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Mon May 04, 2015 at 07:00 AM PDT

TPP: The Fascism Issue

by Letsgetitdone

If the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement will, if implemented, and as I've argued elsewhere, result in the death of national and state sovereignty, constitutional separation of powers, and democracy, then what system and what principles will replace these things? Eric Zuesse answers that it will be Fascism. And implicitly, that we are going through an evolution from representative democracy to fascism and that trade deals like the TPP, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) mediate the transfer  “. . . of democratic national sovereignty to international fascist bodies that represent global corporate management. . . . ”

The motivation behind U.S. President Barack Obama’s trans-Pacific trade-deal TPP, and his trans-Atlantic trade-deal TTIP — the motivation behind both of these enormous international trade-deals — is the same, and Democratic U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are correct: it is not at all progressive. It is instead to transfer political power away from the public in a democracy, and for that power to go instead to the international plutocracy (i.e., to go as far away from any national democracy as is even possible to go).

This is to be done by switching the most fundamental thing of all: the global power-base itself. Instead of that power-base being democratic votes of the national publics, who elect their political representatives who determine the laws and regulations, that national democratic political system becomes instead the exact opposite: the global aristocratic stockholder votes of the international plutocracy who elect the corporate directors of international companies, who will, in their turn, then be selecting the members to the international-trade-panels which, in TPP and TTIP, will, in their turn, be determining the rules and enforcements regarding especially workers’ rights, product-safety, and the environment.

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I wrote a diary the other day that wandered all over the place and never really made a point.

I'm going to try to flesh this out a bit better here.

We have an economic system in this country made so wealthy people can take crumbs from the poor to increase the number next to their name. This is the opposite of an efficient system.

We can easily change this.

I believe the key is housing. If we can saturate the country with beautiful people oriented housing, we will enrich everyones social lives and destroy poverty and hunger.

If everyone is sheltered, food is easy to obtain. People could work for weeks a year to have enough to eat well, travel, and have generally fulfilling lives.

All we need to do is put enough housing on the ground without the useless private property rules. If anyone can just walkabout and find a dwelling space they enjoy, the rest is gravy. No children dying from cold. No sleepless nights for poor working mothers. Abusive mates would be easy to escape.

Working would become optional.

I'm retired, bored and wealthy. I have 700 dollars a month social security income with no housing costs. I can do anything I want. This makes me wealthy.

I'm going to start building human centered cheap developments which I think will enhance people lives. I'm working with a bank who is helping me get this all in place.

The houses will be beautiful smaller spaces with large social porches. Hardwood floors, Granite counters. Cars will be banned to an outside loop. The yards will be ample, with walkways and bike paths passing by people porches. This can't do anything but create larger circles of friends. Trees and grass instead of asphalt. I have people clamoring to move into these houses. We should have the first people in their homes by June.

The cost of these homes would be under 100,000.

I plan to sell these until we don't need any more cash, then keep going, blanketing the country with free housing.

I'm sure others will jump in and do the same if it looks like it's working, and it will.

The powerful evil such as the Kochs would cease to have any power over us. Government programs would not be needed.

When I can do anything the Kochs can afford to do, I am every bit as wealthy as they are.

There are some other aspects, less important.

We would all be truly equal finally.

Stronger social bonds would give everyone better support systems and improve general mental health and happiness.

This looks way too easy, but I can't find any flaws.

Everywhere I go, I read about the new strategy for Gay marriage or how not to let the right wing use the subject in elections. Or, how to get the religious to except gay marriage (an utterly ridiculous idea and waste of time) and the list of discussions and debates on the topic goes on and on. For the love of Grabthar's hammer please stop!

The right of marriage is settled law in the united states and protected under the 14Th amendment to the constitution of the united states. What anyone thinks, cares or believes has no standing in the argument. It is settled law.

Like always the citizens have allowed themselves to be trapped like a bug in a spiderweb of nonsense, lies, obfuscations, half truth, religious mumbo-jumbo and fancy, shiny courtroom theatrics.

The problem with the right to marry in the United States is a law enforcement one. You must demand your government enforce the laws and constitution of the land the same as they had done before. Kennedy forced Alabama Governor George Wallace to comply with federal court orders thwarting segregation then in June of 1963. Sure it took courage, brilliant footwork, but it was done as this can be done.

All you have to do Reader is stop playing the game and demand that your president enforce the law and everybody gets...married.


Mon May 04, 2015 at 06:26 AM PDT

Let's Cube Root... Massachusetts!

by Da Fireball

Here's a state that should make everybody happy.  It's the most populous state where you can make all of the districts blue with minimal tortuous borders.

