• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    Sweet Sue on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    peep9 on Does anyone believe…
    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    bellecat on Does anyone believe…
    peep9 on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    Lady V on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    ipotter on Does anyone believe…
    bcc on Does anyone believe…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Does anyone believe…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Does anyone believe…
  • 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

    December 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Basic Reasoning and Reading
      Competent and good are not synonyms. Smart and good are not synonyms. Evil and competent are not synonyms. Virtues are not all moral virtues. Bravery is a morally neutral virtue. It makes bad people worse, and good people better and without it all virtues and vices are nearly meaningless. Competence is morally neutral. It is […]
  • Top Posts

Saturday: Forest and trees and The Marshall Plan

Yesterday, I was listening to Stuff You Missed in History Class and the topic du jour was The Marshall Plan.  As I might have mentioned before, my knowledge of history is non-linear as a consequence of having moved 14 times before I graduated high school.  So, I listen to podcasts like this to catch up on things that got lost in transit.  One of the things I learned yesterday about the Marshall Plan is that it wasn’t just a massive act of charity on the part of the US towards a wartorn Europe.  No, there was definitely an ulterior motive.

After WWII, Europe was so devastated economically, and then suffered a ruinous weather event in the winter of 1946 that killed the wheat crop, that the populations were suffering malnutrition and looking forward to debilitating poverty for decades to come.  George Marshall anticipated that the conditions were ripe for social uprising and a turn towards communism, what with Russia breathing down everyone’s neck in Eastern Europe.  In the wake of WWII, Greece was the first post war country to have to put down such an uprising but it wasn’t going to be the last.  So, Marshall devised his economic recovery plan to prevent the other countries in Europe from going commie.   There is plenty of historical precedent for the overthrow of governments when poverty rises and effects the majority and it doesn’t take much to set off an angry mob.  Marshall needed to nip that in the bud.

Where am I going with this?  Oh, yeah.  I was going to write today about the PUMA movement and principles.  I believe that a successful movement is based on principles.  I also believe that we are at a time in our nation’s history when the public is so fed up with the two party system that there is a window of opportunity to make a real change and the political principles of either party aren’t as relevent at the present time.  Our social safety net in this country is so fragile that it only takes a couple of missed paychecks or a catastrophic illness to put a family into insolvency.  The steady erosion of our quality of life has happened under the auspices of both parties through deregulation, regressive taxation, union busting and the outright fraud perpetrated by the financial industry and their cronies in the business management field.  Before the election last year, we knew that the Republican party was morally bankrupt but who would have suspected before November 2008 that Democrats would also seek the path of least resistance and sell us out?  Well, *us*.  We believed it because we watched it happening in real time with our eyes wide open and our minds unclouded by propaganda. But now, many more people know it too.

In order to make change happen we need to threaten the current power structure.  By threaten I don’t mean by the use of any form of sabotage or physical violence.  I mean we have to make sure that our elected officials know that we will toss them out and then we must do it.  The question is how do we do this?

The answer is in motivating voters to go to the polls to vote out people who do not put the general welfare first.  The public doesn’t like Republicans, even if the GOP has been more successful at channeling the rage into tea parties.  But the GOP is not in power right now and as long as Democrats feel they are safe, they are going to try to ride this recession out without biting the hands that feed them.  But once Democratic voters start to turn their attention towards their own party, then there will be hell to pay.  The question is, can we engage people outside the Democratic party to join us?  Yes, I think we can.

I think we have all had the experience of knowing people who say they do not vote for any party.  They vote for the individual.  And this may be true, although I think some of these people are influenced by the last voice they hear on the way into the voting booth.  But the truth is that there are very few Democrats running for office who haven’t sworn to uphold the party machine that gets them elected.  And once you buy into this machine, your chances of balking at the money that flows to you is very slim.  Without that money, you can’t run.  But is this true?

If it is true that people vote for the individual, what is it they really want?  I would say that most people want to be treated fairly.  They want to feel like they have as much right to representation as someone with wealth and connections.  The reason why people want fairness is because deep down inside, we Americans believe profoundly in promoting the General Welfare.  We believe that this country was founded because we wanted to be free from a power that did *not* see our General Welfare as important to its own survival.  Isn’t this the same situation we find ourselves in today?  The power is not a foreign one; it is homegrown.  But our welfare is completely incidental to its own.  We need to be rid of this power.

