Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last Call For Wage Slaves

As expected, Senate Republicans who are "for the working class" and "helping American families" blocked an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10.

Democratic legislation to raise the federal minimum wage hit a road block Wednesday when Republicans blocked the bill in the Senate, setting up an election-year battle over which party can best grow the economy and help struggling Americans.

The bill was six votes shy of the 60 needed to advance the legislation that would gradually up the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 over the span of 30 months. The bill also included increases based on inflation that, if fully implemented, would allow a family of three to earn an annual income above the poverty line.

Republicans argue the bill will hurt small business owners, which may need to cut jobs to account for the higher wages. They cite a study released by the Congressional Budget Office released in February that found, while helping to alleviate poverty, raising minimum wage would cost the country about 500,000 jobs.

In other words, every single Republican in the Senate thinks $10.10 an hour, or the massive yearly wage of $21,000 a year is too much money, because only teenagers make minimum wage (only 24% are in reality and half are white women.)  Seems to me that Republicans would want to see that young women, especially mothers, would be paid more to keep them off food stamps, but apparently that's okay with them.

By the way, there's no state in the nation where $21,000 a year can get you an apartment and it still be affordable.  In most states you'd need twice that.

Meanwhile, slimebag Sen. Ted Cruz pitched the GOP blocking minimum wage as, get this, a victory for black teenagers.

“Every senator who votes ‘yes’ is voting with an absolute certainty that hundreds of thousands of workers, including a great many African-American teenagers and a great many Hispanic teenagers, will be laid off as a consequence of their vote,” Cruz said. “I would challenge any of the senators in this chamber to look in the eyes of those African-American teenagers, those Hispanic teenagers who are looking for a better opportunity.”

Only one problem.  Cruz is full of crap, as usual.  In states where minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum, the evidence is clear.

Raising the minimum wage is neither as wonderful as its advocates claim nor as dangerous as its detractors warn. On the upside, it would increase pay for millions of Americans, not only those earning the minimum but also those at fixed increments above it. These are people who could really use a raise. Contrary to what generations of students were taught in freshman econ, new research finds that minimum-wage increases at the state level have caused little, if any, harm to employment. “Outside of the simple Econ 101-type environment, increasing workers’ pay can improve the functioning of the low-wage labor market,” Arindrajit Dube, a University of Massachusetts economist, testified before Congress in March.

Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the nation, indexed to inflation.  If raising the minimum wage is so disastrous for employment, then it should have one of the highest unemployment numbers in the nation.

It's 6.3% as of April, below the national average.

Raise the wage, guys.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Meanwhile, the notion that the issue at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada is over just because it's suddenly inconvenient to back an avowed racist asshole like Cliven Bundy is sadly not the case.  The heavily armed militia types are still out there "defending" Bundy and are doing a pretty good job of threatening anybody in the area who doesn't back the guy.

The locals are getting understandably nervous.

A growing number of Bunkerville residents want to see the armed militiamen guarding rancher Cliven Bundy leave Nevada, according to a letter from Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

Horsford, whose congressional district includes Bunkerville, wrote that his constituents are concerned about Bundy supporters carrying weapons near local churches, schools and elsewhere.

But gosh, guns equal safety and freedom.  Why would anyone be scared of gun-toting vigilate justice mobs armed to the teeth near churches and schools?  Maybe because of this?

The letter also says militiamen have a presence on state and local roads as well as federal highways. In some areas, according to the letter, militiamen have set up checkpoints where drivers are stopped and asked to provide a proof of residency.

They’ve been seen carrying high-caliber weapons and keep a round-the-clock security detail on Bundy.

Setting up armed checkpoints on public roads.  You know, like the Taliban does in Afghanistan.  But don't you dare call them domestic terrorists, right?

The Ghost Of Losers Past

Guess which former presidential candidate thinks America needs a Rand Paul versus Elizabeth Warren race in 2016 that could potentially unite the left and right towards a new era of libertarian utopia and that President Obama needs to be impeached immediately?

That’s the premise of the new book “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State” by longtime political activist and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who contends that such a left-right alliance is not just the stuff of imagination but is actually emerging.

“On Capitol Hill, I'm seeing more and more in Congress, left and right,” Nader told “The Fine Print.” “It was a vote in the House over a year ago over the NSA snooping, it almost broke through … so we're beginning to see formulations that once they click together, they're unstoppable.”
Oh goody.  And Rand Paul?

But Nader qualified that the success of his envisioned left-right alliance is dependent on strong leaders. He said Sen. Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, has the potential to be a leader for the alliance, but added that he thinks the Kentucky Republican has certain shortcomings as a leader.

“He’s a mixed bag, you know, he's evolving. He's broadening his issues that he's talking about and they’re beginning to resonate,” Nader said. “On the other hand … he has problems dealing with people.”

Paul’s “problems” aside, Nader predicted that he will be “the one to beat” in 2016 in a Republican contest that is also likely to also include Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. He also made it clear what he does not want to see in 2016: A Jeb Bush - Hillary Clinton matchup.

In fact he says he will actively try to sabotage Hillary Clinton in 2016, and wants President Obama impeached immediately.

When it comes to the current president, Nader said that Obama has violated the Constitution on several occasions and should be impeached.

"Oh, most definitely," Nader said when asked if Congress should bring forward articles of impeachment against Obama. "The reason why Congress doesn't want to do it is because it's advocated its own responsibility under the Constitution."

Nader said the president's use of military force in Libya has been his most "egregious violation of the Constitution."

So, you ready for President Rand Paul?  Ralph Nader is.  And the last time he meddled we got Dubya instead of Al Gore.  How'd that work out for you 14 years later?


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Last Call For The WInning Strategy

New Republic reporter Sasha Issenberg takes us through the Democratic Party's strategy for winning in 2014, the so-called "Bannock Street Project".   It's predicated on two ideas, first, there are only two kids of voters in America: Reflex voters who vote in midterms, and Unreliable voters who don't.

Add it all up, and the Democrats’ midterm conundrum comes to look like an actuarial one. “If twenty years ago, you said the midterm electorate is older, I would have said, ‘Yahoo! Glad to hear it,’ ” says Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. “But now the Roosevelt seniors are dead and the Reagan seniors are voting.” Increasingly, those older voters are backing the same side: In 2000, Al Gore won the youngest and eldest bands of the electorate by slight margins; in 2012, the over-50 vote broke for Mitt Romney by 12 points.

There are also simply more of those older voters overall. Since Obama’s first appearance on a presidential ballot, the population of Americans over the age of 55 has increased by nearly 13 million. By 2022, it will have increased by another nine million. People tend to grow more conservative as they age, but as a cohort, Generation X—whose oldest members will soon reach their fifties—is appreciably more conservative than the Millennials who follow them. “When the Millennials are fifty-five, they’re going to vote more Democratic,” Lake says, not exactly cautioning patience. “That’s thirty years away.”

The Reflex voters are more conservative than ever, and over half identify as Republicans.  Getting the Unreliables out matters, but so does winning over the Reflex voters.

Second, mobilizing the Unreliables is far more expensive.  But going after the Reflex voters isn't as bad.

