2:00PM Water Cooler 11/4/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

2014

Lambert here: Voting strategies I’ve heard, besides voting for the legacy party of your choice: Don’t vote; vote against any incumbent; vote for an emerging party except when the race is close, and then vote for a legacy party; spoil your ballot; write in the candidate of your choice. I haven’t made up my mind; I’m not sure which legacy party I hate and wish to injure more. Do note, however, that not voting plays directly into the “voter apathy” narrative, which always crops up after the low turnout mid-terms. But your vote is your own!

“Top Democratic strategists” clutch pearls, blame others for anticipated defeat [WaPo]. That’s no shocker, it’s a biennial tradition! [Atrios].

White House clutches pearls, blames “frustration with Washington” [Reuters].

The Upshot clutches pearls, explains that voters’ perception of “the economy” isn’t the same as reality [New York Times]. As always, when you hear “the economy,” ask “Whose economy?” Because I gotchyer frustration, right here. Pavlina’s famous chart:

pavlina

Total Federal spending on the mid-terms to reach $4 billion [Daily Mail]. Ka-ching!

Checks from billionaires like Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg and James Simons have kept Ds in the game, but Rs dominate dark money [Sunlight Foundation]. However, the majority of the increase in dark money has come from liberals [OpenSecrets]. Ka-ching!

Late race SuperPAC and dark money ad buys flood Senate races [OpenSecrets]. Ka-ching! A fine explainer:

38 percent of the ads bought by outside interest groups were bought by “dark money” organizations that do not disclose their donors to the voters they seek to influence. In the heated battle for control of the Senate, nearly half — 48.6 percent — of the ads were bought by such groups, most of them conservative. In fact, 48 percent of pro-Republican interest group ads in 2014 came from dark money groups, compared to 23 percent of pro-Democratic groups’ ads.

Dark money groups (which don’t have to disclose their donors) can fund SuperPACs (which do), turning the SuperPACs into straws [ProPublica]. (The other phrase for a “dark money group” is a “social welfare non-profit,” apparently.)

Candidates funded under clean election laws can still be overwhelmed by dark money [Arizona Central].

One in seven pro-McConnell ads in Kentucky sponsored by “Kentucky Opportunity Coalition,” which operates out of a PO Box in a strip mall [Bloomberg].

At the SEC, more than 1 million comments have been sent to the agency supporting a rule requiring corporations to disclose political spending (10 times the previous all-time record number of comments to the SEC) [The Hill].

21,000 Kansas voter registrations in suspension due to voter ID law [Wichita Eagle].

40,000 “missing voters” in Georgia [Yahoo News].

Lambert here again: Frankly, I don’t know where to come down on the whole “dark money” thing, which probably won’t be a problem will disappear from the narrative when Ds achieve parity anyhow. While the Supreme’s “money is speech” argument seems ludicrous to me — all of a piece with the neo-liberal drive to turn every social relation into a transaction from which rent can be extracted — I don’t think the Framers had any issues at all with money being “the mother’s milk of politics.” Ben Franklin, bless him, ran a very profitable business printing newspapers and political pamphlets, made sure there was a U.S. Post Office to distribute his product at reduced rates, and “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.” So it’s not like there was a pristine, Eden-pure, money-free electoral system we have only to restore.

On the other hand, the system we have now is looking increasingly like an auction of putatively public offices, except conducted through (more of those rent-extracting) straws and middlemen. Is a more transparent auction really the answer?

On the third hand, the goo-goo slogan “get money out of politics” seems conceptually misplaced to me. Money — its distribution in the form of helicopter drops to rich and poor like, its allocation as capital both private and public, its circulation in “the economy” — is central to politics. If the coin of politics has two sides — values, and interests — money is central to the expression and implementation of both. So, I dunno. I think I might be more into Gene Sharp’s non-violent method of protest and persuasion #198 than anything else.

2016

Mike Huckabee is doing what candidates do, this week in Iowa and everywhere else [Bloomberg].

Clinton wraps up two months on the trail, a trial run for 2016 [CBS]. She’s tanned, rested, and ready [Baltimore Sun].

