January 15, 2016

Hillary vs Bernie on #singlepayer, #gunnut; a draw, or a #clusterfuck (updated)

First, the health care side.

Shock me that Chelsea Clinton would drink deeply from mama-san's ruthlessness to utter a boatload of lies like this:
"Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance," she said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. "I worry if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we'll go back to an era -- before we had the Affordable Care Act -- that would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance."

Absolutely zero percent of that is true. And the lies she learned at the Knee of Mom, including that Sanders' plan is a worrisome revolution (it ain't, and sadly). Even the Weekly Standard, which on foreign policy is best buds of neocondom with Hillary Clinton, says she's lying.

Oh, if you think I think Hillary Clinton (or Chelsea) is lying on this, read Doug Henwood. But, per his exchange with Katha Pollit of The Nation, even non-Hillarybots who have a certain version of a feminist narrative locked in aren't changing their stances.

No word if defrauded Haiti is an inspired
or informed part of Monde du Clinton.
As for Chelsea Clinton?

But, given that Chelsea wrote an ersatz campaign bio book in place of Mommy Dearest doing one herself, and has no real experience outside of working for Chez Clinton again, none of this is shocking. People who know then have no problem saying this is politics "as usual." 

And, if that's "cynical" rather than "skeptical," I plead very guilty to being cynical about that.

As for the online lies of a faculty advisor to campus Republicans, one pretending to be a Hillary Clinton supporter, and one who was co-author of a book saying that readers would be "entertained" by tea party governors, the single-payer option is NOT "rare" among countries that have some sort of insurance coverage mandate.

Per this link, 16 countries have a full single-payer. Nine others have what it calls a "two-tier" system. That's where there's a single-payer model for catastrophic insurance, with individual purchase options for comprehensive coverage, or

Bernie's one portion of his idea of "Medicare for all" single payer did leave wiggle room, in that he wanted make the expansion of Medicare like Obamacare — state exchange-type systems, but a federal system as a backup.

To that, I say, why?

Every baby these days gets a Social Security number. Give each bambino a Medicare account at the same time, if you're going to expand Medicare. 

Period.

No need for state Medicare exchanges or anything like that.

Bernie's plans were too bureaucratic, which is a bit worrisome, since that's a charge conservatives who aren't even full wingnut fling around. And, it's a change hurled around in spades, and rightly so, at Clinton's 1993 "Hillarycare" as well as Obamacare. People hate American health insurance paperwork and bureaucracy, whether corporate or government.

The gun nut side of the coin?

Sorry, Bernie, but your defense of your support of giving gun manufacturers lawsuit immunity is weak as hell. If you think you'd like to revise the law today, why didn't you propose an amendment 10 years ago. And, really, how many small gun manufacturers do you know? Per that link, Sanders' claim that such a revision would include prosecuting gun makers in certain instances is already law, too.

Sanders now says he would support overturning that law. That said, his caveat for small gun sellers is a fig leaf just as it's always been, and his claimed 2005 — and ongoing — opposition to child gun locks is tone-deaf, indeed. Beyond that, announcing this the day of the third Democratic presidential debate you're being Just.Another.Politician.™

Here's the nut grafs:

Campaign aides said the decision was not a flip-flop, arguing that Sanders backed the 2005 law in part because of provisions that require child safety locks on guns and ban armor-piercing ammunition. 
"Those were important provisions that I did support," Sanders said in a statement.
 Umm, nice try, nice fail, at the caveating. And, actually, this makes things even worse.

It's an unsubtle flip-flop on the main portion of the bill, hidden behind remaining tone-deaf enough to publicly oppose child safety locks at the same time to have opposed the bill with many good things in it, like the trigger locks. (Fixed after an initial misread of his comments.)

Bernie, if you are going to Just.Another.Politician.™ — and you have been for decades — this is the big stage now. You have to be more subtle.

On the other hand, a Washington Post piece argues it's not out of the blue after all. It still seems like a bit out of the blue. I know that Clinton's desperation over polling free-fall has seized on this issue. But, it does come out of the blue. And, if you like it that much, the actual legislation as described here, why not cosponsor it with Sen. Blumenthal, especially if this isn't out of the blue? And, why the special worry, still, about mom-and-pop gun dealers? Can they not fulfill the law? Or do you think many gun laws still don't work that well? Why the claim that PLCAA does NOT need a full repeal, along with your plans to offer an amendment?

Per ThinkProgress, even small gun dealers can have issues with straw purchases, undercutting your would-be amendment.

