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Mr. Burns vs. Angry Abe Simpson
Chrystia Freeland sees a fight that's not not as clear as right vs. left.
Here's the puzzle of America today: the plutocrats have never been richer, and their economic power continues to grow, but the populists, the wilder the better, are taking over. The rise of the political extremes is most evident, of course, in the domination of the Republican Party by the Tea Party and in the astonishing ability of this small group to shut down the American government. But the centrists are losing out in more genteel political battles on the left, too — that is the story of Bill de Blasio’s dark-horse surge to the mayoralty in New York, and of the Democratic president’s inability to push through his choice to run the Federal Reserve, Lawrence H. Summers.
Putting the Tea Party destructionists on par with de Blasio's positive campaign and Summer's lack of support from... well, anyone, smacks of trying very hard to see the world in neat primary colors. The argument that the Tea Party has morphed from wholly plutocratic AstroTurf into a realio trulio populist movement also seems more than a bit suspect when the Tea Party's goals have been, and still are, those of the people funding the star-spangled bus. Even so, there are some things here I'd certainly like to believe.
The limits of plutocratic politics, at both ends of the ideological spectrum, are being tested. That’s a surprise. Political scientists like Larry M. Bartels and Martin Gilens have documented the frightening degree to which, in America, more money means a more effective political voice: Democratic and Republican politicians are more likely to agree with the views of their wealthier constituents and to listen to them than they are to those lower down the income scale. Money also drives political engagement: Citizens United, which removed some restrictions on political spending, strengthened these trends.

Why are the plutocrats, with their great wealth and a political system more likely to listen to them anyway, losing some control to the populists? The answer lies in the particular nature of plutocratic political power in the 21st century and its limitations in a wired mass democracy.

In a sense, it's the Koch brothers vs. you, and there are encouraging signs that perhaps David really can put a dent in the forehead of Goliath.  This is your "read it all" choice for this fall back morning.

You did remember to fall back, right? That means you set your clocks one hour... uh, one hour...

Anyway, come on in and see what the rest of punditry has to say.

Dana Milbank shows that, if nothing else, the Tea Party is a great force for chaos.

If Ken Cuccinelli II loses his bid to be the next governor of Virginia on Tuesday, as polls suggest he will, the date of the Republican defeat will be traced back to May 18.

That was the day the commonwealth’s Republican Party took what had been a sure thing and instead allowed the tea party to give the Democrats an opening.

Supporters of Cuccinelli, the state attorney general, had scrapped the GOP gubernatorial primary, which probably would have resulted in the nomination of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a mainstream conservative who likely would have cruised to victory.

But Cuccinelli’s supporters forced the party to cut the electorate out of the process, replacing the primary with a convention. There, a smaller number of tea party activists handed the nomination to Cuccinelli, a man so conservative he had supported legislation that would have allowed the banning of the pill and other forms of birth control.

See, I have a bit of a problem calling any group populist when so many of their actions—from no vote primaries, to restrictive voter ID, to stomping the 17th amendment—are intended to disenfranchise the populace.

Kathleen Parker has some advice to her own party going into the next cycle of elections.

Ms. Know-It-All, the anonymous political advice columnist whose identity remains a popular Georgetown cocktail party guessing game, is known to live up to her title now and then. Herewith a correspondence worth sharing.

Dear Ms. Know-It-All:

It appears the witch Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to run for president. It makes my skin crawl to think of her and that husband of hers back in our White House, not to mention that they are Marxists like Obama and want to turn us into Sweden, for God’s sake. It’s not too soon for Republicans to marshal our forces for a little shock and awe when the Hildebeast finally announces. How can we stop her?

Signed, A proud, God-fearing, right-wing wacko bird.

Dear Wacko:

Thank you for what seems to be your sincere interest in participating in our country’s health and welfare. And thanks, too, for contacting me, because you need to hear what I have to say. You might want to sit down for this. If you’re on anti-anxiety medication, all the better. ...

To the larger point, you must stop witchifying this woman. She has one of the best résumés in the country, certainly compared to anyone who might challenge her. This doesn’t speak to her personality, which seems to aggravate a certain kind of male, or to her involvement with issues that have inspired legitimate criticism. But in hurling personal insults, you are hurting only yourself. The bully always looks worse than the bullied. In so doing, you not only seem juvenile but also look petty and bereft of substantive arguments. While you consider this assessment, imagine how much Hillary must welcome such school-yard taunts.

Ah yes, a call to the GOP to be grown up and reasonable. I have another correspondence in mind: Dear Kathleen, there is a leak in the dike. Might you lend a finger?

P.S. I'm trying not to feel rather happy about the fact that I did not even know there was a "Ms. Know-It-All."  Not enough Georgetown cocktail parties, I suppose.

Ross Douthat compares casino gambling and marijuana legalization to the recent improvements in gay rights because, you know, sin.

Consider two issues: casino gambling and marijuana. We’re used to the idea that attitudes on a controversy like gay marriage have changed with unprecedented speed. But both casinos and pot have gone mainstream over the last generation at a similarly remarkable pace.

In 1990, casino gambling was still concentrated in Nevada and Atlantic City. ... Today 23 states have commercial casinos, and the old model of casino-going as a what-happens-in-Vegas excursion has given way to casino-going as routine entertainment. ...

The marijuana revolution is arguably not so far advanced, since only two states, Washington and Colorado, are experimenting with outright legalization. ... public opinion on the issue has shifted about as fast as it has on gay marriage — from 32 percent support for legalization in 2002 to 58 percent in the latest Gallup poll.

