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    • We Are Going To Go Thru Hell, So What Now?
      I was born in 1968, the year Wallerstein calls one of “world revolution”. It was a revolution that both failed and succeeded: women and minorities got more rights, often a lot more, but the end result was an oligarchy, where most people were equal in their lack of power, and where every year saw ordinary people becoming poorer, no matter what the official st […]
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Too late! You’ve been framed.

Greg Sargent reports on Democrat’s latest efforts to turn the Titanic around for next year’s election by accusing the Republicans of wanting the economy to get worse:

In recent weeks, there’s been some question as to how far Dems are willing to go in making the explosive charge that Republicans are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy in order to improve their chances of defeating President Obama in 2012.

On a conference call just now with reporters, Senator Chuck Schumer made the most aggressive case we’ve heard yet along these lines, leaving little doubt that Dems are locking in behind this message as the deficit talks hit crunch time and as the 2012 campaign looms.

“Do they simply want the economy to go down the drain to further their political gain?” Schumer asked. “They seem to be against anything that may create jobs, because they view a weak economy as key to their political chances in 2012.”

“It’s an uncomfortable question, to be sure,” Schumer continued. “Are they trying to undermine the economy on purpose, for political gain? Harry Truman had a do-nothing Congress. The Republicans seem to be trying to make this a do-nothing-on-the-economy Congress.”

[…]

The key point here is that Dem messaging chief Schumer is signaling that each example like this will now be pressed into service to build the larger case that Republicans have decided that a worse economy for the country is better politically for them, so any measure that risks creating jobs must be opposed at all costs. It seems like a clear effort to bait the GOP into responding to the charges, so the country can hear an argument over the GOP’s true motives. This line of attack also seems designed to persuade voters — and commentators who are reluctant to accept this sort of thing — that No, both sides are notequally to blame for our current travails.

No duh.

That was the whole point.  I believe we were discussing this back in 2007-8 at DailyKos.  Or was it lambert at Corrente who asked if Republicans were going to make Democrats hold the bag?  In any case, there is nothing surprising about the Republicans’ tactics.  It’s really a win-win for them.  If they make everyone miserable enough in the short term, they’ll extract a lot of concessions on Social Security and Medicare in the long term.  Your unemployment benefits, severance pay and savings only go so far.  When they’re gone, and reality sets in, and your house is underwater, postponing pain into the future makes more sense than losing everything in the present.

Republicans don’t even have to win next year.  It’s unlikely that the American public will get the whole picture in time to reduce their numbers to a minority so small they can’t do any further harm.  So, as long as they have even one member who exceeds the number required to oppose everything the presiding majority wants to do, they will continue to obstruct.  We really should have let the South secede.  It seems determined to wait everyone out until we give them back slavery and let them go.

But if they win next year by making Obama and the Democrats look really, really bad, then they will have carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want.  I’m going to take a guess that the thing they are going to do first with that opportunity is make damn sure their voting strength in Congress is never so diluted that their votes can be discounted.  That way, no matter what happens after 2016, there will be no turning back the clock to a more New Dealish/Great Society moment again.  That’s what *I* would do if I were fiendishly disposed to hold onto power.  Look for the Supreme Court to somehow roll back voting rights in such a way that poor and middle class voters are somehow not as equal as they used to be.

It’s too bad that Obama and the Democrats didn’t see this coming.  Oh, please, of course they saw this coming.  They either didn’t want to do anything about it or were in denial.  Let this be a lesson to Democratic base voters.  The next time you want someone to forcefully push back against your enemies, vote for the hairy, unibrowed Atilla-the-Hun type candidate and not the student body president type.

It’s too late for Democrats to dig their way out of this one by placing the blame on the Republicans.  Yes, it is the Republicans’ fault.  They are that bad.  But the Democrats squandered their opportunity to change this narrative back in 2008 just after Obama was elected.  They should have come out of the gate swinging, attempted to control the media, reinstituted the fairness doctrine, reappointed the board to CPB, carefully metered Obama’s appearances to make the most of his impact and screamed bloody murder in the most hyperbolic manner possible.  That’s what the Republicans would have done.  Allowing themselves to be bullied into cooperating with the Republicans was the dumbest thing they ever did.

Well, that and passing on Hillary the IronClad for Obama the Tofu.  By the end of the primaries in 2008, the media had spent itself on Hillary and she was still winning primary states.  Their barbs were bouncing off of her with little effect.  Obama, on the other hand, had to be lifted and gently carried over the finish line to “win” the nomination.  He never really had to prove himself against the right wing noise leviathan.  And then Fox News got to work destroying the Democrats with their assistance.  The President *is* a Democrat (nominally) and the Senate *is* in Democratic hands.  What, *exactly*, is the problem here?  Yes, yes, we know all about the numbers but the problem is that Democrats did not use their power to scare the Republicans during the short period of time when they could have made a difference.  And they had Steny Hoyer digging up salacious stories on Liberal Democrats that he didn’t like.  That didn’t help.

