• comment on a post White House dumps Dawn Johnsen over 4 years ago

    Civil liberties and the rule of law never have a strong constituency. Especially they have no constituency in a terrified nation as we've become. There is little downside in popular esteem for trashing freedoms, except the gradual decay of liberty.

    Johnsen was one of Obama's few nods in the direction of reining in executive lawlessness. Bye-bye.

  • comment on a post Gavin Newsom, Please Go Away over 4 years ago

    Hoorah for Lemos' antipathies! This San Franciscan shares them. Newsom is a pretty face with no content who has fronted for downtown interests against the neighborhoods, tenants, sensible (as opposing to profiteering) development. In general, former San Francisco office holders become more socially useful when they move on to other pastures, but our mayors (remember DiFi?) are notable exceptions. Still, I'd be glad to see Newsom out of here, the sooner the better.

  • comment on a post Afghan war vote over 4 years ago

    if casualties mount or US otherwise visibly "losing" in Afghanistan. US military now has the problem of mounting wars that remain invisible on the homefront. This seems a useful constraint on imperial overreach, worth encouraging. :-)

  • comment on a post A Baffled David Alexrod over 4 years ago

    and -- that's a significant, if minority, current wthin Obama's coalition -- make a distinction between issues on which political compromise is necessary and issues where we think there is a principle is involved and you have to be willing to go down fighting if you can't win. On rule of law, civil liberties and concessions to theocrats like Stupak, the administration crosses the line for some of us. When they are doing as much harm as good, they lose access to our active support.

    Different segments of the Democratic coalition have different bottom lines -- but to govern you have to show some awareness (not deference but awareness) of pretty much all of them. The administration players seem not have any real analysis of why they won -- how they became the focus of a dizzying array of discontents that they didn't have to manage in a campaign context, but which they do have to manage now if they want to get anything done. Forget the Republicans -- those isolated guys in the White House are getting to where they have no friends. That really does point to Jimmy Carter territory -- another good man and bad President.

    The administration is tone deaf about their various coalition members' baseline principles, appearing to tromp over them without knowing that they are doing real damage. They could at least mitigate the damage if they had a better sense of the political configuration they depend on. Probably the only set they can count on never to desert are the majority of African-Americans (though they can't count on them to turn out.). But they can alienate just about every other potential friend one way or another. And you can't govern with no friends.

  • comment on a post The best path forward on health care reform over 4 years ago

    who needs Evan Bayh. Let the asshole crash. He's an obstacle, not a help.

  • comment on a post A Deepening of Democracy in the Islamic World over 5 years ago

    Let us hope the U.S. can restrain itself if Lebanon elects a government we disapprove of. Democracy and demography mean the country's Shia simply will take a larger role -- and they seem to largely feel themselves represented by Hezbollah. The old confessional division of power is being trumped by different birthrates (and emigration rates) among the communities. Democracy in Lebanon will intrinsically force renegotiation of the balance.

    The U.S. won't like it; but we'd better lump it.

  • Mine too was something like that. Short on plausible actions (besides some excellent service ideas); long on very vague discussion of policy possibilities. People seemed more curious -- and very hopeful which was great -- than empowered.

  • The registration figures are skewed. You can't really compare crrent registration percentages to past ones. For decades, the roles weren't cleaned. California voter data files were just plain garbage through 2000. I know; I did multiple campaigns that tried to chase down these people.

    It is true that DTS has risen and party affiliation has gone down, but also literally 100s of thousands of dead records have been purged since 2000.

  • Dems can block this in June -- but doing it will be costly. On the other hand, it is costly for the other side to buy their way onto the ballot.

    Just about anything can be put on the ballot with enough money, but most initiatives can be defeated with enough money, also. We'll kill this thing if they make us have that fight.

    FWIW, I got one of the petition solicitations in the mail coming from Darryl Issa. This slimy character must think we are all nuts.  

  • comment on a post Recall Funder On Board To Bankroll CA Dirty Trick over 6 years ago

    Folks should remember that Issa funded the recall of Gray Davis that brought us Arnold. He thought he could become governor -- then realized he'd be hammered by more plausible candidates. He's a smuck -- a guy who made a fortune in car alarms despite a dubious past involving boosting cars.

    Ahh -- California Republicans!

  • comment on a post Is It Wrong to Apply Pressure on Iran? over 6 years ago

    As far as I can tell, Obama wants to "put pressure" on Iran because he has absorbed and reiterates neocon talking points.

    From Obama's website, here's his rationale:

    The decision to wage a misguided war in Iraq has substantially strengthened Iran, which now poses the greatest strategic challenge to U.S. interests in the Middle East in a generation. Iran supports violent groups and sectarian politics in Iraq, fuels terror and extremism across the Middle East and continues to make progress on its nuclear program in defiance of the international community. Meanwhile, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that Israel must be "wiped off the map."
    All bullshit.

    1) "Iran supports violent groups in Iraq" -- yeah, and the NYT reports this morning that the US is funneling money to Sunni tribal forces. Link. The Iranian's good buddies got elected the GOVERNMENT in Iraq in elections we imposed; not surprising they help them. We're just mucking around in the Iranian civil war.

    The only suggestion that Iran is arming anyone is coming from the same US military flacks who want us to believe "the surge is working."

    2)State department reports consistently said Iran had pretty much got out of the terror business -- until the Cheney Administration started cooking the facts. Familiar?

    Israelis think Iranian assistance to Hezbollah is terrorism. Lebanese think Iranian assistance to Hesbollah has helped Shi'a, long excluded as "inferiors" from the Lebanese polity, find a voice. Depends where you are sitting.

    3) Mohammed El-Barradei of the United Nations says Iran is cooperating in showing that its nuclear development is peaceful. Remember El-Barradei? He's the guy who insisted Iraq didn't have WMD?

    4) Ahmadinejad is a bombastic asshole. And what do we have for a chief executive? No way the Iranian president can accomplish the destruction of Israel  -- and some like Juan Cole have said that's a mistranslation anyway.

    Obama is playing the war monger; on this point, he's no better than the neocons.

  • comment on a post Some Selling to Do on Public Financing over 6 years ago

    This one is easy to understand -- probably a majority of people think of campaign spending as egotistical waste. Why in hell should they have to pay for it?

    What we need to sell is the democratic process itself, and that will be hard without some very far reaching reforms. Especially overturning the Buckley decision -- rich guys don't have a free speech right to buy an election.

    People do seem to like thorough-going public financing in Maine and Arizona. The partial reforms just make it worse though.

  • comment on a post Systemic Injustice and Coalition Building over 6 years ago

    You write ...minority and feminist activists feel broadly excluded from mainstream progressive politics. Without "minority" (soon to be majority) and women activists, there are no progressive politics. Sorry, guys.

    More here. I feel like a stuck record on this topic, but any other point of view is simply false. We go nowhere if we think the white male middle class demographic can be the core of progressive politics.   A helpful part certainly, but not the core.

  • comment on a post The People We Love and the People We Hate over 7 years ago

    You and Chris kept me reading here. I'll cruise through in the future, but I'll certainly also follow to the new site. Sounds like you're on the kind of project I've spent my life on. Through a lot of defeats and a few unimaginable victories, I remain confident there is no other way to live.

  • on a comment on Where We Go from Here over 7 years ago

    This is what I come here for. I teach campaign skills to community organizers in real life -- I visit here hoping to hear new ideas, watch folks thrashing stuff out, occasionally join in.

    It is incredibly valuable to me, and I am sure to others, to have such a place to visit.

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