My Photo

« Metro's random bag searches (II): A flawed policy made worse | Main | how do you like living in Omelas? »

March 07, 2011

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515c2369e2014e5f9c104e970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Your zeitgeist post:

Comments

I think anyone who compares any union member in Wisconsin to any rebel in Libya has a problematic moral compass.

beyond that I would be speechless.

I think the Cultural Revolution bit doesn't belong. It was just a new purge by Mao, same as the old purge.

I too don't think it's appropriate to liken Wisconsin to anything going on in the Middle East. The people over there are in actual and demonstrated risk of life and limb, and comparisons tend to trivialize that.

I have to agree that a protest against a dictator, at risk of life and limb, is very different from a protest against a governor who you and your fellow citizens elected. And who you can vote out of office if you feel that he misled you about his plans or otherwise is an unsatisfactory leader.

Similarly, a massacre by a dictator in place (Mao) without any sign of an uprising against him is rather different from even violent suppression of attempts to force changes in a country. Which is another way of saying that, appalling as he is, even Qadaffi is more justified in his actions that Mao was in the Cultural Revolution.

The Democratic Senators went to Sharm el-Sheikh?? I thought they went to Illinois.

Slartibartfast: EVERYONE who takes an unarmed stand is at risk. Even here. Totally agree about the Cultural Revolution, though.

CCDG: did you want to say something?

EVERYONE who takes an unarmed stand is at risk.

Some risks are more fatal than others, is the only difference?

"CCDG: did you want to say something?"

Nope, nothing here.

"The Dude" was indeed based on one of the Seattle 7, our very own Jeff Dowd, and the reference to "six other guys" overlooks the fact that one of them was named Susan Stern.

Com'on Dude, don't get all Donny on me. Take note, please, monswa IOZ!

"It's too early to tell," Zhou Enlai

Maybe there's something in the air that goes around every 40 years or so? Another observer noted the widespread Middle East unrest parallels the upheavals of Europe's revolutions of 1848.

I'll tell you this, however. What's going on in Wisconsin needs to spread like wildfire. The rich have torn up the social contract. There should be consequences as a result.

"It's too early to tell," Zhou Enlai

Perhaps a few more heads may need to roll, then?

Slarti, I agree re the possibility of trivializing something when comparing such qualitatively different situations, but I think you can still make such comparisons accurately with a little care and judicious use of the phrase "mutatis mutandis," which I have been itching to use for a while.

So do you think the LJ's comparison of Wisconsin with Libya and other ME uprisings trivializes the uprisings? I took for granted that he did not mean they are identical, but rather that they have in common collective grassroots resistance to government corruption by and collusion with corporate interests.

"mutatis mutandis," which I have been itching to use for a while

Point made, and taken. And regarding the itching-to-use thing in general: I feel your pain. Or itch, as the case may be.

Mutatis mutandis, Internet adversaries wind up being Hitler, and Red Guards wind up being forcefully relegated to the dustbin once they've served their purpose. The trick is deciding, as the reader of such things, how much weight to assign to each comparison.

It's possible for (1) people in Wisconsin to be inspired by people in Egypt -- I think that's "Zeitgeist" (transl.: spirit of the times) and I don't think it implies believing that the plight of people in Wisconsin is the same as that of people in Egypt.

It's also possible for (2) people in Egypt to consciously, directly support people in Wisconsin. Further, it's possible for people to (3) go from Egypt to Wisconsin and say way to go, here's how we think it all connects, keep up the good work.

All of these things have happened. #2 and #3 adds to effect #1. I can provide links on request, but I didn't want to get bogged down digging them up. Even one guy with a sign in Cairo, or one trade unionist delivering a pro Wisconsin speech in Arabic is significant. Maybe that's all there were -- and they were still significant. There was only one Tank Guy in Tiananmen Square, yet we all remember him.

That is, "Zeitgeist" is a good word for some of it -- and some of it is a little more direct than that.

"Perhaps a few more heads may need to roll, then?"

That depends. ;)

Mutatis mutandis, Internet adversaries wind up being Hitler, and Red Guards wind up being forcefully relegated to the dustbin once they've served their purpose.

There's a difference between saying "this thing resembles this other thing in specific ways germane to the topic", and "these two things are pretty similar".

I think the thing that differentiates an apt analogy from an inapt one is not whether or not there are qualitative differences, nor whether or not one is loaded with emotional baggage that makes the analogy likely to offend, nor even how dramatic are the points where they differ.

Rather it is this: "does the comparison help illustrate a useful or interesting point?" Even Nazi analogies have their place.

In this case I think it's fair to draw a comparison between the populist unrest in the ME and the populist unrest in WI. The stakes and the tragedies are dramatically different, but they both appear to be part of the growing "zeitgeist" of the powerless many standing up against the empowered few and saying: "enough".

Any offensiveness of such a comparison seems to have been lost on the Egyptians who expressed solidarity with the protesters in Wisconsin. Perhaps they see something in the spirit of the times that we don't?

"The stakes and the tragedies are dramatically different, but they both appear to be part of the growing "zeitgeist" of the powerless many standing up against the empowered few and saying: "enough"."

I get that. Up until the powerless many in WI get tired of protesting, or remove the evil tyrant Walker by a recall vote, and go home to their split level ranches to complain about the price of gasoline that will mean their three week vacation next year will have to be more local. Their high school kids will have to actually go back to school rather than spend a few weeks dirtying up the state house and they will get their tenure, life long health and retirement benefits while the people in Egypt try to piece together a government and the people in Libya try to stay alive.

Then somehow I lose the the sense of zeitgeist in the air.

There has been support for Wisconsin froma few Egyptians at least to the extent of ordering pizza for the Wisconsin folks. At least one Wisconsin protester ( a friend of mine) was inspired to join the protests becuase she feels that we need to have a popular uprising against our overlords, too. She recognizes that Walker's threats to call out the NationalGuard are empty threats and that our overlords aren't quite at the point yet of shooting anyone. However that point will be reached if the protests get big enough and become effective enough. The Republican party is still determined to destroy the middle class and imporverish us all but their expectation is thtat they can succeed through voter supression, lies, and by playing us off against each other. At this point overt violence against their fellow Americans isn't necessary. They are only at the point of using rhetoric to motivate marginal people into acting on their rhetoric in incidents which can vbe rationalized away as random actos of violence such as the attempt to kill gabby Giffords, the attack on the Unitarians in Kentucky, the murders of policemen in Pennsylvannia, the threats against Patty murray, and so on. Violence with plausible denialability is the rightwing tactic right now.

"Zeitgeist" Oh noes, Hegelian Idealism, the World-Spirit on the crawl.

