The incorrigible Mr. Cockburn explains at length why the American left is impotent, taking us through 80 years of triumphs and tragedies (after only promising us 50!). One theme: how labor unions have stood in the way of progress to the degree they've been co-opted by the powerful -- and (perhaps not coincidentally) how weak labor unions are today. Mr. Cockburn also tells us that the mid-20th century Communist witch-hunts have deprived the left of its Leninist/Trotskyist intellectual heft. Perhaps because I'm not particularly Leninist/Trotskyist myself, I'd locate the resulting "infections" in places other than "9/11 conspiracism" or "junk science climate catastrophism" -- like, in an America that confuses corporate freedom with individual freedom.
Meanwhile, Progressive States sees, at least in the short term, a rosier picture, at least as far as beating back right-wing anti-tax initiatives at the state level. The Oregon tax-hikes-on-the-rich-and-corporate provide the immediate news hook, but we also learn that a) right-wing tax cuts have been failing at the state level for many years and b) many studies tell us that tax increases don't undermine the economy. I have one question: if voters reject cutting taxes in times of economic distress, why do they elect anti-tax politicians? I mean, besides that a vote for a politician is a fairly imprecise tool? I guess it's because the education effort has a long way to go. I guess it's also because too few politicians think that effort is as sexy as I think it is.
And speaking of education, former rock star Ted Nugent took a foreign paper on a journey to the center of his mind -- celebrity vegetarianism prompts him to hunt more animals, the penalty for stepping on his lawn is death, Barack Obama should be in jail, like that. As it happens, I also oppose welfare and gun control, and I also love my country because "we the people make a determination," but I don't find his supposedly no-holds-barred tone particularly refreshing -- I'd prefer a hifalutin college professor who's actually right most of the time to a foul-mouthed salt-of-the-earth who persistently blames the wrong people for "gluttony and slovenliness and laziness and a lifestyle of bloodsucking." If you already agree with Ted Nugent on everything, I suppose you might disagree. But anyone can preach to the converted; persuasion demands more of you.
UPDATE. Made minor stylistic edit in paragraph one, so that I don't look like a complete dunderhead. "And how, perhaps not coincidentally, how weak" indeed. Both redundant and repetitive, I'd say.