Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Biden to Announce Supreme Court Reforms

Finally. Seriously, this is exactly what Biden should be doing. I just wish he was better at selling it to the public. Maybe get some of the Democrats' better speakers to talk about it?

I guess this gives the Supreme Court an even bigger incentive to try to tip the election to the Republicans. But this past term showed up that the Court is willing to do that anyways. So any new ire that the Thomases and Alitos of the bench have won't make any difference.


Monday, July 15, 2024

Prediction

If Trump wins the presidency in November and a seat on the Supreme Court opens up during his term, he will appoint Aileen Cannon to fill the seat.


Friday, July 05, 2024

go after the Court

I think the best evidence that Joe Biden isn’t up to this presidential race is not his debate performance (which, admittedly, I did not watch), but the way he has reacted to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has issued a bunch of truly horrendous rulings, staking out remarkably unpopular positions. This would otherwise be a gift to any politician running for the presidency opposed to those policies. Except Biden isn’t really doing anything.

The Supreme Court has, for example, (1) taken away the right to choose whether to have an abortion, (2) decided that the Courts (packed with Trump appointees) not scientists or experts will get to decide whether our air and water is clean, (3) legalized taking bribery after its own members were caught taking bribes, (4) declared that the violent attempts to stop Congress in an insurrection is not a crime of interfering with Congress, with two members of the majority refusing to recuse even when evidence came out that they supported the insurrection, (5) created out of thin air a new rule that Presidents are immune from the crimes committed in office even though the Constitution specifically says that former presidents are subject to prosecution and the founders wrote that a president can be held criminally liable.

A competent presidential candidate in Biden’s situations would bring those things up, over and over again. Sure, the media just wants to talk about his compentency as a candidate rather than focus on the real threat of judicial-assisted authoritarianism this country faces. But what better way to show that you are competent than by going on the attack and changing the conversation to what should be the real issue.

If Biden can’t do that, I really hope that Harris can, and that Harris does soon.

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

It's Biden or Harris vs. Trump

Since last Thursday's debate, people all across Democratistan have been floating their fantasy candidate to replace Joe Biden at the last minute to save the Republic from Donald Trump. There isn't all that much discussion about how exactly that will work. The primaries are over. It is not clear how exactly the swap will work? Who will decide that Gavin Newsom, or whoever the person blabbering on about their ideal candidate should be, will end up being the post-Biden alternative as the presidential candidate? Not Democratic voters!

If you understand how the system actually works, there are really just two options for Democratic presidential candidate at this point: 
  1. Stick with Joe Biden.
  2. Kamala Harris
Okay technically there is a third option, the convention floor fight. But that would be such an obvious colossal disaster that Bill Maher is for it, because of course he is.

Here's the weird thing: most of the fantasy football types don't bother to mention Harris, despite the fact that she is the Vice President (the person whose main job is literally to take over if Biden is not up to being President) on the unstated assumption that she is unpopular and can't win. And yet, Harris does better than virtually all the fantasy candidates in head to head polls against Trump. Plus, she is also the only one who would inherit the reelect Biden war chest if she became the candidate and would not have to start fundraising this late in the game. Anyone else would be crippled with no money to run a national campaign and worse name recognition than Harris.

Realistically speaking, that is the Democrat's choice: stick with Biden, or run with Harris. That's it. Those are the choices. Talking about anyone else is just wasting time.


Friday, June 28, 2024

who won lunch?

 This is another long-term hobby horse of mine, but I feel like I need to say it again:

A. Some things in life have winners and losers: board games, sports matches, elections, drag races, horse races, okay any kind of race, contests, lotteries, etc.

B. Some things in life do not have winners or losers: conversations, working a retail shift, tying a shoe, building a shelf, arguing with anonymous strangers online, etc.

The difference between the stuff listed in category A vs. the stuff listed in catagory B, is the stuff in category A has clear criteria for determining a winner or loser. I can list that criteria for each one of my above examples. The stuff in category B does not have a clear criteria for determining a winner. So for those things, there isn't a winner or loser. Which is fine. Not everything has winners or losers.

Which is why it is always stupid to talk about who "won" a debate between political candidates. The candidates are competing with each other, but they are competing in the election. The debate is just a way for them to try to get more votes. Like a campaign commercial. But no one says that a candidate "won" his ad campaign. The ad campaign is a means to an end. It is not the thing that is won or lost. It's the same with political debates.

It just annoys the crap out of me every morning after a political debate when people talk about who won or lost. I didn't watch the debate, but it seems like the near-universal consensus is that Biden did badly last night. That doesn't mean he lost! It means he did badly, and maybe that will hurt his chances in the election (probably not, but I guess it is possible that it will matter this time). But it is the election and not the debate that has a winner or a loser.


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Pissing off both sides in the name of winning them over

While I welcome this decision by the Biden Administration to allow the undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens legal status (gift link!), the Administration just seems to be trying to "balance out" the harsh immigration rules they announced two weeks ago. This "balancing out" strategy is often used by Democratic Presidents. The idea is that he can cater to the independents and moderates who are concerned about "illegals" with his harsh policy, and then when liberals get outraged, mollify them with a more pro-immigrant policy. But does that work?

I think it never does. The Administration seems to think it can win over one group with the harsh policy, and then win back his supporters who are upset by that with the second policy. But that assumes both groups stop paying attention as soon as they are bought off by a policy they like. What seems to happen instead is whatever groups that might like the harsh crackdown against immigrants will see the pro-immigrant announcement later and conclude that Biden is not really committed to the racist anti-immigrant policies they prefer. And while liberals like me might welcome Biden's relief for spouses of U.S. citizens, I have not forgotten the asylum restrictions that are going to affect a whole lot more people.

Rather than tossing a bone to both sides and making everyone more likely to support Biden, this balancing gambit seems much more likely to just piss off everyone. Has there ever been an example where something like this worked? Why do Democrats keep trying it?



Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Peace plan hot potato

It is interesting to see how Biden is jamming Netanyahu with his peace plan.

It looks like what happened is the broad outline of Biden's plan was floated by Israeli negotiators in one of those secret via mediator peace talks in Egypt or Qatar. I'm not sure how serious the Israelis were about the proposal when they floated it. Maybe they just raised the idea so they could say they had a plan that wasn't slaughtering every single person in Gaza. But the Biden administration grabbed the plan with both hands and started pushing it while publicly referring to it as a peace plan that Israel had already agreed to. The U.S. even got the Security Council to approve it.

The problem is whatever Israel's negotiators may have said privately (and one of Netanyahu's aides confirmed that Israel had proposed it), it's pretty clear that this is not the kind of plan that Netanyahu's far-right government could accept. That has given Hamas a chance to jam Israel too by signaling that it would agree to the plan too. So now it looks like everyone has agreed to this plan in principle, but if it doesn't happen, that is only because Israel won't give final approval. And since the plan would result in the return of all the hostages (including the bodies of dead hostages, if Israel turned down the deal to continue they war, they would be fighting to avoid freedom for the remaining hostages.

Or at least that's the spin. Of course, Hamas' tentative agreement could just be bullshit. Maybe, like Israel, they are just floating theoretical agreement to make them look like the reasonable ones and if Israel ever did officially approve the plan, they would back away from it just as Israel is backing away from it now. But I'm not so sure they are bullshitting about this. And Israel isn't sure either. If they were, then they would approve the deal to jam Hamas.

But Israel won't agree because they are afraid Hamas might actually agree to it if they do. Israel's bottom line is they want the war to continue.