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    • Scenarios For America’s Political Future
      Let’s run thru the most likely possible victories in the upcoming federal election and consider what they mean for America’s future. Put them in 4 baskets. Trump wins. He does more bad stuff, situation continues to get worse, American post-WWII style multilateral hegemony and trade order takes huge hits. Biden or Harris win. Harris will […]
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Remember When We Believed In a Place Called Hope?

Remember when Donna Brazile told us all that the Democratic Party was forming a New Coalition that was “…more urban, as well as suburban…” and that the party didn’t need gays, Hispanics, blue collar voters (more commonly known as Jacksonians) and us bitter, clingy feminists anymore? Donna was either flying high that night, or she was serious. We can safely assume she was serious, particularly after she wrote this gem in response to an innocent young voter’s (ie: me) inquiries about seating the delegates in Florida and Michigan.

As of today, I am not going to respond to any more anti American, Anti Democratic emails. Have a nice day.
I am sorry because you are sincere, but the Hillary forces are uncivil, repugnant and vile. When you come up for air and would like to email a person who cares about America and not just a personality, I will respond.
Thanks for your time and your interest.
Donna

This afternoon, in between being uncivil, repungant and vile and also hating America (and also toting a gun and being raycist), I came across this article on FB, which explains why the conventional wisdom about Obama’s current joke of a Presidency is, as usual, wrong:

The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama’s decline in the polls represents a new, unexpected turn against him. But an examination of the results of the recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts suggests that what we might really be seeing is a return to the skepticism that significant portions of the electorate have showed about Obama from the beginning of his national career.

For six months during the 2008 primaries, Obama and Hillary Clinton crisscrossed the country wooing voters. Obama consistently failed to win over important parts of the Democratic base, even after it became clear that he was going to be his party’s nominee.

On February 5—Super Tuesday— Obama did poorly in both New Jersey and Massachusetts, losing to Clinton by 10 and 15 points, respectively. The exit polls were in line with Obama’s performance throughout the primary race: He did very well with blacks, wealthy voters, highly educated voters, and very young voters. He did poorly with working-class whites and older voters. In New Jersey, Obama was +20 among voters under the age of 29, but about -26 among voters over 50. In Massachusetts, he ran even with young voters, and -31 among those over 65. As for education, Obama was -41 among voters with only a high school degree, but ran even, or just ahead, among voters possessing postgraduate degrees. And then there was gender and race. In New Jersey, Obama was -19 among white men; in Massachusetts he was +1.

[…]

The question, then, is how these various coalition groups—the white ethnic enclaves, the Jacksonians, the suburban and industrial town voters—have reacted to Democrats since Obama took office. And the answer is: Without enthusiasm.

(Note: only cool young people like me and Regency voted for Hillary, but you all ready know that.) There’s usually no point in Nostalgia. But remember when the Democratic party was the party of the “Big Tent?” Remember when it was supposed to represent the interests of those who were “invisible,” as our Shero used to say? Remember the party that could overcome the labels and name calling defined by the Village and the Right Wing Noise Machine in service of things like Health Care for children, job creation, the environment and tax cuts for the Middle Class? I’m having a hard time, because it’s been a long time since the Big Dawg was President, and I was only an (adorable) little tot back then, but I digress.

The point is, the Democratic Party we once loved and belonged to bit the dust on May 31st at the RBC meeting, but we all know that. Its just that its only now, too late, that the rest of the world is realizing we were right all along about our beloved leader and the “New Coalition.” It is extremely enjoyable to relish in Donna and the rest of the DNC’s Karma, and it is at times satisfying to watch President Obama crash and burn, not because we wanted that to happen–Obama’s failure isn’t just dragging down his poll numbers, its also dragging down this country and all of the unemployed people who are struggling to make ends meet while Wall Street Bankers point and laugh at them from on high atop of their giant mounds of bailout money–but because it is only small consolation after having our vaginas compared to grilled cheese sandwiches (well, my vagina wasn’t compared to a grilled cheese sandwich, but I was still mad about the reference in general) and being basically kicked out of the party a lot of us remained loyal to our entire lives, despite it being such a hot mess.

However, vindictiveness gets us nowhere. The PUMA brand appears to have been usurped by disturbed lunatics such as the Hillbuzz boys, who now spend their days photoshopping pictures of Senator Claire McCaskill in pajamas and campaigning for conservatives like Sarah Palin, Scott Brown and Michelle Bachmann, and the Teabaggers Tea party is a front for the Right Wing.

