Archive for category This Blog
Ed Kilgore has a short and fascinating post at Washington Monthly today. In it, he observes that following 2014, Republicans largely convinced themselves that the political landscape was tilting to the right.
A lot of Republicans came out of their 2014 landslide fully expecting to keep the party going right into the presidential cycle. There were a lot of reasons to doubt that optimism, from the change to a presidential cycle with less positive turnout patterns for the GOP, to the end of a six-year midterm dynamic that was sure to fade, to an improving economy.
Ed points to a Pew poll that shows the Republican party is viewed extremely negatively by Americans to suggest that the landscape is not favorable for Republicans.
He concludes by saying:
Any way you slice it, any thoughts by Republicans that the landscape is tilting in their direction in this cycle really come down to the fairly abstract notion of an electorate that thinks it’s time for a change after the Obama administration. If contrary to that notion this turns out to be a “two futures” election in which voters are simply comparing the two parties and their candidates, the landscape just isn’t tilting Right.
In essence, Republicans are counting on “Obama” fatigue but Democrats will try to make it a “two futures” campaign. In 2008 and 2012, Democrats were very successful at the “two futures” approach. I hope they repeat that success.
Jack Jenkins offers an interesting observation – after a few, relatively quiet years, conservatives Christians are stepping up their attacks on liberal Christians.
Granted, conservative Christian denunciation of people who hold different beliefs than they do isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Organizations such as the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which has spent years lobbying against LGBT equality from within several Christian denominations, have long sought the eradication of liberal theology. Right-leaning Catholics and evangelical Christian leaders such as Franklin Graham have repeatedly made sweeping claims as to what “Christians” believe, implying that people of faith who don’t share their views are not, in fact, Christians. What’s more, faith communities — conservative or otherwise — have lashed out at each other almost since their inception, so it’s not necessarily surprising that conservative Christians, having lost legal battles over LGBT issues, are now sliding into a theological debate with fellow believers.
Shrewdly, Jenkins follows up on this observation with:
Yet the newest push against liberal Christianity appears hypocritical, as it coincides with a massive campaign waged by various right-wing Christians to insist that the political left respect their “religious liberty” — namely, the right to deny jobs and services to LGBT people in the public sphere, private business, and in Christian schools by invoking faith.
The Religious Right in the US has spent decades trying to convince themselves and everyone else that they and they alone know what constitutes Christianity and they and they alone can speak for the Christian faith. Liberal Christians are a problem for them because they are a public and often eloquent witness that a different kind of Christianity exists.
Of course, having lost the legal battles over marriage equality, the Religious Right is going to lash out. And they will lash out at their insufficiently faithful brethren first.
A short rant about losing one of our most important freedoms, and about the only thing you can do to keep it. Good luck.
After all these years of Americans fighting for “internet neutrality”, against the corporations who want control of the internet, and finally winning an important ruling by the FCC recently, the corporations got the house of “representatives” to sneak language into a funding bill that would stop the FCC’s ability to carry out it’s own ruling.
This bipartisan effort brought Americans from every political party together in staggering numbers in a common cause to protect our freedom to be heard and participate in the course of our lives. The internet provides the most exciting innovative possibilities imaginable, by allowing everybody – not just corporations – the unfettered ability to create new ideas for our future and even our survival.
Our collective congress doesn’t seem to care if our country has an open internet as long as they secure a campaign donation, or maybe they’re just tired of not being able to control it more to their liking. There hasn’t been a peep about this from the congress or our media. I’m sure ABC, NBC, CBS, print media and the politicians liked it a lot better when they had complete control over public discourse before the internet. I don’t share that sentiment.
DO THIS! It’s designed to be super fast and super easy. It even dials the phone for you! Can’t possibly take more then a couple of minutes and it might even be therapeutic. No excuses for you, Bubba!
At the Daily Beast, there is a thoughtful and insightful article talking about the Confederate flag as a pure representation of the logic of war.
There is, however, a thoughtful line that struck me powerfully. “The policy of the rabid secessionists had been to rule or ruin the federal government.”
That connected to an earlier article I read describing the tea party as a confederate party, summarizing:
The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries.
That worldview is alive and well. During last fall’s government shutdown and threatened debt-ceiling crisis, historian Garry Wills wrote about our present-day Tea Partiers: “The presiding spirit of this neo-secessionism is a resistance to majority rule.”
Today’s conservatives aren’t fighting to preserver America, they’re fighting to recreate the Confederacy. I’ve said it before – the essence of American conservatism is the fight to preserve the established social order against all comers. It’s long been that way.
