Re: We're all going to die

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Curl up in bed in a fetal position with the covers over my head? Oh, you said successfully, I don't think I've got good answers for that one. But I'm knocking doors this weekend which at least gives me the feeling of doing something, and I consistently use a partial version of Halford's irrational optimism approach (with my rational mind telling me this is going to be bad) and 'there's always the next election' (I was a Red Sox fan for many, many years before they won their title).

So, who's up for a virtual drown your sorrows election night unfogged party?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:13 AM
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Civilization 4.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:15 AM
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As a public sector employee, I can't compartmentalize. The outcome of this election will impact my job heavily, both directly and indirectly. Funding for my community college is on the ballot. More broadly, if Kasich is elected governor, higher education in Ohio is fucked.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:15 AM
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I keep myself distracted and hopeful with the power of my imagination. And drugs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:19 AM
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This sounds horrible when I think about it like that, but I've kind of stopped thinking about the future in any concrete terms. I have plans ahead to the holiday season, and after that I'm trying not to expect anything.

It's not just politics for me; climate change is freaking me out in the same way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:23 AM
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Another fun thought: Most people in human history find theselves caught up in wars, become refugees, or face starvation and plagues. If these things have been absent from your life, you are already part of the privileged few. You can't really expect to live in a stable democracy forever. That's not the way most lives work.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:23 AM
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What's particularly frustrating about the current situation (and why I'm trying to care only about local politics any more) is that the national Democrats have nobody to blame but their damn selves.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:26 AM
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why I'm trying to care only about local politics any more

See, this is the kind of strategy I'm after.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:28 AM
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Climate change is politics. Shouldn't be, bit it is. Fred Clark is on about it at the moment.

As to the OP, I find the frequent ingestion of large quantities of dilute ethyl alcohol, with various flavourings, helps on a moment by moment basis, but unfortunately this isn't a currently available option to Heebie.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:30 AM
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Instead I listen to songs about drinking copious amounts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:32 AM
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I have it on good authority that there is nothing to worry about. What a relief.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:32 AM
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8: Progressive politics has been utterly defeated on a national level. If Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are the best we can do (and that does appear to be the case), then the game has been over for quite some time.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:35 AM
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If I tried to care about local politics I'd be worse off. Our city council is run by an even less competent clone of Nick Clegg.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:37 AM
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11: Yglesias is apparently dealing with it via the Pollyanna route. Krugman gets it: "This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness."

I've said it many times here before, but I firmly believe we're entering a period of widespread political violence.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:40 AM
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I firmly believe we're entering a period of widespread political violence.

Unquestionably. The point is, who will win?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:42 AM
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I have a hard time believing that there will be much violence. Largely because I'm expecting unconditional nonviolent surrender from anyone I agree with about anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:46 AM
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Nobody's going to win. It's a great time to move out of the US if that option is available to you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:46 AM
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So, who's up for a virtual drown your sorrows election night unfogged party?

Ugh, I just realized I agreed to give a talk the day after election day, so I might be buried in work and have to wait until the next night to drown my sorrows. Or maybe I should show up to the talk with a bottle of whiskey. They said it should be informal.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:46 AM
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The point is, who will win?

Ack. The real point is: Who will fight? I'm not optimistic about my team in this regard.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:53 AM
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Or what LB said.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:54 AM
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It's a great time to move out of the US if that option is available to you.

It's not obvious to me that there are that many better options....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:54 AM
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I'm afraid I'm perplexed by the anxiety of the American centre-right to surrender to the far right all the time. Here the Labour Party actually want to win elections, because they get money and fame out of the deal - OK not much, but some. Why go into politics at all if you prefer to lose?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:56 AM
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As devastating as climate change will likely be, in the medium term I'm more afraid of the destabilizing effects of a rapid rise in oil prices.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:00 AM
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22: Individually, Democratic politicians do well. We vote for them because they're our furthest left option, and business interests give them money for their obedience. The party doesn't get power as an organization, but each elected official does fine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:01 AM
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I've said it many times here before, but I firmly believe we're entering a period of widespread political violence.

Really? When? Where? Over what?

If you're talking globally, then I guess that's pretty much always been a safe prediction.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:02 AM
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What 24 said. Also, don't your politicians get to multiply their income upon retirement by whoring themselves out as lobbyists? Not too much money in lobbying on behalf of entities that left-wing or centrist voters support, like the planet Earth, human beings, fairness, etc.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:04 AM
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Really? When? Where? Over what?

Yes, it has already begun, here in the United States, you name it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:05 AM
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At the moment, any political or economic anxieties empower the right and there seems to be no ability to use bad outcomes to discredit them. That is not sustainable.
One could argue that 2008 is a counterexample, but while they lost seats they're ideology seems to have become more accepted as CW.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:06 AM
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the American centre-right

I'm not sure there is such a thing. David "Axis of Evil" Frum is what passes for the centre-right nowadays. Karl Rove is as far left as the Republican Party can tolerate nowadays - and he better watch his mouth.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:06 AM
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I am consoled by the fact that everything is not likely to get terrible overnight. Instead, it will be a long, slow, continuation of our ongoing downward spiral - a degeneracy rather than a cataclysm.

So at least that's comforting.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:06 AM
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I'm not sure there is such a thing.

Sure there is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:07 AM
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27: Widespread political violence in the U.S?
I haven't noticed it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:08 AM
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entering a period of widespread political violence directed at women, preferably when they are outnumbered 3-1.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:08 AM
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To the OP: Rum, sodomy, and the lash (what else ever really works?).


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:09 AM
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We've tried to do the focus more local thing and just hunker down and weather it best we can. We've both switched to govt. jobs with defined benefit pensions administered on the state level by a system that's reasonably well run and still in decent financial shape. Also, maybe sheath the house in steel.

Not even joking on the steel. Looking at doing a small cash out refi what with the crazy low interest rates and using it to put on steel roof and siding along with new energy efficient windows. "Employed and out of the weather" are about as lofty as our long term goals get right now.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:11 AM
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I don't know. I'm overwhelmed by anger and despair almost all the time. I think we are utterly utterly fucked. I mean, I'm not expecting apocalyptic doom, but I think the UK is entering a fairly dark and depressing period, akin to the early-to-mid 1980s; combined with further looting by the rich on a scale rather larger than previously.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:12 AM
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TKM, can you send me an email?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:15 AM
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36. Agreed. What are your options on moving to Prague, because I'd be looking at them right now?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:17 AM
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32: George Tiller, Byron Williams, James von Brunn, the Hutaree militia, hate crime spikes, the head-stomping Rand supporters, these are all shots across the bow. It's all trending upwards right now, likely to continue doing so, and if Obama gets re-elected in 2012 (which I expect he will) you can expect a full-bore freakout to ensue.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:17 AM
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I want to push back a little against 24 and 26 (but not 31, which is dead-on).

The vast majority of Congressional Democrats are pretty decent, ideologically. In a 50-vote Senate, without a single Republican vote, they'd have passed a very good healthcare plan, for instance, and they managed to vote for a middlin' decent plan as it was.

The House passed a solid climate bill, too, over near-unanimous Republican opposition.

Yes, the Democrats are weak and ineffectual, but that's in large part because they work in a system that's designed to make them so. There are a lot of systematic problems in this country that can't be overcome by a party that's only 80 or 90 percent decent.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:19 AM
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"Ich hasse die Demokratie wie die Pest."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:19 AM
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I have a little song I sing to myself:

The end! The end!
Again! Again!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:21 AM
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I think fundamentally we're in trouble because there has been a decades long project to normalize sociopathy in the business world and neuter any constructive response.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:24 AM
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As an anarchist, I've always been pretty resigned to my team losing, and things getting worse and worse because of it. I can't think of a really positive development in national politics in the 30 years I've been following it. One of my earliest political memories is coming into my parents' bedroom on the day after the 1980 election and listening to my mother tell me that Reagan had won. Certainly a bad day for our family, and nothing's really looked up since.

I do wish more people on the left would take the basic precaution of learning about firearms and arming themselves. Look what happened with Katrina: The white-supremacists were out there taking potshots at any black man they saw, and the cops were MIA, looting, or out settling their own scores.

As far as strategies? My tactics are continuing to organize on the radical left, while maintaining contacts with the mainstream left, and election judging and voting for the Democrats (although given where I live, I'm pretty happy with my representation as far as US House and MN House and Senate go.) I don't know if there is a reasonable strategy right now.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:25 AM
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11:"The Banality of Tea?"

"It can't be helped"
"Isn't it a beautiful day?"

Classic Japanese Movies, especially of the 30s. Most of the great directors were at the least liberal, were used to working with allegory etc and Buddhist traditions and attitudes, and Imperial Japan was not quite a totalitarian regime. Yamanaka was sent to the front for his 18th c Edo allegory, and was killed. Feminism was acceptable as subject matter.

Yasujiro Ozu was a corporal in a "poison gas unit" at the Rape of Nanking. I don't know if that was offensive or defensive pg. Whatever.

I walk my dogs, and ruminate like an old cow.

Moooooo.
...

Yves Smith is still fighting. I see a link today about bat population decline. That means mosquitoes.

Gulf Killing People multiple links...but what were the PTB to do? Evacuate the Gulf regions?
What, we had a summer hurricane in the Midwest and I barely noticed?

It is going to get much worse than you can imagine, much too fast for hope to survive. Flesh-dissolving, blood-coughing, soul-destroying Testament possibly in Obama's first term. Guilt and shame the greatest horror. Living envy the dead.

Enjoy the day.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:26 AM
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D-squared's arguing that American leftists shouldn't feel obliged to vote Democratic again. Not that there's all that much to disagree with about what he says, but he doesn't seem to address the felt obligation to vote against the most frighteningly evil/insane/deluded person running in any given race, which usually comes out the same way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:26 AM
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...there has been a decades long project to normalize sociopathy in the business world and neuter any constructive response.

The early twentieth and nineteenth centuries were not eras of golden ethics on the part of the owning classes (e.g., Henry Clay Frick, King Leopold, the random employers of children in Victorian England, etc., etc.).


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:27 AM
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I don't think there's anywhere on earth you can go to escape the effects of a crazified US government.

Amidst the dross of all my commentary on the recent federalism thread, I think I was right to suggest that the political action in the coming couple of years will be at the state/local level. That's also the level where relocation can actually improve things: cities and counties can be different enough to justify considering a move, even if people aren't in a position to change states.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:28 AM
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40 is right enough for government work. And moreover, politics have almost always been awful in this country (not to mention others). That we can still remember the brief period when things were better than usual is the only reason that everything looks so awful now. But in some ways, even now things are getting better. Focus on those things. Whether those things are local politics, your family's good health and financial security, putting a steel roof on the house, or the fact that KSK's Rex Ryan is gay-positive and almost none of the commenters say anything homophobic about it. Seriously, think about that: one of the most popular and irreverent football blogs has a gay-positive post and it's treated as a non-event. Progress! That said, the climate change thing is truly worrisome.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:29 AM
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re: 46

Surely the point he's making is that voting against the most evil person in the race doesn't have to equal voting for the 2nd most evil person in every race?

re: 43

I think that is basically right, yeah.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:29 AM
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so awful

That italics tag mattered, man.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:31 AM
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Surely the point he's making is that voting against the most evil person in the race doesn't have to equal voting for the 2nd most evil person in every race?

Then he's wrong. Or at lest he's wrong almost all of the time in our system. Which, I think, was LB's point.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:32 AM
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I do wish more people on the left would take the basic precaution of learning about firearms and arming themselves.

"Kill them before they kill us? That's a plan that can't possibly go wrong!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:32 AM
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50.1: Voting so as to decrease the likelihood of the most evil person in the race winning does usually mean voting for the second most evil person. And the difference between most-evil and the runner up can be substantial in terms of the damage they do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:32 AM
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re: 38

It'd be an option, but my Czech probably isn't good enough. And while I could probably get a reasonable lower-middle-class Czech income job just on the back of having a decent education, good English, and IT skills, my debt is denominated in £s. I'm not hugely in debt, but one doesn't study for the insane amount of time it takes to do an undergrad degree, two-year masters, and a doctorate, without accruing some. That'd be hard to cope with on a Czech income.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:34 AM
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insomnia is how I deal with everything.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:35 AM
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re: 54

I think dsquared has already addressed that, at length, tbh. I'm not sure if I agree with every point he makes, but I think the current situation vis a vis the Democrats is pretty toxic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:36 AM
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"The Democrats" aren't on the ballot. A particular guy running against the dumbest member of Congress is. Does he have a shot at winning? If so, voting for someone who doesn't seems pretty irresponsible. It's not like the guy on my ballot was advising Rahm or something. He's a lawyer turned rancher. In my state race, only two names appear: a young out gay man who co-founded a local progressive group, and a retired high school principal. No point in overthinking things.

OK, in 4 years, I get a real choice of this type when Sen. Baucus is up for reelection. Who knows what further perfidy he'll engage in between now and then for which he should be punished. But there was no reason to vote for anyone else on the ballot in 2008 . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:40 AM
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but I think the current situation vis a vis the Democrats is pretty toxic.

No argument there, I just don't see how not voting for them (in the absence of an alternative with some hope of getting into power) fixes it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:41 AM
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57: I haven't really wanted to read that series in depth. Has he suggested a better use of one's vote than for the left in primaries and local elections, and for Democrats otherwise? Or does it boil down to the expected futility of voting?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:42 AM
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And maybe I'm just not getting it, and there is a plausible path from the left's walking away from the Democrats and conceding elected office universally to the hard right, to things getting better. That sounds sarcastic, but I don't mean it that way -- there could be a plan there that I don't follow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:43 AM
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I should have phrased 21 as a question: where, apo, do you think people should move, if they move out of the US?

And to 38 and 55: when a country that elects Vaclav Klaus seems like the sane one, things are pretty fucked up.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:44 AM
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47: No argument, but many of those behaviors were curbed by successful moral arguments. We're in a counterrevolution.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:45 AM
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1. Electoral politics is dead. An interesting question of who killed it (political scientists, careerists, lobbyists all potential candidates) but it's dead.

2. Non-electoral politics, however, is incredibly healthy. In the last fifteen to twenty years, homosexuality has gone from the brink of criminality, to mainstream acceptance, almost entirely as the result of political work carried outside the main electoral party-oriented context. Similarly, environmentalism has gone from fringe oddity to the centre of policy, again largely because of non-electoral politics.

3. If you do, in fact, feel an obligation to vote Democrat on lesser evil grounds, then go for your life - I won't criticise you for that, any more than I would criticise someone for indulging in more conventional forms of masochistic pleasure. But if you don't, and don't want to vote for the Democrats, then my series is aimed at establishing that you shouldn't let Democrat party hacks guilt you into it by a bunch of more or less completely fallacious arguments aimed at establishing an entirely fictitious moral obligation on your part to do whatever they say, simply because hey look over there! and abortion!


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:45 AM
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I don't want to put words into his mouth, tbh, but I think he's arguing against the position that one should always vote for the Democrats, rather than for the position that one should necessarily vote for someone else. Voting for the Democrat might still be a decent option in any given individual case.

For myself, I'd struggle to vote for any of the three major British parties at the moment, but I could easily see myself holding my nose and just going for it if the individual candidate was someone I approved of.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:46 AM
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The progressive repudiation of Joe Lieberman having been such a success.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:46 AM
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Ah, speak of the devil ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:46 AM
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there is a plausible path from the left's walking away from the Democrats and conceding elected office universally to the hard right

the bold does not follow from the italics. The self-identified left are not anywhere close to being the swing voters. If they were, in all likelihood the problem wouldn't exist (or wouldn't be the same).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:47 AM
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No argument there, I just don't see how not voting for them (in the absence of an alternative with some hope of getting into power) fixes it.

In that particular election, it can't do anything but harm. In the medium term, however, it's a question of whether election losses driven (at least in part) by defections to third parties will cause Democrats to make a genuine effort to shore up their left flank, or will just drive the party further to the right. I think the latter is the more likely outcome, but I don't think that's an obvious answer, or a trivial question.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:48 AM
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64.3: Fair enough, although I still reserve the right to pull out the moral arguments against third-party voters who seem both ill-advised in the particular race, and likely to influence the results of the election. CoughNader2000cough. (Admittedly, I voted for Nader myself in 2000, as well as in 1996.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:49 AM
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re: 61

Well, in all seriousness, I think the plausible path for both of our countries is going to have to involve something other than voting for yet another bunch of centre-right arsewipes who'll cave to the hard right on every single fucking issue that matters. Pressure needs to be applied to the centrist parties from some direction or another, and simply rubber stamping every stupid compromised thing they do isn't going to apply that pressure.

