The elections: We’re screwed

November 5, 2014 • 5:16 am

As my CNN bulletins kept coming in over email last night (I had no heart to watch the election results on television), my heart sank lower and lower. One by one, Republicans took Senate seats, House seats, and governorships. Democratic victories were rare. The only bright spot is that Oregon and Washington D.C. legalized marijuana, which will provide a palliative for sensible people who must endure the next two years (or even more) of gridlock and heartless conservatism.

Here’s today’s headline from the New York Times, and the depressing statistics below it. Republicans have not only gained control of the Senate, but expanded their hold on the House. Click on each to go to the story:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 5.50.59 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 5.50.43 AM

Read and weep:

Senate election results:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 5.57.34 AM


House election results:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 5.57.06 AM

The Democrats lost 13 seats in the House, which remains Republican, but also 7 seats in the Senate, which is now in Republican hands. With both houses of Congress controlled by Republicans, what we’ll see is gridlock until the 2016 elections. Republicans will be committed to overturning Obama’s health care bill and expanding tax advantages for the rich, and will do everything they can to derail Obama’s initiatives. They are a party not of progress—not even conservative progress (whatever that is)—but of obstruction. Their only platform is to make things harder for immigrants, women, and the poor.

Here’s what we have to look forward to:

  • Increasing restriction of abortion rights
  • No reform on immigration, or the kind of reform that restricts immigration, particularly of brown people
  • Repeated attempts to dismantle “Obamacare”
  • Expansion of financial advantages for the wealthy and increasing income inequality
  • The end of efforts to curb carbon emissions and global warming

And even if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency in 2016, which I expect, many of these gains will remain. What that means is very little important legislation will be enacted for six years au minimum. 

This represented a vote against Obama by an electorate who votes on their own pocketbooks and not on principle.  I truly don’t understand the demonization of Obama. He’s gotten healthcare through, largely pulled our troops out of the Middle East (though he tends to waffle on foreign policy), and had sensible policies on immigration.  I can’t help but think that those Republicans disaffected by his victories, and the fact that he’s black, are striking back in a big way when they have the opportunity (if you think Obama’s race makes no difference, you’re living in Cloud Cuckooland). Obama, whatever you may think of him, had decent policies but was blocked by a truculent Republican faction in Congress.

I really do despise the Republic Party and all that it stands for. There’s nothing to look forward to in the next two, six, or even ten years—except for the people of Oregon and the District of Columbia, who now have the means to become impervious to politics.

373 thoughts on “The elections: We’re screwed

    1. I hope Canada gets rid of our Conservative government in the next election. Canadian Conservatives are no where near as right as Republicans and are closer to Democrats but their ideas are just as annoying as Republican ones: (apologies if my html tabs fail below).

      Screw the environment and dismantle environmental protections.

      Muzzle scientists from sharing their research with the media, especially if that research speaks about climate change.

      Give tax breaks to the rich.

      Cripple Statistics Canada because the government likes to make decisions based on ideology rather than facts.

      Never speak to the media so the people don’t know that the hell the PM or the government is ever up to.

      If we end up with a Conservative Canadian government and a Republican US government, the environment is screwed (the tar sands will be worse than ever) and we’ll all be in wars together. The last time that happened it was the odious Canadian PM, Mulroney & Ronald Reagan.

      1. If the conservatives are tossed out in Canada, our legislature will now probably label the entire country as “terrorist” and call for an invasion.

        1. Dominic – as an Aussie, I agree. However at least they can’t touch abortion in Australia, as women on both sides of the election wouldn’t put up with it.

      2. Make that a quadruple whammy with Thatcher in the UK. That was really a worldwide disaster, wasn’t it? We basically emptied the mental institutions and exploded the homeless populations in a heartbeat. We’ve never really recovered.

    2. This strikes me as regression to reality.

      The idea that humans would be forward looking enough to implement preventative action on climate change (that is, holding the line on CO2 levels) has always struck me as a bit of a fantasy. While obviously the best solution, from what I see people are barely able to marshall the will to solve devastating problems after the devastation has already occurred. I just don’t see them making significant investment in money, infrastructure, or lifestyle changes, in mere rational anticipation of some future harm. Mentally, I’ve moved on from thinking there is any reasonable chance that we will prevent or even blunt climate change by keeping CO2 levels in check and onto thinking about how we’ll adapt to and/or try to ameleorate (geoengineering perhaps) the inevitable.

      1. I’ll take the climate fearmongers seriously when they stop taking hot showers…

        Seriously, how many people reading this blog took a hot shower this morning? Well how dare they!

        What, it’s OK to kill the planet just so you can bathe in warmer water?

        1. Hot showers are my measuring stick for a “successful future”. Any future that doesn’t include hot showers is a failed future.

        2. I just took a hot shower a few minutes ago this morning. My solar hot water system works just fine thank you.

          Now stop calling people who want to actually fix a problem “fearmongers” and get out and do something yourself!

          1. congrats stu. the next step in reducing your carbon footprint is to stop eating beef/dairy products. Otherwise you’re just a huge hypocrite. The fact is, you can’t survive without disrupting the current energy configuration. We only disagree about how and to what extent it should be disrupted.

  1. Conservatives have always run on the platform that, yes the rich are getting richer but at least the white people are better than…fill in the blank. And that continues. It used to be blacks. Then gays. Now it’s immigrants and it’s becoming the middle class. Only by convincing the middle class that they’ve been held down by the out group can the right wing succeed. And they’re succeeding

    1. Reminds me of a Bill Maher quote during one of his shows (he quoted someone else but I forgot the name):

      “Americans don’t see themselves as poor. They see themselves as temporarily inconvenienced millionaires.”

      Which explains why the poor continue to be voting against their own economic self-interests.

      1. It is alleged to be Steinbeck.

        It’s likely a paraphrase of this (from “A Primer on the ’30s”, Esquire, 1960):

        “I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist.”

        In any event, it describes a particularly flabbergasting form of denial.

      2. Interestingly enough, poor whites are much more likely to be temporarily inconvenienced millionaires than are poor blacks. Perhaps this explains poor blacks’ strong attraction to the Democratic party and poor whites’ lack of same.

  2. Truly awful results and a terrible way to begin a new day, as I could’t bear to watch or listen to reports last night. We have lost our way, and I despair for this nation and its future, which is an awful thing to say with a 13 year-old daughter in the house.

    1. Exactly. I’d like to think that if we can hold on for another 10 or 15 years things might change for the better significantly. But that may just be because I desperately want it to be true.

  3. This is how people vote who have had
    comment 1 to “Texas Tech Students…” and similar Leo Strauss-opinions lorded over their heads their whole life – or they (we, I am born poor although European) do not vote at all.

  4. OMFGA! It’s just unfreakinbelievaburgable.

    This country is indeed truly screwed.

    I am beyond depressed. Yep, I’m going to be needing a lot of medicine in the days ahead.

  5. Strange results locally. Things like a “personhood” amendment (count fetuses as “persons” as a first step to chip away at abortion rights) went down in flames 65:35, yet the repugs (Lamborn) was ahead by 20 points. Prevailing wisdom maintained that since deportations under Obama were way up, that the Hispanic vote would be largely turning against the Dems, and that would seem to jive with the higher turnout here (yet Repug wins across the board).

    Higher Hisp turnout usually means a more religious vote, though, which should’ve meant the personhood bill would’ve been much closer.

    I think a lot of people are merely pissed and flailing at their ballots, voting R’s merely because a D is in the executive in D.C. It’s a small comfort that these people seem to know how to tell the difference between an R and a D on the page, so at least a good number of Americans seem to remember at least two letters of the alphabet. So perhaps that should count for something.

    But generally, I think the American experiment has failed. Too bad we don’t require much more than a pulse to be able to vote. I’ll apologize now in advance to everyone abroad, in the likely event we tank the world’s economic machinery again.

    1. Could you explain that, please? How are poor people who voted for Obama “getting what they deserve”?

      Comments like that make no sense to me. Really, why does America deserve to be punished by Republican politicies when at least 40% of the country don’t want them.

      Explain yourself.

      1. I guess I’m just demoralized. Voters seem to be voting blindly against their own interests. I have no answer.

        1. Right. I think we’ve all thought the same thing, that people get what they deserve. And some of them will. Wait till the next Katrina, or whatever, and watch them scream for money and services. But like the person who responded to you, and as I think you see, this screws other people. Now, there are two ways to look at that. I’m commenting here, but not committed to this way of looking at things, so please chime in. But did these people who will get hurt most a) NOT VOTE, or b) were kept from the polls by the new restrictions?

          All in all, this sucks. Things will get a lot worse before they get better. I want to see Obama go into action and get tough. Stand up for something. We’ll see. We’ll see.

          1. Here’s what bugs me the most –
            Its not economics or healthcare. Its the earth’s climate and what the US could do to mitigate it. The latest IPCC report is saying we got it wrong in the past. Its getting worse faster than we thought. There are already climate changes which we have no hope of reversing for centuries. The threshold point at which we go over the cliff toward very serious, irrevocable harm is probably within a decade. We’ve simply got to act NOW.
            I hope this is overly pessimistic, but I doubt it. My guess is that within 10 years the republican party will still have a strangle hold on American politics. There is virtually no chance this can work out well for the world. There will be much suffering. That’s what bugs me the most. I think the game is lost.

          2. There is a danger we become like the religious & say people deserve punishment as a group rather than as individuals – like the teacher who punishes a class not the guilty one she cannot pick out. Though I do tend to do that myself… especially when it comes to carbon emissions & climate change, which puts most other problems into the shadow I would say.

            The idea predates the christian version…
            Ut sementem feceris, ita metes – Cicero

            & in a rhyme I recall (but cannot say where from) –
            Look ere thou go,
            see ere thou leap,
            for as ye sow
            so shall ye reap.

        2. I feel the same as rickflick: completely depressed and demoralized. Trying to make it in life just got harder – for the next SIX years! Yuck. Republicans deny reality, evidence, and any thing inconvenient to their ideals (purchased by corporate interests), while conveniently ignoring the consequences of their actions. Too frequently leaving the electorate to shoulder the burdens from too much political incompetence, and too little good practical governance. Yet, the country keeps putting the R’s in power. And our burdens increase! Being in the 40% sucks and we don’t deserve republicans, but obviously more needs to be done!

          So, for my own piece of mind, I renewed my membership today – and that makes me feel a little better!

        3. When I feel cynical I say that too. That was the authoritarian conservative Joseph de Maistre (d.1821) who said it like this –
          Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite.

            1. Putin is going to be trouble for all of us over the years as he tries to get more and more oil. I think he made a second petition to the UN to claim some of the Arctic for Russia and he has remilitarized old basis up there. I fear for a future of less than level headed leaders.

              1. Putin is scary, and has a lot more damage planned imo. Much like the Republican party. A party that thinks government is a bad thing, except of course when it comes to interfering in personal lives, can’t possibly be good at it, so why would anyone vote for them? They still haven’t worked out that trickle-down economics doesn’t.

                At least in the meantime there’s still a Democratic president with a veto. Also, if the Republicans don’t pull finger in the next two years, they’ll be out again. This time most of the contested seats were in traditionally red states. In 2016, that’s not the case.

              2. I heard on CBC one guy (forget who) saying he plans to inundate Obama with legislation changes hoping he can’t veto everything. Of course, most of this is around appealing Obama’s health care. My only hope is that they become so odious that there is a backlash and the Democrats win.

                What is worrisome, is there is a bit of time for all this to go down and right now, the West needs a strong US government. I think Obama has been a really good president that has made some good decisions wrt foreign policy. My fear is whoever runs the show in the future is a hawk and I see Hilary as a hawk too but she tends to listen to her advisors so she may be tempered.

      2. I suspect that there was a low turnout, much like 2010, where Democratic voters stayed home in droves. As Elizabeth Drew once said, elections have consequences and we will be feeling the consequences for a long time from this one.

    2. I donated time and money in support of the Democratic Party, and I voted. So, no, I, and other people like me, don’t deserve this. But but we got it anyway.

    3. I’ve said this before but: The most salient fact of the last half of the 20th century in US politics has been (and continues to be): How the Republicans have convinced the (white) working class and lower-middle class to vote against their own economic interest. (By using the big Gs: God, guns, gays, and blacks.)

      I about gagged this morning when I heard the Republicans crowing about how they are going to fix the “failed policies”. Well boys, the failed policy is “trickle down” economics, which has be decisively disproved over the last 30 years.

      And they are crowing about “changing the direction of the country”: Yeah: Let’s reverse the positive economic numbers (back to where they were in 2008 under the last Rep. President — in free-fall) and get ourselves back into a couple more useless wars. Maybe we could invade Syria?! Or even better, we could invade Ukraine and teach those commie Ruskies a lesson!

      If we’d followed the recommendations of, for instance, Mitt Romney and the Rep. leadership in congress in 2008, we’d be in the 6th year of the second Great Depression. (I do credit W, if for nothing else, with acting promptly along with the congress to help stop the melt-down of the credit markets.)

      1. And I forgot to mention that they are crowing about rolling back the (very modest) controls put on the financial industry following the 2007-2008 meltdown. Yep, just what we need, another metldown!

        These guys have a totally flat learning curve. Every time this has been deregulated, we’ve had a big crash.

        All I can say is that these guys must be making a bundle off the financial industry.

          1. It helps that there are groups that are actively trying to rewrite the history of how things like the 2007 meltdown occurred: the Wall Street Journal, for example, constantly blames it on Obama despite it having happened prior to his getting elected.

            1. Lyndon Johnson on being President: “It’s like being a mule out in a hailstorm; you just have to stand there and take it.”

    4. I know what you’re saying. Of my immediate family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc.) I’m one of the very few with a college degree and really the only one with “hot” marketable skills in something like engineering. I often feel sort of guilty that my life is so much easier than theirs. They struggle to find jobs and struggle to pay the bills with what they make in those jobs. I, on the other hand, can stroll out on any day and get several job offers paying 4x as much as any of my immediate relatives have ever made. I jet all over the world to see my friends and family while they struggle to get time off and scrape together gas money to visit the next state.

