Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time Is Not On The GOP's Side

No matter what happens next Tuesday, it may be as good as it gets for the Republicans.  As I've said before, politics is more generational than it is local.  And the generational tide runs against everything conservatism now stands for.  No amount of gerrymandering, "dark money," and screaming heads on Fox can change that.

Ranking By Body Count?

An interesting way of appraising U.S. presidents, with some surprising results.

If You Think They're "Illegal" ...

... then don't accept the money they pay into the Social Security system.  That, of course, would be the money they'll never get to collect.

Don't Doubt That It Matters Which Party Is In Power

It matters a lot.  It often means everything.  This is something that means everything for workers.  Keep it up, Mr. President.  And do something similar with immigration, for crying out loud.

If You're Just Finding Out About This ...

... that probably reflects the inclination in the media, especially older media, to slander first and exonerate never.  Especially when a Democrat is the object of the slander.  But you can always count on the Internet to correct that, so here it is:  Obama did NOTHING wrong with regard to Benghazi.

Aren't you surprised?  Yeah, neither was I.

Stop Corporate Traitors!

You can do it, Mr. President.  All you have to do is have the courage.  And, if it comes to pass, don't let losing the Senate stop you.  That's all the more reason to stand up to the interests that financed that loss.

And One Tool They're Counting On To Keep You Away From The Polls

The polls themselves.  Not the ones you should go to on November 4, but the ones you see on almost a daily basis (or, if you're as much of a political junkie as I am, that you inflict on yourself via Web-surfing on an almost hourly basis).  Party polls.  Media polls.  Pollster polls.  And, as I've followed them over the past several months, I've noticed a discrepancy between the numbers in all of these polls, and the narrative for this election cycle that has been pushed in the media, especially by "traditional" media outlets (print and broadcast).

That narrative, of course, is that this is a year of destiny for the Republicans, especially in the Senate races.  You've heard the basics by now many times.  Most of the seats up this year are in red states.  Obama's popularity is in the tank.  The voters registered with the party controlling the White House don't show up for midterms and, on top of that, there's a "six-year-itch" in two-term Presidencies that drives unaffiliated voters to vote for the "out" party in that circumstance.  Historically, all true.  And, if history was inclined to repeat itself, then surely the poll numbers would reflect that.

Except that they aren't.

A little bit of context.  By this time four years ago, the polls were producing across-the-board numbers that pointed to a major GOP wave.  You have only to look back at those numbers to see that.  And, thanks to the data available on the Real Clear Politics Web site, we can do just that.  By this time four years ago, the RCP average across polls for party preference in Congressional elections favored Republicans by 6.5%.  Today, however, they only have a 3.0 lead.  A statistical tie, for all practical purposes.

And even that is inflated by off-the-chart Republican leads from polls produced by three "old media" outlets:  CBS, ABC News/Washington Post, and Associated Press/GfK.  Take those out, and the difference between the parties is zero.  And, frankly, there's every reason in the world to take them out.  In the digital age, old media have lost almost all but their oldest viewers, the ones that more typically vote Republican.  The other pollsters, while in some cases biased by the source (e.g., Fox, Rasmussen), without exception show no more than a one or two percent lead for either party.  There's little doubt that they are trying to achieve a true demographic balance in building their samples.

If that's true, it shatters one more myth about midterm elections:  that they are dominated by older voters.  The absence of a true Republican "wave" in this year's polls suggest that 2014 might not run true to that form.  There's yet another reason to think that.  Namely, that the pollsters themselves are fearful that they might be undercounting younger, Democratic-leaning voters.  Both The Huffington Post Pollster and The New York Times have recently raised this as a possibility.  Again, this is a problem related to the demographics of communications; younger voters are harder to reach by telephone than older voters, so pollsters always run the danger of oversampling the latter.  The problem, however, is that, at present, there's no statistically valid way to "correct" for that.

What does all this ultimately mean for November 4th?  Jump ball, in my opinion, with each party's ground game being the key to success.  This election certainly will test whether Obama and his organizers really have found a way to revolutionize getting progressive voters to the polls.

You, of course, can do your part to help prove that they have done it.  Vote.  Not because the polls tell you to do it, but because your values make you do it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why The Republicans Want You To Stay At Home On November 4

Unless, of course, you're a Republican, that is.  But even then, they're not interested in you, and certainly not in your fellow citizens on the opposite side of the partisan divide.

What they are interested in is not smaller government.  Not in more personal responsibility.  Not in promoting personal charity.  And not in protecting and promoting democracy around the globe.  Those are the things they're content to put on their bumper stickers, to give you a reason to support them that sounds nice but, ultimately, in the world that you and I wake up in, means absolutely nothing.

Because what they're really interested in has nothing to do with changing your life for the better.  What they're interested in is changing their lives for the better.  By pursuing the one and only thing that they really want.

Control.  Of you.  Of me.  Of all of us.  And everything.

