8 February 2016

0010 by Jeff Hess


8 February 2016


0005 by Jeff Hess

iowa 160202

From The Guardian:

With more than 99% of the precinct results in, Clinton led 49.9% to 49.5% over Sanders after seeing an apparently comfortable lead slip. The Associated Press and multiple outlets said the race was simply too close to call.

Both candidates will now move on to New Hampshire buoyed up, Clinton with a “sigh of relief” that her bid to be the first female president of the United States is alive, and Sanders believing that his revolution against the “billionaire classes” truly began in the snowy cornfields of Iowa.

With half of the results in across the rural midwest state, Clinton appeared to be easing to victory, three points up on the Vermont senator, whose relatively ramshackle campaign seemed to be no match for her mighty political machine.

But as the night wore on, Clinton’s lead shrank to two and then one point, until she was locked in a virtual tie with the 74-year-old whose passion has ignited a fervour among young Americans.

Appearing onstage in Des Moines before the final tally arrived, Clinton hailed “a contest of ideas” and appeared battle-ready for the fight of her political life.

She congratulated her opponent, saying: “I am excited about really getting into the debate with Senator Sanders about the best way forward to fight for us in America.”

The democratic socialist, though, had clearly stolen the momentum heading into the New Hampshire primary on 9 February – and a prolonged fight appears inevitable, a far cry from what had been envisaged as a graceful procession toward the nomination for Clinton.

We are finally revolted enough, the political revolution has begun.

Candidate Ronald Reagan’s morning in America turned into a Republican nightmare.
Bernie Sanders is looking for the America they trashed.

Get your Bernie Sanders Volunteer Organizing Toolkit today. I did.
Find a local event…

I just finished reading the reissue of Bernie Sanders 1996 campaign biography Outsider in the (White) House. The book illustrates again and again why Bernie continues to fire up Americans sick and tired of holding their noses when they vote for the lesser of two evils.

Is Bernie Sanders a Wizard?

Read more about Bernie on HCWW… Watch Bernie TV… Read Democracy Daily
bernie store

As of this morning, 29 January, I have given Bernie $450. How about you?

8 February 2016


0000 by Jeff Hess

top of mind

End Racism in America… Stop Global Warming… Free Raif Badawi…

8 February 2016


0300 by Jeff Hess

7 February 2016


1600 by Roldo Bartimole

It’s another easy tax hike the Plain Dealer can cheerlead. And push it onto ordinary people. They do it all the time. Thoughtlessly.

They’ll tell Clevelanders that they won’t be paying the tax. Ha!

Suburbanites will pay it. As if all people in the suburbs had excess resources ready to give to whatever new or extended tax is desired. As if costs aren’t passed on in unseen ways. As if others won’t follow Cleveland’s lead.

Have they examined public spending? No. Don’t expect it either.

Have they accepted that 87 percent would not be paid by residents? Of course. Politicians have said so. Who is more believable?

It’s bad, knee-jerk, dishonest journalism.

And it’s worse government policy.

It is happening with incredible consistency. Tax after tax.

—When it came to welfare for sports, the solution was the same. Go after the same taxpayers with the same regressive tax. So we extended the sin tax for 20 years, longer than the original or its first extension. Now a 45 year regressive tax.

—When it came to the arts, the solution was the same. Go with another regressive tax for 10 years. That’s 20 long years of tens of millions of tax dollars. So what? Only a few pay it. Smokers.

The Pee Dee backed both taxes with gleeful enthusiasm. You must do it, they Continue Reading »

7 February 2016


0900 by Jeff Hess

My government once trusted me around nuclear weapons. Granted, they were small, only a few kilotons, not the city busters we really worry about, but still, they were fully functional nuclear missiles. The U.S. Navy did so because of an interlocking web of safeguards any reasonable intelligent individual could have circumvented.

Those safeguards ultimately depended upon a belief that I, and those who worked with me, weren’t crazy or evil. We weren’t and nothing happened. Ever.

I’m reminded of all this this morning because I’m reading a piece by Oliver Burkeman from a couple of years ago that asks the question: Do you feel a fraud?

Burkeman’s thesis is that we all (excepting frauds and idiots) suffer, at some level, from impostor syndrome, the feeling that you’re a fraud, and any day now you’ll be exposed.

