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A reminder of what DailyKos is

I’m a bit busy this weekend so I’m just going to repost something I wrote in a comment on Corrente.  But I don’t want anyone to think I spend a lot of time obsessing about DailyKos because I don’t.  It didn’t take me long to figure out four years ago what DailyKos was all about and I have written about it before.  I haven’t been back there for years and I can go months without even thinking about the place.  I don’t yearn to be reinstated.  In fact, quite the contrary for a variety of reasons not least of which is that I don’t want to be associated with what I consider to be an online high control group.

So, here is my reminder of what DailyKos is from Lambert’s post on Allegre’s Writer’s Strike:

Slightly off topic, but following up on the response I had to Hugh above, let’s not kid ourselves about what DailyKos is. It is an enormous focus group. Every now and then a topic will get a lot of attention on the board and that’s the way the operatives and psychometricians figure out what makes lefty types tick. They refine it. They get to know what your trigger words are. They know how to push your buttons so that your emotions circumvent your rational mind. That’s why the racist meme was so effective in 2008. It’s the worst thing you could call a liberal. We react viscerally to that accusation. It’s only the very sane among us who don’t flinch from it and even those of us who know we aren’t racist spend every waking second defending ourselves. If you try to point out what they sneaky ones are up to, you get banned.

DailyKos also love bombs. If you express the preferred thoughts, you get mojo, you get recommended, you become popular. People like you. They want to hang out with you and be your friend. You become a trusted user. You get status. The whole place is rigged to make sure you stay, that you are rewarded for being cooperative and expressing the meme of the day and that they threat of losing your entire online community is real and frightening. No one wants to be exiled. It extends to other blogs as well. I’m sure that Digby is on a short leash as is anyone who signs on to the advertising arm of Kos.

It’s easier to see how this works if you grew up in a religious cult so I had an edge and my shock and horror of being banished from DailyKos lasted about 30 seconds. Then I laughed and started my own blog. I may be a tiny speck of dust in the Oort belt but I am free to say what I like.

But in general, if you hang out in DailyKos or affiliated “blessed” blogs, you will start to short circuit your thought processes. You will start to use buzzwords to explain politically what’s going on and that’s just where they want you. You don’t think about what “neoliberalism” or DLC really mean or how they may have evolved or how to grade the degree to which individuals adhere to a certain philosophy. You are trained to associate a word with a person, the connotation of that word to those persons and that you will be rewarded with good feelings if you do it right and bad feelings if you do it wrong. I realize that neoliberalism means a great deal to some people but I never could understand why. It never did make a lick of sense that so much emphasis is placed on this one word when people rarely fit into black and white categories. But you can be sure that lefty attitudes about the DLC and corporations and Iran and “war hawk” and other buzzwords come from careful seed planting and harvesting on places like DailyKos.

I would avoid any blog that uses a rating system.

 

Pick a side, Digby

One more time, with feeling:

and

Back when the 2008 primary season started to heat up, DailyKos purged its Hillary Clinton supporters.  Oh, yes it did, you doubting Thomasinas.  You can’t believe that a “news site” like DailyKos would be involved in hurrying them off the site as quickly as it possibly could to make way for the Obama ads but it did.  And it wasn’t nice about it.  I was one of the first victims.  That’s why I’m here at this blog.  And to be honest, I never regretted it.  But as we were picked off, one by one, Hillary’s supporters got less of a voice in the left blogosphere.  Pretty soon, a Democratic party loyalist got the distinct impression that the entire party was converting to Barack Obama with all of the fervor of a religious reformation.  The jihad quickly spread to other blogs and the comment threads filled up with Obama zealots who were enthusiastic about killing the infidels.  Some of those Hillary supporters fled to this blog and a few others.  We weren’t welcome anywhere else.  And mind you, we’re only talking about February of 2008.  It happened quickly and thoroughly, almost as if someone had given marching orders for sites to be flooded with anti-Hillary rhetoric.

Digby held out for awhile but even she succumbed.  In the book, the Bloggers on the Bus by Eric Boehlert, Digby confesses that she was “chickenshit”, intimidated by her commenters and somewhat dependent on ad revenue.  Ok, fine.  We get it.  It took her by surprise four years ago.

But what is her excuse now for being a Doormat Democrat and not holding the party accountable for its rampant misogyny and sexism?  Believe me, I hate to be doing this, pointing out the party’s ugly history, but it isn’t doing enough to combat the crazy assholes on the right.  It is the Democratic party’s feet we need to hold to the fire, not the Republicans.  The Republicans wouldn’t have been able to get this far if the gates weren’t already down to let the barbarian horde in.  Where have the Democrats been for the past decade?

And what is Digby’s role in this?  I’ve got a problem with her co-writer, thereisnospoon.  Back in the Great Purge of DailyKos 2008, right in the middle of the Rec List Hostage Crisis, blogger Alegre, who was a well respected Hillary blogger on DailyKos, got fed up with the pressure to convert and decided to stage a “writer’s strike”.  It was symbolic, of course, but its purpose was to call attention to the way that Hillary voices were being marginalized and persecuted on the largest and most influential group blog.  Markos made fun of her.  (nice going, Markos.  How very impartial)

Alegre’s strike post got a lot of comments.  Let me just highlight one:

Don’t let the door hit you (39+ / 0-)
on the ass on your way out.

I have not been posting much or commenting much in the past months, but I have been reading almost everything.

You are propagating baseless, self-serving, inaccurate, and whiny meme’s on a regular basis.

You smear and deride with the worst of the lot, and you expect people to overlook your own behavior?

Spare us the drama.

Buh-bye.

The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

by RedDan on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:26:55 PM PDT

straight from the HRC blast faxes (4+ / 0-)
really sad, actually.

