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What’s missing in this NYTimes article on the divided Democrats?

The word

UNEMPLOYMENT

Nice try, guys. Is David Axelrod taking “journalists” aside and telling them to ix-nay on the unemployment-ay? By the way, poverty, which is the concern of only the “liberal” Democrats derives from

having no job.

Is this what the Unemployed are going to have to put up with?  They’re not going to mention us at all!?

Please get Caroline Kennedy off the fricking stage.  She is not doing the Democrats any favors:

Mr. Obama has, if slowly, taken stands that many members of his party long felt were politically risky, including support for same-sex marriage and issuing an order granting many young illegal immigrants brought to this country as children a two-year reprieve from deportation.

“They’re Democrats — they are always going to be disappointed,”Ms. Kennedy said. “But I think his stands on gay marriage and immigration this year changes that. I think he’s accomplished some really substantive things that people gloss over.”

Or he hasn’t accomplished anything substantive so there’s no need to gloss over.  But it’s hard to prove a negative.  Except in one particular area:

UNEMPLOYMENT

He hasn’t done a damn thing about that, even when he had a two year lead and a filibuster proof majority of his own party in Congress.  Not that Caroline, who was one of the people responsible for this disaster, has any clue.

Wait a sec, that’s it?  He says he’s for non-discrimination of the LGBT community but he doesn’t sign the non-discrimination clause for government contracts and he says he’ll leave anti-discrimination laws up to the states.  That’s not progress.  That’s pandering in the weakest way possible so as not to ruffle the feathers of the evangelicals.  And those students who are Americans in every way but birth?  There’s no teeth behind that “accomplishment”.  He might as well take up embroidery.

Let me work through this.  If Caroline Kennedy doesn’t think that poverty is a big deal, that must mean she’s not a liberal.  Oh sure, she has socially liberal views but she doesn’t really give a f^&* about poor people.  Can we agree on that?  BTW, it’s just as easy to be a poor gay person or immigrant.  Unemployment tends to not discriminate.  Even PhDs in STEM professions are not immune, Caroline.

Can we just push Caroline into the extinct liberal Republican camp and be done with it?  And take Obama with you, Caroline.

By the way, my brother is still in Afghanistan.

Isn’t it possible that the “lack of spirit” is due to the fact that Obama turned out to be a disaster to the

UNEMPLOYED?

And what’s with this crap?:

Bill Richardson, a former New Mexico governor who broke with Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008 and endorsed Mr. Obama, said it was critical for the White House to “re-energize the base that got him elected: minorities, young people and independents.”

“They need to get excited again,” he said.

What is he saying?  All we need is to have a couple of keggers and par-tay and that will make everything Ok?  Gawd, Richardson always was overrated.

Ah, this is closer to the truth:

Mr. Kerrey said the enthusiasm was “quite high,” but added, “It’s not going to be the naïve enthusiasm of four years ago.”

Yep, It was naive.  Stupid naivety.  And Democratic activists who were easier to fool than they thought they were. And a whole lotta bankers’ money with which to do it.

Happy Labor Day to those of you who still have jobs!

Since I cut the cord, I have been blissfully unaware of all the meme pushing out there.  Lambert says there has been quite a stir on the Democratic side over the Clint Eastwood speech at the RNC.  A couple of days ago, I checked out the youtube video of it but couldn’t get past the first few minutes.  But it wasn’t because he sounded incoherent.

It was because I was so touched that Clint Eastwood remembered the unemployed that I didn’t want to see the rest of it where he might have gone completely off the rails.

Remember when Ross Perot went on and on about the deficit being the crazy aunt in the attic or wherever?    Well, he always was one sandwich short of a picnic.  Nowadays, all you hear about is the deficit.  One party is going to gouge us.  One party is going to gouge us and ask for a token sacrifice from the bonus class.

No one is talking about unemployment except everybody I know.  Because everybody I know has been laid off, got a new job, got laid off again, is about to get laid off, is retraining before they get laid off.  Layoff is inevitable.  It’s a fact of life now.

Just because an old semi-conservative Hollywood star talks about unemployment in front of a bunch of heartless, mean spirited rich people doesn’t mean that his criticism of Obama and the Democrats is incorrect.  As Karl Rove said recently, you don’t have to get personal.  The truth is the best thing the Republicans have going for them.  They might have caused the crisis to begin with but they weren’t in charge when the decision was made to ignore the unemployed so the bankers wouldn’t feel inconvenienced.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s something the Republicans would definitely do but voters never expected that kind of behavior from Democrats.

All I want to hear from the Democrats in Charlotte is how they are going to deal with Unemployment.  I don’t want to hear about the deficit or “entitlements”, i.e. those benefits we PREPAID, or any other stupid thing the bonus class would like to use to commandeer our attention.  I don’t want to hear about how this has been “played”, or the style, or the inside baseball, horseracey, competition.

Unemployment is not a competition.

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to watch crappy cable news coverage of things that are of no importance to me.  But I will be periodically perusing the videos coming out of the convention.  You’d better not let us unemployed people down because we may not have money anymore but we do have votes and there are a lot of us out here in the suburbs where four years ago you thought you had us in the bag.

Time to rewrite those speeches, Democrats.

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

I hate Facebook.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.

I thought I was the only one who hated Facebook.  It’s not like I don’t want to be social. It’s just that I don’t like the interface or any of the stupid things people have to do in order to remain relevant.  I have an account but I NEVER use it except if I have to sign into the damn thing in order to get registered for a sweepstakes at my favorite design blogs.  If I had bothered to accept all the friend invitations I received since 2008, I’d look like one of the most popular people on Facebook.  We hit 58,000+ unique hits here at  The Confluence on one day in 2008.  Everybody wanted to be my friend (I don’t take this as an indication of the attractiveness of my many wonderful qualities or charisma.  As if. It’s just what people do, they “friend” you when you hit their radar).  And I’m sure that most of you are very lovely people…

But I hate Facebook.  Yep, I just hate it.  I’m right up there with George Clooney’s hatred of Facebook when he said “he would rather have a prostate exam on live television by a guy with very cold hands than have a Facebook page”.  Fortunately, I don’t have a prostate but I know the feeling.  Er, not of cold hands in my rectum.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.  Well, anyway, you know what I mean.  I don’t want to get into too many examples and extended metaphors.  Let’s just say that Facebook requires me to use my brain in ways that I find unnatural.  As a person whose former profession involved quite a bit of learning new interfaces, Facebook is non-intuitive to me and besides, why?  Just… why?  I don’t understand what is the big draw?  Don’t people get enough of my trivialities and whining here?  And I’m not interested in your trivialities and whining anymore than you’re interested in mine.  Post a blog and I’ll read it.  I want to hear your thoughts and the way you’re figuring things out in writing, your internal monologue.  That’s interesting.  That you’re eating breakfast?  Not interesting.

