Via Political Animal:
Friday, September 30, 2016
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Think it's pointless to vote for the Democratic candidates for Congress this year? Think again. Both sides do NOT do it.
In the real world, Congress has been emasculated as a result of two strategies crafted by Republicans. The first happened back in the Gingrich era and was described by Paul Glastris and Haley Sweetland Edwards in an article titled, “The Big Lobotomy.”A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research…Gingrich’s strategy, as he explained it to Mann and Ornstein, was simple: Cultivate a seething disdain for the institution of Congress itself, while simultaneously restructuring it so as to eliminate anything—powerful chairmen, contradictory facts from legislative support agencies, more moderate Republicans—that would stand in the way of his vision.All of that was followed by the Republican strategy of total obstruction in response to the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Helen Graves of Black Mountain, age 102, enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton, remembers well the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920: “I went with my mother when she voted for the first time. She told me I would probably live to see a woman elected President of the United States.”
Helen continues, “I have been interested in women’s issues all my life. I began to admire Hillary when both she and my youngest daughter, who are contemporaries, became lawyers for children.” She feels that Hillary is the most extraordinary candidate she has ever seen.Extraordinary indeed. No other American in history has matched Hillary’s qualifications for the presidency on state, national, and international levels. She has already worked in both a state House and the White House. She traveled to 102 countries as Secretary of State and now personally knows their leaders, their problems. Only six presidents have also served as Secretary of State; only three have served both as Secretary of State and in Congress.Equally extraordinary is the fact that Hillary, like no other American in our time, has been subjected for 25 years to partisan vilifying, which began with a scathing 1996 essay titled “Blizzard of Lies” by William Safire. Safire’s points were eventually disproved, but Republicans had their drum to beat. Investigate Hillary mercilessly. Spend any amount of taxpayers’ money. Probe every aspect of her personal, financial and professional life.Whitewater: Seven years, more than $50 million in taxpayer dollars, and six independent counsels led to a conclusion of “insufficient evidence” to bring charges against the Clintons.Benghazi: The Benghazi Select Committee, given an unlimited budget, began work after seven previous congressional committees had filed reports. More than 100,000 pages of documents were provided to the committee, whose staff collected $3.59 million in salary in 2015 alone. This investigation fizzled after Hillary’s marathon 11 hours of testifying on camera proved her focus and stamina beyond any doubt.Emails, Clinton Foundation: A Boston Globe editorial states, “Clinton’s email scandals are pure fiction.” So, of course is the recent brouhaha concerning the charitable work of the Clinton Foundation. FBI Director James Comey concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Secretary Clinton for using a private server. Matthew Yglesias writes in Vox, “Colin Powell’s Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s are treated very differently.”If she were not a woman, not a Democrat, not a Clinton, she would not be investigated — just as, in 2007, no Republican peeped after Congress learned that the Bush administration could not produce emails concerning the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. These had been sent on a private server run by the RNC, from which potentially 22 million emails were deleted.Expect more releases of cherry-picked, headline-seeking Clinton emails before the election. Drums will beat, smoke will blow, pundits will chatter. Donald Trump supporters will call for her to be shot or worse. People will say they can’t trust her.Writer Michael Arnovitz explains that women pushing against a glass ceiling are often portrayed as “unfeminine, aggressive, deviant.” Data expert Nate Silver has shown that Hillary’s popularity diminishes whenever she reaches for power, but increases afterward. She was popular after Bill’s infidelity became public, popular as Senator from New York (winning by 36 points in 2006). When she left office as Secretary of State in 2013, she was one of the most popular politicians in the country.
