Sunday, January 3, 2016

More Real Stuff Unfolding Under the Radar

I ran into this piece today:

Here in NC, as in many states, ALEC continues to advise state legislative bodies on what to pass, crafting legislation on various subjects which will be more likely to pass various constitutional hurdles, no matter its underlying "spirit." It's a long game, dry and boring for a media and a media audience trained in short spurts of excitement and blood. On our local TV channel's website, under the "national" and "state" categories of news, 90% involve shootings and other bloodshed or tragedy, day after day. Now and then the "state capitol" section might mention new legislation, and once a year perhaps it is reported that various influential legislators have travelled to some California hotel for an ALEC weekend. No further explanations are offered. Just one of the minor civic tasks these elected representatives must undertake as part of their service. And we wonder why so many Americans have turned firearms into household gods.

We have a little magazine here in NC called The Sun. It ran the following piece a couple of issues back:

It's part of the same story. Meanwhile one of the trends in the reporting of mayhem does have a point:

Last week I happened to catch a bit of some Sunday pundit show. It included William Kristol, who argued with a straight face that black Americans ought to be happy the police are so trigger-happy ("tough" was the word he used as I recall), since it was this "toughness" that actually protected the black community from "itself." There was a black American with dreadlocks and a pundit document sitting across from Kristol as he made his argument. The man just smiled. This wasn't the Fox show, by the way. In earlier days Kristol might have received a well-deserved punch in the mouth.

The comments in the top link are worth noting. One guy, towards the bottom, points out that a rubicon was crossed back in 2000, when the Supreme Court invalidated a Presidential election, voting along party lines to appoint the man who'd clearly lost our next President. The steps are incremental. Constitutional scholars already debate the question of whether the whole definition of U.S. Senator isn't our nation's tragic flaw, leading as it does to a government controlled by affluent minorities. Two Senators for Montana, two for Alaska, two for California and New York. Congress will shortly vote again to repeal a reform of our medical system which at the moment mandates covered colonoscopies for anyone over 50. Oh the liberty, oh the horror. Bet you didn't even know there was such a mandate now in force.

Meanwhile, here's a fact that relates to the civic-minded Koch brothers and their civil-minded institution, ALEC:

The GOP now controls 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers -- the highest number in the history of the party. Republicans currently hold the governorship and both houses of the legislature in [24] states ..., while Democrats have that level of control in only seven. (from the first link above)

Here's one other quote from that excellent post, from down in the comments:

And, if Hillary is the nominee, the MSM won't just turn Marco into a magical center-right politician, they'll do the same for every one of the others, if they win the nomination - including, Trump!


  1. "our medical system which at the moment mandates covered colonoscopies for anyone over 50"

    See, this right here, this is what makes me snatch my hair out by the roots, what's left of it. People on "my" side who busily promote the latest atrocity as if it's a tasty treat instead of the shit pie that it really is. 'Cause you have to support the team, right? And solutions that were never really adequate become business as usual -- easier to talk about how bad the other guys are than to get things up to code and fix the cracks people are falling through every day.

    No, it isn't "anyone over 50" -- there are still tens of millions of people in this country who are not covered by medical insurance, and won't be in the foreseeable future either. And what if you're a lucky ducky and do get a diagnosis? What friggin' good is that to you if you can't afford treatment without bankruptcy? Which is exactly the position many others will find themselves in under the "Affordable" Care Act (I can't even use that name without risking a stroke).

    The rotters of the world will do their best to F things up for everyone else, but that's expected, like woods ticks and other vermin that have to endured. I can't get too upset at those who are just getting on with their personal lives, either. No, it's the "good guys" who are willing to play Dr. Pangloss that get me feeling angry and hopeless. Nothing personal, of course -- I just happened to read your blog on a bad day, could have been one of any number of similar posts elsewhere.

  2. By the way, thanks for the link to that football article. I wish more people would take note of the American mania for turning everything into a competition, including performing arts and craftsmanship -- even recreational dance, for heaven's sake.

    See, I did read your entire post. My reaction is akin to someone strolling across the lawn who steps into a pile of dog poo. Everything else just goes right out of your head.

  3. If you're arguing against the patent incrementalism of the ACA, well of course you're right. However, a number of the bits of mandated coverages now in the law are improvements over what was there before, as is the end of the problem of existing medical conditions for many formerly uninsured folks. Of course we can and should have done better. Surely you're not arguing for repealing ACA in this political climate? We're going to be lucky not to entirely lose democracy writ small this year.