Outside the Asylum

WARNING: Today Outside the Asylum will touch on politicians and political parties, for the sake of re-establishing an accurate political history of the United States and pointing out a bunch of ahistorical lunacy that has been largely accepted as fact. This will also let off the steam that has been steadily building inside the author's head. Next week, we will be back to much more important things.

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Come outside.

Today you're not getting analysis, you're getting a rant. I got some political literature in my mailbox a couple of days ago, and my reaction to it has been boiling inside me, and this is as good a time as any to let it out.

It's been a long time since I ranted at the putative right wing, since the putative left wing...

I'm sorry, it's hard for me to use the words "left wing" to describe the Clintons no matter what the modifier. Let me wipe the coffee off my keyboard. There. Anyway, as I was saying, it's been a while since I've ranted at the right wingers who admit that they are right wingers, as opposed to people who advocate for corporatist right-wing policies, but then pretend later to be Fannie Lou Hamer.

Today I've got a rant for everybody:

CHECK YOUR CALENDAR. THIS IS NOT 1987.

Ronald Reagan isn't president. Princess Diana and Prince Charles are not visiting West Germany.

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In fact, it may surprise you, but West Germany is no longer a thing. Di and Charles are not a thing anymore either, for rather horrible reasons.

Steve Wozniak does not look like this:

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Speaking of digital technology, Compaq did not just come out with an 18-pound portable computer.

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My mom doesn't have hair like this, and probably yours doesn't either.

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Nobody's got a phone like this, unless it's Halloween:

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You probably haven't been worried recently about whether baby Jessica would make it out of the well.

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Nancy Pelosi is not running for Congress for the first time:

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This asshole isn't making money teaching Americans it's cool to be mean:

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This asshole isn't making money teaching Americans that sleazy drug deals are patriotic.

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Bernie Sanders does not look like this, and he's not currently singing on the radio:

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Bill Clinton is not governor of Arkansas, and, speaking of big hair, he and Hillary don't look like this:

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Finally--and very sadly--David Bowie is not currently doing his Glass Spider tour:

I know this for sure, because if it were true, I would be looking forward to going in December.

Do you have it firmly settled in your mind that this is not 1987?

Good, because that means you're ready to face a few facts.

For those on the right:

This is the breakdown of the U.S. Congress in 1987.

Here's the House of Representatives:

435 258 177

That means, there were a total of 435 Congresscritters, 258 Democratic and 177 Republican.

Here's the Senate:


100th 1987–1989 100 55 45

That means, there were a total of 100 Senators, 55 Democratic and 45 Republican.

In 1987, the Democrats held Congress, by a lot. That means they, at least putatively, had a lot to do with creating and passing legislation into law. That means they, at least putatively, had a lot to do with determining how the country was run.

These conditions persisted, more or less, until the election of 1994.

Then this happened:

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For the first time in 40 years, the Republican Party wins control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in midterm congressional elections. Led by Representative Newt Gingrich of Georgia, who subsequently replaced Democrat Tom Foley of Washington as speaker of the House, the empowered GOP united under the “Contract with America,” a 10-point legislative plan to reduce federal taxes, balance the budget, and dismantle social welfare programs established during six decades of mostly Democratic rule in Congress.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-republican-revolution

You got that?

After this, the Democrats would not hold a majority in Congress until 2007. That's twelve years. Under Obama, the Democrats took a majority from 2007-2010.

They promptly lost their majority in the House of Representatives in January 2011, having managed to hold it for two election cycles. The Senate, always kinder to the Democrats in the post-Newt-Gingrich age, for some reason, held on for another two election cycles. Then it too shifted to a Republican majority in January 2015. Since then, both houses of Congress have been held by Republicans.

Are we clear on this?

Are we *really* clear on this?

Good.

Now about Florida, specifically. Like the rest of the country, Florida went Republican in 1994 in response to Newt Gingrich's three-ring-circus. Florida remained Republican. In fact, Republicans held a trifecta--meaning they held the State House, the State Senate, and the Governorship--from 1999-2009. Even though Florida voted for Barack Obama twice, the Republicans re-took their trifecta in 2011, and Florida has remained under complete Republican control from 2011 to the present.

Are we clear on this?

Great.

