Pundits are getting it wrong about last night’s debate – Clinton wasn’t on her heels for the first 20-30 minutes, she was making a pitch to Sanders supporters, progressives, her base, and her lukewarm supporters.
I’ve been reading lots of so-called pundits talking about how Trump did really well in the first 20-30 minutes of the debate last night, and then Clinton took control and never let go. OK, from some perspective I get that – Trump stuck to his message, and Clinton’s responses weren’t as good as they would get later in the evening. I looked at Trump’s performance early on as more ignoring the question and repeating your usual stump speech a la Rubio’s “one trick pony” flub rather than “sticking to the message,” but I’m most vehemently NOT a Trump supporter, so that may just be my personal biases clouding my judgement.
What I got out of the first 20-30 minutes of the debate was something quite different than what the pundits did. It was in that part of the debate when Clinton mentioned climate change and raising taxes on the wealthy. Instead of a Clinton thrown on the defensive and responding to attacks with dodges and weaves, I saw a Clinton who was doing exactly what she wanted to be doing – laying out the reasons why Sanders supporters, progressives, and even lukewarm supporters like me should back her. Continue reading →
I’m not a doctor, so this is not a medical diagnosis. But it is a reminder that we need to keep things in perspective. And when it comes to Hillary Clinton, part of that perspective is the fact that, when she was First Lady, her husband asked her to take on some policy duties and because she was a strong, intelligent, outspoken woman, conservatives went apeshit and have spent the last 30 years attacking her for having the audacity of not knowing “her place.”
But seriously, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was essentially a paraplegic before his first term in office. John F. Kennedy was hospitalized and give the Last Rites three times. Richard Nixon was hospitalized for two weeks during his first campaign.George HW Bush vomited in the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister and then fainted. Then there’s the Presidents who were suspected alchoholics (Grant, Arthur) or grossly overweight (Taft, Cleveland). Continue reading →
Get rid of all your stuff. I know I sound like Inconvenient Jesus right now. Just do it. All the pantsuits, all the jewelry, all the hairspray, the mouthwash, everything, especially the sentimental stuff. If you can’t pass through the eye of the needle, the road ends here.
Cardiff University’s Kevin Passmore developed another definition of fascism for his book “Fascism: A Very Short Introduction.” The entire definition is available in Passmore’s book and at Wikipedia, but the most important parts are addressed below.
Fascism is a set of ideologies and practices that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community.
Trump’s rhetoric is intended to appeal to a definition of national identity that is white and racist. In his speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump said that “We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice,” which is coded racist rhetoric as well. Note that Trump didn’t contrast “failing” with succeeding, but rather “safe.” The implication is that failing schools are dangerous and that safe schools are succeeding. And where are most “failing” and dangerous schools located? In minority neighborhoods and in urban areas. His anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim positions are similarly coded to appeal to whites who are afraid of brown people moving into their neighborhoods. Continue reading →
We can build a bridge to tomorrow, with hopes and dreams and renewable energy and some new alloy that US Steel is keeping under wraps. The common man has achieved equal status with the upper crust. We can come to some arrangement wherein power is shared and, gradually, peacefully, handed over. The future belongs to the folks who live then.
Hillary Clinton is not part of that future. She is a hired gun, an enforcer of the regime. Bernie Sanders is a visionary who sees it coming. He’s been consistent his whole life saying what the Chinese already know, that without internal stability there is no external security. Why do you think we fell apart like a dry rotted tapestry during a guerrilla attack? September 11th was scary. I was there. I inhaled the asbestos from the twin towers. It was not “uproot the foundation of the republic” scary. Why, then, did we uproot the republic? Continue reading →
There are two stories to be told about the Nevada Democratic Party Convention – what really happened, and Sanders’ response to it. The first story is one of confusion, partisanship, passion, and poor choices. The second leads me to conclude that, while I still support most of Sanders’ policies, I can no longer support Sanders himself.
