Archive for category National Politics

Robert Reich: Spot-Auction Labor Market Replacing Steady Work

Robert Reich describes how more businesses are skirting labor laws by employing so-called “independent contractors” working irregular hours for unpredictable pay.

It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightning speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us.

…Whether we’re software programmers, journalists, Uber drivers, stenographers, child care workers, TaskRabbits, beauticians, plumbers, Airbnb’rs, adjunct professors, or contract nurses – increasingly, we’re on our own.

And what we’re paid, here and now, depends on what we’re worth here and now – in a spot-auction market that’s rapidly substituting for the old labor market where people held jobs that paid regular salaries and wages.

Bottom line: the 1 Percent want to rake in nearly all the profits from this economy while shifting a much bigger proportion of the risk onto workers. They have combined 21st Century information systems with 19th Century labor practices. So far, they are getting away with it.

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Anchor Babies Are Back, Thanks to Trump

Anchor babySo-called “anchor babies” are now an issue in the Tea-GOP presidential primaries, with most candidates saying they would like to cancel the constitutional right of citizenship.

Since Donald Trump came out Sunday against birth right citizenship, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham have followed suit. Scott Walker is also with Trump on this.

Chris Christie says we ought to “reexamine” the 14th Amendment. John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush says birth right citizenship is one of “like 10 things I would change in the Constitution.”

If the Tea-GOP prevails, the children of a disfavored class will be disqualified from citizenship – rejected by the land of their birth. Despite the fact that birthright citizenship has been part of our Constitution for nearly 150 years, no precedent is sacred to the Tea-GOP. For them, there is no such thing as settled law.

Of course, the anchor baby myth is pure fear mongering without basis in fact. Assuming anyone cares about facts. Children born to undocumented immigrants get deported all the time, along with their families – precisely what Trump proposes. Even though they are U.S. citizens, most are not entitled to come back to this country until they are 21 years of age.

What’s more, there would be a significant cost to “solving” the nonexistent anchor baby problem. The parents of every child born in this country would have to go through a lengthy and expensive individualized assessment of their child’s citizenship. The Center for American Progress points out that such assessments currently cost an average of $600, essentially a birth tax. The alternative would be legal limbo, without U.S. citizenship — or possibly having no citizenship in any nation.

More info:
Donald Trump Tells GOP To Jump On Immigration, Candidates Say ‘How High?’
Donald Trump’s First Policy Plan Is Even More Racist Than You Think It Is
Wikipedia: Anchor Baby

UPDATE:
To be fair, some Tea-GOP candidates don’t advocate taking away the right of citizenship to everyone born in the USA.

John Kasich has reversed his position, telling CNN earlier this month, “I think we need to get over that. I’m not for it anymore. Let these people who are born here be citizens and that’s the end of it. I don’t want to dwell on it.” Mike Huckabee also opposes changing the 14th Amendment.

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The ’24-Day Delay’ And Other Lies About the Iran Deal

Via Media Matters (the entire article is worth reading).

Remember how the Tea-GOP took advantage of the complexity of the ACA to invent “death panels” and other fictional features they said were in the law? Political allies of Israel’s right-wing extremist government are trying to play the same game with the Iran deal.

Most people don’t understand the details, so liars such as Senator Chuck Schumer think they can get away with falsely claiming there is a “24-day delay” for nuclear site inspections, and other made-up reasons to be against peace and for an unprovoked attack on Iran. Senator Schumer vociferously supported the illegal invasion of Iraq, and apparently has learned nothing from that decade-long fiasco.

For the record, the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community and even the Israeli Mossad is that there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program. The Iranian government ruled out development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as inconsistent with Islam back in the 1980s.

Certain foreign governments would like the USA to start a war of aggression against Iran, a country of 77 million people that’s larger than Alaska and halfway around the world. And they want to sell us a bullshit story about nonexistent nuclear weapons. Americans would have to be breathtakingly stupid to go for that a second time.

More info:
Chuck Schumer is running from TV cameras for first time in his career after rejecting Iran deal

UPDATE:
Josh Marshall explains why the so-called “24-day delay” is a phony issue.

The people making the biggest stink about this are phrase-makers from RNC, AIPAC and the various other billionaire-backed, stood-up advocacy groups fighting the deal. Virtually every nuclear expert and weapons scientist does not see it as a problem.

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‘Bernie Sanders Can Become President’ Has Replaced ‘I Like Him, But He Can’t Win’

Bernie Sanders

I stole the title above from H.A. Goodman because I couldn’t come up with a better one. There is an enthusiasm gap among Democratic primary voters, and Senator Bernie Sanders is way ahead. Polls now confirm this.

