"The end of identity liberalism"?

Bumped, for glory. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Columbia professor Mark Lilla argues in the NYT “One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end.”

He continues:

A convenient liberal interpretation of the recent presidential election would have it that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage — the “whitelash” thesis. This is convenient because it sanctions a conviction of moral superiority and allows liberals to ignore what those voters said were their overriding concerns. It also encourages the fantasy that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run — which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps. The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become.

An alternate interpretation is that while 2016 may indeed mark the end of “identity liberalism,” or at least its decline despite capturing a majority of votes (thanks, Electoral College!), it also marks the success of “identity conservativism” after the victory of an explicitly racist and sexist candidate. (As a point of reference with respect to Latinos, an estimated 79 percent voted for Clinton). In other words, the biggest identity group exploited an explicitly anti-democratic system it created to cling to power.

What do you think?

Draining the swamp

Nice. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Donald Trump famously promised, during his campaign, to “drain the swamp” of Washington DC. Various reports like this suggest that he is instead surrounding himself with alligators (emphasis mine):

Trump taps into DeVos family to head education.

The DeVos family, heirs to the Amway fortune, has long been a leading source of money for Republicans in Michigan and beyond. Just in the last three elections before 2016, members of the family gave nearly $9.5 million to party committees and candidates.

Mrs. DeVos had money of her own before she married Richard DeVos Jr., the Amway scion. Her father, Edgar Prince, built his own auto parts supplier, in Holland, Mich. Her brother, Erik Prince, founded Blackwater USA, a private security contractor whose guards were convicted of killing 14 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

So in just one appointment, Mr. Trump has returned to his pyramid-scheme roots and his love of torture. We heard a lot about “Trump University” during the campaign. We did not hear as much about another Donald Trump fraud, the Trump Network. The family that Ms. DeVos married into succeeded where Mr. Trump failed — Amway at least sells real (even if mediocre) products in its pyramid scheme.

Blackwater, as the NYTimes piece points out, was the consulting firm that earned handsome profits from torture. Their reputation was so bad that they’ve had to change their name not just once (to “Xe”) but twice — most recently to “Academi”.

Long a proponent of private school vouchers. Ms. Devos will supplement Mr. Trump’s outreach to his white racist supporters, as she does all in her power to destroy public education and replace it with private (and of course, all-white) schools.

Time to Look Into the Mirror

Obama's punt on re-regulation of Wall Street and prosecution of malfeasance there, and Clinton's six-figure speeches to bankers etc. undoubtedly played a role in her defeat. Then again, it's not as if Democratic candidates in the mold of Sanders weren't also defeated this year. Zephyr Teachout, for example, got crushed 55-45 in New York. - promoted by Bob_Neer

From the Washington Post, November 23rd : How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them?

Democrats are taking a “we told you so” approach to this, I guess to feel better about their numerous losses over the years.  As Bernie said ”When you lose the White House to the least popular candidate in the history of America, when you lose the Senate, when you lose the House, and when two-thirds of governors in this country are Republicans, it is time for a new direction.” Yes, it’s time to go in a new direction and that direction is not pointing our fingers at Republican voters and laughing about how they’ve been scammed.

It’s time to look into the mirror and admit we’ve been scammed, all of us, women, men, all races, of all ethnic heritage, all of us who are working class, all laborers.  We’ve been scammed by both parties.  Maybe labor class Republicans realized that the establishment candidates have been scamming them and that’s why they ditched their “favorite son” Jeb Bush even before the Carolina primary.  Maybe that’s why they figured, what the hell, let’s roll the dice with a complete outsider.

We Democrats did not act with such boldness, maybe because we still hold onto hope that our establishment candidates will, like trickle down, deliver prosperity with job training and education.  Trickle down, job training, all the same “wait and see, it will work soon, real soon” approach that either party has used to put off our demands for another year as we wait.  Republicans stopped waiting.

Without regard to who has been in the White House median household income continues to stagnate  In 1990, it was $52,684, twenty five years later in 2015, it’s $56,516.  But let’s take a look at CEO wages.  In that same period, CEO wages went from $2.7 Million to over $16 Million.  By the way, in 16 of those years, Democrats controlled the White House.

Both partied have scammed the working class.  If Trump does not deliver (and I can’t see how he can), will Democrats take this the next step and elect a real populist candidate with a real commitment to the working class without regard to race, sex, or national origin?  Or will we continue to mock the Republicans who “got played” while we keep telling ourselves that we have not?

