Make Mine a Manhattan

It seems that an honorary member of the Crow tribe has just signed on with the Black Helicopter brigade and is readying — now, as I write, in some secure undisclosed location (Berchtesgaden?) — the documents of transfer that will (at last!) restore its traditional owners to their rightful enjoyment of just a tiny piece of American soil.

That would be President Obama, getting ready to hand Manhattan back to the descendents of the Native Americans who first sold off the island to the Dutch.

No, seriously.

Via Jillian Rayfield at TPM, we learn that the Obama administration’s decision to reverse Bush era policy and support the U. N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People has so terrified folks that the usual suspects on the right are ginning up the reverb chamber to declare that yes, our Black, Kenyan, Muslim, Crow Usurper has taken the next step to obliterate liberty and subdue Americans terrified and ill-informed elderly white people under the yoke of — who is it this time? Oh yeah, Native Americans (getting in line after African American teenagers on buses, Muslims, Democrats and the Zerg Swarm).*

Rayfield documents the usual suspects getting on board with this nonsense:  the American Family Association (sic.  Not my family–ed.); WND; John Bolton — through whom, of course, our friends at Fox News are chiming in.  Bolton follows the “it would be irresponsible not to…” tack, all the way down to acknowledging the Declaration has no legal meaning in the US…but, but, but, “… there are enough judges who couldn’t care less about strictly applying the law.”

__

Yeah. Like these guys.

Look, this is fun and all, and yes, people spending even seconds seriously considering the notion that Barack Obama could or would just hand over chunks of the US to whoever he wants need medical help (where are those damn meds, honey?), but as usual, this isn’t about what the folks weighing in so ponderously on Fox say it is.

The Republican Party has only one genuine political goal now:  to destroy Obama’s presidency, and more generally the idea that the Democratic Party is a legitimate party of government.  Which is to say that our Republican friends** view elections in which the other side might actually gain access to power — actual democracy — as an accessory.  Such theater is fine as long it produces the desired result, the GOP on top. When it does not, then it is dispensible.

All of which to say that whatever the Republican party once was it is now a danger to the nation.  It seeks not to govern but to rule for the benefit of its faction, not the country as a whole.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.

*Yup. Proud parent of a ten year old boy…

**The actual party apparatus, of course.  I’m willing to concede that not all Republican voters are thus convinced.  Too many are, I think, but by no means every last one.

Image: Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe, 1770 (or 1771.  Maybe).

131 replies
  1. 1
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    I would love to make fun of the conspiracy theories, but too many progressives engage in CTs, ceding the intellectual high ground. The current one being that Obama will slash social security during the state of the union address.

  2. 2
    Andy K says:

    Via Jillian Rayfield at TPM…

    Error 404 – Not Found

  3. 3
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Andy K: Fixed. Sorry.

  4. 4
    liberty60 says:

    Well, Tom, glad you are on this, since I was too busy clutching my pearls over the fratricidal crackup of the Conservative Political Action Conference– seems that Concerned Women for America and Family Research Council are withdrawing, because the Homos at GOProud are being allowed to flounce through the front door openly!

    I didn’t read the article all the way through- no word on whether they might be allowed in the showers.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross

    And shat from the backside of a diarrheal elephant.

  6. 6
    El Cid says:

    __

    The actual party apparatus, of course. I’m willing to concede that not all Republican voters are thus convinced.

    They can believe or disbelieve whatever the hell they want, as can any Democrat or “independent” who votes with them, but putting these disgusting authoritarian thieving clown nuts back in power would at least risk and probably would damage the nation so severely that without some hitherto unimagined intervention, it would not stumble toward but tumble into its collapse.

    And depending on how you define that, into the 1920s-style Latin American junta the GOP prefers, with elections at best a complete and obvious sham, enforced conservative Christian mores, the economy not just mostly but completely for a tiny group of plutocrats, maybe a tiny middle class of professionals and bureaucrats and shopkeepers to serve them, and the rest between broke workers and peasants.

    Or 1920s Southern mill town, take your pick.

  7. 7
    sherifffruitfly says:

    Let me be the first to hail our new Indigenous Overlords.

  8. 8
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    True enough, but the righties have an entire news network devoted to promoting their crazy CTs. The left doesn’t. The closest thing on the left are some radio hosts (Thom Hartman, Malloy, etc) who diver into the tinfoil, but then they’re small fry compared to the radio audience of Beck and his ilk.

  9. 9
    Mike in NC says:

    The Republican Party has only one genuine political goal now: to destroy Obama’s presidency, and more generally the idea that the Democratic Party is a legitimate party of government.

    According to “Nixonland”, Tricky Dick was obsessed for years with finding the ‘smoking gun’ that would prove that FDR knew full well that the Japanese would strike Pearl Harbor. He figured that would destroy his Democratic enemies once and for all.

    Edit: Death of General Wolfe

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    It’s bad enough having to live with fascists, but the American variety of cracker barrel, batter coated and deep-fried in hydrogenated fat fascism is a little too much to stomach. The obvious sense of cultural insecurity experienced by the average Fox viewer is an interesting phenomenon. Maybe if these people ate their veggies, took long walks, and bathed more often, they wouldn’t feel so perpetually aggrieved.

  11. 11
    sidhra says:

    “Hopefully most judges will say it’s not binding,” Bolton added. “But there are enough judges who couldn’t care less about strictly applying the law.”

    Shorter Bolton: Watch out for the bogey men on the bench.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    I would love to make fun of the conspiracy theories, but too many progressives engage in CTs, ceding the intellectual high ground.

    Re: THEY BOTH DO IT!

    The current one being that Obama will slash social security during the state of the union address.

    Re: Your concerns are invalid because Lalalalala!

    The writing has been on the wall against Social Security for ages now. Given Obama’s record, I honestly don’t know if he’s going to turn around as a noble defender of Social Security or just cede the whole program for another one year extension of UI benefits. But laughing away the later possibility really does neglect to address Obama’s record and the record of the GOP. Republicans are going to push aggressively to gut Social Security. The legislation getting pumped out of the House is going to be overflowing with poison pills and devil’s deals.

    Given how Obama has governed with majorities across Congress, I’m seriously doubtful of his ability to stem the tide of anti-Social Security fear mongering in the face of Republican control of the House.

  13. 13
    Warren Terra says:

    I’m generally ignorant about art, but with that date and title I was willing to guess (andturned out to be right) the painting was about the death of General Wolfe, and so is not about American history – it’s about Canadian history, and French-Canadian at that (well, OK, Wolfe was a Brit, but it’s still Quebec). What sort of Patriot illustrates their post about Merka with a painting of a Brit in French Canada?

    (Also note you got both the date and the title of the painting slightly wrong)

  14. 14
    licensed to kill time says:

    I like your title and the art, as always.

    Good gawd, what will they NOT freak out about? I’m getting tired of getting outraged about what they are getting outraged about. Lately it’s just a rueful sneer with an eye-roll fillip.

  15. 15
    JAHILL10 says:

    Jeebus Christ on a pogo stick! We finally get a president who gives a crap about treating Native Americans with a shred of fairness and decency and that is tantamount to making them our overlords?!!!! Talk about right wing projection run amok. That has to be how they honestly view the white/Native American relations. I guess near genocide wasn’t good enough, we have to overlord it over them to the end of time or the Louisiana Purchase was for naught!

  16. 16
    Brachiator says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    I would love to make fun of the conspiracy theories, but too many progressives engage in CTs, ceding the intellectual high ground. The current one being that Obama will slash social security during the state of the union address.

