Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello, not so sunny California

I've been quiet here for some time because, well, to be honest, absolutely gob-smacked from the audacity and direction of the Right Wing part of our country is taking. I was peeling my jaw off the floor, and trying to retain some vestige of humanity before I descended in Dante's inferno in what I could only describe as a hellish nightmare, a part of me had a moment of was the oddest thing, too, I might add.

That part of me is of course, the philosopher/thinker/artist in me, the part that...even in the wildest maelstrom of chaos, I can see the beauty of the construct...right before it dismantles my being and everything goes black.

I speak of course of the Republican Party.

Yes, I am amazed and in wondrous admiration of them and their ability to master the message of what is right for this country despite all evidence to the contrary...even when they are in the minority they are still on top of the heap.

But what is even more amazing is that they can keep everyone in their party, and associated with their party on message, embracing a false, and completely terrible idea which contravenes everything that is good and noble for the individual and for the nation...and still get that individual to vote against their own best self interest.

I'm this complete mastery of open and unabashed manipulation of the electorate, and the electorates willingness to go along with the Republican message.

Ms. O'Donnell in her petulant "you're not the boss of me" speech pretty much read right from the Republican manual of governance...and here I was thinking, "the Tea-Partiers must be rolling their eyes" and yet, voila, the Tea-Partiers are all lining up right behind her.
It's like, wow, guys, you're just an extension of the Republican Party, nothing new, in fact, dare I say, you're probably about six ticks on the meter further right than the Republican Party.

In all, the Dunning-Kruger effect aside in regards to the Tea-Party candidates, I will have to say is that the Republicans have finally shown that they are truly the masters of political theater, and real politik.

Unfortunately for us and because of this mastery...we're fucked.

We are transforming into a fascist nation, and we're calling it...American Patriotism, and instead of swastika's and brown shirts, with crisp lines of pressed uniforms marching in unison, we have ambling masses of mobs with loud voices yelling their ignorance, wearing red, white, and blue clothing wandering the streets in a discontent they're incapable of articulating.

And the Republicans have looked upon the sea of discontent and have seized the idea that this is where they'll build their future America on...with them solely in power, and the democrats with all other political groups as mere ornaments to their center-piece.

I thus submit to you...the Tea Partiers are the Republican Party's version of the Brown Shirts, and it's only a matter of time before the Republicans will have their own version of the Reichstag Putsch with the Democrats playing the part of the Communist party in Germany.

The wheels are in motion, and the direction we are heading in is set.

The Republic is dead, how sad for us.


  1. Hey, Sheera, glad to hear from you again. I'd been wondering where you'd gone.

    Unfortunately, I think you're pretty much spot-on. The Tea Partiers like to pretend that they don't like the Republicans very much but they sure roll over and play nice when the Republicans temporarily sing their tune.

    My personal take on this is that the squabbling between the Tea Party and the Republicans (and the unelectable candidates produced by the Tea Party) will allow the Democrats to keep both houses of Congress.

    But the Democrats will be even more demoralized and splintered than ever and Obama will need to embrace the Republicans to get ANYTHING done for the next two years. This will set the Republicans up to win the trifecta in 2012 with a clear majority in both Houses, and their man X in the White House.

    Then they start enacting their plan to make it impossible/illegal for the Democrats to ever win the Presidency again. But you will already be proven right and the Republic will be dead to the approving roar of the outraged minority.

  2. The Democrats have been blessed with opponents who are, oh I don't know, they're not bat-shit crazy, let me say they espouse policy that's really not that popular with the majority of the electorate.

    The trouble is that the Democratic leadership in the WH, House and Senate has been less than inspiring. I may have said it around you guys before, but my main beef with Obama has been that he seems too eager to make Republicans happy and much less willing to be that "fierce advocate" for policy that I favor.

    If you didn't catch it last night, TDS did a bit on the lack of enthusiasm among the Democratic electorate.

    The black girl, a CFO and mother, hit it squarely on the nut in that clip. So did Stewart.

    I could wish that the House was full of Graysons and Wieners ( NY ) and the Senate full of Frankens and Feingolds. I recall some neo-con years ago during the first years of this century quoted as saying that the US just to demonstrate we mean business and take no guff from anyone should pick up a small country and splatter it against a wall.

    I could wish for a president and his party who would do that to some corporation or opponent in Congress. I'm thinking some health insurance company that is now refusing to issue policies for kids due to the new law coming up; as for a political opponent, your pick from the Republican senate.

