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November 8, 2012

Election 2012: the morning after the morning after
Posted by Patrick at 01:42 PM * 463 comments

It didn’t take long for the more excitable corners of Rightwingia to start spitting up internal body parts.

Of course, it’s never a surprise to see neo-Confederate boob Robert Stacy McCain having several cows at once: “Unmitigated political disaster…we are permanently and irretrievably screwed…the disease may well be terminal…America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption.” He takes a couple of halfhearted swipes at Todd Akin and spends a bit more time knocking Chris Christie: “Good luck with the remainder of your political future, governor. It is unlikely Republicans shall soon forget your perfidious betrayal.” But really, the best part is the paragraph that begins “Alas, as always, the duty of the Right is to manfully endure, to survive the defeat and stubbornly oppose the vaunting foe, and so this brutal shock, this electoral catastrophe, must be absorbed and digested.” Manfully endure! Stubbornly oppose! Yes, you are the modern Cicero, there’s a nice whackjob. Time for your meds.

And no Festival of Stupid is truly complete without John Hinderaker of Powerline (Time’s 2004 Blog of the Year, never forget): “Decades ago my father, the least cynical of men, quoted a political scientist who wrote that democracy will survive until people figure out that they can vote themselves money. That appears to be the point at which we have arrived. Put bluntly, the takers outnumber the makers…These are dark days, indeed.” Meanwhile, Melanie Phillips upholds the crazy flag overseas: “With four more years of Obama in the White House, Iran can now be sure that it will be able to complete its infernal construction of a genocide bomb to use against the Jews and the west. World War Three has now come a lot closer…Romney lost because, like Britain’s Conservative Party, the Republicans just don’t understand that America and the west are being consumed by a culture war. In their cowardice and moral confusion, they all attempt to appease the enemies within. And from without, the Islamic enemies of civilisation stand poised to occupy the void. With the re-election of Obama, America now threatens to lead the west into a terrifying darkness.” That’s not just piffle, it’s quality upmarket piffle. Nice typography, too.

But none of these tribunes are a patch on Eric Dondero of LibertarianRepublican.net, who’s really unhappy with the election results, which he calls “the end of liberty in America.”

I’m choosing another rather unique path; a personal boycott, if you will. Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings. I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.

I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted ‘O’. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.

Unfriending on Facebook! Shunning liberal relatives! Heady stuff. But that’s not all:
I believe we all need to express disgust with Obama and Democrats in public places. To some extent I already do this. Example:

When I’m at the Wal-mart or grocery story I typically pay with my debit card. On the pad it comes up, “EBT, Debit, Credit, Cash.” I make it a point to say loudly to the check-out clerk, “EBT, what is that for?” She inevitably says, “it’s government assistance.” I respond, “Oh, you mean welfare? Great. I work for a living. I’m paying for my food with my own hard-earned dollars. And other people get their food for free.” And I look around with disgust, making sure others in line have heard me.

I am going to step this up. I am going to do far more of this in my life. It’s going to be my personal crusade. I hope other libertarians and conservatives will eventually join me.

I hope so too. Please, angry right-wingers, do pursue this “shouting at strangers in supermarket lines” plan. Repeatedly, all over America. Let us know how it works out.
If I meet a Democrat in my life from here on out, I will shun them immediately. I will spit on the ground in front of them, being careful not to spit in their general direction so that they can’t charge me with some stupid little nuisance law. Then I’ll tell them in no un-certain terms: “I do not associate with Democrats. You all are communist pigs, and I have nothing but utter disgust for you. Sir/Madam, you are scum of the earth.” Then I’ll turn and walk the other way.
Altogether? It may be the greatest flounce of all time.
Comments on Election 2012: the morning after the morning after:
#1 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:50 PM:

Still trying to figure out how you spit on the ground in front of someone without spitting in their general direction. —Perhaps I'm not manly enough; such spatial gyrations are beyond my ability to perceive.

#2 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:51 PM:

None of these are remotely as crazy (or as disgusting) as what the Christian Men's Defense Network said (before they unpubbed it -- this is a Google cache link).

No, seriously, this doesn't seem to be satire (although Poe's law obviously applies). The Rape representatives appear to have a posse, and the posse is irate ...

#3 ::: Charlie Stross has been gnomed! ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:52 PM:

Although given the vileness of the content behind the link I posted, I can't say I honestly blame the gnomes for sparing your sensibilities.

#4 ::: robert west ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:06 PM:

The right-wing sniping at Chris Christie has really been getting to me.

The man is the Governor of a state that was very badly hurt by a natural disaster. So he's working closely with federal officials to *help the people of his state*. And he's refused to leave the state to go campaigning.

This is a perfidious betrayal? It seems to me like it's doing his job. And, really, complaining that the Governor of a state hit hard by a natural disaster is putting recovery from that disaster first seems ... childish, at best.

#5 ::: Scott Ellsworth ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:07 PM:

+1, Patrick.

Please, nutjobs - do stop associating with me and mine.

The people who believe in co-operation and negotiation, whatever their stance on various social and economic issues, are more likely to hang together than hang separately.

#6 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:09 PM:

Wow, those are all quite nasty and flouncerific. It will be interesting to see if the Repubs take this as a "we just weren't quite conservative enough" or a "maybe we need to rethink some things" kind of defeat.
The links above are clearly all in the "we need to raise our conservatism up to 11" camp.

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:13 PM:

I have what I believe is a complete set of Donald Trump's insane meltdown tweets from election night. I've been saving them for this thread:

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Well, back to the drawing board!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. The loser one!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

More votes equals a loss...revolution!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble...like never before.

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Our nation is a once great nation divided!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Hopefully the House of Representatives can hold our country together for four more years...stay strong and never give up!

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

House of Representatives shouldn't give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare.

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Whoever wins today, remember that tomorrow we still have a country struggling. Our work is not done until America is strong again.

6 Nov 12
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light" -- George Washington

I'll bet Trump got the George Washington line from one of those "find an appropriate quote" sites.

Former Saturday Night Live regular Victoria Jackson also went round the bend:

7 Nov 12
Victoria Jackson (@vicjackshow)

I can't stop crying.

7 Nov 12
Victoria Jackson (@vicjackshow)

America died.

7 Nov 12
Victoria Jackson (@vicjackshow)

I can't stop crying. America died.

7 Nov 12
Victoria Jackson (@vicjackshow)

The Democrat Party voted God out and replaced Him with Romans 1. In the Good vs. Evil battle...today...Evil won.

7 Nov 12
Victoria Jackson (@vicjackshow)

Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me.

7 Nov 12
Victoria Jackson (@vicjackshow)

Victoria Jackson On Obama's Win: 'I Can't Stop Crying, America Died' http://t.co/JKtAiztn via @HuffPostEnt - "accurately reported" VJ

That last tweet of Jackson's isn't an error. I take her to mean that the Huffington Post's account of her previous tweets was accurate.

#8 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:19 PM:

{Facepalm} {shakes head}

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:22 PM:

NPR ran a piece this morning about the anti-abortion movement reacting to the loss of Mourdock and Akin.

Short version: "We failed because we didn't nominate candidates who were conservative enough!"

#10 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:22 PM:

I am so very, very happy that the Democratic party came out ahead in this election, returning Obama and the Senate. This happiness takes some of the edge off of how angry I am at this sort of thing. I'm white, and I couldn't possibly feel less identification with the people who were using the #votewhite hashtag on Twitter, or these cretins. (Don't search that hashtag, or follow Charlie Stross' link if you're trying to have a nice day.) Of course, a woman isn't really "white". I'm reminded of reading an interview with a supervisor at a factory in the early 20th century. The metal galvanizing process was highly toxic, and so the men working on the line soon got sick and died. They were immigrants from eastern Europe. The supervisor said something along the lines of "..but they're not white men."

I've got plenty of privilege, but I'm still other. When I read this kind of vicious stuff, I'm rather glad that I am.

I watched the clip of Bill O'Reilly saying that we no longer have "traditional Americans" dominating at the polls, and then going on to say that the votes of Hispanics, Blacks and Women were going to Democrats. Well, of course. You treat people like crap; they'll stop voting for you. I'm so very insulted that he says that people are just voting that way because they "want stuff". I suppose that in addition to assuming we're grabby, he thinks that only white males are productive members of society. Gah! I don't remember where I found this link. It's an article about how the vicious behavior of the Republican party changed voting by American Muslims: In the 2000 election, approximately 70% of Muslims in America voted for Bush; among non-African-American Muslims, the ratio was over 80%. Four years later, Bush’s share of the vote among Muslims was 4%.

If the Tea Party is so fond of (their reading of) the Christian Bible, they should look up that bit about how you reap what you sow.

#11 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:28 PM:

janetl,

I just read that link; it is "The GOP and Me" from Abi's Parhelia.

#12 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:30 PM:

" Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, ... Divorce them."

What about the sanctity of marriage??? What will we tell the children?

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:31 PM:

There's also this charming letter from the Freepers to the Queen, asking her to take them back.

As if one would touch them with a bargepole. One shudders at the very thought.

#14 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:31 PM:

"All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them."

Talk about winning the lottery.

#15 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:34 PM:

Kip Manley @1:

Eric Dondero, besides being a former Rom Paul henchman, all around Manly Libertarian and poster boy for mental health reform, is also -- and few know this -- a world class spitting champion.

In 2008, he beat Sylvester "Suffering Succotash" leBlanc in the North American freestyle spitting championship, taking the trophy way from that perfidious Quebecois dribbler and bringing it to its rightful home in the good ol' US of A.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:43 PM:

Charlie, I saw that post from B-Skillet over at Boing Boing. He's crazy, a pathological misogynist. I'll bet you anything he constantly fantasizes about those wicked sluts who aren't giving him any, but expect to be treated like human beings.

Robert West, I thought very badly of the Romney campaign for complaining that Chris Christie hadn't shown up for a rally in another state. He's absolutely a New Jersey guy, his home turf has been trashed, and he's the governor so it's his job to deal with it. Obama showed up to help. He's grateful. Where's the mystery in that? And what kind of alien robot pod person wouldn't understand it?

Okay, so Christie did kind of rub it in. If I were a moderate centrist Republican who was dealing with devastating storm damage, and I had that kind of opportunity to troll the yelping chorus of far-right hardliners ... eh, I can imagine doing the same.

===

I want Eric Dondero to not be the same guy who runs Dondero's Rock Shop in Littleton Conway, New Hampshire.

I'm also trying to figure out whether Senator Jeff Flake is the nephew of one of my junior high school teachers, or a more distant relative.

#17 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:44 PM:

Other awesome reads include Orson Scott Card's obligatory tantrum and (of course) a reader at Instapundit suggesting that yes, it's finally time to go Galt.

Actually, just about every right wing blog I've come across seems to be in full-froth mode, which probably isn't a huge surprise. But nothing beats that Dondero's.

#18 ::: lisa grant ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:45 PM:

Hello, first time poster here!

I wanted to add to the collection of unbelievable responses to the election with this link. Apologies if it's already been mentioned here somewhere.

It continues to astound me how racism, homophobia, bigotry, misogyny, elitism and telling the struggling to eat cake is even remotely a reflection of Christian values. Ahwell.

If you have the stomach for it, this is worth a read-through. We are apparently in a Time of Darkness now that Obama is in.

A snippet:
"The virtual prison of political correctness, tolerance, and celebrating diversity, will soon move into a radical agenda that attempts to silence the voices of those who speak out against sin and the evil that dwells in the hearts of men. Those who refuse to be silenced will be branded as religious extremists and relegated to the fringes of society. Two of our most sacred rights as Americans – Freedom of Religion, and Freedom of Speech – will be chipped away at until we will no longer recognize the country that we were born in."

The article link at the Christian Post:
http://www.christianpost.com/news/america-made-the-wrong-choice-in-the-election-84588/#e426KJfwFzgZPF3w.99

#19 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:45 PM:

Abi #13, I for one would happily welcome the Freepers to the UK.

They are welcome to come as long as they leave their guns behind, accept the most socialist socialist healthcare system in the socialist European Union, and pay their progressive 40% income tax on income above the first £37,401 (about US $59,700). They'll also have to put up with an 85% majority of the public supporting abortion (Free! paid for by the socialist healthcare socialist abortion system), free contraceptives, and mandatory sex education in schools. And to add insult to injury, mandatory religious education in schools, which really turns kids off religion, which is why about 60% of their new fellow countrymen are atheists.

Yeah, the freepers will really fit in here. Just ask Donald Trump about his experiences in Scotland! Or Pat "a dark nation where the homosexuals are unbelievably strong" Robertson.

#20 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:47 PM:

Teresa, Dondero's Twitter page identifies him as a Houston resident, so I think you're okay on that front.

#21 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:51 PM:

Adam Lipkin @19: Thank you. That's a niggling worry laid to rest.

#22 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:54 PM:

This is really funny. I mean, I've sometimes said immoderate things after losing an election, but Eric Dunderhead (sp?) is way over the top. If I were his family member I'd look forward to the peace at Thanksgiving Dinner.

#23 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:02 PM:

I read Card's article/letter/rant. (I am being polite). Wow. I read Dondero's. Triple wow.

Not going to read what the Christian Men have to say, thank you.

#24 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:08 PM:

I wish they'd stop talking about "going Galt" and do it.

#25 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:10 PM:

And of course, no Election Day roundup would be complete without mentioning the Karl Rove's election eve meltdown on Fox News.

No URL needed, thankfully. Just hit your favorite non-Republican news source. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving fellow.

#26 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:11 PM:

This stuff is what you get when people don't believe that words matter.

Well, not Dondero, if he's genuinely pruning his Facebook contacts and making new Thanksgiving plans. But the rest of them.

I'm still waiting for the last lot who said they'd go Galt to bugger off to the Gulch. But somehow, the Gulches of the mind are much more appealing; meanwhile, they'll stay where the unionized police patrol the streets their taxes pay for.

Also, this?
Please, angry right-wingers, do pursue this “shouting at strangers in supermarket lines” plan. Repeatedly, all over America. Let us know how it works out.

Solid win, clear through, with a light dusting of win.

#27 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:13 PM:

I feel very sorry for Dondero. I'm no doctor but he sounds to me like he needs some help. He's stuck on tunnel vision and he can't see any options. It's a very bad place to be in.

#28 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:16 PM:

Re the Dondero post: who are the two blokes pictured at the top of the page? I'm guessing that the lady in the middle is Rand but I don't recognise her wingmen.

His list of suggested places to flee to includes Italy and Israel, both of which he may find surprisingly socialist, and Hong Kong, which, err, is an SAR of 中华人民共和国, the People's Republic of China.

#29 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:19 PM:

Karl Rove's attempt to spin the Romney loss as "voter suppression" is . . . well.

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/rove-obama-succeeded-by-suppressing-vote

#30 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:21 PM:

janetl @ 10: Of course, a woman isn't really "white".

Woman is the new n----r. *facepalm*

If anyone needs me, I'll be over at the bar with a bunch of last century's Irish and Italian immigrants. The lead singer for the Commitments is offering to buy a round.

Well, of course. You treat people like crap; they'll stop voting for you.

Yes but, but, but, you know what else I learned this year? It's apparently racist and sexist to vote against a candidate who's makes bigotry against POC and women part of his campaign. (Well, given that I'm white, it makes me a race traitor. yayyy.)

#31 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:22 PM:

I know most of these internet blowhards are physical cowards, but...

Given the anger, is there a danger that some of the more unhinged Freepi might turn terrorist?

#32 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:27 PM:

Charlie Stross @18:

It's been a real treat watching the freepers flounder around, trying to find a country more conservative that they can immigrate too. Besides the UK, I've seen floated Australia (socialist HC, single female atheist PM, mandatory voting!), Hong Kong (Everything the UK has, plus close ties to the Chinese), Costa Rica (higher taxes than US, socialized medicine), and Israel (socialized medicine, mandatory military service, lots of Mulsims).

But hey, they still have Pakistan, who out of 20 countries polled, was the only one who would prefer Romney over Obama.

#33 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:27 PM:

Steve, #27: From left to right, they're Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, and Barry Goldwater.

#34 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:31 PM:

#31, Keith Edwards: Characterizing Hong Kong as having "close ties to the Chinese" is a bit like saying that Baltimore has "close ties to the Americans." It's a Chinese city full of Chinese people which is part of China. Those are pretty close ties.

#35 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:31 PM:

Tim Hall @30:

Given the competence level of most of these jerks, they best they could hope for is underpants bomber- level (though, If I were a family member of Mr. Dondero, I'd change the lock on the gun cabinet, just to be safe).

#36 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:32 PM:

To Eric Dondero and anyone else who follows his prescription, I have but one thing to say: "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out." Their families will thank them.

Rob, #24: I saw video of that. Unless there was a lot worse that I missed, I would never have called it a "meltdown". In deep denial, certainly, but not in any way out of control, which is what "meltdown" implies to me. My description would be "having a snit".

#37 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:34 PM:

Keith Edwards @31

I would have thought the Freepi would feel at home in Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Margaret Organ-Kean @26

I was thinking the same thing - I read this on a forum I frequent, and at first I thought it was an awful passive-aggressive rant, than on second thoughts I came to the conclusion that this guy needs help.

#38 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:37 PM:

Of course for all that I mock the flouncers, I've threatened to leave the UK myself on a few occasions, usually when the Tories looked like winning, though I'm still here right now, so evidently I was bluffing. But it is reassuring to know that there are 26 other EU countries that I could move to without much fuss and in fact I could be in any one of them by tomorrow, if I wanted; some day I might stop blowing off steam and actually do it. If Scotland did go independent after 2015 it'd be interesting to see how many inhabitants of the reduced UK headed north.

#39 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:38 PM:

Patrick @33:

I was being generous for the sad sack freepers, to whom this is apparently news.

Another country on Dondero's list to run away to was Brazil, which has me scratching my head. They have universal healthcare (including state-subsidized contraception) and speak Portuguese.

#40 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:48 PM:

I was part of a secessionist group after Reagan was elected in 1980. Of course, it was one house, and it lasted only long enough to have a party...but we did declare ourselves to be part of Canada (the little bit about Canada accepting a tiny plot in Michigan as part of their great nation was glossed over). We had signs up that said "Bienvenue au Canada!" and everything.

I see no indication that there's any element of tongue-in-cheek or self-parody in any of these rants.

#41 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:49 PM:

Patrick@32: thanks.

Keith Edwards@31: yes, I saw Oz suggested in this way on Twitter, and it did make me wonder where the hell that impression of the country came from. Is it because bits of it look a bit like bits of Texas? The atheist PM would probably be a major turn-off for religiously-minded flouncers but not one for the libertarian ones (I've always been kind of amazed, in my ignorance of US politics, that the GOP has both the Randians and the Christian fundamentalists in it at least sort of pretending to play nicely together).

#42 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:52 PM:

I'm calling Poe's Law on Eric Dondero. NY Mag did a followup piece asking him just how far he's willing to take this "I break with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee, and then I throw poop on your shoes" shtick.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/eric-dondero-boycott-democrat-libertarian.html

Question: You require a risky and complicated brain surgery, one that is performed by only two neurosurgeons in the country. One is a Republican and the other is a Democrat, but the Republican is generally unknown, and the Democrat was just heralded by Time Magazine as the nation's best neurosurgeon. Everything else — the cost, location, etc. — is the same. Which doctor do you choose?

Simple: Avoid them both. Go to Mexico for your medical treatment. Avoid all the red tape and bureaucracy.

(And then, asked "would you save a Democrat's life?" he said "only if he's willing to say 'Obama sucks.'")

#43 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:56 PM:
"... democracy will survive until people figure out that they can vote themselves money."

This has always struck me as equivalent to saying "Democracy will survive until people figure out what the word 'democracy' means." It marks the person out as being unfamiliar with the preamble to the US Constitution. Or the contents of certain of its articles. Or The Federalist Papers. Or ... Well, you get the idea.

#44 ::: Jon Lennox ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Lee @36: It is entirely up to them whether or not the door hits them on the ass on the way out. It it would be inappropriately non-self-reliant of them to let us assist them in any way in preventing ass-hitting.

#45 ::: Larry S ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:00 PM:

It is something seeing the mixture of nervous breakdown/implosion over this. It's pretty much pure insanity. What gets me is how the party turned on Christie for accepting federal help and being publicly grateful on top of the sin of not turning it into a political moment to help Romney.

They've shown they turned the corner of true insanity. Thing is everyone in NJ (where I live) even the repubs that I know are all in agreement regarding it. It is, once again, those not in the area going insane.

#46 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:01 PM:

From the blogroll, it's pretty easy to infer that the so-called "Christian Men's Defense Network" people have an affinity with the Phineas Priesthood, which is a decentralized cell-organized network of awfulness that, if you don't know anything about it, you probably don't want to have to learn about. That would put them firmly in the Christian Identity movement, which has historically not been terribly welcome in the U.S. conservative movement.

#47 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:01 PM:

There is, regrettably, no door large enough to hit all of these nutters in the ass on the way out.

#48 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:02 PM:

#29 ::: Lisa Spangenberg

Well, it's true. Obama did win by suppressing the vote. He made people not-want to vote for Romney....

#49 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:08 PM:

Just after it became clear that Obama had been reelected, Fox interviewed Charles Krauthammer. (This was right after Rove lost it.)

Krauthammer announced that he was was a psychiatrist and would be happy to write 'scrips for anyone who felt depressed.

I wonder what kind of meds would Dondero benefit from?

* * *

If you need to get the bad taste out of your mouth, go watch Rachel Maddow's segment from last night on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SVwXA7sHUlE

#50 ::: Larry S ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:08 PM:

j h @46: They are an interesting mix of the MRA movement and some other stuff at first glance. I've heard a lot of similar complaints though across the board regarding women and others who should not vote because they do not "contribute" or are not "capable" of making such decisions.

It really is 19th century thinking at it's finest up there with things like how college campuses for women's colleges were designed to prevent hysteria due to all the learning overstimulating their delicate brains.

#51 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:11 PM:

I find myself disappointingly unable to suggest any decent options for USA-fleers in search of Libertaria. There are a few broken African countries with lots of guns and not much law-enforcement, but if you want to stay high up the GDP leaderboard, there's always something wrong with a candidate. Taiwan? Compulsory health insurance. Singapore? Not the freest of free speech. Tricky. Given the lunatic-capitalism of the last 20 years, perhaps we can legitimately return the compliment of yesteryear and tell the right wing to Go Live In Russia If That's What You Believe.

#52 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:12 PM:

Steve #38, back in 1992, in the run-up to the election, I promised myself that if the Tories won again I was going to emigrate.

Three years later I moved to Scotland. Which is, as they say, another country. And yes, I'll be voting for independence, albeit with a heavy heart. The folks currently running the political heartland of the South-East of England would get on just fine with Mitt Romney ...

#53 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:19 PM:

Conrad Black is deep in denial. "Of all the world's major nations, only France presents a comparably pathetic spectacle of failure at self-government ..."

The stupid! It burns ...

#54 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:33 PM:

"...democracy will survive until people figure out that they can vote themselves money."

Has anybody done a historiographic take on this? I see this sentiment around a lot now, but it's never attached to a solid source, much less a reference to a democracy that failed through immoderate public spending.

(ObEurope: No, not Greece or Spain or Italy or ...)

#55 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:34 PM:

I see in Abi's 'US voting system is a disgrace' parhelion that
Americans worry more about voter fraud than do voters in other countries, because they are the only country without a reliable system of national identification.

The next paragraph mentions Germany, Canada, and Australia as contrasts to the US. Australia has no better system of national identification than the US (basically, passport or state driver's license). Canada has passports and provincial driver's licenses. Of the three, Germany is the only one with a more reliable national id system than the US. That so isn't the problem.

#56 ::: Thalia ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:37 PM:

Can someone explain to me why the Bengazi thing still has legs? (See Orson Scott Card's rant). The CIA came out with a timeline. There was no "stand down" order. They scrambled in 24 minutes. What am I missing?

Also, I have a feeling that in his hate for the NYT & the liberal media he really really hates Nate Silver, for doing the math and being right.

#57 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:44 PM:

thomas @55:

"Americans worry about voter fraud" is incomplete at best and misleading at worst. To first order, Republicans (the author of the article is a Republican) worry about voter fraud, while Democrats worry about election fraud. This is something of a retail-vs-wholesale distinction; people concerned with voter fraud worry about ineligible individuals voting, or individuals voting more than once, while people concerned with election fraud worry about eligible voters being prevented or deterred from voting, or about votes not being counted or counted incorrectly (such as by proprietary electronic voting machines with no paper trail).

