• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Propertius on Happy Tolkien Reading Day
    thewizardofroz on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Branjor on Is “Balance of Nature…
    riverdaughter on Happy Tolkien Reading Day
    Propertius on Happy Tolkien Reading Day
    Propertius on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    Propertius on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    jmac on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    William on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    thewizardofroz on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    seagrl on Why is something so easy so di…
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • Time has come today
      I remember the Chambers Brothers were at a party I attended on Rittenhouse Square:
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Open Thread
      Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.
  • Top Posts

The Scratching Post celebrates Bastille Day!!

From the world’s free encylopedia, i.e. Wikipedia, about Bastille Day:

The storming of the Bastille was more important as a rallying point and symbolic act of rebellion than a practical act of defiance.

And what is PUMA?  We are the peasants, the farmers & everyday people who have had it UP TO HERE with the unfair, undemocratic ways of our leaders and we WILL take the DNC to task.  Who told them what to do with OUR Democratic party?  Are we going sit along and take more crap or are we going to storm the Bastille? 

I say we’ve already started to take that MUTHA DOWN. 

The only way to that is if we continue the efforts we’ve made at Just Say No Deal, and the wonderful donations to pay down Hillary’s Debt , (Marianne “symbol of Liberty and Reason” of the Democratic Party) – at the coffee cup & T-shirt on the right column of this very blog.   Carol Diamonds & Her FuzzyBear who leans (and just where it feels SO GOOD) would appreciate it!  We can do this! PUMA is 1.5 months old, !!  Will Bower, PUMA Chieftan Supreme says we conservatively have $6 million paid off, but we won’t know until July 20th.  So IF you can, in the name of LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY, please donate at the right hand column coffee cup or T-Shirt!!!!!!                          —>

Claude Monet, Rue Montorgueil, Paris, Festival of June 30, 1878. Oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Claude Monet, Rue Montorgueil, Paris, Festival of June 30, 1878. Oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

I don’t know about you, but doesn’t Rico look FIIIINE in his tilted French beret?  YUMMY!!!  He is seriously making a Caribbean Latina sweat tonight!!!   He’s ready to serve up Moet Chandon flutes with strawberries (if you like), delicious Pink PUMA cocktails and Mountain Lion Martinis to all Bastille Day Conflucians.  Our wonderful waitstaff are serving Pate and Foie Gras appetizers.  WOW, Flo is ever so wondrously sexy in her can-can girl outfit – bustier and split-to-there ruffled skirt, but she will kick a Smiegly DOWN if necessary with her jujitsu trained legs, OR kindly hold a merde word you choose to use.

At the Scratching Post, we always encourage freedom, and this will operate as an open thread.  Say what you like, do what you like, be what you like, but remember to BE YOU.  You are not alone, you have friends at the Confluence who feel the same way as you do.  We won’t allow our nation and our party to go down the drain.  We will be the chemotherapy to this cancer of corruption and pseudo-progressivism that has polluted our Democratic tenets of “one person, one vote.”  We are PUMAs – proud and vigilant – and we are not going to “get over it.” 

For our entertainment tonight, a gracious visit from the QUEEN GRACE JONES and her rendition of “La Vie En Rose.”   I’m a proud child of the 80s and Grace Jones is one of the Diva Goddesses I worship (had to include GRACE JONES WORSHIP, forgive me).  Yet, I really believe Edith Piaf would be proud to see her signature song performed in such an artistic way. 

For the more studious minded, this Conflucian PUMA invites you to read the AWESOME AND FANTABULOSO posts today (scroll below), from MYIQ2XU, GaryChapellHill and the PUMA High Priestess, The Shaman of Satire herself, Mother Riverdaughter.  Everything they said and VIVE LE LIBERTE!

Follow The Money!

Something doesn’t make any sense to me. Now some people might think I need to get my tinfoil hat out of the closet but over the years I’ve learned to trust the voices in my head. Well, not about the lottery, but I trust them on other stuff, and the voices are telling me that something ain’t right.

Riverdaughter and other bloggers have posted recently about Barack Obama’s money troubles. His fundraising has been dropping dramatically since last March. But I’m more interested in how he raised so much money at the beginning. Not the beginning of this year, the beginning of last year.

Let’s jump in the Wayback machine and return to January 1, 2007. Ahhh, those were such pleasant and optimistic times for Democrats. It seem like our long national nightmare would soon be over. Just two months earlier a tidal wave of new Democratic candidates had swept a bunch of GOP incumbents from office. Not a single Democratic incumbent lost a Congressional race, and along with victories in open seat contests the party had taken back control of both houses of Congress and several governorships. Soon we would have a new Speaker of the House and for the first time in our history we would hear the title “Madame Speaker” used.

