Category: Democrats

Advice to Hillary

The latest Silly Season is weighing on me. I had the following dream last night

  Clinton has won the Primary and the General Elections. Between November and her inauguration, she has embarked on a a cross-country trek of ‘town hall’ meetings, ostensibly to thank the voters. For some reason, I am attending one of these meetings (What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment). Hillary picks me out of the crowd (my Abe Lincoln appearance, probably) and invites me to share the stage and talk with her, tell her what I think she needs to do, where I think the country needs to go. Mentally licking my political chops, I agree.

  You will make history as the first Woman President. That is largely due the change in the way Americans treat gender nowadays and is vindication of the efforts of a lot of women – and a few men – over the decades. It’s not you.

  You should understand that you won the election not so much on your own merits or positions on the issues. You won because enough voters realized that Donald Trump is a 4-door, brass-plated, air-conditioned, turbo-charged, 12-cylinder, 5-speed asshole. They were scared shitless at the thought of what he might do as President. Many – on both sides of the aisle – are also worried about what you will do as President.

  Much has been made of the fact that Trump’s campaign fed on and fed racism, bigotry and xenophobia. But the bottom line on his support and the support for Bernie Sanders should tell you that a great many Americans realize and resent that they have seen their income, privacy, freedom, security and future worsened or destroyed by the policies and practices of the Money Elite, many of whom contribute heavily to your financial undertakings and campaigns – and we both know they expect the favor to be returned. Screw the bastards.. They richly deserve it.

  A woman President was inevitable. It happened to be you. If you want to be a great President, you need to address the real problems of people, both here and abroad. Some of the solutions are not under your direct control but will require action by Congress and the Courts, but even there your leadership could wield influence, as a ‘bully pulpit’ and through appointments in various departments, particularly Justice and Defense.

  Get big money out of politics. Finance elections from tax money and limit spending to some reasonable amount. Ban lobbying. Entirely.. Proposals for government action should never come from corporations with a financial stake in that action. It’s bad enough that when the government puts out an RFP, those who respond will naturally toot their own horn, but we don’t need retired generals/admirals or bankers bullshitting the selection process via the Old Boy Network. Stop it.

  Implement Single Payer Healthcare by simply expanding Medicare to everyone. The procedural and IT infrastructure is already in place and functioning pretty well. At most, it might require an upscale of computer hardware. Healthcare, like education, clean water & waste disposal should be the right of every citizen – and on a not-for-profit basis.

  Stop trying to control the entire world. We are no longer the envy of the world we once were. Instead we are much of the world’s worst nightmare. Our wars, our financing and support for any petty dictator that we approve of, our CIA-led coups in various countries for decades should stop. It is true hypocrisy to criticize and even hate refugees who are are fleeing the hell we created or support. When we destroy Iraq, Syria, Libya, we can’t complain about the consequences. Stop it.

  Stop supporting privatization of things which are inherently public. Prisons and schools and water systems are not being privatized to improve efficiency but to enrich those with friends in power. Stop.

  End the ineffective (though profitable) war on drugs. Just stop it. Legalize and regulate (reasonably) all drugs.Empty and issue a blanket pardon for the thousands of people in prison for posseesing pot. If that’s their only rap sheet, wipe the record clean. And always help them reintegrate into society.

  Instead of prosecuting whistle blowers, prosecute the high-level, wealthy and well-connected criminals. The financiers responsible for the economic meltdown (and who have continued to profit). Politicians for war crimes, torture, the lies that put us in Iraq, the indiscriminate use of drones. Stop it.

  End the militarization of non-Federal law enforcement. All it does is enrich crony capitalists and facilitate an authoritarian mindset among officers who are supposed to be public servants and are increasingly acting as public masters. Stop it.

  End the NSA’s and DOD’s over-the-top spying on innocent people. Put all wiretaps and snooping back to requiring a traditional search warrant – person(s); item to be searched for; reasonable cause – before a judge. And if that overwhelms the judges, it might just indicate too much snooping. You think maybe?

  Note that most of the items involve stopping what we’d doing. It’s enough to make one contemplate the virtues of a government too small to make the mistakes we have inflicted on our people and the world. Unfortunately, the modern world does require Big Government. Stopping the misuse of government power would meet stiff resistance from those who profit from the status quo. But perhaps if we stop wasting time, money and effort on the wrong things, we would be able to spend our time, money and effort on things like improving peoples lives (at home and abroad) and limiting or even reversing Global Warming – for the sake of your new grandchild and and my great-grandchildren.

