beltway insider



My routine sightings of these inside the Beltway rear window plastered-ego stroking absurdities motivated my rear window singular adornment.
Bernie Sanders Is Shifting The Democratic Establishment
His new strategy has Democrats rallying in 40 cities on Sunday.

When Bernie Sanders hung up his presidential bid at the Democratic National Convention last year, progressive thinkers were grappling with a critical question: Could the enthusiasm Sanders had generated be replicated outside a presidential campaign?

Sanders had already jolted Democratic leaders, proving there was a massive audience for policies that were once laughed off inside the Beltway. He’d upended the political fundraising model with his online small-dollar donation strategy. But he lost. And according to everyone in Washington, Democrats only really mobilize in presidential elections.

On Sunday, the independent senator from Vermont will again begin attempting to counter the conventional wisdom. Across the country, Democratic politicians are holding at least 40 rallies intended to strengthen public resistance to a new wave of Republican attacks on Obamacare and Medicare ― and hear from voters about their concerns.

“For the first time in the modern history of the Democratic party, we’re going to see aggressive outreach efforts,” Sanders told The Huffington Post. “This is a beginning, I hope, of a transformation in the Democratic Party. … Our work has to focus on energizing people where they live and showing them what we are fighting for.”

Sanders rallies in 2016 were part economics lecture, part religious revival. They built a deeply committed group of supporters, but for many, their loyalty was to Sanders himself, not the Democratic Party. After Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump, there are huge numbers of Sanders supporters more comfortable with saying “I told you so” (and to be fair, they did) than helping the Democratic Party get back on its feet.

Sanders wants to bring them into the fold. But he can’t do 40 rallies across the country in a day. Mayors, governors, state senators and other Democratic leaders will be on stage at other rallies. To make the wave of events a reality, Sanders had to win over new allies in the Democratic establishment.

(Continue Reading)

Rolling Stone: The GOP is now officially the party of dumb white people.

OK, so when I first read this Rolling Stone article awhile back and saw “Dumb White People” in the title, I was like “Oh LOL this finna be changed as soon as enough white people get their feelings hurt.”  And it was.  Now it says “Party of White Paranoia” but the address of the article still says “dumb white people” so at least it’s still out there in the universe being the most accurate of accurate.

Y’all need to read the whole thing, because I was dying the entire time, but especially at these:

Keep reading

Why We Must Try

Instead of “Yes we can,” many Democrats have adopted a new slogan this election year: “We shouldn’t even try.”

We shouldn’t try for single-payer system, they say. We’ll be lucky if we prevent Republicans from repealing Obamacare.

We shouldn’t try for a $15 an hour minimum wage. The best we can do is $12 an hour.

We shouldn’t try to restore the Glass-Steagall Act that used to separate investment and commercial banking, or bust up the biggest banks. We’ll be lucky to stop Republicans from repealing Dodd-Frank.

We shouldn’t try for free public higher education. As it is, Republicans are out to cut all federal education spending.

We shouldn’t try to tax carbon or speculative trades on Wall Street, or raise taxes on the wealthy. We’ll be fortunate to just maintain the taxes already in place.

Most of all, we shouldn’t even try to get big money out of politics. We’ll be lucky to round up enough wealthy people to back Democratic candidates.  

“We-shouldn’t-even-try” Democrats think it’s foolish to aim for fundamental change – pie-in-the-sky, impractical, silly, naïve, quixotic. Not in the cards. No way we can.

I understand their defeatism. After eight years of Republican intransigence and six years of congressional gridlock, many Democrats are desperate just to hold on to what we have.

And ever since the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision opened the political floodgates to big corporations, Wall Street, and right-wing billionaires, many Democrats have concluded that bold ideas are unachievable.

In addition, some establishment Democrats – Washington lobbyists, editorial writers, inside-the-beltway operatives, party leaders, and big contributors – have grown comfortable with the way things are. They’d rather not rock the boat they’re safely in.

I get it, but here’s the problem. There’s no way to reform the system without rocking the boat. There’s no way to get to where America should be without aiming high.

Progressive change has never happened without bold ideas championed by bold idealists.

Some thought it was quixotic to try for civil rights and voting rights. Some viewed it as naïve to think we could end the Vietnam War. Some said it was unrealistic to push for the Environmental Protection Act.

But time and again we’ve learned that important public goals can be achieved – if the public is mobilized behind them. And time and again such mobilization has depended on the energies and enthusiasm of young people combined with the determination and tenacity of the rest. 

If we don’t aim high we have no chance of hitting the target, and no hope of mobilizing that enthusiasm and determination. 

The situation we’re in now demands such mobilization. Wealth and income are more concentrated at the top than in over a century. And that wealth has translated into political power.

The result is an economy rigged in favor of those at the top – which further compounds wealth and power at the top, in a vicious cycle that will only get worse unless reversed.

