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      Saying that humanity is currently the best off it has ever been (a dubious proposition in any case) is like saying “I’ve never been warmer” as you burn down your house. People like Pinker have been trotting out stats to claim that we’ve never been better off. Those stats are questionable, based on a definition […]
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More Naomi Klein please

Check out this video of the panel discussion of the Occupy Movement at The New School from last Thursday night. Naomi Klein is brilliant again.   She is soooo good and so articulate.  She explains things so clearly you just automatically understand them.

And then there’s Michael Moore.

What can I say?  I’m sure he means well and his movies are pretty good.  I especially liked Fahrenheit 9-11.  But it seems like anytime there is an incipient “movement”, he’s right there, grabbing the spotlight.  And he’s as fickle as a magpie, attracted to one shiny object after another.  Like glomming onto Barack Obama and assuming that those of us who were old enough and wise enough to not “tolerate this crap”, ie Obama’s crap, are bitter white people who are Tea Partiers.  He’s just wrong about that.  Those of us who are Democrats in Exile are not antagonistic towards Occupy Wall Street.  We were just early- by three years.  Yes, while Moore was mooning over Obama and basking in Obama’s reflected shininess, we saw how his campaign threw working people under the bus.  The reason it took younger people longer to get to our point is that Obama sucked up to them in 2008.  They were naive and idealistic and blessed.  The rest of us were told in no uncertain terms that we were irrelevant and unwanted.  We were the canaries in the coalmine.  If Moore had really been paying attention to the way the voices of working people were ignored in 2008, he would have seen the future of the Obama administration.  He didn’t.

Anyways, I know he’s a good guy but enough, Michael.  Naomi is the spirit of the movement.

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Racism and Deadlines

So, the Obama whips are trying to get us back into line, supporting Obama for re-election next year.  Why else would we be treated to timely reminders of what racists we are?  It’s a strange phenomenon but I never think about Obama’s race until he or one of his lackeys brings it up and shoves it in my face again.  He is, according to them, as spotless and competent or incompetant as any other Democrat.  Like Clinton.  {{eyes rolling}}  (Joseph Cannon has a nice post on this as well).

Can I just dispel some myths and legends about Clinton because I witnessed it, having been old enough (and born) to vote for him in 1992?

When I voted for him, I thought he was a moderate liberal.  One thing was for damn sure, he was nowhere near as conservative as his Republican opponent.  Nosiree.  Plus, I really liked his wife.  She was smart and didn’t mind sticking up for working women even when the traditional women got on her case.

Anyway, what I remember about Clinton’s terms in office, more than any other thing that happened during those eight years, was the relentlessly negative coverage he got from the media and the endless investigations instigated by Republican troublemakers.  It started before he took office and it didn’t end even after his moving van was chased away from the White House by screeching hordes hellbent on denying the Clintons even one piece of personal china from their friends and supporters.  They were even accused of swiping the “W’s” off the keyboards.

Even the Supreme Court didn’t see the harm in letting him and his wife be subject to crazy, speculative lawsuits.  He’d just have to deal with them.  He did.  But that doesn’t mean his performance in office didn’t suffer.  I think it did.  He had to shelve a lot of things he wanted to do.  DADT was a compromise solution.  So was DOMA.  Without that middle ground, there was a good possibility that some very negative homophobic amendments would have been passed.  Lani Guinier didn’t have a chance.  His attorney general picks were harassed for having nanny problems (but Tim Geithner suffered no punishment for not paying his taxes.  *He* was confirmed anyway for an infraction that would have gotten him fired if he had been an IRS agent).  Even his military strategies were called into question.  Remember the accusations of “Wag the Dog” when he bombed bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998?  His Republican detractors were convinced that he did it because he wanted to take everyone’s mind off Monica Lewinsky, not because bin Laden was a dangerous terrorist who had bombed two American embassies in Africa and a US Naval vessel.

Then there’s the stuff that progressives say they hate him for, like NAFTA.  If there was a free trade agreement that ever had a reason for being, it might be NAFTA.  We do a lot of business with Canada and Mexico.  NAFTA had the promise of eliminating a lot of bureaucracy, saving everyone a lot of time and money.  You know, smaller government is not such a bad thing when it’s done well.  The problem is that Republicans would not enforce labor standards.  Maybe Clinton should have abandoned it at that point.  But NAFTA is not the most significant thing plaguing the employment market right now.  I am not competing for a job against some dude in Guadalajara.  My competition is in Western Europe and Asia.  Europe because they actually protected their scientific infrastructure and Asia because there is a lot of cheap labor there.  Unions are key to both situations.  I will leave it to the political braintrusts to figure that out.

