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May 2007 Archives

May 1, 2007

The latent physiognomy

Photo of Peter Beinart and Mark Penn

Laurel and Hardy? No, it's coyote-liberal Peter Beinart, on the left, and that laundry bag of a fellow on the right is the man behind St Hill. His name is Mark Penn, and he's Ma Clinton's brain bug (if you saw the movie Starship Troopers).

Here's a Washpost profile to savor:


To me it reads like I wrote it myself, in a fit of drunken distemper -- like he's not real at all but a totally unnecessary invention, a product of my fervid loathing of all things bright, prosperous, arrogant, Clintonian top-doggy, cautious, cunning, breezy and zionic.

One quote should suffice to pin this bulky fuzzy moth of a man to the specimen board:

Penn has deep roots in the national security wing of the Democratic Party, .... who saw the merits of invading Iraq before the war began.... Penn gained his foreign policy expertise working on numerous campaigns overseas, especially in Israel. In 1981, he... helped reelect Menachem Begin....

Editor's note:

I can't resist appending some more juicy bits from the Wapo hatchet job:

[Penn] is a wealthy chief executive who heads a giant public relations firm, where he personally hones Microsoft's image in Washington....

Clinton clearly adores him. She describes Penn in her autobiography, "Living History," as brilliant, intense, shrewd and insightful....

In their $5 million Georgetown mansion, Penn and his wife, Nancy Jacobson, a former staff member for Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) who is now a fundraiser with the Clinton campaign, run something of a salon for like-minded friends. They recently threw a book party for Jeffrey Goldberg, the New Yorker writer, to celebrate the release of his memoir on Israel....

His client list includes prominent backers of the Iraq war, particularly Lieberman, whose presidential campaign Penn helped run in 2004, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose campaign he advised when Blair won a historic third term in 2005....

Penn started his polling business with Schoen with the 1977 New York mayoral candidacy of Edward I. Koch....

Best bit of all, though:
Penn, famously rumpled and awkward in public, who picked a fight at a Harvard forum this year when he disrupted a mild exchange between consultants to accuse Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) of equivocating on Iraq. Penn's outburst seemed designed to reach antiwar Democrats by shifting attention away from Clinton's initial support for the war by arguing that she and her main rival have similar approaches to ending it. "When they got to the Senate, Senator Obama's votes were exactly the same" as Clinton's, Penn told the panel. "So let's not try to create false differences....
He sure got that right.

Communion Wafer Liberalism

What’s “support”, then? Are we permitted to steal into the election booth and shamefacedly vote for Democrats while publically condemning them and helping them lose elections by increasing the number of people who don’t vote on the theory that they’re all the same?

Maia at Alas, A Blog wrote a nice, brief history of the Civil Rights movement, which drew that comment from Amanda Marcotte, whom you may recall was eighty-sixed in a reprehensible fashion by the Edwards campaign as soon as it appeared she was bad for their brand.

I think there's a basic misunderstanding of our representative democracy in her comment. Voting is the coda to a lot of work. It's a small rite, with a bit of culturally accepted recognition of legitimacy. Legislators are salesmen who take advantage of people's time constraints, ignorance and often enough their laziness. They present them with a consumer choice. They stick to a relatively honest interpetation of that choice only to the extent needed in order to protect their "brand" -- no further, and more often than not they do so grudgingly. The electoral process selects for people who can come off as likable and have a very flexible sense of morality. They tend to be collegial to a disastrous fault. These are people who can contemplate altering the Constitution in order to remove the controversy over their pay raises, and use weasel word language to hide that intent.

So please let's have no childish, tired, fatuous playground taunts over whether they're "all the same". Belligerent stupidity is unhelpful. As with any class, different members have different outlooks and different subgroups have different approaches. These need to be studied carefully and the white collar criminals among them need to be driven out. Their useful moment in the political process, assuming your goal is to enshrine principles of liberty and justice, is modestly managerial. There are a limited number of officially sanctioned tools that can be used to hold them to their more honest consumer offerings, or to the rare things that are actually good and work towards making the country a better place.

Negative publicity, opposition research -- with the entire political class considered as the opposition -- organizing, work with NGOs and voting strategies are good tools to use. They draw no official penalties, though the penalties weaseled in and the outright criminal attacks can be pretty awful. Backbiting minimal liberalism, liberals taking out their spousal abuse syndrome woes on the left and cruise missile liberal mini-punditry are not useful. Partisan shilling for Democrats is not useful, etc . . .

