Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Trust Destroyers

This from Robert Reich.  Please follow link to original.
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http://robertreich.org/

Donald Trump’s warning that he might not accept the results of the presidential election exemplifies his approach to everything: Do whatever it takes to win, even if that means undermining the integrity of the entire system.
Trump isn’t alone. The same approach underlies Senator John McCain’s recent warning that Senate Republicans will unite against any Supreme Court nominee Hillary Clinton might put up, if she becomes president. 
The Republican Party as a whole has embraced this philosophy for more than two decades. After Newt Gingrich took over as Speaker of the House in 1995, compromise was replaced by brinksmanship, and normal legislative maneuvering was supplanted by threats to close down the government – which occurred at the end of that year.
Like Trump, Gingrich did whatever it took to win, regardless of the consequences. In 1996, during the debates over welfare reform, he racially stereotyped African-Americans. In 2010 he fueled the birther movement by saying President Obama exhibited “Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.” Two years later, in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he called President Obama the “food stamp president.“
As political observers Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of Brookings have noted, “the forces Mr. Gingrich unleashed destroyed whatever comity existed across party lines.” Gingrich’s Republican Party became “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
In truth, it’s not just Republicans and not just relationships between the two major parties that have suffered from the prevailing ethos. During this year’s Democratic primaries, former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her staff showed disdain for the integrity of the political process by discussing ways to derail Bernie Sanders’s campaign, according to hacked emails.
The same ethos is taking over the private sector. When they pushed employees to open new accounts, Wells Fargo CEO John Strumpf and his management team chose to win regardless of the long-term consequences of their strategy. The scheme seemed to work, at least in the short term. Strumpf and his colleagues made a bundle.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals CEO Heather Bresch didn’t worry about the larger consequences of jacking up the cost of life-saving EpiPens from $100 for a two-pack to $608, because it made her and her team lots of money. 
Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turin Pharmaceuticals, didn’t worry about the consequences of price-gouging customers. Called before Congress to explain, he invoked the Fifth Amendment, then tweeted that the lawmakers who questioned his tactics were “imbeciles.”
A decade ago, Wall Street’s leading bankers didn’t worry about the consequences of their actions for the integrity of the American financial system. They encouraged predatory mortgage lending by bundling risky mortgages with other securities and then selling them to unwary investors because it made them a boatload of money, and knew they were too big to fail.
Even when some of these trust-destroyers get nailed with fines or penalties, or public rebuke, they don’t bear the larger costs of undermining public trust. So they continue racing to the bottom.
Some bankers who presided over the Wall Street debacle, such as Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, remain at the helm – and are trying to water down regulations designed to stop them from putting the economy at risk again.
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, Newt Gingrich is positioning himself to be the politician best able to mobilize Trump supporters going forward.
“I don’t defend him [Trump] when he wanders off,” Gingrich recently told ABC News. But “there’s a big Trump and there’s a little Trump,” he said, explaining that the “big Trump” is the one who has created issues that make “the establishment” very uncomfortable. “The big Trump,” he said, “is a historic figure.”
By stretching the boundaries of what’s acceptable, all the people I’ve mentioned – and too many others just like them – have undermined prevailing norms and weakened the tacit rules of the game.
The net result has been a vicious cycle of public distrust. Our economic and political systems appear to be rigged, because, to an increasing extent, they are. Which makes the public ever more cynical – and, ironically, more willing to believe half-baked conspiracy theories such as Trump’s bizarre claim that the upcoming election is rigged.
Leadership of our nation’s major institutions is not just about winning. It’s also about making these institutions stronger and more trustworthy.
In recent years we have witnessed a massive failure of such leadership. Donald Trump is only the latest and most extreme example.
The cumulative damage of today’s ethos of doing whatever it takes to win, even at the cost of undermining the integrity of our system, is incalculable.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ahmad Jamal Trio. Poinciana


IKE QUEBEC, Acquitted (Quebec)



 Ike Quebec (tenor saxophone); Freddie Roach (organ); Milt Hinton (bass); Al Harewood (drums).

Sonny Rollins - Blues for Philly Joe - 1957


Monday, October 10, 2016

Predators in Arms


This from the Paul Krugman column in today's New York Times.  Please follow link to original.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/10/opinion/predators-in-arms.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fpaul-krugman&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=0  


