Re: More Independence Day Celebration: Keith Olbermann Is Independent

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Shrillzors.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:24 AM
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Not crazy about this, myself. It would be different if Olbermann was the shrillest or most antagonistic of various anti-Bush major media commentators. But he isn't; to the best of my knowledge, he's the only one.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:31 AM
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Oh, screw the political ramifications of getting pissed off. It's the only appropriately human response, and I have no idea how it plays out tactically.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:36 AM
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Trusting in humans is how we got into this mess in the first place.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:39 AM
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Plays out? It won't play out at all. Olbermann won't lose audience, because his audience is basically the Daily Show audience, no? Still, nice to see someone actually pissed off on an actual news network.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:39 AM
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Okay, after saying 'screw the tactics', I like the tactics. (Meaning that I would have liked them back in 2002-3). Bush has been doing enraging things, and being enraged is appropriate, and someone's got to be the furthest out there.

All that nonsense about 'Bush Derangement Syndrome' that got thrown at people making measured, reasonable, factual criticisms of Bush would have had a lot less force if there were people like Olbermann talking at the same time: it would have allowed the reasonable critics to say "Look, I'm not deranged, I'm not even angry, I'm just stating facts. If you want angry, Olbermann's angry, and he's not deranged either."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:44 AM
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Thanks you. I am glad to have read that.

It doesn't say much that's new, but there is something impressive about watching an intelligent persion decide that it doesn't matter if Bush is an easy target, that they're going to take their best shot and see how hard they can hit him.

Regardless of whether or not it connects, that's an impressive swing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:45 AM
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Okay, after saying 'screw the tactics', I like the tactics.

Inconstancy, thy name is humanity.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:50 AM
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I find myself thinking of Barbara Jordan during the Watergate hearings:

When the [Constitution] was completed on the seventeenth of September 1787 I was not included in that "We, the people." I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in "We, the people."
Today, I am an inquisitor; I believe hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now. My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.

(Transcript. But it's much more powerful in her amazing voice. Several audio links at the posts here.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:54 AM
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"John Wayne killed a lot of gooks in the war / We don't give a fuck about John anymore." Seriously, fuck John Wayne, that cowardly and self-serving piece asshole.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:06 AM
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"Piece asshole"? Christ. Look at me! I get irrationally worked up about John Wayne, and then I can't even type!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:07 AM
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Yeah, wow. I caught it late last night at the Agonist, and found myself turning away from the intensity & the passion. And the words. I remember Watergate, and I do not remember any "responsible or serious person" being that enraged and shrill. More in sorrow rhan anger like Barbara Jordan. I swear Olbermann's face got red.

It is a huge change. It is now out there in the MSM. Get Bush & Cheney out of office as soon as possible, by any legal means. They are more dangerous to the nation than any consequences of removal.

Now we can write our Senators and tell them:"Do it NOW, Reid. Or be considered a coward who doesn't love his country. NOW. Any price, cost, consequence is not too high to pay."

And if it doesn't happen, and there is one more catastrophe, we are now enabled to take the one further step past civility. Be warned, Washington. Do your duty. Be very afraid.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:08 AM
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Oh, and Steve Gilliard predicted that Bush & Cheney would not make it thru 2007.

It would be a nice tribute and remembrance to prove him right.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:10 AM
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I think I want to have Olbermann's babies.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:24 AM
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It's quite a nice piece. Not shrill or out there, either.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:25 AM
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Good for Olbermann. We need as much public expression of outrage and anger at these fuckers as we can get.


Posted by: DaveB | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:28 AM
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I've been talking to a couple of my acquaintance about the way that this administration keeps saying "Suck it" in response to any challenge of their authority. They don't have to make sense or be reasonable or fair; they don't have to show any knowledge of the Constitution or precedent, or acknowledge that words have, like, meanings at all. They just say "Suck it."

And what is our response to "Suck it"? The only response there has ever been is organized violence. But the government is testing new crowd control devices that microwave your internal organs, because if you don't want to suck it, you can always be caused massive internal injury. Is revolution even a reasonable option any more?

I watched Sicko yesterday, in which Moore reminds us that the French get things from their government by organizing and being threatening, and they have good reason to fear them. Our government doesn't fear us one bit. Why the fuck not?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:29 AM
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14: Speaking of babies...


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:32 AM
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re: 17

And what is our response to "Suck it"? The only response there has ever been is organized violence. ... Is revolution even a reasonable option any more?

That's a good question.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:34 AM
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But the government is testing new crowd control devices that microwave your internal organs, because if you don't want to suck it, you can always be caused massive internal injury. Is revolution even a reasonable option any more?

They already have had devices that wreck your internal organs for the last 500 or so years - they're commonly known as guns..


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:35 AM
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20: Yes, but guns cause mass outrage. Microwave thingies just cause fear.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:38 AM
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18: I posted follow-up in the meetup thread. But what the hell--pics!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:39 AM
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10: Yes, "motherfuck him, and John Wayne."


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:40 AM
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22: AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! Congratulations!


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:41 AM
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Chopper:

1. "Cecelia" is an awesome name.
2. Thankfully, the kid doesn't look anything like you.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:44 AM
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Is revolution even a reasonable option any more?