This is an idea that can potentially attract voters from many different political persuasions.  The recession is having a profound effect on Republicans no less than Democrats.  And when it comes right down to it, no one wants to see the end of Social Security.  Why?  Because it is an insurance policy against risk.  Now that Republican households are just as vulnerable as Democrats’, there are a lot more of us who want to keep it in a “lock box”.

We need to bring this home to Democrats in a very simple way, because, after all, THEY are the ones with the reins of power.  We need to primary as many of them as we can.  We need to register as Democrats again, find out what the local requirements are for Congress and Senate and just enter our names as an alternative to whoever is running as the blessed party candidate.  Getting our names on that primary ballot doesn’t take a party endorsement.  In fact, I wouldn’t expect one.  But in a primary, you don’t need to be known or popular or a politician to be an active citizen interested in public service.  Those of you who are unemployed can look forward to a nice salary and health benefits.  All you need to be is another name on that ballot under the Democratic party. Call yourself a PUMAcrat.  Throw some coffees and cocktail parties.  Then see what happens.

Now, there will probably be campaign ads against you saying you aren’t connected enough.  In this environment, that could be a plus.  There will be people digging up dirt about you and your family and your unpaid car registration.  Tell them those without sin can cast the first stone.  There will be people who will say you don’t know enough about the issues.  Um, if you are reading blogs instead of the mainstream media, you can run circles around anyone making that claim.

If we manage to upset some races around the country, it may put the fear of God into our party officials and the tide may turn in our favor.

If we don’t do it, we can look forward to social unrest.  It’s coming.  The financial aces who have been riding high on our 401K contributions are busily tunneling out our economy.  To them, it’s all global now.  What happens in the US is collateral damage as they race to the bottom chasing lower and lower labor costs.  It’s very short term thinking but they aren’t worried about it right now.  It is time to focus our elected officials’ attention.

It’s either reform now or socialism later.

Please Digg!! and Share!!

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

Now PUMA’s Sort Of A Car

bildeembargogmsegway04_580op

That’s the new GM/Segway prototype vehicle, the PUMA or, Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility…thingy.  Whatever this hybrid vehicle eventually grows up to be, if anything, it’s battery operated and zips along at 35 mph.  Obviously, this is part of almost-bankrupt General Motor’s attempt to “green up” and be part of Team Obama’s overarching and presently over-reaching program to drag reluctant Americans kicking and screaming away from our love of gas guzzling mini-tanks capable of doing righteous battle with buses and trucks on city streets in comfort.  For those loath to sacrifice safety for ecology, the PUMA, a sort of windshield covered Hoveround, is supposed to be able to sense danger, Will Robinson, and…magically disappear, or something.  Popular Mechanics explains it this way:

The collision avoidance tech is probably the most speculative aspect of the P.U.M.A. project. GM has long been working on vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology that should allow vehicles to communicate with each other using short-to-medium-range wireless transponders that use GPS and vehicle on-board telemetry data to avoid collisions. The idea is that if two vehicles can exchange speed, direction and position data, then one of them could make a decision to brake in an emergency situation to avoid an accident—even if that meant overriding the driver. Continue reading

Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

OBAMA/On a day when Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary, Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner, tax cheat (TTTG,tc) appear before Congress seeking unprecedented power to further loot manipulate regulate the financial industry, including non-banking entities like AIG, the company whose bonuses they’ve been called on the carpet to address, perusal of the day’s news stories, blog posts, and opinion pieces reveals more questions than answers.  Is this the bizarre Obministration Hokey Pokey Bamboozle One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Cha-Cha-Cha it appears to be, or are the Obanomic efforts of the government so far truly on behalf of the people?

Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Marshall wonders if we are living in an “alternate universe” after reading today’s Wall Street Journal article claiming that the Obministration has had a recent change of heart towards Wall Street, itself.  I’m not sure what exactly it is about the Journal’s conclusions that has Marshall’s knickers in a twist, but one of the passages that jumped out at me lead me to believe that the article’s writer is completely full of hooey.  Rather than eschew a close working Wall Street relationship as Monica Langley claims, it seems to me that Barack Obama was bought, paid for and hand-delivered to the White House courtesy of the banksters he now serves.  Though Ms. Langley spends a lot of ink chronicling the many instances where Obacolytes paid lip service to being critical of the “dirty bankers” that financed his campaign and advised his every move during his presidential run, she ignores the obvious fact that he’s been dirty banker pocket lint all along.  Here’s the part that leapt off my page: Continue reading

Obama Defines Obama

saint_obama1“Ich bein ein New Democrat.”  “I am a New Democrat.”  That’s what President Black Obama said at a meeting of New Democrats.  Of course, unlike John Kennedy in Berlin, he didn’t say it in German, though, had he been at a gathering of chicken dippers, he probably would have amended his declaration to profess his unambiguous affiliation with…chicken dippers, whatever they are.  Thus, the self-proclaimed “blank screen” that is the Obamessiah assumes a Paulian characterization for himself.  From the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 9:20-22:

20And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

21To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Politico reports the surprising declaration with the appropriate sense of awe it deserves, given the Artful Dodger’s previous reluctance to be as labeled, be it as liberal, Socialist, centrist, whatever:

President Barack Obama firmly resists ideological labels, but at the end of a private meeting with a group of moderate Democrats Tuesday afternoon he offered a statement of solidarity.

“I am a New Democrat,” he told the New Democrat Coalition, according to two sources at the White House session.

Continue reading

Pin The Tail On Obama

obama-socialistAmidst the sturm und drang that is the nascent Obama administration, pundits, analysts, talking heads, blogger boyz and other professional bullshitters are running amok, racing each other to see who can be first to bang his/her head into a brick wall trying to figure out just where the Spokesmodel-in-Chief is coming from, and exactly where he might think he’s going.  Needless to say, none of them seem to have a freaking clue.  Is he too tired, over his head, fiendishly Machiavellian, liberal, centrist, Socialist, Marxist, fascist, or, just,  as Mickey Mouse allegedly said to the divorce court judge about Minnie, fucking Goofy?

The New York Times, in an interview aboard Air Force One, tried valiantly to pin the Teflon TelePrompTer Reader down about his overall philosophy of governance, to little avail:

Q. The first six weeks have given people a glimpse of your spending priorities. Are you a socialist as some people have suggested?

A. You know, let’s take a look at the budget – the answer would be no.

Q. Is there anything wrong with saying yes?

Obama then goes on to give a classic 4-paragraph, professorial ObAnswer that didn’t come anywhere near to answering the question.

Q. So to people who suggested that you are more liberal than you suggested on the campaign, you say, what?

A. I think it would be hard to argue, Jeff. We have delivered on every promise that we’ve made so far. We said that we would end the war in Iraq and we’ve put forward a responsible plan.

Q. In terms of spending.

Obama then goes on to give a classic 3-paragraph, professorial ObAnswer that didn’t come anywhere near to answering the question.  Which of course, prompted the interviewer to again ask the president if he was a Socialist:

Q. Is there one word name for your philosophy? If you’re not a socialist, are you a liberal? Are you progressive? One word?

A. No, I’m not going to engage in that.

No wonder the pundits, analysts, talking heads, blogger boyz and other professional bullshitters are all having such a hard time sussing out where he’s coming from; they’re using yardsticks to measure water temperature.  The only logical answer to the “where’s this guy coming from?” question is, “someplace only he knows.”  He fits no known description, he is an Obacanacratist.  He fully intends to “change” the “old ways of Washington,” just like he always said he would.  What I can’t understand is why so many people find something so obvious, so hard to comprehend.

Until everybody, on both sides of the aisle, and down the middle, wraps their heads around the fact that he’s not a Democrat or Republican, Socialist, Marxist, or any other -can,” “-crat,” or “-ist” you can think of, they’ll never be able to answer the only pertinent question, which is not, “what’s he up to?” but, “are we going to let him get away with it?”

