Saturday, February 27, 2016

Know Your Fascist Dictators

Know Your Fascist Dictators

"As long as we're on to the subject of fascist dictators and Donald Trump being compared to Adolf Hitler in major urban newspapers, I thought I should speak up on behalf of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini as the true proto-Trump."


From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, a more precise analysis of fascist dictators.  See also Dana Milbank on the same comparison, and I could go on.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox: "We’re ‘Not Paying For That F*cking Wall’

Beautiful. I love it.  And here's another one I heard:

2016: No way Trump gets elected President!
2017: No way President Trump fires all those nukes!
2018: No we are doing what those apes say!

You have to find humor where you can in these times.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rush Limbaugh: What This Election Is Really About and What's Really at Stake - The Rush Limbaugh Show

MUST HEAR!!! Rush Blows the Lights Out in the Final Hour! What This Election Is Really About and What's Really at Stake - The Rush Limbaugh Show

I can't stand Rush Limbaugh, but this explanation of what the election is about for people like him is amazingly candid.  It explains the massive disconnect between the right wing base and the Republican Party and the rise of Trump. It explains why no candidate supported by the Republican "establishment," not even the far-right poster boy Marco Rubio, can get any traction in the primaries. It explains what all these "angry voters" are really angry about.

It comes down to this. The right-wing base is comprised of angry, frightened white people who are desperately resisting the gradual but inevitable transformation of the US from a white majority country to a multi-ethnic nation.There are many other issues in this election, but ultimately, Limbaugh is really saying, this is the only issue that really matters. This is the last chance, Limbaugh says.  He lays it all out: the Democrats and Republicans are collaborating to make the US a majority non-white nation full of layabout immigrants and others in the Democratic coalition (Limbaugh's racism has never been even slightly concealed) who will vote for socialism.

Limbaugh played twice this clip from Marco Rubio, and then he explained what it means to people like him. I put the key language in bold type.

RUBIO: As far as the 12 million here that are, look, I don't believe the American people support some sort of militaristic roundup of individuals, and I don't think you could carry it out, the sort of tactics that would require would offend the American people. And the good news is we don't have to do it that way. If you secure our border, if you secure our border, if you put in place mandatory E-Verify, if you put in place a mandatory entry-exit tracking system, if we prove to the American people that illegal immigration is finally under control, I think the American people will respond in a very rational, reasonable, but responsible way.

For Limbaugh, and for millions of other people, this is easy to interpret--it means that the GOP establishment (and remember that Rubio is now their choice) is complicit with the Democratic party in an effort to (1) not really close the border, and (2) give citizenship, including voting rights, to 12 million or more undocumented immigrants who are already here. Why? Democrats, he says, want voters who are dependent on government programs, which will guarantee their rule forever. The Republican establishment mistakenly believes that outreach to non-white voters is the only way forward for their party. They believe that Latino and Asian voters have enough cultural conservatism to find their party attractive.  Limbaugh says the party is clueless.  In truth, Limbaugh says, this is the road to ruin for the party.  If immigration isn't stopped and 12 million people deported, America as a white majority nation with a capitalist economy is doomed.  Here's the way Limbaugh said it:

"It's about preserving a distinct American culture which is under assault, which is under siege.  And it's being brought to us by the Democrat Party, which is trying to register all kinds of new voters all the time 'cause they need a permanent underclass of people incapable of taking care of themselves, incapable of providing for themselves who will always be counted on to vote Democrat to be taken care of... If you believe in a certain cultural America, it's under siege.  There's nothing to join with on the other side in preserving it.  They want to tear it down, transform it, and rebuild it.  They have to be defeated.  This is why the Republican Party's worthless.  They don't even think this way. The Republican Party's thinking about showing they can work together, they can cooperate, make Washington work.  Sorry; we're so past that, we're so far past that, it's irrelevant.  We're talking about holding on and preserving the country as founded."

He goes on to say that winning the election isn't enough, because "these people have to be defeated.  They have to be overwhelmed." There is no compromise, no middle ground, no "bringing the country together," because "We're too divided."

