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Coffee Summits, not Coffee Parties

By now you’ve probably heard about the Coffee Party.

The Coffee Party: Drink more caffeine to be half as angry and twice as ineffectual as the Tea Party.

The Coffee Party bills itself as a spontaneous grassroots alternative to the tea party, one not tied to any hyper-partisan or corporate agenda. In actuality, it behaves more like an unofficial extension of the Obama permanent campaign. The only call to actual “action” seems to be for the Waiting-on-the-World-to-Change Generation to lament over lattes, sharing their exasperation at how the unwashed masses have been astroturfed to obstruct poor President Obama from carrying out his noble vision of bipartisan, pluralist kumbayah.

From CNN:

Meet these members of the Coffee Party Movement, an organically grown, freshly brewed push that’s marking its official kickoff Saturday. Across the country, even around the globe, they and other Americans in at least several hundred communities are expected to gather in coffeehouses to raise their mugs of java to something new.

They’re professionals, musicians and housewives. They’re frustrated liberal activists, disheartened conservatives and political newborns. They’re young and old, rich and poor, black, white and all shades of other.

Born on Facebook just six weeks ago, the group boasts more than 110,000 fans, as of Friday morning. The Coffee Party is billed by many as an answer to the Tea Party (more than 1,000 fewer fans), a year-old protest movement that’s steeped in fiscal conservatism and boiling-hot, anti-tax rhetoric.

This new group calls for civility, objects to obstructionism and demands that politicians be held accountable to the people who put them in office.

The New York Times ran an earlier fluff piece about the Coffee Party last week:

Eileen Cabiling, who founded the Los Angeles chapter, said she had campaigned for President Obama, but paid little attention to politics until the Tea Party convention and Mr. Obama’s State of the Union speech, where he rebuked Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike for their inability to move on legislation.

“I had withdrawn in campaign fatigue,” Ms. Cabiling said. “I was like, what happened?”

[…]

“This is about recognizing that the government represents us,” Ms. Cabiling said, “so we need to step to the plate and start having a voice and start acting like bosses.”

This sounds like 2008 all over again. In other words, they are the ones they have been brewing for.

Recognizing that “the government is us” is instructive, but somehow Ms. Cabiling’s comments remind me less of returning government to We-the-People and more of the creative classs self-indulgence that leads to declarations such as “Out with Bubbas, Up with Creatives.”

What seems to drive today’s progressives is where they perceive themselves in relation to the Bubbas. In Obama, the creative class saw an opportunity to be the bosses–many declaring in 2008 that for the first time they felt engaged in the political process. Once Obama won the election, their motivation was gone. They were now the bosses they had waited for, or so they thought. Politics became boring again, onto the next reality show. Obama’s lack of leadership and his continuation of Bush policies were not enough to get his supporters out of their “campaign fatigue.” It took the tea party’s opposition to Obama to get the Obama partisans to realize that they were not quite as in control of the situation as they thought they were. Now they want to “wake up and stand up” just enough to regain their perception of themselves as bosses. Demanding for accountability of our elected officials seems to be an afterthought.

Even if it is not a propaganda arm or a gimmick, the coffee party is a response to the Tea Party, and therein lies the problem.

In terms of where we as liberals need to be focusing our response, the Tea Party is neither here nor there.

Jumper Cables = Critical Thinking

The Tea Party isn’t the one who claimed to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare in 2003…

…then campaigned for a public option and against a mandate in 2008…

…only to assume the American presidency and reverse his already half-baked recipe into the ultimate shit sandwich–a mandate without a public option.

It wasn’t the Tea Party protests that brought the public option down, either. The public option has remained popular, if vaguely defined, among voters.

The Tea Party is beside the point.

Bill Clinton nailed it not too long ago when he was campaigning for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts:

You need to take that tea party label back. (Applause and cheers) The tea party–(Applause continues)–you know all this tea party protest, the whole idea behind it is that government is inherently corrupt and bad and confused, right–and, the Boston Tea Party was a revolt against government. That is not true–the Boston Tea Party was a revolt against abuse of power–taxation without representation, taking the autonomy away from the Massachusetts Bay Company and the local governments. You had a very vigorous government at the time of the Boston Tea Party. The people believed in it, they participated in it, and they thought the purpose of the government was to advance the common good. –Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton has a knack for getting to the heart of the matter. (Ironically, Martha Coakley lost because she was unable to fight the abuse of power within her own party.)

