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Mandos's picture

Unreason is probably pretty adaptive

Now, Bob Somerby has an excellent post up about the obsession with earmarks:

Those high-profile spending measures total nearly $2 trillion. By way of contrast, the EARMARKS which have Sheneman frightened total $7.7 billion. (No one has made the slightest attempt to show how much of that is “wasteful.”) But guess what? Trillions are much larger than billions! In fact, those EARMARKS represent roughly one two hundred and fiftieth of the total spending in these high-profiles measures. That amounts to one quarter of one percent—one dollar of every 250.

But to Sheneman, these EARMARKS are larger than human life. They may swallow the White House itself.

Mandos's picture

Universal reason and successful politics

Departments: 

plover at Three Bulls! has particularly interesting take in rê Somerby that I thought was worth quoting here.

He condemns people as “tribal”, because, from his standpoint, “tribal” is outside the realm of “rational”. The problem is, it’s not. Tribalism, in a generalized sense, one not limited to reflexive, herdlike behaviors, is one part of what our human brains use to reason about life as a social animal (most of our brains, anyway — the ones that more or less don’t we label things like “autistic”). Declaring oneself an adherent of reason does not mean that one is not using tribalistic modes of thinking. It’s not something a person can think their way out of as it is part of thinking.

...

Mandos's picture

The constituent as client

For better or for worse, we live in a world in which most "democratic" political systems are constructed on a basis of hierarchical tiers of representation. The higher the tier one reaches, the more one can accomplish. This effectively means that being a politician is a career. We do not live in the world in which leadership and representation is a duty one takes reluctantly, for maybe a year or two in addition to one's other life activities. I wish we did, but we don't. Read more about The constituent as client

Mandos's picture

5-10% better; or, how I learned to shut up and love the Unity Pony

I suspect many didn't and won't believe me when I say that, as the primaries unfolded, I was hoping for Hillary Clinton. And I said it then too. I had various reasons, some of which were different from the usual ones. Now people will believe me even less, given that I'm writing a belated Personal Conversion Diary. Because, you see, I was wrong about quite a few things then.

Read more about 5-10% better; or, how I learned to shut up and love the Unity Pony

chicago dyke's picture

Daschle's Out, but Is the Lesson Learned?

Sigh. I guess it's "surprising" that the guy who spent most of his time as Leader caving, went and caved to Republican pressure. But the real question isn't about the morality or qualification (not) paying taxes confers. It's about whether or not the new administration willl ever figure out that there's a real good reason for truly having ideological diversity in the applicant pool. Read more about Daschle's Out, but Is the Lesson Learned?

chicago dyke's picture

Arguing for More Push-Back

David notes:

This super-durable bungee cord must have the force of law, meaning it will be woven by Democratic legislators now exerting as much pressure on President Obama's left as congressional Republicans focused on President Bush's right.

When, for instance, Obama hedged on his promise to revoke $226 billion worth of Bush's upper-income tax cuts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) pushed him to fulfill the pledge and put the money into programs that better guarantee job creation.

chicago dyke's picture

A Valid Question

No, Really. I think this is worth more discussion:

Play dirty against the BlueDogs how? In what way?
By bringiton on Wed, 01/28/2009 - 2:21pm

Seriously, I'm asking.

Through what mechanism? By what means? What is it you would have the Dem Leadership do, keeping in mind that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, elected by the Caucus, is a BlueDog through and through?

chicago dyke's picture

A Tall Order for All of Us: Taxes are Good

A friend of mine likes to joke that "all Republicans are socialists," meaning that when it comes to the government handing out free money to bankers, large off-shore HQ'd corporations, or Red Staters sucking the Federal tit, they just can't say "No." We've spent a lot of time mocking them for the hypocrisy in this, as it comes from those people who are at the same time, the most loudly against "welfare" and other entitlements and funding for the rest of us. Read more about A Tall Order for All of Us: Taxes are Good

chicago dyke's picture

Stupid, Cowardly, Incompetent or Lying? or: Being a Democrat isn't Really So Hard

So my job is the push the new administration "from the left," if my blogging can said to have a constructive purpose. It's always fun to read more popular bloggers when they get snarky and angry in the way I'm prone to be most of the time, as I review the proposals and behaviors of the new administration. No one here is shocked by the already numerous "disappointments" from the administration, but I do wonder how long the majority in this country is going to keep giving Obama high approval ratings. Read more about Stupid, Cowardly, Incompetent or Lying? or: Being a Democrat isn't Really So Hard

chicago dyke's picture

Popularity, Friends, and Enemies in the New Era

I have to say: it's been rough. I've not been a member of the Oborg since before most people even knew he was running for office. For personal and private reasons based on my experience with him, and that of some friends. At the same time, I've not been as...vocal in my disappointment with him, his appointments and stated policy goals, as some; here, elsewhere. I feel like a DS9 fan at a B5 vs. BSG Con, some days. But I'm curious about what your experience has been like, since, say, the convention. Read more about Popularity, Friends, and Enemies in the New Era

chicago dyke's picture

NPR Hates Autoworkers

Yesterday I was trapped in the car and forced to listen to NPR. They told me about how "most Americans hate American cars and won't buy them." So why bother to save the American car industry, right? Today, they've been reminding us about how union workers are overpaid and don't deserve health and retirement benefits or lifelong employment. Thanks, you corporate whores! For reminding me why I won't ever be giving you any money ever again, and will continue on my campaign to get everyone I know to do the same. You really suck, you hypocritical lying apologists. Read more about NPR Hates Autoworkers

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