The reason I'm going into this history in so much detail is not because I believe that there is a difference between the two parties, beyond that of management style. It's not because I believe politicians control our destinies--for the most part, I think they fall somewhere between employees and a puppet show.

The reason I'm going into this history is that I want to ask Republicans everywhere a question.

Why did Keith Perry, a Republican running for Florida Senate, mail me a flyer that said:

WANT MONEY? SORRY, WE GAVE IT TO AN IMMIGRANT.

I'm sorry I can't show the picture accompanying this statement, because my life partner tore the flyer to shreds and threw it in the garbage. So I can only tell you that the accompanying picture was of a sad-looking person who I guess was supposed to be native-born.[EDIT: I have been informed that the sad-looking person was supposed to be a military veteran. A native-born military veteran, of course. I'm not sure how many people know that we have non-native-born military veterans, some of them living on the other side of that wall.]

Apparently, Mr. Perry believes that he will get elected if he commiserates with Republican voters about how the political system takes money out of the hands of suffering native-born people (no, he doesn't mean the Standing Rock Sioux or anybody like that) and puts it into the hands of immigrants.

Now, I'm not going to criticize this flyer for its jingoism, its lack of compassion, or its attempts to stir up hatred. I'm not even going to argue about why it actually is that veterans are getting the shaft from the government they quite literally risked their lives for. I'm not going to argue about where the money that SHOULD be going to them is actually going. [My life partner--the other one--wants to be the one to deliver that rant. It involves how we should fire defense contractors and put soldiers back to work doing the potato-peeling and cleanup that the contractors are currently doing--and then raising soldiers' wages across the board. But I'll leave that rant to him.] All these arguments have been made many times. What I would like to ask every Republican in the country is this:

Who are you mad at?

Who ran the federal legislature from 1995-2007? Who promptly took the House of Representatives back in 2011, and kept it? Who took the Senate back in 2014, and kept it?

Obviously, immigration policy is primarily federal, but since Mr. Perry is running in Florida, who has run Florida since 1994?

Here's a fact that has seemed to escape you all for the past twenty-four years:

THE REPUBLICANS ARE NO LONGER A MINORITY PARTY.

Here's what that means. Well, actually, it means next to nothing, but if you *believe* that there is a significant difference between Democrats and Republicans, the putative "right" and the putative "left," what it means is that, for the past twenty-four years, the Republican party has been responsible for making most of the laws. And what *that* means is that the Republican party has been responsible for most of the policies we live under, both in Florida, and in the United States generally.

In order to believe that money is being taken from native-born Americans in need, and handed to immigrants, and that that is the fault of Democratic or liberal political shenanigans, you must believe that

1)In 2009, the U.S. Congress changed all the immigration laws, and the subsequent Republican Congresses haven't been able to set things right.

or

2)The Republican Congresses tried to set things right, but Barack Obama stopped them. The subsequent Trump administration has not been able to set things right either, even though the Republicans now also hold Congress. The reason Trump and the Republican Congress can't set things right is...some vague and undefined reason having to do with liberal bureaucracy and the Democratic party.

There are two problems with this position.

First, this belief requires that you imagine Barack Obama, and Democrats generally, as some kind of immigrant-friendly liberal bureaucrats who are soft on illegals at the expense of native-born Americans (but not the Standing Rock Sioux, just to continue to be clear). It is true that Barack Obama supported the Dream Act, which would have allowed immigrants who arrived before the age of 16 to find a path toward citizenship; it's also true that he signed an Executive Order to prevent those people's deportation. However, he also did this:

The Shame of America’s Family Detention Camps

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This was actually in the New York Times magazine. It's gotta be bad if the New York Times criticizes a Democrat--or any finance-friendly establishment politician, really.

From the beginning, officials were clear that the purpose of the new facility in Artesia was not so much to review asylum petitions as to process deportation orders. “We have already added resources to expedite the removal, without a hearing before an immigration judge, of adults who come from these three countries without children,” the secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, told a Senate committee in July. “Then there are adults who brought their children with them. Again, our message to this group is simple: We will send you back.” Elected officials in Artesia say that Johnson made a similar pledge during a visit to the detention camp in July. “He said, ‘As soon as we get them, we’ll ship them back,’ ” a city councilor from Artesia named Jose Luis Aguilar recalled. The mayor of the city, Phillip Burch, added, “His comment to us was that this would be a ‘rapid deportation process.’ Those were his exact words.”

