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September 06, 2011

Comments

It was, basically, rude of me. I'm prone to being a hothead, I'm prone to foot in mouth disease, I'm prone to going off when I get upset.
Russel
I had to deal with the same problem, had to stop and think about how to solve it after realizing that i was doing more damage then use to my purpose of educating and finding a consensus.
After a period of listening only and asking more questions to understand from what logic such ideas come and from what source did they initially get them it was a time for action with purpose. I followed this course: Do not react instantaneously, give yourself time to calm down, figure out epistemology from their vocabulary use and watch the reaction of others who were listening.
Initial words should point to absurdity of their statement as to be an attention grabber, reach far down close to the bottom line of the common ground and build from there. And watch for my own emotions not to get out of hand.
I found out, just as you did, that so many times the split of ideas occurred after "i want to be a good person and do good for the country", really far down. Extremely rarely i encounter a pure evil person where they advocate for killing of the other side, mostly as a passing car sticker with "where is Oswald when we need him".
Cheering the mention of Rick Perry's executions, and YEAHs at "Let them die" insinuations from GOP debates come really close to that.

And do not use too sophisticated wording because such their idiotic solutions did not come from sophisticated knowledge of the matter at hand. It came from stopping the investigation of the problems when it matched their emotions. It is like attacking their emotions which is really dangerous, but given enough practice i can manage it. I manage by using questions with implications, or transferring their positions to some well known example from history. Goodwin's law applies equally to the real world, except with the tight group of friends and family.

Hey ct - many thanks for the thoughtful advice. I will think about what you've said here.

where is Oswald when we need him

Haven't seen that one.

I don't think that is the person I'd try to reach out to.... :)

Whining from the right about being "targeted" by the left as a divisive tactic is like my 11-year-old nephew.

He lives in a house on a lake with a boat and three different video game systems and all the toys in the world, and is utterly fncking inconsolable when he feels ("feels" being the operative word here) that he never gets to do what he wants and/or is being treated unfairly.

Yes, I'm sorry your privilege has blinded you to the fact that you're far, far better off than 99% of people on earth. Yes, I understand that such feelings are relative, and that, for you, it "really" is/seems like it is unfair and hurtful. Yes, I understand, too, that you "deserve" everything you have, and that your idea of "normal" is not even on the same scale as most of the rest of humanity.

No, I don't feel bad for you, and I think you're divorced from reality if you think that *you're* the oppressed one.

ccdg: At risk of being unable to communicate this effectively, I can't imagine anyone watching Democratic politics over the last 40 years and accusing Republicans of rhetoric meant to create resentment. It is the very lifes breath of Democratic politics to repeat over and over that "those" people have more than you so you should vote for me. More money, more freedom, more opportunity, more evil intent, pick your more and they are going to point it out.

And, of course, the consequences are equal on both sides as well. Elect Democrats, and, hey, they government regulates more and might take more of your income in taxes. Elect Republicans, and, hey, you can't get married, the Justice Department will abandon it's civil rights enforcement, and you'll need to show ID to vote. All the same.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/changing-rules-by-david-atkins.html>This is an example of overreaction on our side.

If the GOP is looking to ignite riots and a 2nd American civil war, this would be one way to do it:

If Republicans get their president in 2012 there is extremely small chance that there will be a civil war. It requires a multi-year drought and exhaustion of the Ogallala Aquifer and Lake Mead. There is no chance for American Spring lasting long enough given the Republican president. The response will be more fierce then the response in Bahrein.
The 2nd civil war can happen with Dem president only and when Republicans feel that they control most of the military. And i do not see a concentrated effort to control the military, not even an effort. They do control private armies like Xe and other, tough. But their forces are outside of the country still. Sometimes i ask myself if that is the reason Obama keeps them in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of stopping the wars and letting them back into the US.
For a civil war you really need about 20-25% of population to feel like they have nothing to loose with some kind of a leadership. And we are not there yet, maybe half-way there. Multi-year drought would get us there. Or a multi-year GOP control of the institutional powers would get us there. Given that we are in the historic period of huge electoral swings from election to election, GOP would not stay in power long enough. But combination of GOP presidency and continent wide drought will reduce the time for creating conditions for civil war to a couple of years.
Two scenarios for civil wars: top down like The American Civil War, or bottom up from starvation and lack of effective safety-net institutions like in Arab Spring.