    I want a progressive Democratic junk-yard dog president.

    What do we have? In the clip, Obama defended himself by saying that credit cards must notify you before raising their rate.

    Thank You, Mr. President! I shall bend over and please give me another!


  3. BTW, sheerah, do you read tbogg at FDL? He "reports" that the San Diego Chargers are having a hard time putting cheeks in the seats at their stadium?

    Is true?

    Gee, the economy must be really bad if football can't draw the crowds.


  4. Brown shirts. I like it. I'm going to run with it.

    Terrific post, Sheer.

  5. Fortunately, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area in a little town called Milpitas...which is south of Fremont, and North of East San Jose.

    The real issue here is that Mr. Obama ran as a Progressive, got elected, and then switched to conservative centrist...which is still left of the Republicans, but considering how far to the Right Wing they have gone it seems a little insignificant.
    Be that as it may, Mr. Obama has taken the opportunity to expand executive privileges which, imo, amount to conspiracy to commit first degree murder...I speak of his targeted assassination of American citizens in foreign locales.
    And of course, with the expansion, when the next President comes into the WH more than likely they will solidify if not outright expand a little bit more of the Executive privilege.
    In short, we are witnessing the development of a Fascist government with congress marginalizing itself out of significance.

    The Republicans, of course, are just fine with this, as are the Tea Partiers...astounding, in my opinion, but there it is...of course it won't be called Fascism, that's so last century, no, it will be called "Americanism."

  6. One needs to be careful with historical analogies, history doesn't really repeat itself, but sometimes there are uncanny resemblances . . .

    "Totalitarian movements are possible wherever there are masses who for one reason or another have acquired the appetite for political organization. Masses are not held together by a consciousness of common interest and they lack the specific class articulateness which is expressed in determined, limited, and obtainable goals. The term mass applies only where we deal with people who either because of sheer numbers, or indifference, or a combination of both, cannot be integrated into any organization based on common interest, into political parties, or municipal governments or professional organizations or trade unions. Potentially, they exist is every country and form the majority of those large numbers of neutral, politically indifferent people who never join a party and hardly ever go to the polls.
    It was characteristic of the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany and of the Communist movements in Europe after 1930 that they recruited their members from this mass of apparently indifferent people whom all other parties had given up a too apathetic or too stupid for their attention . . ."

    Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism", 1948, pp 311-12.

  7. I think the problems that these folks will run into are that the fascist movement of the 1920s-30s had some extremely unique and favorable circumstances going for them, including;

    a. a fragmented, angry, humiliated German state whose government was
    b. not particularly politically gifted that was
    c. battered by an economic storm several orders of magnitude worse than our current troubles, while
    d. the fascists were being led from within by some people who, while morally loathsome, were very clever politically at
    e. finding causes that either galvanized many Germans or, at least, neutralized the opposition since
    f. in many cases the opposition was an economic and social elite that thought they were manipulating the fascists instead of the other way around.

    I think the squawking reaction of the GOP elites to the recent teabagger victories shows that the elites are not behind them. Whether this will make a difference - i.e., whether the teabaggers are strong enough themselves to take over much or all of the GOP - only time will tell. And I get the sense that a lot of the teabaggers are united only by a hatred of the Other, and that if they are ever forced to make hard choices about governance their internal fractures will be badly exposed.

    The other elephant in the room is the potential effect that these people can really have on federal spending. Something like 60-65% of the federal budget is devoted to one of four things; Social Security, Medicare, Defense, and debt service. These people won't touch #3, can't touch #4, and for all their rhetoric #'s 1 and 2 are among the most likely things to expose their weak points; a lot of these people seem to fall into the "get your government hands off my Medicare" slot. Let some GOP slicky boy try and talk them into turning their SS into a 401K and put their retirement in the hands of the Wall Streeters they despise..?

    No, IMO the worst aspect of these folks, IMO, is not that they are actively totalitarian. It's that they are frustrated - as I am - by the antipopulist gridlock that wealth, piss-poor media coverage and fact-free posturing, social stratification, and procedural failures have produced. They are troubled - many of them by silly things like Scary Brown Meskin Invasions, admittedly - and I think they would not be too choosy about who "solves" their troubles and how. IMO they're the 21st Century equivalent of Huey Long's "Share the Wealth" populists. Huey and his people were accused of fascism, too...but I don't see a Huey Long out there to lead them. If we ever DO find one?


