Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Alito Aftermath: We're all Losers

Some in the lefty blogosphere are saying “Hey! 25 Senators ain’t bad! We knew it was a long shot.” I’m not buying any milk from that cow. This was a vitally important vote – one that will have a huge impact on our rights over the next 25 years. It is a vote that may well determine the status of Roe v Wade and whether women are forced to be unwilling baby incubators instead of actual human beings. The decision will be echoed when Alito votes to expand presidential power far beyond what is stated in the Constitution.

I can at least be proud that both of my Michigan senators voted against cloture, but I’m mad as hell that the rest of the party didn’t stick together. I don’t care it they’re from Deepest Redneckistan, the Alito vote was vital and nearly half of “our” senators blew it. I’m boycotting giving any $$ to the Democratic Party — individuals, yes, but the Party only when it gets its shit together and stops willingly being Ned Beatty in Deliverance. Hell, I don’t even think I’d vote for a Democrat that didn’t vote against cloture. We elect these MFs, we donate to them and we work our asses off getting them elected. Well, the bill came due yesterday and almost half of ‘em didn’t pay. I guess we know how important women’s rights are to them.

We seem to have a de facto three party system: the far right (Republican fundies), the right (Lieberman, McCain, et al) and sane (the rest of the Dems, many of whom would be tories anywhere else in the world). The Alito vote made it abundantly clear, if it wasn’t already, where the allegiance of a good chunk of the “left” party stands — firmly under Fuhrer Bush’s well-booted heel.

Senate Vote

The List of Losers
Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lieberman (D-CT), Yea Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea Salazar (D-CO), Yea

Actual Democrats
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Biden (D-DE), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Nay
Dayton (D-MN), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Kennedy (D-MA), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Obama (D-IL), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Sarbanes (D-MD), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

Honorable Mention
Harkin (D-IA), Not Voting
Jeffords (I-VT), Nay

At the same time, both Kos and Digby are right in that we need to keep fighting. We will win, eventually.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Alito Factor

Ever have the Democrats ask you for money? I have. Hell, ever since my epic donations in 2004, they’ve treated me like my first name’s Master and my last name’s Card. I’ve given what I can when I can – after all, my kids eat up various cash, student loans devour others – because it’s vital to prevent Bush from enacting his agenda (to the extent Herr Bush bothers with consulting Congress anymore). It worked with Social Security – Prez Hindenb – er, Bush hasn’t mentioned it is months. But the ride may be over.

As Zeus is my witness, I shall never give another dollar to that party again if they don’t filibuster Alito. I’ll give to individual Dems, but nary a dime for a party that can’t take a stand on principle and maintain a filibuster. It’s this simple: you either support choice or you don’t; you either support government by the people for the people and of the people or you don’t. And if you can’t fight like hell to prevent Alito from getting on the Court, then please just cross over to the Republican side.

This is one of the most important political issues of this decade. If the Dems can’t unite as a party, I say we boycott funding them. Give money to the ones who stood up, the rest can go begging to Dobson or Scaife. We don't need any more Von Papens or Petains.

Don’t get me wrong – keep fighting until it’s over. I think we can win this thing. But if we don’t, we need to have a purge.

Give me Convenience or Give me Death

Or How the hell did we win the Cold War?

Most people in the US don't pay attention to the issues, don't get involved and don't know what's going on. To be certain, most of them don't care for the Bush agenda, but their inaction pretty much enables the Bushies to do whatever they want.

The "liberals" you see on TV are completely disconnected from the population and even the activists within their own party. They are part of the DC cocktail circuit and are playing by the gentleman's rules of another era. They do not understand that the right wing is converting America into a banana republic, both politically and economically. If they did realize it, I'm not sure they'd care.

Moreover, the media itself is largely an arm of the right wing. The only liberals they let on TV are inarticulate, not photogenic, poor arguers and spineless. Where's Barbara Ehrenreich, Paul Krugman, etc.? The media spouts Republican talking points, criticizes the Dems every time they do anything, and don't even do a decent job of covering the news. Missing white women: Oiu! Pix of dead Iraqi civilians: Non!

Give us Survivor! Give us McDonalds! But please God, don't make us get off our fat asses and save American democracy!

Now I'm depressed. You figure there's room in Canada?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Got Stupid?

Yup, we gots that.

And I don’t just mean the well-documented IQ deficit of the general populace, which, in both practice and theory, includes all Bush voters who are not (a) wealthy, (b) Generals gathered in Black Masses, or (c) fundies. Nor am I merely writing about the run-of-the-mill idiots that seem so plentiful in certain sections of the country [http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Map_of_CSA_3.png OR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Map_of_USA_highlighting_Bible_Belt.png].

No, I’m talking about a species of dolt more familiar to the blogging community – a well-educated, upper-middle class group (UMC) – than outworn hillbilly stereotypes. The stupid are among us, everywhere we go. They walk erect, but affect a certain air, as if they are far removed from the rabble, an unidentifiable sense of being just a little more equal than others. IMHO, these people come in all stripes, liberal and conservative.

Warning: Overgeneralizations and crappy pop sociology follow and for no extra cost possibly workerist rantings.

They don’t go to chain restaurants. After all, they need an elegant place to brunch. Drive an American car? Never!! Don’t even ask about bowling. These are principles, my dear. But we have to hide it from the kiddies, so put on a BIG smile!

