22 January 2016

Opportunity knocks

There's no such thing as safe bets in presidential politics, especially not this early. But it's sure looking like the Republicans may not be able to avoid nominating Trump. Here's the thing. What that means, if you believe, as I do, that Trump can only get 40%, 45% tops, of the national vote, is that
this is the best opportunity we will ever have to elect a real progressive.

21 January 2016

TV ad for Bernie Sanders

I think this will be an effective TV ad for Bernie. 


This taps into something real, which is that Americans are as much sad and dismayed as angry that the America they once believed in wholeheartedly has been to a great extent hijacked by oligarchs who think it's OK to BUY policy that hurts ordinary people and helps only the few. GO BERNIE! We want Bernie to succeed, because his success is OUR success.

13 January 2016

On the unelectable Bernie meme

I will admit that this story (link below) is a tad biased. But there is some information in there as well, and it buttresses the argument that those who decline to support Sanders because he's "unelectable" are not basing that view on facts.


Sanders is obviously not inevitable. But neither is Clinton.

Bernie unelectable? Not so fast.

I just made the following argument to a friend who says he'd like to support Sanders, but feels he must support Clinton because Sanders is "unelectable."

Head/Head cross-party polling even now (closer to the election than the last time we had this exchange) is still pretty meaningless, admittedly, but such polling has consistently and for many months shown Bernie doing better against Republicans generally, and likely candidates Trump and Cruz, in particular, than Clinton.

The view you express is based on collective "political experience," but it's not supported by recent data, which I put more stock in.

It is very, very difficult to quantify the "enthusiasm factor," and the related demographic factors: high poll numbers among under-35s, including women, who are likely nonvoters but who say they would vote for Sanders. This data could be deceptive. Or it could just be right; i.e. that Bernie would actually stand a better chance of winning than Clinton. No one can say they know for sure which way things will turn out, except to say that the endorsement and power politics angles heavily favor Clinton and she still, albeit more narrowly, leads Sanders in poll averages, nationally.

If, and it's a huge if, Sanders were the nominee, it would necessarily (I would argue) be because the "political revolution" he keeps talking about actually came about. This is precisely the kind of groundswell of support among independents, and especially young voters and even more especially typical non-voters and first-time voters, that would be the only possible way Democrats could take back the House this year. Everyone realizes that for any Democratic president to really succeed we have to take back the Senate, preferably this year, and retake the House sooner rather than later. This is a vitally important consideration, in my opinion, and the chance, even if slim, that Sanders could ignite a "wave election" in 2016 cannot be discounted entirely, whereas, I think it's safe to say, the chance that Clinton will do so is essentially zero. She is pretty likely, I believe, to win the election if she is the nominee, but we can expect virtually nothing in the way of "coattail effect," to use the old-fashioned term for it.

12 January 2016

Bernie's campaign still surprising

Two immediately adjacent headlines in NYT right now are music to my ears:

«Poll Finds Sanders Ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire» and

«Passion for Sanders in Iowa Worries Clinton.»

As recently as two weeks ago most people would've said this was impossible.

If there's one thing that's shaping up clearly in 2016 it's that Americans are tired of politics as usual.

05 January 2016

Why Should Saudi Arabia be considered ANY sort of ally of the US?

The New York Times op ed timidly asks "Is Saudi Arabia a Risky Ally?" What I want to know, is WHY should Saudi Arabia be considered an ally of the US at all? It knowingly endorses and promulgates a particularly insidious and violent form of Islam (Wahabism), which is the philosophical underpinning of both ISIS and Al Qaida; it refuses to use its own military power to suppress radical Jihadism, it engages in barbaric practices and has no adherence to even basic international standards of administration of justice, human rights, or political administration responsive to the needs and will of its people; it is prosecuting a barbaric and illegal war of aggression in Yemen; it is a rogue Petro-state that opposes necessary actions to address Climate Change at every turn; it secretly acts in opposition to many US interests, and, as Bob Graham has clearly said he himself read in the redacted parts of the 9/11 Commission report, its public officials were COMPLICIT in the 9/11 attacks. And now it is actively undermining the attempts of the US to quell the instability in the region by stirring up even more trouble with Iran, totally unnecessarily.

Does this sound like the actions of any sort of ally? I believe the US should put Saudi Arabia on notice: mend your ways at once; and behave like a member in good standing of the international community going forward, or we will disengage from you, both commercially and politically, and pursue a whole new policy: isolation and containment. These have worked before to constrain and restrain the power of nations whose policies mainly were directed at destabilizing a peaceful order of international cooperation. They can again.

Our policy towards Saudi Arabia is based on an antiquated calculus: namely that they are an essential source of oil, which we cannot do without. But wake up, America! That just isn't the case any more. We DO NOT NEED SAUDI ARABIA going forward.