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Recap 79

Traipsing Through Mangar's Training Ground

By min | July 20, 2017, 10:31 PM | D&D | Link

Seems like a real liberal champion

Kamala Harris seems to be the 2020 candidate that the rich Clinton backers are getting behind. So here is some background on her:

As California Attorney General, she was the champion of an extremely punitive truancy law (which mostly affects black and Latino youths). She supported the death penalty. She laughed at marijuana legalization. She supported using prisoners as slave labor. And yet she was not-so-tough on crime when it came to corporate criminals like Steven Mnuchin, now Trump's Treasury Secretary.

As a Senator, she's offered tepid, caveat-laden support for Single Payer ("as a concept, I'm completely in support of single payer, but we've got to work out the details, and the details matter on that."). She mainly seems to have come to prominence for her performance in the Russian Show Trials.

By fnord12 | July 19, 2017, 3:28 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Why don't they know what they're sponsoring?

Whatever you think of BDS, a bill criminalizing it, with a minimum civil penalty of $250,000, and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison, seems insane. Even more insane is that a lot of Democratic sponsors (not just supporters, mind you, but sponsors) of the bill don't even seem to know what is in it.

By fnord12 | July 19, 2017, 3:21 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Flooding away Jersey's poor

Atlantic City meets climate change.

By fnord12 | July 19, 2017, 3:19 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Individuals can't fix structural problems on their own

I've been saying this since Al Gore's movie ended with telling us to change our lightbulbs.

By fnord12 | July 17, 2017, 11:56 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Thanks for Finally Making a Wonder Woman Movie, I Guess?


What the FUCK was the bullshit origin story about? Amazons were created by Zeus to soothe Man's violent tendencies? They actually showed a painting of naked women coming out of the sea to drape themselves over warrior men. Plus, Zeus was benevolent and kind and made Man to be the same until Ares corrupted them? WHAT??? I'm pretty sure that is not how the story goes. Zeus was a huge dick. All of the gods were. There was no Garden of Eden paradise situation before Ares/the Serpent came and messed it up. Edith Hamilton is going to come back and kick all your asses.

The story I know is the Amazons were souls of women who were victimized and/or murdered by men. Hera and the other goddesses and Hermes took their souls and brought the women back to life on Themyscira. Wonder Woman was sculpted from clay and given life and powers by these same gods. She wasn't the child of Zeus. Ew. In George Perez's run, Zeus actually demands Diana sleeps with him cause he's Zeus and he should get to try out all the pretty girls. *shudder* Yeah, yeah. I know DC turned her into a demi-god in the comics continuity, too. I have been deliberately ignoring that piece of idiocy for the last several years. Successfully, too, until i saw this movie.

How much more of an empowerment story is it when you've got women who were abused but are given new life and learn to be warriors and scholars and everything they wanted to be? Compare that to "Zeus created some handmaidens to use their nurturing ways to soften man's natural aggressive tendencies". Argh. I'm so pissed off about this that i'm barely appreciating the scrap they've thrown me by finally, after decades, making this movie.

The rest of the movie was fair. Nothing too great, nothing too terrible. Kinda slow in the middle. I did have a problem with the silent exchange between Wonder Woman (nobody calls her WW in the movie, either, which is annoying) and Steve Trevor before they have sex. Look, we live in a society where people think they can say shit like, "Her eyes were saying 'Yes'" or judges might agree that "she implicitly said yes even though she was unconscious". So, while Diana giving Steve the "come hither" expression and Steve correctly interpreting it was totally fine in this context (esp since Diana was physically capable of putting a stop to anything she didn't agree to), i would still like a verbal exchange between the characters because society still needs to learn that while the good guy in the story might get the girl, it shouldn't be taken as a given and he should still ask.

By min | July 14, 2017, 12:15 PM | Comics & Movies | Link

Jurassic Parks

This week was Dinosaur Week in the Supermega-household. In addition to classics like One Million B.C. and The Giant Behemoth, we watched 4 Jurassic Park movies with various degrees of regret.

Jurassic Park 1: Jurassic Park - It was chockful of bad dinosaur science, but wasn't super terrible. I was left with questions though.

  1. Why didn't they tranquilize that velociraptor before transporting it to the park? Who thinks it's a good idea to transport a fully awake raptor? Not the poor gatekeeper guy, that's for sure.

  2. Why did they spend so much time on the sick triceratops if they weren't ever going to find out what made it sick?

  3. How did the safari hunter guy not realize that when they decided to shut down ALL the power, by "all", they meant yes, the raptor cages, too?

  4. Knowing the containment of the carnivorous dinosaurs had failed, why was the old guy sitting in the window-ful cafeteria with all the lights on???

  5. Why didn't they use bird DNA for the missing bits?

Other than the girl turning on the lamp when the last thing they wanted to do was draw the attention of the T.Rex, i didn't have too many strong feelings about the characters deserving to be eaten.

Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World: - Julianne Moore's character was so patronizing and annoying. If i had been Jeff Goldblum, i would have left her ass on that island to die. She kept poo-pooing his real and deserved trauma of almost being eaten by dinosaurs and told him she knew what she was doing. About 5 minutes later, she brings a bleeding T. Rex infant back to their research trailer and guess what follows the scent of its missing offspring. Yeah.

