Why the Dems won’t take the House

I don’t know if I believe this (remember 2006?) but Ralph Nader makes a compelling argument:

Of course, there are more factors involved. When I asked a top House Democrat what the real reason was for deep-sixing the minimum wage increase to catch up with 1968, he rubbed his thumb and two fingers together, and said, “They feel they’d raise less money if they did that.” Money, it seems, counts more than votes in this bizarre equation of the people with whom the party should stand.


So Cong. George Miller sits on his recently introduced bill to increase the minimum wage to $9.80 by 2014 because he is waiting for Obama. His House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi waits for Obama. So do the close campaigns of Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy in Massachusetts and Connecticut respectively, along with many close House races. (See Time For a Raise for more information.)


When I spoke to other leading progressive Democrats to assert themselves, jurisdictional turf presented itself. No senior Democrat in the House runs first with any labor issues other than Cong. George Miller, from the progressive San Francisco area, no less. Nor do any other senior Democrats run first with any energy and environmental issues other than ranking Committee member, Cong. Ed Markey. Markey and his allies privately wring their hands over Obama’s silence on climate change during the President’s daily campaigns. But the word from all quarters of the Democratic Party is not to move if Obama doesn’t move. You would not want to show up the President’s inaction, would you?


Yet, the Democrats have their own interest in winning their own Congressional elections, whether or not Obama cares about them. Doesn’t seem to matter. Following Obama means they may follow him as a party over the cliffs of defeat while he rides to the top of the Hill. You see the vast majority of incumbent Democrats are in safe districts and their seats are secure. Retaking the majority in the House is another matter. Personal career complacency does not vigorously propel a party drive to win back the House, regardless of what Obama chooses to permit.


What do the House Democrats owe Obama anyhow? He raises no money for them. He campaigns without them, thereby depriving them of mass media coverage. Even the Congressional Black Caucus is replete with indignation at how Obama has dissed them and their poverty issues since day one of his presidency.


After Election Day, November 6, contemporary historians will write that the Congressional Democrats waited too long on Obama and wasted their chance to win back the House and gain more seats in the Senate.


This is the politics of presidential personalismo run riot – inexplicable precisely because it has become so suicidal to the Congressional Democrats and to justice for the people for whom they claim to speak.

Here comes karma

So, just to make sure that EVERYONE gets Mother Nature’s global warming message, here comes another storm for next week – and this time, everyone’s gonna get it. From the National Weather Service:

POTENTIAL FOR NOR’EASTER ALONG THE ATLANTIC COAST NEXT WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY…

PRELIMINARY UPDATE…

USED AN EVEN BLEND OF THE 00Z/02 ECMWF AND ECENS MEAN TO UPDATE THE PRELIMINARY FRONTS AND PRESSURES FOR DAYS 3 THROUGH 7. THE GLOBAL NUMERICAL MODELS SUGGEST NO REST FOR THE WEARY ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, WITH A CONTINUED HIGH AMPLITUDE FLOW AND SUPPRESSED POLAR JET ALLOWING FOR SHARP BAROCLINICITY, WINTRY PRECIPITATION
PRODUCTION, AND THE POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER SLOW-MOVING CYCLONE ALONG THE MID ATLANTIC AND NORTHEAST COASTS. THE EAST COAST SYSTEM WOULD BE A MORE TYPICAL NOR’EASTER, WITH THE SAME SET OF GUIDANCE SUPPORTING ITS GENESIS AT DAYS 5 AND 6 AS WITH THIS WEEK’S SPRAWLING HYBRID STORM: THE ECMWF, ECENS MEAN, GEFS MEAN, GEM
GLOBAL, AND CANADIAN ENSEMBLE MEANS. THE POSITION OF THE SURFACE HIGH TO THE NORTH WILL, AS ALWAYS, BE CRITICAL TO LOCATION OF THE RAIN-SNOW LINE. ANY SYSTEM THAT PRODUCES SIGNIFICANT WIND AND PRECIPITATION IN THE MID ATLANTIC AND NORTHEAST IS OF NOTE IN LIGHT OF THE CONTINUED RECOVERY FROM SANDY AND ITS POST-TROPICAL
TRANSFORMATION.

UNLIKE EARLIER THIS WEEK, THE ENTIRE NATION IS VULNERABLE TO HAZARDOUS WEATHER THIS FORECAST, WITH A FOCUSED, ENERGETIC POLAR FRONT EXTENDING FROM THE NORTHERN INTERMOUNTAIN REGION TO THE CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI AND OHIO VALLEYS DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE PERIOD. FURTHERMORE, AN ARCTIC HIGH IS LIKELY TO BUILD INTO THE NORTHERN ROCKIES BY DAY 7, WITH ITS OWN ATTENDANT UPSLOPE SNOWS AND LOW TEMPERATURES.

Penn State

So this is getting very interesting. These charges mean Gov. Corbett and his former AG’s staff can be called as witnesses about the Sandusky case:

“These charges are the work of a vindictive and politically motivated governor working through an un-elected attorney general, Linda Kelly, whom he appointed to do his bidding and who will be a lame duck five days from now.”


