Thursday night Joan and I showed up at the Multnomah Democratic Party and became PCPs. It's Party Committee Somethings.
Thursday night Joan and I showed up at the Multnomah Democratic Party and became PCPs. It's Party Committee Somethings.
Here. An excellent article.
Social selection plays the same role in the social sciences which the natural selection plays in the biological sciences: it selects the traits, norms and values which are most beneficial to the host culture. Seen from this angle, social diversity is a desirable quality for social progress since when diverse customs and value-systems compete with each other, they take the best and reject the worst from each.
A decentralized and unorganized religion, like Sufism, engenders diverse strains of beliefs and thoughts which compete with one another in gaining social acceptance. A heavily centralized and tightly organized religion, on the other hand, depends more on authority and dogma, than value and utility. A centralized religion is also more ossified and less adaptive.
When we look at religious extremism and the consequent militancy and terrorism, in Pakistan in particular and the Islamic world in general, in the natural evolution of religion, some deleterious mutation must have occurred somewhere, which has infected the whole of Islamic world.
Most Pakistani political scientists blame the Pakistani military establishment for a deliberate promotion of religious extremism to create a jihadi narrative which suits the institutional interests and strategic objectives of the Pakistani military. There is no denying this obvious fact but it is only one factor in a multifactorial equation. The phenomenon of religious extremism is not limited to Pakistan, the whole of Islamic world from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria to Indonesia, Malaysia and even the Muslim minorities of Thailand, China and Philippines bear witness to it.
The real culprit for the rise of religious extremism and terrorism in the Islamic world is Saudi Arabia. The Aal-e-Saud (descendants of Saud) have no hereditary claim to the Throne of Mecca since they are not the descendants of the prophet, nor even from the Quresh. They were the most primitive marauding nomadic tribesmen of Najd who defeated the Sharifs of Mecca violently after the collapse of the Ottomans in World War I. Their title to the throne of Saudi Arabia is de facto, not de jure, since neither do they have a hereditary claim nor do they hold elections to ascertain the will of the Saudi people. Thus they are the illegitimate rulers of Saudi Arabia and they feel insecure because of that; which explains their heavy-handed tactics is dealing with any kind of dissent, opposition or movement for reform.
Religious extremism all over the Islamic world is directly linked to the Wahhabi-Salafi madrassas which are sponsored by the Saudi and Gulf petrodollars. These madrassas attract children from the most poorest backgrounds in Islamic countries because they offer the kind of incentives and facilities which government-sponsored public schools cannot provide: free boarding and lodging, no tuition fee at all, and free books and stationery.
Aside from madrassas, another factor that promotes Wahhabi-Salafi ideology in the Islamic world is the ritual of the Hajj and Umrah (pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina). Every year millions of Muslims travel from all over the Islamic world to perform the ritual and wash their sins. When they return to their native countries, after spending a month or two in Saudi Arabia, along with clean hearts and souls, dates and zamzam, they also bring along the tales of Saudi hospitality and their true puritanical version of Islam, which some, especially rural-tribal folk, find attractive.
Authority plays an important role in any thought system; the educated people accept the authority of the specialists in their respective fields; the lay people accept the authority of the theologians and clerics in the interpretation of religion and scriptures. Aside from authority, certain other factors also play a part in individual psyches: loyalty, purity or the concept of sacred, and originality and authenticity as in a concept of being close to an authentic ideal.
Just like modern naturalists, who prefer organic food and natural habits and lifestyle because of their belief in the goodness of nature or their disillusionment from manufactured fuss, religious folks prefer a true version of Islam which is closer to the putative authentic Islam as practiced in Mecca and Medina: the Gold Standard of Petro-Islam.
Yet another factor contributing to the rise of Salafism throughout the Islamic world is immigration. Millions of Muslim men, women and families from the Third World Islamic countries live and work in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman. Most are on temporary work permits.
