New Strategy For Pro-Clinton SuperPAC: Argue With Everyone On Social Media

from the xkcd-becomes-real-life dept

We've seen a lot of silliness this political season, most of which I happily lay the blame for at the feet of what has to be the lamest group of candidates for President this esteemed country has ever seen. What these good-for-nothings have bred is a deeper level of hateful rhetoric and toxic partisanship than what was present already, which I didn't even think was possible. Yet they achieved it anyway, meaning that my social media feeds are overflowing with the kind of know-nothing memes and claims about all of the candidates that have me thinking about downing a bottle of rat poison just to make my brain stop hurting. Add to all of it the involvement of SuperPACs for all of these candidates, with their un-subtle messages and self-serving advertising, and it's enough to wonder if we should scrap this whole America thing and try to start something new from scratch.

Well, those two worlds are apparently colliding as we speak, with information about the new strategy being taken by one pro-Clinton SuperPAC coming to light.

Citing “lessons learned from online engagement with ‘Bernie Bros,’” a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC is pledging to spend $1 million to “push back against” users on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram. Correct the Record’s “Barrier Breakers” project boasts in a press release that it has already “addressed more than 5,000 people that have personally attacked Hillary Clinton on Twitter.” The PAC released this on Thursday.
I'll get the obligatory XKCD out of the way, because there was simply no way not to include this comic in this post.


So, yeah, this Hillary PAC is spending a million dollars to apparently argue with people on social media, which is the kind of thing some of us do for free every day, because we're obsessive jack-wagons unable to let anyone anywhere say something stupid and think they got away with it. But I know that I'm almost certainly wasting my time, whereas this superPAC is boasting about all of this.

But why is it a time-waster? Well, because the kind of people saying the kinds of messages about Hillary Clinton that this campaign is likely to try to rebut aren't going to be swayed by paid web-trollers and their arguments, factual or otherwise.

“This explains why my inbox turned to cancer on Tuesday,” wrote user OKarizee. “Been a member of reddit for almost 4 years and never experienced anything like it. In fact, in all my years on the internet I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
So the targeted rebuttal is deemed to be "cancer." Victory?

More interesting is that the PAC in question, Correct the Record, claims it is coordinating directly with the Clinton campaign in doing all of this. And it claims that this is all perfectly legal, despite the infamous Citizens United ruling resting on the claim that PACs are private interests and do not coordinate with the campaigns of politicians. What logic is Correct the Record relying on in claiming that its coordinating is legal? Well, these rebuttals aren't paid spots, so campaign finance rules don't apply.
Due to FEC loopholes, the Sunlight Foundation’s Libby Watson found this year that Correct the Record can openly coordinate with Clinton’s campaign, despite rules that typically disallow political campaigns from working directly with PACs.

“SuperPACs aren’t supposed to coordinate with candidates. The whole reasoning behind (Supreme Court decision) Citizens United rests on (PACs) being independent, but Correct the Record claims it can coordinate,” Watson told The Daily Beast. “It’s not totally clear what their reasoning is, but it seems to be that material posted on the Internet for free—like, blogs—doesn’t count as an ‘independent expenditure.’ Usually places like MMFA and CTR are defending her against the media and established figures. This seems to be going after essentially random individuals online,” she said. “I don’t know that they’ve done anything like this before.”
It's an interesting argument by the PAC, but one that reportedly is raising eyebrows among lawyers involved in campaign finance law. Some are claiming that this tactic is a cynical undermining of the spirit of campaign finance laws, using a loophole to get around the laws' original purpose. There are also claims floating around that the Federal Election Commission should do something about this, but isn't over a lack of understanding of whether any of this is legal.

Which ultimately may not matter all that much because, as I noted above, I just can't see how this is a productive use of this PACs time and resources. I argue with people online all the time, because I'm an idiot, and rarely do those arguments end with minds changed. And those arguments are often on topics far less divisive than American politics. Why should this PAC think any of this will turn out any better for them?

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Filed Under: correct the record, elections, hillary clinton, social media, super pac, trolling


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 12:58pm

    A little more concerned about VA and MD

    changing vote registration policy to queer the DNC nomination.

