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The Self Fulfilling Prophecy of the Republican Party or Through the Door and Turn White

6:47 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen


There’s a lot the most people do not know about the history of this country. To really get a feel for it you need to throw that History Text in the dumper or burn it and read Howard Zinn. That the Irish that moved here — especially during the Great Irish Famine — were not wholly accepted and were quite often ridiculed and debased and even abused. Especially the Irish Catholics.

Or that the Chinese that were brought here to build the railroads, were no longer wanted after the they were no longer needed. Laws were made and passed that forbid any Chinese from even landing on American shores. That after the civil war many states had laws that forbid blacks and other minorities from even entering those states, until the Federal laws preempted them.

That even though Puerto Rico was an American colony, Puerto Ricans were expected to remain in Puerto Rico. As a matter of fact nearly all non-Anglo Saxons were met with suspicion and  sometimes contempt. White meant Anglo Saxon Protestant. So the dog whistle word meaning of “America is a Christian Nation” and “Real Americans” uttered so frequently by the republicans theses days refers to White Anglo Saxon Protestant — which at one time also referred to the Daughters of The American Revolution. AKA DAR.

Gary Younge in The Guardian this time put this most succinctly. Citing a study that was one by Stan Greenberg,

Those seeking to understand what drove the Republican party to shut down the government this month in a strategically disastrous move that laid bare its deep internal divisions – and ultimately led to humiliating defeat – could do worse than start here. The report reveals a sense of ideological, demographic and cultural siege, on the American right, from which there is no obvious escape. Unable to comprehend or process last year’s election defeat, they feel the nation has become unmoored from its founding principles and is on a full-scale, unrelenting descent into chaos. Obama has been victorious in implementing socialism and the party they identify with has proved incapable of halting the decline, leaving them alienated not only from the country at large but one another. If it appears as though they are howling at the moon, it’s because they feel all earthly options have been exhausted.

Describing Ireland’s economic and cultural transformation in his book The Deportees, Roddy Doyle wrote: ‘I went to bed in one country and woke up in a different one.’ Many Republicans have precisely the same feeling.

Central to this deep-seated sense of angst is race. In 2012, 92% of the Republican vote came from white people who, within 30 years, will no longer be in the majority. ‘They are acutely racially conscious,’ says Greenberg. ‘They are very aware that they are ”white” in a country that is becoming increasingly “minority.’ Growing increasingly dependent on an ever-shrinking base, they see their electoral fortunes waning but are resistant to adapting their message to broaden their appeal beyond their narrow racial confines. Race is less the explicit target of their anxiety (issues such as affirmative action and civil rights no longer dominate) than the primary (if not exclusive) prism through which their political consciousness is being filtered. ‘Race,’ writes Greenberg, ‘is central to their worldview.’

he goes on to point out that the gerrymandering has been done in recent decades has been to exclude minorities from voting districts.  Though he fails to note that this is also the reason for the restrictive voter ID laws as well. And that the rejection of the safety net is quote:

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Go Ahead you F**KERS —- JUMP !

5:18 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Jump – flickr

Ted Cruz who has become the darling of the Tea Party movement but who is nothing more than another spoiled brat rich kid, has become the darling of the tea party republicans. More spoiled brat rich kids. His grandstanding in the senate floor accomplishing nothing. Wanting to rid the country and themselves of the Affordable Care Act but mainly to rid themselves of Obama and anyone to the political left of Obama.

They hate poor people and hate anyone who is not white and especially anyone who is not white and poor and may get something from the government.

But now the house tea party brats want to to use this as a push to shut down the government. Now this has been done before with little consequence.    And over other piss ass disagreements. Even under Reagan and Bush I. In just three days we will supposedly be out of money…which we  already don’t have.

This time it’s a little different though.  What has been keeping the economy afloat here as well as else where is the Federal Reserve buying up government bonds and such. The so called QE (Quantitative Easing). Both over and under the table.

But we have seen that even a hint of changing this could have dire and immediate effects on the stock market, and there for the entire economy. And not just here.  We have had shutdowns before but not ones that indicated we might default on our debt.

Though the WH seems concerned and some of the more emotionally stable republicans are concerned, there is a contingent in this country that is not.

Who are fed up with the temper tantrums that have been emerging from Washington of late. A contingent who’s attitude is GO AHEAD….JUMP !

Those they despise …..

7:21 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Why is it that people like Mark Sanford – who has been involved in scandal after scandal, Sen. Tom Coburn – who has come out with some of the most outrageous statements and James Inhofe keep getting elected to office ? As well as any number of outright liers and crooks ?

Why do those same people as well as those who voted for them hate the idea of bank and business regulation ?

