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Monday: Does anyone in the Democratic party know how to play this game???

Pathological prions crack the whip

Let’s recap the last couple of days:

  • Republicans get just about everything they ever wanted in tax cuts and then some.  They managed to get the president and most of the rest of the Democratic caucus to agree to extend tax cuts for the rich and stick all future Social Security recipients with the bill.  Check!
  • The Republicans have put the repeal of DADT on Obama’s desk to approve or reject.  This is after two years of Obama doing his best to fuck over the gay community, avoid doing ANYTHING on their behalf and using the justice department to actively oppose the rulings of federal judges.  And his brave opposition in the ace of overwhelming odds- oh, sorry, for his passivity in the face of overwhelming pressure, we are supposed to praise him and treat him like a frickin’ hero.  By the way, how did that Paycheck Fairness thing go that he worked so diligently for last month? Oh, yes, the Republicans blocked it.  The cloture vote failed by 2 votes, meaning it is OK to screw women and their families out of the additional income they are entitled to instead of giving it to them during a prolonged recession where the extra money could have been used to stimulate the economy.
  • After negotiating so well on the “tax cuts for the wealthy; misery for everyone else bill”, Obama and the Democrats fail to hold Republican feet to the fire to get them to ratify the new START treaty.

Brilliant.  Just Brilliant.

This is just so bad I can’t believe it happened.  Why didn’t they try, “If you don’t ratify START now, you get no tax cuts later”?  Actually, this thing kinda flew under the radar, didn’t it?  Well. except for the fact that the Big Dawg brought it up during his press conference- er, Obama’s press conference that he couldn’t be bothered to finish.  Remember the press conference where Clinton said passing the new START treaty was important?

The first two paragraphs of the article on the START treaty in the NYTimes must have been fun to write:

WASHINGTON — The top two Senate Republicans declared Sunday that they would vote against President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Russia as the bipartisan spirit of last week’s tax-cut deal devolved into a sharp battle over national security in the waning days of the session.

With some prominent Republicans angry over passage of legislation ending the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, the mood in the Senate turned increasingly divisive and Mr. Obama and Democratic lawmakers scrambled to hold together a coalition to approve the treaty.

So much Kabuki, so little face paint.

So, after the repeal of DADT passes the senate with a vote of 65-31, presumably with the aid of 8 Republican senators, the Republicans are going to throw a hissy fit.  Let’s be clear about this: if 5 Republicans broke ranks to vote with Democrats on DADT, it’s because the Republican leadership gave them permission to do it.  The repeal of DADT passed because REPUBLICANS wanted it to.

But what does their outrage over the passage really say?  That they are upholding the moral values of their segment of the country’s voters that objects to the possibility that gay soldiers *might* proposition straight soldiers and force them to take showers with them.  The remote possibility that someone straight might be hit on by someone gay while both are serving in the military was enough to deny gay men and women the right to serve their country and deprive them of any semblance of a normal family life.

It’s funny how the Republicans aren’t getting their knickers in a twist over the fact that female soldiers have to run a gauntlet of male gropers on their way to the latrine when they are deployed overseas.  This very real phenomenon is  just part of the package.  Women soldiers are expected to suck it up.  But straight guys have to have their feelings protected from fantasies of a phalanx of gay men gawking at them and feeling them up when they drop the soap.

In summary, Barry once again fails to make any argument to the American people as to why repeal of DADT is important.  He fails to fight for fairness for women as well.  He fails to get the best deal for the American people when it comes to our economic future, first by asking for too little in stimulus money last year and now by shafting them on their future Social Security benefits.  And finally, he fails to use whatever influence he has to get the new START treaty ratified.

You don’t have to be a Republican to be totally disgusted by Obama and the Congressional Democrats.  Their failure is going to become legendary.  Historians centuries from now will be puzzling over the ineptitude and passivity of the Democrats during this period of time.  This was a Congress and a party that had everything going for them in 2008 and they threw it all away for the $28,000 donations to the party apparatus from the wealthy and well connected during the 2008 election year.

I’m sorry but I am not going to praise incompetence.  What the Democrats have achieved by repealing DADT, which was the right thing to do, is that they have handed the Republicans a cudgel which will be used to bash them in the next election. They have failed to make the moral argument for fairness and equality.  Republicans thrive by using social issues to trick their voters to go to the polls to vote for their real agenda: making sure that the working class guy has no power to fight back against big business.  The Democrats have left us high and dry.

