Republicans only hate your children »« Botanical Wednesday: October!

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  1. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    She’s my dream Democratic candidate. With a younger clone of Bernie Sanders as her running mate.

  2. says

    Yeah, we need her and 70 more just like her in the senate and 300 of her in the house so that, even with a rethuglican in the White House, anything they want to do will get done

  3. Nancy Holst says

    I don’t believe I’ve commented more than once or twice since I started reading PZ. But, I just had to comment now and say…. I LOVE ELIZABETH WARREN. (Yes, all caps because my intent is to shout it.) I am telling everyone I know to pay attention to her name and what she is saying. If she runs in 2016, she’s got my vote.

  4. madknitter says

    No, dammit. I just voted for her to be my senator, and I’m not ready to give her up.
    We love Elizabeth, and want to keep her.

  5. says

    A politician who makes sense, one who gets both the philosophy, the law and the economics right. Not only should she remain in political office, but she should be recognized as a good example for girls and young women everywhere.

    No one is perfect, but Elizabeth Warren comes damn close.

  6. lopsided says

    I think she’d make a good President. I don’t think she’s charismatic or slick enough to get elected (I’d love to be wrong).

  7. says

    A gadfly around my neck of the woods commented to me about the contest between her and the nude model when he started in on that business about her Native American heritage. He laughed about it saying that if she’s that smart, how many more Native American women can we elect. Line em up and I’ll vote for every last one. Can’t say as I see many holes in that logic.

  8. mx89 says

    She didn’t say much about Larry Summers during that brawl recently – methinks the Democrats have shut her up with a nice deal in the Senate, or more likely, she was never that progressive to begin with. Bernie Sanders offers a hell of a lot more criticism of US economic and political systems in a day than she has since she got in. Yeah, she gives limited criticisms of banks, but when Jamie Dimon can just get a nice meeting with Eric Holder to discuss JP Morgan’s incredible crime sprees, it doesn’t seem like it’s doing much. The Democrats are too corrupt and owned by Wall Street to fix much of anything.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Possibly the only reason that Harry Reid still has his job is that no other Dem senator wants it very much.

  10. trucreep says

    I’d love to back her for president, but I honestly don’t trust any one person to do anything meaningful in that position any more. Not after Senator Obama became President Obama.

  11. laurentweppe says

    President Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Wendy Davis.

    I’d rather see a Warren-Sanders ticket: can you imagine the wingnuts loosing their shit? “the bolsheviks are comiiiiiiiiiiiiing

  12. Rey Fox says

    #18 trucreep:

    When you win, you go in this smokey room with the 12 industrialist/capitalist scumfucks who got you [elected]…And this screen comes down—whrrrrrrr—and this big guy says, ‘Roll the film.’ It’s a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you’ve never seen before. And it looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll. And the screen comes up and they go to the new president and say, ‘Any questions?’

    -Bill Hicks

  13. Doug Hudson says

    trucreep@18, aw cmon, Obama is a Chicago politician, of course he was going to be corrupt!

    But seriously, Elizabeth Warren would be awesome. Though if people thought Obama’s campaign was a shitstorm, imagine what it will be like for a woman. (or ask Hillary Clinton).

  14. burgundy says

    How about if we sweeten the deal? President Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Wendy Davis.

    PZ nooooo we need Wendy Davis here!

  15. loopyj says

    Does Wendy Davis have the international experience to be VP? I don’t think Warren wants to be President, nor do I think Clinton would want to be VP, but a Warren/Clinton ticket would be seven layers of awesome.

  16. says

    The problem, PZ, is that 97% or so of the people who would vote for Elizabeth Warren would also vote for Hillary Clinton, and since Hillary Clinton is already in the pocket of the banks, since Hillary Clinton is pro-War-On-Drugs, since Hillary Clinton is pro-War-On-Terror, since Hillary Clinton is pro-War-In-General, since Hillary Clinton is pro-Cutting-the-Social-Safety-Net (remember Welfare “Reform”?), and since Hillary Clinton can safely be relied on to fold on any genuinely important left-leaning position (she’s one of the group which invented the “triangulation” strategy which turned the Democrats into Republicans-Lite™) and also to actively work to sabotage meaningful reform (like Obama with Single Payer and the Public Option), since Hillary Clinton is basically Barack Obama melted down and poured into Caucasian Woman #4 mold — since all that is true, the Democratic Party Establishment will ensure that Hillary Clinton is the nominee for 2016, unless she’s hit by a falling meteor or something before the convention. (And even then she’d have to be actually killed by it before they would give up. Because it’s Her Turn, or something.)

    Continuing to vote Democratic after 2009 is just a recipe for disappointment. (“Yes, we have control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, but we’re deliberately going to avoid prosecuting or even meaningfully investigating the people who just crashed the economy, going to avoid prosecuting the previous administration who committed vast war crimes which broke the budget and the law at once, we’re not going to push economic stimulus, we’re going to work on a health care ‘reform’ package which will turn out — at Obama’s insistence — to be a bill written by the insurance industry and originally presented by the Republicans. Because actually solving the problems which 90+% of America agrees need to be addressed, as was the case with the banks during the mortgage crisis, isn’t as important as cementing 20% profits for the health insurance industry for the rest of time.”) If you aren’t going to get what you want anyway, you might as well vote your conscience, and Democrats aren’t even close to being that any more.

  17. jamiejag says

    How about Elizabeth Warren & Dawn Johnson? I would, however, much prefer to see the party in opposition to the republithugs stop poaching candidates from congress. We need to improve the ratio of thinking human beings to republithugs there, rather than just shifting things around every few years.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you aren’t going to get what you want anyway, you might as well vote your conscience, and Democrats aren’t even close to being that any more.

    In other words, if you can’t get all you want from a viable candidate, waste your vote and help elect a rethug. Doesn’t sound very smart to me.

  19. footface says

    she should be recognized as a good example for girls and young women people everywhere.

  20. gussnarp says

    I think Warren beats Clinton in a Democratic primary, if the campaign plays it right.

  21. screechymonkey says

    The Vicar @26:

    Continuing to vote Democratic after 2009 is just a recipe for disappointment.. . . If you aren’t going to get what you want anyway, you might as well vote your conscience, and Democrats aren’t even close to being that any more.

    And this is why the Right keeps winning, at least in the sense of exerting influence out of proportion to its numbers.

    For a long time, the Christian Right in particular was annoyed at being (they felt) taken for granted by Republican leaders. They’ve been complaining about RINOs since before that term was invented. But they never deserted the Republican Party, because they knew that was the only vehicle by which they could plausible make anything happen, and they knew that even a so-called RINO was better for their goals than a Democrat. There was never any serious attempt to make the Tea Party an actual political party, just to take over an existing one.

    And they’ve done it, by showing up at primaries for midterm elections and nominating the most right-wing candidate who they think might be able to win. And then, with rare exceptions (the Alaska senate race comes to mind), they don’t go third party even if they’re unhappy with the nominee, but show up in the general election and vote for the Republican.

    Meanwhile, the Left gets all indignant about the offense to their “conscience” at voting for the lesser of two evils, and have to be whipped by a massive turnout machine just to show up for a presidential election. Midterms? Eh, who can be bothered — it’s not like it’s actually important who holds the House of Representatives, right? That doesn’t have any impact, as long as you hold the White House the President can wave his magic wand and do whatever he wants, and if he fails to do it then he’s just another sellout and disappointment.

  22. Rich Woods says

    @screechymonkey #31:

    Meanwhile, the Left gets all indignant about the offense to their “conscience” at voting for the lesser of two evils, and have to be whipped by a massive turnout machine just to show up for a presidential election.

    At least the Left has a conscience. Whatever your cultural difference between Right and Left (simplistic terms in themselves), at least the Left tends to look after the majority rather than the minority. Without that, the minority will tend to dominate simply because their fathers have already grabbed the wealth for themselves.

  23. Nick Gotts says

    I don’t think making a decent speech denouncing systematic sabotage of the economy and what remains of American democracy is sufficient qualification for the Presidency. Anyone thinking of backing Warren really should follow dysomniak’s link@17. While I don’t agree with the Vicar”s advocacy of letting the world go to blazes because you can’t get what you want, American progressives should be working now to find a credible progressive – or at least, liberal – candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

  24. screechymonkey says

    Rich Woods @33,

    But the Left can’t “look after the majority rather than the minority” — at least not effectively — if it refuses to muddy its hands with the dirty process of actually exerting political power.

    If all you do is wring your hands about what a disappointment Obama is, and how you’re totally going to vote for the equivalent of Ralph Nader in 2016, then you aren’t really accomplishing anything. All your good intentions go for naught.

  25. Doug Hudson says

    Oh god, not this shit again. “Don’t vote for the Democrats, they are bad too!”

    Fuck that for the Republican sympathizer bullshit that it is. Anyone who has the gall to argue that the Democrats are just as bad as the republicans is an idiot or a liar.

    Any vote against the Democrats is a vote for the guys who want to cut off child welfare, outlaw abortion, eliminate worker rights, eliminate women’s rights, outlaw homosexuality, and fucking kill atheists.

    Fuck that. Let’s get those evil motherfuckers out of office, and then worry about moving the Democrats back to the left.

  26. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    screechymonkey, 31

    Midterms? Eh, who can be bothered — it’s not like it’s actually important who holds the House of Representatives, right? That doesn’t have any impact, as long as you hold the White House the President can wave his magic wand and do whatever he wants, and if he fails to do it then he’s just another sellout and disappointment.

    Not to mention state elections. I mean, sure, the state legislatures make a lot of the laws that have the most immediate effect on people, and every ten years get to gerrymander the House districts so that the goppers can win a majority of the seats even if they get 1.4 million votes fewer than the Dems, but what’s that against the bother of having to go down to your precinct on a Tuesday in November?

  27. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Doug Hudson @ 36:

    Fuck that. Let’s get those evil motherfuckers out of office, and then worry about moving the Democrats back to the left.

    Sometimes you can shift the window, but sometimes, like right now as we’re dangling outside of it hanging on for our dear lives, sometimes you need to just hang the fuck on. Know what I mean, Vern?

  28. Doug Hudson says

    throwaway, gut-punched@38, Exactly. If y’all will forgive a geeky analogy, it’s like living in the Star Wars Universe and saying, “well, sure, the Emperor is a psychotic lunatic who blows up planets, but those rebels are too friendly with the big ship corporations on Mon Calamari, so let’s support some third group that no one has ever heard of.”

  29. says

    what’s that against the bother of having to go down to your precinct on a Tuesday in November?

    That’s the thing that gets me about those “don’t vote” motherfuckers, and, since I introduced myself in my town first by showing up at an Occupy meeting, I know a bunch of them. Voting costs you literally nothing, can’t possibly hurt you, and might possibly do a teensy bit of good. There is NO rational argument against voting. (The fact that they continue to make those dumbass arguments is one big reason I’ve left the local Occupiers to stew on their own.)

    Vicar, just to piss you off, I promise to fucking WORK the campaign of whoever the next Dem candidate is.

  30. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    That’s the thing that gets me about those “don’t vote” motherfuckers, and, since I introduced myself in my town first by showing up at an Occupy meeting, I know a bunch of them. Voting costs you literally nothing, can’t possibly hurt you, and might possibly do a teensy bit of good.

    Yep. Of course because of the “only vote on Tuesday” laws in a lot of states, there are a lot of people out there who have to choose between voting and, say, keeping a job or getting the kids to wherever they have to go, but that just makes it that much more vital for those who can vote to vote.

    Here in VA state elections are in odd years, so we have consequential elections every November. But even in my affluent, liberal precinct, the lines are a lot shorter when it’s not a presidential election.

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Here in Illinois, is easy to get either a vote-by-mail ballot, or to vote early. There is no logical reason not to vote, but many people can’t be bothered to vote in local elections. The low turn-out is the main reason the same scoundrels keep getting elected.

  32. burgundy says

    A response I like to the “voting doesn’t make any difference” crowd – if voting didn’t make any difference, why are the Republicans trying so hard to keep people from doing it?

  33. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Of course the effects of voting trickle both up and down. The goppers in the south are taking advantage of the recent SC ruling on the voting rights act to pass voter suppression acts. So you have to ask yourself: if Al Gore had appointed the successors to Rehnquist and O’Connor, would the SC have ruled the same way?

    There’s a lot that sucks about the US political system, but the mechanisms to change it are there.

  34. ck says

    SallyStrange wrote:

    There is NO rational argument against voting.

    Actually, increasingly, there are plenty of rational arguments against voting. “I can’t leave work to vote.” “The nearest polling station is miles away.” “The local polling station is so backed up that the polls are going to close before everyone in the line gets a chance to vote.” “A criminal record prevents me from voting.” “I have no where to leave the kids to stand in line for three hours to vote.” “I got a recorded call telling me that polls have already closed.” etc, etc.

  35. says

    I admire her so much. If she ran in a race for any office I could vote in, I would vote for her. If she were not married, I’d ask her to dinner. I think it would be charming, stimulating and provocative. Grrrrrrr.

  36. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    @ ck, 45

    “I can’t leave work to vote.”

    Most employers will give you time off to vote. But yes, this is a problem, especially for service workers.

    “The nearest polling station is miles away.”

    Most polling stations are relatively local, and many states have provisions for early voting or absentee voting. This is mostly an issue in rural areas.

    “The local polling station is so backed up that the polls are going to close before everyone in the line gets a chance to vote.”

    Usually if you’re in line by closing time, they’ll let you vote. Though I think this varies by state.

    “A criminal record prevents me from voting.”

    In some states a felony conviction is enough to keep you from voting, though most states will restore your rights. In any case, I don’t think the people SallyStrange was talking about have this excuse.

    “I have no where to leave the kids to stand in line for three hours to vote.”

    Snarky answer: bring them with you. But in my experience, lines are that long only for Presidential elections. We’re talking about voting when there isn’t a president to be elected.

    “I got a recorded call telling me that polls have already closed.”

    Falling for sleazy Rethuglican trips may be understandable, but it’s not rational.

    In any case, yes, there are barriers to voting in the way of poor people, but that just makes it more urgent that the rest of us progressives vote whenever we have the opportunity.

    Rage against the machine all you like, but also vote to fix it.

  37. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Anyway, the larger point is this: there are millions of people out there who will vote for the likes of Obama when there’s a presidential election, but who can’t be bothered to drag themselves to the polls for equally important, if less glamorous, off-year elections.

  38. BCat70 says

    The thing about Elizabeth Warren, is that she was a Reagan Republican who wanted the demonstrate that the ideas that Reagan had been selling ( G.H.W. Bush called voodoo economics). After her study, she caucused and later became a Democrat.

    Seduced by the Light Side of the Force!

  39. says

    @#28, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    In other words, if you can’t get all you want from a viable candidate, waste your vote and help elect a rethug. Doesn’t sound very smart to me.

    You’re misreading me, possibly deliberately.

    I am saying: I get nothing I want, not a single thing, from the national-level Democrats. So to me, there is no functional difference between voting for a Democrat (and getting nothing I want) and voting for a Republican (and getting nothing I want).

    I wanted an end to our wars. The Democrats refused to talk about it while they had a majority in Congress, and then used the loss of their majority as an excuse for not trying. (I actually talked to my Democratic rep about it at the time. I was told that Congress and President Obama were refusing to deal with anything else because they were concentrating on health care “reform” — as though it would have taken so terribly long to hold a quick vote on whether or not Obama could have the funds to close Gitmo, for example, would have taken months.)

    I wanted to see Bush, Cheney, et al prosecuted for deliberately lying us into a war which killed a million civilians and thousands of our soldiers while destabilizing the mideast. Obama refused point blank with “look forwards, not backwards”.

    I wanted the big banks held responsible for crashing the economy. Again, the Democrats refused to talk about it while they had a majority in Congress, and then used the loss of their majority as an excuse for not trying. (And, as mentioned, over 90% of Americans wanted this done. They could have done this in January 2009 and not even the best-connected, most media-protected Republican would have been able to raise a hand against them. Instead, Obama surrounded himself with Neoliberal bankers as advisors.)

    I wanted single-payer health insurance for all, or failing that, an option run by the government at cost. Obama himself killed off any public discussion of both ideas (as they admitted afterwards). The only person who kept talking about it was Bernie Sanders — who was of course an Independent rather than a Democrat.

    I wanted an end to the insane levels of U.S. military aggression we cranked up under Bush. Well, despite Obama’s rhetoric, we’re still in Afghanistan. Obama resisted pulling out of Iraq, too — we left in 2011 not because Obama wanted it, but because Obama was unable to negotiate a continuation of the agreement with the Iraqi government whereby U.S. troops could not be held accountable under Iraqi law for their behavior. I reiterate: Obama tried to keep us in Iraq, and failed. Meanwhile, Obama has taken us to Libya — against a vote in Congress! — and we are effectively at war with a number of other countries thanks to his drone bombing programs. (If, say for example, Denmark deliberately dropped a single bomb, by means of an unmanned plane, on even the most remote, tiny town in the U.S., and killed even a known criminal who was a U.S. citizen, you’d better bet we would consider it an act of war. But the U.S. is bombing a minimum of 5 countries now while claiming not to be “at war” with them. You may have no ethical problem with that, but I do.) Obama, with the aid of Kerry and the apparent full support of all the other national-level Democrats, almost pushed us into bombing Syria, which stood a good chance of being an absolutely incredible disaster.

    I wanted Social Security and Medicare protected. Turns out Obama wanted to cut them all along, and was even meeting with Republicans to discuss ways and means. He also, with full approval of the national-level Democrats, repeatedly used “bipartisanship” as a means of giving far-right-wingers as much control over the decision-making process. (Remember the “catfood commission”? Obama’s the one who decided who would go on that, and he chose not only to staff it with Republicans in equal numbers, in the name of “bipartisanship” but long after the Republicans had made it quite clear that they weren’t going to cooperate with any such effort, but chose 3 hard-line anti-social-safety-net Republicans and didn’t even bother pretending to put a hard-line pro-Social-Security-and-Medicare Democrat on the other side.)

    In fact, it was obvious by mid-2009 that the Republicans weren’t working in good faith, and weren’t planning to start, and yet Obama wasted chance after chance by pretending that the success of any sort of left-wing policy lay in “bipartisanship”. He and his apologists — of whom you and a few others on this board seem to be — repeatedly claimed that he couldn’t do things by presidential fiat, but the invasion of Libya showed that Obama was fully willing to override Constitutional limitations on Presidential power when it suited him; oddly enough it has never suited him to do so in the name of actually making the country a better place (say by simply ordering D.A.D.T. enforcement to stop). The only way he has used his “Constitutional Scholar” abilities is in making up ever-more-convoluted excuses for why he can’t use his authority to do positive things the way he does with negative ones.

    (It’s worth noting, as well, that the reason the Republicans went batshit insane in 2009 is that they observed that the Democrats did not punish them for getting more and more extreme. Every Republican move to disrupt and destroy things was met with the Democrats caving in to their minority demands and trying even harder to give the Republicans extra power in the name of “bipartisanship”. Not once did this ever result in Republican support of a Democratic measure — just for example, all the pandering to the right with the health care “reform” stuff, which resulted in the useless A.C.A., got them no Republican votes whatsoever; every single Republican Senator voted against it, and every single Republican in the House voted against the reconciliation bill with the Senate version. Even if I believed that this idiotic and dangerous tactic was not done deliberately, this alone would be a sufficient excuse to cease trusting the Democrats, because it would signify that the Democrats are so utterly unable to judge when other people are acting in bad faith that they cannot be trusted with control of the government.)

    On every score, the Democrats have either been complicit in screwing up America (Open-ended AUMF against “terrorists” in 2001? There were actually more Republican Congress members than Democratic ones who opposed it. The U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act? An overwhelming majority of Democrats voted for it — only 1 Democratic Senator actually voted against it, out of 45. Repeal of Glass-Steagal? Clinton signed that one into law, and it was supported by Democratic Representatives if not Senators. “Signing Statements” on laws? Obama was still doing that, last I checked. Torture? Still doing it; Obama “needs Congressional approval” to close Gitmo, but was willing to let the prisoners stew for 2 years when he had a majority to approve of closing it in order to make sure he wouldn’t have to do it. Bush-era violations of civil rights? Actually stepping up further under Obama, as demonstrated by the revelations and subsequent treatment of Assange, Manning, and Snowden.) or have offered up a second-rate right-wing-but-not-quite-as-extreme-as-the-Republicans “better”option without even trying to fight for anything better. (Even if you accept that the impulse to health care “reform” was genuine — which it wasn’t — why did Obama give not one single speech in favor of a public option before deciding to scuttle it, and why were all the decisions made behind closed doors when we were promised a fully publicized debate? The drone bombing campaigns are admitted by the government, now, to create more terrorists than they can possibly be killing, but we continue to bomb — why?) Not once in the last decade have I seen a Democrat take an extreme progressive position in order to bargain downwards; the only time they take progressive positions in the slightest way is when “progressive” is relative to demonstrably outdated attitudes. (Gay marriage? No Democrats fighting for it until over 50% of the population was actively in favor of it. Heck, I saw a poll a couple of days back that said more than 50% of the country now thinks we should abandon the A.C.A. and just do single-payer, Medicare-for-all-style insurance. Where’s the national-level Democrat willing to stand up and suggest that? Of course, it would mean admitting that the A.C.A. wasn’t even a good compromise, but I assure you that if I actually saw my Congress members doing that I’d be their enthusiastic supporter, regardless of party, for the rest of their careers.)

    The only thing that’s better about the Democrats is that they pretend they’re reluctant to do harmful things. We can’t even realistically pretend, any more, that the Democrats are “smarter” than Republicans. (Remember that? Obama said he wasn’t necessarily against wars, but he was against “stupid wars” like Iraq? But he tried to prolong the Iraq war, has been committing acts of war against a whole slew of other countries, and tried very hard to get us into Syria.) What can be said is that the Democrats will pretend the Republicans are forcing them to do bad things against their will. Occam’s Razor says this is not true, but even if it were, it means that Democrats are dangerously foolish, to an extent where it becomes indistinguishable from evil.

    @#31, screechymonkey:

    For a long time, the Christian Right in particular was annoyed at being (they felt) taken for granted by Republican leaders. They’ve been complaining about RINOs since before that term was invented. But they never deserted the Republican Party, because they knew that was the only vehicle by which they could plausible make anything happen, and they knew that even a so-called RINO was better for their goals than a Democrat. There was never any serious attempt to make the Tea Party an actual political party, just to take over an existing one.

    And they’ve done it, by showing up at primaries for midterm elections and nominating the most right-wing candidate who they think might be able to win. And then, with rare exceptions (the Alaska senate race comes to mind), they don’t go third party even if they’re unhappy with the nominee, but show up in the general election and vote for the Republican.

    Actually, you are kind of proving my point. The radical right took an extreme position and threatened not to vote if they didn’t get what they wanted. Every time the Republicans gave them anything, the response was “okay, that’s now expected, give us more”. And they got what they wanted, in spades. The Republican party is now the province of batshit-insane radical right-wingers. They’re willing to shut down the government — a move which has been shown in the past to be political suicide — because they know their base won’t accept anything else.

    You, and the other Democratic partisans on this board, look at that and say “the lesson is to always be faithful to the party” even though the actual behavior is quite the opposite. The radical right has been successful by constantly demanding more, walking out when they don’t get it, and being vocal. But you counsel me to sit down, shut up, and give the only-marginally-less-right-wing Democrats my votes, even though I get no quid for my quo. Why should I? The result is the same: whether it’s Democrats caving in to the Republicans or just Republicans dominating the Democrats, we get more war, and less civil liberties, more prisons and less schools, more bank bailouts and less Social Security.

    You guys have it exactly backwards, in fact: you think that we, the voters, exist to support the parties, rather than the parties existing to do things for us. We shouldn’t be supporting a party in the vague hope that someday, maybe, if we’re very, very lucky, it might possibly take a stance we don’t actually dislike, because actual support is obviously impossible. The party should be doing things we support in order to entice us to vote for it. Until the Democrats — including their patsy partisans, like you — learn that, I don’t see any reason whatsoever to vote for them.

  40. consciousness razor says

    The Vicar, #50:

    I am saying: I get nothing I want, not a single thing, from the national-level Democrats.

    Then you don’t want the right things.

    Gay marriage? No Democrats fighting for it until over 50% of the population was actively in favor of it.

    A figure you pulled out of your ass, yet Republicans aggressively fight against it (and numerous other issues). So even when it is “something you want” (that’s implicitly your claim, at least), you find ways to pretend it doesn’t count.

    And I don’t know how you square it with this sentiment, also pulled from your ass:

    You guys have it exactly backwards, in fact: you think that we, the voters, exist to support the parties, rather than the parties existing to do things for us.

    Do you want democratically-elected officials to do the right things even when it isn’t supported by the populace, or to do popular things? Or if that’s no real dilemma, can they do the right things democratically by trying to make the system better in small ways, piece by piece, over the long run?

    And why not complain about the population itself? Why is this all about politicians and not the society which make them what they are? Why isn’t that a part of your solution, rather than simply not voting (or voting third party or for a Republican)?

    Until the Democrats — including their patsy partisans, like you — learn that, I don’t see any reason whatsoever to vote for them.

    Despite your ranting, they are better than their counterparts. That’s the reason you ought to vote for them. They’re not doing exactly what you want just the way you want it to be done (or the way I want it for that matter), but just being better is sufficient.

    If some more progressive third-party candidate comes along and stands a chance of winning, that’s fantastic. You should vote for them instead. Or actually do something to make the Democrats better than they are. Just refusing to vote accomplishes jack shit.

  41. screechymonkey says

    The Vicar @50:

    The radical right took an extreme position and threatened not to vote if they didn’t get what they wanted

    No, they didn’t, and that’s the opposite of what I said. The Right kept showing up to vote. They held their noses and voted for (in their view) “moderate sellouts” like McCain and Romney, if the alternative was a Democrat. Hardly any of them wasted their votes on third-party “pure” conservatives like Pat Buchanan or Gary Bauer.

    Their threat wasn’t “we’ll stop voting for you, and let the Democrats win,” it was “we’ll vote for any conservative who runs a primary challenge against you.”

    But whatever. I believe you when you say that you don’t care whether Republicans or Democrats are in control, because all you care about is basking in your own smug self-righteousness. So have fun with that.

  42. consciousness razor says

    No, they didn’t, and that’s the opposite of what I said. The Right kept showing up to vote. They held their noses and voted for (in their view) “moderate sellouts” like McCain and Romney, if the alternative was a Democrat. Hardly any of them wasted their votes on third-party “pure” conservatives like Pat Buchanan or Gary Bauer.

    Gerrymandering has also helped them tremendously. There aren’t as many races as there used to be where there’s much of a contest between a Democrat and a Republican. So it comes down to primaries, and because centrism makes for such a fucking incoherent (and frankly boring) mess of a platform, that has tended to turn the right into the far-right.

    That doesn’t mean Democrats should do the same shit to get ourselves some “far-leftists.” Being in some “extreme” corner or another of leftist politics isn’t itself a good thing. But we can try to reverse gerrymandering to start with, and we can sway more and more of the population to our side, to actually get involved and understand the issues, before they find themselves in a voting booth where they’ll have some fairly progressive candidates to pick from.

  43. unclefrogy says

    all this talk about “the government” and the ‘democratic party” and the “republican party” sounds as if they are something that stands by itself exists as some kind of thing an entity with a separate existence from the people who make it up.

    it is all just people nothing more or nothing less.
    There was a time when I did not vote or even watch the news on TV or listen to it on the radio let alone read about what was going on. I was content to let someone else do that but I did not complain either I just did not see anything I could do would do anything so I didn’t.
    I still do not know if my voting does any good or not but I vote, a make a choice out of what there is, It is my statement I say this, I pick him or her.
    I might do more some time it is the “only game in town”
    so I will pay a part in it.

    uncle frogy

  44. lpetrich says

    It would be nice to have something like proportional representation — it would encourage a more sensible set of parties.

    I’ve been voting yellow-dog Democrat not because I am one, but because the Democratic Party has distinguished itself as the lesser of the two major evils. Remember Ralph Nader in 2000? I would not be surprised if the Republicans had run a covert operation to help him.

  45. Nick Gotts says

    unclefrogy@54,

    all this talk about “the government” and the ‘democratic party” and the “republican party” sounds as if they are something that stands by itself exists as some kind of thing an entity with a separate existence from the people who make it up.

    They are: they exist physically as buildings, furniture, computers, printers, telephones, fax machines, videos, legal documents, records of membership and policy positions, funds in the form of cash and records in the computers belonging to banks… These things embody their legal, political, social, historical and cultural existence.

    it is all just people nothing more or nothing less.

    No, it isn’t. This is an expression of methodological individualism, which is, quite simply, wrong. People’s behaviour is both enabled and constrained by their physical and social environment.

  46. Anri says

    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) @ 50:

    I am saying: I get nothing I want, not a single thing, from the national-level Democrats. So to me, there is no functional difference between voting for a Democrat (and getting nothing I want) and voting for a Republican (and getting nothing I want).

    One of these groups is trying to defund has successfully defunded WIC.
    The other is trying – however ineptly – to preserve it.

    Please feel free to traipse on off to Hell for not thinking that’s worth fighting for.

    On the other hand, thank you for telling me what your opinion is worth.

  47. says

    “The nearest polling station is miles away.”

    Most polling stations are relatively local, and many states have provisions for early voting or absentee voting. This is mostly an issue in rural areas.

    Or in any area where Republicans have deliberately moved the polling station to a less convenient location, like in Boone, North Carolina.

  48. says

    Writing for The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen neatly summarized the shut-down-the-government fiasco:

    * The House and Senate already agree on spending levels.

    * The Senate passed a spending bill that enjoys bipartisan support in the House.

    * If the House passed the Senate bill, the shutdown would be over.

    * House Republican leaders won’t allow a vote on the Senate bill because they say an unrelated law, the Affordable Care Act, is hurting the economy.

    * The Affordable Care Act, as has been proven many times, is not hurting the economy.

  49. says

    “He could poison a basket of kittens … in front of another basket of kittens, he cannot be defeated!” John Oliver talking about Republican congress critters who voted to force a government shut down — in reference to “turbo Republican” gerrymandered electoral districts.

  50. says

    Another aspect of the shut down: the EPA takes a big hit:

    A full 94 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 16,204 have been furloughed for the duration of the government shutdown, impeding the agency’s ability to regulate pollution, monitor air and water quality and clean up Superfund sites. It could also, as the Guardian reports, prevent them from enforcing those new CO2 standards for coal-fired power plants. …

    Republicans are overjoyed by this lack of regulation. I guess they won’t be passing one of their piecemeal bills to fund the EPA during the shut down.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/03/fox_news_republicans_overjoyed_that_the_epas_been_shut_down/

  51. says

    Mother Jones posted an article listing 30 ways the shutdown is already screwing people.

    Excerpt below:

    Kids with cancer …

    Head Start kids …

    Pregnant women …

    Babies: 2,000 newborn babies won’t receive baby formula in Arkansas, due to those WIC cuts.

