Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news


Daily Kos
Political Animal
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
Crooked Timber
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015 01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015 02/01/2015 - 03/01/2015 03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015 04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015 05/01/2015 - 06/01/2015 06/01/2015 - 07/01/2015 07/01/2015 - 08/01/2015 08/01/2015 - 09/01/2015 09/01/2015 - 10/01/2015 10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015 11/01/2015 - 12/01/2015 12/01/2015 - 01/01/2016 01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016 02/01/2016 - 03/01/2016 03/01/2016 - 04/01/2016 04/01/2016 - 05/01/2016 05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016 06/01/2016 - 07/01/2016 07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Monday, July 25, 2016

Let the healing begin

by digby

Donna Brazile sent this official DNC statement out this afternoon:

“On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic party for inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again. 
We are embarking on a convention today that — thanks to the great efforts of Secretary Clinton, her team, Senator Sanders, his team, and the entire Democratic Party — will show a forward-thinking and optimistic vision for America, as compared to the dark and pessimistic vision that the GOP presented last week in Cleveland. Our focus is on electing Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and Democrats across the country, thanks to Democratic Party that is strong, unified, and poised for victory in November.”
Sanders sent this text to his delegates:

It looks like night one is going to be pretty raucous and who knows what will happen. But there seems to be a concerted effort to unify.

As Nate Silver quipped on twitter: "It's a shitshow not a clusterfuck." That's good!

The good news is that sexism is dead, so we have that

by digby

Michelle Cottle addresses Hume:
To be fair, Hume is not alone in his musings. Lots of folks have been muttering (some more snidely than others) about why Carlson waited so long to come forward. Men in particular seem dismayed that a woman would not have immediately spoken up about this kind of mistreatment. And if the woman didn’t bother blowing the whistle at the time, then it must not have been that big of a deal, right?

Sorry, guys, but this is more treacherous terrain than you might think. Way too many women still find themselves putting up with way too much inappropriate nonsense from bosses for all kinds of reasons. Certainly, I’ve had colleagues who were impressively willing to call bullshit the second a boss stepped over the line. But not everyone wants to kick that hornet’s nest. (And it’s always a hornet’s nest.) Some women are loath to come forward lest they be labeled a troublemaker or—as Carlson says happened when she complained to Ailes about her Fox & Friends cohost, Steve Doocy—an uptight “man hater” who doesn’t play well with “the boys.” Others don’t want to do anything that might endanger their jobs and figure that they can defuse/deflect/manage the boss’s occasional skeeziness on their own. (Been there. Done that. Many times.) If the guy is a great leader in other ways—as so many people assure us that Ailes was—that makes women all the more hesitant to raise a stink. What if no one believes them? And even if they make their case, they’re still marked as the person who brought down a beloved leader.

Is there an ideal approach for handling out-of-line bosses? Probably not. In an ideal world, bosses like Ailes would keep their grubby mitts and pervy propositions to themselves.

This is not to say that women are the only ones to find themselves in awkward to-tell-or-not-to-tell positions. All whistle-blowing entails risks—chief among them that the company will trash the whistle-blower as a disgruntled employee. In many cases, this may be 100 percent true. But disgruntled doesn’t necessarily mean dishonest, nor do an employee’s motivations change the wrongness of the behavior they are reporting.

And here's what tends to happen when you do report:
As the New York Times is also reporting, the incident that Bakhtiar describes allegedly took place around Thanksgiving 2006 at the George Hotel, near the Fox bureau in Washington. At the time, Bakhtiar was going back and forth between New York and D.C. Wilson, who was about to be promoted to bureau chief, asked to meet Bakhtiar — “'off-campus' is how he put it” — to tell her about his new position. In the lobby of her hotel, he said he would make her a full-time Washington correspondent, which was her dream job. “Oh my God, Brian, that’s wonderful!” she recalls saying. “And he says, ‘Well, you know what that means for you.’ I said, ‘Brian, I won’t let you down. I’m going to bust my ass for you. You’re going to be so proud.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, I know. You’re great at that. But you know how I feel about you, right, Rudi?’ And all of a sudden I’m like, Uh oh. I said, ‘Well ... I really respect you, too. I think you’re wonderful at what you do.’ And he says, ‘No, no, no ... do you know how I really feel about you?’ I went from ecstasy to my whole body freezing. I said, ‘No, I’m not following, Brian.’ He said, ‘Well, let’s just say I want to see the inside of your hotel room.’”

Bakhtiar tried to get out of the situation as gracefully as possible.

“I just thought, Choose your words carefully, Rudi. He’s the next bureau chief, and you really want this job. So I said, ‘Brian, I have tremendous respect for you. If I’ve done anything to make you think that I feel that way about you, I apologize, because I thought we were friends, and we have a professional relationship, and I’m sorry, but I just don’t do that. I’ve never had to do that for a job. This is not okay with me.’ And he says, ‘What’s wrong with being friends with benefits?’” Bakhtiar again told him no. “‘I’m engaged. I’m in love with my fiancé. I really want this job, but there’s no way that I’m going to show you the inside of my hotel room.’” She ended the meeting as quickly as possible.
Reluctantly, Bakhtiar agreed to meet with Fox News’ vice-president for human resources, Maureen Hunt, to tell her about what had happened in D.C. and its effects on her career. She felt that Fox was making efforts to marginalize her by assigning her frivolous stories on the afternoon news show hosted by John Gibson, according to internal documents obtained by New York...

When she finally met with Fox general counsel Dianne Brandi and other Fox representatives, “They kept asking me, ‘Are you pressing charges? Are you pressing charges?’ And I kept saying, ‘Are you going to give me the job? I want the job. I don’t want problems. All I want is this Washington, D.C., correspondent’s job.’”

Not long afterward, Ailes called her into a meeting. “We’re letting you go, Rudi,” she remembers him telling her. “I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘John Moody doesn’t think you’re a good reporter.’ And I said, ‘Excuse me? I broke news for you in Iran. I was the only reporter able to get into Iran for you guys. You know as well as I do that this has everything to do with Brian Wilson, because I didn’t play ball.’” Ailes replied, “Oh no, come on! It had nothing to do with that.”

