• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Beata on “Pet Peeves”
    Beata on “Pet Peeves”
    Propertius on Once they’re in, you can’t vot…
    William on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    HerStory Repeating on Once they’re in, you can’t vot…
    Beata on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    William on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    Beata on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    jmac on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    Beata on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    jmac on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    William on The Welcome Escape of a M…
    Propertius on “Pet Peeves”
    MAG on “Pet Peeves”
    Propertius on “Pet Peeves”
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2011
    S M T W T F S
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • What Sheldon said
      A Supreme Court code of ethics is an absolute no-brainer. Since the justices won’t address the problem, here’s a solution: Congress can pass my Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act. It’s clearly time. — Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) September 28, 2022
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • The Attacks On Nord Stream I & II
      Let’s point out the obvious. Russia had no reason to attack its own pipelines. If it doesn’t want gas to go thru them it just turns off the tap. Sabotage to the pipelines weakens Russia’s position, since it will be months before they can offer to turn fuel back on, which they would have wanted to offer during the winter in order to pressure Germany in specif […]
  • Top Posts

Monday: Hungary, Occupy Congress and other stuff

This morning, Paul Krugman had a guest poster, Kim Lane Scheppele, to explain what is going on in Hungary.  Remember how excited we were 20 years ago when Hungary escaped the tyrannical clutches of Communism?  Unfortunately, they have fallen into the hands of what looks like fascism:

In a free and fair election last spring in Hungary, the center-right political party, Fidesz, got 53% of the vote. This translated into 68% of the seats in the parliament under Hungary’s current disproportionate election law. With this supermajority, Fidesz won the power to change the constitution. They have used this power in the most extreme way at every turn, amending the constitution ten times in their first year in office and then enacting a wholly new constitution that will take effect on January 1, 2012.

[…]

In the new constitutional system, the legal supervision of elections has also been changed. Before the last election, the norm was for the five-member Election Commission to be politically diverse and for the government of the day to consult the opposition before nominating candidates. But the rules were changed last year so that each new national election is now accompanied by a new choice of election commissioners. As a result, the existing commissioners were removed from their offices without allowing them to finish their terms and now the Election Commission consists of five members of the governing party.

The new election law specifies the precise boundaries of the new electoral districts that will send representatives to the parliament. But the new districts are drawn in such a way that no other party on the political horizon besides Fidesz is likely to win elections. A respected Hungarian think tank ran the numbers from the last three elections using the new district boundaries. Fidesz would have won all three elections, including the two they actually lost.

 Read the whole thing.  These people are like Republicans on Red Bull.  The only reason I can’t say they’re significantly worse than our Republicans is that if Republicans take power in 2012, I wouldn’t put it passed them to start emulating the Hungarians.  Their plan is almost in place as it is, what with The Big Squeeze eroding everyone’s livelihoods and ruining lives and families with crushing debt.  And if I were Republicans in 2013, the first thing I would do after indefinitely detaining the Occupiers is make damn sure that no other party ever won another election or had sufficient representation in Congress to knock them out.  In fact, they’ve pretty much adopted the Hungarian model when it comes to the 60 vote threshhold in the Senate.  Filibusters used to mean something.  Now, no piece of legislation can get past Republicans (and some Democrats) without a supermajority.  The only way to get around the Republicans in the Senate is to reduce their numbers to insignificance and they know it.  Which is why we should expect them to try to reduce ours to insignificance preemptively and forever.
And then there’s this tasty nugget:

The new constitution also accepts conservative Christian social doctrine as state policy, in a country where only 21% of the population attends any religious services at all. The fetus is protected from the moment of conception. Marriage is only legal if between a man and a woman. The constitution “recognize(s) the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood” and holds that “the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence.” While these religious beliefs are hard-wired into the constitution, a new law on the status of religion cut the number of state-recognized churches to only fourteen, deregistering 348 other churches.

 You know, Richard Dawkins might come off as a bit of a belligerent, but he’s absolutely right about the damage that is caused by the sanctity of the religious point of view.  You can’t touch the religious without all Hell breaking loose around you.  It’s about time that the non-religious stood up and fought back.  In Hungary, 79% are secular and they are going to have to live under this regime. (That could happen here, although no one can deprive women of their right to abortion.  The state can only deprive them of a *safe* abortion.)  We need to put religion back in its place.
After I read this piece, it struck me that we don’t have much time.  The forces of authoritarianism are already upon us.  And contrary to the Democratic party’s point of view, Obama is probably the WORST person to run for the presidency next year.  If there is a Hungarian style regime in the works, the people who vote for it are definitely motivated to vote against Obama and there are more and more of them everyday as this sorry state of an economy drags on and on.  Wasn’t the Republican plan always to make life about as bad as it could get for the Democratic president and sit on all of the money until we begged for mercy and blamed the Democratic president?  And didn’t the Democratic party take the bait,  thinking Americans were stupid an proposed an inexperienced schmoozer for president?  It looks like all Republican dreams are about to come true.  What we need is to think out of the box, to pull a surprise move, to introduce a little chaos and metaphorically monkeywrench their plans.  Otherwise, we’re all going to Budapest.
******************
Speaking of going somewhere, Partition Function put up a link to the Occupy Bus for the Occupation of Congress Rally in Washington, DC on January 17, 2012.  I made a reservation for the bus and will leave from Trenton, but I think it would be really cool if we Conflucians could have our own caravan.  And it would be even cooler if Katiebird could go, provided her health holds up.  As you know, she lives in Kansas so it’s a flight for her.  We have a little bit of money in the kitty but to pay all of our expenses, we could probably use a little more.  I’d like to thank everyone for throwing in a bit for my trips to NYC to cover the Occupation of Zuccotti park.  It has taken a load of worry off of my mind.  So, if you would like to help keep us warm and fed, please consider a modest donation of $10.17.  The donate button is to the upper left of this page.
And if you’re planning to attend yourself, check out this page for details about where the Occupy Bus will be departing from a city near you.
*****************