Just like the pilgrims, when they come back to their native villages and towns, they bring the alluring perception of having an Oxbridge degree and an attractive English accent. Not literally but figuratively. Spending time in Arab countries entitles one to pass authoritative judgments on religious matters; and having a cursory understanding of the language of Quran makes you an equivalent of a Qazi (judge) among the illiterate village people. And they just reproduce the customs and attitudes of the Arabs as an authentic version of Islam to their compatriots.
Shi'ite Muslims have their Imams and Marjahs (religious authorities) but it is generally believed that Sunni Islam discourages the authority of the clergy. In this sense, Sunni Islam is closer to Protestantism, theoretically, because it promotes an individual and personal interpretation of scriptures and religion. It might be true about the Hanafies and other educated schools of thought in Islam; but on a popular level, the House of Saud plays the same role in Islam that the Pope plays in Catholicism. By virtue of their physical possession of the holy places of Islam – Mecca and Medina – they are the ex officio Caliphs of Islam. The title of the Saudi King, Khadim-ul-Haramain-al-Shareefain (Servant of the House of God), makes him a vice-regent of God on Earth. And the title of the Caliph of Islam is not limited to a nation-state, he wields enormous influence and clout throughout the Commonwealth of Islam: the Muslim Ummah.
Now, when we hear slogan like “No democracy, just Islam” on the streets of Third World Islamic countries, one wonders what kind of an imbecile would forgo his right to choose his ruler through a democratic process? It is partly due to the fact that the masses often conflate democracy with liberalism; without realizing that democracy is only a political process of choosing one’s representatives and legislators through an election process, while liberalism is a cultural mindset which may or may not be suitable in a native Third World society, depending on its existing level of social progress in an evolutionary perspective - which prefers a bottom-up, gradual and incremental changes over a top-down, sudden and radical approach.
One feels dumbfounded, however, when even educated Muslims argue that democracy is un-Islamic and an ideal Islamic system of governance is a Caliphate. An ideal Caliphate could be some Umayyad/Abbasid model that they conjure up in their heads; but in practice the only beneficiaries of such an anti-democratic approach are the illegitimate tyrants of the Arab World. They claim to be the Caliphs of Islam albeit indirectly and in a nuanced manner: the Servants of the House of God and the Keepers of the Holy places of Islam.
The illegitimate, hence insecure, tyrants adopt different strategies to maintain their hold on power. They heed to the pragmatic advice of Machiavelli: “Invent enemies and then slay them in order to control your subjects.” The virulently anti-Shi'ite rhetoric of the Salafis and Takfiris is a Machiavellian approach. The Salafis and Takfiris cannot construct a positive narrative that specifies their achievements; that’s why they construct a negative narrative that casts the Evil Other in a negative light.
The Sunni-Shi'ite conflict is essentially political and economic but is presented to the lay Muslim in a veneer of religiosity. Since Saudi Arabia produces 10 to 15 million barrels of oil per day (equivalent to 15% to 20% of global oil production) it can single-handedly bring down the price of a barrel of oil to US$50 or single-handedly raise it to $200, a nightmare for the global industrialized economies. With 90% of the Saudi oil installations situated along the Persian Gulf, this sparsely populated region comprises the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and its Shi'ite majority. Any separatist tendency is accordingly met with sternest possible reaction. Saudi Arabia sent its own battalions to help the Bahraini regime quell the Shi'ite minority rebellion in Bahrain, which is also geographically very close to the Eastern Province.
Al-Qaeda inspired terrorism is a threat to the Western countries; but the Islamic countries are encountering a much bigger threat of inter-sectarian terrorism. For centuries the Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims lived peacefully side by side; but now vested interests are provoking inter-sectarian strife to distract attention away from the popular movements for democracy throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.
