SDB Evening News Reads for 101911: Conservative Closets and Hot Potatoes

Good Evening

I don’t know how many of you organize your RSS feeds, or if you even use them…but I have mine set up in groups, that I call Minx Crap 1 & 2. One group is feeds of stuff that I read every day, most of it from left leaning blogs, main stream media and two right-wings sites, Hot Air and Newsbusters. I keep lots of other right-wing feeds in another group, and feeds from science and history sites in another group. The reason I mention this is because looking at the Hot Air and Newsbuster feeds gives me a pretty good feel for what crap is being floated about, and the tone that the “conservative” folks are pushing. Lately the tone is becoming more desperate, and by that I am talking about the reporting they have been doing on the OWS global protest. Another area that is getting a lot of attention is the anti-women stories…most of which are written by a woman.

Ugh…

I guess what I am driving at is that some of the conservatives out there are really letting their true feelings out of the closet. Not that the closet had any real doors on it…the wingnuts usually aren’t stingy with their hate. I just think that the recent tone would suggest they are even more on the defensive then usual…The occupy “uprisings” must be hitting a nerve.

Alrighty then, here are your news links for the day…

Last night Jon Stewart was on fire! Late Night: Jon Stewart: Republicans don’t like most Americans – latimes.com

Stewart kicked off the segment with a montage of conservatives rallying their base with bellicose rhetoric: “Take our country back!”, “Get your musket!” and so on. He followed it with a series of clips in which some of the very same Republicans expressed their dismay over the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Most notable was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who expressed his increasing concern over the “growing mobs occupying Wall Street” and characterized the protests as class warfare.  “Believe it or not, some in this town have condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans,” he said.

Stewart seized upon Cantor’s apparent inconsistency. “If Republicans don’t condone pitting Americans against Americans, then who is it that we Americans should be taking this country back from?” he wondered.

Cue another montage of Republicans enumerating their many, many enemies: liberals, Hollywood, Planned Parenthood, labor unions, “tenured professors who can flunk you for being too openly conservative,” federal employees, people who support tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.

Stewart suggested that, not coincidentally, the list of America’s enemies was more or less a list of people who don’t vote Republican. “It must be tough to love America so much but hate almost three-quarters of the people living in it,” he concluded.

The clip is just over 8 minutes…watch it.

Let me say that Stewart is completely right in his assessment of the right’s hatred toward anyone that is not them…no surprise, but he really made the point so well last night. Bravo.

In other news, Obama’s Teleprompter. (Note I have the word Teleprompter capitalized…like any formal noun.) Obama’s stolen teleprompter recovered, national silence averted – Investors.com

First, the bad news: They recovered President Obama’s teleprompter.

So, anybody going to his speeches on the current Darth Vader armored bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia is still going to get the full 22-minute monty about how he’s there to listen.

The Real Good Talker’s top speech aide was in a truck stolen from a Richmond hotel parking lot early Monday morning and recovered in another hotel parking lot about 12 hours later.

[…]

Many politicians use teleprompters, of course, especially for new standard speeches they are testing or learning. Few politicians appear so fond of the teleprompter as Obama, though, who once during the 2007-08 cycle had one set up in the dirt of a rodeo arena, a place that might call for “Hey, how are you all?” less formality.

And the Democratic administration has demonstrated some sensitivity over his need for the aid, since Obama’s White House teleprompters have been rigged to recede into the floor when his formal remarks are finished and the cameras pull back.

I had no idea that the WH has taken the time to make Obama’s Teleprompters “built in” to the floor.

Leading me to believe that Obama does not do anything without being told what to do and say…

PHOTO: President Obama sits down with ABC News' senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper for an exclusive interview in Jamestown, N.C.

There has to be a teleprompter just over Jake’s shoulder…I am sure of it…I only wish the real man behind the curtain will stand up. Cause I am sick of seeing the Wizard give his “performance.”

