Bring on the Culture War

The pundits are saying this week that progressives are experiencing “Perry Panic”.


I say bring it on.

Bring on this culture war to end all culture wars. We need a real clear decision. Do we (all the people, not some of the people) want to move towards Rick Perry’s vision on the future or Barack Obama’s vision of the future. Down Perry’s road lies a world where gays stay in the closet, women are submissive, where Social Security is abandoned to the care of Wall Street (for a big fee), and where we keep trying to play the role of policeman of the world.

Pretty much the opposite would be what Obama believes. So let’s choose as a country

As Dana Milbank has pointed out, in another time, Rick Perry would be thought of as a nut case.

But we are not in a normal time, we are in an interregnum, “where the old is dying and the new cannot yet be born”. The only way to get out of the political quicksand we find ourselves in as a country is to have a knock down drag out election about the direction of America. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. In 1800 with Jefferson’s Democratic victory over the Federalists, the lines for the American story were set, as the great historian Joseph Ellis noted.

“The main story line of American History, cast Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton in the lead roles of a dramatic contest between the forces of Democracy and the forces of Aristocracy.”

For most of our country’s history the Hamilton forces have won; money = power. But in the elections of 1828, 1860, 1896, 1932, 1960 the country underwent a complete political realignment with the forces of democracy breaking through and Capital losing control.

So I’m looking forward to the first Obama-Perry Debate because it will distill the choice for America. Do you want to go back to Rick Perry’s imaginary 1950’s world or do you want to take a chance on real future where American entrepreneurs can win around the world because we have our priorities straight.

We educate our citizens to world class standards, we create world class intellectual property, we support freedom movements in various ways in various regions, but we don’t consider ourselves the unpaid cop of the world.

I think Obama can deliver on those priorities and the mix of these three elements can create an innovation movement of extraordinary power. I understand there is a lot of cynicism around in the liberal community, but I have thought since I started this blog in December of 2007, that Obama was an extraordinary politician. Go with me here. Case in point.

Today Obama announces he wants to do a speech before Congress at the exact time of the Republican debate on MSNBC. He accomplishes two wonderful objectives in the same move.

  1. He brings attention to a Republican Debate that no independent was planning to watch. Now they may observe at first hand the Chamber of Horrors that is the Republican Field, all battling to get to the right of eachother. But Good Ole Rick is gonna win that battle because he’s put 234 people to death by injection since he has been governor.
  2. If the Republican’s Chicken out, (NBC is willing to move the Debate back an hour) then they will look like they don’t want a direct comparison with Obama’s speech to Congress. And if Obama accedes he looks like a reasonable man.

This is gonna be a fun election. For those of us who enjoyed 2008, 2012 is gonna be a blast.


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46 Responses to Bring on the Culture War

  1. BERNARD. says:

    You guys are so British.

  2. BERNARD. says:


  3. Roman says:

    Who’s certain Obama wants to be re-elected? I’m not so sure he wants to be President now, let alone for another 4-year term.

    If there was ever someone who wanted to be anywhere but where they were, it’s Barack Obama. And unfortunately for the re-elect campaign, the country picked up on that vibe about two years ago.

    If the Rep’s put up Perry, they don’t want it. Temperament is the key in 2012, and wing nuts won’t get it done.

    “This is gonna be a fun election. For those of us who enjoyed 2008, 2012 is gonna be a blast.” Yawn…

  4. len says:

    I’ve seen enough. Obama has disappointed many as predicted, is a bit of s fish as observed, and couldn’t meet the wild expectations of a fragile coalition as expected. Ok. So, for me, he’s right on target and he’s what we have. I’m not into drinking the kool-aid nor is it necessary. I’ve seen enough.

    The House told the President he couldn’t come give the speech for the first time in history. The idiotlogues drove us into fiscal crisis, lowered our credit rating and embarassed us before the world. The far right wing has dragged Christianity through the mud in pursuit of a power agenda and regardless of what religion one practices, it is easy to show the cohesive power of churches in local communities and the good they do when they aren’t pursuing political power at the behest of the idiotlogues.

    If the Republicans can’t get their party back from the primary system dominated by the ultra-zealots and activists, then let’s drive them into the sea this time. Enough bullshit. Just Say No.

