Fox and Dems

There is a lot of talk in the media about why the Dems turned down an offer to hold one of their primary debates on Fox News. It seems relatively uncontroversial to me. After all, Fox New is not really a news channel now is it? However, apparently during daytime broadcast hours there are a few actual journalists, like Chris Wallace, on Fox News doing actual news. These journalists who make up a minority of commentators on Fox News are wounded at the rejection by the Democrats.

It turns out that there are more reasons than just the Fox News reputation as a propaganda outlet to say no to Fox News. There isn’t much data available but there is some. A 2017 study found that 50% of the people who watch Fox are Democrats, but this data is old.

Another study from 2018 found that the Fox News audience is overwhelmingly white. This would make Fox News a poor venue for a party that is a “big tent”.

2019 study of the demographics of Fox viewers found that the median age for people who tune in Fox News is 65, although the same was true for people who watch MSNBC. This study also backs up the study from 2018 and found that 94% of the Fox audience is white.

In addition to the content of Fox News it seems that there are other compelling reasons for declining the offer to hold a primary debate at Fox, and it is difficult to think of any reasons beyond not hurting the feelings of a few TV journalists for putting such an important election debate on a channel that is not watched by many of the voters the Democratic Party hopes to attract.

There is also the problem that folks on the right are not allowed to refer to the Dems as the Democratic Party because it makes them sound like the keepers of democracy. Right-wingers now chance being ungrammatical and consistently refer to the party on the left as the Democrat Party. They also insist that our democracy be called a Republic, probably not so much because it is a republic (a democracy based on a written document) but because the word Republic is reflected in the name of the Grand Old Party, the Republicans. Parsing words, using semantics as propaganda is what we do now. I believe the Democratic Party made the correct decision. Why go on a TV station that is reluctant to use the party’s actual historical name?

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – the hill.com

Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong – The Resistance

Yes we are divided into two ideological tribes or camps. Yes this point has been made a million times by everyone including me. However the fact that the message is repetitive does not make it wrong. Each side believes that the policies espoused by their party will keep America stronger, healthier and more influential on the world stage than will the policies of the other party.

Moving From Obstruction to Demolition

But I think we have to look at this from another perspective because one of the two major parties (one set of ideologically-based beliefs) requires Americans to scrap all of the laws they have made since the Constitution was written and to start over. This party wants to obliterate the other party, annihilate it and get rid of any traces that it ever existed. This party says we should throw out everything we have done, especially on human rights, humanitarian concerns, environmental concerns, and regulation of business and the banks, on foreign relations and trade.

They believe the true test of a nation is economic, not humanitarian. They believe that celebrating diversity will change the hue of America beyond recognition and it will just not be America anymore. Behind this is an argument that our democracy/republic was designed for white people who are Christians and that is all.

They blame our changed position in the world (no longer first in production or universally feared and respected by all the world’s nations) as arising from the failed policies of the other party rather than any other forces like greater connectedness through air travel, tourism, the internet and cell phones. They want to hold the world still just like they tried to hold our government still for the past six years. They want things to be like they used to be.

(Smack your forehead here at the naivety of this extreme nostalgia.) Even these folks know in their hearts that nothing stays the same forever.)

This is exactly why the left says that the right wants to take us backwards. The party on the left seems to at least try to address current needs of our society as they arise.

It’s Personal

Despite the chaos of the past two week the Trumpers who were once my friends and family are starting to creep back on to my Facebook page crowing triumphantly because the man who is not my president is doing just exactly what he promised his “peeps” he would do. It is quite distressing that my feelings are so different from the friends I grew up with and from my family. Where I see creeping fascism and racism and warmongering they have visions of influence and world domination dancing in their heads. Who’s right, who’s wrong?

I have been as aware as anyone that our government is far from perfect. I think that there is too much money in politics. I deplore the Citizen’s United decision and the McCutcheon v FEC decision and even the original ruling that made corporations people because that just led to the laws that define money as speech. Why does this statement that money is speech sound like linguistic nonsense to me and like common sense to others? Who’s right, who’s wrong?

