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June 11, 2014

Comments

i like the theory that a bunch of Democratic voters voted in the open primary and swung it to the wingnut out of pure mischief.

Cleek, doesn't your theory assume that Democrats are "organized"?

If so, major flaw.

i like the theory that a bunch of Democratic voters voted in the open primary and swung it to the wingnut out of pure mischief.

Heh, good on them if they did it.

Really, not that many in congress have much respect from me, Cantor was about as ineffective as they come. His constant spats with Boehner weakened the "establishment" republicans politically, and made it politically dangerous for a republican to swing towards compromise. He likely ultimately enabled the very challenge that sunk him.

He got hit on crony capitalism (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/06/10/why-cantors-loss-is-especially-bad-news-for-big-business/ ), although other things as well, like immigration (as noted).

I'm just glad somebody took a hit at the ballot box with crony capitalism as a campaign theme. Really, I doubt it means much, but I like to think people might be starting to have some concerns about cronyism and soft corruption in DC.

Proof that money doesn't always prevail, even in Washington DC?

Money prevails whenever the voters don't care. Say what you will about our system, when the voters care about something a lot, money can't help you all that much. Especially in smallish states.

When the cameras goes away and the voters move onto something else, money will play a role.

I like to think people might be starting to have some concerns about cronyism and soft corruption in DC.

"What's soft about it?", he asked, only half in jest.

Money prevails whenever the voters don't care.

IMO this is a very good observation.

Say what you will about our system, when the voters care about something a lot

it's a shame that the voters don't get more say in things. more ballot initiatives, more special elections, etc. would be awesome, IMO.

for example, just this week: 1. the GOP-run NC state lege voted to allow fracking, to allow companies to withhold the composition of their fracking materials, and to allow your neighbors to dictate if your land gets fracked or not - all in opposition to what the voters say they want. 2. the town council of my little town (pop 4K) approved a development that would not just double, triple, quadruple or even quintuple the population of the town, it would (what's the verb for "to increase by a factor of 20"?) increase it by a factor of 20.

IMO this is a very good observation.

I'd take credit for it, but I can't. An underpaid CC poly sci teacher spent a lot of time making that point very thoroughly with stats and polls and history etc.

Which of course I didn't care about after the test. To be young and stupid again.

But the moral stuck with me. When voters care, they are the authority. When they don't feel that strongly about something...they yield that to the stakeholders (business, etc).

it's a shame that the voters don't get more say in things.

I'd phrase it as 'it's a shame voters don't care about more things', but no argument here.

increase it by a factor of 20.

Also, really? Somebody's got to be making out like a bandit, because that sounds like a *terrible* idea.

Brat (yes, names signify) is another of the Randian/Crypto Christian chimeras (savage, genocidal blood thirsty jaws grafted onto murderous religious sentimentality) the Teapublican Party is breeding to ruin the country.

The smug Cantor was eaten by the monster he thought he had leashed while he fed it red meat. It got into the house and ripped his neck open.

Charles Pierce:

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/

A Sullivan reader speculates on the advisability of carving out a largely gerrymandered Christian district with a streak of anti-Semitism running under the surface and then trying to re-elect a Jew:

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/06/11/was-there-a-jewish-factor/

Josh Marshall demurs on that point of view.

The rancid, corrupt, murderous Democrat (exactly the kind of Democratic politician Brett admires and a guy who should hire some armed bodyguards to protect himself and his corrupt daughter) who was bribed to quit the Virginia statehouse to pave the way for Republicans to murder their own citizens by keeping them off of Medicaid shouldn't go without mention here.

Cleek's favorite theory may hold water, but I'm no more a fan of that strategy than I was of Cantor carrying Tea Party poison onto the floor of the Senate.

Look what it gets ya.

As an aside, after the most recent weekly school murders and the Bundy splinter group slaughter sponsered by that piece of sh*t thous shalt murder covenant called the Second Amendment, I've decided I'm in favor of arming (give them paramilitary training as well) all students and teachers across the country with high caliber weapons but only if they attend NRA, Republican, and Libertarian meetings (they should schedule a trip to Congress, too) and conservative broadcasts and talk radio shows and open fire in self-defense on the gathered filth and vermin.

Maybe the survivors will then see the light.

Ridding this country of its mortal enemies who are trying, one way or the other, through the actions of their conservative paramilitary forces and/or though policy, to kill as many of us as possible, may require turning the place into Mosul for a goodly while to settle some hash once and for all.

(what's the verb for "to increase by a factor of 20"?)

Icosuple? Honestly, at that point "increase twentyfold" sounds better.

I'd say that money doesn't prevail when the voters DO care. If they don't care, then they're liable to accept whatever the people with money say, because the people with money have the megaphones.

But if the voters do care, and know what they think, no amount of money will convince them otherwise. We've had a few cases in California of empty-suit candidates with money trying to buy elections, and it spectacularly fails.

I think Cantor lost because he was an ideologue who tried to trim with personal ambition, and that's a bad combination when there's an alternative on offer of an ideologue more ideological than thou.

"The rancid, corrupt, murderous Democrat (exactly the kind of Democratic politician Brett admires"

I'd be interested in any evidence you have that I admired Ted Kennedy.

Anyway, note well: The Count once again lets the clown mask slip, and expresses his true feelings. Soon the clown mask will be donned again, and he will expect you do dismiss murderous ravings as a joke. The genocide doesn't lie his way into power, folks. He lays it all out, in the expectation that those who'd object will laugh it off.

