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April 2012 Archives

April 3, 2012

To the couch with them!

Chris Mooney's psychoanalysis of conservatives and token couching of liberals leaves a lot to be desired. I think one might fairly say of both that authoritarian is as authoritarian does. It pays to look past their fratricidal squabbling to see what kinds of things they do with their political power and it's useful, additionally, to look at how they justify them.

In the world outside their squabbling and willful stupidity, liberal legislators just authored and sponsored indefinite detention legislation and a liberal president signed it into law. There's an extensive history of the ways in which previous draconian laws were used. None of it is pretty. The liberal reaction is to claim conservatives would be worse. Narcissism of small differences, anyone?


I was reproached lately on one of my mail lists:

I know everyone says the Dems have essentially tailed the Reps in the rightward move, but in fact the partisan divide in Congress now is far greater than it was 30 or 40 years ago, a fact that people like you never bother to address.
One often hears this kind of thing, couched in terms like 'polarization' and 'partisanship'. Now since I personally am most impressed by the extent of complete agreement between the two 'parties', this talk confuses me, and I said so.

Doug Henwood obligingly provided some links(*) to research on the subject. As I rather suspected, the research shows something a bit different from what you'd expect.

The exact procedure is not quite clear to me, but it looks like they did something like this:

1) For every roll-call vote (which of course excludes the votes by acclamation that frequently determine the outcome), the researchers decided whether a Yea or a Nay on that particular vote was more 'liberal' or 'conservative'.

2) They then accumulated scores on individual 'legislators' in Congress, these scores being essentially a ratio of the times each individual Solon cast the 'liberal' vote over the times s/he cast the 'conservative' vote. Perhaps the individual votes were weighted somehow, but just how does not clearly appear, after an afternoon's reading.

3) Do a time series by party. Voila, it turns out that party-line voting is becoming more common -- a dire state of affairs which the authors ominously refer to as 'parliamentary'. What this means is that you're seeing fewer and fewer Democrats whose lifetime average falls farther 'conservative' than the most 'liberal' Republican, and contrariwise.

5) None of this has any bearing on the question of whether the parties are closer together or farther apart in a substantive way, or whether the 'center' has moved to the right or to the left -- much less how. It simply tells us whether the parties have dissimilated more or less; whether the region of overlap -- of average voting records, NB, not individual votes -- has expanded or shrunk.

What the research shows is simply that if you add up the the votes, rated on a liberal/conservative scale, then even a Blue Dog has a lower lifetime right-wing batting average than the most liberal Republican.

Non-overlap on cumulative voting records doesn't seem like a very informative proxy for anything, except perhaps the character of the party system ('parliamentary' or otherwise).

And it doesn't say anything at all about the actual effective difference between the parties, nor about how 'policy' is actually made. Right-wing Democrats can dependably bolt across the aisle on every vote of consequence and still have lifetime averages that lie slightly to the 'liberal' side. And both parties can be moving steadily rightward the whole time, an effect which is of course normalized out by the method chosen.

'Polarization' seems a misleading word for this, though. It suggests that the parties are off on opposite trajectories, approaching the respective 'poles' of -- what? New Deal liberalism on the one hand, and Falangism on the other?

Whereas the reality is, I would say, that both parties are moving right, and drawing closer to each other if anything; certainly not farther apart. Those movements are quite consistent with the one-dimensional sorting-out and stratification and increasingly coherent 'branding' of the two gangs, noticed in this research.

You know the old joke about the unfortunate statistician? He drowned in a creek that was six inches deep -- on average.


(*) To wit:


April 4, 2012

Forensic Anthropology

That's my fancy name for dumpster-diving. Although I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there really is a profession called forensic anthropology. Dumpster diving is sometimes called salvage or even rag-picking, but the basics are the same. It's the reclamation and reuse of things no longer subject to police-enforced claims of ownership. And dumpster-diving, as SMBIVANs surely know, can yield treasures. If you have gear and can call on some help, it can be part of a livelihood.

