I will never get tired of using Heironymus Bosch images in posts, which is good because A) there are a lot of them, and B) they are the art our time demands. That’s totally what communication on the internet looks like: wounded ears with knives between them, arrows shot through the dead, people living inside a smug burgher’s butt. It’s awesome that we’ve invented the largest, fastest, more democratic communications medium in the history of humankind, and people spend hours a day looking at it, usually on their phones, often during brunch. If only it were just as fast but a little more considered, or just as democratic but a little less vulgar. Today is Friday, and popular discourse is good, but there is no good popular discourse. Won’t you look out over the plebes with me?
In a New York Times/CBS poll released yesterday, respondents were split on the issue of campaign finance: 39% favored “fundamental changes” to the way elections are funded, while 46% said the system needed to be “completely rebuilt.” There is too much money in politics, and everyone but the Supreme Court seems to know it. Show me another issue on which 85% of Americans agree. While we’re at it, show me an issue that poses a greater existential threat to our democracy. Forget corruption and the appearance of corruption. When two thirds of respondents say the wealthy have a greater chance to influence elections than ordinary voters, they’re describing a crisis of faith in the American experiment.
Personality profiles often describe Ted Cruz as the smartest guy in the room, which makes him seem that much more cynical when he panders. Addressing a group of conservatives in New Hampshire Sunday, Cruz criticized “the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind” and said that “the world is on fire.” This remark alarmed three year-old Julie Trant, who was presumably having a great Sunday already, and prompted the following exchange:
Trant: The world is on fire?
Cruz: Yes, the world is on fire. Your world is on fire.
Cruz: But you know what? Your mommy’s here and everyone’s here to make sure that the world you grow up in is even better.
Even better than on fire? Somebody give this man control of the US government.
E-CREAM, dog: elderly caucasians rule everything around me. While the country scoffed at one Montana legislator’s proposal to ban yoga pants, thousands of very rich people were about their father’s business, figuratively and literally. The Koch brothers announced plans to spend $889 million on the 2016 election cycle, more than twice the amount the actual Republican Party spent in 2012. That’s a lot of speech. It’s weird because I can’t remember what either of their voices sounds like, or even reading anything they wrote. Today is Friday, and the most powerful forces in America are not ones you can interact with. Won’t you pan forebodingly across the horizon with me?
Earlier this year, the Federal Election Commission did not rule that candidates who provide B-roll footage to super PACs are are violating the prohibition against coordination set down in Citizens United v. FEC. The commission didn’t rule that such behavior is okay, either. It simply deadlocked, with three Democratic commissioners determining that exchanging footage constituted coordination, and three Republican commissioners determining that it didn’t. The tie meant that the FEC didn’t do anything and therefore operatively approved—something that’s been happening a a lot lately, according to the New York Times.