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      What an amazing young woman: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education campaigner shot by the Taliban, has donated $50,000 (nearly £31,000) towards the reconstruction of schools in Gaza. The Nobel peace prize winner, speaking after receiving the World Children’s Prize for the rights of the child in Marienfred, Sweden, on Wednesday, said the money would be [… […]
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      As many have heard, John Tory, the mainstream right wing candidate, won convincingly in Toronto and Olivia Chow came in third place, even doing worse than Doug Ford (brother of the famous crack-smoking Rob Ford.)  Much hand wringing has ensued that progressive just can’t win elections in Toronto. While it’s true that Toronto is hard [...]
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Tuesday: Exasperation

How to administer a dope slap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday: Obama is running for president again in 2012!!!

Let's not and say we did.

In case you didn’t know, because his campaign is trying to keep it low key and file early before anyone else notices, Obama is running for president in 2012.  That gives me a second opportunity to not vote for him.  I can hardly wait.

But where’s the fanfare?  The snooty “nose in the air” stylized graphic portraits of “Yes, we can” Man?  Why so hush-hush about the whole fol-de-rol?  The LATimes has a theory.  You’re going to love this:

Like other incumbents, Obama wants to avoid being viewed as a candidate for as long as possible to limit the scent of politics in his presidential maneuverings. He did not appear in the two-minute video that accompanied his emailed announcement, and he held no public events Monday. He did make an unannounced conference call to supporters in which he described himself as “a little older and a little wiser” than in 2008.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama was “not focused on elections” and that there would be “plenty of time well down the road for politics.”

OMG, isn’t that a hoot??  He doesn’t want to look like he’s playing politics.  And he’s “a little older and wiser”.  That would be an improvement over 2008 when he was inexperienced and over his head, not to mention shoved down our throats by a bunch of finance guys who wanted a weak president who would be their Yes Man.  But, frankly, my dear, I don’t believe it.  Obama doesn’t really like politics.  He’s in love with the *idea* of politics.  But real “down in the mud”, get in your face, LBJ style politics?  That’s icky and makes him feel like he needs a shower.

LBJ puts the squeeze on Congress

I think that’s clear now to most Obots.  Paul Krugman never was a Kool-Aid drinker but he’s been giving the guy a chance (more than he deserves, IMHO, after he cheated his way into the nomination).  Even Paul seems exasperated these days.

But then there are the Grape flavored addled ones, like Kevin Drum, doing his best Britney Spears imitation of her unquestioning belief in George Bush.  Arthur Silber has the low down on Kevin’s devotion and trust in Obama.  Here’s Kevin leaving Libya in the hands of God Obama:

So what should I think about this? If it had been my call, I wouldn’t have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted. I voted for him because I trust his judgment, and I still do.

No, Kevin, you didn’t vote for Obama because you trusted his judgement.  You voted for him because his campaign made you think you were smarter, cooler and more connected to the political zeitgeist than you actually are.  To be honest, I have never been impressed by Kevin Drum so it could be the case that Obama is smarter, better informed, better to…oh, don’t make me repeat the nauseating drivel.  Obama is none of those things.  He is just what I said he was: a corporate ladder climber, a schmoozer, a guy who wants the corner office just so he can have the corner office.  The responsibilities that come with that office are secondary concerns.  Or tertiary.  Or quantenary.  Right after winning the MacArthur Genius grant, an Academy Award and Woman of the Year.  Voters are such whiners.  They need to learn personal responsibility.  Michelle, where is that bowl of homemade, sugar free, organic, macrobiotic granola you’ve been growing in the front lawn as an example of what working mothers everywhere should be cultivating for their children in their copious free time?

Anyway, I’m getting off track.  Let the campaign season commence!  Obama and his droogs are no doubt commandeering the social media outlets as. we. speak. to convince us that whatever it is we thought we wanted from him that he failed to deliver was some unreasonable expectation on our part and that we are too demanding or something.  His guys (and they HAVE to be mostly guys) will spend the next 18 months trying to get us to vote for him and I will spend the next 18 months digging in my heels and demanding that he actually do something I like.  Like get a real jobs program, rewrite his lame healthcare insurance bill, figure out a way to stop the crazy Republicans in their tracks.  Yeah, right, dream on.

I’m voting Green or Socialist or Ladies Auxilliary or Player to be Named Later.  Obama can save his breath.  I haven’t listened to him since that clueless State of the Union address back in January.  Yada-yada-yada.

D’OH! A Round up of left blogosphere posts

The liberal blogosphere is hitting its stride today.  No, I’m not talking about the “A-List” bloggers.  They shot their wads in 2008.  No one goes there anymore.

Here’s a round up of some posts worth reading and one that deserves a dope slap:

1.) Anglachel’s back!  And she’s got some great posts from sunny California where Governor Moonbeam is taking on Meg “the Whore” Whitman.  Some juicy nuggets from Unforced Errors include:

Given that Hillary wiped the floor with The Precious in California in the primary back then and given the high proportion of female Democratic office holders, party functionaries and voters in California, you’d think Gov. Moonbeam would have the sense God gave geese and be very certain not to allow a breath of anything in or around his campaign that would hint of sexism or misogyny. That he and his staffers do not “get it” is the political problem. There is also the strategic problem that they have shut down attention to Whitman’s Arianna Huffington-esque “nanny problem”that was keeping her on the defensive.

It also follows on the heels of Jerry making an ass of himself by attacking Bill Clinton after a series of clever ads by Whitman, with Moonbeam offering rude and crude comments about the Lewinsky mess. Big Dog had to come in and save Jerry’s ass as well as showing the fool how an expert handles these things. Bill just smiled and thanked Whitman for bringing him back to the attention of the California electorate – with special thanks for bringing such a young and good looking version of himself back – and exclaimed about how popular he was and how much people were talking about him now, which forced a comparison between the peace and prosperity of his administration and the Republican mess that followed. He made the target of his attack the Republican record, not Jerry Brown’s petulance over a decades old loss.

