« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

August 2006 Archives

August 1, 2006

Took the words out of my mouth

Reechard writes:
As Saving Private Lieberman heads into the third act, my schadenfreude is a-tingle.

Does Lamont lose and do Kosniks thus find themselves relieved of their fun by way of Clintonerectomy?

Does Lieberman poll slippage lead to the greater fx-travaganza of a Dembones HQ sneak attack upon Lamont--some 11th-hour heartbreaker about a spreadsheet or boy scout--that grants Joe new gusto for the final slouch toward Bethlehem?

And what of a Lamont primary win that only leads bitterly to an election loss against a "reluctantly" indy-labeled Liebs, who rides his unchosen exile to a resounding victory with GOP votes and then promptly seeks restoration as a Dembones, his betrayal-within-a-betrayal giving the whole thing a Jacobean twist capable of further splitting the party's somnambulists from its heavy snorers?

Hoping for the unhappiest ending, but as always I don't know how much I dare dream.

A tale of a tail

Recent events in the Levant have put me in mind the big flap a couple of months back about the Mearsheimer-Walt report, which argued for the tail-wags-dog reading of US-Israel relations. Most Lefties didn't buy the M-W thesis and continued to put their faith in what you might call the Monolithic Empire theory, which holds that Israel is a mere sockpuppet of imperial chessmasters back in Washington, or perhaps Wall Street.

Condi Rice's apparent success, a day or two ago, in putting the lid on Israel's Guernica-Part-Deux in Lebanon had the Monolithic Empire lefties congratulating themselves on their penetration. But of course here's the latest:

As Israel fought more aggressively on the ground, it continued to keep down its number of airstrikes in the second day of a 48-hour pause in the air campaign it promised the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

Israel said that it would halt air operations for two days while it investigates the deaths of dozens of civilians in Qana, but said it would make exceptions to respond to "imminent threats," like rocket-launching teams, and to support ground forces.

Ms. Rice said she had accepted Israel’s explanation for resuming airstrikes barely 12 hours after the suspension was announced.

Condi "accepts" it, does she? Puts me in mind of Carlyle's comment, as narrated by William James:
"I accept the universe" is reported to have been a favorite utterance of our New England transcendentalist, Margaret Fuller; and when some one repeated this phrase to Thomas Carlyle, his sardonic comment is said to have been: "Gad! she'd better!"
Postscript: Obsessive augurs given to examining the Times' entrails might find it interesting to compare the online and print versions of the item quoted above. The print headline was "Israel Presses on Despite Agreeing to Airstrike Lull"; online it was "Israel Expands Offensive to Drive Back Hezbollah." The broken promise to poor Condi was in the lead graf in print, and buried in graf 8 online. The wording changed, too; that silly little whistling-in-the-dark spin about Israel "keeping down" its terror bombing was entirely absent in the print edition.

August 2, 2006

Another New York paper heard from

On the left, an actual item from the New York Daily News. On the right, the way the same item would have read in the newspaper of a halfway sane city:

Here is the sure way to get an Israeli ceasefire agreement right now. The United Nations must assemble a credible force of peacekeepers, announce to Hezbollah that the force is ready to secure the shell-shocked Lebanese border, inform Hezbollah that it must pull way back and completely disarm, see to it that Hezbollah does exactly that - and then lean hard on Iran and Syria to stop funding these proxy gangsters who are making war against Israel.

At which point, Israel will cease firing.

Here is the sure way to get an Israeli ceasefire agreement right now. The United Nations must assemble a credible force of peacekeepers, announce to Israel that the force is ready to secure the shell-shocked Lebanese border, inform Israel that it must pull way back and completely disarm, see to it that Israel does exactly that - and then lean hard on the United States to stop funding these proxy gangsters who are making war against all their neighbors.

At which point, Israel will cease firing.

So what's their game?

The latest diktat from Jerusalem is that Israel will keep battering Lebanon until an "international force" is deployed there. But needless to say, nations which might conceivably provide troops for such a force aren't eager to do so unless there's been a cease-fire and a political framework agreed upon between Israel and Lebanon.

So what's Israel's game here? Is the demand for an international force under impossible conditions just a figleaf for re-occupation and population removal? Or is Israel really trying to get some Western nation or nations embroiled alongside them fighting Hezbollah, and ultimately Syria and Iran?

Usually, the best way to tell what Israel really wants is to see what Democratic politicians start calling for. So far none of them have jumped on the international force bandwagon, as far as I know, which lends some support to the figleaf theory.

The danger of underage analogy

No, I haven't been reading Kos again. I got this link from the Stan of Jersey. But it stars Kos, the boy wonder hizseff, and it's another ruckus about the Green Party -- this time in Pennsylvania. Once again, like all third-party types, they're taking Repug money -- and putting it to good use for a change, I'd say, just to reduce the vote for the pro-fetus hawkdonk Monsignor Casey.

Here's Kos Maximus:

The Dems aren't left enough for them [the greens-- ed.] so they go to the right...
...Like the Revolutionary War skating team of Franklin and Deane going to the court of the king of France. If Kos had been running the Continental Congress, no doubt he would be explaining that Lord North is a much lesser evil than those awful Bourbons -- and he would be right, of course, as far as his understanding could take him.

More Kos, on the deadly peril of "helping Santorum win":

Logic right out of Stalin telling the German communists to not fight the Nazis because things would get so bad that the communists would eventually win....
Er, well, if you check the record, they did... and then lost it back 45 years later as the wheel kept turning. Okay, okay, I know, it's sophomoric. But this little dweeb with his Toynbee airs -- a tough target to resist.
Here's the deal: politics as temper tantrum suck.
So any third party is for purist brats, like, ah... the Republican party of 1856? How about break-away parties or splits, like the Jacksonian party of 1828, or the Free Soil party of 1848, which was, btw, both a splitter and a thirdee. But I tend to get bogged down in the details. If only I had Kos-like powers of abstraction, then I could see this more clearly as I made it more simple.

Here's something worth a laugh --

People need sane people in office more than you need to feel right.
Let me see if I follow the logic here: Repugs are crazy, whereas donks, no matter how similar to Repugs, are sane. No doubt this Democratic sanity explains why the party supported the war in Iraq and now supports the one in Lebanon and started the one in Vietnam and and... but you get my drift.

Future headline in history text: the Bush-Cheney insanity stopped by St Hill and the gang.

Now I don't necessarily prefer candidates that would rather be right then prez, but I do want to stop the inanity of voting for the lesser party, and force the system to produce a real alternative party, one way or another. Then I'd love to see it win.

Kos is right on when he sez amazing grace ain't all it's cooked up to be. We could use a few good works 'round here. But the prosecution would like to direct the jury to the Clinton years. Let's do this up brown like it deserves, and say no, I won't vote for four more years of that either.

All this Kos rhetoric is vintage high-school debate-team material. Take that variation on the old football, worse now leads to better later -- well, everybody knows what a stupid, discredited idea that is, right? Nobody is ever correct to forego a short-term gain, no matter how small, in favor of a long-term gain, no matter how great. We can all agree on that, surely.

But analogies like this are so empty of content, so schematic, it's just feudin' formalities. The task is to give the concrete situation, as concretely as it can be poured. Only then can we begin to determine if the correct formality is being applied.

After all, maybe once you decide the DLC must be neutered -- as it would seem the Kossbacks agree -- then maybe you need to know if the DLC's balls can be removed from the donkery, or whether, like some siamese-twin operations, both patients are doomed to die on the operating table.

I could give a shit about Bob Casey [the donk candidate -- ed.], but Santorum has to go. My lab partner is a monkey could do a better job than Santorum.
"Better job?" A better job of what? Talk about a tiresome trope, this idea that electing someone to office is like hiring someone for a job. Is a string of losing votes on the correct side of an issue "doing a better job" than a string of superfluous wrong votes on the winning side?

Of course, it's possible that Kos is onto something factually, in spite of his threadbare suite of ideas, with Santorum. Maybe Santorum is a key from the Keystone State. Knock him out, and not only does the Repugs' electoral majority crumble, but the Democrats hang the DLC and move so rapidly to the left that they hang Feingold on the way. But i doubt it. In this case, what's the value of the dime's diff a DLC fetus-freak donk can make, if our real task is to show the donk party hacks they can't win anywhere, till they run real alternatives -- on empire, on taxes, on wages and hours, on mother earth, on health payments, etc. In that war maybe you do have to pick some symbolic targets. For example, the brutal humiliating demise of nutmeg nutter Joe "talks to God" Lieberman, in the general election, might really crack open a few thick beltway skulls, if it elected some Repug chuckle head.

Lessons from south of the border

Read this account -- it shows quite plainly how a real people's party acts to rock the civil balance its way, when it thinks an election has been stolen from it by El Jefe's system.

AMLO si! Gore/Kerry -- no see.

Let me 'splain it to you

Now we get to see the Cuba lobby in action again -- they've been lying pretty low since the Elian Gonzales fiasco. Here's Mr Y's take, reconstructed as usual from my Oblomovian memory:
Now that the Maximum Leader may be headed off for his Olympian symposium with Marx, and Lenin, and Mao -- oh to be a fly on the wall -- the corporate titans, needless to say, can't wait to "intervene", though they probably would buy a China model -- for a while. Or at least say they would. The Miami junto in exile, however, want a decapitation of the party state.

Either way it goes, Bush is off balance already, so it will be fun to watch another reactionary "national lobby," like the old China lobby, play its hand in an open congress.

Then again, it hardly seems likely that a little China 90 miles away has a future -- especially if Hurricane Hugo isn't blown out soon. More likely that little China will be presented as a little North Korea to the innocent American mass millions.

Then again, again, the clock ticks forever on, and the junto in exile may see its issimo loco dissolve away as market opportunities emerge back home for the unfanatical bulk of the Cuban-American community.

August 3, 2006

Long live the Greenie-Meanie pact!

There's a lot of fuss about the Green Party in Pennsylvania taking money from Republicans, for their third-party campaign against the Republican-wannabe and fetus-fan Democrat Casey.

I must be missing some neurological circuit, because I just don't see why anybody should get upset about this, except maybe a Democratic Party careerist, like, say, Rahm Emanuel, or Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. Taking money from the Devil seems admirably clever on the part of the Greens.

It's obvious why the Rethugs are contributing to the Greens -- they're feeling so triumphalist that they figure, hey, why not pick up all the marbles? Thirty years of hegemony have bred up a generation of Republican Alphonses who don't understand how deeply they depend on the Gaston the Democrat. They want to mug Gaston and send him to jail and take the few coppers he has in his threadbare pockets. (If they succeed, by the way, I will be right there with them in the courtroom, urging the judge to throw the book at Gaston and ship him off to Devil's Island.)

Once Gaston is gone -- and it can't happen too soon -- then Alphonse will find himself in difficulties. That's the nature of symbiosis. But the more aggressive and adventurist Republicans don't understand this, and so they want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Or at least they're willing to flirt with the possibility -- I don't suppose any of them really think that a third party could ever grow to the point that it would upset the Alphonse-Gaston machine in any structural way. In their own way, they're as deeply mired in crackpot realism as their mirror images in the Democratic Party, and very likely they just see this as a short-term tactic to squeak Santorum back into office.

Either way, the Green Party is poised to take advantage of this short-sighted Republican strategy. What's not to like about this scenario?

August 4, 2006

Bernie, they know ye all too well

Another marvelous flaying of that sanctimonious fraud, Bernie Sanders, from my good friends at the Vermont Guardian:
Dan DeWalt, a Newfane selectman and the activist behind the impeachment town meeting resolutions that passed in seven Vermont communities earlier this year.... continued his criticism of Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who has refused to pursue impeachment, despite the Vermont town meeting resolutions and others passed by several county Democratic committees.

