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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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Obama running a Corzine campaign?

The polls do not look good.  No, they do not.  Even if you toss out the outlier Gallup poll, the race shouldn’t be this close.  It is beginning to feel like the Democrats were relying on tribalism and identity more than seeing this race as a referendum on Obama’s performance.

I’m looking around the web and it seems like a lot of people are in denial.  They know there’s something wrong but they’re afraid to look or go to the doctor, hoping that come election day, it will have cleared itself up.  I wouldn’t take that attitude if I were them.  Romney may win this thing not because people genuinely want a Republican but because the Democrat is just so uninspiring and contemplating four more years of lackluster performance and capitulation to the Republicans is very depressing and may make them stay home.

The weird thing is that Obama’s campaign is appealing to Republicans and Independents while leaving the Democratic base demoralized.  Who the heck does the Democratic party expect to come to their rescue??  The Lone Ranger?  Are they going to work Bill Clinton into an early grave on the campaign trail?

Anyway, whatever it is, they’d better get on the stick.  The Republicans sure look like they’re playing to win.

 

Topics off limits at TC for 2012, topic 1: Hillary 2016

Why wait?

I’ve brought this up before but those of you who keep hoping for Hillary in 2016 and are clinging to any assurance from the party leadership and media that she will run, do not yet understand just how powerful you are.  Otherwise the party leadership and media wouldn’t keep floating this nonsense.  In fact, it is precisely because you former Clintonistas are so powerful that the idea keeps surfacing the minute the economic news turns sour.

But I don’t want to talk about it here.  Nope.  As far as I’m concerned, the Hillary 2016 meme is a Democratic party talking point and you should know by now that I don’t repeat party talking points here, no matter which party.  The Confluence is not a platform for spreading party propaganda or memes or psychological manipulation.  In the case of Hillary 2016 or it’s partner, Hillary as VP, this is exactly what I’m talking about.  Let me explain how this works:

1.) This is 2012.  What happens in 2012 is important.  The election of 2012 will determine what will happen in the next 4 years.  The “presumptive” nominees in this race are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  Please note the use of the word “presumptive”.  They are not formal nominees and their names are not yet on the ballot in November.  Let’s dispense with the idea that the party primaries mean anything to the Democratic party.  That myth was exposed in 2008.  They’ll nominate whoever brings in the most money and/or who they think can win.  Obama was a historic candidate in 2008.  They could very easily replace him with another historic candidate at the convention. We already know that the party and the Obama White House floated the idea of replacing Jon Corzine with Richard Codey after Corzine won his party’s nomination in NJ in 2009 so, let’s not pretend that there is an obstacle to replacing candidates.

2.) There is a lot of discontent in the Democratic party.  The former Clintonistas have a very good reason for being mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore.  Obama was forced down our gullets against our strenuous and legitimate objections.  Whenever there are headlines in the news about how the unemployment rate stays stubbornly pegged at 8.3% or that the economy is about to take another downturn, the party starts to worry.  It can throw all kinds of crap at Romney but none of it will stick if pressure on the middle class continues unabated.  If Obama can’t be shown to have effected positive improvement by November, the Republicans will be more motivated to go to the polls to oust him than the Democrats and their independent supporters will to be to make sure he stays.

3.) So, whenever the headlines are bad for Obama, the Hillary 2016 meme gets floated.  I saw it make an appearance recently, along with Ed Klein calling Hillary fat.   Here’s what this former editor of the NYTimes said about Hillary.  Um, he calls her fat and tired looking:

At this very moment that we’re speaking right now, Brian, [they] are already thinking seriously about running in 2016. She’ll be 69 years old. And as you know — and I don’t want to sound anti-feminist here — but she’s not looking good these days. She’s looking overweight and she’s looking very tired. [...]

I think she’s going to take some time off, get back into shape. And if her health holds out — that’s a big if, of course — if her health holds out, there’s no question in my mind she and Bill — two for the price of one — will run in 2016.

Yeah, that’ll work.  Like half of the population will be delighted by some political jerk calling the most admired woman in America fat.  By the way, why is this former NYTimes editor so dead set against a Hillary Clinton presidency? He has to be because I can’t imagine him thinking she’s svelte and youthful in 2016, can you?  Whatever.  The reason it gets floated is because the party wants you to postpone your demand for Hillary until 2016 and make you accept the presumptive nominee for 2012, Barack Obama.

Here’s why you are powerful:

The party has to keep doing this because they think you will defect.  Don’t be surprised if the Hillary VP thing comes up between now and the convention too.  But that’s not going to happen either.  Hillary is not a stupid woman.  If you put her in as VP you relegate her to political oblivion and she knows it.  She will be powerless.  And you can bet that the minute that such a thing happened, the Republicans would be all over it, pointing out that the Democrats took their strongest politician and made her a nobody just to get the Clintonistas onboard.  They’d make a field day of the fact that nothing will change policy wise.  Obama and his banker loving dudes will still be in charge.  They will laugh and say how we’ve been had. Not only that but they will have buried the most powerful feminist in America.  How will that make you feel?  It will suck in a monumental way.  In fact, it will underline the fact that the Democratic party thinks that it’s best woman politician is only good as a second fiddle to a man.  Would you really vote for that hoping that Obama met with some crisis that would force him to spend more time with his family?  No, of course you wouldn’t.  Hillary VP is not going to happen.

But if you accept the Hillary 2016 meme, you allow the Democratic party to treat you like children.  When Pelosi or Hoyer or someone else says wait until 2016, that’s the equivalent of mommy saying, “we’ll see”.  You know how it goes, you want something so badly and you keep asking for it because you know it will change your life and the parental unit keeps putting you off with “We’ll see”?  You know damn well they’re just stalling, hoping you’ll forget all about it.

