Fellow Travelers

Monday, July 25, 2016

For the Progressive Left to win, Clinton must lose

Apparently this needs a tldr, because 7 pages about the political future of the country is too long for an electorate raised on 30 second sound bites. So, here's the summary:

1. Clinton is demonstrably corrupt, as is the DNC machine that got her the nomination, and electing her rewards that corruption.

2. With a corrupt and unpopular incumbent, the Democrats lose downticket elections in 2018 and 2020, as well as allowing someone even worse than Trump to take over the Republicans and beat Clinton in 2020.

3. The president's party loses seats in the midterms more than 75% of the time.

4. Democrats have lost 900 state legislature seats since the reasonably popular Obama was elected, and it'd be much worse under Clinton.

5. Republicans need 38 state legislatures to be able to overrule the Supreme Court and change the Constitution and its amendments however they want.

6. Currently Republicans control both chambers of the state legislatures in 31 states, and one of two chambers in 8 more.

7. If Trump wins, it will be a disaster for Republicans for the same reasons that Clinton would be a disaster for Democrats.

8. Trump isn't nearly as bad as he's presented, and his worst excesses would be limited by the leadership in his own party.

9. For these reasons, it is imperative that Clinton loses in November, because the alternative is 12 years of Democrat losses. A Trump presidency would be bad but it wouldn't be that bad, but it would lead to 12 years of progressive wins.

10. Vote for whoever you want. Clinton, Trump, Stein, Johnson. Trump perversely actually does have the best and the most specific trade policy right now, Johnson is pro-TPP, and Clinton is lying about opposig it. I'll probably be undecided until I push the button on the Diebold machines only to have it get edited in post to a Clinton vote.

====================
Recently emails were released that were hacked from DNC email servers showing something we all suspected, that the DNC was extensively colluding with Clinton and with the media to favor her campaign over that of Bernie Sanders.

This is in violation of DNC bylaws. Article 5, Section 4 of the charter and bylaws of the Democratic Party requires the DNC chair to remain impartial during the primary process, a rule that Schultz seems to have violated in these emails:
In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.
“She finally did, but not before speaking with President Obama — and not without a fight, according to Democrats familiar with the negotiations.”
“I want to thank my longtime friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her leadership of the Democratic National Committee over the past five years. I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership. There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie–which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states. I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid–because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people.”
She was forced out for misconduct, for actively working against Clinton’s challenger, and she was immediately rewarded for that. It’s corruption as plain as day, as plain as the nose on my face. And to me at least, it is inexcusable.

How do we as voters, as regular people, force the Clinton campaign to see real world repercussions for this? How do we keep Clinton and DWS from getting away with it? We have only one option. 

Don’t vote for her.

If Clinton wins in November after all this, it will become the way politics are done. She presents herself as the status quo candidate, and this will be the new status quo. It will be impossible to get anyone in office again at the federal level, certainly as a Democrat, who is not in the pockets of the wealthy. Anyone who hasn’t benefited from years of patronage and dealmaking. It will be eternal corruption.

Donald Trump right now is the candidate of racists and idiots. And he may be one himself, or it may be an act. Certainly Tea Party conservatives and republicans are unquestionably the easiest people to manipulate as a politician. The only thing you have to do is say what they want to hear. There’s a very important point in the existence of Trump’s base that can’t be ignored, and yet it often is, and this is that point:

Trump’s supporters would be present in American politics with or without him.

These are people whose positions and beliefs and viewpoints have been shaped by their lives and by the economic circumstances they’re living in. If Trump loses, they’ll still be there, except they’ll feel even more desperate and pissed off and powerless. And in the highest office of the land we’ll have one of the most flagrantly corrupt politician in many people’s memories.

This will leave conditions right for a far right strongman politician, one who is actually everything Trump pretends to be, somebody who has the Republican establishment on his side and who has the alt-right racists and white supremacists on his side. He’ll promise to clean up DC’s corruption, and he’ll have an easy time getting into office on the backs of national exhaustion following 4 years of Clinton crony corruption.