Next week, we will begin looking at states with at least 15 cube root districts.  It is at this point where each district will get its own close-up image.  This will make each district much easier to discern.

It all begins again under the orange squiggle.

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Mon May 04, 2015 at 06:17 AM PDT

Wal-Mart Loves Food Stamps

by tlcpro

Wal-Mart Loves low wages and food stamps and here's why...

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Please keep tipping and recommending so as many people as possible will see this diary! We only have a day to accomplish our goal. THANK YOU!

Due to a situation far beyond our control, the Derby Day Party and Fundraiser for elenacarlena did not reach the goal we had set. Total amount collected is $220.00. The original diary is HERE if you would like to see how the party went.

Now Elena's situation is critical. She must make her rent payment of $750 TOMORROW and she is $530.00 short. I will start things off with $30.00 leaving only $500.00 to go. That can be 50 people sending $10.00 each! I know this Community can do that.

I know there have been many requests for help, all for very worthy causes, and stretching everyone to the limit; but I know we can do this one more time for Elena who is a valued member of our Community. Here is what JekyllnHyde wrote in the diary:

I am joining Most Awesome Nana and several others in the Community Fundraisers group in strongly supporting this community effort for elenacarlena.  Ever since she joined Daily Kos, Elena has been a strong and regular presence while participating very widely and quickly becoming a valued community member.  As an example of this commitment, we have worked closely together (along with JoanMar, 2thanks, Tortmaster, and others) behind the scenes for the past year in helping to finalize and post weekly diaries on police brutality and Medicaid expansion through the Support the Dream Defenders group.  As you know, she is also a regular diarist for the War on Women diary series.

Please help Elena through this difficult time for her as well as her beloved pooties and woozle.  On behalf of the entire CFs group, thank you.  JekyllnHyde

Everyone will WIN THE ROSES TODAY!

Here's How You Can Help Elena

If you have a PayPal account and have never used it to send money to anyone, it is really simple.

  • Go to
  • Click Send Money to Family and Friends.
  • Enter elenacarlena's email address (which is and amount you are sending. The sender's name is visible to the recipient.
  • As a reminder, you can also help by keeping this diary on the Rec List, republishing to your Daily Kos groups, linking to your Facebook pages, and helping to spread the word through Twitter.

Thank you for caring and your generous contribution.

You can receive all future postings by clicking this link for the Community Fundraisers Group. Then, click 'Follow' and that will make all postings show up in 'My Stream' of your Daily Kos page.

Thank you for reading, tipping, rec'ing, sharing! And donating, too!
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Mon May 04, 2015 at 06:00 AM PDT

GUS Monday 5-4-15 Open Thread

by Portia Elm

Hello Everyone!  

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or even just thinking of quitting, please join us! We kindly ask that politics be left outside. You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library (the archived version for now).

Want to make sure you never miss us? Follow (♥) the GUS tag to keep GUS in your Stream and easily find the link to the latest one. It's just that easy!

A message to ALL quitters (and would-be quitters): You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit. We won't give you a bad time or nag you. We consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

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8:27 AM PT (Jeff Singer): NY State Assembly: Tuesday brings us one of the strangest special elections we've ever seen. Johnny Longtorso gives us the rundown:

New York AD-43: This is an open Democratic seat in Brooklyn, taking in parts of Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Obama won this seat 93-7 but there's no Democratic nominee for this election, and it's a bit of an odd story as to why.

Guillermo Philpotts, a perennial candidate who ran for the State Senate in 2014 and finished third in the Democratic primary with a whopping 5 percent of the vote, was chosen as the nominee for the special election. Why was Philpotts selected over a more legitimate candidate? Apparently he managed to put his allies onto the local committee (there were ten members on the committee, and three of those had the same surname).

However, despite this cunning political move, Philpotts is apparently weaker on the administrative side of things, because he failed to file a certificate of nomination with the Board of Elections. Philpotts was thrown off the ballot, and the Democrats had no official nominee in the district.

That leaves us a four-way race. Shirley Patterson, a former school board member and Democratic district leader who lost the nomination to Philpotts, is on the Independence Party line. Diana Richardson, a former State Senate constituent affairs director, has the Green and Working Families lines.