(“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt,” said Bertrand Russell.)

I’m fascinated.

Arguably the worst [frustrating irony of impostorism], though, is that getting better at your job won’t fix it. Achieve promotions, or win accolades, and you’ll just have more cause to feel like a fake. Enhance your knowledge, and as you expand the perimeter of what you know, you’ll be exposed to more and more of what you don’t. Impostorism, as Pacific Standard magazine put it recently, “is, for many people, a natural symptom of gaining expertise”. Move up the ranks and if your field’s even vaguely meritocratic, you’ll encounter more talented people to compare yourself negatively against. It never stops. “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find [me] out now,'” as some low-profile underachiever named Maya Angelou once said.

There have been, and continue to be, times when impostorism looms in my life. I’ve even warned those I felt were being hoodwinked by my inexpertise that they should not so happily follow me down the garden path. Yet, they persist, I now think, out of fear of the exposure of their own impostorism.

Scary, huh?

6 February 2016


1600 by Jeff Hess

Mano Singham offers one of the best reasons yet to vote for Bernie Sanders:

The fact that Sanders and his young following scare people like [Lloyd] Blankfein is a good reason to vote for him.

Then there is the matter of Mano’s stance on Hillary Clinton:

Clinton, along with her husband, is a fully paid up member of the neoliberal movement and has raked in huge sums of money by giving speeches to Goldman Sachs and other banks and corporations, getting $675,000 from that bank alone. She realizes that she cannot plausibly claim to be more progressive than Sanders, however much she now pivots to embrace the label. So she describes herself as a ‘progressive who gets results’, which is a wink and a nod to those opposed to progressivism that she will sell progressives down the river to placate the oligarchs.

Yes, Hillary gets results, for those who pay for them.

5 February 2016


0500 by Roldo Bartimole

Cuyahoga County paid bondholders for the 1990 construction overruns of the Quicken (then Gund) arena another $8,321,713 on Jan. 15th.

Yes, we’re still paying on 1990 debts for Gateway.

The County does it every Jan. 15th and will through to 2023.

So far the bonds—thanks to Tim Hagan, Mary Boyle and Jim Petro—have cost taxpayers here $163 million. Old County Commissioner, same as the new. Giving it away.

That’s not peanuts, folks. That’s real cold cash. Your cash.

I warned back in 1992 that the bonds could cost some $300 million. We’re getting there. With 16 more years to pay at about $8.3 plus million a year it would bring the cost to County taxpayers to more than $295.8 million. So call me wrong. It’s not $300-million.

I’ve tried to get the Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Scene to cover this money loss. They apparently don’t see it. They’re busy with Johnny Whoever. And new restaurants downtown.

(Brent Larkin in his latest column on line squawks bitterly about Continue Reading »

5 February 2016


0400 by Jeff Hess

4 February 2016


1600 by Roldo Bartimole

On Monday Cuyahoga County’s new reformed part-time Council will be voting.

To give themselves a raise. Of course, they work hard. They told us so.

They want raises from $45,000 to $52,000, a 15.5 percent raise. You’ve heard plenty about how hard they work.

Part-time work suggests you have time for other work or play.

They haven’t told us what they earn outside the County pay
A reporter friend provided me with the 2015 Ethics filings of the 11 County Council members. The Ohio Ethics Commission is a pretty lame monitor but office holders must at least file. They aren’t very forthcoming with pertinent information.

But there’s enough evidence on the County Commissioner. They DO NOT NEED A RAISE!