      But when I’m around them, it’s like being in some upside down world. They are all, to a person, zealous Republicans. They are adamantly for policies that, in my view, will benefit people like me and screw people like themselves. The cumulative effect of this on me is to make me a little more callous to their hard lives. Well, I think, if you want to heap all the advantages on me, and even more on those in my situation who also have wealthy families, while making your own life harder and harder… well, why am I feeling so bad for you?

      1. I understand the “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it” attitude, and often feel this way myself. Particularly when I think they should know better.

        But the thing about that bed is that as more people make it, the bigger it gets, and the more likely it becomes that you’ll have to lie in it, too. My dad, as unthinking and bigoted a conservative as you’d care to meet, hasn’t worked in years, has zero savings, no health insurance, and lives in the decrepit family cabin – no running water and not winterized. Sooner or later he will become a major problem for me and the family I am trying to take care of on an already modest salary. This keeps me from thinking “well I guess he’s getting what he voted for; his problem” for very long.

  6. You are facing forces with too much loot in the hands of too few. Worse the good guys don’t understand how to fight on an emotional front, relying instead on reason to try and sway people. It seems that working on the emotional level must diminish reason but people in general just don’t work that way. I despair.

    1. Not to minimize the big loss but the map makes it look even worse than it is.
      It show how many square feet are represented by which party. Since Democrats win in urban, populated areas it underrepresents the number of people that voted for Democrats. So in the 2016 Presidential race, they don’t have as much ground to make up, at least in the popular vote.

  7. A curious thing that I have noticed while following American politics as a non-American and from East Asia (I became interested in American politics after GWB became president because something very odd seemed to be happening) is that the media, including ‘leftist’ American blogs (I put ‘leftist’ in quotation marks because they are hardly leftist by European or Asian standards), whether left- or right-leaning, seem to spend their time talking about Republicans, and Democrats, including Obama, seem hardly to get a look in (under Bush, the White House press meetings were constantly being talked about – nobody seems to talk about them under Obama). I cannot understand why the Democrats have been so supine, and uninterested in standing up to (or unable to do so) a party that has gone to near treasonous lengths to ensure that America is ungovernable under Democratic leadership.

    1. The hard right in America is more ideological than moderates or even what exists of our ‘left’. The right has more myths about the way America works (e.g. “If you work hard, you’ll get rich”.) All the ‘left’ has is the truth and in America, voters aren’t interested in that.

    2. It always makes me cringe when I see people saying that Obama is a communist/soacialist/whatever.

      I don’t think that those words mean what they think that they mean.

      1. No, they get their thoughts from, for instance, Rush Limbaugh. Thinking for yourself is just way too hard. It takes time away from watching reruns of Duck Dynasty.

    3. Like you, Tim, I’m mystified by it. I think part of the failure of Democrats is that Democratic politicians don’t stand up proudly for Democratic principles and hold Republicans to account for their catastrophic failures.

      Because money.

    4. W.B. Yeats nailed it in “The Second Coming (1920):
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.

      So did Paddy Chayefsky in his screenplay for “Network” in the “The world is a business, Mr. Beale,” speech. Prescient, frightening, and dead on. It’s available on youtube should you wish to see it.

  8. I sent emails to all GOP NM candidates and surprisingly three of the responses were not as bad as I thought.

    I asked: How old is the universe?
    3 responses: I do not know, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it says it is ~ 13.7 billions years old.
    1 response: It is very old.
    1 resonse: Between 10^3 and 10^9 years.
    ~6 no responses

    The first three are what I would expect a teenager to answer, the second, my grandmother, the third, a waffling politician who thinks he will see his dead grandmother when he dies.

    1. > The first three are what I would expect a teenager to answer

      That’s what I would expect almost *anyone* to answer, with the exception of people with a personal or professional interest in astrophysics, which is in no way a requirement for office.

      Expecting a dissertation on the subject would be rather unfair.

      “I didn’t know so I looked up the exact number” and “around 10 billion years” would both be acceptable answers for any non-physicist, in my book.

        1. Belated answer.

          That might be different, because that is a subject whose internal details may directly clash with policies.

          The age of the universe is immaterial to almost all policies. If a politician gets it wrong it’s worrying, but in an indirect way, as an indicator of a very weak science background and a flawed capacity to acquire and fact-check factual information.

          “I don’t know but I’ll look in a reliable place” is not much, but it’s *enough*. It’s a passing grade, though nothing more. It’s not a *wrong* answer.

          The effect of, say, carbon emissions, OTOH, is directly relevant to a lot of policies, and a hot topic, so it’s something I would expect them to study. In an ideal world. But even then the most important thing is that they know that they *don’t* know the details, and know where to go and who to ask for reliable information. I don’t ask them to be Renaissance men, I ask them to know just enough to put the right people on the right specialist jobs, and that’s more a question of *methodology* wrt. to fact-gathering, than knowledge of any body of facts.

          Of course, many politicians enthusiastically fail on both points, which makes this distinction moot…

  9. I don’t think Hillary has a prayer of moving back into the White House. Perhaps the Republican’s will surprise us and put up someone sensible in 2016. I also don’t have such a high view of Obama and Obamacare. The implementation was completely botched and I hear of people who had major cost rises in their health care plans.

    I also don’t expect major gridlock. The Republicans know that disaster awaits them if they are too blatantly negative. I expect a lot of chest beating on both sides but quiet behind the scenes deals.

    1. “The Republicans know that disaster awaits them if they are too blatantly negative.”

      They do? When in the past six years have they not been blatantly negative?

        1. Yes, but they have to past the litmus test of the primaries first, appealing the spittle-spraying fringe of the party first. And in doing so, they going to have to say things that won’t fly in the general election.

          The Republicans (should have) learned the lesson in 2008 and 2012 that they can’t win nationally by only appealing to white men. The demographic trends are not in their favor either (nationally).

    2. So far, it’s Chris (bridgegate) Christy and (Holy Hoppin’Hank help us) Scott (illegal campaign contributions) Walker.

      I’m sure both parties are going to “surprise” us with another Clinton-Bush race. 🙁

  10. The most depressing result, perhaps, is that Sam Brownback was reelected in Kansas with a 3rd party candidate siphoning off enough votes to give the democrat a win. Brownback has ruined the economy in Kansas. His policies were republican party-line dogma, and they have been disastrous. Tax cuts for the rich, huge budget deficits, school closings, joblessness, etc. Why would anyone vote for that? There is no reasonable explanation for this result other than stupidity.

    It’s the triumph of the old, white, Fox News viewers.

  11. Might be a blessing in disguise: I honestly doubtet the Democrats winning in 2016. With any luck now, by then people will be too disgusted by the Republicans to vote them for presidency. (What would Freud think of me typing “for prejudice” first?)

    1. The American people have just proven that they are far too stupid to hold Republicans responsible for any amount of destruction they manage to wreak in the next two years. The GOP-led House has been a unqualified disaster for the ever since they took control 4 years ago – easily the least productive and most obstructionist federal legislative body in the lifetime of anyone alive today. Not only was the GOP Speaker (an incredibly unlikeable asshole)returned to office, his majority was padded by at least 13 nmore seats!
      The GOP has suceeded in blaming Obama for everything – even things that happened before he even took office – and for things like Obamacare, which has been doing better than I expected, they have paid no price whatsoever for relentlessly trying to repeal it.
      The American electorate is simply too ignorant to know who is accountable and too effectively propagandized by corporate media to ever find out.

      1. This seems to be correct, and the situation in Australia is closely analogous (except we now have the Thuglican-equivalent incumbent).

  12. I would like to call everyone’s attention to one big outlier in this election: My state of Minnesota. Al (Saturday Night Live) Franken handily beat his challenger, as did our DFL (local flavor of Democrat) governor, Mark Dayton (of the Dayton department store family, if anyone outside of Minnesota remembers that store chain). The DFL retained all the statewide offices as well.

    The only place the Republicans gained was in the State House of Representatives, where they took control (with the State Senate remaining in DFL hands.)

    Minnesota economic numbers are back where they were before the Bush financial meltdown. And this [evil!] “high tax” state is doing much better than its neighbor, Scott Walker’s “low tax” state.

    All they had to say, pretty much was, see: We hate Obama-care!

      1. I’m glad to live in Washington state, but that is small condolence once the Nation plunges into whatever dark hole it’s heading for, taking the world along for the ride.

        I can’t get the image out of my head of Slim Pickens riding the bomb in “Dr. Strangelove.”

          1. Yes, we are the 2nd state to have passed it. You probably know we also legalized marijuana last year, which I’m sure is helping many dems with today’s dismal news.

            We also passed gun control- forcing background checks from gun purchases via the internet or at gun shows.

            I love being a liberal in Washington. After living in Wyoming for 9 years, I will never take it for granted.

            Hopefully you’ll move to western Washington (west of the Cascade mountains). It has all the water and most of the liberals. 🙂

            1. Good to know.

              Well, we will be in rural Klickitat County (I lived for almost 20 years in Seattle, starting in 1984 — boy did it change!) The whole time I was there, the red parts of the state groused about the west side. Eastern King County wanted (maybe still does) to secede from King County and form its own “Cedar County”. Ugh.

              Yes, we will be in a “red” area; but Portland is only 90 minutes away and we have a decent sized blue enclave there. We are just east of the Crest, about 15-20 miles. We often get sun when Portland is raining. We have big trees: Doug firs, Grand fir, (a little higher and you get Pacific Silver fir), Ponderosa pine, western red cedar, oaks, maples, some alder, some poplar, all mixed up together. It’s pretty unique. 10 miles further east, and you are pretty much just in sagebrush.

              And yes, I appreciate the marijuana legalization too! 🙂

              I have always loved Washington State. Wonderful place. Mountains, ocean, inland salt water sounds, wonderful rivers, a liveable liberal fringe in the west.

              1. We are planning on moving to Vashon as soon as we can sell our house in Texas. I can’t wait!

                On the upside, the county where I live just voted to legalize liquor sales. At least I can now get a bottle of tequila without have to drive 20 miles to get one! Also a fracking ban was voted in. In Texas!

              2. Sounds like a great place for you jblilie. We are lucky to have such a variety of trees in the northwest. We live in Snohomish county…I love Seattle and visit often, but can’t handle the traffic. But even the red parts of WA aren’t the radical tea-party color of red. Being close to Portland is also a plus- another stellar Northwest city.

                And good luck Sheila B and Zin with your house sale…I bet you’re happy to be leaving a state in drought that will only increase in severity. It rains a lot in western WA, but that is far better than drought.

  13. Obviously depressing for those of you resident in the States but, given the international influence of the US its depressing too for those of us who live elsewhere.

  14. In Illinois, we had non-binding votes on the following:

    1. minimum wage hike: passed overwhelmingly.
    2. mandatory coverage of birth control: passed overwhelmingly
    3. state income tax on millionaires: passed overwhelmingly.

    But we voted in a Republican governor who opposes at least 2 out of 3 of these things.

    1. Yes that seems to be an oddity of American politics that occurs in many states: if you ask citizens about issues, the largest plurality will tell you they are pro-choice, pro-gay rights, etc. If you ask citizens who they vote for, the largest plurality will tell you republicans. Even though republican representatives mostly oppose those same policies the people support.

      Reminds me of an old Simpsons episode, where sideshow Bob is running for office. “Secretly you yearn for a cold-hearted Republican who’ll cut taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king!”

      I think there’s a grain of truth there. Americans seem to hate authoritarian policies but like iron-fisted authoritarian-like political figures.

      1. To be fair, at the state level, the Democrats are very dysfunctional and I think that anger about that was taken out on the sitting governor.

        I voted for the Democrat, but I am not pleased with how the party is running the state.

  15. The most galling aspect of all is that these elections are decided by the pig-ignorant. Going into them, a Pew report disclosed that just 43% of voters knew who controlled the House and Senate . . . which means that, essentially, 57% of voters didn’t know what they were voting for.

    No wonder the Repugs keep underfunding education.

  16. Here is my little county in Georgia, we passed a measure that will allow localities to approve licenses for “liquor by the drink” at restaurants. This small victory will allow us to better handle the fact that one Jody Hice will replace Paul “pit-of-hell” Broun as our congressman.

  17. I worry about the Supreme Court and other Federal appointments. President Obama won’t get his nominees appointed.

    1. The GOP was highly effective at blocking Obama’s appointments while they were a minority. In theory they will be more effective at it now, but I think it’s going to be a case of “almost zero appointments approved before, almost zero appointments approved afterwards.” IOW no practical difference.

  18. I can only offer another opinion but at least it includes a very remote solution. But please remember from history, great change only comes along with extreme circumstances. The American revolution itself and the progressive changes of the early 20th century were not created by the fat and happy.

    Most middle class and poor Americans do not know how bad it has gotten, mostly because they have very little to compare it with. I could go into this further but this is not the place.

    So far we are failing to separate church and state and this is a pretty big deal. But it is small potatoes compared to separating money from politics and it must be said that money just about controls politics in America. It has made big business and our politics in Washington one in the same. It makes no difference which party you choose.

    Your representatives in congress do not give two cents for your opinion and paying attention to you really has nothing to do with their career in Washington DC. Voting is a waste of your time in the end. Money buys the votes and money buys access. The goal of nearly every politician these days is get elected and hit pay dirt. So what to do…..

    Only one thing will begin to solve this thing and that is removing money from the politicians. Complete public funding of all national elections. This will take a Constitutional Amendment but it is the only way. All private money, even the person’s running for election cannot put a dime in. There are other things and other amendments needed but this one is absolutely necessary. Only then will the character of those running for office and willing to serve you have a chance at politics.

    1. I agree with your assessment and with your suggested solution. The problem is that it is only those very same cash and carry politicians that have the authority to propose a constitutional amendment. What to do about that?

      1. The problem is that it is only those very same cash and carry politicians that have the authority to propose a constitutional amendment. What to do about that?

        You do nothing, which is why I referred to the system as “irredeemably corrupted” in my comment on the sad state of affairs.

    2. “It makes no difference which party you choose.”

      I agree with much of what you say, certainly about money being one of the major problems. But I don’t agree with this at all. In fact I think this is another major problem we have right now in the US. Many people resignedly state, “It makes no difference which party you choose.” All you have to do is spend some time looking at the data to see that this is false.

      Degrees do matter. While both parties may suck in many ways, and in some of the same ways, the Republican party is far, far worse, if your metrics are how the US has faired under each party. As in all the economic and social indicators typically used by experts to gauge the success of countries.

  19. This is really bad for all the reasons Jerry laid out. All we can hope for now is that sometime in the next ten years or so, enough people will see how disastrous it is to let Republicans run the country. Hey, we survived Joe McCarthy, Jerry Falwell, and Ronald Reagan, we can get through this, too. But it will be rough for quite a while. We just have to keep fighting. Never give up!

    1. Ten years is not too late for the economy, healthcare, education, and the rest. But it very well could be too late for the Earth’s climate.

    2. I am sorry to have to, but I must disagree: about keeping up the fight.

      I quit. And actually did that quite a while ago. Just moved out to ‘my own country’ is all: Reclusivity.

      While both women and men in Colorado and North Dakota rejected cells’ personhood this particular time around, Tennessee’s in y2014 ? With lovely science by now? Those voting adults, both women and men, continued the regression; and, one more time still yet again, I am faced in my lifetime with what I found in my tw***er – feed late yesterday: a basket of fertilized eggs will soon — yet again — hold all governance of me … … over me and over all other women and girls.

      I was thinking that … … by now ? And, especially with science by now, I was thinking that ‘we’ were smarter than this.

      We are not.

      Thus, I quit.

    3. I’d argue that we haven’t survived Reagan yet. I think he’s the perfect avatar for the “conservative revolution” that has held sway with American voters since the late 70’s. We’re about to enter our fourth consecutive decade of politically pushing back against the 60’s. We won’t survive Reagan until the Baby-Boomers get over their Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Jesus fetishes. The public’s fixation on libertarian conservatism is the problem and it’s bugger than just the Reagan administration.

      1. You’re absolutely correct. Reagan was a national and global disaster, despite all the hagiographies, and economically (and in many other ways) we’re still recovering from that administration’s malignity and stupidity.

        1. Yes, Reagan has been proven wrong on just about everything, but his policies and ideology continue to hold sway among Republicans who now hold sway over everyone else.

          But don’t forget that Clinton did away with Glass-Steagall and signed NAFTA. Two massive acts of destruction for the poor and middle-class.

          1. Clinton’s administration also supported the Telecommunications act of 1996 which massively deregulated the media and relaxed the rules about media ownership. This is the reason why the media is now dominated by a few massive firms.

  20. This represented a vote against Obama by an electorate who votes on their own pocketbooks and not on principle. I truly don’t understand the demonization of Obama.

    The truth, that almost no one will tell you, because it’s not in their best interest, is that the process has been irredeemably corrupted by corporate interests. People act based on what the corporate controlled media tells them is reality.

    Watching the election coverage last night was no different than watching any other “reality” show.

    1. If the working class voted their pocketbook, and got out there and voted in large numbers, no Republican would ever be elected president.

      The GOP has fooled the working class and lower middle class that they are helping them. It’s the BIG LIE.

    1. Yup. The only good thing to happen and it happened 8 minutes after the polls closed leaving the rest of the evening in free fall. I went to bed early because it was just too depressing. I wonder if anybody can beat Mike Kelly.

  21. This deeply demoralizing portrait of American politics and society is all too accurate.

    As a vehicle for anything progressive, electoral politics seems dead beyond recall, for the foreseeable future and perhaps forever.

    The sheeple — including a great many politicians and others who call themselves Democrats but who should do the honest thing and register as Republicans — have spoken.

    What they have said is that they care absolutely nothing for anything that does not directly benefit their own personal lives here and now. Everything else and all other parts of society can go to hell.

    Anything progressive, on all fronts, that happens in the future will, in all probability, happen (if at all) on other fronts than national elections, which (except for those who worship the 1%)are unlikely ever again to be an inducement to anything other than sadness, if not outright despair.

    1. Progressive? Did you say PROGRESSIVE? …goddamn progressives.

      Seriously, I’m trying to figure out exactly when that became an extremely dirty word here. It’s only seemed like the past 3 or 4 years to me that the anti-progressive rhetoric has really taken off.

      1. That’s because “liberal” became a dirty word first. Liberals wanted a new brand, and many chose “Progressive” which is apt. Now the know-nothings are trying to demonize that word.

        I remember listening to a couple of old coots one time, discussing politics. One said to the other: There should be a requirement that anyone running for public office has to have owned a business.

        I felt like replying: There ought to be e requirement that anyone running for public office has to have a (real) college degree! [I didn’t, not worth it.]

        1. Steven Pinker should come up with another expression for this… the opposite of his “euphemism treadmill”. Ah… took me a while – I’ve been up for 20 hours… had to google it.

          This would be a “dysphemism treadmill”, eh?.

    2. “What they have said is that they care absolutely nothing for anything that does not directly benefit their own personal lives here and now.

      I think that shortsightedness is a largely accurate characterization. It is of course very ironic that so many people for who(m) that is an accurate characterization almost always vote against their own best interests. And never seem to learn that. Because they have never learned not to drink the kool-aid.

  22. I agree that it is bad, particularly for science and climate change. But in an era when laws are written by the lobbyists and then handed off to the politicians, control of congress doesn’t have that much of an effect on policy. I fear this Senate’s greatest sins will those of omission. I doubt these bought and paid for lawmakers will rock a very comfortable apple cart with a radical policy agenda. Climate change will be denied, just like it is now, Immigration reform will be ignored, just like it is now. The ACA will continue to be under attack, just like it is now. We should expect more of the same but a little worse from Capitol Hill during the next session, which sucks.

  23. Considering the overwhelming likelihood that the UKIP swingers won’t stand up come the general elections and will go back to voting tory, the threats of vote ‘UKIP get Milliband’ having done their job, this is just more depressing still. We’ve already had 4 years of a revolting conservative crackdown on scroungers along with a recent further lurch to the right on their part in response to pressure from the swivel-eyed ones – I see absolutely no way on earth that Milliband can stop himself, as much as I like him, from completely pissing up the wall any chances the country has of having a left or even centre-ground party in power come next year.
    Combined with their pathetic wannabe little brother party in Britain(whose attitude to the electorate was charmingly exposed after the Scottish referendum when, within seconds of the No vote coming through, Cameron began inserting his caveats into the devolution plans), the Republicans are going to make this a very unpleasant next half-decade.

  24. I can’t help but keep thinking…what am I missing? How can my way of thinking be so far removed from what appears to be the gestalt of the American electorate? How can so many people be so committed to policies that in the light of logic and careful thought are obviously damaging to the health and well-being of the nation. I’m not naive and I’ve been around long enough (61)to see a few things come around again, but this has me baffled and alarmed. It can’t be something as simple as dark money. These verging-on-neofascist ideas are obviously resonating with a helluva lot of people.

  25. I’m sorry, but I don’t subscribe to the climate change religion. Science seeks to replace old theories with better ones — it doesn’t castigate skeptics. That’s religion.

    Also, if we’re going to discuss INCOME inequality, why ignore the issue of OUTPUT inequality? How about a law requiring apples be sold at the same per-unit price as bananas? After all, it wouldn’t be fair for apple farmers to make a different amount of money than banana farmers, right? For some reason liberals don’t seem to be able to grasp how supply and demand work. Republicans don’t either, but that’s not my point.

    It’s a problem of analytical asymmetry: Let’s look only at labor prices, but not the price of what that labor produces. Let’s only look at a woman’s “right” to “free” contraception — but let’s ignore the fact that contraceptives must be produced — AT A COST. Let’s talk the talk and complain about poverty while we cash our paychecks and let Mother Theresa walk the walk.

    It’s sad but true: if liberals spent as much time studying money and the economy as they do crying for handouts (really, you want me to pay for your birth control pills?) then things might be better for them.

    1. It’s sad but true: if liberals spent as much time studying money and the economy as they do crying for handouts (really, you want me to pay for your birth control pills?) then things might be better for them.

      “Sad but true”? Where’s the “true” part of it? Where are all the liberals “crying for handouts”? And where are all the rock-solid conservatives rejecting the federal handouts that are the only reason many of the southern states survive?

      And if you really think your apples and bananas metaphore makes sense, you’d better start campaigning for cars to be the same per-unit price as potatoes.

      1. Well, many liberal women are “pro-choice,” i.e. they don’t want public policy dictating how they should maintain their own bodies… but these same women don’t think I should have a choice whether or not to pay for their birth control pills. That’s one example.

        But you make a great point — Republicans also cry for handouts. But it’s just as pathetic, no matter who does it. I’m just pointing out the asymmetry in the political discourse.

        And I’m glad you get my point about apples, bananas, cars, potatoes, etc… To campaign for equal prices for all commodities would be moronic — but that’s what crying about income inequality amounts to: labor consumers electing to pay different prices for labor being forced to pay the same price across the board.

        1. Have you considered that everybody benefits from living in a country where birthrates aren’t soaring out of control because the poor can’t afford birth-control? Or do you think that India’s slums are a model worth striving for?

          The fact that you may not benefit directly just isn’t a good enough reason to allow you to opt out. For example, I don’t have children*, but I am happy for my taxes to go towards things like children’s hospitals and schools. I would prefer to live in a country where children have a chance at decent healthcare and education regardless of the wealth of their parents.

          *I paid for my contraceptives by myself as a matter of fact, just in case you were worried about it.

            1. I don’t think your question has anything to do with Grania’s comments. Your question seems framed to get an answer that agrees with your view point.

              1. Well, my point is that to exercise compassion for the poor by making it ok to take from one group to give to another group, is to guarantee that some will be raped by others — and is self-defeating.

                I truly believe that while Republicans trample your “civil” rights, Democrats trample your property rights. But both are critical to upward mobility — especially among minorities. And both are protected by our constitution.

                Why then, do some readers only object to some types of rape, some types of slavery, some types of discrimination — as if both Democrats AND Republicans weren’t equally complicit in passing Dodd-Frank, the biggest rape-job yet?

              2. @nominalfinance

                I am replying to my comment because your reply doesn’t give me an option of replying to you directly.

                Your usage of the word rape is truly obnoxious.

            2. No (unless it’s the sentence of a properly established court for an offense against law). However, it is correct to set the rules of society.

              No one is forcing you to stay here.

          1. +1 Well said and so right. When you live in a society, you directly benefit from a healthy, well educated population and birth control is an essential part of that.

            1. Diana, with all due respect, only I define what benefits me, and only you define what benefits you.

              I’ll ask you the same question: Do you think it’s ever OK to forcibly compel person A to serve person B?

              1. That’s a false equivalency. No one is serving another person. You are agreeing to foot a small bill equally. You’re probably talking to the wrong person here as I’m a Canadian socialist. I believe it is the government’s responsibility to provide health care and education to its people. Health care includes preventing unwanted pregnancies which cost society much more. If you have to pay for the welfare of mothers who can’t work or adopt out unwanted children, that is far more expensive than birth control. If you feel the government shouldn’t pay welfare or adoptions, you either allow religious organizations to run the show and accept that religion will play a dominant role in your society or you accept that your society will be plagued by stifled and resemble a third world country.

              2. “That’s a false equivalency. No one is serving another person. You are agreeing to foot a small bill equally.”

                Well, if there’s no wealth transfer then why can’t we just all pay our own bills?

                It doesn’t matter if you’re Canadian — only if you can do math.

                Now, I agree that, as a nation, we are stronger if we have healthier, more educated citizens. But government doesn’t produce anything — people do. And for government to “give” to one requires that government first take from someone else.

                So it seems to me that one trade-off you’re willing to make is to accept involuntary servitude. And that may be fine in Canada, but it’s unconstitutional in this country.

              3. That’s really nothing more than a word game. For example:

                Governments don’t give to people, people do. In order for a person to give to one, he has to take from another. This implies that if you help out a cause you support, you’re giving what you took from someone else. Are you also willing to hold corporations to this same standard? Any business someone works for who claims property rights is “taking” from the people who produced the goods?

                You’ve also implied that economics is a zero sum game, an assertion that is demonstrably false for any currency backed economy that has inflation (i.e., every economy currently on the planet).

              4. Well chris, what I’ve implied is that government engages in a zero sum game when they force money out of your pocket. I’m sure you’ve been to an amusement park before. Did THEY have to force money out of your pocket or did you fork it over voluntarily? The answer determines the sum of the game, be it positive, zero, or negative.

              5. Did THEY have to force money out of your pocket or did you fork it over voluntarily? The answer determines the sum of the game, be it positive, zero, or negative.

                The voluntary nature of my spending has nothing to do with it being a zero sum game. The sum, as indicated in the term, is what determines it. For an individual transaction at an amusement park, if I buy a hot dog and pay $10, I’ve lost $10 and the park has gained it. I’ve gained a hot dog and the park has lost it. Regardless of the actual market value of the hot dog, I’ve lost $10 and gained a hot dog and the park has gained $10 and lost a hot dog. The sum is zero.

              6. Sure it does. YOU determine whether you value the hot dog more than, equal to, or less than $10. If you value it more, then you gained in the trade, less and you lost. Get it?

              7. I work in the financial services industry. Yes, I understand valuation of goods as it pertains to personal gain in a transaction. You are obviously operating under a different definition of a zero sum game than the rest of the world is. The context regards the sum of the gain between all participants, not your personal gain.

