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Yes Sarah, there is a media conspiracy

Matt Taibbi

 


Matt Taibbi mostly talks about the media conspiracy against Sarah Palin, but I want to focus on another part of his post:

 

1) The political media has always taken it upon itself to make decisions about who is and who is not qualified to be taken seriously as candidates for higher office. Without even talking about whether they do this more or less to Republicans or Democrats, I can testify that I witnessed this phenomenon over and over again in the primary battles within the Democratic Party. It has always been true that the press corps has drawn upon internalized professional biases, high-school-style groupthink and the urging of insider wonks to separate candidates into “serious” and “unserious” groups before the shots even start to be fired.

[…]

2) When that does happen, when the press corps decides to abandon all restraint and go for the head shot, it usually tells us a lot more about the reporters’ bosses and what they’re thinking than it does about the reporters themselves. Your average political reporter is a spineless dweeb who went to all the best schools and made it to that privileged seat inside the campaign-trail ropeline by being keenly sensitive to the editorial wishes of his social and professional superiors.

[…]

The tone for all this behavior is always set somewhere way up the corporate totem pole, and it always reflects some dreary combination of simple business considerations (i.e. what’s the best story and sells the most ads) and internalized political calculus (i.e. who is a “legitimate” candidate and who is an “insurgent” or a “second-tier” hopeful). It’s not that the reporters are making this judgment themselves, it’s that they have to listen to what the apparatus Up There is saying all day long — not just their bosses but the think-tank talking heads they interview for comments, the party insiders who buy them beers at night, the pollsters and so on.

And when all these people start getting in their ears about this or that guy doesn’t have “winnability,” or doesn’t have enough money to run, or has negatives that are insurmountable, all that thinking inevitably bleeds into the coverage. It’s not that the reporters are “biased.” They just don’t have the stones, for the most part, to ignore all the verbal and non-verbal cues they get from authority figures about who is “legitimate” and who isn’t.

[…]

That said, even back at the very beginning of the campaign, before the signal came down that it was okay to start giving Obama big sloppy blowjobs on the air, when reporters were all slamming the one-term Illinois Senator for being a “lightweight” prone to “rookie mistakes” (those among us whose version of recent history imagines Obama being handed the 2008 election by the campaign press seem always to forget that part, but go back and look — the “Hillary is the presumptive frontrunner” period lasted a solid nine or ten months), Obama’s press handlers observed the prime directive. They did not interfere with the reporters’ civilization. There was a “let the chips fall where they may” attitude that helped out a lot when the Beltway consensus finally shifted and the money started pouring in behind the candidate; there was no bad blood to overcome when the press had to change its mind again and embrace an “Obama is now the presumptive frontrunner/We are now at war with Oceania” posture.

(emphasis added)

Matt is being a little disingenuous. He writes for Rolling Stone magazine, and they were treating Obama like a top-tier candidate way back in February 2007, when he barely had two years in the US Senate.  But Matt’s post still begs the question – who sent the signal telling reporters to treat Obama as a contender?

In a sane and rational world Obama would never have been considered a viable candidate.  He was certainly a rising star and a possible Vice-Presidential candidate, but considering his lack of experience and accomplishment, he should never have been taken seriously as the Presidential nominee.  The media made him a contender – so who decided that the media should do so?

Matt also ignores the fact that Obama raised $99 million in 2007 – more than all the other Democratic candidates except Hillary raised combined.  He raised that in approximately equal amounts in each quarter throughout the year, even though he was running a distant third behind Hillary and Edwards until late in the year.  Where did that money come from?

(Hint: It wasn’t from college kids sending in their lunch money.)

Matt Taibbi obviously knows more than he is telling.  The secrets he’s keeping would reveal how the leaders of the Democratic party and the media conspired to ignore the voters and make Obama the nominee.

The same people who selected Obama are trying to destroy Sarah Palin.  Who are they, and why are they doing these things?

Whose democracy is it anyway?

 


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Sexism in the Media Open Thread

Conservative blogger David Brody complains about the sexist treatment of Sarah Palin in the media. The big news today is that Newsweek used the Runner’s World photo of Palin for their latest cover. I agree it’s disgusting that Newsweek chose to reuse this photo.

Where Brody has is wrong is when he claims that liberal women like Hillary Clinton get different treatment. The example he gives is this one from way back when Hillary was first lady. Maybe women get different treatment when they are in the role of wife and helpmate, but I saw some truly horrible photos of Hillary published during the 2008 campaign. Remember this one, for example?

