Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some musings on global warming and other things.

As happens from time to time, I recently went through some arguments over the validity of climate change science. The anti's just got a new weapon in their arsenal - a series of stolen emails between scientists that seemed to show that the eggheads were yakking it up over the fakery they were getting away with. Oh, the gloating of the climate change deniers was thick enough to cut.

The scientists themselves, besides being livid over private emails being spread about publicly, tried to explain that some of the phrases that appeared to be admitting to fraud was just the language of scientists being misunderstood.

We on the left did our usual thing - tried to reason with the unreasonable and show them that science doesn't stand still to bring the deniers into the light.

Won't happen - this isn't about science, it's about ideology namely the 'MUST PROTECT MASTER" variety and that doesn't allow for nuance. If you allow the possibility of man-created global climate change then you can't defend your 'betters' profits because then it becomes a matter of personal survival instead of an ideology that says the more money you have means that you are more good than those with less. Fortunately, this ideology is in decline - out of power, discredited and rejected by a majority of Americans.

'Greed is good', if not dead, is very sick and very much alone. That's all they've got left too - this isn't disagreement this who is basically right and wrong, bad or good. They have become their own club, their own fringe and they can't make arguments for their positions. In order for them to be good, they have to make us and everyone else bad. Doesn't matter what gender you are, the color of your skin, whether you speak with an accent, what you call yourself or even if you're in the same party they are - if you don't know the secret handshake, you're evil.

OK, so what. I'm old enough to remember when people who espoused ideas like that were considered nuts and crackpots to be laughed at for their seeing communists every place they looked.

Short version: Who cares what they believe about climate change or science. All they can do is rant and foam at the mouth - the American voters took away their ability to do anything about it. Make no mistake about this - they are angry over one thing and that's it.

Forget Global Warming, Sarah Palin, forget Gore, Michael Moore, ACORN, Soros, the ACLU, forget even Obama - one way or the other they are all means to dress up that sore loser-ism and anger over the loss of power they think they have entitlement to so to make it more acceptable to themselves if no one else.

Let me be clear here - I don't paint all conservatives with this brush or want them all to go away either. Genuine conservatives are as necessary as genuine liberals to America as no plane flies with one wing. Genuine conservatives slow down the admitted over-exuberance of liberals for change just as liberals speed up conservatives when they take their natural tendency to slow things down too far and make it too slow.

What we're dealing with now are not genuine conservatives. These are people in the South still angry they lost. These are whites who feel threatened and confused because the status they got simply because of the color of their skin is vanishing. The few people of color they get tend to be people rejected by their own communities, desperate to be accepted in something and seeking revenge on those like themselves who didn't take them in. These are rural people angry at city people because urban is considered hip and rural isn't. Things are changing and they don't want them to. Basically, they want the world to stay put or return to how they think things should be and the world is rotating and evolving despite them.

Will we get past this and back to a more stable and deliberative way of doing things? I really don't know. I see the Republicans in the same position we McGovernites were in the early '70s. We had taken over the party, certain in our righteousness and goodness, and did our best to push the moderates out of the Democratic Party. We did all that and got our asses handed to us when voting time came around. One difference between then and now though - that run probably would have lasted longer if we'd had the financial backing not to mention a slew of talk shows and our own cable channel to cheer us on like the right does today.

Historians say this isn't really all that new - the extremists of one side or the other coming into prominence that is. They say something like it happens pretty much at the start of every decade and it really gets going at the turn of the century. Those are big, scary events for a lot of people and we are just now about to finish the first decade since the triple whammy - change of the decade, change of the century, and change of the millennium. Throw into that mix something that's never really happened in this country since the Civil War - a major attack on an American city with the even worse insecurity that followed the fact that the attack didn't come from another recognizable country, but a shadowy group of international terrorists - and it's extremist Disneyland.

The thing that sustains me and gives me hope is that the extremists aren't anywhere as large a segment of the country that they think they are. Sure, they get more press but there's also more press and pseudo-press to give them that attention. On top of that, we have the greatest platform for corner soapbox speechifying that's ever existed in the history of man. Of all of the inventions that science fiction writers foresaw for the future, this one they missed completely. It's Hyde Park cubed. It's also noisy, crowded and anyone and everyone gets their say.

What is this boon to the airing of the opinions of man and woman kind? If you're reading this right now, you're on it. The internet. The web. It's a great resource if used properly, and can send a lie around the world faster than and well before the truth can even get it's shoes made, let alone on and tied. It's also highly segmented and customizable - set it up right for yourself and you never have to see a contrary word to your opinions, ever. That's also a very difficult way to be able to win converts to your point of view regardless of what that is. Most of us aren't only preaching to the choir, we're preaching to hundreds if not thousands of them.

So, what's to become of us with all this? Well, let's bring things down to earth here. The person writing this and the people reading it are also a minority. We're politics junkies. Geeks. Wonks. Freaks. Tell people you did what I did last Saturday night - listening and watching CSPAN on a Saturday night, excited over a procedural vote in the Senate and commenting on it as it went along on Twitter or a blog - and watch them smile and back away from you, slowly. Politics is our sports, primaries are our playoffs and general elections are our Super Bowls. We battle over arcane policy differences and people the general public are oblivious to. And oh my, the things we call each other would have us at dawn holding dueling pistols and ready to shoot the other down back when the country was getting started.

