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Friday, December 17, 2010

Social Security, the beginning of the end.

Through the cowardice of the Democrats in the House and Senate and the cowardice and indifference of the President the destruction of Social Security has finally begun.

I would like to publicly apologize for voting for Barach Obama, the Democratic President that helped to destroy Social Security by defunding it! This has long been the Republican's preferred mechanism to destroy Social Security. They must find it entertaining that it was a so-called Democratic President that has begun the process.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

What a hoot!

This really falls into the "If it wasn't so sad it would be funny" category! From a blog caled "p m carpenter's commentary".
Welcome to 1948

Here we go again, and here we'll remain, I suppose, until President Obama's friendly detractors and nasty allies see the White House's white-flag strategy unfurled in radiant, fighting colors -- the here, this morning, once again surging in Frank Rich's always excellent writing and momentarily mistaken analysis. (OK, so I'm beginning to feel like a besieged evangelist; Lord, I sure hope I'm right).

Observes Rich, Obama is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and "The captors will win this [tax-cut] battle ... because Obama has seemingly surrendered his once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think."

A peculiar criticism, I'd say, since what could be more decisive than for Obama to rebuff his base in the midst of so much Democratic-activist discouragement and disappointment? It seems to me the easiest, partisan act for Obama to execute would be to relentlessly hammer Senate Republicans on their fiscal recklessness and dig in his heels with a veto threat.

But then what? What then when Senate Democrats inevitably capitulate to the minority-as-majority? There Obama would stand, all alone, with only two dreadful options: Admit defeat and look weaker than ever, or single-handedly outlaw tax cuts for millions of middle-class Americans and do horrifying harm to an already crippled economy. Not a pretty vision.

"[T]he real problem," continues Rich, "is that he’s so indistinct no one across the entire political spectrum knows who he is. A chief executive who repeatedly presents himself as a conciliator, forever searching for the 'good side' of all adversaries and convening summits, in the end comes across as weightless, if not AWOL."

I find that a curiously blended criticism, although its inherent progressivist projection is rather graphic. It's true that ideological progressives find Obama "indistinct," and to some calculated degree he is. But what they simultaneously neglect is that it was his deliberate indistinctiveness that got him elected in the first place: Independent voters love ambiguity and rhetorical mush, with which their own mushiness can identify.

But there are limits, even for independents, who will determine 2012's outcome. Those limits, however, cannot have been reached for independent voters within only a few weeks of the "game-changing" midterms and before the new, half-Republican Congress is even sworn in. Obama knows this, in both his belly and brain, and with a monumental patience unnatural to pugilistic activists he's biding his time to strike. "In the end [he] comes across as weightless," says Rich, somehow forgetting that this is not the end.

I'll concede one point to Rich, though. President Obama is perhaps too stoically cerebral for today's hyperpolarized, bloodbath politics of adolescent tribalism and elementary regurgitation. He seems to think that speaking his mind and making his position known once, twice, three times or twenty is sufficient for the body politic's comprehension; to wit, his by-now countless and unmistakable declarations on the Bush-era tax cuts, only to hear hyperpartisans such as Frank Rich write that "No one expects Obama to imitate [New Jersey Gov.] Christie’s in-your-face, bull-in-the-china-shop shtick. But they have waited in vain for him to stand firm on what matters to him and to the country."

Obama of course did stand firm on upper-end tax cuts throughout the 2008 campaign and continued standing in like manner as president -- until, that is, it became all too obvious that success in Congress was not an option.

The timing of Obama's D-Day offensive against the recalcitrant GOP remains precarious. My initial thoughts were, for reasons explained, that he'd dismiss the tax-cut issue as his artillery-opening opportunity, but use it to assault Republicans when they then denied him a vote on New Start. Some reasonably lengthy demonstration of presidential good faith is incumbent on Obama in order to persuade independents that he's the reasonable One; and, it seems to me, on tax cuts Republicans are playing right into his carressing hand.

Yet, as I noted earlier, such timing might be aggressively premature. Obama might yet delay his assault well into 2011, and, my guess, initially over some relatively insignificant piece of legislation (for what else will we see next year?) -- a political skirmish on which he can build, more and more thunderously, more and more Trumanesquely, heading into 2012.

I found this via a post at The Daily Dish.