    Don't get me wrong. I totally support voting rights restoration. But this is clearly a move to queer the current numbers. My guess is the next crime bill after the primary will revoke the rights currently being granted.

    Clearly brand R wants to run against HRC, and are willing to use the black community as a pawn to make it happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:01pm

    Re: A little more concerned about VA and MD

    Well good for Terry, now is he going to restore then 2nd Amendment rights too?

    I bet the real reason does not match up with the "for the rights reasons" concept.

    It was never legal to remove a felon's voting or gun rights after they are released from prison.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:02pm

    So "Bernie Bro"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:09pm

    So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    I'd heard the expression once or twice here on TechDirt but thought it was a chosen perjorative of a few.

    We do like to sort people we dislike into categories that we can label and presume they all think and function alike. It makes for easy dismissal.

    The same method works for dangerous animals which bear similar shape and markings -- most of the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    David, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:12pm

    I got the Founding Fathers on the line:

    and it's enough to wonder if we should scrap this whole America thing and try to start something new from scratch.

    Uh, we were pretty sure you already did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:18pm

    Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    I happen to agree with this. Categorizing Bernie-Bros is silly, and the Hillary camp would scream bloody murder if something similar was done in reverse....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:22pm

    FEC

    "There are also claims floating around that the Federal Election Commission should do something about this, but isn't over a lack of understanding of whether any of this is legal. "

    Isn't the problem that the FEC is under funded and just can't do anything about it because they lack the people to do it?
    If I remember correctly some high FEC official was guest at a show ( Daily Show maybe?) and said something about this. Can't remember when or which one but iirc the claim was for every dollar the FEC can spend the candidates can spend 10 dollars to defend themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    Interesting observation. What would be the equivalent term for irrational, rabid Hillary supporters?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:29pm

    rabid clinton supporters

    Hillary Hags?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    Hilldawgs

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:38pm

    Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    I think it's interesting that apparently Sanders has so many fans or voters online that there is a special term for them.

    Just think about what "bro" movements did, I mean they kind of made "My Little Pony" popular or known. And if you take into account that some of those people heavily influence /b then this term "Bernie Bro" which I assume was meant in a negative way could backfire quite a bit by generating free ads for Sanders.

    I guess in real life that term might have a negative effect but online it might bring people together and could be some kind of badge of honor. And of course it might produce a meme or two because bro rhymes with a not so positive word for female... street workers or whatever the politically correct term is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    Hillary Sis

    See? Even Bernie's group name is better than Hillary's!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Zonker, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    Hill Shills

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:43pm

    hate to say it but...

    this is not a "new" strategy for the clinton campaign

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    "Hillary Ho" seems to be low hanging fruit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    Pun intended?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:48pm

    Are there rabid Bernie Sanders supporters? Probably no more or less than any proportion of any other candidate. There's a part of me that thinks that this SuperPAC is the one that spread the 'BernieBro' meme as a deliberate dirty trick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    hillbillies

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Joe Hill is You and me, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:51pm

    trying again from overheating computer

    This is the same stuff that the FBI and CIA played on Civil rights activist, again and again we see the same thing from people that are the Aristocracy lie, undermine, lie, fake, lie, abuse, violate, did I mention lie.

    It's the games the Aristocracy play when there lies start to wear thin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    HillaryBillies

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:55pm

    Hillary Clinton Perjured Herself

    Just thought I'd see if Correct The Record was monitoring TechDirt.

    Also wondering whether they're willing to get into THAT discussion, as there's not much you can do with documented evidence other than shout it down or ignore it.

    Will I get a reasoned response correcting the record?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:57pm

    This is the kind of stuff you can continue to expect from Hillary Clinton's administration. If bending the laws to the point Schrodinger's breaking point is okay when you're running for the nomination, just thing of what she'll do when she's actually in office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    #HillaryMen

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:58pm

    Re: A little more concerned about VA and MD

    VA already had their Dem primary, FYI

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    Over the hill

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Joe Hill is you and me, 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:06pm

    CTR bots

    I think there are several here posting AC

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    You mean like calling them Hillary Hecklers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:11pm

    "...going after essentially random individuals online..."

