Mar
9

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee




Posted at 18:18 by Brad

Like I’ve been predicting, it looks like the Senate’s proposed financial “reform” will be, in the words of the cranky old man in the Woodstock documentary, a shitty mess:

Financial reform tips toward bankers

As Congress this week inches toward a new set of rules to avert another global financial collapse, it is focused on two conflicting goals: reforming the banking system to protect consumers while still giving lenders the freedom to take risks.

So far the score looks like: Bankers 1, Consumers 0.

More than a year after a wave of risky mortgage bets brought Wall Street to its knees, banks and other financial institutions are still playing by the same rules that got them into the mess.

[...]

The banking industry initially lobbied hard to make sure that any new consumer protections were housed within existing bank regulators, such as the Office of the Controller of the Currency or the FDIC.

Analysts who have followed the turf war say the latest proposal gives bankers most of what they wanted.

“This is a bill the industry will love,” said Greg Valliere, chief policy strategist for Soleil Securities.

Wonderful! Hope and change are in the air, baby!

So, look. At this point I’d rather financial reform not pass. Because if the Senate passes a bill that “the industry will love,” then it means we’re heading for another crash no matter what we do. And I’d much rather have the post-crash narrative be, “The government didn’t do enough to rein in the banks” and not “It’s the government’s pesky regulations that caused the banks to fail!”

Just to point out, dudes, I’m not really hoping for another economic collapse. I’m saying that it’s coming no matter what and we’ve gotta position ourselves to win the narrative battle when it comes.

214 Comments »

  1. bliekker said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:22

    Well, even if this bill doesn’t pass, they’ll still say that too much regulation was to blame. They’re always full of shit.

  2. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:32

    I’m saying that it’s coming no matter what and we’ve gotta position ourselves to win the narrative battle when it comes.

    Fuck that. I’m building my off-the-grid house on 40 acres of land and stocking up on ammo.

  3. Parrotlover77 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:36

    How about before we start eating our own again, we actually analyze the bill in its entirety? Just like with health care, no bank bill is ever going to be lacking giveaways, that’s just naive. Congress is bought and paid for as long as we need 60 votes for every god damned thing.

    But the question in my mind is, do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?

    Also, penis.

  4. PeeJ said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:36

    Booze, T&U, booze will be the medium of exchange in our post-econopocalytpic Randian utopia. Stock up on booze. And even if there is no trade….

  5. Brad said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:39

    Well, even if this bill doesn’t pass, they’ll still say that too much regulation was to blame. They’re always full of shit.

    Sure. But this is about long-term strategy. You want to engage in long-term siege war against the entrenched interests. You can’t accomplish that by championing a shitty, ineffective financial reform bill.

  6. Zifnab said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:44

    So, look. At this point I’d rather financial reform not pass. Because if the Senate passes a bill that “the industry will love,” then it means we’re heading for another crash no matter what we do. And I’d much rather have the post-crash narrative be, “The government didn’t do enough to rein in the banks” and not “It’s the government’s pesky regulations that caused the banks to fail!”

    Remember how Carter caused bottom of the mortgage market to fall out, because bankers were forced – FORCED – to issue shitty loans to underqualified individuals by offering them dirt cheap upfront rates with massive balloon payments?

    Yeah, that again. I don’t know how well it will actually stick. As it stands, I’d like to see Dems poison the current bill with genuinely useful, but banker-unfriendly regulations, and watch the Republicans and Conserva-Dems vote against the bill en mass. Then, at least, we get to say a good bill died.

    But if we’re in for another economic collapse… well, the rich people are still getting richer here. I’m not sure we’re going to get another Nov ’08 just because Republican obstructionism and ConservaDem weakness allowed a new bubble to wreck the economy. And the mighty Wurlitzer has already ginned up a Tea Bagger insurgency that looks good enough on paper to let GOoPers steal another election.

  7. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:44

    Stock up on booze.

    Fuck. What the hell am I gunna do with all these POGs?

  8. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:51

    Booze, T&U, booze will be the medium of exchange in our post-econopocalytpic Randian utopia. Stock up on booze. And even if there is no trade….

    Oh, yeah. It doesn’t hurt to buy liters of cheap bourbon when they’re on sale. For medical purposes in the post-econopocalyptic world, of course.

    Learning how to distill liquor is on my list, too. Also.

  9. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:51

    Fuck. What the hell am I gunna do with all these POGs?

    *snort* Shit. You can’t even trade that shit for Pokemon cards.

  10. Pere Ubu said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:52

    Are we sure we elected the right guy?

    ’cause it seems to me right now that the guys we elected are doing everything they fucking can to assure Palin 2012.

    Yeah, let’s fucking HAND the Teabaggers a whole year’s campaign of “the liberals gave your paycheck to the bankers” bullshit, and, BTW, the far right is just going to eat this shit up like they did with farm foreclosures in the 1980s. Whee, let’s fucking recruit for the Birchers, can’t see how that could go massively wrong.

  11. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 18:56

    If rich people keep draining all of the public money to prop up their private empires, the nation will become totally insolvent. Then the only security, education, or health care will be private, mercenary organizations. We’ll see how the billionaires like it when I have to come groveling to them every time I get a toothache or someone kills a member of my family!

  12. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:00

    Are we sure we elected the right guy?

    Yeah, I don’t know. I *do* know that I don’t think that Clinton would be any better, and that kind of scares me.

  13. Brad said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:00

    Are we sure we elected the right guy?

    Wouldn’t have mattered who we elected. The Dem establishment is rotten to the core.

  14. N__B said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:03

    *snort* Shit

    No thanks. I keep my nasal passages free of foreign moist-and-gooey substances.

  15. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:08

    You want to engage in long-term siege war against the entrenched interests. You can’t accomplish that by championing a shitty, ineffective financial reform bill.

    They are not just entrenched interests, tho, Brad.

    They own the fucking country.

  16. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:10

    Yeah, let’s fucking HAND the Teabaggers a whole year’s campaign of “the liberals gave your paycheck to the bankers” bullshit, and, BTW, the far right is just going to eat this shit up like they did with farm foreclosures in the 1980s. Whee, let’s fucking recruit for the Birchers, can’t see how that could go massively wrong.

    It’s very simple.

    1) Republicans cut taxes for the rich, send the poor to die in wars, and give public subsidies to big business.

    2) Democrats promise not to cut taxes for the rich or send the poor to die in wars.

    3) Democrats elected.

    4) Democrats give public subsidies to big business, send the poor to die in wars, and cut taxes for the rich.

    5) Republicans promise not to subsidize big business.

    6) Republicans elected.

    7) Repeat steps 1-6 until you run out of money or people.

  17. Anonymous said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:13

    Clinton would have been better on healthcare, worse on financial reform, disastrous on foreign policy. Obama was the least-worst realistic prospect.

  18. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:14

    I forgot social issues:

    1) Democrats promise to help people who aren’t rich, white, and male, but don’t.

    2) Republicans promise not to help people who aren’t rich, white, and male, and don’t.

    3) rinse & repeat.

  19. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:18

    *snort* Shit

    No thanks. I keep my nasal passages free of foreign moist-and-gooey substances.

    I have to stop eating and reading this blog at the same time.

    I think at this point, kiddos, the Republicans just provide cover for the Democrats to serve corporate interests while pretending they don’t. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think liberals have been What’s-the-Matter-with-Kansased over the last 15 years or so.

  20. t4toby said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:18

    I’m a big fan of Strategery, Brad.

    aaaand Elizabeth Warren is counseling against voting for this bill, and I would swim to Australia if Elizabeth Warren told me to…

  21. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:19

    We’ll see how the billionaires like it when I have to come groveling to them every time I get a toothache or someone kills a member of my family!

    We’ll see how they like it when we rise up and take it back. They might want to consider reading up on Louis XVI. Waving the Constitution and pretending they’re actually capable of reading the fucking thing won’t save them.

  22. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:22

    I would swim to Australia if Elizabeth Warren told me to…

    Only if she was played by Nicole Kidman.

  23. t4toby said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:23

    And the mighty Wurlitzer has already ginned up a Tea Bagger insurgency that looks good enough on paper to let GOoPers steal another election.

    The thing is these guys are primary-ing the GOP and splitting the right wing/conservative vote. So I don’t think they are any more of a threat than the Dems present themselves by being sellout wussies.

  24. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:23

    aaaand Elizabeth Warren is counseling against voting for this bill, and I would swim to Australia if Elizabeth Warren told me to…

    Me, too. She’s my #`1 brain crush.

    We’ll see how they like it when we rise up and take it back. They might want to consider reading up on Louis XVI.

    See, I don’t know if that will happen. And if it does, I’m not sure we’d like the result. The oligarchy’s (oligarhy’s?) mouthpieces have done a pretty effective job.

  25. PeeJ said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:24

    OT but notable.

    Check out this JD Power survey. Clever, eh?

  26. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:30

    See, I don’t know if that will happen. And if it does, I’m not sure we’d like the result. The oligarchy’s (oligarhy’s?) mouthpieces have done a pretty effective job.

    It won’t. I know it won’t, I’ve just hit the fucking wall. We’ve taken the richest nation on the planet, and turned it into a neo-feudal piece of shit. That whole opportunity for everyone dream is a fucking joke. How did we get away from the idea that healthy and educated population is a mandate of the Constitution–besides being the right thing to do?

    I’m sure we wouldn’t like the result either. I can just imagine how that rebellion would be put down. I have visions of Xe thugs honing their first person shooter skills on teh socalist fgts.

  27. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:33

    We’ve taken the richest nation on the planet, and turned it into a neo-feudal piece of shit.

    Hi.

    It was that for generations before us and for generations after us. Ask any descendant of slaves or non-union workers.

    The difference now is, the dream of crawling out of the muck has been rendered irrelevant.

  28. DAS said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:38

    In re to the “maybe Obama hasn’t been so good after all” comments — well, what would have happened if we would have elected some Idea Liberal to the presidency (assuming such a person exists) and he/she/it appointed Paul Krugman Sec. of the Treasury, Joe Stigletz (sp?) as chief economic advisor and George Soros as Fed Chair?

    Whenever it would look like any serious regulation of the banksters would have had a chance of going through, “the markets” would suddenly “decide” they didn’t like the “uncertainty” of the possible new regulatory regime and would suddenly tank. And even the liberal media would be up in arms about how Krugman and Stiglitz know nothing about economics and how George Soros knows nothing about currency valuation. And come 2012, everybody would figure “well if even the liberal newsmedia says Pres. Ideal Liberal’s policies are to blame” and then go an vote for Palin in 2012.

    When the stock market tanks it affects everyone thanks to our “ownership society”. Until we have real Social Security (e.g.) in our country so that way even if the markets tank, granny will be able to retire and survive on something other than dog food, we are hostage to the bankers. We don’t do things their way and we’ll get screwed.

    Of course, Obama shouldn’t have picked the architects of this screwing regime (e.g. the people who have perfected the “toy with us bankers and we’ll screw your country over” racket while at IMF/World Bank), but even if he hadn’t, we’d still be screwed, people would still blame liberals for it and well … so much for 2012. That being said — if you’re gonna go down, why not go down fighting?

  29. Froley said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:40

    Wouldn’t have mattered who we elected. The Dem establishment is rotten to the core.