So, Chuck Shumer is pissing in the wind.  The problem is intrinsic to the Democrats and no amount of directing the blame where it belongs is going to work until the party gets its act together.  You aren’t going to get Americans to turn on Republicans until they see the Democrats are going to go out of their way to try to help them.  They don’t see any evidence of that.  Partly, that’s a result of Democrats selling out to the monied class, part of it has to do with the fact that Democrats hobbled themselves with the Party Unity shtick at the convention that didn’t include the “old coalition”, that is, the elderly, working class (meaning all of us who don’t live off our investments), poor and women.

The Republicans have framed the Democrats as cowardly, craven milquetoasts.  Yep, that’s about the way I see it.  If the frame fits…

Hey, remember this hit from 2008?  Funny how not everyone in that crowd looked like partying…

President Re-Election Gets Pwned; We Pay the Price

Like Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's

Like Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's

The latest “stimulus package” from Team Obama has passed the House. Hooray! Bold, decisive action from Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats (not a single Republican voted for it). It’s got money for infrastructure spending and alternative energy, too! But as is becoming per usual with our new President, we have to ask: “Where’s the catch?”

Well, if you read the story linked above, something will strike you right away – something that was hidden in the 99th paragraph of the article.

In an attempt bid [sic] to assuage Republicans, Mr Obama persuaded Democrats to to remove millions of dollars in funding for contraceptives for state medical programmes from the bill.

And what about this?

The stimulus plan includes about $275 billion in tax cuts, including a credit worth $500 dollars for each worker and $1,000 for couples.

Yes, Obama giveth, and Obama taketh away. (Please note: Murphy has a great action regarding this bill today. Check it out!)

You see, the original bill in the House did not include any tax cuts. And it CERTAINLY did not include this horrifying idea to take away government funding for birth control measures, which is bad even apart from its obvious heartlessness and misogyny; it actually will end up costing more money than it saves. (By the way, weren’t all the Sarah Palin haterz positive that if she became Vice President, this sort of thing would start happening to women – even though she is on the record as being pro-contraception? Ah, memories.) But Barack Obama strode down to Capitol Hill in all his glory, with many representatives of Big Business trailing behind him in clouds of cigar smoke – you know, the ones who helped him buy the Presidency for $800 million – and lo and behold, the Democrats listened to his words of wisdom! Yes, that’s right – the Democrats are in charge now, and they were the ones who tried to make the bill “bi-partisan” at Obama’s urgings. The Republicans can do nothing, legislatively, to stop the bill in the House, so their input was politically nil – or should have been. 

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The Law of Unintended? Consequences

Trust Me!

Trust Me!

I’ve been doing a bit of research on Governor Janet Napolitano, and have read many contradicting things about her qualifications and ability to do the job of Director of Homeland Security. I just can’t get a bead on her, so I am adopting a “wait and see” attitude and hoping she will bring some fresh ideas, organizational ability, and competence to the position. I do like the fact that she is female, of course.

Unfortunately, her appointment may be a net negative for the population of Arizona – the pro-freedom population, that is (I use  the words “pro-freedom” and “anti-freedom” because “pro-choice” and “pro-life” are inaccurate and misleading, in my opinion.)

Should Janet Napolitano, Barack Obama’s pick for homeland security chief, be confirmed as expected by the Senate, Napolitano will need to step down from her current position as governor of Arizona.

The state has no lieutenant governor, and its laws dictate that the governor, who is a Democrat, be replaced by Secretary of State Jan Brewer – a Republican.

The Associated Press reports that Brewer, who would be governor through 2010, “had a reputation as a fiscal hard-liner and conservative on social issues while a legislator in the 1980s and 1990s, so her taking over the governorship would mean a new approach from Napolitano’s direction.”

Since governors are not members of a legislative body along the lines of the House or Senate, a shift from blue to red in the Arizona governor’s office doesn’t hold great national significance. There would be far more fanfare if a Senate seat was to switch hands due to an Obama cabinet selection, though such a scenario is extremely unlikely.

Hmmm…the new Governor, Jan Brewer, will be far more conservative with regard to “social issues.”  That sounds a bit ominous.

The CBS story doesn’t go into more details, perhaps because the story is not of “national significance,” or perhaps because the consequences of Jan Brewer’s ascendancy might be a bit more serious for pro-freedom advocates than the “news” outlet would like to admit. But hey – some folks are over the moon. Apparently Governor Napolitano has been a one-woman wall against a veritable tidal wave of anti-freedom state legislation, using her veto pen to protect womens’ rights time and again.

Now, that wall will be gone.