Armed revolution? I don't think so -- the government's monopoly on violence is too great. But given that the state depends on people's labor and consumption habits, strategies such as boycotts and work stoppages could have some impact. For those to work, of course, people would have to care and organize, so no, not a reasonable option anymore.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:48 AM
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She's beautiful, Chopper. Congratulations.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:48 AM
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That's awesome, Chopper. Great name, too.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:50 AM
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Fireworks ...PNH just provides some quotes.

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."
--Frederick Douglass

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."
--Abraham Lincoln

19:No, revolution is not a reasonable option. Never is.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:51 AM
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re: 29

'Reasonable' is the wrong word, I agree. 'Pragmatically possible' is a better phrase. Given the extant state monopoly on violence, etc.

Of course, there have been successful revolutions with nary a shot fired, so perhaps the state monopoly on violence is over-emphasised.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:58 AM
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I have a friend who (last time we talked about it, which was several years ago) is a devoted 2nd Amendment advocate because he believes the government should always have an armed populace to fear. I think it's pretty crazy to think that way, personally. Otherwise he was a standard liberal but his devotion to that one idea pushed him into being and voting Libertarian for a long, long time.

Maybe I'm one of the blind, procedural liberals but I don't think BushCo has wrecked the country permanently. I'm reminded of a house Rah and I went to see when we were in the market. It was beautiful in all respects except for the insulation-hanging-out holes in the ceiling that had been put there by the last owners when they found out they were being foreclosed. I think Bush is doing the fratboy if-I-can't-have-it-no-one-can thing of trashing the place before he's done with it and Cheney imagines himself having wrought some form of revenge for the indignities suffered by former bosses. I think Cheney is smart enough to know that no or few Democrats will be in a huge rush to undo the Unitary Executive once they've kicked the tires themselves, also, which does dampen my optimism somewhat; I also believe the system is wholly capable of being fixed by someone willing to go through a ritualized and highly public process of giving up power, shaming their predecessors and framing a restoration of checks and balances as a moral issue.

Yes, our system can be completed torpedoed by one person or faction or branch willing to throw the rules out the window. On the other hand, it can be restored by another willing to bring them back in.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:58 AM
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Completedly, of course.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 9:59 AM
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Chopper: Yes, great name, great baby, great weight! I don't hold with all of these tiny babies they have nowadays. Big, robust babies are the way to go. Congratulations and best wishes for her future. Someday we will have to have a mini-Minneapolis meet-up.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:00 AM
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26:"In Hegel's Logic, Quality is the first division of Being, when the world is just one thing after another, so to speak, while Quantity is the second division, where perception has progressed to the point of recognising what is stable within the ups and downs of things. The third and final stage, Measure, the unity of quality and quantity, denotes the knowledge of just when quantitative change becomes qualitative change." ...MIA Encyclopedia

A million people around the White House and the Air Force will just go home.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:00 AM
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Because Hegel said so.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:07 AM
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Welcome, Cecilia! Fireworks in your honor coming right up.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:08 AM
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Lay down your weapons! We're on a mission from Hegel.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:11 AM
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First, we need to spend several years learning German, and reading all the secondary literature. In order to be sure we understand the mission we've been tasked with.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:12 AM
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Shit, I thought it was a mission from Whole Foods.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:12 AM
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31:I am a 2nd amendment absolutist for just those anti-majoritarian reasons.

And in general it is not about revolution or armed insurrection, but simply to put a cost on majoritarian oppression of minorities so that compromise is motivated.

I go very very far with this, all the way into amoral pessimism. Might may not make Right, but under Heaven, it may the most realistic political philosophy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:14 AM
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39: Same dif. Don't panic -- buy organic!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:21 AM
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If you buy organic sauerkraut, you'd kill two birds mit einem Stein.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:22 AM
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I agree with #31. There are lots of things to be depressed about, but...Dems won big in '06 and have as close to a gimme as one can reasonably ask in '08. It's a bit weird to call for revolution when you're in the process of taking control of the government.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:24 AM
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"amoral pessimism" s/b "angry blog comments."


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:25 AM
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43: Tim, I think you can push this thought farther. If there were actually conditions for revolution (e.g., enough people cared) there would be conditions for doing what needs to be done via the conventional means. (Not true in every possible world, but true in the actual world.)


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:27 AM
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45: Or so the mullahs would have you believe.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:29 AM
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Better government through sauerkraut! An organic Reuben on every plate, and a Prius in every garage!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:30 AM
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Dems won big in '06 and have as close to a gimme as one can reasonably ask in '08. It's a bit weird to call for revolution when you're in the process of taking control of the government.

What's the word for something that's almost a non sequitur but not quite?

We aren't in the process of taking control of the government; the Dems are. Even if they reinstate competence in the ranks of the executive branch's appointees, t's entirely possible that they will do nothing we want legislatively because they are so beholden to the corporate interests from whom our campaign system forces them to raise massive quantities of bribe money.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:31 AM
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The sun shines brighter in SCMTim's and my world.

bob, there is a part of me - the countrified, borderline redneck part of me - that responds favorably to arguments that there must be a continual balance of fear between government and governed but ultimately I have to reject that as a circumstance that creates and sustains insecurity when I would rather work to eliminate it. Today I'm commenting from the front porch under a beautiful sky after watching the neighborhood kids and a fire truck from the station down the road put on an Independence Day parade on my street. I am feeling the Pollyanna vibe in a serious way. Maybe tomorrow I'll ask for directions to the barricades but today I just think it can be worked out if people really want that to happen.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:34 AM
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43:Then you disagree with Olbermann

"Pressure, negotiate, impeach -- get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm."