Most of us were sure that we would soon be withdrawing our forces from Iraq and many of us were looking forward to impeachment hearings by that Summer. But very few of us were paying close attention to the people who were jockeying to become the Democratic Presidential nominee for the 2008 elections. Who cared? There were so many good choices, and it was obvious that it didn’t matter who we nominated, they would cruise to victory over whatever token candidate the GOP offered.

Other than political junkies, very few people care much about elections that are nearly two years away. But anyone who intends to make a serious run for the White House starts planning and preparing much earlier than that. Just getting in position to be taken seriously as a candidate usually takes a decade or more. Although the Constitutional requirements are pretty low, realistically a person needs to do a lot of things to get ready.

Dwight Eisenhower was the last President who didn’t hold any prior elective office. But the former Army general had been the Supreme Allied Commander in WWII and he had been involved in politics most of his career. Since then we have had Kennedy (HR and Senate) Johnson (Senate Majority Leader, VP, HR) Nixon (HR, Senate, VP) Ford (House Minority Leader, VP) Carter (Gov, state legislator) Reagan (Gov) G.H.W Bush (VP, HR, CIA Director, Ambassador to China & UN) Clinton (Gov, State AG) and George W. Bush (Gov).

Every person elected President in the last 50+ years was either a governor, former Vice President, or had completed at least one 6 year term in the Senate. Kennedy was the only one who was not either a governor nor a Vice President prior to becoming President, but he was a war hero and came from a politically connected family. Ford was never elected President, but he did serve briefly as Vice President.

So, a politically knowledgeable person who reviewed the list of Democratic hopefuls back in January 2007 would see some heavyweight contenders and some lightweights. There was, of course, Hillary Clinton as the supposed frontrunner. She was starting her second term in the Senate, and although she never held elective office before she became a Senator her 8 years as First Lady were the equivalent to a Cabinet position. She also had name recognition (both good and bad), fundraising ability and “family connections.” Definitely a heavyweight contender.

Then there was John Edwards. A former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate, he was well-known and popular within the party, and could self-finance his campaign through the early contests if he couldn’t raise money elsewhere (but he could raise money too) Heavyweight. Next would have to be Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Two experienced Senators with leadership experience, name recognition, and fundraising ability. Two more Heavyweights. There was one light-heavyweight in the group, Governor Bill Richardson. He was the only Latino candidate, and prior to becoming Governor he was a Cabinet Secretary under Clinton. He did pretty good raising money too.

That completes the heavyweight division, unless you wanted to count Al Gore, who many people expected to run eventually. He had a good year in 2007, but never threw his hat in the ring. After the heavyweights there were several lightweight contenders, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich and Tom Vilsack.. Their problem wasn’t necessarily that they weren’t qualified, but rather that they lacked name recognition and fundraising ability.

Am I forgetting anyone? Oh yeah, Senator Whatshisname. This is where I get confused. Now remember, this is January 2007, and Senator Obama has been in Washington DC for only two years. Prior to that he was an unexceptional state legislator. He wrote a couple books, and gave a couple speeches, but that’s about it. He might have potential, but he hasn’t done anything yet to prove it. He ran unopposed to become a state senator, and ran virtually unopposed to become a US Senator. He didn’t pull off an upset election victory over an incumbent to reach the Senate, and the only time he was seriously challenged in an election was when he ran for Congress and he had his clock cleaned in the primary by Bobby Rush.

I can see some starry-eyed college students getting all excited about hip internet-savvy newcomer, but I simply can’t understand how anyone else could consider Barack Obama to be a serious contender back then. It makes no sense. This is a full year before the first caucuses and primaries. Check this out:


A senator for only two years, the Illinois Democrat has been cast in the early stages of the campaign as an upstart who refused money from Washington lobbyists and parlayed Internet savvy, opposition to the Iraq war and grass-roots enthusiasm into a surprising $25 million first quarter of fundraising — money that has made him a legitimate contender for the party’s nomination.

Behind the closed doors of last week’s strategy session, though, was another side to Obama’s fundraising success. Filling the room were many veterans of the Democratic financial establishment: a Hyatt hotel heiress, a New York hedge fund manager, a Hollywood movie mogul and a Chicago billionaire.


As the first-quarter finance report his campaign will file today is expected to document, Obama has managed to successfully bridge two very different political worlds. Along with thousands of first-time donors who sent $50 or $100 from their home computers, the report is to list scores of longtime political insiders who funneled stacks of $2,300 checks to Obama’s accounts.

The campaign announced earlier this month that Obama has received money from more than 100,000 people, including 50,000 Internet donors — more online donors than his chief Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), had total donors. Less well-known is the story of how he built a more traditional fundraising machine fueled, in part, by some of the biggest names in Democratic politics.

In contrast to Clinton and former North Carolina senator John Edwards, his other main Democratic rival, Obama was a late entrant in the presidential race, first raising the idea publicly last October and not deciding firmly until January.


Fundraisers in the field also worried that Obama’s initial pledge to reject money from lobbyists would slow the early hunt for donations.

“One of the quickest sources of cash was off the table, and there was some early grumbling,” said one campaign adviser, who was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The original goal for the first quarter, back in December, was cautiously set at $8 million to $10 million.


The initial enthusiasm about Obama pushed his first-quarter goal up to $15 million early in the year, and by March it had shifted again to more than $20 million.



From the outset, Obama tried to establish a “Washington outsider” image — moving his campaign operations to Chicago and making a bold promise to refuse checks written or gathered by registered federal lobbyists.

The campaign received $50,566 from 49 lobbyists, but aides flagged the checks during initial screening and said they will return the money. Still, for hosting events and otherwise raising money, the Obama fundraising team is relying on partners in lobbying firms who are not registered for specific clients, former lobbyists who recently dropped clients and spouses of lobbyists. The strategy allows Obama’s team to reach the wealthy clients of lobbying firms while technically complying with his pledge.


Obama also has no prohibition against using state lobbyists to raise money, even when they represent companies with business before the federal government.


Speaking to voters in New Hampshire earlier this month, as the news broke of his formidable first-quarter haul, he tried to remind them that he has “always tried to curb the influence of money in politics.”

“Listen,” he told them, “I would love not to have to raise money so I could spend all my time in town hall meetings.”

There are soooooo many things wrong about that article. If the last sentence was true, Obama wouldn’t have opted out of public financing. But the part that’s relevant here is that Senator Obama raised $25 million in the first three months of 2007, second only to Hillary Clinton. A nobody, with no resume. Two books, Two speeches, and a few appearances on Oprah. $25 million!

Lets compare that to the fundraising of the other Democrats:

John Edwards          $52 million

Bill Richardson       $23 million

Chris Dodd            $18 million

Joe Biden               $12 million

Dennis Kucinich    $4.5 million

Now if you’re thinking that Obama’s fundraising doesn’t seem that exceptional compared to Edwards, Richardson and Dodd, that’s because you’re only looking at the first quarter of 2007 for Obama. The amounts for the other five ARE FOR THE WHOLE CAMPAIGN!

Obama raised more in the first quarter than everyone but Edwards and Hillary would raise during the whole year. According to Open Secrets, these are Senator Obama’s fundraising numbers through May 2008:


Q1 $25 million

Q2 $31 million

Q3 $19 million

Q4 $24 million


Jan $37 million

Feb $57 million

Mar $43 million

Apr $32 million

May $23 million

How does a candidate with Senator Obama’s resume raise $99 million dollars before a single vote is ever cast? Hillary Clinton raised a phenomenal $230 million through May 31, 2008, but Obama did far better, raising $287 million during the same period. What’s wrong with this picture?

How could a rookie Senator raise money like a popular incumbent President running for reelection? I watched him, I’ve listened to him, and I wouldn’t give him a nickel. I can understand the donations this year after he started winning primaries and caucuses, but he raised 1/3 of his money before he ever got a single vote. (Actually, I can’t understand the other 2/3 either, not the amount of it anyway.)

Lastly, check this out:


Obama also has the support of industry, although some more than others. He ranks at or near the top of contributions received from the pharmaceutical industry, retirement associations, securities and investments outfits, the entertainment, banking, computer and Internet industries, education organizations, health care, law firms and investment industry.

If you’re looking for answers, I don’t have them. Riverdaughter suggested that the GOP may have been behind Obama’s fundraising. That would certainly explain the sudden drop in receipts. Joseph Cannon thinks the Chicago Machine was the source of money, and that the Rezko prosecution put an end to the funds. Both of them may be partially correct.


(Cross-posted at Klownhaus)

The Book Confluence: Penelope as Artemis

 In one of the final chapters of The Penelopiad, “An Anthropology Lecture”, the twelve hanged maids relate their and Penelope’s story to that of Artemis, the “virginal but deadly goddess of the moon”, and the twelve moon-maidens.  In the story, the maidens are willingly sacrificed at the dark-of-the-moon phase so that the new moon goddess may rise again.

