Monday, October 1, 2012

Change and no change

As promised by JS-Kit, Echo comments have disappeared from The Sideshow, so I guess I'd better start a new post for you here so you can talk. And here it is!

If you listened to me and Stuart and Jay on Virtually Speaking Sundays this week, you heard mention of Conor Friedersdorf's "Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama." The dialog is going on - Freddie at L'Hote is on the same page and reacts directly against partisan arguments for voting for Obama in "You're either with us or against us ," where he says:

The time has come again for the liberals to attack those on their left. Such things are cyclical, like the coming of the cicadas. This is interesting timing because the liberals I know and read are very, very confident that Obama is running away with the election. And this itself is interesting, as the typical justification of the rampant redbaiting and Peter Beinart-style calls for purges of the unfaithful is that we're in a trench war, here, people, and Charlie is everywhere, and so if the Democrats were to nominate Zell Miller your job would be to shut the fuck up and support him as he destroyed everything we believe in, because it's a two party system. But, now, see, because they think that their guy is winning, it's also not the right time because... well. You know. It's never the time. They are, in every sense, kept people, owned by a party and its leader, and they have given away every part of themselves that is capable of critical thought.
Click on the links he supplies and be astonished.

VastLeft has a briefer response to one of those, of course, with American Extremists: "You catch more flies". Or maybe this covers it.

29 comments:

  1. And when a Romney administration defunds Planned Parenthood and finds ways to make abortion inaccessible in most states, what will you say then then? Because they will do it.

    There's a lot to hate about the Obama administration. And yet if they are buying votes with their civil rights positions, they are at least paying in honest coin.

    My thoughts on this as an election is that for most voters it is about identity first, and for most voters, policy isn't even on the table. This horrifies me but, really, it's old news in politics. And the identity issue is important. If we end up the country of the old white wealthy guys, the policy issues never will be addressed.

    For myself, I plan a protest vote in the Presidential election this year, unless things get close in my supposedly safe blue state. But I can only plan on that because there are a lot of voters voting on identity.

    http://adviceunasked.blogspot.com/2012/09/identity-crisis-politics.html

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    1. Abortion is already unavailable in most parts of the United States, thanks to its lackluster "support" from centrist Democrats.

      We need to get rid of these people.

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    2. I think the suppression of the right to abortion has more to do with religious terrorism than the Democratic Party. At least, the Obama administration still acts against the terrorists; the Republicans probably will not.

      Time is on our side, not with the reactionaries: conservatism is overwhelmingly unpopular with younger people, and becoming steadily more so with women. The strategic question is one of making the enemy pay for each foot of ground or retreating and regrouping. But a retreat means that there will be more ground to make up, and perhaps some never will be regained. Since time is on our side, I say make them pay.

      I hope for the emergence of a new major party in the coming decade, one that represents women and young people. I don't expect perfection: this is, after all, politics. But I do anticipate improvement.

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    3. Glen Ford over at Black Agenda Report notes that Obama is the more effective evil.

      I would add to what he says that Bush was unable to privatize Social Security because the Democrats pushed back. In our tribalized politics, when Obama proposes to cut Social Security, I doubt that anyone will push back. Democrats will support the Democratic president. Republicans will ecstatically let them do it. And then Republicans will control the government for the next generation, running successfully on the fact that Democrats cut Social Security.

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    4. Oh, there will be pushback. Lots of Congresscritters will suddenly notice that they might lose their jobs. FWIW, my guess is that Social Security is will be left alone, Medicare will suffer minor cuts, and Medicaid is likely to be subject to major cuts. Don't run out of money and land in a nursing home.

      I respect Ford and I know Ford's argument, but I think he's wrong; Romney would be more evil, should he get the chance.

      's funny. Digby has an article on this at http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/alternet-is-featuring-interview-with.html. Chomsky agrees with me, and Howie Klein. I like Chomsky's remark from 2008: "of course you can vote for the lesser of two evils. You get less evil."

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    5. The question is, which is the most evil? Romney is a spoiled plutocrat, sure, and he's playing for Team Evil, but it's not so long ago that Romney was a man who voiced fuller-throated support for abortion rights than Obama ever has. Romney is a reed who blows with the wind, but he's also clumsy and he's a Republican, so Democrats won't make excuses for him.

      Obama, on the other hand, is ideologically committed to evil, and as long as he has that D after his name, there are all too many Democrats who will not question him. He can get a lot more evil done.