Cantor lost because he tried to take one side in Washington, and tell people back home he was taking the other side. And then went into an election faced with a candidate who was clearly in agreement with the people where Cantor wasn't.

Money speaks where the people don't care, or the issues are confused. It barely whispers when the people care, and the lines are drawn clearly.

The voters don't like crony capitalism?

Nonsense.

Name one single item in government that Brat won't hand over to his Randian cronies.

Name one single issue on which Brat won't side with Corporate cronies over the individual.

Fracking?

Colonoscopies?

Campaign Finance?

Gun Manufacturers?

(Armed school children should schedule field trips to the latter's facilities and ask to see the production lines on which the weapons that will be used to kill them and their teachers on a weekly basis are made.

And then blow them up)

Crony capitalists like the Kochs are having meetings with Brat as we speak. First a prayer and then a list of bullet points on strategies designed to kill the poor.

Brat ..... Kantor ..... no difference, except that the former will kill faster.


Soon the clown mask will be donned again, and he will expect you do dismiss murderous ravings as a joke.

I must have missed something. Has the Count killed anyone? Menaced anyone in anything resembling real life? Does the Count even own a weapon?

I mean, other than the pitchfork that he once confessed can be found in his garage.

The genocide doesn't lie his way into power, folks.

Once again, I'm asleep at the wheel. The Count is running for office? Or, heading up a coup?

"The Count once again lets the clown mask slip, and expresses his true feelings. Soon the clown mask will be donned again, and he will expect you do dismiss murderous ravings as a joke. The genocide doesn't lie his way into power, folks. He lays it all out, in the expectation that those who'd object will laugh it off."

The punch line, of course, is that the people you arm kill en masse several times a week, and mine haven't lifted a finger yet.

I don't see why you have a problem with school children and indigent medical patients, to name a view, widening your definition of armed self-defense.

At least they aren't asking the Secret Service to do their dirty work for them, but if they did, at least they would be willing to increase taxes to pay for the service.

The problem is not my multiple masks, one under the other endlessly, but your utter lack of one.

I am more disturbed that Cantor got elected in the first place. Independent of what ideology he pushed and claimed to hold (I have strong doubts that he was anything but self-serving), the guy was first class slimebag. His smug, arrogant facial expressions* and his way of talking alone would have prevented him from ever getting my vote even if I had agreed with anything he said. I got to see some clips of him being booed by his own constituents today and can only say I would have joined in. It was so obvious that he considered his audience as a bunch of hicks far below him that should lick his shoes, peasants before their liege lord. The guy he lost to is a demagogue and/or delusional but does not give the impression of leaving a slime trail behind wherever he goes. That Cantor is a Jew does not matter in the least (except maybe by feeding into antisemitic stereotypes).
Politically Cantor was a guy one would not wish to have as a second, if one was the nominal leader, because one would have always to fear that he would stab you in the back with a poisoned dagger the moment he could get away with it and become your successor.
Good riddance (although it is by no means sure that he will not make a comeback).

*to use that old joke: so repellant that photos of his colud be used to make lightweight body armor

All this talk of the Count as Pol Pot with a sense of humor brings up an interesting point--were there any genocidal monsters in history with a sense of humor? I need some sort of precedent here before I start to worry.

A business article that agrees with Thompson and disagrees with me on Brat's appeal to those against crony capitalism:

http://money.msn.com/investing/post--wall-street-loses-a-friend-in-cantors-stunning-defeat

I don't buy it.

His public statements are a mess. He wants higher wages but he wants no minimum wage, no safety net, no foodstamps, etc.

Presumably, without the safety net, Walmart will be forced to raise wages, because ... why again?

Brat loves the free market, nno mixed economy for him, by which he means he must love the open, free trade policies, fire-and-layoff-at-will, Walmartian policies that have systemically lowered wages over the past thirty years on all but the shareholder plutocracy.

So, he loves the free market, just not the one that permitted shareholders and Wall Street MBAs driving company managements to pare employment and benefits to the bone for workers across the spectrum to boost shareholder and management bottom line returns and bonuses?

Right?

Or what?

Is he going to jawbone the Kochs to raise wages for their employees?

Is he going to Occupy Wall Street?

I guess there will be tear gas for him.


Brett: Soon the clown mask will be donned again, and he will expect you do dismiss murderous ravings as a joke.

Whereas Brett never expects his ravings to be dismissed as joke. The joke's on Brett, of course, because he's most risible when he is most earnest. Brett makes me laugh more often than he knows.

--TP


"were there any genocidal monsters in history with a sense of humor?"

Yes .... and no .. depends on who's asking:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWINtUCshxY

Not safe for home or work, though you can show the clip in schools and near the Bundy Ranch where gunfire will drown out the profanity.

It is said that Stalin would do a wicked soft shoe and five minutes of standup for private audiences, who would then be liquidated for expressing less than uproarious laughter.

Torquemada, not least among his other faults, had a mime act that went on endlessly and folks disliked more than some of his
other hobbies.

Henny Youngman never divulged WHAT he wanted us do with his wife once we took her, please, but one can only guess.

Henry Kissinger used to talk like a Nazi in the Oval Office as counterpoint to Nixon's railing against Jewish influence everywhere but he could never get Haldeman to crack a smile.

As for Pol Pot, that sight gag he would do with city folk where he took them into the country, asked them to remove their eyeglasses, and then poked them in the eyes with a Moe Howard two-fingered thrust didn't even play well in Peking.

