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The dirty game of politics played by gangsters with degrees cloaked in Brooks Brothers proper!

Bill (THE SORRY ASS RAPIST) Cosby

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Bill Cosby, in Deposition, Said He Used Fame and Drugs to Seduce Women

By GRAHAM BOWLEY and SYDNEY EMBER

 
He was not above seducing a young model by showing interest in her father’s cancer. He promised other women his mentorship and career advice before pushing them for sex acts. And he tried to use financial sleight of hand to keep his wife from finding out about his serial philandering.

Bill Cosby admitted to all of this and more over four days of intense questioning 10 years ago at a Philadelphia hotel, where he defended himself in a deposition for a lawsuit filed by a young woman who accused him of drugging and molesting her.

Even as Mr. Cosby denied he was a sexual predator who assaulted many women, he presented himself in the deposition as an unapologetic, cavalier playboy, someone who used a combination of fame, apparent concern and powerful sedatives in a calculated pursuit of young women — a profile at odds with the popular image he so long enjoyed, that of father figure and public moralist.

Cosby Legal and Publicity Teams Opt for Silence After Admission Is Released JULY 8, 2015
Bill Cosby: The Latest from His Accusers and DefendersJULY 8, 2015
In the last year more than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of raping or groping them, beginning in the mid-1960s.Bill Cosby Admission About Quaaludes Offers Accusers VindicationJULY 7, 2015
In the deposition, which Mr. Cosby has for years managed to keep private but was obtained by The New York Times, the entertainer comes across as alternately annoyed, mocking, occasionally charming and sometimes boastful, often blithely describing sexual encounters in graphic detail.

Document: Excerpts From Bill Cosby’s Deposition
He talked of the 19-year-old aspiring model who sent him her poem and ended up on his sofa, where, Mr. Cosby said, she pleasured him with lotion.

He spoke with casual disregard about ending a relationship with another model so he could pursue other women. “Moving on,” was his phrase.

He suggested he was skilled in picking up the nonverbal cues that signal a woman’s consent.

“I think I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them,” he said.

Through it all, his manner was largely one of casual indifference.

At one point in the first day of questioning, Dolores M. Troiani, the lawyer for the plaintiff in the case, Andrea Constand, a young woman who worked at Temple University as a basketball manager, seemed struck by Mr. Cosby’s jocular manner.

“I think you’re making light of a very serious situation,” she said, to which Mr. Cosby replied: “That may very well be.”

Interest in Mr. Cosby’s deposition grew this month when a federal judge unsealed a 62-page memorandum of law in the case, which had been settled in 2006. The memorandum contained excerpts from the deposition, including Mr. Cosby’s acknowledgment that he had obtained quaaludes as part of his effort to have sex with women.

The parties have been prohibited from releasing the memorandum because of a confidentiality clause that was part of the settlement agreement, but the deposition itself was never sealed. This month, Ms. Constand’s lawyer asked the court to lift the confidentiality clause so her client would be free to release the nearly 1,000-page deposition transcript. The Times later learned that the transcript was already publicly available through a court reporting service.

Mr. Cosby has never been charged with a crime and has repeatedly denied the accusations of sexual assault, now leveled by dozens of women. David Brokaw, Mr. Cosby’s publicist, did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday. Ms. Troiani declined to comment. In three suits, women who accused Mr. Cosby of sexual misconduct are pursuing civil claims against him. In addition, the Los Angeles police have said they are reviewing a complaint of a sexual nature against Mr. Cosby.
While Mr. Cosby described encounters with many women through the course of his deposition, it is through his long and detailed descriptions of his relationship with Ms. Constand, who is much younger, that Mr. Cosby’s attitudes, proclivities and approach to women are most clearly revealed. Ms. Constand was present for at least some of Mr. Cosby’s testimony in the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia.
An Interest Piqued

First spotting her at Temple University in the early 2000s, Mr. Cosby said he felt romantic interest immediately (“She’s good-looking”), and began a relationship that led, in his telling, to dinners and more.

Asked how he wooed her, Mr. Cosby, who has been married since 1964, responded: “Inviting her to my house, talking to her about personal situations dealing with her life, growth, education.”

He painted his relationship with Ms. Constand as one of mentor and mentee, casting himself in the role of an experienced guide and offering her the benefit of his contacts, fame and experience.

At times he described becoming frustrated after Ms. Constand failed to follow his advice, such as when he wanted her to pursue her interest in sports broadcasting by calling someone and she did not. “Here’s a mentor, Bill Cosby, who is in the business, Bill Cosby, who happens to know something about what to do and Andrea is not picking up on it,” he said.

Ms. Constand ultimately went to the police to complain of Mr. Cosby’s behavior, but in his telling, his seduction was one of persistence and patience.

Early on in his courtship, he arranged an intimate meal alone with her at his Pennsylvania home, complete with Cognac, dimmed lights and a fire, he said. At one point he led her to his back porch, out of sight from his chef. “I take her hair and I pull it back and I have her face like this,” he said. “And I’m talking to her …And I talked to her about relaxing, being strong. And I said to her, come in, meaning her body.”

