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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:34 PM
Number of posts: 1,152

Journal Archives

Who Are The Undecideds?

It's a question we've seen popping up all over the place lately, and it's a pretty serious question. As rational progressives on this side, it's hard for us to believe anyone can look at the two candidates for president and be in any way undecided who is the best person for the job. Increasingly, we're seeing that even the GOP rank and file are fleeing the sinking ship like the rats we've been calling them for years, finally revealing themselves. But then there's this huge group of undecideds, and we can't even fathom (in an election like this) that anyone could still be undecided. And it was brought even further to the forefront when Mr. Undecided himself, Ken Bone, said after that second election that he was even MORE undecided than he was going into the debate.

Well, I have a theory that sort of occurred to me looking at this amazing poll:
Where Trump's lead in Texas (yes, Texas) has sunk to within the margin of error, and there was this little graphic:


Showing 5% undecided (which if they all voted for Clinton would hand her the state according to that poll).

Full disclosure, I'm a Canadian, but my in laws live in Houston TX, so I've spent a goodly amount of time in TX and I've chatted with folks on both side of the political spectrum. The hubby's immediate family are all pretty liberal (and are all super-supportive of our gay marriage!) but some of the extended family is super Republican, and I've chatted with a lot of them.

Is it possible that the undecideds are really rank-and-file Republicans, people who have voted and registered as GOP for so many years that they just do it reflexively at this point? Basically ideological inertia carrying the GOP vote in many places? These traditionally GOP voters are now looking at their nominee and they're thinking, "What the actual hell is going on here? The GOP nominated this?" and they can't bring themselves to vote for him. Sure, they may hate Clinton because of the thin gruel of hate and fear they've been fed by their party and the right-wing "news" media and talk radio for so long, but they just can't look at Trump and say, "Yeah, I'll vote for him." So, they're letting people know that they're undecided whether or not they're going to hold their nose in November and vote for the nominee of their party (that they're more than a little disgusted by), or the nominee of the OTHER party (ideological suicide, but they can't deny she has experience and is eminently qualified), or a third party (most like Johnson who looks more and more foolish and dim-witted every day).

Is that who the undecideds are? I just can't believe that in this age of ready information that people just can't decide between a qualified person that they personally dislike and a deeply unqualified and odious person they also personally dislike, but who heads the party they happen to have supported in the past.

The word of the day is Cognitive Dissonance!

The mental acrobatics that the GOP will go through to endorse Trump despite, or even for, what they demonize everyone else for. Here is a screen capture that got posted to my Twitter feed today:

From the Twitter feed here:

fivethirtyeight with a reminder to Democrats about 2018

Please remember, everyone, that the presidency is only one part of this. It's vital, of course, to prevent Trump from taking the White House, and making sure that the extremely qualified and competent Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, wins the presidential election. But as Dan Hopkins over on fivethirtyeight.com notes:

It’s easy to see why so many voters feel so strongly about the importance of the coming election, but as an empirical matter, statements like Giuliani’s are incorrect. That’s because, in comparison to many other developed democracies, the United States actually has frequent federal elections. In Canada and Britain, a single party can govern for up to four or five years before voters get to weigh in. In the U.S., by contrast, no party can maintain unified control of the federal government for more than two years before facing the voters. After 2016, we’ll have midterm elections in 2018, less than 22 months after the next president is inaugurated. I certainly won’t call those midterms the “most important ever,” but they will have a particular importance: Control of the U.S. Senate, and possibly the House, could hang in the balance. For whichever party that loses the 2016 presidential race, 2018 is a big-time consolation prize.

Since the 1930s, one of the most dependable regularities in American politics has been midterm loss, a swing against the party of the incumbent president. Whether due to a reaction to the sitting president’s agenda or to voters seeking a counterweight to the president, the party not holding the presidency has made gains in the House in the midterm elections in every election but two since 1934.

If history is any guide, the House GOP’s majority would face more risk from a President Donald Trump in 2018 than from Trump’s campaign in 2016.

Or imagine that Clinton prevails in November. If so, the most likely outcome is a continuation of the recent pattern of resounding GOP victories in midterm years. In 2018, Democrats will defend Senate seats they won in 2012 in several red states, including Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin famously shot a copy of the cap and trade bill in a 2010 campaign advertisement — but even excellent marksmanship might not be enough in a third consecutive midterm wave for the GOP.

In addition, some of the most important aftershocks of the 2016 election are likely to be felt not in Washington but in state capitals across the country. In 2018, 36 states will choose governors. As I’ve pointed out before, our elections for governor increasingly track national trends. Governors are typically powerful officials in their own right, with substantial control over state budgets and policy. But even for those who care about power only at the federal level, there is good reason to care about the 2018 governors’ races: In many states with multiple House districts, those governors will have veto power over their states’ redistricting processes after the 2020 census. Over the course of the Obama presidency, anti-Obama voting in non-presidential years is a major reason why the Democrats have lost a net of 11 governors’ seats.

full article here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-party-that-loses-this-year-could-still-win-a-big-consolation-prize/?ex_cid=2016-forecast

So, this is a great reminder that the energy in this election directed against Trump needs to be kept up for another two years for mid-term elections. GOTV can't be for just the presidential election. Why don't we give Hillary a full set of tools to work with, instead of letting those obstructionist tools in the GOP hinder her as they've done so frequently to Obama.