Immediately following the passage of the Town Meeting Day resolutions, Sanders issued a statement that said, “[P]eople who are outraged by the conduct of the Bush Administration, who want serious investigations of what they have done, and who want to see the United States move in a new direction, it’s my view that all of our energy must go into the November elections with the goal of ending Republican control of the House and Senate.”

To this day, Sanders insists there is no support in Congress to launch an impeachment investigation. On July 23, he told supporters in Putney that activists’ time would be better spent trying to elect him to the Senate and Democrat Peter Welch to the U.S. House, according to press reports.

... DeWalt shot back that Sanders “doesn’t care if we think the war in Iraq is wrong, that valuing our Constitution is right. All he cares about is where his contributions are coming from.”

“We think we have quality politicians in Vermont. We’re wrong. We have politics as usual in Vermont,” said DeWalt. “Our so-called independent congressman, Bernie Sanders, can’t get far enough away from impeachment. He was not even willing to vote for a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Lebanon … he voted for Iran Freedom Support Act. That’s our Bernie Sanders, independent.”

I like this DeWalt dude. Newfane -- that's not even northern Vermont, is it?

Billmon: credit where it's due

Billmon has come in for some disrespectful treatment here, so it's only fair to point out that he recently hit one right out of the park:
It looks as if Ned Lamont is riding the anti-war wave to victory in the Connecticut Democratic primary -- or so the latest polls suggest....

Oh I know Ned says he's anti-war, but he only means the war in Iraq. The war in Lebanon, on the other hand, is just fine by him. And he's already pledged he'll be just as staunch a friend of Israel and the Israel lobby in this war as Holy Joe ever was or ever could be....

Lamont's stance also reflects a glaring contradiction in the emerging Democratic consensus on U.S. policy in the Middle East.... it's a position that won't be sustainable for long.... it's a recipe for an even wider and more destructive war -- one I fully expect most Democrats, including Lamont, will end up supporting, despite the consequences.

... there is no real distinction between America's occupation of Iraq and Israel's intended re-occupation of southern Lebanon. They are, in essence, both part of the next war....

What's become clear to me is that the Democratic Party (even it's allegedly anti-war wing) will not try to stop this insanity, and in fact will probably be led as meekly to the slaughter as it was during the runup to the Iraq invasion. Watching the Dems line up to salute the Israeli war machine, hearing the uncomfortable and awkward silence descend on most of Left Blogistan once the bombs started falling in Lebanon, seeing how easily the same Orwellian propaganda tricks worked their magic on the pseudoliberals -- all this doesn't leave too much room for doubt. As long as World War III can be sold as protecting the security and survival of the Jewish state, I suspect the overwhelming majority of Democratics will support it.

Amen, brother.

August 5, 2006

Billmon agonistes

My friend Buffalo billmon hardly needs my bravo -- after all, to him, I'm the guy who likened him to the Baton Rouge clavern chief -- but this post has such noble promise written all through it that I can't resist. And besides, God love him, he has the chitter brigade scurrying to the highest limb handy, to throw twigs and small simian fistfuls of excrement at him.

For example, this soulful sour moan from Steve Gilliard, thanks to a link provided by stalwart Stan de Joizy. In response to Der Billhuffer's "fuck the wet dream of electing a donk congress this November," Stevey G sez:

You know, if you have a good job and a nice house you can think this way... It's easy to sit back and say nothing will happen to Bush because nothing will happen to you..
But steve reminds us
...nice, middle class progressives [that we] forget that the fight isn't for us...
... its for the little guys and gals, right now crushed under the war elephants' big flat Babbitoid feet. There follows a sub-Whitmanesque callout song to these po' folks, who might have a chance for tomorrow-ish relief from a democratic congress, Steve thinks. Specimen lines of such little guys and gals:
  • if you're making minimum wage,
  • if you want to be treated with stem cells,
  • if you want to get an abortion.
  • if you're fighting with the VA
  • f your kid is in Iraq ...
Who ya gonna call? Yup, the party of Clinton. Vote Dem and watch out, 'cause here come dah donkey, hooves a-flying every whichaway, gonna kick Wal-Mart, the VA, and the Pentagon into the middle of next week on the po' folks behalf.

Notice these little folks don't need to rise up and demand whats due 'em. Or go into the streets and fight for it. Nope. They just gotta join in a united front of decency and kindness made up of all of them po' types, plus all of us progs, and this fall vote in the donks. Then just sit back and wait for the relief wagon from Capitol Hill to arrive.

That's hs metaphor, not mine; the po' folks need to be "rescued," like the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Get a load of this:

When those Coast Guard pilots and rescue swimmers flew over New Orleans, they could have said, shit, too many wires, too many unknowns, let's get some boats for them. Instead, they jumped in the water and started saving people.
As if the billmon insight was about how its just too hard, too tough to help folks, so why try?

But in fact billymonk's reaction to the farce of the feckless but vain donkery team is precisely the reaction most of us had to the whole Katrina cock-up, including that telegenic icon stream of the damn rescue copters, like a few prehistoric dragonflies, hauling out folks trapped by the thousands with tie lines and lift chair by the oneses. Like bailing Noah's flood with a teaspoon.

Here's my choicest bit:

Those Wal-Mart workers need real health insurance, and the GOP isn't going to give it to them.
... But St Hill will? I seem to recall she had the chance once before.

More of the same

Wanna know today's advice to the Dems from the boys who brought you that part of Bill Clinton (the Antichrist from Hope) that Dick Morris didn't? read and enjoy.

My image, and it's a joyous one -- these flightless gobblers are in full mad flap, racing to get under the peace tree before base lightning strikes 'em dead.

Another historic volte-face

An LA Times poll finds Zionophiles need to change party -- as donkey base sez they're neutrals now:
Overall, 50% of the survey's respondents said the United States should continue to align with Israel, compared with 44% who backed a more neutral posture. But the partisan gap was clear: Democrats supported neutrality over alignment, 54% to 39%, while Republicans supported alignment with the Jewish state 64% to 29%.

Joe's other cloven hoof

No one, no one does it better than Nader.

I suspect most of you have already seen Joe's corporate wiring diagram at Counterpunch. It's sure a smooth set of grooves he's in.

It reminds us how much the nutmeg nutter is not just the mad muppet of Zionia, but also about as near the top of the US chamber-of-horrors honor roll as a donk can get.

August 6, 2006

Between two stools

It's fun, in a grim kind of way, to see the contortions and convulsions of soi-disant Lefties who can't quite get the Israel virus out of their bloodstream. One of the droller exhibitions of this kind, made much of on certain left-intelligentsia mailing lists, comes from the facile and febrile keyboard of odd-looking and oddly-spelt Mark LeVine, shown left. LeVine's piece appeared in the online version of Tikkun, The Publication for Agonized Zionists. A few excerpts:
Has the Left Gone Mad?
By Mark LeVine

Well, Hezbollah can breathe easily. Within a few days, there's a good chance that some of the best minds of the Left will be in the Bekka Valley helping lead the resistance against the Israeli destruction of Lebanon. At least that's what a jointly signed letter to the Guardian newspaper by progressive luminaries including Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and Arundhati Roy seems to suggest.

... According to the signers, the best approach is to "offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality and to those who mount a resistance against it."

...Are my heroes Noam and Howard planning to pick up an RPG and start firing southward from the rubble of Qana? Should progressives be donating money to Hamas? Learning to crawl through tunnels and ferry the latest Iranian missiles to the front?

...[T]he ill-chosen (one can hope) words by my illustrious colleagues reflects a very disturbing trend within the Left that has emerged the last few years, and which has come to a head with the latest war: Many leaders of the movement are moving away from the commitment to non-violence that defined the struggle against the Vietnam War and the vast majority of protests against corporate globalization and the invasion of Iraq, and towards embracing violent resistance (think the Red Brigade, Bader Meinhof Gang or the Weather Underground)....

...[T]he most successful anti-imperialist struggles, such as Gandhi's in India and Mandela's in South Africa, were almost entirely non-violent, while others, like Algeria or Vietnam, produced corrupt and violent regimes in their wakes....

Hezbollah.... is also a military organization that regularly engages in violence.... Whatever its motivation and Israel's actions leading up to its kidnapping of two IDF soldiers, Hezbollah's attack has produced an unimaginably terrible price for the people of Lebanon, much as Hamas's violence has allowed Israel to achieve many goals it otherwise could not have in the Occupied Territories.

There's more, much more, all equally sick-making, but a terrible languor is creeping into my cut-and-paste finger, along with a sense that if were half a man I would go down to my local Uppper West Side recruiting station and enlist in Hezbollah. Right now.

It's a good thing that the lucubrations of Mark Levine and his ilk don't receive much circulation outside the narrow ambit of ten or twelve Beautiful Souls who wish, sincerely no doubt, that Israel was a nicer place, but who could not and cannot and will not ever be able take the side of anybody really resisting Israel. Because if LeVine and Co. were much read by the "Arab Street," as the phrase goes, both America in general and American Jewry in particular would be even more detested by the Arab Street than they already are. First you drop bombs, and then you crank up the LeVine Machine, extruding these treacly, preachy, smug, moralistic, preening, attitudinizing, self-congratulating sermonettes.

Calm down, Michael. Deep breaths. Count to ten. He's just a twit. Just a twit. Take it easy.

Okay, let's do a little text analysis, always a calming exercise. First, the glaring, sore-thumb giveaway: Hezbollah "kidnaped" two soldiers in the Israeli Army (which Levine, of course, refers to by its Orwellian euphemism, the Israel Defense Force). When you see this characterization, you need read no further. Hezbollah did not "take prisoner" two Israeli soldiers in a military skirmish -- no, according to LeVine and Fox News, it "kidnapped" them. Poor hapless innocents might as well be LIndbergh Babies, snatched from the cradle.

Then of course there's the utterly bizarre, dark-side-of-the-moon claim that Hamas' victory (what were they supposed to do? Defeat themselves?) "allowed" Israel to do things in the West Bank it could not otherwise have done. Oh those damn fool cockroaches -- er, Palestinians: every time Israel gets to feeling nice, they make it turn nasty again. No one to blame but themselves.

And the idea that the way to resist cluster bombs, tanks, rockets, and machine-gun fire is... non-violence. It's a wonderful thing, the grip this idea has on the brains of bien-pensants against whom no violence is being done. When the victims fight back, presto, they become morally indistinguishable from the perps. Even blackletter common law is more sensible than your holier-than-thou liberal, preaching non-violence to the victms of violence his government is paying for.

The (misspelt) Baader-Meinhof comparison is too stupid and contemptible to mention.

Best of all: this dumb blonde thinks Noam Chomsky is a "colleague" of his. Noam Chomsky, arguably the smartest living human, certainly the smartest I've ever met, a guy who revolutionized his own field of inquiry and has enlightened and encouraged millions with the brilliant, incisive, clear-eyed and profound work of his left hand on politics. Noam Chomsky, a one-man Five Foot Shelf. Noam Chomsky, a guy whom future generations (if there are any) will mention alongside Descartes, and Hegel, and Rousseau -- this egregious little twerp LeVine thinks Chomsky is a "colleague" of his?

Right, right. Like I'm a colleague of the Archangel Gabriel.

August 7, 2006

Would that it were so

The Houston Chronicle thumbsucks thus:
Democrats and Republicans alike around the country are watching [Lamont-Lieberman] closely, attempting to gauge the depth and voter-motivating effect of antiwar sentiment and any possibly dangerous nexus with a mood to "throw them all out."
"Throw them all out!" Oh, how that phrase sets my pulse racing. And how wonderful that somebody is worried about voters getting into a "dangerous" mood. About time, I'd say.

I'm shocked, shocked!

