Innocence

Arkansas really wanted someone dead, their supply of death drugs was running out.

I was hiking in Muir Woods this week, ran into a guy with an Innocence Project t-shirt. They do great, important work. Send them money here.

Then today I read a story about Ledell Lee and how the Innocence Project tried to save him.

In 1993 Debra Reese, 26, was murdered in Jacksonville, Ark. Ledell Lee was accused. But there were problems. Lee was prosecuted but the jury hung. Then, a few days after OJ Simpson was found not guilty and white people were pissed off, Lee was prosecuted again. The judge was having an affair with the prosecutor and later married her. Fingerprints at the scene did not match Lee. Lee did not have good representation. Etc. Etc.

Lee was convicted and sentenced to death.

Continue reading

How Do You Argue With This?

I mean it as a question. How do you argue with this?

From a trumper I know:

Your friends seem to have all of this “information” at their fingertips, don’t they. So what! What is that information but leftist tropes designed to influence the masses and to gain power. They seize the territory of common belief, speaking earliest, loudest and most often. They employ a sprinkling of objective facts that may be easily confirmed, well-mixed with a carefully groomed, generous selection of friendly inventions that cannot. They tell a story calculated to most tickle sordid fancy and to invoke emotion, conclusion, and judgment. They leave no uncomfortable loose ends that encourage open-ended thought or provisional conclusion – the result of such is entirely unpredictable. They do these things so that they will be nearly impossible to contradict no matter how outrageous, grand, or comprehensive their departure from the truth. And they do this for what…a feeling of accomplishment…perhaps to be part of the regime, once the grand revolution has been accomplished?

… Frankly, most people don’t have the time to respond to each and every misdeed, lie or slanderous canard put out by the press, the left or you and your friends. You and they, on the other hand, seem to have unlimited time to wear down and slander the opposition. Again, what is your end game? On second thought, I already know and won’t waste my time with the bark, bark, barking of the dogs of war. I have learned the futility of speaking civilly and factually with you and the others.

Disproving their nonsense proves there is a conspiracy to manipulate information, leading to the “grand revolution.”

Literally, how do you argue with this?

Today’s Housing Bubble Commercial Real Estate Bubble Post

In the years leading up to the 2008 crash I was posting a series called “Today’s Housing Bubble Post.” (Scroll down, it starts in March, 2005.)

Quick summary: Wall Street was bundling mortgages into “bonds” with a good interest rate. The money was made on selling these bonds, called Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO). When a bank makes money from the loans themselves they look carefully at how risky the loans are. But when a bank makes money from passing along as many loans as they can to someone else they don’t care how risky the loans are, they only care how many they can pass along.

So Wall Street was doing everything it could to give as many loans to people as possible, no matter how risky. The knew it was risky, but didn’t tell the customers for those loans. They told the customers there was very little risk. This is known as fraud.

Those fraudsters made many, many billions from this scheme. The entire economy blew up. No one was held accountable for what happened. No one.

When you let people make billions from fraud and not hold anyone – anyone – accountable, guess what happens. They do it again. They call it a business model.

When the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked

Commercial real estate is office buildings, retail, etc. This is an industry that lives on loans.

Do you think office buildings are worth what they were worth before COVID? Do you think that financial institutions learned their lesson from the 2008 crash, when no one was held accountable?

Take a look at this, from The Intercept, THE BIGGER SHORT:

A longtime industry analyst has uncovered creative accounting on a startling scale in the commercial real estate market, in ways similar to the “liar loans” handed out during the mid-2000s for residential real estate, according to financial records examined by the analyst and reviewed by The Intercept.

… This time, the issue is not a bubble in the housing market, but apparent widespread inflation of the value of commercial businesses, on which loans are based.

Uh oh.

Now it may be happening again — this time not with residential mortgage-backed securities, based on loans for homes, but commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS, based on loans for businesses. And this industrywide scheme is colliding with a collapse of the commercial real estate market amid the pandemic, which has business tenants across the country unable to make their payments.

Overstating borrower income, inflation of past financials, misstated financial fundamentals … and selling bundles of loans to pension funds, etc, to offload the risk. Just like 2008.

Read THE BIGGER SHORT, it’s all there. Trump’s real estate practices are mentioned, too.

Also, you can listen to the story on the Deconstructed podcast, THE WHISTLEBLOWER TRYING TO STOP THE NEXT FINANCIAL CRISIS

Have you been to jail for justice?

“A song by Anne Feeney dedicated to all activists who have been arrested while they were fighting for justice, and especially to: the Haymarket Martyrs, Dr. King, George Carlin, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Carlos from Genoa, all who have been arrested in the Battle of Seattle, Cindy Sheehan, the Belgrade 6, all who have been arrested in the Greek riots and many others.”

Senate Dems Are Complicit In These Shootings

More shootings, nothing happens. Decades of shootings nothing happens. Millions of guns on our streets is hundreds of millions of gun manufacturer corporate profit and we all know that is why nothing happens. (Same for climate, healthcare, tobacco, you name it. It is blatant corruption and we all know it.)

I am just so sick of this. The public has been begging the Congress to do something about this for so long. Begging. Children in schools have to do “active shooter drills.” I had to do “duck and cover” nuclear war drills and it was traumatizing, imagine children doing these drills and then hearing about school after school being shot up. The adult public also lives with fear of being in a mass shooting.

41 Republican senators represent 21% of the public. The filibuster blocked anything from happening and Dems would not end the filibuster. That is the definition of “complicit.” Dems who allowed the filibuster to continue before this are complicit in this week’s shootings. Any Dems still allowing this to continue are complicit in every future shooting.