It's time to embarrass the GOP into irrelevance.

Also, as a side note, at the time of posting this thread, fivethirtyeight's polls-only projection has Clinton's chance of winning the election at 86.1%, including winning Ohio, Iowa, Florida, and Arizona. Woot woot! The now-cast has her topping 90%!

Scaachi Koul on the Politics of Punching Down

After that gross Watters piece on Fox News about Chinese reactions to the election, and a really gross anti-trans piece in the Canadian right-o-sphere, Scaachi Koul at BuzzFeed Canada explains why "punching down" just isn't funny.

There’s a reason why jesters made fun of kings. Earlier this week, Jesse Watters, a correspondent for The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, provided us with an excellent reminder that taking someone down a notch is never worthwhile if you’re doing it from above.

Watters visited New York’s Chinatown in light of the many, many comments made about China in the first presidential debate in late September. And as one does when they speak to Chinese-Americans, Watters asked people if they knew karate (which is Japanese), asked if he should bow as a greeting, got a foot massage, and seemingly willfully botched the Chinese language. The segment was spliced with clips from Chinatown and of Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid (JAPANESE), and even used that “stereotypical Chinese nine-note riff” during the title card. Later in studio, Watters and Bill O’Reilly joked about how the Chinese are too polite a people to just walk away from the microphone to begin with.

Meanwhile, in Canada this week, Lauren Southern of The Rebel (Canada’s answer to Breitbart, a like-minded network run by a man who once wore a niqab on his defunct TV show to prove…something) did a segment related to the country’s Bill C-16. The bill, introduced in May, would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include protection for trans people. Southern visits a doctor’s office, secretly recording the encounter, telling the doctor that she’s “been a gender-nonbinary person for a year now” and that she uses male pronouns. In order to get her gender changed on her government-issued identification, she needs a doctor’s note. The doctor, naturally, gives it to her, because what kind of monster wants to change their identity on their health card just to trick the government? (To be clear, it doesn’t appear that Southern is trans. She also attended a trans rally yesterday at the University of Toronto, did not disclose that she is a “journalist,” and told the crowd that she’s trans. Later that day, she mocked everyone for clapping for her.) The Rebel and Southern are, at this point, well known for these faux-gotcha stunts, but this hit an impressive new low. (Until this, at least.)

Satirical shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report do and did pointed topical humor well, particularly when it was interview-based. Colbert made fun of overpaid, hyper-privileged screaming television personalities who added nothing to political conversations. The Daily Show correspondents went to the Republican National Convention and made fun of respectability politics and the inherent whiteness of the GOP. Even then, the segments were hardly mean-spirited, but rather tongue-in-cheek and heavily researched. They attacked ideas above attacking individuals (unless given a figure like, say, Donald Trump) and their jokes were rooted in the absurdity of injustice, or the clear failure of the government, as opposed to finding Chinese people funny.

The real difference is that comedy shows or segments that are legitimately funny always punch up. Instead of wasting their time going after people who are typically in the minority, they go after people with tangible power that’s being abused. A basic tenet of humor — and I mean real basic, we’re talking ancient Greece here — is that your best stuff will come from going after people bigger than you. But Watters and Southern, and their respective networks, are too dedicated to maintaining the status quo to be remotely entertaining.

The same trouble crops up when we have broader discussions about social justice or minority rights, particularly on platforms like Twitter, where it’s easy to drop a pithy line without context. So much of the anger around, say, black people asking to not be killed by the police comes from people who are at no substantial risk themselves of being killed by the cops. Men who send women sexist comments, cis people who refuse to understand a trans perspective, white people who become angry when people of color don’t watch their tone — it’s all presented with that “it’s just a joke” slant, as if a joke can blur any clear insult. The reality is that it’s actually about making sure a historically ignored group stays ignored or maligned.

Full article here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/scaachikoul/why-punching-down-will-never-be-funny?utm_term=.lsQv3weZ3#.kbG8O9EBO

Alt-right catfight: Yiannopoulos vs. Actual Nazis

Got to love it when the enemy starts to tear itself apart.

The Alt-Right is starting a culture war against... well... itself.

From Salon: Alt-right catfight: Daily Stormer wages “Holy Crusade” on Breitbart because Milo Yiannopoulos is “part-Jewish”

The alt-right — the online community of inflammatory white nationalists which your parents think Hillary Clinton invented last month — is beginning to cannibalize itself, as The Daily Stormer declared a “Holy Crusade” against “the single greatest threat our movement has at this time”: Breitbart tech editor and chief troll Milo Yiannopoulos.

