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      What an amazing young woman: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education campaigner shot by the Taliban, has donated $50,000 (nearly £31,000) towards the reconstruction of schools in Gaza. The Nobel peace prize winner, speaking after receiving the World Children’s Prize for the rights of the child in Marienfred, Sweden, on Wednesday, said the money would be [… […]
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      As many have heard, John Tory, the mainstream right wing candidate, won convincingly in Toronto and Olivia Chow came in third place, even doing worse than Doug Ford (brother of the famous crack-smoking Rob Ford.)  Much hand wringing has ensued that progressive just can’t win elections in Toronto. While it’s true that Toronto is hard [...]
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Yeah, What Athenae says

Athenae at First Draft sums up why the left- and by left, oh best beloveds, she is including independent and working class liberals such as ourselves- are fed up with Obama and the Democratic party.

Warning: The following excerpt has expletives and strong feelings that may make some of our more delicate commenters feel oogie.  Reader discretion is advised

From Peace Sucks a Hairy Asshole:

Here’s the problem, you gutless fucks. You had majorities. And I KNOW, okay, but all America sees is that you had majorities and you wasted them. Because that’s what the GOP told them, and you said, “buh buh buh” and couldn’t point to anything you did right, not even with the unwashed hippies holding your arm up for you. You had majorities, and you had Harry Reid, refusing to be mean to Republicans by shoving stuff through. You had majorities, and you had Barack Obama acting like he was already an ex-president and could be gracious and social with these pricks. You had majorities, used them to do some stuff, and then sat back and acted like we should be grateful when we can fucking count.

We can fucking count, out here. We know what 51 means. We know what 257 means. We’re not morons. And all the procedural whatsit you argue today, about ConservaDems and Blue Dogs, doesn’t mean shit. You had it, and we worked hard to give it to you, and we see you calling things impossible which are just very hard, and we get fucking annoyed, because we don’t get to get away with that shit. Not at our jobs and not in our lives.

Now, I’m not excusing the Party of I Hate You or these teabagging excuses for human beings who think education is vaguely homosexual in some sinister way, but I am saying that the lesson we’re all going to take away from this is that America just isn’t a Democratic nation and we should all tack to the right and us hippies should just die in a fire already, which is bullshit. The lesson we should take away from this is that America doesn’t like pussies, doesn’t like whiners and it sure as fuck doesn’t like parties that pretend to be able to do less than they can do just because they don’t want to work that hard or have Chris Matthews call them mean.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Oh, and one more thing.  President Obama is a lousy socialist.

It goes without saying that this moderate lefty completely repudiates Obama and the ass he road in on.

 

Still not getting it


Paul Krugman:

Aha. I almost forgot to mention this, but one of the surprises of last night is that Harry Reid, supposedly a completely hopeless case, is still Senator.

How did that happen? Reid did something Democrats almost never do: instead of apologizing for his party, he ran against a person with a habit of making crazy statements by hitting hard, again and again, with ads calling her a crazy person. It was very rude and uncivil. And it worked.

Good thing for Dirty Harry his opponent was crazy. If Angle had been your garden-variety wingnut he’d be looking for work as a lobbyist right now.

Here’s a better strategery:

1. Accomplish something worthwhile for the country

2. Run on it.

My plan works no matter who your opponent is.

Just a thought.



More Glenn Greenwald, less Matt Lauer. Please.

Glenn Greenwald wrote about Hillary Clinton speaking in Cambodia yesterday :

Secretary Clinton: The past must be confronted,

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Cambodia yesterday and urged its government to proceed with more prosecutions of surviving Khmer Rouge officials. This is how The New York Times described her visit:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited a former Khmer Rouge torture house in Cambodia on Monday and urged the nation to proceed with trials of the former regime’s surviving leaders in order to “confront its past.”

. . .

“Countries that are held prisoner to their past can never break those chains and build the kind of future that their children deserve,” she said. “Although I am well aware the work of the tribunal is painful, it is necessary to ensure a lasting peace.”

.

Much as I like Hillary’s message, when I think of what we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wonder: are we really in a position to lecture other countries about facing up to their past?  When is an American leader going to make an important speech asking US to face up to the mistakes of our past?

