Category Archives: Politics

Dear Republicans: What is taking you so long?

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I know the answer to that question. You are bad people, every one of you. You are morally, ethnically, and intellectually incapable of doing the right thing. Every single one of you who considers yourselves still a Republican is not worthy to breathe the same air our children are being poisoned by as we speak.

Everyone who formerly thought of themselves as Republicans, any time over the last two or three decades as this situation built up, even if you reject the party now, share some of the blame and if you do not feel shame, you are bad, bad people. Sorry, no forgiveness here. You have systematically worked to ruin the future for our children and grandchildren, for your own selfish reasons, and we have Trump today because of the decisions you consciously made.

So, yeah, fuck you and don’t expect even a modicum of good will from me.

But if you don’t like me being mean to you, maybe see what Barack Obama has to say. Here, he owns you, cucks.

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The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg

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The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg is a podcast hosted by, you guessed it, former prosecutor and Justice Department administrator Chuck Rosenberg. You will know of Mr. Rosenberg as a regular justice expert guest on various MSNBC shows, especially the Rachel Maddow Show. Rosenberg was appointed as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2006, and was previously a US Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, and later, Chief of Staff to Jame Comey at the FBI. He was administrator of the DEA from May 2015 to October 1, 2017. Appointed under Obama, departed under Trump.

Rosenberg stepped down from his post at the DEA because he had to either go along with Trump’s very wrong policies, or step away, which at the time was considered proper for justice department officials. (I suspect that is changing.) You may have heard his famous departing remark, issued in an internal DEA memo in response to Trump telling cops to get illegally tougher on the people they interact with:

The President, in remarks delivered yesterday in New York, condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed under arrest by law enforcement… I write to offer a strong reaffirmation of the operating principles to which we, as law enforcement professionals, adhere. I write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. That’s what law enforcement officers do. That’s what you do. We fix stuff. At least, we try.

Among his well known cases were the dog fighting charges against Michael Vick, the case against Zacarias Moussaoui, and work on child porn (against, not pro). So, not only has he great and interesting experience, but over time, he has made good friends with many key players in US Justice under the Bush and Obama administrations.

Because of these connections, and the high degree of respect he commands from his colleagues, it has been possible for him to put together a rather bang-up podcast. Different people will like or not like the subject matter, or will find it essential or outside their area of interests, but in fact, any one who listens to a good sampling of the interviews will learn things they didn’t know they didn’t know, but in fact, do need to know. I just now listened to his interview with Joyce Vance, also a regular on MSNBC as a commentator, and former AUSA in Alabama. (You also learn things like what “AUSA” stand for from this podcast.)

One thing I appreciate about The Oath is that Rosenberg, either through careful planning or skilled and thoughtful editing (probably both), makes sure the audience gets what they need to understand the story that is being told. He eschews the common fault many interviewer have of making sure the audience knows how much the interviewer knows, and asks what are probably utterly dumb questions from the point of view of an expert, but essential questions for the average listener. Like, “So what does AUSA stand for?”

I have never been a big podcast listener, but a while back, long after I started my own podcast with Mike Haubrich, I started to listen to a few, and I have a very short list of blue ribbon podcasts I keep up on. The Oath is one of them.

The podcast web page is HERE, but as is the case with most podcasts, you can listen to it with your favorite podcast accessing software on whatever device you use. Within reason.

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Do Not Miss Rachel Maddow’s New Book: Blowout

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Rachel Maddow is the Charles Darwin of Cable News.

Darwin’s most important unsung contribution to science (even more important than his monograph on earthworms) was to figure out how to most effectively put together multiple sources into a single argument — combining description, explanation, and theory — of a complex phenomenon in nature. His first major work, on coral reefs, brought together historical and anecdotal information, prior observation and theory from earlier researchers, his own direct observations of many kinds of reefs, quasi experimental work in the field, and a good measure of deductive thinking. It took a while for this standard to emerge, but eventually it did, and this approach was to become the normal way to write a PhD thesis or major monograph in science.

Take any major modern news theme. Deutsche Bank. Trump-Nato-Putin. Election tampering. Go to the standard news sources and you’ll find Chuck Todd following the path of “both sides have a point.” Fox News will be mixing conspiracy theory and right wing talking points. The most respected mainstream news anchors, Lester Holt, Christiane Amanpour, or Brian Williams perhaps, will be giving a fair airing of the facts but moving quickly from story to story. Dig deeper, and find Chris Hayes with sharp analysis, Joy Reid contextualizing stories with social justice, and Lawrence O’Donnell applying his well earned in the trenches biker wisdom.