But the two remained inches apart, he said, and he did not try to kiss her because he did not sense she wanted him to. Nevertheless, at the next dinner he said they had what he described as a “sexual moment,” short of intercourse. He described her afterward as having “a glow.”

Expounding on his philosophy about sex, Mr. Cosby said he tended to refrain from intercourse because he did not want women to fall in love with him. To him, he said, the act of sexual intercourse “is something that I feel the woman will succumb to more of a romance and more of a feeling, not love, but it’s deeper than a playful situation.” As far as he and Ms. Constand went, he said, they were “playing sex, we’re playing, petting, we’re playing.”

Was he in love with her? “No.”

Yet the association endured for a few years, until one night at his Pennsylvania home, when Ms. Constand said Mr. Cosby drugged and molested her.

Left to right, Rebecca Lynn Neal, Gloria Allred, a lawyer, and Beth Ferrier. Ms. Neal and Ms. Ferrier were witnesses in a 2005 lawsuit brought by Andrea Constand accusing Bill Cosby of sexual battery. Credit Frederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mr. Cosby said he gave her one and a half tablets of Benadryl to relieve stress, they kissed and had sexual contact. Her lawyer said she believed it was a much more powerful drug.
Some time later, after Ms. Constand had moved home to Canada, Mr. Cosby spoke with Ms. Constand’s mother on the telephone. The mother, he said, was upset about what her daughter said Mr. Cosby had done, describing the experience as “a mother’s nightmare.”

In the deposition, he said he was worried that Ms. Constand’s mother would think of him as a “dirty old man.”

During the call, Mr. Cosby told the deposing lawyers, he wanted Ms. Constand to tell her mother “about the orgasm” so that she would realize it was consensual.

“Tell your mother about the orgasm. Tell your mother how we talked,” he said he remembered thinking.

Subsequently, concerned that Ms. Constand and her mother might seek to embarrass him, he said he offered to help pay for Ms. Constand’s further education. Years earlier, he offered to reward another woman, Therese Serignese, whom he had met at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1976, with money as a bonus for good grades.

Hiding His Behavior

It is difficult to say to what extent Mr. Cosby’s wife, Camille, was aware of her husband’s womanizing, though it was certainly clear to her by 1997, when Mr. Cosby acknowledged an affair. Mrs. Cosby suggested at the time that there had been marital problems but they had put them behind them.
Still, in the deposition, Mr. Cosby, 78, described going to some lengths to hide his behavior, blocking a magazine article to avoid publicity and funneling money to one woman through his agent so “Mrs. Cosby” wouldn’t find out.

In the case of Ms. Constand, who never sought any funds, Mr. Cosby said he imagined his wife would have known he was helping with her education. But, he said, “My wife would not know it was because Andrea and I had had sex and that Andrea was now very, very upset and that she decided that she would like to go to school.”

While Mr. Cosby insisted the only drug he had given Ms. Constand was Benadryl, he was open about his access in the 1970s to quaaludes, a sedative also popular as a party drug.

Photo

Mr. Cosby performing in Florida in November. Credit Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
He said he obtained seven prescriptions for them over two to three years from a doctor in Los Angeles, ostensibly for a sore back but in reality to give to women.

He admitted to giving young women quaaludes at that time “the same as a person would say have a drink,” he said, but not without their knowledge.

Though he portrayed the drug-taking and sex as consensual, Mr. Cosby — when asked whether Ms. Serignese was in a position to consent to sexual intercourse after he gave her quaaludes in 1976 — said: “I don’t know.”

Joseph Cammarata, a lawyer for Ms. Serignese and two other women who are suing Mr. Cosby for defamation, said of the deposition: “This information is important because it sheds light on the private practices of a man who holds himself out as a public moralist.”

A Life of Wealth

During the questioning, Mr. Cosby cast himself as a sensitive and attentive supporter of Ms. Constand, though his tone changed when addressing Ms. Constand in the present tense.
Asked by Ms. Constand’s lawyer about how he felt when Ms. Constand cried during her own deposition, Mr. Cosby was unsparing: “I think Andrea is a liar and I know she’s a liar because I was there. I was there.”

And he could be dispassionate in recalling former relationships. With a woman named Beth Ferrier, a model he met in the 1980s, he recalled inquiring after her career and her father, who had died of cancer.

“Did you ask her those questions because you wanted to have sexual contact with her?” Ms. Troiani asked.

“Yes,” Mr. Cosby responded.

Still, he said he viewed himself as a good person, worthy of trust, and chivalrous in his desire to never tell others about the women with whom he had sex.

“I am a man, the only way you will hear about who I had sex with is from the person I had it with,” he said.
In some passages, Mr. Cosby offered a glimpse into a life long insulated by perks and wealth. Some idiosyncrasies are revealed, like his penchant for sweatpants (he had at least 100, he said), how he used the name Seymour Rapaport as an alias in the 1970s and 1980s when he traveled, and how many of his employees signed confidentiality agreements.

In the deposition, Mr. Cosby described sexual liaisons — he sometimes calls them rendezvous — with at least five women, and having a “romantic” interest in two more, in locations like Denver, Las Vegas and New York and Pennsylvania, in hotels or in one of his homes.

