Thursday, October 23, 2008
Great things are possible... (C)

Okay, I'm feeling a little better now.

And I'm not going to look at any more of those lunatics-for-McCain videos.

Some months ago I heard Yoko Ono interviewed on KPFK. She was saying that we're going to solve the global warming problem.

At first I was shaking my head, thinking: "What a Pollyanna!"

Then I realized that it's a great thing she's doing because we certainly can't solve the problem if we don't believe we can.

That's one thing.

The other is: when we decided to go into WWII, we transformed our economy to a remarkable degree in pretty short order. People really do have the capacity to reorganize themselves.


Friday, October 17, 2008
I've been depressed... (C)

I've been depressed and disoriented lately. Frozen; unable to do much of anything but read blogs all day and drink all night. And I haven't known why.

This morning, I was looking at one of those videos of a Palin rally where people are saying they believe Obama is a terrorist. And I realized what the problem is.

I'm terrified.

I'm terrified of what the yahoos and the evil wing of the Republican party have planned for election day and its aftermath, and what the animal they've been poking will do spontaneously.

There are people who believe that a Muslim terrorist stealth candidate is about to become President of the United States.

Sure, they said the Clintons murdered Vince Foster and smuggled drugs. But those kind of stories were not pushed by a mainstream media outlet like Fox, they were not spoken of by the actual Republican candidates, and they are tame allegations in comparison to the ones being made about Obama.

Further, right now we are in very uncertain times, which makes people more volatile. And since Clinton left office, we had the attack on the WTC by Muslim terrorists.

I repeat: There are people who believe that a Muslim terrorist stealth candidate is about to become President of the United States.

Nevermind for the moment how despicable it has been of Republican operatives to foster this kind of calumny, to make fools of low-information citizens.

This sort of rabble rousing is new and unprecedented. And dangerous.

I'm probably being paranoid when I imagine the inflamed Republican base disrupting polling places during voting, or rioting in the days after the election. Probably. But I wish I could be sure.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thinking more about the smear campaign... (C)

There's a whole lot crazy white racists who are going to be pissed beyond their ability to cope when Obama is elected. (Cracker heads will be exploding on the day he's going to actually occupy the White House-- A Black Man in the White House.)

And the Republicans have already been setting up a narrative for these folks, a narrative that manages to blame liberals and minorities for the economic crisis, says they won the presidency by fraud, says Obama is a secret Muslim, a terrorist lover, and a radical. The trouble is: this narrative will demand something of its users. It will demand resistance. If I believed that a radical, terorist loving, secret Muslim had taken the presidency by fraud I'd feel compelled to do something.

(Then again, I do, in fact, feel that a radical, terrorist-loving, secret narcissist took the presidency by fraud, and I haven't done anything about it. So there's hope: they may just sit around feeling depressed and impotent like I have! Then again again, probably best not to assume it.)

Now, McCain and Palin know better, and so does Hannity and his ilk, and they know the narrative is only going to work on a subpopulation of their potential voters-- a subpopulation that wouldn't be voting for Obama, anyway. And they're doing this at the expense of going after the swing voters, who may be uninformed, but are unlikely to be crazy white racists. Why?

Though there is not inconsiderable comfort in thinking Republicans stupid, perhaps the true aim is creating in the short term an angry mob mentality, and in the long run a dangerous right wing movement.

Perhaps they saw the writing on the wall: the candidacy is doomed. Worse, there is likely to be a historical shift in power; Bush has sunk the Party for a generation. And all their strategies and tactics take that into account. Cripple them in the short run, build a new movement in the long run.

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Stepping back... (C)

McCaine: not overly-bright and a tad incurious, one of those elites with a well-developed sense of entitlement, but basically a believer in democracy and the rule of law, if not scrupulous honesty and fairness.

He seemed like an okay guy (if not really a war hero because crashing a few jets and being a POW doesn't actually make you a war hero). Then he went negative in desparation. He even started throwing red meat to the rabid jackals of the far right: the Ayers exagerations, "not one of us," etc.

For a day or so he sought to tone things down a bit. If he would have kept it up for the rest of the campaign it would have been the most heroic thing he has ever done.