Hillary’s real story is this: She is a caring, talented woman who has built a long career of excellent service and who, in spite of a few flaws, a few mistakes, has worked harder and achieved more than most people. Even Jill Abramson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote in the Guardian that “Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”Helen Graves, who has a long memory, remembers Hillary’s life. She remembers a younger Hillary working for the Children’s Defense Fund on behalf of lower-income children. At that time, Trump’s company was being sued for prohibiting minorities from renting apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. After 9/11, Hillary as Senator lobbied Congress to make money available for small businesses destroyed when the towers fell. Trump, whose properties were undamaged, made sure he received one of those small business loans intended for victims.Each day Helen Graves asks her daughter, Cannan Hyde, “How’s Hillary doing?” Cannan replies, “She’s doing just fine, Mother.” Helen went with her mother to vote for the first time 96 years ago, and will go with her daughter to vote for the first time for a woman, Hillary Clinton, for president of the United States.Jean Franklin is a retired English teacher living in Black Mountain.
Monday, September 26, 2016
It's such a perfect lying cop-out for the Tribble-Toupeed One: No one can have insurance and pension relief from their criminal former employers until everyone gets the exact same thing.
Thus preventing anyone from getting anything. Except of course for corrupt Big Coal, which skates as always. So conservative and libertarian at the same time!
Meanwhile Democratic Senate candidate Jim Gray is standing up for Kentucky coal miners.
The bill, currently before the U.S. Senate, would use some of the $490 million each year that flows through the federal Abandoned Mine Land program to rescue the health benefits for union coal miners whose companies have gone out of business. It would also shore up a United Mine Workers of America pension fund that is on the brink of collapse following the 2008 recession.The bill would preserve the health benefits of about 3,500 Kentucky coal miners, most who worked for Patriot Coal, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012. It would also protect the retirement benefits of about 9,800 retired Kentucky coal miners who were members of the United Mine Workers of America labor union.U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who like many fellow Republicans has criticized Obama's energy policies as a "war on coal", does not support the bill in its current form. He says he supports the concept of the bill, but only if it provides relief for all coal miners, not just those who joined a labor union."If they will give the coal companies relief, and the nonunion workers relief as well as the union workers, I could be persuaded to be for it," Paul told The Associated Press in an interview. "For something to get passed, it has to please more people."Paul is seeking re-election in November after ending his presidential campaign earlier this year. He faces Democrat Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city.Gray said he if he were a senator he would vote for the bill because "you don't let the perfect get in the way of the good.""I think it represents a positive, bipartisan step. I think it shows that at least some members of the Senate can cross party lines and work together. And that's what I promised I'd do," Gray said. "It's (Paul's) usual endless rhetoric that prevents anything good from being done."The bill passed the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday by a vote of 18-8, with six republicans joining all 12 Democrats to vote "yes."
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016
Seriously? Turnout 10 points lower than average? Are you fucking kidding me? You know what that means?
It means that atheists and all the other Nones are TO BLAME for the repug/freakazoid/know-nothing takeover of this country.
Yes, all you non-believers: unless you are voting in every election including primaries and specials, and voting in every single race, this repug catastrophe we've been suffering for the past 40 years is YOUR FAULT.
Christopher Ingraham takes a look at a recent survey of atheists and agnostics and asks, "Why don't the unaffiliated vote?"As Pew Research Center's Greg Smith told me earlier this year, "It could be the 'nones' are not connected, almost by definition, to religious institutions, which can play an important role in spurring turnout and interest in politics." It's also the case that the unaffiliated tend to be younger than the population as a whole. And younger people in general are less likely to vote than their older peers.
As President Obama likes to say, "Don't boo, vote." If you're unhappy with the influence that conservative Christians have on American politics, go out and vote for someone who's more likely to favor evidence-based policy than faith-based policy. If you're not willing to do that, then don't gripe the next time some yahoo manages to get evolution expunged from your local textbooks.
In other words, "political correctness" is now shorthand for the rule of law, for civil rights, for the guarantees of fair treatment in the fucking Constitution. You can throw that into the catch-all bucket for the phrase, along with not being able to say "nigger" or "fag" with abandon, treating immigrants like human beings, and sexing up the lady employees being a no-no.