About Occupy: On Saturday, as the Bishop was scaling a fence in his magenta cassock, someone with the system password put up a greeting from Mumia Abu-Jamal on the OccupyWallSt.org page.  At first, I was pretty pissed off.  It seems that no matter how hard ordinary people who are not authoritarian religious nutcases try to defend a different point of view, they are always brought to a screeching halt by naive defenders of Mumia Abu-Jamal.  I have seen it so many times in the past couple of decades that I feel a deep sense of despair when this kind of crap shows up again.  Suddenly, no matter if you are against a stupid war or against indefinite detentions or rigged elections or any other important thing, you are conscripted to defend this convicted murderer.  It’s at that point that the people whose support you need the most decide that your cause is just another crazy radical fling that will go the way of the other fling.

Most of the world thinks Mumia is just where he is supposed to be right now.  There was plenty of evidence to convict him. But whatever.  Just when you think a movement is about to go mainstream, some nitwit has to start emoting over Mumia, as if there weren’t other disadvantaged and poorly represented African-American men and women wrongly imprisoned and innocent.  It’s been thirty years and Mumia, the celebrity prisoner, is still attracting a cadre of followers who cannot see that just because a person was a Black Panther at some point in his life does not mean that the world is out to pin murders on him and put him away for life.  Sometimes, a cold-blooded murder of a police officer is just a cold-blooded murder of a police officer.  We don’t attack the police even if they’re complete thuggish assholes sometimes (no offense).  When you need them, they’re usually there for you.  That doesn’t make them our best friends but it does mean that we need to treat each other with respect even if we have to be civilly disobedient.

So, Mumia represents everything the Occupiers are against and I was really worried that the support for Mumia was going to be the downfall of OWS.  In fact, I wrote emails begging them to take Mumia’s greeting down.

But, you know what?  That was the wrong thing to do.  Because I checked the thread on that greeting yesterday and the vast majority of people thought like I did.  Here’s the top comment on that thread with plenty of mojo:

I have been working at Occupy Wall Street since week 2. I am involved heavily in several working groups. I attend meetings and actions every day of the week. But this? This is bullshit. Here’s the thing y’all. Yes, the criminal justice system is brutally unfair. It is racist. It is classist. It is broken beyond all repair. The prison industrial complex has swallowed any hopes that a poor black man ever had to a right to a fair trial in this country. HOWEVER, Mumia? Mumia is guilty as hell. Guilty, guilty, guilty. He stood over Officer Daniel Faulkner with a gun registered in his own name and shot him point blank in the face in front of multiple witnesses. Because of Mumia’s involvement with The Black Panthers, because of his background as a guerilla journalist, and because of the undoubtedly racist climate of Frank Rizzo’s police department in the 1980’s, Mumia’s conviction became a cause celibre. I do not believe in the death penalty. I think that our justice system is a sham. But slapping Mumia’s face on the front of the OWS website is insulting and offensive to all of us who have worked so hard these past few months. This movement is about socio-economic inequality and corporate corruption. It is not about promoting the latest Free Mumia rally on campus. Please show some respect for the legions of us who have put in so much time, and do not glorify the convicted murderer of a police officer. No matter how many college kids wear his face on their shirts.

They are occupiers and have dedicated time and their presence to the occupation.  They are just average folks and they do not want the occupation to be associated with Mumia.  It’s pretty definitive.  Yes, there are a few vocal and persistent supporters but their obsession is not that of the vast majority of occupiers.  The occupation is to save America, not to give Mumia Abu-Jamal a platform to proclaim his innocence and unfair incarceration due to his political beliefs from 30 years ago.

I’m really rather encouraged.  This is the way the system is supposed to work.  Give everyone a voice and let the conversation and arguments carry the day.  It is regrettable that Mumia was convicted of being in the wrong place at the time when a police officer was gunned down and that Mumia was seen shooting the cop, and that he owned the gun that was used to shoot the cop, and that he was in turn shot by the cop, and that he pretty much confessed to shooting the cop to other cops and medical technicians before he was taken in for surgery, or that he tried to represent himself in court and did such a lousy job of it that he had to be replaced as his own defense attorney before he did real damage to his case.  He’s had his day in court and his appeals and many opportunities to change public opinion and he’s still in jail.  There’s a reason for that.

