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    • The Problem With Neoliberal “It’s Never Been Better” Triumphalism
      Saying that humanity is currently the best off it has ever been (a dubious proposition in any case) is like saying “I’ve never been warmer” as you burn down your house. People like Pinker have been trotting out stats to claim that we’ve never been better off. Those stats are questionable, based on a definition […]
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Obama Hears a “Huh?” A Play in One Oblivious Act.

THE SCENE: BARACK OBAMA is sleeping in a five-star hotel room. Four-poster bed, multi-room suite, you know the deal. He has a purple satin sleep mask over his eyes. His wife, MICHELLE, can be heard, but not seen, humming “Hail To the Chief” from the enormous bathroom, where she is taking a bubble bath.

BILL BURTON, Obama’s campaign manager, knocks diffidently on the bedroom door.

BURTON: Hey, Barack? Are you awake yet?

MICHELLE (from bathroom): Dammit Bill, I told you to call him “Mr. President!”

BURTON: (rolling his eyes) Sorry, Michelle. Uh, Mr. President?

OBAMA: (stretching and removing his mask) Oh, hey Bill. [BURTON enters the room] What time is it?

BURTON: Almost 6 am. Up and at ’em, tiger!

OBAMA: Oh man. My waffles coming?

BURTON: Like always, Mr. President. [OBAMA smiles.]

OBAMA: Cool. So, what’s happening today? Is everybody happy?

BURTON: Uh, not really, Mr. President. [OBAMA’s smile disappears.]

OBAMA: What the hell? What will it take for those Catwomen –

BURTON: PUMAs, Barack.

OBAMA: [waving hand dismissively] Fine, fine, whatever, PUMAs – to get on the Obama train? Do I have to give them a kiss or something?

BURTON: Actually, I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about your fans in the blogosphere. They are really, really pissed about this FISA compromise.

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Democratic Convention or Freak Show?

NOTE: Please see action alert at end of post.

We’ve all been hearing rumors about the DNC having trouble raising money to fund the Convention in Denver this August. Today the New York Times revealed that some rather nutty decisions made either by Howard Dean or his chief of staff, the Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, have compounded the money shortage. Daughtry previously served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management in the Department of Labor.

Some of the Democratic missteps started almost immediately after planning for the event began. The Democratic National Campaign Committee turned down a chance to get cheap office space and decided to rent top-quality offices in downtown Denver at $100,000 a month, only to need less than half the space, which it then filled with rental furniture at $50,000 a month. And in a costly misstep, the Denver host committee, early on, told corporate donors that their contributions were not tax-deductible, rather than to encourage donations by saying that the tax-exempt application was pending and expected to be approved.

Overly ambitious environmental goals — to turn the event into a “green” convention — have backfired as only three states have agreed to participate in the program. Negotiations over where to locate demonstrators remain unsettled with members of the national news media concerned over proposals to locate the demonstrators — with their loud gatherings — next to the media tent.

And then there is the food: A 28-page contract requested that caterers provide food in “at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white.” Garnishes could not be counted toward the colors. No fried foods would be allowed. Organic and locally grown foods were mandated, and each plate had to be 50 percent fruits and vegetables. As a result, caterers are shying away.

The Obama campaign is frustrated about the situation and very critical of the poor planning and waste of money, which could force them to cover the shortfall themselves so as not to have to compete with the DNC for donors.

Meanwhile, Obama is considering delivering his acceptance speech in the 75,000 capacity Mile High Stadium (AKA Invesco Field) instead of in the Pepsi Center, where the Convention will be held. I’m sorry, but is that really necessary? Could this guy’s ego be any more inflated? Does anyone else get a really creepy feeling imagining him speaking to his screaming followers at a mass rally?

Arthur Silber is creeped out. And amazingly, he is even thinking about voting for McCain rather than risk the danger of a charismatic candidate with glazed-eyed followers who seemingly are willing to blindly follow him no matter how far he moves to the right or how many times he flip flops. In his latest essay, Silber refers to the presumtuous nominee as “Field Marshall Obama.” Please go read Silber’s last few posts. The man is brilliant, and he is saying what a lot of us have been thinking.

ACTION ALERT: Riverdaughter has been talking to Murphy about the possibility of running aerial ads in vacation areas.  Murphy likes the idea, and Pumapac is currently looking into the possibility of buying three hours worth of ads for the East Coast.  She would like to know what people in Texas and California about running aerial ads there.

