ENDORSEMENT

I have a sense of impending dread about the "Super Congress/Committee" stronger than any I have felt in quite some time. This is not because I fear the outcome of its decisions, which are essentially preordained (There hasn't been this much suspense since we wondered what the Simpson-Bowles commission would recommend!). It is because I fear the three months of total idiocy and saturation, blow-by-blow media coverage that will precede its utterly foregone conclusions. The Great Negotiator has been his usual brilliant self, admitting before the process even begins that, ha ha ha, of course we won't be cutting the Pentagon budget OR raising taxes, so I'm not exactly on the edge of my seat here as the media breathlessly announce the draft picks starting lineup members of Congress who will make up the 12 person committee.

Look. It's pretty clear at this point that we can't win. Obama, sadly enough, is probably the most liberal candidate America could tolerate enough to elect at this point in its political evolution. Our choices are limited to the psychotic teabagger and the fake progressive "bipartisan" who will do whatever the psychotic teabagger would have done minus one or two of the craziest bits. Face it: we are going to pursue a protect-the-Job-Producers, tax cutting, government dismantling, Hayek-worshipping, quasi-supply side economic policy until it brings us to our utter ruin. There will be no change in direction until we hit bottom, until the economy and state of the nation literally cannot get any worse. This is no different than the Gilded Age, and it will end the same way. There is no point at which common sense or the Democratic Party or the American public or the media are going to turn back from the post-1980 Beltway elite consensus politics of Government is the Problem, free market worship, and tax cuts piled upon tax cuts. This is it. If the most liberal candidate who could plausibly be elected is an Eisenhower Republican trying to outflank the GOP on austerity, things aren't going to improve until we are indisputably and comprehensively screwed.

People like Harry Reid, Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democratic "leadership" are serving no purpose except to make the process of decline as long, laborious, and excruciating as possible. We are putting off the inevitable. The worse the news gets and the deeper the depression (psychologically and economically) we are suffering becomes, the more I wish we could fast forward to the end. Let's just get this the hell over with. Tea Party 2012. Let's go ahead and elect Michelle Bachmann. Crown Paul Ryan. Get Scott Walker to Washington as quickly as possible. Put two or three more Scalia clones on the Supreme Court. Make Ron Paul the Fed chairman. Bring on the floods and the plagues of locusts. Let the Earth open up and swallow our country whole.

We're in a tailspin and the only thing our political system is capable of doing is to take the failed ideas of the past and do them again, only harder. If ten rounds of tax cuts didn't work, try ten more (but larger). If a war didn't help, start a couple more. If the Job Creators aren't creating jobs, cater to more of their whims. If slashing the safety net didn't help, slash it twice as much. There is no FDR or third party or Good Democrats or Sane Republicans coming to save us. If hitting bottom is our destiny, grease up the rails and let's get it over with. From rock bottom there might be some glimmer of hope that things could improve, which seems preferable to our current dilemma of sitting around watching Rome burn and waiting for things to get worse.

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64 Responses to “ENDORSEMENT”

  1. mngstrfy Says:

    Sounds like absolute disgust, contempt and indifference to me. Time to give up politics.

  2. djplanb Says:

    @mngstrfy, yeah, cause politics is working out so well as it is, right?

    As for this blog post, I think truer words have never been passed around the interwebs.

  3. 16shellsfroma30aught6 Says:

    Fuck this country. I'm voting for Rick Perry and then illegally immigrating to Canada.

  4. Rosalux Says:

    It's a bitter moment when you realize, deeply, that America is not a great country – nor will it be for at least several decades. By all measures of successful civilization, America is not even the greatest country in North America (that would be Canada). The only reason I stick around is that I don't have an EU visa and I already married an American citizen. And this all makes me a conservative's wet dream, living proof that progressives secretly prefer Europe to America. There, I said it.

  5. Middle Seaman Says:

    I am encouraged by your optimism. Since the American public is us, we should admit our culpability. Now it's the time to go out and riot all over the country. They want us quiet, we should give them rocks and Molotov Cocktails. After all, the establishment is way more damaging than Al-Qaida.

    I may be a senior citizen and may not date young women anymore, but I am full positive rage and energy to spend.

    Anyone care to join?

  6. Glen.h Says:

    You guys are just starting to understand how the rest of us here in the outside world have felt about the U.S for a long time. A country that resembles a beloved old friend who is destroying themselves by becoming a member of an insane cult. I think the term is "drinking Kool-Aid"

  7. Forgetful Man Says:

    Sadly I agree with this analysis. I moved to Canada from the US in 2007 and I am so glad I did. Should have come here sooner. But I take no joy in watching my homeland circle the drain. This is a sad, sad time for America, and a very good time to either stand up and be heard, or pack your bags and go.

