Current Events And Politics

Old Mare Yells At Cloud. (News, Events, Philosophy)
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:10 pm

Amid all the mostly-bad news in Florida, they at least passed a law that allows felons to vote after they paid their debt to society, which will give voting rights back to 1.5 million people in the state.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:38 pm

Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor! :yay:
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Madeline (?) » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:41 pm

Octavia wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:38 pm
Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor! :yay:
I’m proud to have voted for him :jingo:

Also, Beto is still holding a slim lead in Texas. I will be shocked and elated if Cruz goes down in flames tonight.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:02 pm

I don't think anyone expected the Dems to take the Senate this term, but Beto would be a HUGE pickup. 2020 is the point where they look to flip the Senate, with 20 Republican incumbents up for reelection.

It's looking highly likely that the Democrats will take the House.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Madeline (?) » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:21 pm

Looks like Beto lost, but he ran an amazing campaign to come so close to beating Cruz. That’s one red Senate seat that would always have been considered safe before, and Beto almost flipped it. There’s a basis for a new Dem infrastructure in Texas which wasn’t there before.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:59 pm

Asshole Kris Kobach lost to Democrat Laura Kelly in deeply red Kansas, and Massachusetts passed referendum protecting transgender rights.

Sharing these because there's not enough good news these days.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:19 am

I'm now hearing reports that over 100 women were elected to the House, the first time this ever happened.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Pocket (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:48 am

I hope O'Rourke and every other Democrat in Texas who lost by a narrow margin contests the results on he grounds that the voting machines were proven to be rigged.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:23 am

Scott Walker (finally) loses re-election as Wisconsin Governor to Tony Evers. It was a very narrow win for Evers, but still, good riddance to Walker either way.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Madeline (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:38 am

Colorado’s anti-gerrymandering amendments passed. Districts will now be drawn by an independent, tri-partisan commission instead of by the state legislature. Amendment A also passed, which could be huge, as it disallows slavery or involuntary servitude as appropriate punishments for crime. The anti-fracking bill failed, though, which is awful news. My county did pass a tax to fund treatments for behavioral and mental health and to cover building costs for a new, more accessible facility for treatment.

Also, Dem Jena Griswold defeated Wayne Williams in the Secretary of State race. She’s promised to emsure that elections are run securely and without intimidation or disenfranchisement. She also promises to go after political dark money and influence peddling. I hope she makes good on those promises.

And good riddance to Scott Walker.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:20 am

Republicans ran the ballot in Tennessee. Again.

I really want to stop paying attention, at least until I can move somewhere where my vote might actually matter and where basically every election isn't written off as a guaranteed GOP victory, but (even if I could wholly cut myself off from political news) being wilfully ignorant is pretty much the worst thing you can do these days. Isn't it?
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:58 am

Don't forget that there's still local level stuff that is less locked in, that there are still ways to make the jerks in power nervous, and that you are by far not the only one who feels this way. The US election system might be a total mess but your engagement is not completely worthless either. Just don't forget to take care of yourself too.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Madeline (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:47 am

Fizzbuzz wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:20 am
Republicans ran the ballot in Tennessee. Again.

I really want to stop paying attention, at least until I can move somewhere where my vote might actually matter and where basically every election isn't written off as a guaranteed GOP victory, but (even if I could wholly cut myself off from political news) being wilfully ignorant is pretty much the worst thing you can do these days. Isn't it?
What Perry said. Just pick one or two causes which you care about and focus on helping with those. It could be something as simple as volunteering at a homeless shelter or donating money to causes, candidates, or charities when you have a steady job. Write letters and emails about these issues to your local reps if the phone makes you anxious. They’ll try to ignore you or cool you off with a polite reply but you can still put pressure on them just by letting them know that you’re paying attention. And just doing your best to remain a kind, open-minded person can have a knock-on effect with many of the people that you meet.