18 (?) more months of Bush/Cheney may not destroy America or the World, but is accepting the damage that will be done necessary?

And revolution has a bad rep. It needn't always look like France 1798 or Russia 1918 or Iran, but can be as peaceful as France in the late 40s or Poland or Russia.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:36 AM
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re: 48

Also, the military-interventionist shining-city-on-a-hill rhetoric and its concomitant policy choices looks like it might well be continued under any likely Democratic candidate.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:36 AM
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t's entirely possible that they will do nothing we want legislatively because they are so beholden to the corporate interests from whom our campaign system forces them to raise massive quantities of bribe money.

This gets less true as time goes on. Politics are, I think, less likely to be manipulated by Big Interests than in the '40s, '50s, etc. Why now, instead of then?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:42 AM
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The problem with revolutions is that we imagine them throwing out the people in power and putting revolutionaries in power. There's no need for that; the people in power aren't necessarily bad, they respond to incentives and the incentives need to be changed.

What I would like to do is lead a revolt that irreversibly creates a 50-year moratorium on the filibuster; a 50-year moratorium on campaign advertising of any sort, with a panel of average citizens to decide what is and is not a "campaign ad"; 20-year terms for Supreme Court justices; the replication of Great Britain's national electoral system; and the replication of France's national health insurance system down to the smallest detail. And then resign, and put the same people back in charge, and see what they do with these new facts on the ground.

And a ban on pharmaceutical advertising to the consumer in perpetuity throughout infinite ages into the future; there's no excuse for that to ever happen.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:44 AM
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Politics are, I think, less likely to be manipulated by Big Interests than in the '40s, '50s, etc. Why now, instead of then?

Television and the need to raise huge amounts more in campaign money. Nowadays even if a politician isn't corrupt he has to be constantly begging for bribes in order to keep pace in the campaign-ad-buying race. Unilaterally disarming by not begging for bribes only works if the politician is some sort of legendary figure in his district.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:46 AM
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9 lbs., 2 oz !! Congratulations and blessings, Chopper.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:47 AM
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(I think my 53 is similar to what goes on from time to time in Thailand. There's a democracy, but now and then the King, who is a universally respected figure and aware that his beloved status depends on being an honest broker, says "That's it, this president is too corrupt, he has to go. Army, whip up a coup, we need someone else in charge." And then the president is shipped off to Switzerland and they they have a short period of martial law followed by a new election.

The trick, just as with George Bernard Shaw's socialist utopia, is to make sure that only wise philosophers become the king.)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:49 AM
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Ned and ttaM have it right. If Dems gain control of the White House, they'll control two branches of the government, and it will be widely interpreted as the political pendulum swinging left, when in fact it will be only a tiny step leftward. Any real realignment will necessarily confront corporate power.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:50 AM
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49:"...but today I just think it can be worked out if people really want that to happen."

I really think people misunderstand what I mean by "revolution". I assumed I didn't need to explain the Hegel above. There is a presumption among many Marxists that Capitalism will fall peacefully, perhaps even unnoticed. Revolution is an accumulation of consciousness and confidence. The above quote in no way contradicts my own beliefs.

If I am any kind of Vanguardist, it is most reluctantly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:51 AM
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I'm sorry bob, but you're always going to have to explain Hegel. I'm neither well-read nor well-educated when it comes to philosophy and I tend to be a bit thick. That said, if a revolution can happen without leaving us more afraid than before, great. Rah is fond of pointing out, re: activism in general, that the revolution is supposed to be more fun than what we were already doing.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:56 AM
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Finally, I must say that I really like Britain's electoral system. Specifically, the large number of representatives, the fact that their districts are actual places instead of random geometrical shapes, and the method for choosing the leader of the party.

Our primary system has gotten ridiculous with all the concern for "electability" and "the front-runner is inevitable". But installing candidates in smoke-filled rooms doesn't work either because you would end up with whatever fat cat is owed the most favors or will follow orders, or in rare instances somebody with a cult of personality. I like the idea that the PM would be the leader of his party, chosen basically on seniority, and that at all times, even when there's no election going on, you know who the PM would be if his party was in the majority. So the party could just one day decide that the leader is Barack Obama, and then see how things go when everyone knows that he's the face of the party. If they pick someone who becomes unpopular, they can pick someone else and see how the public reacts. And of course they can't switch back and forth between leaders too often, or they will seem to be in disarray, so there's an incentive against constantly following the short-term polls.

