Banquo’s Ghosts


I’ve always been a loner.  Growing up I was not one of the kewl kidz but it never bothered me because I never felt the need to be part of any group.  I prefer jobs that let me work independently without co-workers getting in my way or bosses looking over my shoulder.  I live alone, but I’m not lonely.

Maybe that’s why peer pressure has never had much effect on me.  I’m always behind on fashions and the latest pop trends.  I usually discover the fashion changes when I go to buy something and the clerk informs me that “they don’t make those anymore.”

It’s not that I’m afraid to try new things.  But if I try it and I don’t like it then I don’t keep doing/wearing/eating whatever it is, even if everyone else believes (or claims to believe) that it’s the greatest/coolest/most wonderful thing ever.  I make up my own mind and I trust my own judgment.

But even though I’m a loner and don’t need anyone’s approval to validate my existence I was never treated like an outcast before (or if I was I didn’t notice.)

Ironically, I now find myself art of a group – of pariahs.  If you’re reading this there’s a pretty good chance you’re in that group with me. If you’re not in our group then you’re probably a deranged blogstalker who needs to get a life.

You can divide lefty bloggers into three main groups – the ones who supported Obama enthusiastically and uncritically, the ones who would have preferred someone else but went ahead and voted for him anyway and those of us that saw through him and refused to support him just because he had a “D” after his name.

Among the many weird phenomena that swept Left Blogistan beginning in 2007 was the Obama supporters’ rabid intolerance for differing/dissenting views.  Not that long ago nonconformity was considered a highly-prized virtue by liberals and progressives and freedom of speech was a holy principle that the Flying Spaghetti Monster gave to Founding Fathers.

Suddenly everyone on the left side of the blogosphere was expected to conform and stop exercising independent thought – as if we were right-wing authoritarian followers.

To question the One-derfulness of Obama was heresy, and supporting Hillary Clinton was blasphemy.  The cult-like behavior of the Obots was never more evident than in the way they persecuted anyone who dared to disagree with them. At many blogs moderation was non-existent or one-sided.  Anyone who refused to support Teh Precious had two choices: STFU or GTFO.  So we left, and they tried to follow us so they could keep harassing us.

We had committed a mortal sin – we rejected the divinity and most awesome gloriousity of Barack Obama, made worse by the fact that we were very vocal about it.  But the worst part is that we were liberal Democrats, which made us apostates to the true believers.

They told us we weren’t wanted in “their” party.  They said we were old, ugly and stupid and no one wanted us.  Then after all that they went ballistic when we announced after the RBC meeting that we didn’t give a fuck about party unity and we were not going to vote for Obama no matter how many of Hillary’s delegates they gave him.  For that we got called traitors.

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We own our votes

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As Booman immolates himself in conflagration of Kool-aid fueled stoopidity, one of the asinine assertions he has made is that Obama won the popular vote in last year’s primaries. As evidence for this claim he cites this page at RealClearPolitics showing at the very top that Obama received 17,535,458 votes (48.1%) and Hillary received 17,493,836 votes (48.0%)

The problem for Booman is that those numbers don’t include Michigan. If you count ALL the votes (as shown on the 3rd and 4th lines) then Obama received 17,535,458 votes (47.4%) and Hillary received 17,822,145 votes (48.1%) Even if you include estimates of the caucus votes Hillary still got 176,465 more votes than Obama (.5%)

I can hear Obamanation sputtering now:

“But she agreed the votes wouldn’t count!  She signed a pledge!  Da roolz!

DA ROOLZ!”

First of all, Hillary never agreed that Michigan and Florida would be completely disenfranchised.  The totality of her statements on this issue make it obvious that she expected a solution to be worked out.  Secondly, the pledge she signed was an agreement that she would not campaign in MI/FL and she didn’t (but Obama did.)  Lastly, fuck the rules.

Michigan and Florida held official primaries sanctioned by their state governments and paid for with tax payer money.  Those state governments are the duly elected representatives of the people.  The Rules and Bylaws Committee is an unelected body within the Democratic National Committee, which is itself unelected by the people.