Neither the Tea Party nor the Coffee Party are responding to the root issue. The Tea Party is a vehicle for absorbing catch-all populist anger into the GOP brand. The coffee response to the tea party is likewise a vehicle for preserving the Obama brand. Neither “party” has a larger purpose other than keeping each side involved in an imaginary contest where each tribe wants to be the boss of the other tribe. When you take away the superficial rhetoric about the role of government on both sides, what remains are taunts that either you’re a socialist or you’re a teabagger. These faux movements exploit real voter backlash at Washington and serve to keep the electorate divided and busy bashing each other at the rank-and-file level rather than collectively pushing back on the oligarchy.

What is missing right now is a mobilized response not to each other but to abuse of power, specifically a response in the form of advocacy for the working/middle class. I’m often reminded of FDR’s economic bill of rights:

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security.

I’m also reminded of this clip from Meet the Press:

SEC’Y CLINTON: Well, I absolutely would look forward to having coffee. I’ve never met her.

[…]

But, you know, I’m ready to have a cup of coffee. Maybe I can make a case on some of the issues that we disagree on.

MR. GREGORY: So maybe there’s a summit meeting here.

Tea and Coffee parties are echo chambers.

What we really need are more coffee summits, so to speak, where competing ideas are put forward as to how we can turn FDR’s economic bill of rights into a reality.

Lazy Saturday Morning News and Views

An Obot Brain on Koolaid


Good Morning Conflucians!

I noticed that we had an early morning visit from the latest “expert” on what PUMA was. Apparently Oliver had a little temper tantrum when he saw Dakinikat’s link to his obscure blog last night.

Oliver, on March 13, 2010 at 4:56 am Said:
If you actually read what I wrote you would see that I didn’t call Hamsher a PUMA. I said she ran a PUMA-style operation, aka “I’m not getting my own way, so screw everything.”

As if he would know anything about it. First our idea was hijacked by various other people we had never met, and now other people we have never met (Frankly, I’ve only vaguely heard of Oliver and have never read his blog before) are telling us what our idea was all about. Gee thanks so very much.

Well, here’s my judgment of you, Oliver, based on reading one post at your blog. You aren’t anything resembling liberal or “left” as long as you support the obscene joke of a “health care reform” bill that the White House and Congress are trying to push down our throats. People like you pushed Obama down our throats last year. Now we’re stuck with him, but we don’t have to like the torture, rendition, spying, misogyny, or the anti-abortion, anti-freedom policies of this monstrous oligarchical administration that you apparently support.

To put it bluntly, go fuck yourself, Oliver. We support “FDR-style” operations at The Confluence, and your beloved Obama administration isn’t an FDR-style operation by a long shot. For your information, PUMA was about the 2008 primary process, which ended long ago. We have moved on, but Obots like Oliver are still insulted because we supported a different candidate for the Democratic nomination and didn’t appreciate having that candidate’s votes tampered with.

In other news, Pope Benedict’s sexual abuse cover-up operation is getting some attention in the mainstream press. The New York Times has a story up: Church Abuse Scandal in Germany Edges Closer to Pope:

A widening child sexual abuse inquiry in Europe has landed at the doorstep of Pope Benedict XVI, as a senior church official acknowledged Friday that a German archdiocese made “serious mistakes” in handling an abuse case while the pope served as its archbishop.

Times Topics: Roman Catholic Church | Pope Benedict XVIThe archdiocese said that a priest accused of molesting boys was given therapy in 1980 and later allowed to resume pastoral duties, before committing further abuses and being prosecuted. Pope Benedict, who at the time headed the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, approved the priest’s transfer for therapy. A subordinate took full responsibility for allowing the priest to later resume pastoral work, the archdiocese said in a statement.

People inside and outside of the Church are beginning to believe that the Pope would have had to know about what was happening in Germany. Irish Central is even asking if the Pope might have to step down.


Hillary Clinton in the News

From BBC News: Clinton rebukes Israel over East Jerusalem homes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sharply rebuked Israel over its recent decision to build new settlements in East Jerusalem.

She told Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone that the move was “deeply negative” for US-Israeli relations.

The BBC’s Washington correspondent, Kim Ghattas, says it was a rare and sharp rebuke from Washington.