    About once a week I have the same argument with a coworker who has teabagger tendencies. She repeats the age-old “throw them all out” line. I reply that it doesn’t matter, very few people can get elected without the full backing of the corporate interests, it’s the way the game is set up. Any candidate clean of corporate influence is going to lose in a primary, lose in the general or if they do win, quickly (even before they’ve arrived in DC) feel immense pressure to toe the line on what the business class wants them to do.

    I had no illusions about Obama and the Dem-controlled Congress, I was just hoping that they would tilt away from the dominant establishment/corporate wing of the political system about 25% of the time. Now I’d be happy with 5% .

  30. Monkey Child of the Dragon King said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:40

    tsam – like, if we’re so smart, how come we’re dead? I’ve kinda been wondering about that myself.

    “Winning the narrative battle” somehow seems like the smart kids getting beat up during recess…again.

  31. Scott said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:40

    We’ve taken the richest nation on the planet, and turned it into a neo-feudal piece of shit. That whole opportunity for everyone dream is a fucking joke. How did we get away from the idea that healthy and educated population is a mandate of the Constitution–besides being the right thing to do?

    It’s really bizarre to me to see that the entire rest of the world hasn’t had any trouble doing the right thing, but we’re wildly bucking the trend and running full-speed in the other direction. I’d expected that the rest of the world’s relative sanity would push us to also be relatively sane, but it ain’t working out that way. Does this mean that the rest of the world is going to start getting as shitty as the US? Or are we just going to be the weird exception to the rest of the planet?

  32. Esteev said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:43

    Check out this JD Power survey. Clever, eh?

    hahahahah That is Awesome. Pure, calculated, evil genius. That is almost has fun as watching Gretchen Carlson.

  33. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:44

    I’m sure we wouldn’t like the result either. I can just imagine how that rebellion would be put down.

    And I think that if anything were to happen, it would be instigated by the right-wing “populists” who are in service of the status quo, only more radically stratified. And that would be, ya know, that “F” word.

    It was that for generations before us and for generations after us. Ask any descendant of slaves or non-union workers.

    The difference now is, the dream of crawling out of the muck has been rendered irrelevant.

    Oddly enough, it comforts me to think that the liberal advances we made were anomalies.

  34. creature said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:46

    Until we truly become a banana republic, lots of have-nots and a precious few haves, worse than we have now, when the oppresion level rises to a boiling point- and seemingly nothing will stay the course of corrupt government and egregious corporations to bring it to that point. Then, hope and change will come to mean- hope you survive and change magazines often. Various populations around the world, over time, have got to that ‘Popeye point’- “I’ve had all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!” The outcomes usually involve bloodshed, politicians hanging from lampposts, bodies in the streets- total pandemonium, and the Third World will not have an exclusive on this when the First and Second Worlds devolve to that level of despairation. Sad, but inevitable. How soon it happens here and how desparate we become- hard to say. The progression has started, and gaining momentum. Imagine the depth of the Teabaggers’ ire when they realize they got played. The government that created the scenario to develop, probably long gone when the whole mess implodes and collapses. I hope not, but I’m not covinced otherwise- yet. These bastards don’t care about health care- why should they, if the great unwashed are truly irrelevant in their grand scheme of things. Why invest in a commodity that is cheap to begin with and infinitely replenished? Sorry I’m so jaded and bitter- I’ve watched this decline for too many years, and had too many harsh disappointments to hold high, actually, any expectations of a reversal of what I perceive as the future of the US and the world in general.

  35. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:46

    We’ll see how the billionaires like it when I have to come groveling to them every time I get a toothache or someone kills a member of my family!

    They’d love to see that, how else does one explain the “let’s concentrate wealth to the extent that it even hurts us mentality?

  36. t4toby said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:49

    Nice PeeJ. Can you believe that shit?

  37. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:51

    Surely that was just a coincidence, Peej!

  38. Esteev said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:53

    Or are we just going to be the weird exception to the rest of the planet?
    We are already the weird exception. We’ve got this weird idea in our heads that America is the bestester nation evar. Meanwhile we maraud around the world spreading democracy, sucking up oil and “saving” foreigners as people in our own country get ignored. It’s really really depressing.

    FYI, I only maraud for ears.

  39. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:54

    It’s really bizarre to me to see that the entire rest of the world hasn’t had any trouble doing the right thing, but we’re wildly bucking the trend and running full-speed in the other direction. I’d expected that the rest of the world’s relative sanity would push us to also be relatively sane, but it ain’t working out that way.

    I would hardly characterize most of the world as “doing the right thing”. Large swaths of the word (lookin’ at YOU China, and the Middle East) are even worse off than we are. The fact that our forebears set Western Europe and Japan on the right path, then took a dramatic swerve into a ditch is what has me upset.

  40. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 19:56

    Hi.

    It was that for generations before us and for generations after us. Ask any descendant of slaves or non-union workers.

    The difference now is, the dream of crawling out of the muck has been rendered irrelevant.

    Hi.

    There was a time (not that long ago) when unions were far more powerful, the corporate tax rate was in line with what can be considered fair, and generally things were much better for working (albeit white) families. I think it’s fair to call that a damn good start. All that needed to be done at that point was to integrate the rest of society and equalize it. Instead, we just handed it all back to the robber barons.

  41. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:00

    And please forgive my admittedly rash oversimplified narrative. I know it’s not that simple, I just can’t get my mind around the idea that being a defensless tool of the uber-elite blue blooded ruling class somehow meets the proof standard for being called populism. That’s the modern definition of the term, and it makes me sad.

  42. Esteev said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:01

    I’ve got it!

  43. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:03

    It’s really bizarre to me to see that the entire rest of the world hasn’t had any trouble doing the right thing, but we’re wildly bucking the trend and running full-speed in the other direction. I’d expected that the rest of the world’s relative sanity would push us to also be relatively sane, but it ain’t working out that way. Does this mean that the rest of the world is going to start getting as shitty as the US? Or are we just going to be the weird exception to the rest of the planet?

    Never fear, people from all those other enlightened countries are making the same complaint. Besides the countries are still actual military dictatorships with much less political freedom, even the social democracies are fighting what often seems like a losing struggle to retain their rights. I don’t think that it is true that the US is either especially horrible or moving in a uniquely conservative direction.

    However, one thing that does make us unique is that Americans think that they are unique. Our political narrative is that God breathed the first and only free system of government into the hearts of the Founders, and our only task is to stay true to their intent. Even liberals play this game sometimes. In countries that had to chop off a monarch’s head to get democracy, it is a little harder to hide the fact that politics is a constant struggle and justice is a moving target. We expect our relative freedom as a birth right, while in many countries it is understood that it must be perpetually fought for.

  44. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:05

    And I’d much rather have the post-crash narrative be, “The government didn’t do enough to rein in the banks” and not “It’s the government’s pesky regulations that caused the banks to fail!”

    Brad.

    That has as much chance of happening as you being elected to the position of the Queen Dowager.

    So let’s cut out this bullshit of “post-crash narrative”. It’s always going to be too much regulation until we’re back to hunter-gatherer tribes, and even then the narrative will be screaming bloody murder at the suggestion that maybe we should cook the feral cats we bring down rather than consume their unclean bowels immediately.

    You’re fighting against a group who is constantly going to shit on you, and thinking that if you just get things /bad/ enough, they’ll stop shitting on you long enough to get a word in edgewise.

    And really, all you’re setting yourself up for is a mouthful of shit.

    But hey, maybe if we pray real hard, FDR will come back from the grave and put us back on the right track.

    Personally, I’m betting five minutes after he burst out of the grave, you’d have a post about how he wasn’t doing enough, and are we sure we reanimated the right deceased political figure, and maybe we SHOULD let the Great Depression happen anyway.

  45. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:10

    Monkey Child of the Dragon King said,
    March 9, 2010 at 19:40
    tsam – like, if we’re so smart, how come we’re dead? I’ve kinda been wondering about that myself.
    “Winning the narrative battle” somehow seems like the smart kids getting beat up during recess…again.

    That’s a big “no shit” right there. It does seem that way–that the dumb jocks (Bunning?) are winning the battle. Generally the smart kids prevail in the end–the jocks get fat and go bald and cling to dimwitted Republican ideals, while the smart kids go on to lucrative careers and live an enlightened life–at least to some extent. I don’t see that happening here. The lunatics have always been in charge of the asylum, and while the brains sometimes gain the upper hand, that is only fleeting. Long term, the dumbfucks are owning us.

  46. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:16

    So let’s cut out this bullshit of “post-crash narrative”. It’s always going to be too much regulation

    Yes. We tend to assume that the media narrative is well-meaning, but a bit stupid. If the facts become obvious enough, they will have to report them, right? Or people will see that they are lying and reject the narrative? That is devastatingly naive on both counts.

    The only way to change the narrative is to open up the floor to other speakers.

  47. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:20

    And also, pedestrian Johnson is right. Other countries are dealing with the same shit we are, they just seem to understand in a way we don’t that a fucking fight means you’re not going to get away clean.

  48. t4toby said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:22

    I disagree 100% with you, St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon.

    All you say is how Brad’s wrong to look down the road and attempt to play the long ball. What’s your solution? Buy more video games and keep pushing the lever?

  49. mysticdog said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:24

    “Does this mean that the rest of the world is going to start getting as shitty as the US”

    It is already happening. They have obscenely rich people in their countries too, and they like what they see about the US system.

    The sad thing is that this is still among the most progressive of countries. All of those European countries have horrible traditions of racism and antisemitism, and while the social inequality is less extreme than here, they still have it.

    Our biggest problems are:

    a) that we have never had a violent revolution against against the ruling class, which we desperately need. Our oligarchs hate the masses, but more with contempt than fear. Europe still has the right memories.

    b) we were settled by people who spread out into the (mostly) empty wastes, and lost whatever sense of community they ever had. People living out on farms and ranches without a neighbor in 5 miles never had to compromise to society, and their decendents still believe that is the natural order of things. Europe was crowded and having to adjust to the culture of crowds while we were just spreading out. We have an emotionally immature rural electorate that is still probably going to be that way for several more generations, which is to say until it is far too late.

  50. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:25

    Whenever it would look like any serious regulation of the banksters would have had a chance of going through, “the markets” would suddenly “decide” they didn’t like the “uncertainty” of the possible new regulatory regime and would suddenly tank.

    That seems plausible, but so does the idea that “the markets” deliberately driving into a ditch would force the adminstration to take sweeping, decisive action. I don’t believe you would have seen nearly the amount of reform out of FDR, had the unquestionable necessity of it been clear and present. The net result is, you suffer for a few years with a depression, and then reap the benefits of financial regulation until the next “democrat” comes along and repeals it as a parting gift to his puppetmasters.

  51. t4toby said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:31

    Yep, tsam. Too big too fail is another way of saying, “We’ve got yer asses over a barrel.”

    I’m actually hoping for a full-blown economic collapse. The dinosaurs need to go extinct, even if it will make life fairly miserable for us rats…

  52. t4toby said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:32

    Fuck me. Too Big To Fail.

  53. Zifnab said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:33

    The thing is these guys are primary-ing the GOP and splitting the right wing/conservative vote. So I don’t think they are any more of a threat than the Dems present themselves by being sellout wussies.