Donald Johnson, it depends on what one considers humorous. Do court fools or 'funny' ways of torturing and killing people count? The top Nazis were great fans of Mickey Mouse (and that was when Mickey was still some kind of anarchist). Maybe the question should be: Were there any genocial monsters that could honestly laugh about jokes aimed at themselves?
There were some that could take honest criticism and hated it when people tried to sugarcoat inconvenient truths in front of them but that's not the same thing. And then there is the legend about Timur Lenk having several painters killed that did not find a way to paint him as he was but without drawing attention to his missing eye. Allegedly the winner showed him as an archer with the missing eye conveniently closed.

were there any genocidal monsters in history with a sense of humor

The Joker, duh.

Hitler was pretty funny in The Producers

A business article that agrees with Thompson and disagrees with me on Brat's appeal to those against crony capitalism:

My point wasn't that Brat is anti-crony. I really have no f'n idea. I've seen some interviews/rallies, etc and he hit Cantor with the crony stick pretty hard.

People responded to the overall message, and I have no idea how much the anti-crony thing mattered overall. I like to hope it mattered a lot. But I don't know, and I don't know if he's going to be anti-crony in DC, even if he is now.

Maybe Cantor lost because he is just divinely unlikable, like Hartmut says. I'd buy it.

I'm just glad anti-crony got a few minutes in the media. It might get some people thinking.

I am as opposed to crony-ism as anybody, but I don't think Brat knows what crony means.

--TP

What does this mean (if anything)?

That House terms should be 4 years and coincide with Presidential election years? And congressional districts should be drawn using the method employed by Iowa.

And congressional districts should be drawn using the method employed by Iowa.

on county borders? sounds good.

but it would be tough in states like NY, where the 7 big NYC-area counties (with 1M or 2+M each) account for 60% of the entire state population.

I was thinking more of the nonpartisan process, doesn't necessarily have to be county-based as Iowa appears to be (and really no reason for Iowa to have 99 counties, not sure how that came about).

This, from a commenter at Balloon juice regarding the possible provenance of the AR-15 used in the most recent school murder in Oregon:

"Re: the local GOP in Troutdale, OR (site of yesterday’s school shooting).

This year, the party planned to give away an AR-15 at a dinner honoring Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King — two men who were shot to death. Portland’s KATU reported that this was “the third time in less than a year that the group [had] raffled off an AR-15.” Bad publicity led Portland’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral to rescind its offer to host the dinner, which was subsequently held at a Portland hotel; the featured speaker was Ted Cruz’s father, the Reverend Rafael Cruz, who’s said he wants to send President Obama “back to Kenya” and compared him to Fidel Castro.

They celebrated Lincoln and King by raffling off a rifle. Irony is dead."

The Republican Party and its sister organizations are a murder syndicate, a mammoth domestic terrorist organization that is systematically murdering our children and continues to reveal its intention in rhetoric and action to kill government and its employees and public servants, and to withdraw access to medical care for the indigent and others who haven't the means to buy health insurance without public assistance.

Like Pol Pot, The Republican Party distributes the weaponry to teenaged sociopaths and crazy psychopaths to do the job.

In the realm of clownishness, the problem is that they are NOT clowns.

They aren't squirting folks in the face from their lapel flowers. They are shooting them with military weaponry.

The American people, including me, ARE, in fact, clowns, as Brett points out, for NOT doing something equally violent to end this regime of terror instead of just clowning around on the internet.

If my words could kill, how come Ted Cruz, Wayne LaPierre, and Grover Norquist aren't bleeding?

Yet the weapons they proffer to their psychopathic brethren cause major hemorrhaging among the innocent.

Regarding Brat, Daily Kos reports that he and his cronies, 15 hours after being elected, had to postpone their celebratory press conference to meet and decide what their message is going to be.

I guess they are not sure whether to approach the election in the Fall with the ass-end of their chimera leading or wear one of the masks Brett is always going on about over their Death's Head.

Meanwhile, Kevin Drum looks at opinion surveys in Cantor's district among Republicans and learns that sizable majorities are in favor of immigration reform, including paths to citizenship for millions, which gives the lie (so much giving, so little time) to the issue the Brat skewered Cantor on, besides crony crapitalism.

So, I'll take "throw the bums out" for $500 on Russell's gameboard, despite my suspicion that the voters .. the people ... are the bums, each and every one of us, which is why we keep electing our own kind and having to repeatedly throw them out.

Maybe we'll run out someday and our problems will be solved.


That, ladies and gentlemen, is how it works. The clown tries to throw the cream pie and it somehow hits him in the face. Keep up the good work Brett!

"I am as opposed to crony-ism as anybody, but I don't think Brat knows what crony means."

I don't know, looks to me like you're the one who doesn't understand it. What's your position here, that people aren't allowed to help with the election of folks they agree with?

"cro·ny·ism
ˈkrōnēˌizəm
noun, derogatory
the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications."

"cro·ny·ism
noun \-nē-ˌi-zəm\
: the unfair practice by a powerful person (such as a politician) of giving jobs and other favors to friends"

So far, what "cronyism" has Brat engaged in?

Now, you want cronyism, how about the incestuous relationship between the MSM and the White house? Isn't it kind of impressive how many people in the media have close relatives working for this administration? Isn't it astounding how many 'green' firms that sucked down stimulus funds wound up sending some of it back as donations?

No, I don't think you know from cronyism.

The clown goes to the dictionary!

