Proud member of the Firebagger Lefty blogosphere!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Etowah County Detention Center, another black eye coming to Alabama

Just a heads up - another black eye is headed Alabama's way. It seems that Alabama's only ICE detention center is excess prison space ICE rent's from Etowah County, Alabama. From an article titled:
Immigrant Detainees Languish in Notorious Etowah County Detention Center.

Here's how it starts:
The Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama, houses immigration detainees along with county inmates. The facility, which on any given day houses over 300 immigrants, is notorious for poor conditions. It is hours away from any immigration court or international airport , despite only housing people who have final orders of removal from the United States. Many of the detainees have been held here for months, if not years.

Etowah should be closed for two reasons. First, the facility is inappropriate for civil detention. It is a high security jail designed to hold dangerous criminals serving their jail sentences, not for civil offenders awaiting removal from the United States. Second, many of the detainees held at this facility cannot be removed from the United States, despite having been ordered removed, since they are victims of torture or persecution, or because the U.S. does not have an extradition agreement with the home country. The federal government should not ask taxpayers to foot the bill for this inhumane and unnecessary detention.
And things go downhill from there. Turns out that there was some talk of closing the ICE Facility in Etowah County last year and:
In 2010, after years of controversy around Etowah’s dreadful conditions, the Obama administration promised to move toward a more civil form of detention by building newer, better facilities located closer to detainees’ homes and families, to legal service providers and to good medical care. As a result, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) was set to terminate its contract with the facility and stop detaining immigrants there.

Realizing that the loss of the only ICE contract in Alabama would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and $5.2 million in revenue for the county, local officials went to Washington, D.C., and lobbied federal lawmakers to renew the contract. Federal officials succumbed to this pressure, and in April 2011, ICE renewed its contract with Etowah, to hold up to 325 immigrants there.
Now this report isn't from some bunch of Commie loving Democrats that nobody will ever hear from again - this is an International Group that routinely talks about some of the worst things that happens to Women Worldwide. I know that doesn't carry much water for the Republicans in the Alabama State Legislature, those Legislators hatred of civil rights for non-white folks is well know, but for the rest of the Word reports like this aren't so good.

But as they say it gets worse:
Due to the remote location of the facility, detainees do not have access to free or low-cost attorneys who can guide them through the complex requirements they must meet in order to be released after six months. Moreover, detainees cannot even be removed directly from this facility because it is not near an international airport. Although the government is ostensibly in the process of trying to deport all of the detainees held there, each detainee will need to be transferred to another facility before actually being removed from the United States.

By holding detainees in Etowah, the U.S. government is creating a purgatory-type of situation for the detainees. Officials are not releasing them using alternatives to detention programs, but they can’t effectuate their removal either. The detainees are languishing in a legal no-man’s land at taxpayer expense. The U.S. government seems to be explicitly using Etowah as a facility to hold immigrants it knows it will not be able to remove quickly, if at all, from the United States and with the full knowledge and expectation they will eventually be released, to be reunified with family here in the U.S.
So, what's the take home here? Certainly Alabama likes undocumenteds when they are in prison and profitable but when they are out minding their own business and making a living - well they ain't so welcome. I'm surprised some enterprising Republican hasn't come up with the idea of forcing these poor undocumented folks in Etowah County's Detention Center to do farm labor for free in a "work release" program. Now that really would be the best of both worlds for the Republican Legislators - a new form of legal slavery and as a side benefit they could even talk about their "darkies" once again!

Note: this was cross posted on the blog Left in Alabama.

Monday, October 03, 2011

The sin of inhospitality & Alabama's new anti-immigrant law.

When I grew up in Alabama I was taught about the sin of inhospitality and remember discussing Matthew 25, this section seems especially relevant:
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Somebody please tell me that at least 1 Democrat had the huevos to stand up in the Alabama State Legislature and read at least part of that to the devils before they passed this bill! From my reading of the Bible those that voted for this hateful, mean spirited law have much to explain one of these days. I cannot ignore this statement from Jesus:
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
If those beautiful Hispanic children don't fit into the category of "the least of these" nothing ever will.

To further point out the gravity of their act please consider Matthew 18:
5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
I am sick over this. May the families that flee Alabama move to a better, kinder place. With their children they bring hope to where ever they go. May they do as Mark 6:11 suggests and "shake off the dust under" their feet as they cross the State Line to leave the evil that attacked them in Alabama. Let Alabama stew in its own hate - it has sealed its own fate.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

All I wanted to hear from Obama tonight

LBJ knew the game was up - sad that Obama can't see it too -

Save the part at the end about North Vietnam Obama could make exactly the same speech today.

What glorious words:
"I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President"
Now if Obama would just say them! Finally Obama would bring hope to the masses!

Monday, August 22, 2011

OFA Watch - A page out of their training manual at ThePeoplesView.Net

Ever since Obama For America's (OFA's) New Mexico Director Ray Sandoval email bomblet hit the press I have been curious about the blog where he got the explosive material that fueled the explosion. Its name is "The Peoples's View".

My first impressions of that blog convinced me it would make folks at Daily Kos blush. There is NO admission or even suggestion that Obama was anything other than simple perfection and those that criticized him in the Democratic Party were "Lefty Firebaggers" and quite frankly nuts. Since then I have checked on the blog to see how things were cooking and find it simultaneously fascinating & depressing - a perfect example of people convinced they alone know the truth while living in a intellectual bubble of their own making. If you haven't spent some time looking at "The Peoples View" you may find it interesting - certainly for me encountering a place where the participants completely and totally embraced Obama's every thought and utterance without question or hesitation was stunning. This is "tribalism" to the finest degree. On "The Peoples View" Party loyalty clearly trumps Policy.

