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What could go wrong?

Climate Talks In Copenhagen Dominated By Climate Destroying Corps
This is about the United Nations climate talks, as they are being sponsored by fossil fuel interests.  I gather they released the list of corporate sponsors.  Here is the money passage:
And who are the corporations financing the November 30th to December 11th conference—purportedly held to “achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C?”

They include the French energy companies Engie and EDF, whose coal plants, according to Malika Peyraut of Friends of the Earth, “are equivalent to nearly half of France’s entire emissions.”

They also include the French bank BNP-Paribas, which “accounts for half of the total support—now totaling more than 30 billion euros—provided by French banks to the coal industry between 2005 and April 2014,” according to the global NGO network Bank Track.

And just so the reading audience gets the point, the piece continues:
The 20 corporate sponsors revealed by Guignard on Wednesday constitute just the first group, with many more to come.
But hey, at least they're talking about it.  This news reminds me of nothing so much as another recently-breaking story.

Meanwhile, in the US, courtesy of Don midwest, as regards the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the newest "trade deal" (shall we call it "son of NAFTA"?) and climate change.  Apparently the administration has put out some sort of promo through the US Trade Representative telling everyone that the TPP and the TTIP, which is the deal after that, will be great for climate change.  This is an effort to promote "trade," well, corporate control really, good for corporations and all that.  However!  As Don midwest points out, referencing a Common Dreams article:

Also missing from the USTR report is how both TPP and TTIP continue an extractive model of trade that has not only negatively impacted jobs and equality, but has also been devastating for the climate.
The (environmentalist) groups pointed out that past trade deals, also sold as “green,” are hindering community responses to climate change: rules under NAFTA actually require Canada to export an ever-increasing amount of oil to the U.S., driving further production of dirty tar sand oil; a trade tribunal at the World Trade Organization ruled against an Ontario policy designed to support the creation of green jobs to produce locally-sourced renewable energy; trade rules allowed Swedish energy companies to challenge a German ban on nuclear energy production, undermining the country’s ability to set energy policy; and rules under NAFTA were used by a U.S. energy company to challenge a Quebec ban on fracking designed to protect the St. Lawrence River.
Oh and about those "environmental provisions"?  They're not enforceable.  Power will rest in the hands of unaccountable ISDS courts, packed with representatives of corporate financial interests.  

Write all the provisions you want; write all of the climate change deals you want.  What's really going on here is that the big financial interests sense the train wreck up ahead, and what are they doing?  Working overtime to lock in future profits from fossil fuel exploitation.  

One imagines a rich man, loaded down with suitcases full of money, aboard a sinking ship.  If he piles all of the money onto the tiny lifeboat, the lifeboat will sink, and no other passengers will be able to sit in the lifeboat.  But then, he thinks, maybe if I load all of the money onto the lifeboat, the lifeboat will take some time to sink!  And if it's just about to sink, I can always toss a suitcase or two overboard to keep it barely afloat!  yeah, that's the ticket!

That's what these guys are doing -- they're the rich man.  And climate change is what will make the ship of civilization sink.


Sun May 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM PDT

The function of criticism

by Cassiodorus

It's just amazing how much criticism of elite Republicans goes on here at!  So what does all of this criticism say about elite Republicans?  They play us for suckers, they wage war on workers, they hate the poor, they sound nasty, they're arrogant and wrong, and so on.

You'd think that if the elite Republicans actually read all of these criticisms published by front-pagers at and took them to heart, they'd reform, and having reformed, they'd be the party to beat!  They would of course no longer be who they are now, at least in the descriptions put forth each day here.  But, once they'd reformed, who wouldn't want to be a Republican under those circumstances?  (And, of course, having heeded all of our front pagers' criticisms, said Republicans would no doubt start by thanking the blog of "more and better Democrats" for having goaded them into self-renewal!  This, no doubt, the result of years of efforts to make the Republican party a better party.)

Criticism can be a vehicle for improvement.  We often criticize people with the aim in mind of making them better -- we'd rather that those we criticize not play us for suckers, that they'd love the poor, that they would sound nicer, and that in word and deed they would be both humble and correct.  And if those we criticized really heard our criticisms, they'd take what we said to heart, and improve.

Of course, since they received so little of our criticism, the elites of the Democratic Party would maintain it as the same party it's always been.  This might not be good for the Democrats, and it wouldn't be a good thing for us, yet the reigning blog of "more and better Democrats" is okay with it.