As for this being a flip-flop or not? Sanders first said he was thinking about "revisiting" the issue about the time he ran for president. Sandy Hook and Aurora happened long before that. And Schiff has been pushing similar legislation since 2013.

You're a gun nut, at least within the Democratic Party, Bernie, as extensively documented. Anybody who supports pilots packing heat when most of them want nothing to do with that is a gun nut. Ditto on favoring and voting for loaded guns in National Parks, even if you're not the only Democrat to have done so.

And, with the caveat of "within the Democratic party," sorry, Brains, but I'll keep on disagreeing with you. Until Bernie gives a "clean" backing to the Schiff-Blumenthal bill, I'll stand by that.

You're also a warhawk, lusting after the F-35 and other military-industrial complex items, a drones-light guy on using them, and probably a harder-core Zionist than many know.

And, on the guns issue, you're being Just.Another.Politician.™

What's really sad is that the Democratic Party has tacked so far right, and has such a weak Presidential bench that a 1-note Johnny pale imitation of his real socialist self of 40 years ago actually scares Hillary Clinton.

For one thing, Bernie, if you were an actual socialist, on health care, you'd recognize our system is so hypercapitalist that even Medicare for all is not enough, and that ONLY a British-style National Health System will rein in costs. (Matt Yglesias, of all people, actually has some interesting thoughts on cost controls, noting that even Medicare plus all, if it actually held the line on rates, along with a single-ratepayer system, would do some cost controls. Would it be enough?)

At the same time, there's plenty of opportunity to not be a 1-noter, and to really address foreign policy issues. Hypercapitalism, Clinton Foundation style, and neoliberalism, Obama Administration style, have teamed up in foreign policy to apparently continue to foist corrupt government on Haiti. That's even as, to the degree the government isn't corrupt, many services in Haiti are actually delivered by NGOs (many of them neoliberal or corporatist ones), not the government itself.

There's the Honduras coup. There's our drones in Yemen making us a proxy for the Saudis. There's, erm, Palestine, if you'd be less of a Middle East warhawk, less of a Zionist, and actually dare to touch the third rail of foreign policy. There's plenty of foreign policy issues where you could break outside the current Democratic mold, if only you'd actually say something.

There's the fact that capitalist neoliberalism drives a lot of American foreign policy ... ties back in with your economic stances.

There's "free" trade vs. fair trade.

Given all of the above, with the understanding that for me, it applies only to the Democratic primary process and NOT the general election, I do, though, agree with the Nation endorsing Sanders over Clinton.

Diehard fans of both candidates can't detach from the idea that both of them are saints on their ideas. Neither is. That's why I support ideas first, candidates second.

January 13, 2016

Is the world headed to #GreatRecession Part Deux?

Are we all doomed to eating generic Doritos in the dark?
So said the Royal Bank of Scotland yesterday, telling clients to sell off all but the most secure of assets, as it worried oil would hit $20 a barrel or less.

First, that worry belies the traditional "we're all rational" claim of most macroeconomists. Outside of actual research findings of behavioral economists, all one has to do is watch investment markets to know that, per John Nance Garner, Homo sapiens is collectively less rational than a bucket of warm piss.

Second, RBS's actual worry?

I won't say its chances are "slim and none," but oil at $20/bbl, especially for any lengthy period, is unlikely.

I'm no T. Boone Pickens or other oil bull to the point of fellating a pumpjack. I do know that, although it has taken longer than it should have — precisely because of irrationality among US shale oil drillers, many operating on tight fiscal margins — that the US shale market is unwinding.

As is any claim that the US was about to become a second Saudi Arabia. Remember that laugher a year or two ago from the Energy Information Agency?

That said, no, the US isn't about to become post-Hugo Chavez Venezuela, either.

Once the hyperfear of oil bears dissipates, and once Chinese stock markets stop getting so panicky every time its "circuit breaker" mechanism trips, things will stabilize. A place like Oil-Price.net is realistic, IMO, when its 1-year outlook is $35/bbl.

They're still not going to be pretty. Wall Street, and probably London as well, have both been due for stock corrections. China, with a Potemkin economy of corruption, shoddy construction, and abominable pollution, has been due for an even bigger correction for even longer.

But, this doesn't mean a second "Great Recession," let along Great Depression, is headed here. This is to focus too tightly on oil as a marker for the whole economy. After all, the economy was running sky-high, other than George Soros wrecking Asian currencies, when oil was $10/bbl in the late 1990s. (And, inflation's been low enough that $10 oil in 1998 would still only be $14.56 today, in the US.)

