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Best of Banter: The GOP's Crazy Letter To Iran, London Is Too Expensive, and Patton Oswalt Mansplains To Salon

Here's the week that was, at The Daily Banter.
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From increasingly traitorous behavior from Republicans fighting to undermine negotiations with Iran to Patton Oswalt's "peace summit" at Salon,Banter staff covered some of the biggest stories of the past week with our usual rigid etiquette and quiet dignity.

Just kidding. We did it by calling people out for their bullshit.

Here's the week that was, at The Daily Banter.

47 Republicans May Have Just Broken the Law By Writing An Outrageous Letter To Iran


Banter's Michael Luciano dissects the "unbelievably condescending" letter some 47 Republican senators recently dispatched to the government of Iran in an explicit "attempt to undermine negotiations between the U.S. and Iran concerning the latter’s nuclear program." Not only is this letter a terrible idea and a sure-fire way to destroy any hope of an agreement with Iran that could avert a war, Luciano adds, it might actually be a violation of the 1799 Logan Act which forbids U.S. citizens from conspiring with foreign powers to undermine America's foreign policy goals.

"That the vast majority of GOP senators have so publicly proclaimed their opposition to any deal that could ensure Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons is a travesty of foreign policy, a breach of custom, and possibly a felony," Luciano writes.

In a related post, Luciano discusses why the GOP's attempt to undermine Obama's constitutionally assigned powers of diplomacy is even more disgusting than you think.

Why Taking a Racist Traitor’s Name Off That Bridge In Selma Is a Terrible Idea


Tommy Christopher argues that renaming the historic bridge that MLK marched 50 years ago and wiping it free of Confederate brigadier general and Klansman chief Edmund Pettus' name is a bad idea. It's hard not to disagree after reading his passionate defense of not covering up the worst bits of our collective history.

People like Pettus are "are as much a part of the 'idea of America' as the hopes and ideals of those who have fought against them," Tommy writes. "The idea of America is something that is not settled, it is something over which we constantly fight."

MEMBERS ONLY: Who Stole My City?


Banter editor-in-chief Ben Cohen pens both a love letter to his hometown of London and a biting lament about how it is rapidly becoming unaffordable to live in for all but the ultra-wealthy. Unfortunately, Cohen writes, Londoners have -- just like New Yorkers or San Franciscans -- swallowed the myth of free-market housing being fair hook, line and sinker. The result is that neighborhoods like Cohen's home of Clapham becoming playgrounds for the rich and greedy.

"The average rental price in London is £1,160 ($1767.89) – double that of the rest of the UK, making it one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in," Ben writes. "This has caused a severe housing crisis in the capital, making not only the dream of owning a house completely impossible, but actually having a roof over your head an uncertainty."


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Chez Pazienza thoroughly annotates Salon and Patton Oswalt's recent "peace summit" and finds a Salon-sized batch of things that are problematic (heh) about Salon. It's full of great supporting evidence for Oswalt, and Chez argues that the site can't plausibly argue it is "broadening the debate" at the same time it is directing counter-productive umbrage at every perceived slight, no matter how minor.

Hopefully, Chez speculates, this little session will "finally disabuse Salon of the notion that it’s a good idea to concentrate its fire on a guy like Patton Oswalt rather than worrying about people whose job doesn’t involve trying to make people laugh."

Obama Has Un-Killed 12 Million Jobs In 5 Years


Obama's exacted revenge on job creators by creating 12 million jobs over the past 60 months, reports Tommy Christopher. This astonishing record of job creation probably won't reverse the narrative of the POTUS as a job-killing monster, but as Tommy writes in, that's probably also due to the president's awful salesmanship, in which he consistently understates his role helping turn the economy around from the 750,000 jobs being lost each month when Obama took office.

MEMBERS ONLY: Hillary Clinton and the White House Are Fumbling Their Responses to the Email Non-Bombshell (So Far)


This guide to a PR blowup in slow motion is well worth reading. Bob Cesca accurately nails the root of the controversy surrounding Hillary's use of a personal email for work purposes (Clinton should have delivered her hard drive directly to the office of the inspector general), but also how Clinton's mismanagement of the situation has allowed it to "metastasize in the conventional wisdom."

Your Cable Company Is Teaming Up With Congress To Kill Net Neutrality


Cable companies are regularly polled as having some of the worst customer satisfaction rate in the country, and the current GOP-dominated Congress is still polling at near-record lows, so it makes perfect sense that these two hated entities would join forces to prevent the FCC from enacting rules that would keep the internet from being chopped up into megacorporate fiefdoms. I cover the perverse motives of the Republicans behind the Internet Freedom Act, as well as the fact that they more or less appear to be pulling a very obvious quid pro quo scheme in exchange for campaign contributions.