Category Archives: Video

O’Reilly rants: Electoral college saves the pales!


Never was Fox News’s snide sniper so transparent as when he came out full-white privilege during a Tuesday evening rant in which he declared democracy is good, right up until it endangers white privilege.

In other words, he laid his racist cards on the table, and he’s holding a full house.

Here’s the money shot. It’s both amazing and frightening:

Trump, the most dangerous man in the world


And the reason isn’t the obvious one.

No, it’s not his vanity, and it’s only partly related to his arrogance.

No, what makes Donald Trump the most dangerous man in the world is that he is utterly untrustworthy, a man whose word means nothing and who will say anything to get his way.

In other words, he’s a unprincipled liar.

And that’s what makes him dangerous.

To Trump, the art of the deal is say whatever works toward his end, and when the deal is done he will brag about the lies he told to get there.

From the Daily Show:

Trump Lets the Truth Come Out Post-Election

Program notes:

While out on his “Thank You Tour,” President-elect Trump smugly admits to lying about his campaign promises to lock up Hillary Clinton and “drain the swamp.”

No foreign leader will be able to trust anything Donald Trump says, and for that reason they will always assume the worst.

And when the stakes are high and the folks on the other side of the table are armed with nuclear weapons, we can only expect the worst.

Scary, ain’t it?

Headline of the day: A Rocky road ahead


From the London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: Rocky goes to Washington! Trump taps Sylvester Stallone for top ‘arts’ role

  • President-elect Trump has approached the veteran actor for a top arts-related position in his administration, DailyMail.com has learned
  • The Rocky star, a long-time fan of The Donald, is said to be pumped over the job
  • The likely position would be Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency that doles out funds to aspiring artists and creative projects
  • If Stallone is formally offered that job, his appointment will have to be approved by Congress
We have exclusive footage of his acceptance:

Dutch TV profiles a Black Lives Matter founder


Black Lives Matter, perhaps the most significant new American social movement since the Occupy phenomenon, coalesced following the 26 February shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and the acquittal six months later of his killer, George Zimmerman.

Three community organizers — Opal Tometi of Brooklyn, New, York, Alicia Garza of Oakland, California, and Patrisse Cullors of Los Angeles — gave the movement its name and form.

But it was the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August 2014 that gave the movement national attention, when organizers headed to Missouri and helped organizer protests that brought the focus of the world’s media to bear.

It was Patrisse Cullors along with another activist who seized the stage from Bernie Sanders during a Town Hall forum in Phoenix in July 2015, drawing yet more attention on the movement.

In this documentary from Dutch public television we get a closer look at Cullors, and the complexity of a figure at the center of the movement. It’s a fascinating story.

From VPRO Backlight:

Black Lives Matter

Program notes:

In 2013 in Sanford, Florida, vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. As a result, the struggle against police violence flared up under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and turned into one of the biggest grassroots movements in the United States. VPRO Backlight talked to co-founder Patrisse Cullors about the various forms of violence against black citizens, and why resistance is essential.

Director: Nirit Peled
Research: Henneke Hagen

French central bank warns of a global slowdown


Thee global economic is engaged in a slow-moving crash.

When you consider the reasons, it’s inevitable.

While the rich are getting richer , everyone else is stuck or heading down [see our earlier posts].

And the rich are getting richer because their wealth is invested heavily in the  parasitical FIRE sector, the finance, insurance, and real estate markets,

Real economic growth, based on the consumption of goods and services, can’t happen without growth in the wages of the working and middle classes, the driving factors leading to consumption of those tangible goods and broadly used services.

But corporate mergers are producing cuts in pay and benefits, with cash assets stripped away and pocketed by plutocratic plunderers, rather than being shared with those folks whose labors produced all that wealth and could use their enlarged share of the pie to actually grow the economy [and, yes, we’re well aware that endless economic growth is itself problematic in the longer run].

And to buy what goods they can, people are increasingly forced to turn to debt, either through bank loans or credit cards, paying ever-higher rates of interest to the FIREy plutocrats.