  5. Alex Bowles says:

    @len – Amen on all points. And well said.

  6. Morgan Warstler says:


    Shit or get off the pot. My god!

    Rick Perry will let you have a far more liberal, well funded state of California than you have ever had before.

    He will give it to you on a silver platter… lots less taxes for DC, lots more taxes for CA.

    Your courts will be more powerful, but only for CA. You gays will have stronger marriages (yay!), your abortions will be more protected (yay!), and you will have the money for that state-wide train.


    But instead of STICKING WITH New Federalism which you struggle mightily to reach a conclusion on…

    INSTEAD, you want want us all to “choose as a country.”

    You are a spoiled little kid, you want to claim to be all about states rights, and anddevolving power tot he local areas…

    But the moment a Texas sumbitch rides and take take you up on the offer, NO WAY…

    NOW we all have to make the whole country go in one single direction again.

    And why?

    Because Rick Perry will get us into more wars than Obama?

    Because Rick Perry will kill more young men than Obama – WHO KILLED more than GW Bush in his first term.

    It doesn’t compute.

  7. Martin Pitts says:

    In the 1960’s Gore Vidal saw a hopelessness in the fight for civil rights in the American south. He declared that our union should become like a Switzerland with crassly independent cantons in place of the states and the federal system. That way Mississippi could make slavery legal again, and Arizona could make it illegal to have brown skin. Kansas could give the death penalty to any female who seeks an abortion. Texas could outlaw and disenfranchise anyone who has not joined the republican party. The plan is a Handmaid’s Tale of inquisitors and cowboy poseurs.
    The “republican base” and Perry loudly promote this kind of desolate nation. Basically all that white noise is racism. It hides under the sheet of freedom of speech, but it is racism. Not since the days of George Wallace and Bull Connor has this hatred been so endemic to our politics and zeitgeist. Yeah, let the republicans bring on Perry because if necessary we’ll fight that civil rights war again. And we’ll win that war again.

  8. len says:

    @alex: It’s come to this for me: last year I had to lay myself off after a “globalist” employer with “innovative ideas” and “a standards-based product” with all the right trendy friends including a-list stars and congress types failed to pay us, didn’t tell us when he quit paying for the health insurance (a not good thing for a cancer patient), left us to face our families at Christman, robbed our 401ks and is still trying to avoid signing the papers the paper merchants of new york need to roll what is in there over, asked me not to pay a pregnant woman, and forced me to lay myself off instead of laying me off so I could at least get unemployment after making me layoff or watch each and every member of my team resign except for the last who was the best man at my wedding.


    That’s my perception of innovative capitalism at the moment. It’s personal and that is what the economists and the idiotlogues don’t get: it’s personal now for a lot of us.

    So after six months of a state-paid job search where I played piano in a praise band for gasShekels, I take a turn back to the cube farm and a 33 per cent cut in pay. I doubt I’m the only one. In fact I can look around me and there are lots of us. Here’s the kicker: defense is a team effort and as I revisit that part of my career (I’m seeing paragraphs I actually wrote 20 odd years ago), I remember what it is to have value. I don’t like the executive sweet. I like being on the floor with people who come to get it done, get out the door, get paid and sleep well.

    But here’s the thing, Alex: I worked a long hard day today to fix something because we send our children to fight our wars and I’ll be dammed if my neighbor’s kid doesn’t come home because I felt like slacking. So the decision I get to make is do I work very hard to save our kids so they can kill theirs, our enemies, whoever that is today because someone where in the world someone hates for who we are or what we’ve done lately.

    The piano gig is a lot easier to love, but that’s the decision we have to make: who do we love, to whom will we be vulnerable, when and for how long?

    I don’t want to be making that decision to work hard to save ours so we can kill theirs. I really don’t. But I’m very very good at it. Trained by a high school ROTC Colonel to be good at it. Honored by that man, honor him, and that is what my generation learned and now is when we have to do it well.

    So if possible, yes, I want to kick those war mongering can’t profit without death rotten loathesome SOBs to be dropped from the rosters of congress like a football drop kicked straight out of the stadium. I don’t like the decsions they bring to us to approve and whereas I have to do my job to the top of my skill level and a litte more, I don’t have to vote for the men and women who think I should for wealth, God or personal demons. I don’t.

