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RT @funkyfroot: Me going to bed knowing I wasn’t cursed with the cilantro tasting like soap gene pic.twitter.com/Zpp2brw9pI

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Me going to bed knowing I wasn’t cursed with the cilantro tasting like soap gene pic.twitter.com/Zpp2brw9pI


Retweeted by LoBFCanti on Thursday, October 17th, 2019 11:18pm


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rocketo
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seattle, wa
DMack
1 day ago
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Victoria, BC
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Amazon Is Spending Big to Oust Seattle’s Socialist Council Member

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Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant addresses people at a rally in support of a $15 minimum wage at Seattle Central Community College in March of 2014. (Reuters / Jason Redmond)

Last month Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant was the lone woman of color on stage alongside her rival City Council candidate Egan Orion and three middle-aged white male moderators from local news stations. It took Sawant just two sentences to steer the debate to the issue at the center of her reelection campaign: the evils of big corporations. Six weeks from election day, Orion, a self-described progressive liberal, had highlighted the importance of bringing people together. Sawant did not disagree, but replied, “The crucial question is, unity and collaboration and coalitions with whom?” “My opponent is the poster child for big business,” she went on. “He has more corporate money than any candidate in Seattle City Council history. And we know what corporations like Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce are trying to do. They’re trying to flip City Hall to the right and reverse our progressive victories.”

She spoke quickly, and paused so rarely that you could tell she’d been interrupted far too many times in her life. She kept tying her answers to the threats posed by business interests. Based on the cheers, the audience appeared to be evenly split between Sawant and Orion. But at the end, when one of the moderators thanked Amazon, the event’s sponsor, a loud “Boo!” rang out.

On Tuesday, Amazon gave an additional million dollars to support business-friendly members of the City Council like Orion. The tech giant has now poured an unprecedented $1.45 million into the local elections, and ballots are being sent to voters this week. (Washington votes by mail.)

Sawant has long been an outspoken critic of large corporations, and it’s not surprising that she’s ended up in Amazon’s sights. During a contentious City Council meeting last summer, she called Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos the “enemy.”

“What’s at stake this year is who gets to run Seattle, Amazon and big business and the Chamber of Commerce, or working people,” Sawant told me at Squirrel Chops, a socialist-owned coffee shop just blocks from her home.

Specifically, she is fighting for rent control, an expansion of affordable housing, and a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. When asked during the debate about whether she would revisit the “head tax,” a controversial, per-employee tax on large corporations that was repealed last year, less than a month after it was passed, she said she “would proudly push for it again.”

In the August primary to whittle the vote down to two candidates, Sawant won with 37 percent to Orion’s 22 percent. But since then, The Seattle Times endorsed Orion in a scathing editorial on Sawant’s leadership. “Seattle voters who love self-promoting, slogan-tossing, poor-performing politicians are in luck,” the piece said. “Not just because Donald Trump is president, but because Kshama Sawant squeaked through the primary, in pursuit of another City Council term.”

Orion is an LGBTQ community leader who in another election might be seen as a progressive candidate. He’s known for creating PrideFest Capitol Hill and as a small-business advocate. He previously served as interim executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and is now the director of the Broadway Business Improvement Area. He considers affordability and homelessness Seattle’s two main issues, but disagrees with Sawant on the best ways to solve them. He is against Sawant’s rent control plan, arguing that it is illegal under Washington law and that it would reduce private housing development. He proposes a rent stabilization plan by which landlords would not be allowed to raise rent more than about 10 percent a year. He is also against the head tax, which he said did not have anywhere near enough support from voters. And to address homelessness, he wants to create an emergency fund to help people keep their homes during a crisis and for the City to partner with King County to produce 1,500 units of permanent supportive housing.

“I don’t think that I’m unique,” he told me. “I think that if even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had run against Kshama Sawant, Sawant could find a way to make her be the tool of big business. I think that what council member Sawant is really interested in is growing this national movement for the Socialist Alternative party.”

Six years ago, Sawant, a Mumbai-educated economist and former software engineer, ran as part of the Socialist Alternative on the slogan “Fund Human Needs, Fight Corporate Greed.” Her campaign focused on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and implementing rent control. In 2013 she became Seattle’s first socialist to occupy a council seat in nearly a century. Within a few weeks in office, she recalls, two “corporate” City Council members came to her office to inform her that City Hall runs on their terms and that she was never going to win any major victories.

