Archive for Political Science Fiction

The sad fact is

And will likely continue to be:

Headline: someone will win presidential race

(From Bad Newspaper via Miss Cellania.)

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The noncorporeal girl of my dreams

Something I said four years ago:

Given Siri’s lack of physical form — all those apps look alike to me — I’ll almost certainly impute wholly-unwarranted characteristics to her, such as a sense of humor.

And maybe, it seems, a trace of actual wisdom:

Bless you, autocorrect.

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A dime’s worth of difference

And hey, ten cents isn’t worth a nickel anymore:

Think Bush v. Gore in 2000. I was no big fan of Dubya, but oh God, the thought of Al Gore in the White House gave me the shivers. But now?

I maintain that the only thing left for most people is anger. Hillary, Jeb, Sanders, Rubio, whomever — they’re all on the same team. We could take every single non-Trump candidate and make them all president, collectively, and we’d never know the difference. Did Bobby Jindal just sign that deal offshoring more of our jobs, or was that Sanders? Was that Hillary’s massive subsidy to the college racket, or Fiorina’s? Did Jeb just sign that massive amnesty, or was it Hillary? Or Rubio? Or Sanders? Or Biden? Walker? Jindal? Perry? Let one of them sign things on Tuesday, another when the wind’s north-northwest … could anyone consistently tell the difference?

Only three things are certain, no matter who signs: The fucking borders stay open, the banksters get richer, and the rest of us bleed for it.

Sanders, at least, gives the impression that he believes in something other than his own care and feeding, something that has never been said, and never will be said, of Hillary. Still, almost everybody in this race is vanilla, and artificially flavored vanilla at that. Even your putative Ethnic Candidates — Jindal, Carson — are largely inseparable from the rest, indistinguishable from the collective din.

I am, let us say, not hopeful.

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The long, hot sideshow

How could this Presidential campaign possibly be any worse? Just try to imagine how dull it would be without Donald Trump.

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Surly about surnames

An observation from Mike out there in Fishersville:

Jeb Bush has a problem — his last name. The same as too many recent former Presidents.

I’d argue that Jeb has several problems besides his ongoing Bushitude, but I’m thinking he’d be only marginally more acceptable were he named, for instance, John Ellis Barabajagal.

Still, I’m finding it hard to disagree with Fausta here:

By now, I’m all for excluding any blood relative of a former president from holding the office of POTUS for at least three decades and one generation, whichever is the longest.

If that means no John Quincy Adams, FDR, or GWBush, so be it.

Well, we can’t disqualify them retroactively, but I am quite weary of political dynasties.

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Quote of the week

Richard “Belmont Club” Fernandez, on what’s coming:

When you see the peasants heading your way with pitchforks then clearly it is time to start moving.

Which direction you go will depend on your party. The Democrats will argue for more carbon controls, more immigration, Single Payer, more deals with foreign dictators, etc. The Republicans will argue for more GOP Senators and Congressmen to be elected to Capitol Hill — after which they will vote for more carbon controls, more immigration, Single Payer, more deals with foreign dictators, etc.

Each side will assert that the problem is that we haven’t gone far enough; therefore the solution to all problems is to go a little further yet: one more donation, one more grant of power to bring final victory. Which of course won’t happen any more than the promotional mailers which proclaim you’ve been selected to enter a narrowing group of lottery candidates will pay off, if you just buy one more ticket, one more time.

Maybe pitchforks just aren’t enough.

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Neither bread nor circuses

“Didn’t need no welfare state,” intoned Archie Bunker forty-odd years ago. Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, still in his forties, seems to have come to the same conclusion:

King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.

In its place a “participation society” is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government.

The king traveled past waving fans in an ornate horse-drawn carriage to the 13th-century Hall of Knights in The Hague for the monarch’s traditional annual address on the day the government presents its budget for the coming year. It was Willem-Alexander’s first appearance on the national stage since former Queen Beatrix abdicated in April and he ascended to the throne.