"Material Conditions" is better, but still maybe misses something, unless organization is a material condition.

Like this

...but rather that they have in common collective grassroots resistance to government corruption by and collusion with corporate interests. ...julian, 4:47

There is also real food inflation, unemployment, etc. I think there is a material failure of neo-liberalism. Here's a January Tim Burke post (forgive if pwnd)

The modern nation-state can no longer provide services it once seemingly easily provided. It no longer protects from the vicissitudes of a globalized economy or restrains the excesses of financial capitalism, in most cases doesn’t even pretend to do so. The state, wherever it is, has no trusted vision of progress, no dream of modernism, no hope of helping its citizens secure a future of satisfaction and comfort. (Indeed, in the US, we now hear ghastly visions of ‘winning the future’, consigning citizens to a perpetual vision of ever more stringently extorted productivity, never-ending competitive one-upmanship.
Does anyone see anything getting better soon? Anything?

Is slart worrying over the cause of revolt, or the dangers of revolt? On the first, Washington and Jefferson had little real cause, but of course a lot to lose. Does "nothing to lose but your chains?" make it a little easier? So it was said. The twenty year old fellahin and the forty year old teacher in Wisconsin:compare and contrast. And as was said, it remains early. Gonna be a hot summer, with carpools and cheap vacations.

I watched 1968 on television, and watched the distant smoke rise sitting on my front lawn. I still don't understand it. Maybe Zeitgeist is a factor. A key difference was the level of prosperity, and a much greater atmosphere of violence. Lots of wars, big and little. A key similarity was overconfidence and complacency among the elites.

I'll have to think about it.

The protest in Wisconsin and the protests in the Middle East seem to share economic anxiety and disgust with the economic elites of the respective nations. And the both of them are tightly related to organized labor.

On the subject of the risk of violence: Walker let it slip that he considered sending people inot the peaceful prtests to proke violence. Of course the purpose was partly to make the protesers look bad, but also to justify calling inthe police or the natinalGurd to surpres the protests. The Madison cheif of police was sufficently supset about this to publically demad an explanatio from the Governor. Public expsoure made he idea temprarily untenable. Brietbart has sent minions inot "document " violece at pro-labor demostrations., Given his history it would be extremely naive to think his peole are there just to ducument.

Just back from a long day out with my dad. I wasn't trying to trivialize anyone's protest, just suggesting that there is a lot of revoluting going on. And pointing there was another time when there was a lot of revoluting going on.

So I have to do my Maynard G. Krebs for our CCDG and ask 'Like, what?' Or, more specifically, when in that time from 68 to 69 would our Dobie look at the audience and say 'hmmm, this wasn't what I thought it was going to be?'

there is a lot of revoluting going on

I'm not sure protesters in WI see themselves as part of a revolution.

In our demand to have cites and cold hard evidence, we tend to dismiss notions of relatedness that can't be poked, prodded and otherwise checked out.

But there's a reason for that: many of the connections that people come up with are just wrong. Humans are great at seeing connections, whether or not they are present.

I'm watching this: after last year's cuts to mental health programs, the Illinois Democrats passed a massive 67% income tax increase in the middle of the night before the end of the term.

Then handed out 10% of the new budget as raises.

Then eliminated the substance abuse program.

This kind of power to the people is the power to make state workers wealthier, not to help poor people who are not on the government payroll.

I listen to local WTMJ Milwaukee radio shows and many callers who are not millionaires are concerned about being taxed more and receiving fewer services to pad the public payrolls. Case in point: Union grievance against hiring private contractors in an emergency Some say the union wanted to delay clearing the snow until Saturday, when they would get overtime pay.

I'm pretty sure that in all of those events listed above, the protesters didn't feel themselves a part of a revolution. Or maybe they did, though this Independent article suggests that it was more a fight against sexual repression (if that were from the Torygraph, I might be more likely to dismiss it, but the Independent does have a veneer of left wingedness, I think).

I've just been wading through articles like this (ignore the Victoria's Secret pop-up like I did) that tell me that Libya is a tribal revolution and therefore nothing like Egypt. So I'm not denying that it may be simple coincidence that is having all these things happen right now. But I do know that King Abdullah skipped flogging his book on the Daily Show maybe to deal with this and though this looks completely unrelated, it does seem that something is in the air.

I'm pretty sure that in all of those events listed above, the protesters didn't feel themselves a part of a revolution.

The Egyptians sought the elimination of Mubarak's regime. They insisted that Mubarak leave. The WI protesters are not seeking the elimination of the Walker regime. They're seeking concessions within the context of the current political arrangement.

"All of this is to try and suggest that there is a synchronicity to what is happening in Egypt, Wisconsin, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain."

My problem is that the leap you make is from a few (or a handful) of unrelated strike/student actions that were perhaps zeitgeist indeed to what seems to be a growing wave of actual revolutions.

Revolutions in the the sense of actual changes in government, with varying levels of violence and success.

The revolutions don't seem like zeitgeist at all, they seem ACTUALLY spurred on by each other, and the Wisconsin link would be self important bs if they thought of themselves that way.

But my first reaaction was just that, a reaction, perhaps harsh.

DaveC, your first three examples are from Illinois, and the last is from the local newspaper in Racine, WI. If you click on the poll about Gov Walker's job approval, you'll see it is 57% against, 36% against. I don't want to dismiss your point out of hand though, and I guess listing 3 datapoints from Illinois and 1 from WI to show us the problem in Wisconsin is just an example of turnabout being fair play.

Turb, my point (if there is one) was kind of that all the reasons for starting those protests were different in 1968, yet we can view them as manifestations of the same impulse (though maybe some folks might not). (Though I called my friend in Milwaukee, who says that at a lot of the protests there, they refer to Governor Mubarak, FWIW.) But if the requirement for linking protests is that they have to demand the overthrow of the current regime, that might be a bit high of a bar. I guess that is the same point as CCDG is making, though I may have been inured to the meaning of the word by invocations of the sexual revolution, the IT revolution, the mobile revolution, the revolution in vacuum technology, etc. I have to admit, I wasn't really thinking of Hegel when I chose Zeitgeist.

At any rate, I'm not sure how strong to make this connection myself. I spent all of my time before I came trying to catch up with what was going on with Wisconsin and now that I'm here, all I see on the news is about Libya. Still, it is a far cry from a fruit vendor in Tunisia setting fire to himself. Which I guess is the point I'm trying to make, that the series of events that lead us to some place often take on such an air of implausibility that you say 'nah, write a better plot'. Maybe I need to go with bobbyp's suggestion of 40 year cycles and tie it to an alien civilization that has some sort of technology hidden in the sun and sunspots are the cause.

