Krugman is unreasonably optimistic about Medicaid expansion and Obamacare

Decreasing the surplus population in Ireland through starvation and homelessness

He’s not the only one.  Digby is also cautiously optimistic about how things are going to go.  Both of them seem to think that the increase in premiums are only going to affect a small subset of people and everybody knew this from the start, had they been paying attention.  They seem to think the people most irked are going to be relatively well off younger people, like entrepreneurs who work for themselves.

But that’s not really true.  I’m not surprised that neither Digby or Krugman are seeing who are going to get slammed by Obamacare most severely because it has become almost a habit not to talk about them.  I’m referring to the millions of long term unemployed, many of whom are over 50, who are now forced to cobble together some kind of living as self-employed.  That affects just about everyone I know who was laid off since 2008.  To these people, the premiums are not just a nuisance.  They are extremely burdensome.  And if Lambert has been reading the tea leaves correctly, lumping these people into the Medicaid pot puts whatever estate they have left at risk.  So, to recap, Obamacare is putting an extra burden on these people who are now forced to a.) work for themselves, b.) pay all of the payroll tax by themselves and c.) pay for their own retirements.

Today, Krugman writes that the states that are opting out of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare are going to create a backlash against Republicans.  Oh, if only I could believe it.  But I have always felt that the systemic exploitation that our current politicians have allowed to happen over the last 30 years has lead to a repeat of an Irish Potato Famine Scenario, not the beginning of a new Golden Age of rationality and righteous indignation.  The right wing noise machine is still strong and the people who get royally screwed by the Medicaid opt out will be portrayed as a bunch of fricking losers who can’t pull their weight in this new economy.  They will be spat upon by the people who are only a rung or two up the ladder who are simultaneously terrified it will happen to them and triumphantly crowing about their moral superiority.  Yeah, they will look like a bunch of stupid hicks to the rest of us but the message they will be getting is that the world is a random, chaotic, evil place and the only reason they’re surviving is because God favors them, or some such nonsense.  That will keep the whip kissers in line, keeping them from raising their hands against their masters, demanding better wages and benefits.  If they don’t remain obedient and passive, bad things will happen to them.

It’s not that much different than what happened to the starving Irish against their landlords who owned everything, took everything and rented the rest.  Back in the early 19th century, Irish workers had no rights and employers and landlords took full advantage of that.  Why would they not?  What laws were going to constrain them?  When the famine hit, the Irish couldn’t stand up for themselves and the rest of Great Britain acted like they brought it on themselves for being Irish and Catholic.  Some of the onlookers even argued that to help them would be wrong and go against God’s plan.  A lot of people died before the population dropped sufficiently and the potatoes developed some resistance.

Throwing the over 55’s into Medicaid and taking their property to pay for it is very reminiscent of the workhouse and relief rules the Irish had to contend with.  If you had a quarter acre of land, you were not too poor to support yourself.  In order to get any kind of relief at all, you had to give that up.  Then you were eligible for the workhouse where you might get some food in exchange for losing every other possession you had.  In the Medicaid opt-out states, you won’t even get relief.  You’ll just get access to the emergency room and bill collectors.  Back in the 1840s, most people looked upon this as wretched and bad but the ones who were not suffering put up with it.  Opting out of Medicaid is like the landlords pulling down the roofs of starving tenants.  It happened and people were both homeless and starving but no one stopped the billhooks.

So, I don’t expect that there will be much backlash against the loss of Medicaid funds in the bible belt states.  It’s still a plantation down there where labor is expected to be obedient and pious and if you end up poor and sick, it’s because you didn’t follow the rules or were insufficiently religious.  You’ll see.  The right wing media and some of the regular media, will continue to reinforce learned helplessness in the public and Americans will start to accept this hardship when the alternative, public options, Medicare for All, cost controls, etc, will start to seem like impossibilities.

In the meantime, the left’s willful ignorance and denial of just how bad Obamacare is going to be is doing them no credit.  It is BAD policy.  All of the potential problems that the left wants to minimize or deny could have been avoided had the policy been carefully crafted by a president who cared about average Americans and by a Congress who wasn’t rushed to make some really bad concessions.

As for Digby’s silly rationalization that so many lefties were duped by Obama back in 2008 but that she and a few of her friends were not but couldn’t find enough people who agreed with them, that’s incredibly offensive bullshit.  WE were here.  We still call ourselves “Democrats in Exile”.  We saw through Obama and knew what he was because we actually listened to what he was saying.  He was not a brilliant politician.  His campaign staff simply took advantage of demographic trends and realized that a lot of baby boomers would vote for an African American candidate over a woman because of the period of time when these voters came of age, in the Civil Rights Era.  That’s probably why the well off older baby boomers are still in love with Obama.  He completes them.  The campaign would stampede the rest with fear, vicious misogyny, outright lies about our intelligence and racism and blatant bullying of delegates.  Predictably, the activist Democrats acted like the herd animals the campaign psychologists thought they were.

But there was absolutely no truth to the lie that Digby and others are propagating that they couldn’t find like minded Democrats who felt the same way they did about what a fraud Obama was in 2008.  We were here and there were a lot of us.  We were simply defamed and called racists and Digby and her ilk went along with that characterization because they were cowards who were afraid of guilt by association.

If you don’t stand up against unfair propaganda and you allow the bad guys to weaken your side, you should not be surprised if you find that you too are eventually powerless.  I don’t expect that the left will every stop rationalizing about why they invited vampires into their house but I really wish they would start putting more of their energy into getting them out.  We don’t have time for silly self delusion.  Obamacare is almost upon us and about to take out the Democratic party and what remains of whatever defense we have left.

Addendum: It looks like Glenn Greenwald is public enemy number one for, you know, being doggedly persistent about civil liberties and stuff.  It goes without saying that we stand with Glenn against all the nastiness heading his way.

If only Glenn had stood with us five years ago when our hair was on fire when Obama bamboozled everyone, got Hillary to suspend her campaign and then voted for the telecomm immunity bill once he thought his nomination was secure.  But of course, we were only stupid, racist, women back then and people like Digby refused to acknowledge our legitimacy or, unbelievably, our existence.

So, even though Glenn was more than happy to jump on Obama’s bandwagon back when all the lights were flashing red, we are going to stick with him no matter what.  Because he happens to be right about the intrusion into our privacy and it is wrong to publicly harass and defame people who expose uncomfortable truths and wrongdoing.  Glenn is a human being and we do not approve of harassment investigations,  personal attacks or dehumanization of him or his family.  In this respect, we have been consistent with respect to Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.  It is acceptable and morally responsible to criticize unconstitutionality, poor policy and unethical behavior.  But we don’t get personal, racist or go after family members because that’s wrong.  You can check our archives.