Jon Stewart on Clinton: She’s a “little hawkish” [Salon]. Well, he won’t like Warren either, then.

Cuomodammerüng

Green Howie Hawkins polls at 9%, after raising enough money to buy one (1) television ad [Vice].

Career “progressives” uneasily try to square fealty to “extraordinarily effective” WFP and Hawkins “Green New Deal” and anti-fracking message [The American Prospect]. Painful straddling is never a pretty sight.

Corrupt D thug Cuomo committed to push for a D New York Senate (!) in his deal with WFP, then reneged. If the Ds win the Senate, the margin will be slight, giving Independents the balance of power, so Cuomo is now courting them [New York Magazine].

Cuomo supporters greet their candidate at his polling place by chanting “Four more years!” [Daily News]. For those who came in late…

Hong Kong

A very useful daily wrap-up of events [Roydon Ng]. Day 38: At Beijing’s airports, they are asking travelers from Hong Kong whether they’re carrying umbrellas.

Pro-Beijing side unhappy Leung hasn’t come up with a way to end the standoff [WSJ].

Stats Watch

Factory orders, September 2014: “Not much better than flat” [Bloomberg]. Hard data contrasts to anecdotal samples.

Redbook, week of November 1, 2014: “This year’s late week Halloween, which fell on a Friday, may have backfired, having on the one hand boosted sales at those stores focusing on Halloween items but reducing sales at other retailers” [Bloomberg]. Exactly the reverse of the theory last week.

Gallup’s October Economic Confidence Index, October 2014: “41 percent of Americans said the economy is getting better, while 54 percent said it is getting worse” [Bloomberg]. The best score since January (!). So, optimism!

America The Petrostate

A look at Pennsylvania after the last petroleum bust [Resilience].

TransCanada applies for pipeline permit to Atlantic terminals, getting tar sands oil out of the ground and bypassing Keystone [Foreign Policy].

Imperial Collapse Watch

Head of Naval Intelligence unable to view classified information for over a year, due to unresolved corruption allegations (bribes, junkets, hookers, “Lion King” tickets) [Mathew Aid].

News of the Wired

  • RIP Tom Magliozzi of Car Talk. “And don’t drive like my brother!” [NPR].
  • An uptick in Ukraine fighting [Globe and Mail].
  • Ammosexual-proofing the new Sandy Hook high school [Businessweek]. Moat, setbacks, lines of fire, etc. Because freedom!
  • Twitter is using Verizon & AT&T’s secret perma-cookie to track you [Wired]. So everybody else is, too. So what’s that GHCQ dude whinging about? [FT, “Tech groups aid terror, says UK spy chief”, links today].They already gave him what he wanted!

* * *

Readers, feel free to me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:

snow_squash

Talk amongst yourselves!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

66 comments

      1. McMike

        One more reason to Kill your TV.

        Like many of our problems, a big part of the answer is media reform.

      2. LifelongLib

        Speaking of TVs:

        http://www.salon.com/2014/10/30/im_terrified_of_my_new_tv_why_im_scared_to_turn_this_thing_on_and_youd_be_too/

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes! In Australia, every politician who is in a party that gets more than a certain minimum % (I forget what the % is) gets a certain number of minutes of free TV time. That’s it. It is remarkable how much less stupid Australian politics are than US politics. Which isn’t to say they aren’t stupid. They still do have Tony Abbot as PM.

      1. Glenn Condell

        I don’t think every politician gets a go, only parties. And so far as I know only the national public broadcasters ABC and SBS carry the free adverts, though I watch so little commercial TV I could be wrong. But that isn’t it as far as advertising goes, there’s paid stuff too, though it doesn’t seem as ubiquitous or important in this day and age with the net and social media. And it isn’t just parties – miners, banks, unions, farmers, lobbyists of all stripes can buy time to urge you to vote or not to vote for this or that party. Again I don’t see much of this as it would all be on commercial but I can recall seeing free ads for both major parties, never for, say, the Greens. The formula is based on votes, so the majors dominate… lucky it’s not based on party membership which in total is well below 1.5% of the populace.