LJ,

Call it the Elliot Wave Theory of social upheaval, the Kontratieff blow off cycle, a Minsky moment for the little guys, a blessed reprieve from the sheer boredom of repression.

Whatever it is, I raise my voice in support. Hope lives.

at least to the extent of ordering pizza for the Wisconsin folks


Whoah. I had no idea pizza was involved.

I take it all back.

Which I guess is the point I'm trying to make, that the series of events that lead us to some place often take on such an air of implausibility that you say 'nah, write a better plot'.

This I kind of agree with. Certainly the World Revolution of 1968 doesn't (to me) look like any such thing except in hindsight, and then only if you squint really hard and hopefully.

The connection between Egypt and Wisconsin is loosing the standard of living while watching someone else taking it.
Egyptians were loosing the ability to buy enough food from skyrocketing inflation of food prices due to their currency being pegged to $US. In 2003 there were economic reforms that enabled corporations to make a killing while regular wages were stagnating, another "trickle down" bs success. So while being forced to spend all of the income on food they were watching new luxury bloom leaving them in the dust.
WI people were about to loose part of the income while watching it being given to the wealthy and big corporations. Hence the point of the Moore's speech "America is not broke"

Similarly, Serbians in Croatia did not want to loose the power they used to hold before new party won the elections, so they rebelled with lies from Milosevic that when new party takes over, Croatians are going to slaughter them just like in WWII. They believed it full heartedly, even tough there was no signs of violence from Croatian side.

It is about loosing what you have while watching someone else takes it.

It is about loosing something whioe watching someone else taking it. Remember how angry were you dooring divorce, when someone stole your girl/boy friend.
And even it doesn't have to be about loosing but about not getting something you were expecting or promised to get. Like someone else getting the promotion you were supposed to get. As far as i can grasp, '68s revolutions were about broken promises for decades of sacrifices to rebuild new heaven.

People from all over the world bought pizza for the protesters.

then only if you squint really hard and hopefully.

Really? You have civil rights, women's rights, the sexual revolution, gay rights (Stonewall was in June 1969) and maybe serious rock n roll (I do a cloze exercise with students for Buddy Holly's Everyday, and the students think that it is music from Mars) I don't think those things would have happened without a drumbeat of events that was 1968. I'd like to think that we would have come to our senses on all of those, but that seems like a bigger squint with hope hypothetical than the alternative: we are all children of 1968, regardless whether we are running to embrace it or running away from it.

I think there is an equivalence. At least I hope there is. We are all one, and while those in power do their best to make us forget that, to sow discord and create division, sometimes the truth bleeds through.

The blatant disconnect you hear/see/read every day is becoming impossible to ignore. On NPR yesterday I heard the usual cries of 'we're broke' from the pols, followed closely by 'we must DO something for/to Libya.' (I say 'to Libya' because they always seem to forget bombs are not precise, no matter how smart we make them. Mistakes are made and little boys are blown to bits while gathering firewood.)

But which is it? Are we broke, or do we bomb Libya? Must we cancel the social contract due to lack of funds, or must we fight however many wars we're fighting? Choices are being made, and the pretense that there is no choice is the worst sort of lie. This is how we were sold on the no-strings bank bail-out, the Iraq war, and other atrocities of our time. The need to din up an emergency, to make us feel there is no choice...that is truly demeaning and dehumanizing.

And therein lies the equivalence. Strip us of choice, and you strip us of our humanity. Turn us against others, and we turn on each other, looking only to protect ourselves and our immediate kin. We lose society, and whether those making the choice for us know it or not...society loses too.

lj, I'm more familiar with Illinois, which is opting to go in the opposite direction as Wisconsin. It will be interesting to see the results in 4 years. I don't have the google skills to find the current insurance rate for state bonds, which I have heard is nearing 5%. They were already the highest in the nation last December, and the state is trying to borrow more money. If I recall correctly, part of the reasoning for the wisconsin budget fix was to improve the bond rating to allow them to borrow in the short term with lower interest and insurance rates; also the added employee contributions reduce the long term debt. The idea is to get the pensions fully funded sometime in the future.

Wisconsin's public employees, and their family members and relatives certainly are against this thing for their own personal interest. But they are also attacking Wisconsin dropping the state tax on Healthcare Savings Accounts, which benefits private sector employees for the most part in the middle class. But the effective decrease in starting teachers' public is painful too

In an even farther distant state, this NYT editorial also points out that public employee compensation has also hurt the truly needy:

At a time when public school students are being forced into ever more crowded classrooms, and poor families will lose state medical benefits, New York State is paying 10 times more for state employees’ pensions than it did just a decade ago.

So, it is a problem that (I hope short-term problem) that is looming in many states. We will see how it goes. It also will be interesting to see how Rahm Emmanuel, who was elected as the most fiscally conservative candidate for mayor of Chicago !!!??!!, will deal with that city's debt and pension problems in the next four years.

Vjs2259's comment is one of the best I've ever read here, and that's not taking anything away from any of the regular posters on this forum.

The worst lie perpetrated in our day is that we can't afford the social contract. When I think of the rationalizations for this lie, chiefly that we don't "need" it because we're too grown up for it, that it's socialism and that it's all a handout, and that it's bankrupting state and federal coffers, I'm reminded of my father, who wanted to return to the U.S. from many years in Australia in the early 1970s precisely because he was already pushing retirement age, and thought he would have trouble collecting his U.S. Social Security.

This is a man, I will tell all of you, who never took a dime he didn't work for from anyone, who couldn't bear the shame of taking unemployment compensation in the U.S. or the dole in Australia even in the short times he really needed it. He gritted his teeth instead, and got us through those times.

But had I had the crystal ball I wish I did, I would have given anything to have told him not to bother returning us to the U.S., because we were going to come back only a few years before the advent of Reaganism, which - some of you might gag, probably out of laughter - was the ultimate betrayal of everything my father had worked for.

So when I read Christopher Hitchens' screed on why we must intervene in Libya, for example, along with the perorations of John McCain and company, I can only conclude that there must be two Americas, because the same one can't possibly be busying itself unraveling what left we have of the social safety net out of desperate financial straits, and at the same time seriously debating involvement with yet another Middle Eastern country we'll inevitably find ourselves supporting the wrong side of.

Are there two United States of Americas? Jeez, there must be. Because if there isn't, half of it is turning the other half against itself, and if those aren't desperate straits, then I don't know what is.

If I recall correctly, part of the reasoning for the wisconsin budget fix was to improve the bond rating to allow them to borrow in the short term with lower interest and insurance rates; also the added employee contributions reduce the long term debt. The idea is to get the pensions fully funded sometime in the future.