Alas, however, the Republicans do not appear to be at all willing to take advantage of the joint strategy employed by the front-pagers here at  Maybe they're all dependent upon Koch money or maybe they just want to "cut the public out of the deal-making" or something like that.  But it would be sad if all of this blog's critical efforts to improve the Republican Party were to no avail.

An alternate strategy in deploying criticism, of course, would be to use it to point out where certain political actors "should know better."  Advocates of this particular deployment of criticism would not focus upon wasting critical pearls on those "swine" who were unwilling to use them.  (The people who in fact count as "swine" may, however, merely be those without self-esteem, who can't take criticism at present.  So I use the term "swine" loosely here.)  In deploying such a strategy, we criticize those whom we feel have the potential to take our criticisms to heart and to improve from them.

Perhaps to employ this alternate strategy we would need to learn a new critical language, using terms explicitly labeled as those of constructive criticism.  Here's how it sounds when it's aimed at politicians: "If you wish to merit our votes, you would listen to our constructive criticism, and here is what you would do."

In order to employ such a critical strategy, we would need to become more sensitive, as well, to whether or not those we criticize are actually listening to us.  Politicians will often say nice things to us and pretend that they "feel our pain" but all the while they act as if the people to whom they really listen are their corporate representatives and financial donors.  "Gee, if only our politicians could hear us they'd sympathize with our plight and do something to help us!" you might think at times.  After all, we elected them.  But, really -- have we given our favorite politicians any concrete reasons to listen to us?  Do they associate any material penalty with the consequences of not listening to us?  We need to make it clear to our favorite politicians that such a penalty exists.  

And what about the Republicans?  It doesn't seem as if they'll listen.  The front-pagers here have criticized them relentlessly, year after year, but the behaviors of the elite Republicans only get worse.  If they're a menace, their political power needs to be destroyed -- which means investigating why ordinary people vote for them, and appealing to said ordinary people for a change in behavior.

A Google search for "why do poor people vote Republican?" reveals, most prominently, two interesting pieces: 1) Kevin Drum's piece in Mother Jones on "Here's Why The White Working Class Hates Democrats," and 2) Gary Younge's piece "Working class voters: why America's poor are willing to vote Republican."  

Drum wants to argue that it was all about hatred for the "undeserving poor":

But if that's the case, why does the WWC continue to loathe Democrats so badly? I think the answer is as old as the discussion itself: They hate welfare.
Why does Drum think welfare is stigmatized? its core you have a group of people who are struggling and need help, but instead feel like they simply get taxed and taxed for the benefit of someone else. Always someone else. If this were you, you wouldn't vote for Democrats either.
As Drum points out, there is no point criticizing the misplaced priorities implied in such a vision of economic reality.  You want, then, another way of appealing to those who think in such a way.

Younge's piece, for its part, has this gem of an observation:

When liberals depict the existence of poor white Republicans as an expression of mass idiocy and false consciousness they not only disparage poor white people, they provide conservatives with one of their key talking points which is that liberals are elitists who look down on poorer whites.
Younge's observation brings us back to the main topic of this diary -- criticism.  In everyday life, ordinary people are just offended by criticism.  "I take offense to those remarks!"  The matter of whether or not the remarks were true takes a back seat to how they were uttered.  And perhaps everyone imagines that they are supposed to start out looking perfect, because first impressions are so important.  Not everyone knows that there is more than one way to make a good first impression.

Do we know how to criticize effectively?  When criticism is just jeering, then how is it effective?  Sure, you might inspire your allies to more actively dislike those whom you jeer.  But to what end?  Wouldn't you rather inspire your allies to know how to criticize effectively, so that those who "should know better" might be improved by their criticisms?

Perhaps political partisans imagine that politics is like a team sport, and that they are on some sort of political drill team.  It's easy to see the idea of "political self-interest" becoming completely lost in this sort of framework.

I suppose I think this way because, as I see it, the idea of "political self-interest" has been lost to America.  What do we really get, these days, for our income tax moneys?  A few more wars, a trade agreement or two, and government for rich people and out-of-control bureaucrats?  Perhaps it's time to abandon "hooray for the good guys" in favor of "let's figure out how to be the good guys."  In this regard effective constructive criticism might be the easiest way through.