 

 

The truth about the future of coal workers

What will happen in Appalachia? - promoted by hesterprynne


Industrial plant in Buchanan County, VA.

The New York Times yesterday (19-November-2016) published a piece detailing the truth about the future of coal workers. Titled “A Bleak Outlook for Trump’s Primises to Coal Miners”, it is worth a read for those truly concerned about coal workers in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

From the piece (emphasis mine):

The United States coal industry and the jobs that support it have been in decline for decades as a result of environmental concerns, automation in mining and slowdowns in manufacturing industries that burned coal for power.

And these days, no matter who is president, coal is at the mercy of market economics. Coal’s No. 1 rival is cheap, cleaner-burning natural gas — which could become an even more potent competitor under the incoming administration. The probable easing of restrictions on pipeline building and loosening of rules on gas exploration and production would mean more natural gas reaching the market.

I don’t think the Trump presidency will have a material impact on bringing coal miners back to work,” said Ted O’Brien, a coal analyst at Doyle Trading Consultants, a leading energy industry research firm.

The bleak outlook for coal may explain why some of the industry’s executives have been reluctant to comment on how the Trump presidency may help their business: They may be wary of raising false hopes among their workers. And many may be reluctant to repeat past industry arguments that climate change was a hoax. Instead, coal producers would rather have tax incentives to support environmental improvements for coal-fired plants, as a way to ensure coal’s long-term viability even beyond a Trump administration.

Beyond the declining demand for coal, there has been an even more fundamental factor behind the shift in coal mining employment, which peaked decades ago. As with those in many industries, jobs in mining have fallen victim to automation. High-tech shears can now shave coal from underground seams — work that formerly required hundreds of miners. Surface mining, which has been increasing in recent years, has also replaced many workers with heavy machinery.

As a result, there are now just over 50,000 jobs in the American coal mining industry, down from a peak of more than 250,000 in 1980.

The industry is simply not going to produce the number of jobs that were historically available in the coal fields,” said Patrick C. McGinley, a law professor at West Virginia University, who focuses on coal issues.

Other marginal measures the Trump administration might be able to take on coal’s behalf, industry executives say, include rolling back the rules that protect streams from surface mining and easing those for leases and royalties on coal mined on federal lands.

Here's a great opportunity for outreach...

"Let's party like it's 1933!!" (h/t WaPo) - promoted by hesterprynne

Here is a group of Trump voters, expressing their economic insecurity and deep frustration at being forcibly compelled to listen to NPR. I would have thought that the inability to change their radio dial to “AM” would have been because of the grievous injuries done to their hands by liberal enemies of the working class, but gee those right hands they are raising seem pretty healthy.

Water Cannons turned on water protectors in 25 degree weather tonight [11/20/16]

Meanwhile...in North Dakota. Anybody remember this happening to the Bundy's? - promoted by hesterprynne

BREAKING STORY 11/20/16: STATEMENT FROM DALLAS GOLDTOOTH WHO PROVIDED THIS PHOTO: “Water protectors are done with the military-style barricades. We are done with the flood lights and the armored military trucks. We are are done with it!

So thats why tonight, water protectors decided to take a first peaceful step and remove the burned out vehicles that police put in place on Oct 27th to block our access heading north on hwy 1806. It was to open up the road so in the daylight the world can see the face of militarized law enforcement and state oppression. This is at the “back water bridge” north of the Oceti Sakowin camp.

Police in response are using a water cannon, tear gas and concussion grenades on the crowd!!

Its 25 degrees Fahrenheit and they are using a f**king water cannon!

Prayers and energy to our water protectors! #NoDAPL #KeepItInTheGround ”
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Water Cannons turned on Water Protectors in 25 degree wweather

Helping Hungry Families this Thanksgiving

Congressman McGovern is marching today and tomorrow, and we can help (I just did) - promoted by hesterprynne

On Monday, November 21st, I’ll be kicking off the 7th annual  “Monte’s March,” a 43-mile two-day walk as part of his anti-hunger push in Western Massachusetts. Every year I look forward to this march as our communities come together to increase awareness about hunger and help Massachusetts families in need this Thanksgiving.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, there are many Massachusetts families who are struggling just to put food on the table. To bring our communities together and raise awareness to help families in need, we’ll be kicking off the seventh annual Monte’s March, the longest-yet at 43 miles across Western Massachusetts. Hunger is something that touches families across the Commonwealth, but together, we can help to ensure that every family has access to the healthy meals they need this holiday season.

