I have a Costco Visa which is a cash back card. It’s a pretty good deal if you buy a lot of gas (which I did last year when traveling) because you get 4% back on gas bought at any station (or on EV charging).
Anyway instead of just crediting your statement with the cash back amount, they send you an email with a bar code that has to be scanned at checkout to get the rebate. I do a lot of these special offer things, and so far I’d rate this a 3 on a hassle scale where 1 is easy and 10 is cancelling your cable TV. As I checked out today, I still had like an $80 balance, so I expected that I’d have to keep track of the bar code, or they’d give me a gift card, or employ some other method to decrease redemption. (I’m sure that 90% of the effort that companies put into these rebate programs is to figure out ways to make them a hassle to redeem.)
Imagine my surprise when the cashier just handed me change in legal tender, for all debts public and private. I was so shocked that I asked him if he was sure, and he said, “Well, we could write you a check.”
The point of this anecdote is that I was totally primed to get some kind of screw job instead of dollar bills, and I have been so conditioned by these rebate programs that I was expecting, and had allocated attention, to whatever screw was coming my way. I think I have that in common with most Americans when they interact with big corporations.
I used to write a post every couple of years wondering where “consumer protection” as an issue has gone. I think it’s a good one for Democrats, but there seems to be no traction for it, especially in the Senate. For example, Jamie Raskin has just introduced legislation mandating cash refunds for flight cancellations, and here are the Senate co-sponsors: Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). To me, it’s crazy that what could be a bread-and-butter, dinner table issue is mainly supported by only the left of the party, especially after the Southwest meltdown over Christmas. And wouldn’t it be a good thing to get Republicans on the record opposing these common-sense consumer protection bills like this one?
On the other hand, I spent that $80 cash on gin and scotch, thus proving that it’s probably better to screw consumers rather than give them money, since we just can’t be trusted to spend it on the right things.
Yep. So used to be scammed that we just kind of expect it at this point.
it’s why I would love to see Dems unified messaging on the junk fees thing to keep going. Don’t let it lapse. Just keep hammering and hammering it. Cause it pisses everyone off.
WRT to the Costco Rebate, if it is over $300 you can. through the Citi Mobile app, send your rebate to your bank account. Don’t even have to go to Costco.
Man, I read “costco visa” and I thought – “this whole immigration thing has really gone out of control, I can’t get into a costco without a visa now??!””
I’ve ordered dogfood through the Costco website (40lb bags are too big for Artie to eat in a timely fashion) and both have simply hit a wall at FedEx. I called Costco today and asked what the deal was and the agent said they are having trouble getting “product ” from the vendor! She also said they were working on taking it off the website!!!
It’s ok if it was single malt.
I’ve been benefiting from the Costco Visa rebate system for years now. Totally worth it! Plus Costco gas is about 40 cents/gallon cheaper than most normal gas stations in my area.
@raven: Cat food is really hit and miss at Kroger.
Steve in the ATL
@HinTN: man, retirement is hell!
@cain: I did the same thing!
Consumer protection was a big thing in the 1970s–it was Ralph Nader’s signature cause then, and I feel like it kind of got bulldozed under in the deregulatory fervor of the Reagan years. Part of the left might have some disdain for it because “consumerism” is bad but given that the people here tend to be from the left wing of the party, I guess that’s not the problem.
Maybe they’re still afraid of getting commie-baited with rhetoric about “job-destroying” blah blah?
But it’s a thing most people can probably get behind because it’s a matter of direct personal self-interest. Who likes to get screwed by a corporation?
Didn’t Biden make a big deal about junk fees?
Anyway, voters ignored it so politicians stopped paying attention. See also net neutrality.
I read the title and assumed it was about MTG.
I use the Costco VISA all the time. It has basically replaced my Alaska Airlines mileage card that I have had for decades after I did the math and figured out that the cash back was more valuable than the miles.
And yes, if you have over $300 in cash back you can just go online and refund it to your checking which is what I did a couple of weeks ago.
The Costco VISA is also great if you travel internationally because unlike most other cards, they charge zero foreign transaction fees. Which is one way that other cards nickel and dime you when traveling. There aren’t many other cards that do that.
@Steve in the ATL: I can testify!
Is there an annual fee? TIA.
Make the spam calls stop!!!!!!!!