And with education being privatized or subjected to reduced state subsidies, ever larger numbers of young people are being forced to take loans to attain educations once taken for granted.

And the FIRE folks get richer again.

And now for the warning, via Agence France Presse:

France’s central bank trimmed its growth forecasts for 2016 and 2017 on Friday, citing a deterioration in the global economy and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

The Bank of France revised its 2016 and 2017 growth forecast down to 1.3 percent, having previously expected growth of 1.4 percent this year and 1.5 percent next year.

It also predicted growth of 1.4 percent in 2018, down from its previous figure of 1.6 percent.

“In 2017 and 2018, the downward revision of our GDP growth projection… is mainly due to the deterioration in the international environment,” it said in a statement.

“The projection is thus particularly affected by less favourable foreign demand prospects.., notably as a result of the impact of Brexit on the UK economy and of its dissemination to the euro area economies.”

Understanding the predatory FIRE sector

For more on the current slowdown and its causes and the predatory nature of the FIRE section, watch this very informative German television interview with University of Missouri-Kansas City economist Michael Hudson, perhaps the most incisive commentator of the modern economic conditions:

Michael Hudson: How Private Debt Makes the Rich Richer

Program notes:

Michael Hudson talks about the causes of inequality in the 21st century

Our author Michael Hudson summarizes some important theses from his book “The Sector – Why Global Finance Is Destroying Us”.
The interview took place on the occasion of the 16th International Literary Festival in Berlin for a symposium titled “Inequality in the 21st Century. Progress, capitalism and global poverty. “ The authors, Angus Deaton, David Graeber and Michael Hudson, presented the most important theses of their current books.

Michael Hudson Bio: Michael Hudson is one of very few economists – globally – who perfectly predicted the 2008 financial crisis.

Michael is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Killing the Host (2015), The Bubble and Beyond (2012), Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1968 & 2003), Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (1992 & 2009) and of The Myth of Aid (1971), amongst many others.

ISLET engages in research regarding domestic and international finance, national income and balance-sheet accounting with regard to real estate, and the economic history of the ancient Near East.

Michael acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide including Iceland, Latvia and China on finance and tax law.

Forensic criminal science based on very few facts


If you watch American television, you know one thing for certain: The wonks and wizards in the nation’s crime labs employ that latest infallible scientific tools to find and incarcerate serial killers, arsonists, and other doers of dastardly deeds.

Reassuring, no?

Especially if you’re sitting on a jury a deciding on the fate of the man or woman in the dock, a decision that could, perhaps, lead to a lethal injection.

But you would be wrong to place unquestioning faith in those crime lab wizards, for unlike the televised version of forensic science, the realty is a shabby simulacrum of the glib screenwriter’s version.

And while wealthy criminals can afford their own forensic guns for hire, poor defendants relying on cash-strapped public defenders stand little chance of rebutting the men and women in the white coats, adding yet another element of injustice to American criminal jurisprudence.

We witnessed the process first-hand in our years of reporting on the courts.

We offer two dissections of forensic science from two leading legal scholars.

First up, a Young Turks interview with the the dean of the UCLA Law school:

Is Some Forensic Science “Junk” Science? Jennifer Mnookin Interview With Malcolm Fleschner

Program notes:

Malcolm Fleschner of The Young Turks interviews Jennifer Mnookin, Dean of the UCLA School of Law. Malcolm and Dean Mnookin discuss why hopelessly faulty forensic science is going unchallenged in courtrooms across the country and being used to put countless innocent defendants in prison.

Bite marks are bunk, even fingerprints questionable

Another detailed debunking comes from Jessica Gabel Cino, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law, Georgia State University, writing in the open source academic journal, The Conversation:

Forensic science has become a mainstay of many a TV drama, and it’s just as important in real-life criminal trials. Drawing on biology, chemistry, genetics, medicine and psychology, forensic evidence helps answer questions in the legal system. Often, forensics provides the “smoking gun” that links a perpetrator to the crime and ultimately puts the bad guy in jail.

