sofa king's Journal
Member since: Wed Apr 14, 2004, 04:27 PM
Number of posts: 10,398
Number of posts: 10,398
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Touching off the nuclear option is a clear, obvious signal that Democrats in the Senate no longer fear the possibility of a Republican resurgence in the Senate... ever again.
I'm totally serious about that. Republicans aren't coming back from this. It's a bit of an anthropomorphic argument, I'll freely admit, but I see it like this: one simply does not use this sort of a rules change if one's opponent is in a position to come back. Instead, we are using it as a hedge for our expected margin of victory: either we bag a supermajority in the next election, or we implement a series of majority-rule changes that have already been tested in practice over the course of 2014.
Democrats have been winning statewide elections somewhere between 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 over the past two elections, and one can use Virginia's off-off year election this November as an indicator that those conditions continue to prevail. Un-sticking the log-jam of nominations in the Senate will break the conservative hold on the courts. It's going to flush out the Bush stay-behinds in the Executive Branch and prevent the next election cycle from being tainted by Republican-generated "scandals" within the Obama administration and make election-theft-by-judge less likely.
The reason for this, and I encourage all of you to begin looking into it, is because thirty years of voracious conservative policy has devoured the American middle class--but it chewed through rural, conservative America first. Over the past twelve years, rural Republicans have been at least as likely as Democrats to lose their good jobs, their homes, their pensions, their retirement accounts, their health care, their farms and property holdings, and so on. Rural America is where Wal-Mart turned on the vacuum cleaners and sucked every small business out of the region, so once they hit the skids in rural America, what do they do?
They wander into the cities, seeking better services and shorter transit times to the things one needs--the "socialist" services they once tried so hard to kill. But once there, the ignorant conservative's vote is completely absorbed by the more realistic people around them, and the more realistic Republicans realize that they are now the targets of Republican victimization. They are learning empathy the hard way: by having the results of their policies fall squarely and even disproportionately among themselves and the vanishingly small number of people outside of themselves that they actually care about.
The conservatives sacrificed their own lives and treasure to keep gay people from marrying in 2004, so it's awfully damned hard for me to summon up a lot of empathy for them and their callous stupidity--but chances are good there was an empty seat at your own table yesterday, because someone you loved--one of the conservatives all know and love and consider part of our families--fell to conservative policy in the past few years. Make no mistake, this is a human tragedy of enormous proportions, and I think Democrats have become the beneficiaries of it by failing to prevent it from happening, though none of us can be accused of not trying. But others may look at it differently.
Some, for example, might see this past four years as a little bit like a past season of the Walking Dead, where an angry authoritarian leader punished his constituents for failure by killing them all. The Republican Party may be on its way to dead, but the evil that animated it for most of its existence is bigger, meaner and more powerful than ever.
Posted by sofa king | Sat Nov 30, 2013, 04:37 PM (0 replies)
As noted above, Democrats have a chance to flip the House, lord willing and the creeks don't rise.
But if we have to deal with a Republican-controlled House in the next Congress, we'll almost certainly be dealing with John Boehner as Speaker, for a number of reasons.
First, Boehner and the combined staves of the House Republican Leadership are infinitely more adept at exploiting parliamentary rules than the Tea Partiers who have slashed their way into the Republican works. Being a Tea Partier almost necessarily shackles that person with predictable um, abilities, or lack thereof. One of those lacking traits is an inability to learn easily or well. Yes, I am calling them stupid. Stupid Congressmen make stupid choices about their own staff and stupid choices about how they execute their plans--as we have so vividly experienced in the past month.
A right-wing authoritarian loses to a sociopath who pretends to be a right-winger, like Boehner, every time. This is because the socipaths are not beholden to any moral, ethical, or dogmatic considerations. It's true that Republican leadership has been losing its grip over the past several years. In the past I have likened this process to a melting peanut butter cup: a thin shell of evil containing an oozing mass of stupid inside. The hold of "evil" Republicans over "stupid" Republicans has been steadily eroding, to be sure, but I don't think they're going anywhere just yet--not in this case, anyway.
Second, Boehner has successfully fought off such challenges in the past and those opponents, such as Eric Cantor, have quite likely already been neutralized through threat of disclosure. It is entirely safe to assume, I think, that all Republicans in Congress are corrupt, and therefore vulnerable to disclosure of some sort. The longer they stay in the House and the more times they plot to usurp the standing leadership, the more likely those people are to have already had the dirt dug on them. So the new kids get no help from the schemers on the fringes of Republican leadership, this time.
