In the years before becoming a full-time writer, Sirota worked as the press secretary for Vermont Independent Congressman Bernard Sanders, the chief spokesman for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, the Director of Strategic Communications for the Center for American Progress, a campaign consultant for Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and a media strategist for Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont. He also previously contributed writing to the website of the California Democratic Party. For more on Sirota, see these profiles of him in Newsweek or the Rocky Mountain News. Feel free to email him at lists [at] davidsirota.com Note: this online publication represents Sirota's personal views, and not the official views of the organizations he works with.
Friday, February 21, 2014 The NFL Proves Why America Needs to Update Its Civil Rights Laws (1 comments)
Whether or not Sam was ultimately going to end up a top draft pick based purely on his skill is not the point. What's important here is that NFL executives are admitting that regardless of his skill, SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam will suffer consequences specifically because he is openly gay.
Friday, December 20, 2013 Edward Snowden Is the Whistleblower of the Year
Sure, the opinion-based speculation about Snowden's social status -- is he a narcissist or a hero? is he unpatriotic or a patriot? -- can and will continue. But from a legal perspective, this former NSA contractor is clearly a whistleblower -- one entitled to the most basic whistleblower protections.
Sunday, December 15, 2013 Three Questions About the Motor City
Michigan taxpayers and retirees have a right to some basic answers. The same goes for taxpayers and retirees in the next city that tries to follow Detroit's current path -- and yes, that will almost certainly happen. The class war is clearly going local.
Friday, October 11, 2013 Right-wing coup: Deluded secessionists have already won (9 comments)
Through gerrymandering, conservatives have geographically walled themselves off in a way that prevents them from having to electorally answer to anyone but themselves. They have, in other words, made a deliberate choice to secede into their own separate nation. Call it Conservastan. The right chose to use redistricting to create a whole separate political country for themselves.
Monday, October 7, 2013 Enron billionaire expands craven plot to abuse workers (1 comments)
In states where Arnold has operated, the end result is usually that retirement benefits are cut in order to keep financing the corporate subsidies. And in some states like Rhode Island -- and now, possibly California, depending on Arnold's specific ballot initiative language -- reformers additionally press to use some of the remaining pension money to pay newly mandated Wall Street fees for "alternative investments."
Sunday, October 6, 2013 GOP's massive fraud: The shutdown isn't really a shutdown!
There is an insidious method to the madness of government shutdowns. In general, the dividing line between what gets shut down and what doesn't is a similar dividing line between what America's political culture typically venerates as The State and what that culture lambasts as The Government.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4 Essential Questions Before We Rush To War (1 comments)
Ask yourself: is it really so indisputably good, moral or constructive to support dropping bombs on Syria -- most likely in heavily populated civilian areas -- to make some sort of abstract political statement, but with no real expectation that doing so will make anything better?
Thursday, August 22, 2013 This Cowardly Silence Is An Act Of War (1 comments)
That Western governments needed such a public reminder that "journalism is not terrorism" is an illustrative commentary on how intense today's assault is on basic press freedom.
Saturday, August 17, 2013 Huge majority wants Clapper prosecuted for perjury (9 comments)
With these new polls, it doesn't seem so far-fetched that Clapper could be prosecuted for perjury. In fact, it seems more and more like shrewd politics -- especially if the White House continues to grant de facto immunity to Clapper and others who hid potentially illegal and unconstitutional surveillance from Congress.
Friday, August 2, 2013 Pennies at the Register, Dollars in the Paycheck (4 comments)
What is more devastating: wages that relegate millions of people to a life of poverty or having to fork over just a bit more pocket change during your next trip to McDonalds and Wal-Mart? As Congress contemplates raising the minimum wage and more workers take collective action in the fight for better pay, the answer should be more obvious than ever.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Don't buy the right-wing myth about Detroit (1 comments)
From the right, Detroit is being cited in the discussion about budget shortfalls as proof of the need for austerity. Yet, we aren't hearing much about why in the face of such shortfalls Gov. Snyder just devoted $1.7 billion to a new corporate tax cut that will likely exacerbate the state's deficit, nor are we hearing much about why state law compelled Detroit to forfeit other desperately needed tax revenues.
