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      A little over 1 week in, and we’ve raised approximately $2,400. The first tier is at $5.000: A longer article on the collapse of the USSR, putting everything I’m aware of together. In particular I want to discuss the steps Gorbachev took which seem like either gross stupidity or intentional destruction. The fall of the Soviet Union was studied in great detai […]
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Dear Big Dawg, “This is our future”

Howyadoin’.  I catered the primary cocktail parties in 2008 and occasionally, I do pick up jobs here and there for RD and the other FP’s.  I’m a working class kind of guy working on my degree in nutrition and physical training.  Going to open a spa someday for all those rich ladies with too much time on their hands and too much lard on their asses.

Anyway, I saw that you were stumping for Ms. Blanche down in Arkansas.  And I read some of your remarks about who was funding her opponent.  It sounded to me like you were trying to make out like union people are “special interests”.  But then I thought that was probably just Politico taking your speech out of context again.  Bill Clinton could never mistake hundreds of millions of working class Americans as “special interests”.  I mean, the unions gave us the weekend and most of us don’t even have to belong to one.  I live for the weekends.

Then Florence, you remember her?  Did the coat check deal for the cocktail parties?  She’s been getting all crazy with that SyFy channel stuff and she starts watching this Caprica show about some brainy teenager hacker girl who gets blown up but comes back to life in the body of a robot through some transfer of the bits of her life that comprise her soul that fit on one of them USB drives and voile, a cylon is born.  I guess you have to follow these things to really understand it.  Florence says she’s doing a lot of coat check gigs in corporate HQs and the dudes sound just like this Graystone character.  Take a look:

Imagine that.  A subhuman race that does all the work and never needs to be fed.  Or paid even.  And they don’t complain.  It’s like a shareholder’s wet dream. When the cylon’s arm comes off and it spills the glass of water all over the table, that, my friend, is what you call a visual metaphor.

Ehhh, whaddaygonnado?  It’s the future, Bill. It’ll probably all turn out ok in the end. It’s not like this has all happened before or will happen again. I think that’s called a cultural reference, Bill.

By the way, I read this comment by Anne on TalkLeft about what some White House Senior Official said about Blanche winning.  Dollars to donuts it was Rahm.

And the reason the AFL spokesperson (5.00 / 2) (#21)
by Anne on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 09:01:41 AM EST

shot back with “We are not an arm of the Democratic Party,” is because, according to the Politico article referenced in the post, a WH spokesperson said they’d

“flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet” in the “pointless exercise” of supporting the failed bid of Bill Halter to unseat Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Vale went on to say:

“If that’s their take on this, then they severely misread how the electorate feels and how we’re running our political program. When we say we’re only going to support elected officials who support our issues,” said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale. “When they say we should have targeted our money among some key house races among Blue Dog Democrats — that ain’t happening.”

Disturbing on a number of levels.

For one, the public dressing-down of unions for working to help defeat Lincoln and supporting the other Democrat, and for not assisting in the election of more Blue Dogs should make it obvious that the New Dems and this administration have disdain for and are indifferent to the interests of the working men and women that unions represent, that they believe their own political interests far outweigh the interests of the people.

For another, the Rahm Emmanuel plan to stock the Congress with more and more Blue Dogs continues apace.

So, where does this leave us liberals and progressives?  Well, considering that the New Dems have not stopped trying to throw us out of our own party because we have refused to submit to the Stepford treatment that would render us compliant and quiet, I’d say we have three tasks: make more noise and refuse to be ignored, work harder to throw their craven a$$e$ out if they continue to ignore us, and, think very seriously about using some of that energy and anger to form, if not a new party, a strong and visible bloc whose votes cannot afford to be dismissed out of hand.

Hey, you take care, Bill. Stop by for a drink sometime. And if you see the Missus, tell her we’re here for her. But all in all, we would have backed Halter. Just sayin’.