Head to Heading Left, BlogTalkRadio’s progressive radio site!

by thereisnospoon on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:39:18 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Oh, look!  It’s thereisnospoon, suggesting that Alegre was getting her marching orders from Hillary’s campaign.  We were very fortunate here on The Confluence to be invited to Clinton’s press briefings and got email updates but these were strictly informational.  No one ever asked us to do anything.  I kind of liked the low pressure tactics.  I never felt indoctrinated by Hillary’s campaign and I doubt that Alegre did either.  In fact, when it comes to the writer’s strike on DailyKos, Alegre got that idea from me.

This morning, Atrios pondered why it is that women are told that their issues are a distraction.  It’s always the wimmen.  Why is that?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because, it doesn’t really serve the purposes of the Democratic party or the Obama administration to rehash old history now, does it?  The last thing they want is an uncomfortable spotlight directed their way so that all the ugliness of four years ago is revealed in all of its glory. “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”  They would much prefer that the Republicans take the blame for all of the wretched mess that happened to women.

But Digby has to take a stand.  What is the role that thereisnospoon plays on her site? The Democrats are never going to do right by us if no one holds them accountable and forces them to act instead of sitting back and letting them bask in undeserved glory.  If you support the Democratic party, no matter what it does or *doesn’t* do, it will not do anything for you.  And the attack on women is so severe that to do nothing and say nothing on your behalf is a crime against your own sex.  That goes for NARAL, NOW, the Feminist Majority, Emily’s List and any other women’s advocacy group that has lost its brass ovaries in the past several decades. They are taking your contributions and giving them to Democratic organizations.  What are they demanding in return?  Why don’t we ask them? If they do not have the courage to stand up for women now, and hold the only party who pretends to care accountable for its actions, then we will continue down this spiral of fewer and fewer rights and less and less respect.

Make the Democrats answerable for all of the less than progressive candidates they are supporting this year.  Make them explain why they are supporting an independent male in Maine rather than a liberal woman.  Force Obama to vigorously defend you.

Women’s groups are not keeping up.  When Occupy is taking to the street, demanding economic equality and non-believers are organizing and demanding recognition as a influential voting bloc at the Reason Rally this coming weekend, women’s groups are timidly hiding behind the Democratic party, hoping it will protect them. They’re still trying to work with the system that screwed them over four years ago. Fuck that shit.  Organize a rally in DC, women.  Get your act together.  No one loves you more than you love yourself.  Let’s stick up for ourselves and make the Democrats court us as aggressively as they court the pro-illegal abortionist lobby.

Make a choice, Digby.  Get rid of your party mole or watch women’s rights get whittled away by the Democrats themselves as they pretend to protect them while doing nothing.  Now is the time, when they are telling us to shut up and sit down, to stand up and raise Hell.

Do I expect Digby to actually do this?  No, I expect that she’ll read this post and that she and her discussion group will laugh about it.  Her conscience will feel a twinge but she won’t act on it because she doesn’t want to alienate herself from the group.  Right, Digby?  And they care about women HOW, exactly?

And for those of you ladies who naively think that DailyKos is some innocuous Democratic news site, pay attention: DailyKos is a site that uses thought reform tactics to promote authoritarian Democratic party propaganda.  Whether it started off with this intention is debatable but there is very little doubt in my mind, after having seen it in action in the 2008 election season, that it was exploited by the political campaign operatives and that Markos put his thumb heavily on the scales for the Edwards campaign and then Obama’s campaign.  Alternative voices were purged.  Here are some posts I wrote a few months ago to warn people about the dangers of thought reform in the political blogosphere.

You’ve been Love Bombed

Phobias

Categories

Ok, I think we’re on to something here

Finally, those of you doubting Thomasina’s who are caught completely off guard about what is happening this year and can’t possibly believe that Hillary was done in by her own party, go back to the origins of this blog and read from the beginning.  We followed it very closely.  It is not a pretty story.  You will be disgusted.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pantsuit

I’ve got a theory that the last thing Republicans want is for the Democrats to start advocating for women.  It suits them just fine that there are so many libertarian and conservative Blue Dog Democrats running for office.  It works in the Republicans’ favor that so many new Democratic candidates are center right.  The minute that the Democratic party starts to get energized and stops sitting on women, the non-religious and labor, the Republicans will be in trouble.  As long as the Democrats take no stand, the Republicans win.

Think about it.

The Confluence is not nor ever has been birther territory

It’s strange that we even have to reiterate this fact but I was going through some Twitter references and found that someone proclaimed that we were birthers.  Not only am I a birther but according to this smear artist, I am “one of the worst”.  Whoever this person is wants to associate this site with the stupidist waste of time since the end of the 2008 election and seeks to embarrass us and tag anyone who references us guilty by association.  I guess we must still be making an impact if they’re willing to go this far.

Anyone who has been following this blog knows we have never been birthers.  In fact, we wrote several posts encouraging the birthers to give it up and stop looking stupid.  They didn’t, but some of them were so offended by our unwelcoming attitude towards anything birther that they went away. And that’s fine with me.  If you’re anger and frustration leads you to believe something that is unreal, then please don’t hang around here.

But what does this smear say about the smearer?  I don’t know but it does come on the heels of the posts I made about thought reform techniques and since there are people at DailyKos (geekesque comes to mind) who still can’t resist an opportunity to make shit up about me and this site, I’m inclined to believe it was someone like that who didn’t like what I wrote about DailyKos and decided to drop that crazy bit of misinformation into the twittersphere.

Normally, I don’t respond to our critics.  In fact, I don’t even read them.  But people believe stuff that isn’t true, which is why I wrote those posts on thought reform and high control group recruitment techniques.  This much is true: you will never find a post or comment from me in favor of birtherism.  Quite the opposite.  On the other hand, you most certainly will find love bombing, phobia induction, categorization, shunning, behavioral controls and conversion testimonials at DailyKos and these tend to get more pronounced during election years.  That doesn’t mean that DailyKos is a cult but the site is vulnerable, whether intentionally or not, to high control group tactics.

