Saturday, January 28, 2012

This crap again

Is it fair to say that Democrats are every bit as bad as Republicans? No, of course it isn't, but that isn't the question. It never was. All the initiatives that make society worse come from Republicans. That much is clear. The real question is, are the Democrats an adequate and effective counterweight against Republican outrages, or does their ineptitude and lack of real conviction on its leadership levels cause them to play an enabling role? I really think you have to be drinking some pretty heavy-duty Kool-Aid not to realize that "B" is the correct answer.

What's going on with the recall election against Scott Walker is a very instructive example. Thousand of volunteers collected twice the number of signatures necessary to make the recall happen, and this despite assaults and threats from the pig-ignorant racists and rednecks who support Scott Walker. So how is the Democratic Party hierarchy rewarding this display of political faith and dedication? With about the level of feckless ineptitude political observers have come to expect from them.

Right now the Democrats don't really have the strong political figure necessary to oppose Scott Walker. So of course, the Democrats are gearing up for what I call a "clown-car" primary. This refers to a primary election so cluttered with inferior candidates that it becomes difficult for a strong candidate to emerge in the lead. In a recall election such as this, a clown-car primary makes the challengers waste time, manpower, and resources on this process, while the incumbent side is able to focus on gearing up to fight the challenge.

I'm not exactly impressed with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, either. With Governor Jim Doyle stepping down, it was he who ran against Scott Walker for the governor's seat in November 2010. It was close enough that it was obvious that the only reason Walker won was because it was a fear-and-discontent-driven wave-election. And President Obama bears at least some responsibility for that by 1) ramming unpopular healthcare "reform" down the country's throat [seriously, making everybody buy health insurance from private industry at rates to be determined by that industry; how is that not going to be a disaster?] and 2) filling his administration with the same old Wall Street crony capitalists who got us into the mess in which we no find ourselves, thus ensuring that nothing changes and none of those fat-cats will face any consequences. Polls also indicate that Barrett is as close to a popular leadership-figure as we're going to get. But right now Barrett is dithering about a rematch election because he might not be able to focus on being re-elected Mayor of Milwaukee if he does that. For fuck's sake, we need real leaders right now, not careerist-politicians who are more concerned with their own perquisites and position than what a crucial moment such as this demands.

And if the Scott Walker Republicans win this election by totally lying, cheating, and stealing just like you can consistently count on them to do, what might you expect from the Democrats in that situation? You can be pretty sure they would sit on their hands and play dumb just like they did on the national level in both 2000 and 2004. I would seriously love nothing more than to be proven wrong on this one, but I have found that in the sphere of human events (especially in a very dysfunctional situation), there are few more effective ways to predict the future than to extrapolate based on the relatively recent past. Those who do otherwise are generally motivated by a strong desire to deceive themselves.

Don't get me wrong. I will still go to the polls and vote for whoever the candidate opposing Scott Walker is, even if I have to hold my nose. (Former Congressman David Obey is the only prospective candidate for whom I can see myself having to do said holding. He's an asshole, basically.) Expecting a perfect candidate is certainly a good way to set oneself up for disappointment, especially when we're talking about the Democrats. But I have to be honest that what I'm seeing going on right now is every bit as dismaying as it is unsurprising.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why the recall against Scott Walker could fail

This is basically a comment I made on a blog-entry well worth reading, Waking Up And Walking Away by John Michael Greer, AKA "The Archdruid".

My comment:

As long as I've brought up the subject of Governor Scott Walker, your post this week made me realize some things about the groundswell of popular opinion against him here in Wisconsin. About a year ago when the massive demonstrations against his anti-union policies were occuring in Madison, it was really good to see so many people caring about those issues. But I couldn't help but wonder why they were caring now and not thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago.

And the answer is that Walker's moves against public employees are an assault on the middle class, whereas in the past, the policy-assaults were mostly on the laboring class. And this probably explains the puzzling number of white working-class people who support Scott Walker. On a level these people likely don't even entirely recognize, they are probably thinking, "You middle-class liberals didn't care when people like me were having our lives ground into sausage by those rich people!" I like to think that I cared at least at little, but I have pretty much been a rather marginalized and isolated person ever since being forced to realize that the denizens of the college "PC" scene weren't really my friends.