    People who help pregnant women and babies …

    Whales …

    63-year-old Jo Elliott-Blakeslee: The shutdown of Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho has complicated the search for a woman who went missing in the park.

    Military suicide prevention …

    Firefighters: The Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office in Colorado says its ability to respond to a fire is “severely limited.”

    Firefighter widows: Heidi Adams, whose husband, Token, was killed investigating a fire in New Mexico last month, won’t receive survivor benefits because there’s no one at the National Forest Service to finalize the paperwork.

    Fishermen …

    Domestic-violence centers …

    People who eat food: Eight thousand employees at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention were furloughed, including those tasked with monitoring the outbreak of foodborne illnesses. …

    Animal-semen exporters …

    College students: Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and federal work study programs are officially on ice, as of Tuesday. …

    Park rangers: 686 of Alaska’s 750 National Park Service employees are staying home. …

    Poor Louisianans: The state Commodities Supplemental Food Program, which serves 64,000 people each month, doesn’t have the funds to operate. …

    Meningitis researchers: A University of Hawaii research facility shut down.

    Newt Gingrich: The former speaker of the House decried the closure of a “tour bus turnaround” at Mt. Vernon …

    Native Americans: The Department of Health and Human Services cut off funding to the Urban Indian Health Programs, which offer dental treatment, primary care access, and substance abuse programs.

    Football players: All athletic activities at service academies have been postponed, including Saturday’s Navy-Air Force football game.

    Goats: 50 Nubian goats, tasked with eating poison ivy at a New Jersey historical site, were furloughed. …

  52. says

    An older white male southern Republican is glad that the government shutdown didn’t stop him from signing up for Obamacare:

    Sy Mukherjee talked to an Arkansas man yesterday who offered a perspective that ought to terrify Republicans.

    Butch Matthews is a 61-year-old former small business owner from Little Rock, Arkansas who used to wake up every morning at 4 A.M. to deliver canned beverages to retailers before retiring in 2010. A lifelong Republican, he was heavily skeptical of the Affordable Care Act when it first passed. “I did not think that Obamacare was going to be a good plan, I did not think that it was going to help me at all,” he told ThinkProgress over the phone.

    But after doing a little research, Matthews eventually realized how much the law could help him. And on Tuesday, his local Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) provider confirmed that he would be able to buy a far better plan than his current policy while saving at least $13,000 per year through Arkansas’ Obamacare marketplace.

    Matthews assumed he wouldn’t like the Affordable Care Act, but he also didn’t like his current plan, the price of which kept climbing while covering fewer costs.

    So he got the facts on his own, signed up through an exchange, and is poised to save an enormous amount of money.

    Matthews told Mukherjee he would encourage other Obamacare skeptics to “learn more about it before they start talking bad about it.” He added, “I still am a very strong Republican, but this … I’m so happy that this came along…. [T]his is going to be a great help for us.”

    It would appear, then, that Butch Matthews is the Republican Party’s worst nightmare. …

    Maddow Blog link.

  53. says

    The shutdown makes us look bad in the eyes of other democratic countries, and hampers implementation of our foreign policy:


    Joyce Karam who writes for Al-Hayat (an Arabic newspaper based in London): “The whole concept is little surreal for our readers, trying to understand why the No. 1 country in the world cannot pass a budget. I come from Lebanon and our parliament is very ineffective, but ludicrous as it sounds, it is better than U.S. Congress when it comes to passing budgets.”

    The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s Anders Tvegard added, “It’s to us Norwegians hard to understand that it can be happening in one of the most influential countries in the world that you can have such a dysfunctional government. It is kind of joke or disbelief. We laugh about it. How is it possible at all? Why would they do that?”…

    … Anne Applebaum reported yesterday from Warsaw.

    From my perch overseas, I’ve also been watching the run-up to the government shutdown in Washington. At times, I have tried to explain it to bemused foreigners. Many of them think, mistakenly, that Americans are having an argument about the budget or the deficit. I have to put them straight: This is an attempt by one part of the U.S. political system to use the budgetary process to stop the implementation of a single law, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). If my interlocutors come from democratic countries, they then look puzzled.

    The United States can either be a 21st-century superpower or it can tolerate Republicans abandoning the governing process and subjecting Americans to a series of self-imposed extortion crises.

    Link.

  54. says

    Republicans have a new explanation for the shutdown — hey, it’s not about Obamacare after all! Say what?

    If Ted Cruz is making John Boehner dance like a marionette, then Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., is the guy helping Cruz keep the strings untangled.

    He’s [Mark Meadows, Republican representative] the author of the House’s version of the famous letter insisting that Republicans make funding the government contingent upon gutting Obamacare. He didn’t, and won’t get Obamacare defunded. But the signatories to that letter are a decent proxy for the group of hard-line Republicans who are holding Boehner’s speakership over his head and thus making the country ungovernable. [Also a major source for Ted Cruz's ridiculous non-filibuster that recruited Dr. Seuss for the anti-Obamacare campaign.]

    So it was a big surprise when he told reporters on Tuesday that, really, the government shutdown has nothing to do with Obamacare.

    “This fight now has become about veterans and about national guard folks that perhaps — reservists that are not getting paid,” he said. “That’s where the fight is today. Obamacare is mandatory spending that’s going on.”…

    Uh, yeah. So you dolts failed to halt the implementation of Obamacare. Quick, change your story before someone notices.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/03/republicans_government_shutdown_bamboozlement_is_working/

  55. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Lynna 64,

    Football players: All athletic activities at service academies have been postponed, including Saturday’s Navy-Air Force football game.

    Good news for those football players: the game is back on.

    So nice to know that we have our priorities straight….

  56. says

    Poor people have been shoved into panic mode by the government shutdown. Poor people walk a tightrope every day as it is, just to secure food and housing. Some Republicans have admitted, in public and for the record, that they are unfamiliar with some of the programs their shutdown shut down. Inexcusable ignorance.

    “The lives of low-income and working families don’t stop because those guys take time off, you know, in a pissing contest basically,” said Diana Spatz, who founded and directs the Oakland non-profit Low-Income Families’ Empowerment through Education (LIFETIME). Spatz warned of “a large risk of putting more families into homelessness, because they’re already on such thin margins.” …

    “More people are calling us for help…” said Spatz … “Where can they get emergency batches of food?” Further, she told Salon, “If Head Start shuts down, you can’t go to work, you can’t go to school, you’re at risk then of being sanctioned for not doing your welfare-to-work hours.”

    With WIC, said Spatz, “you get to buy a bunch of milk. For folks not to have that, it’s going to make it impossible for them to feed their kids.” When kids face “disruption in their basic needs,” she told Salon, “you always see more kids getting ill, you see more people in the hospital, you see more children missing schools because they can’t pay attention in school because they’re hungry. You know, we just had a kid crying in our office, talking about how, ‘we run out of food stamps by the third week in every month.’” …

    Asked Tuesday about the shutdown’s impact on WIC, Congressman John Campbell (R-California) told Salon, “Obviously there are literally thousands of federal programs and thousands of federal issues like this, and I can’t tell you I’m familiar with the specific impacts of this on all of them.” The Congressman framed the shutdown as an effort to force Democrats to compromise, and to protect constituents from the Affordable Care Act. “This isn’t just about what effect the government shutdown is having,” said Campbell, “it’s also about what effect Obamacare is having.”

    Spatz said that Obamacare had made it possible for her to receive better mental health services for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and for her daughter who has a pre-existing condition to stay on Spatz’s health insurance plan.. …

  57. says

    Good news for those football players: the game is back on.

    So nice to know that we have our priorities straight….

    Exactly. Let’s take whatever emergency action is necessary to make sure football games are not interrupted.

    Hungry babies and children? Not a problem.

  58. says

    How the ultra right wing doofuses pulled off the shutdown, and how they are organizing the messaging and strategy around the shutdown (messaging and strategy that reveals they are also ultra bad at this):

    Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, mascots of the ongoing conservative-driven fight against Obamacare, on Monday floated the idea of passing tightly-targeted budget bills that would keep only certain government programs running. …

    The apparent mind meld is no coincidence.

    House and Senate conservatives have formed a caucus all their own, separate and apart from moderate Republicans and their own GOP leaders. Their meetings, held in person and over the phone, have helped the relatively small band of lawmakers maintain a united front and outsize influence in a budget debate that led to a government shutdown. …

    The private pow-wows have enabled conservative lawmakers to coalesce around some of the hallmark proposals of the government-funding fight, including the notion that they could fund government programs one at a time.

    “We talked about that in those meetings. ‘Let’s fund the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs), let’s fund the national parks,’” said Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C….

    On a conference call last week, Cruz and Lee urged House conservatives to defeat the plans of House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team …

    Cruz confirmed to the Washington Examiner at the time that he’d been talking with House conservatives “throughout the process” of the budget debate. … Boehner was little more than a “puppet with Ted Cruz pulling the strings.”

    The meetings aren’t convened strictly for policy discussions, but also double as strategy sessions …

    House and Senate conservative lawmakers are not the only ones coordinating, either. A non-government email listserv organized by Cruz’s staff, called “We Win, They Lose,” has been a hive of activity before and during the government shutdown.

    Members of the group have engaged in more than 100 email threads during the government funding debate, featuring discussions about legislation and messaging among Tea Party leaders, advocacy groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, conservative media, and like-minded senior staff in the House and Senate.

    One thread focused on a dispute over whether to call the government closing “Obama’s shutdown” or “Harry Reid’s shutdown.” They settled on the senate majority leader, and Cruz started using “Harry Reid’s Shutdown” as a Twitter hashtag….

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/house-and-senate-conservatives-unite-against-everyone-else/article/2536751

  59. says

    The outside groups don’t always move votes directly but they create an atmosphere of fear among the members. And so many of these members now live in the conservative world of talk radio and tea party conventions and Fox News invitations. And so the conservative strategy of the moment, no matter how unrealistic it might be, catches fire. The members begin to believe they can achieve things in divided government that most objective observers would believe is impossible. Leaders are dealing with these expectations that wouldn’t exist in a normal environment.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/01/why-boehner-doesnt-just-ditch-the-right/

  60. says

    Ogvorbis would laugh (bitterly perhaps) at this bit of Republican theater surrounding the shutdown:

    Anyone want to see something truly disgusting? Here’s Texas congressman Randy Neugebauer, a Republican who supports the shutdown, telling a park ranger, as news cameras roll, that she should be “ashamed” for keeping tourists out of the World War II memorial. As if it were her call. As if she was responsible for shutting down the government. Bravo for speaking truth to power, Randy Neugebauer. You’re a big man.

    Scroll down for stomach-churning video of Neugebauer berating a park ranger:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/10/government-shutdown-live-blog-updates-thursday.html#1025

  61. Ogvorbis: Heading down the Failure Road. Again. says

    Ogvorbis would laugh (bitterly perhaps) at this bit of Republican theater

    Back during the Gingrich shutdown, the GOP governor of Arizona decided that the state wold open Grand Canyon National Park and operate it since the fed wouldn’t. They got slapped down.

    Yeah, I feel for her. Having a politician in your face as you do your job can be tough. Been there at a forest fire. Not fun.

  62. says

    I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for more lies to emerge from the rapid right now that people without insurance can actually sign up for Obamacare. What tales of woe will they pull out of their asses to scare or misinform the public? Infowars stepped up to the plate with a big scary lie. This is the website that features the ravings of rabid right-winger, Alex Jones, and for other doofuses that also write for prisonplanet.com, which is currently advising all of us to “prepare to be put in a FEMA camp.”

    Here’s a lie that lines up nicely with one of their former conspiracy theories:

    … I have a preexisting condition (Type 1 Diabetes) and my income base was 45K-55K annually I chose tier 2 ‘Silver Plan’ and my monthly premiums came out to $597.00 with $13,988 yearly deductible!!! There is NO POSSIBLE way that I can afford this so I ‘opt-out’ and chose to continue along with no insurance.

    I received an email tonight at 5:00 P.M. informing me that my fine would be $4,037 and could be attached to my yearly income tax return. Then you make it to the ‘REPERCUSSIONS PORTION’ for ‘non-payment’ of yearly fine. First, your drivers license will be suspended until paid, and if you go 24 consecutive months with ‘Non-Payment’ and you happen to be a home owner, you will have a federal tax lien placed on your home….

    Infowars article is by Paul Joseph Watson.

    Uh, no, That’s not right. That’s a lie, and an elaborate one at that.

    The Affordable Care Act itself states that the IRS cannot file a lien on a property because an uninsured person fails to pay a penalty. Nor can it seize bank accounts or garnish paychecks to recover Obamacare fines. Nor will Americans who refuse to pay for mandatory health insurance be subject to criminal prosecution of any kind.

    World Nut Daily is propagating the same lie.

  63. says

    Yeah, I feel for her. Having a politician in your face as you do your job can be tough. Been there at a forest fire. Not fun.

    I can imagine. What an asshole that guy was, wearing his I’m-an-asshole-and-an-ignorant-blowhard face as he berated a female park ranger. The park ranger was admirably calm.

  64. Pteryxx says

    and to make it perfectly clear what shutting down the government, furloughing thousands, cutting off food and services to millions, is really all about:

    “We aren’t going to be disrespected,” said Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.“

    http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/10/02/whats-the-fight-about-republicans-struggle-to-explain/

    and

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/gop-stands-firm-against-funding-bill-will-link-to-debt-ceiling-fight/article/2536750

    It doesn’t matter what the specific excuse is. It never does. These GOP obstructionists want nothing but dominance, dominance that will never be sufficient, like any other petty bully or abuser.

  65. Ogvorbis: Heading down the Failure Road. Again. says

    The park ranger was admirably calm.

    One of the nice things about wearing the NPS uniform is that my options, the options of any uniformed NPS employee, are constrained. There are many things that I, had I been in that position, would have loved to say but I have to remain professional. Which means firm, polite, and legal. Actually makes it a lot easier to remain calm.

  66. says

    I’ve been voting yellow-dog Democrat not because I am one, but because the Democratic Party has distinguished itself as the lesser of the two major evils. Remember Ralph Nader in 2000? I would not be surprised if the Republicans had run a covert operation to help him.

    Nader’s the one who received fewer votes from democrats than Bush, right?

  67. Pteryxx says

    National Parks Remain Closed, Yet House Republicans Move To Sell Off 3.3 Million Acres Of Public Lands

    But the fact that the government and parks are closed hasn’t stopped Congress from holding hearings, including one Thursday in the House Natural Resources Committee on a bill that would force a fire sale of 3.3 million acres of public lands.

    The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2013 (H.R. 2657) from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would mandate that public lands Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming to be sold off to the highest bidder as a way of reducing the deficit. The areas to be sold are based on an outdated report from 1997, although the bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to “update” that report.

  68. says

    Pteryxx @78:

    These GOP obstructionists want nothing but dominance, dominance that will never be sufficient, like any other petty bully or abuser.

    Exactly. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell were caught talking strategy on a hot mic today:

    Paul: “I just did CNN and I just go over and over again, ‘We’re willing to compromise. ‘We’re willing to negotiate.’ I think, I don’t think [Democrats] poll tested ‘we won’t negotiate.’ I think it’s awful for them to say that over and over again.”

    McConnell: “Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two-hour meeting with them and that was, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publically.”

    Paul: “I think if we keep saying, ‘We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and now we’re willing to compromise on this’, I think they can’t, we’re gonna, I think, well I know we don’t want to be here, but we’re gonna win this, I think.”


    Let’s unpack this a bit.

    First, to hear Paul tell it, this fight ultimately boils down to talking points. If Republicans stick to the phrases Paul likes, maybe they’ll “win this.” Whether those talking points are coherent or accurate apparently doesn’t much matter.