During the first five weeks that the Artesia facility was open, officials deported more than 200 refugees to Central America.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/magazine/the-shame-of-americas-family...

The Artesia site was created in response to a flood of immigrants from war-torn regions of Central America. Things got particularly bad in 2014.

Before last summer[the summer of 2014]—when thousands of mothers and young children fleeing gang violence and bad governance in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador crossed the southern border into this country—the detention of immigrant families was rare.

Thanks, Hillary, for helping out with Honduras.

Antonio Ginatta, the U.S. advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said there were only 90 beds or fewer in facilities designated for the detention of these immigrants. But then last summer happened, and the number of young children—many entering the country without parents—and young mothers crossing the border went up dramatically.

“There was no family detention in the United States, practically, a year and a half ago,” said Ginatta. “And now we’re in the thousands.”

The feds quickly opened a facility in Artesia, New Mexico, with the specific mission of detaining mothers and young children. But that facility drew controversy and closed down before the year was out.

Well, that's good, right? It's good that the facility got shut down.

Many of the detainees there were then transferred to a new facility in the town of Dilley, Texas. The benignly-named South Texas Family Residential Center, also called Dilley, is a 2,400-bed immigrant detention center that serves as a temporary home—if that’s the appropriate word to use for a place you can’t leave—for mothers and young children.

Dilley is managed by the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, a publicly traded, for-profit company. The company’s prisons have been dogged by allegations of maltreatment, neglect, and abuse—as if the practice of detaining toddlers wasn’t controversial enough.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/prison-gets-rich-locking-up-preschoolers

CCA is a really exciting company:

CCA has made profits from, and at times contributed to, the expansion of tough-on-crime and anti-immigrant policies that have driven prison expansion.

I wonder if they were supporters of the Clinton crime bill?

Now a multi-billion dollar corporation, CCA manages more than 65 correctional and detention facilities with a capacity of more than 90,000 beds in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The company’s revenue in 2012 exceeded more than $1.7 billion.

While the company has become a multibillion dollar corporation, it has also become exceedingly controversial, with a record of prisoner abuse, poor pay and benefits to employees, scandals, escapes, riots, and lawsuits marking its history. Faith denominations, civil rights groups, criminal justice reform organizations, and immigrant rights advocates have repeatedly argued that adding the profit motive to the prison and immigrant detention systems provides perverse incentives to keep incarceration rates high.

https://grassrootsleadership.org/cca-dirty-30

Republicans are generally unwilling to listen to socialists, but if they really wanted a comprehensive catalog of how "tough on immigrants" Democrats are willing to be, they could do worse than to go to the Jacobin. If you want to see a history of these rotten policies going back to the first Clinton administration, you can find it here:

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/08/immigration-democrats-hillary-clinton...

I believe I've provided enough evidence to puncture the right's notion that somehow liberals, or Democrats, or the Democratic Party, are "soft" on immigrants; with friends like these, no immigrant would need enemies. However, I harbor no illusions that this evidence will convince all, or even most, right-wing people. Like most people in this country, they seem to cling to stereotypes in defiance of all evidence, recycling stale images endlessly as a replacement for logical thought.

There is, however, a second problem with the notion that somehow Democrats are responsible for some set of policies that hands money by the buttload to immigrants while reducing native-born soldiers to poverty. And I don't mean the problem of the complete fucking unreality of that statement. Nobody is giving buttloads of money to immigrants--unless "giving money to immigrants" means "giving money to the Corrections Corporation of America, so that they can imprison people for no good reason." There is a critique to be made here, and it is this: billions of dollars is being poured into companies whose sole function is to put people in cages, while native-born Americans, including military veterans, sink further and further into poverty. Excitingly, from 2014 on, some of that money is put specifically toward putting children into cages. It's certainly true that pouring money into jails for children fleeing death squads might take money away from looking after our own people, including soldiers. But that's not the critique Keith Perry is making, is it?