This was not entirely unexpected: the Dutch budget is seriously strained of late, though Prime Minister Mark Rutte expects the opposition in Parliament to do the right thing:

Challenged as to whether his Cabinet may be facing a crisis, Rutte insisted in an interview with national broadcaster NOS on Tuesday that he ultimately will find support for the budget.

“At crucial moments, the opposition is willing to do its share,” he said.

Where have we heard that?

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Quote of the week

How do you know when the electorate is fed up? When actual members of it, as distinguished from court jesters of the Jon Stewart ilk, start cracking wise and making it count:

[W]e saw something similar in Europe where utra-fringy groups, branded as off-limits to decent people, gained support mocking the ruling elite over issues like immigration. They had their share of cranks and wack-jobs dressing up as Hitler, but they also had snarky amused types who made sport of the very serious people warning about the comedic threats on social media. Before long a lot of normal people started joining in on the fun.

The best example of this phenomenon is Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement. Its best weapon has been mockery. It’s very hard to demonize someone who is laughing and having a good time. This was something the American Right said they learned from Reagan. They were running around calling each other happy warriors throughout the 90s, but that was mostly to hide the surrendering. Now, the Right is nothing but dry technocrats.

Donald Trump is where he is right now because he is good at mocking the very serious people in the GOP and in the media. Ted Cruz is probably even more critical of his party and the media establishment, but he is about as funny as cancer. I saw him on television the other day and I was reminded of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, except Cruz is not as self-deprecating.

I note here that Grillo’s M5S, still billing itself as a movement rather than a political party, won 109 seats in the Italian Chamber of Deputies in the 2013 general election. This may not mean squat in a non-parliamentary system like ours — but all that None Of The Above sentiment has to go somewhere.

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In a newer nutshell

Not that anyone was asking for one, but here’s a new position paper, loosely based on an old position paper.

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A somewhat bigger tent

Last month, Oklahoma Democrats let it be known to all and sundry that they were considering backing away from the closed-primary system by allowing registered Independents to vote in their primaries.

Yesterday, the state convention approved the proposal, 314-137. I asked a local activist if she thought this would be a boon to the party. Said she: “I think it’s worth a try. Status quo not in Dem’s favor.” Which in this state is surely true: registrations are about even, but the Republicans hold almost all the offices.

The GOP, which has already had its annual meeting, has given no indication that it might do likewise, and party chair/loose cannon Randy Brogdon has already poo-poohed the idea once.

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Confiscation nation

You can probably find someone Stateside who thinks this is a swell idea:

Venezuela’s embattled government has taken the drastic step of forcing food producers to sell their produce to the state, in a bid to counter the ever-worsening shortages.

Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of their products to the state stores. Shortages, rationing and queues outside supermarkets have become a way of life for Venezuelans, as their isolated country battles against rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars — making it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods.

The state stores, numbering 7245, are presumably hoping to get some coin of the realm back from people who prefer the 113,000 or so grocers in the private sector, represented by the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber. You can guess what Pablo Baraybar, head of the Chamber, thinks of this whole scheme:

“Taking products from the supermarkets and shops to hand them over to the state network doesn’t help in any way,” he said. “And problems like speculating will only get worse, because the foods will be concentrated precisely in the areas where the resellers go.

“Consumers will be forced to spend more time in queues, given that the goods will be available in fewer stores.”

And you might think that Venezuelans have suffered enough already:

In March, Venezuelans were so worried about food shortages and diminishing stocks of basic goods, fingerprint scanners were installed in supermarkets in an attempt to crack down on hoarding.

Venezuela’s official rate of inflation hit 64 per cent last year — the highest in the world. The government hides the scale of shortages, but angry consumers regularly post photos of empty shelves on social media.

As with all socialist (and more than a few non-socialist) governments, “official” numbers are arguable at best.

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How little things change

Just an historical note, or a point in the cycle we’re bound to repeat?

