Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Morning After Open Thread

For your venting pleasure, consider this your post-Election Day open thread. No big surprises in the congressional results, but at least two glimmers of hope are standing out this morning.

 Elizabeth Warren beat Scott Brown. The big question is how long she will last as an "independent voice of the people" in the Senate. My prediction: she will come out swinging, ease some of Bernie Sanders's lone voice lonesomeness, deliver many a rousing speech and write many an indignant letter railing against Wall Street. Then one day, sooner rather than later, her new bffs President Obama and Harry Reid will invite her to lunch. And, I fear, she'll gradually start toning down the rhetoric. She will discover the reality that congress critters have to spend an inordinate amount of time fund-raising and meeting lobbyists.

I hate to sound cynical, and I hope that I am wrong. But elected office and corporate dollars and peer pressure do have a funny way of corrupting people. Moreover,Warren has already gone to the dark side when it comes to wholeheartedly supporting the Homeland Security State, championing the permanence of Obamacare as opposed to eventual Medicare for All, even sabre-rattling for war in Iran. Can it be much longer until the submission is complete, and she crumbles completely to the financial forces that foot the bill for all these wonderful things?

Oh. and Florida Rep. Alan Grayson will be coming back to town after a two-year hiatus. You may remember him as the champion of the public option in the health reform debate, way back when. So I guess we can at least look forward to a few more moments of biting sarcasm on the House floor.

I shut off the TV last night when, despite the frantic, overblown, red-white-and-blue nail-biting theatrics on CNN, it became obvious that the president would easily be coasting to a second term. The suspense had been contrived and empty all along. But after two years and more than two billion dollars, I guess it's understandable that the pundit class just couldn't bear to see the lucrative, nasty and small-minded horsey race end.

I'll post more later, unless the coming Nor'easter knocks us off the grid for the second time in two weeks. Many locales in my immediate region are still powerless from the first storm. Just yesterday, an elderly couple in a nearby town were discovered dead in their heatless home, reportedly from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a gas-powered generator. 


Jim said...

The meltdown at FNC was worth staying up for. The Donald is tweeting for revolution! It's 1936 and we're living in Spain. Gary Cooper played Robert Jordan and Howard Roark, which must mean something.

Hope the lights stay on for everyone.

Denis Neville said...

Now the real work begins!

Now that Obama has been safely re-elected, progressives, who supported him with no expectation of anything in return, will now hold his feet to the fire as promised.

What will they get from Obama?

Will their progressive agenda now command Obama’s respect?”

Why would the corporatist hawk Obama give progressives anything now?

Obama says that reducing the debt and the deficit – i.e., austerity - will be the top priority of his second administration.

It won’t be progressives playing checkers while Obama is playing chess. Instead progressives will be in the nurse's office, once again, because they will have glued their balls to their thighs.

Glenn Greenwald describes the predictable pattern of self-disempowerment used by American liberals to render themselves impotent and powerless in Washington:

As Vast Left said, the real work for those progressives, who think that they will be able to hold Barry's feet to the progressive fire, is to go fuck themselves.

The Black Swan said...

The only positive I can take from the National Election, is that at least more people were duped by Hope than gave in to Fear.

Pearl said...

The headlines in the N.Y.Times were rather downbeat, reminding us of what
lays ahead and concerned about how Obama will tackle the issues. The
closeness of the election shows us how powerful the Republicans in Congress remain and even should Obama make attempts to move forward, will find doors closed tightly by them.

It is clear how evenly divided our country has become and it appears that
gridlock will continue.
As for the progressives who won their seats, will they succumb to the status
quo as you pointed out about Elizabeth Warren, or be pushed into the background and be ignored? Time
will tell how the country will react to coming storms, physical and
political and whether the wildly cheering Obama supporters will keep his feet to the fire.

Karen, you have your work cut out for you and I hope we can all continue to
support, educate and keep our spirits up. More than ever, we have to keep
our priorities balanced and remain active.
After last nights festivities and public reactions, I have a profound sense of loss and only grateful the results came in fairly early and ended the tortured suspense.

We are gearing up for an earlier election here in Canada and I can only hope our 3 party system will work in favor of real progress.

Mundus Vult Decipi - The world wants to be deceived.

barbara madeloni said...

