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Screaming Trees -- "All I Know"

Welcome to the weekly Tuesday open thread for policy discussions by DK Elections regulars. While the main Daily Kos Elections blog, an official subsite of Daily Kos, is strictly a policy free zone for discussions of politics and elections only, it can sometimes be hard not to bring up policy issues when talking about particular candidates or topics. In addition, some of us might like to have a thoughtful discussion with other regular commenters at DKE on issues of policy when most of what we usually talk about pertains to elections. Thus, this open thread and the new group blog Daily Kos Elections: Policy will provide a forum to talk about issues without derailing DKE Live Digests for those who just want election coverage and debate. Feel free to follow this group and if you would like to publish a diary to the group blog page, just PM me about becoming a contributor.

So what issues are you interested in talking about? It appears that Syria is still the topic du jour and likely will be for some time.

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Comment Preferences

  •  While obviously the Syria issue (0+ / 0-)

    is consuming a lot of conservation, I still find myself more engaged in issues closer to home here in Ohio, especially the attacks on women and the attacks on public schools. I am disturbed and concerned about the arrogance with which our sate elected officials are going about crushing the autonomy and freedom of women. Ignoring the outcry after stuffing last-minute anti-choice issues into he budget bill with no hearings or discussion, they have moved on to even more outrageously restrictive measures — which they announced a a press conference showcasing the Duggar Family. Although he state GOP tried to mock me for saying this on my blog, it's a clear signal that this is their vision of women in Ohio — to be the Duggar family.

    Their starving of the public schools in order to feed the insatiable maw of failing for-profit junk schools whose operators make big donations o the Ohio GOP is of equal concern to me.

    I don't know what we are protecting anywhere in the world if we don't educate our kids and if we make women chattel.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

    by anastasia p on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:31:04 AM PDT

    •  The most frightening thing is that Ohio (0+ / 0-)

      looks downright sane in comparison to other Republican controlled swing/blue states. There was an article in our local Raleigh paper today about how there are expected to be 20 new charter schools in the Raleigh area alone and 125 statewide by 2015! Republicans are also trying to reinstitute an end to busing as they did from 2009 until they were thrown out of office in Wake County in 2011. No problem, they just had the legislature gerrymander the school board districts in the county.

      We also pay our public school teachers something like the 47th lowest salary in the nation and they just recently moved to avoid paying teachers with masters degrees more. Why would anyone with a college degree go into teaching public school to make just $32k a year, no possibility of getting tenure, no expectation of job security? The cost of my college alone went up $5,000 or over 25% in four years.

      •  charter schools? (0+ / 0-)

        We have a lot of those here in uber-blue California. I wouldn't use that as an example of right-wing extremism.

        SSP poster. 44, CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

        by sacman701 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:25:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're somewhat innocuous by themselves (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but the problem is that it essentially leads to schools being segregated by race and class in places like Wake County NC. I would be much more comfortable with charters in a liberally governed state, but here it's frightening that public funding is going to go to schools where the curriculum and teaching methods will be laxly regulated by the people who just recently passed a bill that requires schools to intentionally mislead students about abortion... They also end up being essentially what is a brain drain on the local public school system in a feedback loop designed to make the public schools as crappy as possible with the lowest quality students.

          While this may not be the case everywhere in the state, such that school systems that are relatively homogeneous won't be screwed more than they already are, it will really hurt poor and minority students in socioeconomically diverse areas such as Raleigh while not really doing that much to improve education for the students whose families are better off.

  •  My short list, not necessarily in order: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    - Immigration reform, preferably the Dream Act
    - Repeal of the Patriot Act
    - New transparency laws, some redacted public summary of FISC rulings needs to be put in place
    - FISC reform, institute an adversary into the court process
    - Break up the big banks and full restoration of Glass Steagall
    - New law to protect voting rights
    - Legalization of cannabis
    - Total elimination of COPS grants and practice of providing aged military hardware to police departments
    - Law de-militarizing local police (not sure how that'd work, but I want the debate)
    - Revocation of seizure laws
    - IRS reform; taxing of churches
    - Formal Net Neutrality Act
    - Outlaw SWAT-like teams for civil agencies like FDA and IRS, require them to get court approval for use of FBI teams

    I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

    by pajoly on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:49:23 AM PDT

  •  Syria. There's plenty of reasons to be (0+ / 0-)

    skeptical of this latest diplomatic proposal, but if it succeeded, it could be big.

    The main criticism of it from the right seems to be that Obama is ceding too much power to Russia and Syria.

    But the reality is unless we want to put thousands of troops in harm's way in Syria, to find, secure and destroy the CW, then I think this is the only other option.

