• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
    bellecat on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
    William on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
    bellecat on Trump Recruited for his S…
    William on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ga6thDem on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
    William on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Icel Teck on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Niles on Trump Recruited for his S…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump Recruited for his S…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    July 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Jun    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Scenarios For America’s Political Future
      Let’s run thru the most likely possible victories in the upcoming federal election and consider what they mean for America’s future. Put them in 4 baskets. Trump wins. He does more bad stuff, situation continues to get worse, American post-WWII style multilateral hegemony and trade order takes huge hits. Biden or Harris win. Harris will […]
  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

Bill Black on Bill Moyers: The problem starts at the top

See this latest episode of Bill Moyers Journal.  The guest is Bill Black, frequent contributor to Naked Capitalism (they’re having a fundraiser, you know.  Our friend Lambert Strether cross blogs there. I’m dirt poor but if you have the Do-Re-Mi, send some to them).

Bill and Bill talk about Eric Holder’s resignation and, specifically, why it was that Holder did not prosecute any bankers.  That’s right, not one.

Black gets right to the point about who is to blame:

BILL MOYERS: No, the, what you’re saying is that more than one administration cooperated in maintaining a system that is based upon deference to the banks and disrespect for the public.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right, and, but it’s also a component in the case of Obama of we’re humans and we are, everything we learn in research about humans is we’re reciprocal. And so the finance area is the reason he’s president of the United States. When he was in his hour of greatest need, when he had, was written off as a candidate against Hillary in the nomination battle the first time around, he had this miraculous survival. And that took money.

That took lots and lots of money. And who gave that money? It came overwhelmingly from finance at the critical moment when he needed it most. All of us as human beings, the people that helped us in, a friend in need is a friend indeed is the saying that we have as human beings.

THIS is what I have been saying all along.  The finance industry *knew* in advance that the crash was coming and they wanted an enabler in office, not someone who might send them to rehab.  But I’m a racist and Bill Black is not.

{{Sigh}}

 

Advertisements

The strange silence

Martin Wolf  of the Financial Times and Bill Moyers discussed the government shutdown /debt ceiling crisis last week.  Check out the whole interview here.  I was particularly struck by this part:

BILL MOYERS: Would you agree that despite what happened this week and the political victory that President Obama seems to have won, would you agree that the conservatives have really won the argument about government?

MARTIN WOLF: I think that is true. What has surprised me is how little pushback there has been from the Democrat side in arguing that the government really did have a very strong role in supporting the economy during the post crisis recession, almost depression, that the stimulus argument was completely lost though the economics of it were quite clearly right, they needed a bigger stimulus, not a smaller one.

It helped, but it didn’t help enough because it wasn’t big enough. And they’re not making the argument that government has essential functions which everybody needs in the short run. Well, we can see that with the national parks. But also in the long run the strength of America has been built, in my perspective, particularly in the post war period, since the Second World War on the way that actually the public and private sectors have worked together with the government providing enormous support for research and development.

It’s been the basic support of America’s unique position in scientific research. You look at the National Institutes of Health which are the most important medical research institutions in the world, these are all products of the willingness of the United States to invest in the long term interest. Then there’s the infrastructure, think of the highway program, which was the most important infrastructure project under the Republicans interestingly.

And those arguments seem to have been lost. So I am concerned that the government that I think Grover Norquist once said he wants to drown in the bath. If you drown your government in the bath in the modern world, we don’t live in the early 19th century, it’s a different world, that the long term health of the United States will be very badly affected.

It’s strange to me that a government which has obviously achieved very important things, think of the role of the Defense Department in the internet, has achieved such important things, that’s just one of many examples, it should be now regarded as nothing more than a complete nuisance. And the only thing you need to do is to cut it back to nothing.