Readers are advised to consider what is more dangerous to their political mental health: a site that encourages decision making based on independent thinking and principles or one based on using well known compliance techniques in order to persuade the individual to conform to the herd.

Clap harder, CLAP HAAAARDER!!!

Typed “daily” into the Google search bar looking for the Daily Show, got DailyKos instead.  What the heck, let’s see what they have on the first page.  Oh, it’s a post by DemFromCT titled “What if the Economic News Gets Better?

{{faceplant}}

First, there’s an oh so brief blurb on the Greek sovereign debt crisis, that looks like it’s going to turn out ok anyway!  Isn’t that great??  The stock market is doing ok and the Euro bounced back, but we still hate Wall Street.  But our 401Ks are doing well, not that any Kossacks care about materialism and filthy lucre made on the backs of working people all over the world.  Dayum, do you see the slope on that curve?  It’s f%c^ing *awesome*!

But then, the post gets serious and discusses the GDP.

Right, who are we fooling?  Oh, right, these are Kossacks, who were used as a giant male fraternity party clueless focus group for the Obama campaign in 2008.  So, the bad news is that GDP was only 0.7% for the first half of the year.  The good news is that it was 2.5% in the 3rd quarter!  Isn’t that great?  That will keep those nasty wasty Republicans (boo!, hiss!  boo!) at bay next year because if this keeps up for the 4th quarter, we’ll have an average annual GDP for 2011 of …

… wait for it…

.

.

.

… it’s going to be good…

.

1.6%!!

{{cue the bad magician music}} Da-da-DA-DA-da-DA-da-DA-DA, Da-da-DA-DA-da-DA-da-DAAA!!

Uhhh, guys?  That’s not that good.  And you know what?  9.2% unemployment is a bigger number and likely to stick in the public’s mind a lot longer.  Just think about it: next year, presidential candidate’s debate, Obama gets up there and announces a sensational 1.6% GDP, pats himself on the back, because that is so Barry. Romney furrows his brow (provided he can actually move it) and says, almost sotto voce “9.2% unemployment”, shakes his head, glances at Obama, looks down at his podium, shuffles his notes, shakes his head again, sighs.

See where I’m going with this?   A GDP of 1.6% is anemic.  Check out this post from Brad Plumer at WaPo.  Here’s the money quote:

The economy grew at a 2.5 percent annualized pace in the third quarter of 2011, according to new Commerce Department data released this morning. Seeing as how plenty of economists were grumbling about a double-dip recession not too long ago, even modest growth counts as cheering news. But 2.5 percent growth won’t bring us back to full employment anytime soon. So how much growth do we actually need?

Short answer: A lot more. Back in August, the Congressional Budget Office released its revised GDP forecasts and predicted that the economy would gallop along with 3.6 percent growth between 2013 and 2016. Now, as Jeffrey Frankel has shown, government forecasters tend to err on the optimistic sign, but even in the CBO’s sunny scenario, we wouldn’t hit full employment until 2017.

It’s not enough to keep Social Security payroll taxes streaming in to keep the system going.  One year or two maybe we can make up the difference.  But four?  With another four more years of Barry at the wheel carrying on the Bush legacy and trying to make Grand Bargains with the Republicans to give away virtually all we have left?  What are you guys smoking over there?

The next part of the post is the funniest:

Sure, none of this changes the huge need for jobs or fixes the housing crisis, but with Obama pounding jobs bills and student relief (and some of it actually getting into the headlines and onto the news), it might just reverse the bad news coverage Obama has been getting this year.

It’s of special importance because the GOP really has nothing beyond economic frustration to run on. Their plan, be it this week’s flat tax, last week’s 9-9-9 or Paul Ryan’s disastrous roadmap is all the same: coddle the rich and screw the middle class. No one likes their plan, but with a tanking economy, no one is going to reward incumbents.

So what happens if a year from now, the economy isn’t tanking? Keep in mind the Republicans have no Plan B if America does well.

So, we admit that Obama has been a failure, just as we Conflucians predicted him to be back in 2008, given that he was an inexperienced, political unknown who seemed to flinch whenever anyone called him a Democrat and was being funded by Wall Street in vast quantities (We HATE Wall Street! Remember? But look at my 401K!!).  And we admit that he clusterf^&*ed the housing foreclosure crisis and the unemployment crisis and sure, it looks bad.  But that’s just because Obama keeps getting bad news coverage.  If he gets *good* news coverage, we unemployed people who can’t pay our mortgages will just let bygones be bygones.

And what’s this about the GOP plan to “coddle the rich and screw the middle class”?  I thought that was Obama and the Congress’s plan.  Isn’t it?  Because that’s what it looks like to me.  If Obama and the Democrats have the same plan as Romney and the Republicans, how are we supposed to tell them apart?  Better yet, why should I vote for either of them?  There are other options on the ballot and, who knows, by this time next year, there may be a third viable candidate.  The Occupy movement has unveiled a deep dissatisfaction with both parties.

What is Obama’s Plan B anyway?  I mean, if he wins re-election in 2012, he doesn’t have to have one, you nitwits.  Which is why you shouldn’t be giving him a pass.  You should be on his case and vowing not to vote for him unless he does something for you *before* the election.  Unless all you care about is your 401K.  (Didja see the slope on that graph??)  Even Steve Jobs told Obama that his poor performance on the economy was going to cost him the White House in 2012.  True story.  It’s in Jobs’ new biography by Walter Isaacson.  And we know that Jobs was pretty damn good at getting a feel for what people want.  (Have you checked the quarterly earnings for Apple these days??  Amazing!  Oh, but we HATE Wall Street)

Look, you Kossacks screwed up good in 2008 and as a result, the pain and misery for millions of Americans is going to continue for a long, long time if either Romney OR Obama wins next year. Yes, YOU, You are responsible. The best thing you can do is stop trying so hard to make this sound better than it is.  Stop lying to yourselves and each other.  If you want to make this better, tell Obama to step down now and let someone else with longer coattails take on the Republicans.  Even you guys can’t possibly be as delusional as DemFromCT’s post.