And the reason they have confidence that Hillary will never run in 2016 is because she won’t be a viable candidate in 2016.  Forget her age.  Ronald Reagan was 69 when he ran for president.  If people really want her in 2016, her age wouldn’t be a problem.  The problem is that by that time, there will be other candidates who might be more viable and in the public eye, like Kirsten Gillibrand or Elizabeth Warren.  But this version of the Democratic party will never let them run.  This version of the party is definitely not into representing the people.  It’s into the moneyed class.  So, by 2016, the destruction that Obama has wrecked on the party and the way he will have fundamentally changed it, will be too far gone to turn around with a Hillary Clinton.

Not only that, the Clinton legacy will be 16 years behind us.  That’s 5 presidential elections.  Now, I am not a political scientists but I’m going to bet that there is some kind of metric that indicates the dissipation of the effect of a presidential term over time and 5 election cycles seems like a pretty long time to me.  Someone with better poli sci creds should jump in here.  In other words, you will be so consumed with the present that the legacy of a president 16 years ago is going to look unfamiliar to you, or to a lot of newer, younger voters.  I’m willing to bet that the metric, if it exists, will need to be updated to account for the effect of technology.  Since Bill Clinton took office, the internet has had an astounding effect on the culture at large and has sped up the way we operate.  Our culture is undergoing a period of rapid change even though we don’t realize the full effects yet.  Our generation will be the most influenced and influential of any since the invention of writing.  And in this period of rapid change, all bets are off but you can be sure that the political landscape will look completely different 4 years from now.

The question is, will we evolve in a positive or negative direction?  Towards more or less authoritarianism?  Perhaps the recent push towards more authoritarianism is a consequence of this rapid change.  From where I sit, it looks like the authoritarians have taken advantage of the recent chaos causing technological effects by putting in their candidate to make sure they will be in charge from this point forward.  This is what you are voting for when you vote for either Obama or Romney.  The authoritarians have the most to lose if any other candidate gets to be too popular, especially one that is not beholden to them.  So, it is to their advantage to make sure that Hillary 2016 is floated out there for the Clintonistas to cling to so that they will abandon that hope in 2012.

As Rocky Anderson said in his video, this election is about morality.  If you were paying attention to the Occupy movement, ie actually going down to their sites and talking to them or marching with them, you would have known this.  Who does this country belong to?  Who has a say in how it is run and how we spend our money?  Who is accountable to whom?  What do we value?  Where is our moral compass pointing?  Do the richest and most powerful get the final say or do the hard working people who live here?  Where is our compassion?  Are some people more equal than others?  Are some children more equal than others?  And do the American people have the right to speak on these issues and petition the government about its grievances?  This is what Occupy was about. If share these concerns and you are not one of the 1%, then you Occupy. You are an American citizen with a vote, your life is valuable, you have dignity and you have a right to be heard.  If you didn’t bother to go to a site, if you instead listened to the cable news programs who you know lied to you in 2008, do me the favor and shut up about what you *think* Occupy was all about.  You would only know if you had first hand experience.  You should know better when if comes to listening to anything the media says.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, when you former Clintonistas see the “Hillary 2016″ meme in the papers, you should be secretly delighted.  Yep, that’s the moment when you should get on your blogs and beat relentlessly on the Hillary 2012 theme.  Replace the top of the ticket altogether.  Urge the party to go bold.  Say that you KNOW that if they don’t even consider it, they aren’t really serious about making the country work for real, working people.  Hillary 2016 means that working people will stay invisible to the party power brokers.  Hillary 2012 means the party knows it is beholden to the voters.  At the very least, you will be exposing the hypocrisy.

Which message would you prefer to project if you were the Democrats?

You can only make this power work for you if you Don’t Settle.  Don’t give into Hillary 2016.  Tell your elected representatives that you aren’t buying that bullshit.  What do they take you for?  Someone who just fell off the turnip truck?  Tell them you’re going to start looking for a party that will treat you with more respect and like a real thinking person with a brain, not a slow child that can be easily fooled or distracted.  Same with the Hillary VP rumor.  Please, not that shit again.  Turn your back on that.  Tell them you want the truth in all of it’s ugliness- the party wants to stick you with Barack Obama for four more dismal years and you will get nothing from it.  Nothing.  The party intends to do nothing for you except cooperate in giving you the biggest haircut on Social Security that you PREPAID because it can’t afford to force a well deserved haircut on its donors in the banking industry.

You’re not stupid.  You’ve got power.  Tell them to STFU about Hillary 2016, get to work on saving the middle class or face the consequences in November.  If they really think that Hillary is worth having for president- some day- then why wait? There is no time like the present to make that happen. And if they don’t do it, then they’re not really serious.  You have options and you don’t have to put up with the condescending attitude anymore.  Tell them who the real parents are and where they’re going to end up if they continue to misbehave.

In the meantime, I am going to moderate any commenter who promotes the meme Hillary 2016. You know who you are. I don’t care if you’re thinking out loud.  You don’t even have to be a paid troll. Your out loud thoughts look an awful lot like some kind of persuasive argument for those Clintonistas who may be debating whether to stay or leave for other candidates.  I repeat, this blog is not a platform for party propaganda whether it is intentional or not.

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

And here’s that blast from the past for the Clintonistas who may have forgotten just what and who we are dealing with.  The people who are working on Obama’s behalf gave us this:

Swapping out the candidate: The Curious Case of Governor Codey

Richard Codey, 4 time governor of New Jersey than no one’s ever heard of

New Jersey has a reputation for being special.  In the summer, we go to the shore instead of the beach.  We aren’t allowed to pump our own gas.  And almost none of the nice restaurants in the area have liquor licenses because the mafia owns the few licenses the state issues.  We do have restaurants with liquor licenses that go through a sequence of “new owners” before they’re burned down, but that’s a story for another post.

We also have a history of Governor problems in the decade Brook likes to call “The Naughties”.  Our problems were exacerbated by the fact that up until 2009, the state of New Jersey didn’t have a Lieutenant Governor position.  How ironic that in a state chock full of excessive administration, we wouldn’t have a lieutenant governor during the decade when one would have come in handy.  Go figure.

