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    • The Slow Bipartisan Slide to Authoritarianism
      The funniest thing about Trump are those who feel he is of a piece, separate from American history, and somehow a break from it.  That this government is significantly qualitatively worse than those that came before, rather than an extension of it. (A good example is immigration policy, in which Trump is somewhat worse than […]
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Pennsylvania Primary

Today’s the day in PA, CT, DE, MD and RI! I hope all that hard work paid off.

My vote for the Democratic candidate for President is Hillary Clinton.

This is an easy case to make. She is far and away the most qualified and prepared candidate on either side of the aisle to become president. And although my heart was with Sanders, my head tells me that Hillary knows who to call to get things done. These are the reasons I voted for her in the NJ primary eight years ago and they haven’t changed.

The fact that she is a woman is secondary to me but it is the icing on the cake. It’s more historic than Obama and probably has greater implications down the road. There have been studies that show that the more women you have in government, the better off everyone is. Will one more woman be enough? I don’t know. But she may be able to bring more downticket women with her.That’s my hope.

So, good luck to all of us but may luck favor the prepared mind- Hillary Clinton.

For Senate, to replace Toomey, I’ve been supporting John Fetterman. He’s the mayor of Braddock, just down the road a piece from me. He’s definitely an iconoclast, and who says we couldn’t use more of them in the Senate? He has a passion for urban renewal. So, good luck, John!

And here’s a little shout out to Love and Kindness from Pittsburgh, the TV hometown of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was actually from Latrobe but the first public broadcasting station in the country, WQED, is in Pittsburgh:

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Bernie’s right. She not qualified. She’s OVERQUALIFIED

Please.

{{rolling eyes}}

There’s nobody on either side of the aisle who is more ready to be president than Hillary.

She worked in the White House for 8 years.

She worked in the Senate for 6 years.

She ran the State Department for 4 years.

When she opens her mouth, fully formed policies on every subject fall out with such detail an completeness that this former scientist can tell she’s done her homework, asked all the questions and has  come up with most of the answers.

You might not like her solutions. She might not be as revolutionary as you want. I wish she were pushing the envelope too. Those are legitimate concerns

But that’s quite a different question than whether she is qualified to be president.

The answer is profoundly, whole heartedly, without any reservation-YES.

We’ve elected many presidents who don’t have so much as a foreskin of qualifications and no one blinked an eye.

So, Bernie is clearly attacking Hilary’s undisputed strength.

Not a fan, Bernie. It feels too much like the Penis Years crap we saw in 2008 where 1 penis equaled 8 years of someone else’s hard work.

Don’t go there, Bernie.

Gunfight at the Cleveland Corral

ok-corralIt just keeps getting better on the right side of the aisle. Digby posted about a request from 2nd Amendment group that wants attendees to the Republican convention to be able to carry guns.

You would think that the Quicken Loans Arena’s refusal to allow guns on the premises would be in compliance with the concept of presidential candidates requiring Secret Service protection. Think Robert Kennedy. But that’s not the way these people see it. They see it as a violation of their constitutional rights.

You know what? I think they should be able to do it. Yeah, why not? At least for one night before the roll call vote when all of the candidates are out of the room, let’s just let everyone bring their guns and settle it. We’ll lock them all in and let the debate begin. Whoever has the most delegates standing at dawn the next day wins the nomination.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, The Donald and sad face Cruz are about to go mano a mano over their wives. Someone posted one of many of Melania Trump’s scantily clad modeling poses and Trump insulted Cruz’s wife Heidi, who is no model.

And this is supposed to make us believe that Trump is the worst misogynist in the world. Really? Worse than Cruz who purports to love strong women? Ted Cruz’s evangelical base has no respect for strong women. Women were born to be helpers to men and to defer to them in all things in Cruz world. So, you know, save your breath, Ted. We’ve seen what nearly forty years of Republican “family values” have done for women.

If Ted gets the nomination, he and his fanbase will be all over Hillary the Strong, tearing her down any way they can. Butcha know, the voting booth is a private place, and provided women can actually circumvent the regressive voting restrictions designed to keep them out, they can even the playing field this November. Think about that, Ted. We’re the majority of the population. That’s potentially a much bigger cohort of disaffected voters for 2016 than in 2008. Even Heidi might come over to the dark side. Ted will never know. Bwahahahahahahhhhhhh!

As for The Donald, his stupid comb over and self-tanner accidents, we can only come to one conclusion when we see beautiful, smart Melania Trump by his side:

The sexiest thing in Donald Trump’s pants is his wallet.

I keep thinking the Republicans can’t continue to parody themselves without truly endangering their party’s viability but I seem to underestimate their constituents’ tolerance of more and more crazy.

Are we watching the death of the Republican party or will they manage to pull themselves out of this at the last moment? Have them finally mutated one too many times?

And if it does fall apart, what will rise to take its place? Who will the Koch’s throw all their money to? My best guess is that they’ll continue to support down ticket Republicans. But does The Donald have the power to take them all down?

Oh, Please! PLEASE!, carry guns to your convention.