A new post appeared on the site Sunday called A Left Wing Hierarchy and it's amazing! It reads like a page out of OFA's training manual. It seeks to categorize us lefties and provide the loyal troops with some guidance about how to sort one type from the other and how to deal with each. It ultimately ends each discussion about a particular type with a coldly clinical statement about the prospects of getting specimens of that type to support/vote for Obama so the supporter can make cost/benefit decisions on the fly. Ultimately the post ends with a discussion about dealing with difficult individuals and how the "internecine bickering" has to end and that we are coming to a time "when we will be asked to start working in earnest for the President’s re-election".

Since I really believe this post reveals much about the OFA mindset it needs to be preserved so I quote it in its entirety:
A Left Wing Hierarchy
Posted by Tien at 9:33 AM

My focus in politics is electoral, not ideological or issue related. The time I devote to politics focuses on elections, voter education and messaging. Since President Obama first started campaigning for the office, volumes have been written about the people who oppose him from the Left. What is rarely explored is what chance, if any, is there to ‘change the minds’ of his Left Wing non-supporters about anything concerning politics. What are the best ways to cope with these people in an electoral environment? I’ve developed a rating system for the categories of non-supporters that I have thus far identified. With this rating system I hope to help people, either online or in the real world, interact with or at the very least emotionally cope with different levels of opposition.

The Narcissist

In brief the Narcissist suffers from a pathological need for attention; hypersensitivity to insults and criticism; an over-inflated sense of self-importance; unrealistic expectations and a preoccupation with success and power. It’s been fairly well established which particular ‘activists’ who claim the Far Left as their territory fit this description. These people live for the fight. Everything they do and say with regard to politics is about opposition. The more driven among them have developed strategies for making money from this opposition. These people have no allegiance to either Party. Their allegiance is to themselves and feeding the never-ending necessity for attention and staying relevant. They go wherever there is an opening. Their belief system is composed entirely of being against whatever “The President” believes in.

* Prospect for convincing them to support the current President: Non-existent.
* Strategy for coping with their behavior: Never make it personal. Always focus on what they do, not what they say or who they are.

The best way to undermine Narcissists is to ignore them and deprive them of the attention they crave. However, I’ve come to realize that very few people are actually capable of employing the tactic of responding in this fashion. The Narcissist counts on people ‘reacting’ to everything they say, and most people, particularly online, oblige them. That gives the Narcissist unearned power, but there it is. Trying to change their minds is an exercise in futility. Trying to correct their willful ignorance and misinformation campaigns is at best like skeet shooting. Sport. Calling them names only makes them dig in more and play the victim as performance art for their supporters. Focusing on what they do IS effective. And by effective, I mean undermining their ability to con their followers. Showing how a Narcissist uses his or her money, or fails to provide health benefits to their employees or gives support to the Republicans in some fashion builds a body of evidence that creates a credibility gap that can be used over and over to peel away their followers.

If for some reason, as an author or commenter, one feels compelled to respond to some printed or video misinformation in places other than where that information originated, do so without mentioning the source. Focus on the misinformation, not the personality of the individual who circulated the misinformation. By not crediting the source directly, it bleeds power (and links) away from it. Start your sentence this way: “I read (heard) some misinformation on a blog (TV or radio show) today that needs addressing.” Go straight to correcting the incorrect information and leave the personalities out of the message.

For those brave souls who believe it’s worthwhile to comment on the actual blogs where the misinformation and/or rumor was invented, do so politely and reasonably, bearing in mind that is how the President we’re defending would do it. Simply state the correct information and move on. Resist the temptation to defend the information. Defending is a losing strategy. Present accuracy for its own sake. The goal is educating the audience of the Narcissist, not the Narcissist.

The Anarchist

Anarchists and Narcissists have a symbiotic relationship. They both thrive on opposition and many of the Narcissist’s followers hail from the ranks the modern American Anarchists. The very nature of anarchy pretty much makes defining them impossible because there are almost as many variations of anarchy belief systems as there are people who subscribe to them. In general they fall into a few sub-groups who can be generalized as wanting to either seriously limit government or do away with government entirely. Anti-capitalism (anti-corporatist) seems to be more appealing to the Left; where profit motivated privatization characterizes the Right.

A friend once told me that Republicans don’t trust government and Democrats don’t trust corporations. I frequently encounter people spouting anti-corporation rhetoric in my neck of the woods. Bandying about words like corporatist and fascist is as common and accepted as talking about the weather. For this crowd corporations are governments and possess power that now exceed governments. Their opposition to our President, any President really, stems from the perception that the American government exists to protect corporations and to that end readily override the will of the people. If President Obama isn’t seen as actively working to disrupt corporations, then he is complicit in all that corporations do. He then is dismissed as being a corporatist and deserving of their lack of support.

* Prospect for convincing them to support the current President: Online: None. In the Real World: Marginal.
* Strategy for coping with their behavior: Engaging the Anarchist online can only result in defensive posturing. In the Real World what matters most is the ability to gauge the level of commitment to the anti-government stance. Theoretically the true anarchist is so against government that supporting any office holder is out of the question. Very few people, even the youthful vandals are that extreme. Even still, the amount of energy required to move someone who is hard-core anti-government into the supporter camp isn’t a wise investment. That energy can be better spent with swing voters. A time-saving tip: find out if the anti-government individual you’re trying to engage is even registered to vote. If not, move on.

