Were you shocked by:
• The Bush v. Gore breakdown of vote-counting & rule of law?Do you wonder why those who gain from both spontaneous and manufactured crises, by implementing “the Shock Doctrine”, detailed by Naomi Klein in her book of the same name (http://www.naomiklein.org/...), always seem to be the enemies of social democracy (at least since FDR)? One reason is that social democrats fail to seize their own opportunities to benefit from shocks.
• W’s blank check in Iraq in return for mishandling the 9-11 lead-in and follow-up?
• The 2008 financial crisis and bail-outs resulting in an increase, rather than a decrease, in the size and political influence of TBTF banks?
One shock and after-shock opportunity has been unrolling since mid-2013: the serial disclosures of Edward Snowden’s evidence on the extent of the US government’s and its contractors’ expanded warrant-less collection and usage of information, and reduced transparency and judicial and political supervision. These disclosures have put the surveillance state’s apologists on the defensive – but for how long?
• It’s now or never.
• By the end of 2014, the shock of these disclosures will have worn off, as apologists develop new cover stories, and as the media and actual and potential voters are distracted by new news (real and fabricated).
• Moreover, if the 2014 election results contain no surveillance-related surprises, politicians and the mainstream media will pronounce that the present scope of data collection, usage, transparency and supervision has been ratified by the voters.
How can this opportunity be seized? See below the orange shock.
How can this opportunity be seized?
• One way is to elect a few surveillance critics and remove a few surveillance apologists -- the more surprising, the better.
• Can this make a difference?
• Yes -- is the lesson of Senator Liz Warren’s impact on the national conversation about banks, their victims, and other economic issues.
Getting lucky is not a strategy
• We were lucky that, after the financial crisis-bailout shock, Warren had her regulatory appointment blocked, and she happened to reside in a state ripe for replacing its Republican Senator.What’s the rush? Analogous to the geophysical tipping points of Climate Change, there may be political tipping points from:
• We need to more proactively make our own luck in order to accomplish something similar in response to the surveillance shock.
• Otherwise, even the best and most deeply grounded incrementalist political strategies will not be sufficient to counteract the Right’s successful seizure of their opportunities.
• the morphing of Eisenhower's military-industrial-complex into a military-financial-surveillance-complex, andOn the potentially influential, but so far largely complicit Senate Intelligence Committee:
• the additional power-concentrating and dissent-chilling effects of extreme surveillance.
• Committee chair California Democrat Dianne Feinstein,, is not up for 2014 re-election.Collins went on to say:
• A committee member needing 2014 re-election is surveillance critic Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall.
• A committee member needing 2014 defeat is surveillance apologist Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose response to the initial Snowden disclosures was to amplify quickly discredited assurances, by stating:
the program, in which the NSA collected information on the phone calls and emails of millions of Americans "has defeated and thwarted dozens and dozens of terror plots both here and overseas" (Source: http://www.pressherald.com/...)
“We should not assume a trade-off between liberty and security.”…which:
• Collins asserted as an argument that lax supervision and transparency of security will result in more liberty, but
• is more persuasive as an argument that more liberty will result in more security.
Luck, Unluck & Making Luck:
• Unluckily, Collins is more popular, and much more entrenched, than former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, while Maine, although twice voting emphatically for Obama, has yet not fully broken with its history of electing moderate-campaigning Republican Senators.Overlapping Strategies:
• Luckily, Collins’ opponent Shenna Bellows has a profile that is perfect for leveraging Collins’ surveillance apologism into voter reexamination of
(i) Collins’ lagging behind recent trends in Maine public opinion on many issues,
(ii) Collins’ political trustworthiness, and ultimately
(iii) Collins’ personal likeability.
• Luckily for us, Bellows has made her own luck, by surpassing all expectations in articulateness, energy, organizing, outreach to independents and libertarians, visibility, endorsements and fundraising. (Details, and comments by Kossacks, are in the diaries listed here).
• Will we make our own luck? To do so, we must contribute visibility and support to help increase Bellows’ momentum during the next few weeks, as her campaign prepares to enter the final two quarters' home stretch with lift-off in the balance.
Seizing shocks can and should be accompanied by other strategies, which should include, but not be limited to poll-watching. Luckily, the Bellows-Collins-Maine contest also fits under several other Senate strategies, for example:
• Targeting Symbolic Opponents: Like Mitch McConnell, Collins’s defeat would be interpreted as rejection of an entire political strategy.Many Kossacks have been skeptical of Bellows’ chances, which, when she declared her candidacy four months ago, faced long odds, against an incumbent widely regarded as unbeatable (despite Collins' longtime Maine Senatorial ‘twin’ Olympia Snowe having been pressured into retirement by a tea partier in the last cycle).
• Bang for Buck: Like Mark Begich’s Alaska, Maine is a cheap media market with a population small enough to reward face-to-face campaigning.
• Outsider Freshness: Like Al Franken (& Liz Warren), Bellows represents a strategy of Democratic outsiders leapfrogging lower-level offices to make first-time runs for the Senate, against Republicans who have already defeated office-holding Democrats.
• Regional Consolidation: Like Jeanne Shaheen’s New Hampshire, accelerating Maine’s transition to a completely Blue state could help achieve a solidly Blue regional bloc in New England, better able to coordinate regional public policies (and to counter-balance the Republicans' virtual Senate lock on other regions).
• Those odds have now been narrowed, but this race remains difficult.Let’s recall another famous comment by Rahm: “Never let a crisis go to waste”.
• If the race wasn’t difficult, it would not need a surveillance shock, and would not send a shocking message back to DC.
• Taking the chance of ‘swinging for the fences’ is central to seizing shock opportunities.
• Did W’s team hesitate to take chances to grab Florida’s 2000 electoral votes, or to blame Iraq and absolve Saudi Arabia for 9-11?
• Did Rahm Emmanuel hesitate to call “F*cking Retards” Progressives who tried to apply, on responses to the financial crisis, the pressure that President Obama had invited?
• With hindsight, it appears that Rahm did a reasonable job of getting much of what he wanted from the financial crisis.We should welcome “Rahm-Tard” calling us retards for taking chances to seize opportunities from the surveillance crisis, which is going to be “not news” very soon, unless we can sustain it with the undeniable “new news” of:
• Did we get much of what we wanted?
• Do we have a plan for getting anything from the surveillance crisis?
• Are we willing to take chances to get it?
• If not, then was Rahm accurate in labeling us as “F*cking Retards” (even if his reasons were the opposite of the actual reasons)?
“Surveillance Sinks Senator; Shocks Senate!”