"When I get new evidence I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes
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- Free Play Means Free Plus Play
- ARK Pieces; and About Process
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- Gods of the Abstract Social
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- Rep ‘n’ learnin’
- Ding Dong
- Another Grid; A Green Man
- Doorkeepers of the Heart
- If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite variety in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. [Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species]
- “It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison
- All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it. -Benjamin Franklin
- New Hubble images of the Ring Nebula reveal the Eye of Sauron May 24, 2013The Ring Nebula, a massive cloud of gas around a dying star, is one of the best-known celestial objects. Not only is it gorgeous, but it's easy to find in a telescope, even if you're an amateur. This new Hubble image is anything but backyard astronomy, however — and it's given astronomers a new understanding of the nebula's shape in space […]
- Wow, a Dystopian Coming-of-Age Novel With Actual Real Science May 23, 2013At this point the glut of novels about a young person growing up in a fearsome dystopia has become kind of insane, especially as the dystopias have gotten more and more far-fetched. So it's refreshing to read a novel like Jane Rogers' Testament of Jessie Lamb, where the dark future involves actual science. And real speculation.Read more... […]
- The Beer of Thrones is not safe for pregnant women, Dothraki, anybody May 23, 2013Comediva cooked up a little commercial for the Beer of Thrones, a no-doubt hearty ale which has some unfortunate side effects for those who drink it... and those who happen to be standing nearby those who drink it. Frankly, I think everybody should consider themselves lucky no one ended up channeling Theon's new buddy.Read more... […]
- The Alien Backstory You Didn't See in the After Earth Trailers! May 23, 2013Think After Earth is just about Will Smith reconnecting with his son on a dangerous future Earth? WRONG. There's a whole baffling alien backstory, that you don't even know about. It's just not in the trailers. Journey with us as we attempt to untangle M Night Shyamalan's ridiculously complicated movie. And meet the Skrels, who kill humans […]
- The World's Most Awkward Taxidermy May 23, 2013In case you were worried you'd ever get a good night's sleep again, here are some stuffed animals that go way beyond wrong. Read more... […]
- New Hubble images of the Ring Nebula reveal the Eye of Sauron May 24, 2013
Tag Archives: GOP
I didn’t expect the schadenfruede to be so long-lasting.
By Paul West
March 18, 2013, 4:00 a.m.
WASHINGTON — A smug, uncaring, ideologically rigid national Republican Party is turning off the majority of American voters, with stale policies that have changed little in 30 years and an image that alienates minorities and the young, according to an internal GOP study.
That blunt assessment on the state of Republicanism at the national level comes from a major new report, out Monday, that will likely shake up an already battered party. It was commissioned by the head of the Republican National Committee in the wake of Mitt Romney’s defeat last year.
Without offering detailed policy prescriptions, the 98-page report calls on the party to “smartly change course,” modernize itself and develop “a more welcoming brand of conservatism that invites and inspires new people to visit us.”
There are extensive lists of proposals, many of them technological and procedural, designed to help the GOP better engage voters, especially women, minorities and the young, and reverse a losing pattern in five of the last six popular votes for president.
“Unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future,” the report concludes.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, in remarks in Washington on the release of the study by the party’s “Growth and Opportunity Project,” is unsparing in his analysis of the 2012 election setback.
“Our message was weak. Our ground game was insufficient. We weren’t inclusive. We were behind in both data and digital. Our primary and debate process needed improvement,” he says, according to an advance text of his remarks.
“We know we have problems. We’ve identified them, and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them,” he says.
Most of the criticisms are familiar to those, both inside and outside the GOP, who have watched the party fail to come to grips with changing demographics and, instead, try to rely on older, white voters who represent a shrinking part of the electorate.
“Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country. When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us,” the report says. Young voters, it says, see the party as “old and detached from pop culture.”
In calling for the GOP to develop “a more welcoming conservatism,” the report rebukes those who remain in denial about the seriousness of the problem and those who are unwilling to broaden the party’s appeal.
A just-concluded gathering of conservatives in Washington cheered speaker after speaker who urged the GOP to stick to its guns and, instead, largely blamed the 2012 defeat on Romney or the way he ran his campaign.
“The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself,” the study says. “We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.”
The report calls on Republicans to counter the party’s image as an arm of business. It says Republicans should “blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years.”
Beyond that, however, there are no policy details. Indeed, the authors point out that they are not a policy committee, in a section calling on the GOP to “embrace and champion” comprehensive immigration reform without further specifics.
In addition, an extensive set of “inclusion” proposals for minority groups, including Latinos, Asians and African Americans, appears to mimic similar, failed outreach efforts by various RNC chairs over the last 30 years.