The reason for both posts is to complain about Frank Rich's recent column in the NY Times. Mr Rich is more than capable of defending himself so I'll let that go. What's really interesting about the post in the Daily Dish and the one quoted above is that they demonstrate how strongly some folks cling to the idea that Obama's actions are all part of a cunning plan that will be revealed in fullness of time.

The following two sentences from "Welcome to 1984" really demonstrate this point:

"I'll concede one point to Rich, though. President Obama is perhaps too stoically cerebral for today's hyperpolarized, bloodbath politics of adolescent tribalism and elementary regurgitation."

"The timing of Obama's D-Day offensive against the recalcitrant GOP remains precarious."

Obviously we, the lesser people, just can't understand that Obama's not a COWARD after all that caves before the fight begins but rather a master politician whose skills are such that that "we", the idiots that form the Democratic Party base, just can't understand or appreciate them. What a bunch of crap! How either sentence quoted above could have been written with a straight face is beyond me - obviously their author needs an enema.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fire Valerie Jarrett now!

Would somebody please tell Obama and his idiot adviser Valerie Jarrett that homosexuality isn't a "lifestyle choice"! Who would of thought that one of Jessie Helm's protoge's could get a Senior Advisor job in the Obama White House. We are so screwed! To see one of Obama's advisor's actually and really use this phrase in context go to the 4:15 mark in the video - the actual words "lifestyle choice" are spoken at approximately 4:34.

Valerie Jarrett should be fired immediately or resign and Obama needs a trip to a re-education camp.

As has been said before - anybody that thinks the LesBiGay Community will get anything out of the Obama Presidency is simply out of their minds.

Found via FireDogLake - actual article about the interview is at the Washington Post site.

UPDATE: As pointed out elsewhere in all my outrage I really can't forget that this "lifestyle statement" was made while discussing the suicide of a 15 year old child. Fire Valerie Jarrett now!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Arianna misses the point

Arianna's latest post has some good lines but sadly she makes a fundamental mistake - she assumes that Obama cares what we think even when there is no evidence he does.

While I whole heartedly agree with the following statements:
Progressives, for your own good, it's my duty to point something out to you: the president's just not that into you.
I get that the progressives, and the activists, and the young people who voted for the first time, and the disillusioned voters who returned to the polls in '08, feel slighted by the president. You thought you had a special connection with him, but it turns out he'd rather hang out with Larry Summers, flirt with Olympia Snowe, or play war games late into the night with David Petraeus. Face it: he just isn't that into you. But, in the end, it doesn't matter where the president's heart is -- it matters what he does. LBJ wasn't that into the National Voting Rights Act until Martin Luther King and the Selma march pushed him into it.

If Obama is going to do the right thing for America's middle class by sticking to his promise to start winding down (for real) the war in Afghanistan in July 2011, and by prioritizing jobs over the long-term deficit, the passion is going to have to come from outside the White House.

The thing Arianna doesn't seem to understand is that its more than "the president's just not that into you" she doesn't seem to see that we can organize, protest, scream and shout and it won't matter at all - Obama simply doesn't care what we think and isn't interested in listening to what we say. The situation is way worse than he's "just not that into" us.

Actually its harder to oppose him than it is to fight a Republican because all our normal allies are compromised - afraid to openly oppose the White House. All we have left is to snipe at him and his cave-ins to Wall Street, the Big Banks and Republicans and keep hope alive for a primary challenger in 2012.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MUST SEE – D Trip-C’s head won’t say no to Social Security cuts

This is a must see folks.

Cenk Uygur puts the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Representative Chris Van Hollen, in the “corner” on cuts to Social Security and the guy will not say he opposes cranking up the retirement age to 70. Cenk did a great job pushing him on this but he would not say he would oppose raising the retirement age to 70. All Van Hollen could mumble was something about its gonna be part of a big package and he would have to see what’s in there.