The real reason Democrats have embraced a progressive agenda has not been to energize their own base but to lure Reflex voters from the other side. Obama and his party’s candidates talk about the minimum wage in the hope that working-class whites skeptical of Democrats on other matters will become more ambivalent about voting Republican. Democrats’ renewed interest in women’s issues—including a defense of Planned Parenthood and embrace of equal-pay standards—is also designed with defections in mind. In 2012, the Obama campaign’s entire direct-mail program on women’s issues was targeted at reliable voters who leaned Republican: Field experiments in the first half of that year had showed that the messages were most persuasive among voters whose likelihood of voting for Obama previously sat between 20 and 40 percent.

So yes, the Democrats are going after the Reflex voters first and then worrying about the Unreliables.

The question is, will it work?  The latest ABC/Washington Post poll seems to indicate that the Democrats have their work cut out for them at best on this front.

Weary of waiting for an economic recovery worth its name, a frustrated American public has sent Barack Obama’s job approval rating to a career low – with a majority in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll favoring a Republican Congress to act as a check on his policies.

Registered voters by 53-39 percent in the national survey say they’d rather see the Republicans in control of Congress as a counterbalance to Obama’s policies than a Democratic-led Congress to help support him. It was similar in fall 2010, when the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and gained six Senate seats.

Obama’s job approval rating, after a slight winter rebound, has lost 5 points among all adults since March, to 41 percent, the lowest of his presidency by a single point. Fifty-two percent disapprove, with “strong” disapproval exceeding strong approval by 17 percentage points. He’s lost ground in particular among some of his core support groups. 

The big problem is the perception of Obamacare.

One reason is that the law seems to have opened an avenue for public ire about health care costs to be directed at the administration. Six in 10 blame the ACA for increasing costs nationally, and 47 percent think it’s caused their own health care expenses to rise. Regardless of whether or how much those costs would have risen otherwise, Obamacare is taking a heavy dose of the blame.

There's good news:

None of this means the GOP is home free. A robust improvement in the economy could change the equation. (As many, at least, say it’s currently holding steady, 35 percent, as think it’s getting worse, 36 percent.) And even as the brunt of economic unhappiness falls on the president, the public divides essentially evenly on which party they trust more to handle the economy – suggesting that the Republicans have yet to present a broadly appealing alternative.

In another example, for all of Obamacare’s controversies, the Democrats hold a slight 8-point edge in trust to handle health care, again indicating that the Republicans have yet to seize the opportunity to present a compelling solution of their own. Indeed, the Democrats have a 6-point lead in trust to handle “the main problems the nation faces” – although, as with all others, that narrows among likely voters, in this case to 37-40 percent, a numerical (but not significant) GOP edge. 

But that motivation factor, as much as the Democrats running the show are loathe to admit it, is starting to become a real problem.

Preferences on which party controls Congress may reflect a general inclination in favor of divided government – and don’t always predict outcomes, as in 2002, when more registered voters preferred Democratic control yet the GOP held its ground. It’s striking, nonetheless, that this poll finds Republican control favored not only in the 2012 red states, by 56-36 percent, but also by 51-41 percent in the blue states that backed Obama fewer than two years ago

If that's truly the case, then getting out the vote may be a matter of sheer survival for the Democrats at this point.  A GOP controlled Congress would be a disaster for the next two years, but people want to put Obama "in his place" including it seems Democrats.

That's a problem.

Of Sterling Character, Con't

Today NBA Commissioner Adam Silver didn't just throw the book at professional racist and LA Clippers owner Don Sterling, he dropped several libraries on him and then set them on fire.

Clippers owners Donald Sterling has been banned for life from associating with the Clippers and the NBA, and fined the maximum of $2.5 million. In addition, commissioner Adam Silver said he has asked the Board of Governors to force a sale of the Clippers.

Silver said the NBA's investigation included an interview with Sterling, who confirmed that the voice on the tape was his. "Deeply offensive and harmful," Silver called Sterling's words. To the game's long history of black players, Silver said simply: "I apologize."

Forcing Sterling to sell the team will require a three-fourths vote, but Silver added that he has "the full support" of the league's other owners.

Silver said Sterling's sordid history was not taken into account when handing down the ban and suspension, that that it will be considered when owners decide whether to compel Sterling to sell the franchise. Silver notably dodged a reporter's question over why the NBA did not act until now.

When asked if Sterling ever displayed remorse for his comments, Silver merely said "Mr. Sterling did not express those views to me."

Yes, Sterling is going to make hundreds of millions if not a billion plus from the sale of the Clippers.  It's still forward progress and the Clippers organization is now moving on without him.

The Los Angeles Clippers supports NBA commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life following his racist comments.

"We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins," the team said in a statement.

The turd in the punchbowl?  FOX News, of course.

Jo Ling Kent, a reporter for Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show, was the first and possibly only voice offering a defense for Donald Sterling at Tuesday’s NBA press conference by asking the commissioner if it was a “slippery slope” to punish him for racist comments.

We're not racists, just #1 with racists.

 But Kent became the first to offer what sounded like a defense of the accused racist.
“Should someone lose their team for remarks shared in private?” she asked. “Is this a slippery slope?”

Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public,” Silver explained. “And they represent his views.”

BOOM.  Bye Don.

Lost Little Lamb Named Paul

BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins gives us this long read on Rep. Paul Ryan's trips into the inner city to learn about poverty.  At best it's black comedy, at worst it's self-serving tripe. About a third of the way in he talks about his "unfortunate" use of "inner-city" to suggest that black families were doing badly because black men were lazy and bad fathers.  It's about this point of the article that I call bull:

Dog whistle… I’d never even heard the phrase before, to be honest with you,” he says. The admission isn’t meant as a dodge, or an excuse. He hails from a state where “diversity” means white people swapping genealogical trivia about their Polish and Norwegian ancestry — his hometown of Janesville, Wis., is 91.7% Caucasian, according to the 2010 census — and he is coming to terms with the fact that he is not equipped with the vocabulary of a liberal arts professor. The fallout from his gaffe has been a “learning experience,” he says, one that he predicts conservatives will have to go through many more times if they are serious about building inroads to the urban poor. 
“We have to be cognizant of how people hear things,” he says. “For instance, when I think of ‘inner city,’ I think of everyone. I don’t just think of one race. It doesn’t even occur to me that it could come across as a racial statement, but that’s not the case, apparently… What I learned is that there’s a whole language and history that people are very sensitive to, understandably so. We just have to better understand. You know, we’ll be a little clumsy, but it’s with the right intentions behind it.” 
If the episode has brought Ryan a heightened degree of self-awareness, it has also infected his rhetoric with a persistent strain of insecurity. He is like a singer who has suddenly discovered his lack of relative pitch while on stage, and now worries that every note he’s belting out is off-key. As we talk, he chooses his words with extreme care, and is prone to halting self-censorship. 
At one point, as he tells me about his efforts during the presidential race to get the Romney campaign to spend more time in urban areas, he says, “I wanted to do these inner-city tours—” then he stops abruptly and corrects himself. “I guess we’re not supposed to use that.”

Ryan's only problem is political correctness, you see.  It's not like his processions of budget cuts would obliterate programs that serve the very impoverished Americans he's trying to help, right?