To assert that democratic principles are less important than scheduling rules demonstrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Obama supporters.  Rules should reflect our values and principles, not trump them.  Nor should our values and principles be cast aside in pursuit of some short term goal, especially if that goal is based on a cult of personality.  And as for our lurking Obama supporters, please don’t whinge about “fairness” because Obama was not on the Michigan ballot.  HE VOLUNTARILY TOOK HIMSELF OFF THE BALLOT.

It doesn’t matter what Hillary may or may not have agreed to.  She doesn’t own our votes.  Neither does the RBC nor the DNC.  Obamanation will never understand us until they get it through their heads that we aren’t mad because Hillary lost the election, we are furious because Obama stole the nomination.  It’s not about her, it’s about us.  Those were our votes that were stolen.

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A couple of last points for our lurkers.  We understand and accept that Barack Obama is the President.  He stole the nomination, but he won the election.  He is the only POTUS we have, and barring something unforeseen he will be until at least January 20, 2013 if not longer.  But we don’t have to “embrace” or support him.

We will continue to advocate for a liberal/progressive agenda, including real health care reform (single-payer), LGBT rights, freedom of choice, ending the wars in Iraq and Afganistan and environmetal protection.  We will be VERY vocal in criticizing Obama whenever he is less than perfect in that regard.  If you want us to STFU then tell Obama to get his shit together and be FDR II, not Bush III

We are FORMER supporters of Hillary Clinton.  Someday we might support her again, but she isn’t running for office right now.  While we admire her quite a bit, we don’t worship her or follow her orders.  We realize that she now works for Obama and we are grateful to have such a high quality person representing our nation to the rest of the world. But as a member of Obama’s Cabinet she has a duty to publicly support him and avoid criticizing him.  We don’t hold that against her, but then again we don’t have any obligation to agree with her either.

Scratching Post DNC Tuesday – Hillary speaks! 10 pm EST (estimated time) Plus DNC “Caption this moment”

RISE, HILLARY, RISE!!!

WE LOVE YOU HILLARY!!!!

Conflucians, Senator Hillary Clinton will speak tonight at the Democratic National Convention at 8pm EST.  Our first viable female candidate who won more votes than any candidate in our nation’s history, is being forced to relinquish her votes on the 88th anniversary for Women’s Suffrage.  We know that she’s going to ask us to unite, to come together as she’s graciously asked us to do since suspending her campaign on June 7th, 2008, but everyone who reads the Confluence knows that we cannot unite as we have in the past when the DNC stole votes and delegates, thrwarting the DNA of Democracy itself: our right to have our votes counted and cast as they were intended.   

Esteemed Senator Clinton, we acknowledge you are between a Mt. Everest of rocks and a hard place.  But we will march and fight until every vote is counted and reported, and when Democracy comes back to the Democratic Party, so will we.  Until then, PUMA!

While Riverdaughter, Mawm and Gary go with their PUMA packs to PUMA headquarters in downtown Denver or prowl in the PUMAmobile, Rico’s got his Pink PUMA & Mountain Lion Martini glasses chilling in ice, while Flo’s got her catcher’s mitt ready for unwelcome words.  If you didn’t have any dinner, we have Denver Bison (or Tofu) mini-burgers and fresh popcorn for all the action that’s going down in Denver.

Speaking of action, just like RiverDaughter said here, and BostonBoomer said belowPUMAs are the news story!  Here’s this little nugget from Rebecca Traister from Salon.com:  Rebecca’s not exactly a PUMA-friendly reporter, but at last she gives Tweety a good slap: 

Aug. 26, 2008 | DENVER — “This is where you see the civil war!” burbled Chris Matthews, experiencing near-asphyxiatory pleasure on an outdoor stage in the sweltering Denver heat, while behind him two competing groups, Obama supporters and the PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) backers of Hillary Clinton, chanted “Obama! Obama!” and “Hillary! Hillary!” at each other. Matthews looked as though he might wet himself as a camera panned the crowd, and he declared, “We’re at ground zero!”