It's been interesting seeing the different leaders of the Conservative Party during the Blair administration. They finally seem to have hit on one who presents an attractive but not inappropriate face for the party.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:58 AM
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The idea of the "shadow cabinet" is good too.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 11:00 AM
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I love the idea of the shadow cabinet. I suspect our confirmation process would make it easy for an opposition party to call a shadow cabinet "presumptive" or something but I like the idea of a candidate who surrounds her/himself with experts who are able to say, "No, if we were in power, we would handle Situation X in Y way." It'll never happen, though, because they'd see them as just another dozen potential James Watts(es?) waiting to happen.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 11:05 AM
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62:IIRC, "Shadow Cabinets" are illegal under late 19th Century patronage laws.

And I can't deny that Powell, Rumsfeld, & even Cheney seemed reassuring in 2000. I even think that under a President like Ike or Reagan or Bush I governance might have been bearable, even with those three in positions of power.

Hell, Rumsfeld & Cheney were reasonably restrained by Gerald Ford, for Chrissake.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 11:13 AM
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59: "but you're always going to have to explain Hegel"

Well, it would be Marx's interpretation of Hegel in dialectical materialism, as in when and how the merchant becomes a capitalist, etc. Nobody wants me to go further, I hope.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 11:18 AM
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Congrats, Chopper. Great news.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 11:40 AM
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Politics are, I think, less likely to be manipulated by Big Interests than in the '40s, '50s, etc.

The homogeneity and power of big interests is, in many ways, worse. Unions, for instance, are pretty trivial in the current world of Big Interests, but Capital has become much more important and influential.

It's interesting how far back a decent, glass-half-full moderate has to go to find an optimistic comparison. I mean, I will concede that there was something pretty screwy about a power structure that mandated internment camps and racial segregation. I just hope a few years from now you aren't saying: Things aren't all that bad - remember, before the Civil War we had slavery !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 11:48 AM
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Congrats, Chopper. Baby, yay!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 12:00 PM
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I was actually interested in knowing what our English readers think about Gordon Brown's proposed constitutional reforms. He's actually saying that he should give up some powers. Some of it sounds nutty to me, but it sounds better than Blair's proposals.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 1:11 PM
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Oh, my. this XKCD gave me the giggles.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 1:11 PM
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That man is a genius. Should he ever show up in the comments here, I would be squealing with glee and awe too hard to type.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 1:15 PM
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For those of you who don't regularly read XKCD, make sure to check out the rollover text on the comic.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 1:18 PM
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If Dems gain control of the White House, they'll control two branches of the government, and it will be widely interpreted as the political pendulum swinging left, when in fact it will be only a tiny step leftward. Any real realignment will necessarily confront corporate power.

Isn't that mostly the argument for voting Green? It's only a minute difference between the parties, voting Dem is voting for the Man, blah blah, and while I think it would be crazy to claim that the Democrats winning in 08 would solve all the country's problems, it certainly seems better than the status quo. Arguably we'd be better off even just that little step leftward had 2000 gone a little bit differently. I'd feel a lot better if the Republicans hadn't had the last two Supreme Court seats.

And if there isn't the political will to retake the executive branch, whence the will to have a revolution? Even someone as heated as Olbermann is calling for resignation, not assassination.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 2:39 PM
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64: You're right about that. Any further and I'm likely to have to whip out my Milosz and cast Protection Against Diamat.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 2:54 PM
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68: BG- It's 10:00 o'clock here and I'm going to bed. If you still care tomorrow, I'll give you a view.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 2:56 PM
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73: that is one of the most oddly syncretic nerd jokes I've ever seen. Kudos, sir.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 2:56 PM
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Happy 4th, OFE!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 2:57 PM
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72: "There may only be an inch between Labour and the Tories, but it's the inch we live in." - John Lennon, around 1972.

He wasn't always a fool.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 2:58 PM
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Thanks, Sifu. Happy 4th, all.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 2:59 PM
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75: Thank you. *tips beanie* Occasionally I get things right here.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 3:23 PM
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79:"Even someone as heated as Olbermann is calling for resignation, not assassination."

His unwillingness to committ a felony on national TV is certain proof of his moderation?

I guess when Greens and libertarians are viewed as extremists, anti-social, and objective threats to American liberty the Overton window is very narrow indeed. Fine.

Happy cautious moderate reverence for law and tradition day. Having reached the end of history, the Founders should now be forgotten.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 6:48 PM
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ehh 80 79 s/b 72


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 6:48 PM
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My real problem with the call to chaos - not necessarily revolution, I include any really widespread social disruption here - is that it means I die.

I'm one of those people who will never be in good health, never free of dependency on treatments and remedies from a limited number of suppliers and therefore reliant on a functioning wide-scale transportation grid, never be far from crushing debt or able to accumulate the resources needed to start a good life in new circumstances, never physically able to pack and move on short notice, never a good prospect for the immigration standards of any country I've thought to check in recent years. Any significant disruption in American society is likely to cut me off from necessary aid and then I die, and it's just a question of whether I go by suicidal depression, heart failure, seizure in a public place and collateral damage like getting run over, or whatever. And that's without the government deciding to cut off aid to subversives and their associates or me getting reported as a drug dealer or terrorist or whatever else.