Now there is to be an executive action that allows religious not-for-profits to contribute money to campaigns. My brain is ready to explode already, but then we are told that laws are being passed that challenge the right to religious freedom – because they require religious people to do things that threaten either their soul, their bottom line, or both such as bake a cake for a gay wedding or offer insurance to their employees that pays for contraception. (Smack your forehead again.)

There is an obvious clash of values here. Does our country legislate to please those who follow the Bible, or does it legislate to offer treatment to all that is as fair as possible. Since we are not a theocracy I come down on the side of the latter, but I also despair that this conflict is almost impossible to resolve without untangling how to respect the separation of church and state and still respect the desires of citizens to honor their religious beliefs. Perhaps only time will smooth out this one but in the meantime it is tearing America apart. So I see the logic of Christians, although it blows the idea of tolerance out of the water and that can’t be right.

These estranged friends and family members do not even agree that the GOP has skirted and subverted the US Constitution to serve their own purposes, or that there was ever obstruction, or voter suppression, or extreme gerrymandering. If they get even a glimmer of a thought that some of this may be true then it was justified, they say.

So none of these folks will ever buy that resistance is required; they will not see anything amiss with Trump’s cabinet appointments, including the horrific-for-our-schools Betsy DeVos. They do not think that a Supreme Court seat that was Obama’s to fill has been stolen on purpose and handed to DT to fill. In fact they applaud this maneuver although it sort of annihilates our US Constitution.

 

 

Talking to Democrats

This leads me to the “speech” I want to make to Democrats in Congress. I do not care what you believe that sets you at odds with other Dems. This is a time for unity. (No pledges, I don’t like pledges. Look what Norquist did to Republicans who signed his pledge.) This is a time to put our differences aside and decide about what we agree on. I bet we can all agree to resist every executive action or bill that tries to overturn laws that were passed to address the problems of the 20th and 21st centuries, or any action that is unconstitutional.

I bet we can all agree to keep an eye on the whole Trump entourage and try to soften the blows that he seems likely to dish out to America and the world. And if you do not – every one of you – vote no on Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, I hope that any wealthy backers we have will see that you get the “primaried” treatment that the GOP used so successfully to keep elected reps in line and I hope we the people surround your offices and demonstrate peacefully in your face until you get the message.

Here is link to a list of all of the Democrats in the 115th Congress. We are watching you. This is not a threat, but it is a promise.

https://www.thearmchairobserver.com/115th-congress-democrats/

 

Stick together. Go down fighting or win through resistance. Obstruction is their word: let’s use the word resistance.

A Few Parting Thoughts

So far I see little of the buyer’s remorse I hoped to see by now. Trumpers don’t think DT is personally hurting them in any way; but they seem delighted that his is sticking it to the left. Oh my giddy aunt! (OK, I stole that from A Knight’s Tale, but in my defense I love that line and it is difficult to find many opportunities to use it.) How much longer will it take for disaffection to appear?

(And Facebook – these folks and I still strongly disagree and I am not ready to let them back onto my page yet, so please continue to block them. I guess Facebook thinks all is well and it is time to reconvene. This is one time that we cannot agree to disagree.)

This is a view from the cheap seats.

 

A Plague on Both Your Houses?