And it does seem to me that the Democrats have, for reasons I don’t fully understand, basically given up on making this argument. And so in a way the conservatives, the extreme conservative position has won, because nobody is actually combating it. So it’s only a question of how much you cut and how you cut it rather than, “Well, what do we want government for? What are the good things about it? What are the bad things about it? How do we make it effective? And how do we ensure that it’s properly financed?”

I’ll touch on the effects of sequester on the future of science in this country in another post but right now, I want to talk about the strange silence from the Democrats and the dangers that wait for them if they don’t start speaking up, soon and loudly.  And part of this has something to do with Joan Walsh and Feministing and what Atrios said a couple days ago:

I don’t offer that as a defense (except for things that happened before his watch, of course), but while ultimately the man in charge is the man in charge, I think that often criticisms of things which happen during this administration are just heard as criticisms of Obama by people who are, understandably, fans and invested in his success.

I’m going to step right into this (because why stop now after five years?) and hypothesize that there are some “fans” on the left who would sell their children into neofeudal serfdom in a heartbeat before they would suffer the completely unfounded accusations of racism that other “fans” would heap upon them if they even dared to strenuously question the Obama administration.

It is pointless to tell these “fans” that there is nothing wrong with criticizing the president and his policies. It doesn’t make you the grand master of the local KKK or mean that you’ve failed Martin Luther King Jr.  In fact, I might even go out on a limb to suggest that the reason Bill Clinton gets so much negative attention from these “fans”, in spite of the fact that his record is more liberal than Obama’s, is because these “fans” are projecting their pent up frustration on a legitimate white target as a proxy. They simply cannot overcome their fear of ostracism if they criticize the president in the strong terms they would like to use.  Just thinking about it makes them feel uncomfortable and oogy.

This is ridiculous but it appears to be useless to point out that if people on the left don’t get over this conditioned Pavlovian response (courtesy of Obama’s campaign strategists) they are condemning their side to complete and utter fecklessness and continued perceptions of ineptitude.  But I might suggest that this is exactly what the bad guys want.  If you don’t raise a fuss, no effective regulation gets implemented and ideas that benefit most of the people in America never see the light of day and are considered politically impractical by the savvy people.

Not only that but I would be remiss if I did not point out that the last time the Democrats had control of the White House, the Senate and the House, they passed a much less than adequate stimulus bill and gave us Obamacare.  Yep, it had control of the executive and legislative branches and still found it politically impossible to even introduce the concept of public option or single payer or even cost controls, for gawdssakes, into the debate over a national healthcare policy.  How does that happen??  I don’t mean how does it happen that these things never even got discussed in a legitimate way with our side in complete control of the dialog.  I mean how does it happen that our side stayed so quiet about the fact that the Obama administration had effectively emasculated it?  The sequester should have been the last straw but from the “fans”?  Hardly a peep.

Russell Brand has a point.  If the side that professes to be the one that stands up for the great masses of people who are being treated poorly doesn’t do anything when it’s in charge, then why vote?  Why not do something different?

This is a BIG problem for the Democrats because there is a slim possibility that they could gain control of the House again and have complete control of government policy for 2 years starting in 2014.  And if that happens, it will be because voters will have had enough and the Republicans will have finally hanged themselves.  And if THAT happens, there’d better be some changes made.

But I personally will not take the left seriously if I don’t hear some harsh criticisms of the way this administration has squandered its first two years in office leaving millions of people unemployed, underinsured and at the mercy of very determined social security and medicare cutters.

If your demoralized, older but wiser youth vote, or ladies’ vote, or “name your base here” vote doesn’t show up for the next big election in sufficient enough quantities and decides to seek its own path, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Lambert picked out my favorite line from the Brand interview:

My new rule for when I fancy doing a bit of the ol’ condemnation is: “Do the people I’m condemning have any actual power?”

Exactly.   There’s nothing worse than spinning your wheels and becoming nasty, mean spirited old bigots in the service of the powerful.  Fox News viewers take note.

