John Fullerton, Measure P, and Irony (Updated)

Just had to share this little tid-bit from John Chiv’s blog yesterday.

Mr Fullerton said is going to wait to make a statement until he sees the vote count by precinct to see how he did in the fourth ward.

I guess John is operating under the mistaken understanding that Measure P takes effect retroactively.  John, it doesn’t.  You may concede without knowing the break down of the Fourth Ward.

Although I agree, it will be very interesting to watch that breakdown because going forward we will all be paying attention to the votes in a candidate in their ward alone.

For the record, here is the total votes, again via Mr. Chiv’s blog…

Austin Allison: 4,925
John Fullerton: 3,999

This is from Mr. Fullerton’s Facebook page on the day after the election.  Has he conceded yet?  John F.?

OK, I am 520 votes down and somebody asked if I was conceding. Hell no ! There are some 2,000 or more absentee ballots still to be counted I heard and I won’t concede as long as there is a mathematical chance.

Those that know me know I am relentlessly optimistic and positive and I never give up. I ran a positive upbeat campaign because that is the way I am.

Funny thing is, my opponent supported Measure P (the True Ward measure) but I won big in the fourth ward.

I wonder how Mr. Fullerton would describe the victory in the at-large vote?  Congratulations again soon to be Council-Member Elect Austin Allison, and Happy Birthday!


UPDATE:

Eric Kirk commented on the irony of both candidate’s position on a  true ward system here.

The reality here is that if John Fullerton wins and Measure P passes he would have a much easier time winning reelection in the 4th ward the next time around as the 4th is one of the more conservative.  Austin Allison would have a much harder time.

So basically both candidates are taking positions on the measure which is against his interests.  That says well for both.

So much to be cynical about in elections.  Just one point of light worth mentioning.


I like that positive thought.  I also like Eric’s take on Measure P with a bit of SF history added to boot.  I’m adding this b/c my brother and sister-in-law had a pretty big win themselves for a progressive candidate in their SF district this passed November.  Hooray for small “d” democracy!

From Eric Kirk’s Sohum Parlance from 10/20/2016.

For Eureka residents.  I’ve always supported district elections wherever I’ve lived.  It was a major fight in San Francisco for years as the Feinstein/Willie Brown machine tried to maintain a lock on what we progressives referred to as “downtown interest control.”  San Francisco had passed district elections in the 1970s resulting in the election of progressives like Harvey Milk, Carol Ruth Silver, and not-so-progressive Dan White (the last Republican to be elected to office in San Francisco).  When the latter killed the former and Mayor Moscone, so many people fell for the argument which read basically, “See what happens when you have district elections?”  So SF did without district elections throughout the 80s.  Then the ill-advised term limits were passed statewide and Willie Brown found himself out of the Assembly and running for Mayor.  He thought he had a lock with a majority.

And then something remarkable happened.  Supervisor Mabel Teng, who had been a Maoist a couple of decades before, had been selling out and schilling for “downtown interests” for years, all of the sudden had a bout of conscience.  She flipped her vote (As cameras flashed, Brown acolyte Carol Migden walked across the chambers after the vote and lit into Teng who held her ground nicely) and SF now has district elections and a fairly progressive Board of Supervisors despite the Google takeover.

District elections were originally proposed by the Progressive Movement of the early 20th century as part of a list of reforms to break up municipal power monopolies like Tamany Hall.  There has been enormous resistance from conservative forces to the point where Catholic figures speaking along the lines of McCarthyite Bishop Fulton Sheen argued that the push for district elections was communist inspired and nuns were deployed to encourage public prayer against them in the 1950s.

What district, or in this case ward, elections do is to bring the power of politics to the neighborhood.  Eureka has a hybrid system right now.  You represent one ward, but the rest of the city gets to select your neighborhood representative for you.  Among other issues, this means that the west side is misrepresented by a council member who lives there (that is the sole requirement), but does not represent the ward’s aggregate interests or values.  Ironically, the same may be true if Austin Allison wins in the 4th ward this fall as it is probably the most conservative of the wards.

