Category Archives: Politics

ENDORSEMENT: I Have Voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton

NOTE: I wrote this back in June as “I will vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton” but decided to hold off from publishing it until now. Edited appropriately.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton has completed the consolidation of the Obama coalition around her campaign, eight years after her first historic run. The Democratic pivot to the presidential election is now complete with Rodham Clinton at the helm.

I went to a Christian private school while HRC was a senator from New York, and I attended college while she served as Secretary of State. Since I wasn’t involved in local politics until maybe 2012, I didn’t follow her career or campaign. I’ve only found out more about her as a politician during these last two years. 2008 was when I started college, and I think I wrote in Ralph Nader in the general election because Obama came off as an “inevitable” candidate and I was interested in “bucking the trend”. I don’t remember participating in the primary that year, but it was my first presidential election of voting age.

HRC was someone who I remember my mother dismissing as “that woman who would take your kids away and put them all in government daycare”. I vaguely remember how she and Bill were mocked in jokes on TV in the 90s and 2000s.

She was someone who, from what I remember, came off as an ambitious, motivated First Lady who wrote, released and promoted popular autobiographies on her experiences for TV audiences. Her time as Secretary of State was when I first started taking notice of her as a multilateralist diplomat who would seek UN support to defend U.S. government interests abroad. She was someone who set a different tone from the Bush years of going it alone.

I was watching when the Arab Spring happened in 2011, which I think was the moment when Hillary and Obama, together, demonstrated the “lead from behind” strategy that kept us out of more overt war, stressed a reliance on drones and jets to assist Libyan rebels, and applying diplomatic and media channels to engage dissenters in the MENA region.

I remember Cablegate, when diplomatic cables showed how complicated we were in our relations with other countries. The release, which happened during HRC’s tenure, allowed the public to see the issues faced by our diplomats around the world. I think it helped her profile as a political figure, especially in relation to her public (but troubled) human rights stances.

In regards to our relations with the world, HRC emphasized restraint of our military capacity and the need to build bridges with other nations, even in the face of religiously-motivated violence abroad.

Unfortunately, I don’t think she broke enough with the Kissingerian tradition of “realpolitik”, and I don’t think it is possible in American statecraft to do so because of the vigilant free-market hawkery which has defined us for longer than HRC’s entire life. She is pretty standard fare as far as hawkery is concerned, just not an extremist like many of her predecessors.

HRC has cultivated her own political path over the last 16 years. I think she may not be the exact “New Democrat” that Bill and Jimmy Carter were in their presidencies. She had her highest political experience under Obama, and she is fully cognizant of how the Democratic party has changed. I don’t think she will move the party to the right of Obama like Bill did, particularly because to the right of the Democrats’ platform of civil rights and the ACA is the space occupied by the far-right which has demonized her constantly since she became First Lady in 1992.

HRC has no reason to tack to the right of Obama. At worst, she may be as corporate-friendly as Obama has been, despite the thankless, ungrateful behavior by corporate leaders over the ACA, net neutrality and climate preparedness. She has pinned her campaign on securing and maintaining the ACA, which will rub the proponents of single-payer the wrong way.

But her absolute bucking of the rumor-mongering regarding the FBI investigation into her private emails is polarizing. Sometimes, I don’t know who to believe – those on the right who DESPERATELY want her to go to prison for some sort of “treason” which is hard to pin down, those who despise her from the left for her “baby-killing” support for (multilateral, non-Bushian) intervention, those who find her “fake” for attempting to relate to audiences where they are, those who tentatively admire her for defending herself against and defying the GOP’s knife-edge vituperation, or those who see the severe criticism as unbridled good-ole-boy misogyny against a typical seasoned, multi-dimensional politician who just happens to be a woman.

HRC is a human being. She, like Barack Obama, like Bernie Sanders, and maybe even like George W. Bush, have multiple dimensions to their personalities. She has flaws, and she has triumphs. I don’t think her prior flaws disqualify her from the presidency any more than other presidents’ flaws disqualified them. As an African-American, I don’t think her past support for the “superpredator” thesis disqualifies her from being racially progressive since she has demonstrably removed herself from that position.