Now, I'm not devoted to life at all costs, no matter how wretched. Wars and revolutions are worth waging sometimes. What I'm really looking for on the part of those calling for chaos is a reason to believe that my inevitable sacrifice would likely be worth it to those who remain. Mine and the many people like me - Bob's billion he'd see dead to save the seven, that is, the legion of people like me and Gary Farber and Steve Gilliard and so many others who can count on probably quick, probably painful deaths as the existing order goes under. The price can be worth paying, I'm just right now only about half convinced, or less, that it would be, and that's simply not yet enough reason for me to want to tell anyone else, "You have my blessing to proceed, knowing it'll kill me."

By the way, just to be clear, this is not an accusation of cheap and easy fooling with other people's lives on Bob's part. Bob, you've mentioned reading during dialysis sessions, whether for you or someone else I don't recall if you said, but that means (to me, at least) that you do know something about brittle lives and have risk close to you, too. It's just that the sum of risk and conviction is different for some of us.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 8:21 PM
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Jesus Christ, I am so tired of everyone hearing the slightest hint of radical politics and immediately leaping to an America that looks like Nanking or Hamburg/Dresden after the firebombings.

This is what procedural liberalism as a religion does to people. Look hilzoy, Look Burke, at how frightened Bruce is every day of his life. These are the invisible chains that keep the corporations in power, the rich rich and the poor poor, and the war perpetual. Never ever step out of line, always obey and submit, and attack with all force anyone who would make waves.

No Bruce if I vote Green or carry a sign or sit-down strike on the Mall I am not condemning you to to a world of hell. I am not your fucking problem, I am not the threat, You need not be scared of me.

And the doctors will serve, the trains will run, the checks will get cut even if Bush has a bad day. How far does it have to get before you are seriously threatened? Aw hell, that is where the country is, where the people are on Independence Day.

Cowering in abject submission.

And I do not talk about my personal situation much, but I am far closer to Silber and Farber than to most of the people on this blog.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:49 PM
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And I have about given up on talking revolution to procedural liberals, who cannot seem to see any intermediate steps between carrying a nasty placard and burning Washington to the ground.

When procedural liberalism is your God there really aren't any.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:53 PM
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OBE, It's 12:54 on the East Coast, nearly 6 AM your time. I may not be around in comments much, but I will definitely make sure to read what you write today.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 10:56 PM
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bob--you get nowhere because you are engaging in histrionics, not making an argument. No one is actually sure what you are suggesting, & you never spell it out.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 4-07 11:20 PM
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while I think it would be crazy to claim that the Democrats winning in 08 would solve all the country's problems, it certainly seems better than the status quo

And I agree completely. My past sympathies with the Greens aside, I don't think and have never thought that the difference between the dominant parties is minute; in the context of current crises, it's vast, and control of the executive branch in the next election is crucial. But in the more general context of corporate interests against labor, environmental protection, human rights and other matters of justice, it's just a small step. In my lifetime, I've never seen the political pendulum really swing left of center.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 12:16 AM
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87 - I have no idea what's in your lifetime, but the New Deal, Great Society, and Civil Rights all happened within old people's lifetimes. One big picture of the last century of US domestic politics is that the progressives have won and won and won.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 12:34 AM
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Fuck off, Bob.

You are being blatantly inconsistent; I can't tell if it's deliberate or you're just hysterical. Here you talk about protest marches and sit-down strikes, things I've done in the past myself and will again. But elsewhere you talk about letting or making a billion people die to save the rest of the planet. A billion people don't die because of marches. They do die because of the collapse of civil order, widespread violence, the destruction of physical infrastructure, and stuff like that. That's the stuff I'm talking about, and that's the stuff you start dodging whenever it's inconvenient for you.

But I'm through putting up with that shit. I'll find a comment blocker or just make sure to skip your trash. You aren't taking nearly as much responsibility for what you actually write as the alleged cowards you keep denouncing, the ones who are often the ones out actually doing anything at all.

There's a place for honest revolutionaries today. We need people who can talk clearly and directly about what happens and can happen a society's got to break. You're not doing that. You're just being one more hipster, and not as funny about it as Catl & Girl.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 12:35 AM
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re: 88

Or you could claim that for about 35 years they won and won, and since about 1970 they've lost and lost.

Not to knock the real achievements of the centre-left either in the US or here in the UK but the history of the last 30 years or so is one in which many of the progressive changes made earlier in the 20th century have been either frozen or rolled back. Social mobility is down, the power of capital is up, the gap between rich and poor is up, the power of unions is down, etc. etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 12:50 AM
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What ttaM said. I was born in 1964, so I was alive during the last great progessive gains. I didn't see them in that I had no awareness of them; what I've seen since I've become politically aware basically sucks, the Clinton years included.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 1:09 AM
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77: Just so.

The conversation has probably moved on here, but folks, look beyond the water's edge and think back a little bit. Why don't we have a Cold War anymore? Because of revolutions that succeeded. There are nearly a dozen examples between the beginning of 1989 and the end of 1991. There's a great deal to be learned from that era, from what worked and what didn't, from how different people came to power and what they did with it when they got there.

The biggest lesson of all, though, is a phenomenon so consistent that I'm tempted to call it an iron law of politics: How a person or movement comes to power fundamentally shapes how they govern and exercise power. GWB got to the White House by entitlement wrapped in legal shenanigans paired with disregard for the conventions of governance. Six years later, he's still at it. (And during the campaign in 2000, Molly Ivins foresaw it all, right here.) Vaclav Havel came in committed to openness, humanity and humility. Despite the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, a long feud with Vaclav Klaus and a mostly ceremonial office, he went out the same way. Why is the Czech Republic the only polity with a statue of Frank Zappa? Havel and the ethos of the Velvet Revolution.

