Thursday, July 18, 2019
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Friday News: “Trump Praises Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorists,” “Stokes Fear and Conspiracy”...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, July 12.  Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Has U.S. Weighing Sanctions...

Thursday News: “Trump Has Treated Britain Shamefully”; Acosta #FAIL; Cooch Says...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, July 11.  New research shows that Paris Agreement goals...

Audio: Trump White House Switchboard, Comments Line…Uh, Less Than Helpful

Gotta love the new, (not) improved Trump White House switchboard (202-456-1414) and comments line (press 1 when prompted). What you get when you call...

1,252 Arrested at White House Protesting Tar Sands: Is President Obama...

Protesters before 243 arrestsMore than 200 people were arrested today in the final day of the civil disobedience urging President Obama to reject a proposed tar sands pipeline. More from TarSandsAction.org:
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has become the most important environmental decision facing President Obama before the 2012 election and sparked nationwide opposition, from Nebraska ranchers to former Obama campaigners. A petition with 617,428 names opposing the pipeline will be delivered to the White House today.

Over the course of the two-week sit-in 1,252 people were arrested, including top climate scientists, landowners from Texas and Nebraska, former Obama for America staffers, First Nations leaders from Canada, and notable individuals including Bill McKibben, former White House official Gus Speth, NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen, actor Daryl Hannah, filmmaker Josh Fox, and author Naomi Klein.

"Back home we are fighting to protect our land and water. This week, we decided to bring that fight to the President's doorstep," said Jane Kleeb, Director of BOLD Nebraska, who led a delegation of Nebraskans who were arrested this morning. "We are acting on our values and expect our President to act as well."

Despite the 1,252 arrests and about a thousand more people rallying in Lafayette Park, the White House is continuing its code of silence: "We heard not one word from them," McKibben told the New York Times.

More details, photos and a video from Saturday's protest after the jump.

Excellent Post by Nate Silver on Liberals and the White House

Nate Silver nails it.
One problem that Obama is having -- and not just on the left, although it might be most acute there -- is the dissonance between the grand, poetic narratives of the campaign trail and the prosaic and transactional day-to-day grind of governance...

[...]

Nevertheless, I suspect that for most liberals, any real sense of progress has now been lost. Yes, the left got a good-but-not-great health care bill, a good-but-not-great stimulus package, a good-but-not-great financial reform plan: these are a formidable bounty, and Obama and the Democratic Congress worked hard for them. But they now read as a basically par-for-the-course result from a time when all the stars were aligned for the Democrats -- rather than anything predictive of a new direction, or of a more progressive future. In contrast, as should become emphatically clear on November 2nd, the reversion to the mean has been incredibly swift.

What liberals haven't had, in other words, is very many opportunities to feel good about themselves, or to feel good about the future.

Of course, it's also that the nasty economic recession that began under Bush drags on under Obama. Although I certainly believe that economic conditions are better today than they would have been without aggressive action by the federal government, most people still aren't feeling it, and that makes them grumpy and/or angry towards the people in power.  

Beyond (bad) economics, though, this really is the classic situation where expectations get way out of line with achievements.  Basically, we were promised in 2006 and 2008 that if we took back Congress and the White House, particularly with a "filibuster-proof majority" in the Senate, we'd get everything we ever dreamed of: national health care, possibly even "single payer;" a strong, comprehensive, clean energy and climate bill; immigration reform; closure of Gitmo; the rapid end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell;" the winding down of the wars begun during the Bush Administration; a reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and more broadly a return to progressive economics; investment in infrastructure, including both human (education) and physical (advanced power grids, high-speed rail, etc.) capital; more power to labor vis-a-vis business; etc., etc.  On top of all that, we were promised a fundamental change in the way Washington does business.  

How much of any of this stuff have we really gotten so far?  As Nate Silver puts it, we've gotten a bunch of "good-but-not-great" on a lot of it, not much at all on other parts (e.g., the way Washington does business). Well, sorry, but after how hard we worked the past few years, it's frustrating, dispiriting, etc. to see it wither on the vine. What about that don't Robert Gibbs and the White House understand?  And what do they really think they're going to accomplish by lashing out at their own base, while trying desperately to reason with the unreasonable on the far right (aka, today's Republican Party, who continue to call Obama a "socialist" even as he tries to be a "centrist")?  Got me.