But if you really want to Darwin the news, and sink your natural teeth and claws into a story, go to Maddow.

I’ve heard Rachel does not like being called “Doctor” (most of us PhD’s don’t) but she is an Oxford trained Doctor of politics. She also has a degree in public policy from Stanford, and is a Rhodes Scholar, having turned down the Marshall to accept it. In other words, she is both very well educated, and very smart.

In the Early Oughties, Maddow’s career evolved through a series of radio shows, panelist roles, substitute-roles, to eventually become the Rachel Maddow Show, in 2008. RMS (which also stands for root-mean-square, a mathematical concept that is not about roots and is more about curves than squares) almost instantly moved into state of great success, almost single handily pulling MSNBC materially upward as a high ratings cable network.

The point being this: If you want to really get a story, find out if the story is covered by Rachel Maddow where it got the RMS treatment, and sit down and absorb that. It might take several episodes, or there might be that one RMS segment that nails it once and for all. Depends on the story.

I consider Maddow to be the number one modern historian of modern news. If she had gotten her graduate training in history rather than politics and policy, the major living historians would have had a brilliant addition to their ranks. But everyone else, or at least, the thinking liberal left side of the spectrum of people, would have lost a regular supply of information and inspiration that, frankly, keeps a lot of us going these days.

You know that an elixir works magic when certain forces ban it. About a year and a half ago, I decided to alter my exercise routine at the gym so I could be on the tread mill during the Rachel Maddow Show, which I do not get at home since I don’t have that kind of cable (I watch the show next day on line, streaming). I was shocked to find out that MSNBC had been replaced with some dumb thing up on the monitor. I went to the “help desk” at the gym and asked about it.

“We took off all the news sites because it was driving people crazy, they were getting less rather than more healthy,” they said.

“Ok, but I see ABC and some business version of CBS is showing. You seem to have only gotten rid of MSNBC, is this some kind of right wing conspiracy?” I accused.

“Ah, well, we got rid of both MSNBC and FOX. It was a corporate decision. I know nothing about it. Would you like to sign up to have a trainer, we have a special this week…”

Anyway, I conjecture, and what I’m about to say is either deeply insightful or terribly offensive, but I’ll revise it as needed on receipt of further information, that Darwin and Maddow are also similar in another way.

Darwin first developed his amazing craft of explanation out of fear. See, it went like this. While out on the Voyage of the Beagle, and generally out of contact, he had corresponded about an early version of his theory of coral reef formation, growth, and maintenance. An outline of this theory had been read to the Royal Society without his knowing it. It is said that when he heard about this in a letter from his sister, he became very worried that his hero, Charles Lyell, would now lose respect for him and abandon him as a colleague. Or worse, whatever worse might be in Victorian England among the nerds of the day. You see, Lyell’s version of how reefs work was the standing science at the time, and Darwin’s view was heretically different. The fear this struck in the young, and in his own mind unqualified, researcher led, I think, to the nearly obsessive care he took in constructing his final arguments about reefs,and everything else he did after that, including taking decades to publish the Origin.

So, to be blunt, I’m suggesting that Charles Darwin suffered from a sort of impostor syndrome that led him to become excellent, as a means of protecting himself and his science. And maybe something happened along these lines with the young, up and coming, Rachel Maddow who was almost certainly, as a female, a young scholar, a Liberal, and a lesbian, required to dance backward and in high heeled Birkenstocks in the early phases of her career, and likely, through much of her graduate education before that.

The result: The frequent generation of richly evolved narratives of current news, embedded in history, linked to parallel stories, details well sorted out and beautifully integrated. And that is what we get from, and love about, Rachel.

But then, every now and then, instead of a 25 minute segment about something on the Rachel Maddow Show, we get a book! Earlier, Drift. Now, Blowout.

Blowout is the Rachel Maddow treatment of the petroleum industry. That sentence right there should make you want to read this book. In ways I will not here enumerate, Blowout is both prescient and uncannily relevant to this week’s news (and by this week I mean last week, and probably next week.) Russia, the Ukraine, Rex Tillerson, Exxon, ExxonMobil, Chevron, nuclear bombs in civilian hands, freakin’ fracking, Putin, power, crude, crude politicians, corruption, regulation syphilatic African dictator, technology, power, Texas, Siberia, corruption, brilliant business people and, did I mention power? These are the things that make every chapter sing.

