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      A couple days ago I was thinking about the problem of surveillance states and I realized “this problem is likely to become less of one because of climate change.” And I started thinking about all the opportunities and good things climate change makes possible. My grieving was done. My pre-grieving, I suppose. I see grieving […]
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Kiss my ass, Dave

hangover1


David “M-M-M-My” Sirota has written an accurate yet ridiculous piece about last year’s election:

Though the 2006 and 2008 elections were billed as progressive movement successes, the story behind them highlights a longer-term failure. During those contests, most leaders of Washington’s major labor, environmental, antiwar and anti-poverty groups spent millions of dollars on a party endeavor — specifically, on electing a Democratic president and Democratic Congress. In the process, many groups subverted their own movement agendas in the name of electoral unity.

The effort involved a sleight of hand. These groups begged their grass-roots members — janitors, soccer moms, veterans and other “regular folks” — to cough up small-dollar contributions in return for the promise of movement pressure on both parties’ politicians. Simultaneously, these groups went to dot-com and Wall Street millionaires asking them to chip in big checks in exchange for advocacy that did not offend those fat cats’ Democratic politician friends (or those millionaires’ economic privilege).

[…]

But after the 2008 election, the strategy’s bankruptcy is undeniable.

As we now see, union dues underwrote Democratic leaders who today obstruct serious labor law reform and ignore past promises to fix NAFTA. Green groups’ resources elected a government that pretends sham “cap and trade” bills represent environmental progress. Healthcare groups promising to push a single-payer system got a president not only dropping his own single-payer promises, but also backing off a “public option” to compete with private insurance. And antiwar funding delivered a Congress that refuses to stop financing the Iraq mess, and an administration preparing to escalate the Afghanistan conflict.

I’m not disagreeing with anything that Mr. Sirota says. The problem is that Dave writes as if he spent the last few years hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk&Wagnalls front porch. In reality Dave was a Kool-aid chugging, CDS infested Obamafluffer.

There were a whole bunch of people last year who weren’t so keen on the idea of subverting their agendas in the name of electoral unity. They even formed a group. Dave didn’t think too highly of them when it mattered. Earlier this year he had this to say:

I’m very proud of the reporting I did during the campaign, and of the work I’m doing with the team at OpenLeft. We don’t carry water for individual politicians – we’re honest and straightforward about trying to do our part to build a movement. And that means there’s going to be praise and criticism – all at the same time. That doesn’t make us the hypocrites in American politics – not even close. Indeed, the real hypocrites are those who insist they care about the future of this country, but either disengage or actively work to undermine a president because their favored candidate didn’t win.

So my message is pretty simple:

1. I – and other Obama supporters – have nothing to apologize for on this score. Nothing at all. If telling the truth makes you dislike me or anyone else, that’s your problem, not mine.

2. To Naderites, STFU and start doing the unglamorous work of building the third-party you say you really want.

3. To Clintonites, just STFU and slither back to your rathole of bitterness. Your candidate lost because she helped create the problems we now have to fix. Deal with that and become a productive member of society, or again, just STFU.

As Joseph Cannon said, “The guy is just plain bugfuck nuts.

If Dave and his ilk did such a good job “reporting” then how come we know more about Sarah Palin’s scary lady parts than we do about Obama’s years in Chicago and his relationships with Tony Rezko, William Ayers and Reverend Jeremiah Wright? How did an empty suit get into the White House without showing his college transcripts and legislative records?

How did someone with Obama’s resume raise $50 million dollars in the first six months of 2007 despite mediocre polling and piss-poor debate performances? Who were the wealthy and powerful people that jump-started Obama’s campaign? More importantly, why did they do it and what do they expect in return?

Where was Dave Sirota when democracy was punked by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committed in order to anoint Obama as the Democratic nominee? Where was the hard-hitting investigative journalism when the caucuses were gamed?

Before Dave Sirota is welcomed back to the ranks of respectability a mea culpa and an act of contrition are called for. First Dave needs to utter those two magic words – “I’m sorry.” As for the act of contrition I will offer myself as a representative of all the disenfranchised Democrats.

All Dave Sirota needs to do is name the time and the place and I will be there to offer up my flabby white ass for him to kiss. I’ll even make sure it is freshly washed. It can be a small, private ceremony – just me, him and a photographer.

If he would prefer to apply his liver lips to another set of buns  I’m sure there are plenty of pissed off Democrats who will volunteer. All Dave has to do is give us an address or fax number and we can all send him photocopies of our asses so he can choose which one he wants to pucker up and smooch.

After the way he chapped his lips on Obama’s skinny butt one more derriere shouldn’t be too hard.


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Your Breakfast Read Saturday Edition

Health-Care Mess

My peeps at Black Agenda Report want us to stop blaming everybody under the sun: There’s a clear culprit.
Who’s Blocking Health Care Reform Now? Blue Dogs? Senate Dems? House Progressives? Or the White House Itself?