The reward to effort ratio is an iffy thing. Local knowledge is important. I've found the odds of finding something worth the expenditure of labor resources can be somewhat improved by reading the classifieds and ads. They give clues to concentrations of activity that may yield salvageable items. The signal to noise ratio is high, in both print and online, but it's still worth a shot. Examples of things that help include notices of demolition and factory and warehouse job openings and sales.

While browsing ads and looking for finds, in recent years, I've come across thousands of managerial help wanted and services offered ads. They grow like weeds in abandoned industrial parks. The managerial language is depressing. The employers are almost certainly full of shit about actually giving a job to any given applicant. They're covering their asses by nominal openness. The jobs will go to someone who fits their "eligibility profile", which means favors will be exchanged and useful social emollient will be spread—passive voice used advisedly. The seekers are even sadder. There's little they can do to differentiate themselves from the millions of similar schlubs. They have core competencies that have been and could be positive assets in exciting environments. They're self-starting, team-working, revenue-enhancing customer relations superstars. The "digitally savvy" achievers offer LinkedIn URLs for anyone who wants to see their CVs. The CVs are loaded with keyword and keyword phrases designed to act as search engine optimizers. The seekers have been tossed on the rubbish heap and they're hoping to flag someone who will pull them out. I'd do the same in a heartbeat.

The ones who don't have to worry about getting hired, in my personal experience, are the ones who can allude to a knack for recruiting scabs, union busting, cultivating stakhanovites, aggressive collections practices and facilitation of rent seeking efforts. To paraphrase, it's snapping turtles, all the way down.

I took a few of the vicious CVs and did an unscientific cross referencing of employment dates, corporate bankruptcies, regulatory disciplinary actions, corporate name changes and opprobrious mention in the news media. Sure enough, the snapping turtle core competencies correlate with corporate grief. They bust out a niche, devastate a community, a job class, the customers, clients, inmates and suckers; they leave the cleanup to the state and move on.

April 6, 2012

The running of the Schadenfreude

My Lefty mailing lists are starting to exhibit a heightened irritability, combined with a severe impairment of the ability to read and to think coherently. I conclude this must be an election year, and the Great Existential Dilemma looms yet again: do I fall once more into the loveless embrace of that poxed old whore, the Democratic Party, and arise from her insalubrious bed tainted and ashamed? Or do I forego la petite mort -- not a thing to be sneezed at, however dearly bought and squalid its scene -- and either seek satisfaction elsewhere, or, what the hell, sublimate for once?

I feel for the poor folk who agonize over this question. I wish I could endue them with my own sublime indifference to the old trollop's shopworn charms. American elections seem about as compelling to me as the fortieth season of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

To be sure, there are outcomes that would be fun. For example, say half the marks infected four years ago with folie d'Obie are intelligent enough this year to stay home. That would set me to baring my awful old fangs in a grotesque rictus of Saturnine mirth.

Can I hope?

April 8, 2012

The Age of Obama: How to Fix It

ladies and gentlemen.......mr van jones:


".... Obama For America did the best that it could"

"but ....
the mass gatherings,
the idealism,
the expanded notions of American identity,
the growing sense of a new national community,
all of that .....disappeared..... Obama relied on the people too little,
and we tried to rely on him too much."


mr jones is that "we" there
" we " the pwog people
just the we of barry's pwog insiders ?

as in the elite pwog we

"....did not have to leave millions of once-inspired
people feeling lost, deceived, and abandoned."

the we
who ".. overestimated our achievement in 2008, .."

the we
who "..were in the suites when we should have been in the streets. "

ahh is this the mea culpa
that simple country decency
clamors for ?

is this the honest
bold confession
by one of the pwog elite
one of the choice WE
of the suites ?

one of the buck tailed mother fuckers that

"...repositioned our grassroots organizations
to be "at the table" in order to ...work with the administration."


i know i know
.... for us hard shell confirmed SMBIVAers this is hard to stomach

but lets be humanists
and try to understand


do u all recall how our father st S
often notes this fact
also dragged out by Jones

. "..many (elite pwogs) were so enthralled with the idea of being
a part of history
....we forgot "the " thankless work. "

nice name that " thankless work "
nice and clear

after years in the streets... years outside the tower
pissing on the curb .... talking to the hand etc etc

one can see the attraction
the temptation.....no ?