The coverage on Democracy Now was fantastic--great conversations about how we make change, general agreement Obama sucks, just good thinking and disagreement about what we do.
Makes a space for me to believe we people can do this democracy thing--one day.

Valerie said...

While I am relieved that Romney didn't win - I find an Obama win is hardly a cause for celebration. My main disappointment is that the 3rd party candidates didn't have a better showing. Until people stop allowing themselves to be coerced into voting out of fear and stop allowing themselves to believe there are only two choices, there is not going to be any change in this country. Obama and those controlling the Democratic Party will now REALLY feel emboldened to reject anything thier liberal base wants because they know that in the end, they can scare liberals into voting against their best interests.

Zee said...


You've given us permission to vent post-election, so here's mine:

After the reality of Obama's win sunk in last night, I realized that I felt...nothing. Save, perhaps, for an enormous sense of relief bordering on...complete and absolute peace. Despite my earlier post, I felt no need to switch from Chardonnay to Scotch; I packed my gym bag, “bungeed” it onto my motorcycle, turned in, and made it to the gym well in time for my class. There was no “morning after the night before.”

I've only felt such a sense of transcendent peace once before, something which bordered on a religious experience.

No, it had nothing to do with any positive sense that the country is in good hands. It's not.

Nor did I feel any sense of anger that Romney had lost and that I might now have to look once again to defending my Second Amendment rights; that, perhaps, being the only salient difference between Obama and Romney that could directly affect me. It no longer worried me.

The fact is, I simply no longer care, at least for this brief instant in time. Perhaps that will change soon—maybe even tomorrow—but for the moment I am savoring the total sense of freedom that abandoning all hope provides.

It seems crystal clear to me now—and, hopefully, beyond tomorrow morning—that I can have no real impact on anything except that which is completely local and apolitical: help to feed the poor and homeless, and help to house the homeless and get them back into jobs and their own domiciles, both activities organized through my church. Perhaps volunteer to tutor math and science to grade school children—except, of course, for calculus, which I have totally forgotten. (It was an ambition of mine in retirement to “re-learn” integral and differential calculus from infinite series onward, but so much for great ambitions.)

But even local politics is a waste of my time. I am so at odds with the political mood in New Mexico that it would only give me further heartburn to resist it. So go ahead and give New Mexico drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants of unknown origins or intentions, and let them board aircraft or enter government buildings. Who cares?

For this instant in time, at least, I am totally free.

I can no longer feel the motivation of fear to which @James Traynor referred at the end of the previous thread. I'm burnt out.

Regarding the election of Elizabeth Warren, well, @Karen, I share your cynical concerns. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I don't exactly know how Bernie Sanders has held on to his integrity—and some of you Progressives out there claim he hasn't, entirely—but I think that Warren is playing in a different league in Massachusetts (sp?). You have argued that Warren has already gone over to the “Dark Side,” and, in my cynical, humble opinion, she will continue in that same direction. She will need a sizeable “war chest” in six years, no? Where to get it? And if she wins a second term, she will start to feel entitled, too.

I have tried to emphasize to this forum how Jeff Bingaman—one-time, humble country-boy lawyer from Silver City, NM—rose first to Attorney General of New Mexico, and then on to multi-millionaire, six-term Senator:

But I get the impression that no one out there really cares. Such will likely be the fate of Elizabeth Warren: millionaire-to-be.

But for just this moment, I really don't care.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

I agree with @Valerie that it was seriously disappointing to not see better third party candidate vote draws. And her statement about how that will embolden the Democratic leadership to ignore liberals is probably correct --- provided that one replaces the word "liberal" with "progressive", "liberal" having unfortunately been damaged by decades of demonization by Republicans and nearly as lengthy a co-optation by the Democratic party leadership.

Did anyone else notice how difficult it was to find a NATIONAL total of votes for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, or any of the other third-party candidates at NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and even PBS? Or at the online site of the New York Times, supposedly the "paper of record"? (Some record. I wonder whether that data will appear in their print edition? I won't hold my breath).

I did eventually find a page at CBS at the address below (scroll down after going to the page):

But as of the evening of November 7, I still haven't found that data at any of the other "news" sources I listed. At some of them, some third-party presidential race data is available on their individual state pages, at others not.