And then the inevitable:

In the end, the mediator ruled in Bakhtiar’s favor, instructing Fox to pay the $670,000 remaining on the three-year contract she signed with the network on July 13, 2006. Additionally, Fox had to cover Bakhtiar’s legal fees, “which were enormous,” she says.

For years after leaving Ailes’s channel, Bakhtiar says she couldn’t find equivalent work in television. She went into public relations for a while and is now a producer at Reuters in Washington. She says she decided to speak about her experience at Fox in the wake of Gretchen Carlson’s sexual-harassment lawsuit because she believes Fox’s culture of harassment extends far beyond Ailes, and women are afraid to talk about it. She thinks there are many good people at Fox but they are subjected to abusive behavior by senior managers, whose attitude about sexual harassment, she says, is that “it’s only a problem if you complain about it.”

It's not just Roger Ailes or Fox, this crapola happens in workplaces all over the country. (Try working in Hollywood for awhile.)

But see, sexism is dead, women are perfectly equal and there's not reason for all of us bitches to be so sensitive about everything. Which is great. So let's all relax. Donald trump is going to be president and everything will be just fine. Oh by the way, here's what he had to say about it:

Well, I don't want to comment. But he's been a friend of mine for a long time, and I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them. And even recently, and when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him.

And now all of a sudden they're saying these horrible things about him. It's very sad. Because he's a very good person. I've always found him to be just a very, very good person. And by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he's done. So I feel very badly. But a lot of people are thinking he's going to run my campaign.

Bitchuz are liars, amirite???


The program for Monday

by digby


Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale
Founding and Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church -- Decatur, Georgia

Presentation of Colors
Members of Delaware County American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars

Pledge of Allegiance

Ruby Gilliam
Ohio Democratic National Delegate. At 93 years old, she is the oldest member of the Ohio delegation.

Clarissa Rodriguez
Texas Democratic National Delegate. At just 17 years of age, she is the Youngest DNC national delegate.

National Anthem

Bobby Hill
14 years old, Veteran member of Keystone State Boychoir (KSB)

Roll Call

The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Secretary, Democratic National Committee
Mayor of Baltimore


Boyz II Men
Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, House Band

Introduction of and Report by the Credentials Committee

Lorraine Miller
Co-Chair, Credentials Committee
35th Clerk of the United States House of Representatives

James Roosevelt
Co-Chair, Credentials Committee
Grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Introduction of and Report by the Rules Committee

The Honorable Barney Frank
Co-Chair, Rules Committee
Former Member of the US House of Representatives, Massachusetts

The Honorable Leticia Van de Putte
Co-Chair, Rules Committee
Former State Senator, Texas District 26

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House Democratic Leader
Member of the US House of Representatives, California

The Honorable Marcia Fudge
Member of the US House of Representatives, Ohio

The Honorable Maxine Waters
Member of the US House of Representatives, California

The Honorable Gina Raimondo
Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

The Honorable Hilda Solis
Former United States Secretary of Labor

The Honorable Norman Mineta
Former United States Secretary of Transportation

The Honorable Gary Peters
United States Senator, Michigan

The Honorable Wellington Webb
Former Mayor of Denver

The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Secretary, Democratic National Committee
Mayor of Baltimore

Turning Over the Gavel

The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary of the Democratic National Committee, turns over the gavel to The Honorable Marcia Fudge, Permanent Chair of the 2016 Democratic Convention.


The Honorable Marcia Fudge
Member of the US House of Representatives, Ohio

Presentation of Rules Report
The Honorable Wellington Webb
Former Mayor of Denver


The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Parliamentarian, Democratic National Convention
House Democratic Whip
Member of the US House of Representatives, Maryland

Introduction of and Report by the Platform Committee
The Honorable Elijah Cummings
Member of the US House of Representatives, Maryland

The Honorable Shirley Franklin
Former Mayor of Atlanta

The Honorable Dannel Malloy
Governor of Connecticut

Presentation of Platform

Paul Booth
Member, Platform drafting committee

Voice Vote On Platform Committee Report

The Honorable Marcia Fudge
Member of the US House of Representatives, Ohio

The Honorable Shirley Franklin
Former Mayor of Atlanta

The Honorable Dannel Malloy
Governor of Connecticut

Remarks and Moment of Silence

The Honorable Robert Brady
Member of the US House of Representatives, Pennsylvania


The Honorable Brendan Boyle
Member of the US House of Representatives, Pennsylvania


The Honorable Raúl Grijalva
Member of the US House of Representatives, Arizona


The Honorable Nita Lowey
Member of the US House of Representatives, New York

Introduction of New York Electeds and Leaders

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Member of the US House of Representatives, New York

The Honorable Adriano Espaillat
New York State Senator

Remarks by Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

The Honorable Tina Kotek
Member, Oregon House of Representatives

The Honorable Kevin de León
California State Senator

The Honorable Stacey Abrams
House Minority Leader, Georgia General Assembly
Member, Georgia House of Representatives


The Honorable Keith Ellison
Member of the US House of Representatives, Minnesota

Remarks by Democratic Governors Association

The Honorable Dannel Malloy
Governor of Connecticut


Rev. Leah Daughtry
CEO of the 2016 Democratic National Convention


John Podesta
Clinton Campaign Chair

Congressional Hispanic Caucus


The Honorable Linda Sánchez
Member of the US House of Representatives, California


The Honorable Marty Walsh
Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts

Remarks by Labor Leaders

Lee Saunders
President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Lily Eskelsen Garcia
President, National Education Association

Mary Kay Henry
International President, Service Employees International Union

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

Sean McGarvey
President, North America's Building Trades Unions

Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers



Pam Livengood
Keene, NH. Pam and her family have been personally affected by the growing substance abuse epidemic and are guardians for their grandson because of their daughter’s struggle with addiction.

