Subscribe via RSS Feed

Class War: Yes Please

[ 168 ] July 17, 2014 |

I mostly agree with Harold Meyerson’s essay on the Democrats reaping a huge political opportunity by refocusing itself on class-based issues. While I might quibble with a couple of points (not sure FDR’s speechmaking is relevant plus it plays into green laternism), there’s a lot to suggest real political opportunities. Polls and demographics are a big part of this.

This spring, a prominent Democratic pollster sent a memo to party leaders and Democratic elected officials advising them to speak and think differently. The nation’s economy had deteriorated so drastically, he cautioned, that they needed to abandon their references to the “middle class,” substituting for those hallowed words the phrase “working people.” “In today’s harsh economic reality,” he wrote, “many voters no longer identify as middle class.”

How many voters? In 2008, a Pew poll asked Americans to identify themselves by class. Fifty-three percent said they were middle-class; 25 percent said lower-class. When Pew asked the same question this January, it found that the number who’d called themselves middle-class had shrunk to 44 percent, while those who said they were of the lower class had grown from 25 percent to 40 percent.

This is a big deal. It’s not often that Americans don’t identify as middle class. They will again at the first opportunity, with the political conservatism that comes with it. Taking advantage of this moment to build upon class discontent with real policy ideas is a good idea. Even if they can’t pass at the national level, they can in states and cities, and of course we are already seeing this with higher minimum wage legislation.

Then of course there is this:

The new base of the Democratic Party appears primed for such a change. The share of liberals in party ranks has swelled. In 2000, Gallup reports, 44 percent of Democrats identified as moderates, and 29 percent as liberals. Today, the share of moderates has dropped to 36 percent, while that of liberals has increased to 43 percent.

And this:

As with Latinos, so with millennials. A Pew survey of those young Americans from March of this year found them to be the only age group in which the number identifying as liberals (31 percent) exceeded the number calling themselves conservative (26 percent). Fifty-three percent of millennials preferred the bigger-government-with-more-services option, and just 38 percent the smaller.

One reason millennials lean left, of course, is that each successively younger cohort of Americans contains a larger share of Latinos (not to mention Asians and secularists). White millennials preferred the smaller government option by 52 percent to 39 percent, but millennials of color supported the bigger-government alternative by a hefty 71 percent to 21 percent margin.

But millennials’ left-leaning politics is also the result of their having borne the brunt of the economy’s dysfunctions. It’s disproportionately the young who have been saddled with a trillion dollars in student-loan debt. It’s millennials who have experienced the highest levels of unemployment. Nor is their employment anything to boast about: In 2012, 44 percent of young college graduates were employed in jobs that didn’t require a college degree.

Of course the Republican minority is doing whatever it can to stop any of this from turning into progressive political change, using gerrymandering, filibustering, and judicial extremism to push their reactionary agenda, all of which leads to the war on organized labor, the most class-based institution in American history. That this is an intentional program for them is obvious, as is the disfranchising of voters of color and the anti-immigrant politics. A plutocratic white supremacist nation is what Republicans want. Democrats need to recognize this for what it is and aggressively organize the vast majority left out of Republicans’ vision. Starting by supporting policies that would take riches from the wealthy, create job programs, and expand the welfare state would move us on that road. Unfortunately, President Obama is a big believer is the centrist economic policies of the late 20th century Democratic Party. Blowing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership is necessary here. Luckily, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi get this, if Obama doesn’t.

Share with Sociable

Shit, Meet Fan

[ 309 ] July 17, 2014 |

Damn.

A Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agency Interfax reported Thursday.
The jet is a Boeing 777, according to Interfax.
The plane reportedly went down near the border between Russia and Ukraine.

The only conclusion that I’m prepared to leap to is that this is going to stir up even more trouble than the last Malaysian jet that crashed. Russia and Ukraine are actively contesting this area, they both have surface-to-air missiles, Russian partisans have shot down several Ukrainian planes over the past weeks, and the Russian Air Force has reportedly been testing Ukrainian air space in recent days.

So, yeah. Should’ve taken the long way around.