This is a book about how Big Petrol was subsidized into a state of power great enough to eat the very democracies (and other forms of government) that created it. This is the Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein story of our times.

In modern geopolitical terms, Blowout seems to explain everything. But it doesn’t, that will require two or three more books by Rachel Maddow. But for now, Blowout is the treatise that gives rich detail and extreme documentation to a theme with which you are already familiar, and already know is important. You will not be shocked to find that Big Oil is up to something. But every chapter, at several points in each said chapter, will shock you nonetheless, because the story is so rich that you can not possibly have grasped it before. Blowout, the book, will bury you.

Get it. Read it. Report back: Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

Also by Rachel Maddow: Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

If you are interested in following up on Darwin and coral reefs: Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral by David Dobbs.

And, of course, now in paperback, unrelated to the rest of this post but a must read: In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden

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Politics 101: Knowing When To Hold ‘Em, When To Fold ‘Em

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Press your preference, hold back your hate. Don’t damage the duck until you know which duck is yours. We all do better when we all do better, even those you disagree with. There is an endless list of rhetorically clever utterances to make the same point: express your passion inside the Party, but then, get in line and vote blue. (Or red if you are for some strange reason a Republican interested in my advice, which is highly unlikely).

Here is the argument for not hating on candidates that you don’t like, and for NEVER claiming that you will NEVER vote for that one candidate you can’t stand even if they are selected by your party to wear the mantle. If I suggested that you read this as part of some online conversation, then yes, this is me referencing myself. That’s what blog posts are for.

If there is a position of power, even a little power, some of those interested in power may try to move into it. The power-hungry gravitate to the power places.

If there is a way to increase the power of that position, the power-hungry will likely try to do so, and over time, that position will become more and more power-containing.

An illustration of the phenomenon is the US Presidency. Originally conceived as being powerful but not too powerful, the Presidency was given additional power at the time of America’s first war, temporarily, for the purposes of effectively conducting the war. But when that war was over, some of the power stuck and the Presidency was more powerful after he war of 1812 than before it.

Every war after that had a similar effect, up to the point that war-related changes in policy and procedure as a pathway to power became saturated, probably in the mid 20th century. (See Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss for an analysis of this.)

It is possible that a positive feedback loop could emerge, where the more power-hungry vie for being in the increasingly powerful positions, and they are more equipped to increase the power held in that position, and on and on.

Article One, Section 5 of the Constitution states that “Each House [of Congress] may determine the rules of its proceedings.” Over time, these rules can be changed. The process is overseen by a hierarchy of elected individuals with different levels of power, consisting mainly of two categories: Overall leadership (such as the “Speaker” in the House) and committee leadership. How the rules work in detail is ultimately determined by negotiations and decisions among these leaders.

Rarely do leaders of the two chambers, or of committees, take action to reduce power. Rather, they increase the power of the chair, and of the committee.

Over time, the rules, created or amended entirely within, among, and by, the elected participants — not by passing laws or amending the Constitution — conferred more and more power to committee chairs, and the committees they chair.

And, over time, more and more power was absorbed by the partisan leadership in each chamber.

We are now at the point that the party in charge of a chamber (House or Senate) determines who is in charge of each committee or subcommittee, and those committee chairs determine almost 100% of the time what bills are considered, and which of those bills are ever brought to the floor for a vote.

If a particular political party is not in charge of BOTH houses of Congress, it is very unlikely to be able to carry out actual change by introducing and passing bills. If one of the parties is in the minority but only barely, in the Senate, it may have the power to sometimes interfere with the leading party’s efforts, and thus could have a small degree of fleeting relevance. At best. But hardly so.

For this reason, each of the two chambers of Congress (House and Senate) can be divided into two parts. Those in the majority party, including chamber wide leadership and committee leadership, and those not. The former have power, the latter not.

This is why, in a general election, citizens should vote for party and not individuals.

The greatest power we as citizens have is to influence which party is in power in each chamber (and the Executive, the President). We can also try to influence, often to measurable effect, the behavior of individuals in the party-in-charge once they are elected. Influencing those not in charge has little actual effect.

This means that voting to support individuals who happen to agree with our own positions is an ineffective strategy in general elections. Finding a member of Party A who we like and supporting them is a waste of time if Party B is in charge. If we like, more or less, the policies of Party A and dislike Party B’s policies overall, we should work to support any individual who is a member of Party A over any individual who is a member of Party B, in a general election.

