporations to revoke a United States corporation's charter. If the Director of the Office finds that the corporation has a history of egregious and repeated illegal conduct and has failed to take meaningful steps to address its problems, she may grant the petition. The company's charter would then be revoked a year later - giving the company time before its charter is revoked to make the case to Congress that it should retain its charter in the same or in a modified form.
Matt Yglesias explains, "The conceit tying together Warren’s ideas is that if corporations are going to have the legal rights of persons, they should be expected to act like decent citizens who uphold their fair share of the social contract and not act like sociopaths ...."

Successful artificial persons produce profit rather efficiently, but operate at the level of appetite and instinct, survival being the strongest. What makes it hard for them to act as decent citizens is we designed these artificial persons without souls. But souls so get in the way of pursuing staggering wealth — just the way Midas cultists like it. They won't like the Accountable Capitalism Act.

Charlie Pierce at Esquire:

This is one of the first complete frontal assaults on the economic theories that have ruled American politics in one form or another for the past four decades. It is one of the first substantial efforts to treat the ascendancy of conservative economic ideas as a thoroughgoing blight that must be reversed, and it does so by turning the achievements of which conservative economic ideologues are proudest back on them. Corporate personhood? OK, then we're going to have corporate jail, too. A rising tide lifts all boats? We're going to be sure everyone has a seat.
Conceived in law and born on paper, these beasties turned on their creators long ago. People should be holding the corporate leash instead of wearing the collar. Yet, that's how it feels even if people cannot properly identify the ubiquitous source of their unease. Scan your room for items not produced by a large corporation. How much did the workers who produced them share in the profits?

I don't want to raise hopes that Warren's Accountable Capitalism Act is a magic bullet. Changing corporate behavior is as much about changing cultures as drafting new rule sets. Asking the Commerce Department, the Department of Labor, and the Securities and Exchange Commission to police this new corporate model (if it ever becomes law) remains contingent on having an administration committed to enforcing it. The law professor behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau knows that better than anyone.

But while other rumored 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will run on their "profiles" and electability, Warren has a written plan for change Democrats would be wise to embrace whether or not she chooses not to run. Many who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 — and many who didn't vote at all — wanted a leader willing to disrupt the status quo and improve their lives. Warren brings more than braggadocio.

* * * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.


Professional Left Podcast #454

“No single thing abides; and all things are fucked up.” 
-- Philip K. Dick, writer

Don't forget to visit our new website -- -- for all of the sweet bells and whistles:  there are links to donate to our podcast work at that site, as well as links to our swingin' Zazzle merch store,  our respective blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Kittehs! and much more. Many thanks once again to @theologop for building it all for us!

  • Remember when Texas Senator John Cornyn tried to blame courthouse shootings on "activist judges"? I sure do.

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    Friday Night Soother: tiger cubs!

    Friday Night Soother: tiger cubs!

    by digby

    I think we need some adorablw kittehs tonight:

    Four endangered Amur Tiger cubs at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have finally taken their first steps outside.

    The cubs, born June 23, were finally snapped stepping out as a family after mum, Naya, spent several days carrying them around in her mouth, one-by-one, to help them discover their surroundings. (ZooBorns shared photos of their first outing in a July feature: “Amur Tiger Mum Takes Cubs for First Outing”)

    Team leader, Donovan Glyn, said, “Seeing all four of these endangered tiger cubs out and about, playing in the grass together, is the perfect way for us to begin the summer here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. They are just as energetic and playful as one-month-old kittens would be, and we can’t wait to watch them learn and grow under their mum and dad’s watchful eyes over the next few months.”

    “Naya has been such a patient, dedicated mum, picking up each cub in her mouth, and giving them little one-on-one tours of the enclosure, to help them get to know their surroundings and build their confidence.”

    The cubs were born only 121 days after seven-year-old tigress, Naya, arrived at the UK’s largest Zoo and was introduced to male mate, Botzman, as part of the European Endangered Species breeding Programme (EEP) which works with zoos across the continent.

    Donovan Glyn continued, “There are only 500 Amur Tigers left in the wild, so we are delighted to have four incredible little Amur cubs here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. It’s great news for the breeding programme, and we know our visitors will be thrilled to see them for themselves and learn more about the importance of protecting endangered species like these.”

    The Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Thanks to the conservation efforts of organisations like ZSL (Zoological Society of London), which works with Amur Tigers in the Russian Far East, there are now an estimated 500 Amur Tigers left in the wild, ten times the number that were estimated to exist in the 1940s.


    What did Senators know and when did they know it?

    What did Senators know and when did they know it?

    by digby

    This seems ... important:

    Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, has reaped the political whirlwind in the 10 days since he proclaimed that Russian hackers had "penetrated" some of his state's county voting systems.

    The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, a Republican who is running against Nelson for his U.S. Senate seat this fall, has blasted his claim as irresponsible. The top Florida elections official, also a Republican, said he had seen no indication it's true. And The Washington Post weighed in Friday with a 2,717-word fact check that all but accused Nelson — without evidence — of making it up.

    However, three people familiar with the intelligence tell NBC News that there is a classified basis for Nelson's assertion, which he made at a public event after being given information from the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The extent and seriousness of the threat remains unclear, shrouded for reasons of national security.

    The episode illustrates the extent to which secrecy, politics and state-federal rivalries can stand in the way of a unified response to the threat from Russian attacks on a diffuse U.S. election system run by state and local officials. Through a spokesman, Nelson declined to comment.

    The government is legitimately worried that if they talk about penetration of he actual voting systems that nobody will ever accept he outcome of an election again.

    But what if it's true and the party that is benefiting from the penetration refuses to do anything about it?


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