Fucking hell, times change. Civilizations advance. What you once thought was fine is now fucked up. That's the way it goes. The march of progress, as we once liked to call it. You don't fucking spear the bull anymore because we know that's fucked up. And if you don't think it's fucked up, you're fucked up. And we get to say that because we're the ones who want the world to move forward. You're the ones who want to hold it back or send it back to a mythical time of greatness.
You just came up with a fancy way to make being a dick sound like a you're taking a mighty stand when, really, you're just a dick. It's so convenient and so useful.
At this point, Trump could fuck the corpse of that drowned Syrian toddler at a rally, and, when people responded with revulsion and anger, his idiot hordes would say that it's just political correctness, not that baby corpse fucking is, in and of itself, wrong.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Really, the best part of all of these court decisions stomping on Gov. Lying Coward's balls is how his propaganda shop responds exactly the way any democratically-elected five-year-old would.
Kentucky's highest court has ruled against a recent round of higher education budget cuts made by Gov. Matt Bevin, which touched off an increasingly hostile legal battle with Attorney General Andy Beshear.The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled 5-2 Thursday to reverse a Franklin Circuit Court decision to uphold the cuts, which Beshear has repeatedly argued are illegal.The Supreme Court's conclusion states that "the Governor's reduction of the allotments of the Universities in this case exceeded his statutory authority to revise allotments under KRS 48.620(1) and his authority to withhold allotments under KRS 45.253(4).""Whatever authority he might otherwise have to require a budget unit not to spend appropriated funds does not extend to the Universities, which the legislature has made independent bodies politic with control over their own expenditures," the ruling continued. "We therefore do not reach the question of whether his actions were constitutional, as the statutes do not give him the authority to act as he proposed. For these reasons, the Franklin Circuit Court's order upholding the Governor's actions is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."
SNIPBeshear released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court's ruling."Today, the Supreme Court enforced Kentucky law, reminding us that 'the governor, like everyone, is bound by the law.' Based on today’s ruling, I am calling on Gov. Bevin to immediately release the $18 million he wrongfully withheld from our public colleges and universities. As the court stated, it is my job as Attorney General 'to vindicate the public rights of the people of the Commonwealth, and I will continue to do so. I am also calling on the governor’s office to use today's ruling as a turning point. It is time for him to stop attacking, and to instead join me in building a better Kentucky. We live in a state where far too many of our children are abused. Our seniors face daily scams that seek to rob them of their hard-earned savings. Thousands of victims of sexual assault have been denied justice based on our rape kit backlog. And our communities face the most deadly drug epidemic imaginable. These are the problems Kentuckians expect us to address, and they are problems that all of us — Democrats, Republicans or independents — can address together. So I would hope that after today, the nasty press releases and name-calling stop, and the governor joins us for the real work that needs to be done to help Kentucky families."In March, Bevin made an immediate 4.5 percent cut in state spending for colleges and universities in order to ease the burden of the state's $30 billion pension debt at the time.In April, Bevin lowered the cuts to $18 million— about 2 percent — and restored funding to Kentucky State University. But although Bevin reduced the cuts, Beshear said they were still illegal.
"We are disappointed in the Court’s decision today and strongly disagree with its reasoning. The Attorney General clearly does not understand the severity of the pension problem which became the nation's worst funded plan under the watch of his father's administration.
But because Cary Lee Ogborn is a 50-year-old white guy who plotted to blow up a building, he gets a few paragraphs in the Houston Chronicle and nobody cares to ask "Where was he radicalized?" or questions about his religion or his international travel or if Houston police should be racially profiling middle-aged white men. Nobody is on CNN or FOX or MSNBC asking if Christianity is really just a terrorist ideology masquerading as religion and if it should actually receive any First Amendment protections as a result, or whether we should just accepting Christians at all in this country, and maybe deport all the Christians we already have here just to be safe.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Sunday, September 18, 2016
I have a theory, too. My theory is that creationists are people who did not do well at science in school and want the answer to every question on the science test to be, “You know, God.”
