February 27, 2016
Going back to Slick Willie on Grand Staircase-Escalante, through Shrub, and now to Dear Leader, we've added little in the way of real national monument lands. We've also not helped NPS out with its ongoing budget shortfall. And Dear Leader has foisted upon us a commercialized, neoliberal centennial celebration for the Park Service.
Two of the three B-grade national monuments Obama declared a week ago adjoin Joshua Tree National Park; why weren't all or part of Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow added to it?
Answer? It would eliminate multiple use in non-wilderness areas, and it would cost the NPS money that Obama won't fight to get. And a political battle that he might not want, unless he can expand current Joshua Tree boundaries by executive order.
And, why didn't he try? The Antiquities Act creates national monuments by executive action; it doesn't specify what agency runs them. At a minimum, this could have been Joshua Tree NM, jointly administered with the NP. Slick Willie's Giant Sequoia NM could likewise have been tied in with Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP.
And Castle Mountain is an inholding inside Mojave National Preserve, also run by the NPS, so a somewhat similar argument applies.
Per maps of all three, available here, significant amounts of Mojave Trails is non-wilderness. (I don't know how much of that area is WSA or not.) Also, the map of Mojave Trails shows a significant amount of private land inholdings. That's bad enough on a faux national monument.
Add to it that Obama is, outside of the golf course, an even less nature-philiac president than Clinton, even as concerned environmentalists decry the lack of people of color in our national parks, and the circle is squared.
February 26, 2016
Speaking of the GOP, let's start there.
Texas is a showdown state — no other way to put it. Cruz has to win, and Trump would love a knockout. So, Lobster Claws Kasich and Roboto Rubio aka Marco Polo (thanks, Brains) should probably focus on other states, if they have brains.
The GOP has one other twist. Many of the states, even though not winner-take-all, have popular vote percentage floors, usually 20 percent. The NYT explains further, and the Washington Post yet further. For Kasich, especially, this is a reason to use his husbanded financial and staff resources carefully. Wikipedia has the details on threshold percentages.
Kasich, IMO, would be best targeting Massachusetts, Vermont and probably Virginia. Rubio could probably focus on all non-Texas states but those three, though he might eyeball Virginia, too.
Will "establishment Republican" Chris Christie's endorsement of Trump help Trump that much? Hurt others? I doubt it. Their political circles may not overlap quite as much as the geographic ones, but they do enough, and Christie was always yesterday's news in the GOP.
The GOP has the additional twist that more than half the Super Tuesday primaries are open, though I don't see any likelihood of major Democratic crossovers. Alleged independents? Different story, and will surely break for Trump; let's see how many participate.
Democrats? Same on open vs closed primaries. Given low party turnout so far, the number of primaries that are open will be a good measure of Democratic support. Given that many of them are southern states, I predict turnout will be abysmal.
Sanders needs to win the more liberal Massachusetts and Minnesota, as well as home-state Vermont. Targeting black votes in urban Massachusetts would help his reputation there. Virginia could be a good target, even with the inside-the-Beltway issues he'll face, and Texas has to be contested because of total delegates. Sanders also might play well in Border South Oklahoma and Tennessee. Anyway, he has to win states besides Vermont. Another one he needs to do well in, and, realistically, win, is Colorado. Getting youth and young adults to turn out in places like Boulder will be key — and perhaps heavy work, as Colorado is a caucus state.
And, in pre-Super Tuesday, will Hillary's being called out on her 1996 super-predators have any effect? Moral victory plus spinning for Sanders would be losing by less than 15 percent.
|The Swiss Army Knife clusterfuck|
Kasich is surely in part just doing what he can to separate himself from the rest of the GOP playing field, along with his Compassionate Conservativism 2.0 playbook
The fact is, though, that Kasich is right: The plane sucks, as anybody who's honest about it and will talk about it knows.
Which led me to Tweet
For your info, Sandernistas, Bernie loves him some F-35s as part of military Keynesianism for Vermont. (Just like he's not a corporate socialist until it comes to dairy price supports in a Big Ag bill.)
Again, the fact is, Kasich is right: The plane sucks, as anybody who's honest about it knows. You know what else? Military Keynesianism also sucks.
But, ever since he graduated from Burlington Mayor to the House of Representatives, Sanders has become more and more a part of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment. That's why this piece in The Nation, about a possible Sanders foreign policy, is more aspirational than real, about what some people think Sanders should do, rather than what he would do.
Sanders had his clear chance at the Milwaukee debate to say he'd cut defense spending, for example, and whiffed.
