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Does Scott Brown’s manliness feel threatened by a female teacher??

Sorry I missed the debate tonight.  However, here’s the carefully rehearsed ‘zinger’ Scott Brown used on Elizabeth Warren tonight:

In case you missed that exchange, here’s how the Boston Herald reported it:

Maybe the line of the night so far came when Warren tried to interrupt Brown as he attempted to make a point.

“Excuse me,” he said, “I’m not a student in your classroom.”

He keeps calling her Professor.  It’s not Professor Warren or Ms. Warren.  Just Professor.

So, does he feel he has to reassert his manliness when he debates her?  Put her in her place?  “That’s right, I’m not a boy you can push around, Teach!”  {{strut while sitting down}}

Why does he feel the need to do that?  Does Brown have a problem with women authority figures?  Is he appealing to the white male voters out there?  Any guesses?

Check out the look on Warren’s face.  It’s like, “I can’t believe I’m only slightly beating this guy”

Yeah, I can’t believe it either.  What are Massachusetts’ voters thinking??

Democrats and Sexism, perfect together

Yes, she is more presidential than he will ever be.

Ladies, remember all those articles in the past year that said, “Gosh, Hillary is pretty darn near perfect! When Obama’s 2 terms are up, she’s going to run in 2016 and THEN all of the people who think Hillary will be a fantastic president will have a chance to vote for her, just you wait and see!”

That crap was all over the place in every newspaper.  It was all about delayed gratification.  Sure, Obama is a miserable incompetent and getting stuck with him for four more years is going to suck yak testicles, they seemed to say, but just think about 2016.  Keep your eyes on 2016.  Hillary is going to run.  No, she never said she would but we pundits just know it.  So, people, give it up for Barack just one more time and then you’ll get the competent, resolute, experienced, intelligent DEMOCRAT you’ve been waiting for.

Then, on Friday, an article appeared in the New York Times which changed all that because all the people who decided to take an old cold tater and wait for Hillary simmered in their own juices in 2012 and said nothing just like they were told, expecting nothing, demanding no promises from the DNC.  Here is the title of that article in all its glory:

For Ambitious Governor, a Clinton Stands in the Way

Read it and weep.

Yes, just like in 2008, Hillary Clinton is the inconvenient woman who is standing in the way of the presidential ambitions of a younger man, Andrew Cuomo.

All that shit the party hinted at and intimated and implied and danced around to make you think that Hillary was going to run in 2016 was just a cynical ploy to get you onboard to vote for Obama now.  To me, this ranks right up there with Romney telling his donors that the 47% of Americans who pay no income taxes have the unmitigated gall to insist on eating.  Having a woman at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2012 or 2016 would only send a positive signal to OVER HALF of the population who is under siege from the religious right but who cares?  Not Democrats.

Of course, your mileage may vary but one of the reasons we are headed into this fall election with two candidates who don’t give a f^&* about working people or women is because the Democrats failed to challenge Obama with the only other person on their side of the aisle who had a prayer of beating the Republicans, Hillary Clinton.  You don’t get anything if you don’t ask for anything and the media was complicit in delaying the gratification of the desperate, the unemployed and the Clintonistas until 2016, so they asked for nothing.  See how this works?

If you don’t believe that the Democrats have absolutely no intention of EVER mentoring or promoting Hillary or likely any woman for president, read the article.  It’s full of the same sexist shit we saw in 2008.  For one thing, why aren’t we framing the headline, “For Ambitious Secretary of State, Democratic Males Continue to Obstruct”?  But wait! There’s more:

Creating frustration for his inner circle, as Mr. Cuomo considers a 2016 campaign for the White House, the eyes of his party are fixed on Mrs. Clinton, whose already sky-high stature among Democratic activists was enhanced by her husband’s crowd-pleasing speech this month at the party’s convention in Charlotte, N.C., and who can count on broad support if she decides to run.

Mrs. Clinton complicates Mr. Cuomo’s ambitions in several ways. Despite the fact that she hails from Illinois, she is now viewed as a New Yorker and commands deep loyalty from the state’s Democratic establishment. And Mr. Cuomo, 54, reveres her husband, former President Bill Clinton; he views Mr. Clinton as a mentor who helped him begin a career in politics, according to Cuomo friends and associates.

