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merrily's Journal
merrily's Journal
July 29, 2016

More than only bullying. Writing bills. Arm twisting one legislator at a time. Executive Orders.

Some other examples. http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=1535147

I always heard we had three co-equal branches with different functions, but according to DU, the President is too weak to be held accountable for anything but the Easter egg roll--maybe not even that. After all, that's what White House staff is for.. If the President is that weak,we should probably re-structure the entire government. And stop worrying who gets nominated or elected at the tune of a few billion bucks.

It's also kind of amusing: The Presidency is strong enough for a Republican President to kill America and every bit of decency in it, but not strong enough for a Democratic President to keep his or her campaign promises. Cool, then stop promising stuff for which you refuse to be accountable. You can't have it every which way.

July 27, 2016

That is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, if ever.

Look at the composition of Congress when Obama was inaugurated.

We are not going to have majorities like that plus the White House simultaneously for a long time--and we were told those majorities were not enough, even for something as moderate as a public option because of the blue dogs and "moderates." So, how many liberal Senators do you think we need to pass Great Society or New Deal legislation? Seventy? Eighty? Let's make it easy and say 68.

Now that the "Solid South" is no longer solidly Democratic, (and "liberal" was made a dirty word), how long do you think it will be before we get 68 liberal Senators while we also have the House and the White House? Especially when the DNC, DSCC and DCCC (1) back incumbents and (2) avoid liberal candidates to fill vacancies?

I disagree with you about what Hillary would do, but we don't even have to go there. Just please think about the rest of this post.

July 26, 2016

Here is a different take on the DNC emails, from the UK!

Now it's been proven the establishment really was out to get Bernie Sanders, will we accept the same about Jeremy Corbyn?

Given the parallels between Corbyn and Sanders’ campaigns, Corbyn supporters' worries should now be taken a lot more seriously

by Remi Joseph Salisbury, Laura Connelly

During his campaign to be leader of the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders and his supporters frequently raised concerns that the party rigged primaries in favour of Clinton. With the leak of 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails this week, those Sanders supporters, once thought of as paranoid conspiracy theorists, are now quite rightly feeling a sense of vindication. As the evidence of high level bias and corruption mounts, it is clear that from the very beginning, many within the DNC establishment were deeply committed to ensuring Clinton was their nominee. In the US at least, the mask of democracy has slipped.


In the UK, similar claims have been made by Corbyn supporters that the establishment is working against him. Given the parallels between Corbyn and Sanders’ campaigns, should these claims of corruption not now be taken more seriously?

Corbyn’s supporters see the way in which dissenting MPs have brought about their challenge as unjust. There is a strong belief that this coup was incepted since Corbyn’s election; Brexit merely offered an opportune moment. Despite the tearful delivery of her resignation speech, reports emerged that a former Labour special adviser called Joe McCrea had in fact paid for the website domain “angelaforleader.org” days before handing in her resignation. This has bolstered claims that the coup may have planned, with some claiming it may have even been on the agenda since Corbyn was first elected.

It is well-known that the Parliamentary Labour Party tried to keep Corbyn off the leadership ballot after a leadership challenge emerged this month, knowing he would likely win. In closing the ‘loopholes’ which allowed so many registered supporters to vote for Corbyn last year, the NEC has also effectively out-priced those who wish to join as new members or supporters to vote for the leader of the Labour Party: supposedly the party of the working people. Anger has been expressed by those who have paid to become Labour Party members since February 2016 and who have been banned from voting, with over 11,000 signing a 38 Degrees petition to overturn the decision.

More at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/bernie-sanders-jeremy-corbyn-establishment-emails-coup-labour-party-democrat-convention-out-to-get-a7154906.html
July 19, 2016

The hypocrisy of MSBNC re: the Melania Trump plagiarism.

First, let me say that plagiarism is wrong and, even though a speechwriter was likely involved, both Melania and Donald Trump were remiss. This post does not overlook or dismiss any of that. However, maybe twenty or more threads on those topics have already been started here since last night. And the fact that they were wrong does not make MSNBC right. So, I am taking a different approach than most other OPs about the plagiarism have taken.

We heard from MSNBC a lot of consternation about the plagiarism. O'Donnell refused to let Melania off the hook, even if a speechwriter wrote the speech, saying something like, "There is responsibility for the spoken word." I agree with that. Chris Matthews, who, once again, seems to have found his inner Republican, however, disagreed, saying Trump did nothing wrong; Melania did nothing wrong. One person and one person alone was responsible and that person not only should be fired, but should never work again.

After Matthews said that, O'Donnell dropped his claim that Melania was also responsible for speaking the words. I think there is responsibility in both Melania and Donald Trump. At the same time, plagiarism, which is likely also copyright violation, is not all that different from bigotry or from making up stuff and trying to pass it off in print or on air as real.

On the same panel as O'Donnell, Maddow and Matthews sat Brian Williams. We all remember why Williams is currently "earning" his contracted for ten million dollars a year at MSBNC these days, rather than as NBC's nightly news anchor, for which that ten mil is more commensurate.