It means a candidate doesn’t have to spend a lot of money on media.  It means s/he must walk the neighborhoods, hold ward meetings, and actually be in touch with the wants and needs of the neighborhood.  It means large donors have less influence.  And it all but guarantees ideological diversity on the City Council.

What About Identity Policies?

We are currently experiencing the first ripple of reactions to another conversation on identity politics and liberalism.  The Times Standard has a column today by Gene Lyons (you can find a version here) and Thomas Edsall of the NYT has a column on it in today’s paper here.  Both columns reference Mark Lilla’s “The End of Identity Liberalism” and some of the reactions to the column.

I am very skeptical, especially of Gene Lyons take, especially as this alt-right meme “identity-obsessed social justice warriors” could be found in his column.  Right now I don’t have a great deal to say about this subject except to listen to the talkers and writers because I honestly don’t really understand what these conversations are about.   It’s similar to the political correctness hub-bub – I just don’t get it.  Say what you want and suffer the consequences – or not.  Trump did pretty well speaking his mind.

However, I will say this.  I would hope that liberal politics is able to address real problems.  We are not able to talk about wealth honestly in this country and now it seems many thinkers would like us to stop talking about race.  Fine.  Let’s just look at graphs then.  What can politics do to inform policies that might address this?  Source here.

160125130136-racial-wealth-gap-780x439

Are liberals to stop talking about this or addressing charts like this in their politics?  I would say neither our politics nor our policies have  addressed this enough and in fact, if you haven’t noticed, this or that Republican policy is taking us further and further away from being able to address systemic problems in our society that do revolve around identity.  I’m sorry white voter in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it is a problem.  That doesn’t mean we can’t address your problems at the same time too.  Liberal politics need to be about AND not OR.

Partisanship and Public Spaces

John Chiv has been frustrated this election season that Austin Allison met the requirement to gather 20 signatures, one of the requirements to be a Eureka City Council member at City Hall.

Here are links to his articles:

August 17th:  Linda Atkins, Neal Latt and others in City Hall lobby trying to get signatures in for a new candidate in Ward 4

September 17th:  ” City has not received a formal complaint regarding this issue so, she cannot opine either way since no formal investigation has been conducted into the alleged conduct.”

November 1st: Like Hillary Clinton, Linda Atkins can claim she did not know about CA Code 8314 in her support of Austin Allison

November 22nd: Now that there is an official complaint, will the City of Eureka still not look into Austin Allison?

November 29th:  Eureka citizen files complaint with DA, state attorney general and FPPC on possible violation of election code

And this is one of just two wanna-be scandals about which persistently Mr. Chiv persistently made hay about this election season.

Ugh.

I was there that day and was one of the signatories, let me describe what happened from my perspective.  Allen McCloskey was planning to run when he found out he had a serious medical issue he would have to confront during this election season.  Somehow, he was able to find another candidate to run against John Fullerton at the eleventh hour.  Trust me, this is not an easy feat. (Of note, John also imagines manipulative and progressive dark clouds unrelated to health issues surrounding Mr. McCloskey’s sickness which he was blogging about as late as 10 days before the election.)

It was the day the signatures were due for the Fourth Ward.  It was a week day afternoon and the signatures were due by, I believe 5:30.  This was the 11th hour.  I received a call from the North Coast Peoples Alliance’s Tamara McFarland to see if I could meet them after work to sign Mr. Allison’s papers.  At the time it was as if Christmas had come early.  This was the greatest of news and I was so happy to participate because it meant despite my personal inability to find a candidate to run in the 2nd, we had a chance to offer a different perspective to the people come November without conservatives walking into both open ECC seats.

I showed up, signed the papers, briefly stuck around to shake Austin’s hand and thank him and celebrated with the others that the November election would again have meaning, at least in one of the two contests.

That’s what happened.  Seems pretty innocuous, in fact I’d say it is a great story.