Fri May 15, 2015 at 03:15 PM PDT

Bureaucracies out of control

by Cassiodorus

It's long after Herbert Marcuse warned us of technocracy in his classic (1964) One-Dimensional Man.  You know, that part (page 32 if you want to look it up) in which Marcuse says "the capitalist bosses and owners are losing their identity as responsible agents; they are assuming the function of bureaucrats in a corporate machine" and so on.   So let's just roll this stuff out, m'kay?

The US Military Uncontained: Chaos Spread, Casualties Inflicted, Missions Unaccomplished
This great summary appeared in yesterday's TruthOut and today's Naked Capitalism.  I'm sure it's been true for quite some time now that the US military has existed for the most part to keep its own gravy train going, but it's nice to see it summarized so well here:
Once upon a time, the US military was more or less tied to continental defense and limited by strong rivals in its hegemonic designs. No longer. Today, it has uncontained ambitions across the globe and even as it continually stumbles in achieving them, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, or elsewhere, its growth is assured, as our leaders trip over one another in continuing to shower it with staggering sums of money and unconditional love.
Oh, and here's a cute one from last October:
Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.
The people we elect aren’t the ones calling the shots, says Tufts University’s Michael Glennon
Here's the key passage:
Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.
Both of these are reminiscent of another, slightly-less-recent study:
Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy
The study's conclusion:
Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.
So who's got power?  Rich people.  Bureaucrats.  The military.  David Graeber complains about the bureaucrats in one of his "Baffler" jeremiads.

What are they doing with it?  They're maintaining their own power.  They're creating even more bureaucracy -- "Lambert Strether" has a fun time discussing the unaccountable ISDS courts which we'll see once the TPP is passed. Otherwise, they're being screw-ups.

Wise leadership would have set America, and the world-society as a whole, on a different course -- towards the utopia of human rights, or toward a less severe dieoff, as opposed to the continued maintenance of the society of money.  But that's not what oligarchies are about -- oligarchies are about keeping groups of people in power, and making sure the rest of us continue to work for them.

I suppose there's always resistance.  Here's a small-scale example.

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Yeah, I know, maybe if I'm very lucky this will generate another Rox/ Sux piefight, just like this diary has generated one today about Hillary Clinton.  I think of those piefights as opportunities -- they give you all an opportunity to share where you really stand, rather than being able to put on leftistface while using "omigod Republicans" as a backup debating strategy.

I suppose that we will be reading the leftistface/ omigod Republicans shuffle until 2036, when we can expect famine, drought, and climate-change adjusted heat waves to ravage 93% America while great methane fireballs emerge from the floors of our dead oceans and explode into flames.  And even then nobody will be able to figure out where the "liberal Democrats" stand on Presidents who support oil interests.  At any rate, here is this diary's main course, a statement day-before-yesterday by Bill McKibben:

Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial
McKibben's complaint is as follows:
THE Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no.
Now, of course, if you look at the White House page on global warming, you can see that President Obama accepts the scientific consensus on global warming, and that he claims to have some sort of plan.  So what's McKibben's beef?  Here's the critical paragraph in which McKibben outlines his position.  Like me, McKibben thinks we need to keep the grease in the ground:
But you can’t deal with climate on the demand side alone. If we keep digging up more coal, gas and oil, it will get burned, if not here, then somewhere else. This is precisely the conclusion that a study in the journal Nature reached in January: If we’re to have any chance of meeting even Mr. Obama’s weak goal of holding temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, we have to leave most carbon underground. That paper, in particular, showed that the coal reserves in the Powder River basin in the West and the oil in Canada’s tar sands had to be left largely untouched, and that there was no climate-friendly scenario in which any oil or gas could be drilled in the Arctic.
On the one hand, Obama makes deals with China; on the other hand, he allows Shell to drill in the Arctic.  How does McKibben reconcile the contradiction in Obama?
This is not climate denial of the Republican sort, where people simply pretend the science isn’t real. This is climate denial of the status quo sort, where people accept the science, and indeed make long speeches about the immorality of passing on a ruined world to our children. They just deny the meaning of the science, which is that we must keep carbon in the ground.
What liberals really like is a President they can call a "leftist."  Actually forcing the government to do something, however, is another issue for them.  We might say "hurray" when someone posts a global warming diary with lots of pretty videos on -- and we might even claim that we've "put pressure" upon our politicians to do something effective.  But as long as our backup position is "omigod Republicans," it's all hat and no cattle.

