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The article is here. While it is telling that the author thinks the big news is the Tea Party challenger and the independent polling at 15% and not the Democrat polling at 33%, the good news is still there.

I've been following this race and I still think it's totally winnable. Yes, Chad Taylor has a mountain to climb, starting with the fact that I still have to introduce him as "the Democratic challenger", but cutting the lead in half on a shoestring budget is a good start. Orman taking more from Roberts than Taylor only helps even more. So does the anti-Brownback vote, Roberts's low approval rating, etc etc. Really this is the perfect time to pick him off.

Again, I will say that a senate seat is a senate seat and we need to fight for every single one that we can. Again, I will say that the national party needs Howard Dean's 50 state strategy instead of writing off 90% of "flyover country" all the time. Especially now that the GOP is receding as a national party, we really need to step up and engage.


Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:35 AM PDT

My Beef With Hillary

by Edward L Cote

By now you all know that I am solidly in the "anti-Hillary camp". I do not consider her to be at all trustworthy, principled, or progressive, or even especially effective. I've just been reminded again of why. And no, it's not the gay marriage thing. Let's not forget that Obama also "evolved" on the issue, just to be fair. Hell, I made the exact same transition, from soft support for "civil unions" to full-on gay marriage, so I can't gripe about that.

This article in The Nation is just a quick reminder of yet another reason why Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate and not at all the President that we need right now. Sending our troops to die in a needless war that we started because of lies is not "supporting" them.

And this is on foreign policy, her supposed strong suit. Even looking back on her tenure as Secretary of State, what did she really accomplish? "She didn't burn the store down" isn't saying much. Let's not forget that she was known as THE hawk of the whole administration, much more than the guy who ordered all the drone strikes and killed Bin Laden.

You know what? In 2000, "Don't burn down the store" might have been enough. Maybe she could have handled the White House back then, even with the hysteria of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. But in 2016, it's not enough to just hold the steering wheel still. We need a drastic course correction, and I don't think Hillary Clinton can do that. I think she's too conservative for that.

Let's face it, there is only one reason why anyone is talking about this triangulating, calculating, conniving politician, this plastic Wall Street toadie as the next POTUS, and that is because we're overdue for a woman President. That's it. Period. We're overdue for a woman, and she's a woman, the most visible and ambitious. If she were a he, he would have been forgotten (or consigned to a C-list job on CNN, same difference) years ago, and all the MSM buzz would be about Sarah Palin. I'm serious. (And yes, I just used the words "Sarah Palin" and "serious" back to back- ugh...)

Why am I so dead set against Hillary Clinton? Couldn't my invective just as accurately describe any of a hundred male politicians? Yes, of course, but first of all, by asking that, aren't you protecting her and giving her a pass on her bullshit just because she's a woman? Can you at least ask yourself if you are? For what it's worth, if any of those hundred male sellouts run for President I won't spare them either.

Why am I so dead set against her? It's all the puffery and fakery. It's because far too many on the left are so enamored with the idea of a woman President that they're not stopping to ask anything about who that woman really is. Well, I'm sorry but we are in no position to elect someone just because she's a woman. Who that woman is as a person matters a great deal. We didn't elect Obama just because he was black. That was just a nice bonus, though that too was overdue. We elected him because he wasn't Hillary Clinton. He ran as an insurgent outsider against the ultimate insider. He ran as a level-headed progressive alternative to two establishment pro-corporate war hawks and the idiotic nutjob the biggest war hawk of all picked as a running mate.

Why am I so dead set against her? Because she's sucking all the oxygen out of the room and we're not talking about the issues, or finding a better candidate who is stronger on those issues. I wish the focus were on Elizabeth Warren. God I wish she would run. I would drop everything to go work for her campaign. If she won't, then maybe Bernie Sanders, uphill battle and all. Howard Dean could mount a comeback. Or why don't we think outside the box and draft Robert Reich? He'd make a great President, especially now.

Why am I so enamored with all of these "longshots" and not the "inevitable" (yeah right) HRC? Because the last thing we need right now is Wall Street running the show. What we really need right now is nothing less than the second coming of FDR. Or at least Kennedy. Consider the magnitude of our problems, from our broken political system to climate change. We need someone who can see not only problems, but opportunities, and not just opportunities for her own ambition, but for all of us. For example, our crumbling infrastructure can be rebuilt, only better. To do all this we need principled leadership with VISION, not someone who can't go to the bathroom without consulting a pollster.

