HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » markpkessinger » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 56 Next »

markpkessinger

Profile Information

Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,090

Journal Archives

Infuriating update on my voter registration drama...

The NYC Board of Elections is an incompetent mess. So, the other day I checked my voter registration status online, only to find I was listed as being "inactive." I called the Board of Elections, and was told that I should go to their office downtown, and would be permitted to vote there by absentee ballot, and that this would make my status active again. So today, I went down there to do just that, and was told that no, I would have to vote by affidavit at the polling place on Tuesday. When I tried to protest that I had been told to come to the office to vote, I was rudely cut-off as the clerk yelled, "Next!" By the time I had ridden the subway back home -- it's a half-hour trip each way -- I was fuming, so I again called the BoE office to find out why I was being given conflicting information. This time, after I presented the entire story, the person on the phone told me I would have to RE-REGISTER. WTF???? At that point, I demanded to speak to a supervisor. She was nice and accommodating, but could provide no satisfactory answer as to why I had been given THREE DIFFERENT stories as to what I needed to do to vote. So she asked me to come back tomorrow -- and to ask for her -- a Ms. Walker. But this entire episode has been infuriating!
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Apr 15, 2016, 02:55 PM (12 replies)

SO I CHECKED MY NY VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS

I checked mine online yesterday, not anticipating a problem, but just to be on the safe side. Lo and behold, I was listed as "inactive." According to the NYC Board of Elections website, inactive status can occur when either (1) a person fails to vote in two consecutive federal elections; or (2) mail is sent to a voter and is returned as undeliverable. Neither of those two should have applied to me (although my mail delivery has been a bit funky on occasion). Anyway, I called the Board of Elections, and was told I will still be able to vote, but I have to go to their office downtown to do so. The good news is I can do so during business hours anytime between now and Tuesday, and they are open on Saturday and Sunday as well.

But New York voters, BE WARNED! Check your registration status so you don't get a nasty surprise on Tuesday!
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Apr 14, 2016, 05:17 PM (128 replies)

NEW YORK VOTERS: CHECK YOUR REGISTRATION STATUS!

I checked mine online yesterday, not anticipating a problem, but just to be on the safe side. Lo and behold, I was listed as "inactive." According to the NYC Board of Elections website, inactive status can occur when either (1) a person fails to vote in two consecutive federal elections; or (2) mail is sent to a voter and is returned as undeliverable. Neither of those two should have applied to me (although my mail delivery has been a bit funky on occasion). Anyway, I called the Board of Elections, and was told I will still be able to vote, but I have to go to their office downtown to do so. The good news is I can do so during business hours anytime between now and Tuesday, and they are open on Saturday and Sunday as well.

But New York voters, BE WARNED! Check your registration status so you don't get a nasty surprise on Tuesday!
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Apr 14, 2016, 05:16 PM (16 replies)

"The One Piece of Writing Every Hillary Supporter Should Read"

This is one of the most well-written, well-reasoned articulations of the progressive case against Hillary I have seen to date. It is long -- the four paragraphs excerpted below represent less than 1/8th of the article's length -- but well worth the read.

The One Piece of Writing Every Hillary Supporter Should Read
by Memo Salazar

You keep hearing the same refrain from several of your friends: Bernie Sanders is America’s savior. The Facebook posts are everywhere, the tweets, the memes. You’ve heard his impassioned speeches, and, yes, they are definitely fiery and exciting. The young liberal inside you applauds when you hear him speak out for justice, and if you were twenty years old right now, perhaps you’d even be convinced. But you’re not twenty years old anymore, and you’ve seen enough in this world to know that the idealism of youth falls short when dealing with the messy reality of human beings- especially in the world of American Politics.

And so, even though Hillary isn’t as exciting as Bernie, you begin to realize her message is much more sober: slow change for the better, much in the manner of Barack Obama. It may not be as flashy, but it’s definitely more certain, and in 4 or 8 years, moving forward a little will be better than moving nowhere fast. As the weeks go by and the Bernie supporters get louder, your faith in Hillary’s no-nonsense speeches grows stronger; your tolerance for drinking that Bernie kool-aid gets weaker. A revolution? Really? Besides, what could be more revolutionary than finally having a woman in the White House? Isn’t that, in itself, about as revolutionary as it gets?

If you identify with some, or all, of this point of view, you’re not alone. In an election that is bringing out some very ugly sides of humanity, Hillary Clinton is probably our best bet for sanity right now. This is no time for experimenting with Democracy; if ever we need to keep things on an even keel, it’s now.