Talking to these women, I began to believe that the threat of PUMAs, or aggressive Hillary supporters who planned to take over the convention, was a full-blown myth. I couldn’t find any; I hadn’t seen any. I half suspected that they were the creation of a media anxious to gin up a story in which the villains were a bunch of grumpy old white chicks.

But that was before I left the confines of the official indoor events and stepped out into the wide world of public protest and freedom of expression. And before the news of Monday’s shifting policies on the roll call vote began to leak out, and before Hillary supporters lining the streets of downtown Denver heard convoluted versions of what was likely to happen.

“You mean Reverend Wrong,” Mar interrupted. “Look, I know about the race card. I know about race. I’m African-American. And it was Obama who played the race card, and it’s going to come back and bite Obama in the butt.” African-American supporters of Obama, in Mar’s view, “are proud. Yes, I understand that. But you want someone who can lead America, not because he’s African-American, or because she’s a certain gender, but because she can lead.” But what about the woman they wanted as America’s leader? Clinton has been leading her supporters, or trying to lead them, to vote for Obama. “We want Hillary,” said Novacek, with the fingers-in-her-ears insistence of an implacable toddler. “She can stand on her head and plead with us, and I still will not vote for him. I want her. She is best for the country.”  

Caption this DNC moment!  Add your Conflucian Savoire-Snark to these photos:

PHOTO 1:

PHOTO 2

RISE, HILLARY, RISE!!!

¡QUE VIVA LOS PUMAS!

(Long live PUMAs!)

Obama’s Runway: A Play in One Terrifying Act.


[photo of Barack Obama, Getty Images; Project Runway logo, website]
[THE SCENE: A theatre with a long runway extending from the stage area. Seated beside the runway in three directors' chairs are BARACK OBAMA, MICHELLE OBAMA and DAVID AXELROD, Obama's right-hand man. On the proscenium arch above the stage, a sign reads: "Election Runway - You're Either In, or You're Out!" Written below it are the words, "DEMOCRATS ENTER HERE."YOUNG VOTER #1: OMG, I am like so excited about this election! I can't believe we get to choose among so many great candidates. Finally, good-bye to Bush and those horrible Republicans!

MIDDLE-AGED VOTER #2: Yeah. God, the Republicans suck. Some of them actually said they didn't believe in evolution? What century are they living in?

[ALL THE VOTERS LAUGH DERISIVELY.]

OLDER VOTER #3: Look at us. We represent the best of this country. We’ve got a woman, an African American AND a Hispanic! Those Republicans are so boring. Nothing but white men as far as the eye can see!

[AXELROD clears his throat.]

AXELROD: Okay, people, let’s get this show on the road!

VOTERS [muttering to themselves]: Who’s that guy? What’s going on? Where are the other candidates?

OBAMA [clapping his hands together]: People, please! Can we have a little quiet so we can start the show?

[THE VOTERS quiet down, but look confused. A woman raises her hand.]

WOMAN: Uh, Senator Obama? Where are the other candidates? I thought this was Election Runway!

[While the voters and the judges talk, HOWARD DEAN enters through the stage curtains and switches the sign from "Election Runway" to "Obama's Runway." He then bows and exits the same way he came.]

MICHELLE [smiling]: Tell ‘em, Barack.

OBAMA: Democratic Voters, this – is Obama’s Runway! As you know, in politics, one day you’re in – and the next day, you’re out!

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A Tale of Two Videos

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Er, scratch that. It’s been used before. But surely, ladies and gentleman, you will have never seen a bigger miscarriage of justice since Bush vs. Gore than the DNC hearing that stripped Florida of its delegates. You may want to procure a strong drink or a xanax (but not both together) before you sit down for the next 80 minutes to view this classic of having every opportunity to avoid Murphy’s Law but diving headlong into it anyway. Here is the egregious piece of footage: Florida Democratic Primary Election Hearing of the DNC

(Didn’t it occur to anyone in that room that this was being recorded for posterity? I’m betting some of them regret having ever encouraged technology.)

