Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall on the Keweenaw


Keweenaw Peninsula, right outside Copper Harbor.

Happy Birthday to my Dad, 73 years today! Hope you have an excellent day. Love you!

Senate Defeats Bill on Keystone XL Pipeline in Narrow Vote
One last stand - but at least they took a stand. This will pass in the next Congress, whether Obama vetoes or not is anyone's guess.

Tuesday’s vote exposed to public view some of the contours and rifts in the Democratic Party, where many senators feel they have too often bent over backward to accommodate Ms. Landrieu and protect her Senate seat — one of the last remaining Democratic seats in the South. They finally revolted, in what they said was a vote of principle against legislation they believe would harm the environment.

Sheldon Whitehouse revealed an important truth about governance in the 60-vote Senate, "We will have more tools in the minority than we had in the majority." It's unfortunate, but it's true. Look for more "principled stands" to come as the perpetual campaign season rolls along next year.

A Citizen’s Guide to Buying Political Access
Start small, buy your local state legislator, is what this article ultimately suggests. The key here though is the flat-out admission that political access is bought and sold, you have to have money to play, and the idea that these guys serve for the public good is but a quaint notion of yesteryear.

A recent study provides some confirmation of what many voters have long assumed: Campaign donations buy access to politicians. Precisely how much money it takes to gain access is up for debate — and it will vary across offices — but even politicians themselves have admitted that big donors get special treatment.

Dana Milbank seems to think that Dems can't sell a populist approach because they are endebted to big money along with the Republicans. What he forgets is that there are rich liberals too, they are concerned with the greater good, and if you don't think Tom Steyer had an influence on that Keystone vote, you're crazy. They might not be as rich as the Kochs', but they generally have public opinion on their side. They don't call it "populist" for nothing.

Here's Why Conservatives Will Never Give Up Their War on Obamacare
This is easy, but Brian Beutler writes a great argument to explain. Bottom line: Conservatives would eliminate the New Deal and the Great Society if they thought they could get away with it. The next Congress is going to do everything they can to mess it all up without calling for outright repeal of all social programs. Broken government is their speciality, after all.

Conservatives don’t just oppose distributive programs that help the poor and working class—these programs drive them batty in and of themselves. That Obamacare patched up the single biggest hole in the federal safety net, and in so doing extended government-sponsored health benefits to people through every stage of life, intensifies this reaction. Obamacare effectively settled a decades-long debate over the nation’s character in the left’s favor, and did so on a partisan basis. How could conservatives not be incensed?

Complicate and underfund, program loses popularity because it becomes inadequate and a pain to deal with, turn around and cry "see, it doesn't work!", and then simply eliminate. That's the master strategy.

Gaming the System
Charlie Pierce gazes his wise eye on the idea floated by my great state to rig the Electoral College. Get ready for more national scorn when our Tea Party Legislature comes in next January.

But this proposal will fit quite nicely into the electoral dreamland fashioned by Anthony Kennedy. In Citizens United, he deregulated and legalized influence peddling. This proposal will deregulate and legalize election fraud. And the country will go on as before, because there has been a four-decade exercise in convincing the public that their franchise is ultimately worthless unless it is used as a weapon against the many imaginary Others. Voting is no longer thought to be a constructive act. It is merely an instrument of revenge, a conjuring act for the implacable political Id.

If so, let's use it to our advantage, OK? The Meekhof Era will give us plenty to revenge, if we but try.