Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Friday, July 8, 2016

With All Due Respect To Reddit's r/Conservative Page...


....HRC's got a point there; it might not be the point they like, but its' a vaild point; looking back at American history, its' only been in the past few decades that Americans' of all stripes have been able to fully contribute to society - in voting, politics, business, etc. - and its' really gotten under the skin of Americans' who seemingly want to yearn for and return us to the good old days....you know, the days when women stayed in the kitchen, blacks didn't try to assert their rights, LGBTs' stayed in the closet, etc.,etc.,etc.

Well, all I can say to them is that, hopefully, those days won't ever freaking come back...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Britain Votes To Leave EU, Brexit Happens

I never thought I'd see the day when one of the pillars of Europe, the United Kingdom, would actually vote to leave the E.U., as illustrated by the results from tonight's referendum. The question now becomes: what next?

This is definitely a topic for discussion in the days and weeks to come; by the way, open thread, folks. :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

House Democrats Stage Sit-In Over Gun Control Debate

Unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere out in the hinterlands - or trying to stay out of this week's oppressive heat wave - you're probably aware of the on-going sit-in protest being staged by House Democrats over guns and gun control and all that....I'm of two minds here: On the one hand, given how sclerotic Congress can be most times, I honestly don't blame House Dems' for doing this; unlike their Senate counterparts, who at least got a vote (4 votes in fact, all of which failed), House rules effectively scotch this, so you can imagine how they're probably feeling.

On the other hand, whatever happened to due process rights? Last time I checked, one didn't lose their constitutional rights (including the right to purchase and keep firearms) except under limited circumstances...and given how error-ridden the Terror Watch & No-Fly Lists are said to be at present, there have to be due process protections here or its' a slippery slope down a path that no American wants to go.

Friday, June 17, 2016

"I'm Done Accommodating Religious Hatred Towards Queer Lives"

With all due respect to social conservatives, I couldn't agree with Paul Raushenbush here below more....quoting in foll:
Over the last 48 hours I’ve come to know that I am fully and finally done accommodating religious hatred towards queer lives — whether from foaming mouthed extremists from any religious tradition, or polite, “respectable” religious denominations with which I most closely identify.
I’m done. It’s over.
How utterly pathetic that it took 49 lives slaughtered for me to pack up my “thank you for your point of view on why queer lives are not fully human” table and close shop.
For too long I have tolerated “Setting a big tent” and “Allowing many points of view” and “Dialogue” when talking about LGBT people as if our lives are up for debate and as if the jury is still out on our humanity, our dignity, or our being made beautifully in God’s image.
Fuck “love the sinner, hate the sin.” All I hear in these conversations now is death.
Recently, a woman associate pastor who is the lifeline for closeted LGBT people in her congregation told me that the senior pastor insists that their church be “Welcoming and NOT Affirming.”
DEATH.
Prettified permission to kill others, petrified permission to kill self.
I’m done. Silence = Death.
There is no more debate on queer lives. I will love and be loved and my love is not a question mark in your canon. I will not debate at your annual gathering. There is either death, or life. I will choose life. I will give life. Everlasting.
And now, a benediction from Angels in America: “The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now. You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More Life. The Great Work Begins.” (Huffington Post)
If this past weekend's tragic shooting in Orlando does anything, it should forever put to rest the idea that we in the LGBT community should ever - ever! - take it easy in regards to life in this great Republic. Have we made gains? Hell yes.

Can we as part of America writ large - and America in turn towards us - go further? Yes, quite definitely, even if it means standing right in the faces of the social conservatives - even, as I sometimes like to point - if it means standing right in the faces of fellow conservatives...and saying to them very bluntly, "We're not going to the back of the proverbial bus ever again; we want to be an equal part of this great and grand society that is America; we simply want to be ourselves and not have to worry about whether you accept or not.

America doesn't work like that; there are no qualifiers on anything enshrined in the Constitution that say "these rights are available to everyone but queer lives"...those rights are just as available to us as to anyone else in this great land and I'll be damned if I'm going to continue and sit by, watching as others on my side of the political aisle cast aspersions on my fellow Americans simply for being who they are.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Seven Broken Guardrails Of Democracy

There's an interesting article over at The Atlantic about how Donald Trump got to be the Republican candidate for President in 2016, and it is a very revealing article on just how broken representative democracy in America has become; the crux of it is is that there are certain norms within American politics that one expects candidates of all stripes to adhere to, Trump's basically blown through them like a .50 caliber bullet through stacks of toilet paper...here the 7 broken guardrails Atlantic writer David Frum is referring to (and how Trump got through them):