In the chapter,  the maids lecture an educated group on the tale of Artemis and the moon-maiden’s.  The maids suggest:

Thus possibly our rape and subsequent hanging, represent the overthrow of a matrilineal moon-cult by an incoming group of usurping patriarchal father-god-worshipping barbarians.  The chief of them, notably Odysseus, would then claim kingship by marrying the High Priestess of our cult, Penelope. Continue reading

Monday: Obama’s ready for prime time in Iraq

Obama dont need no stinkin protection in Iraq

Obama don't need no stinkin' protection in Iraq

It will be only his second trip into the area but he is already so much better prepared than John McCain to go there. For one thing, he gave a speech in 2002 about how he opposed the war. That was some pretty powerful speech. It is the stuff of legends, mostly because no one can find a video of him actually making it. But he has witnesses! His judgment was so much better than Hillary’s and no doubt, his knowledge of the Iraqi situation is superior to McCain’s. Like, did you know that Obama knows the difference between Sunni and Shia? He either looked it up on Wikipedia or stayed at a Holiday inn Express last night, not that it makes a hill of beans worth of difference NOW. The war’s 5 frickin’ years old. It would have been more helpful to us if Obama had spoken up in 2003 and instructed us in the difference when it counted. And where was he then? Just preparing to run for his US Senate seat that he hasn’t done a thing with since he got it. It’s just like one of those presents that a kid gets for Christmas. For months, they just yammer away about the hottest new thing they absolutely HAVE to have and when you finally buy it for them, it just sits there under the tree. They play with it for about 30 minutes and get bored and after all you went through to track down the one vendor in NJ who was located in the most congested part of the state that you had to visit at rush hour on the busiest day of the holiday shopping season to get it for them and they never even use the damn in-line skates that now sit in the garage in their dusty case. Oh, sorry, where was I?

According to Obama mourns US troop deaths; Swipes at McCain (AP):

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Barack Obama mourned the death of nine U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan on Sunday, even as he said John McCain’s numerous visits to the region don’t leave the Republican better equipped to deal with its volatility as president.

Preparing to embark on only his second visit to Iraq, as well as his first to Afghanistan, the Democrat told reporters: “I will recall the visit he made last year in which he was surrounded by helicopters and SWAT teams and he came back and reported how safe everything was in Baghdad. And I don’t think that that was indicative of what was actually happening on the ground at that time.”

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, has chided Obama for the dearth of time he has spent in the region, failing to meet with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and not holding a congressional oversight hearing on U.S. security matters.

Asked about such criticism, Obama said: “John McCain has been in Congress 25 years, no doubt about that. If this is a longevity measure, then John McCain wins. On the other hand, before we went into Iraq, I knew the difference between Shia and Sunni.

Ahh, ha-ha-ha! McCain made a trip with all of the trappings of the military behind him in Iraq complete with SWAT team and helicopters and flak jacket but of course, Obama will need *none* of those things. He is only the Democratic Party’s nominee but he is invincible. He won’t need no stinkin’ armor, not Barack. He will merely have to invoke the difference between the two major sects of Islam. Heck, he might even throw in a Sufi proverb just to confuse the enemy.

It’s a good thing Senators Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed, who are going with him, will be protected by Obama’s nollij. Both of them served in Vietnam, one as an Army ranger and paratrooper, the other as a twice wounded sergeant but I’ll bet neither of them studied up on their Sunni and Shia differences. Stand back, Senators, Obama will light your way in this heart of darkness.

Meanwhile, back at home, the Federal Reserve is busily bailing out the home mortgage industry after one of the California banks involved in the sub-prime mortgage disaster failed on Friday. Never fear, Conflucians! I have it on good authority that Obama knows the difference between Freddie Mac, Sally Mae and Fannie Farmer.

In other news:

  • Progressive Blogosphere 2.0 is hitting the radio circuit.  We don’t need to be tied to our keyboards anymore!  Larry Johnson at NoQuarterUSA is taking to blogtalkradio with No Quarter Radio or NQR.  The first show is scheduled to debut today at 10am EST with a conversation with Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.
  • Just Say No Deal, of which we are a satisfied member, has created a community calendar. Check it out for events that may be happening in your area.
  • Conflucians, I don’t know about you but I am sick to death of the DNC and the Obama campaign using race and racism as a weapon to shut us up and to diminish the power of some of Hillary’s staunchest supporters.  Some African-American congresspeople have been threatened with primary challenges for sticking up for Hillary.  This is just wrong.  Serving every American and being a admirable public servant should not be dependent on the color of one’s skin.  Let’s support these courageous individuals for doing the right thing when the pressure was intense.  Please visit this PUMA ActBlue page on their behalf and show them some love.  Friends don’t let friends be called racists.