Despair Follows Delusion - Midterm Elections

Despite all the hype and rhetoric, only one impact of the midterm elections is assured.  Notwithstanding power shifts from Democrats to Republicans in Congress there will not be any deep, sorely needed true reforms of our corrupt, dysfunctional and inefficient government.  The culture of corruption in Washington, DC will remain.  Hundreds of millions of dollars from corporate and other special interests will assure that.


Voters who think otherwise are either delusional or stupid.  It will not matter whether you voted for Republicans because you wanted to defeat Democrats (or vice-versa), or whether you voted for Tea Party candidates, or whether you voted against incumbents, or whether you voted for what you believe are lesser-evil candidates.  Americans lost however they voted, but it may take time for most to comprehend that.  That is a terribly painful reality, which is why many who chose to vote will resist facing the ugly truth.


When it comes to politics in America, delusion and stupidity are rampant, like a terrible epidemic that has killed brain cells.  Several billion dollars were spent selling candidates this year.  Who profited?  The many media outlets that received the advertising bonanza and companies that supplied mailings, posters and automatic phone calls.  At least all that spending was kept domestic.


Yes, you are thinking that this is the most cynical view possible.  Cynicism beats delusion.  I recommend it.


This is what American history tells us.  Americans have been brainwashed and tricked into thinking that elections are crucial for maintaining American democracy.  That is exactly what the two-party plutocracy needs to maintain their self-serving political system and that is also what the rich and powerful Upper Class wants to preserve their status.  But voting in a corrupt political system no longer sustains democracy.  It only sustains the corrupt political system that makes a mockery of American democracy.  Think about it.


In the months following this election, when unemployment and economic pain for all but the rich remain awful, anyone who pays attention and is able to face the truth will see that there is little chance of genuine government reforms.  Nor will any of the nation’s severe fiscal and spending problems be smartly attacked.  The Republicans will blame the Democrats, the Democrats will blame the Republicans, the Tea Party winners will blame the system, the radio and cable pundits will blabber endlessly, and Jon Stewart and other comics will have an abundance of material to take jabs at.  The two-party plutocracy will triumph.


Every member of Congress will, as before, spend most of their time and energy doing what is necessary to win the next election.  The army of lobbyists will be busier than ever legally bribing politicians to sustain the successful political strategy of the rich and business sector to make the rich and superrich still richer at the expense of the middle class.  Anyone who thinks that winner Republicans will work to overturn economic inequality is stupid or delusional.  A disproportionate and ludicrous fraction of the nation’s income and wealth will go to a tiny fraction of rich and superrich Americans.  Nothing that President Obama or the Democrats have done or championed was aimed squarely at reversing economic inequality and the death of the middle class, which by itself justified defeating them.


President Obama, of course, will continue his self-serving rhetoric with the sole goal of winning reelection in 2012.  The presidency just made him destructively delusional.  Of course he will speak about working with Republicans.  Wait and see.


Here is what non-delusional Americans can hope for: Maybe a decent third party presidential candidate will emerge.  Maybe the Tea Party movement will wake up to the reality that electing Republicans is a terrible strategy for reforming the government and restoring the health of the nation and shift their interest to forming a third party.  I doubt very much whether any of the Tea Party winners in Congress will stand up and aggressively work for and demand true reforms.  The new Republican Speaker of the House is a classic establishment Republican.  Maybe the greatly expanded calls for an Article V convention (mostly by Republicans and conservatives) as the constitutional path to reforms through constitutional amendments will gather more energy (especially from Tea Party people) and finally succeed.


Welcome to the good old USA where citizens, unlike those in Europe, do not riot in the streets demanding justice but keep believing in the nonsense that voting for either Republicans or Democrats will work for them and the nation.


Despair follows delusion.  Despite the endless media hype, the political revolution of 2010 is like a badly made firecracker – a dud.  President Obama, Republicans and Democrats will have learned nothing profound, not enough to dedicate themselves to real reforms.  Along with economic pain, widespread anger will persist as nothing tangible results to make the lives of ordinary Americans a lot better.  Will Americans demand smarter strategies than voting in regular elections with choices between Democrats and Republicans?  What do you think?


