The goals that he produced are so, so great.
I’m already wearing my winter nose.
Why Tuesday was shitty, but may not matter so much in the long run.
Republicans are poised to take the Senate tomorrow, and Democrats are terrified.
I’ve got hundreds of messages here, “Woe woe woe, what are we gonna do, Jim? It’s the end of the world!”
Folks, first of all, nothing’s won until the votes are counted.
And second, political polls don’t measure reality. That’s not their purpose. Polls, especially the ones pushed relentlessly by agenda driven organizations aren’t designed to reflect reality, instead they exist to shape reality by doing exactly what they are doing – i.e., creating a self-fulfilling prophecy through manipulation of your perception.
The bottom line here is this: if you think you’re defeated, if those polls make you think you’re defeated, you are.
If those polls and your sense of defeat coupled to voter intimidation and deliberate attempts at disenfranchisement keep you home tomorrow, then they’ve done exactly what they were designed to do, hand the Senate to Republicans.
If you already think you’re defeated, you are. Republicans will certainly hold the House tomorrow and they very well may take the Senate. That’s how it works. You win some. You lose some.
America lurches back and forth, left and right and left and right again, like a drunk staggering into the future. Sometimes your party and your ideology is going to win, sometimes it isn’t. And it for damned sure won’t if you don’t get out there and vote for it.
But you know what’s going to happen if Republicans do take the Senate tomorrow?
Do you know what’s going to happen if Conservatives control both houses of Congress?
That’s what will happen.
For the next two years.
So, if you think about it, in most regards, down here on the street, it’ll look pretty much the same as the last two years where Congress has accomplished … nothing. Oh, sure, the very first thing Republicans will do is attempt to repeal Obamacare. They have no choice. They’ll have to – they’ve painted themselves into a corner on it.
And so, the first order of business, right after they all make a big showing of swearing in their new majority by reciting the Constitution, will be a rushed bill through both chambers to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act. It’s already written.
Republicans will pass a repeal in the House. They might even pass a repeal in the Senate by a simple majority vote, especially if Democrats continue to cravenly run away from the ACA instead of standing their ground and fighting. Instead of reminding Americans why we needed it in the first place and why the majority of Americans, including one hell of a lot of Republicans, benefit from the ACA every day – which is what Democrats should have been doing during their campaigns instead of pissing their pants.
Democrats should have stood with their president when it mattered, but of course they didn’t, they’re never any good in the clutch.
However, while getting a repeal through the House is likely a sure thing, getting it through the Senate isn’t. Turnabout is fair play, right? Especially in Congress and Democrats can place secret holds and engage in filibusters same as Republicans. So getting that repeal through the Senate isn’t a certainty. But if the Democrats continue to crap out and Republicans do get their bill through, they won’t have anywhere near enough of a majority to override a presidential veto.
That’s right, veto.
See, the balance of power? Those constitutional checks and balances Republicans lately like to go on and on about? Well those cut both ways.
In order to get the president to sign a repeal, Republicans would have to actually put forth a serviceable replacement — Republicans would actually have come up with something that does what the ACA does, only better.
Republicans would actually have to create an act that provides access to affordable healthcare for millions of Americans, one that fixes the problems with Medicare and keeps it solvent, one that keeps all the many, many provisions of the ACA that Americans like and have gotten used over the last two years, and one that fixes all the myriad problems of the ACA. Of course, they could have done that already. Conservatives could have participated in the process right from the start. Congress could have fixed the law, improved it, made it work better. But they didn’t. And they won’t now.
Republicans don’t care about healthcare, one way or the other. This isn’t about healthcare, affordable or otherwise. This is about beating Obama.
This is about putting the black man in the White House in his place once and for all.
So flush with victory, they’ll send a repeal to the president.
And he’ll veto it.
And why wouldn’t he?
No, really why wouldn’t he? He’s got nothing whatsoever to lose.
It’s not like Republicans would be offering to meet him halfway.
It’s not like spineless Democrats can’t abandon him any more than they already have.
It’s not like he’s running for reelection.
So, why would Barack Obama sign a repeal of his signature accomplishment? UnlessRepublicans offered to replace it with something that’s actually better?
And really, the ACA sucks, so if Republicans came up with something better, well, shit, folks, how’s that bad for us?
But they won’t. Republicans can’t come up with anything better. They are pathologically, ideologically incapable of it. It’s just not in their nature. So they most certainly won’t.
And the president will veto their repeal.
And conservatives might hold both houses, but they won’t hold enough of a majority to override a veto. Not even close.
And there things will stop.
And nothing will happen.