        We actually tried under Hawke/Keating in 91/2 to ban paid political advertising during election campaigns, a la Britain and explicitly to avoid US style outcomes. Minister Beazley said at the time:

        ”the changes were designed to limit corruption, and prevent donors to political parties from exerting undue influence, by restricting the amount of political advertising that could be broadcast. He said that due to the practical cost of advertising, it was only the major parties and very wealthy individuals who could afford to broadcast advertisements. The Government said they had wanted to avoid a situation such as that in the United States, where it is virtually impossible for anyone but the very rich to participate in the political process’

        We farewelled a former PM today, one who gave his life to public service and to helping us to avoid the sort of iniquities and inequalities described above. The reason his death has struck such a chord is not the loss of the man, who enjoyed a long and fruitful innings, but the realisation that much of his work has been and continues to be undone, almost as much by his own party as by the Others. We seem to be descending back into the mire he rescued us from.

        Our Cate spoke movingly of her debt to his free education and health policies and his support of the arts:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uNhvvR6XKI

        but the speech of the day was from Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBM1kGAY3WY

        his list is a long way from complete but gives a sense of the scope and depth of ‘the Program’.

        Meanwhile, Abbott declared yesterday that ‘coal is the future’, taking time out from imposing unlimited fees on students, preparing to sign the TTIP, ratcheting up surveillance and data retention, declaring climate change a hoax, considering privatising Aboriginal land and allowing 99 year mining leases, demonising refugees and welfare recipients…

        Time for a few deep breaths.

      2. Glenn Condell

        Hi Yves

        I commented here an hour or so ago and have had a few disappear lately. Is it in mod or gone fer good?

        Ta

  1. McMike

    re inequality chart:

    yet another data point in the argument that on nearly every measure of modern economy and quality of life, the Reagan administration was the inflection point.

      1. wbgonne

        True re: Carter. But times were different. I even cut Bill Clinton some slack in that his triangulating neoliberalism was at least popular in the 90s. Now the Democrats have completely jumped the shark and are so beholden to Big Money that they would rather lose elections that run or govern as economic populists. Since the purpose of a political party is to win elections that is an epic failure that should send the Democrats to Whig-dom. I expect and hope that today will be one giant step towards political oblivion for the hopelessly corrupt Democratic Party.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It was quasi-popular. Seattle, the 94 election, Clinton’s less than 50 % of the vote, and Al Gore’s loss beg to differ about the popularity of the third way in the 90’s. Bill’s popularity only rose after the impeachment fiasco when he was fighting Republicans.

          The corporate consolidation of the media, the rise of Fox News, and the relative limits of Internet news allowed people to believe Bill was a liberal.

          1. wbgonne

            Yes, I agree with you. IMO, however, the country is far more Progressive today than in the 90s. The issue polling bears this out. Clinton rode the tide; Obama is swimming against it. One tactic is explicable by political expediency; the other demonstrates that political success is no longer the metric.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I think there has been some fantastic leadership on a number of issues such as pot and lgbt rights. Certain issues take time, so what seemed impossible in 1994 isn’t so far fetched today.

              The problem is the national Democrats have offered no leadership.

              Look at tonight’s results. Al Franken, the closest thing to a liberal in the Senate, cruised to victory despite his narrow win six years ago, and six years ago, Minnesota was seen as a pick up opportunity for the GOP. Their White House strategy in 2008 was designed around winning Minnesota. On the flip side, Warner in Virginia had a closing campaign featuring a Boss Hawg look alike, a negative ad, and then an ad espousing mindless bipartisanship with the side he called ‘the problem.” Its mindless. Warner went from an epic victory to Terry Mac numbers despite a demographic shift in Virginia.

              When Bill was in charge, he was to the focus of the Democratic Party, so the party reflected him. With Bill off the scene, smaller voices pushed a better and stronger message which resonated. Even now, the Democrats nationwide ran on no message except to worry about the Obama brand’s status.

