Massive Changes

In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed.  … It’s clear that we need a reset on the entire issue of immigration, illegal and legal.

– Laura Ingraham,
The Ingraham Angle on Fox News (8-8-2018)

Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.

– Benjamin Franklin,
Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc.” (1751)

This week’s featured post is “Anti-immigrant rhetoric is an insult to your ancestors“.

This week everybody was talking about corruption

The Russia investigation gets all the headlines, but the widespread corruption of the Trump administration goes way beyond whatever accounts for his abject subservience to Vladimir Putin. Reason — a magazine that is more libertarian than liberal — calls the roll of Trump-administration crimes and cons. (They did the basic research, but I’ve summarized, inserted links, added a couple of people, and injected a little of my own commentary.)

  • Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is currently on trial for tax fraud and bank fraud. His assistant campaign manager Rick Gates (who stayed with the campaign after Manafort had to leave, and who went on to have a position on the Trump Inaugural Committee) has testified against him, saying that they committed crimes together.
  • Rep. Chris Collins, an early Trump supporter, was indicted Wednesday for insider trading. He’s on the board of a foreign biotech company whose products are overseen by the committee Collins served on until this week. But that turns out to be legal for some unimaginable reason. What’s not legal is that as a board member he got an email saying that a major drug trial had failed, and then he immediately called his son, resulting in the whole family (other than Collins himself) saving hundreds of thousands by dumping stock before the news became public. Prosecutors have the email, the record of the call, and records of the stock sales by numerous relatives, but Collins calls the charges “meritless” and at first was going ahead with his re-election campaign. By Saturday he had backed down, though, denying his Democratic opponent the chance to run on the Nixonesque slogan: “I am not a crook.”
  • Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and Gates pleaded guilty to the charge of lying to investigators. If I were Hillary Clinton, I would find it hard to resist attending Flynn’s sentencing hearing so that I could lead a chant of “Lock him up!”
  • Andrew Puzder withdrew as a nominee for Secretary of Labor after it came out that he had employed an undocumented immigrant and an ex-wife had accused him of violent abuse.
  • White House secretary Rob Porter similarly had to resign after two ex-wives accused him of abuse, including one who backed up her story with a black-eye photo.
  • Long-time Trump fixer Michael Cohen is waiting to see if he’ll be indicted by the Southern District of New York. He seems to be working on the assumption that he will be and has been floating various tidbits of what he might have to trade prosecutors. It’s still not clear whether the pay-offs he engineered to Trump mistresses Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal were unreported campaign expenses, or if he met with a Putin ally in Prague, as the Steele dossier claims he did.
  • Former HHS Secretary Tom Price is also unindicted, but had to resign after running up big travel bills and sticking the taxpayer with them. He’s long been ethically suspect because, like Collins, when he was in Congress he traded stocks in an industry his committee oversaw. (The NYT says a third of the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have traded biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device stocks.)
  • After examining a long list of similar accusations from multiple sources, Forbes concludes that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross may have stolen as much as $123 million during his investing career.
  • Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is the subject of so many investigations that it’s hard to say which one brought him down.
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may be the luckiest guy in Washington. In any other administration, his long list of scandals would be front-page news. Instead, it’s like “Ryan Who?”
  • Trump himself reached a settlement to pay $25 million to the Trump University students he defrauded. The series of ever-more-expensive courses was supposed to teach them how Trump makes money, which (in a way) it did.
  • Pro Publica reports that the Veterans Administration (the second largest department in the government), is being overseen by a secret shadow council of Mar-a-Lago members. This is the clearest example of why Chris Hayes has dubbed Mar-a-Lago “the de facto bribery palace“: If you want to have access to the president, you pay him $200K to join Mar-a-Lago or $300K to join his Bedminster golf club. If your organization (or the foreign government you represent) wants to get in good with Trump, it can put money in his pocket by holding events at his clubs or at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
  • Don Jr. appears to have lied to Congress, and probably also violated laws against political campaigns seeking help from foreign governments.