Third, the position of the Speaker, historically, has been most powerful when wielded against one's own party. Consider for example the failed coup attempt against Newt Gingrich in mid-1997. John Boehner himself and a fellow you've never heard about named Bill Paxon plotted to overthrow Gingrich and put Paxon in his place, but their plan was betrayed by Dick Armey to Newt Gingrich. Gingrich totally destroyed Paxon's up-and-coming career, forever (by threatening to toss Paxon out of the closet, I have it on the best authority).
Boehner himself was ejected from his leadership position the following year and he spent eight years on ice until his scheming against Tom Delay finally paid off in 2006. He shall never forget that lesson.
So Boehner knows all the tricks, tips and pratfalls of this game, and his opposition is too stupid to learn them. Speaker or Minority Leader, we are still likely to be dealing with him.
Posted by sofa king | Tue Oct 22, 2013, 04:34 PM (0 replies)
On October 25, 1944, off the island of Samar, one of the larger nightmares the U.S. Navy could envision actually happened. A Japanese surface fleet of 12 battleships and cruisers (including the largest battleship in the world, IJN Yamato, which displaced more than all American combat ships on the scene), a dozen destroyers, and thirty of the first kamikaze planes descended upon a sizeable portion of the Philippine invasion fleet--transports and auxiliary ships that could not defend themselves. The main US carrier fleet had been deliberately lured hundreds of miles away and was in no position to help.
Standing in the way of Admiral Kurita's dreadnoughts were two groups of tiny escort carriers, fielding a few hundred obsolete planes without armor-piercing bombs, and a handful of destroyers and destroyer escorts. The Japanese bore down upon the nearly helpless American combat ships, firing enormous shells that were fitted with colored dye-packs, ripping the ocean between them with huge columns of brightly-colored water.
The American admiral in charge, Clifton Sprague, was outnumbered and outgunned, and being chased down as it ran before the Japanese at half their speed, the escort carriers firing back with the single five-inch guns (nicknamed "stingers" or "pea shooters") they had for anti-ship defense. Meanwhile, American planes attacked, sometimes faking strafing runs without ammunition, and the destroyers turned into the pursuing Japanese ships and fired spreads of torpedoes, which disrupted the Japanese formation at heavy cost.
At 0924, his own flagship having been hit several times and still dodging torpedoes, Admiral Sprague heard one of his signalmen suddenly yell, "dammit boys, they're getting away!"
It was true. The Japanese fleet was turning away short of the auxiliary fleet and retiring in the direction from which it had come. Admiral Sprague had "won" the Battle off Samar.
The US Navy never let up on the Japanese after that, and the battles of Leyte Gulf effectively ended concerted opposition by the IJN. We still had to land on Japan's own turf and burn them out one-by-one, for another eleven and a half months, but after Samar, it was only a matter of time.
This is where we Democrats are today. Republicans, heavily armed with unlimited dirty money, drove straight at the United States, bent upon its surrender or destruction, and were turned away at the last moment, primarily by their own incompetence.
And now, they're getting away!
It's time to send the Republican Party to its half of the American political seas--the bottom half. The Tea Party is already doing us the huge favor of fielding a large number of primary candidates against the money-Republicans, but that does us no favor at all if the winner of that fight gets to run unopposed in the general election.
I'm calling upon all the people of DU to look to your own districts, to help us to identify which ones do not have announced Democratic candidates yet, and to fill every candidate's slot in every Congressional district in the nation for 2014.
And, if no Democrat has the stones to step up and strike while the iron is hot, well, you have to do it, and so do I. We don't have to win in every district; we must make certain that Republican money gets blown keeping safe districts safe--from their own trog internal opposition first, and then from us. This is how we can politically, temporarily, de-fang the most powerful and most malevolent Americans, the people who have stolen half our nation's wealth from us in twelve short years.
This is our chance to throw the window open for the two last years of President Obama's term. We need to flip the House and could really use a supermajority in the Senate. Then and only then do we get to see what President Obama really wants to do. He deserves that chance and it is our duty to provide it to him.
I don't feel I'm particularly well liked or heeded here at DU, because I call this crazy world in the crazy way I see it. But others of you--those of you in positions to act, and to even step up to bat yourselves like our pal Representative Grayson--must pick up the standard and carry it forward now. This is our chance. We must not let the Republicans get away with what they have done.
Posted by sofa king | Fri Oct 18, 2013, 02:45 PM (16 replies)
Special hat tip to melody for posting this here:
Posted by sofa king | Tue Oct 15, 2013, 11:18 PM (0 replies)
Think back to what happened in 2011. Boehner played brinksman, and as soon as the economy was destabilized, some sort of national security provision kicked in which permitted the President to call in Congressional leadership to a closed meeting and send them out endorsing the President's own plan within 48 hours. The President (eventually) flensed a trillion dollars from the Department of Defense, and the Republicans did not get an extension of tax cuts for the rich, which killed them in the election the following year.
