Posts

The Republican Terrorist Attack

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It was a Republican terrorist attack. Now, just about every word in that sentence is inflammatory and rude, and probably to an unnecessary degree. But it's important that the proper words be used, because as George Carlin put it, we do think in language.  And this is accurate language. Republicans committed a terrorist attack on the United States. It should also be noted that along with being rude, the big flaw in that framework is the same flaw that Republicans encounter when accusing all Muslims of being terrorists. Small, extreme groups who claim to share an affinity with a larger group that contains multitudes do NOT - at all - represent that larger group. There's a degree to which mainstream members of groups should hold their extremists accountable, but at the end of the day, they're just not representative of their outliers. That's why they're outliers. But there's a fair argument to be made that the the group that attacked the United States Capitol buil

The Loyal Opposition

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We don't really have a blueprint for what a "loyal opposition" looks like, do we? Take the periods from 2008-2010 and then 2016-2018. Putting the filibuster aside, that's when we had (mostly) one party rule.  During those times, there was little for the opposition party to do aside from either vote with the ruling majority party or kvetch from the sidelines about what the majority was doing. The former constituted disloyalty, the latter, weakness. Millions upon millions of people voted for representatives that were confined to minority status and (almost complete) powerlessness. Game theory - almost - dictates that such scenarios should make people vote for candidates that they didn't prefer. Better to have a candidate that you disagree with and has power that can be leveraged and positions that can be influenced than one that's utterly powerless, rendering their ideology meaningless. We need to square that circle as we shouldn't have representatives that.

They already have enough ammunition.

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President Obama's comments about "defunding the police" being a mantra that "loses people"  are absolutely correct - no qualifications necessary. It's yet another one of those things in our politics in which several things can be true at the same time. First, the obvious. Something needs to be done at a national level about our police and that starts with funding. Our police forces are trigger happy and dangerous, particularly for black people as well as people with mental illness. Decades of defunding mental health and social services, as well as a failed "war on drugs" has led to an insane amount of over - policing. And the population is so awash in propaganda from "blue lives matter" up to and including "protect and serve" that it makes their budgets particularly impenetrable. But that's where it starts - redirecting funds from policing to broader public services for people who need them. We - and Obama - get that. But -

The Savvy Cassandras

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We know - pretty much for a fact - that on his way out, President Trump is going to sabotage as much of the executive apparatus as he can in a fit of pique. We know - pretty much for a fact - that President - Elect Biden's overtures to bipartisanship are going to fail in the face of universal, bad - faith Republican obstruction . We know - pretty much for a fact - that even given 50 Democratic Senators that the greatest negotiator in the world couldn't get anything resembling progressive policies passed.  We know - pretty much for a fact - that our international relationships have been effectively poisoned top to bottom over the last four years and that will make repair difficult to nearly impossible. We are - probably for a long time - the country that elected and almost re - elected an incompetent fascist.  We're not to be trusted with the world's car keys. So here's what I can't puzzle out - given that we know these things as much as anyone can know thin

Lefty McSocialist and Jesus McGunguy

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We have a very real and pervasive problem with guilt - by association in our politics. It was the main driver of down ticket Democratic losses in 2020 (IMHO), and it more than likely cost Joe Biden Florida. And it needs to be reckoned with . It sort of… breaks things that if a particular politician meets with, agrees with, looks like, or even dares to belong to the same party as another politician, that they can be saddled with that entirely different person’s entirely different positions. Not only will any tenuous association be made into campaign ads, but it actually beggars belief that it… works.  The fact that Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Joe Biden both have a “D” after their name does not make them the same person. And it’s crystal clear that drawing an imaginary connection between two such disparate points can lead to problems, particularly when (what should be) local races get nationalized. If you’re a moderate politician running in a moderate to conservative district in, say, O

Sunlight is a disinfectant, but it also makes weeds grow.

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I'm finding myself a little excited by the idea that conservatives might all leave legitimate social media platforms for their own, separate, safe space . And it’s not only the improvement in the overall decency of social media that would result, or relief from the last three months of dealing with an onslaught of Trumpian trolls and bots. Any history of conservatism is a history of non - credible ideas gaining credibility and then never really losing it. Whether it’s being anti - civil rights, pro - tax cuts for the wealthy, or science denial, the pattern is the same. The fringe becomes the extreme becomes the mainstream, and from there, it can't be dislodged. The “liberal media” myth is no different. So it was only a matter of time before conservatives started accusing user - driven social media sites of “bias” and “censorship” once they tried to get a handle on misleading and dangerous information on their sites.  The big bonus of this - which will take years to play out - i

The next two years of hell.

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There are now great gobs of evidence that not only is the Trump administration actively ignoring the pandemic , but that they are perfectly happy leaving as big a mess as possible on every level for the incoming Biden administration to clean up. If we make it through the next two months though, I don’t really see how the next two years are anything but shameless, wall - to - wall sabotage. No one’s crystal ball is crystal clear of course: Democrats, through executive order , reconciliation (maybe?), or filibuster reform (maybe?) attempt to take some basic recovery measures after close to 300k deaths from a pandemic, 10% unemployment, a recession, and a 3 trillion dollar budget deficit. To do that, they will have to (gasp!) tax AND spend. Republicans - regardless of the Senate’s composition - will oppose any and all bills proposed by Democrats and strike the same posture they did from 2010 - 2016. No Republican support for anything; details be damned. Legislative victories are politica