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January 13, 2012


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"But, back to roots. Mitt Romney doesn't understand the average American life, much less what is driving it downward. As Mike Huckabee said, he "looks like the guy who fired you."

"The wildest lies stated by GOP candidates are dutifully taken down as dictation by serious news organizations and vomited back at readers as is. And the New York Times is unsure what to do? This is astounding. Yet this happens widely, likely in your hometown newspaper."

All too often: witness the "Giffords assassination was the work of apolitical insanity" meme, which, repeated ad nauseum and accompanied by shame-on-you smears against the objectivity and sense of anyone who asserts otherwise, has temporarily won the day. (Incidentally, I've added a couple of new responses, hopefully definitive, on this subject, in the previous thread, "A win for the good guy(s)".)

As far as President Obama's re-election, I'd rather pick the devil I know. (No disrespect meant to the President - or the Sun Devils!) Many will doubtless vote for the GOP candidate - hoping he will be moderate! Good luck with that! Republican control of the Senate, House & White House will be the ultimate victory for business (not to mention a HarBus grad!)
BTW - Jon Congrats on your front page article placement in Seattle Times sat 1/7/12 last week - article about unemployment.

Political power is a contract between the samurais we call leaders and the fractious coalition they would lead. President Romney could no more govern as a moderate than Bill O'Reilly could declare a truce in the War on Christmas. Power proceeds from the consent of the governed even if the governed are drooling idiots.

Janet Napolitano faced this problem in Arizona where the economic elite was composed primarily of real-estate industrial complex sharpies. She peeled enough of them away from the GOP to win narrowly the first time and in a landslide the second (thank you, Jim Pederson). But she couldn't repeal the economic reality of a state disproportionately dependent more on the epiphenomenon of economic strength that its productive cause. Arizona's wound was beyond political remediation. It still is.

For Barack Obama, the problem is a nation so easily frightened by right-wing propagandists that he compulsively seeks the center-right safety zone. This has caused him to be viewed by liberals (like most us here) as a fair-weather friend and by the right as a ruthless Marxist. When your political religion is predicated on hysteria and fabulism, any assertion carries the weight of certainty.

The media are the Greek Chorus to our national decline except they function more as actors than as an disinterested commenters to the events on stage. When there's a breakdown in the national consensus about reality, anything goes. We're a nation that now debates whether God wants the Denver Broncos to win football games. This is not a good sign but it is a telling one. When there are no standards for truth, or when they are so elastic that the debate becomes a yelling contest, it's clear we're not going to reason our way to a better future.

If this nation wants to commit suicide in the name of eschatology or white power or Exceptionalism, it will. A President Romney will gladly tithe to this apocalyptic cult if that is what is demanded of him. President Obama will validate our center-right confusion with his own if only to bolster the bits and pieces of national identity still binding us together. We are the problem. We always have been.

I generally agree with the sentiments posted here and in the comments.

FWIW, I can't see a Romney win, with or without my tinfoil hat - with one extremely unlikely exception.

Tinfoil hat on - I think the PTB in the financial sector are very happy with Obama's branding their favored policies with a Democratic and populist face. Since voting really means nothing in this country anymore, then they will keep their man. Especially since he will have the freedom for second-term lame-duck tomfoolery on their behalf.

Tinfoil hat off - maybe voting does mean something still. I think the combination of liberal fear of the other and the success of Obama's branding with most of the uninformed electorate has him well in the safety zone for reelection.

The unlikely exception would be if Obama suddenly gets religion and decides to do something actually useful for the people of this country, perhaps because he doesn't do the PTB's bidding to their satisfaction and they are looking to let Romney take it after all (we would see hints of this if media coverage of Mitt's campaign turns to making him look more "serious" than the incumbent.) So he makes a last-ditch effort to grab a landslide outside of the grasp of the vote manipulation wizards. It won't work - the media will take him down anyway. *Then* we will see a President Romney.

This view is buttressed by the fact that it has been clear from the beginning that the GOP kingmakers were in the bag for Romney all along (witness the panicked and systematic smearing of the other candidates - unelectable in the general, but were clearly preferable to the actual base of today's GOP. And they were probably unreliable for the PTB, unlike plastic Mitt.) They wanted to make sure that Obama was facing someone who *was* electable this year - unlike the buffoonish McCain/Palin ticket of yore - to keep him in the pen.

I admit that my tinfoil hat is firmly back on for that last bit - but I'm oh so much more comfortable in it.

(And no, I don't think that Obama would "get religion" in a lame-duck term. Sadly. I could only see it, as outlined above, to try to save his ass in this one - unlikely, but possible.)

Excellent post Jon. Nice followup by Walter. Both very readable and easily understood even by a guy that finished last in his class.

There is absolutely nothing to be said for government by a plutocracy, for government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with a money touch, but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified pawnbrokers.

