Our regular featured content-On This Day In History April 17 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatThese featured articles-The Buffett Rule by TheMomCatTechnology for Fun, Profit and Total Control by joe shikspackWhy The States Are So Broke by[...]
Read The Full Article:
Mitt Romney is starting the general election running far behind Barack Obama. A CNN poll puts Obama ahead by 52-43 percent over Romney, a wider margin than Obama actually won in 2008. That's paired with a new Washington Post/ABC News poll that doesn't include a head-to-head matchup but still offers a bit of discouraging news for the new presumptive Republican nominee. Almost half of the country has unfavorable views of Romney. Just 35 percent say they like Romney while 47 percent dislike the former Massachusetts governor. Meanwhile Obama sits comfortably with 56 percent favorability and only 40 percent unfavorable.
As has been the case in most recent polls, Obama owes this advantage to Romney's trouble with women voters. Obama leads Romney 55-39 percent in CNN's numbers, and only 27 percent of women had a favorable impression of Romney in the WaPo survey.
Both polls were conducted during height of the faux-outrage following the manufactured media controversy around Hilary Rosen's comments attacking Ann Romney as Mitt stand-in for female concerns. Perhaps that message was still settling in voters' minds, but these polls indicate that Romney can't win back support among women just by expressing aggrandized shock at a pundit's criticism while continuing to oppose the issues that actually affect women. But even as Romney has moved past the primary he has continued to stand against the policies that triggered the "war on women" meme. During an interview with Dianne Swayer that aired last night Romney waffled on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law signed by Obama during his first year that eases statutory limits on when employment discrimination lawsuits may be filed. Romney said he would not seek to overturn the law, but still has no answer for whether he would have signed it if he had been president in 2008. "I'm not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed, but I certainly support equal pay for women," Romney said in response to a direct question from Sawyer.
From TPM Reader JM ...I'm not wired into the Arizona political establishment; I'm just an AZ resident and very interested observer, or slightly more than--in 2008 I wrote Barack Obama: The Comic Book Biography, which was featured on CNN and Fox News and[...]
Read The Full Article:
We have the first casualty of Mitt Romney's post-nomination repositioning on immigration. Anti-immigration hardliner Kris Kobach dumped as campaign 'advisor'. [...]
Read The Full Article:
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Battle for the Soul of Occupy
… First they silenced our uprising with a media blackout? then they smashed our encampments with midnight paramilitary raids? and now they?re threatening to neutralize our insurgency with an insidious campaign of donor money and co-optation. …
Will you allow Occupy to become a project of the old left, the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades? Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn our struggle into a ?99% Spring? reelection campaign for President Obama?
We are now in a battle for the soul of Occupy? a fight to the finish between the impotent old left and the new vibrant, horizontal left who launched Occupy Wall Street from the bottom-up and who dreams of real democracy and another world.
Whatever else you may think of Adbusters? take on what?s happening, they are, as usual, unambiguous in their perspective. One thing that stands out for me is the use of the term ?old left.? Maybe that?s because I remember when the Democratic Party discarded ?liberal? and made ?progressive? the term, or brand name, of preference. How much changed, other than the designation, is a matter of various opinions. How much is changing now is wrapped up in, among other things, the 2012 elections, and in Occupy and related movements.
Also from Adbusters:
Our Spring offensive is building toward a climactic May uprising ?
May 1 we leap into the new world with a mighty multinational General Strike. Wherever you are, No Work; No School; No Shopping. No illusions. No apologies. No business as usual. Into The Streets!
May 12, we intensify with three days of global action. Jammers in London, Lisbon, Paris, Marseilles, Helsinki, Cuzco, Barcelona, Quebec are already on board with more on the way. …
We scared the G8 away from Chicago and now some occupiers are planning #OCCUPYCAMPDAVID … .
Others are upping the ante with #OCCUPYCHICAGO ? a mobilization of anarchic swarms to shutdown the NATO summit.