By the way, guess who voted against the telecomm immunity bill back in 2008? Of course, the candidates were otherwise indistinguishable.  {{rolling eyes}}

Uncomfortable Truths

Kristen Schaal explains how the Obama campaign intends to pander to the cartoonish “Non-Mom Mom”, otherwise known as “women”

The Daily Show was full of uncomfortable truths yesterday.  Let’s see if I can summarize them (go watch it yourself to see if you agree):

1.) Obama is pandering to the LGBT community.  He says he’s all for marriage equality.  Yeah!  But he still supports states making up their own minds.  Boo.  Did I mention that gay advocacy groups have withdrawn their campaign contributions to Obama’s campaign because he refused to sign onto a non-discrimination clause in government contracts? You don’t think there could be a monetary motive for this “evolving” position that comes 5 years after he announced he was running for president?

2.) North Carolina just passed the most reactionary law on same sex marriage as it is possible to pass.  Not only have they explicitly forbidden in no uncertain terms that gay couples may not marry under any circumstances, they have also outlawed civil unions and domestic partnerships.  That will apply to straight couples as well- and their families.  If you are a child of one of these families, you should have chosen your parents more responsibly and if the wrong parent dies before you reach maturity, well, tough noogies, kid.  Social security for minors of the wrong deceased parent was not YOUR birthright.  By the way, Obama’s evolution on marriage equality came *after* the state of North Carolina voted it out of the question so, presumably, he’s ok with the decision this state has made.  He didn’t say he was going to try to do anything about it.

3.) Obama had a significant challenger in the West Virginia primary election from a felon in Texarkana, Texas.  Keith Judd won 40% of the vote in West Virginia after getting on the ballot with a $2500 filing fee.  The WV primary is closed to party members only so 40% of WV’s Democrats would rather vote for a felon than Obama.  Obviously, they are racists.  Or maybe they are just royally pissed off Hillary Clinton voters from 2008 who beat the snot out of Obama in the primary but whose votes were trashed at the convention.  Oh, and Obama’s campaign pretty much called them racists back then too.  So, not a lot has changed.  Except the “racists” have watched the candidate they did NOT pick turn out to be a lousy president.  So, you know, there’s that.

4.) Finally, Kristen Schaal did the Life of Kristen, a take off on the life of Julia, a cartoon of how the typical American woman will benefit from Four. More. Of. The. Longest. Years. Of. My. Life.  Yes, to the Obama administration and campaign org, we are cartoons, mere blips of data, carefully mined to hit the principle component sweet spot.  In case the point was missed, we’re not individual human beings with our own unique talents and dreams, and with the drive, ambition and agency to attain self-actualization like men are.  No, we’re Non-Mom Moms.   It’s just easier for the Obama administration to do data reduction on a demographic it has made no attempt to understand or work with over the past 4 years and has pretty much left to defend itself against the insane Republican party.  Wasn’t it part of the plan to leave us out there on our own without a champion against those rabid snapping crocodiles?  So that Obama would look like a hero in return without having to lift even one of his finely manicured pinkies?

More and more, I get the feeling that the outrages against women are bunched so that it becomes too overwhelming to respond to each one.  We’re just sitting here on the curb after a multi car pileup wondering what the f^&* just happened.  Can’t get birth control, can’t get an abortion, can’t get a job, can’t get food stamps, will get a LOT less social security after paying a LOT more after 30 years of work.  I guess we’re supposed to feel relieved that Obama says we have the right to have birth control.  Jeez, it’s almost like Reg of the People’s Front of Judea saying men have the right to have babies.  What does it really mean to Obama except that he thinks he has said *just* enough to keep the women on his side without pissing off the evangelicals too much.

But here was Schaal’s parting shot after noting that she once again gets to choose between two males who are pandering to her for office:

“Please run for office, Hillary Clinton”

It wasn’t me, this time.  Nooooo, this time it was a member of a popular late night TV show.  And by the way, millions of viewers, and a LOT of women, all thinking the same thing.  Yep. It’s that bad.

5.) Note that Schaal didn’t say “Please run for office in 2016, Hillary Clinton”. We want her now.  Nevertheless, there is no way Hillary Clinton is going to run for office in 2016.  I notice that every single one of the mainstream media posts I read that mention Hillary also mention this unbelievable and stupid 2016 scenario.  Do they think we are really soulless secondary beings with the IQ of children?  So, I’d just like to say to all of you women out there who are desperately hanging on by your fingernails waiting for for Hillary because everyone from the NYTimes to Nancy Pelosi has sworn and promised that she is going to run in 2016:

Hillary Clinton is not running for president in 2016.  It’s not going to happen.

The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can do something about your present situation.  The 2016 meme is designed to 1.) enforce “learned helplessness” and make you passively accept your fate and 2.) turn your attention to supporting Obama.  But if you do that, you will, like Kristen Schaal, have to choose between two guys for president and they don’t give a shit about your concerns because the idiots in charge of the Democratic party and their clueless creative class activists have no intention of ever letting Hillary Clinton near the White House in 2012- at least, not yet.  (I’m betting there have already been discussions about this)  Their troubles are not your troubles.  They just need to make sure you are sufficiently depressed about not getting Hillary but not too depressed to not go to the polls in November.

Is that what you want??  Did you see what Obama did to get the LGBT community back in his win column?  (I think they’re stupid if they settle for some meaningless words)  If you are a member of the majority segment of the population and are sick and disgusted and angry that once again, you have to choose between two guys, don’t take it.  Tell the next person you see that Hillary is NOT running in 2016.  It’s the one thing I believe she means when she says it.  She will be 69 years old.  The Clinton years will be a faded memory and by then, the economy will be in shambles and our liberties as American women will be gone.  You know they will.

Don’t tell me there’s nothing you can do about it.  Tell them you aren’t going to vote for Obama.  What difference does it make?  No, seriously.  I don’t for a minute think that Romney is worse on women’s issues than Obama is.  Are you kidding me?  You could maybe make an economic argument about Romney but Obama has been so bad in that area as well that it’s not very convincing.  You might as well vote for Stewart Alexander or Rocky Anderson or whoever that Green Party woman is.  Save your Democratic votes for Congress.