After surviving that (Jeff Goldblum, why didn't you just let her fall?), Miss I-Don't-Need-Your-Help continues to wear the blood-soaked jacket as they try to escape the island. Guess who follows. There are just some people you need to break up with and not look back.

Jurassic Park 3: Jurassic Park III - Sam Neill should have just tripped Tea Leoni and William H. Macy when he had the chance. Anyone who walks around a jungle full of carnivores whilst shouting deserves to get eaten. As fnord12 likes to say: I don't have to run faster than the bear. I just have to run faster than you.

They were the most horrible people. They caused the deaths of no less than 3 people and still thought they were the good guys. And in the end, because of Tea Leoni, the pterosaurs escape their enclosure and you see them fly past the main characters' plane. Instead of horror, they basically go, "Ha, I guess they're finding a new place to nest." AND THAT'S IT! "People are going to get killed and eaten. Isn't that heartwarming and amusing?!"

Jurassic Park 4: Jurassic World - First off, Chris Pratt, stop taking roles where you are misogynistic and creepy towards women. Please. The whole subtext about "control" between him and Bryce Dallas Howard was just ooky.

Second, the movie was really about parents sending their teenaged and pre-pubescent sons off to be eaten by dinosaurs. Having come to the realization their children have ruined their lives and their relationship, they arrange for the boys to take a "vacation" in Jurassic World without them. At the airport, mom swears they're going to have "so much fun" and after the kids walk away, dad darkly comments, "So much for that last family breakfast." The film wants you to think he's referring to their divorce, but i know the truth. We were told how many pounds of meat the dinosaur park needs to feed its inhabitants just before the kids are put on the plane. I know what's really going on here.

In the end when the parents show up, mom's not crying because she's happy her sons are alive. She's crying because she now has to take them home again.

Oddly, this turned out to be the best of the JP movies because of that last fight between the T. Rex and the Plotosaurus. All the human stuff was shit, but the dinosaur fights...

This trailer is all true:

By min | July 13, 2017, 10:48 PM | Movies | Link

Who Carries Paper Anymore?

Poor guy.

The Corpus Christi police lieutenant Chris Hooper said the contractor became stuck on Wednesday when he was changing the lock to a Bank of America room that leads to the ATM.
The contractor then passed notes through the ATM receipt slot to customers retrieving cash, imploring them to call his boss. One read: "Please help. I'm stuck in here."

By min | July 13, 2017, 10:38 PM | Ummm... Other? | Link

Actually, going veggie is pretty great but i know how you people are

Maybe this is the pressure point we needed: either let us regulate the fuck out of these 100 companies or you all have to go vegetarian.

By fnord12 | July 13, 2017, 9:13 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Shell game


Sanders, along with co-sponsors Elizabeth Warren and Robert Casey, offered an amendment... that would have allowed for importation of drugs from FDA-approved facilities in Canada...

Once again, Democratic discipline broke down. The amendment this time was beaten in committee, 13-10. Two Democrats, Patty Murray and Michael Bennet, both of whom accept a lot of pharmaceutical money, voted no.

Interestingly, two Republicans from states bordering Canada who voted for almost exactly the same measure earlier in the year - Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine - now voted no as well.

This often seems to happen with controversial bills. The math will allow a large-ish number of members to cast a vote in favor of a popular policy disliked by industry, but if there's any danger of it actually passing, there will suddenly be defectors or converts. The political damage is limited to just a few poor souls who have to wear the unpopular vote.

This is why you should never trust a politician like Cory Booker who tells you that he supports your issue but couldn't vote for this particular version of it because of some minor (bullshit) flaw.

By fnord12 | July 12, 2017, 7:45 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Why you lie to me, Hasbro?

Technically i suppose a Dire Wraith can look like anything, but seriously.

Shoulda sold the rights to ROM to Marvel. No one wants a ROM toy if he can't fight a proper looking Dire Wraith:

I would also have liked a male form Dire Wraith, and a Deathwing and a Hellhound, but clearly you'd go for one of these first.

Also, WTF is a Visionaries' Leoric?

By fnord12 | July 11, 2017, 9:50 AM | Comics | Link

Life Comes At You Fast

Conservatives: Solar power will never work.

Also Conservatives: Solar power is working too well.

The linked article is also a good example of why the press sucks. There is absolutely no reason to print the baldfaced bullshit from the utility lobbyists with a straight face. "Unfair to homeowners who do not want or cannot afford their own solar installations" made me snort so hard i nearly lost a nostril.

By fnord12 | July 10, 2017, 8:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Jersey is a land of contrasts

The good: "New Jersey is at the top of the list for having achieved the greatest reduction in our prison population in the country -- a 35 percent decline since 1999."

The bad: "New Jersey has the worst racial disparities within our prison population in the country. "


By fnord12 | July 8, 2017, 12:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

"After 2016, Democrats should pick a side again."

Vox was Centrist Central during the primary, so it's interesting to see them increasingly put out pieces like this.