#58 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:51 PM:

So do Dondero's remarks rate as a grand flounce?

#59 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:52 PM:

Thalia (#56), as best I can tell, Bengazi was supposed to be this year's Swift Boat pack of horse pocky, and since that dog failed to hunt, they're blaming the media for, you know, not backing up their lies.

Romney outlined the strategy in the opening debate: "I'm used to people saying something that's not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it." He's used to it because it's SOP amongst his cronies.

#61 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:02 PM:

Slightly OT: Re: the Sidelight on the Romney transition site, Taegan Goddard has screenshots. Maybe Patrick can adjust the URL so people can see what the fuss was about.

#62 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:07 PM:

I wonder what these hysterically disgruntled types did with themselves before the internet. I doubt the percentage of them in the population was lower pre-internet so they must have been out there doing, or not doing, something.

I wonder if they were the ones who, a few centuries ago, got so disgusted with those around them, and who so disgusted those around them, that they headed for the New World, and then headed further west into the wilderness.

For those of them who, these days, are not just blowhards, if we had Rocket Ships and Outer System Planetoid Colonies, I can imagine them heading for the Frontier of Space.

But that's just the few who are something more than mere blowhards. I can imagine those who, in the old days, were only flapping their cake holes, they would have just kept their mouths shut and got on with whatever job they were doing. These days, they can flounce. Being this hysterically disgruntled, I suspect, is a very first world problem.

#63 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:17 PM:

Further tidbits --

A single line from a comment thread: "Like Coulter said, this ushers in 1000 years of darkness."

Mike Adams, 10 dire consequences of Obama's reelection victory: This colorful list of predictions has been reprinted all over the place. Mike Adams appears to be a "prepper," i.e. what we used to call a survivalist. In fairness, he mentions in reference to several of his items that Romney would have been just as bad.

The bullet list, with a few quotes from the full-text version:

1. Huge expansion of TSA and the surveillance state.
2. Expansion of secret arrests of American citizens.

Obama secretly signed the NDAA, legalizing the secret arrests of U.S. citizens while denying them due process. Obama also authorized secret “kill lists” that claim to authorize the U.S. government to assassinate targeted individuals. With his re-election in place, expect Obama to start issuing a mass of “kill orders” that will even start targeting political opponents.
3. Acceleration of national debt blowout and endless fiat currency creation.
4. Rapid expansion of GMOs and USDA collusion.
5. Increasingly dictatorial government health care.
Obamacare will grow like a cancer, pushing Americans into mandatory vaccinations that inject children with mercury, formaldehyde, MSG and aluminum.
6. Immediate surge in sales of guns and ammo.
7. Accelerated erosion of the Bill of Rights and civil liberties.
8. Continued destruction and looting of the U.S. economy.
Under Obama, America’s unemployment rate will continue to head skyward, entitlements will be expanded, and the USA will be plunged into a tyrannical welfare state dominated by mindless zombies who have no cognitive grasp of reality.
9. A “giant sucking sound” of employers leaving America.
10. Stepped-up attacks on veterans and preppers.

It may be daft, but it's fun.

From The consequences of Barack Obama's reelection, on Zbigniew Mazurak's blog. Not as lively as Mike Adams' version. Sample:

Obama will also expand welfare, entitlement, and subsidy programs as well as other federal giveaways. By 2016, or perhaps even by 2016, the takers will outnumber the makers. And when that happens, the Democrats will become a permanent majority and Republicans a permanent minority… unless the GOP becomes the second party of Big Government, fully adopting the Democrats’ policies. ...

There might never again be a Republican president.

Americans have been taught to live at someone else’s expense. This election was the last chance to turn things around and educate the American people that they must start to take responsibility for themselves. That opportunity has now been lost.

I found a third apocalyptic list predicting the consequences of Obama's reelection, but I've deleted it for being dull. It was the standard mix of counterfactuals.

Nov. 6, 2012 - The Day America Died, from The Watchman's Cry. It's either bad prophecy or bad poetry. Possibly it's both. On the good side, it's short.

America Died Last Night, from Phil Davis at Examiner.com. Another commenter who believes that natural language is unsuited to momentous occasions.

A thread from Godlike Productions, a forum devoted to UFOs, conspiracy theories, and the lunatic fringe. It's a piquant mixture of handwringing lamentations and cheerfully callous unconcern. One exchange:

User 1283850: (Quotes first four stanzas of "Nov. 6, 2012 - The Day America Died")

User 11758031: STFU OP. Get over it.

User 26673867: There'll be no getting over this one sheep.

User 11758031: You're the sheep. It's not my fault you believed Fox News and the other crazy right wingers that predicted a Romney win.

User 1067150: IT is YOUR fault for re-electing SATAN, you dumbfuck nut gargler...

Forums are good at instantiating the vigorous give-and-take of democracy.

Outraged right-winger getting kicked around in a sports betting forum. Not surprising; sports and betting both reward a grasp of statistics.

America Has Committed Suicide, from Zion's Trumpet:

...Obama has never had any real sense of how people feel about things that are important to them. Why should he? He was raised in a communist cocoon in which family, friends, fellow students, teachers, and mentors ensured he would never be exposed to the fundamentals of free market capitalism that has been the bedrock of the nation’s prosperity.

I have written repeatedly that he just does not like America and that this explains his view that our nation is not an exceptional place in which to live.

His mother was attracted first an African and, after being divorced, to an Indonesian, both Muslims. And then she abandoned Obama to the care of his leftist grandparents. His academic life led him from Occidental College to Columbia University, and then onto Harvard Law School, all leftist strongholds and, yet oddly few of his fellow students even remembered him.

On the radio of the 1940s there was a show called “The Shadow” about a man with the “power to cloud men’s minds” who used it to fight crime, but Obama developed the power to so utterly charm people that, like any successful confidence man, he left people impressed with all the exterior aspects of him without few clues about what he stood for, what he believed, and what his true goals are.

Despite four years of his campaign and his first term not enough Americans understood that Barack Obama is as alien to America as if he had come from some very different, very foreign place.

I'd call that one racist anxiety displacement. Obama is several shades browner than the writer, so he must be profoundly alien: inscrutable, unknowable, and sinister -- possibly possessing strange powers unknown to Western science!

The Day the United States of America Died, from TexasFred. If you want an easy-to-spot indicator that someone's spouting the usual nonsense, look for Obama + debt. They all believe the debt's gone up under Obama. Most of them also believe the debt has gone up under every Democratic president, when in fact the opposite has happened. TexasFred also thinks Texas is entitled to secede, apparently because Rick Perry said so. He's mistaken.

In the margin of TexasFred's blog there's a little award-style icon that says "I've been banned at LGF -- have you?" It makes me wonder whether I've been negligent in not providing something like that for people banned at Making Light.

No longer bush's fault, from the Facebook page of Conservatives against Obama and his liberal adgenda. What's remarkable is the almost complete absence of concretes. This is content-free anxiety talking.

The National Patriot: National Suicide or a Call to Arms? This looks to me like the old Commie Menace trope adapted to the Obama administration. Its author is not a nice person, and may be unbalanced. A brief sample:

What’s it gonna take to wake up more than just die-hard engaged conservatives??? The Arab Spring Parade down Main Street of YOUR town?

I mean…Detroit is a rat hole and Dearbornistan is being run by the Muslim Brotherhood and yet, Michigan still votes for socialists.

On the East Coast…New York and New Jersey…people are homeless and those who still have a home don’t have electricity, don’t have heat, can’t buy gas, garbage and debris is everywhere and non union workers are chased out of town but, THEY still vote for MORE government.

Because gosh, if they hadn't voted the way they did, the hurricane would have magically been turned away!
Of the People, By the People and For the People is about to become…Of the N.N. BY the U.N. and FOR the U.N. and while a damned good number of us don’t want blue hatted weasels dictating to us our restrictions…Obviously there are enough socialists in this country that believe we should be a third world country.
Definitely not young. Anti-UN rants haven't been all that popular since my childhood.

Twitchy U.S. Politics: Voter fraud: People go to vote, ballots already cast in their names; Others vote more than once. Cheap provocation and artificial stupidity. Site staffers compiled a collection of FOAF rumors from Twitter about rampant vote fraud, then concluded "This is why Democrats are against requiring identification to vote. It’s not racist; it stops fraud." An outraged comment thread follows.

A cached paged from the Patriots for America site, commenting uncritically on the Twitchy vote fraud story. Their consensus: It's time to lock and load. Not that they didn't think that already.

=====

And finally, a unicorn chaser.

From YouTube: Rachel Maddow's brilliant monologue last night about facts, the real world, how democracy is supposed to work, and why we need the Republicans to come back to this planet.

#64 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:17 PM:

thomas @55: We don't have national photo ID, but Elections Canada does maintain the list of voters (for federal elections). That is, there is one central registry of voters with one set of laws covering who gets on it. I believe that's what (Canadian-born) David Frum was talking about. Maybe.

(You can also register vote without ID, if you swear an oath and someone in your riding* who has ID makes a sworn statement.)

*electoral district

#65 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:45 PM:

Charlie Stross @#19:
Pat "a dark nation where the homosexuals are unbelievably strong" Robertson.

I'm now picturing homosexuals lifting cars over their heads, leaping tall building in a single bound, etc.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @#62:
"...inject children with mercury, formaldehyde, MSG and aluminum."

MSG? To... make them tastier? That's even tin-foilier than I could have imagined.

User 26673867: There'll be no getting over this one sheep.
Ah, punctuation, how we miss you when you're not there. I so want to see the size of that one sheep. Maybe the UK homosexuals can jump over it.

#66 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:46 PM:

Nutcase on neocon Anglican board thinks that the problem is the 19th and 26th amendments.

#67 ::: charming quark ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:47 PM:

He may not be able to spit, but I believe there's nothing legally stopping Eric Dondero from farting in their general direction.

#68 ::: C. Wingate wants to go no more a gnoming ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:48 PM:

"Neocon" is a dirty word?

#69 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:56 PM:

Re going Galt: Isn't the obvious response to this threat "don't let the invisible hand hit you on the way out?"

#70 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:57 PM:

Stefan Jones @49: If you need to get the bad taste out of your mouth, go watch Rachel Maddow's segment from last night on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SVwXA7sHUlE

That didn't just rinse my mouth out. That made my heart happy. Thank you.

#71 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:59 PM:

My favorite bit to all the conspiracy mongering (and every single one has this as an implicit or explicit point) is the belief that the enactment of Obama's diabolical tyranny hinges on having all the crossed Ts and dotted Is in place. Obama's niggling legalese is more exacting than any magician's stellar alignment. Because you can't have a truly evil tyrant without the paperwork being filed, in triplicate first.

They understand bureaucracy about as well as they understand statistics, it seems.

#72 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:03 PM:

Abi #13 - you know that the Queen's reply would probably be drafted by some polite flunky and be ever so boring. But we'd all love to know what she was really thinking - someone who was happy to play the part she did in the Olympics opening ceremony would likely have an interesting alternative letter to the freepers.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:10 PM:

Re: "...democracy will survive until people figure out that they can vote themselves money."

I've always thought that quote shouldn't be used by American patriots, or by anyone who talks about traditional American values. If what it says is true, then democracy itself is impossible, and we should give up now.

I just now ran a search on the quote. It's usually attributed to Alexander Fraser Tyler, who is a misspelling of Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee. It's also a fraud, with its own substantial page at Snopes.com, and an explanation of the misattribution in the Wikipedia entry on Alexander Fraser Tytler.

Here's a full version of the passage from FamousQuotesSite.com. See if you can spot the clue that led me to take a closer look at it:

Alexander Fraser Tyler, Cycle Of Democracy (1770)

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over lousy fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to Complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.

No way was that written in 1770. Sayeth Wikipedia:
The list beginning "From bondage to spiritual faith" is commonly known as the "Tytler Cycle" or the "Fatal Sequence". Its first known appearance is in a 1943 speech "Industrial Management in a Republic" by H. W. Prentis, president of the Armstrong Cork Company and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and appears to be original to Prentis.
The most thorough and scholarly debunking of the quote is The Truth about Tytler by Loren Collins. He's got its various issues pinned down like so many butterflies, and demonstrates that conservatives have been misattributing it and passing it around since 1961.

Why is it so popular? Because it provides a fine-sounding rationale for not paying one's taxes. There's nothing more to it than that.

#74 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:11 PM:

Sarah @ 64:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @#62:
"...inject children with mercury, formaldehyde, MSG and aluminum."

MSG? To... make them tastier? That's even tin-foilier than I could have imagined.

I had a similar reaction. The other chemicals I've heard name-checked in anti-vaxxer screeds before. But monosodium glutamate? Really? The lo mein really is made of people!

#75 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:19 PM:

Teresa@71:Yes, that's the run down on that quote. I've always found it interesting that conservatives are so fond of a quote that denigrates democracy. The love of money is the root of current conservative ideals. If it supports reducing taxes, they'll be fond of it.
It's also a good example of liking facts that aren't actually based on facts.

#76 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:22 PM:

Charlie 19: Pat "a dark nation where the homosexuals are unbelievably strong" Robertson

Honestly, Pat, if you're concerned about homosexuals being strong, encourage your heterosexuals to hit the fucking gym. You're trying to stop achievers from achieving!

Jim 24: I know some people who say they're in the process of doing just that. I give them 6 weeks, or until the first of them breaks a bone or gets the flu.

Teresa 62: My favorite bit of Mazurak's mental mazurka is "By 2016, or perhaps even by 2016..." Those two years are very different, of course. (And to be fair he probably meant one of those to be 2020 or something and just typed wrong. But he's typing without reading.)

Wait, no, it's "There might never again be a Republican president." Why is he trying to make us even happier?

I think your blockquotes got off by one in the middle of the National Patriot bit. "Because gosh..." and "Definitely not young" are you, not him.

C. 66: No, it's a clean word for a dirty thing.

albatross 67: I am SO stealing that!

#77 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:25 PM:

Teresa #7: I loved the TPM artcle ("schadenfreude pie" sidebar)'s description of Trump's tweets:

If you thought Karl Rove’s five stages of grief on FOX News was fun, you should have had Donald Trump’s twitter feed bookmarked in your browser. Obama’s crassest opponent let loose with an epic screed that translated loosely to “I’m melllllting, I’m melllllting!”

#78 ::: Dave Harmon has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:26 PM:

I've got fnacy rice and leftover meatloaf...

#79 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:27 PM:

Steve with a book @41, I think it might be the Mad Max movies, or maybe Crocodile Dundee. There are probably lots of Americans who think of Australia as some kind of frontier territory full of hardy he-men waving machetes around and having firefights over resources.

Thalia @56, the Bengazi thing still has legs because many right-wingers get all of their info from Fox News, right-wing websites, or their right-wing friends, and therefore live their lives inside a self-perpetuating bubble of lies and distortions.

#80 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:34 PM:

I can recall how depressed I was twelve years ago when Florida was stolen, and how annoyed I was when Ohio was stolen eight years ago. In consequence, I am reminded of the adage 'revenge is a dish best served cold'.

Meanwhile, James Taranto is warning that a multicultural coalition could mean the end of civilisation: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324439804578107111369360142.html?KEYWORDS=JAMES+TARANTO

#81 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:37 PM:

Also, re OSC's rant: The projection is astonishing....

#82 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:37 PM:

Teresa: Some of your block-quotage in #62 needs to be fixed. The problem begins with "Because gosh".

I mention this because I don't want your comments to be lumped in with the crazy!
* * *

Roughly a day of threads in the "Free for All" off topic discussion section of a hobby board I frequent got axed by the moderator. He's pretty lenient, and generally lets political discussions, but things just got totally crazy.

I am very glad I only saw some of it. It is distressing to learn that some of the skilled and knowledgeable craftspeople you share a hobby are capable of such intolerant crackpottery.

#83 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:40 PM:

I can't wait for grieving Republicans to reach the Bargaining stage.

I need a washing machine, dryer, and refrigerator, and if they're desperate I'm willing to make a deal!

#84 ::: Jamie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:43 PM:

Sarah @64 - that was the single funniest comment I've seen on the topic. Thank you.

I remember being depressed about W in 2000. This was mostly pre-blogging, and a lot of the discussion happened on mailing lists and forums (fora?). Pointing out that the democratically elected president won by a 7-2 margin in court was greeted by jeers of "get over it, loser" sorts of taunts. The more thoughtful right-leaning folks I know emphasized that W. would likely be a moderate, uneventful president. I think we all know how that went.

This is a long way around saying that I hope that some of these fever dreams on the right are true. I hope that Obama actually isn't the Rockefeller Republican in his second term that he has been in his first. Time for the pendulum to swing back a bit.

Also, too, Nate Silver is probably a witch.

#85 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:44 PM:

If the Freepers want to arrive in Australia, could someone tell them the best method to get in quickly is to buy passage with people smugglers from Indonesia? Please?

I have a couple of ulterior motives here. Firstly, our government's current policy on unannounced arrivals by boat is to ship them all off to a holding camp in Nauru for a few years (I think it's currently about a three year wait or thereabouts) for processing and checking. It isn't really popular with anyone (not with the unannounced immigrants, who are mostly people seeking asylum here from countries where visas to Australia aren't readily offered - Afghanistan, Sri Lanka etc; not with the majority of Australians, who see it as unbelievably harsh and inhumane; and not with our conservative politicians and commentators, who see it as nowhere near harsh enough), so I'd like to see what happens when a group of white, English-speaking, former USAliens gets caught up in that system. If only for the lulz, because one of the unenviable undercurrents of Australian society is a very thick and pervasive vein of racism, and I suspect the idea of white people having to suffer what brown people do is going to be anathema to our radio shock jocks and similar.

My second ulterior motive is that if our nice people in customs and immigration do hold to the "one rule for everyone" thing, at least a few Freeperi will receive a very thorough education as to how the other half live, and the genuine costs of "going Galt". If nothing else, it might suffice to pull their heads out of their arses.

#86 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:44 PM:

That Maddow segment was wonderful. Thanks to Stefan and Teresa for posting it.

#87 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:46 PM:

A "nation where the homosexuals are unbelievably strong" would be like that Oglaf "Honor!" strip, right? (Very NSFW.)

#88 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Thomas @ 55

I suspect at least part of the reason we don't worry so much about voter fraud here in Australia is due to our compulsory turnout laws. Most people regard having to vote once every four years or thereabouts as a hideous imposition on their time (or at the very least, a bloody nuisance), but we turn out and do it anyway, since the penalty is a fine (about $50 - which these days is heading into "pocket change" territory). It also means that neither of the major parties benefits from trying the sorts of "dirty tricks" campaign around vote suppression which seems to be such a major part of the US election system these days.

Effective voter fraud in the Australian system would probably require creating a bogus identity (complete with the paper trail most Australians accumulate by the time they hit adulthood) and maintaining that bogus identity across multiple election campaigns and an extended lifespan.

Plus, of course, we have our voter registration, electoral boundaries, and electoral mechanics all administered by a single, apolitical (yes, I do mean that seriously) Federal government agency. It isn't handled by the political parties at all, and given the standard attitude toward political parties in general and politicians in particular in this country, they're never likely to be given the chance. The AEC is seriously apolitical, even by the standards of the Australian public service.

On the subject of what to do for all these poor, disgruntled conservatives who believe it's TEOTWAWKI already, might I suggest a selection of dummies (pacifiers) for spitting, blankies for naps, and a collection of soft toys to be flung out of the pram.

#89 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:57 PM:

Steve With a Book @41:

I've always been kind of amazed, in my ignorance of US politics, that the GOP has both the Randians and the Christian fundamentalists in it at least sort of pretending to play nicely together

This has perplexed me as well, however, I'm currently reading China Mieville's The City and the City, and it occurs to me that the Domionisits and Randians are like Beszel and Ul Qoma, two completely different countries occupying the same space. They ignore one another for the most part, but every so often there's a breach, and they find themselves staring this weird alien other in the face. Then they go back to pretending that the One True Conservative way is their own, daydreaming of the time when they can enact a permanent majority of their own kind ans kick the others to teh curb.

#90 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:59 PM:

Steve @75, this isn't the first time I've been suspicious about their commitment to democracy.

Stefan @82, it's fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.

#91 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:00 PM:

#60, Larry S: That piece is satire, not an actual statement of Republican views. I admit that it's not always easy to tell the difference.

Moreover, Reince Priebus is indeed a wily, mystical creature who has reportedly carried out right-wing political trickery at numerous points throughout recorded history.

#92 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:01 PM:

#61, Chris Quinones: Thanks. I've updated the Sidelights link, with credit to you in the rollover.

#93 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:01 PM:

An embittered conservative gets drunk and rants. She's saner than many of the people linked to in this thread-- she thinks the conspiracy theories are nonsense-- but have a little schadenfreude if you like.

#94 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:02 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @63: "Americans have been taught to live at someone else’s expense."
times
Patrick's How much interest do you pay? Sidelight
equals
... Um, yeah. That.

#95 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:09 PM:

IJWTS that Sarah's #65 nearly made me soil myself laughing.

#96 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:09 PM:

Megpie, we don't actually get a lot of voter fraud here. What we do have -- not for the first time, and not just in voting mechanisms -- are supposed anti-fraud measures that actually function to discourage legitimate users. That's why the Republicans have been cooking it up as an issue: those discouraged voters tend to vote Democratic.

#97 ::: Dave Cake ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:10 PM:

I think the general Australian response so far to all the conservative threats to move here is a sort of national giggling fit. Will they enjoy our socialist health care the most, or our strict gun laws? Our atheist unmarried prime minister, or our lesbian cabinet minister ? Our gay mardi gras, or mandatory voting?

#98 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:13 PM:

Steve with a book@41, Keith Edwards@89

Quite often the Dominionists and the Randians are actually the same people.

#99 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:15 PM:

Michael I @97: But how is that possible?

#100 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:17 PM:

tnh@98

Compartmentalization and/or selective reading.

#101 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:18 PM:

James Fallows has a guy who promised to Go Galt if Obama was elected.. so now we’re all waiting for him to move to western CO, draw water and hew wood in his self-built cabin.. doesn’t seem to be happening for some reason..

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/11/by-popular-demand-one-last-immersion-in-the-world-of-the-atlas-shrugged-guy/264947/

Stronger men than me, who have read Rand, say Galt had a magic perpetual-motion energy device so he didn't have to hew and draw. So even the archetype text is SF of a peculiar sort..

#102 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:21 PM:

The phrase "Election Loaf" popped into my head a few minutes ago. (For completeness sake, while I was taking a pee. Sorry. I know: TMI.)

I don't think I'll be able to shed it until I come up with a recipe.

A hearty, savory meat dish to serve up on that special Tuesday?

Some kind of colorful, elaborate Jell-O mold?

#104 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:26 PM:

Michael I @99: But, Christianity. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Does not mix.

#106 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:31 PM:

Michael I @97:

I have my doubts.

The poster boy for such an argument is Paul Ryan, who claims to be both a devout Catholic and an ardent admirer of Rand. But it's clear from his political history, proposed policies and dead-eyed stare that he's at least fibbing about the Catholic thing, probably as part of the standard Religiosity cover most politicians have to wear.

Now I'm not going to say I know the man's heart or anything but on the Dominionist/Rand scale, dude's a solid 5. And that strikes me as typical of the sort who may be overlap cases. They're clearly batting for one team while trying to convince everyone (and themselves?) they are switch hitters.

(and I swear, the Kinsey metaphor stuff has no sexual identity subtext, it just struck me as an apt way to describe the example. Feel free to ignore it if it grates).

#107 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:33 PM:

Regarding TNH's awesome collection of quotes and links in #63, I do want to note that Obama really has presided over a "huge expansion of TSA and the surveillance state" and the "expansion of secret arrests of American citizens." As any reader of Glenn Greenwald is aware, Obama has not exactly been Civil Liberties Jesus. It's just that the idea that Romney -- or any actually-electable Republican -- would have been better ... is risible.

This is not an excuse for Obama, nor should it be taken as a suggestion that he and his administration shouldn't be pushed as hard as possible on these issues.