From the NYT:
Last spring, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and New York Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the party's campaign committee, appealed unsuccessfully to [moveon.org] not to oppose Lieberman.
Schumer, of course. But Reid? The sweetheart of Daily Kos? Give-'em-shit-and-call-it-Arpege Harry? Say it ain't so.

Software upgrade in progress

Never upgrade unless you absolutely can't avoid it; but we absolutely can't avoid it.

We don't want to insult anybody, so if you make a comment and it doesn't show up
in a timely way, send e-mail to mjs@smithbowen.net, the poor harmless drudge who
maintains this site, and he will try to do right by you.

August 8, 2006

Harman-ic convergence

Here's War Democrat Jane Harman last week:
In my capacity as the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I've been to the Guantanamo Bay prison three times to try to learn what was going on there. On the two most recent visits, a Major General named Geoff Miller was in charge. A no-nonsense, macho kind of guy, Miller seemed totally in control of what appeared to be a well-run program.

Then came the stunning revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib and allegations of detainee mistreatment at Gitmo. By the time Miller appeared before the Intelligence Committee, presumably to shed light on these shocking reports, he was the Deputy Commander for Detainee Operations for the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Instead of responding directly to my questions, General Miller gave disquieting and evasive answers, which prompted me to send him a letter....

Do I correctly detect here a mad scramble to get out from under a falling edifice -- an edifice that Jane helped build?

Jane understandably does not allude to her vote with the Republicans, last year, to keep Guantanamo going. She was one of 79 Democrats who voted for the Caribbean concentration camp on that occasion. Steny Hoyer, of course, joined her, along with Steve Israel, Tom Lantos (inevitably), and the egregious sockpuppet Edolphus Towns.

Even on its face, Jane's narrative is... odd. She went to Guantanamo three times? And it never occurred to her that things weren't quite kosher -- until a public scandal erupted.

Well, let's cut her some slack. Maybe she was distracted. Note that odd line about the commanding general -- "a no-nonsense, macho kind of guy, Miller seemed totally in control." Hey, the girl is only human. I'm imagining the dinners -- were there candles? Did Miller's medals and marmoreal, closely-shaved, square jaw glisten in the soft light? Did Jane take a little extra trouble with her toilette?

Oh, I don't think she misbehaved. She's much too rational for that. And I don't think Miller's architectonic jaw and trumpery, brummagem military bling could possibly turn her head, not really. It's just a funny, novelistic thought.

Jane's actions, in her official capacity and probably her private capacity as well, are driven solely by calculation. Her support for buff, macho General Miller was calculated; her abandonment and excoriation of him equally so. (Does she want to strip him -- of his medals? Yuk yuk.)

But there's something in that "macho, no-nonsense" trope that suggests Jane's heart was touched. That line was not a PR flack's idea.

Jane's heart? A contradiction in terms, surely. But I bet under all that scar tissue, she still has one -- and I wish her peace-n-love SoCal constituents would retire her and give her a chance to cultivate that starved, shortchanged organ.

She had to throw General Toy-Boy to the wolves -- but you know, I bet it cost her a pang. Not a deadly pang, or a long-lived pang, but it left its trace in her words.

Joe: throw him to the wolves -- or else

The Joe show needs to close now.

Herr Liebermannikin must be forced to leave the race for his seat to the party's choice -- and ambitious Senate folks like St Hill, Biden, Kerry, Feingold, Obama better damn well demand it of him. And if he fails to act quickly they better damn well renounce the Lieb publically, right away, and throw him out of the Senate party caucus.

For each one that doesn't toe this line, let there be a symbolic branding -- "here slides a Joe-mentum sidewinder."

August 9, 2006

Lieberman: The new Jacob Javits

What joy:
Lieberman concedes Democratic primary, vows to continue fighting

Aug 08 2006 11:12 PM

HARTFORD -- U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman conceded losing today's Democratic primary to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, but vowed to continue his quest to serve another term in Washington.

Taking the stage at 11:03 p.m. in Hartford, Lieberman said Lamont won by playing "partisan politics" and focusing on "insults instead of ideas."

He promised to file paper work Wednesday morning to form a new political party -- "Team Connecticut" -- so that he can still run for the U.S. Senate seat he now holds.

Rahm: spinning like a top

Here's boy genius Rahm Emanuel's take on the Lieberman debacle, quoted in Rolling Stone online:
“This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means. This is not about the war. It’s blind loyalty to Bush.”
"Not about the war," eh Rahm? Well, it's easy enough to see why you might want to think so.

Apparently intending to be complimentary, The Rolling Stone writer sagely comments,

Emanuel’s as smart as the Democrats have got.
... which is true enough, but in a sense that the RS commentator hasn't quite grasped.

Speaking of boy geniuses, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga approvingly quotesEmanuel's comment, and adds some wonderful silliness of his own:


People-powered politics.

Talk about spin. Kos himself, half a breath before this monumental piece of foolishness, observed that Lamont was a wealthy man who dropped a couple mil of his own money in this race. Does Kos' idea of "people-powered" politics include a dependence on the kindness of millionaires? Rich-people-powered politics, is that what he means?

It gets better:


Hillary, Bayh, and Edwards, who moved most aggressively to embrace Lamont after the winner was called.

Huh? If the Lieberman defeat means anything at all, it means something rather ominous for bloody-handed fanatical War Democrats. But Kos has so immersed himself in tactical, inside-baseball minutiae that the only thing he pays attention to is the Brownian movement of minute-by-minute positioning. Hillary a "winner" in the Lieberman defeat? That one really takes the Microscopic Eye to see.

Next tumbril, please

Now that Joemental-illness is gone, St Hill's head must be next.

Her march to easy victory in November must be so badly mired down that she can't even conceive of a probable path to the party nomination for prez.

We must be very clear here and stay on mission. Electing Lamont is nonsense. Defeating the hawk donks is our appointed task, and the pumpkin-head from the House of Rodham is target numero uno.

Let "los de abajo" -- those from down below-- be heard! No more war mules.

Joe the Undead

Others may be singing requiems for old Joe Liebermaniac, but not The New Republic. Thus "senior editor" Ryan Lizza:
Some Democratic Senators will endorse Lamont this morning, but don't expect much more than a press release. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has no intention of throwing any real money at Lamont. "This race will have zero bearing on who controls the Senate after Election Day in November," says a top Democrat involved in Senate campaign strategy. "Why would we spend money defending a seat that will be blue either way?..."

This is music to the Lieberman campaign's ears. It's counting on top Democrats to change the subject quickly. "A bunch of Democrats out of obligation will endorse Lamont, and then they will disappear," says a senior Lieberman aide. "They will nominally endorse him and then head for the hills."

He seems to be right. Washington Democrats aren't interested in fighting another round with Lieberman.... They ... reject the idea that the primary changes the Iraq debate: "Our Iraq policy has been driven by [Harry] Reid and [Carl] Levin. To be honest, they could give a rat's ass about the blogs."

Well, who do they give a rat's ass about? We certainly know the answer to that one as far as the New Republic itself is concerned.

If this Lizza cat is onto anything at all -- if he's not just gabbling Peretz-ite wishful thinking -- then it would seem to follow that Reid and Levin and the party not only don't give a rat's ass about the blogs, they don't give a rat's ass about the public. Lizza writes,

... Lamont's small margin of victory has failed to impress the commentariat, which was ready for a blowout after seeing Lamont's gaping thirteen-point lead last week.
If Lizza is correct about the "commentariat," the thinking would seem to be that the narrow margin shows the war isn't very important to people, or that it won't be a serious liability to War Party Number Two in November.

I certainly hope this is a misculculation -- and I certainly hope it's a miscalculation the Democrats are really making, and it's not just a hothouse fantasy of the New Republic likudniks. How I would love to see the War Democrats sail serenely into November, confident that they had a hundred fathoms under their keel, only to go hard aground on the uncharted -- and for them, unchartable, incomprehensible, impossible -- reef of public disgust.

Compare and contrast

In a glowingly festive mood after the popular primary defeat of Vile Joe, the agile mind of Alex Cockburn links to this perhaps sharply more relevant parallel development -- the primary defeat of true progressive Cynthia McKinney -- and it prompts him to ask
But the question remains whether there is any home in the Democratic Party for a true progressive. Lamont’s victory in the primary certainly doesn’t answer that question. On most issues he’s almost indistinguishable from Lieberman. On Tuesday you had only to travel down I-95 to Georgia to see what happens to real progressives, where the Democratic Party conspired with Fox News and the rest of the press to try to destroy Cynthia McKinney’s political career. For the second time.
(The Israel lobby upended McKinney once before, in '02, but she regained her seat in '04.) zionists up ended her once before in 02 but she re gained her seat in 04

Thanks as always, Alex. It's a hideous political atrocity that the questions I pose below already have an answer -- a disgraceful "fish in a barrel" -type answer:

  • Will Cynthia run a Team Georgia independent democrat campaign?
  • Will the state and the party even let her try?

... and take your pal Dodd with you

Joe's "Team Connecicut" (aka the Me Team) must be in a long huddle formation right about now. And while they cluster around their bent but bowless champion, the inside Kos headline oughta be:
There will be no second Lowell Weicker miracle story. The Dem split will not lead to a come-from-the-outside Repug victory. This time around, the story will end differently, with our Joe in the role of crooked Cold War hack Tom 'whiskey to go-go' Dodd, and Lamont, who looks to be better cast as the Weicker, instead playing the surprise Dem primary winner, the reverend J Q Duffey, high moralist and Roman-robed campus peacenik.

But here's the total plot changer, the mysterious shadow geek Schlesinger, Republican nominee, ex-mayor of Derby, and quondam two-party pocket protector: a "roll over" stunt dummy.

Yup, that's who this time is playing the part the original Lowell W used to steal the whole production.

There may be a new subplot this time -- a patch on the near shipwreck of St Hill, future president, as her in-state peace and minority base deserts her, after Al and Jesse and the progs mount a paper chase attack on her, for her obviously phony, belated, limp-wristed moves against the party-wrecking renegade nutmeg muppet.

Of course there could be a baseline shift -- a foursquare funding boycott that forces Joe to quit the race -- but is that likely? I doubt it. They have so far not even grumbled, so all that can stop Joe otherwise is just that corn-footed nincompoop, Mr S, ex-mayor and pseudonymous casino rat, and he couldn't find a way to seriously split the caveman/babbit vote with Lieb in a zillion Groundhog Day reruns. So we look to see now who, if anybody, breaks their money promises to Joe, and who keeps 'em

Note well Senator Schoom's pressure on the Dem donor base. Will he and his junior colleague, Lady McHill, both be screaming, we must rub the Joe spots off our hands?

Much ammo for the Stop Me movement will be produced whichever way it goes.

As a final tear-faced clown bathetic touch -- notice the present plight of one Senator Chris Dodd, son of the aforementioned Pickled Tom. Yikes! The poor man's managed to cover himself in Joementum stink spray so bad over the last few months.... Well, let put it this way: right this moment, as he plans to gather with other Conn Dem loyalists, he smells so foul, so flexible of mind, so craven, so morally hunchbacked, that even if he were to literally stab dearest Joe in the neck right on the floor of the US Senate -- even so, unlike, say, St Hill, he's doomed. He's forever fated to cry "out out damned spot!"

But show no mercy to the fool. His blown-haired high-handed fucklebucking around, his career-long pandering and mincing condolence, have finally caught up with him. And to think he's ruined because he played wing man to the Joe Show.

Well, it had to happen sometime, somehow. And I say he oughta land himself where his two-facing on Central America earned him a visit -- at the bottom of a thousand-gallon vat of skin stripper.

Coda: The universal Dem line is obvious -- "For chrissake, Joe, try feeling some self-shame here for once, and fucking step aside... for country, state, and party!"

August 10, 2006

He who lies down with dogs...

Big-boned, big-jawed, big-footed, Adam's-appled emblem of famine Ann Coulter writes amusingly:
If those rumors I've been hearing about a Hezbollah/Hamas/DNC merger are true, we might be in for a slightly longer fight.
I certainly hope there's no truth in this. I have the greatest respect for Hamas and Hezbollah, and I'd hate to see them get mixed up with a disreputable outfit like the DNC.

Rats BOARDING a sinking ship?

Democratic Party alumnus Joe Lieberman must know where some bodies are buried -- or possibly there are people who really don't intend to give peace a chance, and mean to show those weak sisters in Connecticut what happens when you nominate an anti-war candidate in a War Party.

Demopublican hermaphrodite and corporate Gila monster Mike Bloomberg has endorsed old Talks With God, as has Democratic Party part-owner Steven Rattner (also a former Judith Miller toyboy, Times scribbler, and intimate friend of Pinch Sulzberger and Bill Clnton).

According to the Times, even the AFL-CIO may have gotten its draft notice to report for duty at Camp Lieberman. A bit like having a three-toed sloth on your hockey team, admittedly, but perhaps there's a certain symbolic value.

Channeling George Meany

Organized labor stuck with Ugly Joe in the primary -- will they dump him now? If they do, they could stop the Me Team before it gets out of the starting gate.

Or will they pull a '72, when Czar Meany declared "it's still a good war," and kicked Mcgovern in the nuts like a he was a child molester? Will they dove it up with Ned, or will they stick by Joe, or will they sit it out and just keep on rottin' away, stinking up the blue collar precincts of donkery till there ain't enough left of em to smell anymore?

Hey, that isn't so far off, matter of fact.

I have been to the mountaintop

Think I may have been dead wrong -- its not time to move on up to St Hill.

This anti-party clique forming around Lieberstiltskin -- this Mini-Me uber alles power play, this dirtball hawk krieg -- must be crushed all the way down.

Fellow progressive Democrats! This is a scratch match. Either Joe must be obliterated or this party splits. It ain't big enough for both Joe Lieberman and any possibility of social progress, lasting peace and basic human decency.

This may be the final conflict for the soul of the party. There can be no "come home Joe" -- and in this light the Mini-Me donors need to be isolated, and the squalid labor hacks, and any light footed mum Dem pols too, keeping their options open. They need to be singled out, publically spotlighted, and subjected to a brutal series of head-spinning party exorcisms -- and I mean the type of obsessive ritualizing you saw on Kong Island, repeated like prayers to Allah, over and over, till the target bursts into bloody atoms from mere chagrin.

First time as farce, second time as...?

This is a bit of a chin-stroker comin up, so if you iz a total moment-by-moment type, scroll on, soldier, scroll on....

Okay, so here's my thought: will the masses settle for a Mcgovern burp this time round? The social class plates are rumbling, and the mouth of the volcano is puffing thin elegant wisps of smoke. But the Ann Coulters figure "Hell, we've seen this before... and we rode its false promise and farce all the way to total power." She means of course the aquarian cosmic revolution express, from senator Clean Gene past senator McG to senator Sam -- the monorail ride that took Woodstock boomers like me and our gray-haired red fellow travellers from the winter of '68 to the fall of of Dick Nixon.

And Ann is right to observe that that ride ended by quietly depositing us in the political sagebrush, while the right successfully drove a thousand wedges between us and the pale masses of middle America.

Well, I say, not this time, Ann, or Andre as the case may be -- this time it's going way past just changes in the collective "educated" mind's zodiac. This time the people will not react with a homely loathing to the foolish shenanigans of the spoiled of the earth, but with a righteous fury at 30 years of tower tykes' high rollin', that's left too many of 'em job-stripped and house-poor.

No, O thou of the fair large feet: deja-vu-wise, this ain't the low 70's all over again. This time it's different. This time the job-holding masses are going into "changing time" with their asses on fire.

Decisions, decisions

Rowan commented on an earlier post, re Lieberman:
Wait, wait - which do we want, the party to split or the progs to win?
It's an interesting puzzle.

Lieberman's long-time puppet masters don't seem to be willing to give him up without a fight. (I don't feel I know exactly who all those puppet-masters are, but the Israel lobby is certainly among them, which is just about enough for me.) Not that they care about him, as such, but I don't think they want the Helots of the Democratic Party getting the idea that they can defy the Spartiates' will. I'm starting to get the impression that in some influential quarters, at least, Connecticut is coming to be seen as a no-pasaran. These nobodies think they can deflect the Democratic Party from the course we have chosen for it? Think again, O foolish and presumptuous rabble.

Now if the four-star Orcs of the Democratic Party Mordor have decided that Connecticut needs to be a decisive battle, something in me says that it would be nice if they lost it.

On the other hand, I have sworn a great and terrible oath, solemnized in a cypress grove at midnight in the dark of the moon and sealed with the blood of an albino jackass, never to vote for another Democrat. So I can hardly urge anybody else to do so either.

In one way, I would like to see the firm of Schumer, Rattner, From, Pelosi, Clinton and Reid, LLC, reassert control of the party and put an end to any delusions that it can be wrested from its masters. But there is a disagreeable whiff of the-worse-the-better about this.

Then, too, I get very excited imagining the chagrin of Vile Joe if he fought the election with all kinds of Wall Street and Lobby muscle behind him, and still lost. Never deny yourself a pleasure needlessly.

Help me out here, folks. What's a poor lefty to do?

Of course -- no one would disagree that we should only have many more such quandaries, right?

No mas

Here's a voter pledge I signed. It comes in two parts. Part One:
I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq and ....
Part two:
...preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign.
Part one is not bad -- I prefer "now" to "speedy", but not bad.

Part two? Well, it's nice there is a Part Two. For one thing, it heads off the donk Murtha frame -- redeploy to an air war with a dark-ops option, or any other sotto-voce re-intervention proviso. We hardly need some update of the infamous Platt amendment, or TR's bill-collector civil-order revision of the Monroe doctrine.

Imagine -- we Yankees, back at the turn of the last century, actually "embedded" a unilateral right of intervention in the constitution of "liberated Cuba."

We need tighter language, for sure. A "war of aggression" label is way too easily finessed. I suspect, for example, a redeploy that after some Sunni-menacing by the Shia, led back to a Kosovo-type air war, could avoid the war of aggression label fairly easily.

So this term, "war of agression," is no sound basis for policy reformation of the "never again" variety -- not unless we prevent all pretexts, starting with the best of all, a war of humane emergency.

Barring "wars of agression" is only a fair start -- we need to work together towards something more like "no gringo interventions, period." And to insure a deep lesson is learned, pass a a one time levy on the transnational corporations to pay us all back for all the prior interventions. We could call it the Smedley Butler levy.

This is not an easy task, needless to say -- a world without nations intervening on each other. But then, I suspect, neither was ending human sacrifice.

Bottom line -- humane empire is still empire. Perhaps we prove to be the final evil of civilization itself -- Benthamite imperialists, intervening for the greater good, or Pastor Niebuhr types interested in universal values enforcement.

Try your passivity against, say, murderous state oppression like Sudan, or state-without-a-state rule of the gun like Somalia -- or both, like Congo. Policing or disarming terrorist armed states within a state or or or....

It ain't easy to agree what is not to be done. But surely a line must be drawn and the struggle to find that line needs to be "dialogued out" right now. The bulk of the American citizenry must share a new line, that clearly tells our Uncle Sam what he's never ever to do again.


Alan Smithee writes:
... I think this Left I On The News fellow has Lamont's number:

Ned Lamont: Perception and reality

Cutting the Gordian knot

scarletwoman writes, in a comment Too Good To Be A Comment:
I've been (happily) reading here for a couple months or so -- I found my way here via the comments section of some progressive blog or another. (Berube?) Anyway, this is my first shot at commenting here.

What's a poor lefty to do?

My personal position -- arrived at after spending several years of plunging full bore into local electoral politics in my home state -- is that electoral politics is of limited utility as far as changing the social/political landscape goes.

This poor lefty (old acid-dropping hippie war protester born in 1949) has arrived at the conclusion that the urgency of our current circumstances requires a MOVEMENT, not the convoluted arcana of electoral politics.

Participation in electoral politics is first and foremost an act of consenting to the approved official frame for political action -- it is an act of assent to the preservation of the status quo.

Change at the level of electoral politics always happens AFTER societal changes are achieved by bottom-up movements. (Look to the Woman's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements for two very stark examples) Participation in electoral politics in its present U.S. incarnation ultimately perpetuates and preserves hierarchical/plutocratic frames. We look for "heroes" to ride in and save the system, instead of doing the really dirty work of evolving the system altogether.

It took me a long time to come to this viewpoint. I've been a lifelong Democratic voter, I never missed an election from the time I was old enough to vote. (I couldn't vote for McCarthy in '68 because they hadn't changed the voting age to 18 yet, but I got to vote for McGovern in '72)

There is SO much more wrong with this country than can be changed by electoral politics absent a highly focused, well-organized movement dedicated to smashing conventional wisdom and the Official Approved Narrative of the corporate media and the militarized Security State.

It's inefficient and ineffective to split your focus. Define the goal and work relentlessly toward it -- don't get distracted by the kubuki theater of electoral politics. Electoral politics, after all, operates strictly in the realm of elite-approved activity.

August 11, 2006

Where do movements come from?

(Another comment Too Good To Be A Comment, from 'NYCO'. -- Ed.)

Well, you're spot-on about the limited utility of electoral politics. I live in New York, and everything is just ossified. Four incumbents got defeated last year in a state legislature of 200-odd people, and it was considered an earthshaking year.

And in New York, the Democrats are completely controlled by the downstate party establishment, and they don't do much for the party upstate except enable the numbnut, no-talent sloppy seconds who have become Democratic mayors and the odd county executive, who keep presiding passively over the area's economic decline. If you want a good look at how Democrats hover around the fire of the status quo while pretending they are progressives who care about all Americans, look no further than New York City. They have no desire to lead, just to wallow in their own little lucrative world. They can't even lead their own state out of the abyss. I was reasonably enthusiastic about Spitzer being a bit of a rebel but my enthusiasm is starting to fade. He's coasting.

You do need movements focused on concrete embodiments of the issues, but those are hard to come by. People would rather flee than fight. We have an interesting (to say the least) situation in upstate New York with opposition to the New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) project, a monstrous 200-mile power line that's going to kill about 40 small communities. The Greens are pretty vocal about it (and Maurice Hinchey), but interestingly so are the traditional anti-downstate Republican/independents. So there are some odd bedfellows.

Democrats (including Spitzer) are reluctant to take too strong a stance against it. After all, those 40 communities are in line to be economically exterminated in order to make New York City bigger and shinier, and the Democrats are all creatures of the City. You cannot expect too much from the Democrats. In the end, they will give in (the power company has run crying to the federal government to have 200 miles of upstate NY taken by eminent domain as a "National Energy Corridor"). Schumer, Hillary, all of them. They will gladly sell some of their constituents' homes out from under them (or stand by while it happens) if it means they can continue in their hegemony.

In any case, I'm not really explaining the NYRI situation that well. The company that is pushing this is shadowy, arrogant and has an Enron-like whiff coming off it. It's just foul, and the Bush Administration is behind it. The larger issues lying behind the fight have to do with the decay of social contracts, the question of sustainable energy generation and transmission, sustainable growth, etc.

It's very specific, even geographically centered, issues like these that are prime coalescing points for greater movements. Indeed, no one can remember such a wide coalition of upstaters - not just from rural towns; there is at least one city, Utica, involved -- trying to form a collective defense movement for their communities over 200 miles of space. But do people want to pay attention if the movement-creators are "the little guys"? I'm not sure. There is still a self-flattering that goes on among alleged progressives that says they're doing OK if they vote for the "right party." They are unable to see what's happening in their own back yard.