The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator, New Hampshire


Demi Lovato

Steven Rodriguez, Charity Davis, Ayana Williams, House Band


The Honorable Jeff Merkley
United States Senator, Oregon

8:00pm – 10:00pm



Karla Ortiz (11-yr old) and Francisca Ortiz (mother)
Karla is an American citizen but her parents, including her mother, Francisca, are undocumented and live in fear of deportation.

Astrid Silva
DREAMer sharing her story and her fight to keep families together

The Honorable Luis Gutiérrez
Member of the US House of Representatives, Illinois



Jason and Jarron Collins
Twin brothers and former professional basketball players

Jesse Lipson
Founder, ShareFile

The Honorable Pat Spearman
Nevada State Senator



The Honorable Bob Casey
United States Senator, Pennsylvania

The Honorable Luke Feeney
Mayor of Chillicothe, Ohio

The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator, New York

The Honorable  Al Franken
United States Senator, Minnesota


Sarah Silverman
Comedian, Actress and two-time Emmy Award winner

The Honorable Al Franken
United States Senator, Minnesota


Paul Simon
American musician, singer-songwriter and actor.


Mick Rossi, Carmen "CJ" Camerieri, Joel Guzman, Jim Oblon, Bakithi Kumalo, Vincent Nguini


Anastasia Somoza
International Disability Rights Advocate, Speaker And Consultant

10:00 PM – 11:00 PM


Eva Longoria
Founder, The Eva Longoria Foundation


The Honorable Cory Booker
United States Senator, New Jersey

Video Introduction of Michelle Obama


Michelle Obama
First Lady of the United States


Cheryl Lankford
San Antonio, TX


The Honorable Joseph P. Kennedy, III
Member of the US House of Representatives, Massachusetts

Keynote Remarks

The Honorable Elizabeth Warren
United States Senator, Massachusetts

The Honorable Bernie Sanders
United States Senator, Vermont


Rabbi Julie Schonfeld
Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly, first female rabbi to hold a chief executive position in an American rabbinical association
Make Your Own Reality! 

by tristero

Oh, yes. And those of us who remember Bush Jr., can't help thinking of this while watching John Oliver's brilliant, caustic comments:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
One more demonstration that Trump is not, as many in the media will have you believe, an anomaly in an otherwise reasonable and serious national party, a party with decent-thinking national figures that was hijacked by some orange-furred infestation .

No. Trump is Republican values incarnate. And the attitude that Trump has towards reality is the same as Gingrich and as Ryan. If I feel it, it's a fact.

Hey, it worked for Bush.
The Don loves Vlad

by digby

Friendly reminder from a few months ago:
Donald Trump hasn't gotten a lot of big-name endorsements, so in that sense it's not a huge surprise that he'd embrace a thumbs up from someone pretty well-known. The catch is that the well-known person in this case, as you may have heard, was Vladimir Putin. And in accepting Putin's praise, Donald Trump ends up in exchanges like this one, from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday.

TRUMP: When people call you "brilliant" it's always good, especially when the person heads up Russia.

HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, I mean, also is a person who kills journalists, political opponents and ...

WILLIE GEIST: Invades countries.

SCARBOROUGH: ... and invades countries, obviously that would be a concern, would it not?

TRUMP: He's running his country, and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country.

SCARBOROUGH: But, again: He kills journalists that don't agree with him.

TRUMP: Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.

A bit later, asked if he would condemn the killing of journalists, Trump replied, "Oh sure. Absolutely." And in the next response, "I've always felt fine about Putin. He's a strong leader. He's a powerful leader." Putin, Trump said, was respected as a leader -- his approval is in the 80s!

Seriously, he said this last December. He says a lot of things. But events of this week make such comments just a little bit more salient than they were before.

By the way, how come Manafort, with all his major RNC connections and all his skill hasn't run a presidential campaign until now? He hasn't even been involved with one since the 1980s when he decided to lead the Torture Lobby and start working exclusively for foreign dictators.

Odd, don't you think?

As is this:
Just weeks after she started preparing opposition research files on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort last spring, Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa got an alarming message when she logged into her personal Yahoo email account.

“Important action required,” read a pop-up box from a Yahoo security team that is informally known as “the Paranoids.” “We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”

Chalupa — who had been drafting memos and writing emails about Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine — quickly alerted top DNC officials. “Since I started digging into Manafort, these messages have been a daily oc­­­­currence on my Yahoo account despite changing my p­­a­ssword often,” she wrote in a May 3 email to Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, which included an attached screengrab of the image of the Yahoo security warning.

“I was freaked out,” Chalupa, who serves as director of “ethnic engagement” for the DNC, told Yahoo News in an interview, noting that she had been in close touch with sources in Kiev, Ukraine, including a number of investigative journalists, who had been providing her with information about Manafort’s political and business dealings in that country and Russia.

“This is really scary,” she said.

Chalupa’s message is among nearly 20,000 hacked internal DNC emails that were posted over the weekend by WikiLeaks as the Democratic Party gathered for its national convention in Philadelphia. Those emails have already provoked a convulsion in Democratic Party ranks, leading to the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the wake of posted messages in which she and other top DNC officials privately derided Bernie Sanders and plotted to undercut his insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton.

But Chalupa’s message, which had not been previously reported, stands out: It is the first indication that the reach of the hackers who penetrated the DNC has extended beyond the official email accounts of committee officials to include their private email and potentially the content on their smartphones. After Chalupa sent the email to Miranda (which mentions that she had invited this reporter to a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Washington), it triggered high-level concerns within the DNC, given the sensitive nature of her work. “That’s when we knew it was the Russians,” said a Democratic Party source who has been directly involved in the internal probe into the hacked emails. In order to stem the damage, the source said, “we told her to stop her research.”


Debbie Downer

by digby

After the successful, buttoned-up production of the Clinton campaign Vice-Presidential pick on Friday it seemed the narrative of the Democratic convention would be starkly different from the hectic, chaotic RNC. (Trump's VP rollout may have been the worst in history with leaks and second guessing and delays culminating in a 60 Minutes joint interview that looked like the most uncomfortable partnership since Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth.)

