The terrorists have won.

Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:38 By: Tom Swiss

A nation scared by the sound of applause, seeing phantom threats everywhere.

The terrorists have won. Soaked in its own fear sweat, the nation can't even wait in line to board a plane without suffering a nervous breakdown.

Scenes From the Terrifying, Already Forgotten JFK Airport Shooting That Wasn’t (Daily Intelligencer)

When the first stampede began, my plane had just landed. It started, apparently, with a group of passengers awaiting departure in John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal 8 cheering Usain Bolt’s superhuman 100-meter dash. The applause sounded like gunfire, somehow, or to someone; really, it only takes one. According to some reports, one woman screamed that she saw a gun. The cascading effect was easier to figure: When people started running, a man I met later on the tarmac said, they plowed through the metal poles strung throughout the terminal to organize lines, and the metal clacking on the tile floors sounded like gunfire. Because the clacking was caused by the crowd, wherever you were and however far you’d run already, it was always right around you.


There was no “they.” There was not even a “he,” no armed person turning on a crowd. But what happened at JFK last night was, in every respect but the violence, a mass shooting. The fact that there was no attack at the center of it was both the weirdest and the scariest part — that an institution whose size and location and budget should make it a fortress, in a country that has spent 15 years focused compulsively on securing its airports, in a city with a terrifyingly competent anti-terror police unit, could be transformed into a scene of utter bedlam, stretching out from all eight terminals across the tarmac and onto the adjacent highways, by the whisper of a threat.

Aetna quits Obamacare exchanges

Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:28 By: Tom Swiss

This will leave many people with only one insurer to choose from in the so-called "marketplace", which will surely lead to large rate increases. But thanks to the mandate -- something essentially written into the bill by the industry -- people have little choice but to fork it over and keep enriching insurers. It's a great deal for the industry, a lousy deal for most Americans.

Insurance Giant Aetna Walks From Obamacare Exchanges, Hundreds of Thousands of Americans, Amid Antitrust Dispute » THE DISTRICT SENTINEL news co-op (THE DISTRICT SENTINEL news co-op)

Aetna, one of the country’s largest health insurance company, said on Monday that in 2017 it will stop offering individual plans through eleven states’ Affordable Care Act exchanges. States impacted by the decision include Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona.

About 838,000 people are currently insured through Aetna’s individual plans sold on ACA state exchanges. Roughly 80 percent of them will have to find new providers or buy Aetna coverage sold outside of the exchanges, according to Bloomberg.

The news service noted that Aetna’s withdrawal “raises the prospect that some consumers will only have one insurer to choose from when they buy 2017 coverage” through Obamacare portals.

Threat of a President Trump should inspire the end of the imperial presidency

Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2016 - 11:58 By: Tom Swiss

Over the past few decades the American Presidency has accumulated more and more power, making effectively true Nixon's famous claim that "if the President does it, it's not illegal." It's been a bipartisan effort, and the disinterest by both parties in reigning it in is further demonstration why the top priority this year is to break open the two-party system. In the meantime, though, maybe we should use the specter of a President Trump (though that seems more remote today, there are still months to go before the election) to motivate reform.

End the Imperial Presidency Before It's Too Late (The Atlantic)

While writing or sharing articles that compare Trump to Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco, few if any have called on Obama or Congress to act now “to tyrant-proof the White House.” However much they fear Trump, however rhetorically maximalist they are in warning against his elevation, even the prospect of him controlling the entire apparatus of the national security state is not enough to cause them to rethink their reckless embrace of what Gene Healy calls “The Cult of the Presidency,” a centrist religion that persisted across the Bush administration’s torture chambers and the Obama administration’s unlawful War in Libya.

With a reality-TV bully is on the doorstep of the White House, still they hesitate to urge reform to a branch of government they’ve long regarded as more than co-equal.

They needn’t wait for the Nixon-era abuses to replay themselves as farce or worse to change course. Their inaction is irresponsible....

Dems give former CIA chief Panetta the stage, turn off lights on protesters

Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2016 - 14:40 By: Tom Swiss

Nothing shows your progressive, pro-peace bona fides like having the former CIA director and Secretary of Defense, a guy at the heart of your drone war crimes program, give a speech at your convention -- and then turning out the lights on protesters.

Panetta's Trump attack thrown off course (TheHill)

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta harshly condemned Donald Trump, but his speech was overtaken by protesters at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.

