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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
Number of posts: 11,713

Journal Archives

Vox - This is the first real government shutdown under one-party government, ever

Trump and Republicans are making history again. While the media tries to paint a false equivalency between Republicans and Democrats, the fact of the matter is that Republicans control all three branches of government and Trump himself blew up the latest effort at bipartisanship.


The government shutdown this weekend is the first time a true, honest-to-God shutdown has happened with a single party controlling the White House and Congress.

It’s true that Jimmy Carter and Democrats in Congress butted heads five separate times in 1977, 1978, and 1979, and couldn’t get their act together to fund the government (Carter was a bad president!). But that was before Carter’s attorney general issued guidance saying that when a funding gap like that exists, government functions must shut down.

Carter’s “shutdowns” didn’t lead to any federal employees being sent home and denied pay. Donald Trump’s will.

Republicans are already trying to blame the Democratic minority in the Senate for threatening to filibuster a spending bill that doesn’t include relief for DACA recipients — unauthorized immigrants who arrived as children and who had been protected by an Obama administration executive action that Trump has since revoked. The White House has even started calling it the #SchumerShutdown, after the Democratic Minority Leader.

Slate - Oprahs Real Message: It wasnt about her. It was about us. (Even Dems)

The amazing thing is how Oprah's speech has not only drawn criticism for the right, but also among some members of the "left" concerned that the speech was too good and might create momentum for Oprah to run for President. The speech recognized the need for individual citizens to become engaged. Nonetheless, rather than listen to the substance of the speech regarding an empowered citizenry, people continued to either look for a messiah or protect the political messiahs who they felt were threatened by the great speech that Oprah gave.

The folks who seek to annoint Oprah a messiah or seek to bring her down to defend their chosen political messiahs missed the entire point of her speech as noted by Dahlia Lithwik.


I loved Oprah’s Golden Globes speech on Sunday. It was mesmerizing, pitch perfect, and gave voice to many lifetimes of frustration and vindication with eloquence and a full authority she has earned. But I found the strange Facebook response of “Oprah 2020” weirdly discordant and disorienting. Oprah’s speech—in my hearing—wasn’t about why she needs to run for office. It was about why the rest of us need to do so, immediately.

The dominant theme I heard was about giving voice to invisible people. It was the arc of the entire speech. It’s also what the very best journalism is about, and it’s worth remembering that’s how Oprah began her career. The speech began with her goosebump-y tale of first seeing Sidney Poitier win an Academy Award in 1964 and how much of a revelation it was at the time to see a black man celebrated in America. Then it ran through to her chilling invocation of Recy Taylor, a young black woman who was raped in Alabama in 1944 by six white men who were never brought to justice. She deftly linked Taylor to Rosa Parks, who investigated the rape for the NAACP and then 11 years later refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery with Taylor “somewhere in her heart.” This was a speech about how seeing someone else model the fight against racism, sexism, and injustice activates us to fight alongside.

It was a testament to the greatest gifts she has as a journalist, actor, and media personality: the ability to shed light on the faceless and speak of justice and morality in ways that are urgent and original. That’s why the speech honored not just the women in sleek black dresses who were on their feet cheering her. The true message was about someone else:

Women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military

Vox - Cornel Wests attacks on Ta-Nehisi Coates, explained - Cornel West attacking Dems Again

If you guessed that Cornel West filled in his standard ad libs more leftist than thou essay by professing that he loved, "Brother or Sister So-and-so," then proceeding to use the word "neo-liberal" in every sentence and "racist" and "globalist" in every other sentence, then you guessed right.

Yes, the so-called leftist is once again attacking members of the left while giving the right a free pass. Indeed, his anti-globalist rhetoric would not sound out of place in a Donald Trump speech. It is all the nativism with the white supremacy replaced by black nationalism. Yet, Bernie Sanders chose to put Cornel West on the DNC platform committee, which West then dumped on by endorsing Jill Stein.

Sadly, Cornel West is just an opportunist who cannot resist the attention he gets when attacks members of the left from the left. So, expect him to be featured widely in the upcoming 2018 election cycle. It should be a clue that you are on the wrong side of the argument when Richard Spencer is on your side.



ut West’s criticisms resurfaced in the past month when he brought up Coates in an interview with the New York Times Magazine. In discussing the “black elite leadership” that has tried to fit into “a neoliberal world,” West cited “[d]ear brother Ta-Nehisi Coates” as an example. Commenting on Coates’s book, We Were Eight Years in Power, West remarked, “Who’s the ‘we’? When’s the last time he’s been through the ghetto, in the hoods, to the schools and indecent housing and mass unemployment? We were in power for eight years? My God. Maybe he and some of his friends might have been in power, but not poor working people.”

West further elaborated on this point in his op-ed in the Guardian on Sunday, arguing that Coates’s analysis of white supremacy neglects some of its worst crimes.