There was a couple of links on women and children that I wanted to share with you:

Tennessee Commission Gives Family Planning Contract to Religious Health Group | Care2 Causes

Harvey Urges Parents To Refuse Care For Their Children From Gay Doctors | Right Wing Watch

Give those two links a look see! Especially the one about boycotting gay doctors. WTF? If anything proves just how much the right hates those who aren’t like them, that crap about putting your kids health in jeopardy because they don’t want some “fag” tending to their medical needs takes the cake!

Lastly, can someone tell me why this kind of legislation is even being brought before Congress. US Senate thwarts Barack Obama by backing the potato

Oh yeah…that just is rubbing salt in the wounds. It’s the economy stupid…jobs, jobs, jobs. I just find it ironic that the one thing which got the people of Ireland through the Potato Famine is trying to be banned by the Obama administration…perhaps they know something we don’t?

Nah…we know exactly where we are heading.

plank

Near the center of the encampment of some 70 tents, somebody had erected a section of unpainted wooden fence, with a sign asking “What’s your story?” The fence is full of authentic American stories scrawled on the wood with Magic Markers and Sharpies.

Members of Occupy Wall Street celebrate after learning they can stay in Zuccotti Park in New York

You can bet your ass we do!


Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!! I’m having trouble finding any new news, but I’ve done my best to dig up a few interesting reads for you.

The Boston Herald has the lowdown on President Obama’s illegal immigrant uncle.

An illegal immigrant from Kenya busted for drunken driving after nearly striking a cop car in Framingham is the uncle of President Obama, the Herald has learned.

Obama Onyango told cops he wanted to “call the White House” after he was nabbed for OUI Aug. 24 after nearly plowing his SUV into a police cruiser. He was arraigned Thursday and was ordered held without bail because he was wanted on a federal immigration warrant, officials said.

Mike Rogers, a spokesman for Cleveland immigration attorney Margaret Wong, who is representing Onyango, confirmed that the 67-year-old is the president’s uncle. Wong is the same lawyer who represented the president’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, in her fight to win asylum last year.

Reached at her apartment in a South Boston public housing complex today, Zeituni Onyango said of her brother’s arrest: “Why don’t you go to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washingon, D.C. and ask your president? Not me.” She then hung up on a reporter.

OK, it’s another right wing source, but Fox News has a funny article on Obama’s announcement of his new economic adviser Alan Krueger: Seriously? Obama Uses 2 Teleprompters for 3 Minute Speech

President Obama required two heavy-duty teleprompters on Monday during a three-minute speech in which he nominated Alan Krueger to serve as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers.

“I am very pleased to appoint Alan and I look forward to working with him,” Obama said, staring at the large, flat-screen monitor to his right, then shifting his eyes to the teleprompter on his left. “I have nothing but confidence in Alan as he takes on this important role as one of the leaders of my economic team.”

Why couldn’t he just memorize that?

In more serious news, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene has been devastating in Vermont, but the networks aren’t covering it 24/7. I wonder why?

Vermont is reeling today from what is becoming the state’s worst natural disaster since the epic flood of 1927. At least three people have died in the storm, one man is missing, hundreds of roads statewide are closed, and thousands of homes and businesses suffered power outages and serious damage from flooding associated with Tropical Storm Irene.

[Update 5:40 p.m.] Three people are confirmed dead in Vermont in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, and a fourth person is missing, state officials said at a news conference in Montpelier late this afternoon.

The deaths occurred in Wilmington, Rutland and Ludlow. Another person, the son of the Rutland victim, is missing and feared dead, according to state officials.

Perhaps if the media elites lived in Vermont, we’d hear more about it. But they don’t, so it’s not real to them. This is why we can have 25 million people unemployed in this country and the media and political class completely ignore the devastation it causes.

Sarah Jaffe has an important article at Alternet on “How the Surveillance State Protects the Interests Of the Ultra-Rich.”

Jaffe discusses the refusal of the British government to recognize that poverty played a role in the recent riots in London and other cities, as well as the shutdown of cell phone service by BART during the protests of the killing of a man by BART police. She writes:

The techniques that were roundly decried by Western leaders when used by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak against his people’s peaceful revolution are suddenly embraced when it comes to unrest at home. Not only that, but techniques honed in the “war on terror” are now being turned on anti-austerity protesters, clamping down on discontent that was created in the first place by policies of the state.