People who say to me “I’m not a partisan” or “I’m independent” might as well be saying “I don’t really understand the system, please tread on me.”

The part of our political power manipulation, as voters or volunteers, that influences the finer detail of our preference happens within the party itself. We should be working hard to support individuals who feel like we do about the various issues, or whom for some other reason we would prefer to be eventually elected. But once the party has finished that decision making process, we should then fully support whom the party has chosen. There is no other procedure that is rational or that moves us as individuals towards more power.

It is logical, then, that while we are busy fighting for Mary over Albert for our party’s nomination, because we like Mary better, we should avoid doing material damage to Albert, just in case Albert ends up being the party-wide choice. The reason for this is blindingly obvious yet seems to be often missed, so I’ll state it. Damage we do to Albert now may weaken Albert in the general election, causing him to lose, and thus, causing all of us of (more or less) like mind to lose power in government.

The level of passion in our dislike of the candidates perceived as flawed, the ones that are imperfect, can be astonishingly strong. This passion is reflective of peronsal conceit. One’s own opinions are, in the realm of politics, one’s very self. Those that differ in policy from one’s own can rightfully be seen as different, but they are often also seen as inferior. It is with the utmost sense of self-supremacy that we strongly disdain politicians tho do not think, feel, and act, exactly as we think they should.

People need to learn to not treat others of the same party with that sense of self-supremacy.

It is understandable that there would be a certain degree of disdain, especially for politicians that are far, far away from ourselves in their positions on key issues. There is nothing wrong with rhetorically punching Nazis. But when a member of a certain political party disdains a politician enough to effectively support a candidate from the opposing party who stands against nearly everything we all believe in, that is the ultimate selfishness. It is a nearly unforgivable hubris, to believe that someone who is modestly different from oneself — even critically different in one issue but not likely in most issues — is worthy of sufficient disdain that one must punish one’s friends, family, fellow partisans, and all the future children over that difference.

So, please, don’t do that.

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The plot to overthrow the US Government and install a fascist dictator

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There was a time not long ago when the title of this post would invoke in most Americans the assumption of a work of fiction, perhaps a novel by Tom Clancy.

Today, of course, it invokes current events, and looking at that title, one might assume this to be a reference to some current Washington Post story. Indeed, if you came across this post because it was tweeted or facebooked, that is almost certainly what you think we are talking about here.

But no. Continue reading The plot to overthrow the US Government and install a fascist dictator

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Muslim Advocates Demands Removal of Anti-Muslim Gun Shop Billboard Threatening AOC, Omar, Pressley & Tlaib

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A press release:

WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement issued today from Muslim Advocates Public Advocacy Director Scott Simpson calling on Cherokee Guns in Murphy, North Carolina and Allison Outdoor Advertising to take down a billboard that invites gun violence against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib – most of whom have received credible assassination threats. Muslim Advocates is encouraging supporters to send emails to Allison Outdoor Advertising and Cherokee Guns asking them to take the billboard down immediately:

“This billboard puts the lives of these congresswomen in immediate danger and needs to be taken down right away. It labels the four women as harbingers of the apocalypse and then invites people to purchase guns ‘1 mile [ahead] on right.’

These women have already received multiple, credible death threats inspired by similar rhetoric and attacks. Someone has already been charged for an assassination threat against Congresswoman Omar where the suspect said ‘I’ll put a bullet in her fucking skull’ and the assassination attempt that wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was only a few years ago.

Much of the media is irresponsibly downplaying this deeply concerning billboard as ‘mocking.’ This is not a joke and it’s not an insult. This is encouraging gun violence against elected officials.

This is also an anti-Muslim attack. The owners of Cherokee Guns have a Facebook post advertising a similar bumper sticker that is rife with disgusting anti-Muslim slurs including a reference to ‘Infidels for Trump’ and an invitation for patrons to ‘eat a piece of bacon’ to receive the sticker.

Food festivals and houses of worship are being shot up by white nationalists and this billboard invites more violence. Allison Outdoor Advertising must take the billboard down and Cherokee Guns must stop its dangerous, anti-Muslim attacks before the worst happens.”

Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.

