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Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 06:25 PM
Number of posts: 24,000

Journal Archives

Many Trump judicial nominees won't affirm the Brown v Board ruling. That concerns some legal experts

The Supreme Court decision 65 years ago ruling that segregating schools by race was unconstitutional is widely viewed as settled to many Americans. But there is concern among some in the legal community that that might not exactly be the case.


More than two dozen of President Trump’s judicial nominees have declined to answer whether Brown v. Board of Education was properly decided, and legal experts said that that could have real implications on education and race in the United States.

The most recent example came when Wendy Vitter, who was confirmed Thursday as a federal district judge in Louisiana, declined to clearly affirm the decision. She said:

“I don’t mean to be coy, but I think I get into a difficult, difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions — which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with. If I start commenting on, ‘I agree with this case,’ or ‘don’t agree with this case,’ I think we get into a slippery slope.”

Responses like Vitter’s are why the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released a letter this week urging U.S. senators to oppose all judicial nominees (Vitter included) who refuse to state clearly that the landmark Supreme Court ruling was correctly decided. For them, the Brown decision is about much more than education.


Social Europe podcast #41 Will Marshall: Progress and populism in the US and Europe


Download (right click here, save as)




Understanding the far-right populists: focus on their political message

Conventional wisdom is that the rise of the far-right populists is down to a popular cultural backlash. What’s really happened is they have broadened their support through a civic-nationalist narrative.


One in four Europeans votes populist, according to the Guardian. Though we might have expected Europe’s economic crisis—with its resulting mounting inequalities—to lead more plausibly to the rise of left-wing populist parties, pledging to cater for voters’ material concerns, it has been far-right populists, with their promise to restore ‘national sovereignty’ in the name of ‘the people’, which have capitalised more effectively on social insecurities. The French Rassemblement National (RN) (formerly Front National), the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), the Austrian Party for Freedom (FPÖ), the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Italian Lega have all mobilised voters across the political spectrum through their populist-nationalist platforms.

Far-right populists have fared particularly well in recent electoral contests within their domestic arenas and are projected to gain about a third of the seats in the new European Parliament. Depending on who joins, Matteo Salvini’s initiative to create a successful far-right populist family, the European Alliance of People’s and Nations, threatens to make this one of the largest groupings in the European Parliament, challenging the European project at its core.

Why is this happening? A consensus has been emerging behind some version of a ‘backlash’ story, which sees far-right populism as the product of cultural grievances. Often this leads to rather fatalistic assessments of the populists, premised on the assumption that such ‘demand’ drives their ‘supply’, with the implication by extension that they should be passively accommodated into the mainstream—for example through the adoption of stricter immigration policies by centre-right and even centre-left parties.

On the contrary, to understand the rise of far-right populism we must recognise the importance of supply—the ways in which the populists themselves attempt to make their message more appealing to broader sectors of the population. The implications are of paramount importance: instead of co-opting or imitating far-right populists under the false assumption that their success simply mirrors the ‘will of the people’, we should understand how the parties themselves are shaping popular demand. At the same time, we must also recognise their weaknesses—their ideological diversity and constraining nationalism, which in many ways account for their fluctuating electoral support and difficulty in forging successful transnational alliances.


Trump's The Handmaid's Tale

2 years old, so much more could now be added, but still chilling as hell.

10 Ways The Handmaid’s Tale is Way Too Real

Joe Biden breaks with Obama in moving to left

Joe Biden is breaking with some of Barack Obama’s policy stances even as he ties himself closely to the former president.


Biden says he believes there is “an obligation” to provide health insurance for undocumented immigrants. Such coverage wasn’t provided under ObamaCare. The former vice president is backing a $15 minimum wage, much higher than the $10.10 minimum wage advocated by Obama. While some states raised their minimum wages, Obama failed to raise the national minimum wage of $7.25 while in office.

Biden has also endorsed a form of the public option on health care, a proposal that would create a government insurer to compete with private firms. Obama decided against pursuing a public option as part of ObamaCare, but Biden has endorsed the idea of allowing people to buy into Medicare. None of the three examples are dramatic departures from Obama’s policies.