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Anyway: Spam texts! including from politicians!
And of course Costco customer service is the best. Their return anything (except electronics) any time for any reason is just awesome.
Last year I brought back a 9 year old Kirkland Signature roll-aboard suitcase that had a broken zipper. The clerk kind of rolled her eyes and said “looks like you got your full use out of this one”. I shrugged and pointed out that right there on the label it says 10 year warrantee. I really don’t need to return if if you guys can just fix the zipper per the warrantee. She shrugged and said “yeah we don’t actually do that, we just give you a new one”. OK then, it’s your call I told her.
That was the one and only time I have ever gotten the slightest pushback from returning something to Costco. And even then it was very minor pushback.
the rest of it i just wasted
@Anyway: The annual fee is your Costco membership fee which if you are a Costco member you are going to pay anyway with our without the VISA card. So you might as well get the VISA if you already shop at Costco. IF you never shop there then yes, there’s a fee. Maybe $75 I think? Not sure. You basically have to get a Costco membership and then the card is free.
@Baud: Yep. Democracy doesn’t work if the electorate isn’t involved and pushing for things that matter to them.
The idea that issue advocacy is supposed to come from our politicians instead of ourselves is one of the most corrosive failures of our society, and one that’s somewhat asymmetric between the two parties. The right is much better about this than we are.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
after Shirley left, and Lenny and Squiggy drifted away, Laverne grew lonely and bitter, and milk and Pepsi took a dark turn….
Need I say Wall Street hates Costco with a passion? Finance types there keep telling Costco to pay their employees less and Costco keeps telling them to go screw themselves. Rich Finance types hate being told no.
Speaking of screw jobs, the radical right-wing SCOTUS might cancel Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, which will screw tens of millions of borrowers, and defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, allowing banks, mortgage outfits, etc., to prey on customers again. As a follow up to a ruling last year that decreed half the population second-class citizens who are unworthy of standard medical care.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Thank you. This is especially a flaw of the on-line left: Democrats have failed because they don’t make voters care about the things we think they should care about!
@Betty Cracker: I’m sure screwing over college debt holders in a clearly partisan way will do wonders for reversing the trend of young voters overwhelmingly voting for Democrats.
I don’t drink gin after an unfortunate experience in the Army which need not be recounted here (or anywhere for that matter). But the 750 mil. bottles of Johnny Walker Red are an amazing buy.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well, they seem to imagine that the voters do care but that there’s some formula the politicians haven’t hit on.
I think it might be possible to make consumer protection genuinely appealing–connect it to local-news-investigative-reporter type outrage. What I’ve been a little skeptical about is the people saying we can use antitrust to excite the white working class.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
It’s an important corollary to the principle that Democrats have failed because they didn’t go far enough.
Anything can go viral. See train safety. The harder thing is making it stick long term.
@Baud: Making things stick requires hard work by issues advocacy organizations, both to work the politicians and the refs in media, and to find ways to push out information to the less habitually engaged (and to turn them into flash mobs when needed).
We under invest in those on the left, now, since we relied very heavily on unions in the past, while the right has the entire Evangelical and billionare’s club infrastructures.
We have a Costco rebate that we keep forgetting to redeem. Tomorrow, when we go to Costco. the first thing do be done is to go to the customer service desk and get cash as the rebate. Also, too, Costco is amazing about returns. I have returned rotten tulip bulbs, plastic wine glasses and a Mac laptop, all with no difficulties at all.
You can also direct deposit it from the Citi app or the Citibank website. I did it last night and the money was in my checking account this morning.
@Eolirin: Yes, but the GQP assumes their losses will be offset by greater enthusiasm from sadistic old people. I mentioned last week that my wingnut older sister (a 60yo recently retired school teacher!) announced that she thought Michelle Obama was a man (which caused me to run out of the room before I had a screaming fit). A year or so ago, she announced that “the only two” political issues she cared about were (1) stopping illegal immigration and (2) opposing student loan debt. Because, by God, she paid off her student debts (which she took out in the early ’80s!) so everyone else should as well.
@Anyway: Waiting for them to start up again. Our city elections were yesterday, and no one got 50%+1 for the mayoral race.
April runoff here we come!