That's not to say that everyone was thrilled with her choice.  In fact there was a lot of grumbling from the left that Senator Tim Kaine is too centrist and there were many (including yours truly) who felt it was a missed opportunity to electrify the party with a more unconventional choice like Senator Elizabeth Warren or Labor Secretary Tom Perez.  But the roll out itself was handled masterfully, with no official leaking and what most people saw as a good introduction for Tim Kaine. After a week of dystopian demagoguery and an acceptance speech worthy of a banana republic dictator, the Democrats thought they were looking at a smooth and upbeat convention without a whole lot of drama, which was just what they wanted.

And then all hell broke loose. The emails that had been previously reported to have been stolen by Russian hackers (possibly at the behest of the Russian government) were released by Wikileaks and confirmed what had long been suspected  ---  that high level executives and staffers at the DNC had been actively hostile to the Sanders campaign. The Sanders contingent already gathering in Philadelphia for the convention were outraged and the various protests and challenges that were already scheduled took on a new urgency. Demands for action were instantaneous and the narrative of competence and unity that the Clinton campaign and the DNC had hoped would open the convention exploded all over Philadelphia.

The documents did not show any actual manipulation of the race but nonetheless the idea of any Democrat seeking to use someone's religious beliefs against them or party officials going beyond shooting the breeze among their colleagues to actually propose smearing a candidate they don't personally prefer is just wrong. That it wasn't acted upon is really beside the point. These DNC employees had no business even thinking in these terms much less communicating this way among themselves. It was inevitable there would be an outcry and a reckoning once it was proven that had happened.

The fact that Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, a long time nemesis of the progressive wing of the party, was at the helm and personally involved made it all the more imperative that swift action be taken. For many years she has been a living example of party establishment big-footing progressives in House primary campaigns, going back to when she worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under Rahm Emmanuel and ran its red to blue program. Progressive Sanders supporters had good reason to be suspicious and documented proof of her hostility toward the Sanders campaign was the last straw. There would be no unity with her in charge.

Less publicly known was the apparent disdain in which she was also held by the establishment. According to this article in Politico high level members of the Clinton campaign, including campaign chairman John Podesta, had wanted her out for some time but the president wasn't interested in getting into an internecine battle in the last year of his administration so he didn't make the move. From the various new reports it was clearly very difficult to find anyone to speak up for Wasserman-Shultz's job performance.  

At mid-day Sunday it was announced that she would be stepping down as DNC chair, given a face-saving but powerless "honorary" title and would be replaced by long time Democratic stalwart Donna Brazile, an experienced hand who had run Jesse Jackson's campaign and who knows a little something about how to bring a party together after a fractious primary. Some of you may remember this from 1988:
In a move that sets the stage for a potential fight over delegates at the Democratic National Convention, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's campaign plans to send a letter to Gov. Michael S. Dukakis charging that the nomination process is ''inequitable,'' ''demonstrably unfair'' and ''distorted by rules that favor insider politics.''
That convention was quite dramatic, with a restless left wing led by a charismatic leader coming to the convention with a list of demands. (The media refrain then was "what does Jesse want?") And some people may also recall that one of Jackson's most ardent supporters back in the 80s was none other than the mayor of Burlington Vermont, Bernie Sanders.  The Sanders camp was reportedly very pleased with the Brazile appointment which may be because of that long ago association. 

This tension between the reformers and the establishment, the insider vs the outsiders, is ongoing and healthy.And  it's certainly nothing new for the Democratic Party. 

Both Senator Sanders and his combative campaign manager Jeff Weaver were obviously upset but satisfied with Wasserman-Shultz's resignation and made it clear in media appearances that Sanders did not intend to change his plan to endorse and work for the Clinton victory against the demagogue Donald Trump.  Weaver spoke with Chuck Todd on MSNBC and sounded downright optimistic about future reforms:
TODD:  I was going to say does the resignation tell -- should your supporters say, this resignation should show you that you're actually welcome in the Democratic Party? 
WEAVER:  Yes. 
TODD:  They want you in? 
WEAVER:  You can make a difference.  Yes. 
TODD:  You know, that actually, they should see this as a positive development, not some sort of negative development. 
WEAVER:  It's a very positive development.  I think it bodes well for the future of the party.
Sanders himself thanked Wasserman-Shultz for her years of service but emphasized the lesson that one hopes will be learned by all future party operatives: "The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race." If they could carry that into the down ticket primaries as well, we might really get someplace. 


Channeling the anger

by Tom Sullivan

Photo: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A friend directed me to a Sunday post at DKos. It's about the emotional dynamics of our politics. It's about dealing with the raw feelings at work right now in the electorate. Because if there's one thing you should never do, it is try to talk people out of what they feel. Reason doesn't work well on that.

David Akadjian writes:

In sales, when someone has an objection, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge the objection. Honestly.

If you don’t hear the objection and honestly acknowledge it, you might as well stop. Not dismissively acknowledge it with a cliché like, “I hear what you’re saying” or “That’s a great point.” But honestly acknowledge the objection.

In politics, this involves emotion. You have to show some genuine emotion.

People say that Trump is honest not because he’s honest. It’s because he shows emotion and he’s acknowledging the anger people feel and that this rage is genuine. He’s not making fun of them. He’s not telling them they’re wrong. He’s not reading some scripted speech.

Does he lie? Constantly. It doesn’t matter to many people though, because he’s saying that they’re right to be angry. Similarly, it doesn’t matter to many on the religious right that he’s not religious. It doesn’t matter to many libertarians that he’s not libertarian. He’s angry. They’re angry. By and large this is what counts. (And yes, racism probably plays a big part in this and you will never win the consciously racist. You’re also never going to win people over by calling them racist though. So I find it more productive to teach about racism in other places.)