Understand that this is not just Limbaugh. Listen to Mark Levin, or Laura Ingram, or Ann Coulter, or Michael Savage. They all have millions of people listening to them.  They all say that immigration is the single most important issue facing (white) America. Eric Cantor, the second most powerful Republican in the House, lost his seat to a Tea Party nutburger over one issue: the slightest, most tentative indication that he might, maybe, be willing to go along with some timid immigration reform.  His district tossed him out over that one issue.  This xenophobia and racism is exactly what Trump has tapped into.  This is why so many different groups within the right wing base--evangelicals, cultural conservatives, ideological conservatives, neoconservatives, you name it--don't care about their differences with Trump on any of their issues. They don't care about his ignorance, lack of political experience, or any other mistake or gaffe or flaw. As Trump says, they wouldn't care if he murdered somebody. Because they know one thing: Donald Trump is a "strong leader" and the most outspoken, aggressive, angry, anti-immigrant candidate they have ever heard, and that is enough for them. This is the racist, xenophobic American right rising up against the changing demographics of the USA, and Trump has fired them up like nothing this country has seen since the 1920s, when the KKK had as many as six million members. They believe that if he gets to the White House, he will somehow preserve White America, even if he has to trample all over the Constitution, the laws, the media, and anybody or anything else.

This is the tiger that Trump is riding. I don't know if he has thought about how and when he gets off, which is always the challenging part. Talk show hosts and candidates just have to talk, but elected officials have to act. The congressional GOP is already the most dysfunctional major party in the developed world. Add to that a president with no experience and narcissistic personality disorder leading a rabble of tens of millions of scared and angry white people, and 2017 could be an interesting year.

20 forced from condo complex deemed uninhabitable | WPRI 12 Eyewitness News

20 forced from condo complex deemed uninhabitable | WPRI 12 Eyewitness News

"WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Twenty people were displaced from their homes Tuesday after a Woonsocket condominium complex was declared uninhabitable, and the city is now threatening legal action if the building is repaired. Many residents have called the Social District Condominiums home for years, but Tuesday was the last day they were allowed to stay in the three-story, six-unit building. Some were able to find another place to stay while others are having a hard time finding a new home. “I just need an apartment for me and my babies,” said Merlin Jackson. “Put a roof over their head. That’s what I’m concerned about and that’s what I want.” City Solicitor Michael Marcello said the building had more than $3,000 in unpaid water and sewer fees. Trash could be seen piling up outside, creating a fire hazard, and squatters were known to live there."


Another busted condo project. Nobody knows how many there are. I know that here in Chicago there are at least 200 that came to the attention of the city. There are hundreds in Florida, probably hundreds in Nevada.

Eric Glazer: should Florida HOAs get the same protections as condos?


Eric Glazer is a Florida attorney who says the answer is "yes."  Read his argument above, and see also this story about his efforts.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It's official: the presidential election is a horse race

The corporate media have decided to interpret this presidential race entirely as a sporting event. They have been trending this way for a long time, and now it is everything. They will talk only about opinion polling and election results. The presidential election is a horse race, and the only thing that matters is handicapping, and then reporting win, place, or show. Watching this coverage I feel like I'm sitting with my dad on the rail at Santa Anita. If you want to know what the candidates have done in the past, or what they promise to do if elected, I guess you will have to hunt for that on the Internet, because you won't see such things as Marco Rubio's insane tax policies and war plans exposed on television.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers - The New York Times

Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers - The New York Times

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link:

"Dozens of these houses were scooped up after the financial crisis by investors, who then make deals with low-income home buyers unable to get traditional mortgages. The arrangement is something like buying a home on an installment plan, with a high-interest, long-term loan called a contract for deed, or land contract. But for buyers lured by the dream of homeownership, these seller-financed transactions can become a money trap that ends with a quick eviction by the seller, who can flip the home again. Before the housing crisis, low-income buyers got too much of a house that they couldn’t afford. Now, they are getting too little of a house that they can’t afford to repair."