But if the people who are forming real, on-the-ground movements -- without permission from the Democratic Party, or the blogeoisie -- endure and find ways to meet up with each other (for instance, as someone interested in anti-NYRI efforts, I have been in touch with other folks in Appalachia who are fighting similar battles to come against the federal government)... then new, actual networks of actual action can form pretty much under the radar of the parties. Then, election politics becomes just one tool in the toolbag. But first I think a lot of actual movement work needs to be done.

Bizarro Worlds

Joe Lieberman is raving again:
If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England....

I’m worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don’t appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security and the evil of the enemy that faces us — more evil, or as evil, as Nazism....

Wow. Worse than the Nazis? For a mad-dog Likudnik like Joe, that's a bit like sawing off the branch you're sitting on. But the guy really is a genuine, sincere, means-every-word lunatic -- anybody remember his paranoiac fanstasy about the New Caliphate?

Joe's alternate universe is at least richly-colored and exciting. But what are we to make of the strange shadowy hyperspace, or rather infraspace, in which David Sirota apparently lives and moves and has his being?

For Dems, Lamont Helps, and Lieberman Becomes a Clear & Present Danger

For months, Washington pundits, operatives and lobbyists have been issuing apocalyptic prophecies claiming that if Ned Lamont won the Connecticut Democratic primary, the Democratic Party will be severely weakened. But in very specific ways, it is clear this morning that the exact opposite is happening: that Lamont's win has strengthened the Democratic Party, and Joe Lieberman's selfish decision to ignore the democratic primary process and run as a candidate of one will weaken the Democratic Party. Here's what I mean.

Lamont's win will strengthen Democratic unity: In 2002, Republicans ran Rep. Pat Toomey against Sen. Arlen Specter. Though Toomey lost, GOP strategists knew the race was no waste - it reinforced to other GOP officeholders that if they veer from the conservative line, they could face a primary challenge. That has helped the GOP build and maintain unity, and that's the very same thing that will happen now that Lamont has won the Connecticut primary. As Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) admitted, Democrats everywhere now have a very clear example of how aiding and abetting the right-wing agenda of George W. Bush could land them with a challenge from their own voters at home.

Run that by me again, David? Did I hear you correctly -- Lieberman was supposed to be some kind of dissident, nonconformist maverick? But... support for the war has been the Democratic position right from Day One, and it's only very recently that any Democrats have started to go soft on it. Even now, the softies are the mavericks, and the War Democrats clearly represent the institutional mainstream.

And lordy, lordy, it's truly mind-bending to see Rahm Emanuel cited as a defender of some imaginary Democratic orthodoxy from which Joe is supposed to have departed. Rahm and Joe, ideological antagonists? Maybe in a world where pi = -3.

It's true, of course, that there is something different about Joe. The difference is that he's actually a more honest person than, say, Hillary Clinton. Hillary doesn't mean a word she says. Joe really does mean it. Of course that implies he's mad as a snake, but still, you have to give him credit for sincerity.

Joe plays the neocon symphony fortissimo from beginning to end, and lays out the line in all its full loopiness, because he really buys it. Naturally that's a little embarrassing for people like Hillary and Rahm, who follow the score, in practice, as sedulously as Joe does, but soft-pedal its crazier fugal passages.

Lamon't victory a victory for party unity? How can you say these things, David? The party lined right up behind Joe. And it's not at all clear, to me at least, that they aren't still behind him, in deed if not in word.

August 13, 2006

Party! Party!

Why support reform of an old party? Or for that matter, why even bother to build a new party, if it's just to win elections?

After all, the victory at the ballot box, or through the ballot box in the legislature or executive, is really only the result of a fired-up, effective mass movement that won't stop, and won't take anything less. It's hard to argue with the notion "put your efforts where the real push comes from" -- hard to counter the bald command "no more wasting energy on that old war and Wall Street mule."

Some contributors here recently have been making this case loud and clear -- and some have said more: some say flat-out "no party -- no party politics at all" -- not even Green or peace or jobs, or what not.

These folks start where Stop Me ends. Our line here is "Democrat party ... wherever you go, don't go there anymore... it's a diversion... a distraction ... a shock absorber for anything anti-corporate." But they go a further step. They say "forget party politics altogether -- go for direct action movement building only. Make it exclusively a bottom-up gig, kids."

So far as I can see for the moment, this set of marching orders is all well and good, and coincides with our Stop Me minimum program, as far as that goes. Our program is effectively acomplished if folks in flocks simply make it clear they won't vote for Wall Street lite's donkey totem.

So what's my unease here? Well sure all these frustrated, fired-up folks can join "the movements," and in particular, build or re-energize the nation's long list of noble issue orgs. We can never have enough people power, direct action, or rap music. But as a union boy by adoption -- sort of a Pharaoh's-son reverse Moses -- let me say if the majority of job folks, as they claim when asked by outsiders, really would like a nice organization at their job site -- an organization that "worked with them and for them" like job unions' standard blue prints call for them to do -- why don't they have them already?

The answer to that is obvious -- it's de facto impossible. And why? Because by code, law, precedent, and court and administrative actions, it's illegal to use techniques necessary if you want to succeed at organizing most job sites. Like a thousand other venues, job organizing is effectively barred by the system.

It's not enough to have the abstract "right" to organize, to agitate, and to take joint action, if the time, the place, and the type of all these actions are all hedgerowed. No elite ever lost out by holding on to the house odds. Unless the odds are changed, the spontaneous desires of the "people" can be easily thwarted. Such is the source, not only of movement fights but of recourse to a party too. The Job Crow system will not end by spontaneous mass action alone, any more than Jim Crow did.

Sure, there's huge movement-building to do on the job-site front. The mass of jobsters haven't the first clue about what they can do, or what needs to be done. All we know is this -- the job-site revulsion in this country is massive, and I suspect it already exceeds the flash point. But the jobsters are not even in motion yet, let alone the organizations that must arise to articulate goals, and devise ways and means.

But attendez-vous -- at last I reach my point: as soon as that org gets effective, it's bound to bang its collective head against the "state," and as Joe Friday sez so wonderfully, "that's where we come in." Electoral party activity becomes not just part of the problem, as it is now, but one of the necessities of a solution.

Obviously, on big fronts, where many stand to gain some, and a few lose lots, influence wil not be enough -- only seizing, drastically reforming, or building anew will get it done. Either way, a party capable of electoral success in these "blood" fights must emerge -- must and will become crucial.

The necessary second job of all movement fighters is building political power, and unlike the job movement, the anti-Iraq war movement is already at the point where party action is on the agenda -- and the failure to take it is hurting the movement.

Right now the troops need to be pulled out. No time to find a better vehicle. Scare these opportunist careerist scamps into doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, as with civil rights. The peace movement today needs to force this stance on the donkey like a nasty training bridle.

Alter egos

Obscenity alert: this Washpost item caused me to unleash a torrent of brimstoney expletives. Be advised if innocent,shell-pink ears are near as you read it.

My God, the mad muppet, der Lieberhund, the would-be hammer of the new Caliphate, is characterized as a man of civility and plain-spoken moderation -- a modest, self-effacing tea and crumpet server at the center for wholesome dialogue. Pass me that full bottle of George Dickel you got back there, barkeep -- I gotta mood shift emergency here.

To complete the circuit of hyperbole, there's also our guy Ned, ripping himself loose from his straitjacket. Suddenly he's leapin' Lamont, the barn burner.

Give me a break -- that paddleball preppy? Nattering Ned, fixin' to torch the house of bipartisan, er, intercourse? Hell, he couldn't burn a hole in his own pants pocket.

August 15, 2006

Lieberman tells the truth for once; Sirota furious

David Sirota is so mad he's writing even worse than usual:
Lieberman Viciously Attacks Bernie Sanders; GOP Rewards Him With Cash

Connecticut's Manchester Journal Inquirer reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman (De Facto R) today unleashed a vicious attack on Vermont Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders - a longtime progressive hero and the leading candidate to keep Vermont's U.S. Senate seat out of GOP hands. According to the newspaper, the Lieberman campaign sent out an official email attacking, among others, Sanders and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of DailyKos.

With apologies to Myles na gCopaleen:
Q: What moral quality is commonly associated with an attack?
A: The quality of viciousness.
Q: Is a vicious attack ever released? Liberated? Let slip? Launched upon the long-suffering world?
A: It is not. Invariably it is unleashed.
Q: Very good. Here is a letter of introduction to Katrina van den Heuvel.
Besides a scanty fund of metaphor, Sirota has a quiveringly low threshold of viciousness. Here is the "vicious attack," in all its off-the-leash bad-doggery:
How could [Lamont] expect to convince "moderate Democrats, Republicans, and most importantly, unaffiliated voters" that he "would be anything other than a rigid partisan rubber stamp in the Senate," the Lieberman spokesman asked, "when the only proof of his independence he can show is that he is slightly to the right of socialist Bernie Sanders on fiscal policy?"
Now it was my impression -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that Sanders used to describe himself as a socialist; whether he still does or not I don't know. And crediting him with being to the left of Lamont on anything seems to me more like a compliment he doesn't deserve than an attack, whether vicious or merely peevish. Does Sirota consider "socialist" a term of abuse? Vicious abuse? The kind that comes in torrents, and gets poured forth?

[Voice offstage] Cut it out, Smith. Just cut it out.

Okay, okay. Here's the best abuse Sirota can come up with for Lieberman:

From now on, I am going to be referring to Joe Lieberman as De Facto GOP Nominee Joe Lieberman and I urge everyone else covering this race to do so in the interest not of partisanship, but out of respect for objective accuracy.
David likes this killer line so much he repeats it twice more, but I will spare you.

Among other crypto-Republicans who fall into the abyss of Sirota's excommunication from the Democratic Party is Marty Peretz. Now there's a real question of "objective accuracy" here. You can say a lot of bad things about Lieberman and Peretz, and I will keep buying you Myles commemorative pints as long as you want to say them, but one thing you can't truthfully say is that they're not Democrats. They have a much better claim to that title than Sirota has -- after all, they've helped start real wars and kill real people.

Hillary, the machine-gun missionary

The cell phone rang last night at some ungodly wee hour. I'm deep in dreamland.

It's the illustrious Mr. Y.

"So, JS, what say you? A shabby-ass cease fire -- quite a denouement."

He's calling me? As if i'm the oracle, not him. What a transparent ploy. But no, I won't ask his take, the egomaniac. Instead i go "Errrrrrrrr... indeed... exactly... good point... all I dare add is thank God uncle's got too fucking few boots, eh?"

Bzzzzzz... and he's gone.

I guess if you boil it all together long enough, that is the empire's final bone, and consequently its weakest link -- the footsoldiers, the grunts and jarheads. The ultimate smart weapon system is mostly made of meat. There's no substitute when you get to the short strokes.

Forget the cruise missile phase of wardom -- lesson from Iraq and reinforced by Lebanon: no more sky-hawkery. Hillary et al. want to give Uncle precisely more "boots", so he can get in there on the ground and rumble.

So who's the fightin-er party, gang? That corporate profiteers' grappler Don Rummy with his shock and awe blitzkrieg update and its minimalist ground force concepts, or Hilary, no longer the bomber-borne saint of Kosovo -- Hillary, who now has a new mystical inspiration: "We need lots more brigades ready to hit the beach -- lots and lots...."

Don Rummy is content with more hi-tech weapon systems, but our lady of the mano-a-mano wants tens of thousands more hard-ass regular forces flesh puppets.

Then what? Two, three, maybe more armed civilizin' projects going on at once? Hill and hubby Bill wanna create a chain of decent-acting emerging nation states all across this globe of ours. Build 'em from scratch out of the hundred or so post-cold war and post-colonial shambles we got lying around the planet. They're much bigger thinkers than old jackass Jimmy -- Carter only builds houses for the poor, but St Hill and her man Bill are fixin' to build whole civilized nations for 'em, and with the help of enough armed missionaries, who can say its just a dream?

Let's tar Hill with the Lieberbrush

We must find a way to suck St Hill into the Lieb vortex.

She must have Joementum hung around her neck like a bag of skunks, hung and re-hung, till she gets flushed out and takes a strong position out in the open -- one that locks her in on a peace platform, or locks her out of the '08 prez nomination.

Don't MoveOn if you can possibly help it

Norman Solomon reports:
Will MoveOn now poll its membership in New York about whether to make an endorsement in the Clinton vs. Tasini race?

I put the question to the executive director of the MoveOn.org political action committee, Eli Pariser. Here's his full reply: "We focus on the issues and candidates our members are excited about. We've heard almost nothing from MoveOn members on Tasini -- New York MoveOn members are more focused on winning back Congress, ending the war on Iraq, and Ned Lamont. As for our formal endorsement process, that's triggered where there are two viable candidates and where there's a baseline of interest from our members. Right now, this one doesn't meet that second threshold."

But the only reliable way to find out how interested New York members of MoveOn would be in a Clinton-or-Tasini endorsement is to ask them. And, evidently, that's a question that the people in charge of MoveOn.org don't want to ask.

On the issue of Clinton vs. Tasini, the current MoveOn stance comes across as a way for its leaders to make sure that MoveOn members in New York don't get to respond to a poll that would likely result in an endorsement of Tasini.

Surprise, surprise.

Masters of outrage

Nurse Todd Gitlin has joined Dr. David Sirota in bandaging the wounds of Bernie Sanders. Here's Gitlin's quousque-tandem:
J. Lieb.: No Sense of Decency

A hat-tip to David Sirota for unearthing this item: The Lieberman operation (Lieberman II: Scrape the Bottom of That Barrel Until It Screams!) is going for broke to smear Ned Lamont--and has lots of names to name. Connecticut's Journal Inquirer reported yesterday that Lieberman's communications director, Dan Gerstein, in an e-mail sent to reporters over the weekend blasted Lamont for being "slightly to the right of socialist Bernie Sanders on fiscal policy?" "Why should anyone outside the Sharpton/Kos wing of the Democratic Party believe Ned Lamont will represent their views in Washington?" Gerstein added.

I know, it's microscopic-eyeing, but... don't you love the headline? Lieberman has "no sense of decency." Gasp! Stop the presses! Gitlin leaps from the tub and runs home ballock-naked shouting "heureka!"

There's something about these yentas tsk-ing over the Sanders reference that really puzzles me. Do Gitlin and Sirota agree that Sanders is not a socialist, though Sanders himself says he is? If so, it's probably the first time I've ever agreed with either of them -- and both, well, that's really a red-letter day. Or is it that yeah, Sanders is a socialist, but it's no fair to say so? What, in the name of Pete, is all this rage about?

August 16, 2006

Bad lieberdog! BAD!

One James Boyce, a former PR guy for the Kerry campaign, has joined the chorus of scolds reprimanding Joe LIberman for his naughty behavior:
Senator Lieberman: Why Would You Let A Republican 527 Attack Group Work For You? (5 comments )

When Independent Senator Joe Lieberman "conceded" his loss in the primary, he fell back on an old inside-the-beltway favorite - blame partisan politics.

"I am disappointed not just because I lost, but because the old politics of partisan polarization won today. For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand.

I expect that my opponent will continue to do in the general election what he has done in the primary ... partisan polarizing instead of talking about how we can solve people's problems, insults instead of ideas. In other words, more of the same old partisan politics that has assailed Washington today. "

Well, now Joe Lieberman has a chance to put his money where his mouth is. Not only are Republicans working for him and giving him money, the worst form of slime in American politics today, the right wing 527 attack group, has slithered its way into Connecticut politics.

"Veterans For Freedom" a right wing 527 creation that falsely advertised itself as "non partisan" till a forced IRS filing on July 31, 2006 showed their true colors ran an ad this week praising Senator Lieberman....

Reverend Boyce then calls on Lieberman, in the sternest of pulpit tones, to Do The Right Thing. Like that's gonna happen.

What's with these guys? I still don't get it. This indignant posturing, this shadow-play of beating up on Lieberman -- what's the point? Are these poor liberal-schmiberals really shocked, shocked! that Lieberman isn't playing by the rules that they have internalized? Do they really believe their own propaganda about the Democratic Party as an institution -- particularly the bit about it being small-d democratic?

The geschrei-ers and gevalt-ers -- Sirota, Gitlin, Boyce, all of 'em -- ought to be concentrating their fire on the Party establishment, which is clearly hedging its Lieberman bets, and in many individual cases putting all the chips forthrightly on the LIberman square. But of course they can't do that -- it would be too much like attacking the institution itself.

I guess that's the real problem with the schola scoldorum -- they can't take in that Lieberman's non-defeat defeat says something quite damning about the strategy they embrace. That strategy begins with getting "progressives" nominated -- and look what happens when the first step succeeds. Presto, the rules of the game change!

Admitting you've been conned is quite difficult, of course, but it's a precondition of any kind of constructive response. Alas, it appears too difficult for Gitlin, and Sirota, and Boyce; they would rather waste their cyber-ink venting impotent and misdirected rage on an utterly indifferent target, and preaching political morality to a mad dog.

The Implausibles

Okay, the decent interval is over. The tiny diva of Bridgeport has had ample time to strut his shameless stuff upon the public stage, after his swift and painless humiliation last week.

Now he must be put down coldly, professionally, and faster then a Jack Kennedy love tryst -- put down and carried off to the dissection table in a plastic seep-proof bag, like the rabid pussycat he is.

The time has come for the magnificent seven to ride into nutmeg land, and take that toon of a loon out -- yes, nothing less than the full heavy cream of the senatorial Democracy: Clinton Kerry Boxer Lautenburg Kennedy Biden and Obama.

And you better bring the hook and the butterfly net, gang -- this won't be easy. "Come on down from that tree, Joe -- come on -- folks is in a hurry now -- truck's a-waitin'."

But whatever it takes, I'd say shoot to kill (metaphorically, of course) -- but then, I'm mean. What ever you do, though, no matter how humane you must be, get him into secure custody now -- extraordinary political rendition.

PS -- This ain't happening yet -- and let me tell you, if it still doesn't, and Lamont the Negligible loses, the party of Marse Jeff is indeed doomed. Which will come as no surprise to 97% of this site's readership, I suspect.

August 17, 2006

Business (as usual)

From the Speaks For Itself file:
One year after labor groups vowed to punish 15 Democrats who joined Republicans in the U.S. Congress to approve a Central American free trade pact, most have easily won their party's nomination to run again....

... 11 of the CAFTA 15 have already won their party's nomination to face a Republican party candidate in the November congressional elections. In most of those party primary races, the CAFTA 15 candidates ran unopposed.

Two of the remaining primary races are in New York, where Rep. Gregory Meeks... is running unopposed and 24-year House veteran Rep. Edolphus Towns... faces two opponents on September 12.

The New York AFL-CIO voted this week not to endorse Meeks and Towns because of their CAFTA vote.

"It basically means we're sitting out the race," said Mario Cilento, communications director for the New York AFL-CIO. "Delegates to the convention felt strongly that a message had to be sent and not take labor support for granted."

"Sitting out the race," huh? Now there's a thunderbolt from Olympus if ever I've seen one. Fear the wrath of organized labor!

Ignorant as an actor

A very bold stroke from Nicole Kidman and some other Hollywood types:
Kidman condemns Hamas, Hezbollah

NICOLE Kidman has made a public stand against terrorism.

The actress, joined by 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

It specifically targets "terrorist organisations" such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.

"If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die.

"We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."

There's something very endearing about this. The level of the prose might almost make you think Kidman, or some other major thespian, actually wrote it. Does some variant of the word "terrorist" appear in every sentence, I wonder?

Alas, the back story to this one is fairly easy to figure out. I envision some Rumpelstiltkin-like figure from the ADL or whatever, materializing in the gorgeous Kidman's chamber; I see her scratching her incredibly pretty and incredibly empty head and agreeing that yeah, terrorism, that's, like, so not a good thing, and then painfully signing her name.

August 18, 2006

Strange bedfellows

JSP called our attention to a New York Times story that contained this gem:
Former President Bill Clinton and Mrs. Clinton have offered to campaign for Mr. Lamont [and] his aides say the offer will be accepted....
That will be fun to watch. Hillary and Bill just finished campaigning for the guy who will be running against Lamont. Presumably the question will be asked, Why the flip? The only possible answer, of course, will be "party solidarity" -- a response which ought to get quite a laugh, even in dour Connecticut.

Then there's the awkward matter of... the, pardon the expression, issues. Lamont beat Joe by being anti-war. But the most prominent AIPAC-drone War Democrat in the Senate is going to be campaigning for him? How's that going to play? "I disagree with Ned and agree with Joe on the most important issue of the day, but I still think you should vote for Ned."

Fudging the stark choices is, of course, a Clinton specialty, but this one will call for some real virtuosity. If anybody can do it, though, the Clintons can. They're the Paganinis of Fudge.

Vacation time

I'm getting out of town for the dog days, and my net access will be intermittent. So things will get a little slow 'round here. I'll try to check comments as often as I can, and maybe post a little.

Massachusetts to catch up with... New York?

I notice my home state of Massachusetts will have a proposition on the fall ballot that legalizes cross-candidate endorsement a la Nueva York

It's of course only one of a number of state-level initiatives, all sharing a common popular purpose -- facilitate wider choice by revitalizing the electoral grounds for a new generation of state parties of principle.

To me, this is a welcome expression of anti-Orthrian refom.

Now of course process reform without brave new substance is a barren enterprise, and prolly each one of these measures, considered in isolation, can be shot full of cynical holes; but the great wave of such efforts can only warm the folksy heart of real progressives everywhere.

August 21, 2006

Gettin' on for seventy times seven

Where in hell was the post-Katrina black march on Washington?

I read that somewhere today, and it's a good question. And where was the torchlight rally in front of the Lincoln memorial? And where was the black siege village around the White House?

The whole 200K poor black folks' diaspora from the Big Easy has just completely drowned its righteous outrage among its thousand and one "official places of refuge." The easest whitey trick of all: dilution. This vast black dispersion, this callous vale of smeers removal, this forced semipermanent vacation from all that prime location property -- why, that's just pure realtors' sneaky Pete: an opportunistic cleansing conspiracy to turn slumlords' warrens into big-D genteel developments.

This whole disgusting process should instead have led directly to a re-collection of every last one of these same expelled black folks, right outside the White House fence line, and America's black leadership should have camped out with the displaced persons, and dared Cheney to send in the troops.

Why hasn't this happened? What's more -- why can't it still happen? Why hasn't the black community risen up over Katrina like the Chicano community did over the house Republican Migra concentration camp plan?

Simple: today's national black leadership is tied by the neck to the Democratic party, and can't you hear the lily donk barons' response even to the slightest suggestion of a black poor folks' siege of the Bush/Cheney White House?

"Hush up now -- you know the score -- don't go gettin' conspicuous on us again. Those days are gone. We don't need a repeat of the early 70's, and you all damn well know it. We don't need you rappin' round the White House now, like you did just about everywhere back then. Christ almighty, it was you black types actin' up that turned us into the minority party in the first place! Wanna ruin our chance to recover?"

That's the DLC donks' way of talkin' -- hard-nosed. Kos would like it. It's pragmatic. It's winners' talk. Didn't Clinton electrocute some poor retarded black fella back home in Arkansas, right on the eve of his election to the presidency? "Bzzz! Get the message, gang? and Sister Souljah -- you could be next."