People don’t care that Trump lies because he is acknowledging a genuine concern of theirs. Similarly, this is one of the reasons people liked Bernie Sanders: Because he speaks to a concern genuinely. If you listen to someone like Elizabeth Warren, she does the same thing.
A lot of Bernie Sanders supporters are frustrated and angry too, but at different people. A few think they are going to Philadelphia to overturn the tables of the money changers. That probably won't happen, but at least Debbie Wasserman Schultz is stepping down (and probably shouldn't show up on stage). I get how they feel: angry that the world seems out of their control. It's a helpless feeling. I loathe that feeling. (In other quarters, people self-medicate by buying more guns.) Whether Hillary Clinton acknowledges the anger honestly in Philadelphia is her choice to make. She had best make it a good one. How Sanders delegates channel their feelings during and after the convention is similarly their choice to make. They are poised to build on their successes if they choose to.

One of the times I felt most frustrated was after I almost died in a head-on collision that didn't happen.

A friend and I were in my family's VW bus sitting at night in the left-turn lane of a major intersection and waiting for the light to turn. Out of nowhere, a white panel truck raced into the intersection headed straight for us through the opposite left-turn lane. I could see the driver's face inside. But instead of hitting us head-on, the van hit the left front of a passenger car that crossed between us, left to right, traveling with the light. The two vehicles slid past us and came to rest up against a phone pole on the corner to my right. The passenger car flipped up onto its right side when it hit the curb, its roof coming to rest against the pole. The driver of the still-upright van started to climb out the driver's side window.

As we sat there with our mouths hanging open, a pink Mustang convertible (I kid you not) screeched to a halt in the middle of the intersection. The Mustang driver jumped out, leveled a large revolver at the van driver and screamed for him to "Hold it!" He did. Our jaws dropped even lower.

The guy in the van was an escaped convict. The Mustang driver was a prison guard who had taken chase.

What happened next changed me. We jumped out and ran over to the wrecked car as the guard handcuffed his prisoner. A family was inside. With kids. Broken and bleeding. But we stood there, two high school kids, helpless, not knowing what we could or should to help as police and an ambulance arrived. That helplessness was one of the worst feelings of my life. I still hate that feeling.

Never again. It took time, but I eventually signed up for EMT training.

After George W. Bush invaded Iraq, I started doing this and more. I used to get angry. Now I just get busy.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Your Sunday Night Homework

by digby

This piece by Alexander Burns in the New York Times about Trump's historical antecedents and where he fits ideologically is extremely interesting. You won't be sorry you read it.  An excerpt:

Historians see in Mr. Trump’s candidacy the winding together of different strains in reactionary politics under a single banner. No reality television star has run for president before, but Mr. Trump, with his grasp of the art of notoriety, has forebears of a kind in General MacArthur and Charles A. Lindbergh, the celebrity aviator whose “America First” slogan Mr. Trump has appropriated, and in Hearst and Henry Ford, a pair of renowned and eccentric tycoons who eyed the presidency.

His message contains echoes of George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor who sought the White House on a law-and-order platform, and of Mr. Perot and Lee A. Iacocca, modern industrialists drawn to politics and preoccupied with economic threats from Asia and Latin America.

Viewed from this angle, Mr. Trump looks less like a singular phenomenon of 2016, and more like the political equivalent of a comet that crosses the track of an American presidential campaign every few decades.

“We’ve seen everything in Trump before,” said Kevin Kruse, a political historian at Princeton, “but we’ve never seen it all together at once.”

For much of the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump has defied ideological labeling: He has ignored traditional cultural wedge issues like abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and has taken shifting and often contradictory stances on a host of other matters, from military intervention in Syria to the concept of universal health care.

Mr. Trump has brusquely dismissed the charge of philosophical inconsistency. “I’m a conservative,” he said in a speech in May in California. “But at this point, who cares?”

Yet beneath his swerving and scattered policy agenda, he has been steadfastly consistent over time on a few broad inclinations that define his political worldview.

To the extent that he has an ideology, it is a kind of fortress conservatism, taking a bunkered outlook on the world and fixating on challenges to America’s economic supremacy and to its character as a nation defined by the white working class.

Patrick J. Buchanan, who ran for president both as a populist Republican and as a third-party immigration hawk, called Mr. Trump a kindred spirit. “You could call it tribalism,” Mr. Buchanan said. “You could call it ethno-nationalism.”

Since Mr. Trump first toyed with running for president in the 1980s, he has been hostile to foreign trade and immigration and suspicious of international organizations he views as impinging on America’s free hand. He is distrustful of alliances with less powerful countries, which he has characterized as freeloading off America’s wealth and power.

In the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump has suggested withdrawing from NATO and pulling troops back from longstanding bases in countries like South Korea and Germany. His threats are a precise echo of a speech he gave in New Hampshire in 1987, declaring that the United States had been “kicked around” by ungrateful allies in Asia and the Middle East.

In domestic matters, Mr. Trump’s main impulse is toward hard-line law and order. He is indifferent to civil liberties and contemptuous of objections to racial targeting. For decades, he has described the country as harried by rampant crime, and has typically placed blame with different nonwhite communities, including urban blacks, Hispanic immigrants and Native Americans.

Long before he called for banning Muslim immigration and torturing terrorism suspects, Mr. Trump argued for unleashing the New York Police Department to attack social unrest with a mailed fist. He spoke approvingly of the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown in Tiananmen Square. He recently expressed admiration for Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s autocratic president, and Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, whom he praised as tough on terrorism.

He is not the first American businessman with presidential aspirations to be drawn to strongman government: Hearst and Ford, the anti-Semitic car manufacturer who considered a presidential bid in 1924, both maintained cordial and even admiring relations with emerging fascist regimes in Italy and Germany.

Charles Murray, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said Mr. Trump’s autocratic tendencies placed him well outside the conservative intellectual mainstream.

“The word fascist is simply thrown around too easily, and so I don’t want to use that word. But part of Trumpism is the man on the white horse,” Mr. Murray said. “That’s neither left nor right. That’s authoritarian, and it’s really, really scary.”

That's the Charles Murray saying that. And he's right.