The report notes the party’s problems with women voters, especially unmarried women. But its 10-point plan for appealing to women makes no mention of the GOP stance on any social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, that have turned off many of the voters in question.
In a section on campaign mechanics, Republicans are advised to make “a critical cultural shift” on early, absentee, and online voting, trends that the report notes are “here to stay.” The report fails to note, however, that Republican elected officials fought to block and even reverse that trend at the state level in 2012.
Although the RNC study spares Romney any direct criticism, it includes tacit criticism of GOP polling that seems directed at his campaign. Research conducted for the study report found that 70% of Republican pollsters surveyed said that Democratic polling in 2012 “was better than our own. Fully 22% felt the Democrats did ‘much better’ than the Republicans when it came to accuracy and reliability.”
In a section on party primaries, there are thinly veiled attacks on efforts by outside groups, such as those tied to former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove and organizations like the Club for Growth, that seek to apply litmus tests or weed out candidates considered unelectable.
“It would be a mistake for any one organization to think it can circumvent GOP voters and hand-pick our nominees,” the report says. “Third-party groups that promote purity are hurting our electoral prospects.”
There are also calls for fewer candidate debates during the presidential primaries, a shorter nomination calendar and an earlier national convention.
The report is the product of a committee headed by Priebus’ allies and supporters, including Henry Barbour of Mississippi, the nephew of former governor and RNC chairman Haley Barbour; former George W. Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer; and Sally Bradshaw, a longtime advisor to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
If this problem of the GOP–losing national popular votes–interests you, you’ll be moved to follow the various scenes of crashing perceptions and the subsequent wreckage.
If somebody asked me what the chief deficit of the GOP is, I would answer that the Red States provide generous amount of evidence about what the Grand Old Party hopes to accomplish. So, from this, my short answer would be,
The GOP wants to race to the bottom. This desire strikes many people as being the equivalent of asking voters to punch themselves in the face–and be better off for it!
The bottom is many ‘bottoms’ and each such bottom can be well defined by the data. If you aspire to obtain the median education or household income or physical health of the average citizen of Mississippi or Tennessee or Alabama, then I have a political party that aims to support your goals.
What is the predicated goal enabled to head downward? Cheap Labor.
There you have it. The strategic handwringing is marvelous yet the actual situation isn’t very dire. The GOP is in fine shape when you look at what the nature of their actual success is all about.
Its libertarian “Chamber of Commerce” wing is fabulously fat and happy. The libertarian wing requires frightened, racist, aging, married, white people to lock in political advantages in Red States and so it has gone famously for four-plus decades. Fueling non-economic resentments of such people and then also gaming as much as possible the available, gritty mechanics of elections has proven to be a marvelous trick.
This strategy has worked out well. The political directors have leveraged resentment and cheap labor to a commanding political lead in the Red states. Has the bottom come into view? Not yet; ‘call the Texas textbook folks.’
(Cheap labor figures into the ability of state level oligarchs to put their money to work on political projects without many monied opponents standing in their way.) The GOP’s success is etched by the various state-level measures. Hurray for Kansas!
Losing national and statewide elections in blue states is the price exacted by the Red State strategy. The GOP protests too much. There is no chance of the GOP winning substantially more votes of young, or single, or minority, or, highly educated voters, as long as the GOP wants to play this hard ball strategic and tactical game on any Purple-to-Blue state’s territory.
For example, it should be completely obvious that the GOP, if it is hoping to make it harder for minorities to vote, is not going to make the party attractive to those same minorities. Having leaders in some states assert the state’s interest in penetrating and raping a woman’s vagina prior to the woman undergoing a medical procedure is not going to make your party attractive to most women. Supporting the teaching of intelligent design and/or young earth creationism; denying climate change; and, (recently we learn,) spinning slaveowners as benefactors of slaves, is not going to make your party more attractive to college kids and the educated classes.
Over the long term of the GOP, the paradox inherent betwixt its ruthless plutocratic libertarian ideology and its core voters’ theocratic fantasy is resolved by the GOP’s inability to accomplish the task of replacing its aging white core voter. Who knew paranoia and fearfulness and resentment has a shelf life?
Until then, I fully expect GOP directors to continue to follow the overt marching orders of Rush and Rand, and be obedient to the tactical orders of ALEC and the Koch Brothers, et al.. In doing so, at least, its power players will continue to enjoy big paydays. I get it: the principle grifters, the Makers, are laughing all the way to the bank. The GOP’s success is not fragile as long as there are, in the Red states, resentful and fearful old white social conservatives for the rightward Makers to shake down and manipulate.
The key requirement of continued GOP success supposes the “Libertarian directors” understand the grievances of the social conservative hoi polloi are never to be resolved.
