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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 19, 2023
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 19, 2023 by Tony Wikrent   Global power shift China Leads A Successful Middle East Summit Ian Welsh, March 16, 2023 Something which has slipped past most people’s radar is that China recently acted as the intermediary for peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The two countries have been at each other’s throats f […]
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Virginia might actually get a liberal leader…while the DNC gets…something else

McAuliffe also brings a political portfolio well to the left of Democrats Mark R. Warner and [Tim] Kaine, who toiled in the state party for years before they were elected governor by pledging bipartisan cooperation and campaigning as moderates. (From the AP via WTOP, emphasis added)

It has been quite the weekend for political announcements. Our illiberal President-elect is consolidating his takeover of the Democratic Party by appointing another illiberal to head the DNC – Tim Kaine, outgoing governor of Virginia. Meanwhile, Terry McAuliffe  has announced his formal bid for the governorship of Virginia.  (Click anywhere below to go to the video announcement on Terry’s site.)

McCauliffe My decision

As a liberal, I applaud Terry McAuliffe’s decision to run for governor of Virginia. Terry has worked hard for other liberals, most obviously for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign. I heard Terry give his reasons for supporting Senator Clinton on various occasions. He supported her candidacy because he believed (as did I, and millions of others) that she was both the most qualified member of the field and the most liberal of the field, in the American tradition of liberalism. That tradition calls upon people to work hard for their personal successes. Consider, for example, Terry’s own work to build a number of successful businesses, work that meant he has neither needed nor sought a salary for his work in politics, including his stint as DNC Chair, when he actually managed to put the DNC on a sound financial footing (an accomplishment soon squandered by the now almost-never-heard-from Howard Dean). American liberalism also calls upon government, applying measures available within its Constitutionally delimited sphere, to provide an equal opportunity for anybody’s hard work to pay off.  Although nobody is guaranteed a pay off in this tradition, everybody is guaranteed a fairly level playing field, at least in principle. Continue reading

How Would Jesus Vote?


Ed Dobson is a former pastor of the Calvary Church, a megachurch in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is currently vice president of spiritual formation at Cornerstone University, also in Grand Rapids. Dobson graduated from Bob Jones University and was Dean of Men at Liberty University. He was named to the board of The Moral Majority by Jerry Falwell himself. He appears to be a certified member of the right wing evangelical community.

I don’t want to ridicule this guy, because he seems completely sincere; but I think he may be headed for disillusionment. About a year ago, Dobson read the book, The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs. In this book, Jacobs describes how for entire year he attempted to follow all the teachings in the bible literally. Following Jacobs’ example, Dobson decided to try to live like Jesus lived for a year.

His revelation: Being Jesus is tough.

“I’ve concluded that I am a follower, but I’m not a very good one,” said Dobson, one of West Michigan’s pre-eminent pastors. “If you get serious about the Bible, it will really mess you up.”

But a year of living like Jesus has affected Dobson in deeply spiritual and unexpected ways.

He has witnessed for Jesus in bars, picked up strangers needing rides and voted for a Democrat he believes best reflects Christ’s teachings.

Yes, fellow Conflucians, based on his weekly readings of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, Dobson decided that Jesus would have voted for Barack Obama! Good God, why? Continue reading

Sunday: Double X

I have a picture of my daughter’s karyotype.  When I first saw it, I had no idea that she would be as lively, brilliant, artistic and musical as she turned out to be.  All I knew is that she was a girl.  I just assumed that things would be easier for her in the 21st century.  How wrong I was.

The new administration would have us believe that women are “special interests”.  This is incorrect.  We make up 51% of the population in this country.  What does it mean when the country considers the majority “special”?  Do we have some kind of mental insufficiency that causes us to be less than equal in a country where we outnumber every other group?  What the hell is that all about anyway?  Why have we allowed an advantage in upper body strength to become an insurmountable disadvantage for women? Buy a taser and learn to roundhouse kick.  Even the odds, ladies.

