Archive for November 6th, 2014

by lizard

After Democrats experienced an electoral smack-down Tuesday, will there be any soul-searching? Or is it time to play the blame game? If it’s the latter, millennials are clearly the first scapegoat being pointed at. Here is one article, titled The Young And The Useless: How Millennials Left Democrats Hanging On Election Day. From the link:

Young voters in particular declined to show up for Democrats. The exit poll shows that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 supported Democrats by a strong 54 to 43 percent margin. But they made up just 12 percent of the electorate — down 7 percent from 2012, and equal to their dismal turnout from 2010.

By contrast, 37 percent of midterm voters were 60 or older — and these voters backed the Republicans by more than 15 percent.

While Millennial turn out was low, voters across the nation did support a wide variety of progressive ballot measures, like increasing minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, paid sick time, and expanding background checks for gun sales. In contrast, two personhood ballot initiatives were defeated by large margins.

It’s a confounding disconnect.

A better scapegoat could be the baggage of the Obama presidency. Six years of broken promises and capitulation to the destructive tendencies of America’s imperial ambitions have rendered an electorate disgusted with both parties. Dave Lindorff explains that Tuesday wasn’t a GOP victory, it was a Democratic rout:

The blame is being placed on President Obama for this drubbing, and he richly deserves it. Basically, his presidency has been one long string of disappointments to and outright betrayal of those who voted for him “hoping for change,” as Obama has caved on or compromised away virtually every progressive promise he made during his two campaigns.

As a constitutional scholar, he had promised to restore respect for the law to the presidency, and instead has made end runs around every law imaginable, refusing to prosecute the war criminals of the Bush/Cheney presidency, the CIA, and the military, refusing to prosecute the FBI for violating the Patriot Act, refusing to prosecute the bankers whose crimes brought the US and the global economy to a grinding halt and left the US crippled going on six years now.

He has run the most secretive administration in history, even employing the 1917 Espionage Act against leakers and whistleblowers, and threatening journalists with jail for publishing those leaks. Under his watch, too, the Homeland Security Department secretly orchestrated the nationwide crushing of the Occupy movement by local police departments, while the White House, all the while, offered homilies about the sanctity of the right to protest. (His HSD’s Office of Threat Assessment actually labelled this publication a “threat” for publishing an article exposing that role — a discovery which we now proudly display on our masthead above.)

Claiming to have been a “community organizer,” Obama hung the labor movement that had backed his campaign for president out to dry, declining to push for a promised and desperately needed reform of the National Labor Relations Act that would have ended the interminable and easily delayed process of requiring a secret ballot election to form a union, by reverting to the old system of obtaining a majority of signed cards from workers.

On climate change, which he had once called the issue of our time, his administration actually actively worked behind the scenes, with the help of the National Security Agency, to subvert efforts by international leaders to reach an international consensus on action in 2009 in Denmark. This Obama treachery allowed the world to lurch on towards a climate-change armageddon.

After promising to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama first drew out the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, leading to further chaos there and ultimately to the current disaster where the country is being torn apart by an invasion by the former Baathist military leaders who were earlier turned out by the Bush/Cheney invasion and occupation. Then he expanded the war in Afghanistan, dragging out that conflict to make it, at 13 years and running, the longest war in US history. And after spending hundreds of billions of dollars on pointless war and killing thousands of more Afghans and American soldiers too, he has left a nation in tatters which will revert to Taliban control again probably within months of the last US soldier leaving on the last troop transport.

No wonder the public was pissed this Election Day.

Climate change is one of the issues I think Democrats will have the most problems with going forward because it pits environmentalists against labor interests. Ochenski had a good piece on Monday about the tangible impacts of climate change on Montana’s hunting tradition and the failure of Lewis and Curtis to distinguish themselves from Daines and Zinke. From the link:

While many lament the falling number of hunters in recent years, it’s quite possible they are failing to connect the dots between our warming climate and fewer hunters. Not too tough to figure out, though, that if you go hunting and return without having seen or shot an elk year after year, one might just decide to hang up the elk rifle after a while.

A stunning affirmation of the current conditions was made plain when a good friend, who is a backcountry cook for an outfitter, said out of the nearly two months of wilderness rifle season so far, they had only taken one elk out of their Bob Marshall Wilderness camp. One elk.

Considering the cost for a week’s outfitted hunt runs about $5,000-$6,000 per individual, it’s not hard to predict that those who paid so much for a treasured Montana elk hunt only to find no tracking snow and no elk will be far less likely to do so in the future.

Yet, Montana’s politicians continue to embrace “all of the above” energy policies that only exacerbate global climate change. Keystone XL pipeline? They all support it. Mining more coal to ship to China? You bet. Cutting down more forests that actually take carbon dioxide out of the air? Oh yeah, let’s congressionally mandate even higher harvest levels. And of course more drilling and fracking garners universal applause from Republicans and Democrats.

But none of this happens in a vacuum. So how much of Montana’s hunting tradition – and economy – are our politicians willing to sacrifice to ever more energy production and consumption?

The Keystone XL pipeline will probably be one of the first showdowns between a Congress that hasn’t been this Republican since 1929 and Democrats. This won’t be an easy issue for Democrats, considering many support the pipeline and the ones who don’t haven’t been all that vocal in opposition because of labor’s advocacy and the fear of being tar and feathered as anti-jobs.

All in all, we are in for a frustrating two years of gridlock, shutdown and polarization over the wedge issues that dominate our political conversation in this country while the consensus of perpetual war keeps pushing us to the brink of WWIII.

And so it goes.




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