And what about our present?    As Greenwald concluded his story :

In other news yesterday: George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at the World Series baseball game while the Texas crowd cheered and chanted: “USA. USA.”

And why shouldn’t they? With reporters like Matt Lauer treating George Bush to friendly interviews like this, how could they not LOVE our peacenik former President . . . .

Bush: ‘I Was A Dissenting Voice’ On Iraq War

In the first interview of the publicity tour for his new book, Decision Points, Bush told Matt Lauer that he didn’t want to use force.

“Not everybody thought you should go to war, though,” Lauer said. “There were dissenting voices.”

“I was a dissenting voice. I didn’t want to use force,” Bush said. “I mean force is the last option for a President. And I think it’s clear in the book that I gave diplomacy every chance to work. And I will also tell you the world’s better off without Saddam in power. And so are 25 million Iraqis.”

Yeah. We all remember how George Bush was a dissenting voice for war. Right.

The Ring of Gyges (It’s a post election blog)

Note: This is a post election blog but it has a slow buildup.  It will all make sense by the last paragraph.

Last week, Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) was fined $750 million for failing to clean up a production facility in Puerto Rico.  Here’s a quick summary of how the case went: The plant in PR produces Cidra among other products.  It was cited by the FDA for violations of good manufacturing processes.  The FDA told the plant to clean it up.  GSK sent a woman named Cheryl Eckard, a quality assurance manager, to PR to look into it.  Eckard reported back that the plant was in worse shape than previously thought.  And GSK ignored her.  Repeatedly.  GSK did not address the issues of the PR facility.  I guess what the FDA doesn’t know won’t hurt them.  Eckard got to be a pain in the ass, so GSK fired her.  That’s when Eckard decided to blow the whistle.  As part of the settlement with the government, GSK has to fork over $96 million to Eckard for damages.  She’ll never get another job.

Derek Lowe, who writes the excellent pharmageek blog In the Pipeline has this to say about the suit:

I’ve written about this sort of thing before, and I continue to think that this is a good law. It takes a tremendous amount of nerve to put your own livelihood at stake to report something that’s going wrong (and isn’t being fixed). The incentives need to be there. If we were a perfectly altruistic species, any of us would have no problem sacrificing ourselves immediately for the good of the whole. But the very fact that there’s such bad conduct to take the risk of reporting on tells you that we’re not that sort of species at all.

[…[

I’m not enough of a libertarian to think that the market will take care of all such behavior without an extra possibility of punishment backing it up. I think that we really do need regulatory authorities (although we can argue the details after that statement!), in the same way that we really do need police forces. Both of those groups can (and do) abuse their authority at times, but both of them also provide a much-needed function, human nature being what it is.

And the nature of big organizations being what it is, too. “Never explain by malice what can be explained by stupidity” is a pretty good rule, and in a large company, you can add inertia, backside-covering, careerism, and deciding that a given mess is someone else’s problem. The bigger a company, the more chances there are for these things to happen. Perhaps the possibility of a $750 million dollar fine will help to concentrate attention in such cases – and if not, well, how about a billion? Try for two?

The FDA busts production facilities all of the time but most companies suck it up and fix the problem or shut the facility down, as happened with the makers of the Today Sponge.  Remember Seinfeld’s Elaine Benis who picked her lovers based on whether they were Spongeworthy?  The company that made the sponge couldn’t get rid of bacteria in the manufacturing step and they couldn’t identify and fix the problem so no more sponges.  That’s the way it should work.

So, we see that regulation of what goes into our bodies is working.  And no one would argue that that is a bad thing.

But when it comes to the financial industry that handles our money, it’s a fricking free for all.  What we have is like a never ending season of Deadwood.  There’s very little regulation, no one agency that’s minding the store, financial entities who choose their own regulators, trillions of dollars gambled away, young hotshot assholes who think they are smarter than the rest of us and deserve whopping bonuses, and companies who should be paying massive fines for fraud instead receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout money instead of being shut down for failing to clean up their act.

No one is accountable for any of their actions in the financial industry.  They get away with anything and everything.  Their actions have brought the world economy to the brink of catastrophe and we were spared that by a hasty and ill structured financial bailout package that hasn’t fixed anything.  Not only have the financials learned nothing, but they turn out to be the biggest terrorists we face.  All they have to do is threaten to send the stock market plunging and presidents and legislatures give in to their demands for more chips to gamble on the world economy.

