So now the Hillary Clinton campaign gets to shout Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. TBogg:
If the GOP planned on making Beghazi [sic] one of the centerpieces of their eventual nominee’s campaign, they might want to shred those attack ad storyboards and think again after Hillary Clinton struck first with a devastating ad featuring House Speaker front runner Kevin McCarthy shooting his mouth off.
In a brilliant preemptive strike, Clinton released the ad, called “Admit,” excerpting comments by McCarthy fessing up that the latest GOP-led Benghazi investigative committee was designed to harm her presidential chances.
But wait! There’s more. Politico:
If you live inside Asheville city limits, it is Election Day. The 2015 City Council Primary is today. Get out there and participate!
Mountain Xpress has your election guide here.
Peter Daou, like the rest of us, is processing the latest mass shooting in this country. Growing up amidst a war in Lebanon, he brings to the subject a perspective few raised here can: a childhood collecting shrapnel and stray bullets in the street, and a sharp appreciation that none of them had claimed or maimed a family member. Yet also a hunter and a marksman:
My military service quickly taught me that there was an inextricable link between the weapon I carried on my shoulder and the suffering to which I bore daily witness. I was trained to use guns against others before I was old enough to be considered a man.
In Lebanese culture, “manhood” was an issue teenage boys were taught to think about. What did it mean to be a man, to be respected as a man? A gun was an instant pathway to respect – or as I more accurately understand now, fear masquerading as respect.
America’s obsessive relationship with firearms is familiar to me; I know the intoxicating sense of power that a gun bestows, particularly to a young man. But in the aftermath of the terrible violence I witnessed and with the passage of time, I know that guns are dangerous and illusory shortcuts to strength and maturity and no guarantee of personal safety.
Daou considers guns “the ultimate drug” for treating feelings of powerlessness. “Those of us who advocate for stronger gun control measures,” he writes, “must understand that we are dealing not just with an obsession, but an addiction. And addictions are notoriously hard to break.”
Discontent is simmering out there. Donald Trump is one proof. Bernie Sanders is another. The New York Times’ Patrick Healy looks at how discontent manifests itself among liberal-leaning voters:
Interviews with three dozen Democrats in key early states — a mix of undecided voters and Sanders and Clinton supporters — laid bare a sense of hopelessness that their leaders had answers to problems like income inequality and gun violence. It is frustration that Mr. Sanders, a senator from Vermont, and other progressive candidates are channeling and that Mrs. Clinton has addressed with increasing passion, as when she responded to Thursday’s massacre at an Oregon college by saying she was “just sick of this.”
Healy reports that similar insurgencies against party-blessed candidates have also popped up in Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Why? Because gun violence is not the only thing Democratic voters are sick of.
The disaffection among Democrats flows mainly from three sources, according to interviews with voters and strategists. Disappointment lingers with President Obama over the failure to break up big banks after the Great Recession and fight for single-payer health insurance, among other liberal causes. Fatigue with Mrs. Clinton’s controversies endures, as does distaste with her connections to the rich. And anger abounds at party leaders for not pursuing an ideologically pure, economically populist agenda.
So much I miss by going to bed early:
As a kid, I watched Superman on TV in black and white fighting his never-ending battle for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” All three have since fallen out of fashion. Carly the Fabulist’s tales of Planned Parenthood reminded us just how far we have fallen. Her “willingness to unrepentantly and repeatedly” look into the camera and lie to our faces recalls Dick Cheney’s talent for that, Digby reminded this week at Salon.
Digby references a post (in part about Mitt Romney) by Rick Perlstein that I want to revisit. While his books might bear pictures of presidents to please the marketers, Perlstein writes, he is much more interested in how “both the rank-and-file voters and the governing elites of a major American political party chose as their standardbearer a pathological liar. What does that reveal about them?”
Indeed. Direct-mail maven Richard Viguerie is one of his Perlstein’s touchstones for seeing into the conservative mind. Perlstein’s insights also come in part from examining the snake-oil ads in conservative publications such as Human Events and Townhall, as well as the more plebian Newsmax. My viewport is the conservative pass-it-on spams that land in my in-box. I collect them. I lost count somewhere around 200.
Perlstein contrasts the ubiquitous “get rich quick” appeals in these publications to one he noticed in the liberal The American Prospect for donations to help starving children in the Third World. I contrast them with the lack of appeals found in pass-it-on spam. They are lies, smears, distortions, propaganda — passed along dutifully by the parents who warned us about communist propaganda as kids:
How many of you work in a city you can’t afford to live in?
(background on the video posted earlier)
When you start hearing “efficiency” used around the office, watch your back and update your resume. It’s like “shareholder value” that way. When Republicans in government start using “efficiency,” same difference.
On Election Day 2014 while Democrats across the country were getting clobbered, there were a couple of bright spots in North Carolina (believe it or not). Democrats picked up a net 3 seats in the state legislature, including sending home an ALEC board member. But in a sweep election where Republicans should have won it all, Democrats won 3 of 3 contested state Supreme Court seats and 2 of 3 contested Appeals Court races. Republicans couldn’t have that. The GOP-controlled legislature responded in 2015 by changing the way judges are elected.
It was just one of many tweaks they have made to change how elections run. Some of them are not so obvious. At the Daily Kos Connects Asheville Conference last weekend, DocDawg, aka Bill Busa, presented findings on how Boards of Elections across the state began “to reshuffle the polling places in the name of ‘efficiency’ and ‘cost-savings’.” Busa’s presentation last Saturday revealed how elimination of early voting places disproportionately increased the distance black voters have to travel to the polls.