From Goodman’s latest post on HuffPo:

Polls once extolling Hillary Clinton’s enormous lead over Sanders are now dwindling for the same reason Sanders beats Republicans in various other polls: Americans have had enough of dynasties, scandals, wars, and Wall Street corruption.

…[M]ore and more Americans have had enough with a two-party system that doesn’t give people a choice.

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with practical ideas about what he would do to reverse the trend of increasing inequality in America.

Bernie Sanders knew in 2002 that invading Iraq would be a terrible mistake with horrible consequences. He voted not to authorize the use of military force, unlike then-Senator Clinton and then-Senator Biden.

Also too, voters don’t trust Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE:
Looks like the campaign dirty tricks are starting now…
Black Lives Matter Seattle Protestor Is A Former Tea Party Palin Supporter
Bernie Sanders rally crasher Marissa “Johnson” Jenae is a Republican

How could two people take over the stage and preempt Bernie’s speech in Seattle? Now he’ll have to get some security and his events won’t be as friendly.

After the event was canceled the Democratic presidential candidate said in a statement, “I am disappointed that two people disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare. I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me.”

The so-called protest doesn’t even make sense. Why attack the one candidate who’s most committed to civil rights?

UPDATE:
Sanders talks at University of Washington rally after activists disrupt earlier speech at park

Audience of 12,000. No fake protesters.

UPDATE:
The Real Black Lives Matter Wants Activists To Publicly Apologize to Bernie Sanders

#BlackLivesMatter activists believe that this type of behavior is inappropriate and counterproductive, and we will not support it.

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Kentucky Man Uses Birdshot to Solve Drone Problem

Drone hunter

William Merideth of Hillview, Kentucky grabbed his shotgun and fired three blasts of Number 8 birdshot to take out a drone flying over his backyard.

The Kentuckian was arrested Sunday evening in Hillview, Kentucky, just south of Louisville and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. He was released the following day.

I think he’s within his rights. If it’s OK to shoot birds, why not drones? What do you think?

Drones have recently become a nuisance in the airspace over western wildfires. And people are making their own armed drones now, which is apparently legal.

More info:
This video of a drone with a gun will freak you the hell out

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Lindsey Graham: Attack on Iran Better Than Diplomacy

Iran attack

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is running for president as a super-hawk, but this is just ridiculous.

‘Who wins the war between us and Iran?’

The Senate Armed Services Committee held its own hearing today on the international nuclear agreement with Iran, which regrettably went about as well as the other congressional hearings on the issue. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Republican presidential candidate and one of his party’s most unyielding hawks, got especially animated during an exchange with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter:

GRAHAM: Could we win a war with Iran? Who wins the war between us and Iran? Who wins? Do you have any doubt who wins?

CARTER: No, the….

GRAHAM: We win!

The senator seemed pleased with himself, though this doesn’t exactly help the Republican cause. For proponents of the agreement, the concern has long been that GOP lawmakers want to kill the diplomatic deal because they want a military confrontation with Iran. Republicans usually make a point to deny this, instead saying they prefer a “better” diplomatic solution.

Graham, however, is less subtle – his line of questioning suggested the United States would win a war, which makes war an appealing alternative.

Reminder: Iran is larger than Alaska, with a population of 80 million people. They have an active duty military numbering 545,000, with 1.8 million reservists.

By comparison, the entire U.S. Army consists of 475,000 soldiers. To say a war of aggression against Iran is a bad idea would be a massive understatement. Like Iraq, it’s halfway around the world. Unlike Iraq, they have the capability to defend their country – making Senator Graham’s proposed invasion very costly and bloody.

As usual Donald Trump says out loud what the rest of us are thinking: Trump: Graham a ‘total lightweight,’ couldn’t get a job in the private sector

UPDATE:
The Badr Organization, an Iranian-backed Shiite militia in Iraq, is in possession of at least one US M1 Abrams tank. The Iraqi government has lost control of many of those lately, mostly to ISIS.

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John Ellis (‘Jeb’) Bush: Medicare Phase Out ‘A Winning Argument’

Let’s “phase out” Medicare? Seriously? (emphasis added):

“I think we need to be vigilant about this and persuade people that our, when your volunteers go door to door, and they talk to people, people understand this. They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something – because they’re not going to have anything. And that argument I think is going to be a winning argument if we take it directly to people.”

Why do Tea-GOPers keep attacking Social Security and Medicare, the most popular and effective government programs that sustain the American middle class? How out of touch can you be?

The “new system” he’s referring to is the Tea-GOP’s idea of replacing Medicare coverage with cheap vouchers that don’t cover the cost of health care for seniors.

