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    • The Attack In Ottawa will be used to justify losing more rights
      Prime Minister Harper pretty much confirmed it: ‘Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened’ Yup.  Never let a crisis go to waste. I’m very sad that MPs and their staff were scared, and I’m sadder that a soldier lost his life.  But one attack does not justify increasing the police state.  However, if [...]
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Pulling out all the stops

Well, well, well, the crazy is getting rich and thick like some kind of dark, treacly wingnut syrup smothering everything in mean sticky.

I hate to say this, ladies, but we are on our own. Just because the Republicans have lost their minds does not mean the Democrats should win by default. Right now, we need a firebrand to make the arguments to keep us from disintegrating under the assault. But I saw a clip of Obama chiding the Supreme Court over the healthcare bill decision and I saw none of the kind of passion or fabled rhetorical gifts we need. I saw a tired looking dude who spoke with all of the halting, disjointed eloquence of Michael Dukakis.

I don’t know how many times I have to say this but here’s the standard disclaimer about how I really, really hate the Republicans and don’t want them to win and I disagree with them on virtually everything, including contraception and abortion. But I do believe that Obama will go down in history as an even worse president than Bush. He is not carrying the standard or staking a claim anywhere. He makes the weakest statements of support of contraceptive coverage and women fall all over themselves in relief. That’s a problem. For us. Because if we only expect C- support with Obama, we’ll end up with D- policies from him. He is a right of center politician. I hesitate to call him a Democrat because it’s not something he likes to even say about himself.

This year is going to be a disaster economically, contraceptively and judicially. On the Daily Show last night, Jon interviewed Thomas Goldstein on the Supreme Court and there’s a whole lot of mischief that the court can cause this year. Everything for campaign finance reform to voting rights are on the table. And now, we can be strip searched for a traffic infraction. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Call it pre-emptive humiliation and punishment. That’ll teach you to leave your house. It will come down heavily against women. Thank you Justice Kennedy. Someone should have a talk with that man. He’s the vanity queen on the supreme court. Someone should let him know that it’s not all about him.

Anyway, The left should really think about their lineup. I know I’m tilting windmills but even if he wins, and that’s by no means assured, we’re going to be left with this feeling like we don’t know what hit us. He is not the leader we need right now. He can’t step it up. It’s not in his makeup and even if he could, there are a lot of us who don’t trust him. Every attempt to passionately channel the hopes and dreams and modernity of the majority of Americans is going to look as phony and scripted as the Lily Ledbetter law he and his droogs keep trying to shove down our throats. You guys might worry and wring your hands and say, “it’s too late, we can’t take a chance”. Really? Either way, you’re going to end up living under the wingnuts. You’re gong to have a republican president who won’t stop them or a “democrat” who won’t stop them.

In the meantime, I’m chilling and keeping busy and munching the popcorn. This is my fight but so far, I’m still looking for a champion.

20120404-091129.jpg

Close your eyes and think of Bethany Beach, Delaware…

Monday: Weiner, Massa and Vitter

Anthony Weiner has offered to seek professional help. This is probably a good idea. democratic congressional leadership has generally been supportive of members seeking therapy. Remember Patrick Kennedy’s addiction to sleeping aids and his bizarre behavior behind the wheel? That was ok, we understood. Take some time off, Patrick, get your act together. We still love you.
With Weiner? Ehhhh, not so much. Maybe it would have been better for him if he had claimed to have strutted his stuff while on ambien. Anthony wasnt thinking ahead.
So, now Steny Hoyer is on the warpath and wants him out, out, out! He’s cranking up the ethics committee. There will be investigations and accusations and crippling legal bills. This is not going to be pretty. Funny how David Vitter didn’t have to run this gauntlet. I guess those good Christian Republicans are just a lot more forgiving,
But more than that, this frenzy of the Democratic leadership reminds me of last year’s piling on of Eric Massa. The details of Massa’s indiscretions always did seem a little sketchy to me. And it was the usual suspects, Nancy and Steny, who seemed desperate to completely ruin the man’s reputation in order to force him to resign. Let’s not forget that Massa was a liberal hold out who wasn’t going to vote for the health care insurance reform bill. He was a real obstacle to the vote counters who wanted to give Obama a win.
Anthony Weiner may be a guy with a masturbation problem but if he hasnt broken any laws, let the guy get some help and show some compassion. The fact that compassion is in short supply on the Democratic side of the aisle and the continuing presence of david Vitter in the Senate suggests that the leadership of both parties protects who it wants to protect and gets rid of the people who stand in the way of the agenda. What makes me think this is more than a sex scandal is that when it happened to Massa, the ethics committee investigation disappeared the minute he resigned.
So, what is it Steny wants that a strong liberal might stand in his way of getting?