Share with Sociable

Comment Section Changes: A Brief Q&A

[ 516 ] July 17, 2014 |

Rather than applying to a bunch individual comments, I thought I’d make a few points as we ponder changes to the comment section.

Q: Why change?

A: Trolls destroy potentially interesting comment threads.  Registration will not eliminate this problem but it will attenuate it.

Q: Why not delete troll comments?

A: In addition to time issues, since even the laziest pro forma trolling is guaranteed to immediately generate several comments deletions destroy comment threads by unraveling the threads.

Q: Why not disemvowel trolls/moderate comments?

A: Send me a check for $60 grand and we can consider this for a year.  Otherwise, I already have a full time job.

Q: Are you going to switch to Facebook commenting? That sounds horrible!

A: No.

Keep the feedback coming!

Share with Sociable

Getcher Hot Links

[ 6 ] July 17, 2014 |

Things to click on and possibly read:

Share with Sociable

Today in American Racism

[ 84 ] July 17, 2014 |

A little racism with your breakfast.

Some of the opposition has also bordered on the extreme. A few of the protesters who marched against a proposed shelter in Vassar, Mich., on Monday were armed with semiautomatic rifles and handguns. In Virginia, an effort to house the children at the shuttered campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville caused such an uproar that federal officials pulled out, even though a five-month lease had been signed. Someone spray-painted anti-immigrant graffiti on a brick wall at a former Army Reserve facility in Westminster, Md., that was being considered as a shelter site.

Some cities have raised health and security concerns. Northeast of Oyster Creek, League City passed a resolution opposing any shelters from opening even though the federal government had no plans to do so. The resolution claimed that “illegal aliens suffering from diseases endemic in their countries of origin are being released into our communities.”

It’s worth noting that it’s far from clear whether anything approaching a sizable amount of the American populace hold strong beliefs opposing these child immigrants. Rather, it seems to be just a small group of racists who already hate Obama and oppose immigration anyway. Still, the fact that this small group has the entire Republican congressional delegation at their fingertips does make it a problem. But I don’t see that Obama himself has anything to lose by going all the way on this and creating his own path here. When your enemies are fireeaters who would never pass any legislation on the issue that you might propose and you don’t have to face reelection, this is literally no downside to just ignoring them. This statement pretty much applies to the rest of Obama’s policy initiatives as well.

Share with Sociable

Comment Policy Changes

[ 210 ] July 17, 2014 |

A reliable maxim of the blogosphere is that no one likes change. In particular, no one likes changes to comment procedures, even as comment procedures produce one of the most reliable sources of complaint from, well, commenters.

You can probably see where this is going. We are considering a significant change to LGM’s commenting system, which would be to require registration under the current WordPress format. This would preserve existing comments while also limiting the worst trolling (and troll-hunting) behaviors.

This should be considered a thread for open discussion of this proposed change. I should note, however, that we are leaning heavily in this direction, at least for a trial period. Let us know what you think. Feel free to contact us privately, as well.

Share with Sociable

It turns out that criticizing a law professor for publishing a bad law review article isn’t actually a violation of professional ethics

[ 87 ] July 17, 2014 |

Last fall Nancy Leong, a University of Denver law professor, decided to file a formal bar complaint against Dybbuk, a public defender and occasional scamblogger, on the basis of the claim that criticizing some of her writing in three blog posts and a handful of thread comments over a 14-month period constituted cyber-harassment. Not surprisingly, this claim ended up going nowhere, but not before Dybbuk was forced to spend several months and a significant amount of money defending himself against the administrative equivalent of a SLAPP suit.

While it’s heartening to see Leong’s attempt to silence a critic through frivolous quasi-litigation fail, it’s sobering to consider how easily legal and administrative processes can be abused in this fashion (See, for example, this “apology” extracted by the egregious Thomas M. Cooley School of Law from a cyber-critic).