Geoffrey Davis has his own "Love Yourself" ballot line. Davis is also a Democratic district leader for this district and the brother of the late Councilman James E. Davis. Davis ran for the council seat after his brother was killed by a political opponent in 2003, but he lost to none other than current New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Finally, Menachem Raitport is on the Republican and Conservative lines. Raitport ran for this seat in 2014 and got just 4 percent, so the GOP can't expect an upset even in this chaotic field. But it's anyone's guess as to which of the other three will prevail here.

9:50 AM PT (Jeff Singer): LA-Gov, Sen: After only recently ruling out his own bid gubernatorial bid, GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy is endorsing Sen. David Vitter. Kennedy is hoping that if Vitter becomes governor, he'll appoint Kennedy to his Senate seat, so this move comes as no surprise. However, Reps. John Fleming and Charles Boustany are also competing for Vitter's love, and there's no guarantee Vitter would choose any of these three men if he becomes governor.

While Vitter is the clear favorite to win this fall's gubernatorial race, he wouldn't be the first frontrunner to falter. The senator's chances of losing would increase if either Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne or Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle edges out Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the October jungle primary for the second runoff spot. While even a conservative Democrat like Edwards would have a very difficult time beating Vitter in this red state, Angelle or especially the relatively moderate Dardenne would have an easier time peeling off enough Republican voters to upset Vitter. Right now, polls indicate that a Vitter-Edwards runoff is the most likely outcome, but it's still too early to be sure.

If Vitter somehow loses, it's not clear if he'll turn around and run for re-election to the Senate in 2016. When asked, Vitter only said, "I’m not really focused on that right now. I’m only focused on this race for governor," which is pretty much what you'd expect him to say at this stage.

10:08 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MO-Gov: Yet another Republican is taking a look at this open seat race. State Sen. Bob Dixon's name has been floated, and he did not deny his interest. Dixon told that PoliticMo that he'll "have something to say to all Missourians soon," though he didn't give much information beyond that. Dixon, who hails from Springfield, has a relatively good relationship with labor, which could help in a general. But Dixon only starts with $102,000 cash-on-hand, and he'll need a lot more for what's expected to be a crowded and expensive primary.

10:35 AM PT (Jeff Singer): MD-08: The Democratic primary for this safely blue seat is about to get very crowded. Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez kicked off her campaign over the weekend, and she could stand out as the only Hispanic contender. However, Gutierrez has a reputation as a weak fundraiser, something that could hold her back in a seat located in the expensive Washington media market. Gutierrez does acknowledge her distaste for raising money, but says she is prepared to step it up. At 75, Gutierrez would be one of the oldest freshmen House members ever, though she wouldn't overtake Illinois Democrat James Bowler, who was elected in 1953 at the age of 78.

Gutierrez joins Del. Kumar Barve, state Sen. Jamie Raskin, and former Obama Administration aide Will Jawando in the primary, and it sounds like they're about to get more company. Former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin says she's "very close right now," and is expecting to announce in mid-May. Kathleen Matthews, an executive at Marriott and the wife of MSNBC talking head Chris Mathews, also sounds ready to jump in. Matthews tells Bethesda Magazine that sometime in the near future she "will be announcing my departure from Marriott to start up a campaign."

Dels. Ariana Kelly and Jeff Waldstreicher are also publicly mulling a bid. Bethesda Magazine tells us that Waldstreicher, a labor ally, is expected to finalize his plans by the end of the month. Waldstreicher and Gutierrez represent the same territory in the legislature (many Maryland state House seats elect three members), so they could cause problems for each other if they're both in. Kelly didn't offer a timeline for when she'll decide, though she acknowledged she "wouldn’t be the frontrunner in the field." But Kelly's Bethesda-based seat has a big cluster of primary voters, which could help her in a crowded race.

12:17 PM PT (Jeff Singer): Anchorage Mayor: Tuesday's runoff in Alaska's largest city has turned an incredibly nasty affair. Over the last week, the contest has revolved around whether Democrat Ethan Berkowitz once seriously said that fathers should be able to marry their sons, a sentence I never thought I'd ever write.

Here's the background on this bizarre matter. Anchorage Baptist Temple pastor Jerry Prevo claimed that Berkowitz supported father-son marriages on his radio show in October. Berkowitz's Republican rival Amy Demboski was asked about the matter on a radio show and rather than denounce it, she said it "would be interesting to hear" the recording. The station did not keep a copy of the show, but finally, Berkowitz's conservative co-host Bernadette Wilson came forth and announced that Berkowitz had seriously said that an incestous marriage would be justified during a debate about same-sex marriage. However, the station manager says that Berkowitz was clearly making the remarks out of frustration as "hyperbole."