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Incoming president Barack Obama has picked pro-abortion Gov. Janet Napolitano to become his new head of the Department of Homeland Security. (MB’s Note: They’re using “pro-abortion” now instead of “pro-choice.” I’m seeing this new frame more and more, and we should not allow it to pass unnoticed or unchallenged. It’s absolutely disgusting how these people manipulate the language to demonize women.) Napolitano constantly chagrined pro-life advocates with her vetoes of pro-life legislation and the pick may help get pro-life laws on the books there.

Napolitano would have to survive a Senate confirmation vote, which isn’t expected to be difficult despite some criticism of her on other issues.

Should she be confirmed, pro-life Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer would become the state’s next governor — which appears to be good news for pro-life groups.

That would put pro-life advocates in control of both the state legislature and the governor’s seat and would theoretically make it easier to get new laws on the books.

Napolitano has been a formidable obstacle as governor. She vetoed every piece of abortion legislation that has come across her desk — seven pro-life measures in total.

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Harry Reid Wants Democrats To Lose Congress AND The White House

Vote For Me, I Have No Idea What To Do!

Vote For Me, I Have No Idea What To Do!

It looks like the horrible economy has boosted Barack Obama’s daily tracking numbers just a bit. Well, we can’t have that, now, can we? Harry Reid to the rescue! He’ll make sure that bounce goes away, further torpedo the chances of downticket Democrats, and reassure Americans that the Democrats ARE completely clueless:

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports from Capitol Hill: Don’t look for any legislation in the near future to address the financial crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asked today what new regulatory actions Congress can take, said, bluntly, “No one knows what to do. We are in new territory here. This is a different game. We’re not here playing soccer, basketball or football, this is a new game and we’re going to have to figure out how to do it.”

Woo-hoo! When big financial problems arise, it’s always good to admit you have no clue how to resolve them. That will build confidence in your party!

Now, the lede of the story is somewhat misleading, since there will be short-term legislation proposed to try to alleviate the damages caused by greed and deregulation. But apparently, any heavy lifting will be passed on to the next President and Congress. Now, THAT’s leadership!

In the short run, Democrats are trying to push through a second stimulus package with funding for infrastructure improvements, renewable energy tax credits and other things. But all agree it will be up to the next President and Congress to do any re-regulation.

And its important to remember that there is no congressional oversight on the string of bailouts by the Federal Reserve of AIG, the nation’s largest insurance company, or the lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Moments after the press conference, on the Senate floor, Reid said he will keep the Senate in pro forma session after the Sept. 30th departure date so that committees can meet and consider the problem.

I ask you, if the Congress will remain in session after September 30, and will be doing something to counteract the effects of these failures right away, then why didn’t Senator Reid say that?

And why in the name of the Giant Green Lizard are we allowing the free-marketeers to get control of the framing of this issue? Why doesn’t it SOUND like the Obamacrats are the Party of the Responsible Economy any more? Is it because they are stupid, or because they are bought and paid for by Corporate America? Or is it a combination of both?

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Making Government Smaller Through Proper Regulation: A Liberal Point of View

I Screwed Up, So You Pay Up!

I Screwed Up, So You Pay Up!

Remember when Grover Norquist said he wanted to shrink government so small that it could be drowned in a bathtub? And conservatives cheered, sneering at big-government liberals who want to steal money out of the pockets of the honest American businessman and give it to welfare queens so they can drive their Cadillacs and feed their 900 children?

After eight years of Norquist’s Party running Washington, how’s that working out for us?

The Bush administration seized control of the nation’s two largest mortgage finance companies on Sunday, seeking to shrink drastically their outsize influence on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill while at the same time counting on them to pull the nation out of its worst housing crisis in decades.

The bailout plan for the companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a seismic event in a year of repeated financial crises followed by aggressive federal intervention, places the companies in a government conservatorship, much like a bankruptcy reorganization. The plan also replaces the management of the companies.

Whhhhhaaaaaaattttt? Isn’t this the mighty hand of Uncle Sam, reaching out to, gasp, REGULATE these corporations? But-but-but, I thought we had a free market here! I mean, since those companies were managed poorly and cannot meet their obligations, obviously they should fail. You snooze, you lose, greed is good, shit happens, right, Ronnie Raygun/Bush Part Deux?

[Treasury Secretary] Paulson said Sunday that it was important to rescue the mortgage giants because a failure of either company would cause turmoil in financial markets in the United States and around the world.

“This turmoil would directly and negatively impact household wealth: from family budgets, to home values, to savings for college and retirement,” he said. “A failure would affect the ability of Americans to get home loans, auto loans and other consumer credit and business finance. And a failure would be harmful to economic growth and job creation.”

Uh-HUH. In other words, the institutions were allowed to get too big to fail, and the American people will have to pay the price of corporate mismanagement once again. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s shrinking government at all.

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