The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    Charlie Pierce's Brilliant Take on The Electeds out to Destroy our Government. We Did This. (Well, not ME)


    Have you read this?  Charles Pierce is a genius at grabbing the god-awful truth and shining bright lights on it.  His latest Esquire piece, "The Reign of Morons is Here", is pure Charlie--raging, brilliant, and, of course, spot on: 

    We have elected the people sitting on hold, waiting for their moment on an evening drive-time radio talk show.
    We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.

     And this:

    We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.
    This is what they came to Washington to do -- to break the government of the United States. It doesn't matter any more whether they're doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party's mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural Address in which government "was" the problem, through Bill Clinton's ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being "over," through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find "common ground" and a "Third Way." Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country's higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains.
    But you really need to read the whole thing.  In a nutshell, it is what we've done to ourselves.  It did, in fact, start with Ronald Reagan. and many of us could see the handwriting on the wall even then.  He wasn't called "the Teflon president" for nothing.  The press saw a sunny personality and a gift of gab, loved reporting on this former-actor-turned-President of the United States, and ignored what was really coming out of his mouth.  His mission was to decentralize and eventually decapitate a government that, on looking back fondly now, was working just fine for most of us.
    Bill Clinton, instead of working to fix the path to destruction, followed the yellow brick road.  Outsourcing and off-shoring gained a friend, much to our dismay.
    George W. Bush proved to the crazies that they could win as long as they kept their leaders mediocre and clueless and talkin' like good-ol-boys.  
    And Barack Obama, given the gift of an entire progressive movement standing by his side and ready to go to work, blew it almost from the start by bringing in Wall Street cronies and by thinking beyond any reason that he could compromise with people who made it crystal clear their main goal was to destroy him.
    So here we are.  They're doing what they've promised to do:  they've already shut down the government, if even just temporarily, and if we've got it right--got their message--this is only the beginning.   
    If the people who voted those crazies in, and are still cheering them on, can't be persuaded to do the right thing and get them out of there, we either have to do a better job of convincing them, or we have to give in and enjoy the ride.
    I don't know about you, but I'm with Charlie.  No way in hell are we going to do that.
    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)


    It looks now that the GOP will roll the shutdown into the debt limit imbroglio, and at some point claim victory after accomplishing nothing but intoxicating the morons in their  gerrymandered districts. Tom Toles:



    There are similarities in the political calculations and tactics employed by the right-wing budget-hawks to those of the neocon and other war hawks in their international foreign policy moves. Declaring that all options are on the table can lead individuals, groups, or entire countries into situations that they might otherwise have avoided. Even claiming, and even if merely for the purpose of tactical leverage, that an option, or all options, are on the table can have the same unintended [by most] consequences. A threat or a brag or a pretense to ideological purity may push the involved parties into a political corner and the threatened action may then end up being carried out even when it can be seen beforehand as likely, even almost certainly, to be to the detriment of most everyone involved.  As long as the deciders can expect to profit or at least skate free if it all turns to goo, that is.
     Neither side expected the sequester to actually happen when they voted it into law for a future date. Neither side wanted it to happen. It was expected that cooler heads would prevail before the sequester actually went into affect and the expected damage would be avoided after some compromises or back-downs or sell-outs. Now, surely the nutjobs on the right won't force a shut-down of the government. Oh wait, I mean surely they won't let it go on for very long, they can see from history how bad that could turn out. Yeah, they care about that, count on it, but don't bother taking it to the bank.
     Next, reasonable people know that it is completely unreasonable as well as stupid for a small fraction, a small faction, of Congress to block the raising of the debt limit. Could it happen anyway even though the country is against it and the weight of the republican party is too?   

                       Connoisseurs of irony may enjoy the fact that many Republicans find themselves in much the same bind as the Obama administration found itself in after Syria flouted its ‘red line’ on chemical weapons. In retrospect, they would prefer not to find themselves making the threats that they’re making, but they fear that if they don’t somehow deliver on those threats, people won’t take them seriously in future.


    Your comment makes no sense to me (while Henry Farrell's essay to which your refer does make sense, very much so.) Seems to me that you as twisting things illogically in order to see equivalencies where there are none, make them fit some kind of narrative of a big, ordered picture. As if you fixated on the lemming image and did something along the lines of "everything's about lemmingness." Or something. It really is hard to make sense of what you are trying to say.

    "All options are on the table" is how anyone with good will toward negotiation properly approaches a negotiation table!

    Saying "Use of chemical weapons is a red line" is quite different, it's limiting your options! And it's based on a firm ideological belief that chemical weapons should not be tolerated.

    Being an ideologue about something is the problem in both cases, and that is all they have in common. People who are open to all options are not at all the same problem, even if one of the options implied is something you might not like.

     Fair enough, I see how my comment could be parsed as you do if you apply a literal meaning to the phrase, "all options are on the table",  but the phrase has not been used in the way that the words literally mean. Instead it has been used as a threat by emphasizing that military action was on the table. Do what we demand and do it on our timetable or else.That could put the administration in a corner that would push it to use such action if it did not get its way entirely whether that action was actually the smartest thing to do or not when the deadline came up. Similarly, threats by the Tea Party faction have backed them into a corner and pushed them to act in a dumb way and may well push them to continue doing so with the affect of more damage to come.

      Being an ideologue about something is the problem in both cases, and that is all they have in common

     Being ideologues is not quite all they have in common. What I said is that they also have in common their propensity towards bluster and threats as a tactic to advance their ideology. While Farrell's quote is about the Syria red line, I was actually thinking about threats to Iran. In the case of Syria, Obama did not threaten an attack after the red line was seen to be crossed in a big way, he said to them and the world that he intended a punitive attack, his mind was made up. It was no longer a threat intended to coerce compliance. Then serendipitous events changed everything but not before it was evident the situation where the hard line threats had put him.