just for once
to be near the spot lights... part of the back story

who wouldn't take that offer if they got it ..
i mean besides a few of our blackest of nihilist heros
and franciscan monks ?


part two

--- for the decent fact fearing sheeple among us --

analysis by Van J :

social change
real social change
progressive social change :

"... requires a willingness to walk with a White House
when possible..
and to walk boldly ahead of that same White House
when necessary."

its not a case of 'either /or ' mates
its 'both /and '

get the blanket toss ?

you pwog pond dwellers still need
"them "
the "us insiders "
big headedressed activist issimos
even if
" Too many ..(of us ).reverted to acting like ..
die-hard ......fans of the president
not fighters for the people."

see ?

if u don't then [ponder this
mr jones claims he and his insider we
have learned their lesson

they are ready to rejoin the fight the thankless fight ...next time .....

and next time
the insider We's
will be in the streets.... leading the people

no these We's won't pull a 08 II
on ya
this time


once the elite We's re ignite millions of us high hoper hearts and minds
to get out the mass vote this fall
we big insider We's
are gonna rely on the people all the way to Eden ....this time

no more will all those pwogressive ops
be simple front groups for the Dembot ballot show

no longer

nope not this time

one day after the election
this time
we will NOT switch
from yelping energizers
ankle biting guard dogs
not this time
this time is different


believe that ....right ??



To tell which way the windbag is blowing

Never thought I'd utter these words: The unspeakable Peter Beinart has made me very happy. My attention was recently called to a piece he wrote last month in the NY Times (yes, the Times) endorsing -- with some careful qualifications -- the BDS(*) movement.

Now Beinart is notoriously a mad-dog Zionist, so this is an interesting move.

Turns out that Beinart is worried that West Bank settlements will end up making a two-state solution impossible (which is, of course, just what they're meant to do). But Beinart thinks a two-state solution is the only way to save Zionist apartheid. (His partners in crime in Jerusalem have a few other ideas in mind, I suspect.) So he's in favor of a carefully targeted BDS confined to goods made in West Bank settlements. Green Line apartheid goods, of course, will continue to be fine.

This move on Beinart's part has been greeted in some quarters as the accession of an ally.

It is not, of course. It's a rear-guard action, an attempt to keep BDS sentiment and activity confined to the West Bank, and implicitly get the thievish iniquity of the larger Zionist project off the hook.

The reason it makes me so happy, of course, is that Beinart thinks it's necessary. He sees that BDS is taking hold and feels the need to 'set limits', as parents are incessantly told to do.

Gut yontif, everybody. I'm enjoying my goyish revels; leg o' lamb tonight, asparagus with the Smith special homemade mayo, new potatoes, and onions stewed in wine with the Smith spouse special secret sauce.


(*) Boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions -- against Israel.

April 9, 2012

van jones part deux

this follows an earlier post :



carefully recall these plain unvarnished facts :

we pwogs
and fan like goo goo spirits

--with the help of several
oppressed and quasi oppressed minorities--

elected Barry POTUS in november 2008

and then ...everything went south

sez brother van jones
--- in a column flogging his how to book ---

lets do it all again in '12
let's back Barry
...only this time after the ballot battle is won
... we better get the serious bidniss done this time baby...... gooood and done !!!!!!

jones figures last time
we pwogs
---all the pwogs and nothing but the pwogs----
...err aka ' the movement ...
had entirely
the wrong " theory of the presidency. "

we were wrong dead wrong to expect a champion of progressive Change


we need to learn this time

A POTUS is at best
a kindly opportunist

so this time we need to learn how to move an opportunist to the left
and then
do it !

here's what Jones sez shoulda gone down last time
and oughta go down this next time round ...when it will be different ...
way way different

last time
" Once it became obvious that ...( Barry )..was committed to
bipartisanship at all costs...progressives needed
to reassess our strategies, defend our own interests,
and go our own way"

last time
". It took us way too long to internalize this lesson-
and act upon it."

