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Romancing the PUMAs

Lambert posted about the Democrat’s growing election dilemma yesterday with some speculation from an EJ Dionne article. PUMAs are back, baby!  Oh Yeah!

Or should I say, the stupid racist menopausal uneducated working class sino-peruvian lesbians are back.  It’s very weird how the Democrats manage to mine the data and come up with this constituency over and over again.  It’s a distortion that kinda-sorta proves the point of the Mad Men post I wrote yesterday.  Computers can be extraordinarily useful but they also tend to be levelers.  There are descriptors that the guys (and they are almost always guys) did not collect before they ran their analysis.  Now, they may have enough information to get enough PUMAs to the polls in November but THIS former PUMA, and I suspect many others, will be a much tougher sell.  But first, let’s try to clarify what we mean by Clinton voter and PUMA.

From my own perspective, the acronym PUMA, Party Unity My Ass, was only useful through the 2008 election season.  I was a New Deal Liberal style Democrat who voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.  Unlike a lot of younger Democrats, I have a completely different and more realistic understanding of what the Clintons were up to back then.  I’m a late baby boomer who didn’t benefit from the earlier baby boomers’ advantages.  I was a working mother back in 1992 and I strongly identified with Hillary Clinton.  I saw “ending welfare as we know it” as a very good thing because the idea was only part of a strategy to introduce more of a European style welfare state with a national health policy, educational training, child care and housing.  It was all part of a package deal.  Then I saw both the Democratic party and the Republican party pick that package to bits.  The Democrats helped deep six the healthcare initiatives and Newt Gingrich’s Contract On America destroyed welfare.  That’s what happened guys.  You might have been studying and partying.  The rest of us were living in a grown up world.  As for NAFTA, I’m sorry, I think it’s a good idea to remove trade barriers between your two closest neighbors.  I had problems with some of the details but in general, these were Republican insertions, not Clinton’s.

We can talk about Glass-Steagel and Robert Rubin if you like.  In retrospect, deregulation of the banks and derivatives, etc, was a pretty bad thing but it was also an unstoppable phenomenon.  Clinton was NOT the driving force behind these initiatives.  From what I can recall, Phil Gramm was the nasty on the TV all the time ramming this crap down our throats.  Go look it up.  To this day, I avoid Texas just so I don’t have to run into that drawl.

Ok, so that’s my background.  You can read my credo in the tabs to find out what I value, and from the site statistics, someone(s) has become very interested in those values of late.

Now, when I say PUMA was only a 2008 thing, that means that to ME, after the election was over, it lost its meaning as a resistance movement.  The Democratic party lost me.  I officially rescinded my membership in the party in 2008 and only re-registered as a Democrat in PA last year when I applied for a new driver’s license here in PA after my move.  In PA, the primaries are closed so voters are forced to choose a party when they register to vote, unlike NJ where the semi-closed primary means you can choose a party on primary election day.  I think anyone who reads my credo will see that I am a liberal New Deal style Democrat but my party affiliation, in spite of my registration, is very tenuous.  In other words, if a third party came around that represented my views, I’d jump in an instant.  Also note that I’m not a fan of the Greens and don’t particularly care for the crunchy type’s irrational condemnation of GMO crops, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, nuclear energy and corporations.  I find some of the left to be as black and white in their thinking as the right and, frankly, I am losing patience debating the “religious” beliefs of both sides.  I’m also not a selfish short sighted Libertarian.  That’s where the rebels without a cause hang out. And you will never catch me voting for Republican ever again.  My one vote for McCain in 2008 was purely a protest vote against the Democratic party because of its unethical treatment of its own party voters in 2008.  It was not an expression of support for the Republican party or its cavalier, cruel, heartless, greedy, narcissistically malignant, lying, deceptive, destructive platform of “ideas”.

It was very upsetting to pull that lever and I will never forgive the Democratic party for pushing me to make that decision for a couple of important reasons.  First, I was deprived of an identity and second, I was deprived of voting for the first African-American for president.  But in my very important opinion, voting for the first ANYTHING was not a sufficient excuse to overlook or condone the party for rigging the primary and compromising what the party stood for. Some Democrats were able to overcome their moral resistance to what the party was asking them to do.  I could not.  That’s what made me a PUMA and also explains why PUMA lost its utility after the election.  I felt that that what was required to fix what was broken was something bigger, more organized and longer lasting than a slogan.  And then real life intervened and I couldn’t devote any time to it.