    I can count the number of full blown Tea Bagger insurgencies on one hand. Captain Underpants up in NY-23, Mark Rubio (who will likely win the Governorship if Crist doesn’t challenge him in the general) in Florida, and Reid’s Tea Party challenger in the Nevada Senate.

    The Republicans embraced the Tea Party movement and charged off to the right. They followed the base – at least rhetorically. And the Tea Party heroes are inevitably sitting Congressional Reps like Bunning or Paul Ryan – Republicans.

    There are conservatives who have broken off from the party, but they aren’t mounting any serious internal opposition (with the exception of the rebel Paultards). The Tea Party Movement is just cover to let fringe wackos have an excuse to vote for Republicans without actually calling themselves Republicans. The GOP basically co-op’ed the libertarian movement, rebranded it, and turned all the political activism back towards themselves.

  54. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:35

    Fuck me. Too Big To Fail.

    Well, someone thinks awfully highly of himself.

  55. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:36

    I don’t believe you would have seen nearly the amount of reform out of FDR, had the unquestionable necessity of it been clear and present.

    But it wasn’t that reform was unquestionably necessary, it was that people were organizing for revolution and it was reformed capitalism or no capitalism. We don’t owe the New Deal to the eminent wisdom of the bankers and politicians, we owe it to union activists and demagogues like Huey Long.

  56. Zifnab said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:41

    It is already happening. They have obscenely rich people in their countries too, and they like what they see about the US system.

    Happened. Past tense. The huge social upheaval in Europe during the early 20th Century – you know, the precursor to socialism and communism? That was the rich Europeans and the peasant class duking it out. After WW2, the European economy was completely shattered, and the entire continent went socialist to one degree or another, just because all the money and power of the elites had been squandered on both sides fighting a pair of world wars. You’ve seen a corporate rebuilding of the aristocracy for the last 50 years, but the socialist cornerstones remain.

    The United States went through a similar transition after the Great Depression. We just came out ahead, because we didn’t get our populations killed and our infrastructures bombed out.

    But the major economic collapses inevitably lead to massive social reforms, because everyone suddenly finds themselves in the same shitty boat. It’s only when a Senator gets his house foreclosed on, or a bunch of Congressmen suddenly watch their stock portfolios dwindle to nothing, (or the population elects someone that’s gone through said problems) that you see elected officials motivated to do something.

    Until the economic crisis becomes personal to people in power, apathy is the word of the day.

  57. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:42

    We don’t owe the New Deal to the eminent wisdom of the bankers and politicians, we owe it to union activists and demagogues like Huey Long.

    I think this is a good point. I still go back to the fact that we have no real populist movement in this country, and certainly no left-wing populist movement. This is a serious problem. Without it, there’s no way we can go forward.

  58. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    March 9, 2010 at 20:52

    Actually, what I say is that Brad’s wrong in how he looks down the road and attempts to play the long ball. His strategy has a lot of precedent, and it usually doesn’t wind up the way he imagines it will.

    Encouragement of societal collapse for a progressive is like, the exact opposite of sense. A collapsed society is what the right-wing in this country wants. That’s what they work towards, day after day. It benefits all of their agenda, and none of ours.

    I don’t have a solution. My personal behavior is just as you say. All I know is that Brad’s solution is fucking stupid for the aims he claims to want.

  59. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:00

    Fuck me. Too Big To Fail.

    Well, someone thinks awfully highly of himself.

    It’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it. Isn’t it? ISN’T IT?

  60. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:02

    It’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it. Isn’t it? ISN’T IT?

    Aww. It’s so cute how you guys actually believe that.

  61. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:04

    The Golden Nutcracker for Most Emasculating Performance in a Comment Thread goes to T&U. I hope you enjoy having Mr. T&U polish it with his toothbrush.

  62. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:05

    Happened. Past tense.

    An interesting graph.

  63. Anonymous said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:08

    But it wasn’t that reform was unquestionably necessary, it was that people were organizing for revolution and it was reformed capitalism or no capitalism. We don’t owe the New Deal to the eminent wisdom of the bankers and politicians, we owe it to union activists and demagogues like Huey Long.

    That’s the point I was trying to make–it sounded better in my head. FDR acted out of necessity–and I think that “market instability due to uncertainty…blah blah blah” (a euphemism for a deliberate crash) might spur an otherwise complacent administration into action. If it becomes about self-preservation, suddenly populism makes sense to politicians.

  64. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:08

    The Golden Nutcracker for Most Emasculating Performance in a Comment Thread goes to T&U. I hope you enjoy having Mr. T&U polish it with his toothbrush.

    Thank you, thank you. I shall display it beside my Ball Busting Dyke of the Year (2007) trophy.

  65. Whale Chowder said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:09

    But the major economic collapses inevitably lead to massive social reforms, because everyone suddenly finds themselves in the same shitty boat.

    Depends on whether it’s sudden or prolonged. Look around at Central and South America for an example of what a gradual descent into Oligarchy might look like. America appears to be following Texas in having a small cadre of the superrich surrounded by a sea of poor-to-starving. Sadly, the poor appear to be able to tolerate a tremendous amount of deprivation before they finally turn to revolution.

    For that matter, look at Russia or France before their revolutions. If you were a peasant, things were incredibly bad before the proletariat rose.

    For myself (and my kids) I’d prefer to see us make some badly needed changes before it came to that.

  66. PeeJ said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:11

    There was an excellent article in a recent Harper’s mag by Thomas Geoghegan. Unions. What are they good for?

    Alas, you have to subscribe to see the whole thing. (I get the dead tree version)

    Come on: Is the West really in such decline? Yes, we can sit here on our island continent and gloom about the rise of China, as our elite now like to do. Or we can go out into the world and start competing like the Europeans. For here’s a strange fact: since 2003, it’s not China but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has either led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first. Even as we in the United States fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors—China foremost among them—Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. Sure, China just pulled slightly ahead of Germany, but that’s mostly because the euro has soared, making German goods even more expensive, and world trade has slumped. Meanwhile, the dollar is dropping, and we still can’t compete with either nation. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They’re beating us with one hand tied behind their back.

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2010/03/0082859

  67. Whale Chowder said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:12

    Ball Busting Dyke of the Year

    I! W? N?

  68. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:12

    There was a time (not that long ago) when unions were far more powerful, the corporate tax rate was in line with what can be considered fair, and generally things were much better for working (albeit white) families men. I think it’s fair to call that a damn good start.

    Fixed for accuracy.

    Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. That blip in time, even if minorities and women had the same rights they have now, and as well enforced, will not recur.

    That period in history was dominated by the US for one reason and one reason only and it was the ONLY reason we could afford to be magnanimous.

    The US survived World War II in far better shape than any other industrialized nation on the planet.

    Absent that, and you have our current situation.

  69. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:17

    Happened. Past tense.

    An interesting graph.

    Hm. It appears the income disparity began to increase beginning in the 1980s. I wonder why…

  70. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:18

    Our biggest problems are:

    a) that we have never had a violent revolution against against the ruling class, which we desperately need. Our oligarchs hate the masses, but more with contempt than fear. Europe still has the right memories.

    Much of Europe spent much of their history without bloody class revolution, France being an exception (OK, Russia too), and France only because people were starving. Change happened. Even revolutions happened. What Europe suffered was invasion and war by their neighbors and empires, not revolution. They never had democracy until we brung it on.

    b) we were settled by people who spread out into the (mostly) empty wastes, and lost whatever sense of community they ever had.

    I agree with your larger point, but community was defined very differently, and it’s this definition that creates a raft of problems for us.

    Community meant your neighbors, no matter how far away. If you saw them at church or the town hall or saloon, that was your community. It created xenophobia (except in cities, of course) that translates today into Kenyan birthers.

  71. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:19

    Fuck me. Too Big To Fail.

    I’ve found the opposite to be true.

  72. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:20

    An interesting graph.

    Holy SHIT, China is passing us! And India isn’t far behind!

    MOAR TAX CUTS!!

  73. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:22

    It created xenophobia (except in cities, of course) that translates today into Kenyan birthers.

    I also think there’s the issue of members of rural communities attributing the decline of their communities to modernism and liberalism, which makes them even more hostile to social progress than they might be.

  74. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:27

    I also think there’s the issue of members of rural communities attributing the decline of their communities to modernism and liberalism

    I disagree, but mildly. History tells us that some of the great liberal initiatives started out helping the rural. The Tennesseee Valley Authority, Rural Electrification, the Interstate Highways.

    They don’t forget, but they will ignore if the asshole on their TeeVee or radio tells them to.

  75. Mark D said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:29

    Reading through this thread, Rage Against the Machine’s “New Millennium Homes” keeps going through my head …

    Hungry people don’t stay hungry for long
    They get hope from fire and smoke as the weak grows strong
    Hungry people don’t stay hungry for long
    They get hope from fire and smoke as they reach for the dawn

    Tha spirit of Jackson
    Now screams through the ruins
    Through factory chains and the ghost of the unions
    Forgotten remains disappear to their new homes
    The knife that thrust the life burns to the raw bone
    The blood on the floor and the tear is still dryin’
    Cover the spread sheets, the Dow Jones skyin’
    Cell block, live stock, the bodies they’re buyin’
    Old south order, new northern horizon

    Violence in all hands, embrace it if need be
    Livin’ been warfare, I press it to CD

    A fire in the masters house is set

    Hungry people don’t stay hungry for long
    They get hope from fire and smoke as the weak grows strong
    Hungry people don’t stay hungry for long
    They get hope from fire and smoke as they reach for the dawn

    Check the high tech terror
    Yes, the new order athletes
    Peer into the eyes of the child already on trial
    Armies rippin’ families apart
    Get em on file, convictions fit the stock profile
    All the while films of dogs cutting through homes
    Rippin’ skin from bones
    Yes, the new millennium homes
    Privatizing through private eyes
    An era rising, of the old south order, new northern horizon

    Violence in all hands, embrace it if need be
    Livin’ been warfare, I press it to CD

    A fire in the masters house is set

    So … when do we reach for the dawn and set the fire? ‘Cause that’s the only way any of this shit will change.

    The. Only. Way.

  76. Whale Chowder said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:29

    I also think there’s the issue of members of rural communities being convinced to attributeing the decline of their communities to modernism and liberalism by crooks, charlatans, evangelicals and Glenn Beck, but I repeat myself, which makes them even more hostile to social progress than they might be.

    Re-accuratized.

  77. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:32

    Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all.

    Well, not making shitty products out of toxic materials is a good start.

    Community meant your neighbors, no matter how far away. If you saw them at church or the town hall or saloon, that was your community.

    Emphasis mine- hope to have a beer with you tonight in Gowanus- this is the last time I’ll harp on this (gotta get my ass moving soon), but I’ll leave it to N__B to keep up the pressure.

  78. baah said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:33

    daym, i think we’re dangerously close to someone spurting out a “sheeple” here..

    oops.

  79. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:34

    So … when do we reach for the dawn and set the fire?

    As one of them that has, and seeing what anarchist revolution can reap, I hope never. There has to be a better way.

    Look, everyone supports the system that they themselves feel they can game for their best possible outcome. Anarchists don’t love anarchy for the freedom. They love it for the fact that they can manipulate the system better than they can manipulate the system as it existed before anarchy.