    Sadly, this bizarre conspiracy theory demonstrates that nutcase progressives can be as unhinged as any of the Tea Party People. Evidently, these wingnuts must huff and puff in order to produce ever increasing mounds of pixie dust “proving” that Obama has betrayed those very progressives who were the onliest ones in the world who got him elected.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, I enjoyed this piece on Justice Sotomayor (Sotomayor Guides Court’s Liberal Wing), which vindicates Obama’s judgment in her selection, nomination, and confirmation.

    Justice Sotomayor wrote three of the opinions, more than any other justice, and all concerned the rights of criminal defendants or prisoners. The most telling one involved a Louisiana prisoner infected with H.I.V. No other justice chose to join it.
    __
    The prisoner, Anthony C. Pitre, had stopped taking his H.I.V. medicine to protest his transfer from one facility to another. Prison officials responded by forcing him to perform hard labor in 100-degree heat. That punishment twice sent Mr. Pitre to the emergency room.
    __
    The lower courts had no sympathy for Mr. Pitre’s complaints, saying he had brought his troubles on himself.
    __
    Justice Sotomayor saw things differently.
    __
    “Pitre’s decision to refuse medication may have been foolish and likely caused a significant part of his pain,” she wrote. “But that decision does not give prison officials license to exacerbate Pitre’s condition further as a means of punishing or coercing him — just as a prisoner’s disruptive conduct does not permit prison officials to punish the prisoner by handcuffing him to a hitching post.”

    It will be interesting to see how long those voters who have hitched their fates to the GOP wagon become disenchanted with a party that so clearly has contempt for ordinary people.

  17. 17
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Fox News has devolved to little more than a sociology experiment, namely to discover the precise number of times impetuous children can shout “Wolf!” and still find willing gulls to hastily pen up the sheep.

  18. 18
    GregB says:

    I was recently at Foxwoods and there were signs for a Chinese performer in Chinese script on several signs.

    This is the tip of the iceberg. I also notice that my small NH town of 11,000 is in the process of opening its 7th Chinese restaurant.

    I think that the Natives are going to reconquer America from the inside out, one casino and dining establishment at a time.

    It’s time to boycott Mr. Magoo.

  19. 19
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Zifnab: Kook-aid is bad for your teeth.

  20. 20
    Jason In the Peg says:

    @Brachiator: Those who have hitched their fates to the GOP wagon aren’t ordinary people though are they?

    They are exceptional.

  21. 21
    lacp says:

    The Islamokenyan Chief Thunderthud hates Real Americans (TM) for our freedoms!

  22. 22
    Alex Knapp says:

    That would be President Obama, getting ready to hand Manhattan back to the descendents of the Native Americans who first sold off the island to the Dutch.

    This is particularly funny to me because the “sale” of Manhattan Island was actually a con two ways. The Dutch “bought” Manhattan Island from a group of Native Americans that lived on Long Island and were feuding with the rival clan who lived in Manhattan…

  23. 23
    GregB says:

    If my history is correct General Wolfe died on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec and General Montcalm died in the same battle.

    At least these chaps with the pauncy powdered hair and frilly Seinfeld sleeves used to actually die in battle.

  24. 24
    Whispers says:

    Which is to say that our Republican friends** view democracy, elections in which the other side might actually gain access to power, as an accessory.

    This has been obvious since STORK stopped the tabulation of legally cast ballots in Florida in 2000. Hasn’t it?

  25. 25
    Warren Terra says:

    @lacp:
    The freedom they especially hate us for is that we were awfully free with their land, their rights, and their lives. Not all that much unlike the Iraqis, actually, only more so.

  26. 26
    beltane says:

    @Quaker in a Basement: Fox viewers are all either over-medicated old people, terrified at the prospect of facing justice at the hands of their maker, or somewhat younger, barely literate men, all afire with rage at having spent their entire lives being scorned by women. The wretched refuse of a dying empire is a terrifying thing to behold.

  27. 27
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Mike in NC: Yup, and I should know because (a) my wife worked on the PBS French and Indian War mini series and (b) My grandfather’s regiment was at the battle on the Plains of Abraham (rather before my grand dad was available for service, of course.)

  28. 28
    lacp says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): Whether one does or doesn’t believe that the President wants to cut SS, it doesn’t make sense to think that he would announce same in the SOTU address since (a) he doesn’t have the authority to do much of anything to SS – that’s Congress and (b) he’s an intelligent enough politician to know that whatever Repubs told him behind closed doors, within 30 seconds of his announcing a desire to curb SS spending, Mitch and Pumpkinhide would be screaming on Fox that Grannie was going to have to get her dinner out of the cat’s litter box in the future. Some rumors are plausible; this one isn’t.

  29. 29
    Whispers says:

    To build on @12,

    Social Security is the new line in the sand. The last one was the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Remember that?

    I don’t think Obama would have bothered to appoint a “budget commission” and to stack with ideologues opposed to the existence of Social Security if he were not planning on cutting benefits.

    The next time Obama favors the interests of traditional rank-and-file Democrats over those of the DLC “centrists” will be the first time he’s done so.

  30. 30
    Tonal Crow says:

    I’m for anything that empowers corvids, and also humans who deeply wish to take on corvid characteristics.

  31. 31
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Warren Terra: I’ve already stood corrected on Wolfe. Re Canadian history. I’ll take the snark (why not? — ed.), but the pedant in me notes that in 1759, the Battle of Quebec (or the Plains of Abraham) was an engagement in the midst of a war across British and French America, and the distinction between the US and Canada would have caught the protagonists by surprise. (The Seven Years War was really part of a long-century-long world war, but that’s another story.)

    As for the date — that’s of the painting, not the battle, which took place in 1759

  32. 32
    srv says:

    Obama has already made a bleeding wound to Social Security with the tax holiday, which will not be repealed by him or Congress in 2012 and will effectively become the new normal. But yeah, we’re all conspiracy folks.

    In January, 10,000 boomers a day will hit 65. This will continue for 19 years.

    Have fun eating the cat food, you deserve it.

  33. 33
    Joe Beese says:

    The Republican Party has only one genuine political goal now: to destroy Obama’s presidency, and more generally the idea that the Democratic Party is a legitimate party of government.

    And this blog isn’t dedicated to the idea that the Republican Party is not a legitimate party of government?

    Not that I would disagree. But this kind of pious indignation is not flattering.

  34. 34
    Chris Wolf says:

    John Bolton’s Indian name is Gargles With Sanka.

  35. 35
    freelancer says:

    Punchy! Anybody seen Punchy?! His wish has been granted!

    You get a Moore Award! You get a Moore Award! Everybody gets a Moore Award!

  36. 36
    Gus diZerega says:

    While I am as disgusted with Obama as most genuine progressives, I think the point about the Republican Party being a genuine enemy of the United States is right on. It is a faction with absolutely no concern for anyone else, least of all the well being if the US as a whole.

    It would be wise to read and ponder James Madison’s Federalist Number 10 on how factions destroy democracies.

    Our pluralist electoral system and the current party system may well destroy America by undermining Madison’s logic. The only possible palliative I can think of is going to majority vote elections with instant run offs, which gives alternative parties at least a chance. States with initiatives could begin this process.

    It’s hard to see American voters wanting to continue the current corporatist charade where one side serves the banks and the other the banks and the insane.

  37. 37
    Punchy says:

    So if the Indians get NYC, does that mean there’s THREE baseball teams in the Big Apple? What are Fausto Carmona and Shin-soo Choo going to do with all those buildings?

  38. 38
    gene108 says:

    @Zifnab:

    Republicans are going to push aggressively to gut Social Security.

    I am genuinely impressed by the discipline conservatives have shown in pushing to gut Social Security.

    Bush, Jr. tried with privatization. That was a bigger failure than anything a Democratic President has encountered in recent memory.

    Conservatives didn’t get into a lather about how Bush, Jr. failed or how he didn’t use the bully pulpit enough.