At least for the moment, while Robert Mueller is hanging on to whatever evidence he has assembled in the Russia probe, the Russian connection seems not to be affecting the voters much. But the Trump administration’s ubiquitous corruption does seem to be breaking through. “Drain the Swamp” has become an issue that favors Democrats.

and Alex Jones

Just about all the social media giants kicked conspiracy theory mega-star Alex Jones off their systems this week. Apple, Facebook, and YouTube (but not Twitter, for some reason) decided they’d had enough of his hate speech — most famously his persecution of the Sandy Hook parents, who he has repeatedly claimed are “crisis actors” who didn’t really lose their kids in a mass shooting.

It’s hard to know how to feel about this. First off, Jones is pond scum. Even if an injustice is happening here, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Second, it’s not a First Amendment issue, because the First Amendment only applies to the government. Nobody is fining Jones or putting him in jail for his rants; the social media giants are private companies that have no obligation to provide Jones with a platform.

But that’s where it starts to get tricky. A lot of The Weekly Sift’s traffic passes through Facebook. (A lot more did a few years ago, before they changed their algorithms to make it harder for posts to go viral.) What if they decided they didn’t like me? What if all the social media companies got together and decided they don’t like socialists or libertarians or people who promote Esperanto? What if saying something bad about the president — either Trump or some future Democrat — could get you banned? That wouldn’t exactly silence anybody, but it would tip the national conversation. Should a handful of commercial companies have that kind of power?

The Jones case caused a lot of people to recall the Martin Niemöller quote “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. … ” Over at World News Daily, another conservative site that promotes a lot of conspiracy theories, they made that comparison seriously:

So, first the Digital Cartel came for Alex Jones. Who will be next? I don’t know, but I don’t plan to find myself in the position in which Martin Niemöller found himself in Nazi Germany.

So did The Deplorable Climate Science Blog, which pushes its own global-conspiracy-of-climate-scientists theory of climate change:

Make no mistake about it. The evil empire has declared war on America.

But a lot of other people found the analogy ridiculous, like Denizcan Grimes:

First they came for Alex Jones, and I did not speak out because fuck that guy.

Or Alex Griswold:

First they came for Infowars, and I didn’t say anything because I didn’t like Infowars. Then they never came for me because I never accused grieving parents of murdered children of being crisis actors.

Or John Fugelsang:

First they came for Alex Jones & Infowars – but I wasn’t a race-baiting transphobic conspiracy cultist who claims murdered children in Newtown are hoaxes and admitted in court that I’m just an entertainer who makes shit up, so I said nothing.

Or Patrick Tomlinson:

First they came for Alex Jones, and I said nothing because the entire point of that poem was a warning against letting fascist assholes like him have a voice in the first place.

and Nancy Pelosi

It’s getting to be a thing among Democratic House candidates facing close elections: They say they won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Republican House candidates, OTOH, love to attach Pelosi to their Democratic opponents like an anchor.

So should Pelosi announce she won’t run for Speaker? It’s a tough question for a bunch of reasons.

First, Pelosi was a very effective Speaker during the first two years of the Obama administration. She got a bunch of good stuff through the House that then failed in the Senate, like a cap-and-trade bill to fight global warming, for example. When Democrats unexpectedly lost their filibuster-proof margin in the Senate, it was largely Pelosi’s maneuvering that made ObamaCare a law.

A more progressive Speaker would not have produced more progressive legislation — just more division in the caucus and more bills that would have died in the Senate. If Democrats do get the majority back this fall, there’s every reason to believe that Pelosi will once again be effective at keeping the Democratic caucus together and pushing Democrats from purple districts to take a few risks they might otherwise back away from.

When you get outside of Congress, though, she hasn’t been a good national spokesman for the party. As Speaker in an era with a Republican president and a Republican Senate (which I think we’ll still have next year), she would be the top-ranking Democrat in the country, and I don’t think she’ll be good at that.

And then you reach the same dilemma that we had with Hillary Clinton: A lot of what makes her so easy to demonize is that she’s a woman. Republicans have put a lot of energy into demonizing her, and it has worked. But I hate to give in to that: We can’t let Republicans choose our leaders for us. At some point we have to stand up to demonization and defeat it. If you think that the next Democratic leader — especially the next female Democratic leader — will somehow escape demonization, you’re kidding yourself.

