Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Saturday, November 19, 2022

2022 Midterms

I don't know who was the first person to say "Don't get high on your own supply". Younger people may recall a version of this maxim from rapper Biggie Smalls 1997 song "Ten Crack Commandments". I'm not young so my reference point for the line is from the 1983 movie Scarface

There are older sayings with similar meanings. H.P. Lovecraft in his 1927 horror novel The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward wrote the warning "Do not call up that which you cannot put down". Shakespeare's "Hamlet, written between 1599 and 1601, has the line "hoist by one's own petard" which warns of destruction by forces that the person has invoked. 

Republicans should have remembered these warnings before the recent midterms. At this time there are a few races yet to be called. But there was no red wave. Democrats will keep control of the Senate. Republicans will likely take control of the House by a small margin. 

With a few exceptions high profile Trump supported election denier Republicans lost. In Michigan, Republicans were shut out entirely. Michigan Democrats retained the offices of Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, while taking the State House and State Senate.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Senator Hawley vs. Professor Khiara Bridges

There are only a few situations where I can imagine voting for a Republican. But there are starting to be fewer situations where I tolerate voting for certain Democrats. I do not understand or accept the fevered progressive attack on basic biology and facts. Humans are animals. Animals reproduce sexually. Sexual reproduction requires two sexes. No more, no less. One sex does the impregnating; the other is impregnated. We can't change who does what. That's science fiction. Although there are people who wish they were the other sex, in fact they are not. I don't mind calling such people by whatever name they wish to be called and treating them with the same respect I give to everyone.

What I absolutely refuse to do is pretend that a man is a woman or a woman is a man. Women do not have penises. Women can not impregnate anyone. Men do not have ovaries. Men do not get pregnant. Stating otherwise is asinine. To the extent that accepting this bovine excrement and repeating it has become a required demonstration of bona fides on the left then I guess I will no longer be on the left. I do not like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. I really don't. But when Hawley says 2+2 = 4 I am going to agree with him, not with UC Berkeley Professor Khiara Bridges who insists that 2+2 = Alaska and anyone who disagrees is well, "transphobic".

Saturday, July 9, 2022

New York and Supreme Court Bruen Decision

In the Bruen decision the Supreme Court rejected New York's "may issue" concealed carry gun licensing standard. The decision's text is here
New York had required concealed carry applicants to demonstrate "good character" and a "proper cause". There were no appeals. So if the local police liked you they might let you have a concealed carry permit. 

But if the local police didn't like you, for any reason, good or bad, legal or not, you couldn't get a concealed carry permit.

To put this into historical context consider that in 1956 Alabama Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a concealed carry permit after his house was firebombed by white segregationists. Alabama in 1956, just like New York until recently, had a "proper cause" standard. 

Because local authorities in 1956 Alabama were inevitably either supportive of or the same white segregationists who were firebombing and shooting Black people, they unsurprisingly denied MLK's application. Similarly New York's gun licensing standards disproportionately denied Black would be concealed carry applicants. 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Michigan Democrat Fights Back!

It seems that some Democratic elected officials are finally waking up to the fact that when someone hits you, you hit them back. Harder. It's the only way to deal with people in real life. Turning the other cheek or assuming that your presumed audience will see through the lies is an excellent way to lose respect and lose elections. As the saying goes "A lie can travel halfway around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots."

The new Republican tactic is to call Democrats pedophiles and child groomers. One Democratic Michigan State Senator, Mallory McMorrow, recently let everyone know she didn't appreciate anyone, in particular the Republican Senator Lana Theis calling her  a "groomer" in a fundraiser email. This sort of forceful rebuttal to lies could and should become part of a Democratic rapid response playbook.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Lithuania Cancels Covid Vaccine Donation To Bangladesh

Say you are at home. An earnest young woman knocks on your door. She has a petition for you to sign. The woman is also taking donations; a $50 minimum is suggested. 
Perhaps she wants to stop Evil Megacorp Inc. from committing environmental crimes. Maybe she's concerned about sexual, gender, or racial politics. Or maybe this is about a local recall election.

But you have no money to donate. You can't support the cause publicly. Maybe your spouse or parent(s) work(s) for Evil Megacorp Inc. Maybe your local representative has threatened police harassment of petition signers. Maybe you prefer avoiding politics. You don't sign the petition or give money. Angered, this canvasser produces a Molotov cocktail, lights it, and tosses it thru your open door, yelling that "You're either with us or against us!!