              1980, 1984, and 1988 were shaped by cowardly Democrats trying not to be criticised. The voters reacted accordingly. Vietnam elections were just a bridge too far for a Democratic victory.

              As a last note, the Democrats up for reelection tonight were in a bit of bind when it came to messaging. First, Reid and Pelosi have been disasters, so they won’t provide leadership. Obama and Hillary are the elephants in the room. Everyone is waiting for Hillary to make her announcement, so everyone can reassess. No one knows what goes on in Obama’s mind (I’m reminded of a classic Simpsons where we see Homer’s thought process), but he is still a powerful figure who can break aspirations for a random Democrat. They didn’t set an agenda.

      2. McMike

        Oh for sure the ground was being laid and trial balloons/pilot projects launched for various periods before hand. But if you look at the charts, the coincidence of them rolling over/going parabolic right around Reagan’s time is remarkable.

        1. grizziz

          I’ll go with Nixon’s dissolution of Bretton-Woods in 1971. Once currencies could begin to float it opened up the world to financialization. The great games of global arbitrage could begin: first with the massive run up in the price of oil, then the destruction of holders fixed interest debt such as the US Savings and Loan Companies.

          1. psychohistorian

            DING, DING DING!!!!

            The end of the gold standard was the global elite giving the finger to the rest of the world……all your monies are ours. It has just taken them this long to bankrupt the rest of the “free” world.

            And you can bet that these global plutocrats are, as we write our textual white noise, devoiding themselves of currencies in favor of property and commodities that they will trade in when they create the next fake sovereign currency like the US dollar. The crash will occur when all their power and control are secure.

          2. jrs

            peak u.s. oil about that time. Why does it matter? Because then the U.S. chose the empire route (with dominance over oil) and the rich the grab everything while there’s still something to grab route.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Sure, “right around Reagan’s time.” I just don’t think Reagan was the driver, and the process began before he took office. I believe, for example, that real wages flattened pre-Reagan. So I object to the periodization, and I’m still a guy who says “Washington National Airport,” mkay?

          I collected charts showing mid-70s inflection points; there were a ton. Clearly, something seismic happened at around that time.

      3. optimader

        the tweet chart truncation misrepresents dx/dt through the BHO term.
        http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/9/25/6843509/income-distribution-recoveries-pavlina-tcherneva

  2. wbgonne

    I agree. And that fact is important for those of us wishing for alternatives to the corporate duopoly. We cannot compete with them financially. But we don’t have to if we can find cheap, non-TV alternatives (like this internet thing I keep hearing about). Or, heaven forfend, actual human get-togethers. Organization and targeted efforts are the key, IMO. Achieve some political success and cultivate it. Since we don’t have excess capacity we must focus our efforts ant not be wasteful. Meanwhile, we also move on non-political levels to revamp the culture. We need the Progressive version of the Powell Memorandum and we have to do it on a shoestring budget. Again, organization is the key because our resources are scarce.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Tahrir Square, indignados, the state capitol occupations, Occupy proper, carré rouge, Ferguson, Hong Kong. We have many developing, evolving models right now, if only we will look. And that’s before we get to more conventional forms of civic engagement, as for example interventions into the permitting processes for landfills, pipelines, fracking, etc.

        1. McMike

          All true, but those first two of mine come to mind as classic examples of successful lasting social change movements that faced tremendous odds.

          And also of the important takeaway, they are built from the bottom up, one kitchen table at a time, and they endeavor to dare people to imagine a better world.

        2. lee

          Perhaps it is merely nostalgia for my misspent youth, Berkeley in the 60s and 70s, but I am still after all these years a great fan of direct action. OWS made my old, weltschmerz-laden heart sing. Back in the day, utilizing primarily land line phone trees, we could martial hundreds or even thousands in less than 24 hours to show up at the corner of Bancroft and Telegraph to protest the latest outrage at home or abroad.