To quote the article from the Daily Beast ” Southerners were growing ever more confident about their ability to defy the federal government and destroy national institutions that did not bend to their will, including the Democratic Party, which they had long dominated.” Replace “Southerners’ with “Conservatives” and and “Democratic Party” with “republican Party” and you have an apt description of how things stand today.
In 2004, following George W. Bush’s re-election, American conservatives were riding high – they had a dogmatic conservative president in George W. Bush, they controlled Congress, conservative policy was everywhere – then it all turned to disaster. Under Bush, a major American city was lost in the flood waters of hurricane Katrina. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan collapsed into disaster. The economy crashed and the hated federal government had to rescue “free enterprise” from the consequences of its own bad choices.
To add insult to injury, Barack Obama became president, and began pursuing progressive policies. The Obama administration has used diplomacy, not guns. They passed the first ever comprehensive healthcare reform bill. They used government as an agent for good. The unhinged loathing of conservatives from Barack Obama is as much about his skin color as it is about his policies. He is doing what they simply cannot accept.
Do I believe we’re headed for another Civil War? No, I’m not so cynical as that. But we are flirting with a different kind of disaster – a collapse into dysfunction. Johan Galtung once predicted that the end of US empire would result in a period of fascism in the US. The tea partiers and their enablers in the republican party sound remarkably like fascists in their jingoistic nationalism, their dehumanizing of “the other”, their valorization of “the family” their mindless love of the military and love of violence.
For all his failings and shortcomings, I think we need to acknowledge that Barack Obama is a political genius. Despite controlling congress, the political right is weaker now than it was before and President Obama’s careful and sometimes maddeningly cautious politics are part of that. Obama’s approach has often allowed his political opponents to destroy themselves. We can learn something.
The Confederate welcomes open confrontation and conflict. They thrive on it and will do everything and anything to create it. It ultimately serves their cause better than careful negotiation and diplomacy precisely because those things represent change.
The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change.
When in the majority, Confederates protect the established order through democracy. If they are not in the majority, but have power, they protect it through the authority of law. If the law is against them, but they have social standing, they create shams of law, which are kept in place through the power of social disapproval. If disapproval is not enough, they keep the wrong people from claiming their legal rights by the threat of ostracism and economic retribution. If that is not intimidating enough, there are physical threats, then beatings and fires, and, if that fails, murder.
We have a nation divided – a conservative minority prepared to destroy it rather than accept change, a muddle majority open to change.
An article at The American Prospect, by Harold Meyerson, summarized the real divide in America as an economic one in which the Southern economic order of first no wage labor in the form of slavery and today as low wage labor through the suppression of unions, minimum wages and other forms of labor reform is driving the divide. Meyers concludes ominously:
Barack Obama came to national prominence in 2004 hoping to bridge the divisions between blue states and red. Instead, these gulfs have deepened. Federal remedy is stymied; the public policies of the red and blue states are racing apart; and the fundamental divisions that turned one nation into two in 1861 loom larger today than they have in a very long time.
As I said before, I’m not so cynical that I believe we’re headed for another Civil War. The fears driving the Confederate Tea Partiers are driven by rapid change to a mutli-racial nation and by rapid economic and social change. Social change is happening whether the tea partiers want it to or not. The question facing us is whether or not they’ll engage with the rest of us in society or try to tear it apart if they don’t get their way. Consider, as I write this, Donald Trump is leading in the GOP presidential race, I’m deeply worried.
House Speaker John Boehner has refused to negotiate with Democrats on the federal budget, setting the conditions for another government shutdown at the end of September.
The House goes on vacation until after Labor Day at the end of the month. If no deal is in place, it will leave just three weeks to craft a budget compromise before funding for the government expires on Sept. 30.
Senate Democrats have promised to block passage of any budget bills that lock in sequestration cuts. Nothing has yet come to a vote in the Senate. President Obama has threatened to veto any such austerity budget bills.
Over in the House, the Tea-GOP has been unable to gather enough votes for the Interior-Environment appropriations bill (that includes crippling budget cuts to the EPA, would prohibit regulation of fracking or implementation of carbon emission standards for electric power plants, block new clean-water rules, and stop the government’s marine and coastal planning efforts to respond to climate change) because it contains an amendment allowing the confederate flag to be displayed in national parks. Speaker Boehner has placed a complete hold on appropriations bills until the impasse is resolved.
If all goes well, the U.S. military won’t have to invade Iran on behalf of Israel after all. I recall there were times during the Bush administration when I thought we were just days away from another illegal war of aggression – a really big one against a country of 77 million people.
Some important points:
- Economic sanctions have had drastic effects on average Iranians, including 30 percent inflation, increasing poverty, problems with health care, even excessive urban air pollution.
- Iran does not possess any of the highly-enriched uranium (HEU) required for nuclear weapons.