    They just chalked it up as a bad inning and when they got another chance to bat, they are swinging away at trying to gut Social Security.

    That sort of long term strategic thinking regarding policy and how to push your agenda is impressive.

    I’d say the liberal / Democratic push for health care reform is more impressive, since it’s been going on for much longer and actually succeeded, but the hysterics from many liberals about the health care bill really makes me wonder sometimes about liberal policy advocates.

  39. 39
    Metatron says:

    @Joe Beese: Reading this blog I’ve been given to understand that the current GOP is not interested in being a legitimate party of government.

  40. 40
    Karen says:

    I have a prediction:

    The “far left” and the GOP will create an alliance to rid the country of the Muslimkenyanpumabait Obama. After all, they both have the same goal just for different reasons.

    Their goal is not only to destroy Obama’s Presidency but to destroy Obama.

  41. 41
    Punchy says:

    @freelancer: /shakes head, kicks dirt

  42. 42
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    see, I told ya the far left is paranoid.

    That’s why I’m against the decriminalization of Pot – it induces too much….

    par·a·noi·a
       
    –noun
    1. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.

    2. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.

  43. 43
    Warren Terra says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    The error in the year you ascribe to the painting isn’t that you date it to 1770 when it depicts a battle fought in 1759, it’s that you date it 1770 when Wikipedia, which is infallible, says 1771.

    More generally, as you recognized I was attempting snark and of course I agree with you that separating Canadian from American colonial history would be absurd, especially prior to the American War Of Independence, and even more so for a war that was fought within the future US as well on the plains of Quebec. What we are taught to call the “French And Indian War” is called the Seven Years War by the Brits, and was worldwide (indeed, there’s an excellent book by Tom Pocock on this subject). Actually, the American theater was something of a backwater – the reason the Brits got to keep Canada in the peace settlement was that the French ceded it to them in order to regain the much more lucrative, much more important sugar colonies in the Caribbean.

  44. 44
    Legalize says:

    @Punchy:
    No, there will still only be one.

  45. 45
    MikeJ says:

    @Joe Beese: This blog isn’t one of the two major political parties that receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

  46. 46
    Nellcote says:

    Prez Obama’s adopted Crow name is Barack Black Eagle. Sooo cool.

  47. 47
    DJShay says:

    The Republican Party has only one genuine political goal now: to destroy Obama’s presidency, and more generally the idea that the Democratic Party is a legitimate party of government.

    It’s all they’ve been about since Clinton. If they lose power, it’s all about conspiracy theories and just plain lies, which Fox, and to a certain extent, CNN and MSNBC shovel out to an unsuspecting public. They have no interest in governing or policy. It’s all political tactics and bring the enemy, Dems, down in any way they can. They disgust me and the people that actually believe the crap they shovel disgust me even more. It was bad under Clinton, but it’s been nuclear since Obama was elected.

  48. 48
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @gene108: It took three wars to get rid of Carthage.

    Conservatives know how to wait.

  49. 49
    Warren Terra says:

    @freelancer:

    You get a Moore Award! You get a Moore Award! Everybody gets a Moore Award!

    That’s what we need – the Vapid Sully Award equivalent of the infamous Time Magazine “You Are The Man Of The Year” issue.

  50. 50
    Turgidson says:

    If Obama is gonna hand land back to the natives, why doesn’t he start with pretty much the entire South (and Bill Kristol’s house, while he’s inside)? Tee hee.

  51. 51
    Violet says:

    @freelancer:
    Cole’s not on the list, though. I can’t vote for him. Boo.

  52. 52
    Warren Terra says:

    @Nellcote:

    Prez Obama’s adopted Crow name is Barack Black Eagle.

    A little obvious. I’d have preferred “Barack White Eagle” just to watch the heads explode (on both sides, come to think of it).

  53. 53
    Zifnab says:

    @gene108:

    I’d say the liberal / Democratic push for health care reform is more impressive, since it’s been going on for much longer and actually succeeded, but the hysterics from many liberals about the health care bill really makes me wonder sometimes about liberal policy advocates.

    Public funding and regulation of the private health care system is a step in the right direction. But, again, this is the Bob Dole health care plan of 1994. Crowing about legislation that couldn’t win Democratic support a decade and a half ago because you passed it today with the slimmest of margins seems a little ass backwards.

    I mean, Obama passed something. Which is better than what happened under Truman and Nixon and Carter and Clinton – namely, not passing something.

    But Democrats had a majority in the House and (technically) 60 votes in the Senate. Progressives fought hard for sweeping reform. They got incremental change. We don’t want to have to wait another 20 years for the stars to align so that we can take another swing at fixing the problem.

  54. 54
    MikeJ says:

    @DJShay:

    It’s all they’ve been about since Clinton.

    Nixon had his stooges break into the DNC HQ, It didn’t start with Clinton.

  55. 55
    DJShay says:

    @Joe Beese:

    And this blog isn’t dedicated to the idea that the Republican Party is not a legitimate party of government?

    At one time the Republican Party WAS a legitimate party of government, but they aren’t any more. Furthermore this blog is not dedicated to destroying the Republican party with lies and conspiracy theories. The Republican Party is dedicated to doing just that to the Democratic Party by any. means. necessary. Period. End of story.

  56. 56
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @DJShay:

    Republicans are divine-right monarchists. The GOP’s present position is analogous to any royalists (or Bonapartists ) in a parliament of the 19th century.

    Why would they have any nterest in the smooth functioning—any functioning—of a government whose legitimacy they fundamentally do not accept? The one true and Godly outcome is a rapid transition back to a monarchy.

    And the only question when faced with a fork in the national road is, which path will bring the King back into his own again, on which glorious day the good peasants can go back to kissing the whip and the nobles can go back to fighting over preferment and looting the treasury.

    Party like it’s 1599, or 1829, dudes.

    The weirdest transformation of political terminology hasn’t been what happened to the word ‘liberal’ since John Stuart Mill—it’s what happened to the word ‘republican’.

  57. 57
    Warren Terra says:

    @Zifnab:

    I mean, Obama passed something. Which is better than what happened under Truman and Nixon and Carter and Clinton – namely, not passing something.
    __
    But Democrats had a majority in the House and (technically) 60 votes in the Senate. Progressives fought hard for sweeping reform. They got incremental change. We don’t want to have to wait another 20 years for the stars to align so that we can take another swing at fixing the problem.

    Um, wha? What he accomplished, for all its faults, was by far the most in at least 40 years, 40 years that included others’ failed efforts – but you’ll sneer at it? And your argument is that he had enough Democratic votes to have done better, even though it’s manifestly obvious that the Dem leadership had to sweat blood to pass this much?

  58. 58
    El Cid says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    The current one being that Obama will slash social security during the state of the union address.

    Okay, but a classic difference between conspiracy theories on the left and those on the right is that most of the leftist CT’s at are could hypothetically actually happen / have happened.

    Certainly many not, though, depending on whether or not the theorists in question can in any way be viewed as “leftist”. I.e., I have often seen discussions of theories (?) about the government using ‘directed beam’ weapons to do all kinds of nefarious things, but those pushing them don’t seem to have any kind of ‘left’ characteristics such as an emphasis on the role of capitalism or plutocracy etc., and seem no more politically describable than those pushing nonsense about how the Moon landings were faked. I don’t think the belief that the gubmit is manipulating the weather via HAARP is easy to place on a political spectrum.