    It's official - if Bernie doesn't get the nomination, he's my write-in candidate for the general election. I am not voting for Kang.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:14pm

    If these trolls are working for pay…

    …then this operation is not "for free" and the PAC has spent money on it!

    So much for that loophole. ‌ ;]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Joe Hill is You and Me, 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:28pm

    Disruption and confusion

    It's COINTELPRO all over again

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    Wouldn't "Hill Ho" be the correct one? You know... paid by the Capitol Hill for acts that are against the law?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Disruption and confusion

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 3:18pm

    Re: rabid clinton supporters

    Clinton Cunts

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 3:38pm

    Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    I suspect that it is impossible for anyone to be a good president in this clime. Whoever gets into office is is probably going to, at best, only slow our descent toward authoritarianism. They may not have a choice (or risk political suicide and contrived public disgrace) but to sustain torture and drone strike programs, extend the mass surveilance program, condone police brutality and judicial overreach, fuel the military, prison and intelligence industries and so on.

    Considering the track record of political prejudice in United States, the next black candidate will have to suffer from comparisons to Obama, with overtones that the new guy will make similar mistakes and suffer from similar problems. It's not (very) true, of course, but it's an easy-to-swallow argument for common voters.

    Hillary will set a similar stage for the next woman President. She doesn't even try to present herself as an outlier but really is a status-quo politician who may push for small progress towards civil liberties and social equality, but will not even acknowledge the authoritarianist agenda let alone dissent against it.

    So those who want for women to be not only accepted but actually commonplace in the presidency will want a better forerunner than Hillary.

    Granted, If such a thing is possible without taking a Dallas bullet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    who may push for small progress towards civil liberties and social equality
    you made me LOL

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    "Hillary will set a similar stage for the next woman President". CNN and MSNBC anchors get $100 every time they say HRC is President in the past tense. How much do you get?

    Of course it isn't to sway voters. It is expectation management in order to suppress future investigations into the soon to be perpetrated voter fraud.

    12 reasons NOT to vote for HRC:

    1. Repeal of Glass Steagall which eventually led to AIG.
    2. 1996 telecommunications act, which led to massive media market consolidation, and the vomit inducing polarized political climate we now enjoy.
    3. 1994 crime bill, that produced the current prison industrial complex.
    4. "I don't understand all that email stuff." She clearly has no concept of the tech sector, which will be THE driving force for the U.S. economy over the next decade.
    5. Why would you want your mother in law running the country?
    6-11, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, the RIAA, the MPAA all want her to be Democratic Presidential Candidate.
    12. Bonus reason: Bills pecker will still end up being the focus of news cycles, even as the first lech.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2016 @ 6:59pm

    You seem to think I said something I didn't say.

    I didn't say Hillary would be a good president or should be one. Granted, she's a better choice than anyone on the GOP side, but not by much. At least she's not going to close the abortion clinics, though she might give federal funding carte blanche to the intolerance-preaching churches.

    I was saying that for those who are voting for Hillary based on her XX chromosome that it's not going to serve them in the long run. Not only is this not a time that presidents will have even the opportunity to serve the people of the US, but Hillary wouldn't even try. She's as much of a Skull-and-Bones insider as her husband.

    If you want to suggest someone that might restore even a modicum of integrity to the United States, feel free. I doubt such a person could get elected, though.

    If you want to suggested a means to change the paradigm, feel free to do that too. But so far there are no solutions that will instigate significant change in our lifetimes.

    I'd really like to believe in Bernie, but I am entirely skeptical. I think we will see the same contrast between Sanders-the-candidate and Sanders-the-President as we saw with Obama.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    frank87 (profile), 23 Apr 2016 @ 2:37am

    Internet is made for arguing since USENET

    Arguing on social media is fun because you get to know the thoughts of people you don't agree with.
    If a candidate sends in a lot of paid trolls, you'll get an bad impression of her followers. Recycling a limited amount of talking points makes you look very stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 23 Apr 2016 @ 6:05am

    Re: I got the Founding Fathers on the line:

    Not really, because the US didn't exist when the revolution happened, so it didn't get scrapped.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    Equality for the sexes in one line:

    $us_federal_code =~ s/(he|she|his|her)/person/gi ;

    My expectation is that you won't find a lot of feminists that would support that approach. Can't imagine why.