    The French Revolution tells a tragic tale of what happens when the “people” spontaneously combust. I may be on the right side of most issues when it comes to the people, but I’m not moronic enough to think that will inoculate me from someone pointing and shouting “Look! He’s rich!”

    So thanks, but keep yer damned revolution to yourself.

  80. actor212 said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:35

    B^4,

    It looks good. I’d ask for a description, but I’m presuming B^4 is description enough.

    Except I’ll keep mistaking my reflection for you.

  81. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:44

    It looks good. I’d ask for a description, but I’m presuming B^4 is description enough.

    Too right! I look like a cuddlier version of this guy.

    N__B will be the tallest person in the room.

  82. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:45

    BTW, since people are clicking through on the Gini coefficient thing, let me caveat that Gini coefficients are only rough indicators of disparity. There are plenty of legitimate problems with using it as a measure – so grain of salt, &c.

    Incidentally, regarding the question of who benefits the most “after the fall” and how W’s America managed to recreat Japan’s Lost Decade:

    Japan 38.1 (2002)
    . . . . . 24.9 (1993)

  83. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:49

    History tells us that some of the great liberal initiatives started out helping the rural…They don’t forget, but they will ignore if the asshole on their TeeVee or radio tells them to.

    Sure, but that’s why the Southern Strategy was so kick-ass, as you implied. Xenophobia and/or racism tends to overcrowd any dim memories of the past.

    This isn’t to imply that there aren’t people who remember. My grandparents weren’t/aren’t firebreathing populists, but they remember who helped make their lives better after the depression.

  84. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:55

    So thanks, but keep yer damned revolution to yourself.

    Uh, yeah. I’m gonna agree with that sentiment. Anarchy is Bad for women, children, and a whole host of other people.

  85. mysticdog said,

    March 9, 2010 at 21:58

    “If you saw them at church or the town hall or saloon, that was your community. ”

    That wasn’t community though. That was people who better stay out of your business. Sure, you saw them when it was convenient for you, but you didn’t have to figure out how to balance your interests with theirs very much. Some might volunteer to help each other in a crisis, but as often as not, they don’t. Though that bit doesn’t make for good country songs, so instead we have this bullshit narrative of people in the country being all good hearted altrustic helpful folk, whereas Deliverance/Galtism is about as common.

  86. N__B said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:03

    So thanks, but keep yer damned revolution to yourself.

    Uh, yeah. I’m gonna agree with that sentiment. Anarchy is Bad for women, children, and a whole host of other people.

    During an eight-hour drinking session with a buddy born and raised in Ireland, we tried to figure out why we had such different opinions of anarchy/revolution/rioting even though we have very similar opinions on most political and social topics. The best we could come up with was that a/r/r has, in the end, been good to the people of Ireland (at least those in the Republic of Ireland) while it has basically kicked the ass of Russians for more than a century.

  87. Pere Ubu said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:05

    Uh, yeah. I’m gonna agree with that sentiment. Anarchy is Bad for women, children, and a whole host of other people.

    Or as the DKs said

    “Anarchy sounds good to me, until someone asks ‘who’ll fix the sewers?’
    Will the rednecks just play king of the neighborhood?”

  88. bliekker said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:06

    History tells us that some of the great liberal initiatives started out helping the rural…They don’t forget, but they will ignore if the asshole on their TeeVee or radio tells them to.

    Yeah, keep government out of my medicare!!!!

  89. Substance McGravitas said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:11

    Our biggest problems are:

    a) that we have never had a violent revolution against against the ruling class

    If only there were some other countries that have never had a violent revolution against the ruling classes to compare the US with.

  90. not a gator said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:12

    shitty mess

    Wonderful! Hope and change are in the air, baby!

    Somebody light a match.

  91. mysticdog said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:15

    “I also think there’s the issue of members of rural communities attributing the decline of their communities to modernism and liberalism

    I disagree, but mildly. History tells us that some of the great liberal initiatives started out helping the rural. The Tennesseee Valley Authority, Rural Electrification, the Interstate Highways.

    They don’t forget, but they will ignore if the asshole on their TeeVee or radio tells them to.”

    They didn’t forget, they never accepted. Oh sure, they would hate to go back, but it was always humiliating to be shown as backward yokels who needed the urban northerners to bring them out of the 1800s in the first place. There were lots of people who always hated being brought more into the nation’s fabric, even as they enjoyed the fruits of it.

    The rural world suffers a massive inferiority complex, especially in the south where they also resent that they had to be told owning people was wrong. Even though they know it was wrong, they hate that it was (had to be) forced on them.

    If you can stand it, listen to any country music station for an hour, and you will hear at least two new songs about about how much better it is in the country or to be a country man or woman. usually without much justification. There is no parallel in rock music… a few songs about how much they like a particular city or state occasionally, but none of the embarassing defensiveness of country music.

    It is that strain of thought that keeps our body politic so easily manipulated and so reactionary. It spreads out into a lot of city dwellers who imagine they should be living like in a John Wayne movie, only with electricity and hygiene and constant entertainment. They never make the connection that those things require a closely knit society, and that requires some sacrifices in personal sovereignty.

    Of course, we also have no one trying to teach that message anymore. Every politician just panders to the mindset, and if they dare slip in a dose of reality, they quickly apologize.

  92. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:16

    The best we could come up with was that a/r/r has, in the end, been good to the people of Ireland (at least those in the Republic of Ireland) while it has basically kicked the ass of Russians for more than a century.

    I’m pretty sure we’d go down teh suck route. I’m willing to do what needs to be done when it comes down to it, but I would have to be convinced that the suffering and upheaval would actually create something better than the status quo. We aren’t there.

  93. mysticdog said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:20

    I’m not advocating violent revolution. I’m saying that not having it in our history, not having a horible example of mob rule and guillotines (or total destructive warfare) has left us with an elite that does not recognize or respect the threat of it. They don’t even have a sense of self preservation level social contract in them.

    which unfortunately makes a violent uprising that much more likely for us.

  94. Substance McGravitas said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:25

    I’m saying that not having it in our history, not having a horible example of mob rule and guillotines (or total destructive warfare) has left us with an elite that does not recognize or respect the threat of it.

    I think if you examine Europe you’ll find a variety of upper class dicks who do not recognize any threats at all. One of them rules Italy.

  95. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:28

    They don’t even have a sense of self preservation level social contract in them.

    And violent upheaval will solve the problem. Afterall, the wealthy elite are excellent at learning from past failures and changing their behaviour. Oh wait, you mean that post-revolution their ranks will be changed and we’ll have a bunch of nouveau elites who will obviously be that much more concerned with the welfare of others. Somehow I don;t think so.

    But on the plus column, revolution means BURNING SHIT DOWN. I am always pro-BURNING SHIT DOWN. YEAH. See that shit over there? LET”S FUCKEN BURN IT!!!

  96. not a gator said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:30

    we were settled by people who spread out into the (mostly) empty wastes, and lost whatever sense of community they ever had. People living out on farms and ranches without a neighbor in 5 miles never had to compromise to society, and their decendents still believe that is the natural order of things. Europe was crowded and having to adjust to the culture of crowds while we were just spreading out. We have an emotionally immature rural electorate that is still probably going to be that way for several more generations, which is to say until it is far too late.

    This is a very good point and explains a lot that mystifies the world about American politics. It also goes a long way towards explaining the sibling/cousin fucking … and the shitty music.

  97. not a gator said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:34

    Followup: have you ever wondered why rural Blacks are more beautiful than rural whites? (Actually, rural whites tend to be fugly with a capital F rather than attractive in any way.)

    Answer: because rural Blacks have a strong cultural tradition of ensuring they don’t mate with close relatives. When young people start dating, other relatives take an interest and find out whose “people” the putative crush comes from. If it turns out they’re closely related, there’s a powerful taboo against continuing that relationship.

    Whereas whites came over from Europe with a notion that keeping it “all in the family” was a good thing because that way the family land wouldn’t get split up! Hellllo Ozarks and West Virginia!

  98. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:36

    Followup: have you ever wondered why rural Blacks are more beautiful than rural whites? (Actually, rural whites tend to be fugly with a capital F rather than attractive in any way.)

    The fucking fuck?

  99. PeeJ said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:37

    revolution means BURNING SHIT DOWN. I am always pro-BURNING SHIT DOWN. YEAH. See that shit over there? LET”S FUCKEN BURN IT!!!

    I believe I am already subscribed to your newsletter.

  100. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:38

    What about smashing shit with a sledgehammer? Is that allowed in the revolution? I much prefer that to fire.

  101. Marion in Savannah said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:39

    I’ve got two words for you: Tiger Ridge. It’s in Georgia, and has family trees that resemble telephone poles.

  102. not a gator said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:41

    But it wasn’t that reform was unquestionably necessary, it was that people were organizing for revolution and it was reformed capitalism or no capitalism. We don’t owe the New Deal to the eminent wisdom of the bankers and politicians, we owe it to union activists and demagogues like Huey Long.

    The Wobblies! About half went full bore Communist, before that turned into one of history’s great disappointments, and the other half got coopted into the corporate union, the AFL-CIO. But still! Very influential. And completely written out of history.

    Our corporate masters are not stupid.

    I got into union leadership locally and started reading up about union history. Not much to read. Finally tapped a vein about the IWW. WOW. Just WOW. Learned a shitload about how unions REALLY work. And oh yeah–things used to be WAY worse … even if you were white. FOR REAL. Working conditions used to be SHIT. Much like the way illegal Mexican labor is treated now in Florida … if not worse in many cases. (Why do you think American business LOVES illegal labor?)

  103. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:43

    we were settled by people who spread out into the (mostly) empty wastes…

    More additional mild disagreement. It’s a nice story and all, but as a Canuckian I kinda have to say that it’s not much more than a story.

    I ain’t no anthropologi-study-ifier but I suspect the big shift from rural to urban occured roughly the same time in all of the western first world nations – during the middle of the twentieth century.

    I think the big thing keeping those “isolated” communities in the south the way they are is the massive road infrastructure. Them fantastic roads means that communities can exist as little islands, venturing out only to get what little they need. Why move to the big city when all you really need to do is drive there twice a year, and even then it’s only a few hours each way.

  104. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:45

    Is that allowed in the revolution?

    Absolutely, but fire first.

  105. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:47

    Is that allowed in the revolution?

    Absolutely, but fire first.

    Can I at least bust out some glass first?

  106. N__B said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:50

    Can I at least bust out some glass first?

    The Towering Sterno, MAD magazine: Breaking windows is like eating potato chips. Smash one, ya gotta smash them all.

  107. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:51

    No. All glass must be on fire before busting.

    Also, I think there’s a condition about the media involvement in the revolution. It’ll be editorialized or something like that.

  108. Pere Ubu said,

    March 9, 2010 at 22:57

    And oh yeah–things used to be WAY worse … even if you were white. FOR REAL.

    Fortunately the Bosses do very little firing of machine guns at us these days, which I suppose is kind of progress.

    Now they just kill you by destroying your credit rating.

  109. Whale Chowder said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:00

    I’m not advocating violent revolution. I’m saying that not having it in our history…

    Excuse me? What would you call that little incident in 1776?

    It wasn’t class-based revolution; rather the elites got the poor people to fight the poor people of the British elites, but you can’t say it wasn’t violent.

  110. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:02

    No. All glass must be on fire before busting.

    That sounds unsafe!

  111. N__B said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:05

    It wasn’t class-based revolution; rather the elites got the poor people to fight the poor people of the British elites, but you can’t say it wasn’t violent.

    Violent enough to serve as snuff pr0n for Mel Gibson.

  112. Esteev said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:14

    That sounds unsafe!

    Practice safe busting!

  113. Whale Chowder said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:16

    Violent enough to serve as snuff pr0n for Mel Gibson.

    Well that was a low blow. Speaking of low blows, have you heard from DKW’s mom?

  114. pedestrian said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:17

    Followup: have you ever wondered why rural Blacks are more beautiful than rural whites? Actually, rural whites tend to be fugly with a capital F rather than attractive in any way.)

    You might think that your masturbatory preferences, being so important to you, would be interesting to others. Sadly, they are not.

  115. Esteev said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:18

    the elites got the poor people to fight the poor people of the British elites

    Don’t you, like, know how war works?

  116. Fightin' Gator said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:22

    Followup: have you ever wondered why rural Blacks are more beautiful than rural whites? (Actually, rural whites tend to be fugly with a capital F rather than attractive in any way.)

    Definitely not a Gator.

  117. N__B said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:23

    You might think that your masturbatory preferences, being so important to you, would be interesting to others. Sadly, they are not.

    No more zombie discussions?

  118. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:27

    “Anarchy sounds good to me, until someone asks ‘who’ll fix the sewers?’
    Will the rednecks just play king of the neighborhood?”

    Yes, they will. Try to imagine having a John Wayne/Outlaw Josey Wales/showdown at high noon type of self image. These people look back on the lawless period with romantic notions of it being a polite society as a result of it being an unregulated yet well armed society. They don’t even dispute the historical record, they truly believe that things worked pretty well when the toughest and most ruthless bastards ruled the land. I believe they look longingly back that time for the aforementioned reasons, but also because bathing and hygiene was not expected of them.

  119. Whale Chowder said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:31

    the elites got the poor people to fight the poor people of the British elites

    Don’t you, like, know how war works?

    It’s one of the differences between “war” and “class revolution”. In class warfare, you could say that the elites get “drafted” into the conflict.

  120. Whale Chowder said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:33

    city dwellers who imagine they should be living like in a John Wayne movie, only with electricity and hygiene and constant entertainment.

    Wait…you know my brother-in-law?

    The analysis is coming from inside the house!

  121. tsam said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:52

    city dwellers who imagine they should be living like in a John Wayne movie, only with electricity and hygiene and constant entertainment.

    …only grudging compliance with social hygiene expectations–and only some of them.

    Revolution would solve nothing, and revolution really isn’t possible at this point. Those days are long gone. However, we have got to find a way to push the Overton Window off of our collective neck. It’s choking us and it hurts. I don’t know what the answer is. I tried arguing on the internet but that didn’t help. I vote, and that doesn’t seem to make much of a difference…I’m all out of ideas.

  122. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:03

    “Anarchy sounds good to me, until someone asks ‘who’ll fix the sewers?’
    Will the rednecks just play king of the neighborhood?”

    I always get a little twinge when people talk about overthrowing the gummint or turning society upside down. That twinge goes something like: “So you can be on top now?” (Insert [heh-heh] DKW’s Mom joke here).

    I wonder where and when something’s going to give. It may be driven by the disgrace of tens of thousands of people dying from lack of health care in a fashion that even the media can’t ignore. Or un-ignorable starvation (how many teachers are bring in food for their students on their own dime–I thought I read that it’s above 60 percent). I suspect it (the change agent) may surprise me. And may repulse me at first. But I don’t think things change until the ugliness is stripped bare for everyone to see.
    But that’s just me.

  123. PeeJ said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:03

    Hi. I’m back for a bit. Why are we talking about violet revolution and flaming?

  124. Whale Chowder said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:09

    Why are we talking about violet revolution and flaming?

    ’cause DKW’s mom is busy.

  125. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:12

    What I don’t get, is why it always has to be about “if we can just pass this one bill everything will be roses again”.

    It’s bullshit. You cant reform a healthcare system, or a financial sector, without LOTS of legislation, over the course of years. Policies have to be tweaked, depending on what is working and what isnt. Plugging holes in regulations is an ongoing job.

    Granted, the US has a big fucking mess to clean up, but these bills are only the START. If getting them passed is harder than passing a kidney stone, is it, or is it not possible to tweak the reforms afterwards? To beef up the measures that are working, drop the stupid shit, and pass the important measures that got left out the first time round.

    No big reform bill is going to work without another 100 minor bits of legislation afterwards to fettle it. If passing each and every minor reform is going to be this big of a ballache, then you might as well move to Canada right now.

  126. Mark D said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:15

    Um … guess I should have noted that I was being more metaphorical than actually, you know, advocating that we literally go around burning shit.

    But all of your concerns are duly noted, and will be brought up at the next regularly-scheduled anarchists’ meeting.

    Wait. What?

    —-

    More seriously, I’m not an anarchist, nor do I advocate anarchy. I’m too old for that shit, and was visiting Seattle during the WTO protests a few years ago—I have no desire to see anything like that again.

    The reason I posted the song and asked the question is simple: How much more are people willing to take?

    I mean, I’ve gone door-to-door, attended protests, voted at election time for those Ithought would do the least damage, written countless sternly-worded letters and emails, made phone calls, bitched on the Intratubes via blogs, and just generally done everything I can, no matter how meager, to try the change the system from within the system. And so have tens of thousands of other people.

    But none of it’s worked. In fact, things just keep getting worse.

    So what options are left? What can I do to ensure my son grows up in an America I can be proud of, not some third-worldish, banana-republic-like, former-superpower shithole?

    Or is it too late?

    I dunno … I’m just not sure what the hell to do any more. I’m worried that the right is going to lead a revolution the left should have started, sick of seeing the middle and lower classes not caring about getting financially fucked over, and just plain tired of waiting for the world to change.*

    ::shrugs, walks away::

    (* Sincere apologies for the John Mayer reference.)

  127. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:15

    No big reform bill is going to work without another 100 minor bits of legislation afterwards to fettle it.

    I read this as “to fellate it.” I was like, dude, that’s some weird-ass parliamentary procedure I’ve never heard of.

  128. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:23

    So what options are left? What can I do to ensure my son grows up in an America I can be proud of, not some third-worldish, banana-republic-like, former-superpower shithole?

    Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not sure there’s much we can do. I keep hoping that I’m being reactionary and overdramatic, but the older I get, the more I am forced to confront the idea that things may not get better. I hate saying this, especially because I want things to be better for Teh Children, but I just don’t know.

  129. tsam said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:23

    What I don’t get, is why it always has to be about “if we can just pass this one bill everything will be roses again”.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t think one bill will actually change all that much, no matter how much actual reform is involved. But if there is enough there that the effect on the average voter is there, the general opinion shifts in favor of these reforms.

    For example, ask anyone if we should get rid of Medicare, since it’s federally operated and funded through payroll deductions. I would bet that about 8 in 10 people would opt to keep Medicare.

    So it’s about proving that these programs, despite their weird little dysfunctions, work very well for controlling costs and providing good care at a very reasonable cost to the recipient.

  130. Mark D said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:26

    However, we have got to find a way to push the Overton Window off of our collective neck.

    ::standing ovation::

    Sadly, that’d be much, much easier if 99% of America had any fucking clue what the Overton Window was. Most still think the media is overwhelmingly **snerk** liberal.

    Even more sad (in a “we can’t get what we want” kind of way), we on the left mostly refuse to play the kinds of dirty, twisted games the right does. We’re not going to create some bullshit out of whole cloth, ala Reagan’s Welfare Queen and Bush’s Compassionate Conservatives, nor are we able (or even willing) to create some cohesive, everyone-do-and-say-the-same-thing block that can pound a single narrative over and over and over again.

    It’s a fucking travesty, too. Poll after poll after poll show that truly progressive policies have overwhelming support amongst Americans, and study after study after study show that those policies really would benefit our nation and its people — financially, socially, etc.

    Yet we never see those policies even suggested. FAIR took a look at the week leading up the Obama-GOP HCR forum, and there wasn’t a single person in or on any major outlet [insert DKW's mom joke here] that advocated for a truly single-payer system.

    Not. A. Single. One.

    And it’s all thanks to a media that favors three types of people: Republicans, conservatives, and not-liberals.

    ::bangs head on desk::

  131. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:27

    Um … guess I should have noted that I was being more metaphorical than actually, you know, advocating that we literally go around burning shit.

    Well there are times I feel that way.

    I wasn’t actually addressing anyone’s particular post, just talking to myself here on the street corner (“How’s my tin foil hat” It doesn’t make me look fat, does it?”).

  132. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:34

    Okay, here is how we fix things. We pass legislation that mandates that:

    1: The media is obliged to tell the truth
    2: Bankers are forbidden from stealing money
    3: Healthcare is allocated on the basis of need.

    Easy right?

  133. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:48

    I look like a cuddlier version of this guy.

    Didn’t I see you at my last parole hearing?

  134. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:50

    That was people who better stay out of your business. Sure, you saw them when it was convenient for you, but you didn’t have to figure out how to balance your interests with theirs very much.

    You ever live in a small town?

    This is why privacy concerns and the Patriot Act fall on deaf ears. Folks know everybody else’s bidness in rural America, and if a stranger walks into town, you can bet the entire town knows what beer he drinks before he’s paid the check.

    That is, for better or worse, a community.

  135. tsam said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:50

    Easy right?

    Yeah…I know we expect an awful lot right away. But I have 3 teenage daughters. As I watch higher education become more necessary and less reachable for the average family, I worry. When health care means you have insurance or you are indisputably fucked, I worry. When an honest day’s work no longer earns an honest wage, I get angry. Then I get to watch the media try to gin up sympathy for the poor, downtrodden millionaires who have to pay an interitance tax. How will they ever survive? Won’t SOMEBODY think of the children?

    Nauseating.

  136. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:52

    (“How’s my tin foil hat” It doesn’t make me look fat, does it?”).

    Nah. It brings out your eyes!

    I guess my two biggest priorities would be 1) public funding of elections, and 2) reforming the news media. Without those, we can’t get anywhere.

  137. tsam said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:55

    This is why privacy concerns and the Patriot Act fall on deaf ears

    True, but I think that stems more from the naive notion that “they wouldn’t spy on me”, or the classic “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you don’t need to worry about spying.” It’s part of that same immature worldview that gives us the “I have health insurance, and I don’t want to pay for yours” meme that is so pervasive in politics and general attitude today.

  138. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 0:59

    Tsam: I guess the question you have to ask is, do most Americans think that healthcare is a basic human right?

    If they dont.. then its going to be a long struggle. Getting rights recognised where they weren’t before takes at least a generation.

    I know, the worst part of it is, the rest of the industrialised world crossed these hurdles decades ago. Just gotta accept that the USA is a nation with a dodgy human rights record.

  139. Spaghetti Lee said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:04

    Man oh man. What a thread.

    First, I just can’t get on board with all the rural-hating. Maybe it is just because most of my family, whom I love dearly, live in rural communities, but I don’t see a fucking point in creating another arbitrary us-vs-them narrative that will gum up attempts to work together and actually accomplish anything. If you guys think we actually have been whats-the-mattered, then stop contributing to it.

    And, whenever I see someone on here willing to say that things might not get as bad as we think, my spirits lift, even if everyone else is making compelling arguments to the contrary. Why? Because it would be quite a downer to be 19, as I am, and firmly admit to yourself that your country has no future (and my race, and my gender, in the long term). I can’t bring myself to do that. Maybe in 30 years, but not now. If I admit that it’s all pointless and I can’t change anything, then what’s the point of living? To look out for number one? That would be no more than a surrender to the idea that conservatives and libertarians have been right all along about vicious self-interest and rabid individualism, and I can’t do that either. Violently revolt? It’s just not in me. And I’m part of the faction here that thinks the outcome of any revolution can only range from uncertain to bad. If you think that America’s conservative troglodytes are bad now, wait until there’s not even the pretense of a government to keep them in check.

    Jesus, this is depressing. I guess I’ll just say what I always say, that things are never as bad as people think. I wish I could fully believe it.

  140. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:07

    But I have 3 teenage daughters. As I watch higher education become more necessary and less reachable for the average family, I worry. When health care means you have insurance or you are indisputably fucked, I worry. When an honest day’s work no longer earns an honest wage, I get angry. Then I get to watch the media try to gin up sympathy for the poor, downtrodden millionaires who have to pay an interitance tax.

    Right there. Thank you.

  141. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:10

    SpagLee,

    Don’t worry. When I was 19, Gerald Ford was just out of office and we had just endured 8 years of Nixon.Agnew/Ford/Rockefeller.

    Jimmy Carter had just been elected, and things looked up. Then down. Then cross-eyed, followed by more down, then up, then down and to the left.

  142. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:11

    This is why privacy concerns and the Patriot Act fall on deaf ears. Folks know everybody else’s bidness in rural America, and if a stranger walks into town, you can bet the entire town knows what beer he drinks before he’s paid the check.

    And the better part of a small town is that if someone is sick, or their tractor breaks down during haying season, or someone needs food, there are people who just show up to help. The Tart’s parents live in a small town in VT on a small farm and not only do they know everything that is going on, I am constantly amazed at the help they reflexively provide others and receive in return. Personally, I’d be happy to trade a little privacy for that kind of community.

  143. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:12

    As I watch higher education become more necessary and less reachable for the average family, I worry.

    Most people don’t care. Did you know that less than 20% of Americans of college age actually graduate college? That means 80% enter a work force with little more than a HS diploma.

    The historic high was only something on the order of 30%. We live in a dumb country.

  144. tsam said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:13

    Jesus, this is depressing. I guess I’ll just say what I always say, that things are never as bad as people think. I wish I could fully believe it.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that the country has no future, although we’re entering strange territory in many aspects. But I think if one were to look back at the 60′s, the McCarthy era, two world wars, the Civil War, slavery, etc…I’m sure many people thought that some of those times would be the end of us as well. So I guess you’re right. It’s hard to not become frustrated when you know what is right, and you seem to be surrounded by people who just don’t get it. You see it in the media, on bumper stickers, you hear it at work from your idiot teabagger coworkers…But all of this “Obummer is a socalist” bullshit goes largely unchallenged. It’s maddening at times, considering that he’s anything BUT a socialist.

    You’re right, it really is pointless to hate on rural people. That just plays into the hands of the “real” America vs. whatever else you wish to contrast them with.

  145. Xecky Gilchrist said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:13

    If I admit that it’s all pointless and I can’t change anything, then what’s the point of living?

    Well, it’s much of the bulk of S, N! posts these days. So there’s that.

    (FWIW, I agree with you.)

  146. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:14

    What can I do to ensure my son grows up in an America I can be proud of, not some third-worldish, banana-republic-like, former-superpower shithole?

    Tell him to work hard, lower his expectations and save his paycheck.

  147. Spaghetti Lee said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:16

    I guess. I look back at 1979-1981, with Inflation at 20% or whatever, unemployment at 10%, oil prices shooting up, as well as things like the Iranian hostage crisis and Jimmy being attacked by a rabbit (things that don’t mean much overall but are still embarrassing) everybody must have thought the world was ending. Yet here we are, scraping along 30 years later, doing alright as countries go.

    For the record, Daniel Akaka signed on to the Senate public option campaign today. That makes 38. If the P.O. somehow finds its way back into health reform, will that change anyone’s mind about the inevitability of decay?

  148. tsam said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:18

    Did you know that less than 20% of Americans of college age actually graduate college? That means 80% enter a work force with little more than a HS diploma.

    No, I did not know that. Since I wasn’t depressed enough, that was very helpful. Thank you.

  149. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:20

    If the P.O. somehow finds its way back into health reform, will that change anyone’s mind about the inevitability of decay?

    Couldn’t hurt.

  150. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:23

    The underlying themes of higher debt and economic erosion by plutocrats should have been enough to create a dynamic in this country to demand change.

    But the education factor, the agency that Reagan targeted hardest (and has been among the hardest hit by Republican tax cutters) has to seen to the creation of a permanent underclass.

    Tsam, SpagLee, you have to keep something in mind: this is a national tragedy but also a personal opportunity for you to grab a piece of the pie and do good with it. Lead. Inspire. Make people look up and see the sky.

  151. tsam said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:26

    @spaghetti lee;

    I wish I had been as astute and aware at 19 as you are. Well said.

  152. Steerpike said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:28

    First, I just can’t get on board with all the rural-hating. … I don’t see a fucking point in creating another arbitrary us-vs-them narrative that will gum up attempts to work together and actually accomplish anything.

    Ee-jactly. Very wise for one so young. My own son is 19, the majority of his discriminatory brain power involves the relative merits of anime vs. manga (sigh).

    The early social reformers realized that the rivalry between urban workers and rural farmers was playing directly into the hands of the aristocracy. An alliance between these groups, based on their common interests, made far more sense, and they incorporated this idea into their international cognomen: the hammer (urban factory workers) and the sickle (rural farmers).

    Read What’s the Matter With Kansas for more about how cynical aristocrats (read: Republicans) have manipulated poor rural Americans with irrelevant social issues (like gay marriage) and myths about America’s frontier past to drive a wedge between them and their natural allies in more populous, formerly industrial areas.

  153. Whale Chowder said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:28

    SpagLee: my son is about your age.

    I’ve told him to keep his eyes open: the future may very well not be the USA. If I were 20 years younger I’d be seriously looking at where else would take me.

    And until we stop spending as much as the rest of the world combined on “defense,” nothing will get better because our obligations to social programs (SS & Medicare) really are going to take a larger portion of our national budget for the next 20 years. Something’s gonna have to give and I’ll give you three guesses who’ll get reamed in the process. Hint: it won’t be the rich.

  154. Spaghetti Lee said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:32

    I’ve told him to keep his eyes open: the future may very well not be the USA. If I were 20 years younger I’d be seriously looking at where else would take me.

    Yeah, that’s in the back of my mind, but…I want the country to get better. I don’t want to run away from it. And I know that it’s not all about me, either. If things absolutely fucking collapse, and I mean Zimbabwe-level collapse, then yeah I’ll make tracks for Canada, but leaving the U.S. because you think it’s doomed, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy-the U.S. is doomed because people who care about it are abandoning it.

  155. mysticdog said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:41

    “You ever live in a small town?

    This is why privacy concerns and the Patriot Act fall on deaf ears. Folks know everybody else’s bidness in rural America, and if a stranger walks into town, you can bet the entire town knows what beer he drinks before he’s paid the check.

    That is, for better or worse, a community.”

    Obviously, yes Actor. Everyone knows what everyone else is up to, and will turn a blind eye towards it. That is the “staying out of my business” part.

    “First, I just can’t get on board with all the rural-hating. Maybe it is just because most of my family, whom I love dearly, live in rural communities, but I don’t see a fucking point in creating another arbitrary us-vs-them narrative”

    Its not rural hating, and its not creating anything but a realiastic glimpse. Look at any freaking county-by-county voting map. Even in the most rural of states, the cities always get bluer, and in the bluest of states, the sticks get redder. That is just reality.

    There are LOTS of good people in the country, and LOTS of horrible people in the city. This isn’t about being good or bad though, this is about fundamental mindsets and the reasons for them. We will never get past them by pretending there isn’t any real difference.

    People in the country (tend to… just put that in front of all the remaining generalities, ok?) don’t recognize the needs of crowded places as well. Their mode of thinking (mostly) makes great sense for spread out populations with little interaction and little real conflict (not violent, just you needs conflicting with others). Gun Laws? Who the hell needs gun laws in the country? Lots of people /do/ hunt for food, or clear their property of varmints, and have safe places to shoot outside their houses. Pollution controls? Geesh, lots of clean air out here, who cares if a couple of smoke emitting trucks come by? A leaking fuel tank in the ground at the only station in town isn’t going to hurt much when the nearest well is a mile away. Sure, there is Nimby for big things, but people resent laws made for more crowded lifestyles.

    And just stay out of peoples business. They’ll deal with it themselves, and they might know shit going on at your home you don’t want to be held accountable for. Jesus forgives.

    Which is fine, except we live on a planet with probably 3X more people than it can really handle right now. We need laws for a crowded world.

    Then religious craziness overlaps, but there is lots of bad religious elements in the city too.

    We have to address the rural redness to get a better class of politician. That is on top of all the other things, like reducing the corporatism mindset (which is definity city based, but in a much smaller but more powerful segment).

    And damn, do we ever need a Huey Long again, because he could make that happen.

  156. Brandi said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:43

    but leaving the U.S. because you think it’s doomed, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy-the U.S. is doomed because people who care about it are abandoning it.

    Remember, it’s not white flight if you’re a progressive!

  157. Whale Chowder said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:44

    I want the country to get better.

    I totally get it and I sympathize. I’ve gotten really frustrated with the intransigent st00pid I see in our political life though and I’m becoming convinced it’s not going to get better.

    And st00pid isn’t so bad except there’s so damned many stupid people here.

  158. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:45

    I try very desperately to hold onto some hope. I was only allowed to vote a year after Bush the Younger came into office, and I think if I ever truly embraced the concept that everything was tragically broken decades before I was even born, I’d try to slit my wrists.

    That’s why I get so angry with ideas of revolution as the only policy left, or of societal collapse. Having no other experience than the last days of Rome makes me very unwilling to accept maybe letting the barbarians sack the city after all.

  159. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:45

    Just to be clear, the Tart’s folks and family may be outliers. Mom and Dad are flaming progressives (who swear like drill sergeants). An aunt, a big old country woman, Xtian and Republican, runs a soup kitchen for the poor. Go figure.

  160. Spaghetti Lee said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:47

    Mysticdog, I see what you mean. And you’re right, it’s only natural for people to support policies that support their interests, and there’s nothing bad about that. But it seems sometimes that urban and suburban liberals themselves don’t recognize that, and go straight for “stupid rednecks, they’re destroying the country” instead of trying to explain the difference to them.

  161. Whale Chowder said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:47

    Oh and Brandi? Fuck you.

  162. tsam said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:47

    Tsam: I guess the question you have to ask is, do most Americans think that healthcare is a basic human right?

    And there’s that Overton Window taking what seems to be such an obvious answer and making it into a question.

    I don’t think most Americans think it’s a basic human right, no. Which is why I think most Americans willfully refuse to think. It’s as much a basic human right as is food and shelter. Education and health care and the opportunity to earn a living are necessary to the survival of this nation–and the human race.

  163. justme said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:54

    Then cross-eyed, followed by more down, then up, then down and to the left.

    Heh. I don’t know. Prithee when, exactly, has anything actually skewed left since Carter?

  164. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 1:57

    Heh. I don’t know. Prithee when, exactly, has anything actually skewed left since Carter?

    According to the Teabaggers, George W. Bush.

  165. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:00

    America has got away with a lot of shit by being wealthy. The large and generally prosperous middle classes have smoothed over the worst of it.

    After all, how bad could things be when you still have the white picket fence etcetera? Social progress? Get off my lawn, damned hippies.

    Now, the money is going. Arguably already gone. The working class are fucked over even worse than before, and the middle class are starting to notice they have been getting the shaft too.

    When people have money, they don’t realise they are living in a shithole of a country. The suburbs provide insulation against that kind of thing. Face it, america IS a third world country. All third world countries have a small minority of people who live in comfort behind high walls. America just looked like a modern nation because of the high proportion of people behind the walls. The middle class and the rich got to shape Americas image. The poor have always been fucked over. It is just that nobody paid much attention to them.

    Now, there are fewer middle class people, and more poor people. So easy to slip down the economic ladder. Many people have been slipping for a long time, but cheap Mcmansions, fraudulent mortgages, and the general easy availability of low quality “luxury” looking consumer tat has distracted them.

    Recessions are going to happen now and then. Loss of global superpower status is inevitable. Loss of financial dominance is gone for good. Whilst the US have been resting on their laurels, the rest of the world has been working damned hard to catch up. Americas advantages have been mostly squandered.

    But for all that, there is still economic activity. The pie has shrunk, and some fat cunt ate most of it, but there is still enough to go round. If america can deal with the idea of being merely averagely wealthy, then it isn’t a big deal.

    Can America deal with the idea of being average? It is a better bet than saying it is all doomed, or this exceptionalism bollocks which as poisoned everything for so long.

  166. Monkey Child of the Dragon King said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:02

    I think a bunch of fat dicks ate the pie.

  167. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:04

    Honestly, more than a little of me suspects there’s a vocal minority of the country who would rather this whole enterprise go down in flames and wander around in shit-flecked dog-pelts than admit to just being part of the nations in the ‘middle’.

  168. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:10

    there’s a vocal minority of the country who would rather this whole enterprise go down in flames and wander around in shit-flecked dog-pelts than admit to just being part of the nations in the ‘middle’.

    Cue USA Freedum Power Ranger.

  169. Whale Chowder said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:11

    The pie has shrunk, and some fat cunt ate most of it

    Hey, DKW’s mom was hungry after servicing the entire 7th fleet.

  170. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:18

    Thing is.. Everyone say it is all going to go down the crapper are RIGHT. They are perhaps just wrong about how far it will slide. No empire lasts forever. The American empire has to fall sometime, and it looks like now is the time.

    But.. being a former top dog isn’t all that bad. Take it from a Briton.

    America the average is a more sustainable situation. It costs less too. No wasting money on a huge military. The political system can focus entirely on improving the country. The nation exists for the sake of its citizens, not to maintain dominance over others. An economy that exists mostly to provide people with the things they need.

    Is that such a bad thing?

  171. Substance McGravitas said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:28

    Big Hollywood is baffled that Jay-Z would sell out and support the president.

  172. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:33

    Heh. I don’t know. Prithee when, exactly, has anything actually skewed left since Carter?

    Carter was NOT left. He’s more lefty now than back when he was teh Prez.
    ~

  173. commie atheist said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:37

    We live in a dumb country.

    The fuck you say!

    http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/01/31/beck-vs-blitzer-vs-matthews-cable-news-ratings/40625

    Also, did you know that California, unlike Texas and Alaska, does not tax oil companies on the oil they take out of the ground? I did not know that.

    http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/StandUp4Students

    You would think that someone would have made an issue of this a long time ago, considering how fucked up the state’s budget has been for so long.

  174. Looch said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:38

    America the average is a more sustainable situation. It costs less too. No wasting money on a huge military. The political system can focus entirely on improving the country. The nation exists for the sake of its citizens, not to maintain dominance over others. An economy that exists mostly to provide people with the things they need.

    Growth, growth, growth.

    Why is it that chronic adolescence is seen as a reasonable economic model?

  175. Whale Chowder said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:40

    being a former top dog isn’t all that bad. Take it from a Briton.

    Well, you’re downplaying about 30 years or more of…adjustment before y’all got comfortable with the end of Empire.

    You also weren’t in hock to your eyeballs to a Great Foreign Power…or at least you had a Marshall Plan to help ease the transition. I don’t really see the Chinese doing us a similar favor.

    But honestly? I’m willing to not be Teh World’s Big Brother.

  176. commie atheist said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:40

    But.. being a former top dog isn’t all that bad.

    Fisked. Yesterday I was shopping for clothes and I noticed that there was a section in the men’s department called “Active Bottoms.” Maybe that’s where we’re headed?

  177. Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:41

    Is that such a bad thing?

    Goodness, no – I dream of the day. But I’ll believe the cut military spending when I see it.

    There’s still a huge fraction of the country who thinks the military is the nation’s dick and no way do they want it reduced in size.

  178. J— said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:44

    Big Hollywood is baffled that Jay-Z would sell out and support the president.

    Why in the world would you want to change the subject.

  179. pedestrian said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:47

    Yesterday I was shopping for clothes and I noticed that there was a section in the men’s department called “Active Bottoms.” Maybe that’s where we’re headed?

    The adult diaper is sewn right into the seat of the pants.

  180. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 2:51

    “weren’t in hock to your eyeballs to a Great Foreign Power”

    The hell? Oh, believe me, we were. The last of the loans we took out weren’t paid off till 2005. Meat was rationed until 1954. Pretty fucking grim. But at least there was some kind of political and social will to pull together and fix things. That is what you yanks are lacking.

    But on the other hand, your cities arn’t bombed to rubble, and comparatively few of your young men are dead or maimed! So there is always a bright side to things I suppose.

  181. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:00

    But at least there was some kind of political and social will to pull together and fix things. That is what you yanks are lacking.

    I’d say our problem is our media and our politicians (and even our courts, at this point) are owned by a small group of very wealthy people. And they have no interest in pulling anything together besides more wealth from themselves, at the cost of everyone else.

    It’s Devolution, country-wise.
    ~

  182. commie atheist said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:03

    Big Hollywood is baffled that Jay-Z would sell out and support the president.

    There are negroes in the Situation Room! Get me the Pentagon, stat!!

    Also, I did not know that in addition to being pro-abortion, Obama is also pro-infanticide. Heavens! The next thing you know, they’ll be saying he’s not even a Christian, or an American, even.

  183. Spaghetti Lee said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:05

    It really is all about willpower. Germany survived two ass-raping world wars to become, as of this writing, the world’s largest exporter for 7 years running (source Yglesias, I believe), and a world economic power by any measure. Same with Japan. Who thinks America could simply pick up our shit and get on with our life if someone dropped two a-bombs on some fairly large cities? One can always pick oneself up from the rubble, but it’s hard to do when you convince yourself that you’ve already done it, and that brown guy in the rubble pile next to you might be trying to steal your dough.

  184. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:17

    Damn right Lee.

    America CAN pick itself up. The great depression and new deal for example.

    Americans just have a skewed view of what the status quo ought to be. Too many people think “getting back to normal” means returning to an unsustainable economic boom, or returning to some heavily mythologised period in history.

  185. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:27

    That’s why I get so angry with ideas of revolution as the only policy left, or of societal collapse. Having no other experience than the last days of Rome makes me very unwilling to accept maybe letting the barbarians sack the city after all.

    I appreciate this. As someone who is a little bit older than you, I despair thinking about the problems we’re going to have to confront in the next 50 years, and I become angry and frustrated that this country has basically gone to shit during the course of my lifetime. The only person in my life with whom I talk about this is my husband, who is a hardcore pessimist, so it’s nice to see someone my age who understands what kind of shit we’re in, but still has hope.

  186. commie atheist said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:30

    Things won’t change in this country until people stop believing in the “something for nothing” philosophy that has fucked us over since Reagan. People want basic services, cheap education, medicare, social security, health care, but they aren’t willing to pay for it. Worse, they aren’t willing to tax the small percentage of people and companies that will be least hurt by an extra percentage point or two.

    And fuck Alan Greenspan with a rusty, clotted dildo, for helping to elevate Randian fantasies to national prominence.

  187. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:32

    Too many people think “getting back to normal” means returning to an unsustainable economic boom,

    See, this is one of the things that concerns me. Despite the fact that the economy that we had for the last 10 years is demonstrably unsustainable, I think most people are expecting things to return to the way they were. I don’t care if we fall behind as an economic superpower, and I’m more than willing to stay at the same economic level I’m at now for the rest of my life if it means that other people can be more prosperous and our country is more sustainable. But I think a lot of people are unwilling to give up the “American Dream,” even though it’s proven to be dangerous and unrealistic.

  188. Esther said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:36

    Parrotlover is correct. As Ezra and the guys at Balloon Juice have been pointing out for a long time now, we have to worry about whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. We have to be able to swallow our pride to help the progressive agenda move forward. Obama and Rahmbo are smart, capable guys who know what they’re doing so everybody who doesn’t agree with our POTUS needs to shut up before we get Palin/Jindal in the White House.

  189. commie atheist said,

    March 10, 2010 at 3:59

    We have to be able to swallow

    Somehow I had the feeling that Esther wasn’t a spitter. Thanks for the confirmation.

  190. N__B said,

    March 10, 2010 at 4:38

    Somehow I had the feeling that Esther wasn’t a spitter.

    I have a severe lack of interest and would like to cancel my subscription to your newsletter.

  191. purpleOnion said,

    March 10, 2010 at 7:15

    Soon we’ll be farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, healers and stone throwers. while those who are increasing their wealth will live in the countryside like noblemen surrounded by armed private contractors who are only answerable to the lord of the manor.

  192. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 15:51

    Prithee when, exactly, has anything actually skewed left since Carter?

    There’s been some movement in worker’s rights, but it’s not enough and it’s not making up for the loss in real income and purchasing power of the average American salary.

  193. actor212 said,

    March 10, 2010 at 16:04

    N__B said,

    March 10, 2010 at 4:38

    Oh surrrrrrrrrrrrrre! Leave me alone to deal with B^4′s darkened theatre gropings!

  194. Esteev said,

    March 10, 2010 at 17:35

    Soon we’ll be farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, healers and stone throwers.

    Should I get my pitchfork out of storage?

  195. zombie rotten mcdonald said,

    March 10, 2010 at 18:59

    If the P.O. somehow finds its way back into health reform, will that change anyone’s mind about the inevitability of decay?

    take my word for it, everything decays.

  196. jim said,

    March 11, 2010 at 1:02

    More than a year after a wave of risky mortgage bets brought Wall Street to its knees, banks and other financial institutions are still playing by the same rules that got them into the mess.