    Just Say No.

  9. Jon Taplin says:

    @Morgan-I don’t want Rick Perry as my President no matter what. He is a dumb cracker who wants to wants to put his church in the center of the state. Well it’s not my church and he wants to impose his dumbass morality on California, just like he imposed it on Texas. Next thing I know they’ll be teaching creationism in the Santa Monica School system.

    You know I go to church on Sunday, but his idea of a state religion is so foreign to me, as to be offensive to everything the Founders believed in.

  10. Alex Bowles says:

    Goodness len, that’s a hell of a story. But even with all those shades of gray, some still skew black or white.

    Just saying no to this is a given, regardless of what Obama has or hasn’t done.

    I mean, Perry seems belligerent enough to bomb China.

  11. John Papola says:


    How has Perry imposed his church on Texas? I’m asking this as an honest question and a new Texan, not as an effort to win an argument.

  12. Morgan Warstler says:

    Hey Len,

    you do 3D right?


    You aren’t being logical. I LIVE in Texas, and I don’t feel any of Rick Perry’s church on me.

    You are just making a crazy blind accusation.

    MOREOVER, he DOES NOT want to impose if morality of California…

    Look, do you know how long I have waited and waited for a states’ rights candidate to finally let us all stop fighting so damn much?

    PLEASE answer my honest question: If GOD told you in your church, that you could be certain that a Perry Presidency would give the states far more control over their affairs on both social and economic terms…

    I mean it seriously, if you KNEW it was real and would happen….

    Right there in front of you a real answer to the Interregnum: states’ rights. REAL STATES’ RIGHTS.

    What is it deep down that you can’t get over?

    Jon, Rick Perry as President is just a Texas Governor, who KNOWS being Texas Governor is the best job, who wants Governors to be far more powerful…

    And there is no way for you tohave what you say you want, unless ALL 50 states get to have things their own way too.

    Why can’t you take the deal?

    This is a big soul searching question for you, it makes no sense.

  13. John Papola says:


    I’m going to fully agree with Morgan here in the sense that this election is going to be a put-up-or-shut-up regarding your New Federalism. Obama has shown no signs whatsoever of devolving power consistent with your claimed preference for New Federalism. That is known. That is fact. Now, Perry may indeed be no better. But if what you really care about is “New Federalism”, than the articles you should be writing are ones which hold Obama’s feet to the fire and work to convince your friends that Obama better become more Jeffersonian and less Hamiltonian lest he lose your support.

    You can, actually, support neither Obama NOR Perry (if he’s the nominee). Your vote doesn’t matter. Not at all. But your voice could. If you go down the road, as this post suggests, of party toady nonsense without a lick of recognition about the illiberal failures of Obama, you will have ruined your credibility among all but the KoolAid hacks who watch politics like a football game.

    There IS a value in advancing principles. The time to show if you really care about them is here.

  14. len says:

    @morgan: 3D is a hobby of mine, not what I do for money.

  15. Anonymous says:

    @JP – With Perry, ‘religion’ borders on magical thinking.

    Perhaps he actually believes it. Or perhaps it’s just a cynical effort to win the support of those with the least interest in evidence-based thinking. In either case, a Presidential candidate who is approaching the office from this direction is deeply disconcerting.

    Why? Because he promises more of this.

  16. John Papola says:


    My question as a concerned citizen of Texas who believes adamantly in the absolute separation of the state from church (and everything else) is: how has Rick Perry IMPOSED his religion on me in statute or policy?

    Talking about religion, going to church, going to pray for rain, speaking about religion; none of that is “imposition”. Especially given that I’ve seen none of it because he’s not forcing me to see those things.

    The concern about religion must be about actual policy actions.

  17. Alex Bowles says:



    According to what? The First Law of Papola?

    Seriously, what rule are you making up that dictates how people may or may not decide which way to vote? And why on earth doesn’t it allow for judgements based on the past performance and preferences of people whose positions Perry promotes?

    Please pontificate.

  18. Alex Bowles says:

    But in all seriousness, I don’t know anyone who supported Obama in 2008 who supports him for the same reasons today. Indeed, most people I know (who actually represent a fairly wide range of opinion) alternate between dismay, disgust, and complete resignation. It’s not inaccurate to say that the man has become genuinely hated by large numbers on the left.

