Thursday, January 22, 2015


I'm sure there's some wheels-within-wheels strategy behind the House Republicans dropping Fetal Pain like it's hot, but it doesn't look good, especially with female members forcing them to drop it:
In recent days, as many as two dozen Republicans had raised concerns with the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" that would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy. Sponsors said that exceptions would be allowed for a woman who is raped, but she could only get the abortion after reporting the rape to law enforcement. 
A vote had been scheduled for Thursday to coincide with the annual March for Life, a gathering that brings hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion activists to Washington to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. 
But Republican leaders dropped those plans after failing to win over a bloc of lawmakers, led by Reps. Rene Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who had raised concerns.
This makes hard duty for conservative propagandists, and even such practiced hands as Mollie Hemingway are showing strain. She blasts the female Life-traitors for changing their minds (I thought that was a woman's prerogative, der hur hur), and rages that the bill, which from its title on down reads like something out of The Handmaid's Tale, is actually "easy legislation that is broadly popular (outside of American newsrooms, at least)," as if the will of the people for federal anti-abortion laws had been thwarted by the awesome power of America's increasingly-unread newspapers. (Sometimes I think the only thing keeping our Fourth Estate alive as a totem of soft power is the right wing's endless need for strawmen.)

But my favorite part of Hemingway's column is this:
Even if you’re not one of the majority of Americans who want to protect these children in the womb, this debacle should concern you.
Such exquisite concern-trolling hardly needs explaining but basically Hemingway thinks we can all agree it's bad when the GOP trips over its dick because "if Republicans can’t pass wildly popular legislation protecting innocent unborn children, what’s going to happen when they face difficult legislative battles?" Why, the Anti-Witchcraft Amendment may never make it out of committee!


  1. carolannie9:41 AM

    Really? Hundreds of thousands? I can only find reports of "thousands". Also that it is largely composed of old white Catholics. Is this really the face of the Republican party?

  2. Helmut Monotreme9:42 AM

    I for one am very concerned that the republicans can't pass their 'force half of the US back into back alley butcher shops to get potentially life saving operations' bill, despite the fact that they were elected on a platform of forcing half of the US into back alley butcher shops to get potentially life saving operations.

  3. maybe the increasingly unread newspapers could write something about why they got that whole tea-party-is-focused-only-on-economic-populism trope so fucking wrong.

  4. Halloween_Jack9:48 AM

    Hey, maybe the female Republicans have heard from female constituents who have finally figured out that the antiabortion forces really don't want it legal at all, and the whole point of any and every bill they sponsor is to chip away at the right to have one at any point for any reason, which a majority of Americans (and an even higher majority of American women) want, the real point of that poll that Hemingway touts. Here's an example of the sort of incrementalism that they practice:

    The legislation would have allowed abortions after 20 weeks in cases of incest involving mothers under 18. Some Republicans objected, and said the exemption should apply to all ages.

    Just "some" objected. Something to remember if you're told that the GOP learned even the slightest lesson from the Todd Akin debacle.

  5. Halloween_Jack9:52 AM

    Sadly unlikely. I suspect that as more people get their news from new media sites on their phablets, the newspapers' subscribing readership consists of an ever-higher percentage of the same people who don't want gummint-sponsored healthcare (except for themselves).

  6. . . . "if Republicans can’t pass wildly popular legislation . . ."

    For certain meanings of "popular" that do not include a majority of people.

    Apparently the conservative echo chamber functions with stunning efficiency. As in, these people are "stunned, like a duck that has been hit on the head," as Lincoln once characterized a general he did not care for.

  7. Something to remember if you're told that the GOP learned even the slightest lesson from the Todd Akin debacle.

    Apparently the body politic does not have a way to shut that whole thing down.

  8. Like my mother, who will rail all day long about how single-payer doesn't work, can't work, will never work--but loves her Medicare because it takes care of almost everything she's needed.

  9. coozledad9:58 AM

    some wheels-within-wheels strategy

    Likely female at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2016. Many woman voter.
    Keep flashlight out of uterus, for now.

  10. susanoftexas10:00 AM

    It's a strange objection too. Almost all incest victims will be under 18. Are they trying to move to the left the tiniest bit, so they don't look crazy?

  11. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill’s lead sponsor, had predicted
    Wednesday that his proposal would easily pass because it "has
    overwhelming support among the American people."

    As a liberal feminazgul I really hope the GOP stops defining "American people" as "Creeps who are really concerned that somewhere a woman isn't being punished by an unwanted pregnancy and/or want a lot of underfed, unattended children running around."

  12. susanoftexas10:07 AM

    They will not want their war against women to undercut their war against Democrats perhaps? If that is so, the followers will not follow. They will be utterly incapable of restraining their desire to maintain the pecking order of male>female; it's the basis for a lot of their self-esteem.
    This would make it very easy to goad them into saying horrific things, by the way.

  13. dstatton10:08 AM

    Yes, it's always useful to begin a sentence with something like, "Everyone can agree..."

  14. c'mon they're not MONSTERS susan

  15. susanoftexas10:11 AM

    Spike: [about Buffy] She's upset about her mum. And if she turns to me for comfort, well, I'm not gonna deny it to her. I'm not a monster.

    Xander: Yes! You are a monster. Vampires are monsters! They make monster movies about them!

    Spike: Well, yeah. You got me there.

  16. beejeez10:13 AM

    Easy there, dex. I wouldn't say the death of newspapers as a mass medium has done the state of our national discourse any favors.

  17. coozledad10:15 AM

    Everyone can agree this guy was posing as Hitler. Or Emo Phillips in bad need of a shave.

  18. humanoidpanda10:19 AM

    Speaking as a liberal democrat, nothing concerns me more than the GOP passing wildly popular abortion restrictions bill that hinge on the debate what is and isn't legitimate rape. Why, it might even get the Blacks of our plantation once we realize we are genociding their people!

  19. M. Krebs10:23 AM

    The GOP isn't in this to pass legislation -- even they aren't stupid enough to think it will become law, at least any time soon. It's all about keeping the base riled up, interested, and hateful of Democrats.

  20. JennOfArk10:28 AM

    But that's the thing - they weren't.

    They weren't elected on a platform of making birth control illegal either, though I expect them to try.

    Since 2009, they've been getting elected on a platform of "I'll keep that uppity black president from doing anything." Sure, that's not much of a platform, but that's what they've been running on for the past 5 years. Apparently some of them are just sentient to realize that in the next election, a platform of "keeping that uppity black president from doing anything" will no longer be enough, and that some of the people who were suckered into voting for them on that basis might not appreciate the bait-n-switch.

  21. Ted the slacker10:40 AM

    "Sponsors said that exceptions would be allowed for a woman who is raped, but she could only get the abortion after reporting the rape to law enforcement."
    So officially, they literally want a uterus police.

  22. Also something to remember as you prepare to kick the next idiot who claims there's no difference between the parties and gibbertarians who claim the GOP is all about the personal liberty.

  23. Now why would they waste time on something silly like that? They have to commit all of their resources to reporting on announcements for overpriced gadgets that nobody asked for. ("A new competitor for the Ouya? Johnson, on it!")

  24. susanoftexas10:45 AM

    Social issues are and always have been a deliberate distraction from economic issues. Social issues can be managed. Being at the bottom of gross economic inbalance can't, not without violence. Once the money is all gone to the .01%, which it is, the power unbalance affects everything, including social issues.

  25. the next idiot who claims there's no difference between the parties
    Like Ralph "Gonadal Politics" Nader? Those pricks have too many big, important issues on their minds to deal with silly little women's issues.