But, as noted, these corrections will happen.

And, the shale oil market will finish unwinding, as stubborn as some operators are.

Update, Jan. 25: Bloomberg says the likelihood of a recession in the U.S. is still a bit below 20 percent.

Once that happens, and the banksters accept writing off some US oilfield depths, there will be more stability, though. As noted above, the US oil market is unwinding. Finally. Maybe not immediately, but, by the middle of the year, I expect the House of Saud to agree to a trim on oil production. NOT a "cut," a "trim." Enough to get oil into the mid-$40s in time for US summer driving season.

That then said, this does reflect the spoiled greed of hypercapitalism, with the bankster world acting like a pouting 2-year-old holding its collective breath. Markets have corrections. Sometimes you lose money. Deal with it.

And, let's hope no neolib politicians offer to bail you out at the least sign of problems.

I still wonder if my $34-37 for the low end of oil prices on my poll at right is too high. But, I don't think it's that much too high.

As for people worried about their investments?

First, see above. Financial markets ALWAYS make adjustments. If you're too greedy, or if you rolled "Dow 36,000" pages into a giant doobie, or if like Ralph Nader of oil stocks ownership fame of 2000, you wanted the Fed to hike interest rates to make your investments earn more, I've got zero sympathy for you. No, wait. I have less than that.

Second, if you're going to bitch about any of the above AFTER noting how fragile the recovery was from the Great Recession, it ain't my fault you didn't make safer investments. Nor, if you're going to be that much of a capitalist, is it my fault you're not richer.

#BrokebackOregon: Intelligence held hostage, week 2

Update, Jan. 26: Ammon Bundy and seven other Ammonites have reportedly been arrestedwith one dead after exchange of gunfire with federal and state officials.

This happened on the way to a community meeting in John Day, in another county, where, per this piece, the sheriff there is apparently a Posse Comitatus type guy.

The fact that the "jamokes" were apparently either dumb enough, or arrogant enough, to try to, or think they could, drive 100 miles from Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to John Day, and hope they'd go scot-free, speaks volumes all by itself.

Ammon Bundy and the other jamokes, asshats, or bags of dicks have now entered the second week after taking over a portion of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and resolution seems no nearer.

Part of this traces back to Washington, D.C, per The Guardian a week ago. It reported that Dear Leader was allegedly going to shut off the power there by Monday. Guess that's about as factual as Tricky Dick's secret plan to end the Vietnam War. Shock me.

And, with that said, a few updated observations about the Oregon situation, aka Oregon Held Hostage.

(Note: For #BrokebackOregon or #BundyEroticFanFic, go to this blog post with some quite purplish, and turgid, prose.)

1. Who's who at Malheur? High Country News gives profiles of Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and other occupiers, as well as in-town supporters in Burns. Although Ammon has emerged (or been put forward) as the public face of the takeover, it notes that brother Ryan is even more strident.

Many of the in-town folks didn't support the Bundys taking over the NWR, but, nonetheless, refuse to go home. (Yet more on the relative lack of support here.)

2. It is stupid, this event, but, if our US gummint has brains, can be solved easily enough, assuming no employees are being held.

You keep the area of the refuge that's occupied, and even more any building, surrounded and you cut off the water supply as well as the electricity to the visitor's center building, trumping Potus Bear by one utility. Given that it got down to 10 degrees Sunday night, cut off the power, and they'll be cold enough, soon enough. And, while they may have brought food, you cut off the water, and all they'll have otherwise is bits of powdery high-desert snow, and that outside the building.

And, no, this shouldn't be that hard. Men like the U.S. Marshals have individual marshals for stuff like this.

3. That said, good luck on Harney County Judge Steve Gratsy (similar, in this county, to the Texas/Southern county judge) in trying to bill the Brokeback Oregon folks for county expenses related to the occupation, and anything possibly related to its outside supporters. You and what army, since Obama ain't sending anybody?

The fact that other self-identified militia leaders oppose the occupation show that if this is handled tactfully, this will work.

4. Unfortunately, by the Bureau of Land Management and Dear Leader not having adequate cojones vis-a-vis Cliven Bundy (shock me) it encouraged something like this to happen. I don't need the WaPost to give me official MSM confirmation of this, though it does. And I am "shocked" that the Southern Poverty Law Center is part of worrying about this. Has there been a single extremist or quasi-extremist group it hasn't liked to vilify for fundraising purposes?