There are significant differences in the ways gambling and pot have won America. The spread of casinos has been more of a top-down phenomenon, driven by states seeking revenue and an industry that’s free with campaign contributions. The permissive turn on marijuana has been a more (if you will) grass-roots affair — driven by activists and artists, influenced by empathy for the terminally ill, and hastened by public exhaustion with the drug war.

Not surprisingly,  Douthat quickly shifts to "cultural changes are evil" mode, pointing out the destructiveness of gambling in particular and waving a finger at liberals. Just as unsurprising, Douthat never owns up to the central role that Republicans have played not just in supporting casino gambling, but driving states to it by passing tax reductions whose revenues are supposedly offset by casino dollars.

Nicholas Kristof tries to point out that behind the health care fight is... health care.

The biggest health care crisis in America right now is not the inexcusably messy rollout of Obamacare.

No, far more serious is the kind of catastrophe facing people like Richard Streeter, 47, a truck driver and recreational vehicle repairman in Eugene, Ore. His problem isn’t Obamacare, but a tumor in his colon that may kill him because Obamacare didn’t come quite soon enough.

Streeter had health insurance for decades, but beginning in 2008 his employer no longer offered it as an option.  ... Because he didn’t have health insurance, he put off going to the doctor.  ...  By September, Streeter couldn’t stand the pain any longer ...

Streeter made the 100-mile drive to Dr. Gibson’s office in McMinnville, Ore. — and received devastating news. Dr. Gibson had found advanced colon cancer.

“It was heartbreaking to see the pain on his face,” Dr. Gibson told me. “It got me very angry with people who insist that Obamacare is a train wreck, when the real train wreck is what people are experiencing every day because they can’t afford care.”

Dr. Gibson says that Streeter is the second patient he has had this year who put off getting medical attention because of lack of health insurance and now has advanced colon cancer.

So, to those Republicans protesting Obamacare: You’re right that there are appalling problems with the website, but they will be fixed. Likewise, you’re right that President Obama misled voters when he said that everyone could keep their insurance plan because that’s now manifestly not true (although they will be able to get new and better plans, sometimes for less money).

But how about showing empathy also for a far larger and more desperate group: The nearly 50 million Americans without insurance who play health care Russian roulette as a result. FamiliesUSA, a health care advocacy group that supports Obamacare, estimated last year that an American dies every 20 minutes for lack of insurance.

The New York Times editorial board talks about those so-called Obamacare "losers."
Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. ...

But insurers are not allowed to abandon enrollees. They must offer consumers options that do comply with the law, and they are scrambling to retain as many of their customers as possible with new policies that are almost certain to be more comprehensive than their old ones.

Indeed, in all the furor, people forget how terrible many of the soon-to-be-abandoned policies were. Some had deductibles as high as $10,000 or $25,000 and required large co-pays after that, and some didn’t cover hospital care.

Since we're still dealing with our own run through the healthcare gauntlet, I have a deep appreciation for the cost of being uninsured. An example that arrived in my mailbox just yesterday is a charge for a single round of medical imaging: $10,900. Discount given the insurance company: $10,400. What the insurance company actually paid: $400. What we paid in the end: $100. What we would have had to pay had we not had insurance: $10,900. Immorality implicit in these numbers: priceless.

Francis Clines reminds us that an awful anniversary is approaching.

“Every day in this first year is a very difficult journey,” said Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was one of the 20 schoolchildren slain last December here in the Sandy Hook shooting massacre. “And with the anniversary of the tragedy coming up, it seems to be getting more difficult.”

This is plainly so. The town was roiled anew by a newspaper article last month based on interviews with anonymous law enforcement workers offering fresh and painful details on the six-minute, 154-round onslaught from a troubled 20-year-old who murdered six adults as well with an assault rifle. A promised official state report on the shootings, which residents find puzzlingly overdue, will rake the emotional trauma again when it eventually comes out.


The town is discovering what all scenes of American mass gun tragedy ultimately learn: the suffering lingers long and even compounds within communities yearning for recovery. The local Newtown Bee newspaper put it this way: “On some days it seems like the great tragedy Newtown suffered on 12/14 has created its own ever-expanding universe, surging out from a big bang amplified by cameras and microphones to places unknown.”

This national poking a finger into a still raw would might be slightly more forgivable were it accompanied by the slightest sign that we'd done something to prevent more such tragedies.

Sorry, doc.

Fred Pearce details how, despite climate change denier claims that increases in temperature can be blamed on the sun, we're actually in for a solar chill.

The sun's activity is in free fall, according to a leading space physicist. But don't expect a little ice age. "Solar activity is declining very fast at the moment," Mike Lockwood, professor of space environmental physics at Reading University, UK, told New Scientist. "We estimate faster than at any time in the last 9300 years."

Lockwood and his colleagues are reassessing the chances of this decline continuing over decades to become the first "grand solar minimum" for four centuries. During a grand minimum the normal 11-year solar cycle is suppressed and the sun has virtually no sunspots for several decades. This summer should have seen a peak in the number of sunspots, but it didn't happen.

Lockwood thinks there is now a 25 per cent chance of a repetition of the last grand minimum, the late 17th century Maunder Minimum, when there were no sunspots for 70 years. ... The Maunder Minimum coincided with the worst European winters of the little ice age, a period lasting centuries when several regions around the globe experienced unusual cooling. Tree ring studies suggest it cooled the northern hemisphere by up to 0.4 °C.

So perhaps the only thing saving us from even more drastic changes in temperature at the moment is a fortuitous decline in solar activity. Only... what happens when it ends?
"Mike is probably right that there is a chance of the sun returning to a level of activity similar to the Maunder Minimum," says atmospheric physicist Joanna Haigh of Imperial College. But she adds: "Even under the most optimistic scenario [of minimal global warming and a deep solar minimum] the solar cooling would only just offset greenhouse gas warming. So no ice age."