Even so, I find myself hoping Pelosi steps down. In the short term, that would improve Democrats’ prospects in the fall elections. And I’m not sure how much of a long term American democracy has if Trump is allowed to rule for two more years without congressional oversight.

and Charlottesville

People marked the anniversary of the Charlottesville Unite-the-Right rally in a variety of ways. Jonathan Capehart reviewed a year’s worth of Trump’s race-baiting pronouncements.

Trump himself tweeted a message that some pundits saw as conciliatory:

The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!

But the tweet is full of dog whistles that white supremacists will read differently than the rest of us. “all forms of racism” means that he is also condemning racism against whites, as if that were a thing. “all acts of violence” reinforces his “both sides” rhetoric of a year ago. “come together as a nation” means that white supremacists are part of the mainstream now, and the rest of us just have to tolerate them.

Why can’t he condemn white supremacists specifically, even when marking the anniversary of a murder one them committed? He certainly has no problem condemning Black Lives Matter by name. If BLM protesters and Antifa demonstators do something he doesn’t like, he doesn’t condemn “all forms” of whatever, he calls them out. But he can’t do that with white supremacists, because they’re a key part of his base.

So no, I’m not going to “come together” with Nazis or take their claims of anti-white racism seriously. I refuse to accept an even-handed view that puts Nazi and anti-Nazi demonstrators on the same level.

and you also might be interested in …

Speaking of calling out black people by name, Trump went after basketball star LeBron James.

Consider the context: James had just welcomed the first class to the I Promise school in his hometown, Akron Ohio. It’s  a school for at-risk kids, and gets a lot of its funding from James’ foundation.

At the I Promise school, tuition is free for all students, who were randomly selected among all Akron public school students between one to two years behind their peers in reading. Students get free uniforms, free meals and snacks during the school day, and free transportation to school. Every kid also gets a free bicycle and helmet, as James has said that having access to his own set of wheels gave him a way to escape from dangerous parts of his neighborhood and the freedom to explore during his childhood. And in a nod to the realities of the way schoolwork gets done in the digital age, every kid gets a free Chromebook, too.

In other words, James is a multi-millionaire who remembers where he came from, and who is trying to help people who are like him, but lack his all-world athletic talent. Any other president would give him a shout-out.

But with some nudging from CNN’s Don Lemon, James softly criticized Trump, saying that Trump

has kinda used sport to kinda divide us, and that’s something I can’t relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white. And I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got an opportunity to learn about me. And we became very good friends, and I was like “Oh wow, this is all because of sports.” And sports has never been something that divides people, it’s always been something that brings someone together.

Racism, he said, has “always been there”

But I think the president in charge now has given people … they don’t care now. They throw it in your face now.

Trump didn’t answer those criticisms but couldn’t ignore them, so he struck back with insults:

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

“I like Mike” refers to Michael Jordan, and is a way of saying that LeBron is only the second best player in basketball history. The tweet could hardly be a better example of “using sports to kinda divide us”.

All I can say is that you should watch the Lemon/James interview, and then listen to one of Trump’s incoherent and mistake-filled rants, and decide for yourself which of these men is truly smart.

Trump is back to another of his favorite bits of race-baiting: attacking NFL players who kneel to protest racial injustice. Seriously: the guy who can’t stand up to Putin is lecturing NFL players about patriotism. It’s not the state of Colin Kaepernick’s patriotism that worries me.

This morning the NYT editorial board assembled a compelling collection of graphs and charts to make a point that gets a little clearer all the time: The Trump tax cut is doing great things for stockholders and executives, but nothing at all for workers.

Inflation-adjusted wages are dropping, capital investment and productivity have been unaffected, and the federal deficit is skyrocketing (to the point that in a few years the record Bush/Obama deficit of FY 2009 will be the baseline). But the stock market is near a record, so it’s all good.

If you ever argue with somebody about voter fraud, chances are that they will tell you about “evidence” they have seen: something obviously not right that must be the result of fraud. Invariably, though, the fraud is by the people who constructed the claim of fraud. I took apart one example of this back in 2013 in “The Myth of the Zombie Voter“, but it’s a whack-a-mole process. Republicans are extremely gullible on this issue; it’s easy for fraudsters to gin up BS that they will believe and pass on to their friends.