The Whigs collapsed in 1856, and the Democrats in 1860, because neither represented the views of the majority of Americans. American politics had been all about slavery since at least the 1830s, but both parties studiously avoided it. You could vote for the Whigs, who stood for nothing but not being Democrats, or you could vote for the Democrats, who were pro-slavery but wouldn’t admit it under torture. The Dems were better at coalition building — some things never change — and were able to cobble together the “Hard Shell,” “Soft Shell,” “Barnburner,” etc. factions together for one election longer than the Whigs were, but when faced with a legitimate protest party, they too collapsed. Their vote split several different ways, Lincoln won the White House, and I forget what happened next.

Today’s Republican leadership, in case you hadn’t noticed, stands for nothing but not being Democrats. And anyone paying attention knows the Democrats’ poster child: it’s a nonwhite female college student who will do anything to not get pregnant, but she won’t do that. (Or rather, she won’t not do that.) I can’t wait for the grownups to start running the playground again.

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Someone call the government

Shihka Dalmia writes at TheWeek.com:

[P]rivatizing marriage can’t sidestep the broader questions about who should get married to whom and under what circumstances.

Bill Quick took a shot at this notion, pointing out that people routinely make contracts that don’t have to have governmental approval, which led to this exchange in the comments. First, Bill, refuting an earlier comment:

Except for the fact that marrying close relatives has been a feature of marriage all through history (and we now have the technological means to determine potential harm in such marriages), polygamy may or may not be socially destructive, it is practiced in much of the world openly, and much of the rest sub rosa, and “socially destructive” is a flimsy and often ugly reason for banning something.

Many believe private ownership of guns is socially destructive. Private ownership of automobiles certainly delivers a mass slaughter every year. And we all know how fantastically successful the ban on some drugs has been — why, no social destruction issuing from that ban at all, eh?

Return volley by SteveF:

Private ownership of automobiles causes social destruction not by the endless, inevitable slaughter of innocents but by allowing people to travel easily, quickly, and privately. If people can go where they want, when they want, and are not limited by the schedule of buses and trains and don’t need to show ID to get from place to place, who knows what mischief they might get up to?

Besides that, I’ve heard tell that some young men drive their automobiles to meet young women from outside the village. Society is doomed if we don’t put an end to this!

It could be worse. Those young men could be dating female college students.

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Success through failure

The Z Man reminds us that we’ve seen this sort of thing before:

Failing up is so common today it feels like it is new, but it has been a feature of the human condition for a long time. Alcibiades is a guy who would be comfortable in today’s culture of failing up. Instead of screwing up the invasion of Syracuse, he would have run a bank into the ground and then run for the Senate.

In prior ages, society could afford precious few of these sorts of people. Mistakes were simply too costly to tolerate having too many idiots in powerful positions. In the post scarcity world of today, it feels like we can tolerate an unlimited supply of losers, grifters and charlatans.

Carly Fiorina on a talk showCertainly we’re never going run short of such individuals — there are times when I think we’re breeding them deliberately — though I have to admit that I’m not quite sure exactly which of those three descriptors, or which combination thereof, he means to apply to Republican candidate Carly Fiorina:

A fair number of people who think of themselves as diehard conservatives are fans of Fiorina. She is polling in the single digits, but the GOP will find some reason to get her on the debate stage. The reason, of course, is she is a woman. To her credit she says the sorts of things you expect a Republican to say, which says a lot of about the state of the party, but the only thing that matters is she lacks a penis.

As distinguished from several Republicans of past and present who lacked testicles.

Looking ahead, then:

Fiorina is smart enough to know she is not winning the nomination. This is the long con and that means angling for the VP spot or maybe a cabinet position. She will get on the stage and look good in the debates. By spring of next year she will be out of the race and have a good idea as to who will win the nomination. She will make a big show of endorsing that person and campaigning on their behalf.

In 2017 she will be nominated as Secretary of HHS and she will do to health care what she did to Bell Labs.

