Blog Credo

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.
- Abraham Lincoln


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Way To Go, Bibi.

No one could've predicted....

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/poll-finds-hamas-popularity-increased-after-war-with-israel-among-palestinians

If there is anything that can be predicted it is this: If an external actor attacks a regime, it will strengthen the domestic support for that regime.

Democrats Suck At Politics

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/democrats-political-benefit-delay-obama-immigration-deportations

I can understand the thinking behind waiting on immigration.  As stated in the article, control of the Senate can come down to some close races in reddish states where Democrats have to win white votes.

Of course, that depends on whether white voters will vote for Hagan, Landrieu or Pryor anyway.

You can be sure that it's a dubious idea because Bob Shrum thinks it's a good one.  Shrum if the living, breathing voice of the '80s-'90s "defensive crouch" Democrat.  The embarrassing defeats of Carter, Mondale and Dukakis created in that generation of Democrats a reflexive fear of populist politics.  They are always on the defensive, always deferring to GOP narratives.

The reason to advance executive action on immigration is, yes, to mobilize Hispanic votes in places like Colorado (and there are a fair number of Hispanics in North Carolina, too).  But it is also designed to force the GOP's hand on impeachment.

If Obama issues an executive action that reduces deportations of non-criminal immigrants, the GOP can almost be counted on going off the deep end and impeaching him.

While the immigration move could mobilize Angry White Dude votes against Democrats, impeachment would nationalize the election around the issue of GOP craziness.

There is also the fact that Obama could limit his immigration actions to a few palatable moves that most people support.  Save the bigger actions for after the election, but simply stop deporting children who came here with their parents - the so-called DREAMers.

Shrum's basic idiocy is that he thinks that there is some cautious, careful way to win over whites who are scared of brown people.  That will NEVER HAPPEN.  Those people left the Democratic party and are not coming back.

Maybe it is the smart move to avoid immigration.  But if Shrum says it is, I'm inherently skeptical.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Enjoying Labor Day? Thank A Union

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/the-most-challenging-issue-facing-liberalism-today

"Liberals" are a strange group, because that word can mean a great many things.  But certainly the Clintonista Liberals are anti-union.

Income inequality is the second most important issue we face after climate change.  Unlike ISIS or Ukraine or the color of Obama's suit, these issues matter and have long term consequences.

The Democratic party has to care about income inequality.  And that means they have to care about unions.

UPDATE: This is about teaching, but it touches on teacher's unions.
http://www.vox.com/2014/9/1/6089041/teacher-wars-dana-goldstein-where-teacher-tenure-comes-from

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Realistic Limits

So, Vladimir Putin has pretty much invaded - slowly - Ukraine.  He has rhetorical designs on most of the country.

And there's really not a whole lot we can do about it, for the same reasons there wasn't a whole lot we could do about Stalin seizing Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany.  While it could possibly lead to a new Cold War with Russia, there's really not much we can do without risking a global war - same as in 1945-6.

Putin is smart enough to realize that and this is why he knows he can seize a great deal of eastern Ukraine without risking a wider war.  Nationalist radicals in Russia - like Vladimir Zhirinovsky - have argued for launching nuclear attacks on Poland.  While Putin is unlikely to go this far, he's creating the necessary doubt in European capitals to allow him to annex more of Ukraine.

Russia's economy is weak and overly reliant on the sale of commodities, especially energy.  And Europe is working on ways to replace Russia energy, but that could be a long process.  Putin is also not an ideologue so much as a nationalist.  Like most Russians, he's not a fanatic intent on burning down the world or risking his own privileged position.

The inevitable comparisons to 1939 are making the rounds, but it seems to me we are looking more at a 1914 situation.  After a long peace, European nations need to weigh the risks of potentially catastrophic war.  Only this time it could be the horror of nuclear weaponry rather than trench warfare.

Just as World War I "changed everything" a potential World War III would completely upend history.

So while Zhirinovsky and Lindsey Graham may beat their war drums and issue bellicose statements, it will be up to wiser, calmer heads to make sure that we aren't suddenly faced with a nuclear war over a country that sits on the periphery of Europe.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What Really Matters?

Hint: This is not one of those things.

Republicans since Reagan have consistently overvalued symbolism over substance.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some Times, The Good Guys Win

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/market-basket-speech?click=feed#comments

You have demonstrated that everyone here has a purpose. You have demonstrated that everyone has meaning and no one person is better or more important than another, and no one person holds a position of privilege.
Whether it’s a full-timer or a part-timer. Whether it’s a sacker, or a cashier, or a grocery clerk, or a truck driver, or a warehouse selector, a store manager, a supervisor, a customer, a vendor or a CEO—we are all equal. By working together—and only together—do we succeed.
I have always believed that we are born into this world and at a certain place to be with certain people for a reason and a purpose. Everyone has a destiny, and because of you, I stand here with a renewed vigor and a sense of purpose. May we always remember this past summer first as a time where our collective values of loyalty and courage and kindness for one another really prevailed. And, in that process, we just happened to save our company.
As you gave generously to those who had less than you, the public watched in awe and admiration, because you empowered others to seek change.
You all have demonstrated to the world that it is a person’s moral obligation and social responsibility to protect the culture which provides an honorable and dignified place in which to work.
Damn straight, man!