So we are very far from civil war but very close to fascism that eventually can lead us there.

You are very welcome

where is Oswald when we need him

Haven't seen that one.
I live in south where i've seen about half a dozen of them and a couple of others with a similar message. There is a relatively strong support for such thinking down south, and i really badly want to remove such support.

"So we are very far from civil war but very close to fascism that eventually can lead us there.'

Yep. And thank you, crithical tinkerer, for your insights.

Civil war would certainly be ugly. But fascism is quite ugly too.

If Republicans get their president in 2012 there is extremely small chance that there will be a civil war. It requires a multi-year drought and exhaustion of the Ogallala Aquifer and Lake Mead.

I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, here. No reference point at all, sorry.

Explain, please?

So we are very far from civil war but very close to fascism that eventually can lead us there.

This, too, wants explaining. The Tea Party that you guys are so fond of reviling are any sort of entity at all only because they think the government is controlling too much; is too authoritarian.

Which sort of leans away from fascism, no?

Not that they are mutually exclusive.
---
On the "Where is...when one needs him", I have heard of versions with John Wilkes Booth. Would make more sense since I am unaware that Kennedy is as reviled as Lincoln among the people that would use such slogans (and would deny, if the could, that Lincoln founded their party).

The Tea Party that you guys are so fond of reviling are any sort of entity at all only because they think the government is controlling too much; is too authoritarian.

Which sort of leans away from fascism, no?

Well, that depends on how they think the government is too authoritarian. If it's a matter of rolling back the New Deal and Great Society, then I'd say it leans away from socialism and various forms of equality, but not necessarily fascism. If they were focused on rolling back the Patriot Act, hyper-militarism, the War on Drugs, high encarceration rates and such, then I'd say, yes, they'd be leaning away from fascism.

My impression is that there is some of both in varying degrees among self-proclaimed Tea Party members, but, in general, that there is a bit more focus on the former list.

Slartibartfast, the "fascism" that we're beginning to embrace is the corporate oligarchy. The "Tea Party" is indistinguishable from Republican hard core (the ones who are described in the article that inspired this thread), the ones who have always supported the "rights" of big business at the expense of the human persons.

Why are those retired dudes with the tea bags hanging from their hats trying to help corporations? They don't get it that they're not the ones who will benefit from the demise of health and safety regulations, the destruction of the social safety net, the neglect of infrastructure. They just see that they're higher on the food chain than "the ones who made bad choices" - immigrants, unemployed people, poor people - people who are exploited and marginalized by the culture of corporate profit. The "self-sufficiency" rhetoric validates their own "hard-earned" position in society, as opposed to those failures over there who couldn't make the cut. The "Don't Tread on Me" folks are often happy to sign up for the private regulations of the gated communities; they don't mind the years of "regulation" that their corporate employers placed on their lives. All freedom means to them is that they don't have to share with those ne'er do wells who failed to get promoted like they did.

As far as the term "fascism" goes, I already noted that it isn't exactly apt. But the results - extreme disdain for the rights of the weaker members of society, and unbridled power in the bullies - are similar.

The Tea Party that you guys are so fond of reviling are any sort of entity at all only because they think the government is controlling too much; is too authoritarian.

Hmm, That's what they say, but I don't think they are so coherent as you suggest. They are fine with the government having a lot of control - total control in fact - in some realms.

My impression is that there is some of both in varying degrees among self-proclaimed Tea Party members, but, in general, that there is a bit more focus on the former list.

Fair enough on both points.

I don't think that "hyper-militarism" is apt, though. It's not as if we have the parades, and such. If that should translate more as "more militaristic than I think is good and right", then I won't argue the point. If it means also something like "we should keep our sweaty meathooks out of other countries' business", I think you'd probably find some agreement with that sentiment in Tea Party circles; enthusiastic agreement from dissatisfied paleocons.