When Ryan released his annual budget in the beginning of April, it lacked the poverty-related proposals he had supposedly been honing for the past year. Instead, it was largely a rehash of his past budgets, focused on shrinking the deficit by scaling back federal welfare and entitlement programs. One study by the left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that two-thirds of his proposed cuts came from expenditures that benefit low-income Americans.

Oops.  But Ryan ambles out there among the people, trying desperately to understand poverty in America, and he's confused most of all as to why people "choose" to remain poor.

Sarah Palin would have been a comically disastrous Vice President, but Paul Ryan would have been devastating.  And no amount of "Well, he's really trying hard, you guys!" reporting from BuzzFeed is going to fix the tens of billions he wants to take away from the poorest people in the country.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Last Call For Egg On Your Face

Orange Julius's primary challenger up in Butler Couty, JD "Electile Dysfunction" Winteregg, has apparently lost his job teaching at a Christian college over the awful ad.

Winteregg had been an adjunct professor at Cedarville University in Ohio over the past three years. He finished teaching his last class and, according to the university, is not scheduled to teach any future classes.

"Cedarville University does not engage in partisan politics and holds a high regard for displaying Christian values in the community," the statement from Cedarville University said. "When faculty or staff members participate in political conversations, interviews, advertisements, or endorsements, they are doing so as individual citizens. Mr. Winteregg in his recent political campaign video did not represent the views or values of Cedarville University."

The statement from Cedarville follows Winteregg's campaign releasing an ad modeled after commercials for Cialis. But instead of erectile dysfunction the campaign said Boehner had "electile dysfunction."

"Sometimes when a politician has been in D.C. too long, it goes to his head and he just can't seem to get the job done," the narrator in the ad said.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Monday Winteregg said that the ad was what caused Cedarville to end its ties with him.

"They said because of the ad that my relationship with them will be done. It's over," Winteregg said on Monday. "The ad obviously touched a nerve."

Yeah those Christian colleges, hotbeds of liberal fascism, I'll tell ya.  Or maybe those religious conduct measures are kinda crappy after all, and that Winteregg got exactly what he deserved.

Or maybe he's just an obnoxious clown who got fired for being a douchebag.  Maybe Jesus should be less politically correct, huh boys?

Dear America

"Liberals are all race-baiters anyway, and the whole Donald Sterling case is less about racism (which makes no financial sense for an NBA owner) and all about his gold-digging whore mistress.  At best it's a domestic dispute, and at worst he's being set up by Obama and the NAACP.  It's Reverse Racism Othello, with a poor old doddering man.  I don't see what the fuss is about."

--John Hinderaker, Power Line

Bonus Verbatim Stupid:

This sad domestic drama has become the best evidence the Left can come up with of the ongoing legacy of slavery and discrimination. It merits denunciation by the President of the United States, who locates the old man’s sad story in the grand sweep of history.

On the tape, Donald Sterling says, “I love the black people.” I can’t vouch for his sincerity, but there is nothing in the DMZ/Deadspin tapes that belies that sentiment. It is telling that this domestic upheaval between an aging billionaire and his gold-digging, disloyal mistress represents the best the Left can come up with to support its claim that racism and the “legacy of race and slavery and segregation” is alive and well. As for Sterling, he is merely collateral damage. That Lifetime Achievement award was almost in his grasp, when he became more useful to the Left as a villain. Something tells me, however, that Stiviano will land on her feet.

So because it doesn't make financial sense to be a racist sports franchise owner, it ergo cannot be racism, because certainly the NBA wouldn't look the other way with a billionaire owner or anything for 30 years.

What Hinderaker doesn't understand about racism and discrimination could fill the Library of Congress, but the bottom line is that there's a power component to racism.  Being a billionaire NBA owner, a club of 30 such billionaires, definitely fits the "power" definition to me.  The NBA doesn't want an ugly mess on its hands or to damage its multi-billion dollar brand, so old man Sterling gets a pass and has for three decades.  He gets to keep owning the team until such point as he craps the bed and hurts the league and all the other owners.  He gets to employ black players who make him a lot of money, and a black head coach in Doc Rivers who has gotten his team into the playoffs.  Staples built him a new stadium.  Power and privilege is awesome.

And Hinderaker dismisses it, because for him to admit that racism still exists would blow a hole in all of his high horse nonsense.  To him it's just his "gold-digging, disloyal mistress" getting revenge.

But it's never racism when a white person with billions does it.  Can't be.

Making A Moose Of Things

I can't think of anything more banal and bone-tiring than the thought of Sarah Palin speaking at the annual NRA convention but here we are.

During a speech at the National Rifle Association's annual convention on Saturday, Palin, also the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, criticized President Obama's administration for treating suspected terrorists too gingerly.

Discussing "enemies who would utterly annihilate America - they who'd obviously have information on plots," she said, "Oh, but you can't offend them, can't make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen."

"Well, if I were in charge," she continued, as the audience erupted in applause at the prospect, "they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists."

She criticized the administration for pursuing a national security strategy that, in her estimation, pokes "our allies in the eye, calling them adversaries, instead of putting the fear of God in our enemies."

Palin also rallied the pro-gun audience to continue protecting their right to bear arms, saying their efforts are "needed now more than ever because every day, we are seeing more and more efforts to strip away our Second Amendment rights."

She warned that the president and his administration were trying to enact gun control to keep a firmer grip on the American people, and she urged the roughly 13,000 NRA faithful in the crowd to fight back.

"If you control oil, you control an economy. If you control money, you control commerce," she said. "But if you control arms, you control the people, and that is what they're trying to do."

So awesome, in a Palin administration we'd be shooting our rifles all day and torturing all the bad guys all night.  Big American party time! Yeah, President Obama was really a softy when he had Seal Team Six put a bullet in Osama's brain.  Oh well.

Glad she'll never be president.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Last Call For The Post Windows XP Era

The first major Microsoft Internet Explorer bug since the company announced the end of support for Windows XP was discovered, and no, if you still have Windows XP, Microsoft isn't going to fix it.

Microsoft Corp is rushing to fix a bug in its widely used Internet Explorer web browser after a computer security firm disclosed the flaw over the weekend, saying hackers have already exploited it in attacks on some U.S. companies.

PCs running Windows XP will not receive any updates fixing that bug when they are released, however, because Microsoft stopped supporting the 13-year-old operating system earlier this month. Security firms estimate that between 15 and 25 percent of the world's PCs still run Windows XP.

Microsoft disclosed on Saturday its plans to fix the bug in an advisory to its customers posted on its security website, which it said is present in Internet Explorer versions 6 to 11. Those versions dominate desktop browsing, accounting for 55 percent of the PC browser market, according to tech research firm NetMarketShare.

So cool, back of the napkin math (55% of users still use IE times 20% of users have XP still) is a little over 10% of the entire PCs in the world that will remain vulnerable to this major IE bug, ballpark.  Probably more than that as if you're still using XP, you're probably not using another browser besides IE, so let's call it 15%, or about one in six PC's on earth are going to remain vulnerable right now.  Vulnerable to what?

Microsoft said in the advisory that the vulnerability could allow a hacker to take complete control of an affected system, then do things such as viewing changing, or deleting data, installing malicious programs, or creating accounts that would give hackers full user rights.

And remember, this is a vulnerability that goes all the way back to IE version 6.  It's been around for several years, and it gives the keys to your PC to hackers.  If you're still using an XP PC, the time to upgrade is now.

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Be This Scared

The NRA wants you to never forget that they have millions of members with millions of firearms.

Who's going to crush whom, indeed?  Take the NRA's "greatest victory", Georgia's new "guns everywhere" law.

Parents at a Forysth County park abruptly stopped a children's baseball game after growing suspicions of the behavior of a man carrying a gun in a waist holster Tuesday night.

"He's just walking around [saying] 'See my gun? Look, I got a gun and there's nothing you can do about it.' He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing," said parent Karen Rabb.

Rabb told Channel 2’s Tom Regan the parents grew so alarmed that they brought the game to a halt when the man declined a request that he leave a parking lot overlooking the baseball field.

“He scared people to the point where we stopped the game, took the kids out of the dugout and behind the dugout, and kind of hunkered down,” Rabb said.

Park users flooded 911 with 22 calls about the man. Forysth County deputies questioned the man, and found that he had a permit for the handgun. Authorities said since the man made no verbal threats or gestures, they could neither arrest him nor ask him to leave the park.

Congratulations again on your new Wild West laws, Georgia.  The millions of NRA members and the Republicans that serve them got this law passed to give that fellow the right to do exactly what he did.  Not anything you can do about it, because you demanded that be legal.

Another parent questioned what point the man was trying to prove.

"Why would anyone be walking around a public park, with a lot of children and parents and people here playing baseball, and he's walking around with a gun? I don't think the parents would have been nervous had he just had the gun in his holster and was just watching the game," said parent Paris Horton.

Rabb's 6-year-old son Ethan was playing at the time and later expressed concern to his mother.

"When I was reading my son's story last night, he turned to me and said 'Mommy, did that man want to kill me?'" said Rabb.
Feel safer yet, parents?  The solution of course is next time for all these scared parents to bring their guns to the park, right?  So they can feel safe.  And soon, everybody will have guns, and everybody will feel safe, because Second Amendment.  And the kids will learn that to be safe, you have to have a gun. 

And then they will learn that guns "solve problems".  Original intent of the founders, because FREEDOM.

Of Sterling Character

Just another reminder that racism still exists in 2014, this time from long-time troublemaker and dirty old man Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA's LA Clippers.  Deadspin is all over this story:

We all knew that Donald Sterling was a racist and an overall horrible human being. So TMZ's lurid audio of the Los Angeles Clippers owner enraged about his girlfriend taking photos with black people shouldn't really surprise you if you've been paying any attention. And yet, the audio is shocking—maybe because it's 2014, and this man is still allowed to own an NBA team. 

Still allowed.  Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981 and has been a cancer in the NBA ever since.

According to then-GM Paul Phipps, during an airport meeting with Rollie Massimino—a potential candidate to replace the fired Paul Silas as head coach—Donald Sterling asked the Villanova coach: "I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers."

Our latest chapter in Donald Sterling Is a Racist comes courtesy of Jeff Pearlman. In interviews with Phipps for a book about the NBA in the 80s, Pearlman learned that Massimino later told Phipps he would be passing on the job in an angry early-morning phone call.

Phipps, half asleep, sat up on his bed and asked what went wrong. “Here’s this guy,” Massimino said, “and he has this blonde bimbo with him, they have a bottle of champagne, they’re tanked. And Don looks at me and he says, ‘I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers.’”

Massimino told Phipps he began screaming at Sterling and swore he’d rather die than become coach of the Clippers. “That,” said Phipps, “was life with Donald Sterling.”

Things worked out just fine for Massimino, though.

 Now it seems a fight with his girlfriend (Sterling is married, btw) has prompted the release of this 15 minute highlight reel of Sterling's most awesome, racist rants after the jump.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Paul Waldman at the American Prospect recounts the ridiculous failure of a week the GOP had.

Try to relax; today's meme is all about discomfort. And there's no one feeling more of it than Republicans, who were hit yesterday with the rhetorical stylings of their erstwhile hero Cliven Bundy—Nevada rancher, defier of laws, and racial philosopher. The Republican Party's chief spokesperson, for instance, can't figure out why anyone would associate Bundy with the GOP. "The issue with Cliven Bundy has absolutely nothing to do with his party, zero," he said. After all, it's not like the GOP's chief organ in the media had been giving the guy blanket coverage all the while Republican politicians were praising his crusade. I mean, c'mon.

Republicans are also being made uncomfortable by their own candidates, who haven't all gotten the message on the "outreach" the party is supposed to be doing. Here's one who has proposed an effort to round up and deport every undocumented immigrant in the country, which he calls, no kidding, "Operation Wetback." Here's one who said it was an "abominable idolatry" when wives love their children more than their husbands, arguing that that's what causes divorces most of the time. He added that in the "vast preponderance" of situations where men are adulterous, women are to blame because they have showered too much emotion on their children instead of their husbands. And here's one who endorsed cockfighting.

And none of this will matter in the least to Republican voters come Election Day, who will to a person say "But none of these people are like *my* Representative or Senator, because they're a good person, and I'm still going to vote for them in November."

They will still come out and vote Republican just to prove to the dirty effin hippies that their guy is not an animal hater like Matt Bevin running for Mitch McConnell's seat or not a bigot like Drew Turiano running for Steve Daines's House seat in Montana or not a homophobe like Det Fowler running for Huckleberry Graham's seat and CERTAINLY not ANYTHING like that Cliven Bundy fellow.

There is literally nothing that the GOP can do that will make Republicans stop voting for them.  There's a long list of things that will make Democrats stay home, however.  2010 proved that.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Last Call For The Zombie CRA Lie

The jokers over at Investors' Business Daily ("When the Wall Street Journal is too liberal a source for your economics news") will keep flogging the ridiculous zombie lie that Bill Clinton created the subprime mortgage collapse through the Community Reinvestment Act.  Now that Hillary Clinton's future plans are making news, they've turned up the heat on this stale, overcooked lie.

Newly released memos from the Clinton presidential library reveal evidence the government had a big hand in the housing crisis. The worst actors were in the White House, not on Wall Street.

During the 1990s, former Clinton aides bragged that more aggressive enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act pressured banks to issue riskier mortgages, lending more proof the anti-redlining law fueled the crisis.

A 2012 National Bureau of Economic Research study found "that adherence to that act led to riskier lending by banks," with "a clear pattern of increased defaults for loans made by these banks in quarters around the (CRA) exam, (and) the effects are larger for loans made within CRA tracts," or low-income and minority areas.

To satisfy CRA examiners, Clinton mandated "flexible" lending by large banks. As a result, CRA-approved loans defaulted about 15% more often, the NBER found.

Exhibit A in the 7,000-page Clinton Library document dump is a 1999 memo to him from his treasury secretary, Robert Rubin.

"Public disclosure of CRA ratings, together with the changes made by the regulators under your leadership, have significantly contributed to ... financial institutions ... meeting the needs of low- and moderate-income communities and minorities," Rubin gushed. "Since 1993, the number of home mortgage loans to African Americans increased by 58%, to Hispanics by 62% and to low- and moderate-income borrowers by 38%, well above the overall market increase.