The ultimate goal of the Arab Spring is to overthrow the illegitimate House of Saud, and this tide will not subside until its objective is achieved. There are ebbs and flows in any grassroots political and social movement. It ebbed in Egypt but it will rise again to flood the whole of region. What’s unfortunate is the fact, that the so-called champions of democracy can’t even lend a moral support, let alone the material support; because their interests always outweigh their principles and ideals.
In prepared remarks given in advance to the Huffington Post, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka warns Democrats against accepting any budget deal that includes cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and even goes so far as to threaten to end the career of any politician who fails to heed his call.
“No politician … I don’t care the political party … will get away with cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Don’t try it,” Trumka says, according to the Huffington Post. “This warning goes double for Democrats,” he continues. “We will never forget. We will never forgive. And we will never stop working to end your career.”
While Trumka has previously made a point of distancing the AFL-CIO from Democrats, his speech nevertheless is one of the more high profile signs of potential schisms in the Democratic Party’s coalition. The AFL-CIO opposes two significant provisions in President Obama’s 2014 budget: “chained CPI” — and adjustment in how Social Security measures inflation that would amount to a benefit cut — and means testing for some Medicare recipients.
It isn’t clear yet how entitlement cuts will figure in the post-shutdown budget talks, but it’s possible they’ll become part a new “grand bargain” discussion on Capitol Hill.
Saying he had a “sinking feeling that too many politicians are ready to put the hurt on regular working people,” Trumka argued that lawmakers should be increasingSocial Security payments rather than cutting them. He said we live in a time of “self-imposed scarcity” that’s driven by “fear” rather than logic.
“Millions of Americans are afraid Social Security might not be there for them,” Trumka said. “We cannot listen to that fear and believe Social Security is the problem. It isn’t. The fear is. Instead of cutting Social Security, which will make the fear come true, we should, as a nation, invest in Social Security. Increase benefits.”
Texas, beneath the radar of higher-profile national races, will hold elections this fall to address a number of proposed constitutional amendments. Though none of the nine proposed amendments are exactly headline-grabbing (one officially eliminates a state agency that shut down more than 25 years ago, for example) the election will be the first in which the state’s infamous new voter ID laws will be in effect.
The anticipated impact of these new laws on suppressing minority votes has been well documented, but the effect of new laws on women has received markedly less attention.
The new Texas law requires all voters to provide a photo ID that reflects their current name. If they cannot, voters must provide any of a series of other acceptable forms of identification all of which must match exactly and match the name on their birth certificate.
Supporters of these new laws insist that requiring voters to have an ID that matches their birth certificate is a reasonable requirement. As Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has repeatedly said, "Almost every single person either has a valid photo ID … or it is very easy to get one." What they don’t say, however, is that the people who don’t are largely married women who have taken their husband’s name.
In fact, only 66% of women have an ID that reflects their current name. If any voter is using name different than what appears on their birth certificate, the voter is required to show proof of name change by providing an original or certified copy of their marriage license, divorce decree, or court ordered name change. Photocopies aren’t accepted.
Now ask a woman who’s been married for years where her original marriage certificate is. Ask a woman who’s been divorced — maybe more than once — where all the divorce decrees are. Ask elderly women where their original birth certificate is.
As Elisabeth Genn, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, has noted, "While some women do have access to the entire chain of documents that connects their current name with birth name — including birth certificates and marriage licenses — that’s not always the case."
Ordering a new copy of your birth certificate or marriage verification means travelling in person to the state capital, something largely impossible for senior citizens or people with day jobs, and paying the $22 to have a certified copy printed. You can also wait 6-8 weeks to have it mailed to you and pay $22 plus up to $19.95 in mailing costs.
That is assuming, of course, that you already have several forms of identification. If you don’t, a U.S. District Court has estimated that many Texans would have to travel up to 250 miles to receive a "free" election ID card and pay all the additional fees associated with providing documentation to explain their name change.
More importantly, women who have been voting the same way for years will likely go to the polls in the same way they always have, unaware the changes mean they can no longer vote and that they, in all likelihood, would have needed to begin the process to acquire copies of their legal documents months beforehand.