Does that sound like a purely partisan whine?  Honestly, I wish that it was.  But it isn't.  It's the conclusion I come to just by following news on the Internet.  In fact, it's the only conclusion I can come to by doing that.

Why do you think that wages have remained flat for the past 35 years?  So that the GOP and its corporate masters could stop treating you like servants, and start treating you like slaves.  After all, only slaves would be expected to sign non-competition clauses for work that can be done by anyone.  Or non-disparagement clauses that desperately try to conceal the ultimately unconcealable nature of their true intentions.

For that matter, why do you think they are willing to openly declare, without fear of failure or even opposition, that they want to control the entire process of voting?   Or to try to deny access to technology that could benefit everyone, while exploiting it for themselves?  Or to suppress any exposure of their activities, or dissention within their own ranks?  They know that they can only retain power on a playing field that's tilted in their favor.  Because they can't compete in the marketplace of ideas.  Because they have no ideas whatsoever.  Only a obsession with control.

And that obsession has no limits.

It doesn't stop with sex.

It doesn't stop with water.

It doesn't stop with your safety, or your life.

It doesn't even stop with the fact of its own failure, and the obvious need to change course.

And that's why this author couldn't possibly be more wrong if he tried.  This election DOES matter.  If you decide to sit it out, you may not have the choice of sitting out the next one.  In fact, you may have even fewer choices to dissent, to express yourself, or to live your life.

So vote.  If you don't want to vote for the Democrats, fine.  Vote for a third party.  Write-in your grandmother.  But whatever else you do, get out there and let them know that you care about what they're trying to do to your life, and everyone's life.

Cynicism can just provide them with another path to control.  Don't walk down that path.  They're desperate for you to do it.  Make them unhappy.  And preserve your right to keep on doing so in the future.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A "War" On Whites?

Or do we just stop calling it a massacre when the other side fights back?  If that's the case, I'll be happy to fight a "war" any day, Mr. Brooks.

Farewell To A Good Man, And A Good Republican

One who wasn't afraid to agree with "the other side," especially on an issue that, for sadly personal reasons, was deeply relevant to him.  RIP, Mr. Brady.  And thanks to you and your wife Sarah for all that both of you did on behalf of gun sanity, and for what she will continue to do.

What The Siberian Craters Tell Us

Simply this:  that we really are destroying ourselves through climate change.

Science Shows That Things Aren't Possible, Until It Can Show That They Are

Here's a case in point:  a "Star Trek"-type engine that may revolutionize space travel.

How To Build The Case For Administrative Action On Immigration

It's not just a question of prosecutorial discretion with regard to deportations; it's also releasing unused visa numbers and expanding work authorization.  Take a look.

It IS God's Creation, After All

Further weakening the GOP's power to make the world safer for polluters and dangerous for the rest of us, there are more and more signs that religious conservatives are seeing the light when it comes to protecting the world He, She, It or They made.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

And, If You Vote For No Other Reason, Vote For This One

The right to be able to vote in the future.

I'm dead serious.  Nothing frustrates me more than to listen to people talk about not voting as though doing so was some kind of noble, selfless act on behalf of the Republic.  And never mind, just for the purpose of this post, how many people have fought and died for your right to sit at home on Election Day.

Your refusal to vote does not stop the election from happening.  A new Congress will be elected, whether you want it to be elected or not.  If you refuse to vote, a magical, better-than-all-of-the-above candidate is not going to show up.  And, even worse, even if such a person existed, he or she would not be inspired to run by your absence from the polling place.

Because all that your refusal to vote accomplishes is the fueling of the apathy that is slowly but surely killing our political system.  It's not just your voice that we lose when you refuse to vote.  It's the voices of hundreds, thousands, even millions of people whose own indifference to their voice in society is encouraged by your own.

And, worse yet, the forces in our society that you resent the most are utterly dependent not on your voting for one of the two major political parties, but on your not voting at all.  In the forty-plus years that I have followed national politics, I have never seen a more blatant effort than the one mounted by the Republicans over the last four years to keep people away from the polls.  They have no shame about either their lust for power or the fact that they can't hold on to that power if you show up.  There have been any number of articles on the Internet, and even in what the former half-term governor of Alaska calls the "lame-stream" media, on this subject.  But, if you need a primer or summary, Mother Jones is happy to help you.

Today, it may be minor restrictions on your right, like voter ID laws.  Do not think those restrictions could not become major ones by the next election.  Do not think that those restrictions could prevent you from voting, now or in the future.  Why shouldn't they, if you don't care enough to vote?  That's not me asking that question.  That's the Republican Party and the larger conservative movement that now completely controls it asking that question.  And don't worry about them finding the answer; they've already got it for you.  And trust me:  you'll dislike that answer even more than you dislike the current crop of candidates.

If you don't want to vote for the Democrats, fine.  Vote for a third, fourth or fifth party.  Vote for a write-in candidate.  Whatever you do, VOTE.  Vote like your life and your country depend on it.

Because they do.  Apathy doesn't create the future.  Voting does.