Daily Blog December 2019

I’m sad to have to report that effective immediately, BlueRootsRadio can only stream to the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

I apologize to the many listeners in so many countries I can’t count, but it’s a matter of licensing agreements and I have to honor them.

I hope Live365 gets more agreements soon and if you’d like to be notified please send me an email and I’ll let you know as soon as I do. Contact info can be found on the About/Contact page.

Again, thanks so much for listening and I hope you can come back soon,

Chris

123 thoughts on “Daily Blog December 2019

  1. Full disclosure, I was at the rally

    The Daily Show’s Rally to Restore Sanity Predicted a Decade of Liberal Futility

    The pathologies that have plagued the left were all on display one October day in 2010.


    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Appearing at a San Francisco comedy festival last year, Jon Stewart looked back at his legacy. When a clip of him “eviscerating” a politician on The Daily Show went viral, Stewart said he would think, “Great. What happens next?” While liberals were cheering on comedians for humiliating the right, the Tea Party was “off the highway by Stuckey’s taking over school boards.”

    Stewart turned The Daily Show, which he hosted from 1999 to 2015, into a satirical juggernaut. But nine years ago, on October 20, 2010, he tried to go beyond satire to answer the “What happens next?” question. The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, which he hosted with his then–Comedy Central colleague Stephen Colbert, was an attempt to shame a media industry addicted to theatrical conflict and shallow analysis. It was also meant to showcase common ground typically lacking in political coverage. “This is not a political rally in any way, shape, or form,” Stewart told CNN’s Larry King. “It is a visceral expression of a people fed up with the reflection that they are shown of themselves as a divided people.”


    The rally was a huge success: 200,000 people crowded the Mall in Washington, D.C., to watch Stewart and Colbert do their bits on stage, accompanied by musicians like John Legend and Kid Rock. But it hasn’t aged well. Stewart’s call for Americans to transcend party lines and concentrate on their shared aspirations is embarrassing to watch in 2019. Though largely forgotten for good reason—it is, aside from Rosewater, probably the least funny thing Stewart has done—it serves as a milestone in recent political history: a nadir in the left’s years-long refusal to reckon with the extremist right.

    Read more .


  2. Chris Stapleton Is Trying to Change the Narrative for U.S. Veterans

    Taking care of service members is “one of the most important issues that we face today in the United States,” says the country singer


    Through charity work and live performances, Chris Stapleton is showing his support for U.S. military veterans.
    Matt Baron/Shutterstock

    Country-music artists have always nurtured a special bond with U.S. veterans. For Chris Stapleton, the issue is a particularly personal one.
    “Both of my grandfathers fought in World War II so that I hopefully wouldn’t have to,” says the Grammy winner. “There’s something so selfless about volunteering to do that work. You’re laying yourself out there for people you don’t even know, and I have a great deal of respect for that.”
    Stapleton has taken a double-edged approach to supporting vets. First, his Outlaw State of Kind Fund funnels money to a variety of programs to support, and in some cases rehabilitate, the men and women whose military careers have ended. But he also offers his own form of service, performing for veterans groups whenever possible. He took part in Joe Walsh’s 2018 VetsAid benefit concert in Tacoma, Washington (helping raise almost $800,000), and also appeared at the U.S. Veterans Administration and Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Conference in Nashville this summer.

    Read more .


  3. Bernie Sanders resurgence has Democrats asking: could he actually win?

    Two months ago the Vermont senator had a heart attack and trailed Warren in the polls – now he’s bearing down on Biden


    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduces Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally at Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California, last week. Photograph: Monica Almeida/Reuters

    Bernie Sanders addressed a crowd of thousands at a beachside rally in Los Angeles last Saturday, capping a six-day swing through the most populous US state.

    “Our campaign is not only about defeating [Donald] Trump, our campaign is about a political revolution,” Sanders said. “It is about transforming this country, it is about creating a government and an economy that works for all people and not just the 1%.”

    The sight of the cheering crowd would have been hard to imagine just two months ago, as Sanders recovered from a heart attack and a fellow progressive senator, Elizabeth Warren, surged past him in the polls for the Democratic nomination.

    But since then, Warren has slipped back, and Sanders has regained lost ground, demonstrating the resiliency of his leftwing campaign. Those strengths have some in the Democratic party wondering: could Sanders actually win the nomination the second time around?

    Read more .