Here's my most fundamental problem with all this. There is a logical fallacy at the root of not only Keith Perry's loathsome campaign flyer, but all standard Republican party talking points, and that is this:

The Republican party's talking points blame liberal bureaucrats, government, and the political policies those entities produce for, well, just about everything. In order to believe those talking points, one must believe that, of course, Republicans have nothing to do with government bureaucracy or political policy. These talking points were never true, but they made good propaganda in, well, 1987.

In 1987 Republicans had recently been in the minority for a long time. Since World War II, they hadn't done that well. They had held the presidency twice under Eisenhower and twice under Tricky Dick, but those achievements could only be bittersweet given their shitty record at holding Congress or controlling the courts. Even the achievement of winning the Presidency four times was tarnished by the way Nixon left office.

Reagan coming into office created the so-called "Reagan Revolution," but the success of that revolution was by no means assured in 1987. In fact, the Democratic party did not entirely lose control of Congress for seven more years. So, in 1987, the idea that Republicans were raging against a government for which they held no responsibility and against policies with which they were in no way involved was, while risible, at least not lunatic.

Nowadays, to believe that the Republicans are somehow voices in the wilderness, struggling against a political system which disempowers them and creates policy in despite of them, one would have to be a psychopath: a psychopath, or someone desperate to claim power without acknowledging responsibility.

There is an ugly pattern here, which I have seen before: the people talking, including Keith Perry, portray themselves as either victims or allies of victims, trying to right a wrong, while at the same time, they boast of their power and success. People on this site have experienced this phenomenon most viscerally when establishment types asserted, with contempt, that they didn't need our votes, and simultaneously blamed us for their failures because we withheld our votes. The people speaking simultaneously imagine themselves as massively powerful, their success inevitable--and also imagine themselves as ill-done-by, exploited and oppressed by superior forces, denied their due.

I have seen this phenomenon in Republicans, in Clinton Democrats, in schoolyard bullies, and in abusers. If you read history, you can recognize the pattern repeatedly. In the case of the Republican party, it's beyond stupid: these people have held power, sometimes complete power, both in the federal government and in many states, and they have done so both repeatedly, and for years at a time. In fact, they have held so much power in so many states that it's conceivable they could, in the near future, call a constitutional convention. It is, therefore, pathetic and nonsensical for any of them to pretend that "government" somehow exists apart from them, their party, and their donors, as if "government" floated on a pink cloud in a mystical realm of liberal bureaucracy where everyone drives Volvos, drinks lattes, and eats quinoa while raising taxes on the salt-of-the-earth conservatives below.

Actually, it's worse than pathetic nonsense; it's a fucking lie.

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Lookout's picture

own both parties and most of the politicians big and small (ie fed, state, and local). They don't represent we the people but they the oligarchs. Dim or repug...two sides of the same corporate coin.

When they talk about big government, it translates to multinational corporations. It is a global phenomena. That's the reason to reach out and create your TAZ concept. Time to create a tribe...the water is rising...especially in FL.

In Alabama we saw a similar race to the 2016 DNC...it was Graddick vs Baxley in 1986...
https://altoday.com/archives/1159-lessons-from-bill-baxley-vs-charles-gr...
Alabama turned red that year and has been red ever since (for the most part). However in reality the same corporations own us now as then...primarily timber barons...like the Kochs.

So the conclusion I draw is that politics is theater to allow people to think they have some effect on their governance.

Thanks for the OT and your righteous rant.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout Oh, you know I agree with you, Lookout. I hope I made it clear in this essay that none of this means that I think there's a substantive difference between the parties. What I'm doing here is entering into a mental framework I despise to destroy it from within. I temporarily adopt their assumptions (there's a difference between Democrats and Republicans; elected officials control the country, etc.) and then show that, even based on their assumptions, their ideas are nonsensical. And they are freaking nonsensical.

I am sick to death of people in positions of power or privilege trying to sell me on the notion that they are John the Baptist railing against Herod. And I'm sick to death of people, Democrats and Republicans, pretending it's 1987 (I've got another rant for the Dems and how they pretend it's 1987, but I will *not* be posting that next week; as you say, we've got more important things to talk about).