  26. I honestly don't get what you're trying to say. But part of the problem is I don't think you can realistically unravel social issues from economic issues.

  27. One thing that strikes me is the complete lack of imagination on display here.

    A world in which women are forced to carry every pregnancy to term would suck for everyone. Sick fucks who get off on suffering.)

    And I suspect a lot of Ralph's male fans would bitch up a storm if they were asked to pay child support.

  28. JennOfArk10:58 AM

    IOW, the objecting Republicans were fine with causing pain to an unborn child (their words) if that unborn child had the shitty luck of being conceived in an act of incest.

    Good to know.

  29. Hey, made my point as I was typing it. Could you maybe dial back on this ridiculously overheated revolutionary rhetoric of yours? You're writing missives in the comment section of a snark blog, not discussing strategy with the guerillas in some spider hole. For fuck's sake, "Being at the bottom of gross economic inbalance can't, not without violence"? If one of the brethren said anything close to that, we'd be making fun of him for his Keyboard Kommando fantasies.

  30. Strider11:10 AM

    I feel like the wheels-within-wheels component of this is likely that the powers-that-be in the Republican Party have decided that keeping single-issue pro-lifers on board is less of a risk than alienating female voters. Conventional wisdom is that a big issue for them in 2012 was losing moderates and lionizing liberals due to several high-profile examples of Republicans saying horrible things about women; they did a lot better on that front in 2014 and have surmised that it figured into doing a lot better at the polls ( a significant portion of the online social justice set was preoccupied with nerd-bashing, Which certainly didn't hurt either).

  31. DN Nation11:10 AM

    Ralph's going to need round-the-clock security on his tombstone if he doesn't want it showered with urine on a regular basis.

  32. Ellis_Weiner11:11 AM

    If you read Hemingway's piece at The Federalist, you see she includes this Ross Douthat tweet: "The idea that GOP is a party of moneyed interests posing as a culturally
    conservative party is, um, not always without empirical support."

    True, dat. True, too, that Thomas Frank put it more emphatically ten years ago, in just the introduction to What's the Matter With Kansas?, but whatever. All I could think when I read the tweet was, "Now point out how the NRA is a lobbying group posing as a hobbyist club, sport."

  33. Steve-O11:12 AM

    The success conservatives have had, at the State level, in restricting access to abortion and other family planning services contradicts your point here. Abortion might remain legal but if they close all the clinics, it might as well be.

    And sorry, no, "Being at the bottom of gross economic inbalance can't [be managed], not without violence" is nonsense. Obama just made some very solid proposals to directly help (if incrementally) those at the bottom. If folks got off their asses and voted in midterms, he might have a Congress that could actually enact them.

  34. It goes along with the people who do not understand that Social Security is a government program. Essential citizenship FAIL.

  35. If women are not punished for having unauthorized sexy-time, then the patriarchy has failed!

  36. susanoftexas11:19 AM

    I have said there are no differences between the two parties because both are authoritarian hierarchies only concerned with enriching the ones on top. Both pursue similar economic policies that further enrich the richest people in the world. We know this is true because economic inequality has greatly increased, for one.
    Money is power. Power is used to control people. Economic control is what the elite want. Control over social issues--why would they care? It doesn't apply to or affect them. But raw power is a dangerous means of control. If the elite make it clear that they are taking money from the middle class to enrich themselves they will have to fight the middle class's greed and sense of self-preservation.
    So you need another way of controlling the masses, one that deflects attention from your power grab. You are the authority but you need a bigger authority and the biggest authority of all is God.
    You use morality and social pressure to control the masses while you steal everything they have. You emphasize the importance of hierarchy, you promote the values that will keep the masses submissive and quiet, you blame the masses for moral failings which you claim have created your economic failings.
    Morality guides social issues for most people. Morality is handed down by an authority for most people. Morality is the weapon by which the elite control the masses. We are not debating abortion because people hate abortion, we are debating it because churches have a lot of money to fight abortion.
    They got that money from politicians who wrote laws and policies that benefitted them and from churches who formed a symbiotic relationship with the Republican party to increase their wealth and power.
    Money is power. Not votes.

  37. I'm from the Uterus Police. I'm here to dust for prints.

  38. I always like to link Mike Lofgren, who was a GOP staffer in Congress for over two decades:

    The primary purpose of the GOP these days is to provide tax breaks and other financial advantages (such as not regulating pollution and other socially costly externalities) to their wealthy donor base. All the rest of their platform, all the culture wars stuff, is simply rube bait.

  39. It's not the idiots who claim there's no difference between parties that cause Dems to lose elections.

    It's cynical 3rd Way Dems who do as little as they think they can get away with for their voters, and as much as they can for Wall Street.

    Ralph Nader didn't blow the 2014 elections for the Dems. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Obama's DNC chair) and Steve Israel (Nancy Pelosi's DCCC chair) did.

    Which do you think Obama wants more: his crappy "trade" deals, or a hike in the minimum wage?

  40. Right, I forgot African-Americans bought their liberty and gay people purchased the right not to be tossed in asylums or jail.

  41. Ellis_Weiner11:34 AM

    "Hey, that's not my uterus."
    "That's not my print kit."

  42. susanoftexas11:38 AM

    I am saying that the fight is a manipulation.
    And, actually, some African-Americans did buy their liberty. Not that that is pertinent to the larger issue.
    And gays withheld donations to Obama to get him to change his mind on gay marriage.
    The larger truth does not make any other truths untrue.

  43. I certainly can't fault anyone for being serious in snark blogs and I don't think she's being ridiculously overheated and revolutionary. Defeatist, sure.

  44. Except when it does. Cherry picking examples (one that is irrelevant) really doesn't help. I know this is your thing, but if the answer to everything is just money then you really can't explain 90% of social change in the U.S.

    Or I suppose you can, but I'm guessing the explanation an event like the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is rather complex?

  45. susanoftexas11:46 AM

    I think this knowledge can give us the tools to defeat the right. If we understand how people are controlled we can defend ourselves and strike back.

    I think understanding authoritarianism's role in politics is absolutely essential for success in politics. The elilte understands it very well.

    ML King: "Negroes are not the only poor in the nation. There are nearly twice as many white poor as Negro, and therefore the struggle against poverty is not involved solely with color or racial discrimination but with elementary economic justice."

  46. "Well, how did I get here?"

  47. We are, unfortunately, stuck with a generation of Democratic politicians who came up being taught that the only way to beat Republicans was to BE Republicans. So you never hear discussions about poverty any more. And income inequality is given lip service, but no real thought or policy initiatives. And all the "grown-up" Democrats agree that abortion is icky.

  48. Who knows if the female Republicans caused them to drop this bill. Seems like a show where the Republicans can say they're still committed to anti-abortion legislation in order to appease a certain section of their base - but then they can say the women stopped them, so the pundits can pour out some bile on the women, which is fun for them and easy to do… when in fact, few of the men really wanted to pass this bill either? Maybe they all realized it would be too drastic a step, all at once? So now they put on a show...

  49. "Sometimes I think the only thing keeping our Fourth Estate alive as a totem of soft power is the right wing's endless need for strawmen."
    I had to stop reading and think about that for a few moments. It suggests to me that the Right's fear of a "liberal media" is stronger than anything the media actually is (or does.)

    Could that be true? Could it be that it doesn't really matter much what we liberals actually say and do? Is the "reality-based community" really that powerless? I don't think I'm ready to accept that yet.