In fact, we know pretty much all we really need to know about the Democratic candidates right now. Hillary will be a historic figure, as the first woman president, and she will govern relentlessly, thoroughly, with a commitment to progress that will surprise with its substance, but she will nevertheless leave people dissatisfied, hungry for more. Obama will inspire, will also be a historic figure as the first African-American president, will set a new tone, but probably won't deliver as much substance as people hope for. Edwards will keep trying to focus on poverty and change at home, even as events abroad keep interfering, he will be solid and upbeat, but with unexpected lapses that the press will gleefully leap on; we may wonder why we chose to make progress rather than history, and we will certainly be caught up in the family drama as Elizabeth fights her disease. These are the narratives of the coming presidencies.

But there's another imporant issue. Communism withered away because it had lost legitimacy across the board. That's not the case in the US, and that's a good thing. As I said way back in 2000, the Republic will survive George W. Bush, it is just a great pity that it will have to. The present administration has terribly abused our system, and far too much of the next few years will be spent hitting the undo button. The hard-core Republicans and the movement conservatives still believe in their legitimacy in a way that the late-period Communists did not; thus, there will be push-back on everything that we do. That's only to be expected, but it's also a sign that what we need are renovation and renewal of the institutions, and replacement of the worst of the people currently in office. It'll be hard work, but noticeably easier and much less dangerous than revolution. Because even in the miraculous year of 1989, revolutions in Romania and Bulgaria were short-circuited by people from the old clique, and brought their countries nearly another decade of misdirection. As Atrios is wont to say, we need more and better Democrats. And those are both eminently achievable goals.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 3:26 AM
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Delurking for a moment to answer 68:

Can't say I speak for all of us in the UK, but I think I'd certainly describe myself as quietly optimistic re: constitutional reforms. Obviously, not sure they go far enough (some electoral reform would be nice) and it will be interesting to see whether he carries them through. Still. Nice. Especially given the recent terror threats etc - it would have been easy to give into hysterical liberty-curtailment.


Posted by: Heloise | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 4:19 AM
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re: 93

I am cautiously optimistic, as you say, about some of these reforms. However, I'd like to see the ID Card plan derailed (Brown is still for it) and some of the recent legislative changes which are bad from a rights/liberties point of view rolled back.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 4:25 AM
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Oh, and I'd like to see the enthusiasm for huge all-encompassing databases kicked into touch, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 4:28 AM
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@68: This morning, I am mostly reeling with astonishment at the sight of Hazel Blears launching a policy paper on participatory budgeting in town councils.

(If you don't know her, she is one of the most doggishly loyal Blairites and made a reputation for being incredibly keen on anti-terrorist legislation, ASBOs, ID cards, TV surveillance, and all kinds of prying and poking.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 4:38 AM
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If you don't know her, she is one of the most doggishly loyal Blairites and made a reputation for being incredibly keen on ... all kinds of prying and poking.

She also comes over as spectacularly dumb whenever she appears on Newsnight. So dumb she appears to have no real idea why she is advocating the policies she is advocating other than that Tony told her to. She may privately be smart as hell, but her public face is of someone who has to be regularly reminded to breathe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 4:42 AM
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In fact, we know pretty much all we really need to know about the Democratic candidates right now. Hillary will be a historic figure, as the first woman president, and she will govern relentlessly, thoroughly, with a commitment to progress that will surprise with its substance, but she will nevertheless leave people dissatisfied, hungry for more. Obama will inspire, will also be a historic figure as the first African-American president, will set a new tone, but probably won't deliver as much substance as people hope for. Edwards will keep trying to focus on poverty and change at home, even as events abroad keep interfering, he will be solid and upbeat, but with unexpected lapses that the press will gleefully leap on; we may wonder why we chose to make progress rather than history, and we will certainly be caught up in the family drama as Elizabeth fights her disease. These are the narratives of the coming presidencies.

Nothing to say, I just liked this enough to repeat it.

Well, maybe I can add a smidge. I think maybe we'll be in a slightly better spot that 1993, because GWB has done more to discredit Republicanism than his father did, but the built-in inefficiencies of the American constitutional scheme will prevent much change. I don't perceive the current Dem congressional leadership as short-sighted as the group that greeted Clinton (and carter) with such politically lame attempts to undermine Executive authority (gays in the military, for instance), but then this is going to be a structural problem for the next presidency. Plenty of Dems on the Hill believe that not only has GWB been wrong on the substance, he's also been overly powerful vis-a-vis Congress. This is true, which makes it all the more certain that whatever a new Dem president comes up with, it'll be hard going in Congress. As bad as 1994 (I think a big and underreported part of the 1994 electoral debacle was Dem demoralization over the failure of the health care thing)? I'm hoping not.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 5:53 AM
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89:"A billion people don't die because of marches. They do die because of the collapse of civil order, widespread violence, the destruction of physical infrastructure, and stuff like that. That's the stuff I'm talking about, and that's the stuff you start dodging whenever it's inconvenient for you." ...BB

You are absolutely right, Bruce. I am dodging my profound personal responsibility by not having a clear and coherent 100-point plan for the collapse of the infrastructure due to peak oil and global warming. I, personally, need to know what to do with the residents of Bangladesh when the waters rise. Or need to have a full shadow cabinet in place with a full program for when the revolution comes.