(act upon it ?? when did that happen Van ?)

shameless ???

as if organizations set up to support
a candidate
can morph into
a serious core
ready to threaten power
with an all court
ocean to ocean people's press

total crap

its like eunicks can not reproduce

its a known fact

here's the central lie :

"The independent movement for hope and change,...
died around conference tables in
Washington, DC........"

its a lie
there never was
an " independent movement for hope and change"

the mission was always far simpler

build grass roots organizations
that "we" control ...."'we" the insider pwogs

the elite we
that will
if Barry wins ... "walk with the president "

last time

"Somewhere along the line,
a bottom-up, largely decentralized phenomenon
found itself trying to function as a subcomponent of a
national party apparatus. "

somewhere along the line ??
try from JUMP STREET brother jones

and we're told this happened
"Despite the best intentions of practically everyone involved"

" best of intentions " ..."pactically everyone " ....amazing

at any rate

as jones sez

"the whole process wound up sucking the soul out of the movement."



no one here at SMBIVA buys that quality of blow back shit

but does anyone else buy it ?

come on jones

some how this time will be different ???

this time

we will shake the peoples fist when Barry strays

we will build independent organizations
march on the capitol
storm the white house
occupy the FBI

of course this we
that will be doin it all right and proper this time

are the same WE
that built and ran the cut outs last time


i hear peter sellers in 'whats up pussycat '
declaiming with great conviction:

"i promise... i'll never do it again "

what follows immediately
is a digression into the greater details
of van's version
audacity of hope


bad enough already i know

so this section is only for those agitprop gluttons among u

the rest can jump ahead
to the brief finale

please do

you aren't missing anything


now they are gone
those silk tights pinkos

let us real class wranglers
see our mr jones dig his cess pit deeper

calling the rest even more shameless
hardly covers it

he recalls last time in 08

"The administration was naïve and hubristic
enough to try to absorb and even direct
the popular movement that had helped to elect the president."

note he makes the essential admission
a whale of an admission
but only in the form of an even bigger lie

jones asserts

it was a post election
white house effort
that was out "to absorb and even direct "

not a ' from day one "...
way pre election
sharply pointed single pupose mission

the mission
of everyone of those de facto
if not de jure
party cutouts was to absord and direct
to co opt and pre empt
to ....etc etc

and that isn't enough of course

no it isn't enough
to completely rewrite the story
air brush out the big We's fangs
there everywhere
even in the very first nebulus group portraits in 07

van has to rub our poor small faces in muck

yes us

all of us cutout conned
shepard's shit pie eating
little We's
of pwogdom

were " the main problem ..." all along
not the elite We's

yes US we little We's
the rough guts
of "... the movement itself "

yes its our fault

we the little We's were
".. naïve and enamored ..."

we the little We's
".... wanted to be absorbed and directed."

yup we wanted it ...WANTED IT BAD !

and boy oh boy we sure got it
and got it ' good and hard '
as ole HLM might have observed

more salt in wounds anyone ?...try this

"....Instead of marching on Washington,
many of us
longed to get marching orders from Washington. "

see i told you so or did i ?

we're fucking stooges at heart

at any rate

its as obvious as
electric Al's package

jones wants us little We types

to feel every bit as culpable no more culpable
his fellow big WE types

WE the total WE are all in this together

all on the same freight cars headed for the GOP torture camps

and we lost last time
because we all
"...so much wanted to be a part of something beautiful
that we forgot how ugly and difficult
political change can be".

yup its just so

we dopey day dream believers

his WE got
jobs and chat up visits with Barry

and we little We's
got to be fans

we ended up cheering or booing
we were still just fans ...passive hot dog eating
bleecher seat spectators

i know i'm repeating myself

i can't help it...but one more time

"Despite the best intentions of practically everyone involved,
the whole process wound up
sucking the soul out of the movement."

"sucking the soul out of the movement."

read the whole damn thing
in fact read it over twice..out loud

it makes a great hate time
shout script


end of digression



lets clean this up fast


to move into high gear this time
to get to the promised land this time

we need the correct theory

the correct "theory" ?