Disengaging from the situation entirely is wrong, but you also don’t bear sole responsibility for changing the world. You don’t have to be plugged in to the news 24/7 because that’s a great way to burn yourself out or give yourself an eventual breakdown (speaking from personal experience; I shouldn’t even have been tracking this election but I had to know what was going on). So focus on doing what you can do, instead of focusing on what you can’t do.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:53 am

Mr. Big wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:23 am
Scott Walker (finally) loses re-election as Wisconsin Governor to Tony Evers. It was a very narrow win for Evers, but still, good riddance to Walker either way.
Yessss finally

So Alabama passed an amendment that allows the display of the ten commandments on public property, including public schools. Can someone explain how that is constitutional? :rariwhat:
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:40 am

Too bad about Beto. Even though I don't live in Texas, I donated to his campaign last month. I think he'd make a great VP candidate in 2020. He's got national name recognition and also the chance to help win Texas.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:04 am

Octavia wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:53 am
So Alabama passed an amendment that allows the display of the ten commandments on public property, including public schools. Can someone explain how that is constitutional? :rariwhat:
So I've been reading up more on this.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the Alabama ACLU, said, “This is feel-good legislation that merely sets up entities to be sued if they display the Ten Commandments. The fact of the matter is, if the purpose of the display of the Ten Commandments is religious, it’s going to be unconstitutional.”

Basically it's just going to end up wasting the church's money. If they put the ten commandments up, and they will, then it opens them up for being sued for being unconstitutional, and they can't spend public money to defend it.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:50 am

In one of the more bizarre election news, brothel owner and self-proclaimed pimp Dennis Hof won the election in the Nevada's 36th Assembly District...even though he died a month ago. :-I
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by SlateSlabrock (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:40 pm

Octavia wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:53 am
So Alabama passed an amendment that allows the display of the ten commandments on public property, including public schools. Can someone explain how that is constitutional? :rariwhat:
Republicans understand what Democrats don't: If you want to change things, you just keep passing those laws, and eventually maybe a court doesn't strike one of them down. And even if they do, you probably boosted your turnout at the polls because your base wanted to vote for it.
Mr. Big wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:50 am
In one of the more bizarre election news, brothel owner and self-proclaimed pimp Dennis Hof won the election in the Nevada's 36th Assembly District...even though he died a month ago. :-I
This isn't bizarre when you realize having a Republican die in office means they can appoint another Republican to take his place. The GOP was whipping up everyone to vote for the corpse precisely for that reason.

Hell, having the literal pimp die before the election was probably the best result for them.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Pocket (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:04 pm

Octavia wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:53 am
So Alabama passed an amendment that allows the display of the ten commandments on public property, including public schools. Can someone explain how that is constitutional? :rariwhat:
Same reason it's constitutional for Congress to have a chaplain, or to stamp IN GOD WE TRUST on our money: Our idea of what the first amendment means is not the same as what people in power think it means.


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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:58 pm

Even though Scott Walker was defeated by narrow margins, he isn't allowed to call for a recount because of a law he passed when Trump won in his state, where it states that anyone who loses by more than 1% cannot call for a recount.

Walker lost by 1.2%. :lol:

I love it when politicians gets screwed over because of a stupid law they helped pass. Dennis Hastert got arrested for the same reason.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Pocket (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:15 pm

I wonder if Evers will lead a push to repeal that law.
SlateSlabrock wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:40 pm
This isn't bizarre when you realize having a Republican die in office means they can appoint another Republican to take his place. The GOP was whipping up everyone to vote for the corpse precisely for that reason.
But he didn't die "in office". Does that make a difference?

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by SlateSlabrock (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:35 pm

Pocket wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:15 pm
But he didn't die "in office". Does that make a difference?
No.


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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:02 pm

Mr. Big wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:58 pm
Even though Scott Walker was defeated by narrow margins, he isn't allowed to call for a recount because of a law he passed when Trump won in his state, where it states that anyone who loses by more than 1% cannot call for a recount.

Walker lost by 1.2%. :lol:

I love it when politicians gets screwed over because of a stupid law they helped pass. Dennis Hastert got arrested for the same reason.
His Facebook post from 2 years ago about it is pretty hilarious in hindsight. :smirk:
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:54 pm

Here's another one I missed. Remember Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage license to same-sex couples after gay marriage became legalized nationwide?

She lost the re-election. Don't let the door hit your butt.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by CorvusCaw (?) » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:11 pm

The flip of the House wasn't surprising; the main takeaway is that right-wing gerrymandering made it less of a flip. In 2016, a national R+1 resulted in a 45-seat margin in the house... this year, a national D+5 is going to end up with a 25 to 30-seat margin. After 2020, Texas and Florida will gain several seats that will be gerrymandered by their state legislatures to favor Republicans... while Rhode Island, New Mexico, Illinois might all lose a seat.