Crony capitalism describes an economic and political
environment in which pursuing and obtaining government
favors is both part of everyday life and a necessary protocol
for succeeding in business. Where crony capitalism exists,
notions of meritocracy have been displaced by notions of
cronyism or kleptocracy or something similar. Crony
capitalism has ebbed and flowed in our history, and it seems
as though today it is on the rise.
link

From the Pierce link quoted given by Tony P.

In 2008, Allison was forced by the evil federal government to take some TARP bailout money. As a devotee of the book that Is Not About Orcs, this pained him greatly. But he got busy and set up the BB&T Moral Foundations Of Capitalism Program, which is how Brat's gig at Randolph-Macon came to be. In brief, Brat's job, and the support he got from the Raving-Loon Industrial Complex, all was financed in some way or another by the same vast lagoon of plutocratic payola with which we've all become sadly familiar. This is not going to be prominent in the mainstream analysis of what happened.

Do try to keep up...

Do you mean to say that BB&T, the bank, won't receive favorable treatment, and that Brat will not hire his cronies from the Cato Institute to staff his Congressional Office and he will not permit his cronies in the private sector to write legislation for the rest of us.

I hope you hold Brat to your strictly literal definitions of cronyism, because I think he's well on his way to being the next bum you'll want to toss.

Regarding the green industries you note, I was reading the other day, as part of the research I do to invest and crapitalize on cutting-age technologies so I can make a living, that these so-called cronies who create innovative on-site energy storage technology, especially for solar, are now so feared by the big regulated conservative dinosaur utility companies and THEIR cronies that the latter are now trying to ram measures through public utility commissions and their cronies that will prevent libertarian off-grid types like yourself and maybe me too from storing their own energy and power at home and office.

Sounds like Obama's cronies might be ... YOU! ... given what he is doing to further your independence from the energy and electricity tyrannies by funding green innovation and the technology spinoffs.

I don't think you know which side of your crony is buttered.

Wanna buy a Tesla electric vehicle from crony Elon Musk without going through a registered dealer in your state full of cronies of a different color? I suggest you get yourself some different cronies.

The MSM? Ya mean, the one that is increasingly pounding this White House for not being their crony?

You've been reading NEWSMAX again, run by Christopher Ruddy, former right wing crony of right wing Clinton-hating cronies, and now crony of Hillary Clinton.

Look it up.

But really, folks, who doesn't depend on a network of cronies in this country, even in the smallest daily endeavors, to make our way?

I've got a friend of a friend who might be able to help you out so you can cut in line ahead of all others who have fewer or less influential cronies.

Actually, I don't, which is the trouble with cronyism, as I see it.

I don't have a network.

I have friends only in low places.

Posted by: Countme-In |

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If cronyism was outlawed, the business card printing industry would be in rough straits.

it's a shame that the voters don't get more say in things. more ballot initiatives, more special elections, etc.

Actually, it is a seriously mixed blessing. At least as implemented in California a century ago. In theory, ballot initiatives are due to voters caring about something. In fact, they get on the ballot by organizations with lots of money hiring lots of paid signature gatherers. The state is just too big.

And, because they cannot be modified by the legislature, if there is glitch in something that was passed into law via an initiative, there has to be another initiative to fix it. Which means, among other things, that it can't happen quickly. And it takes a lot of money to get it taken up at all.

Well, perhaps not fully qualified as a genocidal monster, but--

Remember Colbert's performance for the White House Press dinner? Best political comedy schtick ever?

Remember the dull audience, either uncomprehending or afraid to admit knowing what was going on? Remember who appeared to be the only person in the room actually laughing and looking as if he was having a good time?

Sure you do: Scalia.

While I'm up, about that multiple of 20. I looked in the OED with fear and trembling, and --

Nope, no such word as vigintuple. That's a relief. Ugly word.

However, Google seems to have over 1,200 matches for it.

Actually, it is a seriously mixed blessing.

I'd extend that to most of representative democracy. Overall for the better, though.

But yeah, the ballot initiative system in CA has some problems.

Actually, I think the problem WJ describes is just that California is too damn big. Democracy doesn't scale all that well. At some point, you get big enough that local concerns just get lost, and people don't have enough time to keep track of what's going on, and can be effectively snowed. And California's counties don't have enough independence for federalism to save California democracy, like US federalism did while intact.

California is just way over the ideal size for a democracy. The US, enormously so.

As far as California is concerned, I have to agree with Brett. But size is not the only thing there, it's the split between the conservative North and the 'liberal' South (similar between upstate New York and New York City). A lot of problems could be solved by splitting them into separate states, although they would still stay large. It would also at least mitigate the rather lopsided representation in the US senate. But the latter would of course be the main political obstacle since that very shift would be rather inconvenient for DC power brokers that exploit that lopsidedness.
In California this would create a big problem though. South California would be totally depdendent on the water sources under control of North California which, imo, would be quickly used for the most blatant serial blackmail. Let's leave aside for the moment that California water management and projects are an environmental abomination in any case.

Have to admit, I appreciated the dry wit of this:

"I'd be interested in any evidence you have that I admired Ted Kennedy."

Democracy doesn't scale all that well.

True enough.

And that is why the US is not a democracy, but a constitutional republic.

This link is for Brett.

Enjoy.

The Ezra Klein piece that is linked in bobbyp's piece is interesting--

link

I'm not sure I agree with point 1--that the core problem with the Republican Party is the weakness of its leaders and not with the extremism of its voters. I think I see where he gets it (from the fact that Cantor won overwhelmingly in 2012 and lost in a primary with many fewer voters involved), but there's only a difference in degree and not in kind between Cantor and Bratt.