Here’s another example, referring to the recent special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district. First the accusation tweet:

Voter fraud is real: 170 Voters in Ohio Race ‘Over 116 Years Old,’ World’s Oldest Person Is 115

How much more obvious can fraud get? Well, Sean Imbroglio takes the time to figure out what’s really going on, and finds something even more amazing: According to the official database, which is available for inspection by the public, a bunch of those voters are actually 218 years old! Their birth years are listed as 1800!

So I called the Franklin BOE and guess what? isn’t overrun with immortal vampires or Napoleonic-era alchemists. Board of Elections confirmed 1800 means they registered under the old system which didn’t collect birthdates, and haven’t updated their registrations since.

Imbroglio goes on to google a bunch of the 218-year-olds, and finds out that they are real people who live in the district and actually have more reasonable ages. But in the time it took him to do that, probably five other voter-fraud conspiracy theories got launched. (If you follow the tweet-thread, it’s instructive to watch Proud Conservative argue with Imbroglio. He really, really wants to believe that voter fraud has been found and documented.)

Having investigated half a dozen or so of these stories over the years, I’ve come to a conclusion: Examples of rampant voter fraud are all like this. Something perfectly ordinary creates an anomaly that conspiracy theorists can trumpet without bothering to look for more mundane explanations.

I didn’t think Omarosa was worth paying attention to when she worked in the White House, and I don’t see any reason to change my mind now that she’s pushing a book about her White House experiences. Ping me if she releases any of the Trump tapes she claims exist.

Here’s the sad thing about Omarosa’s book, Sean Spicer’s book, and all the Trump-administration-insider books that will ever come out: In order to work for Trump to begin with, you had to be either dishonest or ridiculously gullible. Either way, I won’t believe your book unless you have proof.

Back in the 19th century, somebody remarked that watching the heavily manipulated wheat market at the Chicago Board of Trade was like watching men wrestling under a blanket; you could tell when something was happening, but not see what it was.

I feel that way when I hear about Trump negotiating an interview with Robert Mueller. There’s so much we don’t know. Trump’s people claim he is eager to talk to Mueller, but that his lawyers want to insist on prior conditions that Mueller so far has not agreed to. Is that true, or is Trump like the guy who complains about his friends holding him back from a bar fight he doesn’t really want any part of?

From Mueller’s side: Does he need Trump’s testimony to complete his report, or is he simply offering the president the courtesy of allowing him to tell his side of the story? If negotiations with Trump fail, as I think they will, does he then insist with a subpoena, or does he shrug and go on?

Trump’s lawyers claim they’re worried about a “perjury trap”, as if some mysterious prosecutor magic tricks witnesses into lying. But if Trump has done nothing wrong, as he claims, then he has a foolproof strategy against perjury: don’t lie.

The perjury problem, I think, arises because Trump is actually guilty of something, maybe many things. If he could be sure exactly what Mueller knows, then he could concoct a lie that fits within those bounds. But because he doesn’t know — and that’s why his allies in Congress keep demanding the Justice Department produce more and more documents — then he risks telling a lie Mueller can disprove. That’s the “perjury trap”.

The only real perjury trap I can imagine is the situation Bill Clinton found himself in: You want to cover up something (like an affair with an intern) that is legal but politically embarrassing. Finding an excuse to ask the question under oath is a way for your enemies to turn your political problem into a legal problem. But I don’t see anything like that here.

The trade war with China continues: The latest round of Chinese retaliatory tariffs have been announced and will take effect on August 23.

and let’s close with something cute

What could be cuter than a baby elephant who enjoys a bath?

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  • Gina  On August 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Re: perjury trap. The way I heard it explained by Guilianni is that if Mueler believes he has proof that Trump fired Comey to obstruct the investigation into Flynn, and he asks Trump why he fired Comey, then any other answer besides “to obstruct the investigation” would be perjury. I’ve been thinking about that. I know for sure that’s not how it works but I can’t come up with the right explanation for why that doesn’t make sense. I suppose it’s because if Mueller could prove obstruction, why would he bother with perjury? It’s like a suspect accused of bank robbery being questioned under oath–if he swears he didn’t do it, then is perjury added to his crimes after it’s proven?