    And there's no shame in emigrating. My grandparents immigrated to the US for a chance at a new life. They found it, defended it and passed it on to my parents, who did their best to pass it on to me. Sadly, I cannot do the same for my children, and so have chosen to cast my lot in Canada.

    Already we are starting to tell our kids about how things used to be back in the "old country" before the wars and the economy collapsing. Stories that would probably sound familiar to my grandparents.

  8. eau Says:

    @Glen.h – If only that were true. At most, only about 10-20% of Australians feel that way. The rest are split between conservatives desperately talking down our booming economy and marginally progressive right-of-left-of-middle government so we can get back to following the US down the free market/ small government/ tax cuts rabbit-hole, and those so disconnected from political reality they think both Obama and the USA are still A-OK!

    But then maybe you're European, or English. Things are going well over there, right? No doubling down on insane conservative bullshit to correct the problems stemming from insane conservative bullshit?

  9. squirrelhugger Says:

    Yup. The only change I'd make to this post would be to contend that the country wasn't anywhere near ready for a black president, and some of his opposition is driven by outrage that a colored boy is sleeping in the president's bed. It seems like a pretty routine decay of empire, and it's probably never a pretty sight when the strength and subsequent rot comes from the great unwashed masses.

  10. comrade x Says:

    Europe is going down the same path. Even the so- called " socialist" politicians began to drink the free- market kool- aid in the 1990s and are just as eager to make a buck off of the back of the working class as the conservatives are.
    Ultimately there will be no refuge so you better plan on fighting sooner or later.

  11. anotherbozo Says:

    Ed, you can make a quick buck for G&T by having a campaign button produced and sold here: A color photo of Michele Bachmann (grinning insanely, of course) and beneath it the slogan, APOCALYPSE NOW!

    Maybe it'd go viral and you'd make a bundle. You'd be able to retire from teaching! O.K., maybe not retire, exactly…

  12. c u n d gulag Says:

    Middle Seaman,
    I'm with you.

    I'm 53 and handicapped, and I think I'd rather go quickly at the front of the crowd fighting, rather than slowly starve to death, or get stabbed trying to defend my refrigerator box home under the overpass from young 'uns who'll be better armed, and far more vicious.

    Read "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" to see how something like this current "AUSTERITY" craze can take over. Here's the Wiki entry:

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

    I strongly recommend the book, which was written in 170 years ago, and is still timely today.

    Keynesian economics is now long dead, and Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics rule.
    It's "Shock Doctrine" for the whole world now.

  13. Tim H. Says:

    American presidential politics reminds me of the scene in Babylon 5 where Londo Mollari must receive a "keeper" to become Emperor. Wonder if candidates are required to swear fealty to Wall $treet.

  14. Meredith Says:

    Oh, this is so sad, but I fear it is true.

  15. JohnR Says:

    There. Don't you feel better now? I'm visualizing BD shouting "You lousy Commie GOOK!" at Phred back when they were lost together in the jungle in the younger days of Doonesbury. Sometimes this moment of catharsis is really necessary. Anyway, while I've felt this was the (historically) inevitable outcome for a while now, I don't think you have yet plumbed the depths of despair. It's not a matter of the US auguring in at full throttle as much as it is the US becoming Reborn under a Great Leader such as President Bachmann and her various successors. That should keep you up at night (packing your furniture and preparing to emigrate to Mongolia).

  16. John Says:

    You knew this country was doomed the moment that people who collect on Medicare and Social Security started screaming "Down with the Ebil Gub'Mint!" and were given the same vote as you or I.

    Well, let's back that up a moment and preface with the fact that your vote doesn't matter because the machines you vote on are so laughably easy to tamper with.

    As much as people hate the idea of poll tests because of their history of being used to keep minorities out of the polls — and as much as I acknowledge that education is one of this nation's greatest flaws — I believe it is high time that some sort of "You know what the fuck you're talking about" test was adminstered before being allowed to vote. Simple knowledge about the basic function and structure of government that would give some of these crazies pause to think. Questions like:

    "Where does Medicare come from?"
    "How is Social Security funded?"
    "What are the requirements to receive federal medical funds, both Medicare and Medicaid?"
    "What percentage of the most recent year's US Federal budget was spent on the military?"
    "What is the current top marginal tax rate, and what was it thirty years ago?"
    "Which of the following are powers of the United States President: Check all that apply"

  17. Elder Futhark Says:

    Nah, the US attaining a Dear Leader is inevitably a Strangelovian rub with a happy ending. We've no worries if that particular post-nuclear scenario plays out. (Don't worry, if that happens, I promise to eat all of you).

    We hit rock bottom once the underwater octobots decide to adapt to dry land. Then we are truly fucked.

  18. deep cap Says:

    I just wish the Media would stop covering politics like a fucking Football game. Even NPR is doing it these days.