I’ll give conservative men like Brody and Andrew Malcolm credit for one thing though–at least they’re” complaining about sexism in the media. Last year the “progressive” bloggers thought it was just great as long as it got Barack Obama elected. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the guy they supported has contempt for women.

Malcolm makes a pretty good point:

You know how sometimes a friend tells you how much he/she doesn’t real
…someone else. Really doesn’t! And repeats it a sufficient number of times that you become convinced of precisely the opposite?

In the psychology business, we call that “reaction formation.”

In psychoanalytic theory, reaction formation is a defensive process (defense mechanism) in which anxiety-producing or unacceptable emotions and impulses are mastered by exaggeration (hypertrophy) of the directly opposing tendency.

What are you reading this morning?

First they came for FOX News . . .

stfu


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Jake Tapper of ABC asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs this question:

It hasn’t escaped our notice that in the last few weeks the White House has decided to declare war on one of our sister organizations saying it’s not a news organization and tell the rest of the news media to not treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to say one of them is not a news organization and the rest of the media should not treat them like one?

Peter Wehner at Commentary:

The term “sister organizations” is important because it shows solidarity with a news organization under fierce attack by the White House. This is the kind of question one would hope to see when a president and his top aides target a news organization and then, for good measure, try to dictate to other news organizations what they should do, how they should act, and which stories they should follow. But so far, stunningly, the media — including the White House press corps — have mostly been quiescent. One might have expected more in the face of these extraordinary efforts at media intimidation and media control. If the situation were reversed, and a Republican White House were targeting an entire network in a similar fashion, criticisms, condemnations, and thundering editorials would be pouring forth; terms like “abuse of power” and “chilling effect” would be on the lips of virtually every reporter in America. Instead, the reaction has been, for the most part, uncomfortable silence (with a few, like Jacob Weisberg, siding with the White House).

According to Jim Vanderhei and Mike Allen at Politico:

President Obama is working systematically to marginalize the most powerful forces behind the Republican Party, setting loose top White House officials to undermine conservatives in the media, business and lobbying worlds.

With a series of private meetings and public taunts, the White House has targeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest-spending pro-business lobbying group in the country; Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most-listened-to conservative commentator; and now, with a new volley of combative rhetoric in recent days, the insurance industry, Wall Street executives and Fox News.

Obama aides are using their powerful White House platform, combined with techniques honed in the 2008 campaign, to cast some of the most powerful adversaries as out of the mainstream and their criticism as unworthy of serious discussion.

I’m no fan of the Rupert Murdoch/Roger Ailes operation. In fact, I’m on record telling people to turn off FOX News. But I’m a lowly member of the Order of Liberal Basement Bloggers, not the President of the United States or one of his henchmen.

I think the White House War on FOX is both politically stupid and a bad precedent.  First of all it’s a bad idea because as Mark Twain said:

“Never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel.”

When Mr. Twain said that newspapers were the dominant media, but if he were alive today he would probably say:

“Never pick a fight with someone who owns their own television network.”

Whether Teh Precious likes it or not, FOX News is the top rated cable news network, and their ratings are up 20% this year.  Their gleeful attitude towards the war against them is best described by the old adage, “Never wrestle with a pig – you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

Does FOX put a right-wing spin on their stories?  Oh you betcha!  They got their start during the Big Dawg’s administration (October 7, 1996) and have been a key part of the GOP Noise Machine ever since.  Their commentary programs (Glenn Beck, The O’Reilly Factor, etc.) range from hardcore conservative to lunatic fringe wingnut.  You can also count on their “news” programs to spin and distort whatever they report.

But guess what?  CNN and MSNBC are no better, nor are the news divisions of the major broadcast networks (NBC, CBS and ABC) any different.  Every media outlet spins and distorts what they report.  They also have a bad habit of ignoring certain stories.  They are all owned by major corporations and/or filthy rich individuals, and they serve their masters, not the public.

Now personally I don’t give a shit if the Obamacrats take careful aim and shoot their toes off.  I expected them to fuck up royally once he was in office and they have.  But I have a big problem with the WATB White House declaring who is and is not a member of the press.  If they are granted that power it will be a major infringement of the First Amendment.

As Larry Flynt said:

“If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you.”

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Open Thread: John Nichols Smacks Down “Whiner in Chief”

Please don't hurt my feelings!