Why settle?  Oh sure the Democrats are going to protest and call you stupid racists but so what?  You were right in 2008 and they weren’t so who are the stupid ones, the ones who see clearly what reality is, or the ones who are too afraid of their own shadows and too enamored with their own aspirations to do the right thing?

BTW, Hillary has ditched her contact lenses and make-up.  She says she’s going to do it if it feels right and who cares.  Indeed.  Unfortunately, it just means we want her even more.

Phobias

A followup to yesterday’s post on Love Bombing: On our side of the aisle, one of the sites using cult indoctrination and thought reform techniques most effectively has to be DailyKos.  Of course they will tell you I am saying this because I am a disgruntled former Kossack.  That’s to be expected.  They have to say that.  They’ll also tell you that I was a racist when I was writing on that site.  That is *also* predictable since they needed to associate negative personality traits to me because I wouldn’t go along with the program.  Nevertheless, it’s about as close to a cult as you’re likely to find on the left.  Yep.  Noooo doubt about it.  Read my comment here to find out how it works.

On to phobias.

Did you ever wonder why Mormon missionaries and Jehovah’s Witnesses emphasize living forever when they come to your door?  It just hit me that the reason they do it is because their potential hits have some things in common that distinguish them from the general population.  They are vulnerable in some way.  They may have undergone some recent trauma and sometimes that involves a death in the family.  Or it could be that they just have an irrational fear of death.

Most people go through a stage in their adolescence when they come to understand their own mortality.  And it’s extremely frightening.  But at some point soon after this realization, you come to understand that if you don’t take that thought and push it to the back of your mind where it can lurk with all of the other childhood boogiemen, you will be constantly paralyzed with fear and will always be looking for someone to alleviate that fear.  What amazes me about the rapture addicts is they swear they are Christians that believe in resurrection but they refuse to take the prerequisite step.

And cults like the JWs and other fundamentalist religious groups know that thing is lurking and play upon it.  They nourish that phobia by recognizing it, promising to alleviate it and then, threatening you with it if you step out of line.   You will get everlasting life if you do everything they expect of you.  If you don’t, the everlasting life will be withheld from you.  For a person who is scared to death of death, it’s a fantastic way of getting compliance.  In retrospect, it would have been so much easier on everyone if the person affected had just learned to master their fear and tucked it away into the back of the mind where it belongs. You can’t do a damn thing about dying, it happens to everyone.  Why worry about it? Failure to master it has broken up families and subjected the person to a lifelong pursuit of unattainable perfection and personal sacrifices.  It also enriches the people who run the cults and the fundamentalist organizations that promote this crap while depriving the person of a full, rich life.

Here are a couple of videos from CSTheApostate about how JWs use phobias.  And yes, they really do this.  Let’s just say that I grew up with imaginary demons {{eyes rolling}}:

and

You’ll notice that CSTheApostate also mentions an apostate phobia. You do not want to have dissenters hanging around harshing your mellow so it’s to the benefit of the high control group to make being an apostate as unpleasant an experience as possible.  Your reputation is ruined, you are permanently ostracized and you are made a shining example of what will happen if you buck the system.  Note that this keeps apostates from seeking each other out.  In the eyes of an apostate, other apostates are bad people. See my remarks above about DailyKos to see how this works.  One of the reasons why the left is having such a problem getting the band back together is because it purged all of the apostates in 2008.  The ones who want to move forward don’t trust the apostates. (Kudos to people like Lambert at Correntewire who seems to have conquered this fear) I’m happy to be an apostate former Democrat because the party went seriously off the rails in 2008 and is now in the grip of unscrupulous people who will continue to use thought reform techniques to control the party.  Yes, the other party does it too but that didn’t make it right.

It’s not the only phobia high control groups play on.  Withdrawal of love and affection and disassociation from your family is also a powerful one.  Also, playing on the supernatural to alienate you from the world is sometimes used.  If the world outside the group is in the grip of Satan, why would you ever want to stray?  It’s both funny and admirable that CS went so far as to try to conjure up a demon so he could face his fear of demons.  JWs are scared silly of demons and truly believe they are real spirit creatures, so doing this is about as brave a move as he could make.  (I’m betting alcohol was involved) Of course, there are no demons and once he’d proven it to himself, he could cross that phobia off his list and resume his growth towards maturity.

Political groups also use phobias.  Democrats are particularly good at dangling Roe v Wade at young women. If you don’t vote D, poof!  There goes your bodily autonomy.  They don’t actually have to protect anything because they know that Republicans will never get rid of Roe.  It’s the one tried and true motivation to go to the polls for their voters.  In the last couple of years, Democrats have introduced a new phobia.  *They’re* the only ones that stand between your social security benefits and the Republicans who want to destroy social security.  Back in 2000, I would have believed this.  I think Al Gore was genuinely concerned about keeping those benefits safe in a “lock box”.  But now, the Democrats have got the hang of manipulating their base, having done such a masterful job in 2008, that they have no qualms about dangling social security in front of the snapping Republican alligator to get its base to comply.  Social Security will be allowed to be eroded bit by bit by the Democrats.  It will be under constant threat and we’ll all be scared to death that there won’t be anything left for us to retire on unless we vote for the only party that will prevent the elimination of Social Security.  Someday, it will become as meaningless as Roe but the Democratic party will have been rewarded, over and over again, for keeping it around even if few people can benefit from it.  This is how it works.

On the Republican side of the aisle, the phobia is about chaos, terrorism, violence and theft.  Lots of elderly widows who missed out on the feminist era depended on their missing spouses to take care of them.  Now that they’re on their own, they may feel vulnerable.  Fox News ups the ante with stories about abductions, pedophiles, random acts of cruelty and murder.  The world looks like it’s disintegrating. And since the right wing has the bigger megaphone these days, these phobias are fanned constantly.  If you ever wonder why the Republican base acts as crazy as it does, it’s because the phobias are hyped every single day.  Adherence to fundamentalist principles, authority, obedience and purity is touted as the remedy to keeping the bad stuff at bay.  Consequently, if you’re experiencing a rough patch of unemployment, foreclosure, sickness and poverty, it’s YOUR fault for not following the rules.  People are supposed to feel guilt and shame.  That makes the lucky feel like luck had nothing to do with it.  It’s personal virtue so they don’t need to do anything for the suffering of others.  They brought their own misfortune upon themselves.  It’s not the Republican voter’s responsibility to rescue you.