Unless the individual politicians involved think there's a real chance they'll be in the shit, nothing is going to change.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:49 AM
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...simply because hey look over there! and abortion!

What if one reads -- for "hey look over there!" -- "the Republican candidate(s) expressly favor(s) escalation and expansion of the United States' various killing-people ventures"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:49 AM
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I don't think we need to speculate about how Democrats respond strategically to electoral losses.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:50 AM
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64.2 -- The primary resistance on both fronts is advancing through electoral politics.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:51 AM
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The self-identified left are not anywhere close to being the swing voters.

We're not swing voters, we're (mostly) safe Democratic voters. Pathetically few as we are, if we stayed home en masse (what's the French for something like a masse, but smaller?), the Dems would be screwed in any even remotely close race.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:51 AM
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I don't think we need to speculate about how Democrats respond strategically to electoral losses.

Clumsily? Awkwardly? Submissively? Pitiably?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:52 AM
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75 -- "We" are staying home in 2010. That's what the whole thing is about. Not so much a bunch of swing voters having gone one way in 2008 and now deciding that maybe they want to try something different.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:54 AM
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where, apo, do you think people should move, if they move out of the US?

I doubt there's a blanket answer for that and I haven't traveled internationally much at all (Jamaica, Canada, Italy, and passing through Heathrow on the way back from Italy make up my entire itinerary), so I don't have much informed opinion to work with. I'm confident that Canada will always be saner than the US, but given how tightly entwined our economies and cultures are, well, who can really say? The southern cone of South America is my standard answer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:55 AM
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77: Well, yes. And awful as the Democrats are, I'm not happy about the likely outcome of that home-staying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:56 AM
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71: At least in the US, this plausible path is through primaries and local elections. And our success rate should give some measure of plausibility.
64: I wouldn't point to environmentalism as a success, electoral or non-, at least in the US.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:57 AM
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80.last: Yep. While there's certainly a lot more awareness on environmental issues, I don't see how we're going to do anything useful without conventional political power.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:59 AM
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Isn't anyone a swing voter if they're debating whether or not to cast a ballot?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:59 AM
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The early twentieth and nineteenth centuries were not eras of golden ethics on the part of the owning classes (e.g., Henry Clay Frick, King Leopold, the random employers of children in Victorian England, etc., etc.).

We're better off than in 1890, sure. But it's ugly now, and I think the worst is yet to come.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t03.htm
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t04.htm

Unemployment rate of male blacks over 20? 17.6%
Hispanics? 12.4%
Over 25 with a diploma? 10%
Over 25 with less than a diploma? 15.4%


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:00 AM
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82: I've always understood it to mean 'could go either way as between the two main parties', not 'undecided about whether to vote'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:01 AM
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85

CoughNader2000cough

In this context, it ought to be noted that Al Gore in 2000 was in favour of war on Iraq and made a point of saying so in the debates (not anything to do with 9/11 or terrorism, obviously, he just wanted one). Since starting the "Democrats" series, I've been amazed at the number of people who have cited the Iraq War as being in some way the fault of Nader voters, ignoring both Gore's specific words, and the fact that the Democrats put up an ardently pro-Iraq War candidate in 2004.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:01 AM
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Someone who might conceivably vote Republican has twice the voting power of a reluctant Democrat.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:02 AM
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"We" are staying home in 2010.

I doubt this is really true. "We" turn out every election and are this time too, which makes all the finger-wagging at "the left" so irritating. It's the largely apolitical "center" (a horrible misnomer if ever there was one) that is likely to opt out, and one could hardly blame them, really. I encourage anybody who didn't read the Chris Hedges piece linked in 7 to do so.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:03 AM
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re: 81

I take it that the point isn't that non-electoral politics has magically made environmental gains through some process of aetheric vibrations, or shit. But rather that getting one's political views passed into law is actually something that has had greater success when pursued by single-issue groups applying pressure on politicians of all stripes rather than via the manifesto + elections method of conventional electoral politics.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:03 AM
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I've always understood it to mean 'could go either way as between the two main parties', not 'undecided about whether to vote'.

Right, it's used that way. But mathematically, if you're in danger of switching parties, you represent a net of 2 votes, and if you're in danger of not voting, you're a net of 1 vote, and that's your worth, regardless of which side you're in danger of falling off. If that makes sense. You stand to swing the election according to your worth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:04 AM
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"We" are staying home in 2010.

Also not true, see Nate Silver posts in number. The "enthusiasm gap" is entirely attributable to increased enthusiasm on the Republican side, plus the fact that turnout is always poor among black communities in midterms. In many ways, the surprising thing is how little the enthusiasm of core liberal constituences has waned.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:05 AM
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One could probably make a fairly strong case for 88 being true in the past, too. Having a bunch of trade unions prepared to go the mat and/or people willing to burn shit down really is quite a useful political tool.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:05 AM
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85: And if Bush had taken power in 2001 instead of Gore, we could have expected just as much action as Gore ended up taking on the issue of climate change, based on the nice things Bush was saying in the campaign.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:05 AM
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I take it that the point isn't that non-electoral politics has magically made environmental gains through some process of aetheric vibrations, or shit. But rather that getting one's political views passed into law is actually something that has had greater success when pursued by single-issue groups applying pressure on politicians of all stripes rather than via the manifesto + elections method of conventional electoral politics.

Quite. Is #74 seriously trying to make a case that ACT-UP was mainly a success by working to get Democrats elected? The point is that if you care about a political issue, you have a choice of two ways to spend your time (and, in America, money).

1: Campaign on that particular issue

2: Pick a party which has a position acceptable to you on that issue and work to get it elected.

Once upon a time, 2 was not always worse than 1. These days, in my opinion it obviously is, unless your chosen issue of passion is something like "lower taxes for the rich", in which case it's still a toss-up, or "higher incomes and more job security for incumbent Democrats".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:09 AM
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In this context, it ought to be noted that Al Gore in 2000 was in favour of war on Iraq and made a point of saying so in the debates (not anything to do with 9/11 or terrorism, obviously, he just wanted one).

You've said this before, and it's just not true. What he said in the 2000 campaign was the same thing the Clinton administration had been saying for the prior eight years -- that we had a policy of working for "regime change" in Iraq. And that involved doing plenty of ill-advised and harmful things toward Iraq, but not full-scale war of the sort we waged in 2003.

Have you got any reason to think that Gore would have been more aggressive toward Iraq than Clinton was, or are you saying that the Clinton record of aggression against Iraq was indistinguishable from the Bush record? Because I don't know of any support for the former, and the latter is just nuts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:10 AM
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I've always relied on this bit of wisdom:

When in danger
Or in doubt,
Run in circles!
Scream and shout!


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:10 AM
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And if Bush had taken power in 2001 instead of Gore, we could have expected just as much action as Gore ended up taking on the issue of climate change

Bush did take power in 2001. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the green button is the one that turns on the news, and the red button is the one that plays "West Wing" DVDs.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:12 AM
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64.1-2:

I'd just add to D^2's comments with the observation that a lot of what ails the US & EU is baked into the political structure, so work for structural reform.

Even if you don't like the Trapnel Plan to replace elections with selection-by-lot, no matter which state you're in, there are almost certain some reforms that would be both politically feasible and genuinely helpful. (Same with other countries; in Europe, EU politics is very important, too.)

Not that I actually do any of this.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:12 AM
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96: You missed the implied counterfactual there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:13 AM
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I like that this thread largely takes the form:

Q: How shall I forget that we're all doomed?
A: We are seriously so, so doomed.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:16 AM
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98: But only because bullying is always more fun that admitting that you're wrong.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:17 AM
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I'm pretty much with Rah, leavened with drinking a lot of tea and reading light fiction.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:18 AM
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Gore, in February 2002:

Even if we give first priority to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we succeed, there are still governments that could bring us great harm. And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq.

As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table.

To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our terms. But finishing it on our terms means more than a change of regime in Iraq. It means thinking through the consequences of action there on our other vital interests, including the survival in office of Pakistan's leader; avoiding a huge escalation of violence in the Middle East; provision for the security and interests of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf States; having a workable plan for preventing the disintegration of Iraq into chaos; and sustaining critically important support within the present coalition.

In 1991, I crossed party lines and supported the use of force against Saddam Hussein, but he was allowed to survive his defeat as the result of a calculation we all had reason to deeply regret for the ensuing decade. And we still do. So this time, if we resort to force, we must absolutely get it right. It must be an action set up carefully and on the basis of the most realistic concepts. Failure cannot be an option, which means that we must be prepared to go the limit. And wishful thinking based on best-case scenarios or excessively literal transfers of recent experience to different conditions would be a recipe for disaster.

I remember this speech because it was quite important to my own thinking at the time - this post, six months or so later, refers. Gore was in favour of War with Iraq - he wanted it to be done properly. For the longest time, I agreed with him - I don't think it was until 2006 or so that I changed my mind and decided it was the sort of thing that simply couldn't have been done properly.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:18 AM
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The nature of the electoral college in this country, plus the plethora of "safe" congressional seats in this country, means that for a large portion of the people this country, it doesn't really matter who you vote for. Certainly I can't remember ever voting in a congressional or presidential level where the outcome of the election/apportionment of my state's electoral votes was ever in doubt. That being the case, I rarely end up voting for Democrats... after all, why the hell not pull the lever for Ralph Nader or whoever the Green Party is putting up in that district?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:19 AM
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This year I voted Lib Dem in a marginal constituency. There's a certain black humour in that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:21 AM
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#96: I just didn't understand it and thought that was a funny joke.

#98: Ari, you might want to stop trying to pretend to hold the moral high ground, given that it's really not so long ago that you were trying to spread rumours about my mental health, behind my back. Did you think that nobody would tell me, or something?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:22 AM
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I don't think it was until 2006 or so that I changed my mind and decided it was the sort of thing that simply couldn't have been done properly.

This is true, although the Bush administration could have perhaps fucked it up in a less spectacular manner....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:26 AM
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104. Lib/Lab marginal or Lib/Con marginal?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:26 AM
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105: I don't recall thinking much of anything other than what I said at the time: your online persona sometimes makes me think you're a bit off. I also recall saying that you seem to be quite bright, that you're obviously quite funny, and that you apparently hold down a day job and have family and friends. And so, if memory serves, I concluded that your online persona must be quite far removed from who you are in the flesh. If you think that's spreading rumors, or a serious charge of mental illness, well, there it is.

That said, it is striking that someone would have shared the above with you. I suppose if you're really interested in the rumor-mongering angle, you might wonder why anyone would have passed along something I said in a private conversation.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:30 AM
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re: 107

Cons won it. It was a three-way marginal, it went Conservative with Lib-Dems in 3rd.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:33 AM
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I needed to check to make sure I hadn't clicked on a link to the post-2004 election thread. Leaving the country? Check. Arming yourself? Check. The Dem was just an Iraq-war supporting shadow of the winner anyway? Check.
I thought spoofing handles was frowned upon but it sounds like McManus wrote about 60% of the comments on this thread.
That said, I like Amsterdam. Shame about the global warming / sea level thing.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:34 AM
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1: Campaign on that particular issue

Has been true for a long time in the US, I think. I'm reading Last Call about Prohibition and the contrast of the diffuse and weak WCTU with its successor, the focused ASL is notable and depressing.

Simplify and exaggerate works for newspapers as well.

So what's a potentially workable issue? Repealing harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes, maybe. Energy reform seems effete and nearly hopeless-- the democrat's ad in WV against cap-and-trade was eye-opening for me. Are there well-run left-leaning single-issue organizations? Those where I know people, while personally sympathetic and competent, don't make me confident.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:37 AM
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#108: You're not even being honest now. Frankly, you are McArdle to me from now on in.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:38 AM
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109. Ha! Oddly enough, I moseyed along to the poll considering voting LD on the grounds that a hung parliament looked like a good idea. But the LD candidate was the leader of the council, and when I got there the polling station was in such chaod it made the national news. So I thought "fuck this" and voted Labour. And Labour won by 160 votes. There were a lot of other pissed off people around there too. Maybe about 80 of them.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:39 AM
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I've started drinking more. And, for better or worse, I am less thoroughly informed than a lot of you, through a combination of serenity-prayerish decisions about how much I can do about many things and a brain that holds less than those of many smart people I hang with. (No self deprecation. I'm smart about the things I'm smart about. But I don't have the ability to take as much info in as some. A merciful thing in these times, I guess.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:39 AM
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I am less thoroughly informed than a lot of you,

Another strategy I can excel at!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:40 AM
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112: And you are, as ever, a liar and a bully. Look, if you want to do this publicly, here's the email I just sent you.

----

If someone told you that I was spreading rumors about your mental health, that's nuts. If someone told you that I said that you can act like a nut online, that's probably close enough to the truth for government work. If you can't see the difference between the two, that's nuts. If you're angry that I said something obnoxious and hyperbolic about you behind your back, that's totally fair. I shouldn't have done so. And, if it matters, the fact that I did was one big reason that I stopped blogging and spending much time online. The huge fight that I had with you in the comments at unfogged was one precipitating event in what, in retrospect, clearly seemed like a personal declension driven by my participation in online discussions. And when I later realized that I was still angry enough at you that I was expressing that anger publicly, and, it should be said, behind your back, it seemed like enough was enough. There were other factors, of course, but the upshot was that I largely stopped blogging or fighting online fights.

Anyway, I do regret having said anything at all about you behind your back. I'm truly sorry about that.

Ari


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:44 AM
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It just occurred to me that I am very, very happy that we no longer have a land line. The political calls we're avoiding as a result are probably many.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:45 AM
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I think the fact that some of "us" have spent a bit of time on 'Obama is crap, and his health care thing is worse' has an impact on both sides of the ledger. But, ok, if we're to lose the ability to enact anything because our coalition includes a critical mass of people who won't show up, well, that's how the ball bounces.

I think options in a party system like the UK are more favorable for this sort of thing. Our system is too chaotic for withdrawal. Sarah Palin may well be the Republican nominee, not because some small group of intelligent insiders decides that it must be so, but because she speaks to the fears and hopes of millions. I can't think of any country where the pro-business conservative party is susceptible to a take-over of this kind. It's the same on the Dem side. Clinton, and Obama, were nobodies from nowhere who managed in about 3 months to capture the leadership, whether primarily because of the weakness of the competition or superior marketing (to people's self-delusion) no one can say.

February 2002 is not 2000, nor is it February 2003 (when the Blix team had shown the intelligence to be crap). If you thought the war was a good idea after that, you're an idiot. (As opposed to hoping that it might turn out OK, for which I'm willing to go to September 2003 before calling you an idiot).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:48 AM
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So what's a potentially workable issue? Repealing harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes, maybe

definitely. As far as I can see, one out of {california, texas, colorado} is more or less a racing certainty to decriminalise cannabis in the next five years, and from then on in it's surely downhill all the way for a sentencing reform campaign.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:49 AM
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If you thought the war was a good idea after that, you're an idiot.

that's a much too inclusive criterion. I would sign up for "you were being an idiot on this issue at that time". The stage for "no, to be that much of an idiot, for that long, can only spring from a deep-down, where-it-counts status as an idiot" would have been about January 2006.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:51 AM
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It's the same on the Dem side. Clinton, and Obama, were nobodies from nowhere who managed in about 3 months to capture the leadership, whether primarily because of the weakness of the competition or superior marketing (to people's self-delusion) no one can say.

Rhodes Scholar, governor, president of the Harvard Review...


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:52 AM
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+Law


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:54 AM
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My despair over politics has long since been ground up fine and is no more than the daily salt and pepper of my life.


Posted by: Neaera H. | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:55 AM
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"you were being an idiot on this issue at that time"
The starting date for this category is a bit earlier.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:56 AM
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nobodies from nowhere who managed in about 3 months to capture the leadership

Wait. Clinton gave the keynote address at the 1988 convention. Obama gave the keynote address at the 2004 convention. That's not really coming out of nowhere in three months; it's more like being selected and groomed four years in advance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:57 AM
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121 -- Oh come on. Gov of Arkansas. First Senate term, with no significant public accomplishments to date. Two years before nomination, ie, the equivalent of now, not really even on the radar.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:00 AM
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Ned, was the point of #96 that Bush wouldn't have gone down the Al Gore road if he'd lost, or that Gore would have brought the politics of "An Inconvenient Truth" to the Presidency if he'd won? I think the counterfactual's difficult, but I don't agree with the second - Gore's campaigning (and his Senate career) was absolutely marked out by pandering to corporate interests - he couldn't even bring himself to unequivocally say that tobacco was a bad thing (not that it helped him in Tennessee). I don't think he could possibly have become the Al Gore who won the Nobel Prize (???) without having the experience of the 2000 defeat. I think he might even have admitted as much in some interview or other, but this might be false memory syndrome.