Gonna jump on board and say that I too love my Costco visa and am proud to shop at a pro-consumer pro-employee, pro-union company. Heads and shoulders above the Walmart’s of the world.
But as the guy says on the Simpson’s episode “…. aaaaaand its gone.”
Walgreen’s cash back, cash rewards, etc are always (virtually) impossible to redeem.
@Citizen Alan: Pinning your hopes on a dying demographic while alienating the one that’s growing as a percentage of total voters every cycle is some master strategizing.
@Eolirin: I agree about under investment. The advocacy organizations in this area do wonderful work, but it’s often wonkish and often doesn’t capture widespread appeal.
Here’s another important consumer issue that House Dems did last year, which probably didn’t raise any more than a ripple in popular social media.
I love Costco! My dad loved Costco – he left me some shares! WRT to consumer protection, please count yourselves lucky (those of you in the US). So many stories of consumer rip-offs in Canada. Average cell phone service (with data) $144. Do not roam with it – an extra $16 perday. Houses sold out from the homeowners. The 4 title insurance companies are all upset and threatening to close down. Homes built on flood plains that flood. Fraud is rarely ever prosecuted and the victim has to go to civil court to recoup their loss (that money was moved or spent). Employers ripping off workers wages and workers never see it. It just goes on and on. A capitalist nirvana! I would love to see a concerted effort to expand consumer protection in Canada.
I will also plug Coscto.
Better than spending it on hookers and blow…
@Steve in the ATL: All those retirees being selfish so my actual cats have to eat deli meat.
Mai Naem mobile
@Betty Cracker: Gorsuch bleating on how unfair it was for people who didn’t get any loans and planned their schooling around not getting loans is just rich coming from somebody who you know has never ever had to worry about food or shelter. Bet he doesn’t worry about the unfairness of legacy admissions to elite colleges.
Guess the problem with the CFPB is that its funded by fees on financial institutions. I don’t understand what the problem is with that. Aren’t farm inspections, airport/airplane inspections, trucking inspections etc paid for by fees. I would have thought that would be efficient use of government.
Cheryl from Maryland
@Kent: The fee includes a free hearing test each year. Totally worth it.
@Baud: We also need more issues advocacy groups on the left that aren’t mostly about working out policy details, which is where we focus most of our efforts. Policy shops are hugely important don’t get me wrong, but they’re only a part of the puzzle.
Without the cultural and messaging components people aren’t going to connect with the issues or be able to be coordinated in ways that can effect change.
A lot of the women’s and reproductive rights advocacy groups are I think quite good at this, they’re just never going to get covered by our male dominated media, so we don’t hear about it so much. Groups like GLAAD have done important work in shifting the media landscape on LGBTQ issues. Etc.
We need more of it though, and on corruption and economic issues especially. Labor’s relative weakness as an organizing force, post Reagan at least, has been really bad for us there.
You speak of gin like it’s a bad thing. I’m pretty sure martinis are one of my top three life motivators at this point.
Yes, fundamentally, there’s a feeling of helplessness when dealing with a large corporation, so you’re grateful when they just behave decently, because, fundamentally, you have no power in the relationship. You probably even signed some fucking arbitration clause to get whatever they’re giving you, so you can’t small claims them.
Moreover, the people you actually get to talk to representing the corporation, in most cases, are so far down the hierarchy that even if they’re sympathetic to your concerns, there’s often nothing they can do, or know how to do, so you wait for 45 minutes on the phone while they go talk to someone with actual knoweldge and decision making capability whose name you never get to know. And at most large companies, customer service is just godawful, disorganized, inconsistent, nonsensical, unhelpful. I have to like gird myself for a couple of days to call Intuit. What a fucking shitshow that company is.
There are some exceptions: people bitch about the “Apple Tax,” but I point out to them that part of what you’re paying for is far better service and support than literally any other company of their size in their industry. Very far from perfect, of course, and you’re as much at their whim as you are with anyone else, but still, they’re better than anyone else, and sometimes actually good. Try calling Dell or Microsoft sometime.
As someone who collects credit card points and frequent flyer miles as aggressively as I can (my way of screwing them back after all the debt I could never get out from under when I was younger), I can say that, compared to other banks I deal with, I have been pretty consistently impressed by American Express, who always seem to take my side, and I like that they have on online chat feature so I don’t have to listen to the rattle of the other agents in the call center. Chase also offers me pretty attentive and respectful service when I call them, though maybe that’s because I pay for their fancier cards.