I wish to approach her with grace, magnanimity and an open mind until she proves otherwise as president. I think she can be a decent president, but the pressure should be on to keep a diverse socio-economic set of concerns at the fore of an HRC presidency and, hopefully, a more Democratic Congress.

So I think HRC, with a comparatively-decent resume, can be a decent president and can make more progressive choices with decent pressure from within the Democratic party. I can live with “Madam President” and “First Gentleman”. And I can work to see more progressive, single-payer-supporting, pro-labor politicians in state and congressional office in the years to come.

This is why I have voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton as of October 18, and encourage you to vote for her and all other downballot Democrats in Georgia on November 8, 2016.

President Obama’s November 2016 List of Endorsements

President Obama has made many endorsements for political office for the November 2016 general election. In addition to the rare endorsement made by the President in Democratic primary contests throughout the year, his office has announced that he will make an unprecedented raft of endorsements for downballot candidates this week, including U.S. Senate and House, governorships, state legislatures and even other state and municipal offices which will have faceoffs in November. His goal is to further state-level redistricting reform.

Here’s a list which I’m gleaning from Politico, CNN and other sources.

  • Hillary Clinton – President
  • Tim Kaine – Vice-President

Senate

  • Catherine Cortez-Masto – NV
  • Patrick Murphy – FL
  • Kamala Harris – CA
  • Tammy Duckworth – IL
  • Deborah Ross – NC
  • Katie McGinty – PA
  • Maggie Hassan – NH

House

  • Tom O’Halleran – AZ-1
  • Ami Bera – CA-7
  • Michael Eggman – CA-10
  • Salud Carbajal – CA-24
  • Doug Applegate – CA-49
  • Bryan Caforio – CA
  • Morgan Carroll – CO-6
  • Charlie Crist – FL
  • Stephanie Murphy – FL
  • Val Demings – FL-10
  • Joe Garcia – FL-26
  • Monica Vernon – IA-1
  • Jim Mowrer – IA-3
  • Cheri Bustos – IL-17
  • Brad Schneider – IL
  • Jay Sidie – KS-3
  • John Yarmuth – KY
  • Emily Cain – ME
  • Suzanna Shkreli – MI-8
  • Angie Craig – MN-2
  • Terri Bonoff – MN-3
  • Brad Ashford – NE-2
  • Carol-Shea-Porter – NH
  • Annie Kuster – NH
  • Josh Gottheimer – NJ
  • Jacky Rosen – NV-3
  • Ruben Kihuen – NV-4
  • Tom Suozzi – NY
  • Sean Patrick Maloney – NY
  • Collen Deacon – NY
  • Zephyr Teachout – NY-19
  • Steve Santarsiero – PA
  • Christina Hartman – PA
  • LuAnn Bennett – VA
  • Jane Dittmar – VA

Governors

  • Roy Cooper – NC
  • Kate Brown – OR
  • Sue Minter – VT

State Legislatures

  • Abigail Medina – CA AD-40
  • Josh Newman – CA SD-29
  • Cheryl Cook-Kallio – CA AD-16
  • Al Muratsuchi – CA AD-66
  • Tony Exum – CO HD-17
  • Robert Asencio – FL HD-118
  • Lisa Montelione – FL HD-63
  • Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich – FL HD-103
  • Nick Duran – FL HD-112
  • Daisy Baez – FL HD-114
  • Beth Tuura – FL HD-47
  • Rena Frazier – FL HD-59
  • Ben Diamond – FL HD-68
  • Debbie Mucarsel-Powell – FL SD-39
  • Rod Smith – FL SD-8
  • Linda Stewart – FL SD-13
  • Bob Buesing – FL SD-18
  • José Javier Rodríguez – FL SD-37
  • Juliana Stratton – IL HD-5
  • Eric Lesser – MA SD-1st Hpdn., Hpsh.
  • Lindsey Port – MN HD-56B
  • Erin Maye Quade – MN HD-57A
  • Jamie Becker-Finn – MN HD-42B
  • Mary T’Kach – MN HD-52B
  • Zach Dorholt – MN HD-14B
  • Duane Sauke – MN HD-25B
  • Andrew Carlson – MN HD-50B
  • Paul Rosenthal – MN HD-49B
  • Tina Kotek – OR HD-44
  • Jennifer Williamson – OR HD-36
  • Barbara Smith-Turner – OR HD-45
  • Paul Southwick – OR HD-37
  • Janelle Bynum – OR HD-51
  • Gena Goodman-Campbell – OR HD-37
  • Teresa Alonso Leon – OR HD-22
  • Tawna Sanchez – OR HD-43
  • Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant – WA SD-49
  • Lisa Wellman – WA SD-41
  • Mike Pellicciotti – WA HD-30a
  • Kristine Reeves – WA HD-30b
  • Jeff Wright – WI AD-51
  • Art Shrader – WI AD-50