But PUMA did survive in another form on other blogs.  I can’t endorse these other PUMA blogs.  I have a sense that they were compromised by Tea Party and Republican operatives.  There was an irrational embrace of birtherism and a weird support for Sarah Palin.  This blog struggled with some of those holdouts for awhile until their presence got to be unbearable.  These are the people that I think EJ Dionne is referring to in his post.  What I think they have in common is their extreme anger at what happened to them in 2008.  They were completely ignored by the Democrats who circular filed their votes and topped it off with a smug, “we’re smarter and know what’s best for you, you ignorant working class ‘gits” attitude.

Oh really?  Those PUMAs who are still fuming on the Tea Party friendly blogs may not have Ivy League degrees or know someone who works in a “creative class” field but when it comes right down to it, the election of Barack Obama has done more to solidify the strangle hold of the oligarchs on the American public than any previous president we have ever had.  We have actually devolved as a progressive nation.  I will go so far as to say that Obama’s presidency has sped up that devolution.  You could argue that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have been different but my intuition (which hasn’t failed me yet in this whole mess) tells me that you would be wrong.  In any case, when it comes right down to it, the “creative class” that got fooled into voting for Obama in 2008 and 2012 is no different from the working class voters it dismissed so senselessly. To the oligarchs, you might as well be living on a rice paddy in Bangladesh.  Your ultimate fate is no different than the bitter gun toting church goers in rural Pennsylvania.  You can be economically ruined and made politically impotent just as easily.  That truth is just now dawning on you as you read The Divide and Piketty’s Capital and the latest study that says you don’t have enough money to make a dent in the lobbying shield wall of the 1%.

As for me, I don’t know if I would support Clinton in 2016.  My sense is that so much has happened to fundamentally change the nature of our country in the past 20 years that there would have to be a personality much bigger and more visionary than Clinton’s to drag us back onto the right track.  Could she do it?  Maybe.  But maybe she also recognizes the political landscape that she would be entering.  I saw her evolve during the primary season.  She was forged by fire and was gaining momentum when the party cut her off.  That was a mistake the party made out of fear but it made it prematurely.  By September of 2008, Elmer Fudd could have gotten elected as the first cartoon Democratic president, the situation was that dire.  In a sense, the election of Barack Obama was not a triumph of identity politics as much as it was one of panic and desperation.  But I have no doubt that under Hillary Clinton, there would have been more rehab and less codependence.

Slightly off topic, I find it interesting that so many people on both the right and the left are ramping up their anti-Hillary rhetoric.  Those Democrats who are still on the fence about her should take a moment to think about what’s going on there. Both parties are pawns of the oligarchs right now.  And someone in the Democratic party has pushing hard on the idea that if we just let Obama have his 2 terms, we could have Hillary in 2016.  That push acknowledges two things: 1.)People want someone to do something already and they’ve decided that the most likely person is Hillary and 2.) if you treat voters like children and make them delay their gratification, you can make them focus on some future uncertain reward while taking their minds off what they can do to help their own desperate situations in the present.  Whatever the left is currently spewing about how bad the Clintons are bears a striking similarity to the right’s mindless invectives against them to me.  And that suggests that there are some very powerful people who do not want Hillary to be the next president.  If she were already in the pockets of these very powerful people, you would expect less vilification, wouldn’t you?  Think about it.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this link to Phillip Zimbardo’s steps for overcoming situational influence.  The Democratic activist base should have read this before they flattered themselves that they were not at all like Kansas and couldn’t be fooled into doing anything against their own best interests.  I only recently discovered these steps but I think I’ve been wise to them since YearlyKos 2007 in Chicago when something just didn’t seem right.

As to the Democrats winning the election in 2014 and 2016, I’m almost getting to the point where it doesn’t feel like it will make a difference which party wins in November.  Having the Democrats in charge only slows down the slide to the right.  It doesn’t stop it.  And as destructive as the slide might be, I see very little evidence that the Democrats are motivated to prevent if from happening.  In fact, the dangerous collapse of the Republicans into crazyville only makes it easier for the oligarchs to get just about anything they want from the Democrats with very little effort.  Like I said before, I would gladly jump to a third party that is more responsive to my values.  At this point, appealing to me as a former PUMA is probably a waste of time because I see what I am to the party- a faceless data point projected onto a latent structure.

When the party starts treating me like an enfranchised citizen again, then we’ll talk.

 

Lambert’s excellent observation

Obamacare is a lot like HAMP.

Same attention to detail.  Same winners and losers.

Way to go, Democrats.