The conversation clearly did not have the intended effect. Sawant doubled down on her ideals. Within months, she had helped to lead the grassroots movement to get the minimum wage legislation passed.

She’s had other smaller victories in the years since, including helping to rename the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Seattle and to sever the city’s relationship with Wells Fargo Bank in protest of its role as a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project. But she’s also been less successful in other areas. She’s been advocating for rent control for the last six years without much progress—although she has helped to give tenants access to a move-in-fee payment plan and prohibited landlords from raising rents on substandard homes. Last month, she also proposed a new plan that would limit rent increases to the rate of inflation.

But it was in her push for the “head tax” that she really clashed with major corporations. Sawant helped to lead the battle for the tax on corporations grossing at least $20 million annually. In a city that has been in a state of emergency over homelessness for four years, the funds from the tax were expected to go toward additional housing and services for the homeless. It passed in May with unanimous support from the nine-member council. But Amazon, Starbucks, and other companies pushed back. They contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the “No Tax on Jobs” campaign to squash the tax. The campaign was gearing up to submit the signatures needed to get the referendum on the November ballot when the City Council came together for a vote to repeal the tax. Within a month after its passage, all but two of the council members (Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda, who is not up for reelection this year) voted to repeal it. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment, but released a statement after the repeal that said, “Today’s vote by the Seattle City Council to repeal the tax on job creation is the right decision for the region’s economic prosperity.”

During the council meeting addressing the repeal, Sawant called it “kowtowing to big business and to corporate politicians.” She said later, “I think we have to understand that the logic of bending to big business points only in one direction, which is a race to the bottom for the rest of us.”

Fast forward to Sawant’s current reelection campaign. Amazon has donated huge sums to the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce PAC. The Amazon-backed PAC is backing challengers against all but one of the three incumbents running for reelection, which has left many predicting that the City Council is going to look a lot different next year. The Washington Technology Industry Association, the state’s largest tech trade group, which this year endorsed political candidates for the first time, also backed Orion. Top executives at Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft have donated to Orion’s campaign, including Jay Carney, the PR and policy chief for Amazon and former White House press secretary to President Barack Obama; and Sam Whiting, director of Boeing Global Engagement. “It’s clear now to the majority of people that big corporations like Amazon are absolutely going to war against ordinary people in this city, in this election, and are attempting to buy this election,” said Sawant.

When asked if Orion felt comfortable with executives’ donating money to his campaign, he responded with his own question: “Are you referring to my neighbors? There’s a large number of Amazon executives that live in district 3.”

Sawant told me she sees the support from Amazon and corporate executives as having both a positive and negative impact on her campaign. Although it has resulted in a lot of resources’ going to her opponent, it has also helped to galvanize her base. She has raised more than $380,000 from thousands of donors, many of whom are based outside Seattle, according to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.

Sawant says she doesn’t want to push corporations out of Seattle. These companies provide tens of thousands of jobs for local residents, and, she said, if they were to move, they could go somewhere where “workers are more poorly paid, have fewer labor laws protecting them, and where the labor market is weaker.” No, she wants to change the situation from the inside by making the city’s tax system more progressive and strengthening labor laws.

It’s not an easy fight, but she said she’s ready. Sitting outside the socialist-owned coffee shop, she lists such historic battles as the fight to end slavery and the civil rights movement, and then brings up her own $15 minimum wage victory. “None of that came by successfully building consensus with those that benefit from exploitation,” she said. “It required a struggle against them. We should not shy away from that struggle. We should embrace that struggle.”

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rocketo
3 hours ago
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i’m more anxious about this election than any other. if we can’t hold seattle, liberal centrism will poorly fight the right
seattle, wa
acdha
9 hours ago
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Washington, DC
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They Think You're Dumb

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Man, what's with this scowling brown immigrant? She must be the reason for all our problems. by Rich Smith
Man, whats with this scowling brown lady? I dont like scowling at all! I think scowling is ineffective. She and her scowling must be the reason for all of the citys problems.
Man, what's with this scowling brown lady? I don't like scowling at all! I think scowling is ineffective. She and her scowling must be the reason for all of the city's problems. Screenshots

The photos above show three separate ads paid for by People for Seattle, a PAC that boasts several major Republican donors. The two ads on the left are online GIFs supporting District 6 candidate Heidi Wills and District 4 candidate Alex Pedersen. They both start with Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant's face and then cycle through to the face of the other candidate. The ad on the right is the initial frame from a cable TV commercial supporting District 7 candidate Jim Pugel. It starts with a scowling Sawant and then transitions to a smiling Pugel.