  50. susanoftexas12:11 PM

    Changes in real wages, or wages adjusted for the cost of living, are the most direct route through which labour productivity affects living standards. Yet labour productivity in the United States increased by 80 per cent between 1973 and 2011, while median real hourly wages remained virtually stagnant. This article presents a framework in which this reality is decomposed into four components: deterioration of labour’s terms of trade, rising benefits as a share of wages, decline of the share of labour compensation in GDP, and rising wage inequality. Since 2000, the historically large gap between real median wages and productivity in the United States was driven by rising wage inequality and the decline of labour compensation as a share of GDP.

  51. That's definitely something they're really good at.

  52. Steve-O12:13 PM

    I don't disagree with any of that. But a higher minimum wage does matter to those earning minimum wage. It's a small step in the right direction.

  53. It's not so much "fear" of a liberal media as the need to perpetuate the myth of a liberal media in order to keep the persecution narrative alive. As other have pointed out, conservatives have no voice in the media except for
    Dominating talk radio
    Fox News
    Guaranteed representation of their views on all national news
    Ownership of many major newspapers or chains of newspapers
    Holding much of the op-ed real estate in places like the Washington Post
    Controlling Congress

    BTW--spent some great time on your Web site this weekend. Amazing work!

  54. It's hard to see how that was an honest mistake.

    Anyone who writes for a newspaper should have posed the question to themselves: "Is the Tea Party focused mainly on economic or social issues?"

    Next, they should have met with Tea Party people, read the things they write on the internet, and listened to the things they say. Then they should have paid attention to Tea Party candidates for office, and listened to those candidates' stump speeches.

    After all of that, they would have had the evidence they need to answer that question. They didn't seem to do ANY of that for some reason.

  55. susanoftexas12:24 PM

    And we must always do what we can to improve our situation. But we must first understand our situation. We need more votes which means we need more money. But we will never have as much money as the elite. Raising the minimum wage is good. It's also very doable. But we need to massively tax the rich and that will take a huge battle.
    We need to do both.

  56. JennOfArk12:25 PM

    That will only happen when we refuse to stop helping them generate profit.

  57. susanoftexas12:26 PM

    That's right.

  58. If they listen to a lot of conservative talk radio, they would come to the conclusion that liberals were to blame.

  59. DN Nation12:27 PM

    Then they get a second year off Medicare.

  60. BigHank5312:29 PM

    The Birchers and snake-handlers were fobbed off with promises for decades. Then some of them put on suits and ran for office themselves instead of trusting mainstream Republicans. They are tired of promises, and the legislation they propose reflects this. Expect some doozies out of the US Congress over the next two years, too.

  61. Brother Yam12:32 PM

    "Is our GOP learning?"

  62. I guess the level of fear relates to how much an individual on the Right really believes in that persecution narrative... whether they're on the side of the manipulators or the manipulated.

    It's often hard to tell which is which when I'm listening to a Rightwing media figure. Some are probably a mixture of the two.

    Thanks for looking at my paintings!

  63. Giant Monster Gamera12:34 PM

    I don't think there is a fear of a "liberal media" by those at the top, but by keeping the us vs. them scam going they keep the rubes in the bubble where they can be milked for all they are worth. Those pennies add up!

  64. Gromet12:41 PM

    Maybe my main point of contention (maybe) with your stuff today is the idea that "the elite" have formed a conscious plan to manipulate social issues to distract the serfs while they loot the nation. It sounds paranoid to me because 1) it is too general -- who are these elite? Does Bill Gates use moral issues etc etc? Are we including Trump? Anyone who has a certain amount of money or only those who made it by specific industries -- and then are there exceptions? Is there a cabal, like that group that supposedly meets in the woods every 7 years to plot world domination and cross-dress? Which leads me to 2) Do you really suppose the top percent, or tenth of a percent, or what have you, is this well-thought-out? "We will manipulate the moral institutions such that--etc etc"? I just can't see it. I think you can find a lot of authoritarian douches up there who think "religion is great--for the lesser folk." But it's a leap from that to "let's control the churches and media so we can loot them." I mean, obviously that is what Ailes is doing! But even there I don't think it's a coherent plan so much as just the fallout of a thought in his head about as complex as "MOAR!" He wants his side to win elections, so he runs a fear-mongering ignorance factory -- but even he is a step away, I suspect, from a plan as cynical and far-reaching as the one you outline, because to some extent I figure he probably does believe all the moral cant and feel afraid of darker-hued people. And right or wrong, I don't see how combating it by violence is A) likely to happen or B) gonna work.

    When all is said and done, seems an Elite could probably do a better job of "controlling the masses" and thereby profiting off them if he made them happy and secure instead of terrified and angry. And if an Elite disagrees -- I just really don't think wanting more profit is driving many of them to think "Therefore I shall sow endless discord."

  65. Gromet12:47 PM

    Luckily, the GOP will step in with it's "Bartering Chickens to Pay for MRIs" Program.

  66. Jay B.12:54 PM

    it's also increasingly becoming more and more difficult for the wealthy donor base to control anything but, maybe, the nominee for president. Sure, the true believers who are winning elections left and right still believe in the faith-based dogma of trick(le) down economics -- so they vote right for the .01 -- but they are also true believers in sickening things. The confidence Lofgren has is the same kind of confidence Dr. Frankenstein had in controlling his creation.

  67. susanoftexas12:57 PM

    It is not a conspiracy to always act in your own self-interest.
    As you say, Ailes uses social issues to gain viewers and therefore money.
    Also as you say, politicians use the churches to get votes.
    And as you say, politicians tend to think religion is good for the little folks--I add that they believe it keeps them in line.
    Bill Gates wants to help the poor by improving schools by making them software-based.
    Oil companies aren't secret cross dressers but they do meet to set prices, to make more money.
    That's not a conspiracy. That's good business.

  68. gratuitous1:09 PM

    Republicans use "the American people" as a talisman for whatever unpopular crap they're trying to peddle. Luckily for them, the phrase totally bamboozles the intrepid bulldogs of our Fourth Estate every bit as effectively as shouting "Squirrel!" in the animated movie Up distracted the dogs. Republicans are remarkably ignorant of or hostile to what "the American people" want, but that's not the point of the invocation.

  69. Gromet1:10 PM

    This is really something I wrestle with -- to what extent is the GOP actually planning its activities this way? "Let's not do anything -- let's just keep people angry at Democrats"? There's a lot of evidence for it. And it undermines a bit of what I was saying upthread to SusanofTexas.

    To some extent, I think there is too much chaos to say this is what's going on. Let's say you're Speaker -- you want to mollify your fringe so they don't make life too difficult for you while you try to get something done that the party can run on nationally. So you say "Whatever you propose, if you can count up enough votes that a majority of the majority party is in the bag for it, I'll put it forward." Would Boehner kill the "Fetuses Are The Best People" bill if he thought it was about to pass? He'd certainly have incentive to -- its passage would galvanize "the left" way past any benefit to accrue to the GOP, I think. But would he kill it, and risk fracturing his party?

    I dunno. My thoughts on what exactly is the quality of evil enjoined by the GOP kinda fluxes around. Shoot, I wish I had time to think better today, but work is busy for once.

  70. Brother Yam1:19 PM

    Hell, a lot of 'em would just die without a year of Medicare. Lighten the load on the system and they would go out as Patriots...

  71. zencomix1:36 PM

    I was kinda hoping the Republican rebuttal to the SOTU was going to be Clint Eastwood talking gibberish to a chair, but, no such luck. The Joni Ernst pick is more wheels within wheels strategy for fighting their war on women image.

