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'Going, Going, Gone…': Banksy Shreds the Top 1 Percent with Self-Destructing $1.4 Million Artwork

October 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Jon Queally, Common Dreams

“This is the best thing I've seen in years!” said one commenter after artist destroys own work moments after it nabs fortune at Sotheby's


With a direct strike against the grotesque economic inequality that is ravaging societies around the globe, the artist Banksy pulled off a spectacular stunt Friday night when a piece of his artwork—a painting titled “Girl With Balloon” which had just sold for an outrageous $1.4 million—self-destructed right before the eyes of the shocked plutocrats viewing it at the Sotheby's auction in London.

With a secret shredder hidden within the walls of the painting's frame, the incident was capture live on video and Banksy himself used his Instagram feed to show the shocked look on the faces of those witnessing the moment as he declared: “Going, going, gone…” to his millions of followers.

Watch:

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Watch: Fox News Host Laughs in GOP Rep's Face for Claiming Republicans Don’t Exacerbate Partisanship

October 7, 2018 in Blogs

By David Edwards, Raw Story

“Come on…”


Fox News host Leland Vittert called out Republican Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) on Sunday after the congressman refused to concede that his party had a role in the bitter partisanship in Washington, D.C.

In a Sunday interview, Vittert told Kelly that Democrats are accusing Republicans of ignoring a “huge” part of the population which has not been able to take part in the country’s economic progress.

“Whether it be in Pennsylvania, whether it be in Michigan, whether it be in Ohio, it’s still left behind,” Vittert explained. “A lot of Democrats are pretty fired up, saying that the economy has left [some Americans] behind.”

“It’s not about Democrats or Republicans,” Kelly insisted. “It’s about Americans.”

“Congressman,” Vittert interrupted. “You can’t say it’s not about Democrats and Republicans.”

“Of course, I can,” Kelly shot back. “Because it’s the truth. You hear Corey Booker — Spartacus — talking the way he’s talking… I believe in the United States of America, not the divided states of America. We need to become more statesman.”

“This idea that you can continue to divide America,” Kelly continued, “in every way, in every day is a positive message. Come on.”

Vitert pressed: “Congressman, you’re a big supporter of the president. There are few people who have divided America more on the issue of partisanship than the president of the United States. Right or wrong, that’s what he’s done.”

“Thank you,” Kelly snapped back sarcastically. “That’s not the truth and you know that.”

As the congressman continued to rant, Vittert laughed in his face.

“Come on,” Vittert said. “I’m just talking about partisanship in America. So, hold on. Should only Democrats be blamed for partisanship in America?”

“I get it,” Kelly answered cryptically. “I’m going to answer you very directly. Have you ever seen America in better shape than it is right now?”

“Congressman, that’s not the question,” Vittert said, cutting Kelly off. “The question is, do Republicans share in the blame for partisanship? You’re the one who brought up that partisanship has never been worse. Do Republicans share in that blame?”

“Alright,” Kelly grumbled. “I’ll tell you what the Republicans share in — and the Democrats …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Police in Texas Seized a Handmade Yard Sign Depicting a GOP Elephant with Its Trunk Up a Girl’s Skirt

October 7, 2018 in Blogs

By The Texas Tribune

The accompanying visual spurred criticism, and a visit from law enforcement.


 

A Texas yard sign depicted a GOP elephant with its trunk up a girl’s skirt. Police seized it.” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

At some point during Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s testimony last week, Marion Stanford grabbed a piece of wooden paneling, some paint and the $5 brushes she had purchased awhile back.

She brought the items back to her living room, where she had been glued to the television watching the drama unfold in the Senate that day. She had heard Christine Blasey Ford tell senators that Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, was the boy who sexually assaulted her 36 years ago, when they were both in high school. And as she listened to Kavanaugh’s forceful denial and defense of himself, Stanford began to paint.

She drew an elephant, the Republican symbol, in red, white and blue — with its trunk climbing up the skirt of a little blond girl in pink. Her eyes are wide open, and so is her mouth. The word “HELP!” is right next to her face. On the opposite side of the paneling, she painted the words, “YOUR VOTE MATTERS” in the same shade of pink.

“The message is if you recognize this, if you understand this pain, if you are part of this movement, your vote matters,” Stanford said, referring to the #MeToo movement.

Stanford placed the sign outside her home in the Central Texas town of Hamilton, right below another sign supporting Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat trying to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.

A few days later, on Tuesday night, a police officer showed up at her house. Stanford said the officer told her there had been complaints about her sign, which some saw as a graphic depiction of child abuse. Earlier a woman knocked on Stanford’s door and told her she found the sign “disgusting.”

“It is pornography, and you can’t display it,” Stanford recalled the police officer …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Democrats Didn't Do Enough to Stop Kavanaugh — They Melted Before His White Rage

October 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Jim Sleeper, Salon

Yes, Democrats are preferable to this. But they’re still spineless.


Although I’ll vote for any Democrat in November to keep Donald Trump’s Republican vassals from finishing off the American republic at his bidding, what I saw in the performance of most Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week reminded me that any victory by that terminally pusillanimous, corrupt, suppurating party, which is only a zombie if not a corpse of our democratic hopes, isn’t likely to stop what’s coming at us any more than a speed bump will stop a tank.

Again, I’ll vote for any Democrat in November, just as I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 even after I’d said all this about Democrats right here at that time.

What’s different now is that the danger of Trumpism and the hollowness of Democrats have been more fully exposed. While we can hope that the latter will grow spines in some upcoming congressional outcomes, it’ll take a lot more to stop the creeping coup d’état against the republic by Trump and his backers than it would have taken in 2016.