These deceptive ads suggest that Sawant is somehow running against three different candidates in three different races. But, of course, that's impossible. Sawant is only running against Egan Orion, whose campaign has drawn a handful of Trump donors, in District 3.

However, this PAC, which is run by former interim Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess, is betting you don't know that. This PAC is betting you are dumb.

The conservative bloc conspiring to flip the city council has probably seen polls showing that Sawant has the lowest approval rating on a council that appears to have a fair approval rating. So, if this PAC makes Sawant the face of the current council, they think the conservative candidates they support will have a better chance of winning.

They think this strategy will work because politicos believed it worked in the primary. In a series of mailers, People for Seattle tied D3 candidate Zachary DeWolf and D4 candidate Emily Myers to Sawant, and neither DeWolf nor Myers earned enough votes to make it through.

But if they think this strategy will work in the general election, then People for Seattle is betting on a number of things.

They're betting you don't read much about the city council, so you don't really know who your council member is or what your council member has done to advance your interests.

They're betting you have heard of Sawant before, since she has the highest profile on the council, but they're betting you also don't know what she's done.

If you've heard of her, they're betting you've heard she's "divisive," and you've heard "divisiveness" among national and local politicians is the reason for all of our problems, rather than, say, a lack of revenue from progressive sources.

They're betting you think, for instance, that Sawant's "divisive" Amazon rhetoric was the reason the "head tax" failed, and not the fact that Amazon originally agreed with the terms of the compromise proposal from Mayor Durkan but then went ahead and funded the repeal campaign anyway.

They're betting you think something should be done about the homeless crisis. But since more people are entering homelessness than exiting homelessness at the moment, they're betting you blame an "ineffective" city council for that, i.e. Sawant, rather than rapidly rising housing costs, shredded safety nets, and inadequate health care systems.

And—though I hesitate to say this, at the risk of being divisive—they're betting a photo of a scowling brown woman will make lily-white Seattleites react in a negative way, and that a photo of a smiling white face will make lily-white Seattleites react in a positive way.

They're betting all of this will work. And they're betting a lot.

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rocketo
19 hours ago
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these sick fucks, just pay your taxes
seattle, wa
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I pay $21,000 a year for lousy health insurance

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Eric Levitz points out that Joe Biden’s framing of the health insurance debate is straight out of the traditional right-wing playbook:

As the right-wing Mercatus Center (accidentally) revealed last year, under one plausible model, Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan would cost the U.S. $32.6 trillion over a decade — while simply maintaining our existing health-care system would cost $34.65 trillion. Which is to say, establishing single-payer would save us $2 trillion in national income, while guaranteeing all Americans affordable health care. But it would also require U.S. workers to make compulsory social insurance payments to the government rather than to private insurers.

And for Joe Biden, that’s apparently a deal-breaker. . .

Democrats campaigning on plans that would retain America’s redundant insurance bureaucracies were not asked how they could justify such an extravagance. Under the norms of mainstream political journalism, costs imposed on the American people by the private sector require no justification or defense; only costs imposed by the public sector do. If you are committed to abetting the meteoric rise of private health-insurance premiums, a debate moderator will not ask you to level with the American people about how much your approach to health-care policy will cost them. If you are committed to reducing overall health-care costs by expanding the public sector’s role in medical provision, you will be ritually scolded for the extraordinary (and extraordinarily decontextualized) fiscal price of your program.

As the party that favors higher levels of taxation and public provision, Democrats have an interest in contesting this norm. Biden’s agenda may be less ambitious than Sanders or Warren’s. But he still (officially) aims to raise taxes and increase spending by trillions of dollars. A political discourse that treats taxation as presumptively suspect (even as it treats private rentierism as presumptively legitimate) will not be a favorable one for any Democratic president.

One huge problem with the health care debate is that the absurd and massively inefficient cost of the American health care system is hidden from clear view by various psychological accounting tricks.

For example, until this morning I had absolutely no idea how much I was actually paying for health insurance, because normally I only pay attention to my monthly premium, which is currently $239.50. This is for the second-least expensive of the four employer-provided plans available to me, and covers one other adult and a child. That is still nearly $3,000 per year of course, which is a massive amount for the average CU employee, although not for me because they have to pay me so much to keep me from taking one of the corner offices at Wachtell.