United used to be pretty good to me on the customer service front, contrary to public opinion, but they’re pretty horrible now, I think. (Delta people seem to have an unusual loyalty, so maybe that company is doing something right, but I’m skeptical.)
In the end, yes, guess what, the government is the only agency that has any possibility of making companies like this accountable to their millions and millions of individual consumers, each without enough economic power to make the company care whether they’re treated fairly or not. The free market is not a fair market, here. Yes, there is always internet shaming, but that’s a crapshoot, and there are always class action suits, but I mean please. Fundamentally, the interests of these businesses, and more importantly their investors, are not aligned with the interests of their customers, and I agree that it seems that, just as with “junk fees,” making corporations play square ought to be an easy play for Democrats. I hate to be a cynic, but I have to assume that the lack of interest in the Senate probably has to do with lobbying, and the fact that most (all?) Senators are in the investor class themselves.
I also think large communications platforms (e.g. and especially Facebook, Google) that people depend on for their lives and livelihoods must be required, if they’re beyond a certain number of users or whatever, to have a paid support option. It’s just not sufficient for an automated system to say “Sorry, you’re locked out of your account that you’ve had for 15 years, forever, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” But that’s exactly what these companies do. It’s unconscionable.
Anyway, I could go on, but I’ll stop now.
@Mai Naem mobile: FUcking GIGO- Garbage In, Garbage Out. Totally self consistent legal reasoning that’s totally divorced from the real world.
Gin & Tonic
As long as you didn’t buy crappy gin, your choices are OK by me.
@Mai Naem mobile: What does fairness have to do with the law anyway?
The only relevant question is whether Biden has the legal authority to do what he’s trying to do.
Friend of mine retired and then went to work for Costco part-time. He really likes it, they seem to be legit not-evil.
@Gin & Tonic: Given your nym, I’d like to hear your opinions on this matter.
@Kent: Can attest since Vlad’s big European adventure the Costco membership has more than paid for itself just at the pump, where at times it was undercutting corner gas stations by more than a buck last year.
Mai Naem mobile
@Citizen Alan: ive seen the Michelle Obama is a man stuff in the replies to virtually every Michelle Obama tweet I’ve ever read. RWingers sure seem to be obsessed about the sexuality of others. Makes me wonder about projection. You could tell your sister her loan was probably a fifth of the loans students have to get nowadays.
@Ivan X: Ours carries Hendricks.
@mrmoshpotato: Was glad to see Brandon pull out the #2 spot! I don’t know what his chances are against Vallas, but we’ll see.
Costco handles this better than the California handled the recent tax rebate thing they sent out.
Despite us paying our taxes for years via direct deposit, California sent us a debit card with money on it rather than direct depositing it.
And apparently those cards were getting hacked very fast.
Really pisses me off every time I think about the whole cluster fudge.
@trollhattan: That’s where I land, too. Bombay Sapphire is worthwhile alternative.
I’m gonna call Fetterman and Casey today after work. Both of those guys should be on this like dogs on a bone.
I cannot remember now if I luckily kept the debit card sent out by the Trump federal government for the first round of pandemic payments. Looked completely like a scam. Somebody in private business made money on it. California infected by consultants as well?
Sister Golden Bear
Amid all the horrible
ethnicLGBTQ+ cleansinggenocide, there are occasional bits of good news, Michigan’s Senate approved statewide LGBTQ+ protections. Three Republican state senators voted for it and it’s likely will become law now that Democrats have a majority in both chambers of the Legislature and control the governor’s office.
Then again, Iowa Republicans are proposing to ban same-sex marriage. Of course that would currently violate the Constitution, but hate groups have been salivating for a case to take back the SCOTUS.
I have this card too and I think they just give you cash once you use any amount of the reward certificate because I got over $100 in change and $100 seems like a logical limit.
$8 blue check mistermix
I get the overall point that we need more issue advocacy orgs, and I’m all about it.
But that’s a myopic/bureaucratic view of politics IMO. Public outcries over issues can and should spark legislation or other action. There was a big public outcry over Southwest, Raskin wrote a bill, and non-lefty Dems in the Senate did not cosponsor. That’s a party failure, not a lack of advocacy orgs. There’s no reason that every issue should have some kind of advocacy org before something is done about the issue.