That’s a hypothetical, admittedly. What is not hypothetical is that the party of the incumbent president tends to lose seats in midterm elections. In the 21 midterms since 1934, the incumbent party has lost Senate seats 76% of the time, and has lost House seats 86% of the time. This is also a trend that holds over into local and state elections. The Democrats have lost over 900 state legislator elections since Obama’s election:
“The bottom line: Republicans now control about 56 percent of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats, up 12 percentage points since 2009.
Thirty-five states posted double-digit seat losses for the Democrats in state legislatures, including more than 50 seats each in Arkansas, New Hampshire and West Virginia.”
Why does this matter? Well, the Democrats have focused their energy on winning federal elections, and occasionally on Senate and House and Governor elections. Republicans have realized that they have a very hard time winning on the federal level, so for at least the last decade they’ve focused on the state legislatures.

If Clinton wins the presidency this year, that trend likely continues. The Democrats continue to lose Senate and House seats in the midterm, and the Republicans increase gains in the state legislatures. We’ve seen the drastic and tone deaf missteps that Clinton in her unbridled arrogance can’t stop making. That’s going to happen during a Clinton presidency too, and it will be a lead weight dragging on those downticket races.

There are two very important reasons why this could be disastrous. First, we’re coming up on the 2020 US Census. Whoever wins state legislature seats in 2018 and 2020 will be the ones deciding redistricting following the 2020 census. When Republicans got into office in 2010, they gerrymandered the House districts in their states and ensured that their midterm gains would be solidified and could be expanded upon. It’s why the Republicans held the House for the last three congresses and why the Democrats aren’t even talking about taking back the House, just *maybe* the Senate. Effectively, and what we’ve seen from recent political history, whoever wins the state legislatures will decide who holds the US House through the 2020s.

That’s the best case scenario.

The other reason ties into a growing progressive movement called the Wolf PAC.  They have a plan to overturn Citizen United and get big money out of politics by using state legislatures to call for an amendment proposing convention.
“According to Article V of our Constitution, Congress must call for an amendment-proposing convention, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States”, and therefore 34 state legislatures would have to submit applications.”
That number is a very significant one. 34 state legislatures would have to agree. If 34 state legislatures move for a Constitutional Convention, it happens, and it would take 38 states to ratify the results of that convention.

Right now the Wolf PAC is a long shot. It’s only passed in a handful of states. Its supporters will tell you that these sorts of political movements work slowly but grow rapidly. There’s a problem with that.

Right now the Republicans control both the state house and the state senate (or equivalents) in 31 states. In 8 more states they control one of the two chambers. This means that the Republicans are 3 state chambers away from being able to call their own constitutional convention, and only 7 state chambers away from being able to ratify it.

The US Constitution is effectively the operating system code for our country. If they can change it, they can change anything they want. Rewrite the 1st amendment to not apply to Muslims? Ban gay marriage? Ban abortion? Abolish the minimum wage? They could do all that. They could do anything they wanted.

And Republicans at the highest levels know this. It’s a long term goal of ALEC, an otherwise little known conservative group you may not have previously heard of:
Cruz, along with fellow Republican presidential aspirants Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), has endorsed an old conservative goal of a Constitutional amendment to mandate a balanced federal budget. The idea sounds fanciful, but free-market ideologues associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive group of right-wing legislators and their corporate allies, are close to pulling off a coup that could devastate the economy, which is just emerging from a recession. Their scheme could leave Americans reeling for generations. A balanced budget amendment would prevent the federal government from following the Keynesian strategy of stimulating the economy during an economic depression by increasing the national debt. (Since 1970, the United States has had a balanced budget in only four years: 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.) 
Article V of the Constitution lays out two routes for changing the law of the land: An amendment can be proposed by Congress or by a constitutional convention that is convened by two-thirds of the states (34). Either way, three-fourths of the states (38) have to ratify it. Previously, changes to the country’s founding document have been achieved by the first process. But as of today, 28 states—six shy of the two-thirds threshold required by Article V—have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. 
The ALEC-affiliated Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force (BBATF), which proffered the pledge signed by Cruz, is hoping to meet that 34-state threshold by July 4. BBATF is one player in an astroturf movement backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and embraced by right-wing state legislators.
Picture four miserable years of a Clinton presidency with Trump crowing from the sidelines the whole time. The Democratic Party and its voters demoralized from having to defend every terrible tone deaf arrogant corrupt move from the Clinton White House. Picture losses in 2018, and a loss in 2020 to somebody more charismatic than Trump but so much worse. Picture increased Republican control over the state legislatures, to 34 states and maybe even 38.