People, and this includes some of my liberal
friends, are always saying that the dysfunction in Washington right now can be
laid at the feet of both parties. They believe that Democrats and Republicans
are equally to blame for the partisanship and obstruction, for the enormous gap
between the wealthy and the rest of us. And, of course, they are right, or in a
way they are right. Money is far too important in Washington. It talks louder
than we the people who can’t afford to make our voices heard because we cannot
amass enough money to turn up the volume. We do need to deal with the outsized
influences of special interests with lots of bucks, of Wall Street and the
banks, and of big business.
However the Republicans have introduced another
whole level of political drama that we must deal with first. Republicans have
gone off the rails, off the deep end, delusional, and are aggressively pursuing
reactionary policies that will hardly take America into a prosperous future.
Democrats have been slow to counter the outrageous activities of the
Republicans. Democrats have been shy, hanging back. They want to pretend that
regular order still pertains in Washington. They are stodgy, self-conscious and
do not want to match the operatic tone of the GOP (or the Biblical Old
Testament tone either). That may be all to the good. Watching the full opera
treatment play out in Washington might be too much for everyone.
However, we the people need to understand that, although
our elected Congressmen in both parties are too involved with amassing personal
wealth and a power base that will give them staying power and clout, the
impasse we are presently in cannot be attributed equally to both parties. Both
parties are not trying to rewrite the Constitution. Both parties are not trying
to make it more difficult to vote. Both parties are not trying to overturn 50
year old court rulings that offered new hope to many beleaguered women. Both
parties are not trying to privatize everything. And both parties are not trying
to bring back a brand of Federalism that lost the debate the first time it was
hotly contested in the 1780’s.
My point is that before we can deal with the greedy
we need to deal with the nutty. This is what us lefties are trying to say to
our families and our neighbors who support the GOP no matter how insane their
actions.
There is a word that describes the things some
Republicans have been saying and that word is fascism. I did not want to be the
first person to use this politically and emotionally charged word in relation
to the Republican candidates for the Presidency of our nation but last night on
TV someone (sorry I don’t remember who) brought up this term which has not
really been used much since Mussolini rose to power in Italy. Go over the
definition carefully and see if it does or does not fit current circumstances.
This definition was offered by Google
.
noun: fascism; noun: Fascism;
plural noun: Fascisms
  1. an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of
    government and social organization.
synonyms:
authoritarianism, totalitarianism,
dictatorship,
despotism,
autocracy;
More
Nazism, rightism;
neofascism, neo-Nazism
“a film depicting the rise of
fascism in the 1930s”
o   
(in general use) extreme right-wing,
authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.
Origin
from Italian fascismo, from fascio
‘bundle, political group,’ from Latin fascis (see fasces).
Translate fascism to
Use over time for: fascism
So when we have people like Donald Trump saying that
he will register all Muslims and keep certain mosques under surveillance and he
will send any Syrian refugees that come to America straight back to Syria he is
pandering to the xenophobia in us in order to get us to elect him. And his
actions are fascist.
We also have the Republican candidates who would
like to turn America into an Evangelical Christian theocracy. So when we hear
Ted Cruz, this guy who supposedly channels our forefathers, say that we should
accept only Christians from Syria we should hear a crowd behind him loudly
whispering “fascist”, “fascist”, “fascist”, because what he is advocating is
certainly not the Democracy our founders designed. But we don’t hear any great
outcry. Our media bends over backwards to fairly represent the policies of both
political parties. And Americans just keep watching FOX News, which barely
qualifies as a news channel. (Stop watching FOX News!)
So let me say once again that in terms of setting
priorities we need to get rid of the nuts in Washington before we can tackle
the greed that is distorting our government. Both threaten our Democracy but
the extremists have only recently taken over the top spot on that priority list
(just since Obama took office). They seem able to say any old un-American thing
and still maintain their popularity. This is why we need to elect a Democratic
President in 2016. Sadly, the left may have entered the fray too late in the
game. There is no way in which I accept the claim some people repeat again and
again that both parties contribute equally to the recent dysfunction in
Washington.
By Nancy Brisson 
(graphic from time.com)

Our Daenerys Targaryen

I love Bernie Sanders, but I’m a girl and I want us to have a
girl for President. We have to break this particular “glass ceiling” and we
need to do it now. Hillary is the woman who is most prepared to lead America at
this particular moment in time. We are in a gender runt. Even women seem unable
to accept that a woman could run America.