David Brooks is the country club version of the phobia promoter.  Here’s an example of the way he caters to the phobia crowd.  This is from one of his recent columns, Midlife Crisis Economics:

In the progressive era, there was an understanding that men who impregnated women should marry them. It didn’t always work in practice, but that was the strong social norm. Today, that norm has dissolved. Forty percent of American children are born out of wedlock. This sentences the U.S. to another generation of widening inequality and slower human capital development.

One hundred years ago, we had libertarian economics but conservative values. Today we have oligarchic economics and libertarian moral values — a bad combination.

In sum, in the progressive era, the country was young and vibrant. The job was to impose economic order. Today, the country is middle-aged but self-indulgent. Bad habits have accumulated. Interest groups have emerged to protect the status quo. The job is to restore old disciplines, strip away decaying structures and reform the welfare state. The country needs a productive midlife crisis.

There’s bad stuff out there.  Follow the rules, obey your masters and no one gets hurt.  If you are hurt, it’s because you’re immoral, depraved, derelict and irresponsible.  It couldn’t possibly be the case that you are one of millions of people whose careers and lives were derailed by some really depraved and irresponsible people on Wall Street.  I don’t know if Brooks really believes this crap or just gets paid to spout it.  If we assume that only fairly intelligent people either merit or finagle their way onto the pages of their New York Times, we might also reasonably assume that Brooks knows that what he writes isn’t true but he does it because there is an audience out there that revels in denigrating people in the classes beneath them and inculcating a sense of learned helplessness.  Yep, I loathe David Brooks.

Neat, huh?

Thursday: The Ass in the Room

Digby has a new frontpager.  By the way, the Ass in the title doesn’t apply to Digby.  She’s a great writer.  No, really.  And I think her heart is in the right place.  It’s just that she’s a bit, um, chickenshit.  SHE called herself that, not me.

Anyway, what brought about the addition of ThereIsNoSpoon to Hullabaloo?  I don’t know but I have occasionally read her comment threads lately and many of her readers are fed up and ready to throw in the towel on Obama.  Not only that, there seem to be a lot more commenters expressing regret about how they blew off Hillary Clinton for Mr. Schmoozy McMashieniblick.  Well, we can’t have that, can we?  So, ThereIsNoSpoon dons his “Howard Dean Mantle of Imperviousness” and says, “Step aside, Digby, *I’ll* handle this!”.  Either that or someone at Advertising Liberally told her to get her house in order or she was going to get cut off.  (One can not accuse me of having a deficit of imagination.)

So, ThereIsNoSpoon made his debut on Hullabaloo to get those morons back in line and toeing the party line.  And let’s throw in a little learned helplessness in there.  We don’t want them to get ideas.  Take them down memory lane.  Howard Dean!  Howard Dean!  Remember how we all wore orange and sang the Marseilles and vowed to purge Washington of the Bushies?  Were those times great or what?  {{this Clarkie rolls her eyes.  I can’t stand Howard Dean}} ThereIsNoSpoon goes on to say how much he doesn’t want to go over 2008 because it’s so five minutes ago and then he loses me forever:

 For those who may not know, I’m 1st Vice Chair of the Ventura County Democratic Party in California, and a recently elected member of the California Democratic Party Executive Board. To many, that would be considered an asset. To others, it might be a curse, a straitjacket preventing free expression of ideas and forcing a toeing of the “party line.” It shouldn’t bear reminding that it was none other than Howard Dean, no slouch in the progressive movement, who first asked of all of us who were upset with cowardice and corporatism in the Democratic Party not to shun the Party, but to actively get involved with it.The reason for Howard Dean’s call to arms was not so that progressives might be co-opted and sell out, but rather that they might storm the gates and force real changes in the Party. I am not alone in having done this in California: my brother Dante is a vice-chair in the L.A. County Dem Party and a CDP E-Board member; Robert Cruickshank, a superb netroots activist and constant and forceful Obama Administration critic, was a vice-chair in the Monterey Dem Party for a long while before moving to Seattle to work on progressive mayor McGinn’s communications team; Brian Leubitz, owner of progressive California blog Calitics is a CDP Regional Director in the Bay Area. Getting involved in this way has been for all of us not a professional consideration, but an ideological one. The entire purpose of being involved is to force changes in the way the Party thinks and the way it behaves in every aspect: from the values of candidates endorsed, to the nature of field operations, to the aggressiveness of communications, and everything in between. These changes do not happen overnight. Often they take years to gestate. Almost invariably they are met with fierce opposition from the comfortable, institutional powers that be, as well as their ideological allies who prize being “nice” and “reasonable” as a greater good than actually solving the problems that face the country.

If even 1/10 of the progressives writing online would become similarly involved and demand that the institutions of the Democratic Party be accountable to the progressive base and the well-polled progressive preferences of the majority of Americans, it would be a boon to our political system. This is why Howard Dean asked us to do it. Nor for the most part would it hamper our ability to speak openly and honestly about our beliefs. What I say here or elsewhere is not the official position of the Democratic Party at any level, nor should be it construed as such. The onlyconstraint on a Party official’s personal positions is that one grant that, at a fundamental level, voting for Democrats is advantageous over voting for members of other parties. That’s a big one, of course, and a non-starter for many in the progressive movement. Which is fine. Reasonable people who want the same things (single-payer healthcare, an end to pointless foreign wars, a decent safety net, a reduction in income inequality, equal rights for all Americans regardless of race, age, gender, orientation, etc.) will certainly differ on the best tactics we might use to get there.

Oh, brother, where to start? I have nothing against people getting all “Student Body President!” in the party at the local level.  Good for him.  I used to attend those meetings. But let’s talk about the party faithful voters who supported Clinton in 2008, or do those people, more than half the party, still not count like the Obama contingent does?  Did THEY not get involved?   From what I could see, they were plenty involved.  I phone banked and canvassed (a LOT in Pennsylvania) for Clinton.  She had no shortage of volunteers.  The weekend before the primary in NJ in 2008, her office in Trenton was jammed with people.  There was nowhere to sit so I had to sit in a backroom with a campaign finance person who was fielding calls from all over the state of NJ.  I tried not to listen but from what I could tell, Obama’s campaign was employing “walking around money”, a lot of it.  From what I could tell, it was an ungodly amount in the millions and millions of dollars.  The Clinton person was saying that the budget for NJ was exhausted and it couldn’t match Obama’s spending there.  The campaign people would have to make do with what it had.  OMG, Clinton was going to have to rely on the strength of her candidacy and not obscene gobs of cash!  (And it worked.  Well, we can’t have that, right?) I think the campaign was even out of bumper stickers.  My car has a spanish one because the English versions were all gone.  She was very, very popular here.  Hillary Clinton won NJ by 10 points anyway, which just goes to show you that money can’t buy you love.  But Jon Corzine ignored all of that and gave our entire delegation to Obama at the Convention.  No, I won’t get over that-ever.

