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February 12, 2019


That’s the same George H. W. Bush who issued pardons for many of the Iran-Contra conspirators.

Yeah, a man of integrity, just like his father.


It's just some lofty words. Like Trump saying we would build a big beautiful wall on Mexico's dime or that he would guarantee everybody health care on the cheap.

I think it means that the performative left isn't any more interested in actually solving problems than the Republicans.

You'd have to have a pretty sound technical background to truly appreciate how truly ridiculous the thing was and is. It is not merely hand waving about implementation. In a lot of cases it demands implementation of technology we do not posses and may never possess.

AOC did a terrible thing. As originally conceived the GND was sufficiently vague that it allowed for broad policy goals many of which were undoubtedly sound. It did not, for example, define renewable energy or carbon free generation so as to exclude nuclear power. On that basis people signed on. But then she issued her own refinements that moved the goal posts. She essentially ambushed her own side. You only get to do that once politically. It was a totally rookie move and it has pissed off more knowledgeable people on the Democratic side more than a little.

There is a phrase I see often used by such people. That phrase is: It's just a matter of political will. No it fucking well isn't. Unfortunately it seems to be something our more youthful political activists have been brought up to believe is true.

This is just more evidence of the left not really interested in power - quite unlike the right. The modern left has a death wish. It's not a bug, it's a feature. We've seen it for 51 years now.

Off-topic, but Phil I would vastly prefer to see that wonderful picture of you, the one in your Fedora taken by L. Reeves, over the current picture of that clown!

You know what, Max? You're right. My apologies.

No need to apologize. How are you to know how handsome you are? But, fortunately, you have a companion who does know.

Ah, much better. It's. it your fault you don't know how handsome you are. Fortunately your companion does and is handy with a camera.

Not your fault that is.

Damn, Max, I feel a proposal coming on.

Best news of the day, sir. Life is short.....

With apologies to Satchmo and Ella:

"A fine bromance, my good fellow
You take bromance, I'll take jello
You're calmer than the seals
In the arctic ocean
At least they flap their fins
To express emotion
A fine romance with no quarrels
With no insults and all morals
I've never mussed the crease
In your blue serge pants
I never get the chance
This is a fine bromance"

I really don't get all the pearl-clutching about the GND. It's a first draft, fer chrissakes, offered a year-and-a-half before the 2020 nominating convention! There's plenty of time to walk it back and tweak it.

You just take the proposal back into the shop, change the "3" in 2030 to a "5," and presto, it's 2050. Excise a couple of the more ridiculous proposals, change the word "Free" anywhere it appears in the document to "subsidized." Then, you change "Green New Deal" to "Contract With America," and you have a political winner.

In 2016, we ran on a platform of "Women!" because of the alleged unique appeal of our female candidate and her gelded running mate. And in the end, our voters stayed home, and the white woman we ran lost white women by 11 points...to Donald Trump!

Excess of caution has been the Dems original sin for the last 40 years. 40 years of compromise, triangulation, and surrender, and what we have to show for it is a stacked Supreme Court. The only time we stoked any enthusiasm was with Obama...because people saw him as different...Hope & Change, remember? And we got our only big policy win since Medicare.

Undecided voters are scarce as unicorns these days. Donald Trump gets this, but too many Democrats don't. Our winning path is to jack up enthusiasm among voters 45 and younger. If we can't do it, we're toast, in my opinion.

I’d like to make a modest proposal. Just as Cato ended every speech with “Ceterum censeo delendam esse Carthaginem”, every Democratic politician should make room somewhere in their speeches for the statement, “Fox News isn’t your friend.”

In other words, never mind what we say. Nothing is to be taken seriously. Good government doesn't matter anyway. It is all just reality TV. Democracy is bullshit. It is just about jacking up enthusiasm over a bird landing on a podium or something.

Power matters. Solving problems does not.

Key difference, with Obama you got a policy win. The GND is not a policy win. There's a reason McConnell is actually bringing this to the Senate floor. And that is the GND has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. It makes Bernie's promises seem rational. Dave Roberts at Vox argued that it was intentionally vague because that was actually a necessary condition to get people to sign on. But that isn't what is happening. The debate on the left is raging about what it really means with various groups insisting their views must prevail. As a litmus test, which the AOC crowd insists it must be, it is toxic as hell precisely because it over promises on just about everything.