Here's how you pressure politicians within an authoritarian system like ours:

1) Form a voting bloc
2) Threaten to withhold your votes from your favorite politicians if they fail to carry out your agenda
3) Withhold votes from those who fail to carry out your agenda

Think we can do it if the planet is at stake?  Clinton takes gobs of money from oil interests.  What's your position?

Reposted from poli's pages by poligirl

Every May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. It is celebrated by raising awareness of the disease in the hopes of giving those who may be suffering with it some hope as well as provide opportunities for anyone to express support for those suffering with the disease.

fibro 5

So what exactly is Fibromyalgia? It sounds kinda funky, maybe even pretend? Isn't this some sort of cop-out for lazy people or people with hypochondria?

The answer to the above is a resounding NO!

Fibromyalgia is a largely misunderstood disease that afflicts anywhere from 2-6% of our population (depending on source), primarily women but there have been concerns that the gender disparity may be that men tend to under report pain and fatigue.

Follow me below for more...

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Summary: Yesterday we read the "OPOL report," which argued we have a "bullshit political system."  Today, with reference to a piece by Raul Ilargi Meijer in today's Naked Capitalism, I'm going to suggest that a bullshit political system is appropriate to a bullshit world economy.  Everything might look nice on the surface, but this is so because the managers of that surface are kept very busy polishing it and making it look clean and shiny and, well, unreal.  If you look hard enough, however, you can see the scary reality (symbolized by Ilargi's necrophiliac title) underneath.

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Property is theft. -- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will.  -- Frederick Douglass
So what white America told black America was: "Two hundred fifty years of slavery, ninety years of Jim Crow, maybe a few civil rights acts in the Sixties, and you're on your own! Enjoy discrimination and predatory policing!" I'm sure it was applied with the same banal foolishness with which white America applies corporal punishment to its children.

Does this sound like a fair deal to you?  And everyone's worried about a few broken windows?  

Back in June of last year we read a call for reparations from Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Let's be clear about what this is about: it's a call for reparation payments, to be issued to African-Americans, as restitution for slavery, Jim Crow, and institutional racism continued to the present day.  Coates' piece is great.  He updates the story of generation-after-generation white plunder and Black desperation from the era of slavery to the present day, in which, as Glen Ford put it:

Black America has plummeted to such economic depths... that there is no possibility of ever reaching economic parity with whites absent a social revolution, the beginnings of which we may be witnessing in the growing mobilization against brutal police enforcement of the oppressive social order.
Thus Baltimore, as Ferguson, as Florence and Normandie, and as Watts.
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Reposted from joe shikspack by joe shikspack

Back in 2013, in the aftermath of his murder of Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son, when Mr. Obama was trying to justify his arrogated powers to incinerate people with his fleet of flying death robots, he made certain assertions about the process by which he and his merry minions selected victims [bolding mine]:

First, there must be a legal basis for using lethal force, whether it is against a senior operational leader of a terrorist organization or the forces that organization is using or intends to use to conduct terrorist attacks.  

Second, the United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons. It is simply not the case that
all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.

Third, the following criteria must be met before
lethal action may be taken:

1) Near certainty that the terrorist target is present;

2) Near certainty that non - combatants will not be injured or killed;

3) An assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of the operation;

4) An assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S.
persons; and

5) An assessment that no other reasonable alternatives exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons.

Further on in the document Obama states:
These decisions will be informed by a broad
analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in
plots threatening U.S. persons.
Fast forward to 2015.

From recent news coverage:

The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity. ...

Conceding that the operation was not ordered against any individual targets, Earnest said the administration only discovered later that the compound was occupied by Weinstein, La Porto and another American named Ahmed Farouq, who the White House says was a “leader” of the terrorist group.

Farouq was not, however, the target of the operation. The drone strike was not targeted at known al-Qaida members; instead, it was directed against anyone in the vicinity of what the US believed was a compound being used by the terrorist group.

Here's one of today's headlines:

White House admits: we didn't know who drone strike was aiming to kill

Here's a little additional information:

The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday. ...

The two US civilians killed, longtime English-language propagandist Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq of al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, were not “high-value targets” marked for death, he confirmed.

What we have here is very strong evidence that at best Mr. Obama is operating in bad faith with the American people and at worst he is a devious liar.

The standards that he proclaimed in the document entitled "U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities" are nothing but a sham.

