Monday, July 25, 2016

Bickering on the Railroad Tracks While the Freight Train Comes

I've not been so worried and depressed about the future of our country as I am now for a long time, maybe ever. I feel like a railroad train is about to hit us and the different factions of the Democratic party are bickering about who gets to sit in a better place on the tracks. The establishment and the insurgent wing of the party are equally to blame right now.

Hillary's campaign and the Democratic establishment are currently trying to win the election of 1992. They have appointed another centrist corporate democrat in hopes of luring in a few more undecided white male moderates while the left wing of their party is walking out the back door. They put up a little progressive window dressing on their platform while leaving everything the corporate centrists really want. They try to cover up Debbie Schultz's incompetent and unfair management of the DNC by having her resign from a position she was about to have to give up anyway only to bring her on board Hillary's campaign. Even if the Russians are responsible for the Guccifer2 leaks, they wouldn't have mattered if Schultz had done her job right. They are happy to warn us about the danger of a Trump presidency, but won't do anything about the fact that their platform does nothing to improve the lives of the disenfranchised poor whites that can push him into victory.

As for the Berners, one of whom I was once proud to call myself, the dead enders have unnecessarily personalized their dispute with Hillary and made the entire thing about themselves rather than the good of the country. Their slogan is supposed to be #NotMeUs; they should change it to #UsNotYou. They have become so obsessed in their hatred of Hillary that they blow every issue completely out of proportion as much as any Republican. Rather than simply demanding accountability for the fact that DNC showed some unfair favoritism for Hillary they say that the primaries were entirely rigged and millions of votes should be discounted. Rather than say that Hillary made a bad decision hosting her own email they declare themselves sudden experts on national security and happily join in calls to lock her in prison. They say the superdelegates are undemocratic and should be abolished and in the same breath ask the superdelegates to overrule a three million vote majority that they disagree with, mostly minority and poorer Democrats. They rail against elitists and in the same breath say that they know what's better than the rabble that gave Hillary a majority.

I hope that both sides will wake up to the danger that's coming and put protecting the country ahead of their squabbling. I hope they can do it in time. Right now I am not so sure.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

All the things that have gone wrong in this clusterhump of a convention pale before Ted Cruz's non-endorsement. One really can't exaggerate how bad this is for Trump. No politician is more popular with religious conservatives today than Cruz, and he basically gave his followers permission not to vote for Trump. But it's worse than that, because as Marshall points out here Trump's campaign is all about dominance. Again and again he has made conservative alpha males - Roger Ailes, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, etc. - knuckle under to him, and Cruz just looked him in the eye and kicked dirt on his shoes, right in his own house.

There was a smart way for Trump to handle this, and Newt Gingrich knew what it was: get up and pretend that Cruz said what he was supposed to say. With his reality-distorting skills, Trump might have gotten away with it, too. But it was his own supporters on the floor that made that impossible. Their boos and imprecations made it clear exactly what Cruz was doing.

The only bad news about this is that I predict this will be the best thing that could have happened to Cruz's odious political career in the long run. Right now he might be reviled, but the most likely outcome in November is a Republican party in ruins. They will be desperate for a savior, and it will have to be someone that didn't support to Trump during this election. For the next few elections, I predict that Donald Trump will be to the Republicans what the Iraq War was to the Democrats in 2008. Jeb Bush and John Kasich were smart enough to know this, which is why they stayed home. But Cruz just one-upped them. When he's running for the nomination in 2020 and/or 2024 he will boast about this moment.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Of all the ugly silences to emerge from the shootings of ‪#‎AltonSterling‬ and‪#‎PhilandoCastile‬ none speaks more loudly than that of the ‪#‎NRA‬ and other gun rights activists. Both men were killed for 1) being Black and 2) carrying a gun, in that order. Whatever Wayne LaPierre thinks about the first of those things, he is supposed to care passionately about the second. Each man was carrying his gun legally and Castile even had a license. In other words, they were exercising the very rights the NRA has fought so hard for.
But if a person of color were to go over to the NRA website to see what they have to say about the issue, they'd see a picture of Wayne LaPierre and the caption "We Don't Need You." Whatever that caption is supposed to mean, it is a pretty good summary of what the NRA really thinks of gun owners of color. They will raise holy hell if anyone even threatens to infringe on the right of a white person to have multiple assault rifles with 30-round clips, but say nothing when two Black men are killed for legally carrying pistols.
And to take it a little further, one of the justifications for everyone having guns that the NRA and the right wing use is the supposed ability to shoot back if you think the government is oppressing you too much. A person of color being approached by a cop today has a non-trivial chance of being killed and a much larger chance of being beaten, harassed, wrongfully arrested or stolen from. By the NRA's logic, if they have a gun they should just start shooting first. I do not think people should do this! I am just demonstrating what would happen if people of color were to follow the right wing's idiotic beliefs to their logical conclusion.
A few days ago I reposted an article previously posted by Manny Jalonschi which made a well-documented case that the real reason for the second amendment was to allow slaveholders to continue to oppress their slaves. In other words, the original meaning of the 2nd Amendment was the right to keep and bear arms by white people. In practice, it still means pretty much the same thing.
As further evidence I offer the second picture, of an officer at a Confederate flag rally peacefully trying to talk down a white man standing threateningly in front of him with one hand on a pistol. The cop doesn't even have his gun out. If the cop had so much as taken that guy's gun away, I bet Wayne LaPierre would have something to say about it.
As a result, I recommend that in the future we call the supposed "National Rifle Association" what it really is, the ‪#‎WPRA‬, or‪#‎WhitePeoplesRifleAssociation‬.