Many have suggested forming a third party, but as Joseph Cannon explained third parties have been shown to be unsuccessful and their candidates are spoilers. Like it or not, we have a two party system and its going to stay that way. So what do we do?

The right wing nutsos — the Friedmanites, the libertarians — did not say: “We’re not getting what we want from the Republicans, so let’s form a new party.”

Actually, I tell a lie. Before the great takeover occurred, and during the days of Nixon, some right-wing ultras did go down the third party route. A Libertarian party was formed, and the American Independent Party did well in the ’68 and ’72 elections, under George Wallace and John Schmitz.

George is the one who made that remark about there not being a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties. John is the one who said “If you’re out of Schmitz, you’re out of gear. And if someone doesn’t get that kid get to shut up, I’ll do it myself.”

Apologies for that digression. (If you weren’t alive at that time, you may be confused by the references.)

The reactionary element within this country achieved much greater success when it decided to take over the Republican party. They have now commandeered it to such a degree that John Schmitz’ son Joseph has a comfy place in it. (Joseph used to help run Blackwater and he was the DOD IG under W.) The fanatics not only took over the party, they also commandeered the national debate. They set the limits of permissible thought.

It’s time to take the party back from the “New Coalition.” Its time we gave Donna a fork and made her eat her words. Its time real liberals–and by real I don’t mean fauxgressives of the former Neocon variety such as Arianna and Morkos– I mean real liberals, took the party back from so called “Blue Dogs” and Howard Dean and his crappy “Fifty State Strategy.” Its time we got our party back. Because deep down, we know it still always belonged to us. One needs only to take one look at the flailing Obots on the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos to see that. I miss our “Big Tent.” Lets call it up and tell it to please come home.

I remember being a little kid and knowing I was a Democrat, because I thought that no matter what, I would never feel invisible if there was a “D” after my name. That was what I loved about the Democratic Party. Now so many Americans feel more invisible than ever. Even Wanda Sykes.

I miss my Clinton panties too.

Clinton isn’t out there preaching that only certain types of love are acceptable. He isn’t bemoaning what is wrong with our nation, but constantly emphasizing what is right with it. Clinton is not a gloom and doom kind of guy waiting for an imaginary apocalypse to free us from this evil world. Clinton prefers to see the good in people rather than the worst. The President is an almost idealized concept of an optimist who believes that as long as we are here, we might as well try to make it the best world that we can.

Most of us appreciate that. Because in the end, we, too, would like to believe that we are people who-though we are often flawed and all too human- struggle each day to make the world a little better than how we found it.

Clinton just seems more like one of us. He actually has facial expressions. He plays the sax. He eats at fast food restaurants and struggles with weight gain as a result. He gets all red in the face as he jogs around the block. He even makes bad choices when it comes to picking out which tie to wear for the cameras.

I don’t think anyone would call him a saint. And that is the number one reason that the Republicans hate him so very much. He isn’t a saint at all. Neither are we.

As Andy points out in the song, “He made too many enemies… Of the people who would keep us on our knees..”

And all the while that the Christian Coalition driven lemmings in our government have been harping on the fact that only a saint can run this country effectively, Bill Clinton has been proving them wrong.

And the Righteous Republicans really, really hate that.

Do you still believe in a place called hope? I think I do.

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Power in the USA: political string theory in US politics

Puppet_Master
How are power relations shaping the U.S. political sphere? From the primary campaign to the tea parties and the raucous healthcare forums, Americans are out in force. Regardless of their political stripe, are their actions in their own best interest or are they being played? What influences are determining how people perceive the issues, what aspects of the issues are open to debate, and what aspects are not open for consideration? Whom is mobilizing whom and for what?

Steven Lukes, in his classic “Power: A Radical View” offers a framework for analyzing the types of power relations that shape policy and society within democratically-oriented nations. The overly simplified summary that follows is intended as a tool to direct our discussion.

Power, oversimplified, is the capacity of individual or collective agents to achieve their intended outcomes by getting others to act for these outcomes, even when these outcomes are against their own best interests. In achieving these outcomes the three dimensions of power tend to function in a complimentary fashion.