But back to the splenetic right-wingers in question. If these issues were truly at the heart of their problem with Obama, I'd be right in there with them. But it's pretty obvious that their problem isn't that an American President is arrogating to himself the right to kill people with remote-controlled drones. It's that a black guy is arrogating to himself the right to kill people with remote-controlled drones.

#109 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:51 PM:

Well, feh.

#110 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:53 PM:

Feh indeed. He's hardly perfect. But they don't hate him for his actual failings.

#111 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:53 PM:

That wasn't a response to Teresa's just previous, but to something that happened upthread. Sorry for any confusion.

#112 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:01 PM:

Jon, #44: FTW!

Andrew, #54: I'd be more likely to rephrase it as "Democracy will survive until the rich realize that they can get the poor to vote them money." And we're well on the way, although the 1% have just had a setback.

lorax, #57: Ah, thank you -- that makes the whole thing make much more sense. I had also wondered why he was touting "a reliable national ID system" as the cure-all, when voter ID laws are such a large part of the problem. And your "retail vs. wholesale" analogy is excellent.

C. Wingate, #66: Only the 19th and 26th? Why didn't he go whole hog and blame the 13th and 14th as well?

Xopher, #76: IHNC, IJWTS "Mazurak's mental mazurka" again.

(I also noticed the error, but assumed it was one of those "when sentences collide" things.)

#113 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:07 PM:

Lee:

I suggest: "Democracy will survive until the rich realize that they can trick the poor into granting them the privileges of an aristocracy."

#114 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:07 PM:

Teresa writes in #73:

See if you can spot the clue that led me to take a closer look at it:

I confess I could not. I thought the word "lousy" was out of place in a 1770 essay, but it turns out that most versions say "loose fiscal policy," so your version is a mistranscription of the usual version. "Fiscal policy" is negligibly frequent in the Google Ngrams English corpus before about 1850, though.

One purveyor of the "vote themselves largesse" sentiment was Robert Heinlein, or at least, Seventies Heinlein.

In an afterword to his anti-nuclear-test-ban screed, "Who Are the Heirs of Patrick Henry?" in the 1980 collection Expanded Universe, he wrote:

One chink in the armor of any democracy is that, when the Plebs discover that they can vote themselves Bread & Circuses, they usually do ... right up to the day there is neither bread nor circuses. At that point they often start lynching the senators, congressmen, bankers, tax collectors, Jews, grocers, foreigners, any minority - take your choice. For they know that they didn't do it. The citizen is sovereign until it comes to accepting blame for his sovereign acts - then he demands a scapegoat.

Later on in Expanded Universe, in "The Happy Days Ahead" --an essay written for that book-- he strikes the same note:

Democracies usually collapse not too long after the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses... for a while. Either read history or watch the daily papers; it is now happening here.
Heinlein was rather conflicted about democracy, and was much given to grand (and contradictory) pronouncements about it.

Here and there on the Net, one can also find this saying attributed to Heinlein:

Once the monkeys learn they can vote themselves bananas, they'll never climb another tree.
I cannot, however, find this statement in his published work. At one point, I removed it from a Wikipedia entry. Judging from Google Groups, its earliest appearance seems to be around 2010.

#115 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:11 PM:

I'm confused (admittedly, nothing new).

If you read Brother Orson's diatribe (link @ #17) or Melanie Phillips, we learn that, because Barack Obama has been re-elected, Iran will nuke Tel Aviv.

Ignoring that the Iranian Nuclear Bomb has been "six months to a year away" since the Reagan Administration, do this mean that Willard would have Declared War on Iran? Or would he just have nuked them pre-emptively?

Isn't either of those options a straighter route to World War III?

#116 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:15 PM:

My favorite quip directed at the GOP loudmouths currently threatening to emigrate to Australia came in over Twitter yesterday. It said, "Be advised that you are not permitted to keep the guns you will need to kill the spiders." Really, that's just about the perfect response.

#117 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:16 PM:

TNH @ 96

I kind of figured. But again, one of the nice little side-effects of compulsory turnout is that we don't have either of our major political parties really bothering with dirty tricks campaigns aimed at suppressing voter turnout here. There's just no real dividend in it for them. After all, about the only thing which could work in that fashion over here is offering to pay the fines of people who chose not to vote, which I suspect is probably illegal (or would be made so in short order).

Incidentally, in over twenty years of voting in Australian elections, I've not been asked to show ID when I rocked up to vote even once.

(I suspect trying to explain all of this to some of the more die-hard believers in "voter fraud" would be rather like attempting to explain flight to emus. Technically, they have the equipment and are capable of understanding the analogy; practically, it would take more time than it's worth.)

#118 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:34 PM:

lisa grant @ 18... The virtual prison of political correctness, tolerance, and celebrating diversity

"Fight for Truth, Tolerance and Justice."
- Jonathan Kent to his son, wy back when.

And welcome!

#119 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:47 PM:

Oh, I've just realised something about Australian elections, and our political parties.

Our main conservative party here is the Liberal Party of Australia (they're colour coded BLUE). Our main liberal (small-L, the difference is crucial) party, colour coded RED, is the Australian Labor Party, or ALP.

Further fun and games: our Liberals (conservatives) occupy similar political ground to the US Democrats. The ALP occupies similar ground to the US Greens. The nearest thing we have to the US Republicans are probably some kind of unholy alliance of One Nation ("I'm dreaming of a white 'Straya"), Family First ("Mega-churches for God and theocracy"), and Bob Katter's Australia Party ("Because Queensland is the spiritual home of the conservative non-conformist"), none of which are even vaguely likely to make it big on the Australian political scene because most Aussies are secular suburbanites who regard them all as nutters.

The mental gear-grinding for a Freeper at their first election should be worth watching. In order to vote against the small-l liberals, they'll have to vote for the Liberal party. In order to vote in their "red-state" values, they'll have to vote against the red-coded party. On second thoughts, send them over, it should add some fun to election time, and gods know we could use it!

#120 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:50 PM:

29
The best response I saw to that was 'Who's he?'

#121 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:01 PM:

I really wish it were as easy to move to Canada* as people upset about political developments make it out to be.

It's no coincidence that something like 90% of the successful entertainment freelancers I know are from Commonwealth countries with socialized medicine.

*or Australia, or the UK, or whatever English-speaking British Commonwealth country is trendy this election cycle.

#122 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:02 PM:

You've got to read this article -- an epic RISKS DIGEST-worthy tale of the clusterf*ck that was the Romney campaign's Project Orca.

In other news, apparently Romney was so thoroughly inside the bubble that he bought all that nonsense about the polls being skewed. He didn't know he was going to lose. He didn't even write a concession speech -- hello, the wrath from high atop the thing?

I said weeks ago that issues aside, policies aside, Romney was just not qualified to do the job. I stand by that.

#123 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:10 PM:

Really enjoying the fact that the bad guy in Burn Notice is named Card.

#124 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:18 PM:

Lee 112: Thanks. I was kind of proud of that phrasing!

#125 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:20 PM:

It was obvious to me, watching Romney's concession speech, that it had been cobbled together in haste.

#126 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:29 PM:

#64:
An electoral district is called a riding?
Did officials make the rounds on horseback at one time?

#127 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:30 PM:

Avram 125, well, didn't he say "I have only prepared one speech" ?

#128 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:50 PM:

TNH @73, is it the phrase "fiscal policy"? That pings my anachro-meter.

#129 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 10:02 PM:

The folks over at American Thinker seem to believe that Obama's victory will bring about a return to the Hobbesian state of nature. I have to say that this one has me baffled.

#130 ::: Larry S ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 10:08 PM:

Patrick @91: You are correct I just realized that. Scary that I thought it could be a real quote though. Thanks for pointing it out to me. I can't believe I missed the humor tag.

#131 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 10:14 PM:

I actually thought Romney's website for if he had won was fairly reasonable. And wouldn't there have been some ribbing for him if it hadn't been ready to go immediately after?

That it leaked out -- not so good. I'm wondering what the problem is with them having it ready? It's not at all a bad site for a first response. I'm just glad it's not really being used.

#132 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 10:38 PM:

re 101: I for one am waiting with bated breath for the other shoe to drop on that one.

#133 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 10:46 PM:

Michael I @ 98... the Dominionists and the Randians

The former worshipping Odo, and the latter worshipping Janice Rand's awesome hairdo?

#134 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:09 PM:

No, Serge, the Odonians are the anarchists.

#135 ::: James Davis Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:10 PM:

(You can also register vote without ID, if you swear an oath and someone in your riding* who has ID makes a sworn statement.)

As my Supervisory Deputy Returning Officer was amazed to discover when it was too late to matter, at the provincial level the SDRO at each polling location has sweeping powers and can registered anyone they feel is entitled to vote (subject to challenge from the scrutineers) regardless of documentation.

(we had a by-election in a nearby riding the same week tens of thousands of students moved into the riding. Lots of unregistered voters)

#136 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:11 PM:

re 112: Lee, I can only assume that he simply forgot, and it's an extremely safe bet that he does not in fact approve of the 14th amendment.

#137 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:15 PM:

TNH @ 16, Jeff Flake is the nephew of the late Arizona senator Jake Flake. The Flake family has been in Arizona for generators and a great-great-great-relative of the Flakes founded Snowflake, Arizona, hence the "Flake" half of the name.

Dunno if that helps.

He's a fairly typical Arizona politician.

#138 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:20 PM:

#102Stefan Jones

There is a grand old tradition in New England of making election cakes.

America Eats by William Woys Weaver reprints this recipe from the 1874 The Household "a popular monthly publication in Brattleboro, Vermont":
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup cold water
8 tablespoon (one stick) salted butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cassia (like cinnamon but stronger)
1/4 teaspoon powdered clove

1/4 ounce yeast proofed in 1 cup warm water sweetened with 1 tablespoon molasses

Beat together cornmeal and water. Bring to boil and scald.
Add butter and sugar and beat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Set aside to cool.

When lukewarm, add the proofed yeast, the flour, and the spices. Should have a thick stiffish batter.

Cover, set in warm place to rise. When double in bulk, and covered with bubbled on the surface, pour batter into well greases 10 inch cake pan. Let batter recover for 30-40 minutes, until risen to within 1/2 inch of top. Preheat oven to 350F

Set cake in middle of oven, reduce heat to 300F and bake for around 55 minutes. Done when dry in center. Cool for a few minutes before removing from pan. Crust will soften as cake cools.

Mr Weaver says election cake was baked in round loafs like bread, never iced but sometimes glazed. He also nortes that some will want to add more spice.

I especially like how easy this recipe is to adapt to being vegan.

#139 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:23 PM:

Steve with a book @41:
"Yes, I saw Oz suggested in this way on Twitter, and it did make me wonder where the hell that impression of the country came from. Is it because bits of it look a bit like bits of Texas? The atheist PM would probably be a major turn-off for religiously-minded flouncers but not one for the libertarian ones (I've always been kind of amazed, in my ignorance of US politics, that the GOP has both the Randians and the Christian fundamentalists in it at least sort of pretending to play nicely together)."

It probably has to do with Australia being #3 on the Heritage Foundation's ranking of economic freedom. As for the Republican alliance between religious crazies and uber-capitalists, it comes from their mutual hatred of Commies and dirty f***ing hippies and their mutual desire to repeal the 20th century. So far they've managed to get along by not thinking too hard about their different reasons for repealing the 20th Century and focusing instead on the folks they hate. I'm waiting for the day religious conservatives to finally realize that the main force undermining "traditional values" is the unbridled capitalism of their partners, but I'm not holding my breath.

Michael Weholt @62:
"I wonder what these hysterically disgruntled types did with themselves before the internet."

They wrote angry letters to The New American, the John Birch Society's journal. Indeed, as far as I'm concerned Tea Partiers are just Birchers with a TV network.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 73:

Whatever the veracity of the quote, IIRC this was a significant worry in ancient Athens. To prevent that from happening they had mechanisms to prevent individuals from getting to big for their britches and so triggering a backlash of confiscation. One example of that is ostracism. Once a year the assembly could decide to hold an ostracism. If so decided citizens would scratch a name on a piece of pottery (called ostraca, hence the name), and whoever got the most votes had to leave Athens for ten years. No trial no defense, no nothing, you had to leave or else.

#140 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:30 PM:

TNH: Thank you for the "Truth about Tytler" link. I confess I asked the question here without even a cursory Google search. Usually I know better than that.

#141 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:35 PM:

What, no salt?

#143 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:35 AM:

HelenS
Interesting - I hadn't noticed the lack of salt. I went back to the cookbook to check, and the recipe doesn't have added salt. I checked a few of the cookbook's surrounding recipes (from the same era) and several don't call for added salt but have either salted butter or so e other ingredient that contains salt.

It also describes election cake as basically a sweet bread.

#144 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:39 AM:

I still have to think about what an election loaf is.

I'm leaning toward some kind of elaborate gelatin mold. Something festive, and patriotic, and Lovecraftian.

#145 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:54 AM:

Stephan,

Wouldn't an elaborate gelatin mold be an election salad?

I like the idea of festive. Don't eat gelatin, but it has advantages if you are aiming for red white and blue.

When I think loaf, I think vegan meatloaf = something with oatmeal and beans. But once you throw in some scotch, you are on your way to vegan "haggis" so that is pretty far afield from election loaf. At least for an American election.

Hm. Blue corn would be a way to get blue.

My imagination is failing me at Lovecraftian. Would the election loaf have tentacles? (Like the old Standard Oil cartoon?)

#146 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:21 AM:

Cygnet @137: Yes. I'm from Arizona. My immediate bunch are Crandalls, Allens, and Phelpses from Mesa and Gilbert. I grew up around Flakes, Allreds, Lees, Hatches, Arringtons, and other recognizable surnames.

Jeff Flake also has an Uncle David. I've been trying to figure out whether he's the one I remember, or a different David Flake. I'm thinking he isn't -- the jaw isn't sufficiently spade-shaped.

#147 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:24 AM:

Mea @145: You can make an excellent tentacled octopus out of a hotdog.

#148 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:57 AM:

Jamie #84: http://isnatesilverawitch.com/


Leah Miller #121: We got a small slice of the action this time round. And then the Kiwis reclaimed the hashtag.

#149 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:02 AM:

#147Teresa

Cute!

#150 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:19 AM:

Following back-links from the Atlantic article referenced @101, I found the following interesting assertion in one of the e-mails originally quoted to start the series:

Democrats and Republicans are beginning to dress differently, to wear their hair differently.

That makes me perk up my ears. Has anyone else noticed this, and if so, what are the differences you have observed? Obviously, there are some groups of people whose style of dress is a pretty clear indicator of their political position, as with my "aging hippie" drag -- but I don't dress like that all the time.

#151 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:23 AM:

From the comments on the ORCA post:

I look to the future hoping the GOP sees three obstacles easily to be overcome.

1) Playing nice never works...

...because the GOP candidates, with their racist dog-whistling and their woman-hating rape-apologism, totally played nice.

2) ... The white vote isn't declining because white voters are disappearing. It's declining because they aren't motivated to vote like they used to be. The white voters of yesteryear would have voted no matter what. They're the greatest generation. Their sons, while still white, and center-right, don't have the same conviction. Mitt assumed you could Count On Them so he didn't target them. He was wrong.

So the GOP didn't capitalize enough on the Southern Strategy. Check. Note also the exclusive focus on male voters: "Their sons, still white..."

I choose to interpret "don't have the same conviction" as "aren't as racist as their forebears," and I smile with gratitude.


(Filed under: We can build a better campaign! More conservative! More racist! More meaner! WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!)

#152 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:34 AM:

This is probably wicked of me but I am hoping that by 2015 Rick Santorum circa 2011 looks too liberal to be a front-runner for the Republican nomination.

(This time round Rick was the gift that kept on giving. One belly-laugh after another ...)

#153 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:34 AM:

I have to point out that Donald Trump is right about one thing: the world is laughing at *him*.

As for Dondero, couldn't he just follow the immportal example of Mr. Marshall Elliott (Ummm... it's either in Anne's House of Dreams or Anne of Ingleside) and not cut his hair or beard until his party is back in office? At least that way he'd provide entertainment value for everyone else, instead of just pissing all all around him.

#154 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 06:37 AM:

It's early yet, I know, but the hotdog octopus (TNH 147) is just about the best thing I've seen all day.

#155 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 06:47 AM:

I thought this comment on the ORCA post was pretty promising:

The fact is that the Republican party has stupidly abandoned popular culture, media, etc. (and the "but they don't like us" line is the whine of a sniveling coward)
Engage the populace. Late night TV. Various web channels. Make appearances. Yuk it up w/ the hosts. Be of good cheer. Get out, shake hands

I like it because "engaging the populace" is only going to be possible if they're also open to being engaged by the populace. No one is going to listen to voices out of Bizzaro world. They're going to have to rejoin consensus reality to make a strategy like that work.

You can't change the discourse without being changed by it in return.

#156 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 07:49 AM:

FWIW, David Frum on "Morning Joe" today:

"The real locus of the problem is the Republican activist base and the Republican donor base. They went apocalyptic over the past 4 years and that was exploited by a lot of people in the conservative world. I won't soon forget the lupine smile that played over the head of one major conservative institution when he told me that 'our donors think the Apocalypse has arrived.' Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex."

[transcript by me]

#157 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 07:50 AM:

Michael I @98: Quite often the Dominionists and the Randians are actually the same people.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden @99: But how is that possible?
Michael I @100: Compartmentalization and/or selective reading.

Their sweet but somewhat dotty old grandmother highlighted all the really important passages in the family Bible.
Unfortunately, what she thought was a highlighter was really a black marker. So now they're working from a highly redacted Bible.

#158 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 08:00 AM:

jnh #157: Great, you've managed to suggest that we're living in a Charlie Stross novel. I'm now worried that tentacled horrors are actually out to get me, with the active assistance of the Republican Party.

#159 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:00 AM:

abi @155: I haven't the fortitude to track down the exact posts, but I found a few other comments in that thread heartening as well. Discussion of how a rabid focus on being anti-gay and anti-marijuana alienated a lot of younger voters while really having nothing to do with fiscal conservatism.

I was less heartened by the constant racism in the comments, and the way absolutely no one thought it was worth remarking on. But I would love there to be a viable party of "Let's be very cautious about our spending" in the United States, decoupled from the "...except when it comes to killing folks! More money for that!" and rampant anti-civil-rights stuff that it's currently bundled with. That's a political party I could argue against and yet still feel non-horrified at the wins of.

#160 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:05 AM:

Mea @#145
My imagination is failing me at Lovecraftian

I think that's why Stefan leant towards the gelatin-mold idea. All gelatin molds are basically shoggoths, aren't they?

#161 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:07 AM:

Stefan @144/mea @145--related to your studies, here is a recipe for bohnentorte, a cake made with white beans instead of flour.
It gets its rise from whipped egg whites and not yeast or chemical leavenings, and so may not be an easy conversion.

I've made it, or a version from a similar recipe and it turns out nicely. Like a lot of central and eastern European patry recipes, the results are not nearly as sweet as the American palate is accustomed to.

#162 ::: fidelio is hanging with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:08 AM:

There's a bean torte recipe involved; they may have wanted further details...

#163 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:14 AM:

mea @138, that sounds tasty. But I have a basic question - the only ten-inch cake pan I have is a tube pan. Is that what's called for?

#164 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:28 AM:

Re. Teresa #73 and heckblazer #139 - David Brin has had a standing invitation on his blog for years now for someone to provide an actual example of an enfranchised democratic public voting themselves largesse and bringing a country to ruin. The only examples he or anyone else could come up with were in fact of the rich oligarchy voting themselves tax breaks or suchlike, leading to economic problems. (E.g. SW Bush tax cuts)

So as you might expect, the "plebs voting themselves rich" idea is just a piece of propaganda.

#165 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:30 AM:

Avram@125

Thing is, though, the whole kerfluffle over Christie just reeks of an attempt to set Christie up as a scapegoat.

And you only need a scapegoat if you LOSE.

#166 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:43 AM:

re 73: From a comment on this Atlantic look at the bogoquote, The Best Rejoinder:

"When the right wing discovers that it can manufacture convenient quotes for itself out of whole cloth, the great experiment in rational American discourse will be at an end." (Some Dead Guy)

#167 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:57 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 76:

Honestly, Pat, if you're concerned about homosexuals being strong, encourage your heterosexuals to hit the fucking gym.

Well, why do you think Robertson marketed his age-defying energy shake that enabled him to leg press 2000 pounds?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 104:

Michael I @99: But, Christianity. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Does not mix.

Remember, there are currently large swathes of fundamentalist Christianity who now embrace the Tim LaHaye-esque view that the Sermon on the Mount is only a description of the Millenial Kingdom, not a prescription for current Christian behavior. Most of the Gospels are largely ignored by my own fundamentalist family members, who are almost exclusive concerned with that one infamous verse from Leviticus; a patchwork quilt of prophetic material from Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation; the most odious excerpts from Paul's epistles; and an utterly unsourced hysteria about abortion, which fundamentalist Protestants didn't give two shits about until the late seventies at the earliest. Heck, the only part of 1 Corinthians 13 they seem to have taken to heart is a little piece of verse 7: "believeth all things." The motto of a Fox News viewer.

So to me, the current substantial overlap between Birchers, Objectivists and fundamentalist Christians is explained by the fact that too many fundamentalist "Christians" aren't actually Christians any more, in any meaningful sense of the term. It's been reduced purely to a tribal marker.

#168 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:05 AM:

Bill 114:

I don't think the idea being expressed there is unreasonable. A very plausible failure mode of democracy is that it's easier to get elected promising goodies today than pain today for good tomorrow. I'd say we do a fair bit of this, as witness our deficits even in good economic times (when there's no good reason to run them except that it's more popular to cut taxes and raise spending than to do the opposite), and our utter failure to do anything about global warming (where raising energy and regulatory costs today may save us spending far more on disaster remediation tomorow).

#169 ::: Fuz ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:10 AM:

Fragano #158:
#romneydeathrally (I'm assuming you've missed this)

#170 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:11 AM:

I guess to expand on that: I see a focus on short-term popular measures as a potential failure mode in democracy, and the warning (in what is apparently a made-up quote) as part of how to avoid that failure mode--recognize the danger in voting for short-term popular measures whose costs will land on the future.

#171 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:28 AM:

Herman Cain is now pushing for a right-wing third party. Given the general vulnerably of a lot of Senate Democrats in two years (a lot of folks who swept in in 2008 in red states), I suspect that nothing would make Debbie Wasserman Schultz (and every other Democrat) happier.

#172 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:32 AM:

Xopher: Damnit, now I've got the Village People's Macho Man stuck in my head.

All: The ideological bubble effect is interesting and very creepy. It is surely not a failure that can only happen to Republicans, though of late, they are providing the most spectacular examples on a large scale. (Much weirder factual and moral beliefs take hold in small cults and weird ingroups, but not on the scale of millions of people who don't know a median from a mode suddenly acquiring a strong opinion on Nate Sliver's techniques for aggregating polling results to predict elections, or who convince themselves that they're winning right up to their defeat.)

One thing that I've been noticing for awhile lately--pervasive propaganda affects even relatively sophisticated people, who recognize most or all of the overt propaganda as BS for the rubes. George Will is not a stupid man, but he made a fool of himself wrt his election prediction. He must have known that a lot of the talk wrt biased polls was an attempt to keep the GOP's voters and volunteers going a little longer, and yet he seems to have bought into it at the end.

My suspicion is that this is quite common--even people who should know better are influenced by mainstream media coverage of stuff like foreign policy or technology, where the MSM does a pretty lousy job. It's hard not to be--even if you know the TV and newspapers are largely spouting BS for the rubes, the whole structure of thought-out positions and ideas and policies that arises from that BS, often at several removes, becomes the structure of thoughts and positins and ideas that you base your own thinking on.

#173 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:34 AM:

To help me blog about it, I transcribed the speech Obama gave a couple days ago, thanking his campaign staff and reflecting on his own experience as a community organizer. He actually tears up in this speech; it's worth watching or reading. If you remember the June 2008 speech he gave to his campaign staffers, this kind of bookends that.

#174 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:16 AM:

#170 ::: albatross

The thing is, it sounds plausible that the masses voting goodies for themselves is how democracies can go down, but it doesn't actually seem to work that way.

The deadly thing is probably special interest groups voting goodies for themselves.

