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At TomDispatch, Rebecca Solnit writes We could be heroes. An excerpt:

One manifestation of this indiscriminate biliousness is the statement that gets aired every four years: that in presidential elections we are asked to choose the lesser of two evils. Now, this is not an analysis or an insight; it is a cliché, and a very tired one, and it often comes in the same package as the insistence that there is no difference between the candidates. You can reframe it, however, by saying: we get a choice, and not choosing at all can be tantamount in its consequences to choosing the greater of two evils.

But having marriage rights or discrimination protection or access to health care is not the lesser of two evils. If I vote for a Democrat, I do so in the hopes that fewer people will suffer, not in the belief that that option will eliminate suffering or bring us to anywhere near my goals or represent my values perfectly. Yet people are willing to use this "evils" slogan to wrap up all the infinite complexity of the fate of the Earth and everything living on it and throw it away.

I don't love electoral politics, particularly the national variety. I generally find such elections depressing and look for real hope to the people-powered movements around the globe and subtler social and imaginative shifts toward more compassion and more creativity. Still, every four years we are asked if we want to have our foot trod upon or sawed off at the ankle without anesthetic. The usual reply on the left is that there's no difference between the two experiences and they prefer that Che Guevara give them a spa pedicure. Now, the Che pedicure is not actually one of the available options, though surely in heaven we will all have our toenails painted camo green by El Jefe.

Rebecca Solnit
Before that transpires, there's something to be said for actually examining the differences. In some cases not choosing the trod foot may bring us all closer to that unbearable amputation. Or maybe it's that the people in question won't be the ones to suffer, because their finances, health care, educational access, and so forth are not at stake.

An undocumented immigrant writes me, "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with." Or as a Nevada activist friend put it, "Oh my God, go be sanctimonious in California and don't vote or whatever, but those bitching radicals are basically suppressing the vote in states where it matters."

Presidential electoral politics is as riddled with corporate money and lobbyists as a long-dead dog with maggots, and deeply mired in the manure of the status quo -- and everyone knows it. (So stop those news bulletins, please.) People who told me back in 2000 that there was no difference between Bush and Gore never got back to me afterward.

I didn't like Gore, the ex-NAFTA-advocate and pro-WTO shill, but I knew that the differences did matter, especially to the most vulnerable among us, whether to people in Africa dying from the early impacts of climate change or to the shift since 2000 that has turned our nation from a place where more than two-thirds of women had abortion rights in their states to one where less than half of them have those rights. Liberals often concentrate on domestic policy, where education, health care, and economic justice matter more and where Democrats are sometimes decent, even lifesaving, while radicals are often obsessed with foreign policy to the exclusion of all else.

I'm with those who are horrified by Obama's presidential drone wars, his dismal inaction on global climate treaties, and his administration's soaring numbers of deportations of undocumented immigrants. That some of you find his actions so repugnant you may not vote for him, or that you find the whole electoral political system poisonous, I also understand.

At a demonstration in support of Bradley Manning this month, I was handed a postcard of a dead child with the caption "Tell this child the Democrats are the lesser of two evils." It behooves us not to use the dead for our own devices, but that child did die thanks to an Obama Administration policy. Others live because of the way that same administration has provided health insurance for millions of poor children or, for example, reinstated environmental regulations that save thousands of lives.

You could argue that to vote for Obama is to vote for the killing of children, or that to vote for him is to vote for the protection for other children or even killing fewer children. Virtually all US presidents have called down death upon their fellow human beings. It is an immoral system.

You don't have to participate in this system, but you do have to describe it and its complexities and contradictions accurately, and you do have to understand that when you choose not to participate, it better be for reasons more interesting than the cultivation of your own moral superiority, which is so often also the cultivation of recreational bitterness.

Bitterness poisons you and it poisons the people you feed it to, and with it you drive away a lot of people who don't like poison. You don't have to punish those who do choose to participate. Actually, you don't have to punish anyone, period.

We Could Be Heroes

We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact. We face not only their specific policies, but a kind of cultural decay that comes from not valuing truth, not trying to understand the complexities and nuances of our situation, and not making empathy a force with which to act. To oppose them requires us to be different from them, and that begins with both empathy and intelligence, which are not as separate as we have often been told.

Being different means celebrating what you have in common with potential allies, not punishing them for often-minor differences. It means developing a more complex understanding of the matters under consideration than the cartoonish black and white that both left and the right tend to fall back on.

Dismissiveness is a way of disengaging from both the facts on the ground and the obligations those facts bring to bear on your life. As Michael Eric Dyson recently put it, "What is not good are ideals and rhetorics that don't have the possibility of changing the condition that you analyze. Otherwise, you're engaging in a form of rhetorical narcissism and ideological self-preoccupation that has no consequence on the material conditions of actually existing poor people."

Nine years ago I began writing about hope, and I eventually began to refer to my project as "snatching the teddy bear of despair from the loving arms of the left." All that complaining is a form of defeatism, a premature surrender, or an excuse for not really doing much. Despair is also a form of dismissiveness, a way of saying that you already know what will happen and nothing can be done, or that the differences don't matter, or that nothing but the impossibly perfect is acceptable. If you're privileged you can then go home and watch bad TV or reinforce your grumpiness with equally grumpy friends.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010Sanders on Social Security:

Sen. Bernie Sanders writes a prescription that can't be repeated often enough:

First, let's be clear: despite all the right-wing rhetoric, Social Security is not going bankrupt. That's a lie! The truth is that the Social Security Trust Fund has run surpluses for the last quarter-century. Today's $2.5 trillion cushion is projected to grow to $4 trillion in 2023. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, experts in this area, say Social Security will be able to pay every nickel owed to every eligible beneficiary until 2039. Got that? In case you don't, let me repeat it. The people who have studied this issue most thoroughly and have no political bias report that Social Security will be able to pay out all benefits to every eligible beneficiary for the next twenty-nine years. It is true that by 2039, if nothing is changed, Social Security will be able to pay out only about 80 percent of benefits. That is why it is important that Congress act soon to make sure Social Security is as strong in the future as it is today.

The hatred of Social Security from the right-wing antigovernment crowd is based on the fact that Social Security, a government program, has been enormously successful in accomplishing its mission. For seventy-five years, in good times and bad, Social Security has provided financial security for tens of millions of Americans. ...

In the midst of all of the destructive rhetoric and ideas out there with regard to Social Security, there is one proposal that is simple, sensible and would keep Social Security strong and solvent in a fair and just way. Under the law today, the Social Security payroll tax is levied only on earnings up to $106,800 a year. That means millionaires and billionaires get off scot-free on all of their income above that amount. In other words, an individual who earns $106,800 pays the same Social Security tax as a multimillionaire. That's wrong. Applying the Social Security payroll tax on those with the most income, say over $250,000 a year, would correct this inequity. According to CBO, applying the tax to all income would provide all the revenue that Social Security needs for the foreseeable future—for our kids and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Tweet of the Day:

The best part of Ryan saying he didn't have time to explain Mitt's tax plan is that he was on Fox News, a 24/7 infomercial for Romney/Ryan.
@LOLGOP via TweetDeck



Listen to Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show Monday from 9 a.m to noon ET for kinds of election and other analyses and talk about issues of the day.