You have to admit, if that is what Walker is up to, he's not done a very good job of communicating it. And if Walker is working to get pensions fully funded, stripping away collective bargaining rights seems like a big disconnect. And if the goal there is to refund public pensions, you can't claim you are doing that when you rip teachers for having easy working conditions (that's the generic you, or the you of people Jon Stewart cites) Of course, that was news pundits rather than Walker himself, but there is also a clip of Walker saying that public employees are the haves and taxpayers are the have-nots.

This NYT article gives a good description of the problem, I think, (I may have read it from a comment here) though I find the last few paragraphs have a very strange change of tone.

This is a more recent article about shifting from defined to 401k style pensions. A couple of interesting grafs

In fact, switching workers to 401(k)-type plans can make the underfunding problem even worse. As contributions move to individual investment accounts, less money goes into the traditional plan to help finance pensions promised to other workers.

and this

“Some state workers who will just work for the state a few years — take, say, bank examiners — I imagine 75 percent of them will choose defined-contribution plans,” he said, referring to 401(k)-type plans. “And I think 90 percent of cops and firefighters and 75 percent of teachers will want a defined-benefit plan because they look at their government jobs as a single career.”

I think the last is an interesting point and I think it is going to be important to look at different jobs in different ways. Unfortunately, if you go and attack all the unions, like Walker did, you end up creating solidarity, which basically entrenches the problem. Frex, some people point to firefighters as the ultimate problematic union example (I think it has been raised several times here). But fire fighting is unique, in that you have a relatively small window of time to do the job, and there is not a lot of bureaucratic infrastructure to allow people to have an upward career path. Even police have enough structure that people can be productively employed even though they might not be at peak physical condition.

As a bonus, here is the Daily show moment of zen about contracts

I don't think those things would have happened without a drumbeat of events that was 1968.

That drumbeat included Martin Luther King's assassination, the birth of Rotary International, the birth of what is now the DEA, RFK's assassination, and the My Lai Massacre, among many, many other things.

By "civil rights", you're saying that the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was something of a capstone? An endpoint? Greater in effect than the Civil Rights Act of 1964? What?

And the Tet Offensive: victory for whom?

The Cultural Revolution was, I say, a wave of blackest evil. Its effect in China was enormous. Granted, it wasn't wholly contained in 1968, but you did bring it up. Perhaps the goodness in 1968, as regards China, was the perceived end of the Red Guards control. But as I said: meet the new purge. Mao repeatedly used factions to mercilessly purge other factions, and then once that job was done, he'd go purge the formerly useful set of thugs and murderers. Delightful fellow, Mao. He should make people think, and think again, who it is that's using their revolutionary fervor, and for what purpose, and whether they'll be the next set of victims. Teachers and academics in general didn't fare all that well under Mao, it should be noted.

Oh, also in 1968: Nixon. And Intel.

I see the celebration of 1968 as something of a bad-things-come-in-threes phenomenon: there's not really much to it except hindsight, and human penchant for collecting events of disparate cause. Or, alternately: it's somewhat akin to WBC's claim that they can discern between what God wants to happen and what constitutes a curse from God. It's a little overly cherry-pickish, even for my tastes.

Absolutely, totally, completely IMO. You're free to disagree, of course.

Are we broke, or do we bomb Libya?

I don't think there's any plan to bomb Libya. I mean, we might be considering hitting their airbases to destroy the aircraft that are killing civilians, but I seriously, seriously doubt we're considering any kind of general bombing campaign.

And whether "we" drop weapons on Libyan military targets, or encourage other military forces (such as one or more of our NATO allies, or even a cooperative Middle Eastern military ally) to do that, is another conversation entirely.

@slartibartfast, 8:33am: good points. I think it's fair to say Nixon's election was a reaction to the cultural and actual turmoil of the prior decade; likewise, in a far worse way: MLK's assassination. I don't think they can be held against the "Zeitgeist" lj identifies, they *were* against it, or represented a different one; that's a little different.

I think lj's reference to the Cultural Revolution was an "also happened" item to acknowledge it as a difficulty or at least an unaccounted for event, not one to weave it in to a General Theory of The 1960s. I think many people (incl. me anyway) agree that the Cultural Revolution was a happy-face name for a tragedy.

OTOH, it's surely fair to note the Tet Offensive as a watershed event; without judging it as a victory or defeat, it seemed to awaken Americans to the limits of American power abroad.

I think any comparison of year-to-year individual events misses the point. I lived through the year 1968. You left a whole lot of stuff out about what was going on. I was in 11th grade, and I clearly remember sitting in front of the tv, watching the news after the RFK assassination, thinking the world was about to end (and not in a Rapture kind of way), and that was only for the first 2/3 of the year. In the overall feel of chaos and strife, I feel like now is similar to that horrible year.

Well, I left everything in the US out because I get the impression that Americans think that everything in the 60's centers around being in Vietnam and MLK and I thought that almost everyone here would be able to fill in those events without me pointing to them.

In fact, I get the impression that Americans view those things as two separate streams, parallel, but not really crossing. What I wanted to show was that there were all these events happening around the world. I thought that everyone might know most of them, but looking at it as a point in time makes them look different. Or not, I'm not telling anyone how they need to look at these.

And I wasn't clear, I wasn't celebrating 1968, just trying to indicate that things were happening around the world that make it an interesting lens to look at what is happening today. Though I can see the phrase about embracing 1968 could be taken as approving everything, but what I meant was that the changes that took place are the ones we are wrestling with now.

My notion about the "drumbeat of 1968" is that those protests, those riots, seemed to be essential in redirecting the ship, as it were. As is my wont, I wonder, if things had been done differently, if things were perhaps less confrontational, we wouldn't have had the reaction that was Nixon, who, because of his behavior in office, doesn't really get picked up by conservatives, though many of the tropes he brought forward are used unashamedly today.

But if anything, this post was a call to me to maybe pick my head out of the local details and look at the wider context.

In the overall feel of chaos and strife, I feel like now is similar to that horrible year.

That's a comparison that I think has traction with me, debbie. Thanks.

Fair enough, lj.

Coverage of Wisconsin from the Tehran Times:


"Thousands of protesters went to the state capitol in the city of Madison to voice their opposition to Walker's bill on Sunday.

If the bill is approved, it will prevent workers from bargaining for retirement and health care benefits, AP reported.

The Sunday protest march was the second massive rally in Wisconsin over the weekend. On Saturday, thousands of protesters had waged another mass rally in state capital Madison as well.