My GOD! There is a man who is frustrated!  This shall not stand!

And Hillary is complicating Cuomo’s ambitions.  Why is she doing that!?  Doesn’t she understand that he really wants to be president?

Neither she nor Mr. Cuomo has signaled any plans for the 2016 election, and the governor says he is focused on his current job. (Mrs. Clinton is not expected to stay in her cabinet post if Mr. Obama wins a second term.) But the potential collision between them is gripping the political world in New York.

“In terms of the psychodrama of politics, it does not get any better than this,” the Democrat close to Mr. Cuomo said.

While Mr. Cuomo has deep affection for Mr. Clinton and calls him for advice, his relationship with Mrs. Clinton is less personal.

What potential collision? The DNC virtually promised women and gullible Clintonistas that she was going to run.  All it needs to do is tell Andrew Cuomo is to suck it up and step aside.  How hard is that?

Ahhhh, but you see, Andrew Cuomo doesn’t have a personal relationship with Hillary Clinton, therefore, it will be OK for him to go after her personally and have his droogs tear her presidential ambitions to shreds.  It’s what Democratic males do.

What is most vexing to those who want to see Mr. Cuomo run is that Mrs. Clinton, given her popularity in the party, can take her time deciding whether to make another bid for the presidency, essentially freezing the rest of the Democratic field.

Yes, it’s altogether vexing.  Damn her.  Why doesn’t she just quit?  It’s almost as if she’s so popular because so many people have been waiting so long for her.

But here’s the best line in the article:

But others reject the notion that Mrs. Clinton poses a serious obstacle to Mr. Cuomo, saying she is enjoying a political honeymoon right now but still has many of the weaknesses that plagued her in the past, including a polarizing image.

By contrast, they say, Mr. Cuomo is a fresh face whom Democratic officials, donors and activists will naturally want to court — provided that he wins re-election in 2014, when Mrs. Clinton will most likely be out of a job in politics.

This is a not so subtle way of saying that Hillary is old.  Forget that her approval rating is stratospheric, she must still be called “polarizing”, she’s simply old news. She’ll be 68 before she’s allowed to run again.  She’ll be past her freshness date. And she’ll be running in a primary against this young whipper snapper with a penis who wants her to get the fuck out of his way.

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.  This is the way the party is going to get rid of Hillary.  They have no intention of ever putting her in the White House.  Repeat after me: The Democrats do not mentor women.  Don’t believe me?  Remember how the Democrats saddled Nancy Pelosi with Steny Hoyer instead of John Murtha, the guy she originally wanted?  Yep, before she was even out of the gate as Speaker of the House, the party guys stuck her with a minder who would simply ignore and override her. (I’ll try to find the pic where Nancy has to stand next to Steny after that announcement.  The look on her face says it all. ahh, found it.  See below. )  Nancy’s not much of a true liberal anyway, since she’s got her own clan to protect, but she’s not really in charge anyway.  Steny is.

Remember what happened to Chellie Pingree in Maine this year?  She was a Democratic representative who wanted to run for Olympia Snowe’s senate seat.  But the Democrats told Pingree they were going to support an independent candidate instead of her.  So, not only did the Democrats decide to support someone not even in their party, but they allowed a female senator’s seat to be replaced with a man.  We have a lousy 17% representation of women in Congress and Democrats have no obligation or desire to change that number.  Oh, sure, maybe Pingree couldn’t have won, but it’s not like the Democrats stood behind her and made her look like a formidable candidate.  Democrats don’t do that for their female candidates.  But they’ll do it for a first term senator Barack Obama and Andrew Cuomo, both of whom have the patience of a 2 year old.

Look at Elizabeth Warren.  The Democrats have been notably cool to her.  If she’s pulling ahead of Scott Brown now, she’s doing it pretty much on her own.  That’s because Democrats don’t back their female candidates. They have no faith in them, don’t want to have to work with them, act like they’re second best, tokens.  And they always expect them to step aside when an ambitious man wants to run for something.