As a followup to yesterday, the youtube blogger, Mompetition, shows us what its like to live in Soccer Momville when you have a brain of your own. It’s not pretty but it is damn funny:

and this one is for Atrios:

be afraid, be very afraid

Wednesday: Stuff the Left Does that Drives Me Nuts

Busy, busy, busy, guys.  This is just a free form post of stuff the Left does that bugs the shit out of me.  For the record, I consider myself on the left -liberal side of the spectrum.  But my mind is not so wide open that my brains have fallen out.

1.) Blaming corporations for everything.  Yes, corporations are the bad boys of America.  They pushed the envelope too far.  If Margaret Heffernan, the author of Willful Blindness, is to be believed, they are staffed at the top by a bunch of preening assholes who are short term thinking, self serving and not necessarily working for the shareholders.  But it’s hard to do some kinds of work without the support of a corporation.  That’s just a fact.  The miserable, whining lefties can cry all they want about how unfair and mean and BIG and POWERFUL corporations are and how they run everything with obscene, unholy gobs of cash.  That’s like blaming the candy for being sweet.  No one says that politicians have to do their bidding.  If you don’t like what corporations are getting away with, change the fricking rulemakers.  It really is that easy.  And don’t be surprised if politicians are the ones behind the “corporations are the source of all evil in the world”.  It takes the eye off the ball, which is the politician.  So what if corporations can purchase more TV adds than Ron Popiell?  These days, you can watch TV for days without seeing a single political ad if you don’t want to.  When it comes to winning an office, the average Joe has as good a chance as anyone using social media.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is just doing a haka.

2.) Single payer is the holy grail of healthcare reform.  Mebbe.  Mebbe not.  We won’t know until we discuss all of the options.  Wedding ourselves to one answer and repeating it over and over again like it’s some kind of mantra could cloud our judgement.  It’s better to find out what successful national healthcare policies have in common, distill the salient virtues and try to match those virtues as closely as possible.  That might mean single payer or it may mean something else.  Lefties who insist that there is only one way to do this are boxing themselves into a corner and not thinking creatively.

3.) Big Pharma is Satan cubed.  There are big problems in pharma.  Some of these problems pharma did to itself.  No, no, don’t try to wiggle out of it.  Taking the easy route with merger and acquisitions has ruined research.  You can blame researchers all you want but keeping the beatings up until we all become cheaper to employ is not going to work.  In fact, it will backfire.  It will only make us not want to do science anymore, which, if I remember my microeconomics correctly, will cause a scarcity in scientists, making us more expensive to employ.  So, this strategy is doomed, DOOOOOMED, I say, to failure.  If people can go through life making a lower middle class living without having to learn the Hamiltonian equation, they will.  In fact, you can live your entire existence without ever once having to learn Organic Chemistry and your lifestyle might actually improve, if current trends persist.  So, if you want good researchers, you will have to make it worth their while to study the shit that 99.9% of the population in any country in the world won’t touch with a 10 foot pole. But I digress.

The reason why lefties deride pharma at their peril is because if you want good healthcare reform, (see point #2), pharma *should* be a necessary and indispensible part of the package and will help keep costs down.  Yes, sports fans, if you can prevent strokes, heart attacks, asthma attacks, psychotic episodes, epilepsy, diabetes and a whole host of other maladies from clogging up your emergency rooms and taking up valuable hospital beds, pharma is worth every  penny.  An ounce of prevention is worth a couple billion dollars in cure.

Think about that next time you want to bash pharma.  Which would you rather pay for?  Some obese, diabetic, cardio case waiting to happen sucking up thousands of dollars a day with IVs out the wazoo or some monthly prescriptions for ace inhibitors, insulin and cholesterol lowering drugs?  This is not rocket science, oh ye self proclaimed “our side is smarter than their side” lefties.  Whether or not pharma is effective in delivering this message is another problem.  Your stupidity will show.  Give people a choice between going to the hospital with some life threatening crisis and taking some pills everyday and they will choose the pills every time.

5.) Roe v. Wade is the holy grail of womens’ rights and must be protected at all costs.  In fact, the opposite is true.  The longer Roe is out there, the more our rights will be eroded by fundamentalist nutcases who are goaded by neo-feudalist politicians who know a good issue when they see it.  Democrats are also guilty of using Roe as a political football.  It shouldn’t have escaped the left’s attention (but it looks like it probably has) that the Obama campaign amped up the fear factor with respect to Roe in order to terrify women into voting for the Sun King.  Yes, Democrats are just as cynical and self-serving as Republicans when it comes to womens’ rights.  Let’s not sugar coat this.