Then, there is Mike Barnicle:

Boston Globe controversy

In 1998, Barnicle resigned from The Boston Globe amid a controversy over two columns, written three years apart. The first column of more than 80 lines of humorous observations had a few lines that bore similarity to jokes in the 1997 book Brain Droppings by George Carlin.[7] In a subsequent Globe review of all of Barnicle's many years of work, a second column was called into question. The October 8, 1995 column recounted the story of two sets of parents with cancer-stricken children. When one of the children died, the parents of the other child, who had begun to recover, sent the dead child's parents a check for $10,000. When the Globe could not locate the people who had not been publicly identified, Barnicle insisted nonetheless that the story was true. He said he did not obtain the story from the parents but from a nurse, whom he declined to identify. Mrs. Patricia Shairs later contacted the Globe to indicate that the story Barnicle wrote was about her family, although she said some of the facts were incorrect.[8]

Six months after his resignation from the Globe, the New York Daily News recruited Barnicle to write for them, and later the Boston Herald .[9] Barnicle told reporters that he had nothing but "fond feelings for 25 years at the Globe".[9] Barnicle hosted a radio show three times a week called Barnicle's View.[10]

Barnicle has since become a staple on MSNBC,[11] including on Morning Joe as well as on specials on breaking news topics and the upcoming presidential election of 2016.
Barnicle has interviewed all the candidates in the current run for the White House and many of those interviews and his commentary on the election cycle can be found at MikeBarnicleon2016.com.[12]

Barnicle is a devoted baseball fan and was interviewed in Ken Burns's film Baseball in The Tenth Inning movie, where he mostly commented on the 2003–2004 Boston Red Sox.[13] He has also been featured in TV documentaries and programs, including Fabulous Fenway: America's Legendary Ballpark (2000); City of Champions: The Best of Boston Sports (2005); ESPN 25: Who's #1 (2005); Reverse of the Curse of the Bambino (2004); The Curse of the Bambino (2003); ESPN Sports Century (2000); Baseball (1994); and in the TV series Prime 9 (2010–2011) for MLB Network.[14]


And, some of us remember when MSNBC treated Pat Buchanan like the pope of politics, trotting him out, program after program, on both MSNBC and NBC, with little to zero push back at anything Buchanan said coming from program anchors or hosts. To the contrary, Buchanan was treated as THE expert among experts. Despite many protests from viewers about Buchanan's racism and xenophobia, MSNBC did not get rid of him until after release of Buchanan's second openly xenophobic book. (Sad to say, PBS has long broadcast the McLaughlin Group, where Buchanan pontificates bloviates comments about politics.)

So, Mr. Matthews, maybe you are correct. Maybe the speechwriter responsible for Melania Trump's speech should never work again. However, if you believe that, perhaps you should be railing at the head of NBC News, your very own boss, too. Somehow, I don't think you ever did that, though. http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=8025535

July 9, 2016

It's about numbers of votes and how to get them.

Wanting to believe something or repeating it endlessly does not make it so.As many times as we may say that people who refuse to vote Democratic in November or in past elections or future elections are all Republicans, it's not true.

Some people, on both the left and the right sides, draw lines strictly by party. Some people draw lines by principles or ideology, but will vote by party anyway, on a "lesser of 'two' evils theory--and that includes leftists who changed their registration from Democrat to no party affiliation because they no longer could identify as Democrats, given the rightward movement of the Democratic Party.

Those who vote by party on the right will, in November, vote for the Party's nominee, even if the nominee is a nut cake like Trump or Carson or Santorum. Others on the right, however, will not vote Republican no matter what. Some will stay home in November if they cannot deal with the prospect of, say, Trump as President, while others will vote for a so-called "third" party candidate or even for Hillary Clinton. That does not mean they were Democrats or Constitution Partiers or Libertarians or whatever all along. It means they are rightists who cannot deal with the prospect of Trump as President.

On the left are counterparts of the rightists described in the paragraph immediately above this sentence. I have no idea what people think they accomplish by denying that. In my experience, recognizing a reality is almost always preferable to denying a reality or pretending it's something else.

The real issue for Democrats is not whether these people were Republicans all along. If they were Republicans, they were; but, if they were Republicans all along, then they have been voting Republican all along. Therefore, their votes will change nothing. The real issue for Democrats is quantification of leftist votes that have been lost relatively recently or that are likely to be lost in November and/or in the future.

A vote for a Democrat is a vote for a Democrat, even if the voter feels he or she must hold his or her nose. So, people who criticize Democrats, but vote Democratic won't change anything. Therefore, the only quantifications that actually make a difference to Democrats going forward are:

1. The number of leftists who refuse to vote for certain Democrats and, as a result, either stay home or who vote for a candidate other than the Democratic candidate or who leave blank one or more slots on their ballot.

2. The number of rightist, "unenrolled" and totally as yet unregistered people who may be persuaded to vote Democratic.

Bashing either of those groups is not going to increase the number of votes for Democrats. Taking the right positions on the right issues will.