    But they won’t vote against him – and nor will I – for the simple reason that there is no greater threat to this nation that the ascension of an evangelical fundamentalist to the White House. Considering that at least two Supreme Court seats may need filling, a catastrophe of this magnitude could reverberate for decades.

    Truth be told, Obama could probably deep-fry baby seal fritters on the White House lawn, using oil from the Alberta tar sands and still be preferable to Rick Perry. Sadly, his team seems to realize this.

    In any case, there are no ‘ideas’ in play this time around, nor are there any principles or visionary agendas at stake. It’s just a grim exercise in damage control as we bleakly come to accept that the very best the embedded duopoly has to offer is a guy who isn’t a latter-day incarnation of Sheriff Bull Conner.

  19. Amber in Albuquerque says:

    Oh Alex, how I’ve missed you. The fried seal comment made my night and sent me running for the tequila all at the same time.

  20. John Papola says:


    I understand your points and consider them well made.

    But Jon asserts himself as an idea man. And one of his big ideas is “New Federalism”. So, if you’re going to claim that a religious crazy that wants to trample our freedom of expression is coming, I understand how that might trample over the ideas and ideals. But I haven’t actually seen any PROOF that this is the case. What I see is that Perry is a politician just like Obama. I don’t see anything so far which is orders of magnitude more scary the Obama.

    Can you show me the proof? I live in Austin now. I care.

    So, Perry has, what 10 years as governor. Show me the religious policies.

    Personally, I think the optimal outcome from this election would be Obama re-elected with the house and senate swinging fully to harder-core conservative/libertarianish Republicans. The senate will then prevent a whack-job progressive court pick. And both will send Obama budgets at 18% of GDP or less. It’ll be Clinton II electric boogaloo.

    But, again, all the fear mongering over religion strikes me as nonsense. We’ve been there before with Bush and a GOP congress. They didn’t change anything.

  21. Alex Bowles says:

    @JP – I’m guessing you don’t have kids in Texas public schools. If you had any idea just how much fundamentalist rot has been pumped into the textbooks they use (and how much actual history has been scrubbed from the record), I suspect you’d feel very infringed upon.

    And regarding Bush “not changing anything”. That’s demonstrably not so. For a very obvious example, consider what happened to American embryonic stem cell research in the last decade (spoiler: it’s a lot worse than ‘nothing’ – and it was highly motivated by the fundamentalist agenda).

  22. Alex Bowles says:

    @Amber – Albuquerque being what it is, I’ll bet you’ve got some very decent options.

  23. John Papola says:

    Of COURSE I don’t send my kid to a government school, Alex, even though I live in a neighbor with a “good” one. I subsidize the darn thing and then pay so that my son can have an education experience driven by teachers free of a soul-destroying bureaucracy and ruleset that makes learning suck. I am against state-run schools 100% in part precisely because there’s nothing more ridiculous than having politicians set the textbook agenda. You can’t have one without the other.

    So, given that I live in a neighborhood where the parents all LOVE their local public school and put up signs to show their support for it, and given that it’s probably the most activity progressive neighborhood in all of Texas, could you point me to some specific examples of the Textbook changes you’re talking about?

  24. John Papola says:

    As for stem cell research, well, I’d hardly call that ramming hardcore nonsense down people’s throats. It’s a very legitimately challenging issue of ethics and morals. Didn’t Bush allow ongoing research of existing stock of stem cells but simply no new federal funding of new ones? What are the details there?

  25. Amber in Albuquerque says:

    Yep. At least if things get really crazy in Texas, like it goes dry, we might get a boost in tourism. And folks, when it comes to school textbooks, the two main drivers are Texas and Cali. There is a saying that “AS texas goes so goes the nation.” If you think what happens in Texas stays in Texas you might want to rethink that if your kids are in public school.

  26. Alex Bowles says:

    Hold on John, let me Google that for you.

    It shouldn’t take you long to figure out that Perry’s recent appointment to the chairmanship of the school board is a Christian fundamentalist who – you guessed it – is pushing for the (re)adoption of Intelligent Design as a component of science ‘education’ in Texas.

    Are we done? Yes we are.