I went to YearlyKos in 2006 and 2007.  I volunteered for Linda Stender in NJ-07.  The party supported her in 2006, completely abandoned her in 2008 even though she could have won this district with their help.  She lost the 2006 election by something like 4,000 votes, which in NJ is *tiny*.  I mean, REALLY tiny.  She could have been a very successful candidate here.  But she was unabashedly liberal and the party didn’t cotton to liberals in 2008.  Would ThereIsNoSpoon like to hazard a guess why that might be?

I stood there in the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas when Wes Clark jumped up on a table and told everyone that blogging was not enough.  He said that if we wanted to win back Congress in 2006, we would have to get out there and meet people and convince them and work our asses off.  So, I tried that.  And my candidates lost anyway.

And why did they lose?  Well, it wasn’t for lack of effort or popularity or policies.  What I have learned about the latest incarnation of the Democratic Party is that they want you to express your opinion and work for your candidates.  But if your candidate is not the one they selected beforehand, then too bad for you and all of your effort.  ThereIsNoSpoon, the voice of the Democratic Party, lays it out to the readers of Hullabaloo:

For various reasons locked into the nature of our winner-take-all Constitution, we have a two-party system, not a parliamentary one. That is very unlikely to change. Further, putting efforts into third parties to the left of the Democrats has not been shown to pull the party to the left, but rather to the right (outside of small, liberal states like Vermont.) Democrats did not look at the votes for Nader in 2000 and move to Party to the left to win those voters; instead, the Bush Presidency shifted the Democrats farther to the right. Theoretically, one could try to bury the Democratic Party in the same grave as the Whigs and start over anew–but what happens in the meantime during Nihilist Republican rule? Will the country survive? Frankly, there are too many deeply vulnerable people in this country and around the world to take that chance.

Which means that for better or for worse, the Democratic Party is what we have to work with. In the short term, that means that Barack Obama, for better or for worse, is what we have to work with at this time (primarying him being pretty much a fantasy, particularly given his still soaring approval rating among the vast majority of self-described liberals.) It’s not pretty, but it’s reality.

It’s therefore our job as progressives to work both from within the Democratic Party and from outside the Democratic Party to make the changes to it we would like to see, to refashion the Party to fit the ideals that the American people deserve. That requires an aggressive, uncompromising stance.

Ahhh, so what ThereIsNoSpoon is saying is that if you work within and from the outside of the Democratic Party to make the changes you want to see, the party will just ignore you and tell you that your insistence on a primary candidate for Obama is a “fantasy”.  In other words, the Democratic party doesn’t want participants.  It wants children.  It is going to be very parental about this.  You aren’t going to get a Democrat who represents you and that’s final.

And what are the ideals that the American people deserve?  The American people have said, pretty definitively, that saving our jobs is at the top of its priority list.  What has Obama done about that?  Nothing.  The American people have said overwhelmingly that they don’t want anyone messing around with social security or Medicare.  And what has Obama proposed?  He proposes raising the eligibility age on Medicare and reformulating social security payments so as to screw recipients out of a sizeable chunk of benefits that they paid and paid and paid for.  He proposes $4 *trillion* in spending cuts.  He didn’t have to propose these changes.  He *volunteered* them.  The austerity measures were gifted to the Republicans for very little in return.

ThereIsNoSpoon goes on to the proven scare tactics to force people back into the fold.  If you don’t vote for Democrats, Michelle Bachmann will win and then what will happen?!?  Jeez, I dunno, how much worse can it get?  I mean really, would crucifixion be that bad after we’ve been drawn and quartered?

Centurion: You know the penalty laid down by Roman law for harboring a known criminal?
Matthias: No.
Centurion: Crucifixion!
Matthias: Oh.
Centurion: Nasty, eh?
Matthias: Could be worse.
Centurion: What you mean “Could be worse”?
Matthias: Well, you could be stabbed.
Centurion: Stabbed? Takes a second. Crucifixion lasts hours. It’s a slow, horrible death.
Matthias: Well, at least it gets you out in the open air.

I’m firmly of the belief that “Friends don’t let friends vote Republican” but by the time Michelle gets the nomination, the damage will be done, by a DEMOCRAT.  In that eventuality, I might just vote for Michelle.  She and I share almost nothing in common but our XX chromosomes but heck, if the entire Democratic party can use race as a reason for slipping a stealth candidate into the White House in 2008 (no, don’t even try to deny it.  We have the spam), why can’t I vote for Michelle to get MY underrepresented cohort to the pinacle of power?  If Barack Obama doesn’t start representing American New Deal Ideals during The Little Depression, why should I vote for him?  It can’t get any worse with Michelle and if the Democrats get a clue and win back Congress, they might have to play defense for awhile.

I’ve noticed that the “let’s all jump on Michelle” game is getting cranked up by both parties.  Migraines? Oh, please.  Why don’t we just come out and accuse her of letting her raging hormones disqualify her from keeping a cool head during a rough week in the situation room.  I’m already pre-disgusted by this crap.  The Democrats have already lost their credibility with women, why make it worse for the voters who have to continue living as women?

It’s all in vain, Dems.  You will not get me back until you give me a real choice.  I won’t play this game where you pretend to listen to my concerns and still serve me the same breakfast cereal day after day anyway.  I’ve made my feelings known to every campaign financing org that the Democrats have.  Lately, I’ve even heard from the Democratic Party of New Jersey (that’s a first) who solicited me for funds.  This is my message: “I am not contributing to your organization because of the disgraceful way the party treated voters of Hillary Clinton in 2008.  Barack Obama turned out to be a weak president and I do not approve of his policies or performance.  I want a primary challenger for Obama.  Do not bother me again until you get a clue.”