    Comparing efforts to prevent a nation in civil war from using nerve gas against civilians, and circumspection about the outcome of entering that war, and the nonsense that goes on with the nutjobs of the idiot wing of the GOP, is like equating grenades and apples, or suicide bombers and circus clowns.

    There are millions out there who have wished to 'shut down' the government for decades.

    We end up with the government we voted for.

    I get it.

    I would like to believe that when tens of millions of our population begin to discover what this shut down does to them and theirs that pressures might come to bear; but I doubt it.

    I would like to believe that when financial powers controling this country put pressure on the majority of repubs in Congress, we might see some movement; but I doubt it.

    People in Texas vote for their educational boards and text books appear explaining the Garden of Eden.

    But if millions of Texans think it is a good idea to inform their children that the universe is ten thousand years old; that women are responsible for Original Sin; that poor people have not 'earned' a chance at proper health care; that all of Islam represent devil worship; that all Mexicans are drug dealers and lazy welfare seekers; that corporations should never be taxed; that rich people have earned a right to a tax free existence; that contraception is the work of Satan...well we are in a lot of trouble.

    And if millions of Southerners and Westerners from Utah to Montana agree with the basic tenets of millions of Texans we are all screwed.

    We are screwed because these Citizens will never be convinced that there are more functional approaches available to domestic and foreign issues based upon empirical evidence.

    All the propaganda in the world will never affect the ethos of conservatives.

    And those folks who are affected by governmental shut downs will never be convinced that shut downs are hurting them!


    Good ol' Charlie.  So much of the coverage I'm reading is too flippant.  The general populace isn't suffering yet.  My kid couldn't go to story time at the library because parts of the New York Public Library system are federally funded on an ongoing basis.  We have Senators yelling at Park Rangers in D.C.  The mainstream press is churning out "blame game" articles full of false equivalencies that I am sparing myself from having to read.

    People are being hurt by this, but they have no voice.  Mothers who relied on federal assistance to buy formula and diapers are being hurt.  They don't get spots on cable news.  People who were supposed to enter experimental disease treatment programs at NIH are being hurt.  But, who cares?  We've shut down the government in order to repeal the law that requires insurance companies to cover those people who have chronic diseases.  Now we have a new way to screw them.

    I think that there are enough people hurting that the GOP will suffer. MSM , especially DC media stopped focusing on the average citizen long ago. Assaults on the public are generally not covered. MSM spends more time covering werking than the assault on reproductive choice. Not covering lack of diapers and formula is not surprising. 

    Are checks for students receiving financial aid still going out? Beats me. I rely on MSM for info. The news is the last to find what the public is feeling.

    Pell grants were funded in September to the colleges and they then sent the balance of the student grant to the student.  My kids have other funding that pays for some of the school tuition and pell comes in last.  They get what was not needed to use for other expenses. I don't know what will happen next semester. The pell grant was already cut for this school year because of the sequester.  The kids got less money from the grant.

    The afterschool program called 21st Century received their federal supper grant for the semester last month just before the end of the month.  The kids will start getting supper now before they go home at night. This is a local program and someone was on their toes to get that grant in early.  Many of these programs across the country were funded in monthly grants payments and those programs can no longer feed the kids.  Many of these kids go hungry because they are from the working poor.  My little ones are in 21st Century because the youngest one needed the tutoring and their mom found a part time job.  It is a long day with out supper for this kids. Programs like this gives disadvantaged kids  help with homework and a safe place to be until parents can pick them up. The youngest one has really improved in school because he speech teacher volunteers at the 4 day program. The older ones needed to be challenged because the gifted teacher was laid off this year because of cuts. The program is only 4 days a week after school.  The poorer the population gets the more we need these kind of programs. Also if Rick Scott had not cut the hell out of the school budget, my kids would not need to be in that program. 

    Most of our grocery stores now have the baby formula under lock and key.  You have to buy it in the front of the store at the tobacco counter.  Women will steal to feed their babies.  

    I am seeing economic pain all over the place in my part of the world.  Like you said where is the MSM to report these stories.  



    I just found out that a charity that I volunteer with has continued funding for meals for high risk kids through an arrangement with the USDA. Government workers are finding ways around the Tea Party terrorists in DC.

    Eric Cantor and Republicans in Congress with health care backgrounds staged political theatre today. White coat wearing GOP legislators pleaded for funding for research trials for childhood cancers to continue, despite voting against the funding by supporting a government shutdown unless Democrats agreed not to fund a healthcare law. it makes your blood boil.

    A wingnut Congress critter from Texas tried to embarrass a Park Ranger at the WWII Memorial for refusing to allow public entry to the monument. He blamed Harry Reid for the shutdown. Members of the crowd came to the defense of the Park Ranger who was merely doing her job. Most of the public isn't being fooled by the GOP despite media taking a more non-accusatory role.

    Shots fired near Hart Building in DC

    I am just watching that clip now on Chris Hayes.  What a ass!

    I was at quilting tonight and many of the women are not happy with Republicans.  They are worried about their retirement funds after this goes to default because they are retired.  One lady said she is so tired of her husband listening all day to Fox.  She said she made it clear to him that she didn't want to hear him repeat anything they say because they are lying.  I was really surprised because she used to be a staunch Republicans. This stretch out and they take us into default the Republican Party is toast in 2014.  Majority people see through this and growing tired of these games. 



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