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    • Dogs used to rape prisoners at Bagram?
      I don’t know.  But Pinochet did the same (plus rats), it’s not without precedent. I hope not: The war veteran, who loathed manipulating Western politicians even as he defended tactics of collective punishment, continued his account: Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs, Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber. “If [...] […]
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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.

Continue reading

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.

———————————————————————————————

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!

Continue reading

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…

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