[....]

As a burgeoning international protest movement takes shape, opposing austerity measures, decrying the wealth gap and rising inequality, and in some cases directly attacking the interests of oligarchs, we’re likely to see the surveillance state developed for tracking “terrorists” turned on citizen activists peacefully protesting the actions of their government. And as U.S. elections post-Citizens United will be more and more expensive, look for politicians of both parties to enforce these crackdowns.

Despite growing anger at austerity in other countries, those policies have been embraced by both parties here in the States. Groups like US Uncut have stepped into the fray, pointing out the connection between the tax dodging of banks like Bank of America and other corporations and the slashing of the social safety net for everyone else. The new protest movements are led not only by traditional left groups like labor unions, but a generation of young, wired activists using the Internet for innovative protest and revolutionary activism.

It’s a lengthy article, but well worth reading.

Joseph Heller as a young man

I’ll end with a literary piece. I’m a big fan of Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22, so I got a kick out of this review of books about Heller at the NYT: The Enigma of Joseph Heller.

“Oh God, this is a calamity for American literature,” Kurt Vonnegut said on learning of Joseph Heller’s death in 1999. John Updike was less alarmed: Heller “wasn’t top of the chart” as a writer, he reflected, though he was “a sweet man” and his first novel, “Catch-22” was “important.” Note the Updikean judiciousness of “important”: he didn’t say he liked the book, but it was a great cultural bellwether as novels go, and it has endured. Despite mixed reviews on publication in 1961, “Catch-22” was soon adopted by college students who recognized a kindred spirit in Yossarian, the bombardier who rebels against a materialistic bureaucracy hellbent on killing him. “Better Yossarian than Rotarian” became a popular slogan, all the more so with the timely (for the novel’s sake) military escalation in Vietnam, which became the “real” subject of “Catch-22” and partly accounts for its sales of more than 10 million copies to date. It’s hard to argue with that kind of importance.

IMHO, John Updike’s work isn’t likely to be read 100 years from now. Does anyone still read “Couples?” Please. “The Witches of Eastwick” was funny, but hardly deathless literature. Catch-22, on the other hand, might hold up 100 years from now. To me it’s the ultimate book on the insanity of war. I might just check out that Heller biography, even though the NYT reviewer wasn’t that thrilled with it.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


Saturday Reads: What a glorious time to be free…spandex jackets for everyone!

Good Saturday morning, knowing that I had to write this post today, my anxiety level has grown.  This will be nowhere near as good as Wonk, so…that said, here we go.

You’ve been unemployed for longer than 4 months? Don’t even bother applying for that job…Yes, I am starting off with some attitude for this morning reads.  According to this post from Rachel Maddow’s blog, those of us who have been out of work for the last few years are screwed when it comes to finding that job.  Maddow Blog – Persistently job-searching, persistently jobless

A screenshot from an actual current job posting.

On last night’s show, Rachel made the point that the recent high rate of unemployment has a lot to do with the unemployed staying unemployed for longer. In other words, “high employment is due to persistent unemployment.”

The reason? There are likely many, but one noteworthy problem takes place in a very specific setting – the hiring process between employer and potential employees. Catherine Rampell of The New York Times recently reported on a study of job postings on numerous employment websites, and discovered “hundreds that said employers would consider (or at least ‘strongly prefer’) only people currently employed or just recently laid off.”

This blatantly excludes anyone who belongs in the “Continuing Joblessness” category below.

Jared Bernstein

The stigma attached to being unemployed has increasingly become more of a factor in the hiring process, although the legality of discriminating against employment status remains in question. Rampell writes:

Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.

Given that the average duration of unemployment today is nine months — a record high — limiting a search to the “recently employed,” much less the currently employed, disqualifies millions.