You can’t build your rights on abortion.  Drop this pointless, losing, distracting battle to protect Roe and go for equality.  Are women equal?  Do they have the same rights as men under the law?  If they do, then you can set your own terms when it comes to abortion, preferably one that rewards responsibility and develops guidelines that the majority of people in this country can live with.

There’s more but I’m out of time.  Ciao for now.

In Defense of the “Emily’s List candidate”

(note from Dkat:  Please welcome our own Wonk the Vote to the front page)

Yesterday on MSNBC during the Ed Shoutz hour, before the big election results were in, Ed posed the following question throughout his show: Is the Massachusetts senate race a referendum on Obama? One of his guests was Salon editor Joan Walsh. With a straight face Joan said that “this is not any kind of a referendum on President Obama, it is a referendum on Martha Coakley.”

After the race was called for Scott Brown, Walsh was on MSNBC again and went further out of her way to take the low road, saying “feminists need to put on their grown-up pants” and “take their lumps.”

Meanwhile, Paul Begala over on CNN one-upped Walsh, chastising Coakley for running “the worst campaign from a Democrat that we’ve seen since I don’t know when… Ms. Coakley mocked Brown for going out to Fenway Park where they were having a hockey game outdoors, and shaking hands. She mocked him for that. She said Curt Schilling, for goodness sakes, was a Yankee fan. You know, just on and on.”

Looking at the actual substance and context of what Coakley said about Fenway Park, it was a sarcastic response to the dismissive notion that she was wasting her time at the inauguration of Kimberly Driscoll, the mayor of Salem. (For the record, Coakley won Salem, 53% to 46%). Still, it was a foot-in-the-mouth remark that did not help her win the PR battle, no doubt. Her “Curt Schilling…another Yankee” gaffe did her no favors, either, and her spokesperson trying to pass that remark off as a “very, very deadpan joke” only highlighted the fact that her campaign was desperate by that point.

None of these missteps, no matter how clumsy they were, is what cost her the election, though.

What these missteps did was reinforce a caricature of Coakley that emerged only after she reversed her position on health reform and said she would vote for the current bill as it stands. That flip was her original electoral sin. THAT was the essence of her “bad campaign.” Once she did that she was up against a tidal wave of voter disaffection that ripped apart her every comment and her every move, and she responded poorly to it. She instantly turned into a deer caught in the headlights, and it wasn’t because she didn’t have it in her to be a good senator or to run a good campaign.

The Obama apologists want to play the Blame Emily’s List card. They think shaming feminists–telling them that Martha ran a a bad campaign so suck it up–is the Get Out of Jail free card for Obama and the rest of the Democrats.

When will the Activist Left work together to support Women when they Make Good in Politics?

There is more to Martha Coakley than the one-dimensional cartoon that Begala and the rest of the mainstream media would like viewers to believe. She is a hard-working woman who has been in public service for 20 years. She is not a poor little lady who doesn’t understand politics, nor is she an elitist shrew who thinks it’s beneath her to connect with voters. She understood the politics of the primary race very well and connected with voters then, even as Caroline Kennedy was saying one of Coakley’s opponents winning would be amazing.

The “bad candidate” rationale for what happened in Massachusetts is inadequate as an explanation, and so is the “local issues” excuse. Emily’s List produced a winning primary candidate (they backed the candidate who won the popular vote in the 2008 primaries too for that matter). It’s the Obama Era of the Democratic party that has created bad electoral conditions for Democratic nominees and made it difficult for liberals to stand on principle. (Even the socialist in the U.S. Senate voted for Obama’s health insurance scam. Way to discredit the right-wing canard that Obama’s terrible policies are synonymous with socialism.)

The one surefire way to avoid becoming the target of local backlash against Obama is to run against Obama’s policies–and in today’s environment where the activist left is split up along deep fault lines (“submit to party unity or else you’re a certain class of politician, voter, or woman”), Democratic nominees do not have the benefit of a ready-made independent fundraising network to take on the Obama machine during a general election yet. Of course they could try to build one, but either way it is an uphill battle and there is no easy path to victory whatever they choose.