Its so obvious – the deal is done – its like the public option in Health Care Reform. Insiders in DC knew that Obama had promised it away early on in the process so it never was going to happen. It was just a matter how to tell us - the little people - that we could stuff it. They are using their classic tactic of Kabuki Theater yet again and trying to focus our attention on one issue while selling us out on another. The whole road show Obama and the DC Dems are orchestrating right now, about privatizing Social Security, is a smoke screen to cover up what they really want to do – raise the retirement age to 70. Republicans aren’t talking about this – its the Dems that are pounding the drums of privatization and its not just to scare us but also to hide reality from us. The Dems do so because its an essential part of the charade they are playing out - first they elevate the possibility of privatization then to save us from that they agree with the Republicans to raise the retirement age to 70, that's the age you must hit before you receive full Social Security benefits. Its a sick and beautiful plan - first you create a crisis and then solve it with your intended outcome - a classic example of the crisis creation/crisis management process. No doubt Rahm E. would approve - its simply a logical extension of his observation that you should never let a crisis go to waste. This time however the crisis can be shaped by its creator to promote the desired outcome. For the Republicans its yet another win-win situation - they won't have to lift a finger to get it done - the Dems will do it for them. This is what the Bankers and Wall Street want and since Obama and the Dems are their most loyal servants that's what they will get!

Sadly this is a prediction you can take to the bank!

((found via Scarecrow's post at FireDogLake))

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lawrence Lessig on the rage of Gibbs

Once again Lawrence Lessig explains some hard truths. This time he explains why the Left has issues with the Obama Administration and why the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs can just go stuff himself.

From the Huffington Post:
On the Rage of Gibbs

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has been slapped around silly by commentator after commentator, decrying his anti-Lefty rage. But as I read the battle, it seems to miss a pretty fundamental point:

It's certainly not fair to criticize Obama for not being a Lefty. He wasn't ever a Lefty. He didn't promise to be a Lefty. And there's no reason to expect that he would ever become a Lefty.

But Lefties (like me) who criticize Obama are not criticizing him for failing our Lefty test. Our criticism is that Obama is failing the Obama test: that he is not delivering the presidency that he promised.

When Candidate Obama took on Hilary Clinton, he was quite clear about what he thought about the way Washington works. And he was quite clear about why he was running for President. As he said:
[U]nless we're willing to challenge the broken system in Washington, and stop letting lobbyists use their clout to get their way, nothing else is going to change. And the reason I'm running for president is to challenge that system.
Read it again: "The reason I am running for president is to challenge that system."

Or again:
[I]f we do not change our politics -- if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works -- then the problems we've been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come.
Or again:
But let me be clear -- this isn't just about ending the failed policies of the Bush years; it's about ending the failed system in Washington that produces those policies. For far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, Washington has allowed Wall Street to use lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the system and get its way, no matter what it costs ordinary Americans.
Or again, as he asked, again and again:
Do we continue to allow lobbyists to veto our progress? Or do we finally put our national interests ahead of the special interests and address the concerns people feel over their jobs, their health care and their children's future?
Or again, as he explained:
We are up against the belief that it's OK for lobbyists to dominate our government -- that they are just part of the system in Washington. But we know that the undue influence of lobbyists is part of the problem, and this election is our chance to say that we're not going to let them stand in our way anymore.
Or perhaps put best:
We need to challenge the system... And if we're not willing to take up that fight, then real change -- change that will make a lasting difference in the lives of ordinary Americans -- will keep getting blocked by the defenders of the status quo.
Once Obama clinched the nomination, however, his rhetoric changed. And as he came to office, his focus, as a senior administration official explained, was to clean up the Executive, and leave to Congress the problem of cleaning up Congress (begging the obvious question: Does the president believe the problem with Washington is the presidency, and not Congress?)

Since coming to power, Obama has pushed just one piece of legislation that would have any effect at all on the power of lobbyists over Congress. That bill has not passed, and even if it had, it would have changed nothing in the lobbyists' power. He has not even indicated that he would support the only substantial reform of lobbyists power with support in Congress today -- the Fair Elections Now Act. Indeed, "congressional reform" doesn't even merit a mention on the "Additional Issues" page of (though "sportsmen" does).

Obama's strategy as president has not been to "change the way Washington works." Rather, he has pushed reforms in the same old way, with the same old games. As Glenn Greenwald put it, speaking of health care:
The way this bill has been shaped is the ultimate expression -- and bolstering -- of how Washington has long worked. One can find reasonable excuses for why it had to be done that way, but one cannot reasonably deny that it was.
Now I'm not sure whether it is leftist, or rightist, or centerist to govern through special interest deals. It certainly is Clintonist. It's precisely the administration that Hillary "lobbyists are people, too" Clinton promised. And were she president, and had she done exactly what Obama has done, then no one, I included, would have any reason to criticize her.