(cf in the British context, Michael Portillo, who really was not, at the time of his defeat in the 1997 election, on a career path leading him to the cuddly caring soft-right favourite camp uncle he is today)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:00 AM
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hatred, cheap wine, fiction.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:02 AM
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125 -- And a VP nomination in the next cycle wouldn't have been surprising. Tsongas and H. Clinton were surprised that their sure things didn't come in.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:03 AM
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102: First, that's not from the 2000 campaign.

That was from a point at which it was blatantly obvious that the administration was intent on going to war against Iraq, and the options were probably ineffectual opposition, or getting on the bandwagon and trying to shape the kind of war we were going to have. Gore made the wrong choice at that time -- he would have been better advised to oppose it. And I'm sure that underlying that wrong choice lay a real belief that Hussein's government was bad enough that a war might improve things. But getting on board with an already inevitable-looking war when someone else is in power is very different from deciding to start an optional war when you're in charge.

I'm not arguing that Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq because he's just too darn nice and decent. He wouldn't have invaded Iraq because the political rewards and penalties would have been very different for a Democratic president than a Republican president -- he would have gotten the fullscale "How dare you put our solidiers in harm's way," from the right, and the usual anti-war opposition from the left. Clinton only got away with using the military as much as he did because he kept US casualties next to zero; Gore wouldn't have had a shot of starting a war that would have involved a substantial number of dead Americans.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:03 AM
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Gore would have been too busy fighting off impeachment for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks -- I mean, the CIA warned about them -- to have had energy/capital to invade Iraq. But he would have been impeached after bin Laden escaped Tora Bora in December 2001. Pres. Lieberman would have invaded Iraq, and then Iran. Point D2.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:07 AM
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Gore wouldn't have had a shot of starting a war that would have involved a substantial number of dead Americans

This is helped mightily by 20/20 hindsight, but Gore was all gung-ho to go to war with Iraq the first time around, which resulted in a pretty small number of dead Americans. The general misperception around the country in 2003 was that it would go largely the same. It's hard to say what President Gore would have done in 2003, but I think it's safe to say he'd have invaded Afghanistan in 2001. If anything would have kept him from restarting open warfare with Iraq a second time, it's likely to have been that rather than GOP opposition.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:10 AM
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132 presupposes that Gore would have failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks - I mean, the CIA warned about them - he just might have read their warning and done something.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:10 AM
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132: You're assuming (a) 9/11 would have happened, and (b) bin Laden would have escaped Tora Bora (assuming 9-11 had happened, Gore would totally have invaded Afghanistan. But he would have started taking serious political heat for casualties in about January 2002.).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:10 AM
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I guess I need snark tags. "Point D2" isn't obvious enough.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:12 AM
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Clinton only got away with using the military as much as he did because he kept US casualties next to zero; Gore wouldn't have had a shot of starting a war that would have involved a substantial number of dead Americans

Remember "flowers and candy"? Ex ante, lots of people thought that this one wasn't going to involve much in the way of casualties. Even Wolfowitz's "few ethnic tensions and no history of religious conflict" was actually right at the time - of course, once you kick the door in, the game kind of changes but Gore totally did not predict that.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:14 AM
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I guess one way to distract oneself about one's political despair is to argue pointlessly about Gore.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:15 AM
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127: My point is that in the context of politicians trying to be taken seriously on the national level, there are many things that you have to claim to believe no matter who you are. In 1999 one of them was that there needed to be more regulation and control of greenhouse gas emissions, and another one was that Saddam Hussein [but not any other world leader, except probably Kim Jong Il] was the equivalent of a thousand Hitlers. The way the educated observer figures out what issues will be made a priority by said politician is usually by looking at which party he belongs to.

And aside from the party differences, Bush could be expected to be more susceptible than most to the unacceptibility of Saddam's continued existence, and the need to "finish off" the earlier Bush's aborted war. And the Gore of "Inconvenient Truth" was not all that different from the Gore of "Earth in the Balance", circa 1992, which made him the US politician most associated with green issues.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:16 AM
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I don't agree that this is pointless at all - the underlying issue is the thesis of Dennis Perrin's "Savage Mules", which is the question of whether there is any evidence for the popularly held belief (across the political spectrum) that the Democrats are a party that can be counted on to not start pointless and bloodthirsty imperial wars.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:17 AM
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Ex ante, lots of people thought that this one wasn't going to involve much in the way of casualties.

Yeah, but they were idiots, and they were politically aligned with the administration advocating the war. Once the administration in charge was an enemy of the right wing noise machine, it would have been perfectly obvious to everyone that President Gore would be throwing away the lives of our precious troops in the quagmire/meat grinder that is Iraq.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:18 AM
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139: which is the question of whether there is any evidence for the popularly held belief (across the political spectrum) that the Democrats are a party that can be counted on to not start pointless and bloodthirsty imperial wars.

Post-Vietnam, the record looks that way. The Democrats have certainly used the military overseas in destructive ways, but not a whole lot of full scale wars I can think of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:20 AM
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the thesis of Dennis Perrin's "Savage Mules", which is the question of whether there is any evidence for the popularly held belief (across the political spectrum) that the Democrats are a party that can be counted on to not start pointless and bloodthirsty imperial wars.

Ok, "pointless" may be too strong. But I don't foresee much success in convincing others that Gore, if elected preisdent, would have done such and such. I mean—why not stick with the voting and war-starting records of factual Democrats? Plenty of grist for your mill there.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:22 AM
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"Post-Vietnam" is a bit "other than that, Mrs Lincoln", but given that, all that this is really picking up is Gulf War 1, isn't it? Or am I missing something? And if Saddam had invaded Kuwait in 1993 rather than 1991, Clinton would surely have done exactly the same thing.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:24 AM
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Also, does anyone remember the amount of bullshit about 'weapons of mass destruction' that was necessary to gin up support for the Iraq war? I simply don't believe that a Democratic administration could have pulled that off: they wouldn't have gotten the media cooperation necessary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:25 AM
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I don't see why you should pretend like more apathy by he left would push dens to the left, when that is the opposite of what always hAppens. The the way to fix a party is by feminist vanguard


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:27 AM
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143: There was Operation Just 'Cause in Panama, under Bush I -- not all that extended, but still a military invasion of a country where there wasn't an ongoing war at the time. And I'm not sure why you're excluding the second Iraq War. (I'll spot you Gulf War 1 and Afghanistan, you're right that they probably would have gone the same way regardless of the party in power.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:27 AM
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they wouldn't have gotten the media cooperation necessary.

This is, I think it's fair to say, somewhat cold comfort if the topic is the propensities of the party.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:28 AM
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"Post-Vietnam" is a bit "other than that, Mrs Lincoln",

Not really -- Vietnam started before the ideological realignment where all the liberals left the Republican party and the conservatives left the Democrats. While the Democrats are a center-right party now, back then they weren't even unambiguously left of the Republicans. So going that far back means that we're talking about a completely different political system.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:30 AM
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But I don't foresee much success in convincing others that Gore, if elected preisdent, would have done such and such

It is a bit of quixotic exercise, but it was him who lost in an election with a meaningful third party candidate, so it can't be ducked unfortunately.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:30 AM
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I mean, leninist. Fucking spellcheck. Actually that term means about he opposite of what I thought it meant. What you need is a core of committed people who take over the party Apparatus


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:31 AM
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147: Cold comfort if you care whether they're good people, sure. If you care about what they're likely to do, the fact that they can't get away with the same kind of shenanigans the other party can works for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:31 AM
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Charley, e-mail sent.

d-squared, if you're saying don't vote for the Dem in a race which is at least remotely competitive, that's nuts. So is not voting in a race that's not competitive but where there's no way of voting for a left wing protest candidate 'cause in that case, your non-vote is one more little piece of evidence that the Dem's overreached and went to far to the left. I'm not sure how long you've been following US politics closely, but in case it's been less than sixteen years, you might like to know that 1994 did not make the part more inclined to favor liberal policies. As late as the 2004 primary season, Howard Dean was too scared to include a comprehensive health care plan in his platform.

And for the 'leave' folks, why? If you're reasonably happy with your situation in the US, then there is no reason to go. Lots of places here are very nice. Lots of places in Europe aren't. I'm not at all sure I prefer Berlusconi to the Repubs. I certainly don't prefer the batshit 'yes we're semi-fascists and we're proud of it' parties that are having one of their periodic resurgences in much of continental Europe. And then there's Eastern Europe. In Poland the party I'd be voting for is the equivalent of a Broderian wet dream, running the spectrum from 'moderate' Republicans to Blue Dogs.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:34 AM
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re: 150

Entryism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entryism


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:34 AM
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I simply don't believe that a Democratic administration could have pulled that off: they wouldn't have gotten the media cooperation necessary.

Not sure of this - it is not as if the New York Times was materially more sceptical than the Wall Street Journal.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:34 AM
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Oh, bullshit. Bush Sr. could have, but did not, push the coalition to go to Baghdad. For good and specific reasons, set out in writing, that people like Cheney and Powell lined up behind during the 90s. A Dem Administration looking to do what Bush Sr. didn't do would be told again and again that the costs of going into that war would be much higher than simply pushing the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

The current Dem party is not, in some very significant ways, the party of Wilson, or even of JFK.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:36 AM
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the Democrats are a center-right party now

This is misleading. The kind of policies that the Dems can unite behind are center-right, but there's plenty of center left and even moderate left wing folks in Congress.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:36 AM
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154: The Times isn't the left equivalent of the Journal, it's not the left equivalent of anything. Fox, the Journal, and the rest would have refused to cooperate, and the Times might have gone with them or not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:36 AM
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155: Right, I should have said this too in 140.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:37 AM
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d-squared, if you're saying don't vote for the Dem in a race which is at least remotely competitive, that's nuts.

I don't think it is nuts. Why do you think it's nuts? I think that the mathematics of the Paradox of Voting would be on my side even if we were talking about a Presidential election and ignored the electoral college. When the "competitive" race in question is one which provides one side or the other with a single piece of warm flesh in the room(and, given that we are talking about a competitive race, the Democrat in question might not even be a particularly reliable vote on any issue of interest), I think it's definitely so.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:39 AM
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The Times isn't the left equivalent of the Journal, it's not the left equivalent of anything

But surely only in the sense in which the Democratic Party isn't the left equivalent of anything either. The War Party is the ultimate nonpartisan cause and it gathers a surprising amount of support from across the political spectrum. Added to which, it's rarely been the case in history that declaring wars has even been practically constrained by lack of Congressional support, let alone popular support.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:43 AM
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I'm pretty much with Rah, leavened with drinking a lot of tea and reading light fiction.

Back upthread: wait, environmental policy represents political progress? Allowing that the particulars of counterfactuals are a fool's game* (see "Gore, Al, Invasion of Iraq"), I see no reason to believe that, say, the formation of the EPA and the Endangered Species Act would be possible today. At best, they'd be passed in the most anemic form possible; more likely, they'd be fought over in committee and kicked down the road to the next Congress, and the next. It costs most politicians nothing today to equivocate over climate change, and the hope for meaningful legislation is vanishingly small.

*We appear to be sensitive today, so I hasten to point out that in using the colloquialism I don't mean to call anyone a fool.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:43 AM
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This is misleading. The kind of policies that the Dems can unite behind are center-right, but there's plenty of center left and even moderate left wing folks in Congress

I don't think it is misleading. "The kind of policies it can unite behind" is not a minor detail about a political party. Well into the 1970s, the Democrats had plenty of segregationists in Congress, but it actually was a pro-civil rights party. (cf "Nixonland")


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:45 AM
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Added to which, it's rarely been the case in history that declaring wars has even been practically constrained by lack of Congressional support, let alone popular support.

There's no reason why you'd be on top of US domestic politics in the 1990s, but if you had been, you'd remember the amount of pushback Clinton got for the very limited/low-to-no American casualty use of the military he made. Seriously, if Clinton and Gore had really been as hot to invade Iraq as you think, why didn't it happen in the 90s?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:45 AM
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an election with a meaningful third party candidate

You mean a vanity run by a single person, with no actual party, no mechanism to govern, none of the 6,000+ state legislative seats, no ability to get out of single digits in a single state? (Oh, except Alaska. Point proven.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:46 AM
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The the way to fix a party is by feminist vanguard

Yeah, but not a political party.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:47 AM
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but if you had been, you'd remember the amount of pushback Clinton got for the very limited/low-to-no American casualty use of the military he made

My point was more that this pushback didn't seem to have much in the way of effect on his ability to use them.

Seriously, if Clinton and Gore had really been as hot to invade Iraq as you think, why didn't it happen in the 90s?

Starts with o, ends with l, rhymes with "oil", cost about $20 a barrel for most of the 1990s. One doesn't want to be too reductionistic about this, but believing that the Iraq War had nothing to do with oil is IMO wronger than believing it was all about oil; it is a bit staggering to recall that not only was the price of $35/barrel regarded as insanely, unsustainably high in the first half of the first GWB presidency, but lots and lots of mainstream commentators (all right, Larry Kudlow) thought that fighting a war would be a good way to push it down into the teens.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:51 AM
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103
Certainly I can't remember ever voting in a congressional or presidential level where the outcome of the election/apportionment of my state's electoral votes was ever in doubt.

Happened to me once. After living all my life in solidly Democratic-leaning states (just to avoid the glib "red state/blue state" trope), I moved in 2008 to Virginia. In 2008 VA voted for the Democrat for the first time since LBJ, I think it was. It was fun.

137: Agreed. To me the most depressing thing about this thread has been the idea that this kind of debate - not that Bush and Iraq are old news, of course, they are still live issues and people are still trying to revise the conventional wisdom about them, but this counterfactual, circular firing squad argument that adds nothing new - will continue for as long as I'm using the Internet just because it's what people were debating when political blogs got started. Can we go back to depression coping strategies? Or talking to kids about sex?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:52 AM
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161 -- Look for amendment to the ESA to eliminate protection for the gray wolf this next Congress. Obama will sign it, especially if it's in a rider of some kind. The precedent will be that if any endangered species presents either economic or cultural difficulties, the law can and should be "fixed."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:52 AM
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163 gets it right. The exact same people who were pushing the "Saddam = (Hitler * 100) + Nukes + Anthrax" line in 2002, particularly Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich, were saying "I ain't got no quarrel with the Milosevic Cong", "I think we need to remember the Monroe Doctrine and the non-interventionist policies of some president or other", "I wonder how long our proud men and women in the military will put up with being sent overseas by a draft dodger to help a bunch of Muslims win a civil war", etc.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:55 AM
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168: Exactly. And look also for rollback on timber policy, because the spotted owl is still guilty of ruining the PNW economy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:58 AM
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It should be fairly straightforward to replicate the success of the Gay Rights movement. All we need is an issue that is supported deeply by a significant cross-section of Americans, most of the media, and opposed by literally no entrenched economic interests.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:12 AM
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And amyl nitrate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:14 AM
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So, the country is going to hell. Also, my lower back hurts and I'm behind on grading. My kids are all freaks and my favorite show got cancelled. Anything else is should feel down about?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:14 AM
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Right. We'll need the support of Big Amyl Nitrate.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:16 AM
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Here you go, Rob.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:18 AM
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Low blow, apo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:20 AM
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I think D2 is completely wrong about the war business. To be fair, it's probably true that in the financial sector (whatever it is that he does) there's not so much difference between the parties. In my line of work, though, saying there's no difference between Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas (or none between Stephen Breyer and John Roberts) marks someone as a drooling idiot.

And in our moment, it's the differences between Sandra Day O'Connor (much less John Paul Stevens) and Samuel Alito that make enough reason to keep plugging away at electoral politics.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:21 AM
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I'm being told I got the name wrong in 174. Turns out that while they're okay with that name, they love it when you call them Big Popper.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:24 AM
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Tell them to stay off small planes with Puddy Holly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:32 AM
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My coping strategy is to remind myself that nobody has yet been right that we're all going to die, and so it seems slightly less likely that this time is the one.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:41 AM
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nobody has yet been right that we're all going to die,

Funny, I thought that one was pretty uncontroversial.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:43 AM
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I don't think it is misleading. "The kind of policies it can unite behind" is not a minor detail about a political party. Well into the 1970s, the Democrats had plenty of segregationists in Congress, but it actually was a pro-civil rights party. (cf "Nixonland")

And a very significant number of northern Republicans were pro-Civil Rights. Imagine of the Republicans were lockstep anti Civil Rights, if only because it was being promoted by them evil pinko liberals. In that situation you wouldn't have gotten anywhere, and you'd be saying that the fact that a majority of Democrats are pro-Civil Rights is meaningless because they can't unite behind it, and thus there's no difference between the two parties.