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Food Or War by Julian Cribb: Excellent new book

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For many years, scientists who studied biology, behavior, and ecology (under the name of various disciplines) looked at resources, including and especially food, as a major determinant of social structure in social animals, herd structure in herd animals, and so on. Then, there was a revolution and it quickly became apparent that sex, not food, underlies everything and is the ultimate explanation for the variation we see in nature. That pair of dimes lasted for a while, then the other penny dropped and thanks to key research done by a handful of people (including me, in relation to human evolution), it became apparent that there was a third significant factor, that ultimately trumped sex as an organizing force. Food.

I hate it when the author of a book about something historical (history = written records) or even contemporary requires a paleolithic or prehistoric context. If I had a dime for every first chapter I’ve seen where a perfectly expert expert drones ignorantly on about how their book is a follow on of something that started in Olduvai Gorge and side stepped the Neanderthals and all that, I’d have several dollars. Praise the gods that Julian Cribb, in his new book Food or War, only does that for a few paragraphs and does it well!

This book is important, impressive, and a must read.

Food has organized society, politics, war, settlement, colonialism, and the economy more than any single factor, and food has been revolutionized by those things as well. As a simple way to understand this, consider any particular traditional food ask yourself, “would this even be possible were it not for the ability to sail up wind in a ship?” The answer, once you get to it, will almost always be no. Plantains, grass-based cereal crops, maize, potatoes, cassava, a range of vegetables such as tomatoes and various gourds and squash, green leafy things, all of it, are now available to grow in each and every habitat they can be grown in, not just the habitats that happen to be in the geographical region they were domesticated in. And, importantly, this transition happened centuries ago, depending on where one looks. Much of it happened before missionaries or explorers accounts even have a chance to flesh out the details of native live, and certainly long before anthropologists or other professional observers arrived on the scene.

Food or War is the book you must read now to understand the complex historical dynamics behind what you are eating.

The book covers food up to the present, and all the major considerations related to it. Drought, loss of land, climate change, migration, foodies, permaculture, organic farming, and on and on are all addressed in this well written scholarly but for everyone volume. And Cribb makes a stab at projecting into the future, and suggesting what we may consider doing about our food related problems.

This is not a happy book. A book dedicated to Paul Ehrlich is not going to be a happy book. It is a black book with blood red writing and a skull and crossbones on the cover. The title puts an or between the words food and war. This is not the read you need to get you away from the awful discourse polluting our psyches at this moment in history. But it is the book you need to read in order to understand and contextualize many of our policy related problems in the here and now. Plus, it is simply very well written, very well researched, and you will learn things. Many things.

Here’s the TOC:

  1. Food and conflict
  2. War and hunger
  3. The strategic importance of food, land and water
  4. Is ‘agriculture’ sustainable?
  5. Hotspots for food conflict in the twenty-first century
  6. Food as an existential risk
  7. Food for peace
  8. Urban dreams and nightmares
  9. The future of food
  10. Conclusion: key recommendations of this book.

I strongly recommend this book. It is available for pr-order, coming out in September.

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Don’t be afraid of Trump’s Tanks

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First, a few important military facts. Tanks are not the main way the US military fights a war. They are certainly used, but less then might be assumed given recent events in Washington DC. Also, our enemies are less and less likely to use tanks against us. Our long distance and air-assault artillery means that any nation we go up against that puts most of its eggs in the tank basket loses in a few days. Tanks for the memory, tanks, but tanks are becoming somewhat passe in regular warfare. Continue reading Don’t be afraid of Trump’s Tanks

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What The DNC Just Did Wrong

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You are probably aware that the DNC has just put the kibash on having a climate change related debate in the primary process.

Climate change, Perez says, is a single issue and no single issue is worthy of elevation to this level. Here are some of my thoughts on this, and below find a link to Adam Siegel’s excellent post on the subject, where you will also find the DNC’s position.

The climate crisis is not a single issue, Mr. Perez. It is an existential issue that permeates all of the other issues, an economic issue that will shape our entire agenda, an issue of national security that should be of great concern, and the number one premier health issue of the century. It is a moral issue that tests our the ability of our elected Democrats and candidates to lead.

The moment at hand has bee a long time coming. This is the first election cycle in which climate change and its effects are being taken serious by almost all Democratic candidates and voters. This issue has to be part of the conversation from now on, indefinitely.

Perhaps instead of driving climate change into a corner, or ignoring it, you actually meant to challenge the current framing of such a debate. Indeed, Democrats do not have to debate “climate change.” We all know it is real, critically important, and that we must address it. That is not a matter of debate.