High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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Comment Preferences

  •  574,516 registered users on dKos now. (23+ / 0-)

    Here are the 10 newest registered users on dKos.  Hope to see their comments and diaries here soon!  (If they're not all spammers.)

    teeth21heaven
    matjeppesen1127
    coreyfinch1025
    mallet5calf
    day59ounce
    index51border
    jailera24
    crookdeath8
    quartzsteam2
    cicadaepoxy6


    And since our society is obsessed with numbers that end in a lot of zeros as milestones, here's a special shoutout to users:
    #572,900: 0oceanbat (spammer)
    #573,000: bankertwig3
    #573,100: loss5bean
    #573,200: debt1east
    #573,300: tinblow4
    #573,400: lion53pantry
    #573,500: eel27switch
    #573,600: spider5rock (spammer)
    #573,700: alibichair37
    #573,800: greek0brown
    #573,900: hasher
    #574,000: eagle2shake
    #574,100: culbrethelbert (spammer)
    #574,200: witches 5
    #574,300: neilagerskov922
    #574,400: gregorioguld614
    #574,500: bongobill9

    We've added a whopping 1,676 more users in just the last 24 hours.  This is a continuation going back to May where we've been absolutely flooded with new users.  I'm pretty sure almost all of these new users are spammers or bots.  Notice how they all have a number at the end.  And the rate is getting faster, people.  What are they planning?


    And for your Diary Rescue music pleasure, here's Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever".

  •  PPP opines that (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, nellgwen, Ender, Aunt Pat, tari, bythesea

    NC will be the closest state this time. My bet as it stands now would be IN or AZ.

  •  On the value of empathy (28+ / 0-)
    We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact. We face not only their specific policies, but a kind of cultural decay that comes from not valuing truth, not trying to understand the complexities and nuances of our situation, and not making empathy a force with which to act. To oppose them requires us to be different from them, and that begins with both empathy and intelligence, which are not as separate as we have often been told.
    and this
    "The thing Romney needs to do to beat Obama is show up in this debate and not have another empathy comment. Those comments are really hurting him far more than any 47% comments," said Ryan Rhodes, a tea party activist from Iowa. "The government's not here for empathy, it's here for the law. If we use empathy for everything we want to do, that's how countries go bankrupt and bad policy is created."
    Esquire

    Yes, they believe this.

    Have you taken action today? We have work to do.

    by noweasels on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:36:58 PM PDT

  •  I love this quote - (17+ / 0-)

    An undocumented immigrant writes me,

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."
    If I remember in the morning I might make it my sig.  

    We have a greed with which we have agreed. -Eddie Vedder "Society"

    by Jacoby Jonze on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:37:44 PM PDT

  •  November 7th. When the Adult Conversation Begins (13+ / 0-)

    among those thrown out of what's been touted as the adult conversation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:40:55 PM PDT

  •  Once again, (9+ / 0-)

    With every passing hour our solar system comes forty-three thousand miles closer to globular cluster M13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress.
        --Ransom K. Ferm

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:47:22 PM PDT

  •  LOLOLOL on this! (10+ / 0-)

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:50:32 PM PDT

  •  From the article: (6+ / 0-)

    “What is not good are ideals and rhetorics that don’t have the possibility of changing the condition that you analyze. Otherwise, you’re engaging in a form of rhetorical narcissism and ideological self-preoccupation that has no consequence on the material conditions of actually existing poor people.”

    That. Is. It.

    Roboton has been powered down

    by roboton on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:52:03 PM PDT

    •  As in, this is rhetorical narcicism? (7+ / 0-)

      Its not really a letter to actual existing radical progressives, its a reassurance to Obama supporters who style themselves progressives that the arguments of radical progressives who do not support Obama have been "debunked" and may be ignored.

      As pointed out at Empty Wheel:

      By the time readers have gotten to the moral of Solnit’s story,
      Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style.
      She has called or implied her audience is “dismal,” “rancid,” “Eeyore,” “snarky,” “poison[ing],” “sour” “complainers,” “kvetchers,” “caustic,” “pile of bile,” She accuses her audience of “bitch[ing],” “pound[ing] down,” “habitual[ly] tearing down,” engaging in “recreational bitterness.” She disdainfully labels the “lesser of two evils” metaphor a cliché, but then informs her readers that, “when you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail”–and that’s just one of her many clichés. And all that’s before she accuses her audience of asking that “Che Guevara give them a spa pedicure.” She calls other people snarky?
      If the piece was written with kindness, and generosity, and style, it would at least have been an argument-in-kind for the moral of her piece.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:24:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She attacked me, her fan, with similar words on FB (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac, BruceMcF

        I was completely taken aback by her (apparently unaware to her self) open anger and hostility at her own fan and FB friends (over a misunderstanding).

        Something has either happened to her or she was not the person I thought she was all along. It's really sad.

        •  It turned me off, ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... and I'll be voting for Obama as soon as my absentee ballot arrives. I don't see how it would do anything to someone already inclined to vote 3rd party other than to confirm them in their inclination.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:28:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  measuring "possibility" (6+ / 0-)

      That's the trick, isn't it?  A generation of self-proclaimed "centrists" have said that the only things that are "possible" are all the deals they make with the right.  If they weren't all busy making possibilities impossible, a lot more would be possible in this country.  But their cynicism (and their arrogance in how they deal with liberals) are a big part of the problem.
      Without the "centrists," we needn't have had a war in Iraq (which nobody will stand up for now, even though the "centrists" were lecturing us about at the time), we needn't have indefinitely, lawless detentions, we needn't have drone wars in the Middle East, and I could go on...

      The persistence of the high unemployment rates, which could have been ameliorated with a proper approach to government stimulus, is a real consequence to actually existing poor people.

      •  Without the "radicals" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover, auapplemac, TFinSF

        we wouldn't have had Bush II, quite possibly would have avoided 9/11, and we wouldn't have had the war in the first place.

        But whatever - lets blame the people who said that we should vote for Gore and Kerry and Obama and fight for more progressive House and Senate candidates.

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:28:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Once again, people fail at (0+ / 0-)

      understanding politics.

      It's not "getting your way" it's compromising with people.

      Roboton has been powered down

      by roboton on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 01:33:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "The Democratic Party is not our friend: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, Sychotic1
    it is the only party we can negotiate with.
    Yes, yes and... um... oh right, yes.
  •  Caught the Schwarzenegger interview on 60 (15+ / 0-)

    minutes.

    Leslie Stahl did a pretty good job of nailing him, and even admitted on camera that people get hooked by his "charm" and forget that they're being conned.

    When the L.A. Times tried to put together a group of women to testify against Arnold's predatory activities, the right wing buried the Times under a load of partisan shit. How'd that work for ya, Sean Hannity?

    The gang I'll never forgive, who colluded to get this fraud elected: Richard Riordan, Darrel Issa, Pete Wilson, Jay Leno
    (yeah, Jay Leno, the asskisser).

    This guy is clueless, and almost veered into bragging when he discussed his numerous affairs.

    And to think they threw out a man who was guilty of no malfeasance in office; to think that they distorted the idea of the recall process in California to usher in this phony
    "action hero."

    Puke.

    "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."--Spock, in Star Trek IV.

    by Wildthumb on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:53:31 PM PDT

  •  Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin spoke on Chief.. (13+ / 0-)

    ..Justice John Roberts @ UP w/ Chris Hayes with a quote from his book "The Oath":

    ..”for Roberts personally and the conservative cause generally, his vote and opinion in the health care case [individual mandate] were acts of strategic genius.  ...Roberts at a minimum laid down a marker on the scope of the commerce clause, .. in addition, Roberts bought enormous political space for himself and future rulings – Jeffrey Toobin quote from his book “The Oath” @ UP with Chris Hayes 9/302012
    So: Roberts found that the individual mandate within the PPACA healthcare law was constitutional under the taxing authority, but ruled that as an exercise of the commerce clause the individual mandate exceeded constitutional limits.
     Contrary to what  many believed, this ruling was Not really breaking with the conservative agenda and specifically strengthened the states rights cause while buying some space for corporate slanted rulings of the future.