    FUCK

  19. Keifus Says:

    Well, keep in mind that in the gilded age, the U.S. population was a factor of five smaller than it is now, there was still oil in the ground, we were only starting to take our turn ententacling the globe with military power and nouveau colonialism, and, as Elder Futhark has just noted, there was no bomb.

    I think it's got a really good chance of ending worse this time.

    K (although penicillin, etc. remains something of a plus)

  20. Hank Says:

    I used to wonder what the guy cutting down the last tree on Easter Island was thinking; not anymore. We are all Easter Islanders now.

  21. acer Says:

    @anotherbozo:
    http://memegenerator.net/instance/9330666
    http://memegenerator.net/instance/9330716
    http://memegenerator.net/instance/9330684

  22. K. Says:

    WE MUST WELCOME THE APOCALYPSE WITH OPEN ARMS. ALL HAIL.

    But seriously, thanks for writing this post–at least now I know I'm not the only one too frustrated to keep caring. I give up. The more I care, the more angry, frustrated, and miserable I become, and it's just not worth it anymore.

  23. Brian Says:

    I am surprised no one has blamed the Jews. Yet.

  24. Monkey Business Says:

    I keep hoping that this is the darkest night, just before the dawn.

    By all rights, the GOP could be dead within a generation. The demographics are stacked against them, and they've pissed off the fastest growing elements of the population.

    The American political system is unsustainable as it exists today. Something, somewhere has to give.

  25. bb in GA Says:

    @Monkey Biz

    I've been preaching this for quite awhile.

    The Boomer Train is just now hitting the trestle on the Rainbow Bridge. If y'all can survive the next 20 years w/ something worth living for in here in the good ol' US of A a great number of us will be safely across the R.B.

    Jerry Garcia and Grisman put out the album 'Old and In the Way' in 1975 when the Captain was but 30. We all surely qualify for that now.

    //bb

  26. bb in GA Says:

    er that's 33 for jay-ree. We share a birthday (1 Aug)

    //bb

  27. JMLA Says:

    I kind of had the same idea and will possibly vote Republican in this upcoming Presidential election (although I'm not convinced that having the Presidency is very good for a party. You're a political scientist–explain to me what a pain controlling the Presidency is!) even though I'm a socialist.

  28. Chase Says:

    I understand the frustration and despair. I really do. But anyone who says, in effect, "Let it burn!" and means it seriously is a nihilist. There are still plenty of accessible possible worlds in which we don't crater, even if in many of those worlds, and perhaps in most of them, things get much worse than they are now. Our prospects don't improve if we give up. Besides, even if cratering were inevitable, I'd rather buy ourselves more time. Some of us, at least, need to puzzle over how to follow it with something constructive.

    Anyway, I'm going to guess that those who say "Let it burn!" probably aren't the ones who stand to suffer anywhere near the most from the fire.

  29. Eric Titus Says:

    As a strong progessive, I'd put Obama on the middle of the spectrum between liking and loathing. Certainly, he's done some reprehensible things–expanding the war in the middle east and failing to repeal the bush tax cuts. He's done some mixed things–enacting healthcare legislation and a consumer finance protection agency that may or may not be a step above doing nothing at all. Or generally being unable to steer Congress in the right direction. And he's done some things that I like, sometimes belatedly, like repealling Don't Ask, avoiding most intervention during the arab spring, and pushing green energy. But having a mixed bag is, in my mind, infinitely preferable to having a Republican in the house because the executive branch has undergone a radically positive transformation in the past few years. Look at any of Bush's department heads and their replacements, or any of Bush's court nominees vs Obama's, and you'll see what I'm talking about. The Republican party is pretty good at enacting change even without controlling the legislature–just appoint incompetent or malignant civil servants and see how quickly the government can collapse. I think it's a necessity for progressives to go beyond frustration at Obama and work to engineer change at the local levels and in Congress. He'll follow whichever wind is blowing through the country.

  30. anotherbozo Says:

    @acer: thanks, but APOCALYPSE NOW! needs the exclamation point. If not the original Coppola typeface.

  31. Mo Says:

    So, instead of dissolving in teary, hand-wringing nihilism, why don't we start a simple lil' ol' easy-to-remember TAX THE BASTARDS campaign?

    Hey, it fits on a bumper sticker.

  32. iceblue Says:

    I've felt like this for the past year or so. I'm so frustrated with all this that I can no longer stomach watching cable News. I used to have it on all the time as background. Now it makes me want to throw things at the TV, so I just don't do it. I get whatever news I want to read via blogs and local stuff. I kind of feel like, elect the bastards and let the dumbasses who keep voting for this shit, see what they get. I don't think it would last long. They may cause irreparable damage, but we can always start again. I say we like I'm going to be around. I probably won't be because I won't get medical care in the USA of the future, but I'd like to hope it will be fixed one day. I guess what it amounts to is, I'm tired of feeling bullied and helpless and knowing I have no control over any of it.