Because the people who voted these folks and others like them into office really do believe in the same things that their representatives believe in.  That’s why.

They hate Obamacare and taxes and all regulation. Not just business regulation…ALL REGULATION.   They hate being told where they can drink or eat or smoke. Who they can keep out of their establishments and schools and housing subdivisions. Be they Irish or Jewish or German or Black or Latino or Native American or Gay or Female. They hate Affirmative Action and The Voting Rights Acts and anything that gives anyone special privileges – well except them of course.

They hate being taxed to help all those they despise or because they engage in some activity or indulge in some substance that others do not approve. To charge what ever they like and pay their employees whatever they like and work them as hard as they like.

It’s not because they don’t like Federal largesse, that has nothing to do with it. They see the Federal government as a bunch of meddlesome busy bodies and the left especially so. Getting down on their churches and private religious schools – the last place they see where they still have complete control.

They want to see a world like it was in 1957 where they could do what they wanted, where they want with out fear of someone getting on their case. Where they could deny access to anyone for any reason. Especially those they despise.   And they see the only way to accomplish this to to deny the government of the funds needed to enforce those laws.  Thereby neutering it.

The 20% solution

8:07 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Walmart World - Patrick Hoesly/flickr Creative Commons

It would seem that Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2016. Pretty much a given really. Having her run will lock up the soccer mom vote for the most part and if she can lay it on thick like Bill, most of the Latino, Black and other non whites as well.

With a large part of the white males going for the republican. Most likely Jeb Bush. Politics as usual in the USA. And the vast majority of the populace will go along for the ride. Grover Norquist is saying that TP2.0 will be better than the previous version. Sounding like an IBM software add.

It all sounds so much like some first year comp sci program written in LISP to calculate N Factorial recursively. Just shuffle the card deck and re-submit the program if it doesn’t work the first time.

So why do we – or rather the public – put up with this ? Even after all that has been going on for the last 30 years or so. The criminality on Wall Street, in Congress. The imperialistic foreign policy and continuous military actions that get us even deeper in dept and accomplish nothing.

For one thing, the economy and the government is working just good enough for enough people to keep them from wanting to make any major change. This is not pre-revolutionary France or Russia where only a very small percentage of people – generally in the big cities – were doing well or at least managing some how. Where the vast majority were starving and still working in horrendous conditions, if they could work at all. Where most of what they did get was taxed or appropriated by those at the top.

Nor is this some Nazi occupied country where there was a common enemy and common goal that bound the majority together. Where even if the people were not actively involved with the resistance, were supportive of it and would turn their backs and not see or report anything the resistance did. Quite often helping in small ways as well.

Nor is it this country during the depression of the 1930s where the official unemployment was 25% of the populace. But that did not include all those who lost everything in the dust bowl as well. People who were driven off their farms and land with the same vigor and those who were driven from unions and strikes.

None of those conditions exist here at this time.

I would say that there is maybe around 20% who would really want to see any major change in the government or economic system. And of that 20% only about 1% who would support any direct action to do so. And even those 20% cannot agree on what needs to be done first. Jobs ? Global warming ? Economic and social equality ? Take one from from column A and one from column B.

The rest are still OK as long as they can still have roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, something to watch on their idiot boxes and get good and drunk at some bar.  Distracted by some trivial item (religious, moral, financial, or entertainment related) or the next gadget from Apple or Microsoft.

Even Greece and Spain – who are an order of magnitude worse off than we are – are not to the point of replacing their PTB with some coup or another.

As anyone who has been in AA or any other 12 step program can tell you, human beings are very reluctant to make any kind of change in their lives even when their lives are pure torture. Even when they have lost everything. They will put an unbelievable amount of effort into forcing a bad, unworkable situation to work some way or another or quite literally die trying.. They will deny and blame others for their misfortune and the failure of their situation.

The right wing will continually wine and throw a temper tantrum like some spoiled brat. Maybe even be diagnosed with some psychiatric disorder.

The pseudo-left will feign support for any progressive agenda that does not interfere with the status quo. Their SUV, McMansion or defense related carrier.

Change will come only when the majority of people are willing to own and accept that the system has failed and the continued support will get them nowhere. This will only happen when they themselves are starving and those at the top tell them TFB while their enforcers are clubbing them to death.

Progressives in America – No Place at the Inn

8:39 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Joe Hill Ashes - flickr

In every American community, there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects, ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally. -Phil Ochs

Progressivism in The United States has had a very rocky road historically, never with a place to actually call home. The history of Progressivism is also the political history of this country and the political history has as many twists and turns as the back roads of Northern PA. and just about as many different kinds of characters.