So far, they haven’t gotten a clue.  I am unperturbed by the specter of what will happen next year.  I have my own personal problems, ie joblessness and a fascinating but difficult gifted teen to raise, to worry about what some clueless and disconnected Democrats are going to do.  My vote is my own and next year, I will bestow it upon who I choose and who I think can shake things up the most.  If the Democrats are starting to worry, then good!  But I suggest they stop trying to make it sound like they are concerned with the plight of the poor and most affected during this economic downturn.  *I* am one of those people, a liberal, New Deal Democrat in Exile, and I do not care to keep the current cohort of Democrats in power.  The party still needs votes to win and continuing to ignore the concerns of average Americans in order to not lose face for shoving Obama down our throats is not a winning formula.  So, bring on the disaster.

The lack of planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

PS: Check out the comment thread on ThereIsNoSpoon’s post.  It’s amazing.  Methinks the party is too late to fix this.  Obama appears to have jumped the shark.

Thursday: Perplexed by Pork Roll

Update: Atrios’ Lucky Ducky list is out!  I am one of 412K in new unemployment insurance claims.  I have arrived!

I’ve been living in NJ for two decades and have never eaten pork roll.  My former colleague, Ralph, a New Jersey native, used to wax eloquently about pork roll in the same way my old Sicilian Spanish teacher used to pine for marzipan while stuck teaching in the boondocks of upstate NY.  Ralph’s eyes would shine as he looked back to his last encounter with pork roll, his fingers rubbing each other as if trying to recapture some elusive quality.  But then again, he’d get all misty eyed over the memory of the grease wagons that lined up on the street near Rutgers where he went to school.  So, I just wrote pork roll off as some weird local right of passage, like Philly cheesesteaks or Pittsburgh hot sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions.

The other day, the pork roll called to me from the dairy case.  I’d passed on it so many times before.  What the heck.  I bought some “Tangy Pork Roll”.  OoooOOoo.  Tangy! It comes in flavors.  It looks like thick slices of bologna but has the appearance of a finer grade of Spam.  Assuming it wasn’t cooked, I looked all over the package for cooking instructions, hoping there would be a “Trenton Style Tangy Pork Roll Sandwich” recipe somewhere.  Nope. Having no idea how to prepare this sucker, I stuck it in the microwave for a minute.  (Someone out there is going to tell me this is sacrilege)  The result was a hot and greasy round of pork product with the right mouth feel of fat and plenty of salt.  The tangy comes from what tastes like vinegar.  If you’ve ever been to a dive bar and had one of those pickled sausages that come in a giant glass jar with your beer, that’s what it tastes like.  So anyway, preparing pork roll is not a hard job even without instructions.  What does this have to do with anything?  I don’t know.

Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story recount how the bankers got away with the financial crisis of 2008 with no punishment or prosecution.  Right from the start of this piece, it becomes clear that there was not going to be any serious attempt to bring the bastards to justice.  Tim Geithner (him again) sets the narrative early on by putting out the theory that attempting to prosecute the evildoers would further destabilize the markets in a time of crisis.

Answering such a question — the equivalent of determining why a dog did not bark — is anything but simple. But a private meeting in mid-October 2008 between Timothy F. Geithner, then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Andrew M. Cuomo, New York’s attorney general at the time, illustrates the complexities of pursuing legal cases in a time of panic.

At the Fed, which oversees the nation’s largest banks, Mr. Geithner worked with the Treasury Department on a large bailout fund for the banks and led efforts to shore up theAmerican International Group, the giant insurer. His focus: stabilizing world financial markets.

Mr. Cuomo, as a Wall Street enforcer, had been questioning banks and rating agencies aggressively for more than a year about their roles in the growing debacle, and also looking into bonuses at A.I.G.

Friendly since their days in the Clinton administration, the two met in Mr. Cuomo’s office in Lower Manhattan, steps from Wall Street and the New York Fed. According to three people briefed at the time about the meeting, Mr. Geithner expressed concern about the fragility of the financial system.

His worry, according to these people, sprang from a desire to calm markets, a goal that could be complicated by a hard-charging attorney general.

Asked whether the unusual meeting had altered his approach, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, now New York’s governor, said Wednesday evening that “Mr. Geithner never suggested that there be any lack of diligence or any slowdown.” Mr. Geithner, now the Treasury secretary, said through a spokesman that he had been focused on A.I.G. “to protect taxpayers.”

My gut reaction says that’s bull.  If anything, crackdown on the bankers might have signalled to the global financial market’s hostage takers that the government was not playing games and might have averted further threats and destabilization.  And let’s not forget that now these assholes have us and our 401k portfolios by the short hairs.  They weren’t punished so they will feel free to act with impunity again.  The other bizarre notion was that taxpayer money would be used to pay for settlements.  Ok, it is not clear to me why this would be a problem.  If the settlements were *to* the federal government, wouldn’t that mean the taxpayer money would be returned?

Is anyone getting the sense that Geithner is one nasty guy with a silver tongue and a benign appearance?  If there’s one thing we have not learned from recent years it is not to automatically trust men in suits.  We don’t have to worship them or defer to them or treat them as authorities.  They shouldn’t get a pass just because they went to the right school or know the right people.  They should have to earn our respect.  No, if anything, the election of Obama shows that merit, exprience and responsibility can easily be trumped by the oily charisma of the company man.  The whole piece makes me outraged, as if that is even possible these days after all of the other outrages.  We walk the unemployment lines while the bankers walk away with millions and barely a slap on the wrist.  This will really burn your oatmeal:

But Mr. Alvarez suggested that the S.E.C. soften the proposed terms of the auction-rate settlements. His staff followed up with more calls to the S.E.C., cautioning that banks might run short on capital if they had to pay the many billions of dollars needed to make all auction-rate clients whole, the people briefed on the conversations said. The S.E.C. wound up requiring eight banks to pay back only individual investors. For institutional investors — like pension funds — that bought the securities, the S.E.C. told the banks to make only their “best efforts.”

Isn’t that nice?  Read the whole thing.

Whoo-Hoo! The editorial page of the NYTimes is finally telling the truth about tax cuts and their effect on the budget deficit?  In Budget Battles-Tax and Spending Myths and Realities, the editorial states:

President George W. Bush and Congress undid that progress with $1.65 trillion in tax cuts, heavily skewed to high earners. The economic recovery of the Bush years was extraordinarily weak by historical standards. By early 2009, shortly before Mr. Obama took office, the Congressional Budget Office projected a budget deficit for that year of more than $1 trillion.

These are the economic facts, which Americans need to hear. The Republicans certainly won’t tell anyone. And, so far, the Democrats haven’t had the political courage to challenge them head-on.

President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal-year 2012 does call for a mix of tax increases and tax cuts, but he hasn’t made a serious effort to explain the need for substantially more revenue.