Newleftmedia once again demonstrates that if you shoot enough video interviews at Romney (or Tea Party) events the most select slices of STUPID are gloriously deranged.
My favorite spot of dumb in the video is the guy, once again, passionately wishing for the U.S. not to be, anymore, the laughingstock of the world.
It is possible to empathize if you can simulate the guy’s sense that the world is laughing about something ‘the world’ surely doesn’t find anywhere near as funny as that which actually is laughable.
What’s funny are America’s proudly stupid people, their hypocritical religiosity, their ignorance, their pride in their ignorance, and. . .one could go on and on. As a marker of cognitive ability what does it mean to think Obama is a Muslim, atheist, communist?
Sure go vote for the manic plutocrat, mendacious Reagan wannabee, and, strangely enough, perfect symbol of greed and one percent Toryism, Willard Romney.
The sad answer is there is no way to know what Mr. Romney really believes. His unguarded expression of contempt for 47 percent of the population seems as sincere as anything else we’ve heard, but that’s only conjecture. At times he has advocated a muscular, John McCain-style foreign policy, but in the final presidential debate he positioned himself as a dove. Before he passionately supported a fetus’s right to life, he supported a woman’s right to abortion. His swings have been dramatic on gay rights, gun rights, health care, climate change and immigration. His ugly embrace of “self-deportation” during the Republican primary campaign, and his demolition of a primary opponent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for having left open a door of opportunity for illegal-immigrant children, bespeaks a willingness to say just about anything to win. Every politician changes his mind sometimes; you’d worry if not. But rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office. (excerpted from WAPO’s endorsement of Barack Obama)
Coerced to accept penetration by any object is called what? Figure it out by the logic of Paul Ryan:
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Ladies, get ready to hand over your body to the GOP, as Ann and Mitt prepare for (your) future rubber glove moments.
Well, the GOP didn’t want many women’s votes. This hurt the GOP in swing states several months ago. It will be interesting to see how the longstanding triumvirate of abstinence/anti-abortion/subservience to hubby, (obviously a mainly evangelical position,) is given new ideological life in the campaign.
There’s so much I could blather on about the delicious presidential battle shaping up between old school neo-liberal plutocrats of the centerist left vs “personal responsibility” Ayn Randian tea party plutocrats. Once again, as I mostly rediscover every four years, I find myself leaning on Melanie Klein, and so I very much prefer the mature depressive as against the volatile dynamics of the paranoid schizoid.
Which is to say: Obama’s Quixotic aspiration to realize a bi-partisan governing muddle is far superior than Mitt’s hope to galvanize the hating shards of resentful anti-cosmopolitan aging boys, and, crony ‘paper economy’ capitalists.
I do grant that Mitt Romney is a fascinating political figure as a matter of his elevated, nubby peculiarities. He is the oddest major party nominee in my adult political experience of forty years. But, I’ll save arm chair amateur psychoanalysis for a later presentation. Nevertheless, that Republican have nominated an actual plutocrat four years after the speculators, rent seekers and Randian nihilistas brought down the economy is both impressive and precious–all at once.
GOP.com—”Not a web site but a platform!” said Michael ‘How did I get this job?’ Steele. Well, head on over! It seems a no brainer in more ways than one to go check out the new citadel of conservatism, GOP.COM.
In an earlier post, C.I.N.O., I had reason to post Russell Kirk’s 10 Principles of Conservatism. For comparison purposes, here’s the link to the source. Ahhh, comparison to what you mutter. How about the principles Republicans believe in, live by?
(1) We’re fortunate to live in America
(2) The Republican Party believes that the United States has been blessed with a unique set of individual rights and freedoms available to all.
(3) You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming.
(4) The Republican Party is inspired by the power and ingenuity of the individual to succeed through hard work, family support and self-discipline. Helping those around you is worthwhile
(5) The Republican Party believes in the value of voluntary giving and community support over taxation and forced redistribution.
Small government is a better government for the people
(6) The Republican Party, like our nation’s founders, believes that government must be limited so that it never becomes powerful enough to infringe on the rights of individuals. You know what to do with your money better than government.
(7) The Republican Party supports low taxes because individuals know best how to make their own economic and charitable choices.
Free markets keep people free.
(8) The Republican Party is supportive of logical business regulations that encourage entrepeneurs to start more businesses so more individuals can enjoy the satisfaction and fruits of self-made success.
(9) Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy
(10) The Republican Party is committed to preserving our national strength while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.
(11) The Republican Party is guided by these principles as it develops solutions to the challenges facing America.
These principles, vis a vis conservatism, are mostly puerile, in comparison to the mature articulation provided by the example of Mr. Kirk. There seem to be omissions, since there’s no talk of the founders, or about Judeo-Christian values, of abortion.