Theodore Roosevelt

Nice post Walter. You're correct about who is at fault - you get the government you deserve in a democracy and get it hard (to misquote Mencken). But I wonder what holds it all together now - love of the Flag? or just apathy?

Good evening, I am an American and I am an addict.

I'm addicted to my car.

I'm addicted to gasoline for my car.

I'm addicted to water.

I'm addicted to electricity.

I'm addicted to all things electric.

I don't care about anything that goes on in this country, just give me my car, my gas, my water and my electricity.

If you promise to give me gas, water and electricity, I'll agree to anything you say.

The media is salivating at the thought of politicians spending over one half billion dollars or more on advertising(and that is just for President)The "Smartest Guys in the Room" at Enron were able to loot the company because they cut everybody in on the partnerships they created to hide their deeds.The media/political complex is doing the same thing and we seem to be surprised.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
-Upton Sinclair

It's funny, but even if you're not enthralled with Obama, and I'm not, if you try to counter any of the wild claims some nuts put forth about him, you're called an Obama-loving liberal-which I'm not-or a socialist, which I am and Obama isn't. I don't know why the Right insists on crazed slurs instead of calm,reasonable critique, so I can only assume they're incabable of both calmness and reasonable critique. Also, Mr. Doughty, did you know that Upton Sinclair lived in Buckeye for awhile? I still haven't figured that one out.

Vote randomly: statistically, it's the same result.

Upton Sinclair lived in Buckeye for awhile? I still haven't figured that one out.

It's a good bet a woman was involved.

Before Buckeye has some of the "Valley's" farthest-flung developments like Verrado and some south of I-10, it was a ranching and agricultural community with a traditional "Main Street" in downtown. Those old buildings still stand...I have some family out that way involved in some "ranching" and where they work/live probably resembles Laveen before the 80's...nothing but agriculture.

Sinclair was prospecting for oil.

And he probably went to Buckeye for its remote location; wasn't he at one time accused of being a Communist?

Phxsunfan, I take it you know "Mr Buckeye?"
Wonder if sinclair made it to Castle Hot Springs."

Ohio State's mascot (Brutus)? LOL, sorry Cal I don't. I've been to Buckeye a few times and Castle Hot Springs once. It was once a resort, right?

Jim Parker
Castle Hot Springs was a famous resort for the wealthy, elite and folks with respiratory problems.

Glad to see the anti robot code is back.

One other piece of baggage that Romney totes: the little-understood Military/Industrial Complex who's fresh out of wars and trying to stir up stuff like a kerfuffle in the Straits of Hormuz or an Israeli night raid on the Iranian nuke facilities. IMO the media is complicit . . makes for good graphics and a good story.

Thanks for the Slate post Walter.


"Loughner didn’t pay much attention to partisan chest-thumping stuff. “A close look at his Internet writings,” writes Zoellner, “shows that he was neither right nor left in any classic sense. His primary conviction was that a band of shadowy forces were manipulating ordinary people unaware of the deception.” This is important—an observation that was made last year but got much less play than the immediate and stupid partisan quest to blame the Tea Party for Loughner. But it’s only partly new. A schizophrenic (which Loughner seems to be) can seek out conspiracy theories about world government or lying language or Protocols of Elders with a couple of Bing searches. He’s finding material that’s been around for ages."

I think I am going insane.
I gotta take a break.

Romney as President means Amway will buy Wal-Mart.
Now that’s insane.
Masturbation causes single polar mental illness.
Twinkies leads to a sugar addition that causes murderous temporary insanity
Reading superman comic books causes gayness.
Playing video games is a gateway to crack cocaine addiction.
Tea party drivel creates mass murderers.
Helen Highwater is at least three mentally ill personalities.
Yo, probably too much weed. ( I got a RE frig erator magnet for you Helen)
Jousting is to fencing as is freedom to prison.
Hopefully this blog is more about jousting than fencing.
Given my inability to discern complicated matters more than once a month
I am going to take a break from pompous prickism (mines bigger than yours)
And pitch my tent in a deserted place for a time.
Hey Ed U out thar?

Sinclair was painted as a Communist when he ran for CA governor and because he was a socialist (Americans don't make much distinction between the two). Did not know he lived in AZ.

From Wikipedia:

"The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to 'End Poverty in California' I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them."

Upton Sinclair was a socialist, not a communist. His novel The Jungle (1906) was part expose of unsanitary and unsafe conditions in the meatpacking industry and of the exploitation of foreign labor; and part fictionalized account of the political awakening of a foreign laborer in the industry, drawn as an immigrant to the United States by "the American Dream" but slowly (and cruelly) disabused of his preconceptions. It's quite a realistic novel and -- along with other "muckraking" journalism -- led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.