In the court case, 13 women came forward with anonymous sworn statements to support Ms. Constand, saying that they, too, had been molested in some way by Mr. Cosby. But they never had a chance to pursue their claims in court because, six months after the fourth and final day of his deposition, Mr. Cosby settled the case with Ms. Constand on undisclosed terms. His deposition was filed away, another document in a settled court case, until now.

 

 

© 2015, agentleman.

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Written by agentleman

July 19th, 2015 at 11:05 am

A Gentleman’s View

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The Activist

It starts like an itch. Something happens in our lives that causes us to question what we know and our understanding of it. We open our eyes, our minds in order to seek the truth we can not see. The more we discover, the hungrier we are for a deeper reckoning. But the world isn’t perfect, humans less so, and there is a lot of pain, suffering and deception going on. We have the burning desire to do more to stop the pain. We read, a lot. We start protesting, questioning. Our families labels us as being too sensitive, too negative, our friends start to pull away, our families and spouses reject us and our way of thinking. We are labeled as hippies, anarchists, angry kids, conspiracy theorists and terrorists. We are beaten by the police and mocked for our caring by the media in the news. Yet we can’t help ourselves, we are the cursed liberals the world warns about, those town criers who have become obsessed with spreading the truth. It becomes a very solitary journey for many are not obligated to participate and you don’t get an invite to this way of life, you can’t train for it, you see wrong hurt and automatically step up as life calls upon you from somewhere within your soul and the rough ride stays with you until your last breath feeling that with all you gave it still wasn’t enough to stop the pain and wishing for one more moment to step and say; Hey, What The Fuck Are You Doing, Stop That! You can’t do that…

 

I’ve been homeless, I’ve had no money: everything. But I believe in magic, and having a vision. The tough times made me a warrior. I work hard to regard all our fellow humans as equal as part of my mission. It takes courage, strength and power to do that.

ASKING NOT WHAT OUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR US, BUT WHAT WE CAN DO FOR OUR COUNTRY!

AGENTLEMAN

We are not against Capitalism and profit, but against its potential for abuse.

We are not against any religion, but against its manipulative use as a political weapon.

We are not against democracy, but declarations of not being patriotic when we disagree.

We are not against the democratic process unless the corporate world uses it against us.

We are not against the American Dream, but tired of being excluded from it.

We are not against those who have obtained wealth, but against those who would keep us from joining them.

We are not against defending this most grand country of ours, but the use of our military for corporate interests and most assuredly, against private armies.

We are not against national defense, we’re against spending on weapons of destruction, when our children need education, our infrastructure is falling apart and the quality of life in America deteriorates.

We are not against our beautiful America, but against the lost of the American ideal and dream that other countries in existence much longer have yet to achieve.

We are not against a strong America, we don’t believe that it can exist without respect for all who are American.

We are not against anyone making profits, but against making profits at the expense of and the detriment to, the health and well-being of American families no matter the composition.

We are not weak. We are not traitors. We are not unpatriotic. We are not elitist.

We are Democrats by way of the political process by choice.

We are proudly Liberals because we were taught caring for each other is an American ideal.

We are fiercely Progressive not for those came before, but all of those in the future yet to come this way.

This is our America as well and we will fight just as fiercely because we love America too!

 

 

© 2014 – 2015, agentleman.

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Written by agentleman

June 13th, 2014 at 8:28 am

Just A Crazy Old Coot!

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How the Latest Smear Campaign Against Bernie Sanders Collapsed Before It Started

The Vermont senator’s words were completely twisted. Here’s what he actually said.
By Zaid Jilani

 

 
This week, Bernie Sanders sat down with Vox.com for a lengthy interview on a variety of topics. One of the topics covered was the Vermont independent senator’s views on immigration. Sanders’ response to a question from Vox’s Ezra Klein about whether the United States should have completely “open borders” has caused quite a bit of controversy. Here’s the section in question:

KLEIN: You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing ….

SANDERS: Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.

KLEIN: Really?

SANDERS: Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. …

KLEIN: But it would make ….

SANDERS: Excuse me ….

KLEIN: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?

SANDERS: It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

The first blogger to pick up on this section and use it to bash Sanders was Vox’s on Dylan Matthews, a young writer with a history of engaging in poorly researched conjecture. He wrote a post attacking Sanders, tweeting it out under the curious line that the senator “doesn’t actually care about inequality” even though Sanders has spent much of his life fighting inequality in every dimension.

But the actual post is even stranger.

Matthews calls Sanders’ view “ugly” because it treats American “lives as more valuable than the lives of foreigners,” and says he’s “wrong about what the effects of an open-border policy would be on American workers.” Matthews cites a “Libertarian” website that claims the world GDP would increase between 50 to 150 percent and then a bunch of other random statistics to try to make the case that completely unlimited immigration would be positive for the United States.

At one point, he even throws in the example of Russian migration to Israel giving Israelis as a whole a higher standard of living. (He ignores that the influx caused such large social problems in Israel that the country sought billions in loans to assist it and caused a housing crisis that exacerbated the growth of settlements in Palestinian territory.)
The underyling point made by Klein and Matthews is also very strange: that the solution to global inequalities is for the United States and other rich countries to simply eliminate their borders and let everyone in. This ignores the problems that actually create global economic inequality: dysfunctional governing systems, exploitative supply chains and poor distribution of capital.