Thursday Morning Breakfast

A month from now, I will have lost the muffin top and will be lounging around somewhere in Maui drinking Bad Ass Coffee for breakfast.  I will toss my red hair in the trade winds and laugh, “ha-hahhhh!”  Until then, four more weeks in frickin’ New Jersey with an eighth grader who is making my life miserable because I decided to do an academic intervention and send her to an intense five weeks of algebra this summer.  (No, she didn’t fail anything.  She’s just an underachieving G&T kid who refuses to do her homework).  Seven more days of adolescent sturm and drang before she aces the final and killing her becomes a lot less attractive as a coping mechanism.  I can’t wait.

Bad Ass Coffee

Bad Ass Coffee

In the meantime, lean your surfboard against the wall, grab a cup of kona and read the news.

Corzine *still* trails Christie by 10+ points in the NJ Governor’s race.  {{smirk!}}  Karma’s a bitch, Jon.  Oh, by the way, Hillary hasn’t completely ruled out running for President but she says it’s really unlikely.

Obama has pulled out all of the stops and is asking the public to support his health care plan. First bloggers, now a direct appeal to the rest of us.  What’s the hurry?  It won’t take effect until 2013 anyway and as reform goes, it isn’t that great.  As long as we have four years to implement it, why not take it niiiiice and sloooow and work all of the bugs out of the system.  if you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?  Color me suspicious on the rush job.  For instance, take this “Oh, really?” bit of BS:

With Republicans and some moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill balking at both the specifics of the legislation and Mr. Obama’s timetable for House and Senate passage of the bills, the White House is now trying to rally legislative support and public opinion by linking health care to the nation’s economic health and offering the promise of tangible benefits to Americans.

“If we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit,” he said. “If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket.” He acknowledged that Americans were anxious, saying, “Folks are skeptical, and that is entirely legitimate.”

Folks are skeptical because for the vast majority of us, reform ain’t gonna happen.  We’ll be locked into our current plan and insurers can continue to maximize profits.  Costs and deficits are going to continue to rise for four more years until this baby takes effect and eve the Congressional Budget Office says the current plan will do nothing to curb costs.  The insurance industry seems to be getting a great deal out of this one.  Maybe that’s why they want to seal this deal before anyone finds out.  Call it Son of TARP.

And this is just silly:

At first, House Democrats were weighing a tax on Americans making more than $280,000 a year; now there is talk of imposing the tax on those households earning $1 million or more, an idea Mr. Obama said he favored because it would not put the burden of paying for the bill on the middle class.

“To me, that meets my principle, that it’s not being shouldered by families who are already having a tough time,” he said.

Mr. Obama also signaled that he might be open to another idea under consideration in the Senate : taxing employer-provided health benefits, as long as the tax did not fall on the middle class.

I don’t think the middle class who make less than a million a year would mind a small tax increase if the quality of the health care insurance that everyone received improved.  You can make a small tax very attractive if the results are significantly better than what we’ve got.  Think Social Security.  That’s not what this bill proposes.  But it doesn’t surprise me that Obama would throw out this not-very-well-thought-out, disjointed statement. He doesn’t lead from principle.  He doesn’t lead.  He follows.  And it’s becoming clear that he is worried about media driven public opinion but not terribly worried about doing the right thing.  So what else is new?

Meanwhile, back in Sudan, Iraq, Iran, China and Kyrgystan (Kyrgystan??)…  There are a heck of a lot of foreign news stories on the frontpage.  What’s up with that?  Are these all turning into hotspots or are they just bright shiny objects?

The Birthers are back. Birther prophylactic: we are not nor ever have been associated with the birther movement.  It’s a pointless distraction.  I figure that the Clinton Campaign would have been perfectly within its rights to have Obama disqualified if he were not a natural born citizen.  It wouldn’t have been character assassination.  It would have been a constittuional issue.  But Bill Clinton himself said that Obama met the minimum requirements for being president, which I interpret to mean that they looked into it and there’s no THERE there.  I don’t know why Obama needs to produce the exact original of his birth certificate to satisfy the birther crowd but I can think of a really good reason why he wouldn’t: it makes the birthers look like a bunch of complete loonies if he occasionally stirs up the issue.  Birthers, please don’t try to defend yourselves on this blog.  We’re really not interested.