              8. Nope, not biting. You’ve repeatedly demonstrated that you don’t grasp what a zero-sum game is, that the economy is not a zero-game (because of the way it is designed) and that your original post about the nature of a monetary exchange (voluntary versus forced) has nothing to do with whether a system is zero-sum or not. And, now you’ve resorted to calling another poster “bozo” and done a Gish Gallop all over this comment section. I’m not playing whack-a-mole when we haven’t even moved beyond the first point.

              9. So, what you’re saying is everyone should have to pay for everything they use. There really is no need for government or taxes then. You see where that is going right?

                You think that you have earned everything you have taken? Think again.

              10. It’s certainly OK to force citizens to pay their taxes. Its also OK to force a criminal to pay a penalty. Its also OK for the government to force you to uphold contracts. A bit more controversially its OK, in a pinch, to draft an army for defense. Need more?

              11. Oh dear, I get this one all the time. Sounds like we’re headed toward an evolution debate.

                Don’t you marvel at how many organisms thrive without any government at all? Please tell me you don’t think “socialism” and/or “society” is a necessary condition for growth….

    2. I’m sorry but I subscribe to reality. Climate change is happening. Climate denialism is more akin to religion. Climate change is interesting in that the proportion of denial of action correlates to the evidence that it is happening.

      And income equality, so it’s OK for a CEO to make say 1000X the salary of an average worker. They really are a 1000X more productive.

      And handouts, you can’t be talking about the billions of bailout dollars given to financial institutions for bad behavior, and nothing given to homeowners who’s got no compensation for its effects. Handouts happen but it works the other way, they go largely to the top, not the bottom.

      You sound like one of these people who thinks Obama is the root of all evil, so hallelujah, the GOP is back in charge so magically all will be well again with just another tax break for corporations and another unnecessary war.

      1. Well, I voted for Obama twice, so I guess you’re projecting your paranoia into my remarks without actually taking what I said at face value.

        And when it comes to making money, let’s distinguish between positive sum games and zero sum games. If I make $$$ by making someone else’s life better, then that’s a productive, positive sum game, and the greater the sum, the better. If, on the other hand, I get $$$ by taking it from someone else, that’s a zero sum game, and my money doesn’t really count for much.

        I’m in favor of voluntary, cooperative, positive sum games. I do not favor schemes that forcibly compel person A to serve person B. That’s called slavery; it’s a zero sum game that sucks. And yes, Republicans engage in zero sum games — I agree completely! But again, so do liberals, and my only point is about symmetry in political discourse — or the lack thereof…

      2. And why does it have to be a CEO? What about Lebron James making 1000x the salary of an average worker? I think that’s fine as long as Lebron isn’t stealing, or using government to subvert free trade.

    3. Let’s only look at a woman’s “right” to “free” contraception — but let’s ignore the fact that contraceptives must be produced — AT A COST.

      What have you been smoking? Insurance companies are paying market price for the contraception they purchase on behalf of their cover-ees. Nobody is economically disadvantaging BC pill manufacturers.

      The reason giving it out for free works is because the cost to the insurance company of unplanned pregnancies is 8x higher than the cost of the prophylaxis they would need to prevent them. IOW, they will make a net profit and pay out less in claims by giving out BC in comparison to not giving it out.

        1. The price of the good the production company offers for it in the marketplace.

          Look this is not rocket science; there is no rule in ACA that forces producers to limit their pricing. A woman goes to a pharmacy to purchase BC. The pharmacy charges her health insurer the shelf price of the BC she purchased. They pay it. So the production cost is payed…despite your histrionic gabble otherwise.

          What do you think happens? Do you think Aetna never pays Bayer, that Bayer is somehow being forced to manufacture pills for free?

    4. Yeah, you’re sorry alright, trotting out the “climate change religion” mantra. You’ve just bankrupted yourself in the marketplace of ideas with that one.

      1. Well, it IS kind of like religion if you accept it blindly. I question things, and if you feel that bankrupts me then so be it.

        But how about instead of calling me sorry, you suggest a testable prediction concerning your climate fears?

        1. Look, you’re obviously just a troll with no concept of how the scientific method operates. Accept blindly? Naw. What I do accept is the overwhelming evidence of climate change detailed in over 10,000 peer-reviewed papers by people who know a lot more about the subject than I do, and decidedly know more than you do. Am I at all interested in arguing with you any further about this? Again, naw. If the preponderance of scientific evidence is not enough for you, then nothing I say will not make the least difference, nor am I concerned that it doesn’t. You’re just another anonymous non-entity.

          1. Nice appeal to authority. 10,000 peer-reviewed papers huh? Nice appeal to popularity.

            Are you interested in arguing with me any further? Of course not — because then you would have to work to keep up.

            When is scientific evidence ever “enough”? Enough to what? Stop investigating? Stop asking questions? Stop replacing old theories with new ones?

            1. 10,000 peer-reviewed papers probably equals the scientific consensus.

              sounds to me like you will denigrate any conclusion that might impact your your perceived monetary self-interest.

              Reminds me of the lumber barons in the 1800s saying the trees will last forever.

              1. Well, the forest cover has increased, all the while wood costs for consumers have declined. What’s the problem? Do you want me to send you the price chart?

              2. nominal: Compared to the 1800s? Whatever weed you’re smoking, I’d love to have some.

                Compared to the rape of the mountain west in the post-war boom? Well, yeah I certainly hope so! If that continued, we’d have had people like you insisting that we cut the trees out of the National Parks.

    5. I’m sorry, but I don’t subscribe to the climate change religion.

      While you are at it, you may tell us if you subscribe to the vaccination religion, the evolution religion, the electromagnetism religion, or the organic chemistry religion.

      Because so far we’ve only learned that you subscribe to the “Democrats are bad for the economy, because they cry for handouts” myth.

      1. I don’t subscribe to any religion. But I do like to examine testable predictions put forth by competing scientific theories. Evolution, electromagnetism, and quantum physics (the core of organic chemistry) all yield testable predictions. If you studied any of those fields, you’ve probably spent a lot of time in a laboratory testing those predictions yourself.

        Now, when you speak of climate change and global warming, can you point to a specific theory that yields testable predictions? I’m certainly open to doing the science!

        1. Now, when you speak of climate change and global warming, can you point to a specific theory that yields testable predictions? I’m certainly open to doing the science!

          Testable prediction made several decades ago by numerous atmospheric scientists: As the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere builds up, so will the planet warm.

          Result? Prediction amply confirmed.

          1. do you wonder why, then, CO2 has increased but temps haven’t over the last 10 years? Now, see, we can get somewhere with this thread! We can talk about how to measure, we can talk about whether other greenhouse gases, like H20 vapor, might be implicated, etc…

            then, like a mathematician (instead of a politician), we can reach agreement, and then cooperate to our mutual benefit.

            or, we can appeal to authority and name call — like so many of the other readers…

            1. Okay: So you’re offered something and you ignore, wittily (or so you think) shifting the goalposts.

              Sorry: Discussion over. It is pointless discussing with you for the same reason that Jerry Coyne declines to debate creationists.

              1. I’m not ignoring anything. I’m squarely considering the testable prediction you’ve offered by pointing out that, according to the IPCC’s latest climate report, your prediction fails to explain the last 10 years’ increase in CO2 but not in avg global temp.

                Why does that end the discussion? Do you only discuss data that confirm your hypotheses?

              2. Nominal, here’s what you can do to test the hypothesis. Take a cardboard box, paint the inside black, cover with glass and seal with lots of tape. Vent a tank of CO2 into the box and displace all the air, and maintain positive pressure. Now, cut a hole in the side big enough to fit your head in. No…it will have to be bigger than that. OK, good. Now, as the sun rises directly overhead, hold a thermometer under your tongue. When it reaches 108 degrees, wait one hour and then write a report with, introduction, methods, and conclusion.

            2. What data do you have that temps haven’t gone up over the last ten years? Ten years is short compared the length of time fossil fuels have been exploited.

              No one is saying that every year will be hotter than every previous year. That would just be silly.

              1. Well, read the latest IPCC report. Some bozo linked me to it — as if I haven’t already read it — so just scroll around and find the link.

                And yes, so far that’s the only testable prediction anyone on this blog has offered: temp goes up with CO2. I’m sorry, but that’s difficult to test in the first place, and the IPCC report speaks to those difficulties.

                Also, do you know what IR spectroscopy is? Compare CO2 IR spectrum to H20.

                Yes, what you’re saying would be silly. But I don’t think it’s silly to scrutinize the scientific literature, or to entertain competing theories.

              2. +1

                It is like saying that gravity actually doesn’t accelerate objects towards the Earth because Felix Baumgartner’s acceleration turned negative for a portion of his jump from “the edge of space.” The trajectory of his fall had a lot of factors. None of them involved gravity repelling him from the Earth.

          1. Wow. Did you even read section 1 of the link you sent me?

            What’s the difference between these two statements:

            1) The Earth warmed.
            2) The Earth likely warmed.

            Which one is testable? Let’s just start there.

            By the way, I couldn’t care less about your appeal to authority. How many trained physicists thought Einstein was a quack?

            1. I couldn’t care less about your appeal to authority. How many trained physicists thought Einstein was a quack?

              Are you comparing yourself, or maybe senator Inhofe to Einstein?

              Einstein’s theories have been confirmed by experiments. If climate change deniers could present solid research supporting their statements, they would get the attention of the scientific community. But their statements are ignorant and motivated by politics, not science.

              And I do not appeal to authority per se, but to the scientific consensus. Of course, you have to be properly trained to do scientific research – that is a minimal requirement (which, I strongly suspect, you wouldn’t be able to meet). But more importantly, no single scientist or laboratory can do all the experiments in a given field by themselves. In order to arrive at significant conclusions, cooperation of many scientists is needed, which includes both verifying and building upon one another’s results. Some degree of trust must be of course assumed in these endeavours, but sooner or later science corrects itself in case of an error or fraud.

              Currently, there is an overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and its causes. Unless you believe in some vast conspiracy of scientists from various fields of research, various countries, working for an array of organizations from academic to governmental to for-profit, and having no obvious common incentive to mislead the public – unless you believe that, you have to accept their findings.

              1. Well, maybe you don’t understand statistics as much as you’d like to believe.

                And scientific consensus used to be that the Earth was flat. Then it was that the sun orbited the Earth. Science usually progresses once the consensus figures out it was wrong — and how often is that!

                Let me ask you this:

                If 100 people go out and measure a stick, and 99 out of 100 report the stick is 2ft long. Fine. I can take their word, or I can go measure myself, but it’s testable.

                But what if the consensus is that the stick is “more than likely” greater than 1 ft, and “likely” equal to 2ft. Well, whatever you call that, there’s nothing scientific about it…

                What if Einstein said, E likely equals mc^2. Don’t you see how moronic and empty that hypothesis would be?

              2. What if Einstein said, E likely equals mc^2. Don’t you see how moronic and empty that hypothesis would be?

                Oh, dear…

                In science, there are no absolute certainties. We choose theories that are best supported by available evidence. Statistical analysis of data cannot tell us if a hypothesis is “true” or “false”, it can only evaluate the probability that a result is, or isn’t, a product of chance. We choose the cut-off probability arbitrarily, and agree to call the hypothesis supported by evidence if it meets that standard.

                There are areas of science – especially those that deal with very complex systems, with many concurrent variables, and data coming from many sources – where conclusions are explicitely qualified by assigning to them a certain “level of evidence”. Climatology is one example, another is medicine. For example, if you ever read any clinical practice guidelines, you’d know that they use a similar concept of evidence levels to that in the IPCC report. Nothing unscientific about it :-).

              3. Yes, it would appear that she might, and that might be arousing. 🙂

                Actually, she brought up a very good point — maybe made my point better than I was making it:

                Some sciences, especially when it comes to studying complex systems, have become “weak” in the sense that they’ve gone statistical. But statistics isn’t really scientific, per se. Statistics are just number transformations. Arts and crafts. But statistics, as a discipline, doesn’t explain anything. It doesn’t produce theories. It only transforms numbers.

                Indeed, the medical journals are rife with articles published by doctors who are skeptical of the heavy reliance on statistical methods.

                Of course, economics is the worst. But in no other field is the difference between certainty and uncertainty more glaring — or valuable. If you call me and I tell you your account is over $100, that’s so VERY different than if I tell you your account is likely to be over $100. Or if I told you that, ON THE AVERAGE, my clients made money… you’d laugh and Brygida would ask me what happened on the tail ends! 😉

                So when a scientist like myself reads a statement like “The earth likely warmned,” you can understand my skepticism.

                Another good example is probably election result modelling! hehehe. Brygida, how did those models treat you? Can I be skeptical of those models at least?

              4. So when a scientist like myself

                Don’t flatter yourself. You demonstrated in this thread that you have no idea how science works.

    6. I think you have demonstrated that you don’t have a good understanding about any of the issues you’ve commented on here.

      Just one example. Your strawman about “free” contraception. If you want to argue against something that you feel is important, you should make an effective effort to gain an accurate understanding of it first. Otherwise you just shoot yourself in the foot.

        1. Do you think health insurance should pay for VIAGRA? What about insulin? What about nicotine patches or antabuse? What about zoloft or prozac?

          Do you think people should have health insurance?

          Do you think “insurance” is the right model for health care? What should it pay for, and why?

          1. Great question! I think insurance is a poor product for most people… Insurance, in the first place, is a financial product designed to shift risk. Credit is designed to shift cost, and would be better I think… Gimme a bit and I’ll respond more thoroughly!

              1. Well, yeah, you have to remember, insurance companies are FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. Insurance is designed to transfer wealth from the purchaser in exchange for the policy seller taking on risk. But cost isn’t shifted because insurance companies work it into the premiums they charge! That’s the first rule of the financial markets — no risk-free arbitrage. For the product to even make money and be a feasible product, the purchasers must lose money if they gain security. Ever wonder how Warren Buffet really makes most of his money? SELLING insurance.

                Compare to credit, or even direct payments! If that were the scheme, you COULD shit cost in exchange for TIME. That would seem like the more appropriate product to me. And think about it, that’s what they do with MANY other government hand-out programs: food stamps, farm subsidies, etc.

