Lazy Saturday ReadsPosted: January 23, 2016
I’m really being lazy this Saturday. I’m sitting here drinking hot tea and wondering how all the piano lessons are doing. So far it doesn’t look like we’re going to get anything more than an inch of two of snow from the “monster blizzard;” but if you’re getting hit, I definitely feel for you. After the winter we went through in Boston last year, I’m very happy to miss this one (I hope).
NBC News on the storm so far: Monster Snowstorm Leaves At Least 10 Dead As It Pummels East Coast.
A killer snowstorm that battered the South and the nation’s capital turned its sights on greater New York City on Saturday, packing gale-force winds, heavy snow and coastal flooding as it churned up the East Coast.
The weekend winter wallop has already knocked out power to hundreds of thousands, led to more than 8,300 canceled flights and been blamed for at least 10 deaths.
By the time the storm is over Sunday, one in seven Americans from Kentucky to Connecticut could be under at least half a foot of snow. Washington, D.C., and New York City each could flirt with record snow totals.
The storm paralyzed major cities: Public transportation in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington was shut down, and hundreds of drivers in various states were stranded on icy roadways.
In D.C., which was forecast to be in the crosshairs of the potentially historic storm, snow was falling at a rate of up to 2 inches an hour early Saturday, The Weather Channel said. The north lawn of the White House was blanketed by 20.5 inches of snow.
In Silver Spring, Maryland, which already had 20 inches of snow by morning, lighting and thundersnow lit up the skies, the Associated Press said.
Wow! I guess this storm is for real. I hope you all are safe and warm.
ABC News has a report on a different kind of storm.
As voting is set to start, Republicans have a dozen choices in front of them. Yet polls show more than half of the vote going to two candidates who combined do not have a single governor or senator behind them.
The conservative National Review has taken the unprecedented step of publishing an entire issue aimed at blocking the party’s leading candidate. Generations of prominent conservative journalists, tea party activists, and former administration officials are uniting to say that Donald Trump should not even be considered a true conservative.
Meanwhile, in the halls of Congress, Republican lawmakers are coming together to argue that one of their own, Sen. Ted Cruz, is the candidate who must be blocked. Their argument is that Cruz would not just lose but damage the party brand for years to come.
Cruz and Trump are holding up such opposition as the predictable gasps of a wheezing establishment. In a sign of the constantly changing face of the party, the party’s 2008 former vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, is backing Trump and complaining about an establishment that’s trying to bring him down.
Nothing the GOP leadership does seems to work. The National Review article doesn’t seem to have had any effect on the populist uprising.
Jeet Heer at The New Republic: National Review Fails to Kill Its Monster.
…when National Review launched its special issue “Against Trump” last night, it was keeping to a venerable tradition of policing the right. The magazine has been fiercely skeptical of Trump since he announced his candidacy last summer, but the special issue, which boasts an array of right-wing media personalities and pundits as well as a feature editorial, seems designed to be its definitive statement, a historical milestone on par with William F. Buckley’s denunciation of the John Birch Society in 1965 or the magazine’s rejection of Pat Buchanan’s anti-Semitism in 1991.
Yet, despite some good polemics, “Against Trump” is a weak-tea effort. Too much time is spent trying to prove that Trump is not a real conservative, while ignoring the fact that the racist nationalism he is espousing has its origins on the right. Trump, the editors argue, is “a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.” There’s much that can be questioned here: After all, National Review didn’t have a problem with “free-floating populism” in 2008 when it celebrated Sarah Palin (now an enthusiastic Trump cheerleader), and historically the magazine has loved strongmen dictators like Mussolini and Franco.
Read all about it at the link.
Ever reliable concern troll Joe Klein has a piece at Time about socialism and the Democratic party. Unfortunately, while I find much of what Klein writes distasteful, I can’t really disagree with him that “socialism” is still a dirty word in American politics; but I disagree that Hillary should use it to attack Bernie. As Dakinikat wrote yesterday, there is a populist impulse among some voters on both sides of the aisle in 2016.
