The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Fact That You’re Offended Is Just Noise

Recently had someone complain that women’s groups shouldn’t have to effectively lobby Congress, Congress should just do the right thing.  Ok, then, let Uncle Ian explain the facts of life.

If those who are effected by policy won’t effectively lobby for themselves, those who are in power will run right over them.  This may or may not be the way things should be, but it is most definitely the way they are.  Even if they do lobby effectively they may get run over, of course.

That may be appalling, but hey, it was appalling when the Bankers got trillions and mainstreet got a lot less, too.

The powerful do what they can, the weak suffer what they must. Nothing has changed since Thucydides wrote that statement almost 2500 years ago.

Powerful people don’t care whether you’re offended or not, they only care whether or not you can hurt them.

If you can’t, the fact that you’re offended is just noise.


Incentives Do Not Work To Change Bank Behavior




  1. radish

    Or, as Frederick Douglass put it:

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

  2. Exactly true, which is why I tell liberals who take umbrage at my critiques of the president “from the left” that if the only people pressuring Obama are pigs, clowns, and demons, then we will likely end up with stridently pro-trough, pro-hand-buzzer, and pro-infernal-eviceration policies.

    Please excuse the metaphor, but politics truly is a contact sport. Or, more precisely, it is a game of inducement by pain and threat of pain. Moral appeals are as effective in politics as Chuck E. Cheese tokens are useful to fund attack ads.

  3. Es-tonea-pesta

    We have no ability to hurt them or bribe them, though. Hopelessness is finally the conclusion.

  4. jo6pac

    Powerful people don’t care whether you’re offended or not, they only care whether or not you can hurt them.

    This is so right and Es-tonea-pesta if you have given up I feel bad for you, I hope that not the case.

  5. fledermaus

    “Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask anything of them” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  6. Lex

    That’s it, that needs to be the political motto for those of us who care.

  7. Es-tonea-pesta, the way to hurt them is to limit the power they have. Another way of saying what Ian is saying is if you can take something from them, you matter. Find it, and take it. That might be their office, or it might be campaign money or volunteers. It will be different things for different politicians.

  8. Es-tonea-pesta says:

    We have no ability to hurt them or bribe them, though. Hopelessness is finally the conclusion.

    Sorry but this isn’t true. You can start by not voting for them – just because someone has a D after their name doesn’t mean you have to vote for them! Deny them your vote – let some Republicans beat them and then hopefully a better Dem will run next time. And most importantly of all after you don’t vote for them let the Democratic Party know that you don’t vote for Corporate Dems or Blue Dogs anymore. They will get the message.

  9. Sorry, simply not voting is another displaying apathy like Nader’s ‘they are all the same’ election stance.

    Deny them your vote – let some Republicans beat them and then hopefully a better Dem will run next time.

    WILL be ‘translated’ by Rahm and the funding commitees as needing to be more appealing to the Republican base.

    If you are to throw the bums out, find better bums to replace them first.

  10. S Brennan

    Since this:

    “If you are to throw the bums out, find better bums to replace them first.”

    Is not going to happen first….

    And This

    “translated by Rahm…as needing to be more appealing to the Republican base”.

    Is pure supposition…that is not supported by reality.

    How much further to the right of Obama & Dems do corporations want Dem to go? Read: If the country shifts further right, corporations stand to lose. Why do you think the MSM’s message on right wingers has subtly changed?

    So in total your prescription is effectively a call for inaction and your prediction assumes corporations have an ideology beyond greed.

    Where Obama/Dems are now is about as far right as is profitable.

    I’ve made some suggestions:

    1] Instead of a party [it takes decades to get traction] form a clearing house that recruits and acts like a UL Approved, or Good House Keeping seal for candidates. Come up with a short [list of 12 say], but inflexible standard. Primary candidates can be offered to EITHER PARTY, or apply for this approval. Candidates who do not meet the standard are also listed, positive AND NEGATIVE FEEDBACK.

    [this got an awful lot of negative feedback, but so did my Opposition to Iraq invasion, 2004 artificially low interest rates inflating housing, 2004-7 warnings on Obama…etc]

    2] Be willing to switch party affiliation in primary season, if there is weak turnout, you can sneak liberals into the Republican party, it WAS ONCE DONE ON A REGULAR BASIS, Republicans having been doing it to ‘eff Democrats FOR DECADES.

    3] Be willing to drop the bomb, vote against a party, Republicans do it to get their way [they just did it 2008 for Obama], be willing to do it, if you don’t do it, you should be taken for granted by the DLC.