But not of course for those who are afraid of election contests that they might lose.  So let’s look at Mr. Chiv’s questions which he handily numbered for us on his post on September 17th:

Three council members were present, recruiting people. People were calling from City Hall while signatures were being gathered

1. Three Councilmembers, Brown Act violation?

2. Isn’t it illegal to campaign on public property?

3. If this is not considered campaigning, why?

I’m not a lawyer and I with John Chiv hope DA Fleming removes all semblance of a partisan hat when either answering these questions. Having said that, here are my answers to John’s questions.

  1. Is it a Brown Act violation?  No. None of the three current City Council-members organized the signature gathering and as citizens of Eureka themselves, they have every right to sign whomevers papers they would like.
  2. Isn’t it illegal to campaign on public property?  Is it?  What about when candidates or their volunteers are on the sidewalks with campaign signs.  Should campaigning on private property be illegal?  Really John?  Think about that question for one moment in the context of the first amendment.
  3. Is this campaigning?  It was not campaigning.  It was a short term meeting place to allow people to sign paperwork required for City Council-members.  In fact Council-member Atkins happened to mention to me that she had City Clerk Pam Powell had been kind enough (Linda’s characterization as I remember it) to allow us to use the foyer of City Hall to gather the signatures.

And let’s think about the use of City Hall a little more.  That foyer is empty of activity 95% of the time I enter City Hall.  The desk holds a few pamphlets for the public and on occasion a volunteer or presumably security person may be seated behind the desk, but this only happens rarely.  This is generally unused room most of the time.  Now to gather those signatures, we could have set the meeting place at the bench outside the building on 6th Street or on the sidewalk, or at my favorite barber Bob’s hair-cut salon across K Street.  I imagine under John’s rubric of no campaigning in public spaces, we could have only had these signatures gathered within Bob’s shop or some other private property.

And isn’t the lesson there chilling?  Let’s ignore the free speech issues for one moment.  What about our public spaces?  City Hall is our building, why should Eureka citizens by default be afraid of using it for their own civics-oriented ends?  Shouldn’t City Hall be the ultimate location for a last-minute signature gathering event?

Lookit, it is important that City Hall not be open to the City Clerk’s favored Party schwag nor volunteers from her favored candidate sitting in the foyer lecturing passers by on their candidate.  That would not be right and I don’t need to find the CA Code to know it’s illegal, because it’s not right.

But Austin’s signature gathering was not that, it was the place that 40 people met to gather signatures at the last minute.  A place that was apparently approved by a City official who had the authority to allow it.

And if the roles where reversed, I would hope that she would have allowed candidate Fullerton the same courtesy because as Eurekans we should be good like that.  Imho that was the perfect use of our public facilities that day.  I know, and am somewhat saddened, that Mr. Chiv disagrees, but such is politics and I don’t hold it against him or Mr. Tuel who surprise, surprise, was a Fullerton (or at least anti-progressive) partisan online.

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Liberal Humboldt:  “Reading John Chiv so you don’t have to”.

Sorry, John, but this is really ridiculous.  I’m truly hoping that someday I can help to persuade you that some of your past and present crusades were a little off.  This is another one of them.  In my opinion.

John, one question for you.  If you truly do see this use of a public space as partisan and thus inappropriate, would you see that a progressive partisan could level the same accusation of Mr Tuel for using a public official’s time on answering a clearly partisan and inappropriate accusation?

 

 

Ungoverning: National Security

Nicholas Kristof from today’s NYT.

The announcement that Trump has recruited Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser is particularly alarming. Flynn is smart and knows the world very well, but he was fired from his last government job for incompetence. Worse, he today is regarded by many Republican and Democratic foreign policy specialists as a kook.

It’s all complicated. Flynn had a brilliant military career and did an outstanding job in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five years ago, he was widely admired as the best intelligence officer of his generation.

Then President Obama nominated Flynn to become director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he began to unravel. He turned out to be a catastrophic manager. Colin Powell, former secretary of state, explained in hacked emails why Flynn was fired: “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management.” Powell added that ever since, Flynn has been “right-wing nutty.”