If I don't, I am kicking you into the street without your health care. Which is what you accused of, so fuck you right back.

This ain't Russia in 1916 or Cuba in 1959. This is America. We are not yet on the verge of social collapse. I got a little time yet.

When you did your sit-down strikes or marches did you have a system for delivering mail or medicine in your pocket? I am not the ridiculous one.

Organize, educate, do the reform & parliamentary and ameliorative stuff, yet always keep the end goal in mind. The end goal is not more and better bourgeois capitalism. That is not the answer.

And those 7 billion people?

Here is Yglesias & Plumer on Desertification

"Some African countries, presumably, will have to give up trying to feed themselves and start importing food." (for fifty million people, imminently)

Importing food with whose money, Matt? We are probably talking a quarter billion dollars a day just to feed them

But I am the irresponsible one without a plan.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:01 AM
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That said, I will invite Bob, and others, to stop complaining about my congressman until they get going at doing something about their own. The problem isn't that procedural liberals aren't radical enough. It is that Southern conservatives have safe seats and abhorrent views.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:02 AM
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99 -- Well, maybe I've misunderstood. If the collapse of civilization is going to come of its own accord, rather than at the hands of the Bobistas, then why shouldn't we just party on? And maybe stockpile canned goods?

And ammo, I guess.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:06 AM
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68: BG you have mail.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:11 AM
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Importing food with whose money, Matt? We are probably talking a quarter billion dollars a day just to feed them

Well, that's if you assume it's impossible to get to GDP per capita per day of $5 anywhere in Africa, and will always remain so. Hope is not a plan, but investment is. And either are probably better than...what? "Pretending to be Leon Trotsky, just without the actual taking risks bit" seems to cut it.

This ain't Russia in 1916 or Cuba in 1959. This is America. We are not yet on the verge of social collapse. I got a little time yet.

When you did your sit-down strikes or marches did you have a system for delivering mail or medicine in your pocket? I am not the ridiculous one.

It's a pity you'll never know how funny the combination of those two paragraphs is.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:35 AM
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Congatulations, Chopper and family. 9 lbs is what I weighed at birth, in the Truman era. You don't see that much anymore, although I don't see any reason to think it wrong. Cecilia is a great name, may it not be irritatingly popular, after having been rare.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:37 AM
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Armed revolution is a completely workable option. If Iraq has taught us anything, it's that a ragtag band of poorly-armed but highly-motivated insurgents can fight the American military to a standstill. And there are about 10 times as many Americans as there are Iraqis. Of course, the more weapons the people have, the better the whole thing works, which is why gun ownership is so important. If the Bush administration repels liberals in every other way, it may at least help them appreciate the value of the right to bear arms.

Oh, and congrats on your baby, Chopper.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:46 AM
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101:I went out to get some info on Jeffrey Sachs This is from Mark Thoma's on how the lack of development efforts breeds war in Afghanistan, Darfur, and Somalia. Jeffrey Sachs is crying because the politics can't even get him pittances to build wells and bridges.

Yeah, Charley, it is a huge problem, made more difficult because PO-GW will take place against a backdrop of war and reactionary politics.

I guarantee some will survive. A lifeboat thing. That is part of the problem.

So what do I say? "They all gotta die, tough luck."
Do I vote Democrat, buy an electric car, send 10 dollars to WHO?

I figure 3 billion dollars a day will just about do it in ten years. A billion for alt-energy, a billion for global warming, and a billion to reverse and ameliorate the current effects of catastrophe and develop the third world.

America is spending about 3 billion a day on defense. We can do this, especially with global help. It is possible, if not plausible. So how do I move that 3 billion from defense to PO-GW? 5 more Democratic Senators? I don't think so.

And once the shit really starts hitting the fan it may become impossible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:46 AM
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Anybody notice how Michael Kinsley has a totally incoherent piece about Scooter Libby in today's NY Times?


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:50 AM
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(Not intending to interrupt the preaching of doom.)


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 6:50 AM
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108:I ain't preaching doom. Getting that 3 billion a day isn't at all economically difficult. Beat those tanks and JDAMS into ploughshares and windmills: no net jobs or GDP lost.

It apparently is most people around me that think the politics are impossible. Keep our goals modest, our politics moderate, do ten percent of what could be done, and only 6.3 billion will die instead of 7.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:06 AM
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And I have about given up on talking revolution to procedural liberals, who cannot seem to see any intermediate steps between carrying a nasty placard and burning Washington to the ground.

Maybe that's because every time you talk about carrying a nasty placard you end by saying how killing billions will be worth it, the American air force will have to yield, how there will be blood in the streets and the deaths of millions and total economic collapse, the starvation of millions, but it will be worth it in spite of, or maybe because of, those things.