  33. mothra Says:

    Shit. I came over here to get cheered up. Guess I picked the wrong day for that.

  34. Chicagojon Says:

    Here's the thing, though — where does it go after rock bottom? Is there a miraculous new party that can fix everything? Or after seeing Tea Partiers or whomever drive to rock bottom does Washington suddenly come to it's senses?

    That's all bullshit.

    Ultimately partisanship is a core problem and has been a large part of the 1980 spiral towards nonsense. The only way to break through this is to have a leader(s) who speak of and fight for bipartisanship. Unfortunately the first reaction of voters was to fuck things up further with new elected officials who are less likely to work together, but ultimately either voters will get people who work together and are actually a Federal government or rock bottom will come. Either way, the only way to get to bipartisanship is to speak up for and practice bipartisanship. If Obama was instead replaced by the 'Ideal Internet Lefty Progressive Liberal(TM)' we'd be even more fucked right now because the government would have accomplished substantially less in the last 3 years.

  35. Chicagojon Says:

    Okay voters…here's what happens when you vote for the person that you've heard of and/or the one that spends the most money.

    Also, this is what a 1-party system looks like. Elections for Federal office are rarely contested and it is only natural that without campaign finance reforms and with Washington's #1 priority being staying in power/charge that elected Federal Officials are in office longer than any job I'll have in my life.

    Wasn't part of the lesson from 2008 and 2010 elections that people want something different? (hope/change, main street / wall street, fat cats in Washington, etc. etc. — hell, some people liked Sarah Palin solely because she was an outsider).

    And yet the “Supercommittee” members are:

    Reid's three:
    Patty Murray – 60 years old. In the senate for 19 years
    Max Baucus – 69 years old. In the senate for 32 years
    John Kerry – 67 years old. In the senate for 26 years
    **note that Reid is 71 and has been in the senate for 24 year

    McConnell's three:
    John Kyl – 69 years old. In the senate for 17 years (was in the HOR for a previous 8)
    Pat Toomey – 49 years old. In the senate for 1 year (was in HOR for 6 years from 1988-2004)
    Rob Portman – 55 years old. in the senate for 3 years (was in the HOR for 12 years from 1993-2005, then took a break (including time to found "the Ohio's Future PAC"))
    **Mitch McConnell is 69 years old and has been in the senate for 27 years

    Boehner's three:
    Jeb Hensarling – 54 years old. In the house for 8 years
    Dave Camp – 58 years old. In the house for 20 years
    Fred Upton – 58 years old. In the house for 24 years
    **Boehner is 61 and has been in the house for 21 years

    Pelosi’s three:
    James Clyburn – 71 years old. In the house for 18 years
    Xavier Becerra – 53 years old. In the house for 8 years
    Chris Van Hollen – 52 years old. In the house for 8 years
    **Pelosi is 71 and has been in the house for 24 years

    Notes:
    All 6 Republicans have signed Grover Norquist's no tax pledge
    If we had a perfectly reasonable 2 term limit for Senators and 3 term limit for Representatives 2 of the 12 would qualify (and none of the 4 “leaders”)
    Even a limit of 3 for Senators / 6 for Representatives would get rid of all of the leaders and 5 of the 12 nominees
    I need some tacos and gin after all of this nonsense

  36. Dave Says:

    Fortunately or not, there is NO ROCK BOTTOM TO HIT.

    Probably this all results in a corporate-sponsored civil war starting in oh, five years, which will end when the last drop of electricity powers the last flickering image on the last looted television set. Then, Dark Ages Redux.

  37. jult52 Says:

    If you think the government is being dismantled, how do you account for the incredibly extensive new initiatives passed into law in the last two years (ObamaCare, Didd-Frank)? Look, I claim no knowledge of what is to come (although, like you, I dread it) but your rant about "government dismantling, Hayek-worshipping" evildoers doesn't seem to jibe with the facts.

    Could an alternative explanation be more plausible?

  38. Ellie Says:

    "I am surprised no one has blamed the Jews. Yet."

    I think the Jews are off the hook this time, simply because blaming them makes you look, you know – the N-word-ish. Wouldn't want people to catch on to what sort of tactics you're using.

    I'm waiting to see if the Muslims, gays, immigrants, or atheists emerge as the primary scapegoat this time.

  39. SeaTea Says:

    Yup. That's pretty much where I'm at with it. My only hope is that other countries (e.g. Germany) might light the way by stomping our asses technologically and economically to the point that some sane person says… "Hey… look over there!". Probably not, though. We're too xenophobic as a society to embrace any idea that wasn't home-grown.