What’s interesting is the way in which their casually assumed superiority is based solely on the inherited cultural norms of petit bourgeois-dom. They’ve inherited, through the socialization process, the norms, language, tastes and attitudes of the UMC. As such, they’ve acquired a tasty teat-ful of social capital that, once upon a revolution, was called “class privilege.”

At many a social function, I’ve noticed a small-but-discernable condescension in these chaps and chapettes. “What restaurants do you like?” “Well, sometimes I go to McDonalds, but to my palette, Taco Bell is superior.” Flustered: “Well . . . I just don’t go to chain restaurants.” Then I get a furtive side glance, like the other person, let's call him Bobo, is trying to see Jed Clampett underneath a highly clever disguise.

Admittedly, I sometimes do some of this just to play on other’s class-based (but always hidden) perceptions. But, it’s still a bit odd, insofar as I generally (a) have either much more education than these people or went to a better university; (b) am much more well-read; and (c) could be accused of a Menckensian elitism in certain affairs cultural. In fact, what’s funny about it is the fact that the things upon which these armchair elitists base their condescendere are trivial – where they eat, what they drive, etc. If you talk with them a while, you quickly realize that, despite the privileges of rank, that they’re really not any more intellectually inclined than the average slob in the street. And they’re a helluva a lot less interesting.

Lack of intellect: Lemme see . . . they think CNN is a credible news source; that tripe like The Apprentice or Survivor is a good way to spend an hour; that Celine Dion shouldn’t be forcibly repatriated to Quebec and enjoined from ever entering the country either in person or any reasonable facsimile thereof; have never read Joyce, Dostoyevsky, et al – too busy listening to the next Grisham novel on audio book (which to me is akin to getting to know George Grosz’ work by reading newspaper clippings of art shows – or, in the case of Grisham, getting to know Hagar the Horrible via oral description).

Less Interesting: People in the UMC always have a party piece in place; they don’t want to rock the boat, will be polite, etc. If you try to get in a real debate over real issues, they will either politely brush you off or simply say you’re rude. Rude. That’s the operative insult – rude, uncouth – you don’t play by the rules, dude. People more in the working class don’t do this. They’ll say what’s on their minds. If you don’t like it, too bad. The communication is a lot more honest.

A lot of social class is based on these unconscious assumptions. Of course, the career success and money don't hurt either. Although, to me, career has always been a fancy word for "job."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another question is what the Con win signifies. Is it mere sound and fury for naught? It seems like a familiar story in Canadian politics: the liberals are in power under a successful PM who wins a few majority governments. The Liberal leader steps down, Liberal scandals and/or arrogance comes to light, the Conservatives win. It happened with Diefenbaker in 1958 and Mulroney in 1984. The only outlier is Clark in 1979, and he lasted all of nine months. Pretty much every Conservative election win since WWII has been a reaction to a change in the liberal leadership; Clark is the only exception, and that had a lot to do with Trudeau's imposition of wage and price controls, contrary to his campaign promise, and the endemic stagflation of the era. At any rate, What it doesn't seem to signify is a real and lasting shift to the right, along the lines of what happened in the US in 1980 and 1994.

Canadian Election Results

Conservative minority:

Party Seats % Vote
CON 124 36.25%
LIB 103 30.22%
BQ 51 10.48%
NDP 29 17.49%
IND 0 1 .52%
OTH 0 5.05%

Harper will be PM; Martin resigns as Liberal leader. [Not exactly a Frente Popular, but I do like the poster image.]

SO -- What does it all mean, anyway? First, despite two scandals, a collapse in Quebec and a general sense that the Liberals are tired and have been in power for too long, the Tories managed a weak minority. It may not last beyond the first budget vote, absent some significant CAN$ sent to Quebec to curry favor with the Bloc. Moreover, Harper is expected to govern from the center, which means no fallating GWB and keeping the loonies in the party quiet. If he can't do that, he won't last long. And gay marriage -- if he calls a vote on it, it's only because he plan on losing and wants to placate the wing nuts in the party. It ain't gonna be Jesusland North.

Second, the generational soul-searching for the Liberals. Martin is out, but who's gonna replace him? Personally, I never liked Martin all that much -- too far to the right. I would like to see more of a Trudeau type, but I'm not counting on it. I would really like Sheila Copps, a left-leaning Liberal to run again.

Third, will our Krazy Konservative Komrades in the states travel north to help? Apparently, they already have provided advice, possibly even money. What's interesting with the conservative movement is that it has an international flavor, a desire to spread to other nations. This, of course, is most visible with Canada. American conservatives have been gleeful at the possibility of friendly terrain in the north. Yet another similarity that the conservative movement has with communism and fascism. . . .

Fourth, whither NDP? Although they don't hold the balance of power, it will be interesting to see what happens. If the Liberals take a lurch to the right in their next leader, the NDP may be poised for even greater growth.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Jesus or Spock: Who's the better moral example?

Rosie, give Scalito a good punch while you're at it. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Welcome to the Ravines!

Hello all! This here's my new Blog! Why the name? Well, why not the name? LSS, it comes from a place I used to live, but in a real sense represents where any progressive American (or United Statesean) lives under the current regime. The Ravines -- the pit of despair, powerlessness, a jagged trough cut through the land. I plan on posting more, when Uh dun gits the chance.

I would like this to be forum, both political and cultural. More about this and my lame ass self later.