Or say the canvasser leaves. But the canvasser's husband runs the local sanitation service. No one will pick up your garbage--unless you sign the petition. Are you and your children surviving on church charity? The canvasser's brother-in-law is the church preacher. The preacher tells you that church charity is for petition signers. So you and yours can starve--unless you sign the petition.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Russia and Ukraine War: Quick Thoughts

I hope that the Russia: Ukraine War ends soon with minimal loss of life. In most cases war is an obscenity. 
However, it's impossible not to notice the tremendous implicit bias in the war's media coverage. 
Some pundits have expressed shock and horror that war is occurring in Europe. 

The unspoken feeling is that Europeans should be more advanced than this, not like those other "uncivilized" people of the world. For those other people, evidently, life really should be 'nasty, brutish, and short.' 
One journalist recently made this explicit. I doubt that he has any special animus against people who aren't white or European. He just takes it for granted that such people aren't as advanced or as civilized as his (presumably white) audience.

There are deadlier wars currently occurring in Ethiopia and Yemen. There are people losing their lands and lives in a slow motion strangulation in Palestine. Western powers drop bombs on people in Syria and Somalia with a disregard for civilian casualties. Boko Haram is still kidnapping and murdering people in Nigeria. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Non-Citizen Voting In NYC

New York City recently made it legal for non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. 
This will include legal immigrants on green cards/visas and illegal immigrants with DACA status or who can otherwise show residence in NYC. 
When I first heard about this I thought it was a joke or some deliberate conservative lie, but no in fact, this was indeed the case.
New York City became the largest city in the country to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections after the City Council on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation granting the right to more than 800,000 legal residents.
The move places New York City at the forefront of the debate over voting rights, serving as a stark contrast to some states that have moved to add voting restrictions, including explicitly barring noncitizens from voting.
The legislation was approved over the objections of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who questioned whether the City Council has the power to grant voting rights to noncitizens. Legal experts expect that the bill could face a legal challenge. 
Noncitizens would be able to begin to register to vote a year from now. They could begin voting in local elections as of Jan. 9, 2023, according to the City Council.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Senator Manchin Says No

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin recently announced what he had been hinting for a long time: that he would not and in his words "could not" support the proposed Democratic "Build Back Better" bill (BBB) that would have among other things given more work permits for illegal immigrants, expanded child tax credits, provided universal pre-k, expanded health care coverage, addressed climate change, increased green cards for immigrants, and a whole host of other items which tend to be quite popular with some liberals. 

At Manchin's request, the BBB was cut down quite a bit from the initial bill, so many people were very upset when Manchin went on Fox News and said he still wouldn't support the bill.

And you know, my concerns I had, and I still have these concerns and where I’m at right now, the inflation that I was concerned about, it’s not transitory, it’s real, it’s harming every West Virginian. It’s making it almost difficult for them to continue, to go to their jobs, the cost of gasoline, the cost of groceries, the cost of utility bills — all of these things are hitting in every aspect of their life.
And you start looking at — then you have the debt that we’re carrying, $29 trillion, you have also the geopolitical unrest that we have. 
So when you have these things coming at you the way they are right now, I’ve always said this, Bret, if I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it. And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.

VP Harris Is Frustrated

Back in the day a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away when magic filled the air yours truly had a female manager that was truth be told probably a little too nice for her job. 
My manager once complained to her boss that she (my manager) had just arrived in her position and thus shouldn't be really held responsible for various projects sliding into "red" status or other critical team issues. 
Her boss, also a woman, was less than sympathetic, stating that my boss' trial period ended when she took the job and that at this point and at her salary all anyone cared about was results. And the higher ranking boss made it clear that she didn't want to hear any more self-serving complaints from my boss. Period. Was that expectation fair? Perhaps not. The team was in a bad way before my direct boss arrived. Was that expectation typical and accurate as to what stakeholders expect from those they have put into power? Absolutely
I was reminded of that reading the latest NYT story with quotes, sourced and otherwise, from the supporters of VP Kamala Harris that generally claim that Harris is doing a great job and that she is the victim of a double standard because of her race and gender.
An early front-runner whose presidential ambitions fizzled amid a dysfunctional 2020 campaign, Ms. Harris was pulled onto the Biden ticket for her policy priorities that largely mirrored his, and her ability as a Black woman to bolster support with coalitions of voters he needed to win the presidency.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Democrats Fueling Inequality