To wit: Obama did not know that the persons he incinerated posed "a continuing, imminent threat to US persons," Obama did not know to a "near certainty that the [or any] terrorist target [was] present," and one can only hope that he isn't lying that he did not know to a "near certainty that non - combatants will not be injured or killed."

Further, since Obama had no idea of who he was incinerating, it would be impossible to know whether they could have been captured, that the relevant authorities would not have cooperated in "effectively addressing the [unknown] threat" that the unknown persons posed, nor could Obama have known of any other reasonable alternatives existed.

There's good reason to wonder if Obama ever really knows who is present when he sends his flying death robots. Amy Goodman points out on Democracy Now:

Despite hundreds of hours of surveillance, the White House said it had no reason to believe the U.S. and Italian hostages were being detained in the al-Qaeda compound targeted during the operation.
It appears that the methods by which Obama collects information in order to verify to a "near certainty that non - combatants will not be injured or killed" is horribly unreliable and hence amounts to a violation of his stated standards. Frankly, if the intelligence that Obama collects "hundreds of hours of" is this poor, then there would seem to be no reasonable basis for his flying death robot attacks at all.

Regardless of whether use of the intelligence was negligent, it is quite plain that no "broad analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in plots threatening U.S. persons," was ever conducted, since of course, there was no intended target.

It's not like this, "let's blow some stuff up and see who we kill," is something new for Obama, though:

Secrecy, misdirection and lies have shielded much of the public from the realization that US drone strikes have killed countless civilians in the past decade

For years, the vast majority of drone strikes victims have never been positively identified as terrorists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has the most comprehensive data on drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, published a study last year showing only 12% of victims were identified as militants and only 4% were identified as members of al-Qaida. This study is backed up by the excellent reporting by McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, who gained access to years of classified CIA reports to show that the vast majority of drone strike victims were not high level terrorist operatives like the administration claimed.

And we know the government thinks it can kill US citizens overseas without a trial or even a finding by any independent body. Despite a clear public interest in knowing about such an extreme claim to power, the Justice Department has fought to keep its supposed legal authority for drone strikes on Americans completely secret.

When will there be accountability?
Unfortunately, members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee have been the biggest cheerleaders of drone strikes, rather than their biggest skeptics. ... If there’s ever going to be accountability for the CIA and military drone program, we need a fully independent commission, divorced from the intelligence committees. Without it, this controversy will just fade back into the background, where it will stay hidden under the government’s ever-expanding veil of secrecy.
Obama has irresponsibly used the vast powers that come with the office of President. His use of the fleet of flying death robots under his command is both a crime and a national disgrace.

To use an idiom that the President is known for, it is time for Americans to step up and take away the car keys.


OK, so first the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Nobody is allowed to see it, but it's going to pass.  The White House is working with Republicans on this one.

One of the things TPP will probably be able to do is that it will in all likelihood create an "Investor-State Dispute Settlement" mechanism, wherein state restrictions on business can be formulated as curbs on "investor rights," thus allowing for a sort of absolutist capitalism in which the unaccountable ISDS courts, staffed by corporate representatives, can continually rewrite the rules so as to create ever-expanding definitions of "investor rights."  Public Citizen:

There are no new safeguards that limit ISDS tribunals’ discretion to create ever-expanding interpretations of governments’ obligations to foreign investors and order compensation on that basis.The leaked text reveals the same “safeguard” terms that have been included in U.S. pacts since the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA tribunals have simply ignored the “safeguard” provisions that the leaked text replicates for the TPP, and have continued to rule against governments based on concocted obligations to which governments never agreed. The leaked text also abandons a safeguard proposed in the 2012 leaked TPP investment text, which excluded public interest regulations from indirect expropriation claims, stating, “non-discriminatory regulatory actions … that are designed and applied to achieve legitimate public welfare objectives, such as the protection of public health, safety and the environment do not constitute indirect expropriation.” Today’s leaked text eviscerates that clause by adding a fatal loophole that has been found in past U.S. pacts.
The trade deals will basically rewrite zoning and land-use law.  The TPP and other such deals will guarantee profits for multinational corporations.

Okay, so that's the TPP, and probably also the TTIP and a number of other deals.  (Meanwhile, the White House claims that Hillary Clinton is on board with all this.  There's nothing like good insurance.)  What does this have to do about abrupt climate change?

The sort of global governance which will be necessary to mitigate abrupt climate change is being reinforced, here -- but the rules are being written to give everyone global governance in the form of ironclad corporate hegemony, locking in profits for those who expect them, rather than in any form conducive to the medium-term future survival of planetary civilization.  