You can deny it all you want but that’s the truth, people.  Democrats don’t think very highly of women.  They just don’t. And when you’re no longer fresh, you won’t get off the damn stage.  And when push comes to shove, they’re going to sell you out on everything that’s important to you: equal pay, equality in general, abortion, contraception.  They will ignore you in meetings, call you “not a team player”, say that you’re “hard to work with”, you insist on your own way.  Don’t believe me?  Go ask Christine Romer, Brooksley Born, Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren. Heck, the White House didn’t even keep Nancy Pelosi in the loop on the debt ceiling meetings in the summer of 2011.  Obama’s team wanted to do their deal through Steny and leave Nancy out of it. They didn’t even have the courtesy of keeping her updated.  If you raise your voice, attempt to exercise power, express an opinion and don’t go back home to tend the garden, they don’t want you around.

I say this as a liberal, Democrat-in-Exile, not because I want the Republicans to win. It is past time for women to seriously consider not belonging to parties that do not have a hard quota of female representation in their foundation documents, just like some European parties do that have greater female representation in government.  It’s too late in 2012 but it’s not too late for 2014.  I am sick to death of these two political parties treating us like we don’t matter to their own ambitions, like our lives are not as important, that we’ll just go along with the program.  They treat us like children, substitute their own judgement for ours and flush our votes down the drain if they’re inconvenient.  That shit’s got to stop.

Given that this is the strategy they’re going to take to sideline Hillary and everyone who has been waiting for her turn, I can’t see myself ever voting for another Democrat for president in my lifetime.  I was dubious that Hillary would even want to run in 2016, no matter how much the media pushed that meme.  I think she sees the writing on the walls.  The Democrats don’t see her as a full person with the ability to command the way they see men.  She’s also to the left of Obama and the party doesn’t want to represent working people and women anymore than Republicans do. And then there the issue of penis years.  She could be as perfect a presidential candidate as there ever was and they’d still shave points off of her because she doesn’t have a penis. Penises make you want to be president more.  If you don’t have a penis, your ambition mojo is not as strong.

And they’ll drag up the old urban legends about how her campaign was badly run.  Yes, a campaign that won CA, PA, NY, NJ, TX, OH, MA, IN, MO, FL, MI, NM, WV, KY, AR etc, etc, was poorly managed. {{rolling eyes}} Nevermind that it was Obama’s campaign that needed to have the rules changed so the party could drag his sorry ass over the finish line for the nomination, it will always be HER campaign that was mismanaged because she concentrated on big Democratic states and ignored Idaho.

So, anyway, Democrats are lying, sexist assholes.  That’s the truth.  You’ve seen the data, draw your own conclusions.

Warren vs Brown debate: currently in progress

You can watch it here on WBZ.

As Atrios says, document of the atrocities.

LI(E)BOR

We have used the word “evil” to apply to bankers so often in the last four years that it’s become trite.  Nevertheless, the level of austerity imposed on us by the financial establishment in order for them to continue to seize money and power without accountability is so destructive that there’s really no other word that applies.  Once again, we have to go back to Hannah Arendt’s comment about the “banality of evil” to understand what we’re talking about here. It is the normalization of the unthinkable.  It’s not that these financiers are people who beat their wives or sell their children into sexual slavery.  I’m sure that some of these people are perfectly fine to socialize with.  You can play a few rounds of golf, have dinner, go sailing with them.  They seem like such nice, intelligent, clean-cut people, if a bit more ambitious than the average Joe.  OK, insanely more ambitious, but you know what I mean.  They don’t look like gun toting SS droogs in jackboots who will conduct you to the edge of the pit where they will shoot you in the back of the head for inconveniently living on land they had their eyes on.

And yet, isn’t that what they’re doing, in a so far non-violent way?  They’re leading hundreds of millions of people to the edge of the pit of financial instability and a lifetime of precarious existence and pushing them over with a swift kick to the back.  When you lose your job, your house, your marriage, everything but the clothes on your back and the student loans you will be paying off forever, and it’s all because some wealthy bankers need to preserve their bonuses, isn’t that evil?