First one has to accept that unlike Europe or Asia this country from the first has been made up of a conglomeration of different cultures, ethnics, religious followers and economic and social classes. All of whom came here either to escape religious and/or political persecution, poverty, legal issues or famine. A good number could only be described as malcontents, trouble makers, ne’er do wells and out right crooks.

The Federalist Party was the first political party followed closely by the Democratic Republicans. They pretty much ran things until 1800 when they fell out of power and popularity. They were the party of the monied and financiers. Wanted a strong union, a strong federal government, fiscal responsibility, good relations with Briton and high tariffs. Their champion was Alexander Hamilton.

Their opposition was the Democratic Republican Party whose head was Thomas Jefferson. They were against every thing the Federalist implemented and wanted. Primarily the party of the southern farmers and plantation owns as wells as the small merchants, they liked small government, low tariffs, states rights, yeoman farmers. They feared what they felt were the authoritarian policies of the Federalists and giving too much power to the bankers and financiers. In a highly contested election of 1800 that resulted in a tie – only to be broken by Alexander Hamilton – Thomas Jefferson became president and the Democratic Republican Party took both houses of congress. This also spelled the end of the Federalist Party.

Out of the ashes of all of this came the first real progressive cause. Slavery. And the first political party to embrace such a cause, The Whig Party.

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Where the Left and the Right get it wrong on Obama….mostly

8:57 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Bean Bag Obama - Donkey Hotey/flickr

Another conspiracy theory from republicans…now it’s the jobs report. At the same time the apologies from the democratic regulars and Obama supporters  at at a fever pitch and those further left are as convinced as ever that Obama is a closet Nixon or Reagan or both. Whatever. The right want to see him as a socialist or extremest or Muslim lover or …… And the democratic followers as some new born savior.

They are all wrong. What you see is an illusion.

To me now the answer to the question Obama is fairly simple, though I will admit it was not always thus.  Like David Seaton I was pretty certain he was a question mark with multiple choice answers.  Not what he wanted us to see him as.

A very good clue came from the first of the debates – and I use the term very loosely.  One of the best analysis of which is given by Doug Henwood on his blog

Unlike Franklin Roosevelt, who famously said that he welcomed the hatred of the rich, Obama wants to flatter them. He made the mistake of calling them “fatcats” once, so his former fans on Wall Street turned on him. That has something to do with why he didn’t mention the 47% thing, or tar Romney as the candidate of the 0.1%. That would be divisive and offend the people whose admiration he craves. FDR came out of the aristocracy, and had the confidence to step on the fancy toes of the rich now and then. Obama came out of nowhere, was groomed for success by elite institutions throughout his impressive rise, and no doubt wants some of those nice shoes for himself.

I do not agree however with Doug’s assertion that Obama is a narcissist. I have personally known people like that and Obama does not really fit the mold. What he does fit is that of a “people pleaser“. People Pleasers are not necessarily narcissist nor are they totally sociopathic.  What they are – if I may use the vernacular – are suck ups.  Constantly wanting and  needing the approval of those they deem to be higher up.  Afraid of rejection and confrontation, especially face to face – they will do or say whatever they think is wanted by those above them.

I know I have worked for them and was more than a bit of a people pleaser myself for a while. But old age and some professional help cured me of it for the most part.

But this is not all that surprising when one considers his background. A child of mixed race not really fitting in on either side. Whose father left him at an early age and moving around quite a bit.  I would almost bet he had few, if any, real close friends but constantly seeking the approval of those around him. Becoming the first black president of the Harvard law Review and chumming around with those of similar ilk.  But never actually seeing himself as an equal. Needing to be the best to get any approval at all.

So his performance during the debate with Romney – possibly expecting Lehrer to come to his defense and be the assertive one – so not confronting Romney directly but only after the debates from a safe distance is no real surprise to me. It fits the pattern to a tee.

The democrats themselves have been the corporatist party from the get go. Unlike the republicans who worship money and those who have it, the democrats are envious of it.   Not bowing down with praise but sucking up and wanting it. So Obama in a lot of ways fits right in.

This is not to apologize for Obama or even a heavy critique.   He is what he is. He is a con but for his own self worth unlike Romney who is a con for money and property. Romney will steel your bank account. Obama your sanity.  He will appear as whatever he thinks you want him to be and is very good at it. And as Doug Henwood notes.

Romney believes in money. Obama believes in nothing.

Most liberals want to write off Obama’s bad performance as a bad night. It’s not just that. It’s a structural problem.


Politics is Politics and Parties is Parties.