I think the strategy of trying to generate enthusiasm of the younger voters is sound. And they had one too that had very broad support which was increasing top marginal tax rates. So why pick a litmus test that alienates other Democratic factions. Especially when they are reliable voters.

Excellent comment. I really dig AOC but fear she doesn't respect what she doesn't know. I hope not and hope she continues to be a quick study.

It's not for nothing the right wing is so gleeful at this clownish, sophomoric piece that is the draft of the GND. No wonder McConnell wants a vote on this. The Democratic party needs to continue its outreach on center/left adults who have not been voting. The modern American left will break your heart every time. We even see the same Ralph Nader sludge on this site.

I don't accept your re-mix of my words, Tom. It's simply not an accurate re-statement of what I wrote. I don't need to recap your reply, because your reply doesn't say anything.

If you'd care to engage two or three of the points I actually did articulate, feel free to fire away. But please spare me the bullshit casserole.

Let me be clear: I prefer winning to losing. I prefer throwing losing ideas in the toilet, and running new ones up the flagpole. I prefer tossing tired old politicians, and their time-proven losing strategies, in the dustbin; and I prefer giving new people with new ideas a chance, at long last. I think that anyone who thinks that elections are forensic debates hasn't really been paying attention.

Obama's big policy win was a far piece from where Obama's original healthcare proposal started out. So I think you are basically agreeing with what I wrote, although I recognize that wasn't your intention.

No I don't agree Ed. That health care battle gave control of the House back to the Republicans for the last six years of Obama's presidency. Precisely because it was so divisive on the Democratic side. It is much better to pick an issue like taxation policy as a central campaign issue that units the various Democratic factions and is a pain in the ass to the Republicans.

Your logic here truly escapes me. The health care battle was a big win, but the battle "gave the House to the GOP. No one "gave" the House to the GOP...they took it back, wrested it away from our control, with superior messaging.

Here is what our last failed candidate and her camp's superior wisdom has wrought. Read it and weep.

Sorry. I guess I though the box below entering the e-mail address would create a link.


Am I supposed to take this proposal seriously or not? If yes, democracy has been reduced to competing fantasies, both entirely divorced from reality. If no, democracy is reduced to the same competing fantasies except we all know we are just spouting bullshit.

Neither has anything at all to do with solving any problems or helping any Americans.

You may have missed PM's joke, Max. I think he meant "a proposal coming on" from you! Now whooda thunk it, lol.
But anyone can see that our host is handsome. Especially in his Fedora. :)

You mean the Republicans didn't take back the House in the midterms of Obama's first term in office? Because I am pretty sure that happened. Furthermore the completely unrealistic demand by the more progressive wing of the Democratic party for Medicare for all led them to assault Obama for caving even though they barely passed what Obama did achieve. In fact they started doing that shortly after the inauguration when he didn't round up and jail the previous administration.
They just got worse as time went on.

Obamacare was a great victory but an expensive one. It was at least doable. Most of the nonsense in the GND, which is to be the new litmus test of purity, doesn't even have that going for it.

Can democratic senators simply refuse to participate in what is purely a show vote?

You can bet they are working overtime to contain the damage.

Among the absurdities that is the GND draft (and what a shame; we could really use annactual Green New Deal) is its insult to disabled Americans. The careless phrase "(caring for) .... those unable or unwilling to work" is deeply offensive to our disabled, their families and those who care for our disabled. The right wing is having a field day on providing for the "unwilling." We will hear more on from our disabled community.

Does it say that? I also heard something about high speed rail that would bring an end to air travel? Seriously?

Read and learn.



Fox News isn’t your friend.

Yes it says that. And a whole lot of other unicorns pissing rainbows and farting sparkles. The Chait article noted by our host lays this whole manifesto out in all its pathetic glory.

I was just asking a question. No need to br so rude.

Anne, there are some good articles out there, on all political stripes, many of which contain the GND prospectus as is. (Vox and Chait in NYMag have been good.) We eagerly await your insights once you tackle the material; we can always count on you to see things in your usual incisive way.