We’re told Hillary Clinton must be elected if for no other reason than for Supreme Court nominations. First off, we don’t know that her Supreme Court nominations will be anyone we want to see on the Supreme Court. Look at her record. Look at her priorities. Look at what she considers acceptable. And imagine her picking a Supreme Court Justice. But that’s beyond the point. Even if she picked perfect Justices, it won’t matter if there’s a constitutional convention. It won’t matter even a little bit.

The whole point of the predominantly left wing Wolf PAC is to overturn a Supreme Court decision using a constitutional amendment pushed through state legislatures. Republicans have the same goal, they are a lot closer to it, and they have a lot more Supreme Court decisions they want overturned. Additionally if Clinton gets a solid left majority on the Supreme Court, it will feel urgent and imperative to Republicans that they do exactly that. You’ll see a nationwide movement for it.

Where does that leave us? Yes, it’s common to share memes saying “If everybody who says they’d vote for a third party but third parties can’t win would actually vote for a third party then that party could win.” But let’s be honest. The United States federal system of government favors two parties and two parties only. Sometimes a party will break up and another will take its place. Nobody is currently alive from the last time that happened, when the Republican party was formed. Other times the goals and ideals of a party will shift over time, as happened with the Democrats and Republicans in the middle of the 20th century. Nothing has changed on that front since the Civil Rights Era, but it’s at least more likely. However, at this exact moment in time, barring force majeure like somebody dropping out of the race entirely, either Trump or Clinton will be elected in 2016.

What happens if Trump gets elected? Well, the racists will feel like they’ve won. And as we’ve seen with progressives after Obama got elected, people tend to think that winning the presidency is all they need to do and then they can sit back and take it easy, that they have accomplished their goals. Meanwhile Trump will be politically toxic for anyone in Republican governments to support. He’ll be a danger to any Republican Senator or Representative who works with him, especially anybody from a purple state. Republicans will love working with Democrats to block the worst of his insanities in Congress. Even if he tries to put utter loons up for the Supreme Court, they’ll be blocked by Congress.

This will lead to dissension in the ranks of the Republican Party, as the racist loons in the Republican Party see so much opposition from Congressional Republicans. From that you’ll get primary efforts in 2018 and 2020 to those Congressional Republicans, and Democrats have a good chance of picking up seats in those cases if a moderate Republican loses a primary. You may also get a primary challenge to Trump in 2020.

Meanwhile the incumbent President’s party, the Republicans, lose seats in 2018 and 2020. This helps the Democrats with redistricting after 2020, and a resurgent progressive wing will be able to put progressives in Congress through the 2020s. It also pumps the brakes on a Republican constitutional convention. And the Democrats will have a new person up in 2020, the result of a wide open primary without any “presumptive nominee”, somebody untainted by association with the toxic Clinton political brand that couldn’t even beat Trump. On top of this, you’ll have an electorate that is much more liberal, much more progressive, much more energized, and it will have spent the last 4 years outraged at Trump, instead of outraged at Clinton.

Will Trump kill terrorists and their families? Maybe. But Obama is doing that already. He's done a lot of that, and personally I'd welcome having the left opposing it again as they would under Trump, instead of excusing it as they are under Obama and would under Clinton. 

