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‘Heroes and Villains’

by Odd Man Out
A reminder of why Paul McCartney was a major fan of Brian Wilson:

Worse than Richard J. Daley?

I’m referring to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the man who once dismissed progressive critics of “moderate” Democrats as “fucking retards.” Rahm helped put into place major restrictions on protesters in preparing for the G8 summit that was to be held in Chicago, perhaps to recreate the conditions that led to a police riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention. More here.

Define self-interest, please

By Odd Man Out

I remember reading Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas? a few years ago and feeling as perplexed as the author, whose book included a series of brave, convoluted attempts to explain why so many poor people vote for the politicians who are working to ensure they remain poor.

Yesterday, Digby helped shed light on the subject by linking to an interview of Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin.

Her summary of Robin’s remarks:

They believe that giving up their private power would be far more destructive than giving up political power. Sure, right wing politicians are all liars and cheats and do anything they can to hold on to their public power. That’s the gig. But to the true believers their central concern is losing the privilege that defines them. And it isn’t really about money, although that’s tangentially part of it. It’s about hierarchy, status and dominion.

Gang of 5 stripping away our rights

Worth repeating, from Robert Parry of Consortium News:

Last week, the five Republican partisans who control the U.S. Supreme Court were all about protecting American “liberties” against the threat of compulsory broccoli purchases. This week, they are defending the rights of prison guards to strip search a nun arrested in an anti-war protest or a black guy who got nabbed by mistake for not paying a fine that he had actually paid.

But the Court’s strip-search ruling on Monday was more about the future than the past. One could almost see the GOP Five rubbing their hands together at the prospect of mass strip searches of young men and women arrested for challenging corporate greed in Occupy protests. Perhaps the justices would like to take a page from Rush Limbaugh’s playbook and suggest the videos be posted online so they could watch.

“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the Republican majority.

Of course, the justices don’t expect that they and their powerful friends would ever be subjected to such humiliation. That’s more for the lesser beings – or those with lesser money – especially those who find themselves disproportionately tossed into America’s massive prison system: the poor, the minorities and the protesters.

The GOP Five’s 5-4 ruling was so extreme that it even caused the usually solicitous New York Times to note that “the procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a … brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also bar the procedures.”

Every day is going in the wrong direction
The doctor wants to give me more injections

By Odd Man Out

Tense and tight, “Connection” has lyrics that convey the rocker’s familiar lament, that life on the road, especially when you’re famous, will drive you crazy. The Stones sound extra-funky on this one — i.e., focused entirely playing as a unit. I picture them recording in a walk-in closet, elbowing each other. Richards’ guitar is so rude, it honks, and his vocal harmonies with Jagger add a convincing note of desperation.

Bush’s legacy: ‘black sites’

By Odd Man Out

George W. Bush is in semi-seclusion, presumably clearing brush. Dick Cheney has a new heart. But is there any way America can recover from the damage done to its reputation by these odious men and their gang of fellow war criminals? And what about the countries that Bush used to host his CIA-controlled “black sites?” From Juan Cole:

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk is now more or less admitting what has long been suspected: The Bush administration established a secret CIA prison in Poland and had Polish security officials help torture al-Qaeda suspects there.

These steps were unconstitutional in Poland on two grounds: first, high Polish officials surrendered sovereignty over Polish territory to the US Central Intelligence Agency. Second, torture is forbidden in Poland. In addition, it contravenes European Union conventions and treaties.

Poland had only escaped the grip of the Soviet Union in 1989, and so its democracy was a fledgling one. For the Bush administration to seduce its high officials into committing torture risked permanently marring its politics and undermining that democracy. Polish human rights workers have been deeply critical of Soviet-era torture, and to be put in the position of having to acknowledge this practice in their own country weakens their moral standing and besmirches the name of those tortured in the Stalinist era.

Waterboarding and extreme stress techniques are also illegal in US law and practice.

Coke cuts ties with ALEC

By Odd Man Out

Bad news for ALEC is good news for voters. You won’t hear anything about the sinister right-wing group in the mainstream press, but an encouraging story about it appeared yesterday in ThinkProgress:

Prompted by a petition campaign by the progressive advocacy group Color of Change, Coca-Cola has pulled its support from ALEC, a right-wing corporate-funded front group which has been pushing voter restriction efforts around the country…

Impressively, Coke’s retreat came just five hours after Color of Change announced its petition, which read: “ALEC has pushed voter ID laws which disenfranchise large numbers of Black voters. Along with the NRA, ALEC also pushed a bill based on Florida’s ‘shoot first’ law – which has shielded Trayvon Martin’s killer from justice – into two dozen states across the country.”

Less Trayvon, more Kim Kardashian!

There’s a good reason why the media ought to keep shining a light on the Trayvon Martin story — the man who killed Trayvon still hasn’t been arrested, despite a busload of evidence that suggests he should be. But now we’ve reached the inevitable point where the usual suspects, as it were, are complaining they’ve heard enough and want the media to to drop the story:

According to a recently released poll, a majority of Republicans and many whites want the media to stop talking about Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teen who was gunned down by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey found that 56 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of whites said that there had been “too much” coverage of Martin’s killing, compared with 25 percent of Democrats (including 33 percent of white Democrats) and 16 percent of African Americans who thought the media had gone too far.

The racial subtext of the story makes many people feel uncomfortable, as it should, given the fact that police in Sanford, FL, tried to close the book on the incident, as if they’d concluded the killer had acted within the law. As if they think police should handle this case they way they would have a half-century ago.


by Susie

Caroline no

Brian Wilson:

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