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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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Thursday Morning News: Aftermath

For your eschatological pleasure:
Good morning.  This is going to be short as I was up past my bedtime last night.

I’m putting my “podcast for the day” up front.  Gretchen Morgensen, financial reporter for the New York Times, explained the foreclosure debacle to Terry Gross on Fresh Air.  Yeah, yeah, I know Gross is a Kool-Ade drinker.  She still is one of the best interviewers around.  If you get lost in Dakinikat’s posts, you may find Morgensen’s summary easier to digest.

Ruh-Roh, Jon Stewart’s interview of President Obama sounds like it didn’t go so well, er, for Obama.

As example of the president’s supporters being unenthused, on The Daily Show comedian Jon Stewart called President Obama’s legislative agenda timid during an interview with the president set to air this evening.

“Is the difficulty you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered?” Stewart asked. “You ran with such, if I may, audacity, yet legislatively it has felt timid at times. That I am not even sure at times what you want out of a health care bill.”

“Jon I love your show, but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you,” Obama responded, “This notion that health care was timid – you’ve got 30 million people that will have health insurance because of this.”

At many other times throughout the course of the interview Stewart joked with the president, basically questioning where the mantle of change that the comedian and many Democrats voted for had gone, leaving the president on the defense.

“You ran on very high rhetoric, hope and change and the democrats this year seem to be running on please baby one more chance,” Stewart joked.

Stewart: “so you wouldn’t say you would run next time as a pragmatist? You would not, it wouldn’t be yes we can, given certain conditions.”

“No I think what I would say is yes we can but.” Obama answered to laughter from the crowd,  “but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

[....]

Asked the humorist: “What have you done that we don’t know about? Are you planning a surprise party for us, filled with jobs and health care?”

It sounds like Obama bogarted the mike the rest of the time with long, involved answers with multiple prepositional phrases.  He was probably coached to shut Stewart down.

Ayayayayay.  I have to check the DVR.  I find it amazing that the one guy in America who can conduct a serious, hard hitting, hold-them-accountable interview of a major politician is a comedian.  All hail the Jester.

In the aftermath of Obama’s slash and burn march through the Democratic party’s constituent landscape, the coalition he presumably built in 2008 is fracturing.  The New York Times reports that Catholics, women and the poor are fleeing him for the GOP.  Didn’t see that coming.  What was it that Harold Ickes said during the RBC hearing?  Disenfranchising all those votes was “not the best way to start down the path of party unity”?  From the article, Coalition for Obama split by drift to the GOP:

The poll provides a pre-Election Day glimpse of a nation so politically disquieted and disappointed in its current trajectory that 57 percent of the registered voters surveyed said they were more willing to take a chance this year on a candidate with little previous political experience. More than a quarter of them said they were even willing to back a candidate who holds some views that “seem extreme.”

Here’s my take: Some of these groups never were firmly in Obama’s camp in the first place.  Some of these voters, the working class, for example,  voted for a Democrat, not Obama specifically.  Some were frightened into it, eg women.  And some were guilted into it lest they be called racists.  And now, they’re so angry at having their issues dismissed in favor of the banks that they’ll vote for  Republicans they like even less.  It’s not just that Obama has been so ineffective for them.  It’s that they could have had someone else.  You know the *other* candidate who won all those huge Democratic states by large margins and whose voters were suppressed?  Yeah, those are the people who are defecting in waves right now.

Here’s another interesting finding that jumped out of the poll:

There was clear opposition to addressing one of the government’s biggest long-term challenges — the growing costs of paying Social Security benefits — by raising the retirement age or reducing benefits for future retirees.

I’d kill the Catfood Commission.  Retirement at 70 is cruel.

Speaking of Social Security, Atrios went to another blogger conference with the White House.  Here’s the question he asked:

Q    Mine is an easy question.  Will you rule out raising the retirement age to 70?

THE PRESIDENT:  We are awaiting a report from the deficit commission, or deficit reduction commission, so I have been adamant about not prejudging their work until we get it.

But I think you can look at the statements that I’ve made in the past, including when I was campaigning for the presidency, that Social Security is something that can be fixed with some modest modifications that don’t impose hardships on beneficiaries who are counting on it.