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Lookout's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Just being an echo chamber I guess. Take care!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout No, no. I didn't mean that at all. I just want to be sure everybody knows I haven't abandoned my earlier ideas.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Democratic pols give lip service to being PC; Republican pols do not. Many, but not all, Democratic pols give lip service to reproductive choice and LGBTQ rights; Republicans openly oppose at least the former and maybe also the latter. Other than that, I'm not certain that I can think of anything.

Even if Reagan did not have a Democratic Congress, any Democratic Congress could have repealed anything passed during the Reagan administration and any Democratic President could have issued Executive Orders to repeal Reagan's. The combination of repeal of Glass Steagall and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 enabled the economic crash of 2008, which caused more damage than anything Reagan did. And that "modest budget surplus" for which Clinton got so much praise? Increases under Reagan and Bush 41 of taxes and fees went a long way toward creating it, as did ending "welfare as we know it," of which Clinton was so proud.

While George Bush may be blamed for the bailout, by then, he had a Democratic majority Congress. Moreover, Dodd claimed that he was at least going to ban bonuses for the evildoers, but Geithner, who presided over the NY Fed while its members bankrupted a lot of the US, Greece, Portugal, etc., told him the bonuses had to paid, and Dodd complied.. (With this revelation, Dodd attempted to exonerate himself, but instead reveals that his conscience and responsibility to his constituents and the nation fly out the window quickly.

As for the bailout, again, it was a Democratic Congress. Moreover, Bush cannily abstained from requesting the second half of the bailout. When pressed as to why, he said he would not request it unless President Elect Obama asked him so to do. Within two days, Obama asked. And, of course, AFTER his first election, Obama promised to "reform" remaining entitlements; and put Medicare and Social Security on the table without even being asked when negotiating with Republicans. Luckily for seniors, the disabled, and the "widows and orphans, Republicans did not take the bait. (Neither did the Cat Food Commission or the Grand Bargain Commission.)

Having run out of people Obama hoped to blame for "reform" of America's "Third Rails, Obama's economic advisors made The Sequester the fail safe. Oh, yes, and part of Obama's economic recovery plan was reducing the employer and employee contributions to OASDI, which, of course, will hurt some beneficiaries when the amount of their retirement or disability benefit is calculated, based contributions to their respective accounts. It probably already has, for those who have already retired or become disabled. And let's not even get started on Obamacare. Oh, yes, don't forget Obama re-appointed Bush's pick for Fed Head, Hanky Panky Bernanke. Keeping interest rates low throughout his tenure made the banksters much richer than did the bailout--and you thought they were grateful only to Clinton!

As for social justice, Barney Frank accurately told us that treating gays in the military decently would happen "after midterms, which meant gays in the military suffered needlessly under DADT, Bill Clinton's concoction, and a number of them were discharged. Why? So as not to tick off the right leaning voters that New Democrats value so much while Democrats and Republicans were running for office.

Of course, Obama was for equal marriage in 1994, against it when he first campaigned for President in 2008 and for it again as he was ramping up for re-election. (Can't say for certain that the HRC read him the riot act: Gays make up a disproportionate number of Democratic bundlers and donors. https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2013/12/do_democrats_really_nee... BTW, Obama made the announcement of his alleged evolution to Robin Roberts, then on leave from Good Morning America because of breast cancer, well before Roberts announced publicly that she is gay.

For her part, in 2013, Ms. Clinton overruled her own very public opposition to equal marriage a couple of weeks before Justice Kennedy provided the swing vote in United States v. Windsor, recognizing the marriage of two women to allow the survivor of them to inherit. Although the precise holding of this case did not technically make equal marriage a Constitutional right, the language used in Kennedy's majority opinion was quite broad, as Scalia's dissent angrily noted. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Windsor. And, indeed, not long after the Windsor decision, Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which made the right to equal marriage more indisputable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obergefell_v._Hodges

Because of the timing of Hillary's "evolution" on equal marriage, I strongly suspect she knew what United States v. Windsor would hold, but, of course, that is my circumstantial speculation.

And then, reproductive choice, the jewel in the crown of New Democrats claim to be pro-woomen: While running for POTUS in 2016, Hillary said she was open to a Constitutional amendment to overrule Roe v. Wade, but with a proviso about the mother's health. IOW, the alleged champion of women offered to enshrine in the Constitution the position that Republican SCOTUS Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor had taken long ago. Many will recall how Obama spoke of his daughters when he awkwardly spoke of reproductive choice. (He also invoked his daughters when he refused an ACLU request for the White House visitors list and when he spoke about equal marriage. It's as though he used them as his human political shield.)