On a related topic, if you're looking for a policy where both the majority of the business elites and the liberals and much of the 'moderates' are on one side, but can't get through due to popular pressure, particularly in the Republican base, think immigration reform. The business folks may be fine with a no-enforcement, no-legalization policy, but they certainly prefer legalization to enforcement. And they did push for legalization under Bush. They didn't get it, but the backlash gave them increased enforcement.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:46 AM
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I think D2 is completely wrong about the war business.

Obviously, me too.

Actually, come to think: D2, how much of your argument that no one should feel obligated to vote Dem is dependent on your belief that there's no difference in the rate of military aggression between the parties (or, if that's not exactly what you think, whatever's an accurate description of the position you hold driving the "Gore would have invaded Iraq" counterfactual)? Do you think it holds up even if we're right and you're wrong on that front?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:51 AM
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183: No fair. LB. D2's code precludes him from ever considering the possibility that he is wrong.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:57 AM
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So, if Gore had invaded Iraq, who would have had Rumsfeld's line about going to war with the army you have? Also, assuming Gore was invading Iraq, what would the coalition have looked like? Better than what it was, or worse? How would that whole building-consensus-through-doctored-intelligence-reports thing have played out with a Gore White House? What about the 2002 midterms, how much congressional support would Gore have had if there were a bunch of super-hawkish Republicans, plus a bunch of senior Democrats who would have been right there in the Oval Office, talking about how this would play in their districts in 2004?

This is why counterfactuals are kind of an iffy way to argue politics, from my point of view. I mean, I'd love it if Marx & Bakunin had been best buddies and never split the First International. Or if Albert Parsons had fled to Mexico and led a guerrilla army in a reconquista of Tejas, but I don't see much point in getting all worked up about it.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:59 AM
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I attended a meeting of this group on Tuesday and came away really optimistic about local political action outside the electoral process. The foreclosure crisis and the abysmal economic situation for working people are creating a lot of opportunities for organizing, for getting people to pay attention to what's really going on and to talk to each other across lines that have previously divided them. That's what I'm trying to focus on, anyway.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:05 PM
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186: That sounds great, Bave!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:08 PM
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More to the point, Dsquared's general line on these questions usually seems to be that everything would always be the same, regardless of which of the bourgeois parties was in power. As much as I agree with that sentiment in a general sense, it falls down when you get to specifics. Would Goldwater have pushed through the Civil Rights Acts? Would Bobby Kennedy have bombed Cambodia, signed the EPA into law, gone to China and started the expansion of executive power? Would Ted Kennedy have pushed for lower taxes, SDI, Minutemen, funding the Contras and going after abortion? Not to mention all the judicial appointments that would have shaken out much differently.

I seriously don't think Dukakis would have gone for Gulf War 1, either.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:29 PM
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TBH, while i think that Dennis Perrin's thesis is important and eminently defensible, it's a different ome from mine. First, i'm not trying to establish "don't vote Dem", just to make the point that, contra internet wrongy people, it's a serious and legitimate reponse to the expected value problem. And second, this is a midterm election. I am sure I wouldn't make the same arguments in a direct plebiscite for a Supreme Court justice, but what's actually at stake here (particularly in close races) is muuch more likely to be a tiny chance of being the marginal voter electing someone who has a tiny chance of being the marginalvote on anything important and who might very well swing things the wrong way, because the candidates in close races are often very unattractive.

Wen the expected positive value of a Dem vote is so tiny, all sorts of other very unlikely things have to be taken seriously as potential opportunity costs. Which is why Dems so often massively exaggerate the benefits of them and the risks of the other lot. Which is the subject of my series on d2d and it doesnt really depend on counteractual history.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:33 PM
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When your party is in power, its politicians look like timid, ineffective sellouts. But when they are out of power, they look like the last bulwark against disaster. So it ever was, and so will it always be. I am sure that if our British friends don't feel that way about Labour now, they will in a few
months.

In general, I think it's equally foolhardy to invest the Democratic party with all the hopes and dreams of progressive politics and to write it off completely. The party will never drive a progressive agenda without being pushed. On the other hand, without it, you can't do much of anything. Political change, absent a devastating war or revolution (which have their own problems) is really hard to acheive.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:41 PM
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Such a great topic, Heebie. I really wanted to comment last night on the Adult Conversations thread, but I was too busy reading sex education books to my children.
64- While I agree with your point in 64.2, I disagree with 64.3 on the grounds that it is silly. Say we were all sitting on a plane together waiting to take off on a long haul, overseas trip with bad weather forecasted. By some oversight in scheduling, two pilots have been schedule to fly our plane- so we have to choose which one we would like to take us on what is clearly going to be a bumpy ride. Pilot #1 has just finished a beer and smoked pot, Pilot #2 has just finished a bottle of vodka and smoked crack. Neither choice is good, but I would still cast my vote for #1 and hope for a good movie.

175- Thanks for that, Apo. The image has seared itself into my memory, and will live forever next to the drowning polar bear from An Inconvenient Truth. At least it wasn't a fetish photo, as I first thought while it was downloading.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:47 PM
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OK, now I really have to leave work early so I can click on 175.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:51 PM
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189: At this level of intensity, there's not much to disagree about -- you're absolutely right about the low expected value of any particular vote.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:52 PM
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193: It's totally SFW.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:52 PM
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I haven't finished reading the thread yet, but my sincere answer is, besides self-medicating with alcohol (occasionally), sugar (yay Halloween!), and TV, being profoundly grateful that we are, in fact, all going to die someday.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:54 PM
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175 is completely work-safe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:54 PM
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192: It's safe for work. It brings pity and dispair, not titties.

The little kitten is still trucking along through. You go little kitten! You can do it!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:55 PM
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It's also interesting that Europe/the UK, despite being objectively saner, appear to be responding to the financial crisis in an even worse and more insane way than we are.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 12:57 PM
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Maybe alameida can put us all up in Narnia.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:00 PM
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198: You know, the European/UKian man-on-the-street and media seem saner than ours. Outside the realm of the welfare state, their politics generally are surprisingly not that much better. I find this weird and depressing: I know why we don't have any decent politicians to vote for, because such a big part of our electorate doesn't want any. I don't understand why the Brits don't have any decent politicians to vote for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:00 PM
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European/UKian man-on-the-street and media seem saner than ours

Person on the street, yes. Media? Eh. The big difference, I think, is fewer batshit-crazy religious fanatics.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:03 PM
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And as Teraz points out that Poland would be no better...I believe Poland has lots of batshit-crazy religious fanatics.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:06 PM
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Yeah, I looked at saying their media were saner after I wrote it and it looked wrong. By saner, I guess I mean that they seem less prone to near unanimous consensus on stuff that's simply untrue in the way US media does fairly often; there's plenty of crazy out there, but it seems as if there are fewer circumstances when every respected media source would be misleading you in the same direction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:07 PM
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Can we go back to depression coping strategies?

Rangers in the fucking World Series! Wooot!

Anything else is should feel down about?

Oh. Wait. What?

All this cautious meliorism. All this sanity. You need to visit Kunstler.

The desperation, the panic, the cold sweat and chair twisting of our elites is palpable. The only real optimists are in the Tea Party, because they are too dumb and crazy to know better. The distance to our doom, and not just climatological, but financial, can be measured in months.

If you can't show me a path to revolution, I just don't care. Don't care about SCOTUS. Don't care about war.
Don't care.

Except about distractions and whatever small comforts the terminal use to dull the pain. Flowers. Cock jokes. Dreams of space travel. Green tea over rice.

"Lie to me."
"It gets better."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:14 PM
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re: 200

Oh on an individual level we have a fair number of decent enough politicians, but our parties are all captured by the same neo-liberal/klepto-capitalist consensus as everybody else's.

The UK is almost certainly more socially liberal than a lot of places, despite what the worst our of tabloid press would have you believe, and despite some pandering by politicians to the anti-immigration element, Britain remains relatively non-racist compared to a lot of other European and non-European nations. Despite regular attempts to make electoral gains the hard-racist right remains a tiny minority here, which is at least one positive thing.

However, on economic issues, we are fucked at the moment.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:15 PM
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If you're fed up with sanity Kunstler is certainly one of the alternatives. I would rather recommend Chris Hedges who seems to have a lot more connection to Planet Earth while retaining the aura of hysterical hopelessness.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:19 PM
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We really don't have crazies like you have crazies.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:22 PM
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207 to 204, or 207 to the Tea Party, etc.?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:30 PM
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Even Wolfowitz's "few ethnic tensions and no history of religious conflict" was actually right at the time

dsquared, sorry, but that's utter rubbish. I mean, for God's sake. "Few ethnic tensions and no history of religious conflict" in Iraq before 2003?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:30 PM
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206:Hedges is explicitly calling for Revolution.

Hedges ...here ya go. Deconstructs this thread.

I would cut and paste if I gave a fuck.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:32 PM
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You're 203 comments late on that one, Bob.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:34 PM
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189
Wen the expected positive value of a Dem vote is so tiny, all sorts of other very unlikely things have to be taken seriously as potential opportunity costs.

Wait, that's all you're talking about? Well, sure, given the work that goes into getting informed about the issues and voting, and the inherent uncertainty in that, and the likelihood that your vote will be the tie-breaker, the EV of voting has never been positive. That has nothing to do with whether Gore would have invaded Iraq.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:35 PM
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Not that you give a fuck.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:35 PM
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Such a great topic, Heebie.

It's safe to say I had no idea the thread would go in this direction. But thanks!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:40 PM
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||

Does anyone out there have the full text of the poem by Rilke that contains: For we are just the leaf and just the skin. But that great death which each one has within, that is the fruit around which all revolves. ?

I am housebound, deadline coming, and cannot find it anywhere. I figured if anyone had it, it would be someone here. Thank you.

|>


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:44 PM
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On the original post, I avoid thinking about things by knitting and cooking. I think I'm going to try making taffy this weekend; I've never been good with candy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:45 PM
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Tombstone Blues ...Kunstler's Halloween message.

Flipp, zombies aren't even just a metaphor anymore. It's a zombie culture, zombie politics, zombie economics. It eats brainsssss.

"What are they doing? Why do they come here?"
"Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives. "

Pssst. H-g. Check your pulse.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:45 PM
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We really don't have crazies like you have crazies.

I'll say.

At last night's Alaska gubernatorial debate, Gov. Sean Parnell (R) wouldn't respond directly to a questions about the age of the earth. "Only God knows," he said.

Parnell and Democrat Ethan Berkowitz were asked which number more accurately describes the age of the earth, 6000 years or 6 billion years. After Parnell's answer, Berkowitz said: "I'll go with 6 billion."

The TPM Poll Average shows Parnell leading Berkowitz 55.7%-37.5%.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:46 PM
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H-g. Check your pulse.

I got 72 bpm. What's yours?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:49 PM
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218: I always tell the Earth she doesn't look a day over 4 billion. And, what with how perky the mountains are, you really can't tell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:52 PM
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Pike's Peak is so firm, you can hand a coat on it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:53 PM
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72 brains per minute? That's pretty high, zombie-geebie.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:54 PM
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Well, they're like Pringles.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:58 PM
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220: Those Ozarks are getting saggy, though.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:59 PM
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Denn wir sind nur die Schale und das Blatt.
Der große Tod, den jeder in sich hat,
das ist die Frucht, um die sich alles dreht.

Um ihretwillen heben Mädchen an
und kommen wie ein Baum aus einer Laute,
und Knaben sehnen sich um sie zum Mann;
und Frauen sind den Wachsenden Vertraute
für Ängste, die sonst niemand nehmen kann.
Um ihretwillen bleibt das Angeschaute
wie Ewiges, auch wenn es lang verrann, -
und jeder, welcher bildete und baute,
ward Welt um diese Frucht, und fror und taute
und windete ihr zu und schien sie an.
In sie ist eingegangen alle Wärme
der Herzen und der Hirne weißes Glühn -:
Doch deine Engel ziehn wie Vogelschwärme,
und sie erfanden alle Fruchte grün.

Das Buch von der Armut und vom Tode (1903)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 1:59 PM
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here is a version of the Rilke poem:


http://books.google.com/books?id=I0csNjz0B3QC&pg=PT197&lpg=PT197&dq=%22for+we+are+only+hull+and+leaf%22&source=bl&ots=gspUvTo6zl&sig=ibqOeCRkjKtqK7VZlfw9uFEDChg&hl=en&ei=VCzLTJGmLoT68AaJ49jsAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCsQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=%22for%20we%20are%20only%20hull%20and%20leaf%22&f=false


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:00 PM
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223 to 207.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:00 PM
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Al Gore on Iraq in late 2002:

Specifically, I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.

Among Nader apologists, Gore's contemporaneous words are widely overlooked. Moreover, even after 9-11, Bush had to work pretty damn hard to make that war happen. Could Gore have been that rabid a warmonger? I have a hard time seeing him rallying the Democrats, much less the Republicans.

Barack Obama was running against a guy who literally bopped around on camera singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." People who voted against Obama ought to be ashamed.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:03 PM
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re:2:
Speaking of inexorable decline, Civ5 actually kind of sucks.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:06 PM
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On the original post, I avoid thinking about things by knitting and cooking.

This seems like a good place for a tip that I've been meaning to pass along. If you are, or know somebody who is a chocolate snob buy this. It's really a good deal, a fantastic price on amazingly good chocolate.

I've tried a bunch of really nice chocolates and this is easily as good as anything else I've tasted and quite possibly the best chocolate I've (bar) that I've ever had.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:10 PM
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My position on fear and trembling combines helpy-chalk's

Most people in human history find theselves caught up in wars, become refugees, or face starvation and plagues. If these things have been absent from your life, you are already part of the privileged few,

d-squared's

Electoral politics is dead [...] Non-electoral politics, however, is incredibly healthy,

and

Halford's

it's equally foolhardy to invest the Democratic party with all the hopes and dreams of progressive politics and to write it off completely.

I also think that (a la Yglesias?) it's a pity that Nancy Pelosi, who acquitted herself the least pitifully of any major governmental figure these past two years, will be punished the harshest for it.

The counterfactual that holds great interest to me is whether a non-complete-bastard Andy Stern and a functional, unified labor movement would have made a difference in 2009-10. I think it would've. This thread drove me to a rare act of blogging about it.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:10 PM
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The online reaction to the 2002 Gore speech was one of the crowning moments of the early (right wing) blogosphere. I remember seeing this quote, from Michael Kelly endlessly repeated:

Gore's speech was one no decent politician could have delivered. It was dishonest, cheap, low. It was hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts -- bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere politics. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate.

Even that meme wasn't quite as stupid as my personal, idiosycratic favorite, "Cruz Bustamante is a Mexican nationalist who wants to create the United States of Aztlan" which was circulating about the same time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:11 PM
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Pelosi, who acquitted herself the least pitifully of any major governmental figure these past two years

Indeed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:14 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:15 PM
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Christ, I'd forgotten how much of an asshole Kelly was.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:16 PM
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235: Ugh, yes. He's no Hank Azaria.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:23 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:25 PM
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On the original topic: In my more honest moments I realize that while politics and policy are important, my interest in politics is largely driven by escapism and a desire for entertainment, not psychologically dissimilar from following professional sports teams. In general, I'd say, unless like Helpy-Chalk, you are in a position where an election will immediately and substantially affect your personal livelihood, it is likely that much of your emotional investment in politics is driven by an irrational fan's mentality.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:26 PM
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I don't think 238's exactly right -- people import their senses of morality and justice into politics that's different from the way those sense play out in sports and entertainment (though not all agree).

There's a huge disconnect between the values we hold and the way politics express them. But I think people have emotional investments in their abstract notions of fairness that compete with and complement self-interest, and they stage them in political participation and discussion. And that is different from what you're describing.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:33 PM
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This is probably psychotic, but I'm coping by thinking that we as a nation deserve what's about to happen to us. Sure, you and I don't deserve it as individuals, but collectively we have it coming. The rich in the US never lose sight of their self-interest. The middle class and poor are too dumb and too lazy to stand up for themselves. We're a nation of suckers that love being in on the con, even if it means we're the ones being conned every single time. Crack whores have more dignity than the average American voter.

