Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Last Call For McGrath Meets McConnell

Amy McGrath survived her primary against Charles Booker...barely...but she ended up winning by 2.8% in a race where she was ahead by 20% at one point.

Former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath held off a surging Rep. Charles Booker Tuesday to win the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate in Kentucky a week after ballots were cast, setting up a big money showdown with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

Booker, who won 42.6 percent of the vote, won Kentucky’s three largest cities — Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green — but the more liberal voters in those cities weren’t enough. McGrath surrounded Booker, winning victories throughout rural Kentucky to win 45.4 percent of the vote.
“While each of our experiences are unique, as a woman in the military, I had to repeatedly fight the establishment during my 20-year career,” McGrath wrote Tuesday in a statement declaring victory. ”...A year after showing the country that Kentucky won’t hesitate to replace an incompetent and unpopular incumbent Republican like Matt Bevin, let’s do it one more time.”

Booker conceded the race in an emailed statement shortly after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, noting that he had only narrowly lost after being a relative unknown when he entered the race. He said that meant Kentucky was ready for “big, bold solutions.”

“From this moment on, let’s take the frustration we feel and commit to fighting for change like never before,” Booker wrote. “Let’s dedicate to the work of beating Mitch, so that we can get him out of the way. Yes, I would love to be your nominee, but know I’m still by your side. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

It was an unusual primary. Delayed by a month over concerns about the spread of COVID-19, then conducted largely via absentee ballot, Kentuckians were left waiting a full week after Election Day for results.

McConnell’s campaign greeted the news by saying it was “great to have” McGrath in the general election.

“Extreme Amy McGrath is lucky to have gotten out of the primary with a victory, but her reputation sustained significant damage all across Kentucky,” said Kate Cooksey, McConnell’s spokeswoman. “McGrath is just another tool of the Washington Democratic establishment who has no idea what matters most to Kentuckians.”

I fully expect Mitch to run another lazy campaign tying McGrath to Pelosi, Biden, the Clintons and Obama, complete with "Will Washington liberal Joe Biden dare show his face in Kentucky?" and count on McGrath's unforced errors to win.

Sadly, he'll most likely win as a result.  What I fear is that McGrath is going to make the same mistakes Alison Lundergan Grimes did in 2014, as Joe Sonka's postmortem from six years ago details.

There isn’t a Kentucky political reporter whose opinion I respect more than CNHI’s Ronnie Ellis, who says one of the biggest errors of Grimes’ campaign was not putting ads on the air during McConnell’s primary fight with Matt Bevin so she could fully introduce herself to voters. The only problem with that theory is it assumes she ever fully introduced herself to voters at any point in the campaign. To a large extent, she never did.

Grimes’ reluctance to give in-depth interviews has been written about extensively, as well as her robotic talking-point answers that too often failed to provide detail on her positions. (I only received eight minutes to interview her in the entire campaign, and she didn’t directly answer a single question.) This was surprising to many who covered her 2011 race for secretary of state, where she came across as intelligent, candid and warm.

There were only about six things people knew about Alison Lundergan Grimes from this campaign, and she repeated them – and little else – over and over again. She is for increasing the minimum wage. She is for gender pay equity legislation and the Violence Against Women Act. She is for union rights. She is for creating jobs in Kentucky. She is not Mitch McConnell, who is against all of these things. She is for coal and gun rights, and she is not Barack Obama.

There were some other policies she mentioned and some details here or there, but they were never effectively presented. How many Kentuckians read her jobs plan, or knew how she was going to pay for any of its proposals?

Nor were voters given any real glimpse into who Grimes is as an individual. The fabulous writer Anne Marshall attempted to answer that last question in her profile of Grimes for Louisville Magazine, but was repeatedly stymied at the gates of the Grimes bubble. When Marshall asked Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst to provide an interesting nugget about Grimes that few people know, he replied, “She loves Swedish Fish.” Eventually Marshall got her very quick interview with Grimes and talked about some personal details, but those were limited to subscribers to the magazine, and buried within a story that quite correctly portrayed her as a talking point machine that remains a mystery to many voters.

McGrath is in the same bubble now that Grimes was then.

She has to break out of it, and that means embracing Charles Booker and several of his policies.  If she runs a defensive campaign, she will lose and lose badly.

It's time to go after Mitch, and go after him hard.

The Donald, Deleted

Online forum Reddit is finally taking action, deleting some 2,000 forums that violate its new content rules. Reddit has finally gotten rid of The_Donald, the political hotbed of racism, bigotry, and general disgusting online meme fungal colony, but it also booted the Chapo Trap House forum for the same political reasons.

Reddit will ban r/The_Donald, r/ChapoTrapHouse, and about 2,000 other communities today after updating its content policy to more explicitly ban hate speech. The policy update comes three weeks after Black Lives Matter protests led several popular Reddit forums to go dark temporarily in protest of what they called the company’s lax policies around hosting and promoting racist content. It marks a major reversal for a company whose commitment to free expression has historically been so strong that it once allowed users to distribute stolen nude photos freely on the site.

“I have to admit that I’ve struggled with balancing my values as an American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and the company’s values around common human decency,” Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said in a call with reporters.