        1. John Zelnicker

          Here is one reason:

          http://www.alternet.org/corporate-accountability-and-workplace/corporate-hitmans-top-10-tips-trashing-progressives-and-their?paging=off

          And, I think it was the latest Hedges-Wolin interview posted here yesterday (?) that discussed the intentional fragmentation of the citizenry into small personal interest groups that can be manipulated against each other thereby preventing coalitions based on broader public interest. This strategy has been carried on since, probably, the Powell Memorandum.

          1. wbgonne

            Sorry about that cryptic response. I had a tech glitch and then had to run. My “wow” was in response to the nastiness in the Alternet piece. And I have read the intesresting Wolin-Hedges colloquies. I recognize the obstacles to any immediate mass Progressive movement. That will take time. My immediate goal — or the one I think might be most fruitful — is organizing those Progressives who already exist and are eager for a way to connect and make an impact. Is it in the Green Party? Via Cfdtrade? Something completely different? I think right now we have a lot of fragmentation even within the Progressive Left and that is both unfortunate and easily remedied.

          2. Foy

            No 4 on Bermans list:

            “Make it personal.” Berman’s associate Hubbard described how they go after concerned citizens who dare to challenge their clients: “We do have a section on every single activist. Their rap sheets, their criminal records they have. We’re really making this personal. We’re trying to make it so they don’t have any credibility with the public, with the media, or with the legislators.”

            When you have the NSA hoovering up everything in sight, with 75%+ of that data collection/management outsourced to private companies, there’s no doubt in my mind the Bermans of the world already have access to way more ‘useful’ information than their rap sheets to target people with. There’s the real reason for the NSA’s existence…skeletons in the closet

  3. James

    The thought of the HillaBeast being “tanned, rested, and ready” is enough to make one renounce even the faintest thought of carnal pleasures. Or as the 20 somethings are wont to say these days, “EWW!!!”

  4. LaRuse

    Re: Sandyhook High School
    The designers/architects seem to have lost sight of the fact that this is a place where kids are supposed to get an education, not a for-profit prison. But that seems like a pretty good correlation to the state of the US these days: Security first! Jobs, education, infrastructure, food security, income equality, and education isn’t all that important anymore in the United States of Fear.

    1. WFGersen

      Until I read the last paragraphs of each I was SURE the articles about Sandy Hook and the armored clipboard were from the Onion or maybe from Monty Python… ay yi yi!!! You cannot make this stuff up…

  5. Doug Terpstra

    Obama is likely hoping for a 2010 repeat tonight, a Republican win, to enable his Grand Betrayal. His recent campaign efforts were as lame as last time.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What can Obama campaign on? In 2012, he ran on the lie that his second term would be different. Let’s not forget the story about his reelection campaign where he acknowledges outside of killing people, Obama has nothing.

      As for his rhetorical skills, bland platitudes work for up and comers.

  6. savedbyirony

    Hardly ever attempted more than an oil change on a car myself but what great company the brothers and their callers were for years every Saturday morning. R.I.P. bro

  7. dannyc

    Redesigning Sandy Hook After Newtown’s Tragedy… It’s odd that this article appears on election day. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley’s central campaign issue is the neo-liberal cant “failing schools.” His television ad spending has been aimed almost entirely at informing Connecticut voters that their schools are failing.

  8. Vatch

    In this article: “Many Holding Their Noses as They Cast Ballots”, by Nancy Benac, a voter says:

    “The Republicans are too much to the right, and the Democrats are too much to the left.”

    Aaarggghh! When will people learn?

    1. DJG

      Ah, yes, the semi-mythical moderate American voter, always white, who wants stasis, stagnation, and big sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving. A tiresome crew. Old adage: Road kill.

    2. cwaltz

      Too much to the left? LOL I wonder what the center of cutting domestic spending and cutting domestic spending or defense spending ad nauseaum vs defense spending ad nauseaum looks like? I’m guessing a whole lot like the imaginary left and right narrative.

  9. TedWa

    Some in Tallahassee claim you don’t need a Constitutional amendment to get money out of politics. We can make state laws – maybe along the lines of what Tallahassee is doing. Part of their bill is to give voters rebates of up to $25 for contributions. Do it local, the USG is too corrupt and too slow to get anything done.