Via Ms. Xeno

May 2, 2007

I love ya, tomorrow

[Spokesman] Gibbs said Obama believes that Democrats have made progress in changing minds in Congress and said there will be future opportunities, whether through the supplemental bill or future defense spending measures, to build support for a course change in Iraq.
Any day now... Any day now....

Nancy in wonderland

Bush's Veto Survives House Challenge

WASHINGTON -- Congress failed to override President Bush's veto of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq on Wednesday, a defeat for anti-war Democrats that triggered immediate talks on a new measure to fund the conflict.

"I'm confident we can reach agreement," the president said....

Smarter than he looks, that Bush.
Democrats flashed defiance, yet signaled they were ready to make significant concessions such as jettisoning the troop withdrawal timetable ....

"Make no mistake, Democrats are committed to ending this war," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said .... "We hope to do so in unison with the president of the United States."

There is certainly one thing they will do in "unison" with the current POTUS, and that is -- continue the war. But Nancy's gnomic utterance intends, of course, to suggest subliminally that they will "end the war" in -- what was the word? -- ah yes, "unison" -- if they have a President of their own party. So keep the faith, dear little pwoggie non-pro-war children, until January of 2009.

At which point, of course, some new excuse will have been found.

May 3, 2007

Not just a Sister Souljah moment....

... poor Barack Obama seems committed to a whole life of sister-souljah'ing, 24/7:


Obama Reaches Out With Tough Love
Candidate Says Criticism of Black America Reflects Its Private Concerns

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is delivering pointed critiques of the African American community as he campaigns for its votes, lamenting that many of his generation are "disenfranchising" themselves because they don't vote, taking rappers to task for their language, and decrying "anti-intellectualism" in the black community, including black children telling peers who get good grades that they are "acting white."

"Anti-intellectualism!" That's rich, isn't it, from a key cog in the great foundry of stultification that is the Democratic Party. And the poor man is so empty of ideas, and so unable to talk about anything real, that he has to campaign against racy language. To think that the party of Jackson has become the party of Seth Pecksniff.

May 4, 2007

Wrong verb

I recall hearing an anecdote years ago about Jack Nicholson: at a party, a luscious starlet approaches the great man and says, "Wanna dance?" Nicholson replies, with a particularly wolfish grin, "Wrong verb." This story came to mind in connection with an amusing piece on ABC News. The only thing wrong with it is the verb in the headline:

Democrats Back Down on Troop Withdrawal

A serene group of Democratic Senate leaders indicated this afternoon that they were willing to give up on forcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq....

"There are many different ways of focusing on the problems in Iraq," Reid said.... "Timetables is one. Benchmarks is one. We could have waivers from the president. We could have waivers from the secretary of defense. There are just many different things that can be done....

"We have benchmarks. We may need more benchmarks. We may need a way of enforcing the benchmarks."

... Reid and other members of his leadership team -- Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Patty Murray, D-Wash. -- spoke today almost as if their last bill didn't call for a U.S. troop withdrawal.

"If our legislation stood for anything, it stood for two propositions," said Schumer. "One, we support the troops. Two, we must change the mission. The president's veto isn't going to change our two goals. We're going to keep at it. We're going to try new ways to reach a reasonable agreement with the president. We're not abandoning our heartfelt view that that mission must change."

The problem, of course, is that you can't back down unless you've previously stepped up, and that's just what the Congressional Democrats have never done and never had any intention of doing.

Still, it seems a little churlish to nit-pick, it's such a funny story: Reid happily burbling about benchmarks, waivers here and waivers there. The sense of relief is palpable, isn't it? They think they wiggled out of a bind. The public expected 'em to do something about the war, and now they think they've gotten us to believe that they tried.

Great White Father knows best

Despite recent donk posturing on bilateral trade agreements -- see below -- we all know the party core is really the sob-sister half of a bipartisan mission to make the globe safe for trans-nat investments. Not only are they not raging against the overvalued dollar -- they're not even making a peep over a remarkably odious proviso in these agreements, as pointed out in this recent tompaine.com broadside (Tom Paine, alas, is no relation of mine). It's authored by a well-meaning Beltway anti-corporate prog type:


The gist: Uncle Sam is "bilaterally" levering emerging nations' legal systems, as much as their markets, into better vehicles for TNC penetration. Example: in these draft agreements, transnat "investors" gain the right to sue host countries, right there in the host's own civil justice system, for "damages" that result from said host gubmint's changes of laws and regulations. You might call it the criminalization of sovereignty.