All of the above would be true, except for the fact that it is very, very, very much untrue. But, wait- before you turn away from these words in frustration, thinking the last thing you need to read is another anti-Hillary rant, allow yourself to play devil’s advocate for just a couple of minutes longer. After all, if Hillary is the wiser choice, then nothing you can read below will change that irrevocable fact. But if the facts reflect a much different truth- if, in fact, they completely contradict the above argument- don’t you owe it to yourself to at least consider them? If only to better understand your opposition? Is the election simply about picking a team and rooting for them loudly until the season ends, or is actually about finding the best method to improve your country? If it’s the latter, read on. These are just words on paper, after all- you can choose to disagree with them and never have to worry about anyone’s opinion of you, nor damage a friendship because of political differences. They’re just words.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Apr 12, 2016, 06:39 PM (6 replies)

Panama Papers: Obama, Clinton Pushed Trade Deal Amid Warnings It Would Make Tax Evasion Worse

Panama Papers: Obama, Clinton Pushed Trade Deal Amid Warnings It Would Make Money Laundering, Tax Evasion Worse

Years before more than a hundred media outlets around the world released stories Sunday exposing a massive network of global tax evasion detailed in the so-called Panama Papers, U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for a Bush administration-negotiated free trade agreement that watchdogs warned would only make the situation worse.

Soon after taking office in 2009, Obama and his secretary of state — who is currently the Democratic presidential front-runner — began pushing for the passage of stalled free trade agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that opponents said would make it more difficult to crack down on Panama’s very low income tax rate, banking secrecy laws and history of noncooperation with foreign partners.

Even while Obama championed his commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy, he pursued and eventually signed the Panama agreement in 2011. Upon Congress ratifying the pact, Clinton issued a statement lauding the agreement, saying it and other deals with Colombia and South Korea "will make it easier for American companies to sell their products." She added: "The Obama administration is constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the world, and these agreements are an example of that commitment."

Critics, however, said the pact would make it easier for rich Americans and corporations to set up offshore corporations and bank accounts and avoid paying many taxes altogether.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Apr 5, 2016, 03:33 PM (37 replies)

Rep Matt Cartwright ABSOLUTELY DESTROYS Michigan Gov Rick Snyder "YOU NEED TO RESIGN"

In a congressional hearing on the Fllint water crisis, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA 17th) ripped Gov. Rick Snyder a new one in a most well-deserved wat! My favorite line: "Governor, plausible deniability only works if it's plausible!"

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Mar 18, 2016, 01:49 AM (7 replies)

Tim Cook Defends Apple's Encryption Policy

I don't own a single Apple product, but Tim Cook is rapidly becoming my hero. Here, he calls out the false choice between privacy and security!

http://www.wsj.com/video/tim-cook-defends-apple-encryption-policy/7EA9F3A9-2502-4169-A187-09CABF33DDCA.html
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Feb 23, 2016, 07:36 AM (0 replies)

I, for one, have never doubted Hillary's ability to "get things done" . . .

. . . it's what she wants to do that worries me!

Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Feb 22, 2016, 09:09 PM (5 replies)

The false promise of political 'realism' in a time of right-wing radical extremism

(cross-posted from GDP)

A DailyKos diary I published this morning:

The false promise of political 'realism' in a time of right-wing radical extremism

by markpkessinger

?1456028849

One of the chief distinctions Hillary Clinton has been attempting to draw between herself and Bernie Sanders is that she is a political ‘realist’ who won’t make promises she cannot keep, where Sanders is a dreamer who will not possibly be able to deliver on his proposals. Chelsea Clinton recently said that Sanders, unlike her mother, doesn’t understand what is “possible” to achieve in government (a rather curious thing to say about someone who has been in the Senate for 9 years, and in the House for 16 years before that — but I digress). Hillary has insisted that her moderate centrism (a description she was happy enough to “plead guilty” to until her campaign realized it was a liability to her vis-à-vis Sanders), and not Sanders’ pie-in-the-sky promises, will be the best bulwark against the treachery o f the political right. But is that really the case?

Imagine, if you will, that our politics are a game of tug-of-war, with the two major parties as the competing teams. Now, in a formal tug-of-war match, the rope is marked in three places: the center, and at two points (one for each team) equidistant from the center (in formal competitions, the distance of each team mark from the center mark is is 4 meters, or about 13 feet. The match starts with the center mark on the rope positioned over a mark in the ground, and whichever team can manage to pull the other team’s mark over the mark in the ground is the winner. But imagine if one team’s mark is, say, only 6 feet from the center mark, and the other team’s mark remains at 13 feet. Obviously, this puts the team whose mark is further from the center at a significant advantage, because they have a significantly shorter distance they must pull the other side in order to win. Certainly no self-respecting Irish tug-o’-war team would willingly compete if they were disadvantaged in such a way!