Bobbyp, from your link:

"If the Tea Party didn’t keep knocking off viable Republicans Mitch McConnell would have been Senate Majority Leader since 2010."

I'd say, it's more like, if the Republican establishment didn't automatically abandon any seat where a Tea Party candidate knocked off an establishment incumbent. They talk to the base about the need to suck it up, and support the candidate in the general election even if you didn't support them in the primary, but that's not what they do themselves. THEY lose the primary, they generally get in a snit and abandon the seat.

Gives the impression they'd rather a Democrat got elected, than a Tea Party Republican. And I think that's true; Democrats don't threaten the establishment's control of the party, while the Tea Party explicitly aims at wresting control of the GOP from the establishment. From the view of both sides, a smaller GOP they themselves control is superior to a larger GOP controlled by the other side.

Hard to say if Tea Party candidates are particularly weak in the general elections, given that lack of support.

After a day or so of perusing Brat's CV etc. my general thought is:

Any guy who can build a career around finding the moral intersection of Ayn Rand and Jesus either owns a uniquely subtle mind, or is completely full of crap.

It'll be interesting to find out which.

Hartmut, while California water politics split much as you describe, the split by political philosophy is rather different. One one side are the big coastal metro areas (the Bay Area, greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara); on the other are the inland, mostly argicultural areas (the Central Valley, the north of the state, and the areas inland from LA).

Because of the way the population breaks out, the state overall has a somewhat center-left lean. And because of how far right the California Republican Party has gone, that means that the Democrats hold all the state-wide offices and over 2/3 of the seats in the legislature. This has led to two things:

First (as I may have mentioned previously) the Democratic Party here is showing signs of fracturing into a liberal, heavily union supported, wing and a moderate wing with significant business support. Overall, the moderates seem to have a small edge. (That is why the state's finances have gotten sorted out. Over the screams of the liberals.) We saw that in the Assembly primary here, with an ex-leader of the statewide teachers union in a really nasty battle with a guy running primarily in opposition to public sector (specifically public transit) union strikes. Really, really nasty.

And second, there are some hints that maybe, just maybe, sanity is creeping in to the Republican Party here. In my Assembly district, the Republicans just nominated a pro-gay-marriage, pro-choice lawyer. Fiscally conservative, certainly, but definitely not a conservative on the social and cultural issues that have been defining the GOP. She may not win, but it is noteworthy that she managed to get the nomination.

Brett, it seems like Cantor's district may provide a test of your thesis, that abandonment by the establishment is the problem, rather than Tea Party extremism. That district is seriously conservative and Republican. It was carefully gerrymandered that way.

So if the Democrat manages to win it, it won't be anything but Tea Party extremism driving away more moderate (aka less extreme) Republicans. His chances are not particularly good, considering the demographics. But they are not zero either. Which they would have been, had Cantor been on the ballot -- even if Cantor devoted minimal money and effort to his general election campaign.

Brett--I don't know if you're correct about the Republican party leadership, but if so, it's another illustration of The Iron Law of Institutions, coined by blogger Jonathan Schwarz, which says that leaders in an institutional setting care more about their power within the institution than the institution itself.

More on Brat's "syncretism".

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_06/the_catholic_calvinist_liberta050748.php

Next up, we'll review the carefully thought-out syncretism of female pornstars who engage in onscreen gangbangs while wearing a gold Christian cross around their necks and hiring their mothers to answer their fan mail.

Every disparate element is an Absolute, natch.

he is large; he contains multitudes.

And second, there are some hints that maybe, just maybe, sanity is creeping in to the Republican Party here.

Same in my district.

To Hartmut: The political layout of CA is pretty complex, actually.

Jeffersonians to the north (and I know some that take it pretty seriously), Ultra-liberal SF, Ultra conservative Kensington and bleeding out to sorta conservative Livermore and Silicon Valley, etc. LA is pretty conservative, the CV very much so, central coast pretty liberal.

I've always been troubled by the description of CA as a 'liberal stronghold' or some such. It's not, really. It's just the mostly-liberal have an edge in the polls, and its a large enough state that its unlikely the lines are going to change that much.

But Pelosi wouldn't get elected dogcatcher in a statewide election, she's too liberal. (Nothing against Pelosi, I've met many of her constituents and from my estimation she represents them quite well.)

To Brett:

Splitting it is an idea to make it more democratic, I suppose, but its an economic powerhouse as it is. I don't know that it would benefit CA to trim itself into pieces.

People give CA a lot of crap, and some of it is deserved. But its actually a pretty decent place to live.

"I don't know that it would benefit CA to trim itself into pieces."

I'm more concerned about whether it would benefit the people living in CA, than whether it would benefit CA. When you yoke together diaparate groups, somebody's got to be unhappy.

"But its actually a pretty decent place to live."

How do you square that with the net domestic migration out? People seem to be voting with their feet for the contrary proposition.

whether it would benefit the people living in CA, than whether it would benefit CA

I refer to Article 2, Section 1 of the CA Constitution: "All political power is inherent in the people."

The people are the state, as far as I'm concerned, same in CA as the rest of the union.

I appreciate the distinction you are trying to make (the political establishment vs. the citizens). It's a distinction I make often myself. But I'm not so cynical that I think democracy is lost in CA. Strained, sometimes, but its fundamentally democratic. The people are the state. IMO, giving up on that concept is giving up on the democracy.