Monday, June 24, 2013 10 Questions for NBC Host Who Shamelessly Suggested Greenwald Be Arrested for NSA Leaks (2 comments)
Why do many media outlets still somehow portray the NSA surveillance programs as perfectly legal? Perhaps the most damning question of all: Why are so many media outlets far more interested in the minute details of Edward Snowden's life and location than in the potential crimes against millions of Americans that he exposed?
Friday, June 14, 2013 Permanent Washington's Backlash to Edward Snowden
First and foremost, the backlash reveals that Permanent Washington doesn't work for We the People -- it works to protect itself. We know this because whereas Snowden is vilified for disclosing information that's inconvenient to Permanent Washington, those who leak classified information that is advantageous to Permanent Washington are left alone.
Saturday, May 11, 2013 Return Of The Anti-Muslim Bigots (1 comments)
Right now, the Republican Party is tearing apart at the seams. the GOP's unholy alliance of super-wealthy country clubbers and working-class cultural conservatives is now fraying.
They are grasping for any issue or cause that unifies the conservative audience across increasingly wide economic, cultural and class lines. Islamophobia is sadly one of the few things that can achieve that among Republicans.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Rise Of The Conservative Revolutionaries (3 comments)
A civilized society should solve disputes through a democratic process and democratic institutions, rather than through the barrel of a gun. And while our democracy has been corrupted by Big Money, it still functions better than autocracy. In that sense, Churchill had it right when he said "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."
Thursday, April 4, 2013 Five Questions That Will Decide The Gun Debate (3 comments)
Because Congress is structurally designed to create gridlock, what happens at the state level doesn't necessarily translate into congressional action. So while even a state in the traditionally pro-gun Inter-mountain West can pass gun regulations, Washington may have more trouble doing the same.
Saturday, January 28, 2012 The Economic Normalcy Bias (1 comments)
...the root of one of America's most destructive traits: our obsession with materialism and consumerism.
Thursday, July 14, 2011 The new "Let them eat cake!" (11 comments)
In the midst of this prole-crushing economic emergency engineered by wealthy speculators and their political puppets, we now find ourselves watching those same modern-day Marie Antoinettes at once celebrating their station and begging for sympathy as if they were the real casualties of the decade-long economic slowdown they created.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 10 stories more important than Weinergate (3 comments)
An irrelevant congressman's bizarre behavior in a silly 140-character-limited medium strikes me as a tad less offensive and less worthy of media focus than at number of other less-covered stories that broke at the same time as the Weiner Scandal.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 Silence Is Complicity and Defensiveness Is Endorsement
When Arizona Tea Party leaders condemn the violence but then nonetheless make a show of publicly refusing to refrain from violent rhetoric, they are acknowledging the tragedy while suggesting they don't mind if future events like this happen.
Friday, November 12, 2010 Thank You, Dick Cheney, For Giving Me the Proper Words (8 comments)
Evan Bayh and Third Way and The Democratic Strategist and the DLC and all the professional pundits and cable-TV zombies and D.C. spokesholes - all of you soul-raping corpses and sh*t-eating poindexters paid to appear on my television screen and scream at me about liberals ruining everything, please, I beg you on behalf of the silent irritated majority: Just go f*ck yourself.
Monday, May 17, 2010 GOP: Recession's Foreclosure Victims "Want a Homeless Life"
After their anti-tax zealotry left their city in the budgetary lurch, Colorado Springs Republicans have slashed their community's social services to the bone. We're talking big cuts to police, firefighters, park maintenance, public transportation - even turning off the city's streetlights (except, of course, in the wealthy areas!).
Saturday, April 17, 2010 Corrupt Practices Accelerating the Decline of American Journalism (2 comments)
Are many of today's opportunity-maximizers destroying journalism? Clearly, yes -" and unless media sachems institute some basic ethics rules, the parasites within their ranks could end up making sure there's no journalism industry left to save.
Friday, March 19, 2010 What's the Matter With Democrats? (3 comments)
Ever since Thomas Frank published his book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" Democrats have sought a political strategy to match the GOP's. The health care bill proves they've found one.
Friday, February 26, 2010 Glenn Beck Finally Admitted His Great Desire: To 'Eradicate' Progressives (7 comments)
We owe Beck gratitude for using his keynote address to CPAC to so frankly outline what the conservative movement has become -- and why it repulses so many Americans. To wild applause, he labeled this alleged tumor of "community" the supposedly evil "progressivism" -- and he told disciples to "eradicate it" from the nation.