Other states offices

  • Josh Shapiro – PA Attorney General
  • Kirk Caldwell – Honolulu HI Mayor

SAVE YOUR TEARS: Anti-LGBT Nations Offer FAKE Condolences to #Orlando

In the spirit of GetEQUAL’s dragging of homophobic U.S. congressmembers for their unjustified, useless condolences, let’s look at the countries offering condolences to Orlando which have anti-gay sodomy laws or criminalization of freedom of expression for LGBT people.

Seriously, they range from fines to imprisonment to torture to execution. But yet, they offer condolences and absolutely DO NOT MENTION THAT QUEER FOLKS WERE TARGETED.

Continue reading SAVE YOUR TEARS: Anti-LGBT Nations Offer FAKE Condolences to #Orlando

DRAG the Hypocrites: #GetEQUAL Reads anti-LGBT Politicians for Hollow #Orlando Condolences

When GetEQUAL is lit, they’re on fire.

The fine folks at this organization called out politicians left-and-right yesterday on Twitter for voting records, fundraising, and speaking engagements with anti-LGBT allies, specifically the Family Research Council. Almost all of 28 incumbent senators and 29 congressmembers called out have 100% voting records with the FRC.

Let’s read the grouped-by-state receipts, shall we?

Continue reading DRAG the Hypocrites: #GetEQUAL Reads anti-LGBT Politicians for Hollow #Orlando Condolences

Dilma, Cristina, Michelle and Hillary

Women Presidents of the AmericasIf there are any contemporaries to whom Hillary Clinton can be compared, they would be Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and Michelle Bachelet of Chile.

They all succeeded their immediate male partisan predecessors: in Dilma’s case, the hugely consequential Lula da Silva of Brazil, both of the Workers’ Party; in CFK’s case, her husband Nestor Kirchner, both of the Peronist Justicialist Party; in Michelle’s first case, her predecessor Ricardo Lagos, both from the Coalition of Parties for Democracy. Hillary is on course to do the same with Barack Obama, both of the Democratic Party.

Dilma, Michelle and CFK, all left-leaning but much too economically-neoliberal-leaning to those further to the left, led problematic administrations and made fateful decisions which have inspired free-market-liberal backlash, and were the first, first and second female heads of state for their countries, respectively.

The decisions of Dilma, a social progressive who tacks to the free market, happened during a steep economic decline for Brazil but also tamped down on World Cup-related working-class protest, which did not endear her to the Workers Party’s base or target demographic. She has now been suspended awaiting impeachment for unclarified, politicized charges of corruption (which also await the majority of the Brazilian Congress) and sits under house arrest, and her ambitious former VP from a different, further-right party (the PMDB) now faces his own protests for corruption, racism and the ongoing recession in the America’s “sleeping giant”.

Meanwhile CFK’s decisions tacked harder to the populist left, particularly on Argentina’s long-running default to foreign investors. She was socially progressive, especially on LGBT rights. She herself faced scrutiny for an ability to play political, Louisiana-style hardball with her opponents in very problematic, colorful ways. She saw many political enemies, and faced criticism for corruption, poor relations with the press, and a face off with the agricultural sector. She was also suspected of being “controlled” by her husband until he himself died from cancer in 2010. CFK’s administration lasted much longer than the first woman to hold such office, Isabel Peron; Isabel, who was Juan Peron’s third wife and was the first female republican head of state in the world from 1974 to 1976, inherited a very problematic, economically-undermined administration which resulted in the coup of 1976 and her ongoing exile to Spain.