How do you square that with the net domestic migration out?

How do I square it? I live in CA, and its pretty decent. Seriously though, your link shows net loss (domestic net migration) of around 100K. The population of CA is around 37-38M? So around -0.3%? With substantial international immigration (legal and otherwise... http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/17/5120459/asian-immigrants-to-california.html )

Forgive me if I don't take sub percentage point loss domestic as withering critique of the state overall.

Not to mention that
a) there are a lot of us here who thing the state is too bloody crowded. And losing some people, for us, counts as a plus.
b) the state undoubtedly has more people that it has the resources, specifically water, to sustain. And that was before the climate changes which, in California, seem to primarily mean less percipitation.

No, on balance a little out-migration is a definite plus for those of us who remain.

No, on balance a little out-migration is a definite plus for those of us who remain.

Sadly I can't count myself among those for too much longer. I'm off to live on in northeast, where types of alcohol can't be sold together out of fear of some beer/liquor hybrid forming on the shelves, or something. I can't follow the logic.

And to think I baffled when I moved to a county in CA where alcohol sales at a grocery store were blocked from 2-6AM. Outrageous, I thought!

Slightly off-topic, but Tea Party and far right-related. Andrew Sullivan had a link to this really interesting Pew Research study on polarization in American politics since the 90's. Here's the study

link

Depressing and kind of scary when you consider some of the issues (like global climate change) we need to be doing something about.

my favorite liquor law was SC's pre-2006, where you only buy hard liquor by the drink and all of it came from airplane bottles. because it would be wrong to have one big bottle when you can have 30 small ones.

because it would be wrong to have one big bottle when you can have 30 small ones.

Wasn't there some state where you had to bring the tiny bottles to the bar for a bartender to make you a drink, because they weren't allowed to sell and mix alcohol in the same establishment?

thompson,

Here in the Northeast (aka the Original USA) you may actually enjoy our curious folkways. Many towns around here still govern themselves by Town Meeting, for instance. Can't get closer to The People than that. And if sometimes The People impose silly rules about booze on themselves, well, that's what comes of letting The People meddle in their own affairs while sober. I can't say I've ever encountered the beer/liquor segregation thing you speak of, but I can tell you that if you want to drink on Sunday morning you will need to visit your local "package store" on Saturday night.

Seriously, if by "northeast" you mean the Boston area, we should try to revive the occasional ObwiBoston get-together that some of us used to do, way back.

--TP

Geez, Donald, that is a grim link. Thanks for that more on topic piece than liquor laws.

The sections on antipathy and compromise are especially sad. For me, anyway. Apparently many of my countrymen want their reps to stand firm against the other half of the country.

Bringing it back to Cantor, maybe he didn't have shot. He's been trying to play to a base that is uncompromising. It's not the type of base you can play to, and it turns off the more centrist voters. From your link:

Yet many of those in the center remain on the edges of the political playing field, relatively distant and disengaged, while the most ideologically oriented and politically rancorous Americans make their voices heard through greater participation in every stage of the political process.

A popular bumpersticker in Oregon used to be (and may still be) 'Beautify Oregon: Shoot a Californian'. One of the things with being an economic powerhouse is that you create lots of kids (just ask China) That kind of demographic raises home prices, and makes the mobile want to cash out.

I'm off to live on in northeast, where types of alcohol can't be sold together

I've lived in the northeast my entire life - NY, PA, now MA - and I've always been able to buy alcohol in pretty much whatever combination I chose.

There are some quirks, and you can't buy whiskey at the gas station at 2 AM like I've done in AZ, but I think you'll get by.

Here's the study

What Donald's study doesn't seem to call out is the degree to which the range of political discourse *as a whole* has moved, significantly, to the right.

There are, at most, a handful of social issues where the country is more "progressive" than it was a generation ago. To be honest, the only one I can think of is gay rights.

Other than that, I'm not seeing any leftward drift, by anyone, anywhere.

On the right, positions that would have been seen as being straight-up insane are now commonplace.

" But I'm not so cynical that I think democracy is lost in CA."

Screw democracy, that's just tyranny of the majority. I care about liberty, and when you force disparate groups together, the majority may be happy, but the minority is hosed.

Tony:

Yeah, I imagine I'll find plenty of things to like about the East. I'm moving to Penn, and I've been told it has among the most bizarre liquor laws in the states. No direct experience, so it might be overblown.

well, that's what comes of letting The People meddle in their own affairs while sober.

Heh. If you're proposing a one drink minimum for sessions of congress, I approve.

we should try to revive the occasional ObwiBoston

It's prolly a little far from me (although I admit the geography still has me baffled...how can you live and work in different states?), but I've never been to Boston and I plan to rectify that at some point.

Screw democracy [...] I care about liberty

Brett, this may be where you and I part ways. Liberty must be ensured, it does not exist in a vacuum. The constitutions of the US and CA, help ensure liberty, in part through the democratic process.

Not always in the manner of, or extent to which I wish, but I doubt a lack of democracy would be better.

One of the things with being an economic powerhouse is that you create lots of kids

LJ, if that were true, how is it that most developed countries have birth rates at or below replacement rates?

In fact, the US is exceptional in that our population is growing. But even here, that is due to immigration (and higher birth rates among first generation immigrants), rather than lots of kids in general.

how can you live and work in different states?

They're small.

