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November 03, 2010

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Wonderful.

Tsank you, Doktor!

Shouldn't the bright side of the day after this election be that Hilzoy returns?

Or at least Publius?

I like this a lot.

All of a sudden, our phone stopped ringing. It's almost axiomatic that the urgent requests for us to call our congresscritters and ask them to do start doing X or stop doing Y cease immediately after the election.

And, really, who does that? Who, after getting such a call, actually calls up their congressperson and demands that they start/stop doing something?

I think we didn't answer our telephone for a couple of weeks.

Well, I'm going to poop on the grass here...It isn't the election that's over. It's democracy. And it is n't the results of this election that killed democracy: it's that Supreme Court ruling in combination with the rightwing propaganda infrastruture. I know we have a Democratic President and a majority in the Senate and I realize that it is quite possible that after two years of Repubican psychosis on display the Republicorp pols will lose in the next election.

But it doesn't matter. Rove and Norquist have won.

The states are drwoding in the bathtub of debt but the lie that serving the rich will benefit us all has become so prevasive that even here in Washington state an income tax initiatve didn't pass. The federal governemtn is drwoding too and the pundits will help Republicorp spread the lie that SS, Medicare and Medicaid need to be "reformed". The rich will get richer, the middle class will gradually sink into poverty and Faux Noise will continue to misinform enough people to distort our political discoure with fearand hate mongering and disinformation.

And meanwhile the lobbyists willspend the next two years working on the Democrats. Look at all the money we spend on the electionn last time, they'll say. Do you want that money to be for you or against you? And then we willhave tow parties that are compleletly sold out, instgead of one complete sellout and one partially sold out.

Rove, Atwater,, Norquist et all wannted the US to go back to the days of the robber barons and they are far enough along the road to success that it is too late to stop the decline.

Also Rove has declared that the non-stop anti-Obama bombardment pre-election will be continued without interruption right to the next, the presidential, election. Fox will do the same, of course but one does not have to watch Fox. The mailers will require at least minimum attention. For Corporations Anonymous it will be petty cash to finance that.
Unfortunately the old Goebbels recipe seems still to work on USians.
Just in case someone invokes Godwin here, from what I have read (and occasionally heard directly from breathing citizens) the type of propaganda the Nazis used has mostly lost its power in its country of origin. Germans of my generation or later have difficulty to understand how anyone could have been drawn in by Nazi speeches for they sound to us tedious and sometimes unintentionally funny. Triumph of the Will notoriously causes yawning in the audience over here. From USians on the other hand I have heard numerous times that after watching that movie they could understand why people followed Hitler. I have already stated here repeatedly that I have the strong suspicion that GOP speechwriters use translated editions of nazi speeches as material because I all too often spot what looks like direct quotes. On the other hand I doubt that the style* used by communists of the same era would really work in the US.

*devoid of content that is

To allow politics to become corrupt, and then avoid politics because it has become corrupt, is a double crime, no matter what your positions are.

At least this election shut up the people sneering about astroturf. But those same people don't seem to be threatening to move to Canada this time around either, which is good. Maybe they see the same thing I see: a robust democracy in full throat.

How does expressing a potential move to Canada constitute a threat? I've mentioned moving to Canada a number of times in moments of political despair, but not to anyone I had any desire to threaten, nor with any intent to threaten anyone else. Whether or not democracy is in full throat, it can have results I find disturbing, perhaps disturbing enough for me to leave the country. What of it?

How is it a crime to "allow" politics to become corrupt if you have no power to prevent the corruption?

To allow politics to become corrupt, and then avoid politics because it has become corrupt, is a double crime, no matter what your positions are.

If it? You seem to believe that people's time is infinite and unlimited. Very few of us would be here in the United States had our ancestors not given up on their home countries. I wouldn't be so quick to judge. You made it corrupt.

The Teaparty was astroturf in the sense that it was concieved of and funded by the Koch brothers. They were used by the the Republicans to get out their base, of course, because the4 teabaggers are the R base. In that sense the Tea Aprty was not astroturf.

I will have to move to Canada if the Repthuglicans succeed in undoing the health reform package. I need to have access to affordable health insurance.

As for that platitude about the corruptness of avoiding politics because it has beomce corrupt--I've been politically active since I was fourteen and I'm over fifty now. I don't plan to avoid politics. I plan to fight harder than ever agaisnt the people who are ruining our nation--if I can stay here. However with a pre-existing condition I will not be able to get health insurance without spending my life savings on it and I am not willing to go into an impoverished old age just to satisfy a bunch of right wing partisan hacks who think that the health and financial wellbeing of their fellow citizens is just a issue for their power games.

I was able to cheer myself up the next day with the news that Meg Whitman spent $160 million to lose an election by 12 points. Not even close. Gives you a little faith in the electorate's ability to resist propaganda.

And Carly Fiorina lost by 9 points. Not sure why she thought wrecking what was one of California's most beloved high-tech companies* qualified her for the Senate, clearly the state disagreed.

