Category Archives: Politics: US

A Political Winner

This is a great ad:

You can contribute to the Carl Sciortino campaign here.

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Governing With Crazy People

Josh Marshall despairs: Broken Windows, Broken States

Posted in Econ & Money, Politics: US | Leave a comment

Pretty Evil

Google has joined ALEC.

Posted in Internet, Politics: US | 3 Comments

Lake Flake

An odd campaign video for a Minneapolis Mayoralty candidate:

(found via tech President)

This is edging into Mike Gravel territory.

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Progress in Action

I was oddly cheered by De Blasio Takes His Modern Family on the Campaign Trail. The article, buried deep in the A section of today’s paper, reports that NY Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s family is a major part of his campaign, and that by deploying them, and especially his kids, he is portraying himself as at once the most politically progressive candidate but also the ‘family’ candidate.

Obviously, this sort of strategy ought to work against serial selfie-sharer Anthony D. Weiner, a candidate who is, to say the least, not family friendly. Perhaps less cheerfully, it also may work against Christine C. Quinn, whose wife, we are told, is not much of a campaigner.

One might well ask what is cheerful about a campaign ploy that could be said to subtly play against the fact that the leading candidate is not just a childless woman, but one married to another woman. The answer has two parts. First, that in the Times’s coverage at least, the modern nature of the City Council Speaker Quinn’s marriage invokes no comment at all. Second and more significantly, the de Blassio family consists of an Italian-American male, an African-American woman, Chirlane McCray, who did not take his name, and their two kids — one of whom stars in the campaign’s first video and promises among other things that de Blassio will reform the NYPD’s excessive stop-and-frisk policy.

Twenty-five years ago, I doubt that a campaign for major office, even in New York, could have been built around an inter-racial marriage as a major selling point. (Nor that it would showcase a 15-year-old kid with a big black Afro promising to rein in the police.) In twenty-five years we’ll see gay candidates on video boasting about the longevity of their marriage and about their kids.

Progress in action — slow, yes, and as always incomplete. But progress nonetheless.

Oddly related: Down With Tyranny’s The Failure Of Identity Politics– And It’s Not Just Wall Street Shill Cory Booker; one inevitable consequence of progress is that now anyone can be a sellout.

Posted in Law: Con Law: Marriage, Politics: US | Leave a comment

An Appropriate Petition

Rename the 10+ Military Bases Named After Confederate Generals

The White House’s online petition site was a good idea in principle, but it hasn’t amounted to much since the replies to petitions the Administration doesn’t intend to accept have so often turned out to be the usual mealy-mouthed mush you get from a political press office. They have not, in key cases, met the more demanding tests one would apply under the Administrative Procedures Act if an agency were required to respond to public comments. Even so, the whitehouse.gov petition site is still good for symbolic issues, and what could be more symbolic than the names of military bases?

Rename the 10+ Military Bases Named After Confederate Generals

Today we have over 10 US military bases named for generals of the Confederate States of America.

For example, Fort Polk is named after a plantation master of several hundred slaves. Fort Pickett’s namesake was accused of war crimes in executing 22 Union prisoners.

Forts Benning, Bragg, Polk, A.P. Hill, Rucker, Beauregard, Lee, Hood all carry similar tales.

When these bases were built, during the World Wars, it may have made sense to name them after local heroes. Now, with over 20% of our forces African-American why do we insult them by asking them to serve at a base named after defenders of slavery WHO KILLED AMERICAN TROOPS?

Would we have a Goering Air Base or Camp Cornwallis?

There are so many honorable people who upheld our American ideals, can’t we find 10 to honor?

Created: Jul 06, 2013

The petition needs 100,000 signatures in order to force the White House to reply with an explanation as to why it won’t do it. Sign here. I was #34, so there’s a long way to go.

More background at Political Animal, Sign the Petition–Retire General Hood!.

Posted in Politics: US | 14 Comments

The Red Lionfish of Politics

How can this be?

Most people are now familiar with President’s Obama’s proposal to cut Social Security by reducing the annual cost of living adjustment. While the final formula is somewhat convoluted, the net effect is to reduce benefits by an average of roughly 3.0 percent.

Since Social Security benefits account for more than 70 percent of the income of a typical retiree, this cut is more than a 2.0 percent reduction in income. By comparison, a wealthy couple earning $500,000 a year would see a hit to their after-tax income of just 0.6 percent from the tax increase that President Obama put in place last year.

While President Obama is willing to make seniors pay a price for the economic crisis, his administration his unwilling to impose any burdens on Wall Street. Specifically, it has consistently opposed a Wall Street speculation tax: effectively a sales tax on trades of stock and derivatives. The Obama administration has even used its power to try to block efforts by European countries to impose their own taxes on financial speculation.

If the idea of taxing stock trades sounds strange, it shouldn’t. The United States used to impose a tax of 0.04 percent until Wall Street lobbied to eliminate it in the mid-1960s. Many countries, including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, China, and India already impose taxes on stock trades.

Oh, wait, it’s simple:

Wall Street bankers have a lot more political power than old and disabled people who depend on Social Security. That is why President Obama is working to protect the former and cut benefits for the latter.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me repeat two things I’ve said often before:

1. We need a Tobin Tax too.

2. Consider this administration the flowering of the Nelson Rockefeller wing of the GOP. Obama governs like the moderate-liberal Republicans of my youth — a species now all but extinct in its original habitat, but thriving like red lionfish in their new home.

Posted in Econ: Social Security, Politics: US | 4 Comments