 

DailyKos: Conversion and Conformity

ccv3h71w8aasjtlPeter Daou wrote about Markos Moulitsos, founder of DailyKos, and his announcement that he will be shifting his support to Hillary as soon as the nomination is wrapped up. Sorry, Bernie fans, time to get in line.

Atrios yesterday wrote that he doubted that one person’s “Why I am Voting for So&So diary” is worth anything. I was happy to see Atrios embrace the idea that your vote is your own but I think he’s dead wrong about the value of the conversion diary. Maybe they’re not as powerful as they used to be but I saw DailyKos lose its collective mind and then get in line twice in 2007-2008. First, it went bat s^&* crazy over John Edwards, then when Edwards became non-viable, it became moonstruck over Obama.

During the infamous Rec List Hostage Crisis of 2008, the pivot from Edwards to Obama was incredibly smooth. I could almost swear that the same people were writing those diaries.

The value of the testimonial can not be underestimated. Maybe we should get John Dehlin, psychologist, former Mormon and host of Mormon Stories to come and explain how it works. The conversion or testimonial is particularly effective in groups that are also exercising other high control tactics, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

A typical conversion story relates how a person is transformed by a moment of revelation. They become “born again” in some important way. People who study high control groups might say the convert’s  behavior has been unduly influenced by informational, emotional and thought control. Go ahead, read about the BITE model and you’ll never see DailyKos in the same way again.

That’s why I think Markos’s conversion story looks like it might not be important to those of us who have figured out how he operates even if it eventually does. His life is only going to change if his revelation leads to more advertising revenue from the Clinton campaign. Deep down inside, I doubt that Markos is wed to any one particular candidate. If anything, he seems to swing Libertarian and attracts the same guys who are stuck in adolescence who aren’t going to let any woman be the boss of them. It’s his business model.

Also, the conversion story does not work in the absence of other features. There has to be praise of the convert. In many religions and high control groups, this would include love bombing. At DailyKos, love bombing is accomplished through the use of recommendations. If a diarist gets enough recommends, their diary can make it to the recommended diary list where its prominence will influence other Kossacks.

The more you toe the founder’s line, the more mojo you get. That is, your level of  authority, at DailyKos increases and you can achieve Trusted User status. A trusted user has very few privileges and while Kossacks are told they don’t mean much, they actually do. A Trusted user can demote recommendations. They are enforcers. A mob of enforcers can deplete a Kossack’s mojo completely. If you don’t stay with the herd, you can be excommunicated and banned from the site.

This is what happened to me in January 2008 when I used the word “jihad” to explain how Obama supporters were mobbing other candidate’s supporters on DailyKos in order to get them banned. In the span of a couple hours, I went from being a trusted user to an exile. I was on to them by the time I posted that diary and while my diary was not meant to get me banned, I watched in fascination how efficiently and quickly the process worked.  I guess to someone who likes to be one of a crowd, that might have been devastating and I saw other Kossacks try very hard to not it happen to them. But for me? It was no big deal. What I learned at DailyKos was that I could write well enough to make the rec list fairly frequently. So, I left and started The Confluence. I didn’t get the fame or the ad money but I’ve enjoyed it anyway.

Those of you who still visit DailyKos can correct me if I’m wrong on any of this. Some of the rules of the game have changed since I was there last. The parameters of the model can be tweaked to keep everyone in line. But Markos knows what he’s doing and he set up his site to enforce conformity and a single message. Yes, there is a bit of wiggle room there. It’s like the difference between being a Methodist and a Presbyterian but it’s still Christianity. And when Markos signs the contract or gives the nod of the head, the machine works of his site will kick into gear and everyone will fall in line, write conversion diaries and disfellowship the apostates.

It’s conformity on a grand blog scale.

Maybe it doesn’t mean as much as it did 8 years ago. But Markos still attracts a lot of the same kind of people. They talk amongst themselves, reminisce about when they had their revelation and swallow their disappointments on queue when their leader gets “new light”.  And when it came time to throw away rules, disenfranchise voters and abbreviate roll call votes in Denver, the Kossacks were enthusiastic supporters of all things not very Democratic. We ended up with an establishment president who is more conservative than just about anyone on DailyKos but by golly, they won, didn’t they? So what if they ripped their party in two in the meantime?

They have a lot in common with Trump supporters.

Yes, conversion diaries, especially many of them, written with the blessing and encouragement and sometimes the coding skills and public megaphone of the founder, can and do make a difference. It simply is what it is, regardless of what Atrios says.

 

We are too focused on the white part of WASP

It’s been a little bit charming to see the GOP freaking out over Trump. I guess they realized too late that they had pushed the envelope way too hard lately and now they have a orange flavored, bombastic, likely racist, definitely sexist, torture loving, Mexican hating, asshole as their presidential frontrunner. They shouldn’t be surprised but for some reason, they really are. I’m gobsmacked. They act like never saw it coming. Republicans iz weird.

