Archive for May, 2022

Elections again

Monday, May 23rd, 2022

I suppose the most controversial choice of the Democratic Party “machine” was the backing of Henry Cuellar, an election that comes down to a 50 / 50 split. Jessica Cisneros does not appear ready to hop aboard the re-elected Cuellar train, and maybe she is right to not — from both her political and policy purposes and for her future career hopes. I imagine the same would be the case with Cuellar if Cisneros came out ahead.

But I am always fascinated by the turn of frames, how such or such represents Democracy thwarted. Somehow if 50 percent plus one come out and cast their lot with the choice of “Third Way” advertisements and roll behind the get out of the vote rallies of James Clyburn, this is dirty pool against the holy cleanliness of the “Justice / Progressive Democrats” advertisements and the get out the vote rallies of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

Then again, the right wing choices of the Democratic “machine” was shown in the Democratic governors’ race in Pennsylvania — what ought be considered the most controversial move of the party apparatus, even if fewer murmurs surround it. They picked their Republican opponent. And maybe the thought comes in that Overton Window is too far gone with the “mainstream” Republicans nibbling about to humor / patronize Trump and the base on election fraud — so what does it matter that they throw the “beatable” choice in and we now have “30 Mules” poised as a basis for election policy up to run the swing state? Understand, though, the Republican “machine” would have been strong enough in shuffling money and electioneering resources to defeat him. At least, in a vacuum.

Grass rooting jumping in all over. The semi ironic thing about Marcy Kaptur who, roughly speaking politically is like Dennis Kucinich in a dress — and I first became aware of way back in 2002 when she threw her hat in the ring for Democratic Party House Leader. It was where Harold Ford was running basically to establish a right “centrist” positioning against Nancy Pelosi for his future statewide election in Tennessee. And Kaptur ran, as one major newspaper put it, “from Mars”. But her speech about how the Democrats need to quit taking corporate money and start fundraising with bake sales received gushing reviews from In These Times and The Progressive magazines. Well, such things come in her background, today in her rejiggled district (interesting — The Republicans after 2010 threw her up against Kucinich in a ” cram all the Democrats in these lines” district — after 2020, they draw the lines for her to face Republicans) — she goes up against a Republican who came to fame locally with annoying lawn painting. (He is Marjorie Taylor Greene in a suit?)

We receive word that George P Bush’s defeat represents an end. Well, wait a couple decades. Kennedys still represent in political office — surely a Bush will get a dog catcher gig or something.

Electoral notes

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Two notes on “five thirty eight”‘s live blog on Cawthorn’s primary election loss.

That’s looking increasingly likely as the night progresses, Sarah. But should we be surprised by that? Part of the reason why Cawthorn’s reelection chances are even in limbo is because he’s been mired in scandal since he was first elected in 2020. The headlines haven’t slowed down recently, either: In April, he was briefly detained after he brought a loaded gun into an airport. That same month, Cawthorn was accused of participating in an alleged insider trading scheme and was also forced to respond publicly after photos emerged of him drinking while wearing women’s lingerie at a party.

Actual thought I had when reading this last night: “and yet, ultimately, the only thing that mattered, the reason he lost… the photos of him in lingerie. Nothing else on the list was enough to boot him.”

Later, another poster at fivethirtyeight chimed in with the observation:

It’s worth pointing out here in the conversation about Cawthorn that it appeared the opposition research against him was at the very least trying to hint that Cawthorn may be closeted. Voters may be reacting to that as much as any of his scandals. The most graphic leak was a video in which a naked Cawthorn thrusted his pelvis toward a man’s head while lying in bed. The president of a PAC aimed at removing Cawthorn from office filed an ethics complaint that gifts and loans to Cawthorn’s scheduler were not properly disclosed and a video also leaked of the scheduler’s hand on Cawthorn’s crotch. There’s also a photo of Cawthorn wearing women’s lingerie on a cruise. I have absolutely no knowledge of Cawthorn’s sexuality, but it doesn’t take a genius to see what this opposition dump was intimating.