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore joined the Saturday rally in Wisconsin. “America is not broke” he said, urging Americans not to give up in the struggle against Walker's bill.

The Republican governor has said that the legislation is aimed at fixing the state's budget deficit. However, critics of the plan say it will ultimately weaken the influence and power of unions, which have traditionally served as the key voting bloc for Democratic candidates during elections.

Walker has offered no compromise and has threatened to issue nearly 1,500 layoff notices if the 14 Senate Democrats, who left the state to Illinois in efforts to block a vote on the budget bill, fail to return for the final vote.

Protests have been on the rise for more than two weeks since newly-elected Walker set forth a proposal rescinding almost all collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions.

Political analysts in the U.S. say that protesters are unable to get their message across due to the lack of proper coverage by media companies such as Fox News and CNN, which heavily depend on high revenues from subscriptions and commercials.

The U.S. mainstream media blackout is intended to minimize the number of protesters rallying against the anti-union bill in Wisconsin and ultimately devalue 'the people,' highlighted in the U.S. Constitution.

CNN's income from its subscription rights in 2009 alone was $578.8 million, while Fox News made $569.5 million."

Note the reference to CNN's decidion to pretend that nothing is happening. Faux pulled out because the protesers keep ruining their footage with chants of "Fox lies!"

I realize that the employee pension discussion is a bit of a digression, but...in order to discuss this issue intelligently it must be remembered that situations from state to state differ so much that state employee retirement and compensation arragements in New York don't necessarily have anything whatever to do with situations in Wisconisn.

The commonality between states is tht all ( or most!) are suffering to some degree from the wrecking of our economy by the banksters. All have been operating with steadily reduced federal funding over the decades since Ronald Reagan for various projects and operations: education, infrastructure, and so on. Few, if any, have been entirely immune from the Repubican get-something=for-nothing appeal and the policy of cutting taxes, creating deficits and then using the deficits to attack things that are not needed by the wealthy. Some of this disfuction and disinformation has been from state level Republicans as in Wisocnsin and some has been from national Republicans as in Washington. How this effects state worker retirement and health care plans within the overall context of the budget, though, is to0 varied for generalization except that to say that the Republicans are sure to be right there scapegoating like they always do.

Another common theme though is the Republican tactic of playing one group off agaisnt the others to better screw them all. Demonizinng the union folks as parasites on the taxpayers who are taking money away from the poor is an example of this. It's the Republicans who have been amking the pie smaller and smaller and smaller. Then they encourage everyone to fight each other over the tiny remaining pieces.

The big difference that i see between events i the US and events i the Middle East si that they seem to be moving toward democracy and we, dispite the election of a Democrat and dispite the courage of people in Wisconsin, are moving away.

Those who slowly boil their frogs in a river in Egypt many times are scalded by that last violent kick.

@wonkie (6:42 pm yesterday -- sorry I'm so late to this):
The Republican party is still determined to destroy the middle class and imporverish[sic] us all ...

I think it's really hard to demonstrate this. Why do you think that they care, let alone are "determined"?

Now you might have said that the Republican Party (or at least its politicians) is intent on vastly enriching the already rich, and impoverishing everybody else is merely inconsequential collateral damage in their eyes. That might be true. But that they are specifically interested in impoverishing the middle class? Hard to see that they actually have that as an objective -- or why they would.

I knew you weren't celebrating 1968 in your post, but I think the breadth of the upheaval gets lost if everything isn't included. It was a seriously long list.

If I thought the 1968 assassinations were bad enough, I was disabused of that not long after when watching the riots in Chicago, with handcuffed kids climbing into the police vans and simultaneously being beaten by the cops. The year 1968 just seemed to get worse and worse with each passing day. It's that not knowing when it's all going to stop that feels so similar to the current situation.

'The big difference that i see between events i the US and events i the Middle East si that they seem to be moving toward democracy and we, dispite the election of a Democrat and dispite the courage of people in Wisconsin, are moving away.'

Without elaboration, it is difficult to attach meaning to statements like this. When was the United States of America a democracy? What structural changes have occurred recently in US governing principles (either federal or state) that would merit a view that the country or its political sub-divisions are moving away from founding principles. What makes you think those participating in protest actions across north Africa are doing so with a vision of establishing democratic government?

I just see a rant about republicans and other behaviors of certain groups and individuals not approved of, but nothing that tells me the form of government has been or is changing. And maybe this is the issue showing up in some comments on this thread, i.e. a general unhappiness with the US form of government and the protections it affords its minorities, particularly individuals, that would not exist in a pure democracy.

It's possible for (1) people in Wisconsin to be inspired by people in Egypt -- I think that's "Zeitgeist" (transl.: spirit of the times) and I don't think it implies believing that the plight of people in Wisconsin is the same as that of people in Egypt.

This seems almost unarguably obvious to me.

"Hey, if they can do *that*, we can do this".

I'm guessing that's a not-uncommon thought in WI.

Okay, here's some elaboration:

1. Citizens United and the buying of politicians
2. The corrupt media, Faux being the most blatant example, but the insidious he said/she said "news" which allows lies be perpetuated and leaves the citizens who watch the 'news" witht he dangerouus misconception that they have been informed
3. Wide spread voter supression legislation
4. The tactics of the Republican party which includes promotion of violence, slander agasints individuals and organizations (the attacks on ACORN and Planned Parenthood are examples), and a dependence upon lying about their policies both past and present, lies which due tothe he said/she said go too often unchallenged by the corporate media


A democracy cannot fuction if the public is systemaically misinformed.

Those who slowly boil their frogs in a river in Egypt many times are scalded by that last violent kick.

Kermit's Law: As a comment thread length approaches infinity, the probability of the thread deviating from the original topic without those participating even becoming aware that it has done so approaches one (see also internet thermodynamics).

wonkie:

'A democracy cannot fuction if the public is systemaically misinformed.'

What is this in reference to? You pretty much avoided responding to my specific points. The United States of America is not a democracy and was founded with specific intent not to be a democracy. The States each have their own form of government, each of which is much closer to meeting most peoples definition of a democracy than our federal government. Misinformed public is certainly something that works against a well functioning democracy. Many agree with this but do not know how to make it go away.

David Broder is dead.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41990887/ns/politics-more_politics/

The liquidation of the moderate middle continues apace, either through natural attrition, or intimidation from the radical Right.

"David Broder is dead.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41990887/ns/politics-more_politics/

The liquidation of the moderate middle continues apace, either through natural attrition, or intimidation from the radical Right."


This is a great loss. But we are not gone, we are just mocked by both sides.

This is a great loss.