For these ostensible news sources to ignore the national total of voters who are clearly disaffected with our present two-party system must rate as a shameful abdication of journalistic duty. It may not be fully Orwellian because the absence is probably not the result of deletion of data previously available at those sites, but it is certainly Orwellian in spirit as it constrains public thought (and action) by keeping the public ignorant.

Pearl said...

Zee: I am happy that you have found peace at this time in your life and I
commend you for your help and concern for your community members who are in

Unfortunately, peace can be shattered when a drone drops a bomb overhead
from a foreign country, or a close friend or neighbor loses a child to war or someone you know suffers and dies unnecessarily because they were unable to get proper medical coverage. Or you find that as a result of your political positions you find that you are on the no-fly list or worse in your country of birth or you find that your income has disappeared as a result of
political changes in your social security, pension or wall street savings. I don't even wish these things on my worst enemies, but they happen and this is what propels anger into action. I know about this first hand.

I know you do not want your peaceful time disturbed and I hope it does not
happen but I think you may very well eventually begin to need to plug into
the fray a bit when things come too close for comfort as is coming down the road. You obviously are a man of considerable ability and useful education Zee, and I hope if you
are needed you will be able to offer your services. You have much to teach those who want to learn without rocking your personal and home base.

Thank you for all your interesting and thoughtful comments on Karen's

Karen Garcia said...

Sorry I didn't update the blog any more today. I was feeling a bit dour, especially since there is wind, ice and snow here, in the first week of November! Pretty rare for this time of year. Anyway, I did write a Times comment tonight, in response to Gail Collins:

The "fiscal cliff" is a fear tactic, spun out of thin air by a group of elites to convince a gullible public that we will all plummet to our dooms unless we "share the sacrifice." The theory is that we are lemmings who will allow our Social Security and Medicare to be creatively "reformed" in exchange for a few dollars of extra revenue from millionaires and billionaires.

It's eerily similar to the Bain variety of plunder -- disaster capitalism at its most cynical. The fact that voters rejected this philosophy when they rejected Mitt seems to be escaping the deficit scolds as they gleefully plot in "centrist" think tanks and congressional hidey-holes and Wall Street board rooms.

Instead of addressing the real humanitarian crises of unemployment and stagnating wages, politicians and their media mouthpieces are gripped by austerity fever. They apparently have neither noticed nor cared how austerity is working out in Europe.

In reality, the fiscal cliff is more like a gentle slope. If a grandiose bargain to avoid the sequester isn't struck in the lame duck session, the world will not end. The slide back into a recession would be a very gradual process. Call the GOP's bluff, let all the Bush tax cuts expire.The Dems will have plenty of leverage next year to make the code more progressive.

And why on earth should Boehner feel glum? The man just won his seat back after running unopposed, for crying out loud. Then again, he's overdue for one of his public crying jags.

Zee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Denis Neville said...

Kudos to Zee, who said…“I can have no real impact on anything except that which is completely local and apolitical: help the poor and homeless…Perhaps volunteer to tutor math and science to grade school children”

Like Zee, I, too, volunteer, helping refugees from South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East - tutoring English, math and science - enter the American community, hopefully creating a village of kindness. When one knows the stories of refugees, they break your heart. They are very vulnerable and they are too often exploited. As Camus wrote, “It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.” I have learned a lot from them.

I often think of my Irish ancestors, who fled British tyranny during the Irish potato famine. They too sought refuge in America, “a place with a few cows, a garden, a house of one’s own, as far away from trouble as possible,” as Paul Gruchow wrote about early settlers in Grass Roots.

I also volunteer as a grief facilitator for parents who have lost children and for adults whose spouse has died.

When asked about the effects of enlightenment on his life, Buddha replied, “Before enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water.”

These are some of my ways to chop wood and carry water.

James F Traynor said...

Yes, Karen, they never stop and, when they do, they hire talented people to keep on representing their interests. And they rent out a politician, or two (hell, a whole passel, they're cheap) to help do the job. And I haven't even gotten to the ladies and gentlemen of the Third Estate. Some of them are admirable people (Buffet, Soros, Gates etc.) who would agree to hammering out an equitable social contract between the 'elite' and the rest of us, but most are not and would not.