But of course that’s not the real cost of my insurance. The real cost includes the employer contribution, which is $1,511.50. Per month. That money is every bit as much a part of my compensation package as my salary: it’s just that I never see it, because it’s sent straight to an insurance company, rather than to my paycheck (from which my premium is deducted automatically, so I never “see” it, either).

This staggering sum — $21,012 per year! — buys me coverage that ensures that I won’t have to pay anything more for medical care . . . I’ll come in again. That I won’t have to pay more than $15,800 in “out of pocket” costs for medical care this year. Pretty sweet! (ETA: I also pay another $6,000 or so in employee and employer Medicare tax contributions, so that should definitely be tossed into the overall calculation).

So yeah, the prospect of my taxes going up to pay for genuine universal health care coverage for Americans — I think it’s extremely important not to fetishize single payer at the expense of achieving this basic goal — doesn’t exactly terrify me, given that I’m already paying a disguised tax that is approximately equal to the after-tax income of the 20th percentile of household income in this country (This means 60 million people live on that sum, or, usually, much less.) Except, as Levitz points out, I’m being taxed by an insurance company, rather than the government, so Freedom!

And again, there are plenty of people in the building who are being paid a quarter of what I’m paid, but who are still paying what I’m paying for health insurance, which means that a third of their actual compensation package is going to pay for what in any sane advanced society would never be treated as a discretionary expense.

Related: See this fascinating and horrifying story on how people in a Kansas town live in fear of a very real debtor’s prison because they can’t pay their medical bills.

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rocketo
21 hours ago
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seattle, wa
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DisenDeGeneres: Why Queers might quit Ellen DeGeneres

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ellen_wussy.jpg

The Ellen DeGeneres / George W. Bush controversy has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. A lot of digital ink has been spilled on the topic over the past week or so, but almost everything I've read has missed one important point.

Ellen DeGeneres is a hypocrite who lacks integrity.

Ellen says be kind to one another. She says be friends with people who disagree with you. And she is. So long as her friendly homophobes are rich, famous, and powerful. When dealing with anyone famous or alluring, Ellen will turn her back on the gay community faster than a speeding hashtag.

Even before the recent cowboy controversy, I have been questioning Ellen's status as a leader and role model for the LGBTQ community. In 2018, there was her outspoken and vehement defense of Kevin Hart, whose public comments on the horrors of the possibility of one of his children turning out to be gay, although years past, were almost as bad as Tracy Morgan's, minus a call for violence, and also, critically, minus any sincere attempt at apology.

After being uninvited to host the Oscars, Kevin Hart branded himself as a victim of political correctness and what we are now calling "cancel culture." Ellen DeGeneres not only defended Hart passionately,  but she also gave him a chance to talk about it on her show and once again paint himself as a victim of the culture and, as Ellen put it, "the haters."

She really said that.

As if that weren't bad enough,  we also get to add a triple decker super fudge sundae of irony to this gay wedding cake. The year before Mr. Hart went down, Ellen very publicly and ostentatiously banned and cancelled a scheduled guest from her show. The guest, Kim Burrell, went viral right before her scheduled appearance (as a backup singer for Pharrell Williams) because of a video of her outlandishly making anti-lgbt comments at her holy roller church. Ms. Burrell had been working with Pharrell for years, and she and Pharrell were going to go on the Ellen show to promote a movie and soundtrack they had been working on together.

But Ellen wasn't having none of this. Instead of letting a controversial non-celebrity sing backup with Pharrell in the studio, she had Pharrell do a different song, and then sat him down on the couch so they could diss Ms. Kim in her absence. They went on and on talking about how love is love and hate will not be tolerated.

As if.

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 10.32.42 AM.png

Imagine if Ellen had had the courage or integrity to have this same hard conversation with Kevin Hart. Imagine if she had been so gracious and profoundly kind as to invite Kim Burrell onto her show to have a similar discussion. (Burrell doesn't consider herself homophobic or anti-gay. Quelle surprise!) Imagine if Ellen had pushed George W Bush, albeit gently, on the issue of his legacy on LGBT issues.

And speaking of the devil, George W was not kind when he stole the White House from Al Gore or when he stopped the vote recount in Florida. He was not kind when, after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, used that tragedy as an excuse to lie to the American people and browbeat Congress into the unnecessary and calamitous Invasion of Iraq.

Most of all, George Bush was not kind when he, for over two years, went around this country and told the nation and the world that gay couples wanting to get married was going to destroy the fabric of the American family, culture, values and law and order. I am only barely paraphrasing.

So, not because of her friendships, but because of her hypocrisy and the lack of integrity in her responses to the controversies, Ellen DeGeneres is, in my opinion, no longer a role model or hero to the lgbtq community. She is a deeply compromised media mogul whose "be nice" milquetoast social philosophies have no substantive merit or applicability.

Ellen's heart used to be in the right place. Now it seems that her heart has no place at all except the stratosphere of celebrity.

We wish her well out there, but we will no longer look to her as a guiding star.

Ellen has, from the time she came out bravely and historically in 1997, been whining to anyone who will listen that she is not a leader of the LGBT community, nor does she want to be one.

Well, Ellen, I think it is finally time for us to take you at your word. You are not a leader and you are not a role model to our community. If you would like to Stockholm Syndrome yourself all the way into the Cowboys end zone for a social media touchdown, that is your business. I, for one, will not be tuning in.


Scott King is an Atlanta-based writer, analyst, and political consultant. He eats a carbon-based diet and does not care if you are masc. 



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rocketo
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Republican Donors Are Pouring Money Into Egan Orion's Campaign

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Five Trump donors have maxed out in donations to Orion. by Rich Smith
What does Egan Orion and Donald Trump have in common? Donors.
What do Egan Orion and Donald Trump have in common? Donors. Courtesy of Egan Orion's Campaign

Egan Orion has raked in cash from at least 21 major Republican donors in his campaign against incumbent Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant. According to public disclosure records, all of those donors gave the maximum $500 to his campaign, with one giving only $250. Five of those donors have given to Donald Trump, and three of those Trump donors appear to have never or only once played in Seattle city council politics before. Over a dozen of these donors have given only to Orion's campaign in the council races this election cycle.

Six of the Republican donors have also given a combined $90,000 to People for Seattle, a PAC run by former Seattle Interim Mayor Tim Burgess. The PAC is spending thousands on advertising and paid canvassers for Orion and other candidates who are also endorsed by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s PAC, Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, which has received $1.5 million from Amazon alone.

I wonder why these Republican donors want Orion to win so badly?
I wonder why these Republican donors want Orion to win so badly?

“It’s not surprising that rich Republicans see my opponent as their candidate," said Sawant in a statement. "Billionaires and wealthy Republicans want to push the council to the right, and he has shown himself to be their voice, eagerly using Republican talking points."

"A few of our neighbors may be Republicans but the overwhelming majority are progressive liberals like me," said Orion, adding that his campaign returned Selig's contribution back in August. "As an ICE landlord and major Trump supporter, [Selig] doesn’t represent D3 values," Orion said.

But Orion didn't respond to a question about whether or not he has signed "thank-you" notes to his Trump/Republican donors, which one campaign worker tells me is standard practice for those who max out donations to a campaign.

In a follow-up email, Orion said he hasn't "signed a single thank-you note the entire election," but admits automatic "thank-you" emails are delivered to all who donate online, though he claims he's "not part of that process." Orion adds that his campaign didn't directly solicit donations from Republicans, but rather "they were invited by people hosting house parties."

If these Republicans were good at politics, they would be pumping as much money as possible into Sawant's campaign. Republicans have been blaming Sawant for problems in Spokane since she first took office, and now they're just going to let her go? Who will they use to scare away centrists in Kirkland if she loses? Who are they going to use as an excuse not to catch up to California and Oregon on statewide rent control legislation? Oh wait, that's not the Republicans. That's Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle.

But, seriously. Why are Trump donors maxing out to Orion? For the same reason they're donating to Trump. They believe Orion, like Trump, will ultimately support policies that will protect their wealth. And they would like to have some influence on a politician who can regulate or deregulate their industry, which will have a big impact on that wealth.

Is Orion up for sale? He has been quite impressionable so far this campaign season. Early on he told The Stranger he wouldn't accept an endorsement from CASE, but now he welcomes their endorsement. Before he started "talking to people," he was all for safe injection sites. But now he thinks the data isn't clear (it is). He also recently came out against the cap on move-in fees, which prevent landlords from charging more than 10% of one month's rent in nonrefundable fees, arguing that the law might force landlords to raise rents. Low and behold, landlords used that same bullshit reasoning in their opposition to the bill, which was sponsored by Sawant and City Council Member Lisa Herbold.

If District 3 voters send Orion to Seattle City Council, they're sending a pure vessel for corporate interests. That's what these Republican donors are banking on, anyway.

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rocketo
1 day ago
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yep! too bad your editorial side gets trampled on by your advertising side
seattle, wa
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