Needless to say, it's all in the fine print and hardly new -- check out NAFTA. Which brings me to my quote of the day, from Mighty Joe Stiglitz, economist extra-ordinaire -- who sheepishly admits he bit into the NAFTA quick shuffle himself, while still a Clinton econ-con staff egghead:

It was only after it passed (NAFTA)that the potential consequences of this agreement became clear. Chapter 11 included a regulatory takings provision that allowed investors to sue states, with damages paid by the national governments.... If the United States signed on to an agreement without knowing what it was agreeing to, what did this say about other countries?
Now Joe, is that really fair? Do you really think the real-deal guys from Uncle didn't know what was up? Isn't it a lot more likely that Uncle's boys just pulled the old "you can trust Great White Father" act?

And after all, who can fault them for treating with these fritter-sized emergers this way? It's at least as even-steven as Uncle's agents in bygone days treated with his own little native red brothers.

Here's the house Dems' "new trade policy" manifesto, in bullet points:


Remember the three little pigs and their anti-wolf houses? This is the one built of straw.

May 5, 2007

Sisterhood Is Rancid

Help. The stench is in everything and I can't make it go away.

So now you know. It really does matter who's President and which party controls Congress. A Democratic-controlled Congress would never have passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, which banned intact dilation and extraction abortions and, in flagrant violation of Roe v. Wade, lacked an exception to preserve the health of the woman. A Democratic President would never have signed such a bill...

(more after the jump, as they say in the Mainstream Media and DKOS. And well worth the trip, in this case -- Ed.)

Continue reading "Sisterhood Is Rancid" »

May 6, 2007

Don't feed the pigeons

Times photo of earnest peaceniks in conclave

The grey lady puffs the ferocious eclair peaceniks pictured in session above. They're described as combining "the online mobilization capabilities of MoveOn with the old-school political muscle of organized labor."


Quoted in the article is a flaming cross of a letter, sent last Thursday by this mighty coalition of hard-nosed peace pigeons to the leader of the senate's custard majority, Dry Gulch Reid, and of course mon amour La Nanita:

In the past few days, we have seen what appear to be trial balloons signaling a significant weakening of the Democratic position.
How acute, how vigilant, eh?
On this, we want to be perfectly clear.
That must be ultimate bad faith segue phrase, a favorite, as we all know, of the father of all modern American political bad faith, tricky Dick Nixon. Would that these slime had a maternally implanted chronically guilty conscience like his, one that lunched on their gut like his lunched on him. Recall the fox in the Spartan kid's tunic? But I digress. To continue to the money line:
If Democrats appear to capitulate to Bush -- passing a bill without measures to end the war -- the unity Democrats have enjoyed and Democratic leadership has so expertly built, will immediately disappear.
... and, I wager, just as immediately reappear, on the far side of this latest counterfeit tussle after a decent interval of fighting the decent interval has passed, of course.

Ahh these peace pigeons -- they sure can flutter and cluck and coo like real doves, can't they?

May 9, 2007

No Cognition Means No Dissonance

Operation Yellow Elephant focuses on the hypocrisy of the Republicans who advocate wars, but don't care to fight in them and don't care to have their kids join the military. I share their disdain for hypocrisy, which is why I urge the people who voted for pro-war Democratic senators and pro-war Democratic representatives and a pro-war Democratic presidential candidate to show their Republican brothers and sisters the path to righteousness. Nothing teaches like a strong, moral example. Any deaths or maimings of military age Democrats and their military age children are regrettable of course, but the comfort of an egalitarian effort should sustain them. It's the right thing to do. Be proud, dammit!

It should be obvious by now to even the dimmest Democrats that Republicans experience no dissonance in advocating wars and ducking service. They're not going to effect anything with their cries of "chickenhawk". In a pinch, backed into a rhetorical corner, the Republicans can point out that the current Democratic distaste for war is highly contingent as well as hypocritical. It might be smarter for them to focus on their own party problems and try to create an effective opposition. The foolish posturing and moral vanity of the Yellow Elephant campaign is not going to be helpful with that.

May 14, 2007

The giant sucking sound, continued

Photo of Charlie Rangel


Just when you'd like to feed him to the woodchipper, leave it to ex-underwear model Dave Sirota to turn in a good tale:

... a handful of senior congressional Democrats and the White House - cheered on by K Street lobbyists - joined forces [Friday] to announce a “deal” on a package of trade agreements that could impact millions of American workers and potentially calls into question the entire election mandate of 2006 (I say potentially because the full details are still being concealed by both Democrats and the White House). You’ll notice the irony of the deal with just a glance at the front of the New York Times business section .... the deal was agreed to (though its details have still not been made public) on the very same day the U.S. government reported another widening of America’s job-destroying trade deficit.
In defiance of last fall's swing votes, that put the likes of him in the chairman seats, donk pseudo prog Charlie Rangel, shown above, is a willing party to any old K street finagle -- so long as His Eelness gets his power palm greased like his fried hair.