In less than a year, Democrats have transformed themselves from the party of change to the party of excuses. Republican birthers and teapartyers, blue dog Democrats, rogue donkey and elephant senators, and even progressives favoring single payer or the shadowy “public option” have all been blamed by the White House for holding up health care — or is it health insurance — reform.
[…]
It’s not Republicans, it’s not blocking blue dogs, or die-hard progressives who form the biggest political obstacle to enacting universal health care this year. It’s Democrats, following the lead of the chief Democrat in the White House.

Huh???
Obama May Need Sense of Crisis to Revive Health-Care Overhaul

President Barack Obama returns to Washington next week in search of one thing that can revive his health-care overhaul: a sense of crisis.

I’m dying to see what this draft would look like.
White House Considers Drafting Health Care Bill

Multiple sources close to the process told CNN Friday that while the plan is uncertain, they are preparing for the possibility they could deliver their own legislation to Capitol Hill sometime after the President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, with one source calling the possibility of new legislation a “contingency” approach if efforts by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to craft a deal fall through.

The White House emphasized Friday that no formal bill has yet been written. “The President has been reviewing all of the various legislative proposals, but no decision has been made about whether formal legislation will be presented,” said Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.

Max Baucus says he has a bill.
Senate Chairman Says Health Care Bill Is Coming

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee told colleagues on Friday that he would soon present them with a detailed proposal for overhauling the nation’s health care system in an effort to force either an agreement or an acknowledgment that further bipartisan negotiations would be futile.

The least powerful and least listened-to group in the whole debate is making a plea.
Liberals Push Obama on Health Care Public Option

House liberals pleaded with President Barack Obama on Friday to push for creation of a government-run health care program as the Senate’s chief negotiator said he won’t wait much longer for Republicans to compromise amid dwindling chances for a bipartisan bill.

Breaking news: The sun rises from the East.
Harry Reid may compromise on public option

With so many doofuses and duplicitists “tinkering” with the legislation, this has become a very realistic scenario.
What If They Had a Health-Care Reform Bill and Nobody Could Support it?

[T]here’s an increasingly evident path by which health-care reform begins to hurt the very people it’s meant to aid. As Jordan Rau reports, making health-care reform affordable for the centrists in the Congress could make it unaffordable for the people.

Health Bills Might Not Protect Some Needy Americans, Experts Say

Concern about the legislation’s cost has overshadowed a major worry among some policy experts: Whether the Democrats’ plans would protect low- and moderate-income earners from excess financial burdens, as backers have promised.

Wasn’t this whole thing a farce to begin with?
Gang of Six healthcare reform negotiations on verge of collapse

Bravo Al Franken!


Around The Nation

Stories like these are the reason I’m opposed to the death penalty.
Did Texas execute an innocent man?

[Cameron Todd Willingham] insisted upon his innocence in the deaths of his children and refused an offer to plead guilty in return for a life sentence.

He got what he deserves.
US soldier gets life for rape and murder of Iraqi girl

A US army soldier has received five consecutive life sentences for his role in the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and the slaying of three of her family members.

Colleges brace for swine flu assault

With thousands of college students flooding New England campuses this week, universities are taking unprecedented measures to contain possible outbreaks of influenza, knowing that young adults sit squarely in the bull’s-eye of susceptibility to swine flu.

In observance of Labor Day: a progress report on jobs

The picture is slowly improving. But how well you’re doing depends on your profession, where you live, and how old you are.


Torturegate: The “Postplay”

Chalabi aide: I went from White House to secret prison

U.S. authorities detained a top aide to former Iraqi exile leader and Bush administration ally Ahmad Chalabi last year and accused him of helping Iranian-backed militants kidnap and kill American and British soldiers and contractors.

Ashcroft can be sued over arrests, appeals court rules

In a ruling that said Ashcroft could be sued for prosecutorial abuses, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the former attorney general immunity from liability for how he used the material witness warrants in national security investigations.


Economy Watch

Paul Krugman has a superb essay on macroeconomics in the NY Times Magazine.
How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?

Few economists saw our current crisis coming, but this predictive failure was the least of the field’s problems. More important was the profession’s blindness to the very possibility of catastrophic failures in a market economy. During the golden years, financial economists came tobelieve that markets were inherently stable — indeed, that stocks and other assets were always priced just right. There was nothing in the prevailing models suggesting the possibility of the kind of collapse that happened last year. Meanwhile, macroeconomists were divided in their views. But the main division was between those who insisted that free-market economies never go astray and those who believed that economies may stray now and then but that any major deviations from the path of prosperity could and would be corrected by the all-powerful Fed. Neither side was prepared to cope with an economy that went off the rails despite the Fed’s best efforts.

Black Swan anyone? (Sorry! I had to squeeze that in, I’m currently re-reading the book and I can’t believe how prescient Nassim Nicholas Taleb was.)

Economists React: Improving Trend ‘Can’t Be Denied’

Economists and others weigh in on the increase in the unemployment rate and moderating job losses.

Things getting better or “getting worse more slowly”?
Job losses slow as unemployment rises to 9.7 percent

Another important sign of a firming economic recovery emerged Friday from government statistics showing a slowdown in the torrid pace of job losses, even as a larger-than-expected rise in the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent signaled a long road ahead before Americans feel a return to normalcy.