The other deadly thing is losing track of what one is supposed to be doing.

I'm posting fast, so someone else is going to have to post the link, but there's a book called The Generals by Ricks which claims that the US lost the tradition of transferring generals for military lack of competence after WW2. (Some of the generals so transferred did better later.)

Military history isn't something I know much about, but none of the commenters on the book said it was nonsense, though some disagreed about details.

If true, this is *huge*. The deaths, the cost, the earned loss of prestige...

This is the kind of stupidity which is more likely with great wealth and power.

#175 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:19 AM:

Again we see the wackiness of the unedited Internet.

Or is the problem un-internetted editors?

#176 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:41 AM:

#163 ::: OtterB

Disclaimer: I haven't personally made the recipe, I was just reminded of it by the talk of election loaf. So hard to give advice on pan shape.

#161: fidelio that sounds delicious. You are right, however, that it would be hard to make vegan. But when I get in a cooking mode, I might want to experiment.

#177 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:40 PM:

I think the collaboration and sometimes identity of the US religious right and the Randites can be partly understood in terms of race. The religious right discovered national politics in part because the US rescinded tax exemption for segregated religious schools. Right-libertarians got incensed over affirmative action, and fair-housing laws and other civil-rights laws that restricted the right of private individuals to racially discriminate. It was a major point of alliance.

#178 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:01 PM:

Number me among those who plan to steal Albatross's line in 69.

#179 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:52 PM:

"Number me among those who plan to steal Albatross's line in 69."

Yeah, me too. And I'll admit here that I already stole the line you quoted in #166, cutting it down to tweet-size to match a similarly tweet-sized misquote going around (attributed to Ben Franklin in most of the tweets I saw). I did credit you in the next tweet for bringing it to my attention.

#180 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:02 PM:

abi@155: the other day I saw a reference to Colin Powell's comment on Obama's notorious Muslimness:

"Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian," he said. "But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

Which is dealing with actual facts by means of basic common sense and generosity of spirit. This combination ought not to be as rare as it evidently is in Obama's opponents.

#181 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:11 PM:

Milestone: Although it had happened in a figurative manner many times, reading the Phillips quote finally, for the first and only time in my life, left me sputtering random noises and unable to actually form words. Not out of anger even, just sheer incredulity. Wow.

#182 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:12 PM:

Stefan 144: I still have to think about what an election loaf is.

It's what you're doing when you're too lazy to vote. "Of course I'm going to vote! I'm not spending the whole day lying around in an election loaf."

#183 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:15 PM:

Fuz #169: I did. Thanks.

What I just saw, however, was this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/nov/09/mapping-racist-tweets-president-obama-reelection?fb=native

#184 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:27 PM:

Steve w/b, #180: Powell is both right and not-right about that. He's absolutely correct that there should not be anything wrong with the President (or anyone else) being a Muslim in America. The Constitution specifically states that there shall be no religious test for holding office.

Unfortunately, in order to hold office, one must first be elected to office, and it is sadly true that in much of America there is a de facto religious test for being elected. Many people simply won't vote for a non-Christian (Jews are treated as "honorary Christians"), just as they won't vote for someone with a non-Western-European-sounding name. Note that Keith Ellison doesn't "sound like" he'd be Muslim. This is changing (slowly), but the test of "must be religious" will be the last barrier to fall -- we'll see a Muslim in the Oval Office decades before we ever see an atheist there.

On the good side of that ledger, Hawai'i has just given us our first Hindu Representative.

#185 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:33 PM:

Which also, Lee, means we have an actual openly Pagan representative! (I'm saying that because a surprising number of people don't think of Hinduism as Pagan until you point it out...I remember someone on BoingBoing a few years ago saying he couldn't think of any major conflict between Muslims and Pagans. When I cited the Partition of India he did the online equivalent of a forehead smack.)

#186 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:41 PM:

Lee @184--I understand the Congresswoman-elect will take her oath on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. They used Jefferson's copy of the Koran for Keith Ellison (André Carson, the other Muslim member of the House, used a bound copy of the US Constitution; I don't know if that was his choice, or the available alternative to the Bible, as he was sworn in after a special election). I wonder which copy of the Gita they'll find for Ms. Gabbard to use.

#187 ::: Nome ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 03:23 PM:

Please can someone explain to me why libertarians are up in arms over Obama and pro Romney? the latter and his misogynistic supporters were the ones who verbally consigned more than half the nation to the scrapheap! and as for Melanie Phillips, she's almost certifiable

#188 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 03:38 PM:

#187: Most libertarians I know voted for Gary Johnson this time around.

That said: I've known people who consider themselves libertarian who have wholeheartedly given their support to Republican candidates.

My private label for these folks: Powerful Human Rights Advocates. That is, they are steadfast defenders of freedom and liberty . . . of the wealthy and powerful.

#189 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 03:51 PM:

Albatross @ 172: It's the sheer size of the current right-wing ideological bubble that amazes me. I've had personal encounters with smaller versions of the phenomenon--a college community in 1984 that was absolutely convinced that Reagan was going to lose springs to mind--but nothing quite on this scale. It's both astonishing and fundamentally terrifying, to my mind, though I'm not sure what it means long-term. (I suspect I just don't want to contemplate what it might mean, long-term. It's just--no. I don't want to think about that right now . . . )

#190 ::: Lin daniel ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:10 PM:

dichroic @153
Anne's House of Dreams, because Cap'n Jim was still alive when Marshall shaved it off.

abi @155
engaged by the populace
I had images of Republicans being chased down the street by homosexuals wanting to get married.

The #movingtonewzealand twitter thing is howlingly funny. ROFLMAO and sharing tidbits on my fb page. Thank you.

#191 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:20 PM:

Re right wing Christians who are also Rand followers: There's a lot of things that seem like contradictions to me. Not my religion, but I do wonder about (e.g.) Christians who are also in the military. There may be some here; I don't mean to offend, but I would like to know if that's as hard to reconcile as it seems from outside.

Randian Christians, though, that's ... she was deliberately setting herself up as Antichrist, wasn't she?

#192 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:31 PM:

Sandy B.@191: most Christian denominations through history have said that warfare can sometimes be justifiable, notwithstanding the prescriptions Thou Shalt Not Kill and Love Thy Neighbour. Catholicism has long debated Just Wars, and article 37 of the Anglican 39 articles makes explicit provision for lawful violence. Quakers are very anti-war (though some Quakers wouldn't describe themselves as Christian).

#193 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:45 PM:

Do I correctly deduce by the mismatch between comment numbering and quotes that this thread has been the target of some enthusiastic trollage?

::pout:: I missed 'em all. And I had popcorn made and everything.

#194 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:51 PM:

Nome:

Most libertarians I know voted Johnson in this election, and Obama in the last one, as I did. A few preferred Romney, but the truth is, there was very little in Romney's campaign to appeal to libertarians who were outraged at Obama's war on terror and war on drugs excesses--my best guess was that Romney would behave almost indistinguishably from Obama on these, though his rhetoric suggested that he might well be even worse (particularly on torture, but perhaps also on starting a war with Iran).

#195 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 04:56 PM:

Mary Frances:

I suspect that what's unusual isn't this size of intellectual bubble, it's the fact that there are at least two inside the US, relatively distributed across space. It looks to me like the average American (and surely other countries' inhabitants) is in a similar bubble, with some unspeakable things that are true and lies that everyone accepts as fact and crazy views accepted as part of the mainstream dialog. But it's weird to have the voters split among people living in such different bubbles.

#197 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 05:26 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @185, what is your definition of Pagan? Is it a strict synonym of "polytheist"?

I grew up Hindu and, to the extent I identify with any religion, that's what I identify as. I'm loving Tulsi Gabbard's election more than I knew I would. I wish my dad were alive to see this.

I ask about your definition because I never thought of Hinduism as a subset of Paganism, and I don't want to tread on any toes, but it doesn't strike me as an intuitive bit of the taxonomy of religions.

fidelio @186, great question... maybe something from a Transcendentalist's collection? Emerson?

#198 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 05:53 PM:

Rather extreme reactions:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jwherrman/17-people-talking-about-assassinating-the-presiden

(Yes, the URL is correct, even if it looks mutilated.)

I suppose that the Secret Service also monitors such things and will act on these threats.

#199 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 05:59 PM:

Re the overlap of Christianity and Objectivism in some GOP circles:

I have a feeling that many of the people on the right who talk about being influenced by Rand or by the Austrian economists (Hayek is pretty readable, but Von Mises is pretty tough going) have maybe bought a book or two, but haven't managed to get real far into it. To be fair, the same is true of most philosophers people identify with, and even with the bible. My relatively informed impression is that there are a lot of people who self-identify as Christian, but haven't spent all that much time reading the bible. (And it's pointless to get too snarky about this--most people don't really enjoy reading dense, complicated stuff about philosophy or economics, even if it's stuff they broadly believe in. What fraction of the people who gleefully forward the latest column by Krugman or De Long have ever made a serious study of macroeconomics?)

A less kind way of putting this: I suspect it wouldn't have been a bad business, this last couple years, to switch over from printing Ché T-shirts to printing Ayn Rand ones, with that famous, striking portrait of her with the huge eyes. About the same fraction of customers would likely have much idea what Rand did or believed as know much about Ché's actions and beliefs. This is mostly about identity, not about ideas.

#200 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 06:12 PM:

Fragano Ledgister:
jnh #157: Great, you've managed to suggest that we're living in a Charlie Stross novel. I'm now worried that tentacled horrors are actually out to get me, with the active assistance of the Republican Party.

Happy to oblige!

#201 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 06:18 PM:

#193 ::: Jacque

Do I correctly deduce by the mismatch between comment numbering and quotes that this thread has been the target of some enthusiastic trollage?

Nope. It's the result of zealous gnomage.

#202 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 07:08 PM:

Doug, #101: Is the follow-up to that article up yet? It seemed to be heading in a very interesting direction, and I'd like to see the rest.

albatross, #196: From the linked article:
For years, [conservatives have] been arguing that liberal control of media and academia confers one advantage: Folks on the right can't help but be familiar with the thinking of liberals, whereas leftists can operate entirely within a liberal cocoon.

I submit that this is yet another example of right-wing projectionism. It's very difficult these days for liberals not to know what conservatives are thinking. First off, it's all over the MSM ("liberal control of the media" is just another right-wing delusion); secondly, anything of significance gets echoed all over liberal-leaning mailing lists and blogs, and on social networks. But conservatives have become very comfortable with enclosing themselves in a little bubble defined by Fox News, the National Review, Rush Limbaugh, and a bunch of bloggers who never say anything their audience doesn't want to hear. What they think "liberals think" is nothing but a strawman fantasy, and this year it came back to bite them on the butt.

#203 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 07:09 PM:

Another Atlantic article, this time on the wisdom of electing businessmen to office. The comments are classic; as you may gather, they mostly think this is a Bad Idea. Nobody actually says "pointy haired boss", but lots of them are thinking it.

#204 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 07:21 PM:

re 202: The next "Galt" installment isn't up yet, probably because Fallows's connectivity at the moment isn't very good. I must confess to being one of the several thousand people who sent him emails.

#205 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 07:31 PM:

Allen West is gone, almost, although according to the AP, he can still contest his defeat in court. Good luck with that.

#206 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 08:23 PM:

The insanity continues: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/peter-morrison-texas-divorce_n_2100165.html

#207 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:21 PM:

Rush Limbaugh on why conservatives lost. Shorter version: they didn't appeal to more people. It's fun to watch him say things that come very close to direct contradictions of himself....

#208 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:43 PM:

mds @167:

Remember, there are currently large swathes of fundamentalist Christianity who now embrace the Tim LaHaye-esque view that the Sermon on the Mount is only a description of the Millenial Kingdom, not a prescription for current Christian behavior.
That's stupendously heretical -- a break with almost all previous Christian belief and interpretation -- but it does explain a lot. Talk about going off in your own sealed bubble.
Most of the Gospels are largely ignored by my own fundamentalist family members, who are almost exclusive concerned with that one infamous verse from Leviticus; a patchwork quilt of prophetic material from Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation; the most odious excerpts from Paul's epistles;
That is, they're concentrating on passages that can be used to say things they already want to say.
and an utterly unsourced hysteria about abortion, which fundamentalist Protestants didn't give two shits about until the late seventies at the earliest.
I remember that. Abortion was bad because it was illegal, a consequence of illicit sex, and evidence of general moral depravity. The all-consuming focus on foetus as person developed later.
Heck, the only part of 1 Corinthians 13 they seem to have taken to heart is a little piece of verse 7: "believeth all things." The motto of a Fox News viewer.
Since some of us won't automatically recognize that passage by number and verse:
1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
It's going to take me a while to assimilate the idea that anyone could find more meaning and consolation in Fox News.
So to me, the current substantial overlap between Birchers, Objectivists and fundamentalist Christians is explained by the fact that too many fundamentalist "Christians" aren't actually Christians any more, in any meaningful sense of the term. It's been reduced purely to a tribal marker.
That really does explain a lot, including their puzzling exclusion of religious music by the likes of Bach and Mozart from the category of "Christian music."

I've been wondering how they can square their political agenda with their religious beliefs. There's the answer: they don't.

Fragano @183: Does it look to you like it's following the interstate highways, or just mapping population centers?

#209 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:47 PM:

185 & 197: To my knowledge, those Hindus of my acquaintance do not consider themselves Pagan, or at least I've never heard them use the word in any self-identifying way. I bow to them in the matter of how they self-identify, while realizing they aren't necessarily representative of anyone other than themselves.

Most Pagans of my acquaintance (including myself; again, not a representative sample) have more bullet-points in their self-definition than "polytheist y/n". Things are, as always, complicated.

Related: Back in 1997 or so, I and some friends founded a Student Pagan Alliance at the Rogue Community College (Grants Pass, Oregon). We had open meetings once a month in the student union building. And during one meeting, a couple of students of Native American heritage came and asked us how we defined Pagan, and whether, just for instance, we considered them Pagan. The subtext was very clearly not "because we want to join" but "because WE don't call ourselves that, and we hope you're not going around telling people that we do!"

I think I must have said something along the lines of, "I hadn't thought of it before, I have to admit. But I think you're the right people to answer that question, not me. Whatever that answer is, you're welcome to join us."

I was still fairly ignorant of other points of view on the world; I wasn't quite Born Again Wiccan the way I'd been in high school, but I was still a bit over-earnest and prone to talking without thinking. (So different from now, right? :-P ) The encounter was a wake-up call I really needed at that time.

#210 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:57 PM:

tnh @208:

mds @167: and an utterly unsourced hysteria about abortion, which fundamentalist Protestants didn't give two shits about until the late seventies at the earliest.

I remember that. Abortion was bad because it was illegal, a consequence of illicit sex, and evidence of general moral depravity. The all-consuming focus on foetus as person developed later.

And as y'all know, Legion of Bobs, Fred's blogged about this very thing over at slacktivist:

Hey, remember when evangelicals were pro-choice because of the Bible? What a difference 30 years makes

Which was really useful for me, because I was still in single digits 30 years ago. It was news to me that the current religious right wasn't the continuation of decades of the same, consistent line of political thought in the US throughout the last century...

Hey, at least I knew that racism switched parties sometime between Lincoln and Nixon, OK? *embarrassed*

#211 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:58 PM:

Ohai there! I maded you a link! But the gnomes ated it.

Tea and cookies BFFs?

#212 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Albatross @172:

One thing that I've been noticing for awhile lately--pervasive propaganda affects even relatively sophisticated people, who recognize most or all of the overt propaganda as BS for the rubes. George Will is not a stupid man, but he made a fool of himself wrt his election prediction. He must have known that a lot of the talk wrt biased polls was an attempt to keep the GOP's voters and volunteers going a little longer, and yet he seems to have bought into it at the end.
Tell a lie often enough, you'll lose track of its falsehood, especially if it's one that has to be woven into the fabric of your everyday life, linking up with other lies. It gets harder and harder for truth to break through because it's at odds with so much of our working structure of accumulated thought.

We tend to believe what we hear ourselves say, and we learn new things from hearing ourselves say it. Chronic lies cut us off from that. We think we can work around the lies, internally correct for them, but we can't.

Have you ever told yourself that repeated verbal abuse was going to roll off your back, then discovered it's sunk deep into your psyche? Words are real, or can become so. We might escape damage if we only intersect with bad ones once in a while, but the ones we carry around with us become incorporated into who and what we are.

My suspicion is that this is quite common--even people who should know better are influenced by mainstream media coverage of stuff like foreign policy or technology, where the MSM does a pretty lousy job. It's hard not to be--even if you know the TV and newspapers are largely spouting BS for the rubes, the whole structure of thought-out positions and ideas and policies that arises from that BS, often at several removes, becomes the structure of thoughts and positions and ideas that you base your own thinking on.
I was shocked this campaign season to hear Romney and other major Republicans spouting nonsense that had to have been cooked up for the consumption of the rank and file. At first I thought it was just Romney being incompetent again, but as the cases multiplied I had to conclude that the right had gotten stuck to its own corrupt language.

This didn't make me happy, even though it handicapped them. Turns out I've been hoping all along that they'll recover.

#213 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:17 PM:

TNH @211: Turns out I've been hoping all along that they'll recover.

I think this is an example of your Christian charity at work. I hope they'll recover as well (despite not being Christian in any sense that most Christians would recognize).

#214 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:22 PM:

And now for something completely different: My Feelings About Election 2012, In Cat Pictures.

Cat pictures are the lingua franca of the internet.

===

Fuz @169, thank you for directing me to #RomneyDeathRally. In return, I give you this illustration showing Cindy McCain, duded up to attract Republicans. You've got it coming.

#215 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:34 PM:

There's an article at WaPo which focuses on a FL couple who clearly believe much of the right-wingnut mythology about President Obama and the terrible future which is now going to descend upon the country. Think: black helicopters. (My ability to link is trashed tonight. Google "Runions" and you'll get there.) One myth I had not heard before is that new firearms are now "chipped" so that the government can track them.

What happens in 4 years when none of the apocalyptic predictions come to pass: do these folks re-think their terrors? Or do they simply build another mythological structure to explain reality away?

#216 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:46 PM:

Serious question: what is it that actually appeals to her constituents in Michelle Bachmann? How does she manage to get elected? Is she really good at bringing home Federal money to her district?

There is something there that makes thousands of presumably adult voters keep sending her to Congress, and I'm actually curious about what it is.

#217 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:59 PM:

C. Wingate, #203: Down in the comments of that article, we may be seeing the first instance of somebody actually going Galt, as the CEO of Murray Energy cites "Obama's war on coal" as the reason for firing 160-odd employees -- something he had apparently threatened to do if Obama won.

The commenter notes that this is "Murray Energy of the Galatia mine with 3500 citations over two and a half years." My partner, apprised of this, noted that this company also does not permit a UMW chapter, for presumably obvious reasons.

Fragano, #206: Some of those things are not like the others. Part of a state wanting to split off and become a separate state is not even close to Perry calling for Texas to secede from America. In fact, I have to say I rather agree that splitting California into North California and South California would be a good idea, and so (I suspect) would most of the people who'd be in North California!

Teresa, #208: Slacktivist has an excellent article tracking the (dare I say it) evolution of the "life begins at conception" argument. For a long time, they didn't care one way or another about abortion at all! (This is not the same item linked by Nicole above.)

#218 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:01 PM:

Possibly for a link to Slacktivist, as the same thing happened to Nicole upthread. I have gingerbread pita chips, which despite my initial hesitance about trying them are surprisingly good.

#219 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:07 PM:

215
Some of them might give up, but most of them will just stick a new layer of dates on top of the old fears. (How many times has the end of the world been predicted, by one or another preacher, and nothing happened?)

#220 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:21 PM:

Lee @217, that's not really "going Galt", that's just being an asshole. If he shut down all of his companies, that'd be "going Galt".

I'm sure he was planning to lay those people off regardless, and saw a chance to blame it on an external circumstance. If Romney'd won, he'd have found an excuse to do it anyway. The article points out that the market for coal has been weakening anyway.

#221 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 12:50 AM:

Fragano @ 158 - Tentacled horrors will be brought to us not only by the GOP, but also the sausage makers. So hath Teresa writ.

And Oscar Meyer has a way
Of messing with your DNA.....

#222 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 01:53 AM:

Lee @217 (This is not the same item linked by Nicole above.)

I'm not surprised. It is a theme that Fred has been moved to visit multiple times.

He has also, apropos of @215, blogged a round-up of the religious right's doomsday predictions of what happens if Obama wins, the easier to evaluate them 4 years later.

Oh, heck, and one of his latest posts is a musing on Thief in the Night, a movie made by people who really thought any musings on it from 40 years after its release would be impossible, for reasons outlined in the film. And yet it seems that people in the business of making end of the world prophecies just make new ones after the old ones become outdated. I mean, look at Harold Camping and his hoopla about "May 23, 2011... no, no, wait, I meant October..."

#223 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 01:54 AM:

Dear gnomes! I promise Lee and I aren't sleeper agents for the Slacktivist Revolution! It's just that Fred's so darn linkable! Also, he's got pie!

#224 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 02:00 AM:

Sumana 197: Conventionally, the term 'pagan'* is used to refer to religions other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.† So Hinduism is a pagan religion, and so are Shinto, Jainism, and Buddhism (unless one takes the position that Buddhism is not a religion at all, which I personally feel is employing too narrow a definition of the word 'religion'). That's the sense in which I employed the term.

Hinduism is eopagan (that is, a pagan religion with a continuous tradition into antiquity) as opposed to neopagan (a revival of pagan beliefs and practices in modern times) or paleopagan (an ancient religion that has not survived into the modern era). So it certainly isn't the same as (for example) the neopagan religion of Wicca, which I practice; however, it's comfortably similar structurally in being polytheistic, with many deities a subset of whom are worshipped by any given person. I am Wiccan but pray to Ganesh-ji and Lakshmi every morning.

Not all pagan religions are polytheistic; Buddhism has no deities at all, for example.

And please remember that I am proudly Pagan and don't consider it a bad thing at all, and might be thought to be drawing as broad a circle as I can, if that definition of 'pagan' weren't such a dictionary-level, boringly conventional one.

*My capitalization of the term is erratic and probably incorrect in my last post. I haven't quite figured out where to draw that particular line.
†There's at least one other Abrahamic religion, Baha'i, and ISTM that it ought not be considered pagan by the seeming criterion at play there; but the usual definition ignores Baha'i entirely, and I'm not sure how it's counted.

#225 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 02:15 AM:

Aw, don't think of them as tentacles.

Think of them as cellular gerrymandering!

Dave, squamous and rugose

#226 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 02:53 AM:

Xopher @223, keep in mind that the Christians who use the term "Judeo-Christian" generally mean it as a compliment to Jews, but it's a term that makes pretty much every religious Jew I know (and quite a few non-religious ones) twitchy and uncomfortable.

I can easily imagine Hindus first encountering a term that bundles them in with pre-Christian European religions, and saying "Wait, that's not how we categorize things!"

#227 ::: Dave Bel ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 05:01 AM:

Labels for sets of religions are diffcult. The three great monotheistic religions of the Middle-East are obviously related, yet the family squabbles are worthy of a theological Dallas.

And, being a country boy myself, and knowing whence "pagan" came, I feel uneasy about the label. It is a long-standing slur expressed by many Christians as they ripped apart the social structures of distant lands.

I doubt there is an answer to the problem. It is maybe a good idea to be polite about other Gods. We cannot all be correct.

#228 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 10:37 AM:

From the Slacktivist post Nicole @222 linked to:

Lubbock County, Texas, Judge Tom Head: “[President Obama] is going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N. … He’s going to send in U.N. troops — with the little blue beanies.”

...Ten minutes after reading that, I'm scared to take a drink in case I start laughing again.

#229 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:04 AM:

Lee #217: As a former resident of California (state joke: California will divide into two states, they will be known as NoCal and LoCal), I'm familiar with the arguments for splitting the state.

#230 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:06 AM:

Dave, 227: We cannot all be correct.

Why not? I don't behave the same around everyone I know, so why should the Divine? My Wiccan friends who talk about their religious experiences are neither crazy nor lying. As long as the practitioners of a belief system (including atheism) aren't abusing or coercing anybody, I don't actually care. Whatever gets you through 3am, right?

Yes, I'm a Christian. No, I don't think Jesus' Way/Truth/Life speech was meant literally.