And this piece of footage is of Howard Dean on This Week with George Stephanopolous (thanks to Katiebird) trying to justify excluding Florida because it broke the RULZ and wouldn’t have a caucus with a total of 150,000 ballots for all 4 million Floridian Democrats who were eligible to vote. It just warms the cockles of your spleen.

All that is left now it to re-erect La Guillotine and to escort Donna Brazile and pals to it in a trundle of their own making.

The road to 2214 goes straight through Florida & Michigan

One of the reasons I enjoy the blog, TalkLeft, is their commitment to discussing the Florida and Michigan situation. I’ve participated in several threads on the subject. But, I haven’t been able to get a particular response to one of my comments yesterday out of my mind. Here’s what she said:

Please don’t be naive. You can argue as BTD does that it is in the best interest of the party to have a revote.

Don’t fool yourself. HRC would argue against a revote, if that was her path to the nomination. It just so happens it is not. She is a Pol and a very good one. That is one of the reasons she would make a good president. Unlike some I don’t consider being a Pol to be an insult or a disqualifying.

“Once in a while you get shown the light In the strangest of places if you look at it right”

The bit I highlighted, is the bit I’m arguing against. Continue reading

United we stand; divided we fall

Friends, this post is about Solidarity. Now, what does that mean exactly? Some people may think automatically of union movements and there is no doubt that unions understand that concept. That is, you are only strong if you stick together. If some of your membership get picked off by the bossies, you are diminished and it makes it that much harder to win the day.

So, this message is for all of you voters in NJ, NY, CA, MA, AZ, TN, OH, AR, OK, NH, TX and all of the other states that voted for Clinton, in many cases decisively. We voted for her not because we are ideologues. We’re not in it for the fame and fortune. We aren’t interested in testing some esoteric strategy. We voted for her because she is the best candidate we have to be president. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: she is so much better qualified than Barack Obama that if he weren’t the token male it is hard to imagine how they would be sharing the same stage.

But the bossies have picked off two of our members. I have to say that I am astonished that they think they can disenfranchise the biggest and most Democratic states by refusing to seat MI and FL but that is their goal. By shutting down MI and FL until the convention, they have weakened the other states that voted for Clinton, depriving us of our impact on choosing the nominee, who they have determined will be Barack Obama, the token male.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think it is very important that we get MI and FL back on our side and let the bossies know that we will choose the nominee with our votes. We will not be bullied or intimidated by the press or by the RULZ or dimwitted bloggers. There is a possibility that the DNC Rules and Bylaws committee that will be meeting April 5 will wake up and smell the coffee. But the best way to wake them up is to let them know how you feel. If you are a voter in one of the states I’ve mentioned, your opinion carries special weight because unless MI and FL are seated, *their* fate is *your* fate. Your vote means nothing.

That makes me, a NJ voter who proudly cast her vote for Hillary on super Tuesday, very, very angry. My vote is considered somehow less worthy than some Republican crossover in Utah. If my vote is thrown away because MI and FL are not seated, after all of the stonewalling by Barack Obama, Donna Brazile and Howard Dean, I may just decide to not cast a vote for president this year. My choice will have been made for me in spite of millions and millions of my compatriots who will see the best presidential candidate cheated out of her nomination.

But you can send a message to the Rules and Bylaws committee. There are still a few days left. If you are in a Clinton state, let them know that you know EXACTLY what’s going on here and you aren’t going to put up with it. See Hillary’s Action Alert: Florida and Michigan Deserve to be Heard. Be polite but forceful and let them know who the real bosses are. We Clinton state voters stand in Solidarity with Michigan and Florida.

And now I am going back to nursing my poor ski muscles…

Put on your thinking caps

Lambert at Corrente found this article in the Review-Journal.com about Harry Reid’s prediction that the race would be decided before the convention. Some of it is really funny but I find this section very cryptic:

Reid also weighed in on the controversy over Michigan and Florida, states whose Democratic convention delegates were stripped when they scheduled primaries before Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, without permission from the DNC.

The DNC authorized only Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to hold nominating contests before that date. Those four states teamed up to demand successfully that the Democratic candidates not campaign in the two renegade states.