But beefed up Clintonism is not what Obama promised. He promised to "take up the fight." His failure to deliver on that critical promise -- the promise that distinguished him from his main primary rival -- or even to try, is a failure that everyone, Lefties included, should be free to complain about without suffering the rage of Gibbs.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joe Campos has his 20%

Good news - I'm hearing that Joe Campos has got 20% of the votes in yesterday's Democratic Party Pre-Primary Convention and will be on the ballot for the LT' Gov's position June 1st. He made it by the barest of margins but he made it!

Now the question is what else is going on and why haven't the election results been released? Also, still unanswered is what will Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Linda Lopez do next? At 5% of the ballots its likely that Lopez is gone but that's not news to anybody I know. Her vote with Republicans to elect Tim Jennings President Pro Tempore of the Senate and against the Democratic Party had many questioning her loyalty to the Party well before she announced her run for the Lt. Gov's position. That plus her massive support for the SunCal project and efforts to prevent any ethics reform in the State Senate gained her many enemies in the Democratic Party. In short her campaign was over before it began. Ortiz y Pino is a different issue since its likely he has enough signatures to get on the ballot but yet another shakeup in his campaign is likely if he continues to fight on.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

House Ethics Committee has no ethics

This really has to fall under the "unbelievable" category. Clearing seven member of the House from ethics charges the US House of Representatives Ethics Committee says its not a problem for a member of the House to "arrange" for an earmark for a company after the folks behind the company give a boatload of cash to that House member. Its stunning! I guess a notarized contract is required for the actions of the House member to be unethical or illegal! Appearances no longer matter in the House as this form of casual corruption must be an everyday affair.

From the Washington Post:

"Simply because a member sponsors an earmark for an entity that also happens to be a campaign contributor does not, on these two facts alone, support a claim that a member's actions are being influenced by campaign contributions," the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct said in a unanimous statement.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An open letter to fellow Democrats by Eric Griego

From a letter to fellow Democrats by Senator Eric Griego:

Dear New Mexico Democrat:

Last year’s election was a momentous occasion. Not only did we elect a Democratic president and an entire Democratic congressional delegation, but we picked up several Democratic seats in the state House and Senate. With a Democratic majority in both houses of the Legislature (27 Democrats to 15 Republicans in the Senate), and a Democratic governor, we expected to implement a state policy agenda in line with the Democratic platform.

We were wrong.

In spite of a net gain of three Democratic seats in the state Senate, and the election of progressives (some would call it the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party) to replace more centrist incumbents, not much has changed in the New Mexico Senate.

In the words of former Who lead singer Roger Daltry, “Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.”

While the state House has tackled some of these issues including ethics reform, domestic partnership and progressive tax reform, the state Senate has mostly thwarted the Democratic agenda.

For those who don’t follow legislative politics, the current Democratic leadership in the state Senate was elected by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans. Nineteen members of the Democratic caucus supported Senator Carlos Cisneros of Questa for president pro tem. The other eight voted with the 15-member Republican caucus to elect Senator Tim Jennings, a conservative Democrat from Roswell.

While Senator Jennings is a nice enough guy, his political philosophy is in stark contrast to the majority of rank and file Democrats – not to mention the state party platform.

The state Democratic Party seems to endorse the coalition. One of those eight coalition Democrats was just given the first annual Bruce King Award Public Service Award by the New Mexico Democratic Party.

Working with Republicans to stop the Democratic platform

What has been the practical effect of this coalition? No significant Democratic bills, other than repealing the death penalty, have passed the Republican/Democrat coalition-controlled Senate. They have worked with the Republican caucus to kill conservation, progressive taxation, consumer protection and equality legislation.

Most of this legislation has died in committees set up by Senate leadership to minimize the influence of progressive members and thus ensure no legislation implementing the Democratic Party platform would ever come to fruition.

In 2006, the party’s state central committee passed resolutions opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Yet, domestic partner legislation has been thwarted by Senate committees stacked with anti-equality Democrats. Despite the 9-5 ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the Senate, equality legislation has failed in committee and on the Senate floor.

