June 9, 2015 archive

Don’t tell me you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.

Supporting NAFTA Was the Kiss of Death for Democrats –Why Dems Should Think Twice About Voting for TPP

By Sarah Anderson, AlterNet

June 8, 2015                

(L)et’s take a look at what individual members got by helping to ram the pact through Congress. Did their support for the big business lobby’s dream deal ensure a glittering political career?

Starting at the top: Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley sided with the White House and against most of the House Democrats, including Majority Leader Richard Gephardt. In his 30-year political career, that controversial move stood out enough for the New York Times to mention it in Foley’s obituary. A year after the NAFTA vote, the obit noted, “Mr. Foley became the first speaker since the Civil War to be defeated for re-election in his own district.”

Foley was not the only Democrat to flame out within a year of casting a vote for NAFTA. In fact, of the 34 Democratic incumbents who were defeated in the Republican sweep of 1994, 16 had voted for NAFTA. Several of these losers had been among the fence-sitters who received goodies from the administration.

Public Citizen has meticulously documented many of these trade vote deals over the past two decades and is planning to release a new report this week on the lessons from all this horse-trading. (Look for the report soon here.) What it found over the years is that most of these promises were never fulfilled. In a detailed 2001 report following up on the NAFTA deals, Public Citizen concluded that “systematically, the White House promises of special safeguards for U.S. farm commodities, bridges and more remained unfulfilled. Exceptions were several meaningless promises, such as photographs with the president, and one campaign fund-raising event.”

Rep. Clete Donald Johnson, Jr. was one of the targets of that empty promise. After voting for NAFTA, the Georgia Democrat got demolished in 1994, losing by a margin of more than 30 percent. A few years later, Clinton offered Johnson a consolation prize: a post as chief U.S. trade negotiator for textiles, a sector in rapid decline due to low-wage foreign competition.

Rep. Bill Sarpalius, of Texas, was another NAFTA sellout whose political career was cut short. According to Public Citizen, he pocketed a bevy of promises, including a new federally funded nuclear research lab that was to be located in his district. After Sarpalius lost his seat in 1994, the lab deal fell through.

Rep. David Price also lost his re-election bid after casting his NAFTA vote. According to Multinational Monitor, the North Carolina Democrat came out in support of the deal after the Clinton administration conceded to his long-sought demands to award American Airlines two lucrative international air routes that would benefit his district. Price later regained a seat in Congress and is now once again sitting on the fence in the fast track debate.

Don’t be afraid, Carlo.  Come on, you think I’d make my sister a widow?  I’m Godfather to your son.

The Valedictorian Speech You Didn’t Hear

Eighteen year old Colorado high school valedictorian Evan Young was barred from giving his speech when his school found out that he planned to announce to his coming out as Gay.

Evan Young, 18, initially planned to come out to his peers as gay during his May 16 graduation speech at Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Longmont, Colorado. However, after administrators learned of his intentionsnot only was he barred from delivering his address — and not recognized as valedictorian at the ceremony — but administrators outed Young to his parents.

Young previously stated that he wanted to come out during his graduation address in order to show his peers that they “should not be ashamed of who they are.”

This week, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group Outextended the opportunity for Young to deliver his graduation address to hundreds of people during a fundraising event in the backyard of a private residence. Democracy Now! captured Young’s speech — the same speech originally intended for his peers — on video for an exclusive broadcast.

Evan also appeaqred on Comedy Central’s “Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” where he gave an abbreviate version of the speech for a national audience.

Congratulations, Evan.

He did give his speech at an event sponsored by a local LGBT group, Out Bolder


On This Day In History June 9

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

June 9 is the 160th day of the year (161st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 205 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1973, Secretariat wins Triple Crown

With a spectacular victory at the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat becomes the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win America’s coveted Triple Crown–the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. In one of the finest performances in racing history, Secretariat, ridden by Ron Turcotte, completed the 1.5-mile race in 2 minutes and 24 seconds, a dirt-track record for that distance.

With easy victories in his first two starts of 1973, Secretariat seemed on his way to the Triple Crown. Just two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, however, he stumbled at the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, coming in third behind Angle Light and Sham. On May 5, he met Sham and Angle Light again at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. Secretariat, a 3-to-2 favorite, broke from near the back of the pack to win the 2 1/4-mile race in a record 1 minute and 59 seconds. He was the first to run the Derby in less than two minutes and his record still stands. Two weeks later, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Secretariat won the second event of the Triple Crown: the Preakness Stakes. The official clock malfunctioned, but hand-recorded timers had him running the 1 1/16-mile race in record time.

On June 9, 1973, almost 100,000 people came to Belmont Park near New York City to see if “Big Red” would become the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. Secretariat gave the finest performance of his career in the Belmont Stakes, completing the 1.5-mile race in a record 2 minutes and 24 seconds, knocking nearly three seconds off the track record set by Gallant Man in 1957. He also won by a record 31 lengths. Ron Turcotte, who jockeyed Secretariat in all but three of his races, claimed that at Belmont he lost control of Secretariat and that the horse sprinted into history on his own accord.

TBC: Morning Musing 6.9.15

Hello! I have 3 articles for your perusal this Tuesday morning!

First up, California’s got some trouble:

California is sinking, and it’s getting worse

Last summer, scientists recorded the worst sinking in at least 50 years. This summer, all-time records are expected across the state as thousands of miles of land in the Central Valley and elsewhere sink.

But the extent of the problem and how much it will cost taxpayers to fix are part of the mystery of the state’s unfolding drought. No agency is tracking the sinking statewide, little public money has been put toward studying it and California allows agriculture businesses to keep crucial parts of their operations secret.

The cause is known: People are pulling unsustainable amounts of water out of underground aquifers, primarily for food production. With the water sucked out to irrigate crops, a practice that has accelerated during the drought, tens of thousands of square miles are deflating like a leaky air mattress, inch by inch.


The Daily/Nightly Show (Raibeart Bruis)

Security Theater

Tonightly the topic is Theodore Giselle’s 1929 racist cartoon.  The panel is Seaton Smith, Frank Luntz, and Bonnie McFarlane.


John Hodgeman

This week’s guests-

Nicola Sturgeon is the Scots First Minister and the leader of the Scottish National Party.  Though they lost in Independence referendum in 2014, the SNP under Ms. Sturgeon’s direction scored a landmark 56 of 59 total seats in the English Parliament in 2015.  Ms. Sturgeon has announced she’ll direct her Party to hamper further Conservative attacks on Social Safety Net program and to hold David Cameron’s feet to the fire to deliver on his promises of Scots autonomy.

In an interesting controversy, it was alleged during the 2015 campaign in a leaked memo that Ms. Sturgeon had, in conversation with the French Ambassador, said that she preferred a Cameron victory.  This memo was proven to be entirely fabricated by Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael who was forced to resign.

Ms. Sturgeon is a member of the Scots Parliament only and is not seated in The House of Commons.

The real news below.