    I would not call this genius. I’d call it partisan political activism and cowardice looking at avoiding strike three;
    • Strike one - 2000 Bush v Gore
    • Strike two - 2010 Citizens United
    So, genius? No. Tricky, sly, devious, and passive aggression on steroids.

    Yes

    ..which is why we must have a filibuster proof Senate either by more seats, re-working, (limiting, cutting off)  rule 22 or both imo if for no other reason than judicial appointments.
    Roberts is just getting started, we need a 5/4 liberal court asap imo

    •  Agreed. The dude is no genius but he knows... (5+ / 0-)

      exactly what he's up to. He got enough punches in, advancing the nonsense theory of 'coercion' vis a vis the Medicaid expansion, and I don't think we can seriously question whether he'll use the commerce clause ruling as precedent over the next decades.

      He saved his legitimacy for now, keeping the political sphere off his back, while advancing a long-term corporatist agenda (which the ACA doesn't challenge anyways).

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:20:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  buying into the nonsense (4+ / 0-)

      "we" don't have to have a "filibuster-proof" Senate.

      A majority would do, if the majority leader didn't allow the minority party to abuse the filibuster.  

      For starters, there's no existential need to even retain the filibuster rule at all, given its abuse over the past decade.  Are our institutions not allowed to learn from mistakes?

      •  That's the thing though, a majority won't do.. (0+ / 0-)

        .. a super majority is the bar to do anything about the filibuster, and unless Democrats are willing to "blow up the senate" (nuclear option) it'll have to wait for the beginning of a new session, as many here have noted.

        Let's hope Harry Reid and enough Democrats and any sensible republicans (on second thought, fuck them) really have made up their mind to make it happen this time, where a majority in the senate rules and is held accountable for it.

        Not the other way around where the majority is held accountable for what the minority manages to obstruct, like The Jobs act - too many good bills to list

      •  What we have is (5+ / 0-)

        "filibuster by courtesy" -- meaning you can just say you want to filibuster and poof, it's done. If we went back to the original type of filibuster, where a Senator would speak on and on and on in order to prevent a vote on a bill, even reading the phone book, maybe it would happen a lot less often (or at least be more entertaining).

        "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:23:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was moved to look up a synonym for (3+ / 0-)

      Stingy, as an antonym for liberal, by this post and actually found that mingy is a word. So, from now on, I will substitute that for "conservative." Because conservative is a euphemism. These mingy people neither conserve nor preserve. They stint others of their just desserts.

      We will have a contest between the liberals and the mingies. It will take a while for my iPad to learn that mingy is a word. LOL

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 01:47:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I find the "they're basically the same" argument (10+ / 0-)

    to be quite tiresome, insulting and infuriating. It's an admission on the part of the person who invokes it to justify not voting, or voting for some pie in the sky third party candidate in a close election, that they're self-absorbed infantiles not worth wasting one's time arguing with, tantamount to passionately arguing about which Star Wars trilogy is better or whether Alexander McQueen is more talented than Marc Jacobs. Who the fuck cares, there are people dying in the world.

    Obviously Obama is far from a perfect choice, for the above reasons and many more. But in elections we usually don't get to choose between Attila the Hun and St. Francis of Assisi, just as we usually don't get to choose between the job from hell and the job from heaven when there are bills to be paid. We have to make the best choice available and hope for the best. What other responsible choice is there? We're not picking a spouse or where to go out for dinner. We're picking a president, and we're never going to get our dream candidate (well, most of us at least, as there are clearly some who adore Obama).

    This is also not a "lesser of two evils". Not in this instance. More like a choice between a very imperfect and a very horrible candidate. And to me, that's a no-brainer. You pick the best person available, and hope for the best.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:02:08 PM PDT

    •  Oh really? (0+ / 0-)

      "But in elections we usually don't get to choose between Attila the Hun and St. Francis of Assisi, "

      That comes as news to me.

      Because I'm the imaginary liberal that lives in your head and nowhere else.

    •  "Recreational bitterness" (11+ / 0-)

      I love that term.

      As many of you here know, I'm a hard-core environmentalist. And I often scream out loud at my tv when President Obama does things like speak that oxymoronic (and just plain moronic). term "clean coal."

      But Republicans want to hack up, sell off, mine, top, drill, log, develop, pave and otherwise obliterate the lands that were put into trust for us to protect and preserve for future generations.

      I can and have sent President Obama emails about "clean" coal. I know lobby groups I support are providing him with facts and science to sway his opinion.

       But there is no talking to people like Mitt Romney who think that public lands are just another asset to be harvested and that clean air, clean water, and  uncontaminated soil are an "entitlement" that the grubby commoners don't deserve.

      Republicans gather power, hoard resources, and use those to gain more power. No facts or science can infiltrate that little paradigm.

      Bomb-throwers with their recreational bitterness don't understand the difference  between conversation/dialogue and tantrums.

      I don't have time for tantrums. We have a world to save.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:11:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I, too, am a hard core environmentalist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover

        I am not a happy camper right now, and the newsletters I get from the many regional and national conservation organizations I belong to, support and participate in suggest they aren't happy either.

        Public lands are at high risk under Obama, and I think will be even more so after the election.  Higher risk under Romney?  Likely, but those of us who are issue oriented need to keep up the pressure regardless of the outcome of the elections, state and federal.

        •  Of course we do. We should never rest. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heart of the Rockies

          Our lands are too valuable and therefore too seductive just sitting there...

          Did you see this? I already am a big Egan fan, but I love that this article showed up on the doorsteps of New York City and the desks across the country.

          http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 10:39:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  538: 85% to 15%, updated 1/2 hour ago (7+ / 0-)

    No, that's not the now-cast. That's the Nov. 6 prediction. It just got worse again for Rmoney. Check it out before you go to sleep, and have sweet dreams.

    It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. — Will Rogers

    by dconrad on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:03:14 PM PDT

  •  thanks meteor blades and R. Solnit! (7+ / 0-)

    more deep truth in a few paragraphs than I've seen in a month of mondays...

    hopefully we can win back the house, get the economy moving, stop drone strikes, put kabosh on the whole war with Iran thing, dial the carbon dioxide notch to below 350,
    what a wonderful world it would be..  
    I kid you not,  we should try to win the future.

  •  the more R&R campaign, the more they lose (8+ / 0-)

    Neither Romney and Ryan are an asset to the GOP. Neither. Yes, negative campaigning against Obama can still shift public opinion, but there is nothing positive about the Romney and Ryan campaign. And the more they explain their messed up economic numbers in favor of the super rich, the more they are going to lose. This is why Ryan refuses to go into numbers. At least I assume this is the reason. It could also just be complete stupidity, which would surprise anybody given that his previous budget proposals never adhered to the basics of arithmetic. Well, lets make sure we keep explaining the GOP budget plan to the public.

  •  I can read a polemic exactly as far as it takes to (7+ / 0-)

    get to that point where the author becomes the thing she rails against. I read this excerpt from Ms. Solnit's article carefully, until I got to this line:

    The usual reply on the left is that there's no difference between the two experiences and they prefer that Che Guevara give them a spa pedicure.
    Then I stopped reading. I have neither the time to waste on drivel or the interest in doing so. Drivel can't be refuted; it is illogical to even attempt to do so. Commenting on drivel also loans it an undeserved air of respectable discourse. My comment here isn't meant to engender a dialogue on the sun-rotted tripe posted here. It is instead a vehicle to ask you an honest question.