I first heard about insanity at the Nevada Democratic Party Convention via my Facebook feed. I have a lot of friends and associates on Facebook who are supporters of Bernie Sanders, and others who are supporters of Hillary Clinton. And so I got two radically different perspectives on what happened.
The Sanders supporters alleged that the Nevada Democratic Party was corrupt, had been bought, and were “in the tank” for Clinton, and they largely supported the disruptions that Sanders’ delegates caused at the state convention. The Clinton supporters, on the other hand, alleged that Sanders’ delegates were rude, that they had tried to pervert the popular vote (and the associated number of delegates to the national convention), that they became violent, and that they’d issued death threats.
Given the divergence of these claims, it’s tempting to say that reality has to be somewhere in the middle. The problem is that it’s entirely possible for both Clinton and Sanders supporters claims to be true, false, or true and false at the same time. After some digging, it’s pretty clear that reality is a confusing mix of fact, fiction, and partisanship resulting in a circular firing squad. Continue reading →
#BernieOrBust movement feels democracy itself is threatened. Sanders as VP candidate would ease those worries.
Hillary Clinton is worried about party unity. She should be. Bernie Sanders leads a grassroots movement larger than the one which swept President Obama into office in 2008. Ten million people have voted for him already. Worse, a large and vocal part of this grassroots movement feels betrayed by the Democratic Party, which has unsuccessfully waged war against the Bernie Sanders movement at every turn, beginning with a biased debate schedule, and culminating in the vulgar display of power by which the remaining Nevada delegates were assigned three days ago. Continue reading →
As I scan the headlines here and there, I encounter a new brand of fuckery…the claim that refusal to vote Hillary if Bernie doesn’t win the nomination is privilege. That’s some serious victim-blaming bullshit, that is. I hope it’s the kind of erroneous political fluff that doesn’t last long, but I’m not that hopeful because that’s exactly the kind of tackiness we’ve come to expect of politics.
What next, playing the race card when something isn’t about race?
Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars.
“Here is the most salient supporting fact: when people talk to white, working-class Trump supporters, instead of simply imagining what they might say, they find that what most concerns these people is the economy and their place in it. I am referring to a study just published by Working America, a political-action auxiliary of the AFL-CIO, which interviewed some 1,600 white working-class voters in the suburbs of Cleveland and Pittsburgh in December and January.
Support for Donald Trump, the group found, ran strong among these people, even among self-identified Democrats, but not because they are all pining for a racist in the White House. Continue reading →
Bernie Sanders is an idealist, arguably a political outsider, and someone who wants an economic and social revolution in the United States. Hillary Clinton is a pragmatist, arguably the quintessential political insider, and someone who wants to build on the good things that have happened during the Obama administration. The choice that the Democratic Party has this primary season is stark, and I find that both fascinating and terrifying.
I’m against tyranny. This is a popular political position. Americans pride ourselves on defending liberty from the machinations of malevolent power all over the world. It is our heritage, beginning with the Boston Tea Party, to demand that government be held accountable to the governed. Our ancestors answered the call of resolute and courageous leaders to fight the tyranny of their own government, and won. There were many, especially among the ruling class, who sided with the tyrant, did his bidding, and betrayed their fellow human beings for personal gain. Ultimately, they lost, despite all their money, connections, and cunning deceptions. This demonstrated one of the axioms on which America is founded, that the right of self-governance is a fundamental and inalterable component of human existence.
Hypothetically, let’s say you lost the Nevada primary because of your failed efforts to suppress the vote in 2008. Specifically, you attempted to suppress the vote of a particularly powerful union, the Culinary Workers Union, namely women, minorities, and working people, who caucus on Saturday, on their lunch break, on the Vegas strip, because their jobs do not allow them to go to the polls when everyone else does. Let’s say this union chose to endorse the other fellow, and you filed a lawsuit that amounted to disenfranchisement of their entire population and denial of the validity of their way of life. Let’s say the lawsuit was so abysmally unpopular that you had to politically and personally distance yourself from it, and force a smile when all the Nevada delegates ultimately voted for the other fellow. Continue reading →
Dear Ta-Nehisi Coates: Senator Bernie Sanders is an honest man.