Last year’s march raised $150,000 and helped provide more than 450,000 meals to families in need!

Joining us for the full 43 miles will be the founder of Monte’s March, WRSI The River radio host Monte Belmonte, as well as Andrew Morehouse, the Executive Director of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Also joining part of the march will be Congressmen Richard Neal and Joe Kennedy IIIState Rep. Aaron VegaState Rep-Elect Solomon Goldstein-Rose; students from Holyoke Community CollegeGreenfield Community College and The Greenfield Center School; and local mayors, and other community leaders.

This year’s hunger walk will be the longest yet at 43 miles, starting on Monday with stops in SpringfieldChicopeeHolyoke, and Northampton. The walk will finish on Tuesday with stops in HadleyAmherstSunderland, and Greenfield. Throughout the march, you can listen live at 93.9 The River. Click here for more information about the march.

Help us spread the word!

OVERVIEW:

WHAT: Monte’s March, a 43-mile anti-hunger march across Western Massachusetts

WHEN: Monday 11/21 at 7:00AM

WHERE: March Starts at Friends of The Homeless. 755 Worthington St., Springfield

  • The march continues Monday with stops in ChicopeeHolyoke, and Northampton
  • On Tuesday 11/22 with stops in HadleyAmherstSunderland, and ending in Greenfield
  • Full info below:

FULL SCHEDULE:

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21st

  • 7:00 am – Depart from Friends of The Homeless. 755 Worthington St. Springfield
  • 8:30 am – Arrive at Chicopee City Limits
  • 9:00 am – Arrive in Chicopee Falls
  • 10:00 am – Arrive in Downtown Holyoke
  • 11:00 am – 2:00 pm – Finish first day, walking down Northampton Street to Northampton
  • 6:30 pm – Fundraising event at The Northampton Brewery, 11 Brewster Ct, Northampton
  • Note: Throughout the day, the march will be joined by Holyoke Community College students

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd

  • 6:00 am – Depart Northampton Office, 94 Pleasant Street.
  • 7:00 am – Arrival at Route 9 in Hadley near Mi Tierra
  • 8:00 am – Arrival at Whole Foods in Hadley
  • 9:15 am – Arrival in Downtown Amherst
  • 10:30 am – Arrival at Amherst Survival Center
  • 12:00 pm – Arrival in Downtown Sunderland
  • 1:15 pm – Arrival at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle for Lunch
  • 2:30 pm Arrival at Route 5 & 10 north joined by students from Greenfield Community College and The Greenfield Center School
  • 5:00 pm: Arrival in Greenfield
  • 5:30 pm or 6:00 pm: Completion of march at Seymour The Pub, 5 Bank Row, Greenfield.

Hey Democrats, Do We Want to Save Medicare, or No

Strongly guessing that the whole delegation will be against. But no harm in pushing. Thanks Miles. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Congressional Republicans are gearing up to not only strip health care from the 20 million Americans who get it through Obamacare – they’ve announced plans to kill Medicare as well.

You may hear reporters calling it “phasing out,” “privatization,” or most cowardly, “reform,” but let’s be 100% clear: Medicare is government-guaranteed, single-payer health care. Writing retirees a check and saying “good luck finding private insurance, hope this covers it” is neither of those.

Talking Points Memo has been rallying Democrats against the plan. Not only is it terrible policy, it’s terrible politics for Republicans. Voters skew older anyway, but midterm voters skew really old. Democrats shouldn’t just fight this defensively – they should be out front educating voters about how Republicans are trying to destroy one of the most effective and popular programs the government has ever given them.

TPM has been asking readers to call their members of Congress to ask if they oppose the Republican plan to kill Medicare. Here are the results for Massachusetts:

AGAINST PHASING OUT MEDICARE UNDER RYAN PLAN

  • Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called her office
  • Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called his office
  • Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), according to a TPM reader who called her office

“We’ll Get Back To You:” Dozens of TPM readers attempted to contact their representatives and senators in response to Josh’s recent post on the threats of a Medicare phase-out. A surprising number of congressional offices appeared unaware of the proposal or appeared to have no prepared response to Ryan’s Medicare agenda. Listed below are the Congress members whose offices were caught unaware, or claimed they would pass on constituents’ concerns, aggregated from TPM reader email submissions:

  • Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA)
  • Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)
  • Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
  • Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)

Not listed by TPM (which means no readers in their districts have called them) are Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Richard Neal and Rep. Niki Tsongas.