Yet, metaphorically, that is exactly what the Democratic Party did beginning in 1985 and on through the next two decades: it moved its team’s own mark much closer to the center mark, thus ceding the political advantage to its opposition. In 1985, Al From founded the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), which argued that in order for the party to remain politically viable, it had to abandon the party’s long-standing economic populism (i.e., its support for labor, the poor and the working and middle classes), and embrace an economic platform that was solidly pro-business, and find solutions that were “market-based” rather than government program-based. This, it was argued, was the only way the party could once again become a major player on the national stage.

The election of Bill Clinton in 1992 was seen as the vindication of the DLC’s ideas. And indeed, the DLC’s ideas figured strongly throughout Clinton’s presidency, resulting in things like welfare reform, financial deregulation, truly egregious criminal justice legislation, and trade deals such as NAFTA and CAFTA, all of which the DLC (and HIllary Clinton) vigorously and vocally supported. The solemn pronouncement that “the era of big government is over” rolled off Bill Clinton’s tongue as easily as if his name were Newt Gingrich.

Now, whatever might be said of the effectiveness of the DLC’s strategy with respect to presidential elections, it proved to be a Faustian bargain when it came to Congressional elections. The Democratic Party’s long-standing commitment to economic populism had enabled it to maintain a dominant majority in Congress for four decades. When did that change? Not during the Reagan administration, nor that of his successor, George Bush. It changed in the 1994 midterms, after Clinton had signed NAFTA and CAFTA, which many organized labor voters saw — and not without — justification as a betrayal of their loyal support for the Democratic Party. The result was that demoralized labor voters, having concluded that neither party any longer represented their interests, stayed away from the polls in 1994 in a big way, enabling Republicans to gain control for the first time in 40 years. They held control for 12 years until 2006. But they regained control yet again in 2010, when once again, working and middle class voters, reeling from the economic collapse, were left to conclude that neither party really represented their economic interests.

We don’t really know what a President Sanders, or a President Clinton, will be able to accomplish. Certainly, neither will accomplish everything they set out to accomplish — no president ever does. The assumption that a President Sanders will not be able to accomplish any of his agenda is based on the notion that the partisan composition of Congress will remain unchanged. And we simply don’t know that one way or the other. But if we accept, as our starting point, solutions that we think are merely politically attainable, as opposed to solutions that we actually need and should pursue, then we will have ceded the debate turf to our opponents.

Given that the Republican Party has been overtaken by a kind of radical extremism that apparently unlimited in how far to the right it is willing to push, the notion that we can hold the center while occupying it is not grounded in political reality. Absent some serious pushback in the opposite direction, the “Overton Window” — that range of political ideas that are considered to be within the mainstream of our political discourse — will continue to move to the right. Indeed, the very fact that Bernie Sanders is regarded by many as a “far left” candidate stands as evidence of how far to the right that range has already shifted as a result of the DLC’s misguided ideas. As Noam Chomsky recently pointed out, whatever label we apply to Bernie Sanders, and whatever label he himself uses to describe himself, in reality he is a New Deal Democrat in the mold of FDR. Indeed, as an article appearing last month in Bloomberg View pointed out, in Europe, Sanders would be considered center-right.

Having an honest understanding of the current political climate is certainly important for any politician. But political ‘reality,’ such as it is, is immutable only to the extent voters accept it as such. And in the face of the kinds of deep and systemic problems we face, settling merely for what appears, at any given moment, to be attainable is the surest recipe for making no substantive progress towards solving those problems.

Note: The DLC, as an organization, formally dissolved in 2011, but its philosophies and its adherents are still very much with us, passing under labels such as “New Democrats” and the “Third Way Democrats.”
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Feb 21, 2016, 09:11 PM (1 replies)

The false promise of political 'realism' in a time of right-wing radical extremism

A DailyKos diary I published this morning:

The false promise of political 'realism' in a time of right-wing radical extremism

by markpkessinger

?1456028849

One of the chief distinctions Hillary Clinton has been attempting to draw between herself and Bernie Sanders is that she is a political ‘realist’ who won’t make promises she cannot keep, where Sanders is a dreamer who will not possibly be able to deliver on his proposals. Chelsea Clinton recently said that Sanders, unlike her mother, doesn’t understand what is “possible” to achieve in government (a rather curious thing to say about someone who has been in the Senate for 9 years, and in the House for 16 years before that — but I digress). Hillary has insisted that her moderate centrism (a description she was happy enough to “plead guilty” to until her campaign realized it was a liability to her vis-à-vis Sanders), and not Sanders’ pie-in-the-sky promises, will be the best bulwark against the treachery o f the political right. But is that really the case?

