Fast Track To Hell

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is getting brutal on the left, and Out Of Damns To Give Mode(tm) President Obama is standing firm on getting fast track authority for it against his critics in the party.

“When people say that this trade deal is bad for working families, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Obama said Thursday. “So I take that personally. My entire presidency has been about helping working families.”

“Some of these folks are friends of mine. I love them to death. But in the same way that when I was arguing for health care reform I asked people to look at the facts – somebody comes up with a slogan like ‘death panel,’ doesn’t mean it’s true. Look at the facts. The same thing is true on this. Look at the facts. Don’t just throw a bunch of stuff out there and see if it sticks,” the president added.

And on Friday, Obama made a surprise appearance on a conference call with reporters and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Obama took what seemed to be a shot at liberal lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and progressive groups for “send[ing] e-mails out to their fundraising base that they’re working to stop a secret deal.” There’s “nothing secret” about the treaty, he said.

But his critics aren’t backing down either, in fact they are truly pissed off over this.

“Belittling progressives who represent the overwhelming majority of Americans in opposition to a trade deal written by corporations in secret is a return to the worst days of this White House,” said Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green. “They are back to caving to corporate interests, forfeiting opportunities for greatness, and, in this case, costing millions of peoples their jobs and economic well being if successful.”

The most frustrating thing, as some liberals see it, is that the White House is spending huge political capital to pass a trade deal the base does not support, while not doing enough in their mind to support liberal priorities.

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown called president’s priorities “maddening.” “I think if you could get my colleagues to be honest, on the Democratic side, with you – and I think you can mostly – they will say they’ve been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama’s been president,” Brown told reporters Thursday. “That’s just sad.”

Dan Cantor, national director of the progressive group Working Families, said Obama is “wrong” on trade. “If Democrats ever wonder why some people think both parties are in the pocket of Wall Street, secretive trade deals like this are one are a big reason why,” he said.

And David Segal, who runs the Internet freedom group Demand Progress, which also opposed TPP, turned Obama’s comments on their head. ”It’s clearly Obama who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to trade – just look at his disastrous Korea Free Trade Agreement, which he claimed would create 200,000-plus new American jobs but in just a few years has already cost us 60,000 and increased our trade deficit by billions,” Segal said.

All I see is a large, generally-round shaped arrangement of liberals opening fire towards the center and wondering why Republicans control the Senate,  31 Governor’s mansions, the largest House margin since the Gilded Age, and a bunch of state legislatures.

You know what, maybe this trade deal does suck, and maybe we learned nothing from NAFTA, and maybe it’s going to be terrible.  But after six years of being in the White House and actually getting us out of the black hole the Republicans put us in, I’m kind of willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt.  I mean if you’re a liberal, and you’re still having trust issues with him, to the point that you’re making comments about how “sad” he is, you might want to take a step back and ask yourself why you feel that way, and what that sounds like to other people.

Also if Sen. Brown’s comments are correct, that Democrats “will say they’ve been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama’s been president” what happened to “we don’t know what’s in this trade deal because it’s a secret!” and stuff?

Whatever, fight it out downstairs in the comments.

[UPDATE] Well you certainly are doing that.  Quite a few of you are taking the notion that I would give Obama the benefit of the doubt very, very fucking personally, by the way.

I find that interesting.



The Great White Fright

Apparently, even discussing the notion of white privilege on America’s college campuses in 2015 is causing a massive fit among your local white nationalist groups, to the point where they’re concern trolling everyone in sight about how awful it is being a white guy.

The National Youth Front’s leader, Angelo John Gage, told TPM in a phone interview Thursday that he believes the bulletin board amounted to discrimination. He repeatedly took issue with the portrayal of white people and Christians as having “privilege.”

“State and federal law says you must keep the school discrimination-free. They’re not doing that,” Gage said. “The Civil Rights Act says you can’t have discrimination based on race, sex, gender — all that stuff. Here comes a board that discriminates against people for their race, sex, gender, religion. It’s the complete opposite.”

He defined privilege instead as something “handed to you.”

“‘Oh you’re black, here you go, here’s a scholarship.’ That’s a privilege,” Gage explained. “Or here’s a racial quota. ‘You’re not qualified but you’re black, so here’s the job’ — otherwise it’s racism.”

Exciting new quantum technology will need to be developed in order to successfully play a violin small enough for Mr. Gage here, so I’m really jazzed about those coming scientific advances that will benefit all of humanity. Perhaps these nano-scale breakthroughs can also be applied to locating all the lost fucks I give about “reverse racism” in a country that was founded on the wholesale slaughter of the people living here and then built with the blood of the enslaved dragged here from an entirely different continent.

And yeah, being a straight cisgender male roughly the size and shape of a refrigerator, the internet reminds me almost daily that there are things I don’t have to worry about as much in my life (even though I’m black.)  I’ve learned a lot (mostly when to shut up and listen to others) about basic awareness, which is all this “anti-White” bulletin board seems to involve.

As a side note, aren’t these the same people complaining that making “safe spaces” in colleges and universities is “coddling” students and making them weak, because in college you’re supposed to be constantly challenged by new ideas?

Anyway, it doesn’t shock me that we’re still dealing with stuff like this in 2015, not at all, but at this point the changing demographics of America is just something that certain people are never going to be able to handle, no matter how much you try and educate them.



NCAA Open Thread

Eers vs. UK.

About the only good thing ’bout this, I am afraid, is that I will get to see Ashley Judd, and I just love her.