The Senate races showed that Democrats can't run from the center very effectively. Moderate Democrats like Donnelly and McCaskill were washed away while progressives like Baldwin and Brown leisurely walked to victory, all in states won by Trump... and O'Rourke, while losing, was 13 points closer than Cruz's 2012 opponent (a moderate).

Unless the result in Florida somehow changes, the Dems won't be able to reclaim the Senate in 2020... the only seats they could reasonably flip are Colorado and Maine... That won't be enough to take control, because they're also losing Alabama in 2020. They would need to also win North Carolina and Arizona to get to 50-50, (and even longer shots in Georgia and Iowa for a clear majority).
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Pocket (?) » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:39 pm

There's still time for Trump to poach more people from Congress to fill out his cabinet and staff, leading to more special elections that get filled by Democrats. Though he's probably caught on by now that it's a bad idea to do that; I hear he's starting looking into hiring people who lost this election instead.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Madeline (?) » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:41 pm

I wished things were going to get better, but if Pelosi and Schumer are already back to cosplaying as Neville Chamberlain, the US is fucked.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Bremen (?) » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:53 pm

CorvusCaw wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:11 pm
The Senate races showed that Democrats can't run from the center very effectively. Moderate Democrats like Donnelly and McCaskill were washed away while progressives like Baldwin and Brown leisurely walked to victory, all in states won by Trump... and O'Rourke, while losing, was 13 points closer than Cruz's 2012 opponent (a moderate).
On the other hand, Manchin (the one Dem who voted for Kavanaugh) won, while Donnelly and McCaskill voted against him and lost. And West Virginia went for Trump by like 40 points, whereas Ohio, Wisconsin, and even Texas were much more purple than West Virginia, North Dakota, or Missouri. So I'd say there's a good bit of evidence that a democrat can run as a centrist candidate in a very red state.

I'm not an analyst, but if I were to do a takeaway from that it would be that a progressive candidate can win by driving turnout in a purple state, but a Democrat has to be very, very centrist to win a deep red state.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:20 pm

Looks like Democrats gained a senate seat in Arizona. Kyrsten Sinema will be the first Dem senator in Arizona since 1988.

Not only will she be the first female senator in Arizona, she'll also be the first openly bisexual senator in the US history.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by CorvusCaw (?) » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:00 pm

Bremen wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:53 pm
On the other hand, Manchin (the one Dem who voted for Kavanaugh) won, while Donnelly and McCaskill voted against him and lost. And West Virginia went for Trump by like 40 points, whereas Ohio, Wisconsin, and even Texas were much more purple than West Virginia, North Dakota, or Missouri. So I'd say there's a good bit of evidence that a democrat can run as a centrist candidate in a very red state.

I'm not an analyst, but if I were to do a takeaway from that it would be that a progressive candidate can win by driving turnout in a purple state, but a Democrat has to be very, very centrist to win a deep red state.
It may be feasible for those centrist Democrats to succeed in very small red states where they can appeal to local issues, like Montana and West Virginia. Although overall, West Virginia is an anomaly given its unique history. In larger states, centrist Democrats depress turnout from base voters on the left. Indiana and Missouri are much larger than West Virginia, which made it easier for those races to become nationalized.

Compare the margin of the Texas Governor race to the Texas Senate race. The former had a milquetoast centrist Dem, the latter had an energetic progressive and a much smaller margin.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Octavia (?) » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:45 pm

CorvusCaw wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:00 pm
It may be feasible for those centrist Democrats to succeed in very small red states where they can appeal to local issues, like Montana and West Virginia. Although overall, West Virginia is an anomaly given its unique history. In larger states, centrist Democrats depress turnout from base voters on the left. Indiana and Missouri are much larger than West Virginia, which made it easier for those races to become nationalized.