  40. bb in GA Says:

    @Ellie

    I love it.

    If a right winger is anti-semitic (I contend there is more of that to the Left – see France and other Euro places) he/she is a NAZI! If he/she is not anti-semitic then, a Crypto-Nazi (first heard from the lips of Gore Vidal to W.F. Buckley, Jr.)

    Classic!

    //bb

  41. chautauqua Says:

    Next stop, Kunstlerville!

    Tickets available now: http://www.kunstler.com/index.php

    Seriously, between this posting and yesterday's I'm reaching for the high-test end of the liquor cabinet.

  42. tybee Says:

    politics in the united snakes has always been tumultuous.
    look at the newspaper articles from the first decade of the 19th century.
    and look at the video below.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_zTN4BXvYI

    we also had a civil war.
    this current shit ain't nothin' but some whining.
    i hope. :)

  43. Da Moose Says:

    @Chicagojon

    Where does it go after bottoming out? Well, the Union breaks up and monetary, centralized control of tax dollars in DC is finally broken. One of the main core problems here is that the tax system has funneled money to DC for too long, making the States dependent on federal largesse. The libs have looked the other way because such a system allows the feds to back-up civil rights. The Right has looked the other way because such a centralized pot gives them an easy place from which to loot. Both parties have to accept their contribution to this fucked up dynamic. The federal government's back must be broken in how it has become a proxy for a centralized pot of tax dollars. In this way, the T-baggers are sort of right. What pisses me off about them though is that they didn't seem to be too dis-satisified when Bush was in office and they are also missing the point somewhat in that the Federal bureaucracy is not the problem necessarily. The problem is the tax code that this government fosters. So, in sum, anybody who thinks that they are going to reform the tax system to break the aforementioned fucked up dynamic is dreaming. The only way the current tax code is going to be fixed is via collapse. So, Chicagojon, when the dust settles, if the tax code gets decentralized into a four or five province scenario then have hope again, if not then the Union will definitely break up permanently.

  44. tybee Says:

    living in the deep south, i really don't want the individual states, or even regions of states, dictating civil rights and religious restraints.

  45. J. Dryden Says:

    @ Da Moose: There's another, grimmer possibility–namely, fascism. As has been pointed out on G&T and elsewhere, America is fertile ground for fascism to take hold. (Not that Americans are fascist at heart–rather, they're the sort of people who are easily led into the "deal with the Devil" panacea that fascism is always sold as.) The population is ignorant, lazy, and un/misinformed. The only consistently active portions of the electorate are far-righters. We are a deeply conservative nation (politically) and our culture is primarily defined by corporatism and dim-witted Christian bigotry. We despise the exceptional and the intellectual and the ambiguous. We adore the common and the hyperbolic and the black-and-white. We are xenophobic and jingoistic beyond all rational justification. We got guns, and lots of 'em, and most of the people who have them are 'joiners.' We've got a lot of people to blame for Everything. Ellie is right–it won't be the Jews–it'll be the Muslims, the Gays, and a large but amorphous group of Traitors To The Nation: Academics, Hollywood, Wall Streeters, Immigrants, Blacks, etc. There's a lot of real estate going begging for concentration/re-education camps.

    Yes, Lewis's IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE is satire. But it's plausible as hell. If the President essentially told federal troops to disband the Congress and ignore the Supreme Court, how many sporadic uprisings would there be, and how easily could they be quelled? Right now, we despise the Congress–how many people, upon hearing that they'd been kicked out, would say "Serves the incompetent, thieving bastards right?" How many, upon hearing that the liberal members of the SC have been 'retired', would say "Now maybe we'll have some law and order in this country?" (I assume the regime in question will be Republican, because they seem to be the ones capable of getting their act together and lighting a fire under their base. Democrats are certainly morally capable of totalitarianism, but they just don't have the organizational skills, which is why I've always said that "liberal conspiracy" is a contradiction in terms.)

    McCarthyism flourished here for a reason, and we're a lot dumber and lazier and spoiled now than we were then. Reaganism caught our imagination because it played into our worst impulses, and now it's considered untouchable gospel. 9/11 could have easily ushered in an era of true totalitarianism–it didn't, thank God, but how ready were we to sacrifice civil liberties in the name of A. protecting ourselves and B. making the bastards pay?

    Our economy is in the tank, with no end in sight. People are scared and desperate and (sorry to keep hitting this note) stupid as to what's causing it and how it can be fixed. That is the population you want if you want people to hand over the reigns entirely. And really, people won't miss voting–so few of us did it anyway, and of those who did, fewer knew what the hell they were voting for and why.

