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    • Seven Rules for Running a Real Left-wing Government
      (With the Bolivian coup overthrown, back to the top.  I’ve noticed this is the article of mine front-line activists refer to most.  Originally published May 16, 2016.) So, we have had a right-wing coup in Brazil. In Venezuela, the left still controls the Presidency, but has lost control of parliament. In Argentina, the right has […]
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Celebrating Goldberry — Our Riverdaughter (an Open Thread)

We’ve been whispering about it for hours — but here’s the Story of Confluence:

The Campaign Toll:
When Democrats Go Post-al
By James Wolcott (Vanity Fair, June 2008)

. . . .

At Daily Kos, Clinton’s supporters felt not only outnumbered but patronized as objects of sexist condescension, pummeled like tackling dummies. One regular diarist, who went by the handle of Goldberry, exited the Daily Kos and set up her own blog, the Confluence, rolling out a welcome mat for fellow “Kossacks in Exile.” Toward Markos himself, she bore no ill will: “I totally respect Markos. He’s created a beautiful thing.” But the beautiful thing he created has been overrun by ruffians, leaving refugees like herself to hole up in the hills “until the ravagers run out of fuel to burn.” In an open letter to the liberal blogosphere, a fed-up Daily Kos regular named Alegre urged a writers’ strike . . . (Here’s the whole story)

RD here: Ok, I’m going to get a gigantic ego, except some of Wolcott’s piece was scathing so I think we are “on notice” (better get one of those big boards to keep track). I appreciate that Wolcott gave us a mention but this site wouldn’t be possible without all the other people who blog here like Katiebird, ronkseattle, bostonboomer, and our latest addition , garyinchapelhill. And there are all the commenters like shainzona, litigatormom (anyday now), MABlue, ghost2, DCDemocrat, tucsonlynn and many, many more. BUT *we* couldn’t do it without:

TaylorMarsh, Jeralyn Merritt and Big Tent Democrat at Talkleft, Lambert, Vastleft, Sarah, myiq2xu at Corrente, Sugar at Sugar ‘n Spice, Anglachel and Tom Watson, eriposte and turkana at TheLeftCoaster and the whole rest of the growing Progressive Blogosphere 2.0 that sprouted up like mushrooms in the wilderness outside the palisade of the Great Orange Satan. Let’s raise a glass to each other.

Hillary doesn’t take the bait

Huffingtonpost has a clip of Hillary’s interview with Bill O’Reilly that is to be aired tonight and tomorrow night on The O’Reilly Factor. She says people should make up their own minds about Rev. Wright after BillO relentlessly goads her about him.

To put her comments in context, let’s look at what she said in her last debate appearance with George Stephanoplous and Charles Gibson:

“One’s choice of church and pastor is rooted in what one believes is what you’re seeking in church and what kind of, you know, fellowship you find in church,” Clinton told moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.

“But I have to say,” she continued, “for Pastor Wright to have given his first sermon after 9/11 and to have blamed the United States for the attack, which happened in my city of New York, would have been just intolerable for me. And, therefore, I would have not been able to stay in the church.”

It doesn’t take a lot of acrobatic artistry to interpret her meaning. She understands full well that our choice of religion and church are rooted in our individual cultural backgrounds and traditions. But what she found offensive and outrageous about Rev. Wright was his statement that America was somehow responsible for 9/11. The truth is, some zealous fundamentalist Islamacists took it upon themselves to bring America to its knees by destroying certain iconic American targets. They are PO’d over corruption of the Saudi family and its enablers. No one in those towers, planes, Pentagon or NYC rescue units deserved to pay for Osama bin Laden’s megalomania. But Rev. Wright pinned the blame squarely on America as if the dead had it coming to them. That was the outrageous offensive remark. Religion has little if anything to do with it.

Now, Rev. Wright may have been a good friend, a loving pastor, a faithful Christian, but he has a lot of power in church to bring people to a heightened emotional plane. I’m guessing that in the moments that he said these incredibly stupid and offensive remarks, he was feeling that rush of power and instead of exercising self-control, he gave into it. What is the proper response of a parishioner? I think it depends on whether you are also swept up in the moment. If you are, you approve the sentiment and say nothing. If you aren’t, it’s your responsibility to discuss it with your friend and get him to see reason. If he doesn’t, you have to walk away.

