Thursday Open Thread

“True is the saying: ‘In order to make the world tranquil and happy, the nation must first be well governed!'”

–Sun Yat-sen

51 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    Trump Stinks!!!!  And America knows it.  Make America Smell Nice Again!!!!

    • ParkHill says:

      I don't understand why "moderate" Democrats believe their path to electoral success will be improved by supporting big banks.  I recognize that most of these Senators are feeling defensive and facing tough elections in "red" states. (That doesn't explain Bennet's vote for the big banks; I have to believe that he actually supports the policy.)

      It probably won't help in farm states, and it probably hurts in Rust Belt states. 

      It's not going to get you favorable Fox news coverage.

      As Connor Lamb showed, if you want to be elected in Rural or Rust Belt areas, you should be fighting like hell on economic issues, health care and defend the social safety net. That absolutely plays well for both rural and blue-collar voters, even if Republicans and Fox news keep pushing social grievance issues.


    • Voyageur says:

      If I misjudged you, James, I apologize.  But weren't you one of the " I voted for Jill Stein, thereby electing Trump" crowd? And that gives you the right to determine who is a real Democrat because?

  2. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from Vox: "The real problem with the New York Times op-ed page: it’s not honest about US conservatism"

    Interesting article by David Roberts.

    In one of his characteristically scathing columns, Glenn Greenwald notes that the NYT editorial stable currently contains only three women and no Arab-American or Latinx voices; ideologically, it “spans the small gap from establishment centrist Democrats to establishment centrist Republicans.”

    It wouldn’t be that hard for the NYT to draw from what lies to the left of those narrow confines. For starters, it could hire a columnist to represent the resurgent left, which rose alongside, but is not dependent on, Bernie Sanders. It stands on its own as a reasonably coherent social critique and policy program, involving greater social provision of basic services, and there are tons of writers who could do it credit.

    If the NYT is incapable of permitting opinions from the progressive side, the paper has real difficulty on the right. Conservatism has become Trumpism, and the establishment conservative voices on the NYT editorial page do not have any actual influence or relevance to the public debate (David Brooks? C'mon!):

    Race and gender had unusually high salience in the 2016 election, and what distinguished Trump supporters most of all, more than income or education, was racism and misogyny, i.e., feelings of hostility toward minorities and women. 

    What Trump revealed, in the most dramatic way possible, is that the conservative base in the US today is driven not by ideology but by white resentment. That’s the underlying thread. Trump may lurch back and forth on policy — or more often, demonstrate an almost cosmic ignorance of policy — but he speaks to, and is the voice of, America’s angry whites, who want their imagined old America back. He is the prototypical Fox News viewer, tossing off endless insults, conspiracy theories, and furious aggrievement. 

    What’s happening in the US today is not a contest of governing philosophies. Trump doesn’t have one and his administration barely tries to pretend it does. It’s not a philosophy or a plan that won, it was a team, a tribe. They are living it uprewarding their friends and ratfucking everything the other team did before them.

    • ParkHill says:

      In other words, for the NYT to represent existant conservatism, they'd have to hire in a bunch of racist, mysogynist conspiracy theorists from Fox or Breitbart. 

    • mamajama55 says:

      I don't subscribe to the NYT; I probably should, through, since I'm just grateful that they still do investigative journalism. I agree with Vox's critique of NYT editorial policy. Unfortunately, it is also the prevailing attitude of the DNC.

  3. ParkHill says:

    WOTD2 from Mahablog: "Yes, the Democrats Can Win White Working-Class Voters Without Throwing Social Justice and Equality Under the Bus"

    Conor Lamb ran as an old-fashioned labor Democrat.

    Right after the 2016 election there was a huge uproar about whether the Democrats should emphasize “identity politics” and social issues or economic populist issues. And I wrote that this was a false choice. One set of issues does not negate the other. On a local level you might want to emphasize one set of issues over the other, depending on demographics, but there’s no reason on earth that Dems can’t run on economic populism and still be the party of social justice and equality.