If you listen to the partisans at MSNBC everything that's awful is the Republicans' fault. The voters need to give Senate Democrats a filibuster proof majority along with similar margins in the House. We should expand the Supreme Court to cement a liberal Democratic court for the next fifty years. 
For good measure we must make Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico states. And lastly we've got to eliminate the Electoral College and combine the Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, and Montana into just one state. Those goobers don't deserve fourteen senators! 
And with all of the i's dotted, t's crossed, and Republicans thus completely locked out of the national government for the foreseeable future, it would be a time of jubilation as all of the wonderful policy preferences of the Democratic Party would come to fruition. And we'd all live happily ever after. 
Some people who actually believe that. Fair enough. But the facts show that when Democrats have the power to put into practice their preferred policies, they often pass on doing so. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty

I don't have much to write about the Rittenhouse not guilty verdict. I'm disgusted but not surprised. It was apparent from the beginning of the trial and its development that the judge was going out of his way to put not only his thumb on the scale for Rittenhouse but both feet as well. I can not imagine a situation in which an underage Black boy goes to a different state, brandishes a gun which he has no legal right to use, gets into confrontations, shoots multiple people and is acquitted of all charges by way of self-defense. 
And to put the cherry on top of the sh*t sundae, the judge throws out the gun possession charge, claiming that the law is too vague. Legally this is the equivalent of the proverbial Black gangster in Chicago shooting other Black gangsters, using illegal guns to do so, and successfully claiming self-defense. That's just not going to happen too frequently.
The people on the more progressive side of the political spectrum will need to collectively get used to using guns, keeping guns, and bearing guns. The right and their enablers in the justice system feel that they are the only armed people. The justice system is not going to prevent them from shooting you or punish them when they do. Right-wing vigilantes will be encouraged by this verdict.
Like it or not, as a country we are moving past the "Can't we put down the guns and talk?" phase of our political life. This is not that different from the Greensboro Massacre that occurred all those years ago. when I was a youngster. If someone of ill intent thinks you're weaker than they are, there will be problems.

House Censures Arizona Republican Gosar For Violent Video

I would like to think that I am a valued member of the organization at which I am currently employed. Maybe, maybe not. 
Different executives probably have had different takes on that question. 
But regardless of my actual or perceived worth to my employer I am certain that if I were posting videos depicting my assault or murder of my co-workers and/or people higher up than me in the company hierarchy, I would immediately be looking for new employment. Having a reprimand placed in my HR file wouldn't suffice as a punishment for such actions. 
The modern Republican Party doesn't understand or care about such things. For them "joking" about assaulting or murdering political opponents is a normal function of being in government--at least as long as they are the ones making such "jokes" or comments. 

WASHINGTON — A bitterly divided U.S. House of Representatives voted narrowly on Wednesday to censure Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona, for posting an animated video that depicted him killing a Democratic congresswoman and assaulting President Biden. 

The formal rebuke of the far-right congressman who has allied himself with white nationalists — the first censure since 2010 and only the 24th in the history of the republic — also stripped him of his committee assignments.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Neera Tanden For OMB

Did you ever joke about or insult someone at your job? Maybe you forwarded nasty comments about them over company instant messenger or email. Maybe your friends love your hilarious impression of a co-worker's nasal accent or the funny way they walk. 

Maybe you catalogued this person's mistakes or dumb ideas and gleefully referenced them whenever the person's name came up in business discussions. Maybe you didn't care if the person heard your jokes, putdowns, or criticisms because you didn't report to them. You never foresaw a time when that person or his/her friends would have any authority over you or influence over your next assignment or promotion. Life can quickly change. 

Sometimes the person you called a malodorous bird brained blockhead is appointed to the committee considering your hire, pay raise, or promotion. Or he or she has good friends who are on that committee. This person or his/her friends might ask you some hard questions about your previous comments. What happens next depends on how badly you want the hire, promotion, or pay raise. If you want it, you will swallow your pride and abase yourself before the committee. You will denounce your past comments. You will apologize for the unprofessional conduct and any hurt you've caused. You will promise to do better going forward. 