The first dimension of power is the capacity to realize one’s aims in decision-making situations. This is the capacity to acquire a representative majority, whatever form that may take, be it a simple plurality or a Presidential veto. For example, the Democrats now control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency because they acquired a representative majority in all of these areas in the last election.

The second dimension of power is the capacity to determine the agenda, that is, the scope of decision-making situations. This is the capacity to contain and direct deliberation within parameters wherein first dimension power can be exercised to achieve one’s aims while concurrently foreclosing considerations that could undermine one’s first dimension power. An example of the second dimension of power at work is that President Obama and many ranking Democrats, even with their filibuster-proof majority, have effectively excluded single-payer from the healthcare reform options.

The third dimension of power is the capacity to secure prior consent to these decisions by manipulating how people perceive their parameters of choice. In harnessing their choices, one either harnesses their actions, the choices and/or actions of others they have power over, or both. In this way, according to Amartya Sen, the ‘most blatant forms of inequalities and exploitations survive in the world through making allies out of the deprived and the exploited.’

Propaganda, i.e. political spin and sloganeering, for example, exists to seep, and/or be ground into, people’s consciousness to influence their decision making, as Goebbels noted. “Government should not interfere with business“, “Socialism (or capitalism) is evil”, “Free trade brings freedom”, and “Healthcare forum disrupters are all astroturfed Republicans” are examples of such sloganeering propagandizing and Rove and Axelrod practise propaganda architectonics.

Social signs of third dimension power relations include overtly inequitable distributions of natural and cultural social goods within a community; a relative acceptance of these social relations among those disadvantaged by these relationships; and evidence of mechanisms in play that have prevented the disadvantaged from perceiving their circumstances as potentially otherwise. From the perspective of a single payer advocate, for example, I perceive the clusters of people who are making statements about keeping the government out of Medicare as being in the same boat as those who are pushing for Obama’s bait-and-switch private insurance debacle while thinking they are getting a publicly-funded cost effective model. Both groups are actively working against their own interests.

Assuming that the three dimensions of power are alive, well, and very much involved in the continuing mass transference of wealth from the middle class to the elite, what can be done to reverse this trend? As bloggers, and blog participants, what can and should we do?

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I have problems with this story

The above video was posted on YouTube by Mike Ditto:

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), a first-term Congressman I like very much, held a townhall meeting on health care today outside a King Soopers grocery store in Brighton, CO, which is about 1/2 hour northeast of Denver.

Some of the signs these protesters carry are just nuts. Like, “Jesus is My Single Payer” and “Seniors, Get Your Death Pill here” (photos from Complete Colorado, whose coverage of the event is here.)

To his credit, Rep. Perlmutter actually sat down and listened to folks discuss health care.

Mike Ditto (Progress Now, former online communications director for Mark Udall and many others and former TalkLeft webmaster) had his car vandalized .

Here is a picture of the event from Complete Colorado:


perlmutter1

I wasn’t there and I don’t know Mike Ditto – I never even heard of him before today – but I have a problem with this story. First and foremost is the assumption that this vandalism was caused by “teabaggers.”

From the facts available we are told that Ditto attended this outdoor townhall in the parking lot of a supermarket near Denver.  The event was held in the day time and based on the photo was attended by approximately 200-300 people.  There were some people protesting but no indication that the event was rowdy.  At least one photo shows a police officer was present during the event.

The event ended and Ditto says he went inside the store to get a drink and when he came back outside he saw his car was vandalized.  He videotaped the damage which includes broken side mirrors as well as dents on the doors, side panels and hood.  He also points out that there was a flyer for a  health care reform event held four weeks earlier visible in the back seat.

Ditto does not mention any witnesses not does he say he witnessed the vandalism taking place.  There is also no mention of where his vehicle was parked in relation to the event.  There is no mention of whether a police report was made.

We are asked to believe that one or more “teabaggers” either spotted the flyer or recognized Ditto and committed the vandalism because he is a supporter of the current health care reform bill.  I don’t think the evidence supports that allegation by a preponderance of evidence let alone beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you were on a civil jury and were asked to find the tea partiers liable for the damages to Ditto’s car, you would have to agree that the evidence showed that it was more likely than not that the damage was caused by them.  At a criminal trial you would have to say it was caused by them beyond a reasonable doubt.

I can think of several other plausible scenarios:

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