  72. JennOfArk1:45 PM

    It's not even fear. It's inoculation. They are inoculating their rubes against any information that comes from outside the bubble. That way, they can keep them believing what they need them to believe in order to get them to vote against their own interests.

  73. Hey, now, the Anti-Witchcraft Amendment is an important component of the Republican infrastructure plan, how else can aging bridges be replaced?

  74. JennOfArk1:47 PM

    As Churchill said, "dictators ride to and fro on tigers, which they dare not dismount. But the tigers are growing hungry."

  75. Even if you’re not one of the majority of Americans who want to protect these children in the womb, this debacle should concern you.Well, firstly, and thankfully, it's apparently not a majority of Americans who are such goddamned stupid, vicious theocratic authoritarian shitstains, Mollie, but Hi anyway. And congratulations on a genuine example of "begging the question" with your "protecting these children in the womb" deck-stacking.

    Now with that minor fact about the actual percentage of the electorate that treats The Handmaid's Tale as aspirational out of the way, this debacle does concern me. Not because it shows the GOP in public disarray, or shines a (very, very tiny) spotlight on their hypocrisy and viciousness, oh no: That just causes me to accept another serving of schadenfreude pie.

    No, Mollie, what's a cause for concern for me is that the party in charge of Congress is caught in such a debacle because of disagreement over just how much of a pack of rabidly misogynist theocratic Constitution-shredding thugs they can be without getting in too much electoral trouble for it. But that's because I'm not excited for a future in which we can all drown in mercury-laden pig shit while shrieking "Praise Jesus!" at gunpoint.

  76. susanoftexas1:52 PM

    And it works wonderfully because people are genuinely being attacked and must respond. But while the battle goes on the war is not even noticed. We can tell people we are at war but they say the battle must be won first but the battle will never be won because it was created out of nothing.
    Look at the ebola "crises." We know very well that was ginned up to frighten people to support the Daddy party. It went away the second it was no longer useful. That's clear and obvious. But that tactic is universal, not an isolated incident.

  77. JennOfArk1:52 PM

    A supporting point: labor unions were, and to the extent they still exist, still are, the most integrated organizations in the US.

  78. JennOfArk1:56 PM

    I'm still waiting for the premiere of Law & Order: CVU (Conservative Victims Unit) as proposed by one of the wits here.

  79. Hey, look, a guy dressed as Ben Franklin!!!

  80. susanoftexas2:04 PM

    Awesome interview.

    We can devise all the clever schemes imaginable to clean up politics and get money out of campaigns, but it won't work until the American people collectively give up on certain fond illusions: the Horatio Alger myth, American Exceptionalism, and the whole mass of magical thinking that boils down to the belief that God loves America because we're so virtuous, handsome, and smart, and that we, too, could win the lottery. Well, we're not necessarily any of those things. The truth is that we lucked into adverse possession of a mostly empty continent in a temperate zone with lots of resources, and straddled east and west by two huge moats. We had firearms and resistance to smallpox, and the original owners didn't. Virtue had very little to do with it.

  81. smut clyde2:05 PM

    Ix-nay on the "Wheels within wheels" talk, people. The plan for re-introducing heliocentric cosmology and Ptolemeic epicycles is to start first at the local level and infiltrate the school boards.
    Teach the controversy!

  82. Mana Butterfly2:06 PM

    Ask a group of queers and/or a racial minorities whether they'd like to be a generic upper-middle class American during the 60s and 70s or a generic poor American now. Then we'll see how unimportant the whip of the plantation owner is compared to the press of the corporate bootheel.

  83. These epistemes won't close themselves!

  84. Put Mithra back in Mithmas!

  85. That makes sense, from an evil strategy point of view.

  86. Wow, that's some pretty raw honesty! You don't see much of that these days (or ANY days, I imagine.)

    I'm definitely gonna have to take a look at this interview.

  87. That's how you KNOW somebody is serious, when you see them dressed up as Ben Franklin.


  89. Would Boehner kill the "Fetuses Are The Best People" bill if he thought it was about to pass?

    Outlawing abortion will likely never happen--if for no other reason than doing so would deflate most of the activist Christian GOP base.

    Look at it this way: The GOP had its chance to pass some really draconian abortion bills during that happy time when Bush was in the White House and Republicans controlled the House and Senate--and had a working majority on the Supreme Court. But they didn't do that. Instead, they lit up the right-to-life mouthbreathers with the Terri Schiavo circus, and wasted no time at all passing Medicare Part D to insure Big Pharma unlimited access to the Medicare money funnel.

  90. Epistemes. Wasn't he the guy who wandered Thebes looking for a safe place to piss?

  91. Shakezula! Shakezula! Let down your leg hair! Armpits, too!

  92. Giant Monster Gamera2:46 PM

    That Epistemes. He was a real sphincter.

  93. smut clyde2:47 PM

    The Riddle of the Sphincter.

  94. mortimer20002:56 PM

    What's interesting is that basic beliefs about legal abortion haven't changed a whole lot in 40 years:
    Gallup poll—Q. Do you think abortions should be...
    April, 1975
    Legal under any circumstances: 21%
    Legal only under certain circumstances: 54%
    Illegal in all circumstances: 22%

    Same question 26 years later...
    March, 2001: 27%, 53%, and 19%

    14 years later...
    May, 2014: 28%, 50%, and 21%

    And since the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want to overturn Roe v. Wade, the GOP fundies are left playing games with 20 weeks vs. 24 weeks and such like. This doesn't prevent them from wreaking havoc in the reddest southern states, but the recent "debacle" is the best they can do nationally.

    If wild public support actually meant anything, they would have passed more stringent background checks a couple of years ago.

  95. smut clyde3:04 PM

    In the context of anti-abortion campaigners, "democracy" means either
    (1) Protection of the minority (i.e. Zygote-Americans) from the tyranny of the majority; or
    (2). Imposition upon women of the will of an imagined majority.

    A practiced hack like Hemingway can argue both positions at once, but don't try this at home, those people are professionals.

  96. I first read that as a Fetal Palin bill. This provoked mixed emotions.

  97. That IS interesting (and I wouldn't have expected it.)

    The Right has put a lot of time, money and effort in their anti-abortion crusade, and as far as public opinion goes, it doesn't seem like they have anything to show for it.

  98. Howlin Wolfe3:12 PM

    If the way to improve our situation is to have a party in power that is more likely to do that, then there is a difference in the parties.

  99. M. Krebs3:13 PM

    Why go to all that trouble when you can just ask a professional (liar)?

  100. I don't know... journalistic ethics?

    (And no, I'm not trying to make you laugh.)

  101. Herman and Chomsky laid out a very clear and well supported argument for how consensus is generated by limiting the full range of discussion. Limit the range of debate and you don't have to be coordinated, or meet in the woods to cross dress. It is a self-organizing phenomenon.

  102. mrstilton3:17 PM

    in the next election, a platform of "keeping that uppity black president from doing anything" will no longer be enough

    Nah. They'll do just fine, selling the rubes a platform of "keeping that murderous lesbian Hitlery from doing anything".

  103. It's not that there are no differences, it is that continuing to vote for either A or B will maintain the trajectory we are on. They are not in conflict, they are two sides of the same coin.

  104. I think your crystal ball is working perfectly.

  105. Ellis_Weiner4:28 PM

    Fantastic interview, and I'm getting his book post haste. Thanks, if.