That's no guarantee of success. Some people still won't support your ascension. You could stand on principle, grab your gonads, and tell everyone you're not apologizing for a muyerfuying thing. That generally doesn't work either. President Biden's nominee for OMB director, Neera Tanden, has a long history of combative toxic online and public statements against people with whom she disagrees, which includes but is not limited to Republicans and especially anyone to her left. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Trump Lost The 2020 Presidential Election

Trump lost the 2020 Presidential Election. Trump lost because enough people in enough states decided that Joe Biden was the better choice.  Trump lost because the Republican Party is on a national level non-competitive in the Northeast and starting to show cracks in the South and Southwest. 
Trump lost because the Republican Party has reached the current limit of political popularity that it can have throughy open appeals to white racist resentment, white nationalism, anti-intellectualism, anti-urban feelings, conspiracy theories, and various other dubious emotions or stances. Trump lost because even some otherwise Republican leaning voters looked at Trump's general corruption and specific ineptitude combating the coronavirus pandemic and decided that enough was enough. 
Trump lost because his support slipped among white men, his most devoted base. Trump lost because he is congenitally unable to frame appeals to people that are not rooted in hate. Trump lost because he's unwilling to reach out to people who are not his base. Trump lost because he's incapable of conceiving a scenario where he loses. His ego can't accept that possibility.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Judge (Justice) Amy Coney Barrett and Liberal Despair

Judge Amy Coney Barrett moved one step closer to being confirmed as the newest Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee claimed that the entire process was illegitimate and boycotted the final Committee vote. The Democrats argued that Committee rules required at least two members of the minority party to participate in order to have a quorum and conduct business. 

The Republicans said they didn't see it that way and proceeded to vote anyway. The result was that the vote was 12-0 to move Judge Barrett's nomination to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. Barrett could thus be confirmed as soon as Monday, barring some sort of last minute unforeseen stumble. Maybe someone will come out of the woodwork on Saturday or Sunday to claim that in the third grade Judge Barrett kissed him against his will and gave him cooties. That seems to be quite unlikely to say the least.

This made the Democrats so mad that they could just spit. They have no way to stop Barrett's confirmation. They have also realized belatedly that the Republicans, or at least a sizable minority of them, frustrated by what they've seen as liberal courts since at least the 60s if not before, have reached what they certainly hope will be the apotheosis of a multi-decade conservative effort to seize control of the courts back from liberal judges.

So many liberals, angered and frightened by the idea of 6-3 or 5-4 conservative Supreme Court decisions for the forseeable future and in particular the idea of a decision that overturns or further limits Roe v. Wade have floated ideas to limit the power of this reinvigorated conservative court. Some of these are silly or unconstitutional and just won't happen. Others are viable but come with their own risks.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Trump to nominate Judge Barrett: Time to Ignore Supreme Court?

Many people were upset that thanks to McConnell and crew changing their minds about when Presidents should be able to appoint Supreme Court Justices in election years that it now appears that President Trump will be able to make a third appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

There's almost nothing that the Democrats can do to stop this. There is no longer any Senate filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. The Democrats don't have the votes in the Senate. 

The latest news seems to confirm that President Trump will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a current judge for the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to take the empty seat on the Supreme Court. Barrett is obviously a right-winger. Although she's not all that different from any run of the mill right wing justice that would be considered under this administration, as this Vox article pointed out, because of some inappropriate comments by California Democratic Senator Feinstein, some social conservatives consider Barrett something of a martyr. So they will presumably be excited to "own the libs" by getting Barrett nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, particularly if they can get it done before election day.

That's actually not all that interesting to me. Everyone on the other side always says that if so-n-so gets confirmed to the Supreme Court that the skies will fall, the dead will rise from the graves and eat the living, and you wont be able to download updates on your phone. And sometimes such people are even correct.

My take is that if I and those I care about make it home without being harassed, assaulted, or murdered by the police then it's been a good day. And liberal or not, Supreme Courts are unable or unwilling to do much about that. So though I didn't care about the specific partisan reactions I was very interested in the fact that many people who are, very broadly speaking, on the same (left) political spectrum as I am, started calling for some changes to how courts are shaped and populated and how the Senate is constructed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Donald Trump and Chuck Woolery are Evil Stupid People

/sarcasm on
I don’t know about everyone else but whenever I encounter a strange new easily transmitted deadly virus for which there is no cure or vaccine I ALWAYS check with game show hosts, not doctors or scientists, to find out the real deal.