Let me back up a second and say that although New Jersey is considered to be solidly blue in presidential matters, that’s a bit of a misleading statistic.  Our Congressional representation in the House is 50/50.  We also have no female congressional reps and haven’t for several decades.  The local Democratic org says that’s because none ever apply, to which I answer that there don’t appear to be any lower level female politicians who are mentored and why is that?  But I digress.  New Jersey also votes for Republican governors and while Democrats are lucky if they last through a single term, Republican governors are usually two termers.  Tom Kean and Christie Whitman come immediately to mind.  Our story begins with Christie Whitman when a Democratic legislator named Richard Codey served the first of his several terms as governor of New Jersey.

When Whitman became head of the EPA under George Bush the lesser, she left a void in Drumthwacket (that’s the gov’s mansion right outside of Princeton).

Drumthhhhhhhhwacket, Chez Governor in Princeton

Since there was no lieutenant governor, the time left in her term until the election of a new governor was filled by the president of the state senate.  In 2001, the person in that position changed three times and each senate president took a turn being governor.  Richard Codey served his first 3 day term as governor just before Jim McGreevey, the newly elected governor, was sworn in.  We all know what happened to Jim McGreevey.  When he stepped down, Richard Codey, then president of the state senate, became governor once again for about half a year until the next governor could be elected.  That new governor happened to be Jon Corzine. But during the transfer of power when Corzine went from Senator to Governor, there was some weird little protocol where the state was in danger of not having an acting governor for a few hours (Oh No!), so Codey was asked to fill in until Corzine was free to take over.

Corzine had a thing for taking risks even back then.  Early in his term, he decided that he didn’t need to wear a seat belt as his SUV raced up the highway from Atlantic City because he was special.  What former Wall Street banker isn’t?  What could possibly happen?

Corzine’s State Trooper driven SUV crashes while speeding on the way back from Atlantic City.

Well, the SUV speeding at 91 mph could be involved in a serious accident where the governor was tossed around in the vehicle like dirty laundry and broke his femur.  The fracture, and other injuries, were very serious and the governor was hospitalized and incapacitated.  Richard Codey once again stepped up to fill the vacancy while Corzine temporarily suspended his powers for about 3 weeks.

So, if you’ve been counting, that makes Richard Codey the governor of NJ *four* times.  After the last time, the state got serious about the Lieutenant Governor position and in 2009 we elected our first.

But back to Codey.  He turned out to be not bad as a governor.  He’s a true blue Democrat that leans liberal and has a passion for championing the mentally ill.  His one major accomplishment during his brief stint as governor was making sure that insurance companies cover treatment for mental illness and postpartum depression.  He also made sure stem cell research wouldn’t face any obstacles in New Jersey.  It appears that everyone played nicely when Codey was in office, although he wasn’t in long enough to make any significant policy changes.  Even stranger was that even though he got good approval ratings, nobody really knew who he was.  His tenure was just one of those special things that happen here.   When his last crack at being governor ended, he went back to the senate.  All hunky dory and people forgot about him.  Until 2009.

In 2009, Jon Corzine was facing reelection against Republican Chris Christie.  Let’s remember here that New Jersey doesn’t have a problem with Republican governors.  Christie was not as moderate as Kean and Whitman but Corzine would have had a better chance of winning if he hadn’t been so meh as a governor.  During the economic catastrophe that followed the housing bubble, he should have stepped up and presented some policies that would have helped municipalities and cash strapped property tax payers. But he didn’t.  He represented the bonus class.  He was a former Goldman-Sachs guy and I think that he thought he could ride to reelection on the coat tails of Barack Obama.

Part way through the election campaign, it looked like Corzine wasn’t going to have the cake walk he was anticipating.  He was having trouble attracting interest and couldn’t fill his rally venues.  The race was starting to tighten up.  This is where it gets interesting. Richard Codey says it happened like this:

Codey said he got a call from the White House a week after Vice President Joe Biden appeared at Corzine’s poorly attended primary night kickoff rally in West Orange in June. “They wanted to talk about what’s going on with the governor’s race,” he said. “They would call me every week, every two weeks.”

By July, Codey said there was growing concern from the president’s advisers as Corzine’s polls declined even as he poured money into anti-Christie ads. It grew worse after 44 arrests on July 23 in a corruption and money-laundering case.

Corzine privately mused to the White House he was having second thoughts about continuing his campaign, Codey said.

“He was, mentally, as low as you can get,” Codey said of Corzine, even before July 23. “Then this … hit. It was understandable he was having a moment where he was saying ‘to hell with this.’”

Codey said White House political director Patrick Gaspard called him and expressed “great concern about the governor’s race, (Corzine’s) lack of support amongst Democrats and whether or not he would be able to overcome it. He never criticized Jon personally. But he said he was meeting with Obama and ‘the president wants to know if you might run if, in fact, Mr. Corzine got out.’ Can he tell the president ‘Yes.’”

Codey said Gaspard detailed an internal poll that showed Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. Frank Pallone about the same as Corzine, but Codey leading Christie by double digits.

“I told Gaspard I was going to be seeing Mr. Corzine in Trenton. I told him I felt duty-bound in terms of being a gentleman to tell Corzine. I sat with Corzine. I told him what I knew. I said ‘as a friend, I just wanted you to know.’ I said ‘bottom line is you’re the decision-maker. You want out, just do me a favor let me know as soon as possible. If you’re going to stay in there, I’m with you.’”

“I did not hear back from the White House.”

I guess the Democratic party leadership was concerned that losing New Jersey to a Republican would look bad.  (And it did, Oh, how it did) And even though Corzine went out of his way to make sure to deliver all of New Jersey’s delegation to Obama during the 2008 convention in Denver, from a primary that Obama LOST by 10 points to Hillary Clinton, I might add, Obama and Biden didn’t feel any sense of loyalty to this guy who carried their water and sold out the rest of the state for them.  So they approached Richard Codey and tried to work out a deal where they would pressure Corzine to step aside in the campaign and Codey would become the nominee.