  106. Gromet4:31 PM

    Well, I do know from practical experience when I chaired an organization in the past -- the very first meeting I ever ran, I announced ahead of time that I wanted to hear all opinions and get all ideas on the table. Very idealistic. Sadly, the result was heated but unproductive argument, plummeting morale -- and nothing actionable. So in future meetings I screwed a lid on it; I certainly narrowed options in debate, and instead of chairing in the style of a judge who'd choose the best option voiced (my original plan), I came to decide in advance of each meeting what result I wanted and found ways to pre-skew discussion in favor of it. This wasn't sinister, or even cynical -- it was all moderate stuff that needed to get done, like bill-paying. But true round-table democracy, all voices equally heard, did not pay those bills.

    Point being, I have some hands-on experience in how organization works, and so am at points sympathetic even with a nincompoop like Boehner. In my term, I was accused by one faction of being a tyrant -- but the truth is just that I understood right away (through trial and error) that usually consensus is not natural, it has to be engineered. I don't think that's shocking, and it doesn't take Chomsky to see it. What I disagree with is the idea that the engineering is as cynical and complete as "We will use the church, which matters not in the least to us, to distract people who otherwise would stop us from taking their money." That simply doesn't account for all the reverends who might preach inconveniently, and the "elites" who actually believe what the churches espouse, and all the ways it can go wrong -- and it doesn't sensibly account for the taken-with-expedience ways that everyone who ends up in charge of any organization has to manage expectations and debate.

    tldr; I agree we've got a serious economic imbalance in the country but am not convinced it was arrived at in a way that justifies or requires violent upheaval to undo or mitigate.

  107. Gromet4:35 PM

    Jesus that quote is perfect.

  108. I have to admit that I disagree with "culture war stuff is simply rube bait". I see the economic and "cultural" realms as being too closely connected. When you force women to give birth to unwanted children you affect them economically. When people have less money they change culturally. There is no complete separation.

  109. Tbone4:48 PM

    Damn. You had to go and dig up that fucking endorsement. That still stings.

  110. Gromet4:48 PM

    Ah, I had forgotten that about Gates.

    I wish I knew more one-percenters. Like Jonah does. Then they'd tell me what they really think.

  111. or offering you a great deal on some mattresses

  112. and Franklin never gave a damn about abortion so Q.E.D.

  113. Gromet5:00 PM

    The GOP would collapse tomorrow if people simply made their beliefs consistent -- e.g., no more "I support less govt except in the bedroom," or "I demand the govt respect the majority except on issues important to me personally." The Republican Party is philosophically, or even just plain mentally -- or hell, even in practice -- unsustainable. And yet sustain itself it does. One of the great mysteries of our time.

  114. Even if you’re not one of the majority of Americans who want to protect
    these children in the womb, this debacle should concern you.

    The other exquisite part is how this accuses everyone but anti-abortion nuts of not caring about babies.

  115. susanoftexas5:23 PM

    Batocchio posted this quote from MLK a few days ago:

    If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. And he ate Jim Crow. And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings. And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, their last outpost of psychological oblivion.
    The right gave poor whites abortion and welfare queens and thugs and race hustlers too. They are all Jim Crow, all aimed at keeping the masses of poor obedient by distracting them from economic exploitation.

  116. satch5:27 PM

    That's an awful lot of work when you can just knock out a "Both Sides Do It!" piece in about five minutes and call it a day.

  117. satch5:29 PM

    Hey, I've already learned my lesson! Can I get an exemption?

  118. Ham, or Time?5:29 PM

    A stitch in time saves mine.

  119. susanoftexas5:32 PM

    Lofgren again:

    I find it very significant, for example, that the Kochs were early funders of Michele Bachmann's presidential race. Titans of billion-dollar oil industries are, of course, too shrewd and cynical to believe the childish bosh that Bachmann spouts daily, but as a political stooge, she is worth the investment. The more controversy is stirred up about death panels and Muslim infiltration of the government, the less discussion there is, for example, about the tax subsidies for the oil industry. These people know what they're doing. They use a superficial populism tinged with craziness to further a rational, plutocratic agenda.

  120. satch5:35 PM

    The reason this is even a thing is because the Cons worked hard over the years to hijack the personhood argument, and until Dems are willing to stand up and say loudly "A blastocyst is NOT a baby, and a twenty week fetus is not a person", they'll continue to have an edge.

  121. Gromet5:43 PM

    Good point. Schaivo was the point where I realized the Republican Party has no limits to its cravenness. But also, I guess now I have my answer to the question "Would Boehner kill a bill that was about to pass?" From TPM:

    In the end, Republican leaders pulled the bill and took a bullet for
    their objecting members, who were facing the wrath of anti-abortion
    advocates. Opponents admitted it likely would have passed despite their
    objections, but the drama over the rape clause would have put moderates
    in a bind and threatened to damage the party's brand.

    We are not dealing with a sane party when they so overwhelmingly favor a bill so damaging to their own image that their own leaders feel they can't be allowed to vote on it. And we are not a sane country when the image these leaders want to protect, after 40 years of promoting it, is that of exactly the party that would vote for this bill.

  122. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person5:48 PM

    They must have figured that anyone with the unmitigated audacity to appear in public in a tricorn hat and powdered wig was someone to be reckoned with. In that they would have been right, but, shockingly, for the wrong reason.

  123. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person5:49 PM

    He was all about the GRILFs....

  124. Your point about consistency is absolutely spot on.

    What's ironic about it is that consistency is a conservative value...

  125. JennOfArk5:53 PM

    That's a feature, not a bug.

    Consider how, if they actually did what they perpetually claim they want to do, i.e. outlaw abortion flat-out, their base has gotten what it wants and is de-energized. The other side, however (that is, the vast majority of voters) would be extremely energized by such an action and would sweep those responsible for it out of office for quite some time.

    The GOP stance on abortion has never been about actually outlawing it. It's all about keeping the base frothing.

  126. Good article about not giving a fuck.

  127. I totally understand what you are saying, but you are discussing work product at a micro level, Chomsky and Herman were discussing propaganda at the macro level. It isn't about getting things done, it is about what ideas are never even considered. Ideas are internalized and normalized this way. I don't think Susan is talking extremist rhetoric, however uncomfortable the talk might be. There is a long history of progress only through resistance in the US. Most of it far more successful than voting and political process. That usually happens after the resistance has occurred. Selma is of course a perfect example, but there were many many others.

  128. satch5:55 PM

    Give conservatives credit: they didn't just play up the fantasy that we can all aspire to a lavish standard of living if only we are willing to work hard and pull ourselves up by out bootstraps and leave it at that. They also spent considerable resources and energy demonizing the poor for being lazy "takers" who leech off the hardworking salt-o-the-Earth producers to cover the hard fact that for many, no amount of hard work will overcome their class and economic disadvantages. They've been so successful at THAT that Dems don't want any more to associate themselves with the poor, fearing that they'll catch poverty cooties.

  129. That does make sense. It's the battle that can never be won.

  130. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person5:56 PM

    Um, yeah, well, you find that lamp before my Cardiology appointment on Monday, howzabout you take a little break, mmkay? Ah preeshate it, Ah preeshate it...

  131. Ham, or Time?6:06 PM

    I like the kitten.

  132. The objection is because any exception is supposed to give the woman, a natural liar in the first place, a chance to lie and claim "victim" status which enables her to get her longed for abortion. So not only does the rape exclusion have to be narrowly drawn and nearly impossible, but any other one. The right wing has been arguing for years that "rape, incest, and life/health of the mother" was too loose a standard and would encourage those lying bitches to just lie more.