The “new kinda politics” that progressives were so giddy about in 2008 is exactly what strong-armed Coakley to cave and reverse her initial position that she would vote against Obamacare. And, we saw the result of that last night. The seat occupied by Ted Kennedy for 47 years has gone to a Republican who won by running against the signature “reform” effort of Barack Obama. Obama has dropped the torch that Kennedy passed to him in 2008. Whether he or any of the Democrats can pick it back up remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t hurt the Obama apologists to take their own lumps and learn from the mistakes the Democrats have made. Either that or they will need to put on their grown-up Depends before they watch the returns in November.

Presidentin’ Is Hard

20obama1480Though I make no claims of being a financial wizard, or a political maven, even I can see that all is not right on Wall Street, D.C. where the heart and soul of our country is on life support, currently being administered to by second graders who want to be doctors when they grow up.  And, I’m sophisticated enough to recognize that a lot of what I read about our dire national situation is presented in the media by people representing the political party so far out of favor they have to look to bloviating blowhards for advice, or worse, can be made to appear to need to do so.  I get that.  However, in spite of all that, the forces pretending to represent the white-hatted good guys in this classic Adventures in Administration movie, armed with their heralded sky-high approval ratings for their poor man’s Dark Gable leading man, simply can’t mount enough of a stampede to disguise the fact that the dustcloud that follows them like Charlie Brown’s pal Pigpen’s is not the result of riding hard and strong over the dusty trail, but merely the wispy smoke trails from their “throw ‘em off the path,” hastily built, diversionary cookfire.  In other words, they got nothing.

Stalwart bastion of the Obamedia protection service, Salon Magazine, has an article by former Clinton labor secretary and Obacolyte, Robert Reich, in which he pitifully attempts to pooh-pooh rightwing claims that the Obamessiah himself is responsible for our economic woes by trying to lay them at the feet of the finger-pointers:

When it turns out that people like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, who took home $68 million in 1997, was the only Wall Streeter in a meeting last September at the New York Federal Reserve to discuss the initial AIG bailout with Tim Geithner, then New York Fed chair, among others, at the very time Goldman was AIG’s largest trading partner, a distinct scent of self-dealing begins to emanate. When it turns out that Citigroup got a bailout deal last October far more generous than that given to any other distressed bank, when a top Citi executive was advising the Treasury and Fed, the scent increases. Goldman’s past CEO was treasury secretary at that time, by the way, and another former Goldman CEO was a top Citi official and also a former treasury secretary. I am not suggesting anything so crude as corruption. But could it be, given these tangled webs, that — innocently, unintentionally, perhaps even subconsciously — the entire bailout effort was premised on saving these companies rather than protecting the public? Or that the distinction between the two was lost, and still is?

Yet, Reich gleefully and disingenuously, ignores the fact that the people he’s defending his ObaMaster against are the people who funded his campaign.  Not only that, the central figure in Reich’s little morality play, Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner, tax cheat, (TTTG,tc)  has a family history of sorts with Barry Sutoro, and is currently employed as the Blameless One’s lapdog and whipping boy.  To point out that he may have colluded with the banksters against the public in ripping off the country on the other team’s watch is…well…stupid.

Why would anyone purporting to defend the Obama administration draw attention to the man quickly becoming the public face of its incompetence?  Especially when the author can’t even make it through to the end of his own piece without acknowledging at least some of the complicity of the Obama Drama Troupe?

The Wall Street and Republican media attack machine doesn’t know exactly what to make of this. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, along with CNBC, alternates between attacking Obama for bailing out Wall Street and excusing Wall Street’s excesses. But then again, Obama doesn’t seem to know exactly what to make of it either. He seems to vacillate as well — one moment scorning Wall Street, the next moment justifying further bailouts. I do hope he takes a firmer hand, drawing a clearer distinction and making a clearer connection between clearing up these financial balance sheets and helping average people. Otherwise, the next populist uprising will be born in this moneyed quagmire. It is here — within the muck that was created by AIG, Citigroup, Fannie and Freddie, other giant financial institutions, now in combination with the U.S. Treasury and Fed — that the public is most confused, bears its most serious scars, and is potentially most burdened in future years, by decisions still made in secret.

Continue reading

His First Term?

obama_on_highJust Barely President, Baracus Hubris Maximus (hail Ceasar!) has been prattling on about “his first term” since he threw his size 10-gallon hat into the ring, like he knows something the rest of us don’t.  Like the rest of his West Wing “reality,” this is yet another transparent bit of scripted brainwashing propaganda in the Theater of the Obsurd.  However, though he no doubt truly, truly believes this one, the possibility that he might have some sort of insider knowledge on this point is more than a little freaking scary creepy.