* And helping to wreck Compaq and what was left of DEC in the process. Clearly she went to the Crush! Kill! Destroy! School of Management, which has never worked very well in high-tech.

We got the ability to pass California budgets by simple majority, which is a really big deal. If nothing else, it proved that the conservative poison pill of Prop 13 cannot actually extend its influence beyond the point that a majority of voters disapprove of its provisions. The idea of Prop 13 is to thwart the will of the majority long after the majority that passed it have become a minority. Well, that's not going to fly.

And a warning shot was fired with Prop 19. Even though it didn't pass, it already helped push the governor to enact the effective decriminalization of marijuana possession in California, and nobody can doubt that legalization will pass within the decade. It puts the state and federal government on notice that they need to figure out how to deal with that, rather than flatly declaring that it can't happen.

That and the sweep of statewide offices (fingers crossed on Kamala Harris) and I'm feeling pretty okay about California.

Linda McMahon also lost, and she spent like $50 mil, Jacob. Just to add to your list.

I will comfort myself by noting that... the Dems still have the Presidency and the Senate and they've already passed a (flawed) HCR bill. Their failures are many, and yet that's where we are. Not so bad, really.

Rove, Atwater,, Norquist et all wanted the US to go back to the days of the robber barons and they are far enough along the road to success that it is too late to stop the decline.

This does rather beg the question of how we ever got rid of the robber barons in the first place. Clearly, even assuming that you are correct in what happened and why, there is some way to turn the tide. Or are you just saying that it will have to go all the way to the extreme before it can be turned around?

This does rather beg the question of how we ever got rid of the robber barons in the first place.

Meet Leon Frank Czolgosz.

We didn't get rid of them. Becsuse of the depression FDR was able to pass a good deal of legislation that had the effect of supporting and later extending the middle class. Prior to that some reforms such as the income tax had been passed. labor unions also helped out considerably. I think that mostly the depression had the effect of discrediting rightwing balderdash for a while. Now however it is back in full force. Even out here in Washington the voters screw themselves over repeatedly by supporting rightwing tax cuts which only benefit the weathly. That's why my job and my health isurance are in jeopardy.


I don't particulartly wnt to go to the inconvenience of moving anywhere but, if the Republicans succeed in using their disinformation apparatus to spread the lie that health care reform is going to increase the deficit, and if they succeed in removing or defunding the exchanges I will be inn the same positin as many other Americans: impoverished by insurance premiums (if I can get insurance at all!)or bankrupted by health care costs. I will not let that happen to me.

@ Sanity Inspector:

Our democracy may be "robust" by some measure, but it's not doing a great job of aligning the interests of the politicians with those of the nation. We saw this problem on the national security front, where it appears that Bush's failure to stop the 9/11 attacks helped him win reelection. Now it looks like the best electoral strategy for the Republicans is to do everything possible to prevent an economic recovery.

I believe I heard earlier today that only 13 of 37 millionaires had won their races.

I can't find where I got my numbers from, but there was also this, on why CEOs generally make such lousy politicians:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131060202

Hey, I read that on a fortune cookie today at lunch!

If you want good news, consider this: the anti-puppy-mill initiative won in Missouri, home of more puppy mills than any other state. (The initiative would require a basic level of decent care for animals.)

why CEOs generally make such lousy politicians

It's unclear to me why anyone thinks "successful businessperson" translates to "successful governance".

Running a business != governing. Not remotely.

It'd be like assuming that because someone is a good farmer, or jazz trombonist, or jet pilot, that they would therefore be good at governing.

Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't, but success in the prior field is probably not a reliable indicator.

IMVHO.

"I was able to cheer myself up the next day with the news that Meg Whitman spent $160 million to lose an election by 12 points. Not even close. Gives you a little faith in the electorate's ability to resist propaganda.

And Carly Fiorina lost by 9 points. Not sure why she thought wrecking what was one of California's most beloved high-tech companies* qualified her for the Senate, clearly the state disagreed."

I realize that two data points representing very close to the most money spent on their respective races (and Issa before them) don't strictly prove anything. But are they possible data points against the idea that Citizens United represents the very end of the world?

But are they possible data points against the idea that Citizens United represents the very end of the world?

No. Wealthy people have long been able to finance their own campaigns. On what basis do you think they're related?

For that matter, who claimed that Citizen's United represented the end of the world? The ruling with respect to for-profit companies overturns longstanding precedent, its reasoning was not very good, and it undermines USian democracy, but it's clearly not the end of the world.

Yes, they are. Not that it means you have to like the current state of affairs wrt money in the political system.

Personally, I'm more concerned about lobbying and the "revolving door" than I am about campaign contributions. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I dunno.

But are they possible data points against the idea that Citizens United represents the very end of the world?

As noted above, nobody's saying CU is "the end of the world", just that it sucks, both in legal reasoning and in it's political consequences.

As far as measuring "how badly does it suck", you would have to first answer, "compared to what?"