Well, we know what Obama did.

Oh, and Guillermo del Toro is going to direct The Hobbitt and Ian McKellen will reprise his role as Gandalf.

Obama Debate Acceptance Watch- Day #5

It’s been five days since Hillary Clinton offered Barack Obama an opportunity to debate mano a mano on the back of a flatbed truck without debate moderators or gotcha questions (that the candidates couldn’t manufacture themselves). A Lincoln- Douglas style debate doesn’t even focus on policy, so she’s cutting him a break. At first his campaign said, “No way”. Yesterday, his campaign floated a teaser in Montana that they would consider it, but only after May 6, which is kind of like calling in sick the day of the test.

And what about today? What have we heard on the debate watch from the Obama campaign?

{{crickets}}

BUT, the Obamas (yes, Michelle, too, who is finally for once in her adult life “proud to be an American”). will be hogging Hillary’s limelight tonight with an Interview with NBC’s Meredith Viera. Portions of the interview will appear on NBC’s Nightly News and MSNBC tonight and it will air in its entirety tomorrow on the Today show. How sweet. I know they were just trying to helpfully distract the audience from watching The O’Reilly Factor tonight, as if there is a possibility for Keith Olbermann to swipe Bill-O’s audience. Dueling interviews. Cue the Deliverance banjo music.

When this is all over…

…I hope someone writes a book about the incredible ups and downs of this campaign. It’s like one damn miracle after another. First, she loses Iowa, then she lets down her guard and wins New Hampshire.

She watches one state after another fall to her rival as he gets help from her own party and as he severs her ties to the African American community. And then she wins OH and TX in a do or die gambit.

She’s told she MUST win PA by at least 10 points, she gets outsepent in ads 3:1 and she does it, give or take a bit.

And her campaign has been on the brink of insolvency a couple of times and yet it always seems astonished when her grassroots, ones she didn’t even know she had, reward good behavior with their millions of dollars.

Guys, I know you’ve given and given til you can’t gives no more. But I’m going to ask you to do it one more time. Because it looks like your dollars will be matched ala public radio pledge week specials. Contribute $25 before midnight and your money will be matched. $50 turns into $100. You know the drill, er, except instead of a nifty tote bag or coffee mug, you get a brand new president!

Make history and contribute before midnight!

Wednesday: Fire Festival

Today is Beltane Eve, that time of year in the Celtic calendar marking the first day of the summer pasture season. It’s also the time when the world of faerie and the world of men collide and unusual things are apt to happen. Beltane celebrations feature fire, a sort of purification symbol, and can range from the ancient rustic innocent where participants dig a hole in the earth, fill it with fire and make egg custards and oatmeal cakes, finishing it off by leaping over the flames, to the wiccan versions where the May Lord and Lady are “united”. (makes you almost want to convert, huh?)

The modern version of the Fire Festival of Beltane is celebrated every April 30 in Edinburgh. There are elaborate processions and rituals and bonfires.

Our own primary season is a trial by fire of sorts. How are our candidates doing this morning?

  • Hillary Clinton is wearing out her press corps as she leads them in a merry chase from state to state. NPR’s David Greene recounts yesterdays schedule for our Energizer Bunny in A Candidate on the Campaign Trail.
  • Yesterday, she practiced leaping over some bonfires at her interview with the Indianapolis Star. Her response on China policy will make your jaw drop. (The link is from TalkLeft. Hint for using the player: Click the On Demand link)
  • Did Obama pull his bacon out of the fire yesterday? The New York Times ponders his problem with Rev. Wright in Obama’s Break with Ex-Pastor Sets Sharp Shift in Tone. The issue now extends to the superdelegates. Is it enough to give them pause? Will they be worried that he won’t be able to withstand the flames of the general election? I’m a little concerned that people are focusing too much on the quality of the excuse and not the credibility. As to the latter, it’s pretty much shot in my estimation. The last part of the NYTimes editorial on the subject was just bizarre:

    This country needs a healthy and open discussion of race. Mr. Obama’s repudiation of Mr. Wright is part of that. His opponents also have a responsibility — to repudiate the race-baiting and make sure it stops.