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Yeah, the Orange Menace is going to create 25 million jobs (sic) by eliminating the food and work safety regulations that keep us alive and turning the Treasury over to his billionaire friends so we can beat Somalia on the Galtian Paradise scale.
Donald Trump is running on the erroneous belief that ending regulations, particularly environmental ones, is the key to faster economic growth. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY), who was assassinated June 6, 1968, explained just how misguided that view was just weeks before he was killed.U.S. economic growth has emerged as a major issue in the presidential campaign. Donald Trump has many untenable ideas, as the Washington Post explained in an April piece headlined, “There is math, there is fantasy math, and then there’s Donald Trump’s economic math.”That article quoted an economist at the Tax Foundation (who helped model Trump’s tax plan) saying, “It’s not consistent with historical experience. It’s more consistent with a world where we’re hiring butlers for our vacation homes on Ganymede” [Jupiter’s largest moon].”I wanted to zero in on one of Donald Trump’s fictional strategies for boosting economic growth: As he explained last month to CNBC, “we’re going to be getting rid of a tremendous amount of regulations.”In particular, when Fox News’ Chris Wallace pressed Trump in March on how he’d cut the federal budget, Trump answered “Department of Environmental Protection [sic]. We are going to get rid of it in almost every form.”In reality, slashing regulations, particularly regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, would be very counterproductive, as a 2015 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) report to Congress made clear. The OMB found that ten years’ worth of major Federal regulations provided annual benefits to the nation (in 2001 dollars) of between $216 billion and $812 billion, while the estimated annual costs were only between $57 billion and $85 billion.Of that, EPA regulations delivered the majority of benefits ($132.5 to $652 billion) but only about half the costs ($31 to $37.5 billion).Of course, lots of those benefits were things like reduced health care costs because the air got cleaner — and those benefits don’t show up in our primary measure of economic growth, GDP. Indeed, reducing sickness and death actually lowers GDP.Who can doubt that our wildly unsustainable global economic system is now the biggest of Ponzi schemes — where the economy appears to grow faster the more we burn fossil fuels and destroy a livable climate?
Robert F. Kennedy explained why GDP is a useless measure of economic well-being back in the 1960s.Robert Kennedy was one of the few national politicians ever to challenge our monomaniacal pursuit of GDP to the exclusion of true economic well-being. In Detroit on May 5, 1967 he pointed out: “Let us be clear at the outset that we will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods.”Weeks before he was killed, he spoke on this subject at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968 — in what President Obama called “one of the most beautiful of his speeches.”
Here are the key lines:Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product — if we judge the United States of America by that — that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.When you take this view of economic well-being, a President Trump could well bring this country greatest depression we have ever known.
Any day now, some trumpist repug in the Kentucky General Assembly is going to file a bill to mandate that Kentucky public schools turn over all their funding to corporations and freakazoid creationist outfits to run charter schools.
Let's get our fact ducks in a row now to abort this abomination before it passes second trimester.
The Nation:The evidence is now abundantly clear in a number of states: As it is presently constituted, the charter school movement is far better as an entry vehicle for fraud and corruption than it is for educating children. The fact that the charter industry is fighting to maintain its independent control over taxpayer funds is proof that the industry knows it, too.
Are charter school operators motherfucking racists? Is the Orange Menace a psychopathic liar? Erik Loomis:Geetha Nambissan, a professor of sociology in education at Jawaharlal Nehru University, calls these PPPs “a ‘creeping’ form of privatisation where private organisations are given easy access to public institutions and resources while not subjecting them to public scrutiny.”
Glad to see the NAACP come out against charter schools and the fraud that they offer African-Americans a better education.With charter schools educating as many as half the students in some American cities, they have been championed as a lifeline for poor black children stuck in failing traditional public schools.