Podcast du jour: Digby and Susie Madrak got together last night and talked about the payroll tax cut and California libertarianism, among other things, on Virtually Speaking.  Try to ignore the references to “Teabaggers” and the gratuitous bashing of Sarah Palin.  They still don’t get it that they’re alienating the very voters they need to come over to our side.  Seriously, ladies, just stop.  You’re just digging a deeper hole.  Susie is pretty good on these shows.  Digby just talks too much.

In science, those of us interested in the mechanisms of protein folding have a new challenge.  It turns out that prions, those little bits of infectious protein that cause stuff like mad cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, are capable of adapting to their hosts by changing their folds.

Prions, which are composed solely of protein, are classified by distinct strains, characterized by their incubation time and the disease they cause. In addition to BSE/mad cow disease in cattle, diseases caused by prions include scrapie in sheep, chronic wasting disease in deer, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Prions have the ability to reproduce, despite the fact that they contain no nucleic acid genome.

Mammalian cells normally produce cellular prion protein or PrPC. During infection, abnormal or misfolded protein — known as PrPSc — converts the normal host prion protein into its toxic form by changing its conformation or shape. The end-stage consists of large sheets (polymers) of these misfolded proteins, which causes massive tissue and cell damage.

“The infectious prion protein can fold in different ways, and depending on the fold, a different prion strain results,” Weissmann said. “As long as prions are maintained in the same host, they retain their characteristic fold, so that strains breed true.”

When prions multiply, however, that fold is not always reproduced correctly, so a prion population contains many variants, albeit at low levels.

The new study found that when a prion population is transferred to a different host, one of the variants may replicate faster — an evolutionary advantage — and become the dominant strain. This new population also contains variants, one of which may be selected over others when transferred to a different host.

“The result is that prions, although devoid of genetic material, behave similarly to viruses and other pathogens, in that they can mutate and undergo evolutionary selection,” Weissmann said. “They do it by changing their fold, while viruses incur changes in their nucleic acid sequence.”

Cue the Twilight Zone music.  Seriously disturbing.  On the other hand, a Republican prion jumping species would explain a lot of the current Democratic party weirdness…

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for a prion infection, like Mad Cow disease.  Usually, you have to get rid of the whole herd.

 

73 Responses

  1. I thought Prions were them new-fangled hybrid cars?

  2. Corporations believe they will be inconvenienced by Paycheck Fairness, so that was never going to fly with Obama’s “New Dems”. I’m surprised it got as far as it did. DADT doesn’t bother corporations, so they didn’t care — and it serves that distraction function you identify RD, so everybody wins! Except “the rest of us.”

    • I work for a corporation. Corporations are not the problem. The problem is that the people who are making laws are not holding anyone accountable, allowing corporations to run amuck.
      At the risk of being called a corporatist, I’d really like to refrain from reflexive corporation bashing. It’s a fact of life that people who want to create and produce stuff have to work together in large enough numbers so that they achieve an economy of scale. When we condemn corporations, we aren’t putting the responsibility for wrongdoing where it belongs- with the rule makers. Yes, corporations can help elect the rulemakers. But there are a lot more voters out there than corporations and as far as I know, voting is still a secret act where voters can express their wishes. If they wanted to, they could change the rule makers. Change the rule makers, change the rules. Enforce fairness.
      It’s a simple concept, devilishly hard to implement.
      And yet, if we do not find a way, no one will.

      • Well, as long as politicians are primarily funded by corporations (which is currently the case), they will act in what they perceive to be their best interest (which is not often the same as the general public interest, not at all). That IS the current case. And politicians will act in that interest as long as that is where the gravy train is (or their post-Congressional speaking engagement & lobbying retirement plan). No one in Congress was getting pushback on DADT from big business, but big business sure didn’t like Paycheck Fairness. And who, among Congress, was fighting like hell for it? Not many.

        I work for a corporation too. Many I know as well. They’re not some benign well-wishers. Of course we should change the rules, but that is only of limited utility since most of them don’t play by the rules anyway (why should they, if the rules won’t be enforced against them?).

        • CEO’s. They’re the problem. They are the new robber barons.