  133. susanoftexas6:17 PM

    Very true.

  134. I really disagree that "social issues are and always have been a deliberate distraction from economic issues." Sure--some so called "social issues" and "values" crap is a distraction but many "social issues" are what human life is all about: liberty, bodily autonomy, religious freedom, equal marriage, good education for everyone, a life free from fear and want. These are social issues too. And at bottom politics is only worth it if we can secure these freedoms and wants for everyone--that's a "social issue" too. Equality before the law is a social issue. They aren't a distraction: they are what politics is for.

    There are oligarchs, and billionaires out there, and a few aristocrats, trying to control our political system in order to rape and plunder the immense amounts of power in our government (the power to wage war, to set tariffs, to tax) and the immense amounts of money in the government's coffers (contracts, tax rebates, incentives, business). Only some of their attention is turned to the voters and buying off the voters through "social issues." For the most part its not necessary. They can buy our representatives after they are elected as easily as they can buy them beforehand.

  135. I don't understand why your argument depends on the very wealthiest being the only clear headed people in the country--rich people are as stupid and as venal and as religious and as gullible and as fearful as the rest of us. The Koch brothers were raised by a stone bircher, they have been protected their entire lives from real information and from the bracing shock of reality. While they are probably not as crazy as Bachmann they are probably pretty damned crazy all on their own.

  136. J Neo Marvin6:20 PM

    Unsustainable things can often be sustained for years if you keep throwing shovelfuls of money at them.

  137. I think its the other way around: we need more votes so we can get more money and other things that matter. We can get votes, just the way the right wing does, by appealing to our voters with things that matter to them. While many of those things may seem, at bottom, to be about money they aren't all. Health Care reform is both about money and about health and security, freedom from fear.

  138. M. Krebs6:24 PM

    But what it's Biden?

    Okay, I'll answer that myself. They'll do just fine, selling the rubes a platform of "keeping that crazy, goofy, incredibly old plagiarizer from doing anything".

  139. They really aren't. Or not in any way that makes any sense. If you aren't going to be able to overthrow the system entirely then you have nothing to do but work within the system with the tools at hand: the vote, corruption laws, law suits, etc... continuing to vote will maintain continuity, certainly, but not voting, insulting the voters, and playing revolutionary with fake matches and fake weapons (or even with real ones, for the matter of that) will accomplish precisely zero. Listening to this crap about how both sides are the same and how voting is useless is like sitting around the Bundy family fire listening to those fucking white redneck faux libertarian goons talk about taking on Obama and showing him what for.

    I'm related to actual god damned revolutionaries who served actual time in prison for crimes I won't go into here. None of this blathering about the evils of the democratic party is worth a bucket of warm spit when it comes to actual political organizing or getting anything done. Really: its not. Its no different from Ooga booga thinking, the only thing that separates it from the crazed thinkers on the far right is that it indicts the koch brothers and corporations instead of the blacks/gays/and women.

  140. "social issues are and always have been a deliberate distraction from economic issues."
    To my mind, this is a re-statement of the common American view that there are two things in life: money, and bullshit. I do not subscribe to this view.

  141. montag26:36 PM

    Hey, it's the face of the Supreme Court, so, why not?

  142. Gromet6:37 PM

    Hmm. Good point. But why does the media go along with it? Surely Brian Williams (I guess) knows better -- what stops him from saying, "Death Panels? Fine, let's investigate that claim," and then running a segment where it is proven bosh. Yet that never happens -- and journalists are hardly that pliable, temperamentally, so what gives? There is a strange ethic in place...

    I do think journalism needs to clarify its mission as reporting of facts. Stop filing equivalence-y "both sides do it" reports, printing PR releases as if they are news, prioritizing speed over accuracy, and neglecting to call out bald lies.

    I mean if a candidate says, "The jury is still out on evolution," why doesn't the article follow that explicitly with "Evolution has been observed and described in detail by scientists" or what-have-you?

    I feel like the press keeping its eyes on the ball would serve us fairly well in facing down the problems we have.

  143. M. Krebs6:39 PM

    I want to ask this comment to dance.

  144. M. Krebs6:42 PM

    Some radioactive isotopes decay very slowly.

  145. montag26:43 PM

    Silly ol' fart that I am, I had to look up what the fuck the Ouya is before I could even get the joke.

  146. M. Krebs6:46 PM

    Downright inspirational that.

  147. mgmonklewis6:47 PM


  148. susanoftexas6:48 PM

    (briefly, for once) I don't think they are necessarily clear-headed but they are pretty clear about certain things, such as how to get more money. Even people like McArdle are cunning when it comes to money. People who have met McArdle socially say she is perfectly charming. McArdle is stupid and venal and gullible but she knows exactly how to game the system.
    The Koches fit in when they want to. So you get this article that staggers in its hypocrisy

    but is not at all crazy. It's cunning. In the end it will benefit them, just as all their charitable donations will benefit them by improving their image.

  149. Gromet6:48 PM

    continuing to vote for either A or B will maintain the trajectory we are
    on. They are not in conflict, they are two sides of the same coin.

    I heard this from every idiot I know who voted Nader in 2000. And guess what? We'd be a massively different nation right now had Florida been called for Gore. No 10 years spent in Iraq for starters, and I'd wager no fracking right now. That's billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of human lives' worth of difference right there.

    The parties are very, very different, and given a chance over time they alter our trajectory enormously.

  150. Arakasi_996:53 PM

    A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything

  151. susanoftexas6:57 PM

    So what you are saying is that you are descended from a long of academically advanced revolutionaries.
    This is a theoretical discussion of political motivation that is allowing for all kinds of political action. Saying that we are crazed revolutionaries will not change that fact. What would your ancestors have said about supporting a party that has looked away while the poor and middle class were decimated?

  152. mgmonklewis6:57 PM

    Oh, I definitely think it's also a social war. A huge chunk of the shock troops who vote Republican aren't doing so because it makes them rich; they're doing it for social or tribal reasons. Maybe they're being manipulated by someone who's focused on the economics, but that doesn't mean their motivations disappear. If you took away the social conservatives from the equation, the Mitt Romney wing of the party wouldn't crest 10% at the polls in general elections.

  153. mgmonklewis7:04 PM

    It's all about keeping the base riled up, interested, and hateful of Democrats.

    True. And also, to keep sending them cash. Sweet, sweet cash for those hot-button issues.

  154. montag27:06 PM

    ";;; threatened to damage the party's brand."

    Kinda fuckin' late for that, I'd guess.

  155. montag27:09 PM

    Ah, so you know my local representatives!

  156. JennOfArk7:13 PM

    It's a dessert AND a floor wax!

    That is, the answer is not "voting or"; it's "voting and". We should never abandon any hold we have on power, no matter how ineffectual it may seem.

    But I agree with SoT that voting alone isn't going to get it. Things are too far gone. Unless and until some critical mass of the citizenry says "enough is enough" and starts shutting down production, things aren't going to change much for the better. These are people who listen to only one thing - money. If they are made to realize that their ability to generate more is wholly dependent upon raising wages etc, they'll be the ones demanding pay increases and other reforms.

  157. Bloof7:35 PM

    Please don't hate me because I'm old. I'd like to see you youngsters get single payer too.

  158. Pundits everywhere are still far too busy telling us about the grass roots nature of the Tea Party.

  159. You'd think that in the year 2015 the GOP would have noticed that women in the United States of America not only have the right to vote, but actually exercise that right.

