Friday, January 31, 2014

Reid Won't Move Fast Track

This is a massive, massive deal. Trying to figure out what the game is here, but this kills the TPP dead at the moment. Reid might just disagree on the White House strategy on when to bring it up, but this is a major deal that he'd go public in the way that he did.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The GOP is seriously screwed

Not that we didn't know that, but the numbers Jon Walker of Firedoglake highlights here are pretty shocking:
For decades young adults have tended to lean slightly Democratic but now the preference is overwhelming. Democrats have an unbelievable 18 point advantage among the current youngest generation. This is unlike anything in the past 20 years.
This is the dynamic that is going to dominate politics in the coming years. On many issues Millennials  are dramatically to the left of the rest of the American public. The generation is often even more progressive than self-identified “Liberals.”
This is why there is serious concern among GOP elites, but nothing is going to change until their base starts to die off. They aren't going to change who they are, and for the next 20-30 years they're going to drag the entire Republican party down with them. Couldn't happen to nicer people.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Daft Wins Album of the Year

I was trying to think of the last time my actual favorite album of the year was named album of the year. Anyhow, this picture is the greatest:

Friday, January 24, 2014

And then Saint Clinton Moderated The Communists...

Atrios does a great job here of rehashing how most political media types view the last 30 years:
The story the Dem party likes to tell itself is that it went all crazy hippie dippie in the 70s and 80s, elected that communist Jimmy "deregulation" Carter to the presidency, then nominated noted communists Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis who were deservedly destroyed. During this period, a time when half of the party were conservative southern racists, the party didn't do enough for the Real American white working (male) class. Then along came the DLC and the new Democrats and the new new Democrats and the new new new new new new new Democrats and they moderated the party by informing big business that we were their friends too and we'd love their money. Then the party enhanced its appeal by backing off on support for gun control and abortion rights.

By doing all of this the party ushered in the great Glorious Age of Democrats, otherwise known as the election of Bill Clinton, which was followed by a Republican takeover of the House, their frequent control of the Senate, the destruction of the welfare system, the election of George W. Bush, some lovely little wars, and out of control banksters that destroyed the economy and got rich doing it. Yay great moderation.

Obviously that isn't quite the story they like to tell themselves, but hopefully you get the point. Anyway the real point is that while the narrative is always about how the Dems turned their backs on the white working class, during the grand "rescue the party from the hippies" period, it isn't as if they suddenly did a bunch of stuff to help these people. They mostly just tried to convince them that they love guns and war and don't much like those abortion sluts either. Also, too, don't worry white working class, we aren't going to do anything to help you but we aren't going to help the blah people either.
This is absurd of course. The TL;DR version of this history is that corporate power has grown wildly during this time period and Bill Clinton made a conscious effort to move the Democratic party to the right on economic issues because he wanted them to also get a share of Wall Street's money for his side as well.

Defenders of this will say that it was needed to stay competitive electorally, but we're living with the result now: Two corporately owned political parties who differ mostly on social issues and whether or not we should try to help those in need a little or not at all. It's worth remembering we didn't get to this point because the Democratic party was ever "too liberal".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Corruption

The details of this still amaze me:
Earlier this month, Bob McDonnell became former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. On Tuesday, he became indicted former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Just days after he left office, the Republican and and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were charged in federal court with more than a dozen counts related to the tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans they accepted from a wealthy Virginia businessman. (The ex-governor maintained on Tuesday that he had done nothing illegal.)

The fact that the McDonnells were under scrutiny from prosecutors was no secret. Stories about the investigation, and the relationship between the McDonnells and the businessman, Jonnie Williams, had been appearing in the press for months. We knew (thanks in large part to stellar reporting from The Washington Post) about the Rolex, and the Oscar de la Renta dress, and the Ferrari joyride, and the golf outings.
Dresses, a watch... what did he think this was, the 1950s? You can get sooooooo much more money now from your corporate backers and no one will even blink! Get a superpac! Someone really let Bob McDonnell down in telling him how to sell out his office. He could have gotten so much more, and kept his career and prestige at the same time!