And you're talking to a group of people that realizes that protesting and organizing doesn't usually involve killing billions, so they're wondering where the killing's coming from. It's certainly not papercuts from the placards.

No one's saying you need to have a detailed 100 point plan but refraining from sounding like you're having an orgasm over the potential carnage might be a good place to start.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:13 AM
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Perhaps we've all now given bob more than enough attention.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:17 AM
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"So how do I move that 3 billion from defense to PO-GW? 5 more Democratic Senators? I don't think so."

I do.

First, it's $3B into PO-GW period. Doesn't matter where it comes from, certainly doesn't require that it come out of DoD's budget lines. Hell, under the right circumstances dealing with climate change could be a national defense priority, with a darn sight more than $3B allocated to it.

Second, five more Ds will help across the board. The degree to which it helps will depend on what kind of Ds and who they replace and all the other usual stuff of politics. But another five Testers or Webbs coming from red-to-purple states will put another five Santorums or Inhofes out to pasture. That will be an improvement.

Third, five more Ds working with a Dem at 1600 Penn will be another step in changing the agenda. We make things better by making things better, and every little bit helps.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:18 AM
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And then there's Geoghegan's great idea—not original with him but touted at his new Prospect column&mdas;that we stop trying to "ratify" treaties, a nearly impossible task with our grossly unrepresentative Senate, and start passing laws requiring us to comply with what's in them. And that we fast-track them. Kyoto, ICJ, what-have-you. Not only gets it done, but also gives us something to enforce. In the courts.

We could do that with one more not-Lieberman.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:29 AM
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And then there's Geoghegan's great idea—not original with him but touted at his new Prospect column—that we stop trying to "ratify" treaties, a nearly impossible task with our grossly unrepresentative Senate, and start passing laws requiring us to comply with what's in them. And that we fast-track them. Kyoto, ICJ, what-have-you. Not only gets it done, but also gives us something to enforce. In the courts.

We could do that with one more not-Lieberman.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:29 AM
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111:Al Gore, the people at & linked to over at Oildrum are fantastic. Millions of people are working on alt-energy & alt-economics. But to the extent they look at the politics at all, they give up.
It is mostly lifeboat survivalist stuff.

Or weird fantasies about amicably overcoming the resistance. I don't need to go very much into the resistance, do I, how strong it is, how it currently and in the future will manifest itself? We can't even stop the Iraq war.

Most of what I see out there is despair, or false hope and fantasies.

Same-o, same-o. Ineffective liberals, ascendant reactionaries, and it's all the fault of the dirty fucking hippies.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:47 AM
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107 - Very peculiar, Clownae - especially to someone familiar with Kinsley's past writing on this subject. I thought I was following his argument up until the last paragraph, when he went the exact opposite way I thought he was going.

Kinsley has argued all along that for the press to get the protections it wants regarding confidential sources, it needs to use them more responsibly. This time, he seems to be saying: The press should be protected regarding its irresponsible use of confidential sources, so the irresponsible sources themselves should also be protected.

Or something. As you say, incoherent.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:48 AM
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111:Maybe so. Party hearty, dudes. Unfogged is off my blogroll. No offense intended at all.

I'm just having a very bad decade.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:54 AM
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To elaborate on Kinsley, here's a question he poses in the second-last paragraph:

How can it be fair that one party to the leak doesn't even have to testify about it, because leaks are so vital to the First Amendment, while the other party might go to prison for it?

And I swear I've seen Kinsley answer this question before. His answer: The press shouldn't be shielded from testifying. (And, goddammit, in reality the press wasn't shielded from testifying.)

Weird.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 7:57 AM
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Yeah -- that conclusion ignored the time Miller spent in jail. It made no sense to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 8:02 AM
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We make things better by making things better

This is a rhetorical device that I sometimes use when something seems completely obvious to me. Yes, it's a bit smug and condescending, but (my thinking is) sometimes condescension is warranted.

That said, I am now going to try to abandon this type of expression, which I've come to see as a crutch. Justice Roberts, that great intellectual on the Supreme Court, is the catalyst for my new thinking on this. In the recent desegragation case, he wrote:

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Prick.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 8:21 AM
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How can it be fair that one party to the leak doesn't even have to testify about it, because leaks are so vital to the First Amendment, while the other party might go to prison for it?

Isn't that just how it works? What's he envisioning -- a world where reporters are rounded up and made to give up their sources, or a world where leaking classified information for political gain is okay?

And the next sentence is worse: Libby wasn't caught in a perjury trap. He hadn't leaked anything, so the story goes. So he wasn't caught between going to jail for leaking or going to jail for lying. He doesn't lie, he doesn't go to jail.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 8:36 AM
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120: Fair enough. On the other hand, I was countering Bob's argument (or implication) that things would only get better after they got much, much worse. Something like more than ten times worse than the worst estimate for deaths during WWII. And I don't think that at all.
Plus there's the common argument that the real way to make things better is to make things worse so that people are more open to radical change. I think that's wrong, too.
The full version of what I was saying: The way to make things better is not to make things worse in the hope that revolution will wipe all teh badness away; the way to make things better is to make things better.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 10:14 AM
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122: You were clear. I really meant that as a critique of my own conduct, not yours.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 5-07 10:23 AM
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