If you want some background, here you go:


Congressional Democrats have been quietly negotiating with the Bush Administration to achieve a bipartisan consensus on trade, one that can move forward not only the Doha negotiations but the range of bilateral trade deals

....[S]ome congressional Democrats skeptical of the bilateral agreements seem willing to consider extending fast track authority beyond its current June 30, 2007, deadline if it will No. 07‐02 get a Doha deal done....

Congress should think twice before extending fast track authority to achieve a new WTO agreement. Most evidence suggests that the emerging set of tariff and subsidy reductions will have little impact on global poverty; according to the World Bank, the number of people living on less than a dollar‐a‐day will decline by less than one‐half of one percent with a Doha deal. More worrisome, some the world’s poorest nations may end up worse off, while some of the poorest people – small farmers – lose ground even in countries the World Bank predicts will gain from an agreement. Finally, the costs of liberalization to poor countries, particularly in lost tariff revenue on which they depend for key government services, make the new WTO agreement anything but friendly to development and poverty reduction.

Stuff like this is what's really putting the 'post' in post-industrial, at least around these parts.

Face it, America -- the jackass party is not only a war mule, it's also a cross border mule, carrying your job on its retreating back.

That trade growth pause the jobbled American majority voted for last November, is easily within the Dems' power to grant, simply by not renewing the Administration's "fast track" powers, which end this June.

The Dembo congress -- like with the Iraq gig -- can't claim "'tweren't us that done it," when your neighbor's jobless, and your raise went south. As of July, it'll be undeniably their baby too. So watch and laugh a bitter laugh as the Donkey Congos grant Cheney his fast-track renewal.

May 15, 2007

Hey girls, Hillary thinks you're dumb

Clinton's strategy to win targets new women voters
The 'gender gap' could give Clinton an advantage

"A big piece of what we're working on is finding ways to reach women," said Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to the [Clinton] campaign.

But in addition to targeting women voters, her campaign is going after a far more elusive goal: women who have not even registered to vote. Surveys show the former first lady far outstrips her rivals among registered women voters, but also among unregistered women, a fat target that includes 21 million people under the age of 44....

Appealing to unregistered voters is one of the hardest tasks in politics, and it suggests the lengths Clinton is going to find untapped resources and capitalize on her status as a serious woman candidate.

Making the job more challenging, unregistered women tend to be younger, often move around a lot and may be at some economic disadvantage, making it harder for them to find the time to register and vote. But Page Gardner, president of Women's Voices, Women Vote, which tries to get single women involved in politics, said .... "What we have found is that at the end of the day, if you go to them and make it easier for them to register, they will. If you talk about their lives, that's motivational. They're incredibly civic-minded. They care a lot about this country. They know they should register, they know they should vote."

They know they "should" register, "should" vote.... they know that, do they? So why haven't they been doing their duty? Poor character, probably -- hey, they move around a lot, and if they're at an economic disadvantage, what does that say about them?

Still, they have something Hillary wants -- and may even need. So go do an Oprah and make cooing noises at them -- "talk about their lives." And maybe just enough of the poor naive things, conscience-stricken over electoral duty undone, will turn out to put Hillary over -- though they could hardly find a candidate with a clearer track record of promoting poverty and war than Mommy-in-Chief Clinton.

Another charming vignette:

One recent message, sent out May 7, touted Clinton's attempt to repeal congressional authorization for the Iraq war as a sort of Mother's Day present for women worried about the war.
Nice. I have some idea how the mom in my home would have reacted if her Mother's Day present was an unsuccessful "attempt" on my part to buy flowers. A person might try that once. I can only hope that her fellow moms around the country are equally unimpressed by Hillary's brand of boardroom feminism.

Giuliani: the Republican Bill Clinton?

Rudy in drag I always used to say that the reason Republicans hated Bill Clinton so much was because he had taken their job away: with Democrats like Clinton, who needs Republicans? Now it begins to appear that maybe Rudy Giuliani is pulling a mirror-image version of the same trick. I hate to subject you to anything from the New Republic, but hold your nose for just a minute:

by Thomas B. Edsall

Many observers believe Giuliani's early success is the result of his calculated move rightward--a savvy effort to trick conservative voters into believing he is really one of them. But there is another possibility.... What if we are witnessing not Rudy moving toward the rest of the Republican Party, but rather the Republican Party moving toward Rudy? What if the salience of a certain kind of social conservatism is now in decline among GOP voters....