The papers tell us black folks forgave Bill his sins -- though I wonder how deep or broad that really is. They have to do a shitload of forgiving, when it comes to the donks.

As a white bystander, may I respectfully ask -- why do you bother?

August 23, 2006

Democrats=Hezbollah? Dream on

From one of our readers:
Wal-Mart front group member compares Democrats to Hezbollah

Ha.  Hillary "Wal-Mart Board" Clinton is an anti-Wal-Mart guerrilla?  Joe Biden, the Senator from Citibank, wielding an RPG?


  • Has an actual popular movement base
  • Delivers some fraction of the proverbial goods to that base
  • Can fight
  • Is willing to tangle with Israel
If Democrats actually resembled Hezbollah, you might be able to vote again.

Thanks for your blog.  It's welcome reading from the confines of Beltway Democratic-support organizations.

August 28, 2006

Back on the job

Back from my all-too-brief vacation; I'll get the site turning over again as soon as I've caught up on what's been happening.

The prescience of the bilge rat

J Alva Scruggs draws our attention to this item:
Clinton, Lamont Meet in New York

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont over for coffee Friday, discussing campaign strategy and offering to host a fundraiser, [Howard Wolfson], a spokesman for the senator said....

Clinton has contributed $5,000 from her political action committee to Lamont's campaign and will do "whatever works for the campaign," Wolfson said. Wolfson, one of Clinton's senior political strategists, also said he will join the Lamont campaign as an adviser.

Uh-oh. Guy's doomed.

J Alva comments, ironically, I suspect:

Hillary gives money, lends dude to Lamont, hosts fundraiser, etc. . . I guess those progressives taught them all a real lesson.
Might be something in this, though. There's one interesting word in the story, and it occurs in the following sentence:
Recent polls show Lieberman with a narrowing lead over Lamont in the general election, with Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger in single digits.
Can you say "hedging their bets?"

The dead and the undead

More good stuff from J Alva:

Assisted by the necromancer, Sheldon Silver, the zombified essence of Daniel Patrick Moynihan has formed a pall over midtown Manhattan, where it sucks the souls out of passersby and fattens the wallets of culture capitalists.

Other than that, it's all good.

The rendering of the new station's squalid, meanly-proportioned interior court makes it look a great deal like a shopping mall in some downscale suburb -- a perfect tribute, really, to that inflated twaddlemonger Moynihan.

We'll make 'em Americans in the movie

Alan Smithee writes:

Probably you've already heard about this particular bit of democrat pettifoggery. But in case you haven't, here's a link to one article on the issue.

Election of Alabama lesbian overturned by committee

I know the phrase "Resurgent Dixiecrat" sounds ridiculous, but I guess anything is possible in The New Millennium.

Johnny, we hardly... naah, we knew ye all too well

Courtesy of J Alva Scruggs:

"I've heard the Rust Belt denizens complain about the export of good jobs. NAFTA, CAFTA, et al, certainly need fixing, but pointing fingers doesn't resolve the crisis.

So, what if there were an issue that granted struggling Dem incumbents in Michigan and challenger Dems from Wisconsin to West Virginia with a popular solution? And what if it also offered Dems a way to exhibit their strength on Homeland Security?

I think if there were truly a JFK-esque Dem leader today running for president, his inspiring race to the moon would now be a race to energy freedom. His strategy for Iraq would be withdrawal…. with a surprise diversion of half of those troops to Afghanistan to finish off Bin Laden and his opium funding base. And his jobs plan/homeland security plan would be to fix this mess, before it breaks us."

I read this guy when he was still sane. He's chugged a couple of quarts of the neoliberal kool aid since then. He knows better than to call the economic havoc in the Rust Belt "complaints", and that oafish comment about pointing fingers is worthy of a wingnut pundit.

JFK??? He's nuts.

JFK was nuts, but he's dead now -- oh, you mean the writer is nuts. Sorry.

It's interesting to observe the way delusional thinking about JFK is such an important component of pwog Democrats' intellectual armor. Somebody really ought to take apart the JFK myth. Not that it would do much good -- the Dems would soon find a soporific which would enable them to sleep once more.

Now THIS is a party

Speaking of political organizations -- a party can be a symbol and still command support:


Read about Haiti's poor folks' twenty-year love affair with Aristide and "the flood."

You gotta be from among 'em -- a "populist", for lack of a better word -- to earn loyalty. Be of 'em not just for 'em -- otherwise progressive talk is like smoking crack.

Twisting in the wind

The American people need to declare war on on their own big energy corporations.

Okay, the donks aren't there yet, or anywhere close, but wouldn't it be wonderful if this Apollo Alliance actually went somehwere?

My soul is not a very deep shade of green, but after this 500 billion dollar Mesopotamian tango, the big oilers need a serious bashing. What better pay back then a savagely ruthless alternative energy policy?

I see that effing Cheney strung up for this, by the boys from Exxon and company -- strung up, say, on one of those giant high-tech wind towers. I invite you to imagine him up there, turning round and round and round, as the voiceover of Big Carbon intones:

"You failed us, Dick -- your war, your absurdly generous tax cuts, and this is the blowback we get for it all. You cocky fool -- you made all this happen, this tower and its million clones to come. This is what your failure has led to. So spin, baby, spin, till the devil takes you."

August 29, 2006

Daschle, cash-le

J Alva sends this link. Excerpt:
Daschle joins the CaroLinks board
Ex-Senate leader joins inland port advisory panel

Tom Daschle, the former U.S. Senate majority leader, is the latest to join the advisory board of Carolina Linkages, the Charleston-based company with plans to bring an inland port into Orangeburg County....

Daschle’s appointment continues the relationship the former Democratic senator built with CaroLinks founder, President and CEO Lucy Duncan-Scheman during the 15 years she ran a consulting business in Washington, D.C.

Duncan-Scheman’s husband, Ron Scheman, has been a longtime supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, with a Brookings Institute report listing Scheman as a top contributor to former President Bill Clinton and one of the top 10 contributors who received a presidential appointment, according to the Charleston Business Journal.

J Alva comments: "Saying Daschle continues to cash in has the force of saying water remains wet."

Hillary: the thinking person's war criminal

J Alva passes along the following:


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is ... an elected senator who has served six years in her seat, never taking a strong stand in support of her constituents on any serious or controversial issue; a senator who has used her record-breaking TV public appearances to say “nothing”; a senator whose senate office adheres strictly to a motto of “See no Evil, Hear no Evil”; an elected official who has no record of conducting investigations into cases that are matters of great concern to her constituents and to our nation; a senator who has consistently stood quietly on the sidelines when the issues at hand demand public hearings –waiting to determine the direction of each blowing wind; a politician who has spent all her focus and energy on a campaign of shallow publicity glitz and her PR empire behind it.
But her prose is measured and thoughtful, and she does make good points at times, unlike some bitter, stupid, ranting, tag-along second raters I could mention :-)
Puts me in mind of Humbert Humbert's observation that you can always count on a murderer to have a fancy prose style.

Evils known and unknown, done and left undone

My pal bobw shows one bad place where a healthy streak of basic human decency can land you, as we see him once again toying with the notion that we oughta swallow a preventive evil -- not a restorative evil, mind you; not like a shot of mercury for a syphilitic -- but rather a local evil that will pre-empt a global cataclysm. And of course this evil is a donk congress.

His speculation: we left and minority voters could make it not happen by sitting this one out, and then... the elephants will trumpet and charge. At this site many have pounded away at this big scare tactic -- the prospect of the world according to grover and dick. Talk about fear politics -- well, waving the bloody shirt of the 'repugs' as human and civil rights terrorists works on the decent among us real fine. But let's for once really take stock here: count the real differences -- not the coulds, mights, and long-shot maybe- evens -- and after that's taken, ask ourselves: is it not better to shatter to pieces, over the next few cycles, the party that you know damn well, after all is said and done, is still willing to caucus with the hobbit senator from Bridgeport. Isn't blowing that hybrid of war mule and boardroom call-pig to holy hell worth more than to prevent two, four, six more years of this same old bubblin white plunder?

Maybe it's my political-economist view of our economic system, and of the planet's economy as well that encourages me to see this as the preferred option.

For example, I believe we oughta forget the deficits in both the federal war-fighting budget and the international payments potlatch. I think we're better by far letting this orgy run its course than submit to the sado-imperialist Rubinomics that the party of the whole people will replace it with.

Okay, Iraq might get a quicker dial-down. Iran, Syria -- those are scare masks. Not happening on this crew's watch -- not after Iraq and Katrina. And "doing something" about Iran certainly seems to be as popular a talking point with donks as with the incumbent party.

In the Mideast, personally, I'd prefer Lieberman's nightmare "new Caliphate" to the cuckoo's-nest, Nurse Ratched shit that the party of the whole people have lined up as an alternative. Redeploy? Go back to multilateral bomb rack and embargo diplomacy? "Ah, but there'll be less blood spilt" -- but sez who? I'll stack donkey deads up against republican deads anytime -- Clinton kills against Bush kills, even, ain't that out of balance.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda...

Reechard writes, in connection with the perennial argument that a Democratic President would not have invaded Iraq:
Kerry's pre-invasion dudgeon is well-doc'ed. No need for DNA testing along this blood trail; just spy the WMD fretting and brow-furrowed war fever in the fingerprints at http://www.independentsforkerry.org/uploads/media/kerry-iraq.html. Here's Kerry at his pithiest, some months before he ran on the Send Me ticket:

"And while the administration has failed to provide any direct link between Iraq and the events of September 11, can we afford to ignore the possibility that Saddam Hussein might accidentally, as well as purposely, allow those weapons to slide off to one group or other in a region where weapons are the currency of trade? How do we leave that to chance?"

Sourcing Hillary's cheery outbursts on Iraq is left as an exercise for the reader.

But would it all have been different had the Gore-Liebs duo succeeded Our Man With The Wet Havana? We might fantasize that Gore would have broken with his hawkish past, but to do so requires explicitly ignoring his post-9/11 go-get-'em speech before the Council on Foreign Invasions, er, Relations in February 2002 (text and analysis here: http://jeffweintraub.blogspot.com/2003/11/al-gore-on-iraq-february-12-2002.html).

There has been no Dem "silence" on Iraq, either before or after. The 2004 platform and subsquent talking points have made one technocratic promise after another of occupying better--better ally recruitment for better killing and better oil extraction. No, they signed no PNAC manifesto; why stoop to second-raters when you're accustomed to a starring role?

Hard to please

That exigeant sorehead J Alva (hi, fellow exigeant sorehead!) writes:

In some ways, this jerk [Lamont] is worse than Lieberman.

"Rather than prescriptive standards [for GHG emissions], I would support performance standards to get us where we need to be in terms of conservation and efficiency."

Of course J Alva is right -- Lamont is not Robespierre. Au contraire, he is an extremely Establishment figure. The interesting things about him -- and there are only two -- are these:
  1. He's defying the Israel lobby, and
  2. People seem to like it.

August 30, 2006

On the move, or on the take?

JAS writes:
Nice briefing on Dem consultants:

Once the Democrats turned into the opposition, key Clinton figures found a home in offering their advertising, public relations and arm-twisting skills to industry trade associations and corporations. They retained their links to the party, and have lived a kind of dual life ever since, moving effortlessly from corporate work to campaign work and back. The friendliness with big business has escalated under the reign of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has assembled his own so-called “K Street Cabinet” – named after the street where the lobbying hordes are headquartered.

Maybe if we progressives take back the House this fall, the evils of incestuous crony networks can at last be addressed. Then we take back the country. Let "to the moon Alice!" be our battle cry.

Experiencing technical difficulties

Had some database trouble with our service provider, starting late last night. Should be fixed now. Apologies to any readers or commenters who got strange error messages.