    Second, and probably more amusing, is McConnell complaining that Democrats are saying in private what they’re saying in public. Well, sure, of course they are.

    Republicans may be so caught up in their own nonsense that they’ve lost sight of the basics, but when it comes to their government shutdown, there’s nothing left to “negotiate” — both sides already agree on identical spending levels. The government’s closed, not because Democrats are stubborn, but because Republicans insist on trying to gut the Affordable Care Act.

    McConnell and Paul may not understand this, but when they say they’re “willing to compromise,” they’re referring to an inherently ridiculous posture — they want to take away health care benefits from millions of Americans, but they’ll settle for taking health care benefits from fewer Americans.

    See how reasonable they are?

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/10/03/20805052-paul-caught-on-hot-mic-were-gonna-win-this-i-think

  69. says

    U.S. Capital police have been wounded in a gun battle. Shots fired (10-15 shots), government offices on lockdown.

    I wonder if this attack was triggered by the shutdown?

  70. says

    It was a woman who fired shots in Washington D.C. First, she rammed a gate, there was a car chase, she fired shots when she got out of the car. She was wounded, and then apprehended. She had a child in the car with her.

  71. Pteryxx says

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/10/03/2726601/government-shutdown-native-americans/

    Individual tribes show how the pain is already playing out. The Crow Tribe in Montana has furloughed 300 workers due to both the shutdown and past budget cuts. This has meant that “home health care for the elderly and disabled, bus service for rural areas, and a major irrigation project were suspended indefinitely,” Brown reports. For the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, it means that money to help low-income members pay for heating won’t be distributed in the fall and general assistance has been cut.

    Given that many Native American programs rely heavily on federal funds, they are often the first to feel the blow of any disruption. Schools on Native American reservations were among the first to be impacted by sequestration when it went into effect in March. Those cuts have meant that schools on or near reservations and military bases, which receive Impact Aid as a large portion of their budgets, have had to make devastating decisions. Of 83 schools surveyed, 31 cut staff, seven cut course offerings, and eight eliminated extra-curricular activities.

    More:

    http://www.abqjournal.com/274035/news/nm-news/federal-government-shutdown-hits-indian-tribes-hard.html

  72. says

    McConnell: “Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two-hour meeting with them and that was, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publically.”

    Silly Democrats, beings honest about what they really think. If only they were as smart as Republicans, they’d know that rampant dishonesty is the way to win political battles.

  73. says

    I suppose everyone has heard by now that the woman who tried to drive a car past barriers in two locations today was unarmed. She is dead, shot by law enforcement, but no one is reporting which law enforcement agency is responsible for the shooting. The point was made that she was using her car as a weapon.

    Two officers were injured, but will recover, according to the press conference.

    A child approximately one year old was rescued from the car and is now in protective custody.

    I regret posting preliminary and inaccurate information. Sorry.

    Pteryxx, I was on Crow Nation lands in Montana recently. The tribe does rely on quite a bit of assistance from the federal government. I have no idea how they will get by without it. Cold weather alone is going to cause suffering there.

  74. says

    @#51, consciousness razor

    Then you don’t want the right things.

    I already gave you a list of the things I wanted. I wanted prosecutions of criminals who destroyed the economy (which, incidentally, would probably have helped correct the economy and acted as an impetus to prevent it from happening again, which is already being set in motion by the continued lack of regulation), an end to military operations which kill vast numbers of people while simultaneously waste huge amounts of money, healthcare reform which would actually help make every insured (no exemptions for employees of big companies like McDonalds, which Obama personally insisted had to be included in the A.C.A.), no cuts to Social Security or Medicare, an end to the incursions on civil liberties (did you notice yesterday that the N.S.A. has admitted that P.R.I.S.M. hasn’t actually been helping stop terrorism to any great degree? In other words: the Obama Administration has, at best, naively been parroting the lies of the N.S.A. without investigation, and more likely has knowingly lied to protect a program which violates the privacy of every single person on the planet who has an Internet connection), and for politicians who want my vote to actively seek to push programs which are good for the public, rather than passively defend existing programs.

    You say these are the wrong things.

    Not only does that provide an example of why I think Democratic apologists are just awful, evil people, but your response made me so angry that, were you here with me, I would probably have physically assaulted you for being such a horrible person.

    It’s kind of interesting to note that you don’t respond to any of my examples of the Democrats actively pursuing right-wing goals; like most Democratic apologists, you are apparently totally unconcerned with problems which are life-and-death to millions, and fall back on Culture-War issues. Thousands die because we’re at war? Ain’t no nevermind to you. Billions of people have their privacy violated on a routine basis? Eh, shit happens. Criminals who throw millions into poverty by collapsing the economy are rewarded by not only a lack of prosecution but being elevated to unelected advisory positions in the government? Not a problem. But let someone accuse Obama of obstructing an end to D.A.D.T.? That gets you riled.

    You know, I’ve asked a lot of left-leaning people (Democrats or not) this question, and every single one has answered the same way, but maybe you’ll be different: if you could choose between having Obama order the investigation and prosecution of the various financial folks who crashed the economy, or having the Obama defend gay marriage, which would you choose? Every single person, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, has answered that they would prefer the former. Usually without any sort of hesitation or qualification. They respond similarly if the first option is “prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes over Iraq”, or “push for single-payer health insurance”.

    Of course, it’s kind of moot, since Obama refused to do any of the more popular options, and dragged his heels on the other — the Democrats not only don’t give us practical action, they also usually spectacularly fail to do anything on the “Culture Wars” front — but maybe he was playing to his base. You seem to be one of those lucky people who are getting what you want from the Democrats, so tell me: how would you answer that question?

    A figure you pulled out of your ass

    Not so; we heard not one peep from Obama/Biden about gay marriage until the national polls slipped up to 54% approval, and Democrats in Congress waited even longer, as cartoonist Matt Bors noted at the time. No leadership to open a discussion about it before then, no attempts to argue with the undecided. If only Obama had taken as active a stance on that issue has he has on trying to start a war with Syria! Imagine if John Kerry had been rushing from politician to politician to shore up support for that — or even (although this is clearly impossible) to muster support for the overwhelmingly popular prosecution of the heads of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks?

    Do you want democratically-elected officials to do the right things even when it isn’t supported by the populace, or to do popular things? Or if that’s no real dilemma, can they do the right things democratically by trying to make the system better in small ways, piece by piece, over the long run?

    Our elected leaders do things — at least in theory — other than pass and enforce legislation. In fact, Obama was originally elected on the strength of his reputation as an orator and “communicator” (remember all those Reagan comparisons? That was a sign of what he actually was, right there, come to think of it…).

    On most one-way-or-the-other issues, the American public can be divided into 3 groups: those who agree with one side already, those who agree with the other side already, and those who are undecided. It is part of the job of being a leader to attempt to convince the undecided people to support one side or another if there is a sound argument to support it. So, for example, there is a very sound argument in favor of single-payer health insurance: it would cost less, overall, while providing (on average) better care. There’s plenty of evidence, because there are lots of countries which already have single-payer for comparison. Obama never even tried to convince people, in fact he actively sabotaged it by shutting down the (few) Congress members who were interested in talking about it. This same pattern — Obama being totally passive (or even actively malignant) and publicly silent — has been repeated again and again and again. The other Democrats are largely the same. (Al Franken is one of the few Democratic Congress members who actually try to push for thing. My hat is off to him for the things he has accomplished that way, but he still follows the party line when it comes to more destructive or wasteful — which is usually more important — policy.)

    And why not complain about the population itself? Why is this all about politicians and not the society which make them what they are? Why isn’t that a part of your solution, rather than simply not voting (or voting third party or for a Republican)?

    I tried doing that kind of stuff, back in 2008. I don’t claim credit for helping to elect Obama or the Democratic majority in Congress, being a single person in a movement which clearly had enough momentum without me, but I feel we can judge how effective the “let’s support Democrats purely on the basis of party affiliation and get them into power first, and then ask them to do stuff” strategy. The result was: two years of using “bipartisanship” and “we’re too busy with health care ‘reform’ to do anything else” as excuses to avoid doing anything, followed by (at this point) 3 years of using “we no longer have an absolutely crushing majority so we can’t even twiddle our thumbs let alone even try to take action on anything” instead.

    (And, remember: “we need an absolutely crushing majority” is only a partially valid excuse; the Democrats have brought this on themselves by deliberately, during 2009 and 2010, handing the Republican minority more and more power the more unreasonable they became. They also had two opportunities to dismantle the supermajority requirement after the Republicans had already demonstrated that they were not working in good faith. If this was deliberate, the Democrats are evil. If this was not deliberate, the incumbent Democrats are so incompetent that they need to be voted out of office A.S.A.P. before they accidentally fall over on The Button while chasing a butterfly and inadvertently cause World War III.)

    The Democratic establishment has lost my trust entirely. I already felt that there was sufficient evidence that they were as bad as the Republicans. Thanks to your reply, I now have evidence that Democratic apologists are actively evil as well. I’m not going to vote Democratic again until they first demonstrate that they are worth trusting again. Trust, famously, is earned, and they don’t have any, and they don’t even seem interested in trying to earn any. I’m voting for Greens, when they’re available. The Democrats we have — and their apologists — can go pound sand.

    @#54, unclefrogy

    all this talk about “the government” and the ‘democratic party” and the “republican party” sounds as if they are something that stands by itself exists as some kind of thing an entity with a separate existence from the people who make it up.

    Do you seriously believe that members of Congress, the upper members of the Executive branch, and the upper echelons of the organizations of either party are not a closely-knit group of very rich, very exclusive people? According to Politifact, more than a supermajority of Senators are millionaires, and 2/5 of Representatives are. Many of them have spent their entire careers in politics, which would automatically make them more in sympathy with each other than with any given ordinary citizen. Congress is, in addition to disproportionately rich, disproportionately white, male, old, and Christian (by more than 10% once you add up the Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Orthodox Christians, and by more than 15% if you also include Judaism as a religious “consensus majority”). (Congress members are also vastly disproportionately holders of legal degrees.)

    Tell you what: go to your local Democratic (or even Republican) party rep and suggest that they run some specific person you know who is non-white, young, poor, and non-Christian for the House, Senate, or President. (Heck, volunteer yourself, assuming you qualify!) See what kind of a response you get. (The difference between the parties is that the Republicans will probably just flat-out tell you “we can’t run one of those as a candidate”, whereas the Democrats would probably come up with a plausible lie to avoid admitting that they think the same way.)

    @#57, Anri

    One of these groups is trying to defund has successfully defunded WIC.
    The other is trying – however ineptly – to preserve it.

    Please feel free to traipse on off to Hell for not thinking that’s worth fighting for.

    On the other hand, thank you for telling me what your opinion is worth.

    Where was all your outrage when Obama was trying to cut Social Security and Medicare? Where was your outrage when the Democrats rewarded the Republicans for growing more and more unreasonable 6-7 years ago? This is a problem of the Democrats’ making.

    In fact, let’s be blunt: the Democrats continued to pander to the Republicans even as the Republicans demonstrated over and over that they were not acting in good faith precisely because the Democrats wanted an excuse to move further to the right. Remember Olympia Snowe and the A.C.A.? How, over and over again, things got dropped out because they were trying to get her to vote for it, and then she didn’t? They could quite easily have said “okay, no Republicans are going to vote for this, so let’s just leave all those provisions in” and let the Republicans have to adjust their position. It can’t be possible that nobody in the Democratic party realized what was going on; they can’t all be incredibly stupid — which means that at least some of them must be evil for going along with it.

    This being the case: there are almost certainly Democrats who are overjoyed by the government shutdown, because now they can use “placating the Republicans again” as an excuse to push even further to the right. What’s it going to be? Eliminating WIC entirely? Cuts to Social Security (always, of course, to those not yet in it, since those people vote)? Bombing yet another third-world country which could just possibly afford to send a single representative to the U.S. to toss a rock at the White House if every single citizen helped pay for it? The Republicans will, you may be sure, get something out of this from the Democrats, and the Democrats will — once again — make a big show of how reluctant they are to once again be forced to compromise their principles (although the little jig they will do afterwards will spoil the effect a bit).

    @#80, Rutee Katreya

    Nader’s the one who received fewer votes from democrats than Bush, right?

    Hush! You aren’t allowed to mention that! Only those who vote to the left of the Democrats are responsible for their failures, no matter how outnumbered they are by those who vote to the right.

    Of course, it doesn’t matter. You will never, under any circumstances, get a Democratic apologist to even acknowledge that you mentioned this, let alone debate whether the willingness of Democrats to vote to the right has caused the Democratic party to move rightward, which would obviously justify voting to the left to push the party left. The minute a Democratic apologist reads your post, a couple of highly-specialized neurons fire, simultaneously blocking out the text of your post from their sight and erasing any memories of having read it, leaving only a vague feeling that you are an enemy to be shouted down. It’s a high-level equivalent of “fnord“.

  75. says

    Here’s why we have a hard time predicting what Republicans will do or won’t do when they threaten us with economic pain, and when they hold the nation hostage, (let alone when they will find yet another opportunity to restrict the reproductive rights of women):

    For those keeping score, Boehner started in late 2010 saying he would not cause a deliberate debt-ceiling crisis. In 2011, he reversed course, created a crisis, and did real damage to the nation on purpose. In early 2013, the Speaker reversed course again, saying a debt-ceiling breach simply cannot happen. And then today, Boehner’s spokesperson said the polar opposite, saying Democrats will have to satisfy Republican demands. Indeed, the Speaker’s office specifically said a ransom-free debt-ceiling bill — a measure Boehner himself has supported many times throughout his lengthy congressional career — “cannot pass the House.”

    In other words, since Boehner was slated to become the nation’s most powerful lawmaker, he’s been against, then for, then against, then for holding the debt-ceiling hostage. The Speaker wasn’t going to shoot the hostage, then he was, then wasn’t, then he was again.

    I guess we’ll be better off if we just predict that Republicans will take the most unreasonable course, based on the least accurate information — and just to make things interesting, Republicans will throw up a smokescreen of contradictory promises. Makes one want to cry like a Boehner.

  76. says

    From The New York Review of Books, Jonathan Freedland writes “Shutting Down the World”:


    with the US government shutdown again, there is not just bemusement in capitals across Europe and Asia, but a growing sense of angst. If the current deadlock extends to October 17, and a congressional refusal to raise the debt ceiling triggers a US default, the impact will be instant and international. What for the Tea Party caucus will be a gesture about excessive federal spending, will to the rest of the world be an act of sabotage inflicted on the global economic system.

    Even before things reach that drastic pass, the current display of self-induced paralysis has many asking, If the United States cannot solve its own problems, how can it help solve the world’s? “Is Uncle Sam ready for assisted suicide?” asked one London columnist, unable to believe that the nation still routinely deemed the world’s sole superpower has to send its own government into hibernation because it cannot agree to pay its bills.

    Not that foreign governments are naïve enough to fret that the US military—the hard power that underpins America’s diplomatic muscle—is currently shut down along with the National Parks. Rather, the worry is that US resolve, the country’s ability to act decisively, is dangerously eroding. As Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, puts it, “The government shutdown makes the US look like an unreliable partner. It would be bad enough on its own but when coupled with the vacillations on Syria, it does serious damage to America’s standing as an ally.” …

    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/oct/03/shutting-down-world/

  77. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Here’s a quote from the Salon article you linked to:

    Still, the president often publicly referred to a “balanced approach” and “shared sacrifice.” At a press conference in July 2011, he suggested that, “If you’re a senior citizen, and a modification potentially costs you a hundred or two hundred bucks a year or more,” then you should accept this cut, because “Congress has run up the credit card” paying the mega-banks in the Wall Street bailout and to make up for the economic collapse from the 2008 Wall Street crash.