Yesterday, while vowing to halve the deficit he inherited, yet saying zippo, nada, nuttin’ about the deficit he’s creating, he promised with his fingers crossed to get the job done by the end of “his first term,” something which he has already hinted would ensure him a second.  But, as with all things Obama, one must ask oneself, is there more to this than that?  This is an especially valuable point to consider, given that before the end of “his first term,” we’re all going to be spending a lot of time mumbling to ourselves anyway.  Might as well have something worthwhile to discuss.

Like his handlers’ now familiar other rather adept feats of legerdemain, such as the tried and true, clever use of favorable polling results ahead of entry into particularly tricky territory, in  proven-to-be largely successful attempts to pave the way for the increased possibility of public acceptance of whatever balderdash is read from left to right off his his Traveling TelePrompTer To Go, “my first term” has the hypnotic effect of “you are getting sleepy.”

Of course, in advance of his sure-to-be-historic first non State of the Union address tonight, we have already been treated to the requisite number of “he’s the shit” polls in the last few days, one even going so far as to assure us that he is more heroic, and thus, logically, more powerful, than Jesus.  Since, for Christians, Jesus trumps Moses, we can take comfort in the blind faith that the Obamessiah will lead us to the Promised Land of Financial Security by throwing out the Money Changers.  See how that works?  And, while all this is going on, we are being properly greased and trussed to receive the news that Our Dear Leader will reluctantly have to bite the bullet and nationalize the already nationalized entire financial sector.  Before “his first term” really even starts.

It is indeed comforting to know that we have a Father Figure who will do what’s best for us, even if that means increasing our (the taxpayer’s) risk while fattening the pockets of the beleaguered banksters.  Which is exactly what he’s about to tell us he’s about to do.  But you see, that’s how he’s going to “remake” the country, and bring about the “change” he’s been promising to achieve before the end of “his first term.”  First, see, he’s gotta get control of the banks, then, all industry, then, put us all to work on chain gangs building roads and railroads, then force us to “volunteer,” then turn over the school system to the military.  After that, by the time the government is in charge of everything else, fixing health care is a piece of cake.  Quite ambitious for the four years he’s got until the end of “his first term,” huh?

Now, if this is your idea of liberal/progressive heaven, the Wall Street Journal’s Matt Miller says, in what I assume is not snark, “Shhhhhh! Shut the hell up and let the man do his thing before you blow it!”  Of course, being an Obot fluent in ObaSpeak, he didn’t use those exact words, per se:

President Barack Obama is taking a beating from liberal critics who think his attempt to court Republican support is a political failure and a policy disaster. Yet this assault on Mr. Obama’s bipartisan instinct is misguided and, ironically, threatens to undermine liberal goals.

snip

Mr. Obama’s stimulus plan, which aims first to mitigate the collapse in aggregate demand in the economy, nonetheless lays down important markers toward this agenda, even if (or perhaps because) the details didn’t please partisans on either side. By marrying major new public investments with major new tax cuts, Mr. Obama is signaling that public activism and private incentives both matter profoundly. This yin-and-yang approach was strikingly on display at the bipartisan “fiscal responsibility summit,” which Mr. Obama convened at the White House yesterday. Before members of Congress and other guests, the president insisted on the need to restore long-term fiscal discipline (including entitlement reform) even as the nation runs up historic deficits to battle the recession in the next few years. The president’s professed reluctance to “nationalize” ailing banks — which has left space for an extraordinarily swift outside consensus to emerge (led by surprising voices like Alan Greenspan’s and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s) that temporary bank takeovers may be necessary — shows similar instincts. (emphasis mine)

See, Obie’s just playin’.  He’s finagling the Republicans with fake out overtures of bipartisanship so they can publicly reject him, then, pretending he doesn’t want stuff he really does want, because he knows whatever he says he doesn’t like, they’re gonna promote.  Clever, huh?  That way, he gets his way and if it tanks, it’s not his fault.  If it doesn’t, he’s a hero. (hail Ceasar!)  Either way, he gets his second term.

But, first, he’s gotta get the banks.

Now, you may say, “oh, come on! Are you really trying to tell me you think this guy is that friggin’ Machiavellian?”  To which I would respond, “you must be an Obot.”  Everybody else is well aware that similarly scuzzy, deceitful, underhanded manipulations are the reason he’s president now.   Step away from the KoolAid, and prepare to serve.  First though, I should warn you, you, too are going to have to assume the position sooner or later.  Once you have a firm grasp on your ankles, maybe you’ll begin to really see The Light.

“Cross posted at my place, Cinie’s World.  For more background information on my take on the meltdown and how we got here, see my earlier posts, Inside the Wall Street Whisper Campaign, and What “Is” Is.

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