The Elitist

At the core of an elitist’s mindset is ego. Self-described intellectuals for the most part who believe their evaluation of politics is superior to that of others around them. Elitists tend to concern themselves more with policy than electoral politics. I’m not as willing as some to write these people off because in more cases than a few, people who behave in an elitist fashion are often engaged in actual policy making. More than once I’ve seen, in the real world any way, that at times they are right. Their presentation lacks grace and can be characterized as condescending, which is off-putting to most people who don’t hail from their ranks. Unfortunately these people and people who pretend to be their peers frequently devolve into antagonistic adolescents once their fingers come into contact with a keyboard and a connection to the Internet. There is a strong parallel with computer geeks who look down on people who aren’t as good as they are with computers and code, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re talking about. They just lack social skills. Elitists tend to lack actual political skills. It is the ego and condescension that prevents them from identifying, and therefore communicating effectively, with regular people.

* Prospect for convincing them to support the current President: Online: Remote but not impossible; In the Real World: Achievable.
* Strategy for coping with their behavior: Basically the only effective way to engage an Elitist is to swallow your own ego and ‘become’ their student. This can’t be done in one encounter. Online an Elitist has a reputation to protect, so any challenge to their authority will be smacked down with malice. However the person who is willing to swallow any antipathy they might feel toward the Elitist’s arrogance can gain a foothold into their thought process by asking innocent questions. “I’ve been reading your comments about this topic. Could you please help me understand [insert specific] better?” When the Elitist elaborates, ask for specific examples (not proof). In time, once the Elitist thinks you’re listening, they relax their need to aggressively protect their stance. This is tricky to do in a comment section because other people can interject with insults and such, but with consistency and respect, things will improve. Once he or she relaxes, then you can gently offer your own examples of how you view the topic. Do so with NO expectation of success, but only the hope of guiding the conversation toward a softening of the Elitist’s stance. Keep the President out of the conversation; stay focused on the issue rather than the personalities and there is guarded hope that a softened Elitist might at some point be open to pulling the lever for the President. Of equal value is the idea that the Elitist will pull the lever for Democrats on the down ballot.

The Reactionary

These are the foot soldiers in the realm of Presidential opposition. Their opposition is a little softer than their rhetoric suggests because they have something entirely different at stake when they spout anti-Obama talking points. While the Narcissist has their entire personhood (and often livelihood) at stake, the Reactionary has at risk their place in the ‘society’ that is created for them by the actors higher up the food chain. It is the Narcissist, the Anarchist and the Elitist who create the blogs and generate the talking points upon which the Reactionary depends to help them fit in. Politics and Religion have an emotional context that rules the behavior and belief systems of pretty much everyone on the planet. The Reactionary has a heightened response to the deliberate emotional appeals from people trained to manipulate them. So far I’ve identified two specific triggers that make Reactionaries vulnerable to this handling: feelings of social inadequacy and the need for immediate gratification.

Reactionaries are not critical thinkers, but by the same token they’re also not the manipulators. They are followers, but followers with an agenda none-the-less. That agenda is fitting in with both the online and real world. Politics, like religion, is a topic that very few people study, so the door is wide open for anyone who sounds like they know what their talking about in any given conversation. Someone who can quote Bible verses sounds more authoritative than others who can’t. Talking points are the political equivalent of Bible verse. If they can be quoted verbatim from the source, then they become truth. The person who can quote them becomes an authority within their own circles. Whether it is the artificial social circle of an online blog or a real social circle, the Reactionary depends on easily repeated content to stay current and sound like they know what they are talking about. This is in part why they defend those above them in the hierarchy with such venom: to protect their source.

Within the world of politics Reactionaries are not results-oriented people. They are dependent upon their source for their fix that helps reinforce their constructed belief system. This is as true with the Left as it is with the Right. The biggest perceived danger to a Reactionary is someone who actually knows more about politics than they do.

* Prospect for convincing them to support the current President: Online: Remote but not impossible; In the Real World: Achievable.
* Strategy for coping with their behavior: Learn the talking points that they subscribe to. Generally if the action is sure to be politically disastrous to the President, then it is something that has been promoted by the ‘pundit’ class that Reactionaries use for reference. When you hear or read these talking points being repeated in conversation or online, then you know that you’re dealing with a Reactionary. Do not challenge their beliefs in public. It embarrasses them and makes them feel like they’ve been downgraded socially, which causes them to dig in more resolutely. These are the people who benefit from the use of the pivot. Once the stash of talking points is exhausted, they have nothing beyond irrationally defending these talking points. In a social gathering or a comment section, it is the audience who matters most. Guiding the conversation to more results oriented context helps give everyone, even the Reactionary, a chance to hear a different viewpoint in a non-combative environment. Down ticket support for Democrats in general isn’t as frowned upon by Reactionaries, so is to be encouraged in the absence of willingness to vote for the President.

Making the Shift

It’s been my experience that people who subscribe to the Left Wing anti-Obama talking points aren’t as likely to suffer from cognitive dissonance when they hear a rationally well-presented option to their belief. My personal observation is that this stems from the lack of religious ideology within liberal circles. Liberal belief systems tend not to be faith-based and are therefore more flexible.

The true key to helping people soften their attitude regarding the President is respect. There is precious little of it online, but we are in a position to change that, and we have no better role model than the very President we support. Anyone who works with voters on a regular basis will happily remind us all, that people in the online communities that follow politics are potential voters. As someone who has knocked on some doors and spoken directly with voters in person, I can tell you that the only way to promote the President is by making ourselves people who show everyone respect, especially those who disagree with us. We need to ask ourselves this: if we knock on a stranger’s door would we call that person to their face a moron, or make a barnyard reference to their sexuality if that stranger told us they didn’t support the President? If we won’t disregard the feelings of a total stranger in real life, why do we do it online? Why are we willing to create the impression that people who support the President don’t listen, are rude, mean, treat people poorly, etc.? That kind of behavior alienates people and keeps them from giving support to the one person for whom we want to secure a vote.