Flynn was proved right on one important point: His argument that the Obama administration was too passive about Islamic militants after the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Flynn’s former fans have been bewildered at his raging denunciation of Islam, including calling it a “cancer.” In February, Flynn also tweeted and asked others to forward a viciously bigoted video that argued that there could be no such thing as Islamophobia.

There is also this. (links are Mr. Kristof’s)

He also appears to have taken money from Turkish interests and, without publicly disclosing the money, wrote an op-ed shilling for Turkey.


Why ungoverning?  Doesn’t Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn simply represent a Republican view of national security and the threats we as a country face?

I’d argue that wishing to pursue security with the ideas or management of someone like Lt. Gen. Flynn will make us less secure.  Unless that is we wish to pursue a fortress US domestic and foreign policy where we are exceptional and right and others may not share the divine providence we do and are definitely not correct.

I believe this type of security based on fear-mongering (see videos below) may actually serve to protect US citizens, but it also serves the purpose of furthering political goals and it is not clear which is the primary function.

Focus for a minute on the winners and losers from a favoring the language of a clash of civilizations rather than focusing on quiet and smart diplomacy. It is the right-wing of both civilizations – those that favor militarism and conflict to achieve power then remain in power.

I think Lt. General Michael Flynn’s support of Turkey’s conservative Islamist Erdoğan is a perfect vignette of the principle that this is really less about a class of civilizations as sold to their supporters, and more about self interests which may be as mundane as a paycheck or as profound as using conflict to maintain political control of a country.

If this means we have to further inflame a region of our globe with the results of the death of hundreds of thousands and disrupting the lives of tens of millions of others, so be it.

And in my opinion, these policies will not make US citizens safer. I believe they will only help to insure a continued home for the type of fear and irrational policies that these types of videos would like to, well, monger.  Thus completing and continuing our role in the international the cycle of violence.


And while we are on the subject of stoking irrational fear of Muslims, here is another video from this past campaign cycle that resulted in the election of Donald Trump, who then appoints people like Lt. Gen. Flynn

More on this video from Right Wing Watch:  Pro-Trump Group Releases Bizarre ‘Islamic States Of America’ Ad

 

It’s In Our Hands

Guest cross-post by Tamara McFarland.  You can find the original here on the North Coast Journal or here on the North Coast People’s Alliance web site.  I want to encourage people who might wish post on this site without worrying about my own editorial comment so I will not mention that I don’t think it’s a good political strategy to compare Trump to Hitler or to further the right-wing meme that government is broken.

But having not written that, thanks for all you do Mrs. McFarland and without you I’m not sure we on the left could be celebrating Measures V, P, and Austin Allison all passing/getting elected 11 days ago.   You followed your own advice and you made a difference.  Thank you.

It’s In Our Hands

By Tadsc_1974mara McFarland:

This election season was a roller coaster ride of emotions for those of us who worked to influence its outcomes. Here in Humboldt, volunteers for the Bernie Sanders campaign had the complicated sensation of intense pride and happiness at the 70% victory we helped to secure for Sanders in Humboldt County’s Democratic primary, coupled with the crushing disappointment that came with Sanders’ overall defeat in California, and soon after, in the primary.

Many of the same volunteers who campaigned here for Bernie went on to lobby for progressive change at a local level, working as the North Coast People’s Alliance (NCPA) to help pass Measure P (True Ward) and Measure V (Mobile Home Rent Stabilization), and to get Austin Allison elected to Eureka city council. Once again, on election night we found ourselves overwhelmed with contradictory emotions – unable to wholeheartedly celebrate our remarkable victories on all three local campaigns in the midst of our devastation over Trump’s victory.

At NCPA, we’re all working through our individual reactions to the events of the past six months. For most of us, there is immense gratitude for the bonds we’ve forged, and the progress we’ve made locally for progressive causes. We are energized to continue this work well into the future.

But many of us are also experiencing intense fear and anxiety over what the future holds under a Trump administration. Some of us need to take time to heal and rejuvenate; others are more galvanized than ever and ready to fight injustice and inequality immediately and with renewed intensity.

