Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter of Discontent


This is from January 2010. Ran across it looking for something else. It caught my eye, so here it is.

Why Obama won’t give the Ferguson speech his supporters want
There are forces willing to exploit racial tensions for their own political gain. I don't really need to spell that out, do I? Some observers have cautiously breached the idea that we are in a new (or continuing) version of a Civil War; unfortunately. they are probably right.

If Obama's speeches often aren't as dramatic as they used to be, this is why: the White House believes a presidential speech on a politically charged topic is as likely to make things worse as to make things better. It is as likely to infuriate conservatives as it is to inspire liberals. And in a country riven by political and racial polarization, widening those divides can take hard problems and make them impossible problems.

Where the Ferguson Process Went Wrong, and What It Might Have Gotten Right
Ultimately this may work for the good. Sometimes horrific, glaring errors are the catalysts for change.

Wilson could still face federal prosecution for violating Brown’s civil rights (unlikely) or civil action for wrongful death (less unlikely). But, at this point, the most important product of this debate could be changes in Ferguson—to the police and to the political establishment and to the underlying socio-economic framework that has done so much to spread anger and disillusionment. Those changes wouldn’t bring Michael Brown back to life. But they’d suggest his death, whether or not the result of criminal action, wasn’t in vain.

After Ferguson, can the use of force by police be addressed?
Fits with the above.

Whether racially biased or otherwise, there's little information available about the use of force by police. The FBI reports on "justifiable" police homicides -- there were 410 in 2012 -- but does not report on unjustified homicides, or about nonlethal uses of force. Only a small fraction of the nation's police forces produce reports on misconduct. Simmons and others have said that collecting such data would be a strong first step toward improving police conduct and police relations with the communities they serve.

Where Was Republicans' Concern for "Political Norms" When They Took the Debt Ceiling Hostage?
Brian Beutler takes us down memory lane on all the times that Republicans had broken the norms when it came to getting what they want. Give it a read for a refresher on IOKIYAR. And oh wow, I had forgotten this one (Norm Ornstein didn't):

Two years ago, unilateral suspension of Obamacare requirements sat high on Mitt Romney’s 2012 agenda and Republicans loved it. They never considered it a threat to the right-size of the legislative branch, or worried that Mitt Romney was promising to exercise imperial powers. Romney didn’t win, and thus his plan to dismantle Obamacare from within the executive branch never came to pass.

Rand Paul Knows What Real ‘Executive Overreach’ Looks Like
* sigh * Rand has a point. We can't have these quasi-wars; Congress needs to weigh-in on the extended use of military force. We haven't formally declared war since WWII, although we've certainly been involved in many actions since.

In moving to force Congress to formally decide whether to declare war on the Islamic State militants that the US is already fighting, the senator from Kentucky is highlighting the failure of Republican congressional leaders (or, for the most part, their Democratic counterparts) to take seriously what should always be the most concerning example of executive overreach. This is the executive action that troubled the founders above all others: warmaking by presidents in the absence of a declaration of war by the Congress.

GOP leaders uniting around plan to avoid shutdown
All the barks, none the bites. Government funded through fiscal September, short-term on immigration enforcement. But some foolishness may still happen.

GOP aides and lawmakers say they expect the leadership to consider additional legislation to address the executive order, but there have been no decisions made on what those bills would look like. There are lots of ideas: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has signaled he would hold up some of Obama’s executive branch nominees, others privately have been musing about shutting the government down, refusing to invite the president to give his State of the Union address or censuring the president. Many in congressional leadership think these ideas are nonsensical, since it will not serve any practical purpose.

Republicans Shouldn't Take Midterms as a Mandate, Poll Suggests
Not so sure I trust "polls" after the misleading '14 fiasco, but maybe they are better at capturing public sentiment rather than who is actually going to get up off their ass and go vote for who they say they are. So, big caveats on polls of 500 people from NH - which this is. But it sure sounds about right.

That's the message from respondents in a Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll, which shows 44 percent of likely general election voters say the 2014 midterm results do not provide a mandate for the Republicans to “carry out a new agenda.” Rather, the voters are split, with 46 percent saying President Barack Obama should give ground to get things done, while 44 percent say he should stop the GOP from going “too far.”

Terry McAuliffe is unhappy – with Democrats
In this interview with TMac, Politico's Alex Burns sums up the 2016 message quite nicely. So, thanks, I guess. It's just this simple:

McAuliffe, a close friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton, calls it an urgent, hair-on-fire priority for Democrats to learn how to tie together an assertive, socially liberal message with close-to-home concerns about opportunity and economic competitiveness.

Charles E. Schumer to Urge Democrats to ‘Embrace Government’
Not sure is spelling out Chuck's name like that was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek reference, but what the heck. He's got it right, but let's work on the language, mmmkay? The Reagan "Government is Bad" Disciples have a thirty year head start. This won't happen overnight, but it needs to happen.

“If people don’t believe government can deliver, they’ll follow the Republican path,” he will say. “That leaves the job to Democrats. If we run away from government, the negative misperceptions about it will take root, and even if people support our ideas, they won’t believe government can deliver. We must convince the middle class that the only way out of their morass is by embracing a strong and effective government, not demeaning it or running from it,” he will add.

Economy in U.S. Expands 3.9%, More Than Previously Forecast
As always, fine print. While things are slowly getting better, wages into wallets are still an issue.

Today’s report also included revisions to second-quarter personal income. Wages and salaries rose by $51.9 billion, revised down from an initially reported $102.5 billion gain. Preliminary data showed they climbed by $66 billion in the third quarter.

John McCain 'Strongly Encouraging' Lindsey Graham To Consider 2016 Run
No, seriously.

“I think there's an old saying that if you are a United States senator that unless you are under indictment, or detoxification that you can automatically consider yourself a candidate,” McCain joked. “I think we should let a thousand flowers bloom. I think that the process is wide open right now, and I think not only will members of the Senate be considered, but I think some of our successful Republican governors will also be interested.”