The result of letting the financials off the hook is misery for millions of workers from Ireland and Iceland to America and Greece.  It is simply inexcusable for these people to continue to operate unchecked.

So, before Speaker Boehner decides to slash taxes for many of his buddies with a cent or two for the rest of us and before he decides to make it almost impossible for me and my buddies to retire, the very first thing I expect him to do is hold the financials accountable. The people have spoken.  They want change.  But if we want real change, we can’t put the cart before the horse.  No one should get a tax break while the fox is still guarding the hen house.  I want to see takeovers of failing banks by the FDIC, no matter how big they are.  I want to see banks fined heavily for fraudulent foreclosures.  I want to see a real mortgage program so that people can stay in their houses and pay a reasonable amount to the investors who stupidly got themselves and us into this mess.

No presents until someone pays for the party. Don’t look to taxpayers to pick up the tab or sacrifice even one more cent.

That is what I want Speaker Boehner to concentrate all of his efforts on in the next two years.  Everything else is superfluous.  He’s got a lot on his plate holding the people who got us into this mess responsible for their actions and accountable for the high deficit spending that was necessary to keep us from teetering on the edge of insolvency.  There is no greater responsibility he has to the rest of us than making the financial industry solvent again without any additional sacrifice from us and I expect him to take this job seriously this time and forego stupid Republican slogans and grandstanding.  The last thing I want to see is Speaker Boehner blaming the victims, ordinary American citizens, for this catastrophe.

Human nature has not changed in the more than two thousand years since Plato wrote his story about The Ring of Gyges.  The magical ring was found in a cave by a poor shepherd.  The ring gives its wearer the ability to become invisible.  With that invisibility, the shepherd was able to sneak into the palace, seduce the king’s wife, kill the king and take over the kingdom and all of its riches.  The moral of the story is that morals themselves are not innate.  Society has a role in correcting misbehavior.  If a person can operate invisibly, they can get away with murder.  We shouldn’t assume that anyone can resist the temptation to take advantage of an opportunity if they think they won’t be held accountable.

Speaker Boehner now has the opportunity to shed his partisan skin and show the rest of us that he means to make people accountable.  Or he will be the first one tossed out in 2012.

The Republicans have now been warned.  If they don’t make bankers and the financial industry accountable, they will be held accountable instead.

Austerity without accountability will get you fired.  We’re holding Republicans accountable now.  Don’t test us.

Wednesday News

I lifted this from the Black Agenda Report!!!

So apparently we had a little election yesterday. Let’s recap the story so far. We had this lovely hopeful Democratic party ready to put the Bush years behind them, roll up their sleeves, and get to work fixing the damage. Much the same way the Clinton’s did in the 90’s. But along the way, a complete unknown with no experience, and no real drive to do anything substantive, including bothering to vote for important policies, who had more funding than all of the well known candidates combined, from wall street, banks, and insurance companies funnily enough, made his way through the primaries, making a pathetic disaster of every debate by losing every one in the worst way, and got selected in a smoke filled back room, without even a roll call vote. Along the way, the base of the party who actually elected another candidate were told to suck it up or leave. Preferably leave. And of course, as most any candidate that wasn’t Bush would do, this guy became President. Then over the next two years he proceeded to do exactly the kinds of things he did in his previous career. Play golf, party, get others to do his work for him, and do pretty much what his backers wanted. Mostly he just golfed and really didn’t give a damn. Apparently, many of the “little people” expected a bit more out of him. Silly little people. And so, they got angry. They still hate the party of Bush, make no mistake about it, but now they hate this new group just as much, and yesterday they sent a little message.

For a good look at the races across the country, the NYT has great interactive maps. The main ones to look at are those for Senate, House, and Governor races. As you can see from those maps, especially the House map, we have a proverbial bloodbath. Especially important for 2012 is the Governor results. Notice that the important battleground states of PA, OH, and FL now have Republican governors. That will become more important for the next cycle because of get out the vote efforts, redistricting, among others.

CBS has an interesting article on why Democrats lost:

Core Democratic groups stayed away in droves Tuesday, costing Democratic House candidates dearly at the polls.