By the way, he could have stopped what happened in Oakland on Tuesday night if he really cared about citizens and their first amendment rights.  There’s an Iraq War veteran who is now in the hospital in critical condition because of this out of control overreaction by “riot police”, if that’s what we’re calling them these days.

I don’t know what is worse, that they knocked this poor guy out and seriously injured him or that they tried to prevent other people from helping him.  I haven’t been so disgusted with the behavior of police in a long time.  This is outrageous.

**************************

In a bit of good news, apparently, Elizabeth Warren’s embrace of the Occupy Movement hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of the people of Massachusetts who want to work for her senate campaign.  This is a picture of the people who volunteered on Tuesday to lend her campaign a hand.

Golly!  Can we clone her??

Jesse LaGreca does it again

I wouldn’t call Jesse a spokesperson for OccupyWallStreet and he wouldn’t either.  But, damn, he’s good.  Today he was a guest of Christiane Amanpour’s round table on ABC’s This Week.  He’s able to derail George Will’s self-reverential bloviating about smaller government, deficit reducing blahdy-blah and he does it with a pugnacious, mischievous delight.  I live vicariously through LaGreca because I’ve always wanted to stuff a sock in Will’s mouth and down his esophagous till it emerges from his ass too and I’ll bet I’m not alone.

You can view the video at Hulabaloo here.  Scroll down to the bottom video and fast forward to minute marker 4:20.  (I’m not familiar with this open source video format so it will take me awhile to find a WordPress friendly version)

Here’s a different video of Jesse at OccupyWallStreet:

[youtube-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EN_--FiUkE]

Amanpour introduced LaGreca as a DailyKos blogger.  Let me take this opportunity to point out that yours truly was booted off DailyKos in January 2008 due to accusations of thought crimes against Obama.  It didn’t take long for me to get over it as there were many like minded individuals to join me in the political Oort belt.  In a matter of hours, I went from a trusted user with mucho mojo and a not infrequent recommended diarist to instant pariah.  Talk about co-opting a movement.  If there was ever a movement that was co-opted by the DNC and bent over to take it from the banker backed Obama campaign, it would have to have been DailyKos.  It also had no problems letting itself be the conduit for misogyny and using the accusations of racism as a weapon to budgeon people who cared more about the economy and the aftermath of the Bush administration than the wet dreams of self-described “creative class”.

But the worst thing DailyKos did was watch 18,000,000 voters get disenfranchised by their own party and cheer that process on.  There is no greater offense that one group of citizens can do to another than to deprive them of their right to be heard and their votes to be taken seriously. It was shameful and disgusting behavior based on the premise that the ends justified the means.  Well, congratulations for getting it so stupendously wrong, Markos.  Millions of unemployed people around the country can thank you for making their struggle to remain in the middle class that much harder and their opportunity to have their votes counted increasingly obstructed.  After all, if a progressive site like DailyKos says nothing, why can’t Ohio or Indiana or Alabama do what they want with their voters?

I wouldn’t go back to DailyKos for anything, and it is unlikely they would want me back.  But if I were Jesse LaGreca, I wouldn’t affiliate myself too closely with DailyKos.  Forget about the right wingers who will jump on it.  DailyKos has destroyed its credibility to the rest of us Democrats in Exile.  We here at The Confluence have always associated ourselves with the working class, which in this context is anyone not living off their investments regardless of education, profession or delusions of grandeur.  DailyKos started out with good intentions and then spent all of its capital on a presidential candidate who used it to inflict anti-working class policies on the rest of us.

Jesse, you done good.  You are a natural.  You’re feisty, articulate and clever.  But do yourself and us a favor and ixnay on the ailyDay osKay.  This is the last time I’ll be posting videos of you until you do.

And Markos owes me and the other Clintonistas an apology for helping to split the party and emasculate the left on Obama’s behalf.  Stupidity doesn’t even begin to describe what a mistake that was.  He let us and the rest of America down.  The best thing that Jesse can do for OccupyWallStreet is distance himself from DailyKos and the stink of the party co-opting the site.

First!

No, you are not in an Eschaton comment thread.

What first means is that The Confluence was the first blog, formed by Democrats (now mostly Independent Liberals), who saw what was going on in the Democratic party in 2008.  By January 2008, we saw that the party was actively engaged in deep sixing one candidate for the benefit of the other.

What this blog and its participants are not is racist.

It has come to my attention that there are elements in the blogosphere that are trying to revive the “anyone who didn’t reflexively worship Barack Obama or support him now in his time of need must be a racist”.  There is also the technique, “Racism is anything we say it is; we don’t have to prove it”.

Actually, people who indulge in this kind of behavior *do* have to prove it.  They have to prove it because I say they do.  Racism is a very serious accusation to make.  It would be like saying, “All Democrats who stupidly threw Hillary Clinton over the side in 2008 are idiotic sexists.”  I can’t make this banket accusation because I know that some of them were not necessarily sexist.  Some were simply mercenary, as demonstrated by the Obama ads plastered all over Josh Marshall’s Talkingpointsmemo blogs during the campaign.  Others were peer pressured cowards as Digby herself confessed in Eric Boehlert’s book, The Bloggers on the Bus.

