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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,488

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I want to live in Elizabeth Warren's America

I absolutely love this op-ed from the New York Times!

I Want to Live in Elizabeth Warrenís America

By Farhad Manjoo

tís early, but this much is true: Elizabeth Warren is running the most impressive presidential campaign in ages, certainly the most impressive campaign within my lifetime.

I donít mean that the Massachusetts senator is a better speaker than anyone who has ever run, nor a more strident revolutionary, nor as charismatic a shaper of her public image. Itís not even that she has better ideas than her opponents, though on a range of issues she certainly does.

Iím impressed instead by something more simple and elemental: Warren actually has ideas. She has grand, detailed and daring ideas, and through these ideas she is single-handedly elevating the already endless slog of the 2020 presidential campaign into something weightier and more interesting than what it might otherwise have been: a frivolous contest about who hates Donald Trump most.

Warrenís approach is ambitious and unconventional. She is betting on depth in a shallow, tweet-driven world. By offering so much honest detail so early, she risks turning off key constituencies, alienating donors and muddying the gauzy visionary branding that is the fuel for so much early horse-race coverage. Itís worth noting that it took Warren months of campaigning and reams of policy proposals to earn her a spot on the cover of Time Magazine. Meanwhile, because they match the cultureís Aaron Sorkinian picture of what a smart progressive looks like, Beto and Buttigieg ó whose policy depth can be measured in tossed-off paragraphs ó are awarded fawning coverage just for showing up male.

Continue reading at The New York Times . . .
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jun 6, 2019, 03:55 PM (31 replies)

A note of appreciation for Mayor Pete . . .

I am supporting Elizabeth Warren, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. But I wanted to express my appreciation for the way Pete Buttigieg handled himself in the Fox News town hall. Butiigieg answered every question that was put to him in a straightforward manner that wasn't at all cagey. What's more, he deftly evaded every rhetorical trap Chris Wallace tried to snare him with.

On a very loaded question about late-term abortions, Buttigieg beautifully flipped the paradigm. He said (and I am paraphrasing here, not directly quoting): "We're getting all hung up on where to draw the line, but in doing so, we're missing the crucial question of who gets to draw the line. I trust women to draw the line." It was the best possible response anyone could have given to that very loaded question.

When Wallace tried to trap him into a rivalry with Warren over his decision to appear in a Fox News town hall, he said (and I quote): "A lot of people in my party were critical of me doing this, and I get where thatís coming from, especially when you see what goes on with some of the opinion hosts on this network. I mean when youíve got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty. When youíve got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps,Ē there is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem.Ē

That answer was a stroke of brilliance, in that while being confident in his own decision to appear in a Fox News-hosted event, he managed at the same time to validate Elizabeth Warren's decision not to do so. I came away feeling glad that Elizabeth Warren made the decision she did, and equally glad that Mayor Pete made the decision he made.

Whatever happens in 2020, I predict that Mayor Pete has a very bright future in national politics! (Oh, and I think he'd make an ideal running mate for Elizabeth Warren!)
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed May 22, 2019, 04:34 PM (22 replies)

Those who have dismissed Warren as "unlikable," "unrelatable" or "unelectable" . . .

. . . really need to take another look.

Democrats who have bought into the idea that Elizabeth Warren is "unelectable" really need to take another look. In terms of laying out a clear and coherent policy agenda, she is miles ahead of any of the other candidates. A number of candidates have now joined her stance against appearing in any events hosted by Fox News, but it was Elizabeth Warren who led the way, and made such a compelling case.

She is leading the way in her development of economic policies. One of those policies, a plan to reach out to small business owners to get them to understand that their interests and those of giant corporations are fundamentally different (see The Atlantic, "Elizabeth Warren Has a Theory About Corporate Power" ), is a real innovation for a Democratic candidate. And in response to the outrageous abortion laws just passed in Georgia and Alabama, she has come out with a bold plan to protect a woman's right to choose.

This is what leadership looks like, folks.
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri May 17, 2019, 04:29 PM (87 replies)

Democrats MUST move forward on impeachment, even knowing Senate Republicans will likely acquit

. . . because if they don't, the bar for presidential conduct will have been forever lowered, and House Democrats will have been just as responsible for that lowering as Trump himself.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Apr 21, 2019, 11:02 AM (35 replies)

And another question we should be asking about Covington

Although I have seen suggestions by some that the action by Covington Catholic High School is a violation of the Church's tax exempt status, I don't believe that is the case. Tax exempt status allows such organizations to engage in political advocacy for or against issues or causes; they just can't advocate for specific candidates.

BUT . . .

