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"The Potemkin Moment"

(Playing off "The Minsky Moment.") I have a picture, perhaps wishful, of the political system as a painted canvas, like a stage set, and then some clumsy galoof puts a foot through the it, or a kid pokes a hole in it with a pencil, and then suddenly everybody realizes what they thought was real and permanent and everlasting isn't. For example:

ObamaWar demotivates the Democratic base. 2010, here we come? [The Week]. Interestingly, Ryan Coole shifts focus at the end to this conclusion:

But let’s face facts: expecting our jalopy institutions to successfully navigate the rapidly shifting tangle of alliances in Syria is ludicrous. America is a country where the Secret Service doesn’t notice the White House has been shot until four days after the fact, and is apparently unfamiliar with how door locks work.

It sounds like Cooper’s been reading Naked Capitalism, or Golem XIV, or the Archdruid, all of whom would concur on our “jalopy institutions” (“corruption” is far too narrow a frame). Will institutional rot and demented and sclerotic elites become an issue in 2014 or 2016? Seems unlikely, but then what Ryan Cooper wrote above would have seemed unlikely too, until quite recently. It was also unlikely that Emperor Cuomo would have been challenged, but you can see Teachout and Wu working these same issues in their interviews with Naked Capitalism (the PayPal button is to your right), and they came out of nowhere to take 30% of the vote. So you never know! And remember that the legacy parties are jalopies, too, despite their fearsome appearance and noisy operation.

So, the operation run by the political class is ripe for a "Potemkin Moment," right? Here's another: Read below the fold...

In the garden: Green leaves and red berries

Western sun shining through the leaves of the filbert tree. No nuts this year, unfortunately! Read below the fold...

Common Household Remedies Request

My kitchen is so disgusting I can't think straight, and so I am beginning the process of cleaning it. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Bernie Sanders testing the waters in Iowa for 2016

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:

DAVENPORT | Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will be in Iowa this weekend testing the waters for a potential 2016 presidential bid, said Thursday that American voters are angrier at many of the country’s institutions than many realize — and even though they want real change, most will sit out this year’s midterm elections.

“What we have to appreciate right now is there is a great demoralization politically in this country,” Sanders said in an interview with the Quad-City Times.

Still, the senator has been showing up on the doorstep of the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He was at an event in Clinton County in May. And he also appeared in the state three weeks ago, the same weekend as Sen. Tom Harkin’s final steak fry, which featured Clinton in her first return to the state since her loss in the 2008 caucuses.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Read below the fold...

Hong Kong Vignettes: Part I

The master theory of the Hong Kong protests will have to wait for another day; in this post, I'm going to collect vignettes from the ground: Crowd scenes, maps, images, tactics, the role of the built environment. I may, as needed, make reference to Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Non-Violent Protest and Resistance, since the Hong Kong protests are explicitly non-violent. First, I'll start with the cell phones at night:

"She can't pay the rent"

Tweet of the day

In the garden: Autumn leaves

Schneider Tele 2x. I tried for the October forsythia again, and got better results this time! Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Brilliant from Hong Kong.

Flexian infestations at the DCCC and Emily's List

Sheesh, this is just awful. From Down with Tyranny: Read below the fold...

In the garden: Winter has not yet come!

Bees still working the squash; miraculously caught this one just before they took to the air:

And also miraculously, the front garden came through with more poppies -- on September 30! Must have been those three hot days. Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Federal judge strikes down subsidies in states without their own exchanges

Modern Healthcare:

In a legal setback for the Obama administration, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Tuesday that people in states that rely on the federal insurance exchange are not eligible for Obamacare premium subsidies to help them pay for coverage.

Judge Ronald White, a George W. Bush appointee, invalidated an Internal Revenue Service rule interpreting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to allow the premium tax credits in states that have not established their own exchange. “The court holds that the IRS Rule is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law,” White wrote.

In his ruling, White rejected the argument that striking down the subsidies would cripple the entire healthcare reform law. “Congress is free to amend the ACA to provide for tax credits in both state and federal exchanges, if that is the legislative will,” he wrote.

Exactly. I have to say it, I'm with the conservative lunatics on this one (regardless of their motivations). If you want to have the rule of law, then you need to write the law so you aren't reduced to saying "But I really meant that!" when people read it, and the administration really did (modulo conspiracy theories) butcher the drafting.[1] There are other cases in the works: Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

I changed the Twitter block for Hong Kong

Tags are now: #OccupyCentral #HongKong #OccupyAdmiralty #OccupyCentral. Read below the fold...

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