Friday, February 5, 2010 Tax the Corporations and the Rich or Take Draconian Cuts -- the Decision Is Ours (3 comments)
No matter where we live, this same choice will soon face us all in some form. It is a choice embodied in President Obama's pragmatic initiative to end his predecessor's high-income tax breaks, a choice for which future local and federal elections will serve as proxies. Tax reform or draconian cuts, life or death -- the decision is ours.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 It's Not Mere Cynicism or Demoralization - More Likely, It's Humiliation and Alienation (4 comments)
After a 2008 campaign that saw Dems promise to genuinely take on the health care and financial industries, we've seen a 2009 that has asked Dem voters to fight for extremely small, extremely modest scraps. We've been relegated to having to mount fierce campaigns to keep things like the public option in the debate and not to stop trillion-dollar bailouts - but just make sure they have one or two flimsy strings attached to them
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 Why Is the Military Infringing on Obama's Decison-Making Turf? (9 comments)
The Washington Post insisted that Obama's failure to promptly back McChrystal's surge proposal could "dishonor" America, while the New York Times said no matter what the president wants, "It will be very hard to say no to General McChrystal."
Saturday, September 19, 2009 Obsessive Compulsive Bipartisanship Disease (5 comments)
In the blogosphere, we've often discussed Washington's sick fetishization of bipartisanship. Whether it's pundits or politicians, the entire D.C. Establishment has made abundantly clear that it is first and foremost interested in bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake before it is interested in the ramifications of public policy.
Monday, September 14, 2009 On Racism, Death Threats & The Blindness of Those Who Will Not See (6 comments)
We're living in a world where the behavior of right-wing lynch mobs clearly is far less about ideology, and far more about partisanship and racial hate. The tea party protestors were nowhere to be found when George Bush trampled the constitution and grew the government.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009 CNN Debate on Van Jones: Obama Sells Us Out to Political Terrorist Glenn Beck & His Lynch Mob (1 comments)
I am at once loathe to help fuel this media-manufactured controversy and eager to use this as a kind of "teachable moment" that Obama talks about, but rarely delivers on. If we as a movement cannot stand up for a genuine progressive hero like Van Jones--a guy with a towering record of real-world accomplishment on behalf of issues and grassroots communities--then we will not be able to stand up for anything.
Friday, August 7, 2009 The Me-First, Forget-Everyone-Else Crowd (3 comments)
the Me-First, Forget-Everyone-Else Crowd isn't interested in fairness, empiricism or morality. They are merely using the argot of fairness, empiricism and morality to hide its real motive: selfish greed.
Thursday, July 30, 2009 "Parochial Considerations"
As the ridiculous debate over health care "reform" careens from one manipulative boondoggle to another, our citizens, and our democracy itself are in peril.
In this article, David Sirota discusses some of the blatant hypocrisy that is driving this discussion.
Saturday, July 25, 2009 How the Ultra-Rich Are Trying to Kill Health Reform
According to government figures, 1-percenters' share of America's total income is the highest it's been since 1929, and their tax rates are the lowest they've faced in two decades. Through bonuses, many 1-percenters will profit from the $23 trillion in bailout the Treasury Department now says could be headed to financial firms. And, most of them benefit from IRS decisions to reduce millionaire audits and collect zero taxes.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 An American Griswold In China, Days 1-3: The Gateway to the Mainland (3 comments)
As some background on our journey, my wife Emily and I visited both coastal and the less-well-traveled interior regions of China for about three weeks in June and July. We were guided around the country by my longtime friend Mike Levy, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in China and who has a forthcoming book about his experiences entitled "Kosher Dogmeat."
Monday, July 13, 2009 Back From My Long Strange Trip (2 comments)
Editor note: This comes via Email, 2 days earlier than David originally promised to be back. So, as he says, Rock the Boat
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Teabags vs. Douchebags Why this May Not be the Second Coming of the New Deal After All. (2 comments)
Teabaggery takes its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Mythologized high-school history texts tell us that colonists tossed British tea into Boston Harbor in America's first populist revolt. Today, as evidenced by the April 15 protests, the original Boston Tea Party has become a transcendent icon of pugilistic radicalism--a symbol of patriotic resistance against unresponsive government and elite douchebags.