Bernie Sanders would make a great President but he is
definitely not female. If he wins, Hillary can’t and then how long will we have
to wait. Gender should not be an issue in electing the American President yet
unless we break the male dominance now we may not break with tradition in my
lifetime
Of course if Hillary is considered truly incompetent to lead
America then she should not get to be our President regardless of her gender.
Fortunately, Hillary has a resume that suggests that she is more than qualified
to be our President.
Our Presidents never govern alone anyway. As we have seen
clearly in recent years Congress can act as a check on a President. In fact we
have watched a Congress that interpreted checks and balances to mean blockades.
If President Obama overstepped his powers (which I do not believe he did)
Congress has definitely overstepped theirs. If both Parties had acted equally
to control the President’s executive powers that might read as appropriate, but
to have one Party (the Party out of executive power), erect an ersatz wall
against the exercise of the executive and to, in fact, execute what appears to
be a plot against the executive power. This does not read as appropriate at
all.
If the Republicans don’t win, if Hillary wins, will
obstruction continue for four more years at least? Will Hillary be able to buck
the obstruction which has become the way Congress conducts itself.
Well, we already have the NRA getting their way through mad
intimidation tactics (in the sense of insane) and we have the climate deniers
using this same tactic to halt actions designed to counteract climate change.
We have Grover Norquist, large and in-charge, and the hot and stubborn tea
party and Republicans in Congress, all digging in and winning by turning into
immoveable objects. This may not make you nervous, but it makes me very
nervous. It smacks of anything but democracy.
Hillary seems mild and too light-hearted to handle these
people, but I’m not sure Bernie Sanders is tough enough either. I’m not sure if
any Democrat is. But Hillary is up. She’s the next metal marble in the chute of
the pinball machine that has become our government. She’s up next to beat back
the right wing beasts or tame them from dragons into pussycats. Perhaps she is
our Daenerys Targaryen.
Therefore it is Hillary for me even though I would normally be
torn between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton. However, since Democrats need to win
this one, and the outcome is anything but certain, and since so many people continue to “dis” Hillary, I will vote the way I have to in order to elect a Democrat as President when the time comes.
By Nancy Brisson

Democrats: Fix Your Donor System

Obama and his campaign crew came up with one of the
best ways to raise money from small donors that has so far been devised. His
group, Organizing For Action, trolled and tamed Democrats on the internet and
built them into “money”. Most of us found the structure they built more than
tolerable. We could donate small amounts of money and we could do so
periodically. This made us feel like valuable supporters and that we could,
when combined with thousands of other small donors, have a powerful effect on elections
and even help in setting the Party’s policy priorities.
The Democratic system for campaign finance has
earned kudos and that sincerest form of flattery, attempts to imitate the
computer designs that campaign geeks developed.
However, I think we are beginning to see some bugs
developing in this process and they are not computer bugs – they are contagion
bugs, over-proliferation bugs.  We, the
Democratic base, are now being inundated with requests for contributions small
and large. This weekend alone I received forty-five requests in my e-mail on
Saturday and thirty-seven more on Sunday. At the end of a month or a quarter
our computers really get flooded. It is overwhelming.
It doesn’t matter how
deeply we believe in the Democratic agenda; we are unable to deal with the
onslaught. We want to help all the candidates, especially given how important
it is to keep the Senate in 2014, but we no longer know how to choose. Where
will our little dollars make the greatest impact?
Democrats, now is the time to go back to the drawing
board and tame this voracious beast. You now need to coordinate your grassroots
campaign and form some kind of clearinghouse for those of us who are buried; an
umbrella fund that will take in gross funds and funnel them where needed, designed
to help those of us who cannot contribute to each individual candidate across
all the nation’s ballots. We’re getting depressed that our resources are too
small to meet the needs of the Party and, since we cannot choose, we decide
that we will just stop donating altogether.

“A word to the wise should be sufficient.” 
By Nancy Brisson