Quite a shame, really. One of the things Fiorina has going for her is a record of firing people, something that doesn’t get done nearly often enough in Washington.

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Quote of the week

“Equality”? Forget that, Jack:

The Socialist State gives all power to the government, and therefore cuts much deeper than any other government, in practice, the chasm between the governor and the governed. In every society there is the public official and the private citizen. But the number of things that the public official can do is increased and not diminished by the collectivist change. In short there can not be political equality, even if there is economic equality. Even if we have abolished aristocracy and plutocracy, there can still be bureaucracy; and perhaps a particularly bullying bureaucracy.

Once again, devastating clarity from G. K. Chesterton’s crystal ball. This piece from New Witness originally appeared on 23 December 1921.

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Trumpetuously so

Bill Quick finds some redeeming social value in the Presidential campaign of Donald Trump:

The GOP lineup is desperately trying to find some way to not piss off the base so much that it bolts or stays home, and yet at the same time keep the oligarchs who are financing their campaigns happy. Trump is blowing all that straight to hell.

Still, The Donald is only slightly more Republican than I am, and has actually tossed a few dollars into the massive Clinton money hole, which suggests a position for him on the outside, shooting in:

I hope he ends up going third party. I’m not sure who it would hurt the most — the GOP or the Dems.

You know, just once in my life I’d like to see a Presidential election actually thrown into the House. (And there are, not 435 votes, but fifty.)

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Yeah, good luck with that

One of the candidates for House District 85 is sending out this flyer:

The seat was last won by David Dank, who campaigned to keep it in the family after wife Odilia ran up against term limits. (Mrs. Dank died in 2013; Mr. Dank died this past April.) A special election will be held this fall; four Republicans, including Mr. Jackson, will meet in a primary in July. (Only one Democrat, Cyndi Munson, filed for the seat.) District 85 is generally just north of me.

As for Senator Holt’s observation — aren’t we about to do Civil War II anyway?

(On the nullification idea itself, see Cooper v. Aaron.)

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The final word on ACA

I mean, it’s not going anywhere, and the chances that an upcoming Republican administration will toss it are next to nil. (There are times when I think the chances of an upcoming Republican administration are next to nil; few snatch defeat from the jaws of victory more assiduously than today’s GOP.) That said, here’s a quick postmortem from Dave Schuler:

The good news in the Court’s decision is obvious: millions of people won’t lose their subsidies. The bad news is less obvious. One bit of bad news is that the Court has again taken it on itself to reward the Pelosi-Reid Congress for slovenly work. Don’t be surprised if at some point SCOTUS is forced to throw the Congress a brushback pitch. It can’t allow itself to become Congress’s whipping boy.

From my point of view the worst piece of news in the decision is that the lesson the Congress will learn from this is to minimize its paper trail.

Yep. Future bills will magically appear with no indication whatsoever of their origin.

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Flinging the door open

State Democrats are contemplating abandoning the closed-primary model:

Oklahoma’s 261,000 independent voters would be allowed to cast votes in Democratic primary elections under a proposal state party delegates are expected to support in a meeting next month.

The move is intended to show the party is inclusive of differing viewpoints and is aimed at boosting support for Democratic candidates in a state dominated by the GOP.

I’m not quite sure how this would work to the party’s advantage. Most of the people I know around here who are registered Independent did so because (1) the Democrats weren’t far enough to the left or (2) the Republicans aren’t far enough to the right. (Yes, Virginia, it is possible for Republicans to be even farther to the right, though I believe this is due to repositioning of the center.) Still, that’s more anecdote than data.

On balance, given the generally horrible way the state treats independent candidates, the widening of the Democratic tent might prove to be a good thing in the long run, provided the GOP doesn’t get the same idea, and I’m thinking they won’t:

Randy Brogdon, the tea party favorite who is chairman of the state Republican party, has no interest in allowing independents to participate in GOP primaries.

“A majority of the independents have come from the Republican party primarily because we haven’t done an excellent job of promoting Republican principles of limited government and lower taxes,” he said. “We want to give them a reason to come back.”