GIULIANI IS THE beneficiary of an upheaval within the Republican electorate.... the litmus test issues of abortion and gay marriage have been losing traction, subordinated to the Iraq war and terrorism. According to the Pew Research Center, 31 percent of GOP voters name Iraq as their top priority, and 17 percent choose terrorism and security. Just 7 percent name abortion and 1 percent name gay marriage.

The lions of the Christian right--Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson-- ... reached the height of their power in the late '80s, when, by a 51-to-42 majority, voters agreed that "school boards ought to have the right to fire teachers who are known homosexuals." Now a decisive 66-to-28 majority disagrees, according to Pew. In 1987, the electorate was roughly split on the question of whether "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behavior." Today, 72 percent disagree with that statement, while just 23 percent concur....

It isn't just average voters who are driving this shift; many members of the GOP elite--whose overwhelming concern is cutting taxes, a Giuliani forte--would privately welcome the chance to downplay, if not discard, the party's rearguard war against the sexual and women's rights revolutions. Much of the Republican Party's consulting community and country club elite always viewed abortion and gay rights as distasteful but necessary tools to win elections, easily disposable once they no longer served their purpose. Now, with most of the leading GOP contenders demonstrating at best equivocal support for the sexual status quo ante, that time appears to be drawing near.

So -- with Republicans like Giuliani -- who needs Democrats? What happens to the Democrats' be-very-afraid culture-wars strategy when Rudy is the Crossdresser In Chief? This could possibly be fun. Rudy is as crazy as a bedbug, but he most always does look like he's having fun -- and people like that. All the Democrats, by contrast, look like people suffering from acid reflux at the funeral of an aunt who unexpectedly disinherited them.

May 20, 2007

Maureen Dowd, space alien?

Ole Maureen has been whalin' away at Paul Wolfowitz again, who of course richly deserves a lot worse savaging than Maureen can give him. She's really trying, but her liberal rhetoric engine seems to pulled a muscle, or gotten stuck in overdrive, or something:
Resume of Doom

Paul Wolfowitz may be out of a job soon, but think of what an amazing resume he'll be shopping around:

Work Experience

President of World Bank: 2005-2007

Achievements: Paralyzed the international lending apparatus...

Deputy Secretary of Defense for President George W. Bush: 2001-2005

Achievements: ... Shattered the system of international diplomacy that kept the peace for 50 years. Undermined the credibility of American intelligence operations. Needlessly brought humankind to the brink of nuclear war. Destroyed Iraq.

If Wolfie really had "paralyzed the international lending apparatus," of course he would deserve the thanks of every decent person on Earth. But Maureen seems to come from a planet where the World Bank is a benign institution.

On her planet, it would also seem that the last fifty years have been peaceful ones. There is a country on her planet called the United States which until recently had "credible" intelligence operations, and another country called Iraq that was not well into the process of destruction under the current President's predecessors.

I don't know whether I would like to live on the planet Maureenia or not. Perhaps not, in spite of its peacefulness and the benignity of its institutions; those institutions seem to loom awfully large there.

I do, however, rather wish Maureen would hop in her spacecraft and return home.

'Tis the final conflict


Here's a view any progressive Tinker Bell could embrace: "the American Empire is falling!"

So sez Terry Paupp, author of Exodus From Empire. Terry argues that the Yankee empire is living literally on borrowed time, by issuing an ever-growing stream of kited checks, i.e. "worthless U.S. Treasury Bonds.. backed up by nothing more than the promise of the U.S. Government...."

You know you're riding the wild pony when you pass a line like the following:

Ever since the U.S. went off the gold standard during the Nixon presidency, the dollar is not backed by anything except the military strength of the nation...." [But thankfully] "... those days might well be ending, as the Euro takes its place as the dominant currency of the European Union, and Europe begins to follow different policy choices and paths from the architects of the American Empire.

Priceless, eh?

Okay. So the A nation's empire is "falling", and we're all about to escape the bloody claws of Pax Americana. Where's spaceship earth headed, then? According to Comarade Paup we're headed toward a "counter-hegemonic alliance" which even as you read this is "...emerging and rising with the capacity to develop national, regional, and international alliances across the Global South...." And it's ready and able to "... undermine the sway and threat of the American Empire."