    You'd be right to think that, but it's the GOP we're talking about, so you'd be wrong.

  160. susan, I love ya', I do, but I have to call bullshit here.

    Social issues are and always have been a deliberate distraction from economic issues.

    Bullshit. And the bullshit is the word "from" in your sentence. Social issues are important in millions of ways, not least because fighting for egalitarianism on social issues, in the way we all get to live our day to day lives, is fighting for the dignity of ourselves and others.

    Bullshit because in no way does fighting this particular fight preclude us from also fighting for a measure of equality in the economic marketplace. For fighting for "a chicken in every pot." For fighting against the very gross imbalance you correctly identify.

    As a mater of fact, I see fighting for economic and social issues from the left, from the perspective of equality and egalitarianism and human dignity, as a single conflict. And as such I don't like to think I'd dismiss one area of this battle as unimportant, or a sideshow not worth time, because it might just be the skirmish that tips the balance.

    Look, I understand your frustration, I really think I do. Many, many people on the left are nauseous at the fact that the American political system is so terribly addicted to money; that the Democrat pols are scratching their arms and picking at their scabs like the rest of the goddamn junkies. But these things change in increments, and to disavow the social issues, to see them as a "distraction" is to release the lever that is making a difference, that is indicating to the elites that this isn't fucking over, not by a long shot, and they might be winning on the economic front but watch your fucking backs, assholes, because we've got you clocked and we're not going away.

    To my mind, there's still a HUGE difference between the pols who can be part of the good fight and the fuckheads who just want everyone to roll over. When you stop making that distinction, when you see no differences because of the dystopian economic landscape, then you better educate yourself about the differences on social or other issues, because there you'll find the toeholds and numbers that carry the same concerns and have the same objectives.

  161. ...and that it just doesn't give a fuck.

  162. AGoodQuestion11:06 PM

    The GOP can never be insane enough to please its base. This is a given. Still, Hemingway is washing her hands of her shiny new congresspeople three weeks after they were sworn in. That feels like some kind of record.

  163. AGoodQuestion11:10 PM

    Isn't it what the people in Fargo kept saying?

  164. AGoodQuestion11:14 PM

    Of course they're for personal liberty. Just not for everyone. That cheapens it.

  165. AGoodQuestion11:38 PM

    "Feminazgul" is worthy of an upvote in itself.

  166. BigHank5311:42 PM

    If Ralph's estate has its wits about it they'll design his tomb in the shape of a crapper and charge admission.

  167. AGoodQuestion11:42 PM

    If you want to hear about conservatives being victims, the right blogosphere offers you a wide array of choices.

  168. AGoodQuestion11:51 PM

    True dat. If you want your followers to believe that climate change isn't real but the knockout game is, it helps to keep them on a short leash.

  169. BigHank5311:52 PM

    Oh, she's still going to vote for them. Don't worry about that. She was just hoping she'd get her day of judgement early, with those foul sluts clapped into the stocks and pelted with rotting fruit, and the homosexuals burned alive, and the deniers of Christ rounded up and stuffed into re-education camps. Molly is quite familiar with disappointment.

  170. billcinsd12:33 AM

    so what about the graves of the members of the groups that actually cost Gore the election?

    Nader was at most the fourth biggest cause and really only that if you forget about the votes Buchanon and Browne cost Bush. Katherine Harris, the five supreme court justices, the 160,000 Democratic Clinton voters in 1996 that voted for Bush in 2000 all cost Gore far more than Nader did, but it's evidently an article of faith among sensible centrists that it was all that dirty Nader's fault. Then they wonder why Nader supporters don't vote for the sensible centrist candidate

  171. Gromet12:55 AM

    In 2000, Nader himself recognized his potential to be a spoiler, and declared he would not get on the ballot in closely contested states. He then proceeded to get on the ballot in Florida anyway. It is not an "article of faith" that Nader cost us the election for no reason, it is math.

  172. DN Nation12:57 AM

    Get bent, Naderite trash. When St. Ralph demands that his inner circle of followers create a mammoth funeral pyre when he takes the express line to hell, I suggest you jump on it.

    Ol' Ralphie-poo was a Halliburton stockholder when 2000 came along. That you couldn't see the con for what it was should shame you to permanent silence.

  173. JennOfArk12:59 AM

    Ralph Nader is a goat-blowing assclown.

    That is all.

  174. DN Nation1:01 AM

    "It's not the idiots who claim there's no difference between parties that cause Dems to lose elections."

    They should still be made into ground meat and fired into the sun.

    "Ralph Nader didn't blow..."

    Yeah, he did. He's in the permanent state of doing that.

    "Which do you think Obama wants more: his crappy 'trade' deals, or a hike in the minimum wage?"

    Beats me, I don't know the man. Which do you think St. Ralph hears more in his dreams? The gentle vacuum suck from Cheney's lips? Or the last screams of dying Iraqi children?

  175. DN Nation1:04 AM

    The U.S. of A. isn't a parliamentary system and won't ever be for the foreseeable future.

    Flights leave daily. Get on one and don't come back if you don't recognize this.

  176. Gromet1:08 AM

    SHELTERED! Yes! Thank you! That describes 3/4 of the Naderites I've met. Both insulated from consequences and deeply fatuous about how normal people think. "If Bush wins, things will get so bad, America will vote progressive forever!" Um, no, kid, what'll happen is about half of America will turn to each other and say "Thank God Bush won -- can you imagine how much worse it would be with Gore?"

  177. Pope Zebbidie XIII6:04 AM

    The GOP can stay irrational a lot longer than the US can remain democratic.

  178. Gabriel Ratchet6:51 AM

    They've learned Wile E. Coyote's lesson: as long as you don't look down, you can keep running off that cliff (hey, gravity's just a theory, anyway, like evolution).

  179. I think you might have the chain of pain inverted here. The objective was to put the WOMAN through hell.

    You're pregnant and you say it's because your mentally disturbed brother raped you? Prove it, missy! Sure, it's a process that will likely take three months or so--probably longer since we've appointed an attorney for the fetus. And we'll want lots and lots of doctors to poke around in your slutty hoo-ha during the process. AND we'll need DNA samples and affidavits from all those other guys you've spread your legs for.

    But we're compassionate conservatives. So after you've gone through all of this, we would allow you to get an abortion. We WOULD, but you're now at 24 weeks of pregnancy. So sorry!

  180. . . . what stops him from saying, "Death Panels? Fine, let's investigate that claim," . . .

    If you haven't heard the screeching that's gone on for the last 40 years, what stops him is the deafening Rightwing chorus of "LIBERAL BIAS!!!111!!!!" whenever the media does not whole-heartedly endorse whatever the Right is pushing.

    It doesn't even have to be active intentional pushback (which is what you're proposing Williams do). It can be as simple as asking, "What newspapers do you read?" That question brought down an avalanche of Rightwing hate on Katie Couric--not because the question was asked in any deep, probing way, but because Sarah Palin was too fucking stupid to even remember and then spit out the name of a single newspaper.

  181. Recall as well that social issues were the leading edge of what lead us out of the Gilded Age shop of horrors. From Ida Tarbell's take-down of Standard Oil through the "yellow journalism" years, it was social issues focusing on the plight of the common working men, women, and children that produced the support needed among the electorate to get laws changed and enacted.

    And remember too: That process began in the late 1870s and only really picked up steam in the late 1920s.

  182. beejeez7:37 AM

    I remember being positively inspired by the guy back in the '70s. But he should never be forgiven for his spoiler act since then. If Nader really cared, he could have coasted to a Dem Senate seat any time and actually done some constructive good. Now I'm ready to believe he was a con act all along.