A specter is haunting the Democratic Party–the specter of socialism. A question is being asked, mostly by Republicans, but also by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: What is the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist? Debbie Wasserman Schultz got it last July and, ever the robotic partisan, answered by saying the more important difference was between Democrats and Republicans. Senator Chuck Schumer said it depended on how you define the two, and then refused to define the two. And, most significantly, Hillary Clinton said, “Well, I can tell you what I am … I’m a progressive Democrat.”
Now this is not a difficult question to answer. Webster’s says socialism is “a social system or theory in which the government owns and controls the means of production.” Democrats tend to believe in free enterprise. They think government should regulate the means of production, not own it. They have taken great pains to separate themselves from socialism, which has always been a poison word in American politics. And yet, according to a recent Des Moines Register poll, 43% of Iowa Democrats describe themselves as socialists. What gives?
Well, they’re not really socialists. They’re European-style social democrats, who believe in a robust redistribution of wealth (“from each according to her ability, to each according to his need”) and government control of some of the means of production–like the health care system. The question of how much government should redistribute has been the central argument in American politics since the passage of the graduated income tax in 1913. Even the vast majority of Republicans believe in Social Security and Medicare.
So we’re talking about 50 shades of socialism here, but the gradations are still important.
Klein writes that Bernie Sanders’ ideas are not really socialist, “but even Bernie should worry about his party strolling into the general election unwilling to distinguish itself from socialism.” I don’t completely agree with Klein–I never do–but I do think the GOP is salivating at the notion of the Democrats running a candidate who calls himself a socialist.
I also want to call attention to this piece by Jonathan Capehart, because it’s about something that is indicative of Sanders’ tone-deafness:
Much has been written about the Vermont independent’s appeal to blackvoters and whether he can pry them away from Hillary Clinton. And all I can say is good luck with that. I and plenty of other African Americans won’t soon forget the deranged ravings of the revered Ivy League professor against President Obama.
During a November 2012 interview with Democracy Now, West branded Obama “a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface.” Then there was that May 2011 interview with Truthdig where West called the nation’s first African American president “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” In that same sitdown, West talked about his 2010 run-in with the president. “I wanted to slap him on the side of his head,” West said, who took his significant policy disagreements with the president down an ugly path zealously cut by birthers….
Joining West on the Sanders campaign is another African American who has thrown brick bats at Obama, the rapper Killer Mike. In “That’s life II,” the Atlanta-based musician denigrates the president as a “house slave” when he raps, “We know that House got air conditioning and the sweetest lemonade, but don’t forget your color, brother, we still mutha——- slaves.” No doubt his endorsement surely earned Sanders cool points with some.
I have little patience for the “Blacker than thou” crowd under normal circumstances. So you better believe I have zero patience for it on the presidential campaign trail. That’s why I can’t possibly take Sanders’s outreach to African American voters seriously. Adding to that sense was his “when the African American community becomes familiar with my congressional record” response to a question at the Charleston, S.C., debate about his lack of black support.
I have quite a few more stories to share, so I’m just going to give you the links and let you choose the ones you want to check out.
Jamelle Bouie: Bernie Sanders Is Right That Reparations Would Be Divisive.
Consequence of Sound: Donald Trump’s father was Woody Guthrie’s landlord, and also a racist asshole.
Think Progress: Why Bernie Sanders’ Misinformed Supreme Court Tweet Matters.
Emily’s List: 43 Years After Roe v. Wade.
Ilyse Hogue at HuffPo: It’s Now or Never for Reproductive Rights.
Eric Boelert at Media Matters: For Clinton, Good News Is No News When It Comes To Polling.
Dissenting Justice: The Voices: Why Do White Male Progressives Hear Things That No One Else Can?
The Cook Political Report: For Clinton, It’s Time to Stay Cool in Iowa and New Hampshire.
I hope you find something here to your liking. Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great weekend!