    They also seem to base these arguments within a power structure that could actually do these things. I.e., the CIA could have had assassinated JFK, and could have done so for directly political reasons (i.e., JFK’s perceived betrayal by not causing WWIII by invading Cuba after the idiotic ‘Bay of Pigs’ terrorist attack), because it certainly had the experience to do so in its foreign assignments and had full capability to do it. At least in general. But then there come all the bits which have to be proven. Well, for that matter, any number of assassinations of leftist / ethnic nationalist figures, because government organizations did do such things, or at least conspiratorially facilitated situations which led to bloodshed. (I.e., COINTELPRO and the United Slaves Organization vs. Black Panthers manufactured violent dispute.) Conspiracy theories that elections were faked and coups were sponsored and guns and weapons were shipped and terrorists were hired and drug dealers were paid and so on and so forth in 3rd world nations by US institutions weren’t only conceivably true, but mostly true. As were many faked provocations against the US which allowed warfare to proceed — theories about the same re. Pearl Harbor at best based on incredibly weak evidence even if momentarily granted for argument’s sake.

    Individuals, offices and companies linked to key Republican figures could have rigged some necessary quantity of election results in 2004. Meaning, whether or not the theory is baseless, it’s not like it would be impossible for it to happen even in quite plausible ways. Oil companies can and do exert power such that national governments are overthrown etc., but it doesn’t mean that every US or other government activity emanated from those companies. (Though assuming that the difference between oil companies issuing the orders or policy spontaneously following their interests is not exactly an unrealistic first assumption.)

    Corporations can and do carry out conspiracies to enrich their power in ways that are destructive to the wider society on a national or international scale and in such ways as to hide generally available evidence until it’s too late. Secret meetings of soshullists and Muslims and Kenyonesians and Al Gore and whoever else do not possess any such capacity. Al Gore and climate scientists could not make up scientific arguments in favor of CO2’s (and other gases’) role in decreasing the rate of infrared longwave emissions from the Earth to space such that thousands of scientists working on the subject are duped.

    Not all, though — though possible, there would probably be all kinds of detectable evidence if the Bush Jr. administration were about to round up thousands of dissidents and lock them up in “FEMA camps”. In addition, this theory is just as popular on the right, but the feared suspects change.

    Right wing conspiracy theories almost always are either not in the least possible, and/or depend on conspirators whose power comes merely from their evil conspiracizing, and not upon their realistic positions of power.

    It could not in any feasible way be the case that Obama could give lots of land back to Native Americans by fiat or via legislation. There’s no sane way that right wing ‘birther’ arguments could be said to be based upon any evidence for their case whatsoever. Or that Obama would take command of the economy and impose Soshullism. Or that environmentalists would have, I don’t know, used home-invented depth charges or Whole Foods-built bathyscaphes to blow up the BP oil drilling in the Gulf.

    And more significantly, to the extent that unbelievable + unsupported ‘left wing’ conspiracy theories abound, the right wing ones get echoed by major GOP politicians and pundits on the national stage.

    I don’t recall too many Democratic politicians spouting such ridiculous nonsense. When various bloggers say such things it isn’t in any way comparable.

    Satanic abuse conspiracy theories by the religious right fundamentalists in the early 1980s led to people being jailed based on ridiculous fantasies that they had molested hundreds of children in day care centers in Satanic ceremonies.

    ‘Left wing’, or at least anti-conservative, figures who alleged widespread physical and sexual abuse by figures of authority throughout the Catholic church were ignored and mocked until proven completely correct.

    I know, I know, it’s your thing to scream about ‘far left’ and ‘leftist’ that regarding whatever blogger or commenter hath offended thee, so this isn’t directly relevant to your use of the terms, but for anyone who gives a shit, there are important distinctions to me.

  59. 59
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Karen:

    The “far left” and the GOP will create an alliance to rid the country of…

    As conspiracy theories go, that’s a doozy. Congratulations on posting one of the most nonsensical comments I’ve seen here.

  60. 60
    DJShay says:

    @MikeJ: I guess I’m going by my point of reference. Was in my early 20s when Clinton was elected, so that’s what I remember. I need to read up on some Nixon history I guess.

  61. 61

    @Warren Terra: Huh. Wikimedia says 1770, and a couple of other sources say the same.

    More checking.

    and yeah, I know snark when I read it (except when I don’t of course, in which case I blame the lack of coffee.)

    On the larger war — I stole the 100 year world war notion from none other than Winston Churchill himself. Basically, the conflict between France and Britain began in 1689 with the Nine Years War and ended in 1815 with Waterloo. Along the way, five wars were fought in part in the “New World” with cod, sugar, slaves, furs, and occasionally representative government serving as causes of war.

  62. 62
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @DJShay: Read Nixonland, by Rick Perlstein. See the serpent in the egg.

  63. 63
    GregB says:

    The political right in this nation is also totally devoid of any consistent political philosophy.

    When Bush was appointed victor by The Supremes the right chanted we won get over it, it’s our time.

    Even though they lost by 500,000 popular votes.

    Now the tea-baggers and baguettes are all about claiming the mantle of the will of the people.

    They are just assholes.

  64. 64
    Xanthippas says:

    Look, as an authentic and registered member of the Cherokee nation, I can tell you…we don’t want the land back. You keep the land; we’ll keep the casino money.

    Now, if the white man wants to renegotiate the terms by which some of that land was “bought” (with interest from the date of purchase of course) then we can talk.

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @srv:

    Obama has already made a bleeding wound to Social Security with the tax holiday, which will not be repealed by him or Congress in 2012 and will effectively become the new normal. But yeah, we’re all conspiracy folks.

    You need to look somewhere else for your conspiracies. The Democrats in Congress had at least 2 years, from Obama’s election to the close of this year, to come up with a tax policy. They didn’t do it. Some of them, in fact, begged Obama and the leadership to do nothing until after the mid-term elections, a blunder of monumental proportions. Many of the proposals on the table were warmed over crap that the GOP had proposed before. They willingly took advantage of the opportunity. And I will bet if you dig a little, you will find some Democrats who gladly sold the country out in order to line their pockets.

    And I will thank you in advance for not suggesting that the Democrats could simply have let the Bush tax cuts expire and addressed the issue in 2011.

    @Gus diZerega:

    While I am as disgusted with Obama as most genuine progressives, I think the point about the Republican Party being a genuine enemy of the United States is right on.

    Shouldn’t progressives be disgusted with themselves for not getting more progressive politicians elected? I mean, I appreciate the ideological purity, the fire and brimstone and all. But it seems to me that more GOP and Tea Party People got elected than progressives.

    Do you really expect to be able to send in plays from the sidelines when you can’t even get into the game?

    I agree with you big time that the Republicans are the genuine enemy of the United States in many ways. But the Democrats failed to make a strong case for themselves, and they seem to be ready to fall into disunity again.

    But you’re disgusted with Obama. Odd.

  66. 66
    DJShay says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I’m gonna go download it as soon as I get home from work. Always meant to buy it, but never did. This discussion has definitely piqued my interest. I used to live with a guy, ironically during the Clinton hay day, that was a Deadhead, but thought Nixon got a bad rap. I was clueless at the time as to the history.

  67. 67
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    President Barry Reads Screens (PBRs?!) should be careful. It would not take too much creativity for the people of the State of Arizona to run with this.

  68. 68
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    The only possible palliative I can think of is going to majority vote elections with instant run offs, which gives alternative parties at least a chance.

    IRV is an awful voting system. It has a significant likelihood of producing paradoxes, such as where a candidate who would have won an election then loses it because she gains support (possible paywall). Some of these paradoxes have actually occurred. Also, IRV makes the voting process harder to supervise because it’s more difficult to hand-audit than many other voting systems.

    Range voting would be much better for empowering minor parties.

  69. 69
    Nellcote says:

    @Warren Terra:

    A little obvious. I’d have preferred “Barack White Eagle” just to watch the heads explode (on both sides, come to think of it).

    He was adopted by the Black Eagle clan in Montana.

  70. 70
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): The budget is a week late, because the original cuts just weren’t deep enough.