Meanwhile, men who are married or divorced don’t typically change their name and are therefore not required to submit any additional supporting documents. The extra forms of identification, extra fees, extra travel and, in many cases, exorbitant waiting times mean that the acquiring the documents necessary to legally vote amounts to a poll tax that applies only to women. While lawmakers may say that those are small barriers, necessary to ensure the integrity of the voting process, they’re barriers that only apply to certain segments of the population.
It’s no coincidence that Republican-controlled state governments are making it harder for women to vote following a presidential election with the largest gender gap in recorded history. It’s certainly no coincidence that the same states legislators who are passing alarming new restrictions on abortion and birth control are the same ones making it harder for women to vote them out of office.
While some Republican lawmakers insist these new rules are designed only to combat voter fraud, (note: in Texas there have only 37 individual cases voter fraud since 2000), others are more honest and admit that these laws will make it easier for Republicans to win elections, since the groups predominantly affected by the new rules tend to vote Democrat.
Despite a ruling from a U.S. District Court that declared the law unconstitutional, recent Supreme Court rulings that invalidated sections of the Voting Rights Act meant Texas could move forward to enforce the law anyway. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Department of Justice will sue Texas over the law, saying that it "will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs" and that he will "keep fighting aggressively to prevent voter disenfranchisement."
But as November 5th approaches, we’re reminded that elections are taking place whether or not the law is successfully blocked in court. In 2014, midterm Congressional and gubernatorial elections will be in full swing at the same time that similar voter ID restrictions go into effect in states across the country.
That means this time next year, it won’t just be Texas and it won’t just be nine obscure amendments to a state constitution. Millions of women, young and old, could go to the polls just like they always have and realize that, this time, the only thing they’ll be allowed to do is watch their husbands vote.
Apparently, not the rest of the world, although I'm guessing the Germans wouldn't mind the Euro becoming the currency of last resort. From the BBC:
At the start of the current US budget standoff, other countries viewed the situation with a mix of sympathy, concern and bemusement. With the 17 October deadline for raising the debt ceiling approaching, however, the international view has changed to fear and anger.
While many abroad have considered a US government shutdown unfortunate and potentially damaging to the global economy, it is a development the world has survived before. But the last time the US came close to defaulting on a sovereign debt obligation was in 1790, when the country was a backwater ex-British colony, a bit player on the world stage.
More recent examples of sovereign default include Mexico (1982), Russia (1998), Argentina (2001) and Greece (2012). Each of those sparked global financial crises that required US intervention. It is unsurprising, then, that with the US itself possibly causing the economic conflagration, foreign observers are hitting the panic button.
"What is chilling is that US politicians are willing to engage in a game of brinkmanship that is tantamount to detonating a nuclear device over their economy," writes the Times of India. "A bunch of intransigent American politicians are holding not just President Barack Obama, but the entire world to ransom."
Although the enormity of the crisis has yet to sink in for many around the world, those who are paying attention are starting to call into question an American system of government that would reach this point.
"There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that leaves a country without direction, in stagnation, without a budget and potentially without the wherewithal to settle its debts," writes UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor in The Arab Times.
"Obama must get his own house in order not only for the sake of the American people, but also to retain his nation's revered top slot in the global economic and geopolitical hierarchy before the world concludes the US is just an aging tiger without teeth."
In 2009, Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar as an official currency in order to stanch hyperinflation and bring stability to its economy. Now, it faces a possible American financial collapse that would drag it down, too.
"If the US defaults on its debt this would result in the country's credit rating plummeting and the US dollar falling and thereby causing havoc in the international financial markets," writes the nation's Financial Gazette.
As America's largest trading partner, Canada faces a heightened threat, as well.