If you ask him a direct question, he will answer. If he doesn’t know, he will admit that he doesn’t know. He will tell you he wants to raise taxes. He will tell you he does not want to fight a war in the middle east. These are things other politicians will never admit, even if they are true, because in modern American political culture, the prevailing wisdom is that it is better to lie to the voters and win under false pretenses than to speak an unpopular truth and lose. Continue reading →
Hillary Clinton on Sunday announced her plan for infrastructure spending—a “down payment on our future,” she said—and it comes with a hefty price tag: $275 billion.
At a campaign event in Boston, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination called for an increase in federal infrastructure spending over five years and the establishment of an infrastructure bank—two proposals that she says will create jobs and repair the U.S.’s crumbling highways and bridges.
Just $275 billion? That’s only $55 billion annually. That’s not enough to address the ailments of the nation’s roads and bridges — let alone everything else. The Federal Highway Administration argues $170 billion is needed each year to address safety issues and performance. Federal, state, and local investment, the American Society of Civil Engineers says, amounts to only $91 billion each year. Meanwhile, bad roads cost Americans more than $100 billion annually in wasted time and fuel.
Tonight’s debate among Republican presidential candidates is a benchmark in the 2016 race for the White House, but how helpful will it be for voters who want to make educated and informed decisions when they cast their ballots?
The 2016 election is more than a year away – a virtual eternity in politics, so the landscape may look much different when the campaign heats up and the general public begins paying attention.
Those who do choose to watch tonight’s debate are unlikely to learn substantial information about the candidates and their agendas. With 10 candidates on stage for two hours and with time needed for the panelists to ask questions, each presidential hopeful will be lucky to get 10 minutes of airtime – hardly ample to make a convincing case for the Oval Office.
But even if the debate is light on substance and policy, it may very well provide some early clues to how the race will unfold. Here are five questions that tonight’s event may answer:
When I worked in public relations, we called the process “big footing.”
If we knew some damaging or negative news was likely to break on a given day, we would plan our own announcement and hope it would big enough to divert attention from – or “big foot” – whatever announcement was likely to -play poorly with the press and the public.
Given the convenience of the Internet and social networks, the process of “big footing” is even stronger today, and sometimes it takes place without a push from a PR or communications pro.
People keep telling me I have to be realistic. But step one of being a realist is acknowledging reality.
I have been pretty vocal in my criticism of Barack Obama over the past seven years. I have reamed the modern day Vichy Democratic party every chance I have gotten. I have stomped on Bill Clinton and Al Gore, the architects of the “new” GOP Lite Dems and lately I have made clear that I can’t imagine a scenario whereby I would vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m tired, I have said, of voting for lesser evils, of voting for people who at best are playing not to win but to lose by less and at worst are just playing for themselves.
Sanders’ presidential campaign needs to detail specific measures to bend a corrupt, self-centered Congress into effective action on his agenda
Bernie Sanders, he who regularly tilts at NSA windmills and shouts at the hot air emitted by billionaires, says he’s running for president. In his 10-minute announcement, he displayed the media acumen of an irritated porcupine — prickly and impatient. He didn’t even have red, white, and blue balloons soaring patriotically into the sky.
No matter. The liberals and progressives disenchanted with all-but-nominated Hillary have gleefully fled to their new standard bearer. Trouble is, what’s Bernie’s standard to bear? He announced before crafting a website that clearly articulates what actions he would take to address domestic, economic, foreign, military, wealth inequality, and [insert your beef with Obama and Congress here] issues. The site touts only an apparent promise that something will appear soon — “Coming 5.26.15.” All that’s there now is, according to Bernie’s Facebook page, an email sign-up opp for “an unprecedented grass-roots effort.” The site notes that it’s “Paid for by Bernie 2016 (not the billionaires).”
But no matter. He’s got a strategist: “Tad Devine, one of the Democratic Party’s leading consultants and a former high-level campaign aide to Al Gore, John Kerry, and Michael Dukakis.” (Wait a minute: Didn’t those three guys lose?)