Now, you would think that 2 years after getting kicked off of the Big Orange Cheeto, people would have forgotten me.  But I did a recent search of my name in the comments the other day and I must have made a major impact on some of the fragile psyches over there.  Geekesque in particular, is still dropping the “she’s a racist” meme everytime my name is mentioned.  It’s almost like HE does a search of the comments and leaves this handy reply whenever the opportunity arises.  No one ever seems to bother to find out whether he (or is Geekesque a she?) is correct, which is odd because my stuff is still there in all it’s glory.  And no one over at the Cheeto is tasked with cleaning up these smelly little turds even though Kos himself knows them to be untrue.  They suit his purpose.

Nevertheless, I take this renewal of the racism meme to be both disturbing AND encouraging.  It’s disturbing because it’s the last weapon they seem to have left and even though it’s worked well in the past, I don’t think it’s going to work now.  The body of evidence is on our side now.  We accurately predicted what would happen two years ago.  They didn’t listen.  They had to have their way.  Now, every defense of their choice is met with ridicule and disbelief.  So, we can’t possibly have been right.  We must be racists.

It’s encouraging because this time, the accusations are falling on deaf ears.  Even Jon Stewart is pointing out how irritating the racism accusation is getting.  It also makes real racism much more difficult to detect and address.  When everybody you don’t like is a racist, the real racists can get away with murder.  I would hope that the people slinging the word around would stop and think about that.  But they didn’t do it in 2008 so why start now?  Therefore, I place the blame for new REAL acts of racism at their feet.  They are responsible for the fact that in the future, Americans will react to accusations of racism in the same way that the townspeople of the famous fairy tale responded to the boy that cried wolf.

It’s time for the people who are spreading this meme to grow up and take responsibility for their behavior.

As for us, well, sticks and stones and all that.  I hate to get distracted by all the nonsense racism accusations and I certainly do not want to turn this blog into the same kind of relentless coverage of Breitbart, who I never read anyway, that I now see on what were once respectable blogs.  There are real racists in the country for sure.  But there are much bigger stories to cover and I commend my fellow frontpagers for not being distracted.

This is the last time I will address the matter.

Friday Afternoon News and Views: Have We Finally Reached A Tipping Point?

The boiling point

Tipping points: the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable; the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point. (Malcolm Gladwell)

Was the special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat the final straw for Obama supporters and for Obama’s corporate agenda? It sure looks that way. The signs are everywhere: prog blogs are in chaos, big media is finally beginning to notice that Obama is arrogant and out of touch, and even the most far-gone Koolaid drinkers are beginning to sober up. Firedoglake is morphing into a blog that resembles TC back in June of 2008.

Oddly, Krugman is still hanging in there with the Koolaid Krowd. He wants the House to pass the Senate bill right away. WTF?! Just what drug did they feed him at that White House dinner anyway? Or are the bosses at the NYT holding a gun to his head as he writes his columns?

Elsewhere, all around the ‘net, hundreds of Koolaid drinkers are jumping on the wagon every day. Let’s take a brief tour.

At The Nation, William Greider calls the Massachusetts election results a “pie in the President’s face.”

The special election displayed monumental miscalculations by which Obama has governed, both in priorities and political-legislative strategies. It may seem perverse and unfair, but the president’s various actions for reform generated a vaguely poisonous identity. Amid the general suffering, Obama is widely seen as collaborating with two popular villains–the me-first bankers and over-educated policy technocrats of the permanent governing elite. Obama made nice with the bankers and loaded up his administration with Harvard policy wonks who really don’t know the country. These malignant associations gain traction because people see there are grains of truth in observable reality.

Greider still has a way to go–he still adores Obama’s “soaring rhetoric,” and he thinks Obama just followed the advice of his bad advisers and needs to fire them and hire new ones. But it’s a start. Greider is a smart man. He’ll get it eventually.

Drew Westen has been on Obama case for awhile now, but this post is even more emphatic than the past few he has written.

The President’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge that we have a two-party system, his insistence on making destructive concessions to the same party voters he had sent packing twice in a row in the name of “bipartisanship,” and his refusal ever to utter the words “I am a Democrat” and to articulate what that means, are not among his virtues. We have competing ideas in a democracy — and hence competing parties — for a reason. To paper them over and pretend they do not exist, particularly when the ideology of one of the parties has proven so devastating to the lives of everyday Americans, is not a virtue. It is an abdication of responsibility.

I’ve got his book The Political Brain lying around here somewhere. Maybe I’ll read it.

And it sure does look like Obama’s agenda is about to topple over, doesn’t it? Roll call has the startling news that Ben Bernanke’s reappointment is in trouble. It’s subscription only, but D-day has quotes at FDL.

Ben Bernanke’s nomination to serve a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve appears to be in peril. Bernanke is up for a second term at the Fed; his current term expires in 10 days on Jan. 31. A handful of Senators had previously threatened to filibuster the nomination, but this week the number of opposing lawmakers appeared to grow, further dimming his prospects for installment.

“I think it’s worthy of a review,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is undecided.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) met with Bernanke on Thursday, one day after Democrats voiced concerns during their weekly policy luncheon about the nomination. In a statement after his meeting with the Fed chairman, Reid was coy, saying the two met “to discuss the best ways to strengthen and stabilize our economy.” [...]

At Wednesday’s Democratic caucus meeting, according to Senators, liberals spoke out against confirming Bernanke for a second term. Those liberals tried to make the case that the White House needs to put in place fresh economic advisers to focus on “Main Street” issues like unemployment rather than Wall Street concerns. Moderates were more reserved, Senators said, but have similarly withheld their support for Bernanke.

Wow!

At Politico: Dem health care talks collapsing

Health care reform teetered on the brink of collapse Thursday as House and Senate leaders struggled to coalesce around a strategy to rescue the plan, in the face of growing pessimism among lawmakers that the president’s top priority can survive.