In 2006 and 2008, the state central committee passed resolutions calling for repealing tax cuts for the wealthy. The state Senate leadership did not consider even one bill on the Senate floor that asked the wealthiest New Mexicans to pay their fair share. All such bills were killed in stacked committees with several “centrist” Democrats voting with Republicans to kill the bills.

In the 2010 legislative session, the majority of Democrats voted with all Republicans to kill all floor amendments that would have reduced or eliminated tax cuts for the rich. Instead, a tax on food was passed by the several Democrats in coalition with Republicans. The coalition rejected the more Democratic and balanced House budget and instead voted to cut education and other basic services instead of asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share.

In 2006, the state central committee passed a resolution to support small businesses in their competition with national firms. A bill to do just that and make out-of-state corporations pay corporate income taxes on profits made in New Mexico died in the Senate, with several Democrats, including leadership, voting against the bill.

In 2008, the state central committee passed resolutions to promote active environmental policies and renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. Yet, little if any conservation legislation has seen the light of day in the Democratic state Senate, despite the Democratic majority. Even worse, coalition Democrats voted with Republicans to remove Neri Holguin, a conservationist, from the Environmental Improvement Board.

On ethics and campaign reform, the state platform includes support for public financing of campaigns, same day registration for elections, and holding public officials accountable. Yet, the Senate Democratic leadership has not even let most bills related to ethics and campaign finance bills be heard.

Most have died in the Senate Rules Committee, which is chaired by Senator Linda Lopez – one of the eight coalition Democrats. The ones that did make it to the floor were so watered down as to be nearly irrelevant.

Time to discuss a third party?

I believe if we lose statewide and legislative elections in November, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. Despite numerous scandals of state officials, our state Senate leadership has fought most reasonable ethics or campaign reform. Over the past two years the Democratic Senate leadership has bottled up, watered down or otherwise stymied ethics and campaign finance reform bills.

We have effectively deferred to the Republican Party on ethics reform and, as a result, given them a strong issue for the 2010 cycle.

The slow drift to the right of the Democratic Party has meant we no longer stand for anything. It has given our Democratic base no reason to show up in November. If the talk of reform and change that brought in the overwhelming Democratic majorities at the federal and state levels was just that – talk – we are going to lose in November. And we should.

Maybe it is time to discuss a third party that reflects what’s actually in the state Democratic Party platform. We need a party that supports ethics reform, a fair tax system and equality for all New Mexicans. We need a party that puts the environment ahead of corporate interests. We need a party that fights for working people, not for corporate greed.

That used to be the Democratic Party. I can’t say that anymore, at least not in the New Mexico Senate.

Before I address the letter I really have to second a comment made to the post above by "new_direction_2010" - its not a good sign for progressives that Carlos Cisneros always votes against Domestic Partnerships. Doesn't seem he's that great a Dem - you really can't call him a progressive.

Re: Eric Griego's letter - the dirty little fact is that the progressives and liberals in both the State and National Democratic Party are essentially doormats and until we stop voting for anybody with a D after their name we will remain on the floor and "they" will step on "us" whenever the mood strikes them. The fact is we need a new game plan - here's one that I and a few other folks are talking about -

1) the best way to get rid of a bad Dem is to primary them and replace them if possible. Folks in the Senate like Tim Jennings, Linda Lopez, Mike Sanchez & etc immediately come to mind.

2) if that fails or isn't possible (i.e. I don't think we can find somebody to run against Tim Jennings) then we need to select a couple of the worst Dems in the House and Senate and go to the liberals and progressives in their district and really work to explain who this person is and what they are doing and then ask folks simply not to vote for them. Essentially we need to try and sacrifice their seat to the Republicans for a cycle. Sadly, we need to play hardball and these are our only two choices.

The simple fact is that the corporate interests that control the Democratic Party have bought the politicians because that's where the power is. If we split they win and we loose - we need to stay but change how the game is played. If we pull this off once everything changes. The game we are currently playing clearly doesn't work for us - I think its time we change the rules and see what happens.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shame on Bingaman and Udall

Below are the 39 cowardly Democrats in the Senate that should be ashamed of themselves for voting for the ill-advised Conrad/Gregg Budget Commission. The Republicans have been trying to destroy Social Security and Medicare for years. This budget commission was the perfect tool to get the Democrats to do it for them. It just shows how soulless, stupid and incompetent the Democrats in the US Senate are. I have come to accept this out of Bingaman but Udall? Sadly he's gotten the Senate disease quicker I had expected. No one in their right mid should trust either of them to protect Social Security and Medicare.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yes we have two parties but they ain't what you think!