I've lived in the northeast my entire life - NY, PA, now MA - and I've always been able to buy alcohol in pretty much whatever combination I chose.

PA comes close to what thompson speaks of; perhaps it wasn't always that way, but when I lived there it was the state-run Wine and Spirit Shops for hard liquor and wine, and private beer stores (or bars selling 6-packs, but only up to 192oz per purchase) for beer. I come from OH, where you can buy hard liquor, wine, and beer in drive-throughs, gas stations, and grocery stores, so this was a strange new world to me.

No direct experience, so it might be overblown.

See above. It's definitely not. PA is special.

I've lived in the northeast my entire life - NY, PA, now MA

Heh, I guess my fears about PA are overblown...I heard state run stores with limited hours, beer separate from wine/spirits, etc etc. It all sounded like a pain.

PA comes close to what thompson speaks of and PA is special.

Oh, yay.

yeah, when i lived in philly liquor was from the package store and beer was from the bar.

but you could get a six-pack to take away from a bar anytime they were open, so that was cool.

Who does Brett think is "forcing" disparate groups together?

As far as I know, Brett is an American by birth, so he can rightly claim that he did not choose to be born among us sheeple. But also as far as I know, Brett is an atheist, so he can't blame god for his plight. So who can the poor guy blame for "forcing" him to live in the USA instead of Libertopia or Freedomstan?

--TP

Philly (I guess all of PA) has byob restaurants, which is the first time I'd encountered that.

political discourse *as a whole* has moved, significantly, to the right.

I wonder if that's because the "center" is moving, or because the right extreme is just dragging the dialog to the right?

Not that Munroe is an expert on such things, but this graph shows it, I think:

http://xkcd.com/1127/large/

The makeup of the right has been shifting more and more towards a "far right" ideology at the expense of the "center right".

LJ, if that were true, how is it that most developed countries have birth rates at or below replacement rates?

I was thinking that there is a comparison between China and California. and because those places then bring in or have lots of lower-class folks, you've got lots who find jobs and have lots of kids. But the pyramid does move up to an apex, so if you are in the middle class, of get into the middle class, you want to take your gains and live somewhere where you can enjoy them. I'm not sure if that's right and googling, all I find are a lot of pieces by right wing economics think tanks that seem to have an ax to grind.

"The constitutions of the US and CA, help ensure liberty, in part through the democratic process."

Dictatorship, oligarchy, democracy; These are different systems of deciding WHO issues the rules. In theory, anyway, a democracy is going to be a bit more free than a dictatorship or oligarchy, because it's presumed that the majority won't issue rules contrary to their own desires, so at least a majority have some liberty. But the minority in a democracy can be very, very badly treated, if there are no limits on what sorts of rules the majority can promulgate.

Who decides, and what subjects are to be decided about, these are separate issues, and both have a bearing on the amount of liberty in a society. The constitutions of the US, and of states, have bearing on what, too, but less and less, as the tendency to value democracy over liberty causes those limits to be overridden whenever a democratic majority feels like it.

Take 45 people who want to do one thing, 55 who want to do another. If they are separate jurisdictions, 100 people are happy. If you put them together into one jurisdiction, and have them vote on what to do, suddenly you're going to have 45 unhappy people on your hands. Because of democracy.

So, yes, I think there would be more freedom in California if you broke it up into smaller states.

LJ, areas within countries which are doing well do get lots of immigrants, both internal and external. As a result, their populations grow. But that isn't the same as getting lots of kids. (Except if the immigrants happen to bring kids with them.)

Brett, more happy people would depend on two things:

First, if you actually had the state split into relatively homogeneous sections. Which is somewhat possible, but hardly easy.

Second, if being able to get what they wanted out of their government made up for the economic impacts. For example, if one new state has lots of people and little water, while another has few people and lots of water, there is no guarantee that sufficient water will get moved. Within a state, you can get water projects done, even though some areas don't want to have their supply constrained just to give water to other areas. Between states? Not so much.

I use water as an example because it is a major issue in California. And it is an issue which cuts across political philosophies. Lots of liberal ecology-minded people joining with lots of conservative farmers in Northern California to oppose a lot of liberals and conservatives in Southern California.

People in states east of the Rockies may not be aware of just how contentious this is. And has been for a century or more. And may also not be aware that most of California is a desert, not unlike Arizona or West Texas . . . except with lots more people. People who can be supplied only because there are mountains which (used to) get lots of snow, from which water can be transported 500 miles south (or 200 miles west) to where the people are.

Split the state apart and two things happen:
- A lot of people discover that they have no access to water. At least, not without massive increases in prices.
- a lot of other people discover that most of the money which has subsidized their local economy came from somewhere else.
Result: increased poverty in one place, and massive population relocations from another. Both of which are bad for the overall economy, and worse during the times when the changes are taking place. In short, a whole lot of very unhappy people.

But that isn't the same as getting lots of kids. (Except if the immigrants happen to bring kids with them.)

Though immigrants have, in both senses of the term, a lot more kids than the folks who have been there for a while, which encourages folks who may have reached a certain level to leave, I would think. At least that is what I see as the driver, though I may be looking at it through my own lens, Japan, which has a terrible time accepting immigrants.

Philly (I guess all of PA) has byob restaurants, which is the first time I'd encountered that.

Oh, god, how did I talk about PA alcoholic oddities and forget to mention corkage fees?

Who decides, and what subjects are to be decided about, these are separate issues

At the margins, where it is important, to point out the utter wrongness of this claim is itself a banality.

though I may be looking at it through my own lens, Japan, which has a terrible time accepting immigrants.

