The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Ramona's picture

    Ye Auld New America: Didn't We Go Down This Road Before?

    Working for someone else, fingers to the bone with no expectation of decent wages or a foothold on the ladder, is back in vogue here in America.   Even your big deal congresspersons will tell you that.  There are no greater patriots than the country's laborers, and the very, very finest--the finest patriots of all--are those who have no use for unions. The best patriot/workers understand that in America it's All for One and None for All.

    And this, too:  If God wanted you to be healthy, wealthy and wise, he would have given you better parents.  It's a practice near to sin to get the taxpayers to take care of you and yours.  The taxpayers have a hard enough time taking care of the rich.

    The rich have earned our blind, gushing loyalty (How, you ask? By being rich, you ninny). 

    You? You haven't.

    Yes.  Well.  You'll pardon me for bringing this up, O ye sensitive ones who hate having to hear about the bad old days vs. the good old days, but didn't we goddamn settle this already?

    Child coal mine workers, 1900s

    I bring this up because Nate Silver says there's a 60% chance the Republicans will take the senate.  Nate seems to know what he's talking about but he doesn't say why the Republicans deserve to take the Senate.  That's for the rest of us to chew over.  So I'm chewing:

    How many workers see something in the Republicans that tells them life will be better when the GOP/Tea Party takes over Congress?  What is it they see?

    How many women see something in the GOP that the rest of us don't?  Enough to take them over the top?  What is it they see?

    When the Republicans win will they finally get busy and deliver on sustainable jobs? Affordable, ethical health care?  Bridges?  Roads? Pollution? Kids?  Or will a comfortable win tell them all they need to know about the sterling virtues of capitalism and the ready acceptance of an oligarchy?

    Paul Krugman:

    America’s nascent oligarchy may not yet be fully formed — but one of our two main political parties already seems committed to defending the oligarchy’s interests.
    Despite the frantic efforts of some Republicans to pretend otherwise, most people realize that today’s G.O.P. favors the interests of the rich over those of ordinary families. I suspect, however, that fewer people realize the extent to which the party favors returns on wealth over wages and salaries. And the dominance of income from capital, which can be inherited, over wages — the dominance of wealth over work — is what patrimonial capitalism is all about.


    In Bernie Sanders' report, "Poverty is a Death Sentence", he warns:

    “If people don’t have access to health care, if they don’t have access to education, if they don’t have access to jobs and affordable housing then we end up paying not only in terms of human suffering and the shortening of life expectancy but in actual dollars."


    These are not revelations new to the 21st century.  Krugman and Sanders are both echoing what President Roosevelt said in his 1944 State of the Union speech, in the midst of the Second World War, when he proposed a second Bill of Rights:

    We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
    In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.
    Among these are:
    • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
    • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
    • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
    • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
    • The right of every family to a decent home;
    • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
    • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
    • The right to a good education.

    We've been here before.  Millions of Americans took FDR's words to heart and worked tirelessly for decades to insure that these most obvious, common-sense American rights should come to pass.  Many of them did come to pass, but now they're in jeopardy.  Now the Republicans (and, yes, some bloody Democrats) are working tirelessly to undo it all.

    Millions of us see clearly what's happening again and are trying to stop it, but there are millions of distinctly separate Americans who think it's high time we give up on that old FDR course and head in another direction.  The direction they want to take us in is the same direction we were headed when all hell broke loose in 1929 and it all came crashing down.

    It looks like the oligarchs might just get away with it.  So what is it they're seeing in this new, same-old plan--the plan that caused the stock market crash in 1929 and led us into a devastating long-term depression--that makes them think it's going to work this time?

    The answer is, it doesn't have to.  America is the place to make money; any idiot knows you wouldn't want to keep it here.  Whatever happens to us won't happen to them. 

    Some setup, huh?  Makes you wonder if we shouldn't have stuck with that Democracy thing and at least given it a try.



    There was a news flash from our local paper in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago telling me that there was four hours left for candidates to qualify for this year's elections and as of then no Democrats had even tried to do so for any local or state senate/representative offices

    Sure there are Democratic candidates for statewide and federal offices like Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn but they are legacies. Neither worked their way up through the system and the only reason not all that much is made of them jumping to the front of the line is because there is virtually no Democratic line.

