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March 11, 2007


The Rolling Stone symposium is worth a read. A panel of experts discusses what will happen once we leave (and staying won't make much difference). The best case is a resurgent al-Qaeda and ethnic strife. The worst case is WWIII, or something like the the Thirty Years' War in Europe, with vicious sectarian violence for decades.

Sorry--here's the link again.

This really hits me:
America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president.

In the political atmosphere today, it is difficult to remember the mood in early fall of 2000. I remember seeing the many stickers and signs around SF (and I guess they were in many other cities too) with heavily blocked-in caricatures of Bush or Gore, under the message "OBEY". The style of the art made clear its message that no meaningful difference between these two existed (and I think there may have been other signs with both faces that made this point even more plainly). There was a feeling that the government would more or less take care of itself (we got spoiled in the 90s), and these politicians were equally clownish authoritarian figureheads who would not push things very far in any direction.

Clearly that was a mistake.

But now, with Democrats back in position to stop many of the worst breaches, at least in theory, I find myself again falling back into the atittude that the grown-ups are running things and the government will take care of itself. I find myself pulling back even further from being engaged in the battles which seem more and more petty and less and less momentous (like which tv station will host a party debate -- I get why it's important -- but jesus, is this really something I can get passionate about?).

Part of it, surely, is post-election hangover. But I'm afraid there is a laziness that comes when it feels like someone competent is in a position of power, and America is not getting more and more fucked up every day. I'm struggling with how to shake that off, or if events will simply shake it off for me.

Andy Glockner has no bracket wisdom. They didn't take Syracuse, and they took Stanford, and they took Georgia Tech! I am perplexed.

'Tis mad, 'tis gay, the lusty month of March...

Re emptypockets's comment, in the 1990s surrounded by vicious Clinton haters I realized you needed evidence that the government was doing something good. Greil Marcus recalls even in San Francisco in 1992 individuals saying that "I don't trust Clinton, but I'm tired of twelve years of this shit". In 2006 many average voters said, "I'm tired of six years of this shit", and in 2008 they may say it again. Those who said there was no difference between Bush and Gore were really saying there was no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties . But of course Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove have made very clear their desire to change that.
Party labels should not be used as a substitute for the possibly complex ideology of the individuals running.

Clearly that was a mistake

What happened when President Gore, who probably paid more attention to the warnings, encountered his first terrorist attack in '01 or '02? IMHO, given the mood of the country, the Republicans would have taken virtual control of the government because they were still the "grown-up" party. Gore makes some inroads in the domestic arena, but is defeated in 2004 and McCain or some other demagogue takes over for eight years. In other words, I think what we had was in large part a structural problem, and that those bumper stickers recognized we needed to reform structures like the role of money in elections, lobbyists in making law, and corporations in the media in order to affect real change.

Now, we've taken a different course, where, due the spectacular tragedy and folly, the electorate has become alienated from the worst of the corporate media, maybe to the point that money's role in the next election will be neutralized. But the structures are still out there. So while I agree with the proposition it matters who you elect, the question is: what caused us to elect a moron who surrounded himself with zealots? That's why we have a lot of work to do still. (But you knew that! I guess I'm just agreeing with the force of your soliloquy).

Why is it that some leaders leave office, go on the lecture circuit and gain a following as esteemed elder statesmen of their parties, while others feel compelled to weasel their way back to the halls of power repeatedly (Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc) to retry their pet theories as if our foreign policy is their perpetual science experiment?

Put another way, why do some seem to mature and grow wise and some just grow more corrupt? And how can we create better checks and balances to protect us from the latter?

We should, because the essential need is obvious.

To me it's not laziness...it's the result of fascism, authoritarianism. It is a well thought out symptom of those behaviors. When people grow up in homes that are very invalidating (let's face the fact that Bush doesn't know that the poor and the middle class exist and he doesn't care of our fate), the result is something called "active passivity". This is a well researched phenom that results from an abuse of power and severe invalidation. People begin to think that nothing they do matters because the folks at the top are going to do what they want regardless. This is part of the genius of the policy...it paralyzes. I says...don't cross me or else, and don't cross me cause it won't work. We have found one abuse after the other. Truth is that convictions, and the exposures of lots of abuses and broken laws...have not worked. It leaves many of us feeling like nothing ever will. The world is changing with or without us...we need to focus on continuing to do the next "right" or my preference the next "left" thing. This will lead us where we need to go eventually and yes, we may not be able to control the whole situation but eventually there are consequences for everything...consequences for apathy, consequences for confronting this administration...either way we all need to be prepared to take good care of ourselves. And do what we can for those who cannot...cause this government is not going to be taking care of any of us...for some time to come.