    If the author whose excerpt you reposted had substituted "Democrats" or "progressives" or "liberals" or "blacks" or "whites" or "Asians" for "the left," would you still have posted the thing?

    Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

    by davidincleveland on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:07:38 PM PDT

    •  I always recommend reading an entire ... (12+ / 0-)

      ..article (including the parts not excerpted) before judging it. I can disagree with Rebecca Solnit on a single sentence or an entire book of hers and still recognize her brilliance on a number of matters. I take the phrasing of your question to mean that you think that not only is Solnit bigoted toward the left but that I too am, having chosen to publish her. The left cannot be equated with a gender or a race, and I have posted commentary, and written some, that takes a far harsher line on certain behavior of Democrats, liberals and progressives.

      If your point is that she lumps everybody on the left into her commentary here, and that she has nothing but criticism for it and nothing worth thinking about, then I have to say that I don't agree with you that you read the article carefully.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:27:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hers is an angry, bitter piece. (5+ / 0-)

        Solnit's using everything from the Civil Rights movement to the Zapatistas to rationalize a vote, facts de damned.

        Can you imagine how far the Civil Rights Movement would have gotten, had it been run entirely by complainers for whom nothing was ever good enough? To hell with integrating the Montgomery public transit system when the problem was so much larger!  

        Picture Gandhi’s salt marchers bitching all the way to the sea, or the Zapatistas, if Subcomandante Marcos was merely the master kvetcher of the Lacandon jungle, or an Aung San Suu Kyi who conducted herself like a caustic American pundit. Why did the Egyptian revolutionary who told me about being tortured repeatedly seem so much less bitter than many of those I run into here who have never suffered such harm?

        Of course, the Civil Rights movement was actually run by complainers for whom nothing was ever good enough. (That is, by the way, why they won. See: Letter from Birmingham Jail, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, SNCC, etc.)

        The salt marchers did bitch (and sing rabble-rousing songs) all the way to the sea, and whenever they stopped on the way, Gandhi bitched to reporters and anyone else in earshot.

        Marcos' "kvetching" in the form of numerous communiques and fiery speeches inspired people to action across the globe. Had she been in Chiapas in 1994, this piece suggests Solnit would have told the Zapatistas to put down their arms and stop critiquing Mexico's political system, because OMG that would only suppress the Zedillo vote among liberals and help elect the right-wing Cevallos!

        Join the fight for student power on campus: ForStudentPower.org

        by Liberaltarian on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:47:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're misjudging what many in the civil rights... (5+ / 0-)

          ...movement actually did. They accepted the incomplete changes and kept fighting for additional ones; indeed, as those of us who were in SNCC in 1964 in Mississippi knew, what we were doing was not going to change everything, but it might (and did) change some things.

          As for the Zapatistas, speaking of facts, Solnit has written extensively and with praise:

          At a conference where I’d stood up to celebrate the Zapatistas as an example of revolution in our time, a powerful man from an environmental foundation later hissed at me angrily, in private, “The Zapatistas lost.” He was so attached to their failure, as so many U.S. progressives are attached to failure and defeat, to the excuse for doing less, hoping less, dreaming less. If not much is possible, not much is demanded of us. He meant that they had not succeeded in what he imagined to be their goal, abolishing the Mexican government in Chiapas or in Mexico altogether. But they have survived, and that is one victory. They have created autonomous areas in Chiapas, another. And their greatest victory has been a victory of art, of story, of the revolutionary vita contemplativa: they have inspired people around the world to rethink power, participation, revolution, and the possible in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. When the Zapatistas rose up on the day that NAFTA went into effect, most people around the world knew little and cared less about neoliberalism, corporate globalization, and the economic forces that shape our lives; that has all changed, in part because of them.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:59:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How does what you wrote differ from what (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heart of the Rockies

            liberaltarian stated? You wrote

            They accepted the incomplete changes and kept fighting for additional ones; indeed, as those of us who were in SNCC in 1964 in Mississippi knew, what we were doing was not going to change everything, but it might (and did) change some things.
            liberaltarian wrote
            Of course, the Civil Rights movement was actually run by complainers for whom nothing was ever good enough. (That is, by the way, why they won...)
            Your counter about Solnit's previous writing
            As for the Zapatistas, speaking of facts, Solnit has written extensively and with praise:
            illustrates liberaltarian's (and my) point brilliantly:
            Had she been in Chiapas in 1994, this piece suggests Solnit would have told the Zapatistas to put down their arms and stop critiquing Mexico's political system, because OMG that would only suppress the Zedillo vote among liberals and help elect the right-wing Cevallos!

            Emphasis added by me to illuminate a usually brilliant writer's less than brilliant writing in this instance, because both liberaltarian and I are discussing this article, not her past work.

            Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

            by davidincleveland on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:00:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Liberaltarian's comment was a dig... (4+ / 0-)

              ...at Solnit. If she had been in Chiapas she would understand is his/her stance. She does understand the Zapatistas; she's saying in this piece that (much of) the left does not.

              Her point throughout this piece is that the left (and I think she should have qualified that with a "some" or similar word) complain about gains that are made and argue that these don't really matter until everything is won. She objects to this maximalist approach and says it leads to despair about achieving more in the long run, building on the past gains.

              Those of us on the left don't agree with each other even on what everything there is to win. Or how to win it. Which are two big reasons we have, over the 40+ years I've been a part of it and for 75+ years before then, split repeatedly. For instance, the left was split on Social Security in the 1930s, too, with some arguing that it shouldn't be approved in the form that it was. We often find ourselves spending as much time, often more, arguing with ourselves than we spend trying to right the wrongs we all agree are wrong. Various reforms not good enough? Absolutely.  But the argument in the 1930s or 1960s that because something wasn't good enough, combined with the idea that therefore it was totally unacceptable is the same argument that we engage in now.

              While Solnit engages in hyperbole, that hardly makes her unique on the left. Could she have qualified things better? Sure. That doesn't make her premise wrong. I've personally seen it in action; and I am pretty sure you have, too.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:25:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's really aggravating (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bigjacbigjacbigjac

                that so many folks who identify themselves as being left can't cope with the slightest criticism. Nine times out of ten they resort to complaining about the style or tone of the criticism or attacking the character of the critic. Anything, it seems, to avoid dealing with the substance of what has been said.

                Thanks for posting this. I haven't read the whole piece yet but I will.  

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 01:33:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's really amusing to hear someone who is (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Heart of the Rockies

                  apparently OK with being lumped in with mythological creatures and likened to maggots in a long-dead dog, decry others' objections to that kind of hyperbole while ignoring those objecters who actually respond with substantive criticism of a hit piece, or falsely characterizing the objecters with statistics pulled out of their excretory pores. I guess there is a reason writers who should and do know better indulge in put-down fantasy. They know they'll have that larger audience of unthinking masochists who far outnumber those who will hunt down a scholarly reality-based discussion of the topic.

                  Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

                  by davidincleveland on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 02:05:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You consider this substantive? (0+ / 0-)

                    Looks more like an illustration of what I was talking about.

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 04:38:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If your "this" refers to my comment which begins (0+ / 0-)

                      "It's really amusing" I reply that that comment wasn't intended to be anything other than my opinion, nor did it pretend to be. My statement within that comment referred to substantive comments, in this thread and elsewhere on the web, which specifically refuted her article.