  1. Americans expect a presidential candidate to act in a certain way; namely, that of personal restraint, the idea that candidates for office should, to a broad extent, be humble in their pursuit. Now, this doesn't mean they have to be Mary Sues in their actions, but it does mean they should acknowledge that their fight is not just for them alone, but for America on the whole. Donald Trump, by his very nature, chucked this one out the window right at the start; as Mitt Romney infamously said about him, ("he) exemplifies what millions of parents would fear in their sons: “the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.”
  2. Americans expect some degree of truthfulness in their elected officials and candidates. Case in point: in 1940, FDR campaigned on a platform of - in part - "not getting American boys involved in foreign wars". However, since World War II was already underway in Europe and odds were America would eventually get involved at some point, it didn't mean FDR wasn't trying to get America ready to fight at some point, as illustrated by the Carolina & Louisiana Maneuvers (in other words, he said what he needed to say, but didn't outright lie). By contrast, Donald Trump's lies are so numerous, they're like the zombie hordes in World War Z - one on top of another, on top of another, on top of another, etc.,etc.,etc....indeed, his lies are so numerous that no one even bothers counting them anymore for fear of missing one; worse, he lies so much its' made Americans cynical towards him and its' fed into the Trump (and Clinton, to a lesser extent) narrative that "everyone lies" and "everybody does it".
  3. Americans expect elected officials to have at least a surface knowledge of public policy. Donald Trump doesn't even have the most basic of knowledge on anything; case in point: when asked by conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt about America's nuclear arsenal, Trump couldn't identify the specific parts right. (For the record, the U.S. nuclear triad consists of a bomber force, a sub-based missile force and a land-based missile force.) Now, to be fair, its' generally expected that Republicans will have somewhat less of a surface knowledge of public policy than their Democratic counterparts, but as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush proved, you can mroe than make up for that by having some executive experience prior to running for President (Reagan was a 2-term governor of California, Bush was a 2-term governor of Texas). Unfortunately, thanks to the rise of dingelberries such as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, its' no wonder that Americans recoil from Republicans on public policy matters...and Donald Trump doesn't do any better; in fact, in some ways, Trump makes the Quitta' from Wasilla seem smart in some respects.
  4. Regardless of political party, Americans expect some adherence to ideology. While both parties have become more Europeanized (i.e. partisan) in their ideological hewings, Republicans have, through nominating Donald Trump, picked someone who's basically taken conservative orthodoxy and chucked it right into the wastebin (just look at his flip-flops on abortion, the Mexican border wall, his proposed ban on Muslim immigration, etc.). Worse, even if Republicans were to begin complaining, it wouldn't do any good: this is the same political party that thinks than long-time conservatives such as John McCain, Mitch McConnell and Jeb Bush are squishy "RINOs", but have - instead of rejecting Donald Trump outright - embraced Donald Trump because he reflects the exact opposite of the groups opposing him.
  5. Similarly to #3, Americans expect their political leaders and candidates to have at least some bit of working knowledge on national security matters. Unfortunately, Donald Trump - who still, I suspect, doesn't have a clue what the nuclear triad is - has taken this guardrail and crashed through it in a tragic, Francois Cevert-kind of manner (with the GOP losing its' proverbial head in the process). After all, this is the same guy who said NATO was obsolete, who thinks Japan & South Korea should develop nuclear weapons and who thinks Saudi Arabia should develop nuclear weapons, so draw your own conclusions as to what a Trump Presidency would entail.
  6. Americans expect their elected officials to have a respect for both tolerance and diversity in their dealings with the American people. Case in point: while politicians like George Wallace were marginalized within the broader American body politic for espousing racist/proto-racist viewpoints, Donald Trump, by contrast, has been accomodated to such a degree that its' become a sad spectacle in and of itself; worse, as America becomes a more diverse society, this kind of dog-whistle style politics only feeds into the Left's narrative that the GOP is a party of racists and bigots, which doesn't help Republicans down the road.
  7. Finally, Americans, despite adhering to ideology in #4, generally are willing to vote for one party for President, the opposite for Congressional control. Don't believe me? Just look at election results between 1954 and 1992; in that 38-year period, Democrats held control of both houses of Congress (the 6-yr. GOP interregnum, 81-86, notwithstanding) for nearly the entire period despite only winning the Presidency in 1960, 1964, 1976 and 1992. This was due to ticket-splitting whereby Americans would vote for a candidate of one party for President, then turn around and vote for the opposing party in the Congressional election...unfortunately, because of the more partisan nature of American politics these days, ticket-splitting is a far lesser seen phenomenon. Worse, more Americans than ever before now see politics in negative terms, which explains why most Republicans, while horrified at the prospect of a Trump Presidency, are even more horrified at the thought of a Hillary Presidency (even conservative stalwarts such as the Wall Street Journal and National Review have gone this route), effectively saying that while Donald Trump may be an evil threat to America, he's less of a threat than that of Hillary Clinton (which makes no sense given the things Trump has said in regards to numbers' 3 & 5).
So what should we do? That, I don't know....I do know this, fellow conservatives: I myself will never vote for Donald Trump, period. Put that in y'all's pipe and smoke it, okay?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Seared Music: Don Henley - "Sunset Grill"