L Ian MacDonald, a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, writes, "This is a matter involving the good faith and credit of the United States." And because the crisis is already causing the Canadian dollar to increase in value relative to the US dollar, it is adversely affecting Canadian exports. "Thanks, Washington, we needed that," he writes.
Overseas leaders are also expressing their concerns - particularly in Japan and China, the two largest foreign holders of US national debt.
"The US must avoid a situation where it cannot pay, and its triple-A ranking plunges all of a sudden," Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso said to Reuters.
"The US is the world's biggest economy and a major country issuing reserve currency," China's Vice-Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said during a foreign ministry press conference. "Safeguarding the debt is of vital importance to the economy of the US and the world."
International Monetary Fund official Jose Vinals said that if the US defaults, it "adversely affects advanced economies, emerging markets, low-income countries. It will be a worldwide shock."
The Economist writes that hitting the debt ceiling could mean the US would "slash spending so deeply that it causes a recession. Or it could default on its debts, which would be even worse, and unimaginably more harmful than a mere government shutdown. No one in Washington is that crazy, surely?"
It's a rhetorical question, but one that many in the world are starting to take seriously.
Interesting article connecting the Tea Party political movement with Andrew Jackson's faux populist movement.
To judge from the commentary inspired by the shutdown, most progressives and centrists, and even many non-Tea Party conservatives, do not understand the radical force that has captured the Republican Party and paralyzed the federal government. Having grown up in what is rapidly becoming a Tea Party heartland–Texas–I think I do understand it. Allow me to clear away a few misconceptions about what really should be called, not the Tea Party Right, but the Newest Right.
The first misconception that is widespread in the commentariat is that the Newest Right can be thought of as being simply a group of “extremists” who happen to be further on the same political spectrum on which leftists, liberals, centrists and moderate conservatives find their places. But reducing politics to points on a single line is more confusing than enlightening. Most political movements result from the intersection of several axes—ideology, class, occupation, religion, ethnicity and region—of which abstract ideology is seldom the most important.
The second misconception is that the Newest Right or Tea Party Right is populist. The data, however, show that Tea Party activists and leaders on average are more affluent than the average American. The white working class often votes for the Newest Right, but then the white working class has voted for Republicans ever since Nixon. For all its Jacksonian populist rhetoric, the Newest Right is no more a rebellion of the white working class than was the original faux-populist Jacksonian movement, led by rich slaveowners like Andrew Jackson and agents of New York banks like Martin Van Buren.
The third misconception is that the Newest Right is irrational. The American center-left, whose white social base is among highly-educated, credentialed individuals like professors and professionals, repeatedly has committed political suicide by assuming that anyone who disagrees with its views is an ignorant “Neanderthal.” Progressive snobs to the contrary, the leaders of the Newest Right, including Harvard-educated Ted Cruz, like the leaders of any successful political movement, tend to be highly educated and well-off. The self-described members of the Tea Party tend to be more affluent and educated than the general public.
The Newest Right, then, cannot be explained in terms of abstract ideological extremism, working-class populism or ignorance and stupidity. What, then, is the Newest Right?
The Newest Right is the simply the old Jeffersonian-Jacksonian right, adopting new strategies in response to changed circumstances. While it has followers nationwide, its territorial bases are the South and the West, particularly the South, whose population dwarfs that of the Mountain and Prairie West. According to one study by scholars at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas:
While less than one in five (19.4%) minority non-Southerners and about 36% of Anglo non-Southerners report supporting the movement, almost half of white Southerners (47.1%) express support….
In fact, the role that antigovernment sentiment in the South plays in Tea Party movement support is the strongest in our analysis.
The Tea Party right is not only disproportionately Southern but also disproportionately upscale. Its social base consists of what, in other countries, are called the “local notables”—provincial elites whose power and privileges are threatened from above by a stronger central government they do not control and from below by the local poor and the local working class.