By fnord12 | July 7, 2017, 4:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Universal programs

Dovetailing with Ryan Cooper's article below, Jeff Spross has 4 dumb ideas that the Dems should avoid.

By fnord12 | July 6, 2017, 10:41 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Scourge of the Time Traveling Socialists

Odious loser and failed Hillary Clinton campaign strategist, Mark Penn:

Candidates inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups have embraced sharply leftist ideas. But the results at the voting booth have been anything but positive: Democrats lost over 1,000 legislative seats across the country and control of both houses of Congress during the Obama years.

By fnord12 | July 6, 2017, 10:28 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Frontrunner Bernie


  • gives a bit of behind-the-scenes about why unions didn't fully back him last time
  • shows Sanders addressing his foreign policy weakness
  • addresses the age thing
  • looks at why Warren won't work as an alternative
  • talks about how Sanders has "moderated" his views (which to me looks 90% like the Dems have come around to his way of thinking and 10% a misunderstanding about what happened with Heath Mello).

By fnord12 | July 5, 2017, 12:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Make government simple

Ryan Cooper.

By fnord12 | July 5, 2017, 12:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


The Republicans are evil, but the Democrats are morons and have no policy ideas:

Jeff Stein There was a report today that McConnell reached out to Trump and said, "If we don't get the votes, we'll have to negotiate with Senate Democrats." What main policy fixes -- either to the exchanges or to health care more broadly -- should be the Democrats' top demands?

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
You can't package $800 billion in Medicaid cuts and package it as a tax break --

Jeff Stein
But assuming we're in the world where this bill is killed completely ... what is your first policy proposal for health care?

Ed Markey
My first proposal would be to keep the funding levels where they are for Medicaid and begin to work on ensuring that together we are trying to lower the premiums while increasing access to health care. That's not what this discussion has been about.

Jeff Stein
How do you do that? How do you lower premiums while increasing access to health care?

Ed Markey
Well, we have to increase the number of healthy, younger people who are inside the health care system, and that will lower costs for everybody.

Jeff Stein
How do you do that? A tougher individual mandate?

Ed Markey
We would need an individual mandate to ensure that younger, healthier people are getting into the pool, and in doing that we would end up with lower costs.

Jeff Stein
So for you personally, the big thing you'd do is get more young people signed up for a tougher mandate?

Ed Markey
That's right.

Jeff Stein
Is there anything else?

Ed Markey
Well, and keeping the funding level there.

Jeff Stein
So I'm talking about a hypothetical world in which the bill is defeated. Is there anything else policy-wise to improve the American health care system? For instance, Sen. Warner talked to me about reviving the "copper plans" on the exchanges.

Ed Markey
First, the principle thing is, we have to keep all the funding, and if they don't agree on that, the whole thing is operating on a flawed premise.

I don't understand [about the copper plans. Aide interjects: "He's got to run."]

By fnord12 | June 30, 2017, 11:07 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

What does the fox hunt?

After visits from deer, squirrels, and baby bunnies, the latest visitor is a fox, who chased a squirrel up a bush. We also have house finches nesting in a different bush, but luckily the fox didn't notice them (i would have chased it away, for the time being anyway).

I was alerted to the fox even before it made it to our patio due to the fact that every bird and squirrel in the area started squawking in alarm. A few days later i was sitting on the patio but i heard the same squawking go in like a doppler pattern from one end of the neighborhood to the other. It must suck being a fox and having every creature in the area constantly shouting Fox! Fox! wherever you go.

By fnord12 | June 29, 2017, 8:44 PM | My stupid life | Link

What is the working class?

Good article on the rise and (current) fall of the center-left. This bit here is definitely a thing that has been happening.

Yascha Mounk--director of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change--wrote that the Democrats should focus on "states where appealing to the white working class is not as important as increasing turnout among minority groups and appealing to moderate voters in the suburbs." Note the slippage: whatever program will appeal to the entity known as the "white working class" will not appeal to "minority groups," who are joined together in this analysis with "moderate voters in the suburbs."

It's why whenever Bernie (etc) says "working class", pundits hear "white people".

The danger that the Democratic Party and elite liberalism now face is that they cannot conceive of the American working class as it actually is, insisting instead on addressing a specter from decades ago. The right-wing hard-hat, the eternal Reagan Democrat--such anachronistic images provide a way of not engaging with questions of class inequality. So long as these ghostly figures are what "working class" means, there can be no working-class force in political life, and the cycle of programmatic dilution and mass demobilization can continue, with increasingly horrifying consequences.

By fnord12 | June 28, 2017, 4:00 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

It's not even the message...

...it's the policy.

Nancy Pelosi has been on the talk shows repeating her refrain that, "It isn't about our message. It's about our communication of it." It all just seems to me to be abstracting things away until there's nothing you need to fix.

Matt Stoller has an interesting write-up about Pelosi (and all the Dem leadership) bases her policies on charity and pity.

Basing your politics on pity, however, is condescending. Charity is important. But charity in place of politics is not democracy. It is aristocracy. And too many Democrats operate, unknowingly, in this frame of mind.

