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      Terrible things are happening all time. Right now, as you read it, people are suffering in monstrous, awful ways. Many, many people. That’s how it is. That’s how it has always been, and as long as there is life of the type there is on Earth, that’s the way it will be. Human and many animal bodies are built for pain and suffering, and not only are we often as […]
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Eric Massa

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck, Eric.  We’ll miss you.

Thursday: We are so screwed

Remember this from the convention last year?  The scripted dog and pony show that Obama’s and Nancy’s people put together to deprive voters of their right to self determination?  Nancy gets a role at the end when she gives biggest FU to Hillary and liberal voters who might have objected.

Do I blame Nancy Pelosi for the stimulus package problems?  Um, yeah.  I kinda do.  Last primary season, Obama was her guy.  She was even committed to scuttle Hillary as his VP pick because she was concerned that *her* baggage would make *him* unelectable.  Now, the party is coming apart at the seams.  She’s got Blue Dogs lead by Steny Hoyer on her right complaining that they didn’t get enough bi-partisan input into the stimulus bill.  WTF?  I’m sorry, but did you ever heard of such a thing when REPUBLICANS were in charge?  Republicans would never have thrown a temper tantrum because their Democratic colleagues didn’t get a chance to monkeywrench a bill.

But Nancy’s biggest sin was in not standing up to the Wall Street Boyz last year during the election season.  The money pouring into Obama’s coffers must have looked like Niagra Falls.  An awesome, gobstopping sight.  With all that cash and the fellating media, it must have seemed like she could rule the world!  Finally, a weak executive, completely beholden to her.  All she had to do was suspend every single principle she had in order to get him elected.  So what if it split the party right down the middle and the real winner “lost”?  The upcoming economic crisis would unite us all.

Then, her protege takes office and turns out to be just another fricking Blue Dog.  Nope, didn’t see that comin’.  Maybe she thought all that post-partisan shtick was just campaign rhetoric.  But not only is he not listening to what she’s telling him, he may be actively undermining her.  Well, what did Nancy expect after one of the most misogynistic campaigns in history?  He’s going to suddenly be Mr. Feminism?  Whoops!  Only the braindead editors at Ms. think that.

Barry has been contacting the Blue Dogs and telling them to resist Nancy.  Oh, sure, they’re backing off of that claim now.  (Obama is busily putting out fires of his own.)  But the story has legs.  PBO has to help his friends, the bankers, and he needs the Blue Dogs to add critical mass to the Republicans to get it done.  On top of his scheming with the Dogs, he appointed Sen. Judd Gregg to head up Commerce after Richardson bowed out.  Now, why the heck would you appoint a Republican, dedicated to privatizing Social Security, to a position of power where he might actually get to accomplish dismantling the ark of the covenant of the Democratic party?  Wasn’t it enough that the bankers spent our 401K’s and ruined the economy?  Must they get their greedy little hands on our social safety net insurance policy too?

But, wait!  There’s more.

Paul Krugman says we’re headed for a deflation trap.As my tiny, pea brain sciency mind understands economics, I think this means:

1.) A bubble bursts.  Lots of people lose money.
2.) There is a lot of inventory in the general economy but no one is buying anything.
3.) Companies lower prices to sell off inventory.
4.) Lower prices lead to less money coming in to the company.
5.) Companies with less money can’t retain staff, forcing them to lay off.
6.) Laid-off workers have less money to spend.
7.) No one is buying anything or making anything.  Very little economic growth going on.

Social Security was created in part to combat the deflationary cycle.  It gave money to seniors who lost their money and pensions in the crash and subsequent Depression.  Elderly people were living on charity and at the poorhouse.  They had no money to spend to stimulate much of anything.  Social Security got money into the hands of seniors and back into the economy.  I think it had that Keynesian multiplier effect that Dakinikat talks about.  And David Broder is creaming his jeans that Gregg is going to be in charge of “reforming” it.  Joy!

Where’s the plan?  Why is this most eloquent, most intelligent, bestest judgement in the whole world president so slow to get his act together?  This is a crisis of monumental proportions and the fixit bill he is proposing has no unifying theme.  It’s a total compromise with Republicans and the banking industry, getting away with murder once again, while we get stuck with the bill.  And now the media is in jumping back into bed with the Republicans to make it seem like a tax break here and there for the least among us is a sign of moral weakness.

Here’s where Nancy Pelosi could use a united party behind her.  Of course, it would be better if the party actually stuck to its principles and crafted a bill with heart, soul and a goal.  But here we are looking at a turkey.  It’s a patched up wreck mashed together by a guy who thought that Democratic stuff was negotiable.  We’re not going to help him pass this thing if it doesn’t represent the Reality Based Community.

As Krugman said the other day, there is no middle ground.  Either there are steps that must be followed that will get us out of this mess or we might as well cave to Republicans.  How sad is it that with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate we can’t act like the good guys?

Who is to blame if not the Speaker?

She let the wolves in sheep’s clothing into the fold.  She *forced* more than half of her own party to capitulate to the lesser half in the name of “Unity”.  She allowed the party’s foundations to be eroded by Obama’s “post partisan” propaganda.  This is the result.

Elections have consequences.