Ah, like you, I could go on, but there are just so many minutes in a day and so many increases to blood pressure before a fatality.

As for Republicans, I've never voted for one and cannot imagine that I ever will, but I am not mad at them. They are what they are and they don't pretend to be anything else. Democrats, however, were supposed to be the party that opposed Republicans vigorously. When they went full bore New Democrat, America was left with a duopoly that was essentially a uniparty. And I am angry that they left off being the opposition party, especially because they still pretend to be America's refuge from Republicans.

Speaking of people at whom to be mad, at least some members of media seems to be just now waking up to New Democrats and neoliberalism and its evils (emphasis on "seems"). I guess none of them had access to a library or google between 1985, when the Democratic Leadership Council formally incorporated, and the past two or three years. The others still seem somnolent. I guess the average message board poster is more insightful than people who write about politics for a living. /s So, I'm made at a lot of media because, just as Democrats walked away from their role as the opposition party while pretending otherwise, much of media has walked away from its journalistic and Constitutional role, while pretending otherwise.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace You know I agree with you, for the most part. And for the most part, Republicans are what they say they are. But their current conceit that they are "anti-government" is beyond ridiculous, and I just don't feel like putting up with it anymore. For anti-government people, they sure do like government jobs, and for anti-political people, they sure do like political careers. There comes a time in any revolution, even a Reagan revolution, when the insurgents have to admit that they are the establishment, and, even conventional thinkers should recognize that that day, for the Republicans, is long past.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

that they are against "big" government in general and big federal government in particular. I cannot say their legislative efforts are inconsistent with that view. Their "starve the beast" tax cuts for example. Another example is their protestations that more things should be left to the states.

Constitutionally, that position is intellectually defensible, even though it is not a position I have espoused. The federal government was supposed to be one of only limited powers, and national "defense," which Republicans strongly support, was one of them. And it was not until FDR's so-called "court-packing plan" scared the Supreme Court Justices into deciding some of FDR's New Deal was constitutional that the country, other than Republicans, deviated significantly from that view of the Constitution.

To do so, the Supremes expanded the interstate commerce clause to a degree that even I cannot stomach. (During the oxymoronically-named Great Depression, a man was forbidden to grow vegetables in his back yard to help feed his own family on the ground that it allegedly interfered with interstate commerce, citing some drivel about "the stream of commerce.")

In my view, Republican legislators having federal government jobs, despite a stated preference for smaller federal government, is not inconsistent with the above. The Constitution specifies that every state shall be represented in Congress by two Senators. I don't offhand recall the formula for Reps, but, of course, a Constitutional amendment capped the total number at 435. So, realistically what is their option? Have a President, one hundred Senators and 435 reps (and nine SCOTUS Justices) with beliefs contrary to theirs hold and exercise all federal power all the time? Moreover, they do recognize that the federal government has legitimate powers under the Constitution, like national defense, regulating interstate commerce, etc. So, I can reconcile the likes of Mitchell, Graham and McCain yelping about big federal government while making a career of the Senate. (It's a dirty job, but Republicans have to do it, too.)

Where I see inconsistencies are complaining about people being on the federal "teat," yet voting for increases in compensation and fringe benefits, taking things like farm subsidies, etc. Also, don't yell about welfare and keep voting for corporate welfare programs. And don't be anti-abortion or anti-gay or anti-turning off life support on behalf of the the entire nation when those things have traditionally been within the powers of the individual states.

I do think there is something to be said for leaving more things to states. Then, again, I live in one of the most liberal states (as the word "liberal" was understood before it was co-opted, so maybe that's tunnel vision). And even the most liberal of us say, "Think global, act local."

All that said, I cannot imagine my ever voting Republican.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace But I sure do agree with you about the Democrats and the press. Fuck them.

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3 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace By the way, I had no idea that what HRC was agreeing to was a *constitutional amendment,* for Christ's sakes! That makes NARAL and Planned Parenthood's endorsement of her even more egregious. And Emily's List, of course.