And Michelle Bachelet, a social progressive who is currently serving her second non-consecutive term as president (as per the constitution), is currently facing a low popularity level due to both an ongoing economic recession as well as a corruption scandal involving her family members (but not herself). Pro-LGBT, pro-women’s equality, openly identifying herself as a socialist in a country which was once ran by Augusto Pinochet and, like Brazil and Argentina, subjected to the bloody Plan Condor/La Guerra Sucia, Michelle came into office with an equal number of women and men in her cabinet.

Dilma, CFK, Michelle. All the few or first women to hold a presidency in the Americas. All center-left and progressive. All complicated, consequential, recent republican heads of state in the Americas who eventually get blamed for recession and/or corruption. All partisan inheritors of their highly-popular immediate male predecessors in office who end up defining themselves and striking it big for women’s equality in government. All held up to standards which demand less of men than of women.

Hillary, as president, may find herself in company populated by recent presidents of the other large nations of the Americas.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Becomes First Woman Democratic Nominee for U.S. President

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Hillary Clinton, presumptive Democratic nominee for POTUS

After winning New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico and California last night, adding to her total of 2,184 pledged and 571 super delegates, Hillary Rodham Clinton has clinched the Democratic presumptive nomination for President of the United States. She will be confirmed as the party’s nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016, becoming the first woman nominated by a major U.S. party for President.

 

After a historic first run for the nomination in 2008 against then-Senator Barack Obama, in which then-Senator Clinton (already the first former First Lady to run for political office) became the first woman to win a major-party primary and capitalized on nationwide disgust with the G.W. Bush administration, Clinton has returned as the furtherer of Obama’s legacy in office and the builder of her own. Clinton premiered her general election campaign’s slogan, “Stronger Together”, at the Brooklyn, NY rally marking her presumptive nomination, in contrast against the slogan of her presumptive Republican opponent Donald Trump: “Make America Great Again”.

In her seminal speech at the rally, Clinton invoked historic events in women’s rights such as the Seneca Falls Convention, the 1848 convention in New York State which drafted the Declaration of Sentiments for women’s suffrage, as well as the memory of her mother, who was born the day in 1919 when Congress passed the 19th Amendment recognizing women’s suffrage.

Clinton congratulated her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), on his spirited pressure for progressive principles, to which the audience clapped.

Sanders ended up winning North Dakota and Montana last night, adding to his total of 22 states but few to his total of 1,804 pledged and 48 super delegates. Either candidate needed 2,383 total delegates to clinch the prerequisite majority.

Surprisingly, at 1am EST Wednesday in Santa Monica, California, Sanders refused to acknowledge defeat, and pledged to take his campaign to the remaining Democratic primary in the District of Columbia on 14 June, stating “the struggle continues.” Hours earlier, word came out that the Sanders campaign laid off most of their paid staff. At the rally in Santa Monica, Sanders mentioned in one sentence his phone conversation with Clinton, to which the audience angrily booed.

California, a Democratic-heavy state with 475 pledged delegates (the most of the nomination process), was hoped by the Sanders campaign to show a stronger showing than what final results showed, 55.9% to 43.1%. Sanders supporters on social media, as well as the Sanders campaign, charged the Associated Press with “suppression” of Tuesday’s voters in the AP’s announcing Hillary’s clinching of the presumptive nomination the day before the primary. The theme of media and party suppression of primary voters has become a constant critique by the Sanders campaign and support base against media outlets and the Democratic National Committee.

The Vermont senator’s left-wing populist message of campaign and financial reform has been a constant refrain throughout his campaign for the nomination, but was criticized by others, including Clinton supporters, for not being sufficiently inclusive of other concerns such as racial and gender justice.

The final spate of multiple Democratic primaries have bookended perhaps the most ideologically-fractured presidential primary contest faced by the Democratic Party since 1972, when anti-war candidate George McGovern, to whom Sanders has often been unfavorably compared by Clinton supporters, won the nomination against Ed Muskie under the shift from party caucuses to primaries which McGovern helped design through the McGovern-Fraser Commission (and which have lasted to the present), only to spectacularly lose against Republican incumbent Richard Nixon in the general.