At some point this internecine bickering has got to stop. They won’t stop it, so we must. We’re coming up the time when we will be asked to start working in earnest for the President’s re-election. Now is the time for us to begin the practice of treating our fellow voters how we ourselves wish to be treated.

This post says as much about the writer and the blog it appears on as anything else. The most glaring thing is that its author simply refuses to admit that our concerns about Obama are legitimate in any form or fashion. Even our simplest and most humble protestation appears to have fallen on deaf ears. "We" are either a "Narcissist", an "Anarchist", an "Elitist" or a "Reactionary" and once you have that classification in hand you simply follow the contained instructions and there you have it. "Our" concerns about Obama administration attacks on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Middle Class are not real - just part of the pathology of whichever mental disease we are afflicted with.

As I read the post I am troubled by the recurring thought that this actually does reflect OFA's attitude about "us", that this is the bubble OFA lives in. I am also struck by the surreal mindset revealed by the post. It's as if they can flip a switch, approach people in the right way and some component of the "lefty firebagger" world will magically be converted back into Obama supporters. They simply do not understand how unlikely this is. They cannot see that Obama's reelection campaign is already over. He has already lost. Too much water has flowed under the bridge for everyone to kiss and make up. It's only a matter of which Republican will be the next President.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Proud member of the Firebagger Lefty Blogosphere!

Thanks to Ray Sandoval, Organizing for America's New Mexico director for heading off the deep end and finally giving us a label we can wear proudly. Things have gotten fairly amusing since his email hit Huffington Post last Wednesday containing some quips from The Peoples View. There is no need to recap the tedious series of events or even the content of his email - it can be found in the Huff Po post with more amplifying tidbits here and here. The entertainment continued over at the Daily Kos and with Keith Oberman when he named Sandavol on his nightly Worst Person in the World segment as the bronze metal winner for the day.

So, Mr Sandoval just doesn't like us at all - well I'm crushed! But what fascinates me is what this says about the Obama Campaign not the rants of a Campaign functionary.

Look, we know the Obamatrons hates us so no news there but the intensity of the attack is fascinating. Does this suggest that we are getting to them? Perhaps so but for Sandavol to be quoting from "The People's View", a blog that has long ago turned Obama into deity incapable of error and has proclaimed themselves his protector from those nasty progressives who question Obama's infallibility, is simply stunning.

It floors me that a State Director of OFA actually reads this stuff and doesn’t start crying or fall out of his chair laughing. If that blog reflects the mindset of the Obama Campaign it explains much. Certainly they live in the same sort of alternative reality as the Tea Party folks however they believe in the deity of Obama. It would make a great mini-series for the Dr Who show but frankly no one would believe that Politicians could be so deluded. It really suggests the bunker mentality that the Obama Campaign exists in. Does "The People's View" represent the real thinking of Obama and his Campaign? If so the prospects for his reelection are worse than even I thought.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cenk gets it while Fareed does not

I often watch Fareed Zakaria and his show Global Public Square on CNN. Usually he is the essence of reason. a man of good sense. However he has a blind spot about Obama and in the clip below Cenk from The Young Turks calls him out on it.

Please Fareed don't blow your brand over Obama, he simply ain't worth it. Don't trust DC logic on this issue. Once you leave the Beltway's mindset you will see that Obama did and does negotiate bad deals with the Republicans and that searching for a centrist position and capitulation are not the same thing. To get to the "middle" both sides have to strongly advocate for their positions then compromise, not one side hold firm and the other fold at the onset of negotiations as always happens in Obama's dealings with Republicans.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Progressive Caucus of California's Democratic Party is now in limbo - tribalism in action

For the crime of treason against the establishment California's Democratic Party Progressive Caucus charter has been tabled and the fate of the Caucus is now in limbo. You see they had the nerve to challenge the establishment by passing the following resolution that asks for a primary challenger to Barack Obama:
Passed July 30, 2011
Anaheim, CA

WHEREAS, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party recognizes the challenge presented by President Obama’s negotiating away Democratic Party principles to extremist Republicans, we are challenged by President Obama in the following ways:

• His unilateral closed-door budget offer to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which endangers the New Deal and War on Poverty safety nets.
• His determination to escalate U.S. militarism through illegal secret CIA drone attacks and unauthorized wars.
• His willingness to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and bail out big banks without ending the foreclosure crisis that displaces American working families.
• His insistence on pushing a health insurance bill which enriches private insurance companies while ignoring growing support for single-payer health care or robust public options.
• His continuance of President Bush’s assault on civil liberties with an extension of the repressive Patriot Act.
• His failure to restore due process, including the protection of whistleblowers and habeas corpus.
• His numerous failures to adhere to international law.
• The continuing practice of nationwide FBI raids of anti-war progressive protestors.
• His decision to increase the arrests and deportations of undocumented workers.
• His facilitation of the privatizing of the public sphere, which includes education and housing, among others.
• His disregard of his promises to the Labor movement.
• His failure to adequately protect the environment and adequately address climate change.

WHEREAS, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party recognizes the historical significance of the Eugene McCarthy/Robert F. Kennedy anti-war challenge to President Lyndon Johnson. The challenge followed President Johnson’s decision to escalate U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, betraying his campaign promise to end a war that polarized America. Similarly, we recognize the danger and betrayal that the current “Grand Bargain” represents to the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s signature gift to all Americans, Social Security and the New Deal, a point of pride for all Democrats.

