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MA, thanks to the legislative gods, is not at the head of ballot initiatives. That onerous crown still belongs to CA. There, virtually any crackpot with a loony fetish can get it on the statewide ballot, given enough petition signatures. Here at least, all proposals go through that process, then a stringent screen by the Attorney General for legal stuff like constitutionality, and then legislative action in one or two sessions.

For fun, look at the AG’s filings here and Ballotopedia’s who-made-the-cut table.

Eventually the laggard Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will mail a booklet to registered voters listing the details of the four questions on November’s sheet. I’m a warden at a Boston polling place and I suspect that 90% or more of voters won’t read the booklet and arrive ignorant.

Pity, there are some goodies that made the cut. I deal with:

Q1: Expanding slot machine gaming.

Q2: Charter School Expansion.

Q3: Conditions for farm animals.

Q4: Legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I give an example or two of what didn’t make the ballot and why.

If you’re like most of my precinct’s voters what you want is the word. I can’t say on election day, but my call, just for you, is N, N, Y and Y.

icon for podpress  2016 MA Ballot Questions [29:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

The next two Tuesday shows have disparate topics:

  • TU 8/23, I’ll cover the four, likewise disparate, Massachusetts ballot questions for November 8th.
  • TU 8/23, the interim director of Transportation for MA (a huge coalition of public interest groups) joins me to discuss how to get everyone from home to work and back at a reasonable price on a reasonable schedule, safely.

If you want to listen live or chime, click here at 2:30 PM Eastern on 8/23 for the ballot questions. Likewise, if transit equity is real to you, click here at 1:30 PM Eastern on 8/30 or the T4MA show.

As always, the shows are available afterward back here, at the show URL or on our iTunes page.

 

HillhugWho said, “A house divided against itself cannot have a peaceful dinner?” No one. Then, how about, Proverbs 17:1 — “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”

My family did not quite rise to disowning and blows, but we were riven. Mot were strongly Bernie Sanders supporters versus one very strong Hillary Clinton proponent.

I talked about our difficulties as a microcosm of the leftist struggle this election. No family members were hospitalized in this house.

I mused on the likelihood of Sanders-to-Clinton voting, both for us and for the nation. Even with young voters heavily favoring Sanders, he did not mobilize them or add new ones as well as Barack Obama in ’08. The phrase of note for November 8th will surely be GOTV.

icon for podpress  Dems Butting Heads — Family Tale [19:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

My neck is way elongated for a big Hillary bump following the Dem convention. Honestly, the contrast between the parties could not be clearer. Hateful elephants and helpful donkeys. Pick ’em.

Today, I figured that Bernie Sanders did in fact do his do for Hillary at the convention. Lame, faddish commentators claim the hall rolled with unending boos when he endorsed her. Not so. There was a smattering and it seemed to reflect current Pew polling that 90% of the forever-Bernie folk plan to vote or Clinton.

A series of strong endorsements last night made the case. As a Sanders supporter, I am one of the disappointed. The FLOTUS gave a remarkable speech for Clinton, as did Sen. Al Franken.

Bernie did a 29-minute setup with conclusion for Hillary. If you have not heard it, do so now here. Also, catch Sarah Silverman’s six-minute and followup piece really was a or the highlight of the evening. Catch that here. The punchline is when she ad libbed to the only-Bernie types, “You’re being ridiculous!”

I’m calling a big bump for Clinton.

icon for podpress  Bernie's sauce [24:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Sure, we can find it easy to disdain Donald Trump. He is often obnoxious and antisocial. He lies incessantly and cheats non-stop. He claims to be a great businessman, but leaves a wide wake of bankruptcies and other failures, “winning” only because of sneaky contracts that guarantee him income when partners and suppliers eat the losses.

Yet, and  a huge yet, maybe 40% or more of Americans who say they’ll vote in November are willing to go for him. While 40% to 49% for the candidate of one of the two major parties is common, Trump’s case is odd. The stench that should surround him with his history does not for his fans, who seem neither to see nor smell the scat.

Rereading a sociological classic, the main reason for that popped out. Eric Hoffer described Trump followers accurately and in detail in The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. I looked up from the book to catch coverage of the Republican convention. The speakers and audience were dominated with irrational, emotional, even rabid chants and exclamations to jail or hang Hillary Clinton. The extra-judicial, even lynch mob fervor was it.

I talk a bit of how Trump transcended candidacy with mass movement. His people to a large extent are as Hoffer had it willing to subsume their thoughts and lives to a larger collective. They feel they are not in control of their lives and are convinced the existing power structure won’t fix that.

icon for podpress  Smell No Scat [15:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

About a third the way in, a caller interrupted my gun portion of the rant. He was a a registered firearms dealer, and coincidentally Black. He opposes any additional gun laws or regulations. He was of the it’s-not-the-specific-gun side. We each got out our views. I’m glad he called.