Please don't hurt my feelings!

This morning at The Nation John Nichols sternly reprimands the Obama administration for its attempts to control “left of left” bloggers with humiliating “off the record” remarks from anonymous administration sources, as well as its childish “war” with Fox News Network

Nichols writes:

…before the president and his inner circle go all Spiro Agnew on us, they might want to consider three fundamental facts regarding relations between the executive branch and the fourth estate

Next, Nichols discusses three main points about WH-media relationships: 1) media outlets have always been partisan; 2) “Presidents are supposed to rise above their own partisanship”; and 3) Obama is asking for trouble by “trying to ‘whip’ relatively like-minded” media sources “in line.”

Here are few salient exerpts from Nichols’ pithy piece:

Fox hosts do go overboard in their savaging of Obama and the Democrats — sometimes ridiculously so. But their assaults on the president are gentle when compared with the battering that Benjamin Franklin Bache’s Philadelphia Aurora administered to John Adams (appropriately) or the trashing that Colonel McCormick’s Chicago Tribune gave Franklin Roosevelt (inappropriately).

Obama should be better than [Dick] Cheney. But aides are not helping the president prevail in what ought to be an easy competition.

Cheney saw newspapers such as The New York Times and news channels such as CNN as little more than branches of his Democratic opposition.

…bloggers should…take [WH] criticism as confirmation that they are right when they suggest that this administration is increasingly out of touch with the progressive base that secured Obama the Democratic nomination and ultimately propelled him to the White House.

The fact is that the results of the 2008 election did not reveal “a closely-divided country.” Obama arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the most muscular mandate accorded any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide.

Please read the whole thing, and then come back here and discuss.

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Manic Monday News Links

manicmonday

Good Morning Conflucians! Here is my frantically rushed summary of the latest news. I may add a few more odds and ends.

Politics and Politicians

Paterson Says He Will Run Despite White House Pressure

At a parade in Harlem, the governor refused to discuss his conversations with President Obama’s political team, which has made clear to Mr. Paterson in recent days that it has lost confidence in him and does not believe he can be elected next fall.

Asked how he would run as a Democrat without White House support, Mr. Paterson said, “I am running for governor right now. I have no idea — I am a candidate for governor.”

“I have had a number of different conversations with a number of different people,” he added. “They are confidential.”

Still, even as Mr. Paterson publicly vowed to continue, two prominent Democrats who had spoken to him over the weekend described him as mulling his options and open to the possibility of withdrawing from the race. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversations were intended to be confidential.

RNC chief thinks it’s “curious” that Obama would ask a black governor to step aside.

“I found that to be stunning, that the White House would send word to one of only two black governors in the country not to run for reelection,” Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), said on CBS’s Face The Nation.

Steele was commenting on a report in The New York Times that said an intermediary of President Barack Obama sent word to Paterson that he should not run, considering his low approval ratings. Asked by host Bob Schieffer if race played a role in the White House’s decision to ask Paterson to back off from campaigning, Steele said he didn’t think so.

“It raises a curious point for me. I think Gov. Paterson’s numbers are about the same as Gov. Corzine’s. The president is with Gov. Corzine,” Steele said. The RNC chairman was referring to Gov. Jon Corzine, the Democratic New Jersey governor who is facing a tough reelection bid this year.

Obama’s Sunday Media blitz

He made appearances on five different TV networks yesterday, and I missed every single one of them. Continue reading

Mather does not Cotton to the Pseudo-Puritanism of O’Keefe and Giles

jesus_mary_magdalene
O’Keefe and Giles, in their portrayal of pimp and prostitute, reek of puerile classism. Were it not for the overwhelmingly noxious fumes emanating from the handful of ACORN employees who were apparently willing to enable a child prostitution ring exploiting illegal immigrants, the stink of the ill-informed moral superiority of O’Keefe and Giles would drive evolutionarily advanced members of our species to avoid contact.

Let’s cut to the chase. The child prostitution enablement shown in the videos is beyond the pale. It is wholly unacceptable. Giles and O’Keefe deserve credit for exposing this potential for promoting abuse with ACORN’s structure.

For ACORN to continue doing the good they do for the community, they must clean their house. This said, many houses and streets in the U.S. are in need of a good cleaning.