#231 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:21 AM:

217
Actually, the more logical split for California would be coastal/inland.

#232 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:25 AM:

Xopher @224: Buddhists have no deities.

Umm, Tibetan Buddhists do -- Tara, Chenreizig, Medicine Buddha, Amitabha -- I've received the empowerments from the lamas to practice and eventually lead their rituals. FWIW.

I suppose the bodhisatvas are closer to being saints, but everything I've read calls it "deity practice."

#233 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:55 AM:

TexAnne @ #230:

Some people do think Jesus' Way/Truth/Life speech was meant literally. Are they also correct?

#234 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Fragano @229: As a current resident of California, I've never heard mumblings about splitting the state being North/South, given that Los Angeles is pretty liberal and the northern counties aren't. (It's usually some variant of 'can't we ditch Bakersfield and Fresno'.)

Lee @217, as already noted, "going Galt" would be for him to shut down the company and vanish with his millions, presumably to open a better, Obama-free coal mining operation in Somalia or something. He's being an asshole because the old-school 'show up at this Romney rally if you want a job' didn't pan out, and now he doesn't have a government that can be reliably counted on to make those pesky citations disappear.

#235 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 12:03 PM:

Paul, 233: That depends. Do they also read the rest of the Bible literally? If so, they fall under my "abuse and coercion" exception. If not, I'll invite them over for a beverage and a conversation.

#236 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 12:10 PM:

Heckblazer @139:

Whatever the veracity of the quote, IIRC this was a significant worry in ancient Athens. To prevent that from happening they had mechanisms to prevent individuals from getting too big for their britches and so triggering a backlash of confiscation. ...
But that's not something that actually happens. The idea that it might is just the haves worrying that the have-nots, grown powerful, might reciprocate their mistreatment of them. What does happen is that the rich and the powerful jockey for power amongst themselves while squeezing as much as they can out of the powerless.

(Many irrational but persistent fears amount to worrying that those we've oppressed will, if our positions should ever be reversed, treat us as we've treated them.)

Riches equal power, and power is never lightly dispossessed. Julius Caesar wasn't assassinated because he was feared as a tyrant; it was because he'd undertaken social and governmental reforms of a chaotic system -- existing republican systems had broken down under the stresses of imperialism -- under which Rome's corrupt aristocracy was becoming extremely wealthy. I'm sure the Roman aristocrats self-righteously predicted that the state would only endure until the vulgar mob contrived to dispossess the rich. In fact, the rich had dispossessed the poor -- for example, by driving small farmers off the land and into the urban slums in order to create vast agro-capitalist latifundia.

You can find examples of that complaint scattered all over the historical record. European gentry and nobility complained about how uppity and well-fed the peasants had grown. Nineteenth-century commercial magnates, contemplating demands for higher wages, made the same kind of apocalyptic predictions when their workers were living at subsistence level, and the "summer cottages" they were building themselves as second or third homes were actually opulent mansions.

Here's G. K. Chesterton on the subject, in The Man Who Was Thursday:

“You talk about mobs and working classes as if they were the question. You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.”
The very rich, whatever their nationality, have more interests in common with each other than they have with the citizens of their own countries. It's possible that when they talk about "the good of the country," they might actually mean it; but what they're usually talking about is their own good and nothing more.

#237 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 12:31 PM:

Avram 226: I wouldn't be at all surprised. I was asked what I meant and explained that. I'd be interested in what other systems of categorization exist, but that's the one I was using in my earlier post.

Dave 227: Oh, it's worse than that. The countryside was the last place to be Christianized, to be sure, but IIUC the term was used to mean "civilian" first, and was used to mean "non-Christian" once they decided Christians were all "soldiers of Christ." So you send the soldiers the country to make sure there are no civilians left there...an extremely distasteful analogy, but it's the one they used at the time. Christianity (the real kind, not the ChINO kind described by mds in 167) is a much gentler religion today, and even the ChINOs probably don't support ethnic cleansing of the countryside! (No, I do not believe—unlike some ignorant members of the neo-Pagan community—that they went around giving everyone the "convert now or die" choice. I'm indicting the metaphor, not spreading that lie.)

TexAnne 230: Have I told you lately that I love you?

There's an extended metaphor I read somewhere about the Divine as water, and how people experience water differently in the Arctic than at the equator, and differently in the desert than on the ocean. The point is that the water is fundamentally the same, and that it doesn't judge one person for knowing it as snow and another as steam.

There's a Japanese proverb that "there are many paths to the top of Mount Fuji, but from the summit we all see the same moon." More succinctly, there's a Wiccan saying that "all rivers flow to the ocean."

Lori 232: I knew that Bodhisatvas were revered, but not that they were actually considered deities. I know Buddhism in Tibet is quite different from the forms that developed elsewhere, but I didn't know they'd made the Bodhisatvas into (or perhaps back into) deities. Thanks for (sorry) enlightening me.

#238 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 12:34 PM:

PNH 107:

It is certainly plausible that Romney would have been worse on civil liberties, and indeed that's the way I would bet (albeit marginally), but I don't see why it is crazy to disagree with that prediction, for a couple of reasons:

a. Much of what Obama has done wrt executive power and civil liberties is actually unprecedented.

b. If a Republican did the same stuff that Obama has done, it's reasonable to hope that he might face some opposition from the Democrats. That hasn't really happened much with Obama, and there aren't all that many prominent Republicans not named Paul with any interest in pushing back.

#239 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 12:46 PM:

238
The pushback on Obama's security stuff is, AFAICT, mostly from the left, which is still invisible to the Very Serious People. There's recognition of the fact that power given to the executive branch tends to stay there, and also that the legislative and judicial branches need to be less deferential to the executive in national security. (For this, you really need to read emptywheel.)

#240 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 01:16 PM:

Xopher, I was pretty gobsmacked over the deity thing, too...

Watching another religious group that practices magic? Priceless.

#241 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Paul @ 233

Why not? It's a little like sex, you know? What's right for me may not be for thee... Why can't the divine ask different things of different people with different personalities and perspectives? If God is capable of all things, then it should also be capable of writing spiritual language that reaches each reader in the way they need to be reached...

#242 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:02 PM:

And I see now that Xopher got there first. With a rather more elegant metaphor than mine, I might add.

#243 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:18 PM:

Eric Nelson @ 126: No, it's an elided form of "thriding", or a division into thirds, of a district. So "North thriding" and "South thriding" became "North riding" and "South riding".

Don't ask me about East and West.

#244 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:25 PM:

Mea #138: Re: cassia, IIRC, much of what's sold in America as "cinnamon" is actually cassia -- apparently it's either cheaper or more available.

Republican media bubble: This is the natural consequence to "we create our own reality".

Way behind on the threads...

#245 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:29 PM:

Also, re: Moving to New Zealand, I liked that they included these:

I'm leaving the country if Romney wins. I'm also leaving if Obama wins. This isn't political, I'm just going to New Zealand for 6 months.
and
If Obama wins I'm moving to New York to escape all the republicans moving to New Zealand.

#246 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:30 PM:

Theophylact #243: in the case of Yorkshire (where I come from) there were the North, South, and West ridings -- no east. And the West Riding was bigger than the other two combined, so nyaaah. (Thus speaks the Leeds boy.)

#247 ::: Inquisitive Raven ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:32 PM:

If anyone wants to actually try making the Election cake, I will note for the record that at least in the US, most of what's sold as cinnamon is in fact cassia. You don't have go looking for an exotic ingredient; you've probably got it in your cupboard already. True cinnamon is the exotic ingredient.

#248 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:47 PM:

I had fun parsing this:
'old pap swore that if his trunck had to of ben safe that the train mite to of went to hel before he would to of run his men at a doubel quick'

Those verbs are really non-standard English.

#249 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:48 PM:

248
From November 1862. Really.

#250 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:53 PM:

@InquisitiveRaven no. 247: Indeed, and true cinnamon is astonishingly sweet and fragrant compared to the cassia-cinnamon we're used to. Other interesting spices I've encountered due to being the keeper of our SCA shire's spice chest include long pepper, which provides a powerful blast of heat without the floral undertones of the chiles that replaced it in European cookery, and galingale, which IME augments any savory flavors found in a dish while muting the sweetness and richness--I like it best in chekyns in cretonne, which is basically creamed chicken. The funny thing is that all on its own, IMO, galingale tastes basically like dirt!

#251 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 04:55 PM:

Charlie@246, if I might be picky: the South Riding was a fiction of Winifred Holtby. There were West, East and North Ridings until the 70s (with West being by far the biggest). There were post-70s counties of West, North and South Yorkshire, but these weren't styled Ridings.

#252 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 05:05 PM:

The mucking-around with Yorkshire's internal and external boundaries in the philistine redrawing of counties in the early 70s really annoyed people; in particular the East Riding and a bit of Lincolnshire got lumped together to form Humberside. The inhabitants liked this about as much as, say, the inhabitants of Louisiana and eastern Texas would like being joined together in a new state called Gulfside.

I used to work for a national company that had a regional division, based in Leeds, called Mid Yorkshire; prepaid, pre-addressed (--- PLC, Mid-Yorkshire Regional HQ, --- St, Leeds) envelopes that arrived at head office would sometimes be angrily defaced with Mid-Yorkshire scribbled out and THERE'S NO SUCH PLACE AS MID YORKSHIRE I LIVE IN THE WEST RIDING!! written in its place.

#253 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 05:24 PM:

This meme has been mentioned here by many others, but I'd like to reiterate that I suspect these people of living in an ARG.

Stereotypical game details are present. Existential threat? Check. Evil enemies? Check. Guns. Lots of guns. Check.

The problem is that they're inclined to drag the rest of us into it.

#254 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 05:26 PM:

Steve with a book @252. I don't remember anywhere being actually called Mid-Yorkshire. Leeds was in the West Yorkshire Metropolitan District. Sheffield Rotherham Barnsley and Doncaster combined to form the Metropolitan County (aka People's Republic) of South Yorkshire. Humberside dumped Lincolnshire back where it belongs and renamed itself the East Riding of Yorkshire County Council.

The dustbins in Bridlington are all marked ERYC.

#255 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 05:29 PM:

Xopher, #237: The metaphor I've always liked best came out of Reader's Digest some 30-odd years ago: "God is like a mirror. The mirror is always the same, but everyone who looks into it sees something different."

Now, the context in which that came up made it very clear that the speaker was only talking about the Christian God, but it's obviously and easily extendable to other religions. Hence our Ways Are Many bumper sticker.

Inquisitive Raven, #247: Penzey's sells both types of cinnamon, and includes a discussion of which type comes from where.

#256 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 05:30 PM:

tykewriter@254: the company had partitioned the UK into its own invented administrative regions, of which Mid-Yorkshire was one.

#257 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 06:42 PM:

Do the borders of the South Riding come anywhere near Nossex?

#258 ::: John Costello ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 07:16 PM:

"All rivers flow to the ocean."

Sounds good, but it isn't true. The Volga flows into the Caspian; the Colorado used to flow into the Gulf of California but now usually dries up before it makes it there, and there are numerous smallish rivers in, e.g., Canada and North Africa that don't make it to an ocean.

#259 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 07:31 PM:

John Costello #258: This explains why the sea is not full.

#260 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 07:57 PM:

The comments to Dondero's flounce are even more hilarity-ensues. Romney is good-looking and has a hot wife, you see, so he should have one!

#261 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 08:12 PM:

217,229,231,234:

The people who most fervently and sincerely talk about splitting California usually talk about splitting off the farther north bits, and they're so wrong it hurts more than it's funny . . . for their sake. Those parts of the state are nowhere near to being self-sufficient, and could not be in the modern world. They need the rest of us.

On a lighter note, one of my biggest arguments for not dividing the state is that most other people talk about splitting the state in the geographical middle, and that leaves me with such a great anxious insecurity as to where my county would end up (Santa Cruz) -- if they sent us south, we'd be across a state line from the Bay Area, which is where a lot of our jobs and shopping are (the Santa Cruz Mountains are as good as the Rockies or Mississippi for adding dollars on to purchase price) and if they sent us north, we'd be across a state line from the Monterey Bay Area, to which we actually belong, historically, culturally, economically, politically.

I say keep us in just plain California.

#262 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 08:19 PM:

261
Voting patterns say it's really an east/west split, down the length of the state. With odd bits sticking out here and there. (Santa Cruz would be in West California.)

#263 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 08:40 PM:

John 258: Then they're not really rivers. All TRUE rivers flow to the ocean (and wear kilts and eat haggis).

You're being silly.

#264 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 08:52 PM:

Dave Harmon #245:

My favourite is actually a "moving to Australia" tweet:

"I'm moving to Australia, because their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says," and got in response "Our Prime Minister is a woman, an atheist who lives with a man she hasn't married. I don't think you'd like it here."

#265 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:04 PM:

"All rivers flow to the ocean."

River Tam too?

#266 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:08 PM:

"All rivers flow to the ocean."

And River Song?

#267 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:10 PM:

You forgot River Phoenix.

#268 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:41 PM:

Xopher... I didn't include him because there probably is nothing left of this River to liquefy and flow.

#269 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:45 PM:

There is also Republican Joan Rivers.
And "Secret Agent Man" theme's singer Johnny River.

#270 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:57 PM:

Teresa @257:
Do the borders of the South Riding come anywhere near Nossex?

I'm pleased to say they don't.

#271 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 10:05 PM:

Lived in the Bay Area nearly my entire life, and I am old enough to remember that all of the "let's split California" griping was North/South up until about twenty years ago. But after the aerospace industry collapsed, Southern California underwent a huge leftward shift. Now the real political split is, as other people have said, east/west rather than north/south.

#272 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 10:11 PM:

Xopher @224:

religions other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.

A part of me understands why it's useful to have a quick term for "religions that aren't Islam, Judaism, or Christianity". Still, the history behind calling them "pagan" carries, to me, such strong derogatory connotations that it's difficult for me to get used to you -- in good faith! -- saying that Hinduism fits in that box, and that your labelling is a gesture of welcome, not of dismissal. I imagine this is related to how Jews feel when Mormons call them Gentiles? Or perhaps I imagine being a straitlaced lesbian who didn't much care for others in my movement reclaiming the slur "queer."

In any case: thanks for your explanation.

I've just done, no kidding, about four hours of research into Tulsi Gabbard's life and beliefs (I plan on making a bunch of improvements to her Wikipedia page). Here is one of the most complete sources: an interview with her where she talks about her practice. She identifies as a Hindu, as a Vaishnava in the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya, and as an embracer of Sanatan Dharma. It looks like she also identifies as a disciple of Jagad Guru Siddhaswanupananda Paramahamsa.

But she never describes herself as a pagan or as a Pagan. It might be most accurate to say that she is a member of a pagan religion by the dictionary classification, but not that she is a Capital-P-Pagan, because that strongly implies a particular practice and cohort that do not apply to her.

Now, off to watch the next episode of the "House of Cards" trilogy - episode two of "The Final Cut". Appropriate for this season!

#273 ::: Eric Walker ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Re galingale (or galingal): there are two related but quite distinct spices that go by that name, being more fully known as "lesser galingal" and "greater galingal". The estimable Tom Hobart (Herbs, Spices, and Flavorings, possibly the premier work of its kind) states that "They are closely related, although the lesser is the more important." He reports that the greaster is much like ginger, while the lesser is "something between pepper and ginger". Lesser is "one of the spices that distinguishes the cooking [of Southeast Asia] from that of India." He also notes that galangal should not be confused with galingale, a term that also applies to the roots of the sedge (chufa nuts).

#274 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:00 PM:

It might be most accurate to say that she is a member of a pagan religion by the dictionary classification, but not that she is a Capital-P-Pagan, because that strongly implies a particular practice and cohort that do not apply to her.

That's what I meant when I said my capitalizing that in the earlier post was probably wrong. She's not Pagan as the term is commonly used in America today.

#275 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:53 PM:

Eric Walker #273

Lesser is "one of the spices that distinguishes the cooking [of Southeast Asia] from that of India."

Yes, but which way? Do you find lesser in SE Asia or in India?

#276 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 12:49 AM:

More racist dog-whistling from the Radical Right.

And from the disgusting to the ridiculous, over on Whatever, there's a guy who actually thought Obama's "First Time" ad was about women losing their virginity.

#277 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 03:20 AM:

All of this doom-and-gloom stuff from the right is pretty astonishing, considering their bone-deep belief in American Exceptionalism. I mean, if America is so ineffably, unquenchably great, then it will Rise Again from this Setback.

Without subscribing to AE (really, one can't live abroad for any length of time without figuring out that it's crap), and without (clearly) seeing this election as a disaster, I'm really peeved at them for this defeatism.

Honestly. Humans are better than this. There is no election result* that will result in a thousand, or a hundred, years of darkness. Some results mean we'll have to work harder to overcome more challenges. But that's not the same thing.

-----
* OK, apart from a Cthulhu victory

#278 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 04:30 AM:

Teresa @ 257: The Kingdom of Nossex (or Norsex) left little permanent mark on English culture and is not recalled in any county names, since it died out within a generation of its founding. A few dormant stones and highly proper nouns can be traced back to it, but these are strictly confined to its old seat in the Bedford Level, as the inhabitants did not hold with gadding about.

Quite how a lusty Saxon culture could have developed in so prudish a direction is debatable. The Luton School hold that it must have been self-selection rather than organic development, and that the Kingdom was founded by a mass movement of exhausted refugees from the East Saxon meadhall scene. The Watford School respond that no evidence of such a movement exists, and that it is well-known that environmental factors peculiar to the region tend to rob the inhabitants' pencils of their lead.

A rumble then occurs, but no such rumble has yet been judged conclusive by the wider scholarly community.

#279 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 04:34 AM:

Soon Lee, what I find remarkable is that somebody talking of moving to Australia has not noticed that the head of state is a woman, and has been for sixty years.

#280 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 04:41 AM:

Nossex? Please, we're British. (well a few of us are).

#281 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:32 AM:

Steve with a book @252, I was born in Humberside which occasionally causes entertainment when bureaucratic entities want my county of birth. My parents, being immigrants to the area, were ambivalent on the newly created region. Their (amateur) sports clubs got grants from the new council, provided they supported three or more different sports. Dad's rugby club already shared facilities with a football club, so they invited the local pigeon fanciers to use the club house. The three sports Mum's club ran were Men's Hockey, Women' Hockey and Mixed Hockey.

#282 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:47 AM:

Abi #277, There is no election result* that will result in a thousand, or a hundred, years of darkness.

My inner pedant would like to refer you to the election that occurred on March 5th, 1933.

(Not a thousand, or even a hundred years of darkness -- but its cacophonous effects are with us to this day.)

#283 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:50 AM:

Actually, arguably, make that 30th January. (Point still stands.)

#284 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:05 AM:

Charlie @282 & 3:

Point. But even that, as you say, didn't result in the Death of Germany, the way the wingers are proclaiming the Death of America.

#285 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:45 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue @274: Ah, I hadn't quite understood that that was what you were getting at with that footnote; thanks for laying it out for me. And incidentally, thank you for teaching me the distinction of eopagan, neopagan, and paleopagan, which is neat.

Also, I don't say hi to Ganesha and Lakshmi as often as I ought; will you say hi for me sometime? :)

You live in the New York City area, I think? Maybe I should give you some of the prayer paraphernalia my mother's given me over the years and that I never use, if you tend to follow the relevant rituals and would find it useful -- you know, idols or illustrations of the gods, incense in an incense holder, cotton wicks in oil in brass, flowers, rice, fruit, what have you. And if you don't tend to use oil lamps or incense, maybe I should get off my butt and give it to the temple in Flushing. It's not doing any good in my closet.

#286 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 08:21 AM:

Did the thread almost get Godwinned? :-)

#287 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 10:06 AM:

Lee @ 276: Have they not noticed that that dog, far from hunting, is actually losing its teeth?

(Slowly, to be sure; but I look forward to their smarter members someday saying "And your point is...?")

#288 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 10:09 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue @ #237:

A friend of mine is wont to say, when the question of what God is like comes up, that God is very like a rope.

(Which reminds me of the story about the six blind elephants who wanted to know what a man is like. But I digress.)

...

KayTei @ #241:

The speech in question is the one in which Jesus says, "No one comes to the Father except through me."

I was thinking about people who use that, or some other similar piece of scripture, to claim that they are in possession of the one true way, take it or leave it, one size fits all.

To use Xopher's metaphor, this is not some people pointing at the ocean and saying "This is water", and some people pointing at ice and saying "This is water", and both being correct. This is somebody pointing at the ocean and saying "This is water, and that cold hard stuff you've got isn't."

And then you look around, and one of the guys with the ice is saying "This is water, and that wet sloppy stuff you've got isn't." And one of the guys in the snow is saying something similar.

And I was already suspicious of the first guy, because it's one of my fundamental religious beliefs if anything is that what is right for me may not be right for thee, and that there are different paths to the divine for different people with different personalities and perspectives. But add in the other guys, and it doesn't matter what I believe, because now you're up against mathematics.

As long as two or more of us -- because we're all in this together, and them is also we -- are standing on different paths and saying "This is the only path", we cannot all be correct.

#289 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 10:48 AM:

#288

Silly gits who go around quoting "No one comes to the Father except through me" keep leaving off the previous sentence: "I am the way and the truth and the life."

So, no one comes to God except through truth. Anyone want to argue that?

#290 ::: Allan Beaty ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 11:38 AM:

Jim at # 289: I think the people who brag about making their own reality would argue with that.

#291 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 11:52 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 290... people who brag about making their own reality

"I reject your reality and subsitute my own."
- mythbuster Adam Savage after being caught making an arithmatics mistake

#292 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 12:09 PM:

#290 Allan Beaty Jim at # 289: I think the people who brag about making their own reality would argue with that.

The people who make their own reality will, I fear, have a harder time finding God.

#293 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 12:23 PM:

Paul, #288: Yeah, that's one of the things that informs my religious viewpoint as well. You've got umpty-ump different groups saying "We have the one and only answer, and everybody else is going straight to Hell" -- they can't ALL be right, and I'm not going to try to second-guess God!

Actually, that was an early formulation. Now it tends to come out as "I don't think God is that petty -- but people make God in their own image." If the god you worship is petty and abusive, that tells me a lot about who you are.

Jim, #289: The problem is that the next step is to argue that Only Christianity Is Truth. And that one's hard to push back on, because even with your addition, that is exactly what that quote is saying. You're either Christian and right, or anything else and wrong, full stop.

Serge, #291: Ah, thank you for providing the context! I'd seen that quote on a T-shirt, but not the episode from whence it came. And frankly, it still makes me twitch even as a joke.

#294 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Lee: Jim, #289: The problem is that the next step is to argue that Only Christianity Is Truth.

Say what? Christ Himself wasn't a Christian. If you don't like Truth, try following the way. What's the way? "He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Don't like that? Then try the light. You find God by doing good.

Listen, we solved the Virtuous Heathen problem a long, long time ago. That the Calvinists, heretics every one of them, are in error is a function of their being heretics. But even the Calvinists, if they seek truth, do good, or love God and their neighbors, can still find God.

To break it down, given that Christ is God, you find God through God. This shouldn't be such a tough concept.

#295 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 01:03 PM:

I'm probably committing a Named Heresy by saying this, but is it possible that what Christ was saying is that the only way to find the Father is through finding the self? "No one comes to the Father except through 'me'" -- through the Way and the Truth and the Life. It's similar to Crowley's theory of conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel, which is an aspect of what's divine within me, or within you/anyone. Rather like what Lapine says in "No One Is Alone" from Into the Woods:

Someone is on your side
Someone else is not
While we're seeing our side
Maybe we forgot
They are not alone
No one is alone....

#296 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 01:56 PM:

#295 Tom

I'm not certain which heresy that is, but if I had to guess it probably came out of Antioch.

Still, I'd think that to find God you'd have to look outside of yourself.

#297 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 01:58 PM:

Tom Whitmore @295: I certainly think you can get to the Truth through that path, but I don't think it works to claim that's what Christ was saying there. You're playing wordgames that don't look like they're really supported by the text to make it hold the piece of Truth you want it to rather than the pieces that it does hold, and would need to explain why the phrasing wouldn't be "through yourself" for that to be plausible.

(On the other hand, I'm not a Biblical scholar; perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for such.)