Annnd there's more -- there's even "struggles within the Global North.... social movements... dedicated to eliminating" not only "the Neo-liberal model" but "the resurgent militarism that seeks to enforce it."

Damned if our boy here don't have "the vision thing" for us too:

a post-Imperial American needs to find a path toward social, political, economic and spiritual liberation for both its own people and the peoples and governments of the rest of the world. The path of a post-Imperial America is a revolutionary proposition and a revolutionary goal. Taking such a path is the only way to re-democratize America and, at the same time, supply the necessary means to achieve an interdependent human rights oriented world under the rule of law .... That is when we shall truly see DEMOCRACY RISING.
Who knew? Maybe the coming world will prove to be a way way brighter world than we 've ever dreamed of before.

May 24, 2007

Media Medea

This post inaugurates a brand new SMBIVA extra-feature, double-fun special: the Goo-goo Gremlin of the Month. Rules are simple: we arbitrarily tack up some progressive peace peasants and butterfly lovin' fraud, and accuse him/her of anything that sounds both outrageously loathesome and unfair, but oddly appropriate.

Our first pinup -- and I'll be damed if she don't get us off to a roaring start:

Medea Benjamin as Batwoman

... yes, that unerasable fixture of the peep-peep school of moral protest, Medea Benjamin.

Lest we forget, here's Medea back in '04:

Medea Benjamin, a leader of Global Exchange and the Green Party's U.S. Senate candidate in California in 2000, says explicitly that Greens are justified in supporting a vote for Kerry, even though he is opposed to most everything on the Green Party agenda. "In the swing states, where this election's going to be determined, [Greens should] recognize that we owe it to the global community to get rid of George Bush," Benjamin says. "And if people in those swing states support that strategy of getting rid of George Bush, then voting for Kerry might be the strategic vote for them."
Medea, you pink slug. Whilst seemingly just another hapless soul-wrenched gull, behind your pinker belle exterior throbs and slavers....

Let's put it this way: if a mob of surly anarchists or Central American shoe workers ripped off this dainty bottle-headed imp's self-righteous spotlight-stealing chickadee-for-goodness cover, inside we'd find -- and I'll bet my ranch outside Vegas on this -- a bench-built, CIA first-quality transgendered-wolverine, ready to disrupt, at any appointed key juncture, both the anti-empire and anti-transnat movements.

Warning, people of the good earth -- beware this pixie. She be toxic.

May 25, 2007

Dissolve the people and elect a new one

David Sirota is really, really mad at the Democrats' Iraq war sellout: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/we-gave-them-our-hearts-_b_49308.html
We Gave Them Our Hearts, They Gave Him A Blank Check

It is a dark day in our nation's history. That sounds melodramatic - but it is true. Today America watched a Democratic Party kick them square in the teeth - all in order to continue the most unpopular war in a generation at the request of the most unpopular president in a generation....

... and on and on in this same vein -- Dog bites man! Oh, the humanity!

David is, however, careful to establish his own respectability:

I'm not a purist nor am I a "pox on both their houses" kind of guy. I have worked to elect Democratic politicians and I supported Democratic leaders when they pushed an Iraq funding bill that included binding language to end the war.
It's a strange spectacle. Here's David's indigantion revved up into the red zone, but the transmission is in neutral and as far as I can tell, David is going nowhere. When will he put the vehicle in gear, I wonder?

The best part of this HuffPo post was one of the comments, which I give in its entirety:

The Democrats' behavior all goes back to Connecticut, Nov. 2006. Had the voters of Connecticut tossed sorry ass, war tool Lieberman, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Unfortunately, the lesson learned was that the war is not a decisive issue against an incumbent in a Democractic leaning state. Therefore, Democrats aren't afraid to screw their base. They are safe to obey the moneyed interests. The supposed Democratic voters of Connecticut who supported Lieberman are responsible for this continuation of the war. They had a real chance to change the world for the better. They blew it.

By: BillZBubb on May 25, 2007 at 12:43am

Harvard's responsible! Yale's responsible! Connecticut is responsible!

The shattered visage

Hillary from below, image

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
"Sands" seems especially piquant just now, don't you think?

