Monthly Archives: April 2017

Monster defeat for Trump and GOP: Budget deal funds Planned Parenthood but has nothing for wall

Late on Sunday evening, details emerged about a new spending agreement that congressional leaders had reached to keep the federal government open past this week, when current funding runs out, and through the end of September. The deal is looking like a huge victory for Democrats—and a massive failure for Donald Trump and his Republican Party:

The bipartisan agreement includes $12.5 billion in new military spending and $1.5 billion more for border security, a major priority for Republican leaders in Congress.

The agreement follows weeks of tense negotiations between Democrats and GOP leaders after President Trump insisted that the deal include funding to begin building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump eventually dropped that demand, leaving Congress to resolve lingering issues over several unrelated policy measures.

The new border-security money comes with strict limitations that the Trump administration use it only for technology investments and repairs to existing fencing and infrastructure, the aides said.

In a way, that’s even more humiliating for Trump—and an even bigger betrayal of his supporters: There’s more money for border security but the government is forbidden from using it to pay for that insane wall. Maybe they’re still hoping Mexico will pony up?

The rest of the bill is also an amazing win for Democrats:

Posted in Liberal Thoughts

Open thread for night owls: Fox & Friends is still the lead paint of news

It is well known around these parts that Fox and Friends is the lead paint of news. It is where the network talking points of the day are first introduced, and where they are dumbed down to their most simplistic, guttural forms. It is where the network’s stand-ins for all of society’s ills are presented—a man who receives food aid despite not really needing it, or a single criminal immigrant, by name—and declared to be representative of the whole. The latest conspiracy theories are presented, as the glassy-eyed hosts nod approvingly. Psychologists of dubious merit are brought on to explain why non-conservative opponents are, alas, diseased individuals. Fox and Friends is the show for viewers who find the rest of the Fox lineup too taxing on the brain.

It was probably inevitable that the dumbest man in Washington would gravitate to it. The show’s primate chest-thumping, its giggly sexism and casual racism is precisely to news what Trump is to conservatism. It is the id, unchained.

Psychology suggests that the program’s particular trappings have effects on viewers that go beyond ego stroking. The fast pace, the cheerfulness and the breezy confidence are a combination tailor-made for maximum persuasion, experts say. “If I tuned in to watch that show, I would feel simultaneously happy, reassured and smart,” says Dannagal Young, a professor at the University of Delaware who studies the way people process political information. “When we are feeling happy and people are smiling around us, it ignites a primal response that is, ‘Things are good! Things are great! I don’t have to be careful. I don’t have to think carefully.’” The show is a ticket to a kind of self-perpetuating state of complacency, where its 1.7 million viewers become less likely to question their own beliefs and more likely to come back for more. [...]

To occupy a world this rose-colored, you have to willfully ignore certain news events, and even entire subjects, such as climate change. You also have to be ready with a rationale for everything the president does. Doocy, in particular, always seems on the verge of leaping from the couch to translate one of Trump’s cryptic statements—or, as he did throughout the March health care debate, to reassure viewers that Trump is a brilliant negotiator, that he’s in command and that everything will work out.

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If you’re upset about Milo, Coulter, Cernovich et al. and didnt say a word in support of Kaepernick, it’s not free speech you’re defending.

— Robert K Trobich (@RKTlaw) April 30, 2017

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2012Improving the situation for low-wage workers requires, first of all, a commitment to full employment:

For employers, a large reservoir of out-of-work people instills fear in those who still have a job: Don’t ask for more money, do whatever the boss says even if it’s wrong or unfair, don’t talk about starting a union and do put up with all kinds of impositions nobody should put up with because there is always a hungry guy ready to take your place if you get too uppity.

Despite the official end of the recession, the situation for workers remains tough. At last count, there was an average of 3.7 job-seekers for every job opening and some 25 million Americans were unemployed or underemployed. That’s the acute problem. But one of the chronic problems underlying it is the tremendous number of workers who earn low wages who have seen their benefits ever more reduced over the past couple decades and who have no collective bargaining power with which to change these two facts of life. Those low wages aren’t just low; their buying power is less than it was four-and-a-half decades ago.

Posted in Liberal Thoughts

Let’s stop being played by our puppeteers: the corporate state

Ever since Donald Trump was elected, I’ve been on a virtual listening tour. It was evident rather quickly that we were all conned in subtle ways that are disturbing. I’ve spoken to left-wing progressives, center-left progressives, moderates, right-wing Republicans, center-right Republicans, tea party Republicans, communists, anarchists, and everyone in between.

I spent most of the time listening. I did this at Starbucks, at Democratic meetings, at one tea party event, online, by email, at community festivals, and in places where one should not have political dialogues. There was a lot of biting my tongue when I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The most common thing heard was manufactured polarization, even between establishment Democrats and progressive Democrats.