Credit granted where it is due, I am discomforted by the prurient form of Puritanism implicit in the method O’Keefe and Giles chose to expose ACORN’s illness. Their sting starts with a young female sex worker trying to buy a home, before it lures the ACORN workers into the ugliness of underage sexual exploitation. My issue with O’Keefe and Giles is that they appear to believe that people engaged in the sex trade should not be able to have normal life dreams.

Life in the Sex Trade

Life circumstances lead some people to prostitution. In our culture, it is rarely a profession of choice. This is something our political class should be well aware of, given the large number of personally undertaken, hobby social science, in-depth probes they have engaged in over the years.

There are volumes of research on the various factors and dynamics that create the participants in the world’s oldest profession. In our culture, an experience of sexual abuse and economic vulnerability are common themes in the dynamic of becoming a prostitute.

Should being a sex worker be a barrier to living as other citizens live?

If a sex worker wants to buy a home, and she meets all of the relevant requirements for obtaining a mortgage, other than that she cannot state her profession on the mortgage application because her form of employ is illegal, what is she to do, other than lie? If that sex worker wants to do the proper thing as a citizen and pay her taxes as a self-employed person, what is she to do, other than lie?

The simple answer is that citizens who want to pay taxes and buy homes should not choose to live the lifestyle of a prostitute. This is the type of answer one expects from those who are ignorant of the dynamics that create prostitution, especially in the underage realm. For example, leaving is often not merely a personal decision and few pimps are as non-threatening as the one portrayed by James O’Keefe. Accordingly, it fits that such an answer would come from those who choose to disregard how the practice of their political philosophy enhances the conditions that create the sex trade.

In this regard, Ms. Giles words to Sean Hannity on how she conceived the project:

It’s amazing what girls think about when they are jogging. And that was just something that popped into my head. I had never seen an ACORN office, I really didn’t even know that they existed and I jogged into the wrong part of town, saw some homeless people and street ladies and I put two and two together when I turned around to get back into a safe neighborhood. And it’s like — what if these people went into ACORN — a prostitute and what would come from that? No bills, no nothing — would they get a house? Could they start a business? So we put it to the test.

It is telling that Giles was interested in whether or not ACORN would help a street lady buy a home and, apparently, not so interested in what caused the women to become street ladies. Then again, perhaps that’s simply a feature of rarely running into the “wrong part of town?” Regardless, Giles began her project with two targets, ACORN and street ladies who wanted to buy a home.

For O’Keefe and Giles, having to live with the danger, and adopt the stigma, attached to selling sexual services does not seem to be enough punishment. They appear to think there is something improper about a prostitute wanting to own a home, which, if she worked there, would also be a brothel. They seem unable to see that owning a home might serve as a base upon which to leave the sex trade. Thankfully, many ACORN employees are not afflicted by the anti-New Testament immorality that informs that type of thinking.

ACORN: The Bad and the Good

ACORN has problems at a variety of levels. It is reasonable to call for a proper audit of the organization, given their government funding. A good time for the audit might be immediately after a full accounting of every dollar of TARP funding is released to the public.

Notwithstanding ACORN’s many problems, it provides valuable community services. ACORN employees work to bring a better life to many citizens and many of these citizens reside in the underclass. Working with people in the underclass requires empathy for their circumstance and a pragmatic attitude that involves working with limited resources to bring about optimal results, which will necessarily be modest at best. To me, it is entirely appropriate for an ACORN accountant to bend a category to find a way for a sex worker to pay her taxes so she can buy a home. (Perhaps the idea of a citizen wanting to pay taxes is outside the worldview of the young Republican film makers?)

O’Keefe and Giles have done a community service by exposing rot in the structure of ACORN. Unfortunately, their methodology lacks the discipline of the precautionary principle. As a tool for the healing of the body politic, therefore, the methodology of O’Keefe and Giles is flawed, because they are willing to worsen the lives of sex workers to achieve their aim of disarming ACORN. Accordingly, the methodology of O’Keefe and Giles is unethical because it causes a wholly unnecessary amputation, where a good anti-biotic would have done the job. For this reason, I reject the pseudo-Puritanism implicit in their methodology for its lack of empathy and wisdom.

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Don’t Expect Apologies From the Dark Minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom

1239648790_m

Dear Riverdaughter,

There is an interesting parallel between the situation of anti-Obama Democrats and that of the members of the resistance in post-WWII France. Given these parallels, I think it unlikely that we will receive an apology from the dark minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom, generally-speaking. I think it more likely that they will continue to attempt to diminish us, because our existence reminds them of their failings.