Sometimes things just hit me -

I now realize that yes we do have two parties - problem is that they ain't Republican and Democrat or even Demopublican and Republocrat but rather they are Corporate and ????.

Once you take this view the recent Health Care squabble is really an argument between the hard line Corporatists (the Republicans) and more moderate Corporatists (a good chunk of the Democrats{the DLCers, New Democrats, Blue Dogs & etc-}). The constant fight between the Repubs and the Dems is just fighting to see how Corporate the US Government will be.

Sometimes clarity makes me sad - the delusion of hope is always easier to bear.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This is about leadership and in Washington there ain't any!

Brown is an idiot and the folks of Mass will tire of him quickly – he just tried to pawn off one of his daughters from the stage during his acceptance speech. He thought it was cute but the rest of the folks are going to see him for the clown he is. Expect him to provide more comic entertainment in the Senate until his term is up –

This isn’t about Brown or the boring plain vanilla Corporate Democratic Coakley - its about folks looking for real leadership in DC and finding none. Obama’s Presidency is over – we are in a holding pattern until a real populist leader shows up. Obama's first act tomorrow morning should be to fire Rahm and anybody in the White House that looks or thinks like him but we all know that won't happen.

When a real leader actually shows up his/her first task will be to run Senators like Bayh, Baucus, Bingaman, Conrad, Reid and their other disgusting collegues out of the Democratic Party and trash the New Democrats in the House for good measure. Until the Democratic filth in the House, Senate and White House is drained the Demopublicans and Republocrats are all the same. Who’s President or who controls the House or Senate until that happy day is really quite irrelevant because the Corporations are running the show. One thing for sure - its gonna get lots worse before it gets better.

Obama's Presidency is over!

January 20, 1999 - January 19, 2010

Today Obama's Presidency is officially over.
It lasted just a short time but died of self-inflicted wounds brought on by cowardice and beltway-based stupidity.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Thanks Taylor!

I've become a fan of Taylor Marsh. She is one of those rare upper level bloggers that just doesn't seem to care what the elites of the Democratic Party think of her.

I reached a new level of appreciation for her when she responded to this comment by a reader called Don:
What do politicians do when a vote is called, and they realize that voting either way is a loss for them?
They abstain. They understand what to do. It works for them.
Taylor says:
Exactly correct. On a ballot, you can vote for people who represent your views, but no matter the Dem, when they don’t support your views, you don’t have to support them.

After all, for many Dems currently in power, it really wouldn’t be that different if a Rep. took the seat.

At some point, a message has to be sent.

Another issue is that the two-party system is crumbling from within the behemoths. We’re at a point in history where things could begin to shift, though it certainly will take some time to evolve.

Again thanks to Taylor and to Don. They both understand that its way past time we stopped voting for anybody just because they have a D after their name. From now on I plan to leave some blanks on my ballots where I just don't vote for this or that bad Democrat.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Even the Huffington Post lets a good one through -

Not sure what's happening but the Dem elites definitely were asleep when they let this one through at HuffPo.

Ms. Williamson really caught the spirit of things in the Democratic Party. But while she speaks truth here I also found the comments sadly interesting. The level of denial exhibited by the Obamanistas while they complain about this post is really amazing. They have drunk the kool-aid and do believe! So far I'm seeing two forms of delusion: 1) Obama is smart and in the end he will preform a miracle and all will be well in the Universe, and 2) we are all just whiny liberals and don't know what is good for us. We just need to shut up and do what our dear Corporate leader says to do. When they finally see what's happening boy are they gonna be pissed.

Marianne Williamson
Posted: January 2, 2010 09:00 AM

It's hard to own the disappointment I feel over our moderate corporate Democratic President. The whole Obama phenomenon brings up memories from my distant past: the good-looking guy who talks real good, whose line you don't buy immediately but whose charm is so dazzling that he gradually convinces you that this time it will be different.

Yeah. Right. Really different.