All these things are regrettable, but they are not our problem. If Mumia was such a good guy, such a saint who shared our concerns for economic and social justice, he would refrain from ruining every attempt to get something off the ground by inserting his “greetings” and attempting to co-opt a movement to work in his defense.  To me, he sounds like a narcissist.

Our problem is finding a place to occupy, to protest and to voice our grievances about economic injustice and the rigging of the rules in favor of the rich and powerful to the detriment of everyone else no matter how hard working. Our task is to invite others to join us.  Our task is to become a force to be reckoned with. Once we have solved our own problems, which affect millions of people in this country, those who are concerned with the plight of Mumia can turn their attention to it.  But leave the rest of us out of it.

The community seems to be pretty much agreed on that.

And here’s a little video of the activities of December 17.  I’m sorry to have missed this one.  Bishop Packard’s attire was lovely.

9 Responses

  1. I just made my reservations to DC on 1/16 and a hotel reservation for 1/16 and 1/17 – I would love to meet-up with other Conflucians, if possible.

    Occupy Congress on 01/17!!

  2. I checked a few hours ago and there weren’t any buses planned from either Kansas or Missouri. It would probably be smarter to take a plane in any case — that’s a long ride in the middle of winter.

    It would be WONDERFUL to participate in Occupy Congress.

    At least if I make it through Christmas first …. Money IS an issue in January. I was hoping to go out for an Occupy event in February and (at this point) I’m really not sure how to pull it off in January.

  3. That Occupier’s response to the Mumia bs was stellar!

    As to your comment that the non-believers need to stand up to the religionists who are determined to conflate religion and government, I think that there are plenty of believers who need to do the same. The last thing I want is someone who disagrees with me on matters of faith telling me how I need to express my faith. A secular government protects believers, too.

  4. Riverdaughter: Sorry to ask you about a topic outside of your post. But there has been a strange robocall campaign to get Hillary to run. There is also a runhillary2012.net website, which is very mysterious.

    Huffington Post is saying that the PUMAs are back. If so — then why didn’t YOU know about this? PUMA started on the Confluence.

    I have a preliminary investigative piece up on my site, but so far I haven’t figured out who is behind this thing. All I know is that a robocall operation takes some money.

    • Well, we’re not really PUMAs anymore. The PUMAs broke up after the 2008 election. Some of them went a little nuts joined the Tea Party or went left and joined the dogmatic crowd. I don’t know
      who the PUMAs are anymore that are driving this new campaign. But if it’s Will and the other Just Say No crowd, I’m not interested. They turned out to be fame seekers who had a little too much contact with Lady Rothschild and some Republicans. I understand their anger and I understand a protest vote. What I don’t understand is why that means you have to abandon your Democratic and liberal principles. The enemy of your enemy is not your friend.

      Besides, if Hillary gets back in, it won’t be because of the PUMAs. In fact, someone might be using the PUMAs to make sure she *doesn’t* get into the race. If I were investigating a conspiracy, that’s where I’d look. It could be that these are just angry but misguided people who want Hillary in. Or someone might be using their anger and misguidance in order to associate Hillary with some irrational people. Or both.

      Incidentally, once the RBC hearing made their decision in May 2008, it wasn’t really about Hillary anymore. Oh, sure, I was hoping that the party would get a clue about Obama before it was too late. But at that point, it was really about what the party was doing to its own voters, ie planning to ignore them. My anger has always been about the violation of the electoral system. Hillary was collateral damage. It was the voters who took the hit. And if you don’t believe that consider that it is 3 years later and no one likes Obama but the party has no plans to replace him no matter how much we scream about it.
      They have no plans- YET. If Romney gets the nomination, all bets are off. There’s no way for Obama to win against Romney. So, the Democrats will either have to start appealing to its base again or it will need a replacement.

      • That sounds like a very good reason for disatisfied Democrats to do their very best to get Romney nominated, if they can.

        Perhaps a Romney nomination can be used as a tire iron to beat an unwilling Democratic Party into performing an emergency Presidential Nominee Transplant.

  5. At one time the Bronze Age True Believers were thinking about moving to one of the Carolinas and turning it into a Fundamentalist wonderland. Now they can all move to Hungary, I’ll chip in fare for a Transatlantic bus. You know, one that drives off a pier somewhere on the East Coast.

    As to republicans doing anything to marginalize the Democrats why take the effort?

    Time and time again our Democrat Senators and Representatives have proved themselves to be spineless cowards or too stupid to operate a paper bag. All you have to do is look how they have sewn the seeds of their own destruction starting back in May, 2008.

    I wrote over at Cannonfire I don’t care who started this anonymous Hillary 2012 web site but I like the fact it jabs the O-bots in the eye as evidenced by the hate comments.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: