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December 27, 2022 11:15 PM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Forever is composed of nows.”

–Emily Dickinson


19 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. What Makes Fascism Fascist? John Ganz

    Interesting article; worth a read. Here's the concluding paragraph.

    What does this all have to do with the contemporary United States? It seems to me that the Trumpist movement is at the very least proto- or semi-fascist: there is a concerted effort of a providential leader figure to use illegal means to overthrow the existing Constitution, as we saw on January 6th there is some degree of paramilitarism working towards this goal, even if it is not nearly as large or well-organized as interwar fascism. And beyond people who buy into the Trump personality cult, there is a broader tendency on the right to take seriously anti-liberal, ultranationalist, and reactionary ideas. Mann speaks of an authoritarian right “family” that nurtured the fascist movements.7 I believe unfortunately an authoritarian right family exists today in the United States, even if it is fragmented and relatively small. Some of them are more national populist, some more Protestant Christian nationalist, some explicitly antisemitic, some Catholic integralist, some technocratic-utopian, some “national socialist” or Sorelian and made up of disaffected former leftists, but together they form a kind of cultural matrix of far right politics. Like the extremist paramilitary movements among hardcore neo-Nazis and Klan-types, all of them took Trumpism to be, if not exactly their ideal, either the kind of political phenomenon they’d been hoping for or recognized in it interesting possibilities. Without being overly alarmist, I think it’s worth keeping an eye on what shape emerges next from this proto-fascist ooze. And, if you are a conservative, you might ask yourself if you’ve already been sucked into the blob—Especially if you are already having trouble differentiating your own politics from fascism.

    1. That is a good article. It's nice to read something about fascism and current politics that is more academic and doesn't just use the word "fascist" as an insult.

      This is what I've noticed in the past few (6-10) years:

      Whatever reservations or distaste conservatives had for fascist methods or leaders, in the end they allied with them out of a sense of necessity or opportunism.

      For all the conservatives who want "small government" they welcomed fascists who believe all the "elites" are corrupt and hopeless. For all the right-wing Christians who just wanted Roe v Wade overturned, they welcomed antisemites and militant Christian fundamentalists.

      Not all Republicans are Nazis or Klan members but they've done plenty to help those folks feel welcome as Republicans and they don't appear to want to do anything about it.

    1. Details on the "moneyball" approach get spelled out in the article

      In a memo obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast, the theory of the case goes something like this: For just $25,000, you can win a competitive seat. It just depends on when you spend the money, and, who—not what—you spend it on.

      As Managing Partner Lauren Baer put it, the pilot program led by Arena—a nonprofit group backing Democrats and looking to “expand and diversify who can enter politics”—targets spending earlier in the cycle and delivering trained staff to campaigns that otherwise couldn’t afford them.

      They won eight out of the 11 battleground races in Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania where a staffer on a six-month contract earned $25,000, usually as a field organizer or director.

      So, a few nuances.  The article is describing

       * state House seats.  I didn't do the math for the three states the group worked in, but in PA, each district had an average of 64,052 residents. . PA-129, one of the races talked about had 19,085 general election votes, and the winner (with this program) got 11,101.

       * determined to be "battleground" districts.  PA-129 didn't have an incumbent — the long-time Republican incumbent did not run.  The re-drawn district moved east, taking in more of Reading and losing rural ground west of Reading.

       * it is $25,000 ADDITIONAL money for one purpose — no details on how much these campaigns actually raised overall. Looking elsewhere, PA-129 had a candidate report of 

      Democrat:  $ 53,956 Total Donations $118,802 Total Expenditures

      Republican $ 50,208 Total Donations $ 52,558  Total Expenditures

      Outspending an opponent 2.26 to 1 can certainly make a difference.

      1. What I like about this is:

        1. They are figuring out how best to run an effective campaign.
        2. Good argument for making donations early.

        So many campaigns seem to run on "tons of TV" at the end because that's the way it's always been done.

    2. Yeah, for example spending less than $25,000 the DCCC could have done some elementary opposition research on the NY-3 George Santos race and won the seat for the Dems.

      But, no.  Doesn't anyone here know how to play this game?

      1. former Rep. Steve Israel (who was in Congress from Long Island) wrote an article in The Atlantic blaming Republicans, Democrats, and the media.  However, he acknowledges the DCCC provided a basic oppo research brief & the Democratic incumbent tried to use it — but it got no traction because everyone assumed the Democrats would win in a district that voted for Biden by 8.5 points and had been won against the same R candidate in 2020. 

        Even AFTER the revelation of Santos being "Jew – ish" and an announcement he would not be welcomed back by several local Jewish Republican groups on Long Island, the Republicans were wringing their hands and NOT calling for a resignation because "he'll vote the right way" and something like 'he'll be even more attentive to our grass roots positions.

        More nails in the coffins of "public service" and "character matters."

    3. True to U.S. strategic culture, American politics has a bias for air power (ads) over boots on the ground (staff). In both cases, it's rarely about the efficacy, as much as the commissions and kickbacks.

      I wish Arena luck in challenging that culture, just as I wish we'd stop wasting millions on "strategic bombers."

            1. And will they be ignoring the leap second?

              The time has come — or will come, in 2035 — to abandon the leap second.

              So voted the member states of the international treaty governing science and measurement standards, at a meeting in Versailles, France, on Friday. The near unanimous vote on what was known as Resolution D was met with relief and jubilation from the world’s metrologists, some of whom have been pressing for a solution to the leap second problem for decades.

  2. Today's top post: Suggested Priorities for the Biden Administration

    Ok, so the mid-terms are over, the holidays are wrapping up, and we’re about to experience the joy of a closely divided government with a fair number of Republican House members wanting to focus solely on investigations1 & impeachment.

    Good times.

    Here’s where I think Congress and the President should focus their efforts. And if approached right, I think in each case they should be able to cobble together a majority in Congress to pass effective legislation.

  3. Ruble rousing in Russia.

    A story I’ve been following is that Russian consumers can’t withdraw cash from banks, and they’re angry about it. One cause: Most imports are paid for in US dollars, or Chinese yuan, but ruble value in relation to these currencies is crashing.

    Another cause: Putin is trying to finance a war on play money, and it isn’t working. He’s selling cheap gas to whomever will buy it, but the ruble continues to reduce in value

    Professor Skiba( originally from Ukraine) now with U of Wyoming gives a pretty clear explanation of causes and effects of Russia’s economic Ruination. 

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