                Super-low interest rate loans, or direct payments would transfer wealth from banks to the consumer. Insurance products — the other way around: buyer to seller.

                Obamacare was a reward for the insurance companies Obama got in bed with in exchange for backing back in 08.

    7. “but let’s ignore the fact that contraceptives must be produced — AT A COST.”

      You really should examine the facts around an issue before repeating something you hear on Fox “News”

      Birth control is cheap. There are no patents covering use of estrogen and progesterone for the purpose of oral contraception. The first Pill, Enovid, was made available in the U.S. in 1957. These are very inexpensive to synthesize and manufacture. [Retail price: Nine dollars at Wal-Mart.]
      I can assure you, those $9 pills are being sold at a PROFIT or the drug companies would simply stop making them. Pharma has absolutely no compunction in this regard, no matter the life saving value of a particular drug.
      Drug shortages have been on the rise since 2001.
      Compared to the pill, abortion is expensive. The prices in the US range from $300-800 dollars.
      If that’s not deterrent enough, raising a child to legal majority is around $245,340. A child raised as a ward of the State costs more, particularly if they run afoul of the law.
      On balance I’d much rather spend the nine dollars of my tax money for a pill. I’m sure you view it differently.

      1. Because we live in a world of scarcity, I must choose (or be forced) where to spend the $9 it costs to buy a pill.

        In a world of uncoerced trade, I might be able to use $9 to give an employee a raise, or buy a hamburger for a Vet who’s been raped by the VA.

        Suppose you’d rather feed a starving child with your $9. I’d much rather you have that choice, rather than being forced. I mean, don’t we reject involuntary servitude (slavery) in this country?

        And one last, really important point: What’s more valuable? $9 in starbucks gift certificates or $9 dollars in currency? The latter, because people prefer increased liquidity. Similarly, when governments dictate how currency is to be spent, that devalues the currency. Think of what that does to the poorest of the poor…

        1. In a world of uncoerced trade, I might be able to use $9 to give an employee a raise, or buy a hamburger for a Vet who’s been raped by the VA.

          Well congratulations, by purchasing an employee policy that includes BC you can give that employee TWO $9 raises or buy two hamburgers, because the policy cost will be lower. Why? Because the health insurance company pays out significantly less per year in claims when women take BC compared to when they don’t.

          So just think about how Hobby Lobby and companies like it are abusing the poor, by taking hamburger and raise money out of the pockets of their employees by their insistence on purchasing a more expensive health care policy just to avoid BC coverage.

    8. Yes, let’s look at output. Look at real wages for the last 30 years (everything post-Reagan). If you are in the top 20-percent income wise, you did well. In the top 5%, really well. In the top 1% astronomically well.

      Look at productivity (output) for the same period: Huge gains.

      Who’s getting the money? Who is taking all the gains? The thin slice at the top. If you think that can go on indefinitely, you’re fooling yourself.

      Trickle down has been conclusively disproved.

  26. Reblogged this on The Atheist of Melos and commented:
    Good Bye America. I would try to cling to the small consolation that at least my country, Canada, is not under the sway of the Republican Party. Unfortunately, if the progress we have made on working against trickle-down economics and deregulation is reversed, the world economy will certainly descend into the bowels of despair only to be excreted and flushed down the toilets of the ultra-rich. Then no one, not even Canada will be safe.

  27. I guess the strategy of obstructing and demonizing Obama for 6 years strait, and running on the platform that “we will make Washington work,” apparently works. This is the most depressing election I’ve seen in my lifetime. Seniors who voted for republicans in droves as the deciding factor are sadly going to discover that they have no problemo cutting Medicare and Social Security. The election proved that dark money can buy elections, courtesy of Citizens United. Dark days in America are ahead, we’re going to look more like Kansas from here on out, run everything on the cheap while we watch schools and infrastructures crumble, while most people are paid inadequately for the foreseable future. I actually do think it is a distinct possibility of a Republican president in 2016 who will immediately gut Obamacare, flaws and all which will have the intended side effects of renewing the death spiral of health care costs, while gutting whatever minor protections it provided for catastrophic conditions like cancer. I think we lost any chance in the next decade to do anything about Climate Change. We are going to be awash in the agenda to drill everywhere and develop tar sands and renew coal to what end to the planet. I could go on and on but I won’t because it’s too depressing. I’m not trying to be deliberately histrionic or pessimistic, this is what I actually think has happened and its only going to get much worse. Even if Hillary Clinton were to win, the republicans will go back to the successful strategy of demonizing her just like Obama, it is probably a permanent strategy going forward.

  28. Agreed, truly dispiriting, a major disappointment. It boggles the mind that voters rewarded Republicans for weakening the economic recovery, catering to big money corporate interests, doing nothing about immigration, denying the reality of climate change, interfering with women’s reproductive rights, eliminating life-lines to the poor, etc. Republicans have a very good propaganda machine.

    1. Big money corporate interests?

      Who put in Tim Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury? Who re-nominated Bush’s old Fed chief, Ben “The Helicopter” Bernanke? Who signed the TARP 2 and TALF into law? Who nominated Janet Yellen to chair the Fed? Who tried to block her nomination? Don’t you know what “quantitative easing” means?

      Not to mention the biggest elephant in the room: Dodd-Frank. Who do you think signed that into law? Who do you think Barney Frank or Barack Obama are protecting — you or the banks?

  29. what we’ll see is gridlock until the 2016 elections

    To be honest, we’ve been seeing that anyway. I don’t think we’ll see much practical difference.

    Take judicial nominations as an example. A senate majority allows the GOP to block them. But they’ve been successfully blocking them as a minority for the past several years, so on a practical level we’re not going to see much change.

    This represented a vote against Obama by an electorate who votes on their own pocketbooks and not on principle.

    I disagree with that interpretation. Honestly, the political map of gains and losses shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. This is a classic midterm result: the party who last won the presidency (in 2012) got a bump-up in that election to house and senate numbers, due to the people who showed up just to vote for president. In the mid-term, those ‘president only’ voters disappear, and that party loses their bump-up.

    1. As a practical analysis this is true, but we’re not living in classical times anymore. Global warming is happening and it doesn’t care about the effectiveness of demonizing Obama to win elections. Extreme inequality is happening, and another conservative judge with permanently enshrine corporate personhood essentially into our constitution for all time.

      1. That’s a complete nonsequitur. I agree those are all important issues, but I was replying to JAC’s analysis of ‘voter motive’. The results are consistent with mundane and typical voter behaviors such as apathy. We have no need of other hypotheses as to voter motives.

    2. I agree that this seems like a fairly typical midterm election result. When you look at the states being contested, it was a hard road for the Dems to begin with. Add to the fact that several of the Dem senators who lost had initially come in on the huge Democratic wave of the 2008 election, and the losses are hardly surprising.

      Granted, that doesn’t make things any less dispiriting, but I think it does offer some hope. Nate Silver has pointed out that the 2016 election will include a larger number of liberal states being contested with Republicans who won in their wave year of 2010. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the Dems will take back the Senate or the House.

      1. Sure, I’ll teach you all about Optimum Points, Double Doubles and Swiss Chalet. All you have to do is help me stop Catholic School Board public funding & stop the Lord’s Prayer in public schools in Alberta.

      1. Luckily my wife has dual citizenship, Canada and US. So we can escape to most any Commonwealth country if need be. Besides Canada, New Zealand sounds nice too.

        1. I have Canadian and New Zealand. I figure out escaping to NZ because I fear things going to hell hear soon after it goes to the hell in the US.

  30. This is only temporary, the map was red going in, although there were some surprises. In 2016, there are going to be a bunch of blue states and the chamber will fall back into democrat hands, and hopefully, a democrat president.

  31. Those who mention that yes, the Constitutional Amendment to remove all private money from elections would be good, but then say those in power who would have to propose it and vote on it will never do it. That is simply the defeatist mentality.

    If the American People really want their government back, they must demand it and work for it. What better use could be made of the modern communications of today. Educate the people on this and make them understand this is the only way other than full blown revolution and no one really wants that.

    But you can just ring your hands, throw them up and say nothing can be done or worse, think that some day the Democrats will come back and fix everything. Sure they will.

  32. My explanation (worth what you paid for it, as usual) is that Democrats are just Republicans-Lite. Their idea of leadership, in my state and district, is to do surveys to find out what policies they have to support to get my vote. I tore them up in disgust. Democrats support “clean coal” in Kentucky (not my state), for example. Elisabeth Warren (also not my state) is the only one who seems to know what leadership means.

    I just read “Last Stand of the Tin-Can Sailors”. It tells about a Destroyer Captain, Captain Evans, whose ship was part of the escort screen of a small fleet of jeep carriers supporting the Army landings to retake the Phillipines in WWII. He saw a huge Japanese fleet of battleships and heavy cruisers appear on the horizon, capable of destroying the American carriers and going on to wreck havoc on the Army landing. Without waiting for orders from the fleet commander, he ordered, “Flank speed. Left full rudder.” and attacked the enemy fleet, to slow it down and buy time for reinforcements to arrive.

    How I would love to vote for a Democrat like that, who didn’t shrink from being called “liberal” and attacked on behalf of liberal policies. I voted anyway, but I am not surprised that a lot of young, low-information (as I was at their age) voters who have heard only Republicans attack did not – or worse, voted Republican.

    1. The description provided of what happened at Leyte Gulf in 1944 is incomplete. Yes, the commanders of those escort destroyers and jeep carriers showed great courage in attacking greatly superior forces. However, if the Japanese commander, Kurita, hadn’t blinked and withdrew, in violation of his orders I might add, their attack would have been in vain as the reinforcements would never have arrived in time as all the fleet carriers and the modern battleships were busily steaming north to attack the remnants of the Japanese carrier fleet.
      This is a textbook example of what can happen when there is a divided command (Halsey commanded the major naval units, MacArthur commanded the army and marine units. The army wouldn’t accept putting Halsey in overall command and the navy wouldn’t accept putting MacArthur in overall command.

      1. Since my last comment would have been very long, I have divided it into two comments.

        The real author of what could have been a major military disaster at Leyte Gulf was in Washington, namely the president and the joint chiefs. They should have either sent Marshall out to take overall command on the spot or told Nimitz to get his hindquarters out to Leyte Gulf and assume overall command on the spot.

        1. “The description provided of what happened at Leyte Gulf in 1944 is incomplete.”

          What makes you think I intended a paragraph to be a complete description of a huge battle? I excerpted an anecdote from it which I thought was illustrative of the type of leadership which most Democratic candidates lacked, and therefore was at least tangentially on topic. Nor did I make any claim about overall battle credit or blame for you to dispute. Since you raise the issue, the book I cited explores that interpretation but concludes that Admiral Kurita probably made a wise decision to withdraw from the battle when he did (after some initial blunders). So you have also given an incomplete description of the pros and cons. What’s your excuse, and where is your relevancy?

  33. Every time I turned around prior to the elections I kept hearing that now Americans would have a chance to make a difference once again. Yet here we are the morning after election day when the hate, innuendo, and sometimea brutal campaigns, and I find that nothing has actually changed. The country continually runs from one perceived evil (Obama) right back into Republican hand’s. Didn’t the nation learn that it was the Republicans that put our nation in debt. Strated a war where thousand of Americans have lost their lives. We have now once again placed the future of our people, lives and economy back into the same hands that ran us and literally the U.S. into the ground. Wake up people are you never going to learn that change needs happen. Here we go again high unemployment rates, more useless spending. Then in 2016 do really honestly think that rallying behind Hilary Clinton to become the first woman President to come in and clean up this mess. In reality it will take at least 10 years to auto correct the damage that was done last night.

    1. With numbnuts Imhofe, the personal property of the fossil fuel interests now in charge of the relevant Senate committee, nothing will be done.

  34. The most depressing result, perhaps, is that Sam Brownback was reelected in Kansas with a 3rd party candidate siphoning off enough votes to give the democrat a win. Brownback has ruined the economy in Kansas. His policies were republican party-line dogma, and they have been disastrous. Tax cuts for the rich, rising inequality, crushing budget deficits, school closings, state credit down-rated, joblessness, etc. Why would anyone vote for that? Yet 422,000+ people did. Is Kansas a model idiocracy?

  35. It’s not just bad for the USA, it’s bad for the whole world. All my British friends send their deepest condolences.

  36. I live in a congressional district, Tennessees’s 4th, that hates Obama so much that they overwhelmingly reelected a doctor, Scott Desjarlais, who coerced both his wife and girlfriend (a patient of his) into having abortions, yet runs on an anti-abortion platform. This rather than vote for a democrat who was highly qualified. And then these same voters passed a constitutional amendment that will be used to outlaw abortions in Tennessee. These people are clueless.

    1. The republicans know that the American people run on emotion, not reason. They’ve proven it time and again and will continue. Propaganda, though phony, works extremely well. Thanks FOX for your lies and hate.

  37. In a nutshell the main point of the election is that large swaths of the American electorate intensely hate Obama, and really could care less about what the alternatives are. I actually am quite taken aback and surprised by the level of hatred, and that rarely happens. There really is no other good explanation for the results. Classic cut off your nose to spite your face.

    1. There’s one more thing that helps to explain yesterday’s election results: The voters who would have made an enormous difference in this election, by and large, didn’t bother to vote.

      When you stop to consider that complete a-holes now run the Senate, the House and the majority of state governments and that enormous swaths of people in this country either no longer care or are unable to differentiate between a lyin’, ignorant a-hole and a politician who genuinely cares about the constituents they serve there’s only one conclusion that you can reasonably come to: the future of the American democratic system is dubious at best.

      We are totally screwed.

      1. Yes, given Obama’s nature we can expect principled compromises with the GOP on how to best slash social programs and provide a new set of corporate tax breaks to further line the pockets of bloated corporations. But the good news is corporations can’t continually be profitable in perpetuity if the vast majority of people don’t have decent jobs or the disposable means to buy all the neat gadgets necessary for stock prices to grow, which is really the only important American value these days, selling stuff.

