Project Wonderful

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I Don't Even Know

From Independent Journal. Presented without comment.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bernie Sanders' Campaign Manager is Gaslighting the Democratic Party

Photo credit: @JustinConley

Headline: White male politician declining in the polls and caught in a scandal makes desperate attempt at dead cat politics by suing the DNC.

No it's not a Republican, though it's barely a Democrat either; It's Bernie Sanders.

When we last left our hero, the DNC had temporarily suspended his campaign's access to Votebuilder until they could confirm that his campaign had not exploited a glitch in the system. It is important to point out that this action was not punitive, as has been wrongly reported, but temporary while they figured out the extent of the breach and what to do about it. Then, in the height of political ass clownery, the Sanders campaign FREAKED OUT, decided it was being persecuted and sued the DNC to restore VAN access, accusing the DNC of ..."actively attempting to undermine [their] campaign."

Before I get to the meat of this post, let me say I would really like to see their contract. As many have pointed out, legally it may not have been "their" data, it may have been the DNC's data. There must be an acceptable terms of use policy which one would imagine they violated, but maybe not. I don't know that they had a legal leg to stand on here, which turned out to be moot because they eventually complied with the investigation (as they should have done quietly in the first place) and their access was restored.

But here's the real rub, the point that so enraged me that it delayed me from writing this blog last night because I nearly broke my computer attempting to punch Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver in the face: In a presidential election that is increasingly about the tenuous grasp of white male power, this move on the part of the Sanders campaign is privileged, entitled, status quo politics at its best. Bernie Sanders claims to be a man of the people, to be somehow more ethical, more equitable, and yet his campaign expects different and preferential treatment; he expects the system to bend to him.

I will absolutely concede that the Democratic Party infrastructure is more partial to Clinton than Sanders. And why shouldn't they be? As I wrote yesterday, Sanders has spent his career making a point of NOT being a member of the Democratic party only to run for its nomination when it was politically expedient. Then he flaunted the rules. His campaign continued to make this a story far longer and louder than was necessary, hurling invective and conspiracy theories at both NGP/VAN and the DNC, rather than complying and letting it die, embarrassing the party while still running to be its nominee. Gee, why wouldn't we love that guy?

But at the end of they day they still broke the rules. No one made them save those lists. They got caught. And now suddenly it's everybody's fault but theirs? It's a page out of the Republican playbook. It smacks of white male privilege. You're not winning so the game must be rigged? As one friend put it, you don't get to steal something from my house because the door is unlocked, blame the alarm company and then sue the police for arresting you. (By the way, if the campaign did not intend to "steal" the data and only to prove there was a problem then they didn't need to save it. You can read the Votebuilder logs of the four staffers involved here. )

Check out this clip of abusive- husband-in-an-episode-of-Law-and-Order/Bernie Rights Activist, Jeff Weaver. In it, he suggests that the Clinton campaign stole Sanders data during a security malfunction back in October then quickly backtracks when pressed and admits he made it up and just "assumed." (Because that's how things work in his paranoid, narcissistic world.) In another clip Weaver calls the DNC's decision to temporarily suspend access an "inappropriate overreaction." Hmm does that scenario sound familiar? Every woman reading this has had the experience of being wronged by a man in some way only to have him turn it around and accuse her of "overacting." Bernie Sanders' Campaign Manager is gaslighting the Democratic party.

Finally, didn't they see that episode of West Wing where the President calls Rob Ritchie stupid? Why didn't they let the story die? My only guesses are that a) they knew they messed up and they were trying for a misdirection Hail Mary b) they are so entitled/delusional that they really can't conceive of a world in which they are not victims c) Sanders is considering a third party run for the presidency. The case of c would be disastrous for those of us who above all don't want another right wing nut job running the country. Unless of course Trump also runs as a third party candidate in which case it would be equal parts terrifying and engrossing and have the opportunity to crack the politics of our country wide open.

Should be an interesting debate tonight. God bless the poor organizers on Sanders' campaign.

Friday, December 18, 2015

DNC to Bernie Sanders : Delete Your Account

If you keep the same Facebook company that I do, you have seen this story by now. Basically, there was a short-lived glitch in Votebuilder during which campaigns could access other campaigns' data. During this time a now-former Sanders staffer allegedly took advantage of this glitch and looked at the Clinton campaign's data. As a result, the DNC has suspended the Sanders campaign VAN access until they figure this all out.