WHEREAS, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party is committed to the understanding that an interest in a 2012 Democratic presidential primary challenge will not interfere with President Obama’s ability to govern and not limit his ability to do so in ways that include invoking Constitutional options, we recognize that this will, in fact, raise debate on important issues without risking the ability to mobilize and energize the base of the Democratic Party to elect a triumphant leader to counter the far-right agenda.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, to make our views heard, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party will begin the process of contacting other Democratic organizations, Democratic Party members and public organizations that share our views on the issues and which seek to alter the course of history by exploring other steps to effect a necessary change, including a possible primary challenge to President Obama.

All I can do is express is my congratulations to and my deep respect for the brave men and women of the Progressive Caucus of California's Democratic Party. It is refreshing to see people put principle before tribal loyalty to a political party that has long ago abandoned its historic core beliefs. This is a resolution we should all support.

Obviously the California Democratic Party has no sense of humor. Its actions are silly and vindictive and have assured that this resolution will get more press than it ever would have gotten if they had simply ignored it.

For more go here.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Martin Heinrich votes for Corporate Interests to pass bad debt ceiling deal

Just got an email from Martin Heinrich explaining why he sold out the base of the Democratic Party and its core values and voted for this horrid debt ceiling deal. Here it is:

Dear Michael,

Today I voted for a bill to raise the debt ceiling. This was a tough choice between a flawed bill that increases the debt ceiling or plunging America’s economy back into recession.

It's clear that Tea Party Republicans care more about winning the next election by scoring some cheap political points, then creating jobs and improving our economy.

However, I was elected to Congress to make tough decisions, and today I did so for the good of our country.

We needed to pass this bill in order to avoid a global financial meltdown, and I voted to make sure that did not happen.

With the debt ceiling behind us, we can now turn our full attention to the issues that matter most to New Mexicans: job creation, strengthening Medicare, shoring up Social Security, ending the wars abroad and bringing our troops home. If we can get this done, our economy will be the better for it.

That is my focus. And that is what you deserve.


Martin Heinrich
His stated rational is fabricated processed bullshit. The real reason he pissed on the base is that he's running for Senate and needs to prove to Wall Street, the Big Banks and the DC Corporate Dem Elites that he's their guy and will be there for them when the going gets ruff. They don't have to take the progressive stuff too seriously - he will sell out the base whenever its handy. A token of his loyalty to the Corporate Overlords, like kissing the golden ring, so they will write the big checks to fund his campaign. It might also be to give cover to Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall when they cave. I can't imagine he voted for this without consulting them first.

Since I have publicly promised never to vote for a Dem that voted for this mess I guess Martin's history. We will see if I add Tom Udall to that list. I fear Jeff B. is a lost cause. He thinking about his future as a Corporate Lawyer or Lobbyist in DC where he will make the real bucks. We already know how he will vote.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Even Peggy Noonan of Murdoch's WSJ gets it!

In today's New York Times there is an article by Jackie Calmes titled Rightward Tilt Leaves Obama With Party Rift. While it begins by addressing the discontent the Democratic base has with Obama it ends with this "reassuring" paragraph:
Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, said polling data showed that at this point in his term, Mr. Obama, compared with past Democratic presidents, was doing as well or better with Democratic voters. “Whatever qualms or questions they may have about this policy or that policy, at the end of the day the one thing they’re absolutely certain of — they’re going to hate these Republican candidates,” Mr. Mellman said. “So I’m not honestly all that worried about a solid or enthusiastic base.”
With this the Establishment at the New York Times seems to be saying - don't worry in the end the Republicans will scare the Democratic base back into line.

Yet again the folks at the New York Times just don't get - sadly to see a reporter that does we have to head over to the Wall Street Journal in an article published today by Peggy Noonan. She begins her piece with a couple of paragraphs about how the Republican Establishment has finally gotten hold to the nutcases in the Tea Bagger Caucus and how the Elites had saved the Tea Baggers from destroying themselves. She then turns her attention to Obama and writes with a clarity I have yet to see in the New Your Times:
"As this is written, the White House seems desperate to be seen as consequential. They're trotting out Press Secretary Jay Carney, who stands there looking like a ferret with flop sweat as he insists President Obama is still at the table, still manning the phones and calling shots. Much is uncertain, but the Republicans have made great strides on policy. If they emerge victorious, they had better not crow. The nation is in a continuing crisis, our credit rating is not secure, and no one's interested in he-man gangster dialogue from "The Town." What might thrill America would be a little modesty: "We know we helped get America into some of this trouble, and we hope we've made some progress today in getting us out of it."

But that actually is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about something that started to become apparent to me during the debt negotiations. It's something I've never seen in national politics.

It is that nobody loves Obama. This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard. At the height of Bill Clinton's troubles there were always people who'd say, "Look, I love the guy." They'd often be smiling—a wry smile, a shrugging smile. Nobody smiles when they talk about Mr. Obama. There were people who loved George W. Bush when he was at his most unpopular, and they meant it and would say it. But people aren't that way about Mr. Obama. He has supporters and bundlers and contributors, he has voters, he may win. But his support is grim support. And surely this has implications.

The past few weeks I've asked Democrats who supported him how they feel about him. I got back nothing that showed personal investment. Here are the words of a hard-line progressive and wise veteran of the political wars: "I never loved Barack Obama. That said, among my crowd who did 'love' him, I can't think of anyone who still does." Why is Mr. Obama different from Messrs. Clinton and Bush? "Clinton radiated personality. As angry as folks got with him about Nafta or Monica, there was always a sense of genuine, generous caring." With Bush, "if folks were upset with him, he still had this goofy kind of personality that folks could relate to. You might think he was totally misguided but he seemed genuinely so. . . . Maybe the most important word that described Clinton and Bush but not Obama is 'genuine.'" He "doesn't exude any feeling that what he says and does is genuine."

