We call it a democracy…

October 9, 2018

The little data graphic below shows what we all know:  a little over half the people voted in 2016, and of those that did, the plurality voted for Clinton.

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Now our elected (?) president has been able to appoint two justices to the Supreme Court, on which they serve for life.  Maybe that made sense in the 18th century when a judge granted a life seat might be expected to stick around for ten, fifteen, perhaps twenty years, but today..?  In the most recent case, the population represented by the senators who voted for or against Kavanaugh shakes out as shown below – a clear majority of the population was represented by the senators who voted against him.  (In cases of states where the vote was split, I calculated a 50/50 split of the population for each side.)

senate vote

So now we have a president elected by a minority of the population (that voted!) appointing a justice who is confirmed by a clear minority of the represented population, and who can join with his other coreligionist reactionaries to rule on the rights of all of us, as codified in the sacred words written over 200 years ago when, you know, slavery was okay, women didn’t vote, there was no electricity, and not even any TV!

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Nattering Nabobs of Non Sequitur

January 28, 2013

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Is it just me, or am I right in thinking that the Republican Right has reached new heights, plumbed new depths of pure illogic and nonsense?  I am thinking of two statements from two articles in today’s NYTimes that were on the same page of the printed version. Firstwe have the whiz-kid Paul Ryan shouting about how Obama wants to effect the “political conquest” of the Republican Party.  Well, here’s hoping!  Anyway, the article  goes on to say this:

On Sunday, in a stinging rebuke to Mr. Obama, he said that had Hillary Rodham Clinton beat him to win the Democratic nomination in 2008 and gone on to win the presidency, “we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now.”

“I don’t think that the president thinks that we actually have a fiscal crisis,” he said. “He’s been reportedly saying to our leaders that we don’t have a spending problem, we have a health care problem. That just leads me to conclude that he actually thinks we just need more government-run health care.”

Is Ryan speaking well of the same Hillary Clinton who made government controlled health care, single-payer at that, her top priority during her hubby’s first term?  And who was demonized by the Republicans for it?  Does he think she doesn’t think we have a major health care problem?  Or is he convinced that she would have dealt with our financial crisis better because of what she learned at the side of her similarly vilified husband, who happens to have run the only budget surplus this country has seen in recent history.  And who was a Democrat.

Then we have the other piece focused on the other intellectual leading light of the Right, Eric Cantor.

After successfully engineering the latest debt ceiling vote last week, Mr. Cantor flew to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he road-tested those themes as the lone House Republican leader rubbing elbows with the international élite.

Citing a struggling single mother with a gifted child in a poor city neighborhood, he told Davos attendees, “We need to create some type of competitive mechanisms” to help her escape the bad schools she is stuck with.

I imagine that a lot of those intellectually élite representatives of countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, China, Japan, and so on, are going to be thinking, “Why don’t you Americans just improve your public education system?”  I’d love to hear about the “economically competitive mechanisms” that are going to bring entrepreneurs running to serve the needs of communities with lousy schools, especially the run-of-the-mill students there.  (After all, it’s only in Lake Woebegone that everyone is above average).  Maybe the same corporations that are doing so well serving our out-sized prison population.


Deficit Scare Tactics

January 24, 2013

Yeah, that Krug.  When he’s right, he’s right!

To say what should be obvious: Republicans don’t care about the deficit. They care about exploiting the deficit to pursue their goal of dismantling the social insurance system. They want a fiscal crisis; they need it; they’re enjoying it. I mean, how is “starve the beast” supposed to work? Precisely by creating a fiscal crisis, giving you an excuse to slash Social Security and Medicare.

The idea that they’re going to cheerfully accept a deal that will take the current deficit off the table as a scare story without doing major damage to the key social insurance programs, and then have a philosophical discussion about how we might change those programs over the longer term, is pure fantasy. That would amount to an admission of defeat on their part.


Obama: Back to School!

July 23, 2011

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Is that a Democrat donkey falling off that cliff, I wonder?

Many of us have had a dream in which we find ourselves back in school – why are we there? We got out years ago, have a job –  we’re married! What’s going on?!   I wonder if President Obama has that dream, but he belongs back in school!

Asked why he continued to talk with Republicans who hold to the most extreme positions possible – Starve the beast!  Privatize social security! Cut Medicare! No New Revenue (Taxes)! – and perhaps most disturbing – Default? What me worry? I read the Federalist Papers! – Obama replied, “Because someone has to show that they’re serious about this!” That sounds like the frustrated and clueless plea of a novice teacher faced with a class of violently disobedient children.

His way of showing his seriousness is to bend over backwards to offer an agreement that sells out the party and the people who worked to elect him, that tears down the great social accomplishments of the modern American state, and that contains virtually nothing in return. “Balance” is the word of the day. We’ll cut entitlements and spending, if you will mention, uh…think about…uh, maybe, pretty please, sort of promise to close tax loopholes for corporations and raise the rates on the richest 1% of citizens. To the Tea Party contingent, taxing the mega-rich is a “Tax on the American People.” To paraphrase Tonto, “What you mean ‘we’ rich man?”

Obama seems blindly committed to his post-partisanship agenda, but how does that work when the other party is committed to the destruction of everything your party stands for? Do you just say, “Let’s talk about it some more.” That works in a college seminar, which is where Obama seems to think he is standing, but when he wakes up, if ever, he will see that he is in the elected office of the presidency.


Phil Ochs redux

April 10, 2010

In an earlier post, I mentioned how Phil Och’s ‘prophecy’ fell flat, but at a tribute concert to him tonight, I was struck by this lyric from the Power and the Glory:

But our land is still troubled by men who have to hate
They twist away our freedom & they twist away our fate
Fear is their weapon and treason is their cry
We can stop them if we try

Fear is their weapon, and treason is their cry…  I was thinking about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, featured in Gail Collins’ column today.  Those words certainly apply and could have been written about American politics today, but Phil Ochs is not here to sing about it.  He foresaw that too:

And I won’t be laughing at the lies when I’m gone
And I can’t question how or when or why when I’m gone
Can’t live proud enough to die when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here

Oh yeah, I guess we should change it to men and women, or people who hate…