#298 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 02:00 PM:

Jim @ 296:

The lens to find what's outside myself has to be contained within myself, though (I think!). Both internal and external, in balance, are necessary.

Not certain about this, but running it through my brain.

#299 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 02:01 PM:

Gray Woodland @278:

The Kingdom of Nossex (or Norsex) left little permanent mark on English culture and is not recalled in any county names...

Except for Norfolk.

#300 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 02:05 PM:

Remember those 4,000 people who voted for Charles Darwin over Paul Broun? There's more to the story than that.

Summary: In addition to those 4,000 write-ins for Darwin (roughly 16% of the vote, which is damned amazing for any write-in candidate), there were enough other miscellaneous write-in votes to make up 371 pages when they were all tabulated... and there were also 23.592 people who simply did not cast a vote in that race. Broun, running unopposed, won with a plurality of 42%.

I submit that there should be some mechanism for declaring a race null and void when an unopposed candidate can't muster 50% of the vote. That's a pretty damn strong vote of no confidence.

#301 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 02:07 PM:

Brooks Moses @297: I certainly don't know what the original language said, or how it might best be interpreted. And the implications that can be found in the (inspired) translation might or might not be present in the original. I'd agree that it's not strongly supported by the text we have to work with!

#302 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 02:44 PM:

tykewriter @ 299: But Norfolk evidently folked quite a lot. They approached the whole affair from a very different Angle.

#303 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 04:09 PM:

They got their Saxon?

#305 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:06 PM:

I clearly Pict the wrong time to catch up in this thread...

#306 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:21 PM:

TNH #208: That's clustered around population centres.

#307 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:29 PM:

More right-wing craziness: Herman Cain calls for a third party.

Apparently because the current Republican party isn't conservative enough. That does seem to be a repeating motif, doesn't it?

#308 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:52 PM:

I learned this interpretation of "No one comes to the Father except through Me" in, IIRC, a Baptist Bible camp--yes, non-Independent-Fundamentalist-The-Bible-Is-All-About-The-Evils-Of-Gays-Women-And-Democrats Baptists do exist! Everybody, upon crossing the river, will be shocked and dismayed at what they find. That's everybody, without exception. Think of the most saintlike Christian you ever met, he/she will be stunned and upset. And then somebody will come up to them, say, "Look, it's OK, we all got it wrong in one way or another, but look, there's joy, just past me, come on in!" and hand them a class of wine or Pepsi or whatever they like. (This was definitely not an IFB Bible camp!)

Some people will take a good look at the boundaries of infinite joy, pleasure, happiness, goodness, creation, glory, and love, think about the utterly wrong premises they staked their lives on as they sip their drinks (or sock them back pretty hard), laugh at themselves, and walk into Heaven. Others will dump their drinks on the ground and stomp off in a huff, eternally outraged that they could possibly have been wrong. Those are the damned.

#309 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 06:00 PM:

Lee@300, that's really special :-) I skimmed through the list, and there were an amazing number of votes for "Anybody else" and "Anybody but Broun" as well as Darwin and other randoms.

Nevada has "None of the above" as an official ballot choice. It only got 0.6% of the vote for President, but got 4.5% for Senate (and the crazy right-winger got 4.9%. Republican winner only had 1% more than Democrat.) I can't tell if "None of the above" is also in Congressional races or not, but two districts went red, two went blue, and the Libertarians and right-wingers got a few percent each.

#310 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 06:17 PM:

TNH@63, quoting some idiot: His [Obama's] academic life led him from Occidental College to Columbia University, and then onto Harvard Law School, all leftist strongholds

Can't speak for Harvard or Columbia, but Occidental College was (and is) Presbyterian-founded and -affiliated and is considerably more conservative, in the old-fashioned sense of the term, than most liberal arts colleges. The person you quoted was probably confused by the fact that Oxy was one of the first US institutions of higher learning to make a real push to welcome diversity. Or just confused by the Faux News nonsense floating around in his/her/its head.

#311 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 06:21 PM:

Picts or it didn't happen?

#312 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 06:49 PM:

Lee @ #300, both Vermin Supreme and George Takei appeared on the list.

Seriously? Broun got elected the first time because his opponent said that Athens should be bombed, except for the U.Ga. football team. He's stayed in office because large numbers of people in the district (which is very red except for the blue dot that is Athens) like what he stands for. No Democrat has a chance against him, and the Republicans like him just fine.

#313 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:18 PM:

abi #305: Clearly no one is Geating away Scot free.

#314 ::: Matthew Ernest ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:34 PM:

"and then onto Harvard Law School, all leftist strongholds"

A damning indictment. Just look at what happened to Mitt Romney!

#315 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:52 PM:

Fragano @13... Woad you believe the scene was Pict perfect?

#316 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Sumana 285: I'm pleased to have been of service, and thank you in turn for pointing out that Hindus might not be entirely pleased to be called pagan even by pagans trying to be inclusive, which honestly (perhaps foolishly) had not occurred to me.

I'll put in a word for you to Ganesh-ji tomorrow. I...don't actually talk to Lakshmi; I just sing a praise poem ("Namaste-stu maha maye..."). But I'll put in a thought while I'm doing it.

I burn incense in a burner. Love oil lamps. You can never have too many idols in a home,* in my opinion; I have several Ganesh-jis but no Lakshmi-ji. Other deities from the Hindu pantheon that I have paid homage to on occasion include Shiva and Kali. I'd be delighted to take small images of any of those off your hands if you're otherwise going to donate them.

*I had a friend years ago who came home to discover that her apartment had been burglarized. All kinds of stuff had been taken from her living room and bedroom, including all her jewelry—but when she got to her ritual room she found the door open and a pillowcase on the floor with ALL the pilfered items in it. Facing the door, you see, was a truly immense and colorful Kali-ji with an altar in front of it. One can picture the burglars deciding "O...K. Wrong house to mess with!"


Paul 288: The speech in question is the one in which Jesus says, "No one comes to the Father except through me." ... I was thinking about people who use that, or some other similar piece of scripture, to claim that they are in possession of the one true way, take it or leave it, one size fits all.

Hmm, only if you assume that "the Father" is the only possible view of the Divine. I regard "the Father" as a particularly Christian take on the Divine, and I can well believe that Jesus is the only path to that aspect of Deity. I'm reminded of a passage from MacAvoy, where Raphael says "I am not the Father," and later Damiano says "you said you were not God," and Raphael says "I did not say that."

As long as two or more of us -- because we're all in this together, and them is also we -- are standing on different paths and saying "This is the only path", we cannot all be correct.

We can, however, all be wrong. I maintain that anyone who says "this is the only path" is automatically wrong (assuming the path is one path and not a "path" consisting of a large number of actual paths...and btw eight is not a large number).

Jim 289: So, no one comes to God except through truth. Anyone want to argue that?

Hmm. I think it may depend on your definitions of 'God' and 'truth'. And maybe 'come to'. I've certainly had some pretty intense experiences of the Divine that I got to by temporarily believing something that wasn't true...not something dangerous like 'I can fly' but something useful like "I'm walking down a spiral staircase" when actually I was lying on my back in a dark room. In fact using that sort of short-term self-delusion led to my first experience of divine possession, which was something I would not have wanted to miss.

Still, there's a god whose name is 'God', and that isn't the one I was talking to (and later for). I'm pretty sure you mean the God who is called YHVH in the Old Testament and whom Jesus calls "the Father" in the Gospels. It's possible that you can't get to that aspect of deity with self-induced visioning, though I really don't see why not.

I'm kind of playing with this concept, and I hope I haven't offended. I've taken a narrow definition of 'truth' and a broad one of 'God'. With a broader definition of 'truth' I really was walking down that spiral staircase!

ibid., 294: ...and of course, you answer me before I'm finished objecting. And very elegantly, too: thank you.

Tom 298: Two quotes: 1. "If that which you seek you find not within yourself, you will never find it without, for behold, I have been with you from the beginning and I am that which is attained at the end of all desire." 2. "You are the lens of the world: the only lens through which the world may become aware of itself. The world, on the other hand, is the only lens through which you may know yourself. It is both lenses together which bring vision."

#317 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 08:29 PM:

Jenny Islander at 308: In (I believe) Paradiso, Dante tells the story of a Pope -- I don't recall which one -- whose particular obsession was angels. This Pope was The Angel Maven. He knew everything about angels: their names, their ranks, serial numbers, responsibilities, hierarchies, you name it, he knew it. He wrote it all down. He had charts. He had spreadsheets. He had videos and DVDs.

Then Pope Whoever-he-was got to Heaven: and lo and behold, everything he thought he knew about angels -- was wrong.

How did he react, when he learned that all his knowledge, the fruit of his obsessive, lifetime study, was entirely mistaken?

He thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard. He laughed, and laughed.

#318 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 08:37 PM:

Lizzy, I've heard great men of science say in interviews that discovering they were completely wrong about something was the most thrilling thing that ever happened to them.

On the other end of the spectrum you find Fred Hoyle. (Or, depending on how you delimit the spectrum, young-Earth creationists.)

#319 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Jenny Islander @308 -- I like that.

Xopher @316 -- Thank you. Good and relevant quotes. Very close to what I was aiming at.

#320 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 08:42 PM:

Tom: Thought you might like those! (In case you're wondering: 1 is from the Charge of the Goddess; 2 is from MacAvoy again. You probably know that; posting in case there are folks here that don't and would like to.)

#321 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 09:18 PM:

Serge Broom #315: I suspect you'll be Pict on. I bet I'm not seeing all the Angles here.

#322 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 09:21 PM:

Tom Whitmore @301: According to greekbible.com, the Greek for that verse is this:
λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς, Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή: οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι' ἐμοῦ.

This is extremely straightforward, with no words that are even remotely uncommon or unclear. "Jesus said to him, 'I am the road and the truth and the life: nobody comes to the father if not through me.'" Except for the first clause, you don't even need to change the word order.

#323 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 10:08 PM:

One thing, on reflection, I should note: in ancient Greek, εἰμι alone means "I am". Including the pronoun -- Ἐγώ εἰμι -- is slightly unusual and places emphasis on the word "I". Which fact seems to me to support the traditional interpretation at the expense of Tom's ingenious one.

#324 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 10:12 PM:

David @322: That's an excellent pointer to the Greek. And do you know how the Greeks of the time might have interpreted it? Specifically, what are both the denotations and the connotations of "me" in that verse? It's probably translated even into the Greek, so there's another level of denotation/connotation involved. And because many readers of the Bible believe that the translation they read was divinely inspired, and includes only the denotations/connotations that God intended -- does the original matter that much?

I'm arguing this point in such detail because, among other things, I know that you actually enjoy such tetracapillotomy. Knowing folks in person is probably cheating on the web....

#326 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 10:45 PM:

tetracapillotomy: four-way hairsplitting?

#327 ::: Eric Walker ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 10:53 PM:

Jim Macdonald #275

I was basically quoting Hobart, but I am pretty sure I have not seen either galangal in a list of essential or common spices for Indian cookery, and that it is its use in Southeast Asian cookery that helps distinguish that area's from Indian.

Yes, Penzey's confirms: an important and popular ingredient in the foods of Indonesia and Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand.

Wikipedia gives the botany thus:

Alpinia galanga = greater galangal
Alpinia officinarum = lesser galangal

Gernot Katzer's wonderful "Spice Pages" web site has--as always--a highly informative and interesting article on lesser galingale (as he spells it). (And also one on greater galingale.) But, just to add to the jollity, the lesser galangale he discusses is Kaempferia galanga L.

#328 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 11:03 PM:

As a reader, and occasionally a reciter, of the Lotus Sutra, I'm somewhat uncomfortable about the religious subthread, because I feel I can't contribute without offending practically everybody.

#329 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 11:04 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @ 261 (and others)

As far as I know the geographically logical place to split California is the Tehachapi Mountains, more or less. Politically speaking 35° 47′ 28″ north latitude with the exception of Inyo County seems to make sense. Certainly based upon call data maps that is where the boundary should lie, roughly.

Why split it? Well to better represent Californians, north and south, in congress. Many complain of how at the extremes both California and Wyoming get two Senators. Splitting the state in two or more would help fix the problem. Of course it is not terribly partisan, so it will not happen.

#330 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 11:12 PM:

I want to split Texas into four parts. Yeah, that would give them more Senators, but I suspect some of them would be Democrats, and it would kill Texas' ability to dictate school book texts to the rest of the country. Since the Texas versions of schoolbooks have tried to leave out Thomas Jefferson (just one ridiculous example), this seems worth it.

#331 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 11:25 PM:

Jenny Islander@308: I'm reminded of the joke where the punch line is, "Oh, that's for the Southern Baptists. They think they're the only ones here."

#332 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 12:18 AM:

Tom@324: To the best of my knowledge, except for the nuance about the use of ἐγώ, the denotations and connotations of the Greek are exactly the same as those of the English. Like I said, the words themselves are really straightforward, even if the statement as a whole may not be.

I can't totally rule out there being something about it that a scholar of the Bible and Koine Greek would be familiar with, that I'm not, but it would surprise me a little.

(Lila@326: Right.)

#333 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 12:23 AM:

Xopher @330, wouldn't it be easier just to start up some kind of low-cost, high-quality textbook effort? Maybe some kind of ebook thing that can be PODed cheaply.

#334 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 12:25 AM:

Lisa @326: I reference Benson's Strictly Birdmanship comment: "The job of this committee is to cut red tape. Lengthwise."

Tetracapillotomy is indeed hairsplitting into four parts. Lengthwise.

#335 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 12:27 AM:

@Debra Doyle no. 331: The two stories are just about perfectly opposite, aren't they?

#336 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 01:44 AM:

Jenny Islander @ #308:

I like that.

#337 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 02:17 AM:

Xopher #224:

Hmmmm, I've never taken "pagan" to mean that. Historically, it should refer to the indigenous religions of Southern and Central Europe during the middle and late Roman Empire; that is, religions in the area ruled by the Romans which were neither Roman State Polytheism nor Christianity. Thus, non-state-approved Roman cults (such as Pan-worship), Greek cults, Celtic religions, Norse gods, Phoenician gods, etc., would all have been "pagan". Interestingly, Jews, whose religion was approved by the Roman Empire, were therefore "not pagan".

To refer to groups outside of this sphere, such as the Hindu religions, as "pagan" seems like a rather expansionist misapplication of a label with specific historical meaning. In 100BC, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, etc. had no contact with the Roman Empire, and had civilizations older and larger than Rome. Defining them as "non-Roman" or "pagan" seems like missing the point.

#338 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 03:51 AM:

Paul @ 288

It's late, so I haven't caught up on the thread, so forgive any redundancies, but...

I think, for me, it's a matter of focus. I don't care if what they believe is incontrovertably right, and I don't think God necessarily does either. I care about whether what they believe is the right thing for them to believe in order to accomplish whatever God is trying to accomplish.

Different people are going to need different things and will take away different lessons. They will also accomplish different things. Super. Mischief managed.

#339 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 05:39 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ #295: Rather like what Lapine says in "No One Is Alone" from Into the Woods

That was Sondheim, I'm pretty sure. Sondheim wrote the words of the songs, and Lapine wrote the words that go between the songs.

(A small point, but I'm prone to tetracapillotomy too.)

#340 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 06:04 AM:

Lizzy L @215: One myth I had not heard before is that new firearms are now "chipped" so that the government can track them.

Because the government now has ABSOLUTELY NO MEANS of tracking firearms!! What? Serial numbers?

... Oh.

*nevermind*

#341 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 06:33 AM:

Dave @227: We cannot all be correct.

This presumes we are all living in the same Reality. Of this, I am not convinced. My personal experience suggests very strongly that one (1) skull ≥ one (1) reality.

Cap-R Reality, best as I can make out, is comprised of stuff we can all point at and agree on a label for. Spiritual experience, IMO, is a superset of this.

Xopher HalfTongue @237: There's an extended metaphor I read somewhere about the Divine as water

I can't think of any reasonable conditions under which spiritual Life would be any less complex and diverse than physical Life. In all likelihood, far moreso. And the vast majority of it is probably still in the "Here there be Dragons" part of the map.

#342 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:27 AM:

iamnothing @328: As a reader, and occasionally a reciter, of the Lotus Sutra, I'm somewhat uncomfortable about the religious subthread, because I feel I can't contribute without offending practically everybody.

?? Care to say more?

#343 ::: AnotherQuietOne ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 08:21 AM:

Jacque @341
Cap-R Reality, best as I can make out, is comprised of stuff we can all point at and agree on a label for. Spiritual experience, IMO, is a superset of this.

I've long used the expression "consensus reality" for the "stuff we can all point at and agree on a label for."

It's the rest of reality that's fiddly.

Loving the religion discussion, even if I am not having time to participate this week. And count me among the curious about @328 - I am not familiar with the Lotus Sutra either.

#344 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 08:51 AM:

Various @ #301-305,311,315,321: [ apologies to anyone missed ]

Northern England is also the seat of the longest-run editor-war in the history of calculations, due in part to vi-king settlement(s).

It is not clear if the seax is relates to the emacs, though.

#345 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 08:53 AM:

Would the Norfolk of @299 be the one in the cheer?

We don't drink,
Nor smoke,
Norfolk,
Norfolk.

(Our church choirmaster is from near Norfolk; he plays the AH-g'n).

#346 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 09:57 AM:

See also Sid Kipper's song Norfolk and Good.

#347 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 10:25 AM:

Serge Broom @266:

"All rivers flow to the ocean."

And River Song?

Well, if the only water in the Forest is the river, I can only presume that the water must end up somewhere other than a pond, lake, or landlocked sea.

Avram @ 226:

Xopher @223, keep in mind that the Christians who use the term "Judeo-Christian" generally mean it as a compliment to Jews,

I've always experienced it as a combination of appropriating Judaism (as in "New Covenant") and phony-baloney cover for flagrant hostility to the First Amendment. ("See? We're not demanding Christian laws, but Judeo-Christian laws.") And as you note, it's not like it's particularly representative of the Judeo- part.

John Macdonald @ 294

Don't like that? Then try the light. You find God by doing good.

See also 1 Corinthians 13 above, where faith and hope are both to take a back seat to charity. (FWIW, that chapter's always struck me as somewhat out-of-character for Paul.)

#348 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:36 AM:

Back more-or-less to topic:

Last night CNN finally called Florida for Obama, giving the president a clean sweep of all the "battleground" states, and matching Nate Silver's predictions 100%.

#349 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:42 AM:

Steve with a book @346: Beat me to it....

Paul A. @339: I wasn't sure on that, and decided that giving credit to the less-credited was a better idea. I'd be surprised if they didn't collaborate closely on the words to the songs, but it's certainly possible.

#350 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:48 AM:

#340 Jacque:

Because the government now has ABSOLUTELY NO MEANS of tracking firearms!! What? Serial numbers?

The government can't read serial numbers from spy satellites, black helicopters, or vans marked "Phone Company" parked at the end of your street (yet) but they can read the chips in your firearms from any or all of those places and track you in real time.

(The chips are cast into the frame where you'll never find them.)

#351 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 12:59 PM:

iamnothing @328:

May all beings be happy,
May they be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow,
May they have that great happiness that is without sorrow,
May they come to rest in the great equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.

#352 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 01:13 PM:

Thanks for the update, Jim. It's so nice to have the Florida result just be a cherry on top instead of a nailbiting mess.

I loved this past week (thanks for the Maddow link, Stefan and Teresa!); it was like a reward for having worked through that terrible post-election week from 2004. I especially appreciate the general trend of US voters and politicians towards LGBT rights -- this year EVERY pro-same-sex-marriage statewide referendum swung my way!

Tulsi Gabbard especially piqued my interest as our first Hindu Representative, but I also see her views on LGBT rights and reproductive rights as a microcosm of how the country's going. As I dug through her history to improve her Wikipedia page (and more help is welcome), I also found that she had personally gone from anti-choice and pro-DOMA to pro-choice, anti-DOMA, pro-same-sex-marriage. She says it's because of her tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait:

My experiences in the Middle East eventually led me to reevaluate my view regarding government’s role in our personal lives and decisions. Slowly, I began to realize that the positions I had held previously regarding the issues of choice and gay marriage were rooted in the same premise held by those in power in the oppressive Middle East regimes I saw—that it is government’s role to define and enforce our personal morality.

Even if that's just a story and she really just smelled the wind and changed her stance -- whatever the reason, how great it is for her to have switched and for that to be an appealing view for voters. (She's in an incredibly safe Democratic district, and won in the primary against an opponent who supported DOMA.)

#353 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 02:08 PM:

Lee @#293 says:

Actually, that was an early formulation. Now it tends to come out as "I don't think God is that petty -- but people make God in their own image."

Y(almost)OMANK! Very nice, may I borrow that? Not sure when I'd deploy it - some of those I'd want to use it on are family, so even well-done snark could be a bit more abrasive than I'd prefer to keep decent relations - but it is quite nice!

BTW, I like the "retro" website...

#354 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 02:21 PM:

Jenny Islander @#308:

Some people will take a good look at the boundaries of infinite joy, pleasure, happiness, goodness, creation, glory, and love, think about the utterly wrong premises they staked their lives on as they sip their drinks (or sock them back pretty hard), laugh at themselves, and walk into Heaven. Others will dump their drinks on the ground and stomp off in a huff, eternally outraged that they could possibly have been wrong. Those are the damned.

Wow. I've never come across a wording of what the afterlife could be like that was as eloquent as this. It (and the preceding paragraph about camp) reminds me of all the good bits of the old Youth Group I was part of in High School, and makes me wonder where all those people went.

Thank you.

#355 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 02:32 PM:

Oy gevelt.

A Republican poll watcher in Colorado, irritated, reports "high concentration of people of color" at his location, and suggests it was because "they'd all been directed to come here". From the linked article:

Colorado’s Secretary of State, Republican Scott Gessler, encouraged voters in several counties, including Arapahoe, to use voting centers anywhere in the county, instead of assigned polling stations. That means people driving to and from work could stop by at a location most convenient to them — and they did.

Colorado is one of the states in which Republican harassment of minority voters, including dubious "challenges", has been reported. I wonder if this guy was irritated because the people of color standing in line at his (presumably all-or-mostly-white) polling station were thereby dodging shenanigans put in place at locations expected to draw more non-white voters.

#356 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 03:58 PM:

#208 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden

If people had charity, the net would be very different, and I especially mean the bit about not rejoicing in iniquity.

What do you think the part about knowledge vanishing away might mean? My only guess is related to Niven's Protectors-- if there's no possibility of error, then the result is not at all like our current experience of knowledge.

#357 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 05:45 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @356: Generally, loom weights are donut-shaped or linear (mostly donut), not perfect spheres as the weird Orkney balls are -- it lets you tie your weft to them so it stays tensioned nicely. Spheres roll around too much.

#358 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 06:44 PM:

Josh Berkus @337 - there was contact between Rome & Hindus, Buddhists & so on. Mostly indirect and mediated through Persia (which was officially monotheist) and the Hellenistic states of central Asia, but there was certainly trade and a certain amount of news transfer. Many Greeks (and at least a few Romans) travelled as far east as India, and some individuals made it to Chinese controlled territory. We have literary and archaeological records of Greek-speaking Buddhists in Afghanistan and neighbouring places. There were probably a handful of Indians who travelled to the Middle East. And some Persians and Skythians ended up in Britain. Of course your point that the Romans would not have called them "Pagani" is probably true! (I suspect that there was nothing we'd recognise as Shinto in those days though)

#359 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:06 PM:

Elliott, I think you meant to put that in the open thread.

#360 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:55 PM:

I pretty much agree with Josh Berkus@337 on "pagan" - it's fairly definitely a term that means "Those people" (to which a neopagan response is "Yeah, us, got a problem with that?"), though I would have thought it also applied to the Roman state religion. It's also fairly standardly used to refer to the polytheists in the Arabian area that Mohammed was in conflict with, and to the various Canaanite polytheistic religions, as well as the proto-European Mother Goddess religions.

The slightly earlier Romans, btw, used "atheist" to refer to people who didn't believe in the Gods, so monotheists were obviously atheists, and could be punished for it.

#361 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 09:18 PM:

Lori Coulson @351: Thank you.

Jacque @342 and AnotherQuietOne @343:
One thing I had in mind was supersession (which also seems to be implied by the biblical quote under discussion). I'm not an expert, but different sutras are said to supersede others, with the Lotus Sutra superseding the provisional ones, to simplify quite a bit, and Buddhist teachings are to supersede Non-buddhist ones.