Eric Massa

I met Eric Massa in Las Vegas in 2006 at the first YearlyKos convention.  He was milling around the lobby of the Riviera, trying to round up people to walk down the street to the tackiest bar you’ve ever seen for a drink.  I thought he was buying.  As we sat in the faux fur covered lounge pit groups around a blazing fire, in a scene that was more like apres ski cross pollinated with Hooters, Eric Massa delivered a riveting stump speech.  He was an energetic, charismatic, full monty, unapologetic politician with principles.  At the end of it, he asked for twenty bucks from all of the rag tag followers hoping to get a free beer from him.  I ponied up my share, bought my own drink and thought it was money well spent.

I wasn’t at all surprised when he won his district in 2008.  But I was very surprised that there are allegations of harrassment against him.  Call me a cockeyed, pollyannaish type but I’m not buying it.  In fact, I am not the kind of person who thinks everyone has a heart of incorruptible gold.  Most people have something they would prefer to hide from the world.  There’s  a Stranger lurking in the dark recesses of every human soul. But this ethics charge doesn’t quite ring true.  All of the breathless reports from  Politico and WaPo sound more like tabloid journalism.  It’s all extremely vague.  Someone said something about something else and they were brought to the ethics committee in chains and forced under duress to suggest that there was something going on.  Well, what can you expect from Politico?  You know where they stand.  They’re the Fox news of what appears to be legitimate political journalism.  They specialize in rumor, innuendo and wild speculation.

I can do wild speculation too.  So, here’s my best guess as to why Eric Massa is retiring.  He bucked his leadership on the health care reform bill.  He held out for single payer.  Being a Navy vet, he probably sees the benefits to a single payer system. (We should at least explore the idea)  And now he is being made a poster child for what happens to you if you cross Steny Hoyer.  Maybe they told him he wouldn’t get any help from the home team in his re-election bid this fall.  Massa comes from a swing district.  Just to put the cherry on the sundae, Hoyer follows up on Massa’s announcement by idly speculating on the ethics charges.  It *almost* sounds like he’s instigating whoever is making them to go to the ethics committee and report Massa.  Now, why would you knife one of your own like that?  Presumably, you still need Massa’s votes for upcoming bills, at least until he actually goes back to NY.  Maybe it’s because Massa isn’t expected to cooperate on much of anything Hoyer wants, to which I say, good for Massa.

But it must be putting a chill on anyone else who doesn’t want to play the establishment political game.  Step out of line and not only will we make your re-election difficult, we’ll ruin your reputation and your family life.  Nice.

Well, I’ll just leave it at that.  What more is there to say?  I hope that Massa hasn’t suffered a relapse of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I really hope that the ethics charges are a whole lot of sound an fury signifying nothing.  But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see  Congresscritters with a lot less determination than Massa cave to the demands of the House leadership on health care reform.  Let’s face it, most of them are craven, don’t-rock-the-boat, let’s-all-get-along, student council types anyway.  Even the bravest among them still want to be loved by their friends.  They’ll cave.

Good luck, Eric.  We’ll miss you.

Wednesday: ExSpecterating

(Early morning TC means this will have to be somewhat short and underdeveloped)

If any Republican senator was going to switch sides, it would have to be Arlen Specter.  Color me unsurprised.  He’s come through brain tumors, cancer and eight years of the Bush administration.  The man is a survivor.  I remember when he became the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee,  a plum job that he had been in line for forever.  He hinted open defiance of the Bushies when it came to judicial nominees.  For a couple days there back in 2001, I thought he might even pull it off.  But the Bush juggernaut quickly put that mini-rebellion to bed and I guess that Specter reasoned to himself that it was better to keep a low profile and survive than to challenge the GOP and lose spectacularly.  He fell into lock step just like the rest of them.