    Am I predicting Hitler or Nazism or some such cheap comparison? No. A nation's fascist leaders and the identity of its movement will reflect that nation's culture. When the dictator comes, he won't look or sound or say anything Hitlerian, and the mass deaths won't be from Holocaust-like genocide, but Gulag-based deprivation. No need for Philip K. Dick to envision an alternative history.

    But does anyone really doubt that, aided by Fox News and the cowardice of the main-stream media, someone could easily rise to power by 'legitimate' means, and then, once in office, use that power to create a fascist state? We've had dictatorial presidents before–how long before we get one who just pushes the pretense aside?

    Will it happen? No, probably not, fun though it is to play Nostradamus. Why not? No takers. The Republicans are, in their own way, as ball-less as the Democrats. You have to be a bit of a gambler to be a dictator, and nobody on the GOP side of the aisle has the stones. (Bachmann aside, I suppose.)

    But it's depressing to think of us as a nation essentially waiting by the phone for a Dear Leader who hasn't gotten around to calling.

    Given this possibility, eh, I'll take the current state of misery.

  46. Chicagojon Says:

    @DaMoose

    Actually I'd love to see 5 (or more likely 8-12) regional governments. I'd happily invite MN, WI, MI, IA, MO, IN, OH, KY, TN into a 'Midwest Federation' as long as they are willing to shift right socially (though based on state elections Ohio should join the Southwest). PA and WV are welcome as well if they'd like . Hell I'd like this with or without a central government in Washington.

    I doubt, however, that the Union will break over high unemployment and dwindling social services as long as there is polarization and a 2-party myth and plenty of rich people (and corporations) that want to keep the train on the tracks.

  47. Chicagojon Says:

    Damn, that should read 'shift LEFT socially'. Stupid right/left 2D political always confuses me.

  48. anotherbozo Says:

    Bravo, Dryden. Ed here is always eloquent and provocative, and you're hardly less. Two for the price of one, or something.

  49. Major Kong Says:

    Where are we headed and why are we in this handbasket?

  50. RT Butte Says:

    Ed, this is why I've voted Republican for the past couple election cycles: if anyone's going to hasten the destruction of mankind, it's them.

    I am completely OK with this.

  51. Da Moose Says:

    J. Dryden,

    All good points but I would argue that we are already in a fascist political and socio-economic environment, have been for some time. Just because we don't have our easily comparable versions of Krystallnacht and nightly jackboot beat downs doesn't mean we aren't presently experiencing our very own version of American Fascism today. I think if you were to interview any number of people on this soil, currently incarcerated in overstocked private and public prisons for non-violent drug offenses or illegal immigrants sitting months on end in civil no man's land in ICE jails, they would have no problem seeing our domestic world in a fascist light. Unjust or immoral incarceration is but one element of American Fascism. Forced foreclosure, job offshoring, oil dependence, consistent domestic mass killings are other indications. Let's not forget that there were many Germans who profited from Hitler's Germany (if we are to use that example as our fascist baseline) just as there are many Americans living well today. Do/did either of those population samples think we live(d) in fascism? They may have/had a sense that the land is/was not being governed properly but, because their good lives are/were enhanced by active or inactive forms of human oppression justified or not, they will/would never admit that there are/were fascist tendencies fostered and improved by their own proclivities or partisan policies. I will genuinely begin to derive hope when I see, on our national stage, a politician who begins to see our lives through this type of lens and verbalizes it in front of cameras without fear because Americans need to be told the hard truth publicly. But, what concerns me is that, in our current political environment, such a person may not be institutionally realistic; in which case, my main fear is that revolution may not only become a possibility but a necessity in order to reset the stage for such a person or persons to reinvigorate our political discourse. And revolution in this country would be horrific if we couldn't maintain a non-violent approach.

    So, Chicagojon, I truly hope we fully overhaul the tax code too. It truly is, when you fully examine all things, one of the major causal issues of our time. I think a provincial governance approach, linked with regional tax policies where money is not summarily redirected to DC wholesale, may be the way to go. How we get there is a whole other discussion.

  52. Gboggs Says:

    We won an election in 2006 and again in 2008 and we thought our long nightmare was over. Then we sat back and watched our nightmare continue. And whined and complained and then raged.
    We can continue to complain and bitch and, strangely, blame the whole thing on the baby boomers. Or we can get off our asses and get out in the streets, or take over our local Democratic parties or form our own parties, or whatever it takes. The Tea Party idiots did it. I know we're smarter than they are. How many of you went to a local Take Back the Dream meeting a few weeks ago? (I'm ashamed to admit I didn't).
    It will take more than an occasional vote to get the morons in Washington to listen, though voting wouldn't hurt.
    I know, they have money, talk radio, Faux "news", did I mention money? But, shit people, let's go down fighting, shall we?
    And remember–change takes time and effort and happens one small step at a time.
    So get moving and Power to the People to quote my generation. (Because in reality, the People largely agree with us).