It is? Broder was both ignorant and a moral leper, as you can see from reading this column. His departure from this life, while tragic for his family and friends, is good for the world since there is now one less ignorant moral leper advocating dangerous policies from some of the most prominent opinion real estate in the world.

Broder was both ignorant and a moral leper, as you can see from reading this column.

From the piece Turb cites:

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected.

No, merely noting that, were he to do so, it would be greatly to his electoral benefit. "Just saying", as it were.

What a freaking sleazebag.

I wish Broder no ill. I hope the fond memories that his family and friends have of him are a comfort to them, and I hope the sting of their personal loss turns quickly into warm remembrance. May his spirit receive and be blessed by the mercy and lovingkindness that we all richly need.

Folks in his personal circle will miss him quite a lot, no doubt. Folks who share his profession of opining for a living will be obliged to say admiring things about his even-handedness.

But to be perfectly honest, I can't think of a thing I've ever read by him that didn't seem like an exercise in "on one hand, on the other hand" casuistry.

He's been around a lot longer than I have, maybe in his ambitious and hungry youth he lit a few bright flames.

To me, he was just a professional splitter of the difference.

"I wish that you were either hot or cold. Because you are neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of my mouth."

But, that's just me. What the heck do I know?

In any case, rest in peace, David Broder.

"But to be perfectly honest, I can't think of a thing I've ever read by him that didn't seem like an exercise in "on one hand, on the other hand" casuistry."

Not that it is worthwhile spending a long time discussing this, but this is a man known by his peers as one of the few men who was neither leaned right or left. Someone who examined facts, drew conclusions, rarely ......

I wrote a lot more, deleted it and shorter me:

I liked it that we had one guy that covered every presidential camapign since 1960 and no one could agree whether he was a liberal or a conservative. It seems we ask for that from our news media a lot and then don't really like it when we get it.

advocating dangerous policies from some of the most prominent opinion real estate in the world.

I am wondering if this real estate has ever housed someone of true moral standing? (I'm assuming that Herblock and the editorial cartoons are on a separate, though adjacent, lot)

I tried to find out who has been there, and I see that they have won two Pulitzer for editorial writing, one for Philip L. Geyelin (here is his wikipedia) I'm not sure how they determine the Pulitzer in these cases, but Geyelin's moving the WaPo on their position concerning the Vietnam War seems important. So I'm wondering if a price of that prominence is being the kind of split the difference opinionator that Broder was.

Not that it is worthwhile spending a long time discussing this, but this is a man known by his peers as one of the few men who was neither leaned right or left.

Ah Broder's peers, such towering intellectual giants as Cokie Roberts and Richard Cohen. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the fact that such dim bulbs can't figure something out doesn't mean that it is actually a mystery.

Someone who examined facts, drew conclusions, rarely ......

Broder wasn't known for being a strong intellect who analyzed things closely; he was known for being the voice of DC Conventional Wisdom. In other words, he was known for just mindlessly repeating things other people said rather than thinking on his own.

"In other words, he was known for just mindlessly repeating things other people said rather than thinking on his own."

Actually Turb, he was known as the guy who spent the least time in DC, the most time out talking to people and mayors and governors, who anticipated what was going on in the rest of the country long before most of the rest of the people he worked with in DC.

And with that I think I will take my own advice and leave this discussion to others.

I liked it that we had one guy that covered every presidential camapign (sic) since 1960 and no one could agree whether he was a liberal or a conservative.

High Broderism is the term for this, I believe.

When you point out that polls show overwhelming support for one side, a High Broderist responds like this:

This first letter from Minnesota challenges the conventional wisdom by asserting that the country overwhelmingly supports the liberal agenda, both at home and abroad. I have to disagree. I think the country is closely balanced, with a controlling group in the center that rejects extreme positions and seeks practical solutions drawn from the agendas of both liberals and conservatives. Most Americans I meet are not ideologues of any sort; they are practical people seeking practical solutions to real challenges.

If one group thinks we should take care of the sick and poor and old and another group thinks we should kill them all and spit on their unmarked graves, High Broderism dictates that we reject both of those extremist positions, and maybe just kill the sick and some of the poor but leave the old alone, and maybe mark half of their graves, and have both spitting and non-spitting grave visitation days.

Its a conceit that has not aged well, to say the least.

There's a word for someone who affects to stand so far above the petty squabbles of politics that nobody can tell whether he's liberal or conservative: "condescending".

"Smug" and "self-important" also come to mind.

I don't know, because I never read him much, whether Broder was really so inscrutable ideologically, either. Is there actual evidence for that?

--TP

"If one group thinks we should take care of the sick and poor and old and another group thinks we should kill them all and spit on their unmarked graves, High Broderism dictates that we reject both ....."

Of course it mean nothing of the sort. In fact John Avlon wrote for CNN:

In the end, the independent voters who swung about 17% for Democrats in 2006 and then roughly 17% for Republicans in 2010 were not being fickle. They were sending a consistent message.

They oppose the ideological arrogance and legislative overreach that comes with one-party rule. They like the checks and balances of divided government, believing that it can constrain hyperpartisan impulses and pursue the common ground policies of fiscal responsibility.

in describing why the pendulum continues to swing, ever more vigorously despite each sides pronouncements of 40 year majorities, while Americans are still trying to get the Broderesque view of government in their lives.

Gotta like Duff Clarity.

The thing is, Broder wanted to leave the old alone, and mark half their graves, and alternate the spitting visitation days.

Which is to say he was a moderate in reptilian, vermin, Republican America.

Now we get pure death. No exceptions.

In other news, check out Wisconsin.

Did the NRA forget to arm teachers, and janitors, and guidance counselors?

I don't think so. They have summers off and they hunt in the fall, on the weekends, for effing fun.

They oppose the ideological arrogance and legislative overreach that comes with one-party rule. They like the checks and balances of divided government, believing that it can constrain hyperpartisan impulses and pursue the common ground policies of fiscal responsibility.

The High Broderist actually believes stuff like this. Like that people would actually think, "Candidate A represents my interests and will work for them, while Candidate B does not represent my interests and will work against them. But I will vote for Candidate B because I want the checks and balances of a divided government".

The High Broderists actually believe people make their voting decisions like this.

Its insane.

Neither party is going to run national candidates that represent the interests of the people. They are going to both run national candidates that are totally captured by corporate interests.

If you want to continue to worship at the altar of High Broderism, by all means feel free. But it has nothing to do with the real world.

CCDG, have you ever read any political scientists' work on independent voters? I ask because there's been a fair bit of research on this topic and almost all the media writing about it is just...wrong. (One good blog post on the subject is here.) Independent voters don't really swing; the vast majority of them consistently vote for one party or the other. Statistically speaking, independent voters are basically partisans who refuse to identify as partisan.