    The internets are as full of information as Gamera is full of meat.

  71. 71
    El Cid says:

    Chris Matthews helps quiet down the prominence of conspiracy theories in the national media.

    Chris Matthews waded into the birther controversy on his Monday show, wondering why President Obama has not demanded a copy of his full birth certificate to put the conspiracy theories about his birth to rest.
    __
    Speaking to Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page and Mother Jones reporter David Corn, Matthews addressed the recent efforts by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie to release more information about Obama’s birth.
    __
    “I am not a birther, I am an enemy of the birthers,” Matthews assured Page and Corn, before comparing a so-called “long form” birth certificate to the more abridged copy that Obama has released. “Why has the president himself not demanded that they put out the initial documents?” he asked.
    __
    Page said there was no point in Obama engaging birthers, because they were not interested in evidence showing that he is a natural-born citizen. Matthews responded that, no matter what, it will be interesting to see if Abercrombie’s quest for the full document is successful.
    __
    “Don’t we want to know if he can find it?” he said. “I don’t know why the Governor doesn’t say, ‘snap it up, whoever is there in the Department of Records, send me a copy right now.’ And why doesn’t the president just say, ‘send me a copy right now’?”

  72. 72
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @El Cid:

    Page said there was no point in Obama engaging birthers, because they were not interested in evidence showing that he is a natural-born citizen

    Clarence Page is right, and Matthews — fellow Crusader though he is — is an idiot.

  73. 73
    de stijl says:

    @thomas Levenson:

    More checking.

    Why not just put a tilde in front of the date and forget about it?

  74. 74
    Gravenstone says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Exhibit A: Jane Hamsher making common cause with Grover fucking Norquist. There are clearly those on both sides who will at least make the attempt. The outcome is what currently lies unknown.

  75. 75
    amk says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Didn’t that firebagger numbskull dame do a dance with that grover bathtub obsessed norquist already?

  76. 76
    Zifnab says:

    @Warren Terra:

    What he accomplished, for all its faults, was by far the most in at least 40 years, 40 years that included others’ failed efforts – but you’ll sneer at it? And your argument is that he had enough Democratic votes to have done better, even though it’s manifestly obvious that the Dem leadership had to sweat blood to pass this much?

    No one is sneering. Like I said, health care reform beats no health care reform. A mandate is better than 40 million uninsured. Subsidies and administrative caps are better than people going bankrupt paying premiums while the insurance companies rack in profits hand over fist.

    But we got Bob Dole’s health care plan. 60 votes in the Senate – a filibuster proof majority – and we sweat blood to pass a plan Bill Clinton snubbed 15 years ago. In the face of the rampaging idiot brigade, it was a legislative accomplishment. But it’s a shallow victory, and one that still hasn’t survived the Roberts Supreme Court or a Republican House intent on defunding the program wholesale.

    We bought a pack of executive enforced regulations and federally funded subsidies. That’s going to be a thin shield against waves of court challenges and deficit peacock assaults. And the damn thing doesn’t even kick in until 2014. I’m not going to start praising the health care bill until I see it in action. And I do reserve my right to sneer if the GOoPers shred the bill before it ever gets implemented.

  77. 77
    Comrade Kevin says:

    I gotta say, it was kind of weird to see that Starcraft reference up there.

  78. 78
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Tonal Crow: Moderation???? What WordPress stupidity did I trip over this time?

  79. 79
    amk says:

    @El Cid: chris once again proving he is a highly paid moron on teevee. Only in amurikka.

  80. 80
    Brachiator says:

    @El Cid:

    Okay, but a classic difference between conspiracy theories on the left and those on the right is that most of the leftist CT’s at are could hypothetically actually happen / have happened.

    But the classic similarity is that both leftist and right wing conspiracy theories persist despite any real evidence for them, and often despite clear evidence against them and, ultimately the nuttiest conspiracy theories become detached from reality and become self-sustaining myths.

    Hypothetically, a space alien could have married my Aunt Velma. If only either space aliens or my Aunt Velma actually existed.

    That the CIA could have assassinated JFK says a lot about what some people fear might be true, but says absolutely nothing reliable about what actually happened.

    Similarly, birther nonsense tells me a whole lot about the political and racial anxieties of Tea Baggers, but absolutely nothing about President Obama.

    And yet birther nonsense persists despite the fact that it is clearly irrational.

  81. 81
    gbear says:

    You know, we could just tell all of these bed-wetters that they could have a place all to themselves with like-minded people, where they don’t have to mix with anyone who isn’t just like them – a very nice gated community with nothing but the ‘right’ kind of people.

    They might go for it. They might willingly put themselves onto a reservation. Might be worth a try…

  82. 82
    MikeJ says:

    @Zifnab: Perhaps had Clinton taken a less perfect deal, we could be revisiting it and expanding it now.

    Or Obama could have gotten nothing like clinton did, and 20 years later instead of improving it we’d be fighting for a bill this good.

  83. 83

    Waaah! Red^skins under the bed!

    It all boils down to the fact that any time anyone suggests they can’t piss all over people who aren’t just like them, they flip their wingnutty wigs.

    “It’s wrong and potentially dangerous to sign onto a document that you don’t fully understand the implications of.”

    M. Walrus assumes that because he doesn’t understand it, Obama doesn’t understand it. Fortunately for the country, if not the world the President is a lot smarter than Bolton.

    Last week, the “Director of Issues Analysis” for the Christian conservative American Family Association, Brian Fischer, wrote a blog post claiming that “President Obama wants to give the entire land mass of the United States of America back to the Indians. He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords.”

    Fissure has issues all right. Week before last he was screaming that Obama signed the DADT repeal (in part) because wants to turn the country over to the gays.

  84. 84
    amk says:

    @MikeJ: Pure left doesn’t do political reality. And their talk of 60 seat senate was a myth that doesn’t seem to die.

  85. 85
    JAHILL10 says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor: I used to report on the American Family Association and the title “Director of Issues Analysis” = “Unemployed Relative of Donald Wildmon.”

  86. 86
    amk says:

    @gbear: I recommend AZ and TX. Two peas in a pod.

  87. 87
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Warren Terra:

    the painting was about the death of General Wolfe, and so is not about American history – it’s about Canadian history, and French-Canadian at that (well, OK, Wolfe was a Brit, but it’s still Quebec). What sort of Patriot illustrates their post about Merka with a painting of a Brit in French Canada?

    Well that Brit probably did more to create the United States than any other person. Defeating the French in North America guaranteed the security of the North American colonies. Trying to get the colonists to later pony up for the costs of the war gave said colonists the excuse to throw off the shackles of British liberty.

    So one Tea Party fittingly merges into another, since both were/are about accepting the benefits of government action and then getting someone else to pay for it.

  88. 88
    Tonal Crow says:

    @gbear: Maybe we could carve out a nice piece of South Waziristan for them. It could be like the spectacle about which Screwtape waxed nostalgic in Screwtape Proposes a Toast:

    But now for the pleasantest part of my duty. It falls to my lot to propose on behalf of the guests the health of Principal Slubgob and the Tempters’ Training College. Fill your glasses. What is this I see? What is this delicious bouquet I inhale? Can it be? Mr. Principal, I unsay all my hard words about the dinner. I see, and smell, that even under wartime conditions the College cellar still has a few dozen of sound old vintage Pharisee. Well, well, well. This is like old times. Hold it beneath your nostrils for a moment, gentledevils. Hold it up to the light. Look at those fiery streaks that writhe and tangle in its dark heart, as if they were contending. And so they are. You know how this wine is blended? Different types of Pharisee have been harvested, trodden, and fermented together to produce its subtle flavor. Types that were most antagonistic to one another on earth….How they hated each other up there where the sun shone. How much more they hate each other now that they are forever conjoined but not reconciled. Their astonishment, their resentment, at the combination, the festering of their eternally impenitent spite, passing into our spiritual digestion, will work like fire.