One of the things I have learned as a blogger is that in this medium, women have the most control they will ever have in their entire lives.  They don’t even have to identify themselves as women, although it would defeat the purpose if they do not.  But if they choose to, they can snap the heads off the macho morons who try to intimidate them into silence.  A woman can choose to engage in a dialogue.  Or not.  And yet time after time, I hear complaints from women who are actually hurt and lose their courage because some little collection of black dots on a monitor told them to “f%&K off” or said they were ugly or old or fat or c^&(*ts.  One of the reasons The Conflucnce exists is because I was banned from speaking at DailyKos but there is a HUGE blogosphere out there and I was not going to let a bunch of Favreau type Obamaphiles stick a sock in my mouth.

The new administration is going to dance with the ones what brung them.  That would not be us.  When Obama and the Democrats sit down to craft legislation on the economy or any other issue, they are going to placate the ones who bought and paid for them and they are going to use the seriousness of the crisis to argue that our interests, the *common* interests, can’t be addressed because they would be a distraction.  The problem is that they will always be a distraction to the minority middle aged white guys who run this country.  We can’t let them get away with that.  Since Barack Obama seems rather fond of Ronald Reagan, he should remember one of Reagan’s most memorable lines when dealing with entities who may not have your best interests at heart: “Trust but verify.” Before Congress passes any legislation, we should insist that we all see the fine print.  We should insist that all bills are posted for public comment before they are passed.  We should see who is using their leverage to move money and mountains.  And we should make sure that our interests are addressed.

Woman are not “special”.  They are the General Welfare.

I would like to call your attention to three links today that should get you thinking about what it means to be a member of the majority in a country and world where we have not learned to respect ourselves and throw our weight around.

  • Betty Jean at Free Us Now has an update on her daughter Louisa’s condition.  For those of you new to the story, Louisa was shot in the face with a shotgun.  The monster who did it is her former brother in law, George, who spent three months in prison last year for taking a hammer to the head of Louisa’s sister, Denise.  Denise is suffering from ovarian cancer and wouldn’t give George her pain medication so he split open her scalp with a hammer.  Louisa is not going to make it.  Her brain function was severely impacted by the blast.  She has lost one of her eyes.  She is non-responsive.  Betty Jean is heartbroken and angry.  Her message is powerful in Women are Disposable Assets.  Send some positive thoughts to Betty Jean and her family during this very trying time in their lives.  No one deserves this.
  • Nicolas Kristoff of the New York Times is one of the best columnists around when it comes to the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery.  In If This Isn’t Slavery, What Is?, he has a powerful column and  video about what happens to Southeast Asian girls who are kidnapped and sold into prostitution.  And he has a message for Barack Obama.  Bravo, Mr Kristoff.
  • In her post, The Panther, Darragh Murphy highlights the life of Rebecca West, a pioneering woman journalist of the 20th century and feminist.  I love this quote from West:  “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
    Yes, indeed, that is why we’re here. We refused to be a doormat. Words to live by. Now, get out there and pick yourselves up off the damn porch and stand tall.

Obama the Boxer vs. Blago the Brawler

obama-aliOkay, I admit it, I’m a boxing fan.  Not that I enjoy watching grown men and women pummel each other’s faces into unrecognition, per se; next to making up words, observing the ritualized human drama of mano a mano (hand to hand, not man to man) competition play out in the structured, regulated and supervised environment of the boxing ring is just plain fun.  More honest than wrestling, grittier, more real and less time consuming than a soap opera, and minus the gratuitous sex, boxing is a curious, yet entertaining  mix of theater and thuggery.  I like it.

It’s a simple sport; there are only four kinds of punches; jab, hook, uppercut, and straight right (or left, depending upon whether the boxer is a right-hander or southpaw.)   While boxers are required to be matched according to weight, the best fights feature fighters of comparable experience and skill. Since the rules are basic, (don’t try to kill your opponent, don’t bring anything into the ring to hit him with, like a bat, don’t hit him in the nuts) and those that aren’t standard are negotiable per fight, the most crucial element, in any match, is style.