    Ironically, this move only happened because of the threat of military action. If that fades, it will be interesting to see if Assad is still willing to move forward.

    It may be that Obama will still need an AUMF at some point in the future if this proposal falters. Hopefully, he would have a stronger case to make then, for a strike, but it would still be difficult to get votes.

    •  I think there is a lot going on behind the scenes (0+ / 0-)

      that many on the left aren't assuming is going on or just want to ignore; for instance I can't believe Obama would have put the vote to Congress if he truly thought that the only consequence would have been authorization for a strike. If he wanted to do so, he could have ordered our forces to do it anyway, and there have clearly been reactions to the potential for a congressional vote that wouldn't have happened otherwise, case in point this new offer from Russia.

      That still doesn't mean liberals and Democrats don't have good reasons for not wanting to use military force and I find myself in agreement with them, but I really wish people (ahem many on the main site) who are ready to vilify the president without at least giving him the benefit of the doubt that yes, he's a smart man and knows what he's doing. Instead there have been endless pie fights there on the subject and comparisons of Obama to Cheney... Seriously?

      At the very least this whole saga has shown Republicans to be utterly shameless hypocrites. If this were president McCain or Romney they'd either A) have most likely already gotten involved without Congress or B) be falling over themselves to support it in Congress and calling Democrats un-American if they didn't support it as happened with Iraq.

      I'm cautiously optimistic about what will happen, though sadly not for the Syrian people themselves since really only regime change/partition is going to resolve the civil war in anything resembling fairness.

    •  I have a question about Syria (0+ / 0-)

      It's about this deal with Russia and Syria that Syria will give up its chemical weapons to an international group.

      It seems kind of suspicious to me that Russia agreed to support this so quickly and so easily. Russia knew that if we agreed to this, then the chances of our striking Syria would diminish significantly.

      So, to me, it seems like Russia was trying to get us to not strike Syria by agreeing to this.

      But my question is, why? Why does Russia care whether we strike Syria or not? I get that Russia is allied with Assad, but it's not like our strikes would have killed or harmed Assad. It seems kind of un-Putin-like for Putin to care about the lives of civilians, so there must be some other reason that I am missing.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:49:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a good question (0+ / 0-)

        I think part of it might be that any strike on Syria would weaken the Assad regime, even if it didnt directly tip the balance to the opposition. That would create more instability, which would be bad news for Assad and thus for Russia.

      •  Russia (0+ / 0-)

        They care because they have military bases there, and US bombing would weaken the Assad regime and increase the chance of an anti-Russian regime coming to power that would kick them out, reducing Russian influence in the region.

        SSP poster. 44, CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

        by sacman701 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:29:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So I've been thinking about clean energy (0+ / 0-)

    And how moronic my Republican-controlled state government is for not promoting it. We get a crapload of sun (and for that matter, wind), this isn't a hard question. We aren't a Northern European nation that gets very little sun; we should have more than 3% of our energy made from solar, wind, and geothermal sources. Excuse my language, but we should be a badass at clean energy here in Utah!

     Regardless of environmental effects (though it would help with our terribly unhealthy and dirty air), we could create a metric crapton of jobs, we could modernize our image (as a forward-thinking state), and save our local lands. For goodness sake, the LDS Church is putting solar panels on new buildings and making them energy efficient, why can't the state government make it easier for the rest of us to do that?

    But no. Coal and oil (and natural gas to a lower extent) rule the land, the legislators, and the governor. Wyoming is kicking our butts on clean energy.

    Sorry for being less analytical and more angry, but it's been bugging me for a while. I'm not even a environmentalist, I just like the technological, jobs-related, and aesthetic of clean energy. Cleaning the environment is a wonderful and needed thing, but ultimately a secondary benefit to me.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 12:10:33 AM PDT

  •  regarding bjssp's assertion that guns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stephen Wolf, bjssp

    are more of a life and death issue than collective bargaining. I may agree that more voters see it that way, but otherwise I can't agree, for two reasons.

    First, there was far more violence in the period before collective bargaining rights were gained from workers trying to get their unions recognized and their employer to negotiate with them on a collective basis than there has been violence over the 2nd amendment, as far as I know. In terms of whether people have been involved in violence to protect or strengthen their rights collective bargaining has seen much more in the US.