  27. John Papola says:

    That’s good to know, Alex. It’s only more fuel for the fire of separating school and state, of course. Remind me again why anyone in America supports a large-scale top-down role for the state in education? Even more bizarre is the idea that Federal government should be involved in any way shape or form with school.

  28. Amber in Albuquerque says:

    Uh. Because school attendance is compulsory?

  29. John Hayden says:

    I agree with your outlook on the coming debate, Jon, but with the following reservation: Many people are predisposed to dislike Obama for being African-American and liberal. “Hate” might not be too strong a word. I fear that too many will refuse to listen to Obama’s side of the debate.

    It is perverse in the extreme, but many would rather swallow lies than listen to the truth.

  30. Pingback: The Great ‘Culture-War’ Election of 2012 | Dispatches from ConsterNation

  31. len says:

    In any case, there are no ‘ideas’ in play this time around, nor are there any principles or visionary agendas at stake. It’s just a grim exercise in damage control – Alex

    We don’t have to be that grim. There are plenty of ideas in play, the same ones. We want what we want. Did anyone seriously think President Obama would turn all that around?

    We dug this pit. Let me say it again: WE dug this pit.

    I give not a frick for the religious governing than anyone else here. Our religious nature as a country, and on a whole, it very much is, is no more at stake than race.

    We’ve let the transnationals use the idiotlogues on all teams to divide us. We let race. We let religion. We let economic status. We let hate. We let love.

    Just say no.

    But are there ideals at the heart of this culture war? Oh my yes. Don’t let them make you forget them and where you keep them. Without those of what good is it to be vulnerable? We can talk all day long about what they say, what they believe in and what do they think about others, but it only has value by contrast to what we believe. As (pick one) said…. yadda yadda yadda.

    What’s worth rolling down the glass and taking the time for if you don’t have to? Taurus or Escalade, we can roll on and leave this war to those who do care about something.

  32. JTMcPhee says:

    “Transnationals?” More like “post-nationals,” or “super-nationals.”

    So good to see the proofs of that old saw about consistency. Even after our host’s lengthy blogoffery, same cast of the enlightened and the shedders of darkness.

    Rick Perry, or whoever gets anointed by the media and the caucuses as “the winnah,” like Obama, is just a figurehead for a whole division, maybe an army, of people informed by some set of doctrines and working hard to carry out a set of missions. Not much different from what I got to take part in over in Vietnam — bringing “democracy and freedom,” notions from the Ministry of Truth, to the Wogs. Making the world safe for the Wrong side, in the long scrum between decency and greed. “War is good business — Invest your son.” Sure looks like there’s a very large overlap between the operational and “victory”-defining elements of the Current Occupant and the set of Koch-servers that’s vying for the position.

    I guess some degree of “financial success” does not necessarily mean that one embraces the whole Wrong platform, abortion and Empire and the rest. Our host is a case in point, or maybe one of the exceptions that proves the rule, the sample here is too small to formulate a rule. But there sure are a lot of Worgons and Papolas out there, sending their kids to private schools, while also reaping the benefits of the collective structure of the nation and bitching about having to pay any taxes, shouting down “scientific Darwinism” while every day peddling, in every way they can, the notion of “Social Darwinism.” Because, like Quislings from bygone ages, they see, historically speaking, who is likely to constitute the “winning” side.

    Re Perry in Texas, you have to be a “reality denier” not to pick up on the frauds at the heart of his whole schtick. Here’s an entry point for you folks who care to look behind the cardboard cutout:$18-billion-deficit

    Papola need not bother, he knows where his bread is buttered, and Worgon… Gotta ask: how do such people end up so empathy-impaired? Nature, nurture, some combination? Maybe it’s astrological? Would-be Nietzsche’s people, I guess. You gonna grow your own corn, wheat, rootabagas, fellas, or just depend on the serfs to keep feeding you?

    And not to worry, you apologists for greed, until the end stage of this round of the disease of unregulated capitalism hits, you folks will live comfortably, enjoying your brandy and expensive cigars, able to sneer at the serfs tending your grounds. Fully invested in the Soylent Corporation. Knowing that the ultimate product in the Apple line is the iMore.