Lambert posted more fallout from Obamacare in his Clusterf%^& series and I have to say that this degree of incompetence is astonishing even for someone who expected Obamacare to be “glitchy”.   I can’t believe so many Democrats have spent the last three years trying to sell this fiasco to us.  At the core of it is the idea that the people who can’t afford health insurance now because their employers don’t pay for it or they don’t get paid enough are going to become one giant pool of people who subsidize the poor and the sick.  All on their own.  We’ve scooped up all the people who lost out in the past decade or so and stick them in a high risk pool where they subsidize each other’s thin coverage networks that they can’t use when they’re not in that network.

But not only is the premise bad and heartless, the signup procedure doesn’t even work.

Even if you get the signup to work, you can’t get rid of the premise that you’ve just lumped the underemployed with all of the poorest and sickest people in America and left them to fend for themselves against the health insurance behemoth with virtually no cost controls except the admonishment that if they didn’t use their health care insurance, they wouldn’t have to pay so much in deductibles.  No, it’s worse than that.  You’ve taken these poor unfortunates and required them to participate in what many of them find are substandard plans.  They have no choice simply because they do not have employer sponsored health care plans to protect them.

It speaks volumes about what the Obama administration and its enablers in the party think of us.

Really?  You guys really tried to sell this as an improvement??

Shame.

Adventures in gardening

As God is my witness, I’ll never cart soil again

I must be mad. Blame it on Titli Nihaan or Lambert.  I swore an oath when I moved into this new house that there would be raised beds.  I have a lot of yard and lots of sunshine.  There’s no reason why I can’t put some of it to agricultural use.  So, I watched a lot of YouTube videos and thought, that can’t be so hard.

Right?

RIGHT?!

Two raised bed kits and 1 cubic yard of topsoil mix later, the beds have been about 75% planted.  On the menu: Tomatos (early girl, roma, juliet, better boy, some weird pink german variety, patio and black cherry), peppers (red bell, yellow bell, poblano, jalapeño, mini sweet mix), beans (yellow, green, something else in a mix packet), peas (sugar snap, snow peas), lettuce (mesclun, endive, red leaf, my arugula is missing), radishes, green onions, eggplant, zucchini (for “Sneak a Zucchini on your Neighbor’s Porch Night”), and summer squash.

Will let you know if any of it comes to fruition.  Ha-ha!  Get it?  Ok, nevermind.  I’m exhausted.  You don’t even want to know what I had to do to get that soil from my driveway to the backyard.  And surprise, surprise!  There’s no outside tap for my hose in the backyard.  Nooooo, that would be too easy.  I have to hook together two hoses from my front yard.

Anyway, this whole ordeal has meant I have had to exercise my project planning and carry thru skills.  I’m out of practice.  It was challenging.  And since Brook is still in NJ finishing up school, she wasn’t here to help.  But I have a pair of gardening gloves just for her when she finally gets here.  Bwahahahahahahaaaahhhh!

IMG_1956

Don’t let the shadiness fool you. Late afternoon is the only time this part of the yard gets shade.

A reminder of what DailyKos is

I’m a bit busy this weekend so I’m just going to repost something I wrote in a comment on Corrente.  But I don’t want anyone to think I spend a lot of time obsessing about DailyKos because I don’t.  It didn’t take me long to figure out four years ago what DailyKos was all about and I have written about it before.  I haven’t been back there for years and I can go months without even thinking about the place.  I don’t yearn to be reinstated.  In fact, quite the contrary for a variety of reasons not least of which is that I don’t want to be associated with what I consider to be an online high control group.

So, here is my reminder of what DailyKos is from Lambert’s post on Allegre’s Writer’s Strike:

Slightly off topic, but following up on the response I had to Hugh above, let’s not kid ourselves about what DailyKos is. It is an enormous focus group. Every now and then a topic will get a lot of attention on the board and that’s the way the operatives and psychometricians figure out what makes lefty types tick. They refine it. They get to know what your trigger words are. They know how to push your buttons so that your emotions circumvent your rational mind. That’s why the racist meme was so effective in 2008. It’s the worst thing you could call a liberal. We react viscerally to that accusation. It’s only the very sane among us who don’t flinch from it and even those of us who know we aren’t racist spend every waking second defending ourselves. If you try to point out what they sneaky ones are up to, you get banned.

DailyKos also love bombs. If you express the preferred thoughts, you get mojo, you get recommended, you become popular. People like you. They want to hang out with you and be your friend. You become a trusted user. You get status. The whole place is rigged to make sure you stay, that you are rewarded for being cooperative and expressing the meme of the day and that they threat of losing your entire online community is real and frightening. No one wants to be exiled. It extends to other blogs as well. I’m sure that Digby is on a short leash as is anyone who signs on to the advertising arm of Kos.