Democrats should see their role as enabling freedom for all, not alleviating suffering for the disadvantaged. When Pelosi sees poverty or discrimination, she sees the people being affected as unfortunate victims who need and deserve a helping hand. Poverty and discrimination are unfortunate. But more fundamentally, they represent a lack of freedom ― freedom that someone, or some system, has taken from you. You are not free if you can't afford to see a doctor. You are not free if you cannot access a good education because of your race or income. You are not free if your landlord can cheat you because you're poor. You are not free if you are a family farmer being driven under by meatpacking monopolists.


This issue, as venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, put it, is deep. "Pelosi, and the rest of the party learned everything they know about economics from Trickledown'ers," he said on Twitter. "Thus, they think there is a trade-off between growth and fairness and cannot articulate an economic story distinct from Republicans, except with pity."

By fnord12 | June 26, 2017, 10:40 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link


Young American women are poorer than their moms and grandmas, and more likely to commit suicide.

Improvements in young women's economic security began to stagnate during the mid-1990s, and their struggles have continued into the millennial generation, particularly among women without college degrees, the report said.


The eroding social safety net, violence against women, unequal pay -- the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the median weekly earnings of full-time working men at $895 in 2015 compared to $726 for women--were other factors hindering the overall well-being of young women, according to the report.

African American women, Latinas, American Indian and Alaska native women were most susceptible to bad outcomes, compared to their white and Asian American counterparts, Mather said.

We're previously seen the increasing death (suicide) rate for older white men. So it's basically everyone.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2017, 10:35 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

There's no referee

This has been going around but people are taking the wrong message from it. This chart just shows what chumps Democrats are. It's embarrassing that Democrats allowed the GOP to make 160 changes to a bill that none of them voted for. It's pathetic. No regular person cares how many hours of "debate" (i.e., giving a speech to an empty room in front of a C-SPAN camera) a bill had. They elect their representatives and expect them to do things. The Democrats just seemed fundamentally incapable of understanding that.

The "debate" on this has been going on since (at least) 2008. We know what's at stake.

If you want to rally people against this bill, talk about the policy. Talk about how many people will die because of lack of insurance. Talk about how many old people will get kicked out of retirement homes. Tell people how they'll lose their subsidies. Don't whine that "norms" are being violated. That's arcane procedural stuff to most people.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2017, 8:57 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link


Adam H. Johnson at FAIR has a great article about how we're always accidentally "stumbling" or getting "sucked into" wars.

By fnord12 | June 23, 2017, 1:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

If we're doing this, have to compare all three options

By fnord12 | June 23, 2017, 1:06 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Still sucking

The Senate Republicans have released the horrific details of their healthcare bill today (instead of just targeting Obamacare, it destroys Medicaid). And how is the Democrats' pledge to halt Senate business over Obamacare repeal going? The Senate just voted 89-10 for cloture on a Trump appointee.

Relatedly, Steny Hoyer (Pelosi's #2) basically says "Nah" to the idea of protests (see Jeff Stein's surrounding tweets as well).

I was thinking about this when i wrote the post on Pelosi below. It's actually kind of hard, years later, to itemize all the reason that a politician sucks or why the Dems as a whole are so hapless. The final votes on any particular bill are really symbolic. What really matters are the procedural steps along the way. Years later, we'll be able to look up that all Dems voted against the AHCA. But that won't be what really mattered. Republicans managed to shut down Obama for basically his entire presidency. Dems get rolled over because they don't fight the same way.

By fnord12 | June 22, 2017, 3:00 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

He was a headline speaker at the DNC convention

The biggest counter-argument to "Bernie would have won" is that Michael Bloomberg threatened to run as an independent if Bernie got the nomination. But Bloomberg wouldn't really have ensured a Trump presidency just to stop economic reforms, would he? Well, maybe he would have (warning: fucking autoplay videos at the link unless you're using blockers like you should be).

By fnord12 | June 22, 2017, 9:24 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

More Ossoff post-mortems

I know my trend of linking to every post-election post-mortem that validates my views is annoying, but i can't help myself.

First, Comparing Quist to Ossoff.

Second, Kate Aronoff at the Jacobin comes closest to making the point that's been kicking around in my head. Ossoff tried to convince moderate Republican suburbanites to vote for him (same failed strategy as the Clinton campaign). The Sanders/Quist strategy is to mobilize new/young/disaffected voters by offering them something that isn't normally available.

Instead of taking the lead of their party's most energetic wing, a not-insignificant number of Democrats are still chasing voters who either don't exist or have voted for Republicans for the last sixty years. Ossoff-ish candidates will never provide the kind of visionary campaigns, policies, and platforms that will allow us to build a more empathetic and democratic world; as should be clear by now, they can't even win an election.

By fnord12 | June 22, 2017, 9:15 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

"Our brand is worse than Trump"


Their candidate, Jon Ossoff, raised about $25 million, mostly in small donations, and assertively courted right-of-center voters with promises of economic development and fiscal restraint.

That vague message, Democrats said Wednesday, was plainly not powerful enough to counter an onslaught of Republican advertising that cast Mr. Ossoff as a puppet of liberal national Democrats, led by Ms. Pelosi, an intensely unpopular figure on the right and a longstanding target of Republican attacks.