For those of you who are getting blindsided by the shifting frames of the media on who’s who in the Democratic caucus and who’s screwing up health care reform, check out The Blue Dogs Flunk Obedience School. In summary, Obama, who doesn’t have a political philosophy but for some reason really, really likes bipartisanship for its own sake, has ignored his progressive base and has now become hostage to conservative blue dog Democrats.  These DINOs come from conservative districts where voters are vulnerable to media messaging about tax and spend liberals.  So far as I’ve seen, our current Congressional session skews heavily to the right.  There’s still a lot of taxing and spending going on but nary a liberal intiative in sight.  And as long as the blue dogs remain unprimaried, that’s the way it will stay.

H1N1 is laying low for now but could be a real problem in the fall.  Still no need to panic.  Get your flu shot if you’re offered one, have your doctor’s phone number available if you get sick, ask your employer about plans in case of a public health emergency and follow your public health official’s guidelines to prevent spread of infection.  Let’s hope our precautions make this the biggest non-story of the year.

Podcasts of the day: I have heard it said recently that the world is undergoing a shift in consciousness in a way that is similar to the shift from polytheism to monotheism.  It is a shift away from traditional monotheism to a more logical, holistic vision of the universe and its source of wonder.  It was difficult to see this shift while the country was in the grips of the fundamentalist evangelical base and their Christ for Rich People stuff.  It’s funny that so many religious people vote for politicians who do not believe in holding people accountable for bad behavior.  I might be wrong but it feels like it is time for the country to regain its sense of ethical behavior.  And as we know from bitter experience, it isn’t always to be found in the pews of your nearest megachurch.  Here are several podcasts that have common themes though they aren’t all obvious at first. There is a lot of material to chew on about reason, first principles, inclusiveness and the evolution of the human spirit:

Melvyn Bragg’s in Our Time discusses the Vienna Circle’s Logical Positivism

Bill Moyer’s interviewed Robert Wright on The Evolution of God

Anything from Krista Tippett’s Speaking of Faith.  I have really become addicted to her podcasts. There’s something here for everyone, atheists included.  Tippet is the Terry Gross of the divine but what passes for divine these days may surprise you.   Most of her interviews are not overtly about religion at all but are more about how different faith and ethical  experiences allow individuals to view life, the universe and everything from a more holistic point of view. The Ecstatic Faith  of Rumi won a Peabody and it’s easy to hear why.  It’s poetic and beautiful.  But Tippett also explores The Biology of Spirit with neurosurgeon Sherwin Nuland, freelance monotheism with Karen Armstrong and a more modern form of logical positivism with Echard Tolle.  Her interview with Rick Warren and his wife Kay was fascinating.  The Warrens initially sound like shallow, corporate religious types and don’t quite shake that image with the listener in spite of all of their recent philanthropic efforts. Quite revealing in completely unexpected ways.  All highly recommended.

Heartless employer of the day: Drugmaker Wyeth, in the process of merging with equally heartless Pfizer, sent an email offering a resume writing workshop to all employees. (no link.  I was informed by some former colleagues) I love the way they are promoting the fiction that there are any companies, not in India and China, where their employees have any hope of actually finding a job.  All of the companies I know are in the midst of their own layoffs and endless hiring freezes, leaving projects short staffed and scrambling for outside contractors.  The Pfizer-Wyeth merger will result in the loss of thousands of scientific jobs, burdening further the unemployment rolls of NJ, PA, CT and NY.  I’m sure the workshop is  going to lead to greater productivity between now and when the real layoffs begin.  Just write off real drug development from that new behemoth for the next several years.  The Wall Street guys and the mega shareholders just won’t be satisfied until these companies are reduced to cheap, overseas scientific staff and a bunch of stateside marketers and executives.  So much for American innovation.  Contracting your brain trust from overseas is incredibly short sighted.  It’s like eating your seed corn.  Pretty soon, all that will be left are MBAs.  And what have they innovated lately?