It’s easier to see how this works if you grew up in a religious cult so I had an edge and my shock and horror of being banished from DailyKos lasted about 30 seconds. Then I laughed and started my own blog. I may be a tiny speck of dust in the Oort belt but I am free to say what I like.

But in general, if you hang out in DailyKos or affiliated “blessed” blogs, you will start to short circuit your thought processes. You will start to use buzzwords to explain politically what’s going on and that’s just where they want you. You don’t think about what “neoliberalism” or DLC really mean or how they may have evolved or how to grade the degree to which individuals adhere to a certain philosophy. You are trained to associate a word with a person, the connotation of that word to those persons and that you will be rewarded with good feelings if you do it right and bad feelings if you do it wrong. I realize that neoliberalism means a great deal to some people but I never could understand why. It never did make a lick of sense that so much emphasis is placed on this one word when people rarely fit into black and white categories. But you can be sure that lefty attitudes about the DLC and corporations and Iran and “war hawk” and other buzzwords come from careful seed planting and harvesting on places like DailyKos.

I would avoid any blog that uses a rating system.

 

Cocktail Hour: Resistance September

Update: Bev Hendricks writes that Hal David has died. He was 91. David was the lyricist for many collaborations with Burt Bacharach.  Instead of playing a song, I thought I’d post the lyrics to one of my favorite Hal David songs, Alfie.  Some songs never go out of style and this one is perfect for 2012.:

What’s it all about, alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, alfie,
Then I guess it’s wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, alfie,
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, alfie,
I know there’s something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, alfie.
Without true love we just exist, alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you’ll find love any day, alfie, alfie.

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

Lambert says he thinks the problem is malaise.  Atrios says he just doesn’t think the election matters anymore.

I think it’s a case of learned helplessness.

It’s like being half drowned a dozen times. No matter what you do, someone is still going to try to drown you. After awhile, you stop struggling.

And this has been my point all along. We *KNOW* they’re trying to drown us so we should make it really, really hard for them to do it. As long as we still have a vote, we have the power to make the powers that be miserable. We don’t have to eat our poisoned mushrooms. Resistance isn’t useless.

You shouldn’t be surprised if learned helplessness is exactly what they are trying to create. The people who don’t think these things through all the way seem to think that if they vote for Obama this year that the beatings will ease up. They will never ease up until we decide we’re not putting up with it anymore.

If Obama loses this year, the next two years will be pretty tough on us. But it might be of shorter duration than if Obama wins. It’s not even like the Republicans are the only ones into promoting misery anymore. Only that Obama gets away with it because he has a D after his name.

It would have been better if we had agitated for Hillary this year. That would have shaken them up and there is still time.  Nothing is settled until the balloons drop in Charlotte.  But the left has been very well conditioned against her. So, in a way, they’ve contributed to their own demise. The tools to fight this thing were there all along like Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

So, what’s it going to be, left blogosphere?  Are you going to give in or are you going to resist?  Are you going to jump on Obama’s bandwagon, knowing that he’s going to ignore you or are you going to stand up and step away from the party and give it something to worry about?

What do you have to lose?  Let’s put it this way, what do you have to gain by helplessly letting them deep six you?  Get up and resist.  Let the Democratic party worry about what that means.  You are not under any obligation to give up your vote for nothing in return.  When we say jump, they should ask how high.

This year, we need to seriously consider looking after our own interests.  I’ve proposed an organizational model before.  We need to put something like that in motion.  Call it the Federation for Democratic Reform.  It has a catchy abbreviation.  It could be an umbrella group for various left of center organizations.  We need to draft a platform, organize some committees, get some lobbyists and vet some candidates to run for office.  Discuss.

Rico’s tending bar and the drinks are on me.  I’m having a Blue Moon.

If you’re out there and you’re reading and you’ve had enough, play your own resistance song.

Monday: Meanderings

Republican voters: Crazy or The Craziest?

Some thoughts I’ve been having…

First up, last night’s Virtually Speaking featured Joan McCarter from the big orange satan.  Jay and Joan discussed the Republican primary in the first part of the show.  Jay seemed rather incredulous about the way this whole circus is playing out.  I would have to disagree on a couple of points though.

First, it’s not the candidates or the process that is crazy.  It’s the party’s voters that are batshit insane.  I think years of Glenn and Rush have taken their toll.  The dark archetypes of our collective unconscious have been given permission to run amok and the Republican voter’s unconscious, softened by years of angry white male rage and religion, is particularly vulnerable.  I don’t think some of these people are even recognizable to their former selves.  My relatives have gone through a personality transformation.  Towards the end of the Bush years, they were briefly getting better but with the noise machine pulling out all of the stops lately, plus the rotten economy, they’re just not the same people.  So, there’s that.

