Newsworthy Items That Have Slipped Through the Cracks: We’re Doomed

I don’t mean to panic anyone, but the US breached the debt ceiling on March 16th and the current extension on the Fiscal Year 2017 continuing budget resolution runs out on April 28th. Given the dysfunction within the majority caucuses in the House and the Senate, the fact that the new Administration’s skinny budget has been declared DOA upon its arrival in Congress, and the fact that NO ONE ANYWHERE – INCLUDING THE WHITE HOUSE, CONGRESS, MOST OF THE NEWS MEDIA, AND APPARENTLY MOST AMERICANS!!!!!!! – seems to be paying any attention or talking about this, perhaps we should be just a wee bit concerned.

Have a nice evening!

Early Morning Open Thread: Is Our Press Corpse Learning?

Interesting, if true:

A Day Without Women?

If I were a True Progressive(tm), I probably wouldn’t be writing this (although, in my defense, for me it’s the end of Tuesday rather than the beginning of Wednesday). Yes, I enjoy putting these posts together — since it’s unpaid labor, Cole could hardly fire me for noncompliance — but it does qualify as work, some days more than others.

Jia Tolentino, in the New Yorker, on “The Women’s Strike and the Messy Space of Change”:

T[oday] is the Women’s Strike, the fourth of ten actions that have been called for by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington. The strike was planned to coincide with International Women’s Day, and the march organizers, in tandem with a team organizing protests in forty countries around the world, have asked women to take whatever form of action their lives allow for. Take the day off from “paid and unpaid labor,” including housework and child care, if you can, or avoid shopping at corporate or male-owned businesses, or simply wear red in solidarity. There will be rallies in at least fifty cities around the United States.

Comparisons between the strike and the post-Inauguration march—now estimated to be the largest political demonstration in U.S. history—are inevitable, and likely to be unfavorable to the strikers. The decline in unionization has insured that most American workers are unfamiliar with striking and what it entails. And it is, of course, much harder to strike on a weekday than to protest on a Saturday. It is also more difficult to facilitate, measure, and publicize absence than it is to celebrate presence, the way one does at a march. When tens of thousands of immigrants went on strike on February 16th, they did attract some favorable public attention—as well as employer retribution—but a general strike the next day, and a tech-industry strike one week later, escaped public notice almost completely…

From the Washington Post, “The expensive problem with the ‘Day Without a Woman’”:

Rosie Molina, who works at a District restaurant for $7.50 an hour, woke early to march on the Mall in January. Then she rushed downtown for an afternoon shift. Molina was proud to have briefly joined the movement — her cause is immigrant rights — but she cannot afford to take part in Wednesday’s strike, which would cost her about $60. That’s two weeks of groceries.

“I’m a single mother,” Molina said. “I don’t have the luxury. The last time I took a day off, my paycheck was very low.”

Taria Vines, 44, who makes about $350 each week as a caterer in the Bronx, decided to take the day off to march Wednesday in the nation’s capital with some friends. Vines figures she’ll lose a chunk of pay — probably enough to cover her cellphone bill — but she still wanted to take a stand against sexual harassment and discrimination.

“It’s costing me money to do this,” she said, “but if I don’t fight for what’s right for me, who will?”…
Read more

Adding to Dave

I doubt there is anything especially unique about Richard Burr. GOP leaders would prefer you did not know this, but Republicans are feeling deeply queasy about Trump right now. His manic behavior is increasingly putting them between an impossible rock and a hard place. If we cannot help having a compromised lunatic at the helm then AT THE VERY LEAST we should insist on cabinet-level officials who can find their own department with a map.

Has your Republican Senator heard from you lately? Check in and encourage him or her to stand up for some basic minimum qualifications in cabinet nominees. Yes I know that evil plus competency gives you Dick Cheney. Maybe that does not seem like much of an upgrade, but Trump goes insane when people tell him no. The Republican party could collapse into bloody infighting. Why not help that along? Also let em know that if they mess with Medicare you will personally drive your grandmother to their local ffice and leave her there until she runs out of things to yell.