In fact, it’s easy to imagine the former president backing a $15 minimum wage in 2019, or a law allowing people to buy into Medicare. But the shifts are important and notable nonetheless for Biden, who is seeking to craft out an agenda that is his own even as he runs as an Obama-Biden Democrat.

Biden has soared in polls because of the warm feelings many Democratic primary voters have of the Obama years, yet he still needs to carve out his own platform. “Biden and Obama are so connected that the former vice president can afford to demonstrate he’s his own man and not just Obama’s shadow by putting a little but not a lot of distance between the two of them,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.

Biden also needs to move to the left, though not too far, and in all three cases the breaks with Obama-era policies allowed Biden to shift to a more liberal position. This is important for a candidate who is battling a number of rivals who have embraced more progressive policies.


Do you oppose Biden's plan for 4 years free public university tuition as well?

The cost of uni has just exploded the last 20 years or so. Especially out of state tuition at public schools, but even instate is still crazy high (see below).

some examples


these are PER YEAR costs

Alaska — University of Alaska, Anchorage
Tuition, room, board, and other costs, 2016-17: $37,304

Michigan — University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Tuition, room, board, and other costs, 2016-17: $59,784

Delaware — University of Delaware
Tuition, room, board, and other costs, 2016-17: $46,618

Arizona — University of Arizona
Tuition, room, board, and other costs, 2016-17: $50,367

North Dakota — North Dakota State University
Tuition, room, board, and other costs, 2016-17: $32,227

Hawaii — University of Hawaii at Manoa
Tuition, room, board, and other costs, 2016-17: $50,645

The AVERAGE cost for 4 years IN-STATE PUBLIC tuition, fees and room/board has now passed 100,000 USD. In the top 5 most expensive states (NH, VT, PA, NJ, and IL) it is already over 125,000 USD.

That is all just for undergrad. And that is public schools. The top private schools are over 300,000 USD for 4 years. Granted, scholarships, grants, etc can lower a lot of those, but still it is outrageously expensive.

When Biden graduated university, the average cost in the US for public tuition and was 256 USD per year. For the 1990-91 school year, the national average for tuition and fees at a four year public university were still only 1888 USD.

It is madness what is going on. We are being robbed blind.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room: I am so disappointed with the rampant homophobia of my fellow PoC

I had hoped Pete could start to make inroads but this looks like a death knell for him.

Buttigieg is polling 2nd or 3rd (in one national poll on MSNBC this morning he was only trailing Biden 32% to 28%) amongst white Democratic voters, but he is just getting crushed with PoC, especially amongst black Americans. 3%, 2% even ZERO percent (South Carolina) in multiple polls I have been digging through. There is almost no other explanation other than the correlation between his sexual identity and their lack of almost any support. Not when the spread is this vast on a racial support basis and seeing some of others who are polling above him with PoC.

As a lesbian who is also half West Indian (Westies can be amongst the most virulently LGBTQ-hating of all people of colour) I have seen this in my own life at times (although I am not a typical PoC by any means), and I brushed off (to a point) many Biden people who claimed Pete can never win a Dem nomination because of the incredible power anti-gay African-Americans have in the primary process, but so far, depressingly, it appears they were completely right and I massively overestimated the progress we have made.

Pete Buttigieg polling at 0% among black voters in South Carolina


I do not see how he can overcome this, short of some lightning strike during the first round of debates (and I cannot come up with a good example of that). This apparent toxic outcome also really hurts his chances to be picked as VP, for fear (from the nominee) of alienating the base. I also have to add I am shocked at the level of A-A support for Biden, who has a really, really bad record on issues affecting us PoC (be it a historic opposition to school integration/bussing, from horrific crime bills and drug wars where he was a leader of both, to a series of horrid financial bills that have knee-capped millions of all races/ethnicities, etc etc, over the 35 years before he became Obama's VP). I guess his ties to Obama are strong enough to not only overcome all that, but supercharge his support with A-A's. I am far too critical a thinker to fall for that.

Saturday Night Politics with Donny Deutsch Mayor Pete Buttigieg Full Interview


After years on the outs, Hungary's far-right nationalist welcomed at the White House


He's rolled back democratic checks on his power, mused about creating a European ethnostate and erected a razor-wire fence to keep migrants out, angering the rest of the European Union. So why is Hungary's far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Monday?