"In America, change comes when we have two
kinds of leaders, not just one. We need a president who
is willing to be pushed into doing the right thing, and
we need independent leaders and movements that are
willing to do the pushing. "

" We already have our head of state who arguably is willing to be pushed."

gulp !

but but but but but

" We do not yet have
a strong enough independent movement
to do the pushing."

so lets build it ...now .....sez mr jones

not another score of jack ass cutouts ....van ???

real barn burners ??

why am i unconvinced ??


April 10, 2012

union bureaucrats chase the jackasses again...reflex or death twitch ?


one shamus cooke:

"the crumbs of gratitude stopped trickling down years ago,
and what little remains on the union plate
is now being targeted by both
Democratic and Republican politicians
who insist on ever more concessions."

and the non union mcshit job class is as burtned up
and turned off as ever

yet corporate job sites remain quiet


"Labor leaders are not stupid. They recognize these
facts, but have absolutely no idea what to do about it.
So they do what they've done for decades; align
themselves with the Democrats in the hopes that they
will be rewarded for their servitude. "

seems there can't possibly be
another "full turn" of the breaking wheel left

the unions as institutions both pub and private
must be at the point of total collapse

surely unions at least some unions
will explode where their strength has always laid
inside the Man's sweat house

i mean like really ... the jack ass crew
can't bend em and stretch em yet again
can they ??

how much clown shit will these guys and gals eat ??

its way breyond survival time

are they simply preparing
each their own set of l parachutes
like so many
tiny soviet camp politbureaus ???

spring training in mass public ....fist shaking

its called the 99 spring offensive

and it starts with training 100k dovenik commandos

and there's a big turn out scheduled for april 17

tax wealth not work

or can the OWS forces take this spring gig down a nastier road ?

like into the corporate job sites

The begging bowl

Some time ago, I signed up for the Democratic Party's email list, in the hope that it would occasionally provide some material to blog about. That hope didn't really pan out -- the material is tedious and repetitive. But it occurred to me the other day that there might be a kind of meta-information to be derived from the stream of emails, even though each individual mail contained essentially no information at all.

I did a quick scan of the old inbox and realized two things:

1) They send me something just about every day -- sometimes two or three times a day.

2) The stuff is all written by the same person, though it appears over the signatures of different people -- Nancy Pelosi, some guy with the apt name of Robbie Mook, Carolyn Baloney (my Congresscritter, if memory serves) and, barf, Madeleine Albright.

3)They all ask for money.

There's always a 'hook' for the ask in the events of the day, but it's generally quite feeble. Here's the latest, for example:

BREAKING NEWS: Santorum Drops Out

Michael --

Santorum's out. That means the 2012 general election is on.

Now that it's clear Mitt Romney is their nominee, Republicans will focus their unified resources toward defeating President Obama. The next 24 hours are critical. Democrats must have the strongest showing possible to prove we have what it takes to fight Republicans' attacks and win in 2012.

Full moon tonight! Donate now!

This is starting to suggest to me that parties are not so much vote-getting machines as they are fund-raising machines. Fund-raising used to be something that you did in order to get votes, but I wonder whether the tail hasn't started to wag the dog: fund-raising is what keeps everybody employed, and whether you get elected or not is secondary, as long as the funds keep coming in.

(It's a little like the Israel lobby that way: the Lobby used to exist for the sake of Israel, but it looks increasingly like Israel exists for the sake of the Lobby.)

Another thing to ponder is how the faithful stand it.

For me, these mails from the DCCC fall into the same ho-hum category as Nigerian spam: your dad was a diamond smuggler and has bequeathed me six million dollars. Uh-huh. One doesn't want to see too much of this stuff, but two or three a day falls below the level of active irritation.

On the other hand, a real Democratic Party true believer presumably buys into all this urgency; s/he believes the diamond smuggler and the six mil are real.

How do they cope? It must be like having an air-raid siren go off in your ear, over and over again, and believing every time that an air raid is really imminent.

A number of them seem to offload the angst by posting regularly about the War On Women, or whatever, on Facebook. Maybe that's how it works: you can discharge the agita by passing it on.