Americans pay more for pharmaceuticals than the citizens of any other advanced nation, for example. We also pay more for Internet service. And far more for health care.

We pay high prices for airline tickets even though fuel costs have tumbled. And high prices for food even though crop prices have declined.

That’s because giant companies have accumulated vast market power. Yet the nation’s antitrust laws are barely enforced.  

Meanwhile, the biggest Wall Street banks have more of the nation’s banking assets than they did in 2008, when they were judged too big to fail.

Hedge-fund partners get tax loopholes, oil companies get tax subsidies, and big agriculture gets paid off.

Bankruptcy laws protect the fortunes of billionaires like Donald Trump but not the homes of underwater homeowners or the savings of graduates burdened with student loans.

A low minimum wage enhances the profits of big-box retailers like Walmart, but requires the rest of us provide its employees and their families with food stamps and Medicaid in order to avoid poverty – an indirect subsidy of Walmart. 

Trade treaties protect the assets and intellectual property of big corporations but not the jobs and wages of ordinary workers.

At the same time, countervailing power is disappearing. Labor union membership has plummeted from a third of all private-sector workers in the 1950s to fewer than 7 percent today. Small banks have been absorbed into global financial behemoths. Small retailers don’t stand a chance against Walmart and Amazon.

And the pay of top corporate executives continues to skyrocket, even as most peoples’ real wages drop and their job security vanishes.

This system is not sustainable.

We must get big money out of our democracy, end crony capitalism, and make our economy and democracy work for the many, not just the few.

But change on this scale requires political mobilization.

It won’t be easy. It has never been easy. As before, it will require the energies and commitments of large numbers of Americans.

Which is why you shouldn’t listen to the “we-must-not-try” brigade. They’ve lost faith in the rest of us.

We must try.  We have no choice.

anonymous asked:

i started watching the west wing and wanted to know why you liked cj so much? and who else do you like & why?


and by that I mean she is a flawed deeply human woman with a backstory and insecurities and hope and compassion and fabulous dress sense and playfulness and snark and anger and love interests and the singular ability to play the press briefing room like a finely-tuned violin

plus, in a white house of egos so large they practically eclipse the seal of the president she’s one of the characters who is consistently shown to be open to learning, approaching even big block of cheese day nutcases with a humility that you don’t get from anyone else, but at the same time fiercely determined to prove herself equal to the yale-and-harvard statistic spouting beltway inside players despite not really being from this world, and (spoiler) it’s her who ascends to chief of staff, the hollywood import who’d never even run a campaign before and I mean

CJ comes at this from a place of compassion—not ideals, like sam and bartlet, not from personal ambition and drive, like josh, not even personal loyalty, like toby or leo. CJ does what she does because she feels, and fucks up when she does for the same reasons. She is so angry so much, about people hurting and people being maligned and from one of the tallest podiums in the world she lifts her voice, even when it’s not great for the guys she’s supposed to be protecting

(it’s not a perfect voice—I’m not going to pretend the west wing isn’t a tv written by and for white liberals whose boner for clinton lasted out the 90s, but I’m a sucker for the siren song of idealism and dramatic monologues full of SAT words so it’s hard for me to be impartial on this topic)

and just I really love CJ I’m not sure how she came into being or how aaron sorkin managed not to seriously screw her up in some way but she’s really fucking important to me. Her existence as a female character who’s scared and angry and regal and clumsy and admired, so admired, admired for her courage and righteousness and intelligence and savvy…it has been and is so important to me, in so many ways.

ubertenorman  asked:

Hey, so I'm a Bernie supporter but what do you think is wrong with Hilary's foreign policy? I always thought it was one of her strengths but I haven't followed it too closely.

Her foreign policy is to engage in regime change without regard to the consequences (short and long term) to unquestioningly support Israel and Saudi Arabia, and follow the playbook that was written by the neoconservatives at the PNAC. I mean, HENRY FUCKING KISSINGER is a close advisor. If that doesn’t disqualify someone, I don’t know what does.

She likes to claim that it’s a strength, but she really just goes along with the conventional wisdom from inside the beltway, according to self-identified Hawks. Just because she has a lot of experience dealing with foreign governments doesn’t make her experience good for America. Just look at what happened and is happening in Libya, which she was instrumental in causing.

If she is elected president, I expect that there will be a ground war in Syria, because she has learned nothing from America’s foreign policy failures since 2001.

Every Spook Down in Spookville Liked Torture a lot…
But the Grinch,Who lived just inside the Beltway, Did NOT!
The Grinch hated Torture! And ‘Enhanced Interrogation"!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

“I MUST stop this Torture from continuing! But HOW?”
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
“I know just what to do!” The Grinch laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Senate research and report.
And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great Grinchy trick!”
“With this research and report, I’ll stop Torture right quick”

an unclear on who the real villain is cartoon.

