commented on Guest Editorial: Starbucks' New Paid Family Leave Policy Isn't as Groundbreaking as You May Have Heard
Let's all give Bill Clinton a standing ovation for ending Aid to Families with Dependent Children, leaving the welfare of mothers and young children up to state and local government and the whims of employers. US rates of single-mother and child poverty have skyrocketed since then, so obviously the market is successfully disciplining those feckless parasites. A couple/few years back, Mother Jones listed Starbucks as one of the US's top ten low-wage employers, along with Walmart and McDonald's. It's no surprise that their paid maternity leave program is more bullshit than beef.
commented on The Trump Revolution That Began With Brexit Ends in the Netherlands
I hate to break it to everyone who just parrots the labels they read in the corporate press -- far-right extremist or neofascist for Marine Le Pen, progressive independent or independent centrist or progressive centrist for Emmanuel Macron -- but Le Pen's professed economic and foreign policies are practically on all fours with Jean-Luc Mélenchon's on the left: anti-bank, anti-EU, anti-euro, anti-NATO, anti-race-to-the-bottom-free-trade. That's what she spends most of her time talking about, and that's what accounts for her dramatic rise in popularity. If France's media hadn't been taken over by billionaires and conglomerates as thoroughly as it has in the US (although French media is still less concentrated), Mélenchon would be getting a big chunk of Le Pen's coverage (cf. Trump and Bernie in the US), along with a big chunk of her votes (ditto). Unless something really dramatic happens in the coming month, the second and final round of French presidentials will almost certainly be between Le Pen and Macron. Macron is a multimillionaire former investment banker who served under Hollande, whose policies are in line with the dominant neoliberal wing of the Socialist Party (cf. the Democratic Leadership Council and the Democratic National Committee), who signed off on the sale of one of France's flagship industries (Alstom's world-class turbine business) to General Electric, and who favors slashing worker protections even more than Hollande has, to make France more "competitive." It's going to take a lot of propaganda, spin, and slime to make French voters forget that when they cast their votes in April and May (cf. Hillary and Trump in the US).
When Marine took over the National Front from her toxic father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, she purged the party's leadership of its worst racists, xenophobes, Islamophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. Her right-hand man is gay. The party just suspended its local leader in Nice for making Holocaust-denial-like remarks. She's redirected the party's xenophobic focus to illegal immigrants, refugees, and protecting France's secular tradition from Islamic encroachment. On the other hand, she hangs with leaders of bona fide neofascist parties from other European countries and she tries to associate herself with "UKIP's" Brexit victory (which was actually the neoliberal EU's loss) and with Trump's victory (which was actually neoliberal Hillary's loss). Is her relative downplaying of racism and xenophobia merely a tactical pose? If elected, will she do a Trump, abandon every populist, anti-neolib, pro-worker "promise" she ever made, and double down on scapegoating and persecution? It's impossible to say for sure, but my sense is that she's less likely to do that than Trump was. (After all, when the French are pissed they don't just have drum circles in Zuccotti Park. They throw cobblestones and Molotov cocktails at cops, they shut down railway lines, they dump tons of manure on major arterials, and they set things on fire.) As an anti-racist, anti-xenophobe lefty who thinks that the EU has ended up serving as a Trojan horse for global capital, transnational corporations, and billionaires to destroy the social-welfare state, and that NATO has served to make its European members puppets of US hegemony, if I were French, I would vote for Mélenchon in the first round -- thanks to the media, he's polling too low to be a spoiler -- and then hold my nose, cross my fingers, and vote for Le Pen in the second round.
Final thought: Who's more despicable? Someone who's mean to illegal immigrants and refugees once they're in your country (Le Pen)? Or someone who forced the illegal immigrants and refugees to come in the first place by helping destroy their countries of origin (Sarkozy in Libya, Hollande/Macron in Syria)?
commented on House Republicans Unveil Their Obamacare Replacement Plan
Just a reminder: Obama had a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in Congress for six months. He had campaigned on national single-payer but once in office he backed a scheme spawned by the Heritage Foundation, piloted by Mitt Romney, and tweaked by a revolving-door Senate aide from Wellpoint (Liz Fowler) -- a scheme that wasn't universal, that wasn't egalitarian, that didn't guarantee actual care, that didn't protect patients from destitution or bankruptcy, that didn't lower medical fees and prices through monopsonistic bargaining, and that actually increased administrative featherbedding. It was the institutionalization and subsidization of the status quo ante with just enough rough edges rounded off to serve as a successful Big Health divide-and-conquer strategy ... and healthcare in the US is still an extortion racket yielding around a trillion dollars a year in pure skim.