“He represents the neoliberal wing that sounds militant about white supremacy but renders black fightback invisible,” West wrote. “This wing reaps the benefits of the neoliberal establishment that rewards silences on issues such as Wall Street greed or Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and people.”

He added, “The disagreement between Coates and me is clear: any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading. So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ worldview.”

Vox - The past year of research has made it very clear: Trump won because of racial resentment

This illustrates the problem with progressives like Bernie who try to blame Democratic losses on Democrats playing "identity politics" as he did right after the election.


This ignores that Trump and Republicans have been playing the white resentment card with increasing impunity. The basic quid pro quo is that the white working class gets a scapegoat in the form of blaming minorities, immigrants and working women. In return, the rich get huge tax cuts and cuts in benefits that benefit the working class. This is modern populism. It is not about providing benefits to the working class. It is about stoking and reinforcing racism and sexism.


More than a year after President Donald Trump won the election, there are still some questions about what drove him to victory: Was it genuine anxiety about the state of the economy? Or was it racism and racial resentment?

Over at the Washington Post, researchers Matthew Fowler, Vladimir Medenica, and Cathy Cohen have published the results of a new survey on these questions, with a focus on the 41 percent of white millennials who voted for Trump and the sense of “white vulnerability” that motivated them. The conclusion is very clear:

Contrary to what some have suggested, white millennial Trump voters were not in more economically precarious situations than non-Trump voters. Fully 86 percent of them reported being employed, a rate similar to non-Trump voters; and they were 14 percent less likely to be low income than white voters who did not support Trump. Employment and income were not significantly related to that sense of white vulnerability.

So what was? Racial resentment.

USA Today - How white nationalists tapped into decades of pent-up racism to spark a movement

Even progressives are sometimes tempted to tap into this racism by catering to anti-immigrant, anti-trade and isolationist rhetoric. How many times have folks on this Board bought into the anti-Globalist chants? Not surprisingly, Russian trolls try to reinforce this here and throughout Europe to promote isolationism.


This summer's seemingly overnight arrival of the self-described "alt-right" and white nationalist groups — marked most prominently by a deadly car attack at the August "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va. — drew worldwide headlines, but the movement simmered for decades before it burst into public view.

Underlying that shift from society's fringes to center stage is a new strategy that taps into the frustrations of white people angry at a society they say has marginalized them and a new political landscape that appears to give voice to their cause.

President Trump’s election last year became a major rallying point for white nationalists, who watched as the Republican repeatedly amplified some of their views in campaign rallies and tweets.

“It just absolutely electrified this community,” Keegan Hankes, an analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hates groups, including the KKK. “They really felt like they had someone to rally behind.”

CBS: Trump says Democrats like his tax plan "a lot" - Sounds Like His Encounters With Women

So, Trump is claiming that Democrats secretly like his tax plan a lot, but are not saying so, because of political reasons. You can just hear Trump's voice, "Bernie Sanders, you know you like my tax plan. You do. C'mon say it. Say it. I look in your eyes and you know want it."

At the same time, doesn't this sound like his encounters with women: "You know you enjoyed it when I as touching you. It was the greatest thrill of your life. Don't lie. Don't lie. Your welcome. You just let me know when you'd like another visit with little Donnie."


President Trump made his closing argument for his tax plan Wednesday, saying Democrats like the legislation "a lot" but can't talk about it or vote for it for purely political reasons.

"We will have very little Democratic support, probably none, and that is purely for political reasons," Mr. Trump said in a speech at the White House Wednesday, surrounded by Christmas trees and families the White House invited to promote his tax plan. "They like it a lot. And they cannot say it."

The president offered his remarks just as House and Senate negotiators reached a compromise agreement in principle on the differences between their two versions of legislation. The conferees officially met for the first time on Wednesday, although members have been discussing the details of the bill, CBS News' Nancy Cordes has reported.

Republicans in the House and Senate hope to vote on -- and pass -- the legislation early next week. Senate Republicans are under additional pressure to pass the bill before Democrat Doug Jones -- Alabama's senator-elect after he defeated Republican Roy Moore in a special election Tuesday night -- is seated in the Senate, though the election results are not likely to be certified until after lawmakers have voted on the bill. Jones' election will give the GOP only a 51-49 edge in the Senate, a slim majority as the Trump administration looks to its agenda in 2018 and beyond.

Fox News guest: Seducing 14-year-olds may not have been that unusual 40 years ago

And in a parallel universe, Republicans are defending Moore by arguing that it was once okay for older men to go after 14 year old girls. I know some Democrats on this Board argue that Democrats should be just as rabid and partisan in defending their own, but I am not so sure I want to go down that road.