    But here’s the context where the bulk of those quotes came from:

    I view Social Security and Medicare as the most important social safety nets that we have. I think it is important for them to remain as social insurance programs that give people some certainty and reliability in their golden years.

    So if you look at a balanced package even within the entitlement programs, it turns out that you can save trillions of dollars while maintaining the core integrity of the program.

    If you’re a senior citizen, and a modification potentially costs you a hundred or two hundred bucks a year more, or even if it’s not affecting current beneficiaries, somebody who’s 40 today 20 years from now is going to end up having to pay a little bit more.

    The least I can do is to say that people who are making a million dollars or more have to do something as well. And that’s the kind of tradeoff, that’s the kind of balanced approach and shared sacrifice that I think most Americans agree needs to happen.

    Maybe there’s not enough tinfoil on my head to understand what led the Salon to make the leap that the cuts were part of the deal. Seems a bit yellow to me.

  78. Ichthyic says

    American progressives should be working now to find a credible progressive – or at least, liberal – candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

    start here:

    http://www.pdamerica.org/

    These guys vet all potential candidates and their voting records to judge whether they make good progressive representatives.

    there should have been a real democratic primary in the last election, instead of it just being a re-election campaign.

  79. Ichthyic says

    Do you seriously believe that members of Congress, the upper members of the Executive branch, and the upper echelons of the organizations of either party are not a closely-knit group of very rich, very exclusive people?

    in case that wasn’t just a rhetorical question:

    no.

    but whinging about it isn’t going to do any good either. neither is voting independent just to NOT vote democrat or republican.

    Frankly, I don’t think Americans have the fortitude or the savvy to do what actually needs to be done at this point and eat the damn rich.

    I see America becoming the prototype for a modern world feudalism. Many americans, especially teapartiers, seem to want that when you ask them, though of course they wouldn’t label it as such.

  80. says

    Vicar @92:

    Not only does that provide an example of why I think Democratic apologists are just awful, evil people, but your response made me so angry that, were you here with me, I would probably have physically assaulted you for being such a horrible person.

    This sounds a little too close to a threat, too close to a physical threat. On the Commenting Rules page you will find “You make threats of physical violence or harassment” to be an offense for which one may be banned. See http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/rules/

    I see that you made an effort to soften the threat with “probably,” but in my opinion you stepped over the line and should temper that impulse in the future.

  81. says

    Monitor note

    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) @ 92:

    Not only does that provide an example of why I think Democratic apologists are just awful, evil people, but your response made me so angry that, were you here with me, I would probably have physically assaulted you for being such a horrible person.

    Please remember not to write anything that could be interpreted as a threat or an invitation to self-harm.

    IV. You will be banned from the blog if: You make threats of physical violence or harassment.

    The Rules

    If you are so angry that you thought this response was appropriate, I suggest leaving this thread for a considerable amount of time to cool off and allow reason to prevail. Thank you.

  82. consciousness razor says

    You say these are the wrong things.

    Not only does that provide an example of why I think Democratic apologists are just awful, evil people, but your response made me so angry that, were you here with me, I would probably have physically assaulted you for being such a horrible person.

    For fuck’s sake, no, I wasn’t referring to those things. A little reading comprehension and honesty would go a long way.

    Don’t fucking threaten me again.

    The Democratic establishment has lost my trust entirely. I already felt that there was sufficient evidence that they were as bad as the Republicans. Thanks to your reply, I now have evidence that Democratic apologists are actively evil as well.

    Says the one who issues threats because I said what amounted to “voting for third-party candidates doesn’t usually help.”

    Take your bullshit “evidence” and shove it.

  83. says

    What do Republicans say about the shut down when they face their donors behind closed doors?

    David Freedlander reported yesterday on a recent fundraising event in New York, where Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, fielded questions from wealthy supporters.

    Why, they asked, did the GOP seem so in the thrall of its most extremist wing? The donors, banker types who occupy the upper reaches of Wall Street’s towers, couldn’t understand why the Republican Party — their party — seemed close to threatening the nation with a government shutdown, never mind a default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised later this month.

    “Listen,” Walden said, according to several people present. “We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”

    Maddow Blog link.
    Daily Beast, Freedlander link.

  84. says

    A new poll shows that women are wising up and leaving the Republican Party. Elizabeth Warren’s take on the issue of women’s reproductive rights and the Republicans is the take that everyone is slowly coming to adopt.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/congressional-connection/coverage/women-see-gop-drifting-further-from-them-20131002?mrefid=HomepageRiver

    Of those women who said the Republican Party had moved away from them, nearly three in five, 59 percent, said it was because the GOP had become “too conservative.” Only 33 percent said the party was further from them because it wasn’t conservative enough.

    Again, the results were particularly sharp for college-educated white women—the type of suburban voters that campaigns typically vie heavily to win. Of those college-educated white women who said the Republican Party has moved further from them, 66 percent said it was because it had become “too conservative.”

  85. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Vicar:
    How are you so blind to the fact that the Republican party wants to roll back rights on millions of Americans (women, LGBT, blacks, hispanics, the poor) PLUS they are ‘nothing you want’?
    I have not seen people apologizing for the Democrats. People are saying the Republicans are *worse*.
    In case you hadn’t noticed, the Republicans are the cause of the shutdown, which is deeply, negatively impacting the lives of the people those assholes are supposed to represent.
    But no, you can’t support the party that does *less* harm because they are not your ideal party.

    Oh and that crack you made to cr very much crossed the line and I think you should apologize.

  86. says

    I don’t trust the Democrats for shit.

    Doesn’t mean it’s not worth it to elect them, especially in municipal, county, and state elections.

    Vicar’s posts are too long, I got bored. Yeah yeah, Dems are evil. No doubt. They are, however, LESS evil than Republicans, and I prefer less evil to more evil, especially given that zero evil is not really an option here, Vicar’s protests notwithstanding.

  87. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    The Vicar provides a wonderful illustration of why the left in the US remains so ineffective. Not only is he unable to compromise, he is utterly unable to understand that is why he remains impotent. He just sputters with inchoate rage at being kept down by “the man”. Pathetic.

    Vicar, sweetie, nobody is telling you to fall in love with Obama and the Democrats. All we are saying is that you can either make things better or you can make things worse. Those are the two possibilities. To pretend that because you can’t get exactly what you want that both sides are equally evil is simply infantile.

  88. says

    Salon takes another look at Republican logic, or lack thereof:

    … We know for a fact that the votes exist in the House to reopen the government with a clean appropriation, funded at Republican spending levels, absent any Obamacare concessions. It’s not reopening because some Republicans don’t want to reopen it until they get some Obamacare concessions, and John Boehner thinks he might lose his speakership if he doesn’t satisfy their demands.

    But we also know that Boehner and other Republican leaders never wanted a government shutdown at all. They know a shutdown hurts people and that the political cost to them will likely be severe. But now they’re in it, they don’t think they can embarrass themselves by folding, and so they say a “clean” funding bill isn’t going to happen. It’s a monstrous application of the sunk cost fallacy.

    But the real logic here is perverse. And it’s worse when applied to the debt limit.

    Republicans say shutting down the government is really bad. But they won’t reopen it unless they get some kind of Obamacare scalp from President Obama. So as bad as a shutdown is, it’s worse than the alternative of not shutting down services, furloughing hundreds of thousands of people, but not getting a unilateral concession, even a trivial one, from Obama.

    The only way to rationalize the GOP’s parallel debt limit threats is with the same logic. Defaulting on the debt and tanking the economy would be terrible, Republican leaders agree, but worse would be to avoid another global recession and get nothing from Obama. …

    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/04/yes_republicans_are_using_extortion_theres_no_sense_in_denying_it/

  89. says

    Yet another way in which the government shutdown negatively affects vulnerable women:

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/10/04/2732211/domestic-violence-shutdown/

    … “I run a small, rural domestic violence and rape crisis center in Northern California,” the reader wrote. “We are the only provider of this kind for the entire county and we are supported through funds from the Violence Against Women Act.” This will have severe consequences. “I can tell you with some certainty that many of the rural domestic violence shelters (who don’t have wealthy communities to draw from) will not be operational should the VAWA funding not be rolling down as scheduled.”

    Domestic violence programs have been grappling with severe budget cuts for some time. Even before sequestration, nearly 80 percent of shelters nationwide reported getting less funding from the government, and 43 percent said that lower funding would result in pulling back on services. Sequestration meant a $20 million reduction in funding that was predicted to result in 70,120 fewer victims getting access to recovery programs and shelters. …

  90. says

    Oh, yeah, then there’s the issue of how we threat undocumented immigrants. Conservatives in the business of deporting and/or jailing immigrants are taking advantage of the shutdown to circumvent the appeals process. Basically, they are keeping the deporting and/or jailing forces mostly intact, while decimating the personnel that reviews appeals.

    … While the government shutdown threatens to cut off Head Start and nutritional support for kids, it won’t stop the U.S. government from deporting people. But advocates warn it will mean longer stays in miserable detention conditions for immigrants awaiting their day in court.

    “Why are we continuing deportations?” asked Silky Shah, communications director for Detention Watch Network, a coalition of dozens of organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the ACLU. “It’s not just that it’s financially wasteful – it’s wasting people’s lives who are just languishing in detention.”

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, did not respond to a Thursday inquiry. A Sept. 27 DHS memo estimated that about 80 percent of ICE employees would continue working through a “federal funding hiatus,” because they were “Presidential appointees, law enforcement officers, funded by other than annual appropriations, or necessary for the protection of life and property.” (Meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services is expected to maintain nearly full staffing because its services are funded by fees.)

    In contrast, a Sept. 30 Department of Justice memo estimated that only 30 percent of employees in the Executive Office for Immigration Review would stay on the job during a shutdown. The memo stated that the duties of those still working would include “process all immigration cases and appeals involving detained aliens, including criminal aliens …” Still, said Shah, “I can’t imagine that it would happen at the same pace.” As of August 2013, a Syracuse University database found an average waiting time for immigration court hearings of 556 days. …

    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/04/shutdowns_infuriating_double_standard_targets_immigrants/

  91. says

    Cross posted from the [Lounge] thread.

    Jon Stewart nails the false outrage that Fox News is peddling about the government shutdown:
    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/04/must_see_morning_clip_jon_stewart_on_what_fuels_foxs_false_outrage_exploitation_engine/

    Scroll down for video. Excerpt below:

    … “Over on Bullsh-t Mountain [Fox News] has realized that this shutdown ain’t looking so hot for one particular party,” said Stewart.

    But not to fear! Fox News quickly fixed that by labeling it a “liberal shutdown” and blaming Democrats for closing historic, government-funded sites that are turning away everyone, including veterans.

    “Could there be a higher-octane fuel for Fox’s false outrage exploitation engine than wheelchair-bound WWII veterans?” asked Stewart, appalled.

    Fox had been winning the bullsh-t game, except, of course, then Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann inserted foot in mouth, saying that this period is “about the happiest I’ve seen members in a long time.”…

  92. says

    Ten infuriating facts that accurately describe the government shutdown:


    1. Democrats have already agreed to fund the government at Republican levels.

    2. Despite what you might have heard, there have only been two serious government shutdowns in recent history, and both were the result of Republican ultimatums.

    3. Democrats in the Senate have been begging the House to negotiate over the budget for the past six months, but Republicans have refused.

    4. That’s because Republicans wanted to wait until they had either a government shutdown or a debt ceiling breach as leverage, something they’ve been very clear about all along.

    5. Republicans keep talking about compromise, but they’ve offered nothing in return for agreeing to their demands—except to keep the government intact if they get their way.

    6. The public is very strongly opposed to using a government shutdown to stop Obamacare.

    7. Contrary to Republican claims, the deficit is not increasing—it peaked in 2009 and has been dropping ever since, declining by $200 billion last year with another $450 billion drop projected this year.

    8. A long government shutdown is likely to seriously hurt economic growth, with a monthlong shutdown projected to slash GDP in the fourth quarter by 1 percentage point and reduce employment by over a million jobs.

    9. No, Democrats have not used debt ceiling hostage taking in the past to force presidents to accept their political agenda.

    10. This whole dispute is about the Republican Party fighting to make sure the working poor don’t have access to affordable health care.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/10/shutdown-debt-ceiling-explained

  93. says

    More fallout from the shutdown:

    New York Times link.
    As President Obama made apologetic calls to Asia to cancel his planned trip, China’s leader, Xi Jinping was taking a star turn in some of the same countries Mr. Obama would have visited.

    This week, Mr. Xi became the first foreigner to address the Indonesian Parliament, offering billions of dollars in trade to the country that was Mr. Obama’s childhood home. Mr. Xi then moved on to Malaysia, before preparing to attend two Asian summits that Mr. Obama had to abandon because of the government shutdown.

    With the cancellation of the visits, the much-promoted but already anemic American “pivot” to Asia was further undercut, leaving allies in the region increasingly doubtful the United States will be a viable counterbalance to a rising China. …

    That wariness, Asian officials and analysts say, is giving China a new edge in the tug-of-war between the two countries over influence in Asia, with the gravitational pull of China’s economy increasingly difficult to resist.

    “How can the United States be a reliable partner when President Obama can’t get his own house in order?” asked Richard Heydarian, a foreign policy adviser to the Philippine Congress and a lecturer in international affairs at Ateneo de Manila University in Manila. “It makes people wonder: is the United States really in the position to come to our aid in the event of a military conflict.” …

  94. Rey Fox says

    Lynna, sometimes I fear for your mental state with the amount of news that you read.

  95. Anri says

    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) @92:

    Where was all your outrage when Obama was trying to cut Social Security and Medicare?

    It was all over the place.
    It was high, big and wide.
    I was, and remain, pissed as hell that the Democrats are only somewhat better, rather than worlds better on this kind of thing than the Republicans are.

    But somewhat better is still somewhat better, and when you’re hungry, being somewhat fed is better than not fed at all, and what the hell does my outrage half a decade ago have to do with the kids not understanding mommy when she says WIC just isn’t there anymore?

    Where was your outrage when the Democrats rewarded the Republicans for growing more and more unreasonable 6-7 years ago? This is a problem of the Democrats’ making.

    “Ya see, yer honor, if the Democrats hadn’t been wearing that enticing short skirt…”

  96. says

    I have not seen people apologizing for the Democrats. People are saying the Republicans are *worse*.

    Oh, it happens. Even here. People will say a lot of shit to absolve the democrats of fault. I highlighted one of the most obvious examples: Blaming Nader for 2000 elections, despite the fact that Nader impacted the base less than Bush, *even in swing states*. Never you mind that the Supreme Court decided our president. It was Nader. And you mean to tell me there is no apologizing for the Democrats, no attempts at quashing third party activism? Less, sure, no doubt. None? Equally little doubt, no.

    It’s hard not to send the message “Lie back and think of the party”, which is unfortunate. Yes, the democrats are awful – yes, despite this they still manage some useful things for LGBT, People of Color, immigrants, and women while dropping the ball horribly and screwing us all as the poor (And if you aren’t yet, and aren’t mega rich, they’re still helping drag you down with those of us who are poor). Yes, we need to move further to the left – and ftr, right now? Right now is the time to be talking about moving us further left, and doing so with the general populace. It’s not election season. We *don’t* have to make difficult choices because of political reality. We need to work to change the political reality to be more in our favor.

    None of that makes Vicar correct to say “The democrats are unmitigated awful”. He’s demonstrably wrong – the democrats do some good even while they fuck the poor. But let’s not forget just how far to the left we really need to go, either.