Imagine, if you will, that our politics are a game of tug-of-war, with the two major parties as the competing teams. Now, in a formal tug-of-war match, the rope is marked in three places: the center, and at two points (one for each team) equidistant from the center (in formal competitions, the distance of each team mark from the center mark is is 4 meters, or about 13 feet. The match starts with the center mark on the rope positioned over a mark in the ground, and whichever team can manage to pull the other team’s mark over the mark in the ground is the winner. But imagine if one team’s mark is, say, only 6 feet from the center mark, and the other team’s mark remains at 13 feet. Obviously, this puts the team whose mark is further from the center at a significant advantage, because they have a significantly shorter distance they must pull the other side in order to win. Certainly no self-respecting Irish tug-o’-war team would willingly compete if they were disadvantaged in such a way!

Yet, metaphorically, that is exactly what the Democratic Party did beginning in 1985 and on through the next two decades: it moved its team’s own mark much closer to the center mark, thus ceding the political advantage to its opposition. In 1985, Al From founded the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), which argued that in order for the party to remain politically viable, it had to abandon the party’s long-standing economic populism (i.e., its support for labor, the poor and the working and middle classes), and embrace an economic platform that was solidly pro-business, and find solutions that were “market-based” rather than government program-based. This, it was argued, was the only way the party could once again become a major player on the national stage.

The election of Bill Clinton in 1992 was seen as the vindication of the DLC’s ideas. And indeed, the DLC’s ideas figured strongly throughout Clinton’s presidency, resulting in things like welfare reform, financial deregulation, truly egregious criminal justice legislation, and trade deals such as NAFTA and CAFTA, all of which the DLC (and HIllary Clinton) vigorously and vocally supported. The solemn pronouncement that “the era of big government is over” rolled off Bill Clinton’s tongue as easily as if his name were Newt Gingrich.

Now, whatever might be said of the effectiveness of the DLC’s strategy with respect to presidential elections, it proved to be a Faustian bargain when it came to Congressional elections. The Democratic Party’s long-standing commitment to economic populism had enabled it to maintain a dominant majority in Congress for four decades. When did that change? Not during the Reagan administration, nor that of his successor, George Bush. It changed in the 1994 midterms, after Clinton had signed NAFTA and CAFTA, which many organized labor voters saw — and not without — justification as a betrayal of their loyal support for the Democratic Party. The result was that demoralized labor voters, having concluded that neither party any longer represented their interests, stayed away from the polls in 1994 in a big way, enabling Republicans to gain control for the first time in 40 years. They held control for 12 years until 2006. But they regained control yet again in 2010, when once again, working and middle class voters, reeling from the economic collapse, were left to conclude that neither party really represented their economic interests.

We don’t really know what a President Sanders, or a President Clinton, will be able to accomplish. Certainly, neither will accomplish everything they set out to accomplish — no president ever does. The assumption that a President Sanders will not be able to accomplish any of his agenda is based on the notion that the partisan composition of Congress will remain unchanged. And we simply don’t know that one way or the other. But if we accept, as our starting point, solutions that we think are merely politically attainable, as opposed to solutions that we actually need and should pursue, then we will have ceded the debate turf to our opponents.

Given that the Republican Party has been overtaken by a kind of radical extremism that apparently unlimited in how far to the right it is willing to push, the notion that we can hold the center while occupying it is not grounded in political reality. Absent some serious pushback in the opposite direction, the “Overton Window” — that range of political ideas that are considered to be within the mainstream of our political discourse — will continue to move to the right. Indeed, the very fact that Bernie Sanders is regarded by many as a “far left” candidate stands as evidence of how far to the right that range has already shifted as a result of the DLC’s misguided ideas. As Noam Chomsky recently pointed out, whatever label we apply to Bernie Sanders, and whatever label he himself uses to describe himself, in reality he is a New Deal Democrat in the mold of FDR. Indeed, as an article appearing last month in Bloomberg View pointed out, in Europe, Sanders would be considered center-right.

Having an honest understanding of the current political climate is certainly important for any politician. But political ‘reality,’ such as it is, is immutable only to the extent voters accept it as such. And in the face of the kinds of deep and systemic problems we face, settling merely for what appears, at any given moment, to be attainable is the surest recipe for making no substantive progress towards solving those problems.

Note: The DLC, as an organization, formally dissolved in 2011, but its philosophies and its adherents are still very much with us, passing under labels such as “New Democrats” and the “Third Way Democrats.”
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Feb 21, 2016, 06:20 PM (2 replies)
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 56 Next »