People don’t come to the United States because as soon as they land on its shores, they are granted riches. Historically, they come here for access to jobs. When the jobs don’t exist, they don’t come here. During the Great Recession, both documented and undocumented immigration fell sharply. One of the practical results of the North American Free Trade Agreement was the collapse of the Mexican agricultural industry, which was flooded with highly subsidized agribusiness from the United States. What actually happened was that migration to the United States from Mexico dramatically increased, as workers tried to find new jobs to the north.

By Matthews’ logic, it was good that NAFTA wiped out a section of the Mexican middle class, so they could risk their lives crossing a desert to come to the United States to be exploited for substandard-wage jobs rather than achieve the middle-class lifestyles they had in their own communities.

A number of other outlets joined in the pile-on after Matthews’ missive, including ThinkProgress. But what was most interesting was the confirmation of Sanders’ thesis that the idea of open borders is an ultra-right-wing Koch brothers idea. After he made his remarks, a number of right-libertarians wrote pieces slamming Sanders, including Daniel Bier of the so-called Foundation for Economic Education.

What’s being lost in all of the sniping at Sanders is his actual record on immigration. Sanders is a son of a Polish Jewish migrant, and has spoken in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and ending detention quotas for undocumented immigrants. He vocally supported President Obama’s immigration executive order and has called for going even further, such as including the parents of dreamers, putting him to the left of President Obama. Sanders voted in favor of 2013’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, the primary piece of legislation immigrant advocates support. In 2003, he had a zero percent rating from the main anti-immigrant advocacy group, FAIR.

Despite all of this, it appears Sanders is being slammed for admitting a core truth about immigration in America: today, the corporate elite are advocates for more immigration not because they care about the hard-working families who risk everything to come here but because they absolutely do want workers to exploit for lower wages. The challenge for progressives is to be able to conduct a fair and humane immigration policy that defends human rights while not simply doing the bidding of Corporate America.

“I don’t think there’s any presidential candidate, none, who thinks we should open up the borders,” explained Sanders at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce later this week.

That’s a level of nuance that may be lost on bloggers who were quick to criticize Sanders, but it’s one that working people in America and abroad understand. For Vox, however, nuance may not be the most profitable. Moiz Syed, who works at Wikimedia, pointed out on Twitter that Matthews’ hit piece on Sanders popped up alongside a sponsorship from Walmart.

Zaid Jilani

 

 

© 2015, agentleman.

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I Believe In Tomorrow

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We Need Optimists

 
MY wife, Ester, and I had just endured a difficult parent-teacher conference for one of our teenage children. It was a grades issue. The ride home was tense, until Ester broke the silence. “Think of it this way,” she said. “At least we know he’s not cheating.”

That’s an optimist. We need more optimism in America today — especially in our politics.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? At the personal level, optimism clearly seems superior. Psychologists find that optimists generally enjoy better physical health than pessimists, and a greater ability to cope with setbacks. Optimists are happier than pessimists, as a rule.
Arthur C. Brooks

On the other hand, optimism is not without cost. Research shows that optimists are more likely than pessimists to keep gambling after losing money. Optimism bias can be a contributing factor in car accidents, as drivers overrate their own abilities. Playing down the probability of disaster can lead us astray in other situations where assessing risk is vital, like choosing a profession or selecting a mate.

On one hand, rags-to-riches confidence has always drawn entrepreneurs and immigrants to our shores and captured the popular imagination. The American attitude that all will be well often amazes our European friends — and not always in a positive way. In The New York Times in 2003, a former adviser to the president of France derisively declared that, “The United States compensates for its shortsightedness, its tendency to improvise, with an altogether biblical self-assurance in its transcendent destiny.”

But at the same time, Americans have often been attracted to apocalyptic predictions. In 1988, for example, a former NASA engineer named Edgar C. Whisenant published a book titled “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.” Scoff if you want; it sold millions of copies. When 1988 came and went and the end times did not materialize, Mr. Whisenant updated his prediction to 1989. And then 1993 and 1994.

While the citizenry may vacillate, leaders generally have to select one disposition or the other. Pessimism arouses fear and anger, while optimism inspires hope. Hope can accompany fear in times of extraordinary sacrifice (such as war), but this is rare. As a practical matter, a leader must choose.

Look beneath the platitudes that every candidate recites, and you’ll find politicians on both sides. Among both liberals and conservatives, there have been true optimists — like Presidents Reagan and Clinton — who seemed to exude faith in and affection for the American people. In recent times, however, right and left have more often produced competing pessimists who insist that the country is going down the tubes, the citizens are being stepped on, and everyone ought to be taking up torches and pitchforks.

“This is the most important presidential election of our lifetimes,” we hear year after year. If the other side wins, we can practically expect a jackbooted thug and a knock in the night. I exaggerate, but only a little. Witness the extraordinary political negativity of the past three weeks from presidential candidates on both sides.
Why on earth would a politician choose pessimism? Because it seems the smarter bet for connecting with a sour public. After all, the wisecracking cynic and smirking hipster are certainly more emblematic of popular culture today than the cockeyed optimist.

