HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » DirkGently » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 12,151

Journal Archives

Some of our fellow Dems are "mind conservatives."

This is what I think about when Hillary Clinton tells us her "heart" is with liberals, but her "mind" is conservative. That she and other conservative Democrats (I want to be clear I don't think Hillary is the worst, or most outrageous conservative Democrat in the world, even if she is seeking to lead them) think American conservatives are generally right about things. About laissez-faire regulatory policies, about casual military adventures seeking business-friendly "regime change." About the "sad" and "tragic" need to keep abortion "rare" in this country.

About "entitlement reform."

But American conservatives are not right, not about any of this. Their fiscal policies are literally made up stories about how the wealthy and powerful best police themselves, that lowering taxes on the rich magically raises revenues and boosts the economy, that raising the minimum wage will generate $14 hamburgers.

Their foreign policy of intervention and "regime change" not only has literally not worked one single time, from Chile to Iran to Iraq, but consistently wreaks devastation on everyone involved.

Their social policies of crippling the welfare system out of an imaginary fear that people are choosing not to work because of the tempting lure of minuscule benefits and "privatizing" everything are essentially just theft.

Conservatives are not right. Not in the heart. Not in the head. I don't know why we would ever decide we need more of their thinking in the Democratic party.

""You guys," David said, "are here to learn how to rule the world."

That would be David Coe, Doug's son and the more visible head of The Family, the semi-secret group of fundamentalist nutwads who believe they are chosen by God to control the world.

He walked to the National Geographic map of the world mounted on the wall. "You guys know about Genghis Khan?" he asked. "Genghis was a man with a vision. He conquered" — David stood on the couch under the map, tracing, with his hand, half the northern hemisphere — "nearly everything. He devastated nearly everything. His enemies? He beheaded them." David swiped a finger across his throat. "Dop, dop, dop, dop."

Writing in The Nation, Barbara Ehrenreich reported that Clinton described Family leader Doug Coe as "a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God."


I think gun profits are actually a large part of the problem.

The new pro-gun rhetoric of the past few years:

1. There are "Second Amendment remedies" to political issues

2. Conservatives should walk around visibly armed and not be questioned about it

3. The Government -- when a Democrat is President -- is plotting to disarm everyone so they can put political enemies in camps

4. Mass killings are faked to make it falsely appear there is a gun homicide problem when really there isn't

5. People have not just a right, but some kind of patriotic duty, to be armed everywhere, all the time,

6. Because at some point there will be a nationwide conservative uprising (what the Malheur yahoos tried to start) resolved by armed conflict against the "Feds."

These things are all bullshit, designed to sell increasing numbers of guns to decreasing numbers of people. And the focus is not on hunting tools or even basic self-defense weaponry, but on pseudo-military gear centered around a fantasy of personal political power derived from being prepared to wage outright war.

And it's working, for the gun manufacturers. Every time there is a mass killing, there is an upsurge in sales, on the theory there might be legislation forthcoming to limit firearms. Every time there is actual talk about legislation, arms sales skyrocket. There are periodic panics about ammunition being banned, further increasing sales.

All of this bizarre mythology runs through the screaming rhetoric and iron-fisted political influence of the NRA. All of it is funded with gun manufacturer money. A co-worker handed me a copy of the NRA's monthly magazine a while back. It was 90% military-style tactical gear, seasoned with a positively looney editorial rant about how Obama was plotting to ... wait for it ... TAKE ALL THE GUNS!

We do need a less anxious society, better mental health care, and so forth.

But I think we also need to look at the source of the ceaseless insanity convincing people that firearms are some kind of magical totem that provides the only real source of personal power available to them to protect them against largely imaginary fears.

If we can make bloodshed less profitable, I think a lot of the rhetoric egging it on will go quiet.

Worse, Clinton participated in a pattern of manufactured fear.

“The super-predator theory was alway bullshit,” criminal justice researcher Franklin Zimring of the University of California, Berkeley, told BuzzFeed News. “It was political rhetoric cloaking a movement that wanted to lock more people up.”
Even in 1996, when Clinton made her remarks, Zimring and other criminologists suggested that the idea of an ever-increasing homicide rate was based on a fallacy that somehow some kids were just born criminals, and that children under 13 were somehow included in this cohort of super-criminals. “They are worried about desperados in diapers,” he wrote that year in the Los Angeles Times.