Shows like “CSI,” “Forensic Files” and “NCIS” cause viewers to be more accepting of forensic evidence. As it’s risen to ubiquitous celebrity status, forensic science has become shrouded in a cloak of infallibility and certainty in the public’s imagination. It seems to provide definitive answers. Forensics feels scientific and impartial as a courtroom weighs a defendant’s possible guilt – looking for proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

But the faith the public and the criminal justice system place in forensic science far outpaces the amount of trust it deserves.

For decades, there have been concerns about how the legal system uses forensic science. A groundbreaking 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences finally drew the curtain back to reveal that the wizardry of forensics was more art than science. The report assessed forensic science’s methods and developed recommendations to increase validity and reliability among many of its disciplines.

These became the catalyst that finally forced the federal government to devote serious resources and dollars to an effort to more firmly ground forensic disciplines in science. After that, governmental agencies, forensic science committees and even the Department of Defense responded to the call. Research to this end now receives approximately US$13.4 million per year, but the money may not be enough to prevent bad science from finding its way into courtrooms.

This fall, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its own report on forensic science. It’s a more pronounced acknowledgment that the discipline has serious problems that require urgent attention. Some scientific and legal groups are outraged by or doubtful of its conclusions; others have praised them.

As someone who has taught forensic evidence for a decade and dedicated my legal career to working on cases involving forensic science (both good and bad), I read the report as a call to address foundational issues within forensic disciplines and add oversight to the way forensic science is ultimately employed by the end user: the criminal justice system.

Is any forensic science valid?

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recognized ongoing efforts to improve forensic science in the wake of the 2009 NAS report. Those efforts focused on policy, best practices and research around forensic science, but, as with any huge undertaking, there were gaps. As PCAST noted, forensic science has a validity problem that is in desperate need of attention.

PCAST focused on what’s colloquially termed “pattern identification evidence” – it requires an examiner to visually compare a crime scene sample to a known sample. PCAST’s big question: Are DNA analysis, bite marks, latent fingerprints, firearms identification and footwear analysis supported by reproducible research, and thus, reliable evidence?

They were looking for two types of validity. According to PCAST, foundational validity means the forensic discipline is based on research and studies that are “repeatable, reproducible, and accurate,” and therefore reliable. The next step is applied validity, meaning the method is “reliably applied in practice.” In other words, for a forensic discipline to produce valid evidence for use in court, there must be (1) reproducible studies on its accuracy and (2) a method used by examiners that is reproducible and accurate.

Among the forensic science they assessed, PCAST found single-sourced DNA analysis to be the only discipline that was valid, both foundationally and as applied. They found DNA mixture evidence – when DNA from more than one person is in a sample, for instance from the victim and the perpetrator, multiple perpetrators or due to contamination – to be only foundationally valid. Same with fingerprint analysis.

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Why comedians are our best Trump news source


American journalism has long been afflicted with the notion of objectivity, and objectivity of a peculiar nature.

We can’t even begin to number the times editors had told us “be sure to get the other wide.”

The notion of “the other side” is inherently flawed, the concept that truth is like a sheet of paper: First you see one side, then turn it over and you see the other side.

Fix news managed to invert the usual standards by offering “the other side of the story,” giving us the first overt American mainstream propaganda outlet of our own lifetime.

But truth isn’t bipolar. It’s multidimensional, and however thoroughly you dig, there’s always more to the story.

Even more significantly, sometimes the story is so absurdly obviously that that any pretense of objectivity lends it a dignity it doesn’t possess.

As in the case of our President-elect.

We offer two examples of the only way news make sense in the Trumpian era.

First up, a segment from Late Night with Seth Meyers:

Donald Trump’s False Claims and Foreign Policy Moves: A Closer Look

Program note:

Seth takes a closer look at Presidential-elect Trump’s willingness to make false claims and his shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy approach.

And then this from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

The Big Lie

Program note:

When you’re president, you can tell whatever lies you want. They just let you do it.

As Walter Cronkite, America’s most trusted television newsman of esnl’s early journalism years, used to say: