Stop with this “don’t talk about your opponents!” nonsense

13 Mar 2018 12:27 am
Posted by: Donna

The thing is, I keep starting blog posts, which have tended to take a day or more to complete in most cases (not writing, but finding time to edit and format) but the news cycle changes etch-a-sketch quickly so I often abandon them but, screw it, I’m finishing this one.

have you seen other guys
OMG you should have seen the outrage over this slogan!

Oprah Winfrey appeared on Van Jones’ CNN show (warning: link autoplays) to declare she’s decided not to run for President (for now, at least) but had some advice for aspiring Presidential candidates in 2020:

“I will say to whoever is going to run for office, do not give your energy to the other side,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Van Jones on “The Van Jones Show,” airing Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

“Do not spend all your time talking about your opponents. Do not give your energy to that which you really don’t believe in. Do not spend an ounce of your time on that,” she told the CNN host.

Oprah is doing that thing where she repeats conventional wisdom that sounds wise and insightful but is really very, very bad political advice. It presents an election race as a literal foot race where the entrant who simply runs faster and crosses the finish line sooner wins. Train hard every day! Eat right! Don’t be distracted by what your opponent is doing!

I can see why Oprah might say this: her own career trajectory is that of a talented woman’s tireless pursuit of opportunity and advancement. She didn’t start out on the talk show circuit ripping on Donohue and Sally Jessy Raphael*! She created her own show, and built a vast entertainment empire signified by, first her name, and then merely the letter “O”.

It’s tempting, especially in retrospect, for Oprah and we non-Oprah mere mortals to view elections as strictly linear events involving only (or mostly) the strengths or level of participation of the entrants, but they rarely are. Most elections contain elements of many kinds of competitive human endeavors, including sports, entertainment, and advertising. If anything high profile elections resemble the multi-year marketing campaigns of corporate giants – Mac vs PC, Coke vs Pepsi.

Thought exercise! Imagine if PepsiCo, Inc., began including an ingredient that caused painful illnesses in many of the people who drank their products. It went on for years. It was such a problem everyone knew the Pepsi products were causing the sickness, which was known to kill people many times. While Pepsi was also engaged in deceptive advertising practices deliberately hiding their malfeasance.

What would you expect Coca Cola, Corp., to do in this scenario? Focus solely on how delicious and refreshing Coke products are, while promising not only permanently quenched thirst, but also endless clear skin, manageable hair, and perfectly un-troubled self-esteem? Would you not think it a tad strange if Coke never or rarely mentioned the deadly poison Pepsi was including in many of its products, plus their corrupt business practices, in Coke’s advertising and promotional communications?

Wouldn’t you think Coca Cola and Co. were the kind of the biggest dopes ever for not highlighting how bad Pepsi was? Even if you weren’t happy with Coke’s products and business model, don’t you think the fact Pepsi was deliberately poisoning people would be a good reason for Coke to suspend their usual “hey, we add life!” programming to turn an eye to more of a “hey, Pepsi really sucks, don’t buy it, seriously!” message?

You would, and you know it. Going anti-Pepsi as opposed to pro-Coke would be considered the obvious smart strategy for Coke.

And even if you were firmly committed to belief Pepsi loyalists are really nice, yet misunderstood, people, I’m pretty sure you’d treat their constant entreaties to everyone, including you, to buy poison-laced Pepsi over non-poisoned Coke as dangerous nonsense!

Yes, you know you would. Because, obviously, consumer products are important!

As opposed to elections.

Here are some (but not all) things you foreclose Democrats talking about when you insist they mustn’t give energy to the other (GOP) side:

Theft of a Supreme Court seat.
Attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
Attacks on immigrants.
Attacks on DACA recipients.
Bashing poor people.
The environment, ever.
The GOP war on voting rights.
The GOP war on education.
The GOP war on women’s rights.

What, if anything, are Democrats actually allowed to talk about, under this “positivity only!” mandate? Do you want Democrats to save you or not?

*When Oprah Winfrey was sued by Texas cattle ranchers over her statements on her show about beef production, she fought them directly, and won.

Where’d we go for six months?

21 Jan 2018 11:23 pm
Posted by: Admin

Hi, it’s your friendly admin here. Sometimes a girl needs a break. While Donna was taking a short hiatus from blogging, I took a short hiatus from administrative updates. We had a broken site for a while, but now it should be up and running again, and Donna has even started posting. If you notice any issues with the way the site is running, drop me a line. I’m trying to keep up with it and am even thinking of doing a site refresh. Wish us luck!

McSally announces Senate bid, fails to condemn Trump’s racism, still wants you to think she’s cool

12 Jan 2018 02:37 pm
Posted by: Donna

As I’ve mentioned lo these many times about Arizona Republicans, there is a highly successful subset of them who, despite their obvious lack of interest in competent governance of any kind, are impressively adept at what is known to political junkies as “working the refs” or “manipulating mainstream pundits”.

Martha McSally is one such Republican, and she brings something extra to the mix by not only being a female military veteran (fighter pilot!) but also in cultivating an image of herself as a feisty feminist who occasionally indulges in naughty profanity. (None of which is anything I’d hate on her for, except for the fact that she’s anti-choice AF, rendering her “feminism” largely self-serving bullshit.)

Today turned out to be a less-than-optimal day for Rep. McSally to make her official announcement to run for the Senate seat Jeff Flake is vacating this year due to some breaking news about President Trump saying he didn’t want people emigrating here from what he called “shithole” countries.

When asked about it, instead of issuing a straightforward condemnation of the remark, McSally chose evasion and an attempt to self-promote as a straight talking maverick who sometimes uses (wink wink) salty language!

Rep. McSally, what Trump said was racist, not merely indecorous, and you failed your very first test as potential U.S. Senator representing Arizona.

Yes, what she said was clearly aimed at not pissing off Trump’s base, which she needs to win the primary, but I also think McSally is fully aware of how the self-appointed Guardians of Civil Discourse and Nonpartisan Objectivity™ in the press here tend to conflate bigotry and misogyny with “vulgarity” and other forms of general rudeness. I’m picturing her making very public and theatrical shows of stopping herself from using profanity, fully expecting the plaudits and endorsements to roll in: “McSally seems to be growing naturally into the role of the mature Arizona stateswoman.” Barf.

Arpaio not off to an auspicious start

10 Jan 2018 01:39 am
Posted by: Donna

Why, oh why, for my first post back in months does it have to be about the bad stench we thought we had (at least) extinguished in 2016?

Going to throw a damper on the urgency expressed by ABC 15 reporter Jason Volentine in his tweet. This is hardly an exciting first polling result for former Sheriff Arpaio in the GOP primary. And some questions you, my esteemed friends in the local news media, could ask might include:

1. Is Arpaio remotely qualified to be a U.S. Senator?

Ha ha, no more numbers, that’s the only pertinent question. Really, is he?

You all know that the answer to that – on every single intellectual, moral, and basic competency level you could imagine – is NO. The average adult picked at random in Arizona would probably be a better choice to represent us in the U.S. Senate than Joe Arpaio. You know that.

So please, friends in the press, treat him the way you’d treat any 86 year old Democrat with a history of incendiary racist public statements, squandering tax dollars, cruelty, and a criminal record commemorating that cruelty. Or a 36 year old, impeccably healthy Democrat with a PhD in public policy and no criminal record! Literally any Democrat!

You know he is not in any way a reasonable Senate candidate. So don’t do your viewers and readers the disservice of acting like he is one. Don’t do yourselves that disservice. Maybe act like this election has consequences or something. Maybe to you.

Saudi Arabia is the model for the American Right

22 May 2017 05:07 pm
Posted by: Donna

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is taking a lot of ribbing for what seems to be a willfully obtuse observation about the lack of protests of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Anyone with a glancing familiarity with the nation knows it is a brutally repressive theocratic monarchy where the kind of protests accepted as normal in the West would be likely be punished with severe beatings up to death. I wouldn’t be so fast to assume Ross was just being clueless, though. If you’ve study the right wing here in the US at all, it becomes quickly clear they are big fans of suppressing dissent, particularly if justified by religion or in the name of “national security”. For all the blather about left wing PC culture stifling speech on college campuses and elsewhere, it’s not the Left threatening to jail reporters.

I honestly don’t think most people here grasp how much the American Right admires Saudi Arabia, despite how counterintuitive that may seem since they’re also on the forefront of the “war against radical Islam” and forever reminding liberals of how terrible the Moozlims are to women and gays. Trump himself during his campaign spared no effort in pandering to anti-Muslim sentiment, even going so far as to admonish LGBTQ people that he was the better choice for President (despite his full embrace of GOP culture war stances and selection of rabidly anti-gay Mike Pence as his running mate) because he’d be “tougher on radical Islam” or some such garbage. Better the devil you know, who’s merely denying you the right to marry and get a job, than risk the possibility of Sharia Law sometime in the future.

But, yeah, they frigging love the cut of Saudi Arabia’s jib, culture and government-wise, and Americans who find that appalling should not be lulled the false sense that the technological advances and social progress we’ve enjoyed in the last century will be a bulwark against them imposing their own (very similar) version of a strict Christian theocracy. Though the various right wing Christians groups differ in beliefs and tactics, they are bound by the common view that they are in a holy war.

What I suspect guys like Donald Trump and Mike Pence (not as much daylight between those two as you might think) love most about a place like Saudi Arabia is how the repressive rules are imposed vigorously on the lower orders while the men at the top enjoy many freedoms and privileges they deny to others. That is a feature, not a bug.

In the first episode of excellent Hulu TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale the main character Offred (played by Elisabeth Moss) sets the tone for life in the future fundamentalist Christian dystopia of Gilead (formerly the United States) in a wry voiceover where she watches the “Martha” (what housekeepers are called) knead bread dough in the kitchen. “A return to traditional values,” explains Offred, “That’s what they fought for.”

No women in Gilead are permitted to be in leadership roles over men and all women, regardless of status otherwise, are banned from reading. Female characters who disobey the rules or even verbally oppose them have a tendency to lose eyes or hands. Or worse. Meanwhile, the men in charge of Gilead own luxury cars and have access to the internet and to forbidden things like alcoholic beverages. There are frequent references to ongoing fighting, presumably with top-of-the-line military equipment. Like the real Saudi Arabia, fictitious Gilead is a wet dream to guys like Donald Trump and Mike Pence. So I wouldn’t be quick to dismiss what Secretary Ross said as an offhand gaffe. I take it as a genuine statement of what he and his cohorts want here: complete power and no opposition to it.

“Moderate” Martha McSally votes to yank health care from millions

04 May 2017 01:52 pm
Posted by: Donna

About ending protections from lifelong coverage caps on children born with illnesses, making being a rape or domestic violence victim a preexisting condition, etc. You know, cool stuff like that.

I’ve certainly mentioned a time or two the maddening kneejerk tendency of the civic and media establishment in Arizona to ascribe pleasant things like “moderation” and “reasonableness” to Republicans who don’t seem like they’re seconds away from biting the head off a bat on live TV. Arguably no one has benefited more from that tendency in recent years than Martha McSally, who represents the Tucson area CD2 in Congress.

McSally has ridden on a carefully crafted image of macho and feminist cred by touting her record as the first female air force fighter pilot while exhibiting the kind of squishiness on stating her (hardcore right wing) policy policy positions that Jeff Flake (who patented that maneuver) must envy.

That quote from McSally may seem like an uncharacteristically bold statement but it feels like staged political theater to me. The aim of which is people focus on how boldly she said “let’s get this fucking thing done!” and not what she actually fucking did, which was vote to kill people, literally.

McSally is also trying to distract with a bill she sponsored that would strip away the exemption the GOP Congressional majority wrote for members of Congress and their staff in Trump’s health care bill.

H.R. 2192, her bill to strike exemptions for members of Congress and their staff in the AHCA, passed out of the House today.

Normally, this is smart politics since Americans love to imagine Congresscritters suffering under the same punishments they want to inflict on Americans. McSally’s gambit doesn’t seem to be working yet, judging from social media reactions like this:

CD2 is definitely a seat Democrats should take back. And in a choice between (and you should view it as this choice) primarying Kyrsten Sinema or ousting McSally, I’ll emphatically go for the latter. Sinema pisses liberals off frequently, but she voted against the bill and votes with Dems most of the time. McSally is a radical right wing reactionary (voting record doesn’t lie) passing herself off as a moderate using third rate marketing tricks. Better two Sinemas than two McSallys.

And speaking of Jeff Flake, Arizona voters need to call him right fucking now and also John McCain to vote this turd down in the Senate.

Sen. McCain: 602-952-2410
Sen. Flake: 602-840-1891

Call your Rep and Senators Flake and McCain, now!

03 May 2017 07:24 pm
Posted by: Donna

I’m old enough to remember the outraged protests from the right against the Affordable Care Act as it made its way through Congress to President Obama in 2009-10. It was being shoved down our throats, we were told. No one voting on the bill had really read it, supposedly. Tyranny!

What we know so far about “Trumpcare” is that it will take a bunch of money out of the ACA (aka “Obamacare”) and transfer it to the rich in the form of tax cuts. It will also gut Medicaid and strip away coverage for millions with preexisting conditions.


A House vote is expected Thursday. If it passes it will then go to the Senate, where it is not predicted to pass but remember this is relying on the GOP majority to be reasonable. Contact your reps at their DC numbers or at their local offices.

No Democrats in our state delegation are expected to vote yes but here are local numbers for Arizona Republican lawmakers:

Sen. McCain: 602-952-2410
Sen. Flake: 602-840-1891
Rep. McSally: 520-881-3588
Rep. Gosar: Couldn’t find a local phone number but here’s a contact form.
Rep. Biggs: 602-926-4371
Rep. Schweikert: 480-946-2411
Rep. Franks: 623-776-7911

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