It's a pattern I associate with conservatives.

1. Find / create bogeyman, preferably an outsider / "other" suitable for framing.

2. Whip up hysteria, utilizing false information and preying on the human foible of imagining monsters under the bed.

3. Use this as a basis to increase police power, curtail personal freedom, and most importantly,


5. When it begins to become obvious the threat never existed, declare victory, claiming the abusive, exploitive "cure" is what worked.

6. Wash, rinse, repeat.

What bothers me most is that it demonstrates that Clinton's leadership "style" is to simply exploit whatever is available to gain and hold power. She does not swim upstream, but rather finds the current and jumps in.

This is not leadership. It's exploitation and power mongering. It's exactly why things improve so slowly, and sometimes get worse. People who think this way and utilize these techniques are not trying to actually accomplish anything but negotiating power structures for their own benefit. If allies need money, a reason to send them money will present itself. If a vulnerable population can be demonized to generate the fear / repression / profit model noted above, they will be so demonized.

It's not uniquely Hillary Clinton. She is not especially awful. But she is not any different or any better, either.

Rachel Maddow is hawking a b.s. poll claiming Sanders is losing MA.

Rachel Maddow is maybe my favorite political commentator as far as any cable news show, or an extremely close second to her colleague Chris Hayes.

But she has led her broadcast -- twice now -- with a teeny tiny NPR station poll showing Clinton ahead of Sanders in Massachusetts. A poll that boils down to about 240-some-odd self-described likely Democratic voters. It appears they just called random people, rather than using any kind of voter database to focus on historically likely voters, which itself establishes the poll as close to useless. The show has blown up these really questionable numbers in a huge red banner kept on the screen for the length of the pieces.

Rachel claimed, loudly and repeatedly, that this is super important because there aren't any polls coming out of Mass, and this shocking new information could spell doom for the Sanders campaign.

But there are other polls out of Mass. They all show Sanders ahead, or a virtual tie. The Real Politics average at the moment is +.6 for Sanders.

Yet this is her big story for two nights running -- that Sanders suddenly way behind in Mass, and his whole campaign is therefore in doubt.

Something screwy is going on at MSNBC. It's been intermittent, but continual. Chris Hayes is now centering a huge portion of each show on Donald Trump. One night he literally ran Trump's empty chair at his tantrum-inspired solo event, and off-handedly mentioned Sanders was speaking live somewhere. For about 10 minutes, half the screen was devoted to Trump's. Empty. CHAIR.

I'm assuming there is some executive-level pressure expressing itself in various ways, offset and modified by the broadcaster's own proclivities and loyalties. Matthews swings a lot of clout there, and he clearly is heartbroken Clinton isn't running away with it as predicted. Regardless, the upshot is becoming a confused, less-than-totally-credible mess.

Clean up your act, guys. You're embarrassing yourselves.

Clinton describes herself as a "head conservative, heart liberal."

The reality is that Hillary Clinton is a conservative, full stop. She is not a member of the looney extremist mob that the American Republican Party has become, but at the end of the day, she finds conservative views compelling.

When pressed on matters of policy, she is hawkish on foreign policy, laissez-faire as to corporate regulation, "sad" about abortion, skeptical of the future of social programs, and supportive of heavy-handed law enforcement. She leavens that with a gradually evolving social progressivism (this is the "heart" one can assume).

That's fine. People can be conservative. Conservatism is a way some people think. Is it the way American Democrats, who generally say they want someone more progressive than Obama for President, think?

We shall see.

It's a successful Big Lie.

Somehow we've been convinced not to frame trillions in spending on wars or tax breaks or deregulation as "free stuff" given to lazy people.

But that's where our money goes. Listen to the "small government" Republicans demand we expand the military that already costs as much as the next nine countries' combined.

We'd collectively benefit exponentially more from a better educated populace not drowning in debt or filing bankruptcy to escape medical bills -- a problem not at all solved by the ACA, by the way -- but spending on those things funnels benefits outward and downward, whereas things like war and loose banking laws conveniently enrich campaign donors.