The rationale also doesn’t make much sense. As Rampell notes, “…people who have been out of work for two years or longer are people who were laid off during the recession. That means many of them were workers whose jobs were eliminated simply because their businesses were doing badly, not because they were personally incompetent.” Basically, questioning a person’s qualifications because they’re out of a job could cause employers to miss a potentially great hire.

The article goes on to say in March,  New Jersey became the first state to make it illegal to post job adverts which state the applicant must be employed.  In Washington, there is proposed legislation in the works that addresses this issue.

…in the House, the Fair Employment Act of 2011 would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit employers from refusing job applicants solely on the basis of unemployment.

Such a law would probably help dispel the use of job postings like this, but unfortunately, like any other anti-discrimination law, the validity of any cases brought forth would likely be difficult to prove. Employers would have to realize that the practice is inefficient for them in order to cause any considerable change.

This next article comes from HNN, History News Network, and brings comparisons of Hoover and Obama up to a different level, that being the “smarts” level…Obama and Hoover: Two “Smart” (Stupid) Presidents | History News Network by Jonathan Bean

For the past year, I have been researching how the housing bubble of the 1920s contributed to the Great Depression when the bubble burst. My study involves reading many articles and speeches by Herbert Hoover, first as Commerce Secretary (1921-1928) then as president (1929-1933). As the nation endures the Obama presidency, I see much in common between the two men, both seen as “smart” by their supporters.

We forget that Hoover had a “titanic intellect,” a stellar career as a mining engineer, translated medieval manuscripts into English, and wrote the textbook Principles of Mining. He helped orchestrate relief aid to save millions from hunger and starvation across post-World War I Europe. During the 1920s, he was a “progressive” busybody telling businessmen in all fields how they could make their work more efficient. His Commerce Department held 2,500 trade association meetings. One of those associations—the American Construction Council—was headed by trade lobbyist Franklin Delano Roosevelt. No, I am not making this up! FDR thought Hoover’s “smart” approach to jawboning business was an improvement upon competitive capitalism.

Barack Obama can’t boast that kind of record (he achieved very little before becoming president) but he shares the same cast of mind as Hoover: In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Is Obama Smart?,” Bret Stephens concludes that

a) Obama (like Hoover) thinks he is smarter than those who run businesses; but

b) “stupid is as stupid does.”

As their “smart” policies failed year after year, Hoover and Obama dug in and blamed the international environment (“economic headwinds”).

So, take a look at quotes from articles written about each man.  One discusses Hoover by interviewing people in 1928, and the second is from the 2008 WSJ article referred to up top.

Hoover 1928:

The Outlook reporter anonymously interviewed a prominent banker as to why business was opposed to Hoover, a “smart” candidate who mesmerized the the country with how he would engineer permanent prosperity.

Banker: My firm “has many textile manufacturers as clients . . . but nobody in the bank would presume to tell our customers how to make rayon.” Yet Hoover is “confident that he knows more about finance than financiers, more about industry than industrialists, and more about agriculture than agriculturists. He is so sure of his judgment in these fields that he wants to impress it on others. He is very seldom willing to take advice. Since he knows more than any advisers could, why should he?”

“[Hoover's] cast of mind will handicap him . . . . Because of his confidence in his own wisdom he is suspicious of those who disagree with him.”

“We object, moreover, not only to his ignoring our advice. We object to his offering us his advice on matters that are none of his business.” [Banker notes how Hoover's Commerce Department urged business to invest in certain industries or areas]. “It is not our function as bankers to tell our customers with whom they should do business.”

Now take a look at the similarities to this Wall Street Journal article…

Obama 2008:

“‘I think I’m a better speech writer than my speech writers,’” [Obama] reportedly told an aide in 2008. ‘I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m . . . a better political director than my political director.’”
Stephens writes: “How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever? Even when he’s criticized, his failures are usually chalked up to his supposed brilliance. Liberals say he’s too cerebral for the Beltway rough-and-tumble. . . .”
“Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience.”

Much is made of the president’s rhetorical gifts. This is the sort of thing that can be credited only by people who think that a command of English syntax is a mark of great intellectual distinction. Can anyone recall a memorable phrase from one of Mr. Obama’s big speeches that didn’t amount to cliché?”