And then one of the softer aesthetic moments of our Spring offensive could well be the #LAUGHRIOT on May 18, the day the G8 leaders meet in Camp David. There is something totally ludicrous, absurd, even insane about the eight most powerful people in the world deciding to do the people?s business … behind closed doors and razor wire fences.
This veneer of legitimacy is our tragedy turned to farce. …
Then we get ready for our next big challenge: How to Occupy the U.S. Presidential Election on November 6.
There?s always been some cooperation between Occupiers and members of the ?old Left,? though I?m doubtful the latter see themselves that way. Left, liberal, progressive … whatever the labels used by those identifying as Democratic, the ?horizontal left? Occupy actions that became public on September 17, 2011, have continued, and the ?Spring Resistance? is well underway. Some of what?s happening, and is being planned:
From OWS, a report about actually being on Wall Street:
For a full week, Wall Street … has been #Occupied. Thanks in part to a 2000 decision by a federal court in Manhattan, protesters are legally allowed to sleep on the sidewalk, as long as they don?t block building entrances or take up more than half of the sidewalk.
Regardless of the federal court ruling, however, yesterday NYPD Decides Occupy Wall Street?s Sidewalk Sleepovers Are Illegal. In the photo, barricades remain in case the scary sleepers return.
More about what?s happening, from the OWS article above,
… Occupiers in San Francisco took over a neglected property to create a vibrant community center for the 99%. Although thwarted by police, the #SFCommune has vowed to return this May Day … .
In Boston, Occupiers set up a camp on the steps of the State House to protest cuts to the public transit system. In Chicago … Occupiers joined with mental health advocates and community allies to occupy a clinic slated for closure by the city?s ruthless austerity measures … .
… in February, Occupy Atlanta occupied the headquarters of AT&T to stop mass lay-offs. …
Occupy Detroit has opened a new social center while also staging tent city protests against foreclosures and unemployment in low-income neighborhoods. …
See also NYers Blockade Home Foreclosure Auctions with Week of Sing-In Actions in Brooklyn, Queens & the Bronx; from Denver, Take Action Against Ordinance to Criminalize Homelessness; from Sarasota, On May 12, there will be a lawn chair sit in by Occupy Sarasota at 5 Points Park; from Greensboro, Occupy Greensboro joins Occupy Raleigh to reclaim an evicted family?s foreclosed home; in NYC, Occupy Wall Street … presents Run on Bank of America?; in DC, Occupy the Justice Department.
There?s more. For example, #Occupied:ReportsFromtheFrontLines, with actions at Santa Monica College, Midwest Occupy, Occupy Berkeley, Philly, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, and Un. of NC, Chapel Hill.
And looking beyond the U.S., for examples, read Canadians protest proposed tuition hikes, strike paralyzes Quetta; Montreal Students Occupy Banks in 12-Hour Protest Marathon; Ireland: Occupy Dame Street Responds to Austerity & Bail-Outs With Bank Occupation; Germany: Blockupy Frankfurt; and Occupy Papua New Guinea Takes On Government, Wins.
So where does ?the Left,? in its Democratic Party version, see itself in the Occupy Spring Offensive actions?
Ron Christie, who was an assistant to both Dick Cheney and George W. Bush and is frequently a talking head on political shows like "Hardball," is conflating a couple of common wingnut memes here: that liberals deviously support the welfare state because it keeps people poor and that Obama hates rich people.
Add them up and, presto! Obama doesn't want you to get rich.
It would be a much more interesting election if Republicans were actually running against the real Obama, instead of the one they imagine in their tiny, warped minds.
Guess who loses? It's a great site. Check it out. Oh, and enter your total income in the first line AND your total federal taxes in the second. I found it a bit confusing, but still a good site.
All hell is breaking loose in Afghanistan. I love the place. But the U.S. shouldn't be occupying it. The latest attack on Kabul and in other centers across the country turned into a terrifying day and a half long seige in the capital city which the Afghan Army eventually brought under control.
Politically, however, the attack was suitably laden with symbolism and carried an obvious message to the government of Hamid Karzai and his international supporters, which include India and the West.