We now know that Obama and the DLC/DNC/congressional Democratic Party are some of the most two-faced politicians in history, but it didn't have to be this way. If Obama had risen to the occasion and used the bully pulpit to get Expanded and Improved Medicare for All passed, like Johnson got Medicare and Medicaid passed, it would be untouchable. Instead, we have a gaggle of healthcare Uncle Toms defending a healthcare Jim Crow and thinking they are Martin Luther King, Jr.
Every Democratic politician I've spoken with one-on-one thinks single-payer is great, especially when they want your vote or your money. I'll bet if you spoke one-one-one with every Democrat in Congress (or in the state legislature), a solid majority would tell you that they think it is the best solution but that "everyone else" is against it. Well, unless you're a Big Health lobbyist or packager, in which case they'd tell you straight out that you can count on them to strangle single-payer in the crib. Like Obama and the Democrats did in 2009-2010.
So keep backing the "lesser of evils," guys. I'm sure that next time, they won't snatch the football away at the last minute when you're sprinting forward to kick a conversion. And if they do, it won't be their fault. It will be because everyone else forced them to do it. Simply put, allowing you to score is just politically infeasible.
commented on Mayor Calls Kshama Sawant's Suggestion that Seattle Police Block ICE "Irresponsible and Dangerous"
Just a quick reminder to everyone who's pointing fingers at Kshama: the people responsible for Trump's election are those who supported Hillary in the primaries -- you. If the DNC and the superdelegates hadn't cheated Bernie out of the nomination with your indulgence and help, he would have mopped the floor with Trump. I'm remembering a post by one of the Stranger's resident myna birds, Sean Nelson, where he whined about Bernie and Jill Stein supporters engaging in "victim shaming." No, Sean, we were engaging in perp shaming.
commented on Why Neoliberalism Died Today and Why Seattle Might be the Future of the Left
@ 14 (lark2):
After reading this morning about Russia acquiring military bases in Syria on the Mediterranean Sea, I too thought the US is losing its military hegemony as well.
I'm no expert, but according to what I've
read, (1) Russia has had military bases in Syria for quite some time, and (2) they are Russia's only
foreign military bases outside of the former USSR. Compare that to the US, which has somewhere on the order of 700 foreign military bases and which spends around ten times as much on defense as Russia does.
The reason I reference 1914, is because that was the beginning of the end of the British Empire, the world's superpower at the time. From then on until 1945, it was in major decline with the US eclipsing it.
Really? I was aware that that the US began eclipsing Britain economically at around that time, but the British Empire didn't fall apart until after World War II. For all his public friendliness with Churchill, FDR loathed
(envied?) British imperialism, and I suspect that he deliberately engineered American support of Britain during the early years of the war with a view to bleeding them dry (but not quite dry enough to capitulate) and forcing them to dismantle the Empire when the war was over. The US would then supplant British political imperialism with American economic and military imperialism. And as it turns out, that's exactly what happened.
Oct 1, 2016
commented on Clark County Will Pay $250,000 for Trashing Homeless People's Belongings in Sweeps
Good article, Heidi. A sidebar on rent trends in the Portland and Vancouver areas would have been welcome, though. As for the comments, they seem to be a fair reflection of what the Stranger's readership and Seattle's population at large are becoming. Tens of thousands of carpet-bagging tech yuppies bid rents up sky-high, little people become homeless, and the tech yuppies piss on them for being homeless.
Sep 9, 2016
commented on Even With City Help, 23rd Avenue Businesses Still Struggling Amidst Construction
It's mindboggling to me that the City could take so long to replace a water main and widen the sidewalks along ... what, a mile, mile-and-a-half stretch? Is the project overseen by the same people that are building the Brooklyn Street light-rail station at a snail's pace? Are there Roman sewers and medieval catacombs that they have to carefully maneuver around? Shit, the French would have finished this project by now.
By the way, who'd like to join a petition to have the City tear up the road for a half mile on either side in front of wherever James hushmoney (@1) lives and works for, say, two or three years, so we can listen to him blaming others for his own failures?