Check out this unbelievable interview about LIBOR from the BBC with Harvard professor Niall Ferguson.  The second part is particularly outrageous.  Essentially, we are being pressured to turn generation against generation and Ferguson implies that Obama will sell us out at the end of this year:

Part 1:

Part 2:

(Roberto Unger’s call for the left to defeat Obama makes a lot more sense now.  Ahh, I see that Ferguson is one of the original Confidence Fairies that Krugman is always referring to.  What’s more, he’s married to Aayan Hirsi Ali, the Somali born former Dutch MP who works for the conservative American Enterprise Institute.  She has taken Christopher Hitchens’ place in the Four Horseman dialogues.  Man-o-man, no one is safe from the creepy thoughts of extreme right wing philosophy.  I can’t take the Four Horseman dialogues seriously now.  Not until she’s replaced.  She jumped from ultra religious conservatism to ultra right wing conservatism and is not a good ambassador for the New Atheist movement.  Sorry, Richard.  She’s going to damage your credibility.  You’ve got to be very careful about these people because in this country, the political right wing is inextricably tied to the religious right wing.)

The LIBOR scandal took me back to the fall of 2008 when Planet Money popped up on NPR.  At first, Planet Money was a good resource for non-financiers to get a grip on Credit Default Swaps and Collateralized Debt Obligations.  A few months later, that began to change subtly as the hosts of Planet Money got pulled into the realm of the serious people.  But in October 2008, they were on top of LIBOR.  I remember them talking about the TED spread and LIBOR and getting the sense that the LIBOR number, the interbank interest rate showing how willing banks were to lend to one another was an indicator of the global scale of the catastrophe.  No joke.  The higher the LIBOR number creeped, the more likely we were to spin off to a Depression that was bigger than the world had ever seen.  The thing is, according to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the banks were manipulating LIBOR starting in 2005, affecting rates on adjustable rate mortgages.  And the downstream effect of LIBOR was felt in just about every interest rate on every act of borrowing by every individual in the world.  We are talking about hundreds of trillions of dollars.  In this Planet Money snippet, Adam Davidson discusses the effect of LIBOR and the TED spread and what it means for global markets around the world.  Throughout October, Planet Money followed TED and LIBOR and the effect of the bailout money.  For some reason, LIBOR numbers should have gone down a bit after the infusion of money but they didn’t, probably because the LIBOR rate, as high as it was, wasn’t real and wasn’t high enough to reflect reality.

But reality might have set off a global panic, triggering much more severe regulation of the finance industry so it had to stay hidden.  In the meantime, we’ve been carrying the weight of these behemoth zombies for four years and if we don’t do something now, we will be carrying them for years to come- at our expense.  And they’ve gotten off with minor slaps on the wrist.  The CFTC fined British banks a paltry $450 million for their manipulations.  That’s an insult to American taxpayers and totally inadequate.  Democratic lawmakers should be outraged and demanding accountability.  Where are they??

In another Planet Money episode from October 2008, we find out what LIBOR meant to the little people:

Justin asks us today:

“I saw you mentioned student loan availability, but what about existing loans? Since many student loans have their interest rates tied to LIBOR or Prime, what does LIBOR hitting all-time highs this week mean for students? And, perhaps more ominously, graduates who are in repayment? How long can this go on before they start to see some effect on their loans?”

Even if Congress passes the bailout, many students across the nation will begin to see higher costs for loans in the coming months or could be turned away by banks altogether as the credit crisis intensifies.

The goes the same for graduates. The big issue is what kind of loans you have.

Most direct government-backed loans such as Federal Stafford and PLUS loans have fixed interest rates. This means the interest rate will remain constant for the life of the loan.

If you took out private loans, which have become increasingly common as students look for new sources to finance the soaring costs of college, they typically have variable rates and are projected to jump this year. Sorry.

Sorry, student.  Sucks to be you.  In the light of the LIBOR manipulation details, that seems particularly callous, along with Davidson’s subsequent attack on Elizabeth Warren for caring about homeowners and consumers and not being “serious”.  It was the influence of the serious people on Davidson (by the way, who was he referring to as his serious sources anyway?  Her colleague Niall Ferguson at Harvard, perhaps? And do “penis years” have something to do with why his word may have carried more weight than hers?) and on our elected officials that lead to the gouging of the taxpayers to pay the bankers’ unconscionable debts on bad bets.  We are talking about trillions of dollars of OUR money, OUR retirements, so that the weekend sailors and golf buddies would not feel inconvenienced.