And there is a tangible, growing mainstream depression about the future of the nation that seems ripe for politicians to tap into. You simply can’t find a survey or poll that doesn’t show this. For decades, for example, Gallup has asked a large sample of Americans their view of “the way things are going in our country.” Averaging each month’s results for the year 2000, 37 percent said they were dissatisfied. So far in 2015, that number is 69 percent. In 2014, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll revealed that 76 percent of Americans did not feel confident that “life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us.” This is 10 percentage points worse than the poll had ever recorded.

But we are paying a steep price for our politicians’ choosing the dark side. More than half of Americans said that our last presidential election was too negative, and complaints about the destructive, ad hominem discourse that dominates Washington have become a national cliché.

Furthermore, in taking the pessimism shortcut, our politicians are neglecting a major strategic advantage. Business studies identify optimism as a core trait of the most successful executives. And recently, social science has shown a big advantage for optimistic leaders. In 2013, for example, Dutch researchers published a study in The Leadership Quarterly showing that a positive, happy leader is judged to be 132 percent more effective than a dour, negative one.

A positive vision requires the hard work of winning over new friends, which means going where politicians have not been invited, and enduring less-than-adoring crowds. This is much harder than telling true believers what they already believe. But voters will reward candidates who have the talent and perseverance to do this. This isn’t wishful thinking or naïveté; just look to history.

Take the case of Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the political party that most Americans currently see as the more negative of the two. Conservatives revere Reagan, but frequently misremember why he was so phenomenally effective. It was not a result of raging against liberals or fighting against big government. Reagan’s success came from his sunny optimism.

Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign theme is an obvious example, but his optimism went much deeper, to his faith in Americans’ desire to fight for people. “Together, let us make this a new beginning. Let us make a commitment to care for the needy,” said Reagan at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit as he accepted the nomination of his party. “We have to move ahead, but we’re not going to leave anyone behind.”

My own analysis of this speech found that “people” is Reagan’s most frequently repeated word, uttered 38 times. When we add in all the specific people he is fighting for — “families,” “children,” “the needy” and so on — the number more than doubles.
Reagan was not a cheerful milquetoast. He was perfectly capable of a vigorous fight — just ask the Soviets. But he studiously avoided being grim about it. He was Wordsworth’s happy warrior, “Whose high endeavours are an inward light / That makes the path before him always bright.”
I was 16 years old when Reagan was first elected. If I could have voted, I certainly would not have voted for him. When I was growing up in Seattle, no one I knew could stand him. But his optimism had an effect on me. Despite all of my biases and influences, I wanted a leader with this optimistic attitude. Secretly, I was not sorry he won.

Reagan’s optimism should not be understood ideologically; it was simply about people and our potential. He possessed an unflinching belief that all people — the poor, children, the elderly — were human assets, waiting to be developed so they could earn their success.

In contrast, pessimists see people as liabilities to manage, as burdens or threats that we must minimize. This manifests itself on the political left when we construct welfare programs that fail to boost unemployed Americans back into the work force. On the right, it shows up in strains of anti-immigrant sentiment or throw-away-the-key criminal sentencing.

Millions of Americans are frustrated by the environment of competing pessimisms in Washington today. Some say it is a result of the fact that the parties have never been further apart ideologically. They hark back to better times when there was more overlap between Democrats and Republicans.

I disagree. Maximum progress would come not from convergence on an unsatisfying centrism, but from a true competition of optimistic visions for a better future. Research suggests that optimists can find solutions where pessimists do not. And while competing optimists may disagree, sometimes fiercely, they don’t mistake policy differences for a holy war.
But let’s say that competition does not occur. What happens if one side unilaterally breaks out of the current negative equilibrium? I predict it will see victory — especially if the other side doubles down on pessimism and division.

Naturally, I might be wrong. But I would offer a political version of Pascal’s wager to a politician who is of a naturally Churchillian or Reaganite disposition: Let’s say you lose an election because you were your positive and joyful self.

Hey, at least you weren’t cheating.

Arthur C. Brooks

© 2015, agentleman.

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Written by agentleman

July 30th, 2015 at 9:14 am

Posted in Politics

Monkey Say, Monkey Do!

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Donald Trump Is the Clown in Charge: Sorry, GOP, You Created Him, Now He’s the Face of Your Party

Donald Trump is loud, dumb, confident and independently funded. He is the monster born of Fox News and the GOP.
By Sean Illing

 

 

On Wednesday I wrote about the Republican nightmare that is Donald Trump and argued that Trump was a Frankenstein-like monster that they themselves created. It appears Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee, has just had his eureka moment regarding this problem. Or, perhaps more accurately, GOP donors have begun to sound the alarm bells.