Again, we’re talking simplicity simplified, here.  There are three basic styles of fighter, imho; “boxers,” guys not concerned with knockouts, content to win on points, primarily throwing flicking, annoying jabs in an attempt to keep the other guy preoccupied  to the point that he can’t mount an offense of his own.  Boxers are skilled at defense, bobbing, weaving, dancing out of the way of punches, all the while sticking their fists in the face of their opponent, but not really trying to hurt him, either, often because they know they can’t.  In fact, boxers don’t want anybody to get hurt, least of all themselves, if they can “hit, without being hit” they’re happy.  It’s even likely that boxers can’t “take a punch,” that’s the reason they’re “boxers,” not “fighters.”  While they may be considered textbook technicians and strategists, and their showy “flash and dash” can delight casual boxing observers, they are pretty much despised by purists and real fans alike, who prefer their champions be a little more rugged, willing to “mix it up” once in a while, and not prissy, wussy, light punching “rabbits.”

Then there are the “punchers.”  These guys are one-half step up from Neanderthal; they want to hit, and hit hard, anywhere, face, body, doesn’t matter; if they hit you, you’ll be hurt.  They often have no defense at all, they don’t need it since they seem to not only be impervious to pain, they enjoy it.  They’re usually not fond of the jab, might not even know how to throw one, the hook, uppercut, right hand, and whatever punch they make up at the spur of the moment in the heat of battle is just fine, thank you,very much.  “Throw hard with bad intentions,” if you miss, do it again.  “He can run, but he can’t hide,” at some point in the match, the “boxer” is going to run out of real estate, energy, or both, then the “puncher” will hit him with the force of a sledgehammer, and the fight will be over.  Whatever punishment is inflicted or received before that is irrelevant.  That is how a puncher “thinks,” that is how he wins, that is how he plans to win.

The style most fans and purists prize most is a combination of the two former ones, the “boxer/puncher.”  This guy knows how to avoid being hit, but if he is, he’s perfectly capable of “shaking it off,” and coming out swinging.  He’s not intimidated by a “puncher,” he can take it, plus, he’s got a fair bit of power in his own hands.  A “boxer” poses no problem for the “boxer/puncher” either, he’s just as skilled both defensively and with the jab, and his is more stinging than annoying.  Also, his “power punches” are often just as devastating as a pure “puncher.”  He’s a thinking man’s fighter, possessing a wide array of skills, he can formulate a strategy to exploit just about any other fighter’s weaknesses, nullify his strengths, and effectively counter with his own.  This is the guy fans and purists love, and opponents fear.

Politically, Barack Obama is a “boxer.”  Since fans enjoy watching the “sweet science,” his ability to avoid trouble has been more than enough, so far.  His  flashy “bob and weave” technique is fun to watch; the trouble is, he hasn’t yet been really hit.  Until now.

Rod Blagojevich is a “puncher.”  In fact, he’s a street brawler with gloves on.  “Style, shmyle, let’s get it on” is his motto.   His blunt, brash, no-nonsense, “whaddya got, whaddaya want?” approach has always gotten him into trouble, and has been easy for Obama to nullify in the past, all the while playing to the crowd, showing off his political dancing skills, and avoiding the clinches.  In fact, when Obama, knowing Blago came into the ring already bloodied by the investigation into his bludgeoning style, employed his “juke and jive” technique of peppering Blago with jabs by dangling Valerie Jarrett as a potential successor for his vacant Senate seat, then snatching her from contention before abruptly making his resignation official, effectively  maneuvered Blago into the corner right before he got hit with the right hand of arrest, it looked like Obama might be a boxer/puncher after all.  Thinking he had delivered a knockout from the accumulation of punches,  followed by the impeachment blow to the gut, and that his opponent was headed out of the ring on a stretcher, Obama allowed himself a brief, poor man’s impression of the Ali shuffle as victory dance.

