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« Liberal Outrage: May 2015 | Main | Liberal Outrage: July 2015 »

Liberal Outrage

Bernie Sanders and minorities

I have reached my tipping point on Bernie Sanders Needs to Make Inroads with African-Americans articles. This is the worst kind of vapid horse race political reporting. If you read that article and many like it, you will find no discussion of policy. The article boils down to "Sanders needs people to vote for him if he is going to win", which is a truism. Sanders is unknown nationally. He's been making amazing inroads in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and yes, those states are very white. So right now his support is primarily white, because he is campaigning in those states first. But there's nothing to say that his message won't resonate with non-white voters to the same degree. Except that about a million of these Bernie Sanders Needs to Make Inroads with minorities articles have been posted, and these articles, all of them content free, morph into a message that Sanders can't make inroads with African-Americans or Latinos, or doesn't want to, or something like that. And as far as i know, nothing can be further from the truth.

I don't presume to know for sure what issues African-Americans care about. I started to write a laundry list, from his involvement in the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and 70s, his opposition to Bill Clinton's welfare and crime "reforms" in the 90s, and through to today, when he's partnering with John Conyers on a youth jobs bill. But i don't want to presume. It would be nice if these articles actually investigated and reported on the issues that African-Americans and Latinos (and other groups) care about and compared it to Sanders' (and Hillary Clinton's) record and proposals. Anything else is just reading the poll numbers to us, and telling us nothing.

By fnord12 | June 30, 2015, 11:56 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

The hopey-changey thing is working out ok right now

Just wanted to sort of acknowledge that it's been a pretty amazing week.

1) The shooting in Charleston was a terrible tragedy. But the silver lining is the movement to get rid of the Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy. That is of course small compensation for the deaths. But it's huge and belated progress. They may just be "symbols", but they are symbols of racism. I can't imagine the effect of being black and growing up around them.

2) The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Also huge. Still work to be done. But this was an important ruling.

3) The Obamacare ruling. It's obvious what the intent of the law was, but it wasn't obvious how the right wing justices would rule. Justice Roberts seemingly wants to assure us that the Supreme Court isn't just an extension of the politics of the other two branches. I don't really believe him, but this is an argument in his favor (on the other hand, he did vote no on the gay marriage case).

4) Bernie Sanders. Maybe some people won't think this belongs in here with the other three. But i think his core platform of campaign finance reform and fixing inequality is as important as these other issues. And i'm amazed at how well he's doing. He's already significantly changed the conversation in the Democratic primary. I don't dare hope for more than that (but i do), but it's already exceeded my expectations.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2015, 7:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Harrrr! Hand over yer mp3s, matey!

Iceland's Pirate Party surges (relatively speaking) in the polls.

By fnord12 | June 23, 2015, 7:41 AM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Comments (4)| Link


The Dominican Republic's choice to retroactively strip some of its residents of citizenship has created the fifth-largest group of stateless people in the world. Until recently, the Dominican Republic considered all persons born in the country to be citizens, but in 2013, the Dominican Constitutional Court retroactively revoked citizenship for children born to foreign parents as early as 1929. Tuesday was residents' last chance to petition for naturalization to regain citizenship (albeit a lesser form).

The ruling is expected to primarily affect persons of Haitian heritage, who have been targeted for expulsion previously. Applying the ruling as far back as 1929 meant that families who had been citizens for two or more generations lost their Dominican Republic citizenship and couldn't turn to Haiti for a new home. A foreign-born person of Haitian descent is eligible for Haitian citizenship only if one parent is a natural-born Haitian citizen.


Once stateless people have been pushed out of their former home, they have no unique claim on any country in the world, which can wind up meaning that no nation offers them a new place to settle and be citizens. For example, hundreds of Rohingya Muslims, part of the world's single largest group of stateless people, have been in limbo after escaping Myanmar earlier this year. Although they have been given shelter in temporary camps, they have no new nation to belong to. If the Dominican Republic expels its newly stateless residents, they may also find that they have nowhere to legally live.


The UN has helpfully officially stated they are "deeply concerned" about all of this. Thanks. Our UN sucks. We need the UN of the Toho-verse. Those people could get shit done.

By min | June 18, 2015, 8:59 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

If Catcalls Were Cheeseburgers

By min | June 17, 2015, 3:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Blaming the symptom

Maybe the problem wasn't Eugene McCarthy but the fact that LBJ wouldn't pull out of Vietnam. You can extrapolate from there.

By fnord12 | June 16, 2015, 10:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


The state of Texas seems to be doing something really crazy.

By fnord12 | June 16, 2015, 10:16 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

I Don't Know Why People Believe Candidates During a Campaign

It only leads to disappointment. You really should manage your expectations better. What they say to win has nothing to do with what they will actually do.

In Barack Obama's speech the night he won the 2008 election, he made a promise:
[A]bove all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation ...

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change.

And there were a whole lot of people ready to help. According to Marshall Ganz, one of the architects of Obama's 2008 organizing strategy, Obama's campaign had 3,000 organizers who recruited thousands more local leaders, who then helped mobilize 1.5 million volunteers and 13.5 million contributors. They thought Obama meant it, and was going to ask them to stay involved and keep campaigning.