May 26, 2007

Assimilating The Wingnut Mindset

Bill Richardson is clearly the best qualified Dem candidate for president, unless Al Gore decides to run. There are a couple of other folks I'd probably prefer to Ms. Clinton. That being said, the likelihood is great that she will be the Dem nominee, and it will behoove all of us to support her and encourage all of our contacts to support her. Given the realities of American politics, Ms. Clinton, for all her flaws, is greatly to be preferred to anyone the Repugs might nominate, and would probably be a fine president, as presidents go. So take your shots, but have the self-respect to admit they are cheap, self-serving, and, in the end, detrimental to our public debate and perhaps to our chances to get the country turned around, if it's not too late already.

The condescension just drips, doesn't it? I don't know whether the commenter, Acorvid, in this thread is one of those vigilante authoritarian ankle-biters or is a party apparatchik out laying down the law to the little people. The playbook for both is the same, however: a declaration of faith, followed by crackpot realism and capped with an incoherent, short'n'curly-yanking emotional appeal. How would an inappropriate and false admission of cheapness help anyone's self-respect? Moreover, what was cheap about posting on Senator Clinton's enviro-hypocrisy? How is exposing that hypocrisy detrimental to our public debate? Would giving a corrupt and dishonest politican a pass really do anything to help "turn the country around"? Why would anyone feel an obligation to support her, given her easily documented contempt for liberal values? She'd only be be good as a jingoist country club candidate. There's not (here it comes now, heads up people) a dime's worth of difference between Acorvid's rhetorical style and that of any of the less vituperative wingnuts. He's boxed himself into a rhetorical corner. Even if Hillary Clinton were worth supporting, the means he's using are going to offend anyone with some self-respect. This, for the Democrats, is the product of slamming the Overton Window on their sensitive parts one too many times. For the wingnuts, it's an effective means of moving the "debate" further into lock down territory. What kind of fool gives the game away so easily?

May 29, 2007

A Misunderstanding?

Here's a guy who has a blog consisting entirely of a merciless critique (from the left) of the Democratic Party. He's not a Green, and in fact has some pretty unkind things to say about the Green Party. Still, that doesn't worry me, because in the context of the other solutions presented in the book, the arguments against supporting the Green Party come off as simply more viriol, not considered logic.

All in all, Stop Me Before I Vote Again is as much venting as reasoning. But a little venting is good for us all once in a while."


I found the merciless critique easily -- it's hard to miss -- but when I looked for the vitriol and unkindness aimed at the Greens, all I could find was a gentle and funny caricature. I was unable to locate any arguments against supporting them. I did find quite a few making it clear that supporting the Greens was often a positive thing to do, though not in every circumstance. The "Safe State" strategy has drawn serious criticism. Rightly so, in my opinion. It was a bad idea and harmful to the party. The alleged vitriol, unkindness and opposition, when I do manage to find it, is going to come as a terrible suprise to all the Greens posting here, reading here and trying to assist with the merciless critique of the Democratic Party.

Lest I, along with MJS, the self-described "poor harmless drudge who maintains this site" (more vitriol, or another gentle and funny caricature?) be accused of therapeutic venting, let me make it clear that the purpose of this site to is assist and encourage people looking to get 'a squirrel grip on the Gladstone Smalls' of a destructive elite in the political class. One proposed means of doing that is voting for and supporting the Greens, where possible and ethical. This makes the Democratic efforts at supressing democracy a pressing concern. Their free speech cages are a pressing concern. Detecting non-existent animus where -- and here, I apologize, but I'm tempted into tautology -- it can't be detected because it doesn't exist, is not a pressing concern.


Mike Flugennock passes along this item:


President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization that has worked in Darfur since 2004, Jennings said today: "President Bush doesn't understand Sudan any better than he did Iraq. The U.S. is behind the curve by making policy decisions based on ethnic cleansing that happened in 2004, and is jumping the gun by circumventing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's already negotiated joint African Union/United Nations solution. By trying to trump the UN Security Council through unilateral action, Bush is likely to make the situation in Darfur worse, as he did in Iraq. The new sanctions on Sudan are a blunt instrument that will hurt the refugees and may lead to a larger war, rather than stopping it. If embracing a more forceful policy on Darfur is the administration's way of enlarging the so-called 'War on Terror,' it will backfire and create more terrorists, as it did in Iraq."
More Information
Mike comments:
...naa-aawwwww, you're kidding. No shit, Red Ryder. But, still the Africa Action folks and the "Call To Conscience" folks and the Working Assets sign-toters should be just thrilled to the teeth that George W. Chimp is finally doing something to Save Darfur!

May 30, 2007

Look on the sunny side of life...

From the "One Swallow DOES Make A Summer" Department, Mike Flugennock passes along this happy little item by Robert Naiman:


The progressive political world is wailing and gnashing its teeth over the failure of Congressional Democrats to stand up to President Bush on the war supplemental....