In the context of an environment where millions and millions of dollars are spent on active lobbying for all kinds of private entities, and where members of Congress as well as unelected political officials can count on 7 figure plus gigs with corporations and other entities they are supposed to regulate, and where representatives of interested private actors literally write the legislation that is intended to regulate them, it's just another brick in the wall.

BFD.

The context we should be considering is one in which not only was CU decided differently, but where all of the crap I just mentioned is, if not eliminated, at least not the overwhelming norm.

Imagine that, then you tell me if CU sucks or not.

Running a business != governing. Not remotely.

I think when people began to believe that anything could be run better if it were run like a business was the beginning of this country's decline. I watched the bean counters destroy book publishing back in the 1980s, and much the same kind of thing is happening now in many NPOs.

"It's unclear to me why anyone thinks "successful businessperson" translates to "successful governance"."

Better than the old way, where "successful general" was thought to translate to "successful governance."

Better than the old way, where "successful general" was thought to translate to "successful governance."

I'm not sure that's changed. It may just be that our supply of successful generals is depleted these days.

Better than the old way, where "successful general" was thought to translate to "successful governance."

Some generals are good at governance, some suck. Eisenhower vs Grant, frex.

Some business people are good at governance, some suck. Bloomberg seems to do a good job, Truman was a pretty good President, Harding is generally considered to have been one of the worst ever.

I don't see anything in the historical record to indicate that their prior experience as generals or business people had much to do with it either way.

Governing is not like waging war, and it's not like running a for-profit enterprise. A resume as a general or CEO is not an indicator of fitness to govern.

"Eisenhower vs Grant, frex."

Grant was one of the nation's greatest Presidents. Ask me to write a post, if not several posts, why, when I get back.

Or try to stop me. :-)

Anti-Grantism has been the rage since the days when he was beloved as one of the nation's greatest because Southern revisionism history, the Tea Party history of its day, remains popular, particularly when it comes to Reconstruction, where Southern revisionism is still largely triumphant.

The South lost the battle of the civil war and full slavery, but won the battle of Reconstruction and taking back the vote and all other civil rights from African-Americans, and their ability to engage in self-rule for another hundred years after 1861, and blackening Ulysses Grant' name was a necessity, champion of civil rights that he was.

But few nowadays have read his once best-selling memoirs, wonderful reading that they are, or could tell you what he accomplished in civil rights.

I have a bunch of posts on Reconstruction in mind, actually, although I doubt I have anything to say that Ta-Nehisi Coates hasn't gotten to in the last year or so.

Gary,

I look forward to the Grant Resurrection posts. I would love to rid my mind of a false understanding of his presidency.

Grant was one of the nation's greatest Presidents. Ask me to write a post, if not several posts, why, when I get back.

Consider yourself asked, I will look forward to it.

For former-generals-who-were-crappy-Presidents, I am happy to withdraw Grant on Gary's recommendation, and offer instead your choice of Andrew Johnson or Franklin Pierce.

Hope your move goes as smoothly as possible Gary!

We hates Andrew Johnson! Hates him!

Franklin Pierce was merely one of the most destructive presidents we've ever had, specificaly because of his terrible decisions as regards slavery, but also in a variey of other bad choices. He was a very bad president, but I rate Andrew Johnson as much worse, for reasons to be expanded upon later, as he's also even more complicated. Also just personally more despicable.

And I meant that "and blackening Ulysses Grant' name was a necessity, champion of civil rights that he was," was a necessity to the narrative of Southern "whites" being the injured party before, during, and after the Civil Warm, through Jim Crow, and in the last remnants of Confederate nostalgia and defense.

See Grant and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, aka "The Ku Klux Klan Act," for one pointer.

Later. I shouldn't be writing when I've already taken Ambien.

There's an awful lot of crucial stuff left out of here, which is nice, because it leaves room for lots of blogging between the large gaps, but there are worse places to start a general brushup on Reconstruction, if anyone is interested.

But no fair getting to far into discussion while I'm gone! :-)

Grant's memoirs make outstanding reading -- the Library of America put them out a few years back in a single volume.

And yeah, in a sense the South won the Civil War by selling their vision of themselves to the rest of the country; the Gone With the Wind effect, I've heard it called.

I also hate Andrew Jackson, he said cheerfully, and while wishing he could sleep.

I really wish more people would check on this chart from the little-noticed, or at least little-discussed, update to the post, from Sara Robinson, of her piece The Myth of the Self-Made American: Why Progressives Get No Respect , and the chart of the study of haveing "asked people who'd been the beneficiaries of 19 specific government programs -- including some of the most popular and widespread programs in the country -- whether or not they'd ever used a government social program," incidentally. It can't be too useful in explaining how misinformed people are about crucial information and themselves and their role vis a vis governmental aid.

I'm relieved that at least nobody has leaped to the defense of Harding.

the Gone With the Wind effect, I've heard it called.

Birth of a Nation effect is more like it.

Yeah- I helped manage a phone bank in my neck of the woods. I got the result that I wanted (at least state/locally), so I'm happy about that. But it's like "now what do I do with my time?"

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