Category Archives: Politics/Law/Government

Inauguration Day: Dignity Returns to the Oligarchy

Biden-inauguration

I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for four years.

But today the relentless assault on truth, on justice, on fundamental human decency comes to an end. At least, the portion of it originating in the Oval Office does.

I know I’m imagining it, but it’s almost like I can feel my blood pressure dropping.

Of course, I know we haven’t really won anything, and I hope you know it, too. January 6 was just an amuse bouche, and even if we make it through the day without running street battles our various fascist terrorist cells still exist. Maybe not in sufficient numbers to take down the government (fingers crossed), but there are certainly enough of them to wage a disruptive campaign of terror of the sort we tend to associate with the Middle East or Northern Ireland.

Even if that doesn’t happen – even if the Proud Boys and the Boogaloos and Lauren Boebert lay down their arms and assimilate into civil society – Joe Biden ain’t the messiah. Along with the Clintons, Obama, Chuck Shumer, Cory Booker, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Kamala Harris, and the entire Colorado Senatorial delegation, he’s the face of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party. His administration will be friendly enough to the various causes of social progressivism – up to a point. Our racist, militarized police problem, for instance, will get a sparkly Band-Aid at best.

And while he won’t fluff Wall St. in public the way any member of the GOP would, he won’t be putting them out of business, either.

In essence, President Biden will restore dignity to the oligarchy.

“Better than Trump” isn’t the same as “better.” So my expectations are tempered by my basic habit of paying attention and thinking about what I observe.

Still, while Better than Trump isn’t everything, it isn’t nothing, either. So if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to mark today by exhaling.

In the morning we all need to take another deep breath and get back to the barricades. Because losing less isn’t winning.

The Progressive Response: Grief, and Tears

trump-nation

I wasn’t surprised by the election results. They’re still incomplete, and Biden may yet win, but regardless of the final tally half the country turned out to make clear just what they are. Just what we are.

The thing that did take me aback a bit was the reactions of my friends. Sure, there was some outrage, as you’d expect. But the dominant response of the day was … heartbreak. Disbelief. Sadness.

If you wanted, you could attribute 2016 to ignorance. But 2020? Nobody is blind to what the GOP is anymore. This was a calculated assertion of spite. Read more

11.4.2020: American Democracy To-Do List

Usa_distress_flag

Short term:

  • get rid of electoral college
  • fix Senate
    • four-year terms
    • eliminate filibuster
    • lay groundwork to eliminate it entirely (see below)
  • eliminate gerrymandering – require that Congressional representation mirror popular vote
  • eliminate superdelegates
  • eliminate presidential veto and restrict executive orders
  • make election day a national holiday
  • all state and federal elections to be 100% publicly funded
  • eliminate all bribery lobbying
  • fix Supreme Court
    • explicitly limit de facto legislative powers of Supreme Court
    • expand number of justices to reflect growth in population
    • limit terms to ten years, subject to reappointment
  • make voter suppression a federal crime punishable by no less than five years*

Read more

The Ties That (No Longer) Bind

Donald Trump is a referendum on what kind of human being you are

A few months ago I wrote that “I don’t want to “heal America’s divisions.” I’m reflecting on that sentiment this morning, the day before what may be the most important election of our lifetimes.

Many of us have some version of the braying racist, fascist, misogynist drunkle archetype in our lives. A Karen, a Chad, a Becky. Maybe it’s a relative we have to contend with at holiday dinners. Maybe there are family obligations, so we grit our teeth, bite our tongues, and tell our children (before and after) to ignore the ravings of the yahoo at the other end of the table. For others it may be a long-time friend who drifted in the wrong direction through the years. Or maybe the friend never changed, but we drifted in the right direction. Read more

I’m Glad I Wasn’t Black Today

white-privilege

I came home this evening after running a couple of errands to find a half-dozen people at my door. Two or three were uniformed.

Two followed me around back as I parked. Since my girlfriend (let’s call her J) has never so much as jaywalked I figured they had to be after me. No idea why, but the adrenaline was starting to pump.