So, let's be honest, and not project our own foreign policy desires onto an inadequate vessel.
Of course, if Bernie likes lusting after potentially crappy planes for military Keynesianism, there's a planned new bomber Boeing just unveiled.
February 25, 2016
You know, this:
That said, Clintonistas on Facebook has already said, but Sanders voted for the 1994 crime bill, too. He did, tis true. He also caveated his vote at the time.
And, otherwise, in general, I see many Clintonistas offering up apologetics which are themselves ripe for #WhichHillary skewering.
So, on all of these stances she took, was it the Hillary Clinton brainwashed into her stance, like George W. Bush brainwashed her into the Iraq War, or was it the Hillary Clinton just following the crowd?
Was it the Hillary Clinton who wasn't elected in 1992 and therefore has no association with eight years of Bill Clinton's presidency, or was it the Hillary Clinton who said, "You buy one, you get two"?
Yes, politicians in general try to shuffle off blame and responsibility. But, nobody's done it as much, and as artlessly, as her — with the exception of her backers.
Nothing is ever her fault.
And, as they continue to say that, they dig an ever-deeper hole on the trust and responsibility issues.
Per eight years ago, do you really trust Hillary Clinton to take that 2 a.m. call?
Let's get back to that 1996 video, though.
"No conscience"? As in the drug-crazed zombies of "Reefer Madness"? It's not just whether the War on Drugs was punitive or not, it's that she's passing along stereotypes associated with it.
"Bring them to heel"? You know who you bring to heel? Dogs and uppity black folks. Yes, many in the Congressional Black Caucus supported the bill, too. And, many in the CBC were already selling out to the neolib establishment by then.
As Cenk Ugyer notes, in reality, she lobbied for Clinton's crime bill, and given that "super-predator" had already been used by Republicans before, and primarily about black youth:
What can you call this but a dogwhistle? Especially since it was part of Bill's 1996 re-election campaign (note the date stamp on the video, and note the "Campaign 96" icon), and had popped up months earlier in the pages of The Weekly Standard, by John DiIulio, who went on to be Shrub's first director of faith-based initiatives. Alternet's got the goods, with that link.
DiIulio's own piece is ... horrible. He tries to sugarcoat it by making it look like his concerns are broader than black inner-city youth, even as he then goes on to write them off.
So, even though Sanders' stance on crime issues hasn't been perfect (and let's not forget that he comes from that same rural white state where he unduly panders to gun owners), the likes of Mediate are wrong in trying to brush this off.
Worse is Clintonistas who refuse to even discuss that Hillary lobbied for the 1994 bill, that she campaigned for Bill in part based on the 1994 crime bill, and that she used the "super-predator" on the campaign trail in what can only be called a dogwhistle.
That gets back to: was it the Hillary Clinton brainwashed into her stance, like George W. Bush brainwashed her into the Iraq War, or was it the Hillary Clinton just following the crowd?
Following the crowd is the answer, I guess: She's now essentially said "Nobody asked me to show regret before."
All of this, as much of the Democratic Leadership Council/Third Way Democrats largely supported the occasional dogwhistle, is another reason why it's time to stop enabling the Democratic Party.
First, she notes that the Green Party, whomever it nominates, is working to be either a Plan A for the already enlightened, or a Plan B for Sanders backers when he gets shivved enough times, backed into an establishmentarian corner, or whatever.
And, yes, all of that is already starting to happen.
Second, those differences.
Per Bernie lusting after the military teat for F-35s, as I've noted in depth before, she's got a good phrase for it: "military Keynesianism." Sanders had an excellent, straight-on opportunity last Thursday to reject this, when asked what federal agencies or programs he might downsize. As I noted, a simple answer would have been "The Department of Defense and the CIA." And he passed. Says enough right there.
From there, she notes he's been insufficiently concerned about the "Deep State," though he did vote against the Patriot Act. And, he's drone warfare-lite, and still within establishmentarian bounds on Israel-Palestine issues.
On Snowden, Sanders himself has said "I don't care." But, he actually does care, as in the first Democratic debate, he called for Snowden to be prosecuted, knowing full well that the idea of him getting "a light sentence" in today's America is far more unrealistic than Sanders' ideas on reducing prison incarceration. (However, establishmentarians like Mark Kleiman, while playing "gotcha" with Sanders on incarceration in general, surely applaud his comment on Snowden.
Related to this, Stein stares straight at the issue of "Lesser Evilism," And, she's unafraid to call out even a left-liberal icon to some, Noam Chomsky, for participating in it.