And so the example that I used during the campaign was an increase in the payroll tax, not an increase — let me scratch that.  Not an increase in the payroll tax but an increase in the income level at which it is excluded.

And so what I’ve been clear about is, is that I’ve got a set of preferences, but I want the commission to go ahead and do its work.  When it issues its report, I’m not automatically going to assume that it’s the right way to do things.  I’ll study it and examine it and see what makes sense.

But I’ve said in the past, I’ll say here now, it doesn’t strike me that a steep hike in the retirement age is in fact the best way to fix Social Security.

So, what I get from this is that Obama doesn’t understand that those of us in our 40s and 50s have been paying extra into the social security system to pay in advance for the benefits we were counting on.  And when the time comes, we have every reason to expect that those funds will be there.  Oh, and retiring at 70 doesn’t strike him as the best way to solve the problem but he wouldn’t absolutely rule it out.

I would like him to absolutely rule it out.  And not touch benefits.  Ok, just get away from the social security issue altogether.  Just don’t even go there.  Just don’t.

Also from Atrios is this:

Big signs popping up around the urban hellhole with pictures of Obama, the 2008 logo/colors, saying “Support Obama. Vote Nov 2nd.”

That could come back to bite you in the aftermath of a big loss for Democrats.

Anglachel wrote another substantial, chewy post on WKJM’s Frustration (WKJM stands for Whoever Kidnapped Josh Marshall).  She takes on the Stevensonian side of the party that seems to be in control of the party apparatus this cycle.  (I’d LOVE to get her take on Chris Hedges ridiculous piece of revisionist history.  There’s some meaty material to work with there including what looks like a peculiar tendency towards left wing eschatology, although Hedges would probably vigorously deny it.)

About Josh Marshall, Anglachel writes:

What scares Marshall the most is not that Bill might be criticizing Obama, but that Bill’s very presence illustrates all that is missing from the current administration. Comparing the loss of the 1994 mid-terms to the potential loss of the 2010 mid-terms is an attempt to obfuscate causes by mindlessly jabbering about effects.

Yes, Obama came in to office with a hellacious mess on his hands – and a majority in both houses and an electorate screaming for change. He had the political opportunity of a lifetime to transform the fundamental terms of political engagement, just as both FDR and Reagan did. He could have taken on the banks. He could have charged ahead for substantive health care reform. He could have pounded the shit out the failed policies of the Reagan Revolution and pinned the blame for everything on them, and the country would have lapped it up exactly the way they responded to FDR. But he didn’t and now he will play (at best) catch up for the remaining two years.

WKJM is not the only one who is trying to avoid talking about thereasons for party discontent by presenting a half-assed and historically inaccurate picture of the 1994 mid-term election. What he doesn’t seem to get is that because the majority of the nation doesn’t hold the Clintons in contempt the way he and the other Purchased Fellows do, every time he (and others of his ilk) make this comparison, he keeps reminding us about the way Bill never quit, never gave up, never stopped articulating his vision of what the party should be and how he was going to work to achieve that end. And that resulted in retaining the White House in 1996, and gaining back House seats in the next three elections – 1996, 1998, 2000.

Basically, we’re being held hostage by these guys whose fervent belief in Clinton’s betrayal of the party is resistant to any presentation of facts to the contrary or even that the working class seem to still like him in spite of all that the Stevensonians feel Clinton did to them.  Never let ugly facts get in the way of beautiful theories.  That’s not politics.  That’s religion.  It’s based on faith, not reason.

In the aftermath of the healthcare reform act, the benefits seem to be accruing for Republicans this election cycle.  Quelle Surprise.  Have you gotten your bennies package for next year yet?  There goes another whopping chunk of change.

It’s almost as if Obama *wanted* the Republicans to win.

In Senate races, it looks like in the aftermath of Christine O’Donnell’s primary win in Delaware, Pennsylvania voters are turning to Sestak.