So, naturally, the second thing the new Republican majority will do is attempt to impeach the president.
First they’ll threaten Obama with it, better bow down, admit defeat, boy, or else we’ll do it. We will. We mean it.
Forgetting, of course, that if the last five years have proven anything it’s that Obama isn’t much intimidated by conservative threats.
But Republicans, drunk with their new found power and utterly oblivious to the lessons of history will bluster and beat their fleshy chests and threaten impeachment based solely on the idea that being black and liberal in the White House constitutes “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Saner heads among them will caution that they don’t have a case, Constitution-wise, and perhaps sanity will even prevail. Perhaps. But more likely, when the Republican congress figures out that they actually can’t push Obama around, that those checks and balances go both ways, well, then likely they’ll work themselves up into a suicidal frenzy of blood-maddened rage, and maybe, just maybe, they even go through with it.
They can certainly get the Articles of Impeachment through the House. They could do that right now. All it takes is a simple majority vote.
But the Senate? The Senate would actually have to try the president. Publicly.
The House can act like a lynch mob, sure. But the Senate? The Senate would have to present proof. Legal proof, the kind that stands up in court. They’d have to present facts, actual facts, not made up bullshit from Fox News and conspiracy theorists. They would have to provide actual evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. Republicans have tried this before. This time? This time they don’t even have a blowjob to hang their case on.
So what it comes down to is this: No matter what, to remove Obama from office, Republicans would have to make their case and get two thirds of the Senate to agree. On record. In front of the nation.
And that’s just not going to happen.
So they’ll do nothing.
Because that’s their whole agenda. Repeal the ACA. Impeach Obama. And if that fails, as it inevitably must, then allow nothing to happen. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got. If you want to see what a Republican led majority looks like, look to the House. They can’t even agree on the stuff they agree on.
It’s not Democrats who keep throwing a monkey wrench into John Boehner’s machine, it’s Republicans.
And so what if they take the Senate?
Fix the debt? They won’t do that.
Balanced budget? They won’t do that. In fact, if history is any guide you’ll be lucky to see an unbalanced budget. More likely they’ll just shut the government down again, blame Obama, and go home.
Jobs bill? They won’t do that either. Minimum wage? Forget about it.
Immigration reform? Nope, they sure won’t do that. They won’t even “secure the border,” because that will cost hundreds of billions and require huge amounts of assets, organization, oversight, and a bigger government. And they’ll need the cooperation of the president they just tried to impeach.
Energy policy? They won’t do that. Fixing America’s aging infrastructure? I wouldn’t hold your breath. Banking reform? Middle East policy? Action on climate change? Education? Gun violence? Tax reform? Trade?
Instead we’ll hear endless, endless debate over gay marriage and Benghazi and government overreach, but in the end they’ll do nothing and count it as a victory.
They’ll do nothing and count it as a victory because stopping Obama is all they care about.
Republicans have no big vision, they don’t even have a small vision.
They have no fresh ideas.
The GOP’s message is one of revenge and sullen resentment and fuck you I got mine and nothing more.
They’re on the wrong side of history and they’re going extinct and they know it and it makes them small and mean.
And the very best they can offer for the next two years is … nothing.
But if you want more than that, more than nothing, then shrug off your defeat and gather up your friends and all the like-minded Americans you can find and get your ass to the polls.
Sure it’s hard.
Sure it’s an uphill battle.
Sure the odds are stacked against you and the game is rigged.
If your vote didn’t matter, then these rotten sons of bitches wouldn’t be working so damned hard to take it away from you.
Click thru for rest
It goes without saying that the midterm elections were, by and large, a catastrophe for Democrats. They not only lost the Senate, which was expected, but they lost it by a much bigger margin than anybody had anticipated, which will make it harder for them to retake it in 2016. Just about every swing state went to the GOP, some by ridiculously huge margins. Barring something extraordinary, Mitch McConnell — who is more responsible than any other individual for the GOP’s obstructionism over the last six years — will now be majority leader of the Senate. And beyond the Senate, the GOP strengthened its hold on the House and won governorships in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, and Maine.
It sure all sounds like terrible news for progressives. But while this was definitely a bad night for the Democratic Party, it wasn’t actually as bad of a night for liberals as it might have seemed. Here’s why.
Via A. Kackmar
But in a really clean way.
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Bless this mess
Via Mer on twitter.
The middle panel is so perfect.
Here’s a video I made for my sketch troupe, Wendigo for our October live show. Our next show is this November 9th at the Magnet theater in NYC. You should come see us! Great!
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Only Part One is up so far, but it's nice.