But before everybody else packs their bags and heads for the hills, consider this. Guess who voted no on the war supplemental?

Ellen Tauscher.

Why is that significant?

Because Ellen Tauscher is a Congressional Democrat who was targeted by activists for failing to vote Democratic in Congress.

In case you're still not getting it, the point is: the system worked. That is, Tauscher, who has always been an especially right-wing Democrat, is supposed to have cleaned up her act now because of an (obviously unsuccessful) primary challenge by a pwog.

Naiman cites an even burblier Nation piece by the ineffable Ari Melber:


[Tauscher] was branded a "top offender" on the website of Working For Us, a new political action committee.... founded by, among others, veteran labor strategist Steve Rosenthal, and backed by unions.... The strategy is set by two boards made up of traditional labor leaders like SEIU secretary-treasurer Anna Burger and pioneers from the Internet left like MoveOn.org heads and Markos Moulitsas, founder of the top Democratic blog Daily Kos.
I'm a happy guy now. SEIU and Kos! It doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Naiman continues:

How many more such victories do we need? ...

[T]he McGovern timetable for withdrawal bill got 171 votes in the House. 218 would be a majority, so that means we need to move 47 Members - 11% of the House - into the "firm support for a real timetable for withdrawal" camp.

[T]hreatening incumbents with primaries has been shown to be effective. This means that some folks are going to have to be willing to run for office, and some people are going to have to circulate some nominating petitions, and some people are going to have to donate some money.

Of all these things, donating money is the easiest.... Make your anger productive for humanity - and pony up.

Mike F comments:
Pony up? Huh, dude. Don't you mean "Donkey Up"?

Victory, huh? Ph'waahh ha ha ha haaah.

You're on the fast track... to the poorhouse

Seems in substance the nation is stymied on the Muslim occ-and-sock front these days, as the two-party policy contest swings up and down at the summit of power, with a nasty creaking sound.

Unfortunately they ain't on a knife edge, poised above some lovely political abyss. Nope, as usual our federal power system is stuck on the same old, same old Orthrian teeter-totter. Up and down she goes, just 8 inches from the packed shit pile below.

Let's turn from this unedifying spectacle, for a moment, to another domestic "issue" -- our vast job- and wage-eating trade gap. Here's a second alert about the latest possible chance to build a people's speed bump on the road to zero industry. If nothing is done to renew it, the White House's "fast track" powers will soon expire:


As mentioned here in an earlier post, this extraordinary congo-busting executive power to ram thru the people's representaive bodies any old Wall Street-crafted "international trade agreement" expire before the Fourth of July, unless they're rescued by an act of Orthrian magic.

So it's in the hands of the party in power over on the Hill -- the one with the long, all-hearing, twitchy ears. The party that in part has control over there precisely because its candidates claimed, most loudly, of course, in certain strategic open trade-blasted industrial districts -- to be the party of good job protection through "fairer" trade policies.

It just might come down to one guy, and who knows what runs the mind of fry-haired Charlie Rangel? On that, we 'll simply have to see what we see.

To be fair-and-balanced here, I feel I need to show the other hand. Maybe this sleaze treason won't be pulled off under the cover of nearly complete public darkness, as it seems the media has slightly noticed the issue recently

If you want to bone up on the stakes, I suggest this piece by union economist Tom Palley:


Getting fast track renewed or extended has a lovely parallel to the shootin' side of the GWOT saga, and is also of the very essence of our two headed governing beast.

In a related story, we find this very same Tom Palley, among others, trying to stir the frog pond of academic economists. It all seems to have started, improbable as it may seem, with an article in The Nation. Here's the best pull-together of links:


Upshot: the insider commanding heights of "the profession" are controlled by -- what else -- the society of sons of market liberty. But here's The Nation's scoop: seems these bold marketeers are willing to use "mafia tactics" to keep down skeptics and push outright heretics to the prestigeless margins.

Perhaps you're asking, "Just how, Owen, is this related to our killer trade gap and fast track?"

Summit orthodox econ-cons sing in all voices, "the best national markets are open national markets. Ergo, open wide, America, and take your medicine." The logic loons ask us to see that the best of all possible worlds requires we open up our national markets and let the TNCs bounce us jobblers back and forth till we ding so many profit bells for them that we all, at long last, feel like the "liberated" pinballs we are.

About May 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in May 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2007 is the previous archive.

June 2007 is the next archive.

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

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