    Three more reasons not to vote for HRC:

    14. Didn't King George and George W. Bush teach teach us a lesson about familial dynasties?

    16. Doesn't her campaign sort of conflict with the sentiment of the titles of nobility clause of Article 1 Section 9.

    17. Didn't the Mcnamara and the Cheney administrations teach us a lesson about corpo-puppet Presidencies?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:03am

    pay a million to say a lie often enough might just sway some people

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: A little more concerned about VA and MD

    the government has not been for the people or legality for decades now, possibly for over a century

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    nasch (profile), 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    CNN and MSNBC anchors get $100 every time they say HRC is President in the past tense.

    Citation? Or was that a joke?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re: So "Bernie Bro" is a thing now?

    how about benghazi boys

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:08am

    Re:

    considering she let people die in benghazi because she couldn't be bothered to do her job to get them out. She considers herself dead broke because she is only a multi millionaire instead of a billionaire and expects sympathy from the average american for that fact. She accepts and refuses to return money from people and groups that support abusing women. while claiming to support battered women.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:08am

    Re:

    considering she let people die in benghazi because she couldn't be bothered to do her job to get them out. She considers herself dead broke because she is only a multi millionaire instead of a billionaire and expects sympathy from the average american for that fact. She accepts and refuses to return money from people and groups that support abusing women. while claiming to support battered women.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re:

    why is this doubling up?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 7:10am

    Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    considering she has labeled anyone who doesn't vote for her as sexist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    If you think making the text of the law gender-neutral will achieve all feminist aims at a stroke, you're dreaming. How would that even produce pay equity, let alone eradicate rape culture and the like? You can't make male privilege go away with merely the stroke of a legislative pen.

    On top of which, your procedure won't work anyway. For one thing it will jumble up possessive and non-possessive pronouns, replacing all with "person". Second, it won't change "woman", "women", "men", etc.

    Even making the law gender-neutral is more complicated than you thought. Achieving the goals of feminism is far, *far* more complicated yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    "Citation? Or was that a joke?"

    If it was a joke I expect it won't be soon. Bordellos aren't charities after all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Voting for Hillary to advance women's equality

    "If you think making the text of the law gender-neutral will achieve all feminist aims at a stroke, you're dreaming."

    So to summarize, feminists aren't interested in equality before the law, but some other equality. And this other equality is predominantly threatened by abuse perpetrated by men?

    In my experience this view is consistent with other feminists I have met. I regret to inform you that I decline your appointment as your oppressor for the day.

    It is precisely this feminist attitude that keeps women from ever becoming equal before the law. Solidarity comes after responsibility, not before. If feminists really wanted to be equal, they would sign up for Selective Service. Compulsory service for both sexes is common in many egalitarian countries, and it provides precisely the cultural solidarity required to advance womens civil rights.

    Or is that not the kind of equal your talking about?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Apr 2016 @ 12:28pm

    Feminism is more diverse than you think.

    Feminism is a very large movement, and in that, like other very large movements such as conservatism, a great diversity of opinions, positions and agendas are held under the feminist umbrella. It would be folly to assess the whole feminist movement from even a handful of specific opinions, let alone one.

    Secondly, changing pronouns in the letter of the law would not be enough to create degree of social change that would embody gender abolition. Even with racial equality established in Constitutional amendments, the US struggles with systemic racial intolerance, as, for instance, the whole Ferguson affair has shown.

    You may be looking to discredit or dismiss feminism, but that doesn't change that sexual inequality is significant, and that many of the gripes expressed by feminists have legitimacy.

    You may disagree with a specific feminist or a specific position (I often do.), but dismissing feminism altogether is a bit overgeneralizing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2016 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Feminism is more diverse than you think.

