Republicans Filibuster Against Right To Unionize

Just so there is no mistaking who is for and who is against the right to have a union. Not one Republican voted for this. There are no “moderate Republicans” – not when it counts.
Senate Republicans block union bill,

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would allow labor unions to organize workplaces without a secret ballot election.
… The outcome was not a surprise, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying for months that he would stop the legislation in the Senate. The White House also made clear that if the bill passed Congress it would be vetoed.
…The GOP also plans to use the vote for election-year campaigning, with corporations and businesses being the top opponents to the legislation. The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out a fundraising video last week asking people to contribute in order to help stop the Employee Free Choice Act.
… The bill would require employers to recognize unions after being presented union cards signed by a majority of eligible workers on their payrolls.

Last Week’s Take Back America Conference – Building Bridges

I attended the Take Back America conference last week, and it was great. I am inspired, and you should be, too.
Two years ago I was at this same conference and it was a very different experience. I felt it was attending a tired, demoralized gathering of people associated with the older, Washington-based, established, celebrity-driven issue-organizations. I left discouraged, wondering when the liberal establishment would start to catch up with the ideas circulating around the blogosphere – especially with the ideas about building “progressive infrastructure” organizations for reaching out to the public and promoting core progressive values and ideas, instead of the focus on issues.
After that conference I wrote,

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Employee Free Choice Fear and Smear

Bob Geiger has a post up: GOP Gives Employee Free Choice Act Fear-And-Smear Treatment.
The Employee Free Choice Act helps restore some ability for employees to unionize. Under Reagan and then under Bush it has become nearly impossiblefor employees to form a union, and those trying to do so get fired. This is against the law, of course, but who enforces the law when it brushes up against what the big corporations want? And the big corporations do NOT want unions.
So the Republicans are out there with the fear and smear tactics. Read Bob’s post for examples.

Dr. Allan Brandt Helps Us Put The Smoking In Politics.

Dave Johnson and James Boyce
Over at Smoking Politics, we tell and re-tell and constantly point out that the right wing strategy of lie big, ignore the facts and shoot the messenger wasn’t created out of thin air, it was started with great success by the tobacco companies almost a century ago.
The clearest current example of the attempts to muddy the water on whether cigarettes actually cause cancer, oh wait, that was the last example, now they’re muddying the waters with Global Warming.
It’s the same strategy – shoot the messenger (Al Gore, Laurie David, Sheryl Crow.) Deny the facts. Spend tens of millions of dollars to form front groups. And hope you can delay the inevitable support for the facts and for the truth to come out.
As we’ve learned more and more about this, and the fact that Karl Rove is a former tobacco marketing consultant, we discovered a remarkable book, “The Cigarette Century.” In it, Dr. Allan Brandt outlines the true horror of what the tobacco companies did, and in many places around the world, continue to do.
Here’s a quote from The Washington Post’s review of the book.

I defy anyone to read the middle chapters of The Cigarette Century, the ones that detail the foundation of the Tobacco Institute and the industry’s efforts to muddy scientific waters, and not come away with a burning need to drive down to North Carolina and find someone to throttle. Or Madison Avenue. Among the many villains Brandt skillfully waterboards are executives at the public relations giant Hill & Knowlton, which during the 1950s single-handedly orchestrated Big Tobacco’s campaign to undermine anti-smoking advocates and scientists up to and including the surgeon general. No lie was too big to tell, no bit of pseudo-science too ridiculous to pass off as legitimate. Parents, if you have teenagers considering a career in p.r., have them read this first. I can’t remember the last time I read a more scathing indictment of corporate malfeasance.

On Wednesday at Noon Eastern, we will have Dr. Brandt on our Smoking Politics Radio Show, and also hope to have Rick Perlstein call in as well.
If you’ve ever wondered how the Right figured out how to ozone Al Gore and Swift Boat John Kerry, you have to listen in and learn just how orchestrated this strategy has been, and just how successful as well.
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Fairness Doctrine

The right has launched a pre-emptive attack on the Fairness Doctrine.