But now the nation’s oldest and newest black civil rights organizations are calling for a moratorium on charter schools.
Their demands, and the outcry that has ensued, expose a divide among blacks that goes well beyond the now-familiar complaints about charters’ diverting money and attention from traditional public schools.
In separate conventions over the past month, the N.A.A.C.P. and the Movement for Black Lives, a group of 50 organizations assembled by Black Lives Matter, passed resolutions declaring that charter schools have exacerbated segregation, especially in the way they select and discipline students.
They portray charters as the pet project of foundations financed by white billionaires, and argue that the closing of traditional schools as students migrate to charters has disproportionately disrupted black communities.There’s also the many problems with how charter schools operate:Although charters are supposed to admit students by lottery, some effectively skim the best students from the pool, with enrollment procedures that discourage all but the most motivated parents to apply. Some charters have been known to nudge out their most troubled students.
That, the groups supporting a moratorium say, concentrates the poorest students in public schools that are struggling for resources.Charter schools “are allowed to get away with a lot more,” said Hiram Rivera, an author of the Black Lives platform and the executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union.
Charters are slightly more likely to suspend students than traditional public schools, according to an analysis of federal data this year. And black students in charter schools are four times as likely to be suspended as their white peers, according to the data analysis, putting them in what Mr. Brooks calls the “preschool to prison pipeline.”
Another platform author, Jonathan Stith, the national coordinator for the Alliance for Educational Justice, chose a charter school in Washington for one of his children because it promised an Afrocentric curriculum. But he began to see the school driving out students. It was difficult, he said, for parents to push back against the private boards that run the schools.
“Where you see the charters providing an avenue of escape for some, it hasn’t been for the majority,” he said.
Mr. Stith came to think the money would be better spent on fixing the traditional public school system.Once again, the problem of education is the problems of poverty and inequality. If you want to improve public education, you don’t give over public monies and responsibility to private entities. You work to fix poverty. But where’s the money for that? Plus if you fixed poverty there might be room for teachers’ unions and we couldn’t have that now, could we. After all, who is more concerned about a child’s education, a Silicon Valley investor or a teacher trying to reach out to a children and pay her mortgage at the same time?
Friday, September 16, 2016
Because letting a four-year-old get and fire a gun is no reason to be forced to lock your guns up, much less forced to give up your guns along with your seriously endangered children.
Like the three-year-old who got and fired a gun that killed him.
No, those parents are pure patriots who need their guns to be in reach at all times to fight tyranny. Children be damned.
If that is not felony child endangerment at the very least, and reckless homicide in a sensible country, I don't know what is.Authorities have released the identity of a 3-year-old boy who died after suffering a gunshot wound inside a Louisville home.Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Rita Taylor said the boy was Anthony Blake Wells. Taylor said in an email that the boy died at 4:25 a.m. Monday at Kosair Children's Hospital of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.Louisville Metro Police Department spokeswoman Alicia Smiley told media the shooting occurred shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday in a residence in the Algonquin neighborhood.Smiley says other people were home at the time of the shooting but no one else was hurt.The address where the shooting occurred is the same street where police said a 4-year-old girl accidentally wounded herself with firearm a month ago.
Rep. John Lewis speaks:
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Really, motherfucker? Thanks for revealing your true authoritarian colors.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Not to mention illegal, unconstitutional, un-democratic and un-American.
But it's the way of the tyrant.
In December 2000, when it was crystal clear to everyone that Al Gore had won the election - popular vote AND electoral college - and that the repug Supreme Court had committed treason by unconstitutionally appointing the election loser to the presidency, Democratic voters did not respond with violence.
Smirky/Darth had perpetrated an actual coup, one that genuinely merited a rebellious response, but Democrats shed no blood, because we cherish the Constitution and the rule of law above all.
Bevin just made clear that he and the other Trumpists shit on the Constitution. They shit on the rule of law. They shit on our Democratic republic.
