Posts Tagged ‘Constitutional Convention’
being an addendum to these Supersized ICFA Weekend Links
* On that “asking questions about Russia” NYT op-ed I linked yesterday: Getting an op-ed into the New York Times is notoriously difficult, as the paper’s editors treasure its selectivity and prestige, for the obvious reason that a NYT byline confers an extraordinary amount of credibility on the writer. Thus the Times makes particular choices about the voices that are worth listening to, and the voices that are not. And by printing the Mensch op-ed, the Times has said that Mensch is a person whose thoughts ought to be in the paper. But one can only think this if one has abandoned all standards for what constitutes reasoned opinion on Russia.
* Democratic elites are delusional — you can’t subdue the reactionary right without a robust alternative political vision. Politicking Without Politics.
* More than 200 civilians killed in suspected U.S. airstrike in Iraq. We have been bombing this country nearly continuously for nearly thirty years.
* As Spencer shows, it is these seemingly anodyne conceptual commitments, combined with their structural expression, that bind contemporary architecture to the imperatives of neoliberalism, a term for which Spencer develops a coherent and persuasive account. Pushing against the conception, developed by theorists such as David Harvey, of neoliberalism as simply the latest step in the developmental “logic of capital,” Spencer sees it as something much more intentionally and insidiously cultivated: it is “a school of economic thought,” he writes, “that has consciously directed itself, through key individual thinkers, as a project to remake the mentality and behaviour of the subject in its own image.” Following Foucault, Spencer argues that neoliberalism — characterized primarily by its valorization of the free market — is a form of “governmentality” involved not just in the shaping of economies but in the “production of subjectivity.” Neoliberalism does not impose itself on us coercively, via punitive measures or structures of discipline, but gently shapes our common-sense understandings of the world and ourselves through the medium of our everyday experiences, turning us into competitors, entrepreneurs, and round-the-clock workers. We are not exactly subjugated by neoliberalism, as one is subjugated by totalitarianism; instead, we are “subjectified” by it. Rather than its victims, we learn to become its willing participants; and architecture, argues Spencer, becomes one of our key instructors. What Exists is Good: On “The Architecture of Neoliberalism.”
* Paul Ryan Failed Because His Bill Was a Dumpster Fire. Why Obamacare Defeated Trumpcare. GOP wonders: Can it get anything done? Trump the Destroyer. Sidelined Democrats let grass roots ‘resistance’ lead the way on health care fight.
* Is a billionaire-funded coup to rewrite the Constitution on the verge of happening? Trump is president and the Senate still exists. I say take the deal and then fight for a real democracy at the convention. You’ll never get it this way.
* Tressie Mcmillan Cottom talks Lower Ed at Dissent‘s “Belabored” podcast.
* On this episode of Left of Black, Professor André M. Carrington (@ , author of Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction (University of Minnesota Press), joins host Mark Anthony Neal (@NewBlackMan) in the Left of Black studio. Carrington was at Duke University to deliver a keynote address at the Black Is, Black Will Be: On Black Futures symposium.
* Survey Finds Foreign Students Aren’t Applying to American Colleges. So that about wraps it up for American universities I suppose.
* This piece and the comments (read both) constitute one of the only serious or substantive discussions of Laura Kipnis’s CHE pieces I’ve seen. I just finished a long and frustrating but possibly ultimately consensus-building Facebook debate about the minutiae of this thing, so I’m basically an expert on the case now.
* For those who want to build a stronger left in the US, there is no substitute for the work — however slow and painstaking it might be — of building social movements and struggles at the grassroots and of organizing a political alternative independent of the Democratic Party.
* To understand why and how often these shootings occur, The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody.
* It also proves nothing likes being eaten.
* And the arc of history is long, but production on TRON 3 has been shut down.
I went off on a bit of a tear this morning on Twitter and wanted to put it into a slightly more coherent form before I went about my day: my suggestion is that liberals, progressives, and liberal-leftists should look at the results of the last six years and conclude that there is simply no hope for significant reform within the existing constitutional order.