    And it looks like the Republican agenda is a vote killer.

    • Davie says:

      Excellent column, and I especially liked the insights of one commenter:

      The strategy is not to run a rabid progressive in each district. Run the most progressive candidate who can WIN. That's how you get a majority, The next step is to deliver results nationally and conduct the kind of messaging (coupled with results) that blunts the Fox rhetoric. The long game is to bring Democrats back with voters who were raised on Fox.

      • ParkHill says:

        A good point, depending on what we mean by progressive. 

        For me, progressive means progressive on economic issues and social safety net. I also support liberal social values, but the big kahuna that cuts across Rural, Rust Belt, City, Youth and Age is defending the social safety net.

        There is every reason to be an extreme radical in the defense of social security, universal health insurance, public education. 

        • Davie says:

          My interpretation of "rabid" progressive is one who insists on purity or litmus tests, and is immune to compromise (sort of like a mirror of the Tea Party rabid conservatives).

          For example, the only (weak) justification I can think of for anyone voting for the bill rolling back some of the Dodd-Frank protections is that the benefits to smaller and community banks outweigh the risks giving more leeway to the big banks, and that a "clean" bill was not possible.

          When I applied for a mortgage two years ago through Academy Bank, I had to go through unbelievable hoops to get the loan — my banker's ready explanation — "Welcome to Dodd-Frank"

          • Diogenesdemar says:

            I’ve never met a banker yet who didn’t have “regulation” at the very top of his or her play whine service excuse list.

            Not saying that DF didn’t add some complexity, but . . . 

            Bankers : Any regulation


            Negev : Any gun law

            • Davie says:

              It may boil down to the interpretation of Dodd-Frank regulations.  I found out later that they were packaging up my mortgage to sell to investors, so everything needed to be air tight.  At one point, they demanded I have a bank officer from Bank of the West (my long-time personal bank) notarize my electronic bank statements.  I was ready to walk at that point, and so they backed off.

              Had I simply gone to Bank of the West, I probably would have gotten the mortgage in a flash.  I was greedy and wanted the incentives Academy Bank was offering through the builder 🙁

          • ParkHill says:

            I don't have any comment on that definition of progressive – sort of a straw-man caricature, if you ask me. Maybe there are some situations where you need to hold an uncompromising line, like replacing Dan Lipinski, the anti-abortion, anti-obamacare, anti-gay, anti-immigration Representative from IL. Politically, he's more aligned with Republicans, and strategically, he destroys the Democratic brand – better to have an actual Republican in there. You notice that the Democratic Party has cut him off.

            Progressive is most generally taken to mean someone on the left of the political spectrum, more or less on an over-lapping spectrum to other left definitions like liberal or socialist.

            I have no problem with the idea of "holding strong progressive beliefs". That doesn't say anything about what compromises may or might not be necessary to build more progressive economic system.

            Litmus test? Well, I voted for Clinton (both of them) despite triangulating against the DFH's, war against poor people, and setting up the Third Way.  I guess litmus tests for some people move them to vote for Nader or join the Green Party. 

            • Davie says:

              Interesting example with Lipinski.  I hadn't heard of him before reading your post.  I see from the linked article that he got his office after succeeding his Blue Dog Caucus-founding father.  

              Seems as though he's mostly representing his district (7 terms so far).

              I consider myself a pragmatic progressive Democrat (with libertarian social issue leanings).  As I told my former state rep a few years ago, if I expected my representative to vote my way 100% of the time, I'd have to run for the office myself. 

              Paraphrasing a sorely missed Polster who once stated, it's better to vote for any Democrat than to elect a Republican regardless of their voting records simply because that will be one more vote in our favor when it gets down to the nitty-gritty.

              Lipinski probably would vote with his caucus if he were the deciding vote when it really counts.  He's popular with members of his caucus as well.