    Our host places us in an Interregnum. I continue to think we are running full tilt toward another kind of renascence, if you want to call it that:

    Too bad there’s not enough other-think to get a moiety of us to coalesce around what seem to me a couple of simple truths that if turned into “policies” would significantly reduce the net amount of pain and destruction in the world: First, we are all in this together, and second, there is more than enough to go around, if the pigs can be kept from eating the seed corn and trampling the garden.

    Of course, the Haves know the secret handshakes and the comforting knowledge that they are pretty assuredly likely to live out their natural lives, extended to the max by the best medical care that can be cherry-picked out of the system, untroubled by the pain and problems of those who they have figured out how to rob of life, liberty and property. You guys live for your pleasure, including the pleasure of domination; us suckers will secretly and even guiltily hope that Dr. Guillotine’s device and convenient lampposts and other standards will get some serious workout.

    len, fwiw, prayers for you.

  33. JTMcPhee says:

    And for all you poohpoohers telling us there’s nothing to worry about from our fellow American Talibanners, lookie hear: That’s a tasty appetizer, no? The best selection of Buffalo Wrong Wings on the menu.

    For a main course, how about a Bourbonnaise of EspritdeCorps?

    And for dessert, or is it “desert,”

    Oh, it’s all just Conspiracy Theories, now isn’t it?

    Maybe you have never read Michener’s “The Covenant,” or don’t care to remember how the Afrikaners, on the slow bu accelerating Long March to Apartheid, figured out how to fill the ranks of civil servants and school teachers with “their kind,” leading to the ass-endancy of the Broeder Bond? Naw, that kind of stuff doesn’t happen any more, does it? Using the touching faith of the many in the ruleoflaw, in the inherent goodness and fairness of Government Officers, as the path to a very unhealthy kind of power? Gee, do you suppose DeLay and Newt and the Koch brothers and the rest might have read that, and other texts on “self-help,” or “helping themselves,” in their personal Pilgrim’s Progresses? If the book’s too big for you, in my copy the interesting stuff starts around page 800…

  34. len says:

    And on the other hand, JTMc, that raid by the Feds on the Gibson factory in Memphis gives the Tea Party a little credence. Once again, the trick of the demogogues is to pick an issue that has a bit of truth and then exaggerate it. In this case the issue is a government that is or is going out of control. Too many guns, too many officials, too many agendas and private bones to be made leading to victimization. I’ve seen enough weird government behavior over the years suggesting that high power life styles and ambitions combined with incompetence is creating enough examples of government screwing the people to keep these TPers full of conviction and gaining support.

    We have to look at all sides of this and I’m afraid in an election year, we will all hide behind our favorite isms once again. Not much progress there.

  35. JTMcPhee says:

    @len: Yeah, and cops in pursuit of the government profits produced by drug busting (forfeitures and arrests and all that) kick down the wrong door, shoot the dog and then the deaf old man who makes the mistake of standing up instead of hitting the floor spread-eagled, the Thin Blue Line closes around the incident, the press people shrug, and no government person gets even a tongue-lashing. All part of the Big Business of Druggery.

    Government, as you know, is a congeries, “a disorderly collection, a jumble.” Tax money and fiat money flow in via a number of channels, fiefs get created, legislation and regulations get passed through the warped and evil mechanisms everyone here knows about, and it’s off to the races. We will never be free of demagogues, and as long as humans are what they are, you will have fodder for the TP backers to work with. I’m told the people of one of the South American countries have advanced a long way toward constructive anarchy, having shucked off the latest wave of kleptocracy in a fairly non-violent way and devolved into small local “self-rule” units, a la New Federalism. Or maybe I just dreamed that…

    What reason is there to “look at all sides?” A lot of money and (dare I say it) genius is going into the drawing of battle lines, the differentiation and branding, all the shit that marks the end game of the American Notion. Our shared myths, the stuff that glued us together a little more sensibly, have been consciously demolished, one by one. Weird behavior, unaccountable behavior, unremediable behavior, is always part of human society, and “the government” is steadily and increasingly being staffed by people with a silent general agenda that’s rooted in the idea of using the machinery of government to advance themselves and enrich the folks who sponsor them. (Meaningless Aside: In Chicago, The City That Works, those sponsors used to be called Chinamen, before the ascendancy of Political Correctness.)