It is more likely that it will simply reduce the warming a little, and set us up for greater warming if it receded.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 01:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Cons, regardless of which political party they (26+ / 0-)

    align with, are elitists. They believe in a social hierarchy in which the upper strata rule, to the detriment or benefit of the lower strata is variable, depending on the level of security they enjoy. Less secure elites are inclined to hold a tight rein.

    Populism is the designation assigned by the elites to the populace which claims the authority and ability to rule itself. Government BY the people is the pervasive and abiding threat, but it wouldn't be politic to say that directly. So, they employ the dysphemism "populism." I'd credit Judd Gregg with introducing it lately. It was his excuse for not wanting to have anything to do with the Obama administration.

    The leaders of private corporations and the hoi poloi have a common enemy. His name is Congress, a body that's been about exploiting the private sector from top to bottom to secure their hegemony in office while pretending to be something they are not -- public servants.

    Now, this scenario may seem to simplistic, but as Peter Schweizer pointed out in his op-ed in the Times our federal legislative body has been engaged in a variety of extortionist practices aimed at securing their longevity in office. (Both the Republican caucus institution of revolving chairmanships and the assault on earmarks were designed to address that). Which makes sense because if the people govern, then the only significantly affected branch is the legislative body. That is, for the people to govern, their designees have to be converted into true representatives.
    What the private corps and the Tea Party crowd have in common is that they are tired of being jerked around. What they haven't yet quite figured out is who's pulling the strings. Perhaps the most effective con has been the one which has perpetrated the fiction that the executive is to blame -- the fiction that Obama has gone to great lengths to debunk by forcing the Congress to shut what they can down.
    The Congress holding the purse strings and pretending not to is a big problem. Even the Fed pouring 85 billion dollars a month into the economy has not made a dent on the uncertainty generated by Congressional rationing and sequestration.
    What's the problem with uncertainty? Well, while the future is inherently uncertain, we organize government to plan ahead and provide for unknown eventualities. So, if government proves unreliable and, worse, generates uncertainty itself, the predictable response is for agents to hunker down. Fight and flight are not the only choices. Most organisms freeze when they sense trouble. So, our economy has been seizing up because Congress has been acting like a maniac. The normal response to short rations is to hoard. And for economic activity to go underground.

  •  You can watch the Solar Eclipse this morning (9+ / 0-)

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 03:55:30 AM PST

  •  Tea Party definition for being popular (15+ / 0-)

    So being Loud, Obnoxious and Repulsive seems to be the conservative ideal for populist. Maybe they need a better dictionary.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 04:16:43 AM PST

  •  Dear Ms Parker....did you know that Nancy Pelosi (9+ / 0-)

    had horns and a tail?........Heard it on wingnut radio.

  •  Great Graphic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Stude Dude

    The GOTB has indeed become the "release the hounds"/"old man shouts at cloud" party.

  •  Demotic and democratic (5+ / 0-)

    The rabble are notorious. The oldest Republican arguments were that they couldn't be trusted, that they always made the mobile vulgus (the mob). Thus, the Romans only allowed those awful people a chance to rabblerabble at a particular representative, and then the representative could be isolated, if necessary. Many reforms later, the representative got a holy vote.

    When the TEA Party shows up to get rid of regular order to establish state appointment of senators, for example, we're really in the fun house. That's the mob. That's the moving mass being lead to support methods that are absurdly against their ends, and ends sadly against their means. They learned from the Paul supporters how to pull mini-Trotskyite insurgencies in the name of the People, but now they do so to ensure that the People get no say.

    On the other hand the nearest thing to the people, represented, we can find would be voluntary organizations dedicated to community and social ends -- Sierra Club, Green Peace -- that get their funding (at least most of it) from contributions. These are "pressure groups" and are regularly ignored. CREDO has turned into one, but one with a political agenda akin to Working Assets, and their petitions are considered equal to . . . a Facebook drive from Limbaugh.

    Anger dissipates, and when it succeeds, it leaves destruction behind it. Concern, on the other hand, sticks around, and it builds.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 04:34:02 AM PST

    •  Good comment, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre

      the sad truth about Sierra Club is that its goals and tactics are largely determined by major donors. The groups of volunteer Sierra Club members do go things at the local level. But, the national staff is a parelel organization unnacountable to anyone but big money interests who keep their activities within certain limits.

      •  You're right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I was trying to come up with good examples.

        NAACP does good, but it has corporate constraints, and it is political in its purpose. ACLU should be a good example, but the work involved is generally hemmed in a bit.

        SPLC is a good example, then. I would also say that (heck, Ducks Unlimited is out). . . League of Women Voters is the precise sort of group that should have enormous weight. Amnesty International is another (although, as an international organization, it lacks the US citizens banded for a US cause element).

        It's too sad and true that where corporate gifts go, honesty flees.

        Everyone's innocent of some crime.

        by The Geogre on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 12:16:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And just exactly where has Chrystia Freeland (15+ / 0-)
    Where does that leave smart centrists with their clever, fact-based policies designed to fine-tune 21st century capitalism and make it work better for everyone?
    been? This country (in fact, most of the world) has been dodging between the far right (Reagan, Bush II) and the
    "clever, fact-based policies" of Bush I, Clinton and Obama for so long that we really have forgotten what makes our economy work better for everyone. Can anyone today say (with a straight face) that this country is better off today than it was before Reagan?
  •  An unintended consequence of Citizens United (12+ / 0-)

    may be a shattering of consistent political messaging, since anybody with the money can put whatever spin they want on their advertising, whether the candidate or party they're supporting likes or not. To the extent more money goes to the right, this, ironically, has been more of a problem there, but it could also affect the left.