"Since 1992, nonprofit community organizations estimate that the private sector has pledged over $1 trillion in loans and investment under CRA."

And since minorities are all broke ass welfare cheats, Wall Street was "forced" to loan good money to those people and that's what destroyed our economy.   There's only one problem with this:  it's a lie that's been pushed by IBD for six years now.  I caught them doing it in November 2008.  They're still doing it now and the same rebuttal applies:

It's pretty idiotic, and any serious person rejects the argument that the CRA forced the banks into making loans they couldn't pay...including the lenders themselves.

But IBD plunges on into the darkness, admitting that even though Countrywide, the largest single subprime lender in America, was not covered under the CRA, it still "came under great pressure to loan to minorities".

No, it came under the pressure of its own greed.

And let's not forget banks like Citigroup that didn't make subprime loans at all, but still collapsed under the weight of their own bad investments they made by choice and had to be rescued with our money.

I said the same thing in December 2012 as well:

And I've killed this lie again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
Once again, the mortgage brokers that made nearly all of the subprime loans that went bad were MORTGAGE BROKERS and NOT BANKS.   Because they WERE NOT BANKS, they were NOT SUBJECT TO THE COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT AT ALL.

And I will keep killing this lie that black people and Bill Clinton caused the goddamn financial meltdown every single time.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

Esquire's Caty Enders filed this report from the Bundy Ranch this weekend.  It's a pretty sobering reminder that Bundy's rampant racism is just the tip of the massive, massive problem America has with the "sovereign citizen" and militia movements in the Age of Obama.

The crowd, fresh off their victory at the Battle of Bunkerville, gives Bundy a standing ovation. But he doesn’t seem pleased. He reproaches the crowd for failing to follow the word of God – to the letter – which he says is being delivered through him. They failed, for example, to follow his instructions to tear down the toll booths at Lake Mead and disarm the Park Service.

"The message I gave to you all was a revelation that I received. And yet not one of you can seem to even quote it.”

Cliven continues, sermon-like: "The records of our bible — how long have they been kept? Thousands of years. They’ve been turned over generation after generation, buried, and all kinds of things happen to ‘em. And yet, here, something I felt was inspired [by God] and yet we haven’t even carried it forth for even a couple of days. Shame on us.” Smattering of clapping.

He goes on to explain that, although they managed to deter the BLM, they failed to do it "within one hour," as the revelation had prophesied. So when an hour passes, he decides to get in his bulldozer and march on the BLM himself. The dozer gets stuck in the mud and he receives another revelation.

“It come to my mind real plain — the good Lord said, ‘Bundy, it’s not your job, it’s THEIR job.’ So we come back over here and heard that they had brought some cattle back. So I want you to understand,” addressing the crowd, "This is not my job, it’s YOUR job.

"This morning, I said a prayer, and this is what I received. I heard a voice say, 'Sheriff Gillespie, your work is not done. Every sheriff across the United States, take the guns away from the United States bureaucrats.’” Lots of clapping for this.

Yep, just another day on the Insane Destroy The United States Government Ranch.

A former Arizona sheriff turned Texas political candidate, Richard Mack, speaks next.

I don’t believe the BLM has any authority whatsoever — they have no law enforcement authority in Clark County.” In conclusion he yells into the microphone, “(William Wallace!) FREEEDOOOOOM!"

After the speeches, Nevada Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore steps off the stage. Wearing a diamond-studded pistol pendant, she raises her eyebrows in the direction of a shadowy government operation. "When you really look at this, it’s not about the environmental stuff — it’s a lot deeper than what’s coming out in the media.

In the downtime, a group of men laments the way the world has changed. Obama, a Muslim Kenyan, doesn't let kids say the pledge in school anymore. Steve, from Beaver, Utah, says it’s all down to regulation and changes that happened during Vietnam. “I want it to be like it was growing up in the fifties. I want it to be just like that — for [the kids]. Though it can’t be just like that, because they have the internet.”

"That's what's wrong: the Internet," agrees another.

On the other hand, the notion of taking the country back from "The Negro" president is never far from the minds of these assholes.  That's what really drove them insane.  And they will not stop until somebody is hurt or dead.

And even then, they'll just keep going.  I'm a million times more worried about these racist nutjobs who view people like me as subhuman vermin that need to be exterminated than I am being attacked by "Islamic terrorists" or anything.  Multiply that further by the fact that most of the Republican party backs these assholes, and that they in turn see the GOP as their ticket to getting rid of the rest of us.

Grimm Fandango

Our old friend, NY Republican Rep. Michael "break you in half like a boy" Grimm apparently has much bigger problems than his bizarre and utterly self-serving 180 into climate change convert to Chris Hayes (mainly because it means his Staten Island/Brooklyn district would be underwater when it happens and the voters know it.)

He's the latest Republican to face an indictment over funny business with his money business.

Rep. Michael G. Grimm is expected to be indicted by the U.S. Attorney in New York, his attorney and a source familiar with the case confirmed to CQ Roll Call. […]

The indictment of the New York Republican would come nearly two years after the Justice Department first launched a formal investigation into Grimm’s campaign finances. It began the summer of 2012, several months after revelations first surfaced in a New York Times article that the lawmaker, then a freshman, might have bolstered his first bid for congressional office by filing erroneous campaign finance reports and offering to help get a green card for a non-citizen on condition that the individual help raise money on Grimm’s behalf.

NBC is also reporting that the indictment will stem from Grimm's business dealings outside of Congress.

For those who need a refresher on the timeline of Grimm’s troubles, the New York Times ran a report in February 2012 on allegations the congressman – himself a former FBI agent – skirted fundraising limits and accepted envelopes with cash in them in 2010, during his first campaign. The Times also documented Grimm’s business partnership with a fellow former FBI agent who was indicted on racketeering and fraud charges.

In July 2012, a federal grand jury was convened after the FBI’s public corruption unit interviewed several Grimm campaign workers. A law enforcement source told the New York Daily News at the time, “Let’s say, so far, it is a tool to get people’s attention – that we are serious about our questions about the congressman.”

And now it looks like those questions will be put very distinctly to Grimm in a court of law.  Can't say I'm sorry to see the guy get the hook.  Hopefully his opponent Democrat Domenic Recchia can score a pickup for Team Blue in November.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Last Call For Bevin's Cock-Up

As if Matt Bevin needed any more problems being down 20 points to somebody as despised as Mitch McConnell is, he just got caught by Louisville NBC station WAVE reporter John Boel at a rally for cockfighting, a sport that's been illegal in the Bluegrass State for decades, but where the cops all look the other way.

It's not popular to a lot of people in Kentucky. On March 29, "activist cockfighters" were summoned through social media to the Corbin Arena for a meeting to legalize cockfigting. So I put on a cockfighting shirt and went in undercover. The second speaker, American Gamefowl Defense Director Dave Devereaux, spent several minutes explaining why we were here.

"For the sole purpose of legalizing gamecock fighting at the state level," said Devereaux.

The next speaker, in front of more than 700 people, was Republican US Senate Candidate Matt Bevin.

"There is not a cause, there is not an issue, nothing we believe in that we could not bring to fruition if we turn out to vote," said Bevin.