    Second, the reason for that is because in the period before collective bargaining many workers were essentially wage slaves tied to their jobs because they were desperate for work, or because they were paid in credit at the company store, because they had to work 10-16 hour days and 6 day weeks for a pittance, as did everyone in the family, and they had to accept whatever terms the employer wanted or look for other work at whatever terms the employer wanted. We had very little regulation of employment because at the time it was thought to erode the freedom of contract, which was seen as sacrosanct. We have a lot more protection since then, and a lot of that is because of the people who fought and struggled to get their unions recognized, and elected sympathetic politicians who passed laws, and finally judges who stopped striking regulations down. Workers'/employees' rights are about survival no less than guns are.  I would argue they are more important, outside of a war or lawless society, for freedom from slavery.

    People don't see things that way anymore because we are so removed from that period when workers had to fight for their rights to be recognized, so it may be a perception among voters that guns are more essential than collective bargaining rights, but as we see collective bargaining rights being stripped away, there will be other workplace protections that are eliminated as well. We still have people on the other side who believe that freedom of contract should be sacrosanct and who would bring us back to a society like we had in the late 1800s. They've been pushing back ever since we passed the NLRB and other protections and won't be satisfied until owners are dominant again.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 11:03:02 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for this response. (0+ / 0-)

      Again, I support collective bargaining, but I think there are much more severe problems in the more immediate term. That's me. I suspect others, including many union members who are much less engaged and passionate about certain things, are indifferent to this. As I said earlier, they like the union, but life goes on if it's not there. They might not realize what they are running the risk of listing, but that doesn't mean the loss of the union has some sort of huge and immediate impact--certainly in some cases, but not in all, and especially not in the public sector for people like teachers, which is where a lot of these battles are being fought.

      You're definitely right to bring up historical parallels, but I think we're a long way off from violence being the norm when it comes to dealing with management/labor disputes, even if unions erode even more than they have. I suspect it's much more likely that protections can be eroded, but I expect the pendulum to swing back in the opposite direction at some point. That's not to say it will be smooth, only that it's not always going to seem like a losing battle.

      I've brought up these seemingly disparate points before, but simply put, we should seriously consider acting like Walker, et al and just reverse what they have done and/or try to implement new rights when possible, particularly in states like CO, VA, and so on, where we can establish a new beachhead.

      I felt like there was more I had to say about this, but I guess that's mostly it for now. Except for this, which I've been meaning to share with you for some time*. There's a somewhat radical idea of a more laissez-faire attitude toward labor market regulations as far as union organizing goes. As the guesst blogger at the link suggests, an AFL-CIO official said that management and labor could duke it out "mano a mano." There's a quite bit to think about, much of it beyond my limited knowledge, but I thought I'd pass it along because the idea of making labor more disruptive is interesting, although as the link says, there's no guarantee it'd be successful.

      *Did you block my messages? I sent you something asking about Michigan and never heard a response. I figured you're just busy, but I didn't know if I did something to piss a few people off.

      "At this point, if the president came out in favor of breathing, [Republican leaders would] tell their caucus members to hold their breaths."--Jared Bernstein

      by bjssp on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 11:22:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't respond because (0+ / 0-)

        yes I've been busy and the answer is that I don't know what you're asking. It's something either of us could look up, though.

        I don't think anything libertarian or laissez-faire is generally a good idea 99% of the time. The gilded age was like that in terms of labor relations, and that wasn't a good time for the vast majority of people.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 11:33:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

          it's probably better as a pie in the sky proposal, sure, and you'd obviously need some basic protections that cover everyone that are unrelated to organizing, like we have now. There's also not all that much stopping people from doing this sort of thing now, I guess, but if it were to become more normal, it'd be much more of a threat, and relations might be less hostile as a result.

          As far as Michigan, I was asking if you had anything insiderish that you could tell me. I know a bunch of your family members are involved in union activities, and I figured you might have information that wasn't in the press.

          "At this point, if the president came out in favor of breathing, [Republican leaders would] tell their caucus members to hold their breaths."--Jared Bernstein

          by bjssp on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 11:53:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  my stepmother (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            is an organizer and her union sent her to Michigan in 2011 (she's from Flint), but I haven't heard anything about it since then that wasn't in the news.

            ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

            by James Allen on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 11:55:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  What can we do in New York City to push things (0+ / 0-)

    to the left? It looks like we will soon have a mayor, in Mr. de Blasio, who has embraced progressives to a greater degree in this election than he has in the past (not that there's anything wrong with that!). So I think issues-wise, this is something of a golden opportunity for the left in the city to put loads of pressure on him, since he is so pressurable. Right now I'm thinking of course a $15 minimum wage, much lower MTA rates, free CUNY education, clean energy stuff... but what am I not thinking of; what else can we do?