The punishment was intended to be symbolic, on the assumption that a nominee would be decided early and delegate counts wouldn’t matter.

That has turned out to be a bad assumption. Now Hillary Clinton, who won both states and trails in the delegate count, says Michigan and Florida shouldn’t be left out, even though Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan.

Both states came to the conclusion last week they couldn’t hold new primaries.

“Michigan and Florida wouldn’t play by the rules,” Reid said. “They’re not my rules. They’re not the caucus’ rules. They’re DNC rules. They broke the rules.”

Adding delegates for those states, he noted, would alter the number of delegates needed to get the nomination, currently 2,025. It wasn’t crystal clear, but Reid seemed to suggest that delegations from those states should get to attend the convention, but not vote.

“Michigan and Florida delegates are going to be seated. They’re going to be a part of the convention,” he said. “It’s a question of whether anything can be worked out to change this prior to the 2,025.

“They’re the ones causing all the problems. No one else did. And so they will be seated. They’re big states. They represent 29 million people. We want to make sure their delegates are part of the convention that takes place in Denver.”

Now, I find that people are too apt to jump to conclusions on the first pass when a skillful politician plays with words. On first pass, it looks like Harry is saying, “They broke the RULZ!” and sensitive bloggers tend to get upset. But what is Harry really saying here? Let us remember that Reid endorsed Hillary. In all likelihood, it is in his interest to get these delegations added to her total either through the delegate count or the popular vote.

This is what I am reading into his statements here. The rules that were broken weren’t *his* rules. They’re DNC rules. He is placing the blame with the DNC. He is also saying MI and FL caused all of the problems, not any other state. So, is he saying that they are at fault? No, he may be saying, “None of the other jump ahead states were penalized, just MI and FL and that is why they are problematic.” He’s also saying that they will be seated but doesn’t say in what capacity. So, my layman’s interpretation is: Reid is PO’d at Dean (there is an reference in the beginning of the article to this). Harry’s pissed off and probably many others as well. Dean has gotten the message and this will be settled before the convention. The delegates will be seated but may *not* be counted in the vote total unless there is a decision by the superdelegates that the popular vote winner, as counted by the number of voters that those delegates represent, takes priority when they break the tie. (Does Reid know that the SDs for Hillary will win the day? He must be counting the votes) And this is important because neither candidate will have enough delegates to reach the magic number, the SDs will break the tie and the popular votes will be the defining factor.

Ok, now it’s your turn. Go read the article and tell me where I’m wrong.

Tuesday- Turmoil

Good Morning. Everyone ready for another day in the trenches? Here’s what the rest of the world has been up to while you wasted your time sleeping:

  • Phil Bredesen, Governor of Tennessee, has a plan to settle the superdelegate count by early June. This plan is to have a pre-convention just for the Supers so they can pick a candidate before the actual convention in August. His reasoning is that it would be sooo much better for the party if we got this out of the way before August so we could get on with the business of crushing McCain. He can’t help it that he’s been duped to stupidity by Obamamania, bless his heart. Much to our surprise, this is a plan that Obama thinks is “interesting” and “would probably be the best way to insure that at least there’s a couple of months before the convention” for the party to unite. I call it a complete non-starter and just another variation on the “Why Won’t That Stupid Bitch Quit?” (WWTSBQ) idea that’s been floated for some time now. (This one may be donation worthy. We must consult Lambert) A Superdelegate convention would just lock in the SDs for whoever is the delegate leader, I suspect, because it would be haunted by zombie Obamaphiles who would threaten to eat the SD’s if they don’t comply with their noisy demands. And that would be risky because if Obama flames before August, it would be very difficult to reverse locked in pledges and nominate Hillary instead. Nice try guys but we’re not stupid.
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz is giving the Big Boyz fits in Florida because she apparently isn’t lifting a finger to help Democratic challengers to 3 Republican congressional districts. Yep, she’s on some kind of Red to Blue leadership team but she’s like, not leading. And it looks like the Democrats could lose some pick-up opportunities in Florida. In FLORIDA! Hmmm, Florida, Florida, where have I heard that word before? Oh yeah! That’s the state whose 1.7 MILLION voters were dissed by Howard Dean and Barack Obama. Those 1.7 MILLION voters votes will not count at DNC convention unless they don’t put Hillary ahead. Who could have predicted that Debbie Wasserman Schultz would be capable of some passive-aggressive Hardball? That is not allowed from a Hillary supporter. Only Obama supporters are allowed to do that. Still, it’s entertaining to see the Big Boyz get their knickers in a twist of rage because Debbie isn’t doing their bidding and saving the Congress for the Democrats. The NERVE of some women. Can’t she see there is a higher purpose at stake here??? (You guys really have *no* idea why Debbie Wasserman-Schultz from FLORIDA is behaving irrationally? It makes no sense whatsoever? Holy smokes!, Even Matt Stoller and KOS have taken note. How unusual it is for them to even acknowledge Floridians. Well, I guess she got your attention, didn’t she?
    Mission accomplished.)
  • Jeralyn at TalkLeft had some interesting things to say about Rush Limbaugh getting Republicans in PA to switch parties to vote for Hillary Clinton in the PA primary. Look, I don’t know what Rush is up to. All I know is that there are a lot of people in PA who are fed up with the Republican party and don’t want to vote for McCain. Many of them don’t need a whole lot of pushing to switch parties. And there’s nothing that says that a person can’t change their party affiliation if they get a virtual dope slap after eight years of an idiot in the White House, endless war, higher prices for everything, the country on the verge of an economic collapse and a missing or absent social safety net which they once railed against but suddenly discovered they needed after all. Rush is encouraging voters to switch, Obama is encouraging voters to register as Democrats, *Hillary* is encouraging voters to register as Democrats. Let’s give Pennsylvanians the benefit of a doubt here. They are willing to travel outside of their comfort zones for a variety of reasons. In a few weeks, they will stand before that panel and see two names there and will vote for the candidate of their choice for the same reasons that lifelong Democrats have for years. They want a better candidate, a better president. And if that person just happens to belong to the screwed up party who can’t get its $@#% together, then it’s GOT to be bad on the Republican side.
  • Following up on the race-baiting chase, Sean Wilentz has a second article in The New Republic on how the Obama campaign is screaming “racist!” at every chance they get. It’s a couple weeks old, this article, but lucky for us, Ronkseattle is putting together a compilation (beta release) of Obama’s greatest racist! accusations. Dayum!, Ron, you’ve been busy. You’ve chronicled 88 instances? Well, what do you expect from a “typical white person”? Er, you are white, aren’t you Ron? It’s so hard to tell these days. Everyone looks like little black pixels to me anymore.
  • One more thing: My site cafeteria had a stack something called Edible New Jersey that it was giving away for free. So, I picked it up and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a quarterly magazine that features the food grown locally by season and recipes to go with them. It’s well written and timely and goes together well with Michael Chiarello’s Seasons in the Wine Country cookbook. But, wait! There’s more. There is a whole Edible Community with similar periodicals for different regions and even Canada. So you too can find locally grown foods and boost your local economy while cutting back on energy costs. (If you feel so inclined. I notice they are no fans of Hillary Clinton but that’s OK. The idea is a very good one and we can’t afford to be purists this year.)

Have at it, guys!

Thursday- Taylor’s only half right

Last night, I fell asleep to Taylor Marsh. I know, I know, a lot of you find it hard to believe that Taylor’s Midwestern Missouri edgy voice could be comforting and soothing enough to put anyone to sleep but I actually love Taylor’s straightforward honesty. My anxiety is relieved when I know what my parameters are, what my choices are and I have an idea of how high the mountain is. It means I can plan better. Uncertainty is a killer in terms of planning.

So, I was listening to Taylor last night relating the challenges that Clinton faces in getting the nomination. And yes, I do believe that it will be difficult. But one thing I have noticed even Taylor succumbing to is the notion that the nomination will not be legitimate if it is decided on the basis of Superdelegates. This illustrates perfectly why well crafted and often repeated memes are so insidious. Even people who should know better start to believe them.

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