I agree with that headline and the bit about the vague message, but unfortunately the rest of the article doesn't give me a lot of hope. The article is about increasing opposition to Pelosi as leader. The problem is that the Democrats are taking the wrong message from Ossoff's loss, as usual. They continue to think the problem is that they are being perceived as being "too liberal" and they want to move to the right. The guy quoted in the headline, Tim Ryan (who ran a challenge to Pelosi's leadership at the start of this session) is to Pelosi's right.

The Dems are looking at the losses of the three populists and saying that between that and Ossoff's loss it proves that populism doesn't work either, ignoring the relative swings and fact that those guys got zero support whereas Ossoff got millions. Bernie is literally the most popular politician in America. Clearly his message is the way to go. You can't beat the fact that your brand is worse than Trump's by becoming even more like Trump's party.

If we're going to have to defend someone for being "too liberal", they might as well try actually being liberal. Ossoff's platform was basically a conservative's (eliminating government "waste", "medicaid fraud", lowering taxes, opposing single payer) and he wouldn't even admit that he would support Pelosi. And if Pelosi is that toxic then she's also not worth defending from the "too liberal" charge. In her personal views/votes, she's actually not terrible (although not nearly as good as you'd expect from someone representing San Francisco), but as leader she's very much bought into the perspective than we have to go right to win (e.g.). The real issue is that we can escape the liberal/conservative framing using economic populism, and Pelosi is very much unreceptive to that. The problem is that it seems likely that whoever we would get to replace her wouldn't be either. It should be Keith Ellison, but we already saw the "ZOMG! Black Muslim!!!" freakout when he ran for DNC chair.

By fnord12 | June 22, 2017, 8:11 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The party wants to what again?

This sneering article, written before the Ossoff election, is worth re-reading with the election results in mind. Good for a laugh.

By fnord12 | June 21, 2017, 2:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Why is there no pro-Bernie voice in mainstream media?

It has been kind of incredible that there's been no effort by media outlets to reflect the popularity of Bernie. The New York Times only goes as far left as Paul Krugman, who was rabidly anti-Bernie during the primary. Instead, the Times added rightwinger Bret Stephens (and he doesn't reflect the realignment on the right either; he's not a Trump supporter).

We've seen the same elsewhere (e.g. MSNBC hiring Greta Van Susteren and George Will). Meanwhile, some 13 million people voted for Bernie, which seems like a sizeable audience that someone might consider targeting.

Min had been a regular reader of the Guardian but she noticed that things seems off - very anti-Bernie - during the primary. It didn't really surprise us - it wasn't different than any other mainstream news outlet - but the constant Bernie bashing was offputting. And beyond Bernie, it focused so much on Trump's scandal of the day (i.e. it repeatedly fell for all his trolling for free coverage).

I didn't really think much of it in a long term sense since it wasn't any different than anywhere else. But Buzzfeed (as part of a larger retrospective) makes the case that the Guardian made a huge miscalculation from a business perspective.

The New York Times and the Washington Post, with which the Guardian has hoped to compete, have thrived recently, racking up huge national security scoops, new paying subscribers, and a firm sense of place in a chaotic media environment. But Guardian US, many insiders believe, missed its core political opportunity in 2016 to align itself with the Bernie Sanders insurgency in the way its British parent paper has long been linked with the UK Labour left.


The US operation is now struggling to find its identity beyond filling the Trump-sized hole in the Guardian's UK print edition every day.


In the past, news organizations have used US election cycles to establish the brand and voice -- breaking through with news and analysis to a core audience that expands as political interest spikes. Some outlets do this with straight reporting, like Politico in 2008. Others do it with a stated bent (ranging from pro-Obama slant of Huffington Post to the ardently pro-Trump boosterism of Breitbart in 2016). There was an opportunity for the Guardian, which has its roots in economic leftism, to play to a pro-Sanders audience already interested in the work they'd done on, for instance, Snowden and Occupy. But Guardian US, like others, was focused on the reality that Hillary Clinton would win the primary -- even if her campaign wouldn't grant an interview with her.

"When Bernie announced, we did cover it well," said a former staffer. "It just seemed so obvious that that's what we should do. But there was a breathless obsession with the horserace and just doing what everyone else was doing."

"You'd do a Bernie story and it would go crazy, and they didn't seem to extrapolate a trend from that," said another former reporter. (The anger from some over Bernie is reminiscent of the deep dissent within the UK newsroom over the paper's relationship and treatment of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.)

The Guardian's treatment of Corbyn, initially extremely negative, suddenly changed in the last few days prior to the election when Corbyn started surging in the polls. Maybe that's a sign that they are learning from their mistakes (although i am probably conflating Guardian US and Guardian UK too much). Meanwhile new media outlets like the Young Turks have capitalized on Bernie's popularity. But that doesn't get to the question of why mainstream media hasn't added a Bernie voice to their editorial range. The answer is shown elsewhere in Buzzfeed's article when they talk about the Pulitizer Prize they won for the Snowden documents:

"While Snowden put us on the map, it makes corporate clients very nervous about wanting to get big into the Guardian," according to a former executive.