  • SHONTEL BROWN—$45,000, of course as a Council member. She also listed as a Councilwoman of Warrensville Heights, although not presently listed. Also owner of Diversified Digital Solutions. No listing of income filed.
  • DAN BRADY—$55,000 as Council president. He lists Ohio Public Employees Retirement but no amount (It’s about $50,000). His wife, Dona Brady, earns $76,000 as a Cleveland Councilwoman.
  • YOVONE CONWELL—$45,000 Council member. Lists $6,000 income from rent and $76,595 OPERS (Ohio Public Employees Retirement). Unlisted—her husband Kevin earns $76,000 as a Cleveland Councilman. Does this family really need a raise?
  • MICHAEL GALLAGER—$45,000 Council member. Lists PERS retirement but no amount.
  • DAVID GREENSPAN—$45,000 Council member. Lists a financial consulting business but no income listed.
  • CHARLES GERMANA—$45,000 Council member. Lists insurance agency, another partnership and business and Social Security payments but no amounts for any.
  • ANTHONY HARISTON—$45,000 Council member. List committee to elect Jeff Johnson, $10,500; St. Clair—Superior Development, project manager, $40,000; and two businesses without income noted.
  • PERNEL JONES—$45,000 Council member. Lists two businesses—Pernel Jones & Son Funeral home and Fan & Fab Jewelry. No incomes mentioned.
  • JACK SCHRON—$45,000 Council member. Lists Jergen’s Inc., president and he’s also CEO; PNC Investment and U. S. Government, Army retirement. No incomes listed for any.
  • DALE MILLER—$45,000 Council member. Dale’s filing is more than you would expect. He lists literally scores of stocks he owns. He even lists as an income source sale of “collectibles.” Both he and his wife have deferred compensation retirement funds building. No incomes attached to his stocks or retirement funds.
  • SUNNY SIMON—$45,000 Council member. She lists herself as a lawyer but no income is cited.
    Now does anyone think these are needy people who need a raise to $52,000 a year?
  • A 15.5 per cent raise when the earnings of their constituents are lagging, according to all studies.


    31 January 2016


    0800 by Jeff Hess

    So, Henry David Thoreau was my first non-familial, hero. I have tried to emulate him in many ways and, for the most part, fallen short.

    Like many before me, I became obsessed with the 16th paragraph of Walden’s second chapter:

    I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

    If we don’t understand ourselves, which I believe is why I write, then we do not understand the filter through which we try to understand the world. I’ve always felt a little squinky about Thoreau’s weekly trips back into town to get his laundry done during his two years in the woods. That detail never sat right with me. Reading Oliver Burkeman’s conclusion this morning in the Guardian—Too busy to focus? Try this—puts a different spin on that knowledge.

    What emerges most powerfully [in Cal Newport’s new book, Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World,] is the sense that it’s wrong to think of deep work as one more thing you’ve got to try to cram into your schedule. Truly committing to it, Newport suggests, transforms the rest of your time—so you’ll crank through shallow work faster, be more present in your home life, and eliminate time wasted switching between tasks. Depth, in short, isn’t at odds with a full life—it facilitates it. I’m persuaded. I still want one of those soundproofed chambers, though.

    Me too, Oliver, me too. For now, however, I’m going to try creating a system to live deep my default.

    29 January 2016


    1600 by Roldo Bartimole

    roldo 160129

    You should have expected it. It’s back to the same old political mentality: Taxpayers swallow.

    Cuyahoga County Council members want to raise their pay by a whopping 15.5 percent. This is the reform Council, remember.

    Let’s not be cheap about it. But that’s what you might expect for corporate executives pay raises. Not public servants.

    Not only that – they want to insure themselves raises in the future.

    This is for a part-time job, no less.

    Council President Dan Brady would have been to raised his to $62,000. However, he backed off and proposed it remain at $55,000 in a hearing that moved the legislation along this afternoon. He also could already be receiving a pension from the City of Cleveland where he was councilman for 10 years (1986-96). His wife, Dona Brady is now a city councilwoman. She makes $76,159.

    It looks as if the Bradys could be taking well more than $125,000 a year at the two public jobs. Or maybe a lot more with a city pension.

    That doesn’t put them with the average Clevelander or Cuyahoga County resident they supposedly serve.

    But then that may be why our national election has a whole lot of Americans upset enough to be backing Presidential candidates out of the mainstream, as we’ve known it.

    They are fed up. And you cannot blame them. They have lost control.

    Even the Plain Dealer editorial calls this one “preposterous.” Wow!

    Brady called it “fair.”He also declared he was not “greedy.” Some may dispute that even with his move to keep his pay at $55,000.

    The committee passed it on to the full council in a unanimous vote. So they are sticking to the guns. They want the money.

    These people don’t understand who they are supposed to be serving as the new REFORM county government. They protested that they aren’t “rubber stamps.” But Continue Reading »

    28 January 2016


    0500 by Jeff Hess

    28 January 2016


    0400 by Jeff Hess

    George Carlin famously gave us the seven dirty words that you can’t say on television: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. The Oxford University Press, in an exercise of collocation, went Carlin one better and gives us eight words that indicate English (or for we secessionists on the other side of the pond, American) is sexist.