I think that is probably true. Japan has no history of accepting immigrants, even those families who have been resident there for generations. In contrast, the US has been accepting immigrants, and turning them into Americans just like everybody else, for a couple of centuries.

It isn't a smooth or flawless process. And it doesn't happen instantly. But it keeps happening. The the point where you see children of immigrants winning statewide offices as representatives of a party which is rabidly opposed to immigration. (c.f. Louisiana)

Brett:

In addition to wj's point about water, which is quite correct, CA has an additional problem that there aren't really clean lines that you could use to divide the state into anything remotely politically homogenous.

I don't really see an argument that economic failure and smaller, politically fractured sub-CAs would work out to protect anybody's liberties. Or as wj aptly said:

In short, a whole lot of very unhappy people.

The issue Brett will be unable to address is that, to achieve consensus, you have to have polities that consist of single digit numbers of people.

I live in a town of about 20K people. The town is run by town meeting, period, and has been for almost 400 years. No aspect of public life happens - no money is spent, no by-law is passed - without getting past an up-or-down vote at town meeting. That's democracy, and it's democracy at, by current standards, quite a small scale.

There has never been, and never will be, a town meeting where everybody was happy with the result.

If you want to live around other people, you're not going to get to do whatever you want. If that doesn't suit you, go live in the woods.

The libertarian paradise you dream of does not exist, never has existed, and never will exist. So it's basically irrelevant to any discussion of political or social issues that emerge from real life.

Breaking CA into even county-size chunks will not yield any net gain in the perceived liberty of any of its inhabitants, because you will never get any ten, let alone ten thousand, or a hundred thousand, or a million, people to agree about what they want.

C'est la vie.

That's all or nothing thinking, Russell. If a change doesn't make everybody happy, it can't make MORE people happy?

Breaking California up into chunks would make more people happy, because the different chunks would have different average compositions. The outcome of votes within them would more closely follow the local opinion.

That assumes that there is uniformity among the local opinion.

If smaller states would make more people happy, then we wouldn't have cities where people are massively unhappy with their city government. To the point where many of them (if they can afford to) inflict long commutes on themselves, just to get away from it. And a lot of those who cannot afford to move away are still unhappy, just stuck.

And yet, that pretty well describes a lot of our big cities. For all that they are smaller than most of the states.

I didn't realize that they didn't have county and municipal governments in California. It's such a weird place.

P.S. BYOBs are very popular in NJ, too. You can buy beer, wine and liquor in the same privately-owned stores, but they are referred to as "liquor stores" because you can't buy alcohol from any other place, except bars that sell "package goods." (Not all do - particularly not higher-end bars. It's more of a corner-bar thing. What's a little strange about that is that they can only sell wine and beer, not liquor, after the liquor stores have closed at 10 PM.)

I loved being able to buy beer when I went grocery shopping at Wegman's when I worked in NY state.

size doesn't matter, if there are elected representatives.

it's hard to get too much smaller than the 4K who make up my town. but 5 town council members just decided that the best course of action is to let developers build the 5th largest real estate development in the history of the US, something which nobody but the developers want.

and even when democracy is direct, there's always the chance that 49.99999% of the people will be on the losing side of any vote, regardless of the size of the population.

By "buy" I meant take with you, in case that wasn't clear. Of course, you can also buy alcohol in restaurants, with liquor licenses, to be consumed on premises. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about the details of legally purchasing alcoholic beverages in New Jersey. It's an important topic.

I loved being able to buy beer when I went grocery shopping at Wegman's when I worked in NY state.

i was thrilled, when we moved to NC, to be able to buy wine in grocery stores.

and i was giddy, when we were in WY, to be able to buy liquor at grocery stores.

and when i was in AL, visiting my MiL, we had to drive to the next country to buy alcohol of any kind.

hooray for local laws.

" But the minority in a democracy can be very, very badly treated, if there are no limits on what sorts of rules the majority can promulgate."

That's true, and where you see this is in places with ethnic, racial, or religious differences. As was discussed in the reparations thread. As is happening in Iraq. Also in The Only Democracy In the Middle East.

But oppression of middle class white male libertarians in the US shouldn't be real high on anyone's list of human rights violations.

Who is David Brat?

Let him tell you.

Memo to Mr. Brat: Never, ever use the phrase 'I love all people', esp. not in the context of justification of your own acts or beliefs!

Btw, in Germany that sentence is on par with 'no one has the intention to erect a wall' and 'since 5:45am the fire is being returned', i.e. on the top ten list of famous blatant lies.

"My hero Socrates trained in Plato on a rock. How much did that cost? So the greatest minds in history became the greatest minds in history without spending a lot of money."

says the professor?

wanna see red turn blue?

So you put together a graph or a chart and you go out to the American people, you go to the podium, and you say, this is what you put in on average, this is what you get out on average. Currently, seniors are getting about three dollars out of all of the programs for every dollar they put in.

get Brat to run on that!

heh

Update: After Mother Jones published this piece, several videos referenced were set to private.

don't let them know my positions!

I'm watching the Brat videos linked to at the MotherJones page referenced in my last comment.

What I notice is that a lot of them are from Life Church.

Basically, Brat is running for office from the pulpit of Life Church.

Was Jack Trammell (his opponent) invited to come and address the folks at Life Church?

Is Life Church a 501(c)(3)? If so, how is Life Church holding on to its tax-exempt status as a religious organization?

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