Last week I went out to the polls in Kingwood, Texas, in support of candidates that would represent new blood on the school board. I had a 30-minute conversation with one of the leaders of the tea party in this town, and Kingwood likely has one of the most powerful tea party presences in the country. Ted Cruz and all the major politicians they support do their rounds out here several times a year.

As per my usual modus operandi, the tea party bigwig spoke for the first 15 minutes or so. Like most on the right, all I heard was the typical talking points and the caricaturing of liberals. Ironically, I heard caricaturing of the right on the progressive side—but mostly what I heard was a fight within, the same establishment vs. Bernie’s-not-a-Democrat unwarranted fight.

After letting folks talk at length, I asked a simple question: “Forget about ideology. What do you want for you and your family?” The answer was first and foremost economic. Those with kids wanted good schools for their children, and the possibility of an affordable college education. Those near retirement wanted a pension that is reliable. Many felt they were spinning their wheels as they worked hard just to get by everyday. There were many other responses, but you get the picture.

When asked why none of them are able to realize their desires, they pointed fingers at some group, some sub-group, some race, etc. What was ironic is they seemed to blame their everyday fellow citizens more so than the actual puppeteers pulling the strings: the corporate state.

Posted in Liberal Thoughts

With One Quote, Bob Woodward Illuminates Media Hypocrisy Related To Trump

Yesterday, I watched Donald Trump’s 100-day rally. I didn’t bother watching the White House Correspondents Dinner. Two nauseating events would be too much to handle. I followed along on Twitter for awhile, but it didn’t take long for me to lose interest. Organizers bill the White House Correspondents Dinner as an event built around awarding college students money to further their journalism education. In reality, | Read More »

The post With One Quote, Bob Woodward Illuminates Media Hypocrisy Related To Trump appeared first on RedState.

Posted in Uncategorized

Are we regressing toward being a developing nation?

It’s always advisable to ignore hyperbole and avoid clickbait headlines, but this one from The Independent was eye-catching, to say the least: US has regressed to developing nation status, MIT economist warns.” The key point of the article is that without a robust middle class, the United States …

… is not only reverting to developing-country status, it is increasingly ripe for serious social turmoil that has not been seen in generations.” 

Peter Temin authored the book that The Independent is reporting on—and he’s not too far off the mark with this idea.

We are certainly at a tipping point in our society, and the roots of this trace back to the election of Ronald Reagan, when we saw some of the first shots fired on the middle class: the firing of 11,000 air traffic controllers; cutting taxes on the rich; raising the retirement age to 67 on those who did not even have a voice in the matter; and the advent of the media friendly-named “trickle down economics” (for the record, I’ve been waiting since the ‘80s for my pile of cash to trickle down).

This was not unique to the Reagan years. After George H.W. Bush, President Clinton raised taxes and we had a budget surplus at the end of his second term. When President George W. Bush came into office he cut taxes, and by the end of his term we were in the worst economic times since the Great Depression. President Obama came into office, raised taxes, and signed into law a much-too-small stimulus plan to dig us out of the hole the GOP put us in. 

Posted in Liberal Thoughts

Watch: Delta Airlines pilot hits female passenger to break up wild fight

A pilot for Delta Airlines was caught on tape striking a female passenger who was fighting another woman on an airport ramp in Atlanta. According…

Posted in Conservative thoughts

Rachel Maddow’s Yuge Scoop on Karen Handel

This is what real journalism looks like, folks

The post Rachel Maddow’s Yuge Scoop on Karen Handel appeared first on RedState.

Posted in Uncategorized

Priebus says Trump administration has ‘looked at’ First Amendment changes to protect Trump

Via Josh Marshall, here’s White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus casually acknowledging during a Sunday Show interview that the current administration has been considering constitutional changes to restrict the First Amendment.

KARL: I want to ask you about two things the President has said on related issues. First of all, there was what he said about opening up the libel laws. Tweeting “the failing New York Times has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change the libel laws?” That would require, as I understand it, a constitutional amendment. Is he really going to pursue that? Is that something he wants to pursue?

PRIEBUS: I think it’s something that we’ve looked at. How that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story.

Reince Priebus is considered to be the pragmatic one. This isn’t Steve Bannon or Baghdad Spicer piping up with the admission that the White House staff has been internally debating whether the Constitution needs the corners sanded off it in order to soothe a single man’s eggshell-thin ego. This is the the top-notch, top-shelf doof whose job is to rein all the other bozos in.

As Marshall suggests, maybe Priebus didn’t mean it. But “why would anyone assume that?”

Posted in Liberal Thoughts

Trump’s Invitation To Philippines President Duterte Not Cleared By State Department

Maybe not a good idea.

The post Trump’s Invitation To Philippines President Duterte Not Cleared By State Department appeared first on RedState.

Posted in Uncategorized

New report about Antarctica is horrible news for global warming alarmists

Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula has long been touted by supporters of the theory man is destroying the planet by using fossil fuels as proof…

Posted in Conservative thoughts