They demand a tyrant, and to get him they will destroy everything we have built over 400 years.
I'm not sure how I missed this. At the Family Research Council Action convention last week, where Trump spoke, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) both lamented and called for revolution and bloodshed to "redeem" what will be lost if Hillary is victorious.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Here’s another case of a ‘higher power’ inflating it’s potency: 12 step programs. They don’t work.There is a large body of evidence now looking at AA success rate, and the success rate of AA is between 5 and 10 percent. Most people don’t seem to know that because it’s not widely publicized. … There are some studies that have claimed to show scientifically that AA is useful. These studies are riddled with scientific errors and they say no more than what we knew to begin with, which is that AA has probably the worst success rate in all of medicine.It’s not only that AA has a 5 to 10 percent success rate; if it was successful and was neutral the rest of the time, we’d say OK. But it’s harmful to the 90 percent who don’t do well. And it’s harmful for several important reasons. One of them is that everyone believes that AA is the right treatment. AA is never wrong, according to AA. If you fail in AA, it’s you that’s failed.It’s always the victim’s fault when it comes to faith-based treatments. The very first comment there is a perfect example of religious apologetics.I’m a recovering addict/alcoholic with over 5 years of continuous sobriety. I attend AA meetings regularly, and I take exception to Dr. Dodes statement, “AA is never wrong, according to AA. If you fail in AA, it’s you that’s failed.” I have never attended a meeting where this sentiment was expressed. The AA Big Book says, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.”Exactly. It doesn’t work, the stats show it doesn’t work, but according to AA, it always works, except when it’s the subject’s fault, which is 95% of the time.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Reading the whole painful, devastating thing is the most patriotic thing you will ever do in your life, just after voting and just before military service.
Getting someone to talk on the record is the eternal jackpot of investigative reporting, and, in today's Guardian, Ackerman hits the Comstock Lode with Daniel Jones, who was the chief investigator for the Senate intelligence committee when that committee was looking into the practice of rendition and torture and the other extraconstitutional horrors perpetrated in our name by the late Avignon Presidency, and who also looked on in anger as the CIA worked overtime to ratfck the investigation and to bury its result. This is the first of a three-part series. I'd say that the extended weekend forecast calls for fury and outrage.It begins with a holy-shit moment straight out of a paranoid political thriller, except that it was real, and it happened here. From The Guardian:There was one document in particular that proved it. Jones and his team had found it years before, placed mysteriously onto a shared computer network drive the Senate intelligence committee investigators were using in northern Virginia, not far from CIA headquarters. But they hadn't appreciated its full significance until the agency, in an attempt at refuting a report that was still far from publication, told Barack Obama's staff that the committee was pushing a hysterical interpretation of the agency's fateful post-9/11 embrace of torture. The document, prepared for Leon Panetta when he was CIA director, had reached the same conclusions about the torture program that Jones had. As long as Jones had it, he would be able to show that the agency knew full well how brutal the torture was; how ineffective its torturers considered it to be; and how thoroughly the CIA had covered all of that up. As long as Jones had the document, that is. Lurking in the back of his mind was the event that had led him to devote five years of ceaseless work, through nights and weekends: the CIA had already destroyed evidence of torture. It did that before the Senate had launched an investigation, and long before that investigation had turned acrimonious. Inside the small room in Virginia the CIA had set up for the Senate investigators, Jones reached for his canvas messenger bag. He slipped crucial printed-out passages of what he called the Panetta Review into the bag and secured its lock. Sometime after 1am, Jones walked out, carrying his bag as he always did, and neglecting to tell the agency security personnel what it contained. After years of working together, no one asked him to open the bag.And thus was saved a document that gave the lie to everything the CIA ever said in public about how it squandered the moral authority of the United States in the world. It is important to note, as Ackerman does, that Jones didn't remove this document to leak it—no Ellsberg, he—but to make sure that the cover-up artists from Langley didn't burn the thing.