Here is JMG's response:

Mister R., bingo! When the blue collar jobs were the ones being thrown under the bus, the middle class was babbling horseradish about the wonderful new globalized economy, and how everybody (meaning, of course, everybody in their class) would prosper in it. Now it's the turn of the middle class to go under the bus, and the survivors of the old working class are not impressed by the screams of outrage.

The clown-car primary for which the strategically-incompetent Democrats are currently gearing up may be one reason the recall election might fail to oust Governor Scott Walker from office. But the main reason it could fail is that bitter, alienated working-class people could well turn out in droves to make sure that the ultimate fate of middle-class liberals gets tossed into the wood-chipper the way the fate of their class was tossed into the wood-chipper all those years ago. And it's not entirely undeserved, either.

I remember the Eighties and the Nineties, and the tacit subtext of socio-economic discussions amongst middle-class liberals back then was that laboring-class folk are not among The People Who Matter in the new exegesis of the age. And that has a lot to do with why so many working-class men tune in to right-wing talk-radio to hear Rush Limbaugh stroke their mad-on about upper-middle-class liberals. And why does one suppose that Republican wave-elections such as 2010 and 1994 are such tidal waves, whereas Democratic wave-elections such as 2006 and 2008 are more like municipal-swimming-pool-on-a-windy-day waves? There is an invisible class of dispossessed caucasians in this country who are the children of the rural underclass, and it is because these people feel so forgotten about that they can be counted on to put Republicans in office out of ignorance and spite when they bother to vote.

Without a doubt, putting Republicans in office will cause their lot to deteriorate more quickly. But their lot has been getting worse for so long with nobody really seeming to care that much that they figure it will get worse no matter what, so why not speed it up a bit in order to stick to the assholes who let them down? It's not a very rational line of thinking to be sure, but human nature just ain't rational. Never has been, never will be.

I guess that has a lot to do with my decision to just "let it all go and let it all die" if Scott Walker's tenure in the governor's mansion survives the recall. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that whatever is going to happen is simply going to happen and have peace over it.

For more insight into this phenomenon, here's a reworked version of editor and writer Mark Ames's classic Spite The Vote.

See also Chris Hedges on the death of the liberal class.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I urge the very tiny handful of people who might see this blog today to contact their Federal representative and Senators about these very fucked-up pieces of Internet-targeted legislation that are currently pending in Congress.

The Wisconsin recall effort

Recall organizers say they have more than one million signatures against Scott Walker.

State Dem Chair Mike Tate said the party would oppose any efforts by the Government Accountability Board to unnecessarily delay certifying an election. He also suggested the agency should certify an election once it counts the 540,208 valid signatures needed and could then finish going through the rest later.

“We clearly believe there is no challenge, legal or otherwise, that would prevent the recalls from going forward,” Tate said.

Tate said the party did not have exact numbers because signatures continued to roll in this morning. But he said in addition to the more than 1 million against Walker, recall organizers had more than 845,000 against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, more than 21,000 against state Sen. Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls, more than 21,000 against state Sen. Pam Galloway of Wausau and more than 24,000 against Van Wanggaard of Racine.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A band I would have loved back in the day had I known of them

The drummer is smokin' hot. Or was, as that hard-rocker lifestyle may have taken its toll on him all these years later!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Evolving philosophy of life (A rewrite of something earlier I decided to scrub)

My fundamental premise remains that we live in a shit-encrusted write-off of a society. But if other people want to codependently cling to false hope about it, one should just let them do that and not get all hot and bothered or need to act out about it. For one thing, if other people are being codependent, you're not going to disabuse them of that because a cardinal characteristic of codependency is clinging to something that doesn't really work with a white-knuckled death-grip. For another thing, if you feel you should be giving other people attitude because they are supposedly being codependent, then it is you who is being codependent, and that is that codependency you need to be trying to change. You need to be taking care of your own business and not using what other people are being, doing, or having as an excuse to behave foolishly. This really should be "no-duh" stuff, but if you live in a society that does its level-best to drive you insane every day, then you need to make a point of reminding yourself of "no-duh" stuff such as this every day.

Besides, if whatever is going to happen is going to happen regardless of what we do, then why get all worked up over things that are not your concern or that you certainly can't change? Your priority needs to be working on your own spiritual life in such a situation. As I've said before, there is no thought more truly despairing than believing that your life lacks all meaning if you can't change situations or people in the dysfunctional society in which you live.