Successful communities have learned a few things about how to maintain healthy public spaces. We could use a handbook for community designers gathering effective practices. It is a mark of the youth of interpublic spaces that spaces such as Twitter and Instagram [not to mention niche spaces like Wikipedia, and platforms like WordPress] rarely have architects dedicated to designing and refining this aspect of their structure, toolchains, and workflows.
Some say that ‘overly’ public spaces enable widespread abuse and harassment. But the “publicness” of large digital spaces can help make them more welcoming in ways than physical ones – where it is harder to remove graffiti or eggs from homes or buildings – and niche ones – where clique formation and systemic bias can dominate. For instance, here are a few ‘soft’ (reversible, auditable, post-hoc) tools that let a mixed ecosystem review and maintain their own areas in a broad public space:
Allow participants to change the visibility of comments: Let each control what they see, and promote or flag it for others.
Increase the efficiency ratio of moderation and distribute it: automate review, filter and slow down abuse.
You can’t make everyone safe all of the time, but can dial down behavior that is socially unwelcome (by any significant subgroup) by a couple of magnitudes. Of course these ideas are simple and only work so far. For instance, in a society at civil war, where each half are literally threatened by the sober political and practical discussions of the other half, public speech may simply not be safe.
I only broke 50,000 words the first time, and didn't actually finish the book. It's about pirates. No, you can't read it.
NaNoWriMo is coming, and once again I am on board. I've been doing it since 2003, and while I was sorely tempted to give it a pass this year (because I have a lot on my plate) I realized, as the time grew nearer, that I just couldn't.
Why couldn't I? Because it's part of my workflow.
November is the month where I try to work through a story to see how it goes. I mean, I don't do this exclusively in November—I write all year round, and sometimes I just start writing something to see what I think of it—but what makes NaNoWriMo useful, for me, is the 30 day, 50K word goal. It forces me to keep working on an idea even after I get tired of it, to see if I can get excited about it again. November is the month when I fall in love with a story, all out of love with the story, fall back in love with the story, and at the end of it all I try to assess our relationship to see if it's worth continuing.
This will be my twelfth year. In the last eleven years I won seven times, but some of my losses were more useful—were, in the end, better relationships—than some of my wins. NaNoWriMo doesn't run on fairy magic—your content doesn't turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes 12 midnight on November 30. Wins are nice, but stories are better.
With that in mind, let me show you a decade's worth of workflow:
This is on point in multiple layers.
I totally hear Jake's voice.
About a week ago an author named Kathleen Hale wrote an article in the Guardian about how she reacted to a bad review by an anonymous book reviewer by trying to track down the reviewer in real life. It was stalking, plain and simple: there’s no other way to describe it, and there’s no reason it should be described any other way.
Interesting piece. I'm still waiting to see when new data turns up about mixing with other non homo sapiens populations, since that seems pretty likely to have happened.
This is via someone? But it's been sitting in an open tab for like a week, so...
Also, one good comment on the page, not showing here.
“The principal problem of national liberation struggle for the anti-statist anarcho-syndicalist form of organisation is that it is inherently statist. Advocating a more local form of state, the national liberation movement bows to the idea that the state is a desirable institution – just not in the current form. As such, it has the fundamental flaw that, if successful, it will generate a new state – which may or may not be ‘worse’ than the current oppressor, but it will nevertheless be an oppressive mechanism.” – Solidarity Federation
“Anarchists refuse to participate in national liberation fronts; they participate in class fronts which may or may not be involved in national liberation struggles. The struggle must spread to establish economic, political and social structures in the liberated territories, based on federalist and libertarian organisations.” -Alfredo Maria Bonanno
As this is published there come news reports that the Islamic State (ISIS) has been almost completely pushed out of the city of Kobane, party headquarters of Democratic Union Party (PYD) the Syrian affiliate party to the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), their co-president Saleh Muslim calling such developments the liberation of Kobane. Hopefully as such progress in the region moves forward anarcho-syndicalists and social revolutionaries of all tendencies can start to objectively discuss the situation in West Kurdistan without the emotional reflex to a population under siege, facing a humanitarian disaster.
Anarcho-syndicalists should should hold no illusions about the Rojava Revolution. Since the turn of the millenium there have been reports of a libertarian municipalist turn in the Kurdish national liberation struggle inspired by Murray Bookchin. This change in politics has been lead by jailed founder and ideological leader Abdullah Öcalan of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) who discovered Bookchin while in prison. The PKK a former Maoist/Stalinist organization had turned to ethnic nationalism after the fall of the Soviet Union and discreditation of “really existing socialism” and so such a turn has been welcomed by many on the revolutionary left. However such processes of political transformation do not automatically translate to full adoption within a populace nevermind their official representation in leading parties.