In a blog post that cites the company’s new rules, Huffman said users of the r/The_Donald subreddit had violated the site’s policies for years. (The site has no official connection to President Donald Trump, although he did do an Ask Me Anything there as a candidate in 2016.) “The community has consistently hosted and upvoted more rule-breaking content than average (Rule 1), antagonized us and other communities (Rules 2 and 8), and its mods have refused to meet our most basic expectations,” Huffman said.

Similarly, r/ChapoTrapHouse had also hosted content that violates the site’s rules, Huffman said. The subreddit is a spinoff of the popular left-wing podcast.

Reddit’s new policy begins with a first rule that requires users to “consider the human.” It reads:

Remember the human. Reddit is a place for creating community and belonging, not for attacking marginalized or vulnerable groups of people. Everyone has a right to use Reddit free of harassment, bullying, and threats of violence. Communities and people that incite violence or that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned.

That formed the basis of a policy framework that bans hate speech.

“Reddit’s mission is to bring community and belonging to everybody in the world, and there is speech in the world and on Reddit that prevents other people from doing so,” Huffman told reporters. “Harassing speech or hateful speech prevents people from coming to Reddit and feeling safe and sharing their vulnerabilities ... So if we have speech on Reddit that’s preventing people from using Reddit the way that we intend it to be used, or that prevents us from achieving our mission, then it’s actually a very easy decision.”

The introduction of the new policies has resulted in the removal of about 2,000 subreddits so far, and the company says “the vast majority” were inactive. Only about 200 of them had more than 10 daily users, the company said.

Putting Chapo Trap House in the same box as the Trump regime is still pretty damn funny.

Black Lives Still Matter

ZVTS readers were right, as you usually are.

Now we know why last week's GOP Sen. Tim Scott "police reform" bill was such a screamingly obvious trap to try to turn white voters against Black Lives Matter and the Democrats, and Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris in particular. Something that terrible needed a Trojan Horse introduction, and it got one through former Obama adviser turned CNN "race expert" Van Jones.

Jones went on CNN’s Inside Politics with John King and Anderson Cooper 360 to enthusiastically commend Trump’s executive order—even as it was being criticized as cynical and unproductive by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and “delusional” by the Color of Change, an influential racial justice organization that Jones himself co-founded in 2005.  
CNN viewers weren’t informed that he had actually attended secret White House meetings with his new friend Jared Kushner, discussing ways to frame the presidential project. 
According to a knowledgeable White House source, who expressed satisfaction that there were zero leaks, Jones and California human rights attorney Jessica Jackson, who runs #cut50, a prison-reform group that Jones also founded, actively participated with law enforcement officials and White House staffers to help fashion the order and guide the politics of the discussion to what they considered “the sweet spot” between law enforcement and “the reasonable middle” and “the reasonable left.” 
Skyping from his Los Angeles home, with a biography of Nelson Mandela and a Black Panther graphic novel visible on the bookshelf behind him, Jones told viewers of CNN’s noon show Inside Politics: “The executive order is a good thing, mainly because you saw the support of law enforcement there... There is movement in the direction of a database for bad cops. We have never had a federal database for bad cops, that’s why all these cops go all over the place doing bad stuff… The chokeholds, that’s common ground now between Nancy Pelosi and Trump. Good stuff there.” 
Hours later, Jones doubled down on Anderson Cooper 360—again without disclosing his role advising the Trump White House. “What do you make of this executive order?” Cooper asked him. 
“I think it’s pushing in the right direction,” Jones told the CNN anchor. “What you got today is, I think, a sign that we are winning,” he added. “Donald Trump has put himself on record saying we need to reform the police department… We are winning! Donald Trump had no plan a month ago to work on this issue at all. The fact that we are now in the direction of moving forward, I think, is good.” 
During a Rose Garden ceremony that was actually a Trump campaign event—at which the president defended the police, touted his commitment to “law and order,” boasted about the stock market and the pre-coronavirus economy, and attacked Joe Biden—Trump was flanked by uniformed officers and police union officials as he signed the executive order in response to the pandemic of unjustified killings of unarmed Black Americans by white cops. 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quick to call the event “a photo op” and the executive order “seriously short of what is required”; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer panned it as “weak tea” and the Rev. Al Sharpton—a longtime ally of Jones going back to the 1990s, when Jones was a self-avowed “radical” and social justice activist in Oakland—derided it as “toothless and meaningless” because it gives lip service, but no legal mandate, to banning chokeholds (unless officers decide their lives are at risk), improving police training, making use of mental health professionals, and keeping a national registry of bad cops. 
“I did not think the executive order was worth the paper it was written on,” Sharpton told The Daily Beast. “Van’s experiment with Trump is a case of him having more faith than I have, but I’m not going to attack him for doing it…I think he’s well-intentioned, but I think he totally underestimates the kind of guy he’s dealing with. I just disagree that the people he’s dealing with have a sincere bone in their body. But I can’t fault him for trying.”

Man, the best part of the article is Al Sharpton coming in with "Well at least he tried" church senior pastor to the junior pastor who went out on his own and got his wings clipped by city council shade I've seen in some time.

I understand that the perfect cannot become the enemy of the good, believe me.  But Van Jones and Trump's toothless executive order weren't good at all.  It was designed to e a palatable trap, and Van Jones helped them do it.

That pisses me off something fierce.


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