According to this Washington Post story, Priebus reached out to Trump (quietly, of course) to urge him to “tone it down” a bit. Priebus and Republican financiers, the authors of the piece note, are concerned that Trump’s blend of bigotry and bombast “will set back the party’s efforts to rehabilitate its image and broaden its reach.” Particularly worrisome for party leaders is Trump’s immigration hysteria, which undermines the RNC’s efforts to garner more of the Hispanic vote.
(The New York Times then reported Trump’s side of the call, in which Priebus came off as less direct, and perhaps even a little intimidated by the man running near the top of the GOP polls.)

Trump really is the GOP’s worst nightmare: He’s loud, dumb, confident and independently funded. He isn’t becoming the face of the GOP – he is the face of the GOP. Trump’s political rise, it’s worth recalling, is neither an accident nor a mystery; it’s the inevitable result of a decades-long strategy to appeal to an increasingly white and nativist base. He’s a political monster born of the sordid union between Fox News and right-wing talk radio. Republicans have aligned themselves with these forces, and now they’re getting what they asked for – and then some.

Despite Priebus’ efforts to reign in Trump, it’s not clear that he – or Republicans in general – truly understand what’s happened to their party. This is suggested by some of the quotes in that Washington Post piece. “I think he’ll self-destruct relatively quickly. The dynamic, I think, will change very dramatically, and Trump will be yesterday’s news,” said former Republican Senator Robert F. Bennett.

Striking a similarly optimistic note, Steve Duprey, a RNC official from New Hampshire, said Trump’s “frustration with border enforcement is shared with lots of Americans, but I find his views on immigration to be contrary to what the party of Lincoln stands for.”

Reed Galen, a Republican power broker in California, sees Trump’s rise in the polls as loosely related to “an angst and anger, especially on immigration, that the other candidates have been unwilling or unable to harness.”

The implication here is that Trump doesn’t speak to something deep and fundamental to modern conservatism. Tom Rath, a Republican operative in New Hampshire, was even more sanguine about the Trump problem: “In a vacuum, it looks like something is happening here. I don’t think there is.”

It seems the only Republican willing to speak candidly about the situation was the one who did so anonymously. “He’s already done some damage, and it could be substantial going forward. He could be one of the reasons we lose. It’s that serious. There’s nothing we can do about it, and that’s what’s so scary,” said one GOP state party chairman.

The unidentified Republican, unsurprisingly, is closest to the truth. He acknowledged (however tacitly) what the others desperately want to ignore: Donald Trump is a symbol, a proper manifestation of the conservative zeitgeist. As such, he can’t and won’t be dismissed easily.

Absent in most of these observations is a sense of the underlying forces at work in the GOP. Republicans have yet to come to terms with the reality of what their party has become – and how it became that way. They believe that Trump is an outsider, an alien voice in an otherwise mainstream party. That’s a mistake. The man is polling second in national polls among Republican voters. He’s not a fringe figure. He represents the base of the party. Trump is merely mouthing the idiocies conservative Republicans wants to hear. The GOP, you might say, has a demand-side problem, one they are unwilling to face.

That nearly all of the GOP presidential candidates have been slow to condemn Trump should signal to the RNC that his views are welcomed in the party. These candidates are forced to tread lightly precisely because Trump is so popular, because his nonsense is resonating with Republican voters. Republican officials are operating under the assumption that Trump is a passing infatuation; that he’ll somehow fade into political nonexistence. That may well be true. But that won’t solve their problem. Trump is a symptom, after all. He exists because Republican voters want him to.

The GOP can distance themselves from Trump, but they can’t distance themselves from the barren brand of conservatism he represents, a conservatism that now defines their party. Trump, in other words, is the Republican Party. And discarding him won’t change that one bit.

Sean Illing

© 2015, agentleman.

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Written by agentleman

July 26th, 2015 at 8:42 am

Posted in Politics

They Are Beholden To Hillary

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Why Is the NY Times Basically Doing a Blackout on Bernie Sanders?

The New York Times’ Sanders coverage is intellectually dishonest.
By William Boardman

 

 

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent -Vermont) speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club

The front page story is about such issues as “work force anxieties,” “shrinking middle class,” “stagnant wages,” and a growing income gap at pre-Depression levels. The candidate who has been raising these issues longer and louder than any others is Bernie Sanders. Yet the New York Times story about these issues does not even mention Bernie Sanders, although it mentions others with less credibility.

That is the level of intellectual dishonesty actually achieved by the Times in its July 13 page one story headlined “Growth in the ‘Gig Economy’ Fuels Work Force Anxieties.” Two of the most relevant words excluded from the 1700-word story are “Bernie Sanders,” even though it includes two Republican and Hillary Clinton.

It’s intellectually dishonest to write about these issues without mentioning the Independent senator from Vermont now running for the Democratic nomination for president as a Democratic Socialist. It is also deceitful and would be journalistic malpractice for anyone purporting to practice actual journalism.

But the Times has long since ceased to be “the paper of record” in this country, which no longer has a paper (or any media) of record. The Times still serves, as it always has, as the voice of the establishment. That explains the paper’s “balanced” view here of the “gig economy” and the two generations of economic suffering it represents. Reporter Noam Scheiber’s anecdote-ridden story shimmers with an upper income bias, as befits any ambitious Times reporter looking with disdainful sympathy at lesser earners driven increasingly into jobs that are variously part-time, short-term, temporary, or freelance but almost universally more insecure and lower-paying than people could expect from the American economy 50 years ago.