I don’t know much about Pennsylvania politics or what kind of competition he might have had from a Democrat running for Senate.  Pennsylvania is a weird state though.  It’s a swing state that really, really wants to be Democratic, er, except for the parts that fall prey to the Republican message machine.  It has a very high number of senior citizens and there is a vast middle section populated by hunters and confederate flag types.  It’s quite possible that Specter could have lost the primary to Pat Toomey of Club for Growth.  Many voters might have been sufficiently stimulated by the Tea Parties to be susceptible to his anti-tax message.  And if the Democratic competition was weak, something I can well believe, that would have been the end of a somewhat less than brilliant career for Spector. Continue reading

Saturday: Getting down to business

The direction is clear.  We are voting for Downticket Democrats (double D’s?) this year.  Our goal is clear: no matter who ends up president, we need representatives with strong progressive values who will stand up to the Blue Dog Democrats, the financial interests, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.   In my humble opinion, that’s the best way for us to honor Hillary Clinton’s request without us violating our consciences. It is up to us to save the Democratic party from itself (BTW, whose job was it to remove sharp objects from the room whenever the DNC meets?)  It’s a thankless job.  Just ask Hillary about it.  No good deed goes unpunished.  Nevertheless, it is the right thing to do.   So, to that end, I am putting together an ActBlue page for The Confluence that will allow those of us who feel so inclined to make contributions to these new leaders.

But I’m only one person and I can’t analyze every race so I’d like you to give me some direction.  You know your local races better and can tell who will move the ball forward and who won’t.  For the moment, I think we ought to cut a break for the candidates who caved to pressure and endorsed Obama.  There are exceptions of course.  For example, no one should feel obligated to donate money to John Kerry, Robert Wexler, Frank Lautenberg (Hmmm, how hard is it to run for Senate in NJ?  I wonder…) etc.

I have a few people in the page already who I think would be very nice additions.  Linda Stender, my personal fave, is joined by Dennis Schulman, probably the only blind candidate running for Congress this year.  Eric Massa in NY, used to be an aide to General Wesley Clark, has a wonderful charismatic presence and is a good progressive.

When making your selections, you might want to use FrenchDoc’s criteria in mind (updated and edited).  Use your best judgment.  We aren’t looking for ideological purity.  We are looking for candidates who are committed to the Common Good, sharing risk, social justice, fiscal responsibility, a healthy planet, privacy and wise use of diplomacy.  The candidate should be committed to:

  • take privatization of SS off the table
  • prosecution of the Bush crime clan
  • promotion of women’s and LGBT’s rights
  • progressive economic policies
  • committment to energy independence and Green Collar jobs
  • Universal health care
  • repeal of no child left behind; committment to world class education
  • out of Iraq / no bombing of Pakistan
  • reinstate habeas corpus
  • commitment to appointing progressive judges on SCOTUS, no waffling
  • commitment to reproductive rights, pro-choice (safe, legal, rare will do)
  • no telco immunity (substitute Net Neutrality since FISA is off the table.  Thanks for nada, BO)

Ok, get busy, Conflucians.  Find me your candidates.  You can either pitch your candidate in the comments or send them to me via email.  Here’s the address: theconfluence08 at yahoo dot com.  I will add your picks to our ActBlue page and together, we can send reinforcements to Congress this fall.  And don’t forget that your monetary contributions are only a small part of the effort require to get these people elected.  We will also need to canvass and phone bank for these new leaders.  We’ll be organizing those efforts in the weeks ahead.  Time’s a-wastin’!

And now an update to the Drawing the Line post the other night: According to the NYT, it seems that our heroine may be indisposed to carry Obama’s water.  She’s busy, busy, busy, working for downticket Dems, probably for the same reasons we are.  Obama might lose.  Says so right in the article.  Anyway, the Obama campaign may be waking up to the stupid corner they have painted themselves into and are realizing they are f%*&ed where Sarah Palin is concerned.  Couldn’t happen to a better Chicago politician.

McCain shouldn’t get too cocky.  We may be easy but we ain’t cheap.  Getting our support is going to come dearly.  We want to see a committment to equal pay, for example.  Put your money where your mouth is.  We do not subscribe to the theory “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Sock it to me, Sock it to me, Sock it to me, Sock it to me!