Bernie Sanders Says Low Voter Turnout Led to Loss in Nevada | TIME

Bernie Sanders Says Low Voter Turnout Led to Loss in Nevada | TIME

"What I’ve said over and over again, we will do well when young people, when working-class people come out,” Sanders said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “We do not do well when the voter turnout is not large. We did not do as good a job as I had wanted to bring out a large turnout.”


That's a bad sign for Bernie Sanders, who is right when he says he needs a "political revolution."  Bernie is in an incredibly difficult position because he doesn't have a party to lead. The Democratic Party is not a democratic socialist party, and Bernie has never been a Democrat. Now he''s running for the nomination of the party, but the party will fight him until he drops out. He, on the other hand, can't launch a full-on attack on the party, because he needs partisan Democrats to vote for him. And he can't really attack the last two Democratic presidents, even though both of them are against him, because a Democratic candidate has to say the last two Democratic presidents were successful. Bernie is trying to get around these problems by creating a social movement. But there are few things in politics harder to do than creating, sustaining, and leading a successful social movement. Bernie's movement is only a few months old and what they did in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina is impressive, but it is heavily reliant on demographic groups that are notorious for low turnout, especially young voters and low-income people. Bernie is trying to be a transformative figure in American politics, like FDR and Ronald Reagan. They remade their parties, creating new governing coalitions. But they weren't outsiders, like Bernie. Reagan had a record as a Republican governor when he ran for President, and FDR was a lifelong Democrat. Both had solid connections to powerful emerging forces within their parties. They were influential figures with clout, and didn't try to do end runs around their parties. The Democratic Party has intentionally sidelined its left wing for the last 30+ years. I don't see how Bernie can stage a takeover of that party, coming from outside it. I think that would take somebody who has a ton of credibility within the party. Maybe Bernie is starting something that will get picked up by others, but I just don't see his path to the nomination this year. 

Jeffrey Toobin on Antonin Scalia

Looking Back - The New Yorker

"Antonin Scalia, who died this month, after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed. Belligerent with his colleagues, dismissive of his critics, nostalgic for a world where outsiders knew their place and stayed there, Scalia represents a perfect model for everything that President Obama should avoid in a successor. The great Justices of the Supreme Court have always looked forward; their words both anticipated and helped shape the nation that the United States was becoming. Chief Justice John Marshall read the new Constitution to allow for a vibrant and progressive federal government. Louis Brandeis understood the need for that government to regulate an industrializing economy. Earl Warren saw that segregation was poison in the modern world. Scalia, in contrast, looked backward."


Toobin just eviscerates Scalia in this piece, and he's right. Scalia was one of the worst Supreme Court justices in a century. His so-called judicial philosophy was really just a smoke screen that he used to justify imposing his retrograde values on the country. He was not an originalist, or a textualist, except when it suited him.  Whenever he wanted, he ignored the text of the constitution and the imaginary "original meaning" of the words.  He was notorious for taking all-expenses-paid junkets on the tab of rich people, and giving bloviating speeches to the Federalist society where he would pronounce his dogmatic personal opinions on matters coming before the courts, and then he would arrogantly reject demands that he recuse himself for obvious bias.  Scalia's hypocrisy knew no limits.  He was a right-wing movement judicial activist with a totally predictable voting record who claimed to be a deep believer in judicial restraint, and just laughed when people pointed that out.  Listen to the screams of anguish at his passing from Rush Limbaugh and all the other right wing AM radio and Fox News loons. They knew exactly what Scalia was all about. That was the joke Scalia was always smirking about. He was a fraud, he knew it, and he got away with. It made him happy to do things like giving the presidency to Bush, empowering the gun bullies who are terrorizing the country, striking down the Voting Rights Act, denouncing gays and lesbians, and unleashing the tidal wave of dark money that is drowning what was left of democracy in the US.  The best thing that could happen to Scalia's judicial legacy is obliteration. He will go down in history as a reactionary sideshow who held back social and political progress.