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I fully second Cole here. Also, too, Schumer is a moral coward who equivocated on torture. He represents much of what is wrong with the modern Democratic Party, from corporatism to playing into the hawks’ state of fear. Following Cole’s example of withholding donations seems like a great first step.
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Leave it to bargain-bin conservative pundit Marc Thiessen: he could have read up and offered an informed take on how the racist killings in Charleston led to a movement to re-evaluate Confederate symbolism in America, or he could have just made a bunch of shit up–arguments nobody is arguing, demands nobody is demanding–and then just asserted that this is what it’s all about. Guess which one he did? It’s a piece of shoddy work even by the Post‘s nonexistent op-ed standards, and probably should get the guy fired, but if we know anything it’s that no amount of bad writing and trivial pageviews will get a conservative fired from the Post, while no amount of healthy pageviews or quality writing will save a liberal. It’s just business, you see. Can’t ignore that large group of Tea Partiers who just devour the Post, along with other mainstream outlets.

Incidentally, I think this piece about Bill Kristol’s halfhearted Confederate defense–in service of a wholehearted trolling job–misses the key point. Heer’s historical perspective of neoconservatism is interesting, but I’m not so sure I’d give Kristol the benefit of the doubt of having much to do with any of that just because his father was involved with it. Kristol may buy into the precepts of neoconservatism, but he’s no intellectual, merely a party-hack troll who has, for reasons unclear to me, managed to amass a tremendous amount of power in the Republican Party, to the point of being a legitimate leader within it. This is despite his having no real talent or vision, and a long history of blown calls and counterproductive tactics. One supposes it’s his ironclad reputation as a cultivator of Republican talent: I’m sure Tom Cotton’s near-certain Vice Presidential nomination next year will accomplish what Sarah Palin couldn’t!

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It basically destroyed Libya, so that a large number of people in the 212 area code could feel good about themselves four years ago. If Clinton, Rice, Power, Obama, et al., not to mention the war hungry press actually cared about the Libyan people, then maybe we’d be talking about this stuff. They don’t, however, so we’re not.
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Human garbage Tony Blair trying to defend his role advising dictators on how to spin the media about their repression (via):
“I’m a private individual, I’m not a government department! One of the things people are going to have to get used to is: you are going to get leaders leaving office in their early 50s,” Blair says. “I have a lot of energy. I feel extremely fit. There’s no way I’m going to retire and play golf. You look at someone like Henry [Kissinger]. He’s 91 and he’s still going strong. I love that. Or Shimon Peres! These are my role models.”
Yeah, Henry “finish the genocide quickly so that the media doesn’t take notice” Kissinger really is a perfect role model for this guy.
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Hey all, I voted today! By which I mean I mailed my ballot, the less-glamorous but more convenient way that my state makes it easy to do. Probably the most interesting vote I made was for a Republican, Tim Donnelly, for governor. What are you, insane? You might ask. After all, this is the guy who just alleged that one of his opponents (an Indian-American Republican, FYI) supports imposing that perpetual bugaboo of the insane right, Shari’a law. That’s right. Tim’s a very special politician, the kind of guy who says the sorts of things that conservative radio hosts say but that GOP politicians generally don’t say aloud, especially in blue states. He’s also a former Minuteman and is the wonderful piece of humanity behind this short-lived piece of trans panic:

Seriously, you don’t have to go too far to figure out this guy is a walking melange of Tea Party id, someone who wears his contempt for anyone different on his sleeve and uses flamethrower language with abandon. So I voted for this guy?

Yes, I absolutely did, and so should you.