And now for something completely different, Melvyn Bragg of  the In Our Time podcast on BBC4 discusses the legends and myths related to The Unicorn.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

And now, the lighter side of emotional self indulgent navel gazing:

A Sailor’s Daughter Discusses “Salty Language”

Crossing the line

Chris Bowers  headed to the fainting couch yesterday when Eric Massa violated his delicate sensibilities.  Massa recounted his days at sea and talked about the Crossing the Line ceremony for sailors who cross the equator for the first time.

My dad was one of those guys who crossed the line, having spent most of the Vietnam War at sea.  He was no typical squid.   He was a serious, family guy (or so we think).  He never swore.  When his ship was in port, we would sometimes go onboard and check the place out.  Those ships were labyrinthine places with lots of chutes and ladders that sailors would slide down on their elbows.   The food was pretty good, especially when my dad was in charge of the mess.  The sleeping quarters were tidy but cramped with narrow metal bunks  riveted onto the wall and stacked three bunks high.  Forget privacy.  People were coming and going at all times of the day and night as they finished their shifts and climbed into bed.  That’s where my dad lived for 8 months at a time while we lived in relative luxury at home.

Dad filmed a crossing the line ceremony once.  The film had that garish coloring of the home movie and was shot on a brilliantly sunny day somewhere in the Pacific.  What I remember of this hazing ritual was that the fattest sailor on the ship was dressed up like King Triton.  A bucket of something vile and disgusting was brought out and smeared on his belly.  The polliwogs were forced to crawl on their knees to the King and kiss his belly.  There were attendants to the king dressed up in drag with stringy blonde wigs.  My little sister and I were grossed out and fascinated at the same time.  Did our daddy have to do that too?  Ehh, by the time the film was shot, my dad was a veteran of such affairs.

We’re pretty sure that a shipful of males in the prime of their lives in the middle of nowhere on an endless sea communicate in a lot of salty language.  They must have gone nuts.  People are social animals.  They need family and friends and physical touch.  I can’t  imagine spending eight months at sea and never deliberately touching another human being.  I’m betting that my dad had some stories to tell, although I’ve heard that the really kinky sailors are on subs.  Even sailors like my dad were wary of them.   It’s different these days because life shipboard is not exclusively male.  Back when my dad was a sailor, it was the path for lower middle class guys to learn something and get ahead.  That’s probably why stories like Massa’s seem so foreign to the Chris Bowers and Josh Marshall’s of the world.  They can’t fathom what it’s like to be a poor working class guy stuck on s flat gray hunk of metal in the middle of the ocean months away from their wife and kids.

Eric Massa is an extrovert.  He looks like he’s a bit of a loose cannon as well.  I kinda like that about him.  And his stories of life aboard ship are going to resonate well with a lot of working class guys who took a similar route in life.  Maybe Massa can shake things up a bit while he has some face time with the public.  What does he have to lose at this point in time?  His leadership has apparently made an international incident out of something that took place at a wedding reception when he behaved like a drunken sailor and got carried away.  He regrets his behavior as unbecoming of a congressman, as well he should.  But if Massa were the standard for politicians, then Cheney should have been thrown out of office for telling a Senator to go fuck himself, Newt Gingrich would never be taken seriously again for getting blowjobs in his car from a staffer, and Jim Bunning would be publicly reprimanded for giving reporters the finger last week.  Let’s not pretend that Washington is a place where every day is a cotillion.  There are a lot worse sins than Massa’s and harrassment cases a lot more straightforward and unambiguous.

Bowers and Marshall reveal their revulsion of working class people when they get all fluttery over Massa’s life as a sailor.  But more than that, they reflexively smear a Democrat who challenges authority.  They get all nervous when a Democrat doesn’t conform.  They repeat the smears of Democratic leadership without reflection.  Does what Massa did rise to the level of impeachment?  Was it really harrassment?  Or is this a case of a guy who won’t stay in the lines and therefore must be punished? I really wish the A listers would stop and think about what they’re doing for a change.  Their initial reason for being was to stand outside the status quo.  Now, they are the status quo and carrying the water of the type of people they once railed against.

So, Eric Massa is going up to 11.  While I don’t particularly care for Glenn Beck, no publicity at this point is bad publicity.  Eric has nothing to lose.  Go for it, Eric.  Give’em hell.