But more than that is the process itself is starting to take on its own internal logic.  There is definitely method to the madness of letting the Republican primary stretch on indefinitely, or at least until the convention in the summer.  If you don’t believe it, consider that the Republican primaries have driven almost everything else off the front page.  Each day, we’re confronted by candidates trying to outdo each other in pandering to their crazy base.  The Sunday shows are chock full of Republicans trying to make their case.  We’re going to get austerity/deficit reduction messaging continuously until they pick a nominee.  I’d say that was extraordinarily successful strategy and not at all crazy.

Secondly, there’s definitely a note of hypocrisy and paradox on our side of the aisle.  Jay and Joan toyed with the idea that the Republicans would have a brokered convention, and if I were the Republicans, I’d definitely go for this option.  Keep everyone guessing until the last moment.  Make sure your arguments and worldview get the most airtime before the public.  But the hypocrisy is that this is precisely what we denied ourselves in 2008 when the number of delegates separating the two candidates was about as wide as a gnat’s wing.   And not only did we not get a floor fight, we denied the first woman candidate who had ever come that far from even getting a legitimate roll call vote.  (And why was that?  Well, if we had let a real roll call proceed, everyone would have been immediately aware that they were virtually tied.  We couldn’t have that.  It would ruin the narrative.)  I have yet to hear Jay or anyone on Virtually Speaking explain why we should have found that acceptable.  In fact, many Democrats and women, in particular, do not accept it.

Which brings me to another point.  I could have sworn that I heard Jay refer to the Hillary holdouts as crazy and compared them rather unfavorably to Republican nutcases.  Now, I admit that I might have misheard this and I will be probably force myself to relisten to the podcast but I think Jay has been in the echo chamber too long.  While she may not be popular among the Democrats who gave us four years of Obama (thanks for nuthin’ guys), she is very popular among the rest of the country’s voters for good reasons.  She has proven herself to be a capable, competent, well-respected politician and administrator, both domestically and abroad.  She beats every candidate of both parties in polls, which Democrats do not mention.  The people who are crazy are not the holdouts.  It is the segment of the Democratic party who insist on clinging to their pre-conceived notions about her.  But whatever.  What’s really crazy is to go into this fluid, unpredictable election year in the fourth year of a dismal economic crisis without a Plan B.  No, Howard Dean is not an option.  Remember, you have to appeal to all of the voters.

And as Craig Crawford mentioned on Saturday night, the deadline for getting on the ballot on some of the biggest states has not expired yet.  Many of the big Democratic states like California, NJ and Pennsylvania have their primaries late.  In NJ, we don’t get to vote until June.  A lot could happen between now and then.  That lot could consist of endless pounding on Obama’s poor performance in Republican primary debates coupled with a lot of sturm and drang on the deficit.  Obama did not use his bully pulpit well in the past three years.  He squandered a lot of it with trivial photo-ops in the first year to the point that his appearances on TV are now just background noise.  And he’s never been a passionate defender of Democratic values anyway.  Plus, there are a lot of people in the Republican party who cannot wait to vote him out of office.  They are motivated.  What has motivated the Democrats lately?

Let’s not understate the importance of motivation.  There isn’t a lot that people can do about the economy, mostly because their elected representatives are not responsive to their concerns or listening to sound economic advice.  But there is one thing that people can do that will give them a great deal of satisfaction.  They can vote Obama out.  I don’t intend to do this because I’m not voting for either major party candidate.  I’m sure there’s a third party candidate who will get my vote.  But there are millions of people out there who will get a feeling of exultation out of booting him out of the White House and replacing him with a Republican.  They don’t even care what comes next.  He is the Emmanuel Goldstein who is the cause of so much misery to them.  What we’re seeing is the beginning of a three minute hate on steroids.  It’s not pretty.

In other words, the Democrats are going to have a real problem come November and throwing a bone like contraceptive coverage to the wimmins ain’t going to cut it for the millions of women who are out of work.  To think Obama can just skate to the finish line again because the Republican base is f%^&ing nutz is just crazy.

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

Lambert has a full report of our trip to Washington with a lot more pictures of the places we visited.  Check it out.  I still have 40 minutes of video, including an “incident” at the National Portrait Gallery, that are trapped on my Flip camera.  Apparently, when Steve Jobs joined the choir invisible, he had not reversed his (untimely) decision to stop supporting PC based apps on the Mac OS.  I have Lion.  Flip won’t download.  Kid has Snow Leopard.  *Might* be able to download to her mac if I can find the fricking rosetta disk.  If anyone out there has a workaround, detail it in the comments.  I mean, a workaround that doesn’t require me to buy or borrow a PC.