Panetta called Donald Trump’s remarks about Russia “inconceivable” in a scathing primetime address.


But his speech was interrupted by sustained chants of "no more war." The chants came the delegations of Oregon and Washington, two states won by Bernie Sanders.

Eventually, other delegates drowned them out with chants of “USA.”

But Panetta appeared rattled by the interruptions and unsure how to proceed. As Panetta continued to speak, the lights were dimmed over the sections of Sanders supporters, an apparent effort to silence them.

Cornel West switches to Stein after Sanders backs "neoliberal disaster" Clinton

Posted on: Sun, 07/24/2016 - 10:48 By: Tom Swiss

Cornel West is ahead of the curve as usual, one of the most insightful and courageous thinkers on the scene today. (I don't agree with him on everything but he's always worth listening to.) In the primaries he was a strong voice for Sanders, but now that Sanders has caved West is backing the Green Party's Jill Stein:

Cornel West: Why I Endorse the Green Party’s Jill Stein Over ‘Neoliberal Disaster’ Hillary Clinton (Truthdig)

A neoliberal disaster is one who generates a mass incarceration regime, who deregulates banks and markets, who promotes chaos of regime change in Libya, supports military coups in Honduras, undermines some of the magnificent efforts in Haiti of working people, and so forth. That’s the record of Hillary Clinton. So there was no way—when my dear brother, who I love very deeply, Bernie Sanders said she will make an outstanding president, I said, "Oh, I disagree with my brother. I think she’ll—I don’t think she’ll make an outstanding president at all." She’s a militarist. She’s a hawk. She could take us into war with Russia. She could take us into war with Iran.


And once my dear brother moved into his endorsement, his strong endorsement of the neoliberal disaster that Sister Hillary represents, there was no way that I could stay with Bernie Sanders any longer, had to break with the two-party system. The duopoly has to come to an end. I was hoping we could bring the neoliberal era to a close, because a year ago, populist, Bernie Sanders; neofascist with Trump, or neoliberalism limps on with Hillary Clinton. Right now the Democratic Party still run by big corporations, big lobbyists and so forth, from AIPAC to a host of other lobbyists of big money, and it looks like they want to hold on for dear life. And it’s a sad thing to see, because the country is having a nervous breakdown. And you just hope that there can be enough people with compassion and courage to hold onto justice, keep the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Edward Said and Dorothy Day alive.

American cops murder another black man: Philando Castile

Posted on: Thu, 07/07/2016 - 10:39 By: Tom Swiss

It's going to be a long summer.

Remember, the police are not here to protect you. The police are here to enforce the status quo.

Minnesota Police Shooting’s Aftermath Is Captured in Gruesome Video (

The woman began by calmly narrating what was happening as she trained the camera on Mr. Castile, whom she described as her boyfriend, and on at least one officer who was pointing a gun through the driver’s side window.

“Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him,” she said. “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”
Continue reading the main story

The woman’s daughter, who was in the back seat, appears several times in the video. Near the end of the 10-minute clip, as the two are sitting in the back of a police car, she comforts her mother, saying, “It’s O.K., Mommy. It’s O.K. I’m right here with you.”


Family members demanded justice for Mr. Castile during an interview on CNN early Thursday. Mr. Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, said police officers who were meant to protect Americans had instead become “our executioners and judges and murderers.”

NATO poking Russia, provoking WWIII; media silent.

Posted on: Thu, 07/07/2016 - 09:20 By: Tom Swiss

Hey folks, finally some good news: maybe World War III will end human civilization before the elections and we won't have to have to face either a Trump or a Clinton II presidency.

War With Russia Without Public Debate? (The Nation)

Cohen thinks this worst-case scenario cannot be ruled out, for several reasons. The NATO build up is not episodic but intended to grow and be permanent, and be ratified at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July. No such hostile forces have amassed on Russia’s Western frontiers—now from the Baltic to the Black Sea—since the Nazi German invasion in 1941....The only explanation given by the US-led NATO is “Putin’s aggression” in Ukraine, but that was more than two years ago. (Claims that he is now menacing the small Baltic states and Poland are clearly without any basis in fact.) Not surprisingly, Cohen reports, Moscow is reinforcing its own conventional and strategic (probably nuclear) forces on its Western territories, bringing the two powers to a Cuban missile crisis–like confrontation. Even leaving aside accidental military acts, there are many other potential tripwires, from Ukraine and Turkey to Syria.