I used to think my outrage meter was pegged but I have never seen such corruption go unchecked in my lifetime.  What we have here is a bunch of extremely irresponsible and unethical people playing with people’s livelihoods like it wasn’t real money to them.  And it isn’t real money to them.  The tens of thousands of dollars we’ll be collecting each year in measly pensions and social security, that’s nothing.  They can burn through that in a matter of minutes.  If it were several million dollars in Social Security payouts affecting their retirement packages, that might get their attention and they’d be furiously lobbying Congress to save Social Security at all costs.  Social Security and pensions would become holy sacraments. But because we are talking about such piddling amounts that amount to pocket change to the wealthy, it has no real meaning to them.  We might as well be flood victims in Bangladesh, clinging to a few square meters of dry land while the water rises all about us.  Those poor people.  Well, that’ll learn them to farm in a flood zone.

The careers we have lost? Not their problem.  Our children’s college funds, the roofs they have over their heads, the food we put in their mouths, barely registers.  On an individual basis, none of us make enough money to get their attention.  The significance of the figures of our incomes does not arouse their concern.  They are so caught up and preoccupied with making their numbers that they don’t have the time to care about your little problems.  They have jumped to a new level in the game where the sheer volume of money being swapped is intoxicating.  They’re not playing in the real world anymore.

It’s got to stop.  The manipulation of LIBOR was uncovered by the US CFTC.  That means, we’ve been aware of it for some time.  We probably knew about it when Occupy Wall Street was protesting last fall and we probably knew about it when their camps were broken up and they were hauled off to jail and when the DHS sent in their riot troops.  Yep, the Obama administration has known.  And so far, not one banker has been hauled off to jail.  No one has been penalized.

Think about that.  The scope of the LIBOR scandal affects every person who has ever dealt with a bank in the past 7 years.  It’s so outrageously immoral and has caused so much destruction and continues to wreck havoc in Spain, Ireland, Britain, the US, everywhere that if it isn’t prosecuted as a the criminal enterprise that it is, then I can only conclude that our elected officials are complicit.  They had to have known that the banks that are now too big to fail were in fact failing and were disguising the scale of the catastrophe from the public.  Those banks are still in business, thanks to our largess, and no one in the Obama administration, particularly Tim Geithner, has dared to declare them insolvent and break them up as Sheila Bair suggested in 2009. They are now bigger and more dangerous than ever and they are calling the shots about our jobs, retirements and money supply around the world.

Our money went into their bottomless gullets and continues to go in, and yet, they and their political arms have the outrageous gall to insist that we, the hardworking taxpayers who paid in advance for our social security benefits, WE have to take a haircut.  That is what the so-called Grand Bargain is all about, ladies and gentlemen. That’s why we must lose our jobs.  We cost too much.  They think they can dump the blame on us for having to eat and getting old and needy.

We are living in a world that is run by criminals.  You may think that’s they way it’s always been but this is now institutionalized criminality.  No one can be trusted.  And when no one can be trusted, all hell breaks loose.

More on LIBOR:

Boston Globe- How a LIBOR scheme works and what it means to consumers

Joe Nocera- LIBOR’s Dirty Laundry

Yves Smith- Yes, Virginia, the real action in the LIBOR scanda was in the derivatives

Here’s an interesting take on LIBOR from 2007 when banks were manipulating the rate up: Why LIBOR won’t hurt that much.

Also, this Fresh Air interview with Paul Krugman in Oct 2008 is very revealing.  He was right about almost everything except the unemployment rate. (his prediction was too low).  But even more striking is the last 5 minutes of the interview when he talks about the two presidential candidates and why Ben Bernanke was struggling to get a handle on this.  Could it be that the measures were inadequate because the LIBOR rates had been artificially lowered?