We have the resources to solve our problems. There are enough smart people to fill all the big chairs. (Smart people, not cronies like Larry Summers.) No, a President alone can't solve all of our problems. We also need a MUCH more progressive Congress that can actually get something done. Still, we do need leadership, someone who can carry forward Obama's work, and yes, improve upon it. We need someone we can trust at the helm, someone who will truly fight for us, and that is not Hillary Clinton.


Below the squiggle is an email I just got from Tom Wheeler's office. I'm sure lots of us have gotten these, but I am reminded that I was feeling rather frustrated the day I signed the petition. I thought the canned response given that was kind of funny, but maybe that's just me.

Of course I've redacted my addresses.

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Okay, so I'm going back to school after fifteen years away. I've been back for a year now and it will take two more to finish. I'm spending a lot but I'm not just screwing around, I'm trying to better myself. I might even teach English for a few years when I graduate, for the job security yes, but also to pay it forward. (I've started looking into Teach for America.)

Well, this semester I got myself into a bit of a bind. I lost my job, some of my chronic conditions flared up again, and my new apartment turned out to be more expensive than I'd planned for. To be blunt, it really wasn't looking good. The math said I'd be broke by Tax Day and I would have a very hard time getting a new (part time) job and multiple paychecks in time to pay the rent in May. I certainly didn't want to quit school to take the only full time job available, selling cell phones.

I looked at emergency loans via the University, but then there was my tax return- would that be enough? Certainly I'd have it in time. H&R Block told me that I'd only get $40 and it wasn't worth it for them to do it when they'd charge more than that, and I could get it done on campus for free. Fair enough, and good to know.

So I went to KU's Student Money Management Services and Legal Services for Students. They told me that if I simply itemized my school expenses and took the American Opportunity Tax Credit (which I'd never done and never heard of before) I would get a lot more than any $40. After they figured and filed my taxes they told me the number.

It was over $1500.

So, Public 1, Private 0.

Needless to say, that's more than enough to get me through the rough patch. Next semester I won't have expenses like furniture so between that and working (even part time) over the summer I should be fine.

So what happens with that money? Obviously, I have to spend most of it. A little over half will go to pay the May rent and utilities. With the other half I can pay off credit cards, invest in my writing/editing side business (so maybe I can turn a profit finally) start saving up for a car, or maybe even get health insurance, now that my pre-existing conditions won't bar me. (I could get on Medicaid if Brownback would participate in the expansion.) Regardless, all of it goes right back into the economy.

What do the taxpayers get for your investment? One schmuck who would have gone back to "perma-temp" or even "taker" status at best instead becomes... another taxpayer, and maybe even a teacher in a neighborhood that needs them. (I'm looking at Chicago or KCK.) That $1500 will make a huge difference in my life, but other lives as well, and the return on investment will eventually be much more. That's how economic stimulus works.

Why am I talking about the stimulus bill? Isn't 2009 ancient history? Because the American Opportunity Tax Credit was part of it. Of course the Republicans fought it tooth and nail and only shut up about it when Obamacare became the elephant in the room. (pun intended) I guess they'd rather that $1500 go to some Walton or Koch brother who wouldn't even notice it.

Yeah, I know, anecdotal evidence only goes so far, but it can also be pretty poignant and personal. It can remind us that there are real people behind the numbers.


We can't keep good help overnight at work. We've lost five incredible employees in the past year, people who had to be replaced by two or three new hires each to get the same amount of work done. Does that mean they were each worth $27/hr? I guess not. CEOs are paid millions supposedly because the company needs them badly and must compete for top talent, but why doesn't that apply to regular workers too? Why doesn't the exact same principle apply?

If somebody is so damn good that paying them a very high wage (or even $15) would actually SAVE you money, why not do it? Why not do whatever it takes to keep them, including benefits and for God's sake full time- WHY WOULD YOU NOT WANT YOUR BEST PEOPLE WORKING AS MUCH AS THEY REASONABLY CAN? This makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

Going back to the example at hand, we are of course badly needed. The store can't sell anything if it's not on the shelves. It's hard enough to get anybody to work nights let alone anybody good. We've been luckier than most on that point.