                      I view your refusal to address any of that, in two comments now, as typical of the kind of person who ignores statements which they disagree with but can't refute. By pretending to mistake my "It's really amusing" comment for an attempt at substantive refutation, you deflect from the deficiency of your non-arguments by throwing the sand of misdirection into the eyes of readers who are inclined to fall for your brand of intellectual three card monte, complete with phony statistics.

                      I can certainly see why you are attracted to an article full of obfuscatory lies and exaggerations from the pen of a usually worthy and honest writer, appealing as it does to the sort of person who would rather perpetuate even a morally bankrupt piece of hyperbole over their own original thoughts. Perhaps you think to appear cool by easy and swift embracing of a well-known thinking reporter, regardless of what she actually said on this occasion. That kind of "cool" is spelled "pathetic" and snickered at by people who practice their own thinking, in preference to lazy me-tooism.  

                      Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

                      by davidincleveland on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:10:52 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, have I ever! And even before I was born, the (0+ / 0-)

                point you raise about Social Security was a serious matter to leftists of the day, and non-leftists too. I've had (heard --they talked, I listened) that conversation with older blacks and with farm workers and domestic workers. Had it not have been fixed after the original legislation passed, my sibs and I would have been rather hungry from 1954 to 1958. When my grandmother explained it to me it was as an illustrative answer to my childish bitterness over 3/5ths status in the Constitution.

                I suppose it is stupid of me to get so exercised by hyperbole from allies, and I actually used to handle it better 50 years ago. I'm usually pretty good with it today; I've steered clear of the derisive jeers about wanting a pony by loftily (OK, snottily) considering the source. Maybe that's why I'm so annoyed at Rebecca Solnit. She knows better, brilliantly knows better, and this shit piece was very unhelpful.

                This is a time when some of us are lightening our grocery carts to give every last possible dime to counter the 1%'s coffers. We're out on our walkers door to door. We're using up or planning to use up the minutes we've stacked up on our Obamaphones. Yes to all three for me.

                Personally, I've bitten my tongue, even when I have to hear someone like Chris Cristie opine about Obama having created and then ignored the Simpson-Bowles Commission. I've even debated with myself whether 11/07 is too soon to publish my diary about the second term and what we need to do. I'll probably wait to make sure the filibuster really disappears on 01/03; no point in frightening our fearless leaders before we have to. If Solnit really feels this way about all her political allies, she should have the restraint to save her spleen until its GOTV-dampening potential no longer matters. Writing about it now does the very thing she purports to decry.

                Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

                by davidincleveland on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 01:48:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't read her article. As I stated above, I (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        read the excerpt you posted. I based my assumption that her entire article would further waste my time on my belief that you had posted a fair and representative excerpt of her work. If that was a mistake I admit committing it.

        In point of fact I read the entire excerpt. I simply stopped reading it carefully and with any assumption that it might have thoughts worth exploring when I came to that sentence. I'm sorry you took my comment to mean I assume you are bigoted toward any group. I apologize for giving that impression of my thoughts toward you on this.

        However, since you bring it up (or rather since what I wrote brought it up) let me ask you point blank: Do you, Meteor Blades, lump progressives, or Democrats or liberals in a single group on anything? If so, why and on what evidence? Bear in mind that my criticism of the author (and by extension you) has nothing at all to do with harshness. That, btw, would be a point by itself, and one I was not making.

        My classifying her statement as drivel has everything to do with her writing as if the left is a monolith, in word or deed or philosophy. What she wrote is nonsense precisely because of that. My opening sentence telegraphed that by saying she was doing the very thing she criticizes. My deliberate use of innate classifications alongside chosen classifications was meant to illustrate the folly of that kind of pre-judicial thinking or writing. This statement is true:

        The left cannot be equated with a gender or a race...
        But it is true for a reason you don't seem to have considered, the reason I was talking about in my original comment. There is no such thing as "the left" which exists as a single entity in the real world. It is a concept or chimera which exists only in the imaginations of people who seek to demonize through labeling. We should avoid such memes like the plague.

        Since "the left" doesn't have any real-world existence, it can't run around making iconic or all-encompassing statements of either belief or intent. Pretending (for an entire article --or at least for the remainder of that excerpt) that this imaginary foe of party politics, or of our version of the democratic political process, is saying or doing anything at all as a unitary body is not only drivel, it is fatuous stupidity that gets in the way of identifying why some citizens are less than enchanted with their limited choices in the voting booth.

        It is actually an axiom of democracy that an engaged polis is never satisfied with the (by practical necessity) limited choice of candidates offering themselves. Running around in cyberspace or print claiming all of "the left's" usual response is to sulk at home longing for a whole-loaf fantasy rather than accepting the half-loaves that feed our dreams of a better future is indeed hopelessly bigoted, whether done by the author, or by you, or by garden variety leftists themselves.

        I've never seen you write such a thing, MB, and I apologize again for giving the impression I thought such a thing of you. I have, judging by this posted excerpt, seen Ms. Solnit do precisely that. When a writer creates a group and then invents the imaginary group's actions or inactions, I don't care if she is brilliant elsewhere. In the instance where such a writer is creating and inventing, she is producing drivel.

        I fully grant that she does so very colorfully; if I ever feel the need to hone my store of pejorative invective* I'll be sure to study her. I'm sure if I could only get over the entirely fictive part of her diatribe I'd enjoy her immensely. She could have given Samuel Johnson useful lessons.
        ___________
        * maggots in a corpse = ordinary; maggots in a long-dead dog = inspired.

        Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

        by davidincleveland on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:33:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Do you, Meteor Blades, lump progressives... (4+ / 0-)

          ...or Democrats or liberals in a single group on anything?"

          Absolutely not.

          As I said elsewhere in this thread, I think Solnit's mistake here is that she did not qualify "the left" as "some on the left" (or some other way). She could easily have pointed out that she doesn't believe in the left as a monolith (which is plain from her other writing).

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:32:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I felt like it was a reprisal of "boo hoo, so you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland, No Exit

      didn't get a fucking pony."

      The truth of the matter is that I very rarely hear progressives and liberals say that both sides are the same, it is usually the low information centrists that are too fucking lazy to learn the positions of the candidates and have no intention of turning off Honey Boo Boo to go out and vote come November.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:41:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lesser of two evils works for me (13+ / 0-)

    But I'm very poor and live among the USA's poorest communities so perhaps the writer wasn't including me. Democrats have in the past visited many evils on my people including the "Trail of Tears" and other genocidal acts of evil. The modern version of that same party is visiting evils on other peoples in many places we all witness live on the tube.

    Without going into a lot more detail here's what it boils down to for me. Todays GOP wants to eliminate our tribes and the legal basis that affords us the right to exist in America. The Democrats don't, at least not as a policy. In my 70 years on earth and 55 years in politics I've learned that the GOP is devastating to my people especially in their modern form. We lose more land when they're in power than we do under the Democrats and land means everything to us. Without the buttress of land we will disappear, our history will end. Ergo I vote Democratic and urge my people to do likewise.

    But I'm not blind to world affairs and/or the ugly things America does to enhance its empire. I knew full well about the 200,000 Guatamalan Indians wiped from the face of the earth during Democratic and republican rule. Many I knew personally and many I shed tears with when they came to the USA seeking a halt to the carnage. I watch carefully as American companies devastate the lands of Indians and other indigenous humans around the world. Soon the American Supreme Court is going to put a halt to their ability to hold even the worst of American companies to account by denying them access to American courts. Watch with me this session as that truely evil event happens this term of court. The Obama administration is supporting the multi-nationals on this evil act.

    yes, I'll vote for the lesser of two evils but I'll do so with my eyes wide open. And it will hurt.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:12:08 PM PDT

    •  Instead of the lesser evil, let's go the other way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shippo1776

    •  I apologize for the frivolous comment (9+ / 0-)

      Your comment was heartfelt and well written. Everyone should read it.