So, on the final day of the summer season, but not the season of summer, I’m stepping away from all the tech for awhile so I can do other stuff.  Maybe go outside, go shopping for the kid’s school supplies, see a movie, finish cleaning my basement, you know, useful things.  Don’t look for me on Facebook.

What Does Cardinal Timothy Dolan think about UNEMPLOYMENT?

Hey, did you hear the one about the Catholic bishop who is going to give a closing prayer at BOTH party conventions this year?*

Ladies? How do you feel about this? Remember back in 2008 when you climbed aboard the Obama bandwagon because he made you feel so creative and young and hot?

What has he done for you lately? Did he banish the Bush Conscience Rule or merely attenuate it? Did he stand up for your rights in the health care bill or capitulate to the Bart Stupaks because a *win* for him was more important that a loss for you?

Did he do anything about your unemployment problem in the he-covery? You know, the one where he thought it jobs should be manly man jobs so a guy could feel good about himself? Remember this blurb from Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men about where the pathetically inadequate stimulus money for jobs would go?:

That was where the jobs would be: nurse’s aides, companions to infirm seniors, hospital orderlies. The group bandied about ideas for how to channel job-seeking men into this growth industry. A need in one area filling a need in another. Interlocking problems, interlocking solutions. The Holy Grail of systemic change.

But Obama shook his head.

“Look, these are guys,” he said. “A lot of them see health care, being nurse’s aides, as women’s work. They need to do something that fits with how they define themselves as men.”

As the room chewed over the non-PC phrase “women’s work,” trying to square the senator’s point with their analytical models, [Alan] Krueger—who was chief economist at the Department of Labor in the mid-1990s at the tender age of thirty-four—sat there silently, thinking that in all his years ofstudying men and muscle, he had never used that term. But Obama was right. Krueger wondered how his latest research on happiness and well-being might take into account what Obama had put his finger on: that work is identity, that men like to build, to have something to show for their sweat and toil.

“Infrastructure,” he blurted out. “Rebuilding infrastructure.”

Obama nodded and smiled, seeing it instantly. “Now we’re talking. . . . Okay, let’s think about how that would work as a real centerpiece…. Don’t even get me started about potholed highways and collapsing bridges,” Obama said….

And just like that, a policy to repair the nation’s infrastructure was born. The federal government, in partnership with the private sector, would call upon the underemployed men of America to rebuild the country, and in doing so restore their pride.

;

Did he pay any attention to the women in his inner circle who told him to ask for more money in the stimulus and at least $100 billion for a jobs program? Did he care about YOUR pride? Economic needs? Kids you need to support?

No, he did not. By the way, read Confidence Men if you have a chance. If the last 4 years haven’t turned you off your kibble with Obama, that book will definitely do it.

Having Cardinal Dolan at the convention is what I would call a swift kick in the teeth. You’ve already decided that the Democrats are going to save you from the Republicans draconian crackdown on reproductive rights so Obama’s campaign has now written you off the list of voters he has to work for. Jeez, did you get ANYTHING in exchange for your vote or did they just scare the pants off you?

So, now that Obama has you in his win column, he can ignore you and go for the anti-abortion Catholics. Do you think they’re just going to give him their votes for nothing? They’re not stupid, you know.

Next time you have a chance to vote for a competent woman, give it more than a few seconds thought before some dude talks you out of it.

*Um, are we also going to get a moment of encouragement from the non-believers or don’t they count?  What about it, Democrats?  Are non-believers citizens who also deserve respect or is it just politically expedient to stuff them in a closet and tell them to be quiet?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is putting up this billboard in two places in Charlotte as well as one place in Tampa:

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

In the meantime, I’ve got other things to do. And here’s something a little bit different. Misschievous, a Canadian-Swiss youtuber, now living in Switzerland, has lost a lot of weight in the past year by cutting out almost all carbs from her diet. Here she presents three different lunches, lower in carbs but not carb free, that look delicious. If you want even fewer carbs, leave out the wrap and honey. Enjoy:

UNEMPLOYMENT

UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT.

That’s all I want to hear from either party for the next 10 weeks: How are they going to deal with unemployment and restore the middle class.  No other topic deserves any attention whatsoever. Solve the unemployment problem and you solve a lot of the other problems.  Got a problem with the deficit?  Put people back to work and they’ll pay taxes.  Not enough money in the Social Security kitty after 4 years of an artificially induced crisis?  Put people back to work and the trust fund will start to grow again.  Too many people losing their houses or going bankrupt because of health care costs?  Put them back to work earning money and many of those problems will go away.

This is not rocket science. Fixing the employment problem FIRST will have a domino effect on the other problems. The parties will try valiantly to talk about the deficit and abortion.  We shouldn’t let them.  Any time  their attention starts to wander, we should pull them up by the short hairs and ask them what they intend to do about UNEMPLOYMENT.

I challenge other blogs to do the same.  Don’t let the parties control the conversation.

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

Katiebird informs me that the Obama trolls are out throwing Sticks and Stones comments at people who suggest that there are other Democrats besides Obama/Biden that would make better presidential candidates.

Here’s how it goes: If you do not unquestioningly agree to vote for Obama/Biden, you *must* be a Romney/Ryan voter.

The Democrats have dangerously tottered over to authoritarian black/white thinking if this is what they are saying.  If you are a Democrat, are you allowed to do your own thinking anymore?

Here’s how you might think about this if you are a Democrat:

1.) Obama is only the *presumptive* nominee.  He’s not officially the nominee until the balloons drop in Charlotte.

2.) The Democrats at the convention could change their minds.  Please don’t tell us that the delegates/superdelegates can’t be persuaded or make up their own minds to do whatever they like at the convention.  We know the rules.  In other words, there are no rules.  It’s all up to the leadership and from what I can see, the leaders from 2008 have a lot less credibility this time around.