  183. beejeez7:47 AM

    Alternatively, you ask the wingnut candidate, "OK, if abortion is murder, then surely you're in favor of life sentences or death penalties for the mother and the doctor? Because if you don't, you're bullshitting."

  184. A touch! A touch! A veritable touch.

    But, nevertheless, The one who went to jail has nothing to say about the matter because the lives that were destroyed and the person who died because of their actions patently had nothing to do with "the struggle" and their support of a party-not-the-democrats resulted in nothing but stupid, mindless, violence, random death, and imprisonment. No one was educated. No one was transformed. Nothing changed politically except that many people were harmed. I'm not talking about my distant relatives, who were anarchists and rather practical people building worlds rather than destroying them. I'm talking about a more near (first cousin) revolutionary.

    I think talking about this as a "theoretical discussion of political motivation allowing for all kinds of political action" is not the way it comes across. It seems to lead us to argue that the poor are always dupes of the rich, that the rich understand that there is nothing other than money that matters, and that the real work of government is securing money for the wealthiest rather than lots of things (some of moentary value some not) to the people.

    Money is not the only freedom and convincing the poor that the entire political system is rigged against them for the benefit of shadowy billionaires while perhaps a necessary step is not, in fact, the only step towards political engagement or towards change in the system. And we have to ask ourselves what level of change in the system can be achieved by people who are discouraged, insulted, isolated, and told that the very actions of their elected leaders which do please them--which do conduce to a better life--are lies meant to decieve them, useless, meaningless? I'm talking about abortion rights, the ACA, OSHA, the EPA.

    Of course these successes are only partial--the world is only partial. But refusing to acknowledge them, refusing to fight for them through the current political system is nihilistic.

  185. I guess I have a real problem with the "voters are suckers and morons" argument which argues that their voters are dumb because they care about racist/sexist shit and our voters are dumb because when they do get organized they vote for democrats.

    There's no other game in town. If you aren't voting, or working to elect people you think will move the needle a tiny bit in the direction you want it to go then you are simply ceding the field to the passionately uninformed or whoever gets out there and votes. That has to be obvious. The mid term elections were won by our worst voters, speaking as a country--a sliver of a sliver of a voting population.

    Meanwhile in Virginia Black women voted and prevented Cuccinelli from taking over--but single white women didn't or not in the numbers that they should have. This isn't because they were disaffected because the Democrats weren't the Greens. Its because they took for granted that their needs would be met, or not met, just the same by either party. Because they didn't realize just how fragile their liberty and physical autonomy are under Republican Rule.

  186. beejeez8:14 AM

    I suspect the same thing is going on with the ACA. Most Republicans know John Roberts did them a solid by allowing them to keep gnashing their teeth about Obamacare while not actually having to take responsibility for ditching it.

  187. This is what I was trying to say. Take diBlasio--he was elected to stop "stop and frisk" and he did. He is fighting to stop charter schools. He is doing it against an enormous headwind in the form of Cuomo who wouldn't be half as powerful as he is (or able to do evil the way he does) if there were a solid majority of progressive democrats in the state legislature or if he hadn't been able to buy off one or two Democrats who are seriously awful people. IF the voters punished their awful Dems and replaced them with progressives Cuomo would be Deval Patrick. IF they withdraw from the system, don't register to vote, then they are stuck forever with Giuliani or Bloomberg as their Mayor.

  188. "Take my arms, take my legs. Aw, baby don't you take my . . . Social Security and Medicare!"

    This message brought to you by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and America's Democratic party.

  189. This isn't because they were disaffected because the Democrats weren't the Greens.

    Voters being disaffected is a feature, not a bug, of the long-term Rightwing gameplan. Complacency with the status quo is a part of it. But there's a bigger part that gets ignored and/or distorted: The constantly repeated and reinforced notion that you as the average voter are completely powerless.

    You can't fight city hall. All the politicians are in the pockets of big money. With elections being won with margins of thousands or even hundreds of votes, what possible difference does mine make? And even if they politician I vote for gets in, he or she will just do whatever they want anyway.

    These are all statements I've heard from people who don't vote. And their numbers are growing every day. For the most part, these are middle- to lower-middle-class people, working-class people, and the poor. For people in all of these groups, the last 35 years has put them in a position where it takes all of their time and energy just to survive from day to day. They don't pay attention to any but the BIGGEST news, and they don't vote in anything by the BIGGEST (presidential) elections. They're not interested because they don't have time to be interested.

    And so you get mid-term and off-year elections with horrible turn-out. The party with the most motivated base turns out more heavily and carries all your local elections (up to statewide, including governor). That last statement is the key: The left needs to figure out how to court, consolidate, and motivate its base to get the turn-out in off-year elections that will make a difference. That's not really a money matter so much as it is a message matter.

  190. Jeezus, Satch, I usually agree with you but this is in no way an argument about definitions. And it won't be won with dictionaries. The Democrats could have shouted that from the rooftops and it wouldn't have made a dent in the idiot happy mommies and raging would be daddies of the far right. People who have been pregnant and who wanted the baby, or thought they were justly punished by god for getting pregnant, believe that the idea of the child is the child in the womb. They are not put off by arguments like "its the size of a dot at the end of the sentence for fuck's sake" or "it doesn't have neuronal connections until the 20th week" or "it looks like a fish crossed with a manatee." They see the idea of the baby growing into a fully formed, perfect, person. Not the reality.

    The anti abortionists who turn against their own side do it for a lot of reasons but not because they get suddenly comfortable with abortion because "its just a fetus/its just a blastocyst." They usually do it because someone they know needed a "virtuous abortion" and they suddenly realized that a woman's life is a human life. Or because they punishments get too draconian or too wide spread for their taste and their own friends and family get caught up in those punishments.

  191. We investigate the dinner parties where conservatives were laughed at. We work to prevent the cocktail parties with Hollyweird celebrities, or at least we try to get our victims tickets.

  192. Right---JennofArk--its evident in every Limbaugh riff ever. He spends half his time innoculating his listeners against some piece of information they may have heard, or be inclined to believe, which contradicts the right wing party line. He literally speaks in several sets of voices so he can represent what his listener might hear (or think) if he were a reasonable and well informed person and then he speaks in a different voice to undermine it. This enables his listeners to enter the real world, away from the radio, fully armed or fully swaddled against information or as we might call them "facts" which might tend to cause them to rethink their political position.

  193. May I remind you of Rule 34?

  194. I don't think he started out as a con act, but he certainly has become one. I think he got to the point where he sincerely believed his own bullshit, and then surrounded himself with people who would pipe that bullshit back to him.

  195. Good point about Obama. Notice how the right expects him to buckle under to the "mandate" from the last elections, even though he wasn't on the ballot. And notice how Obama's telling them to basically go fuck themselves, which looks to be working so far.

  196. Halloween_Jack9:40 AM

    What Jenn said, plus, for all of their electoral legerdemain, they can be just as avid in backing a loser as a winner. Look at Mitt Romney, who got hundreds of millions in donations two years and change ago, simply for being a fellow plutocrat and ostensibly less crazy than his competitors. For that, they got a guy who looks like the sort of actor you hire to play the president when you can't afford Martin Sheen, and whose big electoral moment was when he had the good luck to show up at a debate and actually pretend to be into it (albeit as dissembling and dishonest as ever) on a day that the president was preoccupied.

  197. Oh for christ's sake.