        • I assume you mean large corporations. The vast majority of corporations are small companies with a handful of employees, or even no employees with their noses to the grindstone making a living. Many if not most run of the mill consultants are their own corporations even. And none of them tend to have political aspirations and no extra money to give to politicians much less buy one. And technically, those all have CEO’s even though that’s not the image you think of.

          Having said that, I’d say many medium to large corporations similarly don’t spend time on politics or politician buying. Though they may have that effect through any associations they join (like chamber of commerce).

          I think the real issue worth discussing though are the mega, pro monopoly, type corporations who really wield great power but don’t have the long term thinking, wisdom, or responsibility that should go with that power. That is, they’re actually worse than some dictatorships that at least put their name on the line and think a bit further in the future. Now that’s just sad when you think about it.

          • There are corporations which are fairly good citizens but most of those are run or controlled by the founder or founding family members.

            Corporations run by the “professional management” class generally are amoral creatures of money that will do anything it might get away with for a little extra profit. They suck on average.

          • Dandy, the type you are referring to used to be called multi-national corporations.

            But now they are 10 x worse since they have global power of unknown heretofore levels. I believe Chomsky refers to them as “multi-national corporations on steroids.”

      • RD, you are right. A corporation can be a wonderful thing if its resources are directed, ultimately, toward the common good. This does not mean, however, that a corporation should have legal status as a person.

      • The fact that a LAW is required to ensure that corporations do the right thing certainly tells me that Corporations ARE the problem. They CAN change but they don’t want to.

        And do you hear yourself? You actually ARE corporatist. You should probably admit it. It is ridiculous to defend their callous behavior. It’s not in your best interests at all to do so. It’s a little like voting Republican…or Democratic, these days.

        • The law is required to ensure individuals do the right thing. So wouldn’t they be the problem by that argument.

          No, individuals and most corporations, though there are laws on the books to keep them on the straight and narrow, are not the problem.

        • Regulation and enforcement actually help responsible corporations. It forces non-responsible corporations to act more responsibly and eliminates the cost advantage that reckless corporations would otherwise have.

          Yes, there are corporations that act more responsibly than others, just as there are individuals who do. It is a corporate culture issue.

          djmm

        • It seems that this type of thinking does not take into account the dual-sided nature of human beings, whom comprise corporations: greedy self-interest. Banking on any entity whether it be corporation or government to “do the right thing” all the time, or any of the time, is naive, hence the need for regulations to benefit all.

      • Voting is passe, the Supreme Court told us as much.

      • so corporations are like bratty little kids and will run around doing rotton things until someone stops them?
        I too have worked for corporations, but too many of them have a really sick idea about what being a good corporate citizen means. We ALL need to rethink the whole structure. In the early days of this country corporate charters were not given out unless the business proved they had the best interests of the citizens in mind.

        • Yep, pretty much. It takes a lot of integrity to resist temptation.
          Think of it this way: the country started going off the rails when the deregulation fad started. There is a correlation.
          There are other players. The finical industry has set the game up so that you have to play and the shareholders are always asking for more money.
          The problem is not the people or the corporations. It’s the rules. And that is why they will fight tooth and nail to prevent a strong referee from taking power.
          Corporatist prophylactic: no I don’t think corporations are persons. They’re just spoiled teenagers with neglectful parents.

  3. RD, Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) has made noises about making principled stands against the GOP leadership before. I believe that, as a lame duck, he finally took a stand.

    • Well, that’s just peachy! Now that he’s going away, he can finally vote his conscience. It’s too bad that he stod with the Republicans for most of the last two years and aided them in blocking just about everything that was important to working class Americans.
      What was so heroic about opposing that sham of a tax cut bill? Republicans got everything they wanted
      Principles count when everyone around you is telling you to do the convenient thing and you hold out for the right thing. Other than that, they don’t count.

  4. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for a prion infection, like Mad Cow disease. Usually, you have to get rid of the whole herd

    Same goes for the current crop of democrats, I suppose.

  5. “Historians centuries from now will be puzzling over the ineptitude and passivity of the Democrats during this period of time.”

    Honestly, I don’t think there will be any historians centuries from now, or even 200 years from now. I think we are cooked. Truly.

  6. The Money Quote:

    “Barry once again fails to make any argument to the American people as to why repeal of DADT is important. ”

    Truer words were never spoken.