But Obama didn't mean it. As Ganz later said:

One Obama campaign volunteer from Delaware County, Pa., put it this way soon after the election: "We're all fired up now, and twiddling our thumbs! ... Here, ALL the leader volunteers are getting bombarded by calls from volunteers essentially asking 'Nowwhatnowwhatnowwhat?'"
Consider this, however: I think it's unlikely that Obama's demobilization of his supporters was actually a "mistake." As Ganz put it in 2010, Obama saw his supporters "like a tiger you can't control"; Ganz speculated that the president's real goal was simply to "keep the machine on for the next election."

In other words, Obama was acting in accordance with what I like to call "The Iron Law of Institutions" -- that is, the people in charge of institutions (as Obama was in charge of the Democratic party and his "movement" in 2009) care first and foremost about their own power within the institution, rather than the power of the institution itself.

So while the Democratic party itself would have been much more powerful overall if Obama had kept his grassroots mobilized and involved, Obama himself and his most important donors and supporters would have been less powerful within the Democratic party. So Obama let the enthusiasm and activism surrounding his candidacy dissipate, all his supporters stayed home in 2010 and Obama's party suffered a catastrophic collapse.

But from Obama's perspective, so what?


By min | June 16, 2015, 8:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Raising the overtime requirement

I mentioned this back in December without thinking that Obama would even consider doing it, but now it really does seem to be happening.

By fnord12 | June 9, 2015, 11:51 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


The Medium puts up a list of questions from a Bernie Sanders interview on CNN against a list of questions from an Ask Me Anything interview on Reddit. It's (so much) a matter of the quality of the question; it's that all of the CNN questions are horse race questions. I get it: Bernie Sanders is a longshot candidate. And a question or two about he chances makes perfect sense. But don't we want to actually learn where politicians stand on the issues? And isn't Bernie Sanders a longshot candidate at least in part because people don't know him, and then all that they hear about him is that he's a longshot candidate?

I'm not saying that it's CNN's job to help Sanders get his message out (although reporters then shouldn't get upset when politicians stop going on their shows, which they do). But it just feels like the target audience for CNN is political junkies that don't know how to use the internet, not people actually looking for news and information.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 1:58 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Recession alert

The latest economic news doesn't look so good. I guess we're not going to see any efforts to change this until the next government shake-up. If i were the Democrats, that would make me worried, because the incumbent presidential party doesn't get re-elected during a downturn. And it might be good to start asking candidates where they stand on stimulus spending. I know Bernie Sanders' answer, but i have less faith in Hillary Clinton.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 9:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

A classic Sid Meier's Culture Victory

One of the guest posters on Kevin Drum's blog has been doing a series of articles on Cuba and the easing of the embargo. This one in particular is a lot of fun. I love the idea of USB sticks full of bootleg TV shows being passed around like drugs. It's funny, and of course we can all tut tut about the quality of our TV shows, but it does show that we can do more to change world opinion with our culture than with embargos or wars.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 9:39 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The invisible hand of the market is probably doing something unseemly

Paul Krugman links to a funny-but-probably-true comment on Kevin O'Rouke's blog:

The markets want money for cocaine and prostitutes. I am deadly serious.

Most people don't realize that "the markets" are in reality 22-27 year old business school graduates, furiously concocting chaotic trading strategies on excel sheets and reporting to bosses perhaps 5 years senior to them. In addition, they generally possess the mentality and probably intelligence of junior cycle secondary school students. Without knowledge of these basic facts, nothing about the markets makes any sense--and with knowledge, everything does.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 9:36 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Temporarily Free!

I had major mixed feelings about Rand Paul's sort-of filibuster that led to the temporary expiration of the bulk data collection provisions of Patriot Act. First of all, i have major mixed feelings about Rand Paul in general. Second of all, i don't support the filibuster or the exploitation of other procedural nonsense. The vote should be the vote. Finally, it is temporary; all this accomplished is a few days where the programs are halted (although not in cases where investigations are already ongoing, which given the way the program works probably gives investigators a lot of leeway, plus who is supervising them?).

But you use the tools you have (if the Senate won't reform themselves, then it's their own damn fault when the filibuster is used), and you take allies where you can get them. If nothing else, this was a good symbolic victory. It's good that there's been some very public opposition to the NSA's activities. Sometimes that is enough to change public opinion (more people say now that they've always opposed the Iraq invasion than polls showed at the time, for example). And Paul's actions did cause Mitch McConnell to do a 180 on the "USA Freedom Act" (did you know it's an acronym?) that at least has some minor reforms in it.

One thing i laugh at, and i've seen this from both liberal commentators as well as Republican politicians like John McCain, is that what Paul did is "just" because of his presidential ambitions, a fundraising stunt. Well... isn't that how this democracy thing is supposed to work? There are constituents out there who don't support the NSA spying. Rand Paul would like to be president, and so he fights for the things they want, and these individual supporters send him money, usually in small increments. Isn't that better than holding $500 plate fundraising dinners? Seems like it to me.

By fnord12 | June 1, 2015, 8:48 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

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