I assume Bernie's policies make corporate clients "very nervous" too, and that probably answers our question.

By fnord12 | June 21, 2017, 10:05 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Money well spent

The DCCC spent an unprecedented amount of money on centrist Jon Ossoff while ignoring more progressive candidates (in the case of Quist, getting involved only at the last minute). And the result is that Ossoff did worse than Hillary did against Trump in that district.

Obviously we lost in all cases so for immediate practical purposes we've got nothing to cheer. The argument has been that these are all tough districts for Dems so all of these results, even Ossoff's, show that the Dems might be able to take back the House in 2018 where we'll be competing everywhere. But there are some other takeaways from this:

1) Progressives do better relative to the realities of their district, i.e. yes Quist lost by more than Ossoff but he made up much more ground. Ossoff actually lost ground. A progressive, populist message can be a winning message. There is certainly not a case to be made that the Dems have to tack to the center or go right (which has long been the DLC/Clinton message).

2) The DCCC sure doesn't spend their money strategically. Unless their strategy is to prop up centrists and let progressives lose. Even if Quist's campaign had gotten the same amount of money early in the race, it could have made a big difference. Instead the grassroots had to painstakingly set up the campaign infrastructure.

3) Not related to the above data, but in all of the races, a big campaign point for the Republicans was "A vote for X is a vote for Nancy Pelosi has House leader". I don't like Pelosi for the opposite reason that Republicans do, but it seems clear at this point that her longstanding role as the right's bogeywoman has eliminated whatever her positive attributes may be. We could use a fresh face. And to dovetail with the above, it should be someone able to articulate a progressive populist message.

By the way, the Democrat in the previous GA-6 election literally didn't exist.

By fnord12 | June 21, 2017, 9:30 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

You guys suck at this

As everyone who follows politics knows, the Senate Republicans are working on an Obamacare Repeal bill with an unprecedented ("norms breaking") amount of secrecy. No hearings, the bill itself is not available for review (apparently even to the rank & file Republicans), etc.. In response to this, activists have been pressuring Senate Democrats to pull out all the stops in slowing down all Senate business, both as a way to literally delay the effects of the bill and also just as a way to highlight what the Republicans are doing, since the media has not been reporting it. Yesterday it finally seemed like we made some headway on that front.

And today, the Dem Senators nearly unanimously voted to confirm/move forward some Trump nominees (Sigal Mandelker as a Treasury Under Secretary and Brock Long as FEMA head).

Republicans constantly held up confirmations to grind down the Obama agenda. I am on record in saying we should get rid of "the filibuster" (defined broadly as all of the procedural bullshit that the minority can use to slow things down or bring them to a halt) but the Dems always unilaterally disarm.

By fnord12 | June 20, 2017, 3:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Bernie's definitely gonna have to run

This very long article by Franklin Foer is worth a read, but i'm very skeptical of the framing. It seems to very much want to pit the "identity politics" of Cory Booker against the economic populism of Elizabeth Warren.

One thing the article does is kind of twist around the findings of a study of a bellwether county in the suburbs of Detroit called Macomb.

Once upon a time, Macomb was a testament to the force of the New Deal, a vision of middle-class life made possible by the fruits of American industry. The county rewarded Democrats for this prosperity in overwhelming numbers. John F. Kennedy carried it with 63 percent of the vote. But over the years, Macomb grew distant from the party, and then furious with it. The state's party organization asked Greenberg to figure out the roots of voters' estrangement.


Many political analysts who puzzled over Democratic losses described how the backlash against the civil-rights era had propelled white voters away from liberalism, but none gave racism quite the same centrality as Greenberg did. He found "a profound distaste for black Americans, a sentiment that pervaded almost everything" that Macomb residents thought about government and politics. Denizens of Macomb--the county was 97 percent white--did little to disguise their animosity. African Americans, they complained, had benefited at their expense. Their tax dollars were funding a welfare state that plowed money into black communities, while politicians showed no concern for their own plight. (That plight was real: The auto industry, which provided the undergirding for middle-class life in Michigan, had collapsed in the face of foreign competition.)

Greenberg's study of Macomb became a canonical text for Democrats attempting to recover from a decade of pummeling. Bill Clinton hired him in 1992, and in his presidential campaign he spoke directly to the racial anxieties revealed in the focus groups. Clinton distanced himself from the welfare state, which he damned as bloated and inefficient. He promised to pour money into the middle class itself, through tax cuts and spending on education and health care. "Let's forget about race and be one nation again," he told an audience in Macomb. "I'll help you build the middle class back."

Clinton's pandering to their racism won him the county, and the Democrats kept it after that. But then Trump won it back.

Not only did Trump reclaim Macomb for the Republicans--trouncing Clinton by 12 percentage points there--but he turned the Democratic establishment back to Greenberg's central question about working-class whites: Did racism put many of them beyond reach? When Greenberg traveled to Michigan in February, to conduct his first focus groups in Macomb in nearly a decade, he was genuinely unsure of what he might find. Trump's naked appeals to racism were far more intense than anything he had ever witnessed. The scenes from Trump's rallies created a plausible impression that the president had activated long-suppressed feelings of hatred. To probe their disaffection, Greenberg pulled together voters who, for the most part, had defected from Obama to Trump, who had gone from voting for the first African American president to siding with his racist successor.