Occupy Congress Continued

Thanks to all of you who contacted your Congresspersons and Senators about SOPA and PIPA.  What these bills seem to be attempting to do is two things: promote private ownership of internet content and to sharply censor the non-conformists under the pretense of protecting property. SOPA looks quiescent for now but it’s going to take constant vigilance to make sure it stays that way.  PIPA is still in play, as far as I can tell.

One thing I learned when I was on the board of ed is that politicians will back down and even do a 180 if opposition is noisy and persistent.  This is probably why our political class is quite content to cast the Occupations in a negative light.  They’re noisy and persistent but if they can be made to look dirty and violent, their message doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

I had some connection problems in our room in Washington and on the train on the way back so I wasn’t able to upload my pics or process my video yet.  Then I found out from the insurance claims adjuster that all of the siding on one side of my house needs to be replaced including vapor barrier, weather stripping around the windows and the shutters as well.  The claims adjuster said her own house had suffered some structural damage from the wind storm as well, although nothing this extensive.  We both think the wind came from a different direction since neither of us had ever seen anything like it before.  Anyway, it’s been an interesting week in a Chinese proverb way.  So, I am uploading a few pics tonight to try to catch up.

Some interesting tidbits: we met a ragtag triplet with the letters “SD” on their shirts.  They reminded me of the stereotypical fife and drums trio from the Revolutionary War.  It turned out that they were three of the contingent from San Diego who were thrown off the Greyhound bus in Amarillo, Texas.  That’s not quite accurate.  What *really* happened is that the bus driver pulled over, got out of the bus – and locked them in.  Then he unloaded their baggage and forced them off the bus leaving them stranded in Amarillo.  But here’s the great thing about the Occupation.  The deserted in the desert contacted Occupy Amarillo and Amarillo came to their rescue, picked them up, gave them a place to stay, fed them and sent them on their way to Washington.  That’s a heart tugging story with a happy ending.

Then there was a contingent from Walla Walla, Washington.  They were senior citizens who had become very active in the Occupy movement and had canvassed their neighborhood advocating the protection of Medicare.  They struck some kind of deal with their city officials so that their site remained intact and free of harrassment from the local constabulary.  They say they are getting an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone they have talked to about Medicare.  Another success story of people sticking up for each other.

Then there was the not-so-good stories.  One woman from Portland told horror stories about the Portland police.  It sounds like the whole Portland police force is made up of sadistic automatons.  Their attitude seems to be “crack heads first, ask questions later if they’re conscious”.  She said that she had a concussion from one of her unfortunate encounters and she hadn’t done anything to provoke it except be present.  The police attack without warning and in as brutal a fashion as they can get away with.

We spent much of the afternoon in conversation between the four of us, Lambert, Marsha (CoyoteCreek), DCBlogger and me, and went back to the Capitol lawn at about 6:00pm.  There was a festive mood and music playing.  It was hard to tell how many people were there because there was no lighting except flashlights.  We sat on the muddy ground on plastic rain ponchos and took it all in.  It’s a different mood in Washington than it is in Manhattan.  The police are a lot less menacing and they don’t seem to outnumber protestors.  They ride around the city on bikes in colorful jackets and blue helmets.  They’re, dare I say it?  Friendly.  Really weird.  And also a nice change.  You would have really had to get up into their grill to get your ass hauled away.  In fact, early in the day, one occupier got righteously indignant about all of the fencing around the lawn so he started to tear it all down.  They let him.  The occupiers either rolled up the fencing neatly and moved it out of the way or used it as ground cover over the muddy ground so they could erect their makeshift structures.  There was a staging area, a kitchen and a medic area.  The kitchen served oatmeal, bottled water and fresh fruit for breakfast.

The GA took awhile to get started.  I blame the location.  It’s a wide open space with no natural acoustical advantages.  The voice dissipates quickly.  We tried a double mic and it took several attempts to get it to propagate.  The GA read the agenda and the plan to visit representatives.  Each congressional office building was assigned a color.  To visit your rep, all you needed to do was find the color of his/her building.  We decided to go have lunch at this point since Marsha hadn’t eaten anything all day, so we didn’t participate.  Later, we heard that the occupiers found the offices deserted for the most part.  Maybe they were busy, I don’t know.  But the vast majority of occupiers are old enough to vote.  They are constituents.  They deserve some respect.  I can only imagine what those nice elderly gentlemen from Walla Squared are going to tell their neighbors about their visit to their congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rogers.  From what they told me about her, they were not impressed with her or the fact that she always seems to be standing behind John Boehner when it’s picture time at the Capitol.