Which is not to paint you as one of them, just to note that individual points of agreement do not necessarily make for convenient labeling.

Also, I should note that many Teapartiers that I have spoken to were none too happy with the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, and other folly. I, too, am none too happy with those things. But that unhappiness doesn't make me one of them, nor does it make me one of you, whichever niche-ifying label you might accept. Other than human, and possibly cantankerous.

I mean: get off my lawn, already.

They are fine with the government having a lot of control - total control in fact - in some realms.

Not being privy to the hive mind of the party of Tea, I'd appreciate a few examples.

They are fine with the government having a lot of control - total control in fact - in some realms.

For example, warrantless wiretapping, fenced free-speech zones, secret prisons, torture.

And, the more recent example(s) from the Republican debates: capital punishment for the uninsured. OK, that's a slight exaggeration.


Slarti, I'm glad to hear your report of some opposition to the Patriot act among those you spoke with. Still, the blood lust on display at the debates is troubling (even to Rick Perry).

I should note that many Teapartiers that I have spoken to were none too happy with the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, and other folly. I, too, am none too happy with those things.

Which is why the teaparty formed just after 9/11 and all the folly you mention was promulgated - right?

warrantless wiretapping, fenced free-speech zones, secret prisons, torture

Cite? I have to admit near-complete absence of exposure to any conversation in favor of this, emanating from the Tea Party. Which doesn't mean it's not there.

And, the more recent example(s) from the Republican debates: capital punishment for the uninsured

That's practically Death Panels.

Maybe there's more in common between D and R than you thought.

Ok, slight exaggeration there. Your frivolity is contagious, it seems.

Which is why the teaparty formed just after 9/11 and all the folly you mention was promulgated - right?

Sometimes things take a while to develop. Like, you know, the Democratic upswell that led to the 2006 election. Where was that in 2004?

Not being privy to the hive mind of the party of Tea, I'd appreciate a few examples.

Also not privy. I can deduce though. A vast majority of teapartiers - in the 80% range - self identify as Republicans - sorry I don't have time to find that cite, but I don't think that is controversial. There was evidently no need for the teaparty to take to the streets 8 or 9 years ago when the folly you mention was being enacted, not to mention state sanctioned torture, the wiretaps, etc. etc. The teas may not have liked everything Bush and Cheney did, but it seems to me that authoritarianism in service of 'security' and warmaking didn't bother them a bit, since they didn't exist then as such, and were then just regular Republicans, most of whom presumably voted for Bush and Cheney for a second term - the base came out for that election, as you recall.

Now I can't PROVE this, but it seems like a pretty good bet to me.

It seems as if you're making some things mean everything, jb. 2.5 years into the Obama presidency, we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan; what's that mean? We actually involved ourselves in other ME conflicts.

All with the best of intentions, I'm sure.

And, for all you know, "wiretapping" is still being done. Politifact says little has changed on that front.

So: what's that mean?

If we can use the Tea Party Express as a proxy for what "Tea Partiers" believe, here is their platform:

End the bailouts!
Reduce the size & intrusiveness of government!
Stop the out-of-control spending!
No government-run healthcare!
Stop raising our taxes!

Exclamation points theirs.

I choose the Tea Party Express because they were the sponsors of the "Tea Party" debate.

To me the Tea Party position boils down to:

Quit taking my money.
Leave me alone.

But that's just my impression. I don't presume to speak for them.

I actually find discussions about the tea party to be somewhat frustrating, because nobody seems to want to actually own up to either being a tea partier, or to speaking for them.

Push back on a putative tea party claim, and the response is that nobody really speaks for them.

As best I can tell, it's a term of convenience for folks to claim when they want to vent their frustration, anger, or resentment about something or other.

Quit taking my money and Leave me alone is about as coherent a position as I can glean from it all.

It seems as if you're making some things mean everything, jb. 2.5 years into the Obama presidency, we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan; what's that mean? We actually involved ourselves in other ME conflicts.

All with the best of intentions, I'm sure.