    Are they serious?! What kind of fools do they think we are? (don’t answer that) If they want repudiation of race baiting, they need look no further than Obama himself and their own writing on the subject. His “opponents” didn’t start this. Obama did and now it’s coming back to get him. Well, even if the NYTimes doesn’t get this, the voters most likely do. They are the next trial by fire and, right now, Obama looks a bit flammable.

  • Eriposte at TheLeftCoaster is burning and smoldering over the latest character assassination attempts from Obamaphiles directed towards Rev. Barbara Reynolds, a member of the National Press Club’s board, and by extension, Hillary Clinton. Eriposte thinks along the same lines that I do on the Wright matter: He’s said some pretty preposterous things but he has been a respected preacher for years. It’s a shame that his character has also been destroyed, even if he gave it a little help. Just go read it. These Obama supporters know no shame. I guess they figure we’re just too stupid to know what’s really going on. They must be friends with whoever wrote that ridiculous NYTimes editorial for ttoday. Can we talk about something else now? Like the incendiary price of gas?

Things we wish we’d written: Case #2

Joanne Parrent at No Quarter must have been listening in to a conversation with one of my sisters:

A Family Fight or a License to Hate?

When I asked my sister why she didn’t want to vote for the first viable female candidate for President – and a brilliant person as well – she told me that she “hates” Hillary Clinton. Stunned at the intensity of her feelings, I asked her “Why?” She proceeded to give me some reasons that I found startlingly similar to the Obama campaign talking points:

1. Sister: Hillary voted for the war in Iraq.

Me: Actually, she voted to give the President the authorization to go to war so the threat of war would force Saddam Hussein to allow UN inspectors back into Iraq, which it did. Bush, not Hillary, then decided to stop those inspections before they were done and invade Iraq. (I sent her an article in the Huffington Post by anti-war activist, former Ambassador and husband of Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, about this. Joseph Wilson, Huffington Post) Continue reading

Short Takes for 2008-04-29

  • Remember DNC Rules Committee member David McDonald, black hat of the Florida sanction hearing? NPR has a recent clip of McDonald re his role as an undecided superdelegate. In brief he’s up for grabs, will not be rushed to judgment, will not let the pledged delegate tally control his vote, and will commit to the candidate who in his opinion stands the best chance of winning in November.
  • Polls and panics: Hillary looks strong in Indiana (SUSA), coming from behind in NC (SUSA), edging Obama with independents vs McCain (AP-Ipsos), and Josh Marshall’s gut read of his in-box says the natives are restless in Camp Obama. Meanwhile, Obama and his spiritual mentor are duking it out the roof of a moving bus (a la Raiders of the Lost Ark) to see who ends up under the wheels.
  • NC Gov. Mike Easley endorses Hillary. A Pennsylvania primary morning-after conference call featured very upbeat assessments from current governors of PA, NY, NJ, MI, OH, plus (fmr IN gov) Sen. Bayh and FL Sen. Nelson. There’s a distinct difference in perspective between officials elected to express opinions and propagate ideas, and those elected to make programs (including other people’s programs) work.
  • Rev. Wright: Obama is in a bind, having used up his one alloted one great inspirational speech on the topic, and having to walk back some of that rhetoric. He can’t deliver a second “greatest speech since ‘I Have A Dream'”, he can’t Sister Souljah his mentor, he can’t escape the unsavory inferences people less familiar with the tradition may extrapolate from Wright’s inflated rhetoric, and he can’t retrieve his “authenticity” — or maybe even his “identity”. Obama is justifiably angry … but isn’t his response to Wright’s campaign convoy IED also just a tad bit petulant? (Stay tuned — will Wright get the furtive finger too?)
  • Beyond that, Marc Ambinder endorses a reader’s read between-the-lines to the effect that President Obama would threaten the rhetorical framework on which Rev. Wright built his career:

It would be difficult for [Wright] to preach that the government systematically destroys the lives of black people if a black man is sitting in the White House.