Cawthorn paints it as fraternity hi-jinks, but then there is a reason the public looks askance at as “weird homoerotic subtext”. And it is worth pointing out on this score the line from the Alex Jones website — desiring to play up his conspiratorial fighter status against the ” neo-cons” and also wanting to give credence to his statement about orgies on Capitol Hill — to the line about unleashing a full-scale hit job neither here nor there and comes indifference if he is a closeted gay man — which would just put him right alongside much of those neocons he is fighting against.

One note on the primary election victory of Doug Mastriano, who had he had the position he seeks of Pennsylvania governor in 2020 would have been able to muck up his state’s electoral votes won by Biden as against the conspiracies he subscribes toward. Should he win in November, we owe it to the Democrats, politico by way of National Review.

Viewing him as the easiest Republican to defeat in the general, Shapiro and the state Democratic Party sent out mailers boosting him, our Holly Otterbein noted, helping him rise above other GOP candidates, including former Rep. LOU BARLETTA (R-Pa.).

And while Mastriano spent less than $370,000 on TV ads, the Shapiro campaign pumped more than $840,000 to air a spot that attacked Mastriano as too conservative for voters, an ad which actually boosted him on the right, our Zach Montellaro reported. Case in point: The ad called him “one of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters” — which, to many GOP primary voters, is a feature, not a bug.

Claire McCaskill won a term by boosting her Republican opponent on to a primary victory. But it did not work for Pat Brown against Ronald Reagan. I daresay the stakes if McCaskill misfired were not up to the level if Shapiro proves to misfire in a world with six buck gas and no baby formula. I suppose this ad is almost fair enough — you are working the general election — but it would be interesting to gauge if any slams against the rest of the Republican field was essentially empty — not able to run against their basic conservative Republican positions that are getting slid into the mass of “Trumpism” and “War against Democracy” when the real thing is staring at them propped up.

Super Duper Maga

Monday, May 16th, 2022

Apparently the new phrase during jour, “ultra-maga” came out of a concerted political study. And we understand and to some degree do agree with political strategy in running against a Trump who is not on the ballot — a dividing or defining line is the question of “True or False: Biden won the 2020 election” — a divining question to figure out who is terminally lost in too closed an epistemology for salvaging or dealing. Because after that, the politics of the individual become — for good or bad, for good and bad — ordinary.

But no. The defined maga characteristics are policy and perhaps even some of the petty acts of demagoguery that do indeed predate Trump, and frequently are representations of real travails in the electorate’s lives. We have the the Virginia race again — where the candidate is blasted away with the Never Trumpets incoherently making a stink about Confederate marchers — leaving a public scratching its head as they instead lean in to focus on the Republican candidate’s political mix of honest and dishonest discourse on school curricula. (Yes, the graphic novel “Gender Queer” has too graphic images for laying about the school library. BUT No, Toni Morrison’s book is not too much for your Advanced Reader class kid — and McAullife’s impolitick response was in essence correct in this matter.). Matters that predate Trump, one time pro-choicer, as Joseph Biden, one time Abortion rights fudger, makes the claim that these antiabortion people on the cusp of a victory they’ve been openly seeking these past five decades represent some new scary maga thingy.

The new boogeyman of maga is … Um… Rick Scott. Alrighty then.

For the word “ultra-maga” to have any meaning, it needs to get splayed more circumstantally. Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate Primary race lends itself to a case study. The “Maga” candidate, by definition of Trump’s endorsement, is Mehmet Oz — also “maga” defined by the lines of candidacy sprung out of show business celebrity and hucksterism. Except that at a rally, Trump’s introduction of him was met with boos. Not maga. So you have to move into “ultra-maga” territory to meet the Maya hordes — surging in the polls is Kathy Barnette. Running afoul of the party as a whole, a party that Biden is campaigning as having been “taken over” and “it’s the maga party now”. But if such is the case, who in this Senate race is maga and who is “ultra-maga”?

Well, make the case every which way. Currently the Trump backed candidate is blasting Barnette for past tweets — tweets that whatever else you can say about them, would suggest she would be Foursquare behind Trump’s policy in limiting and excising immigration from a bunch of Muslim countries. Very Ultra Maga. And an attack not becoming of maga from the “Maga King” selection. Political correctness run amok. And what does this mean?

While Oz has been viewed as a top contender for weeks, especially after the Trump endorsement, his surrogates have increased their attacks on Barnette in recent days. Fox News host Sean Hannity spent significant time criticizing Barnette on Thursday night, arguing that her controversial tweets — including one calling former president Barack Obama “a horrible gay Muslim” — could possibly make beating a Democrat in a general election difficult.

Maybe. Or maybe she is the new Trump. Note too, only in that this slides a bit of shade on identity politics presumptions.

Ric Grenell, an Oz supporter who was Trump’s acting national intelligence director, has criticized Barnette’s old tweets suggesting that the conservative Christian is homophobic.

Unfit for office,” Grenell, the first openly gay person to serve at a Cabinet level, tweeted on Wednesday.

It has been a recurring question — what the heck does a figure like Roy Moore (again, politics predate and exist outside Trump) — who in the ecosystem came to be a thumping cause against Republican Party establishment by some sort of “maga” hordes — have in common with some trolling figures for Trump — other than support from Steve Bannon?

And did the money poured into political strategy dump “mega maga” as being akin to putting a hat on a hat — destructive in its alliteration? “uber-maga” unusable due to litigation threats?


Friday, May 13th, 2022

The activist classes, which inflicts itself on the body politick into the faces of our politicians… Sure become irritating. And then I stare at the coverage on Abortion in media. So it is I read a NY Times article, bilked as analysis, which effectively states the antiabortion movement came into being responding to Roe v Wade simply out of restlessness and need for cover after losing politically on Segregation. This makes for a fine and inflammatory op-ed piece if that is what it wanted to be, but instead it is labelled news coverage.

Randomly, after seeing somewhere an inconsequential circa early 1980s joke about the ERA, I take a quick Google search of “era” for no real reason… Well, a sputtering of revived news interest passed a few years’ back, and there is likely to be a few references from this past week. And. A news article pops up on the current advocacy of the Amendment, and its odd history of the laggard 38th state of Virginia coming in long past the expiration for ratification, which resulted in some ad hoc arguments “we got it in! It passed!” — and in the news item I am tossed the following:

2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. That was significant because 38 states must individually ratify amendments for them to be added to the US Constitution.

But, then, something happened.

The Archivist of the United States, who certifies the validity of amendments, agreed with a Department of Justice opinion during the Trump administration. It said the deadline to pass the Equal Rights Amendment was in 1982, making Virginia’s ratification almost 40 years too late.

Nevertheless, Virginia persisted.

Cute. It is a reference to a comment made by Senator Mitch Mcconnell when Senator Elizabeth Warren went beyond her time limit once, or was deemed out of order in jabbing colleagues — one or the other or both, I do not quite recall. It also struck me at the time as being something of a home court subjective umpire call — sure, she may have the point that McConnell woulda let a Republican fudge the rules, but so it goes. So, in description of the problem, came the words “Nonetheless, she persisted”. This became a political rallying cry, insta-merchandise. In a straight news account, it has no place… Especially considering that its implications are on the wrong side of a cut and dry issue — beyond the subjectively enforced call that lead to the phrase ” nonetheless, she persisted” : the allowed time expired before the 38th state of Virginia ratified. Not that that matters anyway, as for that to count we would have to ignore and not count the states that rescinded its ratification.

In the end, Roe was probably as politically contrived a decision as its detractors say it is. But it also has the benefit of meeting, then and now, right about where if one dips into public opinion polling, what public opinion was then and is now on Abortion: more interest in the state of the fetus at the end of pregnancy than at the start. This has had the effect over the past fifty years of giving a battering ram for restrictions stateside as the pro choice contingent tried in vain to close off the Overton Window to open it on to great deliberations on Equity, and then get greeted as they stared at the people they threw off the table of acceptable opinion acting into no win identity related leftist hand-wringing. Yeah, good luck with that.

