The Akin Factor: How Extremism and Egotism Has Crippled The Grand Old Party

Of all of the races yesterday, the most interesting for me was the Missouri Senate race. Senator Claire McCaskill was one of the least popular members of the Senate and a virtual guarantee for defeat until Rep. Todd Akin delivered victory from the jaws of defeat. Akin’s infamous rape remarks made him completely toxic to the entire nation and the GOP leadership quickly called for his withdrawal from the race. Akin treated the suggestion as absurd and allowed two deadlines to pass that would have allowed his party to repair the damage that he caused. At one time, politicians would put the interests of their party and their country before their own. However, we live in a different time and Akin is the face of the times: egotistical, selfish, and extremist. Linda MacMahon in Connecticut cut the same intensely egotistical image: spending $100 million of her own money in two unsuccessful efforts to make herself a Senator despite a fairly toxic personality and image associated with professional wrestling. Despite the sound defeat in the last election, MacMahon spent even more of her own money as the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment to secure a second defeat. The question for the GOP is whether the disaster this election will cause anyone in the party to consider the eradication of moderates in their party and the loss of what we once called “Rockefeller Republicans.”

In the end, Akin appears to have been unable to even break 40 percent of the vote.

Had Akin withdrawn, the GOP would have likely secured the seat in Missouri. Not only Akin but the entire Tea Party worked last night to the great benefit for the Democrats — alienating moderate voters and securing wins across the country.

Akin will be left to history as a sad clownish figure who refused to accept the obvious reality that his own comments and extremist views destroyed any chance for election. MacMahon will fill another footnote on the amount of money someone is willing to spend in pursuit of egotism. Notably, MacMahon never appeared to have any particular vision or idea or cause — she just wanted to be a Senator and thought she had the money to guarantee it like some choreographed WWF bout. They are not the only such figures in this election.

The question is how we end up with such caricatured candidates in national elections and the overall low quality of politicians in this country. I have long blamed the monopoly of the two major parties on our politics. I still hold that view. However, Akin also represents a sad cultural reality today. It is not just the loss of moderation in politics but a loss of a sense of personal integrity and responsibility. Akin immediately blamed others and refused to stand aside for the benefit of his state and party. He is for me the face of what is wrong with our politics: an anti-intellectual extremist who ultimately shows little sense of duty or calling beyond himself.

Source: USA Today

268 thoughts on “The Akin Factor: How Extremism and Egotism Has Crippled The Grand Old Party

  1. Please don’t blame Todd for all this, he had plenty of help. When all is said and done all Akin was doing was openly saying what the powers that be withing the GOP think. The real shame is that they are stupid enough to believe it.

    Today there will many calls for bipartisanship from the right along with long-winded rants about “no mandate” and “not really legitimate”. The MSM will continue to call for compromise. The best analogy I have heard on the GOP idea of compromise
    Lets have Dinner
    Obama: How about Italian?
    Media:”Why won’t Obama compromise?”

  2. Gender Gap In 2012 Election Aided Obama Win
    Posted: 11/07/2012

    The Obama campaign’s heavy focus on women’s issues for the past year paid off in a big way on Tuesday night, resulting in an 18-point gender gap that largely contributed to the president’s reelection.

    According to CNN’s exit polls, 55 percent of women voted for Obama, while only 44 percent voted for Mitt Romney. Men preferred Romney by a margin of 52 to 45 percent, and women made up about 54 percent of the electorate. In total, the gender gap on Tuesday added up to 18 percent — a significantly wider margin than the 12-point gender gap in the 2008 election.

    Women’s strong support in the swing states gave Obama a significant advantage over Romney, despite his losses among men and independents. While Obama lost by 10 percentage points among independents in Ohio, he won by 12 points among women in the state. In New Hampshire, women voted for Obama over Romney by a margin of 58 to 42 percent, while men preferred Romney by a narrow 4-point gap. Pennsylvania showed a 16-point gender gap that tipped the scale toward Obama.

    Romney seemed to struggle to connect with women as a result of the GOP’s escalating efforts to limit women’s reproductive rights and a series of controversial comments from Republicans about rape, birth control and abortion. Romney, in particular, alienated many female voters by dodging questions about equal pay legislation, pledging to defund Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v. Wade, and backing legislation that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage.

  3. On the gender gap Elaine points to: how much was a voted for “Mr. Tepid” Obama, and how much a vote against a repub party vying to drag the country back to the middle ages?

    Good that Romney is vanquished. But progressives still have the same half-stepping Wall Street/MIC shill in the WH. Let’s see exactly how much fear Obama can generate around the ‘grand bargain’ to sell us out more.

  4. Elaine, It was well worth the struggles even the ones on this blog😉 White guys don’t rule but some are our strong allies.

  5. Donnelly triumphs over Mourdock in Indiana Senate race
    By Kim Geiger
    Tribune Washington Bureau
    November 7, 2012,0,3555957.story

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Joe Donnelly defeated Richard Mourdock in the Indiana race for Senate, delivering Democrats a seat that was long held by Republicans.
    The race, which was called Tuesday by the Associated Press and NBC News, became unexpectedly competitive when Mourdock, riding a wave of tea party frustration with Washington, ousted longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the Republican primary.

    The move infuriated so-called Lugar Republicans — moderate voters who admired the elder statesman’s ability to reach across the aisle, particularly on matters of foreign policy, to get things done in Washington. And it created an opening for Donnelly, the Democratic candidate, to vie for those voters.

    Mourdock took a different approach. He doubled down on the strategy that had helped him win the primary.

    “Bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view,” he said in a TV appearance just hours after he had won the nomination.

    “The highlight of politics,” he said, “is to inflict my opinion on someone else.”

  6. At least the repubs still have their queen, Bachmann. She narrowly won but that is offset by the return of Alan Grayson and the loss of Allen West.

  7. Say….. Now that the Election is over, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and others like them, with similar beliefs…. can all go ”FORK” themselves!!!! Without the benefit of birth-control, abortion….. or lubrication!

  8. Republican attempts to suppress the vote appeared to have backfired. People were willing to stand in line 6 to 8 hours to vote for Obama.

  9. Elaine, My daughter was so happy that Mourdock and Akin lost. They put a face on the republican party that will last a very long time.

  10. Thanks for th. Clarification Elaine….. There are many people of many ethnically diverse backgrounds that make up the GOP…… It’s not just white guys…… But explain that to a bigot…..

  11. AY – the GOP has been running against blacks, latinos, women and gays for a very long time (at least the mid 60’s) and it has severed them very well (the country? not so much). But they are on the wrong side of history and of demographics. Their ignorant, bigoted and anti-American positions have become the bedrock on which they built their house and an earthquake is happening around them.

    If I may quote Lee Atwater, St. Ronald’s politic guy:
    Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

    It goes well beyond just blacks in todays GOP. But just because white people pretend they don’t know what the GOP means does not mean that people of color and women don’t hear them loud and clear.

  12. I don’t disagree…. But just because you’re a Republican and white does not necessarily make you a bad person…. There are just as many a$$wipes that are democratic…. I do understand your point very well….. But to call someone out just because they are a white male makes you a bigot… one scrapping on that…..

  13. Frankly, Too bad Bachmann won but the news is an old acquaintance from the seventies, Rick Nolan, made a comeback in Minnesota.

  14. Frankly….. That’s like saying all Muslims are evil…or all Jews are stingy….. Some may be….. But not all…..

  15. AY,

    “Clarification Elaine….. There are many people of many ethnically diverse backgrounds that make up the GOP…… It’s not just white guys…… But explain that to a bigot….”


    Did I say anything about the GOP except for its attitude toward women? Are you implying that I’m a bigot?

  16. Elaine:

    ““The highlight of politics,” he said, “is to inflict my opinion on someone””.

    did he really say that? I think he deserved to lose.

    Politics should be about making people’s lives easier by increasing freedom and prosperity.

  17. Hoping Heidi Heidkampf hangs on. Her opponent was another one of these right wing anti- choice extremists that did not get as much publicity as Akin and Mourdock.

  18. YO, JT: I did not want to reveal this rather well known fact to you and the readership because I wanted Todd to lose. But the “legitimate rape” phrase has its roots. Jane Doe, one of the plaintiffs in Roe et al v. Wade in fact lied and pleaded in her litigation that she had been raped when she had not. So the phrase legitimate rape has some roots. Some Constitutional lawyers need to take some seminars and probably the ones that Justice Scalia berated recently.

  19. this Country has the chance now to back out of a very mean place….. :)

    ps: >>>>>>>>>>GLOATING!!!!!!!!!<<<<<<<<<<<< !!!!!!!!!


  20. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. The GOP won’t change, they’ll just perfect their skill at obscuring their most popularly noxious positions even more.

  21. “Politics should be about making all people’s lives better easier by increasing freedom and prosperity.”

    Precision, Bron. Precision.

  22. Congrats to all who had the people they like elected. Best regards to those who had candidates they voted for lose. I voted for Johnson as prez and was forced to write-in on several candidates. I’m looking to see how many write-in votes Russ Feingold got, he got mine.

  23. Thank goodness for the gender gap. Women rule!
    They always have. You know why? Because they are like blacks more than in the fact that they are suppressed. They have soul, like the blacks do. Too much civilization kills the spirit of humanity.

    AY, excuse me, but may I point out that even the white, male, “NICE” Republicans support weird ideas, people, and a party that wants to lead us back to the past.

    They won’t even acknowledge the Constitution, or the reality of the world around them. Demographics and solidarity has left them groping in the dark ages.

    Obama said in his victory speech that the world still sees America as the best example of a nation where ALL people can cooperate for the common good, and many nations are still fighting for the right to speak and vote.

    The Republicans, ever the good ones, believe that those with money shuuld be the speakers and voters. They are wrong, Unfortunately, they are still too many. Those that have a little more, and expect more crumbs. We have to change some minds. Thank goodness for the electoral college (Trump is calling for reform/abolishment).

  24. I didn’t say it wasn’t broad, Bron. I said it wasn’t broad enough. Liberty and prosperity are important to people’s lives, but they are not the only things that make people’s lives better.

  25. I disagree with the good Prof Turley. The explanation is even more simple.

    Akin, Mourdock, West etc surround themselves with “yes” men, rejecting attempts at questioning or criticism while enjoying the obsessive-compulsive efforts of donors and volunteers. They only ever hear about themselves from sycophantic media. I believe the technical term is “living in a bubble”.

    They are genuinely shocked when their views are questioned or they lose a race!

    As William Wrigley Jr said “when two men in a room always agree, one of them isn’t necessary anymore”. These GOPers need some outsiders or a trip into the Total Perspective Vortex.

  26. Romney-Ryan got slaughtered in Rock County, Wisconsin (where Janesville, Ryans’s home, is located): Obama 61%, Romney 38%.” SAYS IT ALL

  27. (In Landmark Ruling, “Dark Money” Group Tied to Citizens United Ordered to Reveal Its Donors)

    “As Democracy Now! has previously reported, one of every four dollars spent on the campaign ads, direct mail and robocalls that target voters now comes from so-called “dark money” organizations. The IRS lets these groups keep their donors secret because they are considered “social welfare non-profits.” But that changed this past Friday when a Montana judge ordered the release of one such group’s bank records. An investigation had found that Western Tradition Partnership may have misled the IRS about the extent of its political activities, and that citizens have a right to know where its campaign cash was coming from. The group is known for bringing a lawsuit to the Supreme Court that successfully challenged Montana’s ban on corporate spending in elections, and the resulting ruling extended the court’s Citizens United decision to include all 50 states. Friday’s ruling marks the first time a court has ordered a dark money group’s donors to be made public, and some say the judge’s move could serve as a warning to similar organizations. We’re joined by Kim Barker, the ProPublica reporter who helped break the story along with PBS Frontline.”

  28. ACLU Leader Calls on President to Uphold Constitutional Principles in Second Term

    November 7, 2012

    Anthony D. Romero Asks Obama to Fulfill His Promise to Dismantle National Security State, Ensure Safe and Legal Abortions and Reform Immigration Policies

    CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

    NEW YORK – Now that President Obama has won another term, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union said this morning that the time had come for the president to reaffirm his commitment to civil liberties and core constitutional principles.

    Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director, said addressing such issues as closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, ensuring access to abortion and reforming immigration enforcement would be important cornerstones in the president’s legacy.

    “We congratulate President Obama on winning a new term and look forward to continue working with his administration over the next four years. This is his opportunity to reaffirm our constitutional principles and the fundamental American values of due process, respect for the rule of law and individual freedom. It is a time to once again be a nation where we can be both safe and free. We urge President Obama to dismantle a national security state where warrantless surveillance, extra-judicial killings by drones and other attacks on our personal freedoms have been deemed acceptable.

    Now is the time to make good the promise he made four years ago to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Back home he needs to put an end to his administration’s abusive and discriminatory deportation policies. They foster racial profiling and do nothing to improve public safety. And he must remove the myriad abortion restrictions from the federal budget so that the right to a safe and legal abortion remains accessible to all women. With four more years in front of him and the history of the Obama presidency yet to be written, he has the opportunity to put us back on the right track.” (ACLU)

  29. @Bron: It depends on what you mean by “liberty,” and what you mean by “prosperity.”

    One person’s freedom from regulation is another person’s lack of protection or recourse when victimized by the first.

    One person’s prosperity can be another person’s lost pension, lost job, lost home, or lost opportunity to escape poverty. In the health insurance industry, one person’s prosperity was (and remains) another person’s death by intentional fraud.