Related to that, she's right about one other thing — Clinton has less power to "bamboozle" now than Obama did in 2008.
Give the whole piece a read. Stein herself isn't afraid to call out Marxist types — a place leftward I would never go — for claiming that the Green Party, and real "green" types in general, are "catastrophists" for our degree of worry about climate change.
I know many Sanders backers, especially among younger voters, may not grasp that he's likely to cut his deal with the national Democratic party at some point. I also recognize that many of you may not realize how establishmentarian much of his foreign policy is. That's why I'm blogging about this piece — when the "deal time" comes, you need to know there's a Plan B, and one that's better.
That said, Sanders-only backers vs. Plan B thinkers has led to an outbreak of dueling articles on left-liberal opinion sites.
Chris Hedges, while overblown on calling Sanders a "sheepdogger" for the Democratic party, is right that any true political movement of the left will ultimately have to arise outside that party.
If Sanders is denied the nomination—the Clinton machine and the Democratic Party establishment, along with their corporate puppet masters, will use every dirty trick to ensure he loses—his so-called movement and political revolution will evaporate. His mobilized base, as was true with the Obama campaign, will be fossilized into donor and volunteer lists. The curtain will come down with a thunderclap until the next election carnival.
That's why I long ago decided to stop enabling the Democratic Party, as I wrote yesterday.
February 24, 2016
|Brian Sandoval, come on down!|
Of course, the typical Republican governor would be a problem.
But, Sandoval? Yes. Per an old Nate Silver piece, he's the second-most-liberal GOP governor, and how Chris Christie ranked more liberal, I don't know.
Politico's got the goods on how he got this, in a piece calling him "Nevada's Party Pooper."
Here's the nut graf:
The abortion rights governor has embraced Obamacare; lauded immigration reform and DREAMers; fiercely championed renewable energy; and taken lesser known actions on police body cameras, driver’s licenses for undocumented aliens and multiple moves to squelch Republican-led tort reform.
Add in that he has signed off on tax increases for education, and he's no worse than the more squishy of Dems. Some other stuff shows that he's not great on unions, necessarily, and we don't know his stance on Citizens United, but, again, it would be hard to go wrong. Add in that he's a Hispanic, is personally being championed by Harry Reid, who can do equal battle with Mitch McConnell on use of Senate rules as a bludgeon, and, it's hard to argue against the idea that this is Obama's best realistic chance.
The icing on the cake? A former federal judge, appointed by Shrub Bush, who reportedly still has a sharp judicial mindset. Plus, the Nevada GOP would like to boot him out of office, per the Politico piece, and might at this moment be joining Harry Reid in talking to Mitch McConnell, for all we know.
Ballotpedia adds that he made medical marijuana a real deal in Nevada, too, going beyond home-grow to legal medical dispensaries.
Oh, and he's refused to kowtow to big utilities, Wikipedia notes, by not putting a net metering cap on solar feed-ins; at the same time, smaller solar rooftop companies don't like that feed-ins are paid at the wholesale, not retail rate, claiming it's a giveaway to Warren Buffett. On the other hand, per greater sage grouse protection, he's not an ardent environmentalist overall, it seems. Jon Ralston's report of Sandoval's comments about Obama's creation of Basin and Range National Monument show him a squish at best.
That said, the Wikipedia link also describes him as seemingly pragmatic on criminal justice issues. And a outrightly pro-environment GOP governor in the West is even less likely than a pro-choice one.
Other issues? OnTheIssues notes that he's pretty hardcore on the Second Amendment and originally opposed Obamacare, so he's not quite as rosy as Dear Leader will paint him, should we get to that point. And, he has favored some sort of voter ID. Nor is he perfect on union issues, and with the Supremes facing an issue on teacher organizing, that's an issue. (That said, pro "free"-trade national Dems have little room to bitch about a potential justice's union stance, you know what I mean?)
And, he's relatively young, so he'd be on there for a while.
And, per President Obama's Tuesday guest piece on SCOTUSblog, he seemingly kicks all the presidential tires that he mentions. Of course, the piece is little more than platitudinous.
He's got other good, or at least interesting, things. Given he's in Nevada, I Googled his name plus "Cliven Bundy." While he doesn't support the Sagebrush Rebellion that I can tell, he does support the First Amendment over "cattle pens" for protestors. Unfortunately, at the time, many "liberal" Gnu Media spun this into the idea that Sandoval actually supported Bundy. Now, he may have been wrong on how much of a buffer zone BLM needed to do its duty, but given the degree the feds have used the "cattle pens" to restrict free speech, including and especially protestors of all political stripes, I'm not linking to any of the Gnu Media.