- Iran does not have enough centrifuges to make fuel for their one nuclear power station.
Really, this whole brouhaha isn’t about nuclear weapons at all. It’s about regime change. Or you could also say, it’s about punishing ordinary Iranians because their government doesn’t like Israel.
Iran Nuclear Deal: World Powers Reach Historic Agreement to Lift Sanctions
Confused About The Iran Deal? This Cartoon Bomb Will Help
“Treason”: Right-Wing Media Lament Historic Deal To Curb Iran’s Nuclear Program
Lindsay Graham: Iran Deal ‘Akin To Declaring War On Israel’
It’s difficult to not be astounded, even dumb-founded, at the things conservatives say when they’re talking about everyone who is not conservative. Thursday morning, the D-News published an editorial by Richard Hancock, a BYU professor, that was completely irrational but which gave a good example of the conservative mindset: Read the rest of this entry »
Greek voters resounding voted “No” on a referendum about austerity.
I don’t speak Greek but I think a loose translation of the message is “Fuck you, Germany.”
The best line of the week belongs to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras:
“Even in the most difficult circumstances, democracy can’t be blackmailed — it is a dominant value and the way forward,” Tsipras tweeted on Sunday night, adding that Greece intends to restart negotiations with Europe next week.
Thank goodness Obama got elected and was able to get two honest jurors on the supreme court. Everybody is stunned to see decision after decision coming down on the side of ordinary Americans for a change. Scalia is just beside himself and even mentioned “hippies” in his dissenting court opinion about gay marriage. Bizarre.
First came the ruling against segregation in housing. Then “Obamacare” was saved in a decisive vote. I can only remember one other such vote in over a decade, since we started to see all these 5 to 4 politically motivated votes coming out of the court. Then the stunning “marriage equality” decision.
Today we hear about a ruling which actually allows citizens to be included in redistricting discussions. This is really big! I hope something can be done in time for the next presidential vote, but I doubt it.
This should be a clarion call for people to get out and overwhelm the voting system by – you know – voting, so we can prevent a Republican president from stacking the court with partisan hacks again. If McCain and Romney had taken over the white house, none of these rulings would have been possible.
This is not a joke. I actually want to thank the LDS church for the legalization of gay marriage. After all, their meddling in politics (Which I should add is against the law) led to Proposition 8 being overturned and later, their Amendment 3 was struck down by the courts, making Utah the first domino piece to fall. In all seriousness, you cannot say that any of this could have happened without Utah legalizing gay marriage. For that, the real hero is Judge Robert J. Shelby.
Where is Glenden these days? Anyway, Ben & Jerry’s celebrated today’s history-making Supreme Court decision on marriage equality with ‘I Dough, I Dough’ ice cream.
The Court majority held that the Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when a marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.
We’re reminded today that freedom isn’t free. Basic constitutional rights are hard-won after years of struggle. Plus, the Tea-GOP made a big mistake in 2004 by putting same-sex marriage bans on state ballots (it was a GOTV strategy by Karl Rove to boost George W. Bush’s re-election chances).
Utah was one of 11 states that enacted a redundant constitutional amendment (same-sex marriage was already illegal in Utah), thus running afoul of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Battles are often won by taking full advantage of an enemy blunder.
I hate uttering these words but WAY TO GO NANCY PELOSI. She helped defeat Fast Track today in the House but backers vow to fight on. We need to keep the pressure on to defeat these trade bills even without Fast Track authority.
Paul Ryan on the other hand has destroyed his political career.
*** end update ***
The US House of Representatives may vote as early as tomorrow on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) aka “Fast Track”. This will make it easier to pass three “trade” deals that are currently being negotiated in secret involving the Pacific Rim and transatlantic countries. TPP and TPIP particularly. Few Congressmen have actually read any part of them and those who have are sounding the alarm that these deals will not just be bad for US jobs and small businesses but also undermine our sovereignty, impose Internet regulations and put in place everything Hollywood wanted in PIPA and SOPA and more.
TPP and TPIP are both “living agreements” which means an un-elected international committee will have the power to add to the agreements that will effect US law without any Congressional input and give multinational corporations their very own court system to take money from tax payers. Basically a blank check that tax payers will be forced to cover.
The vote for Fast Track is happening with blazing speed because the current GOP is beholden to the national Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood Executives, multi-national corporations along with Big Pharma. who stands to gain perpetual patents on their products. Theses “trade” agreements were written by and for multi-national corporations as the sole beneficiaries. Speaker John Boehner and Paul Ryan are strong arming GOP Congressmen so they need to know the people are behind them in voting no.
Call your Congressmen and tell them to vote no on Fast Track and these power grabs pretending to be trade deals. These votes may be the most critical and far reaching votes in our lifetime.