You know what else is fun? Getting together with twenty five thousand of your best friends and having a dance party. I found out later that Pittsburgh actually had TWO marches; apparently organizers got in a social media fight with each other and the two camps each held their own march. Did any readers attend the one in East Liberty?

Here is the part where I climbed a lamp pole to get a good crowd shot and almost fell off at the end.

Make Sure to Save the Date!

Oy vey…


John Cole, call your office

Josh Marshall was indispensable reading when George Bush tried to privatize Social Security in 2005, and I think he has it right this year as well. Republicans will not take a wrecking ball to Medicare and Obamacare without Democratic support. This has nothing to do with the filibuster or reconciliation. Mitch McConnell will ditch the filibuster five milliseconds after it gets in the way of something Republicans really want to do. But as much as Republicans really, really, REALLY want to garrot the New Deal and burn its corpse in a ditch they simply cannot message their way around the wreckage that would cause to their core voting constituencies. Even if you could find a majority in the House willing to sit in gasoline and light a match, plenty of Senators know the score. But Paul Ryan can’t do anything to taxes unless he accepts a huge deficit hike or cuts something meaningful, which means either defense (ha) or the safety net.

All of this makes wavering Democrats more valuable to the GOP than the last parachute on a burning plane. That is a lot more reassuring today than eleven years ago – districts represented by blue dogs have Republican leadership now. The liberal Senator with his finger on the zeitgeist is not Joe Lieberman but Bernie Sanders. It will be a hard sell for someone – especially Donald Trump – to lure today’s Democrats into betraying what you could fairly describe as the granite core foundation of the modern Democratic party.

Republicans are already feeling some heat over this. That means you have a chance to make a difference here. Pick up the phone and turn it up some more. They have all the majorities so they have no cover left for crazy political statements. Every vote will count. I guarantee that calls about this particular issue will get noted with an exclamation point.

You can count on most Democrats to defend the party’s core principles, but I would keep a special eye on any Democrat who shows the slightest sign of selling out. For me that list has to start with Joe Manchin. Look, WV went for Trump by thirty points. Manchin would be crazy not to give Republican ideas at least a very polite listen. Before the election he let it slip that he could well defect if the Senate came down to a 50-50 split. I would recommend that anyone living in West by god Virginia pick up the phone early and often until Senator Manchin releases a firm and unambiguous statement against molesting or privatizing our social safety net in any way whatsoever.

Find your Senators here.
Find your Representative here.

House/Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first-timers here.

Comey’s Coup

I don’t mean to alarm you, fellow citizens, but this FBI business is starting to feel like a coup. Right-wing agents, either with the willing participation of Mr. Comey or emboldened and enabled by his inept leadership, are attempting to swing the election to Donald J. Trump. Consider the evidence that has emerged just in the last 10 days:

1. Comey’s extraordinary statement that reanimated the dead emails story

2. The dormant @FBIRecordsVault Twitter account that burped to life this week and spewed forth investigative reports on Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich

3. FBI leaks to The Hill about an investigation into an alleged straw donor scheme to benefit FL senate candidate Patrick Murphy

4. Leaks to the WSJ (link to TPM because paywall) by FBI agents who are furious that they weren’t given the green light to investigate the Clinton Foundation based on allegations contained in book published by a Breitbart editor

It’s almost as if our taxpayer-supported public servants were waiting to see if Russia’s interference in the U.S. election would bear fruit, and, in the absence of that, decided to hurl produce of their own into the gears of our democracy. This cannot — must not — stand.

Obviously, our first order of business is to win this election. Y’all know what to do on that score. You’re doing it, and I believe we will win. But after that, there must be a reckoning. I’m not sure how that can be accomplished, but this rot must be exposed and rooted out. It’s a bigger threat to our democracy than Donald Trump.