I'm sure that this is just my own fucked-up way of grieving at the end of the most progressive moment of the last thirty years, and that by December I'll be back to being sad in the normal way.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:37 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:40 PM
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I don't really disagree with anything in 239. All I'd really say is that part -- I'm not sure how much -- of the emotional investment comes from sports-fan like psychology. At least for me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:44 PM
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240: I don't think the rich have correctly determined their self-interest. At least, not in any but the shortest time frame.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:44 PM
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If you are, or know somebody who is a chocolate snob buy this. It's really a good deal, a fantastic price on amazingly good chocolate... this is easily as good as anything else I've tasted and quite possibly the best chocolate I've (bar) that I've ever had

I don't know much about premium chocolates, but.... is all of this likely to still be true given that the bars have a best by date of June 30, 2010 (which I'm presuming is the reason for the discount)?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:48 PM
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242, comity. Yeah.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:49 PM
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238: I've been meaning to post something along these lines all day.

239 has truth to it, as well.

But, really, if I think I'm seriously upset about politics, it's usually either because I need a snack, or I didn't sleep well the night before.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:51 PM
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On the thread, re: keeping large-scale problems from overwhelming you, I strongly recommend a weekend (or better: a week; or even better: two weeks) camping somewhere relatively remote, with no access to news media.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:53 PM
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244. Probably fine. Most food manufacturers regularly set "best before" dates 10% too early or more because i. they're pathologically lawsuit-phobic and ii. it enables them to sell more stuff to retailers who have to throw the old stock away.

There are charities in Britain whose main activity is redistributing food past its "sell by" date to people who want to eat.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:55 PM
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Speaking of inexorable decline, Civ5 actually kind of sucks.

Yup.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:55 PM
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239 Absolutely. For me it in the end the really emotionally important stuff boils down to values. For example, decent health care is a right, one can have a good faith debate about what the ideal way of the mechanics of how that service should be delivered, but folks who either say or come off as 'if you can't afford, oh well, it sucks to be you' are, IMO morally wrong.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:55 PM
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231: I didn't know that about Stern. That was very informative.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 2:57 PM
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One of my coping mechanisms, which will work for almost nobody, but actually might work for heebie is obsessively refreshing mathoverflow.net.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:02 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:05 PM
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Um, what's up with that last comment, it isn't me.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:06 PM
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teraz: It's the Troll of Sorrow.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:09 PM
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Ah, I wondered but it seemed to lack a certain something.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:12 PM
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is all of this likely to still be true given that the bars have a best by date of June 30, 2010 (which I'm presuming is the reason for the discount)?

Yes! Though that is the reason for the discount.

I am basing my comments on a bar that I ordered from them five or six weeks ago (with that best by date) which I just finished off.

Chocolate is extremely shelf stable as long as it isn't exposed to changing temperatures and, in this case, they've kept them in a air-tight storage unit at 60 degrees.

In fact, I had contacted them to compliment them on the chocolate and I mentioned that it was past the best by date, but that it didn't seem affected by that and when I said that they were extremely apologetic, said that they would drop the price (from what I paid to the current price) and asked if they could do anything to make it up to me. I said, sure, if that's the price you're selling them for, are you willing to give me free shipping when I order a couple more to give as gifts -- which they did.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:15 PM
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229, 249: That's sad to hear. I'd been not buying it because I was busy, but really looking forward to it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:35 PM
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Lately, when the "we're so fucked" dread starts getting suffocating, I've found listening to this helps some.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:37 PM
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I had Civ 4 (3?) and broke the cd in a failed attempt to make myself write.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 3:46 PM
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The value of an individual vote is basically nothing, agreed. Even in a pretty small polity. The value of talking in public about how you intend to vote is something else entirely.

No one thinks that a progressive movement can be grown just by having a bunch of people check a couple of boxes in private every couple of years. Actual work is involved. If you want one, you have two choices: try to create it as a free standing entity, in competition with the Dem party for people funds and attention, or try to create it as a faction in the Dem party. IMO, the second option is a whole lot easier than the first -- in fact, just sitting here, I can't think of any way in which the first is easier to accomplish than the second.

Of course, for people who have no intention of doing either, the difficulties of the first can just be waved away. Here's a hint, though: you can't win a congressional majority if you can't win a single seat, and, absent celebrity or special circumstances, you can't win a congressional seat in a place where you can't win some legislative seats.*

But, well, maybe it's all just the Halford game. If we put passage of progressive legislation in the same category as getting rid of states, the Senate, the electoral college, the designated hitter rule, inability to travel faster than light speed, then it's easy enough to change the channel.

Huh, I guess I cope by scolding.

* May not apply to California, where ration is only 3 to 1. (At the other extreme, where I live, it's 150 to 1.) So, maybe for California, I'll just expand my dictum to include county and city legislative seats. And I'm talking about groups here, not individuals.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 4:06 PM
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The value of an individual vote is basically nothing, agreed.

And when I tell the civics class that, the teacher things I'm the asshole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 4:21 PM
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261: The value of an individual vote is basically nothing, agreed.

The value of having a dedicated cadre of organizers who will vote as a block and dominate party political processes is, however, extremely high.

When I went to the state senate-district convention this spring, there were about 20 people out of 300 or so who were organizing around a progressive initiative to get delegates to the state convention who would vote for one of three relatively-leftwing candidates. They wound up getting one of their number elected for 10 out of the 13 delegate spots that were up for grabs.

A hundred and fifty people working tightly together could basically run the Minneapolis DFL. Half that number could run the Minneapolis Republican party, since it is so tiny.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 4:50 PM
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Echoing 186, I stopped investing much mental energy or hope in national electoral politics and try to help community groups doing direct action.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 4:55 PM
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225, 6:
Teraz and lemmy, my most heartfelt thank you.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 4:57 PM
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||
The previously promised picture has been posted.
|>


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 5:53 PM
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Of course, for people who have no intention of doing either, the difficulties of the first can just be waved away.

This.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 6:15 PM
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261,267:We don't have the time.

It is just a nostalgic romanticism that wants to reform slowly and incrementally, that thinks it can build a movement over the next fifty years. This is no longer the agricultural world of 1880, and imagining we can duplicate the successes of the first wave feminists, progressives, or social democrats is just denial and delusion. The ideological possibilities, the optimism of discovery and creation that motivated 1875-1925 are no longer available. What after oligarchy and empire, they asked. We now know:more oligarchy and empire.

The resources, material and human, for peaceful transformation and transition have been wasted. They're gone. There are no replacements.

Counting on reform is like hoping for cold fusion and broadcast power. Next week.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:13 PM
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Can we go back to depression coping strategies? Or talking to kids about sex

Note, talking to kids about sex is *not* a good depression coping strategy. Unless you're a kid, I suppose.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:22 PM
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268 is some D+ level trolling bro


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:33 PM
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the idea that any one person should have more than 1/300kk of a say in how 300kk people live is a bit, oh, odd?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:34 PM
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Late. Very late. Wow. You lot are depressed.

232: I remember seeing this quote, from Michael Kelly endlessly repeated:

And now he's dead. Bad karma.

14: I've said it many times here before, but I firmly believe we're entering a period of widespread political violence.

I dunno. If we look at the peak of the Left in 1968 there was a lot of demonstrating, and then Nixon won. Thereafter there was sporadic terrorist violence and then that burned itself out. The question is, is the Right peaking or not?

If they haven't peaked yet (and they sure look like they're at or near a peak in Europe), then the 2012 election is the all-important election. The right can't really close down elections unless they hold the Presidency. And even if the R nominee wins, it really depends on which R nominee we get. The worst possibility is a Hitleresque tea bagger from the South who is essentially refighting the Civil War. On the other hand, the tea baggers may have burned out, and it seems like they're being subsumed into the R party, which might or might not produce a party split in 2012. (See the current potshots being fired between the Rove establishment wing and the Palin crazy wing.)

On the third hand, if Obama holds, he'll have weathered a government shutdown, probably impeachment and a rotten economy. I don't think the R party will manage to resurrect fascism for some time if they lose in 2013.

As for the OP: I am pretty sure I'm the person around here who will suffer first (for various reasons) under an R regime, and things merely look horrid, not spectacularly awful, since the R's seem poised to slightly underperform 1994. That's how I defer freaking out about it (since I have to pay attention): things could be a hell of a lot worse (and may become so) but they aren't yet.

Also, I went back to smoking (it's not like I'm worried about cancer at this point).

max
['Cheer up! Things will get worse!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:46 PM
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Can we go back to depression coping strategies?

Twister!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:48 PM
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268: I've learned something today: Bob is Michael Ledeen -- purposeless thirst for blood, "Faster, please," and all. Bob, are you a devotee of Gabriele d'Annunzio?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:49 PM
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270: On the one hand, you're almost certainly right. On the other hand, there's a TV show about renovating Vanilla Ice's house. (It's on now, but I'm not watching it. I want the theme song to be "Ice is back with a brand new addition," and I just know I'll be disappointed.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:55 PM
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Can we go back to depression coping strategies?

Twister!

Everybody loves Bill Paxton!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:57 PM
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273: Thanks to the small screen of an iTouch, I was hardly sickened at all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 7:59 PM
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No one thinks that a progressive movement can be grown just by having a bunch of people check a couple of boxes in private every couple of years. Actual work is involved. If you want one, you have two choices: try to create it as a free standing entity, in competition with the Dem party for people funds and attention, or try to create it as a faction in the Dem party.

I agree with this, and I also agree that the second option would be easier than the first, and more doable. And yet, it hardly seems doable at all. For liberals and progressives, that is.

Whereas, on the other side of fence, it looks like the Tea Party has managed to form itself into an electoral force to be reckoned with, and it appears to have done so in the space of only one or two years. Now, I'm not saying that this movement has a long-term future, and I'm still hoping it's a blip on the screen. But still: the contrast is remarkable, and deeply depressing.

(And, btw, even if it's not the case that the Tea Party sprung up from "the people" as an authentic grassroots movement; even if it represents, rather, just a new label and a new marketing plan for a longstanding strain within the GOP [I believe it's mostly the latter, and not much of the former], it still offers an instructive [and depressing] contrast to the position of the so-called "left" within the Democratic party.)

Local and state politics are still very important, though, and depending on one's jurisdiction, possibly less hopelessly depressing.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:02 PM
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274:Good grief no.

For Italians, Mosca, Miller, Pareto.

There is some recent murmurings in the blogosphere, the pessimist left, in favor of monarchy, a man on horseback, a Louis Napoleon that will dictate a green revolution as Nap III built the railroads.

Al Gore for dictator.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:04 PM
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Bob! Good to see you! My friends and I and several complete strangers on the street were just talking about the size of your penis and whether or not you wear tighty-whiteys. Can you confirm or deny on the latter? I have a few bucks riding on it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:07 PM
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Al Gore x.trapnel for dictator.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:10 PM
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There is some recent murmurings in the blogosphere, the pessimist left, in favor of monarchy, a man on horseback, a Louis Napoleon that will dictate a green revolution as Nap III built the railroads.

Jesus, bob, what blogs are you reading these days? The US executive already enjoys more power than any French or English monarch ever dreamed of, and a man on horseback would signal the absolute decline of the American polity into a banana republic.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:14 PM
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The swift rise of the Tea Party is a good illustration of why you should avoid both despair and whatever it is Bob is calling for. Change is impossible until it isn't and nobody knows shit about what is next. Whatever is next will probably suck, but it will suck in its own special way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:14 PM
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So let me get this straight: When our side gets pissed off about something (say, gay teens killing themselves because of bullying), people make youtube videos. When their side gets pissed off about something (say, health care legislation), they show up on the street with guns. At this point, does anyone really wonder why they're winning?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:16 PM
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The swift rise of the Tea Party demonstrates that, in 2008-2010, America contains conservative Republicans. They are none other than the garden variety Republican base.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:21 PM
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At this point, does anyone really wonder why they're winning?

People are still hoping to defer the point where both sides show up with guns. I guess that's understandable, to a point.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:23 PM
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What exactly are they winning? The right to control the House of Representatives? And that will take them where? I mean, Bush had Cheney, Congress, and a nation utterly blinkered by post-9/11 jingoism, and all he got was a couple of lousy wars for his efforts.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:25 PM
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284: So... when gay teens kill themselves, you want us to go out on the streets with guns? That sounds... productive? No, I don't think that's the word I'm looking for.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:27 PM
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I showed up with a gun on the street to protest gay teens committing suicide. Didn't really seem to advance the cause much.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:27 PM
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Crooked Timber ...burritoboy and others (Yggles has been muttering about monarchy)

sample

This is precisely what will happen in the United States. All oligarchies are illegitimate and this one will soon crash. The replacement will be the monarch. Because of that, it is correct for the Presidents to increase their power so that they will be able to fill the role of monarch. It is better to simply transition from President to President-Monarch rather than to have a series of revolutions or civil wars, at the end of which we'll probably have a king anyway.

And with that I'm off to Ozu.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:28 PM
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Also, MC, I think it really does matter that the Tea Party, at the top end at least, is going to end up being a tempest in a teapot, that it will be entirely co-opted by the money men in the Republican Party. I mean, sure, they'll throw the rabid right a bone or two -- I'm actually rather frightened to think about where those bones are going to come from -- but mostly it will be business as usual: transferring as much wealth to the wealthy as they can in shortest amount of time they can manage.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:28 PM
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Damn it. I should have used the gun to take care of Essear and avoid pwnage.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:28 PM
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I watched a guy with a gun get pwned.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:29 PM
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Sort of pwned by 285, I guess.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:29 PM
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287:Christ, ari, vast vast fortunes were made under Bush.

Palin and Beck are fucking rich.

What do you think people want power for, to comfort the afflicted?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:30 PM
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and all he got was a couple of lousy wars for his efforts.

I think the couple of lousy wars were major accomplishments, and that's not even close to all they got.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:30 PM
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A radical leftie pining for a modern day reincarnation of Napoleon III? Some stuff you just can't make up. For those not up on nineteenth century France, a few highlights: wins power in an election following a left wing-democratic revolution. Proceeds to mount a coup d'etat and declare himself emperor and ends democracy. Presides over a deeply corrupt, fairly moderate right wing dictatorship with modernizations that are par for the course for a European country at that time. One of those is bulldozing much of Paris to rebuild it along more efficient, cleaner, and better suited to mowing down left wing demostraters lines. The urban planning is a marked success on all counts. Allows himself to be tricked into a war with the rising Prussia, assuming there's no way glorious France could lose to those upstarts. Gets crushed. France gets occupied by the Germans, has to pay massive reparations, the left rises up in protest, gets crushed in an incredibly brutal fashion and a deeply gerrymandered and quite conservative democratic Republic comes into existence. During his reign, seen by the radical left as a very bad joke, but one which did produce one of Marx's best bits of writing. Modern day version Petraeus takes power, ends up with us occupied by the Chinese and democracy returning with Rural white areas given lower population districts than the rest of the country.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:33 PM
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238

... In general, I'd say, unless like Helpy-Chalk, you are in a position where an election will immediately and substantially affect your personal livelihood, it is likely that much of your emotional investment in politics is driven by an irrational fan's mentality.

I agree with this. In the US elections don't actually make much difference so it's silly to get too worked up about them. And caring about partisan politics tends to warp your judgement. As with LB's seemingly endless apologetics for flawed Democrats.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:34 PM
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Bob, before you go, was that a yes or a no on the tighty-whiteys? My guess was yes.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:35 PM
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Do we really need deep analysis of the bullshit cultural signifiers of the Tea Party (hint: these are the same people, with the same agenda, that have driven the Republican base for at least 30 years) to know that it's likely that the incumbent party will lose a lot of seats during like the greatest economic catastrophe ever? In so many ways, it's shocking that the Republicans aren't doing better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:35 PM
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Wow, talk about a tough crowd. 287 was a joke. But, since you're all such a bunch of Literal Larrys, 291 was serious.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:36 PM
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284: Guns again. Am I the only one reminded of the oft-revisited campaigns to get middle-class college graduates to work in the trades? Or the "yeah, let's get those jocks/bullies/popular kids" letters to alt-weeklies after the Columbine murders?

