• comment on a post Santorum Extremely Vulnerable over 9 years ago
    That's the obvious conclusion from the numbers: a low unfavorable rating plus a 61% recognition says mostly that this Casey is not known well enough to be thought of unfavorably, and many simply remember better times when the elder Casey was governor.  So there is much too much opportunity for the GOPers to define Casey.

    Casey needs to go on the offensive now in defining himself, and he'll need help.

  • Got it. My apologies.  
  • comment on a post The Conservative Conversion Machine over 9 years ago
    about the climate crisis: it's an amazing opportunity to get labor excited and involved, in developing new industries, i.e. The Apollo Project, and in supporting the kind of work that will need to be done to prevent flooding, supply water, transport, etc.

    Labor plus environmentalists plus new technology equals the future of Democratic politics and governance.  Everything else--foreign policy, economics---follows.  Although part of the labor package is social justice, i.e. universal health care.  Labor supported that kind of thing before, and with a positive agenda and leadership, could again.

  • comment on a post The Conservative Conversion Machine over 9 years ago
    On the conservative conversion machine, we need to pay attention to social pressure and community, to understand it and to counter it, as I wrote here:

    Another important element: conservatives are much better at mentoring and including the most promising young people, and supporting their people with grants, scholarships, memberships, jobs and access.  They not only have all that corporate/rich guy money, they spend it on people.

    As for the event that will change the political equation, it's going to be the effects of the climate crisis.  And we'd better get ahead of it right now.  The fact that nobody here even thinks of it is a significant indicator of the problem.

  • thank you.  As a child of the 60s from a small town, the social pressures were even greater on me in some ways when I was young than they were later, and than they are for young people there now.  But in other ways they may well be stronger on young people growing up in red states.  Nature does provide this glandular rebellion period which gives some impetus to making big changes in how you think and what you need to do about it, but at the same time, glands get in the way, don't they?  

    I'm far from an expert on today's young, but it seems they certainly have a formidable challenge in everything they have to steer through.  But at least those who are growing up in relatively isolated places have more and easier access to other constructive points of view, beyond trash TV and movies.  Though the Internet also gives them extremes, like the neo-Nazi sites, it gives them some access to a wider world.  For me, it was the example of JFK and RFK and MLK; high school debate and the newspapers and magazines I had to read, and enjoyed reading, because of it; and perhaps most of all, the public library, and reading literature, from adventure and science fiction as a pre-teen, to books like Michael Harrington's THE OTHER AMERICA in high school, and the great literature of my time and earlier times.  

  • Evidently you didn't read this diary but just the title.  Your comment has nothing to do with much of anything I said. In fact, all these comments on the Schiavo case are off topic.  I mentioned the controversy as the most extreme example of the faith-based versus reality-based conflict.

    I apologize for the length of the piece, but appreciate those who read it before they commented.  

  • comment on a post Six More Weeks over 9 years ago
    Universal health care.

    In 1993, the Clinton plan for universal health care was universally believed to be a sure thing for enactment.  Clinton actually waved a pen at the State of the Union saying that if Congress tried to make it less than universal, he would veto it.

    Veto it?  The GOPers turned the issue around in a matter of weeks.  They've done it before, so why shouldn't they believe they can do it again?

  • comment on a post CNN Craters over 9 years ago
    It's especially sad because Ted Turner eventually built CNN into a global force in news.  It was never as astute as the BBC but it was fast and usually accurate, and it showed real news.

    But just before the BushII Iraq invasion, CNN trashed itself with teenage girl and jock boy anchors gushing over global tragedy and celebrity hair with the same idiotic inflections. They slashed their staff, like the networks already had, and it showed immediately.

    Besides the obvious attempt to appeal to the Fox viewer, it's further indication of the increasingly scary assumption driving American politics, as an offshoot of marketing, that there are no such things as facts, there are only opinions.      

  • comment on a post Speculation 2008 over 9 years ago
    but it's just science fiction.  2008 might as well be the 24th century.  Sure, people are going to be raising money and so some handicapping is going on, but I'm more interested in 2005 and 2006.

    I like that Kerry is claiming his rights as the standard bearer because a leaderless Democratic party gets in trouble, as it did after 2000, with the disastrous 2002 elections as a consequence.  I like what my Senator Boxer is doing, and I'm glad Senator Clinton is using her national presence to lead on issues.  But I'm more interested in the impact of all of them on this year and the 2006 elections.  Beyond that, it's tea leaves.      

  • comment on a post MyDD Book Club: The Tipping Point over 9 years ago
    It's been awhile but I recall being disappointed with this book.  I read Gladwell's New Yorker piece on the concept of the tipping point, and thought it was an important idea.  It is.  But he doesn't follow through with it, and adds a lot of dubious theorizing about subjects that are so unimportant that engaging in explanations about them is more than a waste of time.

    The thing about trends is that they happen and are very quickly over.  Sometimes you can ignore them, sometimes enjoy them, and sometimes you have to oppose them, to minimize the damage they cause.  

    Specific trends have specific causes and analyzing them, describing them and relating them to important areas of life, living, society etc. is the substance of popular culture journalism, and some real insights can arise from that.  But analyzing the process of trends is both fruitless and a waste of time and energy.
    All you wind up with is a new abstract vocabulary that really explains little if anything, like meme theory, which is so circular and self-referential and basically ill-informed that it verges on nonsense.