Some theories equate the biblical Deity with one of the Hindu deities. Another makes Jesus an Arhat or a Bodhisattva of the provisional teachings (not sure which) because of the prodigal son parable.

That's probably enough. I know this could be better worded ....

#362 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 09:39 PM:

Sumana@352: I'm wary about Tulsi Gabbard. Her father, Mike Gabbard, is a longtime, well-known homophobic crank who talks about gay sex more than Rick Santorum. The one time I heard her speak, at a Renew The Dream/Van Jones rally, I thought she seemed impressive and worked to distance herself from her father. I'd wait for evidence to that.

As far as her Hinduism -- I don't know. She certainly hasn't mentioned it the entire campaign, and Gabbard senior does some pretty slippery eliding between his Jagad Guru affiliations and Christianity.

Jagad Guru is...an interesting question. While I suppose his outfit is technically Hindu, it's pretty much a schism off of ISKON (Hare Krishna) and a personality cult with strange practices such as veneration of the Guru's toenails and bathwater. I'm not completely informed on ISKON's relationship/reputation among Hinduism in general.

This should not really be taken as an attack on Hinduism or paganism in general. I have distinct sympathies towards the neopagan movement, but at the same time intensely disapprove of cultic groups with abusive aspects. Refer to the work of Isaac Bonewits in this area.

In spite of all this, I did actually vote for Tulsi Gabbard, primarily because of her impressive speeches at the aforementioned rally and at the DNC. Secondarily, because her Republican opponent was a bit of a joke.

#363 ::: AnotherQuietOne ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 10:17 PM:

@361 Thanks for the clarification and I'm far more intrigued than offended - the notion of Jesus as bodhisattva appeals to my non-Trinitarian sensibilities, and I tend to file everything related to scriptural & prophetic supersession under "Oh hey look, someone else has the official final word on the subject, now let's put these in chronological order..."

One spring, many rivers, one ocean. It's the many rivers part that gets us in trouble.

#364 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:19 PM:

Ken @358:

Point, yes. I was thinking of official contact between governments, but there's always far-ranging individuals.

Bill @360:

Well, the term "pagan" originated to refer to people who didn't follow the official Roman State Polytheism. It was only applied to non-Christians hundreds of years later, and half a continent away (in Byzantium). It's possible that folks who still worshipped Jupiter and Caesar Augustus in 400AD were called "pagans"; such is the irony of history.

#365 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 12:11 AM:

You know, my good friends, a word's etymology is not its meaning, and the farther back in time you go the less insight into meaning etymology gives you. A gourmet is no longer a small groom. A template is no longer a small temple.

If the origin of the word 'pagan' leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, then don't use it. But it's a long time back; please don't tell me I can't use it with its current meaning because it "really" means people who don't worship the official gods of the Roman state (no, I know you're not doing that, Josh).

The word has a common, conventional meaning, which I used. That usage wasn't wrong or incorrect, and as far as I recall people have said other people might be offended, but no one has personally taken offense. So why are we still talking about this?

Discussing the origin of the word for its own sake has value, but I don't get the sense that that's all people are doing here.

#366 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 02:03 AM:

Xopher, the derogatory meanings of pagan are not entirely lost to political discourse. Be careful with the word, OK. These things linger.

#367 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 09:58 AM:

Xopher @365, in addition to offense, there's also the potential for simple confusion when a word has multiple meanings. In this case the distinction is perhaps an insider/outsider one, or perhaps a specialist/general one. It reminds me a bit of cases where scientific terminology is likely to be misunderstood by the general public; to a scientist 'positive feedback' means 'feedback that pushes in the same direction as the original change, so it's self-reinforcing'; to a non-scientist it's likely to mean 'good results'. It's not useful for scientists to react to this discrepancy by railing against misinterpretation; instead we should tailor our language to our audience. IOW, I disagree that the "common, conventional" meaning of the word is the one that you used; to experts it may be, but I think this thread is evidence that it's not true in general.

For what it's worth, I had much the same reaction as others to the terminology in your initial post; "is he just using 'pagan' to mean 'polytheist'? Or 'non-Abrahamic'? That's weird, I wonder why he's doing that."

#368 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 12:31 PM:

Now I have to wonder which sort of galangal/galingale my local health food store is selling me. It looks like a fibrous root and grinds easily to a fine powder with little short fibers in it.

#369 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 12:55 PM:

The funny thing is, I believe you about the etymology of 'pagan' and 'heathen' being insults to people who live in the country, but it was a surprise when I first heard it. My impression was that 'pagan' connoted a soulless urbanite disconnected from wholesome traditions.

#370 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 02:44 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @369: My impression was that 'pagan' connoted a soulless urbanite disconnected from wholesome traditions.

You mean a "rootless cosmopolitan"?

#371 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:30 PM:

Marc Mielke @362: a personality cult with strange practices such as veneration of the Guru's toenails and bathwater.

I'm suddenly flashing on Life of Brian and poles with sandals hanging from the top, only ... ew.

#372 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:35 PM:

AnotherQuietOne @363: the notion of Jesus as bodhisattva appeals

Seems to me that, in practial terms, Jesus fits the textbook definition of bodhisattva rather precisely. Whether or not he "is" also "God"—::shrug::

#373 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:54 PM:

mds@347: It's probably worth pointing out that the word "charity" in that chapter is something of an unfortunate translation.

Part of that is because the meaning of the word has somewhat shifted over the years since 1611; but the word used in the Greek is ἀγάπη, which means something quite different to the modern understanding of the word.

#374 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 06:22 PM:

Dave C., #323: I've heard modern translations that render it as "love"; my understanding of it (once out of childhood) has always been more along the lines of "compassion". Would you have a modern-English word to suggest that carries more of the flavor of the original?

#375 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 08:54 PM:

#370 ::: Avram

I had no idea of the detailed history of "rootless cosmopolitan"-- I knew is was anti-Semitic, but not that it was so strong tied to the Soviets.

No, I think my connotations are older-- possibly from G.K. Chesterton-- and a pagan might be fond of one city rather wandering the world.

Possibly of interest: Occidentalism, a book which claims the memeplex of hating cities, trade, Jews, women's rights, sexual minorities and possibly a few other good things I don't remember in favor of virtuous peasants ruled by trustworthy kings is a fairly old idea which has turned up since the early nineteenth century.

The idea might have older roots. It's been a while since I've read Juvenal, but I think he might have had an early version.

#376 ::: Ceri ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 09:47 AM:

Coming in a little late to the party*, but I haven't seen it mentioned.

I was discussing the 'moving to Australia' thing with a friend earlier this week and it seems that it's taken from a letter purportedly written by the Australian PM telling Muslims to get out of the country - there are a couple of variations on it:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/australia.asp

and this one (scroll down for the Australian variation)

http://www.snopes.com/rumors/thisisamerica.asp

I guess these have been widely circulating as e-mail form letters in some conservative circles.

And related to the 'election loaf' discussion, my Mom had a recipe she used to make on election night (I'm in Canada) called "Tory Pudding with Liberal sauce", which is basically a self-saucing raisin pudding with a brown sugar sauce. I don't have my own recipe handy, but this looks similar.

http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca/2010/04/raisin-pudding.html

*I don't post here much, but I love how a discussion of the election has turned to talking about food and religion. This place is awesome.

#377 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 10:13 AM:

Dave Crisp @373/ Lee @374--"Loving-kindness" might be a better match for the original Greek--the Vulgate used 'caritas' which is the root word for 'charity'. I seem to recall "loving-kindness" (with or without hyphen) used in older Methodist texts, and probably, given Methodist roots, in those of the Anglican communion as well.

The Greeks were very careful about using different words for different types of love, which relieves a lot of confusion and groping for context at times.

#378 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 12:35 PM:

re salt in election cake; If they were using a blackstrap, the sulphur in it would have done some of the same mouthfeel job as salt.

#379 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 06:46 PM:

Marc Mielke @ #362, Tulsi Gabbard's father is all that and a bag of chips, but she herself has shown no signs of believing the kind of bigoted crap Dad Mike does. He made a lot of official Democrats really uncomfortable by switching from R to D a few years ago, but there's not much they can do about it. His beliefs don't jibe with the party leadership's professed beliefs and platform (there are probably a fair number of rank-and-file Dems who do agree with him), so they try to ignore him. He's tapered off some recently, I think. Civil unions were made legal back in 2011 effective January 1 of 2012, and I don't remember him fussing loudly about it. He voted no and that was about all.

#380 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 11:29 PM:

#376 Ceri
Wow, I love the name, and the recipe looks good re
Tory Pudding with Liberal sauce

#381 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 10:16 PM:

Anonymous is claiming credit for the ORCA fiasco.

Interesting if true, but there's no way to check it out.

#382 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 10:47 PM:

#381 ::: Lee

Anonymous got the ORCA folks to send 60-page .pdfs to their volunteers at 10pm the night before the election so that those folks could print them out on their home computers?

That's one heck of a hack.

Anonymous got the ORCA folks to fail to train their poll-watchers?

That's one heck of a hack.

Anonymous got the ORCA folks to not-inform their poll watchers that they'd need to pick up credentials in advance?

That's one heck of a hack.

Anonymous got the ORCA folks to fail to proof-read their instructions?

That's one heck of a hack.

#383 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 03:35 AM:

It looks as though we have out own political idiocy here in the UK.

And one of them is the Prime Minister, the guy who is supposed to be in charge, who in a speech today, is invoking the "wartime spirit". It looks as though he is trying to be a new Winston Churchill. He is blaming Judges and the Courts for delaying things, when it is just possible that it might be the piss-poor legislation that Government produces.

Seventy years ago, things were bad, but we had a government that was making an effort. In 1940, when Churchill became Prime Minister, we were already on the way to being a highly organised wartime economy. We needed the industry of the USA, and we certainly kept making mistakes, but the private tail wasn't wagging the public dog.

He's no Churchill. For one thing, he isn't drunk enough, and I would rather have Churchill drunk than Cameron sober.

#384 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 07:24 AM:

Ceri @376: I love how a discussion of the election has turned to talking about food and religionAnd language. I can't often contribute meaningfully to those discussions, but I do enjoy them, and the fact that they arise so regularly.

#385 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 06:23 PM:

Lee & Me: 381/382 ==


As I think about it, this is more likely to be the right coming up with a Dolchstoßlegende. They didn't lose because their ideas were unpopular, their economics senseless, their sense of fair play non-existent, their social policy heartless, their honesty nil, and their competence highly questionable ... no, they were brought down by dirty tricks from the Jews^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H a far-left collective of anonymous computer hackers.

Ask yourself who does this legend serve? I think the answer is "Mitt Romney."

#386 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 01:50 PM:

Jim:

It sure as hell doesn't serve the Republican party or any conservative movement in the US. Convincing yourself that your failures are someone else's fault is seldom a good motivation for figuring out how to do better and win the next election.

#387 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 02:13 PM:

The Republicans are already detached from reality.... see their open contempt for "the reality-based community," and Romney's handlers' proud boast that they wouldn't let his campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.

It wasn't our fault! The election was stolen! fits the non-reality model.

I've already seen editorials in the Union Leader saying that what the Republicans need to do in order to win elections is to become even more conservative. So, creating a legend in which their defeat was caused by a stab-in-the-back rather than a deficiency in their platform serves them by allowing them to turn further right and double down on "voter fraud."

#388 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Jim Macdonald @387: "It wasn't our fault! The election wasn't stolen!" But we don't say that out loud. :-)

#389 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 05:06 PM:

Jim, #385: Are you suggesting that the story is a plant? I would think that Anonymous would have something to say about their name being co-opted like that. Your points @382 are sound, though; at the most, they could only have thrown fuel onto an existing fire.

The whole thing makes very little sense in any narrative.

#390 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 05:55 PM:

Anonymous: We did it!

Anonymous: No we didn't!

Anonymous: Did, too!

etc.

#391 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 06:36 PM:

David Bell #383 - Apparently a majority of the appeals on planning matters are the companies appealing against the council or other body's decision, rather than evil nazi nimby's stopping economic growth in their local area.
As for the Asylum appeals, we have a broken system anyway, run with for profit companies, bureacrats and so on.
Meanwhile, on the more pedestrian law and order front the CPS is wilting under the stress imposed by the cuts, with many Magistrate's courts suffering, and the application of justice being delayed, leading to more costs.

Oh, and WW2 - there were still strikes during the war! Cameron doesn't like to recall that sort of thing. And nasty things happened in the blackout, but our ancestors don't like to talk about that sort of thing.
Even worse, Camoern seems to think that economics is a race, which is utterly wrong in every way.

#392 ::: Dr. Hilarius ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 01:17 AM:

Obviously, I'm late to this party but it did get me to check out Orson Scott Card's diatribe. It's a fairly lame diatribe but his links on climate change as religion (from the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal) and environmentalists as communists (Charles Krauthhammer) depict a truly unhinged man. I've been told that Card was verbally trashed in Seattle after making homophobic remarks and then vowed never to darken Seattle's door again. I hope this is true.

Has anyone gone Galt as promised? Such a silly idea; all the architects withhold their labor? Who would ever notice. Same for political pundits, hedge fund managers, and cranky bloggers. Now, if all the garbage workers left, that would be a disaster. But I don't thing Rand was thinking of sanitation workers when she penned her excuse for a novel. Libertarianism, a fantasy for children of all ages. Cheers.

#393 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:16 AM:

Dr. Hilarius @ #392:

I feel obliged to put in a word for architects; I think that if all of them disappeared, their absence would be felt. (Not as soon as the garbage workers, granted.) We all know stories about architects who knew more about grand ideas than practical applications, or who felt that nothing spoiled a house like having somebody living in it, but there are still a large number of architects who do useful work that nobody else could do without them.

(Political pundits? Hedge fund managers? Cranky bloggers? No comment.)

#394 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:42 AM:

To boldly Galt...

It's the likes of Scott, Laforge, O'Brien and Torrès who keep things going.

#395 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:49 AM:

Dr Hilarius:

If all the smart, creative people really went on strike, you would notice the effects in a few years, and the effects would be much uglier than a garbage collectors' strike. However, unlike in Atlas Shrugged, all the smart, creative people in our world do not share the same outlook on politics, religion, philosophy, art, music, etc, so the only way something like that can really happen is for the culture to change so that being smart and creative is actively and harshly discouraged, like some giant version of middle school where the smart kids get beat up a lot.

Both voting with your feet and going Galt (deciding to stop working for people or organizations that beat up on you as a reward for doing them good) are valuable things, which people do as individuals all the time. Those aren't the only mechanisms to guarantee freedom and decent quality of life, any more than collective actions like strikes, protest marches, and elections are, but they're very important--take away my ability to leave my job, and it's very likely my working conditions will get worse. But they are also things people bluster about a lot after every election, for stupid reasons. (And it's not just Republicans who have half-jokingly threatened to leave the country if the idiot on the other side is elected.).

#396 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:53 AM:

Serge: They do not preach that their God will rouse them, a little before the nut works loose.

#397 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 10:02 AM:

albatross @ 396... And then it's nothing but one wrenching decision after the other.

#398 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 12:14 PM:

Just a fun little note.

It's looking very likely that Romney's percentage of the national popular vote will round to 47%.

(Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report is maintaining a spreadsheet of updated vote counts. Right now Romney is JUST barely above 47.5%. Links to the spreadsheet can be found in Wasserman's twitter feed at twitter.com/redistrict)

#399 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 12:31 PM:

albatross, #395: going Galt (deciding to stop working for people or organizations that beat up on you as a reward for doing them good)

I think your definition of "going Galt" here is (1) in the nature of palming a card, and (2) not the way the term is normally used. Yes, there are a lot of individuals who decide to leave abusive working environments, and that's a good thing. But they don't call this "going Galt", nor do they think of it that way.

For the people who actually use that phrase, what they are calling an "abusive working environment" is the entire society in which they live (and from which they are more than happy to reap the benefits, while failing to acknowledge that any such benefits exist). And while it has happened that an entire group of people has rebelled against the society in which they lived and overthrown it, in all of history it has never been the people on top who did so! Why should they? The system is rigged for their benefit. (This, BTW, is why you don't actually see any of the people who throw that phrase around packing up and moving to Somalia.)

If you picked up that definition from somewhere else, I think what we're seeing here is someone's deliberate attempt at obfuscation of the discourse.

#400 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 02:51 PM:

albatross: And it's not just Republicans who have half-jokingly threatened to leave the country if the idiot on the other side is elected.

Indeed, when I said it I was entirely serious; if Romney had won, I was moving to Canada. I didn't think there was any great chance of it actually happening, but I would not care to live in a country where Paul Ryan (or, four years ago, Sarah Palin) was one bullet away from the Presidency.

#401 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 03:10 PM:

Lee 399: Hear, hear.

#402 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 03:53 PM:

This whole time I thought "going Galt" was a euphemism for "holding my breath until I turn blue."

#403 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 05:27 PM:

I love this place.

Thank you, all.

I'm having a rather bad time of it at the moment, and tetracapillotomy absolutely made my day!

#404 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 06:00 PM:

Going Galt is a bad idea at this time of year, what with it getting colder.

wisswisswiss

What?

wisswisswisswiss. wisswissWISSwisswiss

Not the same as going commando?

O. Sorry.

#405 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 11:21 PM:

Rand was more sophisticated than many of her followers-- the characters in Atlas Shrugged knew that removing themselves from the larger society was a costly choice, even if Rand arranged an implausibly good situation for them.

As for the real world, people do leave bad situations, including leaving countries and regions with limited opportunities for better chances.

Somewhat related-- why isn't there a significant number of Americans emigrating to countries with single payer health care?

#406 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 11:46 PM:

Nancy: Because those other countries won't take you, at least not easily. And if they think you're moving there for the single-payer healthcare, BOY will they ever not take you.

We aren't the only country that's picky about immigration.

#407 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 12:28 AM:

Also because most people don't actually want to give up their home country and spend the rest of their lives as foreigners. It means learning a new way of life, learning a new language, giving up friends, spending a lot of money to move, probably with some real uncertainty about how you'll make a living when you get there. It's hard. (Probably harder for Americans than for many other people; most Americans don't have passports and don't have any experience with other countries.)

And thus far all I've mentioned are the practical issues. There's also the problem that most people have at least some degree of patriotism and attachment to their country. Even if they regret what their country has become, it's still not so easy to just decide it's no longer theirs.

For most people, I don't think a decision to emigrate is made lightly.

#408 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 02:32 AM:

Nancy, #405: We have actually looked into the immigration policies for both Canada and New Zealand, and Xopher is right. They would not have us, partly because of our age, partly because at least one of us would have to have a job there, and Canadian employers in particular cannot hire Americans unless they literally cannot find anyone in Canada who could do the job. Having our own businesses and being self-supporting is not good enough.

I'm sure that what Matt says also applies in many cases, but for us it's purely the practical consideration; if we could have done so, we'd have left 6 or 7 years ago, and we would certainly have been better off by now than we are living here.

#409 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 04:06 AM:

Dr Hilarius @392, I don't see any particular reason to bash architects. Someone's gotta design buildings. (Political pundits, on the other hand, we should be so lucky that they go on strike.)

The big problem with the idea of architects (for instance) "going Galt" is that for every architect who's got enough money socked away that they can afford to retire, there are dozens of young, hungry, up-and-coming architects needing to pay off their student loans who'd love to soak up the extra work. This goes for any professional creative work.

Furthermore, the really big stars of the creative professions generally love doing what they do. Do you think Steve Jobs would've quit Apple over a 6% hike in his marginal tax rate?

Check out this old Forbes article from 1955 about how executives live. They looked at the 30,000 American executives with incomes of $50,000/year or higher (that's a bit over $400,000 in today's money). In 1955, the top marginal rate was 91%, but that only kicked in at $300,000. At $50,000, the marginal rate was 59%, nearly twice that for current top-earners. But did those guys "go Galt"? Nah:

The successful American executive, for example, gets up early--about 7:00 A.M.--eats a large breakfast, and rushes to his office by train or auto. It is not unusual for him, after spending from 9:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. in his office, to hurry home, eat dinner, and crawl into bed with a briefcase full of homework. He is constantly pressed for time, and a great deal of the time he spends in his office is extraneous to his business. He gets himself involved in all kinds of community work, either because he wants to or because he figures he has to for the sake of public relations.

If he is a top executive he lives on an economic scale not too different from that of the man on the next-lower income rung. He surrenders around 40 per cent of his salary to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (he may cough up as much as 75 per cent) but still manages to put a little of his income in stocks, bonds, life insurance. He owns two cars, and gets along with one or two servants. What time he has left from his work--on weekends and brief vacations--he spends exercising, preferably outdoors, and usually at golf. Next to golf, fishing is the most popular executive diversion.

And this was a period of massive economic growth in the US. This would've been right around the time Rand was writing Atlas Shrugged (published in 1957). And yet, when we gave executives greater rewards, they wrecked the economy.

#410 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 07:53 AM:

#406 ::: Xopher HalfTongue :

I can see that-- what surprises me a little is that more Americans don't move when they're relatively young and healthy.

However, it's plausible that most people don't make major relocations unless there's a clear current advantage. This is why I use immigration/emigration flows as a rough indicator of whether there's a large difference in quality of life between various places.

To reiterate about Atlas Shrugged, people went Galt because the country was turning into an impoverished dictatorship and there was nowhere else to go. Even that has an element of fantasy, since the vast majority in impoverished dictatorships don't have any way to detach themselves from society.

#411 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 08:09 AM:

re 409: My opinion for quite some time now has been that those nearly confiscatory top bracket rates are all but necessary to remove the money from the system that is used to fund speculation. That said, the problem with such rates is what happened in the 1970s: when there's a period of even moderately high inflation, those brackets start running down the social scale quite quickly, to the point where you very suddenly have a lot of people who don't need to be astroturfed by the Kochs to figure out that their taxes have gone up a lot. Towards the end of the decade they simply couldn't keep up with adjusting the tax brackets.

#412 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 11:27 AM:

Avram @409: I don't see any particular reason to bash architects.

My dad (in the glass business) took a very dim view of architects: "It may be very pretty, but you can't build the damn thing."

Apparently too many of the architects he dealt with regarded basic physics as "optional."

#413 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Lee #399:

I'm describing the idea of going Galt in terms of what I got from reading Atlas Shrugged and thinking a fair bit about the ideas Rand was discussing. You could never get everyone productive and smart to go on strike, even if you had a Galt's Gulch to retire to. (Nor is the kind of person who wraps his life around building and running a business going to retire to a valley in Colorado and paint houses, given any alternatives at all. It's a rare successful entrepreneur or scientist who couldn't manage to keep a decent job and maintain a middle-class lifestyle in a small town somewhere, if that was what he wanted.) A literal strike of productive people doesn't make any sense.

What does make sense? I remember a guy I knew a few years ago who pointed out that Atlas Shrugged was where he'd learned that an appropriate way to respond to being mistreated was simply to leave the situation, rather than seeking revenge. (In Vinge's terms, "let them trade with themselves.") And I think he got one really important idea from the book: you don't have to stay in a situation where the harder you work and the more productive you are, the more badly you get treated. More importantly, you don't *owe* it to anyone to put up with being treated badly. It's not failure to recognize that you're being screwed over, and go look for something better.

This has little to do with the attention-seeking idiots proclaiming their plans to go Galt because Obama has been elected. People who can't tell the ACA from Directive 10-289 were perhaps not the most important cogs in the motor of the world, anyway.

It also has little to do with the main flavor of this thread, which is mostly pointing and laughing. There are indeed plenty of idiots out there, some of whom are your ideological enemies, and some of whom are my ideological enemies. But I'll admit I don't think this sort of exercise makes anyone any smarter or nicer.

#414 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 02:29 PM:

Nancy #410:

At a guess, the difference in standard of living isn't actually all that big. Plenty of people move from El Salvador to the US, despite a fair bit of physical danger, because the difference in quality of life between being poor in El Salvador and the US is really big.

Have there been substantial numbers of people move to Massachussets to get in on their statewide healthcare reform? There are no legal barriers to moving between states, and the other barriers are enormously smaller (same language, legal system, etc.). I'm not aware of any, but I haven't looked into it at all. But my guess is that, while our crappy healthcare system is indeed crappy, it's not so crappy that it's worth otherwise uprooting your life to get away from.