As many people are pointing out, Republicans now trying to distance themselves from Donald Trump need to explain why The Tape was a breaking point, when so many previous incidents weren’t. On Saturday, explaining why he was withdrawing his endorsement, Senator John McCain cited “comments on prisoners of war, the Khan Gold Star family, Judge Curiel and earlier inappropriate comments about women” — and that leaves out Mexicans as rapists, calls for a Muslim ban, and much more. So, Senator McCain, what took you so long?
One excuse we’re now hearing is that the new revelations are qualitatively different — that disrespect for women is one thing, but boasting about sexual assault brings it to another level. It’s a weak defense, since Mr. Trump has in effect been promising violence against minorities all along. His insistence last week that the Central Park Five, who were exonerated by DNA evidence, were guilty and should have been executed was even worse than The Tape, but drew hardly any denunciations from his party.
And even if you consider sexual predation somehow uniquely unacceptable, you have to ask where all these pearl-clutching Republicans were back in August, when Roger Ailes — freshly fired from Fox News over horrifying evidence that he used his position to force women into sexual relationships — joined the Trump campaign as a senior adviser. Were there any protests at all from senior G.O.P. figures?
Of course, we know the answer: The latest scandal upset Republicans, when previous scandals didn’t, because the candidate’s campaign was already in free fall. You can even see it in the numbers: The probability of a House Republican jumping off the Trump train is strongly related to the Obama share of a district’s vote in 2012. That is, Republicans in competitive districts are outraged by Mr. Trump’s behavior; those in safe seats seem oddly indifferent.
Meanwhile, the Trump-Ailes axis of abuse raises another question: Is sexual predation by senior political figures — which Mr. Ailes certainly was, even if he pretended to be in the journalism business — a partisan phenomenon?
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about bad behavior in general, which occurs among politicians (and people) of all political leanings. Yes, Bill Clinton had affairs; but there’s a world of difference between consensual sex, however inappropriate, and abuse of power to force those less powerful to accept your urges. That’s infinitely worse — and it happens more than we’d like to think.

Take, for example, what we now know about what was happening politically in 2006, a year that Nate Cohn, The Times’s polling expert, suggests offers some lessons for this year. As Mr. Cohn points out, as late as September of that year it looked as if Republicans might retain control of Congress despite public revulsion at the Bush administration. But then came the Foley scandal: A member of Congress, Representative Mark Foley, had been sending sexually explicit messages to pages, and his party had failed to take any action despite warnings. As Mr. Cohn points out, the scandal seems to have broken the dam, and led to a Democratic wave.
But think about how much bigger that wave might have been if voters had known what we know now: that Dennis Hastert, who had been speaker of the House since 1999, himself had a long history of molesting teenage boys.
Why do all these stories involve Republicans? One answer may be structural. The G.O.P. is, or was until this election, a monolithic, hierarchical institution, in which powerful men could cover up their sins much better than they could in the far looser Democratic coalition.
There is also, I’d suggest, an underlying cynicism that pervades the Republican elite. We’re talking about a party that has long exploited white backlash to mobilize working-class voters, while enacting policies that actually hurt those voters but benefit the wealthy. Anyone participating in that scam — which is what it is — has to have the sense that politics is a sphere in which you can get away with a lot if you have the right connections. So in a way it’s not surprising if a disproportionate number of major players feel empowered to abuse their position.
Which brings us back to the man almost all senior Republicans were supporting for president until a day or two ago.
Assuming that Mr. Trump loses, many Republicans will try to pretend that he was a complete outlier, unrepresentative of the party. But he isn’t. He won the nomination fair and square, chosen by voters who had a pretty good idea of who he was. He had solid establishment support until very late in the game. And his vices are, dare we say, very much in line with his party’s recent tradition.
Mr. Trump, in other words, isn’t so much an anomaly as he is a pure distillation of his party’s modern essence.

Red Garland Quintet - Billie's Bounce



Red Garland - Piano
John Coltrane - Tenor Sax
Donald Byrd - Trumpet
George Joyner - Bass
Arthur Taylor - Drums

Red Garland - St. Louis Blues



Red Garland p
Sam Jones b
Art Taylor d

Red Garland Trio - Willow Weep for Me



The Red Garland Trio - Red Garland pf, Paul Chambers db, Art Taylor ds

Red Garland - Don't Worry 'Bout Me




Friday, October 7, 2016

Annie Ross with Gerry Mulligan Quartet - This Time the Dream's on Me



Personnel: Annie Ross (Vocals), Chet Baker (trumpet), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax, arrange), Henry Grimes (bass), Dave Bailey (drums)

Annie Ross with Gerry Mulligan Quartet - Give Me the Simple Life



Personnel: Annie Ross (Vocals), Art Farmer (trumpet), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax, arrange), Bill Crow (bass), Dave Bailey (drums)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pinetop Perkins & Ruth Brown - Chains of Love



Pinetop Perkins (piano), Ruth Brown, Deborah Coleman (guitar), Jimmy Vivino (guitar), Bob Stroger (bass), Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (drums), Jerry Vivino (saxophone)

Mississippi John Hurt - You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley (Live)


Pinetop Perkins -- How Long Blues


Kern / Oscar Peterson, 1959: A Fine Romance



 Ray Brown - double bass; Oscar Peterson - piano; Ed Thigpen - drums.