    Democrats since the election of Obama have not been spineless, THEY HAVE BEEN BRAZEN, it’s the Democratic voters that have been spineless, where are the cries of betrayal followed by calls for impeachment…silence reigns. The DLC treats you this way because you take it, show some spine, punch back.

    These have/will berebuked with stuff like:

    1] We tried something else [protest which were laughed off] and it didn’t work, so your ideas which have worked in the past won’t work now.

    2] I don’t care if your retreads have worked for Republicans before, we must keep voting Democratic because [insert convoluted logic of a willing victim]

    “lefties” will keep losing so long as they are unwilling to do simple arithmetic.

    1] By today’s count, lefties are at least 45% of the Democratic party.

    2] Obama/DLC candidates will easily win their primary races.

    3] If the Democrats registered as Republican for primaries [I did this in 1980 and 2000, to try to prevent Reagan and Bush II…and I know Republicans who did this to give us Dukakis] and shifted the primaries left [and by numbers they could], there would be a creditable threat to the right wing power structure…not a “protest”. Plus Dems will see Republican primary numbers jumping which will be perceived as a creditable threat

    4] Voting third party where a race is close is stupid because unless there’s a threshold issue in the offing, it’s the same as sitting home, if the race ridiculously lopsided decided…fine, vote for Nader for all I care.

    5] If a race is competitive and vote Republican, you are kicking Obama/Reid/Pelosi in the crotch and you have twice the kick when you vote against a party as staying home.

    To the numskulls who say Dems losing big in 2010 will force them farther right I ask:

    If Dems win in 2010 won’t that teach them that they can move as far to the right as like without any cost?

  11. WILL be ‘translated’ by Rahm and the funding commitees as needing to be more appealing to the Republican base.

    So how do you counter the Rahmbo’s when they dry up any funding for Progressives that want to primary pro-corporate Democrats? Or sell outs like Lynn Woolsey who does fund raisers for Jane Harman?

  12. S Bennan; Sounds like you are all up for ‘finding better bums’. The whole idea is to push the system leftward.

    I am ambivalent about supporting ‘liberal’ Republicans. I mean at one time, there were Republicans that could be considered more liberal than some of the conservative Democratic party members. But since 1996, and moreso once the purges started, ‘liberal’ Republicans voted in line with their party more often than convera-Dems or Blue Dogs voted with the Democratic party.

    As for Obama/DLC candidates automatically winning their primaries, I can only offer the counter-example of Leiberman. He managed to con his way to re-election in the general election (with major support of the Republican party), but Democratic voters booted him in the primaries.

    Calvin Jones et al.;
    Direct contribution and third-party grass-roots systems. Sort of like how ‘Act Blue’ got started. Sure the more successful will get pulled into the mainstream and co-op’d (“Resistance is futile”). There is nothing to stop you from starting from scratch (again … and again …)

  13. Jeff Wegerson

    “who are effected by policy” 3 Google Hits (1 yours)

    “who are affected by policy” 756,000 Google Hits

  14. Mason

    A very intelligent character who uses the handle “mopsius” on YouTube segments of Cenk Uygur’s ‘Young Turks” show noted that the only way to get progressive change is to start electing third-party candidates in deep-blue congressional districts. Basically, a noticeable bloc of Bernie Sanders clones, who will not be whipped into line by the powerful corporatists as easily as the members of the Democratic progressive caucus.

    Given the discontent with the current administration, and the radicalizing effect of the slowly collapsing economy, the rise of an influential progressive movement seems theoretically quite possible. However, the smart/cynical bet is on an authoritarian, xenophobic populist movement. Righties have better structural support, fanatical self-righteousness, and a significant percentage of them are partially detached from reality. (To wit — only 27% of Republicans believe that Obama legitimately won the presidential election, according to a Public Policy poll in November; 26% of those polled believed that ACORN stole the election for Obama.)

    Thanks to narcotics laws and the Cold War, we have a systemic proto-police state for future authoritarians to exploit. The small business interests who should be rallying around a single-payer health system, accountability for the financial syndicates, etc. are culturally inclined to support these crony capitalists (after all, they are successful) and screw their local populace.

    Add to this the effects of climate change, and the decline of the American character (for environmental and cultural reasons) and I start to think that the next 10 years in the U.S. will make the Great Depression look relatively benign. Buying canned food and small arms doesn’t even address the issue, which is likely a kleptocracy of widespread criminality, aggressive policing, and ever-increasing internal surveillance of the population.

    I keep thinking of the clashes between the Communists and National-Socialists in Weimar-era Germany (or Franco vs the Popular Front). Historical precedent is not on the side of leftists.

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