Matt Taibbi’s most recent posts in the Rolling Stone:

A Huge Break in the LIBOR Banking Investigation (6/28/2012)

Another Domino Falls in the LIBOR Banking Scam: Royal Bank of Scotland (6/29)

Why is Nobody Freaking out about the LIBOR Banking Scandal? (7/3)

LIBOR Banking Scandal Deepens: Barclays releases damning email, Implicates    British Government (7/4)

Matt Taibbi discusses the LIBOR scandal with Eliot Spitzer:

Richard Cordray is not Elizabeth Warren

Oh, so *now* Obama has the balls to make a recess appointment to the Consumer Financial Products Buereau. He’s going to catch hell for it from Republicans. He should have appointed Elizabeth Warren, but the boys club at Treasury is not going to let some broad give orders to them or anyone. They don’t even want to work with her. (Tim Geithner didn’t like Christine Romer, Sheila Bair either.  Huh!  Maybe the problem is Tim Geithner, eh?)  So, Obama did nothing.  The outrage from Republicans will be the same this year but the optics will look different, right Mr. President?  This is an election year.  All the human sacrifices of the past three years were painful but necessary so that you could get to January 2012 and announce that you are finally going to appoint someone.  And like the Lily Ledbetter Act, you will boast and strut like the cock on the walk as if you have really accomplished something that will make a difference to millions of people.

But Richard Cordray is no Elizabeth Warren.  She had conviction.  She knew what she was doing.  She made the financial services industry very nervous.  So, she had to go.  Cordray might be a nice guy but the emphasis is on “guy”.  Once again, we have an example of an old boys’ network where the alpha males are seeing who can piss higher on the wall and the beta males are kissing asses to get a plum appointment.  With a wink and a nod, Cordray will take his place and like so many Obama “accomplishments”, it will all be a bunch of sound an fury signifying nothing.  He’s not going to rock the boat if he knows what’s good for him.  He’ll be a team player.

The Republicans may try to block Cordray, but it was the Obama Administration that blocked Elizabeth Warren.

I saw a Hillary bumpersticker today.  It looked new.

Just sayin’.

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

In other news:  Some over the counter medications are dangerous.  In 2010, a 2 year old boy died from liver failure that was attributable to a children’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) product.  The parents are suing but to be honest, the trouble with Tylenol has been known for years.  Acetaminophen has unpredictable activity and serious liver damage is a well known side effect.  A few Tylenols might cure your headache, one extra might kill you.    It’s probably one of the more dangerous products on the market and you can get it over the counter, along with bubblegum and batteries.

Tuesday: Exasperation

How to administer a dope slap

Update:  I didn’t know this but today is “Pay a Blogger” day.  Jeez, is it that time again?  It seems like it comes earlier and earlier each year.  We now have a button in the left sidebar but it may disappear and reappear randomly.  Zhat vay, ve vill train you to hit zhe bar vhen it appears.  Ve haff found zhat habituation leads to disinterest.  Yah?  Zo, hit zhe button vhen you zee it.  Proceeds will help me get to various events and will keep Katiebird in her technical manuals.

I haven’t criticized Paul Krugman for awhile now, and I don’t really like to do it.  I feel like we’re almost neighbors, what with Paul living just down the road a-spell and all.  Theoretically, I could run into him.  {{Paul shivvers at the thought of that and considers hiring body guards}}

It’s not that I disagree with him in any way.  In fact, I don’t.  But one of his latest blog posts bugs the stuffing out of me.  In Mission Not Accomplished, Krugman writes:

Matt Yglesias and Kevin Drum say the right thing about revelations that big banks got very easy terms during the financial crisis: the real scandal isn’t so much that those banks got rescued as that the rest of the population didn’t.

For sure, the Fed and Treasury should have driven harder bargains. I think the political landscape would look different and better right now if the Obama administration had in fact taken at least one big bank into receivership. But in the crisis, money had to flow freely, and the truth is that the gifts bankers received are more a source of annoyance than a source of current problems.

What’s unforgivable is the way policymakers, both at the Fed and elsewhere, basically declared Mission Accomplished as soon as the panic in financial markets subsided and stocks were up again.