3.) By putting Obama on the ticket this time, you are saying that you accept poor performance, high unemployment, a grand bargain, foreclosures, retirement in penury and loss of our national infrastructure and leadership in industries and research where Americans once dominated, indefinite detention without trials, brutal suppression of protest movements and kill lists.  All of those things are Ok with you.  How about it, Digby?  Are all of those things ok with you?  Atrios?  I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.  Speak up and defend the party.  I’m not interested in what Romney did or is doing.  I’m not a conservative.  I’m a liberal.  So, tell me why a liberal should prefer Obama to some other Democrat.  I’ll wait.

4.) By forcing Obama on the rest of us, you are saying that there is no other Democrat that would be a.) more appealing to more Americans b.) more competent c.) more respectful of Democratic values than Obama.  You are saying that as far as the Democratic party goes, it simply doesn’t get more Democraticky than Obama.  He is the most perfect embodiment of the Democratic party than any other possible politician the Democrats have.  That’s what you’re saying.  Are you sure you want to say this?  Because that is the basis upon which people make their decisions at the polls.  That’s what motivates them to go to the polls in the first place.  You are asking them to make a choice for four years and you’d better give them the best possible reason for getting into their cars and standing in line to vote.  Otherwise, they’ll assume that you aren’t serious about your party values or your candidate.  You will discourage your voters if you don’t give them a reason to vote for you.

Now, some of us have looked at Obama’s performance for the past four years and we do not approve.  We would like to vote for a REAL Democrat this year.  That’s why we keep bringing up replacing Obama at the top of the ticket with Hillary Clinton.  You can have your own opinions about Hillary but if you are a Democrat and you don’t like her, you are part of a teensy tiny minority of Democrats.  Minute.  No one outside of your little club cares about what you think.  You don’t like Obama either at this point but you refuse to throw your support behind Hillary.  That’s weird because four years ago, you were having a fricking fit over those of us who didn’t think Obama was such a good choice to begin with.  We turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong so, you know, why should we care what you think?  Your record isn’t exactly stellar.  And don’t even go there with the Howard Dean thing.  No one outside of your little clique knows who he is and if they did, they wouldn’t like him.  You’ll have to trust me on this. He has a pheromone that appeals to a vanishingly small subset of Democrats.  To the rest of us, he’s the last guy we’d want to take on a Mystery Date.

In other words, those of you who hate Obama now but won’t consider Hillary and those of you who are party loyalists in the online enforcement brigade have absolutely no control over us.  You can’t make us vote for this dude.  We want a real Democrat.  And calling us names and secret supporters of Romney/Ryan or racists or stupid does not endear us to your point of view.  Do you want to know why??

It’s because you are nothing more than little black pixels on a display.  You can not hurt us.

That is the magick of the internet!  You can’t get in our faces and if you intend to hurt our feelings, we can close your tabs.  In fact, you can’t hurt our feelings.  So what if you call us names?  You only prove over and over again that our votes are important to you and you will use meanness and name calling to get what you want.  But you will also prove yourselves to be incredibly stupid for trying to use online bullying tactics because we don’t have to put up with it.

I suppose you could show up at our doors and threaten us to vote for your guy but then, you sure as hell wouldn’t be anything like the old Democratic party, would you?  Besides, we know who we are and what we believe and we have dignity that a bunch of online trolls can’t take away from us.

You might also try reason and persuasion but let’s face it, if you weren’t being paid, there’s no way in hell you could defend the Obama administration.  He’s bent over backwards to kiss the asses of the banking and insurance industry, he’s way too accommodating to the Republicans’ agenda and he’s let the rest of the country swing in the wind, especially the unemployed and women.  In short, you are selling out everything you say you believe in order to collect a paycheck.  We have words for that kind of person but we don’t want to hurt your feelings.

As for letting Romney/Ryan win and it being worse, how could it get any worse?? With Obama/Biden we still have two DUDES who have no interest in helping the unemployed and are more than willing to cut a grand bargain that will irreparably hurt those of us who have to work until the age of 67 to collect the measly payments we were forced to prepay for decades.

So, you know, shove it with your rationalizations.  You’re only bullies who think you can strongarm us (Ha!) into submission so you can cross this group of stubborn voters off your list and never have to kowtow to us again. You have no intention of giving up power and don’t give a rat’s ass about the rest of us.  But we’re NOT voting for any of the current two major party candidates until we get a Democratic candidate worth voting for.  If we don’t vote for your ticket, we’re not losing much, but you will lose plenty.  There goes your power for a four year time out.  Suck on that for awhile.

Democrats in La-La Land

Update: For all you balletomanes, Anaheim Ballet is currently hosting the Anaheim International Dance Festival.  AIDF attracts some of ballet’s leading dancers, including dancers from ABT and San Francsisco Ballet.  In about an hour, Anaheim Ballet will start livestreaming some of their workshops.  You can catch the workshops here.

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

The opening paragraphs of this NYTimes piece on the Democrats possible response to Romney’s choice of Ryan as his running mate are priceless:

The selection of Representative Paul D. Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential candidate provides President Obama with something he has been eagerly looking for — a bigger target.

A race that has revolved, at least in part, around each month’s mediocre jobs report and Mr. Obama’s persistent failure to move unemployment below 8 percent will now allow Democrats new lines of attack — starting with the assertion that Republicans are intent on dismantling Medicare — while setting off a larger debate about the role of government in the economy and society.

For Mr. Obama, that seems more promising territory, a chance to press the offensive against his challengers rather than just defend his record. Instead of a referendum on his own performance, the president has an opening to turn the election into a referendum on the vision that Mr. Ryan has advanced and Mitt Romney has adopted.

The sentence in bold is the funniest thing I’ve read all year. Obama wouldn’t be in this predicament if he’d actually made life better for the people who were screwed by the bankers’ gambling addiction.  Successful presidents defend successful records successfully.  Or, put it another way, “Luck favors the prepared mind”.  Or “If you study consistently, you won’t have to cram”.  Or “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”.

Second term elections are always a referendum on the president’s record.  It’s like a performance evaluation.  This year, Obama’s record will get even more scrutiny. So, what the media is suggesting is that by defining himself as the champion of the social safety net, Obama can cover up his dismal performance in creating the necessary policies to help put people back to work. That’s like assuming that you can use your verbal gifts on your section of the evaluation form and fool your boss into ignoring the fact that your major project is 48 months behind schedule and needs a complete overhaul.  If it were *slightly* behind and you hadn’t lost your major project contributors through poor planning, maybe you could squeak by in the middle of the pack.  But when your project is the one that was expected to keep the company going for a couple of decades, and everyone can read the progress reports, “baffling with bullshit” looks like a losing proposition.