That’s my new line I’m using from now on when commenting here on RW memes, like the ones you just repeated.


You know how to pick em.


I’ll just leave this here:

Where Chait has a point is that some of the roughest patches of the Green New Deal so far are due to an unwillingness to divide the left on a number of debates: MMT vs. taxation when it comes to funding; the role of nuclear power; job guarantees vs. universal basic income; and so on. But here, again, he puts the cart before the horse by labeling the reality the Green New Deal exists in as a “political fantasy world in which the ideologically median legislator is Bernie Sanders”:

While rightly insisting on the primacy of climate change, it betrays its own confidence by submerging climate policy into a broader array of priorities. It simultaneously argues that we must move with urgent speed on climate, but that we must first achieve comprehensive socialism in order to move.
Comprehensive socialism, this is not. But given that comprehensive capitalism has not only failed to solve the climate question but also created and exacerbated it, underpinning a social safety net worthy of the richest country in the world to the real sacrifices and changes this country will have to make in order to do its part in staving off the destabilization of the climate is a great start.


What a lovely title. That's where I stopped. Chait is awful on public education and I can and have cut him in a hundred ways on that. (His wife is a charter school hack; they seem to count as friends Michelle Rhee and Eva Moscowitz.) On GND you basically state below what he wrote, of which we appear to be in agreement.

That was a very interesting piece. I have always wondered why the shrinking minority of unionized workers think calling the vast majority of workers who aren’t, scabs. It is as if they think those numerically superior groups of workers really appreciate being classed as scum.

But let us set that aside for a moment and consider what the author asserts and demands. He says, point blank, that different workers are not paid the same and thinks they should. He also notes that everyone there knows the fastest path to advancement is to take a better job elsewhere. But I will bet those other employers aren’t using dartboards to target employees for recruitment. Nope. They are picking the ones they think are worth it and worth more aren’t they.
It is one of those problems that has long confronted the union movement. How do you make mediocrity the standard? How do you stop superior workers in areas like journalism from succeeding? I don’t think calling them names is going to stop them. Particularly since the wheels are coming off conventional journalism. At this point unionizing is something journalists do so as prepare themselves collectively to deals with either layoffs or complete shutdowns.

Lovely words. Still ignores fundamental physical realities that make almost all of the projections regarding technological implementation impossible because we do not know how to do these things. Want to be richer than Jeff Bezos? Create a battery that has the energy density of gasoline. I will cut you some slack. A quarter of that capacity will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. And this is but one of a dozen paths to riches you could take simply by inventing an actual functional technology that activists imagine already exists.

You know who is actually looking for these things? Capitalists. And people funded by capitalists either directly or through taxation. You are right that capitalism created the current level of technology that is the source of this problem. Of course without things like diesel farm tractors and transport trucks and the highway system that goes with it most of us would have starved to death. In a larger sense you are making my point. The discussion degenerates into ideological bullshit and personal attacks on Bush and Chait. This solves what problem?

The reliably liberal Michael Tomasky, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal Is a Home Run — for Mitch McConnell"


One quote on but one area of this clusterfck: "Ernest Moniz, Barack Obama’s energy secretary, is a brilliant person. No one knows more about energy than he does. He told NPR: 'I’m afraid I just cannot see how we could possibly go to zero carbon in the 10-year time frame. It’s just impractical. And if we start putting out impractical targets, we may lose a lot of key constituencies who we need to bring along to have a real low-carbon solution on the most rapid time frame that we can achieve'.”

But what does he know, right?

Generally when one attacks the individual but not his arguments, his arguments must be pretty good.

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

Ernest Moniz is 74, not elderly. But whatever. I try to respect what I don't know. But whatever.

Read and learn:

“For years, some employees have been paid well below media standards,” the letter says. “Benefits constantly change and don’t meet our actual needs. Salaries vary significantly between people who hold the same position, and career development is either nonexistent or inadequate. Across the board, employees know the best chance to earn a raise or promotion is to get a job offer elsewhere. All of this only exacerbates an already troubling lack of diversity in our newsroom.”

We already have affordable electric cars. One of the problems we have with diesel farm equipment here in the San Joaquin Valley is the pollution they create and is retained in the air here.