    •  Why isn't campaign reform our #1 agenda? (5+ / 0-)

      Why aren't we hounding our Democratic leadership daily to put the money down, put their hands up, and back away from it?

      Do you really want to see them ideologically dispute the Republicans on everything? And to increase funding to Social Security and Medicaid? For SNAP and Head Start? Do you want to see a raising of the minimum wage and full funding for the ACA in all states? Do you want them to push HARD on taxing the wealthiest up to 49% of income and close enough corporate loopholes to make 1/4 of the deficit disappear over 4 years? How about having the filibuster rolled back?

      Do you really, really want to see more jobs, including $700 billion in infrastructure repair? To have them really go after the banks, and to make college education affordable for everyone again? Really? Do you want to see abortion and gay rights and immigrants rights supported everywhere in the country? To see the NRA neutered? Do you want to kick the GOP out of power for a long time?  

      Well it ain't gonna happen until first we take care of the money issue. Until then the wealthy block us on all of the above 12 ways from Sunday. We won't take our country back until we buy, or take, our politicians back. Any other single issue will be delayed and a distraction until we take the money away first.

  •  Legalize Pot and Gambling (3+ / 0-)

    My feeling on the subject is simple. If people are dumb enough to ruin their own lives by smoking enough pot to want to do nothing or pissing all their money away on slot machines then it's not my problem. I have no sympathy for people who smoke cigarettes and then wonder why they are dying of lung cancer. They ignored the risk -- tough luck. Same goes with skydiving or mountain climbing or whatever. If the chute doesn't open, tough luck. I had no problem with my chute for a reason -- I didn't need one because I didn't jump out of a plane.

    This probably makes me a shitty liberal -- I don't care. I stopped drinking because it was bad for me and never smoked. I don't do drugs because I don't want them. I have no issue with recreational users of marijuana or people see gambling as an entertainment to spend a set amount of money on and then walk away. If someone is too mentally weak to walk away, well, they should have been.

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 04:40:41 AM PST

    •  Do you bekieve in families? (5+ / 0-)

      What about the spouses and children, or brothers and sisters, or parents, or friends, of these addicts? It's always easy to condemn "losers" if you forget how people are connected.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:26:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and they can help that person (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But prohibition doesn't make sense and I believe that applies to both marijuana and gambling.

        The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

        by The Lone Apple on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 06:50:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  LOL, sounds like you're a Liberaltarian. (5+ / 0-)

      Which is fine.

      "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
      Join me at Twitter.
      Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

      by OleHippieChick on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:27:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny how far to the right people like (0+ / 0-)

        yourself apparently and other have swung when ideas about personal freedoms and liberties, you know, issues that "libertarian" organizations like the ACLU, oh, wait, they are libertarian, are now being labeled as "libertatian", hell, in the post G.W Bush America, where the left has to collecctively pretend Bush wasn't so bad despite how hard we fought against his during his tenure, but now that Obama is doing the same thing, well, gee, I guess those things weren't so bad, and if you say they are and do so while on the left you get labeled, "libertatian", when people like you clearly have no idea what that label means, and the fat the so many people esepcially on sites like this misuse and abuse labels of ideology when they get caught not agreeing with something that their ideology is supposed to agree with its as though the labels have no meaning anymore, and before to long... how long until anyone that considers themselvess to be a hippie (I consider myself to be the utmost pinko commie socialist hippie the right wishes Obama actually was when smearing him) will be branded a "libertarian"... again, give me definition of STFU about using labels as slurs, and despite what you claim at the end of your post it was quite evedident that is what you were doing or else you would have never even brought it up.

  •  thanks, Mark (16+ / 0-)

    As a town, Newtown will do nothing official on 12/14. Quiet contemplation is more than enough.

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 04:41:05 AM PST

  •  This sentence from NYT (17+ / 0-)

    should be all over the airwaves - but it won't be, it doesn't fit the narrative.

    By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year.
  •  the revolution is underway: majority rule defeated (4+ / 0-)

    a key part of our political system is majority rule

    since that has been defeated, we are in the middle of a revolution against our government

    the Tea Party serves the oligarchs as a side show, but more importantly, as a astro turf populism

    corporations and oligarchs are laughing all the way to the bank

    listened to Glenn Beck last week - never do that but on a drive to the country - and he went on and on about single payer health care

    he played recordings from Obama in 2002 speaking to labor orgs noting that all developed countries have single payer health care

    what a radical statement that was!

    so Beck went on and on about how Obama has a plot to move the nation to single payer

    in other words, Beck is getting the shock troops up in arms for a debated which will take place some time in the future

    the healthcare industry just loves this populism against socialism, or worse

    like the extraction industries, if the health care industry cared for the country, they would move to single payer

    if the politicians cared about the country they would not have The Grand Bargain on the table

    in all these cases, a minority is running the country

    •  Since when has this country had majority rule? (7+ / 0-)

      Evil rich people have owned this country since the beginning. They were very good liars.

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 04:56:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  good point - but constitution held up as an ideal (4+ / 0-)

        in the ups and down in our history, good times and bad times, the constitution served as an ideal

        issues like slavery, treatment of indigenous people, war with Mexico that took half its territory, etc., a wealthy few did better than most

        but now, we have the billionaires out in the open buying the elections and with their lobbyists writing the laws

        we have the military and surveillance complex aligned with the corporate coup d'etat

        we had a commitment to the commons in education, parks, and a commitment to "public service"

        now we have an economic determinism which narrows the dialogue and uses various forms of propaganda to hide the major moves like the criminal behavior of the banks

        recent article says that Obama's two defeats have been the top accomplishment of his presidency. One was the first time in 60 years not to start another war in the stopping of the war with Syria. Don't recall the other one.

        we have spent trillions of dollars on the war on terror - the American people have not benefited

      •  At times we've had leadership... (5+ / 0-)

        ...which recognized the folly of discounting adequately funded and competently administered Common Good. That's really what the Progressive Era and New Deal/ Great Society Era represent: effective control of the levers of power by (mostly) non-sociopaths.

        Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:30:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Douthat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Calamity Jean

    The confusion of libertarian license, Republican greed, and civil rights issues by scribbler Douthat is typically infuriating.  I can't help but thinking of the moneyed interests that Abramoff and Ralph Reed showed in Indian casinos not too long ago.  "Permissiveness" is irrelevant to that particular issue.  And if there is one thing that IS permissive, it would be promiscuity.  What marriage equality does is put the brakes, if only a little bit, on promiscuity by offering the option of state sanctioned marital commitment to couples.  

  •  Angry Does Not Equal Populist (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Stude Dude, Willinois, Dave925

    True. But anger may well be a precondition for a real populist movement. The Tea Party, one must recall, arose soon after Obama's inauguration. What was happening then? The nation was shocked and furious at what Wall Street had done to our economy. But Obama did not prosecute the banksters, he barely even criticized them, and -- most appallingly -- Obama defended those thieves as "savvy businessmen."

    The Conservative political operatives aren't stupid. They saw the opening and they provided a vent for that populist outrage in the Tea Party. Naturally, the Cons attempted to mold the Tea Party to its preferred contours but they were only partly successful. The Tea Party is now a thorn in the side of the GOP as much if not more than for the Democrats. And the Big Money that runs both parties now sees the Tea Party as an impediment to the social safety net assault Big Money has wanted for decades.

    I think that legitimate populist anger remains a key component of the Tea Party. Once the Left launches its own populist movement, some of these Tea Party populists may become allies.

    •  The rise of the tea party had nothing to do with (8+ / 0-)

      anger at wall street. Hell, it was bankrolled by wall street. The tea party was about harnessing the anger at the loss of control that Republicans felt after the 2008 election.

      •  both are true (6+ / 0-)

        the legitimate populist anger was coopted by the corporatists when no alternative vent was provided

        there are, of course, other elements in the tea party, including racists, etc.

        ironic that the corporatists managed to redirect the legitimate populist anger away from themselves but they are excellent con artists and, let's face it, the american people generally aren't much for deep or critical thinking so easy to manipulate

        •  I think that it was a divide and conquer. (7+ / 0-)

          A lot of anger at the 1% got spun into anger against the poor and unions.

          "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

          by Stude Dude on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 06:29:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stude Dude

            Just what I was trying to say.

            •  Remember the TEA party defined themselves (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Stude Dude, Dave925, Calamity Jean

              as Taxed Enough Already.  They were not as angry at Wall Street (the corporatists) as they were about the government bailout of Wall Street, which they saw as necessitating a rise in taxes to pay for shoveling all that money to the banks and investment houses.  Their fury over the Wall Street bailout was always aimed at government, and that made it easy to co-opt the movement by those who hated government for different reasons.

              Occupy Wall Street and the tea party would have been powerful allies if they had joined together to fight both the excesses of the Street and the largesse of government toward the Street's malefactors.  But the tea partiers had already become co-opted by the time Occupy gained any force at all in the discourse.

              "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

              by SueDe on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 07:41:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Amazing how the tea party activists (9+ / 0-)

      have been diverted from their original furor over the Wall Street bailout to the niggardly blaming of poor people for the continuing slow growth of the country's economy.  But that's what happens when big money is allowed to capture a movement that began as an alliance against them.

      It has now come about that those people who came together to fight the bailouts of big money have been co-opted and joined those responsible for their initial outrage; the only thing that differentiates the two groups today are the tactics employed in the fight.  The tea partiers want to stop the government from functioning while big money wants to continue their freedom to buy it.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:26:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's because they never really cared about the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Subterranean, Lilredhead

        bailouts. Do any of them understand what would have happened to the economy if they hadn't happened? doubtful. The tea party was always about opposition to Obama, and the bailout was just a useful tool.

        •  I'm sticking with scapegoating Obama (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          for all the problems, mostly economic, that the country has faced while conveniently forgetting the previous bumbler-in-chief GWB.

          The country and the world stood at the edge of a great chasm, with the "depression" word in common usage in the fall of 2009. Actions by the treasury, bailout and some limited stimulus got us backed away from that edge.

          Now the Tea Party is pissed?

          What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

          by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:07:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Tea Party began as a rant by a CNBC tool (4+ / 0-)

      (Santelli, I think his name is, but I don't quite remember) against any attempts by government to alleviate the mortgage crisis.  Had nothing to do with "bankster" prosecutions (of which there have been many).  Then teabaggerism devolved into resentment against non-whites, the poor, intellectuals, etc.

      I went to my congressman's health care reform town hall in 2010 and saw the teabagger populist crazies mob up close.  They weren't demanding bankster prosecutions.  They were pissed because the poor weren't paying enough taxes, pissed that government would try to do anything to expand health care access to those the mob deemed unworthy, pissed that a black family lived in the WH.

  •  Some things should not be negotiable (4+ / 0-)

    thoughts originally offered in 2012, but which I find still speak to my condition now

    I invite you to read this post


    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:05:50 AM PST

  •  Speaking of angry populists (12+ / 0-)

    Buzzfeed has just published a piece on how 3 entire pages of Rand Paul's book were plagiarized from right wing think tank reports. Add this on top of his speeches that were lifted word for word from wikipedia articles and his total lack of comprehension of what plagiarism is, and we're in for a a really fun 2016 cycle.