              An assistant professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville before winning a House of Representatives seat in his first try at elective office, the 51-year-old Lipinski holds an undergraduate engineering degree and a Ph.D. in political science. That background, combined with his interest in issues affecting academic researchers, has made him a valuable member of the House science committee, says Bart Gordon, a former Democratic congressman from Tennessee who chaired the panel from 2007 to 2010. 

              “He was one of the few Ph.D.s on the committee and very supportive of climate change, advanced manufacturing, and STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] education,” Gordon notes. “He was more conservative than the [Democratic] caucus as a whole, but that helped him make the case for what the committee was doing” among a group of members known informally as Blue Dog Democrats.

              This article does appear to address the very issues you initially raised this morning.

               In what was seen as an unusual rebuke to an incumbent, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)—an important party fundraising group—initially withheld its endorsement from Lipinski. This month, it broke its silence and backed him after several of Lipinski’s colleagues complained to DCCC officials.

              Lipinski and his supporters say that having a range of views within the party is healthy. “I think that the Democratic Party prospers with diversity of thought and gender,” says Gordon, now a lobbyist in the Washington, D.C., offices of K&L Gates, an international law firm. “The more different views in play, the better outcome you get.”

              Lipinski worries that the Democratic Party runs the risk of being captured by “the tea party of the left,” a reference to the activists who helped Republicans regain control of the House in 2010 by insisting on ideological purity from their candidates. “I guess they see the tea party and the Freedom Caucus [a group of legislators on the right wing of the Republican party] as having done some good for Republicans in Congress,” Lipinski says about his critics. “But to me those people are saying, ‘It’s our way or no way.’ Some Democrats seem to think that would be a successful strategy for winning office and for governing. But I think that would be a big mistake.”

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    Beware the idea of March . . . 

    (. . . unless you’re Caesar,
    . . . in which case it looks like a beautiful day for a stroll.)

  5. itlduso says:

    The Denver Post announced a 30% reduction in the newsroom.  Say good-bye to the Denver Post.


  6. MichaelBowman says:

    Now that Rex has a little time on his hands, perhaps he can become an expert witness as to what Exxon knew – and how they deceived the public for decades? 

    Two Major Climate Change Lawsuits Move Forward

    On top of this, the court also ordered the parties to participate in a five-hour "climate science" tutorial for the court, to be held on Mar. 21. The judge ordered the parties to "trace the history of scientific study of climate change, beginning with scientific inquiry into the formation and melting of the ice ages, periods of historic cooling and warming, smog, ozone, nuclear winter, volcanoes and global warming." And further, to inform the court of "the best science now available on global warming, glacier melt, sea rise and coastal flooding."

  7. MichaelBowman says:

    One could drown in this irony.  

    <Any African-American> be like, "Hold my beer…"

    GOP asks voters for Pa. voting irregularities ahead of potential challenge

    The GOP's outreach to voters in the district is coming in the form of Facebook ads, detailed exclusively to The Hill, targeting 200,000 Republican voters in the district with a call to reach out to the NRCC if they faced problems while they cast ballots. 


    "URGENT: Are you a Republican that tried voting in the March 13 special election but faced issues at your polling location? If so, we need to hear from you! The election depends on it," the ad reads. 

  8. Davie says:

    A little inbreeding goes a long way:

    A sister of Dylann Roof, the man who massacred nine black churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015, was arrested on Wednesday for bringing a knife, pepper spray and marijuana to her high school, the authorities said.

    Morgan Roof, 18, was arrested on drugs and weapons charges at her high school, A.C. Flora, in Columbia, S.C., and taken to a detention center, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a statement.

    Ms. Roof’s Snapchat post criticized students who planned to walk out of class to protest gun violence. “I hope it’s a trap and y’all get shot,” it said. “We know it’s fixing to be nothing but black people walkin out anyway.”

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