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    6. We don't have to guess, we just have to acknowledge the bad news.

      The New York Times' editorial staff are prepping their liberal Democrat readership by characterizing the Grand Bargain on entitlements as a "plan to avert mandatory cuts," i.e. to avoid the sequester cuts across all non-entitlement spending (including DOD).

      But, of course, this is a plan to enforce voluntary cuts, and long-term structural changes to Social Security, Medicare and the tax code, as the copy of the piece eventually makes clear.

      Leaders at Work on Plan to Avert Mandatory Cuts
      By JONATHAN WEISMAN
      Published: October 1, 2012

      “First, senators would come to an agreement on a deficit reduction target — likely to be around $4 trillion over 10 years — to be reached through revenue raised by an overhaul of the tax code, savings from changes to social programs like Medicare and Social Security, and cuts to federal programs. Once the framework is approved, lawmakers would vote on expedited instructions to relevant Congressional committees to draft the details over six months to a year.

      “If those efforts failed, another plan would take effect, probably a close derivative of the proposal by President Obama’s fiscal commission led by Erskine B. Bowles, the Clinton White House chief of staff, and former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a Republican. Those recommendations included changes to Social Security, broad cuts in federal programs and actions that would lower tax rates over all but eliminate or pare enough deductions and credits to yield as much as $2 trillion in additional revenue.

      “Finally, they would vote to put off the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, and tax increases scheduled to hit all at once in January — but with some deficit reduction down payment to signal how serious Congress is.”

      “And pressure for a deal continues to grow.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/us/senate-leaders-at-work-on-plan-to-avert-fiscal-cliff.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=todayspaper

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    7. Avedon, that was before Romney ran the wingnut circus primary, chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, and made the 47% speech. He's moved so far to the right that that he's fallen off the right wing and needs a parachute. Obama is leading the Democratic Party to the right. But do you think a loss would make the Democratic Party move to the left? And we'd have a Romney/Paul administration to deal with.

      I think our best hope now is for a revolution led by a coalition of women and young people. With luck, the Republicans will shrink to a Southern party, if even that, and there will be space for a new major party on the left.

      Stuart, I think the Congress is likely to balk at cuts to Social Security, regardless of what its "leaders" now say.

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    8. I don't think a win would make the Democratic Party move to the left (see the 2006 and 2008 Congresses). And why should Congress balk at cuts to Social Security? The Democrat will always be the lesser evil, so no matter what the Democrats do, we should vote for them. Or so the argument logically continues.

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    9. But a Republican win also won't move them to the left and it will leave the Republicans in charge.

      I say we need to go back to working for a greater good. You got any better ideas?

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    10. Raven: "And when a Romney administration defunds Planned Parenthood and finds ways to make abortion inaccessible in most states, what will you say then then? Because they will do it." Ah, that was predictable. And when an Obama administration cuts Social Security and Medicare, what will you say then? Because they will do it. And when an Obama administration invades Iran, what will you say then? Because they will do it. And when an Obama administration comes for you because you gave "material comfort" to their enemies, what will you say then? Because they will do it.

      No doubt religious terrorism has played a role in the lessening availability of abortion in the US, but so has the refusal of Democratic politicians to protect it. (Do you include the Hyde Amendment in "religious terrorism"?) The right to abortion has been whittled away by many small laws and court decisions, including by justices appointed by Democratic politicians, including Clinton. Katha Pollitt, I believe, did a good piece on this during the 90s -- she was always more critical of Bill than she has been of Obama -- but I don't know if it's online.

      I agree that a Republican win in November will not make the Democrats move to the left. There's ample historical precedent showing that they'll take defeat as an excuse to move further to the right. Voting either way isn't going to do the job, and certainly won't work toward "a greater good," whatever that means. But if you don't like Obama and claim to "hate" a lot about him, attack him more instead of attacking his critics.

      One rule of thumb: if the administration attacks you, you're doing something right. When Obama and his minions jeered at the professional left who wanted to turn the US into Canada (!), and complained at the gay protesters who hammered him for defending DOMA and for dragging his feet on DADT, you know he was feeling the heat. He needs to feel more. In my opinion, it doesn't matter whether you vote for him, because he and his apologists will still get all pissy when you criticize them. I will probably vote for him, as I did in 2008, just so I can slap around Obamabots who tell me that I probably wanted McCain or Romney to win. Such people need to be abused, a lot. And that includes Rebecca Solnit, who's simply lying in her teeth.