Mr. Spanier’s attorneys accuse the governor of “manipulating public officials and resources to settle a personal score” against their client.


Mr. Lewis said as an example that he has witnesses who will testify that after the Penn State board of trustees’ meeting when Mr. Spanier resigned last November that Mr. Corbett and his staff were seen celebrating Mr. Spanier’s departure at a State College restaurant.


“We also have been made aware that Corbett was furious that Dr. Spanier was seen hosting his opponent for governor, Dan Onorato, in the president’s box at a home football game during the campaign,” Mr. Lewis said.

No Grand Bargain

Gaius Publius at AmericaBLOG is running a whip count on Social Security and Medicare cuts, and you can help. I suggest you do so, because it really sucks feeling depressed and helpless. You’re not, join the fight:

Get ready for the battle of 2013

So gear up, folks, and gird up as well. First fight, the lame duck itself, the last session of the old Congress before new members are sworn in. Sen. Sanders is leading this fight to make sure the bad deal doesn’t pass. Your help is needed:

  1. Sign Sen. Sanders petition at www.signon.org/nocuts.
  2. Call your senators and representatives. The phone numbers are here and here. Be polite but firm, seriously firm.
  3. Report your results to lameduck@socialsecurityworks.org.
  4. Watch the whipcount page for updates.

Then prepare to fight through the next six months. The good news is that we’re not only right, we have huge majorities of people behind us. In addition, if the Democrats do attempt this — driven by god-knows-what combination of Rubinesque wickedness and complicit Dem leadership (did someone mention Open Rebellion?) — they will likely write their party’s epitaph with it (scroll down to the Krugman comment). Obama will never again stand for election — his next job is to take million-dollar thank-you money for speeches and to tour the world in an endless victory lap — but most Democrats now in office will try to return.


My advice — tell them now, early and often, that cuts to the safety net are a bridge too far. Call them — again, the phone numbers are here and here.


Try this. Tell them you’re cancelling your vote for them — right now, this time, next week — if they don’t agree to the No Cuts plan. (It’s a secret, but I’ll tell you. What you actually do in the voting booth is your business, not theirs. If the threat is credible, you don’t have to pull the trigger if you don’t want to.)


Soften them up with a scare. Then call them again after November and keep it up.

Stay optimistic on this one


I’ll have more on this phase as it develops. You’re not alone; many good people are working to win this as well. Cuts to the safety net, tax cuts for the already-too-rich — the Grand Bargain really is a bridge too far. Stay optimistic; this one is winnable. Ultimately, only the hyper-rich (Our Betters) — and their eager enablers — are not on our side. We just have to learn to use our leverage. Time to learn that is now.

Class divide

This just makes me sick:

Stuck without power, many thousands of New York residents don’t just struggle to cook and preserve food — they can’t even buy it.


New Yorkers on the state’s food stamp program receive money for food necessities electronically, through Electronic Benefit Cards (EBTs). However, with Manhattan from 39th Street southward in power blackout along with parts of Brooklyn, most stores are only able to sell goods for cash. Power is expected to return by Saturday.


In a WNYC report (listen below) a resident of a Lower East Side public-housing complex in Manhattan explained, “The supermarkets don’t even really want to sell anything. They’re open but if you don’t have cash, you messed up. And everybody in these projects, they take EBT … food stamps.” [h/t Colorlines]


David Rhode wrote Thursday in the Atlantic that Sandy had further exposed the “hideous” inequality gap in New York City — which is currently the most economically divided it has been for 10 years. He noted, “Sandy humbled every one of the 19 million people in the New York City metropolitan area. But it humbled some more than others in an increasingly economically divided city … Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city’s cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home.”

Bloomberg endorsement

Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama yesterday, influenced by his belief that the president is the candidate most likely to address the problems of global warming likely exemplified by Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City:

The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.


The floods and fires that swept through our city left a path of destruction that will require years of recovery and rebuilding work. And in the short term, our subway system remains partially shut down, and many city residents and businesses still have no power. In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable.


Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.


Here in New York, our comprehensive sustainability plan — PlaNYC — has helped allow us to cut our carbon footprint by 16 percent in just five years, which is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon footprint of a city twice the size of Seattle. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group — a partnership among many of the world’s largest cities — local governments are taking action where national governments are not.

But we can’t do it alone. We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.


Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. “The benefits (of that plan) will be long- lasting and enormous — benefits to our health, our economy, our quality of life, our very landscape. These are actions we can and must take now, if we are to have ‘no regrets’ when we transfer our temporary stewardship of this Earth to the next generation,” he wrote at the time.


He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.


I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.

He goes on to state his disappointment in Obama’s first term, but says that climate change is the deal breaker:

One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.


Of course, neither candidate has specified what hard decisions he will make to get our economy back on track while also balancing the budget. But in the end, what matters most isn’t the shape of any particular proposal; it’s the work that must be done to bring members of Congress together to achieve bipartisan solutions.


Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both found success while their parties were out of power in Congress — and President Obama can, too. If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him.

Site Meter