Please Digg!!! Share!!! Tweet!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Friday: Simon Johnson on Bill Moyers Journal tonight

He will be discussing the Pecora commission that Nancy Pelosi is advocating:

Bill Moyers asked me to join his conversation this week with Michael Perino – a law professor and expert on securities law – who is working on a detailed history of the 1932-33 “Pecora Hearings,” which uncovered wrongdoing on Wall Street and laid the foundation for major legislation that reformed banking and the stock market.

My role was to talk about potential parallels betweeen the situation in the early 1930s and today, and together we argued out whether the Pecora Hearings could or should be considered a model for today.

Bill has a great sense of timing.  On Wednesday night the Senate passed, by a vote of 92-4, a measure that would create an independent commission to investigate the causes of our current economic crisis; we taped our discussion on Thursday morning.

I don’t know much about the Pecora commission but the Federal Reserve has an archive of the hearings and you can read all about it here.  It looks intimidating but no one should feel compelled to stay up all night cramming.  Take your time.  Simon is also soliticing solutions to the banking crisis at his new blog, The Hearing at WaPo.  It sounds like a very good idea.  The only thing I take issue with is the stab he takes at populism in his brief post.  It seems to me that the populace is asked to sit on its hands an awful lot.  We are supposed to take the anger and passion out of every interaction.  As a result, Congress doesn’t feel the bite and thinks it can get away with doing less than it should.  This is wrong.  It’s fine and dandy to ask for civilized discussion on a blog that is requesting real suggesions, not f-bombs and insults.  But it is quite another thing to ask people to stop protesting and contacting their Congressional Rep to vent their anger at the passivity of our elected officials during a time of crisis.  After all, if we don’t stick up for ourselves, no one else is going to do it.

Simon may be inadvertently feeding the “learned helplessness” that we have discussed before.  If an animal feels that it is under stress but that nothing it does makes any difference to relieve that stress, it may stop trying.  Therefore, Mr. Johnson, verily I say unto you, do not stand in the way of populism.  If you want real action on the Pecora commission initiative, you’ll be more likely to get it if there are more people on your side screaming bloody murder for it.  You don’t have to encourage the screaming.  Just don’t condemn it.  People are right to be angry.  Let’s just make sure it gets directed, in an undiluted state, towards the right people.  Our elected officials need to feel their jobs are at stake before they do something and nothing will get their attention better than an angry and persistent constituency.

Channel that populist rage onto Congress, whose job it is and was to keep the greedy, selfish finance crowd on a shorter leash. Otherwise, the public might as well be a flock of sheep.

(Simon recently gave another interview to Andrew Leonard at Salon.  Oddly enough, he’s citing the French Revolution in this one.  You’ve got to wonder why the Sans-culottes were good enough for the French but not for us…)

************************

In other news:

What do health care, Kathleen Sebelius, the GM restructuring (now featuring *more* bankers!) and Al Franken have in common?  There are filibusters threatened by the Republicans in Congress on virtually every issue of importance from health care to abortion to holding bankers accountable and the Democrats need 60 votes to put an end to such threats.  Al Franken was elected Minnesota’s next Senator.  He won the seat by something like 300 votes.  A three judge panel has declared him the winner and all that is left is for Governor Tim Pawlenty to sign the election certificate to make it so.  Norm Coleman has vowed to take his case all the way to the US Supreme Court if he has to and he probably will, meaning that this election could remain unresolved until the fall. Franken would be the 59th senator.