Maybe Mr. Obama is living proof of the political maxim that they don't care what you know unless they know that you care. But the idea that he is aloof and so inspires aloofness may be too pat. No one was colder than FDR, deep down. But he loved the game and did a wonderful daily impersonation of jut-jawed joy. And people loved him.

The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn't really very good at politics, and he isn't good at politics because he doesn't really get people. The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The "Analytics Department" is looking for "predictive Modeling/Data Mining" specialists to join the campaign's "multi-disciplinary team of statisticians," which will use "predictive modeling" to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. "We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions."

This wasn't the passionate, take-no-prisoners Clinton War Room of '92, it was high-tech and bloodless. Is that what politics is now? Or does the Obama re-election effort reflect the candidate and his flaws?

Mr. Obama seemed brilliant at politics when he first emerged in 2004. He understood the nation's longing for unity. We're not divided into red states and blue, he said, we're Big Purple, we can solve our problems together. Four years later he read the lay of the land perfectly—really, perfectly. The nation and the Democratic Party were tired of the Clinton machine. He came from nowhere and dismantled it. It was breathtaking. He went into the 2008 general election with a miraculously unified party and took down another machine, bundling up all the accrued resentment of eight years with one message: "You know the two losing wars and the economic collapse we've been dealing with? I won't do that. I'm not Bush."

The fact is, he's good at dismantling. He's good at critiquing. He's good at not being the last guy, the one you didn't like. But he's not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he's not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire.

And so his failures in the debt ceiling fight. He wasn't serious, he was only shrewd—and shrewdness wasn't enough. He demagogued the issue—no Social Security checks—until he was called out, and then went on the hustings spouting inanities. He left conservatives scratching their heads: They could have made a better, more moving case for the liberal ideal as translated into the modern moment, than he did. He never offered a plan. In a crisis he was merely sly. And no one likes sly, no one respects it.

So he is losing a battle in which he had superior forces—the presidency, the U.S. Senate. In the process he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser."
Why no one at the New York Times can see this is beyond me. Perhaps they are so co-opted by the Democratic Establishment that they can't see clearly? Who knows. However, it is sad that we have to go to the pages of a radical right rag, the Wall Street Journal, to get some decent analysis of the disaster known as President Obama.

UPDATE: I have been challenged about use of the term "tea bagger" - frankly I had no idea about the controversy. See "The evolution of the word 'tea bagger'" for a brief intro into the issue. However, if Andrew Britbart likes the term 'tea bagger' who am I to argue?

I'd be happy to adopt any term for that group that is deemed socially acceptable. If I wanted to insult them I'm more than capable of that without making illusions to male genitalia.

Some have also complained about my citing an article by Peggy Noonan. I'm not saying that Noonan got Obama 100% right rather I'm saying she has done a better analysis of him and how he is perceived in the Country than anything I've seen in the NY Times. And her last paragraph:
So he is losing a battle in which he had superior forces—the presidency, the U.S. Senate. In the process he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.
is sadly spot on. That one fact more than anything else will nail him in 2012.

Clearly Obama's Presidency is over - while I can't decide if we are in this state because Obama is a coward or because he a corporatist flunky that has always wanted to attack the programs of the New Deal he is now perceived as a man who will cave to blackmailers. That not a label you want to wear while running for President.

Penguinistas' tools of the trade - copying a web site

Sometimes its handy to copy a website before it gets changed -

For example a group like Third Way might decide that something they posted is a bit embarrassing and want to make a few quick changes to limit future damage. Sadly if you haven't preserved a copy for future reference you are out of luck.

Any Penguinista knows this is an easy chore on the command line with "wget". Now wget will not make a copy of the website that perfectly matches the original's layout however it will drag down every document on that website and store it on your local system for safe keeping.

For those experienced with working on the command line the command is simple:
wget -mk

This command will create a directory that has the name of the web site, in this case, in the present working directory of your shell. The time it takes to make the copy will depend on your bandwidth, the speed of your system and that of the web server.

For those unskilled with the command line you can simply open up your home folder on your desktop then go to File and select "Open in Terminal". In the shell that is created type in the command above. If you feel the need to organize things a bit create your directory structure and select the directory you want to hold the web site then go to File and click "Open in Terminal".

Friday, July 29, 2011

Third Way - the power behind the throne in DC

Thanks to Lambert for his post "Schrodinger's Banksters" on It references a posting by Yves Smith titled "Third Way Document Proves Democratic Party Supports Institutionalized Looting by Banks" on the blog naked capitalism.

I had always seen the Third Way as the evil spawn of the DLC and New Democrats. Boy was I wrong. It is way more important and much more dangerous than I ever imagined.