I note this and think to myself how it is often presumed by conservatives of a certain didactic bent that if a person can deploy sound rationality to the problem of governance, the person will inexorably be led by the power of reason to ‘conservative’ principles. However, I don’t see how this same procedure could lead to these particular principles.
For example, one can experience the problem in any attempt to reason through how it could be that conservatism is the natural result of deeply apprehending the ethic and philosophy of all those Christ-centered, tradition-embracing, founding fathers. After all, such a working-through is only made problematic by the bald fact of those same founders—for the most part—not being conservative, and, being instead, revolutionaries. Heck, some were Unitarians!
To travel through GOP.com was for me split between the feel of being a tourist in a strange land, and, being nominated to be a member of one of the oddest focus groups imaginable. The most startling pitch found there is directed at bringing African-Americans back into the folds of their ‘natural home,’ the party of Lincoln.
On the Republican Heroes pages, 18 such ‘American Heroes-Patriots’ are highlighted. They are:
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Pinchney Pinchblack (1837-1921)
Jose Celso Barbosa (1857-1921)
Clara Barton (1821-1912)
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
Joseph Rainey (1832-1887)
Octavius Catto (1839-1871)
Jackie Robinson (1919-1972)
Hiram Revels (1827-1901)
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Edward Brooke (1919- )
Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969)
Everett Dirkson (1896-1969)
Frank Johnson (1918-1999)
Mary Terrell (1863-1954)
John Langston (1829-1897)
Ellen Foster (? – ?)
Six white guys. Four patriots born in the 20th century. No Jesse Owens! It’s hard to figure out what the criteria was, EXCEPT, the obvious and cynical criteria hitched to the GOP being the party of Lincoln—who freed the slaves—jumps out. Factoid: John F. Kennedy won 60% of the black vote in 1960; Truman 67% in 1948; Obama 96% in 2008. (See also Nancy Weiss, Farewell to the party of Lincoln: Black politics in the age of FDR, for the relevant earlier history.
Republican thought leaders have offered a variety of crude explanations of why African-Americans vote Democratic, even though the Democratic Party was the home of most white racists for almost a century after the civil war. These explanations echo the ur-standard supposition: that if only one has the chops to think it through, one would embrace the natural ‘rightness’ of the Republican cum conservative creed.
(See Francis Rice in Human Events, Why Martin Luther King was A Republican He writes there:
Today, Democrats, in pursuit of their socialist agenda, are fighting to keep blacks poor, angry and voting for Democrats.”
Let’s be good empiricists and wonder about what would be the result were we to investigate the quantification of poverty rates among African-Americans over the various Democratic and GOP administrations, starting from the post-war era. What do you guess you would find? Do you imagine increases in black poverty tracks more closely to Democrats being in power, or more closely to business cycles? How; what, do business cycles track?
Here’s Rice, again, writing in February, on the web site of the National Black Republican Association:
The euphoria over the election of Michael Steele as the head of the GOP came from the fact that he was elected as chairman of the Republican Party because of the content of his character, not the color of his skin.
His historic election makes him the rightful inheritor of the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican Party’s first president, and the realization of the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Republican and our nation’s most revered civil rights leader.
It is only fitting that Steele’s election as the head of the Republican Party took place during the bicentennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln and the year of the assumption of power by President Barack Hussein Obama, a black liberal Democrat who falsely portends to be the inheritor of Lincoln’s Legacy and the realization of Dr. King’s Dream.
For the first time in the history of our Republic — since our founders established this nation on Judeo-Christian values anchored on a fundamental truth that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — the fate of our nation rests in the hands of two black men.
We are in a battle for the soul of America. Which black leader will determine the future of America? Will we follow Obama and the Democratic Party down the path of failed socialist policies that promote urban decay and generational poverty, or will we heed the call of Steele and the Republican Party to continue embracing our traditional values that have made this country great? The choice is ours.
Will we choose freedom or Uncle Sam’s Plantation?
I think it fair enough to use Rice’s wingnutty ideation as context for GOP.com’s cynical and hopeless appeal to African-American voters. The point is: the confabulation of this alternative history is not in the slightest manner reasonable, or conservative; nor does it correspond to the actual voting record and policy commitments of the Republican Party after 1964. It would take a sea-change in the GOP to re-associate itself with the ethos and radical figure of Abraham Lincoln.
Ironically, the Republican attempt to re-associate the Democrats with their past also wishes to co-opt the radical liberal principle that ‘all men are created equal.’ That this comes during an era when the Republican Party has boiled itself away to the dregs of white privilege makes the alternative universe of GOP.com a place where such hideous and cynical appeals are framed to be de rigueur.