It's Festival Season, with local fairs and fish fries and fests every weekend. The Trumpists will be out in force with their lies and their bullying and their racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic threats.
How do you stand up for American Democracy and Democratic candidates without giving in to screaming rage?
First, don’t think of an elephant. Remember not to repeat false conservative claims and then rebut them with the facts. Instead, go positive. Give a positive truthful framing to undermine claims to the contrary. Use the facts to support positively-framed truth. Use repetition.
Second, start with values, not policies and facts and numbers. Say what you believe, but haven't been saying. For example, progressive thought is built on empathy, on citizens caring about other citizens and working through our government to provide public resources for all, both businesses and individuals. Use history. That’s how America started. The public resources used by businesses were not only roads and bridges, but public education, a national bank, a patent office, courts for business cases, interstate commerce support, and of course the criminal justice system. From the beginning, the Private Depended on Public Resources, both private lives and private enterprise.
Over time those resources have included sewers, water and electricity, research universities and research support: computer science (via the NSF), the internet (ARPA), pharmaceuticals and modern medicine (the NIH), satellite communication (NASA and NOA), and GPS systems and cell phones (the Defense Department). Private enterprise and private life utterly depend on public resources. Have you ever said this? Elizabeth Warren has. Almost no other public figures. And stop defending “the government.” Talk about the public, the people, Americans, the American people, public servants, and good government. And take back freedom. Public resources provide for freedom in private enterprise and private life.
The conservatives are committed to privatizing just about everything and to eliminating funding for most public resources. The contribution of public resources to our freedoms cannot be overstated. Start saying it.
And don’t forget the police. Effective respectful policing is a public resource. Chief David O. Brown of the Dallas Police got it right. Training, community policing, knowing the people you protect. And don't ask too much of the police: citizens have a responsibility to provide funding so that police don't have to do jobs that should be done by others.
Unions need to go on the offensive. Unions are instruments of freedom-- freedom from corporate servitude. Employers call themselves job creators. Working people are profit creators for the employers, and as such they deserve a fair share of the profits and respect and acknowledgement. Say it. Can the public create jobs. Of course. Fixing infrastructure will create jobs by providing more public resources that private lives and businesses depend on. Public resources to create more public resources. Freedom creates opportunity that creates more freedom.
Third, keep out of nasty exchanges and attacks. Keep out of shouting matches. One can speak powerfully without shouting. Obama sets the pace: Civility, values, positivity, good humor, and real empathy are powerful. Calmness and empathy in the face of fury are powerful. Bill Clinton won because he oozed empathy, with his voice, his eye contact, and his body. It wasn’t his superb ability as a policy wonk, but the empathy he projected and inspired.
Values come first, facts and policies follow in the service of values. They matter, but they always support values.
Give up identity politics. No more women’s issues, black issues, Latino issues. Their issues are all real, and need public discussion. But they all fall under freedom issues, human issues. And address poor whites! Appalachian and rust belt whites deserve your attention as much as anyone else. Don’t surrender their fate to Trump, who will just increase their suffering.
And remember JFK’s immortal, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Empathy, devotion, love, pride in our country’s values, public resources to create freedoms. And adulthood.
Be prepared. You have to understand Trump to stand calmly up to him and those running with him all over the country.