That's why I've become reliant on people like you, Yves Smith, Marie Burns and many another blogger to tease out the thread of truth from the Gordian knot of misinformation spun by the MSM. We must be vigilant as the tactics of 'Austerity' and "We must all bear the responsibility for ...." amply illustrate.

Zee said...


I apologize for the tone of my previous comment.

It was snippy and mean, and you are clearly a caring and thoughtful person, undeserving of my curt remarks.


Could you please withdraw my most recent comment?

Stev-o said...

There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on lookin' for the light

Oh, can't you see the morning after
It's waiting right outside the storm
Why don't we cross the bridge together
And find a place that's safe and warm

It's not too late, we should be giving
Only with love can we climb
It's not too late, not while we're living
Let's put our hands out in time

There's got to be a morning after
We're moving closer to the shore
I know we'll be there by tomorrow
And we'll escape the darkness
We won't be searchin' any more

There's got to be a morning after
(There's got to be a morning after)
There's got to be a morning after
(There's got to be a morning after)
There's got to be a morning after
(There's got to be a morning after)
There's got to be a morning after
(There's got to be a morning after)
There's got to be a morning after

Jim - South Florida said...

I was the Anonymous who got taken to task on Oct 29 for suggesting a Romney win would expedite the collapse of electoral status quo. I didn't mean to be anonymous, it was a mistake. I usually post here as "Jim."

I happened upon that thread by accident this morning while trying to get to the latest comments from this thread. Another accident, but a fortuitous one.

Believe me, I wasn't trying to shill for Romney by misdirection. Look what happened this election, though. Obama's back in, which means more just-enough pandering to keep Greens, Socialists and even Libertarians from getting a paragraph in the press or invitations to the debates. The electorate's still satisfied with the duopoly. We've gained little if any ground.

This country has to sink even further before it wises up, it seems. What we've been doing all these years -- essentially complaining from the wilderness while the system goes on unheeding -- isn't getting us any closer to what we want, which is an end to the plutocratic duopoly. If the country has to go over the edge for people to see the truth, which party is going to drag us there faster? The Dems may do it eventually, but I'm 65 and in a bit of a hurry. I couldn't bring myself to vote that way, though. I voted for Jill Stein, along with a whopping 17 other people in my county! My comment was intended to point out that maybe we have to change tactics. Really, as there's so little difference between the parties, was my thought experiment so crazy?

I'm sorry if my comment upset anyone. I assure you, we want the same result. "What is to be done?"

pete v said...

@ The Black Swan, who issued this fine comment: "The only positive I can take from the National Election, is that at least more people were duped by Hope than gave in to Fear."

Silver lining, yes - but the electorate's infinitesimal bent towards credulity over cowardice delivers to me about as much optimism as the final sentence in this post.

Karen Garcia said...

Personal note to Pearl,
Fyi, two of my emails to you have been returned due to "delivery failure". You can send, but not receive. Might want to have your IT person check it out. Just rest assured, people are not ignoring you!

James F Traynor said...

Read Krugman's column today and your comment. Right on! Time to lock and load - figuratively speaking. Call the bastards bluff. It will be a tough fight, but we can win this one.

Jay - Ottawa said...

I was out of town, down from Canada and back in the USA, from Tuesday through most of Friday, and without my laptop. Had to watch a hotel room TV for the election returns, with more news the rest of the time from NPR in the car. Should I say here that the Weather Channel provided the best TV – well, the one I kept switching back to for a breath of fresh air?

Watching mainstream TV in the US is like watching Jon Stewart set up one of his skits first with a strange video clip from the floor of Congress or the studios of FOX or CNN. The only difference is Jon Stewart never cuts in, and the clip, ripe for ridicule, just goes on and on around the clock.

Like others here, I kept looking for – and never found – the count for Third Parties.

Surely, in the days ahead, some statistical organization will gather up the various numbers and post them somewhere. Lemmeknow. Was the Third Party raw total or its percent of the total vote more than in the past? Less?

Although I could do the following myself with a few look-ups, I wonder as I bang this out how Obama’s numbers of 2012 compare with 2008. What is this “mandate” the MSM media says Obama got this time? What landslide?