Did someone say gin?
Paul in KY
@cain: You have to have a gun to get into Sam’s. Don’t worry, if you don’t have one, they will sell you one!
@narya: 66 percent Not Vallas is something to work with. Maybe confront Vallas with Cataranza, among other things.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
@Gin & Tonic:
For gin and tonic, I prefer Hendrick’s and Fever Tree with a cucumber garnish. For martinis, I like Beefeater or Botanist, with Noilly Prat vermouth and three pimento-stuffed olives. Not dirty, though, that’s an infamita.
@catclub: Seems that way. Somebody seems to have inserted themselves into the process to make a profit.
EV charging at Costco? News to me, but I haven’t been over on that side of the parking lot in years. (With the exception of an out of state rental car.) A look at the Costco website shows some info about their gasoline, but nothing about charging in general or by location. Guess I have to do a walkabout next time.
I occasionally use an EVGO fast charger near our house, so an alternative would be nice.
Paul in KY
@Ivan X: Delta and United are great because they are not American Airlines (spit).
This wasn’t a refund of income taxes. Debit cards helped get the money out faster to people in some cases.
The use of debit cards, with better security, is becoming more common.
$8 blue check mistermix
@Gin & Tonic: This was a trip for staples, and my staple gin is Tanquery and staple scotch is Glenmorangie 10 year.
For martinis, Tanqueray is good, but my favorite is Bluecoat with Dolin Dry Vermouth (not Blanc). Twist, not olives.
$8 blue check mistermix
@KrackenJack: The Costco card will give you 4% back on EV Charging charges (i.e., if you put an EV charge on the credit card). I don’t know if any Costco has EV chargers, but the one in Rochester does not. There’s not enough room in the parking lot for it, and having visited a number of Costcos in the past couple of years, most of them don’t have the room for it.
@KrackenJack: Not at the two or three Costcos I find myself using. Not all have gas, either, but it seems more common than it once was.
@raven: Cat food is once again hard to source. Our grocery stores have little variety and not much quantity for both wet and dry foods. Much to my surprise Chewy is also out of many foods except for the really expensive ones. This happened last year about this time too. Never did get an explanation for the shortage even though I did the Google thing trying to find any info on it.
As for Costco rebates, you can take the certificates to the customer service counter and have them converted to a Shop Card if you want to use the $$ only at Costco. I do that each year so I can use the card online instead of in the store.
Sister Golden Bear
Tell me about it. In CA my unemployment payments had to be sent to Bank of America, and then I could withdraw it. The only role BofA actually played was auto-transferring the payment to my bank account immediately after they receive it.
I can see some case for them playing a role, since they offer a debit card for those who don’t have bank accounts, but there ought to be an option to just have the state do direct deposit. I mean they already have my bank account info, since I make my income tax payments online.
But someone’s gotta monetize the Poors…
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
WalMart may be shit in many ways, but they pay their entry level workers better than where I work. After 5 years I only make $12.85 and we’re unionized. $0.35 yearly increases. There’s three classifications of workers in our contract, with the highest paying bracket ($15/hr for 2023) for employees who have been with the store since it opened. I’m in the middle one, and the lower one was billed to us as creating “job security” as those in the third classification would be laid off first in layoffs. Starting wage, negotiated in 2021, is only $11.50. Yet the union is content to take $8.24 every paycheck in dues. If we average over 30 hours/wk (which I easily do), then we qualify under the ACA to get health insurance through our union, which I don’t pay a dime for, so there’s that. Doesn’t make up for the relatively low pay. And my company has some of the highest prices around
I was offered, and accepted, the option of having my reward credited directly to my checking account
@Sister Golden Bear: The most recent poll I can find shows 72% support for same-sex marriage in Iowa. It’s fascinating that they’re willing to push for such an unpopular position.
It’s a proposed constitutional amendment that would require passage by a popular vote, so the prospects for passage don’t seem strong, but maybe they figure they could demagogue it to shift opinion, or that opposition would be weak and not turn out.