And, for all you know, "wiretapping" is still being done. Politifact says little has changed on that front.

So: what's that mean?

Well. I think it means we can see if the Tea Partiers are against these things by observing if they're on their common list of grievances against government. If they really don't seem to be all that hung up about them, then we can probably conclude they're not concerned with this sort of governmental intervention.

OTOH, if they are seriously protesting these things, then it's a lot less informative.

I actually find discussions about the tea party to be somewhat frustrating, because nobody seems to want to actually own up to either being a tea partier, or to speaking for them.

Sure, that's a problem. I tend to sympathize with some of their issues and not others. In general, though, I am not really a joiner of organizations that would have me as a member. I was raised as a Republican, never really participated in Republican politics or campaigns, briefly identified as a Republican, and nowadays I am simply registered as one so I can decide which Republican asshole makes it to the general election. Florida has closed primaries, so I had to pick one or t'other.

So: sorry to be an additional source of frustration to you by not being able to speak for them or even, really, about them.

I am not really a joiner of organizations that would have me as a member.

Say the secret woid and a duck will come down from the ceiling.

I think 'The Tea Party' is not one unified movement. It's at least two astroturf groups (TP Express and TP Nation) and a very heterogenous mass of 'followers' that neither group fully controls. The followers contain on the one hand people with actual justified grievances that believe the TP to be an actual independent grassroots movement that will give them the voice they are denied by both established parties. They clearly have my sympathy but I think they are/get(?) duped by the string-pullers behind the scene who give a semisolid digestive final product about their grievances but need their numbers as chips in the game. Then there are the people that believe that they themselves can profit from the movement at the expense of 'Them' if they support the agenda of the leaders in the mistaken belief that the supply of read meat will continue once the higher-ups have achieved their goals. And then there are the lumpenbourgeoisie and (as recent addition) the American Taliban .
The 'problem' for the original organizers and the (un-scare-quoted) problem for society is, that the originally purely artificial movement took on a life of its own, became partially a real movement, and, because it is not unified but extremly angry, threatens both their masters and society in general. The 'masters' wanted to use the TP to just destroy the social contract as it applied to the lower classes hoping to derive money and power from that. But it looks like the conjured up monster will not be content with that and has become at least partially aware of the game that is played with it. It might also be that the attempt to regain control by appealing to the American Taliban and including them in the TP will backfire because this time they will not as usual be content with mere promises forgotten after the election. It's there where I see actual parallels to Weimar. The Old Right (equivalent to the GOP establishment and their corporate backers) tried to use the Nazi movement (which was at its core disaffected middle class) as a tool against the moderate and radical left. The primary goal to crush democracy in all but name was achieved but the Old Right found that the new kids had not the least intention of handing over the reins to them. The results are known.
Unlike the Nazi movement the TP has no real leadership and those that believe that they are (Bachmann, Perry*)** can only unleash the destructive potential but risk to be devoured themselves in the medium to long run. Perry already got a taste of that about immigration.
The results will be very, very ugly. One can only hope that those that lit the fire will not escape it. I fear to contain the fire will not be possible anymore.

*I consider Perry to be just a sociopath and bottomlessly personally corrupt with no loyalties to anyone but himself. Bachmann seems insane enough to believe at least part of what she says.
**Palin seems to be out of the game

The Maine Tea Party in its own words, after taking over the drafting of the platform at the convention of the Maine Republican Party in May of 2010.

My favorite line from the platform:

b. Reassert the principle that “Freedom of Religion” does not mean “freedom from religion”.

My favorite line from the write-up about the platform coup on the Maine Tea Party's own website:

This is a great accomplishment, there is no room for interpretation.

No room for interpretation! This reminds me of a critical piece I once read on Kafka's The Trial, in which the writer Freudianly assigned male and female symbols to everyone and everything in the book, and said that he had found the "key" to The Trial, and there was no longer any room for arguing other interpretations.

True Believers in the One True Truth, which is always...whatever any given True Believer says it is at any given moment.

What a trip.

**Palin seems to be out of the game

I wouldn't count on it......