    David Shariatmadari, writing in Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language for The Guardian elaborates:

    Language, as the medium through which we conduct almost all relationships, public and private, bears the precise imprint of our cultural attitudes. The history of language, then, is like a fossil record of how those attitudes have evolved, or how stubbornly they have stayed the same.

    When it comes to women, the message is a depressing one. The denigration of half of the population has embedded itself in the language in ways you may not even be aware of. Often this takes the form of “pejoration”: when the meaning of the word “gets worse” over time. Linguists have long observed that words referring to women undergo this process more often than those referring to men.

    You can find the full list in the article, but I’m a little surprised that the word hysterical didn’t make the list. Perhaps because that particular term never had a positive or equivalent meaning. The Collins English Dictionary (my current go-to dictionary) begins here:

    Hysterical or or hysteric. Definitions, adjective: of or suggesting hysteria, suffering from hysteria, (informal) wildly funny. Synonyms: frenzied, mad, frantic, raving, distracted, distraught, crazed, uncontrollable, berserk, overwrought, convulsive, beside yourself, berko (Australian) (slang), hilarious, uproarious, side-splitting, farcical, comical, wildly funny.

    There’s nothing there, however, about women or females. Right?

    Well… How about a root then, like hysteria?

    Hysteria. Definitions, noun: a mental disorder characterized by emotional outbursts, susceptibility to autosuggestion, and, often, symptoms such as paralysis that mimic the effects of physical disorders. See also conversion disorder. Any frenzied emotional state, esp of laughter or crying. Word Origin: from New Latin, from Latin hystericus, hysteric

    Aha! Latin! Following the word trail to hysteric we get:

    Hysteric. Definitions, noun: a hysterical person.

    Damn, still nothing. Reading, reading, reading… Bingo!

    Word Origin: from Latin hystericus literally: of the womb, from Greek husterikos, from hustera the womb; from the belief that hysteria in women originated in disorders of the womb.

    Now reread that last bit slowly: from the belief that hysteria (frenzy, panic, madness, agitation, delirium, hysterics, unreason. JH) in women originated in disorders of the womb.

    This is why dictionaries are possibly the most powerful tool on the planet.

    27 January 2016


    1200 by Jeff Hess

    From Quinnipiac University:

    With strong support from men, very liberal and younger voters, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders takes 49 percent of Iowa likely Democratic Caucus participants, with 45 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 4 percent for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

    This is virtually unchanged from results of a January 12 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University showing Sanders at 49 percent, with 44 percent for Clinton and 4 percent for O’Malley.

    Today, 2 percent are undecided and 19 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind.

    The gender gap remains as men back Sanders 63 – 32 percent, while women back Clinton 54 – 40 percent.

    Likely Democratic Caucus participants 18 to 44 years old back Sanders over Clinton 78 – 21 percent. Clinton is ahead 53 – 39 percent among voters 45 to 64 years old and 71 – 21 percent among voters over 65 years old.

    “Is this deja vu all over again? Who would have thunk it when the campaign began? Secretary Hillary Clinton struggling to keep up with Sen. Bernie Sanders in the final week before the Iowa caucus,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

    “It must make her think of eight years ago when her failure in Iowa cost her the presidency.”

    “Perhaps more than other contests, the Iowa caucuses are all about turnout. If those young, very liberal Democratic Caucus participants show up Monday and are organized, it will be a good night for Sen. Sanders,” Brown said.

    “And if Sanders does win Iowa, that could keep a long-shot nomination scenario alive.”

    Update: 2 February—This morning Bernie’s campaign is very much alive.

    26 January 2016


    1200 by Jeff Hess

    Robert Reich writes:

    1. He’d never beat Trump or Cruz in a general election.

    Wrong. According to the latest polls, Bernie is the strongest Democratic candidate in the general election….

    2. He couldn’t get any of his ideas implemented because Congress would reject them.

    If both house of Congress remain in Republican hands, no Democrat will be able to get much legislation through Congress….

    3. America would never elect a socialist.

    P-l-e-a-s-e. America’s most successful and beloved government programs are social insurance—Social Security and Medicare.