There's much more to the article all worth reading. Let's just say that the salient point about all of these previous examples of similar strong men types is that none of them actually got the nomination of one of America's two main political parties. It's much closer to actual reality than it's ever been before.

Take it to our graves

by digby

Seriously people. I don't mean to sound hysterical. I'm not generally a hysterical person. But this is gut check time.


She's just a cute comedienne, right?

by digby

There is one good thing about Trump's candidacy. It's clarifying. The outright racists and xenophobes supporting him are just letting it all hang out:

I like hearing CNN's Fareed Zakaria ask in a thick Indian accent, "What kind of America do we want to return to?

Now, Australian Danielle Pletka says Trump sounds like a national leader "OF RUSSIA." Pro Tip: Try to get Americans tell us what's American.

That was Ann Coulter on twitter, by the way.

Both Zakaria and Pletka are Americans.

Trump QOTD

by digby

"I think it’s so sad. He’s such a great guy. Roger is – I mean, what he’s done on television, is in the history of television, he’s gotta be placed in the top three, or four or five," Trump said. "And that includes the founding of the major networks. So, it’s too bad. I’m sure it was friendly. I know Rupert [Murdoch]. He’s a great guy."

"Rupert has great respect for Roger and everything Roger’s done. But when you think about Roger Ailes, in the history of television, there’s really been almost no instances where something like this has been done," he said.

What the hell?

I just don't know what to say about that. I guess the amount of applause for his speech is his new bragging point? I don't get it.


And yet another one says good-bye

by digby

A longtime Republican activist whose blog is called "GOPlifer" posted this yesterday, via Raw Story:

Yesterday I resigned my position in the York Township Republican Committeemen’s Organization. Below is the letter I sent to the chairman explaining my decision.


Chairman Cuzzone:

We come together in political parties to magnify our influence. An organized representative institution can give weight to our will in ways we could not accomplish on our own. Working with others gives us power, but at the cost of constant, calculated compromise. No two people will agree on everything. There is no moral purity in politics.

If compromise is the key to healthy politics, how does one respond when compromise descends into complicity? To preserve a sense of our personal moral accountability we must each define boundaries. For those boundaries to have meaning we must have the courage to protect them, even when the cost is high.

Almost thirty years ago as a teenager in Texas, I attended my first county Republican convention. As a college student I met a young Rick Perry, fresh from his conversion to the GOP, as he was launching his first campaign for statewide office. Through Associated Republicans of Texas I contributed and volunteered for business-friendly Republican state and local candidates.

Here in DuPage County I’ve been a precinct committeeman since 2006. Door to door I’ve canvased my precinct in support of our candidates. Trudging through snow, using a drill to break the frozen ground, I posted signs for candidates on whom I pinned my hopes for better government. Among Illinois Republicans I found an organization that seemed to embody my hopes for the party nationally. Pragmatic, sensible, and focused on solid government, it seemed like a GOP Jurassic Park, where the sensible, reliable Republicans of old still roamed the landscape.

At the national level, the delusions necessary to sustain our Cold War coalition were becoming dangerous long before Donald Trump arrived. From tax policy to climate change, we have found ourselves less at odds with philosophical rivals than with the fundamentals of math, science and objective reality.

The Iraq War, the financial meltdown, the utter failure of supply-side theory, climate denial, and our strange pursuit of theocratic legislation have all been troubling. Yet it seemed that America’s party of commerce, trade, and pragmatism might still have time to sober up. Remaining engaged in the party implied a contribution to that renaissance, an investment in hope. Donald Trump has put an end to that hope.

From his fairy-tale wall to his schoolyard bullying and his flirtation with violent racists, Donald Trump offers America a singular narrative – a tale of cowards. Fearful people, convinced of our inadequacy, trembling before a world alight with imaginary threats, crave a demagogue. Neither party has ever elevated to this level a more toxic figure, one that calls forth the darkest elements of our national character.

With three decades invested in the Republican Party, there is a powerful temptation to shrug and soldier on. Despite the bold rhetoric, we all know Trump will lose. Why throw away a great personal investment over one bad nominee? Trump is not merely a poor candidate, but an indictment of our character. Preserving a party is not a morally defensible goal if that party has lost its legitimacy.

Watching Ronald Reagan as a boy, I recall how bold it was for him to declare ‘morning again’ in America. In a country menaced by Communism and burdened by a struggling economy, the audacity of Reagan’s optimism inspired a generation.

Fast-forward to our present leadership and the nature of our dilemma is clear. I watched Paul Ryan speak at Donald Trump’s convention the way a young child watches his father march off to prison. Thousands of Republican figures that loathe Donald Trump, understand the danger he represents, and privately hope he loses, are publicly declaring their support for him. In Illinois our local and state GOP organizations, faced with a choice, have decided on complicity.

Our leaders’ compromise preserves their personal capital at our collective cost. Their refusal to dissent robs all Republicans of moral cover. Evasion and cowardice has prevailed over conscience. We are now, and shall indefinitely remain, the Party of Donald Trump.

I will not contribute my name, my work, or my character to an utterly indefensible cause. No sensible adult demands moral purity from a political party, but conscience is meaningless without constraints. A party willing to lend its collective capital to Donald Trump has entered a compromise beyond any credible threshold of legitimacy. There is no redemption in being one of the “good Nazis.”

I hereby resign my position as a York Township Republican committeeman. My thirty-year tenure as a Republican is over.


Chris Ladd

That is in keeping with my observations about what's happening to the Republican party right now.

This is not normal folks. Longtime activists don't leave the Republican party because they disagree with their candidate on some issues. They just don't do that. They are very loyal soldiers. The fact that this is happened, and he is not the only one, and for the reasons its happening is a big deal.

It's also a hopeful sign and I'm not being partisan. There will always be (at least) two parties in this country and it's important that they both be healthy institutions that are dedicated to the basic ideals of democratic governance. The Republicans have gone off the rails in recent years and have become nihilistic obstructionists in a way that is dangerous enough that it's produced this authoritarian demagogue as their nominee. It's healthy that Republicans themselves see this and are brave enough to take public action.