Even though, like the Jacksonians and Confederates of the nineteenth century, they have allies in places like Wisconsin and Massachusetts, the dominant members of the Newest Right are white Southern local notables—the Big Mules, as the Southern populist Big Jim Folsom once described the lords of the local car dealership, country club and chamber of commerce. These are not the super-rich of Silicon Valley or Wall Street (although they have Wall Street allies). The Koch dynasty rooted in Texas notwithstanding, those who make up the backbone of the Newest Right are more likely to be millionaires than billionaires, more likely to run low-wage construction or auto supply businesses than multinational corporations. They are second-tier people on a national level but first-tier people in their states and counties and cities.
For nearly a century, from the end of Reconstruction, when white Southern terrorism drove federal troops out of the conquered South, until the Civil Rights Revolution, the South’s local notables maintained their control over a region of the U.S. larger than Western Europe by means of segregation, disenfranchisement, and bloc voting and the filibuster at the federal level. Segregation created a powerless black workforce and helped the South’s notables pit poor whites against poor blacks. The local notables also used literacy tests and other tricks to disenfranchise lower-income whites as well as blacks in the South, creating a distinctly upscale electorate. Finally, by voting as a unit in Congress and presidential elections, the “Solid South” sought to thwart any federal reforms that could undermine the power of Southern notables at the state, county and city level. When the Solid South failed, Southern senators made a specialty of the filibuster, the last defense of the embattled former Confederacy.
When the post-Civil War system broke down during the Civil Rights Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s, the South’s local notable class and its Northern and Western allies unexpectedly won a temporary three-decade reprieve, thanks to the “Reagan Democrats.” From the 1970s to the 2000s, white working-class voters alienated from the Democratic Party by civil rights and cultural liberalism made possible Republican presidential dominance from Reagan to George W. Bush and Republican dominance of Congress from 1994 to 2008. Because their politicians dominated the federal government much of the time, the conservative notables were less threatened by federal power, and some of them, like the second Bush, could even imagine a “governing conservatism” which, I have argued, sought to “Southernize” the entire U.S.
But then, by the 2000s, demography destroyed the temporary Nixon-to-Bush conservative majority (although conceivably it could enjoy an illusory Indian summer if Republicans pick up the Senate and retain the House in 2016). Absent ever-growing shares of the white vote, in the long run the Republican Party cannot win without attracting more black and Latino support.
That may well happen, in the long run. But right now most conservative white local notables in the South and elsewhere in the country don’t want black and Latino support. They would rather disenfranchise blacks and Latinos than compete for their votes. And they would rather dismantle the federal government than surrender their local power and privilege.
The political strategy of the Newest Right, then, is simply a new strategy for the very old, chiefly-Southern Jefferson-Jackson right. It is a perfectly rational strategy, given its goal: maximizing the political power and wealth of white local notables who find themselves living in states, and eventually a nation, with present or potential nonwhite majorities.
Although racial segregation can no longer be employed, the tool kit of the older Southern white right is pretty much the same as that of the Newest Right:
The Solid South. By means of partisan and racial gerrymandering—packing white liberal voters into conservative majority districts and ghettoizing black and Latino voters–Republicans in Texas and other Southern and Western states control the U.S. Congress, even though in the last election more Americans voted for Democrats than Republicans. The same undemocratic technique makes the South far more Republican in its political representation than it really is in terms of voters.
The Filibuster. By using a semi-filibuster to help shut down the government rather than implement Obamacare, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is acting rationally on behalf of his constituency—the surburban and exurban white local notables of Texas and other states, whom the demagogic Senator seems to confuse with “the American people.” Newt Gingrich, another Southern conservative demagogue, pioneered the modern use of government shutdowns and debt-ceiling negotiations as supplements to the classic filibuster used by embattled white provincial elites who prefer to paralyze a federal government they cannot control.