We’re conditioned in the US as voters to only focus on the current election. We’re conditioned to never think ahead, like a chess game, two more elections, three more elections, and so on. The electorate is like a bull, and the red cape of the other party is waved in front of us with the hope that we will charge, every time, only to have the cape be pulled away so we can be stabbed. Trump is a hell of a red cape, but he’s a cape nonetheless. And we know from leaked emails that the Clinton campaign and the DNC (is there a difference?) has been colluding with the media. Considering that, how bad do we actually know Trump is? Oh, he’s bad, sure, but is he the end of the world? Certainly the DNC wants us to think that, and the media coverage he receives makes him look that way, but we know the DNC works with the media to push false narratives. We have the proof in writing.

On top of that, if you read some of Trump’s more recent speeches, he’s not a *complete* moron. Take for example this speech on jobs and the economy from June. It’s said that Trump doesn’t offer specifics, but here he assuredly does:
Here are 7 steps I would pursue right away to bring back our jobs. 
One: I am going to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified. 
Two: I'm going to appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers. 
Three: I'm going to direct the Secretary of Commerce to identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm our workers. I will then direct all appropriate agencies to use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses. 
Four: I'm going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don't mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better. If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal. 
Five: I am going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take advantage of the United States will be met with sharply. 
Six: I am going to instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the WTO. China's unfair subsidy behavior is prohibited by the terms of its entrance to the WTO, and I intend to enforce those rules. 
Seven: If China does not stop its illegal activities, including its theft of American trade secrets, I will use every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes, including the application of tariffs consistent with Section 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. 
President Reagan deployed similar trade measures when motorcycle and semiconductor imports threatened U.S. industry. His tariff on Japanese motorcycles was 45% and his tariff to shield America’s semiconductor industry was 100%.
He knows the specific sections of these trade deals that can be used to correct the wrongs. Those things would not be terrible to have happen. What’s more is they’re going to resonate in the Rust Belt, in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and so on. Tim Kaine, in addition to being a poke in the eye to progressives, was a desperate attempt to get blue collar white voters back for the Democrats. But Tim Kaine supports trade deals. A credible job and trade plan could easily put Trump over in the swing states he needs to win.

Am I likely to vote for Trump? Probably not. But I don’t know who I’d vote for; I have serious problems even with Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. The Green Party supports homeopathy, and Gary Johnson recently came out in favor of the TPP.

I definitely think I’ve shown that Trump winning wouldn’t be the country ending disaster we’ve been told it would be, and that many of us believe it would be. And indeed, Clinton winning could be worse in many ways. Vote for whoever you want to vote for, but do not feel pressured into voting for Clinton as though the world will end if she doesn’t win. Because there’s a very real chance our country as we know it could end if she does. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

No, We Can't All Just Get Along With The Rise Of Genuine Textbook Fascism In America

A friend on Facebook who has the misfortune of having Trump supporters as friends asked them why they support Trump. What followed was a stream of Fox News propaganda and alt-right conspiracy theories, lunatic memes propagated through the American political zeitgeist like Kaposi's Sarcoma‎ through the body of an HIV victim. I won't punish anyone by repeating them all, but this one stuck out as particularly bad, and terrifying.
Obama had BLM in the WH. They are a terrorist group, and will be labeled as such soon. Cop killers in the WH sucks & so does the potus!
After 15 years of the War on Terror, what do we do with terrorists? We jail them indefinitely sometimes. More often, we kill them. Classifying someone as a terrorist means you take out their vehicle or wedding party or house with a Hellfire launched from Nellis, or you light them up with an Apache, or Marines take them out. We kill terrorists.

Black Lives Matter is a political movement, one I consider myself part of, that believes the police are far too ready to use and misuse deadly force, and that they do not have enough legal accountability for this, and that people are too ready to excuse them when people, predominantly African-Americans, die as a result.

For example, in florida this week a black behavorial therapist was shot by a cop while the therapist tried to calm an autistic patient in his care. When the black man, who thankfully survived, asked the cop why he was shot, the cop said "I don't know."