Hispanics, African Americans, union members and young people were among the many core Democratic groups that turned out in large numbers in the 2008 elections, propelling Mr. Obama and Democratic House candidates to sizable victories. In 2010, turnout among these groups dropped off substantially, even below their previous midterm levels.

Voters under the age of 30 comprised 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 and nearly 13 percent in 2006 but only made up 11 percent of the electorate in 2010. The share of voters from union households dropped from 23 percent in 2006 and 21 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2010. African Americans made up 13 percent of the electorate in 2008 but fell to 10 percent in 2010. Such apathy likely cost the Democrats House seats as voters in each of these groups cast ballots for Democratic House candidates by at least 15 point margins.

[...]

Mr. Obama proved to be a major liability in the 2010 election. Fifty-five percent of voters disapproved of the way the president is handling his job, including 58 percent of independents. Of those who disapproved of Obama, 86 percent voted for a Republican House candidate. Even more to the point, 37 percent of voters overall, as well as 37 percent of independents, claimed a reason for their House vote was to express opposition to Mr. Obama.

Voters were no happier with the Democratic-controlled Congress. A whopping 72 percent of voters disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents. Of those who evaluated Congress negatively, 64 percent preferred a Republican House candidate to a Democratic House candidate in their local race.

It does go on to talk about the mixed message that the voters don’t really like Republican’s either.

After the resounding defeat, Obama gave a call to John Boehner, soon to be the new speaker of the House, to congratulate him:

He phoned the presumptive next House speaker, John Boehner, to offer congratulations. Boehner says the two agreed to work together, even though Republicans have vowed to turn back much of Obama’s agenda.

The Ohio Republican says they talked about working together on the priorities of the American people, and Boehner says he defined those priorities as cutting spending and creating jobs.

Hey, create jobs. Now there’s an idea. Too bad no one thought of that before.

Now brush yourself off, because today begins the Presidential campaign season for 2012.

We’ll keep this short since there is still a lot happening in a few last races, and we’ll update as we learn more, and as others do the inevitable blaming of the Clinton’s or pretending it’s not such a big deal after all. You know they will. Chime in with what you’re seeing outside of the election as well.

Aftermath


This post is quite possibly the best thing Anglachel has ever written:

The course for the next generation was set back in 2008, when the Stevensonian elite subverted their own party’s electoral process (Be a Democrat for a Day!) so that they could feel morally superior voting for a black man. Obama himself has said quite clearly that no one would bother to vote for him if he was white. This says much of his political calculation, but even more of his supporters. They were truly the Joshua Generation, unwilling to do more than their political predecessors and envious that they could not be cultural heroes like the economic giants of FDR’s era or the moral giants of MLK’s. And, having aimed so low and compromised so much so they could pretend to stand up to the “racists”, they now get to live with that legacy. Unfortunately, so do the rest of us.

That was a world historic moment, one of the “Moments of Madness” in which a political sea change can occur, and it was thrown away on an empty gesture. The electoral season of today was determined by the outcomes of 2008. The sight today of the puerile Tea Party name-calling the infantile Obamacans over an election that, regardless of the winner, will not alter the socio-economic conditions of our new Gilded Age, is, for me, grimly amusing. You would think, given the hysteria and hoohaw, the marches on Washington (all mocking shadows of marches past), that something monumental was being decided today. The contest today is bubbles on the horse piss.


While the media keeps trying to distract us (Look over there! It’s Sarah Palin!) the Malefactors of Great Wealth are engaged in a orgy of loot and pillage.

Neither political party seems to have the slightest interest in stopping them. Some Democrats and Republicans talk a good game about cleaning up our political process, but when push comes to shove they are paper tigers.

The blogosphere once had the potential to be a place where non-elites could evade the media filters and engage in grassroots organizing, but now the loudest voices have been co-opted by the MOGW.

Real change will not come to this country because of a political messiah, regardless of whether that person is Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, or some new leader of a cult of personality. The elites aren’t gonna give it to us either.

This is a democracy, goddammit. Change will come when “we the people” get our shit together and make it happen. As long as the rest of us keep fighting amongst ourselves the rich will just keep getting richer at our expense.

We sure as hell ain’t gonna get nowhere voting for the lesser of two evils.



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