2006

(1) Democrats will gain control of the House, barely. When people want a change, they can vote for the other party on a down ticket race, but they still might have more personal loyalty to their Senator. I think the Senate will be close to 50-50.

(2) The Ottawa Senators will win the Stanley Cup.

(3) The Liberals will win the Canadian election, but will still be in the minority. The upshot? They will have to concede more to the NDP, moving the goverment to the left, not to the right. Canadians aren’t going to put a Bush-like government into place.

(4) Iraq will see an increase in inter-sectarian conflict.

Is It Really Left-Wing Versus Right?

I’m often perplexed at the right-wing’s loathing of people like Bill Clinton who did more than most Republican presidents (including Nixon, Bush I, Ford, and arguably Reagan) to further the Conservative agenda. The conservative policy agenda that is.

You see, the observation that the Bush Administration does not have a policy apparatus means that the problems we are having now transcend left-right ideological battles. Most observers have noticed that the Republicans shift what they stand for based on what they want to do at the moment. When they want to defeat an entitlement, they argue for fiscal restraint; when they want a tax cut, they use discredited supply-side arguments.

You simply cannot predict Republican behavior in any scientific way by examining conservative principles. You can, however, predict what they will do if you examine their political and social enemies and their paymasters.

Clinton didn’t always do what his party’s base wanted; quite often the reverse was true. But most of what the man did worked, and looking at the post below about New Orleans state to this day made me think of this.

Even in foreign policy, Clinton’s people were right more than they were wrong. The problem with Clinton was, he thought good policy was good politics. It is with average everyman, but it’s not with the highly involved hate drive groups, like the Christian right, the oil-defense complex (i.e. The Texas Conspiracy), and gun people.

Abortions are good policy; gun control is good policy; carbon reduction is good policy; peace is good policy; etc. Good policy for everyone often angers people with entrenched power or dogmatic ideals.

America is not adrift because Bush has followed conservative policies; it’s because he’s followed none at all.

Do You Really Think…

Swaths of New Orleans would be festering in squalor months after the city had been pumped dry and that there would still be no tangible plan for reconstruction if Bill Clinton were President?

The War on Xmas: Republican "Code" For Anti-Semetism?

Some Orthodox Jews and some Conservatron Evangelicals have long maintained a psilocybic alliance based on the Evangelicals’ eschatological blood lust to see Jerusalem become a purely Jewish city (thus immanetizing the rapture) and the Jews’ desire to get any support they can in the never ending gory with the Palestinians. The Republican Party often puts a Jew near the well-placed black on the President’s stage set.

Beneath this banal bullshit is a stark history of right-wing anti-Semitism in the USA from Father Coughlin to Henry Ford to some of Wall Street’s investment in Hitler’s Germany to the KKK to Richard Nixon’s delusional mutterings. Just as the “culture war” is polite racism, perhaps the war on Christmas is soft anti-Semitism: a passive-aggressive way to air one’s vague discomfort with having to share the culture’s collective space with non-Christians. It’s not so much that Jews (the most prominent non-Christians) should not be free to practice their traditions, its just that as someone of the majority one should not have to feel uncertainty about wishing a co-worker “Merry Christmas.” In other words, practice your religion, but don’t be your religion in a noticeable way. Evidently at Christmas time, just not celebrating Christmas is noticeable enough.

Despite Jews’ disproportionate representation in the entertainment industry, in a lifetime of popular culture consumption I have only seen one Jewish character (Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) actually act Jewish in a TV show (mentioning Jewish holidays or traditions, scenes taking place in a synagogue, Mr. David wearing a yarmulke etc.). We tolerate our minorities in America, but the market indicates that we only like to ingest them as bland background or minstrelsy characterizations.

Is this all too much ado about the Conservatrons’ absurd to do about nothing? Well, any sequel has to be more ostentatious and less nimble than its predecessor. It will be interesting to see if the right’s anti-Semitism in the “War on Xmas II” in 2006 is easier to divine.

The Worst and the Darkest

I’m sure it’s been pointed out before and in greater depth elsewhere, but you have to marvel at the parallels between the Viet Nam war buildup and the Iraq war. In reading Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest, I have to stop on just about every single page and marvel at the parallels. And I don’t just mean the superficial ones. Texan president, etc. I mean the bureaucratic infighting, the subtle power tricks of the insider game used to push a certain agenda, flying in the face of facts and good policy, and the exit of the reality-based officials (Bowles, Kennan, McNaughton, Trueheart, Kattenberg et al. with Powell, Clarke, O’Niell, et al. leaving because of Iraq).

Bush II has turned into a strange mix of LBJ and Nixon. Terrorism is the new -ism we have to fight with unbending zeal, under the stick of right-wing rabidity, lest we be deemed as soft. Similarly, just as Truman and Acheson were hard-line anti-communists, they were branded as weak for losing China; Clinton, whose administration was hard-line anti-terrorist, much harder than pre-9/11 Bush, was blamed for 9/11 and his missile strikes on bin Laden were considered wagging the dog.

The press fueled much of the revolt. Fulbright had a committee (and it was he, after all who was swindled into shepharding the Tonkin Resolution through)–Conyers and Feingold are in the minority. So, we don’t have any chance of this occurring now, really. There will be no 60s in the 10s.

To: Baby Boomers From: Everyone Else Re: The 60's

GET OVER IT!

It was an intense and revolutionary time and yes the Beatles made some great music, but society has internalized and cemented the changes, and Pink Floyd has long since paved the road the Beatles trailblazed. Just as Joe Caltech now knows more math than Pascal ever did, so is the music of the young Kevin Devine (www.kevindevine.net) more pertinent than the music of the late John Lennon.

Conservatives: The culture is not coarse now just because black people are not as polite as they were back when they drank at separate drinking fountains and could get strung up for looking at a white person the wrong way. You are not victimized because minorities and ethnic whites have the market power to establish their own enclaves in the mass culture. Just enjoy your easy access to “Seinfeld”, Thai food and rap music and shut the fuck up!

Liberals: For all the glorious idealism of the “revolution,” perhaps the fact that leaders that embody the contrary of those goals continue to hold power is not a corporate conspiracy or indicative of the stupidity of the masses, but is rather proof positive that these ideals need to be recalibrated to reveal self-evident appeal. Rather than wallowing in the romanticism of subverting the dominant paradigm, try pressing your smarts to utilize the dominant paradigm to create positive good.

Each whiny right-wing volley in the “culture war” is a proxy for desegregation. At times it feels that Iraq War II is the gestation of the encrusted masturbations of goofy Mellon-Scaife funded Conservatron think tanks: an attempt to fight Vietnam over again, but this time with no draft to involve anyone at the U and no pesky Fullbrights or Churchs to ask difficult questions. Meanwhile, the only response from the left is an inchoate kinda’ collectivist wistfulness that does not even excite a fifth of the population and leaves its supporters wishing that Bobby Kennedy and MLK were still alive.

Due to the demographic anchor of the Baby Boomers the rest of us are stuck in this mediocre trip where pragmatism concerning present problems is numbed by the din of ancient wars refought anew.

Our society must fixate its energies on the problems of 2068, not 1968.

Not About Roe

Is it clear now that the appointments to the Supreme Court by Bush are not related to Roe, but to Article II executive powers? That explains all of his appointments, including the failed Miers nomination: executive branch folks.