Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hillary Clinton is Not Popular

Among the endless efforts to make Hillary Clinton's 2016 candidacy seem inevitable, the most absurd is those who claim that she has suddenly transformed into so a candidate with a broad base of popular support. This was always ridiculous, and the reasons why were obvious to anyone who understands our personality driven political system. You get popular when you are in positions outside of the daily cable media puke funnel, and you become extremely divisive the moment you return to it. If you don't believe me take a look at George W. Bush's approval ratings at the moment.

Hillary Clinton is exactly the same things she was last time she ran for office: Extremely divisive, not a good campaigner or speaker, and an extraordinary fund raiser. Literally nothing has changed, she remains all of these things, and her favorable ratings will continue to plummet, the more unpopular she will become. Here is her current graph, and it's not going to get worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My MD Ballot

Heather Mizeur for Governor
Brian Frosh for Attorney General

Mizeur is a genuine progressive, and she deserves your vote. Brown will probably win and will be your standard issue blank slate democrat in a blue state, I don't think he's a Cuomo level centrist won't veto shit but he won't fight for much either. Gansler is an unspeakable asshole and will hopefully be humiliated by the end of this.

Frosh is fantastic and has been a leader on a bunch of issues, especially Maryland's repeal of the death penalty. Jon Cardin is a do-nothing state senator who only has his position because his uncle is our do-nothing representative in the US Senate. This race is actually going to be close, and here's hoping we don't promote another worthless Cardin to a position of actual power.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bigotry is the Rule, Not the Exception

Yesterday, at the most important conservative think tank in America:
Representatives of prominent conservative groups converged on the Heritage Foundation on Monday afternoon for the umpteenth in a series of gatherings to draw attention to the Benghazi controversy.

But this one took an unexpected turn.

What began as a session purportedly about “unanswered questions” surrounding the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya deteriorated into the ugly taunting of a woman in the room who wore an Islamic head covering.

The session, as usual, quickly moved beyond the specifics of the assaults that left four Americans dead to accusations about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating the Obama administration, President Obama funding jihadists in their quest to destroy the United States, Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton attempting to impose Sharia blasphemy laws on Americans and Al Jazeera America being an organ of “enemy propaganda.”

Then Saba Ahmed, an American University law student, stood in the back of the room and asked a question in a soft voice. “We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there’s 1.8 billion followers of Islam,” she told them. “We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here.”

Panelist Brigitte Gabriel of a group called ACT! for America pounced. She said “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization.” She told Ahmed that the “peaceful majority were irrelevant” in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and she drew a Hitler comparison: “Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million died.”

“Are you an American?” Gabriel demanded of Ahmed, after accusing her of taking “the limelight” and before informing her that her “political correctness” belongs “in the garbage.”

“Where are the others speaking out?” Ahmed was asked. This drew an extended standing ovation from the nearly 150 people in the room, complete with cheers.

The panel’s moderator, conservative radio host Chris Plante, grinned and joined in the assault. “Can you tell me who the head of the Muslim peace movement is?” he demanded of Ahmed.

“Yeah,” audience members taunted, “yeah.”
It's worth pointing out that the problem of bigotry in today's conservative movement is often portrayed (and not totally incorrectly) as elite big money GOP vs the tea party base. Except when this type of vile bigotry occurs at a fancy elite event at the most important conservative think tank in existence. It wasn't just tolerated, it received extended applause.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

John Oliver on Fifa

So this John Oliver show... it seems really fucking good. For a written view of why Fifa is so awful, Dave Zirin's piece is very good.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Death of the Left

I'm working on a post that deals with some of the same issues in greater detail, but for now read this Matt Stoller commentary on Cuomo's endorsement from the Working Families Party. A tough read but extremely important:
After a resurgence under Bush from 2005-2008, liberals have been losing consistently for six years now. Donna Edwards and Ned Lamont were the last stand. Now there is no real war within the Democratic Party. In blue states like Wisconsin, public unions got crushed, the centrist beat the liberal in the primary and then lost to Scott Walker. Primaries all over, blue states and red, are slaughters for liberals. EMILY'S list, the DCCC, the White House, and every other party institution makes liberals their chew toy. There are no challenges to incumbent centrist Democrats anymore, but there are right-wing challenges to liberals (see Ro Khanna).

There are some bright spots. Elizabeth Warren is a good Senator with a strong sense of consequential policy moves. But she uses her vast political network to help mainstream Democrats, not liberals. And Bill de Blasio and Eric Schneiderman, both aesthetically left-ish I suppose, are essentially failed at policymaking and stumped for Cuomo. The bright spots are not advancing the ball politically, or even worse, they are making things worse.

Meanwhile, forums for discussion are ruined. There's no place where genuine debates happen, where people debate and fight over what to do, where intellectual centers bubble over with energetic policy questions. Nothing like CPAC, for instance. There is grassroots energy, in some places, but that is totally disconnected from the political establishment.

I don't know what to do about this. I think, after years of watching this, that liberals have just been convinced that liberalism doesn't work. They think that liberals can't govern. Even though they dislike Cuomo, they don't actually think Zephyr could be Governor. They want mythic conservative figures, like Cuomo, and Obama, and so forth, and they don't really believe that government can make their lives better in any fundamental way. But Zephyr could be Governor! It's just a job. She could actually make college free in New York, and start a state debt card competitive with the banks, and bring small farms back to NY, and make the state carbon neutral. That's all possible! It's not that hard!

Anyway, I hope people take away from what happened last night a real sense that we need some soul-searching. We need to start asking ourselves why we dare not work for a better world, why when faced with a choice of the good versus the evil, the courageous versus the cowardly, the hope versus the fear, we pick fear. Because that's what happened. There was no structural blah blah blah this time. It was a group of liberals picking fear, fighting for fear, and making fear the guiding point of politics, one more time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014