What's the bottom line here? We've gone through tougher times and more real division in our history than we are doing now.

We'll be just fine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To the Teabaggers with love from Bartcop

You didn't get mad...

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when VP Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy Policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA Operative was revealed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act was passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded Iraq looking for WMD'S that didn't exist.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 Billion dollars(and counting) on Iraq War.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when Bush was illegally wiretapping us at home and work.

You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed money to give to the oil companies.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible Conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let New Orleans drown.

You didn't get mad when Bush got 4,500 soldiers killed.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when---- The government decided that people in
America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, giving your tax dollars to super-rich, are all OK with you? But helping other Americans is the last straw?

Seven presidents have tried to pass a Health Care Plan of some sort and have failed. None have had the "hate filled" opposition of this president.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The 2009 Elections

Well, here we are after the great Tea Party "referendums" on President Obama.

Or not.

It looked to me to be a push. There were things for the Republicans to celebrate and there were things for Democrats too. What it never was, according to various state exit polling, was a vote up or down on Mr. Obama. Even where Republicans won, exit polling showed that Mr. Obama was little to no influence on the voters.

Let's take a look at the results, shall we?

In Virginia, it looks more and more like the Democrat - Creigh Deeds - screwed the pooch big time when he decided to run against, then with, the President. He ran ads against health care reform, cap and trade...very Republican Lite stuff sure to excite the Democrats in VA to vote for him. *cough* Then when that approach wasn't working out he called out for Obama for help, too late. He went down hard and took several state Democrats down ticket with him.

In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine looked to be having him some Gray Davis-itis. (Gray Davis was the Democratic governor of California who was recalled with now-Gov. Schwarzenegger replacing him). What is Davis-itis, you ask? Well, what helped along the Davis recall in CA was the fact that the guy wasn't very well liked, even among Democrats. Word is that Corzine wasn't very well liked in New Jersey either and Democrats weren't real enthused about giving him another term. Both had reputations of being kind of nasty folks to be around and in Corzine's case, add in the factor of a independent candidate appealing to those unenthused Democrats and down he went too. The good news out of this is that he didn't take many with him - Democrats were able to hold on to their majorities in the state legislature.

Add the historical factor that both states have a habit of making their Governor a member of the opposing party to the President, and you have a HUGE WIN FOR THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT!!

Ummm....not so much. Governor's races are state races, not national ones. Definitely local issues rule with them. About the only time that a Governor's race makes any difference nationally is when someone new is elected Governor of California (because of the state's size and economic clout - well, pre-GOP that is - they are usually "mentioned" as a possible Presidential candidate in the future).

Republican wins to be sure, but about Obama? No.

OK, let's look at a couple of races that could have had something to do with the current President.

There were two special elections to fill seats formerly held by Republicans, one in New York and one in California. The New York one got the most attention - mainly because the news media could cover it with little travel time, it had been a GOP district since the 1800s, and the candidate who got the most out-of-state money (95% of his campaign war chest came from outside of New York) and endorsements was not the Republican. The candidate the tea party-ers and luminaries such as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey was pushing so hard was a member of the New York Conservative Party.

I'm not all that familiar with New York politics, but I do recall that the chance of a member of one of the NY minor parties winning an election was not unheard of. In 1970, William F. Buckley's brother James was elected to the US Senate on the Conservative Party ticket and served one term (brother Bill tried unsuccessfully to be elected to the Senate too as well as Mayor of New York). However, James Buckley did not get national Republicans to help out his campaign.

The Conservative Party candidate for the House in upper New York state's district 23 was going to be where the tea party, birther and hard right of the conservative movement was going to show both President Obama and the leadership of the GOP a thing or two. Make no mistake, their candidate was definitely one of them too. The actual Republican in the race had seen her support dwindle away so she withdrew her candidacy. The Hitler=Obama sign waving, "socialism" in the health care bill opposing far right was going to show their strength with this one.

Then a funny thing happened. The Democrat won. This hadn't happened in that district since the days of the cotton gin.

This election was supposed to show the nation that the tea party movement wasn't just some angry-at-something wingnuts getting together to vent over losing in 2008. It was supposed to show that the demonstrators were a REAL MOVEMENT, reflecting the secret majority just waiting to toss out that Socialist Fascist non-white Commie in the White House right out the door after being magically fooled into voting for him last year. THIS WAS THE WAKE-UP CALL!!

Oops. Guess not.

Out in California, another traditional Republican district went (D) as well. That race certainly didn't have as much drama to it, but it flipped nonetheless.

Oops again, teabaggers.

So, to recap:

The Republican right won in two Governor's races that have little to no impact nationally.

The Democrats won the two races for House seats that gives them an even bigger majority in Congress.

And Barack Obama is still President of the United States with a majority of Americans giving him thumbs up on most of the job he's been doing.

Bottom line: Not a great night for anybody, but definitely a bad night for the teabaggers.

I can live with that.