April 11, 2012

War on women; war on everybody

In a recent email exchange, Mr A, a friend of mine -- less bummed by the Democrats than I am, but I have hopes for him -- wrote:

I don't think the GOP war on women is imaginary.... there are hundreds of laws either passed or waiting to be passed, that limit a woman's rights, nationwide. It ain't posturing. Look at what's happening in Michigan. If you want to see the social difference between the two parties there are plenty of options.
Taking the contrary view, Mr B, a commenter here, said:
In the overall scheme of things, alongside the many more important issues -- extrajudicial assassinations, unilateral war, attacks on civil liberties, etc. -- the whole War On Women™ is a contrived distraction created by the Donkeycrats to divert Pwogs' and Liberals' attention with that beat-assed old abortion chestnut.
I want to say that they're both right, and both wrong.

Oh, of course it's easy -- and probably correct -- to dismiss the Republican 'war on women' as a piece of empty theater. As a factual matter, real substantive restrictions on abortion are unlikely to happen, though degrading ritual humiliations are our way of life these days -- naked pictures and crotch-groping at airports, for example. But neither Republicans nor Democrats really want a lot more potentially restless poor people getting born, and the bourgeoisie want exactly their 1.47 children, not a hair more or less, and they certainly don't want their 17-year-old daughters to become mothers. So as a practical matter, abortion is safe.

But this approach assumes the question out of existence. Let's try taking it seriously instead, just by way of thought experiment. Let's say the Republicans and Democrats are in complete agreement about everything but abortion -- austerity, imperial war, Fort Zion, you name it. The only area where they disagree is abortion: the Republicans really want to put an end to it -- let's say -- and the Democrats will defend it to the last ditch. Where does this leave us?

Mr B would say the difference is relatively unimportant. Of course the 17-year-old mom-to-be, and her mother, the Maplewood real-estate broker, might think different, and who could blame them?

Mr A would say -- with my man, Noam Chomsky -- that it still is a difference, and enough of a difference to pull a lever for.

Mr A (and Noam) have the better case, but I still don't buy it. There's something left out of the reckoning here. Maybe more than one thing.

There is, for example, the question of enablement -- to borrow a bit of twelve-step jargon. Assuming the conventional wisdom that the parties are still more about vote-gettng than mere fund-raising(*), then if you follow A's and Noam's advice, you're encouraging the Dimbos to shave that residual difference even finer the next time round. Not to mention the general tendency in the wrong direction; not only does the gap become more narrow with every passing year, but the position of the gap is moving. Last year it was war with Iran, or not? This year, war with Iran becomes conventional wisdom, and the only question is about the mix of drones and grunts.

So that's my intellectualized answer. But it's not quite candid. For me at least, it ultimately comes down to something quite personal. Mr A and Noam regard their lever-pulling as a mere mechanical maneuver, a bloodless choice from a largely unpalatable menu; order the entree that won't kill you quite so rapidly.

But I can't see it this way. I just can't vote -- come what may -- for an imperial mass murderer, even if Mr A could convince me that the other imperial mass murderer would be somehow worse. I would feel soiled. I decline to weigh them in the balance; I decline to handle either of them with anything other than bitter contempt.

When I was about 12, and my brother was 8, he went through a phase of asking ghoulish unanswerable questions: Would you rather be in the cockpit of a flamed-out fighter jet plummeting toward a shark-infested sea, or buried alive among zombies in Louisiana? I tried to construct intelligent thoughtful answers to the first few of these, but finally realized it was, as they say, a lose-lose situation; the only sensible response to 'which would you rather' is, 'you're fucked either way'.


(*) A topic recently ruminated about here.

