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Sonali Kolhatkar at Truthdig writes Despite the Sad State of American Politics, Rep. Raul Grijalva Is Optimistic—Here’s Why:

These days it’s easy to be jaded by our political system. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has made it easier than ever for the fabulously wealthy to buy democracy with the McCutcheon v. FEC ruling. Income inequality is higher than it has ever been and yet we can’t even get a federal minimum wage increase. Prominent older white men feel comfortable expressing their naked racism while a young white man backed by conservative interests denies the existence of white privilege in an essay that goes viral. A woman is convicted of assaulting an officer after she herself was groped and beaten by police.

It’s enough to depress a progressive.

So why is Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva so optimistic? In an interview on Uprising, he told me, “We [progressives] are too used to losing. Pretty soon we’re going to have to get used to winning.”

He explained, “We shouldn’t be wringing our hands right now. We’re on the cusp of something very important, where public opinion wants to end wage disparity, where public opinion believes that climate change is real and we have to do something about it, that we need a path to citizenship and immigration reform, that the minimum wage has to be raised and we need to create jobs.” Looking at the big picture, Grijalva was sure that “public opinion feels that our democracy is in a bad place because the rich are running it. These are all public opinions on our [progressive] side of the equation.”

Grijalva is the co-chair, with Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Given the relentless battles being fought by both major parties over budgetary allocations, the CPC decided to give up on the notion that a progressive budget would pass either of the two houses of Congress or even find strong support within the Democratic Party. So instead of attempting to reach a compromise with Republicans, the caucus authored what it calls the Better Off Budget, a document that embodies bread-and-butter progressive values that are also popular among mainstream Americans. […]

The financial plan stands in stark contrast to one that recently passed the House, authored by tea party darling Congressman Paul Ryan, who chairs the Budget committee.

Grijalva didn’t hold back in his characterization of Ryan’s budgetary vision, saying, “The concentration of wealth in this country, the oligarchy that controls the money and now the democratic process, and the huge role that the private sector and corporate America plays in the future of America are once again anointed by the Ryan budget.” […]

So how does someone like Grijalva survive in an atmosphere increasingly ruled by conservative and moneyed interests? He survives because, in his own words, “the force of community can push our agenda.” Grijalva told me he eventually realized “that my politics were not going to prevail—even within my own party.” Together with Ellison, he “made a decision three years ago that we were going to be more external than we’re going to be internal—that when we pushed an item in Congress, allied community organizations were going to know about it, and it was their responsibility to let their people know.”

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2012Right-wing memo urges creation of bogus grassroots effort to undermine support for wind energy:

Billionaire money at work: Right-wingers are being urged to cooperate to trash President Obama's clean energy plans. The approach specifies an attack on wind turbines and provides a list of suggested approaches. So says  The Guardian after viewing a confidential memorandum edited by John Droz Jr., a senior fellow at the American Tradition Institute. Senior fellow and climate-change denier.

Droz is a long-time anti-wind activist who claims the technology is unsound and the benefits non-existent. This no doubt will come as a surprise to Iowans, whose state generated 19 percent of its electricity with wind turbines in 2011.

Droz has repeatedly urged anti-wind activists to develop an "effective National PR Plan." The memo, which has been seen by reporters at The Guardian and Stephen Lacey at Think Progress, seems to be the blueprint for such a plan. ATI claims it has no connection to the memo. That may be so, but it sounds precisely like something it would produce having for years been in the business of climate-change denial, attacking state-level efforts at building renewable energy infrastructure and trashing environmental controls.

Tweet of the Day:

Rouhani vows victory over Iran's hawks as nuclear deadline nears - Reuters Africa

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, this morning's flurry: Romney backs minimum wage hike. The Feds are looking into the Cowchella crowd. NYC to turn derelict public phones into Wi-Fi network. UberX drivers protest management squeeze. A third turkey hunter is accidentally shot in four days in Missouri. The open carry protesters who freaked out a Texas Jack-in-the-Box have been booted from Open Carry Texas, but isn't the real villain liberal elitism? The latest Bonkersghazi "smoking gun" hinges on a word game that Trey Gowdy has himself played before. Fundraising with it? That's a meh. The 5 stages of Gop grief. An opening look at "Entrepreneurs Are The New Labor."

High Impact Posts. Top Comments. Overnight News Digest

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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