    The Democratic Party has abandoned whole swathes of the country at local and state levels choosing instead to run high-profile celebrity/vanity candidates for higher offices instead of developing real people and real networks.

    The real wonder of that model is that more people do not see Democrats as elitists.


    I don't know any elitist Democrats in Michigan.  They all work hard for labor and the poor and middle classes.  (Those I know personally, anyway.)  There are a number of Democrats like Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren,John Lewis, Max Cleland, and Al Franken, who are far from elitist. (Off the top of my head--there are many more.)

    Who are the elitist Democrats?

    It has for a long time been a common criticism progressive Democrats by their opponents -- and it works. I think it works because of what I described. Trying to win from the top down not from the bottom up.

    Without state and local level participation, there are few Democrats around to temper the worst inclinations of the Republicans. They can be extreme and win because they have almost no competition.


    The public is uninformed. The public is told that there is a "debate" about climate change and vaccination. Obama is a wimp against Russia even though his actions trump the nothing that GW did in response to Putin's action in Georgia. Media does a poor job of putting things in perspective. Thus the public feels that the choice is merely between Coke or Pepsi. They have no scientific or historic review from the media.

    Edit to add: a psychic was brought on one network to serve for the missing Maylasian aircraft 

    The public by and large would be better informed without watching TV News, this has been proven with surveys of Fox News viewers, but I think it holds for all mainstream news.

    Of course, the public would still have to get their news by other means, but I think there is really little but eyeball ratings stuff, celebrity nonsense and the same old tired, usually wrong, pundits and John McCain on TV.

    Daniel Defoe in the early 1600's when mentioning the press said a comment which holds much truth today for TeeVee:

    We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things, and to improve them by the invention of men, as I have lived to see practised since.

    The 'inventions of men' are what fills the airwaves. 

    Fox News recently claimed for days, for instance -including Murdoch himself - that the Malaysian jet was hijacked to Pakistan to be used as a weapon by Mooselim fanatics. If we ever do find out what happened to the plane, like a fatal fire, that nutty scenario will probably be the only thing most recall as the cause of the tragedy.

    Our revered Founding Fathers not only gave us a total lack of accountable unified power in our federal government, they gave us midterm elections, which almost always work against the sitting executive in the White House. This hinders the President from doing anything for his last 2 years. The one liberal guy at AEI said although a long shot, it would be good for the country to eliminate mid-terms.

    Americans have already proven that 8 years of lies, prevarications, death, war, debt, economic collapse and disasters of all forms during the Bush/Cheney administration did not educate them sufficiently to dissuade them from putting the House back under GOP control in 2010. If that didn't change them in a lasting way, what ever could? We do need to try and get out the vote.

    I do not have any idea whether or not some voters are informed or not informed.

    How many workers see something in the Republicans that tells them life will be better when the GOP/Tea Party takes over Congress?  What is it they see?

    I have no idea what they see.

    I just did a blog on idiots who use Jesus to defend their corporate policies. hahahahah

    Look for the Union Label....

    A nice song and sentiment from decades ago.

    We live in a democracy and yet peeps just keep on buying stuff advertised for them.

    And the Kock bros just keep on keepin on selling us more crap through ads!

    Eric tells me not to give up.

    But we have the government that we deserve.

    Now if Nate Silver is correct, we have or will have a govment that we all deserve in 8 short months.


    All we can do is keep on keepin on the message.


      A number of people have commented on the seeming paradox of working class people in the red states(and some in the blue states) voting Republican. People do vote for things other than their economic self interest. One guy who wrote  a book on it  said that in Kansas in the 90s, people thought there was no difference between the parties on economic issues, so they voted for the people--Republicans--who shared their views on social issues.

    If that is true, wouldn't those voters see a difference between the economic policies of the two parties now? 

    I think the truth is that people set up a core belief and will hold to that belief even with solid evidence that opposes that core belief. Climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers are two examples. It doesn't matter that people are voting against their economic interest, they will convince themselves that they are being rational. Even when you show that their taxes have decreased they will swear that they are paying more.

    More like "Republicans exploit social issues to rile up their base, as they have no plan for government beyond using it to serve the rich, who then fund their campaigns using the same issues again to get re-elected".