More seriously, would it not be preferable -- for all sorts of reasons, not excepting the moral ones that apply even when one really, really hates that big meany Dick Cheney -- if the spectrum of progressives-to-spittle-flecked-agitators were to strive to be more persuasive, than to add to America's oceans of stupidly, uselessly spilled blood?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:36 PM
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Essear, just to clarify: that wasn't a serious death threat. I am not planning to hunt you down with a gun to prevent you from stealing my thunder in Internet comment threads. Just wanted to put that out there.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:39 PM
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287: Yeah, okay. Point taken. But then again, if the House is not really worth winning, then what are we worried about, anyway, and why should we care about any of it? and doesn't this lend support to the 'withdraw from participation in federal electoral politics altogether because it's utterly hopeless' position? I still think it matters who controls the House (or any branch of government), even though, yes, at some level I realize it's all being run by Citibank...


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:39 PM
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See now this, this is awesome. What a country!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:40 PM
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But, since you're all such a bunch of Literal Larrys, 291 was serious.

ari, the Tea Party isn't going to be co-opted by the Money Men, because the Tea Party is the Money Men. The level of overt fascism among the Money Men nowadays is pretty damn frightening.

Time was, Big Money really did have some sentimental pro-American feelings. Now, all bets are off. I don't have any idea what happens next.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:41 PM
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306: Lots of investigations of the President. And maybe somewhat lower taxes. And perhaps, if Obama is truly as craven as I fear, some gutting of the regulatory apparatus. Beyond that? Not very much at all is going to happen. At least not very much until two years from now. Because the Dems will still, after next week, nominally control the Senate and entirely control the Presidency. But if Obama loses in a couple of years, whether because unemployment stays high or because a significant number of people refuse to vote for a the lesser of two evils, then we'll see some serious shit. Really, all bets will be off. But until then, I'm not all that worried.

Also, 305 was me.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:46 PM
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303: Good thing you clarified. Otherwise I would have had to find you first.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:47 PM
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But until then, I'm not all that worried.

This seems responsive to the original post, and good for you - the rest of us have been struggling to find something non-horrible to say to heebie.

But geez, you really think Obama's got 2012 so locked up that there's not much to worry about in 2010?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:50 PM
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306: Also, I don't think the Tea Party is the money men. I think there are a lot of non-monied people going along for the ride. In other words, that the men behind the curtain are the same old wingnuts doesn't mean they don't have a new set of flying monkeys. (Yes, I know the wizard didn't have the monkeys. Whatever, man. I'm a fucking poet, and I won't let you force me to write prose.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:52 PM
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Also, MC, I think it really does matter that the Tea Party, at the top end at least, is going to end up being a tempest in a teapot, that it will be entirely co-opted by the money men in the Republican Party.

Yes, I suspect this is right (and I posted my 304 before reading your 291). And yet, their rhetorical power (and our lack thereof) to shape the narrative still seems to matter, somehow. Eh, I dunno. I guess I'm still looking to find that middle position between hopelessly naive and ruthlessly cynical.

DS, what the hell with 299 and your earlier comment addressed to bob?! I feel like I must be missing some backstory here, but if you don't like someone's commentary, it is really quite easy to skip over, you know?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:56 PM
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311.last: Do we need to do that again?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 8:59 PM
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But geez, you really think Obama's got 2012 so locked up that there's not much to worry about in 2010?

No, not at all. I think if unemployment stays high, which it well might, he could lose. And if that happens, it will be, at least in part, because of choices made by his hand-picked team of economic advisers, so his loss will be largely his own damn fault*. I also think it's possible that something else will happen that will completely change the political landscape. In fact, I'd bet on that, but I have no idea what that something will be, how much change it will cause, and what will come of that change. Which is to say, again, I have no idea if Obama's going to win in 2012. Still and all, I think the real impact of the upcoming elections is going to be relatively -- as compared to, say, the elections two years from now -- minimal.

* I heard a really interesting interview with Jimmy Carter the other night. It turns out that Carter believes, at least in part rightly, that he lost to Reagan for three major reasons: election day happened on the anniversary of the hostage taking; Teddy Kennedy divided the Democratic Party; Carter's hand-picked Fed chair, Paul Volcker, fought inflation in a way that damaged his boss's political prospects.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:00 PM
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302: Seriously? If things really got bad, and I'm not saying they will, but if they did, would you want to have zero guns or some guns?

We sit around in damp church basements talking about peace and freedom and the FBI kicks down our doors and subpoenas us for grand juries. They build megachurches and preach fascism from the pulpit and it buys them TV stations.

Look, I'm not an adventurist (or a witch), and my street-fighting days are far behind me. But if I was a young person, looking around at the world as it is now, going underground would seem to be the most rational solution. Shit, I'll be long dead by the time the sea levels rise a couple of feet. What do I care, really? Worst comes to worst, I'll limp along at menial jobs until my heart goes in 30 years or so. Not that bad a life by global and historical standards, as was pointed out above. But for the kids? They should totally pick up the gun. What have they got to lose at this point?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:01 PM
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311.2: Look into your heart, MC, and you will find Teh Funny.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:02 PM
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311: Eh, they shape the narrative because Fox News exists. Otherwise, they'd be an afterthought, which is what they'll be in a year or two. At which time we'll be on to the next Swiftboating or Tea Party or ACORN scandal. But don't worry: the good guys have blogs!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:03 PM
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They should totally pick up the gun. What have they got to lose at this point?

Their lives. The glorious, majestic uncertainty of their unfolding future.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:06 PM
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Eh, they shape the narrative because Fox News exists.

More specifically, the Tea Party exists because Fox News created the narrative. They're the marketing arm of the GOP and they needed to rebrand after the disaster that was George Bush.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:11 PM
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The good guys do have blogs, but they don't seem to post on them anymore.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:11 PM
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They should totally pick up the gun. What have they got to lose at this point?

ari got there first, but how can you write these words and not know that someone will answer with "their lives"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:14 PM
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318: Yeah, that's righter than what I said.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:15 PM
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I am so, so damn tired of the existence of Fox News. How depressing and sordid that they have been and will be the major political force that they are for so much of my one and only life.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:17 PM
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322 actually reminds me that I meant to provide a real answer to the OP: never watch cable or network news, for the most part ignore newspapers, get satellite radio and never tune it to NPR, and swear off most political blogs. Seriously, you'll be happier!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:21 PM
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The median age of the Fox News audience is, I believe, 66. And something like 3x as many people listen to NPR on a daily basis as watch Fox News. You shouldn't underestimate the enemy, but it's important not to overestimate them, either.

Not to say that Fox News isn't important. But they have a base, and we have a base too. In elections, the action is in the middle, and I really do believe that the long arc bends towards justice.

I would be more sanguine if it wasn't for climate change legislation, where we really are just flat out running out of time. But at least where I live has as good a law as we'd ever get out of Congress.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:24 PM
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I would be more sanguine if it wasn't for climate change legislation, where we really are just flat out running out of time.

And we were so fucking close, it's agonizing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:26 PM
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Wow, I don't know whether to feel delusional or just happy about the fact that I'm not nearly as pessimistic as this thread seems to be. (Maybe it's just that I spent the evening amiably arguing with my atheist brother, who remains appalled at the "dangerous seed" of my faith.) Let us count the reasons:

1. This "individual vote is essentially worth nothing" garbage is just that. Granted, I live in a swing state, but there have been issues and candidates in every single election of my remembering life that mattered in some real, immediate way. Anybody done any thinking about what the county Recorder of Deeds could do/not do to intervene in the foreclosure mess? (N.b. I have no intelligent policy idea here and no particular opinion on the topic. Just an example.)

2. I interact every day with people who have survived and triumphed under truly horrific and oppressive circumstances. If people can fall in love and have babies and tell stories and make music and do valuable work amidst Chernobyl, civil-war-era Liberia, IRA-era Northern Ireland, brutally poor Albania, drug-war ravaged Mexico...we're doomed to fall apart if some crazy, hateful warmongers take power? And some natural disasters kick up, and some crazy political violence gets worse? I don't believe it.

3. Elected officials do big, flashy, sometimes even influential things. Meanwhile, civil servants are churning along carrying out daily policy, and the path of least resistance holds true as ever. Give them a pre-made answer to whatever it is they're required to do, and all of a sudden you've moved a lever that really affects people's lives. I'm a nobody with no influence, and I've done it enough times in my life to be absolutely convinced that a hour's worth of reading and preparation can win you policy changes you never dreamed of.

3. d-squared, if you're saying don't vote for the Dem in a race which is at least remotely competitive, that's nuts.

I don't think it is nuts. Why do you think it's nuts?

Even granted that this argument apparently got walked back later in the thread, I'm going to come down firmly on the side of nuts. Here's an example. Right now, there sits in my state legislature a bill that would require additional proof of citizenship for everyone applying for public benefits. It's dumb, hurtful, expensive, and largely duplicative. It would cost state government millions of dollars and hurt thousands of people -- most of them poor, elderly, illiterate, non-English-speaking, mentally ill, homeless, unemployed, or otherwise unusually vulnerable.

This bill has died in committee or failed to pass both houses of the legislature for the past several years. If the Republicans win both houses and the governorship this fall, as they well might, it is highly likely to be passed. Here in my little ol' district, one of the things I can do is vote for a Democrat. If I stay home, his chances of winning go down, by a tiny but significant amount (probably a bit higher because a lot of my friends/family depend on me to nudge them to vote; if I stayed home they might too).

To be convinced not to vote for the Dem, I'd have to believe that it would make life get better in some meaningful way for the constituencies I care about -- which is to say, primarily human beings, and more specifically, the human beings near me. There have been races where I saw no meaningful difference (or at least none that I could reliably discern) between the candidates, but they are relatively rare. And they aren't happening this year.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:29 PM
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How depressing and sordid that they have been and will be the major political force that they are for so much of my one and only life.

I know, right? Life is short. Why can't everybody see they're better off not spending it being assholes?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:29 PM
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324: You're right, I think. But Fox matters not just for its viewers, but also for its ability to shape the broader media landscape. Did you click my link up at 305? Andrew Breitbart will be a commentator during ABC's election coverage! That would never have happened without Fox shaping the narrative. By the way, The Narrative is the name of my softball team. Or maybe my band. I forget which.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:30 PM
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Andrew Breitbart will be a commentator during ABC's election coverage!

He just beat out Perez Hilton.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:33 PM
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Pretend I can count.

And: never watch cable or network news, for the most part ignore newspapers, get satellite radio and never tune it to NPR, and swear off most political blogs is great advice. Every once in a while I get trapped somewhere with a television, and I marvel that there are not more appliance shootings.

And that doesn't even mean checking out of politics. I manage to stay plenty abreast better and more substantively informed than 98% of the people I know by reading a quirky selection of newspapers and a handful of (mostly non-political) blogs.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:35 PM
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He just beat out Perez Hilton.

How much would you pay to see Breitbart and Hilton in the octagon? Hilton gets a chainsaw and Breitbart a broadsword, I think. And yes, as you well know, I'm incredibly high-minded: like Witt, but more refined on matters of culture.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:37 PM
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And that doesn't even mean checking out of politics.

Right. Not at all, in fact. I still volunteer for the organizations that matter to me, I still read certain sections of some papers, and I still skim several blogs, including, for politics, the front page of TPM. I just don't read Balloon Juice, Yglesias, Sullivan (not that I ever did), Ezra Klein, LGM, Crooked Timber, or any of the others. And really, I feel so much better. Plus, I read more books and magazines. Take that, trees!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:40 PM
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I turned on TV news earlier today and was put off by the overwhelming subtext that I should be very, very afraid.

Now I'm beginning to re-watch Angel, which I guess fits with the topic of this thread. A world where evil demons live in Los Angeles and good vampires fight them sounds a lot more palatable than a world where massive corporate interests buy our government and media.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:40 PM
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325

And we were so fucking close, it's agonizing.

This is silly. You weren't close and even if you had been the chances that the bill would have made any real difference are miniscule.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:47 PM
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Breitbart and Hilton in the octagon

With special guest referee Charles Krauthammer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:48 PM
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334 You weren't close

Read.

and even if you had been the chances that the bill would have made any real difference are miniscule.

Bullshit. You have to take a first step. And it would have been a huge step as a show of good faith to the rest of the world and a starting point for a real international agreement.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:53 PM
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I haven't read the thing Essear links, but the two people on our side whom I blame most for the failure to get a climate change bill enacted are Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid, both of whom I've given money to this cycle. Such is the way of politics.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 9:59 PM
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297:Okay. Dictators = bad. I take it back.

311,312:No, we don't. I don't know how I got sucked in again.

Ozu terrific. Beautiful, and really really weird. Not Zen weird, Ozu weird.

end of End of Summer

"I'll be all right"
"That sounds like something you'd say."
"I don't know about that."

And then the crows, so many crows, on beaches, and on gravestones. Caw Caw. The End.

Reminded me of Mad River "War is Over"

And then the crows.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:37 PM
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336

I read the New Yorker article you linked. It doesn't sound like the bill was ever close to passage. The key sentence:

For three months, a period of record-high temperatures in Washington, what was now called the Kerry-Lieberman bill was debated and discussed as if it were a viable piece of legislation, but no Republican stepped forward to support it. ...

The bill needed several Republican votes to pass which means it was a fantasy.

Bullshit. You have to take a first step. And it would have been a huge step as a show of good faith to the rest of the world and a starting point for a real international agreement.

In other words the bill was largely symbolic.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:40 PM
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To the OP, I distract myself with jokes about the Welsh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 10:44 PM
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339: Your "key sentence" is sort of cherry-picked, since it's about the time period after Lindsey Graham backed out, at which point the bill was clearly dead. But the time period just before things fell apart actually looked pretty promising.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:09 PM
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What strategies do you use to keep large-scale problems from overwhelming you?

Irrational flight into obsessive compulsive projects of interest only to myself. Also football (limey, not yank variant).


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:45 PM
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One of my earliest political memories is coming into my parents' bedroom on the day after the 1980 election and listening to my mother tell me that Reagan had won.

Mine too. Well, not hearing it from your mother so much as hearing Reagan won and being disappointed.

The Netherlands has been through a much gentler curve of what the US and UK have gone through in the last thirty years: hard right governments in the eighties, neoliberal gay friendly[1] in the nineties, swing back to the right in the naughties and now a minority rightwing government tacitly supported by a party one step away from reopening the camps.

Even a few years ago, say 2002-2006 or so things did seem to look up, as well the right got stronger I was involved politically with a proper socialist party going from strength to strength too and it seemed we could actually win back some ground and go on the offensive, but that turned out not to be the case.

[1] as in bad on the core political-economical issues, but better on getting everybody to participate int he wonders of capitalism.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-29-10 11:57 PM
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326 I'm going to be in your neck of the woods, or at least its exurbs, knocking doors today. The polisci people say that if we talk to 100 dem or dem leaning people it will increase then number of voters by ten to twelve. That's not a huge deal, but enough of us can make a difference if the race is close.

My first real political memory is Solidarity. My parents were so obsessed with it that I started reading the IHT to try to figure out what they were constantly talking about. It also shaped an initial hostility to the continental left wing parties because of Mitterrand and Schmidt's rather demonstrative hostility to those annoying troublemakers.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:20 AM
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The bill needed several Republican votes to pass which means it was a fantasy.

We have passed from an era in which the Republicans could be counted on to do the wrong thing, into an era where every individual Republican can be counted on to do the wrong thing.

In that context, bitching about the Democrats because they can only get 90% of their caucus behind decent legislation seems churlish.

And in that context, voting for any Republican, ever, for national office is just wrong, as is the refusal to vote for any nonRepublican who might be able to cobble together a majority.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:17 AM
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In other words the bill was largely symbolic.

This is the wrong way to look at it. As essear points out, it's a first step. The longest journey begins etc.

But it would also demonstrate that taking steps to combat global warming is not unduly expensive, and that the fearmongering on that score is baseless.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:19 AM
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Look, I'm not an adventurist (or a witch), and my street-fighting days are far behind me. But if I was a young person, looking around at the world as it is now, going underground would seem to be the most rational solution.

The first sentence makes the second a little comical.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:30 AM
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I'm going to be in your neck of the woods, or at least its exurbs, knocking doors today. The polisci people say that if we talk to 100 dem or dem leaning people it will increase then number of voters by ten to twelve. That's not a huge deal, but enough of us can make a difference if the race is close.

Hey, awesome! Much appreciated. Hope it goes/went well. There are a lot of close races in PA this year, at all levels. I can't even stand to look at the Sestak/Toomey polls.