And Chris Bowers can go frak himself.

Thursday- That’ll learn ya’

Hola, mi amigos. I’m going on vacation tomorrow to Denver for a week to do that whole Rocky Mountain thing. So, I have a lot to do today to get ready and posting will be light. (HA! I always tell myself this) BTW, if anyone from Clinton’s campaign is reading this and needs a blogger in Denver for the Convention, I have a place to stay for free or vastly reduced cost *hint, hint*.

Update Action Alert: If you think that the DNC is out of it’s mind by not seating the FL and MI delegations and you find this unacceptable for the DEMOCRATIC party to not be practicing DEMOCRACY, then I have a petition for you. ;-) Sign on the line at Seat our Delegates. (Note the “you can’t count on us to vote in November” statement. They aren’t ruling it out. They’re just saying, “Nice chance of winning back the WH in November you got there. You wouldn’t want anything to *happen* to it, eh”)

Anyways, the trolls are thicker than a perilous Hobbitt episode but many of them are incredibly dim. Fortunately, our friends at Corrente have been schooling them so at least they know what the heck they’re talking about. For example:

  • Vastleft jumps to the advanced material with Sneaky Chelsea Dodges Questions about, well, you know. Unfortunately, some trolls came to the class on wits unarmed. So, Lambert taught the prerequisite course in irony and The Clenis. It pains me to have to bring this subject up because Chelsea is right, it’s none of our business. But the Beevis and Butthead crowd in the 90’s Washington Press Corps started it and are now passing it down to a new generation and they really need to get their facts straight. Like, as Democrats, they should be ashamed to bring up this sordid episode in the life of the American media. If any one came out of it looking bad, it was them.
    As for Chelsea, we should al be so lucky and as Jackie-O once said, “If you mess up your children, nothing else you do really matters” Kudos to Hillary for doing a remarkable job under duress.
  • Tukana schools us on Iraq, the Candidates and the Netroots. Getting out of Iraq is not going to be easy and the candidate that has set unrealistic expectations is going to be in a heap of trouble if he/she can’t deliver after the election but this is going to fall on Barry’s head harder. Many of his younger supporters are virulently anti-war, (aren’t we all?) but don’t realize that things aren’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time. Ahh, the impatience of youth. And this is what they are in large part basing their voting decision on. In the meantime, mortars strike inside the Green Zone.
  • BTW, did you tune your tinfoil antenna today to pick up Clinton’s latest directive? Lambert finds yet another fault in Josh Marshall’s reasoning, or, rather, the people that Josh Marshall allows to lower the level of discourse at his site. Look guys, it’s really simple. We *like* Clinton. She’s not perfect but she’s supersmart, committed, tough as nails and she’s the real Democrat in this race. We don’t like Obama because he’s has no record to speak of, his campaign is determined to disenfranchise the votes of Floridians and Wolverines and, finally, he has shown a remarkable amount of contempt for the Democratic base of women and “typical white” people. There’s really no mystery about it. In fact, the only ones who seem to be mindlessly following control signals appear to be Obamaphiles. Their support for their candidate makes no damn sense except in terms of him not being Clinton. That’s the sum total of support for him: he is the anti-Clinton. Anyway, the superdelegates are reportedly holding back and assessing the situation to see if Obama “might prove to be a stronger draw”. Uh, no. The answer would be no. Come on, guys, I have talked to people on the phone who several years ago would have never considered voting for Clinton but they are *eager* to do it this year and it has nothing to do with messing up the Democrats. It’s because they’ve seen enough of her lately to know what mettle she’s made of and they like her. Jeez. Keep those emails flowing. The SDs don’t get it yet.
  • Oh, brother, here we go again. The NYTimes reports that all of the innovation in passing around news virally is happening because young people are doing it. Yep, it’s only the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models with PhDs for Obama who do that stuff. That would make us….what, exactly? Jeez, I was using chats, writing html and embedding before these kids were out of diapers. Heck, I remember when Mosaic was the coolest thing since sliced bread. And before *that* we ftp’d each other and thought we were hot spit because we could finger the vending machine at CMU. WE blazed the trail. Gits.
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