After the start of the Syrian mass uprising and resultant civil war a power vacuum was created where the forces of Assad, tyrannical head of state in Syria, left Western Kurdistan, known as Rojava, to the Kurds. At first the Free Syrian Army (FSA) a so called moderate opposition force tied to Western Imperialism attacked the Kurdish forces but was soon repelled. In this open situation the PYD and it’s armed militias the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) decided to implement their now long held program of democratic autonomy and democratic confederalism on the ground.
As reported by the Kurdish Anarchist Forum (KAF) a group of pacifistic Kurdish anarchists in exile, as the Arab Spring took hold of Syria there was the development of a directly democratic grassroots movement created by everyday workers and people in Rojava called the Movement of the Democratic Society (Tev-Dem). It was this movement that with pushed for the implementation of “its plans and programs without further delay before the situation became worse.”  This program was very extensive and it is worth quoting the KAF report at length:
“The Tev-Dem’s programme was very inclusive and covered every single issue in society. Many people from the rank and file and from different backgrounds, including Kurdish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Assyrian and Yazidis, have been involved. The first task was to establish a variety of groups, committees and communes on the streets in neighborhoods, villages, counties and small and big towns everywhere. The role of these groups was to become involved in all the issues facing society. Groups were set up to look at a number of issues including: women’s, economic, environmental, education and health and care issues, support and solidarity, centers for the family martyrs, trade and business, diplomatic relations with foreign countries and many more. There are even groups established to reconcile disputes among different people or factions to try to avoid these disputes going to court unless these groups are incapable of resolving them.
These groups usually have their own meeting every week to talk about the problems people face where they live. They have their own representative in the main group in the villages or towns called the ‘House of the People’.
They believed that the revolution must start from the bottom of society and not from the top. It must be a social, cultural and educational as well as political revolution. It must be against the state, power and authority. It must be people in the communities who have the final decision-making responsibilities. These are the four principles of the Movement of the Democracy Society (Tev-Dem).”
In other eras and places such a movement of democratic assemblies and committees at the base of society open to the people have been known collectively as workers’ councils. If these developments are true the Tev-Dem was quite the achievement.
However such reports have included accounts of the creation of a constituent assembly like parliamentary legislative body called the Democratic Self-Rule Administration. As New Compass a Bookchinite publishing collective has reported:
“While in many areas the Kurdish population already has decades of experience with the Kurdish movement’s concepts of women’s liberation and social freedom, here too there are of course also divergences. Some wish to organize in classical parties rather than in councils.
This problem has been solved in Rojava through a dual structure. On one hand a parliament is chosen, to which free elections under international supervision are to take place as soon as possible. This parliament forms a parallel structure to the councils; it forms a transitional government, in which all political and social groups are represented, while the council system forms a kind of parallel parliament. The structuring and rules of this collaboration are at the moment under discussion.”
This among other questions lay bare the reality of the political situation in Rojava. It is unclear if the establishment of such a social democratic apparatus is a push by certain elements, or if this is part and parcel of Kurdish democratic confederalism. With anarchists the world over looking towards these developments as some libertarian light in the region, the question of the State and what form of governance is being established should continue to be watched closely. Historically the libertarian socialist program though has been for the development of genuine workers’ councils and committees like those originally set up by the Tev-Dem, and there have been bitter fights against the establishment of parliamentary democratic state projects, with free votes, where participation is atomized, and power really held by executive powers above the people.
If there is one great hope for libertarian openings in the region it is the existence of the women’s movements. Kurdish society like world society as a whole has historically been a deeply patriarchal society to the point that Öcalan from his own admission in 1992 is probably a rapist, with is especially worrying with the personality cult developed around him. Though still tied to his teachings Kurdish women out of their own experience through the last few decades started to organize themselves autonomously. Groups like the Kurdish Free Women’s Movement (KJB) and the Free Women’s Units Star (YJA Star) call for world wide solidarity between women’s movements against the patriarchal nation-state. As Dilar Dirik an activist close to YJA Star describes in her talk on forming a “Stateless State” as seen in a widely circulated video, the Kurdish women’s movement through the experience of patriarchy in the Kurdish national liberation movement and Kurdish society at large has come to the conclusion that forming a new nation state should no longer be part of the Kurdish liberation project, as the nation state is an inherently patriarchal institution. However, though many anarchists would agree with this analysis and are surely nodding our heads in agreement, Dirik makes clear that the movement is not at the moment in favor of the general abolition of the State, but organizing democratic autonomy inspite of the State. As anarcho-syndicalists it is our duty and not a criticism to point out that the Syrian state, as well as the rest of the nation states encircling Rojava and which in the rest of Kurdistan exists will not merely disappear with the development of their project for regional democratic autonomy. The State must be actively fought and smashed, by the masses within every nation and it is the historical mission for all revolutionary internationalist liberatory forces.