But we do need to discuss, and debate, the solutions. What kind of Green New Deal do you want, candidate? How do you propose we harness market forces to hasten the transition away from fossil fuels? Do you like bridge fuels like Methane or are you on board with following a direct line to zero-Carbon? What about Carbon pricing, fee and dividend? How can we keep the economic benefit that will come with decarbonization in the US, by supporting local union industry in the construction of wind, solar, and storage facilities? Can the benefits of this energy transition be made available to most citizens? Is there a way to have economic benefits that go to more than the 10%? Should there be improved national best practices and regulations to push utilities to help more with this? What about divestment from funds that invest in fossil fuel extraction, processing, and distribution? What is your favorite pipeline story and what does it tell us about our commitment to changing things? What sorts of mandates can hasten widespread access to technologies like heat pumps and geothermal heating and cooling?

There is, indeed, a great deal to debate. Not climate change per se, but rather, how we save the future for our children and grandchildren. As noted by “Climate Hawks Vote,” climate change is a single issue: the survival of humanity. That is worth a debate.

Have a look at this thoughtful and informative post by energy expert A. Siegel to see how debating climate change can work as a political tool to the benefit of Democratic candidates and the party.

Coming out against a climate or energy debate is ethically questionable and politically foolish. Lets expand, rather than contract, this vitally important conversation.

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Warming up to certain candidates

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Good work, mateys! Joe Biden’s new climate plan is pretty much in line with the Green New Deal. Way to pressure!

This moves Biden from bottom to middle tier for me, which makes me feel better about the fact that he is crushing everyone else in early polls.

California Convention. Since California a) has more electoral votes and more national party delegates than any other state, and b) is a Super Tuesday state now, all of the sudden for the first time in memory, the California Convention received additional special attention outside of California.

And, candidates were sorted. Have a look:

Yay Warren! Yay Sanders! Yay Buttigieg! Yay Harris! Boo Hefferlooper, Boo that other guy!

Perhaps California Democrats are not the same as other Democrats, but in fact, they aren’t different. The outliers in the Party of Kennedy and Wellstone are the right wingers found here and there in Old Dixie or or the High Plains, and a few machine cities or country states in Appalachia or the south. I think we saw some of the herd thinned out in California.

Head to heads. In a recent Quinnipiac poll held in Texas, Biden beat Trump in the head to head, but Trump beat all the other tested candidates. In Michigan, Biden and Sanders trounced trump in the head to head, and Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg did fine. Who cares. Trump was going to win Texas anyway, since Texas is populated with so many god fearing evangelicals who love them their transgressors.

Warren. Warren remains a weak third, but consistent in that spot. In the frontline primary states (New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina) it is typically Biden and Sanders in first (strong) and second place. In the latest North Carolina poll (which is not South Carolina, but still, has a lot of African American voters and it is near South Carolina) that held true, but Warren pulled a very strong third (39-22-15). But generally, Warren, while usually in third place, does not break single digits and is statistically in the same bed as Harris and Buttigieg.

Yang, Gabbard, Ryan and Inslee are number one candidates. And by that, I mean, if you round up their numbers, the get to 1%. I don’t see a way up for them, even though this is very early in the race. Klobuchar, Booker, and Castro are consistently in the wings, the one digit 1-3 point wings, and there are things about them that might make them factors later on. They seem to be keeping their powder dry. O’Rourke and Buttigieg could possibly be described as candidates that peaked but then sort of guttered. They are still in the race, but at the moment they were supposed to ride into town on their dark horse, the horse was doing something else that day.

Until proven otherwise, it feels like a race between Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris, with Warren and Harris ready to move ahead at any moment, though the Buttigieg-O’Rourke-Booker faction looms small in the background.

In other words, I have no faith in the idea that it is a totally open race. It is a race between twenty-whatever people in which a maximum of five are for real, and we know who the top two or three are and the next two or three will come from a small set of the remainders.

I also have no faith in the order of the leaders. Biden has a history of guttering. I don’t see Sander support moving because of Sanders, but rather, because he absorbs support from other candidates. If ever there was a primary season where an early adoption of a veep is tempting, it is this one. A wavering Biden could be surpassed by a suddenly formed team of two of the top non-front runners, as long as one of them is Sanders. I hasten to add this piece of classic advice about vice presidents: Don’t do that. No talk about the vice president until the convention.

(Hickenlooper and Delaney need new campaign managers. Or just don’t bother.)

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