    Core Republican strategy has never sought to solve any social, economic or foreign policy issues, but to keep the pot boiling to game them forever.

    Core Republican strategy has never sought to solve any social, economic or foreign policy issues, but to keep the pot boiling to game them forever.

    And damn them, it works.  Why?  How can they go on for decades doing the same destructive things and still have so great a following they're guaranteed power?  That question haunts me and always will.

    Fact is the GOP aims to make most problems worse.

    Look at Iraq. UN inspectors and sealed sites weren't good enough. Poverty - cut food stamps and unemployment. Poor families and kids, cut women's access to health care and family planning. A room of K-schoolers wiped out with an assault weapon - loosen gun laws.  Make it easier for anyone with the $ to buy one, and take it anywhere (except Congress).

    Or the 'death from a thousand cuts' never ending assault on choice.

    The endless state law diarrhea to gin up the 'pro-lifers'.  Fetal pain laws, fetal person laws, to religious objection to 'the pill'.  Which they never complained about until O-Care came along. Why solve a problem when you can fracture it into ten or a hundred?

    The whole phony "repeal Obamacare" campaign was designed to convince people not to sign up, thereby effectively killing a program where the success is based on the numbers of members.  They voted to repeal it more than 50 times, not because they thought they could get it to pass but because each time they did it they could announce to the public that it was a terrible plan.

    It's not a good plan but it's not a terrible plan, either.  It's the only plan we could get, considering the pushback from Republicans who saw no plan at all as the best plan.

    The Republicans take pride in their obstructionism and it plays well to the voters who have been led to believe our government is out to harm them and their only salvation is in privatization.

    But I go back to my original question:  Why does this work?

    So what is it they're seeing in this new, same-old plan--the plan that caused the stock market crash in 1929 and led us into a devastating long-term depression--that makes them think it's going to work this time?

    The way your question is framed recognizes that to not have a plan is also a plan, or at least a decision about the future. But there are many people who are not looking at the growing inequality of income as a problem that can be solved by public policy and legislation.

    While the luster of Reagan's promise of a chicken in every two car garage has faded to dull pewter, the legacy of cancelling the utility of the public as such is alive and well. As Margaret Thatcher said: "There is no such thing as society."

    The cancelation says this: We are not failing in our tasks and obligations as citizens when we stop designing the future; Our withdrawal into our private lives counterbalances the efforts made by those who would remodel our conditions. We will know the next thing to be opposed when it is proposed. The waters crashing around us are like waves of doubt crashing against a rock of certainty about what is right.

    So, the whole right wing thing revolves around the satisfaction that one has done enough, the best that can be done, to address conditions that everyone who isn't a complete idiot sees pressing in upon them. After one has reached that point of certainty, the game of musical chairs can be played with abandon:

    Like children with no care of tomorrow.

    Well, that's depressing. . .

    And right before bedtime, too.

    There is a bright side to the observation. On an important level of competition, the right has given up on the struggle for a cohesive undertaking.

    Right.  But wait. . the winners don't have to struggle.  There's nothing to give up.

    Krugman has already pointed out all the Nate Silver's data driven only analysis is not the complete picture.  Nate also predicted the GOP would win the Senate in 2012 in March of 2012.  In the same spirit of the late Jack Germain, the analysis this early in the election don't mean much.

    We are in a period of transition where we are moving out of the southern backlash to civil rights to a more liberal period.  The glue that holds the GOP together is racism.  Their anti ACA campaign in this election is all code for we can't let the AA president get any credit. Vote for us and we will make sure he don't succeed in anything.  They all want health insurance and need health insurance.  The GOP voter knows ACA isn't going to go away.

    There is going to be a strong ground game in the states that are in play for the Senate.  The national Democrats know that they have to focus on that and have taken steps to get the network set up with paid personnel. They are already on the ground here in Florida and they want Rick Scott's head.  The law firm that hired Charley Crist put up the $5 million that it took to get the medical marijuana on the ballot.  This will bring out the young and old hippies to vote.  SYG and Medicaid are huge issues in this state that will bring out minorities.  I have my boots polished and ready to go.  I was going to hang them up this year but Bennet decided to close all the polling places in my part of town.  He is the one who said that voting should be hard like in Africa where people have to walk 200 miles to vote.  He can kiss my white butt.    

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