Friday, September 9, 2016
The federal government told the Bevin administration Thursday that its Medicaid waiver proposal has “sufficient information to evaluate” and it now wants to hear from Kentuckians what they think about the proposal.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Press Secretary Marjorie Connolly said the agency has certified the completeness of Kentucky’s application for a Medicaid waiver, one of the first hurdles the proposal must clear.She said the next step is a 30-day federal comment period.“After the comment period and review and consideration of public input, the waiver process usually involves significant additional dialogue between HHS and states,” Connolly said.“We are prepared to continue working for as long as it takes to find a solution that builds on the historic progress Kentucky has made under Medicaid expansion and avoids moving backwards.”To comment, go to Medicaid.org and click on “View Section 1115 Demonstration List” to find Kentucky.Bevin submitted his proposal to the federal government last month for the program that provides health insurance for 1.32 million Kentuckians.The most controversial measures include premiums and co-pays and a requirement that able-bodied adults be engaged in their communities for at least 20 hours every week, through a job, classes, volunteering or other specified activities.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
I think Rebecca Traister has the right answer in her latest piece which delves into this growing theme of Clinton stealing the election:
It’s true that the major hit on Hillary Clinton has long been that she is untrustworthy, which makes it a short step to suggesting that her electoral victories are fraudulent. Surely some of this stems from a reputation and history particular to her. But it seems unlikely that Clinton is, by political standards, uniquely dishonest; former New York Times editor Jill Abramson has written of how her many journalistic investigations into Clintonian malfeasance revealed that Clinton was “fundamentally honest and trustworthy.” The fact that “she can be so seamlessly rendered synonymous with all things untrue,” says Tillet, is at least in part because “religious narratives tell us that women are inherently untrustworthy … The idea of woman as a liar and as evil goes back to the Bible.”This is some deep primal stuff and non-GOP voters of all ages should take a gut check on this Clinton meme and ask themselves some hard questions. There's something wrong with it and it's not that Hillary Clinton is unusually dishonest or untrustworthy. I expect right wingers to say that. They have primitive views of women. Liberals and progressives should know better. Her policies and her record are all fair game and should be criticized. But this rampant "she's a liar" character smear is something else altogether.
Monday, September 5, 2016
If we accept the notion that we are allowed to raise our voices, or take a knee in dissent, only by the good graces of the military, then we are also implicitly saying that the military has the right to take that ability away.
And that’s the thing about the right to dissent: You use it or lose it.
So again, for the cheap seats: Colin Kaepernick is trying to raise awareness about police violence. If you believe he only has the right to do that because of the US military, you are arguing that dissent is possible only if the people with the guns approve.
Because if it weren't for Unions, and the hundreds of union members who have given their lives to ensure we have decent wages, an eight-hour day, a forty-hour week, weekends, safety regulations and workers' compensation, we'd all be getting pennies a day to suffer in some Trumpian sweatshop.
When Labor Day was originally conceived as a federal holiday, it was as a concession to the labor movement after bloody union unrest that left 30 striking workers dead. It was meant as a day to celebrate the efforts and sacrifices of unionized workers.
A shrinking share of Americans are union members today. But the benefits brought about by the union movement are still just as strong, particularly when it comes to workers’ pay.Being in a union is particularly helpful for marginalized groups that tend to be paid less than white men. A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that black union workers earn wages that are, on average, 16.4 percent higher than black workers who aren’t in a union. The same is true for women: a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that women in a union earn 30.9 percent more than women who aren’t unionized.Unionization also yields salary benefits for white men, who get a 20.1 percent boost for being in a union. But the wage-boosting power of unions has been hampered as the share of workers who belong to one has declined. In 1983, the earliest year the Bureau of Labor Statistics has data for, 20.1 percent of the workforce belonged to a union. Today that share has been cut nearly in half, down to 11.1 percent.That’s hurt everyone’s wages, not just unionized workers. The wage-boosting power of unions usually spills out into other workplaces because they set standards that everyone ends up adopting. A new report from the Economic Policy Institute found that for men working in the private sector who aren’t in a union, their weekly wages would be about 5 percent higher if union membership had stayed at the same rate as it was in 1979. That would mean an extra $2,704 per year on average.Non-union women would also benefit, but the impact would be smaller — a 2 to 3 percent increase in wages — because women have historically been a much smaller share of union workers.The drop in union membership, and the subsequent erosion of the wage benefits for all workers, has played a role in widening wage inequality, holding down pay at the bottom of the scale but less so at the top. In fact, other researchers have found a strong correlation between the fall of union power and the rise of income inequality.