I no longer contribute to any of them. I feel a twinge of guilt about PP, because they do provide healthcare to women who can't afford to get it anywhere else, and often pay a significant price in so doing, but I simply can't contribute to an organization engaging in that level of hypocrisy.

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4 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

amendment to overrule Roe v. Wade after Planned Parenthood endorsed her. I could be misrembering, so please check if the order in which those things happened would affect your donating behavior.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

How are you all this morning?

It's about time we put an end to this "Republicans are anti-government" nonsense. Our response to it should be repeated laughter--perhaps punctuated with "You're anti-government? I guess you won't be running for office then--or voting."

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6 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

Of course, if it was 1987, I'd be smacking my 11 year old self with a newspaper and saying "That astronaut shit? Not going to happen. You don't have the right connections, and they're gonna cancel manned flights for everybody but the super rich."

But at the time I was reading Larry Niven, and Robert Heinlein, and Marion Zimmer Bradley... I had a lot of hope back then. I had a lot of things that I wanted to be in America. I thought it could work, that if I just tried hard enough...

Yeah, I was idealistic, believed every lie the church and the government told me, and never questioned. Of course, there were already seeds of doubt. For example, I never believed that we annihilated the British during the Revolutionary war. The British History pointed out that we got REALLY lucky, and most other non-American sources corroborated that. And then High School, And I started reading the Romans... and seeing the same damn lies, over and over again. Work Hard, give your all to the state, and you will be rewarded if you are strong and smart enough...

And now I don't. And I'm much happier, and moving my life forward in a direction I like.
Honestly, I'm stressing about being strong now, because I tend to rely on my strength on throws in Judo. (Strangely, my O Goshi is my best throw. Which is weird as hell, because it's usually better with a smaller Judoka.)

So, since it's an OT, New Logos. Helen. Sad as hell, and I apologize for that. However, we're right up to the end of the second act, and the next one is the Final piece of the act.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@detroitmechworks I am so sorry that you couldn't be an astronaut. You should have at least had the opportunity to try to train yourself to that standard. But then again, we should have a public space program that isn't dedicated entirely to weapons and surveillance, and Elon Musk should not be the go-to for such things.

I take my hat off to you for having that dream the year after the Challenger exploded. Way to be resilient.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Seeing what was required in the rear view... No way in hell I could have succeeded in the competitive Winner take all contest to become one. I'm just not that kind of person.

Happier now, and that is what matters. Smile Besides, I sure as hell wouldn't want to spend half my life to become a goddamn Chauffeur for the mega rich.

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3 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@detroitmechworks By the way, I like to imagine that we used spells of misdirection on the British. "You really want to head north through that massive unexplored forest and flank us from Canada. That'll work."

Heh.

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3 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

It's always been confusing to hear the republicans yelling their anti government slogans, when they've been the government for so long now. I guess as long as there is a chance they won't be in power, it's a boogy man that works over and over.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Snode It works for the same reason that Obama can stand on a stage in front of tens of millions of people and say that his Social Security policies are the same as Mitt Romney's--and have none of his millions of supporters absorb that fact.

People have stereotypes that sit firmly in place, beliefs that control what they see. I do too, of course, but at least I have training to help me see some of them and break them apart, and the willingness to do so. Hell, I'd be willing to believe that the bankers aren't guilty as hell if somebody could show me reliable hard evidence to the contrary.

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4 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

enhydra lutris's picture

what you're doing and where you're coming from, I will not inject all of the innumerable obvious quibbles. I must, however, point out that this same data will not support any whines by the Democrats that they are victims, burdened with all this GOP policy due to the long periods of GOP control. Not the least of the reasons for that is: while it is true that, since Gingrich, when the Dems are in office, the GOP sits as an opposition party, it is also true that when the GOP is in power, the Dems sit as accomplices.

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6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris No fucking kidding. Even when they're saying that the Republican President is a fascist, a Manchurian candidate, and not really the President, Democratic politicians still vote to give him expanded surveillance powers. Because.

It's this sort of thing that makes it impossible for me to understand how anybody can still have the traditional view of the two-party system.

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6 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal By the way, does that make those Democrats Putin puppets? I'm just asking questions. And I'll be watching.