This is not news to any of us who have been paying attention.  It’s certainly not news to Krugman either because I read his blog and column pretty regularly.  No, what ticks me off is that we have another example of citing male bloggers as having had a great revelation, in this case Matt Yglesias and Kevin Drum.  Kevin, Paul?  Kevin, “I trust Obama’s judgment because he’s smarter than I am” Drum?  Or Matt Yglesias, who snickered in 2008 that if only the Clinton voters knew how the party powerbrokers were setting things up they’d go with their second choice and stop wasting everyone’s time (but they won’t do that because they’re not that bright)?  Come to think of it, that post by Matt Yglesias in The Atlantic in 2008 has to be the most stunning example of what the Obama contingent was thinking when they decided to f^%& over the Clinton voters that I have ever seen.  Let me cite it for you because it really is that breathtaking:

After all, consider the situation in Pennsylvania. All indications are that a clear majority of Pennsylvania Democrats would prefer for Hillary Clinton to be the nominee than for Barack Obama to be the nominee. But there are few indications that they understand the real structure of the race — that a miracle Obama comeback in PA would mean that Democrats enter May with a nominee and a financial advantage, whereas a sizable Clinton win in PA may mean that Democrats don’t get a nominee until August and that that nominee, who’ll almost certainly be Barack Obama anyway, will have a much tougher time winning in November. I think if voters better-understood the situation, they’d be much more inclined to vote for their second-favorite Democrat in the race, much less eager to do volunteer work for Clinton, much less inclined to donate money to her campaign, etc. But people won’t understand the dynamic unless it’s explained to them by credible party leaders.

Did you catch that?  What Matt said was that he was talking to party movers and shakers and they told him that it didn’t matter if Clinton won Pennsylvania or any other state after that.  The party had already decided that she wasn’t going to be the nominee no matter how many people voted for her and that continuing to vote for her wasn’t going to change this outcome.  I cited this Yglesias post back in March 2008.  MARCH.

So, Yglesias and Drum haven’t had the best judgment in the world and they’re late to the “bailing out the banks was only part of the solution” party.  It doesn’t surprise me.  Neither one of them live in the middle class of the research worker that my friends and I live in.  They don’t know what it’s like to experience a devastation of their industry or see every one of their friends go through a layoff.  They don’t know what it’s like to be unable to find anything but contract work with no bennies in spite of degrees in the hard sciences.  Life is hard out here.  Three days after Thanksgiving, there is no one at the Mall and the parking lots are not full. I haven’t seen Central New Jersey’s retail sector look like this since 2008.  Matt and Kevin are somewhat insulated from that by what Elizabeth Bennett would call “their connexions”.  Why are guy bloggers so much more likely to have “connexions” that lead to jobs that pay?  Can you answer me that, Paul?  Greg?

By the way, in a couple of years, will we be reading Matt and Kevin’s posts that say, “Golly!  We don’t have a research infrastructure anymore.  The finance guys and MBAs with executive hair at all of our research companies gutted their R&D departments in order to extract “shareholder value” and big bonuses.  And now, there are no new therapeutic agents in the pipeline.  Dadgummit! Why didn’t I know this until now?  I thought President Obama, whose judgment I trust more than my own, said we needed more STEM workers.  Why are hundreds of thousands of them destitute or working for Wall Street?”

In any case, Elizabeth Warren was a proponent for bailing out the middle class way back in 2009 in that notorious interview that she had with Adam Davidson on Planet Money, an interview that we and other bloggers have cited on more than one occasion to make the same point that Yglesias and Drum are just now figuring out.  By the way, did you notice the dismissive contempt that Davidson had for Warren in that interview?  I wonder if guys realize they sound like this to those of us who know they are full of it. And if it is true that Matt and Kevin are suddenly discovering that, “Hey! We should have given money to people who weren’t rich so they could keep their jobs and pay their mortgages.  That way, we would have refilled our bank and treasury coffers from the bottom up!”, should Paul Krugman be using them as examples of bloggy enlightenment?  Putting aside whether female voices are underrepresented in the more prestigious online opinion journals, how do Slate and Mother Jones justify putting on their payrolls two people who have been so disastrously behind the zeitgeist, with histories of suspending their own judgments to adopt the clueless or malicious opinions of others, especially now that we know that our own judgment was correct and theirs was wrong?