  7. For one, I believe the Democrats played their game quite well and got exactly what the majority of them, along with Obama, wanted from their majority. The only problem they encountered was losing that majority. But that’s only an inconvenience since the masters still get their desires fulfilled by the other team.

  8. After DADT, the Os were posting “chess” threads yet again. He’ll get the public option and stop those tax cuts too, ust you wait! (and wait, and wait)
    meanwhile, a day ahead of time so you don’t miss tonight’s spectacle – Happy Solstice (and eclipse)
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/happy-winter-solstice-and-beautiful-moon-eclipse/

  9. Why is this a story?

    TRENDING: Palin disses Michelle Obama over ‘dessert’

    Sarah Palin is again taking aim at Michelle Obama over her anti-obesity campaign, taking the opportunity in Sunday’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” to land a diss against the first lady’s efforts to improve nutrition.

    While making s’mores at one point during Sunday’s episode, the former Alaska governor proclaims the marshmallow and chocolate treat is “in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.”

    Seriously, who gives a fuck?

  10. myiq…………..where’s our christmas cookie exchange?

  11. according to the news Obama is in come back mode and it out maneuvering the R’s. WTF?
    I knew Obots were going to spin DADT repeal as O-chess.
    whatever. the cultists are hopeless.

    • I know it’s pointless to tell them that the problem with “11 dimensional chess” is that there is no such thing as an eleventh dimension. Reality is not the realm of the obotians.

    • Yes, I met with an old and dear friend who voted for Obama. I mildly criticized the President’s policies as conservative (“But he got health care for all Americans!” Well, actually, no…), sent him a commentary showing that even the left was beginning to consider him way too conservative and now I am a loony. (And he stopped speaking to me.)

      Other friends have come to their senses, but some never will. It does not matter. President Obama will lose — if he runs and is not tossed out in a primary — to whatever person the Republicans put up against him. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

      Of course, the Republican policies will not work. Of course, whoever it is will be re-elected, as the Democratic Party will not run anyone who has a remote chance of winning. It will be the post-Carter years all over again, only we are starting out in a deeper hole.

      I suspect we are looking at ten years of recession. I hope I am wrong.

      djmm

      • The republican policies aren’t working now.
        We’ve haven’t even tried liberal policies.
        I thought Bush/Cheney were orwellian.
        Listening to the freakin’ creative class and Omedia praise this president as the most progressive in a century is chilling.

    • Yup, within 24 hours he’s up in the polls.

  12. Has anyone seen “The Special Relationship”?
    Clinton/Blair relationship? Funny how much they had to talk about the bj event. They portrayed Hillary in a positive light, what a pleasant surprise.
    Heartbreaking last scene when Clinton is warning blair NOT to get cozy with Bush.
    Clinton is a frickin’ brainiac.

  13. Monitoring America

    Don’t we all feel much safer now?

    Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

    The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

    The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

    Other democracies – Britain and Israel, to name two – are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

    This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.

    This is more important than whether Palin disses Michelle Obama. Well, to some anyway,

  14. It’s really all right. 🙂 I’ve had a startling shift of consciousness. All these idiocies & crises are signs of collapse of the old order. 10 years from now, we’ll laugh that we ever tried to stop it.

    • Here’s hoping you’re right and to a speedy collapse 😉

    • The collapse may begin in 10 years, but it’s going to take a few years to adjust. Russia collapsed 20 years ago, but the old member states and Russia itself are still adjusting.

  15. I work for a corporation. Corporations are not the problem. The problem is that the people who are making laws are not holding anyone accountable, allowing corporations to run amuck.

    It all depends on the definition of “is”. Corporations are the problem because although they are a piece of paper, the Supreme Court and U.S. Congress have breathed life into them and they are now persons with rights an few obligations. To begin with, I would like to see capital punishment for certain corporate crimes, such as fraud against the population at large, such as we saw with the banking industry. The second crime that should end the life of the corporation should be bribing a politician for the benefit of a corporation. And then we can make other adjustments to corporate law, such as no money can flow from a corporation to a politician, only from individuals.