        1. And the Supreme Court will continue to dismantle America piece by piece. No use hoping for a liberal majority there. It also proves to the billionaires that they can buy elections, so this is just the beginning. As you pointed out, Obama hasn’t demonstrated much of a backbone- fire-up the steamroller Republicans. And those people who have Obamacare better go see a doctor real quick for their last real check-up.

      2. The voters who would have made an enormous difference in this election, by and large, didn’t bother to vote.

        You are right. Practically every demographic group expected to favor democrats showed up in lesser relative numbers for this election compared to the 2012 one. Meanwhile, old white folks showed up in larger percentiles.

        I’m not sure this fully explains it. And even if it does, it may be the case that the no-shows didn’t show because they had no intention of voting democratic – i.e., those drops may represent ‘intentional abstains’ rather than ‘forgotten (D) votes.’ However yeah, you’re right, democrats were greater no-shows than republicans, younger people were greater no-shows than older people, and minorities were greater no-shows than whites.

  38. Last night, hundreds of people stood for hours after the polls closed to vote. They were in line where you could register and vote the same day. Some did not get to vote until almost 3 AM! Some left without voting.

    Now, while some surely had just moved or had other valid reasons, several were interviewed in local paper had more than enough opportunity to properly register long ago and avoid this mess. They simply did not. Overwhelmingly, these were younger folks. I just cannot understand how seemingly intelligent people are so unengaged and lazy. Of course, if something related to gaming were on the ballot, I’m sure they would have pitchforks and torches ready — but would be powerless because they were too stupid and lazy to register to vote before election day.

  39. It’s been comforting to read these comments — I live in New York, and my whole family always votes Democrat, so today is horribly depressing. Yesterday, my mom and I went to vote, and walked out with an older woman with a European accent who had voted Republican. She said, “Well, I’m from Hungary and I don’t want socialism. If you like socialism, then you vote for Obama.” And my mom replied “Do you like your Medicare and your social security?” The conversation went on, but what I saw was how impossible it is to reason logically with people whose motto is “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s up!” (as my dad would always say, most often about the Republicans!)
    Also, we’re from Kentucky, so seeing that horrible Mitch McConnell win again is just sickening.

  40. I’m mystified by the idea that a Republican victory would somehow affect abortion laws. Republicans have won numerous elections since Roe v. Wade, but abortion laws in America remain just about the most liberal in the world.

      1. There’s one pattern very obvious in that table when you compare rate (for 2005) with rate by state of residence in the same year. There are quite a few states from which large numbers of women crossed state lines to obtain this medical service. Which states were they?

  41. By the way, I think we need to acknowledge the phenomenal success that the oligarchs have had with their propaganda machine Fox News. They understand how ignorance and fear works. They know that dumbing down every argument, vilifying science and reason, and making government out to be the problem and never the solution, works in favor of the laissez-faire capitalists.
    We need to look to history to see what a powerful weapon propaganda is and how control of the media is one of the keys to political control.
    Our democracy is dying and Fox News is holding the pillow over its face.

    1. I find myself surrounded by young, intelligent people who appreciate and value science and who do not vote. The reasons are always varied and often complex, but they simply cannot be bothered to vote. I hate Republicans, but they show up at the polls. Why is it so damn hard to convince intelligent people that turnout matters? Why so much outrage but so little action? I am mystified.

      1. And it is the kids who will be most affected by policies that ignore climate change, ignore student debt, ignore minimum wage, ignore healthcare, and praise God.

  42. I don’t know much about American political and voting system, but aren’t the election results a reflection of people’s choice? Isn’t this what majority of Americans vote?

  43. I blame the Democrats, too, though. If they had voiced clearer support for the President instead of running from him, it could have been better. Democrats are often a bunch of wimps, and in certain cases this election, they lost, it wasn’t the Republicans that won. Allison Grimes threw it away in Kentucky for refusing to say she even voted for Obama! Republican lite ain’t gonna cut it.

  44. Liberals and others of similar high moral character have been taking the wrong course. After many successes at improving society such as obtaining the right of women to vote, improving the life of our seniors, gaining civil rights, and stemming poisoning of the environment, we have been reduced to stemming the piecemeal encroachment of 19th century conservatism back into the political arena. On each encroachment the impact is blunted, but the net effect has been to simply change a plunge into a 3rd world cesspool to a death spiral.
    The end result will be the same, and the negative offshoot is people continue to support (or not oppose) those pushing these horrific policies because they’re partially shielded from the obvious outcome. We need to remember that Lake Erie was catching on fire before there was a push for the environment, and people were getting hung, beaten and blocked at the schoolhouse door before civil rights went through. It has got to get bad, really bad. In order for others to start caring, you’ve got to stop.
    So my recommendation to all liberals is to drop your swords. Elections have consequences and people need to suffer those consequences. Severely. The time for compassion is past. Kids need to be taught by teachers that think great-granddad rode a dinosaur. People losing their jobs need to be kicked to curb and left to starve. Barren, treeless neighborhoods need to lit at night by a natural gas flare. Give everyone a gun, a drink, and a bad referee. People need to get to the point they’ll cut off their child’s arm because a one arm-armed beggar raises more money. Let Art Pope, the Koch brothers, and all of their kindred spirits feast and dine, reveling in their largesse.
    Let the conservative orgy reign supreme, let them eat their young and satiate their greed, then when the bloated beast looks up after sucking the life-blood from fetid corpse of their last supporter, cut off it’s head.

  45. Soon we will rival the glorious society of Mexico.

    I used to have relatives in Canada…does that make it easier to emigrate?

  46. What really annoys me about this (besides the damage Republicans will do) is just how stupid or short the memory is of some voters. Or that they are stupid enough to believe that “politicians are all the same”.

    They are not all the same, and those who elected them are going to learn this, much to their detriment. Actually, they aren’t going to learn. If they could they would have figured it out after the last Bush.

    These fools blame Obama, I’ve even heard liberals blaming Obama for not getting anything done, for not keeping his promises when it was Republicans who stopped him from getting anything done.

    The same idiots who shut the government down with no plan, no reason, with a demand that Obama defund Obamacare. After wasting several years voting to kill Obamacare, what, 50 times?

    It’s disappointing how easily so many voters are duped to vote against their best interests. Americans have voted for less regulation after numerous companies in Republican states poisoned the water supply. After a Texas fertilizer plant exploded right next to a hospital and school. After a coal slurry pond gave way and polluted streams and rivers. I bet none of them even thought about any of that as they voted reflexively because they were angry at the wrong people.

    Hell, the Republicans couldn’t even get their own legislation passed. They couldn’t get agreement between their own people to do the governing they swore to do because so many of their party are stark raving mad lunatics that hate government and don’t want it to do anything. People who would rather see the government fall than raise a penny in taxes.

    The same people believe the most absurd conspiracy theories. People who believe the stupidest, craziest things, like Obama is setting up concentration camps for conservatives and the religious, or Obama is a secret Muslim plotting the takeover of the USA are in charge of the most powerful country in the world. The same fools who suggest executing people with Ebola and support corporations having religious beliefs.

    It boggles the mind.

  47. Besides mostly agreeing with Jerry, some predictions:

    One possibility getting widely overlooked: The GOP House will probably be able to pass articles of impeachment, although the Senate will likely not vote to remove Obama from office. (The particular issue the impeachment will be predicated on is actually irrelevant, given the GOP’s hatred for Obama. They’ll find ‘something’ to hang it on.)

    On the ACA: probably will not be dismantled, but will be made more market friendly (various restrictions on pricing and pre-existing conditions issues removed, etc.)

    Obama’s veto power has been seriously weakened, so we will see primarily conservative legislation enacted.

    More tax breaks for the wealthy.

    Serious weakening of Social Security, possibly also Medicare.

    Foreign policy: Despite GOP saber-rattling, not much is going to change here, since many of these decisions are made by people the GOP has no difficulty working with (intelligence community, Pentagon, financiers, etc.)

    As to the broader picture here, not much to say that hasn’t been said. The Democrats chose the path of least resistance, and Obama has tried to ‘facilitate’ rather than lead; and the American people can’t seem to pull themselves away from their TV sets and think for themselves.

    1. Even if they impeached and threw Obama out of office, what would be achieved – President Biden for a year or so. In a way I hope they go full board impeachment hearings, all things equal it is probably the least odious thing they could do, in comparison to say – shutting the government down multiple times and defaulting on our debt unless Obama agrees to draconian compromise X, Y and Z. That’s what’s coming thanks to these results.

      1. “Even if they impeached and threw Obama out of office, what would be achieved -”

        Sound-bytes and photo-ops, of course. The Republicans have learned how to stage politics as circus, they have no interest in governing; they know the system now largely runs itself, and the only policies that matter to them are those satisfying their two major constituencies, the wealthy and the anti-intellectual.

    2. If the wealthy are paying most of the personal income taxes, shouldn’t they get the tax breaks? Just because a person is successful and works hard why should they have to pay more in total and on a percentage basis? Put limits on how much can be collected from individuals and force the government to live within their means.

      1. Denying the reality of privilege is wearing blinkers in the economic context. Denying the need to function as a national community for the benefit of all is ethically impoverished. Assuming a government functions in the same way as a household (“living within their means”) is simplistic and uninformed.

        1. I am not sure what “wearing blinkers” means, perhaps I am too simplistic and uninformed or ethically impoverished. But the notion that a simple “cash in cash out” balance won’t work for a complex government is also uninformed. It works for the largest corporations in the world and a small mom and pop business. At some point we all have to pay the piper and settle our debts.

          Sure, some people have privilege and are born into their wealth, and others work hard for their success coming up from nothing.

          But thanks for the soapbox speech about how the people that pay most of the personal federal income taxes don’t deserve to receive tax cuts if they are given.

          1. Having seen the posts by “Democrat” and “LarryT” I now have your number. I’ve been on enough political websites to know it when I see. You googled “election 2014” and came up with this site, and just had to post here. It’s what you get paid for? well, given your trite cliche ‘arguments,’ one certainly suspects so.

      2. If the wealthy are paying most of the personal income taxes, shouldn’t they get the tax breaks? Just because a person is successful and works hard

        What makes you think the wealthy worked hard to earn their money? That would be a hasty assumption at the best of times, but most of the wealth of many of the world’s richest is either inherited or accomplished by some form of extortion: “speculators, property barons, dukes, IT monopolists, loansharks, bank chiefs, oil sheikhs, mining magnates, oligarchs and chief executives paid out of all proportion to any value they generate” (see

      3. There is almost perfect correlation with the radical decreases in personal income taxes, estate taxes and capital gains taxes, and the skyrocketing of inequality starting with Reagan while at the same time the almost flat lining of the average salary of an ordinary person since then. The economy has grown by leaps and bounds but the fruits of this abundance has gone almost exclusively to the top. I would go as far as to say it is the great untold story of the past four decades, the gradual and utter destruction of the middle class through deliberate incremental changes in tax policy. This isn’t liberal mythology but plain fact with stacks of data and charts for anyone who bothers to examine it.

  48. “largely pulled our troops out of the Middle East (though he tends to waffle on foreign policy),”

    I’m going to imagine a Republican president would have done a heck of a lot worse, but Obama’s treatment of the Middle East wasn’t exactly clean. His interventions there, especially regarding the bombings and drone strikes, were abysmal.

    There must be some grime on his record for such hostility to arise en masse. Is it because his government hasn’t, last time I checked, released the 28 redacted pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 he promised? The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement hadn’t fulfilled any of the promises he made: is that part of it too? Is it because of his involvement with the shady Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership initiative? These are probably isolated cases compared with the rest of his track record, but presumably there wouldn’t be so much hatred without some sort of grain of truth to criticisms of his policies? Are these the sorts of things that are influencing people to vote Republican? In any case, I don’t believe in pure goodness: presumably, there would be something about Obama to criticize, even if it still doesn’t make him worse than the Republicans?

    It’s probably because I’m from the UK and am not familiar with US politics, but is it a case of the US having a choice between not-good and outright abominable?

    1. I’m curious:

      “It’s probably because I’m from the UK and am not familiar with US politics, but is it a case of the US having a choice between not-good and outright abominable?”

      Considering the argument you laid out, a few issues in which Obama did not or was not able to keep his promise, in this case, Obama vs Republicans, which is not-good and which is outright abominable?

      And considering many of his policies were not able to be implemented because of Republican obstructionism, which they stated was a policy when Obama was elected, how is electing more Republicans possibly going to make things better? Especially in a system that is designed to work only when the elected representatives work together to pass legislation?

      1. I didn’t say Republicans would make an improvement. Given what little I know, they’d mess up the situation badly. But what framework are we using: good Democrats and bad Republicans, or bad/mixed Democrats and worse Republicans?

        I was getting suspicious of the general portrayal here of Obama as either doing good or being obstructed by Republicans, simply because I don’t believe in people being just that perfect and innocent. Hasn’t he done anything one could legitimately criticize?

  49. One last remark here, on 2016: Predictions:

    Likely choices: Hilary Clinton: closet NeoCon with openly fundamentalist leanings. Jeb Bush: openly NeoCon with track record of manipulating fundamentalist voters.

    Supreme Court nominees: Bush: Conservative Republican. Clinton: Moderate to Conservative Democrat.

    Foreign policy: Both: in relation to developed nations: continued reliance on international finance community for policy. In relation to under-developed nations: continued militarism and manipulation of local dissidents.

    Social policy: Clinton: Public support for women’s issues, LGBT rights, ethnic rights; quiet support for ‘family values’ programs and churches. Bush: Public support for ‘family values’ programs and churches; benign neglect of women’s issues, LGBT rights, ethnic rights. (Immigration: likely the same for both.)