...Over the years, Greenberg had heard the worst from Macomb. Back in the '80s, he knew precisely the buzzwords that could ignite a torrent of racism. The mere mention of Detroit would send people into paroxysms of rage. Decades later, Detroit didn't provoke any extreme expressions of animus, only comments marveling that the city finally picked up the garbage and cleaned the streets of snow. When the moderator mentioned Flint, the largely African American city whose drinking water had been steeped in lead, the focus groups professed sympathy for the community. The lack of angry responses seemed to shock Greenberg. "There's so much less about race," he leaned over to tell me.

Prejudice, however, remained very real. The old complaints about African Americans had affixed themselves to immigrants. Dearborn, which has a thriving Muslim immigrant community, is a short drive away. Just as Macomb's whites had once accused African Americans of prospering at their expense, members of Greenberg's focus groups spoke openly about being displaced by immigrants. "We need to take care of home first," one participant said, as if the immigrant neighbors weren't also living at home. When asked to explain their greatest hopes for Trump, many cited his promise to build a border wall.

There was a strong element of self-loathing in the hostile view of immigrants. A 60-year-old woman described her work as a cashier at Kroger. What she hated, she said, was waiting on immigrants who didn't bother to smile. "They act like they can't do that, even." Another woman described going to sign up for Medicaid: "I'm looking around at all these people that can't even say hello to me in English." Greenberg's subjects had expected to occupy a higher rung in society. That they exist on par with newcomers to the country feels like a betrayal of what they thought to be the natural order.

The way that the county's residents have (over generations, granted) managed to shift their racism from one target to another suggests that the racism is the symptom, not the cause. As Foer notes in only parenthetical passing, the county was in economic decline thanks to neoliberal policies, including Clinton's NAFTA (not "foreign competition") and the tax cuts he promised, coupled with his dismantling of the social services that would have cushioned the fall. And that makes people looking for answers susceptible when offered scapegoats by demagogues like Trump (and Fox news, talk radio, etc.). Maybe a 60 year old woman can get bitter because she's working a cash register in a county where people used to have good paying manufacturing jobs, not because she had some inherent views about a "natural order".

The other thing the article does is make me like the prospect of Warren running even less. One little tidbit i wasn't aware of:

Interviewing Sanders requires some fortification--and my exchange ended when he peremptorily dismissed me from his office for asking a question about his political relationship with Elizabeth Warren. (Sanders had expected Warren to endorse him in the 2016 primary, and her failure to do so sent him into a funk.)

Warren's failure to endorse Bernie has grated on me. I don't know how Foer knows that Sanders "expected" Warren to endorse him (i haven't heard that elsewhere), but if she did let him down in more than just a general way that's going to be hard for me to get over.

And then there's this:

Nor is Warren's driving obsession wealth redistribution. That's important politically, because many Americans simply don't begrudge wealth, and "inequality" as a clarion call hasn't stuck. (Indeed, Democrats have begun to shift away from inequality as a label for what ails America's economy and culture. Some fear that white voters who are predisposed to racial resentments hear the word as code for a desire to transfer wealth from whites to blacks.)

Rather, Warren is most focused on the concept of fairness. A course she taught early in her career as a law professor, on contracts, got her thinking about the subject. (Fairness, after all, is a contract's fundamental purpose.) A raw, moralistic conception of fairness--that people shouldn't get screwed--would become the basis for her crusading. Although she shares Bernie Sanders's contempt for Wall Street, she doesn't share his democratic socialism. "I love markets--I believe in markets!" she told me.

Blech to multiple items in the above quote. Blech to Dems shying away from talking about inequality. Double blech for doing so as a way to pander to whites (similar to Bill Clinton on welfare). Blech to the bland concept of "fairness". Double blech to "I believe in markets!". Blech blech blech.

min: I wasn't going to vote for Warren anyway. She's been a disappointment, in general. I hold out hope that Bernie is training disciples to take his place because i agree with Sarah Jones' article (linked 2 posts down) that a movement cannot rely entirely on single person to keep it going. We're dead if Bernie is the only thing making this work.

By fnord12 | June 20, 2017, 9:53 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

1980s shit

Ryan Cooper:

Open conflict between Russia and the United States is heating up in Syria. After American forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet, Russia suspended use of an Obama-era communications line used to prevent collisions and conflict, and threatened to shoot down American planes.

America's Syria policy was and continues to be absolutely moronic. But this alarming development is also a reminder that there is simply no alternative to diplomatic engagement with Russia, the world's only other nuclear superpower. That's something both the American military, and liberals fired up over Trump's Russia scandal, would do well to remember.


Russia has a clear goal: prop up the Assad regime, but avoid being drawn too far into the conflict. America is, as far as anyone can tell, fighting ISIS, attempting regime change without invasion, arming some rebels but fighting others, and trying to help Kurdish militia without annoying Turkey too much. Both Trump and the foreign policy establishment... childishly refuse to admit that most of these goals are incompatible with one another.