Friday, May 22, 2009 Facing Progressive Pressure, Obama Backs off Panama Free Trade Agreement (4 comments)
This is huge news for the Make Him Do It Dynamic:
The decision, announced by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Everett Eissenstat at a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, is a reversal from statements in March that the U.S. wanted to pass the accord soon...
Eissenstat's comments follow remarks by John Sweeney
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 When An Intern Can Form a Shell Corporation, It's Time For Trade Reform
Bloomberg News this morning reports that U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk gave a speech yesterday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce "saying he hopes Congress will approve stalled trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea within the next year." The good news is that Kirk also noted that Bush-written trade policies are "really a tough sell in this environment."
Saturday, May 16, 2009 First Amendment Rights Watch: Criminalizing the Internet (10 comments)
HR 1966 is called the "Cyberbullying Prevention Act" and includes this section: Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Monday, May 11, 2009 Three Questions About Obama's 'Major' Health Care Announcement Today (12 comments)
Today's press conference has the President effectively saying that the health insurance industry should have a major seat at the health-reform table - and that it should be trusted. But any serious health care reform will need to take on the health insurance industry in a way that will make that industry unhappy.
Monday, April 20, 2009 D.C. Reporters Just Make Sh*t Up, Part 1,489,890,992,384 (6 comments)
I wonder if instead of working in the factual world, I should just start making shit up. It would save me so much time in my work to not have to, ya know, verify anything. I could write entire columns just saying the first piece of conventional wisdom that came into my mind, without even bothering to see if it was true. Wow...what an easy life that would be.
Friday, April 17, 2009 Columbine questions we still don't ponder (12 comments)
I wish I were surprised that Columbine-like shootings are still happening, or even that our national discussion about violence hasn't yet matured past gun control and video games. I wish I were surprised, but sadly, I'd be surprised if it were any different because we still refuse to ask the most uncomfortable questions.
Friday, April 17, 2009 "Either In the Pocket of the Banks or Incompetent" (2 comments)
Stiglitz said there are conflicts of interest at the White House because some of Obama's advisers have close ties to Wall Street.
Stiglitz is reiterating a truth that he and many of us have been saying for months now - a truth that Obama partisans still somehow see as unacceptable to talk about.
Thursday, April 16, 2009 Mainstreaming the Militia (9 comments)
I think between the media coverage of yesterday's Tea Parties and the national Republican Party effectively coming to the public defense of right-wing extremist groups against the Department of Homeland Security, that mainstreaming has gone into overdrive.
Monday, April 13, 2009 The Reward Method of Corruption (1 comments)
If members are interested in someday making the trip across town, Fazio suggested they work more closely with Washington's influence class.
"If you want to be respected in the world of Washington outside the Capitol, you need to make yourself open to that, and you learn a lot," said Fazio, who moved in 2005 to the lobbying law firm Akin Gump.
Monday, April 13, 2009 Feeling Sorry for Yourself? (1 comments)
It's called graft - a surefire wealth creator that takes your investments, modifies laws, and delivers returns that the best stock trader could never dream of. This is the ShamWow of strategies, the Flowbee of economics, the Ronco of investing. Just look at the profits it generates!
Monday, April 6, 2009 Hands-Off Attitude Towards Financial Regulation - Cause & Effect? (2 comments)
Was there a quid pro quo whereby Summers took cash from Wall Street and then entered the administration and did Wall Street's bidding? Not explicitly, no. Bribery in our country most often operates in the world of the implicit - Summers got the cash because he was a solid Wall Street investment
Monday, March 30, 2009 Why Can the Auto Industry CEOs but Spare Bank CEOs? (18 comments)
I'm genuinely asking this question, and not in a way aimed at defending Rick Wagoner. I just want to know what possible public explanation there could be as to why the White House would push auto company CEOs around while coddling banking CEOs?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009 Lying Or Incompetent - Either Way, Geithner Needs to Be Fired (6 comments)
This comes on top of Geithner and Summers dishonestly insisting that they are unable to stop the AIG bonuses because of Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) executive compensation legislation that exempted AIG-style bonuses from limits. In fact, as the Wall Street Journal and Hill newspaper long ago reported, Dodd's original bill would have limited such bonuses
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 Is U.S. Trade Policy About to Change? (1 comments)
Because of mixed messages from President Obama on trade, many are looking to his nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, to clarify things and answer the fundamental question on trade policy: Which side is the president on? There are encouraging signs.