The once and future leaders like Paul Ryan have tried to have it both ways and history will not be kind.


Just your average field hospital in America

by Tom Sullivan

Patients wait in line for free health care at the Wise County fairgrounds.

Dentists and assistants work with headlamps and floor lights and under a large, open-sided event tent. There are no overhead lights, so lighting is bad. Power cables, air and water hoses snake across the open ground. There is a steady hum of generators and air compressors. A line of patients line up outside a barn for medical check-in. Others sit patiently in the wooden stands of horse arena, waiting for their numbers to be called. This is a county fairgrounds in southwest Virginia. It is the second day of the 17th annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) free clinic in the town of Wise. This is coal country, and the fairgrounds has been converted into a massive MASH unit.

Dentists consult under the big tent.

"Five-fifty and below," a volunteer tells patients as they line up outside the barn. He asks to see their tickets. Over 1,300 got tickets before dawn on Friday. Eight-hundred more on Saturday. These are citizens who have fallen through the cracks of America's for-profit health care system. Obamacare has not reached them. Poor mostly. Out of work. Laid off. Left behind.

At the 2011 clinic, a pregnant woman's water broke. She didn't want to leave and lose her place in line:

An ambulance standing by eventually took her to town in time to have her child in a hospital instead of an animal stall. The child might have been the first ever born at a RAM free clinic. But not without a number, joked one of RAM’s 1,700 volunteers.

Far from Washington’s “debt crisis” abstractions is another crisis, an American reality one cannot describe in words nor experience secondhand.

Stan Brock founded Knoxville-based RAM in 1985 to parachute mobile medical teams into remote areas of third-world countries. Now over 60 percent the patients RAM serves are in rural areas of the United States. Brock himself lives where he stores his supplies, in an old schoolhouse RAM rents from the city of Knoxville for $1 a year. Brock himself is reportedly penniless.
Those old enough might remember Brock from Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom."

Although gas is cheaper, the patient parking lot looks less full that on my previous visits. License tags on cars (some filled with blankets and pillows) were from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina. (In the past, I've see tags from as far away as Michigan.) Perhaps because with so many volunteers, Friday's efforts had processed many of those who arrived Thursday night to camp out in their cars and tents. The volunteer lot was full and overflowing to the other side of Hurricane Rd.

Wise County Virginia fairgrounds.

Inside the fairgrounds, state medical association trailers provide advanced diagnosis and treatment on site. Most of the treatment here is dental care not covered by most insurance policies (for those who have policies). There are lot of bad teeth here. A line of student volunteers clean and sterilize instruments just outside the big tent. They come from the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, students and staff, and the Virginia Dental Association Mission of Mercy. More church and community groups then one can count are here. The Lions Club makes glasses and provides free meals. Popup tents feature Zika virus prevention, circulation and diabetes checks. There are free books and free clothes. On this weekend in July, everything here is free.

Extractions are commonplace at the Wise clinic.

From minor surgery to dentures and more.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam visited on Friday. I met Derek Kitts there yesterday. Kitts, "a self-described Blue Dog Democrat," is a 24-year army veteran running for Congress in Virginia's 9th District. I met Sen. Tim Kaine at the RAM clinic in 2013. It is an annual pilgrimage for state leaders. McAuliffe was impressed with the efforts of the volunteers:

But I am equally saddened that this clinic is necessary.

For most of the men, women and children who come here each summer, it is the only medical attention they will receive.

They wait a year for the fairground to be transformed into a field hospital.

They line up at midnight.

And the wait is worth it. Indeed, the RAM clinic saves lives every year by providing critical care for high-risk pregnancies, heart attacks and even brain tumors.

Many of the clinic’s patients have jobs, but they earn too much to qualify for our current Medicaid system and too little to qualify for low-cost health insurance on the federal marketplace.

Some are disabled. Some can’t find work.

The tragedy of the RAM clinic is that we have the ability as Virginians to provide these people with high-quality health care year round — if we will accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage in our Commonwealth.
Government intransigence is a roadblock for Stan Brock as well. The eighty-ish Brock has a noticeable limp and uses a golf cart to get around the fairgrounds. He would take his health fair to more states, but is based in Tennessee because its reciprocity laws for volunteer medical staff are the most lenient. Thirteen states have changed their laws, Brock says. That allows RAM to set up clinics in their states. Oklahoma works just fine, he said. He has held clinics in Oklahoma City.

Remote Aree Medical (RAM) founder Stan Brock.

RAM held a large clinic in Los Angeles after California adjusted its law, according to Brock. "Arnold signed it", he said meaning Gov. Schwarzenegger. But then someone found a way to "screw it up." Medical boards erected new hoops — acceptance criteria, fingerprints, forms, registration, etc. Only four of his volunteers were willing to jump through all the new hoops. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle in Washington support a more uniform national set of standards for reciprocity, but then again many do not. "States rights," he says.

Brock speaks with some of his patients.

Asked whether the parking lot indicated the crowd was down this year, Brock explained the trick is not to turn anyone away and to make sure they don't have any more than about 200 left to treat on Sunday morning. So far this weekend they have not had to turn anyone away.