In any case, if changing the subject is what the Times is recommending, that’s a little like falling right into the trap that the Republicans have set for Obama. By defending the extra spending that has pushed up the deficit, Obama will be calling attention to the fact that so many people are out of work.  Rather than obfuscating his shitty performance, he’s going to be shining a big spotlight on it.

Not only that but he’s perfectly OK with slashing that social safety net.  Slashing is easy; presidentin’ is hard. If he plunges into haggling over what to slash and we’re subjected to two months of mindnumbing details about COLA calculations, he could keep the spotlight off of his record.  It could be like two long months of debates over kerning and san serif fonts.  But in the end, it will still be Ugly and Son of Ugly slashing the deficit, imposing austerity on innocent bystanders and in way that will result in a more depressed economy, which will throw more people out of work, and so on and so on.  So, you know, there’s that.

But wait! There’s more:

That strategy may put Mr. Obama, a self-declared agent of hope and change four years ago, in the awkward position of seeming to be the defender of a status quo that is not working, or at least not working well enough. He risks having Republicans seize the mantle of reform that he used so skillfully in 2008 by contrasting his stay-the-course incumbent’s message with the youthful Mr. Ryan’s energetic willingness to tear up the old order and reinvent it for troubled times.

What??  I think the talking points from the political operatives have mutated themselves into insensibility.  I have no idea what that paragraph is supposed to mean.  It’s like that famous sentence by Noam Chomsky, “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”.  Grammatically, it’s correct and even descriptive but it’s still a collection of words in a sentence with no meaning.  Is he trying to say that Mr. Cool’s “hope and Change!™” defense of the status quo is going to have to go head to head with “ADHD” Ryan’s youthful offensive for pro-old rich white guys’ wet dreams?  You’d almost think that there are no actual people or voters with any vested interest in the outcome.

Hokay, it must be tough to be a reporter these days.

Anyway, I’ve got better things to do with my time today.  It’s going to be a nice day.  Why bother trying to sort through all of the silly political kabuki this year?  It’s hard to hide a f^*( up of these proportions.  Everyone at this point knows what’s going on and who’s zoomin’ who.  I’d rather be gardening.

Here’s a video I found accidentally last night that makes me wish I had taken up nature photography as a profession.  It’s from the BBC program Planet Earth.  I’ll bet it will look really good in Google Glasses:

Forget Romney’s taxes, what will Obama do about unemployment??

Sorry Matt Taibbi, This tax return issue is one gigantic distraction:

The Obama administration, if it wanted to, could make a lot of hay over this. It could say, “Mitt Romney doesn’t want to release his tax returns for years and years during the last decade. But the years for which he did release returns, he paid a rate that’s less than half of what most ordinary American professionals make – and he thinks that’s ‘fair.’”

Now, Obama has gone after Mitt’s tax returns – a little. He’s released a few ads here and there, including one called “Makes You Wonder” that called Mitt’s use of carried interest in his tax return a “trick,” a semantic move for which Obama was criticized, since it was actually nothing of the sort. Mitt Romney’s ability to pay a top rate of 15% for his work was no trick at all but a fully-legal expression of the values of our current political system, a system, again, that Mitt Romney is “proud of” and thinks is “fair.”

I can’t blame Matt for doing what all the other journalists do during an election year.  Jay Rosen has written extensively on the “horse race” reporting of election year journalism.  Journalists write stories only other journalists would love.  It’s all about petty tit-for-tat and gossip and gaffes.  But this is not like other election years.  In a way, you would have thought that the politicians with their slick psychological manipulators on the payroll would have figured out that the voters want to talk about serious things this year.  They should be on the cutting edge.  But I’m beginning to think that the parties are not as modern and hipster as they’d like to think.  Maybe that’s because both *presumptive* nominees are representing old, establishment money and power.  Old guys think the world revolves around their interests and that they can still mold the culture to suit them.  But it is social distancing that prevents them from seeing the American landscape as it truly is.

Jonathan Chait recently encapsulated this mindset in his recent piece, Why Washington Accepts Mass Unemployment. Chait is critical of the Washington establishment that thinks that bad things happen to other people.  But the weird thing is that he doesn’t even know how vulnerable he is:

It’s important to respond to arguments on intellectual terms and not merely to analyze their motives. Yet it is impossible to understand these positions without putting them in socioeconomic context. Here are a few salient facts: The political scientist Larry Bartels has found (and measured) that members of Congress respond much more strongly to the preferences of their affluent constituents than their poor ones. And for affluent people, there is essentially no recession. Unemployment for workers with a bachelors degree is 4 percent — boom times. Unemployment is also unusually low in the Washington, D.C., area, owing to our economy’s reliance on federal spending, which has not had to impose the punishing austerity of so many state and local governments.

I live in a Washington neighborhood almost entirely filled with college-educated professionals, and it occurred to me not long ago that, when my children grow up, they’ll have no personal memory of having lived through the greatest economic crisis in eighty years. It is more akin to a famine in Africa. For millions and millions of Americans, the economic crisis is the worst event of their lives. They have lost jobs, homes, health insurance, opportunities for their children, seen their skills deteriorate, and lost their sense of self-worth. But from the perspective of those in a position to alleviate their suffering, the crisis is merely a sad and distant tragedy.

Maybe in the plush Washington suburbs 4% unemployment among college graduates is the norm.  But I’m sitting here in NJ with the dead corpses of the careers of PhD’s in Chemistry and Pharmacology all around me and it is most decidedly not all sunshine and roses.  We are also part of the “elite” and we’re dying out here. All we hear is myths about how there aren’t enough of us while vast numbers of us can’t get jobs or keep the ones we relocate our families to take.  Jonathan Chait joins Bill Keller in the same clueless club.  Who exactly do they think they are talking about?  Are journalists and poli sci graduates guaranteed gold watches and pensions these days?  A couple of years ago, the kids around here also would have looked on the recession as “a sad and distant tragedy”.  These days, those same kids are the ragged refugees of the middle class.  Their childhoods will be permanently marked by the changes their parents are going through.

The tax distraction serves both parties.  Neither one of them wants to talk about unemployment.

Here we are, 3 months from the election and no one is talking about unemployment.

How is Obama going to put people back to work?  If I don’t hear some concrete policies, then I am going to assume he has no plans.  I am going to assume he doesn’t care.  I’m not going to be the only one.