I really wish that it were possible to accommodate the teabaggers' demands to:

Quit taking my money.
Leave me alone.
If it were logistically possible, I would gladly allow any Tea Party member to "secede in place", for want of a better expression. You don't have to leave, but you're no longer under the jurisdiction of the US; you're a citizen of the Tea Party Nation.

Keep your damned money, and we will keep ours. You don't have to contribute a penny to "the government", but you no longer get anything from the government either. No SS checks to you, no Medicare reimbursements to your doctor. You have a billion-dollar invention? No US patent for you. Your boss demands you work 90 hours a week for $2/hr? Cool; it's none of our business. You got screwed by a fellow Tea Party national and want to sue the bastard? Help yourself to your own courts -- we promise not to call them "sharia courts" or anything.

Hold your own elections and we will hold ours. If our elected representatives decide that your US passport is no longer valid, feel free to print up your own. If your elected representatives decide to open embassies abroad (since ours no longer represent you) it's no skin off our nose. How you fund them is your own look-out. Try a bake sale.

As in any amicable divorce, I'm sure we can work out a fair division of our joint assets and liabilities. Some of the assets would be hard to divvy up: the "USA" brand name, for one. Since the outstanding "national" debt you're all het up about is intimately tied up with the brand name, I'd say whoever ends up with the one has to take the other with it. But that's just my opinion.

Two separate sovereign nations living intermingled on the same territory is of course a ridiculous fantasy. Logistically, it would be a nightmare to implement. But it's getting to the point where it might be worth trying to

Quit taking (their) money; AND
Leave (them) alone,
just as an experiment.

--TP

"I fear to contain the fire will not be possible anymore."

This is what I fear too. And I don't know what the program is for those of us who want to fight the fire. I'm still supporting the electoral process (Democrats) because I still believe they're good people trying to fight the fight. And that's why I'm so infuriated by progressives who, lacking an alternative means of fighting, seem to be opting out.

And I don't mean to be relentlessly blaming people who believe essentially what I believe, but hey: This is important, and there's really no alternative but to be faithful, on message, and disciplined about politics - because war isn't an option for us.

I don't think we have the luxury of waving our hands at the Tea Party because all the members may not espouse all the attributed Tea Party beliefs at the same time, given that the debate was CNN and was co-sponsored with some group with the Tea Party name.

lj, agreed.

And what's this about? J. H. Christ. If there was any doubt about these horrible slimy people ....

It seems as if you're making some things mean everything, jb. 2.5 years into the Obama presidency, we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan; what's that mean? We actually involved ourselves in other ME conflicts.

So, 2.5 years into the Obama presidency and they are ready to secede (actually after less time than that) but 7-8 years into the Bush presidency...no tea party even exists. I'm sure it's just happenstance.

Along the same lines, from Andrew Sullivan's live-blogging of the debate the other night:

8.35 pm. So they all want to repeal Obamacare, but no one wants to touch the Medicare Prescription Drug Entitlement. Blow me over with a feather.

I'm sure it's just happenstance.

IOW: consistency for thee, but not for me.

It cuts both ways, no?

It's ridiculous that we have to pretend that we know nothing solid about a group which has at least partially taken over the gop and one cohort of which sponsored their last presidential debate. Evidently, we can say what they stand for only when we agree with them, but any criticism is out of bounds, since...who knows, really? Give me a break.

I will say, though, that the 'letting the uninsured die' part of the last debate was possibly more Ron Paul than tea party, if I am allowed to make that distinction. It was Paul's question, and the morons who yelled 'YEAH' at his answer were probably Paul guys. They are their own kind of crazy. I would estimate the tea party position to be more nuanced: YEAH, let him die! unless it's *me* that's uninsured and sick, in which case, it's the Liberal's fault, like everything else!

I'm sure it's just happenstance.

IOW: consistency for thee, but not for me.

It cuts both ways, no?

You lost me Slarti. Many teas you know don't like civil liberties violations which were begun 7 years ago, but didn't feel the need to form a movement until after Obama was elected. So then I guess the reason they did it is that they're disappointed that Obama didn't end the wars and the civil liberties violations! They were Hoping Audaciously and disappointed, just like so many others of us.