Whose recovery is it anyway?
U.S. Recovery Leaving Workers Jobless May Spur Company Profits

Employers kept Americans’ working hours near a record low in August, signaling that economic growth is poised to reward companies with added profits while postponing any recovery in the job market.

Why the Stimulus Is Helping the Economy but Not Obama

Proving a negative is always a challenge, but there’s mounting evidence that the controversial $787 billion stimulus bill is achieving one of its major goals: shortening the recession. Economists at Goldman Sachs say the bill, officially called the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act, has resulted in a 2% to 3% boost to annual GDP in the second and third quarters of this year, turning what could have been a worsening recession into potential growth. For President Barack Obama, whose poll numbers have dropped precipitously from around 65% to around 50% as Americans have become worried about government spending and health-care reform

How did we get here?
How the collapse of Lehman Brothers pushed capitalism to the brink

The Wall Street titan’s bankruptcy triggered a system-wide crisis of confidence in banks across the globe

This is just not looking good.
Banks Closed in Four States; 89 in 2009

Regulators on Friday shut down banks in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Arizona, pushing to 89 the number of banks that have failed this year under the weight of the soured economy and rising loan defaults

The financial meltdown made some big winners and losers.
Executives who gained–or lost–the most in the economic crisis


Op-ed Columns

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two American journalists that were captured and held hostage in North Korea penned an op-ed a couple fo days ago. It’s well worth a read.
Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom

Since our release, we have become aware that the situation along the China-North Korea border has become even more challenging for aid groups and that many defectors are going deeper underground. We regret if any of our actions, including the high-profile nature of our confinement, has led to increased scrutiny of activists and North Koreans living along the border. The activists’ work is inspiring, courageous and crucial.

Many people have asked about our strength to endure such hardships and uncertainty. But our experiences pale when compared with the hardship facing so many people living in North Korea or as illegal immigrants in China.

Health-care reform 1993: Brad Delong reminisces
Why health-care reform failed last time

Joe Conasson says Obama screwed the pooch.
Healthcare didn’t have to go this way

Obama gave away the store on this crucial issue. It’s time to take it back

Chuck Hagel making some good noise
America Must Recognize Her Limits

Iraq and Afghanistan Aren’t Ours to Win or Lose

Where the Jobs Aren’t

As is the case with so many economic indicators these days, the only good thing to say about the August jobs report is that it could have been worse. Employers shed another 216,000 jobs last month, a smaller loss than expected and the lowest monthly loss total in a year.


Around The World

Did Gordon Brown really believe we would be happy about the release of the guy we are holding responsible for blowing up hundreds of Americans?
Lockerbie bomber: Megrahi’s release has strained the special relationship

There is no mistaking the rage in America, across the board, at the release of the Lockerbie bomber Megrahi, and at the apparent duplicity of Gordon Brown and his kinsmen north of the border. Americans dislike more than anything else duplicity among friends (though it is not always absent in Washington).

Nobody likes “collateral damage” on their soil.
NATO seeks to calm Afghans after deadly air strike

U.S. and German military officers met families and victims of a NATO air strike in Northern Afghanistan on Saturday in a bid to cool anger over an incident that undermines NATO efforts to win hearts and minds.

Afghan officials say scores of people were killed, many of them civilians, when a U.S. F-15 fighter jet called in by German troops struck two hijacked fuel trucks before dawn on Friday.

You can guess who in the G20 is against a serious reform of the financial sector: It’s so much more fun to play footsies with Wall Street.
G20 united on stimulus, divided on bank reform

While policymakers appear agreed that economic life-support packages need to remain in place, divisions have appeared over the best way to fix the banking system and ensure no repeat of the credit crisis that plunged the world into recession.

Those damned “communists”
France tells G20 finance ministers it will cap bankers’ bonuses

France will go it alone and axe bankers’ bonuses even if Britain and America refuse to cap them, the French Finance Minister said yesterday after the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in London.


From The World of Science

When do we actually start to know what we are doing and why we are doing it?
When Does Consciousness Arise in Human Babies?

It is well recognized that infants have no awareness of their own state, emotions and motivations. Even older children who can speak have very limited insight into their own actions.
[…]
A more complex behavior is imitation: if Dad sticks out his tongue and waggles it, the infant mimics his gesture by combining visual information with proprioceptive feedback from its own movements. It is therefore likely that the baby has some basic level of unreflective, present-oriented consciousness.

But when does the magical journey of consciousness begin?


Odds & Ends

Tired of these usually boring “Top Colleges” lists, here is a much better one for you:
America’s 25 Douchiest Colleges

The question isn’t whether you’re a douche bag when you go to college. We were all kind of douche bags when we went to college, if we’re going to be honest about it. No, the question for America’s youth is: What kind of douche bag do you aspire to be?

Some members of Congress have really deep pockets, but the recession didn’t spare them either.
Rich List: Kerry, Issa, Harman most wealthy; new kids of ’09 are rich kids, too

The richest lawmaker is Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), a veteran senator and 2004 presidential nominee, who has a net worth of at least $167.8 million, thanks to his wife’s fortune. Some of the members well known for their wealth, such as Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), are also on the Rich List, with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets.

Best wedding wows ever.

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