    Economics: Clinton: will favor soft-industry development, increase in minimum wage, lower taxes, and gradual deconstruction of Social Security and other social support systems. Bush: will favor service industries, retail, investments; tax cuts for the wealthy, tax incentives for investors. Will not advocate deconstruction of social support systems – will let the Republicans in Congress do that, and sign if passed.

    Conclusion: little to hope for from the presidential election – differences in emphasis, policies tend to lean in same direction. The elections that matter in 2016 will be Congressional.

  50. GOP leaders: If you want to really promise superiority: economic, military, medical, or infrastructure of any kind then support basic research. The global community will walk over America like dirt if you do not understand that science is everything.

  51. They are all crooked, dems and repub’s alike, mostly looking at how they can enhance their own personal well being. Just google “Harry Reid net worth or John Bohner Net Worth.” The best thing to actually help our country would be term limits on Congress; you get 4 terms in the house and 2 in the senate. After that, you have to get a real job and be productive, no goverment lobbying positions for 2 years.

    I don’t agree with all Republican positions on the issues but I am also tired of having my hard work rewarded with additional taxes and surcharges to pay the way for others. We need a balanced budget, stop borrowing money to pay for programs.

    1. The quaint notion that term limits for legislators is the answer is piffle. It takes time for a legislator to learn what the heck is going on so he/she has to lean on people who work for the legislative committees. They end up running the show. Term limits for legislators have been a gigantic failure in California. This is typical of simple answers to complex problems.

      No, the big problem is lobbying by big money interests, (think the Koch brothers) and the need for large campaign coffers. If you want real reform, take the big money out of politics.

      1. Sometimes the simplest answers are best for complex problems, which are mostly self inflicted. I agree that the big money is also a problem, but that goes hand in hand with people not focused on doing their job with their constituents and the country’s best interest in mind, they are focused on getting re-elected. As far as the learning curve goes, that is “piffle.” Major corporations experience turnover at the executive level and get new ideas and talent on a far more frequent basis than the US Congress. The US Military has turnover at every leadership position on an average of every two years. Our elected officials are supposedly smart people who should be able to figure it out, and if they can’t perhaps they don’t belong in office. Our founding fathers did not envision career politicians; they envisioned people to go do their duty and go back to their lives and be productive. The growth of big government has made it more complex, and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. If there are term limits for the President, then why not a Congressman or a Senator?

    2. Politicians are all the same?
      And you can tell by their net worth?

      I wasn’t aware you could tell if a person is honest, a liar, or crooked by their net worth. That’s an interesting proposition but somehow I don’t think it bears out in reality.

      Last I read the deficit had been significantly reduced under Obama.
      On the other hand, Republicans have gone a long way to give tax cuts to millionaires and corporations along with subsidies to corporations, farmers, and subsidies for insurance for crops. Tax cuts and subsidies that will have to be paid for by either increasing taxes on lower income people, or by borrowing.

      Republicans cry and whine about Obamacare and talk about individual responsibility but gave away billions to millionaire farmers for crop insurance.
      Romneycare for corn.

      Democrats have reduced spending and either balanced the budgets, or gotten closer to balancing budgets than Republicans ever have. Republicans have increased the debt and deficit.
      Clinton balanced the budget.
      Bush increased the deficit and debt.
      Obama has decreased the deficit.

      Republicans have done one thing well which is convincing you of the fallacy that they are fiscally responsible. That simply isn’t true.
      “Which party is more responsible?”

      Living in a society means paying taxes towards things you don’t want to pay taxes for. Using science based policy means programs that help people get on their feet so they can pay taxes too. That is not the Republicans. Republicans are all ideology, no science.

      Many programs have been shown to save taxpayers money in the long run. Education, child care so mothers can get educated and get decent jobs. Drug and alcohol treatment.

      Republicans are all about the “I’ve got mine, screw you” attitude. It should be made into a patch and sewn onto their jackets. Look at their states and see how well it works for them. The most Republican states are the worst performing with the highest poverty rates.

      1. Clinton balanced the budget.

        -With a little help from Newt.

        Obama has decreased the deficit.

        -With a little help from Boehner.
        I’m quite sure multi-year Federal spending ceilings require a combination of a Republican House and a Democratic President to achieve.

    3. Do you not understand that we currently have the lowest taxes in ~40 years. The notion that we are overtaxed is utterly absurd. Just shows the propaganda is working well.

  52. The silver lining here is that the obstructionist game can be played on both sides of the aisle. Not that a dysfunctional Government accomplishing nothing of use is desired when there are problems to be solved, but such is the schizophrenic mindset of America as we continuously alternate between two parties who are sold out to lobbyists and Wall Street.

    I voted Green across the board yesterday. I live in a place where none of the races are even remotely close, so I don’t plan to stop going third party anytime soon. The entire system needs reform. One big worry though is Supreme Court appointees. Obstruction can only go so far there and we already have a pretty heinous mix of justices as it is.

    1. Maybe we should start with a review of how big governments (Democratic , Republican, Socialist, Communist) , big companies, big unions have served their constituents. Why wasn’t it scary & depressing when Obama was elected with both a Democratic Senate & Congress and accomplished NOTHING.

      For me it was depressing that only a few Libertarian candidates received more than 1% of the vote…I suppose that makes me an environment hating fascist.

      But as a newbie to this blog…I’m curious; was the “evolution” of Republicans “different” in some way then the “evolution” of Democrats or any other political “philosophy”? And by the way…what does this “discussion” have to do with “why evolution is true” anyway?

      1. To answer your last question – this is Prof CC’s personal website. I assume it was started to support his book but now it discusses anything he finds interesting.

  53. This will sound like post-election loss bellyaching, but I’ve repeatedly wondered over the past couple of years, if America wouldn’t be better served by splitting into two countries.

    Also, I never cease to be amazed by the American electorate, and who/what they choose to vote for. As an outsider, it’s hard not to throw up your hands and say that American voters reap what they sow. As do the young voters who refuse to turn up in any real numbers for elections (even 2008 Obama only managed to up the turnout of under-30s to a whopping 18% or so).

    What is the United States going to look like in 20 years, with another 20 years of wear on it’s crumbling infrastructure? After another 20 years of what will most likely be unending military engagements (and the associated costs)? After another 20 years of chipping away at taxes, and the welfare state? America feels like a nation in an accelerating decline.

    1. Peacefully splitting America up into multiple countries would be an interesting experiment: it would end the so-called “American empire” and test the claims of the southern Republicans that their policies would, indeed, be better for growth. The main negative consequence would be that free trade between the states would be threatened.

  54. “nominalfinance” starts with this nonsense:

    “I’ll take the climate fearmongers seriously when they stop taking hot showers…”

    This is a good example of a logical fallacy known as Tu Quoque ( A simple example: Al gore is fat and he commutes driving a 1 MPG army tank, so global warming is a myth. The fact of global warming does not depend on exactly who is taking hot showers or driving tanks. Referring to all of those who recognize global warming is factual as “fearmongers” is a logical fallacy known as Poisoning The Well (

    And then he proceeds to his real agenda:
    “I’m sorry, but I don’t subscribe to the climate change religion.”
    An obviously false statement since science isn’t a “religion”. This logical fallacy is obviously known as False Equivocation (

    And then using this obviously scientifically illiterate apologetic, with additional false equivocation:
    “Science seeks to replace old theories with better ones — it doesn’t castigate skeptics. That’s religion.”
    Science starts with skepticism and requires critical reasoning and evidence to change its views. Global warming denialists are not skeptics; they ignore the evidence and strictly avoid critical reasoning. The global warming views that exist within the scientific community are because the evidence and critical reasoning lead directly towards that result, not because they started out wanting it to be “true” like what occurs in religious belief systems.

    Against all advice about what to do when finding yourself in a hole, he then proceeds to dig even deeper with this:
    “I couldn’t care less about your appeal to authority. How many trained physicists thought Einstein was a quack?”
    This is a logical fallacy known as Extended Analogy, or in this case the Galileo gambit ( since it assumes that at least one global warming denier is a new Einstein. One can find some physicists, and especially engineers, who still reject either general or special relativity, but they tend to carry exceedingly little weight within the scientific community.

    Some scientists also rejected Wegener’s continental drift hypothesis, and indeed Wegener was completely wrong about the mechanism. But he was entirely correct about the continents moving, as several independent lines of evidence subsequently showed. Denialists however have no such evidence to support their views, so they have to continually invent excuses.

    “But I don’t think it’s silly to scrutinize the scientific literature, or to entertain competing theories.”
    Obvious false equivocation again. Climate denialists don’t have a “theory” in the scientific sense at all. They don’t publish in peer reviewed scientific publications. All of their activity is directed at a scientifically illiterate audience, none of it at the scientific community. Like the various anti-evolution movements, AGW denialists have lost within the scientific community. See the Balance Fallacy, where two opposing views are pretended to have equal weight when they don’t ( It is also apparent that he does not actually “scrutinize the scientific literature” or else his views would be more rationally supportable.

    And further digging with this false claim:
    “I’m squarely considering the testable prediction you’ve offered by pointing out that, according to the IPCC’s latest climate report, your prediction fails to explain the last 10 years’ increase in CO2 but not in avg global temp.”
    Actually, denialists are now commonly claiming up to 17 years for this pretend hiatus in global temperatures. Climate data is very noisy over short time spans (and yes, a decade is a very short time in climatology). So denialists cherry pick their temperature points to show that the global temperatures haven’t increased, or have even decreased over the last 10 to 17 years (strangely enough they never show the actual data graph). This is trivially done by scientifically illiterate obscurantists and it clearly shows that “nominalfinance” is getting his pseudoscience from the denialist sources. Below is a pointer to what the actual global temperature data looks like. Note the flat or even declining regions while the long term trend is unmistakably increasing:

    If “nominalfinance” intends to be taken seriously by scientifically literate audience, it would be very advisable for him to first try to get at least a minimal science education before proceeding. Alternatively, he could stick to offering cereal box investment advice (see the bottom of the page at his website:

    1. Putting names to these fallacies helps. Intuitively I knew those arguments were bunk, but its so much nicer to encapsulate each with a label. Like variables, constants and subroutines in code. Much more efficient. Thanks for the post.

    2. What’s so crazy is how much garbage you’re reading into my comments — garbage I haven’t written and don’t support.

      Why have I been labeled a denialist? I haven’t denied anything. I haven’t made any claims at all, so why the lengthy bit about denialists not being published? You’re putting me in the wrong camp of folks.

      Also, I haven’t directed my skepticism toward a scientifically illiterate audience — at least not on purpose. I think readers on this site are fairly literate in science, and that’s why I find the vitriolic responses to my posts somewhat surprising.

      I think the best response to some of my points came from Brygida — in which we discuss the role of statistics in science, and in describing complex systems in particular. Of course, when I brought up election result modelling I got told I never went to school. In fact, I studied applied math and computer science at a fairly reputable university; so I can parse text and count better than the average science geek, and I probably have enough experience with modelling complex systems to at least keep up with the most literate of folks on this site. We’ll discover who else can handle the debate when they stop cutting off the conversation by name-calling.

      My only point has been that to label a person as a moron simply because they don’t swallow the “scientific consensus” (or popular opinion poll) doesn’t make sense to me. Especially when the consensus is based on an amalgamation of computer models and no real life experiments.

    3. Also, I’d be REALLY interested to see how you compare and contrast a climate model suggesting the Earth will continue to warm with a stock price model that suggests a stock will move higher.

      I’m not being a jerk, I’m dead serious. That question is the subject of massive debate in economics and computer science departments everywhere. Why do the climate modelers seem oblivious?

  55. I was shocked yesterday evening to see the level of near-palpable hatred in many comments by conservatives (or conservative, “wanna-bes”)on articles concerning the election. I mean, after all, these are the people who WON; you’d think they’d content themselves with crowing over their victory. Seems that they won’t be satisfied until Obama is skinned alive at the foot of the Washington monument.

    The song, “You got to be carefully taught” came to mind, followed by reflections on the shrill, incessant, non-stop spewing of hatred for, and the demonization of, all who oppose the conservative world view: Faux New’s hallmark since its inception. I love to ask Faux News addicts, “How many positive things have you heard on this channel concerning President Obama or anything he’s done- don’t they tout themselves as, ‘fair and balanced’? Can a President really go halfway through his second term without having done ANYTHING right?” They squirm and change the subject (or bring up Benghazi), like TV wrestling fans asked to admit that the matches are all rigged.

    I’m also reminded of a remark from an Englishman on the crowning of Mary, Queen of Scots (which led to widespread violent persecution of Protestants): “Right now, your a-ringin’ the bells; soon you’ll be a-wringin’ your hands.”

    Lastly, a quote from a Maduro supporter about the “Chavistas” in Venezuela, which I use today as a handy tool when analyzing Teapublican “doublespeak”: “What they say YOU are, THEY are; what they claim YOU’RE doing, THEY’RE doing.”

  56. I truly don’t understand the demonization of Obama. He’s gotten healthcare through, largely pulled our troops out of the Middle East (though he tends to waffle on foreign policy), and had sensible policies on immigration.

    -On foreign policy, I have truly started to be nostalgic for Bush and see Obama as a demon and America under him as the Great Satan. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq and Syria. Look at Yemen. Though the last would probably have fallen apart anyway, the first three are all in chaos squarely because of Obama (Iraq was pacified under Bush), in the case of Iraq and Syria, squarely with the help of Erdogan. The fake airstrikes on the Islamic State are sickening. And surely the drone strikes on Yemen could have been used to help prevent it from falling into the abyss this soon [if you don’t know, the Yemeni government only controls a quarter of its territory, and the Yemeni capital isn’t part of it]. I remember when I first used Google Earth in 2010, having such confidence Syria would not fall into the chaos that devastated Iraq’s archaeological sites during the war. I weep for those days.

    Putin has been a little devilish since the Ukraine coup, but for obvious strategic reasons, primarily to ensure Ukraine will never become a part of NATO. I truly don’t understand Obama’s contempt for the Libyan and Iraqi people.

    I also don’t see how Obama’s proposed policies on immigration are “sensible”.