I’m not going to talk to cops but I can hear what they have to say. It turns out they were looking for a woman named Amanda, whom they had seen coming in and out of my apartment routinely over the past three weeks. Read more

Dear Conservatives: It’s Judgment Day

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? - Matthew 7:16

On Tuesday night, Donald Trump stood before America and refused to denounce white supremacy. Instead, he used the opportunity to order one of America’s most notorious hate groups to stand at the ready.

He did this on national television, with millions watching and the cameras rolling.

After years of denial, years of deflection, of misdirection, of dog-whistles and whataboutism and hey-look-over-there-ism, after years of insisting that black is white and up is down, you, Trump supporters, find yourselves standing naked in full daylight. Read more

Trump’s “Failure” to Denounce White Supremacy: Journalistic Malpractice in the First Degree

2020 Presidential Debate

It’s been a long time since I expected much from corporate journalism, but no matter how low I set the bar they keep finding ways to tunnel under it.

Their handling of Trump’s “debate” shout-out to white supremacists everywhere – his overt call for them to stand at the ready – buggered belief.

Check this nonsense from ABC: Read more

Cincinnati Play-By-Play Announcer and Known Man of Faith Victimized By Probability

Reds play-by-play guy Thom Brennaman really stepped on his dick yesterday, didn’t he?

Toward the end of the broadcast of the first game of the doubleheader, Brennaman was heard using a gay slur. He did not seem to know he was on the air yet before the end of a commercial break. Quickly, shares of the mic catching him on the air saying a slur spread across social media. Brennaman began broadcasting the second game of the doubleheader, but during the game, he issued an apology and left the booth.

He was predictably apologetic. Read more

If Woody Guthrie Were Still Alive…

…Matthew Grimm’s Dumpster-Fire Days would be his favorite album of the last decade.
Matthew-Grimm-Dumpster-Fire-Days

My favorite lines from each song:

Salt of the Earth

We gathered in the square to watch Black men hang like a Friday night football game
We’ll greenlight genocide long as some charlatan tells us it’s in Jesus’ name

Tommy Keene Is Playing Kiki’s House

Corporations, Christians, contras, all fronts in one never-ending war
We raged at the sacred and austere, revenge for childhoods lived in fear Read more

Graphic: The American Left-Right Political Spectrum

UPDATED 2020/8/9

Several conversations since I originally posted the spectrum have made clear that some elaboration and refinement is in order. In this update I add elements for context and present a revised spectrum graph that more accurately reflects the US political-economic spectrum with respect to the global “left-right” divide.

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There exists a sort of consensus among Americans about left-wing vs right-wing (vs “moderate” or “centrist), but this narrow popular view fails to account for historical shifts and the global context. In short:

The US is significantly more conservative than the rest of the industrialized West and we have shifted dramatically to the right over the past 50 years. Read more

Defund the Police? Good Cops, Bad Cops…

defund-the-police_lg

The individual tells you nothing about the system. The system tells you nothing about the individual.

The issue isn’t whether you respect Black Lives Matter. It isn’t whether you respect the Police. It’s whether the Police believe all are equal under the law. Recent weeks and months (and years) have set before our eyes a wealth of evidence answering that question. Read more

Stop Saying “Cancel Culture”

cancel-culture

I’m getting a little tired of this “cancel culture” nonsense.

The term originated with the #MeToo movement, which targeted the likes of Bill Cosby and Louis CK, men whose history of misogynistic behavior led people to (justly) withdraw their support for the offenders’ careers. But while the term is newish, the tactics it describes aren’t. Canceling is another word for boycotting, which has been around forever. Read more

If We Shouldn’t Judge the Founders by Our Values, Should We Live by Theirs?

Philadelphia Union honors those killed by police.

Philadelphia Union honors those killed by police.Our recent protests, sparked mainly by the Minneapolis PD’s nonchalant murder of George Floyd – with the cameras rolling, even – are roiling American society. Institutions are challenged. Assumptions are ravaged. The whole of the American metanarrative is seemingly up for review. Read more

BREAKING: New Mississippi Flag Design Leaked

Both houses of the Mississippi legislature yesterday voted to remove the Confederate battle jack from the state’s flag. Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill.

In anticipation of this move a team of artists and historians have spent the past week working on a new flag design. An anonymous source shared the proposed new flag with Lullaby Pit early this morning. Read more

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