    Mandatory random drug-testing for stockbrokers: America needs it, ASAP.

    These tweaked-out shitheads truly believe in the Infinite Cookie-Jar Theory of economics – which explains why they call it The Dismal Science.

    It’s gonna be a real hoot to see the looks on their greasy mugs when the next implosion goes down & they get the news that there’s no more lolly for bailouts to get them back to the roulette table with a new pile of chips … or when they realize that the NYSE is completely surrounded by folks with anger-management-issues who want to have “a little talk” with them about where their pensions went.

    Why is it that chronic adolescence metastasizing cancer is seen as a reasonable economic model?

    Fixed.

  197. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 1:58

    They never had democracy until we brung it on.

    Bullshit. Does the year 1848 mean anything to you? How about the name Garibaldi?

  198. actor212 said,

    March 11, 2010 at 2:07

    They never had democracy until we brung it on.

    Bullshit. Does the year 1848 mean anything to you?

    Last time I looked, 1776 preceded 1848. What calendar are you looking at?

  199. RobW said,

    March 11, 2010 at 5:45

    On the issue of burning vs. smashing, may I just put in a word for looting?

    Ideally, we’d have all three at the same time: smash in the doors and windows to gain entry to the manor, throw the clothes, bedsheets, papers, photos, pictures, etc. into a pile in the living room and set it all on fire, carry out whatever strikes your fancy, smash AND burn the smashed pieces of everything left. Get out just as the whole house starts to go. Hoot and holler for a bit, then move to the next house.

    But you can’t forget the looting. For many in the crowd, that will be the whole point.

  200. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 22:23

    There is no parallel in rock music… a few songs about how much they like a particular city or state occasionally, but none of the embarassing defensiveness of country music.

    Actually, I can think of one example: Dirty Water. It is an extremely defensive ode to the polluted Charles and Boston Harbor before Nixon signed the Clean Air Act.

    OTOH, unlike most country songs (besides the humorous ones about honky-tonk bars), the theme of the song is loving your home even though it has horrible, awful, unbearable things wrongs with it, as opposed to the theme of “my place is the best place because SHUT UP”.

  201. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 22:41

    knew Tiger Ridgers in 1940′s when my father was minister to a Methodist church in the area. It was an old community at that time. They were friendly, decent and uneducated people. In the US, marrying family, “cousins,” or “kissing kin” dates back to the settling of this country and to the entire eastern seaboard. The custom followed settlers westward. With increased immigration and education, this practice has been mostly eliminated.
    Posted by: Margie Barden on December 2, 2008 10:14 AM

    Now this sh!t is funny. Even funnier? Look up “tri-racial isolates”. These are communities of mixed people going back to the 19th and 18th centuries, usually light-skinned (mixed) African-Americans and whites, also with Native Americans, in some cases as a dominant cultural influence, in other cases this may be a fiction (because during the era of segregation it was advantageous to claim Native American rather than African American ancestry, if you had to admit to non-white ancestry).

    The inbred white hick yokels LOOKED DOWN on these people!!!

  202. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 22:47

    #

    Fightin’ Gator said,

    March 9, 2010 at 23:22

    Followup: have you ever wondered why rural Blacks are more beautiful than rural whites? (Actually, rural whites tend to be fugly with a capital F rather than attractive in any way.)

    Definitely not a Gator.

    Rich chicks from South Florida do not count in this discussion.

  203. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:00

    Maybe it is just because most of my family, whom I love dearly, live in rural communities, but I don’t see a fucking point in creating another arbitrary us-vs-them narrative that will gum up attempts to work together and actually accomplish anything.

    It’s not hate, it’s being realistic. My own family were rural kulaks of the West, kept their land in the GD because they didn’t have debt and voted for Reagan because they thought Johnny Rayguns was on their side (he wasn’t). But you want to know the reality? My grandmother’s little sister was RAPED by her own brothers.

    Rural life is SHIT. Rural “morality” is SHIT. Rural isolation drives people crazy and makes them do crazy things. You could probably say the same of the inner city, for slightly different reasons. You could probably say the same thing of ex-urbs, for pretty much the same reasons.

    Rural people ARE ignorant. They also know they’re being screwed, but they don’t entirely understand why. My grandmother used to blame it on j00000z. This is despite the fact that during the historical period she was whinging about the WASPs in the NY banking industry actually conspired to keep Jewish businessmen and bankers out of corporate and financial deals. But sure. It was the j00000z.

  204. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:04

    And the better part of a small town is that if someone is sick, or their tractor breaks down during haying season, or someone needs food, there are people who just show up to help. The Tart’s parents live in a small town in VT on a small farm and not only do they know everything that is going on, I am constantly amazed at the help they reflexively provide others and receive in return. Personally, I’d be happy to trade a little privacy for that kind of community.

    That’s a close-knit community–doesn’t have to be rural. West Roxbury, MA used to be like that, and it’s a densely-populated urban ‘hood. Much of New England is like this because people (used to) live in the same area where they grew up so people knew each other and each other’s families.

    But just let you be something they don’t like, say, gay, or a punk, or the wrong religion.

  205. Substance McGravitas said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:05

    Rural life is SHIT. Rural “morality” is SHIT.

    Is this where we have to acknowledge your feelings or something? Because you really seem to have a bee in your bonnet and others may have different anecdata.

  206. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:13

    Just to be clear, the Tart’s folks and family may be outliers. Mom and Dad are flaming progressives (who swear like drill sergeants). An aunt, a big old country woman, Xtian and Republican, runs a soup kitchen for the poor. Go figure.

    Rural VT is a very different place from, say, rural Alabama. Just look at education spending, and outcomes. Very different place.

  207. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:26

    I may be overblaming rural conditions. Sometimes it’s the ignorant culture your ancestors trucked in with, and the only reason city people overcome it is they’re jammed in together cheek by jowl. (The Authoritarians states that people who have stretched their boundaries, and had those experiences come out in a positive way, are less fearful of the unknown and hence far less authoritarian than those who have stayed in their shell or came out only to get burned. Which may explain the hippies/boomers.)

    Native North Americans were pretty much rural (even semi-nomadic) during the post-Columbian era, but they were (and are) far more tolerant of gender variation than the descendants of Europeans. Take a village of 300 people, you might expect about 10 gay/transgendered people, so about 5 berdaches and 5 same-sex partnerships–and they were totally cool with that*.

    It’s probably because they weren’t Christians.

    *-Life was hard. Everyone had to work. At age 13 during the coming of age the gay/transgendered person had to choose whether they were going to do men’s or women’s work. That, in turn, would determine their identity. Of course, the whole village knew of the berdache’s biological gender, so there is this sort of tension between the claimed identity and the primary sex characteristics. It confused the hell out of European visitors, who brought back stories of “hermaphrodites”.

  208. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:31

    I don’t think most Americans think it’s a basic human right, no. Which is why I think most Americans willfully refuse to think. It’s as much a basic human right as is food and shelter. Education and health care and the opportunity to earn a living are necessary to the survival of this nation–and the human race.

    I read recently on a NA message board that traditional medicine people do not accept payment for their services. There was a lot of shock and disgust expressed towards these white people who are charging suckers big bucks to take part in “authentic” NA ceremonies or healings. (And this was BEFORE those sweat lodge deaths.)

    I think sometimes we forget how much our concepts of property and capitalistic exchange are culturally bound concepts.

  209. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:40

    They never had democracy until we brung it on.

    Bullshit. Does the year 1848 mean anything to you?

    Last time I looked, 1776 preceded 1848. What calendar are you looking at?

    I thought you were referring to WWII. 1776? Okay, fair enough. But it’s not as if we “brought Democracy” a la GWB, which is what I thought you were referencing there.

  210. not a gator said,

    March 11, 2010 at 23:43

    Why is it that metastasizing cancer is seen as a reasonable economic model?

    But those cancer cells are more vigorous and healthy. They don’t know how to die.

    Oh, that reminds me: WOO. Not as funny as POOP, but pretty damned funny nonetheless.

  211. not a gator said,

    March 12, 2010 at 0:05

    Is this where we have to acknowledge your feelings or something? Because you really seem to have a bee in your bonnet and others may have different anecdata.

    Sure I have a bee in my bonnet. It’s having hours and years of my life wasted on an artifice of crap known as Catholicism. The main tenet of the religion is that you achieve ritual purity by being as stupid and naive as a child (the better for the priests to pick your pocket and prey on you and your young).

    Civilization comes from cities. That’s my working thesis for the moment. Doesn’t mean that cities are awesome places to live or anything like that. It’s probably more a factor of having enough people in one place to specialize and hence pass on dense information to the next generation which allows for rapid advancement in knowledge and understanding. You can’t do that in rural/nomadic life. Nothing to do with intelligence, everything to do with social structure.

    (Cities, imo, may actually be detrimental to one’s mental health because of the anomie, the high level of competition, the harsh consequences of failure, the constant reminders of low status, etc, versus the slower, more human pace of rural life, the equalizing effects of mother nature and isolation, the comfort of familiar faces, etc. Rural life–exclusively in this sense–may be fundamentally easier. Doesn’t mean rural pigfuckers have any business telling others how to live.)

    But the end result is relative backwardness/ignorance –> authoritarianism –> brutality. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of that brutality. Maybe that makes me a whiny ass titty baby. A pants-pissing yeller milquetoast. A fucking pansy. It’s okay. I’m cool with the fact that I don’t want to be beaten, ass-raped, cudgeled in the head, mugged, shot, murdered, or mutilated. Your masculine pose may demand something different from you.

  212. Substance McGravitas said,

    March 12, 2010 at 0:13

    Your masculine pose may demand something different from you.

    These are usually expressed through terse “stop being embarrassing or crazy” hints.

  213. Fightin' Gator said,

    March 12, 2010 at 0:31

    Rich chicks from South Florida do not count in this discussion.

    Most certainly not a Gator.

  214. Anonymous said,

    April 19, 2010 at 23:34

    Rural people ARE ignorant. They also know they’re being screwed, but they don’t entirely understand why. My grandmother used to blame it on j00000z. This is despite the fact that during the historical period she was whinging about the WASPs in the NY banking industry actually conspired to keep Jewish businessmen and bankers out of corporate and financial deals. But sure. It was the j00000z.

    It’s much more comfortable to believe you’re being screwed by outsiders than by your own people. Look at how desperately everyone jumped on the “Bush was a liberal” bandwagon in 2008 – even when one of their people alienates them, they’ll always insist on seeing him as some kind of traitor/plant rather than one of their own screwing them with the very policies they voted for (for the last thirty years, no less).

    I imagine it also helps inflate their sense of self-importance, which matters when you’re as riddled with insecurities as rural America is. You can believe you’re being screwed by Wall Streeters who don’t know anything about you and couldn’t care less; or you can believe that your being screwed is the central part of a grand, global Master Plan hatched by secret, all-powerful Commuslimunist puppet-masters who want to control the world, and that YOU have the power to stop the world’s next Stalin with nothing but a ballot, a donation and a couple of bus tours to go and scream yourself hoarse in the nation’s capital -

    What do you suppose is easier on the ego? It certainly feels nicer than to believe your life’s only purpose was to make a rich man richer.

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