Re: impeaching Gonzales

As Dirty Harry would say: go ahead Democrat punks, make my day!

Seriously, Republicans would like nothing better than this. Can you say political hari-kiri? How do you think Democrat-leaning Hispanic voters would react to such a move?

katie, I know the feeling of powerlessness turned to surrender that you're describing, but I'm feeling something different -- something almost the opposite, in fact. When I'm told I can't do something, or made to feel helpless, my response in fact is to want it more and to fight harder for it. The flip side of that is that when things seem relatively under control, I'm quick to move on to other challenges. In practical terms: the more oppressive and successful Bush was, the more politically active and aware I became; the more he is kept in check and his approval rating tanks, the less involved I feel I need to be.

I'm not a full-time political junkie and I don't think I ever will be. For one thing, I'm not all that good at it, and I think whatever talents I have are stronger in other fields. There is a rational argument to be made here -- folks should spend their time and resources on a balance of what they're best at and what needs their help the most, and right now it feels like the political scene doesn't need small-timers like me as much as it did a year ago, so my efforts are best spent elsewhere. But now this comment is turning into a therapy session, and that's not quite as interesting (at least, for anyone but me) as the broader issue of whether what I'm feeling is prevalent among the Democratic electorate and, if it is, whether that's a problem -- whether with Democrats back in a position of power we will begin to lose many of the newly-energized folks who began to get involved in the last few years.

soMebodY, perhaps I flatter this site's readers, but I think -- at least I hope -- that you will need something more subtle to effectively start a troll thread here. But perhaps I'm wrong, it will be an interesting experiment in the state of our readership. I appreciate your effort.

Indeed, empty. somebody is clearly a Kool-aid drinking fool trying to see if the old "you don't have the guts" radio strategy will work here. Just a poor weak minder fear peddler, a homeless troll sent on a jucket, or passing through looking to feed emotional starvation. Already too much time spent on his silly swipe.

me thinks tokyo jodi changed her nom de plume

that, or we're attracting a new breed of wormtongue

Now the reason I logged on tonight. Raw story has a link posted to daily kos. Needless to say I fully EXPECT and DEMAND Democratic outcry over our butt cheeks (Bush, Cheney = BC = butt cheeks) administrations new announcement of 8500 more surge troops going. Kos has a breakdown of how they plan to pay for it and it's sickening. Education, small towns, kindergateners, national parks.

And well all know that this number,8500, has been on the grow for a couple of weeks now. Next thing you know it will be 10,000 then 20,000. Butt Cheeks plans to use this war to break every social program in this nation. IT CAN'T BE TOLERATED ANY LONGER. We need our reps to get on the march about this. This is exactly the kind of handle that our newly elected congress needs to grab ahold of and beat these guys to death with it. The news media is trying to ingnore the continued pathological serial lying or our butt cheeks administration. The democrats need to start registering rage, If they can't find there balls now they never will, and under that scenario I'm with FREEPATRIOT, toss them all in the next primaries. Let's face it we have no free press, the web is still not quite big enough, and if we can't get our elected leaders to get on the march and grab hold of the narrative with our coporate media we are doomed. I feel so fucking late era Roman right now.

Thanks Mimikatz, great post.

I'm reminded of Molly Ivins' description of Bush -- "He's not stupid, but he's willfully ignorant and proud of it."

*That* is what we're dealing with, by and large. People who are ignorant of the world around them and determined to stay that way, impervious to evidence because they *know* they are right. Theories of governance and foreign policy that have been baked in right-wing think tanks, where you can earn a good paycheck as long as your views support the conservative line, insulated from any challenge by opposing views or any question of whether they make any frickin' sense in the real world.

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