Proud member of the Firebagger Lefty blogosphere!

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.