“We are going to invade Milo’s events and confront him,” Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin proposes before laying out a three-part plan for said confrontations. “He is taking our brand, our symbols, and turning them against us for a neocon-Jew conservative agenda.”

“His entire public image is based on the idea that he can’t be rattled, and that he is offended by nothing, has no real beliefs. This is where you have to hit him. Force him into being unable to do something snarky,” Anglin continues. “He will also be in a state of constant fear when he knows that real Nazis are going to show-up at every show and confront him. That there is nowhere to run.”

Article here: http://www.salon.com/2016/09/29/alt-right-catfight-daily-stormer-wages-holy-crusade-on-breitbart-because-milo-yiannopoulos-is-part-jewish/

Time to get some popcorn and watch the Alt-Right tear itself a couple of new holes! Where's the schadenfreude smiley?

Trump is not the GOP candidate, he is the Capitalist candidate

The GOP is only holding their nose to vote for Trump because he beat all their best (snicker) and brightest (snerk!) in the primaries, and they fear what another 4-8 years of Democratic leadership could do to their brand. Trump's ideas are in many cases against the GOP platform, at least those that he hasn't been convinced to pivot on just to look respectable to the rank-and-file.

But through all of his talk and the investigations about his business dealings and corporate ties, it's become 100% clear. He is the poster child and face of unfettered capitalism in the USA. He proudly states that his paying no taxes is "smart business" despite the damage it does to the social contract and the middle class that has to subsidize his business ventures. He proudly states that he'll stiff contractors if they don't do good enough work, despite the fact that he gets to decide that on a whim, it destroys small businesses looking for a leg up (such as the piano retailer in another thread), and if the stiffee decides to (and can afford to) pursue legal recourse, he can leverage the bankruptcy laws to avoid payment and lose another small shell company.

He is the candidate of Profits At All Costs. He is the candidate of Profits Over People. He is the candidate of Money Equals Power. He has BOUGHT the GOP, and he's trying to buy democracy itself. He has unapologetically announced that he's purchased the favour of politicians.

The only people he wants to make America "great" for are himself, his family, and people just like him.

From Twitter: I will GORGE myself on Skittles

I found this one on Twitter yesterday, and it's probably the most to-the-point send-up of the Skittles absurdity I've read, yet.

All Prince Edward Island schools evacuated over potential threat

From the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/all-prince-edward-island-schools-evacuated-over-potential-threat/article31982369/

From the article:

More than 19,000 students are being evacuated from all public schools on Prince Edward Island because of what police say is a “potential threat.”

RCMP say staff are taking students at more than 60 English and French schools to safe locations outside the schools, where buses are meeting them.

Sgt. Bailey said an anonymous fax from an unknown person was received by police. The fax warned of bombs planted in area schools. Police in turn warned schools across the province, and later searched all schools but found nothing.

"There hasn't been a suspect identified," he said.

Authorities evacuated and searched schools as a precaution, Sgt. Bailey said, but have found nothing to substantiate any threat.

School officials in PE.I. say they hope to resume scheduled classes tomorrow.

Still a developing story, but it's looking like an empty threat thus far. No explosive devices have been found yet, but searches are still taking place.

From Reddit: Trump debunking Megathread!

For all of your Trump debunking needs, and divided into handy categories for the discussion you just happen to be having at the moment! Please note, this is not my list, but the work of many people, I'm just linking it here for exposure. Credit goes to the hard working folks who had to wade through Trump's shit to assemble this.

Link here: https://www.reddit.com/r/EnoughTrumpSpam/comments/4uabwt/final_response_megathread/

And it contains:

We have some very fine folks on this subreddit who have taken it upon themselves to do some research on a wide amount of topics. This is a collection of all of our "final responses" to certain topics, which will be updated as we move forward. Please tell me if I have missed any, and just message us if we forget to add yours to this list in the future.
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is racist"
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is Sexist"
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is a Criminal"
A final response to the "Tell me why Donald Trump is a homophobe"
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is Crazy"
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is a fascist"
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is a terrible businessman"
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is a liar"
A final response to the "Tell me how Trump conflicts with the Constitution"
A final response to the "Tell me what's wrong with Mike Pence"
A final response to the "Tell me why Trump is not qualified to be president of the United States"
Debunking myths about Islam
Debunking the Hillary Clinton KKK meme
Debunking myths about Hillary Clinton defending rapists
Debunking Trump's All Lives Matter cliche
Reminder that Donald Trump is a pedophile
Reminder that Trump is a Climate Change denier
Definitive Answer to the Question "What is the Alt Right?"

Please spread and disseminate. Use it lots, it is extremely thorough.

Sam Bee asks RNC attendees "When Was America Great?"

This is the willful cognitive dissonance we're dealing with, folks.
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