    1. sleepy

      I bet those rebates will come as gift cards with user fees, and a big management contract for Chase or JP Morgan, lol.

  10. STEPHEN V

    http://m.democracynow.org/stories/14748

    Good piece on Green Hawkins. Worth it to see Juan Gonzales ask Cuomomo more about his corruption Commission.

  11. Jay M

    Couldn’t our votes be for sale?
    E-Bag.Com
    (Highest valuation in the universe until the empire crashed)
    Democommunism–that might sell?
    Liberatian self interest– sniff, sniff, interesting

  12. Jeremy Grimm

    DO REGISTER! DO VOTE!

    Register for some party NOT AS INDEPENDENT. That way you can vote in primaries in the hopes of lessering the lessers of evil.[Hint you do NOT have to vote for a party in the general election!!!!!]

    DO VOTE IN THE FINAL ELECTION.
    If you see someone you believe in — vote for them — any party.
    If all you see is lesser EVILS ————–
    Vote “no” . Write in little “n” little “o” and VOTE! You show that you are NOT APATHETIC and you SHOW That you WILL NOT VOTE FOR TWEEDLE DEE or TWEEDLE DOM or an any other TWEEDLES.

    Before wantonly voting for anybody except Republican or Democrat, remember that Adolf Hitler with ~1/3 of the vote was a protest vote. Better to vote “no” unless you know your choice. “no” got rid of Pinochet. Who knows — it could get rid of even worse candidates or incumbents.

    1. jrs

      Isn’t the “no” assuming write ins are counted and that there is a way to handle a rejection of the candidates if by some miracle it was the majority? I very much doubt they are. Are they even on the ballot if it’s all electronic? Now if we had an actual “none of the above” option “no” might work but your assuming it will work in the existing system, I doubt those votes are even counted. I honestly don’t think there is any way in the existing rules to get rid of people via “no”. Meanwhile if Adolf Hitler happens to be running under the Green ticket and someone reflexively votes Green I guess it would be a problem …

      I can vote in the primaries without registering with some party. Now open primaries may not be a good idea as they prevent 3rd parties getting on the general election, but if they are already the law of the land as in this state they do make registering with a party completely and utterly pointless.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Write in votes are counted in many counties across the U.S. It helps if the name written in is the same — hence little “n” little “o” (unless a machine defaults to capital letters). How votes are counted is under local or at most state control across the U.S. If your county doesn’t allow for write-in votes or doesn’t count them — find out how to change that. Change locally isn’t as difficult or expensive as change at the state or national level.

  13. Jeremy Grimm

    If most $$$$$$ are spent on radio and television why are we allowing our elections to pump money right back in to holes that the money come from? Whatever happened to the FCC? Whatever happened to the notion that the airwaves belonged to the public and were ALLOWED to the broadcasters for Programming — NEWS, Educational Programs, Music, and other entertainments for the public good? Public Service Announcements!!! and what about PUBLIC ELECTION BROADCASTING? Where does it say that elections should provide a windfall to our radio and television networks — IP based NOT excluded?

    Who owns the networks now? It seems that contributions go right back into the same pockets they came from. HOW CONVENIENT?

    And while the populous sedately “occupies” — WHATEVER HAPPENED TO WOODEN SHOES and WILD CATS? Hasn’t anyone noticed how extended the supply chain is? or how fragile? Why the kid gloves?

  14. just_kate

    haven’t commented here in a few months – simply been too depressed with all the world events and whatnot. for the first time in my life i did not vote today. i just could not stomach participating in this fracked up system any longer. i am one of those fools who has no way to use the tax code to my advantage, no mortgage interest as a renter, no kids, no expenses to itemize, etc. so with a W2 income i am basically financing a government i no longer believe in and i am sick of it. the collapse can’t come soon enough for me, i am ready to be a part of what comes next.