As many of you have seen, there has been a whole lotta buyers remorse of late…by those who put Obama in the White House.

We have now reached the point where many Americans, even those who voted for Obama, share the attitude of those disillusioned with Hoover: In 1931, they recalled how they felt just three years prior: Hoover seemed so wonderful! He promised to end poverty in our time! And he seemed so smart!

[…]

We all know how well Hoover did in practice. It’s starting to look like “deja vu all over again.”

Yes, you can say that again…again.

On to a discussion about some of those disillusioned Obama bots… This post by LisaB over at No Quarter brought the most recent “should have voted for Hillary” admission to my attention. Another Captain Obvious : NO QUARTER

Yet another columnist says he “should have voted for Hillary.” Meh. You think? I used to find this sort of public re-thinking a little satisfying, but quite frankly now it just makes me mad.

Just around the same time I read that No Quarter post, Boston Boomer sent me a link to the original Bill McClellan article below.

I should have picked Hillary over Obama

In it, McClellan writes that the realization came as he was splashing around in Lake Michigan, lucky for us it was not while he was on the toilet experiencing a life altering bowel movement.

He then goes on to point out Obama’s god-like projection which blinded him to voting for Hillary, who he says was just more of Bill and he didn’t want it anyway.

McClellan discusses some of the many Obama fuck-ups and comes to this conclusion.

The blame, I think, lies with Obama. He is not strong enough to be an effective president.

Really? No shit!

(Oh yeah, sorry for the “language” but they tend to slip out when I’m pissed off.)

The examples of Obama’s weakness continues, then McClellan finishes the article with this nugget… and I will go back to the No Quarter article, which I think puts this “Should Have” admission in its proper place.

McClellan wonders why Obama seems passive, not aggressive enough, etc, (insert your own weakened descriptors here). And he comes up with a familiar answer: the dude is smart but he wasn’t ready.

Why has Obama not lived up to the promise? He is clearly intelligent. For some reason, though, he was not ready for the rough and tumble of national politics.

McClellan goes on to say that Obama, having been protected and bumped along in elite institutions full of well-meaning white people (as opposed to. . . ), had not encountered any real opposition, personal or circumstantial before becoming President.

Dude – what was there about a non-writing law review editor, present-voting first-term-senator, sub-committee-skipping chair, no-political-history political messiah, life-long-friend dropper, and Chicago-machine operator that failed to register with you? Had you considered the politician on his merits, you COULD NOT HAVE FAILED to realize he was Not Ready.

Hillary had been tested. Eight years in the meat grinder. She’d have been a better president.

Seriously? That’s what you’re going with? And it took you how long to tip to this bit-o-wisdom? I’m not very happy you realized your error, not thrilled that you see the difference, just disgusted that another Captain Obvious has come out with his supersuit on.

More for you after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »


The Vision Thang

I wrote a few days ago that I find it odd that Democrats don’t seem to be able to articulate a clear vision with specific

Dear Liberal Democrats:

programs and agendas they’d like to support given the absolute fanaticism articulated by Tea Party extremists.  The voting populace seems eager to listen at this point.  You would think in the obvious Republican war against Women, Family Planning, Collective Bargaining, and economic recovery that certain Democratic politicians known for their speeches would be able to find some fighting words. It’s not happening.  It’s a pattern.  It’s time for other Democratic leaders to stand up and fill the void.

It was interesting to read similar thoughts expressed by NY Congress Critter Anthony Weiner who is quickly becoming my favorite outspoken liberal. He was interviewed recently by Amanda Terkel writing for HuffPo.

“On our side is this weird squishy affirmative sense of what government should do and how we’re opposed to this cut and that cut, rather than saying, ‘Here are the things: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, environment and education. We’re not cutting those. Those are off the table. That’s non-negotiable,’” said Weiner, adding, “We haven’t really done that very well. That’s because the president fundamentally — he’s not a values guy. He wants to try to get the best deal for the American people and that’s virtuous in its own right, but it becomes very difficult to make a strategy. There’s been much greater global strategy thinking on [progressive media] outlets, frankly, than at 1600 Pennsylvania.”