High Country News has much more. A former BLM head admits that, going back a full decade, his agency was too timid with the Bundys. Flip side is that today's BLM has a hang 'em high mentality.

HCN also has a much better insight on Bundy.

So, after the Malheur situation is cleaned up, Obama and the BLM need to find some balls. Yeah, right. If members of the AA-level militia have left the NWR to go to a motel, Obama will apparently never have balls.

Besides Dear Leader having no balls, the key person in a lot of this is BushCo Interior Secretary Gale Norton, former lackey of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, key factotum for the so-called "Wise Use" movement that succeeded the Sagebrush Rebellion.

5. Gale Norton et al leading to the Bundys show that "rule of law" is as selectively applied by wingnuts as is worrying about deficits. Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward has made clear that Group Bundy supporters and other militia types have increased harassment of people since the trespassing began, including of county residents who Group Bundy is supposed to be drawing to its side.

Update 1: All right! I think we have our first 2016 entrant in the Darwin Awards, and it's a Brokeback Oregon supporter to boot.

Update 2: Brokeback Oregon says it will have a community meeting on Friday and announce when it intends to leave at that meeting. Yeah, sure. You'll say you're leaving "when the community is strong enough," which it said a week ago, or other bullshit with no date certain. I mean, it was LaVoy Finicum of lonely cows and #BundyEroticFanFic hashtag purple romance fame who made both the Jan. 13 statement and the one a week earlier.

(That meeting was scrubbed after local government officials said a meeting site couldn't be used.)

Update 3: I don't know how close to, or far away from, the visitor center the fire watchtower at Malheur is, but I call it further mismanagement of the situation by Dear Leader that the criminals have access to it. It also makes it harder to isolate the visitor center. And, the lack of a cordon has allowed the criminals to get their "snacks" and more substantial food.

January 12, 2016

The NYT does a hit job on a book decrying neoliberal NGOs and philanthrocapitalism

I have just gotten done reading The Reproach of Hunger," a very insightful book about how future battles against international hunger will be different than in the past, and why.

It's also about how, if the battle is to be ethical, and is to truly help the developing world's economies in general, not just providing more food, how it SHOULD be different.

Here's my review from Goodreads. At the end, I'll pick up the thread of discussion.

The Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice, and Money in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice, and Money in the Twenty-First Century by David Rieff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Rieff turns a critical eye to the holy trinity of modern international development and aid, the neoliberal holy trinity of the World Bank, the IMF, and willingly co-opted NGOs. For an additional splash of critique, his gimlet eye includes turns to the world of philanthrocapitalism and what Rieff calls Bill Gates' second monopoly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rieff does not buy into every critique of the neoliberal development machine as offered by peasants groups', other local Global South advocates and their non-neoliberal Global North supporters, but he does give an open listening to all of them and agrees with a fair amount. He even engages somewhat with Hayekian-type naked capitalism supporters in the development game, without agreeing with them at all.

So, to the degree this is a polemic, it's a well-argued, thought-out polemic, one that Rieff notes has been several years in the making.

His critique of the neoliberal development machine has several main points.
1. While it ostensibly calls for "transparency" and "accountability" it does NOT call for "democracy."
2. It does not bring human rights into issues of hunger and poverty in any great way.
3. The hypercapitalism of neoliberalism believes that it's "enough" for a rising tide to lift the global poor's boats out of poverty, even if income inequality increases.
4. Referencing Yevegny Morozov (mentioned once here, though his famous word is not) it has a "solutionist" approach to developing world agricultural problems.
5. It has a scientistic approach to its own ideas, along with that believing that if it does make mistakes, they're all self-correcting. Related to that, it believes that it knows better than natives what's good for their own countries and environments.
6. A naive, secular Success Gospel optimism that believes neoliberalism can conquer all — often at the expense of ignoring the realities of what destruction climate change is likely to wreak, and the possible wars and civil wars that will accompany that.

Beyond this are two other points, one implicit in Rieff's book, and one that's really not, and that could have been brought out more in this otherwise excellent volume.

The one other implicit thing, going along with his these that modern neoliberalism is a religion of sorts, is that the holy trinity plus the likes of Gates are often preaching at the developing world. Often, it's a developmental version of the Success Gospel, but sometimes, it's a developmental version of old-fashioned Calvinism, per the last part of my Point No. 5.