Disenfranchisement. In state after state controlled by Republican governors and legislators, a fictitious epidemic of voter fraud is being used as an excuse for onerous voter registration requirements which have the effect, and the manifest purpose, of disenfranchising disproportionately poor blacks and Latinos. The upscale leaders of the Newest Right also tend to have be more supportive of mass immigration than their downscale populist supporters—on the condition, however, that “guest workers” and amnestied illegal immigrants not be allowed to vote or become citizens any time soon. In the twenty-first century, as in the twentieth and nineteenth, the Southern ideal is a society in which local white elites lord it over a largely-nonwhite population of poor workers who can’t vote.
Localization and privatization of federal programs. It is perfectly rational for the white local notables of the South and their allies in other regions to oppose universal, federal social programs, if they expect to lose control of the federal government to a new, largely-nonwhite national electoral majority.
Turning over federal programs to the states allows Southern states controlled by local conservative elites to make those programs less generous—thereby attracting investment to their states by national and global corporations seeking low wages.
Privatizing other federal programs allows affluent whites in the South and elsewhere to turn the welfare state into a private country club for those who can afford to pay the fees, with underfunded public clinics and emergency rooms for the lower orders. In the words of Mitt Romney: “We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”
When the election of Lincoln seemed to foreshadow a future national political majority based outside of the South, the local notables of the South tried to create a smaller system they could dominate by seceding from the U.S. That effort failed, after having killed more Americans than have been killed in all our foreign wars combined. However, during Reconstruction the Southern elite snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and succeeded in turning the South into a nation-within-a-nation within U.S. borders until the 1950s and 1960s.
Today the white notables of the South increasingly live in states like Texas, which already have nonwhite majorities. They fear that Obama’s election, like Lincoln’s, foreshadows the emergence of a new national majority coalition that excludes them and will act against their interest. Having been reduced to the status of members of a minority race, they fear they will next lose their status as members of the dominant local class.
While each of the Newest Right’s proposals and policies might be defended by libertarians or conservatives on other grounds, the package as a whole—from privatizing Social Security and Medicare to disenfranchising likely Democratic voters to opposing voting rights and citizenship for illegal immigrants to chopping federal programs into 50 state programs that can be controlled by right-wing state legislatures—represents a coherent and rational strategy for maximizing the relative power of provincial white elites at a time when their numbers are in decline and history has turned against them. They are not ignoramuses, any more than Jacksonian, Confederate and Dixiecrat elites were idiots. They know what they want and they have a plan to get it—which may be more than can be said for their opponents.
"Now we didn't get rid of it in round one because we didn't think it politically smart ... But we believe (Medicare) is going to wither on the vine." - House Speaker Newt Gingrich
"Medicare has no place in a free world. Social Security is a rotten trick ... I think we're going to have to bite the bullet on Social Security and phase it out over time." - House Majority Leader Dick Armey
I vaguely remember that petition, to make it illegal for Rob Schneider to make a movie in California. But I thought he was supposed to be incarcerated.
I visited a Tea Party website. They apparently still think that Obamacare will somehow destroy America and that it can be stopped.
Sorry. The law is passed and will take effect on October 1 whether the House Republicans want to pay the money that the government already spent or not. It will take effect whether or not the Republicans default on the US debt in a month or so.
It's the law. It was passed. One house of Congress can't undo it.
Now here's the hopeful thing for Republicans. If it's as bad as they say it is, they will be sweep the 2014 elections. So if it's so bad, why not just let it happen? Because it's not going to be bad.
The next hurdle for Obamacare will be when the anti-Obamacare true believers who don't have health insurance refuse to buy any healthcare policy and face IRS penalties next Spring. But in order to be a true believer you'd have to give up your healthcare policy to be in violation of the law. It's hard to believe that there are many people who would give up their healthcare in order to stick it in Obama's face, but I'm sure there's a few.
But it's law. It was passed and there is nothing that Republicans can do to change it without getting the White House and both houses. And that's not happening. So the only question is how much the Republicans will try to destroy America by shutting down the government before they give up and return to reality.