What the current administration is giving us is minimal change. And not because the President hasn't had the time to do better; if he had truly wanted to make fundamental change, he would have gone in there fast and done his own version of shock and awe in the first hundred days. And not because he didn't realize how mean all those Republicans can be, either; Obama knew what he was getting into, and if he didn't, then he was as unprepared for the job as his opponents said he was. I see so many people now -- many of them men, interestingly enough -- tangled up in an almost school-girlish, co-dependent, apologetic relationship with this President. As though "poor baby" should be tacked onto the end of every description of his failures.

I see all things political in light of the immense unnecessary suffering in the world. Republicans see it and say, "Wow, it's sad about all that suffering, but the government has no proper role in assuaging it. Hopefully the private sector will do something. That would be nice." The Democrats -- not all of them but enough of them, and definitely this President -- see all that suffering and say, "Wow, it's sad about all that pain people are going through. Let's try to assuage it."

And yet they're refusing to do anything to challenge the underlying forces that make all that suffering inevitable.

I remember Bobby and I remember Martin. I remember when there was a moral force
at the center of the Democratic Party. I see it sometimes still, in a Sherrod Brown, a Dennis Kucinich, an Anthony Weiner. But they're not reflective of the general tenor of the Democratic Party anymore, and I think we would all do well to wake up to that fact. We elected Obama and then he sort of became someone else. He's doing a lot of good things in various areas, but he's certainly not changing the new bottom line: that corporations get to run the world.

He bailed out the banks, but he didn't stipulate that they had to start lending again. He got us health care, but he wouldn't say a word about single payer and he wouldn't raise a finger for the public option. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, but accepted it with a speech that was an apologia for war.

Democrats seem to have no idea what dark wave is rushing towards them in the form of the 2010 mid-terms. They have no idea how many people will be too depressed to go vote, who'll be thinking, "We tried so hard last time, and what did it get us?" They have no idea how many people are thinking, as I am, that it's time to face the facts, no matter how painful they are. If Obama doesn't retrieve his spine and retrieve it soon, then his Presidency will go down in the history books as one of the biggest disappointments in American history.

In the meantime, we should be looking at our options. In "Healing the Soul of America", I wrote about Ghandi's notion of soul force in politics and why it matters to stand on your truth. Should we re-brand the Green Party perhaps, or draft another Democrat to challenge Obama in the primaries in 2012? I don't know what we should do, but I know one thing that we shouldn't do: pretend to ourselves that this man is delivering on what he promised when he first won our hearts.

Sad wisdom over at Open Left

Its a shocker but over at Open Left somehow they let a real post pass through. It contains none of the pointless lists or why or why not progressives should do this or that and why kowtowing to the power structure/elites always makes good sense. All the stuff that Open Left is known for.

Enjoy and cry - its all too true.

Why Democrats Are Trying to Commit Electoral Suicide
by: Ian Welsh
Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 00:01

Forty-five percent of the Democratic base now says they aren't going to vote in 2010 or are thinking of not voting. This is a direct result of Democrats in Congress and the Presidency doing things the base disagrees with or not doing things the base wants to see done. It appears politically stupid to act as they have, and yet, they did. So why?

Elected Democrats at the Federal level are members of the national elite. If they weren't a member when they were elected, they are quickly brought into the fold. They are surrounded by lobbyists, other members and staffers who were lobbyists, as a rule. They learn they need to raise immense amounts of money in the off years when normal people aren't giving, and that the only way to raise that money is for corporate interests and rich people to write them. They also receive the benefits of elite status, very quickly. It's not an accident that the every Senator except Bernie Sanders is wealthy.

Whatever Americans think, whether they support a public option or single payer; whether they're for or against Iraq or Afghanistan; whether they agree with bailing out banks or not, elite consensus is much much narrower than American public opinion. It starts at the center right and heads over to reactionary (repeal the entire progressive movement and the New Deal, taking America back to the 1890s).

The elites are convinced they know what has to be done. Not necessarily what's "best", but what is possible given the constraints they believe America operates under and the pressures which elected officials work with. So Obama can say, and mean, that if he were creating a medical system from scratch, he'd go with single payer. But he "knows" that's impossible, not just for political reasons, but because there are huge monied interests who would be horribly damaged or even destroyed by moving to single payer. On top of that, he looks at the amount of actual change required to shift all that money away from insurance companies and to reduce pharma profits, and to change which providers get paid what, and he sees it as immensely disruptive to the economy. In theory, it might lead to a better place, but to Obama, the disruption on the way there is unthinkable.