I’ll give Brogdon this: he’s right about the lack of excellence. And there’s an issue for the GOP at the national level as well:

Whereas the Democrat Party is run by people who actually share the same beliefs as the people who vote for the Democrat Party, the GOP is run by people who do not remotely give a fuck about GOP voters. Karl Rove hates Republican voters. All elite GOP operatives share a profound disdain for the party’s grassroots electoral base.

There’s one tent that won’t be expanding.

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Triskaidekaphilia

For some reason, I seem to have been put on Carly Fiorina’s mailing list, and this is something her campaign sent out yesterday:

Fox News recently announced how they will select participants for the first presidential campaign debate.

I’ll skip straight to the point: I look forward to participating in the Fox News debate. I’ll make it clear that I’m ready to take on Hillary Clinton.

But I need your help to get on that debate stage. In order to secure an invitation, I need to grow my team of supporters. Will you make a donation of $13 today to help me get on that debate stage?

I’m not sure what the significance of 13 is, though given the enormous amount of superstition that pervades the American electorate, it’s bound to draw some sort of attention. (As it has, for instance, here.)

I am not, of course, voting in the Republican primary, for the most obvious of reasons. That said, Fiorina strikes me as the least annoying GOP candidate thus far: she avoids evasive answers, she’s generally prepared for the questions she’s asked, and she’s about half an order of magnitude tougher than the beta (sometimes gamma) males in the press pool.

At HP, I wasn’t afraid to shake up the status quo. My decisions didn’t always make me popular — but they would ultimately prove to be the right ones.

Real leadership means making tough choices and taking responsibility. Real leadership means standing by your principles and answering the difficult questions. Real leadership means standing by your record, not hiding from it.

I conclude from this that she’ll give short shrift to the “They took err jerbs!” people. And while I’m naturally suspicious of “Government ought to be run like a business” stuff, it’s got to be an improvement over the last couple of decades, in which it’s been run like a fraternity house with no adult supervision.

The skirtwatcher side of me gives her a solid B, not bad for sixty: ahead of Bachmann, behind Palin.

And there’s this:

In the business world, we don’t have the luxury of hiding from our problems until they go away, like Hillary does on the campaign trail. We have to actually accomplish something.

She’s not hiding. She’s simply refusing to acknowledge that such things exist. (And if the Democratic primary in this state comes down to Hillary vs. Bernie, as well it might, I pull the lever for Sanders and smile the whole time.)

I’d still like to know where Fiorina came up with the precise sum of $13.

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Hey, it works in Nebraska

Gary Jones is pushing the notion of switching to a unicameral legislature:

The state auditor has a controversial plan to save millions of dollars by combining the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Senate.

State Auditor Gary Jones says it may be time for a change.

“Just because we’ve done it that way doesn’t mean that’s the best way of doing it. If we believe in smaller, more efficient government, I think that government itself is what we need to look at,” Jones said.

Jones says each year, between offices, salaries and staff, the Oklahoma Senate alone costs the state between 15 and 20 million dollars.

This prompted some derision, mostly justified, from Patrick at The Lost Ogle:

I’ve asked Ogle Moles in the past why we have a bicameral legislature, and none of them really have a good answer. Even though it’s a dysfunctional mess, I can see why you’d want to have a Senate and House of Representatives for a Federal Government comprised of 50 states, but why does a state need one? It’s not like each county gets two state senators to balance out the population advantage of cities. Senate districts are determined by the same imaginary gerrymandered lines as the House of Representatives. It’s redundant. Right? Or am I totally wrong?

Well, no, he’s not totally wrong. As to those Senate districts, I refer you to a 2014 scheme specifically to abolish the Oklahoma House by Senator (of course) Patrick Anderson (R-Enid):

Anderson says he wants to save a few bucks, not the worst idea in the world, though it would have been nice if he’d said something about Reynolds v. Sims, in which the Supreme Court decided that legislative houses in the states had to be divided into equal population districts. (Before this 1964 decision, each county would have at least one House member, regardless of population.) In effect, this makes one chamber in each and every bicameral state legislature — all 49 of them — largely irrelevant. Then again, Reynolds was decided three years before Anderson was born, so it’s probably not uppermost in his mind.