That is unlikely to happen as long as candidates are depending on lobbyist/corporate money to fund their campaigns. We HAVE to get corporate money out of politics. If everyone contributes up to a maximum of $2700, that is enough to run a competitive campaign on a level playing field.

I don't know how we get around the Citizens United case to do this, but get around it we must. (I guess the easiest and fastest way to get around the Citizens United case is not to vote for people who take corporate donations.) Then, we have to worry about equal access to voting and a fair count. The other element is media and I don't know what we do about them, given the First Amendment.

June 25, 2016

"Protected" groups, community standards and jury results.

1. Jurying posts in protected groups. It seems to me there are disconnects between the history and descriptions of protected groups and the new practice of not informing jurors that the post they are jurying is in a protected group. Please understand, I am not advocating for any particular rule for protected groups. If posts in protected groups are to be treated the same as posts in the board's main forums, that is certainly your call. However, in that case, I think people should be advised of that explicitly, so it's not a "gotcha." If, on the other hand, if you want community standards to develop for protected groups, then I think jurors need to know they are jurying in a protected group.

2. Posting jury results. Full disclosure of my bias: As a general rule, I oppose secrecy and support transparency absent very good reasons. If people are subject to losing privileges for a post of X type, then I think they should know, to the greatest possible extent, exactly which kinds of posts are included in X. With a jury system, that is difficult as jurors, like judges, are human and go with their biases. (The number of 5-4 decisions in the SCOTUS pretty much prove to me that judging is not a purely objective exercise.) My solution for transparency was posting jury results whenever I reasonably could. However, your recent post indicated that was disruptive of a thread and I can see that point very readily. What about a forum where nothing but jury results get posted. That would help people better understand what risks they are taking when they post. Otherwise, I don't think community standards are developing, just luck of the jury your post draws. (As you probably know, the community standards test evolved out of the desire of the SCOTUS to stop judging porn. However, the cases articulating how community standards apply to a particular work are all available to the public.) For me, it's a question of fundamental fairness.

June 24, 2016

Why was my sig line removed?

It had consisted of Bernie's name, in rainbow colors, just his name, no 2016 or anything like that.

There was also text welcoming Brockolis and Brockettes to DU. I did not think that was a big deal, since Brock did a press release announcing online hires, but I can understand why you might want to remove that. I don't get removing Bernie's name, though. At first, I thought all Bernie references were being removed from sig lines, but I have since seen others on the board.

It's not a huge deal, but I am wondering why some Bernie supporters are able to have his name, campaign buttons, etc. in their signature lines while others are not.

June 23, 2016

Everyone needs to stop pretending politicians don't know what Americans want.

Good stewardship of our tax dollars, including a fair, progressive tax system
Physical safety without excessive infringement on the bill of rights--because if you and yours are dead, you don't need much from politicians. (BTW, this includes safety from LEO)
Peace and a nation that deals honorably with other nations, both of which usually improve your chances of physical safety and allow you to sleep at night
Clean air and water, affordable, healthy food and slowing global warming to the greatest possible extent
Affordable housing
Free, good education from at least k through 12, but preferably pre-K as well
Free or affordable education beyond that
Jobs with decent wages and benefits, including a right to unionize
Ideally, parks, museums, libraries and other "extras" that nourish mind, body and soul
Fraud free dealings with privates businesses and with our government

Does the above list sound like basics that anyone who claims to be a public servant should be able to figure out?

Well, guess what, they have figured it out. They KNOW what you and I want/need. Now you figure out why this list does not look like the list of priorities of your city or town, state or federal government.

June 20, 2016

Judging by last night's threads, apparently, many thought it was like New Year's Eve.

Come to think of it, nothing actually happens at midnight on New Year's Eve, either, so it was indeed a lot like that.

At 1:15 a.m. Eastern time, though, Fumesucker started a great thread. http://www.democraticunderground.com/12512207046

And the start of the summer solstice was marked with a full moon and a strawberry moon, which are rare for the summer solstice. So, there was that.

elleng's start of summer thread http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027933930

elleng's full moon/summer solstice thread http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027934147

Judi Lynn's strawberry moon/summer solstice thread http://www.democraticunderground.com/122847862

Happy summer, y'all!

June 19, 2016

The Orlando 49 and so many other members of the LGBTQ community. Will you help?

Members of the LGBTQ community in the US and around the world go through so much. Maybe we can help.

Let's start with posting some organizations that do good work. I'll start:

The one to which I have been donating is the Human Rights Campaign

Donation Page

From Behind the Aegis

The Trevor Project, which is a suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth and others, as well as a resource for LGBT people struggling and Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund which works to end (and addresses) LGBT homelessness, especially among youth.

Donation Page, The Trevor Project

Donation Page, the True Colors Fund

cnn also did a story about helping the victims of the shooting. The story mentioned several organizations raising money for the victims, including Equality Florida, which Behind the Aegis also cited, and an Islamic American organization that is raising funds for the victims.

I can't "parent" the thread this morning, so please keep it kicked. Thank you.

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About merrily

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=5664118; https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=5664129

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