Clinton, a centrist pragmatist who has largely won in the Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Midwest, stresses her ability to be a “progressive who gets things done.” She has been fiercely criticized by Sanders supporters for her statecraft as Secretary of State, the third woman to hold the position, in relation to poorer countries in the Global South; her usage of the word “superpredators” in a speech delivered in 1996; not being sufficiently active against fracking and the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and civil investigations into her usage of private email servers for state-level communication.

However, Clinton won praise and support, particularly from veterans of the Obama coalition, for her emphasis on women’s and LGBT rights; her alliance with mothers of African-Americans killed by police or under police custody; and her support for comprehensive immigration reform. Clinton has used these planks to counter the vocal rages of Donald Trump, calling him “temperamentally unfit to be president”.

Clinton is the foremost female major-party nominee for any U.S. office since Rep. Geraldine Ferraro’s candidacy for vice-president with Walter Mondale in 1984. Ferraro herself, who died in 2011, endorsed Clinton’s 2008 bid for the presidency.

DNC CONCESSION: Sanders, Clinton Get to Pick Dem Platform Committee

From Washington Post, which calls this development “highly unusual”:

The two Democratic candidates have agreed with Democratic Party officials to a new apportionment of the 15-member committee that writes the platform, according to Democratic officials familiar with the compromise worked out this month.

Clinton has picked six members, and Sanders has named five — including a longtime activist on behalf of Palestinian rights, a potential sign of his plans to push the party’s policy on Israel in a different direction, the Democrats said Monday ahead of an expected announcement by the DNC.

The math is based on the number of popular votes each has received to date, one official said. Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will name four. The campaign choices were selected in consultation with the campaigns and the DNC from larger slates of 12 and 10 suggested by the campaigns.

So Sanders is getting the concession he’s vocally wanted from the DNC, even as his campaign winds down further to the last few contests in early June.

Problem is, does anyone read the party platform after Election Day? Even former GOP House Speaker John Boehner has said that no one reads the GOP platform. They’re more likely to read the “Contract with America“.

So really, what has Sanders gained? What are Sanders supporters getting?

Here’s the full list.

  • DWS:
    • Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland
    • Rep. Howard Berman of California
    • Rep. Barbara Lee of California
    • Bonnie Schaefer, author and executive
  • Clinton:
    • Wendy Sherman, a former top State Department official and Clinton surrogate
    • Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and longtime Clinton confidante
    • Rep. Luis Guttierez of Illinois
    • Carol Browner, a former former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy
    • Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece
    • Paul Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.
  • Sanders:
    • James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute
    • Cornel West, a liberal author and racial justice activist
    • Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota
    • Bill McKibben, author and environmental activist
    • Deborah Parker, Native American activist

I AM SEEING NO ‪#‎LGBT‬ PEOPLE ON THIS LIST.

BREAKING: Eric Fanning Confirmed as Army Secretary

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Eric K. Fanning, the 22nd Secretary of the Army, poses for his official portrait in the Army portrait studio at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, Nov. 2 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Monica King/Released)

It’s an IDAHOT Miracle! Eric Fanning has finally been unanimously confirmed as Secretary of the Army by a Republican-majority Senate. From NCRM:

The U.S. Senate in a unanimous and historic vote has just confirmed Eric Fanning to be the next Secretary of the Army. Fanning, whose extensive resume makes him among the most qualified ever nominated, has been waiting 242 days since President Barack Obama first nominated him to the role. One anti-gay Republican Senator, Pat Roberts, was able to block the confirmation vote by a parliamentary tactic, but he released his hold and Fanning was confirmed.

Fanning is now the highest-ranking openly-LGBT person to ever hold federal office.

Roberts had previously declared that he would hold Fanning’s confirmation until the end of President Obama’s term in office. But, via HuffPo, he:

said he personally called Fanning earlier in the day to tell him he was planning to let him through.

“My issue has never been with Mr. Fanning’s character, his courage or his capability,” Roberts said on the Senate floor. “He will be a tremendous leader.”

Fanning has previously served as the Acting Under Secretary of the Army and Chief Management Officer, Chief of Staff of the Department of Defense, Acting Secretary of the Air Force, and Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, among other roles.

Happy IDAHOT, Fort Benning!