It's really as simple as that, but an amazing number of people fail to grasp it.

It's all our money to begin with. The only question is how we prioritize our needs. A few more wars? Or roads that work and people free to go to school or the hospital without being financially ruined?

Hillary is on the right. Republicans are off the cliff.

I don't know that she'd disagree with Reagan on that much. Both attacked Libya. Both have favored de-regulation. Both seem to feel wealthy business interests are wise enough to govern themselves.

But since Reagan, Republicans have plunged wildly into the darkness. They have breakfast with religious extremists who oppose gay rights. They are openly advocating a complete ban on abortion. They gabble about "small government" while spending all of our collected wealth building up oil companies and finding new wars to start. They claim that science is a lie and that schools and prisons are best run for profit. They demagogue about immigrants and Islam while working to make sure every square inch of the country except their own chambers is full of people carrying guns.

Hillary Clinton supports none of those deranged things as far as I can see. She is what an American conservative would be before they all went crackers and got to the point where they are presently deciding between a reality show host talking about bullets dipped in pig's blood and a religious conman obsessed with the Apocalypse as their next candidate for President.

It would speak much better for the entire country if Republicans were fielding someone like Hillary Clinton to face off against someone like Bernie Sanders for the Democrats.

Hillary Clinton is a "mind conservative" proponent of "Safe legal and RARE."

Hillary Clinton is a conservative, period. She is not a right-winger, or a religious fanatic, or any of the other full-on crazy things that American conservatives have glommed onto of late, but she is, as she has said herself,

"a mind conservative and a heart liberal".


What she is telling us is that, when she thinks about it, conservatives are right, but that she concedes that philosophy can be softened here and there for the sake of sentiment.

That is wrong. Conservatives are not right, not in general, not on most things. Not, especially, in the area of women's reproductive rights and abortion. She believes abortion is "sad," and "tragic," just as the worst conservatives wrongly contend. It is in her favor that that she is less willing to limit women's rights in this area, but her "mind," is conservative and wrong.

We can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women.

I have said many times that I can support a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortions, so long as the health and life of the mother is protected


Her mind is likewise conservative on war and the Middle East, taking cues from Kissinger, the failed architect of American interventionism quite rightly considered criminal by many. He told her Iraq needed to be "humiliated," so here we are -- thousands of American and millions of Iraqi lives shattered, a trillion or so spent, and -- surprise -- more instability and violence in the region than ever.

Her mind is conservative as to Wall Street and financial reform. Those speech transcripts, when they inevitably do come out, probably won't show anything we don't already know, but they will almost certainly confirm the kind of "mind conservative" thinking she had going as to the mortgage crisis as it was starting to emerge in 2007:

“Now these economic problems are certainly not all Wall Street’s fault – not by a long shot,” Clinton said early in the speech.

Clinton’s NASDAQ address amounted to essentially asking the financiers assembled to take voluntary action or else she would “consider legislation” to stop banks from kicking families out of their homes. But early on in the speech, Clinton placed equal blame for the subprime mortgage crisis on low-income homeowners alongside Wall Street.

“Homebuyers who paid extra fees to avoid documenting their income should have known they were getting in over their heads,” Clinton said.


Hillary can be a conservative all she wants. It is one point of view. But sanding off the rough edges of today's extremist Republicans does not make her "progressive."

And it does not make her right.

Same campaign she lost in 2008.

At this point one has to assume cynical arguments about "inevitability," arguments from authority, and various smears and identity politics dog whistles are the candidate's choice.

I keep wanting to blame bad advice, but I think it's too late to give that benefit of the doubt anymore.

Clinton started with a dignified mode and an appeal based on her efficacy and experience. Good arguments.

Then as soon as any viable contest materialized, it was back to the same "There is no ' magic wand' / aim lower" angle we saw vs Obama -- the argument America so soundly rejected then.

And this whole frantic push that endorsements and super delegates can overcome popular opinion SO GIVE UP ALREADY mode is both sad and kind of funny.

No one has ever, or will ever, win an election by telling people to expect less, or that they simply can't win. It's cynical, depressing, and frankly a bit batty.
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 Next »