    "Secondly, changing pronouns in the letter of the law would not be enough to create degree of social change that would embody gender abolition. Even with racial equality established in Constitutional amendments, the US struggles with systemic racial intolerance, as, for instance, the whole Ferguson affair has shown."

    I concede that the law will never stop discrimination. But in the legal distinction between sex really more of a resource than a hindrance? What crime is unique to a sex? What poverty is unique to a sex? What rights are intrinsically unique to a sex? And if one IS unique to a sex, doesn't that mean that the law isn't required to distinguish? The uniqueness kind of does that inherently doesn't it?

    So yeah. Whack every personal pronoun in the code. Some outcomes will favor women. Some will favor men. It is probably a wash at this point. And if something no longer makes sense, it was cruft, and shouldn't have been there to begin with.

    I think you'd find a whole bunch of crusty bigots behind benches getting totally flustered. How do you interpret gender neutral law in a sexist way without your sexism being flagrant? Personal pronouns in court opinions would become a canary. Why would feminists NOT support that?

    It isn't easy to go a whole day without using personal pronouns. Try it sometime. I think you'll find it makes conveying bigoted ideas quite difficult. And isn't that a good thing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    Lisboeta, 24 Apr 2016 @ 7:35am

    I like that idea.

    "...scrap this whole America thing and try to start something new from scratch."

    The current travesty, once consigned to the past, could be referred to as Waserica? As for its reincarnation, my first thought was 'Numerica'. But that name's already taken. (Can't start out mired in trademark disputes!) Maybe Protomerica, as an homage to what the founding fathers had intended?

    And we've always been at war with Waserica.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2016 @ 8:16am

    Re: I like that idea.

    Not as far off as you might think. Something like 20 states have standing calls for a Constitutional Convention. That number will climb without a serious progressive shift in government in the next several years.

    Which would you rather have? Bernie, or a Constitutional Convention with the current Congress? Jesus, I shudder to think.

    Civil Rights movements should take that into consideration. A vote for HRC may lead to suspension of Roe v. Wade, and gay marriage by constitutional amendment. That scenario is way more likely with HRC, than with Bernie.

    See the whole board.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2016 @ 10:45am

    Re: Feminism is more diverse than you think.

    Funnily enough, though, conservatism is susceptible to a general counterargument.

    The thing is, the bedrock core of conservatism is an effort to defend, sustain, and in many cases expand one or more entrenched, unearned privileges such as class privilege or male privilege.

    The great diversity of opinions, positions, and agendas under the conservative umbrella boil down to disagreements over ways and means, over which of these privileges it is important to preserve (or how important each one is), and over whether and how much to restore or expand them.

    Since none of these unearned privileges should be preserved, let alone expanded, the full diversity of conservative opinion may be dismissed on the grounds that they disagree with one another only on which of several closely-related bad things to do and how to do them. :)

    (Special note on class privilege: though it's possible to become wealthy through hard work and effort, though less so than it used to be, most of the wealthy did not earn (most of) their money, and furthermore, there is a difference between money and class privilege. Thus the destruction of class privilege is not the same thing as communism, socialism, the abolition of private property, or any such bogeyman. An element of class privilege has been destroyed, for example, if it remains possible to be rich, but ceases to be possible to get away with serious crimes or get off more lightly simply because one is rich -- commit a felony and you'll get the same handcuffs, jail cell, trial, and imprisonment treatment whether prince or pauper. Currently, there's a stark difference in treatment between poor and wealthy defendants in the justice system -- that is class privilege. Having to be rich to stand much chance of influencing, or being elected, in politics -- that is class privilege. If the rich merely maintain proportionally higher buying power of things that aren't supposed to be "not for sale", but cease to be treated differently otherwise, then class privilege is gone. Buying a private jet is not class privilege. Not being subject to eco laws and emissions inspections for that private jet, or buying a judge or a Congresswoman, or getting special lenient treatment by police and the courts just because you are wearing an expensive suit and a tie, is class privilege.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. identicon
    Eponymous Drawcard, 24 Apr 2016 @ 5:03pm

    Corn farmers and popcorn sellers rejoice!