I’ve been saying this for years now, but here it is again: Obama swept into office at the head of a mass movement with a congressional supermajority during the worst crisis in 70 years, with the opposition party totally and absolutely discredited. That was the chance, the only chance, that the existing system had to reform, and he either blew it or betrayed it, however you come down on him. There’s no reason to think there will ever be another 2008 for the liberal-left. It’s over. The only hope now is a radical shift in the constitutional order, which can be achieved by calling for a new constitutional convention as prescribed within the existing constitution. It’s a legal move; it’s just never been tried.
Now, we know that the existing order is on course to destroy civilization within our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our children; we have to weigh any possible outcomes against that. But even bracketing climate change entirely, we have to understand that progressive and leftist economic policy can’t win within the existing order because it’s rigged for paralysis. A constitutional order with this level of malapportionment and this many chokepoints inevitably favors the political right. Even the best-case, most generous reading of Obama’s colossal failures demonstrates this to be true.
A new constitution would be a gamble, but it’s a gamble we take against a certainty of failure; recall that Clinton ’16, Clinton ’20, ClintonVP ’24 is the mainline Democrats’ most optimistic scenario, the one where they hit gold every time and never miss. And there’s good reason to think a new constitution literally couldn’t be worse than what we have now. A new constitution couldn’t get away with shortchanging CA and NY 14 senators, just for starters, much less any of the other crazy stuff that seems normal to us now; there’d be no way to justify it. Even a new constitutional convention that failed and saw the country break up into a loose confederation or into smaller states would be, on balance, an improvement for the world. With the experience of 2008-2014 — not to mention every other thing that’s happened in American politics on either the state or federal level for as long as I’ve been alive — it’s hard to see how a new system could possibly be worse for progressive hopes that the current system, which at this point we have to accept is guaranteed to always steamroll us.
A movement for a new constitution that took ten years to get off the ground would be catching fire at the end of Clinton’s second term, maybe; one that took fifteen years to get off the ground would hit just as whoever follows Clinton was taking office post-reelection. Do you honestly think politics in fifteen years will be better than it is now? Will the system be more just, more peaceful, more ecologically sustainable? Do you think we’ll be glad then that we stuck with the existing system, so Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Jay Nixon can save us?
In short my recommendation to the liberal-left and to progressives is to simply stop caring so much about whether Democrats win or lose and to devote themselves instead to advocating that we just start over, aligning with whatever savory and unsavory characters on the right we can get to sign on to the plan so that the convention happens and things at least have some chance to improve things before capitalism has fully and finally destroyed all hope for the future. At this point it’s not even really a gamble; there’s nothing left to lose, we’ve all already lost.
#teachthecontroversy #readyforHillary #despair #nihilism #breadsticks
* 2016! Bernie’s threatening to run. As always, you should take every drop of energy you’d put into a quixotic 3rd-party run for president and put it towards a new Constitution instead.
* Duke Energy Must Immediately Stop Polluting Groundwater In North Carolina, Judge Rules. The arc of history is long but oops everything is already polluted, bye.
* Huge Coal Company To Pay Largest-Ever Fine After 6,000 Clean Water Violations In 7 Years. In terms of the company’s valuation and the damage done the fine might as well have been $1.
* As Mary Sue Coleman, the university’s president, called for increased enrollment of students “paying the full freight,” enrollment from outside Michigan reached 46 percent last fall. The result is that the university not only reflects the race and class inequities inherent in our society, it actually reinforces and aggravates them.
* After three years in which private college and university administrators led their public counterparts in salary gains, the publics are on top in 2013-14. I can’t wait for next year!
* Psychiatry, all along, knew that the evidence wasn’t really there to support the chemical imbalance notion, that it was a hypothesis that hadn’t panned out, and yet psychiatry failed to inform the public of that crucial fact.
* And the headline reads: “Your porn is not Canadian enough, CRTC warns erotica channels.” I wrote a little one-act.
* Community is back March 15, but NBC still hates you; they’re putting Parks & Rec on hiatus instead.
* Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II. I feel certain Indiana Jones was involved in each of these.
* ‘I exist wholly for you. I will never reject you. You cannot disappoint me.’ A brief history of the money shot.
FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old one.
COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water upon them.
TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.