When he was finished, he was asked a direct question.

"Will you vote to support the effort to legalize gamecock fighting in the state of Kentucky?" asked Devereaux.

"I support the people of Kentucky exercising their right, because it is our right to decide what it is that we want to do, and not the federal government's. Criminalizing behavior, if it's part of the heritage of this state, is in my opinion a bad idea. A bad idea. I will not support it," said Bevin, which was met with rousing applause from the crowd.

So when Boel confronted Bevin with the tape of Bevin at the cockfighting rally, he did what any Republican would do.  He lied about it.

We caught up with Bevin at a Louisville campaign stop. He said he didn't know it was a cockfighting rally.

"I don't personally support cockfighting, never been to a cockfight in my life," he said. "If you were there, you can tell, when I was speaking, were you there when I spoke?"

"I was there the whole time," I said.

"I was there to speak about why I'm running for US Senate. That's the same thing I do everywhere I speak," Bevin said.

"When Dave Devereaux got up before you, he said we're here for the sole purpose of talking about legalizing cockfighting in Kentucky. What were you thinking when he said that?" I asked.

"I honestly wasn't even paying attention. I was thinking about what I was going to say. I don't even remember him saying that," Bevin said.

I read him back his comment from the rally: "Criminalizing behavior, if it's part of the heritage of this state, is in my opinion a bad idea."

"You stand behind that?" I asked.

"What I stand behind is people's ability to examine their First Amendment rights to speak about whatever they want to speak about," Bevin said.

 He wasn't paying attention to the fact he was at a cockfighting rally.  Sure.  You know what?  I expect politicians to lie.  But to lie badly, and just pretend the video evidence was somehow not showing Bevin is so desperately losing to an ass like Mitch right now that he's trying to go for the "legalize cockfighting" vote?

That's just insulting.  You know what?  I hope he beats McConnell, because Alison Lundergan Grimes will beat the guy by 30 points after this.  Sadly, McConnell is having the best week he's had in months because of this.

“Matt Bevin’s cockfighting episode will go down in history as one of the most disqualifying moments in Kentucky political history,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement. “Twenty years from now, we will all remember the time when the East Coast con-man thought so little of Kentuckians that he pathologically lied to us about absolutely everything until an undercover camera caught him red-handed at a cockfighting rally.”

This is something that even Mitch the Turtle wouldn't stoop to, and that tells you everything you need to know about the hole Bevin is in right now.

Uncommon Grace

Yes, high school students of Topeka, you win in your battle to show the First Lady of the United States her "place" and have successfully convinced her to not come to your graduation ceremony to give a speech celebrating the anniversary of Brown v Board of Education because her presence isn't an honor for 1,750 of you, but a disruption that you greatly resent because graduation is all about you.

First lady Michelle Obama is scrapping her plans to deliver a graduation speech for high school seniors in Topeka, Kan., after hundreds signed a petition in protest.

Instead of delivering a graduation speech, Obama will speak before the school district the day before graduation, and will deliver remarks at a "Senior Recognition Day."

More than 1,750 people had signed a petition protesting the first lady's appearance at the graduation ceremony, angered that security concerns would limit the number of friends and family who could attend.

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, students would have only been allotted six tickets apiece had the first lady maintained her original plans.

Again, I'd like to thank the people of Topeka for their grace and dignity in remembering that Michelle Obama is merely the wife of some employee of the government and is in no way representative of the people of the United States.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the first lady's communications director said Obama wanted to accommodate all who hoped to attend the graduation ceremony.

"Once we learned about the concerns of some students, we were eager to find a solution that enabled all of the students and their families to celebrate the special day," she told the wire service.

So Topekans, you got exactly what you wanted from your responsive federal government, and no less than you deserve.  Good for you!  That at least puts you ahead of the people of Oklahoma City, who were apparently going to all but lynch Attorney General Eric Holder if he followed through with his plan to speak at the graduation of OKC's police academy.

Attorney General Eric Holder canceled a planned speech Thursday in Oklahoma City that was expected to draw protests, but a Justice Department official said the schedule change was due to an unexpected meeting Holder had to attend in Washington.

Holder was scheduled to speak to a graduation ceremony for new officers entering the Oklahoma City police department Thursday afternoon. However, according to local news accounts, state lawmakers and others said hundreds of people planned to protest the event to draw attention to the fact that Holder was held in contempt of Congress in 2012 for failing to turn over records a House committee sought about the Justice Department's response to Operation Fast and Furious.

“The Attorney General had been looking to addressing the cadets, and regrets he cannot attend in person," Justice spokesman Brian Fallon said. "He extends his heartfelt congratulations to the cadets and their families."

But please, continue to show total disrespect to black folks like Michelle Obama and Eric Holder, and then keep wondering why we don't vote Republican.

Dear America

"Obama owes me personally engraved invitation inscribed with gold letters explaining to me a reason to give a damn and show up and vote in 2014.  He owes every single Democratic voter the same.  Where's my invitation, Barry?"

--David Atkins, Hullabaloo

Bonus Verbatim Stupid:

But it's also up to elected officials and other party leaders to provide people the incentive to get out and vote. When President Obama took office he acted to curb many of the evils the Bush Administration was actively perpetrating. But outside of providing somewhat less expensive health insurance to around 20 million people, there hasn't been a lot of action that directly impacted people's lives or even provided some sense of accountability and justice to the people who crashed the economy. When the President promised hope and change, people really expected their lives to get measurably and demonstrably better. If people don't think their lives are going to get better, they're not going to be likely to dash to the polling place between jobs, dinner and childcare to vote for down-ballot Democrats most of them are barely aware of.

If Democratic candidates want to win in 2014, they're going to have to give their base a reason to come out to vote beyond the notion that they're better than the GOP.

If after six years of Tea Party idiocy and 34 years of Reagan's morning in America you still need a reason to vote Democrat "beyond the notion that they're better than the GOP", you're the exact damn reason they're in control of the House right now and threatening to take the Senate.  You stayed home in 2010, and the GOP took over in a redistricting year.  Sure as hell didn't make Obama getting any of the things you wanted out of his easier, did it?

Oh, and Atkins, screw you for "providing somewhat less expensive health insurance to around 20 million people" as if that's a travesty of justice.  Ask those 20 million people if it matters to them and their families.

Here's my question.  You know now that 2010 happened because liberals stayed home and didn't vote.  Why the hell would you encourage that behavior a second time?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Last Call For Net Neutrality

The FCC has officially killed Net Neutrality, so prepare to be screwed even more by your internet provider.

The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals. 
The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers. 
The F.C.C.'s previous rules governing net neutrality were thrown out by a federal appeals court this year. The court said those rules had essentially treated Internet service providers as public utilities, which violated a previous F.C.C. ruling that Internet links were not to be governed by the same strict regulation as telephone or electric service. 
The new rules, according to the people briefed on them, will allow a company like Comcast or Verizon to negotiate separately with each content company – like Netflix, Amazon, Disney or Google – and charge different companies different amounts for priority service.

So content providers, you want access to these "fast lanes"?  Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and your favorite online game are going to have to come up with bigger and bigger bucks, and that means you'll have to pay a lot more for internet access to these sites.