Berkowitz first refused to dignify the accusations, and he's now saying that Wilson remembers the show wrong, and that he of course does "not support fathers and sons marrying." The matter has dominated the last week of the race and even popped up at a debate, where Demboski once again said that she thinks Berkowitz actually supports incest.

The entire situation has been ugly and has led third-place primary finisher Andrew Halcro to make a last-minute Berkowitz endorsement. But it's anyone's guess how this voters will interpret this whole mess. To complicate things further, Demboski has been denying accusations that she lied under oath during her divorce almost 20 years ago. The good news for Anchorage is that this nasty election is about to be over.

12:42 PM PT: FL-Sen: On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered its endorsement to Rep. Patrick Murphy, making him the third candidate to earn the group's formal backing this year. The committee also joins a long list of Murphy supporters, including several members of Congress, approximately half the Democrats in the state legislature, and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist.

The move might be aimed at dissuading Rep. Alan Grayson from pursuing a Senate bid of his own, but the wealthy Grayson, who has a big donor list and can also self-fund, isn't likely to be deterred by such a development. Indeed, his only response was to scoff:

"Florida Democratic voters choose our party nominee, not out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, D.C."
D.C.'s had a smoke-free workplace law in effect for almost a decade, so this Tammany-esque imagery is probably as alien to average folks as rotary phones and 8-tracks. Be that as it may, despite his characteristic brashness, Grayson is proceeding cautiously. He went on Fox News Radio on Friday to tell Alan Colmes he'll decide whether to run "in the next 30 days," and he recently informed Roll Call that he's "doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that."

So while Grayson may profess not to care about what the DSCC thinks, he evidently does care—somewhat surprisingly—about what the polling says. But there's a lot polls can't tell you, particularly because both Murphy and Grayson have limited name recognition, and that's where historical knowledge, pattern recognition, and intuition all come in. Most strategists believe the centrist Murphy would make the stronger general election candidate, while many progressive activists are convinced the outspoken Grayson would motivate voters better. It's clear which side the DSCC comes down on.

But more worrisome than the possibility that Democrats might put forward the weaker of two candidates is the prospect of a nasty primary sapping resources from the eventual nominee and damaging his reputation, making it that much harder for the party to pick up this open seat. Grayson has already publicly sniped at Murphy, so the idea that we might see a clean fight focused on the issues doesn't seem especially likely. That's why Murphy and the DSCC are still hoping that Grayson will stay out. Grayson has said he'll "probably" run, but who knows? Maybe he won't like what his polls have to say after all.

1:18 PM PT (Jeff Singer): IN-Sen: Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman did surprisingly well in the 2010 primary for this seat back when he was just a little-known state senator, and he sounds ready to give it another shot. Stutzman will make a "major announcement"on Saturday May 9, though he didn't say much beyond that. It sounds like he's in, though he wouldn't be the first would-be Senate candidate to pull the rug out from under us: Who knows, maybe his major announcement is that he's running for re-election, or introducing the American Free Freedom Act.

Right now, Eric Holcomb, a former state party head and former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Dan Coats, has the primary field to himself. A battle between the establishment friendly Holcomb and tea partying Stutzman would definitely be fun to watch, though other Republicans are eyeing the seat.

1:26 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NH-Sen: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A little while ago, Granite State tea party chieftain Ovide Lamontagne, who most recently served as the GOP's 2012 gubernatorial nominee, refused to rule out a primary campaign against Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Lamontagne's chances weren't good, but he could have forced Ayotte to waste resources and lurch to the right. Alas, a "source with knowledge of Lamontagne’s thinking" tells the Boston Globe that Lamontagne’s not interested. We haven't heard from Lamontagne himself but he'd probably be publicly contradicting the story if it weren't true.

1:39 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NY-01: Freshman Republican Lee Zeldin has just picked up his first credible Democratic opponent on this swingy eastern Long Island seat. Suffolk Planning Commission Chairman David Calone, a venture capitalist, quietly opened up a campaign committee a few weeks ago, and he tells the local publication innovateli that he's looking forwards to the campaign. Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn and former Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko are also looking at this seat, though they haven't said much about their plans.

Obama carried this seat by a 0.5 margin, and both sides will need to spend a ton of money to advertise in the New York media market. Long Island has been quite friendly to Republican incumbents, and ousting Zeldin won't be easy. Still, Democrat Tim Bishop held this seat for 12 years (albeit often by narrow margins) until questions about his ethics and the GOP wave dealt him a 54-46 defeat. If Team Blue is going to get this seat back, they probably need to do it in 2016 before Zeldin can become entrenched.