I see a YouTube video. Some “pro-life” figure answers a question from the crowd on speaking to non religious people. She goes on about being on the “right side” of science, ask a biologist — any biologist — and they describe life beginning at conception. She makes a statement along the lines of “Just that simple”. And it is here, even as I scoff at glib sloganeering and editorializing at ” only basis for your opposition is religion and theology!” onto the claim of ” — and therein comes my desire to shout “Abortion is murder!” And “there is no God!” at Christian protesters in front of a clinic — but you run into the problem that… No, you don’t particularly care about the life of a being who has and had never had consciousness, and so suddenly I want you to go ahead and drag Aquinas -ish theological u heroin kings here even if it gets dragged over to metaphors for more scientific concepts… Ensoulment… “Quickening” … Like, find that point when the damned life means anything….

… Naturally the process gets contrived in a hurry, with forced very involved need to get the fetal heart beating and bodily twitching meaningfully as early as possible. And therein lies dishonesty in the matter.

Nany Pelosi. Comments. Something about the good old days of Republicans, and Republicans cared or concerned the!selves with climate change (the days of Representative Dingell, right?) and as an add on

I want the Republican party to take back the party, take it back to where you were when you cared about a woman’s right to choose, you cared about the environment.”

To the audience’s resounding claps, the House Speaker added: “Hey, here I am, Nancy Pelosi, saying this country needs a strong Republican party, and we do, not a cult, but a strong Republican party.”

1972. Richard Nixon. The slogan against his opponent, George McGovern, was that he was the candidate of the three As — Acid, Abortion, Amnesty. 1974. Bob Dole. Facing a tough re-election bid under the shadows of Watergate. Finds an issue to bludgeon his opponent — Abortion. And maybe George Bush falls into a middle to get dragged to this equation (as against Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Dennis Kucinich… Today, Henry Cuellar and ) — though his few years with it as public stance was an outlier in the family politics as father and son’s career line up against Nancy Pelosi’s vision of a halcyon past.

Beyond which, she is not using the right framing for the moment. Noting the big horror of President Clinton’s line on “safe, legal, rare” — a framing which allowed him to win — say — Ohio and neighboring states and whose dumping in 2012 pre figures the Dems losing, say, Ohio and neighboring states in 2016. (As well making the Republican arguing on Fox News against Geraldo Rivera and getting tarred by the Huffington post … Basically correct. It was the change he was alluding to in rhetorical stategies.) Here I am less interested in arguments of whether this changing is morally or intellectually correct than in attendant claims about parties moving right and populated moving right and blind spots that pop up as one gauges the political landscape in self a righteous fury. It does become a political game — find the right phrasing to talk right past and disregard opposition. Maybe if we just do that, it will go away– instead of my experience where I just shrug and smile thinking “All right. You’ve insulted me. Fine. Put away, and move on from there.”

…the show lasted, like, three years and only one and a half were any good

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

As hamhanded as any number of episodes in Star Trek, the latest program apparently has series history with WW3 beginning with the events of January 6. Some fallout from some audiences (I learned in a random youtube clip from someone or other outraged, wanting to draw attention to the senility of aged president Biden instead) who, the type last I checked never saved any whales after watching Star Trek 4, and I vaguely may agree if I cared enough in the “guilty of a kind of forced presentism” … but I can refrain from any real admonishment until such time as the reference in Star Trek 8 (the movie with the borg) where Picard where he name checks a few monstrous dictators in history “it would be Napoleon, or Hitler, or —-” –

And it is entirely possible I have the wrong movie…

receives a George Lucas style re-editing so the third fictional somewhere in the future name would now be retrofitted Trump. It is then that the ham handed creators of the Trek universe would have gone too far.

Sounds like even more fun

Monday, May 9th, 2022

I suppose when the political fallout produces the politicians in power for the thing to pass, the Democrats can expand the Supreme Court to 15. Of course, this will just spur the Republicans to expand the Court to 49 when they gain power. But that is easily solved by expanding the court to 99 once the partisan political swing comes once more.

There may be a problem popping up in the now barren appeals courts, seeing as everyone has been plucked up to the expanded Supreme Court. But this may just be a silver lining for whoever happens to be the party in power that just expanded the Supreme Court — all of their guys and gals have just been moved to the Supremes, leaving for the moment the lower courts the domain until the Supreme Court gets expanded next time up.