Oh, but it gets worse: there's now nothing from stopping Comcast from telling their customers "If you want access to these fast lanes, you'll have to buy access from us too."  Like movies and TV online? That'll cost you an extra $20 a month on your internet bill.  Like Youtube?  There's another $5 bucks.  Like playing online games?  Prepare to fork over another $10 a month.  Like Twitter or Facebook?  Cough up another $10.  You don't have to of course...but your internet is going to be awfully slow otherwise, and that would be a shame.

Oh, and you'll have to pay your phone company all those same fees if you expect to access anything on your smartphone, too.  Prepare to have your cell phone bill skyrocket as well.

The most overpriced country for net access just got several times worse.  The internet giants are going to make hundreds of billions more money for the same access you have now.  You think they're going to give you faster internet?

The days of unlimited internet access for one monthly rate are numbered as well.  Prepare to start being charged by the gigabyte at home just like you are by the phone companies now.

Horror stories of people being charged thousands of bucks for a month of net access?  It's coming.  In the end the corporations always win.

Not As Doomed As You Think

The NY Times has launched its new crew of statistics geeks and policy wonks (called "The Upshot") and they're already making waves with new polling information that shows that Southern state Dem senators may not be as doomed to loss in November as the GOP seems to think they are.

Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, a two-term incumbent who has been considered perhaps the most imperiled Democratic senator in the country, holds a 10-point lead over his Republican opponent, Representative Tom Cotton. Mr. Pryor, the son of a former senator, has an approval rating of 47 percent, with 38 percent of Arkansas voters disapproving of him.
Senator Kay Hagan, Democrat of North Carolina, appears more endangered as she seeks a second term. She has the support of 42 percent of voters, and Thom Tillis, the Republican state House speaker and front-runner for his party’s nomination, is at 40 percent. Unlike Mr. Pryor, however, Ms. Hagan’s approval rating, 44 percent, is the same as her disapproval number. In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is also effectively tied with his Democratic rival, Alison Lundergan Grimes, a race that may be close because Mr. McConnell, first elected to the Senate in 1984, has the approval of only 40 percent of voters, while 52 percent disapprove. But Ms. Grimes must overcome Mr. Obama’s deep unpopularity in the state, where only 32 percent of voters approve of his performance.
With 42 percent support, Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, has an early lead in a race that is not fully formed against a large field of Republicans. Representative Bill Cassidy, the Republican front-runner, was the choice of 18 percent, and 20 percent had no opinion. There are two other Republicans in the race, but Louisiana has no primary. So all candidates of both parties will be on the ballot in November and, absent one of them taking 50 percent, there will be a runoff in December.

But they told me Hagan and especially Mark Pryor were dooooooooomed.  Pryor's up by ten points?  Why, it's like somebody reminded voters who Republicans are and what they stand for.  It's like Obamacare is working in Arkansas and Kentucky.  Who knew?

Ranch Dressing Gone Horribly Bad

The NY Times gives Nevada deadbeat and squatter Cliven Bundy 15 more minutes of fame.

Cliven Bundy stood by the Virgin River up the road from the armed checkpoint at the driveway of his ranch, signing autographs and posing for pictures. For 55 minutes, Mr. Bundy held forth to a clutch of supporters about his views on the troubled state of America — the overreaching federal government, the harassment of Western ranchers, the societal upheaval caused by abortion, even musing about whether slavery was so bad.

Most of all, Mr. Bundy, 67, who was wearing a broad-brimmed white cowboy hat against the hot afternoon sun, recounted the success of “we the people” — gesturing to the 50 supporters, some armed with handguns and rifles, standing in a semicircle before him — at chasing away Bureau of Land Management rangers who, acting on a court order, tried to confiscate 500 cattle owned by Mr. Bundy, who has been illegally grazing his herd on public land since 1993.

“They don’t have the guts enough to try to start that again for a few years,” Mr. Bundy said in an interview.

Wow, this guy is a real hero, right?

I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom

Raise your hand if you are surprised in the least at a 67 year old white guy who's been squatting on government land for 20 plus years thinking "the Negroes" are all on government subsidies because they never learned how to pick cotton.

Rarely do I ever expect the depths of winger asshole racism to surpass my expectations of winger asshole racism, but please remind me again how we're living in a colorblind society.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Last Call For De-Unionized In Tennessee

The United Auto Workers have now officially abandoned any and all efforts to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee in what has to be a pretty brutal defeat for all working Americans.

The United Auto Workers, surprising even its supporters, on Monday abruptly withdrew its legal challenge to a union organizing vote that it lost at a Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee in February.

Just an hour before the start of a National Labor Relations Board hearing on the challenge, the union dropped its case, casting a cloud over its long and still unsuccessful push to organize foreign-owned auto plants in the U.S. South.

VW workers due to testify at the hearing were already at the courthouse in downtown Chattanooga when they heard the news, which left lawyers in the hearing room wondering how to proceed.

The union did not explain why it waited until the 11th hour to drop the case, but UAW official Gary Casteel said the decision not to go ahead was made last week.

That was when Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee, and Washington small government activist Grover Norquist said they would ignore subpoenas to attend the hearing, which was to have focused partly on their conduct in the days leading up to the plant workers vote.

"It became obvious to us that they were going to become objectionists and not allow the process to go forward in a transparent way. When that happens, these things can drag on for years," Casteel said in an interview.

And dragging on for years is something the UAW apparently doesn't have the stomach or money for.  So the GOP union busters win again in a victory for "right to work" because the real problem in America is that auto workers somehow make too much money.

UAW President Bob King, whose term expires in June, had vowed four years ago to successfully bring the union into a foreign-owned Southern plant. Three years ago, he said that if the union was unable to do so, its future was in jeopardy.

"The UAW is ready to put February's tainted election in the rearview mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga," King said in a statement on Monday.

Sure you will, Bob.  And no, the UAW officially no longer matters apparently, and collective bargaining and labor laws are simply more outdated anachronisms in a country where billions in wage theft is considered normal and acceptable.

Meet Greg Brannon!

If the Tea Party has their way in NC, Greg Brannon will replace Kay Hagan as Senator in November, so here are a few things that Brannon has said that BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski put together, just so the folks back home know what they're getting into.

Greg Brannon is a doctor and former tea party activist running for Senate in North Carolina. Brannon, who is most likely headed for a Republican Senate primary run with North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis, led incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan 42-40 in an April Public Policy Polling poll.

Brannon, who previously led an organization called Founder’s Truth, has a history of making controversial statements on the radio.

He previously called U.S. property taxes “American central planning” and cited the Holocaust and Soviet Union as other examples of central planning.

Brannon has said that the United Nations is a scam to control life and thinks that democratic debate over issues is a form of socialism.

Founder’s Truth’s now-shuttered website often posted conspiracy theories with blog posts that made claims like the Boston Marathon bombing was a false flag, the TSA might use electric shock bracelets, and that there is fluoridate in the water supply.

After BuzzFeed reported on Brannon’s website, it was removed from the Web Archive under mysterious conditions. The Web Archive would not comment if Brannon’s campaign asked for the site to be taken it down.

Reviewing hours of The Bill LuMaye Show, a radio program Brannon went on weekly as a guest since 2010, BuzzFeed has found other controversial audio statements from his tenure as a tea party activist.

