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Friday lay day – US midterm election show lack of progressive leadership

Its my Friday no blog day yet a brief discussion of this week’s US mid-term elections cannot be resisted. In the spirit of the lay day, I will just have a little stretching and warm up type blog though. What the F*&#! The largest economy with the biggest weapons has just voted into majority positions in both houses of their parliament a bunch of crazies, who are only slightly crazier than the alternatives they might have chosen. Although in many cases, the crazies were voted in uncontested.

I think this car sticker (issued by a Republican candidate) is the classic indicator of how far backward US politics has gone. The guy who introduced this sticker will become the Republican Senate Majority leader. I guess his message is simple enough.


It seems that four states voted to increase the minimum wage (Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota and Nebraska), which is a Democrat-type policy if anything, but then in all these states the Republican candidates thrashed the Democrats in the race for the Senate.

The Republicans hate minimum wages.

Ralph Nader gave an interview on November 6, 2014 – Ralph Nader on GOP’s 2014 Wins: Democrats Can’t Use Citizens United, Voter Restriction Laws as Alibi – to Democracy Now!, which carries a warning to all progressive parties who have made their objective – power at all costs and forgotten that people ultimately do have issues and like governments to take care of them.

Some snippets from the interview include:

… the Democrats have got to recognize they have to have a change of leadership … The Democrats raised huge amounts of money this time around and … although they finally came around to the only issue that Politico said is getting traction for the Democrats — raising the minimum wage for 30 million people, who are paid less now than workers in 1968, adjusted for inflation, 30 million people and their families, a lot of voters — they didn’t make it a big enough issue … We got a president who spent almost two weeks in salons, from New York and Maine and San Francisco and Los Angeles, raising money for the Democrats, not barnstorming the country on an issue that has 80 percent, 80 percent support, that even Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have come out for restoring the minimum wage. So, it is the—they didn’t have a policy. They didn’t have agenda. They didn’t have the message. They had tons of money to put on insipid television ads that didn’t move the needle …

In other words, people back homeare not given enough reason to vote for the Democrats. But they’re given plenty of emotional reason to vote for the Republicans because of all the social issues—the school prayer, the reproductive rights, the gun control. The Democrats have dropped the economic issue that won election after election for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman. They can no longer defend our country against the most militaristic, corporatist, cruel, anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-women, even anti-children programs, the Republican Party …

We cannot be dependent anymore on representatives who sweet-talk us and go back to Washington and betray us for careerism …

And they come across to the voter as not having their own identity. They’re too wishy-washy. The challenger for Senator-elect Capito in West Virginia is an example of that. She just didn’t know which way to go. You know, she went big on coal in West Virginia, which is only 6 percent of the economy and 3 percent of the workers. And she wouldn’t come out really strong on the minimum wage, where, you know, if you want a state that’s ripe for a minimum wage increase, it’s poor West Virginia …

Substitute names and geography to suit your own local area/nation and the problems are the same.

For Australia, why is the Australian Labor Party supporting a policy (and engineered it when they were in power) that locks refugees up on godforsaken tropical islands and allows guards who are sociopaths to murder the detainees while suppressing reports that show the children detained acquire severe mental illness which ruins them for the rest of their lives?

Why did the ALP support cruel policies attacking the unemployed when they also introduce fiscal policy cuts that killed employment growth?

And the rest of it.

A change of progressive leadership is desperately needed.

Here is Jon Stewart’s take on the election.

The most inane example I came across during the election campaign was the employment plan by the Florida Republican (Ritch Workman) who introduced a bill in Florida’s legislature in 2011 to undo a ban on ‘dwarf tossing’ which was banned in 1989.

The practice involves big blokes tossing dwarfs to see how far they can throw them. The Republican said at the time that “the ban keeps willing projectiles from gainful employment” and that (Source):

If this is a job they want and people would pay to see it or participate in it, why in the world would we prohibit it? … In my world view, we have the freedom and liberty to do these kinds of things.

How did this cretin go in the November 4, 2014 elections? He was re-elected unnopposed to the Florida House of Representatives.

But the best comedy came two days before the voting when the British comic John Oliver called over 1,000 Midterm election winners despite 0 per cent of the precints reporting. The video is not available (I heard it on the radio).

But the first several minutes of this segment from John Oliver is also very entertaining.

Music please to ease our worried minds

After the madness of the mid-term elections in the US, which really tells me that there is no sense in US politics, I decided to devote the morning to listening to the sound track from the great HBO series Treme. I can recommend it (four seasons – all good).

In that vein, here is a great example of what I have been pushing through the speakers in my office this morning.

Its religious and I am not. But then its jazz and anything goes then. We play this song on our ukuleles and have fun.

Saturday Quiz

The Saturday Quiz will be back again tomorrow. It will be of an appropriate order of difficulty (-:

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2014 Bill Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 10 Comments
    1. The basic reason for the absence of sense in U.S. politics is that the country has been dumbed down. Most people are ignorant of the forces that are moulding and controlling their lives. A dumbed down and gullible populace can be easily manipulated by spin machines operating on behalf of powerful vested interests — to the extent of persuading them to vote against policies which demonstrably would make them happier, healthier and wealthier.

    2. It looks bad now but in 2016, odds on there’ll be another democrat president elected. The republicans have got the stupid angry old vote down, but once the electorate becomes younger, more educated, more diverse, more female these guys can’t win elections. Its very important that the democrats keep getting the presidency because, I’d much rather have a Clinton or Obama on foreign policy than a neocon puppet like Bush or Cheney, speaking as a non-American citizen of the world.