  53. Bernard Says:

    The Tea Party is just conservatives funded by the Rich/Koch Bros. PR games all along. just like it has been since the Reagan Revolution. the repetitious Government is the Problem and Business Produces has been the meal du jour for so long i wonder if anyone has any clue of what America was before St. Ronnie's PR revolution.

    i mean, There you go again, believing all that BS "those Nattering Nabobs of Negativism tell you.

    the wonderful executed script of how to take over America. and now we are near the final acts of the play. very little money to steal at present, the Trust Fund for Social Security. Divert that into the pockets of the Elites, like the rest of the American economy has been done.

    Trickle UP Economics. such willing idiots, those Americans who bought this whole farce. and especially the Southerners and their hatred for Blacks. aka the Southern Strategy Lee Atwater used to take over the Republican Party and destroy America in the process.

    i certainly don't want the South to form it own country. this mess of ideological idiots who believe in owning "people" and the will to do anything, and i mean anything to get their way.

    America is well finished due to the idiot mentality permeating through our Society for the last 30 years. We are so rotten, we are only held together by the gravity holding the putrified pieces together. The idiots who endorsed this "Burn America to the Ground" Republican action plan are never going to wake up, much less care. and besides, it's always the Blacks fault. the immigrants, the hippies, the gays, the uppity women's fault. it is never the idiots own fault for buying the Republican "let's get those "people" and show them who is really in charge", this divide and conquer culture war that tore America apart at the seams

    violence from the Right has been occurring with individual lone wolfs that never get coverage due to the POLITICAL Correctness of the Victim. the Victim deserved the "punishment" has been the excuse for so long, that violence is hardly noticed. Violence is just the "America" way.

    lone wolves are so American. but only Right wing lone wolves get the housekeeping sign of approval from the Media and Elites that entire and lure the Wolves to attack.
    Peace has been going down hill since the acceptance of the "ONLY WAY" that is Republicanism.

    i remember watching Sen Alan Simpson(hungry teats on Government) feign outrage at being questioned about how extreme his Republican views were. How dare you question me, was his reply. which is the standard Republican reply.

    Law of the Jungle is the only law we have now. and will stay that way, especially once things get worse. until the Ponzi scheme crashes, things get worse. that last tree on Easter Island is appearing in the view.

  54. cromartie Says:

    The problem is, the people who are dumb enough to vote against their own best interests aren't suffering enough. A government shutdown, where they stopped being able to feed off the government teat, would have gotten the point across. It worked for Clinton.

    Tea Party people, and people who ascribe to abstract and failing economic theory over the health and well being of their own countrymen, need to suffer the consequences of their opinion, severely, before they smarten up. They aren't suffering enough yet, apparently.

  55. xynzee Says:

    Oh cheer up little Buckeroos!

    Obviously we haven't been paying attention to what's been going on. While yes it is important to hold the White House, mostly from a morale point-of-view, but in order to have real power does one need to have that position?

    So instead of focussing on how the Great Capitulator has failed us, shouldn't we be focussing on where we can get real points? Do the Tea Baggers have the White House? No! But the Ferengi guy from TX seems to hold more sway over the proceedings than Obama has. Who holds more power? Norquist or Obama?

    What was Boner more frightened of? Watching his masters on Wall St. burn if the US defaulted or having the Tea Baggers primary his spray tanned arse?

    If there's one thing we should have learned from this whole thing is that a block of intransigent crazies can really get people by the short-n-curlies.

    So why the heck aren't we getting the progressive caucus into the same positions?

    Does this need to be a viable 3rd party? We can work within the Dem Party for the next few cycles and gain momentum. Focus on congressional seats. The Unions are currently jacked off by spending union dues on campaigns and having the D's reneg. So there's a large block of money that wants to be spent.

    Yes we vote for lesser of two evils for the White House, but the real battles are for the seats. Get really crazy zealots in there. We can then either pull the same tactics that the Tea Baggers have been pulling on the R's, which is either vote this way *or* we'll A) Primary your arse out of the job B) run Independents and torpedo your campaigns.

    Even though he only got less than 10% of the vote in that NY district, the fact that he was a distraction for the R helped. He peeled off money that should have focussed on decimating the real contender. The battle fields of history are littered with the bodies of soldiers who had a fly in their eye at the wrong time. So why not be that gad fly?

    It'll feel a hell of a lot better than either not voting at all, or voting for someone who's going to sell you out anyways.