Let that soak in, because it's terrifying. It'd be even more terrifying if I was a black man, but as I possess empathy and common decency I can at least try to imagine how terrifying it would be to be in that position. What's more, that black man had been lying down on the ground with his hands in the air explaining to the police what was happening and that the autistic man had a toy truck. There is nothing more he could have done to comply and be non-threatening, but he couldn't change his skin color.

So, that's why Black Lives Matter exists. But to that Trump supporter, we're a terrorist movement. And in the US we kill terrorists.

After everything went to fucky fuck hell, the friend who'd asked the question initially made another post bemoaning the lack of unity and civility in American politics.
How can we expect our leaders to work across the aisle when we can't do the sane with our friends and neighbors? I asked a question to Trump supporters today and was shocked at how rapidly it turned partisan. What I found, in my opinion, is we share many of the same concerns. For me the only major difference is immigration. I do believe we need to put aside our preconceived notions of what a conservative and liberal are and speak to each other with a more open mind and try understand why others hold the beliefs they have.
The white woman who'd called BLM terrorists replied to this blaming us, and also quite inaccurately calling me a Clinton supporter, saying
Your Hillary friends started the insults & mud slinging. You asked your Trump friends for their opinion and we're getting good feedback until the Hillary supporters started attacking. Just saying. Go figure.
My own response to his post is reproduced below in its entirety:

I have no interest in a conversation with people who think Black Lives Matter activists, and I count myself among BLM supporters, are a terrorist movement.

Trying to "reach across the aisle" and sing kumbaya is a great thing but when you do that with the wrong people, people who hate you, people who want you dead, you're just putting your back in easy reach for them.

Americans need to wake up to the fact that we don't have gentlemanly political disagreements here any more than the competing political parties in the Weimar Republic had. We have open racist sexist fascism. Literal fucking fascism, and it wants us dead. 

Falling prey to the fallacy of the golden mean in this environment means you wind up half dead. Fascists who take power, people who think that annoying pesky protesters can be dismissed and summarily eradicated as terrorists, don't throw you halfway out of a helicopter just because you're a nice guy centrist. You either march in lock step or they will fucking kill you. 

The American South is littered with graves, marked and unmarked, of people during the civil rights movement who thought just being a good person was good enough until they ran into a deputy sheriff or sheriff allied with the KKK. 

I'm not a Hillary supporter (although it is easy for small minds capable only of binary thought to sort all "enemies" into one group), I'm not a liberal, I am an anti-fascist. That doesn't lead to me supporting friendly fascists like Clinton any more than it leads to me supporting unfriendly lowest common denominator fascists like Trump. 

It's easy to understand why other people have the ideas they have. The economy is shit in the US thanks to capitalist exploitation. As during the Depression era Weimar Republic, in the absence of class consciousness people who are poor or middle class, who have enough to be afraid of losing it, can be easily manipulated by a charismatic rabble rouser into hating different races and ethnic groups. Until we find a way to increase class consciousness racism will still be the default go to for the explanation of how shitting poor peoples lives are.

It's easy to understand why Mussolini rose to power, or why Franco's fascists in Spain rose to power, or why Pinochet came to power in Chile and started chucking intellectuals out of helicopters. It's easy to understand the motivations for people who enable tyrants. Hitler wrote extensively about what he was doing and how he was doing it while he was doing it, and there are no great secrets there. That we understand them doesn't make them any less imminently dangerous. I can understand sarin gas or botulinum or a scorpion but it doesn't make them any less deadly.

I'm distinguishing genuine racist fascists from all Trump supporters. There's a lot of overlap in the venn diagram, but there may be some people who support Trump who aren't fascists and who can be talked to and reasoned with. However, it would be extremely difficult because the one single overarching common element I see between every single statement I've ever seen made by Trump supporters is uniformly they are profoundly misinformed. They have a view of the world that demonstrably doesn't match up to reality. 