...you know, I'm not a gambling man but I'd bet that if we went to the aforementioned Sunset Grill, we might find people better able to run this country than most of what passes for our elected officials...

Group Of Pastors Ask Smithsonian To Remove Bust Of Planned Parenthood Founder

...well, given that Margaret Sanger also espoused views that modern society would consider racist, how that woman is even in the Smithsonian should be a question for our elected officials...
(CNSNews.com) – A group of black pastors sent a letter to the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery asking that the bust of Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger be removed from the museum’s “Struggle for Justice” exhibit, citing her support for eugenics and the targeting of minorities by the nation’s largest abortion provider.
"Perhaps the Gallery is unaware that Ms. Sanger supported black eugenics, a racist attitude toward black and other minority babies, an elitist attitude toward those she regarded as ‘the feeble minded;’ speaking at a rally of Ku Klux Klan women; and communications with Hitler sympathizers," the letter from Ministers Taking a Stand states.
“Also the notorious ‘Negro Project,’ which sought to limit, if not eliminate black births, was her brainchild,” the letter states. “Despite these well- documented facts of history, her bust sits proudly in your gallery as a hero of justice. The obvious incongruity is staggering!” the letter states.
Think about that for a moment, folks....alongside the heroes of the civil rights movement is a person whose organization, America's Butcher Shops (o/k/a Planned Parenthood) has discussed the wholesale harvesting and sale of fetal body parts and who had a well-known history of racist comments towards blacks in general, one has to wonder just what the Smithsonian was thinking giving her space there....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Seared Music: Cream - "Strange Brew"

*reads song title* ...sounds like the shit that Branch Trumpidians drink in order to get themselves to support Donald Trump...just saying, folks.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Donald Trump Issues Veiled Threat Towards WaPo, Jeff Bezos Over Negative Coverage

....alright, Trumpiots, remind us again why he should be the 45th President of the United States?
Skip to 13:15 of the clip below. I’m going to guess that this interview was conducted after WaPo reached out to him for comment yesterday on their new story about “John Miller.”
Peter Suderman said everything that needs to be said about this. Nothing in the campaign to come will top Trump’s debate statement about issuing illegal orders to the military for sheer authoritarian creepiness — I hope. But a would-be president hinting that tax and antitrust problems might befall a company owned by a guy whose newspaper has been running stories he doesn’t like is up there with what he said about tightening libel laws for second place. To this day, you’ll see references from time to time on conservative blogs to a joke Obama told early in his presidency about getting the IRS to audit his political enemies. That joke lost its humor after we found out who Lois Lerner is; it’s used today as evidence that Obama’s mind always held a seed of thuggishness that grew and flowered in his second term. Now here’s Trump implying the same thing, without the humor. Had O said this about some right-wing media mogul whose publication had been critical of him, conservative media would be in a frenzy over “gangster government” trying to intimidate its critics into silence. Because it’s Trump, most righty media won’t care. If nothing else, that’s at least true to the revanchist spirit of Trump’s nationalist movement. If the left’s going to abuse government to intimidate its political enemies, why shouldn’t we? “Small government” is for chumps. This is war.
Meanwhile, enjoy Donald Trump, of all people, slamming a billionaire for using his tremendous influence over the media to advance his own political interests. Is that his real beef with Bezos? That Bezos had to pay to gain the power to shape media coverage that Trump, the expert showman, has enjoyed for free for the past year? Bezos paid $250 million for one paper; Trump’s wrung $2 billion in gratis promotion out of the full spectrum of television media over the past 11 months alone. (Go figure that WaPo, with a forthcoming book on Trump, wants to monetize public interest in him the way every other media outlet in America does.) Maybe what you’re seeing here on some level is a master manipulator’s disdain for an amateur.
Fitting that it happened on Hannity’s show, too. You’ll notice that the host, a long-professed enemy of big government and scourge of Obama’s abuses, doesn’t utter a peep as President Trump puts Bezos on notice. In hindsight, what percentage of “conservative” complaints about policy and statism during the tea-party era were really just wallpaper for the cultural resentments unleashed by Trump? Ninety? (Hot Air)
 Long story short: a few months back, Donald Trump - back when there was viable GOP opposition to the Narcissistic-in-Chief - opined that we should open up the libel laws so that he could sue anyone who wrote anything negative about him. Now, anyone with a modicum of common sense - which wouldn't include Trumpiots, by the way - knows that Trump's peddling bullshit of the rankest order, but hey, if it deflects attention from him, why not?