April 14, 2012

vital centerism

i drop this in because no one takes the bait if i put such larkdom merely in a few comment cages....not that posts are more then "better at the margin"
ie they every so often tick off the right posse of righteous high conviction vipers

so here is the thesis up here in the big time

vital centerism is a greater evil then lesser evilism

why i bet nation wide
a single" airtime" hour barely passes in one hundred
without some worship of the common vital sensible center of american politics

its as if a veritable atlantis of seet reason and cool self command lay submerged between the ghouishers of our GOP and the herd of loco weed eating jack asses of the Democracy

Barry is perhaps the fatal fool de jour of self righteous pilgrims
headed toward the Great Center

its as if the far flanks
rather then essays
in bright new americas or venerable old ones
were simply
a means toward falling off one edge or other of a flat earth

April 15, 2012

At it again

Well, folks, it looks like MoveOn and the Democratic Party are at it again. These two have had a long and dirty history of co-opting, subverting and destroying popular democratic movements in this country, and their latest campaign to infiltrate the Occupy Movement, “The 99% Spring”, continues in that sordid traditon.

Here’s Charles M. Young, writing in Counterpunch last week:

…The meeting was a few blocks from where I live. The spam said it was “inspired by Occupy Wall Street.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was vaguely hoping that whatever The 99% Spring was, it would start a chapter of Occupy Wall Street on the Upper West Side, conveniently near my abode, and agitate for the Democrats and MoveOn to move left.

The first clue that my evening might go otherwise was the sign-up table, where there were a bunch of Obama buttons for sale and one sign-up sheet for the oddly named Community Free Democrats (are they free of community?), which is the local Democratic clubhouse. That killed the “inspired by Occupy Wall Street” vibe right there. No piles of literature from a zillion different groups, as there had been in Zuccotti Park. No animated arguments among Marxists, anarchists, progressives, punks, engaged Buddhists, anti-war libertarians and what have you. Just Obama buttons, which didn’t appear to be selling…

Occupy the Upper West Side

Here's a wonderful piece by one Charles Young posted at This Can't Be Happening.I read Charles' piece laughing like a fiend. He lives in my nabe, and he has a good eye and ear.

Maybe there was a time when the Upper West Side was really radical. If so, I missed it; and I definitively arrived on these shores, after a lengthy flirtation, in August of 1978. To be precise.

There were lots of old CP types to be found when I washed up from the provinces; but even then, most of them were also pretty interested in making some kind of a killing in real estate. And they were all deeply devoted to the Democratic Party. Even then.

There were some Trotskyites too, but not many; the Upper West Side left, such as it was, was a very Stalinist enclave. The Trotskyites were a sad bunch; very second-order; the critics of the critics:

So nat'ralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.
The old CP types are nearly all gone, though the Trotskyites seem to live forever. Perhaps they're ahistorical enough to be downright timeless.

People seem to think that the Upper West Side is some sort of elite enclave. It is not, for the most part, though there are some elite types to be found here. The real elites are mostly on the other side of the Park, or way downtown.

But it is a neighborhood where the more or less ordinary people who are left have been more or less spared from the worst depredations of neo-liberalism and the New Austerity. Hence they are all, or nearly all, still Democrats.

Just slip those awful Republicans a roofie -- they believe -- and tinker a bit with the tax code, and all will be well.

Partly this is a generational thing. My son, who's 28, moved out of the neighborhood some years ago because he couldn't stand seeing wall-to-wall alter-kakers on the street -- meaning people of my vintage and older: white-collar types who can still afford to live in Manhattan, either because they're clinging to a floating plank from the wreckage of rent control, or because they have managed to keep making a decent middle-class income somehow, or because they retired when people still could. Such people aren't hurting nearly as bad as people in their 20s. We may not be elite, but we're certainly relatively well-off.

The distinction matters. Real elite types may be Democrats -- hell, you've gotta pick one horse or the other, if you go to the track at all. But they are not Democrats for the same reason that most of my UWS neighbors are. The latter are Democrats because we live in a bubble. The great class war of the last 3.5 decades has not, for the most part, been fought on our turf; it has swept past us and encircled us, though to be sure we haven't been entirely insulated from it. No doubt it will get around to mopping us definitively up too; but until it does, we will mostly continue to believe that the Democrats are the same folks who gave us Medicare and Title Nine.

April 17, 2012

Barney, we knew ye too well

So Barney Frank is retiring -- not a minute too soon -- and he has favored us with a highly readable and revealing Checkers speech. I know about this because a Lefty friend of mine -- call him Sylvanus -- passed it along, and unless I misread his email, he seemed to think that Barney had something valuable -- as opposed to something merely revealing -- to say.