  You will make history as the first woman President.
  You could make history as a great President.
  Or not.
  It’s up to you.

LAPD shoots man with pocket knife. 15-year-old killed in MO hit-and-run hate crime. Deep South goes deeper GOP. It’s hard to

not go into brain-freeze or a national seizure at the pace of militarized police killings, racial/religious/you-name-it hatred, and the racialized rightward whirlpool of the GOP’s appeal to fearful whites.

In the latest of a spate of fatal shootings, officers of the infamous Los Angeles Police Department raced to touristy Hollywood Boulevard, where they fired 10 rounds to terminate a reportedly homeless man carrying a Swiss army pocket knife. Yes, a pocket knife. Guardian story here. Police pic of the palm-sized weapon here. The victim was white, by the way.

In Kansas City, a 15-year-old Somali Muslim was run down and killed outside a mosque by an SUV driven by a Somali Christian known to have threatened Muslims with violence.

In the much-anticipated runoff U.S. senate election in Louisiana, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu fell to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy. Like many Dems in this midterm, in her race she fled the causes embraced by her base (at the 11th hour she sang the praises of the Keystone Pipeline and its claimed monetary payoff for Louisiana) only to prove, once again, that a weak-kneed Democrat commands increasingly little electoral appeal against an unapologetic Republican rightie. Much of the American South, thanks to white-powered districts, is now in the hands of a GOP that is laying its last big demographic bet – in an increasingly brown country – on the fears of petrified whites.

In other words, the headlines we read are racing into a blur of brazenly militarized everyday policing, unrelenting hatred and rage, and accelerated racialization of national politics.

What do we do with this?

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Bernie Sanders Speaks Truth. Sort Of.

I love Bernie Sanders. I want to have his babby.

However, I think he needs to step back from this. His agenda is too easily co-opted by moderates and conservatives. It’s a nice counterculture statement of values, to be sure, but in the current environment completely unworkable. 

I’ve been thinking about Ferguson and the rioting and protests across the country.  

And then I found this quote from MLK, Jr: 

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride towards freedom is not the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than justice

When people riot for politics, when people organize for politics, they inevitably have either been subdued (Occupy) or placated (the Rodney King outrage) by some sop tossed towards them to make it a little less painful to be subdued.  

And then I remember that the Boston Tea Party was not regarded highly by colonial Americans. Indeed, until we achieved independence, the entire Revolution dangled on a thread in terms of public support. But it succeeded because it was outrageous to think it would.  

I love Bernie Sanders. I don’t think he’s right on this, at least with this current nation.

Louisiana Senate Candidates Race to Hold Lame Duck Votes On Keystone XL Pipeline

ABC News, By Arlette Saenz, November 12

After two years of inaction on the Keystone XL pipeline, it could be a Louisiana Senate run-off that finally forces Congress to vote on the measure.

The so-called Bayou Brawl was on full display on Capitol Hill Wednesday as the two candidates – Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy – raced to be first to hold a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Fresh off the campaign trail, Landrieu, D-La., implored Senate Republicans Wednesday to allow a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline in the lame duck session, saying it would be a good moment for future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work in a bipartisan manner.

“I believe it is time to act. I believe that we should take the new majority leader at his word and stop blocking legislation that is broadly supported by the American public and has been for quite some time,” Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, said on the Senate floor. “I want to say yes to majority leader, to new majority leader Mitch McConnell. The time to start is now.”

But Republicans on the other side of the Capitol are working swiftly to hold a vote of their own on the pipeline, a measure that is sponsored by Landrieu’s opponent Cassidy. The House Rules Committee announced it was holding a meeting Wednesday night to consider the Keystone XL pipeline bill, described as an “emergency measure,” and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the measure would be considered on the House floor Thursday.

The Senate agreed to hold a vote on Keystone XL as early as Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that Senate Democrats were considering holding a vote on Keystone XL to help Landrieu in her December 6 run-off in Louisiana. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the idea a “bad joke.”

Politico: Democrats could allow Keystone vote before Landrieu runoff
AP: Immigration, Keystone XL dominate first day of lame duck session
Washington Post: House, Senate to vote on Keystone XL pipeline
Washington Post: Landrieu throws Hail Mary, GOP may score
Update: Rosebud Sioux Tribe: House Vote in Favor of the Keystone XL an Act of War, November 14

Why Dems Lose Midterms

The preliminary numbers are in, and voter turnout was at a record low nationwide.