Otherwise, I asked whether the Dallas deaths of five police officers by sniper would be a tipping point. Sandy Hook, to many of our surprise, was not. Will Dallas be? Will the many deaths of young Black men this year and last be?

I hold that we need both legal and cultural shifts. Obviously to me the cultural part is much harder. Take policing. Cops are no better than other professionals at prosecuting or judging their peers’ actions. No matter how plain the audio, video and witness testimony, cops almost invariably skate away from what the rest of the world sees as murder.

Likewise, with guns, they should be tools not toys. No what politicians now term common-sense restrictions should be a problem, but they are. Will the assassination of five officers in Dallas be a tipping point for legislation?

 

icon for podpress  Tipping Points [31:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

No secrets from me. You can hear my opinion on the no-criminal-charges for Hillary FBI report below. The punchline is I say she’ll end up with a slight bump in voter support (a.k.a. polls) when things settle.

Contrast that view with the big media chorus of doom for her. Every bozo from those on FoxNews to NBC and on creak and croak that the exoneration means the opposite — that she’ll be weighed down by this burden to the November election. (Insert The Game of Thrones scene here and chant, “Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.”

As my mother used to say when she was disgusted with dummies, “For crying out loud in a bucket!” We can supposed the talking heads got together like middle-school kids to decide what color to wear that day.

I was amazed to turn on a local NPR station while I made dinner and heard the same. I like to delude myself that they folk tend to have more sense than the herd.

I did see a savvy recap of what’s up in a pollwatcher Daily Kos diary HCR Is Getting Gor’ed By An Incompetent Media. Spot on. We can also be sure when it’s clear they were wrong on this, they won’t apologize and ‘fess up anymore than right wingers would.

It’s enough to make me think for myself.

 

 

No free ride for Hillary Clinton. Yes, the FBI cleared her of criminal wrongdoing in its probe of her use of private email servers. Yet, it deemed that doing so was “extremely careless” and in particular did not follow federal protocols for archiving government records.

Those who hated and slandered her before are not about to start publicly apologizing to her or those in their social-media feeds. Plus, the fast majority of us who have been saying for a year or more that this would be the result also haven’t changed our opinion.

My questions were more along the lines of what does this mean to the third to half of the electorate who hadn’t totally made up their minds? I talk through why I think it will be a wash for her. The moderates and independents are likely to be more open to her. She’ll be a bump from the pending Democratic convention. The Hillary and sick-of-Democrats-in-the-White-House types won’t change their minds at all. I bet she’ll get a very modest bump in the polls when this settles.

 

icon for podpress  Hillary's Eek-mail [22:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

We’re not through with Elizabeth Warren yet in Massachusetts. You can’t have her as 2016 Vice President. She’s my U.S. Senator and is better than just fine.Elizabeth Warren

I get into why she’s effective beyond merely doing the job for us and discuss pros and cons of Hillary Clinton bringing her on the ticket. Unlike my usual cited sources, this is personal and my perceptions.

She has been doing a great job with her small stable of political and positions she rides in D.C. She largely is the conscience who shames the lackluster, plodding Senators with her dynamism and accomplishments. She was on the ground running even before she got to the Senate. She could do a great job for the next President as the leading Senator and not the disappearing lackey.

icon for podpress  No VP Warren: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

With this weekend’s Orlando horrors, let’s transcend fantasy. While that city is the nation’s dream kingdom, we have to get real.

I had to rant and am beyond impatient. Gun-rights crazies are quick to call for arming everyone with the most powerful weapons. Lefties beg Congress, please, oh pretty please, give us minimal background check laws. All is jive.

What doesn’t work are calls fantasies that because foreign armies haven’t landed here, we are safe. What doesn’t work is pretending that “the other” and “outsiders” are the threats (in reality only 9-11 and a tiny subset of mass murders here were by non-native citizens). What doesn’t work are having guards everywhere and surrendering the liberties that define our nation.

I went into a splash of the mass murders here from 1622, many by government agents and mobs. We are delusional in thinking we are unique and protected. It is our neighbor who is likely to attack us.

I propose some legislation but more mind shifts and social action. We see that gun buy-backs don’t work, that more guards don’t work, that surrendering liberties that define us won’t work. That nativism and isolationism don’t work.

Sure, we need to do the 1934 anti-Tommy gun laws for “assault rifle” weapons and such. We also need to loudly let members of Congress know that the wee donations from gun makers can no longer carry weight — calling out Senators and Reps who accept these bribes. Let’s not tremble from the slippery-slope argument and start immediately to remove semi-automatic rifles from this nation.

I’m not ready to give up my liberties to a Big Brother nor can I accept letting fellow citizens arm to kill me at whim.

icon for podpress  A Blood World After All: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download