  • Gas tax holiday: everybody is wrong: Clinton and McCain because consumers need to be led to reality (where gas is expensive and will get more expensive until we stop driving); Obama with a phony objection (pretending Clinton’s version would destroy highway construction jobs – in reality it makes up highway fund revenues via windfall taxes on Big Oil) . If our political system won’t come to grips with real problems, the fault is not in our stars (or in our lobbyists) but in our selves.
  • SCOTUS OK’s picture ID requirements at the polls. The playing field just tilted uphill against Democrats and against economic justice.

Open Thread: Stonings and BLASPHEMERS!

So, Governor Easley said Hillary Clinton made Rocky Balboa look like a pansy, a small fragile spring flower that wilts easily. Suddenly, his office is flooded by phone calls, people are outraged and turning purple that he used a slur against gays.

FOCUS, people! Everyday, we use words and phrases that have the ability to piss off one group of people or another. In the great majority of cases, no offense is intended and none is taken. If we start taking it up to 11 on every word not separated from another word or concept by an appropriate distance, we will be reduced to grunting and the time remaining until August will be like pure torture to the more verbal among us.

Now, nobody throw any more stones until I blow the whistle even if, and I want to make this absolutely clear, someone does say “pansy”.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

This is an open thread.

Obama Debate Acceptance Watch- Day #4

We have movement, guys. It looks like the Wright disaster is sucking so much mojo out of the Obama campaign that the Lincoln-Douglas style debate, even on the back of a flatbed truck, doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. From the Billings Gazette:

Obama’s Montana spokesman Matt Chandler said Obama has participated in 21 debates, including four nationally televised one-on-one debates with Clinton. “We’re still evaluating the debate offer and are considering it in the context of our number one priority, which is making sure the senator is able to have a direct conversation with Montanans on issues important to them.”

I can just imagine Obama now: “Um, Dave (Axelrod), you know, inasmuch as I have made a committment, uh, to the people, uh, of Montana and, uh, North Carolina, to appeal to them directly, uh, there’s no harm, to, uh, consider the offer of the debate with, uh, uh, Hillary, even if it is on the back of a, uh, flatbed truck, unless of course, um, the flatbed in question, uh, is foreign made and, uh, not, uh, a Detroit manufactured, uh, Chevy truck, not the van, the truck. I think, uh, we should explore, uh, the possibilty.”

No, it did not escape my attention that he is postponing the debate until after the May 6 primary in NC and IN. Chicken.

Aside: Governor Easley of NC endorsed Hillary today and said this at the end: Hillary “makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.”

Which makes Barack Obama *what* exactly? (I’m stickin’ with chicken)

Sneering sarcasm beats soaring rhetoric

[UPDATE] I speak only for myself. For another view, don’t miss Riverdaughter’s post

I guess we just naturally try to block out sounds and images that are too distressful or disturbing. And since the eruption of the Rev. Wright issue a lot of people blocked out the sound and vision of Rev. Wright as he mocked President Clinton and Hillary from the pulpit. In conversations about the issue my friends talked about anything but that. It was just too distasteful.

And that’s pretty much how the televised and online conversations went too. We’ve heard a lot of conversations about Race and the Black Church Tradition and Liberation Theology. But, we haven’t heard much about publicly mocking people who aren’t there to defend themselves. There’s been no discussion of that.

With his speech, Obama contained the Rev. Wright issue to a discussion of race. And it looked like that might work, at least during this primary season. But, the Wright issue is also a respect issue and by refusing to discuss what Wright said about the Clintons we never addressed that at all.

If we had, we might not have been so surprised by Obama’s campaign style. We might have been prepared for Obama giving Hillary “the finger”. After watching the NAACP speech, couldn’t you see the Rev. Wright making that same gesture if he thought it fit?

If there had been discussion of the laughter in that church as Rev. Wright rocked against the podium supposedly mimicking President Clinton, we might not have been surprised at Senator Obama laughing at voters in San Francisco earlier this month.

This weekend, we saw that it’s Reverend Wright’s style to insult people by name. This week it was Presidents Kennedy & Johnson whose accents he mocked. I can only imagine that it’s always someone. Someone who isn’t there to defend themselves.

It’s obvious to me that in style at least Obama is a faithful student. In tone and gesture, he can match his teacher. That’s why “The Wright Issue” resonates with me. It’s going to be a long time before I stop the sound of Rev. Wright sneering, “Ask not what your country can do for you” out of my ears. There is no worthy context for that.