Yes, yes, it’s really crappy that rich people do not pay enough in taxes.  If politicians are really concerned with this, the first thing they could do to help level the playing field is eliminate the cruel excise tax for people who are chronically unemployed who have to liquidate their 401Ks in order to keep their kids in the same high school.  That’s where I would start.  No, do not lecture them about saving their money for retirement.  If they needed a lecture, they wouldn’t have a stash in their 401Ks to begin with.  You want to lecture people about saving for retirement? Go talk to a 30 year old who hasn’t saved a dime.

You know, I have no intention of helping Republicans achieve a damn thing.  I’m not harping on Democrats because I want Republicans to win.  I’m harping on Democrats because I want them to do something.

It gives me no pleasure to have to be a Democrat in Exile looking forward to a long hard slog and decades of being in the wilderness while we build another party.  But that’s where we’re headed.  And I’d like to remind the party who wants to make it sound like resistance is useless that that’s probably they way the Liberal party treated the New Democratic Party of Canada about 10 years ago.  Times change, people change, and it happens at a much quicker  pace these days.  The Democrats might not feel so smug in a few months when 5-6% of us decide to tough it out and turn to replacing one of the two parties with something different.

The unemployed will have plenty of work to do to get rid of the party that wanted to waste our time with a pointless exercise of distraction while we were losing everything.  That will motivate us to get up in the morning and work for a shake-up of the two party system.

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Updating Shakespeare: “First thing we do, kill all the marketers.”  Grocery stores are now using loyalty card information so that food manufacturers can reward some of their customers more than others.  There are a zillion reasons why this is a bad idea.  It’s unfair.  It’s like putting your thumb on the scales for some customers while others still generate a hefty profit margin thinking they’re getting a break.  As one commenter noted in this NYTimes piece, if you’re poor, you don’t look loyal enough to the companies who might offer you a lower price so you end up footing the bill for the upper middle class suburbanites.

If there isn’t a law, there oughtta be.  For one thing, it feels like someone is always looking over your shoulder and invading your privacy.  For another, it seems like the whole world is manipulating prices with a giant optimization algorithm in just one more way to pick every penny of disposable income as it can from our pockets.  I don’t feel like a consumer anymore.  I feel like a crop that is being harvested.

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More dance loveliness.  Afternoon of a Faun combines two of my favorite things: Debussy and Dance.  The original was choreographed by Nijinsky and was scandalous.  In the end, a faun that has been stalking a nymph throws himself on her discarded scarf and lustily pelvic thrusts into it.

But when I was a kid, I searched the NYCB schedule at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for the Jerome Robbins version.  The music is the same but the setting is different.  In this ballet, two dancers are in a studio and dance alone and together, seemingly unaware of each other as they stare into an imaginary mirror.  It’s playful, romantic and clever.  And no scarfs get messy.

I’m pretty sure the version I saw was danced by Allegra Kent.  The name sticks out.  Allegra.  Only ballerinas have names like that.  Allegra, Darcy, Gelsey, Paloma.  Even their names are in arabesque.

In the case of the Robbins’ updated version, the original dancer was the ethereal Tanaquil LeClercq.  Tanaquil was the name of an ancient Etruscan queen.  Tanaquil’s career did not last very long.  She was married to George Balanchine at the peak of her ballet career when she was struck down with polio while she was on tour.  She never danced again and spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair.  But we have this video of a substantial portion of this short ballet where Tanaquil and Jacques D’Amboise  dance as “nymph” and “faun” in a studio in an afternoon.  You can watch it here if the request is disabled.

Enjoy.

Recap

You could have had a V8.

Update: I don’t agree with Digby’s latest post that it’s all the Republicans fault that we’re stuck at 8.2% unemployment.  Yes, all of the things she lists the Republicans definitely did.  They’re bastards and they have a vested interest in seeing that Obama is a one term president.

The problem with her argument is that in the first two years of the crisis, it was Democrats who had the power to ram through any damn thing they wanted to.  They could have played hardball and stuck together and presented a united front.  I’m even betting that Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman could have been leaned on to get their asses into line.  But there was no political push to do this.  It was an emergency and yet, the incoming Obama administration had no plans when it came into office.  It didn’t do its homework.  There has been plenty of evidence that Obama and Geithner totally blew it in the first two years and that’s why we’re stuck.

But the worst thing is that they seem to have just thrown up their hands and are are like, “Well, what do you want us to do about it now??  This shit is getting old.”  Let me just remind you that this is the same campaign tactic that Jon Corzine took and it didn’t work for him.

Let’s face it, the Democrats did this to the country when they decided to put a complete novice, bought by Wall Street, who had almost no legislative experience, in charge of the most important nation in the world in the midst of the worst economic downturn in 80 years.  There is no getting around it.  Obama’s lack of legislative progress reminds me of JFK’s and that was primarily self-inflicted because the Kennedy crew refused to use LBJ to muscle arm people into line.

Obama wasn’t dealing with a 100% hostile Congress in 2009.  He had almost a mandate and he could have used his political capital at that time to demand just about anything.  Instead, he spent an awful lot of time preening for the camera during the first two years and I know this because his face was on TV in the company cafeteria every fricking day during lunch.

I don’t know what is wrong with this batch of Democrats but I don’t trust them.  They’re too friendly to bankers, too dismissive of working people and they don’t do their homework.  Obama and his crew did not come to Washington with a plan to save homeowners and preserve jobs.  They just didn’t, Digby.  There is no evidence that they even made those items a priority and plenty of evidence that they bent over backwards to save the financiers from the consequences of their bad behavior.  You can blame the other side all you want but the lack of plans is very telling and you can’t blame that on Republicans.  No one should get blamed for the lack of planning but Obama and the Democrats.  They let us all down and this particular batch does not deserve four more years.

As long as the Democrats refuse to change their lineup, that leaves us with Mitt, who we also don’t want.  I’d like to think there was a difference between the parties but I’m looking at a party of almost criminal incompetence vs a party of insanity.  As far as choices go, this is as bad as it gets.  We can’t do anything to change the crazy Republicans and as long as Obama is on the ticket, we will have to expect more of the same lassitude for four more years.  It is only by changing out the top of the ticket do we push the election into a new energy state and have a hint of a possibility of recapturing a mandate.  At this point, working people on both sides need something to look forward to.  There’s only one person who could potentially pull this off.