    1. jrs

      I didn’t vote because I’ve been under the weather, I feel bad about state props that’s all, the lesser evils whatever (although the truth is this state is so solidly blue that it’s not going to get very red any time in the foreseeable future anyway). So I guessed I haven’t at all renounced voting in principle (although there are many LOTEs I have renounced voting for in principle!), just put taking care of my body first and didn’t plan very well.

      I have no way to use the tax code to my advantage either and the immorality of funding this government pains me (but what to do, even minimum wage would NOT put me below the tax line, and of course I couldn’t live on minimum wage). Why is it immoral? Mostly: ENDLESS WAR! In other words endless murder for profit. Though you could add in the intelligence agencies, the CIA, the NSA, the totalitarian attitude toward protestors, the way it ruins global cooperation on anything better (from climate talks to rules of war).

      I was 100% convinced 2008 was THE COLLAPSE. They one I highly suspected was coming. Did I wish for it? Partly but partly dreaded it. More I just I saw it as inevitable, out of my hands and inevitable. What happened was actually far MORE ugly than anything I could have imagined then. I imagined widespread collapse of this system, with much suffering to be sure, that had a good chance of leading to a new system arising out of it (I thought what had the possibility though not inevitability to arise out of it would be more cooperative, much more local, and maybe ultimately more rewarding). I was naive. What actually happened, the rich got entirely bailed – massive bailouts, and life continues to get worse for most of the 99s, but noone cares not even the 99s themselves half the time, and the system creaks on. Can’t say I believe in salvation through collapse now. A next might come whether through collapse are not, work on it now if you can, there are ways to do work now for the world one wishes to see (dipthero’s cooperative discussions). Although I have also gotten a lot more cynical about humanity, or if not really humanity at least about AMERICANS, which doesn’t help any and could be wrong (it’s usually based on pretty hasty generalizations when I get shocked about what *some* of my fellow citizens really are).

  15. Lambert Strether Post author

    “In The Vaults Where The Dry Powder Is Stored” is the best Daily Kos post EVAH; NotTimothyGeithner alluded to it yesterday.

    So I think the Ds will play it safe, so as not to jeopardize their chances in 2016.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I do despise the Mormon convert.

      Since I’m a contration by nature, I’m going to be positive.

      First, the Democratic lost dead weight and embarrassed a do nothing Senator who whines about how the other Seantors don’t listen to his banality.

      Two, 60 won’t happen, so Team Blue can’t promise that in 2016.

      Three, Cruz and his ilk will be extra crazy. The GOP kept it together this go around. There were no high profile Palin-types.

      Four, Al Franken cruised to victory. I have numerous issues with Al, but Al has been one of the least egregious Senators out there. Even Van Jones noted this on CNN.

      Five, turnout was abysmal. The GOP was firing on all cylinders, and this election was completely about the nominal left, not the GOP.

      Six, the HIllary effect. Hillary and Bill just didn’t have much in the way of star power. Hillary wants a coronation, not a race. The race will be open, and the Democrats will have to start competing and building profiles because an Obama-style candidate won’t just emerge. People want too many answers.

      Seven. Democrats already were trying to throw Debbie Wasserman Schultz under the bus. I expect after the dead weight at the top is cleared out the Democratic underlings will be more free to express themselves. The leadership will come under scrutiny. Its important to remember many Democratic behaviors over the last few years were justified with assertions that the decision was political, and I think while Obama was black and on the ballot people could handle this excuse given the country’s history with race.

      Eight. This really changes nothing. Yes, many of the new Republicans aren’t branded Teabaggers, but they aren’t from the Romney wing. They fit the mold created by Newt Gingrinch when he took over recruitment in the 1980’s. They are too extreme for the older GOP types and will lead to continued dead lock. Obama won’t be able to work with them on any shared wet dream because they despise Obama.