As for Welfare Reform?  I was all for it.  I think reducing generational poverty is a laudable endeavor and am genuinely surprised that other liberals aren’t in favor of it too.  It is much better to have a job than to have a measly government check that keeps you poor.  I supported programs that trained people, especially young mothers, to get decent jobs and education.  The more we educate women and get them to support themselves, the fewer children they will have and the better the quality of life for the children they do have.  (Well, that was the theory until Obama came along and bought into deficit reduction, but I digress) As I remember it, Clinton’s team wanted to support parents with child care subsidies and housing vouchers and additional Head Start while they were transitioning to a work environment.  And Republicans, as is their wont, were agin it.  I fail to see how asking people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps but denying them boots was actually going to work but our media punditry seem to remove the obligation to make sense from Republican proposals.  The Republicans passed a draconian welfare reform act which Clinton mitigated later.

The area where I think Clinton failed was in the regulation of derivatives and allowing the dismantling of the Glass-Steagal Act by Gramm-Bliley.  Brookesly Born was the legendary regulator who opposed Larry Summers about the regulation of derivatives.  She was right, they were wrong.  Some of the guys who were Clinton appointees who joined with Summers to gang up on Born, now regret that they didn’t take her advice because she was absolutely right.  But note which candidate appointed Summers to his economics team.  That’s right, Barack Obama.  Gramm-Bliley was another matter.  We can’t leave Clinton totally off the hook but I think that he counted on Gore to win in 2000 and keep an eye on how that was going.  So, yeah, Clinton had a hand in this, probably by appointing Robert Rubin and letting the finance industry have a little too much freedom.  That was regrettable.  But the bulk of the responsibility for what happened in 2008 is George Bush’s.  There were plenty of warning signs in 2006 that the markets were going seriously off the rails and his regulators were either complicit or incompetent.  And then Paulson and Geithner failed to prevent the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  That was the disaster that triggered all the rest.  And who does Obama appoint as his Treasury Secretary? Tim Geithner.

The biggest differences that I can see between the Clinton years and the Obama years is that when the Republicans amped up the crazy starting in 1992, no one had ever seen anything like it before.  It wasn’t like Watergate when Nixon really did something criminal and both parties took him out.  No, this was a political media Dresden that seemed determined to wipe Clinton off the map.  He and Hillary didn’t always navigate the firestorm very well.  They were the first that had to go through it.  No other president in my lifetime has had every crevice of their personal and political lives examined in such humiliating detail.  And what did the millions of dollars of investigations turn up?  A blow job.  That was it.  It wasn’t even “paradise by the dashboard light” homerun intercourse.  Other than that, they were clean.  I doubt that any other political family in Washington could have come out of that looking like the dedicated public servants they turned out to be.

But they learned while they were in office what the limits were to what they could accomplish of their agenda.  And, by golly, they got a lot done.  The Republicans were constantly thwarted in what they wanted to do.  Progressives call it “triangulation”; I call it “pol-i-tics”. Gingrich shut down government and got in big trouble for it.  Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy against the Republicans wishes.  They tried to impeach Clinton and the public supported him anyway.  They wanted to pass an amendment to the constitution defining marriage only between a man and a woman and all they got was DOMA.  With another, less experienced, less apt student in the Oval Office, the Republicans would have gotten away with murder.

When Hillary ran in 2008, she was an even quicker learner than Bill.  She took the media on and beat it.  It wasn’t Fox News that took Hillary down.  It was her own party.

And now we are asked to support the guy who “beat” her in the primary.  A guy who runs a sexist White House.  A guy who CEO’s on Wall Street say is even more right of center than they thought.  A guy who was a deficit hawk during a recession.  A guy who didn’t think there was anything he could or wanted to do about unemployment.  A guy who is disgracefully allowing the dismantling of the US R&D industry without lifting a finger to help.  A guy who gave Bankers a pass.  A guy who crafted one of the most inept forms of healthcare insurance reform imaginable that will do absolutely nothing to lower costs but passes almost all of them onto the backs of already stretched consumers.  A guy who hurt struggling homeowners with HAMP.  A guy who gave away the store to Republicans when they took the US and global economies hostage by vowing not to raise the debt ceiling until they got what they wanted.  A guy who wants to make a Grand Bargain with Social Security and Medicare, virtually all that anyone my age will have left after we’ve lost everything else due to prolonged bouts of unnecessary unemployment.  And it’s not like Barack Obama is facing an economic situation that the entire world’s economists and history had no prior knowledge of.  There’s plenty of examples out there that demonstrate exactly what needs to be done from The Great Depression to the bad example of the Japanese lost decade to the Swedish crisis.  He’s supposed to be brilliant.  All he needs to do to put the economy back on track is to support policies that are known to have helped in the past.  But he won’t do them.  Why???

In short, the Obama loyalists say we have nothing to complain about.  The only reason we don’t want Obama is because we are racists.  It’s all in the color of his skin.  If not for that, we would be content with our dwindling middle class lives and diminished expectations.  We would gladly endure the beatings if we could just get over the fact that he is a few shades too dark because the Democratic party says that it has no one else who is more representative of its values or more competent in execution than Barack Obama.