    Freedom cannot be defined as the lack of regulations. Any definition of Prosperity that does not include a demand for fair play in the acquisition of wealth is an empty definition; thieves, frauds, slavers and Mafia dons can get rich by exploitation and oppression. Just “some people can get rich” is not a workable definition “Prosperity” if they can get rich by hurting others.

    How do you stop people from hurting others? The only tool we have is an imperfect one that burdens the innocent to thwart the guilty: Regulations, required disclosures, and punishment for violations. As imperfect as that system is, it is the only way we know that works.

    There is no Prosperity without regulation, there is no Freedom without government.

  30. SWM, Rock County is part of Ryan’s district and it’s solid blue. Ryan was reelected to the House by a healthy margin.

  31. Swarthmore Mom,

    Goodness, enumerating has its risks. Yes, by all means the latinas, they are women too—-I thought.
    Not to begrudge you. Just quibbling. A known fault!

    BTW, how is our Scct one doing? Well by us, I hope.

    Now I sound snarky, which was not my intent at all.

    Just eliminate all previous and replace with “YES”,

    BIG REALIZATION: That fewer words minimizes mistakes.

  32. A great night to say the least. It was fantastic to see Akin and Mourdock go down as well as Allen West. It was also refreshing to see Allan Grayson return to the Congress.
    It was amazing that Sen. McConnell’s comment after the election was called was basically telling Obama that he better agree with them if the Dems know what is good for them! Disgusting
    Akin and company went the radical religious right meme and got burned for it.

  33. raf:

    “It was amazing that Sen. McConnell’s comment after the election was called was basically telling Obama that he better agree with them if the Dems know what is good for them! Disgusting”


  34. SWM, Specific congrats to you, I know this election meant a lot to you. Ryan’s Congressional District[1st] is fairly large and quite diverse. Rock County is only part of his district[westernmost edge] and it includes several other counties stretching east to Lake Michigan. You should research how the 1st District voted on the Presidential race to get a more accurate account. Let me know the results if you do.

  35. Mitch McConnell is not only a perfect poster boy for what is wrong with American politics, he’s not a bad argument for retroactive abortions.

  36. I do not know who you are, but have you ever driven behind someone texting? Yes, I have a problem with texting and driving. Do you not have a problem with that? Asian drivers need not be dealt with as the term speaks for itself.

  37. If calling someone who is arguing for killing a person is “douchey” in your book, then you are more disturbed than I thought. In your effort to be the smartest, toughest on the block you have no self control. I guess Gabby Giffords didn’t teach the smartest guy on the block anything.

  38. Apparently you’re the one with both a self-control problem and a marked lack of a sense of humor, nick. Also, really, Gabby Giffords? Appeal to emotion using false equivalences much? You need to stop drinking before noon.

    How’s that vendetta you’re harboring for me consistently pointing out you being wrong on various subjects working out for you, slick?

  39. Gene, I have worked too many murder, assault, rape cases. I have sat down and interviewed too many family members of spouses, children murdered. There is nothing funny about muder or violence…NOTHING! I would and have called out other people than yourself on this issue. You went over the line on this. Give us all one more pontification and then please let’s move on.

  40. The guys have sobered up and are at it again.
    The Olympic peace has ended.

    Disgusting, on Republicans. THAT was the word that I was looking for all this year.

    Asia/Americans amaze. Must be the largest margin of all.
    You know, it is said that: they are smart/study a lot/respect their duties. Choose several if desired.

    Can’t wait to hear what Grayson finds to slay Republicans with.

    Vote count stop in Miami? Guess that Repugs needed time to manipulate the software.

  41. Actually people, we need to be thanking Mr. Akin for being as stupid and midevil as he is… and for being gracious enough to hand us this Victory. Thanks Todd, you butt-hole……………

  42. Awwwww. More appeal to emotion.

    How adorably logically and factually meaningless.

    If you think violence can’t be funny, I bet Looney Tunes really twists your nipples, don’t they, nick? And black comedy. Oooo. That’d be right out so no Addams Family or Gahan Wilson cartoons for you either.

    Really. Rye may be a grain, but it isn’t good for breakfast in some formats.

  43. I am sincerely concerned that the Republicans have driven their own party over a cliff. They’ve lost women, in general no matter what their race or religion, blacks, latinos, and the younger generations of white males. They really need to get the Corporate loonies and guys like Boehner, McConnell, and Rove out of there or else, mark my words, we are going to be a one-party democracy.

  44. “They really need to get the Corporate loonies and guys like Boehner, McConnell, and Rove out of there or else, mark my words, we are going to be a one-party democracy.”

    But Blouise! That was the plan of the totalitarian authoritarian corporate fascists all along! Which party doesn’t matter as long as they could maintain their icy graft riddled grip on controlling both the selection of candidates and what they do once in office.

  45. Gene H. The Koch Bros don’t like the dems. When they and Adelman start contributing to us you might have a point. And Boehner still has a large majority in the house, Blouise.

  46. Smom,

    The Kochs are not the only totalitarian authoritarian corporate fascists out there. They are truly some of the worst if not the worst of the lot, but Wall Street, the defense industry and the insurance and banking industries are eaten up by people every bit as bad as those two.

  47. Blouise, I’ve heard those laments before from both directions. Remember the Reagan years when Dems lost the “Reagan Dems” and some thought they would never never get back to the White House. As long as there are only 2 parties, the other one will always come back. The only choice is Coke or Pepsi. I chose root beer.

  48. SWM, Having to sit through all the Baldwin/Thompson ads I can tell you both had almost toally negative campaigns funded in part by Super Pacs. That’s why Feingold got my write-in vote. He never used Super Pac money.

  49. And who is Wall Street, the insurance and banking industry in bed with, Smom?

    That’d be both parties.

    And don’t forget Big Pharma.

  50. “They really need to get the Corporate loonies and guys like Boehner, McConnell, and Rove out of there or else, mark my words, we are going to be a one-party democracy.” -Blouise

    I’m reminded of Chalmers Johnson who said:

    “A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, like the old Roman Republic, it will lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship.”

  51. Gene,

    But the diversity of the Democratic Party makes it more difficult as we see in the case of Warren … and others

    I would agree in part that the corporate fascists have ridden the Republican Party into the ground as any parasite eventually does to its host if left to feast without interruption. The democrats need to get rid of their corporate leeches also.

  52. nick spinelli, The PACS that supported Baldwin were union and liberal organizations not the Rovian ones. The people that tried to spin the both parties are the same bs lost every bid as much as the republicans did. Third parties did very poorly. All combined were under 2 percent.

  53. Blouise,

    True, the diversity of the DNC does blunt the corporatist influence, but until we get comprehensive campaign finance reforms to limit contributions and put corporations out of the process where they belong and get some electoral reforms to open of the process making third party and independent candidates easier to get on the ballot? The parasitic illness is still killing the body politic.

  54. I think a big lesson of this election was that giant buys by SuperPac money did not have a decisive effect at all; at least on MSNBC they pointed out many candidates outspent by 3, 5, and 10 to 1 prevailed anyway.

    I am actually hoping Nate Silver weighs in on this point, sooner or later; it seems like an important point for his analysis (which again was excellent throughout).

  55. Tony C, I agree. Outspent candidates can win in presidential years but not in the off years. So far, Nate Silver is 50 for 50.

  56. Tony,

    Decisive or not, they did have an effect. And that does not change the fact that allowing legal fictions to participate in the political process is simply wrong as a matter of principle and Constitutional theory. It’s also violates the specifics of our particular social compact which is supposed to invest the ultimate power in the People, not in legal fictions that have neither real personality (in the legal sense of the term) nor any obligation to society other than their selfish profit motives. But yeah, I would like to hear what Silver thinks of the subject. His projections were rockin’ good. Vegas better hope that guy doesn’t play sports book.

  57. As long as republicans in state legislatures control the redistricting process, there will be no campaign finance reform. Boehner will continue to control the house.and stomp on campaign finance reform.

  58. “Rampant warrantless wiretapping and the acceleration towards a full-fledged surveillance state are just a few trademarks of the administration of President Barack Obama—don’t expect to hear about it on the news, though. William Binney blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s spying of Americans, and says it’s a real danger to the constitutional form of our government. Even before 2008, citizens were in danger of losing their civil liberties. Today, however, he says the US is “heading towards a fascist, totalitarian state.” Unfortunately, the Obama administration doesn’t want the truth to reach the media and are trying to cut down on leaks, whether out of the White House or NSA. RT’s Sam Sacks and Meghan Lopez talk to Mr. Binney about Pres. Obama’s war on whistleblowers, the future of Wikileaks and the government’s attempts to censor America” -from the RT / Binney YouTube link

    Again, and Bill Binney has it right: The U.S. is “heading towards a fascist, totalitarian state.”

  59. Blouise, I’m sure you know that a one party democracy isn’t. Since I believe that we are being moved to a feudal society, it’s happening as planned. Reagan broke the unions and started the tax cuts for the wealthy, Pappy Bush was Reagan2. Clinton passed NAFTA which overrides national constitutions and got rid of the 1930s regulations that came after the 1929 Wall Street crash. Bush put us into oil wars that will go on for decades and decimate the middle east and our treasury. His administration really clobbered civil liberties with the PATRIOT Act and instituted tax cuts that greatly accelerated the wealth gap. Those most upset by Bush then got the “good guy”. Obama has continued the wars and the tax cuts and further eroded civil rights with the NDAA and his kill list. He’s working on another trade pact similar to NAFTA for the southern pacific, work that would have continued under Romney. I’m not sure just when the secret surveillance began but it has accelerated under each president, regardless of party. This is just a partial list. It doesn’t matter which party by name, the goal is the same, a feudal society where 1% rule, the next 9% serve them and do quite well. Only about half of the bottom 90% are needed to work the “fields” for whatever that 10% is willing to pay. Romney’s 47% can starve or work as slaves.

  60. @Gene: allowing legal fictions to participate in the political process is simply wrong as a matter of principle

    We agree on that, 100%.

  61. anonymously posted,

    I know, believe me, I know. It takes forever to get the complete attention of the body politic … one can’t give up leaving the battle to others. One just can’t.

    However, a three day vacation to the mountains might hold one’s slide into insanity in check. Do it before the snows come. :)

  62. Obama’s campaign was also nearly pitch perfect again. Having Texans calling into Orlando was brilliant although my husband was having trouble with name pronunciations.

  63. SwM,

    2014 or 2016 makes little difference … if the Republicans don’t get their act together, it’s going to happen and that is not good for the generations following you and me.

    I am soo happy about Warren. We need more just like her, male and female, on both sides of the aisle.

  64. SwM,

    I don’t know if you read this last night but during Romney’s concession speech last night I kept hearing music so I went to the pantry and opened my back door and there was my neighbor, a real, true/blue teabagger and Ron Paul devotee, playing TAPS on his bugle. The notes were bouncing off the waves on the Lake and it was haunting.

  65. Blouise, Obama had a bigger victory in 2008, and the tea party roared back in 2010 so who knows if there really is a realignment.

  66. Blouise, They do have that anti-gay, anti- woman, anti-immigrant face on their party that will be hard to get rid of. Maybe the dems can remain the party of the left, and an independent moderate party can form. Something along the lines that Bloomberg and Thomas Friedman wanted to happen this year. They have the money to get it going.

  67. Glenn Greenwald ‏@ggreenwald

    Complaining that Obama won only because lazy minorities want free hand-outs is probably not the best way for the GOP to begin its makeover

  68. SwM,

    Well, we all know what 2010 was and now that Obama has won a second term and their protest failed … it’s my neighbor playing TAPS.

    Yes, they do have the money and there is no reason they can’t cut the bigots loose and get back to real conservative matters bringing the sane Republicans back on board.

    Let the Jesus freaks form their own party.

  69. Ignored by the pundits for now was that this election was the beginning of the end for “Tea Baggers”, where most of this retrograde thinking comes from. They were unfortunately heralded by media pundits as being an important movement, while OWS was given disparaging short shrift.

    Now that this election is over today is the day to begin to create a third force movement to take our country back from the Corporations. We need to build it from the ground up, beginning at the local school board level. We need to start it now, so that four years from now we won’t be doing the same b**ching and moaning that the two party system offers no alternatives.

  70. yes, it was good to see big money and the radical Christianists lose big last night. Marijuana won big last night with a couple of exceptions.

    Big money won on labeling of GMOs. They spent 44 million bucks to defeat the California prop. It was a close loss, and we will be looking for the next opportunity to bury Monsanto for all time….

  71. Real trouble afoot in these United States…

    Scott Horton interviews John Whitehead:

    “Constitutional attorney and author John Whitehead discusses the US government’s authorization of drone aircraft for domestic law enforcement and surveillance (public and private); the estimated 30,000 drones of all shapes and sizes that will be in service by 2020; the fate of former Marine Brandon Raub, who was forcibly institutionalized for controversial Facebook postings; the many veterans being pestered by FBI and DHS for exercising their First Amendment rights; The Rutherford Institute’s model legislation for preserving civil liberties and slowing the drone invasion; and the chilling effect “weapons of compliance” have on protest-minded Americans.”

  72. Now that this election is over today is the day to begin to create a third force movement to take our country back from the Corporations. -Mike Spindell

    Hear, hear.