Anyway, fast forward to this week, when the Washington Post - owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos - published a front-page article alleging that Trump once masqueraded as a PR flack named John Miller back in the early 90's...cue the faux outrage from Trump and his media ass-kissers at Fox News over it and you can imagine where this one's gonna' go, especially after the Washington Post rightfully defended itself over the "Donald Trump is PR flack John Miller" article.

Here's the problem for Trump: under most libel law standards, Donald Trump would have a very hard time getting a libel suit to succeed against WaPo because Trump is a public celebrity and under most interpretations of libel law, anyone in the public sphere cannot sue for libel unless whatever is written about them is a deliberate falsehood, which by most accounts the WaPo article doesn't meet (in other words, its' a legit article). However, it offers, as the Boston Globe points out, a glimpse into what a Trump presidency would look like...hint: its' authoritarian, to say the least.

Indeed, as the Globe piece points out, Trump has long hinted at going after Bezos for his ownership of the Washington Post, alleging that Bezos is using the paper as a political tool to attack Trump...well, here's a newsflash, Mr. Trump: in a free society, that's one of the roles the media is supposed to play, the role of a watchdog over our political chattering classes. In most cases, they do a pretty good job (albeit w/a liberal bias most days). His threat agst Bezos - namely using the DOJ's anti-trust division to go after him - goes well beyond authoritarian because it also serves as an act of intimidation against both WaPo and other major newspapers of note, a way of saying, "if we can after them, we can come after you".

At best, this should be - like his not wanting to release his tax records - an automatic disqualifier for President....at worst, it is yet another example of why Donald Trump should not be President of the United States.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Seared Music: Johnny Cash - "The Man In Black"

...an apt song to describe how I feel in regards to the spectre of Donald Trump as the GOP candidate for President...black is a good color; as long as he's the nominee, that's my color of choice, thank you very much...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Seared Music: Rage Against The Machine - "Know Your Enemy"

...and that enemy, conservatives, is Donald Trump and his minions, otherwise known as Trump supporters...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seared Music: Frank Zappa - "Zomby Woof"

*reads song title & looks at video thumbnail* ....so that's what a Trump Presidency would look like... *backs away in horror*

Monday, April 25, 2016

Seared Music: Boz Scaggs - "Breakdown Dead Ahead"

*reads song title* ....this could very easily be the order of the day come July 2016 in Cleveland if there's a contested Republican convention...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Could Cruz's Delegate Strategy Backfire On Him?

Good question, according to the geniuses over at Hot Air...
By the time Wednesday morning rolls around we’ll have a better picture of where the delegate situation stands, but one thing is already a given: Neither Ted Cruz nor John Kasich will be anywhere near 1,237 pledged delegates when we get to Cleveland. Trump might but he’s going to need some strong tailwinds in Indiana and California to pull it off.
The Cruz strategy is obvious and he’s made no secret of it. He’ll try to land as many delegates as he can in states where actual elections are held and then negotiate to embed the maximum possible number of fake Trump delegates who will vote for The Donald on the first ballot and then reveal their true loyalty to Cruz (versus the will of their state’s voters) on a subsequent count. It might work, but as Fox News notes this weekend, it’s hardly a risk free strategy. (Hot Air)
For those not playing along, here's a quick rundown: over the past 6-7 weeks, Ted Cruz's campaign have been going around the country, scooping up delegates at every opportunity who will go vote for the Texas senator, but not on the first ballot; instead, many of these delegates - who, under RNC rules, are bound to whatever their state's vote was - that Cruz is wheeling-and-dealing with will vote for Cruz on the second ballot, which at the moment is an all-but-guaranteed likelihood.