Hillary Clinton takes on “the vision thing” in a Bushlike manner

Bernie Sanders has railed against such economic injustice for almost as long, but Scheiber and/or his editors lack the integrity to mention that, even when they quote a supporter of Hillary Clinton saying: “People know things are changing. They don’t feel like anyone has a handle on it. There’s a yearning for a political vision that addresses that.”

Well, yes, that seems to be true. That also seems to explain why Bernie Sanders continues to surge in the polls since declaring for president in May. Though Clinton still holds a formidable lead, it has been shrinking, and her total support has been shrinking for several months.

The Clinton supporter who spoke of vision, Neera Tanden of the Center of American Progress, also demonstrated the essential deceit required to turn Clinton into the desired visionary. She said, “Whether America will be America or not hinges on whether we have a downward spiral around wages.” That sort of sounds good until you break it down. Then it’s apparent it’s a necessary lie for the Clinton campaign. It’s a lie because it suggests the “downward spiral” is a future threat, not a 50-year reality. And it’s a necessary Clinton campaign fiction because Hillary Clinton has not been there for the 99% for most of her career as she amassed a reported fortune of some $300 million. Clinton needs to have an effective marketing campaign to persuade enough voters that she has this imaginary “vision,” as the Times noted obliquely:

On Monday [July 13], Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to give a speech outlining her vision for improving the economic fortunes of the middle class. Leading Republicans, like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, have framed their policy ideas as an attempt to solve economic insecurity and the erosion of middle-class incomes.

Nice touch by the Times, using the “vision” language of the candidate’s sales pitch. As it turned out, Clinton’s “economic fortunes” speech was a tortured balancing act promising some help to those with less while trying not to offend those with actual economic fortunes. This was the perfect point for an honest reporter to mention Bernie Sanders, who has spent his whole career deliberately offending “millionaires and billionaires” while calling for economic justice for the rest of America.

In the Times, reality turns out to be a variable to be manipulated

But the contrast between Clinton and Sanders was apparently too stark for the Times, and too unflattering to Clinton, who has no record showing her having the courage of her convictions, or even of having identifiable convictions. Instead, the Times refers to two establishment-friendly Republicans whose economic views are less just than Clinton’s, but who have similar marketing campaigns for their “visions.” Bush and Rubio aren’t even the current leading contenders for the Republican nomination for president, even though they pose no threat to the present oligarchic status quo.

In recent polling published July 14, Bush was second with 14% and Rubio was fifth with 5% in a nine-candidate field. Tellingly, the Times omitted the leader and two others ahead of Rubio. Running first, with 17%, was Donald Trump. Scott Walker at 8% was third and Ted Cruz at 6% was fourth. The Times bias among Republicans seems pretty clear, albeit unstated.
The Times bias among Democrats is stark. The Times presents a picture in which Clinton has no opposition, even though Sanders at 20% or more is polling better in his chosen party than any Republican in the Republican Party. In polling published July 10, Clinton is at 55%, Sanders at 24%. Tied for third, with 8%, are Joe Biden and Undecided. Clinton still leads by 30-plus points, but when Sanders entered the race on May 26, her lead was 50-plus points.

Whatever those numbers may mean, and however they may change, they were a present reality that the Times chose to ignore in order to present a false reality.

In another slippery paragraph, Scheiber falsifies reality in a subtler way. Discussing the non-job jobs of the “gig economy,” he writes:

The decades-long shift to these more flexible workplace arrangements, the venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and the labor leader David Rolf argue in the latest issue of Democracy Journal, is a “transformation that promises new efficiencies and greater flexibility for ‘employers’ and ‘employees’ alike, but which threatens to undermine the very foundation upon which middle-class America was built.”

Is it an existential crisis if you’re a millionaire or billionaire?

Then there’s no more about this, despite the threat to “the very foundation” of once-basic American values. It’s as if the Times is assuring its readers: never mind, these are just “flexible workplace arrangements,” not a half century business policy to take money and peace of mind from millions of American families. You’d never know from the Times reference that the article in Democracy Journal begins by describing a very different reality:

The American middle class is facing an existential crisis. For more than three decades, declining wages, fraying benefits, and the rising costs of education, housing, and other essentials have stressed and squeezed middle-class Americans. But by far the biggest threat to middle-class workers – and to our economy as a whole – comes from the changing nature of employment itself.

Gone is the era of the lifetime career, let alone the lifelong job and the economic security that came with it, having been replaced by a new economy intent on recasting full-time employees into contractors, vendors, and temporary workers. It is an economic transformation that promises new efficiencies and greater flexibility for “employers” and “employees” alike, but which threatens to undermine the very foundation upon which middle-class America was built. And if the American middle class crumbles, so will an American economy that relies on consumer spending for 70 percent of its activity, and on a diverse and inclusive workforce for 100 percent of the innovation that drives all future prosperity.