When asked by The Huffington Post whether what’s happening at the state and local level with labor unions and budget battles would rise to the national stage, Weiner said that the leadership of national officials — including the president — will be essential to push the issue forward.

“We’ve spent a lot of time waiting for Godot when it comes to the Obama White House, and we kind of — to some degree — have to internalize the idea that, you know what? That’s probably not the way to go,” Weiner said. “We have to start initiating some of this.”

Continued Weiner: “It is now pretty clear to me — I’m not saying this is pejorative — the president, he doesn’t animate his day by saying, ‘All right, what is the thing that has me fired up today? I’m going to out and try to move the ball on it.’ He kind of sees his job as to take this calamitous noise that’s going on on the left with people like us and on the right on Fox News, and his path to being a successful president, in his view, is taking that cacophony and trying to make good, level-headed, smart policy out of it and moving it incrementally down the road. That’s nice. That’s a good thing. We need that, obviously. The problem is there’s no substitute for someone really leaning into these values questions. “

The wall of reality between campaign rhetoric, action, and policy has become so noticeable now that even the most loyal partisans see the complete disconnect.  The problem is that they’re standing around waiting for the President to do something. I contend that’s not going to happen.

Republicans on the right wing are now making political hay of the presidential preoccupation with March Madness and the endless dithering on the no-fly zone over Libya, further efforts to encourage job creation in the country, and the lack of engagement on basic Democratic base issues like the assault on collective bargaining happening in states like Wisconsin.  Obama isn’t even standing up for Big Bird. (Unless you count this just released press ‘statement’.) Maybe our old yellow friend needs to dress up like a Jay Hawk to get some attention these days.  Terkel finds other Democratic pols with similar views that are willing to go on record.  I’m hoping this is the start of a few brave souls finding their voices and spines.  It seems some of them are still in some form of denial.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) was also at the gathering and later added, in reference to labor and budget battles, “The only regret I have is that the White House isn’t fighting back against this. It’s one thing to say, ‘Well, I stand behind the workers — how far behind, I don’t know.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘I stand with them and in front of them to protect their rights.’ And I’m waiting for that to happen.”

Frankly, I think Kucinich is going to be waiting for Godot.  I have a lot of problems with Kucinich who caved into White House pressure on health care reform after a few flights on air force one.  I also think that he’s still in denial that the President shares Democratic values. Defazio of Oregon appears to have a bit more of a realistic perspective.

DeFazio added that he hopes Obama stands with congressional Democrats rather than agreeing to a compromise with the Republicans, as he did a few months ago on the tax cuts.”The problem is the negotiator-in-chief and where he’ll end up, and whether we can put some steel in his spine,” he said. “I assume he caved in on taxes in December because he was blackmailed on the treaty with Russia with nuclear weapons, which was absolutely critical. But that’s pretty pathetic also.”

We’re beginning to see voices critical of the President coming from within the party itself.  This is something that has been seriously missing for years.  I’m not sure that any amount of steel spinal fortification is what’s at issue here.  No-Drama Obama shows a lot of enthusiasm when the topic suits him.  He lights up like a christmas tree when speaking about himself or the Chicago Bulls.  He just isn’t enthusiastic about basic human rights and Democratic values.  He’s surrounded himself with Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street insiders. This alone should signal his priorities.

The Republicans definitely are a divided party right now.  The budget battle is highlighting the struggle between Tea Party purists and the wheeling dealing business enablers on the right. Boehner’s the one that’s herding cats right now. The 2012 election appears to be shaping itself towards a Democratic resurgence.  Polls show significant buyer’s remorse for the recent crop of Republican governors and legislators.  This is at least true on the local level. But, they’ve blown it before. Just look at the legislature that came out of the pre-lameduck congress. It was loaded with business deals like tax cuts and business subsidies instead of expansion of middle class and main street priorities.  Each bill started from the negotiation process from a center right perspective and moved farther right.  Liberal Democratic senators didn’t even fight to get an optimal stating position.

