Democrats Against Democracy Archives

November 17, 2007

The electoral college, Pwog palladium

Apologies to readers for the lack of activity 'round here lately. The siteminder has been traveling more than usual (and enjoying it less).

There is some benefit to be had, however, in getting shucked out of my Upper West Side hideyhole like an oyster out of its shell, painful as the process may be for the oyster. My travels have extended to California, where I have become aware, sooner than I otherwise might (though not as soon as I should) of an interesting development in the arcane world of electoral procedure.

Here's how the New York Times introduces it. Note well the "framing" provided by the lede graf:

Republican donors are pumping new life into a proposed ballot initiative, considered all but dead by Democrats a month ago, that would alter the way electoral votes are apportioned in California to the benefit of Republican presidential candidates.
Another fiendish Republican plot! Aiiee! What more do you need to know?

If you're perversely curious enough about the details to keep reading, you'll need a bit of patience. The actual design of the infernal machine is not supplied until the fifth graf, after some snoozeworthy radar-scattering chaff about the funding and staffing of the initiative:

The initiative would ask voters to replace California’s winner-take-all system of allocating its 55 electoral college votes with one that parses the votes by Congressional district. It has attracted strong opposition from Democrats because it would transform California from a reliably Democratic state in presidential elections by handing the Republican nominee roughly 20 votes from safe Republican districts.
"Handing"! "Parsing!" You have to parse this loaded, propagandistic language a couple of times yourself before you realize that this initiative actually would make the notoriously and ludicrously undemocratic electoral-college machinery noticeably more democratic, with a small 'd'. It would tend to allocate the state's electoral votes in closer proportion to the popular vote. And thus, it is a deadly threat to the Democrats with the big 'D'.

The latter, needless to say, are crying foul at the top of their lungs. What passes for "left" talk radio -- a feeble, querulous crickets' chorus, like the Trojan alter-kakers tzitzing about Helen at the Scaean Gate -- is as hot with indignation as its thin pale blood will permit. The Party machinery is revved:

Until recently, Democrats were attempting something similar in North Carolina. But Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean quietly convinced the Tar Heel Democrats to stop, saying he did not want to set a precedent Republicans could use to justify their efforts in California....[W]hile Democrats might gain as many as 7 electoral votes in North Carolina, they could end up losing as many as 22 in California.
The Kosnik reaction is predictable but nevertheless amusing, if you have a cruel, Cervantean sense of humour. Here's one of the sputtering Sanchos by way of comic relief:
07-0032 - The California Theft Initiative - Links to Text and Useful Sites
by Zoltan
Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 07:23:13 AM PST

Many Kossacks have diaried on the GOP attempt to steal the 2008 presidential elections by unfairly securing about 20 electoral votes in California for the GOP in November, 2008, by means of ballot initiative 07-0032. Suffice it to say that, if passed, 07-0032 would allocate electoral votes in California on the basis of the winners of each congressional district, rather than on the basis of the overal winner in the state, which would almost certainly guarantee 20 otherwise unattainable electoral votes for the Republican nominee.

December 14, 2007


For a strategic betrayal of stated principles to be effective, there have to be some actual principles in the first place. One cannot make “pragmatic compromises” from the dithering, ‘go along to get along’ center. The betrayal (or compromise, if that’s less galling) requires something more than a heartfelt avowal, a heaved sigh of despair and the moral vanity of a crackpot capitulation. The world is littered with passively abjured asseverations, lapsed manifestos and broken commitments! They rustle around in the breezes created by the despairing sighs and dart vengefully past the bloated heads of self-styled realists. There’s no way to collateralize them into real principles.

The simplest, and often the easiest, way to uphold a principle is to refuse to obey orders, e.g. if your political leadership supports torture, war and immiseration, if it refuses to seriously address global warming, and you object to those things, stop heeding the calls to support that leadership. Outrage, demands, a determination to ask questions and so forth just don’t cut it.

What we need is a concerted campaign to demand of our Democratic “leaders” an answer to the question: “What is the real reason you are so cowardly and unwilling to hold this administration to account and stop the bleeding?” What is the real reason that “impeachment is off the table”? What is the real reason why you keep passing bills that make America into a dictatorship, continue the disastrous occupation of Iraq, and piss off the whole country?


Lesser evilism, buying time and triangulations have reached their natural conclusion: enthusiastically cooperative evil. That’s the “real reason”. The moral Ponzi Schemes have collapsed. The people doing those things think they’re being reasonable and realistic. They’re annoyed by the idiot liberal complaints they receive. A million concerted question campaigns aren’t going to change that. It’s time to start saying no.

The authoritarian right made the salacious Meese Commission Report into a bestseller. Oh, the howls of outrage! followed by stealthy trips to the red light districts, lasting prurient interest and dozens of niche markets for soft core leavened with sanctimony. The report at least had the pathetic rationale of providing libidinous release for the dangerously repressed. These occasional, Progressive, forays into toothless demands for accountability are an echo of the reactionaries’ outrage, fully in tune with their very creepy consumer sensibility — and orders of magnitude more harmful.

August 26, 2008

God bless and keep free speech -- far away from us

From Empire Burlesque:
Caging the Dream: Dems Wrap Freedom in Razor Wire

Individuals arrested at the Democratic National Convention will be processed at an industrial warehouse with chain-link cells topped by razor wire, a facility some have compared to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Groups planning marches, concerts and other events during the Aug. 25-28 convention dub the center "Gitmo on the Platte," for the nearby South Platte River...Video footage of the north Denver warehouse on Denver's KCNC-TV showed coils of razor wire topping chain-link cells. A sign read: "Electric stun devices used here." ....