[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through]



112th Congress Freshmen - Known and Potential

Friends & Fellow Travelers -

Last week, for community access television advocates, I prepared and posted a Google docs spreadsheet showing known and potential freshmen for the 112th Congress - the idea being that these are the new legislators who will need to be quickly educated on 1) the unique value of access television, 2) the harms being done by industry practices and the wave of recent states' video franchising laws, and 3) the urgent need for passage of Rep. Tammy Baldwin's Community Access Preservation Act (HR 3745).

In alphanumeric order by state and CD, the spreadsheet shows all 535 incumbents (with links to their GovTrack CD maps), along with the Democratic and Republican candidates for those seats.  All open seats (55, right?) are highlighted, as are all seats where any major pollster has judged an incumbent to be facing serious competition (seemingly 92, as of Sep. 19).  Where known, the latest poll results for the incumbents' seats in play is given (source:  Because I developed this for the community media and media reform communities, I've also highlighted those incumbents who are members of the Senate Commerce Committee, the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, and the Future of American Media Caucus.  I've also included contact info for the incumbents and their telecommunications legislative aides, where known.

Readers and contributors of MyDD might appreciate seeing this, both for figuring your own angles in the 112th, and for helping to identify races where you and your associates may feel the need to get involved.  Possibly some of you might want to adapt this spreadsheet to track incumbent/freshmen turn-over on any committees salient to your own interests.

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Beware of Rich Political Saviors

Consumer confidence is terrible; citizen confidence is worse: Only 11 percent of Americans have confidence in Congress.  No surprise there is record-setting anti-incumbency anger rampant among Americans.  But the sad truth is damned if you do and damned if you don’t vote for incumbents. 


The problem is that the reformers, populist outsiders, tea party candidates, surprise primary winners and others expecting to oust incumbents in the coming mid-term elections for members of Congress and state governors and other officials mostly suck.  Why?  They are nutty, ignorant, dishonest or racist. 


Pathetic US Senate candidates like Alvin Greene on the left in South Carolina and Sharron Angle on the right in Nevada, for example, are intellectual nits and an insult to a once envied political system.  And in Memphis, Tennessee Willie Herenton, who is African-American, sells black racism to oust two-term incumbent Congressman Steve Cohen in a primary, telling blacks to not vote for his white opponent.


Many ambitious candidates drained the economy to become super-rich.  Is this any time to trust people who have taken advantage of our corrupt corporate system to run the government and serve those they have previously taken advantage of for personal gain?  Will anger about the corrupt, dysfunctional government system be sufficient for voters to turn the government over to people who have nothing in common with most Americans?


Consider California.  Meg Whitman, a Republican candidate for governor wants to beat the familiar, incumbent-like Democrat Jerry Brown, now attorney general, and was previously the chief executive of eBay.  She has outspent all other self-financed candidates across the country by using $91 million of her own money to knock out Steve Poizner, who spent $24 million of his own money, in the Republican primary.  California is big, but $91 million and likely even more!!  She will greatly outspend Brown.  And Carly Fiorina, a Republican who is challenging Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer in California, has the audacity to claim on her website that she will “fight for every job” if elected even though, as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard in 2003 she cut about 18,000 jobs and did little good for the company.  She has already spent $5 million.  Are these people worthy of public support?


Consider Florida.  Republican Rick Scott, the former head of Columbia/HCA Healthcare — an awful large hospital chain that paid $1.7 billion in fines for fraudulently billing government programs like Medicare — has become the front-runner for Florida governor.  He supposedly is worth about $200 million.  He was ousted by his own board of directors in 1997 amid the nation's biggest health care fraud scandal.  He loaned his campaign $22.9 million during the period from April 9 through July 16 and spent $22.65 million of it.  In contrast, he received only $415,126 in contributions.  Bill McCollum, his Republican opponent, raised a little over $1 million during the reporting period and spent about $1.7 million.  He has raised $5.7 million since he announced his campaign last year.  He has less than $500,000 left.  Democrat candidate Alex Sink, with no primary opponent, raised $1.1 million for the reporting period and has raised $7.3 million so far.  Is Scott better qualified because of his wealth and ability to advertise more?