Oh no they di-int.  Oh yes they did.

Corzine didn’t quit but that hardly matters, does it?  It was the thought that counts. And the thought was that Corzine was in danger of losing the governorship of New Jersey and the Democrats were concerned enough to want to make a switch of candidates at the top of the ticket of an incumbent governor with a solid, well liked Democrat former temporary governor whose approval rating was higher than Corzine’s.

So, ladies and gentlemen, if someone tells you that it’s not possible to change candidates before or during the Convention, and that the world would end if we merely *entertained* the idea of changes at the top of the ticket, remember that it was Obama himself who proposed the very same thing to the Democrats of New Jersey in 2009 when Corzine was in danger of failing.  Indeed, he did fail and Christie the Republican is now governor.  All that stuff about how an incumbent is sacred and the primary voters have spoken (because they had a gun to their heads and didn’t have a choice) and the world will end, yada-yada-yada, all that is bullshit.  The Democrats are a private party.  They can (and have) change the rules any time they want.  We have seen by 2008’s example that the delegates can be forced to vote for who ever the party wants, voters be damned.  And if they want to switch candidates, it can be done.  Franklin Roosevelt switched out his VPs, Lyndon Johnson stepped out of the race when he knew he couldn’t win a second term and, by golly, if Democrats don’t think Obama can win in 2012, they can make him “spend more time with his family”.

Obama and Corzine have a lot in common.  It’s not like Christie is well loved by New Jerseyans or that we actually wanted a Republican this time around.

Chris Christie during the first leg of his helicopter-limo-walk triathlon.

The problem was we didn’t want Corzine anymore. Voters were well aware of all of Christies liabilities and Corzine’s campaign flogged us with the fear whip and tons of advertising to make Christie look bad.  In the end, it didn’t matter.  It wasn’t about Christie.  It was about Corzine’s performance.  Voters judged him fairly, so, he lost.  I might add that Independent Chris Daggett, who I voted for, took almost 6% of the vote, almost all of it from Corzine’s hide.  New Jerseyans wanted to send a message to the Democrats but it remains unclear whether the Democrats actually got it.

But if any Democrat tells you you’re crazy to even suggest that Obama step aside for a better Democrat in 2012, and starts terrorizing you about Supreme Court justices and women losing access to birth control and dogs and cats living together, ask them why the Democrats didn’t think a candidate switch was so crazy in New Jersey in 2009.  Obama is not having a cakewalk this year.  And in spite of the media blitz against Mitt, Obama and Mitt are still tied in the polls.  People may not like Mitt personally, but they really don’t like Obama’s performance.  He has let regular people out to hang by themselves for four long years.  The Democrats are fooling themselves if they think that’s not going to hurt in November. And it’s not like the Democrats don’t have a back up who would be a lot more popular than any politician on the current scene.

Time to call Obama into the office and tell him management would like to make a change. We’re in the doldrums, the dog days and the base is depressed.  Change up the ticket, bring in a relief pitcher see what happens.  I’d be very surprised if management hasn’t already entertained such a possibility behind closed doors. In the event of an Obama loss in November, they might be in political oblivion for a very long time.  If the Democrats are sincerely concerned about all the horrible things they fear will happen if Mitt wins, then they owe voters a REAL choice.

Otherwise, the country might just end up with a Chris Christie type Republican in the White House in 2013 and it will be very hard to take Democrats seriously if they lose without ever considering changing their lineup.

I live in the real world

Occasionally, I have to do a gut check to make sure that I’m not the one out of step with the rest of the country.  If I read nothing but the left blogosphere, I’d come away with the idea that Obama will have a bit of trouble winning the election this year but not too much to worry about.  Because Romney is a heartless bot who loves X-games Capitalism and true Christians distrust him.  And anyway, the Republicans are conducting a War on Women and in the end, women will come flocking to Obama.  So, even if Obama turns to the right and promises to compromise on the deficit to the point that he is indistinguishable from the Republicans, Democrats will realize that he is the only one standing between them and a fascist corporate dystopia where we are all doomed to despair.  With Obama we get someone who is really smart but so unfairly put upon.  Really, it’s not his fault.  He inherited this mess.  The public is being too demanding, he’s doing the best he can and, unfortunately, that means people will have to suffer because the Republicans are standing in his way.

Also, the Clintons are Third Way Democrats who can’t be trusted even though they make Obama look like a political amateur.

But I live in the real world.

I live in a state that has seen one of its major industries dismantled piece by piece and moved to Massachusetts, China and India.  I come from a professional class of people who have slipped into the precariat class even though only a few years ago, they were solidly middle class.  I live in a suburb where 80 teachers were fired after Chris Christie took office.  I live in a metropolitan region where the train system has increased fares by more than 30% in the past couple of years.  I live in a town where the new grocery store closed its door a year ago and its building is an empty shell in a strip mall full of empty shells.  I live in a state where the property taxes are so high that even if you manage to buy your house outright, you can’t afford to live here without a job that pays good money.  I live in a region where food prices are getting really crazy.

I live in a country where if you fall because you’ve lost your job, descent is quick and there is very little cushioning to make your landing safe.

Maybe the economy is coming back but I go to professional meetings all of the time and at some of them, everyone there is networking for a job.

That’s the way it is in the real world.

A couple of years ago, Jon Corzine ran a campaign much like Obama’s.  Property taxes are a big issue here in this state.  They’re highly regressive and burdensome to homeowners.  Corzine formed a commission and then threw up his hands in frustration.  He ended up doing very little.  During the fallout from the economic collapse of 2009, he ended up doing very little.  While the state was hemorrhaging STEM jobs, he ended up doing very little.  And the campaign he ran on was, “I did the best I could, there’s nothing much I could do but Chris Christie will be a terrible.”

And he lost.

The spin is that Christie was attractive to a lot of people.  But I saw Christie in debate in person and he was nothing special.  He wasn’t profound or dynamic.  He was just a morbidly obese average Republican conservative spouting average Republican stuff.  It looked like he was phoning it in.  There was an independent candidate, Chris Daggett, who shined in those debates.  He actually seemed to understand the state and seemed interested in doing something different.  He got my vote.  In fact, he got just enough votes that Corzine lost.

The country is not turning to the right.  The country is looking for someone who acts like he or she gives a shit.

I don’t like Christie and he’s done some damage.  The Democratic legislature keeps his more murderous impulses reined in.  But the national campaign feels an awful lot like New Jersey a couple of years ago and Obama’s campaign looks a lot like Jon Corzine’s.

I’m not living in the fantasy that the Democratic candidate is going to pull this one off this year.  This is not 2008 and his candidacy is no longer historic.  People can and will hold him responsible for his lackluster performance and will not accept excuses.  They’re burned out by the abortion wars and the whacked out suppression of women in politics by both parties.  And anyway, the Democrats have yielded so much ground on women’s rights that we don’t take their scare tactics about abortion seriously anymore.  There are already 5 votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe but it hardly matters.  The damage is done in the states with barely a peep from Democrats or the national women’s organizations that they have co-opted.  Meanwhile, there’s no jobs bill to put us back to work and our taxes are dumped into the Wall Street money pit with no accountability. It’s demotivating to the Democratic base and it’s frustrating.  And it makes us angry.  We just want someone who acts like he or she gives a shit.

Democrats should be worried.  You can’t force people to vote for your candidate or see something in him that the rest of us have missed in the past four years.  And activists and bloggers aren’t doing themselves any favors by going along with the program without question or panicking in fear of what’s to come. Now is the time to pressure the Democrats to do something, make them take a stand and show that they care.  After Labor Day, it will be too late.

That’s reality.

Why don’t more women ask the Democrats “What’s in it for us?”

Melissa McKewn at Shakesville wrote a brilliant post four years ago that is even more relevant today.  At the time, the Clintonistas and other deeply concerned feminists were troubled by the use of misogyny by both political parties but particularly the Democrats and even more particularly, the Obama campaign.  Oh, you thought it was only the PUMAs that got poo flung at them?  No, indeedy.  It was any woman that had the temerity to speak up.  Anyone who threatened to harsh Obama’s mellow was accused of being traitors, whiners, insignificant, stupid, and bringing catastrophe on the whole country.

We’re going through the same thing again this year.  The past four years have been a disaster for women.  It hasn’t been Christmas and Easter and New Years for women under this version of Democrats.  It’s been more like Halloween.  If you weren’t paying attention last time to the myriad ways that Obama bowed and scraped at the feet of evangelicals to get their votes, then the Bart Stupak amendment might have been your wake up call.  Or maybe it was the retention of the Bush Administration’s conscience rule.  Or maybe Rick Warren’s sexist, homophobic version of prosperity based Christianity pissed you off during the inauguration.  Whatever it was, you figured out you had been screwed after it was too late to do anything about it.

But now that you know, what are your options going forward?  Well, read Melissa’s post from four years ago that she republished a couple of days ago.  It’s basically the same thing I’ve been saying for four years.  You have the option to walk away.  Also, Roe is dead, ladies.  We didn’t fight for equality first and now, we’re back to the pre-Roe days where states could make their own rules.  Pretty soon, abortions will only be available in a handful of coastal states, just like it was in the years immediately preceding Roe.  And there are already 5 votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe.  Kennedy will vote to eliminate it when the time comes.  So, there is really no compelling reason to pay any attention to the Democrats’ argument about Roe and the court.  They might get more traction if they focused on the rights of workers or inequality in general or voting rights but, you know, that’s just not this version of the Democratic party’s thing.

One thing is for sure: if you don’t wring some concessions and explicit promises and sincere preliminary steps from the Democrats, and Obama in particular, BEFORE the election, you’re sure as hell going to get the shaft afterwards because the Democrats’ concern with your welfare extends only as far as getting your vote.  Once they have that and get the power they want, you’re history to them.  Don’t make it so easy.

Oh, sure, the party will start to incite panic.  “What are you dooooooing?!?  Don’t you know that there is an election this year?  Why are you bringing up your rights now?  You’re being selfish, stupid, old, unpleasant, unattractive.  You’re collaborating with the Republicans, you’re a Tea Partier, you like that dunce Sarah Palin.  If we don’t win it will be all your fault.”  That is a guilt trip, my friends.  That’s the sound of people who suddenly realize that the urgency on their part does not constitute an emergency on yours.  Oh my god! You might actually *believe* in that stuff about bodily autonomy and agency and complete equality under the law.  It will be very inconvenient for them to stop what they are doing to either pacify you or cater to you.  I recommend that you make the Democrats kiss your asses.  Forget about Republicans.  They’re a lost cause.

Here’s how Melissa puts it (but go read the whole thing):

Forward movement for women can happen even in dictatorships, and can be reversed even in democracies—because women’s equality is inextricably linked to so many other cultural variables, like religiosity. To presume that greater democracy will de facto mean increased equality for women is to tacitly buy into Bush’s line about freedom magically emanating from any country deemed a functional democracy. It just doesn’t work that way. A democratically-elected conservative American theocracy would, for example, be anathema to feminism/womanism.

I have many good and important and personal reasons for not wanting the US to become any less democratic than it is now—not least of which is because those agitating for increased authoritarian control of government are simultaneously agitating for increased control of women’s bodies. I also have many good and important and personal reasons for fighting for my equality. Some of those good and important and personal reasons overlap. Some of them don’t. 

The important point here is that, while most USian FWs are undoubtedly interested in voting for the most democratic candidate, it is wrong to reflexively conflate “more democratic” with “more feminist” (even though that’s historically a safe bet). FWs may, in fact, for reasons outlines above, have to votecounter to feminist/womanist principles to vote for the most democratic candidate of the two major parties. That is not a small thing, and it should not be treated as though it is.

