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So far, the news that Bernie Sanders will run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination has received a lot of coverage, and many progressives who aren't crazy about the idea of Hillary Clinton being the nominee are welcoming him with open arms.

In fact, as someone who has long felt that Bernie Sanders comes closest to my political views (even he is a bit too conservative for my tastes, but he's far closer than any other elected official in Washington), my hope had been that if he decided to run it would be as a Democrat, so as not to risk the danger of splitting Democrats in the 2016 general election.

So, as someone who has no problem with Hillary as the Democratic nominee, but who has been a long-time admirer of Sanders, it is now a little bit of a challenge for me as to who to support in New York's Democratic presidential primary next year. Fortunately, there's a lot of time to think about that before making my final decision. (The biggest question in my mind is which of those candidates stands the best chance of preventing a Republican from taking over the White House, which would be devastating for the Supreme Court (and a whole slew of issues that the court can affect), from a progressive perspective at least.)

Yesterday, a thought occurred to me: Might Sanders' entry actually end up helping Hillary win the nomination?

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The satirical online publication, “The Onion,” nails the entire Indiana hate-law controversy with one headline:

“Indiana Governor Insists New Law Has Nothing To Do With Thing It Explicitly Intended to Do.”

Here's the full Onion tongue-in-cheek “article”:

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Ever since five of the most corrupt members to ever sit on the Supreme Court decided to legislate from the bench and foist the corrupt Citizens United decision/abomination on the country, there's been an ongoing debate. The debate has centered around whether Citizens United has really had that much of an effect.

There are even folks on this site who have claimed that, overall, Citizens United hasn't really had the disastrous consequences that many had feared. This particular kossack has been skeptical about whether or not that's true.

Then, comes a story today from Michael Isikoff, writing for Yahoo's politics page, about $1.5 million in secret money from just one person (a person who happens to be the richest in all of Wisconsin). The article

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Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 07:13 AM PDT

Downplaying Income Inequality

by wdrath

It looks like the Republican-owned mainstream media are up to their same old tricks, bending themselves into pretzels to manipulate statistics to bolster the right-wing Republican propaganda machine.

This time, it's on the subject of income inequality. And this time (as is often the case), the perpetrator is the Associated Press.

Our local newspaper (the Syracuse, NY Post-Standard) ran an Associated Press article Friday (March 20, 2015), with the following headline: “Poll: Public not that worried about inequality.”

The article went on to cite a survey (a survey for which it did not provide a link for specifics). Then, the article went on to explain that “only” 46 percent of the American public thought that the government should do something to reduce income inequality. Then, later, it said 37 percent of the public thinks the government shouldn't concern itself with the problem. Of course, in the normal, real world, 46 percent is a much larger number than 37 percent, but...who are we average, everyday citizens to quibble when a major national news media outlet decides to deliberately, with malice aforethought skew the numbers?

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Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:34 AM PST

Turn Your Backs on Bibi?

by wdrath

Here's an idea to effectively protest John Boehner's anti-American invitation to a foreign leader without involving this country's top foreign policy officials: Threaten to have members of Congress who object to this to turn their backs on Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu during his speech.

It seems to me that the mere threat of Netanyahu having large numbers of elected officials of an ally turn their backs on him might give him reservations.  And if he doesn't have reservations, imagine the negative implications of the president of a country having legislators from an allied country turn their backs on him...during his reelection campaign.

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Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:02 AM PST

Faulty Democratic Assumptions (Part II)

by wdrath

After giving some consideration to why Democrats may have done so badly in last November's elections, there are several faulty Democratic assumptions that have come to mind. Some of these were covered in a previous diary by me (here's the link for anyone who might be interested:

Those faulty assumptions included things like the assumption that it's okay for Democrats to lose in 2014 because they are virtually guaranteed to win in 2016. Another assumption is that the favorable demographic trends for Democrats will guarantee that they will become a majority party and all we have to do is wait for that to occur. Another is the entire categorization system used by political pundits to label districts “lean Democratic” based only on the results of a few cherry-picked recent presidential elections.

Two more faulty assumptions have occurred to me since posting that diary. One has to do with the entire premise of so-called “base elections” and whether there even is such a thing. The other has to do with how Democrats approached trying to turn out their base, with phone calls and canvassing.

Let me address these two matters, one at a time, below:

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Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 10:00 AM PST

Faulty Democratic Assumptions

by wdrath

It seems increasingly apparent to me that one of the Democratic Party's biggest enemies is not necessarily the Republican Party, but, rather, dangerous assumptions by Democrats themselves.

There are several of these assumptions that have, increasingly, been bothering me over the past few years. It started way back in 2008 when, fresh on the heels of a Democratic wave election year, some progressives, including a fair number of people on this site, started prematurely declaring the Democratic Party as the "permanent majority party."