It's hard to imagine any of the signatories to these details being able to do anything about climate change besides buying a few solar panels and hoping for the best.  You know, without catching some adverse rulings from the ISDS courts.  It's definitely hard to imagine any sort of "keep the grease in the ground" strategy with the TPP and the TTIP in place.  Is that okay with everyone here?  

And once our system of global governance starts guaranteeing corporate profits, how far of a leap is it for them to guarantee profits for fossil fuel interests?


From the Huffington Post's Zach Carter:

Hillary Clinton Calls For 'Toppling' The 1 Percent
Hillary Clinton believes that strengthening the middle class and alleviating income inequality will require "toppling" the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, according to a New York Times profile published on Tuesday.
Okay, I've read the HuffPo piece, I've read the New York Times link, and I've read Matt Taibbi's analysis, which seems to me to be thorough.

So here is my take.  I'm not going to get into what this whole "topple the 1%" pitch says about Hillary Clinton here.  What's important about Clinton's call for "toppling," rather, is what it says about her mass public audience.  Clinton's mass public audience must really need a "leftist."  My link explains in full what I mean by a "leftist" here -- a "leftist" caters symbolically to "left-wing" demand, of course, but it's really up to an audience to define who is or isn't a "leftist."  For some very, very important reason, Clinton can't sell corporate conservatism to the mass public as the superior alternative to antipublic conservatism, and so she responds to that reason by presenting "leftism."

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Reposted from Pintlala by poligirl

Ohio Republicans are trying to strip Ohio public university faculty of union collective bargaining rights, with NO DEBATE, rammed through in a budget bill – all with the usual underhandedness of Scott Walker and the Teabaggers.  

This is genuinely urgent! PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL TONIGHT!

This will be voted on TOMORROW in committee, rammed through without debate, and before the public and most of the state know what's happening. And could mean that faculty union members will be stripped of their union rights within two weeks – because it's being snuck into a budget bill.

They will accomplish this by falsely declaring all faculty to be “management” if they are involved in any decision-making -- for even simple acts of choosing books or curriculum for courses!

FYI, I have been around on DKos for a long time, but work and family obligations have kept me from doing more than lurking for some time now; but this situation has motivated me to write my first diary in years. This is bullshit

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Dear Political Elites Elected Representatives,

This is my most heartfelt email.  Please consider it as if the fate of your souls were in the balance.

I know that you receive campaign donations from billionaires and "funding organizations" who consider you a much better investment than, say, actual productive capital, and that your fictions of a robust economic recovery are mighty.  I know that you'll respond to all of my concerns with small-time government programs which benefit people who make great photo-ops, and with glorious platitudes bearing little relation to actual policy.  And I know that I'm going to vote for you anyway, rather than be accused of disloyalty by those whose rallying cry for the past four decades was and is "omigod the other party!"

So why am I pleading before you today?  It's not really about any actual piece of legislation, because of course I'm not rich enough to influence policy.  And I know that your followers like to portray you as being vastly different than your buddies with that other, more sinister, (alphabet letter) next to their names.  Rather, I'm pleading before you today because my buddies need to see that I've maintained the appearance of "pressuring" you.  

You know of course that if I were actually to pressure you (without the scare-quotes), I'd threaten to withhold my vote for you unless and until you enacted my agenda.  But I have no such intentions because "omigod the other party."  Thus my unswerving party loyalty.  BUT REMEMBER THAT I REALLY ONLY LIKE THE COOL PEOPLE Y'KNOW.  You can be one of those people if you say some nice populist things now and then.

I am writing you today to remind you of the urgent necessity, impending with great immediacy now for over four decades, of a less evil politics than the one promised by that Party Whose Name Dare Not Be Enunciated Here.  We need to be sure that if anyone really asks penetrating questions about what "lesser evil" politics means, we can throw up a facade or two.  

This is especially important as regards the issue of abrupt climate change, where we must redouble our efforts to pretend continue to imagine that alternative energy will save capitalism and that restraining wealthier consumers a bit while letting the fossil fuel interests do what they want will solve the problem in its entirety.  We can't allow the climate deniers to have the upper hand on this issue (and we can't let them hog all the oil money, either)!

Got it?  Now go out there and do policy like you were the reincarnation of FDR or Lincoln or Gandhi or Nelson Mandela or someone like that.


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