One consistent theme throughout this year is a sense that our current system of government (and elections) is truly and fundamentally broken. Our government no longer serves the interests of regular people; it’s become an out-of-control monster whose only purpose is to increase power and wealth among elites, at the expense of the well-being, safety, and happiness of the rest of us. Our electoral system silences meaningful debate, excludes innovative candidates and ideas, and doesn’t even ensure that the candidate with the most votes actually wins. How can we even call this a democracy?

One thing is painfully clear – we can’t look to our newly elected national leadership to save us from the climate crisis, or to lead the way toward justice and equality. We’re on our own. This is The People’s fight now.

Critically, each and every one of us must plug in however we can. This is no time for standing on the sidelines. Engagement will look different for everyone, but it’s vital that you, yes-YOU, do engage, in whatever ways make sense to you. Here is a list, by no means exhaustive, to spark your own ideas and plans.

Change Begins At Home –

  • Plant a garden or connect directly with local farmers.
  • Turn off lights and electronics when you’re not using them.
  • Install solar panels on your home (cheaper and easier than ever).
  • Divest from fossil fuels and the associated banks.
  • Walk, bike, carpool, or use transit instead of driving alone.

Support local nonprofits

  • Check in on a neighbor or visit a nursing home.
  • Visit a place of worship that’s not your own.
  • Ditch mainstream media – US corporate media is complicit in what has gone wrong. Find and support reputable alternative sources for news such as Democracy Now, the largest public media collaboration in the US, which refuses both corporate and government funding.
  • Think about the vulnerable people in your life, and ask them what they need to feel safe. Then fight for that.

Engage With Movements –

  • Wear a Black Lives Matter or Native Lives Matter shirt – especially if you’re white.
  • Attend a protest.
  • Go to Standing Rock.
  • Write a letter to the editor.
  • Donate to NAACP, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, 350.org, etc.
  • Join a group – the North Coast People’s Alliance, the Humboldt Democrats, the Humboldt Green Party, True North, Humboldt Move to Amend, etc.
  • Start a group – one is in the works for SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) in Humboldt – how about a local chapter of 350.org or Black Lives Matter?

Engage With Politics

  • Find out who your state and local representatives are, and let them know what’s important to you.
  • Serve on a school board.
  • Attend a city council meeting, county supervisors meeting, school board meeting, or local partisan central committee meeting. Listen closely and use your voice.
  • Run for office, or volunteer for a quality candidate you believe in.

Analysts and scholars have drawn frightening parallels between the rise of Hitler, and Trump’s own ascent to power. This is not hyperbole; the similarities are terrifying. I would venture to guess that most of us, at one time or another, have pondered the rise of Hitler, asking ourselves or others, “Why didn’t good people stop this disaster before it took root?”

We are in that kind of moment today. We can choose to act now – swiftly, collectively, with courage, compassion, and solidarity – and we just might have a chance to stop the atrocities Trump has already begun to inspire, and avoid some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change. But our window of opportunity is small, and in order to succeed, we must avoid the pitfalls of perceived helplessness, despair, and petty infighting.

We must each find solutions and actions for our own lives to ensure that decades from now, we can tell our grandchildren exactly what we did to divert catastrophe. Our actions must be bold, loving, and brave to withstand history’s judgment.

Tamara McFarland

North Coast People’s Alliance

NorthCoastPeoplesAlliance.org


Can I just add one thing?  Turn off you TV.  Better yet, just get rid of it.  You can listen to Democracy Now on radio or on your phone.

The Right Appreciates Validation of Their Non-Racitude

A couple of days ago Jon Stewart had an interview with Charlie Rose and said this…

“The same country that elected Donald Trump elected Barack Obama,” Stewart said. “I thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points. But there is now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric.”

“Like, there are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks,” he continued. “They’re afraid of their insurance premiums.”

And the right is eating it up.