    What the concept of the tipping point really is is systems theory, and that's more worthwhile because we live within layers of complex systems and we don't understand how they work, and they often operate in counterintuitive ways.    

    If the interest here is to learn how to convince people of political ideas, a lot of trend theory or meme theory won't really help.  It just distracts from the real task of learning to connect with people, not how to fool them better.

  • comment on a post A Multi-Polar World - The Financial Times Weighs In over 9 years ago
    Beyond party and ideological affiliation, during the campaign it was almost a rule: if a person had been out of the U.S. in the past 2 years, they were Kerry voters.

    These posts are very interesting in filling in the current situation, from personal observation and info in the press.  The equations are changing, even within North America. Bush apparently made some remarks to Canadian officials to the effect that Canada might not be able to count on American military protection if it kept opposing U.S. policies.  And who is the U.S. protecting Canada against exactly?

    It's probably true the first area where these new alignments will show up in in world finance.  But politically, the rest of the industralized world is pretty sick of having their futures destroyed by U.S. stupidity on the climate crisis.  That can't be addressed without the U.S., but I'll bet it's crossed some minds that power may have to be brought to bear to force some sense into U.S. policy.  It could be quite rude.

  • comment on a post Another Bush payola scandal emerging over 9 years ago
    it falls short of showing that she wrote her column supporting the program directly for payment.  That they paid her handsomely for other work, and she did not disclose this, is of course a serious ethical lapse.  But the really damning situation would be a direct pay for play.  Because the onus would then be on the Bush administration, whereas from the way this story is worded, it appears to be her responsibility to disclose that contract if she wrote about the same subject.

    But it sounds like she ghostwrote the article, there's no mention that her name was signed to the brochure, and the circumstances of the briefing aren't given. Again, it's a serious lapse, and the Bushies likely knew what they were buying, but there are probably stronger cases to be made out there.  

  • comment on a post Honest Inquiry, Why Do The Poor Vote Republican over 9 years ago
    It's absolutely a key question and answering it probably requires going beyond the usual political calculations.

    Race is certainly a factor, but seems to me to be a symptom or an expression, not the root cause.  Xenophobia of one kind or another is part of it.

    There are probably several psychologies at work.  I'm starting to read Dale Maharidge's "Homeland," and I believe his thesis is that terrible economic times drives people to look for scapegoats, like foreigners, gays, immigrants, blacks, latte liberals, etc.  

    They don't turn against the rich because becoming rich is their goal, and not being rich is their shame.

    Another possibility I'm toying with is the same "reverse" psychology but with a spiritual spin.  There is nothing more hardcore and certain in religion than fundamentalist Christianity.  You're either with them or you're the devil.  That provides certainty.  And images of this kind of religion have always been used as a solace to the poor: when things are tough in this life, look to your reward in the next---and don't screw it up, stand up for God's values, vote against the godless Dems.

    So on both counts, the worse things get economically, the more powerful is the pull of Republican fundamentalist propaganda.

    Churches also provide community, as does, in its way, right wing talk radio.  That's the necessary reinforcement.  Community makes you feel good, and powerful.    

  • I think you miss the point of what I am attempting.  To say that everybody views the world through a belief system is trivially true; what I am trying to understand is what is the nature of the fundamentalist mindset that is different, and I believe I found some attitudes to public information and policy that are different from those held by people of even different religions.

    I am doing this to inform strategies for responding to this influence politically. I believe it is necessary to do so because prior efforts demonstrably haven't worked.

    The evangelical/fundamentalist nomenclature is a problem, since some fundamentalists identify themselves as evangelicals, and so do media and scholarly analysts.  But to point out that the religious right is a well funded political machine is not enough, I contend; it's true but it doesn't speak to why it works, why it has followers.  That's what I was trying to address.

    It's not enough to say just "Jesus."  That doesn't work, and those who reject religion or Christianity need to show some empathy and some discernment.  Lots of people are religious and Christian, and they can't be ignored. That's why I emphasize my religious background. Although I wouldn't call myself a Christian now, I know something about Jesus and scriptures, and it's not so simple.          

  • comment on a post Iraq, the Media, and Ending the War over 9 years ago
    I agree with Chris that the torture story is the most potent, and agree as well that we should be pinning the media to the mat on this one.  I would add this:

    The issue of torture is important in and of itself, as a moral issue, but also as a practical one: both as a supposed interrogation technique and as an element of war.  

    Professionals know that torture doesn't work to extract information.  Even historically it has mostly been used to get victims to say what the torturers want them to say.  This must be pressed on the common consciousness on this subject.  

    Professional soldiers and diplomats are aghast at violating the Geneva Conventions because of what our troops will be subjected to.  The longterm struggle to replace war with other means of solving disputes just got set back a century.

    For all of us, it's an important moral issue.  Put it high on the list of Blue States moral issues.

    That's also why it's important in the context of contributing to opposition to this war.  The Iraq situation will play out in ways that many of us could have written---and some of us did write---in the days before the invasion of Iraq.  The U.S. has created chaos and suffering, and eventually U.S. forces will leave or flee as Iraq suffers through civil war before becoming either a Shia theocracy or three paper nations, ruled by clerics and war lords.

    The function of the antiwar movement is to dissociate ourselves from this war policy, to stand for peace, with the concrete goal of making it impossible for Bush and Bushites to do this kind of thing again elsewhere.      


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