Also, I am so over having puppies. I am ready for them to move on. We have any takers for Thurston? Mary still interested in Ginger? They have got to go. They destroyed the two pillows made by one of the readers for Tunch, shredded four new pee pads) (although shredded may not adequately cover how thoroughly they ripped these apart), and have spent the last 3 hours underneath my feet as I try to work play fighting with Rosie making an unGodly ruckus. At one point I was whimpering and pleading with them “will you please just go to sleep and be quiet for five minutes?”

I don’t know how you breeders put up with kids for 18 years without killing them.



Coats Of (Up In) Arms

Apparently Indiana GOP Sen. Dan Coats is not running in 2016, meaning there’s an open seat in a Midwest state where Democrats can win a statewide race (the Hoosier State’s other senator is Democrat Joe Donnelly).  That’s the good news.

“Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the United States Senate,” Coats said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision. While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders.”

Coats’s decision to retire may set off a Republican scramble for the open seat. While the GOP would seem to have the early edge, it is now another state they must defend in a presidential year where they’re almost entirely playing defense to protect their new Senate majority.

Potential Republican candidates include Reps. Todd Young and Susan Brooks, both of whom have long been viewed as having statewide ambitions, as well as Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Reps. Todd Rokita, Jackie Walorski and Marlin Stutzman.

An aide to Rep. Luke Messer told The Hill he wouldn’t seek the Senate seat.

The bad news: Democrats need somebody moderate enough to win in Indiana, with name recognition, and enough cash on hand to run for Senate.  Guess who that means might be back?

Their best recruit would likely be former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who chose to retire rather than facing a tough race in 2010 and still has close to $10 million in the bank for a potential return to politics. Bayh has ruled out a run for governor but hasn’t closed the door on a Senate run.

Ahh yes, Mr. No Labels himself. Boy howdy it’ll be fun rooting for him in order to try to get the Dems back in power.

Excuse me while I go find a bucket to puke in.



Serenity Now

I think I just had as close to an emotional breakdown as is possible. My pc is dying, so yesterday I replaced the power supply in an attempt to fix it, and while the power supply was bad, it appears the mobo is dying as it will not recognize all my memory, so I am frantically copying files to my mac. While doing this, there are five dogs in my office terrorizing me. Lovey and Thurston have attacked every cable, and are generally just being hyper nuisances, nipping at my heels, riling up the other dogs, and just creating a general environment of mania. I could feel my blood pressure rising as every time I reached for something, Lovey grabbed it and ran down the hallway with it, and then I chased after her and stepped in a pile of dog poo and just screamed “SHAWN I NEED YOUR FUCKING HELP.”

I think this is what it was like when mom had finally had enough with unruly kids and broke out the wooden spoon. I remember one time when I was 13 or so and she went to crack me with the spoon and it cracked in half on my back and we both just got hysterical.

My favorite story of driving my mother insane is one day in my late teens I had just been needling her and needling her and she finally was driven to the brink of madness and yelled at me, and this happened:

Mom: “You know what I think of you? You know what I think of you? There! “OJ!” and then gave me the middle finger.

Me: “What the hell does OJ have to do with anything?”

Mom: “Obscene Gesture!”

Me: “Gesture isn’t spelled with a J, mom.”

That’s when we all got hysterical again, and to this day, OJ means obscene gesture in the Cole household. It’s particularly funny because my mother has a PhD in English and would never misspell gesture.








Open Thread: Jobapalooza

December’s jobs report (+252k, unemployment rate down to 5.6%, +50k upward revisions in Oct/Nov jobs) means 2014’s 2.9 million jobs are the best yearly job gains since 1999.  The only icky stuff is November’s six cent gain in hourly wages led to a five-cent drop in December, meaning wages are still not keeping up with job growth for now.

Still, it’s a good report for the most part.

Open thread otherwise, including the craziness in Paris.



Hell Of A Christmas News Dump, Fellas

The NSA, responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, released a series of required quarterly and annual reportsto the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board that cover the period from the fourth quarter of 2001 to the second quarter of 2013.

The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. They were posted on the NSA’s website at around 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst “searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,” according to one report. The analyst “has been advised to cease her activities,” it said.

Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct.

Last year, an analyst “mistakenly requested” surveillance “of his own personal identifier instead of the selector associated with a foreign intelligence target,” according to another report.

In 2012, an analyst conducted surveillance “on a U.S. organization in a raw traffic database without formal authorization because the analyst incorrectly believed that he was authorized to query due to a potential threat,” according to the fourth-quarter report from 2012. The surveillance yielded nothing.

Two thoughts:  One, as I’ve said numerous times, it’s entirely possible to hold the position that both the NSA needs massive reform to prevent civil liberties abuses, and that Edward Snowden went about exposing these abuses in a way that damaged national security.  The ACLU on the other hand requested this information through FOIA, and got it.  No espionage or skulduggery was required, and the information clearly shows the NSA isn’t following its own procedures.  This was the right way to get evidence of these massive abuses and does so in a manner that’s both responsible and powerful.

And that brings me to Thought Two: please remember that Senate Republicans, including Rand Paul, killed legislation that would have increased oversight and civil liberties protections involving the NSA just last month, so the opportunity to do something about this was killed by the GOP.  They’re not interested in reforming the NSA, they’re interested in allowing these abuses to continue, and the next Congress will do precisely nothing to rein this garbage in.

It’s pretty rancid for a Christmas Day news dump, but there you have it.