Town Hall’s Katie Pavlich Stop Calling Trump Voters Racist…Says Jon Stewart

“Liberals are still dealing with Hillary Clinton’s election loss last week by calling Trump voters racist, bigoted and irredeemable monsters who have “white lashed” America.

But while celebrities like Lady Gaga, John Legend and Katy Perry are happy to engage in the hysteria and smears, comedian Jon Stewart is calling on progressives to back off of their stereotyping.”

PJ Media’s Nathan Lichtman  Jon Stewart: Liberals Are Hypocritical for Thinking All Trump Voters Are Racist

Jon Stewart thinks Donald Trump may have said some very inappropriate things, but he doesn’t want all of his voters to be thought of as a racist “monolith.” He thinks it’s hypocritical for liberals to paint all Trump supporters with one brush. I think even the CBS crew was surprised by how rational and moderate Stewart sounded.

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze:  Liberal icon Jon Stewart criticizes ‘hypocrisy’ of ‘liberal community’

Jon Stewart — revered by the left for skewering conservatives and Republicans when he hosted Comedy Centrals’ “The Daily Show” — took a different tone as he spoke with CBS’ Charlie Rose about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.

Jessica Chasmar at The Washington Times:  Jon Stewart slams liberal ‘hypocrisy’ for branding Trump voters racist

Former talk show host Jon Stewart slammed the “hypocrisy” of the left for supposedly rejecting stereotypes while painting Donald Trump voters as racist.

Jeff Poor at Beitbart.com:  Jon Stewart Calls Out Left’s Hypocrisy of Labeling All Trump Voters ‘Racist’ While Defending Muslims

I would rather have this conversation openly and honestly than in dog whistles,” Stewart said. “You know, somebody was saying, ‘There might be an anti-Semite that is working in the White House.’ I was like, have you listened to the Nixon tapes? Like, forget about advising the president – the president. Like, have you read LBJ? Do you know our history?”

In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith,” Stewart continued. “Don’t look at Muslims as a monolith. They are individuals and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith – is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country. And so that is the fight that we wage against ourselves and against each other because America is not natural. Natural is tribal. We’re fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history to create something that no one ever [has]. That is what is exceptional about America. This ain’t easy and that’s an incredible thing.”

Sam J. at Twitchy: Liberals calling Trump supporters racist: That hypocrisy is also real

“Boom. Right? Yeah, someone check Hell, it might be getting chilly down there today. We agree with Jon Stewart.  As you can imagine, the Left wasn’t thrilled with Stewart calling out THEIR behavior.  Shocker.

Maxwell Tani at the Business Insider:  Jon Stewart reacts to election, defends some Trump supporters: They shouldn’t all be defined by ‘worst of his rhetoric’

“Stewart placed much of the blame for the anger that propelled Trump’s election on congressional Republicans, arguing that their opposition to President Barack Obama’s main legislative priorities resulted in the government dysfunction that Trump ran against.

“Donald Trump is a reaction not just to Democrats but to Republicans,” Stewart said. “He is not Republican. He’s a repudiation of Republicans. But they will reap the benefit of his victory, in all of their cynicism.”


Only the Business Insider hinted at all that was discussed in the 5 min clip of the interview which, btw, is well worth your time.

Here is the portion of the interview you won’t find quoted in any of the links above…

Charlie Rose: Your reaction to this election? Surprise? Fear?

Jon Stewart: … I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago. The same country, with all it’s grace, and flaws, and volatility, and insecurity, and strength, and resilience, exists today as existed two weeks ago. The same country that elected Donald Trump elected Barack Obama.

I feel badly for the people for whom this election will mean more uncertainty and insecurity. But, I also feel like this fight has never been easy and the ultimate irony of this election is the cynical strategy of the Republicans which is “our position is that government doesn’t work and we are going to make sure it doesn’t… “

Charlie Rose: “Drain the Swamp”

Jon Stewart: But they aren’t going to drain the swamp. McConnell and Ryan, those guys are the swamp. And what they decided to do was “I’m going to make sure the government doesn’t work, and then I’m going to use it’s lack of working as evidence of it.” Donald Trump is a reaction not just to Democrats, but to Republicans. He is not a Republican, he is a repudiation of Republicans, but they will reap the benefit of his victory in all of their cynism and all of their…I will guarantee you Republicans are going to come to Jesus now about the power of government.