And Patrick doesn’t think the Jones scheme has any future:

Obviously, our hypocritical small government state lawmakers want nothing to do with it, and I doubt the political parties want a unicameral legislature either, so this will need to be championed and passed by the people. Since the proposal has nothing to do with discriminating against gays or letting people bring guns to music festivals, I doubt anything will happen.

He’s probably not wrong about that either.

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You shall not Escape

Once again, Donald Trump is taking advice from the ferret occupying his scalp:

Republican presidential hopeful and billionaire Donald Trump wants to bring the pain via punitive tariffs to Ford for manufacturing vehicles in Mexico.

During his announcement of his 2016 campaign Tuesday, The Detroit News says Trump vowed he would levy a 35 percent tariff on Ford parts and vehicles imported from Mexico if the automaker presses forward with a $2.5 billion investment in the nation, claiming the move would “take away thousands” of jobs from American workers.

Ford, being Ford, shrugged; they’ve heard this sort of noise before. And besides:

Of course, Trump wouldn’t be legally able to punish Ford for building its plants wherever it wanted, let alone single out Ford with his plan without also doing the same to General Motors and FCA (how he would deal with Fiat owning Chrysler would be a whole other round of metaphors and hyperbole altogether).

Now if The Donald comes back and says he can so do this, via executive order — well, he’s cut his own throat, and we will definitely thank him for his quick disappearance from the campaign scene.

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Earth-shattering news

Six Democrats and a single Republican hope to become mayor of Akron, Ohio. The office has been in turmoil of late — two mayors have resigned in the past two weeks — so it seems that this fellow would be the obvious choice:

Natural Hunka Kaboom, an activist who lives in North Hill, was the first Democratic candidate to officially file. He told WAKR radio that, through dreams, a spiritual body told him that he was going to be the next mayor.

A regular speaker at council meetings, Kaboom made national news a few years ago when he left his duct-tape wrapped walking stick on the third floor of the city’s municipal building with his name, Kaboom, written on the side. The building was evacuated and a bomb squad was called.

What? Oh, no. Like it says, he’s not the Republican.

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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Quote of the week

The Z Man says we’re now in a post-democracy world:

[T]he ruling elite conspires with and manipulates local elected officials into gaming the public, foiling them into being looted by the global elite. We think our elections are about arbitrating disputes between the ruling class over public policy. In reality they are festivals to keep the public busy so they don’t revolt against their leaders. The Greeks can have as many elections as they like, the results will not change. The turd sandwich is what they get. The English can vote Tory or Labour. The results will be the same.

If there is any doubt about this just look at American politics. The GOP ran against ObamaCare in 2010 and won a huge majority in the House. They spent the next two years trying to enfeeble the Tea Party movement, rather than halt ObamaCare. They won big again in 2014, capturing the Senate and a bigger majority in the House. So far they have managed to pass more of Obama’s agenda in six months than Reid and Pelosi did in six years.

Which, if nothing else, suggests that the Republican Party at the very top is indistinguishable from the Democratic Party at the very top: they evidently get their orders from the same place. This is called “bipartisanism,” which presumably sounds nicer than “collusion.”

In the authoritarian age, violent revolt was the check on the skimming class. The ruling families could only loot so much of the people’s wealth before they ran into dangerous resistance. In the democratic age, the ballot box forced the skimming class to compete for the public’s affection. Get on the wrong side of the voters and you ability to skim was diminished. In the global age, what will be the check on the skimming class?

There won’t be. The need to buy campaign ads — hell, the need to buy voters — will guarantee that politicians will kneel to the plutocrats for the foreseeable future.