74 is the new 40? But he is distinguished.

In the U.S. the state is the central organizing entity in education. Quality varies wildly - but with an interesting consistency: States with the strongest teacher unions have by far the strongest education systems. States with weak unions have mediocre education systems. States with no unions have the worst education systems. Comparing my and my children's education in New York, versus my cousins in Alabama, the difference is staggering, shocking.

Conspicuously missing from this debate are the voices of acknowledged master teachers. Take a guess at what they have to say. Take a guess as to why we so seldom hear their voices.

Do we really need to recite the gains made by unions in the last century and more? Do we really need to recite what workers lost with the decline of unions?

"74 is the new 40?" Probably not but here's hoping. But he knows a thing or two.

I haven't had time to read the Green New Deal, and I take Politifact with a grain of salt, but here's a bit on what they have to say about it:

Particularly about "unwilling to work" and "cows."

Hillary was criticized about not offering a big vision, about getting mired in details about how to pay for things and how to get legislation passed. So maybe it's fine for Congresspeople to put forward something bold.

Also, hope PM is doing ok.

Sue in Seattle

I don’t know if you have noticed this or not but conventional newspaper based journalism is falling apart. So is internet based journalism for that matter. There are large numbers of layoffs nearly everywhere and few papers are immune. It really doesn’t matter what compensation is desired by staff if the money isn’t there to pay it. The money is disappearing from journalism fast. I do not know why anyone would imagine journalism should be immune to the same economic forces that affect everyone else and have reduced unionism to a shadow of its former power. In any event nothing that person said in any way invalidates what Chait said. So I am not sure why it matters.

Sure Max, I know these things. My family helped do them. Both my father and grandmother were union organizers. I have been a member of three different unions in my youth. But if you know a way to protect unionism let me know. There is no way to prevent its decay in the private sector. And when the public sector unions try to protect their privileges, like publicly funded health, at the expense of all the workers who don’t get that but pay taxes then the public sector unions will be gutted too. Frankly they will deserve it.

Universal health care in Vermont was killed by the public and private sector unions. They had employer funded care and wouldn’t pay an additional nickel in taxes to help anybody else. They had theirs so fuck the others. It is, of course, also why the unions all opposed the Cadillac health care tax in Obamacare. I have no problem with them looking after their own interests. But then the people paying taxes but getting nothing have interests too. And they get to vote. And they can vote for the only thing they can get which is lower taxes. They vastly outnumber union members by the way.

With all due respect, for all your boasting of your union bona fides it sure seems to mystify you that a union would keep its membership from losing ground. You keep saying this.

With all due respect, you've insisted that unions don't give up health care benefits. Nonsense. I'm actually in a union and have been for decades. Like Hell we don't, Peter. It's not advertised for Chrissakes and compromises are made elsewhere.

Do you expect us to believe that union member, too, have lost ground, along with everyone else? Or did I read you right and you support a race to the bottom?

With all due respect, I lived in Vermont for the better part of the decade. I worked in the Vermont State Legislature. Where to begin with the economic train wreck / provincialism and proud of it / that is Vermont? Can any state make a go at Universal? The price tag in California is $!20 Billion.

Vermont pays its teachers Mississippi-level wages. They should start there.

All Peter G has to do is substitute Communism for health care in his screed to take it back to the 1950s.

; -). Maybe I was projecting!

:) Teaser. You had our host all excited.

Well then let me offer indisputable facts. Unionism in the private sector is dying. There use to be 5 private sector union jobs for every public sector job and now it is about one to one. There is no way to protect private sector jobs from outsourcing to another domestic jurisdiction or even offshore. That is what killed those jobs in the first place, they made themselves uncompetitive. It wasn’t legal changes, it wasn’t politics, it was straightforward economics. Improved technology added to the pace of job loss but basically it was and is unstoppable.

So now we have a real problem for the public sector unions. It doesn’t matter how entitled they feel to things like health care or other benefits. Even their private sector union brothers don’t want to pay the taxes to provide them those things. And the people who get nothing but pay taxes? What do they think? Evidently they don’t understand why the children of public employees deserve good stuff but theirs don’t. I do not know why anyone would expect them to do anything but resent this favoritism. And when they find out how hard these unions fight to not help them at all? They have been left one rational strategy to look after their interests, lower taxes.