I think you're actually proving my point for me. This Broder-esque view is well understood -- in fact, it is conventional wisdom, which is why random guys writing for CNN can spout it. But it is just wrong. There are folks who have devoted their entire lives to studying voters and politics in a rigorous way and they've demonstrated again and again that the Broder-esque understanding is just garbage. But that doesn't bother the Broders of the world: they came by their understanding without study or analysis or statistics or political science and their condemnation by mere science does not trouble them. That's the joy of having evidence-free beliefs.

"That's the joy of having evidence-free beliefs."

There is great joy in watching the "40 year majority" disappear for reasons that are so effectively disproved.

Their condemnation by statistics matters little to me, it certainly is not like political science is actually science.

The last two elections Avlon references are back to back and certainly bring into question the conclusions you reference, I can't speak to the specific statistics.

"Their condemnation by statistics matters little to me, it certainly is not like political science is actually science."

If statistics means little to you your opinions on what is or is not science shouldn't matter to anyone.

If there is data supporting the claim that most self-proclaimed independents vote in a partisan way, it doesn't really matter whether you or I think that political science is considerably less rigorous than, say, physics.

There is great joy in watching the "40 year majority" disappear for reasons that are so effectively disproved.

Again, this is something people have studied extensively and the explanation has very little to do with what the ignorant CNN writer (but I repeat myself) thinks.

Their condemnation by statistics matters little to me, it certainly is not like political science is actually science.

I'd say running a study where you ask independent voters who they voted for every two years and then discover that most independent voters keep voting for the same party is pretty damn scientific. I don't know what sort of anti-intellectualism or straight up nihilism would compel someone to describe that process as unscientific, but it bodes ill for this country.

For those interested in learning a tiny bit of political science, I'd also recommend this post as well. Now, if your attitude is "feh -- there is no such thing as objective truth so your 'statistics' and 'facts' and 'peer reviewed analysis' are meaningless because the only thing that is real is what I feel in my gut", then that post probably won't be useful for you.

"I watched 1968 on television, and watched the distant smoke rise sitting on my front lawn. I still don't understand it. Maybe Zeitgeist is a factor. A key difference was the level of prosperity, and a much greater atmosphere of violence. Lots of wars, big and little. A key similarity was overconfidence and complacency among the elites."

Bob McManus: I always enjoy reading your comments.

I was only 5 during the summer of '68. But I vaguely recall everyone in my entirely white middle-class neighborhood worried what was going on in "town" -- what we native Delawareans still call downtown Wilmington -- to this day. Rioting, just 3 miles from my childhood home, was what was going on in town. But it never went past what should really be referred to as the city.

And where was it that you were viewing the distant rising smoke from your lawn?

---

"A key similarity was overconfidence and complacency among the elites."

True that, as my 12-year-old would say.

But does it matter?

Oil companies are making record profits.

Banks -- many still sitting on, and collecting interest on, taxpayer money, otherwise known as TARP -- are laughing all the way to the bank: with record profits.

The DJIA -- which fell to roughly 6,000 when the housing bubble burst in 2008 and the banking industry defrauded the economy -- has doubled in three short (or so it seems, if you didn't live paycheck to paycheck) years.

Dow 12,000 sounds pretty good if you bought while things were cheap.

But how many of us had the ability to do that?

Dow 12,000 sounds pretty damn good if you simply stayed put and did not panic in whatever you had in your 401(k).

This is Investing 101.

Unfortunately, while the Dow rebounded, in time, so lustily, I had to take out two hardship withdrawals and one hardship loan.

I imagine many millions of Americans had to do likewise, as I, in order to put food on the table and a roof over their family's head.

And Congress and whoever-the-F-else has the nerve to call the 401(k) a retirement vehicle.

Not unless you want to retire, in due haste, 6 feet under.

For me and millions of others, during the Great Recession, it has been a survival vehicle.

There's a lesson in there somewhere that the Great Obama and the rest of our spineless Democratic leaders in Washington missed while they held a majority in Congress. (They did hold a majority in Congress not that long ago or was that just a bad dream I had?)

True that.

On the topic of David Broder there is http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/09/naked-david-bro.html>this Hilzoy classic.

I remember the 67 to 73 period as a time of hope. I was thirteen in 67. My introduction to politics was watching the Chicago police riots on TV. I doorbelled for the Moratorium, all that. From my perspective it all culminated with Watergate and most of the bad guys went to jail. There were all kinds of wins: ending Jim Crow and integration, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, WIlderness Act, Endangered Species Act, Freeedom of Information Act...of course back in those days there were unions and good paying union jobs, there was a middle class, young people who wished to do so could go to college, there was a social contract and a sense that it was the govefrnment's role to serve people by addressing the big problems. Rich people paid lots of taxes and did not go Galt. There was a sense the life would get better, that big problems could get solved, and that ouur union culd become more perfect, that white people had upward mobility and that non whites were getting upward moblity. The pie was bigger and the willingness to share was increasing, too.

Republicans have ruined all that and they want to ruin more. Their vision of the future is onne where the rich pay as little taxes as they can influence politicians to deliver, where shadowy rightwing grups corrup the electoral process with money for extermists like Walker and lies like the Swiftboat ads, where voter surpression laws reduce the non-Republican vote so outright fraud to winn elections won't be necessary in most cases, where big government programs for red states will continue but everyone else is screwed, where the social contract has been replaced by a sort of Social Darwinst No-Nothingism, where everyone who is being screwed by Republican policies is encouraged to fight with allof the other people who are being screwed, where violence by proxy is an accepted feature of politics provided it is a tactic of the Republicans and no one else, where upward mobility is nearly impossible but the fault is presumed to lay in the mental processes of people who are not like David Brooks, and where all of this is denied away by the people who see themselves as benefiting from it.

Given their success in seizing control of the intruments of power: the Supreme Court, the corporate media, purple state legislatures where voter surpression is critical, and their success in embedding selfserving lies into our discourse, the most pernicious being that bullshiite about the benefits of tax cuts for the rich, and their success in getting the 27% crazification factor to join the should-know-better-but -are -to-selfish-to-care old style Rebulicans into a voting block, I think the bad guys have won.

It's all over but the shouting. The US will continue to look like a democracy and there will be elctions and even sometimes a Democrat will be allowed to win, but the Republicans have succeed in rigging the game and a rigged game is not a democracy. It's an oligarchy.

It's all over but the shouting.