He sympathized with the IWW (Wobblies) and ran on the Socialist ticket for Congress in the early 1920s. He later (1934) ran as a Democrat for Governor of California under a platform known as EPIC (End Poverty in California). This was what resulted in the smear campaign by conservatives to label him as a Communist; but the American Communist Party called him a capitalist and wanted nothing to do with him.

Two interesting tidbits care of Wikipedia: Robert Heinlein was deeply involved in his political campaign for the California governorship; and in 1923 when Sinclair spoke at a free-speech rally in support of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
"he began to read from the Bill of Rights and was promptly arrested, along with hundreds of others, by the LAPD. The arresting officer proclaimed that 'we'll have none of that Constitution stuff.' "

Wow, beat me to the punch, eclecticdog. Updated the screen after I posted and there you were.

Cal, Hostess is about to go under, but it won't be the end of Twinkies right away. As the old joke goes, "What is the shelf life of Twinkies?" Answer: "Longer than the shelf."

OH! CAL! (swooning)

I'm not crazy. I know, because my mother had me tested.

Cal Lash's excerpt from Slate is misleading. The material in quotes comes from Zoellner's book, but even that is selected by reviewer David Weigel.

All Zoellner says (at least in the material quoted) is that Loughner was not a CLASSIC right-winger and didn't follow partisan (i.e., party) politics.

What follows in Lash's excerpt is written by reviewer David Weigel and it is this false context which mischaracterizes the quoted material.

Weigel registered as a Republican to vote for Ron Paul in the 2008 Republican Primary for the presidential race. He's a contributing editor to the libertarian magazine Reason. His area of expertise is the conservative movement, and he's written a column on the movement, Right Now (as in political right) for the Washington Post.

He is just another right-winger trying to sever every link he can between Loughner on the one hand, and right-wing gun nuts, paleo-constitutionalists, hard currency fanatics, and other libertarian/right obsessions on the other.

Rogue make several excellent points including:

"[T]his GOP only wants to win 50 percent plus 1 (or get within stealing distance). It will take the mandate from there."

The new GOP's goal in winning a political office is not to lead an electorate but to further its far right agenda to the fullest extent possible. A GOP win with 51% of the vote would be deemed by the GOP as a "mandate". The 49% does not exist in the GOP's view.

Rather than behave as an elected leader of an entire state or country, GOP elected officials act like a criminal defense lawyer whose sole concern is the unmitigated implementation of far right ideology.

For the Arizona delegation, that means appearing on right wing media shows exuding rightist ideology instead of working with the entire Arizona electorate to reach moderated solutions tolerable to the vast majority of Arizonans. In Wisconsin, another jurisdiction badly infected with the new GOP strain, it means the perversion of the judiciary and local government to reach rightist purity without regard to the state's extensive history of clean government. And another example, of course, the GOP's behavior as the minority party as recently as last August in which it manufactured a debt ceiling issue for ideological posturing at the expense of the US credit rating and the retirement account values of millions of Americans.

Make no mistake, the current GOP is purely motivated by ideology and responsible governance through representative government is of little consequence to the new Republican.


Cal Lash, in a moment of irony, wrote:

"Tea party drivel creates mass murderers."

You mean, mass-murderers like Shawna Ford?

"If you were to do a Venn diagram of nativist and racist circles, there would be considerable overlap.

"Include in that same diagram a circle for the Tea Party types, and all three would intersect, leaving a wide swath. This too should raise no eyebrows. The wackos who want to kill Obama and call him a communist are often the same ones who hate Mexicans: i.e., Racist white men with guns. You know, the ones highlighted in that DHS report on right-wing extremism, which Janet Napolitano fell over herself apologizing for."

(Stephen Lemons is a reporter and columnist for Phoenix New Times who has made a point of getting to know large numbers of these individuals in the course of his work. "Feathered Bastard" is the name of his NT blog.)

Or perhaps you mean mass-murderers like Timothy McVeigh? After all, who would read a silly, right-wing potboiler novel like The Turner Diaries and then, inspired by it, blow up a building?

Emil, Glad to see you like one of my favorite investigative reporters. Steve Lemons. So are John Doughtery and Jon Talton. The guys that took down the Keating Five.

I go all the way back to the beginning with the New Times.
I was the administrative assistant to the Police Chief, Ruben Ortega, that talked him out of going after Mike Lacey in the early eighties when the New Times was writing some stories the Ortega was not happy about.

Couldn't talk him out of firing the "Seventh Avenue Seven."

Irony, had to look that up?
Venn diagram? I also googled it. Too complicated for me. U gotta remember I grew up on the streets and have little formal education. I have to go with my experiences and my gut. I will leave the head stuff to folks like you.

Hasta luego

Ruben Ortega, as rendered by New Times:

I don’t believe that the former governor does not know anything about wealth. He has been a politician for how many years, he should have known this so long.

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