  73. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) makes it plain as day that his plan for the next two years is the same as his plan for the last four—to wage a passive-aggressive war against the president:”

    ” The American people did two things: they gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives. The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the President’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control. Now it’s time for the President to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office. To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way. That begins by proposing a way for both parties to work together in avoiding the ‘fiscal cliff’ without harming a weak and fragile economy, and when that is behind us work with us to reform the tax code and our broken entitlement system. Republicans are eager to hear the President’s proposals on these and many other pressing issues going forward and to do the work the people sent us here to do.”Daily Kos

  74. Here’s a skeptics take:: wonder if Rick Warren will be asked to do the invocation? Start off on a ‘bipartisan’ note and all that. It’s worked so well, might as well keep pretending that brick wall isn’t there. Or, adopt enough of the GOP agenda and it won’t be.

  75. DonS, I doubt Rick Warren will be asked. Hopefully Obama realizes that those people are not his friends. Maybe he will ask the Rev. Wright or a Kenyan muslim😉. I hope he asks a lesbian female priest or minister.

  76. @Mike: We need to build it from the ground up, beginning at the local school board level.

    Just my opinion, but that won’t work. Ever.

    What defines this “third force”? How is it different than a liberal Democratic party movement? What new idea is there?

    Without a new idea, a new invention, a new approach, how do we distinguish this “third force” from being just another flavor of Blue or Red?

    The Tea Party at least had a new idea: Fall in line 100% or they would let the Democratic Party take your seat. They abandoned the old idea of “the lesser of two evils” (from their point of view) completely, and embraced the idea of absolute purity or punishment. And that idea worked at first, they scared the crap out of Republican politicians and that is why the Republicans scrambled to swear complete fealty (and also scrambled to steal and kill that infant movement in the crib, with truckloads of money for Newt and other sociopaths leading the charge).

    if the “third force” is no different from the “liberal force” it will not get any further, no matter where you start, and it will be subject to the same infections that cripples any political movement (including the Tea Party):

    1) Campaign promises are not contracts. Once elected, campaign promises do not have to be kept, and every broken promise is spun as “necessary.”

    2) There is no way to tell if a politician is honest or has any integrity. The charming, charismatic sociopaths rise to the top for the simple reason that they are willing to do anything they can get away with to win, and the honest people with integrity are not.

    3) Wherever there is power, there is money to be made, friends to be made, favors to horse trade, and poorly monitored spending.

    4) Short of a term limit or criminal conviction, an incumbent is always the presumptive nominee for their party if they choose to be, and the “lesser of two evils” mindset means broken promises, incompetence, betrayals and self dealing almost always go unpunished. Does it make a difference how many campaign promises Obama broke, or how much of the Constitution he threw under the bus? Nah. The Republican would be worse, right? This is the fundamental problem of not being able to hold candidates to any kind of contract on their performance or veracity. I will leave the legal analysis up to lawyers, but to my understanding a candidate cannot enter into any agreement that rewards or punishes them in any way for their political actions in office.

    5) Voters are extremely reluctant to “waste” their vote on a third party they do not believe can win. If a “third force” is just a gimmick to get Democrats or Republicans elected, it won’t change a thing. They will take your money, wear your logo, and then do whatever they wanted to do anyway.

    Without a compelling new idea or approach there will never be a “third force” in politics. This is a result of simple marketing laws, if a voter cannot distinguish between the “third force” brand and liberal politics as usual, then the voters opposed to the liberal agenda will stick with their Red brand, and in the worst case, the Blue voters will split their vote between two candidates and the Red will win.

  77. Tony, If one goes further left than democrats Elizabeth Warren, Baldwin and Grayson, there is no there there. It would have to be centrist party.

  78. Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND) has just conceded the North Dakota Senate race to Heidi Heitcamp.

    +1 more for Dems. It’s official!

  79. Boehner speaking….please tell me he isn’t suggesting Reaganomics ala the 1980’s all ove ragain……….

  80. @Swarthmore: It would have to be centrist party.

    Precisely; but as a centrist party it would not appeal to Mike Spindell (is my guess after a few years of reading his posts). Or me, for that matter. We already have the “Constitutionalist” party, the “Green” party, the “Libertarian” party, the “Tea” party, the “Communist” party, the “Socialist” party, and perhaps some others.

    None of those have gained any real traction, none of them currently present a serious challenge to the Democratic party or Republican party. (The libertarians come the closest, I guess).

    The way to change politics cannot be from within politics; the only approach that can work (in my opinion) will be from outside politics and controlling the influence of money.

    The problem is corrupt self-dealing in politics, and the buying of Congress by banks, individuals and corporations, and the largess and privilege they can bestow upon candidates both in office and after they have left office. While that issue remains, the super minority of Congressman that are not beholden to the top few percent cannot stand against the super majority that are beholden to the top few percent.

    When the total percentage tax burden on the incomes of the rich and corporations is the same as the total percentage tax burden on the middle class (meaning sales tax, property tax, income tax, medicare, medicaid, unemployment, gasoline tax, etc), then I may believe the problem has been solved. When celebrities and politicians that commit crimes get exactly the same sentencing and court treatment as the middle class when represented by a public defender, then I may believe the problem has been solved.

    As long as the rich are preferentially treated, I will believe that preferential treatment is due to their corrupting influence on the law, lawmakers, and law enforcement.

    We cannot fix a thoroughly corrupted body with a new set of ideals and principles and talking points, no matter how well we might try to explain them. Trying to create a “third force” within politics is like trying to get thieves to give back the money they stole by explaining to them why we believe theft is wrong.

  81. I used the term third force, not party, for a particular reason. There is a common thread among many of us who comment here, whether they voted for Obama or not. I’m pretty sure that Tony, Gene, Bettykath, Bron, Frankly, Nick and DonS didn’t for instance. Elaine, AY, ID707 (absentee ballot) and possibly Blouise may have, but its for them to say. I think that Mespo, SwM, Mike A, Raff, Slarti, Woosty, LK, Gyges, Shano and Pete voted for the President, but perhaps I’m presuming.

    The point is that though this is a disparate group politically, made up primarily of people of an iconoclastic mindset, there is much overall agreement when it comes to the essential rights of people, as put forth in the Constitution. Where there is difference it falls into economics. Movements can be put together by forming coalitions of people that are capable of agreeing to certain basic human rights principles. My aim when I say third force is a movement to return civics education to our schools; to take money out of politics; to have politicians actually debate issues, rather than talking points; to destroy racism as a political force; to ensure that the freedom which is the premise of our Constitution is not abridged by excuses of national emergency…..etc., etc.etc.

    In other words my belief is that we need a movement not based on political/economic theory, but one based on giving people the tools to make up their own mind. How it would work as yet, I haven’t thought out. what I know for a fact though is that the change we need is not one of specific programs, but one of providing education and information to the people and letting them decide who will work i their best interest. I’m sorry that I’m not clearer then this, but then I’m not interested in becoming a leader or philosopher. Also at the moment I’m an old guy who was up way past my bedtime and so my mind is foggy. Because of that I’m sorry if I forgot to put in any of our regulars names, it is not for lack of regard.

    What we don’t need moving on from here is attitudes such as expressed in this linked article from . Mr. Hedges, dyspeptic viewpoint which crushes all hope does nothing to change the conditions we live under, although parts of his analysis are spot on. If you read this article you will also see my comments on it.

  82. From the Hedges article:

    “The elites know, as Canetti wrote, that once we stop thinking we become a herd. We react to every new stimulus as if we were rats crammed into a cage. When the elites push the button, we jump. It is collective sadomasochism. And we will get a good look at it on Election Day.”

    That’s why I’m the rat holding a book in one hand and giving the finger with the other, greeting the order to jump with huge sharp nasty teeth (insert picture of John Cleese as the Wizard Tim here) all the while digging holes in the wall and disposing of the spoil like William Holden in Stalag 17. :mrgreen:

    Interesting article, Mike. And I thought I have a dark outlook! The man is fairly drenched in cynicism. Great comments to the gallery there though. Good job.

  83. Mike Spindell:

    that is a pretty bad way to look at life. Why be so negative [Hedges], you dont get out of life alive.

    Resolve to be happy, the rich and powerful are and they dont give a red rats rear end [rrre] if we are or not.

    The rich and powerful werent always rich and powerful and that is the greatness of our country. Anyone can be rich and powerful if they put their mind to it. Well maybe not all but I have met some truly stupid politicians and rich people in my life so there is hope for most us.

    Instead of barking about the power elite, become the philosopher king. Run for office, start a business.

    I had to read a couple of pages of something positive after reading that article, it was enough to make a person say aw sh!t and give up.

    That article was intellectual pornography. It gave people an excuse to give up.

  84. “Mike S, You forgot Karl Friedrich”


    Is implacably his particular philosophy, but he would be kind enough to let us join him.

    One person who I’m sorry I forgot is Darren Smith, who I respect for his intelligence and compassion.

  85. 7 Nov 2012 04:42 PM
    The Single Biggest Night For Gay Rights In Electoral History


    Last night, 77% of gay and lesbian voters – who made up 5% of the electorate – cast their ballots for Obama, the first president to support marriage equality, and who mentioned gays by name for the first time in the history of victory speeches. The 113th Congress, meanwhile, will be a groundbreaking one: voters elected America’s first out US senator – Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin – and sent to the House five out gay men (two of them incumbents, and one of the first out gay person of color in Congress) and an out bisexual woman (the first openly bi member of Congress). Americans also re-elected a pro-equality justice in Iowa after three pro-equality justices were ousted in 2010. And, of course, we went four for four in the marriage equality ballot measures in Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota. from the Daily Beast

  86. I had wondered from a theoretical standpoint how well America would do if all the politicians just went away. Despite what they want us to believe, I feel the US could do fine without them. I don’t need a politician to run my business, buy groceries, pay bills, or watch TV with my wife. All a person needs to do is just follow the law and live their life normally.

    It can be an automatic process, government agencies can handle the issues as they do. Politicians just make rules and take credit for good and blame others for bad. Even if they are elected in a democratic fashion, they are still the ruling class of a nation. One person’s king is another person’s president, it is just a matter of how they ascend to office and what their powers are.

    I wonder if there will be a time when the career politican is a relic of the past and we have no need for their ilk for society to function in a polite manner.

  87. Yeah, Mike, thanks for the referral to Hedges. I only look at him occasionally because, true, he can come across as bleak. But it is a bleakness rooted in the bleak existential environment that has been evolving in this country for decades. It behooves some to give eloquent voice to it, as Hedges does. Also, we went to the same college, so when he refers, if by citing its diminishment, to the crucial role of education, at least some sorts of education, to prod us and give us the tools to think, I can imagine walking across the quad and receiving the same seeds of thought that many of us did in college.

    And I doubt Hedges would at all dispute your notion of the importance of giving people the tools to make up their own mind. Indeed, it is in part the failure to do so that leads to the results informing such a bleak assessment of our condition. And, I must say, it seems Hedges has ‘done’ quite a lot by way of pushing the envelope, not just ivory tower cogitating and opining, to seek to push back upon the encroaching suffocation we are subject to.

    By way of supporting the right to be bleak (how’s that for a self-defeating construction!), it doesn’t take a stretch at all, I think, to see the prophecies and assessments of Orwell, Kafka, C. Wright Mills, and many other of the ‘darker’ voices as prescient, and validated. Stating the problem is, of course, not the same as the solution. But it is a necessary aspect to grasping the nature of the problem viscerally. I don’t know if Hedges dissed a few of your own sacred cows, but I suspect you and he would have more to agree upon then not; he just isn’t the cheery sort who sugar coats much.

  88. Gene and Bron,

    I was astounded by the darkness of the article. I’ve been a fan and registered at NationofChange for years, but I think this is only the second time I’ve ever commented there. Reading it, is like reading Kafka, without the art. It is the type of article that may push an idealist with depressive tendencies into suicide. While some of his analysis is familiar to me and on point, there are two things that stick out, besides the hopelessness of the vision.

    The first is that being a preppie he is a child of the elite, someone like Bush, Romney and Trump that had so much given to him. That it affected him so darkly is almost the direct opposite reaction that those three had to their privilege. However, it’s like Paul Ryan taking a fast foot job as a teenager, there’s a big difference between choosing to work there and having to work there. Whatever his view of the Elite, he always has choices, while most of us don’t.

    The second thing that sticks out baffles me and that is what was his purpose in writing this article. As one commenter there suggested, it almost smacks of propaganda to discourage voting. If so, why? He has been a well-respected person in progressive circles for a while and he writes for the Nation?

  89. I found that Hedges discouragement of voting in lieu of massive attempts at voter disenfranchisement and suppression most discouraging and untimely.

  90. Mike wrote:
    “One person who I’m sorry I forgot is Darren Smith, who I respect for his intelligence and compassion.”

    Thank you Mike, as my respect for yours is equal. Though I tend to think of myself as a little too cynical of certain things:)

  91. “I don’t know if Hedges dissed a few of your own sacred cows, but I suspect you and he would have more to agree upon then not; he just isn’t the cheery sort who sugar coats much.”


    You’re right, his view of the setup of society is close to mine. I think I see the world pretty clearly, from my perspective of course and that vision can easily become very dark if I let it control me. However, I am a trained psychotherapist of the Existential variety and so as one of the commenters on the article opined, I believe that we create the reality we live in. I make no demands on how anyone else deals with the bittersweet nature of life, but for myself I choose to believe that humanity can change and that the sociopathic need to have power over others can be overcome. With personal knowledge of much of the bleak side of life, I choose to have hope as I live on and so the world is not only tolerable, but exquisitely sweet.

  92. “Mike S: What did my exit poll look like?:)


    Sorry I forgot to mention you, but as I said my mind is foggy today. As for your vote my guess is Obama, but only after a struggle with your conscience.:)

  93. Mike, FWIW, I am aware of a number of “preppies” who are the product of elite private schools which left scars. You seem to allude to this by comparing him to Bush, Romney and Trump who may have had quite different outcomes. Think Holden Caulfield. Being the presumed child of privilege (his father was a minister) does not guarantee that one will have the sort of experiences that generate thankfulness some outsiders might assume obvious, even ungrateful if not felt.