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I could have told you that

In which Mike Huckabee, perhaps despite himself, lines up behind me, a mere 19 years after the fact. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

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Meanwhile in Area 41

Jeb Bush is running for President, and I have had no trouble curbing my enthusiasm up to this point: “Read my lips,” I once said. “No more Bushes.” And indeed, a year and a half before the actual election, Jeb hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. What could change the electorate’s indifference? Will Truman makes the dark calculation:

I think he has a better chance than any other individual candidate, but if I were betting for or against him, I’d bet (lightly) against him.

Unless, that is, his father dies sometime between now and then. Which gets me to the point of this post. His father is somebody that it’s become kind of hard to say much negative about, generally speaking. Republicans see him as one of their own and from the Reagan era at that. Democrats see him as fundamentally different from the current lot of Republicans. It’s considered poor taste to speak ill of the just dead, but I think there will be less tongue-biting.

Which makes his father’s death, if it occurs between now and next November, a potentially important thing.

George H. W. Bush turns 91 next month. I say with all sincerity that I hope he makes it at least to 93.

(Side note: Typing “Bush 41” into the Wikipedia search box does indeed bring up the article for Papa George; “Bush 43” will do the same for W.)

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Reasons not to vote

Several have occurred to me over the years, including the fairly compelling “Why would I vote for any of these mooks?” And in this particular instance, there’s no arguing with Tam:

This was a municipal primary election: That is, where the members of the Republican and Democrat parties go and pick their candidates for the ballot in November’s general election. I am not a member of either party, and so I have no business weighing in on either party’s candidate selection process. Further (and I checked) there were no ballot questions such as “Do you want to get milked for more dough to support some useless project?” to which I could say “No.”

So apparently Hoosierville has a closed-primary system, which is fine with me; I lack the Machiavellian tendency to want to screw around with Those Other Guys when the primary is open. And I suppose there’s something to be said for the idea that even if you can’t vote for, you can always vote against.

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Too old for this

In which I bewail the state of the world while quoting both Karl Marx and Danny Glover. It’s a nasty job, but somebody has to do it.

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Quick-ish study

Carly Fiorina’s campaign team whiffed early on, failing to secure the carlyfiorina.org domain; it now belongs to a troll who’s using it to remind people of the massive layoffs during Fiorina’s tenure at Hewlett-Packard.

Apparently, however, she learns fast. The other night on Late Night with Seth Meyers:

When Meyers pointed out Fiorina’s mistake, she asked the host: “Do you know who owns sethmeyers.org?”

“I do,” Fiorina said after Meyers noted he did not know. “I just bought it in the green room, actually.”

Watch the sequence here.

And of course, she’s making hay with it:

I am not quite awed, but certainly amused. (And I must point out that a dot-org domain from my host is only $9.95.)

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Definitely a Taipei personality

Next to this, kissing a girl was child’s play:

Popstar Katy Perry took the stage in Taipei this week in a glittery dress covered with sunflowers, which happen to be the emblem of Taiwan’s anti-China protests last year. She also draped herself in the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan), a symbol of the island’s continued separation from China, and one that is allegedly so unpalatable to Beijing that it was pulled from the 2012 Olympic Games arena.

As Perry took the stage at the Taipei Arena in the politically-charged costume, some members of the crowd were “moved to tears,” the Taiwanese newspaper Liberty Times Net reported — though it is far from clear if she intended to make a political statement.

I mean, maybe she just likes sunflowers:

It is entirely possible that, like musician Kenny G at the Hong Kong protests, Perry just bumbled into a situation that could infuriate the Chinese government and affect her net income for the rest of her life. China is a huge market for concerts and album sales, and the government has banned artists in the past who “threaten national sovereignty.”

The sunflower dress is part of a recurring theme, as a fan noted a week before the Taiwan show, and Perry has performed with a “sunflower” microphone since at least last June, when she appeared in Raleigh, N.C. with backup singers dressed as sunflowers.

Left Shark was not available for comment.

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