  97. says

    “Ya see, yer honor, if the Democrats hadn’t been wearing that enticing short skirt…”

    The Democratic Party aren’t ‘victims’. Don’t play this bullshit.

  98. says

    One small corrective:

    [Rutee @116] It’s not election season [right now]. We *don’t* have to make difficult choices because of political reality.

    Actually, fall is election season every year, not just even-numbered years, in much of the U.S.: Many states hold municipal elections in odd-numbered years (for example, I’ll be leaving for a municipal candidates’ meeting in my town as soon as I hit “submit” on this comment), and some states hold gubernatorial and legislative elections. (And as we’ve been learning recently, these latter are sometimes more impactful than federal elections.)

    Note that one such state is Virginia, where in a month voters will choose between one of those “awful” moderate institutional Democrats (Terry McAuliffe) and current Attorney General (and corrupt far-right nightmare) Ken “The Cooch” Cuccinelli. Ask people — especially people with uteri — in Virginia whether they think there’s no difference between the two. Jus’ sayin’….

  99. says

    Jus’ sayin’….

    …That we should compromise, all the time,e very year. And you don’t see where anyone left of the actual democrats would get annoyed. FFS, those are the elections third parties have the *BEST* chances in for the most part.

  100. says

    Rutee (@119):

    Jus’ sayin’….

    …That we should compromise, all the time,e very year.

    No, I’m saying that we shouldn’t be telling people that the elections that are going on right now somehow don’t matter. Pretty much everyone who ends up rising to national political leadership started out running in and election like the one I’m working on today. And the biggest hurdles facing women who want to protect their reproductive and sexual right, and facing people of color who want to vote (to name just two important issues), stem from elections like the ones going on in Virginia right now.

    Really what I think is that outside activists should rail without compromise all the time AND people working in electoral politics ought to work for @mdash; and voters ought to vote for — the best available candidate in every single election, where “best available” means the candidate closest to your principles who can feasibly both win and, having won, actually affect the course of government.

    We need both radical idealists working the outside and pragmatists working within the existing political/governing space; I have little patience for those who imagine that the former can effect change (short of violent revolution) without the latter.

    FFS, those are the elections third parties have the *BEST* chances in for the most part.

    You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But in my experience, that’s not how it works. We have a couple radical Tea Party groups on the right that sometimes ratfuck the Republicans’ primaries, but rarely does a third party actually appear on a municipal ballot, and only slightly less rarely on a state government ballot. On the left, unless they’re cross-endorsing Democrats (e.g. Working Families Party), we don’t see third parties get involved in races at any lower level than U.S. House.

    If “third” parties were serious about building a base for real change, they would run for school board and town council and state rep… but in my experience, they do not.

  101. says

    I noticed that Elizabeth Warren often implies that the US is a democracy. I don’t know if she actually believes this or not. One thing I can say about the US is that it has one of the most effective propaganda machines on the planet, resulting in one of the most brainwashed populations in the world. It starts with the daily reciting of the pledge of allegiance at every school throughout America.
    The fact is far from being a democracy, America is actually an imperialist, fascist police state run by corporations. Your elections are a farce. I know that most of the commentators on this site will immediately right me off as a lunatic fringe kook, that is how effective the propaganda machine is, but what they need to do is read some Noam Chomsky, ( Chomsky article) one of the most respected intellectuals in the world today and Chris Hedges. Your prisoner to population ratio is by far the highest in the world, five times higher than the world average. A two party democracy is not a real democracy and face it, America is realistically a two party state and despite what some of the commentators above claim there is less than a 5% difference between the two parties and both parties are thoroughly owned by Big Business. The main method of intrenching this two party state is to rabidly discourage the voting for a third party, claiming that a vote for a third party is as good as a vote for the opposition. As long as this tactic is effective America will not be a democracy. From the viewpoint of us the 95 percenters i.e. those of us who are not Americans, Obama’s polices have been worse than Bush’s. Oh sure he wraps them up with a smiley face and talks the progressive talk, and that is what makes him that much more deceitful than Bush. He is just as desperate to start a war as Bush was. He is just as deeply in the pocket of the Military Industrial complex and Wall Street as Bush was. He has done more to reduce civil liberties than Bush. Protestors are still arrested and jailed and dissidents, as well the entire citizenry, are under surveillance, monitored, spied on at a level that makes Orwell’s prediction seem mild. Whistle Blowers are imprisoned, tortured and /or hounded. In his UN speech Obama spoke about American Exceptionalism as if it were a fact. The mindblowing hypocrisy of this speech was apparent to us 95 percenters who are not subjected to American brainwashing at the same intensity as its citizens. Apparently, according to Obama, America and its allies, particularly Israel, can produce, stockpile and use chemical weapons (read phosphorous and depleted uranium) freely but if anyone else uses them it will be an excuse to invade, for humanitarian reasons of course. Torture is a human rights violation except when americans do it. America reserves the right to bomb anyone, anywhere or invade their countries if they feel their interests (resources) are being threatened. So while pharyngulits might be enthralled by Warren, unless she starts talking about America’s fake democracy, its anti-democratic practices, its crimes against humanity, its war crimes and its imperialism, I as a global citizen will not be sharing your enthusiasm.

  102. says

    @LykeX
    I don’t think you meant it too, but it sounds like a threat from a bully.
    I am not an american citizen, I do not live in america, surely its up to american citizens to do something about it. I can’t even think what I could possibly do anyway except to comment on blogs and news sites. What do you think a 95er could possibly do about it? I certainly am not willing to risk being harassed at airports or even detained. I do admire Manning and Snowden though.

  103. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t think you meant it too, but it sounds like a threat from a bully.

    No, it was asking you to clarify your position and give a solution. The fact you see a threat says you shouldn’t have posted you analysis, as your analysis probably has the same paranoid issues.

  104. says

    Monitor note:
    Please remember that gendered insults are not appropriate on Pharyngula:

    Your post will be edited if: You use bigoted slurs.

    The Rules

  105. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd you’re a dick.

    Gee, giving gendered insults. Very intelligent move, throwing your whole analysis into the sewer. No need to read it. You have shown what your screed really is.

  106. says

    It was a sincere question. What do you think should or could be done, if not by you, then by someone else? Do you have any suggestions?

    Let’s assume that I agree with everything you say, with no reservations. Now what?

  107. Nick Gotts says

    America is actually an imperialist, fascist police state run by corporations. Your elections are a farce. I know that most of the commentators on this site will immediately right me off as a lunatic fringe kook, that is how effective the propaganda machine is, but what they need to do is read some Noam Chomsky – alfredkarius

    Having actually read quite a lot of Chomsky, I know that he would never put forward such a crude and simplistic analysis. As he says in the very article you link to, America is better described as a plutocracy than a democracy. However, only someone ignorant of what fascism is would equate it with plutocracy, or describe present-day America as a fascist state. And you can see here that Chomsky considered the differences between the 2012 Presidential candidates as highly significant.

    So, if you don’t want to be written off as a “lunatic fringe kook”, try saying something less ridiculous.

  108. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Alfred Karius,
    Oh would that it were so easy to write off the idiocy in US politics. Sadly, the policies of the ebil US gummint reflect the prejudices, ignorance and stupidity of the American voter. Or as Molly Ivins said, “If they weren’t all scoundrels, liars and idiots, it wouldn’t be representative democracy.”

    You can blame Faux News. You can blame the culture of gummint secrecy. Ultimately, however, it comes down to the reply Benjamin Franklin gave to a woman who asked what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had given the people: “A democracy, Madame, if you can keep it,” he replied.

    The failures of American democracy belong to the American people.

  109. says

    Something like the Vietnam protests? The occupy protests haven’t amounted to much, police state tactics certainly put a dampener on them, maybe if they persevered? If you spoke out whenever you could, tried to debrief the populous by getting them to read Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Zinn, Seymour Hersh, watch Bill Moyers ? Nah, Chomsky’s being doing it for years with scant results. Try and emulate the Christian right and get the reciting of the pledge banned at schools because that kind of indoctrination certainly does not belong in the schools of a democracy. Start a movement that encourages the voting for a third party, voting for the policies you want and not just the lesser evil. That is a long term strategy and you would probably have to endure many Republican governments, but then again there is actually not much difference. Yes there is a lot of pre-election rhetoric from both parties but that all changes when they actually come to power, just look at Obama. I suppose you have to be dedicated enough to be prepared to spend time in jail, end up on No Fly or watch lists. What do you suggest? Do you think its hopeless?

  110. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    132
    alfredkarius

    That is a long term strategy and you would probably have to endure many Republican governments, but then again there is actually not much difference.

    As a dirt poor, on and off again homeless victim of domestic violence women with a child, FUCK YES there’s a difference asshole.

    STOP with this “Oh, sure they maybe a bit better for certain people (like, LGBT, minorities women aka most people not white middle class cis male) but fuck that! Who cares about you? Let’s throw you to the wolves so one day maybe we can possibly have a better third party.”

    Fuck the fuck off, asshole. ANY chance for survival for me and my family is better than certain death. That’s what this comes down to for a lot of people.

    That doesn’t mean there is work to do to deal with Democrats and make them better, but I’ll be damned if I get thrown out with the Democratic party as just collateral damage. There isn’t fucking time for this shit. We need to get better progressive Democrats in now there isn’t time to waste on this fantastical dream of making a better third party eventually. That just smacks of this mystical “American Dream” I kept being told lies about.

  111. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Me #132
    Goddamnit, only “but then again there is actually not much difference” is supposed to be bolded.
    My bad, I put the tags in first then the quote and didn’t preview. >.<

  112. says

    What do you suggest?

    I suggest we change everything for the better. That’s about as precise a plan as you’ve laid out.
    Seriously, when I asked what you had in mind, I figured you might bring up something a little more detailed than “start a movement”.

    I would suggest a strong focus on local elections and build up power from that base. It would be much more manageable for a third part to get in at the local level and this could work as a springboard to long-term national power (in a decade or two). It would build party infrastructure, funding support and practical political experience, which down the line could lead to an actual shot at a congress seat.

    One big problem would be gerrymandering. It’s difficult to deal with because there’s really no motivation for people to do so. Why would anyone agree to make the elections more fair when they’re winning? And you only get the power to change the rules after you win.
    This is one area where I’m seriously wondering if there’s any way out. Ideally, the system requires a full overhaul, but like I said, there’s simply no motivation for the people in power to do that.

    And there are differences between the Democrat and the Republicans. E.g. one party would happily ban abortion. That may not be a concern for you, but I bet if you had a uterus (and were an American citizen), you’d see it differently.
    The differences are not what you’d prefer and certainly there are issues where the Democrats are way off-base, but the difference are there and until there’s a viable alternative, voting for the “lesser evil” is perfectly reasonable. What’s the point of giving up on abortion rights when all we can hope for in return is that maybe, at some unspecified time in the future, a third party candidate might have a shot at getting elected? What are you going to say to all those who would have to pay the price for such idealism?

    Picture this for a moment: A pregnant woman lying in the hospital. Her fetus has implanted in the fallopian tube, which is now in danger of rupturing. Once it does that, she’ll die from internal bleeding There won’t be time to save her then.
    The doctors could operate right away and ensure her safety, but a new law prohibits it as long as the fetus is still alive. The fetus will never survive, one way or the other, but the law makes no such subtle distinctions; it’s alive now and they can’t operate.
    So, they’re waiting, hoping that the fetus dies on its own before the tube ruptures and kills the woman.

    This is not a fantasy. This isn’t an absurd hypothetical. There are people holding office at this moment who would love to see such a law. There are people who would vote for any candidate that would promise to pass such a law. There are millions of dollars waiting to fund anyone trying to get this to become reality.

    Now, tell me there’s no difference.

  113. consciousness razor says

    alfredkarius:

    Try and emulate the Christian right and get the reciting of the pledge banned at schools because that kind of indoctrination certainly does not belong in the schools of a democracy.

    Emulating the Christian right is a bad idea, although I have no idea what specifically you think that would entail, because you don’t say. I don’t know how you think these two ideas are supposed to be related. I also think you overestimate how effective the pledge is as indoctrination/brainwashing. And whatever it might mean, it seems like it’s probably irrelevant to the point you’re making. In short, this sentence is utterly baffling to me.

    Start a movement that encourages the voting for a third party, voting for the policies you want and not just the lesser evil.

    A movement, as in a third party? We do already have those, and that is exactly the sort of thing they do. So why talk about starting another? Why make a separate movement encouraging voting for any third party, when not all of them would be good choices?

    If there were any point to this, wouldn’t it be more productive to change our utterly broken electoral systems (nationally and in the states), so third parties stand some chance of winning?

    That is a long term strategy and you would probably have to endure many Republican governments, but then again there is actually not much difference.

    There is actually lots and lots and lots of evidence that this is false. Very, very false. Maybe you should address that.

    There are differences falling under the heading of healthcare, education, the environment, social welfare programs of all sorts, immigration, the criminal justice system and law enforcement, constitutional interpretation, foreign policy, taxation and fiscal policy, and generally whether it can be justified to have laws and regulations and government programs of any type whatsoever under any circumstances. There is a definite contrast in their views about assorted civil rights which in practice fall under lots of different categories. They have different views about race, class, sexuality, family life, religion, science, and ethics generally.

    They could not be more sharply divided. Find a single person on the planet who isn’t significantly affected by any of that; or to be even more generous, find someone who’s not affected in the slightest by any one of the issues. You will not find one. To say all of this is “actually not much difference” is either the purest kind of ignorance, underpants-on-head stupidity, or a plain old lie.

  114. consciousness razor says

    Sorry, this was an overstatement:

    They could not be more sharply divided.

    They certainly could be in practice, and progressives ought to do a much better job of following through on their promises. They are quick to compromise or quick to move on to something else when the opposition doesn’t back down. Some of this is just inherent to democracy itself, so it’s hard to say generally how they ought to take a different approach (because it may be sometimes that they can’t, if democracy is worth having). What I had in mind was the general division between their goals and viewpoints: very few things on their platforms aren’t in some way differentiated. Most of the commonalities are vague, trivial platitudes and principles which don’t have any practical significance — it’s just rhetoric intended for “low-information” voters who will hear whatever they want to hear.

  115. says

    @Nick Gotts
    Plutocracy; rule by the rich. not a democracy.
    Fascism; rule by a partnership of corporations and government.
    So how different are they? Talk about a pedantic nerd.

    crude and simplistic analysis

    Its a comment on a blog not a thesis published in an academic journal. Pedantic nerd.
    Difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.
    Could you list significant policy changes that have been introduced since the democrats took over?
    Universal single payer heath care like Europe and Canada? No just slightly modified health system that benefits the medical insurance corporations much more than the citizenry.
    Guantanamo closed down? No
    Renditions stopped? No
    Decrease in military spending? No, increase actually. (not counting the present crisis)
    Patriot act strengthened? Check.
    Drone assassinations? Tripled.
    Whistle blowers persecuted? Check.
    Oh wait here’s one gay marriage legal in some states.
    Environmental laws strengthened? No weakened.
    Wall Street regulations? No
    Higher taxes on the super rich? Hardly
    Gap between the rich and the poor? Increased substantially.
    Increase in feeding programs for the destitute? No, decreased
    More money for schools and libraries to level the education playing field? No less actually.
    so what was the difference between Bush and Obama again?
    @JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness
    So things are so much better for you now that Obama is in power.
    @LykeX
    All the above.
    How different are the abortion policies between the present Democratic rulers and the Bush regime?
    I am not an American and I don’t live in america. It is perfectly reasonable for me to point out american hypocrisy and human rights abuses, and even be angry about american behaviour but really sort out your own mess or…. do nothing, its up to you.