Now, you may not be crazy about Franken.  His position on the war was wrong but he quickly snapped out of that.  He’s also ruffled a few feathers for his previous work as a really funny guy, sometimes at others’ expense.  But Franken is a true liberal and getting him to the Senate toot sweet would pretty much end the excuses that the Democrats have forwarded for their inaction.  Biden is the tie breaker.  Someone with knowledge of Senate procedure can tell us whether Biden can break the tie on a cloture vote.  I’m willing to give Franken a try and the sooner the better.  The Republicans are no doubt throwing every roadblock they can to keep him from getting there.  Their ability to obstruct would be reduced by one and assuming that Harry Reid is willing or interested in holding his coalition together with some discipline, that one vote could make a big difference.  Franken is taking donations for his protracted and expensive election fight.  You can give here.

finally…

WOOT!  We are going to hit 6 million hits today since we opened this gin joint last year.  Par-tay!


Please Digg & Share

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Saturday: Stuff

Ivan Boesky: They dont bust them like they used to

Ivan Boesky: They don't bust them like they used to

I’m going to dinner in NYC this evening so I may miss part of the “Worst Music Video Awards” ceremony.  I have made my submission in the category of Worst International Music Video.  Myiq2xu has it.  It’s very promising.  Let’s just say that the disco era was not kind to India.

In the meantime, the economic crisis continues to slouch towards Gommorah.  Bill Moyers has an interview with William Black, senior regulator during the S&L crisis of the late 80’s.  It’s worth a listen because I get a sense that when Moyer’s asks Black whether he is disillusioned with Obama after having supported him last year, he is really expressing his own disillusionment.

I am disillusioned with Moyers.  His embrace of Obama seems to have been driven by his desire to fulfill Martin Luther King’s Dream than by any real sense of what might be good for America at this time and place.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am convinced on a daily basis that Obama’s victory in November has had a profound effect on African-Americans.  It is evident in everyday interactions demonstrated by a greater openness and friendliness that just wasn’t there prior to his election.  And if anything good can come out of Obama taking credit for the decades of work by more dedicated members of the Civil Rights Movement, then I guess we can console ourselves that it has done some good to heal the rift of race relations in this country.

But Moyers succumbed to a carefully planned assault.  Some young, testosterone poisoned males were targeted by misogynistic messages that allowed them to shuffle off the thin bandage our country had put on gender relations.  Some liberals were targeted with messages about corporatism and lobbying that linked Hillary with those two no-no’s inextricably.  They got under Moyers’ skin with civil rights.  Moyers came to Washington from Texas with the LBJ crowd.  I just finished listening to The Irregulars by Jennet Conant, about the British secret propaganda unit in Washington during WWII.  She covers  a lot of history regarding the liberal Texas establishment in wartime Washington.  In short, there were a lot of liberal, New Deal type of Democrats from Texas.  These were ruthless politicians but deeply sincere about liberal causes.  Moyers is from this stock.  He was a sitting duck.  More than this, he was just about the only truly credible, liberal journalist left to us on TV.  Capturing him was a prize.

Moyers is a cautionary tale.  We all have to be on our guard about who and what we listen to and how our emotions might be leveraged.  We all have triggers.  For example, that video that we posted last night of the Pakistani girl being beaten by the Taliban invoked in me the desire to bomb the whole no-man’s land of Waziristan back to the stone age.  Wherever the Taliban is, I want to hunt every one of those bastards down and cut their balls off.  The whole Taliban region should be made into a vast smoking crater and every Taliban mullah eliminated.  See where I’m going with this?

We don’t have to become as cold and detached as Michael Dukakis, but we need to sometimes pull back and think calmly about our intentions.  Maybe we need to question our sources.  Where did that video come from and why did it suddenly surface on YouTube?  Is it genuine or staged?  After all, we were suckered into the first Gulf War by a staged presentation in front of Congress by a well connected Kuwaiti girl who claimed to have personally witnessed dozens of premature Kuwaiti infants unceremoniously dumped out of their incubators by Iraqi soldiers.  Even as I was outraged at her testimony, the back of my mind wondered how Kuwait, a tiny country, managed to have so many premature infants in one hospital.

