Hendrik Gideons, writing at the Bangor Daily News, exposes the emptiness of “centrism.” A nugget:

Terms like “centrist” and “independent” have been employed for maximum political advantage despite the fact that they are completely relative, cloaked in anonymity and devoid of substance. They conceal more than they clarify.

“Centrist” denotes equidistance from whatever is on either side. The term pays no attention whatsoever to 1) how far apart the two sides are from one another, 2) which among them might have moved recently and why, and 3) how much. “Independent” draws its indeterminate meaning only from whatever it is — again unspecified — with which the speaker chooses not to be identified. And when such “independents” refer to political parties as “special interests,” they misuse a term employed for decades by political scientists to denote a person, group or organization attempting to influence legislators in favor of one particular interest or issue.

Do read the rest.

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Reg Henry.

He forgot to mention that both sides don’t do it.

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The Sacramento Bee’s Jack Ohman delivers another masterful parody of a political ad.

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Yastreblyansky.

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12 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Thom explores why persons buy into conspiracy theories.

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12 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

One Congressman to another as they approach the Capitol:

Via Job’s Anger.

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08 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

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07 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Mammon, Political Theatre

The resident curmudgeon at my local rag, in the light of the Regent’s fall from grace, offers hints to help pols stay out of jail.

Every one is a gem. Here’s one:

Rule No. 4: Remember you’re not royalty.

This is especially important for governors. You’re not the King of Virginia, and your daughters are not princesses. If they’re planning to marry while you’re in office, give them the wedding you can afford without begging favors and freebies. Virginia’s taxpayers provide their chief executive and family with a stately mansion. Everything that happens there looks classy. If money is tight, toss some folding chairs on the well-manicured lawn and serve barbecue. Guests won’t care if they eat off paper plates. They’ll be able to tell everyone they were invited to the governor’s daughter’s wedding.

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06 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Tweet from Donal O'Keefe:  Say what you will about George W. Bush, but he wouldn't have stood for Russion aggression in Ukraine.  He'd have invaded New Zealand by now.

Via PoliticalProf.

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02 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Conservative Reality Collapse:  Denial of history and science illustrated


Click for a larger image.

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01 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

The Sacramento Bee’s Jack Ohman parodies pandering pols. You don’t have to be from Cali to get a chuckle from this.

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31 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Snowball Snookie.”

Heh.

The real Snooki is no doubt planning to protest being shown such disrespect.

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31 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

A bit tedious, but it makes the point: Republicans will say anything, even made-up stuff, to advance their cause.

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31 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

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At the Bangor Daily News, Gordon L. Weil suggests that the US fascination with “regime change” is misguided and counter-productive. He gives some examples; follow the link for more examples. (I think his summaries may be a little too summarized, but it is a newspaper column, not a history text.)

A look at countries where democracy has failed to take root after the overthrow of a dictatorship teaches some lessons.

Russia has no democratic history. But, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and others countries took it for granted that it would install democratic institutions.

While Russia may have adopted the appearance of popular control of the government, it has become clear that the Russian people prefer an authoritarian rule allowing them some limited freedoms. A majority likes President Putin, largely because he is a throwback to paternalistic control under the czars.

Afghanistan sheltered Al Qaeda terrorists, which justified American military action to root them out. But the U.S. has engaged in its longest war ever to stamp out opposition and install democracy, so far without success.

The problem in this case is that Afghanistan has never really been a country. A collection of regions dominated by warlords, it, too, has no democratic traditions or even a truly national identity. The net result of 13 years of war may be no improvement over the U.S. staying for only 13 months and with more limited goals.

American governments of both parties have been comically wrong in understanding the culture, history, and politics of other nations and peoples. Our attempts to manipulate the future of others to suit our ends and preconceptions invariably ignore that the others might not agree with our interpretation of what’s good for them. Furthermore, they will likely instinctively resent our attempts to dictate and manipulate their political processes, however flawed their processes might be, especially when those attempts are accompanied by robotic death raining from the sky.

Our punditocracy and our governing classes of all parties, despite getting it wrong time after time, always seem surprised when they get it wrong yet one more time.

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30 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

At the Boston Review, Claude S. Fischer takes up the (il)logic of Libertarianism. He starts with the core tenet of Libertarians, which generally remains unspoken: In Glibertarian land, there is no such thing as the common good.

The column (linked at the site) argued, in brief, that libertarianism’s philosophical anthropology, starting with the claim that “there is no social entity . . . . there are only individual people” (Robert Nozick), is historically and anthropologically dubious. Most human cultures by far understood and understand the individual as first the product of communities and only secondarily endowed by the community with some personal autonomy. Americans are “weirdly” likely to “conceive of themselves primarily as self-contained individuals” rather than as “interpersonal beings intertwined with one another in social webs” (quoting Henrich et al.) and we live in a strangely libertarian society. Similarly, libertarianism makes a dubious empirical claim. The notion “that government which governs best governs least” is belied by the data. Whether comparing early America to modern America, or today’s America to other western nations, the evidence points to more government being, up to a point we have hardly approached, better for more people.

Libertarianism is an elaborate facade for narcissim and selfishness and predation, nothing more. Its motto is ultimately “All for me and every man for himself.”

Do please read the rest.

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29 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Steven Colbert discusses events in Ferguson, Mo.

Below the fold in case it autoplays.

More »

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29 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Werner Herzog’s Bear sees an interesting and alarming one. A nugget:

For those of you who don’t know, Leonid Brezhnev lead the the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982. While its military might grew to unprecedented levels and its oil resources better exploited, beneath the images of tanks parading down Red Square on May Day sat a vast festering reservoir of economic and cultural stagnation. The situation, where a massive military machine had to be supported by hobbled economy, led to Gorbachev’s reforms and eventually to the Soviet system’s collapse. A world power, one of the two superpowers, was brought low in an astoundingly short period of time. One notable thing about this period was not only the economic stagnation, but the basic loss of faith in the Soviet system and communist ideology. Laconic workers in this period used to quip “we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.” This is hardly the spirit of the “shock workers” who helped build steel mills in the Ural wilderness in the 1930s. . . .

I see plenty of parallels to America’s present and its recent history.

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Scott Maxwell tries to draw some lessons from Florida’s primary, which took place this week. I suspect that they apply to more places than just Florida.

Here’s one (emphasis in the original):

1. You people lie. I know it’s harsh for me to start off with such an ugly statement. But it’s true. You folks lie. You claim you’re sick of the status quo. You claim you’re sick of incumbents. You claim you’re going to send a message. But you don’t . . . .

Follow the link for the rest.

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24 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

Open carry for me, but not for thee.

Via C&L.

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