    "sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have
    belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.”

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. icon
    nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2016 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re: I like that idea.

    A vote for HRC may lead to suspension of Roe v. Wade, and gay marriage by constitutional amendment. That scenario is way more likely with HRC, than with Bernie.

    I'm not following, why is that more likely with Clinton?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. icon
    nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2016 @ 9:13pm

    Re: Re: Feminism is more diverse than you think.

    The thing is, the bedrock core of conservatism is an effort to defend, sustain, and in many cases expand one or more entrenched, unearned privileges such as class privilege or male privilege.

    According to whom?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    AI, 24 Apr 2016 @ 11:01pm

    I don't know if their efforts are working or not. There are many sources stating that trashing these "Bernie Bros" may cost Hillary and them the November General. ...and you can't blame "Bernie Bros" for that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, 25 Apr 2016 @ 5:52am

    The DNC is taking the route of the CCP with the use of the 50 Cent Army?

    Had to chuckle on this article, given this has been the tactics of the Chinese Communist Party for years now, employing a staff of people to turn any reasonable talking point/debate into just another flaming pile of Internet Hissy Fitting. These staffers are called the '50 Cent Army' back in P.R. China, because it was claimed they are paid 50 Cents per post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2016 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Re: I like that idea.

    Because a Clinton nomination is more likely to end up with a Republican in the White House, plus retaining control of the House and Senate, versus a Sanders nomination; and because the growing discontent of the 99% won't just go away but will get worse over the course of yet another four year term with a neoliberal in charge. If things boil over at the next election there might not be a Sanders-like candidate, but there will almost certainly be a Trump-like candidate, who would then likely win. And if they boil over *between* elections it's the Trumpies and their ilk that would carry forward a revolution, likely installing an authoritarian centrist social conservative into power.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2016 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Feminism is more diverse than you think.

    According to the observational data. What policies do conservatives push?

    * Social conservatives explicitly push to maintain/restore male privilege and usually racial privilege.

    * Fiscal conservatives are the ones with the "if you're poor, it's your own damn fault, you lazy git, get off your ass and get a job and stop holding your hand out for public assistance at taxpayer expense!" rhetoric. The prejudiced attitudes towards the poor expressed therein reveal the underlying motivation to be the preservation of class privilege. A genuine believer in a meritocraticy would strongly prefer a level playing field to a tilted one, but fiscal conservatives' attacks on proposals for universal higher education, or even improving the quality of K-12 schools in poorer neighborhoods, betray them as not genuine meritocrats. Rather than push for equality of opportunity, they respond with outrage to any effort to increase upward mobility. That's the response of someone who feels a privilege is threatened, and the privilege threatened by upward mobility is class privilege.

    Lastly, note that *all* conservatives seem to spend much of their time attacking equality of opportunity on one level or another. If it's not class-based, then it's attempts to prevent equal opportunity for women, or for racial minorities, or for trans people, or etc.

    I challenge you to find one conservative, or one policy plank generally described as conservative, that does not serve the aim of denying equality of opportunity to some class, race, sex, or etc.

    And before you reach for a seeming low-hanging fruit, let me demolish one such plank immediately, to wit, "balance the federal budget". Deficit-hawking is class privilege, as evidenced by the actions of deficit hawks, who are always quick to slash social programs that make up a tiny fraction of the annual federal budget, while completely ignoring the giant honking excess of military spending in the same budget. A meritocrat with a desire to balance the budget would cut the fat there first, just because there is so much of it, and pare the military down to what's sufficient to defend home soil and deter attacks, plus some reasonable margin for error. You could likely shave of hundreds of billions that way, probably enough to turn the deficit into a surplus without touching any domestic programs. So the actual, real-world deficit hawks here are not meritocrats. In fact, the purpose of the giant military spending is to lavish huge subsidies upon the defense industry, and thus to line the pockets of the owners of the big military-industrial businesses. A policy purpose-designed to take from the poor to give to the rich is nothing if not class privilege at its near-worst.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2016 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re: I like that idea.