The legislative landscape was filled with obstacles: House Democrats won’t pass the Senate bill. Senate Democrats don’t want to start from scratch just to appease the House. And the White House still isn’t telling Congress how to fix the problem.

Also at Politico: White House caught in Democrats’ crossfire

Congressional Democrats — stunned out of silence by Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts — say they’re done swallowing their anger with President Barack Obama and ready to go public with their gripes.

If the sentiment isn’t quite heads-must-roll, it’s getting there.

Hill Democrats are demanding that Obama’s brain trust — especially senior adviser David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — shelve their grand legislative ambitions to focus on the economic issues that will determine the fates of shaky Democratic majorities in both houses.

And they want the White House to step up — quickly — to help shape the party’s message and steer it through the wreckage of health care reform.

Double wow!

And get this: even NOW is waking up!!!!!

As Democrats weigh options for health reform following a major setback in the Massachusetts election, the nation’s leading womens’ rights group blasted the legislation as “beyond outrageous.”

The National Organization for Women (NOW) harbors deep concerns with the Senate health legislation, and exclaims that “women will be better off with no bill whatsoever.”

“The Senate bill contains such fierce anti-abortion language, and there are other problems from the point of view of women,” NOW’s President Terry O’Neill told Raw Story in an interview.

O’Neill said NOW “will not support candidates in 2010 if they vote for it.”

Triple Wow!!!!

Will Scott Brown be the savior of the Democratic Party? It’s too early to tell yet, but it does look like we’ve reached a tipping point. Please post your own “tipping point” links in the comments.

HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!!!!!!!

Epiphanies: My Dawning Realizations about Barack Obama

Dawning realization

Epiphany: a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b : a revealing scene or moment

Yesterday, Riverdaughter suggested that we make this “Epiphany Weekend” at TC. The idea is to look back over the past couple of years and recall the epiphanies that we had early on that made us so highly skeptical about Barack Obama as a candidate for President.

For me, the very first wake-up call I had about Obama was this diary at Dailykos way back in September 2005. In the diary, then Senator Obama lectured the Kos community about “tone, truth, and the Democratic Party,” which defending Democratic Senators who had voted to confirm John Roberts to the Supreme Court. In the diary Obama strongly criticized people at Dailykos and other liberal blogs who wanted Congressional Democrats to stand up for Democratic principles and stop rolling over for Bush on every issue. (I have used bold type to highlight a couple of sections.)

According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists – a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog – we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in “appeasing” the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda….

I think this perspective misreads the American people. From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon. They don’t think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent. They don’t think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs. They don’t think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated, are worried that we have unnecessarily alienated existing and potential allies around the world, and are ashamed by events like those at Abu Ghraib which violate our ideals as a country.

It’s this non-ideological lens through which much of the country viewed Judge Roberts’ confirmation hearings. A majority of folks, including a number of Democrats and Independents, don’t think that John Roberts is an ideologue bent on overturning every vestige of civil rights and civil liberties protections in our possession. Instead, they have good reason to believe he is a conservative judge who is (like it or not) within the mainstream of American jurisprudence…

In the rest of the diary, Obama attempted to make a case for the kind of “consensus-building” we have been watching since he moved into the White House–the kind where the Democrats compromise their values ahead of time and continue to compromise them in the face of Republican (and Blue Dog) objections.

Let me be clear: I am not arguing that the Democrats should trim their sails and be more “centrist”…. Too often, the “centrist” label seems to mean compromise for compromise sake, whereas on issues like health care, energy, education and tackling poverty, I don’t think Democrats have been bold enough. But I do think that being bold involves more than just putting more money into existing programs and will instead require us to admit that some existing programs and policies don’t work very well. And further, it will require us to innovate and experiment with whatever ideas hold promise (including market- or faith-based ideas that originate from Republicans).

Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will. This is more than just a matter of “framing,” although clarity of language, thought, and heart are required. It’s a matter of actually having faith in the American people’s ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter.

Of course Obama never made clear what “core values” he would be willing to stand up for.

Reading this diary was my first wake-up call–it gave me my first real clues to who Obama really was. Before that, my only impressions of him were based on the speech he had given at the 2004 Democratic. He had come across to me as really smooth and slick, but nothing he said in the speech was really earth-shaking and none of it was memorable enough to stick with me. Still, I think I my overall impression was positive. But after reading Obama’s Kos diary, I my impression of him started to turn more negative. Continue reading

The “screaming woman” who confronted Jane Hamsher on C-Span wasn’t actually screaming

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake

I admit I have been warming up to Jane Hamsher a bit in the past couple of weeks because of her strong fight against the abortion language in the health care bill. But apparently I got fooled again. We’ve all read and discussed Jane’s post, “Shaking Off the Hangover of the Primary Wars.” Riverdaughter did a spectacular verbal takedown of Jane’s rationalizing yesterday.

The post itself is troubling enough, but Jane’s comments about Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the thread clearly demonstrate that she (Jane) is not yet ready to take responsibility for actions she took or did not take during the divisive primary fights of 2008.

Many of us were able to see through Obama early in the primary process–after doing our own research on his character and his political experience (or lack thereof). But Jane claims that her site remained neutral throughout the primaries because there were no significant policy differences among the top three candidates, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards.

It’s true that FDL did not publicly endorse a candidate, but the posts and comment sections certainly favored Obama. It’s possible Jane couldn’t control the Axelrod astroturfers and just threw up her hands, as Digby did. But she allowed her comment sections to be infested with abusive language toward Clinton and anyone who defended her. And she banned commenters who complained about the bullying.

Jane writes:

Sophisticated campaigns marketed the candidates as personalities and people became attached to them and felt like they knew them. Everyone who opposed them was the “enemy,” rhetoric was amped up and overheated, identity politics were exploited by both sides as strategic campaign elements and suddenly the blogosphere was a giant pie fight.