#415 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 02:48 PM:

C Wingate:

How can you tell which wealth is going to go for speculative bubbles, and which for productive investments? It seems to me that speculative bubbles are an emergent property of investment markets, and also that they are very easy to recognize in retrospect, but not so easy to recognize as they're happening. (More to the point, even if you know that *some* of the valuation of, say, real estate or internet stocks is a bubble, it's not at all easy to know *how much*, and it's extremely hard to know when or even if a bubble is going to collapse.)

Taking wealth from the citizens and giving it to the government takes away from private consumption and investment. Consumption is how people use wealth to feel good now, and taking it away is worthwhile, IMO, only to the extent that you're doing more net good than harm with how the government is using that wealth. For example, if you're taxing away my excess Latte money to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, you're probably doing a net benefit.

Similarly, investment is how people use wealth to make more wealth in the future. Taking some of that wealth and giving it to the government to invest makes sense only if there is a strong reason to believe that government will do a better job investing it (making more wealth), right? There are places where this seems very likely, but they're places where private investment markets don't work--building roads and other infrastructure often makes more sense as a government project than as a private one, for example, and funding basic research makes sense because the benefits are very hard for an investor to capture. But in general, I don't really see that the government is more immune to either inflating or being fooled by bubbles than private investment markets. Notably, the real estate bubble was inflated partly by government guarantees on mortgage-based securities, and there were very few prominent people in government or in politics who were not cheering on the real estate bubble. The ongoing college tuition/student loan bubble is largely driven by explicit government policy, including Dickensian terms on the loans. A large amount of government money being invested, right now, is being invested in military and homeland security stuff, most of which seems to me to be making us and the world worse off, and which won't ever pay off in any positive sense for the citizens.

It's also possible to tax away wealth from the citizens as a way of moving the spending from consumption to investment, or vice-versa. If you believe we're overinvesting, you could take money that would have been used to build future wealth/inflate bubbles, and use it to buy things today. That seems possible in principle, but it sure looks more likely to me that the likely result will be to fund politically popular tax cuts and spending increases today and let the future worry about itself.

#416 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 03:24 PM:

It's very easy to identify some bubbles (art, modern first editions, and the like) -- but that doesn't mean the value is going away at some predictable time, and it doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities to make money in them.

#417 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 03:41 PM:

C. Wingate, #411: My opinion for quite some time now has been that those nearly confiscatory top bracket rates are all but necessary to remove the money from the system that is used to fund speculation.

Yes. Market speculators are the rich equivalent of p*nny-st*ck pump-and-dumpers, and the stock and commodities markets have much more in common with Las Vegas than anyone wants to admit.

And also, note that for the people on top, one way to avoid having to pay those taxes was to invest the money back into their companies (infrastructure improvement and maintenance, capital expansion, etc.) rather than taking it as personal income. That process creates jobs; the 1% lining their pockets never has and never will.

albatross, #415: you don't have to stay in a situation where the harder you work and the more productive you are, the more badly you get treated

Again, not disagreeing with this at all. But redefining "having to pay taxes and not treat your employees like a dick" as being badly treated is not by any means the same thing, and that appears to be the common-usage context of the phrase "going Galt". Maybe the people who use it haven't read the book or something.

My objection is to the conflation of "getting myself out of an abusive environment and into a better one" with "taking my ball and going home because I can't get everything my way". Language matters.

#418 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 03:43 PM:

Oops, that was supposed to be albatross @413, not 415. Sorry about that.

#419 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 04:22 PM:

Nancy @ 410

When I was looking into it as a young person, there was also the requirement of a 6 month financial cushion, presumably so people wouldn't become an immediate drain on social services. A significant number of my friends live month to month on limited budgets. It's just not possible for them to accumulate that sort of money.

#420 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 10:57 PM:

albatross @413: This has little to do with the attention-seeking idiots proclaiming their plans to go Galt because Obama has been elected. […] It also has little to do with the main flavor of this thread, which is mostly pointing and laughing.

So, then, what does it have to do with? Why bring it up?

I haven't read Atlas Shrugged, but I've skimmed some of Rand's non-fiction, and the impression I got was that the sort of thing she was upset with, which you're characterizing as "mistreatment", most of us would characterize as "being required to act as if other people matter".

#421 ::: C. Wingate's remark sleeps with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 06:18 AM:

Considering that Ayn Rand's main work of nonfiction is titled The Virtue of Selfishness....

Atlas Slogged has the same flaw as nearly every other utopian work: Rand doesn't really believe in sin. My reaction to reading The Fountainhead was that the supposed subplot of Toohey's corruption of Peter Keating is actually the only interesting and plausible storyline: Howard Roark is even more implausible than John Galt, as though people with egos the size of planets can somehow manage to rein them in and not trash the place when they come into conflict.

#422 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 08:16 AM:

No gnomes, actually.

#423 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 10:57 AM:

C Wingate:

She clearly does believe in sin of some sort, though. What makes Eddie Willers (who's kind-of a nobody, in the grand scheme of things) a more sympathetic character than Orren Boyle? It's pretty clearly their choices, and different choices would make them different sorts of people. We're clearly supposed to like the poor woman who marries Jim Taggart a lot better than we like Taggart, despite the fact that Taggart is rich and successful. We're supposed to see Dr Stadler's sellout for funding and power as a kind of sin.

As far as the other bit, it seems to me we have a lot of real-world examples of geniuses who are also assholes with monumental egos, that actually do manage to get impressive stuff done. See Steve Jobs, James Watson, Isaac Newton, Douglas MacArthur, Craig Ventner, etc.

#424 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 11:14 AM:

Avram:

Why have any conversation? I disagreed with something Dr Hilarius said, and pointed out why.

It's fun to point and laugh at the silliest bits of the other side. But it's a little dangerous, too, because it's way too easy to convince yourself that those silly bits are the whole opposition, that you can safely dismiss everyone on the other side because you found some people saying overwrought or silly things. But this isn't a way you get smarter, it's a way you get dumber.

My first really focused exposure to this sort of things was back when I lived in a small town in the midwest, where the only talk radio on the air was Rush Limbaugh and similar stuff. And at least back then (during the Clinton administration), Rush Limbaugh's show was absolutely chock full of this stuff--find some utter idiot on the left, drag him out from under his rock, and loop two or three lines of something unusually stupid he said, again and again. It was a way of attacking the other side, without actually having to engage with their best arguments, a way of giving yourself permission to dismiss them without even hearing them out. After all, if the feminazis think sex and marriage are rape, and the enviro-whackos think dolphins are people and humans should go extinct, then you don't have to listen to them, or find out what they are really saying. And that tactic seems to have succeeded with a lot of people on the right. (How's that working out for them, or for the country?)

#425 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 11:26 AM:

C Wingate @ 421... My reaction to reading The Fountainhead

My reaction to watching "The Fountainhead" on TCM usually is laughter, especially the scene where Patricia Neal lustfully ogles the sweaty Gary Cooper holding a jackhammer at waist level.

#426 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 01:43 PM:

C. Wingate, #421: I don't believe in sin either. I believe in right and wrong and ethics, but those are entirely different things.

albatross, #424: Speaking of not engaging, you have not yet engaged with the thing people are actually disagreeing with you about -- that "going Galt" and "leaving an abusive environment" are not synonymous in common usage, and should not be used as if they were.

#427 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 02:43 PM:

Lee, when I say "sin", I mean that people do things they know to be morally wrong; the source of the moral or ethical system is immaterial. The good guys in Rand's novels seem to work on the principle that you come up with the Right moral system, and then since that guides you, you will act Rightly. But that is not what human nature is like: just because someone espouses a system doesn't mean they'll follow it, and I assume that people will violate their own espoused precepts at least some of the time.

#428 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 03:36 PM:

C. 427: It's good that you explained; I think I understand what you meant now.

But you have to understand that 'sin' is the name for one understanding, albeit a very common one, for the nature of humans behaving wrongly and what can be done about it. Using the term carries the implication of that understanding and framework.

Not believing in that framework (which usually includes 'redemption' and/or 'absolution', which often involves being able to wipe away guilt without rectifying the problems the bad behavior caused in the first place*) is no indictment of Rand (or Lee, or me, or any other person who doesn't buy that structure).

Not believing that humans act in ways they know or believe to be wrong IS such an indictment. It means Rand's understanding of humans is massively flawed (which we already knew, but this is an example of it).

As I said, I'm glad you explained. I didn't ask, as Lee did, but like her I believed you were putting me in the same category as Rand (wrt to sin) until your explanation.

*Not if the absolution-granting entity is wise. If you've harmed another person, IIUC the better class of Roman Catholic priests (perhaps most priests) will make mitigating that harm part of your penance. You don't get off with a decade of the rosary and get to keep the $100,000 or whatever.

#429 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 04:33 PM:

Even within a Christian context sin doesn't imply the possibility of redemption; that's where the concept of grace comes into play.

But anyway, you are right: I should have supplied the explanation up front.

#430 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 04:42 PM:

C. Wingate, #427: Seconding everything Xopher said. This is an instance in which it would have been helpful to note that you were using a non-standard definition of "sin".

Also, The good guys in Rand's novels seem to work on the principle that you come up with the Right moral system, and then since that guides you, you will act Rightly

Huh. That's the second thing I've learned today about Libertarian dogma that I hadn't realized came right out of the Sacred Scriptures. The other one is that Rand was fond of making up her own private definitions of commonly-used words and then insisting that they were the only TRUE definitions. I've observed both of those phenomena occurring in discussions with Libertarians for years.

#431 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 05:25 PM:

re 413/417/420: There's no question but that within the context of the book, Rand's Galtian heroes are being mistreated. That mistreatment, with one conspicuous exception, doesn't look at all to me much like this real-world USA, though her complaint about nationalization had currency when she wrote the book, whether or not you agree with her views on that. The one thing that does have some currency is that I'm pretty sure she would have viewed the various recent bailouts as akin to the various pools which take down the competent companies in the book. I don't think that equation is entirely fair in every case (the feds lost no money in the first Chrysler bailout, for example) but it's not without some weight.

There's a bit more card-palming around here than just what Albatross may or may not be doing. Back in 399, Lee, it doesn't seem to me that what you're saying there makes sense without inserting, in the sentence where you accuse the Galters of claiming the whole of society is abusive, "which it isn't". I think all of that is a stretch. It occurred to me in the midst of writing this that I do know an example of someone going Galt, after a fashion. I've been through a series of neurologists partly because a couple of them really didn't seem to have their stuff together (either ignoring drug reactions or trying to solve the wrong problem), but also because one of them quit his practice. The reason he quit was because he felt that the expense of the insurance bureaucracy made it impossible for him to maintain a old-fashioned solo practice, so he got himself a research job instead and quit seeing patients. I would have liked to have kept him, but I'm not in a position to gainsay his assessment. So I don't think you have to insist that the Galters indict the whole of society, and I while theoretically the government is supposed to embody society's will, as a practical matter the history of politics shows that society doesn't possess some single will. I don't think the Galters, in the abstract, are unjustified; it's just that Obama's reelection strikes me as eliciting a wildly disproportionate to the point of delusional reaction. But on one point Rand is absolutely in the right: there's no obligation to keep going if the government makes it hard enough to do business.

#432 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 09:20 PM:

C. Wingate #431: Going off to do something equally useful is hardly "going Galt", except in that inflated sense of "getting out of an abusive situation".

#433 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 09:26 PM:

C. Wingate, #431: Hmmm. I thought the "which it isn't" part was implicit in pointing out that they do not hesitate to accept the benefits derived from living in their society -- but it may not have been as obvious to everyone else as it was to me. In which case you're right, that was an unexpressed assumption that I should have made clearer.

WRT your friend the neurologist, unless my understanding of the concept of "going Galt" is completely wide of the mark, I don't think he qualifies either. He decided that the stress levels in his old job were more than he could deal with, and found a place where he could still use his skills to contribute, but with what he felt was a lower stress level. Also, I will point out that the "insurance bureaucracy" is a component of private industry, not government!

#434 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 09:53 PM:

Well, I don't know that anyone is going Galt in the manner that happens in the book, not even the fellow who tied up James Fellows's Atlantic column for a week. Among the many offenses of the Galt's Gulch sequence is the fact that this Objectivist Shangri-La is made possible by a free energy generator and a cloaking device; between that and all the mutual respect and admiration the whole passage is rather cloying fantasy, especially when Dagny takes up housekeeping to make ends meet.

#435 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 02:13 AM:

C Wingate @431: But on one point Rand is absolutely in the right: there's no obligation to keep going if the government makes it hard enough to do business.

Has anyone here said there's such an obligation? The actual proposed political programs that seem to have Republicans raging about "going Galt" are a small increase in the marginal tax rate (leaving it still much lower than it was when Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged), some adjustments to carried interest and capital gains tax laws that might make it more difficult for billionaires to shield their income from taxation, and a requirement to have health insurance. Is that really indistinguishable from Stalin's USSR? Are we now all zeks in the Gulag, wolfing down prehistoric salamanders with relish?

#436 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 04:51 AM:

"Going Galt" is, for me, the flipside of another, much deeper problem that American society is facing. Just as Galties feel they can abandon society, so too do many of them think that it's OK for society to abandon people who (they feel) aren't holding up their end of the social contract. That's what Romney was talking about when he discussed "the 47%": the idea that these "takers" can be rightly forsaken to starve.

The idea that a billionaire is going to go build a cabin in the woods and make his own soap out of bear fat and wood ash is merely ludicrous. The fact that 1.5 million people are in prison, and many of them will lose their voice in government and their chances of a decent job forever; the fact that the economy we all benefit from requires a certain proportion of people to be unemployed, but we will not support them in their times of unemployment; the fact that what government is forbidden to care about by the Bill of Rights private companies can screw you over for with no recourse; the fact that half the population's health care and economic freedom is a political football; the fact that gays can't marry in most US states; and the attitude that everyone negatively affected by this list should just suck it up? That's positively obscene.

I rant, I rant. I know. But I have left the US, albeit not as a result of elections, and I know that even the Democratic party doesn't actually talk about what I recognize as a just social contract (much less work toward it).

In my ideal world, the Republicans would lose more and more of their voters to the Democrats, while a new, genuinely left-wing party would then allow the D's to admit that they are, actually, center-right.

#437 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 07:57 AM:

436
Abi, I am so with you on that last paragraph. And the rest, too.

(Incidentally, one of the people tracking the ongoing ballot-counting says Romney now has less than 47.5% of the popular vote. I'll leave out the obvious response.)

#438 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Hear, hear, abi. Hear abi, everyone.

I really want to post that second paragraph on FB. Is that OK? How do you want it attributed if so? (I'm not going to link back here because people would come to the middle of this conversation.)

And yes, we currently have two parties to the right of center in this country, and a structure that makes it hard to have more than two parties. I'm not sure how to get from there to the Dems on the right and a real leftist party, but it sure is a nice dream.

#439 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 10:53 AM:

Well said, Abi, as usual...

#440 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 10:59 AM:

:stands and applauds loudly. With whistling.:

#441 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 11:13 AM:

Folks, the Republicans are trying to slash Social Security benefits again. Their justification, is that "people are living longer." What they fail to say is that RICH people are living longer, while people making poverty-level wages are not.

Note: By law Social Security is not allowed to increase the deficit by so much as one penny -- that's why the payroll taxes are a seperate stream of revenue.

They're talking means-testing and chained CPI -- moves that will turn earned benefits into welfare. And we all know what happens to welfare programs, right?

Get ahold of your Congress-critters and tell them to keep their cotton-pickin' mitts off of Social Security, PLEASE. Better yet, tell them to remove the cap on wages that are subject to the FICA tax (the first $110,100 of income). If we do that, SS remains solvent until about 2075.

Medicare is the program that is in financial trouble, and it will need modification to survive.

#442 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 12:18 PM:

re 435: Arvam, you are taking this unnecessarily adversarially. I've said numerous times through these discussions that I think the "it's the end of the world!" reaction to Obama's reelection is preposterous.

#443 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 04:04 PM:

C Wingate @442, you've also been defending (@431, for example) Rand's fictional depiction of the alleged abusiveness of civil society.

Look at the thing you wrote that I was responding to: "But on one point Rand is absolutely in the right: there's no obligation to keep going if the government makes it hard enough to do business." And the example you gave to illustrate this was a neurologist who quit because of "the expense of the insurance bureaucracy". In other words, capitalists burdened him with expenses and paperwork, and you're citing this as an example of government making it hard to do business.

#444 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 05:22 PM:

Xopher @438:

Go ahead and quote. Use my first name, or call me a friend—I haven't the spoons to have it added to my easily accessible web profile right this moment.

#445 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 06:06 PM:

re 443: Avram, do you disagree with the statement or not? One of the big problems on the "conservative" side of American politics is the refusal to admit that corporate power isn't all that different from governmental power; or to put it in different words, social power of whatever nature or origin is nonetheless power. I suppose this makes me liable to a certain sloppiness in talking about the different sorts of power, but be that as it may, if you want to say that there is such an obligation, then say it. If you don't, then I don't know why we're arguing.

And on that note, here we have French politicians striding confidently into the middle of the battle with talk of nationalizing a Alsatian steel firm. And not just because they want the money, but specifically so they can dictate how it is run. Honestly it sounds like something straight out of Atlas Slogged, which I suppose goes to show that bad art creates the necessity of acting it out.

#446 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 08:08 PM:

C Wingate @ 445... bad art creates the necessity of acting it out

Hopefully none of them are fans of Irwin Allen. :-)

#447 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 09:28 PM:

C Wingate @445, which statement? The one about the obligation to keep going? Sure, fine. I suppose we could construct some bizarre science-fictional scenario in which a person might have a moral obligation to keep working no matter what — the last surviving epidemiologist in a world wracked by plague! — and I can make arguments against military draft and compulsory jury service, but in general, people who want to quit have the right to quit.

Is that right realistically threatened here in the US? (Outside of jury duty, and soldiers.) Your neurologist — he did quit his old job, right? The cops didn't show up and force him to stay at the old one? I don't see how this vindicates Rand in any way.

#448 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 09:50 PM:

C. Wingate, #434: With or without a Magical Energy Device, there are people even today who go off the grid -- moving out into the deep wilderness, or to a small island, and living a very simple and isolated life. (There was a conversation here some years back in which this came up, but I couldn't find it last night.) That would be one perfectly legitimate way of "going Galt".

But that's not what the people who fling the phrase around are ever talking about. What they want is to continue their comfortable lives, have their material things and social circles and all the benefits that accrue from living in a society, but not have to pay anything for it. They want, by their own expressed definition, to become "takers".

Trying to conflate this with the right to leave a job that (for whatever reason) no longer suits you -- and take another job, or retire and live on your well-earned governmental benefits -- is just loony.

#449 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Actually, what I suspect about the folks who talk about "Going Galt" think is that the world will realize that it can't go on without their unique talents and the world will be sorry that they're gone.

#450 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 11:46 PM:

Isn't that what most flouncers believe, Jim?

#451 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 11:55 PM:

Indeed it is.

Seriously, though, if Donald Trump were to vanish tomorrow would anyone even notice?

#452 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 01:11 AM:

Jim Macdonald @451: Seriously, though, if Donald Trump were to vanish tomorrow would anyone even notice?

Have I mentioned it here, the interesting thing about Donald Trump?

Trump's popularity stems from his successful adoption of the failed Wollman Skating Rink project. Before that, nobody heard of the guy. I mean, sure, there's a paper trail, you can read about his supposed past on Wikipedia, but as far as people actually knowing he existed, that started in 1986.

Not long after the supposed "death" of Andy Kaufman.

#453 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 02:40 AM:

Avram@452: Now that's a conspiracy theory I could get behind!

NB: I don't believe in conspiracy theories.

#454 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 08:34 AM:

Jim Macdonald #451: Well, cartoonists would mourn the passing of his iconic hair....

#455 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 08:45 AM:

David Harmon @454--The cartoonists can console themselves with the possibilities presented by Lindsey Graham's resemblance to Chucky.

Of course the 'going Galt' crowd are flouncers. The "I'm going to go into my room and slam the door and never, ever talk to your again and when I'm dead [in a suitably dramatic and tragic way, possibly with a side of heroism] you'll be sorry," tone is pretty obvious, especially if you have much experience of tween- and young teen-agers.

#456 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 09:06 AM:

fidelio: Reminds me of a chat with my old shrink, where he commented "Rich people can fulfill their adolescent fantasies. Superrich people can fulfill their infantile fantasies." (This is not actually a good thing, at least not for the people around them.)

#457 ::: Dave Harmon, gnomed again... ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 09:06 AM:

Sigh. Have some rice crackers, but I'm off to work.

#458 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 09:21 AM:

Jim Macdonald #451:

Seriously, though, if Donald Trump were to vanish tomorrow would anyone even notice?

We'd feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in joy!

#459 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 12:42 AM:

Lee@399, the concept of "moving to Somalia" isn't around just by accident. Back in the 90s I was part of an international libertarian group whose main purposes were economic education and having conferences in fun places. Most of the people were Dutch, American, British, or other Europeans. One of the Dutch folks, Michael van Notten, lived in Ethiopia and Somalia doing development work, married a woman from one of the northern tribes, and talked a lot about the freedom that traditional Somali society had. It was mostly nomadic before the colonialists got there, with family courts resolving the occasional conflicts, and after the post-colonial dictator was overthrown there was fairly constant civil war down south in Mogadishu between groups who wanted to run the place themselves, up north in the Somaliland area everything was fairly peaceful. There were occasional conflicts over cattle or grazing territory, and occasional feuds between families which were generally resolved quickly.

Van Notten was working on trying to develop some land up in the mountainous areas that he could sell to Europeans, which required building road access and getting telecommunications to the outside world. Unfortunately he had a heart attack and died before he got much of anything built. The young enthusiastic American who took over the project after him (who was also enthusiastic about things like space colonies at L5 :-) unfortunately annoyed some of the locals and was told to get out of town.

When the US did their "Black Hawk Down" invasion, they demonstrated a fairly total lack of understanding of the local culture. Telling people who'd been cattle herders to give up their guns is less realistic than telling Texas NRA members the same, and with a civil war even the non-militia people felt they needed to protect their families, and their meddling paved the way for the Islamic Courts to try to impose order. Unfortunately they're mostly Salafis, and think that Sufis (who are is the majority of the country) are heretics.

#460 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 02:25 AM:

C. Wingate @ 455

But all power is not the same - it has different constraints and obligations, is turned to different ends, is accountable to different people and entities, and is wielded by people who are motivated by different things.

These are perfectly relevant and important differences: I have zero desire to be ruled by someone whose overt raison d'etre is to make himself and his friends as rich as possible, who will fight me tooth, nail and deceit to get what's good for his short term interests regardless of any other effects on people or the world.

#461 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 03:12 PM:

KayTei, I'm not sure why you thought you needed to start with "but". Of course governmental and corporate power are not the same, but the tendency on the right is to pretend that corporate power doesn't exist at all. And beyond that, the focus on economics, again especially on the right, tends toward the pretense that the only driving force is greed. Surely lust for power is at least as prevalent in the boardroom as it is in any government office. It has always seemed that a lot of the corporate resistance to regulation arises not only out of the feeling, justified or not, that they could make more money if the government didn't interfere, but that they simply resent that someone else can tell them what they could or could not do. It's not necessarily an unseemly impulse to feel that resentment, within reason, but then again there's the nonexistent license plate on the car(s) of a certain recently deceased software CEO.

#462 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 07:15 PM:

KeyTei @460 and C Wingate @461, yeah, I don't see what KayTei's arguing with either.

It seems to me that the fundamental misunderstanding of corporate power in American political and economic discourse proceeds from the belief that large-scale wealth results from freely-engaged-in trade, when the history of capitalism shows that large fortunes are almost always the result of government-granted monopolies. Even looking at the most lively and impressive branch of modern business (computers and software), we see a world in which the big players are using massive patent portfolios (and patents are nothing if not government-granted monopolies) as weapons, driving out smaller players.

It came to me the other day that free markets, if they actually existed, would be public goods, and wealthy powerful people generally seek to enclose public goods and turn them private.

#463 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:24 PM:

Oh, hell. No, I got your position reversed. I should know better than to post when I'm sick.

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