Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Stakes

I'll admit I have significantly less enthusiasm for Bernie and Hillary than I did for Barack Obama; were either of them to win the presidency, I'm certain there'd be no tears in my eyes on election night the way there were when Obama won. But I'd unreservedly vote for either of them over any of the R candidates. The stakes are simply too high. As Charlie Pierce points out, the water debacle in Flint is the perfect example of why that is; far as I'm concerned, whoever wins the nomination should harp on it nonstop. And connect it, in terms of what would happen were all three branches to go R, to everything else that matters: climate, environment, health care, and on and on.

Every election is claimed to be the one where the very survival of the country is on the line. This time, though, I think it's really true. We've seen the "agenda" of the current R party; that every single one of their prospective nominees (Kasich who has zero chance, excepted maybe) is a flat-out liar says most of what we need to know. Beyond that, imagine where we're headed if climate change is ignored, if income inequality gets any worse, if environmental regulations are removed, if gay rights and women's are rescinded, if Muslims are broad-brush demonized, if the US becomes an overtly Christian nation of the type promoted by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (the type that justifies selfishness and hatred, which is a kind it's hard to recognize but there it is), if public education is allowed to wither, if science becomes something to ignore entirely. If voting rights continue to be denied to certain groups of citizens.

Flint. That's the wormhole through which we can see the future. Says Charlie:

As part of the deal that was wrangled out of the Democratic National Committee, there will be more debates, and one of them will be in Flint, Michigan. So here's my tip for the two candidates, and for all their followers currently engaged on Twitter in the Battle of Antietam: 
Knock that shit off for one night. 
The only issues to be debated in Flint involve the failure at all levels of Republican (and conservative) government, and the destruction of the political commonwealth by the same. Just take turns pointing that out for a couple of hours and you may not have to worry about who you're running against. Also, if you can have a big pitcher of lovely yellow water on your podiums for the camera, that would be nice, too...

Seriously. Today's Republican Party, what's left of it, has gone nuts. They're nothing but a bunch of ideological mongers of selfishness and victimhood. And shoot-first war. If they take over, kiss our kids' future goodbye. Well, unless you're one of their oligarchical sponsors. Then you can build a little higher, filter the air a little longer, build your own hospital, and outlast the rest of us. By a few years.

[Image source]


  1. Amen. When I read that Pierce installment this morning I'm pretty sure that my pulse rate and blood pressure began to rise, a good reaction. Moderate, Democratic, and liberal candidates have been given a gift by Michigan's governor. They should all latch onto that like a pit bull on a piece of meat and not let go of it!

    The consequences of handing the presidency to the GOP, with a GOP House and Senate would be a disaster, as you describe, with all sorts of secondary and tertiary effects. I just finished reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, a black lawyer who has spent his life fighting for justice for the innocent, poor, black, mentally ill, and children wrongly or cruelly imprisoned in the South and elsewhere in the U.S. It's an excellent read.

    One of the topics he discusses is the increase in incarceration and death penalty sentences as a result of conservative (former Dixiecrats) and Republican legislation, but also Supreme Court rulings, in the latter half of the last century. He also points a finger at the companies who built the prisons. They were busy handing out campaign donations and lobbying dollars in return for the changes in the laws. Prisons are good business for everybody in the chain, except of course the weak, poor, and innocent.

    And today, although incarceration rates have declined in recent years, we face Republican commitment to for-profit prisons:

    If that happens we will see laws changed, incarceration rates explode, and more prison abuses. If prisons are good business, then profit prisons are even better. All in the name of shrinking that government, of course!

  2. I voted for President Obama in both elections, and while I still love the guy, he really disappointed me. He needed to be tough against the Koch driven R's, instead, he tried to offer olive branches, which resulted in him being viewed as timid, not only in the eyes of his enemies, but in much of the country as well.
    Was he a victim of vicious and blatant racism? Hell yes! Should he have "played the race card"?; I think he should. His overwhelming support from the black community, now largely disillusioned, would have been solidly behind him, along with the growing progressive (not "liberal wave in the wind" Democrats.
    Oh well, what's done is done, but I believe we have another chance to right the "rising tides raise all boats) ship in the coming election, and it ain't Ms Clinton, it's Bernie Sanders.He has captured the youth vote, who realize that without some major changes in their government, they're going to be permanently screwed. This is a huge advantage that, that because of her image as an "establishment" candidate, Hillary will not carry. If Hillary (the DNC choice)wins, I predict that: 1)The R's will eat her alive over Bengazi (they'e already started) and "Obamacare", (the (R name for the ACA), and 2) the youth vote will be lost having been screwed again along with the black vote, when Hillary caves and the current status quo not only remains but grows stronger after realizing that no matter what party wins, they can't lose.
    At 75+ I don't expect to see 2 more presidential elections (nor do I expect Bernie to run again in 2020. The time is now...