Contradiction alert:
if the right says the media is dominated by liberals, why would they oppose a doctrine requiring presentation of differing points of view? Oops!
WorldNetDaily: Democrats hope to hush Rush

The Conservative Voice: The Nazification of the American Left

..Given their desire to censor, even to prohibit, conservative speech, it is clear that American liberals are much more in tune with Goebbels than with our cherished First Amendment rights. … Imagine what Goebbels could have accomplished if he’d had what American fascists have had at their disposal for decades: four major television networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN – with a stable of star-quality propagandists, such as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Bill Moyers, Keith Olbermann, and Rosie O’Donnell, in their pocket. … George Soros, the anti-American billionaire who now owns a controlling interest in the party …

Drudge is pushing it, too

Today’s Housing Bubble Post – Slowwwww!

Slow sales, prices keep dropping.
Home Sales Hit Slowest Pace in 4 Years: Financial News,

Reflecting further housing troubles, sales of existing homes fell in May to the lowest level in four years while the median home price dropped for a record 10th consecutive month.
… The median price of a home sold last month dropped to $223,700, down 2.1 percent from a year ago. It marked the 10th straight price decline compared with a year ago, the longest stretch of weakness on record.

I noticed this weekend that MANY more “For Sale” signs are out in the Bay Area than before.
Update – My observation is confirmed: Housing inventory piling up: Inventory of homes for sale hits 15-year high,

The inventory of previously owned homes up for sale in May rose to the highest level in relation to sales in 15 years, a real-estate trade group said Monday.
… Inventories of homes on the market rose by 5% to a record 4.43 million, representing an 8.9-month supply at the May sales pace. That’s the biggest overhang of inventory since June 1992, at the tail end of the last housing bust.
The inventory figure compared with 8.4 months in April and 7.4 months in March.

Tell Me What You Think Of John Kerry

I’d like to ask a question of my readers. What do you think about whether Senator John Kerry should run again? He has a primary challenger named Ed O’Reilly now, and I am wondering whether you think netroots types should support Kerry or the challenger? Is Kerry a good Senator – or bad enough that we should support a challenge?
Let me know by e-mail or by comments here. Thanks.

The Political Brain

At the Take Back America conference I attended a session put on by Drew Weston, author of The Political Brain. He takes a Lakoff-style look at the language and narrative, adds a psychologist/neuroscientist look at how the brain works and then turns it all into a practical look at how to use this information in politics.
Here is a book review.
From the book:

In his handling of the Swift Boat affair, what Kerry effectively told the American people was what he would do if America were attacked: he would wait an inordinate amount of time until he had gathered enough evidence to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, use polls and focus groups to see what kind of response Americans preferred, and then write our enemies a letter imploring them to stop their terrorist acts immediately.
Sometimes, the meta-message is the message.

I have ordered the book.

Another Top DOJ Official Resigns

It is Friday evening, so it’s time for Republicans to release news…
Jeralyn at TalkLeft: Another Top DOJ Official Resigns,

William Mercer, the U.S. Attorney for Montana, who also has been serving as the Number Three top official at DOJ has withdrawn his nomination for permanent appointment.
Mercer’s confirmation hearing was set for next week. His resignation letter says he has become convinced he would not be confirmed.

Digby’s Speech at TBA

Here is the text of Digby’s speech the other night at the Take Back America conference: Digby: Bloggers Are Part of a Revolutionary Participatory Democracy. Excerpts,

…Then there is the criticism that we are fascists or Stalinists demanding that everyone march in lockstep to the edicts of our leadership — generally assumed to be Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos — who apparently directs us with secret signals deeply embedded in the code of the Daily Kos web site while we carry on an elaborate ruse of spirited political debate and disagreement in public.
…We are passionate about politics, and in this era of Republican corruption, excess and failure, that passion sometimes manifests itself as anger. But how can you not be angry? So many institutions have failed us in the last decade that being vitriolic seems the only sane response.
…So … the netroots is … a revolution. A revolutionary participatory democracy. And, in this way, the left is more effective than the right. Whether by temperament or philosophy, we are simply better suited to the free-form, constantly changing nature of these new political communities.