By fnord12 | June 20, 2017, 8:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Who, though?

Sarah Jones makes a good case that Bernie shouldn't run again, but ultimately her caveat ("But there's an important exception here. If there is no clear progressive frontrunner--no promising campaign for him to prop up--Sanders should run regardless of age.") has the most weight. It's just a sad fact that there is no progressive bench. Elizabeth Warren kinda sucks on everything except economics and she's given the impression that she doesn't want to run. Someone suggested Jeff Merkley but i think Sanders throwing his weight behind a relative unknown would have as much effect as, say, Sanders endorsing Keith Ellison during the DNC election. And the progressive movement getting behind another white male opens up the tedious identity vs. class "debate" all over again. Looking at Sanders' top surrogates, Tulsi Gabbard has taken some positions in the past that are problematic and i don't think Nina Turner has held high enough office to be a contender (i'd get behind her in a second, though).

If Sanders himself runs, i think he can win the primary by getting all of the progressive vote while the centrist vote is split between the Bookers and Cuomos or whoever. Unless Warren also runs, and i don't think Sanders will run if Warren runs (or vice versa). Yes, Sanders will be very old if he wins, but the model here is Ronald Reagan, who was personally doddering while in office but still managed to transform the political landscape for decades. Sanders (so far) seems sharper than Reagan and the important thing is all of the policies and appointments that he brings with him.

By fnord12 | June 19, 2017, 9:44 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

We Need to Change How We Treat Undocumented Immigrants

Fnord12 and i recently attended a Board of Freeholders meeting. In a previous meeting, the Board had decided that the county sheriff's office would not arrest and detain immigrants for ICE unless ICE had an actual warrant, which is basically the very least that should be required if one wanted to follow the law and the Constitution. This apparently caused a bugaboo amongst the conservatives in the county so they tried to organize people to show up at this last meeting to lodge a protest to the Board's decision. Catching wind of this, progressive orgs put out their own call to get people to show up and support the Board. Hence, fnord12 and me actually leaving the house for once.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, so many people against the policy were just generally misinformed, with a smattering of good ol' racism. They misinterpreted the Board's decision to mean the sheriff's office was just going to let people who had committed actual crimes go free. "Would you stop them if they just came up and stabbed me?" O.o

Then there was the "My parents/grandparents/great-grandparents came to this country legally and they worked hard to make a life here", not like those lazy undocumented immigrants who just sit around all day selling drugs with their free Obama phones, collecting social security, welfare, free health insurance, and free college.

But, luckily, there were plenty of people who actually knew what the policy said and also were informed enough to know that undocumented residents a) pay taxes, b) don't get to collect any social assistance, c) and are more likely to be victims of crimes than the ones committing them.

Indeed, studies routinely show that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, and instead contribute nearly $12 billion dollars in state and local taxes. Many come to the United States to escape economic insecurity or other harsh conditions, and -- like most immigrants -- are only interested in building a better, safer life for their children in America.

Yet, federal immigration law which seeks to persecute, prosecute, and criminalize undocumented immigrants only succeeds in wasting taxpayer dollars to destabilized and break up immigrant families, to deport people who often have lived peacefully for years in America to a country they may not know, and to drive the remaining immigrant population deeper into the shadows. Whereas programs like DACA have been shown to significantly improve the wellness and outcomes for those who receive protection, immigrants deported by the United States government undergo significant personal and emotional stress -- as do their children who remain in the United States. It is unclear if deportees ever fully recover from the experience of being forcibly separated from their homes and families by the U.S. government; for example, a Korean American adoptee who was adopted at age 10 by an American family but who was deported to Korea in 2012 was found dead of suicide last month.


Fun fact: while most people might picture a person from Mexico or Central America when they hear about "illegals" or "undocumented immigrants", Asians are becoming the fastest growing population of undocumented immigrants. Don't think Trump's wall will do much good now, huh?

Turns out that, since 2000, unauthorized immigration from Asia has grown at rates much faster than from Mexico and Central America. That's according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute.
At 6 million, Mexicans still represent the majority of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country. But the percentage of those arriving has slowed since the recession. During that time, however, Asian unauthorized immigration has increased considerably. From 2000 to 2013, it increased 202 percent, according to the report.
Asians now represent about a third of the foreign-born population in America--equal with the Mexican foreign-born population. They also represent 14 percent of the unauthorized population. That number, by the author's own projections, will grow in the coming decade.


This country was built by immigrants and the economy continues to rely on them in order to flourish. For selfish reasons alone, we should be changing our policies on immigration. That it's also morally right doesn't hurt either.

By min | June 17, 2017, 12:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Our economic system is garbage

Kudos to USA Today for doing this reporting on the trucking sector.

By fnord12 | June 17, 2017, 11:23 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Why Police Officers Aren't Held Accountable

You know i'm desperate when i'm turning to Teen Vogue for answers (but Teen Vogue has actually been really good lately). The article only touches on what i think is the biggest problem, which is the way our archaic constitution is structured (see also Min's article below and how the court ruling hinged on interstate vs. intrastate).

By fnord12 | June 17, 2017, 10:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.