The aggressive protest by “Ruth Sent Us” on the sidewalks in front of Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts lead to an interesting new wrinkle in protest tactics — next up, anti-abortionists need to start protesting in front of the houses of the protesters against Kavanaugh and Roberts. (Somewhere in the sloganeering there is surely something about “People Power” or something, so it would be a show against Power, “talking (my) truth to power”). If this is unfair, that is all right — we have the faces of the protest protesters so can now proceed to identify and protest in front of their houses.

An interesting thought experiment comes in the future of “crisis pregnancy centers” — which are institutions that bounce around religion but people can infer Jesus when they squint at words spoken, and generally announce themselves as clearly not having abortions on their list but are blasted for somehow shadowing planned parenthood — and there we get news of a broken window and three. In the near future I suppose we can get aggressive protests that replicate in type those that exist before abortion performing clinincs. Though, that would at least require bandana mask removal — and within the mix that includes bullhorn shooters someone who approximates the more meek silent rosary refugees — I don’t know if the window breakers have that in them.

sounds like fun

Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Revisiting the US Military’s point person and program for Entertainment media consultation, the strictures changing any number of Hollywood blockbusters into glorified recruitment shows — Top Gun, for instance. Obviously anything with some anti-war tilt having to go their own way and find technical help elsewhere. I receive some mixed messages on Independence Day, seeing it here or there as the movie that effectively broke the propaganda unit’s stranglehold on Hollywood — cgi and special effects overwhelm whatever specific detailing the US Military provides where the Military rejected any input request on script reading because the movie’s protagonist was married to a stripper.

We are today at the cusp of exciting stories on Abortion falling out of screens (an effect which will come across like the conclusion to the Broadway play “Lease”), and this leads to some interesting questions. Planned Parenthood has a similar role player as does the US Military, and looking about for their line of demarcations. Juno is their Independence Day.

Over the years, Spruch said she has been wary of projects that treated Planned Parenthood in a reductive fashion. That included “Juno,” in which the main character ultimately decides not to have an abortion. “I didn’t think it portrayed our issue well so I didn’t get involved with it,” she said. “In the quest for accuracy, it’s important to note that people can decide what’s best for themselves, so I’m not going to say, ‘Don’t do that’ as long as it’s realistic. In that case, the health center didn’t look nice, it was only hippy-dippy people in crumbling old centers. Our healthcare centers are actually beautiful, welcoming places. That’s misinformation.” 

Interestingly, the depiction always seemed to me like an accurate in comical sense portrayal of the goofiness of “keeping things on the level of and relating to the kids” within the “sex positivity” line I have heard described and generally experienced in the background from the rhetoric of it all — “makes my boyfriend’s junk taste like pie” accurate to the effect of “they always make sure to give you a large goody bag”. But it is not 100 percent flattery, and some regret gripe follows in that the movie became a favorite of antiabortion populace which probably adds an element of spite retroactively. Perhaps things could be better if the antiabortion / ” pro-life” kid in the movie were shown in a more “twirling of mustache” light — I imagine a change the director would make if making the movie today. (She has said she wouldn’t.)

skull and bones

Friday, May 6th, 2022

I am puzzled by this 1952 fashion on the obnoxious “ugly duckling” character in the pages of the line of comics from the publisher Archie , a sexist comedic foil that will not fly post 1970s. (They deploy the name “Oephelia Glutenschnable” a bunch of times for a character who does not have a fixed appearance).
What does her outfit represent in youth fashion of 1952? Beyond, I guess the opposite of stylish which in later decades comes to be styling accessories in some cliques.

Post 60s, the stream of the “skull and crossbones” moves from a biker outlaw aesthetic into various permutations of rocker, and is what someone might slap onto a rowdy bad boy character as shorthand — I am thinking the boy in the movie “Toy Story”. The striped shirt underneath it I associate with early to mid 90s grunge to post grunge — a fallout from fashion derived from thrift stores — I have an image of Billy Corrigan of Smashing Pumpkins, but I guess there we extrapolate it backward to middle class slumming of workers on the dock or something — as much as I can tell what may be implied here.

1952. Who is wearing this and why? In the context of I guess a 30 -something year old cartoonist (Little biographical data exists for George Frese) mediating for the kiddies.