The biggest problem is that the President is more than just the titular leader of the party and has a responsibility to provide the Vision Thang.  Obama’s vision only seems to go as far as his personal interests and whims.  Any one interested in social justice or economic justice issues has to be increasingly disturbed about this.  I don’t want to fall into the Republican meme machine that’s using this opportunity to create yet another urban myth around Obama.  Yet, it does seem to me that Obama is giving them far too much material to grease the wheels of their machines.  There’s an angry electorate that just eats that up if they’re not given substantive things to think about.

We need more Democratic politicians that are willing to articulate Democratic values and an agenda that forwards issues that concern most Americans.  If the President doesn’t appear interested in doing it, then I wish we could put people like Anthony Weiner in better positions to articulate the vision thang to the public and to the press.  He might be in a better position to really do this than popular lightening rods like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. I think they have to stop waiting for the President to “steel” himself or say something.  By now, it ought to be obvious that it’s not going to happen.


Corporate Money, Corporate Press, Corporate Congress

Some astute and somewhat outrageous comments by outgoing Congressman John Hall in The New York Observer should cause pause and some good discussions. That is, if any one pays attention to them.

Speaking about the Citizen’s United decision, which allowed unregulated flow of cash into campaign coffers, Hall said, “I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called Fascism. So that’s really the question— is that the destination if this court decision goes unchecked?”

That’s the astute part.  The outrageous part is “the flow of corporate dollars is why he and the Democrats lost control of Congress”.  Well, imho, there’s some yes and no in that.  Here’s a CNN corporate sponsored poll that may shine some light on that.

President Barack Obama enters the new year with a growing number of Americans pessimistic about his policies and a growing number rooting for him to fail, according to a new national poll.

Full poll results [pdf]

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday also indicates that while a majority of the public says Republican control of the House of Representatives is good for the country, only one in four say the GOP will do a better job running things than the Democrats did when they controlled the chamber.

Sixty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say they hope the president’s policies will succeed.

“That’s a fairly robust number but it’s down 10 points since last December,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Twelve months ago a majority of the public said that they thought Obama’s policies would succeed; now that number has dropped to 44 percent, with a plurality predicting that his policies will likely fail.”

There’s a large number of people out there that seem to see no real difference between the Republicans, INC. and Democrats Inc. in terms of outcomes. They hope the explicitly stated goals of Obama policy succeed.  They doubt the laws passed support those goals.  They believe they will fail.  I think people see the disconnect between the rhetoric and the product delivered now. I honestly don’t believe that voters put the Republicans in charge of the house because they love Republican policy, if these polls mean anything.  That poll and many others show voters support the outcomes of authentically Democratic policy.  I believe this election was more a play for gridlock simply because they don’t see what’s been passed as achieving the ends of what they want.  They believe it will fail.

How many people really want the kinds of things pushed by John Bohener who–as an example–just met with culture thug Randall Terry and other monsters of the Republican base after their mid-November victory lap? There’s only so far you can get by pushing a repeal to DADT on the basis of  gays and straights showering together.   This is especially true when the vast majority of people support repeal. Remember Terry Schiavo?  Played well with the base but horrified the country?  What would happen if we saw more reporting of this kind of thing on CNN?   I bet you never saw that before I pointed it out to you via Salon.

Let’s get back to Hall’s comments.

The extra money floating around, he said, compounded the Democrats’ weaknesses on the economy, unemployment and the mortgage crisis. And he said that for of the accomplishments of the lame duck Congress, their failure to pass the Disclose Act—which would have at least forced corporations to reveal who they were donating to—stood out a as a black mark on the session.

“We are talking about supposedly wholesome names like Revere America, American Crossroads, Americans for Apple Pie and Motherhood—if somebody hasn’t trademarked that one I probably should.  The fact is you can call it anything and the money could be coming from BP or Aramco or any corporation domestic or foreign,” Congressman Hall said.