And what would be the point of making your base feel like they have some reason to feel guilty and that the Clintons were not all they were cracked up to be?

I have no idea but somewhere yesterday I read that the deadline for filing for the upcoming primaries is fast approaching.  It’s the end of October.  If I didn’t know better, I think we saw the Democrats blink.  After all, they have been telling us for months now that it is a fantasy and crazy for us to believe that there will be a primary challenge to Obama in 2012.  Even Hillary has sought to dispel the notion that she will take him on.  So, if that’s the case, why the over the top denialism of the Clinton years and the persistent accusations of racism?  I mean, if she has already said she’s not taking him on and there’s no one else to challenge him, what’s the problem?  It sounds like Obama lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Unless the base is getting restless and the deadline isn’t coming soon enough…

Tea Party Thoughts

I didn’t pay much attention to the buildup to the “Tea Parties” that were held on April 15, and I didn’t follow any of the coverage of these events after they happened. I had gotten the impression that the “tea parties were a right wing phenomenon focused on high taxes. Since I actually would like to see higher taxes for the super-rich and corporations, I didn’t think I would fit in. It turns out the “Tea Parties” were also about other issues, like protesting the bank bailouts that most Americans, including myself, didn’t want. Apparently, the “tea parties” were heavily promoted by Fox News Channel as well as former U.S. Representatives Newt Gingrich and Dick Army.

I also thought it was interesting that so-called “progressive” bloggers like Jane Hamsher and Mike Lux along with professional organizers Joe Trippi and Zephr Teachout organized a protest on April 11 called “A New Way Forward.” Please note that the rallies were heavily promoted by William Greider and The Nation magazine. Greider even appeared on The Bill Moyers show to promote the “movement.” Here is a report on the Washington DC “a new way forward” demonstration, attended by Jane Hamsher. The video has a Republican bias, so tune that out if it bothers you.

Our own Riverdaughter attended the “new way forward” rally in New York City, and reported that it was a little small and disappointing, although she did meet two very nice young people there named Zach and Alana.
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Wednesday: Whoa! I didn’t see *that* coming.

Wishful thinking...

Wishful thinking...

William Greider opens his column in The Nation entitled Past and Future with this realization:

A year ago, when Barack Obama said it was time to turn the page, his campaign declaration seemed to promise a fresh start for Washington. I, for one, failed to foresee Obama would turn the page backward. The president-elect’s lineup for key governing positions has opted for continuity, not change. Virtually all of his leading appointments are restoring the Clinton presidency, only without Mr. Bill. In some important ways, Obama’s selections seem designed to sustain the failing policies of George W. Bush

This is not the last word and things are changing rapidly. But Obama’s choices have begun to define him. His victory, it appears, was a triumph for the cautious center-right politics that has described the Democratic party for several decades. Those of us who expected more were duped, not so much by Obama but by our own wishful thinking.

HELLO?!? The $600,000,000 campaign fund didn’t smack you hard enough?  Mr. Greider goes on to lament that appointing Tim Greithner as Treasury Secretary may not be sending a strong enough message to Wall Street as Greithner has been a weak regulator of the firms in the past.

{{sigh}}

What did these people see in Obama?  I swear they never looked past his skin color.  That was the magic bullet.  Everything was going to Change! because this smooth, polished Harvard educated lawyer was going to secretly govern like Jesse Jackson?

When I saw all of the presidential candidates in August 2007, with the exception of Biden, the one I was least impressed with was Obama.  He sat on the stage during the forum and looked positively bored.  He didn’t say anything novel or interesting or inspiring.  He wasn’t controversial or witty.  He was like matter: he had mass and took up space and that was just about it.  How so many people took that flavorless tofu of a man and constructed a light filled being empowered by magical beans to turn the country into a land of liberal warm fuzzies is testament to the creativity that brought America to the edge of financial collapse.  If it is possible to turn Barack Obama into a wunder pres, just think how quickly we will be able to solve the energy crisis!  Global warming?  Imagine it away.

Mr. Greider should remember how the Bush era began.  It was by outright thievery.  The election was stolen from Al Gore by the brotherly love of the Governor of Florida, Brooks Brothers Riot and the media Haka that prepared the public for Gore’s eventual defeat at the hands of a politicized Supreme Court.  It should come as no surprise that the Bush era is ending with thievery on a scale that Atilla the Hun would envy.  And this year, we have another politician who made deals with the power elite to jump ahead of the queue.  But in this case, the feat was accomplished by not just screwing over half of his base.  That wasn’t enough.  No, this time, the party itself decided to give us a teachable moment on race relations.  Obama was shoved down our throats for our own good.  THEY knew better than US.   Expect Obama’s style of governing to be remarkably similar.  When the recession finally hits and tough choices have to be made, do not expect that you will be spared, Mr. Greider.  Obama knows what’s best for you, even if you have to suffer.  It will build your character.  It has been decided for you.  Your vote and opinion will not be needed now, just like it wasn’t needed in the primary.  And it is all entirely predictable.