The Maine Tea Party in its own words

I know I'm only displaying my effete liberal arugula-eating, French-wine-drinking snobbery when I say this, but:

Due *diligence*, not "diligent's".

There *are* no more wishy washy statements, not "there is no more wishy washy statements".

And so forth.

For crying out loud in a bathtub, it's your damned party platform. Proof read it. If you can't parse English, hire a freaking copy editor.

But no, this dude is going to educate the masses. He is going to hip us all to the real meaning of the Constitution, which we all have apparently forgotten.

I'm still looking for the Article and Section where the founders pledged their allegiance to Austrian economics.

I am seriously not looking to pick on tea partiers, but they CANNOT FREAKING WRITE. I'm not talking elegance, I'm talking grammar and spelling. Fourth and fifth grade stuff.

Why? What the hell is it with them? Seriously, can somebody please explain their inability (or, perhaps, refusal) to write correct English?

And forgive me for saying this, but they DON'T KNOW MUCH. They don't. And half of what they do know is wrong.

Not matter-of-interpretation wrong, not interesting-if-eccentric-interpretation-of-history wrong.

Just wrong. False. Not true. Lacking a basis in history or in fact. Incongruent with reality. Wrong.

I wish them well, mazel tov, may the road rise to meet them.

But they are stone ignorant. I'm sorry, I don't mean to give offense, but they are. They are very clear about the things that bug them, which is great, but their understanding of any of the relevant history or facts is profoundly shallow.

Jeez Louise.

Sorry, I didn't really mean to go there, but the freaking Maine Tea Party platform sent me over the edge. Thanks for humoring me, I'll try to keep a lid on it next time.

Yes, I would be happy to let them keep their money, and would be more than happy to leave them alone, if they decided to break away to form their own republic.

The problem is, they want mine.

Wow, check out the platform of the Mainers TP:

Some highlights:

Freedom is not a pre-existing condition into which everyone is delivered. Freedom and personal liberty are conditions of existence which are hard fought for and once won, must be maintained.

No Natural Law? Just wondering. No 'BORN FREEEEE'?

one more, from the preamble:

We are presented with a situation in which WE THE PEOPLE, must re-educate ourselves and our neighbors, and put the knowledge of liberty to work in the elections this November.

Hot. Re-education!

This is going to be comedy gold. Can't wait to read the rest.

First

But it's literally crazy to think that *only* Democratic politicians try to stoke fear and anxiety and resentment,

This is categorically NOT what I have ever said. "only" is not what I said. In fact what I said was it is literally crazy to think that ONLY Republican politicians try to stoke fear and resentment. Almost my only point.

Second, I am now officially not surprised anymore when the answer to this discusssion is "your rich, or comfortable or better of than 99% of people" so you have no empathy any more. For the record, thats BS.

" I'm still supporting the electoral process (Democrats) because I still believe they're good people trying to fight the fight."

Depends on your POV. From mine, Kucinich fits this description. He's goofy or sometimes comes across that way, but I'd buy that he is trying to fight the good fight.

For the rest, the Democrats are less distant from my beliefs than the Republicans. On average, that is. I could never vote for Ron Paul because he horrifies me in some ways, but in this exchange he's closer to a leftwing position than any mainstream Democrat (Kucinich not being mainstream)

link

I suppose if I were disciplined I wouldn't be noticing such things out loud (or at all, maybe).

"In fact what I said was it is literally crazy to think that ONLY Republican politicians try to stoke fear and resentment. Almost my only point."

That was it? It's not saying much--without knowing anything at all about politics in, say, Australia, I would bet that at least a few members of each of its major political parties try to stoke fear and resentment now and then.

And since I am now irritated, I would like for you to find any group of people at any level on the economic ladder who are, in general, willing to say that they don't deserve what they have.

And then point out the people that are in a lower economic class that believe they deserve what those people have.

Thats everyone. So every line that the Democrats draw, 200k, millionaires and billionaires, 150k when Kerry was running,are just ways to define a segment of society that they can pit against the next level up.