  116. says

    @consciousness razor
    Emulating the Christian right as in how they infiltrated school boards and had a drastic influence on school curriculum and drastically curbing the teaching of evolution and the content of Texas school books. Progressives need to do something similar to stop the Pledge of Allegiance. The claim that the Pledge is voluntary may be technically correct but everyone knows that’s total BS. Get your kid to refuse and see what happens. You can measure how brainwashed a populace is by the frequency of national flags on display and America probably rivals North Korea on that count. Also just mention the C word (communism) or the S word (socialism) on any mainstream american comments section and watch the knee jerk rabid reactions of brainwashed zombies.

  117. says

    @alfredkarius
    Are there a single one of those points that wouldn’t also be true if a Republican was in power? No. So, they don’t really constitute a reason for refusing to back a Democratic candidate. We’re all clear that the Democrats aren’t perfect. That’s not the issue.

    If the Republicans get more power, you’ll have that whole list of issues plus a ton of others. Those other issues are not inconsequential. They have real effects on real people and you’re brushing them aside like a callous asshole.

    There are people alive today who would have been dead if the Republicans got their way. The Republicans have been getting increasingly fanatical and the extreme wing of the party has built enough power to overrule the more reasonable voices.
    Consider a Supreme Court with members hand-picked by the Tea Party. How long do you think Roe vs Wade would last then? If they had control of the government, you better believe abortion would be history, in addition to every single point you criticize the Democrats for.

    So, what exactly is your point here? Just to say “Democrats suck”? Okay, they do. Are you done now?

  118. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, ideological purity is more important to those advocating voting third party and essentially wasting their votes, versus using practical politics and voting against the worst viable candidate. Funny how the ideological purists all sound the same no matter which wing. Either I rule the world, or you should suffer the worst of the political shenanigans and other-wing ideology. These days they was to suffer under rethug rule until the revolution occurs. Gee, when did I here that? Forty-five years ago during the radicalization of campuses due to the ‘Nam war. Not one third party has become viable in that time….

  119. says

    alredkarius, Nick Gotts, LykeX, CR, et al. re whether there’s any differences between Republicans and Democrats:

    As a minor party functionary (I’m Chair of my town’s Democratic Town Committee, essentially the lowest-level functioning unit of the party), my observation is that there are deep, abiding, profoundly fundamental philosophical differences between the parties, and those differences go all the way down to the local, grass-roots level.

    The fact that those very real differences are often reflected in what seem like small, marginal differences in actual governing policy has far less to do with a lack of ideological differences than it does with the size of the “design envelope” within which governmental change can feasibly occur… which is by design small and relatively inelastic,

    My town, for instance, is legally a creature of the state; its powers and responsibilities are fairly strictly constrained. I can no more turn my town into a socialist utopia than my opponents can turn it into a frank oligarchy, because that’s not how towns work. Instead, we argue over marginal differences in the things towns do do: provide public education, protect public safety, manage and maintain public infrastructure.

    But the fact that those differences in actual governance seem tiny in comparison to our philosophical differences does not mean that they are unimportant: Marginal differences in how government acts are most impactful to marginalized, disprivileged people (in the case of towns, that means spending on public schools is most important to families who lack the option to bail out to private schools, for just one example). In addition, if we’re persistent, those marginal changes stack up over time to something closer to the radical shifts we dream of jumping straight to.

    Obamacare seems like weak tea to advocates (like me!) who dream of a truly universal, truly public, entirely not-for-profit healthcare system… but within the design envelope of possible changes to our previous system, it’s actually pretty damn close to the upper lefthand corner. (As an aside, anyone who thinks Obama could’ve gotten a single-payer plan — or even a strong public option — passed and had it survive the inevitable legislative backlash is engaging in magical thinking.)

    And the beauty part is that once this current tantrum subsides (please nonexistent God that it should be so!), Obamacare will come to define the center of the design envelope for the next change.

    Political stability is a design feature of our system. It’s frustrating to those (again, like me!) who are impatient to see our society be different in big ways… but I believe it’s preferable to instability, which would inevitably lead to chaos and violence without any guarantee that we would be moving toward justice.

    PS to alfredkarius: There are grains of truth scattered throughout your posts that might be worth talking about if it didn’t all come off sounding like hyperbolic armwaving. I’m not tone-trolling you, here; I’m giving you constructive advice, as a former teacher of writing and rhetoric.

  120. says

    Rey Fox @114:

    Lynna, sometimes I fear for your mental state with the amount of news that you read.

    Heh, good point. I read quickly, so the amount I post here may be misleading. I do need a break from the shutdown nonsense. Republicans are getting on my last nerve.

    But before I take that break, here’s an excerpt from The New Yorker Magazine, where Margaret Talbot wrote a thoughtful piece about the drama in Washington:


    Since Tea Party conservatives dislike the federal government on principle, the derailing of what the federal government does every day doesn’t bother them all that much. What should bother them, deeply, is the anti-democratic nature of the maneuver.

    To hold up a budget and shut down the government in order to sabotage a law you don’t like is not just nose-thumbing at the government; it’s flouting the will of the people. Obamacare passed both Houses of Congress nearly three years ago. In June, 2012, in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of its fundamental elements. In November, 2012, Obama, who had devoted much of his political capital to the Affordable Care Act—it will likely be his signature legislation—was handily reëlected.

    And, last week, on the first day that you could sign up for insurance through the new health-care exchanges, 2.8 million people went on the federal government’s enrollment site. Surely that’s evidence that, whatever else Obamacare will prove to be, it is legislation that is fulfilling a real need: that of the fifteen per cent of the American population who are uninsured, as well as of individuals who are paying exorbitant sums for insurance on the open market, all of whom live with the insecurity of being unable to afford health care. In no small part, fixing this problem was what Barack Obama was elected to do….

    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2013/10/14/131014taco_talk_talbot

  121. says

    Several suggestions have been made regarding improvements that could or should be made to the democratic process in the USA. Bill @142 introduced a much-needed dose of reality based on his grass-roots level experience.

    The importance of participating in local elections can not be overstated. Where I live mormons control school boards, water rights, mayor-level offices, and all other systems of social control and legislation. This is true even in counties, cities, and towns where mormons are not a majority. This control affects state elections that send Representatives and Senators to Washington D.C. If people want this conservative, stultifying regime to change, they have to work at the grass roots level to field and elect other candidate.

    As far as gerrymandering goes, this problem has gotten a lot of attention lately. I think we can find a way to put a stop to gerrymandering. http://www.endgerrymandering.com
    http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/01/22/virginia-republicans-celebrate-inauguration-with-gerrymandering/
    http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/06/21/very-last-word-the-butterfly-effect-of-gerrymandering/
    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/rachel-maddow/53151884#53151884

    If you only have time to check out one of presentations on gerrymandering, I suggest viewing the video at the last link shown above. The video is only 7 minutes and 18 seconds long, but it really covers the issue.

    Democrats are suing to stop the voter purge going on in Virginia, the state Bill mentioned in #118 and #120, the state in which a very important off-year election is being held:
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26315908/#53191070

  122. Nick Gotts says

    alfredkarius@139,

    Plutocracy; rule by the rich. not a democracy.
    Fascism; rule by a partnership of corporations and government.
    So how different are they? Talk about a pedantic nerd.

    Plutocracy has existed for millennia; fascism is a specific political form taken by a number of capitalist societies in the 20th century, in which political power was exercised through a hierarchical mass party energized by extreme nationalist propaganda against minorities and external enemies (real or imagined). “Rule by a combination of corporations and government” could, of course, characterize practically any capitalist society. Real fascists are killing members of minorities and political opponents, and threatening to achieve power, in countries such as Greece and Hungary now. If you shrug your shoulders and say fascism is indistinguishable from the normal run of capitalist rule, you’re a tool of the fascists – the sort of braindead arsehole who’d have refused to fight the Nazis because doing so meant working with capitalist states. Now fuck off, you invincibly ignorant numpty.

    Bill Dauphin@142,
    Political stability is a design feature of our system. It’s frustrating to those (again, like me!) who are impatient to see our society be different in big ways… but I believe it’s preferable to instability, which would inevitably lead to chaos and violence without any guarantee that we would be moving toward justice.
    Bill, if you really think “stability” is an apt description of the current political situation in the USA, you’re living in a dream world.

  123. says

    “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini.
    I don’t know, but I think Mussolini should know what fascism is.

  124. Nick Gotts says

    alfredkarius@147

    Stone me, your ignorance knows no bounds! Mussolini represented WWII as a struggle against decadent plutocracies, so if we’re to take him as an authority on what fascism was (we should not, of course – how stupid do you have to be to take a professional liar like Mussolini at his own word?), it was the complete antithesis of plutocracy!

    Nor was he alone among fascists in making this claim:

    I had a few hours’ time tonight to read Wrising’s new book, The Continent Without Limit. Wirising gives us a picture of American life, American business, culture, and politics. The material he has assembled is truly shattering. Roosevelt is one of the worst enemies of modern culture and civilization. If we do not succeed in definitely defeating the enemy, made up of Bolshevism, plutocracy, and lack of culture, the world will be headed for densest darkness. – Joseph Goebbels’ diaries, March 11, 1942.

    A merger of state and corporate power is, of course, not the same as “a partnership of corporations and government” (and does not, in any case, accurately describe either Italian or any other variant of fascism), but a fuckwit like you would naturally be unable to make such a distinction.

  125. says

    Mussolini also wrote that war is central to fascism. America has been in perpetual war since the 50’s.

    Here are some Defining Characteristics of Fascism from Dr. Lawrence Britt.
    Lets see how they relate to america.
    Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia. Check

    The suppression of organized labor (organized labor is the bane of corporations and the only real check on corporate power other than government or the legal system); check

    Supremacy of the military (it is necessary to produce and protect corporate profits abroad and threats from abroad); check

    Cronyism and governmental corruption (it is very beneficial to have ex-corporate employees run the agencies or make the laws that are supposed to regulate or check corporations); check

    Fraudulent elections (especially those where corporations run the machinery of elections and count the votes or where judges decide their outcomes); I wouldn’t say fraudulent more like openly bought. 95% of elections on all levels are won by the candidate that spent the most money and because of Citizens United corporations are free to donate as much as the want anonymously.

    Obsession with national security (anti-corporatists are a security risk to the corporate status quo); check

    Control of the media (propaganda works); Yes the mainstream media is controlled by multinational corporations.
    Obsession with crime and punishment. Most definitely.

  126. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Alfred Karius,
    Precision is not the same as pedantry. Precision is important because we have to understand our enemy. Your fascism checklist could be applied to any repressive state–indeed to just about any European democracy–regardless of ideology. Hell, you as much as admit this when you compare the US to North Korea!

    Plutocracy is not the same as fascism, nor is it the same as aristocracy. For the nonexistent gods’ sakes, try to understand the historical roots of the problem and don’t just couch everything in terms of ideology.

  127. says

    Nick Gotts (@145):

    To be clear, I’m saying that the kind of natural resistance to large and rapid structural change (which I referred to as “stability”) that so frustrates those of us who dream of large and rapid structural change is an intentional part of our constitutional system (and of the lower-level governments that, to a significant degree, emulate it). I think a system that was designed to allow large and rapid structural change would be liable to fall into instability, chaos, and violence, which I do not believe are in any way automatically conducive to improvements in social justice.

    And I believe these things independently of what I think about the many pathologies our system (or, I fear, any representative system) is vulnerable to.

    So I don’t think “‘stability’ is an apt description of the current political situation in the USA”; I think stability is an inherent feature of the baseline system on top of which the “current political situation in the USA” is playing itself out.

    But my point was really about the oft-heard (including oft in this thread) complaint that there’s really no difference between the parties, which I believe reflects the inherent constraints on the scope and speed of policy changes rather than any true lack of ideological diversity.

  128. says

    @ Nick Gotts and a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    You are not getting the point. Plutocracy or fascism both are NOT democratic systems. They both require force, information control, indoctrination and other totalitarian methods to sustain themselves. It is drilled into american citizens that they are the freest people in the world and they believe it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they live in a repressive police state. Look at your brutal, thuggish police force and state security apparatus, they sure look like fascism to me. (see Amy Goodman and the thousands of youtube videoclips) FIVE TIMES the global average prisoner ratio, is that plutocracy or fascism? Who cares. 100 000 prisoners in solitary confinement which is of course straight out TORTURE. Plutocracy or fascism? A surveillance state where ALL electronic communication is monitored. All your e-mails, all your phone conversations even where you drive your car. Whistle-blowers are punished even jailed and tortured or seek asylum in foreign countries. I have been to nearly twenty countries, never have I experienced nationalism anywhere near the levels that I experienced in America.
    Your official military budget is almost as large as the rest of the worlds military budget put together and if one counts all the backhanded secret funds it is certainly larger. You have over 800 military bases spread all over this planet. Imperialism, fascism, plutocracy, whatever. Your President who apparently represents the more liberal side of american politics has appointed himself as an executioner who almost daily decides who he will kill. Your president is champing at the bit to start another war which will no doubt happen. America has been in perpetual war almost its entire existence. Oh and I think that it is highly unlikely that Assad would be that stupid to make such a massive suicidal tactical blunder as to use chemical weapons just a few kilometers away from a UN monitoring compound, giving war mongering America an excuse to invade. America has already tried this tactic with its WMD pretext for murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

    Americans are controlled by debt, they leave college with an average $30 000 debt and most are doomed never to be debt free. They are debt serfs who work ridiculously long hours with hardly any benefits, have minimal workers rights, their unions have been shredded, they are lucky if they get any leave, nevermind paid leave. There are hardly any social safety nets, the mentally sick are simply turfed out into the streets.
    And dilbert there is a massive difference between European countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, France, Germany and America.
    So call it plutocracy of fascism? I don’t care. America is a sick and twisted nation and it needs a total overhaul and not just tweaking here and there and its up to the american people to do something about it.

    Bill Dauphin, I think you should read this and see what your party is really up to.
    America on the cusp of fascism

  129. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, teal deer posts still showing no analytical thought or anything other than presuppositional thinking of a True Believer™. Which is why you aren’t believed.

  130. says

    @alfredkarius
    None of which is a distinctly Democratic problem. None of which would be solved by boycotting Democratic candidates. None of which you can be bothered to suggest a practical solution to.

    So call it plutocracy of fascism? I don’t care.

    Other people do and you’re the one that brought up the specific term of fascism. You shouldn’t be surprised that people take you at your word.
    Anyway, since you’re pushed aside that discussion, we’re left with just one point:

    America is a sick and twisted nation and it needs a total overhaul and not just tweaking here and there and its up to the american people to do something about it.

    Is that it? Is that what you came here to express? If so, you’ve done it, repeatedly. You’re done now. Go away.
    Or was there anything else? If so, how about you get to it?

  131. Nick Gotts says

    alfredkarius@152,

    So call it plutocracy of fascism? I don’t care.

    So why have you spent so long trying to justify the nonsense of calling America fascist?

    It is drilled into american citizens that they are the freest people in the world and they believe it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they live in a repressive police state.

    If you were capable of anything beyond mouthing stupid slogans, you would notice that many of them don’t.

    Look at your brutal, thuggish police force and state security apparatus

    I’m not American, so they are not in any sense mine.

    they sure look like fascism to me

    But we’ve already established that you can’t distinguish fascism from plutocracy.

    Your president is champing at the bit to start another war which will no doubt happen.

    Except the war he was “champing at the bit to start”, didn’t, despite a lot of people being convinced that it “no doubt” would.