The question this brings to mind for me is this: Is it appropriate for a school run by a religious organization to enlist minors (il.e., the students in its charge) as pawns or footsoldiers for the religious oragnization's sociopolitical advocacy? Some will say sending these kids to the demonstration was about teaching the kids civic engagement. But if that's the case, I would ask, what about any students who may quietly disagree with the school's (and the church's) position on the issue in question (abortion, in this case)? Are such students permitted to civically engage the issue on their own terms, free from any fear of academic sanction or disciplinary action by school authorities? if not, then these students are not being taught about civic engagement, but are being used -- indeed, exploited -- by the Roman Catholic Church for its own purposes.

But then, the Roman Catholic Church is rather expert in exploiting children, so . . .
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jan 23, 2019, 02:49 AM (16 replies)

My response to David Brooks and to all other Covington defenders

I posted this initially as a response to David Brooks' column in The New York Times today, a column melodramatically titled, "How We Destroy Lives Today."

Mark Kessinger
New York, NY 56m ago

Having watched both the original video, and the video that the supporters of these kids claim is a vindication of them, I see nothing in the latter that in any way justifies their behavior. The claim is that the boys had been provoked by another group. Perhaps they were, but. . . provoked to do what, exactly?

They claim that the young Mr. Sandmann was "standing his ground." Really? Against what challenge? What I see in the video are two groups, one of the high school students, who are milling about, and the other the native American man and his group, who seem to be moving through the park in the course of their protest, and this is what brings the two into close proximity. Normally, in a free-flowing public setting such as this, there's an automatic give and take of space as people try to move through such a crowd. But for this young man, any such "give" is apparently too much to ask. And so this young man chooses to maintain nearly chest-to-chest contact, his face a foot from the man's face, staring directly at him and smirking. The student has said he was smiling to demonstrate that he and his friends were friendly and accepting. Sorry, but the totality of his smirk, his stare, and his chest-to-chest stance constitutes a body language the meaning of which is well known to any male over about the age of 8. It was clearly an attempt to intimidate, and those kids deserve to be called out on it.

I think there are a lot of very well-meaning people who have been hoodwinked by a clever right-wing spin machine!
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Jan 21, 2019, 11:09 PM (23 replies)

A comment I posted to Paul Krugman's latest column...

Paul Krugman's latest NY Times column, "The G.O.P. Goes Full Authoritarian." is an absolute must-read. I posted the comment below to it. I was pleased that the editors chose it as an editors' pick, but what was even more gratifying and encouraging was the overwhelming positive reader response.

The thing readers should take away from this important column is the importance of voting Republicans out of office: all of them, at every level of government. This holds true even of those who are comparatively moderate, because they participate in a party structure that has become corrupted beyond repair. There remains not a shred of good faith Republican participation anywhere in the country, at any level of government.

The sad thing about all of this. and I say this as a liberal/progressive, is that if there were a party that actually, honestly adhered to the principles that Republicans have always claimed to adhere to -- i.e., fiscal responsibility, smaller government, etc., such a party could be a constructive force in the governance of the nation. It never hurts to have someone in the room who questions the cost of things. But that party disappeared a long time ago and everybody knows it, although some Republican candidates still pay homage to those shopworn talking points as if they still had currency.

More and more, voters are coming to understand that a party cannot claim to be fiscally responsible while advocating tax cuts that blow huge holes in the budget, nor while refusing to consider any cutbacks to our outrageously bloated defense/security spending. Nor can it claim to be for smaller government while at the same time seeking to put Uncle Sam into Americans' bedrooms and inserting government into the reproductive choices of Americas women."

Here is a link to the comment: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/opinion/trump-gop-authoritarian-states-power-grab.html?action=click&contentCollection=opinion&contentPlacement=7&module=package&pgtype=sectionfront®ion=rank&rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion&version=highlights#commentsContainer&permid=29697431
Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Dec 11, 2018, 03:19 PM (5 replies)

If and when we are again in a position to do so . . .

. . . I believe Democrats should push hard for legislation limiting the power of the Senate Majority Leader. It is true that the Constitution allows each of the House and Senate to set its own procedural rules. But there is absolutely NO credible argument to be made that it was the intent of the framers of the Constitution (which doesn't even contemplate the existence of political parties) that one Senator (let alone one from a state whose registered voters comprise less than 1% of the population of the entire country) would be able to control what comes up for debate and vote on the Senate floor or impede the Senate from exercising its constitutional role of advice and consent (as McConnell did with the Garland nomination). In fact, that kind of power invested in a single individual -- of ANY party -- is actually counter to what the framers were trying to accomplish!

I know some Democrats won't want to do this in the event we are again in the majority, but it would make our system a healthier one irrespective of which party is in power.
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Sep 24, 2018, 03:59 PM (0 replies)

Dana Milbank on Melania's anti-cyberbullying campaign . . .

. . . while her husband is busy back at the White House . . . cyberbullying:

It was as though Nancy Reagan had given a "Just Say No" speech while her hisband honored the occasion at the White House by snorting cocaine during a live news conference.

Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Aug 21, 2018, 02:02 AM (0 replies)
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