Despite the rhetoric I don't like, I am more interested in any party that talks about making things better for everyone. Rising tide etc. because thats the only thing that works in the long run.

Marty, you said:

"I am more interested in any party that talks about making things better for everyone. Rising tide etc. because thats the only thing that works in the long run."

I couldn't agree more, which is why your continued support of Republican positions still baffles me.

It's not that Dem positions are marginally better, for fundamentally they take conservative stances that are still too tepid for the socio-economic realities Americans are facing. But they're attempts at positions, as half-baked as they have been.

But I'm failing to see what the GOP is offering that remotely resembles workable, hell, even plausible statements of policy that would benefit more than just a small constituency of really rich people. So commensurately, I'm failing to see what they stand for that remotely resembles unity of a broader polity.

What I'm seeing through my imperfect, myopic lens is bitterness, divisiveness, manufactured resentment and an exaggerated sense of dissatisfaction from an extremist faction that appears, by the day, to be consuming a major political party more completely - and in reference to Hartmut's observations above, is so relentless that it raises serious doubts as to whether the old guard in the GOP is capable of controlling it.

My gut is beginning to tell me that at least a few of the old-timers are afraid of these extremists and fear that they are losing the high ground to them.

I also fail to see where the great resentment of wealth you attribute to the Dems comes from. That might've been more characteristic of say, the '60s more than at any other time, and who were the preeminent Democrats of that era? Why, the Kennedys, the exemplars of inherited wealth par excellance.

That divisiveness alongside lines of upward income may have been directed more at irresponsibly-gained wealth, or wealth that did not have a socially-responsible remit within the ideology of those holding such monetary power.

The Kennedys, given what the vectors of their wealth were, admittedly cannot be gainsayed, but they appeared, imperfectly, to have held a caretaking ethos within their value system.

But wherever you feel they stood/stand with regard to wealth, I have yet to have ever seen, heard of or read about a Democratic candidate on any level that has proposed, say, to openly confiscate the largess of rich folks with, nor threaten them with a reserve of Second Amendment-guaranteed weaponry, nor even pass legislation shutting them out of access to Social Security or Medicare. That they may not need these programs has been a given, but I am not cognizant of any effort to deprive them of it by legislative fiat.

The Tea Partiers want government off their backs. Okay, fine. But what they seem to continue to burden themselves with comfortably is the very real weight of the privatized, unaccountable power of corporations, wealthy individuals and interests. I see no anger there at all.

We can debate whether the overamped "yeahs" at the debate were simply for Rand Paul himself, or for Wolf Blitzer's leading let-the-uninsured-die suggestiveness. But in the name of what value does such a remark go unchecked and unqualified? It isn't a value that takes into review any sort of unity I recognize, in my blinkeredness.

What it is is an every-man-for-himself mentality that I shudder to think will make its way into the deliberation of policy. The message to me, in my misinformed mind, is this: failure to be anything other than a self-secured world beater in career is a crime against society. Anyone who's lost his/her formerly well-renumerated job, and/or health insurance, is a socio-economic liability, a cipher, a moral bankrupt, a living piss-stain on America. And we've gotten a fair sense of what the penalty for all that is.

If I'm wrong on any of this, please, Marty, please educate me out of my misinformation, ignorance, and debilitating dependence. God knows, if I ever return to the U.S. the sentence will pretty much be passed on me from the ride out of the airport.

Rising tide etc. because thats the only thing that works in the long run.

Unfortunately, the rising tide has been very selective about which boats it raises for the last 35 or 40 years.

Not my opinion, it's the reality, as reflected in census and tax information. For reference please see, frex, the CIA factbook page on the US, scroll down to the section on the economy.

And speaking personally, my "animus" toward wealthy people as a class consists of my wanting them to pay, at most, an additional nickel on their top dollars in federal income tax.

Not because they suck. Because we need the revenue.

For one of the reasons for that, please see my comment above about rising tides.

The situation is out of balance right now. We should adjust it, before the wheels come off.