    •  I could be off here, but voting for the lesser.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      714day

      ..of 'two evils' is getting way too much attention, and not the main issue. It's how you yourself deal with issues and the people involved

      There are really only two questions for activists: What do you want to achieve?  And who do you want to be?  And those two questions are deeply entwined. Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style.
      I think that checking out how you handle your own self first and frequently keeps your focus and priorities in better shape to see what has to be done and what choices really mean and why you are making them.

      just sayin

      •  did you say something? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson

        Having spent my life defending and leading my people in every aspect of life I'm pretty satisfied with the way I "handle" myself. Luckily I've done so with generousity and style. If that means anything germane to the diary or my comment.

        Just sayin

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 10:05:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't mean you cacamp, I was using the word you (0+ / 0-)

          ..as a term kind of like the word someone or one. It was not directed at any single person at all.
          I have trouble with identifying type words. Words to describe a group in general.
          So sorry for what came across as a comment directed at you or any particular individual.
          I was trying (badly) to point out that the lesser of two evils was maybe not the underlining point of the piece, but how to deal with decision making and setbacks along the way. Not sure if that is correct either,but I am sure it was not directed at you personally. Hope that makes more sense.
          Iv'e read your work and don't doubt for a minute that you have:

          done so with generousity and style
          .
  •  Is anyone else having trouble with reccing comment (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, 2020adam, Eric Nelson, OLinda

    because there's no rec button?

  •  uh - lesser of two evils is an entirely valid (4+ / 0-)

    viewpoint, and the article supports it !

    I'm with those who are horrified by Obama's presidential drone wars, his dismal inaction on global climate treaties, and his administration's soaring numbers of deportations of undocumented immigrants. That some of you find his actions so repugnant you may not vote for him, or that you find the whole electoral political system poisonous, I also understand.
    yes Romney would be a complete disaster.  Yes Obama is a better choice.  Yes, "they are the same", is a ridiculous argument.

    But don't try and tell me that it's not a choice between not-very-good and terrible, because that's what the choice is.

    It's only going to get better when we elect better people, and I still don't see a path that gets us there.  Americans are responsible for electing a whole host of horrible people to congress. Electing less horrible people is indeed better, but it sure doesn't promote enhusiasm.

    big badda boom : GRB 090423

    by squarewheel on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:14:05 PM PDT

    •  Garbage in, garbage out (0+ / 0-)

      We really need to focus on improving/reforming the mechanics of our government.  There's a reason the us constitution is no longer a model for the world.  

      As for this piece by solnit, I love Tom dispatch, but I don't need another lecture on how to vote or what's at stake.

      No System of Justice Can Rise Above the Ethics of Those Who Administer It. (Wickersham Commission 1929)

      by No Exit on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:28:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Zinger Wars (7+ / 0-)

    47%
    Dogs
    Caymans
    Bain
    Phony cookies
    NASCAR
    China
    Flip-Flop
    70,000 dollar horse write-off
    SS
    Medicare
    Medicaid
    Cheap jackets

    Man's fighting a war without any ammunition.

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:15:05 PM PDT

  •  Thank you so much for the Rebecca Solnit (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, Eric Nelson, grover, jan4insight

    piece!

    Could not agree with her more.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:31:00 PM PDT

  •  I needed this tonight, MB. Lovely excerpt you've (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, noweasels, jan4insight

    posted.
    I've crossed paths with one of the few wingers in my life and have been depressed by the whole kettle of fish that is politics in spite of my certainty that engagement is necessary.
    This lifts my wings a bit.

  •  the right that has abandoned all interest in truth (0+ / 0-)

    and facts. Agreed. This election is about the defense of rational reasoning as an approach to solve the problems in the US as well as the world. It is also the defense of the middle class as the critical basis for a functional democracy and broad-based prosperity. It is also our only chance to maintain a leading role for the US in this world. As a country routed in excellence in science and technology. If the right wing middle age ideologues come to power, the America as we know it, will be destroyed. The decline of the US could not be prevented. The GOP would mount an attempt of a military defense against rising powers. All empires tried this, certainly the Roman Empire, but it would only delay its collapse. The question how a leading role of the US in the world can be maintained can only be answered with a functioning democracy and a strong middle class, where all talents see opportunities to develop and thrive, and not with an empire run by the few super rich. Only if the vast majority of people can thrive can we continue to mobilize all creative energies needed to solve our challenges. Profits for few super rich can't get us anywhere. This is the difference between the long-term strengths of a democracy versus an empire ruled by a small elite of super-rich.

  •  Nate Silver's Model (0+ / 0-)

    With over 5 weeks to go, there is only state (NC) with a less than 70% probability of going to one candidate.  Florida is the only other state below 76%.

    I've been saying for a while that Romney's most likely path to victory comes in these three steps:

    1. Win back 3 Republican states: IN, NC and VA
    2. Win the two biggest swing states: FL and OH
    3. Pull an upset somewhere else.  Anywhere will do.

    He's only sealed the deal on one of these six states.  And he's only really competitive in one other.  Five weeks is a long time but this looks as good as we could have hoped.

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by Spider Stumbled on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:54:40 PM PDT

  •  Is there a debate drinking game / bingo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover

    card devised, yet?

    •  Two options: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      congenitalefty, martini

      1. Drink every time Mitt says tax cuts (tax breaks, tax credits, etc).

      OR

      2. Drink every time Mitt does not answer a question.

      The drinking game officials insist that you only play one of these games per night. Your likelihood of blacking out is EXACTLY  Nate Silver's Now-Cast probability. That is, the better the president's probability, the more likely Romney will go hard at tax break rhetoric and dodging questions.

      Therefore, playing both versions at once would almost certainly prove lethal.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:38:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a lightweight drinker. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover, martini

        Under those rules I'm not sure I could handle that much of anything, even water.

        "And while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions."

        by Shippo1776 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:39:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, there is a third option: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Shippo1776, martini

          3. Drink every time Romney appears to genuinely concerned about the 99% American citizens.

          You can be designated driver for everyone else, since you won't even lift your glass once.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 01:26:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (8+ / 0-)

    I am planning to write an appreciation of Mr. Sulzberger, who died this weekend at age 86, but I wanted to remember him tonight.

    Mr. Sulzberger was the publisher of The New York Times from 1963 until 1992.

    During that time:

    * He told the Johnson Administration, that no, he would not bring David Halberstam back from Vietnam (his dispatches were causing the American public to start questioning our involvement there -- NOT because they were partisan, but because they were the truth)

    * He stood up to the bigots in the South who were not only aiming their guns at "northern agitators" (including reporters) but were attempting to bankrupt said agitators by filing libel lawsuits against newspapers and television companies whose reporters were reporting what they saw (by the time New York Times v. Sullivan was decided, media companies were facing $270 million in judgments against them -- this would have meant bankruptcy for most; the Times stood up)

    * He stood up to the Nixon Administration, when it threatened the paper with prison for publishing the Pentagon Papers.  One of my favorite facts ever is that the Nixon Administration sent the original cease and desist telex (in the days before faxes) to the Fulton County Fish Market -- because they had the wrong number. The Times published and litigated and won -- a significant, watershed moment for freedom of the press in this country.