    So - despite what I wrote some time ago - I'm not actively worried about them burning the Reichstag and taking over. What I am worried about is that they are actively involved in driving the national dialogue further to the Right, and also further from any sort of rational assessment of national interests, costs and benefits.

  8. "I think the squawking reaction of the GOP elites to the recent teabagger victories shows that the elites are not behind them."

    Upon further review, I should moderate this statement.

    Look back at the Bush years. George Bush spoke routinely with people like Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham, invaded foreign countries, oversaw a hell of a lot of corruption and lawlessness. How is the current American Right -- and these Tea Party candidates -- any different?

    My thought is that these Tea Party candidates differ not in their views but in their untrained, unsophisticated style of expressing those views. They just haven't been groomed yet to comport themselves with Ruling Class mannerisms, which is why the "elites" aren't with them.

    Remember when Palin said back in '08 that the U.S. should be prepared to fight a war with Russia in order to defend Georgia and other republics, such as the Ukraine? That caused widespread outrage as Democrats everywhere rushed to condemn her as a crazed warmonger.

    But Palin's view was pretty much shared by both Obama and Joe Biden, both of whom had expressed support for admitting those countries into NATO, which would obligate the U.S. to wage war to defend them. Palin's real offense was that she used uncouth language -- meaning language that was too honest and clear -- to describe the implications of what McCain, Obama and Biden all advocated.

    A hell of a lot of the GOP - and a hell of a lot of Blue Dog Democrats - have agitated for cultural and religious wars or supported actual wars.

    Look at the actions of the Congressional GOP and tell me that they love them some poor people and minorities, that they want to reinforce the safety net in a time of economic penury, that they want to keep religion in its place outside the public square, or would choose Liberty over Security. You're just not supposed to say any of this -- at least not right out where the proles can hear you.

    Especially if you're an unemployed wierdo like Christine O'Donnell and not George F. Will...

  9. And, BTW, thus is has always been. Here's Thuycidides on the revolt of Cocyra, c. 427 BCE: "society became divided into camps in which no man trusted his fellow. To put an end to this, there was neither promise to be depended upon, nor oath that could command respect; but all parties dwelling rather in their calculation upon the hopelessness of a permanent state of things, were more intent upon self-defence than capable of confidence. In this contest the blunter wits were most successful. Apprehensive of their own deficiencies and of the cleverness of their antagonists, they feared to be worsted in debate and to be surprised by the combinations of their more versatile opponents, and so at once boldly had recourse to action: while their adversaries, arrogantly thinking that they should know in time, and that it was unnecessary to secure by action what policy afforded, often fell victims to their want of precaution."

    Thucydides: III 69-85

  10. " . . . The result was that the majority of their membership consisted of people who never before had appeared on the political scene. This permitted the introduction of entirely new methods into political propaganda, and indifference to the arguments of political opponents; these movements not only placed themselves outside and against the party system as a whole, they found a membership that had never been reached, never been 'spoiled' by the party system. Therefore they did not need to refute opposing arguments and consistently preferred methods which ended in death rather than persuasion, which spelled terror rather than conviction. They presented disagreements as invariably originating in deep natural, social, and psychological sources beyond the control of the individual and therefore beyond the power of reason. This would have been a shortcoming only if they had sincerely entered into competition with other parties; it was not if they were sure of dealing with people who had reason to be equally hostile to all parties. . ."

    HA, "TOT", 1948, pp 311-12

  11. Here's a little article that summarizes pretty much how I feel about all this teabaggery:

    It's about the latest bit of GOP rhetoric, the "Pledge to America" and why it's just the latest rimshot in the long-running joke that is the GOP boilerplate about "small government" and "fiscal responsibility". Short answer: it's bullshit. The GOP knows full well that Americans LIKE having the government insure their retirment and eldercare, which is why they won't touch Social Security and Medicare. And Republicans love them some troopies, so the DoD budget is sacred, too.

    But the author points out: "The Republican Party has long shown it can win elections by hollering about taxing and spending. But winning elections won't solve the longer-term problem that the GOP will face from the Tea Party's embrace—which is that, unlike congressional Republicans, these people actually believe the rhetoric."

    So assuming that these gomers ever DO find themselves in the corridors of power - what will they do? Assuming that they try and carry out their slash-and-burn fiscal "reforms", can they depend on the Army to shoot down the Coxey's Army that will descend on the capitol to hang them?

  12. And here it is again, this time as farce:

  13. Just a quick hello. We are currently in TX seeing our offspring there. Talk about culture shock! Ditto to all the above.