Monday, January 20, 2014

If A Blog Stops Posting In the Forest...

I was in Mexico for a little more than a week, and I thought I had set a few posts to auto post... but I apparently failed to do that correctly. Lack of consistent internet in Mexico prevented me from fixing it manually.

Anyhow, here is probably the coolest view I saw, closer to normal posting will resume shortly.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Brian Schweitzer Says Interesting Things

He's clearly running for president, and might be the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton, so my ears are open especially when he says stuff like this:
David Weigel: You start off every morning at 4 a.m. or so, reading national news, so I assume you read the New York Times editorial calling for clemency for Edward Snowden. Do you agree with the Times? Would you grant clemency?

Brian Schweitzer: If Edward Snowden is a criminal, then so are a lot of people that are working within the CIA and the NSA who have been spying illegally on American citizens. They ought to grant Snowden clemency. Now, let me say this: Shame on us if we had a person working for a private contractor, without a high school diploma, who was in possession of our most delicate secrets. We look like Keystone Kops! But I don’t have any problem with the NSA and their mission of collecting information on foreign leaders. They spy on us; we spy on them. I’ve got a real big problem with American neighbors spying on American neighbors.

DW: Do you think the Affordable Care Act can be made to work?

BS: I will give you not just how this thing should have been written, but what it will get to be, because what we have right now will not work. No. 1: You pass national health insurance laws that say you can’t discriminate against women, charge them higher premiums than men of the same age, you can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, you can’t have annual caps. Then you allow insurance companies to compete wherever they want, in any state. Boom. The second thing is, you say to every citizen in the United States, now you have the option to buy into Medicare.
He's also making anti-Iraq war statements the center of his stump speeches. Count me as interested.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Train of Thought Lounge: Mya and Jay Z

Such a jam, brought back to mind recently by T quoting some of these lyrics unintentionally.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Al Qaeda is now taking over cities in Iraq

Reminder that before our invasion, Al Qaeda wasn't a presence in Iraq:
Al-Qaeda militants have seized Fallujah, a key city in western Iraq, engaging Iraqi army forces in pitched battles there in a brazen challenge to Iraq's central government.

"The whole of Fallujah is taken," said Qasim Abed, a member of the provincial council in the region and the former governor of Anbar. "The situation is very bad."
Thanks Iraq war creators and supporters! Heckuva job!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Michael Moore On Obamacare

This captures a lot of my thoughts (good and bad) on the ACA. It's worth your time:
I believe Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could — is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.

What we now call Obamacare was conceived at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and birthed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor. The president took Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions. In effect, the president was simply trying to put lipstick on the dog in the carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. And we knew it.

By 2017, we will be funneling over $100 billion annually to private insurance companies. You can be sure they’ll use some of that to try to privatize Medicare.

For many people, the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act risks being a cruel joke. The cheapest plan available to a 60-year-old couple making $65,000 a year in Hartford, Conn., will cost $11,800 in annual premiums. And their deductible will be $12,600. If both become seriously ill, they might have to pay almost $25,000 in a single year. (Pre-Obamacare, they could have bought insurance that was cheaper but much worse, potentially with unlimited out-of-pocket costs.)

And yet — I would be remiss if I didn’t say this — Obamacare is a godsend. My friend Donna Smith, who was forced to move into her daughter’s spare room at age 52 because health problems bankrupted her and her husband, Larry, now has cancer again. As she undergoes treatment, at least she won’t be in terror of losing coverage and becoming uninsurable. Under Obamacare, her premium has been cut in half, to $456 per month.

Let’s not take a victory lap yet, but build on what there is to get what we deserve: universal quality health care.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

War Sucks

Maybe we should spend a bit more time protecting our children from dying in actual wars then worrying about what they see on licences plates:
The state of Michigan is defending its rejection of an anti-war license plate, saying children riding in cars need to be protected from seeing "WAR SUX."

Attorneys for the secretary of state's office asked a judge this month to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses officials of violating the First Amendment by broadly controlling speech. David DeVarti, a Washtenaw County man, wanted the six-letter plate but was turned down.
Goddam idiots.