  4. A second Christian paper has called for Trump to be convicted in the Senate

    Convict Trump: The Constitution is more important than abortion

    Christians should advocate for President Donald J. Trump’s conviction and removal from office by the Senate. While Trump has an excellent record of appointing conservative judges and advancing a prolife agenda, his criminal conduct endangers the Constitution. The Constitution is more important than the prolife cause because without the Constitution, prolife advocacy would be meaningless.

    The fact that we live in a democratic republic is what enables us to turn our prolife convictions from private opinion into public advocacy. In other systems of government, the government does not care what its citizens think or believe. Only when the government is forced to take counsel from its citizens through elections, representation, and majoritarian rule do our opinions count.

    Our democratic Constitution — adopted to “secure the blessings of liberty” for all Americans — is what guarantees that our voice matters. Without it, we can talk about the evils of abortion until we are blue in the face and it will never affect abortion policy one iota. The Constitution — with its guarantees of free speech, free assembly, the right to petition the government, regular elections, and the peaceful transfer of power — is the only thing that forces the government to listen to us.

    Trump’s behavior is a threat to our Constitutional order. The facts behind his impeachment show that he abused a position of public trust for private gain, the definition of corruption and abuse of power. More worryingly, he refused to comply with Congress’s power to investigate his conduct, a fundamental breach of the checks and balances that is the bedrock of our Constitutional order.

    Read more .


  5. Todd honestly opens up on his naiveté. I’ve been a big critic of his wish-washiness, but he does have a unique vantage point regarding the disinformation war on the news. Worth the read from Rolling Stone.

    How Disinformation Spreads, According to Chuck Todd

    Chuck Todd has had a front-row seat for the spread of disinformation. Here’s how he sees it happening and the media’s role in it


    Michele Eve Sandberg/Shutterstock

    Chuck Todd has had a front-row seat for the spread of disinformation while hosting NBC’s Meet the Press. Whether it was Kellyanne Conway using the phrase “alternative facts” to dispute media reports about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) blatantly using Russian talking points to blame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 election, or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spreading Russian conspiracy theories, Todd has seen it all. I spoke with Todd about this erosion of truth ahead of an upcoming Dec. 29th special edition of Meet the Press that will focus on journalism and the weaponization of disinformation, and feature guests such as Marty Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post; Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times; The New Yorker’s Masha Gessen; and former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

    Rolling Stone: What made you decide to devote an entire show to the topic of disinformation and fake news?

    Read more .


  6. Scientists attempt to recreate ‘Overview effect’ from Earth

    Researchers aim to recreate intense emotional experience astronauts reported on seeing Earth from space for the first time


    ‘An instant global consciousness’: the Earth viewed from the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Astronauts have reported an intense feeling upon seeing Earth from space, known as the ‘Overview effect’. Photograph: Getty Images

    The spectacle of Earth suspended in space was so overwhelming for Edgar Mitchell that the Apollo 14 astronaut and sixth man on the moon wanted to grab politicians by the scruff of the neck and drag them into space to witness the view.

    Such drastic measures may not be necessary, however. Scientists are about to welcome the first participants on an unprecedented clinical trial that aims to reproduce the intense emotional experience, known as the “Overview effect”, from the comfort of a health spa.

    If the trial goes well, what led Mitchell to develop “an instant global consciousness” and a profound connection to Earth and its people could be recreated with nothing more than a flotation tank, a half tonne of Epsom salts, and a waterproof virtual reality (VR) headset.

    “There’s a lot of division and polarisation and disconnection between people,” said Steven Pratscher, a psychologist and principal investigator on the trial at the University of Missouri. “We’d like to see if we can recreate the Overview effect on Earth to have an impact on those issues.”

    Not all astronauts experience the Overview effect, but those who do describe a number of factors that appear to fuel the phenomenon. On seeing the whole planet in the blackness of space, national borders melt away, and we all become, primarily, citizens of Earth. Many astronauts are struck by the thinness of the atmosphere, and the stunning beauty of the planet, and feel compelled to protect it when they return.

    Read more .


  7. Trump’s holiday menu: handouts for billionaires, hunger for the poor

    Republicans defend cuts to food stamps by saying that keeping people hungry will make them work harder. But we know this is just about cruelty


    ‘This is what oligarchy looks like: Trump’s appetite to shower the ultra-wealthy with corporate welfare is endless – and so is his willingness to assault the most vulnerable and hungriest families.’ Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

    When it comes to billionaires benefiting from the generosity of the American taxpayer, the holiday spirit is alive year-round. Taxpayers paid out $115m to Donald Trump so he could play golf at his own resorts.

    And Amazon didn’t just pay zero in federal taxes on $11bn in profits – taxpayers gifted the corporation $129,000,000 in rebates. That’s enough to pay for CEO Jeff Bezos’s three apartments in Manhattan, including a penthouse, that cost him $80m.

    And what about government generosity for those who actually need help? Tax dollars are somehow much harder to come by when they’re not going to handouts for the rich. The average person in poverty, struggling to put food on the table, gets about $134 a month in nutrition assistance.

    Now, just in time for the holidays, Trump has finalized the first of three policies that will make this disparity even more obscene. Two years after passing a $1.5tn tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans and large corporations, the Trump administration plans to strip 3.7 million people of their nutrition benefits.

    The administration’s first step is to kick 700,000 adults off of nutrition assistance as they struggle to find work. The second step: trying to punish families who have high childcare and housing costs. And third, they want to hurt families who already are making difficult choices between food or heat.

    Together, the three proposals will cut billions of dollars from one of our nation’s leading anti-poverty programs. Meanwhile, the Republican tax scam is working exactly as planned. Today, the richest 400 billionaires pay lower taxes than any group in America – including the poor. Nearly 100 of the top Fortune 500 companies now pay nothing in taxes.
    Read more .


  8. Today in the Decade From Hell

    How the Democratic Party Learned to Wage Class Warfare

    Occupy Wall Street was widely ridiculed by liberals. Now, rage against the one percent is a major theme of the 2020 primary.


    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    It may have begun with Lehman Brothers, the investment bank that failed weeks ahead of the presidential election in 2008. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (formerly of Goldman Sachs) and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (future hedge-fund adviser) then called Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, according to Rolling Stone, saying “We need $700 billion, and we need it in three days.”

    The bank bailout of 2008 was sold as relief for both banks and homeowners, whose mortgages, without their knowledge, propped up an opaque network of bets on their ability to repay them. Many assumed that regulation would follow, to prevent such a crisis in the future. Upon his inauguration, however, President Barack Obama appointed the reliably bank-friendly Tim Geithner as Fed chair. Geithner had helped choose which banks would be propped up with public money, including Citi, which was bailed out three times. In the end, financial institutions like Citi, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs walked away with, by some accounts, trillions. Two years later, foreclosures hit a record high. The bailout program’s inspector general, Neil Barofsky, resigned in March 2011, declaring the program had left homeowners “in a far worse place than they would have been had this program not existed.”

    Six months later, Occupy Wall Street was born—first as a demonstration in a publicly owned private park in lower Manhattan, then inspiring scores of other protests and encampments, spreading nationwide. At an event promoting a jobs bill, Obama was interrupted by Occupiers: “Mr. President. Over 4,000 peaceful protestors. Have been arrested. While Banksters continue—” The crowd shouted them down, but the rest, according to a slip of paper found and photographed, was: “… to destroy the economy with impunity. Your silence. Sends a message. That police brutality. Is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.”

    Read more .


  9. Currently watching the Netflix mini-series “The Spy” with Sacha Baron Cohen and got curious so I did a search on DuckDuckGo and found this article.

    Sacha Baron Cohen Calls Out Social Media as ‘the Greatest Propaganda Machine in History’

    In a recent Anti-Defamation League keynote, Cohen outlines how internet companies have fueled bigotry and hate speech. But he has a solution.


    Sacha Baron Cohen Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Sacha Baron Cohen has courted controversy his entire career, portraying characters, from Ali G and Borat to Bruno, that have pissed off all groups from left to right. He’s an equal-opportunity offender, but his alter-egos have long served to expose the hypocrisies of society by mocking humanity’s worst tendencies. His 2018 Showtime series “Who Is America?” tackles humankind’s dark side head-on by bait-and-switching real-life figures to catch them in their blind spots. In the show, he got Dick Cheney to sign a waterboarding kit, former chief justice Roy Moore to take a pedophile lie-detector test, and “The Bachelor” star Corinne Olympios to endorse the training of child soldiers on camera.

    But at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never Is Now Summit on Anti-Semitism and Hate, Baron Cohen took off his comedy hat when honored with the ADL’s International Leadership Award. He used the platform to deliver a keynote outlining how social media and the information it disseminates have fueled the bigotry dominating the current political moment in the U.S. (Watch full video of the speech below.)

    “Yes, some of my comedy, OK probably half my comedy, has been absolutely juvenile and the other half completely puerile,” he said. “I’m just a comedian and an actor, not a scholar. But one thing is pretty clear to me. All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history.

    Read more .


  10. From the “The President is An Idiot” Department

    ‘I never understood wind’: Trump goes on bizarre tirade against wind turbines

    President’s nonsensical rambling remarks about ‘windmills’ in segment from weekend speech raised eyebrows

    He says he knows more about Isis than his generals, and claims to understand politicians “better than anybody”. Now there is another subject in which Donald Trump’s expert knowledge surpasses that of everybody else: wind turbines, though he calls them windmills.

    “I’ve studied it better than anybody I know,” the president asserted in a bizarre segment from a weekend speech to young conservatives in West Palm Beach, Florida, close to his winter retreat at Mar-a-Lago where he is spending the holidays.

    “I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen in your life.”

    Read more .


  11. More from “The Decade From Hell” on The New Republic

    The Decade When Republicans Stole the States

    How the North Carolina GOP’s anti-democratic chicanery became the national party’s playbook for electoral theft


    Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

    In September 2010, Jon Stewart, then the popular host of The Daily Show, sat behind his desk and held up a bright yellow poster. On it were scrawled the words: “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

    The idea behind the poster was simple. Stewart was arguing that some 70 to 80 percent of Americans were being overruled in the political realm by a small percentage of extremists. This argument was the thesis for what would become the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, an event Stewart co-hosted later that October with fellow Comedy Central star Steven Colbert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in front of an estimated crowd of 215,000. “This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear,” Stewart proclaimed. “They are, and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times.”

    Three days after Stewart and Colbert’s rally and their call for a return to normalcy, midterm elections were held across the country. Most headlines and politics-watchers focused on the dramatic Republican gains in the House of Representatives. But the results that would most profoundly shape American politics came not at the national level, but in the state houses and senates, the chambers where state budgets are set and national policies and political movements start their journeys.

    Read more .


  12. The Impeachment’s Moral Hypocrisy

    by Chris Hedges


    Mr. Fish / Truthdig

    The impeachment process was a nauseating display of mortal hypocrisy. The sound bites by Republicans and Democrats swiftly became predictable. The Democrats, despite applauding the announcement of the voting results before being quickly silenced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sought to cloak themselves in gravitas and solemnity. Pelosi’s calculated decision to open the impeachment proceedings with the 1954 “under God” version of the Pledge of Allegiance was an appropriate signal given the party’s New McCarthyism. The Democrats posited themselves as saviors, the last line of defense between a constitutional democracy and tyranny. The Republicans, as cloyingly sanctimonious as the Democrats, offered up ludicrous analogies to attack what they condemned as a show trial, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk’s statement that “Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded to this president.” The Republicans shamelessly prostrated themselves throughout the 10-hour process at the feet of their cult leader Donald Trump, offering abject and eternal fealty. They angrily accused the Democrats of seeking to overturn the 2016 election in a legislative coup.

    It was a mind-numbing spectacle, devoid of morality and ethics, the kind of political theater that characterizes despotic regimes. No one in the House chamber was protecting the Constitution. No one was seeking to hold accountable those who had violated it. No one was fighting to restore the rule of law. The two parties, which have shredded constitutional protections and rights and sold the political process to the highest bidders, have engaged in egregious constitutional violations for years and ignored them when they were made public. Moral stances have a cost, but almost no one in Congress seems willing to pay. Trying to tar Trump as a Russian agent failed. Now the Democrats hope to discredit him with charges of abuse of power and contempt of Congress.

    Read more .


  13. Nice to see this problem recognized for the problem it is. That it was covered by a moderate is a good thing imho, it’s called being “reasonable” and recognizing not all liberal or conservative ideas are bad and that nothing every arrives at the middle that didn’t come from one or the other extreme, take the New Deal for example.

    How ‘Centrist Bias’ Hurts Sanders and Warren

    The media has a bigger problem than liberal bias.


    Senator Elizabeth Warren during the Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles on Thursday.Credit…Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

    Centrist bias, as I see it, confuses the idea of centrism (which is very much an ideology) with objectivity and fairness. It’s an understandable confusion, because American politics is dominated by the two major parties, one on the left and one on the right. And the overwhelming majority of journalists at so-called mainstream outlets — national magazines, newspapers, public radio, the non-Fox television networks — really are doing their best to treat both parties fairly.

    In doing so, however, they often make an honest mistake: They equate balance with the midpoint between the two parties’ ideologies. Over the years, many press critics have pointed out one weakness of this approach: false equivalence, the refusal to consider the possibility that one side of an argument is simply (or mostly) right.

    But that’s not the only problem. There’s also the possibility that both political parties have been wrong about something and that the solution, rather than being roughly halfway between their answers, is different from what either has been proposing.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.


  14. Sunday’s Stories

    Politics, Culture, Tech, Science


    Frank Zappa during Hot Rats sessions. Photograph: Bill Gubbins

    Politics
    At this point, our cool, collected mayor broke the emergency glass and reached for his military service.’ Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP via Getty Images

    Richard Wolffe puts Mayor Pete into perspective following his performance in the December Democratic Debate.


    Culture

    It’s the 50th anniversary of Frank Zappa’s experimental masterpiece Hot Rats, a groundbreaker that introduced recording techniques and musician selection that shaped modern music forever.


    Tech
    Illustration: Yoshi Sodeoka for The Intercept

    Once seen as the Great Equalizer, it turns out Tech’s promise tends to toxically taint once respected academicians as Big Tech wraps its tentacles around Academia to avoid regulation of Artificial Intelligence.


    Science
    The clouds of Jupiter are almost too beautiful for words. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

    The 2010’s saw remarkable advancements in space. Here’s some of the stunning pictures it produced.


    Ooops I forgot, Merry Solstice!

    Something else to be happy about, the days are getting longer! Now I’m wondering if Mercury is in retrograde?

  15. A little late but worth posting late for context

    Media’s Anti-Sanders Bias on Full Display in L.A. Debate


    Dennis Van Tine / STAR MAX / IPx

    Tonight’s Democratic presidential debate will be sponsored by Politico and PBS, simulcast by CNN, and moderated by Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta, along with PBS NewsHour’s anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz and White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

    Politico and CNN have demonstrated time and time again their systemic and institutional anti-Sanders bias. Who can forget Politico’s piece (5/24/19) showing Sanders standing next to a tree with dollars for leaves, or CNN (3/15/16; FAIR.org, 3/16/16) cutting away from a Sanders speech to show an empty podium with the chyron “Standing By for Trump to Speak”?

    Current Affairs‘ Nathan Robinson (12/3/19) pointed out a strange omission in a NewsHour campaign report.

    But as an individual, PBS’s Alcindor has a long and documented history of hostile, unfair coverage of Sanders. Earlier this month, in fact, NewsHour and Alcindor were criticized for their rather stunning omission of Sanders from a campaign story (12/2/19) that mentioned and showed images of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Sestak and Steve Bullock. Somehow there was no time or space for Sanders, who has generally been the No. 2 candidate, behind Biden, in polls of Democratic primary voters. The panel Alcindor hosted following the report mentioned Biden, Buttigieg, Warren and Michael Bloomberg, but, again, not Sanders.

    This is far from an isolated incident; Alcindor has repeatedly used her articles, tweets and media appearances to portray Sanders in an unflattering light. She has used innuendo to suggest Sanders is too old to run for president or, shockingly, was partly responsible for a mass shooting. She has asked loaded questions to suggest that Sanders’ refusal to drop out of the race was sexist, perpetuated the evidence-free “Bernie Bro” narrative, presented Sanders’ supporters as “idol” worshipers and sanitized antisemitic tropes used against Sanders.

    It should be noted from the outset that Alcindor is an experienced, accomplished and award-winning journalist, who did exceptional reporting on Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson protests at USA Today before being hired by the New York Times in 2015. (She left the Times for PBS NewsHour in 2018.) This stellar overall record makes her heavily slanted Sanders reporting all the more jarring.

    Read more .


    1. …and the followup

      PBS Decides What Debate Watchers Need Is More Talk From Pundits

      Remarkably absent from the first two rounds? Any analysis of Sanders’ performance, let alone the kind of praise the centrists came in for. There were literally two brief mentions of the candidate polling in second place, neither of which were followed up on: that Sanders objected to the premise of a climate question, and that there was a confrontation between Sanders and Biden. Desjardins asked panelists about the confrontation (without mentioning what it was about) in tandem with a question about a confrontation between Klobuchar and Buttigieg. The two Politico panelists responded, both exclusively taking on the battle between the fourth- and seventh-ranked candidates, rather than the one between the first and second.

      Read more .


  16. A Decade of Liberal Delusion and Failure

    It was the death of hope by a thousand tiny technocratic “nudges.”


    Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    Welcome to The Decade From Hell, our look back at an arbitrary 10-year period that began with a great outpouring of hope and ended in a cavalcade of despair.

    As 2009 ended, the editors of this magazine at the time took their measure of the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency and declared it, with some reservations, a modest success. “All of this might not exactly place him in the pantheon next to Franklin Roosevelt,” they said of

    his major domestic achievements (the stimulus package, primarily, as the Affordable Care Act had not yet been signed). “But it’s not a bad start, given all the constraints of the political system (and global order) in which he works.”

    That was the broad consensus of American liberals at the time, ranging from nearly the most progressive to nearly the most neoliberal. Over the ensuing years, that consensus would crack and eventually shatter under the weight of one disappointment after another. The story of American politics over the past decade is that of a political party on the cusp of enduring power and world-historical social reform, and how these once imaginable outcomes were methodically squandered.

    The bulk of that unsigned New Republic editorial in 2009 was dedicated to Obama’s foreign policy, specifically the question of whether he was waging enough war. The conclusion: He was. The editors praised “the escalation of the war in Afghanistan” as “the most consequential action of the first year of his presidency,” even though it

    offended the base of his party and possibly injured his future political prospects. On strategic grounds, we believe he made the right choice. But the thoroughness and logic of the process by which he arrived at this decision double our confidence in that choice. The is exactly the type of pragmatism and non-ideological policymaking that sentient humans have craved after the Bush years.

    (Sure, escalate the endless wars—but for God’s sake, please do it non-ideologically.)

    Read more .


  17. Full disclosure: I subscribe to both NYT and WaPo but choose not to use them here just because it’s good to do. Despite both their faults, they continue to provide some great opinions and do break important stories.

    Discussing the Democrats December Debate

    Getting down to nuts and bolts and what needs tweaked


    Photo Credit: New York Times

    This time I’m trying something different. Rather than post a bunch of stories I’m going to put all the ones I think provide need to know information about the actual debate and some criticisms on the current debate process.

    In The Guardian I found a good overall account of the debate. These days I’m partial to this paper because they don’t have the corporate ties of the New York Times and Washington Post. I find their stories on the best takeaways and the always popular who won the debate to be the most progressive to be found on a major news source.

    If you like to get into the weeds of the personal fights between candidates The Intercept has a great article concerning the argument over fund raising between Buttigieg and Warren. I admit to being discouraged by some of Pete’s tactics but learned from the debate he’s not afraid to take the chance of appearing elitist to get the money he could not otherwise raise. It’s still troubling when you also consider his McKinsey ties, but everyone deserves a fair chance to defend themselves. In the same paper are two good stories if you’d like more clarity in the stick argument of Middle Class Tax Hikes and the troubling decisions by Chuck Schumer’s recruitment of former Republicans to run for Senate in lieu of tried and tested Progressives.

    I find the political reporting in The Rolling Stone to always be independent and well sourced. Today they published a feature on Elizabeth Warren that goes into the detail you won’t see or read on MSNBC, CNN, NYT and WaPo.

    I often find I need some explaining because who really has the time to dive into the weeds for every candidate/issue? When that’s the problem, I go to Vox because that’s what they do. You can take your pick and let me know if you think they might be showing a bit of cool bias towards the Progressive candidates

    Finally to use a bad idiom example, the elephant in the room regarding the Democratic Debate’s rules needs to be addressed ASAP. I found Tom Perez’s Preposterous Debate Rules in The New Republic which has returned to its solidly liberal roots imho.

    Whew!


  18. Watching the so-called debate. Not sure why. Maybe my eyes will benefit from the rolling exercises.
    Good to see BRR’s Bernie endorsement. The thing that has made me most hopeful for the future is the way his 2016 campaign has moved the public conversation leftwards.

    1. I can’t make it through the whole thing because of the back biting but they are making some good points that Americans want to hear.

      The only way forward is to be more, not less progressive. 40 years of centrist policies have put us in this mess of decaying cities, inferior education and a degrading environment. America needs a President who will fight for the least among us, not kiss the asses off those who funded his campaign.

      BRR has got the Bern!

      1. I’m not seeing it as backbiting but as being more open about big differences. Mostly. I thought this one was more lively and honest. I was sorry that I watched the last few but I felt a bit better about this one than I did going into it.

        1. I was too harsh, you’re right that they finally got down to the business of defending their positions. I heard several times one of them praising everyone else on the stage. I couldn’t watch the whole thing and need to scour my sources to find out more of what was said and learned.

          If you find something good, please share.

  19. Uh-oh, Christianity Today says he has to go

    Trump Should Be Removed from Office

    Trump Should Be Removed from Office
    It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was.

    [Insert ugly picture of Trump here, I refuse to post anymore today

    In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.

    The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.

    That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.

    Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.

    But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

    Read more .


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