Brannon would also get rid of public schools, believes President Obama is a dictator, thinks the Second Amendment gives ordinary citizens the right to own a nuclear weapon, thinks abortion is worse than slavery or the Holocaust, believes the Supreme Court has no power and no place in America, that property taxes are proof America is a socialist country, and that Upton Sinclair's "the Jungle" was government propaganda fiction.

And in a PPP poll earlier this year, Brannon was ahead of Kay Hagan 42-40.  The guy is bonkers, and yet it's entirely possible he'll be in the Senate in January.

But both parties are the same, right?  And Kay Hagan is a bad Democrat, so we should probably let Brannon win.


Another Supreme Misfire

Given the Supreme Court has gutted the Civil Rights Act, nobody should be surprised that yesterday they upheld Michigan's right to ban affirmative action in college admissions in a 6-2 decision (with Justice Kagan recusing herself.)  Justice Sotomayor's dissent was impressive, however.

In my colleagues' view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.

And that's the lynchpin of the argument: in 2014, race still matters.  Chief Justice Roberts has told us multiple times that it simply does not.

The dissent states that “[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.” ... But it is not “out of touch with reality” to conclude that racial preferences may themselves have the debilitating effect of reinforcing precisely that doubt, and—if so—that the preferences do more harm than good. To disagree with the dissent’s views on the costs and benefits of racial preferences is not to “wish away, rather than confront” racial inequality. People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.

Unless the balance of the Supreme Court changes, we're only a couple of major cases away from a 5-4 decision ending affirmative action in this country.  Maybe after that point, Roberts will discover race still matters.

Because it'll sure matter to those of us who aren't white. The Boston Globe's Derrick Z. Martin:

The tyranny of the majority won. Access to college for African Americans and Latinos suffered another major defeat. Instead of surveying the destruction of opportunity that is occurring at this very hour, the Supreme Court cowered behind a purist reading of the Constitution and upheld the 2006 decision by Michigan voters to ban affirmative action in higher-education admissions.

The decision upheld the right of white voters to continue to roll back the clock.

The ballot initiative was sought by anti-affirmative action forces still smarting over the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision that upheld the use of race as one of many diversity factors at the University of Michigan law school. Michigan is 80 percent white, and ban supporters undoubtedly assumed they could tap into enough resentment over affirmative action to win.

They were correct. The initiative won with 58 percent of the vote. In a CNN exit poll, Proposal 2, as it was called, received 64 percent white support (including 70 percent among white men). It mattered not that African Americans voted against the proposal by nearly a 9 to 1 margin.

Unfollow me if you want to, but I am sick of anyone who is white telling anyone who isn't that racism is over and that we should just get over it already.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Last Call For Chris Versus The Stupid

On Monday, Chris Hayes defended his "interview" with Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore last week by saying that it's necessary to "talk to the other side" and that his show isn't an echo chamber.

"But you know what?  This is a big country with a lot of political conflict in it, in case you have not noticed, and politics is about having those argumentsNot just talking to yourself, not just hearing what you want to hear, but actually learning by listening to what the other side is saying.  Not that they're necessarily right or instantly persuaded or allowed to go unchallenged, but it is important to understand how they are thinking on the issue, how they see the world."

"It is not a wrestling match or a high school debate you need to win in the moment.  And the point is not to bring someone on and thoroughly humiliate them on national television, no.  The point is this:  These folks, like Assemblywoman Fiore, are people we share this country with. I want to hear from them. And I think I have a better understanding of American politics because of it. So we're going to keep doing that. And you, please, keep sending us your feedback."

It's a pretty noble argument.  But if Chris Hayes understood American politics better because of these steamrolling episodes, he'd understand that his nobility is being used against him in order to score political points, and that the people he brings on the show in this capacity are not interested in the goddamn least in sharing the country with the rest of us but "taking it back" by any means necessary.  His nobility, while admirable, is completely one-sided.

What Hayes has actually constructed here is really a "both sides do it" and "both sides have equally valid viewpoints worth listening to" argument.  There are cases where this is true, but Friday night wasn't one of them, not by a long shot.  This was a person who wanted to score cheap points at Chris Hayes's expense, and she did.  Hayes's idealism is great in an ideal world, but against Tea Party Republicans who practice dangerous eliminationist tactics, it's folly.

The Michele Fiore defense was bad enough, but then today Chris Hayes compounded his bad behavior with a piece in the Nation that compares the fight to abolish slavery to climate change.  Granted, he acknowledges that this is a bad idea about twelve paragraphs in:

It is almost always foolish to compare a modern political issue to slavery, because there’s nothing in American history that is slavery’s proper analogue. So before anyone misunderstands my point, let me be clear and state the obvious: there is absolutely no conceivable moral comparison between the enslavement of Africans and African-Americans and the burning of carbon to power our devices. Humans are humans; molecules are molecules. The comparison I’m making is a comparison between the political economy of slavery and the political economy of fossil fuel.

But then two paragraphs later goes right back to demonstrating exactly why this is a bad idea.

The connection between slavery and fossil fuels, however, is more than metaphorical. Before the widespread use of fossil fuels, slaves were one of the main sources of energy (if not the main source) for societies stretching back millennia. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, nearly all energy to power societies flowed from the natural ecological cascade of sun and food: the farmhands in the fields, the animals under saddle, the burning of wood or grinding of a mill. A life of ceaseless exertion.

What he says is true, but it becomes dry, bloodless statistics rather than the psychological, physical, social, and mental horror that was slavery.  Even this seemingly innocuous piece glosses over the fact that it's the descendent of those slaves who have the fewest resources to address climate change today.

Later on in the piece Hayes tries again to save himself:

Let me pause here once again to be clear about what the point of this extended historical comparison is and is not. Comparisons to slavery are generally considered rhetorically out of bounds, and for good reason. We are walking on treacherous terrain. The point here is not to associate modern fossil fuel companies with the moral bankruptcy of the slaveholders of yore, or the politicians who defended slavery with those who defend fossil fuels today.
In fact, the parallel I want to highlight is between the opponents of slavery and the opponents of fossil fuels. Because the abolitionists were ultimately successful, it’s all too easy to lose sight of just how radical their demand was at the time: that some of the wealthiest people in the country would have to give up their wealth. That liquidation of private wealth is the only precedent for what today’s climate justice movement is rightly demanding: that trillions of dollars of fossil fuel stay in the ground. It is an audacious demand, and those making it should be clear-eyed about just what they’re asking. They should also recognize that, like the abolitionists of yore, their task may be as much instigation and disruption as it is persuasion. There is no way around conflict with this much money on the line, no available solution that makes everyone happy. No use trying to persuade people otherwise.

The issue is not that Hayes is wrong, but that trying to separate out the economic ramifications of slavery from the moral ones is impossible.  Hayes tries to do it in order to avoid the treacherous ground he mentions, but instead ends up stomping all over it.

In both the Fiore defense and his economics of slavery piece, Hayes's well-meaning intentions end up blowing up in his face.  That seems to happen to him an awful, awful lot.  Maybe there's a reason for that?

In other words, when I make arguments about useful idiocy, Chris Hayes is Exhibit A.
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