Preventative maintenance requires this rider. I know the situations are not equivalent. I’m noting something they share.

Furthermore, there is no doubt that the vast majority of Obama supporters were not engaged in scorched Earth politics. They are not the object of this analysis.

As France re-made herself after WWII, participants in the Nazi/Vichy structures were embarrassed by the very existence of those who refused to participate under Nazi power. They were even more embarrassed by the existence of those who fought the power. The existence of the Resistance stood in stark relief to those who participated in Nazi-esque collusion.

As establishment people, they overcame their embarrassment in two ways. The first thing they did was to deny and exclude access to the power structure to resistance participants. They also worked to remove resistance participants from the structure, where possible.

The second thing they did was fabricate resistance credentials and attempt to bury their collusion with the Nazis. They created the myth of their integrity. By preventing the possibility of comparison through their exclusionary activities, they safeguarded the myth of their integrity. Their large numbers, tied to the fact of their establishment ensconsement, enabled the myth to become reified.

It is unsurprising that the dark minions among Obama’s enablers, who practised scorched Earth politics within the Democratic party and beyond, continue to assault those who worked against his ascendance. We are living examples of their moral and/or intellectual shortcomings.

They are tied to the power structure of the party. The re-writing phase of their autobiographies is underway. Expect some to engage in rearguard, credential boosting actions, like shearing the hair of the less powerful, more identifiable members of the Kool-Aid Kingdom.

These actions will mean little, however, until the history of the Resistance is co-optively revised. To do so, they will need to make us disappear from the public eye, through means that deny our power or diminish our voice.

I expect no apologies from the dark minions of the Kool-Aid Kingdom. I expect they will attack us because it is the only way for the myth of their integrity to take root.

gandalf

Yours,
Steven

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His name is Clayton Bigsby


Ooooh, a scary white racist with guns!  Wanna meet him?

Make the jump:

Continue reading

When fooling “enough of the people, most of the time” stops working

There comes a point in every relationship when the oxytocin level starts to decline and the number of verbal inconsistencies increase to the point where the object of your affection is no longer the greatest thing since sliced bread.  When this happens, you can either reject or accept what you’ve got to work with and move on.  But one thing is for sure: the blinders are gone and it’s no use trying to put them back on again.

I reached that point back in the nineties when it comes to the news media.  After awhile, familiarity with its propaganda techniques bred contempt.  I was always an inconsistent student, something I have apparently passed onto my children.  But one thing I’ve always done well is analyze literature.  Add to that the experience that comes from reading tons of scientific papers and asking whether the authors proved their points and for me, the media lost its charm waaaaay too quickly.  It helps that like myiq, I wouldn’t drink the fundie juice and saw through the glazed eyed craziness of the religious right early in life. Anyway, you get the point.  Sadly, the honeymoon was over for me a long time ago.  The Clinton scandals never made much sense, I wasn’t surprised by 9/11 and the Iraq War was stupid at its inception.

That’s why I was a bit dismayed to read Paul Krugman’s piece yesterday about the Teabagger riots at various congressional rep appearances.  I love Paul Krugman.  He ranks right up there with Al Franken for me as one of those little flickering points of light that didn’t go out during the dark ages of the Bush administration.  Paul *mostly* sees what’s going on with the astroturfers and the birther nut jobs (no, don’t even go there.  I don’t care if Obama hasn’t answered all of your questions.  It’s a stupid, pointless, irrelevant distraction)  But he has a huge blind spot when it comes to the reason why the people who should be on Obama’s side are sitting it out.  I’m talking about people like us.  So. once again, I will try to spell it out for him.

We don’t support a man whose surrogates call lifelong advocates for civil rights and equality racists.  We don’t support a man who considers legitimate criticism of him racism.  We don’t appreciate the insinuation that because we don’t support Obama’s ill-conceived health care policy we might be racists.  To us, that doesn’t seem to be a very logical way to gain our support.  In fact, it hasn’t worked since Obama’s campaign rolled it out last year and it is still not working.  Really, Paul, don’t fall into this trap.  Not everyone who dislikes the way the Obama administration has handled things is a racist. Yes, there are plenty of people who are but there is a huge group of us out here who aren’t and never have been.  That peer pressure $#@% doesn’t work on those of us who know our own minds.