I'm sure he's got some issues where he less than fully aligns with all Democratic ideals; if he didn't, he wouldn't run as a Republican. But, as I said above ...
And, does he want it? He did leave the federal bench, albeit at the district level, not the appellate one, to run for governor. And, he passed on a chance to possibly beat Reid for Senate to pursue the governor's chair instead. Of course the Supremes is a whole different kettle of fish, especially if — above all, his signing into law tax increases — he realizes his national Republican elective future is slim and none.
Finally, the $64 question from Dear Leader's POV: What's it like as strategery?
I think Mitch the Turtle probably has firm control of somewhere between 35-45 Senators at this time. If a Sandoval got to a Judiciary Committee hearing, those numbers could slip. From Obama's point of view, they need to fall to 39, unless Reid can find a way to force an "old-fashioned" actual talking filibuster.
For Senate Dems not named Harry Reid, the question is: Assuming Hillary Clinton is nominated, in your guts of guts, how confident do you feel that she'll be elected? And, if she is, how confident do you feel that enough Senate seats will change hands to let her nominate somebody a lot more "liberal" than Sandoval?
February 23, 2016
The New York Times is Example A.
• Latest? Claims from alleged "left-leaning economists" that Medicare for all will financially ruin America, and individual Americans. Tis true that none of the people it interviewed are working for Clinton. However, that doesn't mean they're left-leaning in any but the left-neoliberal sense.
Austan Goolsbee? Obama flak. Jared Bernstein? Flak for Senator MBNA. At least the NYT noted he was responding to Gerald Friedman's in-depth piece about Sanders' ideas. However, it didn't actually interview him. And, as Matt Yglesias notes, none of them actually analyzed Friedman's claims. They just batted it down as establishmentarians.
Yglesias himself talks to Dean Baker. And, there are some issues, tis true. It's based on GOP-type Rosy Scenario, a favorite friend of Ronnie Reagan's.
Speaking of, Matty notes well that Sanders' campaign is somewhat Republican-like in an ideological focus.
• More here on the Times' skewed, even shady, reporting.
• Thats followed by the Times running an op-ed by Mittens' 2012 chief campaign strategist claiming there's no real conservatives running this year. The idiocy that Obama is a wild-eyed liberal compared to Bill Clinton is only a little more worse than the idiocy that the Old Gray Lady thought this a guest column worth running.
• Speaking of op-eds, Paul Krugman long ago went swimming in the Clintonista tank. Charles Blow has now joined him.
And Doug Henwood has their number.
• Hillary Men, et al, attacking Sanders supporter Killer Mike for honestly saying "a uterus" (being a woman) doesn't, of itself, qualify one to be president. He, to his credit, is not backing off.
Roqayah Chamsedine further busts up the BS piñata about Killer Mike.
• Mark Kleiman, an alleged policy leader in changing the War on Drugs, despite that Sanders would be a better president for that, has been no holds barred at throwing Bernie under the bus.
• WaPost op-ed columnist Jonathan Capehart claims that a 1960s civil rights photo of Sanders isn't him, when it clearly is.
• Paul Starr of The American Prospect, slouching closer to Gomorrah every time he opens his pen, tries to claim that Bernie is not just a Scandinavian socialist (bad enough!) but worse, that he's to the left of them, a corporate socialist who wants to start nationalizing stuff. The fact that zero evidence exists for this doesn't stop Starr from screeding, though.
• Barney Frank (never THAT far to the left outside a hot-button social issue) is already looking to scapegoat Sandernistas.
• Activist Dolores Huerta is lying about being interrupted by Sanders backers. Given that she's been an in-the-tank Clintonista since 2008, yet an opportunistic suck-up to Obama, and years ago, willing to publicly use the word "wetback," no surprise.
• Bill Curry (yes, THAT Curry, long-ago FOB) talks in much depth about the mainstream media being part of what we should call "a vast neoliberal conspiracy."
• Heck, the MSM was throwing the kitchen sink after the first Democratic debate last October.
• Beyond the media, the Clinton family and allies are picking up their own kitchen sinks.
The lies about Clinton being for "health care for all" are too thick to even count.
Chelsea Clinton doubles down on being a kinder, gentler pit bull attack dog for mom, spouting new nonsense all the time and making herself into a poster child for a tougher inheritance tax.
And Daddy Slickster has called Sanders backers a left-wing Tea Party.
• SEIU lied about Clinton supporting a $15/hr minimum wage.