And what's worse is that when you point it out, they don't care. You can point out extensively sourced rebuttals of what they hold as articles of faith, and it just washes over them. You can't have a discussion or gentleman's agreement with that either. It isn't a philosophical difference or different values prioritized, it's a belief that 2+2 = 9/11Benghazi.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Daenerys has dragons that can mass produce Obsidian

I made the point recently on /r/gameofthrones that the dragons can make dragonglass.
Obsidian kills White Walkers, and obsidian is formed from lava. Dragonfire can melt stone and sand, as evidenced by Harrenhal. Dragons can turn sand into things that can kill White Walkers.
Somehow this was considered a "logical leap" and "video game logic" by some.

Which is ridiculous.

First, "Dragonglass" is just obsidian.
Dragonglass is a common name in Westeros for the substance known as obsidian, a form of volcanic glass.
Second, "Obsidian" is just "a hard, dark, glasslike volcanic rock formed by the rapid solidification of lava without crystallization."
It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition (high silica content) induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava.
Third, "Felsic Lava" can be produced at temperatures of 1200-1400 Fahrenheit if the chemical composition is correct.
Felsic Lava
 Felsic or silicic lavas such as rhyolite and dacite typically form lava spines, lava domes or "coulees" (which are thick, short lava flows) and are associated with pyroclastic (fragmental) deposits. Most silicic lava flows are extremely viscous, and typically fragment as they extrude, producing blocky autobreccias. The high viscosity and strength are the result of their chemistry, which is high in silica, aluminium, potassium, sodium, and calcium, forming a polymerized liquid rich in feldspar and quartz, and thus has a higher viscosity than other magma types. Felsic magmas can erupt at temperatures as low as 650 to 750 °C (1,202 to 1,382 °F). Unusually hot (>950 °C; >1,740 °F) rhyolite lavas, however, may flow for distances of many tens of kilometres, such as in the Snake River Plain of the northwestern United States.
Fourth, the question now becomes, is Dragonflame  hot enough to melt stone? Well, yes. This was done to make the dragonroads, the Black Wall of Volantis, and to thoroughly wreck Harrenhal. The color of the dragonfire of Dany's younger dragons indicates it is roughly 2000F give or take. More than enough to make Felsic Lava.

No leaps of logic, no video game logic, just a combination of the fantasy rules already established within the Game of Thrones setting (for example, "dragonflame is hot" and "dragonglass kills white walkers") and of real world science.

I'm not the first person to make the connection either
Dragonfire can be used to make more than just castle ruins, it can also turn sand to glass.  Dragonglass seems to be obsidian made with dragonfire instead of a volcano.   When lava rich in feldspar and quarts is cooled very quickly, there isn't enough time for the molecules to align neatly and form a crystal.  Instead, the molecules harden in a disordered fashion and become glass.  The resulting "volcano glass" is more commonly known as obsidian.  This is a distinct two step process.  First the rock is melted and becomes liquid and is then cooled quickly.  However, in certain cases this two step process happens very quickly and it seems the glass is produced in one step.  At the Trinity test site, it is not unusual to find what is called Trinitite or Trinity Glass.  During the bomb test the desert sand, composed mainly of quartz and feldspare with hints of other elements, was sucked up into the bomb blasts fireball, melted and cooled rapidly as it rained down.  It can be found in several colors depending on what trace elements are present, some types are even red when copper from near by electrical cables was brought into the mix.  It is mildly radio active.  This whole process can also happen when sand is struck by lightning.  The sand melts with the heat of the lightning then solidifies into glass very quickly.  It seems that there is no reason this shouldn't happen with dragonfire.  Interestingly, the temperature needed to melt rock and form obsidian is very close to the temperature needed to melt granite.  Seems like these dragons were made to conquer Westeros and create the weapons needed to rule Beyond the Wall.  If any one of the great dragons blew fire on sand or other glass-forming compounds, the sand would melt then harden quickly into the Walker-killing glass.
Hilariously, after I pointed all this out, the one who'd said
You got some heavy video game logic going on there.
Replied to my science with
In a fantasy world, yes I am going to assume that not everything in it is similar to the real world.
Now who's using video game logic?