Over and over again, we have seen male bloggers used as voices of authority in online opinion pieces.  Whether this is just a bad habit or preference doesn’t matter.  It could be that Paul Krugman is surrounded by sycophantic, toe licking, ego-massagers and these people just happen to be male grad student types and Yglesias and Drum seem familiar to him.   But if we want to make sure that voices like Christina Romer’s and Elizabeth Warren’s are not trampled on in meetings with the next president, we need to encourage Krugman and Sargent to go outside of their comfort zone.  We have to make sure that the public gets used to hearing opinions from people other than the toady male grad student types as authority figures at the grassroots level so that future presidents have a harder time ignoring and dismissing them.  Don’t whine about it three years later, Paul.

If Krugman is wondering why it took so long for the powers that be to realize that helping the middle class should have been a priority, he need look no further than Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum and Adam Davidson.

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A little off topic: I found this clip of John Dominic Crossan, scholar of early Christianity, on the dangers of fundamentalism.  He sounds like what I have been trying to say about the malignant nature of fundamentalist Christianity.  I guess you need to live with it up close and personal to understand how dangerous it is.  When I say malignant, I am saying that fundamentalist Christianity spreads, it doesn’t contribute to the well being of society because it isn’t interested in the survival of that society, it’s harmful to other people that don’t follow its strict interpretation of scripture and the best you can do is suppress it and keep it in check.  You will never be able to eliminate it.  That’s why it has been such a disaster for the country to continue to treat fundamentalism so respectfully.  We must challenge it a lot more strenuously because it is dangerous if it gets out of control.

Gotta Love Her

Here’s Elizabeth Warren’s new ad in response to Karl Rove’s Republican funded Crossroads GPS ads:

Like I said about the Family Research Council prayer thing, what kind of person would want to dash the hopes of the poor and middle class in their struggle against the rich? Why don’t we ask Karl Rove?

But Karl’s attacks don’t seem to be hurting Warren like he planned. In fact it seems like they’ve have boomeranged on him and Scott Brown and rallied Massachusetts voters to Warren:

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren drew about 1,000 supporters Sunday at a rally in Boston.

“The daughter of a maintenance man who made it to be a fancy pants professor at Harvard Law School. America is a great country,” she said to the audience, who had pledged to volunteer for her campaign at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury.

The turnout was remarkable for an election that is nearly a year away. The Boston Globe reported that her campaign said her opponent, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), has been drawing crowds of 200 to 500 at recent events. The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reported on another recent volunteer event where Warren was heckled by a Tea Party supporter.

{{snicker}}

I would hesitate to call her bullet proof because there will always be an gullible contingent of voters and rabid nutcases who will find something they will turn into a kerning moment. But she’s smart and she will learn much more quickly than other people in her position. What more can we expect from Karl? Probably personal details. Everyone’s got’em. And then there’s the subtle misogyny. You know it’s coming. And then there is the time issue. As long as she’s the only featured candidate of the downtrodden middle class, she’s going to get the focus and relentless pounding. What we need are some other challengers for Congress and the Senate who will join her. Then Karl will have to play whack-a-mole. Imagine 435 moles popping up all over the place and Rove having to spend the money to smack them all down. How delightful.

Ahem, if you would like to contribute to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, see her donations page here.

And don’t forget Al Franken who has consistently supported Net Neutrality. His defense of New Neutrality last week is clear and eloquent. Do yourself a favor and listen to the first 10 minutes. There has never been a better case for Net Neutrality nor better examples of what might have happened to the things we take for granted now if Net Neutrality hadn’t been in place since the internet was rolled out to regular folks in the early 90s.

Reward good behavior. Check Franken’s page for more support of what you like.
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The Plum Line Metric for 11/11/11 (last Friday, Happy Hour post only):
Male writers: 12
Female writers: 2
PLM = 0.17 (rounded up to two significant digits)

We are making progress, not that The Plum Line is paying any attention to this number (yet).
BTW, Paul Krugman congratulated a writer for scoring a gig for an online journal. It was Matt Yglesias and he will be writing for Slate. Slate must have been concerned about the number of male opinion writers it had and took affirmative actions to address this lack of diversity.

Everything, including discrimination with regard to access and hiring of opinion writers, can be quantified. ;-)

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