Of course if we could get health insurance OFF THE BACKS of employers that alone would help tremendously. Why don't large employers lobby FOR universal health care, single payer, MEDICARE FOR ALL? Why not? It absolutely is in their interest, if they can take five minutes to think long term. Why do you think car makers went not to Mexico but CANADA? If they can cut benefit costs to half what they are now or less WHY NOT? Put some of that lobbying muscle to good use for once.

And in the current market, mine is a good employer.

Yet if the company is struggling to compete with Walmart and other cut rate retailers in the Great Recession and our own employees can't afford to shop here, why should the execs get bonuses at all? Why shouldn't they be replaced at lower salaries? Apparently their performance is poor. Does that make them disposable too?

You know what? It's actually not just greed. It's not just a cold calculation of cost-benefit, the bottom line. It's an ingrained attitude that the working classes are less human than the corporate masters. It's a perverted understanding of the term "net worth". And when lying sniveling elitist little shits like Paul Ryan claim to be "Christian"? Well, this has gone on long enough already...


I was going to write this as a response to the diary on Warren Buffet's recent $1B investment in wind power, but it ran long and went off on a tangent so I thought I should start fresh so as not to derail the discussion there.

The original article to which I am responding is here:
and you should probably read that first. It's short.

So here it is after the fold:

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I live in Kansas and have almost all of my life. I grew up in poverty, and I can tell you from that perspective the 80s looked very different. I've seen up close and personal what the Republican party has done to this state with its stranglehold on our politics. Don't forget that the Koch brothers are based here, just for example.

The party itself has gone so far off the deep end it's not even funny, and it's taken Kansas with it. Gone are the days of Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum. Kansas Republicans have historically been relatively centrist and practical for the most part, but neither could survive in the GOP today. Governor Brownback has been an unmitigated disaster, not to mention everyone from Kris Kobach to Phil Kline.

And then there's Kassebaum's successor, Pat Roberts.

More after the fold...

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I just had an idea. Why don't we open source the budget?

Why not? There's enough Progressive groups in this country, with a lot of smart people. We could maybe get Paul Krugman and Robert Reich in on it. It could give all the different groups, ranging from OFA to DFA something to rally around and get us all working together on something. Look at how the Right rallied against Obamacare. They were unsuccessful of course, but that's because they were trying to undo a law vetted by all three branches of government. We'd be balancing the budget, paying off (at least a little of) the debt, and getting our priorities straight. We'd protect Social Security and Medicare. We'd help the middle class and poor and tax the rich. We'd fund education and infrastructure. We'd eliminate Pentagon waste and corporate welfare. That would be much more popular. Why not? If some shady extremist think tank like ALEC can literally write legislation then why can't We The People balance the budget? Up front and out in the open for everyone to see.

No, we're never going to get a thousand people to all agree on everything, but we can vet ideas and let the best come out. I'm sure we can come to some kind of general consensus and that all of us put together are smarter than Paul Ryan. If we can get Krugman or Reich to lead our efforts that alone would help a lot.

Think about it. If we can come up with a balanced, fairer, wiser budget by the end of primary season it could be just what we need to drive turnout. Candidates could run on this. We could say, "Look at the mess the Republicans have made. Give us control of Congress and not only will we start cleaning it up, we'll balance the budget!"

If it ever got through Congress, President Obama would sign it, no doubt. That's the hard part of course, but it would be much easier with control of Congress and candidates who supported the Open Source Budget Project.

As for the project itself, we could set up a nice website where people could register, comment, submit ideas and vote them up or down, participate in polls, etc. Maybe forums. We could even have a space much like the diaries here on Kos where people could plead their cases for their budget priorities at more length and in detail. We could offer a budget simulator but it would be hard to make one with enough depth and freedom of options. Maybe if someone kept adding ideas as others submitted them, but that's a lot of programming time. There would be profiles so readers could see if that person has credentials like an economics degree or experience in public office or service (teachers, police, etc).

So could something like this work? It sounds to me like the kind of thing that's the best of the internet and why it needs to remain open and free. It looks to me like democracy in action.

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