And I'll be watching.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Big Al's picture

into different groups while maintaining republicans as a whole, although occasionally the "tea party" republicans will be used as a differentiator. On the democratic side there are the establishment dems, the Clinton dems, the progressive dems, the centrist dems, etc. It's almost as if they're trying to justify continued allegiance to the party by blaming the problems on a certain faction, and/or justifying their efforts at reform by positing that if only "those" people would get out the party would be just fine. To me, that flies in the face of history, like the quote I posted last night from Tocqueville.

Immigration has almost always been used as a wedge issue and it makes sense the republicans would use it now to rile up their base against the establishment/Clinton/progressive/centrist/left democrats. That's what these two political parties do to try to remain in power. It's in effect identity politics on both sides while both parties continue to fund imperialism, the police state, wars, bank bailouts, etc. They've got to have someone to blame and for the republicans it's the immigrants and "liberals" while with the democrats it's racists and conservatives.
It's all the same thing only different and meant to keep the people in their places and not allow a real challenge to the oligarchy.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Big Al Actually, Al, the only reason I didn't differentiate in this essay is that it was too long already, and none of the Republican factions eschew the talking point I was discussing. Whether it's Ron Paul libertarians or corporatist Bush Republicans or Tea Party types like Ted Yoho or even opportunists like Paul Ryan, all of them use the anti-government talking point, insisting that they themselves are somehow rebelling against the big liberal government bureaucracy. It reminds me of the guy I met in the Library of Congress once, who was a lifelong federal employee, and had WHO IS JOHN GALT? up on his wall. My partner told me he was a heavy-duty libertarian who had worked for the government all his life, which pretty much exemplifies the conservative anti-government talking point for most of the powerful conservatives out there.

For the conservatives who aren't powerful, well, all I have to say to them is that they shouldn't believe somebody is anti-government when he works in the government and keeps asking you to send him back.

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5 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Big Al's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal government however most republicans are pure hypocrites when it comes to that. I mentioned the other day how up to 70% of all federal jobs, including the military, are for imperialism, a police and incarceration state, and to support a corrupt oligarchy controlled political system. They won't focus on them, instead focusing on the poor saps who have to survive on food stamps. Most of them believe Bezos rightly earns his wealth. Twilight zone shit.

I wasn't picking on you relative to the dem party groupings btw, just pointing out it's used for rationalizations.

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4 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Big Al This is absolutely true. Couldn't have said it better myself:

It's in effect identity politics on both sides while both parties continue to fund imperialism, the police state, wars, bank bailouts, etc. They've got to have someone to blame and for the republicans it's the immigrants and "liberals" while with the democrats it's racists and conservatives.
It's all the same thing only different and meant to keep the people in their places and not allow a real challenge to the oligarchy.

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3 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Big Al

New Democrats and neoliberal Dems (all really neocons in blue drag, IMO) are one and the same--maybe not identical, but I know of no significant distinctions.

As for "progressive" Dems, Obama and Hillary, both of whom are centrist/Clinton/establishment Dems in my book, describe their policies as progressive. So does Indie Sanders, so does the Progressive Policy Institute, a successor to the DLC. So, I have no clue in this world what the word means. It seems to mean whatever the person using it wants it to mean. Therefore, I try like anything to avoid using, apart from comments like those in this paragraph. (I posted an essay here about this once, but I am too tired right now to comb though my list of essays--and the search feature here hates me)

However, there is a "left of the left" of the Democratic Party rank and file, as Rahm dubbed them, though I think the left of the left of the Party's rank and file has been diminishing and will continue to do so. And if a newer party catches on, they will be gone. In fairness, I must concede that a few officeholders are the left of the left, but some of them have been shapeshifting and most of them are not in the U.S. House; and none are in the U.S Senate or in the DNC.

Anyway, to sum up. I see only two kinds of Democratic politicians. The rank and file may break down into more groups, but I don't know of any, except for dembots and Dems who use their brains.

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lotlizard's picture

anything any public figure might want to do for working-class men and women.

The TAZ is considered a Green/alternative-Left newspaper — here’s their correspondent for Great Britain, ready to write off Corbyn based on that one accusation alone.
https://www.taz.de/Kraenze-fuer-antisemitische-Attentaeter/!5525193/

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