    I’m curious — that “too many guns” bit, is that directed at the “government” and its “monopoly on the use of violence” (which given the amount of violent crime in America, and the idiocy of the Gun Nuts, looks like not so much of a monopoly), or at the estimate that there’s at least one personal firearm in private hands for every man, woman, transgender, great ape, and child in the country, and lots of non-government people ready to shoot up the joint in the name of some mythical “freedom?”

    (By the way, I just love the steady increase in the number of TV vehicles that are premised on the “extra-legal” return of Real Justice to our Great Nation — “Dark Blue,” and a host of others. Speaking of shared myths…)

    It sure looks like a nice set of feedback loops, positive feedback that is, kind of like Tesla’s little method of destroying large structures by exciting harmonics. I guess I have been out of this particular loop too long to follow the reasoning that leads to a hope that something can be done to de-tune the natural resonances and stop the incipient collapse.

  36. len says:

    @jtmc: they raided gibson twice with feds flown in from across the country all packing heavy heat. Hitting a shop full of luthiers like that just seems wrong (where is rick turner?) and rather expensive. Gibson put a video retort online for folks to watch (don’t have the URL here) which is long but illuminating as they describe the reasons for chasing “wood” given when in fact they are chasing “trade agreements”. How would we like it if everytime we get on an airplane to go to a gig, the airline or the customs folks can inspect our guitars for rosewood and mahogany and arrest us if we have ‘contraband guitars’ that we bought at Guitar Center in our own downtown?

    So yeah, as you say, a disorderly mutley lot. ‘heh heh heh heh’. It’s a culture war yes, but in so many meaningful ways, a war of incompetents and our culture for many well intended reasons and shiny symbols, enabled that to come into being. That is worth discussing; the value of our cultural values vs their unintended consequences.

  37. V says:

    Regarding the larger Culture War:

    “A number of analysts have observed that although bin Laden was finally killed, he won some major successes in his war against the U.S. “He repeatedly asserted that the only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world and defeat its satraps was by drawing Americans into a series of small but expensive wars that would ultimately bankrupt them,” Eric Margolis writes. “‘Bleeding the U.S.,’ in his words.” The United States, first under George W. Bush and then Barack Obama, rushed right into bin Laden’s trap… Grotesquely overblown military outlays and debt addiction… may be the most pernicious legacy of the man who thought he could defeat the United States” — particularly when the debt is being cynically exploited by the far right, with the collusion of the Democrat establishment, to undermine what remains of social programs, public education, unions, and, in general, remaining barriers to corporate tyranny.”

  38. len says:

    Not new news, V. Some of us said early on that this was a leeching effort. G.W.B. and his analysts as most little bullies do, believed in their supremacy mano a mano except as all bullies do, they forget to be the one in the ring.

    We send our children to war. Remember that when the bastards ask us to commit to one. Remember that.

    A critical decision in life is to find an environment worthy of your ambition. If it is a job, be sure to work for a boss who will use your ambition to meet the needs of his customers and not simply his ambition or greed. If a war, be sure to fight the enemy already destined to die by reckoning of their own ambitions. Never work for the dishonorable even where your ambitions are met because surely they will be perverted and you will be left empty. Leeches cure nothing.

    We must ask ourselves how our cultures (there are many) enable this state of affairs. We are a very successful people and we must be careful to remember that as well before we fight the wrong battles. In many cases, coupled cultures are like married couples: two parties hold plausible but incompatible points of view; thus, they act and speak as if the other simply doesn’t understand them or is an idiot instead of establishing what both really want and need and determining if that is possible.

    Else our values are used to leech our life blood.

  39. JTMcPhee says:

    @len, a lot of marriages involve abusive spouses. The beater is all about total domination over and the subjugation of the other. Checking the mileage on the cars, the phone bill, controlling all the money, slave sex, and the rest. And there’s not much of a record of abusers changing their spots, last I heard. Not a lot of room for loving-kindness and coming-togetherness and let-us-reason-it-outness there. And if one is to go searching for metaphors, that sure seems an appropriate one to my jaundiced eye.

    Some battered spouses are enablers, all right — “He promises never to do it again.” “But he(she) LOVES me, and I LOVE him (or her)!” “People just don’t understand.”

    The survivors try to get out, or maybe resort in the to “The Burning Bed” approach. I wonder where our multiple cultures are in the continuum?