The same thing is true of the financial crisis. The banks may be technically insolvent, but the idea of nationalizing them all, or shutting them down and shifting the lending to other entities would mean that the most profitable (in theory, not in reality) sector of the economy would largely be wiped out. Add to that the fact that Obama was the largest recipient of Wall Street cash of the major candidates for the Presidency, and the immense influence the banks wield through their alumni who are placed throughout the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and other departments, and the idea of actually radically reforming the banking system becomes unthinkable. Virtually every technocrat giving Obama, or most Senators advice, will be against it.

Moreover they understand that with a few exceptions, the financial economy is the American economy. It's what the US sold to the rest of the world: pieces of paper in exchange for real money which could be used to import real goods, so Americans could live beyond their means.

Shut that down and what's going to replace it? How are you going to avoid an immediate meltdown of the US standard of living? How are you going to avoid a large part of the elite being wiped out? You or I may have answers to that, except to wiping out a large chunk of the elite, which is something which needs to be done, but those who grew up under the system, who believe in the system, and who ran the system don't. What they've done all their lives is what they understand. And more to the point the system has been good to them. The last 35 years may have been a bad time to be an ordinary American, but the elite has seen their wealth and income soar to levels even greater than the gilded age. The rich, in America, have never, ever, been as rich as they are now.

And if you're a member of the elite, your friends, your family, your colleagues—everyone you really care about, is a member of the elite or attached to it as a valued and very well paid retainer. For you, for everyone you care about, the system has worked. Perhaps, intellectually, you know it hasn't worked for ordinary people, but you aren't one of them, you aren't friends with them, and however much you care in theory about them, it's a bloodless intellectual empathy, not one born of shared experience, sacrifice and the bonds of friendship or love.

So when a big crisis comes, all of your instincts scream to protect your friends, your family, and the system which you grew up under, prospered under and which has been good to you. Moreover, you understand that system, or you think you do, and you believe that with a twiddle here and an adjustment there, it's a system you can make work again. Doing something radical, like single payer or nationalizing the banks or letting the banks fail and doing lending direct through the Fed and through credit unions: that's just crazy talk. Who knows how it would work, or if it would work? Why take a chance?

And so, until disaster turns into absolute catastrophe, the elites will fiddle with the dials, rather than engaging in radical change. When the time comes when it becomes clear even to them that radical change is required, they are far more likely to go with their preconceived notions of what's wrong with the US, which are very reactionary, than to go with liberal or progressive solutions.

So you're far more likely to see Medicare and Social Security gutted, than you are to see the military budget cut in a third or Medicare-for-all enacted. You're far more likely to see a movement to a flat tax (supported by idiot right wing populists) than you are to see a return to high marginal taxation.

To the elites, ordinary Americans are pretty much parasites. It's not the bankers, with their multi-million dollar bailouts who are the problem, it's old people with their Social Security and Medicare. The elites made it. They are rich and powerful. They believe that their success is due entirely to themselves (even if they inherited the money or position). If you didn't, then that means you don't deserve it.

Democratic party elected leaders, as a group, are members of this elite, or are henchmen (and some women) of this elite. They believe what the elites believe, and they live within a world whose boundaries are formed by those beliefs.

They have no intention of engaging in radical change which threatens elite, which is to say, their, prosperity and power. The financial industry must be saved, the medical industry must be saved. Social Security and Medicare, which they don't need and don't benefit from, not so much. The military, which funnels huge amounts of money to them, must continue to expand (in real terms military spending is now twice what it was in 2000.)

As long as elected Democrats at the Federal level are members of this elite, or identify with the elite they are not going to make fundamental changes against the interests of that elite.

And so, no, there is no "change" you can believe in from this class of Democrats. There is no "hope" of an America which is better for ordinary people.

That doesn't mean things are hopeless, but it does mean there's little hope for anything radical from this Congress or President.

As Adam Smith pointed out, there's a lot of ruin in a nation. America's going to have to endure a lot more of it before things actually change.