  16. Formidable roundup, RD — thank you!! (Prions scare the living daylights out of me!)

    djmm

  17. The repeal of DADT has unknown ramifications unless it is accompanied by legislation that allows gays to serve in the military at all. Before its passage, gays were banned from serving. I think with the repeal of DADT, we’re back to that policy. Has anyone heard differently? I;m waiting on pins and needles to hear Obama answer questions from the media. Instead, I suspect they’ll be filling up on broccolli cookies sprinkled with parsley at the White House and praising each other on Obama’s comeback.
    Yea, I miss Bill too. We coulda had both of em helping the country. I’m sorry, I hate Digby.

    • Don’t go there. It’s easy. Purge your favorites from all the websites that put out their welcome mat for koolaid drinkers.

  18. No Labels movement is officially dead on arrival. They’ve just released this corny Akon Anthem. Gets worse from the 2:00 mark.

  19. Monday: Does anyone in the Democratic party know how to play this game???

    Yes, the Democrats know how to play the game very well. Their role and place is to be the bitch of the GOP.

    • Does one have to be a woman or a gay man to be able to say bitch in that context. Because as a straight man, that sounds wrong to me.

      • I think it’s the term men in prison use to abuse a guy who can’t defend himself. So though a man may be forced to do sexual acts due to his weakness, neither of them are gay. Gay has nothing to do with it.

        • no “gay” has nothing to do with it, being debased to the state of being an abused women, a dog only worthy of being used for sex…… it’s about hatred and disrespect for women, always has been.

      • You don’t think the Democrats are the bitch of the GOP or you’re too politically correct to appreciate the truth of it?

      • I found the following article that uses the term in the same way I did.

        Republicans Determined to Make Obama Their Bitch

        But I think Obama signed up for the job in 2006 when it was offered to him.

      • it is an obnoxious sexist phrase no matter who uses it. It reminds me of one that my kids used when they were younger, “that’s gay”, just because it was common people argued that it was not offensive. It took me a long time to break them of that and the funny thing is that neither of my sons has any problem with anti gay bigotry. They have always had “guncles” (thank you Torri Spelling), wonderful men who cared about them and provided family when their father was not reliable in that way.

  20. Charles Schumer: Democrats, Obama ‘joined at hip’

    “Thick as thieves” is the expression that comes to my mind.

    • I read that. I almost threw up.

      The Democratic Party is doomed, and I can’t wait for its demise.

    • “He does well, we do well.”

      You need to put this together with what Obama told CEOs: Business does well, America does well”
      All stinky corrupted plutocracy.

      • “He does well, we do well?” Gee, Mr. Schumer — how did that work out in the 2010 election?

        Poor man: he does not realize that Democratic congress-critters are under the bus with the rest of us.

        djmm

    • nodding

  21. “Women soldiers are expected to suck it up. But straight guys have to have their feelings protected from fantasies of a phalanx of gay men gawking at them and feeling them up when they drop the soap.”

    Ain’t that the god-awful truth!! Double standard indeed! Have there been any reports in the military of a gay guy raping a straight guy? I wonder how that would be investigated or prosecuted?

    • so many straight men think that just because they have a penis all gay men want them. It’s crazy. I am pretty sure that I have shared dressing rooms in the theater with Lesbians and not once did I worry about them checking me out…not even when I was young and thin. It’s pretty easy to say no.
      In addition, if I beat up, hated or whined about every man that ever made a pass at me when I was not interested I would have time to do little else when I was younger.

  22. Excuse me for being a downer, but I don’t see anything good about the repeal of DADT which just brought us back to pre-DADT times. There simply exists no other mechanism to safeguard gay rights, except the reliance upon the good intentions of the military.

    • Yes, but you have to know that the military has a commander in chief who commands the subordinates and they follow orders. Bill Clinton understood that, and when he gave an order to allow gays to serve openly without prejudice, Sam Nunn, Powell and the rest of congress threw a fit and took away his power to direct the military to stop abusing gays. BC compromised and congress passed DADT.

      Start pressing Obama now to change the military. He has that power.

    • Pre-DADT times gays were not allowed in the military at all. Bill Clinton did move things half a step in the right direction.
      That being said, I somewhat agree – more cannon fodder!. Universities now will re-institute ROTC. Or they’d better as the pressure is on. Three cheers for the troops!

  23. I made a similar argument on Facebook when a friend posted some “Stand with Obama cuz…DADT”
    I was told: “Well, it’s done. But you’re welcome to your grudge”

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