It gives me a warm happy feeling that our President is spending time retweeting game show host and certified nutjob Chuck Woolery instead of telling people what they could do to stay safe, asking scientists what they need to speed up vaccine availability, or reviewing some best practices from nations who have slowed transmission.
/sarcasm off

Donald Trump defended his retweet this week of Chuck Woolery’s claim that Centers for Disease Control officials and others are “lying” about the coronavirus.CBS News Catherine Herridge asked Trump, “You reposted a tweet yesterday saying that CDC and health officials are lying. You understand this is confusing for the public. So who do they believe? You, or the medical professionals like Dr. Fauci?”

“I didn’t make a comment,” Trump told Herridge. “I did. I reposted a tweet that a lot of people feel. But all I am doing is making a comment. I’m just putting somebody’s voice out there. There are many voices. There are many people that think we shouldn’t do this kind of testing, because all we do, it’s a trap.”

In a tweet on Sunday, Woolery wrote, “The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Armed Citizens Escort Black Michigan Legislator to Work

One would imagine because of the ugly history and current situation of Black Americans: Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, pogroms, constant police brutality and murder, genocidal hate groups, Confederate apologists, etc, that Black Americans would be the biggest and most vociferous proponents of the Second Amendment and armed self-defense that one might find in any nation in history. 

Well one would be wrong. Still, eventually, I suppose it finally might get thru to folks that when you're dealing with hateful irrational unstable armed people, it's in your best interest to be armed as well. 

You may recall that the recent anti-shutdown protests in Lansing, Michigan saw mostly white armed individuals enter the Capitol building, shrieking and yelling. Some had Nazi flags, Confederate Battle Flags and nooses.

Despite all this, given that Michigan law allows open carry (and that the protesters were Caucasian), the Michigan State Police refused to take any aggressive action against the protesters. Somehow other various police forces haven't always shown such restraint when a Black person has attempted to exercise his or her right to open carry in Michigan but I digress.

Anyhow, either to make a point or because she was honestly scared, Michigan Representative Sarah Anthony accepted escort by armed Black citizens. 

WEDNESDAY, May 6 — After a horde of armed and angry protesters swarmed Lansing last week, State Rep. Sarah Anthony brought some extra protection on her way to the State Capitol today.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Joe Biden and Tara Reade Double Standards

I don't know if presumptive 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate, former Vice-President Joe Biden sexually assaulted Tara Reade in 1993. People who dislike Biden will be likely to believe that he did it. 

Alleged sexual harassment or assault aside, Biden does inarguably have a very long and public history of putting his hands on women or girls to whom he is not married and with whom he presumably has not had consensual intimacy. Biden has behaved in a way that in today's corporate world could see a man of lesser status reprimanded or even terminated. Does the existence of smoke mean that there's fire?

Biden partisans or those who just want control of the Presidency will be less likely to believe that Biden sexually assaulted Tara Reade. They will scream about Republican dirty tricks, say that Trump's gotta go no matter what, claim that Reade is a (insert contemptuous word for woman of low morals), or simply say that the Biden they know would never have done anything like that.

For too many people across the political spectrum, due process, proof, and skeptical inquiry (especially) for sexual crimes have become concepts that are ONLY to be granted to people that agree with you or look like you. They are NEVER basic human rights guaranteed to people who differ from you politically or have the "wrong" set of chromosomes. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Bernie Sanders Drops Out

As you may have heard Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign to become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

He still intends to carry on a battle for his vision at the Democratic Convention.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont ended his presidential candidacy on Wednesday, concluding a quest that elevated him as a standard-bearer of American liberalism and clearing the way for a general election between the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and President Trump at a time of national crisis.

“I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour,” Mr. Sanders said, adding, “While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not.”

If Mr. Biden, the former vice president, can now lay claim to the Democratic nomination, he still faces considerable challenges in uniting the party and mobilizing a broad base of voters for the November election. Unlike Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden inspired little enthusiasm among young voters, nor did he develop signature policy proposals. He triumphed because many voters rejected Mr. Sanders’s policy agenda as too far to the left and prohibitively expansive, and were convinced that Mr. Biden had the best chance to beat Mr. Trump in November.

I don't think Biden is a particularly strong candidate, although Sanders certainly had his issues. I believe that Biden is suffering from some cognitive or verbal declines. I think that Biden and his team underestimate Trump's nastiness and combativeness. About 40-45% of the electorate is devoted to Trump. I don't think there are too many Trump voters who will be amenable to reasoned arguments. Biden still has to give it the old college try though.