    Your official military budget is almost as large as the rest of the worlds military budget put together and if one counts all the backhanded secret funds it is certainly larger. You have over 800 military bases spread all over this planet. Imperialism, fascism, plutocracy, whatever.

    That’s imperialism. If you’re incapable of intelligent analysis, as you are, it’s odds-on you’ll never achieve anything politically.

    So call it plutocracy of fascism? I don’t care.

    Yes, we’ve grasped that you’re a fuckwitted numpty, there’s no need to emphasise the point. In a fascist state, open political action against the regime is not possible; clandestine action is the only option. That is not the case in the USA, which is one proof that it is not fascist, but which also raises a host of strategic questions, which ignorant drivel like yours obscures.

  132. Nick Gotts says

    Bill Dauphin@151,

    Thanks for that clarification. But I think you are underestimating considerably the bad effects of the institutional stability – or paralysis – you describe. It appears more or less impossible for the party duopoly to be challenged – the two established parties have practically institutionalized themselves as parts of the constitution. The extreme difficulty of changing the (formal) constitution means that a small number of states can block any change. We can see at present how placing electoral redistricting in the hands of politicians allows blatant gerrymandering, how the lack of controls on political donations has made both the established parties dependent on the oligarchy, and how the “checks and balances” make it possible for a group of extreme reactionaries to sabotage the system.

  133. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Nick Gotts,
    Actually, American democracy works moderately well when there is a duopoly. Unfortunately, this has been undermined by the redistricting of 2000 and 2010, in which legislators unabashedly gerrymandered districts to ensure “safe” electorates for incumbents of the party in power. The effects of this are especially evident in the House of Representatives, where it does not matter how extreme a representative is in terms of the national spectrum, but rather how his extremism plays back home in his “safe” district. Indeed, the redistricting efforts of the legislators have backfired in some cases, resulting in primary challenges to establishment candidates from Teabagger insurgents. In effect, the election is won or lost in the primary, as the outcome of the general election is a foregone conclusion. The choice becomes between extreme and more extreme rather than between extreme and moderate.

    As you point out, the Koch Bros. and their Koch suckers can throw unlimited money at these contests, ensuring that the insurgent candidate is not only sympathetic to their interests, but also beholden to them (as the insurgents often get little support from the party).

    Basically, American democracy is broken–badly broken. The only hope I can see is that of a new Constitutional convention. This is a very fraught proposition. With the current rightward lurch of US politics, it could lead to the break-up of the nation. It could make things worse. However, I don’t see much hope coming from anywhere else.

  134. says

    while the invasion of Syria has been postponed thanks to Putin Obama has made it clear that he is still desperate to invade and america and israel are preparing the american public for a war on Iran.
    Didn’t Occupy Wall Street try “open political action against the regime”. I saw the state storm troopers round up hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protestors and jail them. I see the police forces have been on a massive spending spree buying military style weapons.
    So open political action forcibly stopped. check

  135. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Alfred, You’re an imbecile. I just thought you should know.

    Obama most definitely does NOT want to march into Syria. McCain, however, does…desperately.

    Does it even bother you to be wrong about everything?

    Look, Dude, the US political system sucks. Right now, we aren’t fascist. We are a kleptocracy. The American people are domestic animals to be fleeced by corporations at their convenience. That is the situation. The question is “why?” If you can get to understand that, then maybe you can take effective action. As it stands now, you are about as effective as Bush trying to bring “democracy” to Iraq.

  136. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    AK, why are you just trying to pretend the democrats are all bad, and the rethuglicans are better? Which you constantly imply by not showing the rethuglicans are worse than the democrats. Unless, of course, you are nothing but an undercover right-wing fascist yourself trying to make us go against any attempt to make the country a better and more progressive place.

  137. says

    @alfredkarius
    So, I see you’ve just completely given up on even the pretense of being interested in a discussion.

    If you want to support your contention that Democrats and Republicans are all the same, you have to do more than just point at things the Democrats do wrong. The fact that Democrats and Republicans share some faults is not evidence for the postulate that they’re identical. It doesn’t matter how long a list of similarities you come up with. You’re simply going about it wrong.

  138. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    138
    alfredkarius

    @JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness
    So things are so much better for you now that Obama is in power.

    Yes. Certainly better than it would have been if McCain had been elected. I live in AZ and am quite aware of how badly I would’ve been fucked if he got the elected to presidential level.

  139. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    AK, either present a viable alternative that can be elected in 2014 and 2016, or you have nothing but hallucinogen caused dreams to offer to the discussion of real politics.

  140. says

    Does anyone even bother to read the links I provided. The least you can do is read the articles before the insults fly. The democrats are more devious than the repugs because they talk progressive but behave neocon. They have introduce legislation that is even more to the right than bush did. They can do that because the left has nowhere else to go. Clinton did more deregulation than Reagan.
    Most of you are all talking about hypothetical situations “if McCain had won”, “if the repugs were in power now”, I am talking real situations, Bush WAS in power, Obama IS in power, the difference between the two, insignificant. Face it, Obama despite the rhetoric is a full blown neocon, just like Clinton. The rich have gotten much richer and social services have been cut on Obama’s watch.
    The rich are getting richer, the poor and so called middle class poorer, this is a trajectory, where will it end. In history at school we were taught the causes of revolution, and number one on the list was the gap between the rich and the poor.
    Nerd there is no viable alternative that can be elected, because the US is not a democracy trying democratic means for change is useless. (“the lower 70% on the wealth/income scale – they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They’re effectively disenfranchised. As you move up the wealth/income ladder, you get a little bit more influence on policy. When you get to the top, which is maybe a tenth of one percent, people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine the policy. ” Chomsky. Read the fucking link I provided above.) Its time to face reality, either status quo indefinitely, well not indefinitely because of the trajectory, or massive civil unrest like the Polish example or you will have a full blown revolution like the French but with machine guns instead of muskets. Because the US is a total surveillance state, civil unrest will initially be very difficult to organize with any leaders being arrested and detained indefinitely under the Patriot Act, but eventually a critical mass might be reached where the regime is simply overwhelmed and people will learn to circumnavigate state surveillance.

  141. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Does anyone even bother to read the links I provided.

    I don’t read propaganda from True Believers.

    Nerd there is no viable alternative that can be elected,

    Then shut the fuck up. You either have a solution, or you are nothing but a verbose gadfly making noise. You are the latter. You have no solution.

  142. says

    Allowing people to comment anonymously using a nom de plume really lowers the standard of these types of blogs. It really brings out the dregs of society, sniveling little cowards cowering behind their false names.

  143. says

    @alfredkarius:

    Allowing people to comment anonymously also allows people to comment, period. I know at least four people on Pharyngula who cannot comment under their real-life names because of who they work for. I used to post under a false name because I considered myself trans (I’m more genderfluid than trans) and felt uncomfortable posting under a male nym, and I know others who have the same or similar issue. I also cannot post under my full name because of who I work for.

    You are a massively privileged individual.

    Everyone on here knows who Nerd is, it’s only really pseudonymous.

  144. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd, like I said in 125 or let me use terminology popular on this blog, you’re an arsehole, a fucking arsehole.

    And you are pompous pseudointellectual windbag without coherency from outside of the US giving us gratuitous and inane advice on how to vote. I call that arrogant and pretentious.

  145. chigau (違う) says

    Isn’t “You’re hiding behind a pseudonym!” usually an admission of having lost the argument?

  146. says

    chigau (違う)
    I wasn’t going to bother to counter Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls comment. He/she is not worth wasting time over, besides his arguments are so obviously weak I didn’t feel the need. He obviously didn’t bother to read the full comment, or his comprehension skills are severely lacking. Besides repeating himself like a stuck record.
    But then you said

    Isn’t “You’re hiding behind a pseudonym!” usually an admission of having lost the argument?

    Wow! are you serious? Do you actually think Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls successfully countered my statements?

    I don’t read propaganda from True Believers.

    That “True Believer” is Noam Chomsky.

    Nerd there is no viable alternative that can be elected,

    I believe that is an example of quote mining or quoting out of context. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls used a snippet of the quote to distort what I actually said. Its actually using a straight out lie as an argument, a false argument. What I said and here is the full quote

    Nerd there is no viable alternative that can be elected, because the US is not a democracy trying democratic means for change is useless.

    I then suggested civil unrest as the only option left. I mentioned Poland as an example, (I should also have mentioned South Africa as another) to which he replied for the n’th time

    You either have a solution, or you are nothing but a verbose gadfly making noise.

  147. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I then suggested civil unrest as the only option left. I mentioned Poland as an example, (I should also have mentioned South Africa as another) to which he replied for the n’th time

    You mean you have nothing, but can’t/won’t shut the fuck up like a person of honesty and integrity would have done twenty posts ago? Who the fuck cares about your idiotology? Nobody here. Take it on the road. You are nothing but a True Believer™ bore. Lights on, nobody home…..

  148. says

    Someone once said that a nation gets the leadership it deserves, well from reading the above comments with a few exceptions like The Vicar, mx89, dysomniak darwinian socialist, america has got the leadership it deserves. Which is unfortunate for the rest of us on the planet. Why don’t you americans take your exceptionanism, your mindblowing hypocrisy, your imperialistic mass murdering military and its 800 bases on 120 of our countries, your chemical weapons. your mines, your depleted uranium bombs, your cluster bombs, your phosphorus bombs, your nuclear arsenal, your torture centers, your drones, your CIA and fuck of back to your homeland. No wonder you are the most hated people on the planet.

  149. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No wonder you are the most hated people on the planet.

    No wonder you are pompous pseudointellectual asshole offer gratuitous advice based on your idiotological fuckwittery. You have nothing cogent to say, once your idiotology is subtracted from the equation, as there is no practical politics in sight. Nothing that would solve any problem anytime in the near future. What a loser you are.

  150. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    AK, you appear to operating under the fallacious presupposition that the Rethugs can’t be any worse than the Democrats on the subjects you find bad. I got news for you. They will be five times as bad. You aren’t thinking straight, and looking at the evidence.

  151. says

    Wow, so Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls is capable of civil discourse. Are comment 179 and 180 written by the same person? Like I said before, what the repugs might do or not do if they were in power is hypothetical, what is real is comparing Bush with Obama. The rhetoric from a party not in power is always more extreme than the policies that party implements when that party assumes power. The rhetoric under Obama is more appeasing to the liberal ear but many of the actual policies passed by the dems have moved even further to the right. Both parties are owned by big money, so consider this; a game of bad cop good cop, make one party sound like a bunch of raving lunatics so that the people will readily accept the oppressive policies of the other. For example getting liberals and progressives to heartily endorse health care ‘reform’ designed by the right-wing Heritage Foundation with the intent of precluding universal health care and designed primary for the health care industry to make huge profits. I mean fining someone who cannot afford to make his medical aid payments is absurd. The lib/progs are being blackmailed by the system, the dems can introduce extreme neocon type deregulation policies giving the top 1% everything it wants while screwing the rest because hey what are the libs going to do, vote repug? All those who have hysterical hissy fits at the mere mentions of voting for a third party are guilty of propagating this sick and twisted system.

    I don’t read propaganda from True Believers.

    That quote is classic. A “True Believer” would be someone who reflexively refuses to read something he thinks might challenge his established beliefs.
    Besides the fact that describing Noam Chomsky as a true believer is right there in World Net Daily territory.

  152. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, the fuckwitted pretentious asshole can’t put up, can’t/won’t shut up. Classic liar/bullshitter territory, who will say/do anything to make their inane and irrelevant points. You have no purpose here, as nobody is listening to your drivel, and it is drivel. Take your pomposity on the road where might find those impressed with your idiotology.

  153. says

    @alfredkarius:

    You keep ignoring the point. Democratic and Republicans both suck in the same and different ways. Where the Republicans differ from Democrats is their insistence on setting the clock back to the early 1900s. They want a theocratic society where women are forced to have babies, where minorities cannot vote, where LGBT people are put back in the closet or jail, and where the corporations rule with despotic aims.

    We’re talking about people who don’t see a problem with child labor, with women dying from self-performed abortions, with gay people being arrested and abused, with business owners refusing to do business with minorities. These are people who want “In God We Trust” to be more than just a pithy motto, but the actual way this country runs.

    Republicans, in every state they run, are trying to eliminate voting rights for minorities, to eliminate the right to choose for women, and to eliminate discrimination protections for minorities. In some of them, they’ve succeeded.

    If you think a Republican president and Congress won’t do that on a country-wide swathe, you’re a fool.

  154. says

    Bill Dauphin, 120

    And the biggest hurdles facing women who want to protect their reproductive and sexual right, and facing people of color who want to vote (to name just two important issues), stem from elections like the ones going on in Virginia right now.

    I ponder at how you can believe I think we should try to win an election I think is meaningless.

    You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But in my experience, that’s not how it works. We have a couple radical Tea Party groups on the right that sometimes ratfuck the Republicans’ primaries, but rarely does a third party actually appear on a municipal ballot, and only slightly less rarely on a state government ballot. On the left, unless they’re cross-endorsing Democrats (e.g. Working Families Party), we don’t see third parties get involved in races at any lower level than U.S. House.

    Inventing a narrative doesn’t make it true.

    If “third” parties were serious about building a base for real change, they would run for school board and town council and state rep… but in my experience, they do not.

    Look at where the majority of these positions are. Then shut up.

    http://www.gp.org/elections/officeholders/index.php

    Alfred Karius, 171

    Allowing people to comment anonymously using a nom de plume really lowers the standard of these types of blogs. It really brings out the dregs of society, sniveling little cowards cowering behind their false names.

    The inability of a white straight man to understand valid reasons for anonymity even in blog comments does not erase those valid reasons. Some of us face little things like disowning.

    Alfred Karius, 138

    So things are so much better for you now that Obama is in power.

    The democrats have actually put in laws to help women that the republicans wouldn’t have.

  155. says

    Some posts from Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Then shut the fuck up. You either have a solution, or you are nothing but a verbose gadfly making noise. You are the latter. You have no solution.

    you are pompous pseudointellectual windbag without coherency from outside of the US giving us gratuitous and inane advice on how to vote. I call that arrogant and pretentious.

    You mean you have nothing, but can’t/won’t shut the fuck up like a person of honesty and integrity would have done twenty posts ago? Who the fuck cares about your idiotology? Nobody here. Take it on the road. You are nothing but a True Believer™ bore. Lights on, nobody home…..

    No wonder you are pompous pseudointellectual asshole offer gratuitous advice based on your idiotological fuckwittery. You have nothing cogent to say, once your idiotology is subtracted from the equation, as there is no practical politics in sight. Nothing that would solve any problem anytime in the near future. What a loser you are.

    Ah, the fuckwitted pretentious asshole can’t put up, can’t/won’t shut up. Classic liar/bullshitter territory, who will say/do anything to make their inane and irrelevant points. You have no purpose here, as nobody is listening to your drivel, and it is drivel. Take your pomposity on the road where might find those impressed with your idiotology.

  156. says

    alfredkarius

    Please remember that Pharyngula is known for its rough tone.

    This is a rude blog. Expect rough handling. Justice is more important than civility. But aspire to be charitable at first.

    The Rules

    In short, objecting to tone around here will win you no favour. and you’re way past the “at first” stage.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    AK, the Rethugs speak in Dog Whistles. Know the phrases, and their bigotry and misogyny shine through.

    Do you have anything new to add to your drivel to date, other than tone trolling, which is the lowest of the low in the estimation of this blog?

    You have provided not meaningful and viable alternative to voting against the Rethug party. Any third party vote doesn’t cancel a Rethug vote, essentially wasting it, and allowing the situation to become worse. We people who follow practical, not theoretical politics know this. Your theoretical arguments are so much blather.