Now, the video in question looks authentic enough but until we know the answers to where it came from, I suggest we proceed with caution.  You never know who is trying to distract or for what reason.  If we’re not careful, we might end up stepping up and prolonging a war or take our eyes off the financial crisis ball.

Or end up electing a president whose only tangible asset was that he is black.


If you like this post please share it with your friends:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Monday: Barn doors and horses

Hat tip to Alegre’s Corner for this very instructive video of Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rosen on Bill Moyer’s Journal recently:

Now, technically, everything they are saying is correct.  In order for Obama to not catch hell about any of the things he does, he has to assume that the DC Villagers have some kind of autistic disorder that makes them freak out whenever their routine is changed.  The Villagers are all about anti-Change!  But the Kool-Ade drinkers should have picked up on this paradox last election season: why would the Obama, the Change! agent, become the “media darling” of the Village when the last thing the Village wants is for its cheese to be moved?  And as much as I enjoyed Greenwald, Rosen and Moyers laying it all out so succinctly, I’ve got to wonder why it is that they just now noticed that they’ve been had because all three of them were Obamaphiles to one extent or another during the election season.

Getting back to Obama and his relationship to the Villagers, he had to have reassured them in some way that their cushy, insular, courtier lives would not be disturbed.  Maybe he appealed to the civil rights era crowd who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s who are now old enough to run everything, ie, older baby boomers, who were yearning for their lost youth.  Or MAYBE it was the fact that he took all that money from the bankers and investment class types that gave them the reassurance that he wasn’t that different from Republicans.

But one thing is absolutely for sure.  He always looked like a shmoozing, corporate ladder climbing, ambitious, ass-kissing guy whose only goal was getting to the top.  People in the corporate world know the type.  They spend most of their working lives getting to be best buds with the guy two levels above them until they have sweet talked themselves into their manager’s position.  They are ruthless manipulators who know how to get others to do the work for them while they spend their time scheming.  When they finally get appointed to their next rung, no one below them is happy.  It’s not that they’re mean bosses.  It’s just that they don’t know their jobs and they tend to make things harder for the people they manage.  Their direct reports just pray they get promoted out of their jobs and let everyone go back to doing their jobs without interference.

This is Obama.  He’s a shmoozer type.  He’s now the president but he has no idea what that entails.  He doesn’t come from a political family so he doesn’t have a daddy who can appoint people to do the heavy lifting.  He doesn’t have a coherent political philosophy.  He’s doing the bi-partisan thing not because he has to keep the Villagers from shrieking.  A good president would get things done during the cacophony.  He’s doing it because he wants to stay on the right side of the guys who footed the bill for the election so he can get their help when he runs for a second term.  That’s why everything is on the table to be negotiated away.  When you don’t have a political conscience, it’s easy to make those kinds of deals.  The unfortunate thing about the way Obama is going about his job is that he isn’t bothering to make nice with the Congressional leadership of his own party and he is giving the impression that the party is at war with itself- which it is.  But giving that impression at a time like this is deadly because the American people are scared $#@!less and it adds to their general anxiety.  When people are scared and anxious, they tend to get stirred to action.

Greenwald, Rosen and Moyers all recommend that the Obama grassroots start holding his feet to the fire.  I hate to break it to them but the time for smoking tootsies was last summer before Obama voted for that damn FISA bill.  But the Obots gave him a pass.  It would have been great if they had demanded more knowledge of the job and less committment to process from him.  But they let that slide too.  And those of us who were insisting on a competent, knowledgeable, experienced leader instead were called racists by the likes of the Moyers types who insisted on living in the past.

Well, I’m sure these three gentlemen will figure it all out without any help from the rest of us.