Why is it that Washington village “progressives,” and their associates in other parts of the country who are nevertheless part of the Washington village culture, often ask useful questions, but, almost always deliver, underwhelming answers? Here's an example from Richard Eskow, probably the best writer at Campaign for the American Future. Read below the fold...
One evening last November, a tall, white-haired man turned up at a Town Council meeting to protest construction of a water tower near his home in this wealthy community outside Dallas.
The man was Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM -0.21%
He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create "a noise nuisance and traffic hazards," in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, which requires heavy trucks to haul and pump massive amounts of water, unlocks oil and gas from dense rock and has helped touch off a surge in U.S. energy output.
Gee, Mr. Tillerson must lead a mighty privileged life! Read below the fold...
Senate candidate: Snowden is a whistle-blower, not a criminal
House Patriot Act author Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Tuesday introduced a “USA Freedom Act” to restrict National Security Agency spying. That move came amid high-profile, bipartisan congressional criticism of reported U.S. spying on world leaders including Germany’s Angela Merkel. Among the critics of surveiling Merkel was Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a three-term Republican who’s chaired the Homeland Security Committee and now serves on the Intelligence Committee.
But Collins’ 2014 challenger Shenna Bellows – who directed the Maine ACLU for eight years before last week becoming the first declared contender for the Democratic nomination – says that’s not good enough. In a Tuesday afternoon interview, Bellows told Salon that politicians have “trampled on the Constitution,” and called for Edward Snowden to “be treated as a whistle-blower and not a criminal.” She also called out Congress for preferring “to scold the White House in public but codify NSA spying.”
This is not so bad. Read below the fold...
And a Brit would know; they had a much longer run than we're going to have:
How the west slipped into powerlessness
When the USA decided, last summer, it could not sell military intervention in Syria – either to its parliaments, its people or its military – it sent a signal to every dictator, torturer and autocrat in the world that only diplomats, at the time, truly understood. The British diplomat in charge of Syria, Reza Afshar, tweeted a one-word summary of the UK parliamentary vote on Syria: “Disaster!”
This is just dumb. Read below the fold...
[Readers, I added some material in brackets marked with... ADDED. I'm especially interested in feedback on the 12 Reforms, even if they are boring infrastructural stuff. Thanks! --lambert]
I've been blocked on writing this, because of the scale and scope of the project
if when it takes off, but and so here's a new ("beta") version of the 12-Point Platform, based on your comments (and other stuff I've encountered in my travels). [Also, my s-key is sticking....]
Below, I'll present a version of the Platform, suitable for you -- yes, you! -- to copy and paste into comment sections, which I hope you will start doing, if only to collect feedback, which it would be wonderful if you posted in comments here. (Responses by Democratic apologists clutching their pearls and heading for the fainting couch are especially welcome, especially when they use the phrase "politically feasible.") Later in the post, I'll break down the Points and explain the reasoning behind each one below. Suffice to say, for now, when the 12-Point Platform is passed, in its entirety, although perhaps not all at once, every American, from babies to elders, will be treated humanely, and their children, and their children's children, and nobody will be thrown under the bus.)
Typical places where throwing the 12-Point Platform into the mix would provoke loads of good, clean fun include posts and threads where:
- People fulminate against "the left," while imagining that Obama and the Democrats are on, or even friendly to, the left;
- People claim that Democratic "populist" noisemakers, streamers, and trial balloons are anything more than kayfabe;
- Career "progressive" or soi disant populists claim that this or that minor reform -- say, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 -- is the greatest thing since FDR invented the bread slicer.
[ADDING: The 12-Point Platform is a left baseline program with a simple metric ("compliance") that holds politicians of any party accountable for that program. The 12 Reforms define the infrastructure -- media, electoral, economic, political -- needed to bring the 12-Point Platform to life. One value -- "public purpose" -- informs and motivates both the 12-Point Platform and the 12 Reforms. The goal is to drag the Overton Window left, and keep dragging it left. Atrios dragged the Overton WIndow left for Social Security benefits, so let's do it for everything!]
The 12-Point Platform
1. A Living Wage
2. Medicare for all
3. Tax the Rich
4. Job or Income Guarantee
5. Debt Jubilee
6. Retirement Security
7. Post Office Bank
8. Enforce the Bill of Rights
9. End the Wars
10. Slow Food (Too)
11. Clean Air and Water
12. Carbon Negative Economy
Supporting the 12 Points, and necessary to pass, implement, and sustain them, are 12 Reforms. Herewith, also copy and paste-ready: Read below the fold...
I'm not used to getting out of the train and hearing monks chant. (Bangkok has an elevated public transport system, like the Chicago El but modern and concrete in Brutalist style, and the platforms are two stories up. And the chanting pervaded the whole station.)
A popular Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10** an hour, championed by President Obama, could reduce total employment by 500,000 workers by the second half of 2016. But it would also lift 900,000 families out of poverty and increase the incomes of 16.5 million low-wage workers in an average week.
So, great. Now we get to choose between helping 900,000 families and throwing 500,000 workers under the bus! Read below the fold...
A reader writes:
You gotta follow this link to the AARP ACA "quiz": http://www.aarp.org/health/health-care-reform/info-11-2011/health-care-r...
Here was my feedback to AARP:Read below the fold...
The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking
According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images, or fantasies on the subject of transition into work life, graduating from university, looking for and finding a job.” Two years later, they approached the same students and asked about their post-college job experiences. Those who harbored positive fantasies put in fewer job applications, received fewer job offers, and ultimately earned lower salaries. The same was true in other contexts, too. Students who fantasized were less likely to ask their romantic crushes on a date and more likely to struggle academically. Hip-surgery patients also recovered more slowly when they dwelled on positive fantasies of walking without pain. ...
In a provocative new analysis, Oettingen and her colleagues have suggested that public displays of positive thinking may even predict downturns in major macroeconomic outcomes. They used a text-analysis program to measure the tone of articles in USA Today between 2007 and 2009, and found that especially positive articles predicted a downturn in the Dow Jones Industrial Average between a week and a month later. The researchers also analyzed all twenty-one U.S. Presidential inaugural addresses between 1933 and 2009, and found that Presidents who waxed optimistic about the future saw a rise in unemployment and a slowdown in economic growth during their terms in office.
Well, I might gloat just a little. Read below the fold...
On Valentine's Day, Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to the President, authored by himself and signed by 15 other Senators, all Democrats. The letter was a response to the rumors that the President intends to include his Chained CPI proposal to cut Social Security benefits in the budget he will soon send to Congress. Read below the fold...
It's fun to walk around a big city where people put out plants in pots on their front stoops and front sidewalks. Sometimes the plants are lotuses, and the pot is filled with water and tiny fish. Here's a clip of cute fish swimming about, flirting their tails:
I knew Obama was not sincere in any humanitarian intentions in Syria.
I knew Obama would not work with Russia to bring peace to Syria. Instead the Obama administration is doing all it can to demonize Russia re the Ukraine situation and re Sochi Olympics and the gay issue. The corporate media, of course, is obliging. Doing all it can also to discredit Russia.