If you are interested in contributing or have ideas about what should be in the ads, please go over to Pumapac and let Murphy know.

ACTION UPDATE: Please consider donating to The Denver Group to support “rapid media buys” to call attention to Obama’s and the DNC’s efforts to keep Hillary’s name from being put in nomination at the Convention.

The Denver Group has had an amazingly successful 4th of July from a fundraising perspective. We’ve met our first “match”. We are incredibly grateful to each and every person who has contributed so far.

Now, it has come to our attention that certain key decisions about the structure and conduct of the Democratic Party’s convention are currently being negotiated by lawyers for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, and we believe those decisions will be finalized on or about July 15.

To begin to ensure a convention that is not merely symbolic, we would like to to weigh in now. The best way The Denver Group can have an impact is by running its first advertisement by the beginning of next week. This means gathering the funds necessary ready to buy the most advantageous ad placement possible.

Saturday: What we want and when we want it

Good morning, Conflucians and PUMAs!  Today is the first day of my vacay at the beach.  Yesterday was cool and dreary aaaaannnnd so is today!  I hope we’re not seeing a theme here because that would su, er, be of low quality.  Well, in any case, I will be running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I have *once again* managed to put everything off until the very last moment  Yeaahhh!  I *love* a stressful morning.  It gets my blood flowing.

All in all, guys, I think we’ve had a great month for an online movement.  It looks like we have stemmed the tide of Democrats who thought they had nowhere else to go but Obama.  We’re in the news and on our own radio station and we even have Donna Brazile’s attention.  Well, done everyone.  Thank you Diane and Will and everyone in the Just Say No Deal coalition.  As Murphy would say People United Mean Action.  Now, what are the next steps?  Well, there are many exciting ideas that are being put into action.  I will be sharing some of them with you in the near future but there is no doubt that we need to tell the nation and the DNC what it is that we expect of them.  And the place to start is a fair, open and transparentl convention that The Denver Group is working for.

PUMAs, I can think of nothing so reasonable to demand than that all delegations are counted fully, that delegates are awarded according to the votes that were cast and that all voters have their wishes recorded publicly through a roll call vote for all candidates who participated in this season’s primaries.  In fact, I can’t think of why the DNC thought they could truncate this process without penalty in the first place.  It is the breadth of arrogance in the DNC that has brought us to this point.  Did they think no one was watching?  It may be very true that only the political junkies watch C-SPAN but even those Democrats that actually have a life know that something is wrong when up to 32% of them decide they will not vote for the party’s nominee.

So, how do we get the word out?  Well, that is the mission of the next month.  Our mission is to demand an open convention.  PUMAs, this is not a radical request.  It is a very rational one.  Any voter in a state that spent millions of dollars on their primary and who will not get an opportunity to declare that state’s choice should be outraged by that.  That includes voters in CA, NJ, NY, MA, PA, OH, TX, AZ, FL, MI, WV, KY and many others where Clinton won decisive victories.  Those primaries cost millions of dollars that could have been used to pay for gifted and talented education, senior citizens services, mass transit, energy costs for the poor, state health insurance programs for children who don’t qualify for SCHIP, green space initiatives to keep local farmland as farms, beach erosion programs, to fix bridges and roads, and on and on.  Instead, those state legislatures committed millions of dollars for a primary when the DNC had apparently rigged the process for the anti-Clinton candidate.  To me, that smacks of fraud of the taxpayer’s dollars.  Don’t think so?  Why don’t we ask Floridians how they felt about the prospect of having to conduct a new primary at more that $15 million dollars?

This is your task for the week and the month. Time is of the essence.  Think about it.  How do we get more Democrats to realize what is going on?  How do we get a fair, open and transparent convention?  What kind of message would be most effective?  So, think about it Conflucians.  I will be checking in while I’m on vacation but I might not be here first thing in the morning.  Also, there will be activities going on in the week ahead.  Tomorrow, NO WE WON’T on blogtalkradio will be having a conversation with Harriet Christian and Paulie Abeles about their experiences with the DNC and the attacks on their characters.  Synchronize your watches for that.  On Tuesday, July 8th, Diane will be havig a cocktail party with a TV crew from Japan and we’ll be doing a virtual cocktail party here.  It would be great if other PUMA sites would join in virtually as well but more details about that when the time comes.  We’ll lift our Causmos to one another and PAR-TAY!

So, for now, ciao, Caros!