In conclusion, the development of the social democratic representative democracy, the patriarchal and ethnic nationalist past of the PKK (PYD Saleh Muslim leader has hinted at needing a war to expel Arabs down the line), the PYD’s cooperation with and truce with the FSA and Islamists, the draft since July, the different elements seeking US/international community support are reason enough to be hesitant to put too much emphasis on the official leadership. The bright spots where they exist are with the resistance and self-activity of the masses and the women’s movement. Social processes of transformation are complicated and often rife with internal conflicts and dynamics. The political program put forward might be decentralist with strong potentialities towards social democracy rather than anti-statist and social revolutionary. There is also still much research to be done about industrial and agricultural economy and organization. That shouldn’t hold anarcho-syndicalists back from defending the self defense of the everyday masses and their own organizations of struggle in Rojava against ISIS, local states and western imperialism, but we should be careful not to jump to cheerleading for the official representation of the Kurdish movement through it’s traditionally statist parties like PKK and PYD.
Long live the struggle of the toiling masses and free women!
With the oppressed against the oppressors, always!
 “The air-strikes were very very successful. In a short time, we will report to the world liberation of Kobane.” -Saleh Muslim
 The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes. http://www.anarkismo.net/article/27301
 Democratic Autonomy in Rojava http://new-compass.net/articles/revolution-rojava
 In a book written by Öcalan in 1992 titled Cozumleme, Talimat ve Perspektifler (Analyses, Orders and Perspectives), he stated: “These girls mentioned. I don’t know, I have relations with thousands of them. I don’t care how anyone understands it. If I’ve gotten close with some of them, how should this have been? (…) On these subjects, they leave aside all the real measurements and find someone and gossip, say ‘this was attempted to be done to me here’ or ‘this was done to me there’! These shameless women both want to give too much and then develop such things. Some of the people mentioned. Good grace! They say ‘we need it so, it would be very good’ and then this gossip is developed (…) I’m saying it openly again. This is the sort of warrior I am. I love girls a lot, I value them a lot. I love all of them. I try to turn every girl into a lover, in an unbelievable level, to the point of passion. I try to shape them from their physique to their soul, to their thoughts. I see it in myself to fulfill this task. I define myself openly. If you find me dangerous, don’t get close!”
 PYD Leader Warns of War with Arab Settlers in Kurdish Areas http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/24112013
 Details about the development of an alliance between the PYD and the FSA and Islamist forces including a split from Syrian Al Queda.
 Conscription begins in the Kurdish region of Syria, evasion elsewhere
It's a shame they publish an empty feed.
Never heard this version before. Pretty rare, I expect.
Bostonian Bros, here is a band in your area. Have you seen them live?
I recently saw "He Whose Ox is Gored", and have the split the two of them are on, which is how I became aware of this band.
Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
released 25 May 2013
all rights reserved
On point, as ever.
Why look, a gifset of a Vine by a young black man that has penetrated my social circle, is funny, and has nothing what so fucking ever to do with ministrelism. Imagine that. via Coop.
Not today, ebola. [vine by mrlegendarius]
Simulating everyday objects and animals is at an all-time high. Bossa Studios, developer of Surgeon Simulator, is well aware of this and they’ve got a new game to prove it.
I Am Bread is the next game form Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa Studios. The game has a trailer available below and you can see how it’s trying to simulate what being a slice of bread entails. You know, things like skateboarding, riding on ceiling fans, jumping inside of a washing machine, etc… No release date or platforms were announced.
“Harder than Surgeon Simulator? YOU DECIDE!” read the game’s description.
This might actually be SFW
Huge thanks to Grace Allison for her lovely comic! She’s one of my studiomates and I totally encourage you to go follow her art on Tumblr, you won’t be disappointed. Also keep your eyes peeled here for announcements about Pheonix, a new card-based RPG with artwork by Grace!
If you’re looking for more ASMR resources, not only does my friend BZedan have a YouTube channel devoted to ‘em called ASMR StitchesScritches, but Grace also recommends the following:
Also, here are some ASMR links, in case you think your readers would find them interesting/useful!