• Meanwhile, tribal-type feminists continue to spread the lies.
• Hell, even Al Franken is a Clintonista — a second-rate comic now become a third-rate politician.
But, he's an insider now, and a sellout.
The new round of Clinton endorsements by superdelegates confirms that. The pull quote below is from the vice president of the Indiana Democratic Party.
Brains has more, and also discusses the "enthusiasm gap" between GOP and Democrats.
For me, the enthusiasm right now is not "Feel the Bern," as I've remained wary all along of his stances on foreign policy issues, military issues and guns.
But, I've long said that he's a useful cudgel to beat over the heads of Clintonistas and the Democratic establishment. And, I'm going to swing harder and harder the more the lies and smears are spread about Sanders.
February 22, 2016
Off the Kuff looks at how cases involving Texas may be affected by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos urges Bernie and Hillary supporters to kiss and make up. Donít be Swindled by a Ham Head.
Not understanding the vitriol of the Clinton campaign's supporters toward their primary challenger, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs provided the polling numbers for the ten states voting on March 1 in hopes that Clintonoids might be able to calm down a little.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says buckle up for a gay-bashing, theocracy pushing Texas legislature session.
As Apple debates whether to give in to the FBI and supply programming code to unlock an iPhone, Socratic Gadfly moves past the company's civil liberties PR claims to take a skeptical look at its past and its hypocrisy.
Neil at All People Have Value took a good picture of colorful things in Newport, Kentucky. Everyday life has a lot of value. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
Texas Sharon says the choice of one more fracking-fueled natural gas power plant, or not, is not a hard one to make.
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.
David Ortez contends that Antonin Scalia would support President Obama nominating a new Supreme Court justice in his last year in office.
Kathy Mitchell calls for transparent policies regarding police body cameras.
Progress Texas gives three reasons why the Railroad Commissioner race matters.
Primo gives a high-level overview of the Democratic Presidential primary in Texas.
Harold Cook sees no winning scenario for Republicans in the SCOTUS vacancy.
Mark Reynolds advocates for finally putting a price on carbon.
Paradise in Hell is unimpressed with UT's campus carry compromise.
TrailBlazers notes that Marco Rubio is picking up Texas endorsements.
Juanita Jean's talks about the Texas Democratic presidential primary; Prairie Weather calls superdelegates a dirty trick and Somervell County Salon decries Clinton and Clinton camp behavior at the Nevada caucus.
The Citizens Climate Lobby is calling for something long supported by this blog — carbon tax and tariff.
First, a sidebar thought — isn't it a bit presumptuous to be writing this? Yes, I think Bernie may be throwing in the towel before the end of the primary season, but that's me prognosticating, not opining. And, beyond that, I'm not Texas' major left-of-center opinion magazine.
Second, as I Tweeted Hooks, the "if not Clinton, who" issue shows deeper Democratic Party issues which Sanders is exposing.
A. Biden? He would have a fair amount of the same neoliberal fiscal baggage, and Iraq War baggage (not that Bernie is totally enlightened on foreign policy himself) as Clinton.
B. Dem governors? Please. Name me one after Geriatric Brown (three and a half years older than Sanders). Andrew Cuomo? A hack mired in growing scandal. John Hickenlooper? A neoliberal squish outside of tepid support for pot. Others are blander yet. Former governor Brian Schweitzer could have run outside the Israel box that both Clinton and Sanders are in, and as an "outsider" (and would have gotten my support over Clinton, even with his anti-environmental baggage) but he opted not to run.
One person in a comment back to me listed Minnesota's Mark Dayton. He might be very good on the two hot-button social issues, and OK overall. But, he refused to run for Senate re-election because he hated Washington. He's nine months older than Clinton, which would make him almost as old in 2020 as Sanders is now. (Sidebar: Yes, age is a relevant question about Sanders. Clinton's too old herself to bring it up, though.)
C. Dem senators? Really? Cory Booker might be charismatic, but he's very much a shadow Obama 2.0. From a political perspective, for me, Elizabeth Warren would definitely get my support. Other than that, Sheldon Whitehouse, Sherrod Brown and Ed Markey are the only ones I even might consider — and, of course, that would be just for the Democratic primaries, not the general.
Generally, there's not a creative thinker in that mix, and there's not a lot of people under 60 in that mix.
The problem goes deeper than that. Per a piece I did a couple of weeks about Clintonistas' shit not stinking, the Democrats who responded to a Carly Fiorina attack on Hillary Clinton, and the shallowness of the levels of defense they were above to muster, shows just how weak the party is.