I would remind Democrats that what happened to Jon Corzine in NJ could very well happen to Obama.  Corzine as a governor was meh.  He did nothing to reform the highly regressive property tax system here.  He conducted a study and basically threw up his hands and said, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”  Then he gave away our delegate votes to Obama at the convention.  Um, Obama didn’t win NJ.  Not even close.  Hillary won it by 10 points.  In general, Corzine looked like a Wall Street banker and governed pretty much the same way.  Democrats here are still smarting from his loss to Chris Christie.  It really shouldn’t come as a surprise though.  NJ has a history of electing Republican governors.  But that election should have been Corzine’s because, let’s face it, Christie isn’t a moderate Republican that would suit New Jersey’s tastes otherwise.  He’s  kind of crude, loud, a bully, a sexist asshole and definitely out to please his rich friends.  There’s no expectation that he will reform the property tax system, only that he will strangle local governments from growing.  And voters knew that going in.  He’s been a disaster for New Jersey.

But Corzine lost anyway even though he was the favored Democrat in 2009 in a year when Democrats should have had an easy run.  The local Democrats think it was a Christie revolution.  I disagree.  There was a third party candidate on the ballot that year.  His name was Chris Daggett, an independent, and judging from his debate performances, one of which I was able to attend in person, he was the best candidate we had.  Of course, the two major parties have a strangle hold on the ballots and every ballot in every county is different, so Daggett’s name wasn’t easy to locate.  You want to know how it turned out.  Here are the results?

Candidate Chris Christie Jon Corzine Chris Daggett
Party Republican Democratic Independent
Running mate Kim Guadagno Loretta Weinberg Frank Esposito
Popular vote 1,174,445 1,087,731 139,579
Percentage 48.5% 44.9% 5.8%

You’d think the Democrats would have learned their lesson but apparently they haven’t.  It doesn’t take much of a defection to flip a race to your opponent.  And right now, there are a lot of women who are angry enough at the passivity of the Democrats and their arrogant attitude towards the voters that it might be better for US to take our votes elsewhere or split our ticket or not vote at all.

So, you gotta ask yourselves, Democrats, will November 6, 2012 be your lucky day?


Thursday: Things that shouldn’t need to be said but…

1.) Susie Madrak found this post by George Lakoff that I think everyone in the left blogosphere should read and commit to heart.  It’s about the Santorum Strategy and what is really going on with the Republican primary.

Liberals tend to underestimate the importance of public discourse and its effect on the brains of our citizens. All thought is physical. You think with your brain. You have no alternative. Brain circuitry strengthens with repeated activation. And language, far from being neutral, activates complex brain circuitry that is rooted in conservative and liberal moral systems. Conservative language, even when argued against, activates and strengthens conservative brain circuitry. This is extremely important for so-called “independents,” who actually have both conservative and liberal moral systems in their brains and can shift back and forth. The more they hear conservative language over the next eight months, the more their conservative brain circuitry will be strengthened.

This point is being missed by Democrats and by the media, and yet it is the most vital issue for our future in what is now being discussed. No matter who gets the Republican nomination for president, the Santorum Strategy will have succeeded unless Democrats dramatically change their communication strategy as soon as possible. Even if President Obama is re-elected, he will have very little power if the Republicans keep the House, and a great deal less if they take the Senate. And if they keep and take more state houses and local offices around the country, there will be less and less possibility of a liberal future.

I think I’ve said this before (I’ll see if I can find the links to my posts about it) but it bears repeating because the A list bloggers don’t seem to be getting it: the reason why the Republican primary is dragging on is because it works in the Republicans favor.  It changes the national dialog and keeps the issues that Republicans want to talk about out there in the media all the way to August.  Don’t be surprised if there is a brokered convention.  They *want* the whole nation sitting on the edge of its seat waiting to see who the Republicans crown.  That means they can talk about deficit reduction, entitlement reform and women’s reproductive rights for a long, long time. By the time they are done, the general public will believe that reducing the deficit at all costs is the most important thing in the world and that no one should pay for anyone’s health insurance, much less birth control.  If you made the stupid lifestyle decision to be born human and indulged in living, putting your body at risk, that’s YOUR problem. Romney and Santorum are in this together for this tag team event and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans have already issued primary voters their votes in advance.  It only looks like chaos to the lefty bloggers sitting smugly at the top of Maslow’s pyramid.  But come August, the Democrats, who should have been championing Occupy Wall Street without trying to co-opt it (see more on this below) are going to be scrambling to control the message.  Never underestimate the Republicans’ desire to win.

PS: I need a job, George.  Call me.

2.) Lefty bloggers are wasting their time talking about Sarah Palin.  If Democrats need independent women’s votes, maybe they should stop assuming that Palin is the cause of their defection from the Democratic party.  She’s not.  There are just as many of us out here who are independent liberals who are Democrats in Exile, who do not give a flying fuck about what comes out of Sarah Palin’s mouth.  Frankly, we’re turned off by the Palin bashing, not because she’s a viable politician (she’s not) but because she’s a human being and we’re just tired of the left using Palin as the dumping ground for their current round of misogyny.

Can we move on from Palin already?  She disgraced herself last year during the  Gabby Giffords shooting episode and before that when she teamed up with her chum, Glenn Beck.  Palin had a choice after 2008.  She could have become a legitimate politician on the right, and still not to our tastes, or she could have become a hack.  She chose the latter.  Let’s move on.

Palin is not relevant in this election season.  OBAMA is relevant this election season.  Nothing Palin tells women who have flocked to her, and this woman is not one of them, is going to persuade them to vote for a Republican.  What might persuade them is the persistently lagging economy and anger at Obama for doing such a lousy job as president.  We could have had a V8 but we got watered down tomato juice instead.

The rest of us independent liberals are shopping around for a third party.  I would advise the Democrats to stop touting Lilly Ledbetter as the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Not only is this stupidly deceptive, women are not fooled.  It’s an insult to our intelligence.  Even we can figure out that there is still no fairness in our paychecks, if we are lucky enough to still have them.  And instead of being proactive about reproductive rights, the Democrats are not making a full throated defense of them against the Republican juggernaut.  We are going to remember who took down Rush.  It wasn’t president Obama.