One really doesn't know whether to be more pleased or dismayed. There are reasons to be pleased; Barney's yenta-ish anger at his "base" is immensely delightful. "After all I've done for you kids, and this is the thanks I get...!"

And then of course one is always secretly delighted by the follies of one's friends, no matter how much one likes them. To paraphrase who, Rochefoucauld?

But there's room for dismay too. One had not realized just how conservative and conventional Sylvanus is.

Or maybe it was just a bad day.

Here's a bit of Barney the resentful dinosaur, regretting the days of consensus media -- that's the way it is, folks, as Walter Krankheit used to say:

Twenty years ago, people had a common set of facts that they read. They read opinion journalists, but they got their information generally from newspapers and from broadcasts.

Now, the activists live in parallel universes, which are both separate and echo chambers for each. If you’re on the left, you listen to MSNBC, you go to the blogs, Huffington Post, et cetera, and you basically hear only what you agree with. If you’re on the right, you watch Fox News and the talk shows, and you hear only what you agree with.

When we try to compromise, what you find is not people simply objecting to the specific terms of the compromise, but the activists object even to your trying to compromise, because they say, “Look, everybody I know agrees with us, so why are you giving in?”

Oh go fuck yourself, Barney, and long past time.

Still, the whole thing is well worth reading. It's amazing how entitled and superior the guy obviously feels, merely because he occupied a seat from a carefully gerrymandered rotten borough in Massachusetts for thirty years, and provided occasional comic relief for his colleagues from time to time.

April 18, 2012

twice in twelve

this droll irony
crossed my mind recently:

Barry may win the popular vote this november and lose the electoral vote

a poosible frackus ?..i mean recall the patriotic Gore ?

ahh a black man fucked by a system drafted by a slave holding settler nation
and still going strong all these 223 years later

if so
t'will be a cruel twist of events
ever so richly deserved

April 20, 2012

happy anti constitution day cellmates

the ever undaunted flugnutz in a comment on the electoral college
got me to thinking ....
as his version of anti statist mojo always does...

recall September 17th is constitution day ..i note not quite so celebrated as the date of the declaration of independence ...ten days b4 bastille day ..

regardless i think an anti constitution day oughta be on the yearly cycle ...no ?
for all us great haters of that
hideous warlock's brew concocted
by a self selected pack
slave holders
land and debt swindlers
and of course
as in any thoroughly bourgeois enterprise
civilizations ultimate scourge ...
marginal tort lawyers

i suggest today what ever day this is be anti constitution day

the de rigour ritual

assemble in the town common
bare from the waste down
form a circle
and on a signal
publically set ablaze --each of us-- a copy of that late and dim enlightenment era chimera
then bend over and use em
to light a chorus of farts

flash anti constitution day has been moved to may 21st

so weed heads keep your shirts on

April 21, 2012

will the power-plutonian elite ....save dick lugar ?

tea party real "wild grass skirt " guy is after dick's scalp and his job

can dick survive ?

don't count on it

"The latest sign of Lugar’s vulnerability came Saturday when Mourdock won 88 percent of a straw vote among GOP precinct committee members in Muncie"

let this loyal subaltern of the Wallyocracy get trampled by a corn toothed yahoo ?


we steely pinks oughta suppose the laputa crowd hardly care....
always plenty of talented supplicants to promote ..eh?..

why not some plug ignorant fresh blood in the greatest deliberative body on planet earth ?

besides its gotta be fun
watching one of your sedulous bag carriers
viciously traduced degraded hurled on the shit heep
...prolly gives em boners

April 28, 2012

twenty years ago this coming week :The south LA community of the black nation rises up

April 29, 2012

grandstand movement

why is there no bonus march movement these days?

ya a big one off bonus
to all our VETS

living VETS or their living SOs .... demand it vets and make it large !!!

use the nation's massively cultivated warrior as golden leverage

march in your uniforms

blazing battle medals and flags a-sway

ask for a real big bundle

uncle ...america....

pay up or shut up !

About April 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in April 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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