  16. Bunk McNulty

    Jesus, they all won. McConnell, Rick Scott, Scott Walker. Fa chrissakes, Joni Ernst won. You who were so worried about Mysterious Greg Ormon, well, he lost, too. Look: Either our voting process is broken (campaign finance, voter registration) or we all like things just the way they are. Or maybe we think we can, by voting R, turn the clock back to 2004, and this time we’ll play Blankfein, Dimon, Lewis, Mozilo, etc. against each other instead of letting them play us. O foolish fantasy of revenge.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      All that happened was Democrats ran a terrible and out of touch campaign. Turnout was a joke, but the population that stayed home didn’t stay home because of this site.

      Likely Democratic voters are deeply dissatisfied with the state of affairs, and Democrats campaigned on how great they were with a special emphasis on reaching out to “national debt” voters. Their voters stayed home in droves.

      As Harry Truman pointed out, republicans when the choice is GOP and GOP lite. The rest is how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    2. psychohistorian

      And it looks like the 20 million they spent to defeat GMO labeling in Oregon was enough, barely.

      It seems fairly clear that our sick world must continue to be abused by those that believe in the Gawd of Mammon.

      If I was of Faith I would ask her to start over because what we have now is very dysfunctional and not a very good testament to her greatness.

      1. jrs

        It’s always enough barely. EXACT SAME THING as happened in CA with GMO labeling (an election I most definitely did vote in), GMO labeling lost but it was very close . Coincidence? Or is it?

    3. just_kate

      i think we are at a tipping point for real this time, something else is on the way. rick scott’s re-election says a lot to me and i live on the west coast – at first i was upset for my FL friends but then a sense of AHA – we shall see.

      1. jrs

        FL got a majority for pot legalization, but it required a super-majority 60% for it to pass. So in that specific case is the problem really “the voters” or a non-democratic political system (hard to argue super-majorities are democratic).

        Meanwhile I guess in Oregon you have a right to smoke pot but not to know what is in your food (labeling). F’d up.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Rick Scott’s challenger was long time Republican and Bush associate Charlie Christ. That alone will sink turn out. The Democratic Party has made no secret they expected to capture Hispanic voters the way they captured African-American voters. Here’s the problem: those voters are young and are least likely to have enjoyed the benefits of the Obama economy. The Democrats betrayed Hispanic activists on the DREAM Act instead opting for a policy of corporate serfdom and brutality. Christ never tried to do anything about these problems with his candidacy. Florida has a snow bird population too. Voting is/can be easily forgotten.

        The GOP turnout was representative of its shrinking population. It wouldn’t have taken much to produce a different outcome. The Democratic leadership was just in denial, and they were supported by the Team Blue fanatics who painted any critics as cranks.

        Even a terrible 50 state strategy operation would have saved Team Blue last night. As for OFA, it’s an Obama cult, nothing more.

  17. ewmayer

    I think this Onion piece pretty much predicted the outcome of this midterm.

    The one undoubted for me is the polling showing 2/3 of Americans are very concerned about the economy. That tells me that despite stawk markits at record levels, 5+ years of looter-oligarchy-targeted bailouts and monetary easing and ceaseless recovery propagandizing, hoi polloi ain’t buying what’s on offer. Call it a “don’t piss down our backs and tell us it’s raining” vote. Not that The Other Party will do anything substantively different, mind you.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      One would have thought the Team Blue brain trust would have at least come up with false promises.

  18. zapster

    Jim Crow won, I’m afraid. Between this:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/11/3/jim_crow_returns_interstate_crosscheck_program
    and the hundreds of thousands disenfranchised by voter ID laws (people in Texas with suspended licenses from *parking tickets* were turned away) there is no way I can consider any of these elections legitimate.
    This is a coup, not an election.

    1. psychohistorian

      I think the coup happened long ago and we are just now seeing the iron fist come out of the velvet glove.

      I think the slope into darkness could come quickly now. We just think things couldn’t get worse. When does the circular firing squad shit start? After all, its all us damn hippies fault the world is so screwed up, right?

      The inherited rich have created a social organization that is destructive and unsustainable but they have survived in control for centuries now so who am I to think anyone or anything (Mother Nature) can stop this inhumanity? I just do wish better for our species than the current likely epithet of our demise “They thought themselves Gods because they created them in their likeness and could never evolve beyond them”.

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