8:25 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

I would guess that most here watched at least a bit of the two political circuses that have been put on for our amusement. Of the two I think the democratic circus was much better produced with tighter production values, a more creative script and better jokes. The also did a better job of casting, though in some cases seemed a bit cast against type.

I came across this site from the Pew Research Center on ones political leanings. A bit of a test or poll as it were.  Here is where I fit in.
As you can see, I’m nearly off the charts. (Click to view larger)

Here however is a site that gives a more nuanced view, in my opinion. From political compass.

As you can see I am out there and I have taken this test a number of times and it has turned out pretty much the same. For a heads up here is the 2012 election and the EU Member states.

2012 Election Political Compass

EU Member states

Now my gut impression is that there are a fair number of people here at FDL whose politics are similar to mine.

However here are a few stats. In the last general election, 60% of the eligible  voters actually voted. This is up from the 2000 election when 50% voted.  (United States Elections Project)

Only around 25% of the electorate are actively involved with politics. Most of those who do vote do not know or even care about the issues and policies of the candidates and vote on their emotional response to them in some way. IE their hair style or personality etc.

There are probably more Asians in this country than far leftists.  So do I think that we are likely to enact any of the current progressive policies that are heralded on this and other progressive sites ? Not in what’s left of my life time.    So love them Liberals

Republican’s Southern strategy – More than just votes.

7:40 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

WPA House New Orleans - flickr

It should be rather obvious that the republican part is the party of white people. More specifically white people who are very religious, fairly rich and hold racist views of non-whites.

The common belief of those on the left is that this began with Nixon after the the civil rights acts were passed. But it goes back further than that. To end of Franklin Roosevelt’s  fourth term.  FDR had made a deal with the Dixiecrats. if they would support his New Deal legislation – the CCC WPA Social Security – the democratic party and the government would turn a blind eye with what they did and how they did it.

The democratic party at the 1948 convention had just approved a civil rights platform, one that was mild and vague and ambiguous enough not to offend the South. The liberal wing however were incensed by this and the them mayor of Minneapolis – Hubert Humphrey - vowed to take the fight to the delegates.

The liberals’ plank included anti-lynching and anti-poll tax legislation, ending segregation in the armed forces, supporting fair employment laws. All were positions the nominee-to-be, Harry Truman, supported. – SFGate

The convention roared it’s approval and the southern Dixiecrats walked out.  They held their own convention and nominated Strom Thurmond as their candidate. Truman won the election of 1948 without the Dixiecrats though.

But FDR himself wanted to rid the party of the “reactionary elements” in the south and in 1944 said to one of his advisers, “. . . the time has come for the Democratic Party to get rid of its reactionary elements in the South and attract to it liberals in the Republican Party.” Lead by Wendell Wilkie. But Wilkie died before the 1944 election and the liberals that followed him fell apart.

So instead of attracting these liberals into the democratic party, it left the door open for the southern Dixiecrats.  The southern states had their own reasons for hating the democratic party’s stance on unions and labor and social contracts. These things meant that they would have to treat blacks the same as whites and this they would never do. Unions had black members and so unions were anti-south. Equal education and voting was also considered anti south.

But what the politicians of the time neglected to consider was that outside the metro areas in the northern and central states, a lot of whites held similar beliefs as those in the south.   So when the civil rights acts were passed by congress and signed by LBJ, white resentment swelled from Alabama to Idaho and Oregon to Main in the predominantly white small towns and rural areas.   Reagan’s meme of the “Welfare Queen” hit a nerve with those folks as well and the republicans knew it.

But overall demographics are changing and a party of all white christian males is on the decline and they know this as well.

A Republican strategist said something interesting and revealing on Friday, though it largely escaped attention in the howling gusts of punditry over Mitt Romney’s birth certificate crack and a potential convention-altering hurricane. The subject was a Ron Brownstein story outlining the demographic hit rates each party requires to win in November. To squeak out a majority, Mitt Romney probably needs to win at least 61 percent of the white vote — a figure exceeding what George H.W. Bush commanded over Michael Dukakis in 1988. The Republican strategist told Brownstein, “This is the last time anyone will try to do this” — “this” being a near total reliance on white votes to win a presidential election.

. . . . .

Blowing up the welfare state and affecting the largest upward redistribution of wealth in American history is a politically tricky project (hence Romney’s belief that he may need to forego a second term). Hence the Romney campaign’s clear plan to suture off its slowly declining but still potent base. Romney’s political-policy theme is an unmistakable appeal to identity politics. On Medicare, Romney is putting himself forward as the candidate who will outspend Obama, at least when it comes to benefits for people 55 years old and up. Romney will restore the $700 billion in Medicare budget cuts imposed by Obama to its rightful owners — people who are currently old.