    I’m not a huge fan of Hedges, in good part because I can’t follow where he leads sometimes (as you might find as well) — and I’m not about to psychoanalyze him — but I can understand a good deal of how he got there.

  94. The discussion above about the future of the parties and what needs to be done so that the 99% can have some representation is an excellent one, ( I agree with Tony C. that a Third Way won’t solve the representation issue) but two of most immediate problems we have are the Grand Bargain and global warming.

    Concerning the former, Glen Greenwald has an article that lists almost prophetically what is going to happen over the next few days to few months in the on-going effort to prepare the social safety net for privatization. It is so prescient, and so easy to watch becoming true or false over the next few days and weeks that I think the relevant section is worth block-quoting, but here is the link:

    If history is any indication, this is how this “fight” will proceed:
    STEP ONE: Liberals will declare that cutting social security and Medicare benefits – including raising the eligibility age or introducing “means-testing” – are absolutely unacceptable, that they will never support any bill that does so no matter what other provisions it contains, that they will wage war on Democrats if they try.
    STEP TWO: As the deal gets negotiated and takes shape, progressive pundits in Washington, with Obama officials persuasively whispering in their ear, will begin to argue that the proposed cuts are really not that bad, that they are modest and acceptable, that they are even necessary to save the programs from greater cuts or even dismantlement.
    STEP THREE: Many progressives – ones who are not persuaded that these cuts are less than draconian or defensible on the merits – will nonetheless begin to view them with resignation and acquiescence on pragmatic grounds. Obama has no real choice, they will insist, because he must reach a deal with the crazy, evil GOP to save the economy from crippling harm, and the only way he can do so is by agreeing to entitlement cuts. It is a pragmatic necessity, they will insist, and anyone who refuses to support it is being a purist, unreasonably blind to political realities, recklessly willing to blow up Obama’s second term before it even begins.
    STEP FOUR: The few liberal holdouts, who continue to vehemently oppose any bill that cuts social security and Medicare, will be isolated and marginalized, excluded from the key meetings where these matters are being negotiated, confined to a few MSNBC appearances where they explain their inconsequential opposition.
    STEP FIVE: Once a deal is announced, and everyone from Obama to Harry Reid and the DNC are behind it, any progressives still vocally angry about it and insisting on its defeat will be castigated as ideologues and purists, compared to the Tea Party for their refusal to compromise, and scorned (by compliant progressives) as fringe Far Left malcontents.
    STEP SIX: Once the deal is enacted with bipartisan support and Obama signs it in a ceremony, standing in front of his new Treasury Secretary, the supreme corporatist Erskine Bowles, where he touts the virtues of bipartisanship and making “tough choices”, any progressives still complaining will be told that it is time to move on. Any who do not will be constantly reminded that there is an Extremely Important Election coming – the 2014 midterm – where it will be Absolutely Vital that Democrats hold onto the Senate and that they take over the House. Any progressive, still infuriated by cuts to social security and Medicare, who still refuses to get meekly in line behind the Party will be told that they are jeopardizing the Party’s chances for winning that Vital Election and – as a result of their opposition – are helping Mitch McConnell take over control of the Senate and John Boehner retain control of the House.

  95. BB, Greenwald was wrong about Bush, the Iraq War, Ron Paul, Romney and many other things…. a bunch of sore losers.

  96. Mike,

    I have to agree with the analysis that the Hedges piece qualifies as propaganda without question. It bears all the hallmarks. But like you, I’m a bit puzzled as to the why behind it. That’s the first piece I’ve ever read by him, but taken your word he’s well respected in progressive circles, it seems a curious ploy vis a vis the strongly implicit anti-voting message. Reverse psychology perhaps but if so poorly calibrated. The dour cynicism leaves no “sliver of light” for the reverse to play to. Reverse psychology really only works if you provide an out for the target. An odd piece of work.

  97. As is frequently the case, Swarthmore mom, I hope you are right, but in the meantime perhaps we should look more e closely at Mike S’s proposal for a third way after all, at least if it would be possible to put you at the head of whatever movement/party/option came out of it.

    No matter how much I disagree with your assessment of Obama, I think you personally would stick to the “right course” regarding such issues as the safety net, and that, in spite of the enormous pressure you would (and Obama will) face.

    In the meantime, let’s just see how right or wrong GG is on this one…

  98. Mike Spindell:

    His sense of life is very bleak. Berty Wooster would have a field day with that article.

    “What ho Jeeves, that Hedges fellow has his tie on a bit too tight.”
    “Very good sir, may I interest you in a Green Swizzle?”
    “Yes, that is how my head feels after that read.”

  99. BB, We shall see. I am going to enjoy the victory for today. There is no election for two years. Obama will not be running again so you can bash him freely as you have done in the past. I am staying with party of Liz Warren. It is amazing how Wall St. blamed the sell-off of the banks today on one woman. The third parties did not effect the presidential election in one single state. For all the hoopla on this blog about third parties, the numbers were the lowest they have been.

  100. Re: Chris Hedges: Wow, he sounds like me. With better references.

    @Gene: I don’t think it is reverse psychology, I think it is despair at the choices before him. I agree with him, essentially he is saying the sociopaths rule the world and good luck figuring out how to fix it.

    @Mike S: I voted Libertarian for President, the first time since I was 18 I did NOT vote for the Democrat. I also voted Libertarian for judges, for whom I routinely vote Libertarian; and I voted to increase my taxes for a grade-school initiative.

    The difference between a “third force” that influences school board elections and a “third party” is a detail lost upon me. A coalition may not be an actual “party,” but if it is going to have some lasting influence then it is the equivalent; like the “Tea Party” is not a real party (with candidates separate from Dem/Rep) but it does aim to influence elections.

  101. Some positive changes went on in the democratic party this year. We became the party that is pro-gay marriage.

  102. “John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., has long argued that the party’s reliance on the votes of older white men was putting it on a demographically unsustainable path.

    “We have a choice: we can become a shrinking regional party of middle-aged and older white men, or we can fight to become a national governing party,” Mr. Weaver said in an interview. “And to do the latter we have to fix our Hispanic problem as quickly as possible, we’ve got to accept science and start calling out these false equivalencies when they occur within our party about things that are just not true, and not tolerate the intolerant.”


    Amen, Brother. From your mouth to that Republican deity, Rush Limbaugh’s, ear.

  103. Tony,

    I don’t think it’s reverse psychology either but that’s the only model that makes rational sense in asking the why behind the article. It is more likely as you point to simply a lament. But on the issue of sociopaths in office? Without question that is a core problem. There is a Constitutional prohibition on religious tests for qualifying for office. There is no Constitutional prohibition on psychological testing. The modern tests for spotting socio- and psychopathy are really quite accurate. I for one would have no issue at all with passing such tests as non-socio/psychopaths being a requirement to run for any public office. Sure, a small percentage would slip through, but it’s a good place to start.

  104. Working through the pile I am long after where you are now.

    It happens that when I hear my “own” ideas when they come from other’s mouths, that I wiil examine them again with a critical eye.

    Several here say hear hear and hell yeah to MikeS call for a third party.

    I wonder what will provide the necessary force and source of enerby to do the work, yes work, to establish a base, a place to collect forces to make a separate political program, to give voters the reason to change parties.

    Is cleaning up the mess enough as a motivator, a mission.

    sure we think we know what needs to be done, but do we know the insides of politics and of running a party, financing it, and pushing an agenda on local, state,and national levels. That is a lot of savvy that is needed.

    There is also the question of how many are willing to spend years seeing their votes disappear in causes that have no effect. To see their ideas stolen, perverted and sold to the voters to steal votes under a false flag.

    Think about it.

  105. Gene’s right, it’s a lament. Literary by all means, but if you insist on reading it literally you miss the point — though the implied truths within seem to stand. Prescribe a Prozac or two for Chris, or for yourself if you can’t separate. But, hey, it’s just a creative way of expression. Still legal, I presume.

  106. Damn, I see that TonyC said it and much better.

    I will add, although he may have said it too, (not fully read yet) that political parties are created in Sweden,
    by finding a “cause” which has wide appeal but is unaddressed, or by finding an group with needs who thay feel are not getting the attention that they feel it is worth.

    Obama can sayL let’s go fix the nation, or even let’s go fix the world as he did one time. But it is hard for a new party to sell that.

  107. Swarthmore mom 1, November 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    bettykath, I really don’t think Obama’s goal is to have a feudal society.
    He’s continuing the wars but in other places; he’s accelerated the use of drones in many places, including in the US; he signed the NDAA; he has a kill list; he’s escalated the deportation of undocumented immigrants; he’s escalated the attack on whistle-blowers while rewarding those whose deeds were exposed. Need I go on? It’s a process. He’s just one of those taking us there.

    raff, How do you see instant runoff voting working for a presidential election? It’s great for single district elections, e.g. mayors or legislators, and you’re right, it’s essential for additional parties to be taken seriously.

    Don’t count the extreme right out. They lost the presidency and the Senate but they kept the House. They didn’t start this movement yesterday. They are in it for the long haul. Expect them to regroup and come back.

  108. To all those who MikeS was too tired to mention and to MikeS himself.

    We use in Sweden the phrase “no one mentioned and no one forgotten”…it helps avoid the problem of the attractiveness of exemplification leading to a missed mention.

    And fór the non-mentioned. Remember it is the wheels who squeak loudest that get greased, speaking of myself of course. It even helped me to get on JTs activity list to celebrate 13 million.

    Loud is heard. Images, even negative ones, make lasting and vivid impressions.

    Is that enough self-deprecation of myself for today?

    Humbly yours,

    Bed time it is 2 AM.

  109. Swarthmore Mom,

    To the best of my knowledge, I have stated the facts about Obama, but perhaps that is one and the same thing as “bashing” him. Anyway, thank you for giving me permission to continue doing so. Certainly to mention that he kills American citizens without judicial review, that he has stood by as thousands of citizens have been removed from their homes by illegal foreclosures, that he has done little or nothing regarding global warming, etc., etc., sounds like an amazing “bash”; I completely agree it’s something most presidents would find heinous as charges. But I don’t remember saying anything about Obama that wasn’t common knowledge or backed up by multiple reputable sources including that one of his first priorities is going to be a Grand Bargain that makes unnecessary cuts to the saftey net in return for small token taxes on the rich.

  110. Let us review:

    The United States of America — a country where only eight years ago, opposition to the right of gay and lesbian couples to form and protect their families, under the color of law, was a winning national election strategy — for the first time by popular vote defeated an effort to discriminate against such families in one state, and endorsed the right to marry in three others.

    This same United States sent a woman who is gay to its upper chamber.

    The United States of America, where legal marital rape is in living memory, turned away two men who would minimize that rape and likely turned control of the entire Senate over that issue.

    The United States of America, where under the color of law and under the force of terrorism whole swaths of black people were deprived of the right to vote in recent memory, saw black voting not only match levels achieved in 2008 but exceed them.

    The United States of America, a country of immigrants, saw the Latino share of the vote increase, not decrease as so many predicted.

    The United States of America, whose prison system is a mockery of justice, endorsed a mature and sane drug policy in three states.

    The United States of America, where the disenfranchisement of women is in recent memory, sent a historic number of women to its upper chambers.

    The United States of America, whose media has long been held hostage by the vendors of hair-tonic and lead alchemy, saw those self-same vendors shamed, embarrassed, and reduced to self-mockery before the world.

    The United States of America, a country with the vending of black people barely out of living memory, with the systemic white supremacy very much in its living memory, re-elected a black president. From the Atlantic article I linked above.

  111. BB, I like the election results for the reasons Mr. Coates states above. if you don’t, start organizing early for the next elections. It takes a lot more than rhetoric to mount an effective campaign. I made 120 calls yesterday into Florida and I am tired.

  112. Still no one talks about the biggest elephant in the room — our defense budget — and the fact that our defense contractors sold $85.3 billion of weapon systems last year. Up from a measly $21.4 billion in 2010. Russia was far behind at only $4.8 billion. Go team!

    War — perpetual or otherwise — distorts economies, morals (absolute or relative) of any given culture, and makes us, today, the world’s biggest hypocrites.

    Maybe we should not hold our internal divisions so politically dear and instead consider our actions on the world stage as the cutting edge of the wedge between our own rabid discourse and a potential reason why, to paraphrase Shrub, “they hate our freedom.”

  113. The question is how we end up with such caricatured candidates in national elections and the overall low quality of politicians in this country. I have long blamed the monopoly of the two major parties on our politics. I still hold that view. However, Akin also represents a sad cultural reality today. It is not just the loss of moderation in politics but a loss of a sense of personal integrity and responsibility.

    Caricatured candidates, low quality of politicians, loss of moderation in politics, this seems to me to be a not so surprising outcome of the efforts of our corporate elite over the last forty years. This is exactly the way they “see” politics, exactly the way they want the arguments presented and exactly the correct level of discourse for their think tanks, their media machines, and the idiot stooges they hire for bit parts in their political theater.

  114. raff, I was looking for a bit more of an explanation of how you see it working. At what level are candidates eliminated? within a precinct? a county? a legislative district? a state? Or does it depend on how the electoral votes are distributed? Or do you depend on the electoral college being eliminated and the redistribution happening based on popular vote?

  115. Tony,

    Part of the Conservative movents work since Goldwater has been to run for schoolboard elections to influence educational policies, censor curriculum and impose their version of patriotism. By building up from grass roots level they create an infrastructure that can influence the next level of government and so on up. Partularly successful in the South and the rest of the Bible Belt, The most successful method of organising is at the bottom working up.

  116. Raff, So all ballots are counted for a popular vote and if a candidate doesn’t get 50% +1 of the total votes cast, then the candidate with the lowest vote total is eliminated and the second choice of the voter receives that vote. This suggests that all ballots are retained and are available for redistribution. It also suggests that the electoral college is eliminated. Anything is possible but this seems a big leap.

  117. I understand completely why women don’t prefer Romney and the rest of the Republicans who want to return women to the mores of the 1950s. But it scares me to think that more than half of the men agree with them.

  118. The machines make it too easy to fiddle the vote. Even if it’s not a deliberate error there’s no real, credible reason to trust any tabulation from any touch screen system or without a full, paper-ballot recount on optical scan machines. Things were a bit “funny” in one Ohio county:

    “Vote totals for Obama and Romney inexplicably decreasing in three Ohio counties
    by Free Press staff
    November 7, 2012

    Election monitors are reporting funny numbers coming out of Clark, Columbiana, and Hamilton counties (Ohio). Two of these counties are listed in Ohio Secretary of State Directive 2012-49 as participating in the Secretary of State’s ENR (Election Night Reporting) Pilot Project. The most disturbing numbers are in Clark County where the computers seem to be subtracting numbers from vote totals early in the evening.

    What’s currently happening at 12:23am fits the familiar pattern of election theft in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. Here’s the scenario: the exit polls are predicting a Democratic win. The state is called and projected for the Democrat. Suddenly, after 11pm, Karl Rove emerges with supposed “magic numbers” saying “not so fast. I’ve got our own numbers on the ground.” Then what happens is that the projected Democratic victory disappears and numbers that fall outside the margin of error of the exit polls are accepted.

    So instead of scrutinizing the cyber election voting system for fraud, the unbelievable numbers become the official numbers, and the exit poll numbers are adjusted to meet the improbable political outcomes. That’s what’s happening right now.

    Election results have fluctuated throughout the evening:

    25,333- Obama
    25,760- Romney

    6165- Obama

    Stay tuned.”

  119. 7:48 EST PEL(post election poll)…and weather report…

    still HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):):)

    with a chance for Glee 😉 in the afternoon and a possible yet mild I told you so blowing in from the East…


  120. Bron, There was some movement among women to Romney after the first debate where he appeared to be moderate. Akin and Mourdock reinforced the image that the GOP created for itself during the legislative sessions at both the federal and state levels in the spring. They made the GOP war on women seem real again and quite possibly turned the younger generation of women off to the GOP permanently. I think McCaskill ended up winning by 17 points.

  121. Bron,

    I think what Smom says is essentially on point. Aiken and Mourdock’s statements did some serious damage to the GOP image with women voters. They didn’t just hurt the most recent election, they created a huge damage control/rectification situation moving forward.

  122. The GOP actually did what I previously thought was impossible: it UNDERESTIMATED the intelligence of the American people!! 😛

  123. Smom:

    The reason I ask is that I know some women who were going to vote for Romney prior to those remarks.

    Upon reflection, I dont think it is unreasonable to say it cost Romney the election.

  124. gbk:

    from the book Capitalism the Creator 1940:

    “The ultimate success of autarchy is at best
    doubtful. The whole drift of modern times, and especially through
    the last hundred years and more of the colossal development, seems
    to belie the possibility of success in a policy of self-sufficiency. For
    more than one hundred and fifty years world trade has been steadily
    growing, at a rate even more rapid than the volume of total production.
    Seriously interrupted by the war, this growing interdependence
    of peoples is now greater than ever. No industrial power, nowadays,
    requiring various raw materials from many regions of the earth, can
    approach national self-sufficiency except at an enormous cost.
    But the economic policies of the dictatorships does not stop here.
    For the purpose of increasing the military power of the state, all
    industry is regimented, all truly economic aims subordinated.

    Production is directed by the state for military purposes. Preference in
    the allocation of capital, raw materials, and labor, is given to firms
    working on army orders. The rates of wages of labor are held down,
    profits are restricted, and their use is controlled. Nor does labor,
    whether in agriculture or in industry, have the right to choose its
    employment. In a real sense, labor and industry are enslaved in the
    dictatorships as in the communist state.

    A large proportion of the national income is diverted to state
    purposes. Under such circumstances, it is impossible to provide
    capital for private enterprises, except those that serve military needs.
    Even without this provision of capital, the share of the productive
    output of the country available for general consumption has fallen
    sharply. As a consequence, the hours of labor have been increased;
    but even with longer hours and greater production, real wage rates have fallen. And this, to my mind, is one of the ineluctable effects
    of autocracy. The heavy taxation and borrowing, to say nothing of
    outright inflation, deprive labor of the consumption goods necessary
    to maintain high living standards, and they deprive management of
    the capital goods needful to maintain economic progress.
    The key to the prevailing trend towards dictatorships lies, if I
    mistake not, in the steadily growing ascendancy of the crowd, directly
    a product of what the French writer Gustave LeBon has aptly
    termed “crowd psychology.” As LeBon takes note, this is essentially
    a kind of grown-up child psychology, craving a highly paternal type
    of government. The mass of the people, apparently, do not value
    independence, liberty of thought, freedom of action, opportunity
    for individual enterprise. They submit rather to the rule of the
    omnipotent father, and seem content if only they are assured their
    daily bread. Otherwise it is difficult to understand how a country
    with great universities, a splendid literature and art, a proud record
    of scientific and industrial achievement, could endure the tyranny
    of a regimentation maintained by coercion, imprisonment, and assassination.

    It can only be that a large part of the population is still,
    as Dr. Hooton insists, essentially neolithic in character and in intelligence.

    The interest of all this for countries like the United States and
    Great Britain, where the tradition of economic and political freedom
    is old, is in regard to their own peoples. Will these also succumb to
    the propaganda and leadership of kindred fanatics, men of a distinctly
    neurotic mentality, and often with obsession of a ‘mission.’
    Is there danger that the traditional economic and political systems
    of these countries will be replaced by dictatorships molded after the
    Continental fashion? Not an idle question.

    For one, I can not believe that in the English speaking world
    the spirit of independence, the precious gift of freedom, is to be
    lost through the diablerie of paranoidal maniacs, lusting for selfaggrandizement, and dependent upon the supine submission of a
    people. But it would be dangerous to overlook the effects that economic
    desperation may produce, what long depression with wide
    unemployment may do. It would be a weird outcome if the truly
    marvelous burst of industrial progress within the last century and a
    half should eventuate in such a monumental fiasco.”

  125. Bron
    1, November 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

    you go girl, are you still drunk with the intoxicating emotion of victory?
    YES!!!! …but no…..

    it’s not Victory that I feel. It is an overwhelming sense of relief alike to what you feel when a child falls down a flight of steps but rises unhurt. I once almost ran over my brothers dog in the driveway, (she was loveable but not terribly bright…)…and I was ecstatic that I did not cause her death and she was relatively unhurt…(she did not however learn to NOT sleep behind the car….

    I just feel good that the knowledge that we are a better and more enlightened place than the current physical reality expresses has been affirmed….and that the progress, at least in those ideological places that we call ‘foundational’ is not corrupted…. :) THAT’s why…..:)

  126. Smom:

    thanks, I am going to see if I can track down some stats about how many women changed their minds based on Aiken and Mourdock. I am thinking that if 10% of women who were going to vote for Romney changed their minds, it would have been enough to give it to the Pres.

  127. @Mike S: Part of the Conservative movements work since Goldwater has been to run for schoolboard elections to influence educational policies, censor curriculum and impose their version of patriotism.

    Many of the teacher movements and unions, including my sister’s (a public school gifted/talented teacher for 15 years), has been countering that trend for decades, including in courts. I believe that struggle has been hard, and on several fronts the (enlightened) teachers have lost ground; particularly in evolutionary science and sex safety education.

    So I can see some merit in trying to stock the school board with progressive liberals. But isn’t that just a liberal vs. conservative political fight that has been going on for 30 years or so?

    The Conservative school board strategy may have worked in the past, but I do not think it will translate into the future. I think it depended heavily on the Republican political machine promoting compliant Conservative candidates “up the ranks” to city council, justice of the peace, various state legislature offices, etc., combined with the Republican voter propensity to take the intellectual shortcut of pulling the lever for the Republican Party. I think it depended on their gullibility, and the corrupt incentives to the candidates recruited.

    Maybe it is just me, but I think that approach is less viable today than yesteryear, and inherently less viable for recruiting non-sociopaths.

    I am not trying to rain on your parade, I am actually trying to keep you from wasting time and energy on what I believe is a fatally flawed approach. To me the fatal flaw is the direct approach of trying to change the quality, integrity, intelligence and character of candidates.

    I personally think that if the direct approach was going to work, it would have worked already. It hasn’t. The Chris Hedges Lament is right; and the situation gets ever worse, with income inequality, political inequality, class inequality and corruption and blatant lies on the rise one election after another. The self-serving sociopaths have infiltrated the media too, and partner with the politicians for monetary gain in their spin and lies. (It can still be a cutthroat pack of lions that will slaughter their own injured for a cannibalistic meal; there is no honor among sociopaths. Only a weighing of rewards.)

    I think if there is a solution, we need to think outside that direct approach box. I do not think it is possible to cultivate and/or elect trustworthy progressive champions with a success rate that can remotely stem the tide of sociopathy. The few that have made it to office certainly have not done that.

  128. Republican Reckoning Begins After Revealing Defeat
    By Jon Ward
    Posted: 11/07/2012

    BOSTON -– Republican Party leaders on Wednesday began picking up the pieces of their movement, trying to figure how to put them back together.

    The GOP was blindsided Tuesday, but also revealed. The Democrats’ ground organization was beyond anything they’d imagined, pulling in new voters with stunning effectiveness. It exposed a major weakness in the Republican approach to winning elections, practically and intellectually.

    “I don’t think anyone on our side understood or comprehended how good their turnout was going to be,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican committee man from Mississippi. “The Democrats do voter registration like a factory, like a business, and Republicans tend to leave it to the blue hairs.”

    But President Barack Obama’s triumphant get-out-the-vote program also pulled back the curtain on the GOP’s looming demographic demise. The exposure was so severe that there will be few inside the party who can deny the need to work toward immigration reform, as well the need to make a broader effort to communicate to parts of the electorate that the party has not tried to in the past.

    There was a quick move to embrace the need for change, from the ranks of the party’s next generation of elected leaders, as well as from its online flame-throwers.

    “The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla).

    Erick Erickson, founder of, a conservative blog, said Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s approach to Hispanic voters was “atrocious.”

    “Frankly, the fastest-growing demographic in America isn’t going to vote for a party that sounds like that party hates brown people,” Erickson said.

    However, the day after was not all self-reflection for those on the right. Some struck a far more combative tone.

    “We are in a war. We’re in a war to save this nation,” said Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, an arm of the conservative Washington think tank, The Heritage Foundation.

    Needham spoke in a direct-to-camera video as martial-sounding music swelled in the background. Persuasion as a political strategy did not appear to be on his mind.

    Similarly, an assortment of conservative groups sent representatives to the National Press Club to vent their anger at the Republican Party “establishment.”

    “The battle to retake the Republican Party begins today,” railed Richard Viguerie, a veteran of the conservative movement, who called on “the failed Republican leadership” to resign, and then named the leaders of the GOP in the House and Senate, as well as the head of the Republican National Convention.

    However, figures like Viguerie have limited influence within the GOP these days. The real lightning bolts being thrown on Wednesday were by the party’s super donors, who played a historic role in this election after a 2010 Supreme Court decision allowed them to give unlimited amounts to outside groups.

  129. Bron, I don’t have an idea of the numbers either, though perhaps some post hoc analysis will tell us. But I too believe that Aiken and Mourdock clown show was big for (against) Romney, mainly because he was not out front, nor his surrogates, refuting the message. Not that one would expect such refutation, even from the serial flip flopper, basically hemmed in by the neanderthal repubs,on women’s rights issues. He even made an ad for Mourdock I believe. That’s a mighty big vacuum of anti-woman attack left unrefuted.

    In a tortured way it’s kind of like the legal ‘respondeat superior’. Romney just left these noxious attacks on women’s rights just hanging out there. Vote meet vacuum.

  130. “In a tortured way it’s kind of like the legal ‘respondeat superior’.”

    Interesting. I’m not so sure that equating respondeat superior to guilt by association is that tortured though. Politically speaking it’s not a bad analogy at all.

  131. Bron’s question regarding Aiken and Mourdock comments is a thought provoking query. Since the Republican Party publicly repudiated Aiken’s remarks strenuously, I tend to think that those who used his remarks as justification for an Obama vote were just looking for an acceptable excuse.

    But Mourdock is another story entirely. He was a surefire win from the getgo and after defeating longtime senator Dick Lugar in the May primary, he was seen as the GOP’s future grace on its road to retake the Senate. In Mourdock’s own county Romney won by a good margin but Mourdock lost. Joe Donnelly, his opponent, is the first democrat in more than a decade to win a statewide race in Indiana.

    If Donnelly performs well and takes good care of his constituents he might be reelected in 6 years which would make the damage Mourdock did to the GOP permanent.

    However, I must agree with SwM in the point she made regarding the impact of Aiken and Mourdock’s comments on young voters. The damage to the GOP there is also permanent.

    Aiken threw away a certain win over McCaskill, Mourdock threw away a certain win over Donnelly which makes Warren’s not so easy win over Brown all that more important. King’s win of Snowe’s seat in Maine was expected but the wide margin he enjoyed was not. As an Independent his constituents expect him to caucus with the Democrats. His Republican opponent was a pisspoor campaigner.

    All in all the GOP took a big hit and in the case of Aiken and Mourdock, permanent damage to the state and national arm of the party was done.

  132. Tony,

    Two simple points to peruse. The first is that Texas, because of its large size, pretty much controls the schoolbook market in terms of content and its book buying policies have been dumbing down the Nation’s textbooks for years. Second, is I’m not call for a political party, but a movement that will influence both political parties. While I do believe the political process here must be opened up, the change of that process is years away. The preliminary steps must first be taken in the manner that I previously outlined. Change, without violent revolution is a quite hard and painstaking process and does not begin with party politics, when both are corporatist in nature.

  133. Bron,

    Maybe Romney lost because so many Americans finally came to know and understand the Romney that we here in Massachusetts have known for years. Why do you suppose Romney lost to Obama by more than 20% of the votes cast (60,8% to 37.6%) in the state where he has his main residence and once served as governor?

  134. Blousie, you’re right, there was an initial attempt to get Aiken t step aside, but over time, when he didn’t, more was called for to strongly delineate the issues at stake. It wasn’t forthcoming, and eventually it seemed like the repubs just tried to finesse the matter and hope it would go away

  135. BTW and FWIW, in 2010 Scott Brown(R) defeated Martha Coakley(D) in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacant Senate Seat. If Coakley had won, Elizabeth Warren would not be a Senator-Elect today.

    I think Coakley was a flawed and selfish candidate; based upon her own statements. Whatever “pain” progressives may have endured by having a dummy like Brown in office, I think it was worth it to have Warren instead of Coakley for the next six years, and Warren will probably be there as long as she wants to be.

    A person following the “lesser of two evils” strategy would have elected Coakley in 2010, and would have been forced to vote for the incumbent Coakley again in 2012. That is the flaw in the “lesser of two evils” strategy; it leaves no room for improvement and provides no incentive for improvement.

  136. Elaine:

    Obama only won by a couple of million votes. that is around 2% of the voters who turned out this election. I wouldnt say it was a barn burner.

    Also if you look at a county by county map of the voting you will see most states, county by county, went for Romney. And this is the way it was in the last election and in the Bush v. Gore election.

    Democrats win in the big cities, that is pretty much it.

    The only thing conservatives need to do is to get rid of the Romneys and Aikens in our party and start running people like Gary Johnson of New Mexico. Libertarian leaning republicans. I am pretty sure we would attract conservative democrats and women and minorities. I think we also need to tell the evangelicals that abortion cannot be an issue any more. If they dont like it, fight it by changing people’s minds and leave it out of politics.

    Although with that being said, I would vote for a democrat who was a free market proponent. But then that would be a libertarian.

  137. It would seem that a true old fashioned 19th century liberal could do well in a nation wide or even local race.

    They would have the progressive bona fides about live and let live and the conservative inclination toward free markets.

    Call it the Liberty Party or Individual Rights Party.

  138. “A person following the “lesser of two evils” strategy would have elected Coakley in 2010, and would have been forced to vote for the incumbent Coakley again in 2012. That is the flaw in the “lesser of two evils” strategy; it leaves no room for improvement and provides no incentive for improvement.” (Tony C.)

    Now that is one of the best arguments I’ve read on the lesser of two evils question. Well done!

  139. “The only thing conservatives need to do is to get rid of the Romneys and Aikens in our party and start running people like Gary Johnson of New Mexico. Libertarian leaning republicans. I am pretty sure we would attract conservative democrats and women and minorities. I think we also need to tell the evangelicals that abortion cannot be an issue any more. If they dont like it, fight it by changing people’s minds and leave it out of politics.” (Bron)

    From Bron’s lips to the GOP’s ear. That is exactly what they need to do. But I would also take gay-bashing and immigrant-bashing off the table.

  140. Bron, I believe if our society offered women plenty of help with their children, and no financial, physical, “moral,” social or other beatings related to their pregnancies, we could cut down on abortions by 90% within a decade. Furthermore, that last 10% are pregnancies that would probably end up being terminated illegally if necessary, fueling a subculture of such violence and criminality that it wouldn’t be worth another “war on drugs” kind of preoccupation for us. It would be a “war on wrongfully pregnant females.”

    I’m just saying…

  141. “From Bron’s lips to the GOP’s ear. That is exactly what they need to do. But I would also take gay-bashing and immigrant-bashing off the table.”

    But of course. If you are going to have a platform based on individual rights, it must include all people.

    It seems pretty simple.

  142. The question is how we end up with such caricatured candidates in national elections and the overall low quality of politicians in this country.”

    A lot of it is fantasy world ideology:

    ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    (How Science Defeated The Republican Pollsters). They believe that whole-hardheartedly in elitist GOP circles, however, some of the money-men are waking up.

    Let’s wait until the back-room civil war within the GOP is over, and see who walks out as their leaders.

    Then we can make predictions for the 2012 House and Senate races.

    If the status quo “stop evil Bronco Bama” prevails over the next two years, they will lose the House next.


    November 7th, 2012 12:21 PM
    Michael Moore Tweets About the War on Women on Election Day, 2012

    From @MMFlint

    “McCaskill, Warren, Stabenaw, Klobuchar, Baldwin Senate victories = Declare a War on Women, prepare to lose. #legitimate”

    “RT @PaulRyanGosling: Hey girl, how the f*** are all these women winning?! They don’t even wear TIES.”

    “RT @KailiJoy: Magic lady parts not only detect rape sperm but also turn out the vote against rape apologists. #winning”

    “Looks like that old folk wisdom is true – if it’s a legitimate loon, the female vote has ways to shut that whole thing down.”

    “I’d say there’s a binder full of women going to the U.S. Senate.”

  144. Assange: Reelected Obama a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’

    Published: 08 November, 2012, 16:49

    “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sees no reason to celebrate the reelection of US President Barack Obama. The US aggressively pursued and “persecuted” the whistleblower site under a Democratic administration, he explained.

    “Obama seems to be a nice man, and that is precisely the problem,” the 41-year-old told AFP, speaking from his room in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

    “It’s better to have a sheep in wolf’s clothing than a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he said. “All of the activities against WikiLeaks by the United States have occurred under an Obama administration.”” continues…

  145. Dredd,
    I believe it for simple money buys influence reasons that it will be status quo who comes on “visibly” on top.

    You don’t find new financers to support an agenda change.

    When have they had a moderate, let alone liberal (by their measures) candidate anywhere. Go back and hit the latest.

  146. MikeS and TonyC,

    You two have attacked the big problem—-how do we change society. Not having media on the table to discuss was a wise decision—we know that they are bought and not even the access control tactics by govenment will help there—aaat least not completely.

    What I would like to add is some speculations on influence on our young, the ones most likely to change—both in themselves and tha nation.

    Chronologically it is the parents who get the first shot, but TV seems to quibble about who is first.
    Then school, because in spite of interworkings in the stuent microcosm, the new ideas come with authroitorial weight from school. And kids assume correctly (?) that as the school is, so is the world. Kids don’t have time for parents after school, and neither do parents vice versa I believe, all good examples to the contrary.

    So when they come out their bias is pretty well fixed.
    Only the few who are inclined to think and form their own ideas, in the work or college world will change.

    So the form of school education gets my nod, and notice that I did not say schoolbooks. Who reads books.


    Having said that, it is clear that MANY factors will influence our society, but changing minds will be done most effectively when they are still susceiptimble to forming.

  147. @Bron: I don’t know the percentages.

    However, it is best to face the reality of the situation; which is that psychopathy is very good for the bottom line. Psychopaths have no empathy, no sympathy, no sense of guilt at wrong-doing, lying or purposeful fraud, they have no respect for a fair or equitable outcome.

    They cannot be trusted, they will steal if they can get away with it, lie, purposely commit fraud, try to skip their bills if they can, and will mislead and betray their friends, customers, employees, investors and family if they can. Just look at Bernie Madoff. They are predators on humanity, without guilt or regret for the pain and suffering they cause; real or financial.

    And there are millions of them in this country, and since psychopathy does not affect intelligence, there are tens of thousands of them in the top 1% of intelligence. What is a good profession to reward a fearless, ruthless genius that sees all other humans as prey?

    Read the Chris Hedges Lament.

  148. Tony C:

    I have met one or 2 in my life. I met a budding one when I was in my late 20’s, I worked with him and he was a real d1ck. His wife was as sweet as they come though, I couldnt figure it out but he was a charming, handsome guy so that may account for it.

    He used to crap all over the secretaries and they hated him but the bosses loved him and he was promoted pretty quickly.

  149. Although it would require a constitutional amendment, perhaps we should consider establishing an honorary nobility. If we were to bestow titles on the 1%, they might consider that sufficient homage and leave politics alone. Mitt Romney could be the Duke of Winnipesaukee, Donald Trump the Earl of Atlantic City. And as special patrons for those who dislike children, Rush Limbaugh, Baron of Palm Beach, and his consort, Barrenness Coulter.

  150. Mike, raff, omg. They already think they are entitled. Give them real titles and what else will they expect? all of us to genuflect as they float by?

  151. raff,

    I’m not sure where the IRV discussion is. Can we continue here?

    There is more than the electoral college that has to go. The idea that the states “do” the election would also have to go. It would have to move to a national responsibility. Coincidentally, Rachel Maddow (or one of her guests) just made that suggestion.

    IRV requires that the candidate that gets 50%+1 is the winner (of a single seat race). All ballots need to be tallied and if 50% +1 isn’t achieved, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and those ballots (and only those ballots) have their second choice candidate receive the vote. There are options on how to include or not various choices, e.g. someone’s second choice has already been eliminated; does the ballot get eliminated or does the third choice get the vote.

    Considering that IRV isn’t well known, it might be a good idea to have more municipal, county, and, eventually state, elections move to IRV first. And for them all to use the same method for counting the votes. This will cause less confusion for everyone when IRV is used for all elections.

    As one who has been the vote counter for various elections, it’s important to have the tallying rules known up front if one doesn’t want the tar and feather brigade to come after her. Best practice is for more than one person to count and to allow anyone who’s interested to watch. The counting options increase for multi-seat elections.

    Another candidate instead of IRV is Condorcet. I’m not as well versed on Condorcet but when it last discussed I could see that it might be a fairer way to go. I think the balloting is the same but the counting is different. It’s been awhile so I’m not sure of this.

    The first thing I’d like to see is the electoral college be proportional in all states, not just Maine and Nebraska (?). Electoral college votes go according to the vote in the congressional district with the last two going to the state-wide popular vote winner.

  152. @BettyKath: The electoral college is no longer necessary. The number of electoral votes a state gets is equal to the sum count of its House representatives and its two senators. That is why it is 538; 438 House representatives and 100 senators.

    If you believe in the 50%+1 concept, then the “+1” part means you think every vote can be equally decisive; 50%+1 is an inherently egalitarian rule. The electoral college is NOT: At the extremes lie California and Wyoming.

    California has a population of 37,691,912 and 55 electoral votes; or 1 per
    685,307 people. Wyoming has a population of 568,158 (not even 1 electoral vote in CA) and 3 electoral votes, or 1 per 189,386 people. Which means a vote in Wyoming is weighted 3.61 times as much as a vote in California: Because every state gets two Senators and at least 1 Congressman, minimum.

    If you are going to go to majority vote, you need to discard the inherently contradictory idea of an electoral college, which counts some “+1” more than others. In Wyoming, it doesn’t make a difference how you split them up, those votes should be counted equally to Californians, not 3.61 times as much.

  153. Tony C, hear hear. We have the ability, the capacity, and the technology to go to plan popular vote for all federal elected officials. The fact that we have not done so is a disgrace.

  154. @Bron: I doubt that. I think a lot of Republicans are moderates that figured out Romney was lying. I know several middle class Republicans that believe in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    The reason they ARE Republicans is because they were brought up Republican with a respect for religion, and still think the “conservatives” are the party of religion and fiscal responsibility. That is a delusion sustained by propaganda and lies.

    But they were with the 76% that approved of a public option in February of 2008, the majority that approved of universal health care, and the 60%+ majority that still believe Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should not be touched in any way.

    I think Romney’s assumption (and possibly yours) that Republicans want to end these programs is deeply flawed. Republicans are NOT the Aynish, they believe in social programs and community action supported by taxation.

    For the middle class Republicans I know (some in my extended family) their problem is with religious issues like gay marriage and preventing government from promoting religious values (prayer in school, creationism, religious displays and celebrations in courts and public spaces) with tax dollars, their problem is with government supporting research they disagree with, their problem is a perceived massive waste of tax dollars and outright corruption by the government on projects they disagree with, and so on.

    Less than 25% of the population, and probably half that, would actually vote for Paul Ryan’s plan if they understood what he really wants behind all the subterfuge and pretenses: The complete end of Social Security and Medicare.

  155. I meant February of 2009 on the public option; immediately after Obama took office the national support for the public option was 76%. It was propagandistic screaming fits in town halls that turned it into a partisan issue.

  156. Missed all the fun this morning.

    Let me say (to myself?) that it is a deep pleasure to see such bright minds as that of BettyKath’s and TonyC. holing the pencils and writing so grandly.

    Having said the truth and greased them simultaneously, I will add an aber or two. (Aber=but in German, pop here)

    The IRV abd the reform of the Electoral inequalities are indeed desireable. But closer lies other goals.

    Like packing the Supreme Court so that they will take away the corporation citiczenship.

    Like stopping the obvious violations of tax-free restrictions on campaign ads, and the creation of such tax-free orgs for ostensible purposes but in reality to finance campaign ads.

    Like a stiffening of the FEC so as to force the Congress to stop being bought by campaign money. GeneH can explain, I can’t.

    Like making civics AGAIN a major course in our schools.
    If you are an civically ignorant citizen, then what good does algebra do you, and why learn American History?

    Summary, one person=one vote + an informed electorate.

    PS Thanks to Swarthmore Mom and Tex for doing what more should. Coutering the effect of attack ads by Republicans in Florida. Ther civil resoponsibility showed the way that Obama’s ground campaign beat the PAC and Koch ads.

  157. Tony, First of all I understand the makeup of the electoral college and that, given the 2 extra votes for every state, there is an imbalance between the more populated states and the less populated. Right now we have a handful of swing states because it is winner take all in all states but two. If the electoral votes went proportionally according to the vote in each congressional district the differences between the popular vote and the electoral votes would be minimized but would not go away entirely.

    The 50%+1 has to do with IRV and nothing to do with the electoral college. IRV allows each voter to vote for more than one person for office based on preference. Each vote initially goes to the first choice. If no candidate achieves 50%+1, the lowest vote getter is eliminated and that person’s votes are redistributed according to the second choice on the ballot.

    Combining IRV and the electoral college proportionally distributed, the votes in each congressional district would follow the 50% +1 rule to determine which candidate got the electoral vote.

    Eliminating the electoral college and using IRV it would require that all votes be retained until the final count. If the winner did not get 50%+1 then the lowest vote getter (that real nut from the boonies who managed to get on one ballot) would be eliminated and his/her votes redistributed to the second choice candidate. This process would be followed until one candidate had 50%+1 votes. I believe that this removes the responsibility of national elections from the state and moves it to the federal level but haven’t fully thought out the ramifications (which means I might change my mind). If so, some carefully thought out constitutional amendment is required.

    I see no value at all in IRV with a winner take all electoral college.

    Further, the electorate and those who administer the elections should get used to the idea of IRV by first using it, same rules for all users, in local then state elections. Currently, votes for senate and president are statewide elections, with the results of the presidential race being combined with the results of the rest of the states to determine a winner.

  158. @Idealist: None of that will happen. The Instant Runoff Vote is just another crack pipe dream, too; it takes a ninth grade reading comprehension level to understand the utility of it, and that is not something we can count on in America. It would demand a Constitutional Amendment, and the odds of that happening are zero.

    Obama is going to pack the Supreme Court with moderate rightists; not leftists. Obama is going to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, it won’t be the Republicans. That is what all this BS about the “Fiscal Cliff” is leading us toward. There is no fiscal cliff to worry about, and we are going to veer away from that imaginary disaster and then Obama will claim credit for his Statesmanship in averting a fake crisis by doing what the greedy corporatists wanted all along: To stop paying for Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid.

    The FEC is populated by politicians, it is essentially self-governance of psychopaths by psychopaths. Why would politicians pass laws that restrict their own sources of secret wealth?

    If the Electoral College were eliminated, it would increase the difficulty of being elected. Look at this election: There were NINE battleground states to worry about. So all the contributions from 50 states were focused on those nine states; the calls were there, the ads were there, the candidates were THERE. They made token visits to other states early on, but the battle front was in those nine states, and Ohio. Brian Williams said at one point a few months ago his analytical staff thought the entire election hinged on just twelve counties in those states (but did not mention them).

    It is good for the candidates if they do not have to campaign in 41 states, it lets them focus. Politicians do not want their party to have to campaign nationwide, which is what they would have to do if the Electoral College were abolished. The odds of that Constitutional Amendment happening are essentially zero.

    Finally, I doubt civics will ever be a big deal in school again, just like Latin or Roman Numerals will not be. Parents that do not understand or care about politics enough to do more than toe their familial party line will not demand from the school board that their kids be taught civics.

    I think parents dream of their kids growing up to be professionals of some stripe, be it sports, business, media, law, science, engineering, computer science, biology, medicine, whatever. They want them to have a job that takes a step up the ladder from their own step. I do not think civics is a step in that direction. Personally, I would rather my kid learn touch-typing in grade school (as I did in high school), it is increasingly one of the most critical life skills they can have, no matter what their profession.

  159. @Bettykath: I understand Instant Runoff Voting, I have read analyses of it before. IRV could be useful within a State for the same reason it can be useful in a student election. By ranking the candidates you can vote for a third party or express your feeling for candidates as “anybody but this guy”, so third parties can get votes.

    So it would still be useful in a state election that determines electoral votes; I could say “Libertarian, Green, Democrat, Republican” and if my Libertarian and Green candidates did not land, still vote Democratic. Right now I have to choose between my ideology and having my vote matter, IRV prevents that.

    I still say the Electoral College is a hypocrisy in the equality of voting.

    Second, IRV does not require the retention of all ballots. The algorithm can be run, with precisely the same outcome, by keeping track of a vector of vote totals for each candidate instead of a single vote total. The vector consists of the number of times voters ranked them first, second, third, fourth, etc, for however many slots their may be.

    So you will see Obama got ranked first 40 million times, second 5 million, third 3 million, fourth 2 million, etc. If you have ten candidates, you need ten totals (or eleven; if the slot “no rank provided” is added; which is an IRV twist that accommodates voters that do not want their vote to count for a particular candidate no matter what).

    The information be published on a single computer screen; and anybody that wanted to could run the IRV algorithm.

  160. TonyC,

    First thanks for the further lessons in your prognosis of reality.

    That was my wish list. not Obama’s, not FEC, not his saving us from the fiscal cliff.

    Fixcal cliff, must google it. Money to burn is the least of our problems. The FED and the internatiional markets dependence on us, assuming no Chinese revolt will keep us floating.

    If we don’t have battleground states then what do we have as an alternative? And if we don’t have kids who know haw the world works then how can we have an informed electorate? And then what if not civics, civics is like a must to be granted citizenship. Both committment and knowledge.

    As for touch-typing I learned at 14, but find the keys too far apart on std lapstops and lose contact with the home keys tod often due to the key spread.

  161. @Idealist: The reason there is no “fiscal cliff” is simple; the USA can borrow as much as it needs, ad infinitum, and print the money to pay it back. Next year’s budget isn’t that much different than this year’s budget.

    Our tax rate on capital gains (income from stocks or investments) is 15% and could quadruple and solve not only the budget problem but many pathologies of the stock market, by providing incentive to stop flipping stocks and realizing gains.

    There are a hundred ways to solve the budgetary problems, with judicious taxation. We could dial back the war spending.

    We can easily afford what the super majority of citizens WANT, which includes a robust social safety net. The “fiscal cliff” is a fiction intended to alarm people into giving in to the private agenda of the top 0.1% of the wealthy in this country, and the corporations. Those people have bought both Democrats and Republicans, including Obama. They will pretend there is no choice but to cut big holes in the social safety net, because, they will say, we just cannot afford it.

    That will be a lie perpetrated by BOTH Democrats and Republicans.

    WE can afford it just fine, the politician’s “we” does not include US, it only includes those people that will never again NEED a social safety net, and the industrial rich for whom the social safety net hampers their ability to coerce the populace into compliant and submissive wage slaves, ever fearful of losing their job with nothing to catch them.

  162. TonyC,

    Since you have defined “fiscal cliff” then my proposal: “Money to burn is the least of our problems. The FED and the internatiional markets dependence on us, assuming no Chinese revolt will keep us floating.”

    Lousy sentence, but properly said means that the FED can continue print the money, lend it to us at a modest (?) percentage/discount, and if the chinese and the rest of
    the world are either dependent or not revolting against the dollar, then we are still OK. Whew.

    Some cannot discern the difference between last year’s “debt crisis” manufactured again to get Obama out of office and fiscal cliff, fiscal referring to the budgeting fiscal year. Who manufactured that buzzword, ie fiscal cliff? Republicans I presume. And how did it pop up so prominently in the news and fear cavalcade? Oh, it was pre-planned and lay in the post-election stockpile of the Repugs. Who launched it for the Repugs? Ryan? McConnel. Boehner who wants more Obama golf time. ?????

    new points

    I did not mention inflation, but reportedly the dollar has become cheaper, markedly—-must check that.
    But also if there is notable inflation in the domestic economy. Can’t be that we have stagflation, or?
    Times are tough, not exactly roaring with everybody buying new houses and cars.

    You propose dialing back the military spending. Yes, nice.
    But can we adjust and compensate. Don’t we need the national trillion dollar project with Mojave Desert photoelectrics power to keep us in jobs, provide ones to absorb those released from mil production and military jobs?

    And let’s not start a useless one of putting man on Mars.

    Meanwhile NSA, TSA, Homeland Security, the prison system plus much more alphabet soup are becoming employers of vast numbers of people. They are expanding enormously, I believe, and are sectors related to undesireable sections of our justice/civil rights which we would also like to see changes in, but again they are related to the jobs factor.

    Getting us to force (as FDR asked for) the President and the Congress to make these changes. And we better start the 2014 Rep campaign now. Plus redouble all our other efforts. Very easyily done!

  163. Tony,

    IRV w/ current electoral college is still a winner-take-all and a waste except for making people feel better.

    IRV w/ a proportional electoral college could work.

    re: IRV w/o the ballots being retained. If my first choice pick is eliminated, how is it decided on the second choice pick on all ballots for that eliminated candidate? or is that not important? or are you assuming that all ballots come down to a Democrat or a Republican and you just add together all first choice and second choice ballots? I don’t see how the integrity of the choices is maintained with the spread sheet you describe.

  164. I’ve been following the IRV discussion here and I have to bend heavily toward the “there will be logistic and other problems on a national scale” side.

    What about adopting part of the Parliamentary process use a vote of no confidence schema? There are many variations on this type of schema that could remedy some of what is being addressed by IRV, but like any solution it also would come with its own particular set of costs and technical issues in execution.

  165. @Idealist: Inflation is essentially an asset tax on the rich. Instead of thinking of inflation, I prefer to think of typical hours of work, which is what “inflation” is supposed to measure: How many hours must the typical person (median wage person) work in order to acquire an item?

    Our work translates into “spendable dollars,” by which I mean dollars after payroll deductions and other mandatory taxes, fees and insurance payments. But I believe it is useful to translate the spendable dollars back into typical work hours, in order to understand the role of inflation.

    For example, debt is measured in dollars, and remains fixed. But when money is inflated the typical wage keeps apace (with some lag), and that means the typical person is getting more dollars per work hour. But the debt measured in dollars does not change, so the number of typical work hours required to pay off the debt has decreased. 5% inflation means 5% less work to do.

    Who loses in that scenario? The person that “owns” the debt loses; whoever is the beneficiary of the typical person paying back a loan.

    Who “owns” debt? People with excess cash assets do; those are the people with savings and investments that they can loan out, eventually for mortgages, cars, boats, land, entertainment systems, furniture, and anything else that can be put on a credit card. They also own the debt of companies borrowing for expansion, equipment and so forth.

    So the people that own the most debt are the people with the most excess cash assets, also known as “the wealthy.” They hate inflation, because it makes their cash assets worth less in terms of buying power, which is properly measured in typical work hours.

    Now a rich person does not HAVE to keep their cash in the relatively safe environment of savings, bonds, or loans whose value declines with inflation, they can take risks with their money, and buy actual physical assets that have value and are likely to keep pace with inflation (like land, buildings, gold, other precious metals, jewels, and minerals) or they can invest in businesses that need to spend the money. But all of those are either static (i.e. not increasing in terms of typical work hours) and / or risky. It would be better for the rich if there were zero inflation and they could earn money by loaning it out.

    For them, the higher the inflation is, the greater the pressure to take other risks with their money, to try and make it earn something instead of just sitting there or evaporating. That is actually the better scenario for the typical person; because those risks taken by the wealthy translate into jobs and innovations (some of which go bust, but that means the money was spent and increased the economy).

    Because there is a lag in typical wages versus inflation, there is such a thing as a rate so high it hurts the typical person. Inflation can also hurt the poor, because the lag in the minimum wage and for those on fixed-dollar incomes is greater, or infinite. There would be great fairness in tying the minimum wage to the typical cost of food, shelter, and other necessities, and providing assistance to those on fixed incomes and unable to work for the same.

    However, it remains true that the greatest cost of inflation (in typical work hours) is lost by the wealthy. That is why they hate it, and that is why our corporate-owned politicians think it is such a problem. For the typical person with more debt than savings, inflation is a blessing that reduces the number of hours they will have to work to pay back their loans.

    Although I personally have far more savings than debt, I root for those in the opposite situation and I would prefer that if the government is politically blocked from just raising my taxes, they print money to help those in need anyway. If you cannot raise my income tax, then printing money will “tax” my savings instead. Either way, I will survive financially. Either way, I am left with more savings than those that have none. I think helping those in need is the right thing to do, and if the only political option is for the government to print money to meet the needs of those on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment, so be it.

  166. Now we have participated in our democratic process as each of us have felt inclined. What resolutions do we need to start implementing now to effect the future course of the nation, or at least keep our spirits up while we fight.

    Other’s here make compelling cases that true democracy or even true Presidential power is neither one achieveable.
    Obama was elected with the caveat that he not attack former office holders or torture users, that say some here.

    Similarly it is said that Congress is owned by it’s campaign money providers.

    And such lists are long and depressing.

    But let us try to do better than those who lived through the decades before us in the 60’s, 70’s, etc.