Nothing good ever comes of a bad seed.

Saturday: Riverdaughter to the Media

Dear Media,

It’s been awhile. I don’t watch you guys anymore and I’ve advised many of my readers to abstain as well, although, I am aware of more than a few backsliders (Pat Johnson, I’m talking to you). We know what you’re up to and we’re not paying any attention to you anymore. We are listening to our consciences. And our consciences have a message for you: This nomination process is bigger than one person.

Hillary Clinton is our champion because she is the strongest ally of the American people. We 18,000,000 who voted for her represent a diverse population of both old and young, working class and professional, college educated and educated by life, black, white, latino, gay and straight. We are everyman. We voted for her in decisive numbers in virtually every big D state and swing state and with our votes, she whupped Obama’s @$$ in West Virginia and Kentucky long after you called the race for her opponent. Now, after you slavishly reported his every bowel movement during his European Grand Tour, we see that he is sinking in the polls.

Buy a clue, media, we don’t want Obama. After two months of fawning attention, he is slipping behind because time is his enemy. It gives the American people an opportunity to see him as nothing more than a posturing empty suit, a schmoozer of the nth degree and an opportunist who will turn his back on the people who got him this far. Witness the pathetic letter in The Nation written by the latest group he has screwed over– affluent and pretentious liberals. Hey, they had it coming to them. We tried to warn them but they purged us from their blogs when we started harshing their Obama mellow earlier this year.

But enough about the Kool-Aid drinkers who want their virginity back. I’m talking to the media here and there are some things you guys ought to know:

  • We know that the media is not our friend. You gave us the Iraq War and two terms of Bush. Frankly, nothing you say has any credibility anymore.
  • We are grateful that McCain is coming down on Obama’s @$$ over the race card. This is not “nasty” or “negative” politics. None of us wanted to be called racists, especially when our decisions were not motivated by race. It is a personal insult. I’m going to continue to use words like arrogant, cocky, snippy and schmoozer because they describe Obama perfectly. No one is going to get me to shut up and run over me because they choose to use race as a weapon. Believe me when I tell you that if Obama continues to go this route and he is nominated in spite of our best efforts, he will suffer a landslide defeat in November. Voters will get even in the voting booth. No one can insult us like that and get away with it.
  • About that nomination, you probably don’t pay attention to such things but the states that will win the Democrat the White House in November, specifically, MI, FL, NY, NJ, CA, MA, AZ, TX, PA, OH, and several others, spent mega- millions of dollars holding primaries that you in the media scoffed at after the RBC Hearing result in May. We believe that the vote was rigged and that Fl and MI were withheld in order to deprive our states of the critical mass of delegates that Hillary needed to win. We believe that Obama stole votes from her in MI and as a result, STOLE the primary. It has been clear to some of us since the day after Feb. 5, that the DNC has used all of its efforts to prevent Hillary from winning. And if that is true, then the party has committed fraud on its voters and their state treasuries by conducting sham primaries it knew would never count. Under these circumstances, the party can never be united.

Now, you can continue to push Obama down our throats 24/7 and you can continue to publish and propagate falsehoods about whether Hillary wants her name in nomination. But it makes no difference to US what you say. This convention and nomination is about OUR right to be heard. It is our right to settle the score with the DNC, who thought we would just fall into line while they try to make us irrelevent. Well, we’re not going to do that.

It doesn’t matter what you say or broadcast or publish or spin. There are 18 million of us out here who don’t have to listen to that anymore. We can just ay NO DEAL. You can castigate us and call us names (like, what’s left in the arsenal? Pedophiles? Vampires?) or put us on mute in the news. We will still say NO DEAL. David Axelrod can make us the hot new paraiahs and make us the target of insults and violence. But we don’t need to even identify ourselves. 18 million voters blend into the general population remarkably well. All we need to do is say NO DEAL.

The DNC knows we’re out here. They’re starting to get nervous. They’re starting to use you to plant misinformation and demoralize us. But we see right through this and not only are we not demoralized, we are actually kinda psyched about it. They are getting worried. Good.

Our movement is viral and growing. We ask for one thing: That Hillary’s name be submitted for nomination at the convention in order to honor all of the voters, the hard working American men and women, the states that paid for the primaries and the Democratic process. We intend to continue to hold the DNC’s feet to the fire until we get her name in nomination in a fair, open and authentic process in Denver.

In the whole scheme of things, the media is just getting in the way.

Sincerely,

Riverdaughter

Message to Hillary Delegates: Do your duty.