Compare the margin of the Texas Governor race to the Texas Senate race. The former had a milquetoast centrist Dem, the latter had an energetic progressive and a much smaller margin.
Same with Wisconsin Senate. Tammy Baldwin, an energetic progressive, managed to flip SEVENTEEN counties that went for Trump in 2016. Candidate strength is far more important in getting votes than the strategy of being centrist in an attempt to please everyone. Progressives will get out and vote if there is someone worth voting for, and Beto is one of the best candidates I've seen since Obama.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by CorvusCaw (?) » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:03 am

Octavia wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:45 pm
Same with Wisconsin Senate. Tammy Baldwin, an energetic progressive, managed to flip SEVENTEEN counties that went for Trump in 2016. Candidate strength is far more important in getting votes than the strategy of being centrist in an attempt to please everyone. Progressives will get out and vote if there is someone worth voting for, and Beto is one of the best candidates I've seen since Obama.
Or how close the illegitimate governor's election in Georgia was, again on the back of a strong progressive candidate (who is now freed up to run for Georgia's Senate seat in 2020). A centrist Democrat who was pro-Confederate flag and pro-guns everywhere lost by 8 points in 2014.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Mr. Big (?) » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:44 pm

There were still votes being counted this late, it seems.

Democrat Ben McAdams beat Republican Mia Love in Utah 4th district by less than 700 votes. The article also states that Proposition 4, a bill that would end gerrymandering in the state by having an independent commission redraw the districts, also passed on a similarly narrow margins.
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by SlateSlabrock (?) » Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:29 pm

Mr. Big wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:44 pm
The article also states that Proposition 4, a bill that would end gerrymandering in the state by having an independent commission redraw the districts, also passed on a similarly narrow margins.
:hishovel:

Now we just need to get the East Coast to jump on the voting reform train.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:17 pm

Thanks for linking that perspective, because I'm actually a subscriber of Der Spiegel. Their reporting has always been hit or miss depending on where they allocated their resources, but I've always felt the good journalistic efforts outweighed the kinda half-assed "clickbait-y" stuff that's mainly there to fill pages and sell some extra copies. The article in question is one I admittedly never read because it sounded like the latter - Something "dark" and "exciting" that would make some extra dosh but not exactly tell me anything I hadn't heard about before. Needless to say, I dodged a bullet there.

The most recent issue of Der Spiegel now has a big, unusually basic title entirely dedicated to how much they fucked up and how much Claas Relotius fucked up. In their press statement from the editors in chief, they blame both themselves, Claas Relotious and the pressure they put him under to deliver more and more extreme, exciting stories. Of course they promise to do better, improve their fact checking and report in all detail on the matter, but how earnest that is remains to be seen. For the German-inclined people here, here is Der Spiegel's category of articles on the situation so far.

When it comes to Fergus Falls in particular, I think that article just exposes a serious problem that's only gotten worse with the Trump administration - The gawking at "dem Americans". I imagine this happens to all people everywhere, and from all I know it really does, that kind of othering and "look at those weirdoes over there" crap. Here I mean a particular brand of xenophobia/rubbernecking that I see in rich Europeans towards the US. Hell, I'm not entirely free from it either and I have to be humble and learn instead of making assumptions. Those just happen really easily over here.

Germans, including the editors at Der Spiegel, have a nasty tendency to fall victim to this. There is a serious underlying smugness about the United States that permeates a lot of attitudes, and Trump has only made it so much worse. People here look at the US and can't make sense of it - Even (or rather especially, sometimes) generally educated, liberal folks scratch their heads and go "wowe, those Americans, what even". They see the lack of actual public healthcare, the loose gun laws, the very mixed education standards, the way more individualistic state governments, and so on and so forth and can't make heads or tails of it. The media don't help - Most of the time we hear from the US over here on national news, it's because of mass shootings or ridiculous law/economy shenanigans. Nowadays you can imagine it's Trump craziness day in and day out. The perspective gets really skewed towards the radical and over the top. It doesn't help that we're blasted with American glitz and glamour all the time, considering the massive amount of media, products and pop culture that we import from the US. Part of American culture is exporting this sense of pride, freedom and The American Dream (TM) that both fascinates and repulses people over here. All that and more results in this shitty, borderline theme park-esque view on the United States from the average joe's perspective - In part by the US' own making, in part because people like feeling a sense of smug superiority about their own home VS the home of the braggart you pettily wanna show up.