That's almost my whole point.

But it's literally crazy to think that *only* Democratic politicians try to stoke fear and anxiety and resentment,

This is categorically NOT what I have ever said. "only" is not what I said.

Mea culpa. Yes. Sloppy on my part. You said that stoking resentment and anxiety is the life's breath of the Democratic party in the last 40 years. I think that's unfair. Whatever you think of it, Dems do have a positive program - a very mild welfare state combined with halting recognition of civil rights for people who had been denied them. You can call that 'resentment' if you want, but I think we ought to be able to agree that it's just the establishment of minimum standards of civilized life. It's at least arguable.

What isn't, except for people in complete denial, is that the GOP in the last 40 years has had little positive program. It's been almost all negative - against said safety net, and about the stoking of racial and cultural resentment about...well, take your pick: government is the problem, liberals are the problem, feminists are the problem, welfare queens are the problem, immigrants are the problem, gays are the problem, Muslims are the problem, academics are the problem, scientists are the problem, media are the problem, ETC. It never fricking ends because it can't end.

An honest argument is what I want. Say 'I hate the welfare state because it's based on resentment, and I want to get rid of it'. Why don't Republicans do that consistently and clearly? Because people like minimum standards of civilized life and GOP would lose elections. So they do the other stuff - stoke resentment, bankrupt the government on purpose, obstruct, and the rest. It's sneaky and anti-democratic. Don't like being called that? Then don't be that way. Duke it out in the open.

Saying that politicians of either party can be craven is saying the sky is blue when the sun is out. Not untrue, but trivial.

So every line that the Democrats draw, 200k, millionaires and billionaires, 150k when Kerry was running,are just ways to define a segment of society that they can pit against the next level up.

So I was right about it being about marginal tax rates. Great. Progressive taxation is a matter of stoking fear and anxiety and resentment - a way to pit people against each other.

Two words: Welfare Queens
Three words: Ground Zero Mosque
Four words: Defense of Marriage Act

The sky is friggin' red.

Believe it or not, I wrote that last comment before reading jonnybutter's. Welfare queens and the color of the sky - crazy, man.

The sky is friggin' red.

Only at night. So far, anyway.

Four words: Defense of Marriage Act

DOMA vote in House: 342-67
DOMA vote in Senate: 85-14
Signed by: President Clinton.

I haven't looked but assume most, if not all, votes in opposition were by Democrats, but let's not pretend they covered themselves in glory there.

FWIW, 65 of the 67 voting against were Democrats. 118 of the 342 were also Democrats. You can assume without incurring much error that all the rest of the voting was by Republicans. All of the nay votes in the Senate were Democrats; also, the one abstention. Notable aye votes: Joe Biden, Robert Byrd, Tom Daschle, Leahy, Levin, Reid, Wellstone. Notable nays: Kennedy, Kerry, Boxer, Feinstein, Feingold, Moynihan.

I miss Moynihan. He was smarter and more principled than most in elected government at present.

...but let's not pretend they covered themselves in glory there.

Agreed. Democrats can be passive, spineless weenies.

The point, though, is where the push for it came from and where the opposition to it came from - and who continues to support it and who continues to oppose it. Who are the most vocal and determined people on either side of the debate on the general issue, for which the reference to DOMA is a proxy, and which party do they belong to?

I miss Moynihan. He was smarter and more principled than most in elected government at present.

Seconded.

I miss Moynihan. He was smarter and more principled than most in elected government at present.

We at least agree on this. I didn't necessarily share his principles, but he certainly was principled, and extremely smart - in the traditional sense of that word, meaning 'intelligent', not the current Washington DC sense, meaning'ruthlessly cynical'.

Rising tide etc. because thats the only thing that works in the long run.

Yeah, except you may need to help buy boats for the people that don't have and could never afford them, unless you're willing to let them simply drown. Which, as it happens, a great many GOPers simply are.

Believe it or not, I wrote that last comment before reading jonnybutter's.

It's the anti-reactionary hive mind. We're all the same! unlike tea party people, who are all so unlike one another that we can't describe them ideologically.

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