"The infamous "free speech zone," set to make a comeback at Denver's upcoming Democratic National Convention, needs to be within earshot of delegates, a coalition of civil liberties advocates backed by the ACLU said [last month]. Chain link fencing or chicken wire at the end of the parade route, about 700 feet away from the Pepsi Center under the current plan, would separate demonstrators and protesters from other convention attendees, the Rocky Mountain News reported.

"No human voice, or any other sound," ACLU counsel said in Monday's amended complaint, "can ever hope to reach a person at the entrance." ... [But] protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver can be restricted to fenced-in areas, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday, saying that security needs outweighed curbs on their rights... "the plaintiffs have a wide variety of alternative means of expression that will allow them to effectively communicate their messages," [the judge] wrote in her 71-page ruling.

Why yes -- they can always send Barack a text message! Or maybe they can form a Facebook group. Or even write a blog post! All Americans are perfectly free to express their opinions in any venue whatsoever -- as long it is a venue which the high and mighty can ignore at their own discretion. Let their freedom ring, yes -- but let everybody else shut up. Let each and every one of us outside the golden circle of power lower our heads, muffle our voices, and keep well away when our betters are passing by. We must not disturb their party, we must not trouble their repose, we must not speak to them of what they have done, of what they countenanced, and of what they have most miserably failed to do.

Couldnta said it better myself.

September 17, 2009

The Eternal Unteachable Moment

Trying to dodge a building conservative firestorm, the House and Senate made clear in separate and highly lopsided votes Thursday that the beleaguered community-based nonprofit advocacy organization ACORN is persona non grata on Capitol Hill.

House Republicans took over a debate about a sweeping student loan bill to propose a measure that would bar the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now from receiving any federal funds at all. It passed 345-75, with 172 Democrats joining all of the Republicans in the chamber in support.

In the Senate, an amendment connected to an Interior Department spending bill that would prohibit ACORN from receiving any money from that bill passed by an 85-11 vote. It was the second such vote directed at ACORN in the Senate this week.

The short and simple lesson for progressive groups is: don't get anywhere near the Democratic Party. It will fuck you and happily throw you to the Republican Party. This is not because of cowardice or confusion on their part. They do not want a large, politically active and demanding activist base.

August 15, 2010

Ten Years of Shame

Via Monsieur IOZ, Dolchstoss liberalism is back in fashion.

But what's dangerously myopic about going ballistic as Gibbs did in his statements is that just 10 years ago we had a little event in which only a tiny portion of the base went with a third party bid from the left --- and the consequences were catastrophic. Democrats, of all people, should remember that every vote matters.


Nader-baiting! It's been almost ten years, but the "narrative" retains its allure: A tiny minority managed to put the country in a Wingnut Interregnum. Good King Al (no relation) was robbed of his rightful office by their feckless yet dangerous, disciplined yet hysterical, mindless yet cunning, etc. etc. etc... Where was I? Oh, yes, he was robbed by the left wing stab in the back.

If only it were true. A successful spoiler minority would be a force to be reckoned with. Politics, need it be said, is an ugly vicious business. There is no morality play to it. The party leaders hate their base more than they hate their notional opposition. They inflict regular, gratuitous discipline on it, harvest it for labor and money and react with vituperative outrage at the merest hint of rebellion. In the face of that leave it the liberals to cry, "Disarm! Disarm now! Or all is lost."

There's no need for the panic, but I suppose it gives them something to do while they contemplate the bankster-hugging, Afghanistan-surging, Romneycare presidency of Barack Obama.

November 30, 2010

Leaking Venom

The Obama regime's reaction to the Wikileaks info-dump is remarkably infantile; threats of prosecution, accusations of attacks against the world, etc. It smacks of spite and sanctimony, which is consistent with the revelations in the leaked documents. Diplomacy is run like a corporate office; replete with snide back-biting, fatuous plots, treachery for its own sake, waste, fraud and abuse. The only difference is capacity for violence. Doubtless there's a plan to send Assange an exploding cigar, or some such vengeful nastiness.

It's likely the leaked documents won't change anything. That would take a vastly different political dispensation. But they nevertheless belong in the public domain, if only because the small "r" republican conception of government requires the informed consent of the governed. Obviously the punters and their harvesters are incapable of taking that seriously and will fight tooth and nail to maintain their freak show. However, anything that could help drag them into some degree of political adulthood has to be accessible. This is particularly important for the Democrats, those wacky inheritors of the paranoid style, whose reverence for the Enlightenment exists in inverse proportion to their willingness to put its precepts into practice. They see a Cheney under every bed, poor things, and it drives them to distraction.

Regarding the cui bono aspect of the leaks, some people place great value in being immiserated by Democrats, rather than Republicans, and prefer to see hegemony pursued by slick crackpot yuppies, rather then flat earth goons. This preference is the aesthetic of cretins. As the Obama regime has tirelessly proved, the cat food and drone missile program is not amenable to "better management".

June 12, 2011

The Votes Weren't There

That's one of those phrases to which the only reasonable rejoinder is a knee to the groin. Used as an excuse, it's bad faith. The "votes" are the least important, least significant part of a process. They're a formalism, not a determining factor.

This has been a public service announcement posted in support of democracy.

About Democrats Against Democracy

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the Democrats Against Democracy category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Deficit, schmeficit is the previous category.

Dime's worth is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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