The message: the Taliban and its allies are in a position to attack the physical heart of the Karzai government at will. Doubly important because of an expected steady US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan through this year and into the next. It has additional import because of the continuing and chaotic attempts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table and prepare a strong negotiating position if and when the talks actually begin.
So far it seems that the hard core of the Taliban, the Haqqani network included, is simply opposed to any negotiations of any kind. Attacking Kabul would help underline their argument that the US is on its way out, Karzai?s days are, thus, numbered and, therefore, the talks can only be about Kabul?s total capitulation. The Kabul attacks will probably be a precursor to other attempts to violently undermine the credibility of the Karzai government.
[T]he most insidious threat to Afghanistan?s future is not posed by teams of brainwashed young men in search of martyrdom, but by the kleptocratic political order that has sprouted in the decade since the US invasion.
Unless Afghanistan?s allies start to ask harder questions about how the country is governed, then the handover to Afghan forces in 2014 will be the starting gun for another phase of bloodshed.
...The US and its allies have long been guilty of placing far more weight on the military wing of their campaign than on fostering Afghan governance. It is time to reverse the imbalance. Perhaps power needs to be devolved to provinces to foster accountability; certainly more needs to be done to train civil servants and tackle an entrenched culture of bribery and embezzlement. Unless a real attempt is made to shut down the drivers of 30 years of conflict, 2014 may be one more milestone on a path of perpetual war.
In the past, it meant extracting natural resources from a colony and selling them finished goods, with a little bit of tribute collection thrown in for good measure. More recently-- after enslaving indigenous populations fell out of favor-- imperial countries settled for financial control through loans and free trade agreements. Certainly this form of neocolonialism continues, but new imperial drivers have appeared that are assuming precedence over the old.
After the invasion of Iraq was announced, many people (mostly on the left) claimed that the real motive for war was to control Iraq?s oil reserves. This was a reasonable assertion, given the nature of colonialism and Paul Wolfowitz?s comment that oil revenues would reimburse the cost of the war. But that reasoning dissolved quickly, and was never applicable in Afghanistan. Instead, both conflicts were used to maintain power domestically. A number of imperial behaviors are now exhibited within our own borders by our own government.
The machinery of empire drives the myth of American Exceptionalism, a myth asymmetrically utilized by the right-wing in domestic politics. The myth is the finished good that we are forced to buy after the resource extraction of money and blood to fuel the machine. And, not unlike the Andean peoples forced to work the mines of Potosí, our youth (who are disproportionately underprivileged) are sent to war as tribute. The population at large gives up improvements to domestic infrastructure, a robust social safety net, and future financial security in exchange for funding the business of war (for more on this, consider Andrew Bacevich?s Washington Rules.) Like a colony, this represents a huge transfer of payments to a small group of elites.
Extending this model is even more depressing. The colonial ?Other? becomes one?s domestic political adversaries, and their value falls far below that of accomplishing political objectives. This makes it not only easy, but necessary, for the imperial elites to marginalize political opponents. Even the sitting President is treated as Other: he is Kenyan, he is Muslim, he does not believe that America is exceptional. It is not a model for democratic society.
Rep. McKeon Praises Drone Manufacturers At Conference After They Lavish His Wife With Donations
Last week, Republic Report?s Lee Fang revealed that leading defense contractors, including the manufacturers of military drones, were lavishing Rep. Buck McKeon?s (R-CA) wife Patricia-- who is running for a state legislature seat in California-- with campaign donations. McKeon is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and received $339,000 from the defense industry himself in 2010, so it?s reasonable to suspect that arms manufacturers and others are donating to his wife?s state race in order to please him.
Now, it appears that these donations are paying off. This morning at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., Rep. McKeon delivered a ?Special Address? for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), a drone industry lobbying organization.
Republic Report gained access to the event-- which hosted hundreds of attendees from unmanned systems industry, including military drone manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
There's a new ABC News/WaPo poll on public opinions of the tea party. The results (PDF) aren't great for the movement.