Here are some pictures from our day.  Be sure to check out updates from Lambert, CoyoteCreek and DCBlogger at Corrente.  Also, Lambert hosted Virtually Speaking during the pajama party in our room last night.  Check it out.

Setting up:

Occupy Applique:

The GA tries the double mic:

{Ok, I started to video this with my iPhone and thought I stopped recording when I put my phone in my pocket.  Ha-Ha.  Always double check.  Yes, that is my voice.  I couldn’t always hear what was being said and mostly just caught the tail end of each statement.  Still, this gives you an idea of the challenges of doing a GA on the lawn.  If I were the occupiers, I’d walk down the mall and look for a circular concrete plaza on the right side a couple blocks up.  I think it’s the Naval Heritage Center. It’s a much better space for a GA.  Don’t know what the rules are for occupying it for that purpose but it didn’t look like anyone was using it.  hint-hint}

The Agenda:

Night on the Capitol lawn:

#J17- Happy Birthday OWS. Let’s Occupy Congress!

In Chaplin’s speech, he quoted the Gospel of Luke, which I think is so much better than John 3:16.

“The kingdom of God is in your midst”

I’ve got a ticket to ride.  Gettin’ up at 4:00am to be there when Congress opens tomorrow.  I’ll be meeting with Marsha, Lambert and some of the other Correntians.  If I’m not mistaken, Lambert is also planning a Virtually Speaking broadcast with Avedon Carol tomorrow night at 9:00 EST so be sure to check that out.

If you would like to help defray the cost of the trip, please see the donate button to the upper left side of the screen.  We should have just enough in the PayPal account to cover it but it never hurts to plan for unexpected incarcerations and bail.  Recommended donation is $10.17.  I’d like to say thank you to all of you who have contributed.  It means a lot to me.

So, I will be packing my chargers tonight and turning in early to get up even earlier.

For those of you who want to hear more Charlie Chaplin, here is the entirety of his speech from The Dictator.  He wrote this himself.  Enjoy!

TC Fundraiser for Lambert and Correntewire

As much as I hate to admit it, some of the best work in the blogosphere has come from Corrente in the last three years.  I discovered Lambert towards the end of my stay at DailyKos when he wrote a brilliant essay about something.  I can’t even remember what that something was but I wrote a diary about it, now irretrievable.  I’m not trying to be flippant.  He really made an impression on me.  Damn Markos for archiving the diaries!

During 2008, Lambert was one of the few bloggers who trusted his instincts about Obama and the Democrats and what they were up to.  We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on many different things but I appreciate the fact that I can go shoot my mouth off at Corrente and he keeps letting me do it.  Ideologically, we’re close on the political spectrum although we’re a bit less crunchy granola than Lambert.

His coverage of OccupyWallStreet has been excellent.  His coverage and participation in conferences to discuss the state of the economy has been exemplary.  He’s got a lot of top notch writers.  And he does it all for free- mostly.

If you’re not a blog site the size of Eschaton or DailyKos or Firedoglake, it’s bloody hard to make a living at blogging.  Not only do you have to create compelling content but you have to be listed in a lot of blogrolls and mentioned occasionally by the people who can send you an audience.  The left has not been kind to the blogs who got it right about 2008.  The Confluence is on only a tiny number of blogrolls as punishment for our sin of being pretty in your face about how stupid the left was.  But Corrente has made peace with the left and even though it gets mentioned more and has more of a political impact than we have, it needs to keep going to become a big player.   And we need blogs like Corrente and The Confluence to present a different perspective on what it means to be progressive and liberal, and what the penalty is for having the courage to dispose of the DNC’s pre-written script.  Preserving the right to be unpopular and not go along with the crowd because you know that it’s wrong is very important.   In the meantime, it costs money to keep the site going and Lambert warm during the cold Maine winters.

So, if you can spare a dime, head on over to Corrente’s tip jar and throw in some filthy lucre to say thanks for doing the thankless job and sticking with it.

You can either make a one time donation here.  Or you can subscribe.