The dilemma for the Times (and most mainstream media) is that if the “existential crisis” is as real as the vast evidence supporting it, then there’s only one candidate in the race facing reality, and it’s not Hillary Clinton. It’s Bernie Sanders. But he’s an outsider challenging longstanding establishment policy carried out with remarkable consistency by both major parties for 50 years. Or, as Hanauer and Rolf put it more clearly and bluntly than the mystifiers at the Times will allow:

This crisis is not unfolding in a vacuum. For more than 30 years, the Democratic Party has suffered from a crisis of identity, leadership, and vision on issues of political economy that has left it unable to either articulate or defend the true interests of the middle class. Democrats might tinker around the edges, arguing for more economic justice and fairness, but for the most part they have largely accepted, or at least failed to counter, the fictitious trickle-down explanation of what growth is (higher profits) and where it comes from (lower taxes and less regulation). And so, through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, corporate America has seen less regulation, lower taxes, and higher profits, while middle-class America has gotten the shaft.
The rest of this long article is a devastating critique of the present American economic order – or as many experience it, economic disorder without reliable quality, accountability, or fairness. You wouldn’t know it from the Times, but the recommendations from Hanauer and Rolf overlap significantly with the Sanders Economic Agenda published December 2014. Nor would you know from the Times that Nick Hanauer, a billionaire by way of Amazon.com, is at least a philosophical supporter of Bernie Sanders. One of Hanauer’s post comments is: “The business lobby has been resisting labor standards since child labor. Overtime is no different.” (He posted the Times article with a cryptic “Very interesting” comment.)

Clinton bobs and weaves and delivers ringing ambivalence

On July 14, the Times covered Clinton’s economic speech on page 13, not page one, but still managed to give it a pimping-for-Hillary headline: “Clinton Offers Her Vision of a ‘Fairness Economy’ to Close the Income Gap” even though the paper reported no evidence of anything like an actual “vision.” In essence, Clinton said she’d like to see things stay pretty much the same, just not quite so bad for so many.

According to Times reporter Amy Chozick, “incomes for the vast majority of Americans whose wages have remained virtually stagnant for 15 years,” which gets the time-frame wrong by 35 years. This error is consistent with her reporting the “widespread feeling that the economic recovery has not benefited large parts of the population” [emphasis added], which is not a feeling at all, but demonstrable fact. Then Chozick offers this false choice as a central challenge for the Clinton campaign: “… devising an agenda that addresses income inequality without vilifying the wealthy….”

This is the Times elitist zeitgeist showing through. First, the issue is not just “income inequality” but the staggering, growing “wealth disparity” – which is best left unmentioned. As far as “income inequality” goes, vilification is irrelevant. The simple solution is to tax large incomes. The wealthy may “feel” that as vilification, but it’s just economic balancing. And the Times approvingly, but falsely, quotes Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, who advises Clinton, saying: “the speech showed a clear understanding that our economy is not working for most Americans” and that “we need to fundamentally rewrite the rules.” The false part is that Clinton has never come close to seeking a fundamental revision of any rules. Only Sanders does that. And the Times made clear that Clinton “did not embrace the fiery populism of Senator Bernie Sanders…. And she stopped short of endorsing policies championed by Mr. Sanders and others in the liberal wing of the party….”

Times sets up straw man argument, then defeats its own unreality

Also on July 14, on page 3, the Times ran a denigrating piece about Sanders, in which Nate Cohn snidely and dismissively ridicules Sanders’ chances of winning anything. His argument centers on the past losses of centrist liberals like Howard Dean and Bill Bradley. At the same time, Cohn ignores the substance as well as the style of the Sanders campaign, its apparent growing appeal to voters, and the distinction that Sanders makes: that his democratic socialism in not ideology but about class-based justice. As Sanders put it: “I’m not a liberal. Never have been. I’m a progressive who mostly focuses on the working and middle class.”

Clinton criticized Republicans for their “trickle down” economic theories, which is fine as far as it goes. With Clinton, it doesn’t seem to go very far. What is her touted “profit-sharing” but a form of “trickle down” economics? Sharing profits is a manageable shibboleth. It’s not sharing ownership.

Trickle down is also a way to describe the infusion of chemo treatment to fight cancer. Current American economics are a form of economic cancer for the majority of Americans. With human cancer, an infusion is frequently blocked by an “upstream occlusion.” Treatment continues when the upstream occlusion is cleared. The American economy has suffered from an upstream occlusion for half a century. Clinton has benefitted greatly from this blockage of treatment for the country’s economic cancer. So far she has shown no sign of unblocking any cure.

Bernie Sanders has always been all about serious treatment for a sick economy. Bernie Sander is getting to be a bigger and bigger elephant in the room where denial of the cancer remains powerful. Eventually perhaps the Times and the rest of mainstream media will begin to talk about him honestly. But they are all part of the cancerous system and benefit from it. So perhaps a more radical infusion will come through other channels.

 

 

© 2015, agentleman.

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Written by agentleman

July 19th, 2015 at 10:03 am

Posted in Politics

White Males Imagine They Are The Only Humans!

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“Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black” – Tim Wise

 

 

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure – the ones who are driving the action – we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on freerepublic.com last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise

 

 

© 2015, agentleman.

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Written by agentleman

July 18th, 2015 at 7:05 am

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