    I plan to write an appreciation later this week.  Whatever one thinks about the MSM, whatever one thinks about the Times now, Mr. Sulzberger deserves our thanks.  

    He was born into privilege, but served in the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War.  And he took the privilege into which he was born and did the RIGHT THING on many occasions.

    I liked working for him; he was always kind to copykids and everyone else in the newsroom.

    And I was sorry to read that he had died.

    Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (Feb. 5, 1926 - Sept. 29, 2012)
    Thank you.

    Photobucket

    Have you taken action today? We have work to do.

    by noweasels on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:07:20 PM PDT

  •  We don't have an effective anti-Republican party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    "We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact."

    Yes we are.  And who they are, and what they are trying to do, is exactly why they will not be stopped simply by the act of all of us who oppose their agenda setting a wonderful example by getting along with each other, respecting our differences, etc.; thus serving as a model of truth and virtue that the electorate will surely reward by choosing our side over theirs.

    The Democratic Party is not at all like Tinkerbell.  It isn't going to survive or die based on whether or not we can get everyone on our side clapping for it.  Unless that party starts fighting the Rs effectively, it's going to die because the Rs kill it by keeping its voters from voting.  However rallied and high-spirited and empowered our voters might feel because all of us clapped for the party, if the Rs have passed laws in enough states to matter that keep all of these subjectively empowered people from voting, our side loses, and those people will be very objectively disempowered.  And this will not be just the loss of one election.  Let the Rs choose the electorate, and they will replace the rainbow we have with a distinctly monochromatic cast of people allowed to vote

    I don't expect our party to be ideologically perfect.  Even if there really were only a dime's worth of difference between corporatist Ds and corporatist Rs, the public policy issues at stake are such that the most marginal differences are of do-or-die importance.

    But I do expect the party to fight.  If and when it does recognize that the Rs are trying to kill it, that this is war (and please, let's fight while the war is purely metaphorical, purely a matter of party, and not individual, survival, because if we don't fight on those terms, we will get literal war soon enough), and that it needs to fight back to survive, I will no longer have to worry about its ideological vagaries, because all of its most effective fighting tools are far to the left of positions the most progressive amongt us dare to hope the party would ever move to unless it were at war.

    Until that day, until we start to fight, it really doesn't matter which side wins this election or that.  We've already given them a SCOTUS majority by not fighting, that's already lost.  If our side wins this time, thanks to our amazing surrender over the fiscal non-crisis, that seems to just mean that our party's fingerprints are going to be all over jettisoning the New Deal as the only way out of the sequestration trap we helped the Rs build.  

    I plan to vote for our side, and to go out and actively work for our side as it tries to get as many people as possible voting for our side.  But this is the first cycle where I can't join in condemning progressives who defect.  I really can't fault them for harming our party and its chances, because that party has set itself up for such long-term disaster, such political suicide, that losing or winning this election is meaningless.  I can justify taking a two-by-four to our party as easily as I can justify phone-banking for it.  You don't help a person or institution bent on self-destruction by helping them down the road they've chosen.

    Let me name just three measures that our party would push through if it wins the trifecta this election, or at least try to get passed, propose and vote on in whichever chanber we control, that would be the markers for whether or not it had decided to fight the Rs.  None of this is ideological, none of this involves public policy goals, I'm just talkign about the three obvious, low-hanging fruit things our party coudl do to retain the power to enact public policy, the things it has to do to avoid losing forever the power to set policy that will occur of the Rs are not fought off.

    1) DC statehood; Puerto Rico forced to choose between statehood and independence

    2) Federal pre-emption of everything to do with voting -- eligibility to vote, conduct of elections, redistricting -- everything, and at all levels, federal, state and local, plus rapid citizenship for everyone who lives in this country, documented or not

    3) removal of SCOTUS jurisdiction over campaign financing, and a campaign finance law that treats all private contributions as bribery

    If there were any prospect that the Ds would even talk seriously about doing any of these three, I would join in condemning progressives who won't help in the fight.  But, seriously, there isn't the slightest prospect of that for any of them.  Being right on gay rights is no substitute for being right on the survival of the party, it's no substitute for giving away the party's power to ever be right and do right ever again.

    If the Democrats don't do all of these three things, or at least, in case they don't have the trifecta, if they don't at least propose these things, make them points of conflict between the parties, they're going the way of the Whigs.  It will be totally irrelevant who clapped or didn't clap for the party in its death scene.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:14:44 PM PDT

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    for the quotes from Rebecca and Bernie.  They really made my day!!!

  •  Whatever happened to Catilinus? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    middleagedhousewife

    He hasn't posted here since May...anyone know what happened with him?  I liked his writing.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:30:04 PM PDT

  •  The Three Rules of American Freedom (0+ / 0-)

    !.  Shut the fuck up.

    2.  Get back to work.

    3.  Gimme all the money, NOW.

    What's so hard to understand about that?

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:34:38 PM PDT

  •  The Portuguese greet austerity (6+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:52:26 PM PDT

  •  Obama needs to be more specific (0+ / 0-)

    What's he going to do to create more jobs? How's he going to get more money to the working middle class as opposed to all the money that's gone to the wealthy over the past three decades? What's he going to do to ensure that the retirement age for Social Security benefits isn't increased?

    So far Democrats, nor Obama, haven't provided more specifics than Republicans.

    Sure Republicans promise they'll make it worse for the middle class. Where's a promise from Democrats they'll make it better for us?

    •  Are you fucking kidding us? (6+ / 0-)

      For starters, his jobs plan is the American Jobs Act, which, in case you've totally news-deprived for past year, has been blocked from passage by the House GOP'ers for that length of time.

      He's been calling for a tax increase on the wealthiest while maintaining or cutting taxes on everyone else for, oh, just about forever.

      As far as the Social Security retirement age - we're the only ones who protect that, by taking back the House and securing a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

      Sorry you didn't get your pony or unicorn or whatever, but your comment at this stage in Obama's presidency, not to mention the election cycle, has to be one of the most inane things I've read here recently.

  •  Wow! Look at this scathing editorial by Sen. Reid! (8+ / 0-)

    It was just published and it's on Romney.
    Do yourself a favor, go read the whole spectacular thing this is just one paragraph.

    None of these Americans is looking for a handout or shortcut. That Romney waited until he thought all the cameras and microphones were off before insulting the millions he belittled as “those people” unworthy of his concern calls into question his judgment, leadership and fitness for the public trust. If you’re not willing to fight for every American, you don’t deserve to represent any of them.
    http://www.lasvegassun.com/...

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:08:12 PM PDT

  •  HELL YEAH! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, rbird, gramofsam1, JeffW
    An undocumented immigrant writes me, "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with." Or as a Nevada activist friend put it, "Oh my God, go be sanctimonious in California and don't vote or whatever, but those bitching radicals are basically suppressing the vote in states where it matters."
    I mean seriously, anybody who equates an Obama admin with a republican one has lost all reason and perspective.

    It's not like the W regime was that far away.

    This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

    by PalGirl2008 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:27:46 PM PDT

  •  Will fascism return to Europe? Will sovereignty be (0+ / 0-)

    crushed? Who will pick the leaders, Voters or bankers?

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:32:55 PM PDT

  •  serious disconnect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK

    There's a serious disconnect in that Solnit piece. How can one say every American President calls for death upon innocents, but yet the choice is not between the lesser of 2 evils? That's exactly what the choice is and has been and will continue to be for a long time to come. I'll stop there so as not to be a dick about it, but it's the goddamn truth.