We made the decision to stay true to our charter and didn’t take sides, pledging to support the candidate that emerged with the nomination. We believed that once the election was over and we could get back to discussing issues again and evaluating politicians on both sides of the aisle with the same yardstick, we’d be back in our element.

She assumes that everyone who followed the primary battles focused on candidates as personalities rather than looking closely at their characters, policy goals, and personal accomplishments. She could not be more wrong. Most of us didn’t support Hillary Clinton for her personality. I actually began the primaries as an “anyone but Hillary” voter. But her performances in the debates convinced me she was the best candidate. It wasn’t about her personality or about her husband, and it wasn’t about her gender–although I admit I would have liked to see a woman President in my lifetime. I supported Clinton because she showed herself to be smart, knowledgeable, and most of all issue-oriented.

Obama, on the other hand, was all about Obama. He never was specific about issues, he never demonstrated any commitment to Democratic ideology. He admired Ronald Reagan, for heaven’s sake! He cozied up to fundamentalist preachers their anti-abortion, homophobic followers. Most damning of all, it became obvious from his many comments about and to Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin that Obama was a misogynist through and through.

I knew Hillary was more conservative than I am, and I knew I probably wouldn’t be happy with her Iraq and Afghanistan policies. But I was even more concerned about domestic issues. All I wanted was a Democrat in the White House who would fight for universal health care and would protect what is left of our social safety net. Instead, thanks to people like Jane and Markos, we ended up with a Republican pretending to be a Democrat–who, if anything is as bad or worse than George W. Bush.

In the discussion thread attached to her post, linked above, Jane posted this comment:

“I had a woman call up and scream at me when I was on CSPAN the other day for all the horrible things Markos and I had done to Hillary Clinton during the primaries, telling me that I had destroyed the Democratic party.

“And I’m like, seriously? I know some people you should meet, you guys would have an interesting fight.”

Many thanks to Gweema for posting the link to Jane Hamsher’s appearance on C-Span’s Washington Journal on November 26, 2009. I watched the whole thing, and right now I’m practically shaking with anger (want to call me a “screamer,” Jane?).

The women caller on C-Span did no screaming. She did not even raise her voice. Instead, she listed her credentials to confront Jane Hamsher and then did so very articulately. Jane responded with condescending lies and half-truths. I decided to transcribe that portion of the interview so we can dissect it here. The relevant section begins at about 25:50.

Elizabeth from Tennessee, calling on the Democratic line, wishes Jane and the interviewer a happy Thanksgiving and says she appreciates their working on the holiday weekend. Here is Elizabeth’s question:

To Jane Hamsher, I have been a lifelong Democrat, I was very involved in the health care battles of the 90′s. I was involved in actual implementing of town hall meetings back then in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois; so I don’t take a back seat to you.

But in the area of February of 2008, I discontinued reading your blog and also the dailykos blog altogether because of your extreme hatred and villification of another Democratic candidate, and that was Senator Hillary Clinton. [Jane Hamsher rolls her eyes at this point]

I don’t know how much you are aware [of]…how much damage you did and how much damage Markos did–

Hamsher interrupts the caller: “Are you sure you’re talking about our blog? We had Hillary Clinton on [patronizing laughter] …

Elizabeth says: I’m talking about your blog, ma’m, and you should know it. If anyone wants to know they should go read…from that time. [interviewer breaks in and asks when this was, but Elizabeth goes on with her points.]

“You mentioned today that Obama was an anti-war candidate. He was no such thing. In fact, throughout the campaign, he continued to say that Afghanistan was a good war…. “

[Jane Hamsher breaks in to agree with Elizabeth on this point.]

Elizabeth says: “You really caused a lot of people to leave the Democratic party during the 2008 campaign. And I’m telling you now, I’m sorry that you’re sick, I’m sorry that you’ve had three bouts with the cancer, but I’m gonna say this. You are going to be shown exactly what damage you caused our party last primary season, and I will never forgive you for that.”

Elizabeth was a bit harsh at times, but she maintained a level tone of voice and did. not. scream. In fact I’d have to say that Jane’s characterization of Elizabeth’s presentation as “screaming” verges on sexism. Perhaps Jane has some unconscious issues in that department.

Here is Jane’s response [highlighting is mine]:

I know that there was a certain class of women who decided that they would start supporting John McCain over what they thought was bad treatment of Hillary Clinton. In fact…I took a video at the Rules Committee meeting, a woman, Harriet Christian who said that…she was not going to support a party who would have an inept black man as a candidate, and that became a…rallying point for some people.

We didn’t take a position…in the primaries. We said that we would support whoever was the winner and in fact had Senator Clinton as a guest on the blog, so I think we represented all viewpoints. I think there were people their who were Hillary Clinton partisans; I think that there were people there who were Barack Obama partisans, and I think that each side…collectively saw the other side as the issue. But I don’t think we were unfair to Senator Clinton, and I don’t believe that the people who left the party to vote for John McCain, who was very much an anti-choice candidate, a pro-war candidate, reflect the same values that I have anyway, or reflect the values of Senator Clinton.

There is so much wrong with Jane’s response that I don’t know where to begin. You do need to watch the video–her facial expressions while listening to the caller and responding to her are unbelievably patronizing and condescending. It is evident from her use of the words “class of women” that Hamsher sees herself as superior to these working class (?), pathetic women (though we’re not all women by any means) who mistakenly think that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly. In addition she twists Harriet Christian’s words in order to imply that Harriet is a racist.

And what the f&ck is it these people don’t understand about protest votes anyway?