    •  Unfortunatly, many Voters (5+ / 0-)

      have a total lack of what plagiarism is too.
      I doubt many will think this is enough to disqualify Rand in their minds.
      I teach at a university, and you would be appalled at how many papers I get from students that are routinely plagiarized from internet sources, literally lifted word for word. My school, as does most, has a detection program built in to the online submission system that identifies plagiarism almost instantaneously.
      Even though I warn them in advance that I will almost certainly find them out, they do it anyway.
      And then they plead ignorance when I confront them on it.

  •  POPULIST?? (13+ / 0-)

    Phone me when the Tea Party replicates their namesake and starts dumping Wal*Mart containers into the LA Harbor and clamoring for global import corporations to pay the same taxes they do.

    The Tea Party wants to more or less end federal governance and stop being involved in the economy and the general welfare.  -- Just as the corporatists have been training them to do for half a century.

    Let's not let a little squabble over tactics cause us to hallucinate a populism that would impose on the corporatists.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:29:43 AM PST

  •  Thanks Mark nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 05:30:53 AM PST

  •  Single payer would have been much better, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, duhban, Dave925

    this being 'Murka one must take what one can get from our assbackwards system.

    Also, the federal ACA website worked just fine yesterday morning when I used it to enroll.

    Insurance can be complex and health insurance is at the top of that chart, so I think many, many people are going to need help working through this enrollment process.

    •  Lucky you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I tried to enroll 3 weeks ago, and after doing all the work to set up an account, I received the (false) error message that two of my challenge questions had the same answer.

      Yesterday I tried again. First I tried to log in from the previous information - no, I did not exist. So I set up a completely new account, with totally different passwords. I paid meticulous attention to the challenge questions, and did not even use the same questions as I had the first time around. Guess what - same error message!

      I printed out a paper application instead.

      In nearly twenty years of using Teh Internets, I have always been able to set up an account on a website that wanted my business. I find it astounding that they haven't fixed this yet.

  •  out of network (7+ / 0-)
    Since we're still dealing with our own run through the healthcare gauntlet, I have a deep appreciation for the cost of being uninsured. An example that arrived in my mailbox just yesterday is a charge for a single round of medical imaging: $10,900. Discount given the insurance company: $10,400. What the insurance company actually paid: $400. What we paid in the end: $100. What we would have had to pay had we not had insurance: $10,900. Immorality implicit in these numbers: priceless.
    Before she got on to Medicare, my wife needed to get a gyn. exam.  Usually she would go in network when we visited my mom in NY--where were originally from and where our "network" was located.  My mom passed, so she decided to go to a local (NC) ob/gyn.  The cost--$450 plus lab expenses--to see a physician's assistant.

     Most people hate their health insurers--constantly bitch about delays and copays.  Those that are Republican forget that anger--it's better to hate Obama than to get affordable health care.  They are defending the enemy that literally hurts them for the enemy who happens to have darker skin.  I am convinced race plays a large role in the anti Obamacare movement.  BTW--racism is insane--a medical condition in need of competent, affordable, health care.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 06:03:03 AM PST

    •  Exactly but I would change one word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Most people hate their health insurers--constantly bitch about delays and copays.  Those that are Republican forget that anger--it's better to hate Obama than to get affordable health care.  They are defending the enemy that literally hurts them for the enemy who happens to have darker skin.
      I would substitute "kills" for hurts.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

      by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:38:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ms. Parker has good reason for concern re Hillary. (7+ / 0-)

    In the years since Obama became a household word, we've seen from the right wing an ever uglier descent into ad hominem attacks and bigotry worn on the sleeve.

    There are not so many Black Republicans and Independents, so Republican political analysts didn't feel so concerned.

    But now, with the likelihood that Hillary Rodham Clinton will run for Presidency -- which, if she does, it doesn't take psychic powers to predict upwards of 95% chance she wins the nomination -- the demographics of what gets attacked, shift.  But the meanness continues unabated.

    So get ready for a tsunami of misogynist and ageist ugliness.  And get ready for severe backfire.  Because while many of the ugliest-hearted keyboard warriors on the Internet are young and male, many of the voting public are older and female.  Ms. Parker is probably a lot more anxious than she lets on.  She has good reason to be.  If an unknown and unusually-named, unprecedentedly-of-color candidate Barack Obama can win 53% of the vote in 2008 over a nationally known war veteran and longtime senator..... then Clinton stands poised to win upwards of 55%.  Sea of blue.  Parker knows this.   She's just flinching in advance because she forecasts, accurately, how mean and ugly her side has become -- and that there is no putting mean and ugly back in the box.

    •  Is it OK to be concerned? (3+ / 0-)

      That Hillary is Mrs. DLC, Mrs. DOMA, Mrs. NAFTA, and BBF with Mrs. PMRC?

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 06:34:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I support her and am fully prepared for (0+ / 0-)

        healthy internal debate on these issues.  and more - I was waiting for you to add "Mrs. Iraq War Vote".

        You know full well it's OK -- you were here in 2007, right?  When the 5% of us who supported Hillary were beaten up rhetorically by everybody else, and called all kinds of names, on a daily basis?

        I eventually switched to Obama but it was eye-opening to see what the big tent looks like when you back a less progressive candidate than others.  It was fun having your own carefully thought out, original words derided as "Bush lite talking points".

        •  That pretty much describes HRC (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude, Dave925

          "Bush Lite".  She's even more conservative than her Glass-Steagle repealing husband.  

          Progressives don't put guys like Mark Penn in charge of their campaigns.  It will be interesting to see what sort of monster she dredges up to run her campaign next time around.