[...]

As a matter of fairness, raising income taxes must start with requiring the richest Americans — who have been the biggest beneficiaries of Bush-era tax cuts — to pay more. But even that won’t dig the country out of its hole. The middle class is also going to have to pay higher taxes. That is the only way to pay for needed services, tackle the deficit and slow the borrowing and the rise in interest payments.

I don’t know about raising taxes on middle class people.  I already pay a ton of money in taxes and live a very modest lifestyle for my salary.  Honestly, I don’t think I could pay any more without severely jeopardizing my savings for retirement.  Saving for college is already next to impossible.  So, let’s start with soaking the rich first and see how that goes before we ask anyone living in Central NJ on one income and a kid to support to pony up.

Did Krugman finally get through to the serious people on staff?  Is this message coming too late to make a difference?  Will the editorial board get cold feet and issue a retraction after a few nasty emails from Grover Norquist’s secret shock troops? Stay tuned.

Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline has two interesting posts about Foxes vs Hedgehogs here and here and how they apply to researchers.  Hedgehogs are researchers who delve into one particular subject in depth for most of their careers, like mathematicians studying a particular theorem. The other type of researcher, the fox, likes to be stimulated by many different problems.  Chemists and biologists tend to fall into this category.  I like to think of myself as a combination of fox and squirrel, storing away little bits of what looks like useless trivia until I find an interesting problem to apply it to.  It doesn’t always work and it can be distracting.  But you never know when something you read or did somewhere a long time ago might be useful.  Last year, I went back to the lab after a long time’s absence and learned to make proteins from ecoli and insect cell cultures.  Up to that point, I never had any use for the microbiology course I took decades ago.  Very handy.  “Luck favors the prepared mind.”  Derek’s illustration of how a researcher can be happily engaged in interesting research in industry is refreshing and mirrors my own experiences.  You don’t have to be in academia to get your problem solving fix.

A little something from Atrios the other day has been twitching my tin-foil antenna:

That Can’t do Spirit

I’ve commented on this before (as with most things), but I continue to be amazed at the completely pervasive can’t do spirit that seems to have gripped the country. Maybe we need to win a hockey game against the Soviets or something to bounce back.

I don’t think this is accidental.  I think it’s deliberate.  What better way of entrenching the idea that the country is run by a small evil group to which no one we know belongs than to reinforce learned helplessness.  There is a tangible inertia about the election next year.  I predict a disaster unless we get an Eleanor Roosevelt type to perk things up and help despairing Americans find their dignity.  Obama can’t do it.  He is more aspirational than inspirational.  If you’re not already at his level, he has very little to offer. And he intends to continue offering very little.  If you’re a well educated unemployed person with a kid to put through college, a house to pay for and a retirement to save for, Obama stands in your way.  What the inert want right now is a recipe for getting him to move, either forward or out.

Matt Yglesias tells the rest of us to “Grow up”

Matt Yglesias and, I suspect, the rest of the Obama Movement “intelligentsia” are having a fit because some Americans have decided to sit out the elections next year.  He shakes his tiny fists and wails at Think Progress:

So it’s also worth sparing a few words for the potentially demoralized voters who are considering staying home. To wit: Grow up. Nobody ever accomplished anything in politics by not participating. Going to vote on Election Day is not a monumental demand on your time, and there is not a single problem in American public policy that will be made easier to solve if liberal stay home on Election Day. If you contribute money or time to political campaigns and you’re disappointed with people you’ve given to or volunteered for in the past, you should of course feel free to decline to offer your cash and services in the future. But you shouldn’t just get depressed and stay home, you should probably write a note and send it in the mail explaining exactly why you won’t be donating this time and laying out which other, more progressive member you’re choosing to support instead. And on Election Day you should go vote for the better candidate and hope he or she wins. Successful from-the-left primary challenges can do good, but letting the worse candidate win a general election isn’t going to make anything better.

I hope Matt and I never meet in a dark alley.

Let me take this on in a few crucial sections.

First, Matt tells us to “Grow Up”.  I’m not sure that he’s actually referring to me specifically because I may vote next year, though I will probably never vote for one of the two major parties ever again.  I am certainly not apathetic but I understand the people who are.  Matt and his friends forced Obama on us in spite of 18 million primary votes that showed we preferred someone else.  And it’s not like we didn’t desperately need a Democrat.  Presumably, those 18 million of us had to put up with eight f%^&ing years of George Bush and his vengeful, authoritarian, cold, heartless administration.  There is no love lost between Bush and us.  We hated the Republican bastards.  But Matt and his friends HAD to have their way.  And they weren’t nice about it.  The primaries were nasty, alienating and separated the party into two parts: the triumphant ones, of which Matt is a part, and the LOSERS, that would be us.  Then, the triumphant ones stomped all over us.  They called us racists.  Well, they still do.  And they think we’re old, female and stupid.  They took our votes and trashed them.  They humiliated our candidate at the convention and denied her a roll call vote.  What we witnessed at the convention looked like a hostage crisis not an exercise in democracy.  Then, just to put the cherry on the sundae, they had Jon Favreau pose with a cut out of Clinton where he’s grasping her breast.  I’d be naive if I believed that that photo wasn’t staged just so the rest of us women got the picture- literally.

And Matt is telling US to “Grow up”?  Do these actions sound like the behavior of adults?  And now Matt and his buddies are having a hissy fit because those of us with real jobs who are about to lose them and families whose kids need braces and houses that are about to go into arears look back on the past year and despair.  We were not Obama’s favored ones.  The bonus class is.  While we watch as our jobs are outsourced to India, Obama refuses to crack down on the bankers who are sitting on our money so we can create new businesses.  As we watch our 401K’s barely recover and tenuously stabilize, we anxiously await the next crisis that will wipe our savings out and yet we have to worry about some idiot commission removing the last barrier between poverty and social security.  We watch helplessly as our instructions on health care are ignored while Joe Lieberman threatens to filibuster anything that will decrease the profits of the insurance industry.  And the president is asking Harry Reid to give into Holy Joe?  What the hell is going on here?  What is Obama’s real motivation?  To have “health care” as his signature issue  even if it’s meaningless so it can’t be challenged by Hillary?  Is that what this is all about?  Stopping a Draft Hillary movement in its tracks?

Let’s talk about Joe Lieberman for a moment because Matt says that if we don’t like a politician that is getting in our way, we can always vote him out in the primary.