All We Need Is Polyester Pants And Disco On The Radio

http://www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6078117/americans-foresee-unending-economic-doom

When you have an economic catastrophe - and it bears repeating that technically 2007-8 was a depression - it takes a LONG time to revive people's confidence.  Reagan's great trick was in reviving confidence, even when things weren't really improving all that much for many people.  He as great at the atmospherics of pride.

This decade feels very much like the '70s.  The hangover from a bad war, energy concerns, environmental apocalyptic warnings, economic stagnation.  My guess, also, is that if you asked people in '79 or even '91 if they thought things would get better, they would've been pretty pessimistic.  I know the early '90s felt like shit to me.

The economy will bounce back.  And as long as Democrats can gain control of Congress and the Courts, it might even bounce back for working class Americans, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stewart On Ferguson

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jon-stewart-ferguson

I think in 2008, there was a lot of self-congratulatory thinking from liberals and conservatives that we had passed some sort of racial barrier and America was now a racism-free country.

It was a bullshit fantasy then and it's a bullshit fantasy now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Can We Agree On THIS? (Probably Not)

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/08/26/im-an-outlaw-quick-on-the-draw/

US cops fire a ton of bullets.  It now seems as if ten shots, not six were fired at Michael Brown.  Basically, he emptied his clip at the kid.

And US cops do that all the time.

Cole links to Mark Steyn of all people who notes that German police fired 85 shots in an entire year for the entire country.

Why do cops unload their weapons at people?  Because they are afraid.  Because we live in an armed country.  Because we insist on guns to assuage our fears.  Because we all think we're action movie heroes.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!


This is what we came home to.

When Frost wrote:

Good fences make good neighbors

Apparently few people realized he was being ironic.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Molten Salt Reactors

http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2014/8/24/85153/6374

Any discussion about energy production that ameliorates carbon poisoning has to include nuclear.

And any discussion about nuclear should start with Molten Salt Reactors.

Sadly, the MIT group wants to make their first MSR in the US.  Given our sclerotic regulatory regimen and our obstinate (and well funded) carbon industries - including shale gas, they should be looking at Europe, Japan and China as the place to make this happen.

And by tomorrow would be nice.

Pierce In High Dudgeon

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Body_In_The_Street?click=feed

The man can lay some wood.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thug Life

Michael Brown has been called a "thug" in the various cesspools of the Internet.  I dare you to go into a Yahoo comment section and return with your sanity intact.

Want to know what a thug looks like?

Try this.

The Nixon-Reagan Coalition

http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2014/8/23/94657/5561

Nixon began the process of stripping white Southerners away from the Democratic Party, and Reagan pretty much completed the process.  The scope didn't become truly apparent until Clinton won the White House and all those Southern Democrats in the House flipped from blue to red, but that's what happened.

Reagan built his coalition with intellectual support from neo-conservatives and demographic support from neo-confederates.  He wedded the old Main Street/Wall Street Republicans with the church pews of the Moral Majority. Aside from Cubans, his was a mostly white party and it could win massive landslides with white votes.

Those days are gone, and the panic that it has unleashed in the GOP is palpable at the highest levels.  Louie Gohmert may be too stupid to walk and chew gum understand how nativism plays among the growing share of Hispanic voters, but the mandarins of the party understand.

Rand Paul is only possible in a party that is struggling to re-articulate a vision that is both true to the Reagan Coalition and endeavors to address the coming demographic irrelevancy it faces.

But Booman is right that Paul is anathema to so many constituent parts of what remains of the Nixon-Reagan Coalition that his success is highly unlikely.  My guess is that whatever Clown Car chugs over to Iowa, they are all going to attack Rand Paul. Santorum, Perry, Ryan, Cruz, Tweedledee...they can all take easy shots at Paul's heterodox positions.

It's going to be very, very important to limit losses in the Senate this cycle for the Democrats.  While I have my issues with a Clinton Restoration, she does have the potential to create a landslide, especially if the GOP throws up a Caveman like Perry or a Sociopath like Cruz.

And as we've seen, having enough votes in the Senate is crucial to accomplish anything that a Clinton Presidency might want, especially immigration reform.  That goes for the House, too.

The sixth year of a presidency is always brutal, but it's REALLY important for the Democrats to turn out their base in 2014, because 2016 could be a very good year.