Demonization and the deliberate destruction of U.S. politics

survival-richestLet’s start with Survival of the Richest: How the recovery left the middle class behind: All right, this is Mother Jones. Still, any conservative American who actually has the guts to look at these graphics will come away realizing that we truly are at 1933 again. And that we must do something about the skyrocketing wealth disparities that threatened every past generation of the American Experiment. And that Supply Side Voodoo Economics assurances have by now proved 100% lies.

Past generations found reasonable, compromise solutions and negotiated pragmatically to both keep a vibrant flat-open-fair-competitive capitalism and maintain social mobility.

Indeed, it is to prevent such negotiations that today’s oligarchs have financed the destruction of politics in the U.S. (e.g. the “Hastert Rule” that no republican may ever negotiate with democrats, over anything, ever. It is an explicit and openly stated rule within the party and the chief reason that Newt Gingrich was fired as a leader of the party, for negotiating with Bill Clinton both the Budget Act and Welfare Reform.)

It is for that reason the right spares no effort to call Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) the same thing as Satan Incarnate… even though our parents in the Greatest Generation adored him more than any other human.

Fact, is, FDR effectively SAVED capitalism and the wealthy, in America. The aristo fools who demonize him and seek to restore feudalism seem too stupid to realize the alternative to a middle class America — such as FDR built — is not feudalism… but tumbrels. They should be the ones seeking a new Roosevelt. reciprocal-demonization

== Can science overcome demonization? ==

I oft point out the top feature of the re-ignited U.S. Civil War – that normal politics of deliberation/negotiation is dead in America, killed by reciprocal demonization that’s funded by — well — traitors.

But science offers hope! Yes, we tend to think the “other side” is motivated principally by hatred. See my earlier posting: Who Benefits from the Politics of Outrage?

“But according to a new study being released by PNAS, it’s possible to get people to think more positively about their opponents. All it takes is a small cash payment to get people to step back and think. And with a more positive understanding of the opposition, people become willing to think that compromise is possible.”

Be afraid Rupert! All it will take is $12 per US citizen to get them back into a mood for negotiating with their neighbors! Now, get me the ear of Warren Buffett…

== Selling Cynicism == secret-government

In sharp contrast to that positive news… now dive into this paean to cynicism in the Boston Globe by Jordan Michael Smith, “Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.” While surficially satisfying, the essay in fact is flat out dopey food-for-lazy-cynics, pushing the pablum sneer that voting does not matter, because Obama is just the same as Bush.

Alas, all Mr. Smith proves is that there are lefty-fools, as well as righty ones. Want just one devastating example?

In 2013 the Obama Administration supported what the Bushites opposed, the most important civil liberties action in 30 years. A declaration backing court decisions that citizens have an absolute right to record their interactions with police. Had Republicans been in the White House, the cases might have been appealed to the Supreme Court and possibly reversed.

And this is likely to be extensible to other authorities. This precedent empowers citizens to make the inevitable top-down glare at least somewhat two-way. No Republican supported this move, which arms us with a core entitlement to use fast-improving technology to balance power, at least somewhat. At least in principle it does! At the level where it matters most — on the streeets. It will be up to us to keep extending it, indefinitely. sousveillance

Mr. Smith’s whines about NSA spying are the sign of a dismally unimaginative reflex. Nothing will stop surveillance. Drive it out of the NSA and it will dive somewhere else, even harder to supervise, like a game of whack-a-mole. But it can be rendered harmless with sufficient sousveillance!

That is where the fight should be radical, militant and fierce. But we are undermined by fools who sit and cynically glower that “there’s no difference.” (That is, if Mr. Smith is not already in the pay of Rupert Murdoch.)

No difference? Here’s another huge, huge area of dem-gop divergence that would matter, if our punditocracy were 1/10th as smart as they think they are: The diametrically opposite doctrines under which liberals and conservatives wage war.

We are seeing this difference play out, yet again, before our very eyes.

But the final dismissal of such monstrous cynical sneers is simple enough to repeat to yourself, over and over again: “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid. And… oh yes. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid.”

== You would actually re-hire these guys? ==

Name one unambiguous statistical metric of US national economic, social, scientific, fiscal or middle class health that improved across the span of any recent GOP tenure in power.   (In any way that can be reasonably attributed to their governance.) You cannot name more than a couple that did not plummet.  Let’s state that clearly. Outcomes from both Bush administrations were almost universally disastrous.  And those include conservative metrics such as near total destruction of US military readiness.

One measure of the delusion dominating America’s gone-around-the-bend right wing is the matter of military readiness. At the end of the Clinton Administration, 100% of major US military units were rated fully combat ready. By the time GW Bush left office, not a single major army or marine unit was so rated… half have now regained that status.http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/…

Do outcomes matter at all to you?  Or only Fox-assertions and anecdotes and incantations to feel good.

Fact, more than half of those statistical metrics improved markedly under Clinton and Obama.  Nothing I said here has anything at all to do with left or right.  It is simple outcomes appraisal.

Adults do it.  Fox-watchers do not.

manchurian-candidate-politicsIn fact, such a perfect record of doing damage to America almost beggars explanation. (And make no mistake, the “brain trusts” of both Romney and McCain were filled almost entirely by Bush appointees.)  Elsewhere I’ve offered 20% odds… or 1:4… that the almost perfect tally of unalloyedly harmful outcomes from both Bush presidencies might… just might … have been deliberate:  “Indeed, it does parsimoniously fit all Bush Administration outcomes, far better than the standard theories: dogmatism, venality and stupidity. But the truly curious thing is that absolutely no one will discuss a lesser-odds option — the “manchurian” one — even just to have it on a corner of the table.”

Well, well. I stand corrected. The “Manchurian scenario actually has been broached in a few places. Once by Robert Buzzanco, Professor of History, University of Houston. But even more bitingly by the brilliant cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. Come on.  Do what you can, before the mid-terms. And vote.

2 Comments

Filed under politics

2 responses to “Demonization and the deliberate destruction of U.S. politics

  1. I listened to a lecture today on pre-Soviet Russian history. A speech was made in the Duma, in 1916, enumerating the mistakes/errors of Tsar Nicholas. After listing each error/mistake, the speaker asked, was it stupidity, or was it treason? The final answer: what difference does it make, he’s destroying the country.

    Manchurian Candidate? Maybe. But to the benefit of whom? And anyway, what does it matter past a certain point?

  2. Chris

    Yes, the very day a Democrat takes office the military’s status is immediately attributed to him/her and has nothing to do with any prior administration. As a self-described expert you should be aware of the military’s 5,10, 20 year financing and contract maintenance but of course that’s inconvenient to your diatribe so oh well. Also, nice hit on Bush I who led the most effective US war in modern history (using Reagan’s military)

    I’m starting to think you might have a debilitating mental condition.

    Also, Tuesday’s going to sting: big Republican gains. You better fire up your angry keyboard on Wednesday and keep repeating the same horseshit, it seems to be working!

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