Ok, I’ll go first…

Fantasies and Choices

Lambert has an extended conversation with Amanda Marcotte over whether Hillary Clinton would have made a better president. Amanda and many others, argue that it’s all speculation and we’ll never know and blah, blah, blah, {{rolling eyes at all of the Democratic party loyalists who are, once again, either complicit or getting sucked into spreading the talking points of the people who were so damned wrong the first time}}

Look, it’s very simple:

1.) You were wrong about Obama; we were right. We never expected Obama to be an effective counterweight against the Republicans. That’s precisely why we didn’t vote for him in the primaries. Our whole reason for voting for rejecting him was that he had no idea what he was getting us into and the Bushies were leaving a mess behind. We didn’t want a neophyte for president in 2009. If anyone had a fantasy about the presidency, it wasn’t us. We knew what was coming and Obama’s failure comes as neither a shock or disappointment. We are not disillusioned. We didn’t buy the HopeyChangey stuff in the first place. That is a propaganda ploy that was covered in 8th grade social studies. Were the Obama contingent absent that day? So, why should we listen to your faulty reasoning for a second campaign season?
2.) The campaign really hasn’t even begun yet. There is still time for a substitution, whether it is Hillary or someone else with balls.
3.) NONE of us want to sit through 4 more years of Obama. Period.
4.) Regardless of how primary challengers have affected the electoral prospects of an incumbent in the past, this is a completely different economic and political reality. We are not simply dealing with malaise. This is a Lesser Depression. What we need now is something completely unpredictable.
5.) While speculation about Hillary’s presidency may strike some of the left as intellectual masturbation, it is inappropriate for them to substitute *their* judgement for ours. We want a choice. Choices are what make democracy work. We present choices to informed voters and they decide what they want. Why don’t Democrats believe in Democracy? Or is it that the Amanda Marcottes of the party, who made a huge mistake in 2008, insist on representing themselves as the superior intellects to the rest of us who they persist in mischaracterizing as working class, uneducated women?

Really, who the F^&* does Amanda Marcotte and Rebecca Traister and Jonathan Capehart and ThereIsNoSpoon etc, etc, etc think they are???

You threw a tantrum in 2008 and had to have your way. You bought the Obama brand without question and got all of the rest of us into this pickle. And it wasn’t even like he ran away with the nomination by a landslide. The nomination was a squeaker and he only won because the party changed the rules so it could ignore the will of the largest, most Democratic states in the country. He didn’t run a brilliant campaign. He ran a ruthless one and he bought a lot of superdelegates with the money from the finance industry. And because of the cluelessness of the left activist base, a good chunk of the middle class is suffering with no end in sight. Some of us (yours truly) have lost jobs and livelihoods because you insisted on putting an untried, inexperienced, political cypher in a job he wasn’t ready for. We told you that over and over and over again. He’s not even a real Democrat from what I can tell. And now you guys presume to tell US that we can’t have a choice in the matter of the next presidency?

First of all, that’s not true and never was true. We always have choices. But if you think this argument about fantasies and Hillary Clinton are going to persuade us, you are the ones who are out of touch with reality. Obama is not working out. The management, that would be us, would like to make a change. It is time for the party to get a clue and get him to step down so someone else can have a crack at it, presumably someone who is a real Democrat.

Whatever problem you have with Hillary Clinton, I guarantee you that it isn’t nearly as bad as the problems the unemployed have with Obama right now. No one is *ENTITLED* to a second term. And it is sheer fantasy for the Democrats to try to push a failure on us a second time when there is time to prevent it. The people who are in fantasy mode are the ones who think that Obama’s second term is going to be better than his first. Hillary told us what it was going to be like and she was right:

Amanda and Rebecca and Jonathan are in denial. They’re in denial because they are afraid. They’re afraid because the Republicans could win. The Republicans could win because the economy is really in bad shape. The economy is in really bad shape because Republicans are obstructive assholes and because Obama didn’t know how to deal with them. He doesn’t know how to deal with them because he didn’t have that part figured out before he ran and he doesn’t have a political philosophy. But fear tactics are not going to get Obama re-elected. We’re not buying it, Amanda. The party needs to stop being so craven and scared and replace the guy at the top because we are not voting for him next year.

Suck on that, Amanda.

PS: I can’t remember where I read this but some columnist wrote that there have been suggestions of a write in campaign for Hillary in Iowa. Now, I don’t know if she could be drafted or if she even has an interest. But if she won the Iowa caucuses anyway, that would send a very strong message to the party that Obama does not have the confidence of the voters. That assumes that there won’t be spillover from Illinois. I fully expect that Iowa and other caucus states don’t let the Obama campaign get away with the blatantly obvious fraudulent and unethical practices they did in 2008. For the record, Obots, that kind of behavior is not just rough politics. It’s immoral behavior that deprives voters of their rights and fair reflection. But if you put up with it, you should not be surprised with the guy does the same thing to you.

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