Have you called your member of Congress? If so, let us know the response you got in comments. (Find your member & their contact info here.)

 

Local media fail on the insanity of Mike Flynn

The news of Trump selecting Gen. Mike Flynn as National Security Advisor came in last night. I woke up this morning, and from WGBH radio news I simply heard that Flynn was:

  1. From Rhode Island!
  2. A registered Democrat!
  3. A “harsh critic” of Obama’s foreign policy!

And from the Boston Globe/AP, we learn from the headline: “Michael Flynn’s reputation: Astute intelligence pro, straight talker”.

Well really.

This is contained within the AP article, but you know, just take this at face value. Just reporting!

And in August, he spoke at an event in Dallas for the anti-Islamist group Act for America, saying that Islam ‘‘is a political ideology’’ and that it ‘‘definitely hides behind being a religion.’’

This is incredibly dangerous. He will have the ear of the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

The media — especially here in Boston — need to keep an eye on what actually matters. This was a failure by two august institutions.

The State Earned Income Tax Credit: R.I.P?

(How Trumpism might play out in Massachusetts. One of a probably lengthy series.) 

Governor Charlie Baker, back from a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, held a press conference yesterday to offer his first extended remarks after the presidential election.

If, like Attorney General Maura Healey, you were hoping for a forceful denunciation of the presence of a white nationalist in the West Wing, you were disappointed: Governor Baker is willing to hold the record open for more evidence against Steve Bannon before issuing a judgment.  On most other subjects Baker took refuge in the comparatively comforting words of Mike Pence (!), who called for a “very deliberate and significant dialogue,” yada-yada.

Baker’s strategy of not confronting the President-elect was, if not courageous, probably fiscally prudent. After all, more than one-quarter of revenue for the state’s annual budget ($39 billion this year) comes from federal reimbursements. Much of that federal funding supports our universal health care plan. That health care money was on a track to expire, but fortunately four days before the election, the Baker administration was able to secure a commitment from the Obama administration to provide nearly $60 billion over the next five years. Good news for sure — although it’s quite alarming that the feds’ promise is now reliant on a president who in the past has considered defaulting on the nation’s debt as a nifty solution to budgetary problems.

Health care is not the only program under threat from Trump administration policies. Our state Earned Income Tax Credit Program, which helps more than 400,000 families in Massachusetts who earn $50,000 or less, is, as a practical matter, in jeopardy as well. Governor Baker is a big supporter of the state EITC, and an increase to that program (the first in 16 years) was one of his first year policy successes. The state EITC program is still a modest one even with the increase (the average benefit will rise to $500 per family this year), but it’s nevertheless a step toward reducing income inequality, a disorder that Massachusetts suffers from in the extreme.

The tax overhaul that Trump is proposing is especially generous to the wealthy and especially hard on lower-income families, including those who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. His plan would entirely eliminate the head of household filing status and the deduction for dependents, both of which help to reduce the tax burden owed by EITC families.

The Trump tax proposals, to take just one example from the Tax Policy Institute, would increase the federal tax bill of a couple with four children making $50,000 a year from $210 to $1090. That result would swallow the benefit of the family’s state EITC several times over.We’re looking, in other words, at the prospect of a state EITC program that in many cases no longer helps low-income families directly but instead simply goes to help to pay their (newly-increased) share of federal taxes. How many things are wrong with that picture?

Senate President Stan Rosenberg Post-Election Statement on Behalf of the Massachusetts Senate

Thoughts from Senate President Rosenberg. Thanks for posting here - promoted by hesterprynne

Over the last week I have heard many heart-wrenching stories about children and adults expressing their sadness and fear based on the results of the national election. It is natural to feel sad and disappointed when your candidate doesn’t win. It is not typical though, in our country, to feel fearful at the end of an election. But because of the repeated expression of bigoted views about women, racial minorities, people of both the Jewish and Muslim faiths, immigrants, members of the LGBT community, and people with disabilities, many people are fearful about the future.

While bigoted words and incivility in public discourse are out of line in and of themselves, the greater threat is that they may create a false belief that now there is license to do something even worse in our communities and in our public policy: commit bigoted deeds.