Israel’s announcement overshadowed a visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden aimed at restarting peace talks.

Since then the Palestinians have indicated they will not return to the negotiating table unless the Israeli decision is revoked.

Christian Science Monitor: Hillary Clinton at UN: ‘Women’s progress is human progress’

In a speech Friday at the UN in New York, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton identified equality for the world’s women and girls as the central challenge that will determine the peace and progress of the 21st century.

She underscored the links between economic development, ending poverty, improving health, safeguarding the environment, and the continued enhancement of the status of women. “Women’s progress is human progress, and human progress is women’s progress,” she said.

Those words were clearly meant to echo Secretary Clinton’s own words 15 years ago when, as the US first lady, she told the World Conference on Women in Beijing: “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”

Clinton’s speech not only marked the anniversary of her 1995 Beijing speech, but also wrapped up events for International Women’s Day, which took place March 8. Those events included meetings of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women.

Clinton says U.N. needs more women in top jobs

Subjugation of women threatens US security: Clinton

Clinton Urges Women to Continue Building on Advancements

Thank you for standing up for women, Madame Secretary.


Interesting News and Views from the Blogosphere

Stateofdisbelief alerted me to this report at Alternet: The Most Powerful Destructive Corporate Business Club Most Americans Have Never Heard of

In total, the Economic Elite are made up of about 0.5% of the US population. At the center of this group is the Business Roundtable, an organization representing Fortune 500 CEOs that is also interlocked with several lead elite organizations. Most Americans have never heard of the Business Roundtable. However, in my analysis, it is the most influential and powerful Economic Elite organization….

Here is a partial list of some of their lead members:

——-Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs
——-James Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
——-James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley
——-Vikram S. Pandit, Citigroup, Inc.
——-Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America
——-Brendan McDonagh, HSBC
——-Robert W. Selander, MasterCard Incorporated
——-Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express Company
——-Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation
——-Glenn A. Britt, Time Warner Cable Inc.
——-Philippe Dauman, Viacom, Inc.
——-Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric Company
——-Brian L. Roberts, Comcast Corporation
——-Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft Corporation
——-John T. Chambers, Cisco Systems, Inc.
——-Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T Inc.
——-Ivan G. Seidenberg, Verizon Communications
——-David G. DeWalt, McAfee, Inc.
——-Steven R. Loranger, ITT Corporation
——-Paul T. Hanrahan, AES Corporation, The
——-Riley P. Bechtel, Bechtel Group, Inc.
——-W. James McNerney , Boeing Company, The
——-Rex W. Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corporation
——-Marvin E. Odum, Shell Oil Company
——-John S. Watson, Chevron Corporation
——-James J. Mulva, ConocoPhillips
——-John B. Hess, Hess Corporation
——-James E. Rogers Duke Energy Corporation
——-J. Larry Nichols, Devon Energy Corporation
——-Ronald A. Williams, Aetna Inc.
——-David Cordani, CIGNA
——-Jeffrey B. Kindler , Pfizer Inc.
——-Angela F. Braly, WellPoint, Inc.
——-John C. Lechleiter, Eli Lilly and Company
——-Edward B. Rust, Jr., State Farm
——-Andrew N. Liveris, Dow Chemical
——-James W. Owens, Caterpillar Inc.
——-Ellen J. Kullman, DuPont
——-Edward E. Whitacre Jr., General Motors Company
——-Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

You can read the entire report here: The Economic Elite vs. the People of the United State of America.

It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us.

Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep. . . and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class.

Sadly, there are still delusional, Koolaid-soaked bloggers like Oliver Willis who still believe they have some ability to influence our corrupt, bought-out government. Good luck to them.

At Truthdig, Reese Erlich explains why white people who fly planes into buildings or shoot people at the Pentagon are not “terrorists,” but people of Middle-Eastern extraction who shoot people are “terrorists.”

Also at Truthdig, Ruth Markus has a nice piece on the “Chief Whiner,” John Roberts.

At FDL, Scarecrow thinks Rachel Maddow might be starting to “get a clue” about who really killed the public option

At Raw Story, news of Glenn Beck’s pronouncement on Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA: The song is “anti-American” and “propaganda” that people must “wake up” from. Oh really? I’d rather wake up to it, I think.

What are you reading this lazy Saturday morning?

Have a wonderful day everyone!