Trump being elected turned this all up to 11. American media had their fair share of "how could this happen?!?!" exposes but trust me, Germany was flooded with them and it hasn't really stopped, only slowed down a bit. People's frustrations about Trump running roughshod the US and the world has turned a lot of them into wannabe analysts who wanna gawk and prod and find out who those clearly crazy people were who voted for this guy. Who in their right mind would do that, amirite? While neonazism is enjoying its renaissance in the shape of the AFD and gets plenty of support from one of the parties involved in our freaking government (CSU), lame German liberals are keen to feel like they can still claim superiority. Everyone likes to diagnose the US, especially the rural areas, from their living rooms. My own mom does it and every time all she can come up with is "everyone who voted for Trump must be stupid and uneducated" I sigh. And it's this exact thirst for smug superiority that leads to stories like the "Here is the village where people pray for Trump, lolololol" being massive title stories in generally renowned news magazines.



Richard Grenell, the US ambassador in Berlin, now claims serious Anti-Americanism on the part of news sources like Der Spiegel. They report a lot of Trump-critical stuff, not just the made up wholesale nonsense Claas Relotius wrote. It's just simply a wonderful opportunity for a corrupt and coniving administration like Trump's to attack journalism once more. This is a great example of what I'd really like Germans and Americans alike to learn: Shit is more complicated than "this person is good" and "this person is bad", and we should be looking further than just confirming our own biases and calling it good. Biases are nice and easy, clearly they sold magazines. Relotius won awards for the many mostly made-up stories he so-called investigated. But in reality, the US is a giant country, way bigger than most Germans can even grasp, and it's full of very different, very flawed and ultimately very human people. Everyone would love to understand how people like Trump capture the masses and how we can stop them from causing so much harm, but it's not gonna happen by rubbernecking and telling yourself how much smarter you are. I'm hoping for more compassion and actual curiosity about what's happening, and less easy answers to very much not easy problems.


Der Spiegel also wrote an article about the two inhabitans of Fergus Falls and their debunking effort, by the way. In the article they mention that one of the two authors tried contacting the magazine via Twitter, but the tweet wasn't read by anyone actually in charge and wasn't followed up on. Der Spiegel expresses regret over that now. I really hope they mean it.

(PS: If there is interest, I'll gladly translate the interview Der Spiegel had with Anderson and Krohn in response to their article)
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Madeline (?) » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:43 am

That’s a great post, Perry. I know you’ve got a lot going on, but I would love to read that interview if you do get a chance to translate it.

The kind of rubbernecking you describe isn’t just international. I spent my childhood in small, very rural farming communities, and it grates on me when I see other leftists, liberals, and centrists start going in with the “lol dumb redneck hick” commentary. Whether they know it or not, they are implicitly mocking me and all of the other people who try their best not to get beaten down in these areas. When I’ve complained in the past, they said, “oh, I didn’t mean you,” which reminds me a lot of certain kinds of racist rhetoric.

That doesn’t mean that I think the US does not have huge systemic problems, many of them built into the country by its founders. It does. The US government has done a lot of terrible things around the world and to its own citizens. Many people in those rural American communities are the cartoon caricature portrayed in international media. And I’ve been guilty of lumping everyone together too.

Highbrow Dash
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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Highbrow Dash (?) » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:48 am

Yeah it's easy to mock the US but at the end of the day the problem is this crap is happening all over the world. It's not just cartoon rednecks voting for their cartoon president, it's real people who are fed up because the neoliberal status quo is clearly failing them and there's no organized leftist alternative to show them a way out. They're feeling miserable and desperate and they can't find a solution, so it's easy for fascist demagogues to sweep in and place the blame on whichever easy target they can find. It's happened in the UK, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Italy and others, and it's gonna keep on happening if nobody else can present a viable alternative.

Ridiculizing them doesn't work, it only makes them stronger, because the hate they spout seems very appealing when your country's given up on you and you feel powerless and downtrodden. It's easier to punish the powerless than to rise against the powerful.

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Re: Current Events And Politics

Post by Dexanth (?) » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:13 pm

I think a lot of people also don't get like, our system allows the Tyranny of the Minority and honestly the Republicans have minmaxxed that, and the end result now is Trump.

Shit like this will keep happening until serious voting reform happens

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