And got sucker punched.

Hot Rod lunged off the canvas and caught Obama with a head ringing blow just barely above the belt by appointing Roland Burris to Obie’s seat in defiance of just about everybody.   Obama’s supporters, who were heading for the exits, his cornermen, who were headed into the ring, forgot to wait for the count of ten.  All seemed stunned, both that Blags had it in him, and that Obama wasn’t invincible, after all.  Hadn’t Blago heard them declare him dead in one voice?  Didn’t he know he had lost every round on the scorecards?  How did he muster the strength to get up off the floor and throw a haymaker?  They know the game, and they know that wasn’t a lucky punch. That was boxing.  How come Obama the “boxer” didn’t see it coming and get out of the way?  How come the ref didn’t stop the fight?   And more importantly, what do they do now?

Right now, the bell has rung between rounds and the Obama team, with the help of the ref and the timekeeper, are trying to keep their guy on the stool until his cobwebs clear, and they can come up with a winning scenario even the cynical boxing/political public will buy.  They’re also kicking themselves for forgetting that pure “boxing” doesn’t always win fights, for not considering that their guy might have a glass jaw, and  for not knowing that a “puncher” who can “box” will beat even a “boxer/puncher” every time.    Sometimes, with just one punch.  That’s why, when you beat a guy down, it’s best for all concerned to finish him off.

That is, if you can.

*Note: I wrote this post a couple of days ago, but was reluctant to post it here for fear that the subject matter might not be everybody’s cuppa.  But in light of the Chicago Tribune revelation that Rod Blagojeveich was indeed once a boxer, I figured it might now be appropriate.  Interestingly, by stressing his preoccupation with his hair, and his tendency to keep his hands over his face in the ring, the Tribune writer deliberately attempts to portray Blago as a vainglorious wimp without providing any substantiation, like, say, his Golden Glove record.  I seem to remember Muhammad Ali combing his hair in the ring after every fight, and being criticized for not keeping his hands up, but overall, people seem to think he was a pretty good boxer in his day.

Obama Supporters = Liberal?

Thinking back and in the present, my oh my how the tables have turned.

Looking back, if you were NOT an Obama supporter you were a racist, republican plant, even though you fought against just about everything George W. Bush stood for starting with the Election of 2000 right along with your liberal brethren. Or, at least with people you thought held the same values.

If you didn’t agree that Ronald Reagan was a beacon of Liberalism you were a republican who just hated black people.

If you wanted mandated health care to help usher in Universal Health Care, you were a republican who just hated black people.

If you pointed out sexism, you were just a republican who hated black people.

If you disagreed with domestic spying, and supported a candidate who actually disagreed with it, you were just a republican who hated black people.

If you were aghast at the media bias, you were just a republican who hated black people.

If you despise election fraud, you were just a republican who hated black people.

Now, it turns out, if you disagree with or question Obama on Rick Warren, the bailout, Proposition 8, Caroline Kennedy, Eric Holder, Robert Gates, or the measly representation of women in his cabinet, and you supported and voted for Obama, you too are just a republican who hates black people.

To all my long lost friends who trashed Hillary supporters as racists and republicans, I want to know how you feel about being part of our club. Do you still feel good with what you did to friends who simply disagreed? How does it feel to be called a racist? How does it feel to have your friends accuse you of republicanism? How does it feel to be railroaded out of the party? Does the Democratic Party represent liberalism in any sense of the word?

I wish I could say that I feel bad, but I don’t, I have one full year of experience under my belt and feel pretty darn comfortable with my political ideology, liberalism. I might have some empathy in about six months or so after you have sufficiently paid the price for questioning Obama from your “liberal” friends. I am only human and enjoy the karma playing out before me. Sue me!

Okay, not really. Please do join us. We are the real democrats, the real liberals. People who question are not enemies they are friends. People who do not blindly support politicians are not enemies they are friends. Welcome aboard, fellow PUMA’s who didn’t know it!