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On that red meat thing... (C)

I read at the LA Times web site the other day that Faux News a week ago Sunday ran a documentary where it was put forth that an Obama win in Novemeber will represent a "radical overthrow of our government."

That is read meat for the jackals. And McCain and Palin have been throwing them red meat, too.

We'll come back to that.

Remember the Brooks Brothers riot of 2000? Republican operatives flew in and staged a "spontaneous" protest of "the people" in Florida demanding a stop to the counting of votes.

To some people "democracy" is a means to power, not an end in itself. They don't revere it, or even respect it.

To people who do, in fact, revere democracy it is hard to believe that there are people who don't. And not just people in books, old movies, or faraway places, but people right here in the America.

Similarly, it seems impossible to people who habitually and deliberately tell the truth and play fair that there are people who do not; that there are people (and they occupy the executive branch of our government right now) who shamelessly cheat and lie to empower and enrich themselves and their pals.

It is so hard to believe that many people simply don't, despite ample evidence. And many more others who can see and admit to themselves that there are people who lie and cheat, but who never expect lieing and cheating ahead of time from them, and who don't conclude that they are lieing and cheating again even when they've been lied to and cheated before, unless there is substantial proof.

Expecting and assuming truth and fair play from others is a psychological trait of most people who don't lie and cheat. And this is generally a good thing-- how much less pleasant would the world be if everybody was suspicious of everybody else all the time?

But sometimes it's a bad thing. Sometimes it makes us stupid.

It's part of the explanation for the fact that anyone still thinks Bush has been doing a good job. His lawlessness and incompetence as President are unrivaled in our history. Some people are simply too uninformed to know. But many more start with the assumption that Bush doesn't lie and doesn't cheat, and they cannot be disabused of the notion. Since it couldn't be (psychologically) lieing and cheating, then: the war in Iraq must be a just one; the Katrina response must have been a well-intentioned attemp to do right; the spying must be necessary; the suspension of habeas corpus must be necessary; and so on.

Now, I'll grant that right wing nuts and Christian fundamentalists might have concrete reasons to be deliberately blind, but I don't think that's what's happening. It's an unconscious psychological mechanism at work. And it's working on most of the rest of us, too.

There is no other explanation for why the people accepted the Supreme Court decision of 2000 in Bush v Gore. Since it couldn't be (psychologically) people cheating, then it must be fair (to those who wanted Bush), or (for those who didn't) only something to be disappointed (not outraged) about.

There is no other explanation for why most of us don't believe that Bush won the 2004 election through fraud. There never was a good explanation for the difference between the exit polls and the vote in the ten "battleground" states. There were a couple of plausible notions tossed out, without evidence, and never proven. And that's all it took to get us to believe the election was legitimate, instead of simply concluding-- as we would have concluded had it been any other country or any other election-- that there had been fraud. Since it couldn't (psychologically) be cheating, then it's just an anomolie. Too bad for us.

Now, why the red meat? Perhaps the Republicans are looking to spark riots and right wing terrorism all over America when Obama is elected so that W can declare Marshal Law. (And just think how convenient will be all those new powers the President has amassed!)

Here's my point: If Bush does declare Marshal Law because riots and domestic terrorism from far right groups follows the election of Obama, if Bush declares the election null and void, well, we will do it again. The same psycholgical mechanism will kick in, and we will tell ourselves, "Nah, they wouldn't do that. Even they wouldn't do that. They wouldn't have set this up on purpose. They're not that evil, nobody is. We may have our differences, but they wouldn't resort to lieing and cheating in order to stay in power and continue to loot the economy. That's crazy talk! They're just trying to give us stability in these uncertain times, like they say they are."

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A thought... (C)

Dean Reynolds recently complained about the lack of a published, rigid schedule for Obama, and wonders why the campaign is "seemingly improvisational."

Obama is trying, duh!, to avoid being assassinated. Has this guy never red a spy novel? Not telegraphing his movements, avoiding routines, makes it harder for people trying to organize such a thing to draw a bead on him. He's being a moving target.

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