So, who do they roll out to talk reason with their base? A MORMON. That’s right, the religion that recently told its members that they were no longer going to perform baby blessings or baptize children who have at least one parent in a same sex relationship, and who are sweeping through their wards with gusto excommunicating gay people, feminists and people who just want to know whether Joseph Smith really “married” 14 year old girls behind his wife Emma’s back. This is the religion that said black people were not “white and delightsome” enough to receive the priesthood until 1978 and that their prophet translated invisible golden plates from Reformed Egyptian to English with a rock in a hat. This is the same church that sponsored Prop 8 in California.

Mitt Romney is going to tell the rest of the Republicans that Trump might be bad news.

But what is kinda getting on my last nerve is the constant emphasis on racism to the exclusion of everything else. It’s just as important to talk about Trump’s effect on women. Why do we ALWAYS forget that?? We’ve already have younger men in our own party conditioned to disrespect women on a daily basis. The 2008 Democratic primary was devastating to women. Oh yes, it was. Don’t kid yourself. Something definitely changed after that one. So, you know, it’s not just African Americans who are going to get schlonged (although if what they say about the size of one’s hands has any merit, maybe that won’t be possible with Trump).

I find it really annoying that I might have to climb to the top of the water tower with a can of paint to defend Megyn Kelly’s honor.

And then there are the hispanics and asian immigrants, and who knows who else he’ll pick on. I’m alarmed by what he said about Rosey O’Donnell. We specifically prohibit Bills of Attainder in the Constitution but a determined executive with a grudge could do a lot of damage. He seems to take personal insults a touch too personally.

Anyway, enough with the over emphasis on race. It’s not just a reaction to Obama. Trump supporters just don’t like modernity or having to come down from the top of the food chain to share with the rest of us. Kicking Liberals around in America might not be enough. They might have to declare war on Norway.

In the meantime, just let him run, give him the nomination. What exactly is it the Republicans fear? That the Koch brothers won’t know who to give all their money to? That Trump won’t have coattails, a thing divinely to be wished from our side? I’d say go for a brokered convention but I don’t think I could stand any more Republican “policy” proposals on national television.

What might be instructive though is having angry, motivated Trump supporters crashing Philadelphia like it’s a beer hall putsch and seeing it all play out on the TV. They’re not going to take it anymore and they probably have guns.

The Republicans should be more careful what they wish for next time.

GOP Petard

petardFor decades, the Republicans have been running campaigns based around hatred of anyone who is not a white anglo-saxon protestant male. If you are any other color, gender, religion or ethnic origin, you are persona non grata to the Republican party.

It has been phenomenally successful with this strategy. Their wins have been tremendous. YUGE!

With this strategy of always appealing to the mean little white man in every voter, they have managed to have a stranglehold on the Supreme Court, a stranglehold on the House of Representatives (by having control of Congress during census and redistricting years, this is how they do it) a stranglehold on many state legislatures. If you are angry at the ‘establishment’ and the way you have lost ground over the years, and that you’re always afraid that some Muslim is going to chop off your head some night when you’re sleeping, then you should ask yourself if maybe you let Republicans persuade you to vote for them one too many times.

But now, the GOP is freaking out because they didn’t anticipate that voters would be so irate, so irrationally angry, so fed up with the way everything is run, and probably confused by the sensation that maybe they’ve been suckers for close to 40 years, that they would actually vote for a guy who can’t seem to get his fake tan right in spite of his million dollar grooming budget.

Their only hope at this point is to get some of the rest of their candidates to drop out and have more reasonable voters coalesce around the alternative to Mr. Creamsicle. What’s really weird is that a more reasonable voter is now considered to be a more devout, evangelical white anglo-saxon protestant voter. Frankly, I fail to see the difference between voting groups except the evangelicals are less rude and do not swear. Otherwise, they’re just as unreasonably and uncompromisingly conservative.

What gets lost in primary season is what about the rest of us? You know, those of us who live in cities and on the coasts in the most populous states. Why do we always find ourselves held hostage by places like Texas? And why is it that Democrats can’t get their act together in downticket races? Will Hillary have coat tails this year and will she bring in more progressive people into Congress or just another bunch of student body presidents? Because, in this respect, I’m as skeptical as a Donald Drumpf voter but in my case, more likely to turn to a Bernie Sanders type alternative, in spite of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s hand picked bland congressional candidates. But I digress. We could have a field day with Debbie in another post.

In the meantime, grab some popcorn and watch the Republicans try to stop Drumpf. If they can. They don’t have much to work with. I just can’t see Cruz as a viable candidate and Rubio looks like a lightweight. Hillary would crush him like a bug in debate (unless Congress sees no alternative but to pre-emptively indict her for no reason. Would they do that? Um, yeah, I could see it.) Not that Republican voters care all that much about whether Hillary is a formidable, experienced, very well qualified opponent. It’s impossible to be rational with very angry people.

Maybe Republicans have gone too far with the Rush Limbaughing and the Glenn Becking and the Muslims Under the Bedding?

Nahhh.

Cocktail party tonight?

Should we watch the fallout from Super Tuesday together?

If Creamsicle wins, we can make some bold predictions. Or at least have a few brief moments of schafenfreude while the Republicans freak out.

What say you all?