What is offered to these people? Well they are told that the Democrats will make it easier for them to do unionize. Let me translate, this means easier to lose your job in the public sector. Gosh what a prize that is!

Walter Reuther warned his brethren what would happen to the union movement if they persisted in only protecting their members at the cost of everyone else including those below them on the economic scale. And he was right. It is playing out exactly the way he said it would. You cannot piss on people and expect them to be your allies.

Let’s see. I am looking to buy a new car. This one has a gas tank that holds 3/4 of a gallon of gas and has the range that goes with it. And it takes between two to fours hours to fill the tank if I can find a place to do that. Unfortunately every four years or so I have to replace the gas tank and that costs about ten grand on average right now. What I have just described is really just an electric car in which I have called the battery a gas tank. They are neither affordable nor practical for most people.

Of course gas powered vehicles pay fuel taxes which electrics don’t. Here is another question. Who is going to pay for millions upon millions of charging stations that cannot meter out enough power daily to cover their cost of installation or maintenance? For cars that only the relatively rich can afford?

“Affordable”: Not really, sort of, soon, sigh. My visionary Palo Alto buddy’s “affordable” Tesla 3 with a few options was $70,000. For that I could have a RAV-4 hybrid AND a VW GTI, AND those DeVore speakers on the cover of Stereophile.

I have been wanting to buy forever and hope to get a hybrid soon; I can’t even really get plug-in hybrid. Electric at this point is either unaffordable or a second car which I can’t do now. The American automakers are getting out of cars entirely (I’d been coveting a Volt or Bolt, both expensive, but no more and I need more anyway). My visionary friend says the tipping point year is 2021. I think he’s close. The next half-decade will see the biggest revolution in the auto industry, like ever.

Management declared war on workers; news at 11.

In other words, unions have no future, because they shouldn’t have a future, because you don’t like unions. Your latest post could have come from Charles Murray or some captain of industry 100 years ago. Why, it’s a wonder unions ever even came into existence in the first place. And I thought I was being rhetorical when I wrote whether we must site what unions, over the course of a century, gained for all workers, and what workers lost with the decline of unions.

I have real issues with unions but we can’t even get close. In your repeatedly false arguments on this thread alone, maybe it would be prudent to not bring the word “elitist” into it, since your own arguments reek of your own elitism. Or your past elitism when you pronounced we shouldn’t have passed ACA. (Maybe we can coin the term “Canadian privilege.) And the smugness and condescension – remarkable considering the ignorance of so many of your pronouncements – each of which on this thread alone were effortlessly demolished, one-by-one.

But we’ve seen this smug ignorance before, your puppy-love for the incompetent Rahm Emanuel mayor administration, as that 21% approval was apparently a leftist plot. (Has any other Democrat been as ego-identified with throwing his dick around as Emanuel?), Or your strikingly ignorant rant on admissions to elite American universities. Have you ever even so much as looked at admissions grids? I have: I have American kids who have gone through this. Imagine. Or your dishonest claim to have the slightest inkling of Andrew Sullivan decade plus impassioned defense of Obama? Outright dishonesty, Peter. Or your childish attempt to equate FDR’s and Churchill’s failings with Josef Stalin? That’s just off the top of my head.

Peter, there is much about your writing I had admired. And I still will admire when you are on your game and being honest. But your repeated spouting on topics where you are not just in way over your head but uniformed, misinformed – and then coupled with a very unfortunate smug, condescending attitude: I conclude I cannot trust your arguments on things of which I do not know.

At work, my metric for evaluating new staff is the degree to which they respect what they do not know. For someone who does not even seem to have the *concept* of what one does not know – topping that is even smug about his ignorance – it typically ends in spectacular, ugly fashion. I will not further dignify your smug, ignorant rantings.

The youthful activists of the Purity Left grew up in an era in which feckless proposals of nonsense always worked (at least politically) for the GOP, so I reckon it's little wonder that they would say: "These tactics work! Why can't WE use them?"

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Your host, P.M. Carpenter (photo credit: L. Reeves)

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