Right now we have fascists walking the streets with assault weapons openly displayed. That is fucking terrifying.
Continue reading

The Democrats’ Dastardly Plan

This post first appeared at Imagine Democracy.

The Democrats have a sinister plan. They are going to trick people into voting for them by doing things to make their lives better.

They plan to use the people’s government to bribe the voters. They are strategically scheming to allocate government resources to deliver things like safety from the Covid-19 virus, health care, education, even modernized infrastructure. They plan to address problem like the climate crisis, racial injustice, even inequality, They will pass laws preventing companies from polluting, committing fraud and other things that companies have been allowed to do for so long! This hijacking of the government by Democrats for their own purposes could mean voters reward them by allowing them to do even more for them.

However the good Republicans also have a plan. To prevent the seizure of the government away from the corporations, they are passing laws to stop the voters from being able to reward the Democrats for their bribery schemes. They are gallantly making sure that it is very, very difficult for the bribed voters to get to polling places – of course prohibiting the ease of voting by mail – and if they get to voting places they will face all kinds of rules designed to keep the from the voting booths themselves.

In case voters actually do make it to the voting booths to cast votes, the districts are carefully drawn in ways that Democrat votes are concentrated into a very few districts, while the majority of districts remain under Republican control, no matter how the statewide vote turns out.

So be aware of this sinister plan by Democrats to bribe voters by making their lives better. Do not let them get away with it.

The #FightFor15 Minimum Wage WAS The Compromise. #FightFor24!

The minimum wage should be $24 if it had kept up with the gains in the economy.

Instead all those gains went to a top few.

CEPR: This is What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace with Productivity

While the national minimum wage did rise roughly in step with productivity growth from its inception in 1938 until 1968, in the more than five decades since then, it has not even kept pace with inflation. However, if the minimum wage did rise in step with productivity growth since 1968 it would be over $24 an hour today, as shown in the Figure below.

$15 WAS the compromise!

$15 is a compromise already. If the minimum wages had kept pace with the gains in the economy it would be $24 or so per hour now, which is around $96K per year for a couple. What this means is that if labor’s share of the economy had stayed the same the minimum lifestyle equivalent would be what a $96K lifestyle today is. The house you’d be able to buy, etc. That would be our minimum.

#FightFor24

If they kill the $15 compromise there is no reason to keep fighting for $15. It should be $24 and we should all rightfully be fighting for that. It just gets us back to where we were before the great financialization, the great separation of labor wages from the economy, the great inequalizer.

So fuck 15, #FightFor24

Always Say “Jim Crow Filibuster” or “Racist Filibuster”

Always use the phrase “Jim Crow Filibuster” or “Racist Filibuster.” This takes away the cover of pretending the filibuster is a “norm” or “tradition” as an excuse for not killing it.

Senators like Manchin should not be asked if they support “ending the filibuster,” they should be asked if they support “keeping the racist filibuster.”

The Senate filibuster has a racist past and present. End it so America can move forward.

The nature of the filibuster, its rules and norms, is hardly an iron-clad tradition. It has changed and adapted greatly over the years since it first became popular in the civil rights era. But what hasn’t changed is its enduring connection to racism. The filibuster has always stood in the way of racial progress, whether employed by Southern Democrats of the Jim Crow era or the Republican Party today after a major shift in the party’s stance on racial equality. When you understand the filibuster’s racist past, it becomes clear that it has a racist present as well — and that we need to get rid of it.

Call it what it is, don’t let them take cover under “tradition.”

Watch It Fall (Texas this week)


Billy Strings

Well, it’s not so easy now
Though it never was back then
We still can’t seem to work this out
But you can still pretend
And these tattered walls and burning bridges
Quickly start to fall
How long until there’s nothing left at all?

I’ve been to California, man
I’ve seen them city lights
Been stranded in the desert
Scorching days and freezing nights
And I’ll never understand
Why people try to walk so tall
How long until there’s nothing left at all?

Don’t you love what you got used to?
When we used to feel so free
Won’t you wait a while in silence, love
Watch it fall with me

Well, the old men said the great Big Apple’s
Rotten to the core
With Wall Street skimming from the till
While no one minds the store
And how could someone get so low
In a building so damn tall?
How long until there’s nothing left at all?
While chunks the size of Delaware
Are falling off the poles
Our heads are buried in the sand
Our leaders dug the hole
Like junkies hooked on fossil fuel
Headin’ for withdrawal
How long until there’s nothing left at all?

Don’t you love what you got used to?
When we used to feel so free
Come and wait a while in silence, love
And watch it fall with me
Now the answers in our heads
To the questions that were asked
It boils up from underground
And leads us to the past
To a place that’s long forgotten
When we had enough for all
How long until there’s nothing left at all?

Don’t you love what you got used to?
When we try to make our stand
The hourglass is growing empty now
Just to leave a pile of sand (watch it fall)

A Painful Day

Impeachment Day 1

This has been a painful day for me. First of all, watching that video and reliving Jan 6 was hard. It was bad enough that day watching from here; I can only imagine how it must feel to have been there. It was very painful to watch Trump’s lawyers make incredibly preposterous arguments – when they delivered an argument at all.

More painful, though, is that a year ago his entire party supported what he was and did, after having already destroyed so much of our government and rule of law. Painful that half a million people died in the last year with a government doing nothing, even encouraging actions that made it so much worse.

They tried to destroy the rule of law, and with that vote today they mock it.