It rubbed me the wrong way that, after one election, people could be so quick to start declaring the war over based on one successful electoral battle. But the lack of critical thinking, logic and reason that such assumptions entailed bothered me even more.

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 at 11:39 AM PST

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

by wdrath

The book “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” has been on a bookshelf in my home for a while. It's one of many that's sat waiting for me to “have the time” (i.e.make it a priority) to read. After reviewing  my stash of books to select one to read recently, the book caught my attention, thankfully.

Anyone who has read it and didn't have their heart broken over and over again while doing so, must simply have no heart at all.

It may seem like three decades too late to some, but here, for what it's worth, is my review of this major historical book that was among the first to start taking the whitewash off of the history of this country's native peoples.

It starts with a summation of the experience of Native Americans in North America, beginning with Christopher Columbus' first encounter with the Tainos on the Island of San Salvador in 1492. Columbus was so impressed with the civility of the Tainos, who greeted him and his men warmly and gave them gifts, that he reported to the King and Queen of Spain that “there is not in the world a better nation.” A little more than three centuries later, the Tainos, the peaceable people first encountered by Columbus when he and his crew made land on San Salvador, were no more. Their agricultural society, later replaced by plantations, with the Tainos used as slaves, had been completely obliterated by the early 1800's.

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Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 07:45 AM PST

Harry Reid Strikes Conciliatory Note

by wdrath

Harry Reid has outlined his strategy, in an interview with “The Hill,” about his approach to serving as minority leader when Republicans take charge in the Senate in January. He had some very bold and, it appears to me, shrewd comments about how Senate Democrats will work with the new Republican majority.

Unlike Republicans when they were in the minority, Reid comes across as magnanimous, saying he has no intention of obstructing, like Republicans did. Reid said he wants to work with Republicans in the hope that by compromising with Republicans, it might result in some degree of compromise by Republicans enabling certain Democratic priorities to also be addressed, like an increase in the minimum wage and pay equity legislation.

Reid's comments sound pitch perfect to me, coming off an election where voters obviously were disgusted with the way things are in Washington. It is, to my way of thinking, a great way to show the American people that, even in defeat, Democrats are not going to engage in the same destructive behaviors that have dragged Congressional approval to single digits, the lowest in history.

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Mon Nov 10, 2014 at 10:24 AM PST

Remember the Bannock Street Project?

by wdrath

The Bannock Street Project involved a $60 million investment by Democrats, including 4,000 staffers in 10 key states, designed to help Democrats solve their mid-term turnout problems.

That $60 million from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) seems to have gone up in smoke, because there is no evidence that the project came remotely close to its goals of increasing turnout by key Democratic constituencies.  In fact, it appears that Democrats might have been better off just giving that money to Democratic Senate candidates. We had about 10 potentially vulnerable candidates. That would have equated to about $6 million extra for each.

Even the New York Times felt impressed enough with the money committed to the project to write about it (before the election, that is):

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Thu Nov 06, 2014 at 08:02 AM PST

Remember the Government Shutdown?

by wdrath

It was only about a year ago. Do you remember it? Apparently, nobody else does either. That might have something to do with the fact that Democrats didn't seem to think it important to remind people about it, in order to try to hold Republicans accountable. (Or about the fact that the economy is in dramatically better shape today than it was six years ago. Or, the fact that it's now illegal for unscrupulous health insurers to deny coverage due to preexisting conditions or to hide annual or lifetime caps on coverage in policies.)

The stunning silence by the Democratic Party on the Republican government shutdown and so many other issues, constitutes nothing less than political malpractice, in my opinion.

That's one of my first thoughts about the election of 2014.

Some other things that come to mind, for what they may (or may not) be worth:

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Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM PDT

A Chilling Ad that Says It All

by wdrath

The Dream Defenders, which is a student Black activist group in Florida has produced an ad that demonstrates, in very stark terms, how important it is to vote.

Here's a link to a Talking Points Memo (TPM) article about this ad, and to the ad itself:

With the large number of things going on in this country lately, from unprovoked violence by certain law enforcement officials against some African-American citizens, apparently prompted by racial stereotypes if not out-and-out racist views... to ongoing efforts by Republicans to try to disenfranchise as many people of color as possible, it seems to me that this is the type of campaign message we need to get more people to vote.

This advertisement may feature African-Americans, but it seems to me that the message carries far beyond that demographic, in terms of its potential to shake up a whole bunch of folks and motivate them to get out and vote in greater numbers, including African-Americans, yes, but others, as well, such as Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, other minorities, young folks, women and white male voters.

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