Really, the importance of Donnelly’s getting into the top two cannot be overstated for progressives because a Brown vs. Donnelly race would almost certainly lead to an enormous Brown landslide and coattails for other Democrats in the state. Yes, it would also be a black eye for the GOP, though Donnelly basically believes the same things they do, he just says them plainly instead of elliptically. Really, the supreme hateability of Donnelly among, well, all the groups previously mentioned (who happen to make up much of the Democrats’ base here) would result in a gigantic Jerry Brown landslide. Donnelly’s tendency to be mouthy–which he’s shown neither the capacity nor the inclination to restrain–would make him an epically terrible candidate for the state’s top job, an office that Republicans have been able to win in recent times when they’ve run candidates attuned to the politics of the state. Donnelly either is deluded about these politics, as failed gubernatorial candidate and ex-Rep. Dan Lungren was, or he simply does not care and just wants to get more media attention, perhaps in order to parley his political career into a future in the conservative-media complex much like Herman Cain’s presidential “run” last time. Considering California’s term limits, I can’t entirely blame him. In any event, Donnelly isn’t even trying to be a credible threat to Brown, he’s just being himself. And nobody (and I do mean nobody) sees him as electable.

Why does this matter? Because CA-GOV isn’t the only important race for California Democrats this fall, as it is a foregone conclusion and only the margin is at stake. What is not a foregone conclusion is whether Democrats are able to maintain our 2/3 supermajority in the state legislature. If we fall below 2/3, then Republicans will once again be able to cause trouble, though no longer will they be able to stop budgets–the voters took that power away from them in 2010. They can, however, still create problems on taxes. Thanks to Jerry Brown and the state’s legislative leadership, the state’s economy is looking up, but more importantly, state government has gone from crisis-ridden and irresponsible to streamlined and professional. That this occurred during the period where Republicans lost virtually all their power in the state is no coincidence, and while the old days are gone for good, doing anything to fix the admittedly ridiculous state tax system will be impossible without 2/3. We have here extremely high income and sales taxes but no taxes whatsoever on services, and famously low property taxes that primarily benefit realtors by keeping housing prices high, and large businesses who are still operating on assessments from decades ago in some cases. It’s nobody’s idea of a sensible, efficient tax system and a full-on overhaul is long overdue. One suspects that Brown’s tangential role in screwing it all up in the first place by supporting Prop 13 would make him eager to fix these problems, which could foster economic growth and create new revenues. Not possible without the supermajority.

Also, there’s the problem of the nation’s legislature. Republican control of the U.S. House has led to the strangling of numerous popular bills, even ones that managed to get out of the Senate with bipartisan support. Immigration reform, ENDA, energy, take your pick. Counting on bipartisanship and mutual understanding didn’t work in Sacramento and it hasn’t in Washington either, taking away Republicans’ power was the only way to make things work here and is the only option there. Looking over the state’s House races, the 31st District is a sure flip from red-to-blue, but the 21st and the 10th will be tougher–both are Obama-won districts that sport non-insane, talented Republican incumbents. However, in a base election either or both could fall. And if it gets really bad, the SoCal seat vacated by Buck McKeon and the one held by Rep. Ed Royce could conceivably (if not necessarily likely) come into play. What is very likely, though, is that none of these people relishes the idea of sharing a ticket with an impolitic extremist like Tim Donnelly. At the very least, they’ll have to work harder, use more resources. That’s less money getting kicked back to the NRCC, to be used elsewhere.

So, ultimately, it’s strongly in your interest as progressives to vote for terrible person Tim Donnelly in June and for Jerry Brown in November. Do it. Hoist the Tea Party by its own petard!



I’d never heard of Michael Schaus, who is a conservative financial writer and the writer of a minimum wage piece that’s actually not all that crazy when you…just kidding, it’s awful. I’d just as soon prefer to skip all the obvious rage-bait that he includes in his column in an obvious attempt to keep people distracted from his main arguments (for a taste: “The economically challenged protestors of market driven wages are asking the profit-driven businesses to increase that wage to $15 per hour. Heck. Why stop there? Let’s kick it up to 25, or 40 dollars per hour.” Because…nobody’s asking for that?). Schaus’s entire article is really just speen directed at the poors. Just take this point:

Which brings us to the often repeated (in this column anyway) difference between careers and jobs. The Current Walmart CEO started his career as a part time (minimum wage) employee… But notice that he wasn’t satisfied with remaining in that position. Upward mobility, and ambition, does far more to increase the living standards of any given employee than petitions, protests, and government mandates.

