Nancy LeTourneau has a fascinating piece at Washington Monthly. The whole thing is worth a read, but the passage that jumped out at me was this:
In other words, the forces of change are upon us and that is creating a tremendous backlash in the Republican Party. I think that pretty well summarizes the situation. While “establishment candidates” like Jeb Bush want to talk about things like taxes and foreign policy, the issues Brownstein highlights are the ones that are animating Republican voters right now.
But it’s interesting to note that, while the Republican anti-establishment movement is focused on race, ethnicity and cultural changes, the anti-establishment challenge in the Democratic presidential primary is coming from Bernie Sanders – whose message is all about growing income inequality, i.e., class. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of that disconnect.
She goes on to note that there is a historical precedent for what we’re experiencing. The whole thing is worth a read.
Seriously? As a senator, Hillary Clinton voted to authorize George W. Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq, an ill-fated invasion and occupation halfway around the word that led to enormous loss of life and ongoing chaos in the Middle East, and mind-boggling deficits at home.
Now she says: “I will not hesitate to take military action if Iran attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon.”
In other words, Hillary has learned nothing about what constitutes an illegal war of aggression. Fortunately for all concerned, Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and their theocratic government regards nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as un-Islamic. It’s an empty threat.
We can’t help wondering if Hillary thinks that the first woman president needs to take America to war again just to prove she’s a tough commander-in-chief – and never mind the consequences.
Amanda Marcotte suggests the loud Tea-GOP freakout over peace with Iran is mostly if not entirely about political calculation for 2016.
[P]ainting Hillary Clinton as some kind of weak-willed surrender monkey, mostly by dropping the word “Benghazi” a lot, is clearly going to be the centerpiece of the anti-Clinton strategy.
This may explain, but certainly doesn’t excuse, Hillary doubling down on her hawkish foreign policy views.
Watched this on TV live yesterday. I know President Obama has been a disappointment for Americans who work for a living. He definitely never walked a picket line as President, like he promised in 2007. But he sure gave a great speech on the one day a year when Dems come out to defend labor unions.
The basic outline of this drama could have been predicted (and was predicted) months ago – someone objects to same-sex couples marrying; in their business or government position they refuse to issue marriage licenses or otherwise serve same-sex couples. A minor media brushfire occurs, a right wing legal organization leaps into the fray and throws gasoline on the fire. A court orders the person to issue said marriage licenses or provide said services. Person refuses, and on the advice of the legal organization starts talking about religious freedom. Court orders person to do their job. Person refuses. Right wing legal organization gives bad advice, hoping to create a martyr. Person goes to jail for contempt of court. The Religious Right goes up in flames.
The specific details were always up for grabs – there’s no reason it had to be Rowan County, Kentucky rather than Mobile, Alabama or Twin Falls, Idaho. The objector could have been a man not a woman, a judge not a county clerk or the owner of a business. That the objector would adhere to a form fundamentalist Christianity was a given, although the specific form doesn’t make much difference (Davis belongs to an Apostolic Christian Church). The actual nature of the objection could easily have been a cut and paste job – we were always going to hear screeching about religious freedom and how this poor person is being oppressed. Even the specifics of the punishment are largely unimportant – whether it was jail time or fines or an order to comply with nondiscrimination laws, the reaction was always going to be the same. Even the comparisons to Rosa Parks were inevitable as the religious right tries to coopt the luster of the Civil Rights movement.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis helpfully stepped into the fray. Her refusal to issue any and all marriage licenses, especially to same-sex couples, put her in the middle of the fight the religious right has wanted for the longest time. Read the rest of this entry »
This is part of the Clinton administration’s legacy. In a new book, Kathryn J. Edin concludes the number of Americans living on $2 a day or less has “more than doubled since 1996, placing 1.5 million households and 3 million children in this desperate economic situation.”
$2 per person per day, or $2,920 per year for a family of four. is an income category that the World Bank refers to as “extreme poverty.”
1996 is an important marker, because that’s the year the Clinton administration, working alongside Republicans in Congress, eliminated the Aid for Families with Dependent Children program, which provided a guaranteed safety net for the poor. In its place they created Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), a much more meager and temporary safety net.
…In 2012, only one-quarter of poor families received TANF benefits, down from more than two-thirds in 1996, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. According to $2.00 a Day, the welfare program reached more than 14.2 million Americans in 1994, but by 2014 only 3.8 million Americans were aided by TANF.
The failure of TANF, like the decline of the American middle class, is barely mentioned in the media. Nobody is asking presidential candidates about this. Instead we get Donald Trump’s daily insult-fest and the great gefilte fish e-mail flap.
Could You Survive on $2 a Day?
Last night Rachel Maddow looked at Public Policy Polling’s August 28-30 poll of Tea-GOP primary voters. Aside from the “horse race” findings of who’s ahead and who’s behind (Trump is ahead, followed by Ben Carson, and the other candidates are all in the single digits) the poll revealed just how low-information the Tea-GOPers really are.
President Obama is a self-declared Christian born in the State of Hawaii. Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz was of course born in Canada, and held Canadian citizenship until last year.
The number is even more stark among those who indicated that they support 2016 GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Among those voters, 61 percent said Obama was not born in the U.S., while a mere 21 percent concede that he was American born.
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.
According to a recent article:
Two Utah lawmakers on Tuesday speculated that federal environmental officials might have deliberately triggered the Colorado mine release that sent 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a San Juan River tributary, and asked Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to investigate the possibility.
Yep. They asked for that.
Utah’s Sen. Margaret Dayton (R) and Rep. Mike Noel (R) have no evidence for their claim — it’s more of a feeling, really — but the two have asked the state Attorney General Sean Reyes to investigate anyway.
Because we all know the absence of evidence is evidence of a conspiracy.
I won’t say I agree with every word, but Nancy LeTourneau’s article at the Washington Monthly, “President Obama on Power and Change”, is one of the better articles I’ve seen lately. In it, LeTourneau describes President’s Obama’s approach to policy and political negotiations as “conciliatory rhetoric as a ruthless strategy.”
In the article, she quotes Mark Schmitt:
The reason the conservative power structure has been so dangerous, and is especially dangerous in opposition, is that it can operate almost entirely on bad faith. It thrives on protest, complaint, fear…One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that’s not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists — it’s a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict.
Obama’s approach to negotiation has been to put something on the table and challenge his political opponents to respond. Republicans have repeatedly fallen into the trap of having nothing or having only proposals so extreme they were clearly not serious. In a world not distorted by a media entranced of the “both sides do it” narrative, this strategy could have yielded greater results. As LeTourneau describes it:
As the story was told to the American public, it came across as “Washington is gridlocked because both sides have dug in.” According to former Republican Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren, that is exactly what Republicans had in mind.
I’m not a fan of the “Barack Obama plays eleven dimensional chess” school of thought. Instead, I like this explanation of his often seemingly timid approach. He’s not doing politics as usual, instead he’s playing the game differently, he’s playing by a different set of rules. Arriving in a DC up-ended by the seemingly endless failures of the Bush administration, it was obvious something different had to happen. Well it has been happening and the progress has been achingly slow, but it has been progress.
The question for me is – “Can we expand on the foundation that’s been laid?”