He will cut subsidies to the non-elderly people who would get insurance through Obamacare — a program that, Romney’s ads remind older voters, is “NOT FOR YOU.” Romney’s repeated ads on welfare, blaring the brazen lie that Obama has repealed the welfare work requirement, hammer home the same theme. The purpose is to portray Obama as diverting resources from us to them.

In their heart of hearts, Romney and Ryan would probably prefer a more sweeping, across-the-board assault on the welfare state. But the immense popularity of the largest, middle-class social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security force them into the divide-and-conquer gambit. They can promise to hold their disproportionately old, white base harmless and impose the entire brunt of their ambitious downsizing of government on young, poor, and disproportionately nonwhite Democratic constituencies. – New York Magazine

In other words to remove every piece of legislation that had been passed since FDR took office. Something the southern whites would like to see as well. Probably even more so since then they could bring back a defacto slave state and reinstate segregational policies.

Wall Street’s Groupies…..

6:58 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Wall Street Trekkers - flickr

Groupies. If you have ever been to a concert, you can spot them. They hang around the groups there. Wangle to get the best seats. First up with the autographs and defend them to the death. The groups music is always the best and the members can do no wrong.

Wall Street has it’s own groupies as well.  They play the market like they are part of the elites. Defend all that Wall Street does. The hang around them and wish they could be one of them but have not the talent or resources. The live in gated communities and drive imported cars and vacation just outside the Hamptons.

They are what Chris Hedges calls The Careerists..

These systems managers believe nothing. They have no loyalty. They are rootless. They do not think beyond their tiny, insignificant roles. They are blind and deaf. They are, at least regarding the great ideas and patterns of human civilization and history, utterly illiterate. And we churn them out of universities. Lawyers. Technocrats. Business majors. Financial managers. IT specialists. Consultants. Petroleum engineers. Positive psychologists.” Communications majors. Cadets. Sales representatives. Computer programmers. Men and women who know no history, know no ideas. They live and think in an intellectual vacuum, a world of stultifying minutia. They are T.S. Eliot’s “the hollow men,” “the stuffed men.” “Shape without form, shade without colour,” the poet wrote. “Paralysed force, gesture without motion.”

Like the musical groupies they have no creativity of their own. No imagination, compassion or passion. They are the Uriah Heeps of society.   The cockroaches, the maggots and the leaches. In the past they were the bourgeois and petite bourgeousie. The enablers and supporters of all that the elites did.

They really have no politics. Some are republicans ,some tea party,  some democrat. What ever suites their purpose at the time since all they really care about is furthering their own agendas.   They will be at the republican and democratic conventions cheering on their favorite performers.  Caring not one bit about what the lyrics say or whether or not they can actually play.

Just as long as they can keep their big fortified houses with their BMWs and indoor swimming pools. Shop at Whole Foods or Macys and attend self help seminars and focus on self actualization.

They will support Romney or Obama – whatever suits their fancy.

Isaac and the republican convention.

9:38 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

For those who wish to track the development of TS Isaac and it’s probable impact on Tampa and the republican convention here are are few links that I have found over the years to be the best at getting information on tropical systems.

Weather Underground. This I think is the best site so far. They have the NHC forecast plus the model graphics and satellite images. Dr. Masters blog gives a very good run down on the current status and what he thinks is the likely forecast. Plus his reasoning behind the NHC forecasts in a nice understandable manner. Complete with graphics.

Navy/NRL Monterey.  Has some of the best satellite pics. Some very large and you can generate your own animation of them in a number of formats including Java and animated gif.    Click on the storm name and then on the satellite pic on the right. Then at the top of the next window click loop. There you can select the size and images you wan to animate.

Crown weather tropical.  Definitely for weather geeks. It has graphics for just about everything tropical. Satellite, tracking, winds aloft, sea surface temps. You name it.

CIMSS Univ. of Wisconsin.  Great for satellite graphics and animated satellite.  Click on the little hurricane icon on the map at the top. This will give a window showing the latest satellite. From there you can select what kind you want atr the top and to animate it by clicking animate gif on the left.

Caribbean Hurricane Network. People on the islands post here what is going on with them and their island,  hurricane wise.

And of course the official NHC.

For those with short wave radios you can listen to the Hurricane Watch Net. Activated when ever a hurricane is close to or threatening land. It is on 14.325 MHZ in the 20 meter Amateur Radio Band. They communicate information from those in the effected areas to and from the NHC via the NHC Amateur Radio Station WX4NHC located at the hurricane center. The web site also has streaming audio of net activities when it is active.

TS Isaac GFS Ensemble Computer Model