In 2006, I went to Connecticut at Jane Hamsher’s invitation.  I walked the streets of Meriden and all those little towns in the weekend before the primary for Ned Lamont.  Lamont won that primary, remember?  We were the little people who could,  We made a difference and changed the narrative of 2006.  Suddenly, the war was on everyone’s mind.  That was what helped anti-war Democrats get elected to Congress and changed the dynamic in DC.  Or so we hoped.  They let us down, but I digress.

But Joe Lieberman wasn’t done.  No, he had help from Chuck Schumer and others to mount a campaign as a third party candidate.  Joe Lieberman with the help of the Democratic party nullified the primary result.  Joe Lieberman took the party’s money in the primary and then did not abide by the primary results.  It was foreshadowing.  Because the party did a similar nullification of the party faithful’s votes in NJ, NY, PA, MA, CA, TX and a bunch of other states who voted for Hillary in 2008 by suppressing her victories in MI and FL.

Here’s the thing, Matt: you can’t tell people to spend their electoral and emotional capital on candidates who they like and then pull the rug out from under them without consequences.  You can’t insist on an empty suit for President and promise Change! and transformation and then not deliver for the electorate after you’ve made them abandon who they really want without some of those people giving up on you.  And you can’t tell a country that they have no choice and expect them to feel like they are still free.

The Democratic party has engaged in a process of teaching their constituents learned helplessness. It has over and over again raised expectations and then dashed them.  It has asked for our input as a formality and then ignored it.  It has belittled and demeaned and made inconsequential the lives of average voters and their families.  Now, those same voters, seeing no reason to expend any more energy on a pointless game they cannot participate in has decided to sit it out.

Your buddies are in deep trouble now by their own doing.  Don’t blame the electorate for not caring whether you stay in power or not.  They don’t exist for your wish fulfillment.  They’ve got more important things to do with their time, like figuring out how to make a living without your help.  Your party, which *used* to be my party, has a leadership vacuum.  You quashed the one leader you had and now, who among your ranks has the moral authority to lead us through this mess of a recession?  There is no one.  The electorate is just responding to the grim reality of the situation you and your childish enthusiasm have created for them.

Grow up, Matt.  You reap what you sow.

digg!!! tweet!!! share!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Friday: Simon Johnson on Bill Moyers Journal tonight

He will be discussing the Pecora commission that Nancy Pelosi is advocating:

Bill Moyers asked me to join his conversation this week with Michael Perino – a law professor and expert on securities law – who is working on a detailed history of the 1932-33 “Pecora Hearings,” which uncovered wrongdoing on Wall Street and laid the foundation for major legislation that reformed banking and the stock market.

My role was to talk about potential parallels betweeen the situation in the early 1930s and today, and together we argued out whether the Pecora Hearings could or should be considered a model for today.

Bill has a great sense of timing.  On Wednesday night the Senate passed, by a vote of 92-4, a measure that would create an independent commission to investigate the causes of our current economic crisis; we taped our discussion on Thursday morning.

I don’t know much about the Pecora commission but the Federal Reserve has an archive of the hearings and you can read all about it here.  It looks intimidating but no one should feel compelled to stay up all night cramming.  Take your time.  Simon is also soliticing solutions to the banking crisis at his new blog, The Hearing at WaPo.  It sounds like a very good idea.  The only thing I take issue with is the stab he takes at populism in his brief post.  It seems to me that the populace is asked to sit on its hands an awful lot.  We are supposed to take the anger and passion out of every interaction.  As a result, Congress doesn’t feel the bite and thinks it can get away with doing less than it should.  This is wrong.  It’s fine and dandy to ask for civilized discussion on a blog that is requesting real suggesions, not f-bombs and insults.  But it is quite another thing to ask people to stop protesting and contacting their Congressional Rep to vent their anger at the passivity of our elected officials during a time of crisis.  After all, if we don’t stick up for ourselves, no one else is going to do it.

Simon may be inadvertently feeding the “learned helplessness” that we have discussed before.  If an animal feels that it is under stress but that nothing it does makes any difference to relieve that stress, it may stop trying.  Therefore, Mr. Johnson, verily I say unto you, do not stand in the way of populism.  If you want real action on the Pecora commission initiative, you’ll be more likely to get it if there are more people on your side screaming bloody murder for it.  You don’t have to encourage the screaming.  Just don’t condemn it.  People are right to be angry.  Let’s just make sure it gets directed, in an undiluted state, towards the right people.  Our elected officials need to feel their jobs are at stake before they do something and nothing will get their attention better than an angry and persistent constituency.

Channel that populist rage onto Congress, whose job it is and was to keep the greedy, selfish finance crowd on a shorter leash. Otherwise, the public might as well be a flock of sheep.

(Simon recently gave another interview to Andrew Leonard at Salon.  Oddly enough, he’s citing the French Revolution in this one.  You’ve got to wonder why the Sans-culottes were good enough for the French but not for us…)

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

In other news:

What do health care, Kathleen Sebelius, the GM restructuring (now featuring *more* bankers!) and Al Franken have in common?  There are filibusters threatened by the Republicans in Congress on virtually every issue of importance from health care to abortion to holding bankers accountable and the Democrats need 60 votes to put an end to such threats.  Al Franken was elected Minnesota’s next Senator.  He won the seat by something like 300 votes.  A three judge panel has declared him the winner and all that is left is for Governor Tim Pawlenty to sign the election certificate to make it so.  Norm Coleman has vowed to take his case all the way to the US Supreme Court if he has to and he probably will, meaning that this election could remain unresolved until the fall. Franken would be the 59th senator.

Now, you may not be crazy about Franken.  His position on the war was wrong but he quickly snapped out of that.  He’s also ruffled a few feathers for his previous work as a really funny guy, sometimes at others’ expense.  But Franken is a true liberal and getting him to the Senate toot sweet would pretty much end the excuses that the Democrats have forwarded for their inaction.  Biden is the tie breaker.  Someone with knowledge of Senate procedure can tell us whether Biden can break the tie on a cloture vote.  I’m willing to give Franken a try and the sooner the better.  The Republicans are no doubt throwing every roadblock they can to keep him from getting there.  Their ability to obstruct would be reduced by one and assuming that Harry Reid is willing or interested in holding his coalition together with some discipline, that one vote could make a big difference.  Franken is taking donations for his protracted and expensive election fight.  You can give here.

finally…

WOOT!  We are going to hit 6 million hits today since we opened this gin joint last year.  Par-tay!


Please Digg & Share

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 449 other followers