A challenge to the conventional wisdom

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Here are the real fucking political truths these “progressives” don’t want to admit:

  1. From civil rights, gay rights, women’s rights, health care reform, immigration issues… the Democratic Party has been at the forefront moving the discussion and policy forward.
  2. They’ve done this without the luxury of veto-proof majorities in Congress and without a lot of help from state legislatures.
  3. In fact, some of this progress was made IN SPITE OF Republican control and obstruction.
  4. If you fucking want FDR-like progress, you better do everything you can for FDR-like majorities in Congress.
  5. If you don’t give a Democratic president massive Democratic majorities in Congress and in the states, then you can eternally SHUT THE FUCK UP about how Democrats are “letting you down.”
  6. Democrats in 2017 are more progressive than Democrats of FDR’s time.
  7. The problem isn’t Democrats have moved to the right (they haven’t) but Republicans have moved significantly farther to the right.  This movement along with the media’s incessant “both sides are the same” gives the perception Democrats have moved to the right as well.
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The lasting impact of Trump

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The Dolchstoss myth that’s sure to take hold if Trump is impeached or quits under pressure will be virulent. The tale his devotees will raise their children to swear by will describe the nefarious way that coastal elites, partisan Democrats, the liberal media, and a whole slew of other pseudo-Americans—from Muslims relishing our surprise introduction to sharia law to transgender weirdos, man-hating feminists, and America-hating Obama zombies, not to mention pusillanimous establishment Republicans—all conspired to deprive them of the greatest president ever: the only one they felt ever spoke for them. There will be talk of armed insurrection. Aspiring Dylann Roofs will look for an enemy headquarters to shoot up. It will be ugly.

Documenting the Trump Administration’s many shocking moves in the hope that they don’t become our new normal

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Since soon after the 2016 election, Amy Siskind has been steadily cataloguing the craziness around us: Trump’s bizarre tweets and directives, the corrupt actions of those around him, and the subtle and not so subtle changes in our country. Her goal is to remind readers weekly that remembering a nation’s descent into authoritarianism is the key to digging out of it. Google her and you’ll find coverage and interviews all over the place including The Washington Post, Daily Kos, and the LGBT-focused Los Angeles Blade, or read her growing list on Medium, linked above.

pub. weekly from 11/2016

Why Facebook’s censorship rules protect some speech you condemn and forbid some speech you condone

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The headline is misleading, as the article is really about the nuances and challenges Facebook must consider in trying to regulate speech, as the subheadline suggests. A more accurate version would be “Why Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules…”

The rules developed considerable nuance. There is a ban against pictures of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character often used by “alt-right” white supremacists to perpetrate racist memes, but swastikas are allowed under a rule that permits the “display [of] hate symbols for political messaging.” In the documents examined by ProPublica, which are used to train content reviewers, this rule is illustrated with a picture of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that has been manipulated to apply a swastika to his sleeve.

pub. 06/2017

 

A short meditation on US propaganda and politics in the 20th century

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“Democracy is never a thing done,” MacLeish said. “Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.”…

…Critics called MacLeish naïve: winning a war requires deception. F.D.R., to some degree, agreed. In June, 1942, he replaced the Office of Facts and Figures with the Office of War Information.

pub. 06/2017

Published in the paper edition as “The Strategy of Truth”; audio version here.