First some of the Democratic Congressional power players involved in Third Way:
Third Way Honorary Co-Chairs
James Clyburn
John Dingell
Ron Kind
Joseph Crowley
Allyson Schwartz
Gabrielle Giffords
Jared Polis

Thomas Carper
Claire McCaskill
Mark Udall
Jeanne Shaheen
Kay Hagan
Chris Coons

Kathleen Sebelius
Ken Salazar
Ellen Tauscher
Blanche Lambert Lincoln
Evan Bayh
Jane Harman
Mark Pryor
Melissa Bean
Artur Davis

And then the real power behind the throne - the members of the Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees:
Trustees currently/previously involved in Banking & Finance
John L. Vogelstein - Chairman
Bernard L. Schwartz - Chairman Emeritus
David Heller - Vice-Chairman
Dwight Anderson
Lewis Cullman
John Dyson
Robert Dyson
Brian Frank
Derek Kirkland
Ronald A. Klain
Daniel Loeb
Thurgood Marshall, Jr.
Michael Novogratz
Andrew Parmentier
David Roberts
Howard Rossman
Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein
Joseph Zimlich

Trustees I don't think are involved in Banking & Finance
Georgette Bennett
William D. Budinger
Jonathan Cowan
Peter A. Joseph
General Claudia Kennedy
Susan McCue
Herbert Miller
Tim Sweeney
Ted Trimpa

While most understandably seem to focus on the Democrats in the House and Senate that are involved in Third Way I also wondered who was on its Board of Trustees. Looking at their bios on Third Way's web site I was stuck by the number of Trustees involved in Investing and Finance. So, I decided to divide them into two groups based on that criteria and make a list. By my count 18 of 27 or 66.7% of the Trustees are or were in the Financial field. That's a stunning and frightening percentage for a group that is so influential in the Democratic Party (for more on this see Yves Smith's article referenced above).

Here's what Third Way's web site says about one of the Trustee Thurgood Marshall, Jr. in a particularly informative bio:
Mr. Marshall is a partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP, and a Principal of Bingham Consulting Group. Mr. Marshall counsels and devises strategies for advancing clients’ interests before Congress, the executive branch and independent regulatory agencies. He provides guidance regarding ethics compliance and corporate governance. He has developed legislative and regulatory strategies for clients involved in corporate mergers, professional and amateur sports, commercial aviation, utility and banking regulation, and legal process reforms.(emphasis mine)

The line:
"Mr. Marshall counsels and devises strategies for advancing clients’ interests before Congress, the executive branch and independent regulatory agencies."
pretty much says it all! All we need to do is replace "Mr. Marshall" with "Third Way" and there you have it:
Third Way counsels and devises strategies for advancing clients’ interests before Congress, the executive branch and independent regulatory agencies."

Third Way is the Corporate vehicle to control and direct the Democratic Party for the benefit of those Third Way represents. It is stunning that they say what they did about Mr Marshall so publicly but sometimes folks just screw up and let slip the truth.

((Please note this is a slightly revised and expanded version of a post I just posted here.))

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Where are the Greens in the 2012 Presidential Election?

On another blog someone asked:
"Any word on what's up with the Greens for the 2012 presidential election?"
Sadly from what I can see they are nowhere to be found!

The question came about because of a post discussing the possibility of Senator Bernie Sanders running against the Big O in the upcoming Democratic Primary. While I agree with some of what the author said and like Bernie a lot I know he won't be the "challenger" in next year's Democratic Presidential Primary. Bernie understands that the Democratic Party is corrupt to its very core and while he probably won't say it, the party is beyond repair. Now he could run as an Independent and I'd support that but I don't think he will do that either.

Sadly, I don't think anybody will challenge Barack Obama in next year's primary.

There are many problems with this idea of getting a primary challenger for Obama. First the progressives are mistaken in the belief that it is possible to challenge the establishment candidate to a fair fight in the Dem Party. The DC Democratic establishment runs a tight ship and have things wired so that our only choice will be among the "approved" candidates. For example in the last Presidential primary election our choice was between Obama and Clinton which was essentially a choice between a member of the Third Way and a member of the DLC. The reader can decide which is which, ultimately however it's a distinction without a difference. They won't ever allow a real progressive to run for President. Its just too dangerous. The would much prefer the party loose an election than a real progressive run and win.

The other problem with the whole notion of a primary challenger for Obama is that progressives are mistaken in their belief that the DC Dem elites care what they think and that given enough prodding by the base the establishment will ultimately do the right thing. The DC Democratic elites do not care what we think and long ago realized that progressives/liberals are just doormats to be stepped on. They acknowledge our concerns and keep us in a fetal position by throwing us the odd bone (gay rights, environmental stuff & etc) and/or frightening us into line with the lesser of two evils game. They hope to win elections by using our labor and the $'s they get from Wall Street and large corporations to run their campaigns. Ultimately they pay Wall Street off by doing their bidding (attack SS, Medicare, Medicaid, co-opt corporate regulation for their benefit & etc) while keeping us off balance by rotating the bad guy from one issue to the next. This is the DLC, New Dem, Third Way game plan and it works well for them and has allowed the Democrats to help the Right achieve its cherished goals of making the poor poorer, destroying the middle class and ending the unionization movement in the USA.

Ultimately there is no place for progressives in the modern Democratic Party. Personally, I say we should walk and declare our independence by voting Green or some other progressive choice for the next Presidential election and many House and Senate elections. Once the elites have lost enough elections they will realize the doormat game is over. That's when they will come to the table - until then you can't expect much from the Dem DC elites. To change the Democratic Party it is necessary to leave it and start over again. This is the only way to break the paradigm that exists today and to make matters worse we have to do that while watching bad Democrats loose to even worse Republicans. However, this is just a bridge too far for many progressives and on sites like the Daily Kos it can't even be discussed. Sadly I know that until we walk nothing will change in the Democratic Party.

As and aside, for those that still argue that we should Primary a bad Dem instead of running somebody as an Green or Independent against them think about what happened in Connecticut's Lieberman vs. Lamont Primary back in 2006. The DC Dem establishment still supported Lieberman in the General Election against Lamont even though Lamont won the primary. For them being in the club is much more important than than things like party loyalty or ideology. If the DC Elites refuse to support those ideas why should we?