I believe Jon Stewart is mostly right.  However, I don’t think we can discount the importance of “others” as scapegoats in politics and I don’t think Mr. Stewart would disagree.  Of course, Trump voters are not a monolith but we also have to be able to admit that a) bigotry plays some role in the type of politics Trump is selling and b) there is some significant  percentage (by which I mean small, but real) of overt white supremacist faction within Trump’s GOP.

What is interesting to note about this late-week, right-wing distraction is it seems that the writers of these posts, or perhaps the editors, are aware that they do have a racism problem.  If they thought this was pure baloney, then I don’t see them covering this at all.  As the creators of right-wing news must know, it is important to inform their readers what they are not.  And in this clip even Liberal Jon Stewart is here to tell them it is the left that is hypocritical on whom are the real racists in the room.   Their readers are not racists or bigots, no matter how overwhelmingly Republican policies favor the privileged – whether that privilege be race or discretionary wealth (and I’d argue discretionary time too).

I also think this media blip is a fascinating way-point in American politics because it does prove (remember, they presumably had to watch the entire 5 minute clip to get to the part they wanted to hear) that Republicans and their enablers must at the very least be aware of the real and frightening Republican “ungoverning” scheme of governing that Mr. Stewart quite concisely articulates.


Ungoverning: Tipping the Scales of Justice

From today’s New York Times web site:

“President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Senator Jeff Sessions, a conservative from Alabama who became a close adviser after endorsing him early in his campaign, to be the attorney general of the United States, according to officials close to the transition.”

“While serving as a United States prosecutor in Alabama, Mr. Sessions was nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship. But his nomination was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of racially charged comments and actions. At that time, he was one of two judicial nominees whose selections were halted by the panel in nearly 50 years.”

In testimony before the committee, former colleagues said that Mr. Sessions had referred to the N.A.A.C.P., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” An African-American federal prosecutor then, Thomas H. Figures, said Mr. Sessions had referred to him as “boy” and testified that Mr. Sessions said the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Mr. Sessions dismissed that remark as a joke.

Alabama Senator Sessions was one of the first to support the President-elect and he will be one of the first nominees.  He will be replacing Loretta Lynch who has held the position since April 2015 and in that short period became a favorite boogey-woman of the right-wing infotainment sites.

ag-lynch-homepage

In testimony before the committee, former colleagues said that Mr. Sessions had referred to the N.A.A.C.P., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” An African-American federal prosecutor then, Thomas H. Figures, said Mr. Sessions had referred to him as “boy” and testified that Mr. Sessions said the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Mr. Sessions dismissed that remark as a joke.

All lives will matter to Attorney General Sessions. I guess we can at least count on that, even if he cannot or will not see the systematic injustices of our country.

A Call for a New Democratic Party

I couldn’t help but think about our local Democratic Party when reading this call to action to Democrats by President Clinton Labor Secracretary Robert Reich.  Here are a few bullet points. (emphasis and bullet points mine -ideas and text from Mr. Reich)

A New Democratic Party that will turn millions of people into an activist army to peacefully resist what is about to happen – providing them with daily explanations of what is occurring in Trump’s administration, along with tasks that individuals and groups can do to stop or mitigate their harmful effects.

  • A party that will protect vulnerable populations from harassment and exclusion – including undocumented young people, recent immigrants, people of color, and women.
  • A party that will recruit a new generation of progressive candidates to run at the local, state, and national levels in 2018 and beyond, including a leader to take on Trump in 2020.
  • A party that will do everything possible to advance the progressive agenda at state and local levels – getting big money out of politics, reversing widening inequality, expanding health care, reversing climate change, ending the militarization of our police and the mass incarceration of our people, and stopping interminable and open-ended warfare.