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    11. The Republican leadership, and most of their elected officials, are racist, sexist, and homophobic. They are also anti-Muslim, and covertly anti-Jewish and anti-Roman Catholic, regarding every non-Protestant religion as evil. There is such a huge disparity between the parties on basic civil rights that there is no comparison. On almost every other issue, the Republicans are either the same or worse than the Democrats. They are also actively interfering with the vote.

      This is an election about whether anyone counts politically other than old wealthy white guys. It's election time. We do things to do that won't leave us strapped to the top of Mitt Romney's car. And we plan. I have some ideas. What about you?

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  2. Did you notice, BTW, that Krugman has more-or-less endorsed Stuart Zechman's position on centrism in his column today? "an environment [...] in which bipartisanship was effectively defined as the effort to broker deals between the center-right and the hard right."

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    1. I think that it's not quite an endorsement of my position, but it is encouraging that Krugman is exposing that ideological centrism is the enemy of good government.

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  3. Shorter Rebecca Solnit: "Dear Allies: Shut up."

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    1. The authoritarians on the left are overreacting so they don't have to answer the most important question--when will they start questioning and pressuring their leaders? The answer would be too revealing.

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    2. Which leaders would that be? Obama is not my political leader.

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  4. Agree with Conor and Freddie both and just voted absentee for Jill Stein.

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    1. Funny, here at work I went to change bookmarks for the Blog that Glows Pink and found your old digs both showing and allowing comments!? And I know it's now officially Oct. in all zones.

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    2. The link is still there ('cause that's the code), but when I try to click on it, nothing happens. You're saying you can still read the old comments?

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    3. Not at home, where I am currently but at work yesterday, yes. Now thinking it's b/c we're running an old OS/browser and they were cached versions. Until I clear it, I guess I'll have access to that wealth of commentary.

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  5. Looks good!

    This is the third browser I've tried to see if any of them will let me leave a comment on Blogger (which my own damn blog is on).

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    1. Note to self: Safari works. Next time: content!

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    2. I'm having no trouble with these Atom comments at all on IE. (The actual Blogger comments have never been kind to me, but these work fine - glad it defaulted to them or I'd never have realized.)

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    3. For some reason, Mozilla seems to be the weak link that's kept me from posting comments at various blogs. Firefox, SeaMonkey — no comments. Good thing I have four browsers around for just such an occasion. I used to have IE on this computer as well, but I think it stopped working a while back and I took it off the machine.

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  6. Rob Urie writing at Counterpunch:

    "Democrats and their supporters seem to want to continue their role of recent decades as constructive functionaries in a system designed to facilitate and perpetuate the fortunes of an economic elite, a ruling class, which has found ever more effective ways of siphoning off the wealth created by working people and nature while increasing their domination and control over our lives. The results are the largest and most oppressive prison system in the world, the greatest concentration of wealth in the fewest hands in human history, the largest and most deadly military in human history, used to promote the fortunes of the ruling class, and environmental catastrophe."

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/21/mitts-bad-week/

    And Chris Floyd from a recent post:

    "when you vote for one of the factions in the imperial power bloc -- Democrat or Republican -- this is what you are supporting. You are empowering, enabling and associating yourself with an extremist regime that visits bin Laden-like terror on innocent people, day after day, night after night: killing them, traumatizing them, deranging their lives, destroying their families, their hopes and dreams. This is what you are voting for, you stalwart Tea Party patriots. This is what you are voting for, you earnest humanitarian progressives. This and nothing else but this: terror, murder, fear and ruin, in a never-ending, self-perpetuating, all-devouring cycle."

    Don't miss his responses in commentary

    http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2285-pay-in-blood-the-bipartisan-terror-machine-stripped-bare.html

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  7. Chomsky says, spend 10 or 15 minutes on your vote, if you think it's worth it, and then go spend the rest of your time on other activism.

    That sounds sensible. I've spent more than 15 minutes on responses to this post. Oh, well, at least I've gotten the seeds of a blog post out of it.

    I'm outa this one!

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  8. So maybe someone here can explain what is so special about TBogg, and why he gets such rockstar treatment from almost every blog of the-what-passes-for-left in this country. Half the time I have no idea what he is even writing about, since the jokes are mostly inside ones. But when I do know what he's talking about, I still don't understand what anybody thinks is especially funny or insightful about them. But everyone else seems to agree that the Emperor put a major burn on somebody.

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