    4. His single-payer healthcare proposal would cost so much it would require raising taxes on the middle class.

    This is a duplicitous argument. Studies show that a single-payer system would be far cheaper than our current system….

    5. His plan for paying for college with a tax on Wall Street trades would mean colleges would run by government rules.

    Baloney. Three-quarters of college students today already attend public universities financed largely by state governments….

    6. He’s too old.

    Untrue. He’s in great health. Have you seen how agile and forceful he is as he campaigns…?

    Bernie is the right candidate at the right time and in the right place.

    23 January 2016


    0700 by Jeff Hess

    After listening to Bernie’s commercial I needed to go back and remember the original…

    23 January 2016


    0500 by Jeff Hess

    Will Bates of 350.org writes:

    Dear friend,

    It’s official: this week NASA confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded. And it’s not just warmer weather that people have been feeling. The impacts of a climate being cooked by a reckless fossil fuel industry are being felt right around the world. From devastating flooding to seemingly endless drought, the message each disaster sends is clear—the time for procrastination is long gone, and the need for action has never been more urgent.

    With a global climate deal in Paris done, the world has a choice: This could be a time we look back on as the moment the curtain came down on the fossil fuel age, and we began to build the 100 percent clean energy future that we need. Or it could be the aftermath of another failed global agreement—a missed opportunity, sabotaged by the fossil fuel industry and their political allies.

    To make sure that the Paris deal results in real climate action, people are beginning to organise a historic wave of nonviolent actions around the world in May of this year. This wave of actions is called Break Free from Fossil Fuels, and it’s how the people are going to make sure that this moment is remembered as a turning point.

    Actions are being planned at locations in 12 countries, and plans are coming together quickly.

    The Paris agreement leaves a lot of work to be done: the timeline for action is far too long, and there is no plan for how countries will reduce their emissions at the scale and rate necessary. There is a gap between the target that governments have set themselves and what their commitments will lead to. It is up to us to do the work that will close that gap.

    There is no way to reach the 1.5 degree target that governments aspire to while continuing to dig coal, oil and gas out of the ground. But governments around the world are still continuing to approve new fossil fuel projects, which will commit us to years more warming.

    Break Free from Fossil Fuels is different from anything we’ve been a part of before: dozens of major actions around the globe, non-violently escalating the fight against the worst fossil fuel projects on earth, coordinated to show that we are united against the fossil fuel industry’s power.

    We’ve marched, we’ve signed petitions, and we’ve demonstrated for climate action. But this is the critical moment, and climate action is even more urgent than ever before. That’s why in May 2016 we will be joining with partners around the world to take things to the next level. We will directly confront those who are responsible for climate change, put our bodies in the way of business as usual, and take bold action in support of a 100% renewable energy future.

    It’s up to us to close the gap between rhetoric and reality.

    We’re ready. Are you? Sign up to be a part of this historic moment.


    Will on behalf of the Break Free coordinating team

    22 January 2016


    0500 by Jeff Hess

    nightly show ad block

    So, media is frustrated because technology is thwarting their need to demand we watch their commercials and like the petulant children they are, they are resorting to holding their breath until they turn blue.

    Guess what, I don’t care. I don’t need to watch Larry Wilmore so badly that I’m willing to turn off ad block. My life doesn’t depend upon watching Larry Wilmore. My self esteem and social standing doesn’t depend upon what Larry Wilmore or his guests have to say.

    If my life did, I’d subscribe.

    My life doesn’t, however, and I don’t.

    21 January 2016


    0400 by Jeff Hess

    Damian Carrington, writing in 2015 smashes record for hottest year, final figures confirm for The Guardian ledes:

    2015 smashed the record for the hottest year since reporting began in 1850, according to the first full-year figures from the world’s three principal temperature estimates.

    Data released on Wednesday by the UK Met Office shows the average global temperature in 2015 was 0.75C higher than the long-term average between 1961 and 1990, much higher than the 0.57C in 2014, which itself was a record. The Met Office also expects 2016 to set a new record, meaning the global temperature records will have been broken for three years running.

    Temperature data released in the US on Wednesday by Nasa and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) also showed 2015 shattered previous records.

    Yes, El Nino contributed to this record, and yes, the existential threat is complex, but that does not make finding solutions insurmountable.

    Believing the lies of the fossil fuel industry, however, is not one of the options.

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