    • weeklysift  On August 18, 2018 at 6:29 am

      That particular example seems far-fetched to me. Perjury requires an intent to deceive; the witness has to know the truth and say something different. So if I just misremember something — like “I’m sure I locked that door” — that’s not perjury. The “why” question is about intent. Human beings always have multiple reasons for doing what we do, and we’re constantly rewriting our narratives about which reason was the important one. Usually we manage to convince ourselves that we had acceptable reasons for trying to do whatever we tried to do.

      So if Trump said, “I fired Comey because I thought he mishandled the Clinton investigation” I can’t imagine what kind of evidence Mueller would need to have to prove that Trump didn’t have that motive somewhere in the mix, and that he knew while testifying that some other motive was really the important one.

      I mean, if there’s a tape somewhere of Trump saying “I’m going to fire Comey to stop the Russia investigation, but if anybody asks it’s because of the Clinton investigation”, then I suppose that would prove perjury. But short of that, I don’t know.

  • Derek  On August 13, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    In response to Laura Ingram what exactly is American culture? As I see it we have borrowed from every group that has lived here or invented things based on other cultures (pizza). Baseball, basketball, and American football are uniquely American. Our popular music is derived from slaves, Irish, Germans. To make that statement when Republicans seem to be obsessed with Mexican restaurants seems hypocritical. Just this weekend a strong build the wall Senate candidate in Wisconsin held a meet and greet in a Mexican Restaurant.

    • Larry Benjamin  On August 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      The right-wing talk show host Michael Savage’s slogan is “borders, language, and culture.” The first two are easily defined, the third, not so much. “Culture” can shift to accommodate anything Savage approves of, and exclude anything he disapproves of.

    • weeklysift  On August 16, 2018 at 8:50 am

      I read “culture” as a straight-up substitute for race. That’s certainly how it’s used by the Right in Europe, where countries are more easily associated with ethnicity. Nationalists in France, the Netherlands, or other European countries will decry the loss of national “culture”, when they really mean there are too many Africans or Arabs in the country now.

      There actually are cultural aspects of America that I would hate to lose, like respect for science and Enlightenment-style reason, or the cultural values that got institutionalized in the Bill of Rights. If a flood of immigrants were threatening majority support for those kinds of things, that might worry me. But I see Trump and his followers as a bigger threat to those cultural values than Salvadorans trying to escape gang violence.

  • ab  On August 13, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Great round-up, as always. Thanks.

    Re. perjury trap, a few generally sensible lawyers have discussed this on Twitter and persuaded me, at least, that “don’t lie” is a simplistic response. I think the argument, in brief, is that even an honest person who has done nothing wrong can’t walk into an interview, “just tell the truth”, and expect to avoid perjuring themselves if the interviewer so desires. I don’t think they’re arguing Trump is such a person, or that his defenders are arguing in good faith, just that it’s all a bit more complicated than “just don’t lie” suggests.

    The best such thread I’ve seen is:

    • weeklysift  On August 16, 2018 at 9:04 am

      I find it hard to believe that Trump (or anyone who can afford decent lawyers) could be convicted of perjury for saying something that the government just “believed” isn’t true. In the Barry Bonds link from the thread you mentioned, you have a black man who had suffered from years of negative publicity, and even his conviction gets thrown out on appeal.

      In the example Giuliani likes to cite — Trump saying he never told Comey to go easy on Flynn — I don’t think I could cast a vote to convict him for perjury on that, even with Comey’s contemporaneous notes. I would believe Comey too, but not beyond a reasonable doubt. And I would go into that decision with a strong bias against Trump.

  • Guest  On August 13, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    “A more progressive Speaker would not have produced more progressive legislation”

    Citation? This reads as an unprovoked pot-shot of an opinion aimed at progressives, and you’re better than that, Doug.

    Along those lines though, Obama (along with, you have to assume, DNC leadership) snubbed rising star Ocasio-Cortez from his list of endorsements. Was that because she is a powerful woman? Is sexism at play? Or are those considerations solely available for the protection of corporate/conservative Democrats? In what must seem like a bizarre reversal for everyone who drank the “Bernie-bro” kool-aid, Sanders has been an early and vocal supporter.