Cross posted @ Cinie’s World

Presidentin’ Is Hard

20obama1480Though I make no claims of being a financial wizard, or a political maven, even I can see that all is not right on Wall Street, D.C. where the heart and soul of our country is on life support, currently being administered to by second graders who want to be doctors when they grow up.  And, I’m sophisticated enough to recognize that a lot of what I read about our dire national situation is presented in the media by people representing the political party so far out of favor they have to look to bloviating blowhards for advice, or worse, can be made to appear to need to do so.  I get that.  However, in spite of all that, the forces pretending to represent the white-hatted good guys in this classic Adventures in Administration movie, armed with their heralded sky-high approval ratings for their poor man’s Dark Gable leading man, simply can’t mount enough of a stampede to disguise the fact that the dustcloud that follows them like Charlie Brown’s pal Pigpen’s is not the result of riding hard and strong over the dusty trail, but merely the wispy smoke trails from their “throw ’em off the path,” hastily built, diversionary cookfire.  In other words, they got nothing.

Stalwart bastion of the Obamedia protection service, Salon Magazine, has an article by former Clinton labor secretary and Obacolyte, Robert Reich, in which he pitifully attempts to pooh-pooh rightwing claims that the Obamessiah himself is responsible for our economic woes by trying to lay them at the feet of the finger-pointers:

When it turns out that people like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, who took home $68 million in 1997, was the only Wall Streeter in a meeting last September at the New York Federal Reserve to discuss the initial AIG bailout with Tim Geithner, then New York Fed chair, among others, at the very time Goldman was AIG’s largest trading partner, a distinct scent of self-dealing begins to emanate. When it turns out that Citigroup got a bailout deal last October far more generous than that given to any other distressed bank, when a top Citi executive was advising the Treasury and Fed, the scent increases. Goldman’s past CEO was treasury secretary at that time, by the way, and another former Goldman CEO was a top Citi official and also a former treasury secretary. I am not suggesting anything so crude as corruption. But could it be, given these tangled webs, that — innocently, unintentionally, perhaps even subconsciously — the entire bailout effort was premised on saving these companies rather than protecting the public? Or that the distinction between the two was lost, and still is?

Yet, Reich gleefully and disingenuously, ignores the fact that the people he’s defending his ObaMaster against are the people who funded his campaign.  Not only that, the central figure in Reich’s little morality play, Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner, tax cheat, (TTTG,tc)  has a family history of sorts with Barry Sutoro, and is currently employed as the Blameless One’s lapdog and whipping boy.  To point out that he may have colluded with the banksters against the public in ripping off the country on the other team’s watch is…well…stupid.

Why would anyone purporting to defend the Obama administration draw attention to the man quickly becoming the public face of its incompetence?  Especially when the author can’t even make it through to the end of his own piece without acknowledging at least some of the complicity of the Obama Drama Troupe?

The Wall Street and Republican media attack machine doesn’t know exactly what to make of this. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, along with CNBC, alternates between attacking Obama for bailing out Wall Street and excusing Wall Street’s excesses. But then again, Obama doesn’t seem to know exactly what to make of it either. He seems to vacillate as well — one moment scorning Wall Street, the next moment justifying further bailouts. I do hope he takes a firmer hand, drawing a clearer distinction and making a clearer connection between clearing up these financial balance sheets and helping average people. Otherwise, the next populist uprising will be born in this moneyed quagmire. It is here — within the muck that was created by AIG, Citigroup, Fannie and Freddie, other giant financial institutions, now in combination with the U.S. Treasury and Fed — that the public is most confused, bears its most serious scars, and is potentially most burdened in future years, by decisions still made in secret.

Continue reading

A Generated Crisis

84660752WM031_PRESIDENT_OBA“Gird your loins,” Biden told the crowd. “We’re gonna win with your help, God willing, we’re gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It’s like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than – think about it, literally, think about it – this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy.” – Joe Biden, October 20, 2008

When now vice-president, then Senator Jo(k)e Biden (D-Mastercard) made his less than cryptic remarks about the possible scenarios facing his running mate should he be elected, his comments were largely passed off as yetjoe_biden1 another, “Oh, Uncle Joe’s found the brandy, again” moment and not really given the scrutiny they deserved.  However, in light of ensuing developments, perhaps we should take a closer look at Jo(k)e’s “off-the-cuff” campaign rhetoric.