Otherwise, we continue on in our lost decade, the rich get stronger, the voters continue to be disenfranchised and any hope that we will regain our footing will be lost for a long, long time.

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Let’s recap where we are leading up to this election, shall we:

The economy added a lousy 80,000 jobs last month.  The unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck at 8.2%.  Expect the assholes who are sitting on the money to stay sat until they get what they want, whatever that is.  In Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, he describes a proposal by Christina Romer, chairwoman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, that $100 billion would go a long way to putting many unemployed people back to work.  There were still Democratic majorities in Congress at the time. Obama passed on it.

Frankly, I’m finding this election to be really boring.  I don’t care how many frogs Mitt Romney blew up when he was a child or that Ann likes dressage.  I. Don’t. Care. Please don’t waste my time telling me how awful Republicans are, as if I didn’t already know.

Tell me why the Democrats aren’t just as awful from the standpoint of the unemployed.  You know what?  You can’t.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is on a marathon trip around the world putting out multiple fires, likely without much help from the National Security advisors who seem to like putting her in tight spots and then hanging her our to dry all by herself on the world stage.  Nice way to support the State department.  Way to go, Obama administration. Oh, and we haven’t gone to war with Iran yet, which all of the anti-Hillary Democrats were *convinced* she was going to do.

So, you know, there’s that.

Plus more people are losing their homes, yada-yada-yada…

There’s still time.  If the impending catastrophe in November is starting to look like the end of the world as we know it, and more voter suppression and internet censorship will surely follow, NOW would be the time to register your concern with your local Democratic party apparatus.

It ain’t over until the balloons drop in Charlotte.

Trust me, Democrats, you do not want to bore your voters.  And right now, there are a lot of us out here who are less likely to vote for your candidate with each new revelation about his administration.  The peer pressure tactics may not work nearly as well this year.  What makes me furious with the Democratic party is their insistence on ignoring voters and acting all parental about what candidates we are allowed to choose from.  Then comes the pressure tactics where you’re made to feel guilty if you don’t choose one of these horrible people.  You know, f^*( that sh^&.  It’s not up to me to make this right for the Democrats.  It’s up to the Democrats to make this right for me.  I’m sick of voting for the lesser evil, especially because I can’t tell anymore who that person is.  Don’t roll your eyes at me.  It’s not obvious to those of us who are losing our standards of living, watching Obama stand by while Rome burns.  He doesn’t take any pains to disguise his ennui for people losing their houses and everything else they worked so hard for.  And his crowd suppression tactics of the Occupy movement tells me all I need to know about whether he intends to do anything about our grievances.

So, shove it, D’s.  Get him the f&(* out of there or YOU will be responsible for what happens next.  The authoritarian strain is strong in this one and I refuse to participate in the destruction of the Democratic party any longer.

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Here is the current Obama attitude as interpreted by Lilly Von Shtupp:

Stuff that only looks random

Worlds largest woodpile, Byholma, Sweden.

Update: Is it possible that the firing of Teresa Sullivan from the University of Virginia is part of a ratfucking operation to get Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts?? See this post at Brietbart (Ewww) for details.  Firing Sullivan may be the first step in making Warren look like she is guilty of scientific misconduct.  Regardless, the Board of Visitors should be investigated.  Who are they taking orders from?

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I’m cleaning out the Instapaper queue this morning.  Let’s take a look:

Derek Lowe writes a response in Slate to a recent Slate article that claims that we need more scientists and mathematicians.  No, what we really need are more jobs for the hundreds of thousands of STEM majors who are out of work right now.

Derek also has a post about the future of Organic chemistry in this country.  Bottom line: there is no future in this country for organic chemists and a recent National Research Council Committee study confirms this:

Whitesides believes that the question should be asked whether PhD theses are narrow technical presentations for jobs that no longer exist. Should U.S. graduate students be doing organic synthesis if most organic synthesis is being done in China? “That’s not to say that these aren’t really important activities, but we need to connect our investment in graduate school with what’s actually needed to give jobs to students.”

That’s really sad.  America has produced some of the finest chemists of the modern era but if there are no jobs after graduate school, why bother studying a dead field? You might as well get a PhD in Alchemy for all the good it will do you.  Our country hasn’t felt the full effects of all of the industrial slashing and burning on our scientific infrastructure yet but it’s coming and it won’t be pretty.  Meanwhile, our wealth of scientists are forced to pursue other careers…

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Theresa MacBain, the Methodist pastor who recently came out as an atheist, gave a short interview on Fox News radio.  It’s only 9 minutes.  Well worth the time. She did very well and held her own.  Good job, Theresa.  It’s not easy taking on the blowhards at Fox.  Let’s hope some of this interview percolated into the minds of the listeners.

Theresa is presently directing the Clergy Project, an initiative to help non-believing pastors make the transition into the civilian world.  The purpose of the Clergy Project is not to deconvert practicing pastors.  The pastors that join the project are already past the point of deconversion.  They just want out of the pulpit because they want to stop living a lie and they need to make a safe landing.  The number of clergy who have joined the project has swelled dramatically since McBain and another graduate, Jerry DeWitt, have barnstormed the country in the past couple of months.  They have almost 300 members and many more clergy who are on a waiting list to be screened before they can join.

In another sign of the atheist apocalypse, Linda LaScola, a researcher on religion, gave an interview to CNN about the rate of deconversion and its future effects on politics. The days of the religious right strangling the country and squashing modernity are numbered.

As more people turn away from religion, there is an associated trend that shows they are becoming more liberal.  So, you have to wonder why Democrats seem scared to death of the religious right.  If they just hang in there and stop ceding ground to the conservatives, in a few election cycles, the pendulum will have swung the other way.  In fact, Republicans seem to be frantically throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the electorate this year because they know they are rapidly running out of time.  Before long, there won’t be enough elderly, conservative religious voters who they can conscript for the plutocrats.

By the way, did you know that up until recently, most people stayed with the religion traditions they were brought up in?  And according to Bob Altemeyer, author of The Authoritarians, “amazing apostates”, those individuals who reject their  fundamentalist upbringings and become secular do so at the rate of about 1%.  What the data shows recently is that the rate of deconversion is picking up with greater access to the internet.