The thing that he didn't bring out more, and that he could have, relates to main point No. 3. And that is that, in modern hypercapitalism, "money = power." Per "Brave New World," which Rieff references near the end of the book, with governments acquiescing more and more to businesses, as well as NGOs that used to be more truly liberal not only is the alleged wisdom of "market forces" accepted as infallible, the power to enforce its alleged wisdom is also accepted as generally good. This is why, per Point No. 3, the big businesses, and the plutocratic foundations, don't want NGOs to focus on income inequality, or on democracy. They don't want developing world natives to be more empowered.

Rieff, while not cynical about the possibility of change, is indeed pessimistic. This is part of where he departs from peasants' movements and their supporters in the North. He does note they've had some local successes in resistance but that, in general, they've lost ground to the neoliberal machine.

"I am convinced that the truly powerful revolution that is occurring today is not in (these) insurrectionary episodes ... but rather in what Jon Cray has called 'the emancipation of market forces from social and political control.' "

Sadly, I think he is right.


View all my reviews

Rieff has a fair amount of animus for the Holy Trinity of the international poverty industry, as noted in my Goodreads review. Throw in the new breed of "philanthrocapitalists," of which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation get the most notice (but whom aren't necessarily that different from Ford, Rockefeller, etc.), and you get the picture.

Well, I've seen the likes of the New York Times deliberately select certain reviewers, with certain angles, for books before. Sometimes, there's a book that's about a "big issue," and written by someone with lots of insight and experience, plus, in the case of Rieff, with a certain level of "connection," enough that the book can't be ignored.

But, because it goes too far against the grain of the mainstream media consensus, such a book then "needs" a negative review.

But, it's reached a new level of outright hit-job with its review on this.

Not finding Paul Collier on Twitter, I googled for his Oxford page to email him and struck paydirt.

Collier has written multiple books on international development, and they've been heavily puffed by well-known left-neoliberals like Nick Kristof and the moneybags of left-neoliberalism, George Soros, as well as former World Bank prez Robert Zoellick. Real liberals should not love Soros just because he, and a considerable amount of his money in the past, have gone into fighting Republicans. He threw Asian economies in the ditch during the 1998 monetary crisis. He surely has profited from the Great Recession. He's willing to throw his alleged environmentalist credentials out the door if he can make a buck on Big Coal. (Fellow daddy warbucks alleged environmentalist Tom Steyer owns coal holdings in Indonesia, by the way.) That said, per Counterpunch, Soros may not have renewed interest in coal; just an ongoing interest in manipulating commodities prices.

Counterpunch, in a piece called "The Soros Syndrome," took his measure five years ago.

And the NYT picked an Oxford prof who's a toady to the likes of Soros to show that the neoliberal international development emperor has no clothes. And, who in addition to a hit job of a review, presents a simplified dichotomy as what all is being argued about over how to do international poverty aid and related development.

Even if Collier's particular institutions aren't mentioned by Rieff, it's clear that Collier has his own neoliberal NGO skin in the game. I've emailed Collier to this effect; we'll see if he responds. As of a week out, he has not.

Professor Collier? Silence means assent, per the old maxim.

And, without irony or anything else on its part, the NYT starts the new year with a puff piece on Bill Gates' book reviews.

January 11, 2016

TX Progressives talk #GregAbbott, #opencarry, #BrokebackOregon and more

The Texas Progressive Alliance wouldn't trust Greg Abbott to write a grocery list as it brings you this week's roundup, and says RIP to David Bowie.

Off the Kuff interviewed Harris County DA candidates Morris Overstreet and Kim Ogg.

Libby Shaw contributing to The Texas Blues: Living in a place run by drunk monkeys and petulant teenagers.

Having grown up in the West and been to that area SocraticGadfly surveyed the details of the Oregon Standoff and he then, seeing the #BundyEroticFanFic hashtag, took time to write some purple prose.

Dan Patrick is on a crusade to kill public education.  CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme doesn't want the Koch brothers or any religious using our tax dollars to force the indoctrination our children.

The sudden and untimely vacancy on the Harris County Commissioners Court has been covered extensively by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Consistent with what Houston is all about, Neil at All People Have Value took a picture of contrasting things in close proximity to one another. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

McBlogger takes down a CEO for exceptionally dumb remarks against a minimum wage hike.

Texas Sharon points out differences between Austin's and Denton's proposed new gas-fired power plants.


===============

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Lone Star Ma documents some no-open-carry businesses.

The Makeshift Academic frets over labor's prospects in 2016.