The jobs at the center of the minimum wage discussion are jobs that are not designed for the average American worker to make into a career. Flipping a burger is a job for a part time teenage worker. It can even be a stepping stone for someone who fell into hard times, and is actively looking to increase their skill set (in hopes of obtaining more gainful employment). It is even a great job for someone who is looking for some supplemental income while they job hunt for better prospects.

This is something you occasionally hear from Republicans. Sure, the minimum wage sucks, but that’s what teenage burger-flippers are supposed to earn. It’s only for entry-level jobs, they say. Better workers will move up the ranks! Of course, not every single sales associate at Walmart is going to become the CEO. Most are going to either leave the company or remain roughly in the same job. And, obviously, having educational credentials and connections become increasingly more vital every step of the way. Schaus’s argument would be entirely valid if there were a huge number of CEO positions just there for the taking, with the only qualification being hard work. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t very many at all. So the question is, what do the average checkers of the world deserve? Schaus’s answer to that seems to be minimum wage salary, underinsurance and poverty. 

Now, of course, I predict that Schaus would strongly object to this interpretation of his argument. It might seem uncharitable to describe it that way. But that is the basic argument here. His column isn’t a solution, or even an insight, so much as stale lecturing that’s not even going (or meant) to be heard by the subjects. The fact is that working a very hard job at very long hours for minimum wage is not something I’ve experienced personally, but I can easily imagine that it must suck, and historically the best way of making it suck less has been by working to form a union. Also, Schaus like many conservatives believes in the Upward Mobility Faerie, which assumes that hard work/some intrinsic quality of America/some extrinsic force liberated by an American commitment to “freedom” (as pertains to employment laws) is all we need, certainly not organized labor. Unfortuantely, upward mobility is used here as a catchphrase rather than as a social science concept that has actually been calculated and mapped out, and the US in particular has been found wanting. Which is another reason why the associate-to-CEO path is rarer these days than it once was.

Essentially, the Michael Schaus argument is that, since your fast food clerk or Walmart checker is not a CEO, they have not passed his test and essentially deserve desperate poverty. It’s about time we started calling this sort of thing out.

This TNR piece proves it:

It wasn’t just Reagan. Moral Majority leader Jerry Fallwell called Tutu a “phony” who didn’t speak for South Africans blacks. He even urged Americans to support the Pretoria government.  North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms filibustered the sanctions bill. Strom Thurmond and Phil Gramm likewise opposed it. And future vice-president Dick Cheney called Mandela a terrorist, saying in 2000 that he didn’t regret his position. Pat Buchanan called Mandela a “train-bomber.” The Heritage Foundation said America should stop calling for Mandela’s release from prison. Pat Robertson, Grover Norquist, future Tea Party leaders, and current Republican Senators—all were on the books supporting the Apartheid government. When 35 House Republicans broke with the Reagan administration, the National Review called them “uppity,” and Human Events called them a “lynch mob.”

That last bit in particular is charming. The right, sad to say, still manages to regularly work violent rhetoric about race into topics both humdrum and climactic, and wonders why virtually everyone who isn’t a white person sees them as having unacceptable baggage on race. Every couple of days some conservative pundit or other makes some gratuitous offhand comment about rape (most recently El Rushbo), and the right wonders why women are an ever-elusive voter target. Even putting aside the overall presentation and content of your policies, peppering your communication with references to things that have incredibly negative connotations for specific groups of people is going to put you at a bit of a disadvantage in reaching out to them, and shows just how ingrained certain kinds of attitudes are, how hard to change. I mean, they said all this stuff over twenty years ago and none of it sounds much different than their rhetoric now.

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