What happened in America on Election Day should not be seen as a victory for hatefulness over decency. It is more accurately understood as a repudiation of the American power structure, including the old Democratic Party.

Unlike our national election results, in 2016 the North Coast had the best of both worlds.  It had the fundraising Democratic Central Committee which spend most of its time and money on it’s two signature dinners that are increasingly build to take in huge sponsorships with the income from tickets as a financial after-thought.  For sport fans, think about it as a focus on the sky-boxes instead of the bleachers.  When you customize your political activity around those that can donate the most, the political activity itself will be changed.

Luckily the North Coast had it’s own version of the old Democratic Party in 2016 – the North Coast People’s Alliance.  (Click link for a great post of appreciation by Eric Kirk.)  With the work of the NCPA volunteers and, let’s not forget, local unions, Eureka had something of a clean sweep for working people and those on limited incomes.  Measures P and V and Eureka’s Austin Allison all were passed or elected.  All we needed from the HCDCC is an endorsement.  Maybe that’s their role now.  They can enjoy the meals and meetings and let others do the heavy lifting of Democracy that people like Robert Reich understand has to happen.

I hope not.  Democrats have to change nationally, state-wide and locally.  This party exists for a reason, and it’s primary function should not be raising money.  When it is the Democrats lose their raison d’être, not to mention elections.

The Political Divide Part One: White Evangelicalism is White Nationalism

I’m uncomfortable with this title, but I trust the white evangelical who wrote it and the ensuing article explaining it.  Fred Clark, also known as the Slacktivist, writes from a perspective who cares deeply about his religion and its role in politics.   He is also from Southwest Pennsylvania which flipped from blue to red so he should know and understand something about our country’s political divide.

He is also one of my favorite bloggers and I visited his site as soon as I heard about the importance of the white evangelical vote to Donald Trump’s election as America’s 45th President.

I start with his post when contemplating the political divide in this country because the evangelical vote was on of the determining factors in this election. 81% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump.  That was an increase of 8% from 2012 when Mitt Romney was running for President against Barack Obama.

This is Mr. Clark’s conclusion and I highly recommend reading the entire post for fascinating historical context to the white evangelical vote in the 2016 election.

Yesterday, white evangelicals again voted for white nationalism. They supported a candidate who explicitly and unambiguously made white nationalism the centerpiece and driving passion of his campaign. The fig-leaf for this support was abortion. And once again we are asked to believe — after centuries defending slavery, segregation and Jim Crow — that it was only about abortion, and that the 100-percent correlation between this anti-abortion politics and white nationalist politics is just an unfortunate and unforeseen coincidence.

That’s not believable.

White evangelicalism is white nationalism. That’s how it came to be. That’s what it’s for. If you can’t see that after yesterday, you’re choosing not to see it.

Fred’s point is that white evangelicals voted for white nationalism.  Their vote serves the greater goal, not that these people are necessarily nationalists themselves.  I think that has to be said explicitly.

But when we elect a President-to-be who calls an Indiana born judge a Mexican (just the first example that pops into my mind) and we have overwhelming historic context, our conversations have to be clear, even if we have to step on some toes to figure out what just happened.  Fred Clark can help us understand the context of Trump’s election despite the right’s cheap and ahistorical attempts to muddy the waters.


 

 

Please Pass This Video on Human Population Growth to a Republican

This is another beautiful video brought to my attention by the good people at Vox.  Well worth 7 minutes of your time to better understand how we got to 7 billion people and why it is very possible that even us lowly humans might be having an impact on our blue marble.

I think it is appropriate that the sound to indicate another million people is a click that reminds one of the sound a Geiger counter makes.  Are humans radio active to the blue marble.  No, we are not.  It’s wonderful that we are here and some day soon there will be 11,000,000,000 souls living on the blue marble at the same time.  In reality, we have no other choice.  The question is:  how will we manage the needs and desires of 11 billion of us at the same time?  This question isn’t even on the radar of the Republican Party and the fact that it is not should be considered a national security issue.  imho.