    "I'm not following, why is that more likely with Clinton?"

    First lets consider that Constitutional Amendment precedes POTUS veto and SCOTUS opinion. So we are talking about a VERY serious problem here.

    Constitutional Convention is more likely with HRC, because we are already moving in that direction and stagnation doesn't stop the clock.

    There is a few decades worth of propagandized bigotry pointed at HRC. (wrong or right, it is there) Congress won't have to maneuver to stop her because there are no constituencies that are on the fence about her. It is fair to say that Congress would prefer HRC to Bernie. They already know how their constituencies will react.

    Now consider this: If a Constitutional Convention (or possibly even armed insurrection) was inevitable, what would be the outside window for such an event?

    My thinking is that the latest it would occur, would be defined by the Ogallala aquifer (probably less than 100 years). When it dries up, the entire mid-west will be a desert with a relatively low population density that is religiously fundamentalist and very well armed. Know any countries that look like that?

    It may happen before that, but either way the U.S. economy is looking at a VERY serious change to our economic infrastructure, whether we like it or not. We are speeding towards it. Smoke bellows from Obama's tires as he tries to avoid the collision. HRCs tires are already bald and her brakes are worn. Bernie? Well we don't know.

    What we do know is that change will require leading the plebs on both sides of the debate. We also know that Bernie is going to have less problems with the NRA. Not to mention it is going to be difficult to do any birther style propaganda without coming off as an anti semite.

    It isn't about boy/girl, red/blue at this point. There are serious consequences to stagnation, and HRC is already a lame duck to Congress. Certainly she has the skills. But skill is not all that is required here. Both sides will be needed to fix the problems we now have. And while she could win, she won't be able to lead. There will be no margin available to gain support after the election.

    Her first 100 days will look like her last 100 days. And that is why Constitutional Convention is more likely with HRC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Apr 2016 @ 11:39am

    The Conservativism by which I was raised

    While I can agree with you that the preservation of separate casts and established privilege is the outcome of conservatism, the philosophy I was raised under is that new law, especially law written without thoughtful consideration (which is the unfortunate common norm) is dangerous and will tend to make things worse.

    Now I'm the first person to note that the status quo sucks, and for those who suffer under it (and in several other circumstances) it's really hard to go wrong with any change.

    I'm also the first to challenge austerity. State debt is the only kind of debt that continues to be handed down from generation to generation, where children of children pay for the exploits of their ancestors. Furthermore, austerity doesn't really tend to reduce the debt since those that favor austerity still have programs (e.g. the military) that they still want to budget. It just makes everyone more miserable, except those who push austerity budgets, because they make themselves exempt.

    Still, we have seen specific ways that good intentions turn into bad laws and worse agencies. For instance:

    ~ Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy by which law enforcement precincts across the land and the FBI and intelligence agencies have deteriorated from agencies to serve the public to agencies to secure their next budget and otherwise assure their continuance. Based on this, agencies and programs that no longer serve the public are difficult to retire, new or old, which indicates risk when considering creating a new one or expanding an old one.

    ~ Efforts to create natural law by tort. Old ones are rare and laughable, but currently efforts to mandate a secure backdoor to encryption for law enforcement purposes crosses into this territory. I suppose you can round pi to ~3 or G to ~10m/s^2 for elementary education purposes, but applied to actual engineering, that can cause problems. As our science and technology advances, the laity and our representatives will get further and further removed from understanding the science enough to determine what can or cannot be done. (They're already not very good at what should or should not be done.)

    ~ Policies enacted from the perspective of privilege, usually under the pretense that the position of privilege is the common norm, or that people commonly agree with those pretenses (e.g. most Faith-Based government programs that favor religious non-profits so long as they're Christian). It's notable that policies that identify minorities based on minority attributes (rather than circumstances) are used as precedent for later policies to focus privilege.

    ~ Policies that are emotionally driven, made in haste during panic following a disaster or war, or in are enacted in the state of national emergency. This is how we end up with our extrajudicial detention and interrogation program in which common civilians can be imprisoned and tortured without due process, just because. And now, an astounding number of people think this status is right or okay.

