News Anal. for Mon 2/27/17


The Premise of Everything in US Politics

When you have one side fighting for education, the environment, civil rights, voting rights, freedom of the press, aid to refugees, disaster victims, veterans, and the poor… And the other side a pack of greedy corporate hustlers and people who are fooled by their propaganda – then it’s not “liberal vs. conservative” it’s “people who want to live in a functioning society” vs. “greedy sociopaths who want to turn a functioning society into a wasteland for profit”. It’s intelligence and love vs. ignorance and fear.

Donald Trump, Wuss

It doesn’t happen much any more, but a few years ago, every so often in the media, a comedian had to apologize for an off-color joke. Not only apologize, but go on an “apology tour”. Sometimes, the joke was funny and the offended people were just too stupid to get it. Sometimes, the joke was, in fact, in poor taste. But the idea that the world’s problems could be solved by damaging the career of a comedian because he or she told a joke you didn’t like was absurd to every emotionally-developed adult human being.

Being offended was at its peak as America’s favorite national pass-time around 2010-2013 or so. This is an element of our modern internet-driven popular culture – a culture that rewards narcissists and ultimately elected one President of the United States. A narcissist will pretend to be offended in order to draw attention to themselves.

There were entire websites devoted to people being offended by jokes and everything else famous people said. Bloggers would drive traffic to their sites by pretending to offended at everything, knowing people would either pretend to be offended with them, or fans of the verbal assailant (comedian or other famous person) could not keep from pointing out how ridiculous the blogger was being.

The backlash against the Offended Class was twofold. One, there was a sensible backlash by comedians against the hacky narcissistic gossip bloggers, exemplified by the “Dear People who don’t work here” letter written by the women of the Daily Show in response to Jezebel’s attempt to be all feminist by likening the show to Jon Stewart’s harem of slave laborers.

Then there was the backlash of mostly angry young men who decided to send threats of violence, rape, and death to these bloggers. This group was too dumb to understand the irony of being so offended that you wish harm on someone, for being offended. (Of course some of the most narcissistic bloggers courted and promoted threats and harassment for attention, and even a couple were caught faking their own online harassment – but that is a whole other can of worms).

Years later, the angry young men seeing a New Red Menace emerging would go on to vote for Donald J. Trump for President. A president who is so offended by harmless words he called the press “the enemy of the people” and is refusing to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

What a snowflake. Huge wuss. Mar-a-lago is his safe space. He is 10 times worse than any hacky narcissistic Jezebel blogger ever was.

I’ve thought ill of presidents in my lifetime, but until now I have never thought of a president as being a pussy.

And following in his wake are Republican pussies all over the country dodging town hall meetings.

Tone Deaf Establishment Democrats Vote Down Keith Ellison as DNC Chair, Pissing Off The Left for No Good Reason

The DNC email leaks, blamed on Russia or something, exposed that the DNC Chair during the primaries, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was working to undermine Bernie Sanders campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton. If it wasn’t obvious enough already.

This was one of the main points of anger among Sanders supporters. Keith Ellison was championed early by Bernie Sanders. Then the Obama administration countered by putting Tom Perez up for the nomination, insisting he was just as progressive as Ellison. Writing in the New Republic, Clio Chang asks:

If Perez is like Ellison—in both his politics and ideology—why bother fielding him in the first place?

There is one real difference between the two: Ellison has captured the support of the left wing. Ellison backed Sanders early in his primary race against Hillary Clinton, and was one of the first candidates to announce his bid for DNC chair. His election would generate goodwill from Sanders supporters—or, to put it another way, would avoid the enmity that would surely result from a Perez win.

If an Ellison victory is a modest, symbolic concession, the upside is that Democrats will signal to progressive and younger voters, who Democrats will be desperate to turn out in 2018 and 2020, that they are on their side. It would be a choice of utmost pragmatism.

Instead, Establishment Democrats insisted on maintaining their power through Perez. And it wasn’t pretty. They insisted on countering Ellison in what Zaid Jilani of the Intercept calls “a scorched-earth smear campaign targeting  his religious faith, his affinity for the Nation of Islam in his youth, and his support for Palestinian rights alongside a secure Israel.”

Smart move, DNC. Though Ellison was named “co-chair”, many of Bernie’s supporters are calling for #DemExit.

Today after I’m done writing this, I’m going to change my voter registration from Democrat back to Unaffiliated, which is how I’ve been registered most of my adult life. Twice I switched to Democrat so I could vote for Dennis Kucinich in 2004 and Bernie Sanders in 2016.

However, that doesn’t mean I’m entirely convinced we should create a third party or support the Green Party.

It would be far easier for we Sanders supporters to infiltrate the Democratic Party and reform it at the grassroots. Attend local meetings, attain volunteer positions at the local level, argue and argue about policy, prop up candidates who truly want change and aren’t just Establishment DNC plants, and eventually have a Democratic Party that reflects the economic values of FDR combined with the civil rights values of MLK. This is what Bernie Sanders himself advocates and groups like Justice Democrats are trying to implement.

It is close to impossible for a third party to win an election. Why? Because you would have to get representatives of the two-party system to change laws, voluntarily reducing their own power. And how the system works now is based on Duverger’s Law, as the Washington Post explained in an article last August:

The U.S. picks its elected officials in a way that creates a two-party system

Duverger’s Law says that the way a country’s electoral system is structured usually determines how many competitive parties that country will have.

Here’s how it works. First, when each district gets only one legislative seat (known as a single-member district, which we have in the United States) and, second, when the election’s winner takes that seat, then the system tends to have two dominant parties.

In such a system, all a party needs to win is more votes than the other side. That winner-takes-all nature of single-member districts encourages broad coalitions to form before elections. The odds of a party winning such elections are much higher if only two parties exist, enabling each side to work to bring as many people to its side as possible.

In the United States, that’s writ large in presidential races, because the Electoral College is itself a winner-take-all system: Within each state, the candidate who wins more votes takes all that state’s electoral votes. Even in Nebraska and Maine, where electoral votes are allocated by congressional districts, each individual district is winner-take-all.

Oceti Camp at #NoDAPL evicted by paramilitary police forces, and Valient Himself visits and reports from the front lines of the Worldwide Indigenous Resistance against the Fossil Fuel Industry

I’m not going to analyze this story, but I wanted to include it as something I think that’s more important than any other issue in this country. Please just watch his Facebook live video by Valient Himself. You’ll learn more than you’ve read in any mainstream media account.

Democracy Now! one of the best news programs in the country, has been following #NoDAPL from its inception. Last week they interviewed Ladonna Brave Bull Allard.

North Dakota has lost its mind. I’m just a mom, and I’m a teacher. And yet I can tell you dog breeds that have attacked me. I know the difference between tear gas, CS gas and pepper spray, and the difference in the way that those feel. I know how to spot infiltrators and agent provocateurs. You know, I know these things. I’m just a mom, you know, in the Dakotas. I’m just a mom on Standing Rock, working to protect her children. And I know things that I never in my wildest imagination thought that I would have to know.

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