All told, 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as supporters of the movement, compared with a high of 47 percent last September. Forty-five percent oppose it; 14 percent have no opinion. Support has dropped disproportionately among young adults in that period, down 20 points from 51 percent to 31 percent.So the kids today don't like them. Yes, shocking. This is probably worse news, though:
Fifty percent of Americans say the more they hear about the Tea Party, the less they like it; just 27 percent say they like it more. [...]So support is dwindling, at least everywhere but in the Republican primaries, where crabby middle-aged white guys are treated as royalty. Even so, Mitt Romney's still courting them. Monday he spent time at a Tea Party Summit in Philadelphia, doing the usual meaningless pandering to the group:
And while it?s strongly supported by 32 percent of conservative Republicans, the movement is strongly opposed by a much larger share of liberal Democrats, 62 percent. The two groups are similar in size. [...] The Tea Party has a gender gap, with 13 points more support from men than from women. And it does best with 30- to 49-year-olds, tailing off with under-30s and those 50 and older alike.
"The economy is struggling because the government is too big, and we're going to bring it down to size," Romney told about 400 cheering people at the event organized by the Independence Hall Tea Party. "This campaign is going to be fun. The contrast could not be greater."Sure, whatever.
President Obama "doesn't understand the power and importance of economic freedom," Romney said. "I just don't think he understands what makes America such an exceptional and successful nation."
A few days ago Romney went in front of the National Rifle Association and paid homage to all their most deeply held conspiracy theories about how Obama not doing a damn thing to take their guns is proof positive of a secret plan to take all their guns later, and now he's countering the notion that he's out of touch by going to a tea party event and saying tea partyish-things to them, even though the tea party is a net negative with the country as a whole. Sure, what the heck. I guess he's technically still in the primaries, even if his only remaining competition is Ron Paul and a traveling zoo aficionado.
There’s been a sense, I think, that AMC struck gold with Mad Men, its advertising-in-the-1960s product of an auteur that arrived very fully formed and confident in itself, and the network has struggled to define its identity since. The Walking Dead is a big, gross, violent popular entertainment that’s struggled to maintain its artistic equilibrium this season. AMC and Veena Sud managed the expectations around The Killing poorly, so a totally solid show left its audience feeling hugely betrayed. And Hell on Wheels felt like a cheap Deadwood ripoff, with the addition of a Wronged Confederate and a poorly-executed stab at racial insight. But Deadline has a list of the pilots AMC is apparently considering, and a lot of them sound pretty fantastic:
I hear the six scripts that made the cut this year are: Chris Mundy?s Low Winter Sun, an adaptation of the New Zealand Gothic murder mystery series, Craig Silverstein?s Turn, about George Washington?s spy ring, Richard LaGravenese?s Philly Lawyer, about a law student, Jake Paltrow & Robbie Kinberg?s Crystal Pines, about a journalist who gets cloned, Jason Cahill?s F/V Mean Tide, about a Maine lobster fishing family, and Kerry Williamson?s Sacred Games, an epic story of crime and punishment in modern Mumbai based on the novel by Vikram Chandra.
Concept-wise, I think Turn, Crystal Pines, F/V Mean Tide, and Sacred Games sound most promising. Turn would be both a new kind of period show and an answer to the dearth of Revolutionary War stories in pop culture, a weird omission I’ve noted before. And Washington’s spies were a fascinating group that included women and Quakers as well as your conventional breed of dudely badass, and they ran operations including my personal favorite, the effort to getting Hessian mercenaries to defect en masse by offering them land and getting them snugly with American women they then felt compelled to marry. Crystal Pines would be an awesome opportunity for a single actor to play two roles. The lobster wars portrayed in F/V Mean Tide are a real thing and would be a rich story engine in a novel setting. And I would love so much for a show set in India that isn’t Outsourced. Mad Men stands out because it’s a highly, highly original concept rather than a riff on an existing one. AMC needs to display that confidence again.