  •  You Don't know who I Am! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm your work hard play hard common man!  

    I haven't posted on Daily Kos in a Dogs Age- But here I am!  I've been working door to door- exploring the Neighborhoods  of Broomfield CO looking for more voters

    In a Swing State I might add!  I've soon to get my mail in Ballot and who do you think I'm voting for?  You've only got one guess!  

    I'm getting excited about the Obama's Debate,  I'm going to be eating the best pop corn I can find!   I haven't had pop corn in years!   This popcorn session should be Amazing!  

    Of course he's going to Win!  I am making sure of that!  

    "Seek above all for a game worth playing- such is the advice of the oracle to modern man." - Robert S. de Ropp

    by FuddGate on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:12:25 AM PDT

  •  The question. (0+ / 0-)

    The question is why do so many of the people who apply for the job of representing us lie to us.
    The answer is because they are after authority without obligation. They are thieves and they do not respect us. But, what we need to recognize is that they are incompetent. They can't help being deceitful and disrespecting because they are not competent to do anything worth while.
    Thievery is the natural mode of all predators and parasites. Most just don't predate their own kind. But then, it may well be that predatory humans don't recognize their own kind.
    Did not Cain have to ask " Am I my brother's keeper?" Perhaps that was a revelatory question and he was banished to roam the earth with the other unknowing creatures.
    All of the behaviors which become manifest as the seven deadly sins are obsessive versions of basic instincts that all organisms share.

    Anger grows out of self- defense.
    Greed grows out of the need to acquire resources.
    Gluttony grows out of a sense of not enough.
    Lust is attraction amplified.
    Sloth grows out of the need for rest and self-defense.
    Pride promotes the repetition of behavior that satisfies.
    Envy promotes imitation and the acquisition of new skills.

    Humans that do not know themselves or anyone else, have to rely on their instincts to survive. Those equipped with the gift of gab -- i.e. speech -- are able to hide their deficits with pretty words. They are dumb and yet utter intelligible sounds -- as did the snake in the garden. Speech without knowledge. Is that not what we are getting in some of our representatives? Is it any wonder that theses un-knowing or ignorant people do not value learning and education? They do not respect (look at a second time to see better) knowing because, while they themselves may have accumulated information, they have no knowledge. People tend not to appreciate what they don't get.
    It doesn't register. They don't get the gist of things because things don't stick.
    The old codger who stayed with us for a couple of years used to say "in one side and out the other 'cause there's nothing to stop it."
    Ignorant. Not knowing. Clueless. That we have so many words suggests the condition is not new. Of course, if it is related to gestational or birth trauma, that would be expected. Reproduction has always been a risky business. Which may account for the primal fear with which the topic is met. Perhaps there is a lingering sense in some humans that they might not have been, if there had been an opportunity to intervene. Fear looks like it is responsive, but it is actually either endemic or instilled.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:52:19 AM PDT

  •  Labour summit live from Manchester (0+ / 0-)

    http://ccoaler.blogspot.com/...
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/...
     Labour Party Conference 2012: Live Updates From Manchester

    The Huffington Post UK  |  By Dina Rickman

  •  CPR for Sheep (0+ / 0-)

    I watched a silly old movie last night where a guy gave CPR and the Heimlich to a sheep. I began to think that's what Catholics need right now. Way too many sheep analogies in the sermons!

    Yesterday I heard two things that reminded me that the Bishops are in a full court press to get Romney elected. First, the archdiocese is pressing very poor parishes to "pay up" on past quotas of support to them, even when it's like getting blood out of fall turnips.

    And second, a neighbor brought me the papers about the novena that Catholics are supposed to be praying until November 6 to get rid of Obama.

    The only way this will stop is if Catholics themselves sue and file IRS complaints.

  •  Thanks for the post MB... (0+ / 0-)

    ... at times it does seem as though people end up taking a step backwards rather than a timid and tentative step forward.

    The thing is, one needs to deal with the reality of the world we live in rather than the world as we wish it would be.  Progress is progress, however halting.

  •  This is very good, (0+ / 0-)

    especially this:  

     We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact. We face not only their specific policies, but a kind of cultural decay that comes from not valuing truth, not trying to understand the complexities and nuances of our situation, and not making empathy a force with which to act. To oppose them requires us to be different from them, and that begins with both empathy and intelligence, which are not as separate as we have often been told.  
     

    You and I, MB, are concerned about feeding everyone,
    when no one is ready to say
    how many folks
    will everyone be?

    The congress did not pass a farm bill.

    The radical right
    could bring starvation
    into the USA,
    by ending food stamps,
    and all farm subsidies.

    This is serious.

    Any government
    that does not put food first
    may soon have starving citizens.

  •  Rebecca Solnit certainly nails it (0+ / 0-)

    in that piece.  And thanks, MB, for showing us what Bernie Sanders said about Social Security.  Can't be repeated often enough, IMHO.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 04:18:25 AM PDT

    •  Solnit is a perfect response to righteous Liberals (0+ / 0-)

      She echoes in far more coherent form what I have been saying from the first month of Obama's administration.   One of the best bits of advice I ever got was "Don't let the best be the enemy of the good enough".  This applies to my poliicians as well.  Obama is better than good enough - he is remarkable for what he has achieved despite 600mph headwinds.  And yet I will sit with my liberal friends who will tell me how he has failed on this issue or that and how some people may not show up for him.  It reminds me of the twits (and I use the term advisedly) who went for UberTwit Nader in 2000.  Florida went by 537 votes, as we all know: Nader go 97,421.  History would have been substantially different (starting with the Iraq war and the pointless tax cuts which broke us financially).  Our national electoral politics isn't a parlor game for faint-hearted leftw-wingers disappointed when they don't get a blended incarnation of Roosevelt and McCarthy. It's a brutal fight against a foe with no reserve.  I know one thing for sure: as MLK put it, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. There is no doubt, can be NO doubt whatsoever, that Obama has bent that arc in the right direction. Anything else is sophistry.

      "It's a Christmas Miracle!" (SNL, 9/15/2012)

      by pswiderski on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:56:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sophistry? (0+ / 0-)

        Tell that to the parents of the children slaughtered by the drones.

        Tell that to the children of the adults who have disappeared into our -- yes, our -- torture complex.

        Sophistry is the luxury of those who can, with the wave of a rhetorical hand, dismiss the suffering of those who do not signify.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 09:58:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And you can remain committed to perfection (0+ / 0-)

          From a foreign policy perspective, we're infinitely better off then we would have been with Mcain or will be with Romney. We're out of Iraq, and we would still be there otherwise. We are not at war with Iran and we would be otherwise. Qaddafi is gone with minimal life lost. We picked the right side in the Arab Spring. We signed a disarmement treaty with Russia. We've done a whole host of things that would never get done under McCain and will be reversed under Romney. To argue otherwise is, again, to engage in sophistry. You can choose to "act" your principles and not vote for Obama. That is NO different than voting for Romney. Period.  You may have that little feeling of moral superiority that you did the "right" thing.  But you would not have.  Just imagine you are the deciding vote and choose accordingly.  Sitting it out is a moral choice. And if it means an election is thrown to a side which would objectively result in a worse outcome than what you believe in, you have betrayed yourself.

          "It's a Christmas Miracle!" (SNL, 9/15/2012)

          by pswiderski on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:30:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Rebecca Solnit can read my sig. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheMomCat

    And then kiss my ass.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 09:52:16 AM PDT

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