    I'm no longer a conservative because I'm aware that the system is too broken and too many people suffer for it. I also was raised with some of the rhetoric that is still used today to justify privilege and have come to challenge not only notions such as laziness, but even merit by which to base benefits, or the right or need of a state to determine benefits by assessing a given recipient's moral character.

    Still when I was raised conservative, any underlying interest in preserving privilege was not evident. Indeed, the notion of passing new laws to preserve or increase privilege was regarded as reprehensible. Instead, the arguments of conservatism focused on the caution of making change.

    Instead, there was a lack of acknowledgement that there was privilege* at all. I wasn't even aware that what we had was a thing that others couldn't access. (Other than starving kids in China.) Ultimately, the conservatism under which I was raised was a belief that the system needed to be tweaked and tuned, rather than overhauled.

    Of course, this is not to say there aren't conservatives that acknowledge the privilege they have, and seek to preserve it, get more of it and deny it to others. The conservative push from the eighties very clearly was aiming to consolidate power and benefits to white males in powerful Protestant churches such as the SBC. When corporations do it, it's called protectionism. It may even be that most conservatives are that way. But some of the conservative spectrum doesn't.

    * I would still opine that white male privilege as I understand it is a misnomer, it's a compilation of behaviors and observances commonly afforded white males that should be afforded equally to everyone. So rather that a benefit white males shouldn't have, white male privilege is better described as a deprivation inflicted on everyone else. Not that this semantic difference solves the problem at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2016 @ 8:14am

    Re: The Conservativism by which I was raised

    For the most part, I don't disagree with this. In theory, there could exist a genuinely principled conservatism in another time and place, to wit, a utopia where any change would indeed likely be for the worse.

    But here and now, even a basic "change is dangerous, let's avoid it" conservatism is privilege, because of those who are disprivileged who need change now. There is no justification, for example, for women to make 79 cents on the male dollar, or for the much more violent and lethal treatment of blacks at the hands of the justice system than whites. Fixing these would not be dangerous change. Not fixing them, on the other hand, is dangerous -- indeed, actively lethal in the latter case.

    Thus, if one is comfortable and thus afraid of anyone rocking the boat -- that's privilege. Only if everyone is comfortable does that cease to be the case.

    Perhaps the most dangerous form of conservatism is, in fact, the simple "don't rock the boat; the system we have works, so let's not change anything" type. As long as the system does not work equally for everyone, that will perpetuate injustice, while at the same time it looks "moderate and reasonable", which makes it insidious. It's also fundamentally undemocratic; democracy is, ultimately, about change, not stasis, and specifically the ability of people for whom the system works less well than others to make it work better for them. If change is best avoided, why not set the law to read-only, disband most of the legislature save what is needed to pass the annual budget bill, and suspend elections, putting the government into a permanent "caretaker" mode? (Bet plain-old-anti-change conservatism doesn't sound so moderate and reasonable now).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Apr 2016 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: The Conservativism by which I was raised

    Yep. Hence the changes in my own positions as circumstances revealed themselves.

    Though I'd argue that the slowness of Democracy (no change can be made until so many people sign off on it as right and good) is one of the weaknesses of democracy. Indeed, the the whole checks-and-balances system is based on the notion that the status quo will be preserved when tyrants get into power.

    That was also a purported advantage of fascism when in the early twentieth century nations were openly considering fascism and soviet communism (lower case intentional) as the next step up from democracy.

    Fascism has the advantage that projects get implemented fast. But it's highly susceptible to tyranny, including the common human biases that democracy is supposed to discourage (e.g. scapegoating).

    As Churchill commented, Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time. (House of Commmons 1947-11-11, though it sounds like he was borrowing the phrase from elsewhere.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 26 Apr 2016 @ 2:39pm

    The word you're looking for is "Scraptivism," where the target isn't necessarily the person you're talking to, but his or her followers.

    It's very effective in getting the word out and provoking discussion. The trick is to present yourself as the grownup in the room. I do it all the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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