    Though the healthcare reform was not unambiguously bad (the system which existed before was clearly at least as flawed), it was not exactly a massive improvement, as the reform was more popular with the American people before it started being implemented.

    I thought Romney would be much worse than Obama back in 2012. Now, I’m not so sure even that robot would have been worse.

    1. The Ryan Budget scared me more than anything Romney specifically said. On economics and foreign affairs, I don’t see a huge difference between the parties in practice. Sure, there are some talking points, but really a 3% swing on the upper tax bracket without removing all the absurd loopholes and corporate pandering isn’t much to write home about. What really scares me is the potential for some severe regression on social issues.

    2. “I have truly started to be nostalgic for Bush”

      Well, maybe Obama could start a few fiscally disastrous wars.

      “Iraq was pacified under Bush”

      Really? All those videos of looting and suicide bombs etc. occurring right under our noses in 2003? Oh yeah, the “surge.” Should we be back in Iraq now, pacifying it? How many trillions have you got?

      And maybe Obama could preside over an economic disaster like 2007-2008. And stack the SCOTUS with Catholic conservatives.

      The GOP wants to blame the deficit on Obama. Look at the costs of the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War and the economoic tank of 2007-2008 (that very nearly brought us a second Great Depression; if we’d followed the advice of Romney, etc., we’d be in that Great Depression now) if you want to know the cause of the huge deficits.

      1. The original decision to invade Iraq was stupidity itself, but its effects were by no means any worse than the decisions to let Libya, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria burn. Things in Iraq were fixed up as best as they could have been by the time Obama came into office. Leaving Iraq wasn’t a mistake; the allowing of the Turkish bloodletting of Syria was an atrocity in itself.
        The Federal deficit can’t be Obama’s fault, because the GOP has kept non-military spending on a rather tight leash. It’s obviously tax cuts that are the main cause of the Federal deficit today.

        I don’t see how, if Obama had been elected in 2004, anything would have been different in regards to the economic crisis.

        The Great Depression in America and Canada was mainly due to a (purely American) main street banking crisis; main street bank failures did occur during the 2008-9 recession and its aftermath, but it was a slow burn, with no potential for contagion. Re-creating the Great Depression in 2009-10 would not have been possible unless, perhaps, the FEDFUNDS rate was raised to 30% just for the heck of it. Not even tax increases could have re-created the Great Depression in 2009-10.

        How much did Turkey’s little strike at Kesab cost? Do this on ISIS territory ten times, and Raqqa will be captured in weeks, if not days. The costs will also probably be smaller than the Kesab invasion due to economies of scale.

  57. I honestly don’t understand such hate for Republican party. After all this is party of Lincoln. This party was on forefront of ending slavery, racial segregation, sexual discrimination etc.(Republicans unanimously supported 1964 Civil Right Act while many Democrats opposed and filibuster this bill).
    I’m not saying of course there’s no legitimate criticism(war in Iraq, reactionary approach to same-sex marriage, denial of man made global warming etc.)

    >if you think Obama’s race makes no difference, you’re living in Cloud Cuckooland
    Apparently I’m living there. Democrats have a long shameful history of pulling off race card whenever possible. Allen West, Condoliza Rice, Colin Powel, Clarence Thomas criticize Obama on daily basis as much as any other white Republican but nobody attribute this criticism for their racism for some mysterious reason.

    1. Oh, please.
      How much do you, “Matt,’ and “LarryT” get paid for posting here? And this isn’t even a political website! Whatever you get, it’s not enough! Demand benefits!

      1. As for accusations this just proves how progressivism devolved into cult. Every legitimate criticism included those made by liberals(pay attention to my username) is shielded as part of conspiracy.

        Against restriction of gmo food? You’re Monsanto shill.
        Against constant Israel-bashing? You’re Zionist neocon.
        Against islam? You’re Islamophobic bigot.
        Against racializing politics? You’re racist.
        Against exaggerated gender policies? You’re rape culture misogynist.
        And the list goes on.

        Is there any progressive stance criticism of which won’t met knee-jerk accusations of bigotry?

        1. As opposed to conservatives where where we had

          OMFG!!!!!!!!!! HE’S COMING FOR OUR GUNS…resulted in record gun sales 2008 and 2012


          OMFG!!!! DEATH PANELS!!!!


          etc etc

          to conservatives EVERY Obama action was apocalyptic. How did you guys ever get your blood pressure down?

          And yes, there are conservative Democrats.

        2. quite recently I said that I disagree with saying “hello” to a woman being an example of harassment and I was called an ignorant slut. Another liberal said he would like to slap my face.
          After a long discussion finally I accepted some of the liberal arguments, but the initial vitriol from my supposed “friends” only prolonged the argument and is still bothering me, few days after the dispute ended.Some liberals seem no to be able grasp that someone, who is disagreeing with them, is not evil.

          1. >Some liberals seem no to be able grasp that someone, who is disagreeing with them, is not evil
            Hear, hear!

            Some day I was involved in pointless internet debate about Israel-Palestinian conflict on progressive TYT channel. I was instantly accused as evil Zionist neocon(which I wasn’t). But what strucked me more is when I asked liberals why do they downplay damaging role of Hamas terrorism in peace process they started denying that Hamas is even engaged in terrorism and it’s just a resistance organization. At this point defence of evil became morally superior than evil people they oppose. That’s insanity. And you can’t change their mind about it.

          2. “Some liberals seem no to be able grasp that someone, who is disagreeing with them, is not evil.”

            As opposed to, say, Anne Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill (“shut up! just shut up!”) O’Reilly (to name just a handful of public figures)?

            Liberals are “destroying our country” (listen to most any GOP stump speech).

            Yes, very measured and calm, those conservatives.

    2. After all this is party of Lincoln.

      That’s your big historical mistake. Both political pArties have evolved considerably since the 19th century. The names have remained the same but the parties have become entirely different.

      1. Republican party was founded on conservative principles and didn’t change much. Democrats became liberal party since 1960s. But to suggest that parties switches sides is historial revisionism.

        1. No it isn’t. It is historical fact. The revisionism comes by refusing to acknowledge the role-flipping with regard to race relations that occurred between the parties in the century following the Civil War.

              1. Oh well then Lincoln was racist because he appealed to Democrats to get their vote. Logic!

                On more serious note a lot of Democrats opposed 1964 Civil Rights Act while Republicans unanimously approved it. THIS is genuine racism.

              2. Yes, those Democrats are now Republicans. Which is the point.

                You don’t actually know what “southern strategy” refers to, do you?

        2. As Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann have shown, the GOP has gone MUCH further to the right than the Dems have gone to the left. The 2010 congress was the most right wing in 100 years.

          1. I totally agree that Tea Party becomes more and more influental in GOP(which is shameful) but a)it happened only recently which doesn’t prove role-flipping in 60s
            b) it’s a fring group(Rand Paul, his parrot son and few others).

            And to be fair progressives also has a fringe grass movement. It calls Occupy movement. It already made damage and influenced political discourse. Just turn on any progressive talk show where there is discussion about foreign policy and you will always hear about BIG CORPORATIONS, Western imperialism, Iraq War was about oil and other far-left bullshit. The most embarassing legacy of this movement is of course progressive 911 truthers.

            1. Iraq War was about oil and other far-left bullshit

              I’d be grateful for a reminder of what the Iraq War was about.

              It wasn’t because of Saddam’s ties to al Quaida/the Taliban, because they were bitter enemies . . . as everyone knew at the time.

              It wasn’t because Saddam was involved in the 911 attacks, because he wasn’t . . . as everyone knew at the time.

              We know it wasn’t because Saddam had stockpiles of WMDs, because he didn’t . . . as everyone knew at the time (remember Hans Blix and his teams of inspectors?).

              I’m perfectly prepared to be convinced that it wasn’t about oil but, in that case, as I say, could you tell me what it actually was about?

              1. >We know it wasn’t because Saddam had stockpiles of WMDs, because he didn’t . . . as everyone knew at the time (remember Hans Blix and his teams of inspectors?).
                There’s a word that perfectly describes Iraq War disaster. It’s incompetence. No, everyone didn’t know at that time Saddam didn’t have WMD. It was figured out after invasion.
                Fear and paranoia drove political discourse.
                You can see parallels with Israel obsession over Iran nuclear program. It’s essentially the same story.

                Now about oil. Public perception of oil imports to US differs from how much it’s really imported. America is less dependent on Middle East than you might think. Scientific American has a great article on this
                Annual Iraq oil import is roughly 5 percents of all oil import BUT if you include US oil production(35-40% of oil consumption picture changes drastically.

                If all oil supply is pie then Iraq imported oil is tiniest slice of this pie. Do you really believe that trillions of dollars spent on war and thousands of lives was about this slice?

              2. No, everyone didn’t know at that time Saddam didn’t have WMD. It was figured out after invasion.

                Untrue. Blix’s reports were all over the UK press, for example, some while before the invasion began. The Bush administration, whose intelligence sources must surely have been capable of reading the UK newspapers and listening to the BBC, went ahead with the invasion anyway. Blix’s inspectors — who were in the final stages of their work — fleeing just beforehand.

                It’s possible that you didn’t know about Blix’s reports. It is not possible that those who implemented the invasion were ignorant of them.

                As to your point about the oil: You may well be right (I haven’t checked) about the paucity of Iraqi oil in the US “pie”; but that in itself proves nothing. One possible explanation, for example, might be that the incompetent regime that botched the war also botched the business of actually getting their mitts on the oil.

                But leave that to one side: If it wasn’t the threat of WMDs (as we know it wasn’t) and it wasn’t for the oil (as you maintain; I have no views), what the hell was it for?

                Until we have an answer to that question, I think it ill behooves you to desribe the “it was the oil” hypothesis as “left-wing bullshit”.

          2. I’m speaking about It’s Even Worse Than It Looks which premise is that Tea Party is becoming more influental in GOP.

    3. It’s amusing that most recent thing you can think of to complement Republicans on happened in the 60s.

      Do you honestly think that Republicans like Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would approve of the way that the party acts now? Or that something that they should still be getting credit for something that they did two generations ago?

    4. The most salient (US) political fact of the second half of the 20th century is how the GOP got the (white) working class and the lower middle class to vote against their own best economic interests using the incredibly cynical and corrosive scare tactics of God guns and gays (and blacks).

      Every campaign speech (well, nearly every one) I hear from a Republican contains lies. They lie and distort to their hearts’ content to advance their agenda, which includes, taking money from the people at the bottom and giving it (back) to (its rightful owners,) the people at the top.

      Look at the income numbers for the last 70 years. Go to the BLS website and look for income by quintile historical table. Then look up top marginal income tax rates for the period. Then look up productivity. Then you’ll see who’s benefiting from the economy. Hint: It’s only the top 20%, even more the top 5%, and astronomically more: The top 1%. It was no false statement when people were (and are) talking about the 1%. They really are taking the huge chunk of the economic benefits.

      And that is just the start. Then we have all the fiscally disastrous wars, the opposition to science, generally, opposition to women’s rights, opposition to stem cell research, opposition to abortion rights, opposition to climate action, opposition to common sense education on birth control, their pushing of religion into public life, … I could go on and on.

      What are they harping on just now, after this election?

      Get rid of the ACA
      Deregulate the financial industry [they really are completely stupid or corrupt
      Get rid of Cap and Trade
      Throttle the EPA
      Do nothing on Immigration
      Cut taxes*

      (* I love their logic (well, non-logic): If times are good?: Cut taxes (to the wealthy only by the way. Oh, we’ll send the bottom quintile $30/year — the they got a tax cut too! Yeah, right.) And, if times are bad?: Cut taxes to the wealthy. Makes total sense doesn’t it? Regardless of the input, do the same output. Total logic there!)

      1. The most salient (US) political fact of the second half of the 20th century is how the GOP got the (white) working class and the lower middle class to vote against their own best economic interests using the incredibly cynical and corrosive scare tactics of God guns and gays (and blacks).

        -Typical whites from low-income families have higher upward income mobility than typical blacks from low-income families. And the Bush tax cuts were in every person’s “own best economic interests”, especially those considering themselves to be upwardly mobile.

  58. Yes, you’re screwed. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum. You have my sympathy.

    Unfortunately, given USA’s proven ability to f*ck with the rest of the world, so are hundreds of millions of innocent future victims who don’t even know it yet. That they’re screwed, that is. If it was an election result in, say, Burkina Faso, the rest of the world could watch with sympathy but would not have to worry about what the batshit insane government might do.

    That’s probably a good reason why the rest of the world should get to vote in USAnian elections. Because they have consequences for us. USAnians, on the other hand, having repeatedly demonstrated their inability to elect a government with any degree of sanity, should all be disbarred from voting unless they can pass a simple intelligence test. Like, say, pointing out Washington on a map.


  59. “Conservatives see liberals as basically decent people with some idiot ideas, who can be nevertheless convinced. Liberals, on the other side, see conservatives as pure evils”

    You are confirmation of this.

    1. Which, of course, is why conservatives tell us liberals are socialists who are intent on making America a socialist Islamist state. Michelle Bachmann, etc…

    2. No, liberals (like me) see conservatives as people with an agenda that includes many evil things.

      Liberals also see them as exceptionally intransigent — which really is a feature of conservatism. I won’t say it is all conservatism is; but it is one of the main wellsprings of its raison d’etre.

      They want to preserve their current state of special privilege. They are exceptionally self-centered. They display very little empathy for their less fortunate fellow citizens.

      These are not particularly admirable qualities. They also would not stand up very well to that frequent conservative mantra: What would Jesus do?

      He sure as hell wouldn’t try to deny decent health care to the poor!

      The fundamental difference between the liberal and the illiberal outlook is that the former regards all questions as open to discussion and all opinions open to greater or less measure of doubt, while the latter holds in advance that certain opinions are absolutely unquestionable, and that no argument against them must be allowed to be heard.

      — Bertrand Russell, Freedom and the Colleges, 1940

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