What will it take to get progressives to walk is the real question. Personally I question if it will ever happen. Selling out Social Security might be the spark that starts this - I'm not sure but all I know is that you can't change the Democratic Party from the inside. It's too owned for that.

By-the-way, as a dirty fact to prove my point and to show how unlikely it is that progressives/liberals will walk from the Dem Party - I was recently banned from posting on the Daily Kos for proposing that folks consider voting Green. Think of that - you can get banned for even suggesting what I said above. So for sites like the Daily Kos this isn't even a topic for discussion! If it can't be discussed how can it happen?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More on JPM’s financial rape of Jefferson County Alabama

Folks this is a classic example of what happens when a bunch of Banksters and crooked local politicians get together and run amuck. Just replace the criminal good old boys in Jefferson County Alabama with a bunch of larcenous politicians in some small South or Central American Country and it explains most of the financial disasters we have seen in Central and South America.

It's a must see - the combo of Max Keiser and Matt Taibbi is not to be missed! Matt Taibbi's interview is 11 minutes 5 seconds into the show-

Sadly, most of the Banksters involved in this will never be prosecuted by this or any other White House!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Quelle Horreur! I'm banned from posting on the Daily Kos!

Dropped by the Daily Kos a few minutes ago and found this (see contents of red box, to enlarge click on image):

Wow! So what caused this? Well, here is the posting that apparently gave them a wedgie:
Obama has been telling us that he will happily gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for years starting with the filthy creeps he appointed to his Deficit Commission.

He is a coward that doesn't care about anything but making peace with the Republicans who hate him. He has bowed and scraped before them and is foolish enough to think that they will be responsible in the end. What an idiot!

The Repubs have been wanting to kill Social Security for years and now they have Obama to do their dirty work. Obama has already started to defund it and we can only guess what is next.

When will KOS and Company stand up to his betrayals and call him our for what he is - a coward and a traitor to the Democratic Party and its most basic principles!

Maybe the Greens will run somebody so I can vote - I won't be voting for Obama.

My guess is the last sentence was the one that went over the line. Probably the preceding one didn't help either. Sadly, this is just more evidence that KOS and Company have no stomach to take on Obama. I guess access to the power players in the White House is more important than little things like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

I have always wondered if the folks that run the Daily Kos weren't just a bunch of mindless Obama sycophants. Well wonder no more because here's the proof. If my statement was enough to get me banned from posting on the Daily Kos so be it - I'm banned! They of course offer me the possibility of being "unbanned" if I will only just click on the box and promise never to "advocate for a third party" again. Think I'll give the box clicking a pass, being exiled by a bunch of Obama sycophants is OK with me - for a liberal it really is the only honorable place to be. By the way this post got 12 votes of support, that's the most support any of my posts on the Daily Kos have ever gotten. It's now clear to me that the Daily Kos isn't a place for progressives - it is just another tool of the Corporate Democratic Establishment to keep us lefties in line.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Georgia enacts Arizona's anti-immigrant law

Just posted this at the site "Atlanta's Progressive News":
I'm sorry to point this out to you but this is racism and this is hate and it occurred in Georgia. The fact that those two issues are such a large part of that state should shock no one. As the old line goes - "Atlanta, not bad for Georgia" but it is still part of Georgia and racism comes with the territory.

One thing to note though - for all the racist, crazies running around in a place like Texas this legislation hasn't passed there. Why? Simple economics of course - they need the Mexican labor to build their barns, pave their roads and cook their food. What would TexMex be without the Mex? Georgia got sucker punched into this because the Republicans there are too stupid to realize what they have just done to their economy. Say good by to the chicken industry there - I'm gonna predict there will be more and more empty chicken coops in the Georgia country side. The undocumenteds left Arizona after they passed their law and its economy suffered. I expect Georgia will suffer the same fate. And that's just - racism, hate and ignorance should have a cost.
The thing that is great about this article is that it shows how Corporate interests are behind the law in Arizona and now in Georgia and how they will profit from its passage:
Meanwhile, supporters of the bill are celebrating, including the right-wing Republican base that supported the bill, as well as the for-profit prison corporations which stand to profit from the massive influx of suspected undocumented immigrants through the private prison system.

"Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), we know they have lobbyists here [at the legislature]," said Larry Pellegrini of Georgia Rural Urban Summit. CCA is one of the largest for-profit prison corporations in the U.S.

"They [CCA] will benefit by the legislation. They have a corporate stake in it around the country," Pellegrini told IPS.

Pellegrini also noted that the lobbying effort to pass anti- immigration laws in Georgia was part of a national effort.

One national lobbying group that was instrumental in bringing together business interests and lawmakers was the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

It was an ALEC task force, which included a representative from a private prison - along with lawmakers from Arizona and other states - who helped draft Arizona's immigration bill, which became a template for Georgia's law as well.

According to CCA reports obtained by National Public Radio, the corporation believes that immigration detention is its next big growth market.

CCA's earnings were up 15 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

CCA reported earnings of 40.3 million dollars, or 37 cents per share, on revenue of 428 million dollars in first quarter of 2011, according to the Nashville Business Journal newspaper. CCA's revenue for 2009 was 1.7 billion dollars.

The federal government pays over 60 dollars per detainee per day to house men at CCA's Stewart Detention Center, the largest immigration detention centre in the U.S., located in Lumpkin, Georgia.

CCA's top management in Tennessee contributed the largest block of out-of-state campaign contributions received by Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer. Brewer employs two former CCA lobbyists as aides who assisted with signing Arizona's SB 1070 into law.
We will see if the same law gets anywhere in Texas. I doubt it but you never know. The same State that elected and has now re-elected Rick Perry can't be too bright.