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:27:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I wasn't here until the summer of '11. And that was sort of an accident tripping over the diaries of old college buddy Quarkstomper. He was a good reglious Republican back in those days....

          I sort of wish that I was here in the fall of '10 to vent my spleen over Carly Fiorina and Compaq Omaha.

          BTW, Mrs. Iraq War Vote doesn't reduce to handy initals....

          "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

          by Stude Dude on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:00:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely OK (4+ / 0-)

        Just b/c she is a woman is no reason to turn off your powers of discrimination.

        I will arise from my deathbed, if necessary, to vote for her over any Repub nominated but that does not make me a huge fan, at least until she proves herself as chief executive with some truly progressive leadership.

        I have the same fears of her being even more centrist (read right of center) than Obama.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

        by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:42:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  In the battle between oligarchs and the TP... (7+ / 0-)

    what is often forgotten is that many of the oligarchs are tea-partiers. Many of them have gone full Randian. Many of them would have (and some did) support the John Birch Society in its day.

    Just because they are billionaires doesn't make them immune from The Stupid.

  •  Another potential issue with decreased Sunspot (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Torta, skohayes, TerryDarc, Calamity Jean

    Activity would be the loss of urgency to do anything about it. Can you imagine what the deniers will say if temperatures level off or decrease temporarily due to lower sunspot activity? So it might give us a few years to deal with the issue, but not sure we'll make any traction...

    But she adds: "Even under the most optimistic scenario [of minimal global warming and a deep solar minimum] the solar cooling would only just offset greenhouse gas warming. So no ice age."
    It is more likely that it will simply reduce the warming a little, and set us up for greater warming if it receded.
  •  Freeland does tend to be one of the better ones (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner, martinjedlicka, Dave925

    So I'm thinking that she didn't so much equate today's (genuine) populist left with the (fake) populist right in terms of their extremism and radicalism, since there's simply none on the left that even begins to compare with the right's, as try to show that the wings, both the crazy Randian/racist one on the right, and the sane liberal progressive one on the left, are pushing the corporate and plutocrat-friendly center aside. And even if she didn't mean this, this is what's happening, I think, albeit not quite as quickly and forcefully as we'd like.

    When the center fails to represent the legitimate needs and interests of the majority, it falls apart, of necessity. Sometimes the vacuum is taken up by the right, and sometimes by the left. Today's center has certainly failed in this regard, and there's been angling by the wings to take its place. A lot of noise and some damage has been made by the right in this effort, but I think that it's the left that's slowly and forcefully taking over the role that the center has abandoned, because the right is simply too crazy and reactionary to have any long-term purchase on the American people, who tend to like what works. And it's progressivism that works, if given the chance, not RW radicalism.

    Don't agree? So why did Dems take back the house in 2006? Why did Obama win in 2008? Why did Dems win again in 2012? Why is De Blasio going to win in a landslide this Tuesday? Why is Brown succeeding in CA? Why are GOP governors abandoning the tea party? Why is the ACA here to stay? Why did the GOP lose huge in the recent shutdown and its approval numbers in the toilet? Progressivism might not be hugely popular yet, but that's because it's only now able to implement its ideas and policies, and it takes time for them to unfold and succeed and win the public over. But progressives are now taking over and supplanting radical conservatives across the country, and as their ideas and policies are put in place and succeed, it's just a matter of time before they too become the dominant ones in the country again.

    Which is why the GOP is freaking out as it KNOWS this to be true.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 07:00:03 AM PST

  •  A few days old, but worth a look is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a piece with a short title of "Tea party districts among hardest hit" about anger in Tea Party Congressional districts. It starts with an individual named Hackett in Rome, Georgia whose meat market is going under and apparently cannot even speak the name "Obama" because he is to blame for all his troubles.

    “I’m going to go hide for two years,” he said, until “he” — President Obama — is on his way out. “It’s sad. People are hurting. There’s no reason for it to be happening, other than what he’s doing.”
    If you want to understand the congressional Republicans who have forced confrontations with Obama on the “fiscal cliff,” the government shutdown and the debt ceiling — and whether those lawmakers might feel encouraged to force more confrontations in the future — you need to understand the economic struggles of the Republicans’ home districts.
    He was a real estate developer who lost his business in the housing crash along with his retirement savings so he started up this business he now blames the man whose name he cannot speak.
    Then, Hackett said, his bank pulled back on lending, citing new federal regulations. Over the summer, he and Tippy dropped their health-care coverage after their insurer raised rates, something the Hacketts blame on the federal health-care law. The opening of a Publix grocery store peeled off more precious customers, and last week, the Hacketts sent an e-mail to customers saying they were shutting down.

    Now let me see here! Could not be the opening of a nearby Publix, a chain I remember from visit to its region as one of the better I've ever known. Nah, could not be that. Couldn't be a bank now having to meet some fiduciary standards and not deal in junk loans as a result of the bank fiascoes not long ago, the ones in which banks failed right and left, could it? Could not be anything other than the man whose name Hackett cannot speak (shall we speculate that black man, that Kenyan!) causing his woes!  Just could not be! There is an associated graphic that is interesting.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 07:22:58 AM PST

    •  Rural America has been economically (3+ / 0-)

      devastated over the past thirty years as the nation moved to a service based and technology based economy.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 07:58:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, and the situation was not at all helped by (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CFAmick, Subterranean, Dave925

        many of the residents of those areas enthusiastically falling for schemes and even victimhood world views.