  89. 89

    @Zifnab:

    60 votes in the Senate – a filibuster proof majority – and we sweat blood to pass a plan Bill Clinton snubbed 15 years ago.

    Good point. And if Clinton had gotten something, anything, the current reforms would have built on that. Unfortunately, we got nothing from Clinton. The only Democratic president to achieve anything in health care was LBJ. Now we can add Obama’s name to that list. If other Democratic presidents had been as successful then Obama would have probably been ushering in single-payer this year.

    And I do reserve my right to sneer if the GOoPers shred the bill before it ever gets implemented.

    You should be a republican. You are more interested in self-validation than in the damage shredding the bill will cause.

  90. 90
    gbear says:

    @amk: First we’d have to trade Branson, MO for Austin TX.

  91. 91
    El Cid says:

    @Brachiator:

    But the classic similarity is that both leftist and right wing conspiracy theories persist despite any real evidence for them, and often despite clear evidence against them and, ultimately the nuttiest conspiracy theories become detached from reality and become self-sustaining myths.
    __
    Hypothetically, a space alien could have married my Aunt Velma. If only either space aliens or my Aunt Velma actually existed.
    __
    That the CIA could have assassinated JFK says a lot about what some people fear might be true, but says absolutely nothing reliable about what actually happened.
    __
    Similarly, birther nonsense tells me a whole lot about the political and racial anxieties of Tea Baggers, but absolutely nothing about President Obama.
    __
    And yet birther nonsense persists despite the fact that it is clearly irrational.

    All of that was in my comment, actually. I cannot imagine anyone reading my comment concluding that because leftist and rightist CT’s have tendencies to be different in certain ways it means that any particular CT is correct. With regard to JFK I suggested only that those particular theories suggesting that the CIA could have assassinated JFK used some sort of rational model of actual power, without establishing the veracity of any actual argument. This doesn’t even imply that anyone other than Oswald was involved.

    In fact, I would think that anyone using the phrase “conspiracy theory” to apply to an argument in order to discuss the problem of conspiracy theories is quite explicitly stating a view that the arguments in question are not supported by evidence and are either impossible or extremely unlikely in general.

    Except maybe the part about such theories persisting, maybe because I’d assume anyone discussing the subject whatsoever would already know that. Again, I can’t imagine that anyone discussing conspiracy theories about the assassination of JFK or 9/11 inside job stuff or birth certificate stuff would fail to understand that they stick around.

  92. 92
    Brachiator says:

    @Zifnab:

    And the damn thing doesn’t even kick in until 2014. I’m not going to start praising the health care bill until I see it in action.

    That’s funny. I know a guy who was able to add his adult daughter, with lupus, to his health care plan. Why doesn’t this count in your eyes?

    And I do reserve my right to sneer if the GOoPers shred the bill before it ever gets implemented.

    Because, why? You think that there is a magic land where the GOP could never roll back a law passed by Democrats?

    The Democrats in Congress did not pass the plan that you preferred. But unless you have a better batch of politicians hidden away somewhere, the Democrats in the Congress were the only ones who mattered.

  93. 93
    Zifnab says:

    @MikeJ: Right. And that’s why I’m certainly glad something got passed. But I’m not going to be satisfied with it.

  94. 94
    Gus diZerega says:

    @brachiator at 65 (wish I knew xhtml)

    Progressives were crucial in Obama’s getting the nomination given that Clinton was the main alternative. They contributed plenty in energy and money. Your criticisms are baseless. The problem is basically systemic.

    The rules of the game allow only two stable long term big parties. Third parties are either ego parties for the self-righteous or built around a major national figure,and so are ego parties of another sort. The costs of elections are so great that the parties seek corporate funding and become dependent on the interests of those that finance them. Then the oligarchs win no matter who wins. That some candidates are deceptive simply adds to the problem.

    The most practical solution is to open up the electoral oligopoly by facilitating viable third parties, and that can ONLY happen with majority vote elections because only then will people like me vote for a third party in hopes it might actually win rather than in order to feel superior or not to vote for it at all because it helps the worst main party.

  95. 95
    Zifnab says:

    @Brachiator:

    Because, why? You think that there is a magic land where the GOP could never roll back a law passed by Democrats?

    I think Democrats have to legislate with the knowledge that any part of the bill could get gutted by a capricious judiciary. And that means demanding more than we think we need, so that we’ll have something left when Republicans start picking away at it.

  96. 96
    Ed Drone says:

    @El Cid:

    And why doesn’t the president just say, ‘send me a copy right now’?”

    What? And let the idiots disappear into the woodwork? It’s a way to keep the true nuts visible and diminished because of the nature of what they allege. I mean, who would think Orly Taitz is a reasonable person? As long as she’s ‘out there’ shooting off her mouth, she remains a marginal figure. When Obama wants to do it, he can get the documents.

    Ed

  97. 97
    Brachiator says:

    @El Cid:

    With regard to JFK I suggested only that those particular theories suggesting that the CIA could have assassinated JFK used some sort of rational model of actual power, without establishing the veracity of any actual argument.

    In the absence of any evidence, this is little more than a fairy tale, of no more credence than a UFO story.

    Both the JFK conspiracy theory and the birther nonsense persist because they satisfy an emotional need. I don’t think your distinction about the value of leftist hypotheticals makes lefty CT’s significantly different than right wing CTs.

    Less stupid is still dumb.

    Again, I can’t imagine that anyone discussing conspiracy theories about the assassination of JFK or 9/11 inside job stuff or birth certificate stuff would fail to understand that they stick around.

    I don’t know. People keep kicking around all kinds of conspiracies, from 9/11 to JFK to birther nonsense, pretending that the theorists have something to say, and dancing around their desperate need to belief crazy shit.

    The same is becoming increasingly true of this crazy theory that Obama has entered into a secret plan with the GOP to eliminate Social Security. This is morphing from a dissatisfaction that Obama has not been sufficiently “progressive” (which is not a promise that he ever made) into a classic angry paranoid conspiracy theory in which Obama is deliberately betraying supposed “progressives.” And here, this crap is just as crazy as the nuttiest right wing nonsense.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    Brachiator says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Progressives were crucial in Obama’s getting the nomination given that Clinton was the main alternative. They contributed plenty in energy and money. Your criticisms are baseless. The problem is basically systemic.

    Oh bullshit. Progressives keep acting as though they were the only ones around during the 2008 elections. How were progressives more crucial than young voters, black, Latino and Asian voters, older voters, Independents?

    I keep hearing progressives claim that they were the determining factor in Obama’s election. Prove it.

    The rules of the game allow only two stable long term big parties.

    Nonsense. The Tea Party people have shaken up the status quo, mainly for the worse.

    The most practical solution is to open up the electoral oligopoly by facilitating viable third parties, and that can ONLY happen with majority vote elections ….

    Let’s see. Progressives can’t get traction and so need some facilitating. I don’t see how this would be more than subsidized whining. Progressive movements have succeeded in this country before. You need to come up with something better.

    Meanwhile, the Tea Party People and the Randoids who got elected to Congress are getting ready to cause all kinds of havoc.

    because only then will people like me vote for a third party in hopes it might actually win rather than in order to feel superior or not to vote for it at all because it helps the worst main party

    To inversely paraphrase Rod Stewart:

    Spent some time feeling superior, standing in front of my mirror….

  100. 100
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Gravenstone: @amk:
    You mean that the fact that one overheated blogger joined forces with a known idiot who peaked years ago is proof of a vast far-left conspiracy to join forces with the far right and destroy Obama? Bwahahahaha!