Cheap gas, that's the ticket

Political mastermind Chris Weigant admiringly reports:
... the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently sent out a memo urging ... candidates to ...

"Demonstrate your dedication to fighting for middleclass families by clearly explaining how you will work to keep down the price of gas if elected to Congress. Hold an event at a gas station or other logical location where you call for a real commitment to bringing down gas prices and pledge that, as a member of Congress, you will fight for families in your district, not the oil and gas executives for which this Republican Congress has fought so hard." This is a brilliant tactic which should be repeated immediately nationwide. The upcoming Labor Day weekend would be the perfect time to stage these events. Not everybody pays attention to politics, but almost everybody buys gas. And nobody's happy with the current price.

There we go; the Dems are going to be The Party Of Cheap Gasoline. I must remember this one the next time some Sierra Club pwog tells me that the Democrats will be better for "the environment."

Barney: Who you callin' anti-war?

Barney Frank wants us to know he's as big a warmonger as anybody. He indignantly rejects
Dick Cheney's assertion that the defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary, largely but not entirely because of his support for the Iraq war, demonstrated that Democrats were unwilling to use appropriate force against terrorism....

Every Democratic senator and representative but one voted for the war in Afghanistan....

... one of the reasons why the Iraq war does America so much harm is that it has diverted attention, resources, and support from Afghanistan.

There you have it. The reason to be against war is that it's bad for war. Maybe the Dems need to stick with the cheap gas.

Twinkletoes Emanuel

Here's Markos Moulitsas, crowing like Peter Pan after Lamont's primary victory in Connecticut:
Rahm slams Lieberman. Hard.
"This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the leader of the Democratic House Congressional campaign. "This is not about the war. It's blind loyalty to Bush."
Love child? Last time he commented on this race, a couple of days ago, he used "politically dangerous to life-threatening". I like "love child" much better, and quite the apt description of Lieberman. You can feel the disdain. No subtlety at all.

I think we all like Rahm much better tonight, huh?

Fast-forward. Here's Rahm last week, on the subject of Lieberman's effect on the Connecticut House races:
Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, expressed confidence that Democratic turnout would be strong for the House races in Connecticut.

“Explain to me how two Democrats running is bad,” Mr. Emanuel said in an interview. “Would I prefer it be simpler? Yeah. But everybody is hyperventilating, and my own view is that we have an energized base.”

Gotta love that Rahm. Guy makes Dr Pangloss look like H.L. Mencken. "Love-child" Lieberman is now a Democrat again, and it's all just great, really.

Instant gratification now available

Prodded by JSP, who hates to wait for anything, I have cobbled together a system for making comments appear right away. In order to keep the spam level down, you will notice at the bottom of the comments form a request to type in the answer to an easy question. Presumably robots won't be able to do this, or so I hope.

Blaze away!

PS -- With some browsers you may have to "reload" the page in order to see your comment.

August 31, 2006

American dream: You too can own a Congressman

I'm a union boy, straight down to my dermatophytes' hard hats, but boy are those AFL-XXX pie-crats up their own....

Check this out:

The AFL-CIO is spending $40 million in 2006 and building a massive, sophisticated, voter contact and turnout program to get pro-worker candidates elected to the Senate, House and state-level offices and as governor. Some ask: Why not put all that time, energy and money into organizing drives, to increase the size, and therefore power, of our unions?

...unions must participate in politics and work to elect legislators who will protect our freedom to form unions. We cannot believe in the false dichotomy of organize or politicize.

Oddly, "pro-worker candidates" seems to mean Democrats, though the word doesn't appear even once in the piece.

Let me say if your idea of class politics starts and stops with feeding one or the other head of Orthrus -- i.e. playing two-party politics -- for my buck, you suck, chief.

Tot up the money spills of our august house of labor and you get this lame donk echo.

Like the pwog dance on the supreme court's evil clout, that tewwible destroyer of civil liberty, jobsters face the national labor relations board, the executioner of toilers' dreams, destroyer of all organizing abilities, etc. Inference: elect donks today and they'll appoint yer pals to these key star chamber seats.

Lesser claims:

We pay to help the people of our sovereign states choose gubners that let public workers strike. We also pay candidates that will do their level damnedest to repeal all anti-union state laws. Bottom line: we can buy you a gubmint, with your dues, that will make it 1937 all over again.

Sum up: Forty million dues dollars for Rahm Emanuel and St Hill.

Down with the Sweeney machine! Movement politics si! Party politics no! -- and organizing a job site action -- el supremo!

The Clausewitz of Comedy Central

Deep strategic thinker Bill Maher has joined the boots-on-the-ground gang:
The morgue in Baghdad counted more than 1,800 bodies last month, which was a record high. ... But this month, the morgue is on track to receive less than a quarter of that. Why? Because we've redeployed 8,000 U.S. soldiers and 3,000 Iraqi troops to Baghdad and sent them on house-to-house sweeps for militants and weapons caches. In other words, we've knocked Baghdad back from complete and total madness to borderline chaos.

Geez, it's almost like more soldiers works better....

Of course, the forces weren't added; they were moved from other parts of the country, which will now descend back into complete and total madness.

I especially like the "we". How I wish Bill's boots were on the ground over there, so he could use that pronoun in its literal sense.

Spare us your benevolence

Nice, on-target corporate press article in the B-town Boob:
TEHRAN -- Emad Baghi is a human rights activist who spent three years in prison for his writings. Shadi Vatanparast is a promoter of underground Iranian rock bands who, in the semi-privacy of her office, throws off her government-mandated headscarf. And Fazel Mehbadi is a mullah who preaches a message that's dangerously dissident in the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran: Religion should be separate from government.

These Iranians, in large ways and small, want more democracy and pluralism in their country, and they have taken risks to change their society. They are the kind of people whom US officials say they want to support. Yet they all agree that the last thing they need is help from the United States.

Lots of splash here on the induced blood of containment, and Washington's ham-fisted co-optation attempts -- the tainting of internal reform groups, etc. A good citation for anti-intervention/interference.


Confession: I indulge my personal hatreds too much, sometimes.

I'm reminded of this fact by a recent arresting finger wag from J Alva Scruggs down in the comment cages, to the effect that we shouldn't pray, root, phone, and donate -- maybe not even vote -- just to screw senator Lieberscam, just because he is the most wretched, preening, vicious, sanctimonious scumbag in the entire donk senate stable.

JAS is right of course (smart alec). Hate cults must be run with a cool detached hand, and hate votes are for rubes.

Deaniac to Cainite

J Alva writes:
Yes, The Sun, I know, but this story is priceless:
McCain 2008 Campaign Adds Veteran of Howard Dean's Run

Senator McCain's latest additions to his 2008 presidential campaign team — a veteran of Democrat Howard Dean's presidential campaign, and a former Bush administration State Department official — are setting Washington to speculating about the ideological direction Mr. McCain's run for the White House might take.

The new pledges of support for the Arizona Republican came from an Internet guru best known for Governor Dean's upstart presidential campaign in 2004, Nicholas Mele, and from a former State Department official and veteran trade negotiator, Robert Zoellick.

... A Democratic consultant who managed the Dean campaign, Joseph Trippi, said his former colleague in the Dean camp was never a die-hard leftist. "Nicco is not driven ideologically. He's not conservative or liberal. He's more sort of a ground-up grassroots guy who believes we've got to have total reform of the political system and the role of money in it," Mr. Trippi said.

In other words, he's a hollow shell of a man who supports, sort of, a vague talking point, which he doesn't mind working against actively.

MoveOn pulls a fast one

Some MoveOn members were surprised today to receive this in their email:
From: Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org Political Action
Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:42 AM
Subject: Vote on MoveOn's endorsement: U.S. Senate

Dear MoveOn member,

I know we've been in touch a lot this week, but we need your help making one more important decision. Who should MoveOn endorse in New York's U.S. Senate race?

... Voting for the MoveOn endorsement for U.S. Senate in New York starts now and is underway until 11:00 AM tomorrow, September 1.

One irate MoveOn member fired off this response:
To: Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org Political Action
Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 12:34 PM
Subject: Re: Vote on MoveOn's endorsement: U.S. Senate

It's a good step that MoveOn seems to be responding to widespread feeling that it isn't democratic in its decisions. But this is transparently rigged against Tasini, presumably to produce a pro- Hillary vote.

1) with no prior announcement, and on the beginning of a holiday weekend, you throw this major decision at us.

2) you give us less than 24 hours.

Come on, guys, this is ridiculous. Do it again, and do it right.

The null hypothesis

An earlier exchange in comments got me thinking. If I can recycle other people's comments maybe it's OK to recycle my own.

When I argue with Democrats, sooner or later it comes down to something like this: the Democrat, with the air of a man producing an ace from his sleeve, triumphantly demands, "Surely you don't believe that Gore would have gone to war with Iraq?"

The curious thing about this argument, I find, is that the burden of proof seems to lie in the wrong place. It's up to me to prove that the Democrats "would not" have been different; it's not up to my interlocutor to prove that they "would have" been different.

In a case like this you have to ask yourself, what's the null hypothesis? Because that's the epistemologically privileged one -- the one that doesn't carry the burden of proof.

I claim, of course, that the "no difference" hypothesis is the null hypothesis. For this claim a pretty good case is easy to make, historically and structurally.

From the structural point of view, both parties are donor-driven; they will follow the money, and sell themselves to the money-men as being the more likely to deliver what the money-men want. Their RFP responses will be slightly different, like two soft-drink startups vying for venture capital. They will emphasize slightly different demographics and propose slightly different ad campaigns, but such differences are not even skin-deep.

Historically, the record speaks for itself. Democrats got us into Vietnam and kept us there; a Republican finally got us out. Clinton's foreign record is dripping with gore (and dripping, with Gore). Even Jimmy Carter indulged in some adventurism -- and, if Zbigniew Brzezinski is to be believed, deliberately helped upset the applecart in Afghanistan, with results that we all know too well.

So here's what I always say to Mr. Democrat: No, no, other way round. Give me a good reason -- not just a hunch, or a feeling, or a rhetorical question -- why the Democrats "would" do it any different. I personally don't know whether they would have or they wouldn't have; "what if" questions are notoriously unanswerable. But what, exactly, is the source of your confidence, Brother Donk, that you know the answer?

Now maybe this seems like asking a lot. And it is. But it's no more than asking Brother Donk to show his cards. He, after all, is the one claiming that he knows what "would have" -- or rather, what "would not have" happened.

Here's what it comes down to, in that existential crisis we all face when we find ourselves in a voting booth. Do you share my Democratic friend's faith conviction that this time, it will all be different? Or don't you? If you do, well God bless you, your course is clear. But if you don't...?

If you don't, then you have some troubling questions to ponder. One of them could be stated this way: if I pull that lever for the donk -- if I make that leap of faith, in spite of all the structural and historical evidence -- what will be the consequences? Well, the donk might -- might! -- possibly be not quite so bad as the Republican. But on the other hand, I haven't just voted for a maybe-better -- I've also voted for an institution, or rather, I've voted for several institutions simultaneously. One of them is the Democratic party, an institution with a multigenerational record of selling out its most devoted supporters. Another is the "two-party" system, an institition which, by this time, we surely all know is really a one-party system with two factions. And, as far as I can tell from reading the papers, this institution is deeply committed to empire, to cutting my wages, to enriching my boss's boss' boss, and to sending my kids to die for oil, or Israel, or nothing at all.

We all have to make these decisions for ourselves. If, as Dirty Harry says, you feel lucky -- well, then, you will act on your belief, and get screwed again, or not, as it turns out.

But if you don't share my Democratic friend's faith -- then you might want to consider doing something different. Because if my friend's faith is misplaced, your vote isn't just wasted -- it's a contribution, however small, to more badness -- or, putting it a little differently, to greater evil.

About August 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in August 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2006 is the previous archive.

September 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31