@Betty Cracker: And there, Betty, you touch on the heart of the problem. We, as women, or children (education), elders (Covid or health care), minorities (every possible screw plus murder by cop) are expected by the oligarch powers-that-be to eat their shit and say thanks, may I have more. The rampant fraud and grift the right indulges in slops all over the rest of us in their determination to eat from the trough and make sure we don’t even get the scraps.
Sister Golden Bear
They haven’t let unpopularity get in the way of abortion bans either. Republicans are either Christofascist zealots, or catering to them.
One thing to realize is that an actual consumer protection agency would be getting rid of cash back and points credit cards pretty fast. All of those points are charged to the company where you are using the card. This means that the local business where you shop is having to pay that 4% to the credit card company for the privilege of having you as a customer. And the costs are pushed back onto everyone who pays cash or doesn’t have the credit rating to get a fancy cash back card. The stores then pass these costs back onto their customers. So using these cards is basically screwing over everyone who doesn’t have one. They need to be gone.
I worked at a yarn shop that ended up closing. The owner was really bitter about these cards. He’d flip the bird at customers who used them after they left the store. Or from the back office. Sometimes he’d even ask if they didn’t have a points card. He was a major reason why the shop closed, but he did have a point.
@narya: Can you imagine all the folks in Beverly, Hegewich and the parts of the city the Daley’s controlled tearing off their “Let’s Go Brandon” stickers from their cars? The thought is absolutely hilarious to me.
@Feathers: Yeah, I can see this running into the same kinds of problems as Obamacare: people having actual affection for the crappy and predatory deals they’ve bought into, and feeling like something is being taken away from them.
@Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg, @$8 blue check mistermix:
Good choices from both of you. Gin:vermouth ratio?
Thanks for the smile:) Good story.
@prostratedragon: How to you think Johnson will explain how he can be the chief administrator for the city when it’s time to negotiate contracts with the teacher’s union? Considering his stint as the union rep, will folks find this as a natural conflict?
I voted for him, and will again, but I can’t imagine either Vallas’ campaign or somebody connected to him won’t make hay from this, and I can see it working with a lot of people.
Gin & Tonic
@Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg: For G&T my tastes are very basic: Bombay (not Sapphire) or Tanqueray, Schweppes and a good-sized slice of lime. No fancy shit. For a martini – actually a Gibson, as I hate olives – it varies. At any given time the liquor cabinet contains 6-8 small-producer “craft” gins and 3-4 vermouths. The St George gins, for instance, are very good.
ETA: Oh, there’s no Costco in RI, and if there were, they wouldn’t be able to sell liquor because the wholesalers and liquor stores have bribed the legislators.
@Eolirin: And black people have more student debt so it would screw over minorities.
Man, Costco is absolutely my favorite place to shop.
@stacib: Oh that is DELICIOUS.
@$8 blue check mistermix: I think you’re missing the point really intensely.
Do you know why those Senators didn’t co-sponsor this bill that has no chance of becoming law?
Have you contacted your senators asking why they aren’t cosponsors?
If you’re incensed about it that’s what you should be doing; they may even have good reasons. You should at least try to find out.
Your framing on these issues consistently acts as if our responsibility as citizens ends with elections. But it doesn’t, it starts there. We shouldn’t be expecting anything out of our politicians if we’re not actively engaged with them.
Because the party and our politicians are not there to be our friends, and they aren’t there to do the “right thing”. Their primary function is to get elected and stay elected. And I don’t mean this in a cynical way, it’s literally what they have to focus on if we want anything to happen at all, and it’s how things are supposed to be. Everything else is up to the electorate and primary voters holding them accountable and also having their backs, which is the other side of the deal we make as citizens in a democracy.
When the framing is how Dems, and it’s interesting how it’s always the mainstream Dems, and never the lefty ones in super safe seats, keep doing it wrong you’re just creating more and more reason for people to disengage. The framing in any messaging we put out, if we want better outcomes, needs to be about why it’s so important to engage.
And we need ways for people to be working collectively in order for engagement to feel like it’s going to do anything.
I’m using the term advocacy organizations very broadly btw; right wing talk radio and Evangelical churches are part of this on the right. Twitter was allowing the left to form looser organizational networks, and any of them that were doing something even as simple as getting people to call their representatives on issues also counts. BLM is another example of a more decentralized organizational structure. It doesn’t need to be formal per se, but something needs to be there. Hell, Balloon Juice may not have specific issues we focus on over others, well, except perhaps supporting Democratic GOTV efforts, but we count too. Information dissemination is a vital part of why we need orgs, but enabling collective action is the biggest. We have a very direct part to play in this as a community.