        I had some personal experienced in one where pre Tea Party politicians and voters of the same stripe trumpeted schemes to "make us the technology corridor just like Silicon Valley" at the same time they pandered to the mass that thought "evolution was the Devil's scheme" and demanded it out of the local schools. They fell for the idea that bond issues should go for a scheme for a massive "outlet center" that would draw fleets of buses from "all over the country" (cities 500 miles away mentioned by name) when the schools were starved (white flight, public schools for "them") and "Christian academies" were teaching Jesus rode a dinosaur. The place remains a wasteland and much of the reason is the attitudes prevalent locally and it is always someone else's fault. That particular case is not alone in my experience as I've seen the same in several others that now quietly moulder.

        They simply could not get it into their heads they were never going to be Silicon Valley even if they were Lake Woebegone. That shoppers were not going to drive past outlet "malls" 50 miles from home to go to theirs 500 miles down the road. There was stubborn refusal to recognize certain improvements in their little place could make life better and possibly attract rather than repel "outsiders" and outside investment. I have some sympathy for their plight, but it is very much subdued by knowing it is much worse due to self inflicted wounds by attitude.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:31:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good read...thanks! (0+ / 0-)

      My reaction to Hackett and the others cited was very unkind: "to dumb to live" and simply racist. Blame banks? Nah, not when Obama's available. Blame the trillion dollars pissed away in Iraq? Nah, ibid. Blame living in the wrong place and not adapting to change? Hahahahahaha...

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

      by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:29:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So Bill de Blasio's surge is a loss by the center? (0+ / 0-)

    is that what she's really trying to say?

  •  Dutch, German etc. clocks already went 1 hour back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    last weekend.

    Though because I just got back from a trip, I had to reset all my clocks this weekend just as if I were in the continental U.S.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 07:57:07 AM PST

  •  A New York Times writer bashed populism?!?! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Dave925

    That's a tradition over 100 years old.

    There have always been two types of populist movements in America. One uses hate (usually racism) to divide people and manipulate them into serving the interests of a powerful elite.

    The other unites people whose interests aren't being served by the collusion of business and government interests at the centers of power.

    Elitist news outlets like the New York Times always try to conflate those two types of populism. They're backed by the business interests who don't want the average person organizing for their own interests against the financial centers of power in New York and DC.

    The Tea Party manipulates people with legitimate anger over the collusion of business and government power working against them and diverts that anger into an agenda that actually serves those same elites. Those are distinctions you can't expect the corporate funded press to make.

    Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is too dependent on major donors to make an effective populist argument to voters. Someone with a message like Elizabeth Warren's is the most electable right now, if such a candidate could only get funded through the primary.

  •  Why Democrats see the value in regulation (6+ / 0-)
    "... a charge for a single round of medical imaging: $10,900.
    Discount given the insurance company: $10,400.
    What the insurance company actually paid: $400.
    What we paid in the end: $100.
    What we would have had to pay had we not had insurance: $10,900.
    Immorality implicit in these numbers: priceless."
    Thanks for this reminder.  The ACA addresses a lot of issues, and this is one the most important.

    Love one another

    by davehouck on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:16:28 AM PST

  •  Sen. Ben Cardin is insulting our intelligence on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Calamity Jean

    MSNBC.  Just now (11.20 am Central Standard Time) he was asked about Edward Snowden.  He said Snowden had done serious damage to the country, and that he could have simply phoned the Senate Intelligence Committee to do his whistleblowing.

    Yeah, right.  Dianne Feinstein was going to do anything with that other than turn him in to his superiors.  No thanks, Senator, I don't want to buy that bridge.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:26:56 AM PST

    •  I'm curious. What's the damage? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david78209, Dave925, Calamity Jean

      I've seen these claims reported before.  But I'm not at all clear on what the alleged damage is.  Did Cardin provide any specifics?

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:05:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course not. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave925, FogCityJohn, Calamity Jean

        I suppose there could be a plausible excuse for all these claims with not specifics -- adding specifics could, I suppose, exacerbate the damage.  

        What piqued me was the claim that there was a legal channel for Snowden to do his whistleblowing.  The House Intelligence Committee is run by a Republican, and the Senate's is chaired by Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat notorious for her support of anything the NSA wanted to do, at least up until a week ago.  If Snowden had gone that route, the Congressional committee would probably have just ratted him out to NSA internal security.  There's ample precedent for believing that, some of which Snowden checked out before he flew to Hong Kong.  

        In some OLD movie I saw on TV maybe 50 years ago (set in World War II, I think) one character asks another why he doesn't go through official channels.  The reply:

        "There are no official channels.  There are only official oceans and official sewers."
        Anyway, the journalist interviewing the Senator let all that pass and moved right on to another subject.  Typically disappointing journalism.

        We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

        by david78209 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 10:44:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The NYT does not allow me to call Douthat a moron (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Dave925, Calamity Jean

    So I'll Douthat here.

    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:05:41 AM PST

  •  teabaggers are genuinely populist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Dave925

    They don't like poor people, especially not poor people who have darker skin than themselves.  But they don't like rich people much either, at least not certain types of rich people.

    Case in point: the debt ceiling fights.  The teabaggers are willing to crash the economy because they think it's someone else's economy.

    And the teabagger agenda has many points that arguably go against the interests of the rich.  They're against "fiat money" that they think can be and is manipulated to serve an agenda, they're against inflation (instant artificial asset appreciation), they're against bailouts, they're against subsidies (at least in principle), they're against cheap [non-white] labor, they're against "pork" as much as they're against "welfare" because they see both as wealth transfers, they're against laws and regulations that they perceive as biased in favor of the rich, and so on.

    The teabaggers really do think that the rich want to turn us all into peasants: dispossessed, disenfranchised, and totally dependent on them for survival and therefore willing to do whatever we're told and take whatever we're given because it's better than nothing.  The difference is that they think the government also wants dependency and control because it's a government, so what did you expect?

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:32:56 AM PST

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