Yesterday was Godzilla’s birthday

November 3rd might be widely known as Election Day in the U.S., but it’s also Godzilla’s 66th birthday. Toho Intl. has unveiled a monstrous celebration of everyone’s favorite kaiju’s birthday with a batch of all-new episodes of its popular Godzilla Tales series, which has garnered more than 325K views to-date…

Toho recently unveiled its Godzilla Tales which offers bringing Godzilla classic monsters to screens everywhere in bite-sized formats…

You can now watch episodes of Godzilla Tales out now, with new episodes dropping weekly on the Nerdist YouTube Channel now through the end of the year

Not much to say about that other event. The election battle between the party of American bigotry and the party of cautious mediocrity is still unresolved at this point in time. One hopes the latter prevails. They aren’t as likely to continue the truly evil progress towards fascism currently led by the Republican Party.

Poverty and Racism have a dual impact on upward mobility


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❝ The defining feature of the American Dream is upward mobility – the aspiration that all children have a chance at economic success, no matter their background. However, our research shows that children’s chances of earning more than their parents have been declining. 90% of children born in 1940 grew up to earn more than their parents. Today, only half of all children earn more than their parents did.

The American Dream maintains its mythic status even as it declines steadily. Political charlatans, self-described as conservative more often than not seem to have offered the best lies. The liberal flavor [in my lifetime] can be moved by the courage of citizens to grow backbone. Sometimes.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE TRULY, MEANINGFULLY DANGEROUS

❝ In his new article, “Made in the U.S.D.A.,” Michael Lewis looks at the Department of Agriculture — another federal agency whose name belies its true function. No, it does not primarily pay farmers to grow or not grow crops. The vast majority of its budget — in 2016, $110 billion of its $164 billion — goes to feed impoverished Americans: mostly schoolchildren, pregnant women, veterans, and retirees. Lewis focuses on four of the government’s former employees, many of whom have been displaced by absurdly boneheaded Trump apparatchiks. (In the U.S.D.A., these include a country-club attendant and the owner of a scented-candle company.) What most of the former career public servants have in common is that, although they grew up in strained circumstances, their families survived and flourished because of various forms of federal aid. To show their gratitude, they have devoted their lives to helping the less privileged fight their way out of poverty. What comes across in Lewis’s account is their absolute decency.

❝ If the president’s buffoonery has distracted you from the true, devastating — and lasting — damage he is doing to our country, Lewis’s article is a must-read. Perhaps the most celebrated journalist currently working, he goes straight to the heart of the matter: America is now run by people whose only watchword is greed. They may want to rethink that approach, if only out of grim self-interest…

Read this and weep for a benighted land. Darkness has fallen over the prospect of future accomplishments until – and unless – women and men of good will take control of the political instruments remaining in the death-grip of petty bureaucrats. Those whose concept of self-interest has never expanded beyond self. Those whose only interest in evaluating corruption is how they may benefit themselves from the same corruption – when it’s “their” turn.

Penny Ante Shake-Up at Democratic National Committee

A shake-up is underway at the Democratic National Committee as several key longtime officials have lost their posts, exposing a still-raw rift in the party and igniting anger among those in its progressive wing who see retaliation for their opposition to DNC Chairman Tom Perez.

The ousters come ahead of the DNC’s first meeting, in Las Vegas, Nevada, since Perez took over as chairman with a pledge this year to unite a party that had become badly divided during the brutal Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton 2016 primary race…

The Democratic Party concept of unity is thoroughly mired in personalities and individual histories – as I would expect from a party scared witless of more than lip service opposition to bigotry, absolutely unwilling to confront foreign policy dedicated to replacing the Brits as imperial ruler of the world all the way back to Harry Truman. A party that thinks useful education is determined by classroom size.

❝ The DNC denied any retaliation, saying that the changes were an effort to diversify and freshen the party’s leadership and that all the party’s officers had a chance to offer input…”This year’s slate of at-large DNC member nominees reflects the unprecedented diversity of our party’s coalition,” said DNC spokesperson Michael Tyler.

And if they “behave themselves” and don’t rock the boat, they’ll get their turn to lead in another decade or so. If the Dems believe in one thing, it’s that you will get your turn – if you just wait while the folks at the head of the line are served. Qualified, capable or not.

The Democratic Party is willing to copout on reproductive rights


Click to enlargeAP Photo/Elaine Thompson

❝ Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said Monday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will not withhold funding from candidates who are anti-abortion rights, a move that is drawing the ire of reproductive justice and abortion activists.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” Luján, the DCCC chairman, said in an interview with The Hill. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.”

Other high-profile Democrats have taken similar stances on abortion. In April, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) campaigned for an anti-choice mayoral candidate in Nebraska and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez met with anti-abortion Democrats in May.

The operative words defining the process are opportunism and sophistry. Neither of which nudges me towards loyalty to the Democratic Party or their candidates.

❝ Candice Russell, a WeTestify abortion storytelling fellow with the National Network of Abortion Funds, said she felt betrayed by Luján’s comments Monday — especially because she said she distinctly remembers the party sending fundraising emails after the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court decision striking down abortion restrictions in Texas.

You don’t get to ask me for money and turn around and spit in my face,” Russell said. “To think that abortion access isn’t inextricably tied to every single thing the Democratic Party says it stands for is foolish.”…

❝ As the the party tries to regain populist ground lost to President Donald Trump, leaders like Luján, Sanders, and Perez have framed abortion and other social issues as separate from economic issues.

“The only way you can say that economic issues are separate from social issues is if you’re presuming the only people affected by economic issues are straight, white, able-bodied men,” Erin Matson, a reproductive rights activist in Virginia, said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “Give me a break.”

I second that emotion. I have to chuckle. Wryly. When Ben Ray Lujan first primaried for the seat he holds I voted for another candidate. I presumed that since he was an heirloom candidate, running for a seat previously held by his family, he couldn’t be trusted further than any other machine candidate.

I later apologized in a letter to him – for, at first, he took positions supporting progressive policies challenging the status quo in that party. Then, he moved on up the ladder to a station of “responsible leadership” – which apparently means progressive policies are the first to be jettisoned when Democrats are confronted by rightwing populist activism.

Ben Ray is safe, of course. It’s likely anyone could get elected here in northern New Mexico – named Lujan. The family has a history of coming down on the side of workingclass families on just about all economic issues. But, the day is past when that is sufficient, when we are challenged at the national level all the way down to local ballots by populist lies and ideology.

Selling out to convenience and opportunism ain’t the way folks win.

cc: Ben Ray Lujan

In Ohio, a struggle for the [white] soul of the Democratic Party is playing out

❝ On a sweltering evening in a rural corner of Ohio, the struggle for the soul and identity of the Democratic Party is playing out over wine, meatballs and recriminations about Hillary Clinton’s defeat in last year’s presidential election.

Joe Schiavoni, the former top Democrat in the Ohio state senate, is talking to a crowd at a fundraising event for his fledgling bid to become their next governor. He believes leaders of his party in Washington have lost touch with voters. It’s a familiar refrain among Democrats in a state that helped catapult Republican Donald Trump into the White House in November…

In Ohio, as in other politically competitive “swing” states that Democrats won in 2012 but lost in 2016, Democrats are struggling to come up with a clear message and identity to win back the voters they lost.

❝ Listening to voters is the key to moving forward, some three dozen Democratic Party members across Ohio said in interviews. But there was little consensus on how to win over those voters.

Many of those interviewed said the party’s national leaders have not learned the lessons of last year’s defeat, when many voters rejected the party as too elitist and out of touch with working Americans.

This Reuters article apparently reflects the views of the official Democrat Party – as far as I can see. There is NO mention whatsoever of Black people or Hispanics. Either the party presumes automatic votes or hasn’t looked at anything other than the white chunk of Ohio’s working class.

❝ Angered by last year’s defeats up and down the ballot in Ohio, a group of political consultants circulated a memo to every member of the state party’s executive committee in December.

The memo, which has not been previously reported, lambastes the party leadership for the “electoral carnage” of 2016.

This memo at least acknowledges the inherent racism of ignoring questions affecting Black workers and the Black community in Ohio. It makes no mention of Hispanic workers or community.

11% of Ohio registered voters are Black. Almost 2% are Latino. That’s a lot of folks to take for granted.