We have tremendous power as voters, but only if we can bring it to bear collectively. That means we can’t be isolated voices sniping at politicians for not being performative in the right ways, or even failing to take the votes we want them to, even when it does matter.
We need to be focused on figuring out ways to get people more involved so we can bring outcomes more in line with the outcomes we want. If we don’t have the votes, even just to get the right people elected, we need to figure out how to get the votes, etc. It’s a lot of work, and it takes ongoing effort. It requires focusing on voters as much or more than politicians.
The religious right and their billionare backers really get this. It’s why Roe is dead even though it it took them nearly 50 years to pull that off. We need to put more focus on it on the left, not that there aren’t people putting in that work already, we donated a bunch of money to several of them last cycle even.
But it’s the only way forward if we’re going to be successful at having a functional democracy. Our politicians can only reflect us. The work is ours, not theirs.
@Brachiator: Some folks got it direct deposit, some got a card.
And I’m not sure how much more secure it is though.
” the Franchise Tax Board is urging cardholders to withdraw the money off those cards as soon as possible — due to the threat of fraud.”
Almost everything goes through my Costco VISA. Cable, cell, utilities, gasoline, restaurants, Act Blue.
Used the citi app to eft that $422 bonus to my bank and sent it right back to them two days later.
I like getting back 3% when charging travel expenses to my Costco visa.
Anyway, a couple years ago I was going to use my Costco rebate when checking out. A very special cashier told me don’t do it. “Put it on your Visa and get cash for the full amount of the rebate.” That added six dollars to my next year rebate and a slug of cash to the Apocalypse Fund. (For use between the day the grid fails and the day currency is worthless.)
Odie Hugh Manatee
I would think that $80 buys more gin and scotch that hookers and blow, so good economic move! Getting more for your money is important these days…
@catclub: Walgreens is impossible, but CVS is easy! Accord to their calculations I saved more than $1000 last year (they print it on the receipt), through sale prices, coupons they email me, and Extrabucks. With a Carepass (costs $48 a year) I get $10 a month free, plus 20% off on CVS products.
Costco also has a hearing aid department where the hearing aids cost less than 1/3 of what I paid for my previous hearing aids in 2008.
@Sister Golden Bear:
re: Iowa leg proposal to ban gay marriage: a huge obstacle that may cause just enough of the RW SCOTUS justices to back away from overturning gay marriage is the hugely disruptive and complex problem of how to unwind the huge # of gay marriages that have taken place since Oberkfell(sp?), many of which have now included adopted children and joint real property transactions with marital-form ownership, tax implications and so on. The disruptive cruelty and chaos won’t dissuade flaming assholes like Thomas and Alito, but may well carry enough weight with Roberts and at least one other to hold off any overturn – at least with abortion, overturning Roe only affected future abortions, not past ones.
At worst, maybe a slim RW majority will only apply overturn to not protect any further marriages going forward, still a very awkward, damaging move.
@Gin & Tonic: I like to try local craft gins when I’m traveling. A mixed bag, as you’d expect. I will say that the St. George Terroir gin was near my upper limit on botanicals, though. I’m surprised that an open bottle doesn’t attract bark beetles.
I don’t think he means “at Costco” specifically, but rather at chargers that take the credit card. I could be wrong here since I don’t have the Costco-branded credit card in the first place (probably should get it) and I charge my EV at home nearly all the time.
The only exception to that rule tends to be charging at (or to/from) the airport, which is 100 miles from home. In theory the car can do all 200 miles but (a) I’ve never tested the theory and (b) my home charger is slow (roughly 15 to 20 miles added per hour) and there’s a minor but annoying flaw between my home charger and the car such that I really want to unplug as soon as it’s fully charged (if not a bit before). 12 hours is too long and I invariably forget.
(The flaw is that once charged, the two reconnect to negotiate charging once every single minute. There’s a big relay in the EVSE that goes “klunk, klunk” and wakes anyone sleeping over the garage and the software in the car gets confused by all the restarts and loses its settings.)