On Wednesday night's Fox News broadcast of "Your World With Neil Cavuto," guest and CEO of the conservative advocacy group Independent Women's Voice, Heather Higgins, posited that, hey, maybe making sexual advances to a 14-year-old in the late 1970s wasn't all that out of the mainstream.

Speaking about the allegations against Republication Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore who, among other things, has been accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, Higgins was asked by host Cavuto about the statute of limitations concerning statutory rape.

"You would think that that has expired for something that was 40 years ago," she said, "and I suspect that that’s part of why if you look at the polling in Alabama, a lot of the Alabamians don’t believe it."

She continued. "[Moore's] been in public life for a very, very long time. Dating somebody who was much younger may be something that we find repugnant, but 40 years ago in Alabama it may not have been that unusual."

Slate - Mercedes Colwin tells Hannity women lie about harassment for money - Does DU Agree?

Who knew that so many liberals and progressives are ideologically aligned with Sean Hannity. I read one post by someone on DU proclaiming that they are leaving the Democratic party because women Senators demanded that Senator Franken should resign due to credible allegations of harassment. These posts were echoed with violent sounding threats and remarks directors at Franken's accusers. Thus, you have to ask? Are we conceding that Franken's multiple accusers were all lying and making allegations of harassment for some personal advantage? Was Sean Hannity and Mercedes Colwin correct?


I try not to allow myself to get worked up about the vile things Fox News hosts and their guests say on air most nights. But I’ve had trouble getting this clip from Thursday night’s Hannity out of my head. In it, a powerful female attorney with a management role at a major American law firm says that women frequently make up sexual harassment claims for money and that actual victims of sexual predators are “few and far between.”

Fox News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin was appearing on Sean Hannity’s show to discuss the bombshell allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who according the Washington Post took home and undressed a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor. The segment went about how you would expect. Hannity argued that people shouldn’t rush to judgment and that Moore deserved our presumption of innocence. Colwin, an employment lawyer who has appeared on the network since 2005, invoked her experience representing “hundreds of corporate executives that have been accused of sexual misconduct,” and confirmed for Hannity that women often lie about harassment for political purposes or money.

Hannity: Do people do it for money? Do they do it for political reasons? Is that more common than people think?

Colwin: Oh definitely.

Hannity: They will lie to make money?

Colwin: Undoubtedly. I mean, there are individuals who will come forward with these outrageous allegations, and they fall…

Hannity: And that hurts women who are victims.

Colwin: Yes. I used to work in sex crimes in the DA’s office. It was very pitiful to see that. Because some jurors don’t believe it because they have, in their own lives, there are people who have made these accusations for money. You see this time and time and time again. And sexual harassment, that term is coined everywhere, frankly, the laws are very clear about what it takes to have some sort of violation of the law. You have to have some sort of damage. And these individuals, a lot of these women, it’s all about money, and they bank on the fact that these corporations have the reputation that they want to save.

Rolling Stone: Why Robert Mueller May Be Interested in Trump's Deutsche Bank Records

The Mueller subpoena of Deutsche Bank, which happens to be up in its eyeballs in Russian money laundering problems, shows that Mueller investigation is starting to get real, which is why Trump's allies have started clamoring to fire Mueller.


If anyone was going to be the Forrest Gump of the Russia investigation, we're lucky it was Guardian reporter Luke Harding. Harding has spent years reporting on Russia, a career that's meant he's happened to be in certain important places at certain critical times, during which he's happened to interview central figures in the still-unfolding political drama gripping the United States.

For instance, weeks before news broke of a salacious dossier detailing alleged leverage Russia may hold over then President-elect Donald Trump, Harding and a colleague were in a London pub meeting with an ex-British intelligence officer named Christopher Steele about a story they were working on. And a few years earlier, Harding happened to be on assignment in Ukraine, where he happened to interview an American political consultant named Paul Manafort about the work he was doing for Russia's preferred presidential candidate. Then there was the day he spent driving around with Aras Agalarov – the Russian oligarch who connected Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Now Harding has incorporated those stories, along with other relevant experiences – such as the time the FSB broke into his home in Moscow, presumably to bug it, and left a book on sex and relationships on his bedside table – into a book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money and How Russian Helped Donald Trump Win. Among its most interesting chapters is one relating to Tuesday's news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Trump's records with Deutsche Bank.

In Collusion, Harding details Trump's attempts in 2008 to default on some $330 million he owed Deutsche Bank for its help financing the construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. The bank sued to force Trump to pay a portion of the debt: $40 million plus legal fees and interest. This was the middle of the financial crisis, a fact Trump tried to leverage in court, arguing he should not have to repay money he owed Deutsche Bank because it was "one of the banks primarily responsible for the economic dysfunction we are currently facing." In fact, Trump went on, because of the bank's role in creating this "once-in-a-century credit tsunami," Deutsche Bank owed him money, to the tune of $3 billion in damages.
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