  101. 101
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Progressives were crucial in Obama’s getting the nomination given that Clinton was the main alternative.

    It depends on how you define “progressive”.

    Online progressive did not support obama, they supported Edwards.

    Not a single blog endorsed obama (they all endorsed edwards [cole favored Dodd]), and the rank and file poured their money and time into what they described the only “true progressive” (slick johnny).

    Now they supported obama after Edwards dropped out, but by that time, Obama had already won super tuesday and hillary had run out of money (forcing her to self-finance), thereby locking up the nomination, given the rules of proportional distribution of delegates.

  102. 102

    And why doesn’t the president just say, ‘send me a copy right now’?”

    And the birfers claim the copy is invalid (especially if Obama handled it) and continue their demands to see the mythical original long form vault copy signed by God and three saints.

    Queen Birfer Taitz has recently said (or gibbered) that the only way she’d be satisfied is if a private detective was allowed to inspect the original document and perform tests. IF those things happened (and they won’t) AND the private detective found the cert was valid, it would take .03 seconds for Taitz to declare her PD was an Obama plant.

  103. 103
    Suck It Up! says:

    And the damn thing doesn’t even kick in until 2014. I’m not going to start praising the health care bill until I see it in action.

    the damn thing already has parts of it up and running and so far so good.

  104. 104
    amk says:

    @Gus diZerega: Best joke or lie on the internetz

    Progressives were crucial in Obama’s getting the nomination given that Clinton was the main alternative. They contributed plenty in energy and money.

  105. 105
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Dennis SGMM: wow, you guys are throwing Hanoi Jane under the bus. after all she’s done for you!

  106. 106
    amk says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Sorry dood, she’s the face of the innernet progressive crowd, the worst kinda of progressives. So no weaseling out of it.

  107. 107
    amk says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): Lol. Nothing like scorned keyboard kommandos.

  108. 108
    Gus diZerega says:

    Brachiator 99
    You are right to a point on the initial primaries. But their vote shifted to Obama over Clinton. And he made progressive noises to try and differentiate himself from Clinton.

    As to the rest, I’m afraid you don’t know what you are talking about. Not even a little.

    On a great many actual issues, Americans supported progressive positions over the competitors, but these positions never make it to law. i.e. public option and not cutting taxes for the very rich. Why? Because on some issues they are opposed by the largest financial interests who finance both parties. When these interests do not much care, Obama can pull off Progressive victories, like DADT.

    You might take the time to study how plurality rules affect election outcomes sometime. The Teaparty acted WITHIN the Republican Party and won primaries. If they had created a third party your point would be effective. As it is, you mostly demonstrate you did not understand the argument.

  109. 109
    Brachiator says:

    @Zifnab: RE: Because, why? You think that there is a magic land where the GOP could never roll back a law passed by Democrats?

    I think Democrats have to legislate with the knowledge that any part of the bill could get gutted by a capricious judiciary. And that means demanding more than we think we need, so that we’ll have something left when Republicans start picking away at it.

    The Republican attack machine is relentless. It would not have mattered had the bill contained a public option or went the whole way with some form of single payer.

    The GOP is against it, in whatever form. They will attack it, in whatever form.

    Democrats will always have to protect and seek to strengthen the law.

  110. 110
    AxelFoley says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    @gene108: It took three wars to get rid of Carthage.
    Conservatives know how to wait.

    So that means we gotta fight the Confederacy two more times, huh?

    I’m down. Who’s with me?

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    On a great many actual issues, Americans supported progressive positions over the competitors, but these positions never make it to law. i.e. public option and not cutting taxes for the very rich. Why? Because on some issues they are opposed by the largest financial interests who finance both parties. When these interests do not much care, Obama can pull off Progressive victories, like DADT.

    Please don’t try to pull a bait and switch on me. That Obama supports some progressive issues is obvious.

    This is not the same thing as saying that Obama owes his election to progressives.

    You might take the time to study how plurality rules affect election outcomes sometime. The Teaparty acted WITHIN the Republican Party and won primaries. If they had created a third party your point would be effective. As it is, you mostly demonstrate you did not understand the argument.

    No, you only demonstrate that you have not made an argument at all, and now are trying to shift the terms of the debate.

    Also, progressives are currently largely ineffectual, whether within the Democratic Party, or outside it.

    If Progressives had run and won elections, they would be in more of a position to either support Obama or to nudge him more towards their positions. But living on the activist/outsider/cheerleader fringe, they cannot do much of anything. They control a plurality of nothing. Do the math.

  112. 112
  113. 113
    General Stuck says:

    Democrats are “the other” party in this country and always start out the gate behind the republicans. Americans much prefer, the idea of having republicans run the government. And when they turn that idea into reality, and vote the GOP into power, then another reality takes up competition with “that ideal” as the leading faces that look mostly like there faces, faces that have studied the magic words the majority wants to hear to complete the fantasy. A fantasy that quickly turns into a governing nightmare, that becomes real when the well scrubbed populace realize somebody is stealing from them, in all sorts of creative ways.

    And it is not by accident, that seemingly, and accurately, the only times democrats have the opportunity to get elected and gain power, is when the patriotic republican fantasy turns everything to shit via the round peg in square hole approach of conservative ideology deployed to govern a liberal democracy. And during the confusion, the hucksters and charlatans make off with the loot for their plutocrat employers, and when the dust settles, Barrack Obama gets elected president, and Nancy Pelosi makes Speaker of the Peoples House and the country cries for help from that “other party”.

    For awhile, and sometimes a short while, like with the 2010 election, when patience runs thin once more with that “other party” and the worried minds of the average voter opens itself to the old lies and memes, and eyes turn to that “other party” with it’s faces of color and lack of magic words, and doubts of trust make a return, and the cycle of reconnection to the familiar begins all over again.

    The good news is, this is slowly but surely changing in this country, and the election of Obama proves that. But it is in fits and spurts, and the clock is ticking.

  114. 114
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    I don’t even read her blog, never have. The “Hanoi Jane” part of your reply suggests that you have stared too long into the abyss.

  115. 115
    AxelFoley says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    President Barry Reads Screens (PBRs?!) should be careful. It would not take too much creativity for the people of the State of Arizona to run with this.

    That’s President Obama to you, muthafucka.

  116. 116
    Gus diZerega says:

    Brachiator 111
    Let’s try this again.

    There is no bait and switch, and only people with one-dimensional perspectives on politics would seriously argue that. Progressives run quite a gamut, but tend to be more oriented on social issues and foreign policy, less on party loyalty. That’s my seat of the pants perspective. If you disagree I’d like to see your definition of a progressive. What is one?

    DADT has no impact at all on financial interests. None. The corporatist groups that dominate our politics are not monolithic, and the wiser ones are interested more in good management than in ideological posturing. Repealing it was a smart move so why would many of these guys object?

    You are also apparently ignoring my initial argument about plurality and majority vote, for reasons I cannot imagine. I wrote that plurality voting rules cement in a two party system and when both parties are financed by a relatively narrow set of interests, alternative perspectives do not get acted on, even when popular. Seems pretty basic Pol Sci 101 to me.

    I didn’t write about Teapartyers because they worked within the Republican arty. If they had formed a third party they would likely have hurt the Republicans more than they did. For that reason I wish they had.

    Majority vote opens that oligopoly up a bit – far more than now. I support primary challenges, but against sitting senators and Representatives. It would be a waste of money on Obama and we would run the risk of someone vastly worse if the Republicans win because he was weakened. On the other hand it is a myth that primary challenges always are a bad idea even for a sitting president. Absent assassination Robert Kennedy would have had an excellent shot at becoming president.

    No shifting of positions by me, but maybe a lack of taking the time to understand by you.

  117. 117

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    I would love to make fun of the conspiracy theories, but too many progressives engage in CTs.