Previously, that 1% shared some common characteristics, such as being good in school and valuing truth.  In other words, we don’t just accept what people tell us unquestioningly no matter how much our parents isolate us.  Altemeyer also found that there are a few people who go the other way from secular households to religious conversion but these people tend to be less well educated and they make their conversions after some life-changing event like an illness, unemployment or relationaship failure.  In other words, religious conversions happen when people are most vulnerable to persuasion and to individuals who are least able to reason their way out of it.  These findings are similar to my own experience.  I never believed the fundamentalist crap I was fed and to get me to believe it now, after I have seen the proof of evolution in my research and now know the historical facts behind the bible, would require me to undergo a lobotomy.

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Something very weird is going on at the University of Virginia.  Last week, the President Teresa Sullivan, was asked to resign abruptly by the University’s Board of Visitors, which is like the Board of Regents everywhere else.  The reasons for the resignation are not clear.  Even Sullivan herself is not actually sure why she was fired and the board is not answering questions to anyone’s satisfaction.  This move came 2 years after Sullivan was appointed and has, by all accounts, done an admirable job.

I first read about this a few days ago from a history professor there, Siva Vaidhyanathan, who wrote about the dismissal in Salon.  What Vaidhyanathan describes sounds oddly familiar to those of us in the pharmaceutical industry who have lost our jobs due to cost saving measures of the shareholders:

In the 21st century, robber barons try to usurp control of established public universities to impose their will via comical management jargon and massive application of ego and hubris. At least that’s what’s been happening at one of the oldest public universities in the United States—Thomas Jefferson’s dream come true, the University of Virginia.

On Thursday night, a hedge fund billionaire, self-styled intellectual, “radical moderate,” philanthropist, former Goldman Sachs partner, and general bon vivant named Peter Kiernan resigned abruptly from the foundation board of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He had embarrassed himself by writing an email claiming to have engineered the dismissal of the university president, Teresa Sullivan, ousted by a surprise vote a few days earlier.

[...]

“The Board believes that in the rapidly changing and highly pressurized external environment in both health care and in academia, the University needs to remain at the forefront of change,” [Board of Vistors chair] Dragas wrote in her initial email announcement. I have no idea what that means or why it pertains to Sullivan’s dismissal. I guess it means that stuff is changing. So the university must change. Firing a president is change.

On Monday Dragas, sensing that the university community might want some explanation for such a radical act, sent out a second message: “The Board believes this environment calls for a much faster pace of change in administrative structure, in governance, in financial resource development and in resource prioritization and allocation. We do not believe we can even maintain our current standard under a model of incremental, marginal change. The world is simply moving too fast.”

OK, then. It’s all about pace. I suppose this means the board will appoint a new president every two years. Or maybe more frequently, because that’s the only way to keep up with the pace of change.

Earlier in the statement Dragas wrote that “the board feels strongly and overwhelmingly that we need bold and proactive leadership on tackling the difficult issues that we face.” So we can derive from Dragas’ statements that Sullivan was not bold enough, fast enough, or “proactive” enough to guide a bucolic 193-year-old institution founded by a stocking-wearing guy who studied Greek and Latin for fun.

We were all baffled. So Sullivan did nothing wrong? The board would not even hint at the reason she was fired. Conspiracy theories quickly circulated to fill the vacuum. And they got worse after Kiernan’s letter unleashed an unfounded fear that an MBA “cabal” was in cahoots with Goldman Sachs to loot the university.

It sounds like the financiers’ values have come to the University of Virginia because they loves them some change! The bizspeak jargon is always a bad sign.  No one knows what it really means, not even the speakers.  This leaves a lot of leeway to interpret the jargon on the fly to justify just about anything.  Vaidhyanathan suggests that donors to the university want more control over how their donations are used.  Maybe they want more influence over the curriculum or benefits or hiring.  Whatever it is, they want to impose change on their timetable and in their way without some capable university president who specialized in class dynamics and the sociology of debt getting in the way.

Did I mention that the University of Virginia has pretty reasonable tuition compared to its peers?  How much do you want to bet that that’s going to Change!™ now that the bonus class has got its grubby mitts on the steering wheel?  Cut back on wages benefits here, hire some more poorly paid adjunct professors there, get more companies to foot the bills for research, raise tuition 30% over a few years and voile!  This is not a charitable institution, after all.  Why should University of Virginia students and their parents get off easy?

The students and faculty have turned out for Sullivan and latest reports say that 4 of the 12 members of the Board of Visitors have approached Sullivan to ask her to stay.  But this is not a good working environment for anyone at the University and Sullivan warns that the faculty may be poached by other universities looking to pick up spooked researchers and professors.  Researchers need to be able to plan and require a contiguous and stable environment and this crap from the Board of Visitors is undermining that.  They’ll get their change for sure but what they will be left with won’t be worth anything after they’re done.  The university’s faculty need only look at the smoking hulks of our empty industrial labs and extraordinarily well compensated former MBA overlords to know what will come next.

Another disaster brought to you by the Goldman Sachs family of assholes.

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More office chairs.  I’m still pining for the white leather one from West Elm but the damn thing never goes on sale.

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Le Pacman:

Who do these people think they’re talking to?

I got this picture from Corrente in one of Lambert’s posts.  It’s a picture of the inside of Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago.  If you’ve ever wondered why so many of his fanboys sound like young guys who don’t have families or responsibilities, well, here’s your answer:

Do you see any women in that picture? There might be a few waaaaaay in the back but mostly it looks like the library of an oversized frat house.  I like the Adidas shoes though.  They remind me of the ones I had when I was a freshman at Pitt. Very comfy.

These are the same people who get on social media outlets and have little hissy fits when you suggest that their candidate might be out of touch with the average voter.  These are the guys who tell you that the ONLY reason you could possibly be dissatisfied with Obama’s performance is because you’re a racist.  Or stupid.  Yeah, I like that one.  You’re stupid because you can’t see that not voting for him is voting against your best interests.

And voting for him would be what?  And why is there an unspoken assumption that if you don’t want to vote for Obama that you’re naturally going to vote for Romney?  Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?  There are other candidates, you know.

By the way, how is insulting your voters supposed to work anyway?  When we’re out here struggling to get by on our dwindling savings why are we confronted with another teachable moment about race?  Is the Obama fanbase trying to suggest that if we weren’t racists we’d be more prosperous?  Or are they trying to blame our stupidity for our unemployment problems? Are they trying to depress us and strip us of our self esteem and make us feel bad about our situation, because that doesn’t seem like a winning formula to me. If anyone in the fanbase wants to address the logic behind the messaging and blaming the victims, I’m all ears.  Well, I’m all ears to a message that treats me as a college educated adult that can reason my way out of a paper bag.  I like a message that doesn’t condescend to flimflam me about Obama’s “accomplishments” and tell me that Lilly Ledbetter solved all my problems.  I’m not Cindy Lou Who.  If the message is going to give me a plan and concrete examples of how Obama is going to turn this ship around in the next four years that sound convincing, I could be open to that.  But I haven’t seen it yet and none of it passes my smell test.