By the way, if some of this diatribe about Palin sounds like something the Republican right wing nut cases are saying, it’s because even those vile mouths of Sauron have a point.  Stop being dicks, Democrats.  You’re playing right into their hands.

I’m still hopeful for a third party candidate.  The two major parties are busy talking amongst themselves and leaving the voters out of it.  They are leaving the American electorate on the table.  Some decent politician could see this as an opportunity of a lifetime and consider running as an Independent New Deal Democrat.  Think about it.

3.) When they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.  The reason why the Republicans are pulling out all of the stops over paying for women to have sex is because they are working for insurance companies.  Insurance companies do not want to have to pay for this.  They are going to pass the costs onto someone.  Are you kidding?! Did you think the CEO of United Healthcare is going to take a cut to his bonus just because some broad in Washington wants to have sex?  Please.

The argument that Democrats are making that this will actually save insurance companies money doesn’t ring true to me.  Right now, all of the women who aren’t covered by the birth control mandate are bearing the costs by themselves.  That is saving the insurance companies money.  The vast majority are already preventing unwanted pregnancy related expenses for the insurance companies.  But let’s say that the companies end up paying for some unexpected surprises.  The cost of a pregnancy is already factored into the negotiations the insurance company has made with doctors and hospitals.  There’s a flat fee for an uncomplicated delivery.  That could easily be eclipsed by 10 years of oral contraceptives.  And now, they are going to be covering millions of women that they previously didn’t have to cover.  Of course it’s a hit to their bottom line.

If the Democrats were smart, they would have adopted the message of Occupy Wall Street and associated the insurance companies with the 1%, which they are.  They are trying to make a profit at the expense of your health.  They are collecting much more in premiums than they will ever pay out to you.  It’s immoral.  They’re making money hand over fist and giving themselves huge bonuses at your expense.  It’s immoral.  They’re greedy bastards and they’re making you feel dirty for asking for something that should be your right as a premium paying individual.  It’s immoral.

But Democrats are not smart.

3.) Speaking of the morality of Occupy Wall Street, the way that Democrats participated in muting the occupy movement (temporarily) may come back to bite them in the ass.  As I have noted before, the Republicans have a moral worldview and the Democrats do not (will try to find link to my post on this.  Must make better tags.  Sigh.).  You may not like the Republicans’ worldview but there’s no question that any American you ask can explain what it is.

What the Democrats currently have is everything on the table on a slippery slope and no backstop.  Not a winning formula.  They could have let the Occupy movement build momentum and then coasted to a win on its slipstream.  They could have said, “Hey, those dirty fucking hippies have a point!  The 1% *are* greedy fucks who are destroying the American middle class.  Maybe we should redefine what it means to be successful.  Maybe we should make the system more fair and help everyone achieve their goals so that America is number one again in innovation and prosperity.  Maybe we need to treat hard working Americans with more respect and champion their free speech rights.  Maybe we should stand up with them and labor against the soul destroying corporate class. Maybe we should force bankers to be good American citizens.”

But the Democrats did none of these things.  In fact, the Democrats were ultimately behind the DHS riot police interventions and the FBI surveillance and the infiltrations.  Oh, no, you say?  Well, who the hell else is in charge of the executive branch these days?

So, you gotta ask yourself, why is it that the Democrats would be more willing to engage in a strategy to enforce learned helplessness in anyone who wants to change the conversation and redirect it away from the ubiquitous Republican austerity message machine?

Who are the Democrats working for?  Hint: it’s not for you.

4.) Greg Smith, formerly of Goldman Sachs, now joins the ranks of the unemployed, possibly forever, after he immolated himself on the Op/Ed page of the NYTimes.  I hope he has a stash to fall back on.

I believe Smith.  I think he was what he says he was and do not question his descriptions of business as usual in the hallways of Goldman Sachs.  Let’s not forget that Jon Corzine was once a top executive at Goldman Sachs and look what wonders he did for the muppet investors of M. F. Global.  Or the Democratic base for that matter.  He has a habit of taking what is not his and giving it away to the undeserving.

Anyway, lest any of us in the pharma research forget, it was Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan who coordinated the merger mania that lead to Pharmageddon and all of the jobs we have lost in the past several years.  They do not care that what they are doing to the research industry is destroying it and is going to result in a vastly reduced portfolio of new drug therapies in the future.  All that is important is extracting the last bits of wealth from these ailing industries for the big shareholders and gigantic bonuses for themselves.  The ruined lives and careers that are left in the wake of these restructurings and mergers do not matter to them at all.  We’re losers, muppets and carrion.

This is not going to stop as long as executives are rewarded for short term planning.  It’s really not their fault that they behave the way they do.  It’s what they get paid for.  When we stop rewarding them for it, they’ll stop destroying us and not a second before.  It is stupid and foolish to expect them to act like decent human beings when they don’t have to.

So, what are Democrats planning to do to make sure the incentives are directed towards long term investment and prudent risk and financial stability?  Fuck if I know.

5.) Last but not least, I was looking at the lineup for the Reason Rally and while I am impressed by the great speakers who are going to be big draws for the Humanist, Freethought, Skeptics and Atheist movement, I was a little disappointed to see that many of them are not American.  If the Reason Rally organizers are trying to get attention for their voting bloc, it would be a good idea to ask Dawkins to serve more as MC, rather than headliner and let the American superstars take center stage (Dan Barker, Greta Cristina, Adam Savage etc.).  Otherwise, this rally is going to backfire.  You can already see the spin the Republicans are conjuring up.  Don’t fall into their trap.  I know that the rally attendees are going to be good, hard working, patriotic Americans who want reason to prevail over superstition.  That is what you need to work with.  The last thing you want is an international lineup of eggheads, much as I like Dawkins.  You need to have speakers who can connect with their audience, who come from a genuine place in the American experience and who lead Americans to a better way.  Sort of like this guy, Jerry Dewitt, former Pentacostal-Dominionist pastor and current executive director of Recovering from Religion, who in the span of 12 minutes manages to honor Tim Tebow, Christopher Hitchens, Thanksgiving and Christmas in a genuine, uplifting, positive  and non-theistic way:

Can I get an “Amen!”?