    The fear, whether justified or not, that President Obama might accede to a reduction of Social Security benefits is not a conspiracy theory. If he in fact doesn’t slash benefits, the fear won’t live on in denial of obvious facts.

  118. 118
    Karen says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    As conspiracy theories go, that’s a doozy. Congratulations on posting one of the most nonsensical comments I’ve seen here.

    Apparently your snark meter is broken.

  119. 119
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @lovable liberal: of course it will live on.

    the big CT for the past 7 months was that he and Pelosi were gonna cut benefits during the lame duck session. It was fait accompli.

    Then it didn’t happen.

    So they just moved the goal posts. Now they say it’s gonna happen during the state of the union.

    It’s like those religious groups who predict the end of the world occurring on a specific year, and then when it doesn’t happen, they just pick a new date.

  120. 120
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Dennis SGMM: oh, did I hurt your fee fees? good.

  121. 121
    El Cid says:

    @Brachiator:

    In the absence of any evidence, this is little more than a fairy tale, of no more credence than a UFO story.
    __
    Both the JFK conspiracy theory and the birther nonsense persist because they satisfy an emotional need. I don’t think your distinction about the value of leftist hypotheticals makes lefty CT’s significantly different than right wing CTs.

    What part of this do you not fucking get?

    I WAS IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT THERE WAS ANY TRUTH WHATSOEVER TO TALES THAT THE CIA KILLED JFK.

    I WAS IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT THERE WAS ANY TRUTH WHATSOEVER TO TALES THAT THE CIA KILLED JFK.

    I WAS IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT THERE WAS ANY TRUTH WHATSOEVER TO TALES THAT THE CIA KILLED JFK.

    I WAS IN NO WAY SUGGESTING EITHER THAT THERE WAS MORE TRUTH TO THIS THAN THERE WAS OF UFO’S REPLACING FOOD NETWORK STARTS WITH REPTILIAN ALIENS.

    I have no idea why you simply can’t distinguish the difference between someone — left, right, up, down, whatever — alleging something possible but without evidence, and someone suggesting something impossible without evidence.

    This is just bizarre. An argument that said that the Prime Minister of Egypt had a certain journalist killed, but without evidence, is entirely different than an argument which said that the Prime Minister of Egypt traveled back in time and built the pyramids by hand.

    That is the distinction I made, whether you find it useful or not. In no way and at no time did I suggest that any theory whether plausible or not should be considered without being considered rationally and upon the basis of strong evidence.

    It’s not just me. Lots of people have made the distinction between those who argue for theories which are baseless but at least (physically, even) possible and those which are impossible. It doesn’t mean you believe or respect any particular argument of the former, either.

    This is it. If you repeat one more god-damned time that there was no reason to support the theory of the CIA’s involvement in the JFK assassination WHEN I AM IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT THERE IS ANY REASON WHATSOEVER TO HOLD THIS VIEW, then it’s entirely you deciding to be more thick-headed than I would have thought possible.

  122. 122
    elf says:

    Tom,

    I just love how you always include a painting with your posts and that they have some relevance to them. Enjoy testing myself on the artist and seeing if I am correct.

    Of course you should know that your posts are read by myself as well…and yes I really appreciate them, but how do you ever find the painting that fits with your writing is what I really find just amazing about you.

    So also too, tho this may seem like a backhanded compliment on your contributions…it really isn’t!

  123. 123
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @AxelFoley: I’ll bring the salt….

  124. 124
    Mnemosyne says:

    @El Cid:

    I think — I’m not sure — that this is the distinction you’re trying to make:

    Generally speaking, conspiracy theories by the left often posit that powerful people are using that power to conspire against us. So conspiracy theories by the left tend to involve the CIA, the FBI, big corporations, etc.

    On the opposite side, conspiracy theories by the right often posit that seemingly powerless people are in fact the ones with all of the real power and they are using that power to conspire against us even though they appear to be powerless. So conspiracy theories by the right tend to claim that Jews, African-Americans or (specifically in this case) Native Americans are secretly pulling the strings behind the curtains even though they appear not to have that power.

    Is that about right?

  125. 125
    General Stuck says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I’m in, me and my peter.

  126. 126
    Tom Levenson says:

    @elf: I get the complement and appreciate it. Thanks.

    @General Stuck: @Davis X. Machina: @AxelFoley:

    Three steps for the win.

  127. 127
    mds says:

    @GregB:

    If my history is correct General Wolfe died on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec and General Montcalm died in the same battle.

    He survived the battle itself, but died of his wound shortly thereafter. Poor Montcalm.

  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    @El Cid:

    I have no idea why you simply can’t distinguish the difference between someone—left, right, up, down, whatever—alleging something possible but without evidence, and someone suggesting something impossible without evidence.

    Because it is a bullshit distinction. That something is “possible” is a game that attorneys play, but it is typically a meaningless misdirection.

    On the other hand, something that seems “impossible” must be considered when the evidence piles up to support it. Science texts used to assert that ours was the only solar system with planets until the ability to detect gravitational “wobble” elegantly demolished that idea.

    I never suggested that you held that there was any reason to hold the view that the CIA was behind the JFK assassination. I simply held that it is still nothing more than a dumb ass conspiracy theory. That it is on the surface “plausible” is trivial, because, like any other ridiculous CT, it doesn’t give a shit about evidence or facts, and is carried along to make the faithful feel good (here, about a shadow government that runs the show or would get rid of a president that stands in its way).

    On the way home, I listened to a talk radio show try to make birther nonsense sound plausible. You have to show your birth certificate to get a job, or even to sign up for a little league team. And every president before Obama showed his birth certificate. And of course, none of the callers believed that Obama was born in the US, and every one of them had a “plausible” story about needing to produce a birth certificate and being easily able to do so, all of which made Obama’s supposed refusal to co-operate “proof” of nefarious intent (Tim Conway, Jr show, KFI talk radio).

  129. 129
    sparky says:

    unfortunate that this thread devolved into another shouting match. oh well. guess it’s just as well that it’s daid, then.

    anyway, i agree with TL that the Rs have figured out that they can stay in the game by just making stuff up. because to some extent all politics are irrational/emotional, it’s not a bad stratergy [sic]. nor is there anything wrong with mocking them, though it doesn’t seem a particularly effective strategy. nor, for that matter, does mocking those who, for whatever reason(s) don’t swallow the White House party line whole.

    additionally, it is somewhat cavalier to suggest that the Rs are the only party who would destroy whatever is left of the american republic. there is plenty of evidence that the Ds are doing the same thing, just covertly rather than overtly.* no doubt someone will come along and in the usual form of hysterical projection that seems to predominate amongst “regular” Ds, deny that the Ds are not likewise wrecking the country.

    two points in support of my claim:

    partial list UN Conventions not ratified by the US:

    The Law of the Sea Treaty
    The Rights of the Child
    Convention on Eliminating Discrimination Against Women
    International Criminal Court
    Convention on Protection of Migrant Workers
    Prohibition on Landmines

    there are others, i think, but you get the idea.

    second point: the gamed economy collapsed during Bush’s term, but if we look at a slightly longer view, Reagan supplied the dynamite, but it was Clinton who lit the fuse for imploding the economy.

    so, bathing in smug superiority isn’t really in accord with the facts on the ground, so to speak.

    *the foiled bill to allow cross-state notarizations comes to mind here.

  130. 130
    Dr. Psycho says:

    It seeks not to govern but to rule for the benefit of its faction, not the country as a whole.

    Or as Thomas Jefferson might put it, by making war upon the United States, they have forfeited their right to participate in its governance.

  131. 131
    xian says:

    @Zifnab: “But Democrats had a majority in the House and (technically) 60 votes”

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

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