    Seems to me that on the whole, whatever our race memories of the War of Northern Aggression and the simple joys of the Gilded Age and the grim pleasures of the Red Scare days might be, our collective values for the most of us all start with the letter “i”, as in Pod, Phone and Pad…

  40. len says:

    Sort of too bad. I’d rather give up the iPads and not have to rent couches in a 1960s launch system from an unreliable taxi cab service to the space station. With the current problems of Russian launch systems, the people at Marshall say “told ya so”. Do something about that Apple.

    Incompatible points of view in political coalitions are predictable when the coalition is founded on unrealistic promises that might be required to found the coalition. That is why locale and vulnerability are the critical risks.

    When you commit to social equality, you commit to incompetence. Sad but so. On the other hand, it’s the right trade if the goal is equal opportunity under the goal of maximum possible advantage for everyone, no discrimination by (pick one) weighed against personal skill. Positive feedback has negative effects. Unintended consequences given positive feedback come of not understanding relationships. One can predict correctly but if the common value implies denial of what the data shows as not only trending, but driven by highly coupled rewards, incompatible yet plausible viewpoints are inevitable.

    Women see men as territory. Men see women as appliances.
    These are incompatible but plausibe viewpoints.

    Employees want automation to get jobs done on time. Employers see automation as a way to get more work done.
    These are incompatible but plausible viewpoints.

  41. Jon Taplin says:

    Boy I think V hit it on the head. We did fall into Bin Laden’s trap. The Long War, the unending gravy train for the MIC

  42. len says:

    Boy I think V hit it on the head. We did fall into Bin Laden’s trap. The Long War, the unending gravy train for the MIC

    Trouble is, that’s not all of the crew on the gravy train. A lot of money was spent on Homeland Security and this is not the MIC. A lot of money was spent on three letter agencies who contribute to Homeland Security and they are not the MIC (hard to tell the difference sometimes).

    Any group of partisans can sit down and parse the budgets and pick bad guys. The trick is can you say what went wrong in the culture(s). The MIC did what it was told by order and by procurement. So did Homeland Security. So did likely the others.

    What we need to know is why did Bin Ladin’s plan work as far as it has given how obvious it was from day one (a bit like Obama’s campaign strategy: easy to figure out, easy to figure out where it was going to lead, and so why did it work)? The answers are in the cultures, how they are stimulated, how they react to classes of stimuli and who picks the stimuli and sets the strategy.

    While speculative, it is not that difficult to parse the current crop of Republican wanta-be statements and extrapolate outcomes. What may be hard to accept is a culture at large that decides democratically they approve of that just as it was for others to accept Obama’s campaign knowing it was a bald-faced pandering strategy with no substance.

    What can Obama do in a second term that he couldn’t do in the first? Will he do it? If that can’t be made plain to plain talking folk, then he is going the way of Carter and we’re going to get Reagan on Steroids without the CaliSmooth treatment.

    Don’t underestimate the appeal of the decisive appearance of a candidate in a time of hurrah.

  43. Morgan Warstler says:

    I’m going to say this clearly: The religious thing is WHY you want states’ rights.

    Be afraid.

    1. You try and steal the $ and power from the haves.
    2. You try and centralize power.

    The folks with $ and votes, the right, turn around and impose their views on you.

    You make a bat, they take it from you, and hit you with it over and over and over.

    I mean, fer christ’s sake… you are losing. It is ugly.

    Tappy’s instinct to run the white flag up the pole, and retreat to a California liberal utopia is VERY WELL INFORMED.

    The game is rigged against you, you play it like amateurs.


    I’m a Texan.

    But I once ran away from the cleaned up streets of Hollywood Blvd, to move to an artist loft in cracktown (Alameda downtown LA), and then when our first little girl arrived, and I was stunned at the tax savings in Texas, I gotta tell you, Austin shined like a city on a hill.

    But I’m still uncomfy around religious people.

    So, listening to you people PRETEND there is a real chance of some kind of evangelical takeover of America, it makes you sound so stupid.

    It isn’t about god,it is about GIVING THE HAVE NOTS LESS Federal Aid.

    My god, be honest. This is about unwinding the Big Society FDR bullshit and making people work harder with less “understanding” and more “tough love.”

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