    3. And Bill wants us to be more like these guys……….

      Well it has “worked”
      The second American materialist revolution has been a epic success over here in the euro wasteland production area.

      Americano people are now acting blindly against progressive polices as they know it has been a epic failure for them and a success for the progressive insiders.
      We in Hibernia all now know (even if some continue to deny reality) the Irish culture wars of the 70s and 80s had a different agenda from what was proclaimed on the tin.
      However people have no idea how to fight this malice as their brains have been filled with masonic scarcity language.
      Observing capitalist threadmill politics is not funny
      Liberal apparacheiks / hired gun comedians laughing at people swimming in this sea of slurry is not funny.
      A change in progressive leadership is most certainly not needed.
      A return to traditional leadership most certainly but please no more slimy progressives and their slick one liners.

    4. Most disappointing US President: Barack Obama. With him at the top it was inevitable. And, Hillary would be no better, another war-mongering, corporate @#$#$.

    5. Bill nailed it, here, re our election—two-thirds of Americans stayed home—didn’t vote—and thus we left America’s future in the hands of one-half, of one-third—i.e., in large part our racists [voting against President Obama, who wasn’t on the ballot], and zealots who are obsessed with the government forcing women to have children—[our lunatics!]–and they returned America back into the hands of the people who trashed our economy six years ago, ad nauseam! Yep, folks, we are on our way out… any case, here are my two cents worth…..

      President Obama/Council of Economic Advisers:

      Since WW II we have had two distinctly different paths to job creation, in America–one is specifically directed at ending unemployment—on the other path—ending unemployment is only incidental, not a goal—and is contingent, solely, on the success of the market [wishful thinking—the Republican One and Only program]—i.e., if the market fails, the jobless are out of luck!

      The latter has been the model for job creation since the advent of the corporation—i.e., not much over the past 100 plus years—and the former was introduced by President Truman signing the [FULL] EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1946—to guarantee employment for our returning troops.

      Ironically, an almost identical law was passed in Australia, and for the same reason—difference is, the Australians put their law into effect, and for the next 30 years it was government policy that “anybody wanting to work, should be able to find a job”…..[more on this shortly]…and Australians still refer to this 30 years as their “Golden Age”….

      In the U.S., however, we had such a pent up demand for consumer goods—that had been rationed because of the war—and that coupled with McCarthyism which confused “democracy [the will of the people]” with “communism” we have been frightened on to the “market only” job creation path, since—

      And in the beginning it appeared to be working—in 1953 our unemployment rate in America actually dropped below 3%–the ONLY time this has happened since WW II…but as a result of staying on this path [and coupled with the ill-winds of neo-liberalism] we have almost 10 million jobless Americans, to this day!

      And in spite of the fact that in 1978 President Carter expanded upon the 1946 law—which has given us the “Legal Authorization” to limit our unemployment rate to “3%”–[15 USC § 3101]—

      [And politically complicated in that Americans are disenchanted that Washington is unable to fix unemployment—two thirds believe we are on the wrong track/have given up—and didn’t even show up to vote]–i.e., 86% of Americans believe “anybody wanting to work should be able to find a job”!

      In short, the former path has solid political support—And, unemployment is a NO ONE WINS, the jobless lose, and the market loses!


      Jim Green, Democrat candidate for Congress, 2000

    6. “Coal. Guns. Freedom.”

      But not health care, it seems? Now that Mitch McConnell has gone on the record saying he intends to repeal the ACA, he’s set up for an interesting couple years. May as well grab a bag of popcorn, sit back and watch, because there’s not a heck of a lot else I can do any more.

      Repealing ACA is going to be essentially impossible now that the law has been in effect a full year. They can change it, but I don’t think it’s possible to go back to what we had before and I don’t think that’s what the public wants. I don’t think the insurance industry wants it repealed either–it’s a boon for them. This is little but more political theater, but don’t think I’m not going to remember these post-election day quotes and see how they backpedal or spin the facts during this term.

      My own elected representatives all happen to be Democrats. Listening to one following her election day victory, first words out of her mouth were “deficit” and “balancing the budget”. Sigh. So we’re left with the Tea Party and GOP-lite. Where did the Democrats go?

      Voters are voting emotionally, not rationally, and those with apathy simply don’t show up at the polls. But, I guess this is nothing new. On the bright side we now have plenty of things to write and talk about for the next two years.

    7. Maine had the highest turnout, around 60%!
      And what got the Maniacs all riled up to cast their vote?
      Apparently there was a campaign to ban the practice of baiting bears with pastries and other garbage. This made it easier for shooters to kill their bear! Very unsporting! The proposition was defeated!
      Hmmm, what about a proposition banning the baiting of voters with unfunded and unaffordable entitlements?
      Naah, wouldnt work!

    8. What’s in it for the vast majority of the electorate?

      Which candidate, let alone which party represents their interests?

      The question is rhetorical as neither party represents the interests of the vast majority.

      Who can blame the electorate for staying at home ?

    9. pragmatism may hold sway.
      but there is a possibility that the USA could move towards
      EU style austerity.
      the consequences would be felt the world over.

    10. Kevin, I don’t think we would ever go as far as Europe. If we had 60% under 25 unemployment, cars would be burning in cities all across the country.

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