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How a Confluence is not like a Delta

Hokay, the secret is out.  We have had some frontpagers who have taken their dishes and gone home.  To some, we were not sufficiently convinced that we are powerless before the almighty patriarchy.  To others, our concentration on feminist issues drowned out concerns of the gay community.  But the thing that really frosted their crockies is that we were not giving in to the emotional manipulation that accompanies just about every discussion we have ever had on the Israel/Palestinian conflict.  Nevermind that up until about three weeks ago, no one on this site had any idea we were co-habitating with virulent anti-semites and pro-apartheid jackbooted thugs.

It appears that some of us do not know the difference between a confluence and a delta.  A CONFLUENCE is a place where we all flow together.  It is a meeting place.  We don’t all come from the same geographical sources.  We don’t all have the same contents.  Some of us flow along lushly forrested landscapes fed by abundant rainfall. Some of us start from snowpack and pass through a barren, arid desert where we lose some of our volume.  Some of us spring up from the ground, fed by cavernous acquifers.  Ok, enough with the metaphor.  The bottom line is that we all have different backgrounds but what causes us to flow together is what we all have in common.  Some of those things were politics by principle, the struggle for social justice, fiscal responsibility, a sustainable environment, privacy and peace through forceful diplomacy.

Throughout the last year, we had minor disagreements but our site mostly hummed along harmoniously.  That is, until after the election.  That is when some of us started to prefer the delta.  It wasn’t enough that we favored and advocated for equality.  No, we had to abolish any trace of sexuality from the site.  It wasn’t enough that we are generally pro-Israeli.  We had to be zealously, militantly anti-Palestinian or we were descrating the memory of the Holocaust.  In the latter case, there are a significant number of anti-Palestinian screeds in the comments that make my blood run cold and it is very surprising that some of our former frontpagers did not see them. Inhumanity is inhumanity no matter who practices it.

But I digress.

My point is, The Confluence is not the place for identity politics.  This is not the place for purity police.  This is not a place for absolute points of view.  That way leads to a delta.  That leads to degeneracy.  That results in half a dozen sites that each focus on one issue to the exclusion of just about anything else.  It dilutes our power and our voice.  It leads to monotonous sites who box themselves into a corner and are unable to adapt to new information.  But now, if you want to talk about Israel, feminism or the LGBT commuinity on The Confluence, you may have to find it elsewhere.  Instead of mingling their waters and making us a more diverse and powerful community, our former friends have opted for purity and divergence.

I read a book once about friendship when I was a little girl.  The girl in the story had a hard time making friends because she was demanding and clingy.  Her grandmother told her to hold her friends like water, with an open hand.  Actually, when it comes to human beings, there isn’t much of an option.  If you clamp down on them, they just find a way to squeeze out between your clenched fingers.  You just have to let them flow through and cup them loosely.  Our friends have flowed away.  Some of them have made it pretty clear that they aren’t coming back.  That’s too bad.  We wish them well.  But we who remain will struggle mightily to stay a confluence, not a delta.  And I’m sure that if we stay true to our course, we will be joined by others again in time who will flow along with us.


Notes about I/P issues:  The I/P conflict isn’t really our cup of tea.  I’m sure we are intelligent enough to talk about it with some confidence but for some reason, we just don’t bring it up all that much.  That doesn’t mean we are afraid to take the issue on.  We aren’t.  If and when something I/P related comes up, we will discuss it.  Our sentiments are pro-Israel as well as humanitarian.  We will not spend our time defending ourselves against accusations of anti-Semitism.  And while we are sympathetic to and cognizant of the Holocaust, we don’t believe the Jewish people have cornered the market on suffering.   The Armenians, Kurds, Irish, Marsh Arabs, Native Americans, African-Americans, Cambodians and residents of Darfur have also suffered.  Therefore, if in the future we discuss the conflict in the Middle East that is taking place in *this* generation, we will carefully monitor the comments for mention of the Holocaust.  In short, we will not permit discussion of the Holocaust to be used as emotional manipulation to bludgeon into silence those of us who feel we have the right to criticise the government of the state of Israel.  If you don’t like these rules, please take your opinions on the subject to Shtuey who will be more than happy to accomodate you.  If you can’t discuss the current situation without mentioning the Holocaust, then you haven’t sufficiently thought through what it will take to achieve peace in the middle east.  Hint: it has nothing to do with the Holocaust.

Don’t blame the other admins and frontpagers.  This is my decision and I’m sticking with it.

I have just ended the flame wars regarding this issue from our side.  Move along now.  There’s nothing more to see.

And join me tonight at 10PM EST for Conflucians Say, where we can discuss anything *but* Israel/Palestine and the big schism.