Brock had to pause speaking periodically because across the way at Becky's Place, a yellow and white tent from the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, a guy with a loudspeaker was promoting a cervical cancer informational training about to happen. Come for the drawing, he said. "A $50 gift certificate from Walmart. And couldn't we all use that?" How much medical care could you buy with it?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Aging gracefully (and not) - Older than Ireland **** & Absolutely Fabulous **½

By Dennis Hartley

Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman. With time, those who listened to me became my readers. They no longer sit in a circle, but rather sit apart. And one doesn't know anything about the other. I'm an old man with a broken voice, but the tale still rises from the depths, and the mouth, slightly opened, repeats it as clearly, as powerfully. A liturgy for which no one needs to be initiated to the meaning of words and sentencesWings of Desire, script by Wim Wenders, Peter Handke & Richard Reitinger
They say that with age, comes wisdom. Just don’t ask a centenarian to impart any, because they are likely to smack you right in the kisser. Not that there is even a hint of any violence in Alex Fegan and Garry Walsh’s documentary, Older than Ireland, but there appears to be consensus among their interviewees (all aged from 100-113 years) that the question they find to be most irksome is: “What’s your secret to living so long?”
But once that hurdle is cleared, Fegan and Walsh’s subjects have much to impart in this wonderfully entertaining (and ultimately moving) pastiche of the human experience. The wordplay of the film title refers to its release on the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising (the birth of the Irish Republic), and the fact that all interviewees were born beforehand.
These aren’t luminaries, just everyday folks. But everyone has a story to tell; particularly someone who can say they’ve seen everything from World War I to Snapchat during their lifetime. Yet this isn’t necessarily a dry history lesson, either. A collection of personal histories, perhaps; but instantly and universally relatable. From memories of a first kiss (or sneaking off for “a snoggle in the ditch”, as one woman amusingly recalls) to remembering tragedy and loss. Or contemplating the conundrum of outliving everybody who ever meant anything to you; once considered, do you really hope you’ll live to 100?
So turn off your personal devices for 80 minutes, watch this wondrous film and plug into humankind’s forgotten backup system: the Oral Tradition. You may not discover The Secret to Eternal Life (which I’m convinced has everything to do with “genetics”, considering the one interviewee always seen puffing away and another who says she’s “never eaten a vegetable in [her] life”), but you just may learn something about yourself.

The world has changed and strangely enough caught up with the Ab Fab women because in those days, it was shocking – women drinking too much, staying out, not caring, doing stuff like that. Social media didn’t exist. [ ] And now the world is much more sensitive. People take offence at the smallest things, which in those days were just funny. In the future, it’s going to be harder to write anything. – Joanna Lumley (in a Stylist interview)
While you may assume Ms. Lumley (above right), one of the stars of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is referring to the 1950s when she says “those days”, she is actually referring to the 1990s…which is when she originally assumed the character of “Patsy Stone” in the popular Britcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992-1996, later revived 2001-2004). The BBC series was the brainchild of brilliantly funny writer/actress Jennifer Saunders, casting herself as the other half of this fabulous duo, Edina Monsoon.
Edina is a PR agent, whose biggest client is Lulu (yes, that Lulu, who played herself to amusing effect in the TV series and reappears in the new film). Patsy is a magazine editor, and Edina’s BFF. While they both have “jobs” (in a manner of speaking), we rarely see them “working”, in the traditional sense. They expend most of their time cringingly attempting to ingratiate themselves with London’s hippest tastemakers, fashionistas, pop stars, and hottest actors/actresses du jour. For the most part, they’re snubbed (or ignored altogether). Yet they persevere, when not otherwise busy imbibing champagne and/or any drug they are within snorting distance of. Patsy, in particular, is always on the pull; usually for younger men (there’s a switch). Bad behavior all around.
Back to Lumley’s observations for a moment. I’m going to risk crucifixion here (won’t be the first time) and heartily concur with her point regarding the intersection of P.C. and Funny these days. Now, I’m a card-carryin’, tree-huggin’, NPR-listenin’ pinko lib’rul, and I fully understand the subjective nature of humor. But speaking as a lifelong comedy fan (and ex-standup performer myself), I remain a firm believer in the credo that in comedy, nothing is sacred. I don’t always agree with Bill Maher, but I’m with him 100% on his crusade to call out a new Bizarro World Hays Code from a portion of the Left that has even forced mainstream fixtures like Jerry Seinfeld to swear off playing college gigs.
In light of today’s techy climate for comedy, another principal character in Absolutely Fabulous, Edina’s daughter Saffron (played by Julia Sawalha, also reprising her original role in the film) almost seems a prescient creation on Saunders’ part. Saffron, who progressed from secondary school to university through the course of the original series, was really the only “adult” character in the household. Dour, disapproving, and very P.C. (long before the term became so de rigueur) she did her best to keep her mother in line (rarely succeeding, to her chagrin). So here you have the child lecturing the parent to get home at a decent hour, lay off the drugs, be more financially responsible, etc. Patsy, as Edina’s longtime chief enabler, views Saffron as a party-pooper (ergo her mortal enemy).
The show was not for all tastes; personally, I loved it. “Bad taste”, in the right hands, can make for some grand entertainment (John Waters’ oeuvre comes to mind). It was pretty outrageous, and very British; which is probably why we never saw an American remake (would never work anyway). In a roundabout way, it was also feminist-positive; and the world has in fact “caught up with the Ab Fab women”, as evidenced by the success of HBO’s Girls, plus a recent slew of Comedy Central originals like Inside Amy Schumer, Another Period, and Broad City (the latter program comes closest to Ab Fab in attitude).
And so it is that the big screen adaptation (written by Saunders and directed by Mandie Fletcher), despite being at least 20 years tardy to cash in on its TV legs, surprisingly manages to retain its original ethos without really seeming that anachronistic. That is not to say that you should expect it to be much deeper than a sitcom episode. Which it isn’t.
The plot, of course, is completely ridiculous; Edina and Patsy get a hot tip that supermodel Kate Moss has dumped her PR person, so they weasel their way into a chic soiree (which they naturally would never be invited to attend), and somehow the overly-enthusiastic Edina knocks Kate over a railing into the murky depths of the Thames. Assuming (along with fellow attendees) that she has just sent one of the world’s most famous models to a watery grave, Edina and Patsy panic and flee to the South of France.
Does hilarity ensue? I wouldn’t rank it with Some Like it Hot (which is cleverly referenced in the final scene), but it is colorful, campy, over-the-top, and yes, politically incorrect…but quite amusing. And perhaps it does have something to say about social media feeding frenzies and mob mentality. You may forget what you watched by the time you get back to your car, but it sure is fun while it lasts. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

More reviews at Den of Cinema

--Dennis Hartley

Search Digby!