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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Strapped in! Plus: Around and about...

Well, Sandy hits tomorrow. (Update: Today. Yikes!) I have no idea if this home will have power. I'll be fine, but if you're the praying sort, offer up a few thoughts for the folks in the evac zones. And if you are in the path of the beast, heed these words.

Even if I'm rendered powerless, Cannonfire will feature guest posts uploaded by someone outside the impact area. So stay tuned!

Added note: The magnificent ship built for the under-appreciated Brando version of Mutiny on the Bounty is moored off of North Carolina. Alas, the ship has been taking on water, and 17 crewman have been rescued by the Coast Guard. Let's hope the HMS Bounty survives. (The original -- a smaller vessel -- met a fiery end many years ago.)

Update: The ship sunk, and two crew members are missing. Horrible news.

Right now, I still have power. And insomnia. So here are a few random observations about politics:

Barack Obama, a Human Devil: The Hurricane Sandy Conspiracy Theory is coming along nicely. This stuff is hilarious.

Romney hates FEMA: Mitt Romney said during the primary debates that he would shut down FEMA and shift it to the states. Of course, that move would force the states to raise sales taxes, which will hit working class people hardest. Romney also endorsed the Ryan budget, which would have destroyed FEMA. In this YouTube video, from a time when Mitt was trying to out-reactionary his rivals, he went so far as to say that disaster relief was immoral.

Would Obama be within his rights to plaster that piece of video all over the nation's airwaves during the final days of this election? Yes. The president's team would be foolish not to use Romney's words against him.

Unions: Did you know that unions are making a comeback in Canada? Did you know that Canada has weathered the worldwide recession better than we have? Did you know that a Canadian worker on the floor in a big-box store like Home Depot lives better than does a similar worker in the U.S.?

Will Sandy insure a loss of Virginia? As you know, I'm watching VA more closely than I'm watching OH. Politico argues that the hurricane could damage Obama's much-vaunted ground game:
If transportation and power are out in Virginia’s northern suburbs and coastal cities for more than a week, Obama could have a turnout problem on his hands — but his team would also have a week to adjust.
Maybe. But transpo is a serious issue, especially for seniors.

Will the right get worse if Obama wins? So says Frank Rich. But I don't agree. Our reactionaries were never more obnoxious than they were after George W. Bush's initial victory. Right-wingers are ignoble winners.

Remember "We're an empire now"? Remember "We are history's actors"? Remember Ann Coulter's claim that liberal critics of the war were in the pay of Saddam Hussein? Remember the people who -- on a daily basis -- accused you of "hating the troops" if you didn't support the invasion of Iraq? Remember Dick Cheney saying "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter"? Remember the calls to "physically intimidate" liberals?

Romney surged forward when he became Moderate Mitt in the first debate. After a Republican victory, there will be no need for a mask of moderation.

That Stoller piece: As many of you know, Matt Stoller published a piece in Salon arguing that a Mitt Romney victory would be better for progressives. Stoller is giving us the latest variant of an old argument that a certain type of prog has spewed since (at least) the 1970s: "The worst things get, the better things get...for The Cause. So root for the most vile right-wingers, because their victory will force the people to rebel."

Well, the country's been going further and further to the right for more than 40 years, and the only revolution I see a-brewin' is a fascist/libertarian one.

Scott Lemieux offers a good corrective to Stoller:
To its credit, the occasional inexplicable book-plugging interview aside Salon no longer promotes Camille Paglia. Alas, it is now fairly regularly publishing Matt Stoller, who is sort of Paglia but 1)with fewer references to Madonna and uses of the word “Dionysian,” and 2)less coherent.
…and, yes, the idea that throwing the election to Romney would be a good idea because opposition to awful policies is a worthwhile end in itself is insane.  By the same logic, we should have wanted Bush’s Social Security privatization plan to succeed, because that would have created even more opposition.
Mahablog takes this further:
I have always thought of Paglia as the Thomas Kinkade of philosophy, and I don’t think Stoller rises to that level. He’s possibly attempting to be the Glenn Beck of firebaggers, but he’s not flamboyant enough to pull that off.
In fairness to Stoller, I do think that it is important not to blind oneself to Obama's many failings. (Nobody can accuse me of such blindness.) But I also think that voting for the lesser or two evils is virtuous, especially if the "eviller" of the evils is really, really, really evil. The proper solution is to mount an truly progressive movement which will hector Obama from the left -- a task best left for the day after the election returns him to office.

You aren't going to get President Keynesian-of-Your-Dreams if there is no popular base for such a candidate. First comes the movement, then comes the man. Or, better, woman.
You aren't going to get President Keynesian-of-Your-Dreams if there is no popular base for such a candidate.

I agree - which is why I wonder why you think it's a good idea to vote for a corporatist neocon. How does voting for the status quo move the Dems to the left?
Prop, I EXPLAINED that. When Repubs get in, as they usually do, the political 50 yard line keeps moving further and further to the right.

You can't deny that. History is history.
I'm not so sure this country (meaning the 99%) are not actually eager for populist government, whether they know it themselves or not. Look how hard the Powers That Be work to keep third-party candidates out of the debates and off the front page. They're busy lying to the people that we're going over cliffs and such. Real populist proposals and policies would garner lots of support - but they won't even discuss them, let alone offer them.
"Will the right get worse if Obama wins?" Probably not, but I wouldn't expect the left to get better either. So-called "progressives" are now perfectly ok with torture, perpetual warfare, presidential kill lists, and blasting non-combatants such as children, women, and old people into smithereens with drones every week of the year. Where have the "progressives" been the last four years? Nowhere, and that's where they'll be the next four also. A "progressive" nowadays is a fascist who supports abortion and gay marriage.
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