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Could it happen? Health Care for Everyone seems to be on the table after all

Cover Everyone

Cover Everyone

It’s all over the news but, it’s been there before.  Will the Democrats finally get this right?  I hope so — because if they fail, the Republicans have some truly awful ideas.  House Republicans are working on this depressing plan:

House takes up a plan tied to health care overhaul

In the House, Republicans unveiled a budget plan that would gradually eliminate the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program, offering a stark — and politically problematic — alternative to blueprints from Obama and his Democratic allies.

The plan would have future Medicare beneficiaries — people 54 and younger — enroll in private health insurance plans and receive a subsidy on their premiums. Benefits would not be changed for people in the program or those 55 or older.

“If we don’t reform our entitlement programs, they go bankrupt and people’s benefits get cut automatically,” said Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee and author of the plan.

Democrats warned that the GOP proposal would result in sharply higher costs for the elderly as the value of the subsidy fails to keep up with health care inflation.

Health Care for Everyone

Health Care for Everyone

But the Democrats seem prepared to deal with this issue for real this time (giggle – no, it’s NOT HR 676): Continue reading

Thursday: This is what happens when you don’t have principles

Carla Bruni teaches Nicolas Sarkozy to walk

Carla Bruni teaches Nicolas Sarkozy to walk

What do the following posts have in common?:

The New Masters of the Universe by James Kwak at baselinescenario.com

The Obama Enigma by E.J. Dionne at WaPo

G20 Color Commentary by Adam Posen on Planet Money

What’s Wrong With Washington? by James Wolcott at Vanity Fair

Actually, the Wolcott piece doesn’t belong.  I just liked his description of Fox News gasbags like Karl Rove and Bob Beckel as “plump juicy roasters”.  Wolcott makes it safe for the mixed metaphor.  The piece is hillarious and spot on.

For the other three, the theme throughout is one of trying to make sense of several moves by the Obama administration and the various players in the economic mess.  One gets the sense that what is going on is not that hard to figure out: The finance industry is taking us to the cleaners.  It is going to prolong the recession/depression because it is going to be the last entity called upon to make any sacrifices.  Each piece suggests that the White House is playing a dangerous game and gambling whole industries and our futures by engineering workarounds that won’t upset the bankers and their friends in the private investment clubs who stand to make out like bandits on our dime. Each solution is tailored to extract the least amount of pain from the wealthy and well connected and saddles the rest of us with the most risk. At the heart of this is the fact that each crisis is dealt with individually, as if the other crises were unrelated.  Each is solved in isolation, deal by deal, banker by banker. And it’s ticking off the rest of the world.

Nicolas (pronounced nee-ko-la) Sarkozy may be a petulant prima donna but he’s right about one thing.  The world cannot get on its feet economically if we continue to deal with the finance industry in a piecemeal fashion without regulatory fixes.  If there continues to be separate deals for each problem and no international or domestic law to hold the financials accountable, there can be no trust or faith in the system.  If there is no trust, there is no confidence that once leant, your money will come back to you.  People understand risk.  What they don’t understand is how their governments can allow them to be fleeced.  Confidence needs to be restored to the system to make sure the money flows to where it is needed.  That can’t happen until the big countries involved agree to set standards for financial transactions and regulations.  We are global now.

But this is not something that is in Obama’s blood.  Obama is of the “everything is on the table” variety of president.  Actually, I don’t think we’ve ever had a president who has ever put his principles on such a sliding scale as this one.  George W. Bush was a stickler for details compared to Obama.  And Bill Clinton, that master of triangulation, at least had the perfectly rational excuse that he was faced with an overtly hostile Congress and national press.  But what is Obama’s excuse for throwing away the tenets and principles of the party he comandeered to shmooze his way to the top?  He has every advantage a president could want and still he sides with the bad guys.

Well, we shall see if Sarkozy follows through with his threat and walks out.  Europe may not be doing enough to stimulate the economy but at least they aren’t stupid enough to throw more money at the banking industry and not ask, “And how do you intend to spend this?”  You have to draw the line somewhere.  And after all,  a leader has to have principles.


It occured to me that there are those who would argue that healthcare benefits that the unions demanded are ruining the auto industry.  This is the lame excuse we hear from the plump juicy roasters on cable TV all of the time.  You know, “Healthcare costs add $X to the cost of an automobile, blah, blah, blah.”  It makes you kind of PO’d to buy a car if your mind is on how many gall bladder operations and hemorrhoid treatments those X number of dollars paid for.  But even if the UAW *did* ask for so-called “gold-plated” policies {{snort!, like a working class guy isn’t going to have to run the insurance gauntlet anyway}}, the cost of those policies wouldn’t have increased so damned much if it hadn’t been for Harry and Louise.

Remember them?

If you don’t like the cost of the cars, you can send a thank you note to the GOP.

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