So this time the Republicans are offering to avoid the debt ceiling crisis, so that they can continue their shutdown stranglehold without the President being able to privately tell them that he's gonna shoot 'em if they don't sign on the line.
Conversely, Democrats have no reason whatsoever to give in. If they do nothing at all now, they win on Thursday night, and by "win," I mean that they get the best possible deal that they are going to get this year, because it's going to be the President's solution, which will give not a fuck about what Republicans want or care about, which is precisely what the United States needs.
By telling them to fuck off, we get this. The moment the problem becomes a crisis, we win and they get nothing at all.
So, I strongly suspect, we're going to wait and see what happens on Thursday.
Posted by sofa king | Sat Oct 12, 2013, 11:16 PM (1 replies)
These are elected officials meeting with a private citizen. Until the law was trampled into irrelevance by the Bush Administration, such meetings were required to be disclosed, and are still required by the premises of good taste and good government, if not also the law.
It is comparatively easy to deduce the overall intent of the meetings, which is that Mrs. Clinton is ironing out some details regarding her expected Presidential run.
The meeting with Biden is actually the more important one. Joe Biden might be considered a dark horse in 2014, but he's also one of the most prominent and qualified warhorses of the Democratic Party. As President of the Senate, Biden has also been unusually adept at helping to coordinate and implement the plans made between the Executive Branch and the Senate.
It's entirely possible that Joe Biden likes his job as chief cat-herder in the Senate, which opens up the interesting possibility that Mrs. Clinton is asking Joe if he'd like to keep his job as Vice President. That's highly speculative at this point in time, but it's worth filing away....
Posted by sofa king | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 03:37 PM (0 replies)
Everything from carefully chaperoned public perception management to botched police work to favorable jury instructions to, today, post-trial image repair work, has fallen in favor of this person and his family.
Is not that also far fetched? Yet here it is for all of us to contemplate, if we allow ourselves.
Posted by sofa king | Mon Jul 22, 2013, 02:02 PM (0 replies)
The law is designed to protect only the privileged. Rich white kids are privileged, while your hypothetical assailant is not.
This is a corrupt decision, not a functional defense for anyone but the son of a judge. Just like other important but corrupt court decisions, like Bush v. Gore, it will not be allowed as precedent in other cases, because the court system itself will recognize that it's an insider decision and not applicable to the unwashed masses.
Nevertheless, your observation is still quite valid: murdering your adversary and telling authorities the story that best defends yourself is potentially an effective legal tactic... if you have an ace in the hole.
But if you're a minority or poor, it ain't gonna work for you.
It amuses me that one of my favorite bands as a kid, Scream, foretold all of this in a concise double-song during the Reagan era:
Theyíre never wrong, only mistaken
It donít replace your rights that have been taken
They throw the book away, youíve been forsaken
For American justice has just been faking
If you got no money then youíre just out of luck
ĎCause the lawyers and legal aid, they just donít give a fuck
Thatís why the jails are full of the poor and black
And once they get out, you know they end up just going back
Posted by sofa king | Mon Jul 15, 2013, 03:29 PM (1 replies)
Let us not fail to recall that virtually all of the public revelations in this case were already publicly revealed in 2001-2009, some of them by Greenwald himself, when they were totally illegal, impeachable offenses.
Now they are for the most part legal and totally uninteresting to those of us who remained informed during the Bush years.
So, if you ask me, the real question is, "Does Greenwald have ANYTHING new, that we did not previously know about from the Bush years?"
My current guess is that the only undisclosed factoid out there is both Snowden and Greenwald were duped by the Chinese, who ignited this incident just days after the United States dared to castigate China for human rights abuses.
Posted by sofa king | Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:53 PM (1 replies)
This is going to be an instructive event for you whippersnappers out there. The law represents only money and power, and while Zimmerman doesn't seem to have a lot of money, his father the judge--the judge nobody seems to know, which might suggest he's a FISA judge--has plenty of power.
Zimmerman will stay free for the trial, and stay free on appeal even if the prosecution or the cops don't flop for him. If he is convicted, the appeal will be dragged out for years, and then when things are more quiet, the case will be steered to one of Daddy's pals, the charges will be reversed and the case dismissed.
Mark my words.
Posted by sofa king | Wed Jul 3, 2013, 10:42 PM (2 replies)