Further, the use of the term whore (sorry, I won’t call it “the w-word”) wasn’t an outburst in the midst of a heated debate, but calmly put forth as a deliberate strategic move. How anyone could think that publicly calling a female opponent a whore could be a winning or advantageous strategy boggles the imagination.

Wow!  Jerry Brown dissed the Big Dawg after all he’s done for him?!  I guess no good deed goes unpunished.  Stunning.  Go read it and the other posts she’s written lately.  They are a things of beauty.  (Er, but skip her posts on gadgets.  Them she doesn’t do so well.)

2.) Ian Welsh has a call to arms for the left in  Repudiating Liberalism or Obama.  You can’t serve two masters and as Peter Daou wrote yesterday, “If you stand up for your principles, you may lose the election but keep your principles; if you ditch your principles, you’ll lose both”.  Like us, Ian saw the writing on the wall early and tried to persuade the blogosphere to get tough with Obama.  Like us, he was martyred for it (though I think we’re still feeling the effects of the flaying while Ian is being rehabilitated.  Go figure…):

If Obama was seen as liberal, and his policies then failed, liberalism would be discredited.  It must be made clear, starting as soon as possible, that he was not a liberal and that liberals and progressives repudiated him.  A few people doing it in 2010, mostly half-heartedly, when he had already been seen to fail, simply looks like rats deserting a sinking ship, as it did when conservatives in 2007 started saying Bush wasn’t actually a conservative.

I lost that argument.  Frankly, opinion leaders aren’t willing to take those risks.  They saw that Obama was popular with the base, that everyone was still in “hope without reason” mode, and even when they agreed (and some did) that his policies were a failure, that he’d betray unions, that he was going to be a disaster on civil rights, they wouldn’t do it. “The audience isn’t there yet.”

The art of opinion leadership had become “see where the mob is going, get out in front and pretend you lead them there.”

So be it.

What is done is done.  What needs to be done is this.  The liberal wing of the Democratic party must be SEEN to take out Obama.  There must be a primary challenge.  If there is not, liberalism will be discredited for at least a decade, time America cannot afford, since liberal solutions work and conservative solutions,  whether pushed by right wing Dems or Republicans, don’t.

Are you a liberal first, or a Democrat?  You can’t be both

Basically, Obama is taking down liberalism. He crippled the left in 2008 with the help of “male graduate student syndrome” (courtesy Anglachel) and the “sports illustrated swimsuit models with PhDs in architecture”, self proclaimed “creative class”, perpetually clueless idiots who rejected Hillary Clinton because they wanted a woman but not THAT woman.  You get the point.  Those guys are still out there.  They still run the party and they are still clueless.  Ian, even if they got a clue and turned on Obama, it’s kind of too late for them.  They’ve lost any credibility they once had.  By the way, Will Bunch will be accusing you of racism any second now.

We need a new left and so far, we’re having trouble getting our act together.  Still, the post is a good one and every word is true.  The left needs to distance itself from the horse it rode in on.

And here’s the Dope Slap

3.) BTD is featuring Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias in a post titled Making Excuses: HAMP vs. HOLC. By the way, why aren’t there any women writing for money in prestigious journals?  I almost expect to hear “It is written!” in a Monty Pythonesque falsetto.  But I digress.

Kevin and Matt make the lame ass argument that poor widdle Obama couldn’t have done more than the destructive and useless HAMP program because regular Americans didn’t want to see their neighbors get a break.  BTD answers:

Interesting how the bank bailouts went through and bank friendly policies have been followed by the Obama Administration despite their unpopularity but homeowner friendly policies were just too tough politically no? FTR, I support and supported TARP, but not the no strings TARP that was executed by the Obama Administration (in my view the saved banks should have been required to own up to their losses, engage in mortgage modifications and generally loosen credit. Just as this was no time for fiscal restraint, it was no time to tighten credit.)

In the end, what was the best political move for the Obama Administration in the first hundred days? The answer seems obvious to me – enact and execute policies that would do the most to lift the economy. That simply didn’t happen. The best example is the egregiously bad HAMP policy. The problem with HAMP was similar to that the entire Obama Administration policy towards the banks has- a dependence on the banks themselves. HAMP did not and will not work because in order for it to work, the banks must take a hit voluntarily. They will never do that.

There was no political reason, none whatsoever, that instead of HAMP, the Obama Administration did not instead create a new HOLC. The Obama Administration, guided by the bumbling incompetent Tim Geithner, chose to coddle the banks instead.

Drum and Yglesias’ excuse making for this failure is utter nonsense.

Yes, BTD, the excuses are twaddle.  But what excuse do you have for rejecting Hillary, except that she wasn’t the Media Darling?  Take a look at this interview she did with Maria Baritoromo during the primary season.  (and take note of how Baritoromo is short, snippy and impatient with Clinton.  Hillary deserved more respect than this but this is a stunning reminder of what she and we put up with):

Hillary and Obama were not the same.  They didn’t have the same policy goals.  We could see it.  BTD needs a dope slap to see it too.  Oh, but he’ll make some cynical, jaded remark about how all politicians are the same and they’ll all let you down in the end.  Know what?  I would have gladly taken that risk with Clinton.  She was prescient.  Obama acted like he didn’t have a care in the world and he governs that way.

As Ian says, bring on Obama’s primary challenger.  Preferably someone who is willing to stick to principle, come hell or high water.

So, sports fans, what have you found in your trip around the web?

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