Meantime, the Republican candidate for governor, who is the current state attorney general and by law investigates election crimes, is in hot water for this comment:

Corbett, addressing Delaware County Republicans on Thursday, noted Democratic efforts to pump up voter turnout in Philadelphia for Tuesday's general election. Gov. Rendell has said he wants at least 50 percent of the city's Democrats to vote. "We want to make sure that they don't get 50 percent," Corbett said. "Keep that down."

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:46 AM
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||

The American legal system is insane. That is all.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:49 AM
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348.last: Putting policy differences etc. aside, I think current American politics can be summed up by, "One party wants as many people as possible to vote, the other wants as few as possible."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 7:55 AM
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I think current American politics can be summed up by, "One party wants as many people as possible to vote, the other wants as few as possible.

Fixed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:02 AM
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"One party wants as many people as possible to vote, the other wants as few as possible."

NPR (I think it was actual national coverage, not just local) was recently interviewing a nearby rural county GOP campaign chairman about the Perriello-Hurt race. The guy said, without any sense of how evil it sounded, that turnout in 2010 would be nothing like turnout in 2008, because people came out to vote in 2008 who had never voted before and wouldn't be doing so again. His hopefulness about this fact (and NPR's failure to follow up by smacking him in the head with the mic) was stunning.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:42 AM
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341

Your "key sentence" is sort of cherry-picked, since it's about the time period after Lindsey Graham backed out, at which point the bill was clearly dead. But the time period just before things fell apart actually looked pretty promising.

"Several" is more than one. It is clear the bill was expected to be unpopular. The odds that several Republicans besides Graham would break ranks to support an unpopular bill seem poor. And in fact none did. Suggesting that any appearance of promise was illusory. Which is the same point the sentence I quoted was making.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:43 AM
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346

But it would also demonstrate that taking steps to combat global warming is not unduly expensive, and that the fearmongering on that score is baseless.

Taking symbolic steps is generally cheap, true.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:45 AM
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Taking symbolic steps is generally cheap, true.

Taking cymbalic steps is expensive if you use the good Zildjian kind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:52 AM
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349: Of course, one (trial level, NYC...) ruling does not quite a national legal system make. I am amusing myself picturing how they might enforce a judgment. Garnish her allowance? Forfeiture of her piggy bank?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:57 AM
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The guy said, without any sense of how evil it sounded, that turnout in 2010 would be nothing like turnout in 2008, because people came out to vote in 2008 who had never voted before and wouldn't be doing so again.

It seems to be an article of faith for some political types that new voters can't be persuaded away from the side for which they first voted. If the Republican message is so goddamned appealing, why don't they believe they can sell it this year to people who first voted in 2008?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 8:59 AM
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I should add that, without exactly knowing NYC procedure, I'm not fully convinced this is a bad result. Presumably, if the kid is found to have been negligent, her parents are on the hook for the damage. Which seems fair enough to me. If the almost 5-year old was playing with matches and burned someone's house down, would we ask the homeowner to eat the loss?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:02 AM
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A popular vote's about as likely to produce truth as like going down to the Denny's and asking for a show of hands to an integral problem is.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:03 AM
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If the almost 5-year old was playing with matches and burned someone's house down, would we ask the homeowner to eat the loss?

If the house was made of sugar, they might want to eat caramel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:07 AM
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If the almost 5-year old was playing with matches and burned someone's house down, would we ask the homeowner to eat the loss?

No, but we'd sue/prosecute a responsible adult for negligence, surely, be it parent, teacher, care worker, whoever. And keep the wretched child out of court - can she give valid evidence? Suing a five year old seems to me on a level with hanging a cat for killing a mouse on a Sunday.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:09 AM
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358

I should add that, without exactly knowing NYC procedure, I'm not fully convinced this is a bad result. Presumably, if the kid is found to have been negligent, her parents are on the hook for the damage. Which seems fair enough to me. If the almost 5-year old was playing with matches and burned someone's house down, would we ask the homeowner to eat the loss?

I wouldn't think the parents would be on the hook legally if they weren't found at fault themselves. Although of course they might feel pressured to settle to protect their child. Would a judgement still be enforceable many years later?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:11 AM
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The thing about bringing in the responsible adult, though, is that it seems perfectly possible they weren't negligent. It's not unreasonable to have your four-year-old out of arms reach on their bike -- if the question being asked is whether the parent did anything wrong, the answer is probably no, which gets you to the same "why should the injured person eat the loss" problem. I don't know the law in this area, but like Di, I'm not sure that letting the case go forward is wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:14 AM
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361

No, but we'd sue/prosecute a responsible adult for negligence, surely, be it parent, teacher, care worker, whoever. And keep the wretched child out of court - can she give valid evidence? Suing a five year old seems to me on a level with hanging a cat for killing a mouse on a Sunday.

So at what age should you be allowed to sue someone?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:14 AM
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Sure, which is kind of what I mean by noting that I don't know NYC procedure. It seems reasonably likely to me that, though the child is named defendant, for all practical purposes the parents are being sued. The problem, theoretically, is that if a reasonable 5 year old knows better than to play with matches, the parents wouldn't be negligent for leaving the child alone in a room with matches.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:16 AM
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All the reporting on the ZOMG Suing 4yos! story has been kind of crappy. My understanding is that the child *is not* being sued -- but rather that the child has to be seen to be negligent in order for the estate to collect from the parents and/or their insurance. No one is taking away her lunch money. It's been showing up on FB from people ranting about activist judges -- but the case was brought by the girl's parents who were looking for new law to be made (i.e. that kids over 4 were still too young to be considered negligent, despite legal precedent).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:20 AM
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363

The thing about bringing in the responsible adult, though, is that it seems perfectly possible they weren't negligent. It's not unreasonable to have your four-year-old out of arms reach on their bike -- if the question being asked is whether the parent did anything wrong, the answer is probably no, which gets you to the same "why should the injured person eat the loss" problem. I don't know the law in this area, but like Di, I'm not sure that letting the case go forward is wrong.

Not sure I agree with the "probably no". Four seems pretty young to me for riding bikes on crowded city streets. And if you aren't willing to hold the parents directly responsible I think it is problematic to allow the child to be sued as a pressure tactic.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:21 AM
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366: Or rather, she's named in the lawsuit for reasons other than actually collecting against her.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:22 AM
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So at what age should you be allowed to sue someone?

Age of criminal responsibility? At least for actions in tort, which I suppose this is, I don't see any obvious distinction.

I don't know the law in this area, but like Di, I'm not sure that letting the case go forward is wrong.

OK, suppose they find for the plaintiff. Unless there's a trust somewhere, she has no assets of her own (and if there is, I can see the arguments rolling on for decades), so either her parents pay anyway, or the injured party suck it up anyway. What's the point?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:24 AM
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366 Makes perfect sense, and I withdraw 369.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:26 AM
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370: But I could be totally wrong!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:28 AM
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The real story here is that pedestrians are often dickheads about bikes. Yes, you have the right of way, pedestrian. But it would also be nice of you to yield to the oncoming bike, assuming the biker is not him or herself behaving like a total wank. After all, pedestrian, that biker pedaled good and hard for that there momentum.

</bikefight!>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:35 AM
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371. Well then, I withdraw it subject to you being totally right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:38 AM
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372: My tip for those cycling on sidewalks: If you are cycling on a sidewalk that is bounded by a fence on one side and a knee-high concrete barrier on the other, you should make some kind of loud noise when you overtake somebody walking. The heavy traffic that drove you to the sidewalk means that I can't hear you and I often veer from side to side when I walk because I like to step on stink bugs and acorns.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:39 AM
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372: Yes, you have the right of way, pedestrian. But it would also be nice of you to yield to the oncoming bike

What the hell fun would that be? Cyclists are such humorless dicks about pedestrians.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:40 AM
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373: No, I am right! Or -- a NY (personal injury) lawyer agrees that this is entirely about collecting on the parents' homeowners insurance. Voilà.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:41 AM
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My tip for those cycling on sidewalks: stop fucking doing that.

FTFY.

In other pedestrian news, I made the mistake of running near yesterday's local Obama rally right as 12,000 let out. Group. Pedestrians. Are. Teh. Slow.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:43 AM
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Cyclists are such humorless dicks about pedestrians.

That's not funny. (But it's true.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:43 AM
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12,000 *people* that is. 12,000 stink bugs would have been much more manageable.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:45 AM
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I really should go run. I won't have time later today and the whole winter thing will be starting soon. Curse you and your motivation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:52 AM
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The Guardian is liveblogging the Jon Stewart rally by sending their fashion correspondent along with Arianna Huffington. I have lived too long.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:55 AM
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376: You'd make an excellent lawyer, oud! (No offense...). Yeah, typically parents are held responsible for the debts/expenses of their minor children. So if it's the kid's fault, then it's the paren's responsibility. Whether anyone *actually* was negligent is a tougher question -- whic is why we have juries rather than bright line rules to decide it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 9:55 AM
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372: Yes, you have the right of way, pedestrian. But it would also be nice of you to yield to the oncoming bike, assuming the biker is not him or herself behaving like a total wank.

One struggles to see how this is even remotely relevant to the 4-yr-old w/training wheels/87-yr-old pedestrian encounter under discussion which I imagine played out on more primal grounds.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:00 AM
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382

... Yeah, typically parents are held responsible for the debts/expenses of their minor children. ...

But normally minor children can't make any legally binding contracts so they won't have any debts. (There is an exception for the necessities of life.)


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:02 AM
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383: She wasn't a pedestrian! She had a walker!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:04 AM
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on more primal grounds

Back on the veldt, no one was 87.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:04 AM
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You know you're Democratic congressman is truly a dick when you get a mailer in *support* of him from the US Chamber of Congress.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:05 AM
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377: Beat me to it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:06 AM
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385: She had walker!

Like I said, technology-assisted locomotion v. technology-assisted locomotion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:09 AM
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382

... Yeah, typically parents are held responsible for the debts/expenses of their minor children. So if it's the kid's fault, then it's the paren's responsibility. ...

Apparently untrue , " ... as a general rule, parents are not liable for the torts of their child ... ". Link from Volokh (who also notes that the parent's insurance policies might cover suits against family members which could be the motive for suing the child).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:20 AM
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I just want to say that the "an individual vote means nothing" thing is more homo economicus reductivism. When you're deciding how to vote, there are thousands of people using the same criteria to make the same decisions. If you build an effective movement, that can become millions. Solidarity is a public good.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 10:59 AM
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||
Oy. I just got a full scale "on the veldt" speech about why sports are important for boys but not girls from a father at Newt's soccer game. Smile and nod. Smile and nod.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:04 AM
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392: Smile and nod?!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:08 AM
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392: Sweet fancy Moses.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:08 AM
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393: I can see "smile and nod" as the right response if the person is pretty much a stranger.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:14 AM
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Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Smile and headbutt. You mesmerize them with the rhythm then, Pow!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:15 AM
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NYC ain't the veldt, buster. If you're telling this to your son, you're setting him up for real heartache.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:18 AM
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On the veldt, women would politely listen to men embarrass themselves in order to signal sexual availability.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:20 AM
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||
The explicitly apolitical tone of this rally is getting to me.
|>


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:25 AM
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... and then a statistician found five dollars.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:25 AM
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391 -- Exactly. It's like the individual preference for locally produced food. I was at a small gathering the other night that included the man in charge of dining at our local (15k student) state university. He's now spending some 20% of his multi-million food budget locally (ie, in-state), and thinks he can increase it by quite a bit over time. Had real trouble getting an in-state beef producer that could keep up with him, but thinks he's solved that now. I don't know if the other big university is doing the same, but it probably is. The state prison, that ought to be next (and maybe we'll have some cultural advantage from that: what's wrong with serving prisoners locally grown arugula, anyway?).

OK, enough with the gloom and doom on the internet. I'm going to spend the rest of the day going door to door, getting it in person.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:26 AM
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The real story here is that pedestrians are often dickheads about bikes. Yes, you have the right of way, pedestrian. But it would also be nice of you to yield to the oncoming bike, assuming the biker is not him or herself behaving like a total wank. After all, pedestrian, that biker pedaled good and hard for that there momentum.

I've clotheslined people who thought like that trying to cycle past me on the pavement.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:27 AM
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That's really, fantastically anti-social of you, Martin Wisse! It's too bad you didn't go to jail over it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:28 AM
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Although I'm certainly glad that the people who were doing something impolite and mildly dangerous weren't permanently incapacitated by your decision to be a violent lunatic, and am optimistic that you will be jailed before you seriously hurt somebody.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:29 AM
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Funny how bikers use similar language with pedestrians that motorists use with cyclists. Whatsamatter, don't want to share the public way with people who are slower and more erratic? They pay taxes too, ya know. Slow down, you shouldn't be in such a hurry anyway.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:31 AM
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I realize, of course, that you probably actually did no such thing, and are just a big-talking internet asshole. But if you'd like to continue to pretend together that you're a sociopath, I can do that too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:31 AM
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406 to Martin Wisse, not secret enthusiastic cyclist Carp.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:32 AM
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The other day I was about step out into a crosswalk and a motorcycle whizzed by -- if I hadn't been paying attention they might have hit me! So I pulled out my gun and emptied the clip at them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:35 AM
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what's wrong with serving prisoners locally grown arugula, anyway?

This reminds me of a nice sequence in Joe Frank's Escape from Paradise. (The warden insists that the prison company perform A Streetcar Named Desire, but the prisoners want to do Six Characters in Search of an Author; the orchestra complains that they only play boring old warhorses, rather than Messiaen and Carter; the ballet company complains about their costumes and wishes to do Ailey, Cunningham, etc. So they rebel ("prisoners became very sarcastic") I thought that there was something about the food, as well, but I guess that I misremembered. Oh well.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:37 AM
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Whatsamatter, don't want to share the public way with people who are slower and more erratic?

This is a fantastic point, and I should like to affirm that I've personally encountered assholes walking, assholes riding bikes, and assholes driving motor vehicles. In fact, on occasion, I'm given to understand that assholes even sit down on park benches, too. The monsters.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:45 AM
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Stanley is now responsible for a small improvement in my cardiovascular health, but I'm not getting any faster. (Also, everybody walking dogs was very careful to make sure I didn't get tripped by beast or leash. Three cheers for my neighbors.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 11:58 AM
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I just got a full scale "on the veldt" speech about why sports are important for boys but not girls from a father at Newt's soccer game.

There's a breathless hush in the close to-night
Ten to make and the match to win
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play, and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat.
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red-
Red with the wreck of the square that broke
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed its banks,
And England's far and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks-
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with joyful mind
And bear through life
Like a torch in flame,
Falling fling to the host behind-
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 1:18 PM
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412: That was actually remarkably close to the speech I got -- the words "Soccer is a hunter/warrior game" were uttered.

Smiling and nodding was probably not the ideal thing to do, but the amount of groundwork it would have taken to civilly communicate that I disagreed with his premises seemed impractical under the circumstances.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 2:51 PM
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Oh look, I managed to get Sifu up on his high horse again. He always has so much fun once he's up there. But only four comments telling me what a bad man I am? You're slipping.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:15 PM
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413: seemed impractical under the circumstances.

What with all the pig blood and everything.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:17 PM
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"Actually, soccer has a long and rich tradition of diverse [COCKPUNCH!]."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:21 PM
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Trying to clothesline someone who's on a high horse sounds difficult.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:23 PM
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Man Bludgeoned to Death with Conch at Youth Soccer Game


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 4:24 PM
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"Soccer is a hunter/warrior game."

That seems like a minority position. Also sort of silly.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-30-10 5:01 PM
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401.2 -- Pretty light on the doom and gloom, actually. The kick-off rally had Jon Tester, who's a fun speaker, and Max Baucus, who's not as much fun, but got himself pretty wound up. And we all sang happy birthday to retired Rep Pat Williams, Best Congressman Ever, who gave a sharp little barnburner on the values of the other side. And then off to canvass, paired with a state house member who looks like she'll win re-election easily (so we were in a neighboring district). Fun afternoon, and we just might have uncovered some seriously illegal dirty tricks from the other side.

This being Zoo Town, though, ended up dropping by A Shiver Runs Through It -- horror stories read by local authors, with The Raven read dramatically by the mayor -- and then a wildish Halloween party, with a rockabilly band, at the Union Hall.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:17 AM
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A Shiver Runs Through It—horror stories read by local authors, with The Raven read dramatically by the mayor

So great, Zoo Town.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 12:35 AM
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It means thinking through the consequences of action there on our other vital interests, including the survival in office of Pakistan's leader; avoiding a huge escalation of violence in the Middle East; provision for the security and interests of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf States; having a workable plan for preventing the disintegration of Iraq into chaos; and sustaining critically important support within the present coalition.