    In other DNC news, they quietly overturned what was a peace-offering crumb to progressives by reinstating the acceptance of big oil PAC money. Sad news for fans of clearing out corruption and legalized bribery, helping the environment, and striving for unity in the Democratic party – and a ominous sign of things to come.

    • Larry Benjamin  On August 13, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      I like Ocasio-Cortez, but let’s be honest – if she’d run in the district Conor Lamb won, she would have lost in a landslide. And frequently when she speaks, she sounds like her depth of knowledge is around the level of a bumper sticker.

      She’s very appealing but she has a long way to go, and touting her as the future of the Democratic party is a mistake. She’s proof of Tip O’Neill’s quote about how all politics is local.

      • Guest  On August 15, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        I think I get where you’re coming from, Larry. My point there is more about the whiff of hypocrisy around a situation where having a go at Pelosi (or Hillary) must be the direct result of a sexism that must be stopped at all costs, but tearing down Ocasio-Cortez is just the sensible thing to do. It feeds the suspicion that the fuss over sexism from the corporate/conservative end of the Democratic tent is more about shielding corporate/conservative issues/stances from meaningful criticism than anything else. Well, that and smearing progressives.

        There’s a similar dynamic over the Russia election scandal. The principle being desecrated, namely that the American people should decide their own elections and legislation, is far more negatively impacted by American oligarchs, wealth, and corporations than Russian involvement, but it gets a diminishing fraction of the attention from conservative Dems. Even worse, the actions of the DNC indicate that they are doubling-down on serving elite interests even as they are ramping up the Russia hysteria.

      • Larry Benjamin  On August 15, 2018 at 8:02 pm

        Complaining that Clinton’s loss was due to sexism – even if it really was – is cheap demonization of the opposition. “What a bunch of sexist @#$%^& conservatives!” And it’s easy for them to counter by asking if the reason liberals didn’t support Sarah Palin is because deep down, they’re sexists. They can’t hate Obama because they love Ben Carson, etc.

        I’m not “tearing down” Ocasio-Cortez; I’m merely pointing out that she sometimes comes across as a shallow thinker, same as how Clinton comes across as stiff and phony. It’s not sexist to make that observation, any more than calling Trump an ignorant boor means that I must hate men. Ocasio-Cortez was a great fit for her district; if Conor Lamb had run there, the incumbent would have been the nominee. Democrats will do well if they match their constituency.

        I agree that the Democrats need to tone down the hysteria; they’ll never be as good at chicken little catastrophizing as the party of “men in dresses are infiltrating the ladies’ room” is.

    • weeklysift  On August 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

      My point is that the House under Pelosi was already producing bills that were more progressive than the Senate could deal with. I mentioned the cap-and-trade bill, but a better example was probably an early version of ObamaCare, which had a public option.

      The same kind of sexism I noted in my Clinton article is already working against Ocasio-Cortez. There are well-established mythic roles for young men challenging the establishment to slide into. (When Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor came to Washington, they were “young guns”, for example.) There’s no comparable narrative slot for Ocasio-Cortez, which is why it’s easier to dismiss her as wacky.

      • Guest  On August 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        You expect Republicans to dismiss her as wacky (or worse), but when you get that rhetoric from the same side of the *Democratic* tent that not too long ago was declaring anyone who didn’t fall in line with their preferred female candidate a sexist bro then it’s somehow even more disappointing.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if that fiery anti-sexism unity and rhetoric which was omnipresent for Clinton and which is specifically being withheld from Ocasio-Cortez, returns if the next corporate-approved Dem presidential candidate is a woman (eg Kirsten Gillibrand, or, God help us, Clinton again). If that ends up being case, it would reinforce the question of whether the rhetoric from that side of the tent is really about overcoming sexism or about serving power.

        Regarding Pelosi, the original point was not an attack on her, it was a defense against an unexpected dig at progressives. Yes, it would have been incredible difficult to pass, say, a public option when both the opposition party and your own president is against it. But give me the person coming to the negotiating table asking for a full loaf of bread over a half loaf every time. The people wanted at minimum a public option. Corporate power wanted a version of the old conservative Heritage Foundation/Republican health care plan that they could write themselves and they got it.

  • donodell  On August 13, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Glad you are back from vacation. Good material today. You put a lot together that I seem to never sort out. Thank you.


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