    "Pillows, but no sleep / Feathers, but no birds." | Pro-transit young black urban progressive | SSP/DKE | -9, -7.79 | NJ-05 - ! | Yard signs don't vote.

    by gabjoh on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:42:44 AM PDT

  •  California just passed min. wage hike (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redrelic17, jj32, Skaje

    Goes up to $9 in July and $10 at the start of 2016. Jerry Brown will sign the bill tomorrow. The minimum wage hasn't gone up since 2008.

    29, M, Swingnut, CA-38 resident. Chairman of the DKE Ginger Left-handed caucus. Huge Angels, Lakers, Bruins, Kings, Galaxy fan. Follow me on Twitter: @Artesialove

    by uclabruin18 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:42:46 PM PDT

    •  Great news. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am a little surprised that Governor Jerry Brown will sign such a measure, but Mayor Vincent Gray of DC will veto. DC's bill was a bit hypocritical since it only raised wages of the employees of big business. But I was appalled by Gray's excuse that it would kill jobs.

      If you have a business and you pay something less than a living wage, you are not a businessman, but a slaveowner. Businessmen get respect when they invent a new product/service and then pay loyal employees enough to live a middle class life. That is what makes (small) businessmen heroes.

      Democrats and progressive have been labeled anti-business, and have internalized many of these insults. It's wrong. Small business is the lifeblood of Democracy. Small business includes the healthy, human element over the soul-crushing helplines and expert PR of big business. The right's conception of business is sick and twisted.

      So if Walmart, etc. cannot pay their employees a living wage (and we know they can), then they do not deserve to be in business relying on government subsidies like they do. And for those arguments about teenagers working at McJobs, I say that teenagers should not be working those jobs at all ideally. They should be out doing homework, playing sports, birdogging chicks/dudes. Any activity is less harmful than working a McJob. There is nothing worthwhile to gain at a McJob other than a little money. Students for a New American Politics!

      by redrelic17 on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 06:38:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's fantastic news (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      redrelic17, uclabruin18

      Dems who hold the trifecta absolutely should be passing increases like this.  They poll amazingly well, in addition to being good policy.

  •  Hard to see Larry Summers being selected as (0+ / 0-)

    Fed Chair.

    Three Dems on the Senate Banking Committee have said they will vote against him in committee(Tester, Brown, Merkley). That means he would need three Rs to support him just to get out of committee. This doesnt include Warren, who is also on the committee, and says she has serious questions about Summers.

    I doubt they will find much support among the GOP. McConnell will likely be a no whoever is nominated, and Cornyn has said he will vote against Summers.

    WH said today the President hasnt made a decision and John Harwood of CNBC said an announcement will NOT be made this week.

    Even if Syria and the CR/debt ceiling work out well for the president, however you want to define that, I dont think they need a contentious Fed chair fight.

    •  Yellen really seems no different (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know why Dems are so strongly against Summers and pro-Yellin here.  I'm pretty confident that if Summers was Pres Obama's choice and he's being blocked from it, that he might not nominate Summers for the fight it would bring, but Yellen will not get the spot either to spite the progressive wing who came out in strong support of Yellen and blocked Summers.  

      If Summers is nominated I suspect Pres Obama will dare Dems to block and tell them who his second choice will be - and it will be somebody worse than Summers policy wise.

      Pres Obama trusts Summers - Clintons trust Summers.  GOP doesn't want Summers because they see him as too political and the feeling is he'll do everything in his power to make sure Clinton is elected in 2016.  

      If the progressive senators wanted Yellen they should have kept quiet on her name and instead just came out against Summers, or floated somebody more progressive than Yellen as their choice to give Pres Obama the out to choose the easy out in Yellen.  

      With the prog wing coming out strong for Yellen, it makes the GOP case easier to filibuster her potential nomination citing she's obviously too far left in her monitary thinking if Warren and Brown are cheerleading for her.   So if Pres Obama folds on Summers and nominates Yellen and GOP block Yellen - now he lost his two top choices.  

      Nominate Summers and see which side blocks - GOP might figure he's better than Obama's second choice, and Dems could figure, okay we tried - but if we're seen as blocking Obama's nominee he'll nominate somebody more hawkish in IR and friendly to banks to win GOP votes.  

      Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers -

      by Jacoby Jonze on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 08:57:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also to add... (0+ / 0-)

      Pres Obama could horse trade on Fed Chair choice in the upcoming budget talks.  If he needs prog wing to vote on something ugly he could give them Yellen in return.  He could be using Summers as the stick of sorts,  he needs to make everybody believe he's choosing Summers so when he doesn't he can get concessions from them for "caving" to their pressure.  

      Timing lines up in that the CR and Debt ceiling issues come to head in the next few weeks - Pres can hold off on naming Fed Chair until after agreements on those issues.  

      Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers -

      by Jacoby Jonze on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 09:02:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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