April 30th, 2012

  • dwer

Even Worse Than It Looks

Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are no strangers to D.C. politics. The two of them have been in Washington for more than 40 years — and they're renowned for their carefully nonpartisan positions.

But now, they say, Congress is more dysfunctional than it has been since the Civil War, and they aren't hesitating to point a finger at who they think is to blame.

"One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition," they write in their new book, Even Worse Than It Looks.

Interview at NPR.org

This is something that I've been saying for quite some time, both here and elsewhere. The Democrats are craven, inauthentic, and arrogant -- but the GOP is something else entirely. And not only has the GOP become a party of plugging their ears and yelling "lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala, I can't hear you!" when it comes to things like climate change, immigration and revenue, the media has also broken faith with the electorate by refusing to stand up and say "hey, this isn't right," but instead tries to play "fair and balanced" by suggesting that any point of view, no matter how stupid, no matter how untrue, deserves to be heard.

When the GOP isn't even willing to try to come up with rationales for their positions other than "we want to make Obama look bad", even when that's to the point of refusing to support republican plans that Obama supports because that might make Obama look GOOD, you don't have two parties of government, you have one party and one small child, refusing to do anything, and holding their breath till they turn blue in the face.

How can this be considered responsible governance? Well, it can't, I suppose. When Ronald Reagan is held up as your example of recognizing that, for example, you can't increase spending without increasing revenue, and you can't cut spending on the backs of the poor and the middle class, and yet the GOP even holds up a fictional version of him as their patron saint, where do you go from there? HOW can you go anywhere from there?

Until we have a media that's willing to stand up and say "this is wrong," until we have buy in for actual governance, there's no stopping gridlock. The GOP has to recognize that there's an actual job to be done here, and it can't simply be cut. But that's not on their litmus test, so we just sit and wait for something that may never happen.
  • paft

...If All You Want to do is Make a Lot of Money.

Candy Crowley: You know, he comes from a privileged background. You did not come from a privileged background. This is a time — an economic time when people are hurting and have been hurting for quite some time. Do you think that someone who is as wealthy as he is, who has had as much privilege as he is, has a hill to climb to overcome that?

John Boehner: No. The American people don’t want to vote for a loser. They don’t want to vote for someone that hasn’t been successful. I think Mitt Romney has an opportunity to show the American people that they, too, can succeed.

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Mr. Drippy

Technological Narcissism: Pay No Attention To Those Bumps In The Road

For those of you still unfamiliar with M. King Hubbert and his now-famous theory of "peak oil," do look up Wiki entries on his name and theory. If you don't, not only will this entry seem curious (if not completely unhinged), but so will reality.

If you're still curious about what this might mean for, well, everyone on earth, Collapse )

The two-brained Putin

The totalitarian regimes have no sense of humor, nor do they show mercy to those who ridicule the authority. The millionth proof for that is a recent political satire that was meant to be put in theaters. Actually it was put in the theaters of two countries, but the different reactions it got in the two places tells a lot about democracy and freedom of speech.

See, both the former Italian prime-minister Berlusconi (famous for his outrageous actions and constant scandals) and the Russian now-president, then-prime-minister, then-president-again Putin (who's so fond of showing his biceps and abs next to wild beasts) seem to be made for the political show. Or do they? Well, they like being in the center of attention, that's for sure. So the theatrical play of the Italian satirist Dario Fo (Nobel Prize winner for literature, btw) "L anomalo bicefalo" (The Abnormal Double Brain) is about both politicians. In the story, they're attacked by terrorists.

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