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Gutting the New Deal

Glenn Greenwald:

The same Democratic president who supported the transfer of $700bn to bail out Wall Street banks, who earlier this year signed an extension of Bush’s massive tax cuts for the wealthy, and who has escalated America’s bankruptcy-inducing posture of Endless War, is now trying to reduce the debt by cutting benefits for America’s most vulnerable – at the exact time that economic insecurity and income inequality are at all-time highs.

Where is the “epic shitstorm” from the left which Black predicted? With a few exceptions – the liberal blog FiredogLake has assembled 50,000 Obama supporters vowing to withhold re-election support if he follows through, and a few other groups have begun organising as well – it’s nowhere to be found.

Therein lies one of the most enduring attributes of Obama’s legacy: in many crucial areas, he has done more to subvert and weaken the left’s political agenda than a GOP president could have dreamed of achieving. So potent, so overarching, are tribal loyalties in American politics that partisans will support, or at least tolerate, any and all policies their party’s leader endorses – even if those policies are ones they long claimed to loathe.

‘Don’t romanticize Obama’

This piece is pretty good, I wish more non-blog-reading people would see it.

My so-called social life

Last night, a drunken guy the same age as my son tried to talk me into bringing him home. I kept putting him off nicely, but he persisted. I finally told him that his approach had all the charm of a dog looking for the nearest fireplug. He then started hitting on the woman next to me, which only proved my point.

The thing is, he’s not a total asshole, just drunk, and there was a time when I might have been flattered. I have a pretty hard and fast rule now: If you don’t have the nerve to actually ask me to go out (when you’re sober), I already know it won’t work out. Maturity! It’s not such a bad thing.

Why Cenk’s leaving MSNBC

Cenk was the only thing on MSNBC I still liked to watch, but the people in Washington don’t like his “tone.” This is a very interesting piece, I recommend you watch it – just in case you still don’t believe this is what happens.

Obviously, this happens with bloggers, too.

Desktop app for liberal politics

I’ve been using Raw Story’s beta version for over a month, it’s pretty cool. A nice, streamlined way to keep on top of political news:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — AlterNet and RawStory, two pioneers in online independent news, have joined forces with UberMedia, developers of the world’s most popular Twitter app, to produce NewsForward –a mashup of the latest breaking news, investigative reports and political opinion from independent news sources, cable news outlets, liberal bloggers, top progressive tweeters, advocacy organizations, elected officials and political insiders.

Unlike other news and politics aggregators built on RSS feeds, NewsForward employs Twitter as a platform. “What the UberMedia platform allows us to do is mix curation with conversation …the future of news,” says Roxanne Cooper, Publisher of RawStory. “Because the Twitter audience is so diverse demographically, we’re excited about the opportunity to both deliver news and information to readers who don’t traditionally follow politics, as well as introduce social media to more conventional audiences.”
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Grover Norquist makes a fool of himself in this November 2008 discussion about raising taxes to prevent a recession.

I have this posted over at C&L today:

Dear Media Types and/or Journalists,
I know a lot of you read our little blog, so I want to ask you a question: Why won’t you cover the story that an unelected Republican tax czar demands that Republicans sign an anti-tax pledge that supercedes their oath of office, enforces it through coercion, intimidation and threats, and has this country’s political system and the very economy in a state of crisis? Why do you accept the idea that this is somehow perfectly normal, even okay?

Here’s how Ed at Gin and Tacos put it:

Let’s say that through a combination of fund-raising prowess, ideological militancy, and personal charisma, Jesse Jackson Sr. is able to assume a position of considerable behind-the-scenes power in the Democratic Party. His sway over elected Democrats is such that he manages to get 95% of the Democratic Congressional delegation, House and Senate, to sign an oath of personal loyalty to his policy goals. Specifically, they pledge that under no circumstances will they ever support cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other social welfare programs. Jackson believes that any such cuts will affect the poor and people of color disproportionately. Throughout the debate over the budget and debt ceiling, House and Senate Democrats refuse to even consider any proposal that touches any of those programs. It is a non-starter. Full stop. Because they swore an oath to Jesse Jackson that they wouldn’t.

I’m sure you can see through this thin shoe-on-the-other-partisan-foot analogy to Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” that currently holds sway over the GOP. I do think it’s interesting to draw out the hypothetical scenario, though, to underscore a point: Can you even imagine the sheer violence of the pant-s****g that the GOP, Teatards, and Beltway media would be engaged in if the shoe really was on the other foot? If every Democrat had signed a personal oath to an interest group and private citizen that took precedence over their oath to the American people and Constitution?

You know, I think Ed makes a really good point. I don’t think you guys can credibly defend yourself on that one.

Here’s the oath of office each congress member and senator takes:

“I, Joe Blow, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Okay, let’s start with this. They take an oath to “support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” This is from the 14th Amendment:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

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The new reality.

Mother Jones – Get Used to New Weather Extremes

Maybe it will count, now that it’s hitting the East Coast so hard.

Fracking crazy

In Pennsylvania, cash-strapped Westmoreland County is leasing out their watershed – to a fracking operation:

Fracking began at Beaver Run in 2008 — one year, incidentally, after the municipal authority upheld a fishing ban in the reservoir due to public health concerns.

CNX says it has plans for up to 30 shale gas wells at the reservoir from five different drilling sites. Both CNX and the water authority have groundwater monitoring wells around the reservoir. As an extra precaution, CNX is drilling five well casings instead of the state-mandated two.

So far, the company has a good record at the site, without any violations from state regulators.

Still, many residents like Walter wonder how drilling was permitted in a reservoir watershed where virtually all other activities are banned. Others are angry they weren’t informed about the gas development and feel excluded from a public decision.

When Joe Evans, a medical engineer and member of Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Murrysville, saw aerial maps of the reservoir in 2009, he was stunned.

“I was shocked that a process that I was finding to be dangerous was allowed to take place on a reservoir property, where even hiking and fishing from the banks is prohibited for fear of pollution,” he said.

Brien Palmer, a business technology consultant and fellow member of the citizens group, said he’s not opposed to gas drilling but questions the judgment of the water utility. “The fact that they would drill near a drinking water source first, and not as a last resort, is astonishing,” he said. “I’m just not sure what I can say to someone who can’t see the absurdity of fracking in a drinking well basin.”

Daniel Jonczak, an electrical engineer who lives two miles from the Beaver Run Reservoir, says that he, too, is a far cry from an anti-drilling activist. He grew up in the 1970s, when Westmoreland County’s streams flowed orange from acid mine drainage. So extreme was the damage, Jonczak laments, that local creeks were given names like coal tar run. Gas was always seen as less polluting.

Yet the decision to lease Beaver Run Reservoir has him extremely worried.

“Are we really sure what’s going on with MAWC [Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County] and the water supplied to half of Westmoreland County?” asked Jonczak. “The chance of a spill is just too huge. I don’t think they were aware of the risks.”


Heat index will be 107. I really can’t stand this, even with the air-conditioner. Everyone else is cranky, too.

They assigned cops to all the city pools because so many people want to get in, they have to admit them in shifts.

Solar power

So you know how they keep saying solar power isn’t cost effective?

Guess why. Those thieving bastards…

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