The first part of Biden’s “mark my words” statement was generally seen to be in reference to foreign policy:

“Mark my words,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

“I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate,” Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. “And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

However, everything after “gird your loins” was clearly economic in nature.  Could a “generated economic crisis” have been what he was talking about all along?  The events I explored in an earlier post, “Inside The Wall Street Whisper Campaign” could certainly add kerosene-type fuel to the bottled acetylene torch Molotov cocktail of that kind of speculation.  The possibility that Obama’s scripted response to the global economic crisis we now face represents the validity of Biden’s now-prescient warning, and indicates that the first few weeks of their joint administration are rather smoothly proceeding according to plan, somehow doesn’t seem as far-fetched to me as one might reasonably expect.

Watching and reading the initially gushing, yet, now more tempered, media reviews of President Black Obama’s not really a State of the Union speech that they keep calling a State of the Union speech even though it was really just a Getting to Know You speech to the joint Congress that he’s supposedly been working with since he’s been president to pass the historic legislation he read to them about from a TelePrompTer, I get the feeling the rest of the country and I, or, in ObaSpeak, me and everybody else, are living in parallel universes.

It was a speech.

Period.

Not even a particularly well delivered one, either, and I don’t care how many people try to tell me otherwise.  Barack Obama is just not a dazzlingly brilliant speaker.  In fact, as I’ve said before, he’s not even that good.  His head-swiveling, squinty-eyed, nose-in-the-air, stumbling, boy-stood-on-the-burning-deck delivery is not only annoying, if it passes for anything more than mediocre, that only shows just how far we, as a nation have lowered our intellectual standards and expectations.  Frankly, the man sucks.

That’s why listening to “bubble-headed bleach blondes” and their multi-hued comrades in arms on what passes for “news” wax idiotic through endless cycles about not only the new President’s oratorical skill, but his verbal healing powers, is in itself, a Herculean exercise in restraint.  To listen to them tell it, merely forming words aloud imbues him with abilities, strengths and unlimited gifts not just far beyond those of mortal men, but those of a leader begotten of a beneficent God.

Forget “laying hands,” “open mouth” cure cancer.  “Clear debt.”  Debt, be gone.  It is spoken, so it is done. Whooosh!  I know I feel better.

Not.

If I remember correctly, on Monday, the world sucked.  Our banks were broke and only going through the motions of normal functioning.  They were on life support, even though they had already been pronounced dead.  Their rotting corpses were infecting global markets, and we were facing the end of the world as we know it.  Then, yesterday, Obie made a speech.  Now, all is right with the world, the sun has come out, the sky has opened up, a light is shining…you get the idea.  No wonder Oblahblah has such reverence for “just words.”

After forcing myself to read the transcript of this miraculous speech that I couldn’t sit through to its conclusion, due to the fact that, between the constant  jumping up and down of the elderly in the audience, cruelly insisted upon by the ObaTurfers insistent upon making “good TV,” and the excruciating drone of the vapid Spokesmodel-in-Chief, I was not only having trouble keeping my dinner down, I was getting dizzy and genuinely afraid for my mental health when I realized something.  This “outside looking in” feeling I have, while at the same time being “in it, but not of it,” is akin to being the only one at a Creeple People on Mars Meet the Three Stooges cartoon movie marathon who was sitting outside on the porch when the bong went around.  Under those circumstances, folks get pissed off at people who point out how stupid the whole situation, including the movie, is, too.  And, they tend to get downright nasty if you refuse the bong that would bring you their level of “clarity” and “enjoyment” the next time around.  They never even seem to appreciate it when you point out that your leaving the room doesn’t make the movie any better.

I’m sorry, but there’s not enough KoolAid flavored Boone’s Farm and hopium smoking in the world to make me believe that “just words” can solve a “generated crisis” of “cleaning the Augean stables” proportions overnight.  Unless the “generated crisis” itself was only “just words” from the beginning, the Creeple People are still on Mars this morning, and we all need a deep bong hit to make it funny.

Fraudulently generated cheerleading of an inartfully articulated bogus rah-rah response to a possibly “generated crisis” so at odds with reality, is what we’ve been trained by the media and the Obama administration to expect and accept as sufficient.

And that’s a truly frightening wonder to behold.

We may not “be quitters,” but Obama and Co. should really cut it out.

*NOTE: I got the Biden (D-Mastercard) idea thing from Chicago Tribune’s John Kass.  He does that kinda thing alla time.