  56. sadness Says:

    This is a belly roller for me. As I have a differing point of view from 95% of the people who comment, I think it is hilarious that you see TEOTWAWKI as being inevitable as the right/conservatives believe it is. Progressives blame the the idiot public and their inability to vote for their best interests and conservatives blame the idiot public for looking to the gov'ment to fix all their problems. In the meantime congress and Obama are giving us kabookie theater for the idiot public's consumption while hoping and praying that the idiot public keeps not paying attention, or picking one side and hating the other so we do not talk for long enough to realize that both sides really want the same thing(at least most of us do). If we all left our egos and preconceived notions at the door and just talked to each other, we could have….nevermind, bring on Balkenization, the sooner the better.

  57. JohnR Says:

    Oh, xynzee, you wild and crazy optimist, you! Sure, it's easy to say "No problem, we'll just mount our own insane, incomprehensible, 'we hate everything!' insurgent party to restore order to governing!", but I think you neglected one little problem: despite all the PR from the folks on the right, how insane are the wildest of wild-eyed liberals? Think about that for a moment, and if it helps, remember that essentially every statement that comes out of the Noise Machine applies primarily if not entirely to themselves rather than to their hated Enemies. Orwell was actually wrong – it's not the Communists that do Orwell best, it's the Enemies Of The Communists. There's an old saying that I made up last year – put three religious zealots in a room together and within an hour you have 4 religions, five sects, three schisms, two reformations and at least a half-dozen Holy Wars. You could adapt that easily using "liberals" instead of "zealots". Liberals don't do lockstep marching; as a rule, they rely for their self-identification on vehemently disagreeing with at least one aspect of anything any other Liberal stands for. Just one more reason why I decided many years ago that God has a particularly pawky sense of humor.
    Hey, that reminds me – Ed, you should open up a thread on the best/favorite/most plausible/most "realistic" post-apocalyptic movies or games or both. I'll open with Book of Eli as the the best version of "Fallout: the Movie".

  58. DS Says:

    sadness, what are you smoking dude? Have you ever watched that episode of The Simpson's where there are talking to the kids about creating a new character for Itchy and Scratchy? The American public is that stupid now. Well, we have this massive budget deficit and debt that is crippling our economy and promoting massive inequality so, uh, how about we raise taxes on the wealthiest group of people in human history a bit? No! Socialist! Islamofacist Marxist! Well..ok then. We need to start cutting spending on our three largest expenditures: Healthcare, Defense and Social Security. No! Keep your gubmint hands off my pension and health care! Terrorist! Wait, so you want us to balance the budget, reduce the debt, not raise taxes and keep spending levels on those programs the same? Yeah! Sadly, I am not making this shit up. This is what poling shows the public want. In my view, that is fucking idiocy and things are not going to change until politicians start relentlessly mocking the public for their stupidity instead of just agreeing with whatever they want all the time. Try reasoning with the schizophrenic guy on the subway pissing himself and see how far that gets you. That is what the modern Republican Party has become.

  59. Elder Futhark Says:

    JohnR, Cancel "Book of Eli" as best anything. Too many scenes where the sky is blue. Same problem for "A Boy And His Dog", although at least they got it right that civilization would be buried under around 4 feet of mud.

    No, no, when it does manage to get light enough, the sky is going to be shit brown and there will be continuous hurricane force west to east winds starting about 300 feet above you as the world heads towards Snowball Earth v 2.0.

    Preppers? I laugh at those dumbshits. If they don't have a tribe, they get eaten. And even if they do have a tribe, they eventually run out of canned goods and get eaten. Best thing to do is devolve to a single cell bacterium, because that's about all that's going to make it.

    Either that or quick earn a billion bucks or so, so's you can buy a spot in the caverns. (And the joke there is, their grandkids eat each other).

    Have a fun weekend!

  60. Xynzee Says:

    @JohnR: not so sure I'm an optimist. But I prefer the idea of doing something to being rounded up and being put in cattle cars. Is it better to die in a hail of bullets of resistance? Or in a gas chamber?

    I'm also looking at the world around me. Look at Arab Spring. Our tech over threw governments. Thank you FB and YouTube. Why do political campaigns need huge $$$?

    That's why I'm suggesting going after the lower hanging fruit of seats. Not every seat is in an unassailable position. Therefore target them.

    Right now there's a debate in Aus over how gambling machines can operate. All because 1 independent got in at the right time of history. Yes the US and American systems are different, but they still need to get votes through Congress. Look at Wis. Did they get all three seats they needed? No. But there's one R who's been known to break ranks. *That's* what is necessary.

    Not a movie, but I'll throw Gibson up as a real call for how the future looks.

  61. Edward Says:

    It also isn't as if the country hasn't had years of examples of unbelievable mismanagement to contemplate before reaching this point. I think the California power shortage, which was deliberate, or the Orange county financial meltdown, were a prelude to our current madness.

  62. Sharkbabe Says:

    Great post and thread.

    It's been clear to me from around age 4 that we're a failed species. It doesn't make watching our self-destruction play out any less excruciating or sad.

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