Recovering from Religion is an organization that is helping clergy and other believers make a transition away from more oppressive religious sects.  Dewitt says he gets a lot of inquiries from conservative Christians, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses because these communities tend to isolate their members so when a believer tries to get out, they lose much more than their religions.  They lose their families, community, sometimes their jobs, and they lose their identities.  Dewitt calls it “identity suicide”.  It’s a hard transition to make but people of good conscience who can no longer bear living a lie need a place to go where they will find acceptance and help.  Imagine Jinger Duggar trying to escape her captors and looking for a safe mental haven.  That’s what Dewitt is trying to provide.  So, if you are looking for a place to make a charitable contribution this year, consider donating to Recovering from Religion.  For every person who comes out of the spell, there is one more American who can help set the country back on the right track.  I think this is a mission that is worthy of our support and may even cough up a few bucks myself from income tax return.

By the way, I am astonished by the number of freethought meetings and organizations there are in the reddest states of the union.  I’m talking about Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Nebraska.  These people are very active and they are posting their meetings and media podcasts all over youtube.  Here in NJ?  Ehhhhh, not so much.  I guess that’s because New Jerseyans already feel comfortable as godless heathens and don’t feel the need to organize. I think they’re wrong.  The suburbs of central Jersey are sometimes indistinguishable from the bible belt.

A series of unfortunate misallocations

Jon Corzine’s Mulctuary Money Management MF Global is still in the news.  Is it possible that the only banker we are likely to see doing a perp walk is the former Democratic governor of New Jersey?  There’s some kind of weird karma here.  Anyways, Mr. Poe, er, sorry, Jon Corzine’s firm has something like $28 million bucks on hand deposited with J.P. Morgan chase.  The Baudelaire orphans, er, clients of MF Global are trying to get access to this money, which may be all they can recoup, but Chase says they don’t have to give it to anyone.  Oh, wait, three hours ago, a judge ruled that MF Global can use this money to pay its trustee and operating expenses.  So, there you go.  The answer to whether the clients are screwed definitively.

In the meantime, federal regulators haven’t decided yet whether the misallocation of funds was legal or not.  It may have been perfectly legitimate for Corzine to put client’s money up as collateral against losses on risky sovereign debt bets.

Regulators now have a full picture of money transfers in the final days of bankrupt brokerage MF Global, and are working to sort out which transactions were legitimate, a top official told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We are far enough along the trail that we know where all the money went. Now it’s just finding out which ones of those transactions are legitimate and which ones of them are illegitimate,” said Jill Sommers, who is heading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s review of MF Global.

“We certainly don’t want to lead anyone to believe we don’t know what happened. We do know, and we see where all the transactions went,” she said.

In an interview, Sommers told Reuters that just because money was transferred out of a customer account to the broker-dealer account “doesn’t mean it was illegitimate.”

It turns out that the transfer of the money from client accounts to the broker-dealer account required a permission slip from the clients.  And once they track down all of those permission slips, the $1.2 billion dollar losses will be legal.

Good luck with that.

I’m going to make a prediction that MF Global didn’t ask anyone for permission.  I’m going to bet that the movers and shakers just decided amongst themselves that they would allocate the funds and that things would just turn out for the best.  No need to ask the clients.  After all, that’s what they were paid to do.  They were the professionals, they were the experts. Clients don’t have the experience and knowledge of how the machine works to understand how these transactions work.  It’s much better to just trust our own judgement about this.  The clients may disagree and, if given the choice, might even try to stop us, but we are wiser than they are.  Besides, there’s a great opportunity here to make a killing.  Our clients would be upset if we *didn’t* do it.  Let’s go with throttle up!

It’s not like Jon Corzine doesn’t have a history of substituting his own judgement for that of other people who put their trust in him. If you want to know why the money from MF Global is missing, it’s because he made a decision without consulting the people who actually count- his clients.  He’s done it before and he got away with it so why shouldn’t he just do it again?  In fact, this might be a real test of integrity and loyalty for Barack Obama because Jon Corzine practically delivered the nomination to him on a silver platter:

It had to be Corzine.  California wasn’t cooperating, Pennsylvania’s delegates weren’t all onboard either.  Those two states could have been problematic and upset the narrative.  Moreover, sparing them the choice of taking the dive and going against their voters or upholding state law requiring the delegate vote  on the first ballot according to the state primary results meant that the voters wouldn’t really have anything to complain about.  California is a big state.  It could have generated a lot of complaints.  But Corzine could be counted on to deliver for his buddies on Wall Street.  It was only one small little state that gets a lot of ribbing but it has a wealth of delegates.

People may be wondering when I’m going to get over it.  It just makes me a tiresome “malcontent”.  Isn’t that right?  What can I say?  My standards are very high when it comes to the electoral process.  A vote is a sacred thing.  And when someone or someones who you trust misallocates your votes, it’s just as much of a theft as when they misallocate your money.

On of the first things a malevolent party does when it wants to take hold of power indefinitely is mess with the vote.  They screw around with the ballots that get lost or destroyed or they flood the ballot boxes with a few thousand extra votes or they change votes using erasable ink pens.  So many different ways to make sure that the voters’ true intentions are thwarted.  And now we have all of those voting machines…

Stealing is stealing and Jon Corzine is a repeat offender.  I guess that makes Barack Obama the recipient of stolen goods.  He doesn’t even have the benefit of ignorance as to where the goods came from.  That makes him a conspirator.  Anyway, that’s the way I see 2008.  Fraud, theft and arrogance.  We’re all paying for it and like the unfortunate clients of MF Global, we’ll have no justice until someone is held accountable.

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