The Olitz Phone Call (Scandal #420)

I have had several questions/submissions regarding this Olitz phone call. Once my annoyance/anger about 420 subsided, I revisited what I actually did enjoy about the episode. My initial malaise prevented me from noticing the intricacies, the pregnant pauses, and the subtext of this scene, including the ways in which it fits into what I believe to be the larger Olitz arc of this season. Reasonable Katrina is back, so, let’s explore, shall we?

Fitz: “Liv?”

Olivia: “I’m here.”

Right away, I had to chuckle. I mean, yeah, Olivia is c-c-c-c-old as ice, but… she knew it was Fitz calling her the moment she fished that phone out of her bag. She sighed 50-11 times, yet kept walking out of the room with the intention of answering that man’s call.

Given that she was so intently focused on B6-13 business—including doing a favor for a retired KGB agent—the woman absolutely could have silenced the ringer and went about her business. Yet, she did not. And when she does answer it, like many a time before, she waits for him to speak first. I may be wrong, but I have seen Olivia Pope ignore Fitgzerald’s calls exactly twice: 202 (after Pastor Drake’s funeral), and 308 (before Vermontgate). In both instances, she was at home when she ignored those calls–thinking that staying away from him is the best and only policy.

Keep reading

Why Rand Paul’s Future Prospects are Bright

Despite a disappointing presidential run, the 53-year-old Kentuckian is unusually well positioned to influence Senate debate on an array of crucial issues.

Written by Conor Friedersdorf for the Atlantic:

Despite his failed foray into presidential politics, there are many reasons to think his future is bright.

Assuming he successfully defends his Senate seat, he’ll begin his second term in 2017 unencumbered by aspirations for higher office—a position most suited to his strengths—and poised for relevance whether a Republican or Democrat is in the White House. He is a leading GOP voice on reforming the criminal-justice system, a policy issue that is all but destined to loom large in the next several years.

Without worrying about his path to the White House, he is likelier to emerge as the Senate’s leading critic of reckless foreign policy, helping to build an Inside-the-Beltway counterweight to the bipartisan establishment of overconfident interventionists.

The rise of facial-recognition technology, license plate readers, self-driving cars, and other “smart” consumer products makes future privacy showdowns an inevitability. No one is better positioned to capitalize on public anxiety or outrage.

If Paul puts his head down and sets aside his ambitions beyond the Senate, he’ll find that another four or eight years burnishing a reputation as a pragmatic man of principle would actually mitigate many of his weaknesses as a national figure. …

As a civil libertarian who values Paul’s stands on drones, NSA surveillance, policing, and other issues besides, my biggest fear is that his quashed presidential aspirations will sour him on politics, that he’ll return to ophthalmology, and that Kentucky voters will replace him with another Mitch McConnell.

Doesn’t he seem like he would tire of flying to Washington, D.C.?

But if he sticks it out, is deft in marrying principle and pragmatism, gradually improves his political team, and works to advance his agenda without taking shortcuts, I can imagine this scenario: he retires as a historically consequential senator who fought a succession of executive-power-hungry presidents, helped to constrain U.S. foreign policy, limited the government’s ability to surveil its citizens, and helped transform its scandalous approach to criminal justice and mass incarceration.

Plenty of presidents are remembered less fondly.

anonymous asked:

Found it interesting that Judy Smith said in an interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe that her area of expertise covers corporations and mergers but the writers of Scandal don't consider that "sexy" enough. What do you make of that?

And season 3 was…

I know the show is primarily about life inside the beltway, but given Judy’s experience stretches far and wide, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to think, at a minimum, that OPA could have tackled a COTW focusing on another aspect of Judy’s expertise. But since s3 was overtaken by B6-13 nonsense, I guess we’ll just have to add it to the pile of missed opportunities.

Then again, perhaps what they were really trying to say was “we only recycle from shonda’s other shows and we lack the creative juices necessary to tell a compelling story and we’re lazy and possess a limited imagination.” But what do I know…

What happened between November and now was no accident. Ordinarily, as a party in a major Supreme Court case, the federal government doesn’t bother to do what private parties do routinely: mobilize organizations and well-credentialed individuals to support the position from different perspectives in briefs filed as “friends of the court.” But this time, fully aware of the stakes, the government rounded up dozens of such friends. The chief justice cited two of those briefs in his opinion, one from the health insurance industry and the other, which he referred to several times, from the country’s leading experts on the economics of health care. The government’s side spoke not only with authority but also with a sense of urgency about the consequences of the law’s failure. Outside the court — inside the Beltway, especially — voices rose in what both The Hill and Politico properly called a frenzy. The Supreme Court’s marble walls are thick, but they aren’t that thick.