Charles Pierce did a post on Obama’s headquarters last week.  Besides the fact that the place is locked down like a fortress and you can’t get in without surrendering your driver’s license, the place is locked down like a fortress.  These guys are on social media sites all day shaping the message.  This a the reason why I’ve avoided facebook and why I don’t hang out at many lefty blogs.

But who the heck are they talking to?  I don’t relate to these people and I doubt that they relate to me.  To me, they’re just the online manifestation of hooliganism.  They’re loud, aggressive and intimidating in the comment threads.  It’s not that I don’t think I can handle it.  I just ask myself why I should bother.  They’re not hired to have an argument with you.  They’re there to incite a bait ball frenzy with their partners,  shut you up and drive you away.  They’re not in the persuasion business.  They’re in the enforcement business, not unlike the riot cops who the DHS sics on Occupy protestors every time they get together.  It’s almost like they’re trying to prevent us from getting together and comparing notes about Obama’s performance.  We can’t have that.  We might discover that racism and stupidity have nothing to do with it.

We’re coming up on the 4th anniversary of that infamous RBC hearing in Washington where the rules were rewritten to make sure they were more equal for Obama at the expense of all of the other voters in America who 1.) didn’t think he was ready to be president and 2.) couldn’t identify with his asshole fanbase.  And the problem with Obama still hasn’t changed.  He’s still not ready to be president and he still has a bunch of assholes working for him.  And these assholes, who appear to have all of the experience of 22-28 year old unmarried men, have the nerve to dictate to the rest of us that if we don’t vote for him again, we’re stupid racists and if he loses, all of the catastrophes that follow will be our fault.

How about we look at it this way?  It’s not the responsibility of the voters to ensure that the fanboys’ employer gets reelected.  It is the candidate’s responsibility to do a good job and make sure he is leading the country in a positive direction with a vision of the future that the rest of us can relate to.  That’s the way it works.  It is and always will be the Economy, stupid.

The candidate lucked out when the market tanked in 2008 because from what I could see, the campaign wasn’t over and his presidency was not assured back then.  Now, we know what he is and he’s going to have to do a better job before voters give him four more years.  And these guys in their shrinkwrapped, airconditioned bunkers, sealed for their own protection and away from the real world are not helping his image.

One more thing: This is for all of the blogger/pundit types out there who write witty and incisive prose about the failures of the Obama administration (you know who you are).  We read your stuff and know that you’re just as horrified as we are that Obama has given everything away to Wall Street.  We know that you can predict how badly life is going to suck for those of us who will be on the losing end of the Grand Bargain.  We know that you’re appalled by Obama’s poor performance.  It’s not hard to read between the lines.  So, do us all a favor and stop running around with your hair on fire about how we must vote for him or Armageddon will come when Romney is elected.  That assumes that nothing can be done and all hope is lost.  That isn’t helping.  You haven’t even tried yet.

If I had your megaphone, I would use it.

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This video of the saucepan demonstrations in Quebec is going viral so let’s spread it around too:

See the difference?  Those are average people.  They’re not all from Sigma Pi.

Land’s Sakes, What’s a body to do?

Why are all those busy body adbusters people riling up plain folks?

Educate yourself.

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I don’t know what to make of the liberals for Ron Paul phenomenon except that they seem to edge towards the “Single Issue voter” side of the spectrum.  Civil liberties and war are the primary problems for them.  If I recall correctly, Matt Stoller voted for Obama in the primary because of his reputed anti-war position.  I can remember the day that Stoller announced his decision on Open Left even though up to that point he was at least pretending to be objective.

But I would like to suggest that the best way to end the wars and take on the military industrial complex once and for all is to fix the economy.  Because the vast majority of Americans are stressed out, trying to make ends meet.  It was already stressful enough before the crash of 2008 to keep a job and everything that goes with it, like money for housing, food, healthcare and retirement.  Now, it’s almost impossible.  And when people are that stressed out, trying to keep track of dozens of tasks and walking on eggshells to make sure they’re not on the list for the next layoff, they don’t have time to get all up the grill of the US government about wars.  Did you notice what happened to the anti-war movement since 2008?  From what I can tell, it’s been replaced in the news with endless bad economic news.

So, to those single issue voters who have the luxury to pick lint out of your belly buttons and get all breathlessly righteous about the war, turn your attention to fixing the economy.  It shouldn’t have to be said again, but the economy was THE most important issue in the 2008 election.  Because if you want to keep the anti-war pressure up, you need to get people to care about it.  And right now, they’ve got more important things on their minds.  I know this is a foreign concept to young men who have no families to worry about but, frankly, your single issue?  Not even on our radar right now. That’s alarming, I know. That doesn’t mean we aren’t just as anti-war as you are, especially those of us who have brothers over there (I do, do you?).  It’s just that we are fighting our own wars right now and feeding our kids is more important.  That’s how the bad guys get their way and their wars.  They distract the very people who care.

People who are overwhelmed with fighting for their own economic survival are less interested in their civil liberties and war.  It is, and always has been, the economy, stupid. Fix that first and the rest will follow.  And if you are following that much of my logic, then you will stop toying with the Ron Paul option.

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As long as we’re speculating on whether it is acceptable to vote for the lesser evil, why don’t we take a poll?

Of course I can throw Hillary on that list.  Whether the Matt Stollers and Chris Hedges types like her or not, the Stollers and Hedges types are a tiny fraction of the American electorate and they may find out just how tiny a fraction they are come election day.  There are much bigger fractions out there that the Democrats are in danger of losing right now, like women and people with families and the unemployed. Remember, it’s the economy stupid.  So, if you had to pick a lesser evil, why not Hillary?  How much more eeeeeevil than Barack Obama is she?  The party changes its rules when it wants to.  Right now, it *thinks* it can shove Obama down our throats again but there are plenty of us who are not interested in what either party is selling.  Give us a different option, someone we see as less evil, and we might come back.

Think about that.  Do you want a Democrat in the White House or Barack Obama?

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