New video dispels any doubt Alton Sterling was murdered by Baton Rouge cops

Posted on: Wed, 07/06/2016 - 22:59 By: Tom Swiss

These cops need to be in jail, now. The cops who invaded Muflahi's store and stole the surveillance footage need to be in jail, now. Any actual human beings who might happen to be in the Baton Rouge PD need to go on strike until that happens.

But it won't. They'll get away with it. And the problem will build until we have a for-real honest-to-goodness violent revolution on out hands. I'm not advocating, I'm predicting the obvious

Also, I want everyone who's calling for more and stronger gun laws to think really hard about the consequences of that. Sterling got a gun to protect himself after a friend was mugged, but he wasn't legally permitted to have one because of prior convictions. It was an illegal gun. When you tell cops, "Go get illegal guns off the streets! Make that a top priority!" -- well, friends, this is how that happens. Is that really what you want? Or do you want cops to leave people who aren't bothering anyone, alone?

New Video Emerges of Alton Sterling Being Killed by Baton Rouge Police (The Daily Beast)

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was standing in the parking lot selling CDs as he had for years when two white cops arrived on Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning he was dead and protesters were in the city’s streets. Calls erupted from Congress and the NAACP for an independent investigation into the shooting, which the Justice Department announced within hours.

Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake were reportedly responding to a 911 call about a man threatening someone with a gun before they arrived, but Muflahti said no one was waving a gun, certainly not Sterling.

We do not have "too much democracy" -- in fact rather the opposite.

Posted on: Mon, 06/27/2016 - 20:53 By: Tom Swiss

Matt Taibbi knocks it out of the park here, demolishing the argument that the Brexit vote and the rise of Trump reflect "too much democracy" and we need some expert philosopher-kings to save us.

See also the piece by Roslyn Fuller about Athenian democracy that he mentioned, it is a refreshing look at the Roman rot at the heart of American politics and why we need more, not less, democracy to drive it out -- as she writes, "The constant suppression of societal dissatisfaction, rather than dealing with people’s grievances as they arise is what creates the Trumps among us..

The Reaction to Brexit Is the Reason Brexit Happened (Rolling Stone)

Were I British, I'd probably have voted to Remain. But it's not hard to understand being pissed off at being subject to unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels. Nor is it hard to imagine the post-Brexit backlash confirming every suspicion you might have about the people who run the EU.

Imagine having pundits and professors suggest you should have your voting rights curtailed because you voted Leave. Now imagine these same people are calling voters like you "children," and castigating you for being insufficiently appreciative of, say, the joys of submitting to a European Supreme Court that claims primacy over the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights.

The overall message in every case is the same: Let us handle things.

But whatever, let's assume that the Brexit voters, like Trump voters, are wrong, ignorant, dangerous and unjustified.

Even stipulating to that, the reaction to both Brexit and Trump reveals a problem potentially more serious than either Brexit or the Trump campaign. It's become perilously fashionable all over the Western world to reach for non-democratic solutions whenever society drifts in a direction people don't like. Here in America the problem is snowballing on both the right and the left.


I don't buy it. My admittedly primitive understanding of democracy is that we're supposed to move toward it, not away from it, in a moment of crisis.

It doesn't mean much to be against torture until the moment when you're most tempted to resort to it, or to have faith in voting until the result of a particular vote really bothers you. If you think there's ever such a thing as "too much democracy," you probably never believed in it in the first place. And even low-Information voters can sense it.

TN Congressional candidate: "Make America White Again".

Posted on: Thu, 06/23/2016 - 15:36 By: Tom Swiss

From the "I don't want to live on this planet any more" department: Rick Tyler is running as an independent candidate for Congress in Polk County, Tennessee, with an...interesting...slogan on his billboard

'Make America White Again': Tenn. congressional candidate's billboard ignites uproar (

The billboard of a Tennessee restaurant owner running for Congress reading "Make America White Again" has drawn criticism from Polk County residents.


The website says the billboard on Highway 411 could "make a major splash:"

"The Make America White Again billboard advertisement will cut to the very core and marrow of what plagues us as a nation. As Anne Coulter so effectively elucidates in her book, Adios America, the overhaul of America's immigration law in the 1960's has placed us on an inevitable course of demise and destruction. Yes the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny the white American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole."

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