BOR is looking for writers.

The Dallas Observer has some helpful etiquette tips for the open carry era.

The Current provides a comprehensive list of Texas businesses that have said No to open carry.

The TSTA Blog is wary of new Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

The Lunch Tray reports that school kids today are making better lunch choices thanks to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The Texas Election Law Blog surveyed scholarly coverage of Evenwel v. Abbott.

Finally, the TPA extends its thanks and best wishes to Texas Civil Rights Project founder Jim Harrington on his retirement.

How does USA Today survive? Why isn't it broke?

As I have done in the past with papers like the Austin American-Statesman and Dallas Morning News, I took a few extra minutes at the library on Saturday to peruse USA Today.

I'm not looking for those oh-so-fine McNewspaper stories. Rather, I'm looking at what is called, in the industry, the "ad hole."

Before the Internet, then online classifieds, then the housing bubble, blew up the newspaper ad world, they tried to have an ad hole that was 50 percent. In other words, half the space in a newspaper, on average, was supposed to be ads.

That percentage has faded in the past decade or so, and hence editorial side staff cuts. Forty percent is considered decent on better days of the week, like somewhat Thursday, and even more Friday-Sunday.

With paid obits, they count as the space equivalent of ads. "House" ads, promoting the newspaper, or newspaper partnership services, do not.

Well, the USA Today weekend edition last weekend had an ad hole of less than 10 percent.

Seriously.

So, how does Gannett print that rag without going broke?

I know, that because it sells few ads, it has a small ad sales staff. I know that it prints in partnership with other papers, or at Gannett chain sites. I know that its writers are like a mini-AP for Gannett papers in the chain.

Still, it's a print paper with some overhead and almost zero ads. Has Gannett really priced this out? Or maybe it overprices writer syndication costs to member newspapers. From what I know of stuff like this, corporate headquarters doing "cramming" on individual newspapers is not at all uncommon.

Update, Jan. 20: That said, per this piece on Medium, it should be broke. An audited circulation of less than the Washington Post and L.A. Times? Huge free fall in numbers? Can't believe Gannett's not going to pull the plug, or go web-only with a paywall. You can then make it into a news hub for other Gannett papers.

Of course, that audit may, or may not, count its being inserted inside of some of Gannett's regular dailies, which makes even less sense.

January 10, 2016

A craptacular #PITvsCIN was #ATraditionUnlikeAnyOther!

Vontaze Burfict: Did he get flagged for 'reputation'
The Steelers-Bengals playoff game last night, as recounted by Great Red Satan, was craptacular indeed.

I'm not primarily talking about the game. I'm talking about the reffing and the announcing, hence the second hashtag.

How is Ryan Shazier NOT called for a personal foul but Vontaze Burfict is not, especially when the first hit was helmet to helmet, but the second was shoulder to helmet? (If you don't believe me, check the tape — Burifect led with his shoulder.)

Then, how was Steelers assistant Joey Porter NOT called for unsportsmanlike for being that far out on the field for that long, but Bengals player Adam Jones was?

Look, I know Burifect has a reputation, and, it's largely a deserved one, and per Steelers' comments after their second regular season game about wanting to play the Bengals again and see a meltdown, head coach Marvin Lewis bears some responsibility. And, even Pacman has an old reputation. But, still.

(Update: Burfict will get three weeks of holiday at the start of the 2016 season, unless he wins his appeal.)

Meanwhile, how do Jim Nantz and Phil Simms miss any of this? And other things they miss?

Nantz, of course, the man who pushed the Masters to flag Tiger Woods last year for an illegal drop, prides and preens himself as the conscience of sports. Except when refusing to talk about Peyton Manning's alleged PEDing, in part because the two have the same agent.

Given that Shazier's hit on Giovanni Bernard caused a lost fumble that led to Steeler points, their third field goal, this is a big deal. Add NFL on CBS officiating consultant Mike Carey to CBS's craptaculartude on this, especially for calling Shazier's hit clean when he led with his helmet, which it very arguably was not. Lewis has reason to complain. Burfict talks in the locker room here.

Looking ahead? If Antonio Brown doesn't clear concussion protocol, and Big Ben's throwing shoulder is at less than 100 percent (he showed us little in his return Saturday), they're in trouble against Denver, and what looked like potentially the best AFC path to the Super Bowl may wash out.

Add in that Gary Kubiak has a self-created potential QB controversy between Manning and Brock Osweiler, that game will be interesting indeed.