2:04 PM PT (Jeff Singer): Philadelphia Mayor: With only about two weeks to go before the May 19 Democratic primary, allies of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams are seriously stepping up their advertising presence. American Cities, a super PAC funded by wealthy people who share Williams support for charter schools and other elements of Michelle Rhee-esque education reform, has gone from spending $500,000 a week on ads to $800,000. Their new spot features a construction worker praising Williams for his work on the Diversity Apprenticeship Program, which he credits for changing his life.

American Cities has spent $3.2 million to date, while Williams' campaign has been off the air since mid-April. By contrast, two labor-funded groups backing primary co-frontrunner ex-Councilor Jim Kenney have spent $1.2 million so far. But Kenney has a new spot of his own, which is part of a $300,000 one-week buy. The ad features state Rep. Dwight Evans and Councilor Marian Tasco, two prominent Northwest Philadelphia African American politicians, portraying Kenney (who is white) as a compassionate man who is willing to do the hard things.

Ex-District Attorney Lynn Abraham doesn't have any major outside backers, and she's needed to make do with what she has. The Abraham campaign, which recently unveiled their first ad, says they'll be spending $175,000 for each of the next two weeks, and $200,000 for the final week of the contest.

2:07 PM PT (Jeff Singer): NY-01: Hat/Tip to BluntDiplomat for the Calone news.

2:14 PM PT: NY State Senate: We're having a party and everyone's indicted! On Monday, federal agents arrested Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam on charges of extortion, fraud, and soliciting bribes. The criminal complaint is sadly comical, as the younger Skelos embarrassingly tried to avoid detection like a two-bit thug from The Wire,  thinking he could avoid the authorities by using "burners" and FaceTime.

The arrests also mean that Skelos is the third Senate majority leader in a row (more or less, if you don't count Pedro Espada) to face corruption charges; Democrat Malcolm Smith and Republican Joe Bruno did as well (though Bruno's conviction was later tossed on appeal). It's very hard to keep track of all New York's scumbag lawmakers, though, so has very helpfully assembled this database of villainy, detailing which legislators have faced ethical or legal accusations since 2000. Including Skelos, the count is up to a stomach-churning 39 over the last decade-and-a-half.


Mon May 04, 2015 at 05:40 AM PDT

I love Bernie Sanders, but…

by HOGvol

I am afraid that he would be the best chance that the Republicans could have at winning the White House in 2016.

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Two men have been shot dead after opening fire outside of an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in Garland, Texas.  The exhibit was being held in the Curtis Culwell Center, where the shooters hit security guard Bruce Joiner.

The Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest was organized by non other than full time bigot and blogger Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.  The exhibit was organized by Pamela Geller in response to a Muslim event held earlier this year at the same venue which was meant to combat Islamophobia. A representative of the local Council of American Islamic Relations chapter spoke had this to say about Geller's event:

Alia Salem of the DFW Chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations says supports free speech. “We should have free speech, and nobody’s stopping her from doing this, go ahead, maybe there’ll be some Muslims entering this, who knows.”

But Salem says she hopes the Muslim Community will ignore this event. “While it is her right, it’s not really in good taste to be honest because it’s just a shameless attempt to get a reaction out of the Muslim Community, that’s how we view it. It’s not any attempt to promote free speech.”

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Mon May 04, 2015 at 05:36 AM PDT

45 years ago today

by aaraujo

The Kent State shootings (also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre)[2][3][4] occurred at Kent State University in the US city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.[5][6]

Some of the students who were shot had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign, which President Richard Nixon announced during a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.[7][8]

There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students,[9] and the event further affected public opinion—at an already socially contentious time—over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.[10]


Mon May 04, 2015 at 05:36 AM PDT

How Can You Steal a Byte?

by angryea

Sergey Aleynikov was a programmer for Goldman Sacks, one of the largest investment firms in the world. Aleynikov worked in the world of flash trading, the practice of making money on price differences that exist for portions of a second. Aleynikov was well compensated for his work but, like a lot of talented programmers, could leverage that talent to make even more money someplace else. The primary means of increasing your salary in this day and age seems to be to switch companies. Aleynikov, again, like most programmers, tried to take some of his work with him when he left. This is where things stopped being like other programmers. Aleynikov was arrested, convicted of theft in federal court, had the conviction thrown out, and was then partially convicted of illegal downloading in state court. This has obviously drawn a lot of attention within the tech fields with most people asking why this was a criminal case.

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