Indeed. If that set of criteria had been used as a decision rule, there would have been no war. Dsquared is usually a connoisseur of the noble art of bureaucracy, and I'm surprised he hasn't recognised this as a classic "Yes, I'm open to summoning the Great Old Ones in principle, but it means thinking through how we keep them from eating our brains, how the return of Cthulhu will affect next week's 5 a Day campaign, and whether the project is deliverable within our current budget and by next Tuesday" gambit. In fact, it's a pretty good checklist of reasons not to invade Iraq and would stand as a highly accurate forecast of everything that would go wrong as a result.

Meanwhile, what's with all the doom? There seems to be some chance that the Republicans get a small majority in one of two houses. If it's the Senate, the senators that go down will be fairly awful blue dog wankers, and good riddance. Given that they've made it impossible to do anything substantive, this is surely no great loss.

However, I don't really agree with Dsquared's take - we've just had a eight year live demo of catastrophic misgovernment, and his argument has a kind of playing-football-without-a-goalkeeper quality..


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:05 AM
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f it's the Senate, the senators that go down will be fairly awful blue dog wankers, and good riddance.

Plenty of non blue dog type senators have to go down for the Repubs to gain ten Senate seats i.e. pick off half of the Dem seats up for election this cycle. Secondly, even in an Indiana or West Virginia type election, the Dem would vote far, far better than the Republican.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:12 AM
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414: you need to make your little "look, I'm a reprehensible dickhead in real life, I promise!" dance more believable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 6:53 AM
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Baucus reminded us at the rally that last election, control of the state house of representatives turned on 12 votes in a single district somewhat north of here. Or 16, he wasn't sure.

I'm taking Tuesday afternoon off to phonebank.

As for Shiver, Kevin Canty's Band of Gold was exquisite. Debra Magpie Earling swore her ghost story was real, repeatedly. She certainly seemed to believe it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:07 AM
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Meanwhile, what's with all the doom? There seems to be some chance that the Republicans get a small majority in one of two houses. If it's the Senate, the senators that go down will be fairly awful blue dog wankers, and good riddance.

It'll be the House. And while some of the 50 or so members we'll lose will be blue dogs, plenty won't be. And while we keep the Senate, blue dogs will hold the balance, which is even worse: Dems will be blamed equally for all the stupid shit that comes out of conference. Much of which Obama will sign, since it'll be 'bipartisan.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:13 AM
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Russ Feingold.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 8:57 AM
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Holy fuck, I was watching This Week (which was bad enough), but then Chris Matthews show comes on and he just speculated that Obama should "do a Clinton" and bring in people like Dick Morris. Actually both shows are spectacles of shame and idiocy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 9:04 AM
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Serious answer: left the country. Sure, grass is always greener, but ... happy about my decision.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 10-31-10 9:27 AM
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It seems to me that the poem in 412 makes no sense at all as ordinary British soldiers (as opposed to their officers) would not have attended fancy British public schools and hence could not be rallied by appeals to their school days. Am I missing something?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:22 AM
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re: 430

Why does it make no sense? Or did you think i) officers didn't die, or ii) that ordinary soldiers weren't still a product of much of the same culture as their officers?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:25 AM
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430: You miss the key couplet -
"But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks-
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

To which your typical squaddie might react, "Fuck me, what's that kid doing out here? Daz, cover me while I get the little bugger out of sight of that fucking field gun!

But, yes. Henry Newbolt is an embarrassment to the good name of poetry.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:29 AM
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And what 432 said, too, of course!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:32 AM
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ordinary British soldiers (as opposed to their officers) would not have attended fancy British public schools and hence could not be rallied by appeals to their school days.

Not always the case: allow me to adduce a bit more Victorian poetry.

To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned,
To my brethren in their sorrow overseas,
Sings a gentleman of England cleanly bred, machinely crammed,
And a trooper of the Empress, if you please.
Yea, a trooper of the forces who has run his own six horses,
And faith he went the pace and went it blind,
And the world was more than kin while he held the ready tin,
But to-day the Sergeant's something less than kind.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Baa--aa--aa!
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

Oh, it's sweet to sweat through stables, sweet to empty kitchen slops,
And it's sweet to hear the tales the troopers tell,
To dance with blowzy housemaids at the regimental hops
And thrash the cad who says you waltz too well.
Yes, it makes you cock-a-hoop to be "Rider" to your troop,
And branded with a blasted worsted spur,
When you envy, O how keenly, one poor Tommy being cleanly
Who blacks your boots and sometimes calls you "Sir".

If the home we never write to, and the oaths we never keep,
And all we know most distant and most dear,
Across the snoring barrack-room return to break our sleep,
Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in beer?
When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern gutters
And the horror of our fall is written plain,
Every secret, self-revealing on the aching white-washed ceiling,
Do you wonder that we drug ourselves from pain?

We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,
We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,
And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
God help us, for we knew the worst too young!
Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence,
Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Baa--aa--aa!
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:37 AM
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And from another album by the same artist:

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o'beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's ``Thank you, Mister Atkins,'' when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's ``Thank you, Mr. Atkins,'' when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:45 AM
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||

Today is the day we say goodbye to the baby forever. It will be hard. His parents are doing better though, which is something.

Parents: Please hug your kids extra, and cherish every moment with them.

Non-parents: Don't take anything positive for granted.

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:46 AM
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We'll be thinking of you all, NP.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 6:49 AM
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Thinking of you and your friends, Natilo. I'm holding the little one, who turns three today. Children really are as precious as the propoganda suggests!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 7:06 AM
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So sorry, Natilo. I'll do as instructed with Hawaiian Punch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 7:21 AM
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Thanks everyone. It's a hard life.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 9:18 AM
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Condolences again to NP

Anyone remember Jerome Armstrong?

I've ended my hyper-partisan allegiance to the Democratic Party. In moving beyond the past decade's partisan affair with Democrats, I am ready for a real revolution to happen in this country.

It has got to happen over the next two years, and its going to take progressives, libertarians, tea partiers, coffee partiers, conservatives... everyone that is not part of the problem (the financial/political/military elite). Get radical, first by moving beyond attachment to a single party or a political identity. Radicalize them both, go independent; whatever, and if that's not you too, then get out of the way.

There are two sides, the financial/political/military elite and the rest of us. I suppose if you think your particular candidate is in full-on opposition to the system you can vote for her. Otherwise you are just begging for crumbs.

Which side are you on?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 10:53 AM
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What grief, NP. Best to them and you.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:04 AM
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Which side are you on?

Isn't that a silly question if we're on the Titanic?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:17 AM
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There are two sides, the financial/political/military elite and the rest of us.

There are more than two sides, and any argument that starts with progressives being able to find common ground with the Tea Partiers is a waste of time.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:27 AM
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Any loss is regrettable, but a guy who voted for Ron Paul (!) and Ralph Nader isn't exactly the heart and soul of a major party.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 11:52 AM
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444 -- Worse than a waste of time: what do you have to give up to get the teahadis into your coalition? Nothing that a Ron Paul voter would care about I guess, but I'm not seeing McManus signing on for that coalition.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:00 PM
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446a should read 'what do you have to signal that you'd be willing to give up to get the teahadis interested in considering your coalition.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:12 PM
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443: There's got to be a morning after. Oops, wrong boat.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:23 PM
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speech about why sports are important for boys but not girls from a father at Newt's soccer game

The oldest Kraabniece is in sixth grade and played in volleyball finals this weekend. One of the boys teams from her school (I think they were basketball, but I'm not sure) turned out to cheer the girls on, which I thought was just great. (Also, they won!)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 12:24 PM
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446:You don't check credentials or have a debate with the pitchfork to the right of yours as you, metaphorically, storm the bastille or winter palace.

Revolution is not politics. If you are worried about the morning after, you are doing it wrong.

What I don't understand is the people who say they see a path within electoral politics to, for instance, slashing the defense budget. They might imagine or dream or fantasize a path, but I can't believe they actually see one.

Revolution is also a fantasy. But I happen to think it is marginally more realistic to fantasize a million foreclosed families converging on Washington than it is to believe major Party candidates taking on BofA to the degree the homeless can get relief. The state AG's don't have that goal, just fines and improved practice.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:12 PM
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I don't believe I'm actually asking this question, but bob, do you have any reason to believe the Tea Party will choose their targets any better in revolution than in politics?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:20 PM
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Revolution is also a fantasy.

Noted.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:21 PM
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Uh, that was I.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:22 PM
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See, some might have reread that comment and eliminated one of the "any"s, but I choose to look forward, and not dwell on old comments.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:22 PM
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There are two sides, the financial/political/military elite and the rest of us...
Which side are you on?

I thought bob was Michael Ledeen, but now I see that he must be that midget from In Bruges.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:38 PM
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Tea Party will choose their targets any better in revolution than in politics

My guess is an actual Tea Party revolution would look an awful lot like this, all over the country.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:55 PM
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There are more than two sides, and any argument that starts with progressives being able to find common ground with the Tea Partiers is a waste of time.

It is desperation that leads liberals to imagine many sides. This is because, on their side of the barricade, if they try to stare straight ahead, they only notice Obama to the right and Elena Kagan to the left. If they lean a little forward, they will notice past Obama is Larry Summers, then Hank Paulson, then GWB. If they look down the other rank past Kagan, they will see John Yoo, Dick Cheney, and John Bolton. All on their side of the fence.

I am on the opposing side, facing them, so their allies are obvious to me. I have my own assholes on either side, but I have decided that Joe the Plumber and Christine O'Donnell are marginally less dangerous and destructive.

And I hate the powerful more than the ignorant.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 1:57 PM
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I am on the opposing side, facing them, so their allies are obvious to me. I have my own assholes on either side, but I have decided that Joe the Plumber and Christine O'Donnell are marginally less dangerous and destructive.

And yet, Joe and Christine want to obliterate you from the earth, while all those powerful people are just oblivious to you.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:00 PM
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And you know, you know 457.1 is true. I know you know that Obama and Kagan, Summers and Rahm, are not committed enemies of Bush and Cheney.

I know you know that.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:00 PM
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I wonder who would win a Tea Party vs. US progressives shooting war. Obviously, their side has more familiarity with guns and likely better marksmanship, but they're also heavily elderly. Those guys at antiwar rallies who ride stilts and operate giant puppets look a lot more fit than their fat middle aged morons in 18th century town crier outfits. I think we win the war.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:01 PM
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Read the Chris Hedges way above. If you can't find the link, google him.

There are reasons elite liberals are on the side of elite conservatives.

And you are, and it wasn't always this way.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:06 PM
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460 -- Especially if we load up on those anti-zombie swords.

The idea at O'Donnell or Joe the Plumber Know Nothing Celebrity are aligned, in any way, with any one, against Bush/Cheney/Yoo is what makes the thing laughable.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:11 PM
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It is desperation that leads liberals to imagine many sides.

I'm not a liberal. The Tea Party people aren't opposed to the ruling powers in this country. They just don't like blacksgaysmexicanshippiesfeministsatheistsmuslimsenvironmentalistsandtheytotallyfuckinghateyouandmebob Democrats. They worship at the altar of American consumer capitalism and the United States military and they are no more than nominally and perfunctorily anti-government when the GOP is in charge.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:13 PM
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And I think Hedges is full of crap. Liberalism wasn't killed by elites not playing rough enough with conservatives. But by the massive desertion of non-elite white men who can't stand the idea of being on the same side as (a) the hippies, (b) the wimmin, and (c) the n*s.

They still can't stand it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:15 PM
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They just like feeling like victims.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:16 PM
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I have my own assholes on either side

McManus has a double-pooper!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:17 PM
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There are two sides, the financial/political/military elite and the rest of us. I suppose if you think your particular candidate is in full-on opposition to the system you can vote for her. Otherwise you are just begging for crumbs.
Which side are you on?

So the choice is between one side, which has all the money, political power and guns, and the other side, which has tricorn hats, giant puppets and bob.

For that reason alone, I think, I'm going with the former.

But more seriously, violent revolutions are generally worth fighting against, because they almost never bring about the sort of positive change that a non-violent revolution would. So it's worth fighting against violent revolutionaries wherever they emerge, for the general good of mankind.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:24 PM
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In any event, the Tea Party (inasmuch as it actually exists) isn't a remotely revolutionary movement. It's the reactionary wing of the Republican Party, deeply in love with Jesus and guns, xenophobic and full of racial resentment, floating in pools of Stars and Stripes and Confederate iconography. They're not looking to tear anything down. They just don't like not being in charge.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:41 PM
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isn't a remotely revolutionary movement. It's the reactionary wing of the Republican Party

Apo always says this, and he's always 100% right, and it is so annoying that the point needs to be made over and over and over and over again. (I might replace "reactionary" with "activist" to make the point even more obvious). There is no "tea party movement"; there are just rebranded conservative republicans.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 2:54 PM
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there are just rebranded conservative republicans.

I think this is true but also beside the point. The reason these activists are active is because they want to reduce the power and scope of government. The fact that the current Republican leadership can't name a program they would be willing to cut is a symptom of the problem, and why the Tea Party people are at odds with the Republican Establishment. The fact that the only place that would make a bit of difference to cut would be Defense (the only Sacred Cow) does not seem to be a problem, which is why ultimately they (Tea Party) won't matter.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 3:08 PM
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Does anybody remember Hackman's anecdote about the mule in Mississippi Burning? Something like":"No matter how far down the bosses put me, at least I can feel I'm better than those people?"

Liberals are no different. No matter how much contempt the PTB have for you, no matter how much they exploit and degrade you, at least you can feel you're better than the misogynists, homophobes, and racists.

Tea Partiers feel the same way you do. They have a hard time putting a face to their anxieties and stress, or finding a way to justice and security, so they pick the easy targets.

Joe the Plumber and Christine O'Donnell are not the most dangerous threats to peace and prosperity. They are pathetic, ridiculous, pitiable compared to the bankers, the generals, the Senators. Cameron, Obama and Pete Peterson have a planning lunch, and you are outside guarding the doors, screaming at some fat boomer in the street with an Obamahitler placard. It is delusional, an engineered delusion.

I know many tea partiers can be reached. I have seen it happen many times in forty years. I know the billionaires and generals cannot be reached, ever, by any means. One is a rival, the other my enemy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 3:21 PM
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Joe the Plumber and Christine O'Donnell are not the most dangerous threats to peace and prosperity.

Nobody ever claimed they were. The question is whether they are in any way ever going to be helpful in moving this country in a direction I want on any issue. And you can pick any set of Republicans at random and repeat the experiment and get the same results.

But good luck with your outreach to the GOP.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 3:45 PM
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472:And good luck to you, apo, in your attempts to generate enough Party pressure to get Obama and the Senate to fight and destroy the Pentagon and Goldman-Sachs.

May the reality-based strategy win.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 3:55 PM
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I'm firmly on record that we're fucked. Neither Obama nor the Senate Democrats are going to do shit to the Pentagon or Goldman Sachs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 4:00 PM
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But neither are the Republicans, no matter what marketing campaign they're employing this year to make you believe they somehow became revolutionary allies over the past couple of years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 4:01 PM
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Bob, by your own arguments, O'Donnell and the Plumber are shills for exactly the status quo you hate. So what on earth leads you to believe that electing them or standing in solidarity with their supporters will get them to stop supporting the status quo?

This smacks of "that might just be crazy enough to work"ism.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 4:11 PM
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475: Bob's preference for Republicans predates the Tea Party, doesn't it? IIRC, he used to justify it with some "heighten the contradictions" style theory.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 1-10 4:14 PM
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what on earth leads you to believe that electing them or standing in solidarity with their supporters will get them to stop supporting the status quo?

I'm imagining the kind of personal ad Bob could write to express his solidarity with the Tea Partiers: LIKES: dogs, old movies, writing angry comments on the blogs and fapping to revolutionary fantasies. NOBAMA sign necessary, sartorial nonchalance a plus. Antipathy to liberals, eggheads, bankers, globalists, and city folk acceptable. Submit that to ResistNet and he'd be in like a porch climber.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 11- 2-10 8:16 AM
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You forgot their shared love of unfulfilled fantasies of blowing up political opponents. In fact, if Ann Coulter ever went ahead with her desire to truck-bomb the New York Times building, bob could probably be prevailed upon to drive the U-Haul.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-10 8:29 AM
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