A couple of thoughts...

First, don't shoot me but can you blame the guy? (The staffer, not Sanders.) Like you're telling me I can see my opponent's data and targeting and I'm not gonna look? I'm not saying he should have. I'm just saying don't wrap my Christmas presents in the same room as me and scream "don't peek!" (For what it's worth the staffer, with whom I have 6 Facebook friends in common, maintains he did not.)

Second, the coverage of this story. No, CNN it's not NGB-VAN. Also the ridiculous assertion made in this ABC video that a data breach is akin to getting the opposing team's playbook the night before the Superbowl. The data stored in VAN has at best tangential bearing on Clinton's debate performance. Getting the playbook would be like getting internal polling, footage of debate prep or a campaign plan. Also the general election is the Superbowl MAYBE the Iowa caucus or convention, but not one of several debates. This, affirming a cycle-long tradition of lackluster campaign coverage.

Third, this is some high-level snark. I knew Nation Builder and NGPVAN were competitors, but damn, Jim Gilliam, way to kick a guy when he's down.

And finally, is it fair for the DNC to "punish" the Sanders campaign for NGPVAN's mistake? Maybe not, but I don't think the intent is to punish so much as sort out an unfortunate situation. I will say this though, Bernie Sanders' history of attacking the Democratic party certainly couldn't have helped. Bernie Sanders made a point out of refusing to affiliate himself with the DNC until such time as it was politically advantageous to do so. That can't exactly engender sympathy at such an occasion.

Michael Briggs, spokesman for the Sanders campaign, blamed the incident on the software vendor used by the DNC.

“Sadly, the vendor who runs the DNC’s voter file program continues to make serious errors,” Briggs wrote in a statement to ABC News. “On more than one occasion, the vendor has dropped the firewall between the data of different Democratic campaigns. Our campaign months ago alerted the DNC to the fact that campaign data was being made available to other campaigns.”

Yes, VAN messed up but are you really trying to make these guys your enemy? In the politics of politics it is always wise to treat those whose help you may want in the future with respect. In fact, it is best to treat everyone that way.

Monday, December 14, 2015

First Women Elected In Saudi Elections

From The Guardian:

Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected to the council of Madrakah, a region in the holy city of Mecca, the official SPA news agency reported, citing election commission president Osama al-Bar. She was running against seven men and two women, he said.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women, including a ban on driving. It was the last country to allow only men to vote, and polling stations were segregated for Saturday’s election.

Among the 6,440 candidates were more than 900 women, who overcame a number of obstacles to participate in the landmark poll. Female candidates could not directly meet any male voters during their campaigns.

Female voters said registration was hindered by factors including bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of transport. As a result, women accounted for fewer than 10% of registered voters. Few female candidates were expected to be elected.

Women's rights in Saudi Arabia are a fascinating story. When all was said and done it looked as if about 20 women had won seats in local/municipal office. Not sure what to say except the moral arc of the Universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Somebody Made An Oops

It's been a really busy month for me which is a shame because there has been so much to blog about. In order to make sure I share as much as possible of the oodles of interesting campaign news out there I'm lumping some items together. I'm calling this post "somebody made an oops" because it is brought to you by some notable gaffes made by Presidential candidates and their campaigns over the past month. Enjoy!

Clinton campaign sends out typo, supporters retweet. Gotta love her on immigation.

Forget world geography, Ben Carson's campaign got a map of the United States wrong.

Also he called Hamas, "hummus."

Leaked National Republican Senate Committee memo on how Republican candidates should run if Trump becomes the nominee. My favorite line, “Candidates shouldn’t go near this ground other than to say that your wife or daughter is offended by what Trump said,” because you know candidates can't be offended...or women.

Someone dug up Ted Cruz's raw commercial footage and while it's not an anomaly in the campaign world it is awkward as helllll.

Bonus: Not technically a gaffe, but Frank Bruni's hit job on Ted Cruz is a standout in antipathy even in professional politics. Including the following quote from his college roommate, "“I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.”