Bush answers my last question here: Jeb Bush: ‘Please Help Me’ Understand Sharknado

Hey, lately Tea-GOP presidential candidates have been desperate to get media attention, resorting to various lame attempts to out-clown Donald Trump (can’t be done, Trump is driving the clown bus). It’s sad.

UPDATE:
Paul Krugman Decimates Jeb Bush’s Medicare Delusion

The real reason conservatives want to do away with Medicare has always been political: It’s the very idea of the government providing a universal safety net that they hate, and they hate it even more when such programs are successful.

…Medicare is 50 years old this week. Conservatives have been warning that it will destroy American freedom for that entire time. Kind of a bizarre claim about a program that has been a lifesaver both financially and literally for many seniors and their loved ones.

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Voucher Advocates Admit the Truth: It’s About ‘Abolishing the Public School System’

Vouchers

Via AlterNet:

ALEC is changing their talking points about private school vouchers. Instead of promoting the lie that vouchers are supposed to help disadvantaged children, they now concede the truth that the plan is a bonus for well-off families — but poor families won’t able to afford private school tuition even with the extra money.

ALEC seems poised to ditch the civil rights “marketing plan,” (as the rightwing Heartland Institute aptly put it in a 1991 paper) and get back to basics: school vouchers are for privatizing public education.

Libertarian guru Milton Friedman put it more bluntly back in 2006: school vouchers are part of a right-wing plan for “abolishing the public school system.”

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The Reality: Zero Net In-migration From Mexico

Mexico border

While The Donald and the rest of the Tea-GOP are fond of freaking out over the supposed crisis caused by a massive influx of migrants to the USA from Mexico, the actual facts point to zero net migration from Mexico since 2010.

A combination of economic and demographic factors have changed the immigration trend, which is not likely to reverse again soon.

Barring truly massive shocks to the Mexican economy or political system, we are extremely unlikely to see another great wave of immigration for at least the next 20 year to 40 years. And that would only happen if Mexico reverses a half-century of declining fertility rates within the next few years.

Don’t expect to hear this from anybody in the Tea-GOP, even though it really might help them politically if the immigration issue went away.

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He’s the Front Runner

Trump your cat
I can haz nomination – trumpyourcat

Remember in the 2012 race for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination when Donald Trump briefly became the front runner even though he wasn’t a declared candidate? If you do, then you won’t be surprised that The Donald is again leading the pack in the latest USA Today poll.

USA Today poll

Steven Rosenfeld on Alternet: “The open question is how much damage can Trump to do the GOP brand and the nominating process…”

Another question is when will one of the other 15 Tea-GOP contenders dare to criticize Trump or point out that he would make a ridiculously awful President? Are they afraid to take on such a luxurious, high-end top candidate for fear of being called a loser or a dummy? Do they think that by not attacking Trump they can inherit his racist supporters when Trump drops out?

UPDATE:
From Their Lies To His Ears: The Right-Wing Media Myths Making Up Trump’s Campaign Platform

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Congress on Track for Another Government Shutdown

House Speaker John Boehner has refused to negotiate with Democrats on the federal budget, setting the conditions for another government shutdown at the end of September.

The House goes on vacation until after Labor Day at the end of the month. If no deal is in place, it will leave just three weeks to craft a budget compromise before funding for the government expires on Sept. 30.

Senate Democrats have promised to block passage of any budget bills that lock in sequestration cuts. Nothing has yet come to a vote in the Senate. President Obama has threatened to veto any such austerity budget bills.

Over in the House, the Tea-GOP has been unable to gather enough votes for the Interior-Environment appropriations bill (that includes crippling budget cuts to the EPA, would prohibit regulation of fracking or implementation of carbon emission standards for electric power plants, block new clean-water rules, and stop the government’s marine and coastal planning efforts to respond to climate change) because it contains an amendment allowing the confederate flag to be displayed in national parks. Speaker Boehner has placed a complete hold on appropriations bills until the impasse is resolved.

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War of Aggression Cancelled?

Cartoon bomb

If all goes well, the U.S. military won’t have to invade Iran on behalf of Israel after all. I recall there were times during the Bush administration when I thought we were just days away from another illegal war of aggression – a really big one against a country of 77 million people.

Some important points:

Really, this whole brouhaha isn’t about nuclear weapons at all. It’s about regime change. Or you could also say, it’s about punishing ordinary Iranians because their government doesn’t like Israel.

More info:
Iran Nuclear Deal: World Powers Reach Historic Agreement to Lift Sanctions
Confused About The Iran Deal? This Cartoon Bomb Will Help
“Treason”: Right-Wing Media Lament Historic Deal To Curb Iran’s Nuclear Program
Lindsay Graham: Iran Deal ‘Akin To Declaring War On Israel’

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