Well, that’s a good point.  I’m still pushing for congress critterz to be forced to wear NASCR-like jackets listing their top corporate contributors as long as they’re in office.  That would include the ones hiding behind their advocacy ad creating subsidiaries okayed by SCOTUS, INC.  I’m still not certain that the extra money floating around was the reason for The Big Shellac.  I’m still guessing that every one was hoping to stop the Washington DC Pork Train and laws so long and complex that no one can really figure out what they really do.  These are the laws that people think will fail them.  If anything, we should see a slow down of that process. I think the American people want to slow the process down so they can figure out if it’s good or bad for them and if it will achieve what they support.

BUT, The Big Shellac came at the high cost of forwarding Republican laws and agendas that please the Republican Bircher Base.  Plus, there’s more possible SCOTUS fights and appointments that only please the Bircher and Religionist Base.  Hence, the nice get together with Randall Terry whom Salon described as:

Randall Terry is a psychopath, an antiabortion zealot who endorses domestic terror and compares coldblooded murderers to heroic abolitionists. He’s also a ridiculous character whose true calling is self-promotion, by any means necessary.

He long ago went from prominent figure in the raging abortion debate to desperate self-parody. He renounced his gay son, left his wife for a campaign volunteer, and sought a reality television show. If it weren’t for YouTube, no one would’ve even noticed his inflammatory statements about the murder of Dr. George Tiller. In short, Randall Terry’s not only an extremist nutcase, he’s also old news.

But now that the Republicans are back, this faded celebrity is mounting a comeback. Terry’s most recent e-mail blast featured a photo of the radical Catholic cleric sitting down with incoming Speaker John Boehner himself. “With Boehner’s chief of staff, after the election,” the caption read. (Terry also presented the incoming speaker with a fetus doll resting on some sort of “decree.”)

A Speaker of the House Boehner does not return to Congress to any degree of sanity. I won’t even go in to the incredible problems some one must have to cry that much and drink that hard.  A Republican congress  just increases the show factor, imho.  It also brings us back to the idea that we not only need to get corporate money out of politics,we need it out of the press. The CNN indicates that the President is likable enough, he’s just not focused on the right things.  That’s where the money comes in.  If congressional leaders and the White House continue to go back and forth between corporate and state interests and the only folks with real access are either groups that can deliver zealous voters and big bucks, we’re in trouble.  We’re especially in trouble of the press continues on in its route of  “sins of omission” that appear  to play into the hands of their advertisers and the interests of government. The Village does not want to run off their advertisers and the few readers/viewers left standing.

This is the importance of Wikileaks and independent media organizations like Democracy Now. They produce things of Public Interest that  are not censored, swayed, or bullied by corporate and state interests.  As we’ve seen in one after another of the dribbles of diplomatic cables coming from European press, there appears to be a lot of  melding of corporate and state interests.  This is not good for any one but corporate and authoritarian state interests.   European press is filtering the leaked diplomatic cables right now. The majority of them remain out of the public domain.  The European papers are less corporate than their U.S. counterparts which is better.  We may still not actually see all of the material.   Press, government and corporate interests are way too cozy in this country.  If you go back to what Congressman Hall said, it’s the classic definition of fascism.

update: I wanted to add the link above on the  “classic definition of fascism” because I just read some posts from right wing sources linked to this article at Mememorandum that are obviously trying to rewrite history.  I’ve linked to the writings of Mussolini.  This is part of the definition of fascism as put forward by Mussolini.  Socialism and Marxism are NOT fascism in Mussolini’s definition.  The right frequently tries to shove them into the same package.  It was a post war trick used to focus hate of Nazis/Facism over to our former allies, the Soviets.  Mussolini wrote this in 1932 as part of his definition.

…Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production…. Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied – the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society.

I think if you go read it much of it sounds like the Republican manifesto.

“Given that the nineteenth century was the century of Socialism, of Liberalism, and of Democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy …”

Mussolini spit out the world socialism, liberalism, and democracy in the same way the Bircher wing of the Republican party spits those words out.