    We have charged up our morale and emotions to do our thing.
    So what do we do now? Is there more that we could do in our small way?

    Is your district congressman your pressure point? Is supporting or giving hell to Obama your best move? He needs both as he admitted, “force me” was his comment (loaned from FDR) it is said. And we know what the battlefield looks like now, the issues, the forces arrayed in opposition.

    But it is a time of fluidity which may help make the “public effect” have more impact than later when lines are drawn and trenches dug.

    So, you who are familiar with the system, what/how should we do next? And what signals are coming from the Dem party? Or are there no signals, meaning that having cast our ballots they will return to running things as they wish?

    Do we watch more anxiously for every day that passes, keeping one eye on our anchoring and one on who will emerge in 2016? How are you gonna use the next 4 years.
    We have seldom an occasion that we have now. Obviously it would seem the right time is now, more than ever for the disappointed followers of Obama. Those must make our voices heard. use the channels and find new ones.

    Do we change the laws which took negotiation out of the hands of unions? Do we tax the rich? Defemd Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid? What are the measures that are reachable and you support?

  167. TonyC,

    Thanks for expanding my understanding of inflation as to who gains and who loses, and why.

    Sometime I’ll tell the story of here when getting in debt to buy housing was the fastest and easiest way to amass a nice fortune.

  168. Gene, None of the Above is an option in Nevada and would be welcome by many but not the pols who would be cut out with such a no confidence vote.

    IRV is a good option, but as you point out, there are a number of things that need to be sorted out. This can be done if there is enough of a will to do so. Tony has suggested a method (which I don’t understand yet) for addressing one of my concerns. I don’t think any one person knows how to do it but many people working together in good faith could address all the issues. IRV is used in some places for municipal votes.

    Another option is Condorcet where the preferential ballot is used but then all candidates are “run” against each other looking for the candidate with the most support. In an extreme example, 5 candidates running,1 of them gets a good share of the 1st place vote while the 5th candidate gets only some 1st place votes but lots and lots of 2nd place votes. If the first candidate didn’t get many second place votes, the 5th candidate would win. Instead of looking for a first past the post winner, the object is to find the candidate that most people find acceptable.

  169. @Bettykath: You are right to be confused, because I was wrong. The algorithm I was thinking of for IRV did indeed keep a vector of votes, but it was not by candidates, but by possible combinations of votes.

    If we have, say, 5 candidates to consider, then the possible orderings are factorial(5) = 120. The #1 rank could be any of the five, the #2 rank any of the remaining 4, etc = 5*4*3*2*1 = 120. That obviously increases fast, but even factorial(10)=3,628,800 is not too much to handle for a typical laptop.

    The number does not increase much if we allow for partial rankings; e.g. a voter has 5 choices but leaves 2 blank. (Typically a 72% increase in the number of combinations; so 6.2 million with ten choices; 205 possibilities with 5 choices.)

    Since this is every possible combination of votes, with five choices we can keep track of just 205 totals, not every single ballot. Every single ballot must add in to one and only one of those totals.

    Thus, if our candidates are named ABCDE, and we want to know how many votes “C” received, we just add up all the totals that are labeled Cxxxx, where xxxx is one of the 24 possible combinations of ABDE.

    If “C” loses the first round, then we want to distribute his votes to ABDE, and we do that by looking at those same 24 possible combinations. Of the four possible candidates (ABDE) each will get 6 of the totals, and that will be true for distributing his 2nd place votes, 3rd place votes, etc.

    I think it should be clear that anything you can do with all the ballots can be done with these 205 totals equally well; there is no information lost between keeping a million ballots and keeping these 205 totals when each ballot must increment one and only one of the totals.

    I misremembered the algorithm, but the result remains true; we do not have to retain all of the ballots. Just a vector of totals.

  170. bettykath,

    I did not know NV has a “none of the above” option, but while that touches on the idea of a no confidence vote like Parliamentarians use, it’s not the full scope of the concept. See this:

    I’m thinking along the lines of vesting the power in the people to demand a national no confidence vote instead of leaving the motions to Congress (as they are our analog to Parliament).

  171. Tony, the wealthy are now investing in the shadow banking system: gambling on derivatives or commodities or making bets on shorts or going long on already established business interests. They are not spending into the real economy, and that is what is wrong. When Goldman Sachs can front run everyone else with the fastest computer and a SURE profit margin, why go make a risky investment in the real world? Corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars, and you know who has control of these dollars? Jamie Dimon, Blankfein, et al. And they are sucking their huge bonuses out of these dollars- I guess you think the bankers are going to spend into the economy at Tiffany or buy some overpriced real estate and hire people to shine their shoes- but are these jobs care-taking the rich really important in the big scheme of things? They produce nothing, it is simply maintenance.

  172. @bettykath: RV w/ current electoral college is still a winner-take-all and a waste except for making people feel better.

    So is the Presidency or House Representative a winner-take-all race, if IRV is good for those it should be good for the State Electoral Vote as well.

    The advantage of IRV is freeing the voter to make a more nuanced vote than a single choice, even if the final result is a winner-take-all outcome. That is the point of IRV; to consider the nuances of “next most favorite.” If it did not change outcomes from the simple “most votes” process in winner-take-all elections, we would not even be discussing it.

  173. @shano: What you say is accurate enough but it changes nothing; the wealthy are the ones with the cash (or equivalently that own the debt) and they are the ones that lose the most absolute value with inflation.

    The point of all those derivatives, credit default swaps (bets), and everything else is ultimately to do what banking was always intended to do, make money without working for it!

    That is the goal. It used to be accomplished by loaning money; a little up front expense in vetting the borrower would let a lender earn a decent percentage on money, pay depositors or investors a small but real (i.e. better than inflation) rate of return, and they did not have to do any actual labor to receive those profits on their money. Voila, free money, just like my wife get dozens of free roses every year for the small one-time cost of having planted some six inch starters.

    The problem is the technological revolution. The competition for free money will rightly reduce the rate of return to near zero, but with computers, various schemes can be hatched that make the returns match those of the good old days; when mortgage rates were 5% above the inflation rate. Regulation has failed to keep up with technology, and the result is a “free market” that has failures like any unregulated market. In essence, it has become a casino; with the likes of Goldman Sachs using the leverage they have to act as the House and always win (on average).

    I will leave them to it! As you note, they are mostly just redistributing their wealth among themselves, with some contributions from the suckers that think the game is straight, or are overcome by their greed for free money.

    I do think our government has failed us when they let that jousting and worldwide poker game impact the real world middle class. There was no need for that; it was the corruption of politicians by the rich that led to Clinton repealing Glass Steagal in the first place and causing the real estate bubble; it was more corruption of politicians that exempted “credit default swaps” from the rules governing insurance policies (which they are).

    But I will play poker, I shoot craps, I have bet a month’s salary on the roll of the dice. I do not really care how the rich choose to gamble with their money. Let them shift it around; inflation will take its bite anyway.

  174. I suppose the poor and the middle class must just drop out of the fake economy and create their own money for goods & services. Because when we allow our financial system to become a casino, only the gamblers will have a decent income until they crap out.

  175. While they gamble to raise and lower our VERY REAL costs of necessities, maybe creating something like bitcom or precious metals trading will become the equalizer.

  176. I love paying 30% more for gas when some hedge fund trader gets coked up and gambles all night instead of hiring a hooker like most of his buddies.

  177. @Shano: I suppose the poor and the middle class must just drop out of the fake economy and create their own money for goods & services.

    Unfortunately the value of money requires the enforcement of the government…

    I haven’t thought about that before, but my first idea for a pragmatic approach is you MIGHT be able to start something like that using Silver as a medium of exchange. It tracks inflation really well, it does not have the emotional baggage (or fluctuations) of Gold, and you could use old (non-rare) dimes and quarters, and even manufacture your own silver “tokens” for trade, of specific weights printed on them. 1 gram, 5 grams, etc.

    I am not sure what you hope to accomplish with a separate money like that; but a silver-based money is one realistic way to implement it and avoid the issues of forgery and trust.

  178. Betty Kath,

    You stopped me too, or rather the picture and the words following it. I tried to pull out a link to an article called:

    “March 31, 2003 A Boy Who Was ‘Like a Flower’

    but it is missing from the Pulitzer Prize archive.

    The other articles in this prize winning series, published by WAPO are here:

    And seem to be accessible.

    It is another war, Iraq, but the “same” children, killed randomly and needlessly.

    Whatever war it is, whatever weapon was used, whatever President who authorized it, it is ultimately our responsibility and our taxes that take their lives.

    I hope you agree.

    The articles were written by Anthony Shadid, who died on the way back to Turkey from Syria this last spring, He worked then for the NYTimes. Personally I think he was assassinated. His own story is very interesting. But that is another one for another time.

    Thank you for the posting of the link.

  179. There is precedent for communities creating their own currencies. Ithaca dollars is one I have used. I don’t remember the ins and outs but the local retailers agreed to allow Ithaca dollars to be used for some percentage of the bill, the balance in US dollars. It helps to keep the money circulating w/in the community. I think there was another created in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

  180. 707, thanks for the add’l info on the photographer. I’ll check it out when I think I can take more of the gruesome details of war. The hawks need to see these photos of the “terrorists” they kill.

  181. Betty Kath,

    It was a link to a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose article I want to point to.
    The PP people have fixed the link and it works now.

    Think back to Vietnam and our anti-war demos. Were we concerned about the Vietnamese as much as we said we were?
    Are we better people, more ethical, more empathetic, more righteous.

    If we were, would we not be out in front demonstrating in masses today.

    Read the story above, I recommend it.

    Am I holier than others—nah, just as I am. I was fighiing for my own life in ’68, and guess you all are now.

  182. @Idealist: I was fighting for my own life in ’68, and guess you all are now.

    That is pretty cynical, to assume everybody is being selfish because you were.

    My personal way of life is not in danger from war, or Republicans, or Democrats, or Tea Partiers, or racists, or Objectivists, or anti-Muslim bigots, or Christian anti-science bigots. I will never need an abortion, I will never go to war, I will never attend a Mosque, I will never be a black kid that cannot get a job, I will never be an impressionable child in a classroom being fed a book of lies about Creationism by a State employee.

    Not every protest is about personal interest; people care about others as a matter of nature.

    I recommend the recent NovaScience Now episode, with David Pogue, What Are Animals Thinking?

    Primarily for the parts on empathy, sharing, aid to others in trouble, and a sense of fairness (and punishment or refusal to work under unfair treatment). In chimps, dogs, and even in lab rats.

    The urge to fair play, sharing, and mutual support is born in the typical human. So is the urge to fight against coerced exploitation. Ignoring the fact that both can exist together, and assuming self-interest is the only motive, denies reality and promotes strife by accusing others of acting on invented motives they never even considered.

    Either that or like the Aynish have done it robs the concept of “selfish interest” of all meaning and redefines it to mean anything you want, because even the altruistic acts of soldiers sacrificing their lives to save their unrelated fellow soldiers must be laughably defined as “selfish interest.”

    There is a difference. It was not immoral or cowardly to protest a senseless war that threatened to end or ruin the lives of tens of thousands of young male adults, even if you were one of the threatened. Would it be immoral or cowardly for slaves to speak out against slavery?

    Fighting against against unfair treatment and the selfish behavior of the rich and powerful that harms others is both moral and heroic, even if one is in the group being wronged.

  183. TonyC,

    Nice kick that you delivered to my a55.

    Here I was, in my last sentence, trying to excuse folks for ignoring the ills of the world by comparing my own self-occupied self of the same era.

    And that is how my life was. No excuses given. I was a soldier because the system forced me to do so. I worked within the defense industry because that was where the jobs were. I designed an original management system which was approved by DoD to assume control of all building activities in the Pacific, because that was the project my employer asked me to do. I was qualified and did it. I also designed F-4 fighter and B-52 airbases in country in Thailand.

    Did I give any thought to the justice of our Vietnam actions? Nope, And of course I did not protest—against what, I would have asked.
    So I was no better than the majority of Americans who were not aware, and did not demonstrate.

    My awareness began here in Sweden, and it was not at FNL meetings, but from reading the liberal newspapers and seeing Palme march with the NV foreign minister, and see the US call home its ambassador. And still it had to grow a dreat deal to get to where it is today.

    How you happen to be so well informed and self-righteous from birth, can you explain if you like.

    Cynical, as to what. Explain.

  184. TonyC,

    Just re-read your comment again.
    Attacking my cynicism was imcorrect in itself. Being a subject of propaganda, and we were in ’68 as we are now,
    and being sunaware of those who have it bad is no reason to call them cynics.

    And then you proceed to add items to the pile, implying that I am willfully unaware of these ills is—–I can not find words for such crappy argumentation and abuse of me as a person.

    If anyone here is known for defending those illed by this evil world, then I am one of them very well known for that.
    My awareness is as good as many here, and I act on that basis also.

    The underdog’s fight is like a fire bell to me, and you must have seen it many times so far.

  185. Contrary to conventional medical wisdom, there’s new evidence that repeated blows to the head can actually put some sense into the heads of some conservative politicians.

    Here’s Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal lamenting that the GOP has become the “Party of Stupid”:

    “We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”


    “It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

    We’re a better country with two strong, smart political parties. Choice is always preferred in a democracy but it has to be real choice not caricatured nonsense passing as alternate political thought. Enough of sound-byte solutions to real and complex human problems. In Jindal means what he says, I’m up for this kind of choice in my politics.

    Here’s the clincher:

    “You can’t beat something with nothing. The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions.”

    Reason, Brother Jindal. Reason!

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