Conventional wisdom says that each party, Republican and Democrat, can count on roughly 45% of the vote, no matter what. The last ten percent is what you need to win an election.

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The Dems die a little more in Maryland

The shocker victory of Republican governor-elect Larry Hogan here in deep blue Maryland is a vivid example of how the Democratic Party is paying the price for having sold its base down the river. Here is WaPo on the physics of Tuesday’s gubernatorial Democratic unraveling here in the Free State:

With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, [expected winner Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony] Brown was winning handily in [heterogenous] Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and he was well ahead in the city of Baltimore. But turnout appeared fairly low in those populous jurisdictions. And Hogan led everywhere else, including in the Baltimore suburbs.

That is the gist of how Brown, the anointed successor to two-term Democratic governor and presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley,  became the latest poster child for his party’s haplessness in the face of an auspiciously divisive Republican Party. Hogan will be only the third Republican Maryland governor since Spiro Agnew. The secret of the Dems’ undoing in this election? Inspire your base to stay at home while the Repubs fire up angry voters to stride into the voting booth and whack away at false enemies.

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We have a race for NY Gov

   Stirling Newberry has a right-on post on the NY Governor race.

   As a NYer, I admit to having voted for Cuomo, mostly on the expectation he would follow in his father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, this apple fell far from the tree and Andrew Cuomo has proven to be just another politician more concerned with catering to power and wealth than the welfare of the general citizenry.

When last we spoke, it seemed a quixotic quest to overthrow the sitting elected governor. But since then something happened, the New York State Gov.’s quest for an unplanned exit, backfired, and now he will have to defend his record. This is still not even fight, but the odds are evening, and this is not good for the governor, who wanted to have a clean slate, shown everybody that there was no getting away from him. From D-New York down to the smallest parties that they could vote for, their was no choice at all. It would be Cuomo, wherever you looked to vote. Because the Republican was a non-starter.

      Thank you, Stirling.

Read Stirling’s blog post

The times have changed – Pew Report

hattip Julian.

For the first time in American history, non-whites will make up half or more of the next generation, likely pushing Washington toward a bigger government — and the GOP better tone down their anti-government rhetoric if they want to win them, according to a top polling outfit.

At a briefing for congressional aides hosted by the moderate Republican Ripon Society, Pew Research Vice President Michael Dimock said that the trend among younger Americans is support for government programs and acceptance of Democratic Party policies.

“Their tendency is more liberal, their tendency is bigger government,” he said of so-called “millennials” born between 1979 and 1995. They will likely set the trend for the still-unnamed next generation.

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Rough and Tumble Politics

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  In February 1874, Colorado prospectors Alfred Packer, George Noon, Frank Miller, Israel Swan, James Humphreys and “Shannon” Bell left the Uncompahgre for Saguache, intending to go by way of the Ute Agency on Los Pinos. Packer appeared at the Agency alone, insisting that his companions had abandoned him while he was ill.

  Suspicions were aroused when he displayed money he had not had before and property belonging to his companions. Confronted, he told a story of privation, murder and cannibalism. After confessing, Packer was jailed but managed to escape.
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Why are Obama’s poll numbers so high?

Job aproval (+), disapproval (-) ratings since September - Obama and Congress.  Polls since September that measured presidential and congressional job approval. (pollingreport.com)
Job approval (+), disapproval (-) ratings since September – Obama and Congress. Polls since September that measured both presidential and congressional job approval. (pollingreport.com)

 

A new poll found that President Obama’s job approval rating dropped to 42%, and his disapproval rating hit 55%, an all time high.  The popular question is how did his approval rating get this low.?

That’s the wrong question, in my opinion.  Here’s the more salient question.  Why has the president’s job approval rating stayed so high?

In early September, the president got all worked up over the use of chemical weapons, allegedly by arch nemesis Bashar al-Assad of Syria.  Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry reached peak invective at the Syrian government just before either or both the House and Senate stood ready to vote down the request to attack the beleaguered nation.   Russian President Vladimir Putin rescued the administration from an epic legislative defeat through the successful substitution of diplomacy for war.

The administration followed that failure with one closer to home, the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare health insurance exchanges.  The Canadian company in charge of the web site apparently never heard of Beta testing and quality assurance.  The person designated to fix the initial problems said the site would be working by the end of November.  Maybe, maybe not.  Continue reading