The election is over, and as Americans have done for centuries we must unite and move together into the future. As we do so, the members of the Massachusetts State Senate want to be clear. Our unshakable support for the civil rights and civil liberties of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts drives our commitment to protecting and promoting the dignity, safety, and the well-being of all who live in and visit Massachusetts, including those who were targets during the Presidential campaign.

We pledge to use the power invested in us by the voters and our Constitution to pursue and protect policies consistent with the fundamental principles of our country. Our Constitution was based upon the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, which states in Article I:

“All people are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties… Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.”

The standing laws of the Commonwealth reflect our founding principles of liberty and equality, inclusion, and respect for diversity. As a Commonwealth, we maintain a deep commitment not just to ourselves and to our families, but to others. To those who feel threatened by recent events, be assured that our belief remains steadfast: everyone is entitled to the same rights and protections, and we will stand by your side to uphold the law.

As elected officials in Massachusetts, we are mindful of the long legacy of state and nation building from the earliest days with President John Adams to modern times with President John F. Kennedy. The actions we undertake here as a Commonwealth are consistent with our values. Our actions today may well resonate throughout our country as they have in the past. As President Kennedy said about our legislature when he spoke to a joint session on the eve of his inaugural in 1961:

“Its leaders have shaped our destiny long before the great republic was born. Its principles have guided our footsteps in times of crisis as well as in times of calm. Its democratic institutions – including this historic body – have served as beacon lights for other nations as well as our sister states. For what Pericles said to the Athenians has long been true of this Commonwealth: ‘We do not imitate—for we are a model to others.’”

We will continue to provide leadership and will strive to maintain our place in history as a beacon of light, keeping the fundamental principles upon which our Commonwealth was founded as vital and alive today and moving together into the future as they have ever been. We urge President-elect Trump, and all people of good will, to fulfill our country’s commitment to open-minded, compassionate, and fair government, and to respect and serve the diversity of all of humanity. That is who we are in Massachusetts, and who we are in all of America.

A Rising Tide of Economic Growth

With the coming withdrawal of a Trump administration from any help whatsoever to combat climate change, it's time for MA to play to its strengths -- global awareness and scientific ingenuity -- and show the way forward. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

In the children’s story The Emperor’s New Clothes¸ we are introduced to a monarch who parades around in the nude as if nothing is wrong. No one dares say anything, until one child voices the obvious. As The King Tide made a return to flood Boston’s waterfront this week, it is a reminder that we cannot afford to be silent. We must be the child and voice the obvious: climate change is real, and presents a serious threat to Boston’s future. And with that threat, comes opportunity.

The King Tide is just one symptom of the impact of climate change on our city. When it came to Boston Harbor in October the tides were predicted to be 12.2 to 12.3 feet high. They ended up being about 12.8 feet high. A report released earlier this year by The Boston Research Advisory Group details the perils we face if we do not move quickly to address the dangers brought on by climate change. By 2050, The King Tide could be our normal tide and in the worst-case scenario, sea levels could rise more than 10 feet by the end of the century. This would be more than enough to submerge Downtown Boston. The report goes on to details threats beyond the tide, pointing out that in the past century, temperatures in the Northeast have risen 2 degrees Fahrenheit, with a potential to increase over 10 degrees in the next century. By 2070 we could exceed 90 degrees for 90 days a year, as opposed to the average of 11 days a year we have now.

That’s the threat. Here’s the opportunity: the Massachusetts economy stands to reap significant rewards from tackling the challenges of climate change. By harnessing the power of our world-renowned innovation community, we have already begun to benefit. The clean energy sector here in the Commonwealth is already responsible for creating over 98,000 jobs, 6,400 companies, and $11billion in investments. With further investments in solar, wind, hydroelectricity, energy storage, and energy efficiency, we can help reduce our carbon emissions while simultaneously creating jobs and growing our economy. Those benefits are on top of money saved from lower costs on energy, and reducing the financial risks of climate-related natural disasters.

The King Tide is here to tell us that the Emperor has no clothes. This summer’s drought, superstorm Sandy, and the many other extreme events we have seen in recent years are all delivering the same message. The impacts of climate change are too severe for us to continue to pretend we are not seeing the obvious. Meanwhile, the chance to further the game-changing, innovative, and ambitious work in the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector is what we should be striving for. Let’s be the child: call out climate change, and reap the benefits of action.

Sebastian Zapata

Program Director

The Alliance for Business Leadership