I honestly think that Jane’s rationalizing is an unconscious defense mechanism. Now that she has seen what Obama really is–a DINO, a conservative hack, maybe just barely qualifying as a Rockefeller-style Republican–she has to go back and try to cover up her own behavior during the primaries. But Jane has a very very long way to go before she understands the damage that she and the other A-list bloggers caused. I sincerely doubt that she will ever take responsibility for her actions–or lack of actions. For one thing, Jane was at the Rules Committee meeting and apparently she had absolutely no problem with Obama being given delegates belonging to to Clinton or with Obama getting delegates from a state he didn’t compete in!

Obviously Riverdaughter demolished Jane’s rationalizing yesterday afternoon, so I don’t have to do it. I’ll just post these three paragraphs from RD’s righteous rant here:

People like me are pretty steamed at you and your buddies. You took away our choice. We didn’t get a fair primary season. We didn’t even get a floor fight. There was no unity, Jane. It was all an illusion. Your guy was forced on many, many Democratic voters because YOU decided that Obama was best for us. And many people swallowed that because they were convinced that Republicans were worse. So they voted for a Democrat and they got a Republican anyway.

Jane, how many times do we have to tell you that it wasn’t about Hillary after May 31, 2008? It was about choice. Remember Choice, Jane? The right to self-determination? The ability to choose your own destiny? If someone else took that choice away from you, you’d be on their doorstep with a bullhorn and wouldn’t let up. But because it was YOUR guy who won, it was OK? What about the choice of the rest of us, Jane? What about CA, NJ, NY, MA, OH, PA, TX, IN, NH, WV, TN, FL, MI and so on and so on? Those big, Democratic states did not vote for Barack Obama in the primaries, Jane. They deserved to cast their votes for the candidate they *did* vote for. I was one of those voters, Jane and I am not letting the Democratic party off the hook for its outrageous behavior towards me and the others. With a primary this close and disputed, the nullification of my vote was unforgivable.

That is why the primary of 2008 isn’t going to go away and why you are going to continue to get angry callers who blame you and your friends for the state of the country under Obama. You took our choice away. Your incredibly high handed and self righteous decision to support Obama and shut down the rest of the party for the supposed good of that party has lead us to this point.

Don’t come crying to me with any more of your action e-mails, petitions, and fund-raising drives, Jane. I figured it out. You think I’m in “a certain class of women” who are beneath your contempt. You won’t get another chance from me, Jane. You’re just not seeing reality clearly yet, and I’m not sure you ever will.

Movement Inertia

Something's gotta give

There’s more noise in the lefty blogosphere about how disappointing Democrats are, as well as how Obama failed to measure up.   Natasha Chart is so sick of the pyrrhic victories that she is begging Democrats to just sit on their hands and do nothing for the rest of their terms.  Max Blumenthal’s piece, Obama, the Fallen Messiah, is intriguing.  At least he understands that the left brought this upon themselves:

The liberal left has become so disgruntled that a leading conservative talk radio host asked me recently if progressives were considering a primary challenge to Obama. I laughed and stated my belief that despite his troubles, Obama would win a second term. Whether or not that happens, those former Obama fanatics experiencing a crisis in faith should look in the mirror. They demanded a secular salvation fantasy and participated in the messianization of the candidate who delivered it to them. They now know that Obama is just a politician. What they have refused to acknowledge is that he would not have fallen so hard had they not lifted him so high.

Too funny, Max!  I got kicked off of DailyKos because in my last diary there, I compared the Obama Movement to a jihad on other Democrats.  For that, I was called a racist and other Kossacks still refer to that diary as proof of my insidious racism.  Oooo!  I am so BAAAADDD.  Of course, you can still read the diary on DailyKos and judge for yourself.  I stand by every word I typed.  It was all too true. If that’s the diary that got me banned, I proudly take credit for it.  And then there’s this diary from December 20, 2008, Telltale Signs of Buyer’s Remorse, which accurately predicted even before Obama took office  that he would be a triangulator par excellence to appease the ones who bought him in spite of the world financial crisis and the Democratic majorities in both houses.

We didn’t get change.  Well, no one on this blog actually expected it.  But we do have a lot of inertia, “the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion”.  Because the Democratic party, with an influx of young Republican-esque members, conducted a jihad on the party faithful, there is no force exerting any will on the object, our government.  The Obamaphiles invested all their hope in a messiah who is now clearly shown to be a false prophet.   The question is, what is the left going to do about it?

I’ve been reading a lot of “very serious bloggers” who think that the formation of a third party is laughable and unreasonable, the stuff of fantasy for the naive.

Really?

Because from where I’m perched, the very serious set is floundering.  Jane Hamsher is making deals with Grover “bipartisanship is just another word for date rape” Norquist.  Her strategy skills have gone totally off the rails and she looks desperate and grasping.  The “enemy of my enemy” strategy won’t work, Jane.  Appealing to the squishy  right is a losing game.  You won’t make any headway with them until you can convince them to give up their social conservatism for their own economic good.  Much better to define strong principles and invite others to join you.  Never cede a single millimeter of what you believe or you will look weak and people who are in the squishy right *hate* any sign of weakness.

But there are a lot of other people out there, Democrats, Democrats in Exile, Independents, who make up a large voting bloc and right now have no representation.  We’re talking about 30-40% of state voting populations in places like NJ and CT who want another option and are tired of both parties gaming the ballots.  They are ready for an new movement where they can coalesce their forces and push back.

We’ve talked about it and talked about it.  We need a third party and we need the very serious among us to get onboard.  The only problem is that so many of them have lost credibility that they need to take a back seat.  Is that where the resistance is coming from?  It’s not a serious proposal if they can’t lead it?

They need to get over it.  They need to accept their responsibility for the way things are.  Many of them knew what was happening in 2008 but didn’t want to be ostracized from the Movement.  Isn’t there a quote about propagation of evil requiring men of goodwill to do nothing?

Are they going to do nothing again?  New parties have been created before.  The Republican party was born in 1854.  There is enough critical mass.  All that is required is that a force get behind that mass and move it forward.

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