Now, this makes sense on one level, since most states only bind their delegates to candidates on the first ballot. After that, depending on the state, those delegates are fair game for anyone to scoop up..which is what the Cruz campaign is doing. But, there's a caveat, which the Hot Air article illustrates...and that caveat is this: for all the Cruz campaign's talk of delegates going to them on the second ballot (and beyond), there's zero guarantee they will.

Now, why is this important? Well, look at it from the RNC's perspective: you've got three candidates at play here, one of whom is a certifiable asshole (Trump), one of whom could get shot on the floor of the Senate and not be avenged (Cruz) and one whose governor of the state where the 2016 convention will be held in (Kasich). From what I've read & heard, most w/in the RNC don't want Trump at the head of the ticket for fear he'll kill their chances of keeping the Senate (and, if the headwinds are fierce enough, of possibly losing the House as well)...yet most of them will likely tell you that they also don't give two shits about Tailgunner Ted (a/k/a Sen. Cruz) either, whose whole stock-and-trade has been hating the Establishment at every opportunity. Indeed, a few have said in no uncertain terms that the only reason they're backing Cruz over Kasich at the moment is that they don't want Trump as the nominee (the "enemy of my friend" doctrine).

That brings us back to the point earlier: for all of Cruz's work with the delegates so far, what is to stop them from voting for Trump on the first ballot - as they're bound to do - and then turning around, giving Cruz the proverbial finger and either, (a) sticking with Trump OR (b) going off-script and voting for Kasich? It also begs the question: if Ted Cruz is depending on these delegates to give him the nomination on the second ballot, doesn't that mean that he has, for all intents-and-purposes, given up on the campaign now? From a delegate's perspective, if that is the case, why should any delegate switch from Trump to Cruz?

All I know for certain here is we should probably stock up on popcorn; its' likely to be a bumpy couple of weeks between now and Cleveland.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Black Democrat Rips Other Black Lawmakers Over Refusal To Endorse Her

I'm of two minds here...on the one hand, given how long I've followed American politics, its' shocking to see outgoing Rep. Donna Edwards, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, ripping into fellow House CBC members over their collective decision not to endorse her in this year's Maryland Senate race (specifically, the Democratic Primary) - which, unless anything untoward happens, will likely see the Democratic Primary winner pretty much be one-step-removed from being the next U.S. Senator from Maryland). On the other hand, I don't see where the beef is here: from what I've read & heard, the House CBC declined to endorse anyone this go-round in Maryland, which makes sense given the face that the likely winner here is going to either be outgoing Rep. Edwards or outgoing Rep. Chris Van Hollen, so to stay neutral here does make sense.

That said, the fact that you've got two prominent House Democrats (an outspoken progressive in Edwards who turfed out a fellow House CBC member back in 2006 for his support of the Iraq War vs. a member of the House Democratic Leadership in Van Hollen) leaving one chamber for a shot at the Senate kinda' tells you how low the chances of a Democrat majority in 2017 are, so either way its' fun to watch the internecine warfare here...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Seared Music: Pearl Jam - "Animal"

In honor of Pearl Jam's announcement that, in light of the passage of the anti-LGBT law known as HB2, they are canceling their April 20th concert in Raleigh, here's one of my favorites of theirs to serenade you with....

What To Look For In The Empire State On Tuesday...

Barring some epic Sweet Meteor of Death, tomorrow night should help clear up both the Democratic & Republican primary races...so what do we look for?
  • On the Democratic side, odds are Hillary Clinton will win the night; the thing to look for, given the proportionality rules on their side, will be "by how big a margin"? Bernie Sanders, for all his wins up to now (including wins in 8 out of the 9 states), knows the delegate math is against him and must have an epic night in NY, or else it wouldn't surprise me if DNC officials start 'suggesting' to him that he should begin winding down his campaign
  • On the Republican side, its more complicated, due to the manner in which the GOP splits its' delegates (14 allocated statewide, 81 allocated by congressional district). Odds are, Donald Trump will win; should he win by 50% or more, he'll win both the 14 statewide delegates but will likely end up taking a huge chunk of congressional delegates. OTOH, should he fail to break 50%, the odds increase that either or both Ted Cruz & John Kasich will scoop up a good number of delegates as well, especially at the congressional level (where each district allocates delegates on a 2-to-1 ratio unless one hits 50% in that district). Like California (53 + 1) in early June, New York is essentially 28 separate races (27 congressional + statewide) that combined will play a big part in who wins come July in Cleveland
...and those are the things one should look for tomorrow night in New York...