Administration officials say the invitation to the White House for talks — the first for a Hungarian prime minister in years — is part of a concerted strategy to re-engage Central European nations as Russia and China seek to exert influence in the region. But the visit is raising questions about which leaders Trump is looking to cultivate — including a long list of global strongmen — at the expense of more traditional US allies.

Orbán was largely iced out during the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both concerned about the steps he took to consolidate power and block independent media. He last visited the White House for one-on-one meetings in 2001, during his first stint as prime minister, but was refused a meeting with the President, instead resigned to meeting only with then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

Since then, he's adopted a more stridently nationalist tone — including calls to create in Hungary a homogenous society that blocks asylum seekers or other refugees. "We must state that we do not want to be diverse," he said in a 2018 speech. "We do not want our own color, traditions and national culture to be mixed with those of others."


Democrat Steve Bullock Won a Red State in 2016. Can He Beat Trump in 2020?

The governor of Montana thinks there’s still room for one more in the crowded Democratic primary field.


HELENA, Mont.—Yes, another Democrat running for president. Another white guy. Another politician most of the country has never heard of. Another candidate who doesn’t have a lot of money to start with, or any real hopes of meeting the low bar to make the stage for the first debates next month. Another dude whose last name begins with B who thinks that entering the 2020 race after 21 others makes perfect sense.

That’s Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, who was elected to his second term in 2016 by four points on the same day Donald Trump won the state by 21 points. Bullock is not so subtly inching toward a presidential announcement expected for this week. On Friday afternoon, a Bullock aide and I rode in a slow-moving car while the likely 2020 candidate was literally running down the side of the highway as part of a charity race, a clip of which was then tweeted from his account with the caption “Feels like a good season to run.”

A few hours later, Bullock and I settled into a table at Jesters, a dive here a few blocks from the capitol. “Hey, Steve!” the young bartender with the black baseball cap and the neck tattoos said. Supporters talk up how Bullock un-ironically wears cowboy boots. His natural affability was on display Friday afternoon at the bar. “Happy birthday, Sheila’s mom!” he said to a woman introduced to him by her daughter, who recognized his face. “Are you going to buy me a drink?” Sheila’s mom asked. He laughed. “I may have to!” Many others approached him during our conversation.

“Trump may have been right in diagnosing the frustration,” Bullock told me. “A whole lot of those folks were like, ‘All right, he’s somebody new. We’re going to drain the swamp.’ Don’t kid yourself: Their lives have not gotten better because of his actions and activities.”

Bullock currently sits at 0 percent in the few polls that have included him as an option, but 2020 is proving to be a race where even the expected heavyweights are struggling to break through. Bullock is poised to enter this week with a network of top advisers and the clear support of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, the only Democrat currently elected statewide in the first caucus state. And he’s hoping to lean into a distinction that no one else in the field can claim.


Democrats Don't Want to Run for the Senate--and It Will Screw Them


At least three of the nearly two dozen Democrats eyeing the presidency would have a good shot at winning a Senate race and helping to end the GOP’s domination. Instead they chose not to answer their party’s call to make the run, and you can’t really blame them.

Party favorite Stacey Abrams bowing out of the Georgia Senate race put a spotlight on the challenge Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer faces in recruiting candidates who want to come to Washington and serve in a chamber mired in gridlock. “Serving in the Senate is not nearly as fun as it used to be,” says Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

Abrams may yet enter the presidential race, putting her in good company with Beto O’Rourke, who rejected a second try for the Senate in Texas, and John Hickenlooper, who won’t challenge Republican Senator Cory Gardner in Colorado, instead opting to be the longest of long shots for president.

Then there’s Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who turned down party entreaties to run for the Senate, explaining it doesn’t suit his skill set. “I just wouldn’t enjoy it,” he said. Who does these days? Democrats are hard to recruit when it means serving in an institution controlled by the loathsome Mitch McConnell, who has stripped away many of the rules and traditions that made the Senate a club politicians wanted to join.


another big turn-down not mentioned:

Susan Rice Will Not Run Against Susan Collins For Maine Senate Seat In 2020

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