We’re not birthers.  Sorry, birthers, we don’t care about the birth certificate.  In fact, the birth certificate issue works brilliantly for both parties.  For the GOP, whipping up a frenzy about it helps them establish a new base of supporters.  For the Obama administration, keeping the issue alive makes its detractors look like irrational nutjobs.  Take this as a warning, former PUMAs: drop the birther thing before you lose all credibility.  You are not going to dislodge Obama with the birth certificate question.  For good or ill, he’s the president for the next four years.  Which brings me to my next point:

There is no divine law that says that Barack Obama is entitled to a second term.  We have had one term presidents before.  The last two were Jimmy Carter and George Bush I.  It can happen again.  And if Obama succeeds in redefining the American experience not forward but backwards to a new era of Robber Barons, I believe we still have just enough power to oust him.  It is up to the Democratic Party if it wants to risk this.  Sarah Palin could siphon away the part of the base that the Democrats left on the table during the 2008 primary season.  Palin could be the Republicans’ stealth weapon, even if she chose to run as an independent.  Keep it up Democrats and Obama will be a one term wonder. Which brings me to why we are different from the birthers and Palin supporters and GOP teabaggers.

We never bought the party unity thing.

Remember party unity?  Harold Ickes Jr. told the RBC hearing that what they were about to do was not in the interest of party unity.  Oh, you could engineer an illusion at the convention that everyone was behind Obama but that left a lot of Democrats deeply dissatisfied and feeling like they had no choice but to go along.  And so many of them did because the only alternative was another Republican president.

The reason that Obama’s health insurance reform policy is going down in flames with no support from his own party is because we don’t trust him.  We watched the way his campaign operated last year and we never bought the product. We saw how he allowed his supporters and the media to trash women.  We see that his wife has had to pretend to embrace a traditional female role to pacify the old white guys and snotty women who run the DC political press corps and punditry.  We saw how he lobbied for the first TARP bill without much concern for hapless homeowners.  We saw how he stuffed a sock into the mouths of single payer advocates during the public debate on the issue.  Even those of us who are open to plans other than single payer think they should have been at the table.

The Obama administration has a lot of nerve complaining about teabaggers now when they’ve eliminated a significant number of voices from the initial debate.  As for cries of “no fair with the astroturf!”, Obama’s team can hardly expect those of us who were bombarded by Axlerod’s campaign astroturf, destructive peer pressure, marketing and psychological manipulation techniques to have any sympathy whatsoever for it now.  It was only a matter of time before the media and GOP started to turn agains the Democrat.  Would that we had a President in the White House who had the character and intestinal fortitude to withstand it.  Karma’s a bitch.

We always said that if the Democrats decided to ditch us, half of its base, for Obama when they had an alternative who was winning in spite of intensely negative media coverage, that it was on its own.  The Obama Era began by squashing and insulting people.  It used unethical and in some cases possibly illegal tactics to get the nomination.  Obama and the Democrats erased everything it stood in order to get power last year and in the process cut out its most vital base. In fact, the Democrats in Congress have wasted a perfectly good opportunity to come out like gangbusters with a revolutionary new health care mandate that covers everyone, lowers costs and encourages real innovation by regulating the middle man.  It blew it.  Royally.

The Democratic party did not elect a leader.  His PR guys can keep saying it but it doesn’t make it true and more and more voters are starting to realize this.  Leadership is not the capacity to fool enough of the people, most of the time.  A leader has vision.  A leader has a philosophy.  A leader has courage to take on his or her opponents.  Obama is not a leader.  We knew this last year but the party forced him on us anyway.  Obama is good at one thing and one thing only: promoting Obama.  He can charm the pants off of people to promote him but he is incompetent in taking on the GOP message machine, the media and the entrenched establishment of neo-feudalists who can never get enough power. Obama made pacts with the devils in these power establishments.  But for what?  What did we, the voters, get for this exchange?  How did the voters benefit from Obama’s election and his subservience and obedience to the powers that got him into office?  There are quite a few bloggers who should be telling us what we got in exchange for this media darling.  I’m waiting.

But don’t blame us for seeing through him and standing back to watch the carnage between the GOP’s astroturf mobs and the Obama campaign’s astroturf mobs.  It is our prerogative to disagree with truly crappy finance industry and health “insurance” reform policies that don’t benefit voters. Without a major media outlet like a cable news station or a major newspaper like the Times, we have to hope that enough people read us and pass our site along as a refuge for rational, liberals whose minds are wide open but not so wide that our brains have fallen out.  When there are enough of us who are in agreement most of the time, then maybe we can turn this country around.

Let this be a lesson to the Democratic party.  If you decide to launch a war against your own side, don’t be surprised later if the refugees don’t regard you as liberators.  When it comes to Obama, we’re not stupid, Republican, birther or racists.  We’re just not that into him.

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Friday Morning at The Confluence

Is it just me or does it seem like the Professor and the Policeman story is getting more airplay than the Michael Jackson story did? Obama and Axelrod must be giggling and snickering right now. Talk about astroturf! The topic of the weekend was supposed to be health care, but just one planted question and now health care is on the back burner. It appears the vote that was so important to the President, is now off, and it’s no biggie.

“As long as I see folks working diligently and consistently, then I am comfortable,” Obama told a crowd gathered in a high school gym for a town-hall styled meeting here today. “But I don’t want to delay just because of politics.”

Um…isn’t politics precisely the reason for the delay?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there will be a vote in September. But will it happen? The New York Times reports that the White House has been negotiating madly with blue dog Dems to keep the bill alive.

The White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, led a hastily called three-hour negotiating session at the Capitol with conservative Blue Dog Democrats, the group of fiscal hawks who have stalled action on the health care bill in the House.

But the wrangling over health care is pushing back other items on Obama’s agenda.

While Congress can resume its efforts in the fall, other major items on the president’s agenda, like climate change and rewriting financial regulation, have also been postponed, and are likely to be further delayed until the health care debate is resolved.

[….]

Democratic leaders fended off suggestions that health care legislation could lose momentum if there is no action until the fall. But the delay will give Republican opponents ample time to highlight what they say are the bill’s flaws, and will subject moderate lawmakers, many of whom are on the fence, to a barrage of questions, including whether the nation can afford the $1 trillion, 10-year price tag.

Oh well…who cares if thousands of Americans die for lack of health care? Now we have another media circus to distract us–the Prof. Skip Gates vs. Sgt. James Crowley road show. Both the cop and the prof. are milking this thing for all it’s worth–talking about the incident on every available media outlet. In a few months will these two guys be starring on a reality TV show?

I don’t mean to make light of a very serious issue–racial profiling–but I really thought this story morphed into an embarrassing spectacle today. Here are just two of the dueling media appearances made by Crowley and Gates.

Radio interview on WEEI, Boston Sports Radio with Sgt. James Crowley (both hosts are right-wingers)

Crowley sounds very reasonable, but I noted two interesting things. When talking about what happened inside the home, Crowley speaks in the passive voice. The rest of the description is in the active voice. That strikes me as odd. Crowley also says he told Gates to “calm down” and “lower his voice.” Saying “calm down” is almost never useful, and I wonder why such an experienced policeman wouldn’t know that.

There is an interesting blog post on Dissenting Justice about the notion that Crowley’s attempt to save Reggie Lewis’ life proves he harbors no racial bias at all.

CNN interview with Henry Louis Gates:

To me Gates comes off as more than a little over the top–calling Crowley a “rogue” police officer and mind-reading–claiming to know for sure that Crowley had a profile in his mind when he arrived at Gates’ house and then tried to fit Gates into that profile. I’d like to get MABlue’s take on this interview.

Later in the day Crowley was refusing to talk to the media. Was he told by his superiors to clam up?

NPR’s Talk of the Nation covered this story today. I found the show very interesting. You can listen to the broadcast here.

A few more stories on the prof.-cop story:

Cop who arrested black scholar is profiling expert

Bias, Racism, Being a Jerk, and Abuse of Power

Sergeant Who Arrested Professor Defends Actions

Obama stokes racial passions, police anger

GOP siezes on Obama cops remark

Other Stories of Interest (to me anyway)

Nation’s ENT Surgeons Respond to President Obama’s Press Briefing Remarks on Tonsillectomy Procedures

White House Response to CREW Suit for Health Care Execs Visitor Records Insufficient

New Yorker says he would have been suicide bomber

Michael Vick Could Be Reinstated by NFL

New Scientist: Enigma of the 23-year-old baby (Highly Recommended!)

Surgery ends the tale of the five-legged dog

When Legislators Attack: 10 Political Brawls Caught on Tape

Why does the soda taste different in a bottle than a can?

Please feel free to post links to stories you found interesting and/or important–or funny, we could use funny! It’s Friday, after all. TGIF!!

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