Also in Florida is Jeff Greene who wants to be US Senator, a Democrat who had been a Republican with a strange gang of friends like Mike Tyson and Heidi Fleiss.  Incredibly, most of his fortune, estimated at $1.4 billion, came from derivatives that let him profit from the collapse of subprime mortgages which helped tank the US economy.  He lives in an oceanfront mansion when he is not on one of his yachts or his plane with gold seat-belt buckles.  He recently reported taking a paltry $3,036 in outside contributions, while lending himself — and spending — $5.9 million in the second quarter.  Recent polls found Greene roughly even in the primary with Democrat Representative Kendrick B. Meek, who had been the party favorite and took 18 months to raise a similar amount.  Incumbent-like candidate Governor Charlie Crist still leads as an independent in a three-way general election.  Greene boasts that now is the moment for self-financed candidates. “If 2008 was the year of change, 2010 is the year of frustration,” he said.  But does frustration justify voting for these characters?


And then there is Linda E. McMahon, a Connecticut Republican who made her fortune in professional wrestling before her Senate run.  She has stated a willingness to spend $50 million of her own money to win the election, a lot of money for such a small state, and has already spent $21.5 million.  A television ad declares “politicians have had their chance, and blown it” while her jobs plan “is backed by experience.”  She became president of the WWF as a legal maneuver to save the company in 1993, because her husband was indicted for distributing steroids to his wrestlers.  Cleverly, she blew the whistle and told regulators something few in the industry would admit: wrestling matches were scripted shows and not athletic competitions that required the kind of oversight that, say, boxing required.  The financial benefit was that her wrestling business operates in 29 states without supervision by state athletic boards or commissions, saving the company licensing fees.  She served only a few months on the state Board of Education and then became a candidate.  She supports policies that favor the rich and advocates offshore oil drilling.  She faces Democrat incumbent-like Richard Blumenthal, now attorney general of Connecticut.  Is her wrestling business experience really the basis for being a great senator?


Voters should remember this: None of these characters are legitimate populists, progressives or reformers with a political record to show their true capabilities or positions.  Why trust them?  Would they perform better than incumbents?  I don’t think so.  More likely, they would serve elites and corporate interests.  In the past very few rich candidates have won office (just 11 percent), but considering the anti-incumbency sentiment this year, big money may prevail.


Is the evil you don’t know really better than the evil you do know because of failed government experience?  Are some incumbents worth support?  Or will many Americans admit that voting no longer can fix and reform our battered democracy and stay home?  I think I will.  There are just too many fools and idiots voting that offset the votes of informed and intelligent citizens.  Maybe if voter turnout was totally abysmal, say 20 percent, maybe then we would get the reforms or revolution we need by de-legitimizing our government.



Protecting Our Asses: Rewarding Good Behavior from Congresspeople

I've already written in one comment that I'm very disenchanted right now.  Somehow, we're still in Iraq, don't have universal healthcare, don't have stem cell funding.  We're seeing pushes for offshore drilling.  And this week, our party assumed the position when it comes to FISA.

What was even more infuriating is to see candidates that many candidates heavily supported the grassroots and the Netroots (both in the more limited sense that includes the page DailyKos, Swing State Project, etc collaborate on. and the broader sense to include all of the liberal websites such as Democracy for America and MoveON).  It's both heartbreaking and infuriating to see people like Patrick Murphy, Kirsten Gillibrand, Nancy Boyda, Jim Webb, and Jerry McNerney, people we thought would be the vanguard of the coming progressive era, vote they way they do, with the likes of Murphy and Gillibrand joining the Blue Dogs!

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statements by Democrats on Iraq

vive le democracy

<Republicans continue to beat us in the field. Even though our financial resources in 2006 reached parity with the Republicans, and we had much more enthusiasm on our side, they were clearly ready. Chris Shays and Heather Wilson and Steve Chabot and Deborah Pryce were incumbents that held on because they ran a tried and true effort to turn out their voters. We have serious problems in the way we run Democratic field operations. I've laid out ways we can improve upon them below<p>

There are a number of new statements by Democrats on Iraq that deserve attention. The first one I would like to address is the now debunked notion that Patrick Murphy supports escalation in Iraq. Others have already pointed out that he was misunderstood by Charles Gibson last night, but I want to add that he stated opposition to escalation both to me personally, and to a crowded room of netroots folks at out party last night. He believes it is time to start brining the troops home, and there should be no mistake about that. As for Nancy Boyda, well, clearly that is another issue.

Second, a new study by ABC News finds that an overwhelming majority of Democratic Senators who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in 2002 would now vote differently. From the study: >


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