We're all gonna die. There'll be another Civil War, and then possibly earthquakes and famine and maybe even a zombie apocalypse. We'll all hoard weapons and fast cars, and gallons of bleach with which to remove our scent from around where we've barricaded ourselves in, to keep the zombie hordes away.

Or maybe, just maybe, life will go on, and we'll all continue to have arguments a lot like this one, and then our children will have similar arguments, and their children. And sometimes we'll get what we think is right, and sometimes we won't, and in general things will stay pretty much as they are.

Or maybe, just maybe, life will go on, and we'll all continue to have arguments a lot like this one, and then our children will have similar arguments, and their children. And sometimes we'll get what we think is right, and sometimes we won't, and in general things will stay pretty much as they are.

Well, let's hope your right, especially about the lack of a zombie apocalypse. Still, I can't see that a system where Nixon resigns over what he did/presided over and George W. Bush is re-elected for what he did/presided over is headed in the right direction. Quite the opposite.

Zombie apocalypse versus poached frog.


We're all gonna die.

This is most assured.

Oh, you meant all at once. Never mind.

At least if there is a zombie apocalypse, we'd each have a shot at taking a few walks after dying, maybe even going for a few runs depending on the style of zombie you're proposing.

And sometimes we'll get what we think is right, and sometimes we won't, and in general things will stay pretty much as they are.

I get that the "end of the world" language can seem overwrought. I often reflect on how things must have seemed during and just after the various plague outbreaks. No snark. And folks found a way through all of that.

But for certain fairly important versions of "as they are", it's not at all clear to me that things are going to stay pretty much as they are.

It took a hell of a lot of effort to establish the very wide availability of what we now take for granted as a pretty good basic middle class lifestyle.

That way of life may well be significantly diminished for a lot of folks, and even in diminished form may no longer meet the standard of "very wide availability".

It'll be a very different country if that happens. I know that, because I know or have known people who remember when things weren't as they are now.

I can't see that a system where Nixon resigns over what he did/presided over

I think Nixon's resignation was a much better thing than the alternative, don't you?

But for certain fairly important versions of "as they are", it's not at all clear to me that things are going to stay pretty much as they are.

I'm not arguing that things will remain static. Nothing about human existence is free from change. I'm just a little agog over the talk about the death of democracy.

OTOH several million fewer people have jobs now than was the case a few years ago. For them, things have definitely changed. Lives that they have struggled long and hard to put in place are no longer the same, and may never be the same again. I tend to worry a bit more about them than about whether people who still have their jobs have to kick in a bit more money to fund their own pensions.

"We're all gonna die."

Oddly, that has a certain egalitarian appeal.

Curiously, it's when only some of us are targeted for shorter, meaner lives and earlier death through sadistic, Galtian policy changes that the poached frogs might leap out of the pot and start staggering through the countryside and chewing the faces off of the sadistic ideologues implementing the policies.

I view it as one zombie eating the other.

Deservedly so.

"We're all gonna die."

In the next 100 years, over 6 billion people will die.

In the next 100 years, over 6 billion people will die.

That's a lot of zombies, right there.

I think Nixon's resignation was a much better thing than the alternative, don't you?

Er, I figured that sentence wasn't as clear as it should have been. I guess I was just saying that executive overreach/lawlessness seems to be getting worse and yet the consequences for it have been getting less severe (or it's even rewarded), and that from that perspective the system is headed in the wrong direction.

Whether the alternatives to Nixon resigning were worse, I don't know. Certainly I think the above trend on executive power might have been different had Nixon spent a few (or many) years in prison.

I tend to worry a bit more about them than about whether people who still have their jobs have to kick in a bit more money to fund their own pensions.

For the record: I believe the issue that has (or had) the WI statehouse full of protesters is the loss of collective bargaining privileges, rather than givebacks on compensation.

Also, there is a correlation between stuff like the GINI index and the level of real-life political freedom and agency that a society provides to its members.

It's easy to make too much of this stuff, and it's also easy to make too little of it.

" ..... have to kick in a bit more money to fund their own pensions."

You mean we got all of the way to the end of an exhausted thread without even realizing that they agreed upfront to kicking in more money to their pensions, and that there is just a bit more to the story?

My inner zombie just staggered out of the shrubbery and chewed a big hole in the neighbor's neck, the poor boiled schmuck.

Ah, the old Relative Worry Index.

I worry less about an extra 4% of federal tax on income above $373k than about the additional pension contributions. (Hey, this fun!)

"We're all gonna die."

You're all gonna die if you don't do exactly what I say. I don't mean that as a threat--just a simple statement of fact.

Yeah, but I'm sure as even while Alaric and the Visigoths were outside the gates of Rome, there were people in the Forum Magnum complaining about the price of bread.

Another thing worth mentioning as the middle class evaporates . . .

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Eight years of George Bush?

OK, the first time we didn't pay for that crapload of a presidential administration -- the Supremes figured GWB was too good of a bargain to pass up, or something like that.

But what about the other four years?

Yeah, John Kerry could have run a better campaign. And, yeah, Ohio, as I remember, gave us the usual assortment of key-state confusion.

But enough Americans voted for W that we got for more years of losing the future.

And I am sure many of those same Americans are hurting, hurting badly, today.

Then there's the great Scott Walker.

What an indignity it must be to some of those in Wisconsin who voted for the just-elected a-hole of a governor and who are now being hurt by his union-busting and all-around ill-advised governance.

Did I say you get what you pay for?

I vowed on these pages many months ago that I would not vote to re-elect President Obama, given my various disappointments with his performance.

But I lied.

I mean, who am I going to vote for instead?

Romney? Huckabee? Palin? Pawlenty? Barbour? A Red State player to be named later?

No way.

For you do indeed get what you pay for.


Buddy Roemer!

slarti, you know about Roemer? Interesting guy. Started out as a Democrat and shifted to being Republican. He defeated Edwin Edwards (a remarkably scandal plagued gov for a state that knows a thing or two about scandals) and had a scandal free administration (which is again a pretty remarkable thing for Louisiana) and switched to being a Republican just before running for a second term. That was the election where he ran third to Edwards (who won) and David Duke (the election had bumper stickers for Edwards that said "Vote for the Crook")

Another interesting story is that after Roemer's wife left him, in 1990, (just before he switched to the Republican party) he did one of those personal growth programs with a Baptist preacher and when he addressed the state legislature, he gave them this speech where he asked then to hold hands and share his dreams.

Gonna be interesting.

:)

I heard an NPR program with him, yesterday. He's got some interesting things to say.

Which is not the same thing as being presidential material, not that I'm really even sure what that is anymore.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


  • visitors since 3/2/2004

August 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            
Blog powered by Typepad

QuantCast