  3. I have the same reservations about Hillary, Mr Thompson (I also have close to the same number of years.) My concerns about Bernie, with whom I agree on pretty much everything, is his style; I wish he'd frame the income/wealth disparity issue in less "us vs. them" terms, because I think the argument can be made that the wealthy (and Wall Street) have something to gain from seeing to it that more Americans have a living wage. Were he to do that he might get less virulent pushback.

    It's also the case, as Bernie says, that he'd not be able to get much done unless people wake up and elect representatives of similar inclination. It's an uphill battle, given the entrenched gerrymandered districts throughout the South; but it doesn't seem impossible, assuming he, or Hillary if it's her, pushes hard the obvious consequences of Rs keeping control of Congress, and getting the White House. Democrats haven't been good at making that argument, despite how easy it ought to be.

  4. every single one of their prospective nominees (Kasich who has zero chance, excepted maybe) is a flat-out liar

    Kasich absolutely NOT excepted. . . just FYI. Check out . .I think you'd like it.

  5. Thanks, Stephanie. In a field like the current one, a guy like Kasich seems, on first blush, to be sorta reasonable. But he's not, as you said, and the article shows.

    NIce photos on your blog, BTW.

  6. Kasich's shtick is to appear 'sorta reasonable'. . . but as an Ohio public employee, I know different. . .

    Also, Plunderbund isn't mine. . .I just follow it religiously, and thought you might enjoy it.

  7. I was referring to Sandysphotos, which I figured is yours based on the link to it.

    Yeah, I don't much like Kasich. If I had a gun to my head and was forced to vote for one of them, I guess it might be him. Or, if I had the guts, I'd say "Just shoot me." He's nearly as much of a religion-pusher as the rest, for one thing; and I'm aware of his dealings with public employees, only slightly less horrible than Scott Walker. Teachers like yourself (again, an assumption based on your link) deserve far better than what they've been getting from various R governors. Same with unions in general.

  8. If you want to understand how this plays out, England provides an illustrative example. The wealthy blocked a cleanup of the Thames (via their puppets in gov't) in the 1800s because were so opposed to gov't spending. And you can be sure those country houses we love to see on PBS shows were nowhere near that river. It was only after the "Great Stink" in the late 1850's that they finally gave in. Learning little from the episode about public goods, they managed to eventually sink their entire economy by refusing to invest in education. After all why should Sir Blowhard pay taxes to educate the offspring of those commoners? So England had a far lower proportion of educated people compared to the rest of the Continent or the US. Even though many of the Industrial Revolution breakthroughs happened in England, the process of continuing improvement as well as efficient operation of the economy required a modicum of education, which they flatly resisted providing.

    Gradually we'll almost all come to live like they do in Appalachia. A wealthy few will ride along for a generation or two; with no estate tax and no capital gains the plutocrats will be able to pass wealth down almost unhindered. But as a few decades march by technology will advance and our country will be another footnote in history.

  9. That's an excellent comment, "Anonymous." I'd request that you include some kind of identifier -- you can do so without having to set up an account -- so I'll know you if you return. Initials at the end of the comment, for example. Or a made-up name.

    Thanks. And thanks for a sadly prescient view.

  10. Kasich is "only slightly less horrible than Scott Walker" because Ohio voters were able to overturn his signature anti-public employees law. . . Wisconsin voters were not able to recall Scott Walker.

    He is unbearable. . . "if you’re not on the bus, we will run over you with the bus. And I’m not kidding.” and the ever popular “Have you ever been stopped by a policeman who was an idiot?” he said. “I had this idiot pull me over on 315…He’s an idiot."

    He's term-limited here, so that's a plus for us. But I suspect he will be in the VP conversation (although he has said he would never want to be VP..that he "would be the worst vice president anybody could ever imagine.") That's probably true; he's already the worst governor I can imagine.

    My prediction? Rubio-Kasich '16. . . If I had a gun to my head, I agree with you. . .I hope I'd have the guts to say "Just shoot me". But I know I wouldn't vote for Kasich.


    No, Sandysphotos not mine. . . it's my mother's. . . I edited my profile to reflect that. And yes, I'm a teacher. :)

  11. Agree with you, Sid. Completely. But I might cry if Hillary wins because this feminist doesn't have too many election cycles left to see the day a woman becomes president.

    I've been watching a UW election season lecture series on-line presented by the chair of the UW Communications Dept. The static camera placement is annoying, but this guy is an informative and engaging lecturer. Check it out if ya wanna:

    Thanks always, DW

  12. As always, Sid, right on the money. Oh how tedious it is to keep harping on the same old, same old all the time, eh? I hope you can somehow find the strength to keep it up - we need you.


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