Too many Democrats are already carriers and casualties of the coup from above. When Brett Kavanaugh interrupted Sen. Amy Klobuchar to ask if she drinks too much, why didn’t she find it in herself to say, “Mr. Kavanaugh, would you please stop putting your verbal hand over my mouth while I’m asking you a question?”

Why didn’t Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse look up from his scripted questions about a high school beach party and yearbook to ask Kavanaugh whether he truly thought that the committee’s inquiry was staged by the Clintons in revenge for Trump’s victory and, if so, would he mind telling the American people more about that conspiracy?

Why didn’t the “ranking member” of the minority, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, observe that Kavanaugh’s tirade had given the committee and the American people ample evidence of his judicial temperament?

Instead, these and most other Democrats cowered before Kavanaugh’s rain-dancing. He said what he’d scripted himself to say the night before, but some of his anger and partisan hatred also came roaring out of his bowels in …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Resistance Hero or Hypocrite? Jerry Brown’s Mixed Legacy Paints a Complicated Picture for California Progressives

October 7, 2018 in Blogs

By Paul Rosenberg, Salon

Both parties are struggling to redefine themselves, but in very different ways.


If anything should be obvious in the wake of the 2016 election it’s that both major American political parties are in deep trouble, reflecting the larger trouble of a society potentially headed for state breakdown. The unacknowledged terrible record of the GOP’s “deep bench” paved the way for Donald Trump. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders’ promotion of popular progressive positions and his surprisingly strong 2016 showing challenged more than just Hillary Clinton, it challenged the entire direction of the party for over a generation.

In the aftermath, both parties are struggling to redefine themselves, but in very different ways. The Republicans' redefinition is being driven by Trump, while Democrats are undergoing a more varied bottom-up process.  One such perspective on what that involves can be gleaned by reflecting on the legacy of retiring California Gov. Jerry Brown — and what he’s left undone.

The view from the New York Times, “5 Takeaways From California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Last Bill Signing Session,” was a bit of jumble, starting with Brown’s “lasting legacy as ‘the policy trendsetter of the country,’” and ending on the contrary note by mentioning his “a willingness to wield the veto pen,” usually against progressive measures, given Democratic dominance of the state legislature.

That contradiction — unrecognized and unreflected on by the Times — speaks volumes about Brown’s actual record and legacy, while the three other takeaways all reflect the impact of grassroots movements: Black Lives Matter for a “series of high-profile criminal justice measures,” and “[s]weeping changes to police transparency laws,” and the women-led Resistance and #MeToo movement for “[p]ushing back against gender discrimination and sexual harassment,” though vetoes and other caveats applied to those as well.

The good news for Democrats is how little Brown and his governor’s pen had to do with any of that progressive legislation, which actually spans a broad range of specific topics. His retirement won’t decapitate any of the driving forces involved. The bad news is how uneven the actual accomplishments are.

Vetoing safe injections

We …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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No, Mr. President, War against Venezuela Is a Bad Idea

October 7, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

America’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who routinely
promotes the agendas of friendly dictatorships such as Saudi
Arabia, recently stepped out as a defender of liberty to denounce
repression in Venezuela. She evidently wants regime change, via
means unstated. Furthermore, President Donald Trump supports
military action. But intervention in Venezuela is a dumb idea.

The Maduro government is a disaster. Little pretense remains
that the country is a democracy; the regime maintains power through
brutality and violence.

At the same time, President Nicolas Maduro has proved to be an
enemy of the poor. Social services, including health care, have
collapsed. Getting enough to eat has become a major challenge in
this oil-rich nation, with roughly 90 percent of the population now
falling below the poverty line. Amazingly, the ruling regime has
“turned natural resource wealth into a curse,” as noted
my Cato Institute colleague Juan Carlos Hidalgo. Millions of
Venezuelans have fled in despair.

The result is a widespread desire to free the nation from
incompetent dictatorship. Haley joined demonstrators outside the UN
and declared that “we are not just going to let the Maduro
regime backed by Cuba hurt the Venezuelan people anymore.”
How she planned to stop Caracas, however, she did not say.

It would be another
nation-building disaster.

But Haley sounds moderate compared to others. For instance, last
year the president, who ran as an opponent of Hillary Clinton’s
continual war-making, proposed the “military option.”
Faced with opposition within his administration and throughout
Latin America, he publicly dropped the idea but apparently has not
forgotten it. For instance, U.S. administration officials most
recently encouraged a coup. Trump also observed that
“It’s a regime that frankly could be toppled very
quickly by the military, if the military decides to do
that.”

He isn’t the only one urging war. Florida Sen. Marco
Rubio, who repeatedly backed counterproductive military
intervention in the Middle East, now argues that Venezuela poses a
security threat to America warranting possible military action.
Fernando Cutz, who formerly served as staff for the National
Security Council, urged a multilateral response. Venezuelan
opposition leader Antonio Ledezma promoted “humanitarian
intervention.” Expatriate Daniel Di Martino argued that
“American intervention could have economic benefits for both
Venezuela and the United States.”

The contention that Washington should wreak death and
destruction for the money is frankly ridiculous, but the argument
for humanitarian intervention is taken more seriously.
Nevertheless, a war would be a great mistake.

First, Venezuela is not unique. Other brutal dictatorships have
oppressed and killed their own people while creating economic
misery. North Korea, Eritrea, Burma/Myanmar, Egypt, and Zimbabwe
come to mind. Sometimes U.S. sanctions have compounded grotesque
domestic misrule, as in Cuba, Sudan and Iran. China …read more

Source: OP-EDS