Share with Sociable

“Sex Demons”

[ 144 ] July 16, 2014 |

If you  enjoy bad things happening to bad people as much as I do, you should be following the implosion of the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, which began a couple of years ago but has really picked up steam in 2014. More and more former members are going public about their bizarre and abusive treatment at the hands of Driscoll and co. The bad publicity from the twin plagiarism and use of church money to pay for NYT best seller list manipulation didn’t help, but the creepy and abusive treatment of followers seems to be the main mover here as the money is drying up and layoffs are taking place, and Driscoll is ordering his followers to stay off the internet.

For many years I lived a few blocks away from his flagship location, during the Church’s baffling, depressing growth. Once, on a drunken bar boast, I went to see one of his sermons, and was completely unprepared for the depths of misogyny he packed into his rambling 75 minute sermon. At any rate, the purpose of this post is to recommend Stacey Solie’s longform piece in Crosscut, from which I learn “Sex Demons” is more than just a deep album cut from the third Spinal Tap record:

Blogger Matthew Paul Turner has posted another disturbing account by another exile of Mars Hill, a woman who under the psuedonym “Amy” describes what it was like to get marital advice from Driscoll.

“Once, when I shared with Mark that I felt neglected in my marriage, he told [me] that I was being a nagging wife and that I needed to suck it up. That was something Mark preached about a lot — the nagging wife.”

Later, Driscoll told her and her husband that she was beset by sex demons.

“Mark stared hard at Amy and began yelling questions at her ‘sex demons’. His fierce glare seemed to look past her as he screamed his questions at her face. He asked the demons what their names were. He asked them about sex. He asked them about Amy’s past sexual sins. He asked them about Amy’s current lustful thoughts. He asked them if they were planning to destroy marriages in his church. And then he asked whose marriages were they planning to destroy and how.

 

Share with Sociable

Why Do All These Gay Guys Keep Sucking Rod Dreher’s Cock?

[ 244 ] July 16, 2014 |

Rod Dreher is confused. NO. Stop right there with your mean, snarky thoughts. I mean, he’s confused as to why he can’t oppress gay people because there are so few of them. I, for one, like this logic. There’s only one Rod Dreher…why can’t I go find him and punch him square in the face? Provided I can find him, as I imagine he’s hiding from gay people as I type this.

Share with Sociable

Bottled Water

[ 173 ] July 16, 2014 |

In the best of situations, bottled water is an idiotic industry in the United States given the safety of municipal water supplies. This is not the best of situations:

Nestlé may bring smiles to the faces of children across America through cookies and chocolate milk. But when it comes to water, the company starts to look a little less wholesome. Amid California’s historically grim drought, Nestlé is sucking up an undisclosed amount of precious groundwater from a desert area near Palm Springs and carting it off in plastic bottles for its Arrowhead and Pure Life brands.

The Desert Sun reports that because Nestlé’s water plant in Millard Canyon, Calif., is located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation, the company is exempt from reporting things like how much groundwater it’s pumping, or the water levels in its wells.

From The Desert Sun:

The plant … has been drawing water from wells alongside a spring in Millard Canyon for more than a decade. But as California’s drought deepens, some people in the area question how much water the plant is bottling and whether it’s right to sell water for profit in a desert region where springs are rare and underground aquifers have been declining.

Obviously the particulars here are complex given that there is a deal between Nestle and the Morongo, but the broader point is that this bottled water industry exists in a space without any knowledge from consumers about where the water comes from and it often comes from unsustainable sources in drought-prone areas. There is no good reason for it.

Share with Sociable

“And, In Conclusion, KU’s Teams Will Now Be Known As the Kansas Reagans.”

[ 158 ] July 16, 2014 |

Shorter Sam Brownback: “My crazy Democratic opponent thinks that raising taxes is a way to solve the disastrous fiscal meltdown caused by the tax cuts I favored. But everyone knows this solution is insufficiently Reagan because Reagan, and in addition Reagan. Note: this “Reagan” bears no resemblance to the actual Reagan.”

Share with Sociable

Unvarnished Greed

[ 100 ] July 16, 2014 |

I am sure am glad NBA superstars have to accept a maximum value contract worth far less than their actual worth. After all, how could impoverished NBA owners pay them those salaries, what with only likely getting $15 billion in television rights fees?

Share with Sociable
Page 60 of 1,888« First...1020305859606162708090...Last »